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What next?

First things first:  this humbled blog called it 294 - 244 EV, 50.7 - 48.4 popular vote, and I must say I was pretty damn close to the likely 286 - 252 EV, 51.2 - 48.1 final tally even though I picked the wrong guy.

Second things second:  I lost not only in the Presidential election but even in Rox Populi’s “Best Political Bloggers” contest.  I salute Alternative Hippo, the very worthy winner in my category, and pledge to work together with other blogs to heal the divisions of this long and brutal campaign.

And last things last:  where do progressives go from here?

Don’t believe for a second any Beltway nonsense about Kerry running a poor campaign.  The man got hit with some of the slimiest, foulest garbage ever thrown by the Vicious and Deranged Right, and he kept coming at ‘em, pulling 55 million votes and nearly unseating an autocratic “war president” backed by a fanatical following notable for its chants of allegiance to Dear Leader and its purges of schoolteachers wearing “protect our civil liberties” T-shirts.  Above all, watch where the critiques of Kerry are coming from:  don’t let Al From and the DLC back into the fray so that they can deliver us all into the hands of Lieberman or Bayh next time around.

It should be clear by now that progressives cannot win the presidency by being reality-based.  The reality-based appeal works only in isolated areas of the country with high population density.  Reality-based campaigning draws in highly educated voters, voters who are likely to consult a wide variety of news sources inside and outside the US, and voters who tend to be swayed by demonstrable empirical evidence about the age and the current disposition of the planet and its resources.  These voters are, however, a fringe element of the electorate that we must now cast aside.

Instead, we must devise a “wedge issue” that is as powerful and compelling as the campaign against gay marriage.  And just as the campaign against gay marriage draws its deepest support from conservative rural areas hundreds of miles away from the nearest actual cohabiting gay couple, so too must progressives-- especially urban-identified, “metro” progressives-- seek to mobilize an energetic Democratic base by inventing a chimera that none of us have actually ever seen and cannot imagine anyone actually caring about.

Janet suggested this morning that we try alerting our fellow progressives to the fact that certain farmers in these rural areas are keeping sheep and goats in the same pen.  It is an outrage, no question about it-- after all, these people are violating the proverbial imperative to distinguish the sheep from the goats, one of the most ancient proverbial imperatives in the history of proverbs-- but more important, it has no material bearing whatsoever on the conduct of our lives.  The disposition of sheep and goats on certain rural farms does not affect our salaries, our health care, our children’s education, or the quality of our housing.  It has nothing to do with the debacle in Iraq or the torture chambers of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.  It does not diminish or enhance our own civil liberties. It will not affect the ozone layer or industrial mercury emissions; it will not alter the budget deficit or the balance of trade.  And that is why we must denounce this practice. We must denounce it in the coffeehouses, in the graduate seminars, at the wine tastings, at every performance in the Alice Tully Hall-- wherever cosmopolitan liberal elitists congregate.  Until our land is rid of this plague, this promiscuous mingling of sheep with goats in precincts unknown to us, we cannot begin to take back America.

Other suggestions are, as always, welcome.  I ask only two things:  it must be an outrage, and it must have no material bearing on the conduct of our lives.

Posted by on 11/03 at 09:21 AM
  1. I notice that all your former posts are now posted by Kurt.  Glad you’ve decided to come clean about your ghostwriter!

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  08:45 AM
  2. The “Wedge” issue:

    If Bush’s economic/domestic policies take this country where we all firmly believe they will, then there will be longer lines at the soup kitches in October 2008, than at the polls November 2004.

    In 1992, “It’s the Economy, Stupid”.
    In 2008, “Holy crap, what were you morons thinking?  You sent us into a depression because you couldn’t stand to see to guys kiss?”

    Yes, kleptocracy, crony capitalism, pissing on the masses and telling them it’s raining REALLY IS BAD FOR BUSINESS.

    2004-2008 is where they won’t be able to blame their problems on Clinton.  Or 9/11.  Or anything else.  I suggest we begin focussing on figuring out how to sell the concepts of Progressive Taxation and Corporate Responsibility to the masses, using simple terms that fall into the framework of Constitutional Constructivism, and Biblical Scripture. 

    If we fail, all is lost.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  09:04 AM
  3. It’s just not right, the comingling of ovines and caprines. Not only must we eradicate this practice within the 50 kinda-United States, we must eradicate it wherever foreigners may keep sheep and goats together. I propose a trillion-dollar worldwide initiative to underwrite fence construction, workshops on distinguishing goats from sheep, tax breaks for herders who keep their animals apart, and, as necessary, the use of the military to replace comingled herds with good old American Guernsey cows.

    Posted by Christopher Tassava  on  11/05  at  09:07 AM
  4. Has anyone thought about getting rid of schools? Why should taxpayers pay for some other kid’s education? Train ‘em at home --the way it used to be. If they want to go to a private school let ‘em pay for it.

    Police? Fire--you want that kind of protection—jeez, pay for it yourself.

    Roads? Have to go somewhere? Pay the damn toll. No roads where you want to go? Build it and they will come and then rake in the tolls.

    Want to invade somewhere or keep the wolves from the door? Goddamit don’t ask me to pay for it..get one of those firms that provide troops for dollars.

    (Tho, as Eisenhower, God bless him, warned, watch out for a land war in Asia or the middle east.)

    Wise up saps, there’s no government like Bush government.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  09:08 AM
  5. Whether we need a wedge issue or simply a coherent message in moral language, it’s apparent progressives have a lot of work to do in addressing audiences not immediately sympathetic.

