Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Culture War Has Arrived

The religious right claim the godless liberal elite in this country are jeopardizing their belief system. They are foaming at the mouth with the opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade or to abolish those hedonistic homosexuals encircling their small farm towns in search of converts. They fear birth control, hate homosexuals wish death upon all those who participate in abortion or believe in a woman's right to choose. This culture war is the difference between imposing a religious set of beliefs upon an entire nation (the right) versus giving people the freedom to make their own decisions (the left). Who are the real elitists here? Who are the ones really being persecuted? The culture war has arrived now that the election has legitimized Bush's presidency. The religous arm of the republican party demands the right to abuse power in the name of God.

The hypocricy: they demonize the left for government programs that "run their life," yet are willing to use the government to impose their religious values on the whole of America. I don't believe in these religious views, that is my right and I'm willing to fight to keep it.

Enforcing Relgious Beliefs on Women Using Birth Control

For a year, Julee Lacey stopped in a CVS pharmacy near her home in a Fort Worth suburb to get refills of her birth-control pills. Then one day last March, the pharmacist refused to fill Lacey's prescription because she did not believe in birth control.

"I was shocked," says Lacey, 33, who was not able to get her prescription until the next day and missed taking one of her pills. "Their job is not to regulate what people take or do. It's just to fill the prescription that was ordered by my physician."

Some pharmacists, however, disagree and refuse on moral grounds to fill prescriptions for contraceptives. And states from Rhode Island to Washington have proposed laws that would protect such decisions [...]

We have always understood that the battles about abortion were just the tip of a larger ideological iceberg, and that it's really birth control that they're after also," says Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

"The explosion in the number of legislative initiatives and the number of individuals who are just saying, 'We're not going to fill that prescription for you because we don't believe in it' is astonishing," she said.

Demonizing Gays in Public School Textbooks
A State Board of Education member stalled a vote to approve middle school health textbooks Thursday by saying the books should condemn homosexuality and make clear that marriage exists only between men and women.

Board member Terri Leo, R-Spring, called for about 30 changes to teachers' and students' editions of proposed health books in grades six through eight.


Leo said that three of the 10 middle school books up for approval would not conform to a state law banning the recognition of same-sex unions as marriages. She said they endorse same-sex marriage by referring to the heads of families as couples or adults instead of husbands and wives or fathers and mothers.

"We're considered a state agency, and we need public acts and records recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman," she said.

Some of her suggestions, however, go beyond the marriage issue.

One passage in a teachers' edition says that "surveys indicate that 3 to 10 percent of the population is gay. No one knows for sure why some people are straight, some are bisexual and others are gay."

Leo wanted to replace those sentences with: "Opinions vary on why homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals as a group are more prone to self-destructive behaviors like depression, illegal drug use and suicide."

"This is an effort that is both ridiculous and hateful, to essentially try to eliminate homosexuality from health textbooks," said Samantha Smoot, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin group that monitors social conservatism in government.

State law says the board can judge textbooks for their factual accuracy and compliance with state curriculum guidelines. George Rislov of the Texas Education Agency's curriculum division said the guidelines for middle school health classes do not define marriage.

Seeking to Overturn Roe v.s. Wade
Conservatives are inundating those senators with calls and e-mails trying to sway those votes.

One GOP senator on the Judiciary Committee who asked not be identified because of the sensitivity of the debate said his office received more than 1,000 phone calls Friday opposing Specter. The senator said that was the most phone calls on one subject since the gay marriage debate in July.

The current chairman, Orrin Hatch of Utah, is stepping aside because of a self-imposed Republican rule limiting the lenghth of time a senator can head a particular committee.

No one in the Senate has openly opposed a Specter chairmanship, aides said, although several senators have said they wanted to talk to him before he gets the job.

"Very rarely do they speak out against other members," said Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who wants Specter voted down. Republican leaders "are putting their finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing. This drama still has to be played out."

Abusing Scientific Facts
Women wrongly warned cancer, abortion tied

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Laura Meckler

Nov. 10, 2004 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Women seeking abortions in Mississippi must first sign a form indicating they've been told abortion can increase their risk of breast cancer. They aren't told that scientific reviews have concluded there is no such risk.

Similar information suggesting a cancer link is given to women considering abortion in Texas, Louisiana and Kansas, and legislation to require such notification has been introduced in 14 other states.

