"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, January 27, 2006

2008: The Future Comes Not Too Late, But All Too Soon

Not being snarky---between Howard Dean, Kos, and then Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer clumsily trying to make respected jurist Sam Alito out as a racist, it's a genuine confusion as to who the Democratic Party is these days. I dunno if they know, either.

Our friend, gadfly, and SalonPremiumMember and featured letter-writer) James Elliott posits:

There are a lot of Democrats out there who don't mirror "the Loud Left." Hillary Clinton. Russ Feingold. John Kerry.


OK, baby. Lock and load.

When all else fails, try principle. Actually, that's just what the GOP was forced into after Nixon and all those years of Democrat control of Congress. Petty politics, technique, and mealy-mouthing only get you so far.

The GOP made its historic gains on the backs of two visionaries---Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. (Their successors admittedly, and almost by definition, pale in comparison.)

Shooting spitballs is not a political philosophy. Nominate Russ Feingold instead of guys like the last two weasels, and let America vote up or down. Run on your beliefs instead of from them. In three years, nobody's going to remember who the hell Jack Abramoff is, or was.

Russ Feingold represents the Democratic Party as I best understand it (ADA lifetime average rating of 96, if we can believe the Wiki).

I disagree with Feingold on virtually everything, but I still trust his character. He conducts himself like a human being, like a statesman. We could do worse, and almost did with Gore and Kerry, who are wack. (Gore, wack. Kerry, trying to lead an unprecendented constitutional revolution via phone from Switzerland, wack.)

(Let's save Hillary for another day. Too much fun to use up here. Hehe. [sound of knife being sharpened])


Feingold vs. Gingrich in 2008. Now that would be fun. No middle ground there...

12 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

Conservatives felt the same way about Paul Wellstone, a pure and true lefty with a solid character. When he died, there were tributes to him at virtually every conservative website.

Reagan is such a big deal to conservatives because he is the mirror image of a guy like Wellstone or Feingold to the Democrats, except that the avatar of your best hopes and wishes wins the right to carry the banner against all odds.

connie deady said...

If you have a point other than gaining agreement by raising the names of familiar liberal boogeymen, I truly missed it.

Can you kind explicate for those who are less attuned to the nuances of neo-conservative think speak?

Tom Van Dyke said...

"The great advantage that conservatives have over liberals is that we are bilingual. We can speak our language and we also know theirs. They however even now still don’t know ours and cannot be bothered to learn."
---John Podhoretz


Happy to oblige, Connie. That's what we're here for, and it's to your credit that you ask.

Hunter put it better than I---to those who knows, Russ Feingold is no boogeyman, he's a principled man with whom we happen to disagree. The GOP came out of its wilderness by running on its beliefs, not from them. (They may go back to the wilderness if they don't relocate them.)

It was said that conservatism had the intellectual heft, but what it needed was someone to articulate it. Reagan was that man, and a sea change followed in his wake. You win by articulating an affirmative argument, not offering yourself as an alternative to a straw man of your own devising.

You Democrats, and the nation perhaps, could do worse than giving Feingold a shot. He's no wannabe, no mugwump---he is what he is, a statesman who happens to be a liberal. If you want "liberal" to mean more than demagoguery, whining at Bush and fomenting class warfare, Feingold's your man. He's an excellent speaker who can articulate what you believe, with dignity and reasonableness.

Your last and perhaps only effective communicator in the last I-dunno-how-many-years was Bill Clinton, but his brand of DLC centrism seems to be out of favor with your base. You can try another equivocating tightrope-walker like the last two presidential candidates or the junior senator from New York, but restoring liberalism from its current dirty-word status will require more than clever technique and squeaking out an election victory or three. You guys need a makeover.

Think of this as Neo-Con Eye for the Lib Guy. Thanks are unnecessary, it's our job.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Conservatives felt the same way about Paul Wellstone, a pure and true lefty with a solid character. When he died, there were tributes to him at virtually every conservative website.

Interestingly enough, the bloom was coming off Wellstone's rose with his local constituency in 2002, and it's by no means certain he would have beaten Coleman had he not died. He came into disfavor with the Minnesota DFL rank and file mainly because seemed to be losing touch with Minnesota and becoming solely preoccupied with national issues. In addition, many hard-core reformer left types took his self-imposed term limits promise more seriously than he did himself, and felt betrayed when he broke it to announce a run for a third term.

Which is to say that perhaps men of principle, no matter what side that principle lies on, may find it impossible to simultaneously satisfy the constituencies that put them in office and impress the national audience that will propel them up the elective ladder.

Tlaloc said...

"clumsily trying to make respected jurist Sam Alito out as a racist,"

He sort of did that to himself when he, you know, joined with other racists and misogynists is calling for women and minorities to be kept in "their place."

But anyway, you were saying?

James Elliott said...

Tom, WTF is with you tracking down my stuff on Salon? That's plain creepy.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Serendipity. I was looking up Alito with some keywords, and you were near the top of the Google pile.

James Elliott said...

Well, at least it's not creepy. That said, what's with this:

Our friend, gadfly, and SalonPremiumMember and featured letter-writer) James Elliott

I thought this place had a policy about personal attacks, even of the annoying and passive aggressive kind. If you've got something to say, come out and say it. Or is it more of a "Do as I say, not as I do" sort of thing?

Tom Van Dyke said...

"Gadfly" is a compliment. Socrates was known as the gadfly. Big difference between a gadfly and an annoyance, as is shown on these very cyberpages daily.

I comment on a lefty blog in my spare time, and I'm described and self-described as a gadfly there.

Easy, partner.

James Elliott said...

Sorry for overreacting. I didn't know what "gadfly" meant, so I looked it up. The definition I found was "Persistent and annoying critic of little consequence."

Kathy Hutchins said...

It's also a parasitic insect that lays its eggs in the nostrils of sheep. That should make you feel better.

Brought to you as a public service by Ask the Farm Girl (tm)

Tom Van Dyke said...

See, James? I do that all the time. Then The Sheep Look Up. Thanks to Ask the Farm Girl (tm).

You are a persistent and annoying critic of great consequence. And you oughtta see how I make those lefties squirm.