Right now, a bunch of Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives are whining loudly about the Debt Deal, a political battle they lost to a group of opponents whose every policy and political priority was exposed as either a failure or a fraud between 2000 and 2008, and from 2008 to 2010. So, of course, the most important thing they want to do today is remind people about how terrible they are at politics, and expect people to reelect them so they can continue losing to occupants from the clown car.
The excuses are plentiful, but the "American people are just a bunch of racist, ignorant, Bible-thumping rednecks biding their time until the South Rises Ag'in" train is never late. (HT: Jeffrey) Yeah, I know that article makes a lot of very good points, but the macro topic is the old DLP abdication of political agency at the hands of Americans who "just don't get it."
The article discusses symptoms while ignoring the actual illness. Yes, the far right will never accept policy victories delivered to them from Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives any more than from Centrists or Pragmatists. To those true believers, anyone to their left is a baby-killing, terrorist-sympathizing, America-hating, Godless, Kenyan anti-colonialist, fascist, communist, Marxist, homosexual-agenda-following illegitimate, and no amount of giving them what they want is going to change their mind. Seriously, everyone to their left could vote unanimously for their entire platform tomorrow, and we'd still be trying to destroy America in their eyes.
That is a fundamentally ridiculous set of beliefs for a party to hold, and they strain the bounds of credibility. So what is the larger illness that keeps the Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives from winning political victories against these individuals? Very easily stated: the right wing chooses what political issue to fight over, makes an issue out of it, makes a bunch of stuff up about it and then dares members of the DLP to address their make believe claims and come and knock them off their hill. That is not a winning proposition, because you can't meet crazy with crazy. The right knows how the DLP is going to respond before the DLP even knows what they're going to be talking about. The DLP responds by repeating right-wing talking points, disputing right-wing talking points, and generally giving more credibility and attention to right wing talking points than they are due.
Here's the rub: they sacrifice their own momentum to do so. If we're discussing right-wing issues, we are not discussing progress-prone issues. By the time the right has won a political battle, like the Debt Deal, the DLP's only recourse is to try and figure out what is to blame. The blame usually lands on the people in the "red states" who are "voting against their personal interests" because they are "dumb." That way, anyone who was even considering giving ear to DLP priorities is turned off or written off. Nowhere do I see critiques of DLP's own political marketing strategois.
As a Southern Liberal who has watched the professional political class hand the South over to the GOP, the Tea Party, and the Fire-Eaters Born Anew, this drives me crazy.
For example, there is a way the DLP could spool up a huge progress-prone political campaign right this instant that reminds people that the right wing has zero credibility and is in fact attempting to re-write American history to replace it with bullshit, reminds people the progress our nation has made when it comes to our social justice history - advances owed to unabashed small-l liberalism, comes down on the side of family values, legitimizes African-Americans as part of the American society, and exposes the mythology of the "good ole days" as nothing more than unvarnished feudalism that we are happy to be rid of. And it teaches a little bit about real American history and how our nation has overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles in the past to become a better, more exceptional place. Not only is that something we should all be very proud of, it celebrates America with regard to this nation's unique story.
I am, of course, discussing the Antebellum Myth About Slave Families and the Right Wingers Who Tell Such Lies to the American People. Every Democrat, every Liberal, every Progressive should be on the news right now talking about this issue.
Stop whining about losing the Debt Deal politics, start talking real American values, start pointing out the foes to those values, and start winning the next round of Debt Deal politics. That's how this stuff works, y'all.