When Republicans lead, America stumbles backward.
In the weeks leading up to the Lamont victory in Connecticut, this country experienced the inspirational force of Progressive leadership. We led the debate, the race, and the country--and it felt great.
Then Ned Lamont won (hurray!). And Progressives cheered, celebrated, and--left the podium open for Republicans to reclaim.
We did not do this on purpose. We just assumed that we could take a break when the votes had been counted in Connecticut and our candidate came out on top. We won, right? And when the winner wins, that means the loser loses...right? And at that pont, activists who led the fight and won deserved a break.
We need to step back up--right now. And the first step is to drive the 'Kiss Float' to Washington, DC.
A Call To Get Back On The Road
I know the CT race was long and exhausting, and I know everyone involved is tired, sunburned and out of cash.
But unless the CT activists get back and gear--unless Progressive stand up again and lead the debate--everything that has been accomplished will slowly trip backwards as a result of Republicans taking control of the debate again.
The solution is very simple: Pull "The Kiss" float out of the garage and drive it to DC
The float was more than piece of political theater. It was the core symbol that framed the entire debate in Connecticut and it has single handedly reframed the entire political debate in this country.
The float embodies the massive discontent that the majority of Americans feel towards their elected leaders.
The float motivated the electorate to turn their discontent into action--real action expressed through the otherwise alienating electoral process.
The float inspired a huge turnout of voters in a primary race.
The float provided content for even the most timid journalists looking for a way to write about politics.
The float was a coste effective, powerful, 100% Progressive form of political participation.
The float was the voice fo the people made visible for everyone to see and understood.
And now the float is sitting somewhere in a garage.
When the Float's Away, Republicans Will Play
The return to a media driven by the cynical smear tactics of the RNC is the product of a leadership vacuum that opened up suddenly after the Lamont victory in Connecticut.
We all felt it. We won! Let's have a drink! And we were right. For the first time, the mainstream press was talking about the bloggers Progressive activists as if were human beings with a Democratic purpose, not pale and chubby geeks who needed to get out more.
And so we all sat back in our collective chairs and enjoyed it. We were the new leaders of the debate.
But the Republicans do not give a crap about who is and who is not leading the debate. They will push down their own grandmothers in traffic if it meant getting back up to the podium to scream their talking points to the public and drown out every other semblance of decency from the room.
And that is exactly what they did.
Within minutes of Ned Lamont's victory, as we in the Netroots collectively breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed our firm grip on the media cycle--the RNC blitzed the podium.
"Lamont is a radical! He's a terrorist! Hates America! More attacks!"
And then, a terrorist plot that had been under investigation for months was suddenly upgraded to 'Red Alert' by the President--knocking all other news off the air.
That, folks, is how the Republicans take back the podium. And what did Progressives do in response?
We started asking for people do do for us again.
In the blogs, there is a funny dynamic that emerges when Progressives stop leading the debate: the writing gets much better.
For some reason, we are all better writers when we are making demands of Democratic leadership, than when we are actually being the leaders.
But the down side to all that is that we are asking for help rather than making it happen.
In the weeks leading up to the Lamont campaign, the netroots stopped asking and started taking.
The Connecticut activists did not ask Congressional Democrats if they would let Ned Lamont win. They took it.
And now, if we want Congressional Democrats to push Lieberman out and really back Lamont, we cannot ask. We have to take it.
Donkey Float All The Way To Washington
So, let's start taking again.
Let's ride that float all the way to Washington and park it outside the offices of those Democrats who have the power to pressure Lieberman to get out of the race.
Let's park that float outside of Harry Reid's office.
Let's park that float outside of Chuck Schumer's office.
Let's park that float outside of Barbar Boxer's office.
Let's park that float outside of Hillary Clinton's office.
And let's keep that float in the news until Joe Lieberman steps down.
Those of us who cannot ride the float, we can be there to provide resources.
Those of us who know how to raise money on the internet, start a campaign right now: raise money so the owners of the float can get to Washington, pay for gas, pay for cell phone time, buy video tape, organize press conferences, find a place to sleep at night.
And those of us with contacts in Washington can help.
And those of us with contacts in the media can help.
Drive that float all the way to Washington.
The Frame Is Ours, But We Lost the Momentum
The frame is still ours. We still have the Republicans on the defensive. The country now sees real change of leadership as the key to national security and moving the country forward.
But we lost the momentum because relaxed for a minute, and the Republicans muscled their way back to the podium.
Let's take it back.