T Nation

Democrats Looking for Survival Strategy

This blog sums up the state of the democratic party pretty well. Enjoy.

The Democratic Party continues sinking slowly in the waters of public opinion, but at least some of its leaders are beginning to understand that ignoring the rising conservative tide is no longer an option.

For the past four years, too many Democratic leaders and their allies in the mainstream press have convinced themselves that the problems confronting Democrats were external? a lying president, a corrupt Supreme Court, a rigged election.

After the 2004 election, Democrats and their allies stopped blaming Katherine Harris and Justice Scalia and instead aimed their wrath toward Jesus and God. Manhattan and Georgetown editorialists groused that an electorate stoned on the fumes of high octane religion had gone crazy and had taken America with them.

The New York Times ran post-election columns by historian Gary Wills, who suggested that the United States had more in common with al Qaeda than France because the majority of Americans believed in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

Times columnist Maureen Down bleakly reported that with the election of George W. Bush, evangelicals were marching America toward a new dark age.

Two months later, Democrats in and out of the media stopped suggesting that the president and his party were Jesus freaks and began ridiculing Reagan?s party by suggesting Republicans were utopian dreamers whose vision for the Middle East was dangerously in conflict with the cold realities of the region.

January was filled with exceedingly grim predictions for the Iraq election from the likes of Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore.

After the remarkable election turnout, the Democratic Party fell into yet another period of chaos and confusion.

Party leaders like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry whined through the epic events unfolding in the Middle East while Jimmy Carter and his ilk opted to keep their mouths shut rather than praise democracy?s flowering in the most oppressed region on earth.

Fear and loathing has continued to grip Democrats since the January 30 elections, but fortunately for the two-party system, a few intellectual forces within the party are offering constructive suggestions for a party no longer relevant to national politics.

Recently, James Carville and Stan Greenberg offered the radical suggestion that the Democratic Party stand for something other than obstruction.

"So, we ask progressives to consider, why have the Republicans not crashed and burned? Why has the public not taken out their anger on the Congressional Republicans and the president? We think the answer lies with voters’ deeper feelings about the Democrats who appear to lack direction, conviction, values, advocacy or a larger public purpose.?

The liberal founder of the Washington Monthly admitted that too many of his ideological brothers and sisters were disappointed by the good news coming out of Iraq. Charles Peters reminded his fellow Democrats that they must reconcile themselves to the fact that they must support the troops and stop wishing them failure on a daily basis.

The same sentiment was expressed in this month?s New York Magazine. Kurt Andersen wrote of how good news out of Iraq felt like very bad news to Manhattan elites.

Andersen said he and his fellow liberals faced their toughest ideological and moral test since Ronald Reagan took down the Soviet Empire with policies mocked daily in the newsrooms and publishing houses of Midtown Manhattan. Andersen concluded that liberals had a Hobbesian choice to make: Support George W. Bush?s efforts in Iraq or support the terrorists. The author suggested that for too long, the Left has been in a de facto alliance with those killing U.S. troops and innocent Iraqis.

That American opinion leaders may have been siding with Arab terrorists may seem like startling news to many in Middle America, but nothing new to those of us who have been studying the way the press and the Democratic Party has been operating over the past three years.

Maybe a few intellectual leaders on the left are finally realizing that they can no longer make their livings attacking the commander-in-chief?s war on terror any more than they could continue quietly cheering for the Soviet Union during the early days of the Cold War.

We Middle Americans may believe in Jesus, but we ain?t stupid.

After a while, even we can figure out whose side politicians and reporters are on. And over the past few years, it has been clear that while most Democrats are not openly cheering for the terrorists killing our troops, neither were they in America?s corner.

For the survival of the Democratic Party, that has to change.

Interesting post.

