I made all this coffee and then everybody went to work and I HAD to drink all the coffee myself so now I’m crazy. Congratulations to me. My brains they is going too fast and I’m shaking like Michael J. Fox. Consider yourself warned.
- The DNC has got to start thinking like a corporation. The reason corporations are the most successful living beings is because they use the brain properly. GOP already figured this out. It’s why their talking points accrete: can someone who voted for Bush tell you the difference between partial-birth abortions, stem cell research, or gay marriage? No, because the icky power of them is all one thing, because of the power of branding. It’s about using the “bad feeling” in the back of your brain to tell the boys at the front desk what to say and how to vote.
We can use this too, it’s just that we don’t, because
- EVERYTHING’S NOT ABOUT YOU, STUPID. The liberal penchant for martyrdom and self-aggrandizing ego-centered demagoguery is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, people need a face and a name and words to put their faith behind. But as someone who knows a little something about self-aggrandizing ego-centered demagoguery, I have to tell you that there’s a downside to that, and it’s that if I don’t like you, yourself, I physically will not be able to hear the words that are coming out of your mouth. Didn’t see Fahrenheit 911 due to the fact that Michael Moore is a ridiculously self-important, pranking, punk’ng trickster diva. Didn’t read the Al Franken book because Al Franken is an big fat greedy pandering patronizing idiot. Never listened to Air America because I no longer want to fuck Janeane Garofalo because she ate a big old plate of “I’m So Awesome” and hasn’t digested it yet. This sort of thing has always been on message for the Republicans because it’s the point of Republicans: this one lone cowboy/seaman/doctor holding down the line and being so super great. For a populist, beautifully humble party like the ideal DNC, it’s incongruous, and the reason that no revolution goes anywhere, and the reason that all revolutions turn to the right, and the reason for Animal Farm.
- Picture an activist group like it’s the Sims. See their hotplate, and the typewriter, and the hopes and dreams and breathless idealism and how beautiful they are. Run it through elapsed time like a night-blooming jasmine. STOP. See there, on the second Tuesday of the simulation? See the puffing chests? See the arguments starting? See the wheels turning and the questions? Who’s more hardcore? Who’s the better activist? Who is willing to put more on the line? Who got arrested the most? Who’s told that one awesome arrest story the most times? Who stayed up later? Who brought more coffee to the picketers? Who’s more real? IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, STUPID.
- But it has to be, because that’s how politics happens. So how do you keep it from eating itself? By electing a president, supreme court nominator, legislature so appalling, grotesque and terrifying that everybody stops thinking about himself and starts thinking like a unit.
Here’s what Alison, one of my best friends, says, and it’s awesome, and totally correct. I’ve posted it on the shared political blog I’m a part of, This Is Not Over, but I believe it to the ends of Heaven and Earth, so you should cut and paste it everywhere, because it’s exactly how I feel right now, and every day:
We have to behave like a team and not like a graduate political science department because it’s difficult to be post-liberal and smugly above the fray when theyre fucking up the core fundamentals. I feel complicit in the fact that everything we took for granted is slipping away, and I fear that because of our nice relaxing rest on our laurels, soon we’ll actually have to go back to talking about how black people are people too. I really don’t want to go back to Kindergarten with these assholes. Therefore, I pledge the following and urge you to do the same in the interest of building a real grass-roots change:
- I will not talk shit about liberal activists regardless of how tacky they are. Even if they are Michael Moore.
- I will not lazily take the high road and expect some sort of applause for my decorum later on.
- I will not pull punches with Republicans and their bullshit so as to “respect their opinions”
- I will not make up fake arguments to support my position so as to appear more moderate.
- I will refer to myself as a liberal.
- I will not cede to Republicans the sole jurisdiction over ass-kicking.
- I will not be ashamed of peace, diplomacy, science, freedom of speech, or the environment just because I think it ought to go without saying.
- I will not comment out loud about how protesters are annoying.
- I will quash cynicism wherever I hear it, especially with regard to corruption. That’s not the way we roll.
- I realize that regular people will never learn on their own what assholes the GOP has in the front office if I don’t explain it to them in very small words.
Truth? I voted for George Bush in the year 2000. Why. To scare everybody. All I did was scare myself. I scared myself so bad that in 2004 I voted for John Kerry. Now Bush is starting his second term in a couple of months and I’m still scared. This is the best thing that could have happened and I’ll tell you why.
For as far back as I can remember, it’s been impossible to critique the DNC from the left. It got you called reactionary, cryptofascist, and an asshole, because of this fake brotherhood of man bullshit. And we shifted right, and we shifted right, and tried and tried to get as many people as possible by looking as moderate as possible. This was always doomed to failure, and Andy told me why. It’s because pretending to be moderate or conservative “enough”, as a Democrat, is never going to be as authentic as the actual Republican you’re standing next to. You are always going to look like a bad drag queen next to the real deal. And it’s false, and a betrayal of self and country.
