Had a little conversation with some folks over at Salon.com the other day. Here's what they said:
Hey, Dems: Run against Bush -- and toughen up -- or lose in '08
And here's what I said in reply:
Wow...so much to agree with
Let's start with this little gem:
Elections are won and lost on associations, and right now, unless there's another terrorist attack on our soil in the next 18 months, the connection to George Bush is going to be a tremendous liability for any candidate ...
What a sad state America has reached, when it's even conceivable that our government could do such a thing - create such an attack intentionally. But the trust is lost, for me at least, and it will be a long time coming back if ever. Thus I can't say with certainty that there's no way this could happen - and neither can any of you.
I have said for years that the reason, in a nutshell, that Dems keep losing is that they are too polite. It's a broad generalization, but I believe it's apt. We have for so long - I'm talking 40 years or more - tried not to stoop to the level of the Reps' nastiness, and in so doing have allowed the nastiness to go unanswered and thus to become part of the national meme. It's as if we thought that if we just ignored the ill-bred, rude little bastards long enough, that they would go away.
I think we see now, and have been seeing for at least as long as the Karl Rove era, how well that belief structure works.
Westen mentions Al Gore and the 2000 debates - specifically, I remember Bush trotting out that old "Gore claims to have invented the Internet" crapola, and Gore did not respond to it, except possibly with an audible sigh. Surely, said most Americans who saw it or heard about it, if it were untrue Gore wouldn't have allowed Bush to get away with saying it, right?
And thus, due to lack of response, that story became part of the national mythos, and for a fair whack of Americans, remains so to this day.
Westen offers a scenario for Obama in which he might get the Coulter beast off his back, and perhaps shame her into stopping the schoolyard mocking of his middle name - let me take it a step further, and posit that what *I* want, and what I sense quite a number of my leftish colleagues want, is a general sense of the Dem candidates and Members of both Houses of Congress to start standing up to the Rep slime machine, to start, in essence, saying "STFU" to quite a lot of the crap the R's are putting out. But they won't, except at a very low level and very VERY occasionally.
And THAT is what I'm sick of, THAT is why Congress's approval rating is lower even than Bush's - I am overweeningly weary of seeing my party's leaders TAKING THE SHIT LYING DOWN YET AGAIN.
In addition to the current batch of freshman Dems mentioned in this story, see also the actions of Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY). He's not my congressman - I'm one district over and am stuck with Ron Lewis (R-Wingnuttia) - but I wish he were.
OK, to avoid going to book length, here's the story, Dems: good manners ain't gonna feed the bulldog.
I know it's arguable that the very qualities that caused you to choose to be a Dem to begin with might also be the very reasons that being tough in public discourse is so distasteful to you (and conversely, those qualities that make a person a Repug are exactly the ones that allow them to use such disgusting rhetoric etc. with no apparent pangs of conscience.)
But listen: if you get nothing else from this article, and my comment, and that of the others who are before and after me, get this:
You MUST learn to be sonsabitches when dealing with the Reps, or you will cease to exist as a political entity.
And so might America as a nation. Or at least as the nation we've thought we were for 200+ years.
We, the voters who put you there, have already given you permission to be SOB's. We can always fire you, as easily as we hired you, if you won't. November 08 ain't that far away.
And you know I ain't kiddin'.Permalink to this Salon comment: