Thursday, May 25, 2006
Democrats: Poised to strike or flailing around?
It's now a little more than five months until the November elections. President Bush continues to take it on the chin in the polls, as does Congress. The number of competitive seats in the House continues to rise, according to the Rothenberg Political Report, and the Democrats are leading Republicans on every major issue, including terrorism.

The environment for the Democrats couldn't get much better. So why is it that when we asked people on the street yesterday what the Democrats' plan for America was we encountered responses such as "I have no clue -- to be honest, I have no clue what they're doing"?

It could be because the Democrats have yet to articulate anything that resembles a substantive plan. Oh sure, there have been bits and bites, but there's yet to be a clear election-year agenda. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says "there's plenty of time for specifics - the election is a long way off."

But if they hope to prevail in those exceedingly tight Congressional races, how long can Democrats continue to get by solely on rhetoric like Senator Harry Reid's declaration that "We as Democrats are declaring our commitment to change"?

For a while longer, according to Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel, whom many Democrats say is the guy driving the bus this year. Emanuel hears the calls from inside the party to lay out -- as quickly as possible -- a Democratic version of the Republicans' famous 1994 "Contract With America."

But he's keeping his powder dry for now, recalling that the Contract was released just six weeks before the '94 election. To do it now, he fears, would leave an agenda open to dissection and scrutiny, Republican attacks and inter-party fighting for a long time. Plus, what would be left to do in the fall?

The danger for Democrats, however, is that Republicans have been pretty effective at labeling them as the "party with no ideas, failing to articulate any core principles or governing philosophy."

Of course, that's merely a strategy to draw them into the debate. But as we saw in August of 2004, when John Kerry's campaign sank amid a barrage of unanswered attacks by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, sometimes you need to put some meat on the bones if you hope to have a chance of fighting back.
Posted By John Roberts, CNN Senior Correspondent: 9:50 AM ET
  48 Comments
Democrats have nothing to offer except that they aren't Republicans. That doesn't appeal much to mainstream America, people who are pro-life, pro traditional marriage, anti drugs, pro gun rights, etc will not vote for a democrat ever. They have nothing to offer, except the same type of corruption they point to with Republicans.
It is just a case of Tweedledee-Tweedledum.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison,Wisconsin : 10:22 AM ET
I agree with Howard Dean "there's plenty of time for specifics - the election is a long way off." I, also, agree that the Republicans would start vicious attacks immediately, it seems to me that is the only way the GOP knows how to run for election...using fear tactics and any other vicious rhetoric that they can come up with. Hope the American people have learned their lesson as far as believing the GOP and their fear tactics. At this point in time I just feel that the American people are so very anxious to rid themselves of the current corrupt administration from the President on down the line, that everyone is wishing the elections were held today. Can you blame us??? I think not!
Posted By Anonymous Moe, Liverpool NY : 10:25 AM ET
The Democrats have no ideas on how to govern or what a majority of us want. Those wants being illegals out of the country, low taxes and less government regulation. If you actually listen to what their leaders say it's obvious they have no plan but the same failed policies of the past. I would support a national firing of all in congress and to get real citizens in there to do what we want.
Posted By Anonymous Jason Poulsbo, Wa : 10:46 AM ET
I agree with Moe in Liverpool Ny.....never has there been a time when a thorough house cleaning was needed more than now. We have a government that is so disconnected from the public its absolutely amazing. When did these people forget that they are servants of the public, when did they lose sight of the fact that they are supposed to protect this country and keep it guarded for future generations. The American public has been sold out on every level. Could we have THEM deported due to idiocy?
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Jax FL : 10:47 AM ET
Republicans thrived on the tactic... best defense is an offense.

There's a natural knee jerk response that sees an agressor and our minds automatically tells us that the agressor will win. Human failings as it may leads us to side with the winner just because it's a survival instinct.

Hence the success of the merchants of fear.
Posted By Anonymous Ian Berghoff Chicago, IL : 10:54 AM ET
Not because the Republicans have won elections and become the majority in all branches of government, necessarily makes them right in their decisions and plans. In fact we are seeing the total opposite.

