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Friday Oct 12, 2007

Respect Your Base

The New York Times has a Washington-centric piece today with a tired theme: the petulant, short-sighted liberal base is making things difficult for responsible political-savvy congressional Democrats.

The articles quotes a top House Republicans as if he is an astute political observer, saying, "The base turns on them in every single case. So at some point they have to stop falling into the trap of constantly playing to the base and try to solve problems.?

That conveniently ignores that much of the base is rallying around the current bill to expand children's health insurance, even though it's a compromise bill that doesn't cover all remaining uninsured children, and denies coverage for legal immigrant children.

You see, you can disagree on some things, then agree on others and move forward like mature adults. Shocking.

There are a lot of Dems in Washington that treat liberal activists and bloggers as a nuisance to be managed, an attitude which clearly fueled the NYT analysis.

In reality, those are the Dems that need to be responsible and grow up.

There will always be some disagreement between those inside and outside the halls of power. Put it in perspective, people.

For example, there's been plenty of friction between the Republican Establishment and the conservative base. Hell, the conservative base took down a freakin' Supreme Court nominee!

Was that the end of the relationship between the base and the Establishment? Of course not. It was a disagreement.

A pretty big one, granted. But after it was over, they focused on common ground and moved ahead.

The bulk of the NYT article focuses on a disagreement Rep. Barney Frank has with gay rights activists about the reach of an employment discrimination bill.

But it's not a disagreement that drags down the entire party, or even threatens Frank's political standing back home. Not to trivialize the equality issue at stake, but it's a disagreement. Big deal.

Furthermore, not every disagreement is between idiot outsiders and genius insiders. Not even close.

Good ideas and sharp insights often come from outside the Beltway bubble.

And sometimes it's healthy when folks in the grassroots push their elected representatives. Some people call it democracy.

The internet has made great strides in breaking down barriers between the grassroots and the Establishment, but there's ways to go.

The more two-way dialogue, and the less condescension, the better for the Democratic party and the liberal movement.

Posted by Bill Scher on Oct 12, 2007 email post email Spotlight / / You are in Democratic Party
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