Here’s my face of the DNC in 2008: frothing, liberal madness, wielding an intellectual sword that is on fire. “Let Barlet Be Bartlet” definition of the real debate instead of using my queer self as a fucking football. Let’s kill Terry McAuliffe and install a triumvirate of the craziest fucking liberals we can think of. Howard Dean and cute little Kucinich and the creatures of the forest, and Al Sharpton. People outside the faux-conservative box we all fell into, that don’t even make sense when they talk. And somebody calm and hot and brill in front of it all, scotch taping the party together. Let’s call him “John Stewart” for e.g.
Let me tell you a little something that will scare the shit out of you:
In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of “Good Morning America” on ABC, Mr. Bush said, “I don’t think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that’s what a state chooses to do so.” ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday.
According to an ABC transcript, Mr. Gibson then noted to Mr. Bush that the Republican Party platform opposed civil unions.
“Well, I don’t,” Mr. Bush replied.
He added: “I view the definition of marriage different from legal arrangements that enable people to have rights. And I strongly believe that marriage ought to be defined as between a union between a man and a woman. Now, having said that, states ought to be able to have the right to pass laws that enable people to be able to have rights like others.”
Mr. Gibson then asked, “So the Republican platform on that point, as far as you’re concerned, is wrong?”
“Right,” Mr. Bush replied.
This is scary for the following reason: Nobody talked about it. It was fascinating, if ultimately irrelevent, but nobody talked about it, because it doesn’t fit either agenda. GOP can’t talk about it because it’ll alienate. DNC can’t talk about it because it’ll humanize. W can’t go anywhere with it because his personal life has fucking nothing to do with the party line. So nobody picked up the story.
The only time I ever met George Sr. was at a Planned Parenthood opening in Midland, TX. Fucking meditate on that.
Four years ago if you’d said, “Raise the level of debate. Transcend religion and superstition as talking points. Stop letting them set up bugbears like fucking partial-birth stem-cell gay marriage cloning just so they can knock them down. Attack the bullshit advertising at its root instead of letting the GOP tell you what we’re going to talk about, because they want to talk about retarded shit. War is always bad. Lucrative oil contracts and corporate welfare are pretty silly aims for a country to have” you’d have gotten a chorus of “reactionary cryptofascist asshole” because you couldn’t critique the DNC from the left, even though that area kept getting bigger as the DNC got grayer.
This is Semiotics 101, so look: Corporations work off a system of mind control that looks a whole lot like magic. The reason people get paid billions of dollars to design logos and ads is because those things are worth billions of dollars.
So here’s what you do: co-opt “America” as an idea, make it part of your business to propagate the idea that the war (which you created) is directly related to this ineffable concept (Fucking flag burning? Are you kidding me?). Stir in the back-brain connection between “free enterprise” laissez-faire cowboys — the anarchic Republican ideal — and the rights of Enrons and Halliburtons to do whatever the fuck they want, and push it so hard that nobody thinks to look behind the curtain where you’re rewriting the laws themselves to keep the money coming in. Push the beauties of religion (faith-based initiatives, “piss christ”, stupid stupid stupid) and the evils of science (the aforementioned queer baby-killing clones).
The most interesting thing will happen: it will spread like a big stupid virus to the other party, because we somehow broke the other party during the Clinton years, and the other party will start thinking that these are questions worth addressing, and will address them, and then everybody thinks you’re having a conversation, when really what you’re having is witch doctor sorcery thrown at you and actually trying to fight it, like some kind of idiot.
As Alison, again, said, going duck hunting was the stupidest thing he could do, because what he should have done is said, “I don’t hunt. I am not that guy. VOTE FOR ME BECAUSE I AM NOT THAT GUY.” But instead we all got fooled into thinking it was somehow better to pretend to be that guy. Because we thought those people were stupid enough to be fooled by it. And why shouldn’t we? They are. Obviously. However, you’re back to the drag queen problem again.
John Kerry duck hunting is not the same thing as George Bush duck hunting, because George Bush is a dude and John Kerry is kind of a fag.
If John Kerry and John Edwards had just kept making out, we would have a Democrat for a president.
If he had stuck to his guns, and thrown the big words around, and flaunted his hot wife, and acted erudite instead of creepy, he would have won. If he had run as a Democrat instead of the pale shadow of a Republican. If he had talked about his beliefs and his passion as a liberal intellectual, if we could see his heart beating in his chest, if he could smile and cry and talk about what he obviously wanted to talk about. If he had acted like a human being. If he had been the one to bring ideals, faith, hope, his own concerns, to the table.
That’s how you take it back. And that’s how it’s going to happen, and thank God we just got four years to fix the party. Electing the first liberal Democrat genius president of the millennium is like losing your virginity: I want everything to be fucking perfect when it happens, or else what’s the point?