Time has already begun to expose the failings and short sightedness of this party and time will tell all.
Posted By Anonymous Pete Don St. Louis, MO : 11:06 AM ET
If you want some meat on the bones, somebody should lobby Lou Dobbs to make a run for it as an independent. Like him or not, there's no question where he stands. (Yes, I know he says he's not interested, but don't most of them?)
Posted By Anonymous Gypsy, an American in Mexico : 11:07 AM ET
Let's vote them all out and start over. It couldn't be worse and might be better. If only the Democrats (or anybody!) could come up with a leader, one who cared about the people, one who cared about Americans, one who cared about....oh heck, there I go fantasizing again.
Posted By Anonymous Margaret, Thousand Oaks CA : 11:10 AM ET
My biggest question is this. How are the Democrats even expected to come up with any policies before they are in power? Democrats have access only to intelligence reports, etc., after interpretation by the current administration. They do not possess the raw data that is required to formulate legitimate "plans" pre-election. I would prefer a party that waits to examine evidence thoroughly before making rash decisions. Unfortunately, I have also not seen any evidence that Democrats are any more capable than Republicans to lead this country (except Bush... worst president ever!)
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Princeton NJ : 11:11 AM ET
Jason of WA embodies what the Republican party is all about.

"We are in the majority so everything we do is right."

"Everyone who does not agree with us better get out of the way, or else".

attitude!
Posted By Anonymous John Flassig Delavan Wis : 11:11 AM ET
I think it is fairly clear that NEITHER party has any clue what the American public wants. Look, the overwhelming majority of people in our government are old, rich white guys. Not exactly the type of people who would go "mingle with the peasants". I certainly don't believe that my own Congresspersons give a damn about what happens to the people in my state or the rest of the country. I am disgusted with the whole lot of politicans and I would vote for a third party candidate if there was ever a viable one. Alas, I don't know what I am going to do come this November. One thing I can say for sure, if the Democrats want to win, then they need to get their act together and not be afraid to be tough on important issues: immigration, the economy, the wars and overseas dictatorship that the WH is trying to impose. If they come off looking like the weak willed, wimpy party they have been in the past it will never work (and this coming from a longtime Democrat!).
Posted By Anonymous Kita, Rochester MN : 11:15 AM ET
"meat on the bones"--that would indicate that there is a spine to attach the meat to. Neither of which is evident in all the political arenas. The GOP has three points for the public: flag burning, gay marriage and abortion. The DEM at least tries to recognize the issues but flounders when their big tent flaps in the wind. Hey, it's all fund raising, K street, and creative vocabulary. Let the games begin on the other side of the looking glass.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 11:16 AM ET
Part of the problem is neither party is in touch with middle-class America anymore. I personally am fed up with the two party system. I am a registered independent because I refuse to let either party claim me. If the democrats want a chance of winning they need to stand for something then be willing to defend it. Kerry had many chances including the whole swift-boat thing. I will admit I didn't for Kerry, I voted NOT BUSH. The democrats need to grow a pair and stand up for what they believe in (whatever it is). Quit being afraid of the christian right. Religion has NO place in politics and most of us are fed up that this administration has obliterated the line between church and state. Just because I don't go to church every Sunday does not mean I have no morals.
Posted By Anonymous Melina - Mesa, AZ : 11:21 AM ET
This country needs strong ethical leadership, more now then ever, if we are ever going to get this mess the republicians have made, cleaned up. I urge you to get your act togeather and go to work, work togeather and get some things done. NOT just politics as usual, this country needs you. Not more of the same. Get it togeather!!!
Posted By Anonymous Diana Bismarck ND : 11:25 AM ET
The Democratic plan and position on the issues have not been articulated because the media has chosen not to convey their message to the public. The Democrat and Republican position are very similar because at the end of the day we all want the same thing. Remember that a party or candidate must focus on issues that are centrist in order to gain momentum during an election year. If anything history has thought us is that the ideologies of the parties can interchange along with societal cultural changes.
I believe that the Democratic party will find their voice once they stop trying to differ themselves from the Republicans and stay focus on the causes that are important to society as a whole.
Posted By Anonymous Martyne Aime, New York, NY : 11:28 AM ET
I suppose people could paraphrase Churchill and say that the Republican Party is the worst political party, except for all of the others. I've resisted joining any party, but more often than not I have voted for Republicans. The Democrats just don't seem to be serious, usually, when it comes to putting out electable candidates. I mean, Dukakis and Kerry were their best? I certainly hope the Democrats can find someone who can meet the views of most/more Americans.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 11:51 AM ET
We need an operation clean sweep of congress, the president everything. I liked the idea of deporting them because of idiocy.

