Thursday, December 15, 2005

More About Why the Democrats Suck

As I see it, then, the Democrats have themselves in a bit of a bind with this whole "elite" business. It's actually complicated in two folds. The first problem is that you can't both project an aura of elitism and attempt to appeal to the middle. You can't both say "we're better than everyone else because --we don't live in a red state --we went to a private school --we live in New York or LA --we read the Times --we go to the theater --we're artsy and pretentious --or whatever" and "we're really the party of moderation, unlike those extreme crazy rightwingers. Our values best represent middle America's values." You see what I'm saying? There's no way you can be snobby and think everyone who's not like you sucks and is retarded AND convince "mainstream" America to vote for you (though, I'll admit, I firmly believe you can convince "mainstream" to vote for you if you think everyone who's not like you sucks and is retarded; it's the snobbery that sticks in the craw.) But the second problem is that even if such a strategy worked to attract these mainstream voters, it alienates your middle America liberals. Liberals out here don't have the luxury of being surrounded by a bunch of other liberals who have a lot of power. We don't get to stand around at cocktail parties in our big Democratic stronghold urban areas secure in the knowledge that, even if the rest of the country hates artists and queers and uppity bitches, we can always jet to Europe and bitch about America there if things get too uncomfortable here. We don't need a party that's just like the other one, but with less backbone. We need a party that puts our interests first. Maybe the Democrats in power haven't noticed, but, if we want to vote for people who don't like us, there's already a party for that. When we hear you say "we're going to find the middle ground and govern from there," it doesn't make us want to vote for you. It makes us want to throw up our hands in despair and not vote at all. Vote from the middle? Have you seen the middle? Have you seen most leftists? We don't want to support a party that attempts to reflect the values of middle America because 1. The agenda-setters for the party don't live in middle America. They live on the coasts. So they don't actually know what the values of middle America are. They have their Hollywood ideas of what they imagine those values to be; and 2. Those values that you imagine all of the heartland sharing come at our expense. Your imagined middle America has no room for gay marriage or women's medical autonomy or free artistic expression or even real liberalism. Why should we remain onboard for that? [Edited to add that Jackson Miller has some smart things to say about this, as well. Go check it out.]

14 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Wage said...

I think you are conflating two premises here: one true, and one bogus.

What's bogus is the idea that democrats are elitists. That's a retarded republican talking point that encourages slandering efforts to help people as a subtle form of condescension -- a conclusion which doesn't follow but is merrily applied anyway.

What's true is that Democrat leaders are elitist, naturally -- as are Republican leaders are as well. This is because our political leaders are, by and large, rich white men, and it's a slightly exclusive club.

12/15/2005 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Hmm. Maybe I was unclear, or maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but I think we're making the same point from two different directions. I do think that the idea that all Democrats are elitist is bogus. But I think we tend to act like pompous jackasses when threatened.

And, of course, I think you're absolutely right about "a retarded republican talking point that encourages slandering efforts to help people as a subtle form of condescension."

But my point remains that trying to court people that oppose gay marriage and women's rights and artistic freedom is offensive to those of us who want a party to stand for those things.

12/15/2005 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Chris Wage said...

Ah, I see what you're saying.

To be clear, I act like a pompous jackass all the time.

But yeah, I agree, the lunge to the middle that the Democratic party has performed in the last 5-10 years I think is a big reason why they are currently floundering.

12/15/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALL american politicians are elitist retards, no one in America gets it, our government sucks and we don't do anything about it.

12/15/2005 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Exador said...

the lunge to the middle that the Democratic party has performed in the last 5-10 years I think is a big reason why they are currently floundering.

I don't know how you could think the democratic party has lunged to the middle. It seems to me, they have lunged farther left. In addition, their rhetoric has gotten so shrill, it's offensive. I got into a discussion with a dirtyhippie on Indymedia. My point was that it cheapens the debate to call Bush Hitler all the time. This person responded back that they didn't really mean Bush is a nazi, and everyone should know that.
What used to be the most offensive (Isn't it still illegal to name your kid Adolph in Germany?) has now become standard political fare for the left.
The result is that the left comes off looking like a bunch of kooks, that nobody will vote for.

12/15/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

Shoot, I'll argue until I'm blue in the face they aren't far enough left.

