Karl Rove decided to paint our Democratic mainstream leaders as wishy-washy wafflers and the leadership, so far, has done everything in their power to prove him right. It is almost as if he has them hypnotized. Time and time again a Democrat makes a strong statement, we the rabble start to get energized, then the Republicans whine and moan that it's unfair, and either the Democrat himself or several of his or her Democratic colleagues stumble over each other to be the first to take it back. Compare that with the Vice President who, right on the Senate floor, told a Democratic Senator, "Go fuck yourself," then threw up his hands like Scarface and practically said, "Who else wants a piece of me?" Who would you rather vote for, Jack Bauer, or whatever Bea Arthur's wimpy husband's name was on Maud?
Jon Stewart, E.J. Dionne, David Sirota and others on this site, and Paul Begala and James Carville in their new book, Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future all sing the same tune: the Democratic leadership needs to grow a spine. When will they ever listen? Rove has Bush say, "I don't care what the polls say, sometimes you have to be a man and make the tough decisions." They have created a character, the strong, (heterosexual) cowboy as President and they rarely allow anything in the press that doesn't support that narrative. In a few days I will write about how I think we can best combat their powerful symbology.
I watched Harry Belafonte being grilled by Wolf Blitzer the other day. Hearing him quoted so often calling Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world," and the Office of Homeland Security a "new Gestapo" I cringed. Mr. Blitzer was much harder on him than he has ever been on anyone from the extreme right and he kept pushing Mr. Belafonte for an apology. To his credit Belafonte didn't back down. He explained himself, parried and re-attacked the Bush Administration with lucidity and passion. He didn't go on TV to let Blitzer rub his face in his own shit like a naughty puppy who'd pooped on the rug. Instead he came with his own agenda and used the airtime to voice it. In other words, even if you don't agree with all his rhetoric you saw a man with balls up there. I can't remember the last time I saw someone left of center on a major news outlet with so much strength.
David Sirota has it exactly right when he says that a huge problem is the entrenched Democratic consultocracy. For several election cycles now their "conventional wisdom" has been consistently, howlingly, off the mark. But why should they care? It is in their best interests to always play it safe. They have long lunches win or lose. They play squash with their Republican counterparts win or lose. Politics for them might have once been a passion but now it's just a (cushy) job.
They need to get out of the way and remember that politics is a means to secure a brighter future for our nation and the world.