What's wrong with the Democrats these days? How much time do you have? But outgoing (not by choice) Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland pretty much hit the nail on the head here; he didn't name names, but you could clearly list Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck as people who know how to connect emotionally with broad swaths of the working class, and Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and so many other leading Democrats as people who clearly do not. (And note: I personally am not a newcomer to this idea: Much of the last chapter of my book "The Backlash" is built around a discussion of liberals leaving the battleground of emotion.)
Democrats suffer from an "intellectual elitism" that prevents them from adopting the type of populist tone to relate to voters, he said. And while President Obama had made a series of monumental legislative advancements -- any one of which would have been "historic" in its own right -- he fails to recognize that he is being "slapped in the face" by his Republican critics.
"I think there is a hesitancy to talk using populist language," the Ohio Democrat said in a sit-down interview with The Huffington Post. "I think it has to do with a sort of intellectual elitism that considers that kind of talk is somehow lacking in sophistication. I'm not sure where it comes from. But I think it's there. There's an unwillingness to draw a line in the sand."
Like many others, Strickland seems dumbfounded by the spectacle we witness this week in Washington regarding the liklihood of extending tax cuts for the very rich while cutting off the unemployed at the kneecaps:
"I mean, if we can't win that argument we might as well just fold up," he said. "These people are saying we are going to insist on tax cuts for the richest people in the country and we don't care if they are paid for, and we don't think it is a problem if it contributes to the deficit, but we are not going to vote to extend unemployment benefits to working people if they aren't paid for because they contribute to the deficit. I mean, what is wrong with that? How can it be more clear?"
I don't know. It boggles the mind, what we've become. It does make us exceptional, in a way.
Maybe the Democrats should watch this video from a new group I've suddenly been hearing about the last couple of weeks, the Rolling Stones: