Thursday, December 02, 2004


Democrats can't win by becoming what the Republicans want us to be

Once again, alicublog tells the tough, hard truth:
Race to the Bottom.

There's a full-court-press on by Joemomentum! types to get the Democratic Party to more closely resemble the Republican Party, and thereby squeeze out a few extra votes.

Peter Beinart seems to believe that the Democrats are led not by Nancy Pelosi or John Kerry, but by Michael Moore and MoveOn, and claims that when Moore sat in Jimmy Carter's box at the Democratic Convention, America "watched and wondered." (Boy, I'd like to see the polling data behind that finding.) Beinart suggests that Democrats embrace the War Against Whatever and use it as "a powerful rationale for a more just society at home." Because, you know, people won't go for a just society unless you attach a war to it.

Kristin Day of Democrats for Life avails that traditional platform for Democratic Party reform, National Review, to tell her alleged comrades that they must also jettison their support for abortion rights, or eternal defeat is certain ("some pro-choice forces in the Democratic party would rather lose than run a pro-life candidate").

For those who with reason wonder how Day intersects with Democratic Party principles, she defines those as "protect[ing] life at all stages by ensuring freedom from violence, a livable wage, affordable health care, an opportunity to live and raise a family, and social security for retirees."

Social security for retirees! The dream still lives!

Who knows what would work for the Democrats? If the mess the Republicans have made of our country was not sufficiently harrowing to voters to drive them Democratic in 2004, what would? Probably not "Same as the other guys, but with social security for retirees." Especially since big-S Social Security will probably be a gutted shell by the time they get another crack at it. Then some thoughtful neoliberal will tell the Democrats that they must embrace work-till-death as a means of preserving electabilty, so that a more just society (with a mismanaged war, work-till-death, etc.) might one day be reached.

Or maybe they could groom a few action-movie stars to run for high office. That might work.
My feeling is, as long as the press keeps humping Bush's leg (to borrow an evocative image from the Rude Pundit), and as long as the Koolaid drinkers in the red states let Bush get away with all the crap just cause they think he's a good Christian, almost anything the Democrats could do wouldn't work. I think we need to concentrate on telling the truth wherever and whenever we can. Even if the press resists and the red states jam fingers in their ears and chant "La, la, la, I'm not listening!, there have to be some people out there close enough to reality to be welcomed back. If not, then turning the Democrats into kinder, gentler Republicans is not only futile but irrelevant, because the entire enterprise is utterly doomed.

On a completely unrelated matter, more from Roy cause I think it's great stuff:

Alas Alexander.

Hey, wouldja like to read a review of Alexander by someone who actually saw it, as opposed to critics who just have a hate-on for Oliver Stone? Well, here's one anyway: it's not very good. In the better sort of Stoner movies, his obsessions are strung like Christmas lights along an at least semi-coherent narrative. The through-line of Alexander is probably no more muddled than that of The Doors, which of all Stone's films Alexander most closely resembles. But while Stone did a good job of showing why people were attracted to Jim Morrison, as well as of showing his insane drive, this Al the Great doesn't have anything but the drive. People follow him against their better judgement because they're in his army and have no choice, and his gracious gestures (like his kindness to the Baylonian royal family) don't add to his appeal -- in fact, in the long run they just seem to make his lieutenants more confused and dispirited. Contrast that with Pacino's Tony D'Amato in Any Given Sunday, who had to win validation for his blood-and-thunder ideas from Jamie Foxx's recalcitrant, strong-willed Willie Beamen.

That's as great distillation of an important point from an unimportant movie (a point I, naturally, missed, when I saw Any Given Sunday). I like when people who are smarter than I am see things in movies & TV shows that I missed. I learn something, which is always a good thing.
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