LA Times columnist Steve Lopez, no Republican, wonders why a fund-raiser letter from Ted Kennedy is so devoid of actual ideas and has no coherent platform.
Democrats’ fundraising letter is bankrupt on ideas
As a matter of fact, I do share Kennedy’s concern about the Bush administration, and so I was eager to read the four-page letter and other enclosed materials to find out more about the alternative vision being offered up by the Democratic Party.
Page 1, however, contained no such clues.
Page 2 was nothing but groveling for money for contested races.
Page 3 suggested the Republicans will burn in hell for sins against humanity (“They’ve poisoned our air and water”), and Page 4 warned, “They’ll never stop unless we stop them. They’re shameless!”
That’s quite a cavalry call, but it seems to me the Democrats are once again rushing to the front lines with empty muskets.
Craig Smith, a former speechwriter for Gerald Ford and the first President Bush, said the Kennedy letter is a direct response to polls that show declining support for the war in Iraq and for the president.
But he finds it astounding that the Democratic Party still can’t move beyond its attack strategy and figure out how to define and sell itself with a specific, alternative agenda.
It’s because they don’t have one.
Smith, who teaches campaign persuasion at Cal State Long Beach, has a simple piece of advice for his political rivals:
Go back to your roots.
“They have not been the loyal opposition,” said Smith, who believes Democrats sold their souls under the influence of the Democratic Leadership Council, which pushed the party toward the center after Walter Mondale was blown out by Ronald Reagan.
Oh dear no, shrieks the DLC (and netroots), we can’t do that, support those tacky unions, the poor and disenfranchised, minorities, and health care reform. How icky. Instead they want to ‘tack to the center’ in the delusion this will get them votes. And in this, netroots is no different from the DLC. Both ignore the roots of the Democratic Party.
It’s a sad day in America when a Republican can deliver a more coherent agenda in a single paragraph than Ted Kennedy can in a four-page screed.