Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Democrats Need to Follow the 11th Commandment

Although it first arose in his 1966 run for Governor of California, Ronald Reagan's espousal of the 11th Commandment ("Thou Shalt not speak ill of other Republicans") really entered the national politics of the Republican party in 1976. Interestingly enough, since then the GOP has had a very successful run in political power. One of their strengths has been their unity.
Democrats, not so much. Democrats vilify each other in primary campaigns in which they spend as much time and energy attacking each other as Republican office holders they are trying to replace. The primary season is when the Democrats write the negative ads about Democrats that the GOP will use in the general election.
Compare: Republicans keeping their unity and directing their fire on Democrats leading to increasing political power and the ability to shape public debate. Democrats fractious and disunited, criticizing each other remorsely leading to decreasing political power and an inability to shape public debate. Maybe, just maybe, Democrats might want to rethink this.
Consider the huge debate about whether Senator Clinton has sufficiently 'apologized' for her vote in 2002 for the authorization of military force act. (She says that if we knew then what we know now, there never would have been a vote.) For all the clobbering of her vote then, what is forgotten is that George W. Bush had misled the country about the intelligence, and the Republican majority of the Congress was united behind Bush's policy, and that the United States was going to go to war with Iraq, even if Mrs. Clinton had immolated herself on the Senate floor in protest. Was her vote unwise? Yes. Was it decisive? No. Do Democrats need to focus our energy on building the narrative that Democratic politicians are politically calculating and inauthentic? No.

2 comments:

Ron said...

Okay, I know this is a stretch from your post, but, what else would you expect? This is what your post reminded me of...an editorial of some months back that I just got around to reading in The Christian Century that was defending the conflict and disunity over social/biblical interpretation issues in the "mainstream" churches and saying there was an "evangelical imperative" for them to stay together; I guess to evangelize themselves as themselves rather than being able to focus the renewed energy externally where it is so in demand these days. I am just wondering what lessons, insights, warnings there might be from looking at the family systems of Democrats and the mainstream churches (as compared I guess, as you have started, with the Republicans and evangelical/conservatives)? Not sure I have a point to all this, yet, just pondering. Thanks, and thanks to for the puppy update.

Robin Edgar said...

I thought the 11th Commandment was "Don't get caught". Kinda hard to manage considering God is omniscient of course. . .