Thursday, January 22, 2004

How the Democrats plan to win 

I don't know how I got on Robert Reich's mailing list, but since I'm the kind of guy who's too lazy to send the unsubscribe email, I'm going to be getting them for the rest of my life. And since I'm subject to these mailings I might as well share them with you.

One of our biggest tactical problems is that liberal Democrats tend to talk mainly with one another. We commiserate with each other about the rightward drift; we share our disgust at what's happened to foreign policy, civil liberties, economic policy, and the environment; we mutually rail at the blatant lies of the Bush administration. The discussion may make us feel a bit better, but it has no effect on American politics because it stays inside our own bubble. So here's my proposal for a belated New Year's resolution: Each of us commits to persuading ten people -- friends, acquaintances, or relatives, who don't consider themselves liberals or even Democrats -- that Bush has to go. And we also persuade each of them to persuade ten others.
Why does it seem that every plan to get people to support a candidate involve a pyramid scheme? Does anyone believe that people can persuade their friends and family to bug their friends and family to support a guy they didn't support five minutes ago?

The next section of the email was on "religious wars". You and I might not know this, but there's a plan by evangelicals to take away your religious freedoms. Reich tries to tell us that the public agrees with him on the issues:

Most of the public sides with the Democrats. Even though a slim majority continues to oppose gay marriage, polls show that most Americans believe that homosexual relationships between consenting adults should be legal, that the choice of whether to have an abortion should be up to a woman and her doctor, that stem-cell research should be legal, and religion should stay out of the public schools. But unless Democrats focus the public's attention on the larger ongoing assault on religious liberty, the evangelical right will whittle away these freedoms.
From what I've read, the religious right isn't interested in trying to re-criminalize sodomy, so it's a non-issue; abortion is trending pro-life; few people actually have an opinion on stem cell research; and most people don't mind some religion in public schools.

In the months leading up to Election Day, when Republicans are screaming about God and accusing the Democrats of siding with sexual deviants and baby killers, Democrats should remind Americans that however important religion is to our spiritual lives, there is no room for liberty in a theocracy.
Didn't Reich just say that Democrats need to avoid talking in an echo chamber? Does he really think that he can convince undecideds by telling them that evangelicals want a "theocracy"? Hyperbole like this only serve to convince people that the threat isn't as big as you try to say it is. And in case Reich hasn't notice, we're kinda busy battling actual theocracies overseas.

The last section of the email is on "Kitchen-Table Economics". Let me summarize it for you: raise taxes on the rich by 43%. Then spend the money on:

... some variant on universal, affordable health
insurance; a "Marshall plan" for the nation's schools; a major increase in
Pell grants along with full tax deductions for college tuitions; and a
working-family savings plan that matched, say, every three dollars of
private savings with one federal dollar.
Insert your own clueless liberal joke here.

So that, in a nutshell, is how Robert Reich plans to help Democrats beat Bush: bug the people you love, oppose the Christians, and tax the rich. After all, it's worked so well in the last ten years!
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