The jury's out on whether Democrats offer an alternative in real (as opposed to rhetorical) terms, a chance to at least block two final years of unsavory pillaging, or simply a redistribution of some of the legalized bribery that greases all D.C. dealings.
Two things hold at least the potential to influence this equation in the coming weeks. First is that Democratic candidates for Congress -- incumbents and challengers alike -- need to be challenged on these issues. They need pressure, at the time when we the public have the most leverage, to stake out real positions and commitments, not just skate by on Republican misdeeds and I'm-not-themism.
Secondly, Internet fundraising is beginning, but only beginning, to change Democratic Party politics. The more that a candidate's money comes from ordinary donors, as opposed to the big corporate type, the more likely (at least in theory) that candidate will be to look out for the interests of the broader public, rather than those of the best-heeled contributors, when interests collide.
OK, three things. The third is to work hard on the campaigns and to turn out voters and votes on November 7. It'd be good to win, but even better to win by more. The greater the turnaround by Democrats, the more that Democrats can claim a mandate for their policies far clearer than anything George Bush ever received.
And with some luck, they'll actually use it.
Thursday, August 31, 2006