Tuesday, November 30

Trippi: Saving the Democrats from Themselves

I've avoided all the things I've read on what the Democrats did wrong, how we coulda done this and coulda done that, and all the whiny post-mortem stuff which makes me cringe.

But Joe Trippi has written a column in the Wall Street Journal (and republished at his own site) which resonates with me. Democrats - to thine own self, be true. Excerpts:

...the problem for Democrats is not Mr. Rove; it is that they're doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity.

Since the Democratic Leadership Council, with its mantra of "moderate, moderate, moderate," took hold in Washington, the Democratic Party has been in decline at just about every level of government. Forget the Kerry loss.

Today the number of Democrats in the House is the lowest it's been since 1928. Democrats are on the brink of becoming a permanent minority party. Can the oldest democratic institution on earth wake from its stupor? Here are some steps to pull out of the nose-dive:

* Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then asking our base at the end of the campaign to make sure to vote is not a plan. It sure hasn't worked. And to those who say talking to your base doesn't work-Read the Rove 2004 playbook!

* Democrats must reconnect with the energy of our grass roots...We must build a base of at least seven million small donors by 2006. With the Internet it's possible. But it can't just be about the money, it also has to be about ideas.

* Instead of a DLC in Washington, Democrats should be holding Democratic Grassroots Councils in every county. Democratic National Committee members in each state, along with the state party, should host and moderate these meetings to help develop ideas that come from the people, instead of the experts in Washington.

* A party that ignores the needs of state and local parties is doomed. We must begin to invest aggressively in states we continually write off in national elections.

* In a world in which companies like Wal-Mart pay substandard wages with no real benefits, our party has got to find innovative ways to support organized labor's growth.

* The Democratic Party has to be the vehicle that empowers the American people to change our failed political system. We all know the damn thing is broken. Democrats should lead the way by placing stricter money restrictions on candidates than the toothless Federal Election Commission does.

* Finally, What is the purpose the Democratic Party strives for today? What are our goals for the nation? You couldn't tell from the 2004 election. The fact is, very few good ideas come from the middle. Ideas in the middle tend to be mediocre...the time has come to develop bold ideas and to challenge people to sacrifice for the common good. Experts will tell you that you can't ask the American people to sacrifice individually for the common good. Those experts are wrong - it's just been so long since anyone has asked them.