The single most erroneous and destructive premise among the Beltway political class -- which includes the Democratic consulting class along with their intellectual twins in the David-Broder-led punditry circles -- is that anger and passion are the enemies of successful political movements. They preach a mindset of fear and defensiveness -- never articulate a view too strenuously and never be driven by principle or passion because to do so renders one an unmoderate extremist who will alienate normal Americans.
Shorter Glenn: If Democrats are not passionate about anything, voters will not be passionate about them. It is difficult to elect leaders who fail to lead. Citizens who vie for public positions should put positions in front of them, and drag the public towards it, not carefully triangulate based on polling data in an effort to appear popular.
So, it is hoped that these consultants that advise Democratic candidates to get elected, they must be "republican lite" to do so, will either realize the error of their ways, or be kicked to the curb. Arming your candidates with a willow switch to go into battle is indeed very poor advice.
Go large or go home.
Something that is becoming louder and clearer within the Republican party is the meme that conservatism cannot fail, politicians fail conservatism. Witness conservative apologist Andrew Sullivan on Larry King Live:
ANDREW SULLIVAN, AUTHOR, "THE CONSERVATIVE SOUL": Well, I think it gets to the whole idea that they've been in power too long and that they've gotten very used to power and they're abusing their power, not only over pages but spending billions of dollars that they don't have, not protecting the border, and betraying basic conservative principles of limited government. And, it's time to get back to those principles, which means some conservatives are saying kick these people out.
KING: So, you are saying the Bush administration is not conservative?
SULLIVAN: Yes, I am saying that. I'm saying that when you've increased the debt the next generation has to pay from $20 trillion to $43 trillion in five years, when you can't even control your own borders, when you've engaged in a war that you haven't planned for and have no strategy for that's not conservative in my book.
The fair weather friends of the Republican party are trying to save the failed conservative movement by throwing their own under the bus only after they tank in the polls.
The ideological difference between the parties exists on the placement of the exceptional nature of America.
Conservatives believe our strength exists within the power and wealth of our corporations and captains of industry.
Progressives believe our strength exists within the power of the middle class. However, since the middle class is a non-entity for conservatives, they claim progressives do not believe America is exceptional, which implies we hate America.
PRAGER: Neither owns values, but they have different values. And I'll give you one example. This is a topic for, you know, a marathon Larry King show. But one is, the Republicans believe in American exceptionalism and the Democrats believe in a much more universalist vision, like the West Europeans. That's a huge difference. That is why it matters -- laughing doesn't answer it.
See, the daddy party is telling you how great you are, but the Democrats, not so much. Prager lobs this intellectual bomb into the discourse of Larry King and came off sounding like a true believer in the superior Aryan race.
Democrats who fail to define themselves appear weak and rudderless and allow Republicans to define them as such. But no amount of spin can alter the reality of the wholesale mess the Republicans have brought us since Bush took office.
Republicans have defined themselves in the process, with very little help from the Democrats. We can't let conservatives divorce themselves from this reality.