Rescuing the Democrats
The Democrats are foundering, but water isn't the only thing they need to toss over the side.
The American left is killing the Democrat Party, and despite the fact that I haven't voted for a Democrat in over a decade, I do care. A democracy dominated by a single political party lacks meaningful choice, and the dominant party runs the obvious risk of growing complacent. Oddly, dissent and debate within the Republican Party have replaced the old Republican/Democrat divide as the front where all the interesting political skirmishes take place. The recent mutiny in the Senate on a bill protecting the rights of detainees is a case in point. The conflict between Bush and his fellow conservatives over the Miers nomination is another. These instances of healthy disagreement occur only because Republicans don't feel obligated to toe the party line. It's hard for Democrats to even find their party line, they've been dancing around it for so long. (If the metaphor doesn't make sense to you, please read Michael Quinion's explanation of the origins of the phrase "toe the line.")
Don't get me wrong. This voter is not swinging. My memories of the Clinton years (those Days of Pizza and Ambivalence) are too fresh for me to stomach supporting a Democrat yet. Plus, I can't go near a party that keeps getting the Sammy-Davis-Jr. hug from morons like Michael Moore and demons like Mahathir bin Mohamad. Locally, I'll be voting for Bloomberg in a month (even though the fascist bastard took away my smoky bars). I just listened to Fernando Ferrer and Thomas Ognibene making fools of themselves in a debate at the Apollo Theater. Bloomberg wisely avoided this fiasco, in part because he objected to the debate's "lightning round," in which the candidates must field simple-minded questions with yes-or-no answers while the audience morphs into a vulgarian peanut gallery that would make Jerry Springer jealous. The Democrats are so blinded by the glare of the spotlight that they can't see how small that loud crowd really is. They also don't seem to realize that dignity is a big selling point for voters who actually vote. Hillary Clinton will be running for re-election in 2006, so I guess I'll be casting another Republican or Independent vote for senator from New York as well. Every time she plunks her ass down in that seat in the Senate, Patrick Moynihan does another subterranean pirouette. (Now there was a Democrat worth voting for.) As far as 2008 goes, I won't be voting for Bush, but then, no one will--a fact that the Democrats seem to be forgetting. Hating Bush will be nothing more than a quaint hobby in a couple of years, and connecting his shortcomings to Republicans in general may become increasingly difficult if they keep breaking ranks and voting on principle rather than allegiance. (Principle ... now there's a concept.) The Democrats are not likely to put anyone forward who'll win my vote or the votes of other liberal hawks in 2008, but if they want even a fighting chance, they need to listen to reason.
Surprisingly, the voice of reason whispering in the party's ear these days is coming from a couple of former Clinton advisors. Thomas B. Edsall writes in the Washington Post that William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck have advised Democrat party leaders to cut the lunatics loose and steer back toward the center if they want to win any elections anytime soon.
On defense and social issues, "liberals espouse views diverging not only from those of other Democrats, but from Americans as a whole. To the extent that liberals now constitute both the largest bloc within the Democratic coalition and the public face of the party, Democratic candidates for national office will be running uphill."
They go on to recommend that the party should drop the failed strategy of growing a base of highly partisan, left-leaning voters, and look to luring moderates away from the GOP and into a more centrist Democrat camp. Galston and Kamarck have the right idea, but I wish they'd stop abusing the term "liberal." True liberals do not cozy up to dictators like the left's favorite Brit, George Galloway. True liberals do not make excuses for theocracies that subjugate women, like the left's favorite foreign correspondent, Sean Penn. Please stop calling them liberals. Call them leftists (especially since the left keeps embracing them.) Call them rejectionists. Call them idiots. And then get them out of the Democrats' "big tent," and don't let the flap hit their asses on the way out. Let Sheehan, Moore, Streisand, and all the Baldwins join forces with the petrified radical left of Chomsky and Nader. Let them have their own party so they can stop scaring people away from the Democrats. For our democracy to function, we need two viable parties (at least). The Democrat Party must reform, not just for its own sake, but for the sake of the nation.