Carol Platt Liebau: A House We Can't Stand

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A House We Can't Stand

Greetings from New York! With no commitments until later in the day, I had time this morning to go to Rockefeller Center to see James Taylor perform live on "The Today Show" (I've loved his music since I was a little girl, and his politics are at least slightly less noxious than many of his fellow performers'). You had to love the assembled crowd -- mostly tourists from the southern Red States. Up close (I was able to get behind the stage and then move forward), it's clear that James Taylor is a very shy person, although apparently very nice . . . and that Matt Lauer is going bald (not that there's anything wrong with that -- it just explains why he sports those less-than-flattering very short haircuts).

It was a great way to start the day -- as was reading this piece by Howard Fineman, entitled "A Democratic House Divided" (based on Abraham Lincoln's admonition that "a house divided against itself cannot stand"). It's about the divisions in the labor movement, and the fact that Andy Stern (president of the service employees' union) isn't willing to sign on for more of the same from the AFL-CIO's playbook of simply handing out money to Democratic politicians. That, of course, is good news for Republicans, because there's some indication that Stern might be open to working with the GOP on common causes.

In the end, changing with the times is the only way that the unions can hope to remain relevant. And there are interesting parallels between them and the Democrats -- although the Dems haven't yet faced their own need to change. Right now, they remain hunkered down, unwilling even to condemn Dick Durbin for the most egregious slander of the American military . . . hoping desperately for strength through unity.

Normal Americans don't appeciate Beltway bigmouths "disrespecting" their soldiers (or mealymouthed politicians who put "collegiality" ahead of the country's honor). Nor will they side with a party that would rather suck up to a corrupt United Nations than reform it -- a policy choice Dems seem to have made through their inexcusable decision to continue filibustering John Bolton (a decision facilitated by "Slow Joe" Biden's presidential ambitions, and enabled by the weak-mindedness of Senate crybaby George Voinvich -- the latter, a Republican, to our shame).

It's time for the Dems to take a good long look at themselves with the honesty demonstrated by at least some in the unions. It's not that I'm in any hurry for them to recover their electability nationwide -- it's that their repugnant partisanship is, at the moment, damaging American standing in the world in too many ways.


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