March 23, 2005

Quick! Hire this Guy as a Consultant.

Michele recently wrote a thoughtful little essay about her own sense of "buyer's remorse" with regard to her vote for Bush in the election. I imagine there are quite a few people teetering on that particular edge these days, though I doubt there ever were any fiscal conservative voters who were wild about GWB.

At any rate, Gary Farber notes and quotes it, and adds:

what I wish to urge all my fellow Democrats in regard to those who feel like Michele is that they respond like this: castigate them not. Speak not to them with chastisement of any sort. Welcome them as allies on any issue you are of like mind about. And take it from there. Look to the future, and the now.

Because what it's about is doing the right thing and getting the best policies passed. Which means making alliances with like-minded people, rather than indulging your self-righteousness, and putting personal purity, whether yours or theirs, ahead of electing good people and winning the issues.

And, besides, anyone who thinks the Democrats have had their act together on security, overall, since September 11th, 2001, hasn't been following the plot; at best, individual Democrats, and clusters, have had some haphazardly sound stances, on some issues; so without re-opening old arguments, it's not as if you had to be crazy to at least have had some complaints about the Democrats and security issues; Lord knows it's a simple fact that, right or wrong, plenty of people have felt that way, and, y'know, what's important isn't rehashing the past, but making them welcome when they're now ready with an open mind.

Seems perfectly sensible to me. When I checked out the comments to Gary's post, though, I was pretty surprised at the responses, particularly this one:
We need a limited number of votes in a limited number of states, and we should do what we need to do to strike that deal. But, IIRC, Michelle lives in a solidly Blue area; her vote helps us not at all. If people want to rant, and it makes them feel better, they should do so - it costs us nothing.

Moreover, for a large part of the anti-Bush crowd, this was an easy choice because the choices were so stark. That these people couldn't make the appropriate decision given that truth means that they are entirely untrustworthy as decision-makers. Again, we should make the deals we need, but lets not seek any allies we don't need unless they acknowledge the wrongness of their decision-making process. As I read Michelle, she can't or won't do that - she says she won't apologize b/c she did what she felt was right. Who cares? She was wrong, and until she either owns up to it or brings us votes in area we need, what benefit do we get from removing her incentive towards a little self-criticism by accepting her with open arms?

What benefit is to be gained from striving to conduct yourself approximately as though you are a decent human being with regard to those with whom you have disagreements, but with whom you may nevertheless have common ground? Well, it depends on whether they're from blue states or red states. Brilliant strategy, there. Keep this up and you're probably going to lose again.

UPDATE: As for the other comments, I like Angua's advice to bg (comments #7 and #8.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at March 23, 2005 05:39 PM | TrackBack

I think she's on to something with the one issue voting. It was obviously the goal of the Republican party to pull out a few key issues and get people to vote on those alone. Anytime at the debates when any of the other issues was brought up, it somehow reverted to gay marriage, abortion, or the war on terror. I wish people would understand that no matter how many times they vote Republican, these issues will never be "solved". Think about it, if the Republicans really did mangage to outlaw abortion, what the hell would they run on in '08? They've been promising to do away with abortion for a long time. They have no intentions of addressing any of these issues, and hopefully more people like her are begining to realize that.

Posted by: Manda Magpie at March 23, 2005 07:39 PM

Yeah, but it was not isolated only to the Republican Party. Kerry's campaign was just as bad. And in retrospect, it's a darn good marketing idea (which elections have become). Keep the main ideas few and in the spotlight. If one were to have asked the Kerry campaign about women rights, it would’ve always come back to abortion. Yeah, that’s the only woman rights issue, John.

With a society built on 30 minute sitcoms, 30 second radio spots and catch phrases, a few key issues goes a lot farther then a multiple of issues.

The true "genius" (if you want to call it that) behind the Bush Campaign was the way he played his religious card. Bush's campaign strategy just goes to show you that if you get Preachers, Popes, Reverends, etc... You essentially get the entire congregation. You get Oral Roberts and you get all those nut jobs. Numbers win elections. Very clever -- and I am definitely not a republican.

Posted by: lucky409 at March 23, 2005 08:10 PM

Hey, lucky409, thanks for the "I am definately not a Republican" qualifier. You had me worried there for a minute.

Posted by: Mike at March 23, 2005 09:31 PM

ha ha. More of a socialist, here.

Posted by: lucky409 at March 24, 2005 04:35 AM

keeping the conspiracy theories alive.

nasa has discovered a real death star. a synthetic intergalactic battle station in saturns orbit.

luke black

Posted by: luke black at March 24, 2005 06:03 AM

The comments left on Michelle's post, and on the other post I linked to, were actually even far more depressing. Which is to say there were even far more emphatic, and dopey, and they-give-me-a-sinking-feeling, comments that made clear that what was most important, to these folks, was, indeed, feeling self-righteous, and demanding payment in self-flagellation.

