Monday, April 16, 2007

Go Long, Go Strong

It was a possibility a mere six or so years ago you could legitimately get away from calling we in the progressive liberal world out of the mainstream of American politics. Those days are over and probably for a long time. If you can't point to anything else about the Bush presidency as a success you can at least point out that he has almost singlehandedly empowered the Democrats. The issue now is to get the Democratic politicians to grasp the fact that the majority of the country has come around to what those of us on this side of the political spectrum have been saying for way too many years. In today's New York Times Paul Krugman thinks that the Democratic politicians -- and their consultants -- should actually listen to the majority of America on the issues of Iraq, healthcare and stem cells and dozens of other topics. The media still tends to discount us as the extreme, but now the reality is that we are the mainstream:
It took an angry base to push the Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base — which was infuriated when Barack Obama seemed to say that he would support a funding bill without a timeline — to push them into confronting Mr. Bush over war funding. (Mr. Obama says that he didn’t mean to suggest that the president be given “carte blanche.”)

But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush’s leadership and doesn’t believe anything the administration says. Iraq was a big factor in the Democrats’ midterm victory. And far from being a risky political move, the confrontation over funding has overwhelming popular support: according to a new CBS News poll, only 29 percent of voters believe Congress should allow war funding without a time limit, while 67 percent either want to cut off funding or impose a time limit.
And, as Krugman explains, GOP candidates have a base that is out-of-touch on key issues. But that's not true for the Democrats, if they can ever grasp it:
Democrats don’t have the same problem. There’s no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants — an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all — are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians. Or, to coin a phrase, the only thing Democrats have to fear is fear itself.
This is the time for boldness. It would be a true disaster to be too cautious at this point in American history. Americans knows what is important and have firmly stated their positions as is quite evident from the most recent mid term elections and the most recent polls. We are in desperate need of leadership and we need a leader who can take us where America needs to be.

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