How The Democrats Can (and Possibly Will) Blow This -or- How a Hard Core Democrat Lost His Faith In The True Blue Left
I know it’s been awhile, but….
My fellow Americans, for a few weeks now, since that fateful Friday that we as a nation were introduced to Sarah Palin, I have been railing in vain. In that time I’ve realized several things about not only myself, but my Party, and furthermore about my country. I’d like to share these things with you now. Most of what I am about to share is going to be uncomfortable for many of you. By “you” I mean left leaning Democrats with whom I have shared 4 elections as well as an ideology. It is because of the shock and bewilderment that I have found myself dealing with when I look in a mirror that its taken me this long to even share it with you. But, if you are unfortunate enough to share an office or apartment with me, you’ve heard this before. I’ve been babbling in half sentences and outbursts for weeks. Annoyed. Agitated. It’s taken me a while to nail it all down in what I’m about to lay out.
First, a little about me;
I grew up a New England Democrat. Pro Choice, Pro Government, Anti War, middle of the road on guns, no God in schools…all that. Dyed in the wool blue. Kennedy and Clinton. My mother is a true bleeding heart liberal. My father, interestingly enough, is a gun totin’, no helmet Harley ridin’ Republican with a ferocious Independent streak. He voted for Perot. The point is, I got a little from him, and a lot from her. Except when it came to that most American of pursuits; baseball. Mom liked the Sox, Dad the Yankees. It’s amazing to me they were married for as long as they were. I digress.
Where I break with party ever so slightly, is that I enlisted in the Army Corp of Engineers during the first Gulf War. Not a popular choice among Northeastern Liberals, I assure you. I have a very, very healthy respect for service; those who serve and the families that support them.
In a nutshell, that’s me. Got it? Good. Here we go.
My fellow Democrats, I have to ask. What is going on here?! Since that Fateful Friday, I seem to have completely broken ranks with the Blue Left, and I hardly recognize you anymore. And I am terrified right now, because I seem to be one of the only ones among us hitting that big red panic button, hitting it hard and hitting it often.
This thing is starting to really slip away, and I think I get why. And, it’s not some “vast right wing conspiracy” this time. It’s not them, my Blue brothers and sisters. Oh no, it’s us.
From the beginning, I’ve been worried about this election. When I looked at the field of candidates that were going to go and reclaim the White House for us after our new long National Nightmare, I had one thought;
After 8 years…8 LONG years…this is the best we’ve got?! Hillary Clinton, that guy that gave the speech at the DNC, and a bunch of also ran retreads…oh and Dennis Kuci…Cuchi…you know who I mean. This is it? I wanted to punch Howard Dean right in the face. 8 Years and this is all we’ve got?
My fear, right from the beginning, was that we were going to run either HIllary, a woman who so polarizes, whose very name brings up such disdain in middle America, that she’s a crap shoot…or Barack Obama, a man that we fell in love with after 1 speech and all said “That guy should be President”. My exact thought right then was, and this is a quote; “Meat for the Republican Grinders”.
She’s too polarizing and he’s too inexperienced, I thought. The Republicans and their Swift Boating, low blowing, no holds barred, nothing is off limits, Karl Rove lovin’ goon squads will chew them up and spit them out. It can’t come down to those two…it can’t. Not when there’s so much at stake.
Ahh, but then I realized something else; we’re the Democrats. The progressives. And I remembered something about us that made me literally shudder right down to my shoes; it’s the principal of the thing with us often times more than the reality. We fall in love with concepts, reality be damned. Gays in the military. Universal Health Care. Lyndon Johnson handing the South to the Republicans for Civil Rights.
It’s not that we’re wrong, it’s that we martyr ourselves over and over again for what we believe is right. The key word there being “martyr”.
Well this time we might have gone and nailed ourselves the cross (that doesn’t belong in schools) again. And if we have, we’ve done so at a terrible time. If we lose this, we have handed this country over to the Right with a bad economy, 2 wars, a Supreme Court ready for a makeover, and the world’s opinion of us at an all time low. We need, so very badly, for this 8 year run to come to an end. But what we’ve done is gamble on someone who is, I’m sorry to say it, far from a no brainer.
