The Backseat Philosopher makes a thoughtful appeal to fellow Democrats, arguing that they are far less understanding than the deem themselves to be. He cautions against concluding that Democrats must now be tougher and meaner, and suggests instead that they need to begin listening to the arguments conservatives are making and responding to them substantively.
He goes on to list many conservative arguments which Democrats typically dismiss with slogans and sound bites, but which need to be engaged and responded to respectfully and responsibly. I think he’s right, and I think both parties could benefit from this.
If I could add one thing to Andrew’s observations it would be this: Democrats could do themselves a world of good by learning how to criticize their own.
The obvious example is Michael Moore. “Fahrenheit 911” is a work of total propaganda, a deliberate effort to mislead and distort the truth through selective editing and emotional argument. The proper response from Democrats would have been to completely distance themselves from this film and disassociate themselves from Mr. Moore.
Instead, Democrats went out of their way to embrace Moore. They recessed the Senate to allow Senators to attend a viewing of the film, after which they praised it as fair and accurate. John Kerry and his campaign staff adopted Moore’s falsities as part of their own talking points. Moore was given a seat of honor between ex-presidents at the Democratic National Convention.
There simply has to be a higher standard for membership into the Democratic cause than hate and anger toward the opposition. The enemy of your enemy is not your friend; in fact, sometimes he is your worst enemy. Until Democrats, particularly those in leadership roles, learn this, it will be very difficult for them to capture the hearts, minds, and votes of the American people.