( "Democrats in name only")
As a Democratic activist for some 40 years, I am one of a
multitude of party members who wonder how much time and money our party is
going to waste on getting people elected as "Democrats" when we know full well
that once elected to high office these people are going to vote on crucial
issues with the Republican Party and against the Democratic Party.
As a wise man observed long ago, "a house divided against
itself will not stand" (Luke 11:17). Until recently, I didn't know what
could be done about this problem. But somebody must have hit the power
switch, because the light has come on. What the Democratic Party must
recognize is that it is unnatural for predominantly Republican areas to be represented by Democrats (and vice versa). Every once in a while, as a result of corruption or lousy conditions which voters blame on the incumbent party, they are persuaded to elect
somebody from the opposite party "for a change".
Now, the traditional way the Democratic Party has dealt with
this common situation has been to strive to prolong that change indefinitely. It has tried to be "understanding" when these so-called
"Democrats" act just like Republicans, in the hope that they will be re-elected
by their predominantly Republican constituents. (which
isn't likely to happen very often, as they are bound to soon elect a real
Republican rather than a wannabe.)
Again and again and again, however, we have learned the hard way the foolishness of this approach. How long are we going to continue to work to elect and re-elect people whom we know will vote with the Republicans on issues that matter most to us? Why do we continue to waste our party's resources to the advantage of our rivals?
Why can't the Democratic Party be realistic about
what to expect from "Democrats" sent to Congress by conservative Republican voters?
Instead of trying to make this exceptional, unnatural and unsustainable situation last as
long as possible, by playing this charade of "make believe I'm a conservative
Republican just like you, and keep sending me back to Washington", why not take
advantages of the opportunities that such elections give the party to
have congresspersons from such areas who are true Democrats for at least one term
(2 or 6 years) - which is better than having a pseudo-Democrat from those
areas who votes Republican for two or three terms? Why not get a promise from such short term Democratic office holders that, in exchange for the party's help in getting elected, they will serve as Democrats. In most instances, it will only be for one term. But if they show their constituents how much better the Democratic way is than the Republican, they may actually persuade many of them to move in our direction, (rather than having our Democratic office holders move in their direction)!
When, in mid 2911, the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party put the country through Hell over increasing the nation's debt limit, it suddenly occurred to me that they were illustrating the wisdom of the point I made above. Because they were not planning on getting elected to a second term, they were able to fight like crazy for what they believed in. Insane as they were, they demonstrated how much can be accomplished when you pursue your dreams wholeheartedly - instead of giving up your dreams in order to keep on doing what you don't believe in for the sole purpose of staying in office.
How can the Democratic leadership expect people like me to support our party as enthusiastically and generously as we would like when we see our efforts and contributions being squandered to
elect so-called "blue dog" and "pro-life" Democrats, who use their office to help the Republicans, the fat cat business interests, and/or the conservative Catholic and Protestant clergy to
defeat the official agenda of the Democratic Party?