The slow boring of hard boards

by Henry on November 3, 2004

Mark Schmitt suggests that there’s a ray of hope for the Democratic party.

But politically, it at least avoids a situation where Kerry would have borne the responsibility and blame for Iraq or for raising taxes. All accountability now rests with Bush and his party. Everything that’s been swept under the carpet until after the election will come creeping out. And the best use of all the resources of people, brains, money, and coordination that’s been built this year, in addition to developing a stronger base of ideas, is to find ways to hold Bush, DeLay et. al. absolutely accountable for their choices. I really believe that this will be like Nixon’s second term, and thus the seeds of a bigger long-term change than could have occurred just by Kerry winning the election.

I think he’s right – the emphasis over the next four years has to be on organizational groundwork, “the strong and slow boring of hard boards,” and holding the new administration responsible for its (likely) failings. As Schmitt says, the Democratic party has better organizational foundations, and less reliance on big donors than it has had in decades – if it can build on this, it has some prospects. However, I fear that a second Republican administration will do serious and perhaps fundamental damage to the fabric of the US political system. Both the aspirations of the current administration to an imperial presidency that is accountable to no-one, and the DeLay policy of systematically gerrymandering Congressional districts while denying the minority policy any voice in policymaking, mark serious setbacks to democracy, which are likely to be greatly reinforced over the next four years. It’s going to be very hard to roll this back.

{ 37 comments }

1

kevin donoghue 11.03.04 at 2:20 pm

Won’t gravity do most of the work? Americans may like an imperial presidency, but they won’t enjoy policing an empire. They may like tax cuts, but they won’t like cuts in services. Harsh reality hasn’t gone away, you know.

2

roger 11.03.04 at 2:25 pm

Pope’s description seems the aptest prediction of the second coming of Bush:

See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,

Mountains of Casuistry heap’d o’er her head!

Philosophy, that lean’d on Heav’n before,

Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.

Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,

And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense !

See Mystery to Mathematics fly!

In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.

Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,

And unawares Morality expires.

Nor public Flame, nor private , dares to shine;

Nor human Spark is left, nor Glimpse divine !

Lo! thy dread Empire, Chaos! is restor’d;

3

Ken Houghton 11.03.04 at 2:38 pm

The repeal of Article IV, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution is not encouraging.

But I think Angry Bear has it right: if those are the policies the voters want, let’s Give the People What They Want.

At least until Bush resigns and Cheney takes over in 2007.

4

Ken Houghton 11.03.04 at 2:39 pm

The repeal of Article IV, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution is not encouraging.

But I think Angry Bear has it right: if those are the policies the voters want, let’s Give the People What They Want.

At least until Bush resigns and Cheney takes over in 2007.

5

fyreflye 11.03.04 at 2:57 pm

The American people are easily frightened, easily fooled and easily bored. The first two characteristics won Bush re-election; the third will become dominant well before 2008.

6

Kenya 11.03.04 at 3:13 pm

Historically, most presidents and their parties have left second terms weakened. The biggest potential change Bush the Younger can make is to courts esp. the Supreme Court. I think we will have at least two vacancies and it is harder for the Democrats to hold those nominations up than those on the judiciary. As for gerrymandering, the Democrats have been complicit in packing Democratic voters in districts and diminishing their chances of being swing votes or moderating votes in competitive districts.

7

jet 11.03.04 at 3:22 pm

The repeal of Article IV, Section 1? I hadn’t realized the Supreme Court had already interpreted the state constitution changes in respect to gay marriage.

It’s been a long time since I studied Constitutional law, but I’m pretty sure there is a stack of case law that will decide this without the Supreme Court going so far as to rule Article 4 Section 1 logically null and void.

