When Louisiana Democrats announced they'd sidestep controversy about national party founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson and instead rebrand their annual summer fundraiser as the "True Blue Gala," a Washington Post journalist tweeted out his disappointment that officials didn't just go with two homegrown dynasties and call it the Long-Landrieu dinner.
The Louisiana Democratic Party is dropping Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson from its year…
Kind of catchy, actually. Another idea would be to keep it simple and go with the Edwards-Edwards dinner, in honor of a couple of recent governors. These figures aren't everybody's ideal, but then, at least none of them owned slaves or treated Native Americans horrifically, as Jefferson and Jackson, respectively, did.
Critics might point to the change as political correctness run amok, but it's more like truth in advertising. Political parties have specific agendas, and in the Democratic Party's case, one is to celebrate how far the country has come from those days. If enough of its members think the Jefferson and Jackson affiliations don't gel with that, then no reason to hold on to tradition for tradition's sake. Changing a private event's name is a lot less fraught than, say, removing monuments from public land.
Besides, looking to a party's past leadership is always complicated.
Republicans get to cite Abraham Lincoln as a spiritual leader, even though the modern-day party struggles mightily to attract support from the descendants of the slaves he freed. They revere the memory of Ronald Reagan, but some of his policies would never pass muster in today's harder-line atmosphere.
Really, the most honest way to advertise either party would be to simply cite its current top dogs, President Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republicans' case, and House and Senate Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for the Democrats.
The downside: I'm not sure any of those names would help fill a room.