We've been selling the collector's edition of the classic "Wizard of Oz" in the BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace and it made us think how much the Democrats in D.C. are like Bert Lahr's cowardly lion: They need a massive infusion of courage. In fact, as a BuzzFlash columnist pointed out the other day, "fierce" is not an adjective that you are likely to see in front of 99.5% of the Democrats on Capitol Hill or the leadership in the White House.
As BuzzFlash has noted over 10 years, form often supercedes content in American politics, and many Americans will respect courageous and bold political leadership, even if they are somewhat in disagreement about the politician's politics. Oddly enough, the fiercest Democrat near the top of power may by Rahm Emanuel, and he is a "made man" of the ruling elite and corporate governance crowd. In short, our one fierce Democrat at the highest levels is working for the status quo of Big Money government.
As for President Obama, much was made of how many small donors contributed to his campaign and that would allow him to "change" the environment in D.C., toss the lobbyists out, and rein in corporate governance. But the Obama campaign also got a whole lot of dollars from the standard Wall Street/Corporate donors. With Rahm Emanuel's urging, Obama chose to tilt deferentially toward the latter, rather than the former, thus basically abandoning Main Street. A government of "change" on behalf of the 99% percent of Americans who are not grossly wealthy was, for President Obama, the road not taken.
Much punditry is spent on whether or not America is "centrist" or even "center right," with the conventional wisdom of the corporate mainstream media -- and most of the Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the White House -- believing that the nation is "center right." This is hogwash. America is a nation of evolution, and it is leadership that moves it forward, instead of the current lack of leadership which is contributing to moving it backwards.
Leadership requires those adjectives that the Democrats in D.C. scurry away from: courage, boldness, conviction. It also requires a vision that can be easily communicated; it necessitates a transformative leader; it needs a message that gets Americans to see their interests in a new future-oriented and personal light; it needs to clarify and understand the emotional motivations of people. Little, if any of this, has been forthcoming from the White House, although it was evident in abundance during the campaign.
If anything shows how "conventional wisdom" can be transformed, it's the strategic, well-funded, PR job that the right wing has done on America over the past several decades. Change the thinking of the people and the politicians will follow.
But that takes courage, fierceness, and conviction. It takes the ability to believe that one can transform through leadership, not bow to the status quo of Big Money while giving little but barely heard lip service to reform.
Would that there were a Wizard of Oz who could bestow upon the Democrats what they need most to get America back on track, but that sort of fantasy courage only occurs on a Hollywood movie set.
But then again, it was all just Dorothy's tornado-induced dream, wasn't it?
There is no Wizard of Oz. If the Dems want to speak with conviction and fearlessness, they will have to summon the courage themselves -- and there's been little indication that they have the inherent capacity to do so.