Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Dems need Radical Resolve

marjorie says...

Arvin is on a roll today over at his Carnival of Horror…absolutely right on, Arvin, on all fronts: the Dems have no backbone, the libertarians *are* exposed for having no real convictions, and the thought of tweakers finding god *is*, well, kind of scary.

Regarding this Rove/Plame business, I agree that Rove will probably survive because the Dems have no resolve, or as Arvin puts it, no solidarity, principles or salesmanship. It will all be like water off a duck’s back. But one other thing to point out is this -- the Republican resolve is benefiting from a highly organized single issue group of people that targeted the party, infiltrating it at all levels.

Anyone who doubts it should read Thomas Frank’s expose of what happened to the moderate Republicans in Kansas. In his book, What's the Matter with Kansas? : How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, Frank details how social conservatives rallied pro-life forces to take over the Republican party in Kansas. In a matter of 2-3 years, they took over a party of social moderates that were a hair’s breadth away from enshrining pro-choice values in state law.

Frank points out that once elected, Republicans tend to do little on issues dear to the hearts of these social conservatives -- abortion, gun control, evolution, gay rights -- at least not in comparison with their prolific work to roll back our social safety net programs and their efforts on behalf of big business to dismantle regulations across the board. Nonetheless, social conservatives are so convinced that their priorities trump all others that they stay committed and organized, and disregard the fact that the Republicans are attacking them economically.

This is what we don’t have - the capacity to take over the Democratic Party from a social justice perspective. The issues umbrella is too large, and the left is too fractured and unorganized to figure out a unified message - we lack venues in which to organize and many of us are in denial about how race and class hobble our movement. If we can address these questions and build unity, it’s possible we will see a new resolve take shape among the Democrats.