Yesterday Republicans went behind closed doors and changed the rules to allow House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, to continue holding his leadership position if indicted for a crime. Just like that… batta bing, batta bang. The GOP Mob family now rules unchallenged.
The Election Day Massacre has left the other family in hiding and disarray. What will happen now? Do the Dems even have among them the political equivalent of Michael Corleone – someone who can rally this moribund family? Someone who can both unite that factitious family and begin making inroads into the GOP’s turf as well?
If yesterday is any indication then no such person has yet stepped forward. The Dems are still trying to figure out whom to name as their new leader. Howard “Sonny” Dean would be a bold choice -- a bit too bold for the limp-wrist wing of the family that believes it can kumbaya it’s way back to power.
Okay, enough with the Mob metaphors. But, you have to admit they fit the situation. Republicans now have a virtual lock on the political neighborhood and the Democrats seem powerless to do a thing about it. That leaves half of us out here wondering where to invest our money, time and hopes. Do we hang in with the Dems hoping they will grow backbones and start fighting back? Or do we look elsewhere for new faces, new policies – a new party? The next six months will answer that question.
The GOP’s “values voters” honestly believe they represent the “real America.” There is only one way to change that belief – daily TV news images of thousands of we "other American’s" in the street, marching for a different set of values. Only that can convince the values folks that, right or wrong, they must share this country with the rest of us. Right now they believe we are a wacky minority who must either accept their views or shut up and go away. We need to make sure we do just the opposite.
If the Democrats want my support – and I suspect I speak for millions of others – here’s what they need to do – and SOON!
1) Draw lines in the sand on key issues – like Supreme Court appointments – and then fight tooth and nail to defend those lines.. Forget about decorum. Fight like rabid dogs. The GOP jettisoned the gentlemanly hobbles of congressional decorum at the start of the Clinton administration. So fight clean or, if you must, fight dirty… but damn it fight! Fight on the floor of the House. Fight on the floor of the Senate. Fight in the courts.So there’s the outline of a battle plan for the Dems. The GOP won the last election because they understand politics is not a game of chess – but war. The GOP transformed itself into revolutionary guerilla patriots to the Democrats, marching-in-formation-Red Coats and mowed them down. “Hey, that’s not fair,” Democrats, whined as GOP guerillas trashed the Clinton presidency. “You can’t do that. That’s dirty fighting,” they whimpered when Bush henchmen smeared Vietnam war hero Max Cleland. And, one by one the Dems fell, dead or wounded.
2) And, FIGHT IN THE STREETS. Yes, the streets. Remember the streets? That’s were some of you may recall we fought when Johnson and Nixon decided they could do whatever the hell they wanted too. Reconnect with the street. Reconnect with us.
3) Let us help. A hundred members of congress marching in the streets may grab some headlines but it won’t change policy. You need us – lots of us. So make sure your covey of 20-something congressional staffers spend less time strutting around DC nightspots and playing solitaire on their Blackberry’s and more organizing at the grassroots, back home, on the street. That way the next time you are on the floor fighting for an issue there can be thousands of people in the street putting a big-ass exclamation mark on the point you are making.
4) Renew your relationship with labor. Both the Democratic Party and organized labor have spent the last forty years wallowing in self-indulgence, self-preservation and corruption. Knock it off. We need both of you. Labor is getting screwed blue. If there were ever a time for a strong alliance between labor and the Democratic Party it’s now -- but for real. If the unions continue as corrupt, deal making, quislings who sell out their members, then their members need to clean house.. and fast – (Porter Goss can tell you how it’s done.) Then Democrats need to produce a genuine pro-labor agenda – one that means something to workingmen and women. A living minimum wage, health coverage, secure pensions, trade agreements that take into account the same environmental, health and safety standards American companies have to comply with. And then FIGHT for that agenda. Fight, fight, goddamn it FIGHT!
5) Call the GOP’s bluff on wedge “values” issues. As long as they go unchallenged on issues like abortion, prayer in public schools, religious symbols in government buildings and fetal stem cell research the longer they will continue beating us. We need to stop trying to reason with the “values voters” and start SHOWING them. Show them that the people they voted for have no intention whatsoever of delivering on their promises. As I wrote earlier, introduce two bills immediately in January. One bill would ban abortions.. all of them. The other would allow prayers in schools and religious symbols in government buildings. The GOP would try to block debate on the bills because a real debated on the floor would reveal the inherent complications in what values voters assume are simple, no brainer, slam dunk values issues. Ban abortion? How do they plan to enforce a ban? Insist they explain. Arrest doctors? Arrest women? How? Come on you pious, pontificating, puffed up moralists.. how you gonna enforce that ban? The day of the debate on religious icons make sure your staffers have organized groups around the country to show up at their courthouses with large statues of various religious/mythological/magical entities and insist they be displayed in the lobby. A statue of Satan… why not.. that would be one of those pesky "complications" the religious right hasn't quite come to understand yet so, let's give them a hand.
The GOP believes this is a game played for keeps, because the stakes are as real as they get in life. GOP soldiers shoot from the bushes. Democrats shoot from the lip.
Enough talk boys and girls of the Democratic Party. If you want us to follow you then damn it, get your whipped butts out of hiding and back out into the streets ready to fight – fight, for us and with us. We are out here milling around. Either lead or we will find people who will.