The Airing of Grievances
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
A Great Wrap-Up
I think it's safe to say that I have a pretty big intellectual crush on Josh Marshall:
Yesterday evening I heard various commentators say that Kerry's defeat would usher in a civil war among Democrats. Tucker Carlson said it would or should lead to a 'Goldwater moment' for the Democrats.

As I've noted above, I don't want to diminish the scope of what's happened. But a civil war over what exactly? Yes, some consultants will get a hard shake. And I'm certain there will be backbiting against Kerry (which I for one will very much disagree with.) But a civil war over what? The right and the left of the party were remarkably united in this cycle and managed to find points of compromise on key issues.
Well, here we are. And this is the test for people who care about this kind of politics and these sorts of values -- making sure that what has been started is not allowed to falter. This isn't 1964 or 1972 or 1980. This wans't a blow-out or a repudiation. It was close to a tie -- unfortunately, on the other guy's side. Let's not put our heads in the sand but let's also not get knocked of our game. Democrats need to think critically and seriously about why this didn't turn out 51% for Kerry or 55% for Kerry
Take time to feel the desolation and disappointment. But I remain confident that time is not on the side of the kind of values and politics that President Bush represents. It took conservatives two decades to build up the institutional muscle they have today. Though I was always nervous about the result, I thought we could win this election. But it was always naive to believe that that sort of institutional heft could be put together in 24 or 36 months.
Hear, hear. As I wrote in the Comments to another post, this is not the time for reactionary, divisive, Michael Moore-type histrionics. This is not the time for bitterness. It is the time to be disappointed for a little while. It is the time to wonder, as Cozmo has pointed out elsewhere, why Red state voters care more about, and have undue influence on, policies that exclusively affect Blue states. But it is also time to figure out how to change that. It is the time to regroup and reconfigure a diminished party to better appeal to the best elements of human nature in a truly progressive fashion. I wish we didn't have to do that within the scope of a two party system, but, at this point, to do otherwise would be akin to a baseball team trying to improve it's punt return game.

Get to work.
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