Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Democrat's prospects

The Lexington essay in this week's Economist says the Democrats won't win based on Republican screw-ups alone. Red State and Mighty Middle have already hit this one, but I'll add my thoughts.

Here's what I think about the two parties on the national level: I can't support the Republicans because they don't stand for the things I stand for. Now, the Democrats don't sand for the things I stand for either, but to their enormous credit, nor do they stand for things I don't stand for.

One criticism is that the Democrats need to advance new ideas. To this, Mike Reynolds sarcastically added: "Hmmm. A single, exciting Democratic idea. . . a single. . . wait a minute! How about. . . no, never mind." The thing is, with record deficits and an incompetent presidential administration, we don't need brilliant ideas. We just need a policy of not doing anything utterly moronic (or "responsible government," for a slogan that can be used in formal settings). We need to stop paying for pork with the public credit card, get competent people in important offices, not over rule scientists on science, not over rule military strategists on strategy, and not get the federal government involved in private medical decisions. All things the Bush administration has failed to do at one time or another.

The deficit brings the issue of new ideas into particularly sharp focus. Suppose someone became convinced that they could get all their nutrition through the air (something people have actually claimed to do). Would you try to come up with a new, exciting, alternative way for them to get nutrition, say, distilled water? Or would you try to get them eating again? The budget situation is similar: we don't need new, exciting ideas, just old fashioned common sense.

Unfortunately, the Economist article is right when it describes the Democratic party as paralyzed by internal conflict. This has so far kept it from taking a bold stand for anything, even common sense. If they'd do that, however, the Democrats would win. Yesterday, I quoted Protein Wisdom as saying that the Democrats need to "nuke their base" if they want to bring back moderate Republicans and independents. The truth is such people are often just as scared about the current track the Republican party is on. If the Democrats can forget about pleasing fringe interest groups and make a stand for sense, they'll get more than the 60% of moderates that Lexington says they need to win.

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