At work recently, in the breakroom, is a personal photograph taken by a staff members son, who is in the Army in Iraq right now. Pictured where several U.S. troops hanging out with members of the Iraqi Army.
A lady I suspect supports the democrats was in the room and I happened to comment that the picture was pretty cool and it was a good thing we have done over there by inlarge; although there have been miscalculations and mistakes made (EVERY war has those). She says…“Hmm…I don’t know…you really think it was a good thing for us to do?” I asked her that “isn’t it amazing that the people were dancing in the streets at election day and that WOMEN were now able to vote?”

She says…“I guess.”

I asked her if it was not true that HER freedom was the most important thing she has, especially as a woman? She murmured…“Yes”.

I then commented that on this ONE issue, I DID agree with Bill Clinton: several years ago, after 911, Clinton himself said we needed to go into Iraq.
The lady was unable to come up with a counter argument to that.

I took from the conversation that democrats realize they are on the wrong side of history once again. They talk AND act defeated.

The polls in November seem to have bared that out.

Thanks for the blog, randman…

Unless there is a SIGNIFICANT paradigm shift in the attitudes and beliefs of a significant portion of the American Electorate…I simply don’t see the Democrats fortunes changing anytime soon…

Part of that shift will also be having a candidate that “connects” with that Electorate…

The past election was a case-in-point…even the Democrats admitted some “dis-connect” that “surprised” many of them.

Mufasa

PtrDr made be remember something with his post…

There are many people who bring up "What about finding another “Bill Clinton?”.

Whew…this could be a thread by itself…but we must remember two things…

  1. Bill Clinton is, and was, a smart “professional” politician who knew that his “destiny” was to be President from the moment he shook JFK’s hands as a teenager. This was no “pinnacle” of a political career for him…but represented a Lifelong dream. It was actually a Republican who once said that Bill Clinton was the smartest politician they had ever met.

  2. From a more basic and practical sense, he can a) thank Ross Perot for one election and b) the “charasmatic” Robert Dole for the second.

I just don’t think that we can use Clinton’s wins as good indicators of what the Democrats have the potential of doing if they put the time and effort into it…

Again…the change has to be in the electorate…not the party…and I just don’t see that happening…

Mufasa

It’s kind of satisfying to watch this party self-destruct. I’m sure Hilary and her minions will come back with a much more conservative message next election. They have to. These people are not stupid, just out of touch.

[quote]magyar wrote:
It’s kind of satisfying to watch this party self-destruct. I’m sure Hilary and her minions will come back with a much more conservative message next election. They have to. These people are not stupid, just out of touch.[/quote]

Uhhmm yeah…Rebublicans won by getting 120,000 people more in Ohio. A wartime president beat a Mass. Liberal by what 2 percent? But Dems took majority of state legislatures for the first time in years, Dems were voted for by more people in the senate than Repubs. 41 million to 38 million, and on and on…and your talking about dems self-destruction? Out of touch?

a majority don’t approve of the president’s handling of Iraq a majority don’t support privatization, in fact a vast majority would support raising the payroll taxes on those making more than 90,000–pretty liberal. I suspect many wouldn’t support any of the president’s policies if fully informed. Anyway this election seemed to show that the country is evenly divided, and that small portions will ebb and flow on certain issues, I wouldn’t say the demise is near for either party.

100meters,

“Out of touch?”

You mean by continuing to lose Congressional seats and governors’ mansions? And why is Hillary Clinton so desparate to position herself in the middle if the liberal message was mainstream enough?

“I suspect many wouldn’t support any of the president’s policies if fully informed.”

Nonsense. This ‘uninformed’ canard has floated around long enough - people know what to vote for and do so. The hackneyed ‘if they just knew more, they wouldn’t vote for Bush’ is mere scapegoating and keeps on setting the smug Democrats back.

“Anyway this election seemed to show that the country is evenly divided, and that small portions will ebb and flow on certain issues, I wouldn’t say the demise is near for either party.”

I think the Democratic party is suffering from an idenitity crisis that might have an imploding effect on the party - the old populist Democrats versus the new urban Social-Democrat styles of liberals. How they manage this gap will be key to survival.

The Democrats have weak leadership right now. The GOP has a phalanx of stars. Anybody remember when people used to suggest that John Edwards was the future superstar of the Democrats?

