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November 15, 2006

TomPaine.com - Democrats, Don't Wimp Out

Re: TomPaine.com - Democrats, Don't Wimp Out:

The message is this: When George W. Bush was president, conservatism failed and conservatism was rejected. Apart from “small government,” conservatives enacted much of what they had been clamoring for for years. They slashed taxes on the wealthy. They ballooned defense spending. They got their war on Iraq. They ignored or cut back regulations on the environment and workers’ rights. And what happened? The American people recoiled in disgust.

Democrats need to understand that they are engaged in a war of ideas, one that stretches far beyond any one Congress or presidency. In order to not just win today’s victory but to make tomorrow’s more likely, they have to continually discredit the other side’s ideology. The fact is that conservative governance failed, not because of a run of bad luck or a few bad apples, but because it is deficient at its core.

Democrats can and should use the excesses of the Republicans they defeated as bludgeons against them. Katrina. Terri Schiaivo. Jack Abramoff. Mark Foley. George W. Bush. These names should be strung around Republicans’ necks as often as possible, so Americans don’t forget why they voted Democratic in the first place.

Democrats should wake up every day thinking, “How can we keep Republicans on the run?” Never give them a moment’s rest, never let them advance their agenda, keep them on the defensive so they have to apologize for being the standard-bearers of a discredited ideology and a disgraced president. Do that, and every legislative battle and election to come will be that much more likely to swing in your favor.

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