On the other hand, concerning gay marriage, what a frigg’n catastrophy. I blame the hotheads in Mass who overplayed their hands. 10 more years and gay people would have had equal rights. Now it will be 100 years :(

8

Scott Martens 11.03.04 at 3:25 pm

I’m not so optimistic about the prospect of the American electorate holding the Republicans responsible for its messes in 2008. Americans don’t see the things that happen overseas as very important. They either believe the US economy is going fine or they think someone else – globalisation, Osama bin Laden, Hollywood liberals, somebody – is the cause of their problems. If the US ends up withdrawing in disgrace in Iraq, you can be certain that a narrow majority of Americans will blame liberals for losing two wars. If public services are cut, I’d put money on most Americans supporting it as a necessary end to government involvement in the free market. If the economy tanks, I’ll bet someone will find it in them to blame gay marriage.

Americans have stopped voting with their brains, and no one knew that so many Americans had such small hearts. George W Bush really does represent the prized values of a great many Americans. To call him a failure would be to admit their own values were wrong. Short of an apocalypse, I don’t see anyone holding the Republicans to account for anything.

9

jet 11.03.04 at 3:26 pm

Maybe someone more adept with google could give a quick rundown of house inter-racial marriage was played out. Is there still hope that gay marriage could follow the same path?

10

PZ Myers 11.03.04 at 3:47 pm

“serious and perhaps fundamental damage to the fabric of the US political system”

And the social system, the judicial system, the educational system, the economic system, our system of international relations..

11

Jackmormon 11.03.04 at 3:54 pm

Americans have stopped voting with their brains, and no one knew that so many Americans had such small hearts.

Good line, Scott. And accurate, too.

Many voters in exit polls claimed that their number one reason for voting for Bush was “moral values.” Not the war, not Bush’s lies, not the economy.

I simply don’t know how to hope that these people will start listening to reason.

12

des von bladet 11.03.04 at 3:57 pm

I would remind everyone here, and elsewhere, that I have trademarked the phrase “once-great nation”.

Your cooperation is appreciated!

13

Kenya 11.03.04 at 3:57 pm

The Supreme Court ruled prohibitions on interracial marriage illegal. (I think in Loving v. Virginia. Those prohibitions remained on the books, but unenforceable, in many Southern states. I remember going to the polling place with my mom and seeing the amendment to remove it from the books in Mississippi.) I’m hard-pressed to think of ten states, in which gay marriage would win in a referendum today. So it was always unlikely that this route would legalize them. Gay marriage will be legalized because states consistently refuse to enforce existing law or because of judicial decisions. These referenda placed on the ballot to drive up turnout may present the opportunity for those legal challenges.

14

Kenya 11.03.04 at 3:59 pm

The Supreme Court ruled prohibitions on interracial marriage illegal. (I think in Loving v. Virginia. Those prohibitions remained on the books, but unenforceable, in many Southern states. I remember going to the polling place with my mom and seeing the amendment to remove it from the books in Mississippi.) I’m hard-pressed to think of ten states, in which gay marriage would win in a referendum today. So it was always unlikely that this route would legalize them. Gay marriage will be legalized because states consistently refuse to enforce existing law or because of judicial decisions. These referenda placed on the ballot to drive up turnout may present the opportunity for those legal challenges.

15

Coinneach 11.03.04 at 4:03 pm

Kristof’s NYT editorial today raises a good point. It is not sufficient for Democrats to pitch their platform by appealing to the voters’ economic self-interest, or the interests of national security. Either they are ignorant of those, or they are far more concerned with family values, religious issues, or other less mundane problems.

I wouldn’t suggest that we should ignore the failing economy, the botched war, and all of the deceptions — but perhaps there is a better way to frame the debate.

Perhaps the Dems could talk values but talk about the values of toleration, actual compassion as opposed to ‘compassionate conservatism,’ responsibility, and civil rights. They too could appropriate the language of Good and Evil and apply it to issues that would stir the voters consciences.

16

mona 11.03.04 at 4:11 pm

I caught a bit on Fox News where one Republican woman (I didn’t get the names, I only watched two minutes) was telling the Democrat woman “now the Democrats have to rethink themselves and go through huge changes to become more mainstream” and the Democrat replied “well if becoming more mainstream means we all have to become born-again Christians!” at which point Republican interrupts with complaint about insulting Americans, Democrat protests she means no such thing and she’s a Christian too and that Republicans knows exactly what she’s talking about and Republican interrupts again reiterating “more mainstream, and less *socialist*”… I love Fox News for this stuff. Can anyone point me to the “socialist” part in the Democrats please? they’re center-right by European standards, how much less socialist can you get without switching party entirely?

