Advice to the Dems

One of the main themes coming from the punditocracy in the wake of yesterday’s election is that the Democrats are making a mistake if they think anyone likes them. This was strictly an anti-Bish result, apparently. If Demcrats start following those lunatic lefty impulses they’re prone too, they’ll quickly find the country rebelling against them. So much more important that they be bipartisan and centrist.

Mike the Mad Biologist and Firedoglake already have good discussions of this issue (available here and here respecitvely.)

I would only add to their analyses that precisely the same advice was given ot George W. Bush in the wake of the contested 2000 election. With the nation so closely divided, the pundits intoned, Bush will be forced to govern from the center. Of course, Bush did exactly the opposite. He said a win is a win, whether it comes by getting more votes or by having an ideological Supreme Court on your side. Then he launched the most right-wing administration in the history of this country.

And the voters loved him for it. They’ve only turned on him now because there is actually tangible harm coming from Bush’s policies.

The Democrats should try governing with force and conviction, for a change. If the voters want to punish them two years from now, so be it.

Comments

  1. #1 Lincoln
    November 8, 2006

    the democrats are left wing!? man, I really don’t understand American politics

  2. #2 The Ridger
    November 9, 2006

    Yes, well, when the “center” is where it is in America, the Democrats are left-wing. I doubt anywhere in Europe would they be perceived as even leftish. There are real lefties here – and we vote Democrat usually since with rare exceptions socialists can’t get elected dog catcher – but it’s only right-wingers (and you can guess how *far* right they are, considering) who call the DNC “left-wing” … or even “liberal”.

    I’d love to see the Democrats push a genuinely liberal agenda and let the chips fall where they may.

  3. #3 Toby Joyce
    November 9, 2006

    Perceptive comment. W definitely went right, and in retrospect it was stupid. All the truly great Presidents have been bipartisan, but if you are G.W.Bush and you believe that God chose you to be President, then God does not compromise, ok? Now, when he needs at least some Democratic allies, he has none. Reagan suffered an even worse loss at this stage in his Presidency, but by that time, he had enough “Reagan Democrats” on his side to make little difference. From the press conference, I would guess Bush expected to still have all the cards, and expected the sacrifice of Rummie would get him over a slight glitch. Well, George, I am afraid much more is expected ….

  4. #4 rev. bigdumbchimp
    November 9, 2006

    The Democrats should try governing with force and conviction, for a change. If the voters want to punish them two years from now, so be it.

    I think the one thing that scares me is that a section of the Democratic party is going to try and crucify Bush (and rightly so) over the next two years. All I see this accomplishing is guaranteeing a Republican victory in 2008.

  5. #5 Jud
    November 9, 2006

    “Then he launched the most right-wing administration in the history of this country.

    “And the voters loved him for it. They’ve only turned on him now because there is actually tangible harm coming from Bush’s policies.”

    I respectfully disagree. Bush’s approval rating was hovering at just over 50% (pretty much on track with his slim electoral margin and the fact he hadn’t had time to *really* screw up) until 9/11, at which point opposing Bush in U.S. politics became akin to opposing terrorism. The war in Afghanistan began less than a month afterward; of course the start of a war is historically a time when the nation rallies around its leaders. Within a little over a year, Bush’s approval rating declined from around 90% after 9/11 to under 60% in late 2002, at which point the Iraq invasion occurred; once more the start of a war caused Bush’s approval ratings to leap. However, by the time of the 2004 presidential elections, Bush’s approval had declined to right about 50%, giving him another narrow win. (Don’t forget the Democrats nominated a man in time of war whose very speech and mannerisms smacked of Eastern liberal elite stereotypes, and whose most famous public comment – “No one wants to be the last man to die in Vietnam” – was associated in the public mind with the loss of a previous war. Bush was fortunate in his presidential election opponents.)

    During 2005, Bush’s approval started to fall toward the mid-to-low 40% range as it became more and more evident that nothing good was happening in Iraq. Then Katrina hit, raising the distinct possibility that the problems in Iraq, beginning with the decision to invade, might result from the same incompetence the Administration demonstrated in reacting to the hurricane and its aftermath. Bush’s approval has since dropped into the 30-40% range.

    In the midterm elections that just took place, about a third of voters identifying themselves as white evangelical Christians voted for Democratic candidates. When even the folks who think God is on their side are tired of extremist politics, you know the last thing voters want is the other side of the same coin.

  6. #6 Jud
    November 9, 2006

    Sorry, in my comment above, the second sentence after the initial quote should end “…at which point opposing Bush in U.S. politics became akin to *supporting* terrorism.”

  7. #7 bmkmd
    November 9, 2006

    This business of winning elections by emphasizing danger to the country was skillfully done by the REpublicans twice, as Jud discusses above. Running the country? That’s another matter entirely.

    I have a favorite quote on the topic. See if you can guess the source without looking before you finish.

    “Why of course the people don’t want war… Naturally… That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hitler’s #2 Man, Hermann Goering

  8. #8 kevin
    November 9, 2006

    “The Democrats should try governing with force and conviction, for a change”

    HEY!!!! you think Clinton didn’t govern with conviction? Carter? Who invented “Human Rights”? THe issue is when its Congress that’s involved you have so many disparate interests, its herding cats to get them to line up.

    That said, the new Congress merely needs to STOP the assaults of the Bush Administration and really just NOT cheat lie and steal AS MUCH as the thugs just kicked out of office.

    STOP – drilling in ANWR, cutting down our forests, killing our streams, mercury, deficits, stupid war, bad testing, bloating the defense budget, etc….