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Politics Suck

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

The current political climate is very sad.  The Democrats are going to make some gains (whatever magnitude) this year, and it’s going to be almost entirely due to the Republicans screwing up.  How many ads have you seen or read that boil down to, “Vote Democrat, because we’re not fans of George Bush”?  That’s just pathetic.  They have no ideas of their own or they think if people knew their ideas they wouldn’t vote for them.

Thinking Republicans (there are many I know personally, so they must exist in greater numbers than the Congress would indicate) are appalled at the lack of conservative values this batch of numbskulls have shown. Small government?  Nobody’s seen a GOP White House reduce the size of government in 30 years. Personal freedom? Can you say wiretaps and gay marriage?  The party that used to (claim to) be in favor of “get out of my life” policies is now the more intrusive one.

And yet, the Democrats still have a hard time capitalizing on this weakness in their opponents except to say, “we couldn’t screw it up as much as the current folks, could we?”

We’re doomed.

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
forsythferret
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
Well, let's see. Where to begin? Okay, for starters. Just on a tactical level, mid-term elections really aren't the best place to push big new ideas. Especially ones like these where the Republican's scandals and screwups are coming home to roost like they are this election cycle. Throwing up new ideas would just distract things and give the Republicans a chance to go on the offensive against the ideas, no matter what they are. That's not really a good idea.

Now, there's plenty of things the Democrats could and should be saying to keep the pressure on the Republicans, that they aren't. Like "Republicans support locking innocent people away and torturing them just on the Presiden't say-so." There's plenty of other avenues, some of which they're not taking for reasons of money or distraction, and some they're not taking for reasons I don't know. And some, yes, because they think it might cost them votes. Like opposing torture. Some things because they're too complicated to fit into a sound bite or a commercial

And then there's some things where they're not offering big ideas because there are no simple big good ideas available, because the Republicans have screwed things up so much. Like Iraq. Like the deficit. In the long run, taxes are going to have to go up, but if you come out and say "Thanks to President Bush and the Republican Congress's spending binge and tax cuts and wars, your taxes will have to go up," the Republicans will break out their well-oiled "TAX AND SPEND LIBERAL OMG!" guns. And on Iraq? Fuck, there's no good solutions there, at all. Certainly nothing that'd be politically popular, the Republicans are trying to run on calling the Democrats "Cut and Run" and at the same time move away from their "Stay the Course!" rhetoric. (Not that I've ever seen a course of any kind from the Republicans, but apparently we have to stay it)

And the current White House and administration are the end product of all the conservative rhetoric we've heard for years. "Government is not the solution, government is the problem," for example. They've convinced themselves it's true, so why even bother trying to do anything right, since it won't work anyways since it's government doing it. The Republicans have only ever been "get out of my life" when it comes to money and guns, when it comes to sex or art or literature or almost any other sphere of life, they want it regulated. One of the costs of making the core of their base the social reactionaries. Bush is right in line with where the Republicans have been saying they want to go. And now that they see it's not popular and doesn't work, the rats are deserting the sinking Bush and screaming he's "not a real conservative" or blaming the failures on incompetence, not on fundamentally flawed ideas.

Of course, the last thing to remember is the Republicans have controlled the government completely for six years. The "liberal media" loves to suck up to the people in power, and look "fair" by presenting two statements and pretending the truth is in the middle instead of looking at the actual facts. The Republicans have had a much easier time getting their ideas out, and setting the agenda in Washington. But here's Pelosi's plan for the first hundred hours, should the Democrats take Congress: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/06/AR2006100600056_2.html
And there's a lot of ideas out there from liberals and Democrats, that haven't been able to get any air time because there's been no power behind them.

But honestly? Most of the big ideas liberals and Democrats would like to do simply don't matter right now. The first and biggest task is to keep the Bush administration from hurting the country further, then try and clean up the enormous mess they've made. That's not going to be easy or quick. I've seen some people speculate that was part of the point, that way whoever comes after them won't have time to do anything but damage control, and parts of that are going to be unpopular or make targets for Republican attacks. I don't know if that's true or not, but with the way these guys have run things, I can't say it's completely impossible.
andysocial
Oct. 31st, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
Perhaps "get out of their way and let them implode" is a good strategy for now. I really do wish the Dems would find a coherent voice, though. Pelosi's agenda has made the rounds, but how many others are saying they support it? Say what you will about the GOP's mendacity and utter lack of scruples, they are really good at staying on message. "Cut and Run" is just their latest meme to stick around well past any logical lifespan.
forsythferret
Oct. 31st, 2006 06:22 am (UTC)
I think part of that's a fundamental difference between the parties and the people they attract. People who want orders from the top and who are going to be good at staying "on-message" and such are probably more likely to join the Republicans, while people who're gonna ask "why?" in response to an order are more likely to join the Democrats.

There's more to it than that, like the Republicans spending years "in the wilderness" and plotting to come back, while the Democrats hung around in power and got used to things being that way. There's a lot of factors in most things in politics.
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