Well, Crap.

3 comments April 14th, 2006at 06:06pm Posted by Eli

This must be what happens when you take a few weeks off from political blogging: You find yourself agreeing with Howie Kurtz and (sort of) Joe Klein, and disagreeing with Arianna Huffington.

Exhibit A, Howie Kurtz:

Cunningham has been disgraced, but he’s not on the ballot. George Bush is pretty unpopular these days, but he’s not on the ballot either. In most cases, the person on the ballot is your friendly neighborhood incumbent, who has a remarkable knack for getting reelected, even when people are in a throw-the-bums-out mood.

With Iraq a mess and the White House on the defensive, you might think this would be a good year for the out party. But the odds are still against the Democrats winning the House, says this thisWashPost story. And a key reason is gerrymandered districts that make a major turnover — the Democrats need 15 seats — very difficult.

I think Kurtz is right on both counts, and I have been saying much the same thing. In a vacuum, yes, the anti-Bush, anti-Republican polling looks very promising, but I think there are a lot of voters who think all politicians are bums except theirs. So unless Democrats or federal prosecutors can convince Republican voters that their politicians are bums, or that a Republican majority is hazardous to America’s health, it won’t have much effect in November. In other words, it really doesn’t help us if Texas Republicans think Alabama Republicans are bums, or vice versa.

And, of course, gerrymandering makes representative democracy a sham. There may be more “safe” Republican districts in play this year, but they’ll still be uphill battles, and I think the Democrats will be lucky to win even a handful of them. I expect a lot of heartbreaking close losses/moral victories a la Hackett vs. Schmidt, where the Dem does far better than anyone could have dreamed, but not quite well enough to win.

I know I should be more optimistic, but over the past 2-3 elections I’ve come to believe that the game is hopelessly rigged, and the only people who can fix it (or un-fix it, as the case may be) are the very people who are benefitting from it. The same is true of campaign finance, which is causing government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from the earth. Or at least from America.

Exhibit B, Joe Klein:

Yes, Joe Klein is undeniably the wanker di tutti wankers, but I can’t argue with the title of his new book: “Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized By People Who Think You’re Stupid.” Of course, he blames this on the Democrats for selling their souls and convictions to focus-group-driven political consultants, when he should be blaming it on the Republicans’ neverending reliance on lies, fear, and hate, but hey, even being right by accident is an improvement for Klein.

If someone has the stomach to actually read the book and tell me I’m wrong, that Klein calls the Republicans out for basing their entire political strategy on the premise that Americans are too stupid to recognize bullshit, or too small-minded to care, I’ll be happy to hear it.

Exhibit C, Arianna Huffington:

[On liberal bloggers emphatically refusing to welcome Newt into the anti-war fold with open arms]

But while I absolutely understand and share their anger, and adore the passion… I have to ask if this is really the way we want to respond to pro-war people who change their position?

Isn’t the whole goal of those of us fighting to put an end to this immoral, outrageous, and tragic war to get as many war supporters as possible to join the chorus of voices calling for a pull out from Iraq?

Jack Murtha supported the war — then he didn’t. And his change of heart adds credibility to his bold stand, it doesn’t undercut it.

Yes, there is plenty of room to question the motives of pro-war neocons suddenly trying to distance themselves from their bellicose promotion of invading Iraq. But, at the same time, this is absolutely what we want and need them to do in order for us to be able to get out of Iraq. Whatever their motives.

I understand and appreciate the sentiment, but I just can’t buy into it. For one thing, it smacks of the conciliatory, run-away-from-the-base, be-careful-or-you-might-upset-them mindset that’s turning the Democratic party into a joke. And for another, I just can’t say “bygones” and give war cheerleaders a free pass. If someone like Murtha simply believed the war was a good idea and then realized their mistake, I can accept that. But anyone who actively pushed for war and equated dissent with treason can go fuck themselves with a rusty jackhammer. Yes, it’s nice to have them as a data point – “Even Crazy Wingnut X thinks the war was a mistake!” – but that doesn’t mean we have to treat them like a long-lost brother or let them launder their legacy. They are useful to our cause, but that doesn’t excuse what they did. If someone calls me a traitor, I will not forget, and I will not forgive.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Favorites,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers,War


  • 1. flory  |  April 15th, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    In a vacuum, yes, the anti-Bush, anti-Republican polling looks very promising, but I think there are a lot of voters who think all politicians are bums except theirs.

    Two points:
    In reverse, this was conventional wisdom in 1993. Then 1994 happened. Yes, the gerrymandering has got worse, but the incumbents also have a hideously unpopular Preznit and his war to contend with — something that wasn’t affecting anybody’s vote in 1994.

    Also — I’ve been saying it for over a week now — but based on the California experience, its really, really hard to overestimate the impact the whole immigration debacle is gonna have on voter registration patterns. The Repukes just managed the most effective nationwide voter registration drive in recent history — and they’re not gonna be registering Repuke.

  • 2. Multi Medium » Eine&hellip  |  January 28th, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    […] Well, all things considered, Joe Klein’s online WaPo chat wasn’t nearly as awful as I expected. Fact is, I actually agree with his basic premise that politicians’ increased reliance on amoral focus-group hacks has turned Americans off of politics. I just don’t agree that this is primarily a Democratic problem and that the Republicans are the party of authenticity. Their consultants have simply done a far better job of crafting an aura of authenticity, even to the extent of transforming a drunken silver-spoon Connecticut preppie cheerleader/draft-dodger into a straight-talkin’, brush-clearin’, rootin’-tootin’ Texas cowboy. […]

  • 3. Multi Medium » More&hellip  |  January 28th, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    […] This is my worry – that this dissatisfaction will express itself in an attitude of “all congressmen are bums except mine.” Flory tells me I shouldn’t get too hung up on that because we saw the same thing prior to the Republican landslide in 1994, but I’m still not convinced. The Republicans have had the media on their side for as long as I can remember, and were able to paint themselves as housecleaning reformers, with their bold Contract With America. The Democrats could run the identical gameplan this fall, and would be painted as whiny Bush-hating nitpickers whose alleged plan is all smoke and mirrors. […]

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