Wish I'd written this one...
-------- Original Message --------
Published on Sunday, March 11, 2001 in the Washington Post
They Aren't 'Just Resting' The Democratic Party is Dead
by Robert B. Reich
If I were a political consumer, I would -- with apologies to the
late Monty Python parrot -- be going back to the store right about now
and registering a complaint: "This political party -- the
Democratic Party. It's dead."
"No, no, no no," he replies, "it's just resting."
But I know a dead party when I see one, and I'm looking at a dead
party right now. Just
consider the past eight years: lost the presidency, both houses of
Congress, almost all its
majorities in state legislatures, most governorships. Will lose
additional House seats in the
next redistricting. Most of the current justices of the Supreme
Court appointed by
Republicans, also most current federal judges. And the
interminable Bill Clinton scandals.
The Democratic Party is stone dead. Dead as a doornail.
Not at all, he says. After all, the Democrats are only one seat
away from taking over the
Senate. If Katherine Harris and the Supreme Court hadn't mucked it
up, Al Gore would be in the White House right now. He won the popular
vote by a half-million. Democrats and
Greens together won more than 3 million more votes than the
Republicans. And the Dems raised as much soft money as the Republicans
for the first time in history. Forget the
Clinton unpleasantness. The public will forget it. It always does.
The party's not dead, "just resting."
Maybe, or perhaps it's stunned, lying there inert with less than
two years to go until the
midterms. Simply can't get over not having Bill Clinton in the
But just you wait, say the party's salesmen: Someone will emerge
to bring it back to life.
Look, the only reason the Democratic Party is sitting upright is
that it's been nailed there,
like the Python parrot. Who speaks for the Democrats? Clinton is
utterly disgraced. Gore
ran a lousy campaign. Terry McAuliffe heads the Democratic
National Committee only
because he raised a ton of money for Clinton.
And don't tell me the Democratic Leadership Council, with all that
talk about being from the vital center -- why, even Hillary joined up --
is going to revive this bird. The DLC stands for nothing, nada, zero,
except it's anti-union. No grass roots. No troops. No one out in
America cares about the DLC. The DLC says it's centrist, but
centrism is wherever the polls say most Americans are. And most
Americans drift wherever there's a lot of hullabaloo.
Centrism is unprincipled. Centrism doesn't lead. It follows.
Centrism is Dick Morris.
Centrism is nowhere.
If the Democratic Party's alive, why doesn't it insist that the
budget surplus be spent on
health care for the 44 million Americans without it? And child
care for the millions who lack it? And good schools for all kids? Why
doesn't the party say it's plain absurd to spend $300 billion on the
military when the Cold War is over, and tens of billions more on a
missile-defense shield that won't work? Why isn't it outraged that
most of the benefits of
President Bush's tax cut will go to people at the top? Why does it
play dead on the
environment? Why? Because it's not playing dead. It is dead!
The Dems aren't even fighting for campaign finance reform. They
got so much soft money
last time that they've decided to hold on.
This party is no more. It has ceased to be. It's expired and gone
to meet its maker. This is
The writer was secretary of labor from 1993 to 1997 and is the
author of "The Future of
2001 The Washington Post Company
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