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Hope In A Hopeless World

Reported by Ellen - November 4, 2004 -

Like many of you, I'm sure, I spent today in mourning over another four years of Bush misleadership, the failure of the Kerry campaign to properly convey a winning alternative and the gullibility of the American public for having been duped into believing that Bush is not a spoiled frat-boy who ducked out of his own military service and failed at every business venture he worked at. On top of all that, last night I spent a long night at a Kerry "victory" party watching a stream of Republicans and pundits praising Bush and knocking Kerry on "liberal" CNN. If the network logo hadn't been there, I might have thought I had been watching FOX.

But, like the Chinese character for "crisis," I see opportunity combined with the danger.

1. Bush DID NOT receive a mandate. His approval rating is under 50% and only 42% of the electorate believes the US is on the right track, according to a FOX poll taken at the end of October. That tells me there is a door open to mount an effective opposition.

2. We still have the court of public opinion available to us. It may be our last and only resort but I believe that if we are savvy about it (which Kerry clearly was not), we have a chance to block some of Bush's agenda and maybe even prevail. I keep reminding myself that Richard Nixon was elected to a second term in a landslide and look what happened to him. Bush did not get a landslide. He is vulnerable.

3. Despite the media bias, good PR still works. Bev Harris knows how to do it. She's the woman who almost singlehandedly brought the issue of electronic voting-machine dangers to the forefront of the public conversation. This was a story Bush, his campaign-contributor/voting-machine manufacturer Diebold and the mainstream media were not eager to promote but through dogged perseverence, Harris pushed the topic into the mainstream conversation.

4. Rather than simply condemn the Swift Boat Vets, we should take a page from their playbook. Fasten on a single issue and hammer it home again, again and again, teaming up with some like-minded people who may have deep pockets.

I think if progressives were to take one issue at a time and frame it properly, success could be ours without having to declare victory and scaring the Republicans away from taking part in the "liberal agenda." For example, one creative ad on the issue of Bush's plan to make the tax cuts permanent along with lots of people flooding the airwaves to echo the same theme could well put Bush on the defensive, much the same way the old Harry and Louise ads worked against Clinton's health plan. It was one ad, one issue, not a group of Republicans saying, "We insist on a more Conservative platform from Clinton."

Another example was media consolidation and the FCC. Remember when they were all set to approve the changes relaxing ownership rules? There was such a public outcry that the FCC backed off. It wasn't the threat of litigation or filibustering or election pressures that did it. It was public pressure.

5. We have the internet. Trent Lott resigned because liberal blogs grabbed hold of the story about his remarks about Strom Thurmond and didn't let go. There's no reason why we can't do this again and again. Our own Newshounds site statistics have skyrocketed in recent weeks. A lot of people are suddenly interested in what we are writing and it's not just our friends and family. That tells me there is a growing appetite for our message.

6. We have a lot of material to work with. Bush's policies are really, truly bad and he seems unwilling to confront the shortcomings. Sooner or later his chickens will probably come home to roost. Why not rush them along so that we don't go down the tubes along with him?

I'm not saying our future looks rosy. But if we get cracking right away and work smart, then I think there's a chance...

Not yet ready to move to Canada,

PS When the going gets tough, the tough go dancing. I'm off to Austin for a contra dance weekend and a visit with my sister and her family. Are there are any other contra dancers out there who will be in Austin? If so, come say, "Hey!" I'll be the one with the world's cutest twin nephews.:)

For everyone else, I'll be back next Tuesday or Wednesday, probably ready to fight again.