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We learned with the election of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown a great deal about who Republicans are as a party today. They have multiple voices from varying sectors of their party not always agreeing on principles, but standing together in Congress. They have successfully aligned themselves with the heavily funded Tea Party. They are whipping up populist support and benefiting from everything in the churn. They are determined to put themselves back in the picture that much is clear.
Another thing seems for sure Democrats appear to have lost the passion which once swept them into office so overwhelmingly. The people who maintained faith in them and put that wind at their backs have been in many ways let down. Much of the blame has fallen on the President and while he deserves blame for his own missteps the blame cannot rest on his shoulders alone.
When they were given an opportunity in 2006 Barack Obama was not President. Where was the agenda carried over from then ready to be worked on? Where were the proposals?
Recently Democrats seemed as if they were more interested in cooling their heels and protecting their own necks rather than taking a chance and moving as a unit. They seem to feel the best way to keep their seats is publicly engaging in infighting and shying away from the their own team. It has not worked. Although they had a super-majority handed to them by voters they squandered it on petty differences, and never really got it together.
The defining issue this year was their handling of the health care reform bill. Republicans had a much smaller and more targeted bill, but they came together rallied behind their team and passed their bill in 2006. The short window for a Democrat version has passed as the clock on the battle to find a bill they could agree on then utilize their numbers expired.
They still have opportunities to do something, but not without something more favorable to the desires of their comrades across the isle. The best option now would be a bill penned in a bipartisan fashion. But, to even approach health care now could be extremely treacherous for them.
In June of 2009 public support for health care reform was at 70% (http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2009/06/21/health/policy/21poll_graphic_ready.html). As the theater of big money won out support hit rock bottom and Democrats lost motivation for the fight. They didn't stick out the battle. Perhaps for them losing their super majority was best as responsibility for what happens in the Senate going forward no longer is fully theirs.
So who are today's Democrats? Besides the man in the White house it's unclear. The President gave his State of the Union address and seems to still have passion about his job and what he wishes to accomplish. But where is the party aiming to move voters?
Who should we see when we look at them? Unlike Republicans their public splits have follow them into Congress and ruined their chances and image. Even though Republicans have their disagreements when voting they stuck together helping them back into public favor.
What is the message from Democrats to American voters? Going into the 2010 elections what agenda will they offer? How can they display unity when they are obviously so divided? What's the theme? What exactly are they getting at?
Perhaps losing their super majority yields yet another benefit. Republican's National Committee Chairman Michael Steele promised that in the 2010 elections his party would aim at a total repeal of health care speaking as if it would be passed. (http://www.dailykos.com/tv/w/002462/) Now that the opportunity to override a filibuster is has lapsed that's no longer a smart move.
Their candidate promised to block any attempt to pass it. He got in and the short term battle was won, but the rising waters of support due to anger over this round of health care reform ebbed when the Democrats took a bath. The tub was drained.
Of course Democrats are not off the hook regarding a platform to campaign on. Right now they have nothing. They have presented no faces of prominent members all over the news being interviewed on a regular basis, but Republicans have. What core members make up the fresh faces of the Democrat's 2010 election bid?
The only strength so far is their opponents have aligned themselves with the Tea Party, and the angst card they most shared with ordinary Americans has been revoked. Health care reform cannot pass with out Republican support. That would not be exactly friendly towards the movement with which they have become so aligned. They cannot run on bailouts as many voted for them. Even Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were supporters of some of those measures. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txfqWzGMgmY) (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0809/22/gb.01.html)
If Democrats do get back to the issues they were voted in for they can tap into that source of support again. If Democrats can once again discover that unified voice and be brave enough to follow through on what a majority of the country asked of them they will rediscover that pool of change. If Democrats can come together and actually hit some of the marks outlined in the 2006 and 2008 campaigns votes will reveal themselves. If they cannot work together and pass meaningful measures for the voter base they will have completed the path begun when they lost unity and will have become blind to voter concerns.
They are nowhere near that now. The report card is incomplete. The issue is progress on their current source of employment right now is so dear to people and hopefully they feel fortunate to even have employment. For those of them making the choice now to be standing in unemployment lines next January dressing in riot gear may be the appropriate attire.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.
by Jeff Monday, Feb. 01, 2010 at 10:20 AM
time to call..