Today I am Going to Fly

Some men are born posthumously. ~Nietzsche

ABx?

Posted by penuruloki on October 31, 2006

One of the great failures of the Democrats in the 2004 election is that they ran on an “Anything But Bush” platform. The best they could offer was an alternative, regardless of the quality (or lack thereof) of the candidate. They were widely derided for this, and rightly so, both during and after the election. It certainly didn’t work.

That’s why it’s a little frightening to see the same phenomenon appearing in the Republican end-of-cycle drive for votes as the election draws near. It’s appearing in the form of “this is what the alternative really looks like” type of story. That’s not quite as bad as 2004 (the jabs being more educational and less emotional), but it does show that our democracy isn’t healthy.

The problem is that everyone wants to send a message to Washington, but there are so many forces trying to shape the message that getting the right one across requires way more thought and finesse than it should. The hype about the Foley scandal and the controversy surrounding the war in Iraq mean that a vote against a Republican will likely be interpreted as a response to those issues, rather than a revolt against earmarks and the expansion of entitlements under Bush.

Ultimately, disgruntled conservatives are being asked to hold their nose and vote anyway because the cost of revolting now is too great. We’re supposed to focus instead on getting our issues addressed in the 2008 primary season. While this effort relies on a sad but true situation, and may very well work, it exposes a greater cynicism than we’ve seen in a while. Not even in 2004 was the official slogan of the Democrats “Do you really think you even have a choice?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own experience with elections, it’s that you have to start early if you really want to have any impact on the results. As hard as it is to think about politics right after the ugly election season, anybody that wants to make any positive changes needs to start thinking about 2008 now.

As far is it goes, 2006 may well already be in the can.

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