“Except that I don’t really fit in DC. I’m a fish out of water. I steadfastly maintain my “outsider” status even as I work with the biggest insiders of them all. As such, I have a front-row seat to the show that few share. And I can quite honestly say — DC Democrats are some of the whiniest, most afraid people in the country.”
That’s my experience, in spades. Every time I talk to a Democratic Party pro, the message is negative. Can’t be too liberal, can’t attack a popular president (Bush!), don’t get your hopes up. “That’s already be tried” is the answer to every proposal. Bush’s negatives as high as any President’s have ever been, and those guys are still afraid of him.
You can’t argue with them either. If you try, they’ll read back the Indiana county-by-county results since 1980, or something like that, and make you look ignorant. Something tells me that when the Republicans won Congress in 1994, no one on the Democratic side lost his job.
I’d like to respond to two comments below, one by Scott and one by “^=^”. Combining the two (though they aren’t identical) , what’s being said is approximately this: “Both sides always complain about the media and about the weakness of their leadership ” and “The media aren’t biassed, just incompetent”.
I hear these things said often, as if they were self-evidently true. I think that they are not only not self-evident, but not true at all. They are convenient beliefs, since they justify cynicism and a noncommital attitude, but this seemingly-sophisticated stance is actually a sucker’s game.
The Republicans have figured out to work people who think that way — they always complain, no matter what. “If both sides complain about me, I must be doing something right!” Cute, but wrong.
And the media have also figured out how to mask their bias by pretending that they’re just being shallow, cute, hip, in-groupy, and “ironic”. That doesn’t actually sound so wonderful at all, but it’s much less painful than admitting that they’re actually working for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.
It was Bob Somerby’s coverage of Gore-Bush 2002 which convinced me that the media are, in fact, effectively right-wing. Gore was hamstrung with one false accusation after another, while Bush was never confronted with enormous problems with his record and with his program. That wasn’t Gen-X shallowness or irony. That was bias pure and simple.
As for complaints about the party leadership — Bush’s recent orgy of political opportunism has roused a bit of grumbling from his supporters, but by and large both Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress have pushed a strong Republican line, and by and large Republican party discipline in Congress has been excellent. Some of the hard right in the Republican core constituency probably believe that Bush has sold them out, but they need to realize that they’re a minority even within their party. By contrast, even very moderate Democrats frequently complain about the feebleness of the Democratic Party leadership.
“They all say that, and both parties are about the same”. You can’t just comfortably assume that. Maybe it’s true, maybe not. I say that it’s not.
(Edited to change “lost” to “won” in the last line of the opening piece. Thanks to Scott for the correction.)