I'm not a New Year's resolution person, but I do understand the need to make positive changes in our lives on a regular basis. So when I looked back at the posts I had this week, I didn't like what I saw. It was more of the same old stuff from the end of last year, when I seemed to be either complaining or reacting to something I saw in the news. This thought had me up for several hours laast night, until I finally just went ahead and got up to put down a few new ideas.
I call myself an Independent politically, because that's what my voter registration says, but I am a Barack Obama Independent, which gives me a hall pass to hang out with the Democrats. I've always been a little wary of the Democratic Party, probably because after growing up in a Republican household, and seeing some of their organizational activities on a local level, it seemed to me that the Democrats were just playing at being politics. That they were inefficient in organizing their efforts. That they squandered their natural advantages and resources too easily for too little in return.
Since then, the progressive end of the party has tried to make a way out of no way. They've made great strides, but haven't really been able to marshal their resources in a way that multiplies their influence beyond their base day in and day out. They are fantastic at one-two punch combinations, but not so good at raining the kind of body blows on their opponents, round after round, all day, every day and twice as much on Sundays, that it takes to weaken their positions.
What is the Democratic narrative in 2010?
In 2008, you simplified the positive. "Yes We Can" was the narrative - simple, direct, memorable, a positive affirmation that was all inclusive, a call to action that was the drumbeat of the movement that won the presidency, a catch phrase that at its core reflected the organizing principles of the Obama campaign - let its followers plug into the part of the narrative that meant something to them. It was such a good strategy that it took the pressure off the defense, and assembled the biggest group of activists in Democratic history.
What is the narrative in 2010?
This is a little trickier because although all political campaigns depend a lot on hype and hope, you now have an actual president with a real track record, one that has been largely defined in a negative manner by the media, who are fixated on the one or two things that went wrong this week rather than the 98 things that went right. I can't waste the power of this blog this year solely reacting to those one or two things that went wrong.
The phrase "Do The Right Thing" is swirling around in my head as I write this.
It has its cons - to some, it may seem edgy, may seem too "urban", too identifiable with African American culture because of the Spike Lee movie of the same name, but I'm free associating here, which is where all good ideas begin - hopefully, if you're reading this, you're doing the same. The pro is it is simple, memorable, can be positive, is a call to action, and possesses the ability to be used in a variety of situations to accentuate individual issues: "healthcare reform - do the right thing"; "Immigration reform - do the right thing"; "Our goal is to raise one million dollars for Senator X this weekend - do the right thing"
Whatever the phrase ultimately is will help hold together the varied factions of the party by reminding them what they are working towards, not what they are working against. Obviously, a phrase is meaningless if there is no grand plan, no overarching scheme that exploits the strength of its members while targeting its opponents weaknesses.
I don't run any organization. I will be checking them out in the next few weeks to see what they've already got planned, and how this blog and other like it can plug into these efforts. Because I like seeing this president on my TV. I like hearing him talk to me as if I am a citizen worthy of his time. So if the first step to seeing him keep the same mailing address for another seven years are Democratic victories in the House and the Senate, then I'm ready to roll up my sleeves.
For the first time since the presidential election, the people who come to my site by accident, looking for Obama hate material, who find instead my expose on Obama hate groups that I did in 2008, have slowed to a trickle. I still believe that "hate has no expiration date", but it takes a lot of energy to hate someone as rabidly as these people have this last year. Maybe some of the less committed are giving up. Then again, they could be back after a break. But for now, it looks like a positive development.
The mainstream media is dead wrong - there is no political horse race this year. The GOP is in disarray, with a party chairman on the loose, a rouge ex-governor who has enthralled millions, and a tea bagger movement that is intent on defying the GOP powers that be, putting the conservative moderates in the middle of an all out shooting war. A full court, man to man offensive by the Democrats that muscles up against these weak points ceaselessy, day in and day out, for the next 300 odd days until the 2010 elections have a chance to do permanent and lasting damage to the Republican Party.
I'm not interested in laughing at tea baggers this year. I don't care about whether or not I am smarter than a Limbaugh Dittohead. I want to find out what I need to do right now, and tomorrow, and the day after that, so that when I turn my TV on in late January 2013, I will get to see that same smiling face I saw last year taking the Oath of Office in D.C.
I want to win.