Now, I know that gets you all riled up. That you hear that and you’re ready to start spouting off all kinds of things that I myself might have said in other times and other places. But not now. Now is the time for all of us on the Left to swallow some bitter pills, internalize them, and get this back on track. Having said that, here are the things that have me ready to scream and ready to re-register myself as an Independent.
1) Barack Obama has “electabilty issues”, and that is NOT a euphemism for “I won’t vote for a black man”.
This is first and foremost on my mind, and something that you need to get straight right away. This racism card that you (and I say “you” because this is where I start breaking with the party…so this is you) keep playing whenever someone says they have issues with Obama is killing you. Are their racial factors in play? Of course there are…but if you’re so worried about it, maybe that should have come up in the primaries, not now. Oh wait, it did come up in the Primaries. Hillary and Bill both made references to it. But all the Left reacted in typical self righteous holier than thou attitudes and completely missed the point. The point was “this is going to be much harder than you think”. Not that an African American can’t or shouldn’t be President. But that just because you think a certain way, doesn’t mean the country thinks that same way. (Read that again, because it’s a point that I’m going to come back to a few times…go ahead, I’ll wait) Consequently, you are starting at a disadvantage, because no one says to a pollster “I won’t vote for a black man”.
Now, having said all of that…
He still has electability issues that have nothing to do with his race. He’s inexperienced for one thing. Like it or not, he’s one of the least experienced candidates to ever be nominated for President by one of the two major parties. That’s fact. He’s also a Chicago politician, which isn’t exactly an easy sell to the Heartland. And, like it or not, he’s made some shockingly bad gaffes along the way (his response on the Russia/Georgia issue far trumps Palin’s failure to articulate the Bush Doctrine) and has a history of associations that is going to simply explode any day now. Not to mention how many people he outright offended with his “clinging to God and Guns” and “lipstick on a pig” comments.
And before you say it, save it. Spare me the “he didn’t mean it that way” lines. That’s irrelevant and more than likely untrue. Stop kidding yourself. But either way, he shouldn’t have said it in this climate, and a better politician would never have used that line.
Furthermore, if you thought the “Swift Boating” was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I said two weeks ago that within a month we would be besieged with commercials about Pastor Wright, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers (that one has already been made, I’ve seen it, and it ain’t good) that are going to make you want to take a shower.
These issues have nothing to do with race. They have to do with the man and the reality of modern elections. When you couple this with race, which it’s too late too cry about, you get an election that should have been a no brainer that is suddenly up for grabs.
I don’t know about you, but if I am watching John McCain’s inauguration in January, it’s not going to be one bit comforting that my Party was the first to nominate an African American for President. What I’m going to be thinking about is whether or not we would have been wiser to nominate the first woman, or if we should have just stuck with the “Status Quo” and won what should have been a gimme.
2) Get Over Your Holier Than Thou Attitudes, Stop Quoting the NY Times, and Start Seeing Your Country
All I’ve heard for weeks now if that this election is over. It’s in the bag, baby! Obama is going to ride in to the White House on a path of roses and the tears of overjoyed Americans…it’s DONE.
“But, you know the polls say this is like a 5 point race at best, right?”
Psssshaw! Have you seen the New York Times?!
Hear me now, my friends. PLEASE hear this…if nothing else, if ALL you take from this is that I’m a racist and a sexist, (which I fully expect to hear, by the way) just please get this;
The people in this country that elected GWB twice do not read the New York Times. They don’t read the Boston Globe, the Washington Post…none of that. STOP READING IT TO FEEL SAFE. I’ll let you in on a little (not so) secret; they said the same things in 2004. There was no way GWB could win, and even though John Kerry (JOHN KERRY?!) wasn’t the greatest candidate since Lincoln, he’s going to win.
How’d that work out for us?
It’s high time that we on the Left start realizing something about this country; you know that map that you all snickered at, the one that showed America as being a ring around Dumbfuckistan? Have you ever counted up the electoral college votes in Dumbfuckistan? Of course not, because you were probably too busy feeling superior. So, let me explain something; this idea that we have that everyone that doesn’t agree with us on Roe v. Wade, terrorism, the military, homosexuality, religion, and whatever other issue out there does so because they’re stupid and a red neck is both absurd and offensive. I’m not even one of them and I find it offensive. It also paints us as elitists who are out of touch.
Yes, out of touch.
You can say what you want about the Republicans, but saying they are “out of touch” with America is just plain wrong. They have their finger squarely on the pulse of the country…it’s just not squarely on the pulse of a hand holding the New York Times.