Sometimes it is better to lose. I only hope the opposition becomes more embattled as a result, rather than more “mainstream”. But somehow I fear that’s not exactly more likely to happen.

One thing that bothered me most is how everyone was talking of a country divided as if being divided is a bad thing. If only there was even more division, fiercer opposition, it’s only a good thing in any democracy.

17

robbo 11.03.04 at 4:19 pm

Great post, Scott, but it appears that Karl Rove knows with great precision the size of Americans’ hearts (and minds).

I’d been fairly confident that Rove would not be able to win running on a platform of “Hey, America, take a look at our agenda — if you give us a chance we can turn this country around” mixed with “Vote for us or die.” I had thought that an October Surprise would be mandatory for Bush to have a chance, and I was looking forward to Rove being taken down a notch.

But then I fully expected the country to turn left in 2002, and I was stunned when Republicans actually bolstered their Congressional standing. That election fundamentally altered my perception of red-state Americans, whose spiritual and political leaders are wacky Evangelicals. They celebrate their ignorance of worldly things and worship the military. I feel no spiritual or intellectual affinity with Evangelicals, but they’re now clearly America’s dominant political force.

Peter Jennings and some expert enthusiastically agreed last night that the country’s not as polarized as these elections keep making it look, but they didn’t say why they believe this. They suggested that only political junkies get worked up about this election stuff and that normal people feel about the same no matter who happens to win. Can this really be true?

18

who cares 11.03.04 at 4:45 pm

It is sad to see so much analysis and navel gazing. Why aren’t mainstream progressive gearing up for all out war on this (new) administration. I mean: smear tactics, lies, innuendo, and the fanning of the flames of hate. This is what politics is, and until Democrats and progressives learn to use these tools they will fail to unseat right wing zealots. They will fail until they end up in camps that are set up to detain them as traitors.
Get real

19

Gareth 11.03.04 at 4:55 pm

The Republicans (unusually, for American politics) are in a similar position to a party that wins under the Westminister system. In the UK or Canada, the “minority” has no influence on policy either: it just has a shot at taking down the government in a few years.

The key for the Democrats is to avoid going crazy. If they keep disciplined and united, this too will pass.

20

james 11.03.04 at 5:01 pm

Some of obvious misconceptions.

The vast majority of practicing Christians (72%+ of the country) do not view Evangelicals as wacky.
Neither party is seen as the party of tolerance.
Party economic positions no longer break down on income. If an individual works in a natural resource field (mining, logging, farming, oil) they are better off economically by voting republican.

Claims such as “Americans have stopped voting with their brains” or “Americans had such small hearts” is a good indication that your political view is much, much further left than the middle political view of the country.

21

james 11.03.04 at 5:04 pm

Some of obvious misconceptions.

The vast majority of practicing Christians (72%+ of the country) do not view Evangelicals as wacky.
Neither party is seen as the party of tolerance.
Party economic positions no longer break down on income. If an individual works in a natural resource field (mining, logging, farming, oil) they are better off economically by voting republican.

Claims such as “Americans have stopped voting with their brains” or “Americans had such small hearts” is a good indication that your political view is much, much further left than the middle political view of the country.

22

jif 11.03.04 at 5:08 pm

They suggested that only political junkies get worked up about this election stuff and that normal people feel about the same no matter who happens to win. Can this really be true?

It’s half true. More people got worked up this time than usual. But there are lots of uninformed folk who get their news from Fox et al. And others who are “resisting information” according to the recent PIPA report. And the media just kind of sucks. Which I think means there are many people who think they are paying attention to issues, but are actually only paying attention to the issues they perceive as (or are told are) important, and only when the coverage fits a pre-conceived notion. Gay marriage is a pretty good example. This is an issue that will not have an actual impact on most of the people in this country. But many are freaking out as if not banning gay marriage was the same as enforcing straight couples being forced to divorce and remarry someone of the same sex. Or a goat. Or something. But outside of an election year? Most people worry more about the overdue heating bill than whether or not two men can marry each other.

