I remember the Dukakis campaign. I lived in Boston at the time and did a little work on it and recall how the senior Bush called Dukakis a “liberal” as if it was a bad thing — that Dukakis should be ashamed. Dukakis wimped out and didn’t stand up and say “Yes, I am a liberal, like John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt, and I am proud of that” until about a week before the election, when it was too late. Instead, liberals cowed down and started calling themselves “progressives” because “liberal” suddenly became bad. Wimps.
The GOP still sets the agenda by bullying their way in, and the Democrats let them. The Republicans claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility and morality and everything else and rarely do Democrats challenge them on this like they should. The GOP is now claiming that Obamacare is a terrible disaster when studies show that it is successful, and that a majority of Americans like it. Yet Democrats are cowering because they are too frightened to embrace things that the American public wants.
“Obamacare will be a disaster!” the conservatives screamed. “There’s no way we’ll get 5 million people to sign up for it!” We’re at 6.5 million as of today, but how many Democrats do you see proclaiming that victory? Why aren’t the Democrats touting all the success stories about people who are covered now that previously weren’t, and who are paying much less? Instead, we get Republican commercials full of lies. (Of course, some of that is due to the Koch brothers spending billions to spread their propaganda, which is very hard to overcome.)
But the public is on our side.
Americans often categorize themselves as “conservative,” but their views on the issues align with Democrats more often than they do with Republicans.
A majority of Americans support Obamacare. A majority thinks gay marriage, abortion and marijuana should be legal. A majority supports more gun control. A majority want to raise the minimum wage and do something about campaign finance reform. A majority wants to raise taxes on the wealthy and do not believe that “corporations are people.”
These positions are not radical dreams of the left. They are mainstream. For Democrats to shy away from what a majority of Americans want is ridiculous.