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Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Mildly Disappointing Weekend

Friday afternoon I received a call from a certain person in California who had been given my number by Steve Green. The call was to ask if I would cover the Democratic Leadership Council’s meeting this weekend here in Denver--a flattering request, considering the source. I said yes and was told that the media rep would contact me with details about my press pass.

Now, I realized that if this did pull together, I would owe my girlfriend some super-sized apologies. We had plans this week that I was ready to ditch in hopes that covering the DLC conference would rejuvenate my political blogging.

The response, unfortunately, was that the DLC couldn’t accommodate a request for a press pass. Damn the luck.

I didn’t want to go to the conference as an enemy infiltrator; I wanted to go as someone genuinely curious about the moderate portion of the Democratic Party. I wanted to get a better understanding of their vision for America’s future and our security--and to see if the left was ready to take a serious role in our national political conversation again. This isn’t a mix of Kos supporters and other “progressive” leftists looking to hijack the party; in theory, this is the part of the party that has the potential to appeal to a country that is less than enthralled with current leadership.

But, again, how serious are they about the important issues (national security and the economic and pragmatic mess of Social Security)? Much of the left’s message--even outside the realm of the hard left--could be boiled down to something into a less-than-cogent anti-Bush sentiment. The Democrats have a huge opportunity to take back political control of the United States over the next few years, but they won’t do it with people like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. Whether they understand it or not, on a national level, their hopes are more with Hillary Clinton and the struggling Lieberman--people that non-activist citizens can see as being reasonable on national security and offering a real option to the Republicans’ economic and social policies.

Some of the complaints about Republican leadership doesn’t seem reasonable to me, but that is neither relevant when it comes to public opinion nor is it to say that the GOP has provided the level of leadership that I had hoped for six years ago.

I’m terrifically disappointed that I wasn’t able to come up with a way to attend the conference, but I’ll be watching the proceedings from the sidelines over the next few days. These could well be the people who will be setting the tone for how our country deals with the war on Islamic terrorists, immigration, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, and all the other issues that drive my political interests.

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