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I was born at a relatively young age. Growing up consumed the better part of my childhood. As a young man I chased a lot of girls. But they kept getting away. Then I got older and even slower, so I got married. I've lived in New York City almost since before I moved here. I summer in Manhattan, which is like New York City, but with more humidity.

Here's me, without baby, thinking big thoughts. (Actually, what I'm thinking is, "Hey, these aren't Pringles!") I think I look better with baby.

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From the People Who Brought You Democrats...
Saturday, November 06, 2004
The thing that troubles me most about the Bush win is that the people who this win keeps in power—Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfritz, Rove, and so on—will take the election as a mandate and validation from the American public. The most chilling quote in that NY Times magazine article was by the guy who said, facts don’t matter anymore, and that this is a core tenet of the Bush administration. And it is true. Call it faith. Call it ideology. Call it the Bush Doctrine. But we have an administration that doesn’t understand geo-political issues, doesn’t care that they don’t understand because they (gleefully) make and impose their own reality, and will now stay the course, which means we will be four years closer to all out holy war. If you think that a Bush victory has made you safer, you are sadly mistaken. For the first time in my life—and, I devoutly hope, the last—the outcome of a presidential election has made the lives of my family and me less secure. Because make no mistake about it, we are going to pick up the pace in our all out gallop to holy war.

There are other issues, of course, but they pale in comparison.

Now I have to tell you, I have never been a Kerry fan. I hope the Democrats have the good sense to put him, Gephardt, and Gore on an ice floe, push it out to sea, and never show me a one of them again. (Hillary can stay off the floe if she promises to stay in the senate,) Because while the Bushanistas have their holy war agenda, Kerry never demonstrated that he understood the Middle East any better. Its just that I believed before the election, and still do, that if I have to choose between two clueless administrations, the one throwing gasoline on the fire was worse than the one asking, “I smell smoke. Is something burning?”

While I grow angrier and angrier at Kerry for his incompetence, I’m actually starting to think his loss was potentially a positive outcome—if, as I said in the previous post, the Democrats correctly interpret the wake-up call. First, on incompetence: can you believe that one candidate dodged Viet Nam by using his family connections to get a soft National Guard gig, then went AWOL from that; while the other guy served in combat and was decorated numerous times, then took a political stand on the war; and the SECOND guy was the guy undone by the “What I did during the war” issue? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were one of the most insidious, despicable examples of political attack ads in history—but at what point do you blame Kerry for simply not having the wherewithal to take back the issue? Or to have avoided the issue in the first place?

And look at the top two issues affecting us today. By any measure, aren’t they the economy and our relations with the Middle East (a broader question than just the war in Iraq)? Yet the Republicans managed, when you get right down to it, to make this election (after tarring Kerry via the Swift Boaters) about Gay marriage and stem cell research. If one lesson of the election was that there really are two Americas, I’d like to visit that other America, where people are inured from terrorism and the economy is great, where stem cell research is conducted on aborted fetuses (and where somehow diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other debilitating diseases have been miraculously eradicated); and where hordes of gay couples are streaming into town, kidnapping children, and forcing unnatural acts upon them before eating their flesh. (I wonder if this America could live with using gay people for stem cell research.)

Anti-gay initiatives on 11 state ballots. Republican mailings that Kerry would ban the bible. And Kerry let it just happen to him. As I said before, the man is simply not as smart as he seems to think he is. (To Bush’s credit, he is indeed precisely as dumb as he thinks he is.)

So where’s the good news in all this? Well, the course America is locked onto is not a good one. It can only end, as I say (and will elaborate on is a future screed), in all-out holy war. Polls showed that “not Bush” would have beaten Bush in an election head-to-head. Unfortunately Kerry wasn’t as effective a candidate as “not Bush.” In the final analysis, I don’t think Americans decided they liked the way the country is going. Rather, I think they decided that they may not like the way the country is going, but since the other guy doesn’t seem to have any idea either about how to set things right, might as well stick with the devil you know.

This means, I truly believe, that Americans are ripe for a new alternative. I can’t tell you how many people have told me in the last few days, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; they left me.” It is a cliché, but it is also a truth. My friend Dan, a gun-loving, Ah-nuld-voting conservative, tells that he is actually still registered Democrat because he never bothered to change. People we once called Reagan Democrats, we now call Republicans. The Democrats no longer have a base; it is only a testimony to the unpopularity of Republican policies that elections aren’t 80/20 in their favor. Yet.

I want to see a Democratic party that doesn’t just embrace politics as usual (that should be a given; they “usually” lose.) I want to see a party that has a sensible, logical platform and set of ideologies that make sense to the average American for the 21st century. I want to see a party that can send a representative into any church in America and say to the congregation, “Let me tell you what it means to be on the religious left” and walk away with a room full of people saying, “Hmm, that city feller made a lot of sense.” I want to see a party that can nominate a candidate that the other party can’t simply dismiss by pointing and saying, “He’s gonna raise your taxes; I’m gonna lower them.” In short, I want to see a party with a freaking clue.

I’ve heard talk that the Democrats are looking at John Edwards as party chairman. Aargh! Good grief! If that happens these people are bigger idiots than I thought. There is no party insider qualified to oversee the zero-based planning that must go on for Democrats to avoid continued slippage toward marginality. The process is simple: Assess the situation in America today. Develop a set of core values and beliefs that address this situation, and which resonate in the hearts and minds of Americans. Learn how to communicate these values and beliefs concisely—in speeches, on TV, in ads. Then develop specific policies that turn these beliefs and values into action plans.

Oh, and by the way—to do this right, you probably aren’t done by the mid-term elections.

But this is what the party must do. Anything less, and we will be a one-party nation. But if the Democrats can accomplish this feat, the result will be a better America for all of us.


Posted by: --josh-- @ 8:19 AM  

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