From Katrina, to Iraq, to Jack Abrahamof, we have seen the failure of conservative government. The Bush administration has exposed the governing philosophy of conservatism for the sham it always was. Conservatives don't believe government can or even should work. They say this quite openly.
Therefore, they have a vested interest in government not working. If government did work, it would undermine everything they say they believe in. When government is in the hands of people who don't want government to work, you can expect that government to be riddled with scandal and incompetence, considered suitable only for distributing government contracts--taxpayers' money--to its own financial backers.
The American people have caught on, and the tide is turning. Conservatism is in retreat and the country is beginning--but only beginning--to tilt in a progressive direction. Conservatives remain powerful, and have shown no inclination, in spite of their loss in the 2006 election, to change their philosophy or their tactics.
Southern Republicans, the dominant force in the GOP, have never known political defeat. They came of age in the 1970's and 1980's, just as their region of the country was moving from complete Democratic control to complete Republican control. They have never had to compromise. They have never had to "reach across the aisle." Victory came easily and on their terms.
This produces a certain arrogance--even worse, cluelessness. They've never had to bother with the arguments of the other side. These could always be brushed aside with a few canned slogans. As the conservative movement moved from maturity to dotage, ever more radical expressions of fealty to that movement were demanded and expected to the point that, today, the GOP presidential candidates regularly try to one-up each other to see just how conservative they can possibly be. "I'll double Gitmo," says Mitt Romney, and each one pledges to out-torture the other. Ronald Reagan himself would not be a credible GOP candidate today. He'd be too liberal. The GOP has isolated itself in a conservative enclave, and lost what little touch they had with the broad spectrum of the United States of America.
They don't know this yet. Raised in ideological purity, and regularly rewarded for it at the ballot box, they have shown no capacity to change, to compromise, to re-adjust. They will have to learn the hard way, through repeated defeat. Defeat is chastening. Once you've tasted your own ashes a few times, you eventually learn that the way to profit and prosperity is through "working and playing well with others."
Defeat is often a painful experience, as we Democrats know so well. As Christian theology tells us, however, defeat can also liberate and be a catalyst for renewal. For their own good, out of Christian love for our conservative brothers and sisters, we need to defeat them politically in the hope that, eventually, we may be able to work productively with them in the future.
It is not yet the time to "transcend" partisanship. For one thing, it takes two to tango, and the other side has shown no "transcendent" inclinations. For another thing, we're on the verge of winning a progressive mandate, and there's no point in giving away the game before we've even played our cards.
This is why Hillary Clinton is ideally suited to be the Democratic Party candidate for President. She identifies herself as a "modern progressive" and as a Democrat, and has demonstrated a life-long commitment to the values we share as a party. There is a reason that traditional Democratic constituencies support her. She's been there for them, by their side, working on their behalf.
Precisely because of her personal force, and success, she has been the victim of one of the most vicious and long-term propaganda campaigns in American history, one that, unfortunately, has been quite effective. Many Democrats today unwittingly buy into it. She is "divisive," some say. She "unites Republicans," some say. Yes, fiften years of unremitting negative attacks from--yes--the "vast right-wing conspiracy" have taken their toll. Yet, she's still standing, and still fighting, and, contrary to right wing myth, is one of the most popular politicians in America, and one of the most admired.
Most of us long for the day when we might have a modern-day Era of Good Feelings. That day is not here yet. There is business to be done first--the business of making the progressive case and fighting for it. Hillary Clinton can be trusted to make that case and fight for that cause. She has done it for 35 years, and done it with intelligence, grit, perseverence, and savvy. The progressive agenda of the Democratic Party will be in good hands with Hillary Clinton as our nominee.