Greenberg said the Democrats' major weakness today is that "they do not know what they stand for, they don't know their policy direction, they don't know their underlying values, they don't know who they fight for."
As a Democrat, Greenberg can't really mean all of this, because if he did, he might as well be saying that there is no reason for his party to exist. If candidates of a major party truly don't have core beliefs and "don't know their underlying values," is there really any point to their participation, other than the raw acquisition of power?
The reality is that Democrats do know what they believe , they just don't know if they can afford to "stand for" those things in an election for national office. They do know their underlying values, but they don't know whether they can be completely open about them without risking an electoral bloodbath.
[C]onsider the issue of abortion. Can anyone deny that most national Democrats favor abortion on demand? They believe in it so strongly that they're willing to assassinate the character of anyone, not to mention filibuster judicial nominees who might disagree that it's a constitutional right. They're even willing to facilitate the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion.
Yet despite the fervency of their commitment against the unborn, they go to great pains to euphemize their position, saying they're actually pro-choice, not pro-abortion, and while greasing the skids to maximize the number of abortions, they insist they want to make abortion rare. Do you think they would play such games of deceit if they were as sure as they pretend to be that the majority of the public aligns with them -- and their abject extremism -- on this issue?
Even on tax policy, they are less than candid about their underlying philosophy. They candy coat their position by patronizingly peddling taxes as "contributions" and government expenditures as "investments." They shroud their socialistic proclivities to redistribute wealth by portraying confiscatory tax hikes on major producers as a refund of money that properly belongs to government. Similarly, they shamelessly depict across-the-board tax-rate reductions as gifts to the rich.
They have this nagging feeling -- mostly accurate, I might add -- that the majority of the electorate is not on their side, so they are usually reduced to opposing President Bush and Republicans instead of offering their own coherent policies, or, alternatively, running trial balloons to see what will fly with the public. After all, unless they get elected, they won't accomplish anything. So, they do have principles -- but they are unprincipled in their presentation of them. Or, if you prefer euphemism, call them "pragmatic."
Either way, Greenberg's advice that Democrats adopt a clearer message would likely be suicidal for them. So I hope they follow it.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Afraid To Take Off The Mask
There's a difference between lacking conviction and values and hiding them. David Limbaugh: