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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Why liberals lose elections

    It’s a pretty tough time to be a Republican. You’re wrong on most of the issues, your incumbents are openly dissing the president and most of the experts seem to figure you’re in for a smackdown in the upcoming elections.

    It’s a good thing the Democrats will probably screw it up anyway.

    In case you missed it, it’s become conventional wisdom that Republicans are going to be on the losing end of an electoral mugging come November. Democrats are poised to win the majority in the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate.

    The latest polls don’t help. In the last New York Times/CBS survey, only 29 percent of those interviewed said the country was headed in the right direction. You probably could have found more optimism on the Titanic.

    Republicans, used to sounding like schoolyard bullies, are now sounding like scrawny losers. “”It is a difficult environment,”” was all House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, could summon when asked about the polls, all of which seem to point to the fact that he should start looking for a new job.

    Given today’s poisonous political environment, it’s not uncommon to hear voters prefacing every complaint with the obligatory “”If the government were run like a business.””

    Sure, but if this nation were run like a business, we’d dump Republicans faster than you can say “”downsize.””

    Start at the top. President Bush, the country’s first president with an MBA, certainly hasn’t proven his business acumen.

    What other CEO wouldn’t fire a subordinate who has been on the wrong side of every issue since he took office? In 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the war would last six months and cost no more than $50 billion. Sounds peachy, but we’ve been in Iraq for 3 1/2 years at a cost of more than $300 billion.

    Here’s a question for the business majors: How long would an executive at Goldman Sachs keep his job after a $250 billion mistake?

    It doesn’t get any better with the Republican-controlled Congress, a legislative body that said “”No se puede”” to immigration reform but somehow found the time to debate the merits of guys who kiss each other and flag burning.

    All of this seems to paint a pretty rosy picture for the Democrats, who could almost sit still, keep their mouths shut and win the election by default. But for one reason or another, the Democrats are opening the one thing that could kill their campaigns – their mouths.

    Bill Clinton once said that Democrats win when voters think. Maybe, but it’s also true that Democratic candidates lose when they try to prove that they can think like Republicans.

    One need look no further than the ridiculous slogan Democrats have trotted out for the midterms: “”Together, America can do better.”” Grammatical issues aside, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this piece of verbal vomit was the result of painstaking debate and endless focus group discussions, all of it aimed at recapturing the rhetorical landscape long dominated by Republicans.

    And it doesn’t end there. There was John Kerry’s “”Let America be America again.”” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “”New Partnership for America’s Future.”” The Senate Democrats’ ambiguous suggestion that the solution to Iraq is “”phased redeployment.”” All of them seem vaguely sensible, but they offer little in the way of specifics.

    Whereas the Republicans’ “”Contract with America”” in 1994 proffered new ideas for a new direction, the Democrats’ “”New Partnership for America’s Future”” offers only six rather agreeable-sounding themes (among them, prosperity, fairness and opportunity) that are supposed to somehow make voters believe that Democrats will do something different.

    The result has been predictable: Voters, awash in political slogans, have ignored the spin and still have no assurance that the Democrats are a viable alternative. It’s enraging that, at exactly the time liberals are gaining traction on all the major issues of the day, they’re hunkered down in focus groups trying to figure out how to make themselves sound pretty. Because as attractive as it may seem to Democrats desperate to dominate the spin, it won’t matter if they’re not willing to come out from behind the slogans.

    So while there’s plenty of optimism about the upcoming midterm elections, it’s time for Democrats to say what they mean (and what they plan to do) rather than guessing at what voters want to hear.

    Otherwise, they don’t deserve to win. And they won’t.

    Damion LeeNatali is a senior majoring in political science and history. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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