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December 24, 2009

Former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley: Hey, I Hate to Spoil Everyone's Fantasy Fun, But Seriously, America Is Really Rejecting the Liberal Agenda

Panic button.

Despite this raft of bad news, Democrats are not doomed to return to the wilderness. The question is whether the party is prepared to listen carefully to what the American public is saying. Voters are not re-embracing conservative ideology, nor are they falling back in love with the Republican brand. If anything, the Democrats' salvation may lie in the fact that Republicans seem even more hell-bent on allowing their radical wing to drag the party away from the center.

All that is required for the Democratic Party to recover its political footing is to acknowledge that the agenda of the party's most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans -- and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.

For liberals to accept that inescapable reality is not to concede permanent defeat. Rather, let them take it as a sign that they must continue the hard work of slowly and steadily persuading their fellow citizens to embrace their perspective. In the meantime, liberals -- and, indeed, all of us -- should have the humility to recognize that there is no monopoly on good ideas, as well as the long-term perspective to know that intraparty warfare will only relegate the Democrats to minority status, which would be disastrous for the very constituents they seek to represent.

The party's moment of choosing is drawing close. While it may be too late to avoid some losses in 2010, it is not too late to avoid the kind of rout that redraws the political map. The leaders of the Democratic Party need to move back toward the center -- and in doing so, set the stage for the many years' worth of leadership necessary to produce the sort of pragmatic change the American people actually want.

What an odd notion -- secure the consent of the citizenry on your agenda before enacting it, so that you have some sort of, let us say, "consent of the governed," rather than forcing it upon them simply because you have the raw political power to do so.

Interesting idea. Would make for a good political experiment to found a whole country on principles like that. I wonder what such a revolutionary country might look like.



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posted by Ace at 09:50 PM

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