Wednesday, February 25

Democrats: Are You Listening?

Steve Lopez does make a very good point in today's L.A. Times. Even though we see gay marriage and Mars missions as trivial and foolish as issues (which I admittedly did in the post below), they're issues - real or manufactured. Democrats need to do more than make going after Bush their message. We need to grab on to several issues and pound them. Lock onto them. Make them our property. And own them all the way. Otherwise, we're letting the GOP dictate our message - again.

And I'd like to add - John Kerry, John Edwards, or whoever gets the nomination: if you want a clinic on key issues and how to deliver them, sit down with Howard Dean for a couple of hours. You guys really need it, because a lot of us are still unclear about what you are.

[The Democratic Party] lost its way when Bill Clinton got one look at Monica Lewinsky's thong and went crazy.

Ever since that hallmark moment — if not when Clinton started shoplifting Republican ideas like ending the welfare state — Democrats have been like teenagers suffering through adolescence.

They're rebels who aren't sure what the cause is any longer, which is why they appear on the verge of a nervous breakdown over gay marriage, and don't have much in their arsenal beyond trashing George Bush.


Yeah, I'm aware that current polls show either Kerry or Edwards beating Bush in November, but as GOP strategist Arnie Steinberg points out, this is February.

"Are the numbers accurate? Yes. Will they hold up? No."

Not if the Democratic candidate doesn't learn something from the essential truth about George Bush and the Republican Party: They know exactly what they stand for and how to herd the sheep.

It's always the same recipe: tax cuts, heterosexuals, tax cuts, God, tax cuts, military prowess, tax cuts, small government, tax cuts, big business, and, of course, tax cuts.

Stick to that formula, and all sins are forgiven. You can fudge claims about the reasons for war. You can go duck-hunting on Air Force Two with a Supreme Court justice.

Sure, there are sharp differences within the GOP on whether Bush is too big a spender, and on any number of social issues. But true conservatives would vote for a one-eyed parakeet if it promised to go after tax-and-spend liberals.

I'm asking the Democratic candidates, beginning with tomorrow night's debate, to put their own package together and start hammering away at it as Republicans do.

A total healthcare overhaul.

A fearless defense of the environment.

A guaranteed living wage.

A chicken in every pot.

A fat surtax on everyone in Dick Cheney's income bracket.

Something bold. Anything.

Lashing out at George Bush is great sport, sure, and certainly worth the effort. But I don't think it gets you the keys to the White House.