I am going to get myself in trouble today.
From my first vote cast in 1980 through this past spring’s election I have always voted for a candidate as opposed to voting against the opponent. That is not a semantic trick but instead best expresses the way I view politics. I tend to be for a policy and point of view as opposed to being against a plan or a candidate. I take the political process seriously and want the candidates to take my vote the same way.
With that said I am a bit concerned that the Democratic game plan this fall is missing one component. They have the funds, an energized base that is ready to vote today, and candidates of unique talent and diversity to wage an all out campaign. Problem is I do not see a game plan. Oh, they have a strategy they think will get them elected. But I fear they do not have a game plan to govern once in office.
As a matter of fact I wonder without such a plan of action how large a victory the Democrats can even score on Election Night. While I still see sizable gains to the extent that the House of Representatives will be governed by today’s version of the loyal opposition, I wonder how many more seats might be winnable if there was a serious agenda up for discussion this year.
To run a national election (and that is how mid-terms are constructed even though the races are local) on opposing President Bush and the Iraq War very well may garner enough votes to deny the GOP leadership in the House. But not to offer up a list of concrete alternative positions on issues that weigh on the minds of America misses the real role of an election.
To hear the muddled responses from Democratic candidates over Iraq is amusing since it is the number one issue in the nation. Yet the tiptoeing and nuanced language of Congressional candidates hoping to win in November does not give me confidence that once in office there is any plan to implement or real ideas to debate. I do not want people elected that are scared of ‘rocking the boat’ when it comes to forthrightly addressing the issues today, all for the sake of winning an election. The problems we face are just too large to win a House of Congress and fail at governing.
To not address an agenda that Democrats hope to discuss and act on in Congress denies them the real tool they need once in the majority. That being the support of the electorate. To achieve anything in a highly partisan and rhetorically divided Congress the people in the nation need to have spoken with clarity and given their directions for the future of the nation. But the citizens can only do that if they know what the policy ideas are during the election.
Today the Democrats have anger from the nation against Bush to propel them into office. I tell you today that is not enough to govern in January.
I await the Democratic game plan. I am not holding my breath.