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The Donkeys Rocket Tour: How I Know the Democrats Are Not Serious

Sadly, carts loaded with rockets and hand-made rocket launchers pulled by donkeys rolled up before a number of sites in Baghdad. My colleague in Baghdad contacted me to report this story for the evening news. Out loud and half jokingly he wondered if the donkey, looking rather dumfounded at all the commotion, would be called in for questioning as a possible terrorist cell. I explained to him that the donkey is the symbol of the political opposition party in the United States. Immediately, he understood the imagery and recognized the metaphor for the current political situation here in the United States.
To win elections Democrats must have more than
To win elections Democrats must have more than "Anyone But Bush" on the ballot
Published on Sunday, November 23, 2003 by CommonDreams.org

The Donkeys Rocket Tour:

How I Know the Democrats Are Not Serious

by Randi Zimmerman

November 23, 2003

Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Democratic Leader
U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi,

I received your letter requesting my donation to help the Democratic Party gain control of the House of Representatives in the 2004 elections. I would like to personally tell you why I will not do so.

Sadly, carts loaded with rockets and hand-made rocket launchers pulled by donkeys rolled up before a number of sites in Baghdad. When launched, these relatively low-tech weapons severely damaged the Iraqi Oil Ministry building and the Palestine Hotel. The hotel has been the well known home to many foreign journalists since the threat of an invasion of Iraq at the beginning of 2003. More donkey carts laden with rockets were found luckily before they could be launched at other sites including the Turkish and Italian embassies and a law school.

My colleague in Baghdad contacted me to report this story for the evening news. Out loud and half jokingly he wondered if the donkey, looking rather dumfounded at all the commotion, would be called in for questioning as a possible terrorist cell. I explained to him that the donkey is the symbol of the political opposition party in the United States. Immediately, he understood the imagery and recognized the metaphor for the current political situation here in the United States.

In your letter you say, "The only way to deal with problems is to first acknowledge them -- candidly and truthfully." A few Democrats, like you, may indeed be seeking to regain control of the House, the Senate, and possibly the White House. But on the whole the party is fragmented and hell bent on being unsuccessful.

For example, a campaign to energize young, college age voters about the party was labeled "Donkeys Rock!" and headlined, at least in Florida, by Hadassah Lieberman.

One big problem the Democrats had in the 2000 Presidential election was the voter eligibility list in the state of Florida. This list, known to be inaccurate at such a rate that a handful of the 67 Supervisors of Elections here in Florida refused to use it, was still being used during the 2002 governor's race. When specifically asked during a nationally televised interview what the party was doing about this situation, Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe said that he only focuses on winning the White House. Thousands of people, mostly poor, mostly people of color, mostly Democrats were unable to cast a ballot yet again.

During that 2002 governor's race, all polls showed that Jeb Bush was (and still is) one of the most popular governors in Florida's history - a state that had not re-elected a Republican governor since Reconstruction. An exceptionally competent state official, State Senator Daryl Jones ran for the Democratic nomination. Yet Democratic Party officials immediately shifted attention from the distinguished African-American leader with more than a decade of legislative experience and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno to encourage Bill McBride, a Tampa attorney with no political experience or state name recognition to run for governor. Democrats said McBride, a white man, was the Democrats only chance to beat Bush. Rather than face the truth that Jeb Bush was unbeatable in 2002, and admirably work toward advancing the name recognition of someone who could retake Tallahassee in 2006, the party again disenfranchised the base.

My own U.S. Representative, Jim Davis votes so often with President Bush, I'm not really sure why he considers himself a Democrat. He gave the President fast track authority after promising labor unions he would not. He voted, as did many Democrats, to relieve himself of his Constitutional obligation to determine when we as a nation go to war.

At the November 2002 election, I cast my ballot then changed party affiliation. Until that point, I was a Democrat for more than 20 years. But, Davis is not alone.

Tom Daschle, the Democratic "leader" in the Senate, supports the very energy bill you criticize in your letter. Isn't Senator Daschle aware of the truth that the majority of federal agriculture subsidies go to agribusinesses that have decimated the family farmer?

And, there are many, many more examples.

What good is having more Democrats in the House, if your colleagues will do what is necessary to refill re-election accounts but refuse to fight the hard and just battles around the nation and abroad? I suggest this lends more to the perception that Democrats are soft on defense.

To win elections the Democrats must have more than "Anyone But Bush" on the ballot.

In 2004, you will be at least one election late and one Democrat short.

Cordially,

Randi M. Zimmerman

~ ~ ~

Randi Zimmerman is a Headlines Editor for "Free Speech Radio News"  http://www.fsrn.org an Adjunct Professor at the University of Tampa, and a reporter/producer for community radio station WMNF, Tampa  http://www.wmnf.org

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