These are the sort of Democrats that make me want to bang my head on the wall. It seems that both parties actually have a -- entirely different, but there -- way to channel feelings of personal holiness.

Posted by: Gary Farber at March 24, 2005 06:11 AM

The emails were even better than the comments, Gary. Apparently I'm too stupid to live, but if I just stand on a street corner and whip myself into a bleeding frenzy while screaming for forgiveness from Democrats, they just might allow me to vote in the next election. Charming bunch.

Posted by: michele at March 24, 2005 04:19 PM

I have to admit I'm a little baffled here. First, Frank, I think you chose the most extreme and hostile comment to GF's post. The stuff I just looked at over there was much, much less nasty and inflamatory. And no one that I could find endorsed this "tactical civility" concept. Which other responses surprised you guys? Over on Michele's blog, which I looked at for the 1st time today, there's a whole lot of "keep the faith! freedom's on the march" responses, lots of filler, and not a lot of "well screw you and the horse you rode in on!" stuff that I can find.

As a Bush-hater and war opponent, I'm glad that someone who disagrees with me on those points now feels equivocal about Bush (I'm trying to avoid putting words in your mouth, Michele, by mischaracterizing or overstating your opposition to W). But disagreements are still disagreements, and, as one of the comments on GF's blog said, I'm not interested in compromising basic principles or crucial political goals just to win votes. Incidentally, that kind of compromise is exactly what the Dems have done at least since 1992, and it's (a) losing tons of elections and (b) encouraging American politics to shift even faster to the Right.

Posted by: Nick at March 24, 2005 04:50 PM

Hey there, Nick: it's been awhile, eh? Glad you're back.

I didn't quote that comment because I thought it was particularly representative of the views of Gary's other commenters, but rather because I thought it was particularly retarded. And I do know people who think along the same lines.

I see what you're saying about the liabilities of the centrist "compromise," but, on the other hand, that approach did win two pretty important elections in the 90s.

Posted by: Dr. Frank at March 24, 2005 05:46 PM

It also lost them two pretty important elections in the 00s.

Personally I think it's costing the Dems leftest votes rather then picking up centrist votes.

Posted by: dbowers409 at March 24, 2005 07:00 PM

Hey Frank,

Yes, it's been a while. I'm glad I'm back, too, though from my point of view I've been where I am all along.

There's a virtually limitless debate on Dem and Lefty political blogs about centrism, the DLC, and triangulation politics. I don't want to hijack your blog to reproduce that, since anyone reading this can go over to Daily Kos or pandagon and read it first hand. But the Clinton elections look more and more like an anomaly (which is, after all, a thing without a name) caused by (a) deeply unappealing GOP candidates in '92 and '96 (b) Clinton's personal appeal and talent as a campaigner, and (c) Perot skimming socially-moderate deficit hawks from the GOP side.

Since the DLC started to dominate Dem strategy, they've lost majority status in DC and elsewhere, and have failed to shake the "liberal elite" tag even as they objectively move to the right. The 2 stated justifications for the DLC way were (1) ___ is really a liberal, he just can't say so in the general, just wait til he's elected, and (2) all the voters think we're crazy commies and we need to support what they support. Well, #1 hasn't happened -- abortion was the big "line in the sand" in the 90s and now the DLC wants to move right on that, too. On #2: I still believe that you can lead voters as well as follow them -- if someone disagrees substantively with my position on universal health care or genuine labor law reform or slashing the military budget then we can discuss pros and cons. But the fact that voters don't currently agree with me doesn't mean they never will -- unless folks like me stop arguing for our positions and stop demanding that candidates speak and run as genuine lefties. That's why I won't "move to the center to attract more voters" on key issues -- I think it has no track record of success, unless you define success as enabling right wing domination of American politics.

Hmmm. Looks like I did hijack your blog. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Nick at March 24, 2005 07:14 PM


I agree. What is more distasteful in a politician or political candidate than a bunch of phony posturing and evasiveness? Evan Bayh comes to mind. He's made a career out of never answering the actual question asked of him. BLECH!!!

I'm lucky if a candidate and I agree on 50% of the big issues. Very lucky. (Usually my big issues aren't even a concern.) I would figure that this is the case for many people. However, a large number of voters have a key issue or two that take precedence over all the others. Lock into the appropriate side of the most important handful of those key issues and you have the basis of a campaign.

