While I enjoy her singing voice and her performances in many movies, particularly her three greats, “FUNNY GIRL“, “WHAT’S UP DOC?” and “THE WAY WE WERE,” I tend not to agree with Barbra Streisand‘s politics. Both of us, however, admire the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
That great woman once said that Israel “will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” We could paraphrase that to describe the state of civil discourse today in Washington. We will have civil discourse again in Washington when Democrats love their country more than they hate President Bush.
Now, I agree that many, if not most, Democrats already show a love for their country that exceeds their contempt for President Bush. But, just yesterday, the Democratic National Committee elected as its new chairman a man who said, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for.” Indeed, some would argue that Howard Dean raised as much money as he did in the 2004 presidential campaign by tapping into a vein of Bush-hatred among many on the left.
We find signs of this contempt for the president everywhere. Those of us who live on “blue islands” see it on bumper stickers and in the attitudes of many of our friends and neighbors. In Washington, many Democrats balk at the prospect of even considering the president’s proposals for reform, opposing his plan to preserve Social Security. Powerline observes:
House and Senate Democrats have decided against introducing an alternative Social Security reform plan yet, preferring instead to focus attention and criticism on President Bush?s proposals, according to a number of senior Democratic aides.
They’re more interested in criticizing President Bush than they are in reforming and hence preserving a program they claim to consider one of the finest achievements in social policy of the last century.
The party’s visible leaders and voices are pursuing an entirely different strategy today. It generally amounts to angry opposition on all issues all the time.
And he warns that if his party
cannot break free of Deanism–i.e., strident opposition to all things Bush–Democrats could find themselves by 2008 the party of Hollywood, Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, George Soros and high-culture media–but not of most Americans.
President George W. Bush has just been sworn into a second four-year term after a majority of the American people voted to return him to office. If Democrats are truly concerned about improving our great nation, they will accept this reality and overcome their contempt for this good man and thoughtfully respond to his proposals for reform and his foreign policy initiatives.
If they disagree, they should say so, but express their disagreements not in terms of their hatred for the president and his party but in terms of the inadequacies (in their view) of his policies. It should be incumbent upon them when they find fault with his proposals not to dig in their heels and cry out that this plainspoken Texas is horrible, no good, very bad man, but to propose serious alternatives. Maybe they won’t get their way, but they just might succeed in effecting a compromise solution. And failing that, they will at least show themselves as a party with serious ideas.
The election of Howard Dean as party chairman seems to confirm Republicans’ harshest criticisms of the Democratic Party. That they no longer offer a positive vision for our nation as did such great Democrats as Franlkin Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. Instead, all they seem to be offering is name-calling and opposition. This is a sad commentary on the state of America’s once-dominant political party. And most likely reflects only the attitude of the party’s most zealous activists and not the majority of its rank-and-file members.
It’s time for the Democrats to show, through their rhetoric and their responses to President Bush’s initiatives, that they love their country more than they hate President Bush. But, with Howard Dean’s election yesterday, that doesn’t seem likely.
-Dan (aka GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com