Saturday, July 16, 2005

Democrats in Disarray

Daniel Solove

In a recent op-ed, my colleague Jonathan Turley (law, GW) points out that the Democratic leadership has been wildly inconsistent and ineffective on key issues:

As the White House comes closer to a nomination, the Democratic Senate appears in near-total disarray. Conflicting statements from Democratic leaders appear to be ferocious one day and fawning the next. What is clear is that there is a dangerous and growing disconnect between Democratic leaders and their base. . . .

Consider the filibuster proposals. The Democratic senators initially laid out a clear, principled position that they could not allow a vote on at least four of the pending appellate judges. While some of us did not agree with that position, we could at least understand it. Then the Democratic senators suggested that they would agree to allow the Republicans to have up-or-down votes on some of these candidates if the GOP agreed to bar some others. As part of this deal, they left it up to the Republicans to pick who would be confirmed and who would be rejected.

The Republicans rightfully called foul about such a crude head count. It was a position entirely divorced from principle. Then came the filibuster deal itself. Seven Democratic senators agreed to a proposal that protected the right of the filibuster while allowing some candidates to be confirmed. The result was a disaster for the Democrats. To this day, most people cannot figure out what the Democrats got from the deal. The four candidates that the Democrats had vowed to filibuster as the previously deemed "worst of the worst" were allowed to be confirmed. . . .

Senator Reid's announcement that he would support conservative stalwart Antonin Scalia for chief justice continues the confusion. . . .

After vehemently opposing Mr. Gonzales only recently for a political appointment, Mr. Reid was saying that he could support him for a lifetime appointment where he would interpret the law for the nation. Mr. Reid's position on Mr. Gonzales has led to a further erosion of credibility for the Democrats. For Democratic stalwarts, Mr. Gonzales appeared marginally pro-life but he also appeared strongly pro-torture. . . .

For now, the coming battle may be best described by that English bard as "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
For some time, the Democrats have been in quite a disarray. The Republicans control all branches of government and are about to get even more power when they appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court. The Democrats are still reeling.

The problem goes beyond these recent events. It goes to the basic strategy of the Democrats. What strategy you ask? Exactly . . . there really is no coherent strategy or plan.

The Democrats lack clear messages or unity. They cannot effectively communicate their ideas to many Americans despite the fact that many of their policies would benefit a large majority of Americans.

What needs to be done, I think, is for the Democrats to figure out what their core commitments are, articulate them clearly, and stick by them. Democrats need to unite behind these basic commitments and hold the line. They need to sell them to the American people . . . which is something they are not doing right now. Instead, the Democrats' only hope seems to be that the Republicans screw up or splinter apart. The Democrats seem to be in such utter disarray that I really wonder whether there is much hope for the future of the party.


That's the problem the Democrats have always had problems with unity. They all go in different directions. I'm reading a book titled "They only look dead" by E.J. Dionne jr. and in it he talks about the infighting that took place during the first two years Clinton was President.

The Dems had control of the house and the presidency during those two years and failed to get much of Clinton's policy passed. It was due to splits within the party. Also alot of things that Clinton did like Nafta, while approved by the GOP were at the expense of the support from his own party. He split the party into two or more factions.

The party if it's ever going to go anywhere has got to learn about unity and holding the line.

I think you also have to confront the very real possiblity that, when you find your core values, you'll also find that most people don't share them. The universe does not come with a guarantee that you can have what you really want.

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