It’s the unfairness, stupid
With great and groveling respect for the big shots in the Democratic establishment, I respectfully suggest that many of them have poop in their eyes when it comes to the real point of the upcoming election. This isn’t about whether the Democrats gain seats; they will. It isn’t about whether they’ll take control of the House; they probably will. It isn’t even about whether they take the Senate; they have a fair shot.
Barring an extraordinary turnaround (something comparable to Alan Schlesinger coming back to beat both Lamont and Lieberman in the Connecticut Senate race) this will be a Democratic year. That also isn’t the issue
The real issue is whether this is going to be a year like 1974, or one like 1994.
In post-Watergate 1974, Democrats gained 48 seats in the House and five in the Senate. But it changed nothing; the slow drift toward Republican political dominance barely missed a beat, exploding with a vengeance a mere six years later in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan and a Republican Senate.
The 1994 election, on the other hand, with Republicans winning 52 seats in the House and nine in the Senate, was a transformative political event. The Republican Party emerged as the dominant political party in the nation and has remained so ever since.
1974 was a hiccup, 1994 an earthquake.
So here we are today: And after 12 long years of watching the GOP cheating, lying and just plain treating them badly, the American people are ready to file for a divorce. What they haven’t decided yet, however, is whether to accept the Democrats’ offer to get engaged on the rebound.
We Democrats need to give them a better reason to say yes — a stronger argument, if you will, as to why we’re the perfect political party for them to settle down with, raise some kids and grow old together.
And a good starting place is a story that was in The New York Times yesterday.
Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity
With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.
That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.
The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.
As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”
Boring right? That tends to be the response to economic issues these days. But strip away the technical details and what’s left is political dynamite. People are hurting; personal debt is at historic levels and rising. This despite the fact that people are working harder, spending less time with their families and living under more pressure than at any other time since World War II. Productivity is up, profits are up, but the people whose work helped produce that success aren’t even getting the table scraps.
It’s profoundly unfair; and unfairness is a powerful motivator. Any good trial lawyer will tell you that nothing is more effective in the trial of a lawsuit than getting the jury’s sense of unfairness working on your side. Juries want to do what’s fair; so do voters. And they also want to be treated fairly themselves.
If Democratic candidates can place themselves on the right side of this issue, first, by speaking out against economic unfairness, then, second, by supporting common sense policies designed to reduce the unfairness of our new everything for corporations and nothing for workers economic order, a political earthquake will start to rumble. Sure, even without it we’ll probably win in November, what with the disaster in Iraq, the betrayal of New Orleans and all the rest. But to settle for a good year, when there’s an opportunity for a transformative election, would be a pathetically poor wager.
Many establishment Democrats don’t see it this way, of course. But then that’s what happens when you’ve got poop in your eyes — even when you put it there yourself.
August 29th, 2006 at 10:28 am
or bakshish from big biz in the bag?
August 29th, 2006 at 3:37 pm
And they wonder why so many people say “a pox on both their houses” and don’t bother to vote. The Democrats we have today (with only a couple of exceptions), don’t know how to play offense and don’t want to carry the ball anyway. It’s poop alright, chicken poop.
August 29th, 2006 at 8:43 pm
Actually, the Dems have two Issues to ride on this election cycle. The unfairness is one, but after Katrina, Iraq, and the War on Terror, they can also say,” Its the STUPIDITY, stupid.”
August 29th, 2006 at 11:58 pm
The Democrat Political Machine, as opposed to people who identify with liberal viewpoints are two different groups. The Clintons, Evan Bayh, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi typify the political machine. They are “Centrists.” They believe they are speaking for the majority of the American People, and perhaps they are on many issues. I see them as fence-straddlers, politicians but certainly not statesmen, opportunists and not leaders. They are just as dependent on fat-cat corporate money as the Republicans. They are just as susceptible to K Street and the lobbyists. They wobble and weave with the wind. They don’t speak out with the courage of their convictions, because they have no courage and no convictions. The best you can say about them is that they are the lesser of two evils. They don’t do much for the working man, for minorities, for the poor. Instead, they focus on corporate interests, and idiot policies like “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” Here in Indiana, I usually have to hold my nose when I vote for one of them. The Democrats need to offer the citizens a real choice, outline clearly what that choice is, and how it will make life better for the majority, not just the wealthy few. They also need to purchase a major media outlet. Until they can get the word out, the current state of the MSM reduces all they say to a bleat and a whisper. While they seemingly can’t say peep unless a poll supports it, they do need to pay attention to the fact that the majority no longer wants the war in Iraq. It’s time for them to stop wringing their hands and looking at Hillary Clinton. Forget Hillary. She has triangulated and strangulated herself into ignominy. A fresh outlook would do wonders for the Party.
August 30th, 2006 at 5:54 pm
Diebold and company will decide who wins elections unless we demand a verifiable trail.