Why I want the Democrats to win

21 Sep

I wish I could say that this essay will persuade everyone that they should vote for more Democrats in Congress this year. I’m afraid it won’t do that, because frankly the Democrats aren’t giving us many good reasons to vote for them.

Perhaps the best we can do is look at some reasons why we should vote against Republicans for Congress this year.

Some will be surprised to hear me say it, but there are some Republicans I really miss. Gentlemen like Howard Baker of Tennessee, even Bob Dole. They had a world view that I didn’t always agree with, but it was reasonably sane. They understood that their “base” of business interests would do well even if the most pro-profit policies were not in place. Yes, they called for lower taxes on businesses, but they seemed to remember that businesses succeed when people have money to spend.

Today’s Republicans…well, they just don’t. They talk about creating jobs, but they really don’t want to create good jobs. A good job, after all, means someone is paid enough to have some discretionary income. They can work just one job, make ends meet, save for a rainy day, and still do some fun spending to help the economy. Today’s Republicans don’t seem to want to do this. You have to work three jobs to keep up with your bills? They will praise you for working hard (not bothering to mention that you’re not getting ahead).

Somewhere along the line, the Republican party was seized by a bunch of crazy people. Newt Gingrich is one of them, Sarah Palin is another. They yell about freedom, but they don’t seem to realize many Americans are slaves to their employers, unable to get ahead, create a better life than their parents had. That’s not freedom.

My biggest worry is that the Democrats are going to let the Republicans win big this year. There’s a lot more the Dems could be doing (and some of their accomplishments are not exactly monumental), but the Dems’ biggest problem is they are afraid to stand up and promote their ideals. Bill Clinton (who knows something about being demonized) once remarked that the Republicans cast Democrats in such negative light because the Republicans know they can’t beat the Democrats’ ideas. Therefore, they have to call progressives names like traitor, call them soft on terrorism, all these ridiculous things–simply because if we match up ideas vs. ideas, the Dems will win.

For some reason, we Democrats seem to be more worried about appearing to play fair rather than actually playing to win. We may not like it, but our loyal opposition has turned politics into a sport where the win-loss record matters. Our ideas may be superior, but we won’t get the chance to put them into place if we don’t wake up, grow a backbone, and start fighting back. We don’t have to demonize the Republicans, but we can point out how hypocritical they are–like saying they want to reduce the deficit one day, then the next day saying they want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% (regardless of what that would do to the deficit). We can point out that they will accuse us of not supporting the troops when we question the war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but that they are willing to filibuster the defense appropriations bill–to not let it even come up for debate on the Senate floor!–because they have to oppose don’t ask/don’t tell repeal. How is filibustering the defense budget money supporting the troops?

My biggest fear today is that Barack Obama is going to be a one-term president. He’s not doing much these days to fight for voters’ minds and hearts. He’s not doing anything to motivate people to vote for Democrats. And if the Republicans take over Congress, or even just one house, then the Obama agenda is dead in the water. And, he will end up being a one-termer.

I’m not a huge fan of the President these days. He has carried on way, way too many policies of the Bush administration. He sold out the public option and let health care reform become a requirement that we all buy insurance and line the pockets of the insurance companies. (Yes, we should all have insurance, but that public option–being able to buy into a non-profit program–would have kept the prices low in the insurance market.) As a columnist once remarked, Candidate Obama probably wouldn’t vote for President Obama.

But if President Obama loses to a Republican candidate in the 2012 election, we’re in deep trouble. They all want to go back to the way things were under George W. Bush. The candidates are all moving further and further to the right, almost going off the map, playing to the Glenn Becks of the world. As I see it, a mediocre Democratic president is better than anyone like Mike Pence, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, or even Mitt Romney.

We need to keep the Republicans out of control, but it’s awfully hard to do that when we don’t give our own troops many reasons to get to the ballot box. We are dooming ourselves to economic disaster, endless war, and worse.

When will we wake up and do something about it?


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