Why is the Democratic Party selling itself the way the Republican Party sells itself?
The Republican Party sells itself as the island in a storm of fear. Always has. Communists, Terrorists, Socialized Medicine, Fluoridation, Liberals, Permissive Society, Rock n’ Roll Music, Integration, Big Government, Small Government, Functioning Government, what have you, they’re all reasons to be afraid, and you can fight back by being a Republican. It’s been a successful strategy for years.
And, it works for that political party, whose motto might well be Groucho Marx’s “Horsefeathers” song, “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”
But Democrats believe that it’s our job, as NASA scientists would say, to “work the problem.” Rather than retreating from the challenges we face, the Democratic Party, sometimes powerfully, sometimes stumbling along, has always said, “let’s work together to make our government and our society better.”
So why am I getting all kinds of literature trying to make me afraid of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the other numbskulls in high office? I don’t need slick advertising telling me that the Bush Administration is bad for the economy, bad for employment, bad for the environment, bad for national security, bad on foreign policy, bad for our own democracy, either ignorant or malicious on most subjects of importance, and morally, the closest we’ve ever come to having a crime syndicate run this country.
I know all that. It’s not the job of the Democratic Party to tell me that. Their job is to tell me what they’re going to do to make this country, our government, and this world, better.
And that’s why people are saying that the two parties are the same. They’re both pushing as hard as they can for avalanches of cash so they can both put out these negative arguments. This breeds cynicism, which works just fine for Republicans, who want to tell you to be afraid of innovation, imagination, and scholarship. If you think, “they’re all crooks, they’re all the same,” then the Republican party has done its job.
It doesn’t work at all for Democrats, who apparently are fighting negative with negative, and then wonder whatever happened to the spirit of hope and optimism that made Democratic candidates so successful.