Maybe Norquist was right, and bipartisanship really is date rape. Perhaps, better, with respect to the Democrats, it's like a first-year woman in college lookng for someone to read Emily Dickinson with at a jock frat kegger on the night after the Big Game...
Now, with respect to the politically possible, indulge me in a fantasy:
(before a Democratic leadership meeting, with Obama, Reid and Pelosi in attendance)
(introduction by a Democrat like Grayson or Franken)
Ladies and gentlemen, the progressive element of the party has searched high and low for someone who could help us think outside the box, find our cheese and work as a team to fulfill our potential. We're proud to have Prof. Wombat, of Wombat Consulting, a subsidiary of Consolidated Marsupial, with us today. Give him a nice round of applause: Prof. Wombat!
(tepid applause as Power Point gears up; an ingratiating bad joke or two, thanks for being here, let's all work together, like that, and then:)
The current situation:
1. Republicans and the right relentlessly, stridently and without any shame at all constantly pound the country with crazy, arrant nonsense and lies.
2. Democrats, in response, say, in a lower voice, 'Ain't it awful?' mostly to each other.
3. The media repeat the Republican crap as if it's true, and can't be challenged on fact.
4. The media focus most of their energy, though, not on actual fact, but on the manly Republicans from Mars, showing excitement, energy and manliness, recruiting the Real America to their cause, and the weak, metrosexual, hand-wringing, mojo-challenged, well, non-manly Democrats from Venus.
5. The politically possible is defined as whatever the Republicans condescend to concede the legitimacy of, and nothing more.
It need not be so, for the following reasons:
1. The Republicans, er, lost the last election, definitively, because George Bush and Dick Cheney left a steaming pile of offal ofunprecedented size and odor on the White House table as they left.
2. The Republicans made a disaster, throughout the Busherregnum and on leaving, of every economic, domestic, foreign and social policy they touched. Every one.
3. Poll after poll shows that when individual Democratic policy points are separated out from Republican talking points, there is at least parity, and often a majority, in support, even in the current unfavorable environment.
4. Republican policy recommendations mirror the disastrous Bush policies that got us into this mess in the first place.
So, there is not only something that can be done, but something that should be done, with a greater chance of success than is generally acknowledged even by you guys:
1. Support yourselves, and attack your opposition, with equal or greater energy to that the Republicans show in attacking you.
2. Talk up the unprecedented Republican use of filibuster in opposition, the multiple forced compromises, as limiting Democratic effectiveness in a baldly partisan, historically unprecedented act of nihilism, and that Democrats would be more, rather than less, effective were they to do what they were elected to do. Recast the disappointments not as failures arising from flawed Democratic policies, but from Republican intransigence.
3. Challenge every last lie. Every one. Without exception. Call them lies.
4. Challenge every last paranoid raving--birthers, Cloward-Piven conspirators, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Illuminati and the Masons, all of them, as craziness having no relationship to reality.
5. Challoenge the notion that class warfare is only directed against the rich.
6. Recall the prosperity we've seen under more burdensome tax schedules than Obama wants to implement, much less those demanded by republicans.
7. Speak constantly and clearly about the good government does, and that demanded of government by the people, in terms which clearly delineate Republican malfeasance from an actually achievable alternative.
8. Embrace the concerns of the middle class nand small business by demonstrating Republican bias towards the rich and the huge corporations.
9. Be prepared, every time, to call media figures on their biases and challenge them with facts, logic, humor and derision when derision is called for.
Such a strategy will enlarge the previously recognized bounds of the politically possible, improve Democrats' political position,and may, even, help solve the world's problems. Any questions?
(nervous hand-wringing, followed by: 'But what if they call us poopyheads?')
Laugh at 'em. Say that Hitler and Tojo called Roosevelt a poopyhead. Say the Southern racists called Johnson a poopyhead. Say that opponents of Medicare called the program the first step towards destruction of the American way of life, and that its supporters were all poopyheads. Say that Republicans think old folk on Medicare and Social Security and Medicare are parasites, that those who advocate talking diplomacy as well as war are appeasers, that those advocating helping the unemployed with extending their insurance benefits hate America, and that, if Republicans call us poopyheads, well, we've been called worse. Laugh at 'em again. And say, if they want to help, fine; if all they do is rave, call names and lie, well, we can deal with that.
Yes? Anyone else?
We thank you for your generous reception, and hope we've helped.
Now go get 'em.
(audience files out, eats watercress sandwiches for lunch and returns to work)