I won’t be posting for awhile while I’m thinking things over. In the past I’ve always come back eventually, but I’m not promising anything.
I really dread the next four years. I expect the worst from Bush — specifically, war fever plus McCarthyism. There have been a number of positive changes in the Democratic party, but Democrats as a group still don’t seem prepared for what’s going to happen, and it may be too little, too late.
At the beginning of my blogging career I was happy just to vent, but over the last year or so I’ve tried to figure out a way to make something of my political writing. That really hasn’t happened — I still seem to be speaking to the same small audience of people who basically already agree with me, without really getting my message out the generic Democrats or the big-time bloggers — much less the party leadership.
I will always be angry about the crappy 2004 campaign, the overpaid consultants, and the unresponsive and bureaucratic Democratic Party (and Kerry campaign) — and especially, the New Dems who are only now finally realizing that perhaps their destruction of the left wing of the Democratic party left them vulnerable to attack. Lieberman’s hot wet kiss with Bush at the State of the Union speech was just the killing blow.
I noticed that Martin Peretz has just offered the Democrats some helpful advice. The man who gave us Michael Kelly, Charles Krauthammer, Mickey Kaus, and Andrew Sullivan. The neocon who stayed behind to fight a rear-guard battle against the enemy and subvert him — i.e., us. The fifth columnist.
The media is hopeless, and we need something completely new — a new national newspaper, new national TV and cable networks, and a new national radio network. Radio is only halfway there, and the others don’t exist at all. It would all cost about half a billion, and while people tell me that the money is out there, I don’t see much happening.
Right now there is no career track for openly liberal, openly Democratic media people. You can sit back and watch all of them fudging, refusing to burn bridges, and primping their moderation cred — hoping for that invitation to go on TV, or maybe even to write for the Times eventually, like the liberal Kristoff.
I might also mention that there’s a considerable pool of talented bloggers out here who’ve been self-financing all along while the dud consultants have been pulling down six-figure incomes for losing over and over again. After awhile, that kind of thing gets old, and I know of at least two well-respected bloggers who are just plain flat broke. Republican bloggers seem to get support, although they don’t necessarily tell anyone about it.
I think that the academic and administrative roots of most Democratic leaders disable them for the hoodlum politics of today. They’re used to describing reality as it is at a given moment, “managing” things, keeping the lid on, and judging people by their credentials. They’re cool and civil and don’t know how to respond to deliberate provocation, or to people whose goal is to shake things up and change things.
The Republicans, by contrast, hire semi-criminal entrepreneurs and give them a chance to show what they can do. And the Republicans win.
The whole “reality-based” slogan is utter crap. Democrats deal with the world as it is, and Republicans deal with the world as it can be made to be. That’s why the Democrats are always blindsided, and why the Republicans always win. The Democrats are yesterday, and the Republicans are tomorrow. “The point is not to understand the world, but to change it”.
And for those who don’t understand it yet, “character” means, among other things, macho. The can-do hands-on do-what-you-gotta-do thing. The academic habit of discussing everything to death is not what you’re looking for in the man in charge. (Macho — Margaret Thatcher had it, Indira Gandhi had it, Golda Meir had it. It’s not just a guy thing.)
The United States has been taken over by a cult — the hardcore 30% who think that that nuclear war is a fun idea, that France is an enemy nation, that the Confederacy was perfectly wonderful, that Armageddon is coming soon and is something to pray for, and that the federal government should be starved to death. They’re the bad guys, but the ones who you really have to blame are the ones who don’t bother and don’t care: the cynics, the apathetic, the non-voters, the game-players, the media careerists, and the self-described “moderates”. By the time those guys get the idea, it will probably be too late.
The American people have spoken, and sometimes you end up feeling that the problem is really them.
P.S. I meant to say this the first time — the absence of a liberal Democratic media career track also pulls Democratic political pros, and even Democratic politicians, to the right. They always have to think about what they do afterwards, so they don’t want to burn any bridges either. Bill O’Reilly, Chris Matthews, Susan Estrich and George Stephanopolous are the worst examples I can think of, but there are tons of them.