...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Friday, April 18, 2003
      ( 12:04 PM )
To Be or Not To Be
...A Democrat

Both Kos and Digby are lately discussing, in varying degrees, the Dems. Kos seems to feel that the Greens are still to blame for 2000, though he enjoys the debate of it. Digby feels the Democratic party doesn't really have anything wrong with it at its core – just its communication issues. I find myself thinking a lot on these issues lately. I, like Kos and Digby, really like Gen. Wesley Clark as a possible candidate. But I also really like Howard Dean. Dean has a major grassroots movement going, and I think that he and his supporters are the ones to watch in terms of pulling them onto the team that can beat Bush. While I'd love to see a Dean/Clark ticket, I'm not sure how realistic that is, and the mostly likely combo would be Kerry/Dean. For the first time ever, I am considering actually registering as a Dem so that I can vote in the primary for Dean.

I am one of the hated few-too-many who voted for Nader in 2000. I'm not a Green, I've always been independent. I still don't take the bait that we were the spoilers. Without any actual factual knowledge, I'd venture to guess that most of the Nader voters in 2000 weren't Greens, but rather disaffected and disappointed Dems --everyone I know who voted for Nader was not a Green. I also don't think that Nader voters were the "fringe." In fact, I think that they were more likely the heart of the Dem party, and most of that heart didn't vote in the first place. Gore's campaign stunk, and I will never agree that Nader was the cause of the problem. I don't believe we benefit from only a two-party system, and I think that we as a country would be much more responsive to the electoral process if there were more choices for us.

Money and corporate power has corrupted the Democratic party just as much as the GOP - the problem is not enough of it has come in to make the Dems competitive on a money or corporate level with the GOP. The DLC keeps trying to fake like they are the true Dems, but their only agenda is trying to raise that money/corporate support to compete with the GOP that way. They are false leaders of the Dems and I think most of the grassroots of the party can see that. McAuliffe is the worst ever leader of the party, in my view, because he refuses to make the right choices due to the pressure of the DLC. I can't understand why the party keeps him if they hope to beat Bush. I think Digby is right when he says that the Dems have the platform to win politically, it's just that they don't use the kind of mouthpiece system that the GOP does – and that’s where they are going to go down if they don’t fix it.

The Dems have the people numbers to beat the GOP's money, but whether those numbers will actually show up on election day, I think, will have to do with whether the Dems can get more savvy at peddling their message. There is absolute silence right now from the Dems on any issue that is worth challenging - from international policies to the budget. Why is this? Where are they? The status quo is the most powerful force in Washington, and I fear too many Dems have succumbed. I am going to vote Dem in 2004, we’re all going to have to do so to end BushCo’s reign. The problem is, that to sustain true change and leadership, it's going to need to be a Democratic candidate that truly inspires if we’re going to pull it out for the long term, and I'm not yet convinced the Dems are willing to put out the effort.

Dems can complain all they want about the "fringe" drawing away their power and getting the headlines and making them look bad. But is the fringe the "fringe" only because they are doing anything they can to get their message across since the party is so unwilling to voice ANY opinion on anything? If the party started acting like a proper opposition party, then I'm willing to bet that a large contingent of that "fringe" would disappear into the rank and file and the Democratic voter base would surge.

It’s just like the whole protest “debate.” People who insist they are protesters but can’t stand people who take direct action in the streets are like Dems who insist they are willing to do what has to be done to win, but just complain about the people who are actually trying to get some attention for the issues.

I’m going to vote Dem in 2004 - whether it will be out of desperation or inspiration, only time will tell.

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