Enough! We Can and Must Do Better...

Paul Evans

Democrats need to hold fire for a moment. It is time for all of us to stop running around the place telling each other (or whoever is nearby and will listen) the roof is collapsing, it isn't - really.

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Democrat… We're supposed to be cerebral, Spock-like, even when we're made more like Kirk (or Scotty)...

This is a rant for all Harry Truman Democrats, and perhaps a few others.

We must learn to stop making the job harder for our candidates. We really are on the same team - it's helpful when we act like it.

Living outside the Metropolitan Area it is always a little challenging to be a Democrat – when the vast majority of folks that are registered as such have a different perception of “normal” because of circumstance.

In Polk County, many young men (and women) are raised with a shotgun in one hand, a chainsaw in the other. We grew up with an understanding of government as an instrument of opportunity: school gave us skills, laws kept us safe. Many of us attend church – usually the one we were raised in. And we share a faith in the importance of work, the power of love.

Though we have a lot of friends that live in the Metropolitan Area, we really don’t understand why so many people want to live so close together; we respect it, we just don’t understand it – or believe we ever need to. We are content with driving through fields on the way to work, content knowing that we can find refuge away from the maddening crowds.

Here we know who has served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we know the families of the fallen and wounded. We fly flags proudly – not to boast – but to tell the young men and women asked to go overseas in our stead that they are not forgotten, that wherever they may be – home remembers them, and always will.

For the men and women that are serving or have served, there is no alternative to Barack Obama for President. Whatever else you may say – or think about him – he has done a pretty good job helping the troops. Ironically, people rarely expect a Democrat to care about veterans’ for some reason. And many within the so-called “Liberal Wing” of the party do not understand or really appreciate the military.

It is important to understand that few in the Democratic Party (even Liberals) do not try to appreciate our veterans - we have learned a lot over the past fifty years - and we are all stronger as a result.

But Obama has stood up for those that cannot stand for themselves – at least any more. Although I have differed with the President and his team over particulars in Defense and Veterans' Policy, I believe his team has done more for veterans over the past four years than Bush did in eight - by a factor of two or three.

We have work to be done, but I know first-hand men and women that would not have the opportunities - or the life - they have today, without Obama or Shinseki.

For the record, Barack Obama was not my first choice in 2008. I was, and remain, a Clinton person. Hillary is smart, tough, and able to take a hit better than any politician I know of. And if you’re going to turn this ship of state around, you have to be tough. The Obama-Clinton relationship is likely not the close-knit friendship we would want, but they work together and that is more important.

Truth be told, Obama surprised me. In office he has been principled, steady, and until recently pretty much unflappable. He worked with Republicans - even when doing so cost him votes in a Democratic Majority in the House. Obama follows his core convictions and we need that. We also need a slow-to-burn personality in the Oval Office right now.

Nobody could have done better to dig us out of the mess Bush left, and few could have done as well. Obama made compromises that should be understood as the best of bad options; sadly the Republicans interpret such instances as weakness instead of strength. Perhaps our party should recognize this and give him a little help.

Democrats need to hold fire for a moment. It is time for all of us to stop running around the place telling each other (or whoever is nearby and will listen) the roof is collapsing, it isn't - really.

First, the debate (the one we're still talking about - the one in Denver) did not transform the race. As much as the pundits want to make it so, the reality is that the people for Obama are still for him; the rest were waiting to see if Romney was a credible (enough) challenger. He showed up, pushed the President around a little bit, and didn’t start blushing or laughing when he lied to the American public about his economic plans, foreign policy, health care plan, and his personal knowledge of off-shore tax benefits.

Second, Obama will do well in the next two debates. The office (of President) transforms a person, and he will rise to the occasion because the exigencies of the moment have his full and undivided attention. We tend to forget that running a country can provide a distraction or two – even on nights we want our candidate to reign supreme. Every US President in modern history had a less than stellar first debate (some never even had a good one, and still got reelected – ref: W).

Third, when the votes are counted the nation will make the right choice and reelect Barack Obama. Not because of the job he has done (or been prevented from doing), but because we are a fair nation – and Americans know he is trying as hard as he can, that he has made progress, and we trust him.

Lies eventually out themselves, and Romney does not have enough money (neither does Crossroads) to prevent the truth from getting out and showcasing his lack of character. Enough of us will recognize him for the self-aggrandizing fellow he is, and Americans are generally not kind to the pols that prove themselves to be the “say anything to get elected empty suit” that he really is.

In the end, it does not matter whether or not Romney made decisions that cost a man his job and the life insurance it provided – and led to the death of his wife. It just does not matter because Americans look at Romney and know – even if they admit it only to themselves – he is the kind of a guy that could make that decision. Romney is not, was not a jobs creator – he was a profit generator. And those of us that still have time-card to fill out know the difference.

Romney and Ryan will lose this election by at least 10 electoral votes and between 1-3%in the national popular vote because they will continue to overreach – Republicans with momentary power cannot help themselves from doing so. Romney and Ryan believe the debates have recast the larger dialogue. They are certain the hyperbole and hypocrisy have become de facto “ground truth” for the rest of the campaign.

