Sunday, August 22, 2010

Horserace season

We're rounding into the horserace season -- the time when politicians' chronic political posturing over policy reaches its climax in an actual election. From now until November, I'll probably be writing more commentary on the midterm campaigns and elections here than on policy topics, often along with this "horserace" icon. In truth, I know more about the campaign politics than policy, so I hope I can add some tiny insight to this season.

To ease into the horserace, I think I'll share an exchange with a smart observer that I had this morning on DailyKos. We were both commenting on a truly dire essay that portrays the prospect of major Democratic Party losses as admitting the barbarians to the gates, seeing hatred and ignorance overwhelm the country's better impulses. I think our exchange gives a fair sense of my orientation toward the fall's contests as well as my friend's assessment of their possibly political meaning.

janinsanfran: I'll work to keep as many Democrats as possible because I've lived a long life of fighting to fight another day. But it is going to be a tough season and it is just a holding action ...

pelagicray: Even stubborn retreats are sometimes necessary in war for hope of eventual victory. This is a war, a cultural war or war for the soul of the nation.

The most significant factor coming out of these midterms in my opinion will be:

  • more than ordinary midterm losses will encourage the present right wing tactics and attacks;
  • losses about the norm will probably do little to discourage those tactics and attacks, though some of the GOP "leadership" may grow cooler to them;
  • fewer losses than the norm ... will tend to show them to be ineffective and drive that faction to the margins of the political spectrum again.
We need to work for the third option because the first is a really grim prospect for our nation and the second is not a lot better.
I agree. Let the campaign season move into full fury.

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