Magazine article The American Prospect

Wired but Weird

Magazine article The American Prospect

Wired but Weird

Article excerpt

LET YOUR MIND GO BACK in time, back to the unfathomably distant past--back, say, two and a half years ago. It was a different world then, but Mark Penn, the Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC) redoubtable pollster, had it all down cold.

The reason the Democrats lost the 2000 election, Penn argued, was that they'd failed to win the support of "wired workers." This was Penn's shorthand for workers in the new economy, who routinely went online with no trepidation and for whom Al Gore's old-style populism had little to offer. Never mind that Gore carried nearly every state with a significant concentration of wired workers, or that he lost such longtime Democratic states as West Virginia, where wired workers are few and far between. The data haven't been adduced that can stop Mark Penn from generalizing.

But that, as they say, was then. Today, Penn--who now polls not only for the DLC but for Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign as well--has a different view of the Democrats' dilemma, and it is that the anti-war, liberal Democrats flocking to Howard Dean's column will be the death of the party yet. …

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