It's been a tough few months . . . well, years . . . well, make that decade for the Democrat Party. My youngest daughter turns 12 next month, and when she entered the world Democrats controlled the White House, both Houses of Congress, a majority of Governorships and a majority of Houses in the State Legislatures. The Party of FDR, JFK, LBJ and WJC also enjoyed the distinction of being the Party that more Americans identified with than any other.
In just over a decade every one of those advantages has been reversed, and about all the Democrats have to show for it is that Bill and Hillary Clinton have escaped from Public Housing to join the swollen ranks of first-time homeowners. The Bush tax cuts have the U.S. Economy humming, and to add insult to injury, very few observers accept the notion that the rising tide of freedom and democracy in the Middle East is a result of chance or inevitability, so that even sophisticated European Newspapers are mulling the once-unthinkable possibility that perhaps "Bush was right."
Well, these are the times that try men's souls, and insofar as the abiding arrogance of Liberal elitism permits, Democrats have been searching their souls (or at least their Marketing Consultants' souls) to discover how they can better present their Party to appeal to a body politic in which Democrat marketshare has been steadily declining.
One possible approach is Re-Branding. Presumably, the traditional Donkey mascot once projected the desired image for the Democrat Party, but times have changed, and branding must change with the times -- although some might count it ironic that the change the Democrat Party has made is from the Party that changes with the times to the Party that refuses to change with the times, or even to acknowledge that the times are changing at all.
For example, the Democrats have now staked their Party Identity on the twin premises that all is well with Social Security, and that U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East is a catastrophe. To call this viewpoint mistaken would be generous to the point of dishonesty, because what the Democrats are really engaged in is self-deception; and whatever the pecadillos of Donkeys are, self-deception is not commonly acknowledged to be among them. Since I'm not aware of any animal that would (or even could) stick its head where the Democrats have chosen to stick theirs, the best mascot I can propose for the Party's re-branding is the Ostrich: a noble beast perhaps, but also one that, shall we say, lacks vision, and is peculiarly vulnerable to swift kicks from behind. Quite a good fit, in fact.