It is true that the government is out of touch with the majority of Americans on many of the issues. It's time to get them in touch, or find someone who is in touch.
Posted By Anonymous Jon, Raleigh, NC : 11:55 AM ET
Unfortunately if the Democrats, don't change their ideas and votes on illegal (immigration) amnesty, guest worker programs, border and port security, I am afraid they will be dancing to the same tune as the Republicans (The Mexican Hat Dance).
Posted By Anonymous anne cowan, glenside, PA 19038 : 12:08 PM ET
How about posting the problems of the Republican party instead of questioning the Democratic plans which are on target. Education, Tax reduction for mid and lower class wage earners,ending the war in Iraq,Prepare for emergency conditions,ie.katrina ect.,immigration. Democtats see the problems and the Republicans try to rob the bank.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Morris Tinley Park,IL : 12:10 PM ET
If you stopped people in the streets and asked them "What is the Republicans plan?" you would get the same no nothing answers. C'mon guys, your swallowing the Republican attack message and discussing it like it is fact. Anyone who pays attention to politics knows what the Dems support. Their ideas are known on all key issues, just like the Republicans.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Philadelphia, PA : 12:24 PM ET
Sorry, but I just couldn't resist--to Paul, UT--George W.Bush was the best the Republicans had to offer?!?!?!!?
Posted By Anonymous Paige B., Austin, TX : 12:41 PM ET
The Democrats get a lot of things right but have no power to do so. They are in the minority in all branches of government and that means that the Republicans are running the entire show.

The Republicans know that they are in the majority and acting arrogantly so. In the House of Representatives, these congressmen think they have the pulse of the nation with this immigration thing. They would vote their selfish causes believing they are representing their 'constituency'. No moral, ethical, sensible, workable compromise for them... only what they think is politically expedient. Oh but they are soooo wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly B Marietta, GA : 12:53 PM ET
Republicans say the Democrats have no plan but I am still puzzled how a party that claims to be conservative lead us from a budget surplus to the largest deficit ever.

Was that really their plan?
Posted By Anonymous Mike Youngstown, OH : 1:00 PM ET
Neither party will state their plans or goals until they are forced to do such. Each congressperson, Democrat or Republican, will not comment on anything until they consult a poll to see how many votes they will gain or loss on each stand that they take.

I agree with the posters so far that say that we need to clean out congress by outing both sides of the aisle. Get rid of them all!

Did you notice that in one of the few times that there was a concensus, both parties propose not letting the FBI investigate members by going through their files. Sounds like they do not want a legal branch of the governoment having access to their files and records, but the FBI can do such to "John Q. Public". Why the double standard?
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Foley, AL : 1:04 PM ET
Actually, both the Republicans and Democrats have the same plan: Get re-elected whatever the cost. The difference is the strategy: The Rebublicans plan to get elected by calling anyone who is against them a traitor. The Democrats plan to get elected is to hide under the bed and keep repeating "Please don't vote against me." Wake me up when a serious 3rd party comes along (not one of the lunatic fringe single issue jokes like the greens or libertarians).
Posted By Anonymous Tom Horsley, Delray Beach FL : 1:08 PM ET
I believe you make a good point when you address the comments of Harry Reid whom I believe is a weak and ineffectual leader (and I've written him to tell him so). Having said that, I have to defend the Democrats at least to some extent. In retrospect it seems clear to me and I think it should to all but the most fanatical conservative idealogues that Al Gore was a VASTLY superior choice to Bush. Yet American's (well kinda) picked Bush.

Maybe I'm wrong - I'm not much of a historian, but I can't think of major event in history comparable to the war in Iraq where it is so factually clear that a president fabricated, deceived and just plain lied to put America in a war. But knowing George Bush, it did not suprise me in the lesat that he would do this.

But again, American's picked George Bush. In that atmosphere of lunacy, how should anyone espouse a "substantive plan"?
Posted By Anonymous John Lubeck Livermore, CA : 1:23 PM ET
The worst insult anyone could possibly give to the Democratic Party is that they can't beat the Republicans. It's true. We've got a president with one of the lowest approval ratings in history, and people are still like, "Yeah, but what's the alternative?"

