Tuesday, August 06, 2002

 
Tear off the Tutus...Put on the Gloves!

In the latest American Prospect, New York Magazine political columnist Michael Tomasky presents the clearest concise analysis of what's wrong with the Democratic Party -- and how it could heal itself. Here's a small taste:

For the better part of two decades now, Democrats have operated according to so timorous a model of partisanship that they no longer know how to fight. They know how to argue policy. They do that quite well, and indeed they often win those arguments, if for no other reason than that so many of the policies Republicans support harken back (if I may) to the Gilded Age. But when it comes to hardball partisan politics, they've been fighting a raging fire with a garden hose. They've been afraid, even petrified, of arguing politics, of stepping outside the comparatively safe zone of policy and assertively debating the core principles that are the reason many of them enter the civic sphere to begin with. Arguing politics means challenging not only the other side's positions but the very moral and cultural underpinnings of those positions. It means using emotional arguments to link the opposition to a set of values alien to this country's best traditions. It means finding the symbolic representations of the enemy's masked agendas and exposing them. It means not only attacking the other side but defending one's own side (and not with statistics, but with moral arguments advanced with conviction). And, finally, it means doing all this on a permanent basis, day after day, with lots of warm bodies standing next to one another, saying the same thing over and over, until the media has to cover it. But all these are things the Democrats no longer know how to do.

Not only should you read Tomasky's piece, you should also e-mail it to your Democratic officials, particularly congressmen and senators. It's a call to arms directed to the Democrats, challenging them to strip off the tutus (Are you listening, Joe L? How about you, Russell F.?), put on the boxing gloves, get in that ring, and score a knockout against the totalitarian right wing that now controls the ReTHUGlican Party.

Most of all, President Gore should conisider Tomasky's arguments. IMHO, the biggest mistake the 2000 Gore campaign was not responding loudly and forcefully to the smear campaign against him conducted by the GOP and its lackeys in the so-called "liberal media." Al, when they try to smear you as a "liar" or as someone who "reinvents himself," don't just deny it and put out the facts...make the GOP Smear Machine the issue. Show how the GOP Smear Machine is so perfectly representative of a party that will spread any lie, slither through any gutter, pull any dirty, sleazy trick, in order to seize power.

Al, run on the issues in your 2004 election campaign -- you've been singing great notes the past few months, so keep it up. But if they try to smear you again, make the GOP Smear Machine itself an issue.

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