Dear Mr. President,
The midterm election strategy for Democrats, to own the mantle of practical action and to highlight how this contrasts with the GOP's party of no, may have helped nudge Senate Republicans toward allowing debate on financial reform today. Even if we lose a significant number of our 2010 races, I hope that this strategy encourages voters to put pressure on Republicans to take a more active role in participating, rather than just rejecting, attempts to govern.
That being said, Democrats need to work hard to show that we will try to do difficult things, even if we fail. Tough, fair, immigration reform; clean energy and environmental protection, honest progress toward equality for gay and lesbian soldiers and couples, all of these issues have Democrats on the same side as the majority of the American people. We may jeopardize vulnerable seats, but we ought to push hard for all of these reforms, even if they die in the Senate. Demonstrating our commitment to act and not to be content with the tired game of cautious defense that helps only to preserve the status quo is important if many Democrats are going to live up to the ambitious campaign strategy. We need courageous leaders, leaders who aren't afraid to take positions that are locally unpopular, when its the right thing to do. Voters will always respect gutsy, ambitious policy more than pandering that accomplishes nothing.
The summer should be spent governing, not campaigning. Democrats must prove that the party still has values it is willing to stand and fight for, other than the defense of our tenuous majority. A record of accomplishments, no matter how controversial, is better to defend than a list of excuses for doing nothing.