Sunday, March 19, 2006

No time for the timid

There are a growing number of "new" Democrats activated by the 2004 election who are frustrated with an overly cautious "old guard" faction in the party. It is no time for the timid. Too many Dems in Washington are scurrying for cover over the Feingold censure resolution, worried that they'll be they smeared as "extreme" by the right wing noise machine.

I've got news for them. They'll be smeared whatever they do. They might as well get smeared for taking a stand that inspires people to think they might just have what it takes to lead the country out of the mess we're in. The silence that greeted Feingold points up the degree to which Democrats have become the party of defense (and not in a good way).

But the fractiousness within the party and the defensiveness of the party establishment with respect to new activists has left them largely paralyzed, even as the Republicans self destruct. The attitude, as Digby satirically pointed out, is Don't Make Trouble.
This president is in the low 30's. Most Americans hardly feel the good news in the economy because the benefits have been rigged to go to those who make more than $250,0000 a year. He's made a fetish out of abusing his power with a non-stop assault on the contitution, international law and civilized norms. He has asserted a principle of executive authority that says he does not have to abide by the law. And it's extreme to think this deserves a mild rebuke from the body that writes those laws in the first place?
The online community and "new" Democrats wonder, if not now, when?

It is no time for the timid.
General Patton didn't believe in defensive tactics, he believed in attacking. He often told his soldiers, "When in doubt, attack." ... Like a boxer, they understood that once you got your opponent on the ropes, you had to keep at him until he went down. You couldn't let up and give him a chance to rest.
Things are changing, albeit slowly. I remind people that here in North Carolina, 35 year-old Jerry Meek became the state party chair in 2005, winning as an insurgent candidate against the "establishment candidate" preferred by Gov. Mike Easley. Meek has become a road warrior who crisscrosses the state weekly in support of party building. He is friendly to progressives and savvy about party politics.

Some of the "old guard" are threatened. Some "new" Democrats are frustrated. And the local fractiousness is reflected on the national level. Somehow these factions need to figure out how to trust each other and start working to turn red states blue again.

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