Democrats: a Message Problem?

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

Forgive Buckner

But can they forgive Kerry? [kenyee / Flickr]

Everything in this office comes with a Red Sox analogy, and today we’re looking at the Democrats the way Red Sox nation looks at the All-Star break. Boston may be in first place. They may be five games up in first place. They may look great, they may be hitting well and there may be five good Yankees on injured reserve and yet we still can’t shake the feeling — the conviction borne of experience — that somehow, some way, before the end of September, the Sox will find a way to screw it all up.

Things seem to be going well for the Democrats, or, rather, they’re going poorly for the Republicans, but as we know that in no way guarantees that the Democrats will re-take the House, the Senate or, really, anything this fall. Rove is going on the offensive about the war, but what do Democrats have in response? Is there a message that we’re missing? Is it a tired media cliche that the Democrats have no message? If so, how come we don’t know about the Democrats’ new message? What are the Democrats running on this fall, and how are they not going to miss this grounder?

Sidney Blumenthal

Former senior adviser to President Clinton

Washington bureau chief,

Andrei Cherny

Co-Editor, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

Former Speech Writer to Vice President Al Gore

Author, The Next Deal

Michael Huttner

Executive Director,

Joel Wright

Founder, Wright Consulting Services

Extra Credit Reading

Kenneth Baer and Andre Cherny, A Message to our Readers, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Issue #1, Summer 2006.

Marshall Wittmann, Ideas and Attitudes, Bull Moose Blog, June 22, 2006.

Josh Marshall, I’m a bit confused…, Talking Points Memo, June 22, 2006.

Also TPM Reader PT, Talking Points Memo, June 25, 2006

Jonathon Chait, Bad Idea: Why big ideas won’t save liberalism, The New Republic, June 26, 2006.

In the 60 years since FDR’s death, Democrats have won more than 51% of the vote exactly once. We’re flying in the face of a long history of being unable to put together a long standing governing coalition in this country… one that we haven’t been able to put together since the new deal.

So, what from the past can we take inspiration from, instead of going back to it? If we take the supposition that America is now changing again in very radical ways, what are the ideas that can be as radical in our time as those that Frank Roosevelt put in place in his time? That’s a conversation that needs to happen going forward… taking those lessons and applying them to our time.

Andrei Cherny on Open Source

Related Content