“The Law of Competitive Balance: There develop over time separate and unequal strategies adopted by winners and losers; the balance of those strategies favors the losers, and thus serves constantly to narrow the difference between the two.”
James utilized several hypothetical examples to illustrate his point. A basketball team that is well behind will make tactical adjustments. The team that is ahead has succeeded with the status quo and is less likely to change. Hence, the team that is behind will eventually make the game more competitive. A baseball team that finishes twenty games out of first place is more likely to shake up their roster and replace veterans with youth. The team that wins it all prefers to maintain continuity and is more susceptible to decline.
James’ law proves true in many aspects of life as well. The struggling salesman will change his approach until he finds success while someone else earning top commissions can become complacent and rely on the same accounts. A business that is enduring hard times will reassess its’ efficiency and marketing while another grows fat and spends money foolishly until they’re blindsided by a cash crunch.
Until Howard Dean became head of the DNC, the Law of Competitive Balance didn't apply to the Democratic Party. Instead the Democrats lived by the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Dean has the nerve to challenge the party’s orthodoxy and transition the Democrats from a Washington centric party addicted to wealthy contributors to a states oriented party funded by a citizens donor base. It’s remarkable to me how some Democrats whine over McCain/Feingold and long for the old days of soft money donations to the national party. Dean didn’t whine. He adjusted and myopic Washington Democrats remain clueless.
Dean is the first Democrat to think “globally” by acting “locally.” The key to power and a better nation is by strengthening state parties and taking the country back one precinct at a time. It’s basic blocking and tackling in the ground game that has eluded the Democrats for a generation, as the establishment prefers to mobilize the same special interests coalition and rally behind the politics of expediency. Dean’s way is to craft a message of truth about the public interest and fight for every neighborhood. Hence his states oriented strategy has a better chance of transforming the Democratic Party into a national majority.
Today both the Washington Post and New York Times reported about the rift between Dean and the respective heads of the Democrat’s House and Senate Campaign Committees, Rahm Emanuel and Charles Schumer. The progressive blogosphere has rallied to Dean’s defense. I thought Mole333 wrote an especially fine diary on this topic in My Left Wing.
Dean is hardly a perfect messenger for the Democratic Party. He’s impulsive and occasionally suffers from foot in mouth disease as we saw during the 2004 campaign and his recent appearance on the 700 Club.
Nonetheless, Dean’s 50 state strategy makes both short term and long term sense and even a pretty good political tactician named Bill Clinton has signed onto it. Thankfully, Dean doesn’t need the good will of the proven losers inside the Democratic Party. As the state parties continue to be enhanced the Rahm Emanuels, Charles Schumers and Joe Bidens will be marginalized in favor of Democrats on the local level.
Sadly too many Washington Democrats and consultants prefer their status as kings of the hill inside a minority party instead of making this a better country and standing for principle. The message that needs to be sent to these people is this: lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.
SIDEBAR: This topic was cross posted on Daily Kos and once again my diary was "rescued" by the blogosphere's Angel of CPR, "SusanG". She performs an invaluable service because Daily Kos has a million visitors per day and many fine diaries dissappear from the board without making the recommended list. I heartily recommend others look for her open threads at Daily Kos because she provides an indispensable portal for work easily missed. Thanks to her efforts I've learned much from posted diaries I would not have otherwise read.