Now, I love the Times. I read it every weekend. But I read lots of things, and what I can say to you with 100% certainty is this;
If a race is within the +/- error margin, and you think it’s in the bag, you’re out of touch. Not them. You. You might not like middle America. You might not respect them. But they do vote. They also, as Sarah Palin pointed out in a move that showed she’s got her
finger on the pulse, “grow your food and fight your wars” and just because you think they are too dumb to “get it” doesn’t mean they are. And that attitude plays right in to the hands of the “Us v. Them” mentality that the Right has been using since 2000.
If nothing else, people, learn that…and while you’re at it, know this; our candidate should have been going after those people. Saying “I’m not the guy you put in to office twice” while insulting them for clinging to their religious beliefs and support for the Second Ammendment? That’s not a great approach.
Which now brings me to the big one…
3) Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin, holy CRAP what a choice, SARAH PALIN -OR- How Ya Like Me Now, Feminists?
Ahhh, that fateful Friday, when John McCain officially turned this entire election on it’s ear…I remember it so well. As I, like all of you, went online and started learning about the world’s most famous Hockey Mom, I became aware of the fact that I am not in lock step with my party anymore.
See, I immediately started wailing on my panic button. I turned to my good friend, Arjewtino, and said “this is a total game-changer, and I think we could be fucked”. It was all right there; so simple, so blatantly obvious, so ridiculously brilliant. But oddly, that’s not what I heard from the Left.
Pandering, that’s what he’s doing. Women should be offended.
Stupid, desperate choice.
She’s got no experience! A mayor in a Alaska?! Oh come ON.
Let me tell you what you aren’t getting with this pick…
You’re right, my friends. She’s no Hillary Clinton. She’s now the Hillary Clinton of the Right. What you seemingly have missed here is that all of the reasons that you hate her (and let there be no doubt about it, you hate her) are the very reasons the rest of the country loves her. And the more you hate her, and the more the press goes out and
digs up every irrelevant story there has ever been about her (“Did you know Levi used to date her daughter’s best friend, but cheated on her?!”) while giving Obama a pass, and the more you dismiss her, the more you are galvanizing her appeal to them. Keep belittling her, and you are only serving to strengthen her appeal.
Just as the Right did with Hillary, so you’re doing now with Sarah.
She’s one of them. She’s God and Guns, Pro Life, Pro Family, Pro America, Pro Small Town, Pro Union, Pro Everything that you look down your nose at and sneer…and when you do that to her you are, to the citizens of Dumbfuckistan, doing it to them, too. It’s Solidarity 101.
That’s what Sarah Palin means to and does for the Right. Not just the women, either. She’s a woman that a whole lot of men who would never vote for a woman will happily vote for, saying that she’s “different”.
The smart thing to do would have been to dismiss her with a comment about how surprising it is to pick someone with no experience, but good for the Republicans for being progressive…and then get right back on message. But oh no, that just wouldn’t do. Why? I’ll tell you why…the soft underbelly of this entire issue? The one that the Republicans and the citizens of Dumbfuckistan are just loving?
Sarah Palin exposes the hypocrisy of the Left.
See, the genius of this pick that the Left so callously dismisses is that Sarah Palin has single handedly made the Left act like hypocrites. When you say “she’s got no experience”, you are forgetting that Barack Obama had been in elected office for 20 minutes when we all decided (along with Matt Damon…are you really still watching that You Tube video? Matt Damon? Dear God) at the ’04 DNC that he should be President. Why? Because he was the kind of person you wanted to have in the office, even though he wasn’t qualified enough at that point. Sure, he’s got more experience now than Palin…but he doesn’t have much. He doesn’t have, say, John McCain experience.
Oh, is that not what you meant? Too bad, because that’s the logical extension of this argument.
Suddenly, the experience argument that you all fought so tooth and nail against before this pick? Now you are backtracking. You might not like it, but you are now railing against the candidate for Vice President for her lack of experience while the man running for President with her has it all over your candidate. Can you see how this looks to Dumbfuckistan now, let alone to the Independents out there? Let me clue you in;
If you’re an African American male Liberal Democrat running for President, experience is overrated.