I’d like to think that this is because most people are not making the connection between the overdue heating bill and election issues. For example, litigation accounts for half of one percent of malpractice insurance rate hikes. But litigation was made an “issue” in the election (many conservatives I interact with couldn’t go five minutes without talking about how “bad” trial lawyers are). But the “issue” isn’t actually trial lawyers or tort reform- it’s health insurance companies raising rates arbitrarily, and the subsequent raise in costs and loss of doctors. People with their panties in a bunch about litigators are riled up all wrong. so I think people pay attention to the “issues”, but I think only policy wonks pay attention to the issues on a (reality-based) nut and bolt level.

23

Uncle Kvetch 11.03.04 at 7:00 pm

The American people are easily frightened, easily fooled and easily bored. The first two characteristics won Bush re-election; the third will become dominant well before 2008.

That’s the best (and most succinct) summing up of the current state of play I’ve seen so far.

As far as Mark Schmitt’s view–I’d like to agree. The thought that Bush will now have to clean up his own goddamn messes is one of the very few consolations I can cling to today. And with Republican control of the legislature, there’ll be nobody else to blame.

Except, of course, that that isn’t true. You’d never know from listening to Hannity or Limbaugh or the rest of the them that their side was in charge for the last 4 years, because scapegoating and persecution complexes are intrinsic to their modus operandi. It’s not inconceivable that Bush’s second term could be as catastrophic in terms of actual results as the first, and a good chunk of the American people will remain convinced that it’s all the fault of the liberal media, Hollywood, Hillary Clinton, trial lawyers, and queers.

What a country.

24

Henry 11.03.04 at 7:11 pm

“uncle kvetch” – I think Schmitt’s argument is that the only way that Bush _will_ be held accountable is if we organize to _make sure_ that he will be held accountable.

25

Uncle Kvetch 11.03.04 at 8:37 pm

Henry, I’m basically in agreement with you. The point I was making is simply that with the Right’s extraordinarily well organized and well funded media apparatus, it’s going to be an uphill battle to hold this administration accountable for any of its actions. We do need to organize, and above all, we need to follow the Right’s lead in “gaming the refs”–i.e., creating our own alternative to the Mighty Wurlitzer. It ain’t gonna be easy.

26

Scott Martens 11.03.04 at 8:51 pm

Claims such as “Americans have stopped voting with their brains” or “Americans had such small hearts” is a good indication that your political view is much, much further left than the middle political view of the country.

No fucking duh. At this point, Richard Nixon was much, much further to the left than the middle political view of the country. You don’t have to be some Marxist radical to think that half the American electorate is off their rockers. How do you think these results sound to anyone to the left of insane? Democratic moderates, for instance.

A president who has ended his term with less employment and lower stock market indices than he started with is lauded as good for the economy. A president who goes to war for no discernable national security reason and screws it up so badly that the liberated people are 80% against him – even the ones who support the occupation seem to be against him – gets rewarded with reelection and an increased majority in Congress.

That suggests that a lot of American voters have stopped using their brains.

A president who lies, who keeps the people’s business secret, who eschews open government, runs successfully as a moral leader? On his coattails, anti-homosexual laws get written into the books in almost a dozen states.

That suggests a lot of very small hearts.

James, there is a decent chance that I actually know more evangelicals than you do. My grandfather was a missionary who preached Jesus and chastity in Africa. My uncle is an evangelical pastor working a rural community. My mother was (and I think still is) an elder in an evangelical church. And we’re not talking some weird liberal church, we’re talking the hard core: Mennonites. Western Canada is full of them, and they still hate Bush. The real hard core – the traditionalists who think Christianity is a lifestyle best practiced through segregation – think Bush is a poseur because they think war and political office are inherently incompatible with Christianity. Even on gay marriage, Canadian evangelicals are split. A big chunk figure the state ought to just get out of the marrying business – just have civil unions – because the government shouldn’t be involved in sacred convenants before God.

