Locked out of the House (and the Senate, too)
Times are troubled for Democrats. It must seem that they have been locked out of the house; they can see their favorite toys (the tools of government) but they can’t touch them.
Looking in from the outside has been an unsettling experience and has left them sputtering in outrage; venting their frustration with endless whining about President Bush and “evil” Republicans.
The Democratic Party under Howard Dean’s leadership is quickly heading down a path to belligerent powerlessness and irrelevance. Will the remaining moderate Democrats change the party’s course over Dean’s objections? Or will they instead choose to leave by starting a new party? Or might they decide life in the GOP is better than being left on the outside looking in?
Most observers of the political scene not under heavy medication are wondering if any scenario provides a way back to power under former Governor Dean. Unless some epic turn of fortune or monumental event arises to overturn Republicans, it looks like a long wait before Democrats will again control the keys to the kingdom, something they took for granted not so very long ago.
Consider how far things have changed since 1994 when the Eagles released their album, “Hell Freezes Over.” It seemed at the time an amazingly apt title because – just at that moment in history – the unthinkable happened and Republicans took control of the former Democratic fiefdom – the House of Representatives.
A decade later Democrats have lost control of everything: the presidency, the House and the Senate. Except for the last term of Bill Clinton, and a short lived period where they retook the Senate, it has been a bitter time for party loyalists and staffers.
For many of them what once seemed to be guaranteed jobs and careers inside the government have been lost. In the last decade many of the well-entrenched minions of the Democrats Party have been slowly pried out of their government sinecures. A great number of them still hang on, desperately waiting for the Democrats to retake power, but many have retired or left government because future prospects look bleak.
The great federal feeding trough is no longer freely available to nurture and foster Democratic Party loyalists. This makes a bad situation even worse for those trying to rebuild the party in part because that very system is now in the hands of the GOP.
Democrat rank and file career politicos have a real problem: Is this a dead-end career choice? Do you hold on through yet another election cycle in hopes that either the Senate or House is reclaimed? Or do you decide that it is time to move on?
Fewer Democratic senators mean that there are less staff positions around. While that alone is bad, at the same time the private sector is no longer as friendly to the left as it once was.
There has been a stunning reversal of fortune for the left in the major media. Once staunch allies that monopolistically and successfully supported the Democratic Party, the major media has been devastated by scandal, loss of market share and crippled by upstart Fox News and the Internet. There just aren’t as many slots left for aspiring young Howard Deans to find.
The New York Times just declared it was going to (gasp!) seek staff members that held other points of view; in other words, people not carrying International Socialist Club membership cards would soon be permitted to work there.
Because of a sudden attack of unexpected remorse over decades of biased and slanted reporting?
The change is induced from the pain that comes from a pocket book realization that readership and market share was plummeting. Losing respect and being laughed at due to scandals didn’t mandate this amazing change. It was losing money that did it.
Meanwhile Democrats are galvanized to fits of shrieking madness over the impending nominations (and confirmations) of two anti-socialist Supreme Court justices.
It would not be a surprise to see one be a black woman and the other a Hispanic. This will, of course, send the left into seizures; their world view does not accept that a member of a minority (and thus an official property of the Democratic Party) could dare to hold a different political philosophy.
Instead of dealing with reality, Democrats pretend that such persons are not “real” minority members but rather some sort of radical aliens created by Bush’s military industrial political complex.
Such hypocrisy by Republicans would be front page news. But times are changing now and this visible hypocrisy by the left is no longer going on un-remarked and unnoticed by voters. Republicans can easily point to numerous blacks and Hispanics in the Bush Administration as proof that it is a place where all Americans can find welcome (but probably not European socialists).
The problem is precisely that many Democrats can not accept that reality no longer matches their political dogma. Most Americans have no desire to be either European or socialist and reject the concept outright.
That is something Mr. Dean and the left can never admit because their dreams of a progressive future are built around the European model of socialism. Thus the left lives in a delusional state; where they “really” are the majority. For support they watch the BBC and CNN, surely their fellow citizens of the world will reject American imperialism under George W. Bush and work together to restore the Democratic Party to power.
The left is so traumatized that under Chairman Dean that it is reduced to group hugs and ritualized hate fests against Republicans.
An aside, if you please. Obviously “hate speech” really was an attempt by the left to criminalize political discourse by the right and never intended to apply to them. This may do wonderful things for the traumatized left, but it is not helping them recover their lost political power.
Consider what may happen with the Supreme Court nominations. If President Bush succeeds with both nominations the left is revealed as truly powerless. They might be successful in using this event as a fundraising tool but for how much longer will this work when they continually fail to achieve their goals?
It comes to this, the left is pinning their future on hopes of disaster in Iraq, public outrage over Bush nominees, and the chance of regaining power in 2006. They have no plans, no dreams they can publicly admit to having (such as a progressive paradise under the United Nations) and have gone so far to the left under Howard Dean that they are alienating the very moderates they need to regain power.
How can they recover?
Well, it could begin when some of the socialists among us start the painful process of reexamining their beliefs. When they can accept that – in reality – it isn’t a fight between their “good” and Republican “evil,” it will allow them to free themselves from the dogma of the socialist left and move back into the mainstream reality of most voters.
Now leftists won’t have to abandon all their beliefs but will have to allow themselves the freedom to think outside their socialist-bounded dogma. When those on the left can grasp the concept that there are people on the right of the political spectrum who believe it’s wrong to have starving children in the world. When they can freely enter into debates without resorting to slogans and shouting, it will begin to restore their credibility with voters. It will also begin to transform the left and allow new ideas and concepts to grow; something that hasn’t happened in decades. Republicans are not divinely empowered; it is inevitable that they will be on the wrong side of some issues.
Unless Democrats can allow themselves to form a new patriotic pro-United States brand of liberalism, they will drive those remaining moderates into the Republican’s “big tent.”
That was the essence of Georgia Sen. Zell Miller’s message in the last election. Traditional liberals who are pro-United States – first and foremost – are beyond the tolerance of socialist zealots like Howard Dean. If the Democratic Party can not keep those members onboard, it will be a death blow to their chances of regaining power.
Under Dean’s leadership Democrats may be left “locked out” for a very long to come.