Abortion opponents, who are pushing these measures, say they are simply giving women information to consider. But abortion rights supporters see it much differently.

"In my experience, this inaccurate information is going to dissuade few women from going ahead and having the abortion," said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "What it does do is put a false guilt trip and fear trip on that woman."

Falwell Calls for a Revolution

He says he wants a revolution

Seeing an opening after last Tuesday's evangelical turnout, Jerry Falwell reveals his plans: An "evangelical revolution."

From the AP: "Falwell, a religious broadcaster based in Lynchburg, Va., said the Faith and Values Coalition will be a '21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority,' the organization he founded in 1979.

Falwell said he would serve as the coalition's national chairman for four years. He added that the new group's mission would be to lobby for anti-abortion conservatives to fill openings on the Supreme Court and lower courts, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the election of another 'George Bush-type' conservative in 2008."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Terrorists target blue state cities, but...

This is old news but important to keep in mind.

New York Daily News -

We get $5-a-head for security


Monday, November
24th, 2003 New York, the world's premier target for terror, gets less homeland
security funding per person than virtually any state in the nation.

Man for man and woman for woman, Wyoming
(population 493,782) does better - $38.31 per person, compared with the paltry
$5.47 in counterterrorism funds spent on each New Yorker.
"Every square inch
of Wyoming is as vulnerable as every inch of New York," Joe Moore, Wyoming's
director of homeland security, told the Daily News. "If you say there are no
terrorists in Wyoming, that's just where they'll strike."

So far, though, whatever threat Osama Bin Laden and his
terrorist minions pose for Wyoming lurks primarily in the minds of its
politicians. New York, on the other hand, has been targeted five times and
suffered two horrendous attacks, including, of course, the one on Sept. 11,
Yet New York goes begging while Cheyenne, Wyo. (population 53,200),
now boasts two gleaming, state-of-the-art bomb squad units, special equipment
for neutralizing bombs and a new communications system for its 90-member police
force, said Police Chief Robert Fecht. And the department expects to receive
still more special equipment when a second grant is approved.

Never mind that the bomb squad of
Wyoming's most populous city comprises only three technicians, which it shares
with the police department in Laramie, 50 miles away.
And no matter that the
price tag for Cheyenne's new equipment was only $120,000. The amount represents
a huge percentage of the tiny police department's $700,000 operating budget.
"This is a tremendous amount," Fecht conceded. "It's major assistance."
of the $900 million New York City has determined it needs to counter terrorism,
it has received only $84 million from the federal government so far. Officials
expect to get $75 million more in the next round of funding.

The Fire Department, still staggering
from its losses on Sept. 11, has sought $331 million in homeland security
funding. It has been promised less than $36 million.

The NYPD has determined it needs $261 million. It has received
only $60 million.

"We are doing a lot and
it is costing us a lot - something on the order of $200 million a year in
operational expenses for counterterrorism in the Police Department alone," said
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. "We're funding this on our dime."

A purview like no other

New York's first responders must protect
8 million people - as many as 11 million during work hours - day in and day out.
They're charged with protecting the Stock Exchange and the Federal Reserve Bank,
the United Nations and scores of foreign consulates. And since 1993, they have
had to secure high-profile trials of 25 terrorists at Manhattan Federal Court,
just a few blocks from the World Trade Center site.

Wyoming has, well, Yellowstone National Park.

Said Mayor Bloomberg, "Precious homeland
security dollars should be based on a complete threat analysis, not doled out
like political pork."

In fiscal 2003, the
federal government provided $3.45 billion for first responders across the nation
through three programs mandated by Congress:

$1.9 billion in state formula grants

$800 million for high-threat urban areas

$750 million in firefighter assistance grants.

Of the three, only the high-threat program takes into account
terrorist vulnerability. And it accounts for only 23% of the total.

The bulk of funding is distributed
through state formula grants, which allot every state - regardless of population
or the actual threat of terrorism - three-quarters of 1% of the $1.9billion pot.

In this Alice-in-Wonderland process, New
York, ranked by the feds as No. 1 in risk of attack, comes out almost at the
bottom - 49th - in per capita funding. New Jersey, 10th in risk, is ranked 42nd
for funding.

As Kelly put it, "More than
80% of the Department of Homeland Security's first-responder funds are being
distributed blind to the nation's counterterrorism needs."

