detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Wednesday, November 06, 2002

: . Bushed!:

I haven't had any sleep since I got home from class last night and saw the latest election returns. What is wrong with this country? Please indulge my incoherent ramblings for a moment. I fully agree with David Corn that there's no one to blame for this turn of events but the Democratic Party itself and its stable of sleazeballs and stuffed shirts. The Democrats should have seen this coming a long time ago and changed their tactics accordingly. For years now, the Democrats have been embracing a strategy of sell out centrism -- watering down their liberalism and abandoning their "traditional" constituents to appeal to swing voters in the suburbs whose political vision can't seem to extend beyond the confines of their strip malls and housing developments. It's basically a politics without principles for voters without principles and an open invitation to either political treachery or political indifference. The Republicans seized upon this Democratic fence-straddling and complicated matters further by wisely adopting a rhetoric of conciliation where every oppositional stance -- that is, any political position incompatible with their own -- could be easily cast as either immoral or as divisive partisanship motivated by special interests. Like Bush they are now all good “uniters” rather than evil “dividers.” And the Republicans know that their centrism is all a ruse. They know they're putting on an act and they know when to stop acting. They might run as moderates but once in office they revert to their old conservative selves. The Democrats on the other hand run as moderates and remain moderate during their terms in office. What are Democrats to do? Trapped, they played the Republican game and got played in the process. The swing voters they were trying to woo as well as their traditional constituents found them indistinguishable from their Republican opponents and therefore decided to either opt for the more “authentic” Republican centrist or to sit out the elections until better candidates come along. The Democrats lost massively yesterday and they should seriously reconsider their tactics. They should flee from the suburbs and return to the cities. They should assert rather than downplay their liberalism. They should abandon all attempts to attract more white voters and strengthen their appeal to blacks and other people of color. They should adopt a politics of difference instead of a politics of muddled sameness. These are all rather drastic measures and I am perhaps the worst political analyst. But I don't think that anything short of radical change could keep the Democrats from remaining the losers that they have now become.

For more, check out Eric Alterman's How the Left was Lost.

On a brighter note: Winona Ryder Won't Face Jail Time!

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