Why People Don't Think Democrats Believe What They Say
by Chris Bowers, Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 07:07:45 AM EDT
More brilliant messaging from the same article: Stone said the council's centrist approach has been the only proven success for Democrats in the past 25 years. While this is not a direct quote, it is a widely held sentiment in some Democratic circles. It is also utterly self-defeating, since it strongly gives the impression that the only reason Democrats are moving to the center is because they think it will help them to win elections. Not only does this tacitly admit that Republicans have the right ideas and Democrats must move toward those ideas in order to win, it also is a pretty direct implication that Democrats don't believe in anything, but that they are moving to the center solely for the purpose of winning elections.
Yet more death by meta:Another possible Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., gave a speech that focused primarily on national security. He said Democrats must prove they are strong on this subject if they want to win future elections. "If [Americans] don't trust us with their lives, they are unlikely to trust us with anything else." Aarrgghhh. Again, we are faced with a quote from a major Democrat telling Democrats what we need to do in order to improve our standing with voters. Rather than, you know, actually laying out a series of foreign policy initiatives, Democrats feel the need to comment on why they need to lay out that series of foreign policy initiatives. This, of course, traps us in an endless cycle of meta and process stories about how much we always lose, and how we need to adopt new beliefs in order to win. Well, if you suddenly adopt new beliefs after previously saying that you need to adopt new beliefs in order to win elections, is there any chance that you won't come off as utterly invertebrate? Considering that changing a position on an issue or issues in order to win elections is one of the most negative stereotypes affecting politicians nationwide, why do we insist on constantly making public declarations that we are in fact going to change our position on issues in order to win elections? Are there any Democrats at this conference who remember what the main Republican attack on John Kerry was during the 2004 Presidential election?
If you are going to stand on your principles, then stand on your principles. There is no need to preface that stance by saying that more Democrats need to stand on principles in order to win elections. In fact, such a preface just makes it look like you are standing on your principles in order to win elections, and trying to distance yourself from those other, evil Democrats who don't stand on principles.
If you are going to talk about faith, then talk about faith. There is no need to preface your discussion of faith with a statement that Democrats need to talk more about faith. All that will do is make it look like you are talking about faith in order to win elections, and to distance yourself from those other, evil democrats who don't talk about faith.
If you are going to talk about national security, then talk about national security. There is no need to preface your discussion of national security with a statement that Democrats need to change their stances on national security. All that does is make it look like Democrats don't stand for anything on national security, and are just talking about it now in order to win elections. Oh yeah, and it distances you from those other, evil Democrats who don't hold the same national security position you do.
If you are going to move to the center, then move to the center. Don't preface it with a statement about how Democrats need to move to the center in order to win elections. All that does is make you look like a pile of mush who freely moves from left to center to right and back again in order to win elections.
The bizarre Democratic need, found most often within DLC-type conferences, to preface any proposal with a public claim that the coming proposal will help Democrats win elections is a major factor in the national belief that Democrats do not stand for anything. If you tell the country that your ideas are designed to win elections, then they won't think you stand for anything except winning elections. And then, well, you probably won't win many elections, because Americans don't like politicians who only stand for winning elections. If you want to do something, then just do it. Throwing the "this will get us elected" qualifier in front of your statements just makes us all look like spineless jackasses who are trying to pull one over on the electorate. If you want to talk faith, or be a centrist, or be a hawk, or stand on principles, then just go for it. Stop wasting our time and making us all look bad by telling us you are doing it in order to win elections.