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View Diary: Brad Carson speaks - and pens a brilliant TNR article (348 comments)

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  •  Oh, good lord (4.00)
    Carson's column is okay, but not an epiphany.

    I'm tired of hearing people lament that we, in essence, have to dumb ourselves down and overlook the destructive tendencies of the right-wing fundamentalists.  Oh dear, we're too "modern."  Let's go back to kerosene and carbon paper.

    Fact is, their side is most definitely trying to stick a massive evangelical crowbar under the capital dome in order to grab more power.  They're using the politics of fear and deception to bamboozle millions of their followers.  And their followers are lapping it up, scared of their own shadow and unwilling to...oh, I don't know...question what their leaders shove down their throats (the 9/11--Saddam lie comes to mind, but there are many others).  The media has been excruciatingly unhelpful in debunking their blatant lies.

    (By the way, what kind of statement does it make about the parents of these right-wing leaders, who clearly find nothing wrong about making shit up and passing it off as real?  Family values in action.  God bless those red-state values.)

    Kerry was a weak candidate...can we all please agree on that?  He did not take the nation by storm and generate a passionate following.  Yes, we need to learn how to frame issues better.  But we also need charismatic leaders who generate some heat.  I don't know if Howard Dean is the best candidate for '08, but I can tell you he brings tears to a lot of eyes when he lays out his vision for what America could---and should---be like.

    Fight harder, frame better, tweak the nose of the opposition with our own "global test" and "nuisance"-type gotcha one-liners, manage the media better, and find a leader who makes us proud---from the pit of our stomach---to be Democrats/Americans.  But don't collapse under the weight of the Republicans' never-ending evangelical-based smear campaign.

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    •  You don't have to win fundies (none)
      They're called the Religious RIGHT for a reason. But mainstream evangelicals and "freestyles" should be up for grabs. There may be a fringe of secularists who despise them, but mainstream Dems ought to reach them just fine. The secularists just need to be muzzled the way the Repubs muzzle the fundies (there are lots of fundies FAR more extreme and belligerent than what you read about -- the ones who think Catholics are Satanists, etc.)

      And 51% of the country is not rejecting modernism. People are just anxious about how society is changing.

      The modern world results in a lot of changes. People are apprehensive about the changes. Things change not just economically but socially and culturally as well.

      The Democrats only attempt to address the economic issues, but struggle to move past the New Deal solutions.

      Democrats hardly even address the social and cultural issues. I don't know why. Maybe in the most places where Dems live, it's taken for granted that people are adjusting smoothly. But this is a huge issue for a lot of people, and the Party seems either silent or at best equivocal about it. Hollywood and Maureen Dowd end up speaking in the Party's place, and their nonsense casts a pall even over decent people like John Kerry.

      What is so freaking hard about convincing voters that Democratic values ARE their values? Trying to change their values doesn't work -- it pisses them off. Pointing out the inconsistencies of their identification with Republicans doesn't work -- it just makes them defensive. And throwing up your hands in frustration and calling them all troglodyte idiot racist bigots doesn't work -- it just makes them hate you.

      It's not about moving right or left. It's about co-opting people's concerns into your existing agenda. If you're left asking yourselves, "how do we reach these people," you're losing. That's like asking, "How do we get through to the Iraqi people." If you're not among them, if you don't interact with them, you'll never understand them at the gut level.

      And every time a leftie is caught gazing, confused and stupified, at the vast swath of America outside the cities, it just reinforces the image they have in their minds that the left is out of touch with their concerns and their daily lives.

      Frankly I think Dean would do better than a lot of moderates think he would because at least he is firm in what he believes and stands up for it. Just like GWB, "you know where he stands." Playing up the whole "New England country doctor" angle wouldn't hurt, either.

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