Wednesday, November 03, 2004

We Have Only Just Begun

Don't stop the fight! There's plenty of work to do and plenty of optimism to work for. Thanks to all of you out there who remain encouraging.

Josh Marshall,


Yesterday evening I heard various commentators say that Kerry's defeat would usher in a civil war among Democrats. Tucker Carlson said it would or should lead to a 'Goldwater moment' for the Democrats.

As I've noted above, I don't want to diminish the scope of what's happened. But a civil war over what exactly? Yes, some consultants will get a hard shake. And I'm certain there will be backbiting against Kerry (which I for one will very much disagree with.) But a civil war over what? The right and the left of the party were remarkably united in this cycle and managed to find points of compromise on key issues.

In some ways this would all be conceptually easier for Democrats to deal with if President Bush had managed a realignment of our politics in the post-9/11 world. But when I look at the results from last night what I see is that they are virtually identical to four years ago. Pretty much the same states going each way and a very close to even race -- though of course the president's 51% makes all the difference in the world.

As I said, if the Dems had been crushed, that would be one thing. If the American people were coalescing away from them, etc. But that's not what has happened here. In 2000 the country was divided into two (increasingly hostile) camps. And it's still exactly the same way. If anything it seems only more entrenched -- perhaps symbolically and geographically captured by the flip between New Hampshire and New Mexico from 2000.

The country is bitterly divided. And as much as anyone President Bush has divided it. But president Bush got 51% and if there's anything I've learned from watching him for the last four years-plus, it is that his team will take this as a popular mandate for an aggressive push for their agenda -- notwithstanding the profound division in the country or what has happened over the previous four years.

For the Democrats, what I fear most (and what I've privately worried about for months) is this: Energy cools after an election. That's inevitable. But organization and institutions can survive. And it is within institutions and organizational infrastructure that energy and power exist and persist.



I've always said today was merely a battle in a long war. The GOP built its electoral dominance over 40 years by building a massive, well-funded message, training, and media machine.

We started putting ours together last year.

You all have much to be proud of. But please don't think your job is done, or that your hard work was all for naught. It's not, and it wasn't.

This is just the beginning, not the end. Regardless of who takes that oath next January we still have a war to wage. We won't wage it with violence, but by building a solid foundation for a new progressive movement.

Meteor Blades,

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future.

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy.

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions.


Oliver Willis,
Do you want to win in Congress?
Do you want to win back the White House?
Do you want to do these things by standing up for what youu believe and not moving to some mythical "center"?

After the Republicans got creamed in 1964, they built up institutions to incubate their candidates and build a majority. Groups like the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Media Research Center, etc. begat candidates like George Bush and media institutions like Fox News and The Washington Times.

I was stunned when I realized there was nothing like that on the left.

But there is now, and you can help them out.

Center for American Progress
Democracy for America
Media Matters for America
Campaign for America's Future
People for the American Way
American Civil Liberties Union

Get angry. Get sad. Get even.

Atrios, Eschaton:

I'm not all that interested in election post-mortems because it isn't important. People tend to take a loss like this as "proof" that their personal pet peeve about the campaign was correct, and too much discussion of it reinforces the tendency to try to keep trying to fight the last campaign. Elections are not deterministic things, and the binary nature of their outcomes tends to obscure the underlying complexity. What matters isn't what was done wrong, but what needs to be done right for the '06 elections.

Ezra Klein,

And, for now, we must admit that the superstructure the Republicans have spent 40 years building beat the shit out of the one we spent 4 years building. For whatever reason (call it the internet), we hadn't expected that to be the case. I highly recommend Paul Waldman's comments on this matter, because the sooner we admit this, the sooner we go back and build some more.

When I was at The Washington Monthly, we ran a feature entitled "What If Bush Wins", featuring contributions from leading political thinkers on the shape of this guy's second term. I found the feature vaguely offensive -- of course this guy won't win! -- but it's ended up being quite prescient. Of particular note is an entry by Todd Gitlin, which correctly predicted the outcome and provides the best blueprint I've seen for how we should respond. So today, on a really tough day, my advice for you to read it, print it out, make notes in the margins and tape it above your desk. We lost this round and I hardly need to tell you how bad it hurts. And sure, we deserve a couple days to heal (I'm going on a pre-planned trip to Santa Cruz tonight, where I'll relax with my girlfriend and blog very, very little until Sunday), but after that, we have to pick up off the floor and reenter the fight. Because if there's one thing I've understood as countless schoolmates -- both gloating and depressed -- have asked me what happened, it's that this wasn't a predictive exercise or some sort of enjoyable contest, this election was an attempt to forestall some truly bad things from being done to this country. We lost. But that doesn't change how serious our cause is, or how badly we need to win it over time. Come Monday, I'll be back in the trenches, and I hope you will too. After all, 2006 is just around the corner...

Andrew Sullivan,
ACCOUNTABILITY: Here's an email with which I concur entirely:

I didn't vote for Bush for lots of reasons. But it seems to me that maybe the result, much as it was not what I wanted, will be good for the country. We are in the middle of a war whose outcome is very much in doubt. We have a fiscal policy that may or may not prove successful. Issues that have seemed remote to many like abortion and the Patriot Act's definition of rights and privacy are likely to become more immediate over the next few years. Had we changed leadershop now, it would have been difficult to assign accountability, for good or bad, for these policies and decisions. I always feared, in fact, that Kerry would have had little chance of success in the face of a conservative chorus of "everything was going in the right direction in Iraq when we handed it over to you". Whatever the result, over thee next few years we all will be better able to asses the success or failure of many things that are unfinished now, and hold one team accountable.

Exactly. My main fear with a Kerry victory was that the hard right would never have given him a chance in the war, and would have savaged him as commander-in-chief in order to pave the way for a victory in 2008. Ratcheting the country back to fiscal sanity would also have been a thankless task. Now, Bush will face the consequences of his own policies and we will be able to judge him on that. He has no excuses any more. I hope he succeeds in Iraq, in reforming social security. But no one should give him an easy pass if he fails.


At April 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…

My weblog; what is a search engine optimization

At April 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got this site from my buddy who told me regarding this site and at the moment
this time I am browsing this website and reading very informative
articles here.

Here is my homepage ... best Honeymoon resorts

At April 20, 2013 at 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to find out what blog platform you are utilizing? I'm experiencing some small security problems with my latest
site and I would like to find something more
risk-free. Do you have any recommendations?

Look at my web page: high paying stay at home jobs

At April 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, all is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing data,
that's in fact excellent, keep up writing.

Visit my weblog: white hat seo

At April 24, 2013 at 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to make a superb
article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

my web page; find a home loan With bad credit

At May 10, 2013 at 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you supply far more entropy on this?

My web blog :: More Suggestions

At April 18, 2016 at 2:19 AM, Blogger dong dong23 said...

michael kors purses
adidas originals
hollister clothing
oakley sunglasses
kobe 11
louis vuitton outlet
louboutin pas cher
louis vuitton handbags
mont blanc pens
ray bans
michael kors handbags
nike uk
ray ban
jordan 6
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors
christian louboutin outlet
nike air max
tiffany outlet
coach factorty outlet
juicy couture
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet clearance
christian louboutin shoes
coach factory
cheap jordans
nike air max
ugg boots
nike roshe flyknit
true religion shorts
michael kors outlet
fitflops sale clearance
polo ralph shirts
lebron james shoes 12
coach outlet store online
ray ban outlet
louis vuitton
hollister clothing
kevin durant shoes


Post a Comment

<< Home