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The Great Democratic Landslide Of 2008

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George Bush will go down in history as the new Herbert Hoover for the Republican Party, creating momentous changes in American politics that will lead to a realignment as powerful as the FDR coalition. Democrats have an extraordinary opportunity in 2007 and 2008 to lead the Nation to a post- Bush America and inaugurate a new era of historic patriotic reform in the tradition of FDR and JFK. Our great aspiration is that January 2009 will bring a new Democratic President leading an uplifted America, with up to 60 Democratic Senators, additional gains in the House, and a wave of more Democratic governors ahead of the next census and reapportionment. I served with senior Democratic Senators such as Lloyd Bentsen and with the House Democratic Leadership when Democrats were in control of Congress and have no doubt about this: Democrats have only begun to realize the full magnitude of rejection of Bush and Bushism, the full magnitude of our power in Congress to set the agenda through legislation and investigations, and the full magnitude of opportunity in 2008 for a historic realignment. Republicans are politically incarcerated by a politics of Bushism that is dominated by an extreme right wing base, a royalist economics that makes them servants of the 1% at the expense of the 99%, and a psychology of national division, fear politics and war fever. The traditional base of the Democratic Party is converging with the mainstream base of Middle America. Fighting Democrats and war hero candidates appeal to tens of millions of Americans in military families who know well the bad faith and incompetence of Bush war fever and war partisanship. The demographic wave of Hispanics is cresting with the Democratic wave of community that treats all Americans as members of the great American family. As Baby Boomers gravitate to older age groups that tend to favor Democrats, young people are gravitating to Democrats who will not rush to send our young to war, who will stand for social justice and economic opportunity for everyone, and who want to protect our planet from the greed and pollution that threatens the world our young people will inherit. The poor, the underprivileged, the victims of Bushism are regaining a spirit of empowerment as they saw that their vote really mattered last November, and a Democratic Congress fights for them. The age of tax cuts for the wealthiest is over; the fight for minimum wage has begun, and will be won. Men and women of faith are attracted by Democratic candidates who believe with President Kennedy that God's work on earth must truly be our own, and act on this belief. There is a growing movement among mainstream and progressive religious denominations who are roused to action against the politics of selfishness, greed and corruption that are hallmarks of the Bush era. Even the most conservative Christian groups in Karl Rove's base strategy face their own generation gap, as young people in their core religious constituencies take greater interest in working against global warming, genocide in Darfur, hunger and homelessness in America. As Bushism has incarcerated Republicanism into ever decreasing concentric circles of support, as growing majorities of Americans feel excluded and offended, the Democratic surge has begun to gather steam and is spreading. New England, Northeast states, the heart of the Midwest. Jon Tester triumphs in Montana and while Dorothy came from Kansas, so does Governor Sebelius who is leading a resurgent Democratic Party. The Southwest has now joined the wave with star power governors, growing demographic clout of hispanics, and a white-collar populism of social justice, fiscal integrity and support for military families. The surprise story of 2007 will be the sudden realization that Democrats are within reach of a stunning, breathtaking new majority in the Senate that could reach 60 Democratic Senators. In 2008 there are 21 Senate Republicans running for reelection and only 12 Democrats. This historical anomaly almost guarantees some Democratic gains, but look at the races today, state by state. Some of the highest quality Republicans in the Senate are at retirement age; others face very low popularity ratings, and in state after state there are prominent, powerful Democrats waiting in the wings, considering a Senate run. Watch the spectacle of Senate Republicans running for cover, desperately trying to escape the Bush undertow, knowing they can run but they can't hide, to use a boxing metaphor appropriate for Harry Reid, the former boxer who is handling the Senate brilliantly. Watch the Republicans in the House, with anger management problems from their loss of power. Dozens of them are voting for the Democratic programs skillfully advanced by Speaker Pelosi, while others, incarcerated by their ideology, are going on record against policies supported by the folks back home. Watch what happens when the Democratic Congress investigates the $10 billlion of Iraq reconstruction money that was stolen, ripped off, robbed or wasted through crony deals given to Republican pals, while our troops risked their lives. All of this, and more, create a historic moment similar to the eras that gave America a period where Democrats were the majority party with waves of renewal and reform from FDR and JFK. The only question for Democrats today: are we visionary enough to see it, and bold enough to make it happen? Everyone knows there were disputes between the DNC and some Congressional Democrats for much of 2006. Here is the magic moment for Democrats today: if we do our jobs in 2007 we can have it all in 2008. We can contest for every voter, in every state, in every district, on every issue, with every weapon but the price is this: we must be visionary and aggressive in 2007 and seize the moment. Welcome to the NFL. From now on, we are playing offense. Democrats should initiate the greatest effort for candidate recruitment in American political history beginning in 2007. We should find and support Democratic veterans for 2008; begin a historic campaign for voter registration, voter mobilization and honest elections; and bring together our grassroots, our state party chairs, our Congressional leaders in a bold alliance. I propose that Democrats chairs and leaders in Washington initiate a new age of political empowerment beginning with a Democracy Bond similar to the current DNC program, with the special purpose of going throughout the party to raise money for states to begin historic voter registration programs. As we honor Martin Luther King, why not plan a new Freedom Summer? Why not raise major money from the grassroots, mobilize our great entertainers, work with the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses, carry the message through the internet and progressive radio, and register a million new Democrats? And yes, it is high time Democrats put a little advertising money into Internet sites that have huge followings and I predict would raise a tidal wave of money for a cause they believe in deeply, which would help Democrats at every level. Why not use 2007 to mobilize Democratic war heroes such as Wes Clark, John Glenn, Bob Kerrey and Congressional heroes such as Jim Webb, Joe Sestak and all Fighting Democrats to go into the states, promote our veterans programs, and play an aggressive role recruiting 2008 candidates with promises to raise money and barnstorm in support if they run? Why not establish as a core principle of our party what Jack Kennedy said that makes us great: ask what we can do for our country? Why not mobilize the entire party to reach into the hearts of tens of millions in military families, and a hundred million in our houses of worship, with a call to arms to end homelessness among our vets, the homeless heroes, and then to escalate what we really should escalate, our idealism and passion to end hunger and homeless in every corner of our country? Why not use the first day of our 2008 National Convention not to ask voters what they can do for us, but to join our superstar entertainers with our most heroic leaders in a U.S.O. style concert, where one after another, each will rise to say what great cause they support, building a huge audience with their talent, sending a huge message to America with their hearts, and ours? Within our reach, is the possibility to rebuild the unity and spirit of America, to enter a new political age of idealism and unity, togetherness and greatness, leadership and inspiration. God's work will truly be our own. We are in this together. The age of Bushism has ended and the hour for renewal and reform has come. We should reach for greatness with the high aspiration of a new political realignment, a lasting Democratic majority, a new Democratic President with a Democratic Congress that is of the people, by the people, and for the people. If we do, future historians will write about the era of FDR, the era of JFK, and the era of what we begin in 2007. Lets roll. Note: This essay was orginally published by Fighting Dems News Service which can be visited at: www.fighting-dems.com
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on thehill.com. He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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