The morning after Republican Scott Brown not quite stunned Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts Senate race, I, like so many others, want to throw in my two cents. While many are urging the Democratic Party to move to the right, I'm looking at you Lieberman, that seems to be exactly the wrong way to go.
As a Democrat, I feel I'm in a position to talk about why many people are either turning away from the party or not showing up to vote. Here's my conclusion.
Really, really suck.
It's not that we have bad ideas, or unpopular policy, it's that we're governing as if Republicans matter. We have an overwhelming majority in both the House and the Senate, even with the Brown win. We have the American public behind us. Seventy some percent of Americans STILL want a public option. Yes, employment is a major issue, but with the numbers continually improving, we (as a party) have to accept that we are going to lose some folks who don't recognize it can't be fixed overnight.
Our main problem is that in spite of all the support on the issues, and all of the majorities we have, our electeds sit around on their thumbs, fretting and wondering how much they should water down what they want to do.
Here's a hint, when the electorate hands you a landslide presidential victory and the largest majorities in Congress in around 40 years, you go big.
The people who are walking around in Revolutionary War costumes with Lipton Tea bags hanging off their hats and signs that say "Gov: Hands off my Medicare" aren't going to vote for us whether or not we pass insurance reform. Ever. We can't satisfy them, and with our majorities we shouldn't even entertain the idea of trying.
President Bush didn't even win a majority of the vote in 2000. His response to that was "So what?" A w. is a w. for W. And he was right.
I disagree with nearly everything President Bush did as President, but even I have to admit he was a terribly effective president. When he wanted something done, he got it done. At the moment, we have folks like Lieberman, Nelson, and Stupak doing something Republicans would never ever consider doing by
I know not every bill is exactly what we want, but I'd a lot rather have our fairly pathetic Senate health-care bill than the Republican's plan which seems to be, mostly, "don't get sick." It's time to get it together and start passing meaningful legislation that helps people instead of hand-wringing and fretting about how much that meaningful legislation is going to tick off Glen Beck.
While I can offer assurances I will keep voting, working, and doing all I can to advance a progressive agenda, I can also strongly sympathize with all those who are disappointed that our party is acting like a bunch of pathetic, lily-livered weaklings. The lesson we take from this election isn't that we should moderate ourselves even deeper into the ineffective abyss, it's that it's time to wake up, flex some muscle and show voters we can deliver on our promises.
EDIT: Shortly after posting this morning, Huffington Post reported on THIS poll, basically confirming what I said. Voters punished the Democratic Party for being weak on health care and Wall St.