Sunday, November 24, 2002
Circular Firing Squad-The local Democrats are looking for a scapegoat, possible state party chair Bob Poe, after failing to unseat Jeb and losing US House and state House and Senate seats. This Florida confab might mirror what is going on at the national level.
Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox's name has been floated as a possible replacement for Poe, and he said he was open to an offer. "I'd give it strong consideration," Maddox said. "Florida deserves to have two viable political parties and different points of view."There were two different points of view, but most of the ads I saw tried to paint the Republicans as unethical and devious rather than talk issues. The mudslinging didn't stick. If they felt they could win on issues, the ads would have been on issues.
Whether the meeting was helpful was debatable, according to the participants. Mitch Ceasar, a former party chairman, said the gathering was a "cathartic gripe session." But just moments before, Broward County's Susan Glasser called it a "colossal waste of time." Aside from the simmering debate over Poe's future, one of the biggest matters raised was what the party believes in and where it is headed. "The Democratic Party stands for demographic groups, not issues," Maddox said.Ain't that the truth. You keep the black activists happy, the unions happy, the feministas happy, throw the gays and environmentalist some bones, but it doesn't add up to a coherent strategy for the 70% of the electorate that isn't part of one of the Democratic demographic groups.
Cindy Ciro, a state party committeewoman from Citrus County, said, "We're spineless Democrats." Ciro and the chairwoman of Polk County's Democrats, Sharon Becker, said the party needs to get back to its roots as the honest alternative on the left.An honest alternative? One that tells the truth even when it's inconvenient? One that will take on the opposition without mudslinging or scaremongering? Or does she merely mean a neosocialist alternative?
"We need to get back to saying that we are Democrats and we are not a pale imitation of the Republicans," Becker said. "'Me too' is not going to cut it."If modern liberalism doesn't sell, neolibs might. However, if the Democrats want to go to a pure progressive politics, they can get 30-35% of the vote and be looking for a way to convince the swing voter that their policies make sense .
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