The Democrats sure have an interesting plan to bring about change in America. With the primaries more than halfway complete, now is the time when candidates should gear up to put their party’s strongest candidate forward. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama repeatedly boast their commitment to unity and their ability to steer America in the right direction. These past few months have said otherwise.
To truly put our nation on a better path, Democrats need to work together. As demonstrated by our current Congress, liberals have a very difficult time working with their Republican counterparts – or even each other – to craft bills. From immigration to health care, the Democratic-led Congress only becomes more ineffective as time goes on. In part, this failure comes from President George W. Bush’s repeated use of the presidential veto, but I feel the majority of blame still rests on the legislature. Democrats can pass as many bills as they like, but if the President doesn’t approve, they aren’t a success. The key word here is compromise, folks. Passing bills filled with earmarks and burying unpopular and unrelated laws in a bill only holds up the process. Legislation needs to cater to Conservatives in order to ensure it receives a signature from our president.
This ineffectiveness has carried over to the Democratic presidential campaign, where bitterness seems to dominate the race. It’s already known Hillary and Barack don’t particularly like each other. What’s more, they represent opposing ends of the party. Clinton embodies established liberal tradition along with considerable baggage, while Obama brings charisma, but unrealistic idealism and no firm plans. At least the two managed to put on happy faces and speak to one another amicably at their last debate – a huge difference from previous appearances – but neither seems to be a greatly unifying force for the party. Even John Edwards is finding it difficult to decide whom to throw his support to, weeks after dropping out of the race. Rather than reach out to their former competitor, Clinton and Obama let Edwards come to them. Not exactly the kind of party unity Americans are looking for.
Conversely, the Republicans have remained surprisingly unified, despite their differences. As John McCain emerges as the front-runner in the Republican presidential nomination, this unity has been unwavering. Criticism from famous conservative pundits like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh don’t appear to faze McCain. The two have slammed him in recent weeks for some more moderate positions, but these slanderous accusations are nothing more than propaganda, and he takes the criticism in stride. His speeches reflect a commitment to unifying Republicans everywhere, in light of small ideological disagreements. John McCain realizes the importance of representing as much of his conservative constituency as possible, while also staying true to personal beliefs. Recently, Mitt Romney dropped out of the presidential race to allow McCain to develop his campaign strategy and rally Americans for the election. McCain has also reached out to his former opponent in an effort to calm the jitters of far-right Republicans, while presenting an even more unified front to combat the Democrats this November.
Throughout the Bush administration, the Republicans have always remained unified and respected each other’s differences. The Democrats could use these techniques to their advantage while still battling for delegate votes in the remaining states. A message of unity would have resounding effects with the public over an emphasis on one’s ability to bring change or “repair damage” done by the Bush administration. Bringing together all ends of a massive political party shows a great ability to lead. Hillary and Barack have only discussed their leadership abilities, while McCain has demonstrated time and again his capacity for uniting voters after President Bush has fragmented America.
As the presidential primary results begin to unfold, Democrats are still scrambling to mold their campaign’s ultimate message. Take a lesson from the Republicans: Emphasizing similarities and presenting a united front is much more effective than arguing minute differences among candidates. Go into November with an organized and cohesive tone, and I assure you the American people will respond on Election Day.