My short analysis of the Democrats election night losses (November, 2010)…

It really just boils down to: 

If you can’t get your installed base excited about what you’ve done, then don’t expect anyone to be out passionately trying to drum up new customers for you.

* * *

Don’t go blaming the left for your failures, especially the failure to keep your party as united as the conservatives keep theirs. With a majority in the House and the Senate, it was staggering to see the hesitation, the wavering, the uncertainty, the indecisiveness, and even the fear, displayed by the Dems over the past two years. I bet if the Dems had been more headstrong, and devoted to their base, they would have had better results.

And I don’t believe it for one second when the Dems say, “the country is more conservative than we thought, as the voters demonstrated”. Nonsense. Turnout was low. The left and the left-center just didn’t come out, since for them the choice was between people who say they’re representing us and don’t and those who don’t as expected. Yes, one might cast a vote to prevent an even worse outcome than the status quo – but come now, with millions of dollars flowing into the campaign coffers of some truly shady characters, does anyone still believe that each person is getting one vote? It’s more like we each get one vote and some rich anonymous donor, who may not even be a citizen, gets to direct the vote of a hundred thousand others.

Frankly, the Democrats should be happy that they didn’t fare worse. In California, $140M+ didn’t buy a governorship, nor did money buy a Senate seat. These are good things. The Dems could have lost both the House and the Senate, and they could have been reduced by many more rather than staying close to the 50% mark. Despite that silver-lining, the Dems did get what they deserve, and one can only hope that they can learn something from this event.

For me, a moment of truth came when the Dems failed to get health care benefits passed for 9/11 rescue workers. Let me tell you how this would have played if the Republicans were the ones who were trying to get the YES vote: “We Republicans can’t believe the Democrats don’t love their country enough to support the 9/11 heroes!”, “The liberals are showing their true un-American colors”, “The Democrats would rather support [fill-in with any other cause or group] than to support those who heroically risked their lives to save this country”. That’s what the Republicans would have been saying. It would have been all over Fox News. They’d repeat it so many times that even the NY Times would start writing about why the Democrats might hate the rescue workers, and Matt Lauer would be out at breakfast asking guests why they thought Democrats would rather give health care to Iraqis.

But it wasn’t the Republicans who wanted a YES. It was the Democrats. And the Democrats can’t seem to be bothered. Reading Obama’s tweets for the past few months, it seems as if he’s been afraid to really say something important, lest it makes him look like he’s biased. Well, I thought we had elected someone with a huge bias towards doing the right thing, and getting the country back to being the shining example of civilized behavior and long term thinking. And I thought it was that bias that energized people and made the impossible seem possible. Now, the energy is gone.

There’s not a lot of use to try and defend this administration or the Democrats, when what I’d be trying to defend isn’t something I can get passionate about, or even in some cases, to comprehend. From the Health Care bill to our policies in the Middle East to the top-heavy economic bailouts, I just can’t find much to be passionate about. True, they may each be a small step in the right direction, but as we witnessed last week, there was not enough there for anyone to want to fight with fervor to keep.

And, my response to the criticism of the “professional left, who’ll never be happy”: Some things just aren’t a want of the “extreme lefty”. Unless we’re talking a different country. Guantanamo is one of those. What part of a democratic society thinks that it is ok to keep people imprisoned for almost 10 years, without a trial? What are we waiting for? To gather more evidence? Even bad DAs can do a better job of framing someone in less time. Or are we just scared that we’ve turned innocent people into serious enemies? Or is it that we know they are guilty, can prove it, but are worried where we incarcerate them after the trial? Use the same place, just give them their day in court for god’s sake. Or will a trial bring out state secrets? Come on.

Even if those people are incredibly evil, and don’t deserve to be treated like they have human rights, we must understand that we have lost any ability to show the world how a civilized society works, and also, any moral high ground in order to condemn other acts of abuse or tyranny. The next time any government takes some hostages, tortures, or kills unjustly, we must meekly look the other way, as long as we find it ok to treat our enemies wrongfully.  This is not just a “lefty” issue.  And as long as the people who represent us are out trivializing their own based, then maybe they should lose their seat.

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~ by mz on November 8, 2010.

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