Democrats Are Lost In The Shuffle
by Gary Boatwright, Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 06:23:21 AM EDT
Democrats Are Lost in the Shuffle While GOP Holds All the Card: On almost every major question in Washington today, the choice isn't whether to move in a Republican or Democratic direction, but how far in a Republican direction to move.
This situation creates obvious problems for Democrats. But it's also produced surprising risks for Republicans, measured in skidding approval ratings for President Bush and Congress.
The dynamic is more complex than it might seem.
I agree with Brownstein, that even on their signature issue of Social Security, Democrats have played their hand poorly.
. . .
Democrats are furiously laboring to prevent Bush from carving out private investment accounts from Social Security, but even if they succeed -- which increasingly appears likely -- they only will have preserved the status quo.
The same can be said on every single issue. The Democratic party has not even managed to step up to the plate.
Some of their problems are structural and procedural.
But the crux of the issue is that Democrats have not managed to define their own values and beliefs in a way that is understandable to the American people and in a way that distinguishes them from the Republican party.
Frankly, I am not the least bit impressed with the problem of being branded as "obstructionist.
Why do Democrats tremble at the thought of upsetting David Broder, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson? Are Democrats more concerned about sucking up to the D.C. media establishment, than standing up for their core principles?
The Democrats have a tremendous opportunity, if they can respond to the approaching fillibuster "crisis" deftly.
An overwhelming majority of Americans opposed congressional and White House intervention in the Schiavo case; Bush's Social Security plan is lagging in the polls too. And it's difficult to imagine that many Americans outside the GOP's conservative base applauded House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-Texas) fevered rant against the courts last week following Schiavo's death.
. . .
Conversely, Democratic thinkers like veteran pollster Stanley B. Greenberg believe Republicans are planting the seeds for a voter backlash by overreaching. "Democrats have an opportunity in pushing off this agenda, which may seem extreme to many," he says.
Republicans can continue to talk smack about being the party of ideas, only because the Democrats lack the will to define their own brand. Republicans are counting on the week kneed response of the Democrats to continue.
Brownstein's concluding thought is only accurate if the Democratic party continues to timidly dodge the issues.
Are the Democrats helpless? Not if they unleash their secret weapon.
I say "Cry havoc! Let loose the Deaniac dogs of war!
As my wiser friend, Paul Rosenberg says, "Let the conversation continue . . .
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