Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 2002 / 3 Kislev, 5763

Lewis A. Fein

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In Search of the Democratic Party | I come to criticize, not celebrate; to examine, not exalt. I come as an American first, a voter second, a conservative third and a Republican last. I come to question why - in the midst of recession and war, corporate scandal and congressional stalemate - the Democratic Party's only response, its soul-defining belief, is always the same: a passionate declaration, whispered throughout the political cloakroom and broadcast within the media's sanctum, that George W. Bush is an idiot -- an electoral thief and presidential puppet, for whom millions nationwide - upon Barbra Streisand's example, academe's exhortation and Florida's latent enthusiasm - would most certainly reject.

Yet, Tuesday's election results prove otherwise; the voters prefer (by substantial numbers) Mr. Bush. When will Democrats accept these facts, and to whom will they entrust the real and important role of responsible leadership? Are these future leaders liberal relics like Walter Mondale and Frank Lautenberg, or spiritual heirs - from Harry Truman's simple toughness to John Kennedy's graceful courage - of something new, something better?

Why do Democrats still cling to the idea - developed during Ronald Reagan's term, and repeated throughout Mr. Bush's tenure - that if a conservative president merely mispronounces enough words, confuses enough capitals and forgets enough names voters will embrace liberalism? For this brand of intellectual arrogance explains the Democratic Party's confusion, its current descent into national self-hatred; the painful gaze and midnight holler that, upon the sight of Old Glory or sound of freedom's anthem, reduces itself to a plaintive cry: Can't you see, won't you recognize, that this nation is a collection of lies; mistruths built with slavery's sweat, the Indian chieftain's blood and liberalism's honor?

No, America is more than its previous sins; it is also the Southern black's savior, the Union's protector and liberty's defender. Democrats should accept these positive facts, reaffirmed - not by every election Jesse Jackson supports or Jimmy Carter certifies or Hillary Clinton vindicates - but through the moral acknowledgment that, unless proven otherwise, George W. Bush's victory is equally legitimate, Dick Cheney's experience sufficiently valuable and Colin Powell's service just as important as the combined efforts of assorted liberals. To accept these facts is not to endorse them; to acknowledge these truths is not to embrace them. But to ignore or belittle this evidence is to forever remain America's party of defeat and pessimism.

Again, the Democratic Party continues to teach, and the media eagerly recites, a story without a conclusion; a mystery without a happy ending. The Democratic story is about an illegitimate president, a conspiratorial war and an idea that - oh yes, among the extremists who believe it and the insiders who privately distribute it - "the Jews" are America's secret enemy. Such is history; such is history when taught by the blind, the envious and, yes, the hateful.

Now is the time for Democrats to push aside old ideas and ancient hatreds, broken policies and failed leaders. Now is the time to recall Kennedy's words and Truman's actions, the Democratic Party's former patriotism and proud symbolism. Now is the time to remember heroism against communism and bravery against nuclear catastrophe. Now is the time for modern Democratic leadership.

Today, the Democratic Party is as angry as it is confused. The Party rejects President Bush's policies, but offers no compelling vision. The Party abhors war, but has no plan for peace. The Party hates tax cuts, but refuses to define its own economic programs. The Party is totally and undeniably lost.

Democrats, retake your party!

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2002, Lewis A. Fein