Theres been a lot of discussion on the left in the past couple of years about the way we market ourselves to the American people. The DLC actually speaks of it in exactly those termsas if the party or the candidate were a product that needs to be sold to the voters. Theyve used this tactic, with some success (but mostly failure), for some time now, but most of us who come from the more humble portions of the progressive movement dont think much of it.
The reason we dont think much of it is that the party and the candidate are not the products. Our ideas are the product.
The DLC doesnt get this. Ground troops in the progressive movement do.
For instance, many of us have observed, time and time again, that many Democratic politicians have moved further to the right on issues like choice, gay rights, and gun control because they believe they can win over conservative voters by doing so. Weve also watched this theory proven wrong, time and time again. Weve told them it doesnt work. Weve written articles, and books, and blog entries, and letters to the editor telling them that it doesnt work. Voters dont want to be placatedthey want something to believe in.
Inconsistency is one of the biggest problems amongst Democrats. Constant waffling over issues running the gamut from clean elections to welfare to war keep progressives from designing a solid platform based on ideas, not issues.
They go on television and say God Bless America and talk about changing the tone in Washington, and it all sounds very folksy and inviting. President Bush stands at a podium on Capitol Hill and tells them that the American people are not going to ask for a permission slip to defend themselves, and they eat it up.
Conservatives simply hide their real agenda in order to appeal to voters. They package it as traditional, and inside the package is a cluster bomb made up of corporate welfare programs, environmental deregulation, and a general system of corruption that the voters of this fair nation would never elect.
Democrats, on the other hand, hide their real agenda because they are stupid. They assume that the people must be voting for conservatives because the people are becoming more and more conservative themselves. What they dont realize is that the people are drinking the sand because they dont know the difference. And in the absence of real leadership, they will choose that which appears more authentic.
You cant appear more authentic when you are copying your opponent. Duh.
The joy of being a progressive today is that the majority of the American people are on our side. When voters are polled on the issues, they come out more favorably toward progressive positions than toward conservative positions.
Let them hang themselveswe dont have to do it for them. Certainly, adding fuel to the fire when necessary is only sensible, but this maniacal concentration on what the other side is doing gives them all the time in the world to get their act together and us no time at all to play catch-up.
We dont have to hide our agenda. We dont have to lie to the American people. We dont have to move to the right and we dont have to invoke God and we dont have to make them afraid and we dont have to give in.