This isn’t about whether or not evangelicals are the problem. This is about people voting stupid and voting mean. Voting stupid and mean because you think it’s your religion is no better, no worse and no different than voting it because some halfwit on FoxNews told you to or because you’re in the thrall of some free market messiah. Stupid in God’s name doesn’t get less stupid because it’s in God’s name.

Bush’s message of Christian redemption, of rising from being a drunk to being God’s instrument in the White House – a significant American population is responding to that. The values he represents – God the authoritarian and Bush as his chosen instrument – are real, and they are real to some sizeable number of voters. This alignment of their faith and his message is dangerous. The people who voted Bush for his values will forgive him anything he can’t shrug off, telling themselves either that it is as God wills, that it’s not really his fault, or that it simply didn’t happen. Rare is the televangelist called to account when he asks for forgiveness. Bush doesn’t have to do anything but admit to making mistakes and they are all his.

Christian forgiveness is a fine thing, but government without accountability is tyrrany. Evangelicals are quite capable of making that distinction. They get no special consideration from me for their faith if they don’t.

27

Scott Martens 11.03.04 at 8:54 pm

Claims such as “Americans have stopped voting with their brains” or “Americans had such small hearts” is a good indication that your political view is much, much further left than the middle political view of the country.

No fucking duh. At this point, Richard Nixon was much, much further to the left than the middle political view of the country. You don’t have to be some Marxist radical to think that half the American electorate is off their rockers. How do you think these results sound to anyone to the left of insane? Democratic moderates, for instance.

A president who has ended his term with less employment and lower stock market indices than he started with is lauded as good for the economy. A president who goes to war for no discernable national security reason and screws it up so badly that the liberated people are 80% against him – even the ones who support the occupation seem to be against him – gets rewarded with reelection and an increased majority in Congress.

That suggests that a lot of American voters have stopped using their brains.

A president who lies, who keeps the people’s business secret, who eschews open government, runs successfully as a moral leader? On his coattails, anti-homosexual laws get written into the books in almost a dozen states.

That suggests a lot of very small hearts.

James, there is a decent chance that I actually know more evangelicals than you do. My grandfather was a missionary who preached Jesus and chastity in Africa. My uncle is an evangelical pastor working a rural community. My mother was (and I think still is) an elder in an evangelical church. And we’re not talking some weird liberal church, we’re talking the hard core: Mennonites. Western Canada is full of them, and they still hate Bush. The real hard core – the traditionalists who think Christianity is a lifestyle best practiced through segregation – think Bush is a poseur because they think war and political office are inherently incompatible with Christianity. Even on gay marriage, Canadian evangelicals are split. A big chunk figure the state ought to just get out of the marrying business – just have civil unions – because the government shouldn’t be involved in sacred convenants before God.

This isn’t about whether or not evangelicals are the problem. This is about people voting stupid and voting mean. Voting stupid and mean because you think it’s your religion is no better, no worse and no different than voting it because some halfwit on FoxNews told you to or because you’re in the thrall of some free market messiah. Stupid in God’s name doesn’t get less stupid because it’s in God’s name.

Bush’s message of Christian redemption, of rising from being a drunk to being God’s instrument in the White House – a significant American population is responding to that. The values he represents – God the authoritarian and Bush as his chosen instrument – are real, and they are real to some sizeable number of voters. This alignment of their faith and his message is dangerous. The people who voted Bush for his values will forgive him anything he can’t shrug off, telling themselves either that it is as God wills, that it’s not really his fault, or that it simply didn’t happen. Rare is the televangelist called to account when he asks for forgiveness. Bush doesn’t have to do anything but admit to making mistakes and they are all his.

Christian forgiveness is a fine thing, but government without accountability is tyrrany. Evangelicals are quite capable of making that distinction. They get no special consideration from me for their faith if they don’t.

