Democratic Underground

They Will Not Be Forgiven
March 6, 2001
by Atrios

They Will Not Be Forgiven

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," Jesus is reported to have said on the cross. And then, so the story goes, He died for our sins.

The Democratic party in its cowardice is constantly looking for such a savior. What they hope to gain I do not know. Maybe it is simply the rather cliché liberal guilt. Maybe it is an inability to defend their agenda, even though this agenda, for the most part, has the support of a majority of Americans (I swear, if Democrats would just beat a couple of bibles now and again for effect they'd win in landslides every time. Oh, well, that and being against gays. And immigrants. And...oh nevermind).

They ran from Clinton at the first whiff of failure, and at the first whiff of scandal. I remember watching the humorist Dave Barry give a speech in front of (I believe) the National Press Club, approximately 3 days after the 1992 election. In his speech, Barry kept referring to the "failed Clinton presidency." It was incredibly funny, and incredible perceptive. The press had already turned in Clinton. In fact, they turned on him during the campaign. They had already written him off. That is troubling, however although we would like the media to be balanced we cannot expect them to be loyal.

Admittedly, the event that first turned the party against Clinton was probably largely his own fault. The first major policy initiative was the health plan. It was designed behind closed doors without congressional input. And, to be frank, the product was a mess. When the time came, and the "Harry and Louise" commercials had run, Democrats in Congress scurried away as fast as they could and never looked back. I believe the health proposal was a mess. Though I supported its intent, I could not support the actual product.

However, it was disgusting how the Dems fled. Couldn't they have warned him? Couldn't they have communicated their intent - brokered a compromise? Tried to fix it before it was too late? Maybe they did - I do not know. But I do know that they left Bill and Hil out to dry. And now, they are falling all over themselves to put the final nail in. It is unnecessary, unwarranted, and damaging. If they would take a page from the opposition, smile and say the whole thing is silly, it would pass.

Republicans almost never violate Reagan's sacred 11th commandment: Thou shalt not criticize another Republican (I don't think he knew what the other 10 were). Even when they do, they come through when it matters - at the final vote. They threaten to defect to broker a compromise, and then vote along party lines when the time comes. When one of their own shoots a watermelon, or divorces his wife, gets caught in a "youthful indiscretion", or gets on the wrong end of any number of ethics violations, you never hear them speak ill of, or apologize for, their actions. Never. (Please correct me if I am wrong - with examples).

When they do go after one another - and they do - they don't do it in public. Molinari and Paxson were sacrificed for reasons that we will never truly know. They eventually took Gingrich down as well. But, again, they did not air their dirty laundry in front of the press. Publically, it is one big happy family.

On the other hand, too many Democrats are constantly apologizing for each other, taking each other to task. They have not learned the lesson of loyalty. In order to find salvation for themselves, they figure they can martyr each other until none of them are left. I do appreciate them for their honesty - I do believe that some of what motivates their lack of loyalty is that they are much more uncomfortable with lying than the other side is.

The fact is, some Democrats screw up big time - the Right doesn't have have a monopoly on ethical indiscretions. But, nonetheless, I cannot help but conclude that Democrats are all too willing to sacrifice one of their own. They need to learn to stand up. For each other. For what they believe in. Until Democrats stop nailing their own to the cross, they will continue to fail to capture the imagination of the voters. I think they know what they are doing. Because of that, they will not be forgiven. They will only find redemption when they manage to unite. Both as majority and minority they continue to fail to do such a simple thing.

And the faithful wept.


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