Friday, November 09, 2012

An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

Yesterday I shared with you my open letter to the GOP, in which I explained my opinion of where the party has gone wrong and what it can do to win me back. Today, I offer similar advice to the Democrats ...

Dear Democratic Party,

My name is Bilbo. I was a staunch Republican for more than 30 years, although I voted for President Obama in 2008, and again in 2012. But I have to tell you that I voted for him this year not because I think he's a great president, but because I thought he was the lesser of two evils. I cast my vote for the President less because I support all his policies, and more because the Republican party drove me away. If you want to keep my vote in the future, you'll have to earn it - just as the Republicans need to do to win me back. Here's what you can do ...

- Will Rogers once said, "I am not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." He was right then, and he'd be right now. You don't know what you stand for, and so you can't deliver a coherent message. Today's Republicans may have questionable policies, but they're really good at simplifying issues and relentlessly driving home a few memorable bumper-sticker points (think tax cuts and Obamacare). You need to be able to do the same.

- It's good to appeal to minorities, but don't let that lead you to excusing illegality ... illegal immigration is ... well ... illegal - don't sugar coat it with euphemisms like undocumented immigrants. What's your realistic plan for revising immigration laws and ensuring that those who want the benefits of citizenship earn them honestly? 

- Raising taxes on the rich is not a sound economic policy, any more than is the Republican fantasy that lowering taxes will generate more government income. Republicans are partially right when they say we don't have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. The truth is that we have both problems, and we need to deal with them together. We need a tax system that generates the right amount of revenue and looks like somebody designed it on purpose. What's your plan for reforming the tax code to ensure that it generates sufficient revenue while remaining fair* at all income levels? And on the spending side, what specific programs are you willing to give up or restructure to fix the present while protecting the future?

- America is evolving. This provides more potential members to your party, but many of them join more because they are attracted to the social programs and benefits you promise than by what is expected of them as productive citizens. You need a message that reminds your followers that they have responsibilities as well as rights.

- Yes, we need to take care of those who are less fortunate, but we must be able to afford it. I believe the Republicans have grossly overstated their belief in a growing culture of dependency, but there's some truth behind the bluster. The GOP makes too much of it, and you don't make enough. There's no such thing as a free lunch: what is your plan to protect the weak while ensuring that cherished social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security remain solvent?

- Stop catering to your most irresponsible fringe elements. It's stupid for the GOP, and it's stupid for you.

- You and the Republicans both need to stop the pro-life vs pro-choice ass clownery. I believe abortion is wrong, except in the rare cases most of us recognize (incest, rape, life of the mother) ... but the real choice needs to be exercised well before an unexpected pregnancy makes abortion an option. What is your plan for educating our children to help them make the choices that will avoid unwanted pregnancies?

- Forget the nanny-nanny-boo-boo, reverse-Golden-Rule approach to negotiation: I'm going to do unto you because you did unto me. The problems we face are too big for schoolyard pettiness - grit your teeth, work with the Republicans, and be ready to compromise when necessary. Republicans, the same applies to you. Both of you need to grow up and act like responsible adults more interested in solving problems than in cheap political advantage.

That'll do for a start. President Obama won the election, and all true Americans of good will - regardless of party - wish him well and look forward to pulling together and working with him to solve the difficult problems we face. You need to do your part.



What's your message to the Democratic Party**? Leave a comment.

Have a good day. See you tomorrow for Cartoon Saturday ... more thoughts then.

* Of course, the definition of what's "fair" depends on where you sit on the economic ladder.

** If all it involves is stupid name-calling, forget it.


chrissy said...

Very well written. I showed a bunch of people your post on the GOP. I plan to do the same with this one. Great points all around.

Mike said...

Time to let the tax cuts expire. Time to start taxing dividends as income.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

The Democrats must first not pretend that they have a mandate: a difference in about 2% in the popular vote hardly constitites that.

They need to curb spending, or at least make a good faith, bipartisan effort to agree on ways of enhancing the revenue stream.

They need to stop being the party of special interests like government workers, unions, and the NEA, and take others more in their fold.

Lose Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Stop demonizing the other party. Of course, both parties are guilty of that.

Be more realistic about immigration.

Lessen the tax burden on the middle class.

Modulate their desire to expand government and entitlements.

Kristen Lavransdrittsekkdatter said...

I don't see the Democratic Party as needing any changes or improvements.

Bilbo said...

Thanks, Crissy!

Mike - yes and no. Expiring all the tax cuts is the right thing to do in the long term, but it will hammer a lot of lower-income people in the short term. I learned that from my bus driver.

Angelique - ditto on the Reid and Pelosi.

Kirsten - I think we're going to profoundly disagree on this one ... but that's the beauty of this country, isn't it?