Nationwide, most Democrats are bemoaning the large loss of House seats last Tuesday. However, it was many of the "Blue Dog" democrats who were defeated in the general election. The Huffington Post reports: "the conservative Blue Dogs lost half their members, while the Progressive Caucus remains near eighty."
What does this mean? Our nation's Independent voters were looking for strong leadership during the last two years. They did not get it. Instead they were given a weakened message while the GOP stood rank and file on almost every major issue including rejecting those they had previously supported.
The GOP relentlessly publicly repeated the same sound bites while the "Blue Dogs" hurt the appearance of Democratic leadership because they stymied health care and helped water down other legislation and bills.
We need to learn from the loss of the "Blue Dogs." The "Blue Dogs" talk about being "fiscally conservative" but that didn't stop voters from firing them. You see, when it comes to conservative voters, a "Blue Dog" democrat will never be "conservative" enough. Indeed, former President Harry Truman once said:
"Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time."
The lesson from Tuesday is simple. Democrats must be unified and elect real progressive democratic leaders that stand up for the people on the nation's issues.
The nation is hungry for jobs. Jobs not unemployment, creates dignity. Being a Progressive should mean standing up for policies that help create jobs in America.
Being a Progressive means to promote policies which will help empower people and build strong and safe communities - not tear them down. Progressives understand when we lift people out of poverty we create a stronger more vibrant society.
Being a Progressive means standing up for public education and educating our people to the fullest extent.
Thomas Jefferson understood the benefit of educating the public and equal opportunity for all Americans because he proposed a bill to educate the masses. He believed that a public education system "would enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom."
Thomas Jefferson would have stood proud as a "Progressive" because progressive democratic principles actually promote individual choices, rights and freedom.
Being a Progressive Democrat means we understand that 30-second sound bites do not solve our state and nation's problems.
When we have a natural disaster, many people come together to help solve the problem. We can no longer tolerate sound bites and divisiveness and must expose the efforts to divide us at every opportunity.
We can build a strong 2012 Progressive movement starting now out of Tuesday's democratic losses. But to do so, Independent voters will need to see strong leadership. To win the public's hearts and minds, Progressive Democrats must have a strong unified message about why we want what's best for America and ordinary everyday people.