The more I think about this, the more it bugs me. Wertheim is doing a good job of getting out in the national media spotlight, which is wonderful news: any New Mexico coverage outside the state is going to be welcome.
But his comments to state Democrats lately leave much to be desired. One in particular stood out:
According to De Bruin, Wertheim told Fetig “that the Democrats’ platform would give Republicans fodder to use in criticizing the opposition party, suggesting that a party platform not be used for that reason.”
This is the problem that many in the netroots are seeing with the Democratic party: no engagement with Replublicans because of concerns about image.
Leaving aside the problems in developing an overall, coherent Democratic message, if Democrats don’t have the stomach to stand behind that message anyway, what are they doing? Developing a party platform has to be the first step in winning voters to your cause. If you can’t tell them what you’re about, and why they should vote for you, why do you expect them to do so come election day?
Additionally, Democrats should not be on the defensive this year, especially with Republicans in Congress reeling from Bush’s continued slide:
Perhaps most importantly, when asked whether they prefer Democratic or Republican congressional candidates, poll respondents gave Dems a stunning 16-point lead, 55% to 39%. It’s the biggest advantage for the party in a Gallup poll since 1992, which, not incidentally, is the last cycle Dems won majorities in both chambers.
This is a time to be on the offensive. Developing a party platform that shows why Democrats are better at foreign policy, better at health care, and better at education is the first step. After that, you show voters why the Replublicans are worse at those things. Democrats have to stop showing fear, and start showing leadership.
See also: Pam’s thoughts on why Democrats are unwilling to embrace bloggers.