S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Big MSM Question

What are the Democrats doing to stand for ordinary Americans?
Just about anytime you want to look you can find story or commentary about THE BIG QUESTION: "Just What Do Democrats Stand For?"
Today's post examines that question with a digest of recent MSM stories.
Achenblog, a blog by WaPo writer Joel Achenbach, asked the question yesterday. I quote (his link),

As Rick Hertzberg points out in The New Yorker, the buzz in the news media and in political circles is that the Democrats are in "disarray." Supposedly they are struggling to find a unified voice, they don't really stand for anything, they're confused on Iraq, they can't even pull together on a censure-Bush resolution, and they're scrambling to find someone electable in 2008. . . I called my best Democratic Party source this morning and asked what his party stands for. He didn't hesitate:
"My shorthand on this, is that they are the party that fights for ordinary Americans, as opposed to the party that protects the interests of people who've already made it." [I quibbled, since, as someone who has made it quite well in life, he shouldn't be a Democrat. He stipulated that "already made it" means people who are quite rich -- well inside of the top 1 percent of income.] He said, "George Bush lives in the world of people who have not only made it, but their great-grandfathers have made it."
This year we will have an election. And several women candidates are running for Congress. Women stand for change. They "Wage Key Campaigns for Democrats" states this NYT headline today. Quoting from the article,
A net shift of 15 seats to Democrats from Republicans would turn over control of the House.
Democratic women are running major campaigns in nearly half of the two dozen most competitive House races where their party hopes to pick up enough Republican seats to regain control of the House. Democratic strategists are betting that the voters' unrest and hunger for change — reflected consistently in public opinion polls — create the perfect conditions for their party's female candidates this year.
"In an environment where people are disgusted with politics in general, who represents clean and change?" asks Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Women."
In the 435-seat House of Representatives, there are 67 women, 43 of them Democrats, 24 Republicans
Democrats are not united. The fact that there was little support for the Feingold presidential censure measure makes that very clear. He stands squarely for civil liberties and has done so for years. And I support Senator Feingold's leadership on this issue. So does Jon Stewart. Courtesy of blog for america, comes this great transcript from "the Daily Show" (3/22/06) interview of Senator Russ Feingold by Jon Stewart. Quote:
Jon Stewart: One of the things I've heard about the NSA act is that they really didn't explain very fully to the Congress what they were doing. Are you pretty clear that he broke the law, or is it that we don't really know enough about it and we need some sort of investigation? What's the actual issue?
Sen. Feingold: I've been watching this for three months, I'm on both the Judiciary and the Intelligence Committees, and I've been to all the hearings and we don't know everything about the program. What we do know is that there are no legitimate, legal justifications for it. They tried to sell the idea that when we voted to go to war in Afghanistan, that what we were really saying was that you should illegally wiretap Americans. And that's just ridiculous. There is no valid, legal basis for this. Everybody basically knows it, they're just afraid to stand up to the president. It's time that the president has to hear the voice of Congress and the voice of the American people. You can't make up your own laws.
Jon Stewart: Here's what I liked about it. What I like about it is, I'm not really frankly quite sure what censure is, I'm not even sure what a FISA court is, I'm not sure that I feel better than they were looking over the president's shoulder, because I don't know that much about it, but this feels like some attempt at accountability. And that's what I really like about it, because it seems like the worse you screw up with these guys, the bigger the trophy they give you.
So I like the fact that you're standing up to at least, even if it's symbolic, which it may very well be, that it's an attempt. So I appreciate that, and I thank you for it. And I hope that your colleages still let you eat at the lunch table with them.
Sen. Feingold: Thanks so much.
Democrats have ideas about what to do in Iraq and act on them. Representative Johm Murtha thinks we need to pull back from Iraq itself rather quickly. Senator Carl Levin has spoken our consistently and publicly for measured withdrawal from Iraq. And he has acted on his views. He recently went to Iraq with a group of U.S. Senators to let the Iraqi government know that U.S. patience is not unlimited. This story in the (3/21/06)Washington Post quotes what the Senator said during his recent visit:
A group of U.S. senators met with the prime minister of Iraq on Tuesday and urged him to speed the formation of a national unity government, warning that American support for helping Iraq could start to dwindle if there was too much delay.
"The American people are impatient," Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said at a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari. . . "There's been too much dawdling while Baghdad is burning," Levin said. "The leadership of this country needs to make the political compromises which are essential for a government of national unity to come into being.". . .
Warner and Levin differed over how much pressure the United States should apply on Iraq's political parties and leaders.
"Our continuing presence here is dependent upon their reaching a prompt political settlement," Levin said. "We cannot tell them who the ministers are, who should be in various ministries, but we can tell them that unless they make those compromises, that they cannot expect that we are going to have a continuing military presence here in Iraq."
What do Democrats stand for? The MSM reports in the several recent articles above that Democrats do have things for which they stand. And they are acting on what they stand for. These actions represent their principles:
  • Democrats fight for ordinary Americans
  • Democratic women running for office representing "clean and change"
  • Democrats want to hold President Bush accountable
  • Democrats want to hold Iraqi leaders accountable for compromise
My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is a poetic critique of television.

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