Between the Red Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

A lot of people have been celebrating Bush's declining approval ratings.  I share the sentiments, but it is a hallow victory.  While it is true that Bush's numbers are spiralling, they remain comfortably ahead of any opposition.  I knew it was inevitable that Bush's approval ratings would fall.  He has pursued reckless policies that weaken our country.  His government has one goal that I can see - empowering, protecting and further enriching the already rich and elite.  All the lip-service to wholesome americana cannot disguise the truth for long.  

I was hoping after the last elections that the Democrats would come together as a party, and formulate an alternative vision.  Not a series of speaking points, but the elicidation of the truth:  the best way to protect and defend the American people is to adopt policies of fiscal responsibility, environmental protection, and have the courage to acknowledge that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.  

If our party leaders had been willing to take a bold stance, and stood strong and resolute against the Republican propoganda machine, the Democratic party would now be reaping the rewards of their conviction.  As Bush's numbers spiral down, the Democrats' would rise.  But our party leaders are careerist politicians, too afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and they have left Bush with a mandate.  

I hate to be the cold voice of skepticism, but it doesn't matter if Bush's approval numbers sink into the thirties.  So long as there is not a viable opposition, the Republicans will remain in power.  Aparently, the Democratic strategy is to be the lesser of two evils in the next elections.  Does anyone think this will work?

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Addendum I - The Kerry Lie
I was a one-issue voter in the last campaign.  The invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and I wanted Bush out of power because the war was an elective war of his own invention.  A lot of Democrats felt this way, but we let Kerry get away without addressing this issue.  What was Kerry's position on the war?  Was the war a mistake?  If he became president, would he advance a different plan?  The truth is there was very little difference between Kerry's war position and Bush's, status post invasion.  Kerry did not even have the courage to state emphatically that the invasion was the wrong thing to do.  So, he was trying to be the de facto anti-war candidate without being against the war.  

The strange thing was that the Democratic Party considered this an acceptable compromise.  We were afraid to be defined as too weak to defend America.  But who were we trying to impress?  It was like the entire democrat grassroots and base became political strategists.  But we are not strategists, we are the electorate.  Why was everyone afraid of calling Bush on the war?  If we can't become better than the lesser of two evils, we will never will elections.

by Winston Smith 2005-09-09 05:42PM | 0 recs
The Democrats have an alternative vision
just not the votes. It may be because the alternative vision involves a reading comprehension level higher than the fifth grade. It may be because the alternative vision requires voters to not hate blacks more than they love themselves (which is a lot). It may be because the alternative vision has scientific naturalism as its base rather than the popular (but false) conception of the world as being chock full of supernatural intervention. It may also be because the alternative vision requires one to consider the environment to be of graver concern than who is best at driving around an oval 500 times, or the frequency with which a grown man can put a rubber sphere through an elevated iron ring at  ten paces, or the average number of steps another man took with an inflated big's bladder last weekend. Let's get real here: the blame isn't with the Democratic party, which usually has good, forward-looking policies, but with the people.
by Paul Goodman 2005-09-09 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The Democrats have an alternative vision
The Democrats dont have an alternative plan, and they wont have votes until they deserve them.

1.  Iraq.

The invasion was a mistake.  It was based on lies, and the plan to invade was in place before 9/11.  Nothing good can come from the invasion and occupation of Iraq.  We need to aggressively debate disengagement.  Where does the Democratic party stand on this?  The most vocal proponent of disengagement is now coming from a Republican.

2.  Fiscal Responsibility.

We are hemorrhaging money.  We need to raise taxes and or cut spending.  It is unethical to borrow money that we dont have any intention of paying back, and passing the debt onto the next generation.  When the Republican congress voted to raise the debt ceiling, the Democratic party needed to oppose this with vigor.  But they stayed quiet.  

3.  Environmental Protection

Wholesale sellout to energy monopolies.  The Democratic party should be unified as a block demanding the adoptation of sane policies.  I havent seen that.

I could go on and on, but does it matter?  What it comes down to is that the Democratic party is afraid to challenge Bush.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-09 08:02PM | 0 recs
Addendum II - The Rove Machine
Key to starting a critical debate is to stop allowing the Republicans to define every argument.  I dont watch tv news much anymore, but a few weeks back, as the Iraqi constitution fell apart, the Rep party operatives flooded talk tv with their talking point:  It took years for the US to write and adopt a constitution, so we need to be patient with the Iraqis.  This is crazy, a delusional analogy, and yet, I saw it advanced by operatives as an organized speaking point six or seven times without ever once being challenged by the opposition party.  

How can the Democratic party engage in vigorous debate when it allows the Republicans to define every issue.  This one point is directly relevant to a domestic debate on the war, and the Democrats did not expose this as the lie it is.  

It may be obvious, but I think the Democratic party needs to maintain a data base on each GOP talking point, and counter it with the truth.  Everytime a GOP operative goes on a tv news show and hits their talking point, there needs to be opposition party representation to counter the propoganda.  If a news show allows the talking point to be hit without a response, we must flood the show with a barrage of email and negative feedback which identifies that a GOP talking point was made without being challanged.  Why is this not happening?

And hats off to Bill Maher, who was the only person I saw on tv who dissected and exposed this one bit of propoganda.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-09 05:55PM | 0 recs
Addendum III - the Fate of the GOP
Bush has built an unsustainable alliance out of the Republican party.  I doubt a successor can keep it together.  True fiscal conservatives, social moderates, and libertarians are crowded together with right-wing neo-conservatives, big business elite and hypocritical christian extremists.  It's a hot sweaty mix of people, bound together by politcal success and 9/11 dysphoria.  

Will the christian right vote for Guiliani, who is pro-choice and supports gay rights?  Will big business tolerate McCain, who has made a career out of attempting to limit the influence of special interest money?  Will the neo-cons support Hagel, who advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq?

Unless the Democrats recover their soul, and become a viable opposition party, it will sink into irrelavancy, leaving the GOP to splinter and become the two party system.  

by Winston Smith 2005-09-09 06:07PM | 0 recs

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