Perhaps Barack “Barry” Obama will be in due time, after a little national exposure in the Senate. Till then, we get Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbra Boxer - if I was a Democrat, I’d be depressed too.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
100meters,

“Out of touch?”

You mean by continuing to lose Congressional seats and governors’ mansions? And why is Hillary Clinton so desparate to position herself in the middle if the liberal message was mainstream enough?

“I suspect many wouldn’t support any of the president’s policies if fully informed.”

Nonsense. This ‘uninformed’ canard has floated around long enough - people know what to vote for and do so. The hackneyed ‘if they just knew more, they wouldn’t vote for Bush’ is mere scapegoating and keeps on setting the smug Democrats back.

“Anyway this election seemed to show that the country is evenly divided, and that small portions will ebb and flow on certain issues, I wouldn’t say the demise is near for either party.”

I think the Democratic party is suffering from an idenitity crisis that might have an imploding effect on the party - the old populist Democrats versus the new urban Social-Democrat styles of liberals. How they manage this gap will be key to survival.

The Democrats have weak leadership right now. The GOP has a phalanx of stars. Anybody remember when people used to suggest that John Edwards was the future superstar of the Democrats?

Perhaps Barack “Barry” Obama will be in due time, after a little national exposure in the Senate. Till then, we get Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barbra Boxer - if I was a Democrat, I’d be depressed too. [/quote]

Stars? Frist? Santorum? these lying motherf%#kers are hardly stars. If you mean Arnold, you have one star. And your party suffers the same crisis…the rational…arnold,guiliani,formerly mcain vs. whackos…like frist, santorum, delay, etc.

and what bothers you about Reid trying to stop the president from destroying my S.S.? Does it bother you when Linsey Graham does it for your party?

Hillary desperate for the middle? Stop watching FOX…dems go to church, and love their families, and aren’t pro-abortion, remember abortion rate down every year under clinton, up under bush?

The funniest thing about Democrats is they really believe the radical crap they spew out.

It is interesting to observe that much of the leadership, particularly Howard Dean, feel they need to control the message they are getting out. They have actually come out and said it is OK to believe this crap, they just need to make sure the voters get a different, controlled message.

Lumpy/100meters,

You wrote: “wouldn’t support any of the president’s policies if fully informed.”

Drifting toward the “Republicans are the elite, yet dumb crap?”

Must be fun to be wrong and repudiated by the voters.

Have a wonderful four years!!!

JeffR

100meters,

“Stars? Frist? Santorum? these lying motherf%#kers are hardly stars.”

Your drivel notwithstanding, and I’m not going to bother arguing your silly claim that they are ‘liars’, I was referring to a number of other folks.

“If you mean Arnold, you have one star. And your party suffers the same crisis…the rational…arnold,guiliani,formerly mcain vs. whackos…like frist, santorum, delay, etc.”

A national party has a spectrum of thinking - but the GOP keeps winning elections. Litmus test politics have harmed the Democratic Party, but the GOP has found a way around them.

“…and what bothers you about Reid trying to stop the president from destroying my S.S.? Does it bother you when Linsey Graham does it for your party?”

Swing and a miss. You keep showing your ass.

When did I say that I objected to Reid’s defense of Social Security? I didn’t, and his opposition to the President’s plan doesn’t bug me a bit. What I said was that Reid - among the others I listed - doesn’t look like a national candidate capable of creating the sea change needed in Democratic Party to regain a majority.

Pathetic, 100meters.

“Hillary desperate for the middle? Stop watching FOX…dems go to church, and love their families, and aren’t pro-abortion, remember abortion rate down every year under clinton, up under bush?”

Please, any astute observer - liberals included - recognize that Hillary is repositioning herself for the center. It’s not FOX - and I do get tired of this lazy scapegoat of blaming everything on FOX propaganda, try and make an intelligent argument - I’ve read it in liberal opinion journals as well as conservative.

