ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sirota Is Right about something

Much of what David Sirota says about any number of issues is just plain wrong, but this seems to be accurate:

The first major symptom of Partisan War Syndrome is wild hallucinations that make progressives believe we can win elections by doing nothing, as long as the Republican Party keeps tripping over itself. You can best see this symptom each time another GOP scandal comes down the pike. The scandal hits, Republicans respond with a pathetic “I am not a crook” defense, and both Democratic politicians and grassroots activists/bloggers berate a “culture of corruption.” Yet, then these same critics largely refuse to demand concrete solutions such as public funding of elections that would actually clean up the system, and would draw a contrast between the left and the right. We see hallucinations of a victory in the next election as long as we just say nothing of substance, as we have for the last decade. But like a mirage in the desert, it never seems to materialize.

These hallucinations are the only logical explanation as to why the Democratic Party remains without an official position on almost every major issue in Congress. Just look at the last year: Democrats have no clear party position on Iraq, energy, bankruptcy, trade, tax cuts, Supreme Court nominees or corruption, other than to criticize Republicans.

I recall the GOP's problems during the 90s... simply criticizing every single proposal and initiative that Clinton put forward and pointing to the numerous scandals that plagued the administration, constantly hoping that the public would "get it." While it was entertaining for those that were engaged on the issues, it certainly didn't garner any more support from the voters. The Left is similarly trapped in that crazed state - but unlike the GOP after 1994, does not have the levers of power to get anything done.

He goes on to give his answers to some of the biggest problems facing the Left... and while his framing of the issues is certainly partisan, he does have a point that the Left has GOT to figure out what the hell it stands for (and, for me, I hope it's something other than the same old b.s. from 1964 or 1932). Unfortunately for the Left, most of their ideas come with a price tag... one that is larger than even what that our spending-obsessed President has proposed. And no amount of "framing" or forceful promotion of these policies will be likely to succeed in getting the Dems their only wish - power. Since the Left's ideology really is simply a conglomeration of specific and sometimes conflicting interst groups (eco-nuts and auto-workers, the poverty pimps and the ultra-wealthy, the anarchists and the progressives, the teacher's unions and the poor families trapped in dysfunctional schools), there is only one issue that binds them together - their hatred for Bush. Their unwillingness to recognize that most of the public doesn't view Bush as evil incarnate means that as they grow louder in their protestations, the policy message that they need to sell will lose its effectiveness.

Another (and perhaps bigger) problem for the Dems is the demographic shift... As we lose many Americans from the Greatest Generation, the Dems are also losing rock solid and consistent Democrats who have voted the same way for 60+ years. Heck, FDR saved the world and they all felt like it was their American duty to vote for the Democratic party, regardless of the fact that they wouldn't recognize the party platform if it was shown to them. And those from my generation who have grown up during Reagan, Thatcher, Bush, and even Clinton will recognize that the statism that the Progressives promote is a sure way to economic serfdom.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler