Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why Democrats Have Trouble Making People Believe What They Say

There's hope for centrist Democrats, although the Lieberman fiasco makes another Democratic implosion more likely than not. An unusually perceptive article by Chris Bowers explores the Democrats' hopelessly self-absorbed and self-referential tropes, which constantly proclaim strategies and tactics to win Democratic voter allegiance and capture centrist and independent ballots. Bowers says that's all well and good, but it gives the impression that the Dems don't believe in anything in particular, but will support anything that will get them elected.

Back in the day when I worked for Mondale, one of Mondale's chief aides told me that it was very difficult to pry a decision out of Fritz unless he had made dozens of phone calls and triangulated, nay, quadrangulated or septangulated the issues involved among the many contending constituencies that make up the "Democratic base."

Republican conservatives actually believe in certain principles, or at least in God, whether or not they follow through completely on lower taxes or more personal morality.

The Democrats, and in particular the liberal wings, believe passionately in their own issues[e.g. feminists, unions, civil rights] and sometimes only go along with other groups in order to empower their own particular agenda---union Democrats may disagree with abortion-on-demand and lack of educational vouchers, for instance.

And the center is always liable to be deserted by Reagan Democrats who will choose a strong, but moderate Republican like McCain or Giuliani over the endlessly quibbling and squabbling wings of the Democrats, whose ultra-lefties are repulsive to moderates of all stripes. Bowers ends with a lapel-grabbing exhortation:
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.

So much for Pelosi's "Contract on America" or a confabulationist like Lukacz telling the Dems they simply have to concoct the right verbal formula to hoodwink the centrists into compliance.

Zell Miller might be the final answer!

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