Wednesday, November 03, 2004

George Bush's America

Reading the various commentary and chatting with a few people I've come to a couple of realizations which I think we all need to come to terms with. First, as Eric Alterman puts it, there are more of "them" than "us" right now. The people who voted George Bush and the Republicans into office this year didn't do so because they were conned by a right wing asshole posing as a compassionate centrist. They did so precisely because he is a right wing asshole. Yes, the modern Republican party consists of nasty bigots and liars and the media rarely bothers to point out just how nasty they are (all the talking heads talking about the role of "moral values" in the election know that what that really means is "fag hating," but they won't say it). But, don't be fooled - people know what they voted for.

And, secondly, as the Bull Moose says (though I disagree with other aspects of his commentary):

Organization is fine - ideas and message are far superior.

This is exactly right. Democrats and liberals have spent too many years running away from the Right's caricature of what it means to be a liberal that they've managed to obliterate from the public consciousness any coherent concrete narrative. It isn't as many seem to think about precisely where on the Left/Right spectrum a candidate or the Party chooses to position itself. I'm not arguing that Democrats need to be "more liberal" or "less liberal" or anything like that it all. But, they have to be something other than "not Republicans."

There's a lot of money sloshing around on our side these days, and that's good. I hope, as Josh Marshall discusses, that neither the generosity of wealthy benefactors nor the flood of small money donations from the less-than-rich crowd stops flowing to the new infrastructure we're creating. But, I'm increasingly getting the sense that part of the problem is that at the moment it isn't clear just what this infrastructure is supposed to be supporting. We need to figure out just what our ideas and message are, and then the infrastructure will help us project them into the public mind.