Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The American body politic - Where is the center?

Over the last weekend, over a thousand Democrats, so-called liberals, and some far-left (but non-aligned) liberals, along with a bunch of independents gathered in the great American playground called Las Vegas. This gathering - dubbed YearlyKos - was symbolic in a couple of ways: it marked the first mass meeting of so-called bloggers - online political activists and pundits - as well as pissed-off voters, and took place in America's fastest-growing city, a city that in recent years has remade itself completely from a bastion of Mafia-controlled gambling to a Disneyland-like playground for average families, many of whom never even go near a gambling table.

They all were called to assemble via a cutting-edge instrument of democracy, the Internet, with the man who called them there - Markos Moulitsas - himself a blogger, political activist/consultant and ex-soldier (a veteran, in other words), to participate in that most American of events, a political convention. And far from being a gathering of ex-McGovernites or bomb-throwing Weathermen, those who showed up were older, clean-shaven, well-dressed, smart, motivated and well-informed.

The guest list was nothing to sneeze at: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid kicked off the convention; DNC Chair Dr Howard Dean gave a keynote speech; Senator Barbara Boxer was there, as were Virginia ex-governor and presidential hopeful Mark Warner, Gen Wesley Clark, and Simon Rosenberg, former candidate for DNC Chair and founder of the New Democrat Network, among others, and - piece de la resistance - the event was covered by C-SPAN, Time, The Washington Post, and the New YorK Times as well as foreign news outlets and thousands of bloggers. So several somebodies thought that this was a significant event.

So who did these folks represent, really?

Noted ultra-conservative blogger Michelle Malkin called them "moonbats" (no link to her - I refuse), although several participants described themselves as moderates. Another ultra-conservative blogger - Allahpundit - called it a "freak show," even though their spy reported, "People here are largely, disappointingly, golf-shirted, short-haired, and white bread."

In other words, just folks.

Which begs the question, do these conventioneers represent the Democratic Party, and most importantly, does the Democratic Party represent them?

Breaking out our copy of the last available Democratic Party Platform (2004), we read the usual polispeak about health care, "free and fair" trade (note the coupling), "strengthening our military" (is it weak and needs strengthening? I didn't know that), cutting government waste, etc, etc. Actually, it's not that much different in style and substance from the published GOP platform. But the essence of what the core, true center and majority of the party members want is very specific, and we have the polls to prove it.

AngusReid Consultants: Half of Americans Want Troop Withdrawal and
ABC/Gallup: Six in 10 Want Troops to Leave Iraq
Bush Approval rating falls to new low - 33%
On health care: "more than seven in ten adults (72 percent) agreed that the government should guarantee health insurance for all citizens."

Well, we could go on, but when more than half of all Americans has an opinion similiar to those above, one can pretty much take it as a given that the CENTER agrees, wouldn't you think, since they were the ones who were polled?

Further, when asked open-ended questions such as, ""What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" the items, listed by priority are (and this is all Americans):

War in Iraq ...................28%
Economy/Jobs ...............15%
Immigration ...................12%
Gas/Heating oil crisis ...... 6%
Terrorism (general) .........5%
Health care ....................4%
Defense/Military ..............3%
President Bush ................3%
Other ............................20%
Unsure ...........................4%

Additionally, and depending on the methodology of the polls, health care and terrorism are about equally split in the priorities of Americans, with health care rising to #3 in the Wall Street Journal poll of 5/16/2006, with terrorism not even appearing on the Harris Poll of the same date.

THAT's the center, folks - of all of us Americans.

Now, why can't the leadership in Congress get it through their thick skulls that we are not interested in the opinions of the back-peddling DLC, that Hillary Clinton doesn't have a clue, and that the folks present at the YearlyKos convention ARE the center; they're just louder than the rest.

Harry Reid gets it, Russ Feingold gets it, Barbara Boxer gets it, as do Conyers and Pelosi and a handfull of others. How about we get a freaking majority of the Dems in Congress to get it and represent their constituents' concerns?

We know who we are, we know what we want, and we want the Democrats in Congress to do their freaking jobs, which is to pull their heads out of the sand and do what we tell them.

Get out of Iraq, impeach Bush and Cheney, and fix the health care system. Now.

Fair disclosure, folks: I work about twenty hours a week raising money for the DNC. Yup. What do you do?

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