Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Does Anyone Remember?
I don't think it is either naive or ridiculous to hope that a variant of James Stewart's speech during the run on the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan in It's A Wonderful Life would be a useful model for the Democrats to use as a campaign tool. On the other hand, I am so underwhelmed by the Democrats at the moment, that I really do wonder if they understand the historic opportunity they were offered in the previous national elections they won, and then pissed away.
In any event, in light of the Republican belief they will not only take over both houses of Congress but dismantle pretty much every legislative gain of the past four years (if I hear "Obamacare" one more time, I'm going to find the pollster or consultant who came up with it and punch him in the mouth) it shouldn't be too hard to remind people why they booted them out of office. Let's start with George W. Bush. Tom DeLay. Indeed, just mentioning a few names (Newt! Palin!) might serve as shorthand.
The simple reality is this - while the Democrats have stumbled badly the past six months (in particular on selling more stimulus to the American people), it was not the Democrats who created the many linked threads now wound as the rope from which our nation currently hangs. For decades we have heard that the government was the problem, that the market would solve every problem. Except, of course, when the market collapses, and the government needs to rush in and pass out checks to big banks and big businesses. Furthermore, the Obama Administration has just not done enough to explore the possibilities of further fiscal stimulus, particularly in light of the belt-tightening too many states have been forced to undergo due to legal constraints on budgeting and spending. Our current fiscal shortfall is indeed staggering when considered in and of itself. The economy is currently teetering not so much on "double-dip" as it is on near-collapse precisely because the potential gains from federal stimulus spending has been offset by the fiscal retrenchment at the state level. Demand is still low, and as the economy continues to worsen, it will go even lower.
Now is the time for bold thinking and action. None of that is happening, however, so the best we can hope for is for Democrats to remind the American people just how horrible the Republicans were, and just how much all their economic policies and principles led to our current mess, and how much their intransigence is making any attempt to make things better nearly impossible.
Of course, the distractions of gay marriage and the planned Manhattan Islamic Community Center are marvelous distractions, at least for the moment. Just as the threat of Iraq killing us all in our sleep was a wonderful distraction in mid-summer 2002 from the Enron collapse and the implications it had for the Bush Administration, some folks have found a wonderful little shiny object for everyone to look at in order to keep their eyes from the onrushing train bearing down on them.
While a holding action against ignorant nihilists regaining power is hardly a campaign slogan or tactic, precisely because it is all they currently have, I suggest the Democrats use it (although no one asked me . . .). Besides, it could be fun (Mark Foley) reminding the American (David Vitter) people just how horrible (Terri Schiavo) the Republicans were, especially in the dotage (Denny Hastert) of their reign.