- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

When I recently wrote about the Democrats’ real problems, I thought I might hear from some Democrats who disagreed with me. I did not. But I did hear from Republicans who agreed with me, and most of them said the same thing: Stop giving the Democrats good advice; they might take it and then we (Republicans) would have a problem.

I want to assure these Republicans that, although I offer my comments in good faith, there is little likelihood that most Democrats will heed them. That’s because, as I said when explaining why the Democrats have a problem, fixing it will involve not a little pain. That pain will include standing up to the far-left wing of the party, and taking the short-term rhetorical heat for doing so.

When Senator Russell Feingold recently suggested censuring President Bush, his Democratic colleagues cut him off brusquely. Sen. Mark Dayton, one of the Senate’s most liberal members, said Mr. Feingold was “over-reaching” and “grandstanding,” and he was doing so “at the expense of his own party and his own country.” Mr. Dayton and more moderate senators understood this kind of action was only likely to bring out support for the president by Republicans, some of whom were unhappy with the president’s policies, but would instinctively rally behind their president as Democrats did when Republicans began impeachment proceedings against President Clinton in 1998.

Now some Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, responding to the left wing of their party, are calling for the impeachment of President Bush. This may be the most self-defeating and dumb political idea of the year, since its practical effect will be to bring out otherwise ambivlent Republicans to the polls in close races. The Democrats would succeed in nationalizing the elections in these cases, but would obtain the exact opposite of their goals, since Republicans would understand that the election of a Democratic House would likely result in impeachment proceedings, something a huge majority of Americans oppose, regardless of how they feel about President Bush.

This is the consequence of the leftward pull now being exerted on the Democratic Party by its angry, isolationist and anti-business base which represents only a minority of voters. What these voters want would surely frighten moderate Democrats and independents who otherwise now seem eager to vote for Democrats in 2006 and a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008.

Most Democrats also compulsively hold on to the demogogic cliches of class warfare, and advocate raising taxes and increased spending as a solution to economic problems in government.

President Bush’s administration has handed Democrats an unexpected issue by creating the largest deficits in U.S. history, something which has unnerved his own conservative base.

Instead of proposing policies, as President Clinton did, that reduced spending, balanced the budget and created surpluses, leading Democrats criticize Mr. Bush’s tax reductions, attack free trade and propose even greater spending. This would surely bring a recession to a tentatively recovering economy, exacerbate housing market vulnerability and increase trade deficits.This is a political blueprint for disaster, and voters are smart enough to figure it out.

Whenever Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Biden, two presidential hopefuls, have tried to move into the political center on foreign and domestic policy, they are blasted by political megaphones from the far left with hysterical and threatening rhetoric. “We won’t vote for you,” these proclaim, and alas, the senators retreat. Remember when Mr. Clinton stood up to Jesse Jackson when the latter tried to pull the same stunt? It was a turning point for Mr. Clinton, and should be instructive to those who would like to succeed him. Perhaps it will be a Democratic governor named Mark Warner or Bill Richardson, unfettered by the tortuously hermetic Senate climate, who will show the political courage and reap the political benefit of ending the poisonous thrall of the left on th Democratic party. After all, where is the left going to go? Is it going to vote for Sen. John McCain? Will they start their own party? Will they try to filibuster the Senate and tie up the House when the country is demanding legislative action.

They are empty threats, but someone in the party will have to stand up to this perennial diversion soon because otherwise the opportunity for the Democrats, so obvious and bright in the spring of 2006, will slip away and be lost for another cycle, and who knows for how much longer.”

Barry Casselman writes about politics for Preludium News Service.

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