And if that's what they believe is best for the country, I have just two words for them: FUCK YOU.
I know the Dem base is disappointed with the pace of progress so far. I know they're disillusioned. But returning us to Con rule is a dumbshit thing to do. It's not the way to register your displeasure, people. You want Dems to wake up and listen to progressives? Primary the fuckers:
See? No need to elect batshit fucking insane shitheels who will return to looting the country and shredding the last remaining bits of our Constitution and our dignity as soon as they're back in power. You can send the Dems a clear message without doing anything so stupid as electing the arsonists fire chief.So, how do liberals exert what power they have and have the results be interpreted the way we want it to be? The first would be through protest votes for a third party that resulted in Republican victory. (There is virtually no chance that any third party will ever gain real power short of a fundamental change in the way we elect our representatives, so protest is all it will be.) It's been done before. And if you can live with the idea of voting in a Republican party in the thrall of extremists that make Bush and Cheney look like Rockefeller Republicans, I suppose that might be the way to go. I won't judge you, but I am personally unwilling to put the world through any more of this failed right wing experiment at the moment.
There is a fairly compelling theory in political science that says that after political parties come into power, fulfill some pieces of their agenda, get fat and bloated and are finally removed from office, they then tend to deny the reality of their loss and blame it on everything but themselves until they lose enough elections that they finally realize that their ideology has failed. The current GOP is not there yet by a long shot. They are still in the process of doubling down on their radical agenda at a time when the economy is still in ruins, the effects of globalization are being fully felt, the planet is in peril and about to reach a tipping point, and a radical fundamentalist movement is trying to blow people up. I don't think the world can take any more of the right's prescriptions for these problems right now: Lindsay Graham is considered too liberal and neo-Hooverism is their economic program. Yes, the Democrats are corrupt and inept. But the other side is batshit insane.
However, that doesn't mean that there's nothing we can do but wring our hands about how the system is broken and fret ourselves into intertia. The other way to send messages to the Democratic party is through the unsatisfying and often thankless process of primary challenges. Nobody can have any problem understanding that message, not even Adam Nagourney.
It's hard to find challengers and it's no wonder. It's expensive, time consuming and after all your hard work you will probably lose. It takes real commitment and a desire to not only win a seat in congress but do it by way of unseating an incumbent of your own party with whom you disagree, an act which is guaranted to make you an odd man out among the party hierarchy. But if you win, it can send shockwaves through the system.
And guess what? We are in the most favorable year for primary challenges in recent memory. The insane teabaggers aren't going to allow any rational Republicans to run and the anti-uncumbent fever is going to be as high as it's been since 1994. The Democratic base has an energetic activist faction, the netroots can raise money and there is a burning desire to show the party establishment that they cannot take liberals for granted. It's a perfect environment for successful primary challenges.
And lucky for us, there are some brave progressives already out there taking on incumbents and there very well may be more. This time a few of them may win, and believe me if that happens, the Democratic party will not be able to spin those victories as being a sign that the party needs to move to the right.
Blue America has helpfully set up an Act Blue page with all the progressive challengers who have announced and we'll add to it as more come forward. We're calling it "Send The Democrats A Message They Can Understand."
If you want a Democratic scalp, these candidates are out there offering to do the work to get it done. And you won't be giving Adam Nagourney or Cokie Roberts or Glenn Beck what they want in the process. It's a win that even the villagers and the party establishment can't spin as good news for Republicans.
I'm going to conclude this screed with John Amato's wise words:
More and better Dems, people. Not Cons.There's an impulse to say screw it all and not show up anymore because "they're all the same," but I can't do that. For the most part, politicians will let us down because they are...well, politicians, but they aren't all the same. There have been plenty of books written about Florida in 2000. If ballots had been properly labeled so that voters who wanted Gore instead of Pat Buchanan could have done so, we might have had a more fair election. And then the Supreme Court would have been left to watch election night like the rest of us and Bush wouldn't have entered the White House in 2000.
Think of what that would have meant for the country:
- The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would never have been a reality.
- I doubt we would have had the attacks of 9/11 because President Clinton warned that the greatest threat America would face was terrorism and Gore would have not ignored him like Bush did. But if we did get attacked, then you can bet that Gore would have handled it as an adult. He wouldn't sought "revenge" against Saddam Hussein and prioritized control of all that oil. Gore wouldn't have let Osama Bin Laden get away and the world would still be sympathetic to us.
- Our efforts to put Afghanistan back together would be finished by now, assuming we even would have tried nation-building there.
- More troops and people would be alive and we would have exited the Middle East with our heads held high.
- America would never have invaded and occupied Iraq and over 4,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (if not millions) would be alive today.
- Abu Ghraib would never have happened.
- Terrorist recruitment would have stalled.
- Torture would not be part of the American lexicon and the likes of Dick Cheney and John Yoo would never have descended upon the offices of the VP and OLC.
- John Roberts and Sam Alito would not be on the Supreme Court and the makeup would probably be 6-3 against the radical Scalia-conservative agenda. A ruling on Citizens United is coming soon. Would the court ever have accepted that case? Not a chance and soon corporations will have a stranglehold on our election system much more than they have now.
- George Bush would have been back home in Texas leading the state into secession along with his pal Alberto Gonzalez.
- Nobody would have ever heard of Terry Schiavo.
- A much swifter and more effective response to Hurricane Katrina would have been implemented.You get my point. These are but a few things that would have been different if conservatives didn't get their hands on the White House. Many of us are fighting for liberal and progressive values everyday and will continue to do so. But when our party fails us, I need to work harder to make sure the party stays on a liberal course, not throw up my hands and dismiss them as all the same.
Let's make it so.