Democratic Defeatism

Mr. Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory has a wonderful post on the Baselessness of Defeatism among Democrats. An excerpt, though as with all his entries, you should read the whole thing:

...Americans didn't change their views because the media suddenly became adversarial or effective in its watchdog function (it didn't), nor because Democrats found a will or a way to provide meaningful opposition (they haven't), nor because the Bush administration's propaganda became any less ruthless or deceitful (it isn't). They changed their minds largely on their own, by simply looking at what is going on around them and using their critical faculties to compare what they see to the claims made by the Bush movement, and they have noticed the gaping disparities. And they are angry about it. Very angry.
The first time I was aware of what an election really meant for our country I had just started High School. Before then, elections were simply a time when the commercials on TV were terribly boring. When Clinton walked to re-election against Bob Dole in 1996, I was aware enough to form my own opinion about the candidates, (I liked Bill Clinton) though I was far more concerned with the worries and fears of a high school freshman than I was with politics.

Since then, I've watched my party, the Democrats, get beat routinely.

I didn't become a 'political person' until 2000 when I stayed up 'til 5 in the morning to find out if Gore beat Bush. When Gore threw in the towel in Florida, the tone for my entire political life was set: Republicans beat Democrats by being dishonest, cut-throat, better funded, and better at 'sound-bite' politics.

I've never seen Karl Rove lose.

Immediately after Kerry won the Democratic Nomination, he came to Harrisburg. I saw him speak to an excited crowd of 25,000 in a deep red part of my state. Months later, our hopes high to send W home after just one term (just like his father) Ohio replaced Florida and the losses continued.

I hope Mr. Greenwald will forgive me for not getting excited about the outcome of this election until the returns are in. I've been crushed to many times to raise my hopes. Democrats may be peaking at the right time, but I can't shake memories of Florida and Ohio.

Even charts like this feel like empty promises:

[Click to enlarge]

Republicans know that an opponent that expects to be beaten is already half way to defeat. Their talking heads have built a meme that purports that if Democrats don't win big, they are doomed to go the way of the Whig Party. If Democrats win control of the House by only one or two seats, the effort to paint them as losers, even in victory, will be strong.

On top of pre-existing Democratic insecurities, I watch the media attribute near mythic power to the Republican GOTV machine. Will this provide the cover needed for discrepancies between polls and Diebold machine vote tallies? We'll see.

Mr. Greenwald will have to forgive some of us 'Doubting Dems' for questioning the ability of the American Electorate to see the GOP for what it is. We've had 12 years of Rising Republicanism and voters have yet to repudiate it.

Hopefully now is the time.

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