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More Than One

by Sudhama Ranganathan Monday, Jan. 25, 2010 at 4:59 AM

The recent elections in Massachusetts deciding the Class 1 Senate seat earned by Republican Senator Elect Scott Brown displayed holes in the Democratic Party's current strategy for winning public support. Perhaps the biggest and most obvious hole was that there didn't seem to be much of a strategy at all. After seeing how the New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts elections were handled one had to wonder if they truly cared. It seemed the plan was one to two weeks before an election go in and "what the heck - we may even win."

More Than One...
many_voices.gif, image/gif, 264x264

It isn't clear if after winning the super majority they decided things were good to go, if due to the struggle over health care and everything else they became distracted or if they put too many chips on one personality. What is for sure is that ever since President Obama began running for top office his party focused it's attention more and more on him.

In the eyes of the public he could do no wrong and perhaps someone at some point decided the best thing they could do was to make him the main face of the party. This kept evolving until at some point he transcended being the face to being the legs holding them up. He became everything, and had so much momentum perhaps someone felt he could continue to carry the party image for a while.

But, the problem with one person becoming synonymous with a political party's image is when times are tough there will be one place people look to place blame. Inevitably that will fall on the one person that has come to personify what the party is at the time. With no alternative strong prominent faces people can focus on or the party can rely on to shore up the image everything will fall on the shoulders of that singular person.

When former president George W. Bush was in office there were always other prominent Republicans to whom the media could turn who the public instantly recognized as strong and familiar faces of the party. The main face was the president sure, but his vice president was well known and seen as strong, there was Tom DeLay and so many other familiar faces camera ready and with the experience to help deflect the heat.

After the crushing 2008 defeat of so many Republicans country wide there were plenty of old faces ready to discuss what was going on and keeping themselves visible. They toured the country and kept their refrain, albeit unpopular at the time, loud and prominent. They also had new faces and more than one.

For example, Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and Mitt Romney. They stayed prominent and vocal and almost always behind their party. Although there were differences publicly, leaked internal skirmishes and differences in terms of the political spectrum they moved as a team.

Democrats got into power and when their first big partisan test came into play, health care, they fractionalized. In the end they just didn't stick together. They hit an impasse and as a result lost or seriously damaged the current chances for passing it.

All the time there was a gap in variety regarding whose faces were visible and consistently standing behind their party although they disagreed there were none. There was Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and occasionally Chris Dodd. Outside of the occasional Joe Biden there was no real shot of vigor except from the president. As far as excitement only Nancy Pelosi really came in to fire up a crowd in an exceptional way. Others can, but did so to a much lesser extent or not at all.

Where were the people ready to help soften blows and lessen the heat when it all came down on the president? When health care went sour in August there were some voices of support, but also many open voices of condemnation. All partys, groups, etc. need dissent and alternative voices, but Democrats basically split and never regrouped. The strong voices from around the country to help bring them together were absent. There were no tours of the country no whipping up support.

Of course Republicans were everywhere. There wasn't just one or two voices, but many old and new. Once everything got pointed at the president there was no face who had earned a similar level of across the board prominence to step in and help steady things. Where were the up and comers of the party? Where were the old guard strong and true? It was as if the President was expected to do it all and if he couldn't people ran for the hills peeking out from behind trees waiting for the smoke to clear.

If they expect to help their image strong and prominent faces are needed. There should be those from the old guard, but new faces representing a new generation also. With the current climate they should be all over the country every weekend. Jim Webb, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Anthony Weiner and so many others have been absent from the national stage. Where are the up and comers we have yet to hear from? They need to be introduced and now if they expect to start spreading the word and building the trust.

Voters shouldn't feel like meddlers. A table meant to support as much as the Democrats currently require needs more than one leg. They need more voices from well known faces with wide appeal. Those faces need to be out all the time explaining, listening but most importantly building that crucial trust.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to

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