Today is the one-month anniversary of November 7.
So, how are you all feeling out there?
What I think surprises me the most is both how cynical I was about Democratic prospects generally, and in fear of the Rove Machine in particular. After twelve years of Republican rule and my awakening about the sorry state of American media I was pretty convinced that the bad times were going to keep on a rollin. Despite the fact that I partake of a wide range of liberal and alternative media sources, I had bought into the media hype about the Bush White House.
There was short period of time during the '04 campaign when I first recognized the shell that was the Bush Conservative Movement: It was during the first debate when Kerry was looking tall and talking presidential while Bush looked like the frat boy we all thought he was in 1999. The difference between Kerry and Bush that night was striking, causing me to realize how much of Bush's persona was manufactured and how much it benefitted from being insulated from the public and opposing opinions.
Unfortunately, that awareness, which I suspect people besides myself also noticed, wasn't enough to carry the day; Bush was re-elected and brought with him more Republican House and Senate members. With 55 Senators, moreover, the 2005-2006 GOP appeared poised to reach anti-filibuster territory in the next election cycle or two.
Then there was the much vaunted Karl Rove genius, the strength of the Republican voting ground game, aided considerably by the growing millions of conservative evangelicals and abetted by a Missing White Woman obsessed media.
I was sure that for all their vileness and depravity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Little Green Footballs had their fingers on the pulse of American resentment politics.
But how weak (and still vile) do those propagandists and hate-mongers look now? And they're still at it, convinced their great conservative cause was betrayed, in some cases still continuing to deny their war is a fiasco, not recognizing the shrinking of red America as conservatism finds itself increasingly isolated in the Old South.
Among the most refreshing changes has been to see the gradual realignment of bloggers such as John Cole and Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan in particular, who was calling us tree-hugging, angry bloggers a traitorous fifth column against America's holy war against Islam is now venting loudly and stridently against his fellow travelers. Here's Sullivan on the right-wing response to Mary Cheney's pregnancy:
Here's TownHall blogger Kevin McCullough's response to the Mary Cheney news. Money quote:
Knowing from scientific data that children excel best when given the full and natural parental structure of one mother and one father, is it moral to bring a child into such a scenario - purposefully, simply to stroke one's own desire to have a child - sort of like a new handbag, or pair of shoes?
So the vice-president's future grandchild is now the equivalent of a pair of shoes? Send me more examples of base reax, will you? In many ways, the GOP's base response to the reality of gays seems to me similar to their attitude to the reality of Iraq. They have an ideology; it just doesn't fit persuasively with reality. The more reality bites, the more fiercely they stick to their ideology. This is why the Christianist psyche really is the anti-conservative psyche. It is a rigid political ideology, enhanced with the certitude of religious fundamentalism, and deployed with Schmittian ruthlessness. In the end, it must fail. It will fail. And it is failing. All that remains to be discovered is the extent of the human damage it has wrought.
"In the end it must fail. And it is failing." Damn, that's some good shit.
And here's Sullivan commenting on the right-wing blogosphere's reaction to the photos of Jose Padilla:
But let me say this in defense of Althouse. She is at least conceding that the shameful treatment of Padilla is worth discussing. And her defense of the sadism is about as plausible as it will ever get. She sees there is an important principle here - something we once knew as habeas corpus. Here you have a U.S. citizen detained on American soil, kept without charges for 3 and a half years, accused of plotting a dirty bomb attack (an accusation never substantiated in any way), tortured until he may be mentally incapable of standing trial ... and the conservative blogosphere is completely, utterly silent. Habeas corpus disappears not with a bang, and not even with a whimper, but with deathly quiet. Well, we know what American conservatism now stands for. You can see the visual above.
The GOP is imploding.
Of course, as Digby has noted, it's unfortunate that there are still prospective candidates who want to triangulate against the dirty hippy bloggers and campaign as if Democrats must continue to appease the Serious Media People in the Media and the mythical heartland voters who voted Democratic but really didn't mean it.
But the last twelve years in the wilderness, and in particular the past six years of hell have paid off in the blooming of critical liberal voices in the blogosphere and around the country. Take Tom Schaller for instance, whose pre-election release of Whistling Past Dixie was incredibly, and singly, prescient about the election outcomes this year and future trends of American politics.
Another important voice has been that of David Sirota, an economic populist and strategist who, along with Schaller, has recognized the potential for anti-business elite leaders to win elections in the Mountain West and Mid-West.
The challenge for Democrats will be to live with the variety inherent in big-tent majority coalitions while ensuring the big-picture goals--increasing individual freedoms and economic opportunities for more and more Americans--stay in focus.
Anyway, feel free to celebrate our one-month anniversary. Just try not to shoot anyone in the face.