Real quick – the DLC had their National Conversation this past weekend and unveiled their answer to the Republican’s “Contract With America.” Read the 15 page PDF file here or read the DonkeyDigest condensed version here.
Excellent op-ed dated July 9 from Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Here is an excerpt:
Somewhere along the line – in the not too distant past – the idea of consensus-building lost its status in the political world.
Politics was once viewed as the art of compromise. You started out with two (or more) viewpoints, took the best of each, and came up with something everybody could agree upon, or at least live with. The extremes on either end wouldn’t be happy, but then everybody assumed making them happy was impossible.
Today “compromise” is a dirty word in many quarters. Much of President Bush’s conservative base, for example, is turning on him because of his perceived “softness” toward compromise on immigration and other domestic issues. Similarly, efforts to bring the national Democratic Party more toward the center are met with cries of protest from the hard left – regardless of the consequences to a party interested, presumably, in winning elections and governing a diverse nation.
000The polarization of politics is aided and abetted by a media that tends to give the most attention to the loudest voices, who are invariably the ones at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The vast middle – the majority of the country, actually – is rarely heard from because it’s not vocal enough.
Increasingly, the majority feels that neither side speaks for clarity, for sanity, for reason, for consensus – for them. It’s time for the vast middle to rise up and remind the extremes that the only way any democratic country – or any institution – can be led effectively is from the center.
Occasionally I post conversations I’ve had online with logic-impaired rightwingers and leftwingers. The righties have left me alone lately but the lefties are often out in force. Consider this little exchange (I’m the moderate):
“Progressive”: DLC is now calling itself “moderate”, not centrist. They need to make up their minds. I have always called myself “moderate”, which to me means open-minded but commonsense. However they are changing the Democratic nomenclature again…and I will have to figure out what to call myself now.
Moderate: They’ve always called themselves moderates and have always been called “moderates” by the left. Go ahead. Google it. Just because you’ve (lately) started calling yourself a moderate doesn’t mean you have exclusive dibs on the term.
“Progressive”: LOL…I thought they were progressives. So I quit calling myself that. Why do you hate it that I call myself a moderate? It does seem to annoy you no end. I am pretty liberal in most ways, but not in all. Do you have a word I could use?
Moderate: So, define those terms… LOL! I don’t hate when you call yourself a moderate. I just hate when people use any term (liberal, progressive, moderate) to the exclusion of others. And you did just recently begin referring to yourself as a moderate. Oh, look! Here’s The Nation calling the DLC “moderates.”
“Progressive”: They are not being honest about who they are! They are masquerading as the party!
Moderate: They’re not being honest about who they are? Interesting that in the Opening Post, you said, “I have always called myself ‘moderate'” …yet in post #7, you said you quit calling yourself a progressive. Hmmm… Bet it never occured to you that “moderate” and “centrist” are essentially the same thing and can be used interchangebly:
cen·trist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sntrst)
One who takes a position in the political center; a moderate.
Marked by or adhering to a moderate political view.
“Progressive”: Always word games, mental exercises….not real thought. That’s sad. No sense engaging for word games.
Moderate: Always a cop out.
“Progressive”: Marshall Wittmann faxed over all the latest talking points, huh? You guys cal yourselves whatever you want, we all know who you really are. And it certainly isn’t us.
Moderate: You call the dictionary “talking points?”
While we’re on the subject of the far left fringe, have you ever run across an organization known as the Patrick Henry Democratic Club? I’ve seen them around the internets on occasion, usually talking up a weird system they developed for ranking the “progressiveness” of US Senators and House members. If you want to get a good idea of what they’re about, they voted Hugo Chavez as “World Leader of the Year” and want to lower the national voting age to 15.
McBlogger points out they’re raising money for Republican Ron Paul simply because he is against the Iraq War. However, Paul is also against aid to the poor, affirmative action, helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and Medicare. And his openly racist views were expressed yet again a few weeks back when he voted against the extension of the Voting Rights Act.
More recently, they’ve referred to Hank Johnson as a “neo-con” for daring to challenge Cynthia McKinney in Georgia. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the type of fringe leftists who think they’re “real Democracts” and the rest of us are Republicans.
Speaking of real Democrats, the DLC has an excellent article by Senator Salazar of Colorado called Winning In a Red State. In it, Salazar talks of faith, values, connecting with the rural voters, and national defense:
How could a Democrat win statewide office in a red state like Colorado? That’s the question I’ve been asked often since I beat Pete Coors by 5 percentage points in 2004. The answer lies in choosing the right issues, telling your own story and being authentic, and convincing the voters that you understand their real, everyday concerns.
What made the biggest difference was that I emphasized the right issues. I was able to connect with the people of Colorado in a way that made them feel that I was going to be on their side. People just weren’t sure that Coors, the CEO of a big company, would ever be able to understand the issues that they were facing every day. They understood that I would be a strong supporter of the issues that the people in Colorado care about every day.
During my campaign, I often talked about what it’s like to get up in the morning and wonder what the day holds for you. People wonder whether they’re going to have a job; whether or not they’re going to have health insurance for themselves or for their families; whether or not their children will be able to get access to higher education; whether or not there is a level of violence around the world that has become really dangerous.
Security first. The number one issue on people’s minds is security. As a Democrat who had spent six years working with 14,000 law enforcement officers and who had argued numerous criminal law cases, I knew that security was central to the election. And as the person who had dealt with major crimes such as the Columbine school shootings, security was an especially important issue to me.
So I told people that, in our post- 9/11 world, security was at the very top of our agenda. The function of the national government is to make sure that we have a strong defense and the safest homeland we possibly can.