When is it our turn?
1992: After twelve years of voodoo economics, the economy is officially stupid. So, Democrats win... with a triangulating strategy based on governing from the so-called "center." Sister Souljah joins "welfare queens" among the Great Straw Women of American Discourse.
1994: Newt Gingrich's Contract on America offers thinly veiled racism and power to the powerful. What's not to like? The GOP wins Congress and spends the next six years staring at the Clenis.
2000: To atone for the cumshot heard round the world, Al Gore dons a hairshirt: sanctimonious scold Joe Lieberman. Based on the journalistic principle of "Clinton Fatigue," the media decides that the country needs a backslapping dolt. Based on the Constitutional principle of "Who's Your Daddy?" the Supreme Court concurs.
2001-2003: Despite VP Cheney's anti-terrorism task force meeting a backbreaking zero times, terrorists still manage to destroy the World Trade Center. On the strength of this leadership, the media and most of the public embrace George W. Bush's Operation Terrorist Recruitment Rapture Crusade.
2004: The media declares Bush's second disputed one-state victory to be a mandate to ram his compassionate conservatism further up the world's ass. (Maybe man date was just a Freudian slip).
2005: Hurricane Katrina hits, and Bush's mama offers brown people all the Astroturf they can eat.
2006: Even though they're not allowed to see the flagged-draped coffins (if more soldiers don't die in vain, the previous ones died in vain), the public smartens the fuck up and votes out a ton of House and Senate Republicans. The new Democratic majority promptly rolls over and plays dead, thanks to a slew of Bush Dogs in donkey's clothing.
2008: Triangulation Man gives way to Triangulation Woman... who's duking it out with an even more acute triangulator of the Next Generation. Somewhere in the distance, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich sound the call for progressive reform. Whatever.
* * *
When, I ask, is it time for a progressive agenda?
When is it time to run hard left, the way Ronald Reagan — that man of ideas — ran hard right?
The media's answer channels a famous New Yorker cartoon.
* * *
Glenn Greenwald accurately describes what "most Beltway 'liberal' pundits always do and have been doing for the last twenty years — namely, warn Democrats that they will lose elections unless they renounce their beliefs and act as much as possible like Republicans on national security issues."
But you know what, I don't think never is good for us.
Why on earth is it that both sides of every flipped coin say "use Republican framing"?
The country is demonstrably ahead of the media on this. Even though the press and pundits are in no hurry to catch up, remember whose ass got kicked in the 2006 midterms.
So, why are Dems still running scared?
Why do we buy into the idea that today's America is intrinsically rightwing, that we must fear and honor these indefensible frames?
- Fiscal prudence=GOP
- Strong defense=GOP
- Supporting our troops=GOP
- Moral values=GOP
- Old-fashioned values=GOP
Dishonoring them doesn't mean ignoring them. It means smashing them.
Imitating them — the sincerest form of flattery, y'know — is not smashing them.
Turning ourselves into gun-toting NASCAR Jesus isn't changing the frames. It's bronzing them. That covers up the bullshit, and faster than you can say "Rupert Murdoch," those frames will be back on the wall.
We should shine a bright light on these fecal frames, like Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton did:
"So many military believe that Republican administrations are good for the military. That is rarely the case. And we have got to get a message through to every soldier, every family member, every friend of soldier, that the Republican Party, the Republican-dominated Congress has absolutely been the worst thing that has happened to the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps."
The Republicans are not the party of ideas. They're the party of hypocrisy, corruption, arrogance, cruelty, and failure. Why would anyone want to sing Kumbaya with them, or think there was glory in it?
* * *
Just where — besides the SCLM, Rightwing radio, and Karl Rove's lying piehole — did we get the idea that this country naturally tilts to the right?
- In 2000, Al Gore got more votes than Bush
- In 2004, John Kerry came incredibly close (if not closer, given another round of voting improprieties), despite Bush's 9/11 and "War President" bounces, a massive slime campaign, and possessing the charisma of diet kelp
- In 2006, the Democrats won handily
- On a good week (for him), Bush's approval rating barely cracks 1/3
So, isn't it time to stop fearing our own shadow? If not now — with the wounded GOP practically holding our quivering boots to their necks — when will it be time?