It's a pipe dream, but I'd like to see the Democratic party fold, so a *real* challenger can take on this foreign policy disaster we call the GOP. Come on Dems, get with the program!!
Posted By Anonymous James Sweet, Rochester, NY : 1:26 PM ET
I would just like to say one thing. Everyone seems to talk non-stop how the democrats couldn't get it together for elections. The bottom line is our present president couldn't get it together either, yet he won. He is the worst speaker EVER, plus he never really could answer any of the questions during the debates in an intelligent way. The bottom line is MANY people in this country vote on one thing- ABORTION AND GAY MARRIAGE. And they most likely will continue to vote on candidates based on those issues. That's how republicans will continue to win. Unless people are really so fed up with what is going on now, it may just be the same outcomes.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Washington DC : 1:28 PM ET
I agree with their tactic to wait before publishing any type of policy statement. If you wait until closer to election time, it is fresher in the minds of voters and gives the republicans less time to mount a smear campaign - something they are all too good at.
Besides, the Republicans are still doing a pretty good job of self-destructing.
Their only positive is that they have managed to take the heat off themselves by focusing on the immigration issue. This debate has taken attention away from Iraq, the deficit, corruption in government, the government illegally spying on citizens, emergency preparedness, the CIA, Osama Bin Laden and the president's general incompetence.
The democrats should be trying to refocus the country on these issues, instead of going along with the immigration debate.
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Kansas City, MO : 1:35 PM ET
What I don't understand is when people say that The Democrats don't have a plan!Excuse me!The Democrats ran this country for over forty years just fine thank you very much!How about Gore's plan to protect social security with the surplus we once had before the incompetent Republicans threw it away with tax cuts for the rich! Or how about Kerry's Idea to give the American people the same retirement plan that congress has! These are just to name a few!! The Republicans are a joke! I hate thier in your face hypocracy and thier obnoxious self-righteousness. And exactly what was wrong with Kerry? He won all three debates, is smart, and certainly a lot better than Bush in every way!! So was Gore! If either Kerry or Gore had become President we would be a much better country today than we are now. The incompetent Republicans are ruining our country! I will proudly vote for every Democrat on the ballot!
Don't forget that the Democrats hands are tied right now because they are the minority party and don't have subpoena power! I pray that will change
in November. Two more years of Republican leadership and we will not have a country left.
Posted By Anonymous Susan Prock, Fort Pierce, Florida : 1:38 PM ET
The Republicans in the House of Representatives think that being in forefront of a hardline stance with the legalization process will save their skins come election time.

They think that the majority of their constituency is so abhorred with the idea of legalization that this issue will carry them through the day. The Congressmen are clueless about what the majority thinks!
Posted By Anonymous Rob Sandusky, Ohio : 2:03 PM ET
Two words: TERM LIMITS

How do we get that on the national ballot? It is clear that Congress will never address it themselves. I find it sad and disturbing that our congress people have less dedication to our country than the soldiers they've sent to the Middle East.

I agree - the focus is in the wrong places. The Democrats are letting the GOP run the agenda. Sure they hold no majority - but the microphones still work, right?
Posted By Anonymous J, Alexandria, VA : 2:11 PM ET
Oh Please, tell me, what is the republican plan?

If you are really interested in something other than repeating lame "so called liberal media" talking points like a parrot, try the DNC website if you want to know what they democrats plan is.
Posted By Anonymous Teresa, Clarks Summit, Pa : 2:39 PM ET
But as we saw in August of 2004, when John Kerry's campaign sank amid a barrage of unanswered attacks by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,

Good lord, John. I can't believe you picked that example - one of the most stunning abrogations of responsibility by the national media in the entire election cycle. This was News Story as 'he said, he said' at its absolute worst, with no attempt on the part of anyone in the media to truth-squad any of it. How can you even think about it without cringing?

And what, if anything, did it have to do with anyone's POLICY platform?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 2:54 PM ET
How I see it is the Republicans have a horrible plan and the Democrats don't have a plan. It may be a gamble, but after seeing the consequences of the past 6 years of Republican rule, I'm willing to take the chance and see what the Democrats will do. Maybe they will fail this country miserably, too. However, it's better to give them the opportunity than to continue to let the Republicans devestate this nation. Preferably, we really need a strong third party in this nation, but as that still seems a long way off, supporting the Democrats seems like the only option.
Posted By Anonymous Emma Russell, Downingtown, PA : 3:20 PM ET
The worst insult anyone could possibly give to the Democratic Party is that they can't beat the Republicans. It's true. We've got a president with one of the lowest approval ratings in history, and people are still like, "Yeah, but what's the alternative?"

Just to be fair, no one I know, outside the media, is saying "what's the alternative?" Everyone I talk to says ANY change would HAVE to be better than the circus of morons currently in charge.

