Friday, June 23, 2006

It's NOT the Economy, Stupid

So now we begin to see the shape of the November election strategy, Bush. It's more of the same. It has worked in the past, why should it not work again this November? It's tar and feather the Democrats with taunting labels: "cut-and-run," "defeatist," and the good old tried and tested "unpatriotic." Make them look like a bunch of softies on Iraq and "homeland security." Rattle the sabers and beat the drums of war, talk up the "victory" angle. And justify the argument that "we have to fight them there so we don't have to fight them here" by stage-managing a terrorist round-up for the media...

Yesterday's loud message to the American people? Be afraid. Be very afraid. And of course: see how well we Bushies have been protecting you? Your Gonzales gets to go on national television with a press conference this morning... and the media show up in droves because it's "breaking news."

This is crap, Bush. But we can expect more of this sickening stuff in the coming weeks, if your Rove has anything to do with it. As he most certainly does. Fresh out from under the shadow of possible indictment for his suspected participation in the truly cowardly act of outing the CIA agent, Valerie Plame, and flush with vindication, he's on the loose again and more toxic than ever. Tighten your seat belts, Democrats. Be ready for a bumpy ride between now and November.

What would your Rove advise them, Bush, these Democrats? I think, were he on their side, he'd be inciting them to go for the jugular. There's nothing to lose, he'd say, but another election. And go for the gut. Forget about reason, rational argument... forget even about the truth. That's not what counts. What we now know for sure is that it's not about the debate of vital national issues. It's not about talking common sense or appealing to the self-interest of voters. It's not even particularly about those famous "moral values." No. So what is it about? It's about emotion. It's about appealing to the fear, the pain, the anger, the frustration... I'm ashamed to even have to suggest this, but it is also about hatred. It's about unvarnished, ill-considered judgment, the gut response.

At this point in our history, you won't win presidential elections on the basis of a thoughtful and enlightened vision for the future of the country. You'll never win by seeing both sides of an issue and addressing its complexity. The famous Bill Clinton adage no longer applies: it's NOT the economy, stupid.

Consider the amazing spectacle of suffering working and middle class Americans avidly supporting those who so obviously labor mightily against their economic interests--providing stupendous tax cuts for the very rich and vast debt for the rest of us and our children to pay off; short-changing the needy on medical care and health insurance, as well as educational opportunity; allowing the nation's infrastructure to fall apart as gasoline prices skyrocket; looking on as well-paid jobs are lost and young people fail to find a place in the working world; claiming to honor the free market even as they protect their privileged clientele with subsidies and tax benefits. And so on.

No, Bush, it's no longer the economy, stupid. It's the heart, the gut, the often irrational emotional core. That's what your Rove goes for. The Democrats don't have the proverbial snowball's chance in hell if they fail to grasp this elementary and by now self-evident truth. They need to figure the emotional angle and work it to the bone.


GringoWithoutBorders said...

Peter is amazing!!! at times :-) Completely agree with this. However, I am worried that Democrats do not have the courage, leadership, brains or solidarity to unite as one. As long as the Republicans can unite and speak as one, saying the same thing over and over, most people will side with the emotional attraction of a strong alpha dog leader no matter if truth and justice are thrown to the side.

Look at any united group of people and you will find that those who are united can accomplish virtually anything, good or evil, if the other side is divided and fighting among themselves. (United we stand / Divided we fall is the most powerful or self defeating action any animal/insect has at its disposal).

PeterAtLarge said...

Hello, Gringo (nice tag, by the way. Doctors Without Borders is top of my charity list!) Good to hear from you. You make a good point. If you've been following the Diaries, you'll know that I have been deeply pessimistic myself--but that I came back from the YearlyKos convention in Las Vegas with considerably more hope for the progressive movement in this country. I'm trying to reflect that in the Diaries.

GringoWithoutBorders said...

Peter, please keep repeating your hopeful viewpoint. Maybe it will rub off on me. I'll keep listening.

Dave said...

Ah, the alpha dog analogy is much to the point. Last night on the PBS News Hour both Shields and Brooks, the liberal and conserv ative commentators, agreed that for most voters strong is more important than wrong. Of course, strong and wrong is the worst combination.

Yet the Democrats were afraid that Howard Dean was too strong, so they wimped out with Kerry. They have to get the point: strong and right is the best combination.

Dave said...

P.S. It's interesting, of course, that Bush is not a strong leader, but his strings are worked by people who are--Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld. He's the smiley-face in a pilot's uniform (undeserved, the cut-and-run guy of the Vietnam War). His stay the course shit is an easy sham strength since he makes no hard decisions--just keeps smiling and repeating his cliches. No strength in that.

Anonymous said...

Forty years ago I was discussing with a friend the rise of fascism in Germany before WWII. Bill, who I had the highest reguard for, believed it could happen here. I didn't believe the Americian people would allow it. I thought they were too proud of their freedom. Bill,I apoligise. You were right I was not.

PK said...

There is another way of looking at his words... we won't have to fight them over here if we stop trying to fight them over there!!! The longer we keep killing the Iraqi people, the more dangerous the US will become. These people are only going to take so much before they start infiltrating the US in bigger numbers. Then what? Who's to blame? Would any of us want the US completely demolished as we have done to their country? Don't think so, and they're going to get fed up with it too!

GringoWithoutBorders said...

PK, you have good company.

"We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others."
~Martin Luther King III