One caveat, though, in regards to my opening statement. It is my personal belief that the American public wants to respect their candidate, perhaps as much or even more than they want to agree with them. They want someone who will stand up and speak their mind; who will just be themselves whether they are liberal, conservative, or whatever. Granted there are some things you cannot or should not say, but most of what politicians dance around is truly laughable. Take a stance, be firm, and you'll win votes from people who don't necessarily agree with you. People want to scratch the surface and see more surface. They want to read between the lines and see the same stuff they saw in the lines. That doesn't mean simplicity; it does, however, relate to trust, honesty, and forwardness, but mostly I think it's about respect.

Of course, I could be wrong. I thought that's what Howard Dean was doing, but he got crucified. Granted he did make an ass of himself. I watched the Iowa speech live and felt cringingly embarassed for him, but I figured he still had a long campaign ahead. Whoops.

Start speaking your mind and they come gunning for ya, huh?

Posted by: DNB at March 25, 2005 02:43 PM

wasn't sure where i could put this.. so i'll put it here...

Posted by: lucky409 at March 25, 2005 09:53 PM

I'm the guy who left the comment you quote, and I'm stunned that you find it anything but obvious. In essence, I was saying:

1. I don't trust Bush supporters, b/c to me Bush was so awful as to make the decision trivial. From my perspective, anyone who chose Bush, however good the intention, made a large mistake.

2. Absent an acknowledgement that they made a large mistake, I have no idea why you believe I'd want them to help me and mine make decisions. I have no idea why I should believe they won't make similar large mistakes again in the future; these Bush supporters have little incentive to improve their decision-making. Once upon a time, before Republicans turned into hippies, this would have been a self-evident point in Republican circles.

3. I want to win. If Michele (and Michele is standing in for a class Bush-backers) were in NV, OH, NM, or IA, I'd say we should make nearly any deal she wants to make. Frankly, I'd hope to go the eonomics route, but I'd absolutely give up gun control, for example. If Michele could (or can - I don't know) deliver votes there, I'd say the same thing. But beyond that, I'm not sure how she helps our side win.

3. So I'm left here, then -
(a) I don't trust Bush supporters to make sane decisions;
(b) Bush supporters who now doubt the Administration, but who are unwilling to admit mistake, don't have much incentive to improve their decisions in the future;
(c) I want to win, and am willing to move towards those Bush supporters who can help me to win.

Why would you expect me to want to share decision-making power (and that, in a broad sense, is the function of a political party) with people whose decisions I don't trust and whose addition doesn't make my side more likely to win? That seems deeply irrational.

In the end, contra Gary, I don't really want to feel holier-than-thou; I'm simply saying that if it's possible to avoid going to the surgeon who amputated the wrong leg last week, let's avoid him. If not, we'll go to him b/c we have to do so.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim at March 26, 2005 09:28 PM

I'm sorry, have I entered a parallel universe here?

Have the recent events in the Middle East had any impact on anyone here? Or are you deluded enough to believe it would have happened if Kerry were elected?

Coming here is like coming back to high school.

The reason Bush won is because smart-alecky overgrown teenagers don't decide elections in America.

Posted by: JB at March 27, 2005 12:19 AM

The grossly mis-informed masses decide.

Posted by: lucky409 at March 27, 2005 07:44 AM

I'm gonna have to agree with JB here. Did anyone who voted for Bush expect the war on terror to end during his inauguration or something? The way I see it (and this is the point of view of a veteran who was in Iraq), things are looking good in the Middle East and elsewhere...Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and now the Taiwanese are being uppity.

I love Michelle's site and I respect her opinion, but I think looking at the (long term) big picture will make her feel good about voting for Bush.

Posted by: Bobby Sayers at March 27, 2005 05:04 PM

I've missed your pearls of wisdom, JB.


Posted by: DNB at March 31, 2005 03:50 PM

P.S. Like a sweet bitch slap in the face of stupidity.

Posted by: DNB at March 31, 2005 03:51 PM

The owner Dick Wilson was sitting behind the counter Only thirty- tavla [url=]tavla[/url] I dont worry about it! tavla oyunu [url=]tavla oyunu[/url] the two of them her friend Madge with her She didnt seem to see okey tavla [url=]okey tavla[/url] Suzy didnt say anything for a few moments oyun tavla [url=]oyun tavla[/url] The Professor lifted up his drink to his lips ?evrimi?i tavla [url=]?evrimi?i tavla[/url] Eight thirty Y?kle tavla [url=]Y?kle tavla[/url] Marty edged closer to the desk to get a better look at this new George .

Posted by: tavla oyunu at February 24, 2006 03:52 AM