I tend to be of the opinion that the whole "wine track/beer track" divide within the Democratic Party, while certainly real, is getting way too much attention of late. One result is that labels are being applied carelessly. Joe Klein today:
On the Democratic side, Barack Obama got a valuable endorsement from the Culinary Workers Union, but he's also getting kiss-of-death endorsements from former wine-track Democratic candidates, Bill Bradley and now, John Kerry.
Kerry's endorsement may, indeed, turn out to be worthless. But if Kerry is a wine-track Democrat, then the phrase has no meaning. It's not supposed to mean "rich Democrats who lose elections." Rather, it refers to where a candidate's support comes from--and in the 2004 primaries, it was Kerry who did disproportionately well among blue-collar, high-school-educated Democrats, with Howard Dean (to some extent) as the "wine track" candidate and John Edwards who built a motley upscale/downscale coalition. In his much-discussed March piece, in fact, Ron Brownstein identifies Kerry (along with Truman, Humphrey, and Mondale) as the archetypical beer-track "warrior" candidates. Granted, in terms of his personal tastes, windsurfer Kerry seems decidedly wine track, but so will just about every Democrat rich and famous enough to run for president.