Think of this as Volume 14, Number 6 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
This violates what Washington considers Conventional Wisdom. Conventional Wisdom is a lagging indicator.
What gives me confidence? Partly it's a belief the economy will keep growing, and start adding jobs. Much of the stimulus remains unspent, and there are enormous investment opportunities in front of us.
Mainly it's because Democrats have managed to capture the key issue that wins elections, and always has.
Americans are by nature an optimistic people. We believe things can get better, that they will get better. We don't go in for the doom-and-gloom.
And that's all Republicans are selling.
Republicans have created their own magical world for themselves, one where science can be beaten by politics, where diversity is a weakness, and where we're all going to heck in a hand-basket unless we march backward toward medievalism. They are terribly fearful people. They have learned nothing from their defeats in 2006 and 2008.
They claim they disagree with George W. Bush, but they refuse to reject any of his policies. They still want war, still love tax cuts, so when they talk about deficits they are in a box, because they're unwilling to do anything about them, or take responsibility for their help in causing them.
Sarah Palin is just George W. Bush in a skirt.
Fear worked during the Nixon era because it was directed outward. It was aimed at enemies with a sour view of the world. Democrats obliged by being easy to rile. They were constantly on the defensive, making them easy to isolate. Jimmy Carter talked mainly about our problems, seeing problems that were still in the distance, offering solutions that were part of the past. Communists also made grand enemies, since it was obvious even in 1969 that change was their enemy and that change was our specialty.
It still is.
You can't treat Al Qaeda like the Soviet Union because terrorists don't have to hold territory -- any place of chaos will do for a harbor. You can't take cops off any beat, especially one with smart people on it, and expect crime to magically disappear. You can't have contempt for government and run anything but a contemptible government. Privatization without regulation leads to theft.
These were hard, painful lessons for America to learn. Most Americans learned them. Most Republicans refused to. Most still haven't. Instead they live in a state of denial -- denial of the President, denial of sexuality, denial of science and denial of responsibility. Today's Haties are just like yesterday's Hippies, only seen in a funhouse mirror. Turn on to Sarah Palin, tune in to Rush Limbaugh, drop out of the government process.
By contrast, Barack Obama has begun to offer a new optimism. Yes, we have problems, but we can solve them by acting like adults. We can put people back to work. We can learn to get along, with ourselves and the world. We can reverse climate change. Yes we can.
Yes we can has beaten no we can't since the Republic was founded. Even Nixonism was, at first, an optimistic idea. Yes, he said, we can have peace with honor. Yes, he said, we can have domestic peace. Yes, he said, we can defeat Communism. Yes, he said, we can maintain, and we did maintain, for several decades. Until the problems changed, conditions changed, and the old formula stopped working.
There is a difference between the present health care debate and the one Democrats lost under Clinton. The problem can no longer be papered over. Too many people are going without, the rest are paying too much, and the economic models must change. Reality is no longer subject to denial, and once change starts Republicans are right -- it leads to a collective response to this collective problem.
The same is true for our other problems. We can no longer just stamp our feet, deny climate change, and expect time to be on our side. It's not. We can no longer fight the world's battles for it. It's unaffordable. We can no longer be just a collection of individuals. We are one nation, one people, and united we stand or divided we fall.
Demographics favor Democrats. Young people understand the need for collective action, and for tolerance. We are increasingly a black and brown and yellow people, not just white. Our suburbs are maturing into cities. Denial won't change reality.
Why doesn't the media see it? Because journalism is always a lagging indicator. The height of journalistic liberalism came under Nixon. Under Roosevelt, most newspapers were Menckenite Republican -- cynical, isolationist, and tilted toward business. Progressives and the first Republicans also fought uphill against the conventional wisdom of their time. Most journalists are fools who extrapolate the recent past into the distant future, and can't see change when it's staring them in the face. That's just the way it is.
There will be Republican victories this year, but these will be Scott Brown Republicans, Republicans willing to engage. Democrats can cement their advantage by targeting some Bush-era stalwarts for defeat -- they still have a target-rich environment.
This is the job the Netroots should be engaged in. They are the tip of the political spear, they are the movement ideologues, as the New Right was 40 years ago. They need to play their role and stay away from the sausage factory, except to complain about the taste of the product and insist on more spice.
I believe Democrats, and the Netroots, are slowly internalizing these lessons. I know they still have the wind at their backs. We have an optimistic President on our side, with a can-do attitude.
And that's always the winning hand.