Sunday, May 22, 2005

Get Back in the Game

"Democrats: Get Back in the Game" is the title of a short post written by Mark Joseph at The Huffington Post. It's one of those things I see once in a while and mutter to myself, "Damn! I wish I'd written that!" He began,

Nobody enjoys a football game where one side is running up the score while the other side self-destructs. If Howard Dean keeps this up, he’s not only going to elect another Republican president in three and a half years, he’s going to give the GOP a veto-proof majority in the Senate, making the filibuster a moot issue.

Joseph's point is that ideological inflexibility and divisiveness, the kind of politics a rabble-rousing Howard Dean is so good at, aren't likely to win back the presidency and improve Democratic chances for majorities in Congress. Joseph recommends six things they could do. I think he's right, but I'm sure that at least three of the six will never happen.

I'd really like to see the next presidential election offer a choice between two reasonably acceptable candidates. As I'm sure many people would agree, that didn't happen last time around.


Anonymous howard said...

I'm with you that there weren't two "reasonably acceptable" in the '04 election; it would've been great to see at least one though, wouldn't it?

6:45 AM, May 22, 2005  
Anonymous howard said...

sorry, no preview mode here and I rushed that -- after "reasonably acceptable" the word "candidates" should have been there, too...

6:46 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger sygamel said...

He's not ideologically inflexible -- he differs with his party on several issues. The problem is Dean's mentally inflexible. He's let his hatred of the Republican Party affect his manner and style. That may build a majority if over 50% of America hates the Republican Party, but it sure doesn't help you win new converts as he's promised.

6:57 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Howard, thanks for commenting.

In my view, one of the two candidates was so unacceptable that I was motivated to vote for the other. I explained why in a
post written before the election.

6:57 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Scott, I agree with you. The part about over 50% of America hating the Republican Party is important because, as you imply, it isn't true. As Joseph said in his post, "When you criticize the President, do it respectfully. 51% of the country voted for him. When you call him names, his voters take it personally. Remember that each time you call him an idiot, you're also calling his voters idiots-not a good idea if you're looking for their votes."

7:04 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger sygamel said...

Yes sir.

7:17 AM, May 22, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

Let's see; the Dems should take the advice of an extremist rightwinger.


No thanks.

A little reality check here--whenever a hardcore conservative offers my party advice, I'm going to view it with a jaundiced eye because said conservative doesn't have my party's interests at heart.

Amost all the Dean-bashing that goes on is the result of GOP fear. Dean is a moderate who has demonstrated he can tap into the moderate portion of the electorate (witness his record in VT) *and*, more importantly, he has demonstrated a revolutionary ability to attract new voters.

This--quite frankly--scares the bejeezus out of the GOP. So, the GOP attacks Dean on his strongest attributes by attempting to portray him as someone who is far out of the mainstream. It's no different than in the 2004 election, where the GOP smeared a man who was a genuine combat-decorated hero but ignored the fact their own champion evaded the draft and reneged on a National Guard commitment.

To summarize Joseph's advice to Dems is fairly easy: have no principles, agree to GOP dictates, and never, never criticize AWOL George.

Sorry, that's simply not advice--it's a request for surrender.

9:13 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

Tom - I thought that column had some pretty good advice. Thanks for linking it, I'm sure I never would have run across it otherwise.

I have the sneaking suspicion that the Independents (the largest single group) would really, really like to see the Democrat party come back. I know I don't feel comfortable with the current situation. I would like to see Democrats come up with their own agenda. Right now they don't seem to have solutions, only complaints. This is hurting them terribly.

I think the Dems have an excellent opportunity to come back if they can act as if they care about flyover country - the point about respect was well-taken.

And I'm with you. I wasn't going to vote for Kerry. If he's nominated again I will be very disappointed. There are a lot of Democrats out there who make sense and have ideas to deal with our problems. Why can't we have a governor?

10:40 AM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Oy, Jadegold! You never fail to ring the bell! I'm not sure whom you refer to when you say "extremist rightwinger." Mark Joseph? I don't think so. Read his bio at The Huffington Post. Me? Well, I guess if I had to state a party affiliation, it would be Democrat. That's true on the preponderance of issue positions, and it's certainly true on the basis of voting--I've voted for president 9 times, and 7 were for Democrats; most of my votes for lower officials have also been for Democrats. So, who's the extremist giving advice to Democrats?

I want two viable political parties. That's how our system works. The way it's going now, Democrats are not going to cut it any time soon unless they "get back in the game." Remember that politics is "the art of the possible," and rational compromise is what makes things possible. That's true for every politician and every party. If you take a broad view of things, Republicans are probably doing more compromising now than Democrats are, and in any case, they're winning so they have less reason to examine their approach to things.

MOM, I'd also like to see the Democrats put up a serious candidate in 2008. I hope it isn't Hillary because she can't win. She may take NY and some of New England. She'll probably lose even Arkansas and Illinois, her real home state. She might win CA, WA, and OR. Where else? I think the Democrats need someone like Evan Bayh, as Mark Joseph said.

12:23 PM, May 22, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...


I read Joseph's bio at HP and I also did a little Googling as well. The conclusion is inescapable: rightwing extremist.

Rather a goofy one at that.

Is the GOP winning? I doubt it, but let's assume, for the sake of argument, they are. What exactly are they "winning?"

Are they winning in Iraq? About 60% of the country has come to believe Iraq was a mistake.

Less than half the country believes the nation's on the right track economically.

The campaign to dismantle social security seems to be an utter failure; it seems the harder Bush and his handlers try to sell their scheme--the faster support for dismantling SS diminishes.

And AWOL George has job approval numbers that are, well, pretty dismal.

So, tell us again--what are they "winning?"

TC, you can flaunt your Dem Party pedigree as much as you please. But the fact is you're supporting a clown who has damaged our economy immensely, made torture an American value, alienated us from most of the world (ultimately damaging our national security) and made theocracy a real possibility.

You're right that we need two strong alternatives. But you're demanding one party acquiesce to the other.

1:32 PM, May 22, 2005  
Blogger John Walter said...

When I hear the expression "Get back in the game," I don't think about football games but about the anti-impotence drugs they sell during football game commercials.

Right now, I'd say the Democrats are in a tough position with a party dominated either by libs (Dean) or libs pretending to be moderates (Hillary). When Democratic candidates try to talk mid-America or talk Bible, they are about as believable as a cat swearing-off canaries. There is no prospect I see for change anytime soon.

The only way the Dems can "get back in the game" nationally is for the Republicans to self-destruct: either by nominating a "moderate" such as John McCain for president or by experiencing a major economic or national security disaster.

12:27 PM, May 23, 2005  

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