How Democrats Can Start Winning: Pander to the Base

Republicans pander to the base as if their jobs depend upon it. Because their jobs do.

Democrats toss around the phrase pander to the base as if it were an insult, when, in fact, it is a time-tested political strategy for winning.

Just ask Rick Perry. When faced with the choice of making good policy or pandering to the base, he picks pandering every time. And he’s the longest-serving governor in the state of Texas.

True, he’s only been elected to the office twice, but he managed to get elected the second time (2006) even with 6 years of policy decisions opponents could have used against him. Which they couldn’t, because those decisions pandered to his base, and his base voted.

Anyway …

Democrats seem to be pandering to everyone but Democrats these days. What gives?

1) Snatch that Homeland Security & Government Relations chairmanship away from Joe Lieberman and do whatever petty backroom things you can do to punish him for leaving the party.
In fact, is there any way to blame Joe Lieberman for the underwear bomber? After all, it seems that Homeland Security somehow screwed that up, and that’s Joe’s committee, right?

All of you inside-baseball people can lecture me about how Joe Lieberman still has power and we need to placate him so he doesn’t unleash the worst on us, but hasn’t he already done that? What have we got to lose, the majority in the Senate? Whoops! Too late!

2. Take a stand on abortion. Be the Party of Choice. And mean it.
The GOP gets away with calling themselves a big tent while they smack women around with their anti-choice plank? Meanwhile, Democrats refuse to have a litmus test, then end up getting screwed by anti-choice Democrats. Senator Ben Nelson (D – Nebraska) threatened to join the Republican filibuster against the health  care bill unless anti-choice language similar to the Stupak amendment was added to the bill. Is denying poor women access to health care what a Democrat should do? Is filibustering with Republicans something a Democrat should do?

3. Start calling out Republicans for sexist and racists gaffes. And stop making your own.
Here’s what just happened in Massachusetts, according to multiple sources including the NY Daily News:

A video is circulating in which Republican Scott Brown seemingly smiles at a violent, sexist taunt directed at his Democratic challenger Martha Coakley at a rally.

“Shove a curling up HER butt,” shouted one attendee off-camera. Brown, holding a bullhorn, seemed to smile and nod in acknowledgement.

On Monday morning, a spokesman said Brown never heard the remark in question.

“He emphatically said he did not hear it,” a campaign staffer said. “There was a large crowd,” and he wasn’t looking at anyone in particular.

OK, why did we not have a person dressed as a curling iron holding up a FOR SHAME sign following Scott Brown around until he actually denounced the comment instead of pretending that ignoring it means no harm, no foul?

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, is taking body blows for a comment he made in 2008 that even the President has said we should look beyond since Reid is “a good man who has always been on the right side of history … a stalwart champion of voting rights.”

How the hell are Democrats allowing Michael “fried chicken” Steele to lead the charge against Reid?

Pick something, anything, and all say and do the same thing about it until you make it law.
I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but ditch the nuance. Find some issue—and make it an easy one, something not as controversial as abortion or gay marriage—and then get every last Democrat in the House, Senate, and White House to say the exact same thing about it. Multiple times, in multiple media. Act like you have the capacity to work together and accomplish something.

Refuse to talk about anything else. Be bullies. Stomp your feet, threaten to take your marbles home, do whatever it takes to make at least one non-Democratic senator (or do you need two now?) vote with you. Surely there is at least one issue that at least 2 non-Democratic senators will side with you on. Or, in the alternative, surely you have the goat pictures on at least 2 non-Democratic senators. Now is the time to use them.

Remember, you are pandering. Pull out all of the stops to make Democrats proud of what Democrats can accomplish.

I’m not saying it’s right, and I’m not saying it’s pretty. I’m just saying it seems to be working for the GOP. And since the GOP isn’t working for me, I guess that leaves you, Democrats. So come on. Pander to me.

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