Monday, December 13, 2004

It's Bubba, Stupid!

The Moose urges donkeys not to forget the fella who once brought them to the dance.

In the aftermath of the election, the Moose was upbeat about the prospects for the donkey. He remains so. The true Republican agenda is genuinely outside the mainstream, and a smart Democratic opposition will be able to expose it and eventually prevail.

Democrats should not fear a debate about various issues such as foreign policy or about the general direction of the party. A serious, but not acrimonious and ad hominen, exchange can be useful to improve the future fate of the party.

The Moose believes that there is a tried and tested formula for the Democratic Party's resurgence. Indeed, much of the blogosphere debate about the donkey's future seems to be occurring in a historical vacuum. To recap, by the early nineties, it was thought that the Republicans had a lock on the White House. After twelve long years wandering in the wilderness, the donkey gained the Presidency in '92 because Bill Clinton picked the G.O.P. lock.

Clinton was successful in large part because he played against type. He ran as a "different kind of Democrat" who was tough on crime and welfare. The watchwords of his candidacy were "community, responsibility and opportunity" which were at the heart of the New Democratic philosophy.

When Clinton himself abandoned the New Democratic approach in the first two years of his Administration pursuing an anachronistic health care plan instead of advancing welfare reform, Democrats paid a heavy price. When Clinton returned to Clintonism after the '94 debacle, he was re-elected and Democrats made gains in '98 reversing the "six year" setback precedent of incumbent parties.

The Moose knows from where he speaks since at that time he was an elephant. Before impeachment, he attended countless meetings where Republicans fretted that Clinton had gotten their number and their ascendancy was threatened. Bubba successfully co-opted Republican wedge issues and advanced a political agenda that was at once fiscally responsible and progressive. The essence of Clintonism is advancing progressivism in a conservative age.

Over the past two election cycles, however, the donkey has largely abandoned the distinctive Clintonian approach of being a "different kind of Democrat." This approach is not so much left, right or center, but rather "creatively progressive."

Although the Moose is not a donkey, he believes that it is imperative for the future of this country for a progressive alternative to prevail over the Republican plan for our government to become entirely subservient the malefactors of great wealth. And the Moose is intimately familiar with the Rove, Delay, Norquist crowd. Trust him, Democrats, whatever foes you might think you have in your party they pale in comparison with these folks.

Dismissing the New Democratic movement is essentially the same as rejecting Clintonism. It would be as if the Republicans in the 90's turned their back on Reaganism. In fact, conservatives did everything possible to enshrine the Reagan legacy.

Yes, Clinton had certain obvious personal weaknesses. But that doesn't mean that you throw the Bubba out with the bathwater! Unfortunately, impeachment halted the transformation of the Democratic Party. Perhaps, that is why the right pursued impeachment so vigorously. The DeLay gang knew a threat when they saw it.

The Moose is not making an argument for enshrining nostalgia for Clinton as a strategy for the future. Is there room for modernization in any movement? Absolutely. But that does not mean that you disparage your birthright that brought you to power after years in the wilderness.

Moveon.org is fine, but Don'tforget.com is imperative.
-- Posted at 9:00 AM | Link to this post | Email this post