In a Washington Post article discussing Tuesdays election, I finally heard the magic words Ive been waiting years to hear: Its not just that they lost these elections, said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin, but that none of their old tricks worked that theyve relied on to give them the edge in close contests. A Republican representative from Virginia, Thomas M. Davis III, put it more emphatically, declaring that the GOPs cultural wedge issues are just blowing up in the suburbs. You play to your rural base, you pay a price. Sweet! And about time.
Actually, according to Democratic pollster Ruy Teixeira, its a little ahead of schedule. In his 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, co-authored with John B. Judis, Teixeira predicted that demographic shifts would favor Democrats within a decade, as populations move away from rural areas and into postindustrial metropolises,or ideopolises. Judis and Teixeira advised that it would be necessary for Democrats to achieve a new synthesis that retains support among the white working class, but also builds support among college-educated professionals and others in Americas burgeoning ideopolises. [page 143]
Tuesdays elections seem to be a model of the synthesis strategy in operation, as ideopolis-rich New Jersey chose Democrat Jon Corzine as its new governor; bluer than blue California gave Arnold the finger on all four of the propositions he sponsored; Dover, Pennsylvania turned out Republican school board members backing the teaching of Intelligent Design; and a decidedly purple Virginia chose Democrat Tim Kaine as its governor. According to Tom Vilsack, Kaine turned the whole values issue inside out by convincing swing voters that his stance against the death penalty was an authentic religious positionimagine that.
In a poll conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 64 percent of African-Americans in the Houston area believed that gays and lesbians should be protected in the workplace, while 62 percent were against gay marriage. Former state Democratic representative Glen Maxey of Austin, who led the opposition, said, Among that community, its a total reversal. It is totally compartmentalized. It is religious based.
No. To quote Tyrone Simpson, it is effective. Simpson critiques Thomas Franks Whats the Matter With Kansas, arguing that the racism Frank declares missing from Kansas is not so much dead as effective. Simpson has written an eye-opening, brilliant article, Whats the Matter With Whats the Matter With Kansas, or Why Liberal Whites Worry Black Progressives:
One could even rent Dubya for a day to bellow an exuberant Mission Accomplished before an assembly of proud Kansan suburbanites. With the majority of good housing, and more reliable public services shifted to spaces on the metropolitan periphery designed for white residents, there is no infrastructure available to support a collective of citizens willing to contest such racialized conditions. These urbanites of color, instead, are preoccupied with trying to survive their deindustrialized, underskilled fate in the new global economy. White Kansans then, with no impending protests to make them anxious, can appreciate the common humanity of their racial others and extend their good will without hesitation. . . .
At the behest of the Democratic Leadership Council and its most successful benefactor, Bill Clinton, the party of FDR forsook its traditional commitment to working class causes in favor of affluent, white collar professionals who are liberal on social issues. As a result, not only did the Dems become a party of big money, which the GOP has often been, it became officious and preachy; tutoring the populace in racial, religious, and sexual tolerance, touting the virtues of elite and degreed intellectualism, and championing a broader public role for women.
Republicans conceal their avarice beneath the shiny white suit of family values while their opponents don a cultural decadence that only further tarnishes their cupidity.
If were going to beat back the corporations and survive the peak oil crisis we are facing, we have to present a massively united front. Were going to have to concentrate on our shared economic interests, and were going to have to start seeing and dealing with our cultural biases.
If Republicans have a hard time discerning Bushs villainy, it is equally true that liberals have trouble seeing the dark side of Bill Clinton. George Bush has created a crisis of planet-threatening proportions, but he comes from somewhere, from a culture that offers no political or social resistance to the giant corporations that run it. The difference between Bush and Clinton is a difference of degree, not kind.
We have an opportunity to shake people out of their political identity boxes because the crisis is becoming more and more difficult to ignore. In spite of the corporate media, Bushs reputation for honesty has taken such a hit that GOP analysts, kicking around ways to get back in the game, even doubt whether
a new terrorist attack could turn his presidency around. The leaked memo talks about the strategy of a new terrorist attackalso described by a GOP insider as blue sky thinkingbut acknowledges [we] also have to face the fact that many Americans no longer trust the President. That makes it harder for him to become a rallying point. Gee, I wonder if the fact that they think of a new terrorist attack on this country as a potential political plus might have something to do with people not trusting them.
We need to make people aware that the whole radcon takeover attempt is based on another magic word: lies. For example, over the decades people have become so inured to Supreme Court nominations pivoting on the question of Roe v. Wade, without Roe v. Wade being struck down, that they simultaneously tune out any other nomination issues and minimize the seriousness of the threat we are facing. That is why someone like John Roberts could be confirmed after lying about his membership in the Federalist Society. Such a radical-right membership raises no red flags. The equally disturbing Alito nomination, in fact, is often mentioned as a minor bright spot in Bushs approval numbers.
This cavalier attitude toward Supreme Court justices is as dangerous as driving a car blindfolded. What we have to make people understand is that, with the right judges in place at the top, theyre going to start using the Patriot Act.
If you judge Alito by that standard, his failure to recuse himself from a case in which he had a personal financial interest is not only evidence of a lie, but of a total unfitness to be an independent judge. When his decisionneedless to say, in favor of Vanguard, the company in questionwas vacated, he wrote the chief administrative judge, I do not believe I am required to disqualify myself based on my ownership of the mutual fund shares. The Boston Globe reports that Alito owned $390,000 to $975,000 in seventeen Vanguard funds.
The spin? Soledad OBrien on CNN wondered, Doesnt it bode poorly for Democrats when you say this is the smoking gun youre coming up with, something over a relatively small investment in Vanguard, which legally, technically, he didnt have to recuse himself from anyway?
Well be hearing a lot more about what is legally, technically required if we get a real Bush court. Lets remember these are the people who have legally, technically defined torture out of existence and thrown habeas corpus out the window.