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November 06, 2002

Well, that sucked

I pretty much said my criticism of the Dem leadership and called for the ouster of Gephardt in my Monday post, the Muddled Election. The Dems had no real positive message and they paid for it, especially with Bush energetically pushing a coherent message hard on the last week. The only way a legislative party gets traction on the bully pulpit of a President is with a coherent message and repeated talking points. The Dems thought they could play it safe and gambled. They lost.

I'm pissed- at Gephardt, Nader, myself, anyone who did something or didn't do something that could have prevented this horrendous turn to rightwing control of all branches of government for the first time since the 1920s.

But the reality is that little changed in the broad world last night. Less than a hundred thousand votes in a nation of 300 million tipped power over a few Senate seats, barely enough to show up on a graphic page. It just happens that those were the seats that tip power decisively.

But while short-term policy matters, so do long term trends. There was no massive shift to the Right-- we are still in 50-50 land, just one vote to the Right rather than the Left from that point.

And nothing changes my conviction that Bush will lose in 2004. He could distract the public from his corporate sleaze and the economic pit he is sinking this country-- dumping Harvey Pitt on election night is emblematic of his political savvy on distraction -- but he can't run from the effects of his policy over the longer term.

We need to grieve today and organize, organize, organize tomorrow.

Posted by Nathan at November 6, 2002 12:21 PM

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I love your faith...wanna cut the odds to 3:1?

I think you're wrong again. Now that the guppy is stepping down, Liberals want a Liberal, and moderates want a moderate...gonna start a nice little war within the party....it's 196801972...and chimpy didn't have to fire a shot.

Rove is laughing his ass off, and will be laughing even harder in 2004.

Posted by: jdw at November 6, 2002 07:05 PM

No, the moderates had their chance and blew it. It's the liberals' turn now and they aren't going to be stopped at this point. You can hardly make the point anymore that the Democrats were too liberal. So it's going to swing the other way now.

Which is not to say that certain officeholders may not wish otherwise. But the Democratic party needs to get some backbone, to take some positions that cannot be overturned because some corporate interest gave some money to this or that officeholder. They have to stand for something and figure out what that is.

I would say
1) at least maintain skepticism over the coming of war in Iraq. They may no longer be in a position to stop it, but at least they can make sure that it's seen as Bush's war, not theirs.
2) maintain pressure on corporate scandals, Enron, and shrinking 401Ks.
3) continue resisting attempts to privatize social security
4) Find some issues that resonate with people under 40 - maybe copyright abuse in the whole music copying snafu (and to hell with Recording Industry donations, thank you very much Fritz Hollings) or the general destruction of the Internet that's coming as the Telecom giants flex their muscles.
5) strong resistance to GOP voter suppression strategies. 95000 non-felons were disenfranchised in Florida as part of Jeb Bush's strategy in 2000 and although the court ruled in their favor the state didn't have to put them back on until 2004. Outrageous. These people did nothing wrong and no one is held accountable for depriving them of their suffrage. Fighting this should not be left to the NAACP.
6) some push on some labor-related issue, more than in past. Don't roll over on every "free-trade" deal.
7) Register more voters!

Posted by: Steve Cohen at November 9, 2002 04:17 PM

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