Wednesday, November 10, 2004

That fighting spirit

Now this is the kind of spirit I like to see:

(CBS/AP) Congressional Democrats have returned to Washington vowing to battle President Bush on Iraq, Social Security, the federal budget deficit and other important issues.

The Republican election sweep again gave them the White House and strengthened the GOP hold on Congress, but members of the minority party do not appear to have lost their taste for combat with the GOP.

The party's defeated presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry, appeared to be saying that the glass was just a little less than half full.

"Fifty-four-plus-million Americans voted for health care, they voted for energy independence, they voted for unity in America, they voted for stem cell research, they voted for protecting Social Security," Kerry said.

Gore made several mistakes in 2000. But I think one of his biggest mistakes was in deciding to fade into the woodwork after the election out of a misguided notion that the country needed to unite after the divisive recount battle. It was a betrayal of the majority of the voters who through their support behind him. He could have adopted the role of leader of the opposition, but chose instead to go on vacation.

Kerry has at least one advantage over Gore: an actual public position (his Senate seat) to use as a bully pulpit. It looks, at least from his initial comments, as if he is going to use it.

But Democrats need to be realistic. We are going to lost a lot of battles in the coming months and years. But I think the Democratic leadership is finally waking up to the notion that losing individual battles is not necessarily a bad thing. Those battles can lay the groundwork for eventual victory because it is in those battles that Democrats will define for the public just who they actually are.

The Donkey ain't dead yet.

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