At this point, "Not Them" is a viable strategy.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 3:24 PM ET
The media continues to demand that the Democrats name a spokesmand for the party. But the press seems confused by the fact that this is NOT a presidential election, and that the candidate/spokesman is chosen in the primaries.

So instead of interviewing Democrats who are running, the press interviews Republicans ABOUT the Democrats, which gives them an open platform to recycle old talking points. It must be awfully grafiying for the GOP to still be able to go on the air and get an open mike without having to answer any questions about their many scandals, or more specifically, people already indicted or convicted.

So maybe the way to cover Democrats running for office would be to get out there and talk to some of the Democrats who are running for office. They have plenty to say, especially in the races where they run against people under indictment.
Posted By Anonymous Bernard Pliers, Allentown PA : 3:27 PM ET
Yeah, we could try to get term limits, but it's our responsibilty as American citizens to exercise our rights and vote in every election. Some of our elected leaders have a backbone and are trying to do a good job for the people who elected them. What I would like to see in every elected official is not loyalty towards their party, but loyalty to America and her people. What's best for this country, not the party. We need to supervise our leaders instead of voting them in and then going off and leaving them alone. Maybe our biggest mistake is letting elected officials grow old in the people's house.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Fairfield Iowa : 3:35 PM ET
This may be the most shocking story I've ever read. That you have uncovered such shameful inhumanity is laudable. The questions remains: what is a free democracy with little strategic importance in the Congo to do? To know that answer would be to formulate a policy based on morality and what is possible.
Posted By Anonymous Michael M. Noonan New Orleans, La. 70130 : 3:44 PM ET
I really don't understand the political posturing in Washington. It seems that the line between legal and illegal has become blurred. I was stunned to read this comment from Mr Bush:

"Let me be clear: Investigating and prosecuting crime is a crucial executive responsibility that I take seriously," he said. "Those who violate the law -- including a member of Congress -- should and will be held to account. This investigation will go forward and justice will be served."

My question is this: Who is going to hold the president to account for his consistent violation of the laws of the land?

I would love to see a complete change in representation in Washington since those in power are out of touch with mainstream America, but corporations would have the most to lose, and their money will keep corruptible politicians in power.

It's truly nauseating.
Posted By Anonymous Deb, Richmond VA : 4:16 PM ET
The republicans have been winning consistantly because they portray a more masculine image. Most people view the intellectualism of the democrats as effeminate. That is unfortunate, but it is also the truth.

If the democrats want to win they had better make their policy simple and direct. Unfortunately politics in the world today are extremely complex so the party that will win will be the party that lies most to the American people. I hope everyone has enjoyed their democracy because this feeling of unease you have about your government is the feeling of that government slipping away from you.
Posted By Anonymous Michael Lowell, MA : 4:50 PM ET
If Democrats want to win in national elections, they have to stop trying to appeal to conservative voters who will never vote for them in any real numbers anyway, and stand firm in their core beliefs, solidifying their base.

In trying to please everyone, Democrats are alienating their base.

With Republican scandals rising to the surface almost daily, the time is ripe for political change, but Democrats playing "Republican-lite" aren't going to energize the voting public.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 5:07 PM ET
I voted Republican in the last election. This time Im not so sure. Im really torn. The democrats definitely do not stand for my values nor do I think they can do any better job then the republicans have done. The republicans seem to be more in line with my values, but theyre all in bed with big business. I think an independent party with REAL concern for the conservative middle class could clean up next election..
Posted By Anonymous Travis - Joplin, MO : 5:29 PM ET
I wish there was some way we could do away with the "big-money-campaign-two-party-system". Each candidate should stand on their own two feet, then maybe we'd get a better mix.
Posted By Anonymous Tina - Chicago IL : 5:39 PM ET
What's wrong with the Democrats is that they and the public in general have started to believe in the Republicans' extolling hardcore conservatism as the best agenda for America.

What's wrong with being a liberal?

FDR is the poster boy of liberalism and rightly so. His courage and optimism is what's missing today.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Perry, Iowa : 5:41 PM ET
I happened to see your story last evening as I was reading Romeo Dallaire's Shake Hands With the Devil, a chronicle of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the failure of the world community to respond to it.

Human rights abuses are rampant across the globe. But I don't know which is more unconscionable: the depths of the evil and depravity, or the failure of us all -- those of us on the outside looking in -- to stop it.

I appreciate being able to help these women financially because they're surely in desperate need of good medical care.

But in the long run, it seems what's needed is a strong United Nations Human Rights machine with the mandate and the resources to respond quickly and effectively to such atrocities.

