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October 23, 2005

What Democrats Stand For

-- by Dave Johnson

Kevin Drum has a good post on everyone's favorite subject: "What Democrats Stand For." He points to one source who learned from focus groups that the public perceives,

The purpose of the Democratic party is to help the poor and the disadvantaged. [. . .] if the purpose of the Democratic party is to help the disadvantaged, what can the party possibly offer to the overwhelming majority of Americans who see themeslves as middle class?
He offers that the
gnawing stress and uncertainty that has always afflicted the daily life of the poor is increasingly afflicting the working and middle classes as well: stagnant wages, booms and busts in income from year to year, disappearing pensions, predatory lending, unreliable healthcare, and the constant, everpresent background fear of being laid off and falling into a hole you can never dig yourself out of.

This growing instability affects a huge swath of workers in the United States, and it's something the Democratic Party should dedicate itself to addressing.

Let me sum that up as I see it: The Democrats are the political party that created the middle class (working hand-in-hand with organized labor), and are now fighting to keep the middle class from falling back again. It's the party of the people, not of the rich and corporations. Now that the country has had a good, long taste of the Republican agenda and its effects, they might be ready to hear that.

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 23, 2005 1:36 PM

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Comments

Ya ever think the reasons the Repubs are so popular among the Jesuslanders is because they're all wannbes? They wanna be rich, they wanna have power, and they wanna emulate the party who portrays those characteristics. As long as the Dems are viewed by the ignorant as 'bleedin' heart libruls' the Repubs will have a foothold.

Posted by: The Fixer at October 23, 2005 2:42 PM

What a typical Drum crock of shit. The democrat party is no less the party of NAFTA, the WTO and the globalized New World Order than the repugs. Drum is equally deceptive as any repug. Actually he is more deceptive than the repugs -- nobody believes the repugs for a moment that they care about anyone but the obscenely rich.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2005 4:34 PM

As Truman said, if you want to live like a Republican you have to vote Democratic. That's all too painfully true but it's no longer obviously true because the Republicans have gotten away with defining what the Democratic Party is for so long. What i didn't like about Clinton is that he bought into the Republican definition and moved the party sharply towards the right.

I admire Drum for at least beginning to try to work towards a definition. We'd all better start doing that, and start right now. It's obvious that the slugs we have in Washington aren't gonna do it. I agree with Richard that, especially since Clinton, the Dems are pretty much as bad as the Repugs. But as I've said before many times, we'll get what we put up with. We can't rebuild the party unless we get off our own asses, define our own values, and start fighting for them. Starting at the local level.

Posted by: MJ at October 23, 2005 4:48 PM

Drum seems to focus on focus group perceptions and works the perception angle from there. His post is minimally related to the substantive, underlying reality.

That's a different battle.

Posted by: Bribes at October 23, 2005 8:39 PM

Drum's post focuses on focus group perceptions and works the perception angle from there. His arguments are minimally related to the substantive, underlying reality.

Posted by: Bribes [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2005 8:41 PM

The American public was ready to listen to this message back in 2000 when it was the theme of Al Gore's convention speech. While Cokie and the Beltway Babblers screamed about class warfare, Gore's poll numbers shot up.

Then, for reasons known only to himself, Gore reigned in his fiery populist themes and moved toward the usual bland bullshit. The reason it worked for him was that the country really didn't know who Gore was and at the convention he told them. He should have kept it going.

And given that he won the popular vote, the Democratic Party should have made it the center of all their rhetoric.

To this day, the party, as a whole and particularly the leadership, refuses to stand up for the people the way that Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson and, at least in his 92 campaign, Clinton did.

Posted by: James E. Powell at October 23, 2005 10:44 PM

Clinton never stood up for anything but Clinton (and consequently the economic elite). But he was a real genius of deception.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2005 1:57 PM

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