Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Democrats Surrender

Check out Gene Lyons' column.

I would quibble with him though, that it isn't all the fault of those whom some have called the Vichy Dems. It is hard to put up a fight when the Kewl Kids in the SCLM decide that the only people worth taking seriously (and, in spite of their proclaimed distrust of the media, most people take seriously that and only that the media takes seriously) are those who boldly beat the drums of war, who are good sports about that which is not even a game and who otherwise are Republican lite. How being war-mongering and wishy-washy became seen as being tough and moderate and how only war-mongering wishy-washy folks are the only Dems. seen by the media as being "serious" is beyond me.

But that is the situation. So why should it surprise us that some Dems. are convinced that they have to be spineless war cheerleaders in order to win elections? For that matter, why are so many people convinced that they should only vote for a spineless war cheerleader?

That being said, Gene Lyons' basic point is sound. Even though many people claim the Dems. are too liberal (without even realizing what a liberal actually is) would probably more likely support a Barbara Boxer or a Russ Feingold (I know such people personally) than a Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. There are many people who, if you ask them, would claim , as much as they dislike the Republicans, they'd never vote for a Democrat 'cause the Democrats are too liberal. But this is based on a misperception of liberalism as an effete doctrine which is out of touch with the concerns of real people. This misperception is actually strengthened by folks like Clinton and Lieberman who, no matter how much they position themselves as moderates, are seen as liberals whilst their positioning causes them to take positions at odds with what really matters to people even as they still maintain the unpopular stances associated with liberalism. But fundamentally, when it comes down to it, the strength of the tough talking Republicans who, in spite of what the SCLM says, really are out of the mainstream, indicates that what matters is sounding like a leader ... not what you actually say. As Lyons so aptly puts it:

[I]f Democrats ever again hope to lead this country, they have to show that they can be leaders.

A Democrat who shows she can be a leader will be called upon to lead the country. A Democrat who triangulates, unless they have the political skill of the Big Dog himself, will not be so called -- not in spite of his moderation but because of it: such moderation will, possibly correctly, be seen as pandering rather than leadership. And people would, right or wrong, vote for someone who seems to be a tough leader over someone with whom they agree (some of it is a self-confidence issue: people feel that anyone who shares their opinions cannot be all too smart ... of course, self-confidence cuts the other way too -- people don't want a leader who threatens them intellectually ... and of course, we Dems. manage to loose on both sides of this psychological krenk of too many voters).

To adapt Ben Franklin to our current situation and thus give advice to Democrats: those who would trade principles for electability deserve (and will have) neither.

To approximately quote Truman on the effectiveness of "acting Republican" in order to get more votes: when a Republican runs against a Democrat who acts like a Republican, the Republican will win every time.

Even when the Democrat who acts like a Republican wins, it is a win for the individual Democrat but a win for the Republican party.

If the Democrats want to regain office, necessary at least to restore some checks and balances to the government since the Republicans seem unable or unwilling to do so themselves (which is un-American, if you ask me), they better start acting like leaders and like Democrats.

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » » »
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