What We Have Wrought, What We Must Do
Being an early morning person, I missed a lot of the crowing coming from the rabid late night victory lambs. But as I review various sites that were amazingly active last night (and everyone should think about upgrading to the 25$ server now, weâ€™re only going to get bigger in the blogosphere as a result of all this), Iâ€™m thinking on a couple of lessons we can take away from our Glorious Victory. Letâ€™s review.
1. Trust your feelings, Luke.
The simple fact is, as CTKeith and Kos explain, is that a lot of the more savvy, and eventually those who followed things closely, saw this coming, even to the point of months ago. One of the hardest things in our society, even after years of a vocal, well referenced, proven-fucking-right blogosphere, is that itâ€™s still hard for a lot of us to doubt the CW coming from the SCLM.
One of the reasons Iâ€™m always shouting â€œturn off the TV, drop you subscriptions to the NYTâ€ has to do with the way even small doses of punditry can infect the rational, reasoned mind. Iâ€™m certainly not immune; despite a great deal of knowledge about Iraq, I remember still holding some reservations at the start of the invasion that theyâ€™d eventually find some WMD. And as has been noted, the number of Americans who think they did is around 50%...today.
In a just world, that would shock people into forcing Congressional hearings on the media and the return of the Fairness Act. But thatâ€™s not our world. So itâ€™s up to us, one convert at a time, to convince people that yes! Regular little people really are just as smart as the trustifarian, Ivy Educated gatekeeper media.
Joe was vulnerable because he was a warmonger and cheerleader for a completely failing occupation and invasion, a liar, an ass-kisser of the most vile President this nation has ever seen, and a near-traitor and scold of his own party, who only thought of his own power and ego. Americans may not be well informed, and they may also be evenly split between the two major parties, but the half of them who are Democrats and the third of them who are brain-functional Republicans have spoken: 2/3 now want and end to the war, and all it has brought.
Itâ€™s not really that hard to understand why such numbers equal a loss for one of the warâ€™s biggest cheerleaders. And in fact, many people did think it would bring Lieberman down. We said so, all over the place. If weâ€™re all a little shocked this morning, we shouldnâ€™t be. Eventually, reality catches up with even the biggest fantasy-world denizen.
2. Thereâ€™s still a lot of work to do.
Lamont just squeaked it out. I was biting my nails for a while there, with horrible memories of close elections past, and last minute â€œturnarounds.â€ The machine still functions, and Joe called in a lot of favors, and once again showed that there are many people who will vote against their own interests, or more importantly, for a single interest over anything else. Joe had a cozy relationship with plenty of heavy-hitters and traditionally strong GOTV groups, and it showed in the last hours of the count.
Our job now is to convince those groups that itâ€™s time to embrace the New Politics, and get with the open source project. Itâ€™s just no longer the case that identity politics can work. Republicans have killed bipartisanship, dead, dead, dead. Progressive and liberal groups who care about our traditional issues MUST come to understand that the old methods arenâ€™t going to work. There has to be a marriage, shot gun if necessary, between the open source movement and the traditional base.
Iâ€™m fairly confident Lamont can beat an independent Joe in the fall, but our margin of victory last night doesnâ€™t warm my cockles. We should all make it a point to do what the Republican base has been doing for years: learn to not be afraid to chastise, whip, cajole, embarrass, and otherwise hound our moderates back into the fold, and on board with the unity program. Theyâ€™ve still got the membership lists, mailing apparatus, and phone banks weâ€™re going to need in the fall, and in 2008. Itâ€™s time they realized that we are the future, and that our combined efforts mean Democratic victory, bigtime.
But itâ€™s up to us, here in the blogosphere, to make that realization clear and present in the minds of the traditional organizations who came out for Joe last night. That means less snark blogging, and more dissection of the mechanisms by which Democrats are actually elected.
3. This is not a victory for the far-left or very progressive element.
As our SCLM will never let us forget: Lamont is a millionaire businessman from a wealthy clan who is deeply moderate on most issues. His company isnâ€™t unionized, heâ€™s a friend of Israelâ€™s invading/bombing government, he doesnâ€™t exactly have a long track record of screaming for gay rights or tree-hugging environmentalism.
