The Power of Negative Branding
I can name on two hands over a half century the number of Democrats we have endorsed for public office. This year, we will do something different. . . . So, what in the world has happened? The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.
You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election.
Extremism should be a brand Democrats have stamped on the Republican Party for some time. That they have not is a frustration for me.
Obama is doing something pretty rare in latter-day American politics: he is respecting their intelligence. He's a liberal, but not a screechy partisan. Indeed, he seems obsessively eager to find common ground with conservatives. "It's such a relief after all the screaming you see on TV," says Chuck Sweeny, political editor of the Rockford Register Star. "Obama is reaching out. He's saying the other side isn't evil. You can't imagine how powerful a message that is for an audience like this."
Does Obama believe this type of foolishness?
The question of when Obama--who has not yet served two years in the U.S. Senate--will run for President is omnipresent. That he will eventually run, and win, is assumed by almost everyone who comes to watch him speak.
Does Barack Obama expect to win a significant amount of GOP votes? Does he really? Does he think the Republican Party will love him and treat him with kid gloves when his time comes?
Does Obama believe this?
Powell and Obama have another thing in common: they are black people who--like Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan--seem to have an iconic power over the American imagination because they transcend racial stereotypes.
If so, a rude awakening awaits him.
Barack Obama dislikes the partisan fight, both from personal inclination and the belief, I think, that it is not beneficial to his personal political ambitions.
If Barack Obama wants to be a leader of the Democratic Party, if he wants to be the Democratic Presidential candidate, he needs to understand the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, especially today's Republican Party.
If Barack Obama, in today's political climate, facing this Republican President, facing this Republican Congress, can not find it in himself to point out, forcefully and sincerely, what is wrong with what they are doing, then when can he?
I know our conservative readers won't believe this, but I am a moderate Democrat.
I believe in American Exceptionalism. I believe that the United States has been, by and large, a force for good in this world prior to the Bush Administration. I am a free trader, a supporter of NAFTA and CAFTA. I supported the Panama action, Desert Storm, the Afghan War and a strong position against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I do not believe that government is the answer to every problem.
My differences with many, if not most Democrats, are significant. But I know what the core values of the Democratic Party are, and they are my values. Economic justice, social justice, compassion, civil liberty, and pragmatic honest solutions to the nation's problems.
Today's Republican Party stands for nothing but paranoia, incompetence, dishonesty and hatred. In short, a Party of Fear.
But we are told that Obama is "eager to find common ground" with Republicans. Here's the question, has he found it? And if he hasn't does he wonder why? Obama does not like the blogs because they don't surprise him he says. Have the Republicans surprised him?
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