A Failure of Imagination
This is a follow-up on the ARG poll and the highly pertinent points made by lefty bloggers (and by the Washington Post's E. J. Dionne) regarding the responses of many Democratic leaders to Sen. Russell Feingold's censure motion.
There is a significant percentage of the Democratic base that listens to their leaders and “opinion makers” (of which bloggers are increasingly a part of) expressing concerns about the political risks of saying or doing the right thing — and they then internalize these pronouncements as “wisdom” and start to think in the same terms. This is what many bloggers (and EJ) have commented on – the complete failure of imagination on the part of Democratic leaders to change the “conventional wisdom.” [I have previously discussed the same kind of behavior when it comes to the "liberal media" hoax].
Let's use the ARG poll as an example. According to this poll - in which a near majority (48%) of voters favored the censure resolution, 70% of Democrats favored censure and 26% opposed it.
What if we had a scenario wherein every Democrat that disapproves of Bush (~the mid 80% range) supported censure? For example, if 85% of Democrats supported censure and only 11% opposed (rest D/N)...
That would have turned the net result of Favor/Oppose to 53.6% to 37% (what a difference from 48% to 43%)
The key point here is not that the vast majority of Democrats want Bush in office. After all, they voted against him in 2000 and 2004.
The point is that Democratic leaders and “opinion makers” keep saying things in public questioning the political wisdom of actions like holding Bush accountable through censure, even if that is the right thing to do morally and legally (or worse - some claim that doing the right thing is not appropriate and even accuse principled Democrats like Feingold of political posturing). A significant percentage of the Democratic base then ends up believing that and falls in line – not because they actually agree that Bush should not be censured or impeached but because they get convinced that censure or impeachment is not the politically astute thing to do. (Or worse, that this is about politics - see the Newsweek poll).
This is why convincing the base - and then independents - could make a world of difference to the success of Democratic leaders, in reversing the so-called conventional wisdom.
I am fully confident that these words will fall on deaf ears, but I am posting this because I think the base also needs to do more to reject their leaders' spin and not be afraid of saying or doing the right thing. In other words, leave the politics to politicians.