Thursday, August 23, 2012

Take It To The People

British Labor MP Clement Attlee  once walked in to the men's room in the Houses of Parliament while Winston Churchill was using it. Churchill moved as far from Attlee as possible.  Attlee said, "Nervous, Winston?"  Churchill replied, "Of course!  Every time you see something large you wish to nationalize it!"

In 2005-2006, then DNC chair Howard Dean proposed a remarkable plan for the mid-term election: nationalize them.  Calling it "The 50 State Plan", Dean proposed, first getting word out all the way down to the precinct level that as many elections as possible were going to be contested, with that contestation coordinated from the top.  Then, he and other committee members went on a recruiting drive, pitching his idea that the Bush Administration, having gone way too far in Iraq, abandoned Afghanistan, and created an unstable fiscal and economic homefront, provided opportunities for Democratic candidates around the country.

A lot of people thought Dean was nuts.  Not a few folks in the Democratic Party tried to get him either to shut up or step aside.  Dean ignored them and worked and worked and worked and in 2006 the Democratic Party took back the House of Representatives (with some help both from former Rep. Mark Foley [R-Pederasty], and the revelations that House Speaker Dennis Hastert knew Foley like little boys and ignored it] and the United States Senate, winning in places like Virginia and Montana that the Democratic Party just shouldn't have won.

Everyone was grateful for Dean's vision, his energy, his tenacity, and (obviously) his vindication.

This year, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is Party chair.  This year, as we read and watch Republican officials around the country demonstrate the fundamental unfitness of many in the Republican Party to hold any office of public trust - just yesterday, a judge in Texas warned that if Obama is re-elected he's going to surrender the US to the UN; a candidate for sheriff in New Hampshire assured voters he would use deadly force (if it came to it) to prevent elective abortions - the Democratic Party is . . . doing nothing.  The argument should be very similar to one I made the other day: It may well be the case that particular Republicans either in office or seeking office are intelligent, thoughtful, non-loons.  All the same, if we ignore the rampant social pathology within the Republican Party, as demonstrated pretty much every day in news reports and headlines across the country, then we are making a huge mistake.  We need to make clear that folks like Akin and Ryan and Steve King and Judge Head and Ohio's Secretary of State John Husted are not aberrations from some moderate core, the barely tolerated semi-stepchildren who are welcomed within the otherwise sober and staid halls of the Republican Party.  These folks are the beating heart of the Republican Party.  The things they say, the policies they propose, the beliefs the insist are the core of their political life are in step with the rest of the Republican Party.

Which is why they need to be prevented from ever taking an oath of office for anything.

Even now, I believe it isn't too late for Ms. Wasserman- Schultz to devise a strategy to make clear this year's election isn't about issues; it isn't about who wins and loses; shoot, as much as many would wish it were so, it isn't even about Pres. Obama.  No, this year's election, like few in recent memory, centers around one, single question: Are the American people going to elect a group of people to office whose policies have been tried and failed; who do not see women, minorities, and the poor as full moral agents or citizens with any rights worthy of public respect; who deny reality on a daily basis?  While the Democratic Party has many flaws, and while the incumbent is not the one I'd pick as my preferred President, it is clear enough that the Democratic Party is far and away more sane and sound than the Republican Party.

It isn't too late, Ms. Wasserman-Schultz.  A few bucks to create two or three TV spots, a few million more to get them out to TV stations.  Make the case.  Take it to the people.  Be Clement Attlee and nationalize this huge, monstrous reality that the Republican Party just isn't fit to govern.

Virtual Tin Cup

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