Heâ€™s a nice guy, I hear, and probably right for the residents of the Land of Bland, but heâ€™s not going to be a firebrand if he gets to the Senate, and I already expect him to let radicals like me down on lots of issues. But radicals are a tiny minority in this country and the smart among us know it. CT voters approved a moderate who appeared less likely to lie, and to ass-kiss the other side, over a moderate with a very good liberal voting record and a penchant for whining.
That is not progressive victory, it is a victory for common sense. Democracy won last night, but in a Democracy, the will of a majority is what counts. That majority is moderate, and we canâ€™t ever forget that as we craft messages for the fall and for 2008.
4. Get Ready for the SuperSmears.
Clearly, the whole â€œyou crashed my server and Iâ€™m going to tell Daddy!â€ bullshit coming out of the Lieberman camp last night was a pitiful line of utter crap from start to finish. Iâ€™m not even going to document all the ways in which it was a lie, but the fact that is was isnâ€™t the important point.
Weâ€™ve drawn blood, serious, royal blood, and weâ€™ve made a bunch of Important Voices in the media look really, really bad. That means the game is going to go pro, and we had better be ready for every single dirty trick and death-by-gotcha maneuver we can imagine. Theyâ€™re going to fine tooth comb the blogosphere now, dredge up ever extreme moment they can find, and continue to misrepresent bloggers, as well as outright make shit up.
Iâ€™m not saying that we need to change our ways and become as church elders in our speech and behavior, Iâ€™d never give up the Wild West feel of the blogosphere, I love it too much. But we should prepare for attack, get serious about making posts tight and well referenced, and most importantly, not be afraid to counterattack.
I hate our current political culture, I donâ€™t like having to shout people down in an argument, but unfortunately, thatâ€™s what far too many people have become accustomed to in their daily diet of political discourse. There are lots of other factors at work as well, not the least of which has to do with the last six years being filled to the hilt with messages of â€œtough daddy America is always rightâ€ and â€œfear the mighty Islamofascist, run, run!â€
Cutting through the brain-haze that such a narrative has created in many minds is going to be hard, hard work. Sometimes, that will mean that weâ€™ll have to do some shouting, use some invective and ultrasnark, and at all times not be afraid to hit back. Hard. Hey, Crowley- can I get you another deep-fried Snickers bar? Itâ€™ll help with your depression.
5. Be Happy, Excellent, and Sexy to Each Other.
Iâ€™ve written on it before: we can never let anyone forget, inside and out, weâ€™re the party of fun. Of sex, of sexy people, who are happy and who bring hope and joy to the world. No, Iâ€™m not trying to announce the Age of Aquarius here, but I do want you to remember what last night was like.
Whiny, shrimp eating losers who couldnâ€™t stop the nattering, bubbling kindergarten bitching vs. positive, forward looking, hope-filled winners. People like winners. They like parties, and kissing, and they like to feel good. Lieberman lost in large part because he couldnâ€™t stop acting like a whiny, self concerned loser who was also pouty and unable to think of anyone but himself and his ego.
A lot of the pundit class is like that as well, which is why they constantly are complaining about us down here in the fever swamp. But at the root of that: jealousy. They know that weâ€™re the future, a better future, and they hate and fear anyone who can imagine one better than they can. Weâ€™ve proven we can do that, in a hundred thousand posts and now in a clear, major victory at the polls. Letâ€™s run with that.
Itâ€™s time for a new â€œmorning in America,â€ and we can and will construct that. One without war, without economic suffering, without constant soul-crushing fear. Thatâ€™s what people are crying out for, why they were so willing to stick so close to Lamont and his supporters, what they crave in their bellies and souls. Itâ€™s time we all embrace the project of giving that back to America, as well as the fact that we really have the spirit, heart, imagination and ability to make a brighter future for all.
If you only take away one lesson from last night, let it be that.