Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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The scuttlebutt at the Brown County Democrats' booth at the fair involved the new staff members hired by the state party. Other booths nearby have computers hooked up to the Internet. People go over to them and look at what's on the news and the political web logs. The people who reviewed the blogs this morning said that none of the Democratic blogs have mentioned the new staff members for the SDDP. But the Republican blogs have an inordinate interest, and the blogs shown to me have greeted the new staff members with what can only be described as belittlement. In politics today, the idea seems to be to damage the goods before it can see the light of day. It's called winning by some.
I know nothing about the new staff members. I know quite a few people with strong backgrounds who applied for the jobs, but were passed over. Some are close personal friends, and I was, of course, disappointed for them. I have not the foggiest idea what criteria were applied in the selection process, although a quick look at the backgrounds of the successful applicants makes a strong suggestion as to the strategy in mind. And I am sure we will be informed in good time.
It is not insignificant that the Republican side spends so much time and effort discussing what the Democrats should do to be a viable party. This discussion is going on in the party internally, too. However, the election statistics indicate that the Democrats are viable. Forty-eight percent of the vote does not signal the death throes. And the Democrats are a complex bunch with a wide range of poltical perspectives that come into conflict with each other. But, I have no interest in discussing the internal workings of the Republican Party and I know no Democrats who have such an interest. The inordinate interest by Republicans in the Democratic staff illustrates the distinguishing approach to values and attitudes between the two parties.
Democrats are interested in finding ways to let people live their own lives. Republicans appear content to let people live their own lives as long as they live them like the Republicans do. But they reserve the right to blackball people. And apparently they extend that right to hires of the Democratic Party. Actually, the process of contriving and broadcasting the faults of other people is fundamental to village life, and it is a primary motive for the revolt from the village that has been the dominant factor in small town life for a century. This process is why red states and population concentrations are rural and blue states and population areas are urban. The strategy of the town cafe gossips is not to assassinate character, but to erode it down by the constant wear of belittlement and patronization.
The denizens of the town cafes can't seem to grasp that their niggling assaults on personalities define the character of the town and are a big motive for moving away. Blogs tend to follow the discussion customs of the town cafes, and people with more generous attitudes towards others eventually avoid them. As for the new SDDP staff members, they should be reassured that the silence of Democratic blogs means that the people for whom they will be working will not pre-judge them and will let them begin their work free from clouds of prejudice and niggling fault-finding. What the other side thinks and discusses does not matter. They certainly are not wishing for Democratic victories.
That leads to the main point of discussion within the Democratic Party. That point is the war on Iraq. Despite the experience of Vietnam, our country has been bamboozled into a war that has no moral justification and no realistic objective. We went after dictatorial regimes of genocide in Bosnia and Kosovo and succeeded by maintaining the help of our allies and without the needless slaughter of our own troops and the massive killing of noncombatant civilians. Many Democrats think the war on Iraq is the moral lowpoint in the history of our country. They thought that the 2004 election campaign should have confronted the moral issue of this war--win or lose the election. The moral point lost its edge when people feared being labeled unpatriotic, soft on terror, and even treasonous. The salient record of the war on Iraq is not one of removing weapons of mass destruction, of subduing Al Qaeda, of implanting democracy, or of rebuilding an infrastructure that supports the people. It is a record of fabrications and bungles, war-profiteering, prisoner maltreatment, lives sacrificed to political expedients, and a betrayal of the trust of the American people.
Democrats who have tried to accommodate Republican motives and philosophies have found themselves mired in ignonomy. The Republican yammerings about what Democrats need to do are irrelevant and inane. Winning elections are not the issue. Keeping the world's last best hope alive is the task. And the regime in power is killing it. So let the new hires of the SDDP get to work on that task. If America's perceptions of the war continue to sharpen, we will win elections along the way.