Attacking Paul Ryan is not enough — Democrats need a progressive Paul Ryan

I must respectfully disagree with much of what my liberal and conservative colleagues have written and said about the Ryan choice. My mailbox is deluged with email from every conceivable Democratic-friendly group, which seem to be the same email with different letterhead. Let me warn you all: It is not enough to run a deluge against Ryan, following a negative deluge against Romney. If the president and Democrats limit their campaign to "we detest Romney and Ryan because of the evil things they would do,” without any appealing affirmative statement of what we stand for, we are merely standing for the status quo. This is not good politics. This is not why many of us entered politics.

Democrats need a Paul Ryan, a conviction politician at the national level who offers a cogent analysis of what is wrong with our system, and concrete proposals to set things right.

For Democrats, there are two issues. First, the base of the right will be immensely energized by Ryan, but the base of the left will only be moderately energized against Ryan by comparison. The second issue is, do Democrats stand for anything more than what we are against? Or with Obama in office, are we merely the party of the status quo? This is not a wise place to be.

I would like to see President Obama and Democrats champion specific policies to create Made in America jobs, and specific policies to create more jobs by rebuilding our roads and ports and bridges.

I would like to see Democrats follow Al Gore's advice and champion protecting the earth from ravages that are more obvious every day.

I would like to see Democrats renew the push for the public option to improve healthcare even more, and expand Medicare, and lower drug prices by allowing import of high-quality Canadian drugs.

I would like to see Democrats run a national wave campaign against the evils of Citizens United and call for political and lobbying reforms that are supported by huge majorities of our people.

I would like to see Democrats run a national campaign with long debates on the floor of the Senate to mobilize the nation for women's pay equity.

Notice the Obama ad about women says that what Republicans will do TO women, without saying what Democrats would do FOR women.

I would like to see Democrats say that Jesus and all of the great religions of the world love the poor, and espouse the need to care for them; and would urge Democrats not to talk about politics as though it is only about the middle class, which it is, but it's also about the poor, who do not exist today in our oceans of spin.

I was one of the first columnists to write against Mitt Romney's secret tax returns, well before Obama picked up the issue, and I have been critical of Paul Ryan from long ago. But a campaign has to be about more than what we are against, and this campaign, so far, from the point of view of Democrats, is not.

What do we stand for, as Democrats?

What will we fight for?

Democrats have to be more than the party of negative campaigns. And right now, in the Obama reelection battle, we are not. This one Democrat will not lower my standards to a negative infinity of nothingness and make apologies for a nothing campaign.

Democrats should oppose Paul Ryan in the battle of ideas, but:

Democrats must find their own Paul Ryans, who stand for something and fight for something beyond the idiot talking points of an idiot politics, in which both parties insult voters who are tired of being treated like idiots.

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