28

fyreflye 11.03.04 at 9:21 pm

The Ways of God, and those He appoints to carry out His mission on Earth, are mysterious to Man. So why should any good Evangelical Christian bother wondering about lost jobs, a deteriorating environment or the number of dead Iraqui civilians? He may not be able to justify it rationally; but, since it’s God’s Will, he doesn’t have to.

29

Brian 11.04.04 at 2:06 am

Bush has made mistakes, there is no denying it. But I have a suggestion, if I may be so bold. He’s been re-elected, like it or otherwise. Give the President a chance. Mr bush is not incompetent he knows he will take full responsibility for further failure in domestic policy and especially regarding the fiasco in Iraq.
A sensible man, will correct his failures. Lets give Bush a chance before we write off our President. Last I checked we were “one nation” under god….lets act like it, pull together and throw our support to the President until such time as he proves himself unworthy.

I voted for Bush because I know he has Americas Best intrests fundamentally at heart. I dont think he will dissapoint us again.

“no spin zone”

30

Brian 11.04.04 at 2:07 am

Bush has made mistakes, there is no denying it. But I have a suggestion, if I may be so bold. He’s been re-elected, like it or otherwise. Give the President a chance. Mr bush is not incompetent he knows he will take full responsibility for further failure in domestic policy and especially regarding the fiasco in Iraq.
A sensible man, will correct his failures. Lets give Bush a chance before we write off our President. Last I checked we were “one nation” under god….lets act like it, pull together and throw our support to the President until such time as he proves himself unworthy.

I voted for Bush because I know he has Americas Best intrests fundamentally at heart. I dont think he will dissapoint us again.

“no spin zone”

31

jet 11.04.04 at 3:02 am

This site continually reinforces the meme I learned as a kid. The right sees the left as misguided zealots who are ashamed of unshared wealth. The left views the right as either greedy gazillionaires manipulating the people, or a bunch of hoodwinked idiots baying at the moon.

No wonder the left keeps growing smaller. You can’t keep thinking you are the only holder of “the truth” and that everyone who disagrees is just a foolish toy of the devil. You’re just pissing in people’s cheerios instead of changing their minds.

32

cbl 11.04.04 at 4:01 am

A:
“The American people are easily frightened, easily fooled and easily bored.”

B:
“Americans have stopped voting with their brains, and no one knew that so many Americans had such small hearts.”

I believe ‘A’ is the underlying reality which explains why many people see ‘B’, and therein must lie the solution to the Demos problems. How often do fear and kindness go hand in hand? There is, however, hope. If folks are easily bored, they will become bored of being frightened. If they are easily fooled, their minds can be changed (apparently on the flimsiest of pretexts). The Demos need to find a clear and simple message that feels good to identify with, which can appeal to people of a religious and conservative bent without selling out Democrat-ic ideals.

Someone mentioned something like this earlier, but I feel this one has a better ring: Responsibility, Compassion, and Civil Rights

Its got a good rhythm to it. It can be repeated endlessly. If you get behind it, it means you’re good, you’re caring, and you’re free – that sure as hell beats being worried about terrorism when you can’t really do anything about it personally. I think the Demos could unpack these terms and build a platform that is consistent and coherent with across-the-divide appeal.

Success in politics means compromise. For example, ‘Civil Rights’ has to be as much about gun ownership and private property as gay civil unions (give it 10 or 20 years, people) and a repealed Patriot Act (ASAP!) – something many left-demos will find unpalatable. However, politics is not religion, and attachment to dogma leads to certain ineffectuality. This would be an even more bitter pill to swallow while watching certain factions of the Republican party try to make a Christian Rome out of the United States.

33

cbl 11.04.04 at 4:04 am

A:
“The American people are easily frightened, easily fooled and easily bored.”

B:
“Americans have stopped voting with their brains, and no one knew that so many Americans had such small hearts.”

