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My real political life, where I got up and actively debated and informed people about the issues, began with my disgruntlement about the handling of the Iraq War, particularly with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Which more or less ended tonight.  I know it's somewhat symbolic to cite this as the end of combat, with 50,000 troops still there, but let me tell you something: the formalities are not what's going to matter here.  This is about Obama doing what Bush did not, and could not, and would not do: bring this war to a definite close.

He said August, and they've left before the deadline.  We can choose to wave things like this and other things off, and prepare ourselves to lose an election, or we can do the smart thing, and realize that we need to fight the symbolic power of Republican memes, with symbolic events of our own.

Why not raise this up as such?  Why not go and say, Good for you Obama, let's bring the rest of them home real soon.  Conditioning doesn't work with only negative reinforcements.  The test subjects, so to speak, need to be made aware when they've done good.

And ending the combat mission in Iraq is certainly good, and the more encouragement we give on that account, the less silent we are when it comes to the Administration doing the right thing, the less we'll see in terms of uncertainty from our leaders as to what we want them to do.

Right now, we're suffering, because all there is out there are Republicans badmouthing the President, what he says, what he believes in.  We're getting called socialists (regardless of what that really means.  We're getting blamed by them for the financial disaster, blamed by them for the deficit, blamed by them for simply breathing the free air of America.

And what are we doing in return?  Scoffing amongst ourselves about how illogical, how silly they are.  Well, that's nice, but that's easy here.  How about out there?  How about taking our message beyond our party?

We're not doing that.  We're sitting at home MOPING.  And hoping, too, hoping that somehow our leaders will get the point without us pointing them in the right direction.

We are on our asses here, because we don't feel like getting off our asses.

Well, I guarantee you that if the Republicans get back in, you will have your motivation to get off your ass.  But you will also have to deal with the consequences of them winning what they do.

I've always predicated my politics on the principle of what I seek being useful to the actual manifestation of the policies I want.  That being the case, however disappointed I have been, I'm really not interested in just sitting back as Republicans win elections.  I am not interested in translating a lack of natural enthusiasm and natural motivation to a failure on my part to push for the policies and the politics I want.

If you're volunteering, if you're working on a campaign, keep up the good work.  But if you're not, if you're just a voter, if you're just a commentator, I want you to consider something:  The Republicans have been rolling back our advantages because we've lost sight of what we want, lost sight of the fact that the fight wasn't over, that Democrats in Congress were not suddenly going to get less contrary.

We've also lost sight of the necessity of going out there, and pushing a narrative against the Republicans.  Our power in Washington is nowhere near secure enough for us to be worrying about doctrine and party purity.  Those are the things a party that's not behind in the polls can worry about.  What we have to worry about right now is taking the fall for the last decade of Republican policies.

Worse yet, taking the fall, so those policymakers can cut short the reckoning for their idiocy.

They are mainly doing this by arguing symbolically, turning a specific event or bill into a representation of whatever they want to allege is wrong or right, regardless of the facts.

I won't advocate for quite the departure from the facts that they are, but we can, of course, essentialize for the sake of creating short, pungent messages.

We need people showing up at Republican town halls heckling about their resistance to jobs and small business aid.  Force them to defend that charge, boiled down to its strongest accusatory form: why aren't you helping the average people recover from this disaster?  What have you got against helping the little guys?

Bash them on being freedom haters.  Bash them on their disloyalty to the constitution.  Find a point, and make it strongly, make it simple, and for the love of all that's good, make it difficult to ignore.

And don't just do this to push against Republicans, but also to push for Democrats.  Every negative message about the Republicans can have a mirror image for the Democrats.  Praise what they do well, get people together and excited about that.  And if we have a candidate who is straying from the fold, then I tell you what you do.  You have a person show up at one of their meetings and positively push for the kind of policy you want them to go for, in the terms, in the ways I have describe.

The point here is not to obviate rational discussion, but to give people the emotional priming necessary to start following that rational discourse.

We shouldn't let achievements pass unmarked in the outside world.  People should not be so unengaged in the facts of what's going on.  The folks who are basically bullshitting themselves and everybody else should not have the symbolic stage all to themselves.

We need to be out there pushing our own narrative, beyond the safe, comfortable confines of the left blogosphere.  Start thinking how you can sell the Democratic Party agenda, even if you have to do it without the Party's help.  Stop waiting for the leaders to be inspiration.  Start being inspirational yourselves.  There are more of you, you can reach more people more quickly.

Update:
Reclist?  Wow!  I didn't expect that.  Well, thank you again!

Originally posted to First Amendment Remedies on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:39 PM PDT.

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