What's wrong with the Democrats?


4 comments posted
"Eleanor and Franklin"

When I was but a child, one of the most admired women in America was Eleanor Roosevelt - even more respected than Madonna or Brittany.


Today, few know who she was and even fewer what she did. We see ancient film of a woman who was not particularly attractive, but who had the President's ear.

Leading and following. Who leads and why? And by this I mean do the people get the leader to stand in front as a figurehead, or is there a leader who truly galvanizes the people. In the film "Nixon," Nixon can't sleep and goes down to the kitchen for a Scotch, or something. He encounters ever loyal Manolo.

Richard M. Nixon: Do you miss Cuba, Manolo?

Manolo: Yes, Mr. President.

Richard M. Nixon: We let you down, didn't we. Your people.

Manolo: That was Mr. Kennedy, sir.

Richard M. Nixon: You don't think he was a hero?

Manolo: [shrugs] He was a politician.

Richard M. Nixon: Did you cry when he died?

Manolo: Yes.

Richard M. Nixon: Why?

Manolo: I don't know. He made me... see the stars.

Today it is vapid rhetoric and sound bites that we get. The 1970's book showing a cereal box with Nixon's picture on the front cover and the book? "The Selling of the President."

Nader comes off shrill and somehow smug and its not just how the media portrays him, although he really has no friends there. The difference between the Right and the Left is one of passion. The Right thinks nothing of being self-righteous, but they wrap themselves in the flag and thump on their Bibles and though they froth at the mouth, they dismiss it merely as speaking in tongues.

Faith based initiatives? Faith in what? Faith in human beings?

Always the "safest" thing to say which the spinsters have calculated to reach the most, which by definition says the least - a flat curve of flat rhetoric. The Democrats who once spoke with eloquence and lead the charge have now taken a back seat to religious fundamentalists who actually share more with the mullahs they says they despise than they do with those across the political isle.

And for their part the Democrats seem stumped.

Why did Ross do so well? Perot knew how to speak. He may have been the wrong guy for the job and misfired, but to say that that proves straight talk is bad, misses the lesson.

I recall a lecture fro a great history professor that had to do with the Russo-Japanese War. It was "the lesson of two-oh-three meter hill," 203, meaning the hill did not even have a name worth repeating if it had a name at all. The Japanese were going against Russian machine guns (this was 1905-06) and the Japanese made all-out attacks against these positions.

The other World Powers, as they were called at the time, sent observes and the European observers concluded "the battle is won and lost in the hearts and minds of men," and the French came out with their famous Plan XVII as a result. In the face of machinegun fire, throw your forces against them, with fixed bayonets, and you will win.

Only the Americans, it seem, figured out that this machine gun changed war totally and a frontal assault was no longer possible.

So you say to me, ah! You want the Democrats to dig in and not engage. Well, no. The Lesson of Ross Perot Hill is that the Democrats are not pouring enough fire down on the other side. They seem unwilling to really fight for anything worth believing in.

So we have Madonna today instead of Eleanor.

Somehow and somewhere along the way, the Democrats lost their knack at making us see the stars.

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 21 November 2004 - 12:02pm
I am a Reform Democrat





Over the next two months, you will be bombarded with suggestions on how you should vote when it comes time to decide the direction of the Democratic Party. As you consider who should lead our Party, please keep in mind the following observations:

Evaluating 2004

The Democratic Party did not "come close" to winning in 2004. This is a zero-sum game and we need to measure our position against that of the GOP. Democrats would have needed a 10 point across the board increase in support to have done as well as Republicans. True, Kerry came close to scraping together an electoral vote win, but Democrats did poorly and Kerry lost. We lost. We are in worse position than we were before the election. As Mayor Gavin Newsom is fond of saying, "Do what you've done and you'll get what you've got."

Choosing a new DNC Chair

When choosing a new leader for our Party, please make your choice based on your own decision of who will take the steps necessary to modernize the Party. We must have a full-time leader with the vision necessary to restructure our organization. We can't let our Party serve as a golden parachute for those who lost in 2004 -- we need the DNC staffed by the best and the brightest not the oldest and best connected. Our next Chair needs 100% dedication to the effort and must put the Party before any other concern. Recently there has been talk of a candidate running to protect his home state's antiquated primary tradition -- we can't afford to elect somebody with a conflict of interest and ulterior motives. We need reform.


Only by deciding our goals and quantifying our methods can we determine what is working and what isn't. We need to hold programs and people accountable. We lost and we can't be afraid to fire losers. The campaigns of tomorrow are far different from the campaigns of a decade ago -- we need to evaluate individuals by their value in a modern campaign. The railroads didn't hire the fastest Pony Express riders; they hired people who made good railroad engineers. Campaigns have gone through a similar sea change and our Party's future depends upon intelligent reaction to the new rules of politics.


We are reforming our local central committees but we need your vote to reform the Democratic National Committee. We are waiting for systematic reform, but the Party needs the grassroots more than we need the Party. We want to win and we will support the best vehicles for victory. We would like to continue our support for the DNC, but we're also members of Democracy for America and Moveon and the New Democrat Network. If the Party won't stand up for us, we know they will. We know they were built as modern organizations and a far more efficient than the Democrat Party. DNC members need to elect a new Chair who can compete with DfA, Moveon, and NDN or the party will be relegated to only hosting the convention. We are Democrats and we don't want the most moderate or least controversial Chair, we want a leader. So lead us or we will follow the visionaries at the reform organizations.

For more information, read I am a Reform Democrat on Daily Kos, the NDN Blog, Blog for America, Change for America or Democrat Blog Swarm.

If you have additional ideas on modernizing and reform the Democratic National Committee, please email me at bob.brigham [at] gmail.com. I am a Reform Democrat.

anonymous lurker's picture
Posted by anonymous lurker (not verified) on 21 November 2004 - 4:02pm
Nicely put

Worth a read.


media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 29 November 2004 - 5:04pm