The Democratic Party is in trouble. It appears to be unable to move, curled up in the fetal position and bawling at the top of its lungs. Health care reform, the economy and jobs are all problems that, as of right now, the Democrats have not effectively addressed.
ENDA, supported by a majority of the American people, as well as the rest of the LGBT agenda, is completely stalled. Why is this happening and how do we dry the Democrats' tears and get them playing with blocks again? How do we rejuvenate the political will of the Democratic Party?
There are a few home truths that need to be repeated until both the people and the politicians understand.
At the top of the list, in Number 1 position: The fault is not the fault of the Republicans. The job of a Republican is to be a Republican. I don't like their agenda, but the key fact is not that they oppose us, but the fact that we are in the majority and we have failed to carry the ball forward. This needs to be brought home to Democratic politicians, particularly in the Senate, but also in the House of Representatives and in the White House.
Bringing it home means they take some action, instead of letting every news cycle be dominated by stories of their failures, paralyzing and alienating supporters who cannot bear to see the same sad story day after day.
The more the Democrats wring their hands, pointing fingers at the Republicans, the more paralyzed and alienated the Democratic base becomes. Losing teams do not fill stadiums, no matter how many excuses they give for poor performance. Inactive political parties that do not produce results do not fill voting booths, no matter how many excuses they give for inaction. Inaction in the legislature produces inaction in the polling places.
Prescription for the Democratic Party: Stop analyzing, get out of your heads, and start taking control of the legislative process.
As Innocent As Lambs
As far as I am concerned, the Republicans are as innocent as lambs. They are being Republicans, and I suppose that is their job. I don't like what they're doing, but my party is in the majority. My party has the power to put its agenda through. Of course, in order to do so, one needs the political will to do so, and not curl up into a fetal ball in the corner because the mean Republicans oppose them.
"Political will" can be expressed more colorfully in many ways, but the important point here is that the Democrats have strong majorities in the House and Senate and they have the White House. But they have spent all of their time, while in this position of dominance, letting smaller, weaker opponents bloody their noses over and over again. If this were my son or daughter being bullied around like this every day, I would teach them something about martial arts. I am strongly against violence, but strongly in favor of self-defense.
It has come to this: our elected Representatives of the People are almost powerless in the face of the Senate. The Senators, representing entire states whose populaces are dominated by easy-to-manipulate TV watchers with few critical thinking skills, are largely supported by megacorporations that want a return to the laissez faire politics that allows them to tilt the playing field towards capital accumulation in a relatively few hands.
When will we get rid of the nonsensical 60 vote rule in the Senate, or at least reduce it to manageable levels? The high number of votes required for action is nothing more than a tool of laissez-faire fatcats. And the fault is not the fault of fatcats, whose job it is to be fatcats. Nor is it the fault of Republicans, whose job it is to be Republicans.
This is the fault of the Democratic Party, which was elected to clean up the mess created by Republicans and their fatcat friends, and which they have almost entirely failed to do. The party is also guilty of pushing Senators in conservative states, like Evan Bayh and Mark Pryor, more and more towards the mushy center. If I were Bayh or Pryor, I would do the same thing, faced with a Party totally unable to produce anything useful, leaving me to fend for myself the best I could. Of course I would pander to the center. (Well, actually, no I wouldn't and that is at least one reason why I'm not a politician.)
The Party's unopposed melt towards the center is guaranteed to make the midterm elections more hellish, as the centrifugal force increasingly paralyzes the Democratic base and the independents that elected the Democrats to DO SOMETHING. Each time I hear that ENDA can't move because the Democrats are still working on health care, oh, and then they need to move a jobs bill next, which will take who knows how long, I become more and more alienated.
Democrats! Stop trying to be the popular high school rock star!
Start using your power! Or lose it!