As for God-fearing, pro-life moderate to conservative Democrats - they are out there, but the national Democratic candidates can’t tap into them. That’s my argument. These people exist - the South has a strong strain of William Jennings Bryan Democrats - but the national party is too marinated in its own elitist juices to connect with these people.

As for abortions up under Bush - yawn. You never said - is that a cause or a correlation? Do tell. I await an explanation.

[quote]hedo wrote:
The funniest thing about Democrats is they really believe the radical crap they spew out.

It is interesting to observe that much of the leadership, particularly Howard Dean, feel they need to control the message they are getting out. They have actually come out and said it is OK to believe this crap, they just need to make sure the voters get a different, controlled message.[/quote]

What’s radical? are real american values radical? has the country been radical for the last 60 years? I think the presidents approval rate is below 50% now, so are the other 55 percent or so radical? More than half disapprove of his handling of the war, his s.s. “plan”, are they radical? Is life in a blue state radical? Was I radical when I voted for Guiliani for his liberal values? Do you have any idea, what you are talking about hedo?(so far I’m guessing no)

Is it possible that you could explain the secret radical liberal agenda that Howard Dean is hiding or how Vermont is radical?

[quote]JeffR wrote:
Lumpy/100meters,

You wrote: “wouldn’t support any of the president’s policies if fully informed.”

Drifting toward the “Republicans are the elite, yet dumb crap?”

Must be fun to be wrong and repudiated by the voters.

Have a wonderful four years!!!

JeffR[/quote]

Ahh… what a knucklehead you are JeffR!

Look at polls on S.S. for evidence of this. The more they are told the less that support privatizing.

It is the party of the elite, Bush says so himself ya know! If your rich why would you care about the minimum wage, s.s., healthcare costs, 40 hour work week. If your not rich, why would you care about protecting credit card companies(Bankruptcy Bill), corporate welfare, estate tax, etc.
Please for the love of God Jeffr when did I say you were dumb? Some smart people are easily manipulated, and some people just could die at the thought of two men being married, as opposed to 2 men just pretending to be married, and some people just don’t like abortions so they vote against their own self interests and vote purely on a made up christian value? See? Those people don’t give a damn 'bout nothing else but gays and abortions, They don’t know anything about what makes people get abortions, they don’t think about how to prevent abortions, all they know is they were misinformed by a minister that abortion is wrong and whatever canidate says the same thing they vote for! These people ARE NOT DUMB! There should be room for all of us in this country!

Have a wonderful 4 years!
well I live in Mass, pretty radical here but it seems to be working!

I definitely don’t think we can ring a Democratic death knell yet.

Paradoxically, the better the Republicans do at dealing with the threats they were elected to handle, the more the public will be comfortable with the idea of a Democrat in power – especially a more centrist Democrat from the Clintonian mold (as opposed to Kerry or a Deaniac). Also, the average person likes his big government programs, even if they need a little tweaking (hopefully conservatives can convince enough people to change this, but right now it is definitely true).

However, that said, if they follow Dean’s lead and veer even further left as a whole, they are going to lose again, and again, and again.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
I definitely don’t think we can ring a Democratic death knell yet.

Paradoxically, the better the Republicans do at dealing with the threats they were elected to handle, the more the public will be comfortable with the idea of a Democrat in power – especially a more centrist Democrat from the Clintonian mold (as opposed to Kerry or a Deaniac). Also, the average person likes his big government programs, even if they need a little tweaking (hopefully conservatives can convince enough people to change this, but right now it is definitely true).

However, that said, if they follow Dean’s lead and veer even further left as a whole, they are going to lose again, and again, and again.[/quote]

B.B.
your falling for the frame the Dean IS far left, he’s not far left
balanced budget,anti-gun control,pro-death penalty, tax cutter, on average he’s centrist(in the democratic sense), so he’s not “leading” dems anywhere.

[quote]100meters wrote:
BostonBarrister wrote:
I definitely don’t think we can ring a Democratic death knell yet.

