Saturday, November 08, 2008

So, We Won...And Now?

I've been watching the media and reading blogs and thinking about this earth shattering win we had Tuesday. I'm under-impressed with what I'm hearing. I'm not for one second implying that the Republicans aren't in disarray, they certainly are. I wonder how powerful these folks gloating would have called the Democratic Party a few days after Kerry's loss. Not very is my guess.

This is one election and it is one with a lot of unique features and while it says a lot, it says it mostly about itself - not the future or even the status of electoral politics presently. There are factor after factor in this election that returned to a more normal status would seriously affect the looks of all this analysis that is making so much of this election. The unity of the black vote and the turn out levels are not something to take as repeatable. On the other hand the "other" factor this candidate fought is not necessarily present in another contest. Economic meltdown just prior to an election is not something to look for or forward to. There are things that evidently don't work, being a cranky mean old man didn't, running an obnoxiously unqualified VP choice didn't work, jumping from tactic to tactic without an overarching strategy didn't work. Frankly, most of that could have been easily enough predicted. Is that something to count on?

The idea going around is that this is an electoral tsunami of huge effect. I disagree. I do not discount the vote or even the electoral split, but I'm unwilling to take them as meaningful beyond this particular election. I believe the Democratic Party has had a door cracked open for them. This is an epic opportunity, not some sort of mandate or validation. If one pre-supposes successful policies from the Obama administration and Democratic Congress a tool is presented to us. Thirty years of Republican propaganda can be countered with a dedicated campaign of pointing up the successes and contrasting them to the current failure of the right. People will not move from an established point of view because they're just told "we're better," that's been said by us for quite awhile. They will move when we demonstrate we've got the goods.

Baker County, Oregon went to McCain by 64/32 and that isn't all about racism. This county was a Democratic stronghold up until about 30 years ago and it wasn't the Dixi-crat version. The people are philosophically conservative, they don't take new or change as being good in itself. The "New and Improved" on the box doesn't mean much to them, what means something is that the clothes are clean. We have got to show them, and a whole lot of others like them, that the clothes do get clean with our New and Improved.

I'm not raining on the parade, I'm as pleased as any other Democrat. I'm calling for action, for a plan to move on this cracked open door. I'm not satisfied, not even close to it. I don't care if Bill Clinton is a hero to you or not, what did not happen during his administration was a roll back of the Republican frame of politics and we're damn fools if we don't do it this time. You want to keep winning and to move this country left of where it is today, then be ready to work for it. We have as a gift from the Republicans two wars and a broken economy and a new Congress and new Executive Branch and whatever success we have has to be drilled into the voter's head and the dirty sock of right wing failure rubbed under their noses.

If you've got some idea that we did real good in this election, I'll tell you what real damn good would have looked like. Obama would have won by a 20 point margin, the electoral count would have been over 400, and he'd have won Baker County; Jeff Merkley would have kicked Gordon Smith not only through the goal posts but out of the stadium. I wouldn't be worried about minimizing the damage on this side of the State, I'd be working on turning out the vote. Go ahead and celebrate, we've got a couple months until Inauguration and a bit past that before we've got things to point to. But once that's done you better have a plan in place on how to press the message and how to reach out with success. Self congratulatory exercises feel good, but they aren't productive - planning and setting up mechanisms is productive. You win because you do the work and you work smart, not because you got lucky once. You capitalize on luck, not count on it, not congratulate yourself for being lucky.

By the way, YAHOO, YIPPIE KIYAY WE WON. There, I said it, now plan on how to keep winning.


ltlc1234 said...

Quote "Go ahead and celebrate, we've got a couple months until Inauguration and a bit past that before we've got things to point to." A good politician would know that you have no time to celebrate, the work starts NOW.

Chuck Butcher said...

That is exactly the point of the post, start putting together the pieces.

KISS said...

From what I read the mandate never occurred, except in the minds of the fanatics. The numbers were about the same as in 2004, of course for dimmos rather than repugs.
This is going to be tough times for the President because of the legacy of Bush and his cabal of bandits. He cannot be evaluated fairly because of this.
Merkley beating Smith was a Donny-Brooke in any thinking man's language.
In the Oregon politics, Courtney and other tribe members may defeat any good the dimmos might do.
If corporations start paying their fair share of taxes I will be deeply gratified. For way too long the poor and middle class have been picking up the bill.
Let us all hope Dimmos can steer the ship away from corporate control.

Chuck Butcher said...

Nope KISS, 04 was less than 2% difference, this is 6%. In American national elections 6% is huge, what that "mandate" amounts to will be seen. This election probably stands alone in its characteristics so what you make of it politically is open to question. In relation to race, society, and culture it says quite a bit.

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