Anyway, I'm sure we can agree that both sides have their share of idiots. Saying Bush=Hitler or refering to Clinton as Hitlary are just two sides of the same stupid coin.

Most of us don't lump y'all in with the "Hitlary" spewing idiots. Y'all ought not to do the same to us.

12/15/2005 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Wage said...

"I don't know how you could think the democratic party has lunged to the middle. It seems to me, they have lunged farther left."

What makes you say that?

12/15/2005 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Warning, warning. Chris is setting you up Exador. He's going to turn into a pompous jackass in a minute.

It's my perception that they've been moving left too. But that may just be because the main liberal writer I read these days is B, and everyone knows she's left of a communist.

W

12/15/2005 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kat Coble said...

I just wish that party would really lunge one way or t'other. Right now it seems to be floundering without a platform. I will repeat until I'm blue in the face that they aren't a PARTY right now. They are a loosely-affiliated collective of special interest groups with no clear plan for governance.

The current Democratic party reminds me of those Extracurricular Activities Fairs they had at college. There's a "Pro-welfare" table, a "Stop the War" table, a "Lesbians for Life" table, etc. At some point the Vegetarians for Animal Equality always get in a war with the Future Gay Farmers of America and fisticuffs ensue. No one really gets anything done, and the only new members they seem to recruit are the lonely kids who can't join the frat.

12/15/2005 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Aunt B said...

They are a loosely-affiliated collective of special interest groups with no clear plan for governance.

It's funny because it's true.

W., I'm so flattered that you recognize me for the pinko commie I am and that you still like me.

12/15/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

'What's bogus is the idea that democrats are elitists.'

Oh, yeah, Chris Wage?

You mean to tell me that John Kerry and the Kennedys et al, and all the other senators and Democrats in power are by and for the people? I call bullshit.

Those fuckers are just as rich and elitist as the Republicans you invoke, yet how is it that they are somehow able to portray themselves as champions of the working class, while at the same time being able to bear the burden of being multi-millionaires and having vacation compounds on the Cape and being heirs to the Heinz fortune and still pretend to care (and make people believe that THEY believe it) about health care for the rerest of us lowly citizens?

Gimme a break.

12/15/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Wage said...

peggasus, et al: I was referring to Democrat voters, not Democrat leaders. Did you all ignore the part where I said "This is because our political leaders are, by and large, rich white men, and it's a slightly exclusive club." Come on, now, I hate repeating myself. (because I am a pompous jackass, get it)

There is an entrenched power structure in this country that protects the status quo. I guess I take that for granted, but let me make it explicit.

There are some things we could do to shake things up a bit, with stuff like IVR and proportional representation, but until that happens, there's a distinct vested interest for both sides of the aisle in moving to the center so that the choices we have between leaders is Entrenched State-Sponsored Monopoly Capitalist #1 and Entrenched State-Sponsored Monopoly Capitalist #2.

There are differences, of course, and ones significant enough worth voting for (read: I don't buy the non-participatory rhetoric some of my socialist and anarchist friends go for), which is why I still vote Democrat, because they've still got a track record of better supporting the ideals that I endorse.

12/15/2005 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

I don't buy the whole entrenced power structure. For every Bush and Kennedy who was born into power, there is a Clinton, LBJ, or Eisenhower who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.

LBJ went to college at Southwest Texas State of all places!

12/15/2005 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

Sir: Chris Wage, et al (and that includes Aunt B, who started this whole thing):

As far as there being a 'distinct vested interest for both sides,' yes, I totally agree with your distinction (or non) between the fat, rich white men. However as I am neither a man nor rich (you can just shut up about the other part), it's not my constituancy.

This is why I have major issues with both parties. If those assholes would ever get out of the Beltway and their little protected world into a place where theyall had to pay $700 a month for healthcare and then had a child turned down for a 'pre-existing condition (which was an ear infection of something equally as stupid and common), maybe they'd be a bit more in touch with the rest of us, the populace they purport to represent.

But then again, I'm a bitter old bitch. With kids and mortgages and shit.

But you have socialist and anarchist friends? Awesome! Let's party!

Pistols at dawn? I'll bring the Bloody Marys!

12/15/2005 06:01:00 PM  

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