So Wyoming - the least populous state, with no federal risk
rating - gets about six times more per capita than New York. The other small
states also share disproportionately in the bonanza.
Take North Dakota.
Grand Forks (population 70,000) got $1.5 million in homeland security largess.
It now has an armored van, decontamination tents and more biochemical suits than
there are cops to wear them.

The fire
department in Zanesville, Ohio, (population 25,600) now boasts a thermal imager
to find victims in heavy smoke, a test kit for deadly nerve agents and other
high-tech apparatus.
Meanwhile, New York's Fire Department has to make do
with only one fully deployable hazardous materials unit for the entire city.
Inflexible federal rules don't allow state grants to be used for increasing the
specialized manpower needed to create a much-needed second unit.
also has sought $207 million to upgrade its communications system; it has
received $3 million.

"The Fire Department
has to be prepared for things that we never had to be prepared for before," said
Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "Training and equipment are needed to deal with
chemical disasters, radioactivity, dirty bombs, bioterrorism and so forth.

"But what frustrates those of us with big
departments is that the money is not there for us because the funding is being
dispensed on an equal basis to all the states."

The formula extends to other critical agencies as well. Of the $65
million in homeland security money earmarked for transit systems, for example,
Denver, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore., got $1 million each.

New York's Metro-North Railroad, which carries 72 million
commuters a year in and out of Manhattan, got nothing. Zero.

Last June, Homeland Security Secretary
Tom Ridge told lawmakers the Bush administration is working on a funding formula
"that better takes into account threats, population density and the presence of
critical infrastructures."

Cuts looming

But the inequity is only getting worse.

In fiscal 2004, the total amount
distributed on the basis of need will decline. High-threat urban areas will
receive about $725 million, a 10% cut, while the other programs will grow to
$2.95 billion, a 10% increase.

There are
three proposals in Congress to change the funding formula, including one by New
York Republican Rep. John Sweeney, whose district extends north of Albany -
hundreds of miles from Ground Zero.

"I am
from a rural area, so you'd think I'd like the current rules," Sweeney said.
"But I think we need to protect the areas that need protecting. We need to take
the politics out of this."

Red State/Blue State/Shut Up

I say shut the fuck up already. Your missing the point and feeding into divisive strategy.

What is Conservativism and What is Wrong With It?

The Destruction of Language

Reason occurs mostly through the medium of language, and so the destruction of reason requires the destruction of language. An underlying notion of conservative politics is that words and phrases of language are like territory in warfare: owned and controlled by one side or the other. One of the central goals of conservatism, as for example with Newt Gingrich's lists of words, is to take control of every word and phrase in the English language.

George Bush, likewise, owes his election in great measure to a new language that his people engineered for him. His favorite word, for example, is "heart". This type of linguistic engineering is highly evolved in the business milieu from which conservative public relations derives, and it is the day-to-day work of countless conservative think tanks. Bush's people, and the concentric circles of punditry around them, are worlds away from John Kerry deciding on a moment's notice that he is going to start the word "values". They do not use a word unless they have an integrated communications strategy for taking control of that word throughout the whole of society.

Bush's personal vocabulary is only a small part of conservative language warfare as a whole. Since around 1990, conservative rhetors have been systematically turning language into a weapon against liberals. Words are used in twisted and exaggerated ways, or with the opposite of their customary meanings. This affects the whole of the language. The goal of this distorted language is not simply to defeat an enemy but to destroy the minds of the people who believe themselves to be conservatives and who constantly challenge themselves to ever greater extremity in using it.

A simple example of turning language into a weapon might be the word "predictable", which has become a synonym for "liberal". There is no rational argument in this usage. Every such use of "predictable" can be refuted simply by substituting the word "consistent". It is simply invective.

More importantly, conservative rhetors have been systematically mapping the language that has historically been used to describe the aristocracy and the traditional authorities that serve it, and have twisted those words into terms for liberals. This tactic has the dual advantage of both attacking the aristocracies' opponents and depriving them of the words that they have used to attack aristocracy.

A simple example is the term "race-baiting". In the Nexis database, uses of "race-baiting" undergo a sudden switch in the early 1990's. Before then, "race-baiting" referred to racists. Afterward, it referred in twisted way to people who oppose racism. What happened is simple: conservative rhetors, tired of the political advantage that liberals had been getting from their use of that word, took it away from them.

