Thursday, November 17, 2005

Voter Demands "Ferocity" from Dems

The Ol’ Perfesser and the Slangwhanger-in-Chief went to the same high school and university long ago, though we were not fellow-students. I call him after baseball’s legendary Casey Stengel not because his grammar is inchoate – far from it. No, it's because he is not only a genuine professor (teaching vastly more important things than how to get Billy Martin to bunt) but also a legend, however localized. He graced the Master Teacher’s Chair of English that is (totally coincidentally) named after my grandmother, whence he repeatedly and continually demonstrated – here’s the kicker – an ability to interest Southern Catholic high school boys in the novels of Henry James! This is, to my mind, a far superior level of teaching skill than that shown by "driving Euclid into tender heads to toughen them." So this week I got into an e-mail discussion with the Ol’Perfesser, who is far harsher than I am about the Democrats’ activities.

The Slangwhanger-in-Chief said:
Kerry rips Bush a new one. Kerry's doing his job better than Bush is doing his... (and forwarded him the Kerry speech that begins this blog.)
The Ol' Perfesser said:
Thanks. But, tell me, other than this Democratic (Kerry's) plan to withdraw from the war, what other specific solutions to the other several problems (environment, taxes, etc.) has the Party put forward? To me, the Democrats seem very active in condemning Republican moves – and rightly – but this, Kerry's plan to get us out of Iraq, is the first sign I have seen that they have specific plans to correct the rest of the mess the nation is now suffering.
The Slangwhanger-in-Chief said:
Both the rightwing Republican media (Faux, MSNBC), the regular Republican media (Houston Chronicle, Wall Street Journal), as well as the respectabilist corporate media (networks, Washington Post, NY and LA Times), have all been selling the story, "the Democrats have no ideas," when what they mean is, "the Democrats' ideas have been undervalued, especially in the media." As they always have, the Democrats stand for keeping Social Security healthy, not turning it over to the stock market. The Democrats stand for funding public schools, not private academies. The Democrats stand for paying living wages, not outsourcing jobs abroad. The Democrats stand for upholding pension law, not letting corporations hide behind bankruptcy. The Democrats stand for wage equality for minorities and women, not white male economic supremacy. The Democrats stand for caution on the Iraq war, not recklessness. The Democrats stand for less taxation of the middle class and more taxation of the rich, while the Republicans fight the latter and neglect the former. The time for fuller development of Democratic alternatives is as we approach 2006, so that when people vote next year, they know that not only will Democrats not repeat Republican mistakes, they will begin rebuilding from the ravages the Christian-Taliban anti-taxers have enforced. So it is right to be negative now, and to move forward in the next year toward more positive positions. Pelosi in the House and Reid in the Senate are on the right track, although handicapped by the traditional institutional caution of Democrats in Congress, which has seen Congressional Democrats trail far behind their constituents’ more civilized attitudes for at least as long as it has been since the Vietnam war split the Congressional wing of the party away from the rest of us. They are finally beginning to oppose Republican lunacy with Democratic common sense. They have begun, and will continue. As for plans, I would cite about "Dems on the Offensive" where they note that “House Leader Pelosi and the House Democrats have unveiled The Innovation Agenda. A direct hit on the right wing message machine's meme that Democrats have no ideas (even while they steal them), the agenda ties together support for higher education, small businesses, scientific and technological research and development, energy independence, and access to telecommunications infrastructure in one package designed ‘to ensure that America remains the world leader’ in business and technology.”
The Ol' Perfesser said:
2006 is hard upon us. How much closer need we come to it before the Democrats begin to state positively and with the greatest ferocity – and widest publication – exactly what we intend to do. (I know what they stand for; but in all of the blasts against the Republicans, I don't see or hear specific positive plans for its application.) I have before me the recent plea for funds from Pelosi which – finally on page 3! – does get about as specific as one can get about positives without precising bills to effect them. Good. But the Pelosi letter has no provision for making donations by internet! And where are the ads on TV and radio, and in paid advertisements in newspapers on these very points, paid for by the DNC? We Democrats have been called whining wimps -- with more justification than I am inclined to admit publicly.
And there he had me. I know we are spending on targeted ads for various schwerpunkten into the enemy lines but unless you happen to be in one of those markets, or spend too much time in the campaign- junkie blogosphere, you'd never know. And he's right about direct mail not colocating with internet appeals. But I nonetheless take it as a good sign that a regular Democratic red-state voter is eager, impatient and full of urgency that the national party make a better public case for itself than it has been doing.


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