    We’ve done lots of theorizing about difference and “the other” so now we need to apply our skills in audience analysis to these aspects of public discourse.

    I’ve made my own first attmepts at my own blog (http://faculty.deanza.fhda.edu/jocalo/2004/11/03 and http://faculty.deanza.fhda.edu/jocalo/2004/11/05)

    Posted by John L  on  11/05  at  03:58 PM
  6. I agree with the last comment.  There has been way too much othering going on both pre-election and post-election.  An example is this article from the NYT.  To be quite frank, these are the very attitudes that create obstacles to restoring Democrats to power.  I would think that “reality-based” would be paying attention to how “others” construct their realities (yes, plural) so as to find a means of communicating across the divides.  Clinton was a master of this. Obama has great potential.  The truth of the matter is that no matter how much more intellectually-substantive and welfare-oriented the Democratic platform is, it all comes down to rhetoric. That reality has to be acknowledged. And reality is being constructed by these very dichotomies as we speak:

    blue/red
    thinkers/believers
    cosmopolitan/rural
    intellectual/faith
    scientific/religious
    metro/retro
    educated/red-necks
    progressive/backwards
    tolerant/intolerant ... the list goes onwards.

    I know a lot of people from rural, farming areas who believe in “live and let live” when it comes to lifestyles.  They also believe in civil liberties (see Obama’s keynote). 

    Maybe the problem is that political realm itself does not seem real to many people in comparison to their daily struggles to afford decent housing, healthcare and education. Thus, they are swayed by personality, as we are all wont to do at times.

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  07:36 PM
  7. the wedge issue would not be --the sheep with the goats in the same pen--it would be having sheep and cattle in the same pen--cattlemen (who by the way live in the middle of the united RED states) have hated the sheepherders for centuries because sheep were grazing on THEIR (cattlebarens) lands(that were actually owned by the government)in open range territories --you see the sheep would pull out the roots of the grass when they grazed eating it all and leaving the land barren and the wild grass had a hsrd time growing back whereas the cattle would eat the tops of the grass thus the grass would grow back. --your wedge issue sheep and sheepherders living amongst cattlemen.

    I know everyone is going HUH??? --sorry couldn’t help myself

    Posted by  on  11/05  at  10:40 PM
  8. The first thing I’m doing is calling these hypocrits exactly what they are, bigots. In conversation, on my car, to their faces.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  01:13 AM
  9. Hi, I’m an occasional lurker and just wanted to comment on this topic.  So thanks in advance for reading

    Instead, we must devise a “wedge issue” that is as powerful and compelling as the campaign against gay marriage.

    I don’t know if it’s a ‘wedge issue’ that we need per say.  Rather we need to figure out what matters the most to the red states and portray the Republican Pary as against those interests.  This is what the repubs did this last election.  They figured out what mattered most to the red states and portrayed us latte-drinking liberals as folks who would take away or destroy these “values” that they hold so dear.  I guess this is what they mean by framing.

    We should now do the same thing.  Portray the repubs as a party not giving a damn about their values.  An example would be hunting and oil rigs.  In Pennslyvania, western and mid-westerns states like Montanna we ought to frame it like this.

    What good is a gun if you can’t go hunting?  Have a commercial depicting the ritual of a father taking his son out to hunt for the first time only to come upon an oil rig in the pristine forests at the base of the Rocky Mountains.  Have a voice over saying that President Bush ‘values’ aren’t the same as yours.  He values big oil than your God-given right to hunt.

    I think we could probably find a couple issues like this and milk it for all its worth.

    Posted by  on  11/06  at  08:05 AM
  10. Eureka!

    Posted by  on  11/07  at  11:01 AM
  11. I think mingling of any type is a grave and under-acknowledged problem, one that should be forcefully denounced. I was hoping the Dems would raise the issue and push it hard in late October when the election hung in the balance and all still seemed possible.

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  06:46 AM
  12. It may suffice to simply take a firm stand against bestiality itself. The Republicans have yet to weigh in on this scourge, which suggests to any unbiased ear a surreptitious approval. Remember, once we take our stand we must not waver. There will be no talk of civil unions between man and beast, not on our watch. We will not even discuss it over our lattes. We must be adamant about this and speak in one voice, a voice that will resonate in every kitchen and feed trough in this land. We will erect a fence finally around the barnyard; the comely sheep will sleep soundly in her chaste pen, untroubled by night visitors. We will set in motion the long restoration; we will re-affirm the phylogenetic tree. This is the task for our time, for our generation, for our Democratic party. The flag is there for us to take up; let us grasp it!

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  08:26 AM
  13. What about the farmer and the cowman? One man ropes his cows with ease, the other steals his butter and cheese, but that’s no reason why they can’t be friends!

    I mean, so long as Territory folks continue to agree on the most basic need: to hunt down and kill all them Indians. They got no right living on top of our oil.

    Posted by Dave  on  11/08  at  10:13 AM
  14. Wedge issue: 

    People who insist on driving very, very old cars.  Aren’t our new cars good enough for them?  Don’t they want to participate in growing the economy?  How many jobs are you going to create searching E-Bay for a tail light for a ‘38 Ford, when you could be buying a shiny new Mustang?  What the hell is their problem?  And why do they always meet as Steak-n-Shake on Saturday night?  What are they planning?  Something’s going on here, folks, and it ain’t good.  We need to get the word out on this outrageous, unamerican practice.

    Posted by  on  11/08  at  04:58 PM

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