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Democrats Finally Got Some Bark, Now They Need Some Bite

February 1, 2005
By Dan Gougherty

While Bush's nomination of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State was approved by the Senate last week, it was not the rubber stamp usually given to cabinet members of a second term administration.

Although approved 85-13, it was the most dissenting votes for the position since World War II.

Faced with the certainty that Rice would be approved by the GOP controlled Senate, more than one or two Democrats finally did something other than roll over. They barked.

At the fore was Sen. Barbara Boxer who grilled Rice on the lies and deception that led to the war in Iraq.

Although everyone knew their efforts would not stop the nomination, they achieved something liberals have been severely lacking in for sometime - getting their views aired and printed in the national media.

Hopefully the Democrats will have learned a lesson from this encounter. The time has come for the Democratic wing of the Democratic party to loudly and clearly voice the principles we hold dear.

We cannot let Bush's conservative cabal trample over everything we stand for. Who knows, by taking a strong stand maybe our views will once again be expressed someplace other than the Internet.

In the coming months there will be several opportunities for liberal Democrats to strongly voice their opposition to Bush's agenda. The biggest opportunity will of course be Bush's plan to line the pockets of Wall Street investment bankers with his Social Security privatization scheme.

While the debate will provide Democrats with the opportunity to once again display some "bark," they need to up the ante. They need to back up the bark with some bite.

Instead of merely opposing Bush's scheme, this is a golden opportunity to reframe the debate and propose alternatives, even enhancements to Social Security.

On top of this, why not bring others important social programs into the debate such as Medicaid or health care reform?

Let's not forget the all important impending fight over Supreme Court nominations either.

The point is now that Democrats seems to have gotten their bark back, why not put some bite into the argument? Now is not the time to move to the center, now is the time to proudly voice the true principles of the Democratic Party.

Being in the minority in the both houses and having the White House in the pockets of corporate interests for at least another 1,400 days, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain by biting the hand that is trying to shove a sock down our throats.

Visit Dan Gougherty's blog at www.ltobs.blogspot.com

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