The idea of "waving the bloody shirt" against Democrats reached almost totemic status, both in the 1890s and again as the Depression started to bite. In 1966 Democrats continued to run on the New Deal.
Why? Because the press believed it. Reporters don't understand transformation. Their work is entirely transactional. They are today-oriented people, who see neither the past nor the future. Since political myths and values live in both the past and future, they're Indians before Columbus -- blind, deaf and dumb.
So it is today. Bush is spending most of this week in the South, and his minions are recreating their old Southern Strategy, because they really have nothing to offer the voters. Their Thesis is completely out of ideas.
As it was 40 years ago with Republicans, establishment Democrats today are fearful. They are afraid to talk about where they really stand, and some are more ready to make civil war on other Democrats than put forward an agenda, because the nascent open source thesis most actually believe in is untried -- it's almost unspoken.
What thesis, you ask?
The values of this medium -- openness, connectivity, consensus -- the values that work in engineering, and work in science, and which work best in every creative process -- these are the values that we need in politics to meet our real challenges.
These challenges are greater than any the nation has ever faced. Global warming. Global poverty. Replacing hydrocarbons with renewable hydrogen. Aging. They are challenges which can only be met through learning, and teaching, and working together.
The tool to meet these challenges is in your hands, it's right in front of your eyes. This medium. Yet the idea of applying the lessons learned in building this medium to any other sphere is untested, untried, and (we assume) elitist.
Yet so was every other political thesis in our nation's political history. Goldwater Republicanism was created in an elite environment, and nurtured by wealthy men who were successful in business. The New Deal was also created in an elite environment. So was Progressivism. So was Abolitionism.
Elite environments -- where people are often accused of wealth and guilty of education -- are the great laboratories of our political thought. It's people with the time and space to think, and to write, and to speak, and to organize, who drive political change. Democracy is a middle class process, and in terms of this planet's median income, the middle class is in fact the upper class.
The next Thesis is here. Pass it on.