Food for thought in this post
on AlterNet's Echo Chamber
blog yesterday. AlterNet staff writer Joshua Holland talks about the Dems' seeming inability to put forward a unified and focused message:
Dems have been beaten up for years at the ballot, while scoring well on the issues that matter most to Americans in poll after poll. It's traumatized many of them; they're terrified of losing those last blue islands in the bright red electoral map, and that's led too many of them to take a much more tentative approach to politics than those of us in the grass-roots are looking for.
Still, that simplifies the conflict, he says. The real problem is more tactical:
Do you stand up for a set of progressive values and passionately oppose the right's agenda -- and let the chips fall where they may -- or do you "triangulate," and come up with ways to peel off those lower-income red-state voters?
It is the latter approach that has prevailed, and it's left Americans unsure of just for what Democrats, and progressives, really stand.
Holland notes this is changing, though, as grassroots organizations like MoveOn
and Democracy for America
begin put money behind progressive candidates in places like Texas and Connecticut. This will eventually be positive for the Democratic party as a whole, he says.
Support for progressive ideas will be more important than ever if, as is being projected, Dems make gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
They're going to be stuck with a huge deficit, they're going to need to extract us from Iraq and figure out how to inject some commonsense into the War on Terrrr [sic] and they're going to have to look hard at an economy with a middle class that's disappearing into the smoke and mirrors of globalism. How will they cope with those issues if they don't have a coherent governing philosophy?
The DP is going to need that "progressive vision" or they'll be beaten again by "a right that knows for what it supposedly stands."