"Down one path lie easy-does-it items designed to gather bipartisan support and show the party is committed to job growth in the hopes of staving off a midterm election bloodbath....The road forks at a bill banning employers from discriminating against gay and transgender people."
Andrea Lafferty of the hate group Traditional Values Coalition more explicitly stated this last week in Roll Call: "Can Democrats afford another costly battle when they are running scared and, according to Rasmussen Reports, face 58 percent of Americans who want to repeal the health care bill?"
If you haven't seen this classic bit of internet history, you must watch it right now. It's only 3 minutes long, but you can't understand the dangers of Candy Mountain without it.
The dilemma faced by Democrats is nothing new. It's the perennial high-stakes dilemma in our two-party system, faced by both Republicans and Democrats after they recede in the polls after the Presidential honeymoon. With a potential loss of Congress looming, should they take the easy road and play to the center, a move which might alienate the base and make them stay home in droves all over the country?
Or should they suit up for battle with conservatives, providing red meat for the base, but which might push more independents into the other column, especially in opposition states, ensuring the loss of new first-year moderates?
Yes, it's scary. As Roll Call emphasized, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has stated that he is committed to a vote on ENDA, but may himself be in potential trouble at the polls.
Here's my word of prayer to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Democrats: There is no safe road. Yes, common wisdom says govern from the center. But in a bitterly partisan atmosphere, where anti-government sentiment has gone wild, you're not going to win by being Republican-lite. You had better work on your base and the independents who are sensible enough to understand the dangers of rampant conservatism.
Conservatives don't want you to do that. They want you to compete in the who's-more-conservative-than-thou beauty contest -- as moderates -- and as losers.
You know who else wants you to drop ENDA like a hot potato? The Washington Times, the Moonie newspaper. As they put it, Discrimination is Necessary. Do you honestly think you can compete as Republicans-lite with that?
Frankly, it's quite clear that the House has enough votes to pass ENDA. The Senate is only a few votes away from being on board. The 5% or so of LGBT people in our 130 million-strong electorate amounts to about 6.5 million. It's also quite clear you're going to have to do immigration reform in order to get the 18-million strong Hispanic vote out to the polls.
Yes, some conservadems are going to lose if you play to the base. But lots more of you will lose if you play to the center.
There's no easy road, Democrats. Get your battle gear on. It's going to be a rough one. But we'll be with you all the way.