Sunday, October 29, 2006


Why I Ask Questions

Some of y'all may be wondering why I am so concerned about trying to understand the different tribes of the right and why they feel and vote the way they do. Y'all might think this is counter-productive. It isn't. You can bet, from the early days of the Southern Strategy through Atwater and Rove, Republicans have been asking "why do working stiffs full of mindless prejudices vote for urbane, open-minded liberals? ... and what can we do to change this?". From this thinking came the Southern Strategy, etc.

Some liberals complain about those of us going on about "what's the matter with Kansas?", but the fact is that in order to win electorally we need to face some hard questions and then use the answers to find weaknesses to exploit. It's how the GOP has done so well since the defeat of Goldwater. And interestingly, it's exactly the strategy we liberals propose, e.g., to use in the war on terror.

One of the overlooked ironies of modern electoral politics is that the GOP has done so well by following quite precisely the sorts of strategies proposed by liberals (and which they, and their over-worked refs in the media, poo-poo as unserious and tantamount to appeasement) for dealing with, e.g., international terrorism: e.g., know your enemy, use that knowledge to find exploitable weaknesses and to stop your enemy's recruitment techniques, etc. And we liberals have done poorly by pursuing the strategy (minus the bellicosity and non-constructive appeals to warfare, although some liberals are bellicose when, and only when, they ought not to be) the GOP has effectively pursued in the war on terror. The reason for this is that the GOP views politics as a war game but too many in the GOP view the fight against terror as more a matter of maintaining national pride (and waving around one's dick ... er, arms) than actually accomplishing the goal of terror reduction. Similarly, while we liberals, gaining our principle support from areas that have lost more than pride in terror attacks, actually want to accomplish something beyond dick-waving in the war on terror, too many in the Dem. leadership display a strategically incompetent high-mindedness not seen in Washington DC since the days of the Dulles brothers: so the people in charge in the Dem. party, not caring about winning, and liberals more concerned about honor and pride of ideology than winning, mount an election policy that, if it involved needless wars and opportunities for profiteering, would be a mirror of the GOP's foreign policy even as their successful electoral policy mirrors our proposed foreign policy.

So we Dems. know how to win: it's part of our ideology as well as something we ought to have learned watching the GOP. So why do liberals, so often dismissed as effete whiners when they seek to "know thy enemy" abroad, dismiss those who try to do the same at home as effete whiners? The Dem. party needs to learn from the GOP's electoral successes and, well, adopt the liberal ideas for dealing with enemies that the GOP knows work, as they use those ideas electorally: are we Dems. that high minded we refuse to even consider elections as battles? Or is something else going on?

The key to Republican ascendency has been the common purpose of the moneyed interests and their expenditure of money over the last thirty plus years to buy control of the information media and high office. It is important to understand the conservative movement but resource shortages and structural problems make the conservative template an impossible one for liberals to copy.
This is indeed true -- the GOP also wasn't able to concoct all of its intellectual sounding defenses for free, either ... all those think tanks cost money.

But now that the GOP has already layed the ground work and showed what works and what doesn't, we should be able to follow their example. And while we'll never have the money they do, it isn't as if we lack big donors (although somehow when furriners donate to the GOP nobody notices, but when Soros donates to liberal causes, you can just hear the GOoPers all but drift into some very anti-Semitic territory -- although for some reason the neo-cons are a bit deaf to the conversational drift here) ...

As to Powell, he's a piece of work ... but that's another story ...
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