Friday, December 30, 2005

POLITICS: Happy New Year...

...and dig the following words of wisdom to live by in 2006 & beyond, from the great John Digby:

Patrick Henry Democrats
by digby
From John Digby's Hullabaloo, 12/29/05:
As much as I appreciate all these Republicans offering us advice about how we are endangering our political prospects by not supporting illegal NSA spying, I have to wonder if they really have our best interests at heart. I just get a teensy bit suspicious that it might not be sincere.

The truth is that I have no idea where the NSA spying scandal is going and neither do they. The Republicans would like it to go nowhere for obvious reasons and so they are trying to psych out timid Dems. What I do know is that the most important problem Democrats have is not national security; it's that nobody can figure out what we stand for. And when we waffle and whimper about things like this we validate that impression.

In Rick Perlstein's book,
"The Stock Ticker and The Super Jumbo" he notes that many Democrats are still reeling from the repudiation of the party by the Reagan Democrats. And while they continue to worry about being too close to African Americans or being too rigid on abortion or too soft on national security, they don't realize that the most vivid impression people have of the Democrats is this:

"I think they lost their focus"
"I think they are a little disorganized right now"
"They need leadership"
"On the sidelines"
"fumbling"
"confused"
"losing"
"scared"

The reason people think this is because we are constantly calculating whether our principles are politically sellable (and we do it in front of god and everybody.) We've been having this little public encounter session for well over 20 years now and it's added up to a conclusion that we don't actually believe in anything at all.

Perhaps the NSA scandal is a political loser for Dems. We can't know that now. But it is a winner for us in the long term. We believe in civil liberties and civil rights. With economic fairness, they form the heart of our political philosophy. If this particular issue doesn't play well, that's too bad. People who believe in things sometimes have to be unpopular. Over time, they gain the respect of the people which is something we dearly need.

A party that is described as fumbling, confused and scared is unlikely to win elections even if they endorse the wholesale round-up of hippies and the nuking of Mecca. People will listen to us if we can first convince them that we know who we are and what we believe in.

I'm of the mind to adopt "give me liberty or give me death" as my personal motto. If I have to kowtow to a bunch of childish Republican panic artists who have deluded themselves into believing that fighting radical Islam requires turning America into a police state, then it's just not worth it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

>If I have to kowtow to a bunch of childish Republican panic artists who have deluded themselves into believing that fighting radical Islam requires turning America into a police state, then it's just not worth it.<

Right on.

I think it's important to remember that the America I'm fighting for and the America Dubya is fighting for aren't the same America.

The one I believe in is the one that believes in freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

The America Bush believs in is, well, let's just say it starts with his happiness from taking away our freedom and liberty.

Fascism by any other name...

-joe

steve scariano said...

Right on, Joe!

Rene said...

This is a great essay, and I totally agree with Digby. As thoroughly disgusted as I am with the Republicans right now (and by "disgusted," I mean that I wish a bunch of fire ants would devour all their faces), I'm almost as fed up with the mainstream Democrats currently nursing hopes of a 2008 presidential run. Why can't Russ Feingold run for president? Why must we get behind these war-mongering, Republican Lite, see-which-way-the-wind-blows shitbag opportunists like Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh and Joe Biden? I'm sick of being taken for granted, and I'm sick of being expected to constantly do the sensible thing and choose the lesser of two evils, blah fucking blah. I swallowed my vomit and voted for the lesser of two evils for the last several elections, and I don't know if I'm going to do it anymore. I think I'm going to adopt the Nation's recent editorial policy and just say no to any candidate who does not support a timely exit strategy. Murtha was right, and the cowardice of the Democratic party fucking sickens me.

But bravo to Russ Feingold for having the integrity and the intelligence to vote against the Patriot Act and Bush's sickening abuse of executive authority before this was politically expedient and to continue to speak out now, despite the fact that the real power-brokers of his party are sitting back, like the soulless fucks that they are.

Rene

steve scariano said...

Great post, Rene.

1. Russ Feingold is running for president.

2. He's already getting the "a Jew can't get elected president in a post 9/11 world..." bullshit from "well-meaning" Democrats. I say fuck them, I'd rather take my chances with Feingold at this point than the sure loss Hilary Clinton would bring.

Anonymous said...

You see, I'm not as interested in this scandal because I assumed the NSA has been spying on us all along. Not black helicopter spying, but phone-tapping and the like. Well meaning, I like to believe, but, I mean, that's what the NSA is there for. Maybe I read too many Tom Clancy books in the airports. Anywho, there are a lot of better scandals to pick from the Republican Scandal Buffet - I'd rather chomp into one of the others and leave this one in the pan under the warming lights.

-Dave C