A more complicated example is the word "racist". Conservative rhetors have tried to take this word away as well by constantly coming up with new ways to stick the word onto liberals and their policies. For example they have referred to affirmative action as "racist". This is false; it is an attempt to destroy language. Racism is the notion that one race is intrinsically better than another. Affirmative action is arguably discriminatory, as a means of partially offsetting discrimination in other places and times, but it is not racist. Many conservative rhetors have even stuck the word "racist" on people just because they oppose racism. The notion seems to be that these people addressed themselves to the topic of race, and the word "racist" is sort of an adjective relating somehow to race. In any event this too is an attack on language.

A recent example is the word "hate". The civil rights movement had used the word "hate" to refer to terrorism and stereotyping against black people, and during the 1990's some in the press had identified as "Clinton-haters" people who had made vast numbers of bizarre claims that the Clintons had participated in murder and drug-dealing. Beginning around 2003, conservative rhetors took control of this word as well by labeling a variety of perfectly ordinary types of democratic opposition to George Bush as "hate". In addition, they have constructed a large number of messages of the form "liberals hate X" (e.g., X=America) and established within their media apparatus a sophistical pipeline of "facts" to support each one. This is also an example of the systematic breaking of associations.

The word "partisan" entered into its current political circulation in the early 1990's when some liberals identified people like Newt Gingrich as "partisan" for doing things like the memo on language that I mentioned earlier. To the conservative way of politics, there is nothing either true or false about the liberal claim. It is simply that liberals had taken control of some rhetorical territory: the word "partisan". Conservative rhetors then set about taking control of the word themselves. They did this in a way that has become mechanical. They first claimed, falsely, that liberals were identifying as "partisan" any views other than their own. They thus inflated the word while projecting this inflation onto the liberals and disconnecting the word from the particular facts that the liberals had associated with it. Next, they started using the word "partisan" in the inflated, dishonest way that they had ascribed to their opponents. This is, very importantly, a way of attacking people simply for having a different opinion. In twisting language this way, conservatives tell themselves that they are simply turning liberal unfairness back against the liberals. This too is projection.

Another common theme of conservative strategy is that liberals are themselves an aristocracy. (For those who are really keeping score, the sophisticated version of this is called the "new class strategy", the message being that liberals are the American version of the Soviet nomenklatura.) Thus, for example, the constant pelting of liberals as "elites", sticking this word and a mass of others semantically related to it onto liberals on every possible occasion. A pipeline of "facts" has been established to underwrite this message as well. Thus, for example, constant false conservative claims that the rich vote Democratic. When Al Franken recently referred to his new radio network as "the media elite and proud of it", he demonstrated his oblivion to the workings of the conservative discourse that he claims to contest.

Further examples of this are endless. When a Republican senator referred to "the few liberals", hardly any liberals gave any sign of getting what he meant: as all conservatives got just fine, he was appropriating the phrase "the few", referring to the aristocracy as opposed to "the many", and sticking this phrase in a false and mechanical way onto liberals. Rush Limbaugh asserts that "they [liberals] think they are better than you", this of course being a phrase that had historically been applied (and applied correctly) to the aristocracy. Conservative rhetors constantly make false or exaggerated claims that liberals are engaged in stereotyping -- the criticism of stereotyping having been one of history's most important rhetorical devices of democrats. And so on. The goal here is to make it impossible to criticize aristocracy.

For an especially sorry example of this pattern, consider the word "hierarchy". Conservatism is a hierarchical social system: a system of ranked orders and classes. Yet in recent years conservatives have managed to stick this word onto liberals, the notion being that "government" (which liberals supposedly endorse and conservatives supposedly oppose) is hierarchical (whereas corporations, the military, and the church are somehow vaguely not). Liberals are losing because it does not even occur to them to refute this kind of mechanical antireason.

It is often claimed in the media that snooty elitists on the coasts refer to states in the middle of the country as "flyover country". Yet I, who have lived in liberal areas of the coasts for most of my life, have never once heard this usage. In fact, as far as I can tell, the Nexis database does not contain a single example of anyone using the phrase "flyover country" to disparage the non-coastal areas of the United States. Instead, it contains hundreds of examples of people disparaging residents of the coasts by claiming that they use the phrase to describe the interior. The phrase is a special favorite of newspapers in Minneapolis and Denver. This is projection. Likewise, I have never heard the phrase "political correctness" used except to disparage the people who supposedly use it.

