I'm happy to see that Liberals are out there saying what Republicans had forbidden in the public domain, the very notions of keeping government robust, of asking those who have a greater share of wealth to contribute more in taxes.   That said, I think we're missing something here.

Something dramatic shifted in politics three years ago, on account of the sheer depth of the incompetence and corruption of the GOP, and of President Bush.  But that shift did not erase years of intense bombardment from the right on certain ideas, certain ways of looking at the world.  They still got those buttons to push, and boy do they love pushing them.

And they pushed the living hell out of them in 2010.  Now we're back in the place we were thirty years ago, when I was just a tike at best.  But, I don't think we're screwed, and I don't think it will profit us to run away from who we are, or what we believe.  But we got to redefine the argument, I believe, and not just repeat the old formulations of the past.

Take labor.  The Right has drummed it into people that it's somehow obsolete at best, an impediment to economic and fiscal balance at worse.  They've beat the hell out of the dead horse that is the class warfare meme on this one, and they continue to associate it with corruption.

The same questions will get the same answers, the same answers will get the same questions.  There's already much the GOP's done to prejudice people when they're told about what we believe in.

This is not a call to abandon those principles whose expression has become so difficult to freely undertake with any success.  Rather, we have to think about what we value and why in an original fashion, and translate that original thought about the subject, about how we look at that issues into new words, new ideas to spread.

Or, put another way, we're looking to tread the less prepared ground, where the rhetorical paths don't lead people back to Republicans' slander against us.

This is not about running away from what we believe, but finding new messages that the Republicans haven't trampled over, fresh paths that can gain us some influence on the merits of what we're saying.  The more the Republicans have to scramble to confront the new points, the better.

Not all messages we can base on our beliefs are created equal.  I believe when we engage on the economy, we can tell people that we can deal with forty, fifty percent of the deficit by paying for an economic recovery, while the Republicans, with their spending cuts, not only endanger hundreds of thousands of jobs at a throw, but also only take care of a few bare percentage points of the deficit.

We need to connect facts people are not generally aware of, and use them to change facts people believe they're aware of.  Surprise people.  If lies can be sold when they're told boldly and counterintuitive, you can also sell the truth better when it comes as a surprise.

Point is, folks, we need to do better than refight the old rhetorical battles with the Republicans.  We need open up new fronts in the debate, and always, always keep the Republicans off-balance.

Meanwhile, researching all this will help to keep you yourself on your toes, as you examine the facts, rather than just repeat the slogans like so many Republicans do nowadays.

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