United we fall

Just last Friday, presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, who is one of eight Democrats fighting over the party’s nomination, claimed that front-runner Howard Dean was “divisive.” So, instead of offering up something constructive in the form of a real agenda to take back the presidency from George W. Bush, Lieberman created more divisiveness in his party by calling Dean divisive. When asked why he made that comment, he said of his own party, “We’re too divided.”

He’s right, of course. Recent polling shows that party members are split on all sorts of issues: anti-terrorism, prescription-drug benefits, gun control and prayer in schools.

Leading up to an election year, Tom Daschle in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House have struggled to come up with a common leadership agenda and message to use against Bush. Party leaders are split on whether to criticize Bush strongly on Iraq while a so-called war is being fought.

There is also a struggle between traditional liberals, who favor increased government spending for social programs, and so-called New Democrats, who want to follow Clinton’s message of pursuing a balanced budget. This struggle between moderates and liberals is also playing out in Sacramento, and there are other divisive things going on in the halls of the Capitol that you should know about (see “Dems divided”).

I’ve always wanted to use this as a headline: “Democrats divided over how to sink party.”

Yet, there may be a unifying tool out there that is being overlooked to a degree, and that is a fear and loathing of Bush and of what he might do to the security of the world if we re-elect him. There is a shadow across the land, and Democrats need to tap into that specter of a never-ending war and quit mincing around. Partisan bickering needs to be put aside for the safety of us all. After all, Bush has shown in Afghanistan and Iraq that he is a weapon of mass destruction.

But, as usual, the arguing will continue until the Democratic opponents are bloodied and, more importantly, out of money. Then comes Ralph Nader.