2010-10-08 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

By Joan Mettler

Remember that pathetic friend of yours who would refuse taking a stand on anything or give you an “I told you so” for fear of offending you or creating enemies? Shut up like a clam, she would rather be the brunt of ill humor than assert herself stating or defending a position because she would rather fit in than stand out in her crowd as a potentially unpopular position taker? Consequently, she sits by mum watching her beliefs and accomplishments being denigrated by the rest of the in-crowd, refusing to defend her position knowing that she might wind up as an outcast, alone, a loser. The current persona of the Democratic Party is just that. Moreover, every positive they have accomplished has been masterfully turned to a negative by the Republican Spin Machine. Will Democrats ever find a counter attack to Republican spin? If they want to win, they’d better.

The Democratic Party (DP) strategy to catapult itself into first position in the hearts and minds of American voters is a loser. Defining their positions and communicating them to the public are two of their biggest blunders. As a result, the same people who got us into the mess from which we are trying hard to extricate ourselves (Bush Republicans) are in danger of socking it to Americans a second time in a very short time span. Democrats strategy for victory in elections has oft times been flawed and pathetic even though they have long been champions of the people. They usually get elected as a result of voting Republicans out rather than Democrats in.

Democrats first blunder in the Obama Administration was not explaining to the public how long it would take for recovery from a country’s near bankruptcy, compliments of George Bush Jr. People expect recovery to be like the movies: wait an hour and a half and it’s over. The wars were also a huge burden that couldn’t be waved away. Obama, the silver tongued orator, needed to plead for patience from an anxious public by buying time with allegories and fairy tales about patience. He didn’t. He should have pounced on public works projects insisting on work repayment for unemployment checks. He didn’t. He should have hammered companies with huge taxes who continue to send jobs overseas and should have offered incentives to companies to create jobs in this country. He did not.

Every time Obama tried to eradicate one of Bush’s blunders, Republicans, those responsible for the President’s eraser agenda, dug him deeper into Bush’s hole. If Obama is not fighting Republicans, he is fighting his own party or the military. One would think his majority in the house and senate would have achieved what votes Obama needed to accomplish cleaning up the rubbish left behind by the Bush Administration and forging ahead with the Obama agenda. Not. Washington DC was underestimated and poorly managed by Obama’s brain-trusts. Having a couple of years in office under his belt, Obama must bear the blame for where the Democratic Party is now. Too quick to absolve Bush from his administration blunders, Obama, again and again hoisted himself on his own petard claiming his wars, his economic downturn, his oil spill. It almost seemed as though Professor Obama did not know the difference between credit and blame as he continually appeared to be pushing the boulder uphill. Is it too late for absolution?

The one piece of the puzzle that adds to the Democrats conundrum is the cunning of Republican strategists. How many times in how many years do the Democrats fall into the Republican’s briar patch? Whether it’s Mrs. Musky, Mrs. Mondale, Monica Lewinsky, Vince Foster, illegals, gays, abortion or significant accomplishments, it is unbelievable how Democrats always put themselves into the positions of knee jerk apologists. John Kerry’s military heroics, a tremendous source of pride, were turned into shame. Obama’s health care law, a monumental accomplishment in the making for seven decades rendering health care a non-issue for some thirty million more Americans was talked into trash by the opposition. Instead of taking credit for passing the health care bill, Democrats are spending precious time defending it or not speaking about it at all.

Democrats must remember their history and who they represent and what good they have done for the American public over the years; and, all of that must be communicated to the voters. They, too, must have a view of the future and goals that they share with the average voter. They must compare the Republican agenda to their own and let the people decide who will best represent them. They must anticipate being demeaned by the opposition and have strategies for dealing with attacks before they actually occur.

The oddest thing about the Republican Party is that average wage earners in the party are being used to pass the agenda of the wealthy. Those ‘little people’ would obviously be better served by the programs proffered by Democrats; but, insist on being used by the wealthy to push their agenda. That many of them would want to turn the clock back to pre-integration, pre-legal abortion and pre-gay eras reinforces they would rather support a party for what they are against than what they are for while benefiting totally from social programs promulgated by Democrats. Why middle class Republicans would support a party that promotes privatizing social security (see Blue Monday) and overturning Universal Health Care and Medicare (check out pre-existing conditions) is beyond belief. Don’t Republicans age and ail in the same ratio as Democrats?

During the Bush Administration we were lied into two wars, led to the brink of economic disaster and did nothing as private industry had their way with business “as usual.” Consequently, our country was near bankruptcy and industry and industrialists were on their way to untold and unregulated wealth. Why any average voter would want to return to that (save the rich) Republican regime is unfathomable. If average earning Republicans are depending on their candidates to turn back time on social agendas, they should come to grips with reality and check out the barn door.

Democrats have a laundry list of issues to run on if they could only keep from getting sidetracked by Republicans who have honed the craft of knocking Democrats off their pins, relegating them to ‘whimphood’. Voters are tired of Democratic wimps but what they should be wary of is Republicans whose only agenda concerns the rich. Why Democrats have not drummed this into the heads of the electorate is ridiculous. Republican voters are clearly being seduced being promised what they want to hear in favor of the truth.

Nobody is denying the viability and necessity of the two party system; however, party alignment should be for the right reasons. Republicans have their stuff together (however ill-defined); and, are more organized than the Democrats. But, for the 98% of the public that isn’t mega-rich it is clear that the fighting 98 would be better served by the Democrats despite their party and agenda disarray. The Democrats message must be clear and must relate to the fighting 98; and, like a fighter in the ring, must not be knocked off their pins after each jab. With so little time to go to the mid-term elections and two years to go to the next presidential election the question is, “Can the Democrats mend their ways and get their act together?” If the past is prelude to the future, the answer is, “Do not hold your breath.”

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