Romney made a fatal mistake this past week during his comments at the Virginia Military Institute. He laid the groundwork for yet another war (or two) in the Middle East. When confronted with an international challenge, Romney looks to military intervention as an initial – rather than final – step.

And while unconstrained nationalism worked for Bush after 9/11, the working poor of this country (ref: the 47% Romney speaks of, many of which consider themselves Republican) would be called upon to fight this war too – after all, why should the children of privilege and wealth (men like Romney and Ryan) pick up a weapon to fight?

Romney is a man that has learned the lessons of winning elections through using code-words, fear, and division. He won the 2012 nomination as a result of a strategy that played to what Lincoln called, “the worse angels of our nature.” The ghost of Lee Atwater is smiling. And for the moment, after a misstep by Obama, momentum appears to be on his side because people that were likely going to vote for him anyway finally made a decision to get themselves out of the so-called “undecided pool.”

In the end, Romney has no plan for a stronger America. His comments on foreign policy reflect a sophomoric understanding of the world (ref: Colin Powell’s critique). The “Romney Economic Plan” is nothing more or less than an expanded version of “Robin Hood in Reverse.” And his latest gambit – to politicize the tragic death of our ambassador in Libya – is the worst kind of opportunism imaginable for a would-be Commander-in-Chief.

For those of us that have worn the uniform, I can understand frustration with Obama – especially for those confused about the actual facts surrounding sequestration. However, how is Romney (a man that dodged the draft during Vietnam) and Ryan (a man that was too busy to serve – like Cheney) the best choice for our military?

Frankly, the imagery and supposed “mystique” of the retired admirals and generals paraded by the Romney Campaign to showcase his defense credentials confuses me. These guys (most of which, if not all, serve on the boards of Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, or other contractors. These are the guys that planned and executed the last two wars.

Afghanistan and Iraq (begun under a Republican President with a Republican Congress) are neither a stellar example of how to execute a military campaign. The admirals and generals are integrated into the war-making economy. We should pay more attention to field grade officers and non-commissioned officers that had to fight the wars the brass started. Bush wanted warriors – forgetting how warriors become veterans. He ignored the consequences of his wars until forced to change policies after the 2006 campaign. Let us remember history as it was, not as it may be convenient for some to try and remember it.

It is time for our party to come to the aid of our leaders. It is time to stop yearning for the perfect, and accept the good enough – at least for the moment. Obama is not perfect, he never will be. And the Republicans aren’t the enemy: they are merely misinformed – poor alternatives. And it is time that we stop wasting energy fighting ourselves and recognize that the real America – a country full of Real Americans – are seeking leadership in a troubled time.

Our country is capable of amazing things when we are inspired to live up to our ideals. Obama has moved us forward. He has won some, lost some, but remained in the fight – and that matters. He needs a Congress, governors, and state legislatures to continue the work of stitching our nation back together and getting us ready for the challenges of the coming decades.

Stop paying attention to the spectacle and engage yourselves in this election. Do something today, now, to make a difference in your neighborhood. Harry Truman was an everyman, and it is time we celebrated the promise of everyone, again.

Comments

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    Thank you, Paul, for this good summation of where we are. The fundamentals remain on the side of our President and the Dem. Party, the policies that the American people want are on the side of our President and the Dem. Party. Despite the GOP attempts to sabotage our economy, every week we have new reports that the economy is strong and getting stronger in employment, housing, manufacturing, and consumer confidence.

    The country will not elect an unprincipled corporate raider masquerading as a business man to be president. The country will not make a choice for extremist policies nor get rid of proven and popular programs for the middle class in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid in order to pay for tax breaks for rich people that drive us deeper into debt. The American people don't want more wars paid for on the credit card, but they do want to build the infrastructure of American schools, highways, bridges, rails, schools, and manufacturing to provide the platform for a renewal of America. The American people do not want to go back to the 19th century and the age of the robber barons. They want to go forward and thrive in the 21st century in a nation that includes all of us. This I believe.

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    I would like to add that some Dems freak at Nat. polls that show a 2 or 3% Romney advantage with likely voters, while there is a 5-8% Obama advantage with registered voters. The Likely Voter screens used by Gallup and other pollster are subjective estimates of who actually votes. What we have now from a number of pollsters are real measurements of early voting that show 2-1 advantages for Obama in early voting in such places like Ohio where 20% have already voted. Those numbers totally destroy the LV hypothesis that minorities, students, new voters, don't vote, don't turn out. Given the great numbers in new registration in places like VA and NV, and the great numbers in early voting, and the state by state electoral vote advantage enjoyed by President Obama there is evidence that America is making a choice to move forward and not backward. And the improving economy is giving more support to that choice.

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    Most reliable poll and presidential predictor ever! National Scholastic Magazine predicts Obama by 51-45. Predicted every winner since 1964 election. http://t.co/5y6CbyZu

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