Tuesday, May 09, 2006
dearth of democrats
the democratic party is dead.
it was killed by neocon audacity and its own cowardly dissonance.
democrats fancy themselves the party of intellect and high-minded, multilateral, quasi-secular humanitarianism. but when faced with a minimally clever but relentlessly repetitious opposition, democrats had a come-apart of historic proportions.
post-clinton, the democrats' failure was multifaceted and spectacular, a cascading disintegration that continues to this day. throughout five years of bush administration crimes and excesses, democrats have registered nothing of importance. not a peep, not a fraction, not a hint of relevant resistance. they have, in fact, skulked away from every republican treachery and treason, sometimes whining, "this isn't right," but more often shamed and silent.
knowing what they know now, too many democrats would still vote to invade iraq.
knowing what they know now, most democrats have no plan to get the u.s. out of iraq.
knowing what they know now, most democrats can only snivel about their impotent complicity in cutting taxes for the rich, a federal budget that steals from the poor, an energy bill that increases our dependence on middle eastern oil, and the de facto endorsement of torture of helpless prisoners.
the democratic party, and its most visible leaders, have made themselves invisible in american politics. republicans, while corrupt and incompetent, still frame every issue and drive the process. they may be driving it off the road and over a cliff, but americans go along for the ride because democrats fail to provide a credible and definitive alternative.
democrats, apparently subscribing to the "fight the battles we can win" philosophy of leadership, fight no battles and amass no victories. having abandoned the country to the disloyal opposition for five years, they now have adopted the pose of another would-be king, napoleon bonaparte: never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
that's a fine tactic for a party pursuing its own grand ideas, but a poor substitute for core beliefs and independent initiative.
hillary clinton? booooo!
harry reid? hissssss...
howard dean? eh.
there are two, maybe three dems with the backbone and intellectual throw-weight that thinking progressives can unflinchingly support. they are, in no particular order, russ feingold, al gore, and barak obama.
feingold and gore have established their integrity and credentials. feingold has been rock solid in his opposition to the administration's many egregious policies and blunders. gore, once perceived as a lesser-light, has done an admirable job of defining his positions, sharpening his edge, and attacking republican malfeasance.
obama has outlined and delivered some stirring progressive messages, leading many to believe he can continue to rise in prominence and stature on the national stage.
okay, a couple more...nancy pelosi, the house minority leader, and jack murtha. pelosi is a shrewd leader, strategically and tactically, and she has a steel rod for a backbone. murtha almost single-handedly brought the administration to its knees when he denounced the debacle in iraq.
so, in retrospect, perhaps the democratic party isn't dead, but merely deeply comatose. because where there's hope, inspired by people like these, there is life.