Ode to Joy
Until today I had never heard of Stan Merriman, but after reading his article in the Outlook section of the Houston Chronicle, he is my hero. Not only did he sing a sweet ditty to his fellow Dems explaining why they needed to stop dissing Dean, he gave them an opera of why they should actively support the DNC chairman. And as an encore, he showed me there are other people like me in the state of Texas besides just Bubba.
Merriman is chair emeritus of the Progressive Populist Caucus of the Texas Democratic Party. He is an activist at the grass-roots level and is in no way trying to engage in a pissing match with Dean critics within the party. But listen to the overture - what he has to say about why the Dems lost in the 2004 election:
"We do agree on one thing. We Democrats failed to convey a belief system on key voter concerns such as security, an ill-conceived and unjustified war, an economic plan to fund basic citizen survival services and a clear differentiation from Republican social and economic policy. Last November, we were not an opposition party with a better idea for America...Kerry's campaign was timid, unfocused and devoid of a passionate commitment to a belief system."
You said it, Stan the Man. In this next movement, he tell us what is wrong (and right) with the Democratic Party:
"We tried the capitulation strategy favored by the Democratic Leadership Council-based party leadership these past 15 years. We progressives, at least many of us, endured and even supported their attempt out of misguided party loyalty.
It failed, quite miserably. So, now it is our turn. Progressive populists are the dominant force in the party and we want to speak truth to power."
Are you ready for his aria:
"We want Dean to say it like it really is: The Republican Party is 80% white and Christian; its agenda is dedicated to advancing the power of the wealthy and corporate America. In our view, Rep. Tom DeLay's conduct is criminal. Both are trying to lead us into a fundamentalist Christian theocratic state with a diminishment of our Bill of Rights. And Howard Dean is leading us in the grass-roots development of a populist party system with a progressive agenda of rights that some mistakenly consider entitlements. He is empowering us at the grass-roots of the party to craft a belief system around rights to which citizens who have built by the sweat of their brow are indeed entitled as members of the richest and most powerful society in world history:
The right to vote in fair elections.
The right to restrain our government from squandering our wealth, national reputation and young lives on an ill-conceived and immoral war.
The right to require corporations and the wealthy to once again pay their fair share of taxes to provide what some call entitlements - such as healthcare for all; excellent public school education through college or technical school; remedial services to help rebuild broken communities and lives in our inner cities; the right to fair wage and fair collective bargaining for working Americans."
Sorry I just pirated this, but my karaoke just wouldn't do it justice. The grand finale is coming up, listen as the music rises:
"Republicans have declared cultural and economic war on our people. They started this war to dismantle the social contract. Soft rhetoric is appeasement and capitulation to their agenda. Frankly, we in the progressive populist movement do not buy this concept of turning the other cheek. When we do, our opponents tear it off.
Howard Dean is leading a party of resistance and rebellion to restore the American Dream. In the Clinton years we tried the triangulation strategy and what did we get? His impeachment and a declaration of war against us and all we hold dear.
Even Republicans agree that when war is declared on you, the survival response is not to lay down your arms. Recalling the famous line from the movie network, we are madder than hell, and we aren't going to take it anymore."
Don't you just love this guy! Remember this sound every time you hear a Republican telling the Dems how bad Dean is for them. It is the should of them running scared. Sounds like Victory!