Biggest Problem Facing Democrats? Their Own Insecurities

Pundits will say in the coming days that the Democrats big problem as they try to govern will be that they can’t “go left” as much as their liberal base wants and that if they “go left” it will bring nothing but trouble. They’re wrong. No Democrats will not be able to do everything liberals want them to do, but except for maybe the big Democrat majorities following the 1936 and 1964 elections, a party can never deliver everything it’s base wants (but can still deliver a lot).

The biggest problem facing Dems? Their own insecurity. In his pre-election article “Democrats Getting Kerried Away?” National Journal writer John Mercurio correctly notes how the Democrats cut and run from Kerry after the “botched joke”-and points up a bigger problem for Democrats than any statement made by Kerry (or any other Democrat). It’s a problem that is a lot more fundamental.

What is notable, and far more important as we anticipate the prospect of Democrats taking back the House and/or Senate this week, is the knee-jerk condemnation Kerry drew for his misstatement. Not from Republicans — that’s all part of the game — but from his own party. The degree to which Democrats, nervous that even a manufactured non-controversy could imperil their prospects Tuesday, were willing to drum their 2004 presidential nominee off the campaign trail says little about Kerry and a lot about how insecure they remain about their public image on national security and terrorism.”

After illustrating some quotes from Democrats and the beating Kerry got from Democrats, Mercurio notes that:

The entire exercise was, of course, amplified by both parties’ pre-election angst. But the fact that Democrats fell lockstep into the GOP’s game plan confirms how unsure they remain of their ability to challenge Republicans on national security and Iraq. Will such insecurities be on greater display in a Democratic-led Congress, even if they owe their majorities to moderate and conservative Democrats who carry red districts and states on Tuesday?”

Good question John. Hopefully the answer is no. Finding areas where Dems can work across the aisle with the GOP is a good idea and it’s good Pelosi won’t run the House like Tom Delay My Jail Sentence did. Still, a strong backbone, a little stubborness, and telling the right-wing media that they’re right-wing and exhibit lapdog tendencies can’t be all that bad for Democrats. Can it? Uh oh, there’s that Democrat insecurity again.

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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5 Responses to Biggest Problem Facing Democrats? Their Own Insecurities

  1. Nick, thanks for finding this. It sums up so much of the weak-kneed reaction to Kerry’s flubbed joke (and why the Dems, now that they *are* in power, need to grow a pair).

  2. Marjorie G says:

    And women have to also “grow a pair,” which is not part of their anatomy. Strong-willed, having powerful talking points and using them, but cajones?

    We say that so automatically, and agree with Todd about the article.

    I wonder how Kerry feels he should proceed, make mention of this at all, how, have those that cowed and mocked, thank him for his efforts?

    Even Maher got into the act, but he was never great on facts. Said he depended on MSNBC and Arianne, so his opinions were lacking.

    He mocked the Swiftie response 1, but also didn’t like SB2, and agreed with Hillary. Maybe he wants Hillary, because he so loves hound-dog Bubba.

    We have a lot of work to do in a lot of areas. E-voting, but it’s still the media, stupid. Or reverse words as stupid media.

  3. Bryan says:

    What the above insinuates is that Democrats, and John Kerry, are short on “NADS”. I have to disagree… LOUDLY!

    John Kerry proved 2 things with his verbal mistake (for which he owed NO one an apology, as I stated in an earlier comment). First, with the verbal mistake, he showed he was a normal human capable of making mistakes. Second, he showed he was a “better man” because he made an apology because it the best thing to do for everyone involved to get past it… for himself, the Democratic Party and the candidates, and all the American people.

    Listen, I support John Kerry now just I did 33 years ago when he had the “NADS” to stand up against the same stupidity and say then as he says now… the war was wrong, the way the war was being handled was wrong, the soldiers that were being injured and killed was wrong, the leadership of this country was wrong. It took, and it takes, a great man to stand up in the face of adversity and say to them “you are wrong” with such meaning and power that history shows John to have been correct then, and will prove the same again.

    Our service personnel deserve all the respect due them by all of us. But being sent to fight as an honorable soldier in a dishonorable war, and getting injured, maimed, and killed does not change what the war was… and is! So, what do you say to all those families affected by the Vietnam War and the Iraq war? I strongly believe that war is the most serious of all things a country can do, and you sure as hell don’t do it on false pretences, lies, and invented intelligence to substantiate your reasoning. You HAVE to be 100% right, and 0% wrong in all that you do as president… especially while at war!

    The American people have said to Bush “you are wrong”. It is time for him to show he has more than “NADS”, and that he has a brain as well as a heart.

  4. Nick says:


    Let me assure you that I’m not trying to insinuate that, especially about John Kerry. As for the Democrats they have gotten tougher, but there is room for greater toughness-especially when it comes to the lapdog tendencies of many folks in the media. Rather than (albeit unwittingly) aide and abett these tendencies Democrats should attack the media for it.
    Conservatives for decades accused the media of being “liberal” to the point where many journalists bent over backwards to attack liberals so they themselves would not look liberal. Isn’t it time for liberals to respond in kind, and call most journalists the lapdogs that they are.

  5. pen says:

    The media will still be in the GOp’s pocket and the majority of dems will still be spineless in 07. That’s my prediction and history will prove me right.

    Democrats need to be a lot tougher and a lot more together because the GOP and the media will pick them off one by one and bush will help by setting them up.

    Look, I now hear that several dems who wound up defending kerry actually trashed him first and if that is true then piss on them.

    As for hillary she and mccain are in a class by themselves and I hope they both get what they deserve (utter humilation and contempt).

    I got a call on election night and it was a taped message from bill clinton and when I heard his voice I slammed the phone down. 2 years ago I wouldn’t have done that.

    Why because until the clintons and many other dems prove they are about more than just themselves and kissing up to bush I don’t want to hear a blame thing they have to say.