Conservative remapping of the language of aristocracy and democracy has been incredibly thorough. Consider, for example, the terms "entitlement" and "dependency". The term "entitlement" originally referred to aristocrats. Aristocrats had titles, and they thought that they were thereby entitled to various things, particularly the deference of the common people. Everyone else, by contrast, was dependent on the aristocrats. This is conservatism. Yet in the 1990's, conservative rhetors decided that the people who actually claim entitlement are people on welfare. They furthermore created an empirically false association between welfare and dependency. But, as I have mentioned, welfare is precisely a way of eliminating dependency on the aristocracy and the cultural authorities that serve it. I do not recall anyone ever noting this inversion of meaning.

Conservative strategists have also been remapping the language that has historically been applied to conservative religious authorities, sticking words such as "orthodoxy", "pious", "dogma", and "sanctimonious" to liberals at every turn.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Values? I Got Your Values Hangin'!!

I refer you to what Joe Conason of Salon fame said about Liberal Values:

"The most basic liberal values are political equality and economic opportunity. Liberals uphold democracy as the only form of government that derives legitimacy from the consent of the governed, and they regard the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights as essential to the expression of popular consent. Their commitment to an expanding democracy is what drives liberal advocacy on behalf of women, minorities, gays, immigrants, and other traditionally disenfranchised groups.


If your workplace is safe; if your children go to school rather than being forced into labor; if you are paid a living wage, including overtime; if you enjoy a 40-hour week and you are allowed to join a union to protect your rights -- you can thank liberals. If your food is not poisoned and your water is drinkable -- you can thank liberals. If your parents are eligible for Medicare and Social Security, so they can grow old in dignity without bankrupting your family -- you can thank liberals. If our rivers are getting cleaner and our air isn't black with pollution; if our wilderness is protected and our countryside is still green -- you can thank liberals. If people of all races can share the same public facilities; if everyone has the right to vote; if couples fall in love and marry regardless of race; if we have finally begun to transcend a segregated society -- you can thank liberals. Progressive innovations like those and so many others were achieved by long, difficult struggles against entrenched power. What defined conservatism, and conservatives, was their opposition to every one of those advances. The country we know and love today was built by those victories for liberalism -- with the support of the American people."

What else is there to say? Conservatism is ignorant, backwards, and hurtful to the public at large compared with Liberalism.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Say it Loud, Say it Proud

I've been looking for the best description of what it means to be a liberal and I think I found a good'n.

What is a Liberal?

What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

You should never be affraid to call yourself a liberal, if you are one. That is numero-uno is taking back this country. The democrats need their moxy back in full and the best way to start is to feel as good about being a liberal as the conservatives feel about being conservative. Ain't nothin' wrong with either, s'just diff'rnt phi-losophies.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Long Full Circle

I'm tired of the republicans saying democrats can't reach out to the red state voters. The Republicans can't reach out to blue state voters either. Bush and Kerry could not reach out like Reagan or Clinton, hence the close numbers that don't offer any kind of mandate. Bush won this election like he's won every single election in his life - by a few percentage points. I think that speaks more towards how many people are willing to vote out of fear: just enough to put him over the top.

Below are two maps. One is the electoral map of 2004, showing the sharp blue state/red state split. The one below it is the sharp split of pro-slavery/pro-rights states from the Civil War. Did we come full circle or have we never changed? Lyndon Johnson, after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, said he feared the democrats had lost the south for a generation.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Today's Theme Song

David Bowie: The Man Who Sold the World.

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.

On the Brighter Side: The Bush Nightmare II

I feel like my fellow Americans, out of fear and misunderstanding, have played right into the hands of our enemies by reelecting an icon of hatred. The American people have been strait up lied to and yet they feel comfortable enough to reelect a president that doesn't respect us.

Well, the brighter side is that now I'm forced to continue this blog. And so are the rest of you. I was worried if Kerry won, I would lose the momentum to continue blogging. It's so energy-draining and time consuming. I just wanted Kerry to win so I could stop my hair from turning gray and I could at least take it easy for four years and spread out my focus a bit. That isn't gonna happen and I predict full salt-n-pepper helmet for me by the age of 32.

