Now, finally, the president’s out there on the stump doing what we wish he’d been doing for the past 16 months or so: drawing sharp, biting distinctions between Democrats and Republicans. Great timing, five weeks before election day. We pray it ain’t too late. It would have helped if the Senate Democrats had not timidly wimped away from forcing a vote on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and pushed the Republicans to show how much they care for the middle class. Their timidity explains the enthusiasm gap (but that’s no excuse for not voting against Republicans on Nov. 2).
Why Is Barack Obama All Alone?
But where are his fellow Democrats, now and for the past year and a half? Is the president alone because he spent more time courting the party that wants him to fail than organizing and training surrogates in his own party to help frame the message and control the national debate? We think so. We recall wondering with distress during the stimulus struggle in February 2009, “Where are the f—ing Democrats?!”
All week we’ve been wondering Where are the f—ing Senate Democrats?! It’s as though the camera hogs have turned into groundhogs, frightened of their shadows, leaving Obama to do all the heavy lifting on the American Recovery and Investment Plan, better known as The Stimulus.
All the work of promoting and defending the stimulus and health care reform and Wall Street reform seems to have been left to the president to handle by himself. This is inexcusable. Even on Dem-friendly MSNBC much of the air time goes to covering conservatives’ antics and rantings instead of Democrats’ and progressives’ positive messaging. (There are a few exceptions, such as Barney Frank, Alan Grayson, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Sherrod Brown, Howard Dean.)
Where Are the Donkeys That Kick Ass?
Democrats are said to be the majority party, yet they’re AWOL while Boehner and Cantor and other conservative big mouths have been shaking the leaves off the trees with their high-pitched elephant roars and hoof-poundings about out-of-control spending. Where are the donkeys that kick ass?
What drives us f—ing craaazy is that since Inauguration Day the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to control the national microphone as though the Dems are still scared shitless of the elephant’s hoof the way they were from 9/11/01 onward. As our friend Pat of Hurricane Radio says in a hot, lucid piece we wish we’d written, “You [Obama and the Dems] have to learn that there are political consequences for letting the other side control the debate.”
Don’t get us wrong, we’re about to get our donkey back in gear by rejoining the Organizing for America phone banks to call the disillusioned pessimistics to please come back out and vote even if you don’t feel like it. Please, fellow Americans, check your local listings for OFA in your area and make phone calls as if your nation’s sanity depends on it—because it does. You can phone from home. Even if you’re mad at how things have gone down since January 20, 2009 (we are too), do not stay home on Election Day, but phone and e-mail friends and family to get out and vote for Democrats or at least against Republicans on Nov. 2.
Remember, voting for a candidate is only one step. Even after election day we have to keep after them. The White House and members of Congress—Democrats especially—have to be hit over the head repeatedly with bricks and frying pans before they’ll act on any issue not of immediate concern to their reelection or fund-raising. Sorry, but it’s the system we have. The conservatives never rest, and neither can progressives, liberals, protectors of the social safety net.