I need to apologize to you, Sir. You came on our program a while back and I suggested to you that the Democrats should propose some sort of platform of decisive action and you said "No, we've got these doorknockers we're going to put on people's homes."
- Jon Stewart to Howard Dean on The Daily Show, Nov 8, 2006
After feeling pronounced disappointment in the level of competence and scruples displayed by many of our national elected officials, I was quite pleased to wake up yesterday morning in an America where the Democratic Party gets to contribute to the national agenda. I am even more pleased in the time since to see that the Democrats will control both Houses of Congress come January, not just one. True, they may screw up this opportunity completely in the next two years, but I like the way that the Democratic Party generally leans than the Republican... making their screw ups more palatable to me. At the very least, some of the fat, lazy bastards in office, drunk on power have finally been kicked to the curb.
I recall reading some time back that the Democratic Party election strategy for 2006 would be to focus on local messages, rather than a unified, sweeping ideological mandate. There were many in the liberal left I think who saw this as a retreat; they wanted to make some grand articulation of liberal ideals that everyone could believe in. In restrospect, this choice seems to be a somewhat clever piece of campaign jiu-jitsu. Knowing that Karl Rove loves to run an extremely negative campaign, the lack of national message provided less fuel for the fires... and the Republicans were forced to run on their record.
Of course, I also think that the Democratic Party had also lost its will to go out and practice some good, old-fashioned press-the-flesh style politicing. The party had too long relied on organized labor and other proxy organizations to get out the vote. Those groups are still important, but so is meeting people, knocking on doors, and making phone calls. As Howard Dean noted in his interview with Jon Stewart, the Democratic Party kind of forgot how to go out there and go ask people for their vote. Certainly, many of the newly-minted, incoming members of won because they put people out there on the ground, and in the community. That's how democracy should work.
I hope that everyone is ready to roll up their sleeves and start working on creating a better government. God knows, we need it.
on 2006-11-09 at 5:00 p.m.
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