I’m writing in response to Matthew Cappiello’s column, “The Two Party System Is Ripe for the Taking, Why Not Take It?” (Daily Nexus, March 30).
Three words: right on, man.
Speaking as a fellow frustrated liberal, I know all too well the agony of watching the Dems be divided by a base of values that stretches too far in both directions and lacks the leadership to hold everything together. A big problem, I’ve always felt, is that Democrats have to appeal to both the National Healthcare-defending, Evergreen State College-attending Phish phans as well as the welfare-slashing, pro-life and pro-war Harry Reids and Joe Leibermans.
Not to say that the Grand Old Party doesn’t have the same problem, what with both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — who you just know is pussy-whipped by Maria Shriver – and Alan Keyes under the same crimson-colored roof. And yet, Republicans have the added benefit of being able to appeal to a national mood that has drifted further and further to the Right ever since Reagan uttered the sentence, “Ninety percent of all the world’s pollution comes from trees” and nobody complained.
What to do, what to do.
The initial answer, of course, would be to nominate moderates as Democratic candidates and let the fellows at Evergreen State and UC Santa Cruz go suck eggs. Bill Clinton, for example, who went dead center by cutting taxes and attacking any smoldering embers left from the Great Society — i.e. welfare — and managed two successful terms. Now of course Democrats had their chance to go centrist again last year — whether it be Leiberman or Dick Gephardt – but instead settled on two men whom the Bush campaign attacked as having the first- and fourth-most liberal voting records in the Senate. Then again, let’s be serious. Gephard as President? Could you pick anybody more boring? Oh wait, Joe “Mortal Kombat is Satanic” Leiberman.
It’s not so simple as appealing to the Right, naturally, and I’ll choose not to go on the tangent where I bitch and moan about how “liberal” has become a bad word. It all comes back down to leadership and personality in the end, though, which Clinton and the Republican Party have in spades and Democrats do not — Slick Willy excluded.
Unlike Cappiello, however, I do see rays of light on the horizon for the Big D. Joe Klein wrote in his column for Time Magazine last week that Harry Reid “Has been clever, tough and in control of his troops,” further adding that “[Reid’s] control over his donkeys has been as striking as G.O.P. Senate leader Bill Frist’s failure to herd his elephants.” What’s this? The Republicans are the ones failing to mobilize? Is today Opposite Day?
Furthermore, despite the fact that most people who aren’t left of center believe that the only good Hilary Clinton is a dead Hilary Clinton, she made a very wise statement about abortion recently: Regardless of whether one is pro-life or pro-choice, the ultimate goal is less abortions. It doesn’t matter if you think unborn babies have a right to life or not — either way the point is stepping away from abortion’s necessity, right? Common sense. Now why didn’t Kerry or John Edwards say that six months ago? It sounds so much nicer than being accused of wanting to go all Leatherface and shit on the fetus from the Carl’s Jr. commercials.
Point being, it’s those little things that help the Democratic Party’s image.
On that note, Terry McAuliffe has been replaced by the man commonly thought of as the Democrat Defilibrator for his aggressive campaigning in 2003, and, despite losing control of the Senate, we have Reid doing his filibustering damnedest to prevent Bush’s mandate from passing unopposed. There is new life in the Democrat these days — years of mistakes are beginning to be acknowledged and a few brave souls are trying to make a difference.
God speed, fellas.
Adrian Ripburger is a freshman film studies major.