The Tide May Be Turning But Watch Out For The Undertow
The liberal blogs are abuzz with the good news from Tuesday’s elections across the country. Democrats did well, taking the governors races in both New Jersey and Virginia (oh, those Red State victories are especially sweet) and the defeat of Governor Schwarzenegger’s pet initiatives sent his stock into the dumps as well. The only thing sweeter than the Govenator’s fall was the fact that President Bush proved to be the kiss of death to any candidate crazy enough to share a stage with our Commander in Chief. Even the Democratic Mayor of St. Paul was made to pay for his endorsement of Bush last year with a resounding rejection of his poor judgment that catapulted his Democratic challenger into office.
For the first time in a long time the election results are mirroring the sentiment of the voters and the message is, we’re done with Republican rule and are even willing to give the Democrats a shot at this point. But not being “them” will only take us so far and there are pitfalls inherent in a premature celebration. Yes, the country does appear to be waking up from its 9/11 induced coma and yes, the Washington press corps do seem to be sticking it to Stuttering Scotty on a regular basis, but so far these are mere stirrings and by no stretch a true awakening. Our eyes may no longer be shut tightly in fear, but they are not exactly wide open yet either.
Other than a shot in the arm for Democrats on the ground, Tuesday’s results are of little importance. With limited options, voters did the only sensible thing and voted for anyone but Bush. No, Bush was not on any ballot, but he was still the target of every vote cast for a Democratic candidate and we kid ourselves if we think differently. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good sign and surely something to build on, but a Democratic takeover next year is not going to happen organically we will have to coax it gently into fruition. The anti Bush sentiment was high in 2004 and regardless of what “really” happened in that election, not being Bush clearly was not enough for a convincing win and it will prove just as ineffective the next time around.
The first step is waking up but the steps that follow are more difficult. There is a consciousness being aroused within the Democratic Party and we liberals must not only nurture it, but we must continue to push it even further. Being a liberal is something to be proud of and we must encourage those who are willing to stand up and shout our ideals from center stage. Liberals must challenge the status quo of the party and demand our turn at the wheel. It is time for us to take control and drive the party out of the wilderness and into the hearts of Americans. We are the majority party and we enjoy majority support, now it’s time to start acting like it and provide the citizens of this country a true and honest alternative.