Thursday, September 06, 2007



Democrats -- who voters put in charge to end this war -- are panicked that "some" might criticize them for working to end an unpopular president's unpopular war. Yet the other side, instead of cowering in terror, show they have the cojones to take a patently unpopular position with the merest hint of fear.

Democrats still think voters consider them "weak" because of policy positions. In reality, it's because they don't have the force of conviction to act forcefully for what they believe in.


It's no contest. Democrats are on the retreat, Republicans are on the offensive. And all of this after Congress' own report showed that next-to-nothing has improved in Iraq during the "surge".

Meanwhile, those of us outside the Beltway are left looking on in bewilderment, scratching our heads trying to figure out how our party could be so terribly clueless.

last month:

It's amazing that they have to re-learn this lesson again and again, but what can we do. Eventually, you figure the lesson will have to sink in.

And to think it was only a few short years ago that Bush was being derided by Democrats for his unwillingness to learn from his "mistakes". How bad does it have to get in Iraq before Bush learns? How many times do the Dems have to get "beat" before they learn? How many times does the netroots have to re-learn a lesson again and again until it stops scratching its collective head? It is indeed amazing, although the rest of us have stopped expecting that the lesson will have to sink in. How do you break it to a man who can't understand why he hasn't scored a knockout that he isn't even standing in the goddamned ring?

Look. I've got plenty of philosophical differences with liberals. At the street level as well, I understand that, if history is any guide, when push comes to shove they will not have my back and will sell out in a heartbeat the movements and ideals about which I've come to care.

I'm also not ignorant of the tactical situation, and I don't relish fratricide, circular firing squads, or unproductive sectarianism. The Right is monstrous and must be stopped. We can agree on that much. But if the Democrats keep scratching their heads about Bush, and the netroots keeps scratching their heads about the Dems, the Right will just keep winning no matter how unpopular they become.

The only reason I'm singling out Kos is that he has a massive readership, an infrastructure and cash-flow, and is a clearly talented organizer. Although he denies being the leader of the Kossacks, and I agree he isn't, his opinions are exemplary of a certain faction. As are Atrios', as are Digby's, as are Greenwald's. As YearlyKos attests, this is a faction with some actual power. So all credit where it's due for all the hard work that's been done digging us out from under the avalanche of right-wing bullshit, and for the record, I have an especially great respect for Greenwald's work.

BUT...maybe its time to re-examine some core assumptions. Maybe it's time to change tactics or strategy. Maybe it's time to shift the focus on issues. Maybe if you can't figure out how your party can be so terribly clueless it's time to rethink your analysis and question your perception. What is more ridiculous, the clueless man or the person who continues to believe that such a man will eventually get a clue?

Is your party actually clueless? You don't believe Bush when he gives reasons for his actions, why do you believe Democrats when they talk about their fear? Do they have no reason to lie? What is your party anyway? What does it do? How does it work? What are parties for? What is a party? You've certainly won overwhelmingly in the court of public opinion. But you've failed so spectacularly in taking your government back and taking your party back, maybe its time to broaden your analysis and achieve a perspective that accounts for all the headscratching quandaries you find yourselves in. Maybe it's time to find out which courts actually count.

Maybe since you've pulled all the levers of control you can think to pull and are not getting the results you want, it's time to consider that there may be other levers of control. Maybe it's time to consider that the problem is NOT that you're not pulling hard enough, but that there are other things to pull. Or that there might be some things to push.

After Tet, in 1968, The Joint Chiefs of Staff considered sending more troops to Vietnam. They chose not to because they feared that they wouldn't have enough remaining for control of the domestic population. This was a problem for them because they believed, rightly, that the domestic population was out of their control.

Every day the top ten liberal blogs are visited by millions of readers. We could shut down New York City for at least a day with only 15,000 people acting non-violently. They'd be risking at most some minor bodily injury and a night or two in jail. Do you think our rulers would remain clueless after watching the Empire City grind to a halt and billions of dollars go out of their pockets? Do you think they'd ignore you then?

Do you want the war to end? Do you want to stop its expansion? Do you want to stop an historic atrocity? Do you want your government to stop being the greatest purveyor of terror on the planet? Are you willing to consider that the people you dismiss as crazy, just as Very Serious People dismiss you, might be on to something however vague and imperfect? That maybe they could use your help? Are you willing to consider that perhaps the people you deride for hiding behind ideological purity to zero practical effect could level that charge at you with equal justice? Or do you want to scratch your heads?

Recently Digby, after being punked by the Dems for the n-th time, to her credit simply admitted:

I honestly don't know what else to do.

Good. Me neither. Run with it.


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