Sunday, January 08, 2006

It's the Fight

A long, serious article on presidential power. Read. Here's a key paragraph:
The lesson for the balance of powers is a deep one: the prize of power goes to the bold. Right now, the presidency and its supporters have the upper hand. For Congress to regain some of its constitutional prominence, the court will have to keep a level head, and the representatives themselves will have to be willing to take some chances. Such an effort need not be restricted to national security issues - it would be nice if Congress also took more responsibility for making many of the hard domestic policy choices that it currently leaves to administrative agencies. But the national security problem is more pressing, and for the moment it offers Congress the best chance to redeem itself from its recent inaction.
The first sentence precisely describes the difference between Republicans and Democrats as players in today's politics. It echoes Bill Clinton's famous statement that people vote for "strong and wrong" over "right and weak." To me, the overriding meme that Republican's employ against Democrats is that if they are too weak to stand up for themselves, they are too weak to defend America.

What, exactly, do the Democrats have to lose that they are too afraid to change the current political dynamics? I fear the answer may be - probably must be - that those in power within the Democratic Party would rather keep the perks they have as leaders of the minority power than risk losing their positions in a reformist, and ascendant, party.

I'm convinced that a charismatic, eloquent, passionate Liberal demagogue who is as sweeping in his/her reformist rhetoric, who articulates the history of Liberalism as a changing force in American history and in America's future, who is brave and bold, who challenges both the entropy and entrenchment of his/her own party as well as the wretched policies of the Republicans, can sweep to power both him/herself as well as the party.

I'm not sure that person exists. I'm not sure the Democratic Party, in its efforts to become as self-policing and doctrinaire and as lockstep as the Republican Party, would support, much less allow, such a person. I'm entirely not sure that the Democratic leadership is willing to sacrifice their golf junkets and power lunches if that's what it took to regain power. Which is exactly why American Liberalism needs a smart, shrewd, eloquent, brave, and bold demagogue.


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