And... we have a Hunger Chancellor!
The New York times today reports that Richardson will traveling on an Air Force plane to North Korea in order to browbeat Strange Leader Kim Jong Il about his nuclear program. It's official, it's not official, he's an envoy, he's a private citizen -- nobody understands it, but whether he manages to achieve anything or not it will help the Republicans in '06: if he succeeds Bush will take the credit and if he fails Bush will blame the stupid Democrat.
Richardson's fellow Democrats are presumably gnashing their teeth over this stunt, which may possibly bolster Richardson's chances of being the nominee in '08 at the expense of the party's prospects in '06.
But nobody ever gets excommunicated from the Democratic Party, for anything. Will Rogers' comment that "I don't belong to an organized political party -- I'm a Democrat" is true in a much deeper sense than he intended. The Democratic Party isn't really a party at all, in the sense of being an organization with a political program and some modicum of party discipline. Rather, it is a loose collective of individual opportunists, an ad hoc camel train of unconnected entrepreneurs temporarily banded together against desert marauders, owing each other no loyalty and in fact perfectly willing to stab each other in the back first chance they get.
People who write software have an old joke: when you tell them about something strange their program is doing, they reply, That's not a bug, it's a feature! Even so with the Democrats: their lack of principle, their not being about anything, is not a flaw; rather, it's their essence, the very life blood and raison d'etre of the outfit.