A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Friday, September 30, 2005

Wishful Thinking

I just came across this interesting post at Huff Puff, by Donnie Fowler, a Dem strategist, campaigner, and sometime official.

It is entitled Democrats Wishful Thinking Won't Beat Republicans.

While Fowler gets in his little snarky pokes at Republicans, he does make sense.

Here is an excerpt that rather captures the essence of the post:

There is a level of glee among the Democrats and in the Democratic Party in Washington that has not been seen since polling led us to believe that John Kerry was going to beat George Bush the day before last year’s election. If Clinton could get impeached for illicit activities, then the Democrats are simply giddy that the Senate Majority Leader is under investigation for insider trading, the House Majority Leader is under indictment for money laundering, the White House’s chief procurement officer was arrested for lying, and Karl Rove and Scooter Libby are suspected of treason-like actions by leaking aCIA agent’s name. As much as that 2004 prediction of certain presidential victory was wrong, so it is also naïve to believe that the Democrats are going to walk into the majority next year simply because the Republicans might self-destruct.

How many liberals have hoped for just that, however, over the last five years? “Just wait and see,” say Democratic loyalists, “ The Republicans will overreach and we’ll return to power.”

What happens, though, if the Republicans turn things around before the 2006 congressional and gubernatorial elections? No one in their right mind believes that the Republican strategists are anything but brilliant. Evil, maybe. Dumb, no. There is, in fact, already some evidence of recovery amongst Republicans and voters in the Deep South where Bush has spent all that time making speeches and doing those photo-ops.

Where will the national Democratic Party be if the GOP does recover? Exactly where they are now. No agenda that the public knows about. A weak infrastructure. No power. Yet liberals continue to tell themselves as they do after every lost election, "The American people agree with us on all the big issues – education, health care, Iraq, the environment – so it’s clear that we’re right.” Who cares if you fell good about yourselves but can do nothing to enact your agenda?

There is a grand opportunity for a return of the Democrats if they reconsider their usual old ways of talking to the American people. It is true that voters give Bush the lowest ratings of his presidency and that the Republican congressional leadership is under a cloud that makes Richard Nixon look like Mother Theresa. But accoring to polls, that is not increasing the American people’s impression of the Democrats. Despite the Republicans’ problems, a Democracy Corps poll (James Carville and Stan Greenberg) concluded that public feelings about the Democrats are at two year lows and that Democrats have failed to fully benefit from the GOP collapse.

Even more frightening, a July Democracy Corps poll (before the hurricanes and the scandals of the last few weeks) showed the Republican Party with a higher favorable rating (43%) than the Democrats (38%).

Here’s an alternative strategy to complacency and wishful thinking. The Democrats must change the tone of the messages coming from the party in Washington to something that voters can understand, that appeals to them rather than the political press corps and hard core activists, and that gives activists something to believe in rather than reminding them of what they already hate.
The Dems problems in the last elections have stemmed from the fact that they have no recognizable agenda or platform. What exactly do they stand for?

Just about every Leftist, Anarchist, Dysfunctional, Fringe, etc., group out there belongs to the Democrat Party. How does one find a coherent message that all those wackos agree on? It's impossible.

But, Fowler does not seem to realize that the deeper problem the Dems face is that the majority of the American people don't agree with or believe in the things those insane groups do.

So, really, it doesn't matter if the Dems find a specific platform.

Changing "the tone of the messages coming from the party in Washington to something that voters can understand" won't cut it. They've tried that.

In 2000, Al Gore was his usual wooden self, speaking in a monotone voice, blah, blah, blah.

In 2004, they changed to the Howard Dean Style of screaming and having hysterical fits.

Didn't work.

If the Democrats want to win, they have to become a different party. One that listens to the true spirit of America. One that doesn't consort with people who support anarchy, abortion, gay marriage, cloning, extreme environmentalists, terrorists, etc.

But I don't think that will happen.