Saturday, July 22, 2006
So the DLC is saying that Democrats should move to the right;
tringulate, to use their term.
Voters are polarized, to the point that any more movement to the right will lose significant numbers of votes on the left. They may vote for Ralph Nader or just stay home; either way, they're lost. And, because of the degree of polarization, you're not going to pick up any appreciable numbers of voters from the Republican "base", either.
Time to drop anchor. The Democratic Party needs to dig in its heels and not let itself be dragged any further from its own principals. Remember, you never really compromise with a fanatic — you move, the fanatic doesn't.
So what should the core principals are we talking about? Well, let's see:
- Start with Civil Rights. This means everybody's civil rights — white, black, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, atheist, straight, gay, whatever. Everybody.
- War on Terror: Get the bastards. But make sure we're going after the right bastards. We don't need more Iraqs. Also, this will involve more diplomacy (ie, twisting Saudi arms) than military action. Essentially, this is police work with soldiers backing up the cops.
- Foreign policy: We can't be the World's Nose Wiper. Yeah, there are Bad People in the world. Unfortunately, there's nothing we can do about most of them. Iraq was an attempt to do so; see how well that worked.
- Fiscal policy: Wants are infinite, resources are finite. Work toward a balanced budget and paying down the national debt. Yeah, this means raising Paris Hilton's taxes.
- Energy: Start prying the House of Saud's fingers off of our throat. At the same time, we can work on lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
- Healthcare: While true universal health care is not an option in the next election cycle, we have to start looking toward it. A good start would be to move public programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and their state and local equivalents in the direction of a "single payer" system. The current system is a nightmare; it wouldn't be hard to improve it a lot.
- Honesty, openness, accountability, and competence. Easy to promise; hard to deliver, and the Republicans' biggest weakness.
Some minor points, and implications of the above:
- Abortion: Pro-choice all the way. Siding with the anti-choicers in a misguided attempt at "triangulation" will just lose votes from the base.
- Stem cells: Ditto. The vast majority of voters on all sides are in favor of stem cell research.
- Iraq: Start working on digging ourselves out. It ain't gonna be easy — the choices I see range from disasterous to catastrophic.
- Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, torture, and "extraordinary rendition": They all stop. Now. If this means high-level spooks and generals walk out, so be it.
- Gun control: Let it drop. The arguments on both sides are all heat and no light.
- Social Security: It ain't broke. Don't screw with it. Point out that the "privatisers'" numbers don't add up.
- Run against Bush. His popularity is down about to the Yellow Dog level. The slogan "Rubber Stamp Republican" is good here. Congressional Republicans have gone along with just about all of Bush's harebrained schemes; call them on it.
- Yeah, the press is against you. Deal. Likewise, the Republicans are going to be spewing large amounts of slime It's all they have left. Plan for it; have responses ready. Don't get Switboated again.
- Learn to use numbers effectively. Know when raw numbers are better and when percentages are better. Use familiar analogies — credit cards, car loans, etc.
- Lose the fruitcakes. We're not going to outlaw SUVs, confiscate guns, disband the military, tear down the suburbs, or commit any other form of ritual suicide. Anybody who wants to is Outside the Tent. Let 'em piss in; you're known as much by who your enemies are as by who your friends are.
- Lose the DLC. They're the Neocon wing of the Democratic party — and financed by the same foundations that fund the Republican neocons. They're the ones pushing the line "We're just like Republicans, only better". If there was ever a guaranteed loser of an attitude, that's it.
- Lose the Big Bucks Consultants. They're the ones who have been consistantly losing elections for the last 25 or so years. They also suck enormous amounts of money.
- Make damn sure everybody knows you're going to fight tooth and toenail over any suggestion of vote fraud, especially anything involving electronic voting machines. And carry through after election day. Don't be afraid to raise a fuss.
Above all, keep in mind that we're in this for the long haul. We don't want to just win this election; we want to force the Republicans to cough up the Neocon - Theocrat furball permanently, like the Democrats threw out the Communists and the white-sheet crowd. This means plan for the long haul, and don't just assume that the NTs, or whatever other group that wants to drag us back to the rule of the Priest-Kings can be ignored just because they're ridiculous.
LATER — Avedon has another tactical suggestion, via American Microphone. Learn how the Republicans run their "big tent". Do it. When somebody is willing to work with you, don't insist that they agree with you on every tiny little detail. My "lose the fruitcakes" comment above refers to either people who try to hijack the party for their own personal crusades (uhh ... jihads?) or who are so far out on the fringe that nobody wants to deal with them I'm lookin' at you, Ward Churchill and Noam Chomsky. Nothing wrong with the granola crowd if they're willing to go along with the program and not claim that, for example, the Democrats will outlaw SUVs. Yeah, I've heard this one.