Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Problems for Democrats

Now that the whole world is talking about the serious possibility of Republicans loosing serious power in the coming November election, Democrats are looking more like of types who count chickens before eggs hatch. There are serious problems for Democrats which very likely can result in Democrats not winning Congress. Here are the tale tell signs:

1. Let us start with the giddiness of Democrats – Nancy Pelosi did not do well when she did not make it clear that ‘impeaching Bush in specific’ is not the agenda but trying to solve problems of Americans and correcting mistakes of Republicans are the priorities. In general Democratic leadership is ‘too much assuming’ for its own good. The elections are still 6 months away.


2. Next one needs to read Howard Fineman’s article in Slate (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12703794/) to understand what weapons Karl Rove is building for Republicans. How are Democrats going to address this tsunami of propaganda – ‘Democrats in Congress means end of the world’? Sure Democrats would think some answer to this propaganda, but there are no signs yet and nothing to believe so far.

3. Washington Post reports about intense infighting between DNC (read Dean) and Congressional Democratic Leadership.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/10/AR2006051001927.html )
Anytime you have such vitriolic animosity, it is hard to believe that these very same leaders will pull of the victory. There is a peculiar smell to this infighting – all these Democratic leaders are trying to position themselves to enjoy the fruits of assumed victory in November. That is definitely silly and counter productive. When will Americans see all these Democratic leaders talking in unison? Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Emanuel, Hillary, Kerry; all on the same platform and trying to give some united message to America? Alas, we know that is a pipe dream and that is not how Democrats work.

4. The unity is important. If Democrats wants to run the coming election as a referendum on the national performance of Republicans (President Bush and National Republican Leadership); people are bound to expect solutions and answers at national level from Democrats. Without that, Democrats themselves will do the job of Republicans – each Congressional election as a localized contest.

5. Meanwhile reading Hillary going for Murdoch fund raiser indeed raises lot of questions. Richard Cohen in W. Post tries to explain the puzzle here.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/10/AR2006051001783.html) Hillary is surely running her political affairs as if she is not part of Democratic party; it is all her own separate affair. May be she is trying to do that ‘third party candidate’ what Tom Friedman refers. But alas, there are no policy answers to any of the serious questions America faces. Does anyone know her Energy Policy? Or how she wants to reduce the deficit? It is sad to see that she has been nothing but opportunistic politician building election war chest by any means possible.

6. Equally, reading Markos Moulitsas in W. Post attacking Hillary was not something very illuminating or useful to Democratic Party. All one could sense from that article was that Democratic Party needs to take ‘Netroots’ (meaning DailyKos only?) seriously and Hillary gives damn to bloggers. The issue is not whether Hillary takes bloggers seriously, but what policies she advocates, is she consistent about those, does she take political positions fearlessly without trying to please everybody? In effect, is she showing leadership, candor and honest in the end?

7. What is bad is apart from fights between Dean and Emanuel, so much buzz in the party is consumed by Hillary. What we want is policy debates, crystallization of concrete measures Democratic Congress would undertake and overall vision for Americans. There does not seem to be any inspiring leadership here. In the long run, it is not a workable solution that Democrats win Congress only because public wants someone different than Republicans. People should want to vote Democrats because they find their policy positions clear, consistent; something which people do not mind trying even if those are new or bit risky.

8. As a commoner what Americans are looking for is answers to these questions:
- What is the exact exit strategy from Iraq? What price Americans may have to pay in case Iraq gets engulfed in Civil war or other worst case scenario?
- What is the overall strategy to address Global War on Terror? Any plans to capture Osam? How do Democrats want to deal with Iran and Hamas?
- What steps Democratic Congress would like to take to improve American intelligence? What policies to address the gaps in home land security?
- What are short term and long term solutions to America’s Energy problem? People want non-joke policies (not like $100 rebate or tax holidays for 2 months).
- How will be the Fed Deficit reduced? Which taxes will be raised and which will be reduced?
- Finally, what bill Democrats will like to bring to address the Immigration issue?


Granted that Democrats can not solve America’s all problems in a short period of 2 years. But some of the critical ones as outlined above, they must address.

What we need is Democratic Party which is offering inspiring solutions to America’s predicament. We do not see that happening and what we see is premature infighting for spoils of the power and in general a directionless party.


Umesh Patil
San Jose, CA 95111
May 10, 2006.

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