Monday, January 23, 2006

Mad Dogs and Fire-Breathing Dragons

It sees as if every progressive friend on my e-mail address list has sent me a copy of Molly Ivins’s recent column, “Not. Backing. Hillary” If you haven’t read it you may do so here.

Hillary is used as the whipping girl for an all too common Democratic failing, a kind of weaseling tiptoe dance down a center line that the Dems hope will make them seem all things to all people. The end result is that they end by seeming not very much of anything to most of us.

To be fair we notice a certain stiffening of the spine lately, but it still falls short of what some of us wanted the Dems to be: Mad Dogs and Fire-Breathing Dragons, constantly on the attack from the bully pulpits of their Senate seats.

I once (unwisely, I now judge) suggested that we should be happy with a thirty seat minority in the Senate if only the thirty were “real” Democrats. So what if we couldn’t accomplish much…just remind our fellow citizens how badly they and we were being screwed and eventually a populist revolt at the polls would clean the stables.

Two paragraphs in Molly’s column, however, remind us that much of what the Progressives espouse is actually pretty mainstream:

The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

Makes a lot of sense to me. All together now: The Emperor ain’t go no clothes.


Kralmajales said...

Dear Art,

Those numbers are very important. It seems to me that this is the year, if there is ever to be a year...for Democrats to take high and low offices. I really think the public is angry at our current leadership and that it is looking to be inspired to act.

I worry, though, that about the truth of what Ivins says. There seems to still be a "co-opting" of Republican ideas and even a fear of there power. It is as if core Democratic values are unpopular to those that hold them or that there is just nothing new.

The hardest hardest thing that I hear from Republicans to answer is is a challenge...they often say "where are your ideas?", "what have you got?", and all you can do is criticize. It rings true sometimes.


cc burro said...


Re your last paragraph--I totally agree with you. The national Democrats come off as mainly anti-Bush as opposed to promoting positive strong progressive alternative policies. They bitch about the Bush annual deficit(which is one of my major concerns) BUT WHERE ARE THE DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVES FOR BALANCING THE BUDGET??? For example, I liked a lot of things about Kerry and worked hard on the "coordinated" campaign; however, one time I checked out the Republican website during the end of the campaign and the Rs were keeping a detailed financial tally of all of the campaign promises which Kerry made throughout the campaign and it appeared that the promises added up to a ton of money--greatly increasing the federal debt. Totally non-viable.

If you hear a Democrat make a campaign promise for a new program or something during the next 9 months--ASK THEM HOW THEY PLAN TO PAY FOR IT--ASK THEM FOR THE BUDGET NUMBERS.

Republicans and Democrats do "coopt" ideas from each other periodically. Also, they share some core values--this is one reason why we have elections instead of civil war.

Take care.