The big thuds

Donald Lambro:

"Two big things came out of Monday's Iowa caucuses, besides John Kerry's win and Howard Dean's defeat, that point to some very dramatic changes in the Democratic Party.

"The first is that among the major candidates, the two who were furthest to the left on core political issues lost ? big time ? while the two who had moved closer toward center surged to the front of the pack.

"Former Vermont Gov. Dean and Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri called for repeal of the Bush tax cuts ? even though it would mean higher taxes for the middle class ? to pay for a major expansion in federal social welfare programs, including a costly new health-care proposal. Both want draconian new restrictions on free trade. Both were closely aligned with big labor and back its big-spending social agenda. Both supported big raises in the minimum wage and called for reregulating big business and the rest of the economy.

"Those agendas fell with a thud Monday night, despite record turnout by Iowa Democrats who tend to favor more liberal candidates....


"Labor's failure to turnout the vote for the candidates it has endorsed suggests two things: Labor unions are no longer the political powers they once were in election contests, union households no longer follow the dictates of their union bosses in how they vote.

"Labor impotence wasn't the only big failure in Iowa. Al Gore, the party's former nominee, hoped his early endorsement would help Mr. Dean win the caucuses in a state Mr. Gore won against Mr. Bush in 2000. But his backing had zero effect in the race, suggesting any hopes Mr. Gore may have about 2008 are waning."


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