If you’re a white female Conservative Republican running for Vice President though….well, just ask Matt Damon; she can’t possibly do the job! But to them, she is the kind of person that they want in the office, even though she isn’t qualified enough at this point. I’m not saying it’s completely valid. But it ain’t completely inaccurate, either. And if the shoe was on the other foot…
Which brings me to another aspect of this pick. “If the shoe was on the the other foot”, and a Democratic candidate was having to deal with comments like “her only qualification seems to be that she didn’t have an abortion” or “how will she have time to take care of her kids” or the opposition’s candidate was being given a free pass as a man, and your candidate was dealing with scrutiny at the level she is as a woman…?
You would be screaming sexism. Screaming it from the rooftops of the New York Times, shouting it on Oprah (where she would be an honored red carpet guest, btw) and hollering it on the Mall where you’d have a Million Woman March. But you’re not. In fact, you’re taking a great gleeful joy in it. The fact is that the Republicans have put a female on the ticket, which the Democrats should have done themselves, but because she doesn’t subscribe to your ideology on abortion, you’ve decided that she’s not a “real” woman on the ticket…so the rules don’t apply.
This makes me sick. It has all the hallmarks of Colin Powell having to deal with charges of not being black enough to be considered a “real” black candidate for VP. Or the way that you overlook or worse, outright dismiss the progress that Condoleezza Rice has made for both women and African Americans, because she’s a Republican.
You ought to be ashamed. You really, really should be.
The simple fact here is that there are a whole lot of hard working, professional women in the country who are Pro Life. That doesn’t make them any less of a woman, and no less deserving of respect. Sarah Palin is the only person in this race who can honestly say that she’s not a professional politician. She got in to politics for all the right reasons in the most text book made for TV story there is, and she’s a woman. That could have
been Hillary up there, and by all accounts now, it should have been. (Because really; Joe Biden? Yeah, that was inspired) But it’s not, so apparently the Left has decided that Sarah can’t sit at this lunch counter.
If Governor Palin doesn’t fit your definition of Feminism, so be it. But she fits a whole hell of a lot of other people’s in this country. And the women that she’s inspiring? They vote, too, and they can now lay claim to a role model who will push them in all the same ways and quite possibly more than Hillary pushed so many of you.
And if I sound like I admire her, it’s because I do. I don’t agree with much of anything that she stands for and I don’t like her politics one bit. But she is “Mrs. Deeds Goes to Town”, and she ought to seen for what she is; a strong, independent woman who wanted to make a difference and went out and did it. She didn’t wait for her husband or anybody else to do it. She didn’t wait for anything. She went out and did it her damn self. As a Republican. In Alaska. A beauty with brains in a male dominated party and a male dominated state steps out and kicks ass…and you hate her. Because she’s not one of your own, and she might beat you to the punch.
Think about that the next time you talk about “electability” being a code word for something.
This election is doing exactly what so many people thought that it would. It’s making us examine our real feelings about race, gender, and religion. It’s making us question what makes a good candidate versus what makes a good President and Vice President. It’s making us question whether it’s about the best candidate or it’s about social change and challenging the status quo. What I don’t think that any of us saw coming was that the Republicans would do such a solid job of recognizing these things and reacting to it in such an effective manner. If you think that was dumb luck, you probably haven’t heard a word I’m saying…and I can’t say that I’m surprised. I think that I’m all done being surprised, really.
When my party becomes the one that needs to be reminded of the lessons we lecture others on and gets so taken off message by a political lightweight that we start falling behind in a “gimme” year if ever there was one, maybe it’s time for me to realize that what I am is an Independent. Maybe I, like many Republicans who felt displaced by the Neo Conservative movement in their party, actually represent the groundswell for a third party. Those of us that look at our own parties and say “what the hell is going on here?” might be better served by taking our ball and going home to try something different.
Because really, I don’t get this. I don’t get when we lost sight of the basics, lost touch with an entire segment of the population, and started looking down on so many people that make up our country. We are supposed to be the party that is better than the way we are suspending our own rules for people that don’t agree with us. We are supposed to be the party that really “gets it”.
So, keep patting yourself on the back for running Mr. Obama and being so progressive while you trash Sarah Palin. Keep shielding your eyes from the parallels with the New York Times and telling yourself that it’s in the bag. On the one hand, I hope you’re right because it’s absolutely time for a change. On the other hand, I wonder if we haven’t set ourselves up to get exactly what we deserve.