The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats
The Republicans are (or at least pretend to be) a monolithic bloc. Remember in the 2000 Presidential campaign, how McCain, war hero extraordinare and all around Good Guy, got savaged by the Bush camp (including their talk-radio pit bulls)? The independant McCain had no real chance aginst the docile sock-puppet Bush, but the degree of hysteria was impressive. The ultimate Republican sin is stepping out of line and "compromise" is a dirty word. They have tiny majorities in both houses of Congress, and are behaving like they have a landslide mandate.
In Europe, the Democrats would be a loose coalition of splinter parties. The Democrats are a coalition; to get anything done, you have to create a consensus among a whole bunch of competing interests. Compromise is a way of life. Unfortunately, the Democrats expect the Republicans to play by the same rules. They don't. Republicans don't compromise and they feel no necessity to keep their promises.
The Democrats really need to grow a spine. Since the Republicans took over (and I use the term advisedly) in 2001, they have had one media and legislative success affer another, coupled with disasterous results of their policies (how is your pension plan doing?) Throughout this, the Democrats have been trying their usual keep-everything-calm rhetoric while trying to make deals. The Republicans just fire up the hate machine, take the concessions, and ignore the promises.
The Dems need to do three things:
- Speak up. Get out the message of exactly what the Republicans are doing. Hit hard on the "look at what they do, not what they say" aspect. Yes, the Press is giving Georgie Bush a free ride. That just means you have to work harder.
- Get to work. Filibuster the loony right-wingers that the Republicans are nominating as judges, just like the Republicans did to Clinton's nominees. Work against the phony "economic stimulous packages", "deregualtion", and "rationalizations" that are basically corporate/rich guys giveaways. Work against the erosion of personal liberties that has become the hallmark of the Bush administration.
- Build bridges to the few remaining Republican moderates. It wouldn't take many defections to bring the whole Republican program to a screeching halt.
Hard work? Yes. The alternative is to just drop 'em, bend over and take what you get. Don't expect lube.
And don't forget who controls our fancy new computerized voting machines.