Thursday, January 21, 2010

What do Democrats stand for?

TPM quotes an email from an anonymous -- and disillusioned -- Democratic Party staffer on Capitol Hill:
I believe President Clinton provided some crucial insight when he said, "people would rather be with someone who is strong and wrong than weak and right." It's not that people are uninterested in who's right or wrong, it's that people will only follow leaders who seem to actually believe in what they are doing. Democrats have missed this essential fact.
As I blogged here, the Democratics have not stood up for values that they can call their own.   Instead, they seem content to dish out watered-down Republican ones. And voters sense this. 
The stimulus bill in the spring showed us what was coming. In the face of a historic economic crisis, Democrats negotiated against themselves at the outset and subsequently yielded to absurd demands from self-described "moderates" to trim the package to a clearly inadequate level. No one made any rational argument about why a lower level was better. It would have been trivial to write "claw-back" provisions if the stimulus turned out to be too much or we could have done a rescission this year to give these moderates their victory, but none of this was on the table. We essentially looked like we didn't know what the right answer was so we just kinda went for what we could get. This formula was repeated in spades in both the Climate and Health Care debacles.

This is my life and I simply can't answer the fundamental question: "what do Democrats stand for?"
We know why the staffer can't answer the question.  The Democrats nominated the wrong candidate in 2008.  Barack Obama got to where he is today by speaking the language of the middle class, yet going the extra mile for Wall Street and big corporations.

The Democratic Congress will likely be decimated in November    If this happens, Obama may have to fight hard for his party's nomination in 2012.

UPDATE:   Krugman, reflecting on the president's seemingly lackadaisical response to events, blogs, "I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in. "


  1. for 30 years us dems have been getting our butts kicked all over the ring. not because we have not done great things, but because we have not been able to explain it to the american voters. when you ask a republican what they stand for they say "less taxes, smaller government, and cutting spending" if you ask the same question to a democrat you get a rambling all over the place answer that makes no sense to anyone.

    I have given this MUCH thought and i have developed a republicanesque answer to the question what democrats stand for. I hope you will give it a listen and let me know what you think of it.

  2. Brian,

    I like it. Democrats should stand for investment in America, in its people, its entrepreneurs, and the infrastructure of tomorrow's clean energy economy. Of course, so should Republicans.

    But let's be sure to distinguish between what Democrats should stand for, and what the Democratic leadership has actually stood for, which is simply a bit less of whatever the Republicans have in mind. Both parties act as if they are beholden to Wall Street.

  3. Most of us all make up the middle class why can both parties over look what has made the United States of America what it is today! Without this different thought process we are the same as the communist countries! We know what is right we just have to have the balls to get it started! We have to keep the middle class working and give us the right to fight for what is ours! And believe you me we will fight!!!!!!!!!!!


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