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Krugman to Dem. candidates: Don't fear your base, embrace it.

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Paul Krugman thinks that the Democratic politicians -- and their consultants -- should actually listen to their base because that's where the American people are on Iraq and other key issues. This cycle, catering to the base for the Democrats means catering to the opinions of most Americans. The pundit-types tend to dismiss us as the extreme, turns out we're the mainstream:

It took an angry base to push the Democrats into taking a tough line in the midterm election. And it took further prodding from that base — which was infuriated when Barack Obama seemed to say that he would support a funding bill without a timeline — to push them into confronting Mr. Bush over war funding. (Mr. Obama says that he didn’t mean to suggest that the president be given “carte blanche.”)

But the public hates this war, no longer has any trust in Mr. Bush’s leadership and doesn’t believe anything the administration says. Iraq was a big factor in the Democrats’ midterm victory. And far from being a risky political move, the confrontation over funding has overwhelming popular support: according to a new CBS News poll, only 29 percent of voters believe Congress should allow war funding without a time limit, while 67 percent either want to cut off funding or impose a time limit.
And, as Krugman explains, GOP candidates have a base that is out-of-touch on key issues. But that's not true for the Democrats, if they can ever grasp it:
Democrats don’t have the same problem. There’s no conflict between catering to the Democratic base and staking out positions that can win in the 2008 election, because the things the base wants — an end to the Iraq war, a guarantee of health insurance for all — are also things that the country as a whole supports. The only risk the party now faces is excessive caution on the part of its politicians. Or, to coin a phrase, the only thing Democrats have to fear is fear itself.
Excessive caution is the big risk. Americans have staked out their positions. We need a leader who can take us there.

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