Because they’re willing to ‘go there.’

One of the other reasons why Republicans keep winning elections is because they have no problems “going there.” And by “there” I’m referring to the politically taboo . . .

those imaginary lines in the sands of “decency” and “honor” . . .

those subjects that are supposedly so “out of bounds” or “beyond the pale” that no true statesman would dare cross them for fear of seeming distasteful, dishonorable or . . . well, straight up trifling!

You know. . . things like attacking a man’s patriotism; smearing a war veteran; politicizing our troops; using fear as a wedge issue; or evoking emotions of September 11th for partisan gain.  Republicans never do that, right??? (wink, wink)

It might not be McCain himself. Heck, it might not even be a Republican. But someone is going to “go there” when the Republicans hold their convention in a little over a week from now. Even if McCain has to distance himself from the attack, expect some type of “Oh no he didn’t!” moment when the Republicans meet in Minnesota. 

So let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Exhibit A: Zell Miller’s keynote speech at the 2004 Republican Convention.

Wow.  And that was just the Democratic speaker at the convention.

The Democratic Party should learn from past mistakes. See, back in 2004, Democrats tried doing the “honorable thing.” They figured that resentment towards Bush was so high they didn’t need to waste much time hammering the Republican ticket. So instead, they focused primarily on two goals: 1.) building John Kerry’s war hero status; and 2.) providing a new vision for the future . . . a post-partisan America.

Enter Senator Barack Obama and his memorable speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

In retrospect, Obama’s introduction might have been the only shining moment from that entire convention.  For Democrats did fail in one regard: They didn’t give their supporters enough red meat.

At the end of the day, most people have two major considerations when they step in that voting booth:

1. Why my guy should be president.
2. Why that other guy should NOT.

The weight for both of these considerations varies from person to person. Some people vote FOR what they like while others choose to vote AGAINST what they dislike. But, whatever the motive, a party must draw a clear and unequivocal picture of what they’re for AND against.

This is part 2 of an ongoing reminder to my left-of-center friends.  I railed against the circular firing squad a few days ago. But this post is meant to take direct aim at the Democratic leadership.  For while a lack of focus often serves as an Achilles heal in the Democratic base, a lack of fight has weakened our Democratic presidential candidates for far too long.  It’s another part of the equation that is necessary if we are to get out of own way and actually win this thing.

So my message to the Democratic leadership is this: GIVE US SOME RED MEAT!

It’s hard to fight on an empty stomach. And, regardless of what the media tries to tell us, the words “fight” and “change” are not mutually exclusive.

It’s all about balance. I’m not looking for a convention filled with negativity. I’m not asking Obama to adopt Rovian style tactics or attack McCain’s family.  However, I am saying that the Democratic ticket shouldn’t hesitate to defend itself.  Nor should it shy away from making the sharpest of unrelenting criticisms regarding McCain and his platform.

I’m confident that an Obama/Biden ticket will fight back. But, make no doubt about it, this is the time to start fighting. The onus falls on the party to, not only tell us why Obama’s good for America, but to also remind us why McCain is BAD for America. Such a distinction might make the difference of a few dozen volunteers in a swing state. It might persuade an undecided voter. Democrats must give themselves every opportunity to win.

This is not the time to be shy. There’s no reason to think that Republicans won’t “go there” when it’s their turn. Trust . . . they will.

Remember . . . this is what we’re up against!

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