There was this community organizer dude once who said: “What profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?”
I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought Democrats were, as a group, better people than Republicans. I also thought liberals were smarter than conservatives. I have been guilty on many occasions of implying, insinuating and/or explicitly stating that conservative Republicans were racists, hypocrites, warmongers, crooks and morons.
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about – that abiding conviction that we’re right and they’re wrong. That’s why we spent all these years supporting the Democratic party and voting for Democratic candidates.
In my mind, liberal/progressive Democrats were the “good guys” and their policy ideas were the best way to keep our country safe, strong and prosperous. But we weren’t just smarter than “them,” we were morally and ethically superior too. We supported the Civil Rights movement, opposed wars, fought to protect the enviroment, and all kinds of other things to help make the nation and the world a better place.
For years now the conventional wisdom among Democrats is that our lack of success in electoral politics was based on two things:
1. The Republicans lie and cheat
2. The stupid voters fall for it.
Among the disturbing developments we have seen during the course of this year’s Presidential campaign is the widespread acceptance of the idea that we have to “fight fire with fire” and adopt the ruthless and unprincipled tactics associated with Karl Rove and the late Lee Atwater.
That idea has been part of the operating philosophy of David Axelrod and the Obama campaign from the beginning, and the Obama supporters in the blogosphere have not only applauded and encouraged this strategy, but they have enthusiastically participated in it.
Senator Obama’s lack of experience would seem less important if he had come forward with some bold new policy initiatives, a “New Deal” for the 21st Century. But instead he gave us vague and ambiguous proposals that were just a RCH to the left or right of Hillary’s. Policy is for losers, and he wants to win!
Obama “won” the Democratic nomination by using Rovian tactics – election fraud and divisive smears. While his supporters in the DNC were gaming the caucuses and using bribes and/or threats to persuade super delegates, the voters were kept distracted by false accusations of racism against Hillary and Bill. Meanwhile the very real sexism and misogyny directed at Hillary and her supporters was ignored.
The Democratic Convention was stripped of all meaning and was turned into a tightly scripted four-day coronation party for Teh Precious. The sham voting for the nomination was more outrageous and insulting than no vote at all would have been.
But then wily old John McCain did somthing unexpected and nominated Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. The reaction of Obamanation to her selection surprised me. I didn’t think this election could get any uglier or more vicious than what we saw in the primaries, but I was wrong. Waaaaay wrong.
Even more surprising was that many otherwise sane and well-respected bloggers joined in the attacks and smears directed at Ms. Palin and her family. The frenzied yapping of the angry chihuahuas of Obamanation at DK and DU is nothing new. But Salon and TalkLeft are two prominent blogs that virtually overnight became infected with Palin Derangement Syndrome.
All pretense of objective reporting/blogging is gone. Any negative story about Governor Palin is published and circulated, no matter the subject or the lack of supporting evidence. Anything positive or exculpatory is ignored. Anonymous rumors, unreliable sources and, biased witnesses are treated as unimpeachable information. The blatant hypocrisy of Obama supporters calling Governor Palin inexperienced and questioning her religious connections would be hilarious of it wasn’t disgusting.
The reaction of many of the professional feminists in the media and blogosphere to Governor Palin has been so absurd and over-the-top that it can properly be described as “unhinged” Ironically, the ones making the most noise didn’t seem nearly as upset last Spring when the He Man Woman-Haters Club was going after Hillary.
It was a point of pride for me that liberal Democrats were the “good guys.” We were supposed to behave ethically and follow the rules, even if the other side didn’t. “Winners never cheat and cheaters never win” was our motto. Not anymore.
Meanwhile, John McCain is running about as clean a campaign as any Republican has in recent history. Despite what Obamanation claims, the GOP is avoiding any racist stuff. Of course, that doesn’t stop Obama supporters from hearing “dogwhistles” everywhere.
That really annoys me because I still believe that we can tell the truth, the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth and win elections. If we are right and our policies are the best ones for this nation, and our candidates will make the best leaders, we shouldn’t have to spin, twist, distort or lie about the facts.
I also remain unconvinced that after playing down and dirty to win the election Obama will suddenly become a born-again virgin on ethics for the next four years. Not to mention the taint of corruption his tactics will leave on our party.
So even if Obama gets his shit together and ekes out a win in November, it will come at too high a price for the Democratic party.
We will have gained the White House, but lost the collective soul of our party.
As for myself, I need to make amends to all the Republicans I’ve been sneering at for years. If we aren’t so good, then they probably aren’t that bad. I’ll talk about that more in a future post.