In American politics, exceedingly few positions generate overwhelming agreement across the ideological spectrum. Even propositions that ought to be uncontroversial -- such as whether there is scientific evidence for evolution or whether Saddam Hussein personally planned the 9/11 attacks -- produce sizable portions of the citizenry lined up on each side. One notable exception to this rule is the issue of whether the current U.S. Congress is doing a poor job. That question produces a remarkable consensus that is close to unanimous.
If simply voting for more Democrats will achieve nothing in the way of meaningful change, what, if anything, will? At minimum, two steps are required to begin to influence Democratic leaders to change course: 1) Impose a real political price that they must pay when they capitulate to -- or actively embrace -- the right's agenda and ignore the political values of their base, and 2) decrease the power and influence of the conservative "Blue Dog" contingent within the Democratic caucus, who have proved excessively willing to accommodate the excesses of the Bush administration, by selecting their members for defeat and removing them from office. And that means running progressive challengers against them in primaries, or targeting them with critical ads, even if doing so, in isolated cases, risks the loss of a Democratic seat in Congress.
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