Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Brief Examination of Democratic Party Cowardice

I don’t want to devote a lot of thought to the matter. I know it annoys me terribly every time I hear about the Democrats apologizing, backing down or (at this point) even trying to accommodate their political rivals.

Recent stories of their inability to stop the war or pass healthcare initiatives, rebuking a liberal political organization for an “inappropriate” newspaper advertisement and an apology for speaking out strongly about Bush and his war in Iraq (see video) should give context to what my complaints are all about.

I don’t want to psychoanalyze the Democratic Party. While not a member, I still feel an affinity for their general politics and, in particular at this time in our history, think they are the best hope we have for inserting rational thinking in to American politics. That’s a sad thought, but likely a correct one. So I simply want to make an observation of one of the reasons they are so weak when matched against their adversary.

For at least 30 years, the Democratic Party has spent an inordinate amount of time codifying some incredibly silly legislation in the name of decency and fairness. Instead of focusing on key issues of peace, fair economic prosperity, basic human rights, healthcare, etc. they legislate about a group of issues that I will lump under “political correctness”. They have people worrying about men complimenting women on their dresses, the use of Native American (and other cultures) names and mascots for sports teams, racial and ethnic slurs and nicknames that are spoken in any context, and you know the list goes on and on.

They do so with good intentions, but there are two negative results. They waste precious legislative capital and they paint themselves into a corner.

I won’t get into the first problem and will simply say that they could have been spending their time as law-makers on much more relevant issues.

The second problem of painting themselves into a corner is what I want to focus on briefly. When you are so concerned about curtailing speech to fit a pattern of acceptability, then it can be used against you as well. If we must be so concerned about “feelings” and appearance of “inclusiveness,” then when you speak out forcefully the other side will turn it on you. “How dare you not censure for besmirching an American general? Is it because you are not patriotic? Do you not love the men and women in uniform? Can’t you appreciate the sacrifice of a man who has devoted his entire life to the military? What kind of thoughtless, uncaring person must you be not to support this censure?”

The Republicans have the Democrats by the balls and will have their way until the Democrats grab them right back in the sack. Don’t fear free speech. Use it to articulate what is right. When it’s used in a negative way, people are smart enough to judge it for what it is.

The adversary doesn’t care about these niceties of speech. So when Rush Limbaugh, talking about military personnel who disagree with the war, calls them “phony soldiers” and the Democrats demand an apology from Republicans, they laugh in their faces. Censure Rush? Hell no. We’ll give him the Medal of Freedom! Can anyone seriously imagine a Republican apologizing like Pete Stark did, given a similar situation?

Here’s what Stark originally said:

Here’s how Democrats respond to attacks. (Make no mistake. This is not just about Pete Stark):

For those in the atheist community, here’s an extra heartbreaker for you. You may have heard that there was ONE member of Congress who responded to a poll about “belief” by saying that he had none. Pete is our guy.


The Exterminator said...

Now Stark ought to apologize for apologizing.

Next thing we know, he'll be apologizing for saying that he doesn't believe in a supreme being. I want to apologize to, first of all, my colleagues, many of whose political ambitions I may have hurt by ruining their party with my nonbelief, to the president and his family, to Jesus and his family ...

Weasels. They're all weasels.

John Evo said...

It's VERY disappointing... and it happens over and over again. For my entire life i can recall people begging for leaders who really lead; who aren't afraid to have an opinion and are willing to stick with it and only apologize if proven incorrect.

I have to assume that it's a feature of politics that this almost never happens. It's truly unfortunate that the party that makes the most errors of rational thought is the party most willing to stand up for their thinking!

The Key Question said...

Hi John, you've been tagged with Pharyngula's meme!

PhillyChief said...

Washington was right over 200 years ago, political parties are trouble. We need more than just 2. I'd say 5 would be a good number, a minimum number.

Al said...

The American people have had a run of basic incompetence that is mind boggling. We have what can be the worst Presidunce in history (Maybe Buchanan might give him a run for his money)and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelousy make Beavis and Butt-head look like Rhodes Scholars. Democrats in the '08 election will point at Bush as the proprtype of Republican incompetence. Republicans can point at Congress to make the same point. If Pelousy and Reid fail to lead, they should step aside for someone who will. In any case, with Guiliani and Clinton looking like the probable nominees, we are guaranteed another four years of having a serial liar in the White House.

Run Gore run! If Gore won't run, will Ron Paul please run as a Liberterian?

John Evo said...

I'm with you on Gore, Al. I'm not so sure about Ron Paul. I think we probably need more government at this point in human history than he (and libertarians) would like. We aren't going to get rid of large multi-nationals and only governments have any hope of keeping them from becoming a defacto world dictatorship. Not that Paul doesn't say some great things, but just when he almost has me, he says something that I think is just unworkable.