A week later
I don't know what's more infuriating: the fact that we lost, or the ease with which the Left slipped -- once again -- into circular firing squad mode. I can't stand it. When Republicans lose, they don't spend months wringing their hands, rending their shirts, and searching their souls. They get mad and then, more often then not, they get even.
We lost. Either because the right screwed around with voting equipment (my jury is still out on that one) or because we failed to connect with 51% of Americans. But we lost. It's done.
I'm not going to do any Monday morning quarterbacking regarding the Kerry-Edwards campaign. The fact that they got (at least...) 48% of the vote against an incumbent who was pulling 90% approval ratings last year is no small thing. This was no landslide for Bush, and it certainly wasn't a mandate. We came close, just not close enough.
But I am going to say a little about the Left's pathetic performance from Wednesday, November 3rd onward.
We lose elections because we have become primarily a reactionary party. We are all too willing to let the right define us, and we then waste all of our breath either trying to justify our postions, or run away from them.
Why on earth are we letting the Republicans and their whores in the press rewrite the narrative of this election, spinning it into some sort of referendum on "values"?
Values?!! Anti-gay prejudice is VALUES?!!
On Day One after the election, when the Republican noise machine started pushing this crap into the zeitgeist, Democrats should have all been saying the same thing: "The Republicans are lecturing US about morals?!?!" Dick Cheney hands out no-bid contracts to Halliburton like Halloween candy. That's immoral. More than 1,100 U.S. soldiers and ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND Iraqi civlians have died in a pointless war. That's real immorality. That's evil. But fine, you want to talk about marriage? How about the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh; they're free to marry and divorce as many times as they want, but gay people in love can't get married even once?!! And don't even get me started on Bill Bennett and his "morals."
I can sum up the Democratic post-election talking points in a single word:
The Republicans are hypocrites, and most of them wouldn't know morality if it bit them in the ass; hell, they'd probably just mistake it for their well-paid dominatrix.
So why aren't Democrats pushing this point? Why are so many on our side fretting over us losing the "Heartland"? Why are we beating ourselves up and letting Republicans control the narrative?
If this election was really decided by voters coming out to vote against gay marriage, then it was NOT decided on "values." Period. It was decided on prejudice, fear, and misunderstanding.
HYPOCRITES. That should have been on every Democratic talking head's lips the day after the election. Values, my ass.
Christ, we really need our own Grover Norquist: someone who can sum up the most important message of the day, disseminate it, and ensure that the party is speaking with one voice.
Stop talking about winning over evangelists and born-agains and religious voters. You are enabling them, building up their power base. Look at it this way: no one group won this election for Bush, just as no one group lost the election for Kerry. The "born againers" were one voting bloc -- and it should have been obvious to everyone which way they would throw their vote. Both sides earned a percentage of every demographic, and by the looks of it, the Republicans' math beat ours.
Now we go forward. 2006 isn't that far away, and it's imperative that we take back the Senate -- and if we can't take back the House, we at least need to make some significant gains. We don't have the luxury of navel-gazing and self-flagellation. We need to get back on the horse and start fighting again NOW.
This blog is going to go away very soon. But I'm not. Keep an eye on therealitybasedcommunity.com. That's where I'M going to do my bit to carry on the fight. It will have a blog element but it will also, and more importantly, have some very specific goals. I'll need your help. I'll need lots of help, so if you have friends who are still crying in their beer, or are thinking about moving to Canada, smack them about the head a couple times and tell them to buck up.
The right-wing nutjobs may have won/stolen four more years in power. But that's it. We take back Congress in 2006, and in 2008 the White House is ours -- the People's House -- again. Yes, November 2, 2004 was a setback -- a major setback. But if we believe in what we stand for -- as a party, as a movement, as a cause, as human beings, as whatever -- then we will not let it stop us.
I'll put my values up against their values any day of the week. They're HYPOCRITES. And we need to call them on it.