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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Is the Democratic Party capable of governing?

Four years after sweeping victories in the 2006 congressional elections, the Democratic Party finds itself on the precipice of an election catastrophe.

With general elections only five weeks away, support for the party is near an all-time low.

Democratic incumbents in congressional races across the country are battling unfavorable public opinion.

And while Democrats flounder, Tea Party insurgents continue to gain political traction. The unexpected victory of Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell, over Republican incumbent Mike Castle — the longest serving representative in Delaware’s history — has brought the Republican Party establishment to its knees.

The GOP is poised to make huge gains in both the House and Senate this November and it has the Democratic Party to thank. Democrats, unable to control their own message, have allowed popular conservative demagogues and politicians to misrepresent every single piece of legislation they put forward.

Last year’s healthcare debate was hi-jacked by Republicans and an army of special interest groups intent on derailing the passage of House Resolution 3200 or “”Obamacare””, as it has also been termed.

Opponents immediately began propagating myths that bureaucratic “”death panels”” would systematically euthanize the elderly if the bill was enacted. As a result, H.R. 3200 became widely unpopular.

Rather than dispelling these lies, which had whipped the electorate into an anti-health reform frenzy, Democrats, in a clear sign of defeat, conceded to demands to remove portions of the bill that had been intentionally distorted.

Moreover, in an embarrassing display of impotence earlier this year, the Obama administration buckled under the pressure of right-wing critics when it forced Shirley Sherrod to resign from her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as rumors surfaced that she had withheld government aid from a white farmer facing bankruptcy.

The rumor, later discredited, was circulated by conservative blogger, Andrew Brietbart and the Republican propaganda machine, Fox News.

If the response to the BP oil spill had been as fast as the administration’s response to these baseless allegations of racism, perhaps we wouldn’t be dealing with an ecological Armageddon in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Obama administration has become more receptive to the criticisms of its conservative naysayers than to the desires of its own political base.

In an interview with The Hill, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lambasted progressive Democrats. In reference to the “”professional left,”” Gibbs said, “”They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon.””

Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has even called the Democratic base “”fucking retarded””, which isn’t exactly a term of endearment.

No political party has ostracized its base more than the Democratic Party has in its two years in power. Is it any surprise that Democrats by and large are unenthusiastic about the November elections?

While the sluggish rate of the economic “”recovery”” has done nothing to help the Democratic Party’s re-election prospects, the current debate over whether or not to repeal the Bush Tax cuts may help it gain some political capital before November.

Despite the unpopularity of the Republican Party’s platform, which includes cutting taxes for the wealthy, privatizing social security, abolishing Medicare and repealing H.R. 3200, its “”ends justifies the means”” re-election strategy has been successful thus far.

The Democratic Party’s November game-plan is quite pathetic in comparison. Since all of its legislative accomplishments have been viewed as failures by Republican and Democratic voters alike, the party has nothing to run on and must resort to begging the electorate for its votes.

Democrats have less than five weeks to shift political tides in their favor if they intend on retaining their majorities in the House and Senate. But if the last two years of a Democratic-led Congress has taught us anything, it is that the Democratic Party is utterly incapable of governing effectively.

— Nyles Kendall is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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