Friday, February 03, 2006

Search for Meaning

I’ve never been a Peggy Noonan fan. She’s always seemed like a right-wing sycophant who, like Ann Coulter, doesn’t really believe in what she writes about. She merely does it to sell books and make money. I think she’s a huckster.

However, her column in the Wall Street Journal raises an interesting and valid point:

"Conservatives are always writing about the strains and stresses within the Republican Party, and they are real. But the Democratic Party seems to be near imploding, and for that most humiliating of reasons: its meaninglessness. Republicans are at least arguing over their meaning.

"The venom is bubbling on websites like Kos, where Tuesday afternoon, after the Alito vote, various leftists wrote in such comments as "F--- our democratic leaders," "Vichy Democrats" and "F--- Mary Landrieu, I hope she drowns." The old union lunch-pail Democrats are dead, the intellects of the Kennedy and Johnson era retired or gone, and this--I hope she drowns--seems, increasingly, to be the authentic voice of the Democratic base."

Conservatives are very good at controlling the language and – as a result – controlling the message. They have managed to turn words like liberal into one loaded with negative connotations through 20 years of consistently branding words though the marketing of their ideas. One of their new products is this: The Democratic Party is Dying.

Unfortunately, I believe that this is true. Where are the ideas? Where is the passion? Why does the party seem to be afraid to speak passionately about what they believe rather than the fact that they are not Republicans? What do the Democrats believe in? If you are looking to the party leaders for answers, you won’t find any. Most are too busy acting like watered-down Republicans to take a stand on anything that might alienate a potential voter.

The Republicans are very clear about what they believe to those who are paying attention. They are also very good at obfuscation and motivating groups who might not otherwise be inclined to go along with their schemes to vote for them by sweeping them up with scare tactics like gay marriage and the War on Terror.

Unfortunately, I think that both parties are decrepit and corrupt. They have been compromised by the big money that they need to mount campaigns – money that flows in volume only from interest groups. The interests of the voter? It’s nowhere to be seen in tort reform, bankruptcy reform and the prescription drug plan. That’s all about payback for campaign contributions.

Social justice, sound fiscal policy, health care and social security reform, civil liberties, education, science, energy policy? What we get are idle words and ideologically-driven solutions designed to placate an interest group rather than solve a real problem. Let’s focus on intelligent design rather than how American schools continue to fall farther behind in math and science compared to other nations.

Maybe we Americans get what we deserve. Our attention spans are short and we don’t want to tackle difficult problems. We want to know what’s in it for me. Gimme a tax cut and go drop a bomb on somebody. I gotta go watch American Idol.

Obviously, the Democratic Party is not connecting with the electorate and doesn’t show any signs of getting it’s act together. Maybe we need a new opposition party. Or maybe we’ll just have to wait until the consequences of the past six years can’t be ignored any longer. Which will happen first?

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