Lots of confusion about the way the Democratic leadership in DC acts
. They're handling the SCHIP thing pretty well, they passed ethic legislation that contains everything they promised, they passed a minimum wage increase, they backed down with the last FISA bill and stand ready to give into the White House's demands again
, they talk tough then always give up when it comes to Iraq War supplementals, and on it goes. Progressives all over the country are frustrated. People are using this political schizophrenia to bolster their arguments that there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans. Theories are floated - so many and so often it's impossible to begin to link to them, just look around - about this
Senator belonging to Such-n-Such, Inc. and that
Representative is in bed with XYZ Group.
But that's not the problem. All of this misses the real issue, and that is how DC Democrats simply don't believe the polls which say the majority of Americans agree with them about healthcare, about Iraq, about foreign policy and defense. They certainly don't believe the polls which say that a majority of Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to competently handle a War on Terror.
Under the leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi the DC Democrats have pushed and fought for the types of things in which Democrats have held traditional advantages: wages, ethics, protecting massively popular entitlement programs (especially when the Boomers are all starting to get their SS checks; really, what was the GOP thinking on that one?) - pretty much all the domestic policy stuff that has proven to be a winner for the Democrats over and over and over again.
But when it comes to the things that the conventional wisdom
- that is to say, the accepted views of pundits like David Broder, Maureen Dowd and other parasites on the body politic - believes favor the Republicans, the Democrats have caved again and again. The War in Iraq, limits of government law enforcement and war-making authority, the introduction of new entitlement programs such as universal healthcare.
The High Elders of the Pundit Class have been saying since Reagan's election that the USA is a basically conservative nation, conservative in religion, in social policy, in fiscal policy. This has been repeated ad infinitum, ad nauseum
until it is etched on every politician's brain all over the country. That has put the Democratic party in the unnecessary position of believing that it needs to sell its policies to the public by means of subterfuge and stealth. Democratic policies need to be enacted despite Americans, for their own good.
This, of course, is not true. American can't really be described as "liberal" or "conservative." What we can say is that there's an awful lot of Democrats out there, and there always has been. And for the last few years, the number of Democrats has been increasing greatly, far outpacing the growth of the GOP. These last few years Americans' opinions have shifted in a massive way to favor the Democratic party and its policies, not because we're all now liberals, but because of the massive corruption, incompetence and disdain for the Constitution evidenced by the GOP along with an economy that, while giving us record CEO compensation and DOW numbers, has pretty much sucked for most Americans.
Reality is that this is a golden opportunity for Democrats, not only politically, but in terms of enacting good, solid policies that will help this country. Protecting Social Security as it is and ensuring Medicare's continued solvency are not unpopular ideas that a reluctant public needs done with or without its approval. Universal health coverage of some sort is an absolute winner politically. And of course the American people, in spite of incessant war cheerleading, wants out of Iraq right now.
That's reality. The question is, will the DC Democrats ever wake up to reality, to 2007? Or will they remain stuck in the alternate universe of the Beltway where the GOP is the permanent majority, even when it isn't?