The Lady Speaks

Some Thoughts

Before the DNC starts throwing candidates at us, they need to listen to the average Democrats instead of to the paid voices that to tell them what to think and when to think it. The possible candidates might want to pay attention as well.

Having suffered through the last election, I’ve made up a list of what I don’t want in Democratic candidate.

I don’t want John Kerry to run again. Although I supported him in 2004, one of the major turn-offs for me was that he never got MAD. He seemed complacent and uninterested. More than once, I waited for some righteous anger over the Rovian spin on his war-time service, his protesting of Vietnam, his voting record. I wanted him to stand up and ask, “How dare you?!” It never happened.

I don’t want Hillary Clinton to run. Yes, I love HRC, and I really wish she could become President because she’d really show those “boys” in DC a thing or two. However…we have to be realistic. Hillary is not the person who can unite the Democratic party and draw in the independents and undecided voters. You either love Hillary or you hate her – and that’s just the Democrats. Republicans can barely say her name without convulsing and foaming at the mouth.

A Hillary campaign would shatter the Democratic party and allow the Republicans four additional years to destroy whatever’s left of America.

I don’t want another multi-multi-millionaire. Another turn-off of Kerry’s was that he seemed out of touch. He wasn’t “one of us”. He might empathize, on an intellectual level, with the single mother struggling to provide the basics, the factory worker trying to put his children through college, the senior citizen choosing between food and medicine, but he had no experience with those struggles himself. He didn’t seem to really feel their pain.

If I, as a lifelong Democrat, couldn’t enthusiastically support my party’s candidate, what undecided voter would? In 2004, we weren’t voting for Kerry so much as we were voting against Bush.

I don’t want another liberal. Let’s face it – Kerry was a liberal. I disagreed with a good many of his positions before he became a candidate, and I was annoyed by how he tried to slide over to the moderate side. He wasn’t – and had never been – a moderate, and he turned off a good many independents and undecideds. Yes, the Republicans shifted public perception of the political spectrum so that liberal became a dirty word. Now, anything even slightly left of center is considered “liberal” these days. We need a progressive, moderate Democrat.

Part of the task ahead is to start showing Americans that being a Democrat does not equal being a liberal. That is going to be a huge and incredibly difficult job thanks in part to the Republican spin-and-smear tactics. The problem then is the same problem now – no “voice”. The Republicans, for all they irritate us, know how to make themselves heard. We need to start talking over them, above them and around them.

Politics is like a football game – there’s a time for defensive maneuvers, but the points are scored on offense. (*hat tip to Patt for explaining football to me!)

Now is the time for the Democratic leadership to stand up and take the offense. Get out there and explain that Democrats come in wide variety – from ultra-liberal to conservative – but that certain principles are held by all members. Then name them: responsible government, environmental protection, national security, lowering unemployment, raising people out of poverty, civil liberties for all Americans – to name just a few. Beat it home until even the most red of the red states understands what we truly stand for – even if they don’t agree.

Get the American people to understand wild-eyed liberals are a small (and beloved) part of our party, just as gun-toting white supremecists are a small (and slightly loved) part of the Republican party.

I don’t want a wishywashy candidate. Democrats – ALL Democrats – need to get publicly angry. Furious. Fist-pounding fighting mad. They need to say, loudly and proudly, “No more!” No more Republican corruption, no more Republicans making back-room deals, no more Republicans playing pork-barrel politics, no more secret add-ons to legislation already approved by the House/Senate, no more of pandering. No more playing nice with the MSM. No more timid pipsqueaks who can’t adequately defend their positions against Republican talking points.
Democrats must take the offensive now.

For far too long, we played the role of conciliator, and it has gained us precisely nothing. Instead, it gave the Republicans another club to whack us over the head with whenever they’re caught in a vise – “But the Democrats voted for it too….”

And damned few Democrats have had the spine to stand up and say, “I voted for _________ because I mistakenly believed the White House could be trusted to give us complete information, not the bits and pieces they wanted us to see. Had I had full and complete information, my vote would have been much different.”

If we want to win in ’06 and ’08, we’re going to need a few things – like a Democrat with a moderate record. One with guts who can stand up, get pissed and say, “I have had enough, and I hope you have too!” One that most Democrats can support whole-heartedly. (One who hasn’t taken money from lobbyists would be a bonus.)

In other words – we need a miracle.

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January 3, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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