Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Carville and Begala

I recently completed the new book by James Carville and Paul Begala, Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future. I would like to highly recommend you read it early this election year. I, also, want to share a few of my thoughts on its contents.

Take It Back provides a pretty comprehensive outline of the current political landscape. Begala and Carville headline most of the principle Democratic causes and where we fail in making them winning political causes.

The book also includes a couple of extended sermons (those on the right would probably say rants) on critical points that diverge from the overall systematic coverage of issues. The invasion of Iraq and the administration response to hurricane Katrina get this ‘special’ treatment, and I say deservedly so.

I found myself, not surprisingly, nodding in the affirmative and murmuring, “Exactly!”, “Yes!” , and “I’ve been saying that, too!” frequently as these practical professionals tie their dearly held values to the actions necessary to see them validated in today’s political environment.

Topics covered include, but are not limited to: faith, the environment, healthcare, patriotism, energy policy, patriotism, and corruption in Washington. These masters of progressive political strategy offer both wit and wisdom on each subject.

The simplest stated advice, and something I would love all of us to follow, is to stand firm and proud in what we believe. No matter how we may differ in opinion from the current powers-that-be, we are not wrong. We should say what we mean and mean what we say without apology. They quote Bill Clinton’s assertion that the public would rather their leaders be “strong and wrong than weak and right”. Carville and Begala insist we can be both strong and right and call on us to be the party of “family, faith, and flag”.

This leads directly to what is potentially the authors' most powerful conclusion.
We have to have a message the public can digest and point to as what we represent. We have been too subtle and complex in defining ourselves and our values. We must identify, rally around, and drive home a clear and unified Democratic message.

These guys are proven winners and we would be wrong not to a least hear what they have to say as we fight to do just what they suggest: take it back.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Fear of Freedom

Bob Young at Centerfield recounts some history of America's reaction in times of crisis, and reminds us that
Courage doesn't have to mean joining the military. Sometimes it just means refusing to live in fear of 19 men in stolen commercial airliners. It means not subverting hard won liberty to protect ourselves from a couple of dozen men.
I say again, the extent to which we change our lives and laws in reaction to 9/11 is the extent to which we hand victory to Bin Laden and his gang. Everytime the president direly recounts "September 11th" in support of his latest grab for power I see a man proclaiming the fear of living free.

Risk is a cost of freedom. If we want to live in a society without risk, we need to quit pretending we want to be free.