Saturday, September 18, 2010

Smart People ROCK! How Intelligent Thought And Action Can Bring Home The Liberal Base

As cynical as I can be, I am the eternal optimist when it comes to the ideals of this nation. And I am a huge fan of both the spoken and written word, words that have the power to move people to action, thoughts that express the ideals we share and value, words that can make us see the greater good and the better side of our humanity. I am a fan of the wicked smart, the witty and, yes, the snarky. I keep a file of favorite quotes, love writing speeches when given the chance, and love the movie, The American President, because of its wonderful expression of what this country is truly all about.

And, as you probably already know, I love smart politicos. I am a die-hard fan of folks like Our Gal Rachel, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who waxed so eloquently on a topic near and dear to my heart.  See Harris-Lacewell in action on TRMS:

Humor me by reading over my favorite part of the Harris-Lacewell quote here:
I‘m from a people who really did experience the need to hold on to a God who would see them through difficult times, including generations of black women who in slavery were forced to bear the children of their rapists. And I do believe, because I‘m a person of faith, in a interceding God that can help people through difficult circumstances. But I‘m also an American who believes that the point of government isn't to make life so hard for half of our citizens that the only force there to help them is God. We, as a government and as a people, deserve and should do better.
 Just about the time I was saying to The Hubby how brilliantly well-executed Melissa Harris-Lacewell's  comments were, Rachel points out that this was not a written speech, but one spoken entirely off-the-cuff, from a place of intelligence and passion. Wow. Just wow. Had to share that with you all. Smart, and expresses what we, as Dems, believe, in one concise phrase. Government is there to do what people cannot do for themselves. And all off the top of her head. Phenomenal.

In other news this week, now that the primary season is over, there's evidence to suggest a distinct trend  in Republican politics. In fact, many of us have wondered over the past year just who is in charge of the GOP. Is it Steele? Newt? Armey? The answer post-primary season is now is clear: the crackpots are running the asylum. While the anger toward incumbents on the Democratic side of the aisle never materialized in the way that conventional wisdom had believed it would, the GOP have been trying desperately to pass their own "purity tests." Their incumbents have had to hold their own against Tea Party-esque candidates who, in any other election cycle, would have been thought of as kooks, crackpots and RWNJs. The amazing part, however, is how easily the loons are able to knock off their opponents handily at every turn. At any other time, these extremists' ideas would not be considered serious. The fringe of the fringe wouldn't be taken seriously. Ah, but this, my friends, is not that year. With low primary turnout, it takes a very small percentage to give these candidates the Republican nomination. And the GOP is being forced to embrace their whack-job wing-nuttery and to financially support the crazies on the national political scene as their very own.

This is great news, of course, for the Dems. Great news as long as we take the opposition seriously. If Dems don't get out the vote, if we cannot find a way to excite the base, then we're in deep trouble. Trust me, I'm from California. No one took Ah-nuld seriously, either. Then all the monster-truck driving, action movie-watching, half-brained idiots voted for the first time in their lives and here we are...with a state in a financial mess that makes Gray Davis look like JFK himself.

So, how does the Obama Administration excite the base? Gotta say, they knew how during the campaign, but seem to have lost their ability as they govern. I get it that having The President address every idiotic untruth the right throws out there is ridiculous and beneath the office. But I have one word for you, folks: surrogates. The Prez has a ton of surrogates to speak on his behalf. Tim Kaine, Wasserman Schultz, and my fave guy on the planet, Joe Biden. We've seen a little of that recently. Joe on Maddow, poking the base with a stick, for one. But why aren't the troops out there on every morning show, on MSNBC's lineup, talking about the Rethuglican obstructionism and  the extremism of the crackpot candidates? Why isn't there a website dedicated to disproving the lies of the far right as there was during the campaign? Is Rahm too focused on his possible Chicago mayoral run and has his eye off the ball? Has the press secretary seen better days, just burnt-out? Are there too many old Bush appointees still around the table?

Whatever the reason, I wish that Bill Clinton's recent appearance on the Daily Show could somehow be required viewing for the liberal base. The interview is two clips, about 7 minutes long each. If you're pressed for time, watch the second half. (Again, another wicked smart guy!)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

And here's Part 2, the real kicker:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

(By the way, kudos to The Hubby for sitting me down to watch those clips - thanks, Honey!)
We as Dems need a clear message, delivered as cleanly and concisely as President Bill has said it. That, along with a few other positive signs of life from the Administration, such as Elizabeth Warren's appointment (Hooray! Again, another smart cookie that knows her stuff!) and if they can pull off the repeal of DADT might begin to bring the base back around. It's time to fight these so-called "culture warriors" on the far right and, as Joe Biden is known for doing, come out swinging. "I want this fight. I want this fight!" says our V.P. And I think we in the liberal base do, too!