Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Shaming the GOP

DEAN'S STATEMENT ON SEN. SANTORUM'S OFFENSIVE REMARKS In an interview published yesterday with the Associated Press, Rick Santorum, the third highest ranking Republican in the Senate, compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. I am outraged by Senator Santorum’s remarks. That a leader of the Republican Party would make such insensitive and divisive comments—comments that are derogatory and meant to harm an entire group of Americans, their friends and their families—is not only outrageous, but deeply offensive. The silence with which President Bush and the Republican Party leadership have greeted Sen. Santorum’s remarks is deafening. It is the same silence that greeted Senator Lott’s offensive remarks in December. It is a silence that implicitly condones a policy of domestic divisiveness, a policy that seeks to divide Americans again and again on the basis of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.
Thank you Dr. Dean! Dean, by this statement, is adopting an approach I wish more Democrats would take: trying to shame the Republican's into disassociating themselves from their fellow Republicans. Yes, I know that shaming a Republican these days is nearly an impossible proposition. But the first step towards doing so is to ask fellow Republicans to explain why they don't appear to have any problems with the negative comments of their fellow travelers. It's a process that may take years to bear fruit, but, as the Republicans have shown with the Democrats, it can work. I like the way this guy works. He continually tries to put the Republicans on the defensive. He repeatedly points out the radical nature of Republican policies (something which is helped out by the fact that it is true). He doesn't apologize when confronted on a difficult issue. He doesn't back down from a stand even when common wisdom says that it is politically dangerous. One lesson I think Dean has learned from Dubya is that you can't change hearts and minds if you appear to change your heart and mind at every sign of negative reaction. Bush sticks with a position, even if it is a stupid one, despite the opposition it may produce and, quite often, wins out significant concessions in the end. There is always room for compromise. But a real political player these days has to be willing to delay the inevitable compromise until the last possible moment. And then declare victory when agreement is finally reached.


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