Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Democrats: Welcome Back to the Wilderness

Yes, I know. You weren't expecting to be back here so soon, right?

Well, it's not like you're not used to this. The first time you showed up here, in 2002, you lost control of the House and the Senate. And back then you didn't believe you'd be gone for long. And I remember how you kept saying that you'd get back there, not to mention get back the White House away from that moron who stole the White House from you.

And yet ... here you are. More Republicans in the House. More Republicans in the Senate. And now that so-called "moron" in the White House has a renewed mandate that you can't even damage by pointing to the popular vote.

So ... what are you going to do now?

Hm? Oh, the Mountie shoving you back here? He's just pointing out that going to Canada is not really an option for you. Ditto the British bobbie and the French gendarme, representing the rest of the world. Coward's way out, you see. Exile's not a good-looking option at the moment, sorry. You're just going to have to live with the "moron," for four more years.

Oh, and the big, deep pit over there? Full of bloggers with DU on their shirts? Weeping, wailing, gnashing teeth, holding up pictures of Yogi Berra, throwing rocks at the fat lady over there who's about to launch into an aria? They're Bush Bashers. Yes, it looks like they're having fun, but the more they keep at it, the deeper the pit gets. Eventually, they'll go so far down that no one will hear them anymore.

I strongly recommend that you don't join them.

So, anyway, if you want to get out of the wilderness, first you have to figure out how you got here. Oh, and you can tell the shell-shocked guy mumbling "Karl Rove" that he's not really being helpful. Honestly, you'd think he'd seen the boogeyman or something.

Seriously though, the Republicans had a plan and direction. You folks ... well, to be honest, all you had were the words "NOT THAT WAY!" And you wound up going all over the place--which means you went nowhere mighty fast. There's a guy named Saletan who can explain it a bit better than I can; you'd be wise to pay attention to him.

Now, a bit of advice: you're going to be here for awhile, so you may as well stay put. And think. Not "ivory tower" academia think, but real think, the kind that your next-door neighbour will listen to over beer and barbecue.

Think about the principles that your country was built on, what you like about them, what can be changed. Think about the kind of society you want to live in, and what you can do to achieve it. Think about the rest of the world and how you want them to see you and your country.

Now think about the country. Not just the people in your party, the people around you, but also the people who put The Other Side in power. And think about why they did that. They also have a vision that a lot of people bought into. Remember that, in the eyes of the law, they're just like you. You can't deny them the vote. But you have to persuade them to vote for your idea.

And you can't really do it by bashing the old one. You did that this time out, and look what happened.

No, you'll have a better chance of getting the people to vote for you if you have an idea, a positive platform, to start with, rather than just spending all your time tearing down the other guy's.

Mind you, this means you'll probably have to jettison what you've been using now. Your current leadership doesn't seem to have worked out very well, right? Your chairman, McAuliffe, may be a genius at raising money, but he's spent an awful lot of time checking the nails and screws in the platform rather than seeing if the actual wood was solid enough to work.

Being in the wilderness, like you are now, is meant to be a learning experience. The Republicans learned while your man Bill lived in the White House; now it's your turn.

And if you don't learn, if you can't show the rest of America something positive about you ... well, we'll be seeing you here again in another four years.