Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Democrats, show some fight!

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Contributor
  • President Obama is trying to rally voters to oppose GOP candidates for Congress
  • Roland Martin says congressional Democrats are afraid to defend bills they have passed
  • He says they should explain to voters why they did what they did
  • Martin: If Democrats want to stay in control of Congress, they must make their case

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin, a CNN political analyst, is a syndicated columnist and author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith," and the new book, "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host of a Sunday morning news show.

(CNN) -- The Republican Party's message for voters backing their candidates in November is pretty simple: This country is broke, the Democrats are making matters worse, and the economic policies advanced by President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have been disastrous for the average worker.

Yet if you ask Democrats what their central message is to keep control of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, you're likely to get a lot of head scratching, finger pointing and eyes rolling to the skies, maybe in search of an angel descending from heaven to give them a clue.

All of this explains why poll after poll shows Republicans fired up and ready to go in November, and Democrats thinking they are walking their own slow walk to the execution chamber.

The White House clearly understands it has a major problem on its hands, and that's why it has desperately tried to recalibrate the message this week, making everything all about the economy.

At his news conference Friday, Obama came out of the gate firing at Republicans, trying to draw the line between what he sees as a party of obstructionists saying no to anything that he proposes and Democrats trying to bring the nation out of the deep economic rut.

"These policies of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans, of stripping away regulations that protect consumers, running up a record surplus to a record deficit -- those policies finally culminated in the worst financial crisis we've had since the Great Depression," he said.

"And for 19 months, what we have done is steadily worked to avoid a depression, to take an economy that was contracting rapidly and making it grow again; a situation where we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, and now we've had eight consecutive months of private sector job growth; and made investments that are going to strengthen the economy over the long term."

Part of the problem for many Democrats is that they have no heart. There is an unwillingness to fight for what they believe in. Instead, they would rather wring their hands and point fingers at Obama and Pelosi, and not stand up for the bills they passed.

What's the point of fighting to get control of the House and Senate in 2006 if you're scared to defend your actions in 2010? I would rather lose an election fighting for what I believe in, than wimp out and try to say the problem is everyone else.

All incumbent Democrats running for Congress are happy to be in the majority, but now they are trying to hide from the voters. That's just dumb.

So man up and woman up and stand before the voters in debates and town halls and say, 'Yea, we passed the stimulus bill because we needed to do something to get this economy going. Yes, it included tax cuts as well as money to save the jobs of police and firefighters. Yes, we passed health care because that is a right for every citizen in this country. And yes, we didn't sit back and wait for Wall Street to roll over us again, we went after them too."

While President Obama uses his analogy of the Republicans putting the car in reverse and the Democrats wanting to put it in 'D' to drive, he should add, "We are on the road to recovery, and all they've done is put up detours, roadblocks, and try to force us off the road. Saying no isn't progress. Unnecessary holds on appointments doesn't mean progress.

"Protecting the rich and ignoring the middle class isn't progress. If you want those kinds of leaders, go right ahead. But putting them back in office is like driving a car on the wrong side of the freeway, all you will do is wreak havoc and cause a massive wreck."

Voters don't have time for political wimps. We need leaders with conviction, determination and guts.

Dems, you've controlled the House, Senate and the White House for nearly two years, so own up to it, and defend what you've done. Yes, you may lose anyway, but at least lose with some dignity and go out with a fight.

If not, you don't deserve to be in power in the first place.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland S. Martin.