I believe ‘A’ is the underlying reality which explains why many people see ‘B’, and therein must lie the solution to the Demos problems. How often do fear and kindness go hand in hand? There is, however, hope. If folks are easily bored, they will become bored of being frightened. If they are easily fooled, their minds can be changed (apparently on the flimsiest of pretexts). The Demos need to find a clear and simple message that feels good to identify with, which can appeal to people of a religious and conservative bent without selling out Democrat-ic ideals.

Someone mentioned something like this earlier, but I feel this one has a better ring: Responsibility, Compassion, and Civil Rights

Its got a good rhythm to it. It can be repeated endlessly. If you get behind it, it means you’re good, you’re caring, and you’re free – that sure as hell beats being worried about terrorism when you can’t really do anything about it personally. I think the Demos could unpack these terms and build a platform that is consistent and coherent with across-the-divide appeal.

Success in politics means compromise. For example, ‘Civil Rights’ has to be as much about gun ownership and private property as gay civil unions (give it 10 or 20 years, people) and a repealed Patriot Act (ASAP!) – something many left-demos will find unpalatable. However, politics is not religion, and attachment to dogma leads to certain ineffectuality. This would be an even more bitter pill to swallow while watching certain factions of the Republican party try to make a Christian Rome out of the United States.

34

cbl 11.04.04 at 4:05 am

A:
“The American people are easily frightened, easily fooled and easily bored.”

B:
“Americans have stopped voting with their brains, and no one knew that so many Americans had such small hearts.”

I believe ‘A’ is the underlying reality which explains why many people see ‘B’, and therein must lie the solution to the Demos problems. How often do fear and kindness go hand in hand? There is, however, hope. If folks are easily bored, they will become bored of being frightened. If they are easily fooled, their minds can be changed (apparently on the flimsiest of pretexts). The Demos need to find a clear and simple message that feels good to identify with, which can appeal to people of a religious and conservative bent without selling out Democrat-ic ideals.

Someone mentioned something like this earlier, but I feel this one has a better ring: Responsibility, Compassion, and Civil Rights

Its got a good rhythm to it. It can be repeated endlessly. If you get behind it, it means you’re good, you’re caring, and you’re free – that sure as hell beats being worried about terrorism when you can’t really do anything about it personally. I think the Demos could unpack these terms and build a platform that is consistent and coherent with across-the-divide appeal.

Success in politics means compromise. For example, ‘Civil Rights’ has to be as much about gun ownership and private property as gay civil unions (give it 10 or 20 years, people) and a repealed Patriot Act (ASAP!) – something many left-demos will find unpalatable. However, politics is not religion, and attachment to dogma leads to certain ineffectuality. This would be an even more bitter pill to swallow while watching certain factions of the Republican party try to make a Christian Rome out of the United States.

35

cmptrbil 11.04.04 at 6:23 pm

I think the truly frustrating thing for me is that so much of the “heartland” voted for Bush based on a sense of national security yet those of us in the truly at risk areas,( both coasts and Chicago) felt comfortable enough to vote for John Kerry. If a terrorist strike is going to a happen you can pretty much count on it happening in a major metropolitan area,( disclaimer: unless it is one of those wacky anti government militias). To me it’s hard to take someone serious when they are so worried about a terrorist strike in Peoria Illinois.

36

Charles 11.05.04 at 12:56 am

Church and State should be separate. We have a very serious problem that has developed in the United States. The perception of one man, the President, is influencing the destiny of this country based on his faith and his beliefs, while ignoring the faith and beliefs of all other americans and people around the world.

It is a dangerous course that this country is on now. We may be the world’s only remaining super power because of our military, but America should not try to impose it’s beliefs and ideas on the rest of the world.

Democracy is not working in this country. Just take a look at the Presidential election. Certain groups of people in this country are still marginalized and locked out from enjoying the riches of this nation.

This nation is now under the control of large corporations, who dictate policy and law to our so called government. The people of this country no longer control their goverment, or it’s elected officials. Government, for, of and by the people left this country a long time ago.

37

cell phone batteries 11.09.04 at 3:41 pm

where did you find this comment script?

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