Friday, February 11, 2005

Differences Between Democrats and Republicans

I hate to admit it, but there is a lot of truth in The Note's assessment of the two parties today. Of course there are other important differences they leave out.

One party effectively uses fear of terrorism for political gain while ignoring the real problems. The other party has not been able to find an effective way to get this message out.

One party campaigns based upon distorting their opponents' positions and record. The other party has not found an effective way to deal with this.

One party uses voter suppression as a major campaign tactic. The other party defends the right of everyone to vote.

One party panders to homophobia, racism, and xenophobia. The other party appeals to people's better instincts--which unfortunatley is not as effective politically.

We must also pay attention to what The Note has to say:

America's two leading political parties have much in common — animal mascots; annoyance with cumbersome campaign finance laws; 2004 presidential candidates who like to clear brush; a mixture of fear and envy of Karl Rove; and, of course, grassroots supporters who appear to be buoyed by the selection of Howard Dean as the next DNC chair.

And/but yet there ARE some real differences between the parties.

With the Democrats gathered in Washington for Dean's coronation and in the wake of Bill Clinton's delivery of a Delphic roadmap at the Terry McAuliffe send-off last night, let's examine what separates the Republicans from the Democrats (with apologies to Ralph Nader):

One party has political elites who revere and respect its recent presidential candidates; one party can't even be bothered to stop chatting and, err, partying to listen to its candidates speak.

One party has a clear programmatic agenda that has been relentlessly pursued in a well-organized fashion for five years; one party is still trying to build a credible war room (both materially and culturally).

One party never apologizes and never shows weakness; one party is on its fourth day of cry-babyish "defense" of its Senate Leader, after a run-of-the-mill GOP "attack."

One party is already organizing for 2005/6/7/8; one party is still trying to figure out what changes a yet-to-be-elected chair will make on the Wisteria Lane of politics — Ivy Street, SE.

One party would know that electing a national chair with a net negative approval rating is at a minimum problematic; one party thinks it's a virtue.

One party can whenever it wishes take off-the-shelf opposition research (video and text) and turn it into talking points that drive the friendly and (sometimes) mainstream media; one party considers 36 hours to be "rapid response."

One party will air its dirty laundry to whatever lowest-common-denominator media outlet comes a-sniffin'; one party engages in cock-fight-style drag-'em-outs in their headquarters' basement.

One party is on offense; one party is on . . . something else.

On party learned the lessons of the '90s; one party unlearned them.

One party knows the press is its "enemy"; one party mistakenly thinks the press is its "friend."

One party is expending resources to expand the base and broaden the tent; one party says it is planning to do those things, but is distracted defending demographic and geographic turf.

One party owns national security; one party can't figure out how to own health care or the environment in a way that would help win elections.

One party figured out how to keep its "extreme" party platform on abortion and still make electoral gains; one party hasn't.

One party is trying to use its general unity to hold together and pass Social Security reform; one party is trying to figure out how to extend and build on its unity over opposing personal accounts to a general strategy.

One party has been taking the long view for a long time; one party can't see past yesterday.

One party has members who will take these words to be gospel; one party is dominated by people will quickly dismiss it as mean-spirited.

One party would agree with what we wrote above; so would the other one.


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