Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, April 21, 2006

What do Democrats stand for?

Markos linked to a really good article today in the Economist about the 2006 midterms, and offers a cryptic warning for the D.C. establishment (and yes, Rahm and Chuck, that means you guys, and the DCCC/DSCC):
Democrats in DC think that keeping their mouths shut and letting the country see the GOP debacle in all its glory will earn them dramatic gains. The corrosive consultants whisper in their ears that taking a strong stance will only earn them enemies, galvanize partisan Democrats to turn out. So they remain in relative silence. Heck, even admonishing Dems like Russ Feingold who have the temerity to speak out against the disaster in DC.

But silence doesn't motivate. People ARE seeing that Republicans can't govern. There's no way around that. What they AREN'T seeing is how Democrats will be any different. How they offer change.

The GOP WILL motivate its voters come November. They'll rail on abortion and gays and scary brown people crossing the southern border and how Democrats want to take their Bibles away. And their core supporters will turn out. And Democrats, unless they realize that they need to inspire, will find those huge gains will fail to materialize.

You cannot have leadership without offending someone. Someone once said you could measure Bobby Kennedy's greatness by the number of enemies he had. George Bush and Karl Rove know this, and they don't care who they offend as they seek to inspire and motivate their core supporters.

DC Democrats are afraid to lead. They're afraid to inspire. They're afraid to offend. They're afraid to clearly state their core principles. They're simply afraid.

And that better change soon.
I've heard several times from various people, a few of whom have been in D.C. this year, that all we need to do right now is sit back and let the Republicans self destruct. And seven to eight weeks out from Election Day, we go on the offensive and finally talk about what Democrats are about.

That's not going to work. Democrats need to start inspiring now. Not in September, not in October - now. Democrats need to articulate their values. Voters need to hear what the party stands for. The progressive base needs to be energized to go to work to win in 2006.

If you want some evidence that the current strategy of staying silent isn't working, look at the somewhat dismal progressive turnouts in some of the recent special elections for progressive candidates like Ciro Rodriguez and Francine Busby. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Sure, the GOP is doing awful, but are activists are fired up to take down the GOP this November? Right now the answer is no. Instead of constantly sending out emails asking for money, the people running the campaign committees ought to turn to Howard Dean to get some ideas for motivating people.

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