Leading Democrats Need a Brain, a Heart and Courage

I think the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates is
the best group I’ve ever seen. Not only would any one of them constitute a
marked improvement over the dreck that currently occupies the White
House, but I think the field offers us a better choice than we’ve had
in many years. But the top 3 candidates — those who are most likely to
win the nomination — are driving me crazy, and I want to stick my foot
up each of their behinds. I don’t know who’s advising them politically,
but whoever it is should be fired. Every damned one of them needs to
trust their instincts, and stop listening to the people who are
attempting to "strategize" a way to get votes from everyone who will
vote next year.

How would you like to save yourselves many hundreds of thousands of
dollars, guarantee a win against the Republican nominee next year?

Okay, forget that. Whoever the GOP nominates will lose in a landslide next year, anyway.

How would you like to be pretty much guaranteed the Democratic
nomination next year, and thus the presidency? It’s actually something
very simple; something that anyone can do. And it doesn’t require
payment of a whole lot of money to consultants. In fact, just the

You see, a significant number of people — those on the right and
the left, have already decided who they will and/or will not vote for.
The majority of people, however, want to be convinced to vote for
someone. Now, the "experts" will tell you these people vote based on a
candidate’s stance on the issues, and making sure he or she doesn’t say
anything to piss them off.

And that is precisely why I put the parentheses around the word "experts."

What the average person is looking for in a president is a leader. That’s right; I said a leader!
They want to know that, when something happens and a decision has to
be made, the person they vote for will be able to make a decision
about it with the needs of the people being foremost in their minds.
The vast majority of voters really don’t care that much about a
candidate’s stance on individual issues; they want to know that a
candidate has standards, has scruples, and can get the job done,
whatever that job is.

When I watched part of the debate the other night, Tim Russert
asked  a very simple question. He asked each candidate to commit to
getting the troops out of Iraq by 2013. There was, of course, only one
acceptable answer to that question. Can you guess what that answer
should have been?


That’s the only answer that mattered; the only answer that anyone who
wants to be president should give.  Instead, viewers were forced to sit
squirming in their seats as all three "Democratic leaders" qualified their
answers in such convoluted ways, it made me want to scream. And given
the reaction of most people in this country in the wake of the debate,
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

All of that crap about not making a commitment because you don’t
know what you’ll be facing when you  take office is meaningless to most
people, no matter what the so-called "experts" tell you. We all know
you’re going to inherit a full-fledged disaster over there in 2009;
it’s a disaster now, and the current president will never get us out of
there, or do anything to lessen the disaster. Despite that fact, you must be able to make a commitment —
an absolute commitment — to start bringing troops home
beginning at 12:01 PM, January 20, 2009. If something happens to make
that impossible, you deal with it then. But a candidate’s inability to
predict the future should not preclude a commitment to do something
based on current conditions.

Once again, the American people are looking for a leader; someone
who is capable of making decisions and judgments at a moment’s notice. How
much confidence do you think swing voters will have in a candidate who
qualifies and nuances everything?

The reason Republicans were able to steal the last two elections,
and have controlled the process for most of the last 30 years is not
because of anything they’ve done. If you look closely, no Republican
presidential candidate in the last 30 years has even taken a stance on most
important issues; they have managed to frame every election based on
intangible non-issues. Think about it; Republicans are considered by
many to be more "fiscally responsible," despite the fact that they have
put our grandchildren in debt up to their eyeballs. They’re considered
stronger on defense, despite the fact that they continue to put us at
greater risk on the world stage. They’ve managed to convince people
that they’re the "family values" party, despite the fact that the level
of corruption coming from them has been unprecedented. I mean, what
kind of "Christian" political party would show such absolute disdain
for the poor and the infirmed as these people?

Yet, they win elections. And they do so because they have figured out that sounding
as if you’re decisive and know what you’re doing is actually just as
important as demonstrating to everyone how "smart" you think you are about each
and every issue.

The reason Al Gore and John Kerry "lost" is actually quite simple.
They "lost" because they felt the need to to "finesse" everything; they
were incapable of demonstrating their principles without "nuancing"
them to death. Enough with the nuance, Democrats! The American people understandthat
conditions at some point could make it impossible to bring troops
home, and they don’t want an answer based on that. And it’s not because
voters are stupid; voters want a leader who will sweat the details, and
not burden us with them. That is, after all, why we elect someone to
represent us, isn’t it? This isn’t a pure democracy for good reason; if
300 million Americans were required to know every aspect of every
situation, and every decision was made based on a democratic vote, how
productive would this country be?

This is my message to Senators Clinton, Edwards and Obama; please
understand; any one of you will make a hell of a president; I am
convinced of that because of your competence, and your overall
compassion and understanding of the process. And I understand that two
of you have to balance your campaign for president with your duties as
senators. But you will not get to where you want to go if you qualify
and triangulate every issue, and constantly nuance every answer to
every question. You can make a commitment to get those troops home by the end of your first year in office, and you must
do so. If you fail to do articulate that, then you will give up your
number one advantage in the race against the Republican, whichever of
the seven intellectual dwarves that party eventually settles on. And
while you’re at it, you can also commit to beginning the process toward
a national health care financing system as soon as you take office, and
a restoration of habeas corpus before the first day is up. You can
commit to all sorts of things. We don’t have to know all of the
details, and we don’t have to speculate as to the difficulty of the
task by the time the current group of miscreants leaves office. Commit
to those things; they’re an important commitment to the American

The occupation of Iraq must end, period. If the situation is bad
after we leave, and action must be taken,  then let the United Nations
send in a force, possibly including Americans. But the United States
cannot continue to occupying, and an absolute commitment to do so must
be a part of any Democrat’s winning strategy. On a political level, I
would seriously recommend that you stop listening to the DLC and Bob
Shrum, and go with your gut. Bill Clinton didn’t win in 1992 and 1996
because of the DLC; he won because he had compassion and a vision, and
he was able to articulate that passion and vision without the nuanced
mumbo jumbo I’m seeing lately.

You may think that the reason people like "sound bites" is because
they have short attention spans, but that’s not it. People like "sound
bites" because they are too busy for details; that’s why they elect
you.  The key to winning the presidency as a Democrat is to let the
voters know that they can trust you with the details, whatever they
are. When you nuance every issue, you look defensive, and no one wants
to vote for someone who’s always defensive. They want to see confidence
and assurance. Therefore, show some passion; show some commitment. Please…

Once again; most voters are less concerned with a candidate’s actual
stance on an issue, than they are interested in electing a leader who
cares about them, and who they can trust with the individual details.
They don’t like arrogance, but they like self-assurance; if you believe
in something, express it; if you feel passion, then be compassionate.
It’s okay, no matter what the idiots who "study" this crap say. These
people hire other people to ask specific questions designed by them to
find out information they want to know. The best way to know everything
is to listen to the people. Not polls, but people. If you have your ear
to the ground, and you listen to people, you’ll find that most polls
about issues are wrong. Most people don’t care about issues when they
choose a president; they care about values, they care about image, and
they care about perceived leadership ability.

We can’t afford another four years of Republicans in the White
House. Don’t make it close enough for them to steal.  Grow a spine, and
grow some heart; the country needs someone with both to pull us out of
this mess, and answers like you gave to a simple question like "will
you commit to getting out of Iraq by 2013?" demonstrate neither.

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