The Moose suggests that the GOP is paying the price for being slaves to their base.
After months of slavishly following the dictates of the Dobson crowd, the Bushies and their Republican sycophants are paying the price. Live by the base and die by the base has been the reigning philosophy of the Rovian crowd. The hard-core supposedly got them re-elected and now they are an albatross around their necks.
The GOP is suffering from the Dobson Syndrome named after the noted child psychologist and religious zealot Dr. James Dobson. The Syndrome strikes when the base is spoiled and coddled by an over-indulgent President which causes him to lose parental authority. The only solution? Taking them over his knee and giving them a good spanking - pretty unlikely from this Baby Boomer President who was raised on the teachings of Dr. Spock.
The new Washington Post survey reflects the primary cost of the pitiful pandering to the right - the alienation of the independents. This is the key finding,
"Ominously for Bush and the Republicans, a strong majority of self-described political independents--68 percent--say they disagreed with the president's priorities. That suggests Bush's mixed record in the second term on issues the public views as critical--particularly on Iraq and the economy--may be as much a liability for GOP candidates in next year's mid-term election as his performance in his first term was an asset to Republican congressional hopefuls last year and in 2002."
Democrats cannot necessarily celebrate the results of this survey. Consider this,
"For the first time since April 2001, Democrats (46 percent) were trusted more than Republicans (41 percent) to cope with the nation's problems. But at the same time, favorability ratings for the Democratic Party, at 51 percent, tied their all-time low."
Independents hold the key to the Democratic revival. While the Democrats must continue to oppose the Bushie agenda, they must also have an explicit non-partisan appeal to those who are unaffiliated. Yesterday the Hotline reported on a voter analysis by Diane Feldman (no link) makes an interesting observation that might apply to these indies,
"While voters understand that they are divided politically, morally and religiously, there is a predominant set of "shared ideals" that "transcend partisanship, race and class" -- "self determination, freedom of action, strong families, and a more just society." This poll shows that voters are "very dissatisfied with the state of political affairs" and "believe the country is falling short on some of" these crucial ideals. If Progressives can "clearly define themselves around these ideals" they will "broaden the debate about values, helping to detoxify the culture wars and forcing Republicans to face the contradictions between their unpopular agenda and voters' strong national ideals." This could result in successes in '06 "and beyond"
The challenge for Democrats is to be both partisans and conciliators. Sounds like an impossible task - not exactly because there is a precedent . Consider this passage from Bill Clinton's 1991 announcement speech,
"Make no mistake - this election is about change: in our party, in our national leadership, and in our country.
And we're not going to get positive change just by Bush-bashing. We have to do a better job of the old-fashioned work of confronting the real problems of real people and pointing the way to a better future. That is our challenge in 1992.
Today, as we stand on the threshold of a new era, a new millennium, I believe we need a new kind of leadership, leadership committed to change. Leadership not mired in the politics of the past, not limited by old ideologies..."
Dr. Moose suggests that Democrats need to reconnect with their inner Clinton. --