Make A Difference

Digby wonders if any of the problems Republicans are having, over which we’ve been so excited, will actually make a difference when it’s time to vote:

Still, it seems as if the conventional wisdom of “Republicans may be unpopular but the Democrats are just as unpopular” continues to have the same shelf life as that stale a moldy trope that Bush is a popular president. He had to dip below 45 percent for many successive weeks before the media could bring themselves to refer to him as anything but popular and well-liked

In the wake of Digby’s musings, I would bring up a billboard I saw every weekend on the road up to Wisconsin. It wasn’t much, really. It was blue, plain blue with white letters. They spelled out: One Nation. Under God. In small type near the bottom, was a logo: Bush/Cheney ’04.

And that was really all it was, when you get right down to it. You vote for Bush or you don’t like God. And in the weeks immediately after the election people looked at Bush’s approval ratings which didn’t go up much, and said how, HOW, how could we have lost to a guy this unpopular? And a lot of people said it was Kerry who sucked, and fell back on the tired old premise that what we really need is to find a SEXY candidate, a candidate like Bill Clinton (forget that Perot got Clinton his first term and Dole, who had the charisma of a dead fish, got Billy his second) who can overcome any obstacle, stand ten feet tall and shoot bolts of lightning out of his arse.

The Republicans don’t win because they have great candidates who are learned, charismatic and wise. John Cornyn is a United States senator, don’t let’s forget, and so is Saxby Chambliss, that worthless lying sack of shit. They win because they know how to campaign, and we still don’t. They’re one nation, under God. What are we?

And unhappy voters who are pissed at Republicans are all too willing to believe Democrats suck, too. Why? Because that means they don’t have to change their thinking in any way. That means they weren’t wrong, not really, anyway. To overcome that the Democrats can’t just sit and wait for disgruntled voters to turn around and try them on instead. I think that’s what we did in 2005, and what we can’t afford to do in 2006. We have to make people see the difference between them, and us.

And we do that by hitting them, hard, where it hurts. On a conference call tonight about the Roberts nomination, Sen. Kennedy said something I wish a lot more people would say: One nation under God does not ignore the gross disparity that exists in our society. I think the social justice response I was hoping for in the immediate aftermath of Katrina is starting to take shape in the statements of the powerful progressives.

But we don’t have a lot of time. What’s our billboard going to be? Because you can talk all you want about rising above and high roads, ignoring the fact that the high road in a swamp is still a swamp, but it’s not going to help you against an opponent that says three limbs for your country is not enough.