Tuesday, April 18, 2006
MEMO TO POLITICAL PUNDITS: QUIT LOOKING FOR THE DEMOCRATIC MESSIAH!
It happened again.
I was in my car listening to Air America and I heard progressive radio's favorite Republican, Bob Barr, chatting with Ed Schultz about the plight of the poor Democratic Party. "...There's no leader to unite and rally the forces...the Democrats have no Reagan..."
I recently heard the same thing from neo-pundit Newt Gingrich on C-Span. And I have heard the same declaration of dispair echo among my friends..."but who do the Democrats have?"
Let me say this outside my car and not shouting at the radio: LEADERSHIP?-WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING LEADERSHIP!
I sense that my colleagues on the left (seemingly in keeping with the cult-mentality of the Bush era) are looking for a political messiah to lead them out of the political desert. Call me an agnostic but, ...quit looking. It isn't going to happen. The Democrats have something better than a cult of personality anyway. It's called "The People". Yeah, I know. It's a scary notion for a democracy.
The so-called "leadership" of the national Democratic Party is playing catch-up with the "People". The problem with the analysis of the Barrs, the Shultz's and the old school politicos is that it is out-of-date. They go back to the days of direct mail campaigns and campaign rallies. This is the age of the internet and flash mobs. The Great Commisserators of the left think the national party means something. Well, It does...sort of. The national party is like the person who hosts the 'party'--he provide the space, everyone else brings the 'party'. It is to the credit of Howard Dean that he recognizes this and is attempting to change the party playbook over the protests of the so-called party "leadership" in congress.
Moreover, comparing the Republican Plan of Organization with the Democrats' is like comparing lederhosen to sweat pants...sure they have similar functions but they serve entirely different purposes. The Republicans have a tidy network of churches and (now) 'Faith-Based' organizations to spread the word, raise money and manage their wards; Democrats are much looser, far more heterogenous and coalesce differently than the Republikanskaya.
Can I make my message any clearer?
Organizations like Move On and True Majority and the hundreds of loosely knitted cellular change agents on the left are NOT waiting for a "leader" to emerge and bring them together. They ARE together. We ARE together.
There is plenty of evidence that the Republican Party did not win the last two presidential elections because of more effective "grassroots organization" as Bob Barr contends, but they won because of vote suppression efforts in Florida and Ohio. It is now clear that Senator Sununu won his close race in New Hampshire NOT because the Republicans were better organized than the Democrats, but because Republicans are sleazier. In June 2004, former Republican consultant Allen Raymond pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic Party lines set up to get New Hampshire Democrats to the polls in 2002, an action that some say may have contributed to Shaheen's narrow loss. A judge sentenced him to five months in jail in February 2005. Chuck McGee, the former state GOP chair, also was sentenced to seven months for his role.
Raymond alleged that James Tobin, Northeast field director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, masterminded the plot. Tobin is currently on trial. (Wikipedia)
Here is the point to Ed Schultz and all the "fifth columnists" on the Left: Quit berating the Democrats. Quit pretending that "the problem" of progressive disempowerment is the "lack of leadership" in the party or the lack of grassroots organization. There is a movement out there, there is organization, and there is a massive and motivated vote ready to move the earth out from under the feet of the Republicans. No one is waiting for "Leadership" from the Democrats...we're just waiting for the Democrats to get their house "Ready to Rock".