Sunday, November 14, 2004

More unsolicited advice

Democrats are getting lots of advice from helpful right-wingers these days. In today’s Express-News we have local right-wing columnist Jonathan Gurwitz urging Democrats to “Shape Up” because Republicans “could use a worthy opponent.”

So the Republicans squeak by with the slimmest electoral victory since Woodrow Wilson and suddenly the Democrats are no longer worthy opponents? John Kerry gets more votes than Ronald Reagan did during his 1984 landslide over Walter Mondale and that doesn’t constitute a worthy opponent now? 55 million people voted for the Democrats this time, so I’m just wondering how many more would need to vote on our side before Gurwitz would consider us worthy?

But Gurwitz insists that the election results last week are in an indication that our two-party system in America is in dire jeopardy. So he has some suggestions on how we can “get our political house in order.”
Gurwitz says Democrats cannot effectively challenge Republicans even when they are going against their core principles by running up huge deficits with their rampant fiscal irresponsibility because we have “priced ourselves out of the marketplace of ideas with shrill attacks on the traditions and beliefs that animate most of our fellow citizens.”

Shrill attacks on traditions and beliefs? Could he mean supporting legal recognition of civil unions for gays and lesbians? Or maybe opposing Constitutional amendments to ban abortions so that desperate women will once again be forced to seek out unsafe methods to end unwanted pregnancies? Or was it because we didn’t believe that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to our security that justified a costly, expensive invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Nevermind all that. Gurwitz wants those of us on the left to “lose the hate” And he illustrates his point with the following hateful line: “When you allow the likes of Michael Moore and Ted Kennedy to take the Democratic wheel, they drive your party off a bridge into political oblivion.”
Get it! Ted Kennedy! Driving off a bridge! HAHAHAHA!! That’s a good one, Jonathan.
Funny, though, that one of the only actual accomplishments that Bush had to tout during his campaign was the education program that he got passed with the help of Ted Kennedy.

Next Gurwitz wants us to end our arrogance and condescension. Apparently, because some people have called Bush a moron, we are all guilty of that. I have called the Bush administration incompetent – a term also used by the conservative Economist magazine to describe them – but I acknowledge that it might be that they are just indifferent to governing the nation and don’t care what happens once they get their tax breaks approved.

Finally, Gurwitz points us to every Republican’s favorite part of the whole campaign – John Kerry’s consession speech. I’m sure if we Democrats would just start every campaign by conceding and then going along meekly with whatever the Republicans want to do then everything will be just peachy.

I don’t need Gurwitz to point out that we have some shrill and nutty people on the far left who probably frighten folks in middle America. I am aware of this. But I will point out that these folks are not in positions of power today and are not the ones calling the shots for the Democratic Party. The Republicans, on the other hand, have some very shrill and frightening people in very high positions of power in their party – starting with Tom DeLay.
Democrats don’t look to Michael Moore or to conspiracy nuts at Democratic Underground when they are drawing up legislation. But Republicans do look to the religious right kooks and other far-right groups when they draw up theirs. It is a problem that will eventually come back to haunt the Republicans if they don’t get their political house in order soon. Maybe I’m the one who should be giving advice to Gurwitz.

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