Friday, March 04, 2011

Where is the national Democratic Party when it is needed to battle national Republican overreach?

Those of us who feel that the national Democratic Party seems unled and unmanaged in the face of the massive Republican attacks on the government and on unions probably have good reason to feel that way. We may have felt that with a Democratic President there should be some Democratic (if not progressive) push-back to the current Republican overreach at a national level. The New York Time has a good article today on the new management process in the White House since Rham Emmanuel and David Alexrod have been replaced by William M. Daley and Jay Carney. There's a lot interesting in the article about the different type of management style the White House feels in currently required, but the following provides a reason for me to feel the national Democratic Party is unled.
Frustrated Democratic lawmakers and interest groups have been railing to White House aides that Mr. Obama is forfeiting opportunities to draw the public’s attention to what the Republicans’ cuts would mean for programs popular with most voters, including the coveted independents. The aides respond that the time will come for Mr. Obama to join the attack, should Republicans press their agenda and refuse to compromise.

“One of the lessons of the last two years is that if the president weighs in all the time, it’s less impactful,” said Dan Pfeiffer, who remains as the communications director. “But if he weighs in at a moment of his choosing when the public is paying attention, it will be more influential.”

Similarly, the White House mostly has sought to stay out of the fray in Madison, Wis., and other state capitals where Republican governors are battling public employee unions and Democratic lawmakers over collective bargaining rights. When West Wing officials discovered that the Democratic National Committee had mobilized Mr. Obama’s national network to support the protests, they angrily reined in the staff at the party headquarters.
It is clear that the Obama White House sees its job as reelecting Obama in 2012, not leading the national democratic party -- and definitely not leading a progressive counterrevolution against the massive Republican overreach that is currently going on. The may be right to believe that.

The problem is that the White House squashed efforts by the DNC to join the fray. The White House sees the DNC as an institution that belongs to them to be used for Obama's reelection. The problem is, this leaves the Democratic Party with NO institutions that have the job of coordinating the national party in the clearly needed national response to the present current attacks on America and its workers.

This is a big problem. The Republicans seem to have national party coordinating institutions, the Democrats do not. An organized and led organization will almost always defeat a larger but unled force. I see no immediate solution to it.

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