Monday, May 25, 2009

A word to Democrats: Leave the GOP alone

One thing I and I'm sure other Democrats, in email groups and from (D) leaning pundits, have been guilty of is giving the Republicans advice on how to bring their party out of the political wilderness. Our message: be more like us. Well, that stops right now for me and I hope for anyone else passing that along.

First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I have never seen a reason to vote for any Republican, ever, and I doubt that's going to change. However, my very first time volunteering for any campaign was when I was 14 and who I backed then was Richard Nixon - of course, at the time I thought he was the peace candidate when it came to Vietnam and bought his "secret plan to end the war" line. Little did I know his "secret plan" was to keep the war going until we "won," but I figured that out soon enough and became a lifelong Democrat because of it. I do vote for the person and their positions - it's not my fault they're all Democrats. And blah blah blah.

Back to the original point, I think that we need to stop giving unasked for and sure to be ignored advice to the GOP on how to run their party. After all, think back to when it was us Democrats who were the minority, couldn't get a presidential candidate elected, and the slew of articles from Republicans who were giving us advice about how to revive our party. You remember, how we should be more conservative and what a really good Democrat Joe Lieberman was and how he would save the Democrats. I'll wait for the gagging to subside. Didn't like it much, did ya?

Well, the upshot was that we didn't take their advice and finally started winning again. This may work the same way for the Republicans. We got the same questions back when we were on the outs that we're tossing at the GOPers now: Who's your leader? Are you just running on what you're against or do you actually stand for something? Can you tell us what it means to be a member of your party? I recall we had as much of a problem answering those questions back then as the Republicans do now too.

When it comes down to it, I don't know what the Republicans need to do make a comeback. It may happen by default if Obama stumbles badly, the Democrats in Congress could lose it by continuing to act like they are mewling little cowards in the face of the currently outnumbered GOP...who can say for sure. Who's correct in the GOP ranks - the ones who are saying their party needs to go further right or the moderates like Colin Powell that says they need to moderate their positions and allow more voices to be heard? Who knows right now. Can't say that I much care either, to be honest. Right now, I'm more than enjoying being a member of the party in power finally and I hope that doesn't change for quite a while. The cons enjoyed rubbing our noses in it when we were down and I'm not so pure of heart to say that giving it right back to them now isn't one hell of a lot of fun.

I do, however, caution strongly about taking the fact that we hold the reins now to mean that we'll hold them forever. I don't want to start seeing in print - online or otherwise - how our wins means we will have a permanent majority. Look how well that worked out for Karl Rove when he said that about the Republicans - and he was making the case that the Democratic Party was essentially the party of the coasts and big cities, just like I'm seeing the case being made that the Republicans are essentially a regional party based mainly in the South.

Besides the awfulness of the Bush years, we are also enjoying the pendulum swinging our way (given the temporary push the other way post 9/11). That swing actually started in 2000 when, if you combine the votes for Democrat Al Gore and Green Party Ralph Nader, marked the first time in 20 years that the majority of voters voted center-left. Had there been no terrorist attack on 9/11 (and a stronger Democratic nominee in 2004 than John Kerry) I daresay that George W. would have joined his Dad in being a one term President. That pendulum can keep going our way or turn around on a dime too.

Admittedly this is all from the viewpoint of the member of a party who even it's most conservative members would be considered ultra-liberal in the other party but the point still stands: don't completely count out the GOP quite yet. And stop trying to tell them the way out of being the minority is to be more like us - that's advice they soundly reject and rightly so.

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