Democrats Have Lost Their “Third Way”

This week, with tensions mounting around the judicial filibusters, the Republicans will once again carry on the fight to rescue “people of faith” from the left. If defending American “values” is largely responsible for their 2004 win, it is safe to say that it should work again. Whichever social justice issue presents itself, the right is ready and waiting to pounce on it, declare it as a full blown attack against the religious sect, and denounce the Democratic Party for its persecution of faith. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Tom Delay are quick to play the roles of great moral defenders, an exalted status that has granted them immunity to the Democrats’ charges of “radical” Republicanism, and will continue to, until the Democratic Party successfully reasserts itself with a tangible and uncompromising ideology. Ralph Nader in his lecture on Friday spent time discussing the left’s inability to distinguish itself from the right because of its similar corporate-fed interests. Where once it was the Democratic Party who was the advocate for the working class, the shift in political tides has left the generation of Kennedy-supporting families voting for Bush. The Democratic Party doesn’t leave the average American citizen feeling as though he can go to church on Sundays and still call themselves a Democrat. Now the left is estranged from what the Republicans have claimed as their own agenda: plain old “American values.” Attempting to remain liberal on issues of morality and faith, but not regress too far into the territory of extreme social change, the Democrats have backed themselves up against a wall. Any other issues open for debate in the public arena, namely foreign policy, economy, health care, and Social Security, are left tainted by the belief that they are being proposed by a political party whose platform doesn’t include a sense of American morality and justice. Thus while it is true to say that we live in polarized nation, it is difficult to differentiate between red and blue. The Democratic Party’s forthcoming attempt to oust some of Bush’s nominations for Supreme Court Justices with filibusters is merely another segue into a bloodbath between two parties who have far too much in common to even begin accusing each other of underhanded slights. The Republicans have implemented judicial filibusters in 20 cases within the past 35 years. These kinds of actions have been the results of both parties’ desperation, without their representation in the oval office. With the Republicans holding the majority in the senate, however, this is a futile struggle nearing its end. If the Democrats want to win in 2008, it would be in their best interest to end their charade of defiant absences. It is not in undermining Republican authority that they will be able to re-establish any from of party identity, aside from the image of religious insecurity and tepid plugs at the middle class vote. The Republican Party is not built upon pillars of middle man interest; they are merely filling a void that the Democrats have failed to satisfy. The Democrats should not be beaten too easily by a façade of red, white, and blue protecting the American way of life with faith-infused rhetoric. Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” resonated with Americans, and Democrats would be foolish to neglect his legacy.As it stands they are wide open to shots about their “filibusters at faith.” Rather than trying to avoid inevitable appointments, the Democrats need to start worrying less about right-wing judges’ employment prospects, and more about their own for 2008.