The other bright side is, in four years we liberals and moderates will be stronger and more organized. I do fear our country will be divided for much longer than four years. It could be decades. The fever in this country has not been raised to a high pitch - yet. The country didn't explode in 1964 when LBJ was reelected. We burst out four years later. For the love of my country and the people in it, I hope we get to purge our country again.

The most anticipated best-case-scenario is that Bush FINALLY takes accountability for his mistakes and blunders. If Kerry won, he would have most certainly been blamed by the right for not succeeding in Bush's mistakes. Cheney's energy task force will be revealed soon. The rest of the 911 Commission report will be released. If jobs aren't created and the economy keeps taking a dump, at least Bush will take the wrap.

And finally, Bush won't be campaigning this term. He actually can spend time governing, which in a way I'm releaved for. He's free to make mistakes or make champion policies. Based on the last four years, I'm gearing up to get really screwed. Our country could very well be burning in flames sometime over the next four years and the only thought I have on that is that I will have the ability to say, "told you so."

Bush won't go down in history as a Reagan. Get ready for LBJ II.

Update: This from Kos:

We put together an unprecedented ground operation, but it was matched by the zealots on the right. We experienced an explosion in the blog world and started a nascent liberal radio network, but our message machine was far outmatched by the rightwing noise machine (Fox News, the Washington Times, Drudge Report, Talk Radio, etc.) We put forth quality candidates in races nationwide, only to see most outclassed and outgunned by a GOP which ran on three simple tenets: God, guns and gays.

It's a bitter pill to swallow, but one that should hopefully lead to a brighter future. Bush owns his messes, and now he'll be forced to clean them up. He won't be able to hide behind 9/11 seven years into his term. Unless the Republicans can engineer a recovery of epic proportions, they will have a great deal to answer to in the 2006 midterms and 2008. And God help Bush if this nation suffers another terrorist attack.

But best of all, we'll continue to see this great resurgence in progressive activism - the kind not seen in American politics in over a generation. None of these new activists heeded the call to arms only to abandon the fight today. We are energised, and will continue to fight for a better future for our country.


I'm going to bed now...and I'm hoping the world turns right-side up when all the ballots are counted.

Monday, November 01, 2004

And the dam bursts

I called it months ago, when more "reasonable" people said it would be close.

Months ago.

It is now less than 9 hours before I vote and 30 hours before we get the "results" from the networks....

And I still say, Kerry wins with 350 plus electoral votes and Virginia is the big shocker.

So funny to see the hesitant, the shy, fumbling their way towards the inevitable...

Kerry wins and wins big.

Trouble Voting?

Thanks to the friend who found this for me, here is additional information about the 1-866-MYVOTE1 number:

Description: 1-866-MYVOTE1 is a toll-free telecommunications system that allows voters who are experiencing difficulty in the voting process to record (in English or Spanish) a brief statement of their problem, and transfer, at no cost, to their local county/municipal board of election. Voters can also call the Voter Alert Line to find their polling location. The Voter Alert Line is up and running, and thousands of calls have already been processed.

InfoVoter Technologies’ MYVOTE1 Voter Alert Line (1-866-MYVOTE1) will be operated from the National Constitution Center on Election Day, November 2, 2004, from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
NBC News' Natalie Morales will report on information coming through the Voter Alert Line from the Constitution Center, as well as Cristina Londono from Telemundo, NBC's Spanish language network, with additional coverage from locations around the country. The nationwide broadcasting of the Voter Alert Line analysis is part of “Making Your Vote Count,” one of the centerpieces of NBC News' Decision 2004 political coverage. NBC 10 will also feature live coverage throughout the day and Renee Chenault-Fattah will co-anchor Election Day newscasts from the Constitution Center.

The Voter Alert Line is funded by a range of non-partisan organizations and academic institutions including: The Common Cause Education Fund, The University of Pennsylvania Fels' School of Government, The Reform Institute, and The Hispanic Voter Project at Johns Hopkins University. The National Constitution Center is a partner in this consortium.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch StIndependence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Denise Venuti Free

Go Packers!

It's official. The Packers beat the Redskins yesterday - Bush is
going down. Since 1936, if the Skins lose the last home game before
the election, the incumbent party loses; they win and the incumbent
wins. Kerry's a shoe-in.