Now, consider the issue of abortion. Can anyone deny that most national Democrats favor abortion on demand? They believe in it so strongly that they're willing to assassinate the character of anyone, not to mention filibuster judicial nominees who might disagree that it's a constitutional right. They're even willing to facilitate the grisly practice of partial-birth abortion.
Yet despite the fervency of their commitment against the unborn, they go to great pains to euphemize their position, saying they're actually pro-choice, not pro-abortion, and while greasing the skids to maximize the number of abortions, they insist they want to make abortion rare. Do you think they would play such games of deceit if they were as sure as they pretend to be that the majority of the public aligns with them -- and their abject extremism -- on this issue?
Even on tax policy, they are less than candid about their underlying philosophy. They candy coat their position by patronizingly peddling taxes as "contributions" and government expenditures as "investments." They shroud their socialistic proclivities to redistribute wealth by portraying confiscatory tax hikes on major producers as a refund of money that properly belongs to government. Similarly, they shamelessly depict across-the-board tax-rate reductions as gifts to the rich.
One might conclude that I'm making Greenberg's point for him: that if Democrats truly had strong convictions, they wouldn't disguise them so readily to placate voters. Point taken, but I think it's more likely a result of their realization, despite their denials, that their views are in the minority, and, unlike Republicans, they don't have the luxury of fully exposing their hearts.
They have this nagging feeling -- mostly accurate, I might add -- that the majority of the electorate is not on their side, so they are usually reduced to opposing President Bush and Republicans instead of offering their own coherent policies, or, alternatively, running trial balloons to see what will fly with the public. After all, unless they get elected, they won't accomplish anything. So, they do have principles -- but they are unprincipled in their presentation of them. Or, if you prefer euphemism, call them "pragmatic."
Either way, Greenberg's advice that Democrats adopt a clearer message would likely be suicidal for them. So I hope they follow it.