Originally Published: December 22, 2004 7:10 a.m.
Since Election Day, we've heard a lot of predictable moaning and groaning about the future of the Democratic Party.
Particularly predictable are the suggestions that we need to be more like Republicans in order to win. Democrats need to learn by our previous mistakes – we have tried being "Republican-lite" and it does not work. It is a mistake to run away from the things we believe, and I think we can win in the so-called Republican states by being real Democrats.
We have to realize that there are no red states and no blue states, just American states. I believe the country is still more in sync with Democratic values than Republican values. Our task is to remind ourselves and the American people of the hallmark issues that distinguish Democrats from Republicans.
For example, Democrats historically tackle economic issues with bold, common-sense policies. Our last Democratic president created 22 million new jobs in this country. In the last four years, George W. Bush oversaw the loss of over 1.5 million. Democrats balance budgets, Republicans do not. Democrats consistently try to enact legislation that would provide some kind of affordable health care, Republicans do not. Democrats believe we ought to increase the minimum wage to help the average worker keep up with the cost of living, Republicans do not. Democrats believe corporations have too much power over our daily lives; Republicans do not – and to prove it, they have given away billions of dollars of our tax money to the biggest corporations in the world over the last four years.
On each of these issues, the majority of the American people are with Democrats, not Republicans. Democrats have the right beliefs to win; we just execute a poor public relations plan. And, despite the enormous improvement in our ground game, the Republicans executed a more effective strategy.
Democrats can win by simply being Democrats. Reinventing ourselves as Republicans is the death knell of our party. We need to get back to basics and start listening to people from outside Washington. Only then can we save the greatest nation on the face of the earth from the twin Republican perils of enormous deficits and constant misadventures abroad.