Monday, July 31, 2006

Joey We Hardly Knew You

The New York Times did not endorse Joe Lieberman. You may recall I did not endorse him either. And I didn’t do it first. But the Times didn’t know it was a contest so they didn’t feel pressured to be first. Our reasons were similar although our approach was different. I did not endorse him because he doesn’t care if he runs as a democrat or an independent (since he mostly votes as a republican that would make sense but they already have a candidate), he just wants the job. And at these critical times we need members of Congress who will vote as democrats. The Times said it’s not about voting for the war, as did many democrats. It’s about “becoming one of the Bush administrations most useful allies… an enabler…a Presidential defender. And this primary is surely as sign of what will happen in November. I wrote a letter to the democratic party that I wanted to share becauseI'm frustrated and I believe the only entity that can make a difference for this country is the minority party.

Dear Democratic Party,

Missing you and thought I’d drop a line. We’ve been pals for a long time and I don’t mean to hurt your feelings but, (I’ll try not to say this too loud) you have become irrelevant. Don’t believe me? Okay, so look at Joe Lieberman. He’s always claimed to be a democrats democrat. Yet, he’d rather be an Independent candidate than a Democratic reject. The party seems not to matter to him, The job is what he cares about, the party appears to be merely a vehicle to get him to a place where he can vote like a republican. Unfortunately, it seems you are incapable of producing elected officials who have the courage to lead, to develop policies that make sense, and present alternatives to the right wing ideologues who have choreographed political strategies that will affect us for the rest of our lives. At one time you were the party of inclusion. Now you are purely fodder for despicable conservative mouth pieces to sell books.

You were the party that encouraged men and women to strive for success, fight for a strong America, believe in education for all and opportunity regardless of race, age or gender. You were the party of compassion. But now the republicans have taken these noble ideals and turned them into attractive but meaningless slogans. In case you hadn’t noticed, poor children are left behind, there is no compassionate conservative, and a strong military doesn’t rape or murder innocent civilians. Oh no, you protest, we still believe in all those things. Really? Well what have you done to combat the empty rhetoric? Why hasn’t one democrat—governor, senator, representative, mayor or dog catcher stood on the top of a CNN hill and shouted that every time the President or a member of his party fabricates some story, (and it doesn’t even have to be a whopper) someone from the party will hold a conference condemning both the lie and the liar.

Yoo hoo! In case you were too busy taking contributions for your next campaign to notice, the world is falling apart. And you are doing nothing to stop it. We have a bunch of Presidential advisors who spend more time figuring out how to sell a policy than shape one. You have allowed this to continue without comment. And worse, you have agreed that it’s OK for young men and women to die in a war based on a lie. You continue stand silent while nations and corporations defile the earth and pretend that scientists are geeks without real information, You were incapable of overriding a veto that may undermine the entire future of medicine. You have permitted the insidious elimination of civil liberties and refused to condemn immigration policies that are not only foolish but unenforceable. You have voted for wasteful spending and against legislation that helped people to recover from debt. You have allowed our long and rich historical tradition to become secondary to special interests instead of important issues. In your desire to include everyone, you have excluded the very people for whom you were founded. Who are you? I no longer know.

You remember when we were young there were people who we thought would always be our friends. Well, we managed to lose the Wal*Mart voter when you failed to engage your natural constituencies in a conversation that was relevant to their lives and their beliefs. Instead your candidates are consumed with targeting single interest groups with empty rhetoric, and finding a universal “message” that doesn’t work locally.

Al Gore, a dedicated public servant who understood the importance of caring for the environment, focused on being an Alpha male with a sense of style. He had no conversation with the American public because he was too busy knowing everything. In fact, he was so clueless about what people heard that when he talked about an important bill that gave people with the ability to sue their HMO, he referred to it’s support by Congressman Dingle saying, “Nor would Dingle oppose this bill’ Only trouble was, just the political insiders knew Dingle. Most people thought that some guy named Norwood Dingle was supporting it and no one knew, or really cared about Norwood Dingle.

The American public wanted to know John Kerry and why they should vote for him but he was too busy trying to find a persona than actually being a person. Many say he didn’t have a message. I disagree. He had so many messages that it was impossible to wade through them to find one you believed.

And will the party find definition in the future? Not with the Hillary Clinton we see on TV. She might be the first woman President but she is not the Clinton most people would elect. She is so cautious about what she says that it appears she will not take a position that she thinks someone might not like. We have no idea who she is as a Democrat or as a person. What a shame. HEY HILLARY! Get a real opinion. Take a position. Make a decision. Say something that rings true. OK you may never win a popularity contest but you could be a good President, a good Democrat, – if only you and everyone else knew what that meant.

We need to find a new way to have a conversation with a voting public that may not understand the meaning of words like paradigms, triangulation or overreaching, but will understand simple things like, a safe environment, peace on earth, justice for all, and an opportunity to be successful. People do not want to hear why they shouldn’t be a member of the opposing team, they want to know why they should want to be picked for yours. I hate to say it but you need a vision which includes; a strong and clear national security policy that doesn’t mean we have to go to war to prove we are strong, that allows a pro-life democrat to speak at public functions, and that takes into account that new technologies may mean we need to rethink old beliefs

How did we, the party of the people lose touch with the people? My guess it that we spent so much time in an unending search for the perfect way to slice the apple that we had no time or energy to eat the fruit. Let’s be honest, I can’t be your only friend. You need to find people who can figure out how to structure the party, develop winning strategies, train candidates and party workers, continue to stay competitive in fund-raising, and formulate a consistent party message that is attractive to a majority of American voters. And you need to find a Presidential candidate. Someone who can stop the political erosion. Someone who realizes that you need an update.

I believe that you have got to move forward with a carefully defined vision of what we want for ourselves and our families. We need to translate that which is right and good into that which is real and makes sense.. We need to begin a new dialogue with a whole lot of people because the American people are at a loss for where to go. And speaking of where to go, I’ve got to go write to Ann Coulter and tell her she should be ashamed of herself. Her mother must be so embarrassed.

All the best, we’re just sayin…


Darek Żukowski said...

Nie będę pisał po angielsku bo nie umiem. Bardzo podobały mi się zdjęcia w NG. Coś nowego i trochę zakręconego.
Trafia pan do moich ulubionych reporterów obok Michela Yamashit'y i Tomasza Tomaszewskiego.
Zapraszam też do mnie tyle że po polsku.

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