There but for the grace of God go those of us who live in pockets of the world where we're shielded from such horrors. But if we can't find the money and the will to protect the weakest among us on this earth, then I wonder whether we are indeed as civilized as we would like to believe.
Posted By Anonymous C Agoston, Toronto Canada : 5:51 PM ET
So, when will we be treated to an in-depth and insightful analysis of the Republicans' plans? I think that a review of Republican policies is way overdue. I can't seem to recall in recent memory any substantial amount of time and discourse given to Republicans'plans and policies that have affected this nation for the past five years (they do control the legislative and executive branches,right?) We're waiting.......
Posted By Anonymous Todd in Hampton VA : 7:14 PM ET
The major Democratic candidate who knows how to sell his or her program for success the best, will win the Democratic nomination and the Presidency. My point is, if you look back at all the Presidential elections to the time of George Washington, in almost 100% of the races, whoever was the better "salesman" became President.

My point of view here is somewhat cynical. That is because I believe we voters ultimately don't care if our President is not an intellectually serious person interested in the legitimacy and power of important ideas beyond party politics; we also don't seem to care that our candidates don't even try to represent all the people all of the time, rather than their own special interest groups; we also don't always elect the candidate who has dedicated his adult life to political service, but rather choose someone who jumps in because the opportunity can be exploited despite a lack of prior commitment to office.

So, despite our need for someone who is open, intellectually honest, and a proven man of his word, the better salesman always becomes our President. A Presidential Salesman is someone who uses force of personality, has a thorough understanding of what hot button issues are most important to voters, and can define himself as a better, bolder, more trustworthy leader.

Bush Jr. was a better salesman than Kerry, who could not define himself but let the Republican attack team define him for the public. The better salesman got elected. Look, say, at 1960: Kennedy outsold Nixon, beat a popular Vice President, because he defined himself with charm and intellectual seriousness as the bolder leader of that harrowing time, a time when voters were more cautious and conservative even than today, and should have elected Nixon. Again, the top salesman was elected.

Pick any election. The better salesman always wins.

So... Who ever wants to be our next Democratic President needs to sell well, sell hard. Personally, I would sell myself on three issues that guarantee success.

First, closed, secure borders and an immigration system that denies citizenship to all except those who follow our nation's rules for being processed in the traditional way. That is, no jobs, no social support, and jail time for the Americans who want to give special treatment to those who have the chance to come here across open borders because they know we have no system to stop them. I would sell that these millions of undocumented foreigners are taking our jobs, and hurting our schools and health support systems, and they will not be given what they are unwilling to fight for in their own countries.

In other words, be the Presidential candidate who states that foreigners demands will never come before the rights, privileges and needs of the American citizens who already live here. Be the candidate who says that what our ancestors fought for -- democratic rights -- will not be handed to anyone who is not willing to follow our rules for acceptance.

Second, be a candidate who sells education as the top personal priority for every citizen and every family in the United States. Be the candidate willing to radically refocus on the importance of every individual working through a more dynamic educational system that demands learning from K through 12, and that we figure out how to teach 100% literacy by grade 6 to all. Be someone who sells our schools as the most dynamic centers of our society, then fights to make sure each one has the funding, new curriculum and new teachers, to make it all work.

Third, be a candidate that sells the concept of democracy -- that we citizens are all in this together -- and we must do whatever it takes to take care of our own people first, come hell or high Katrina storm water. Like FDR, like Kennedy, be the candidate who represents the rich, the poor and the middle class in between with passion and respect and support for all. Be someone who does not seek to conquer his political agenda by pitting one segment or political group against the other to weaken the opposing camp.

Yes, who ever the Democratic salesman is who could sell these three programs could win the Presidency by a substantial margin.

Unfortunately, I don't see anyone yet who shares this same outlook. Instead I see them pursuing less grandiose issues, unable to explain or inspire us to the higher purpose our society has set for itself. I see them pursuing petty politics, making bland speeches anyone could make, mostly because they are not good communicators and because most are not willing to risk their careers to define what they really believe.

So, do you see any Democrat rising from the ashes of the last two elections, or are they about to give new meaning to "Death of A Salesman" one more time?

My prediction: Al Gore will rise again and present his more dynamic self this time around, effectively sell his emotions and passionate beliefs as the Democratic candidate. Further, that he and Massacheusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney, a very effective Republican salesman, will battle it out in 2008.
Posted By Anonymous John Luma, Moorpark CA : 10:52 PM ET
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