The American voters did not turn on Barak Obama in this month's mid-term elections. They turned on the Democratic Party and too many of its candidates, who turned back to the old ways of the center-left, and chose to mask their social-democratic tendency and hide behind a center-right veil.
Too often and in so many countries, moderate and center-left parties, so-called or not so-called social democrats, are stricken with fear by political advisers, analysts and columnists, who warren of the people's conservative leaning. 'Don't tell the people the truth', they say, 'or you'll lose the election'. And so, in Britain, Germany, Israel, and more than once in the U.S., the left is struck down by voters who want honesty. 'If you are on the left then come forth and say what you believe and why you think it is the truth', ask the voters, 'We may not agree but at least we will understand the difference between the choices at hand'. However, when the left pretends to be the right, it is quite logical to prefer the real thing rather than the masked alternative.
When Obama won the 2008 presidential election, it was quite clear that the people wanted and respected his message of change. 'I have an agenda and it is different from the Republican one', said Obama, and the voters gave him credit. But in the 2010 mid-term election, the campaign was all about being as far away from the president as possible. What choices did that strategy propose to the voters? Everybody is displeased with the president, or so it seems by the campaigns, and we have a choice between those who are fervent about it (the 'tea party'), those who are clearly against it, and those who supported the president in the past 2 years, but now shy away from him without really explaining the difference. Who are we to choose?
What were democratic candidates telling the people by shying away from President Obama's policies? They were actually saying 'the republicans are right. We are heading in the wrong direction'. Is that really the kind of campaign that will get you reelected?
It is time for the left to throw away the masks. Democratic candidates should have told the people the truth: Yes mistakes have been made; Yes the job isn't finished; but Yes we are in the right direction: Government needs to steer the economy to safety, because we saw what a mess big business made if it; Government needs to take responsibility that every citizen have healthcare by far one of the greatest reforms in recent American history; Yes, Israel needs to be reprimanded for stalling the peace talks with continued building in the settlements; and Yes, the U.S. (under former President Bush) led Iraq and Afghanistan into mayhem and it cannot just leave those countries before they get back on the road to stability.
Tell the people the hard honest truth. Tell them what you believe. Show some courage, some tenacity. The voters will show their respect. Hide behind a veil of cowardice and the people will shun you out of office.