Right is the Wrong Answer
John Whitesides has been raking up the usual post-election dead leaves at Reuters: Down Democrats, Happy Republicans Look to 2008 The article is noteworthy only for this quote, buried near the center:
"If Democrats are going to be a national party, we have to fundamentally change our message and philosophy," said Democratic consultant Doug Schoen, the pollster for former President Bill Clinton."We have to move to the center on fiscal issues, cultural issues and defense issues, and develop specific programs to balance the budget and recognize the importance of family," he said. "And if we don't, we'll lose again."
That is precisely the wrong answer. Is it possible they still don't get it?
If the usual suspects like greasy Al From at the Democratic Leadership Council and soon-to-be-ex NDP chairman Terry McAuliffe think turning to the right will rescue the Democratic Party they are flat wrong. It's far more likely, I think, to drive away the party's present and future core constituencies and guarantee the permanent political death of the Democratic Party.
I have been a Democrat because it has been the one national party that consistently comes closest to promoting social justice, racial and gender equality, environmental protection, civil liberties, economic fairness, corporate accountability, and an internationist foreign policy. I'm prepared to see the party improve the way it markets that agenda to the middle class, if that's what it takes to capture at least two percent more of the popular vote and, if there really is a god, a great deal more. If this means learning how to give voice to apt Biblical verses as convincingly as the bad guys do, and publicly speaking in terms of 'personal values' as well as policy, then so be it.
But if party elders try to transform the Democratic Party into GOP-Lite once again, then we will be right back where we started in the Dark Days of Autumn, 2002, when Democrats fell all over themselves trying to out-Republican the Republicans. Tom Daschle can tell you how well that worked.
I thought Dr. Howard Dean was the one who found the spine of the Democratic Party just in time for the '04 campaign. Don't tell me they've gone and lost it again?!