Let me begin by making clear that I am a Democrat. While some may think my opinions are too moderate or not in step with the "progressive" nature of the party the bottom line is I will be voting for the same guy in November as others in my party--Barack Obama.
What bothers me lately though is how my party seems to brush off things like the recent Paris Hilton ads against Barack Obama by simply saying they are more of the Karl Rove style of smear politics, or that the ads are some how ineffective because they are not issue-oriented.
Folks, get with the program. The ads are effective. The ads resonate. And you know why, because they get right to the heart of the matter--people think we are party out of touch with the average American and that kills me. How in the world can that be? How can we let this go on and simply brush it off as something people will dismiss?
Here is the problem with my party. Somewhere in Ohio there is a father who wants his family to actually sit down at the dinner table and eat together. There is a mother in Iowa who wants to be careful about what her children view on the Internet. There are parents in Michigan who want to attend church as a family. And there are parents somewhere in Missouri who pray their daughter does not dress like Brittney Spears. And how do certain people in our party react to these people? They turn their noses up and mock them. They act like these people are out of touch with America. They say the ads are baseless and will not work. Well, guess what? It is not whether anybody is right or wrong about how people should lead their lives but rather whether we as a party start respecting the attacks made on us. And we better start doing it right now before we lose another election for the White House.
I am tired of hearing those in our party say we should not stoop to the level of the Republicans. Well, I for one live in a world of reality. You fight fire with fire. I want Barack Obama to win in November because I believe he will best serve the future of our country. Am I willing to do something illegal to accomplish this? No. But, am I willing to get in the gutter and fight with the republicans over issues such as family values? You bet I am.
I am simply not going to stand by and watch the Republicans try to turn Barack Obama's strength into a weakness. I am not going to let people in my party just talk and give speeches about not letting the Republicans "Swift Boat" our candidate. It is time we take the fight right to the doorsteps of the families in the middle of America. The kinds of towns where people don't worry about celebrity endorsements but rather just want somebody in the White House with whom they can relate.
Perhaps there is a reason why we as a party are doing better in campaigns at the Congressional and Senate level. We make those races about local issues, and do not cower from groups that might not always be in step with the diversity of our party. In these campaigns we seem more comfortable taking the issues straight to the people and don't run away from talking about family values. Take a look at the growing diversity of the Democratic caucus in the Senate and you see that somehow we must be doing something right. Maybe we are better at retail politics compared to wholesale politics. Maybe we better start running our presidential campaigns in the same manner.
I have been somewhat pleased to see Barack Obama appear in the homes of families in Missouri and Montana before his trip to Denver for the convention. To tell you the truth I think these types of things are more important that the Rick Warren town hall interview. I would have liked to see more interaction between the families and Senator Obama, but at least it is a start.
We had what I call a take home test and we blew it. Who in their right mind did not believe the republicans would attempt to turn one of Barack Obama's strengths into a weakness? It is right from their playbook. We knew it was coming and we were not ready for it. We let the republicans once again dictate the agenda of the campaign.
In 1992 when Bill Clinton was victorious everybody credited it to his making the campaign about the economy. I agree in part; however, I say Bill Clinton won in November because people also became comfortable with "Bubba" and in turn they trusted him when he said he could fix the economy. You may not like their style but the Clinton campaign played offense.
And, folks, if you are not playing offense you are playing defense. I want the ball back!