WASHINGTON — The message coming from the Campaign for America’s Future’s three-day Take Back America event is clear: Progressives are on the march and they’ll win next time out.
Now if only they could convince themselves of it.
Speaker after speaker at Wednesday’s opening of the event, a major annual gathering for liberal activists, talked passionately about how their movement was breaking new ground, growing by leaps and bounds, etc.
Then, inevitably, they dampened their own rousing words by either reflecting on the last election, conceding they may not win next time either or offering backhanded compliments to the apparently all-powerful “right-wing message machine.”
Typical was Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who told the assembled union guys, environmentalists, abortion rights activists and others that “there is a mood for change in the air,” even comparing it to 1994 when Republicans took over the House.
Yet she followed that by saying most voters think liberals are squishy and President Bush is tough. And that’s a problem because “voters like tough, they don’t like tentative.”
Donna Brazile echoed her point.
“They (conservatives) know what they believe in and they’re not afraid to say it. Why aren’t we?” she asked.
L.A. Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa pumped up the crowd by talking about building up the progressive agenda only to warn them that they may have to wait years before they actually win elections. He also repeatedly noted the, well, whiteness of the Take Back America audience, a problem for a movement that hopes to win with minority voters.
“You look in this room tonight and you don’t see the diversity we need to bring this country together,” he said.
Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, warned the liberals that the conservatives have genuine support at the grass roots level.
“There is a right-wing populism (in America) that can win their votes — and is winning their votes,” Borosage said.
NOW IT CAN BE THE sign of a healthy political movement that its leaders have realistic goals and a good understanding of their opponents. So the comments at the Take Back America event could suggest a new maturity for the left.
But it was also fairly typical of the neurotic tenor of many liberal events your correspondent has seen since Bush took office in 2000. Gone are the days when liberals believed that the vast mainstream of America would rise up and cast conservatives out of office because of the right’s extremism. Instead they’ve watched as the Republicans took the White House and both houses of Congress. They’re angry and upset over this. Spooked too.
When, for example, Karen Ackerman, an AFL-CIO political director, used the words “among white men…” during a rundown on exit poll numbers, one member of the audience actually hissed.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online