February 12, 2005 -- A Day of Reckoningposted by Mike at 1/18/2005 01:19:00 PM
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The race has rarely been so clear between those who want to make the Democratic Party "Republican Lite™" and those who want to make the Democratic Party return to its core progressive principles. One side believes that the reason Democrats lost in November was because our values don't mesh with the public's; the other side believes that the reason Democrats lost in November was because we never came out and told people what we were for, we just expressed ourselves as a negative, the "Not Bush" candidate.
I firmly believe that the reason we lost was because of the latter. Kerry never came out and said who he was for. He gave voice to the criticisms of Bush we were all feeling, but I really feel that most of the passion people felt for the 2008 campaign was fueled by the thought of "let's get this homicidal psychopathic drunkard out of the White House" rather than "oh yeah Kerry! he'd be a great leader for the country!".
When I learned that George Lakoff (who I wrote about here) had Dean's ear and that Dean had firmly embraced Lakoff's teachings in his campaign, I got even more excited. A DNC that embraces the ideas about political and cognitive thought that Lakoff is teaching would be a very successful movement. The turnaround would be a frickin' wonder to behold. It is for that reason that I wrote to all of the DNC representatives from Illinois, asking them to vote for Howard Dean.
Yesterday, thanks to Daily Kos, I learned who the alternative to Dean is: Martin Frost, the former Congressman from the state of Texas.
And I was absolutely horrified.
From the Dallas Morning News, via Kos:
Mr. Frost — running in a mostly Republican district — is trying to appeal to GOP voters in North Dallas.
Some of his campaign commercials show Mr. Sessions being in opposition to President Bush, while portraying himself as a tough, moderate Democrat.
He uses popular Republicans like Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and John McCain of Arizona to make his point. And one ad even casts fellow Democrat Ted Kennedy in the same liberal boogeyman role as some Republicans do.
Kos also points out the following excerpt from Frost's 2004 campaign website:
I am [...] proud to stand with President Bush whenever he is acting in the national interest. I broke with a majority of my own party to support the President's decision to send American troops to Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein and his murderous regime. Two years ago, I was the only Democrat on the Select Committee on Homeland Security to vote to create the new Department of Homeland Security and, unlike my opponent, I supported President Bush's bipartisan 'No Child Left Behind Act' to improve public education.
The choice is so very clear. This man here is most likely the most prominent competitor of Dean for the DNC chair, and he pretty much embodies the "Republican Lite™" concept of the Democratic Party.
If the DNC candidates vote him in, then I know that the Democrats are not going to offer up any useful resistance to the neocon movement of the Republican party. At that point, I will probably give up on the Democrats and officially become a "former Democrat." Especially if the Democrats are stupid enough to either put Kerry back up again in 2008 (want to know why he conceded so damn quickly? to save his future political career) or to put the ever-polarizing Hillary Clinton up (who would, no doubt, get the lowest popular vote a Democrat could get in the 2008 election).
Where I would go from there, I don't know. Maybe Dean'd spin off the Democracy for America movement into a third party? Or something entirely different. I'm not environmentally conscionable enough to become a Green, I think. Hell, this is enough for me - a very civically minded person, mind you - to consider giving up voting for President.
I am surprised, folks, because I hadn't expected this to be so important to me, but it is. The Democratic Party is deciding which path it wants to take to the future, and the paths being considered are a hell of a lot more clear than you'd expect them to be. If the party adopts Frost, the Democrats will become Republican Lite™, and there'll be no difference between the parties. If the party adopts Dean, the Democrats will re-envision their party and return to their core values much as the Republicans did in '68, and they'll have the support of tens of thousands of grassroots people who simply want someone to believe in. It could be a transformation amazing to behold ... or we could instead witness the Democrats firmly stand together, and with one voice, look America in the eye and say, "Same old. Same old."
Election Day2. February 12, 2005.
Hold your breath. This'll be a doozy.