Tomorrow at 12 noon PT/3pm ET we'll be having a chat with Tom Shaller, the controversial author of Whistling Past Dixie who successfully predicted (much to the consternation of many an overpaid pollster) the results of the 2004 election. Tom had an article in the Baltimore Sun last week that Phoenix Woman profiled, to the effect that there is no "center" any more, and politicians who are trying to capitalize on one are pissing in the dark. He argues that the Democrats need to learn what the Republicans have already internalized — they need to appeal to their base and stop trying to be all things to all people. The idea that they can enlarge the party with some "big tent" is a myth.
Predictably, Schaller's ideas are damn near heresy in Mark Penn circles. It flies in the face of what Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel were trying to dictate (with nearly disastrous results) to Democrats running in 2006 (Shhh! Don't mention the war!) and gets the hackles of people like Mudcat Saunders up, but he does have an incredible track record of successful prognostication to recommend him. Tomorrow he'll have an article in the Sun about the need for Democrats to appeal to unmarried women voters (something we've been promoting for a long time, and for which the need is quite irrefutable). This comes at the same time as a Third Way report which says that the future of the Democratic party lies with…yes, white men :
Third Way has issued a new report (PDF) arguing that Democrats won in 2006 thanks to a surge in Democratic voting among white, higher-income, male and rural voters. Washingtonpost.com's Chris Cillizza's cited the report in his online column, The Fix, but with all due respect to Cillizza, some folks may need a refresher methods course to understand how Third Way's report uses statistics to create a pre-ordained outcome.
Schaller takes apart the shoddy massaging of statistics that led them to this absurd conclusion. He is an important voice that the Wise Men of DC do not want to listen to, but these are the very people who threaten to drive the party over a cliff with alarming regularity.
Please read Schaller's brief but compelling article on the new political dromedary and let me know what you think in the comments.