Sunday | November 10, 2002
Page offers advice to Dems
Trib columnist Clarence Page chimes in with a good piece urging Dems to pull themselves together and stand for something. First things first, the election is not an unmitigated disaster:
This debacle was a setback, not a collapse. If there had been a switch of roughly 29,000 votes in Minnesota, 11,500 in Missouri and 9,500 in New Hampshire, as The Washington Post noted, the Dems would have held the Senate and the pundits would be blowing taps for Bush's coattails.In our closely divided nation, roughly 50,000 votes made all the difference. They got those votes, not the Dems, so to the GOP go the spoils. But it wasn't a blowout.
Now Page has some advice to the Dems, taking a page from the Wizard of Oz. In short, the Democrats need Heart:
As a minority party in Congress, Democrats don't have to be obstructionists. They merely have to offer credible leaders, an alternative vision and some visible conviction about using government to help people.God knows "convictions" have been in short supply around Democratic quarters as of late. Then there's Courage:
Will it be more difficult to criticize Bush now? Silly question. When was it ever easy? Some right-wingers even helped hound Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) out of office by questioning his "patriotism." Never mind that he lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam. If the zealots can trash Cleland on patriotism, they'll trash anybody on anything.And finally, there's Brains:
It is not enough for Democrats to criticize the "things" that Bush wants to "get done." They have to figure out what they want to get done, too.The election of Pelosi (despite Ford's on-again, off-again flirtation with a leadership challenge) will go a long way toward defining the direction the Dems will be taking the next two years. As Page notes, there's no need to be obstructionists (most of the time, anyway). But if the Dems clearly define their agenda, and intelligently play the role of loyal opposition, it will go a long way toward repairing the damage wrought by this last election. Posted November 10, 2002 09:05 PM | Comments (14)