We are not in a Depression-like crisis, perhaps; but thanks to the efforts of the Bush administration we are on the precipice of several crises, and it’s not just liberals who recognize this. Many of our fellow citizens, bitterly disappointed by a leadership in which they had placed an extraordinary amount of trust back in September 2001, recognize it, too.
The Democrats must grasp this, kick some old habits, and realize that we are on the verge of a turning point. The Democratic left wants it to be 1968 in perpetuity; the Democratic center wishes for 1992 to repeat itself over and over again. History, however, doesn’t oblige such wishes -- it rewards those who recognize new moments as they arise. It might just be that the Bush years, these years of civic destruction and counterfeit morality, have provided the Democrats the opening to argue on behalf of civic reconstruction and genuine public morality. If they do it the right way, they can build a politics that will do a lot more than squeak by in this fall’s (or any) elections based on the usual unsatisfying admixture of compromises. It can smash today’s paradigm to pieces. The country needs nothing less. The task before today’s Democratic Party isn’t just to eke out electoral victories; it’s to govern, and to change our course in profound ways.
Leadership of the Deocratic Party will no doubt have to be prodded along by the Progressive community. If they will not lead, however, we'll just make them get the hell out of the way. Peace ... or War!