Thursday, July 28, 2005

“Democrats Search for a Winning Issue”

It was getting late—after nine o’clock—and everyone should have headed home for supper long ago, but a few staffers were still in the conference room, brainstorming, trying to find an issue that could revive the Democratic Party. They were all still reeling from losing yet again to George W. Bush and falling even farther from power in Congress.

“Come on, guys,” said Dave. “There’s gotta be an issue that really connects with ordinary people, that energizes them, that offers them a real choice and lets ‘em know the Democratic Party cares about them, listens to them, and is tuned in to their concerns.”

“Oh, you put it so well,” said Barb. “That is just so true.”

“National security has always been a Republican strong point,” Danny threw out, “but now that it’s been proven Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with September 11, the whole Bush administration has been discredited on that issue. I think there’s a real opportunity there for us.”

“Danny,” said Ted, a balding consultant to many a losing campaign, “you can’t win on national security in war time, even if the President started the war for some reason that nobody can explain and we’re getting our butts kicked by an army that doesn’t exist.”

“Oh, excuse me,” said the cleaning lady, “I didn’t know anybody was still in here.”

“That’s okay, Juanita, just go ahead and clean around us,” said Kevin. “It won’t bother us. Who’s that you’ve got there with you?”

“Oh, this’s my littlest one, Marcus. He got sick, and my sister’s car broke down so she couldn’t watch him, and I had to bring him along. But don’t worry none. He’ll just sit out front and color. He won’t bother nobody.”

“Shouldn’t he be home in bed if he’s sick?” asked Kevin.

“Ain’t nobody at home old enough to watch him,” said Juanita, “and if I stay home, I don’t get paid. If I don’t get paid, the rent don’t get paid, and we’re out on the street.”

“Oh yeah,” said Kevin. “Well, hey, there are some colored markers in my desk drawer if you want to use them.”

“He doesn’t look too lively,” observed Barb. “Maybe you should take him to the doctor.”

“Huh!” said Juanita. “Who can afford health insurance when they’re makin’ $5.15 an hour?”

Danny threw out another idea. “What about energy policy? Bush and Cheney let the energy companies write energy policy, and oil company profits have shot up like a gusher.”

“All I know,” muttered Juanita, “is when gas is $2.50 a gallon, and I make $5.15 an hour, I’m already out an hour’s pay every time I drive to work. Seems like gas prices go up every time you turn around, but minimum wage ain’t changed a penny in years.”

“You know what you ought to do?” said Barb. “You ought to buy one of those new hybrids. I get 53 miles to a gallon with mine.”

“I’m getting’ hungry,” moaned Kevin. “Why don’t we order some subs and drinks?”

“Sounds good,” said Dave. “You want us to order for you too, Juanita?”

“Nah, I packed up baloney sandwiches for me and Marcus. Subs and drinks would set me back two more hours’ pay at $5.15 an hour.”

“Oh, yeah,” said Kevin. “Hey, I’ll spring for subs for you and Marcus. My treat!”

“No thanks,” said Juanita. “We’ve already got our supper packed. No sense wastin’ it.”

“How about housing?” asked Danny, still digging. “Owning your own home is part of the American dream.”

“No good,” said Ted. “As low as mortgage rates have been, all kinds of people have jumped into the housing market.”

“How’s anybody makin’ $5.15 an hour gonna get money together for a down payment or get approved for a mortgage, when even some shabby houses be costin’ more than $200,000?” asked Juanita. “Housing prices doublin’ and triplin’ even, but minimum wage ain’t gone up in years.”

“I think you’re right, Ted,” said Barb. “My parents just bought a vacation home right on the beach in Oregon, had it for less than a month, and turned around and sold it for $100,000 more than they paid for it. Everybody’s getting rich in this market.”

“Folks,” said Dave, “why don’t we eat and call it a night. It doesn’t look as if we’re going to come up with anything this evening that would connect the Democratic Party with its roots. For some reason, the poor and the working class don’t even turn out to vote anymore. If we could just think of some issue they cared about….”

© Tony Russell, 2005


the_wanderer said...

you know i wandered in here from the hurherald, which despite my location i hardly ever actually read. After reading your most recent post, it triggered some memories of a discussion i heard about gas prices. I went to reply and i noticed that noone had yet, granted not many people are still awake(or in most likely instances of people other than myself already awake). So out of curiosity i looked further down and noticed that noone had made any comments to your postings. I thought how sad it is that so few people even care what's going on around them.

Anyway what i was going to say is that I heard a very believable rumor. The rumor was that gas prices were allowed to climb so high without too much government intervention, due to the fact that they hadn't raised much since the last time minimum wage had been raised. In other words, it was supposedly a "balancing act". Personally I ,being a bit of the paranoid type, simply believe that it has a lot to do with the president himself. The bushes money originally sprang from oil afterall and despite his most recent tax claims i have to believe that the increase in oil prices isn't hurting him at all. Now i know that other people have a say in the release of stored oil and such (which is seemingly a lot of what the gas prices are dependent on) but the president has in the past asserted that prices be reduced and they were to some degree. So i can't help but think (in that paranoid corner of my mind and by that i mean well...most of it) that as a man who's family finances came from oil, he is probably profiting from the high prices of sed oil.

anyway just two theories on gas prices. I know that wasn't really the point you were trying to get across, but hey i'll save my thoughts on the complete lack of power the democratic party has since the fillibuster was limited, for another time.

Tony Russell said...

I remember reading before the 2004 election that gas prices were going to be kept down until after the election, at which point they would be allowed to rise as high as $3 a gallon. But who would believe a paranoid report like that?