Think of this as Volume 15, Number 38 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
Whether we're talking about Confederates, Monopolists, Liberty Leaguers or Hippies, it's always the folks whose world has just crashed, whose economic models have proven their failure, that wind up dominating the culture in the early days of the next era.
I have written about this before in the context of the 1960s, about how Nixon was a figure of ridicule by the culture, about how his suburban supporters were the butt of jokes, and about how surprised people were, in retrospect, both at how powerful he was and how liberal his Administration was.
This was also true of FDR. He didn't set out to be a liberal, and the deficits run up during the Great Depression were fairly minor. They certainly weren't stimulative, until World War II forced his hand. Theodore Roosevelt was actually an establishment figure, a New York blowhard put on McKinley's 1900 ticket to get rid of him. And Lincoln, at this point in his term, was considered a shoe-in for retirement, not re-election, because there seemed no end in sight to a war that, while launched with Napoleonic enthusiasm, was by this time taking on aspects of both World War I (trenches) and World War II (death camps and war on civilians).
What's interesting about the majorities of that time, in fact, is how relatively passive they were. And how disappointed they were, by this point in the cycle, with their new leaders.
Which brings us, once again, to the crisis of our time, and the crisis leader, Barack Obama.
On September 8 the President finally called his people to war. Yes, he spoke on behalf of a relatively moderate program to create jobs while Europe deals with its economic crisis. And the nodding heads quickly dismissed it as either weak tea or dead on arrival.
But here's what it was. It was something Democrats can fight for.
Yeah, Republicans are ruthless. Yeah, Republicans are disciplined. Yeah, Republicans are often ideologues who will do anything they can to take away Democrats' money, their rights, and their dignity, calling fascism “freedom.”
But they show up. They have leaders who lead, followers who follow, and they work their tails off.
The reason we have this Congress is because Republicans showed up to vote last year and Democrats did not. They all complained about what they didn't have. They all whined about how nasty the Republicans looked. But at the end of the day they didn't show up and they got outvoted.
If Democrats want to be a governing majority they have to show up. Early and often. They have to be like Lincoln's Grand Army of the Republic. There, on the field of battle, wherever the battle happens to be.
Despite their victories in 2006 and 2008, it seems, Democrats learned nothing. They waited for someone else to lead the way and then complained about where they were going. They all wanted everything in the political world but weren't willing to do the work needed to get it.
That's just how previous majorities acted in their early days.
While patterns may repeat, however, history is not written by the past. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party. Over the last several months Republicans have punched Democrats in the jaw, punched them in the gut, knocked them all over the ring. If you're a Democrat, and I am, they spat in your eye, they wrecked your home and blamed you for it, and they're hungry for more. They beat you in Wisconsin despite all your organizing, and they're out to destroy you everywhere.
This is not a job for the DNC. That's the money wing of the party. It's not a job for the President's campaign. He's got to be focused on his own election.
It's time for the Democratic wing of the Democratic party to stand up and be counted. I'm talking here to Jane Hamsher, to Markos Moulitsas, to Atrios and Digby, to John Arevosis , to all the people organized as the Netroots since the early Bush Administration.
They're coming for you. They're out to destroy you. They're out to kill you and your people.
A better Congress is your responsibility. Instead of complaining about Trent Franks and Joe Walsh and Alan West and Paul Broun and Louis Gompert and the rest of the nutcases, why aren't you organizing their districts against them? If you can't find a Democrat with a chance, and these guys don't have closed primaries, why aren't you finding moderate Republicans to primary them? Where are you in identifying candidates, in organizing campaigns, in getting Democrats in those districts mad at their elected cretins? Why aren't you picketing their homes, their offices, their businesses, their supporters? Why aren't you out in front of their key supporters' mega-churches, doing a little proselytizing? Boycotting the businesses that contribute money to them?
Every poll I've seen shows this is the most unpopular Congress in, like, ever. A large majority of voters not only want to throw the bums out, but want to throw their bums out. They're not talking about you and your guys. They're talking about them and their guys.
The time has come to get off the blogs, to get out in the streets and fight for what you believe in. Or it's time for you to Shut the Fuck Up, bend over, and let them give it to you in the ass. Which is what your apathy and whinging will deserve.
There are millions of moderate and liberal Democrats, even millions of moderate Republicans and independents, crying out to be led in a positive direction. You have one. If you don't lead them, no one else will.
Look, these Republicans are all about gutting Medicare, while their Tea Party supporters all ran around last year with signs reading “Keep Government Hands Off My Medicare.” They've shown up at meetings where the Congressmen they elected showed up, and gave them hell this summer. Their own supporters did that. And when given a choice, these same people have turned to Democrats, even when they'd had over 100 straight years of Republican representation.
It's football season and time for a football metaphor. Stop worrying about what they're going to do to you. Make them worried about what you're going to do to them. Then do it.
If you can't do that, with the popular majorities you have in every poll I've seen, then you're a waste of our time. Get in the game, or stay on the porch and let them kick you to death, because if you're not going to fight now I don't think there's any real fight left in you.
The Civil War metaphor would be that we need a General Grant. And you're elected.