August 17, 2006

Democrats Showing That They Get It

Digby has a post that discusses the importance of the Lieberman primary on the Democratic Party. I think Digby is absolutey right in seeing this election had the benefit of clarifying to Democrats the value of being Democrats. As Democratic representatives start to boldly support the Democratic message that Democrats really do believe that government should and can be on the side of the ordinary citizen, Democrats all over the country can proudly proclaim that they are Democrats and they want government to work for all Americans, and not just the well connected.

Digby says that one of the most powerful messages that Democrats can give the Independents and disaffected Republicans is the message that resonates with Democrats already: we expect people to be accountable for upholding the Constitution, spend our money wisely, and representing all their constituents fairly.

I agree with this analysis. Here's something I wrote after the 2004 election:

It is also important to recognize that the way that the hard right Republicans gained their control of Congress and the White House was by a long termed campaign designed to undermine people’s confidence in their government and in Democrats who believe that government can be a force of good for people. Certainly since the time of Ronald Reagan, the Republican mantra has been “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” The Republicans and the right wing media have spent much of the past twenty years using propaganda to first make the word “liberal” a dirty word and now they are doing the same to Democrats.

This campaign has been very effective. One of my coworkers told me that both parties were out to scam the middle class Americans so why even bother to vote? Another woman who voted for Bush said that she didn’t believe that Kerry could fix the problems in our country because no politician could fight against the factors that cause the problems. And furthermore, because no politician can really fix the problems, Bush was not to blame for any of the worsening problems due to his policies. What this shows is that the Republicans benefit from a growing cynicism about our government, while Democrats need people to believe that it is possible to make government work for them.

Republicans have been very successful in feeding the cynicism of the public and Democrats have been less than effective in combating this cynicism because they've bought into the Republican critique. However, the really nasty climate that Republicans live in today is due to their total disregard to governance for ordinary Americans who today see that one party really is worse at governing and they (the American public) want to kick them out. And as Digby said, they want them to be held accountable for what they've done to the ordinary American's life. It's no longer about "everyone does it", but "who is going to hold those bastards accountable for what they've done?" They want government to actually work again. And this isn't a conservative vs liberal fight, this is who is the real patriot, the one who really believes that this government is accountable to us and everyone is subject to the rule of law - even the President of the United States.

Posted by Mary at August 17, 2006 07:47 AM | Philosophy | Technorati links |

I think that the jury is still out as to if they get it or not. I had a post yesterday, Do they mean it?, on an email I received from the DSCC discussing the Iraq war. If they mean it they will throw all of the resources available into defeating Joe Lieberman. If they don't do that they still don't get it.

Posted by: Ron Beasley at August 18, 2006 08:41 AM

Ron, I agree. I've read or heard 4 different sources today decry the wishy-washy "centrist" gobbligook. Candidates better be able to stand up for what they believe, instead of trying to split the difference. There is a real difference between tolerance and not having any values you care about enough to make a stand. Personally, it seems pretty simple these days: I'm against torture, I'm against indiscriminate war, I'm against wasting our money to make the extremely rich richer. It seems to me we have a number of issues that should be easy to make a stand on.

Posted by: Mary at August 20, 2006 12:46 AM