Paradoxically, the better the Republicans do at dealing with the threats they were elected to handle, the more the public will be comfortable with the idea of a Democrat in power – especially a more centrist Democrat from the Clintonian mold (as opposed to Kerry or a Deaniac). Also, the average person likes his big government programs, even if they need a little tweaking (hopefully conservatives can convince enough people to change this, but right now it is definitely true).

However, that said, if they follow Dean’s lead and veer even further left as a whole, they are going to lose again, and again, and again.

B.B.
your falling for the frame the Dean IS far left, he’s not far left
balanced budget,anti-gun control,pro-death penalty, tax cutter, on average he’s centrist(in the democratic sense), so he’s not “leading” dems anywhere.[/quote]

100meters,

A “centrist” in Vermont isn’t like a centrist from the midwest. The mere fact Dean supports gun rights and the death penalty doesn’t help him with the myriad of other issues. Besides which, one could make a very good argument that Dean has moved significantly to the left since he decided to run for President, and that his national political base is much more defined by those ultra-left-wing supporters than by the average Vermont resident.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:

100meters,

A “centrist” in Vermont isn’t like a centrist from the midwest. The mere fact Dean supports gun rights and the death penalty doesn’t help him with the myriad of other issues. Besides which, one could make a very good argument that Dean has moved significantly to the left since he decided to run for President, and that his national political base is much more defined by those ultra-left-wing supporters than by the average Vermont resident.[/quote]

You could argue that, but he’s still not running to the far left. He’s NOT far left by any measure.

Dean’s preference for a ‘balanced budget’ is not indicative of any centrism.

You could nationalize health care and pay for it with an income tax of 75%, and you very well could have a ‘balanced budget’ - ie, revenue equals expenditures.

But centrism that ain’t.

And if Dean doesn’t tug the party to the Left, why was Bill Clinton and his cadre of New Democrats against Dean being named Chair of the DNC? It was much reported that the Clintonites thought this was a bad move for the party.

“He’s NOT far left by any measure.”

Well, by Bill Clinton’s standard, he is.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Dean’s preference for a ‘balanced budget’ is not indicative of any centrism.

You could nationalize health care and pay for it with an income tax of 75%, and you very well could have a ‘balanced budget’ - ie, revenue equals expenditures.

But centrism that ain’t.

And if Dean doesn’t tug the party to the Left, why was Bill Clinton and his cadre of New Democrats against Dean being named Chair of the DNC? It was much reported that the Clintonites thought this was a bad move for the party.

“He’s NOT far left by any measure.”

Well, by Bill Clinton’s standard, he is.
[/quote]

That aint centrism, but Bill, and Hillary actually tried to do that and Howard hasn’t ya see? (doesn’t that make him more centrist, using your own example?)
And it really doesn’t seem relevant who the Clintons wanted does it?
Stop falling for the framing!

[quote]100meters wrote:
hedo wrote:
The funniest thing about Democrats is they really believe the radical crap they spew out.

It is interesting to observe that much of the leadership, particularly Howard Dean, feel they need to control the message they are getting out. They have actually come out and said it is OK to believe this crap, they just need to make sure the voters get a different, controlled message.

What’s radical? are real american values radical? has the country been radical for the last 60 years? I think the presidents approval rate is below 50% now, so are the other 55 percent or so radical? More than half disapprove of his handling of the war, his s.s. “plan”, are they radical? Is life in a blue state radical? Was I radical when I voted for Guiliani for his liberal values? Do you have any idea, what you are talking about hedo?(so far I’m guessing no)

Is it possible that you could explain the secret radical liberal agenda that Howard Dean is hiding or how Vermont is radical?
[/quote]

Dean’s radical adgenda is plain to see. If you would bother reading it is readily available.

Do I know what I am talking about…please son, time to get a clue.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed virtually nobody agrees with anything you post. Why do you think that is so?

You should realize that I and many others only argue with you for the entertainment value more then anything else. The intellectual challenge just isn’t there and the arguments you make are weak at best. Silly more then anything else.