20 August 2009

There's A Reason Democrats Keep Losing.

I am going to be brutally frank for a change. No, I mean it. Because up until now, I've been what passes for circumspect and tactful for me. Yes, I know, several of you are looking at the ceiling over that line...Shane Fox, circumspect and tactful used in the same sentence. What a hoot.

Well, never mind all that. Because it is not about me.

It is about these people calling themselves Democrats. These people who are the closest thing I have to political allies. These namby - pamby, by your leave and excuse me, wet-ends calling themselves Democrats who wonder why it is they never win elections or turn out a crowd. Here in my part of Texas 1500 tea-baggers turned up at the town square in the dead heat of summer awhile back. This past weekend, something like 60 (mostly white) people (I was among them) showed up for a summit of East Texas Democrats in a spacious, comfortable air-conditioned church auditorium. Now, I will grant you that it is easier to be against something than for something, and there are one hell of a lot more dumb asses than smart people, but that does not count for the disparity.

Here's what does. We've watched for a week as the president has spun like a weather vane and his advisers have made jackasses of themselves contradicting one another on health insurance overhaul as in the field party loyalists and Obama apparatchiks whistle through the graveyard assuring us that everything is just fine. Well, it ain't just fine. It ain't even close to fine.

Were it not for progressive bloggers and activists (again, I among them), the unions and liberals pressuring the White House on Monday through Tuesday the "Public Option" would be just as dead as "single-payer". There is a an important lesson there. Probably several. But, the one which has the most resonance for me is that were it not for the left-wing of the democratic party and progressive independents, the appeasers, apologists, incrementalists, and gradualists would have rolled over and meaningful reform would have died Sunday night. We did not save the public option by making nice and apologising for our exuberance, passion and zeal!

Let me take you back to the Democratic Summit. There were people there, talking to Democrats, claiming to be running for high state office as Democrats, whose campaign literature made absolutely no mention of being a democrat, progressive, or liberal. One of them handed me his campaign card and I handed it back, telling him I would be voting for a progressive democrat and that I didn't see that anywhere on his card or his literature.

Republicans and conservatives unashamedly run as just that, extolling their reactionary ideology as an asset to office-holding. Democrats should do the same, instead of pretending to be moderate centrists. Yeah, I know. Their advisers and conventional wisdom tell them to posture themselves in such a way. Well, let me ask you this...if that posture is so flipping wise why in the name of hell haven't any of them won in, oh, like two decades or so?

Why haven't the democrats been able to invigorate African-Americans and Latinos in the way Obama did? I'm sure I'll get an argument here, but, I think it is very clear...lack of outreach and lack of appeal. Very clearly, once again, a slate of mostly moderate, mostly middle-aged white guys is not going to appeal to anyone other than other mostly moderate, mostly middle-aged white-guys.

Democrats dream of taking back the state of Texas. Until they embrace their liberal and progressive roots and stop running stealth campaigns and start declaring themselves as an alternative to the radical right-wing instead of being moderate versions of Republicans, they will fail, and come 2010, Texas will still have two Republican senators and a Republican governor.

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