Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

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.

But, as another old saying goes, politics ain't beanbag. If your beliefs aren't worth fighting for, they're not worth much.

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.
Of course, Democrats should oppose Bush's tax cut, but with a better tax cut, one whose benefits help working people make ends meet, help the working poor stay off welfare and help stimulate the growth that creates jobs, not hollow Wall Street bubbles.

Democrats should be lending a hand to people who are still punching time clocks and keyboards and working their butts off in the hope that someday they, too, might be rich enough to vote Republican.

Instead, a lot of people are voting for policies that they really cannot afford, because the party that should be providing them with a better alternative isn't.

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)


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