- from The Free Market News Network, March 22, 2006
by Bernie Quigley
The Democratic Party was once the party of the real people of this country. The people who grew soybean and cotton, the people who gathered for barbecue at the Legion Hall, who went to church, listened to Johnny Cash, and served without rumination or discussion when they were called to duty.
But they were perhaps the most important generation in American history. A generation of common men and women made up of every strand of mankind from Africa and
Then something else happened.
I think it was around the time that coffee changed almost overnight from something that cost about 22 cents and came in honest blue paper cups with Greek gods dancing around them to something else, which cost up to four bucks a pop and somehow brought with it the most astonishing pretensions of ending world hunger and saving the Rain Forest. With a cup of coffee like that you were no longer son or daughter of the American everyman, a Fall River factory worker or Alabama tenant farmer, whose life and destiny was changed inextricably when he was called upon to slog through the mud of Italy in the Hitler war. With a cup of coffee like that came a more upscale cultural environment. You were Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir at Les Deux Magots – much less smoky since Malraux and the others had gone off to fight with the Marquis – and as the world descended around you into burning hell and Nazi occupation, you passed the time while awaiting the revolution by knocking off a one-act play against fascism or a treatise on racism. Right there at the mall in
When liberalism went double latte, regular folk left as if in a diaspora. Prior to that one’s political party was like a religion – the Boston Irish were all Catholic and Democrat.
Perhaps he was right. In 1981 I saw my Irish aunties start to leave the church. They started to vote for Ronald Reagan. In 1985, it was a fait accompli. 49 states full of Southern Baptists and Jewish and Catholic ethnic groups from the urban regions above, all of whom had voted Democratic before, this time voted for a Republican in a time of peace and prosperity. My voting precinct in
But now, in the 60th year since European fascism yielded to American optimism, something else is happening again. The real people of the Legion Hall, the barn dance, the NASCAR track, the Bingo Hall and the church basement supper are again looking around. And a new breed of Democratic politician is coming forth to represent them once again.
Enter The Fighting Dems, men and women of the military and the Legion hall who are challenging Republican incumbents across the country.
As the Denver Post reports, more than 30 Iraq and Persian Gulf War veterans have entered congressional races across the country as Democrats, hoping to capitalize on their military experience to topple the incumbent Republican majority. In December, over 35 Democratic veterans running for Congress got together at a strategy session in
It is interesting and perhaps significant that the reports on this growing phenomenon are largely from outside the Beltway as most of these candidates are. The Chicago Tribune calls them “Macho Democrats.” But this is a grass roots movement and it should be noted that it is first effect was on the Internet.
This week, Tammy Duckworth, a former army major who had both legs shot off while piloting a Blackhawk helicopter in Iraq, won the Democratic primary in Illinois' pivitol race for retiring rep Henry Hyde's seat in Congress. It is a beginning milestone for the Fighting Dems.
I first read about this new movement on Wesley Clark’s web site, WesPAC in August, last year, when
“Paul Hackett is exactly the kind of strong leader we need in these challenging times,” wrote
“Paul offers the kind of fresh, pragmatic leadership that we desperately need in
Also helping to build this movement is The Daily Kos, which has teamed up with Majority Report Radio to feature a Fighting Dem every Tuesday on its site.
As trends build, this is significant.
Recently both Kos and WesPAC featured Andrew Horne of
“Andrew Horne never sought to be a politician. In fact, the Marine Reserve lieutenant colonel didn't consider it until his latest deployment to
Paul Hackett supports his candidacy, and these men and women support one another.
John Lapp, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seeks to help new Democrats, has coined the term, “Macho Democrats,” says a report in The Chicago Tribune. “Few have any political experience, let alone a fundraising or grass-roots network,” it says. “But with voters unhappy with Bush and Congress, the Democratic strategy is to attack the GOP as an entrenched, corrupt majority, and these candidates say they represent change. More broadly, their resumes might help to dispel voters’ long-held image of Democrats as soft on national security.”
“I think I have fresh ideas and energy I’m bringing to the table,” said Patrick Murphy, a Fighting Dem from
As the Fighting Dems phenomenon continues to grow,
All in all, this is a very auspicious turn for the Democrats. The Big Media, which increasingly speaks with one voice and can hear no other voice, hasn’t quite picked up on it yet. Perhaps because they are all holding their breaths and Waiting for Hillary and right now they can’t think of anything else.
Politics is not a matrix into which you can inject some arbitrary culture or special agenda and make it grow history like hair on a Chi-Chi Pet, as the neocons thought they could grow a new American century in the
It is important for the Democrats to remember that the Whigs did not survive the struggle with the Jacksonians and were replaced by a healthy, vibrant party which dominated the era and still holds the tiller today. And the most important question today in political life is the destiny of the Democratic Party. Recently, the eminent federal reservist Alan Greenspan stated unambiguously that he felt a third party challenge for the presidency would occur in either the upcoming election in 2008 or later in 2012, as both parties today have pushed themselves to their polar extremes, leaving the moderate middle wide open. In Republican convention last week the Republicans committed themselves to their extreme, the great majority giving support to Bill Frist, the senator from
I see only two options: The Democrats can reform and take the center, or a third party (perhaps even with Greenspan’s blessing) will take the day. Third party is risky business, even if such a party came with the blessings of someone with such high public regard as Greenspan. The Fighting Dems can reform the existing party. They offer a better option.