Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Here's a post I did on a message board I frequent, but I thought I'd share it with you. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I was responding to this:

The biggest obstacle to overcome when trying to push forth a geniune and progressive candidate will be overcoming Karl Rove's amazing slander/character defimation machine. Apparently, half the country is so simple-minded that they can't see through this veil.....or simply don't care to. How does someone beat that?

To which I responded:

The country is not simple minded, they just define their interests in a drastically different way than we do. In order to reach them, we have to understand them, and simply passing them off as stupid will just push them further and further into Rove's open arms. Seriously, we need a change in the way we oppose the Republicans.

Read that Rolling Stone article I link to from my blog. Listen to this:

Here I want to make a general observation about the social aspect of working for Bush. It's very different than it is working for a Democratic candidate. Corny as this sounds, it is much more egalitarian and brotherly than most Democratic campaigns. Almost every Democratic campaign I've seen has let itself be seduced by the Primary Colors paradigm -- the hip clique full of mildly sexually adventurous twentysomethings who have been working on their memoirs since high school and dream of that chance to wear Versace sport coats and crack jokes on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

If you've ever hung out with the Tricia Enrights and Joe Trippis of the world, you know that the operative vibe of the Democratic insider is wisecracking cool. It is not a reach to say that the ideological vision that mainstream Democratic politics has offered America since Clinton has been the supercool high school, the party of the popular kids. For all the talk about the Democrats being the party of inclusion, it really doesn't feel that way from the inside.

That's not true of all Democrats, of course. I thought it was very different, for instance, in the campaign of Dennis Kucinich. For the most part, these people were motivated by something other than ambition, and just being part of that campaign meant you were in a besieged minority, with the whole world out there laughing at you. Kucinich supporters stuck up for one another, because they had to.

You get that same besieged fraternal feeling in a Republican campaign office. There is no MAS*H ensemble-cast repartee. Nobody wears T-shirts that mean something, and nobody looks cool. As I would later find out, most Republicans hate "cool" ("They all think they're so cool and artistic," griped one woman as she watched Fox coverage of Democratic delegates arriving in Boston). Many of the parent volunteers I met were especially bitter because they think that cool is what liberals use to lure their children away. Which they might very well be right about, of course.

Do you see the mindset that these people are coming from? It is not just simple-minded Christian faith - there is a dark side to the so-called rich, priviledged, self-important, can-do-no-wrong, Democratic elite that they pick up on. They pick up on the condescension, and these are proud people. They will vote for somebody who professes to promote their values of self-dependency and faith EVEN AS HE UNDERCUTS THEM. THAT's why Rove and the Republicans have a death grip on them, and it's partially the fault of the Democrats.

And this from the Suskind article:

They [the Christian right] got it -- and ''it'' was the faith.

And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community.

You see, the Democrats give the impression that they look down on you, even as they're helping you up. And while there are some people who won't mind, there is a section of the middle to lower class that DOES mind. They are proud. And that condescension rubs off - the condescension of somebody like Clinton or Kerry can be felt. I know this first hand because I knew people who felt this way. They'd rather you take their last dime than take their dignity.

I feel I have a much better, clearer view of the Republican party after reading those two articles. We can't solve the problem until we find a way to reach out to these people and separate their moral interests from the Republicans' economics. We need to be reaching out to these people, rather than treating them as underclass. Maybe that's why I've never really got on the Democratic train.

I dunno, maybe I'm just a libertarian, but my eyes are open.

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Written on Tuesday, November 02, 2004