I love Paul Krugman. Also Bill Moyers, Frank Rich and Stephen Colbert. But today, mostly, I love Paul Krugman. Reliably credible. Smart. Discerning. He has earned my trust, and I'm sure he'd be thrilled to know that.
Krugman says: 'The party's base seems to be more in touch with the mood of the country than many of the party's leaders. And the result is peculiar: on key issues, reluctant Democratic politicians are being dragged by their base into taking highly popular positions."
The movement forward has seemed sluggish and uncoordinated to me. Democrats seem to be weighing their words and actions very carefully. I am trying not to wade into the slough of despond wherein I believe that everything our elected officials do is dictated by whether it compromises their re-electability.
I long for representation by people who will put national interest first, especially in this surreal Bushworld. Yes, I do understand that there is necessary strategery in order to keep both state and federal house and senate out of the hands of the faux righteous right. Hard to know exactly where that delicate line lies.
To some extent, our elected officials remind me of the collared dogs in yards where invisible fences (IF) are supposed to keep the pups from wandering over to the neighbor's place. Just yesterday, the enormous neighbor dog we have nick-named Goliath took off like a bat out of hell, right through the IF in his excitement at seeing a black lab. Goliath's owner heard the barking, called for his beastie, and finally had to go drag him back into his own yard, smacking Goliath's rump once they got there.
Have you noticed that Jim Webb and Jon Tester and even our own wonderful Tim Walz are relatively subdued these days? Urgh! I hope it's a temporary thing. That the quiet is strategic. I'm almost (though not quite) to the point of praying that there really is a passel of furiously paddling duckie legs under the surface where the political ducks appear to be gliding serenely across the pond.
Krugman again: It took an angry base to push Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base . . . to push them into confronting Mr. (sic) Bush over war funding.
But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush's leadership and doesn't believe anything the administration says.
See why I love Krugman? He is just so out there. He's a bold truth-teller. But he doesn't limit his boldness to George's War.
Health care is another example of the base being more in touch with what the country wants than the politicians. Except for John Edwards, who has explicitly called for a universal health insurance system financed with a rollback of high-income tax cuts, most leading Democratic politicians, still intimidated by the failure of the Clinton health care plan, have been cautious and cagey about presenting plans to cover the uninsured.
But the Democratic presidential candidates'"Mr. Obama in particular'"have been facing a lot of pressure from the base to get specific about what they're proposing. And the base is doing them a favor. [snip]
If all this sounds like a setting in which Democrats could win big victories in the years ahead, that's because it is. Republicans will, for a while at least, be trapped in unpopular positions by a base that's living in the past. Rudy Giuliani's surge into front-runner status for the Republican nomination says more about the party than about the candidate. As The Onion put it with deadly accuracy, Mr. Giuliani is running for "President of 9/11." [snip]
Democrats don't have the same problem. There's no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants'"an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all'"are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the (Democratic) party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians. Or, to coin a phrase, the only thing Democrats have to fear is fear itself.
Krugman is hardly advocating for throwing caution to the winds, and neither am I. But I do believe the time for tentative is past. Every single hour that passes gives this thoroughly corrupt and essentially anti-America/anti-everyone-else administration precious moments to hide more evidence of their wrong-doing and further their pernicious agenda.
I spent a fair number of years as a peacemaker, as in being deeply involved in peace activities. My being still trends that direction. But as Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, there is a time for everything under the sun, and in order to achieve peace and even begin to restore the America that was, I believe it's time to kick duck butt, without ceasing. (Dear PETA, I mean that metaphorically.)
The long, befuddled silence of the American people is over. Speak often. Speak loudly. Speak to the powers that be. We are the base. Show our leaders the way.
Did I mention that I love Paul Krugman?