The scare quotes are probably overkill, but as loyal as I am to it, the rub about the Democratic Party not being an organized political party still carries a seed of truth. They certainly haven't made inroads into the meme circulation game when a Denver Post story about their meeting starts with this quote from a Montrose Democrat: "Being a Democrat doesn't mean you're anti-Christ[.]"
Montrose, where voters favor Republicans over Democrats by more than 2-1 in top of the ticket races, is not the future of the Democratic party.
Their mysterious quandry over whether the Democratic party is a pro-choice party, and the false hoopla over having closed strategy meetings don't help either. "[M]ultistate drug-purchasing pools, allowing students to graduate in five years with high school and associate degrees, and licensing mortgage brokers," are all fine policies, but they are hardly the stuff that stirs party loyalists to action. And, if the most important thing that a Democratic strategy meeting has to tell the campaigns for referrendums C and D is that:" A few Democrats complained that the Vote Yes campaign had been unresponsive and 'arrogant.' Gordon said he would let the campaign know.", I can just imagine future strategy debates.
Do campaign bumper stickers clutter the visual landscape? Are we being too presumptious when we introduce our Gubinatorial nominee as "the next Governor of the State of Colorado?" Should the Democratic party risk injecting partisanship into the debate over this "bipartisan" measure that almost no prominent Republicans other than Governor Bill Owens seem willing to stand behind (even though they repeatedly voted for even more fiscally loose proposals themselves)? Shouldn't we focus more on the urgent issue of being the first state to have its own state virus? Maybe the whole smoke filled room thing has something to be said for it.
Seriously though, as much as the party process likes to imagine that policy is best made from the grassroots up through the caucus process with wide participation, that isn't how good ideas work. Good ideas do not come from the Democratic Party Central Committee. Extraordinary individuals come up with stirring visions and push them through an initially small group of well placed and powerful individuals that grows as people come to share the vision. The vision doesn't try to be all things to all people. It dares to think big. It keeps its eye on the prize and relegates less flashy ideas to rank and file state legislators who may pursue them so long as they don't derail the big ideas of the season. This group keeps its message disciplined so that it doesn't make unnecessary enemies or squander public focus on their agenda. And, this group knows how to keep its secret meetings secret. We're learning. Maybe someday we'll get there.
In the meantime, I'll spend a few moments in damage control.
* The Democratic party endorses the compassionate, tolerant and anti-materialistic message of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Bible, and also by other wise non-Christian people throughout history. The religious right in this country has perverted that message. Men like Pat "Take Him Out" Robertson, and James "Spongedob" Dobson are personal embodiments of a movment that wants to call itself Christian while opposing everything that Christ stood for in the Gospels. If Pat Robertson or James Dobson epitomize your religious views, you don't belong in the Democratic party. We don't need or want the Focus on the Family or 700 Club vote.
* The Democratic party stands for the principle that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. This stance has done more to reduce abortion rates in this country than the Republican vision based on ignorance, misinformation, and crude efforts to intimidate doctors and impose crude legal prohibitions targeted at people like rape victims that will only lead to back alley abortions. Abortion rates are highest in red states, not blue ones.
* There is nothing rude or arrogant about observing that if Referrendums C and D are not passed in November that higher education in this state will be decimated, that all frills in K-12 education will disappear,and that basic government functions like running the judiciary and fixing potholes will be severely degraded, all in the name of petty refunds on taxes that are already in place -- refunds that won't be big enough in most cases to buy you a new iPod or refrigerator.
* In Colorado, the Democrats are the party of sensible, responsible government, while the Republicans are the party of hate and shabby government services. There is no question that the Democratic Party is the only viable party that puts the interests of average Coloradans above monied interests and people who try to pervert the Christian message for their own enrichment.