Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dems need to get serious about governing and government

With the upset victory today of Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy's Senate seat comes the clear sense that Thomas Frank's latest book The Wrecking Crew is dead on. Republicans hate government and when they're in power, ala Bush, they do everything they can to wreck government and have it work terribly so that when they're out of government, as in now, they can run and win on blaming the very government they wrecked.

Seen from this perspective, by the way, the Bush presidency was a huge success for the Republican party, with only a slight setback in 2008. Mind you I haven't read Frank's book, just saw him interviewed on Bill Moyer's Journal which I only watched because my husband was watching it and I was waiting for him to leave the room so I could do something else in there. Nonetheless, I love everything about Thomas Frank: his book, What's the Matter with Kansas? (which I did read cover-to-cover), the way he talks and the way he looks like the intellectual boy next door--adorable with his little glasses and sandy hair!

More importantly than how adorable Thomas Frank is, he's right. And he backs up with actual research what I've been ranting about for years, to wit: the Democrats need to get serious about explaining, protecting and defending the benefits of government unabashedly. No more Republican lite. No more running from taxes. No more trying to hide the ball. Time to start telling the truth and treating the American people like grown-ups.

If we need polling to find out how to sell government back to the people who own it, then do the polling. Change the frame, as Berkeley's own George Lakoff has been telling us for some time. Obama is the right president to do it, if he can only find the courage.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Josh Marshall of Talking Point Memo's advice for Obama is dead on:

"If the Democrats, either from the left or the right, walk away from reform, they will get slaughtered in November. They'll get it from the people who want reform, from the people who never wanted reform and from sensible people all over who just think they can't get anything done.
What the Democrats -- and a lot of this is on the White House -- have done is get so deep into the inside game of legislative maneuvering, this and that 'gang' of senators and a lot of other nonsense that they've let themselves out of sync with the public mood and the people's needs."