Dear Democratic Party:
Hi. I am a voter. Remember me? I'm not so sure you do. You haven't been answering my calls. Or any of my friends' calls either. In fact, to be honest, I sense a real breakdown in communication between you and us voters. It's almost as if there are two Democratic Parties: one for voters and one for office-holders.
It's a sad state of affairs, I know, especially when you consider there are so many more Democratic voters than there are Democrats in office. But it's what I wanted to write to you about today. I still think we can fix this.
You've been real quiet lately. Quiet in that sad sort of a way that lets me know you're thinking about something, but you don't want to say what it is. Maybe it has something to do with the other guys in your office. You know, the ones who say that if you stand up for something, it means you're an extremist and that you hate America. Maybe you've started to believe it. I hope not.
I really hope that, even though they barely outnumber you in that building, you haven't forgotten the millions of people who think they're wrong. Because, there's more of us than there were before. In fact, we outnumber them now.
Which brings me to what happened in Connecticut last week. Yeah, about that…some of you guys seem kind of upset. I'm sorry about that. Not sorry about Lieberman losing, we did that on purpose. I'm sorry it upset you. That was the opposite of what we wanted to do. We wanted to get you guys motivated. Because we are motivated, and, well, you're not.
For the Democrats (by that I mean both you, the ones in office, and us, the voters), this should be our year. The voters are ready for some serious change in this country, but you're still acting like it's December of 2004. You're still licking your wounds, scratching your heads, and staring at the ass that got handed to you with a look of stunned confusion.
It's not a good sign of the state of affairs when a majority of us voters would rather choose the unknown than the status quo. It's even worse when the powers that be can't see the writing on the wall and decide to stick with status quo; a lack of definition, a dejected acceptance of irrelevance compared to the other guy.
"Democrats: We're Not Republicans" failed as a party slogan in 2004. It isn't going to work this year either (in part because the new Republican slogan is "I'm Not One of Those Republicans").
So about this Lamont thing. It wasn't a triumph of the blogging community. It wasn't a slap in the face to Lieberman and only Lieberman. It was us voters standing up, going to the windows, sticking our heads out and yelling, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"
But more than that, it was us trying to communicate with you. We expected to see you run to your windows and yell it back at us. However, it's been almost a full week now. We're one week closer to November and we haven't heard you say so much as "wait, you're mad?"
We've been waiting since before the summer's state conventions for you guys to prove that you have a message, to show some national party unity and prove you're not just the other guys on the ticket. The mood is downright sour in this country. We want something to rally behind.
When the conventions proved less than inspiring, we decided to show you that if you can't give us something to rally behind, we'll show you we have something to rally against.
In Connecticut, voters proved once and for all that this country doesn't just want change; they demand it. Here are a couple of statistics: George W. Bush has an approval rating of 20% among Americans aged 18-24, a demographic in which Democrats have often seen strong support. Among voters who identified themselves as Democrats, over 80% are against the war in Iraq.
The people who voted for Lamont last week aren't, as many people have said and some of you seem to think, a fringe minority of liberal extremists. If the pro-war, Bush-buddy candidate Lamont was up against wasn't an incumbent, it would have been a landslide.
The inertia (or is it Joementum?) of an 18-year incumbency and national name recognition was overcome – in the primary – by the vast majority of Democratic voters believing that something is very, very wrong with the leadership in this country, and that problem isn't just limited to the Republicans.
This might be alarming to some of you. You might think it means we're mad and don't want to talk anymore. Well, we are mad. But we don't want to be mad at you. Like I said, I still think we can fix this.
Before Connecticut, I think many of you felt complacent to simply watch the Republicans self-destruct so that you could move quietly into the power vacuum. Well, now you know you can't do that anymore.
This bitter sentiment in the country isn't an anti-Republican one – it's an anti-incumbent one. And if you can't run to the windows of the Capitol between now and November to tell us how mad you are, then the only part of the building you're going to get to see is the visitor's gallery. I imagine you'd be pretty mad at that point.
So, let's get this thing working again. Let's hear those ideas you have hidden behind those sad faces. Let's get a dialogue going on that isn't just anti-Bush, anti-War, ant-Republican, but is actually pro-Democrat. Let's make the Democrats into a political party again, what do you say?
We're ready; and I think more of you are ready than you're letting on. It's time for some party unity and some party identity. The voters are telling you what the Democratic party we'll vote for looks like.
Now it's your turn to show us that you – all of you – understand. It may be a little late in the game for a full on Contract-with-America-esque sort of re-definition on your part, but we'll take what we can get. But only if you give it to us.
I'm looking forward to hearing back from you guys on the new and improved Democratic party, where the leadership is on the same page as the voters. More importantly, I'm looking forward to election day, when each and every one of us jaded, frustrated, America-loving Democratic base voters are going to get to speak to you about whether or not you've succeeded. As for where to begin, how about a new slogan:
"Democrats: We're not Joe Lieberman."