Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dems and Don'ts

"I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians." Charles De Gaulle

President Bush came to our town Tuesday to raise spirits-and money-for Republican Senator Rick Santorum's reelection campaign. Only the richest poobahs and wallahs of the Right were invited to the private meet-greet-and-eat on Philadelphia's exclusive Main Line. Must have been a laugh riot. At our expense.

Because Democratic Party leaders came off like bumpkins in their bungled effort to counter the elite Republican Ho Down. They sent out a stupidly offensive, supposedly grassroots-centric email message that set my teeth on edge. When will they learn? And why can't they stop treating their critical base as if we're blithering idiots?

I'm on a lot of liberal mailing lists., StopTheNRA, ACT, JohnKerry (I do love his sloppy second thoughts these days, don't you?), and of course, the DNC at -- the object of my current ire. Most of the canny 501 organizations know how to get my attention the right way, and thus reap the reward of my active response. They focus on Social Security, the War in Iraq, the environment, education, fair-minded judicial nominees, Republican congressional misconduct -- traditional Democratic hot buttons.

But the official Democratic Party machine just keeps leaving me cold. Their latest missive (missile?) fired off this subject line: Get a phone call from Howard Dean. Now there's a reason to interrupt my dinner. Thank God I've got Caller ID. Plus, you should know, they wanted me to pay for the privilege.

Here's the pith of the pitch:
While Republican leaders wine and dine the super rich, Chairman Dean will spend his day today talking with ordinary Americans. He will be calling regular folks who have given $25 -- not $25,000 -- and listening to what you have to say about our party, our country, and our future.

If you're one of the thousands of ordinary Americans taking our party into your own hands, he could be calling you. Make a donation today and you could be hearing from Howard Dean.

Well, golly. I just love being called "ordinary" and "regular," don't you? Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Down home. On The Team. And dumb as a post. I wish now I'd signed up for a call, just to hear Howard Dean talk to me in one-syllable words. I'd have been more than happy to return the favor.

These are serious times for Democrats. Desperately in need of high-minded support, they insist on taking the low road to reach us. Someone should remind them that many of their supporters actually know how to think -- we understand ideologies and issues. And we want to participate in real debate. They need our money, but have the gall to talk down to us in an effort to get it.

Rick Santorum is a powerful and dangerous Right Wing senator. The front-runner against him in 2006, Bob Casey, comes from a PA Democratic Dynasty. He's just getting started, already becoming a viable opponent, leading in local polls. Obviously his campaign could use money. But incredibly, his name isn't even mentioned in the email.

Here's what is, and it's supposed to pump me up:

While the GOP is beholden to their corporate lobbyists, using big donations to buy access Governor Dean is doing business a different way. On every trip he focuses on you, blocking off time for low-dollar fundraisers and meetings with grassroots groups, community leaders and local activists.

In this culture of corruption, Republicans are willing to sell influence to the highest bidder -- which means they will always collect more of the huge checks. We're doing things differently; we're expanding the way our party is funded and putting the power in your hands.

Republicans are influence peddlers? Really?? I'm gasping with surprise! But I should take heart because Democrats are putting the power in my hands. By having Howard Dean give me a call. God help us. I'd rather hear from a Jehovah's Witness. At least they're well organized. And have an authentic Grand Plan.

Which is more than I can say for the Democratic Party. From whom we've yet to witness real promise. Note to all Dem power brokers: Information is Power. Leadership is Power. Respect for Your Own Party is Power. When you've got some, knock on my door. But keep Howard Dean off my phone.

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