Saturday, January 08, 2005

Appeasement at what cost?

Several people have asked why Senators such as Chris Dodd, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton were willing to speak out for election reform on Thursday, yet refused to vote yea for the Boxer / Tubbs Jones Ohio challenge. Good question, isn’t it?

I think most politicians are self-serving rather than principled. I assume their calculus was "if it is not going to change the outcome, why spoil my 'good working relationship' with the opposition whom I need to 'work with' on a daily basis." That is why they are willing to condemn the activities in Ohio (to appease people like us), yet vote nay or simply not show up (to appease the opposition). Sound familiar Mr. Kerry? We noticed you were on the other side of the planet during these proceedings.

You can bet that if the tables were turned, every Republican in the House and Senate would have stood as one and supported the challenge. That is why the Republicans are always kicking our collective ass; they stick together no matter how unethical. The Democrats cannot even stand as one when the righteousness of the cause is beyond reproach. Simply put, the Democratic Leadership is spineless and would rather appease than stand united on ethics. To quote Will Rogers: “I am not a member of an organized party; I am a Democrat.”

Until the elected opposition in this country is willing to stand up for principle rather than “me too” appeasement, the constitutional crisis that their lack of leadership has wrought will not subside. Acquiescence with the Republican crowd only succeeds in making you a “laughing stock” and an ineffectual loser. No one wants to follow or be a loser.

Here is an excerpt from a 1952 Address at the National Convention Banquet of the Americans for Democratic Action, given by Harry Truman:

“I've seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn't believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don't want a phony Democrat. If it's a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don't want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are--when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people--then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

We are getting a lot of suggestions to the effect that we ought to water down our platform and abandon parts of our program. These, my friends, are Trojan horse suggestions. I have been in politics for over 30 years, and I know what I am talking about, and I believe I know something about the business. One thing I am sure of: never, never throw away a winning program. This is so elementary that I suspect the people handing out this advice are not really well-wishers of the Democratic Party.”

Stop being losers Democratic Senators and Representatives. To quote Benjamin Franklin: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” It is only a short matter of time before you will all be out of office if you don’t aggressively confront our tainted electoral system, even putting your own self interests on the line to do so. Patriotism is selfless. If you are unwilling to risk it all, you will most assuredly lose it all. Conciliation is not the answer.

By the way Republican Senators and Representatives, if you don’t join in fixing the electoral process now, I promise you will someday be on the losing end. What goes around comes around.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kenneth said...

I think there's an important thread in what you write here: Politicians who put their political future above their principles sabotage their credibility. It's this lack of principled leadership that makes people look like "phonies", and what really submarined Kerry. It's what people like, for better or worse, in Bush: He may be wrong and simple minded, but he sticks to his (misguded, confused, frightening) principles.
And it's this idea that careerism is to blame that compels the electorate, at least in my opinion, to come out in favor of term limits and the like. It's why the Governator can accomplish things: He's not running for office, he's running a government. This starts a virutous cycle: Do what you think is right, people will like you for being principled, you gain political favor, you gain greater feeedom to act on principle... Too many folks continue to focus on getting re-elected, living to fight another day, scratching a back now for a future back scratch.
I don't know if term limits are the answer. But until the Democrats get some straight shooting, principled leadership, they'll continue to be bland and ineffective.

12:25 PM  
Blogger justice said...

Agreed!

12:54 PM  

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