A Congratulations and Some Warnings for Democrats

Good job, Democrats. You simply ran better campaigns than Republicans did and managed to run some middle-of-the-road candidates that sucked up Republican votes. Not only that, you got both houses of Congress and the White House, ensuring that you should be able to pass significant amounts of your agenda. Still, I have some warnings for you.

As of January 20, 2009, Bush is no longer the president. Most of your campaigning had to do with (successfully) tying Republicans to Bush and his policies. Once he's out of office, he is irrelevant. The moment you start talking about Bush anything, you're going to lose seats.

This was a continuation of the 2006 election. Seriously. This election was more about "throw the bums out" than a referendum on political ideologies. Don't sprint too hard to the left or you're going to get a repeat of 1994. This is especially important since you've been picking up a significant faction of conservative Democrats that could break ranks at the drop of a hat. Remember how poorly your leadership has corralled them since you gained control?

We all expect results. You got a free pass on doing nothing but passing Bush's favored legislation (FISA, anyone?) and failing to deliver on your 2006 campaign promises (remember ethics reform and Iraq?) by claiming that a veto was in your way. No more. You guys get something meaningful done or your name is mud. Peddling excuses about the minority party won't cut it; the Republicans didn't have much luck with that two years ago. It also doesn't help that you've pretty much promised that everything will be unicorn giggles once Bush and the Republicans are out of power. You set the bar very high for yourselves.

Make good on Obama's promise to work with the opposition. If you take a hard-line "we have the votes so screw you" position, you'll get more of the filibuster payback you've had to endure the last two years and be unable to get those results you need. This means not falling into the Republican trap of thinking you have a monopoly on good ideas.

I'm willing to wait and see if anything useful comes from the federal government over the next two years or so. Democrats, you have a tough job ahead.

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9 Responses

  1. rmwarnick says:

    Once President Bush leaves the White House for the last time, nothing will be his fault. How many times are we going to hear this nonsense?

  2. Jesse says:

    Recommended reading: the story of the three envelopes. “Blame your predecessor” is a short-term solution.

  3. Bob says:

    The Republicans continue to run on “blame Clinton.”

    9/11? Clinton’s Fault.
    Saddam Hussein? Clinton’s Fault.
    Gay Marriage? Clinton’s Fault.
    Housing Crisis? Clinton and Carter’s Faults.

    Now, I’m not saying that Bill is completely innocent on these things (especially the last one), but Republicans have their share of guilt, too. Yet, they’ve been running the blame the Democrats game for years now.

    But, we Dems do need to be careful how we play the card, because Republicans’ playing of the card is part of why they lost the last two elections.


  4. Jesse says:

    I think you get me, Bob. I’m not saying that the blame isn’t there, just that continually bringing it up isn’t a good idea.

  5. Bob says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

  6. jasonthe says:

    Good advice. In addition, doing no more than blaming the Republicans would be a waste of an opportunity for Democrats to finalize defining themselves as a part, rather than continuing to hold themselves up to the definition Republicans have been more successful at crafting for nearly two decades.

  7. Bill Fox says:

    as a conservative I believe there will be a lot that we can and will be able to blame on the Republicans, (out of control spending, lack of border control, lack of any kind of an energy policy, campaign finance reform, no child left behind, & prescription drugs but the rise in teenage oral sex will not be one of them. Unlike others however, I believe the Supreme Court and our abilities to detect and stop terror plots will be things to be greatful for years to come

  8. Jason says:

    Something tells me Barack Obama isn’t big on the blame game. Just the strategies he’s used throughout the campaign tend to indicate that.

    I think it’s the civilian followers of said republicans/democrats who are responsible for most of the blame game.

    I never understood the ‘everything that happened in the last 8 years is the fault of the previous president.’

    For those who think that always tend to have an escape plan when the previous president was a member of their party.

    I believe the term is ‘weak sauce.’

  9. Sherpa says:

    Jason-Totally Agree.

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