Descent and no dissent

Lockstep attitude with blind eye to public sentiment is dooming Democratic Party

A few years back the Republican Party was doing some painful soul-searching. This page happily added to the pain, with a little tough-love advice.


Days after their 2012 election “shellacking” – to borrow a 2010 term from President Obama – and months before the GOP would issue a 100-page report saying much the same, we summarized the party’s problems in an editorial headlined “A party in crisis”:

“Liberal crowing since Tuesday that Republicans have problems connecting with minorities, women and youths is absolutely indisputable.

“The Republican Party is in crisis.

“It had better figure out what’s wrong with the conservative message or how it’s being put forth. At the same time, the party had better figure out how to appeal more to African-Americans, Latinos, women and youths.”

Now, with its soul-searching going on, let’s look at the Democratic Party.

After their shellacking in the 2014 midterms, Democrats have published their own “autopsy” – which, as opposed to the Republicans’ soul-searching, is “just nine pages long, if you include the front and back covers,” notes The Atlantic.

Moreover, the magazine observed, “Its conclusions boil down to a familiar refrain from losing parties: The problem is the packaging, not what’s inside the box.”

So it’s just a messaging problem?

That’s particularly odd, coming from a party whose chief spokesman – Barack Obama – not only has the bully pulpit of the White House, but is also hailed as the greatest political communicator since Ronald Reagan. He’s also been fairly omnipresent in both the news and entertainment media.

That alone would seem to debunk the Democrats’ comforting notion that “they’re just not hearing us.”

Their other refrain – that Americans are just too dense to understand the intellectual “nuance” of their Democrat brilliance – is not just quizzical but insulting.

It’s also quite easily refuted: It’s quite possible we hear them loud and clear, and are simply rejecting the message. But you need more than nine pages to get to that possibility, apparently.

And while Republicans often stray from their stated values such as individual liberty and limited government – causing intra-party brush fires that the media love to fan – it’s not even certain what the Democratic Party stands for.

The party’s task force called for a “strong values-based national narrative.” OK, what values?

It might be a good national debate to have – one party’s values vs. the other’s. That might help many in the middle decide which party to support.

But the Democratic Party may have a problem as big or bigger than muddled values: a lack of
dissension in its ranks.

Ever since Barack Obama took office, the party has closed ranks and pretty much walked in lockstep off the cliff, ignoring public opinion and the relevance of Congress.

While that gave a short-term boost to the party, near-unanimity has had its consequences. Many of the blind backers of Obamacare, for example – let’s be honest; they had to pass it to find out what was in it – have been tossed right out of Congress. Republicans now boast their largest contingent in the House since the 1930s. There are more Republican state legislators and governors, too.

The only interruption in the Democrats’ erosion of power since the passage of Obamacare has been its namesake’s re-election win in 2012, based largely on his waning star power and an uninspiring GOP candidate.

When George W. Bush was in the White House, Democrats held dissension up as a holy sacrament, a patriotic deed second only to dying for one’s country. Now, however, Democrats seem to fear standing in opposition to either the White House or their iron-fisted leadership in Congress.

Contrast that with Republicans who, even after their historic wins in 2014, still are restive and openly mutinous toward party leaders who continue to stray from party principles.

In truth, debate and disagreement is a healthy thing. The lack of it among Democrats has hurt not just their own party, but the country as well.

This page disagrees with most of the Democrat agenda – from government takeovers of health care and the Internet to unprecedented dependence on an ever-expanding government and more. We also can’t fathom why any freedom-loving people, particularly American Jews, would support the Democrats’ belligerent stance toward Israel, as exhibited by the White House’s unseemly animus toward its prime minister.

But the two-party system, being necessary to the welfare of the country, suffers immeasurably when either or both of the parties aren’t clear what they stand for.

Or when they stifle dissent in their ranks.