The Rising of the Moon

An ongoing synopsis of politics, government and public policy. Those dreary boring things that effect the lives of each and every one of us.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Seeking the Deciding Factor in the Elections

It's actually been fairly quite on this week after the elections. Most of the small local blogs have tapered off. Even many of the large national blogs have taken some time off to assess the results. The only ones not resting seem to be the national cable news organizations. They have time to fill and as usual they're filling it with tripe, drivel and stuff that's pulled from random bodily orifi. Those active are mostly trying to stake claim to "The Deciding Factor." Each wants to be the first one to find the one single group or action that gave the elections to the Democrats.
The Right-wing has been furiously spinning all week: The Democrats didn't win, the Republicans simply lost. The wingers have been trying to claim a victory where there wasn't just a loss, but near total distruction. Get this: The Republicans did lose and lost big, and the Democrats won, won very big indeed. Make no bones about it, and despite the claims of the usual right-wing mouthpieces on cable news and the Sunday talk shows, this election was a repudiation of the Republicans and their ultra-radical right wing agenda. This is not, as Fox News (at least that's what they call themselves) a victory for 'Conservative' America.
Yes indeed, the Democrats did shift to the middle. But it did not, as some clueless DLC pundits claim, do so by moving to the right. The Democrats moved to the center by moving left, away from the DLC established position as "Republican Lite." The newly elected Democrats are not conservative, as the wingnuts claim. No these are the same Democrats that the same wingnuts last week told us were far too liberal for America. Despite how the right wants to make lemonade from bitter lemons, they can't have it both ways. The newly elected instead represent broad-based populism, the very roots of progressive thinking: taking the best ideas from everywhere and implementing to the benefit of the entire country. In January we'll have a whole stock of new people interested in peace and prosperity for all Americans, not just the uber wealthy. We can look forward to much more fiscal responsibilty and accountability. No more corrupt credit card Republican spending on crony's designed to run up a huge debt and destroy the value of government.
This election was, indeed, a grass roots revolution against the current corrupt Republican rule. It was seen everywhere. And therein lies the real answer to finding "The Deciding Factor" in this election: There wasn't one. There wasn't one, single most overwhelming deciding factor that drove the change in government. Instead the desire of Americans to change the status quo came from an awakening throughout America. A Zoby poll after the voting showed that nearly all demographics shifted towards the Democrats: single women, single men, independents, Latinos and Latinas, conservatives and liberals, the young, the old, evangelicals and the non-religious. Unlike the Republicans who nurtured a small but monolithic radical "base" of ultra-conservatives and religious-right Christians, the Democrats spoke to everyone. And everyone could see the continuing and ever growing corruption and incompetence of the Republicans (who professed loudly that they hated government). It wasn't Katrina, or Iraq, or Afganistan, Guantanamo or Abu Gahrib or spying on Americans; it wasn't huge tax breaks for the ultra wealthy, or leaving America unprotected while adventuring abroad; it wasn't a huge and overwhelming national debt with no plan to pay for it, or the elimination of our retirement though the systematic attacks on Social Security; nor was it the billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies or billions handed out to Halliburton or KBR. Nope. It was all of these things. The typical corruption of Reps. Randy Cunningham, and Tom Delay just came to be accepted as a Republican way of doing business. Rep. Tom Foley and the coverup by (former) Speaker of the House Denny Hastert caused no surprise at all, and it was nothing more than a pimple on the backside of the elections. Americans saw all this and when they had a chance, well, they took it.
So did the Republicans simply blow it, or did the Democrats win it? Well the Republicans blew it big time. They went out of their way to do a bad job of governing and never made any attempt to work for the good of the country as a whole. The Democrats, on the other hand, won. The Democrats wanted it. They worked harder and fought harded than the Republicans and wrested victory from Republicans hands. Oh the Republicans tried. They tried every dirty trick and the book and invented new ones. The Republicans overwhelmingly controlled the message and the means of delivery. At every turn the Right used the huge networks they controlled on TV, cable and in print to pound the Democrats into the ground. Millions of dollars in deceptive and lying negative ads poured out of TV sets and radios attacking Democrats. Millions of pieces of negative literature filled mailboxes. And then, at the last moment, millions of deceptive, lying and often illegal robotic calls try to swing the vote by annoying voters in key districts. It was all there at unprecidented levels. But in the end it didn't work. Why? Because in the first place Americans didn't believe it. They didn't believe or accept all the negativity. But the Republicans had nothing else. Six years of total governmental control and they couldn't/didn't pass anything their base wanted. So all they could do was attack the opposition. The Democrats fought back. Not with negative ads (while there were some it was only a fraction of what the Republicans did), but with people power. While the Corporate Media was touting the Republican organization machine, the Democrats spent months putting their own new model of organization together. Millions of voter contacts and ids were made. Dr. Dean's 50 state strategy left no district uncovered and abandoned as teams were put together at the Congressional district level. Good candidates were chosen by the people in the districts, ignoring the "advice" and demands of DLC inside-the-beltway pundits. And the Democrats worked. The made the calls, had the meetings, knocked on doors and spoke to people. The Republicans sat back and hired other people to do the work for them. You saw far fewer volunteers among the Republican campaigns and far more paid staffers. The Republicans paid for canvassing and door knockers; they paid for people to stand on street corners with signs; they paid for thugs to attend the opposition's rallys to cause trouble, and in the end paid to have computers make millions of harassing phone calls to Democrats. It didn't work. The "much vaunted" 72-hour blitz from "genius" Karl Rove fell flat on it's face. You'll here Corporate Media sounding bewildered as to why Rove's 3 million phone calls and hundreds of thousands of doors knocked didn't do the trick like it did last time. Well here's the answer: The Democrats made 3.5 million phone calls in the last days and knocked on millions of doors and met hundreds of thousands of voters face to face, with real people. An election like this one is not something you can send your maid or butler out to do for you. It needs you, yes you, a real face talking to someone face to face and believing what you say. You know we made calls for MoveOn's "Call for Change" and we kept hearing how the other side was making recorded calls and using professional phone banks where everyone read off of prepared scripts, and while they were sick of all the calls they still talked to us, at length. Why? Because we were real people, authentic, and we listened rather than lectured. Believe me, it made a difference.
There's a great "Memo to Every Democrat" from Kos where he points out that it wasn't any one person or organization, or even pairs of such that were "The Deciding Factor." It makes sense to me. This was a real overthrow of a corrupt regime. Oh sure, it's not complete and total. We still have a lot to do. But most Americans have now rejected the Republican meme of "bigotry, hatred and fear," for one of changing the status quo and taking America forward.
The Deciding Factor? There was no one thing or even; it was the totality of the past six years, taken as a whole.
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