Every election year, I lament how much worse, how much nastier the rhetoric is from the last election year. In the back of mind, though, is a little voice that says, “Dude, this NOTHING. Wait until NEXT year!”
And, of course, I’m right. The following election year is worse than the last.
But 2010? Folks, this one is going to be ugly beyond anything we’ve seen so far. If anyone thinks the right wing has gone as far off the edge as they can and still be politically viable, they are deceiving themselves.
Within 8 months or so, the Democrats in power will have enacted a series of laws and programs that will be a dramatic departure from the past eight years and the terror this is evoking in the right wingers is going to precipitate a pitched battle unlike anything we’ve seen yet.
So. What do we do about that?
In 2008, the race for MI-07 between incumbent Tim Walberg and Mark Schauer was one of the most expensive in the country with $3.5 million being spent between the two of them. Walberg had a tremendous amount of support from the odious Club for Growth and both the RNCC and the DNCC got in on the act. All of these groups poured their resources into producing some of the most over-the-top mailings I’ve ever seen including one saying Schauer wanted to allow adults to send pornography to children.
Well, Walberg’s back in it again this time around and, after Schauer votes for the progressive measures that will inevitably be passed by the Democratic-controlled Congress, Walberg and Club for Growth will have plenty of ammunition. And that’s just one local example of hundreds across the country.
On the national scale, things will be even worse. If anyone thinks we’ve seen the last of Obama-as-Hitler or Obama-as-the-Joker, they are sadly wrong. In fact, after health insurance reform passes and solid environmental/clean energy legislation passes and we lessen our military jackboot print around the globe, the forces on the right are going to be terrified. The fact that the USA is no longer the country they grew up in is already a fact. Barack Obama’s presidency simply stomps that home for them. And they are not going to take it sitting down.
We can not anticipate just how bad their attack will be.
- Could any of us have predicted we see African Americans carrying signs depicting Obama as Adolf Hitler?
Photo by Anne C. Savage
- Could any of us have predicted we’d see the right use claims that progressives want to euthanize the elderly?
- Could any of us have predicted the right would accuse progressives of using political party affiliation or race as a way to deny health care?
- Could any of us have predicted our political opponents would cheer when America lost an Olympics bid?
- Could any of us have predicted that conservatives would spin our president winning the Nobel Peace prize as hurting him and the country?
- Could any of us have predicted that the Republican candidates for vice-president would actually accuse the Democratic candidate for president for having un-American views?
- Could any of us have predicted that people would bring guns to appearances by the president and display them openly or show up to rallies in Washington with signs claiming “Unarmed…THIS time”?
- Could any of us have predicted that wingnuts on the right would suggest that the president of the United States wasn’t a citizen and was, very likely a secret Muslim with intentions of subverting our country and that this message would be mouthed by actual members of Congress?
- Could any of us have predicted that governors of more than one state would openly talk of secession if health insurance reform was passed?
Things are already over the top from what we might have expected but now we have the likes of the Teabaggers and the secessionists added to the mix. It’s going to be so much worse than we realize and we have to be prepared for that. So what’s the answer? Here are a few suggestions:
- Promote strong, outspoken Democratic leaders to positions of power within the party and within Congress. I’d like to formally nominate Alan Grayson to be immediately promoted to Speaker of the House. I like Nancy Pelosi just fine but if we had someone like Grayson at the helm, think…just THINK about how different the dynamic would be in that chamber. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. And there are others that have stepped up and will continue to step up following Grayson’s lead. We need these people in charge of the DNC and of every major committee in Congress.
- Always ask for more than you expect and negotiate back down to what you can live with. In my opinion, the main reason we’re quibbling over a weak public option in the health insurance reform debate is because we weren’t, as a party, aggressive enough in pushing for a single-payer system. Had we “gone there”, we’d be negotiating back to something far stronger than a public option and we likely wouldn’t even be asking about whether or not states should be allowed to opt out or if this should be some regional thing. Is this principle of negotiation such a mystery to our Democratic Congressional representatives? By doing this, we will maintain the upper hand and the voters will Democrats as STRONG, not waffley and that will help our chances greatly in 2010 and beyond.
- Call right-wingers out, in public, in very direct and unambiguous terms EVERY SINGLE TIME they utter absurd lies and fact-challenged statements. It’s long past time for us to “take the high” road and simply assume the voters will see these shams for what they are. Americans need to hear Democrats standing up for themselves and they need to see true leadership, including calling a fucking lie a fucking lie and not settling for letting the media set the record straight.
Graphic by eclectablog
- Whenever possible, encourage the internecine battles being waged inside the right wing organizations and within the Republican Party. Democrats get their asses handed to them time and time again because we’re fractured and diverse when it comes to staying on message. Well, right now the Republicans are in the same boat. On one side you’ve got so-called “moderate” Republicans like Olympia Snowe, on the other side you’ve got the Teabaggers, Freepers and LaRouchebags, and in the middle is a continuum of ineffective, leaderless, rudderless Republican “leaders” who risk pissing off everyone…independents, far-right nutjobs and moderate (reasonable?) Republicans. We need to keep those fires stoked and burning so that they burn down their own house for a change. Hell, even the Teabaggers and Tea Partiers are arguing!!!
We’ve got to be ready for the ugly onslaught that WILL take place in 2010 and beyond. While we progressives may like to see even stronger reforms and legislation passed, Democrats are going to pass these bills. And the victories we DO win, even if they are milder than we like, will still be seen as severely threatening to our foes. When that happens, like a cornered wild animal, they will respond visciously and unpredictably.
There’s no way to predict what dung our political opponents will fling at us in the coming battles. But, by strengthening our party NOW, showing real leadership NOW, and building on these things over the next year, we can be in a much stronger position come election day.
I’m just sayin’…