EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 9, 2013

My turn to ask: What's the matter with Democrats today?


The White House and many Democrats were way too slow in realizing the deep concern of Americans that the Internal Revenue Service may have targeted political groups in trying to enforce the law that only social welfare groups get tax-exempt status. And Democrats have been far too slow in understanding that Americans’ loss of faith in institutions in general is highly damaging to democracy.

Democrats have few if any exciting new faces on the national horizon — and few statesmen. If the Republican Party seems moribund, the Democrats seem exhausted and whiny. The two leading presidential prospects for 2016 are Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. It’s even possible we could have another Clinton-Bush race.

While Obama came in as an inspirational figure who gave Americans a sense of hope and change, even he seems worn out. He seems unable to make peace or even schmooze with Republicans or get much done in his second term.

He’s been analyzed as too distant, too hands-off, too content with surrounding himself with loyalists, too cerebral and even too family oriented. And that’s by fellow Democrats. Congressman John Dingell, D-Mich., who has served longer in Congress than anyone else in U.S. history and worked with 11 presidents, told NBC’s Chuck Todd that Obama’s Rolodex is too small. (Dingell still concludes Obama is a good man and a good president.)

Part of the Democrats’ trouble stems from our national fatigue. We’re tired of the economic turmoil, the realization that millions who lost their jobs will never get good-paying jobs again, the endless series of natural disasters and the failure of Congress to do anything but quarrel.

And part of the Democrats’ pitiful plight is that Obama is a mere mortal. He’s the other half, present in our lives daily, of some of the most intense partisanship in our nation’s history. On one side are the Republicans (badly divided themselves) and on the other is Obama; their constant state of warfare has disgusted us.

Both parties need to rethink their beliefs, priorities, insecurities, strategies, hypocrisy and outreach. Otherwise, we’ll just stop paying attention.

Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. Email amcfeatters@nationalpress.com.)

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