That’s the call from Michael Tomasky in a cover story for the American Prospect. He means republicans with a small ‘r’—defenders of the idea of a republic that serves the common good. Tomasky writes: “What the Democrats still don?t have is a philosophy, a big idea that unites their proposals and converts them from a hodgepodge of narrow and specific fixes into a vision for society.”
The Democrats are feeling upbeat these days, and why not? The Republican president and vice president have lost the country?s confidence. The Republican-controlled Congress is a sump of corruption, sycophancy, and broken principle. Races in the midterm election that Democratic leaders wouldn?t have dreamed of a few months ago are in play (the Senate seat in Tennessee!). A recent poll showed Democrats with a gaping 16-point lead over Republicans this fall. Seizing on the issues of corruption and incompetence, the party might even take back the House or the Senate—or both.
The prevailing conventional wisdom in Washington—that the Democrats have no idea what they stand for—has recently been put to the test in persuasive ways. In an important piece in the May issue of The Washington Monthly, Amy Sullivan demonstrates that the Democrats have in fact become a disciplined and effective opposition party. From their Social Security victory to George W. Bush?s backing down on his post-Katrina changes to the Davis-Bacon law to the Dubai ports deal, the Democrats have dealt the administration a series of defeats—each of which took a reflexive media, still accustomed to hitting F9 to spit out the words ?Democrats in disarray,? by complete surprise. More than that, the Democrats do have ideas; it?s just that no one bothers to cover them.
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