It’s the most fascinating graphic I have seen in quite some time.
First, understand that Mr. Erickson, a Macon lawyer, is about 30 years old. He was born in the mid-70s. The first election in which he might have had a rooting interest was the 1988 contest between George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. His first Presidential vote might have been for Bob Dole.
So what does he use to symbolize Democrats in 2007? A 1975 photo of Americans abandoning Saigon (during the Ford Administration) and a Communist banner. Then look at the words atop his banner — Democrat (it’s the Democratic Party, asshole) and Socialists. Socialists? You mean Eugene Debs, child?
This reflects the propaganda he was obviously brought up on. Democrats are disloyal. Democrats are Communists in disguise, or maybe Socialists (which are the same thing, really). American Democrats are, at heart, illegitimate.
Where did this come from? It came from the Nixon Thesis. This message of hatred, this assumption of disloyalty on the part of what was formerly called The Loyal Opposition, has been in the Nixon playbook from its beginning. It is always 1970 with these people, and Erick Erickson was not born in 1970.
This sort of harking back to the past is also a sign of an expired
political thesis. When people who are 30 look to 35 year-old political
symbols for self-definition they are not thinking — they are reacting.
When Spiro Agnew read William Safire’s speeches, he was not seeking
inspiration from the distant past. He was very much speaking in the
present tense. Democrats of that time, however, were still living in
the past, mostly the Roosevelt and Truman eras.
The Democrats who take office today are not living in the 1930s. They
are not living in the 1960s. They are living wholly in the present.
Some of their supporters, it must be admitted, remain obsessed by the
recent Republican era of excess, starting in 1994, but this is simply what motivated them to get involved, it’s not what they are about.
The when you live in is very important, in measuring whether the myths
and values you hold dear are still relevant. Erick Erickson’s myths and
values are not. He is yesterday’s man.
And for Democrats, this is an excellent New Year’s present. Keep your
eyes on the future. Build new myths and values in the modern world.
That’s how you maintain political momentum.
Spiro Agnew knew that, but alas (above), he’s as dead as Debs is.