Vol 1 No. 2 November 11, 2004
If there is anything MORE predictable than Democrats and Progressives turning on themselves to eat their own dead after a losing election, I don't know what it would be, except, perhaps, Democrats turning on themselves to eat their own dead after a WINNING election (cf. Clinton 1992 and 1996).
In 2000, the buzz within and without the party was to blame Al Gore, and, even when (after suppression) it finally came out that Gore DID in fact, win the Battle of the Chads in Florida, Progressives were so deeply entrenched in self-mutilation mode that, like a teenage girl who cuts her arms and legs in a bizarre display of self-hatred, we were less "pathological" than deeply neurotic and in need of immediate psychiatric intervention.
I really am NOT interested in listening to Democrats bashing Democrats ANYMORE. In nearly a decade in Oregon Democratic party politics, I have NEVER fought Republicans; have only been subjected to endless rounds of Democrats fighting Democrats. I never hear any analysis of the Republican positions or strategies—national or statewide—only endless critiques like one, from the ex-wife of a rich Republican Senate Candidate, that denigrate, belittle, second-guess and cast aspersions on the Democrats.
By DEFINITION, whatever strategy a losing candidate took was the wrong strategy.
But, in the face of near-Satanic mendacity, of a Right-Wing echo machine that would have done Josef Goebbels proud, and one of the most underhanded and vicious campaigns in the history of American politics, they vapidly and casually slander a good man, a good campaign and a good and decent party.
Nobody's perfect. I am interested in understanding what can be done to counter the Karl Roves and the Tom DeLays, who are FAR MORE culpable and deserving of analysis than campaign people in an election that represents an historical tragedy for America—one from which we may NEVER recover. Consider: if, in fact, this election was stolen (and exit polling clearly indicates that it was), the greatest electoral crime in the history of the USA has been perpetrated. And the silence is deafening.
Nine years ago, I joined the Oregon Democratic party to EFFECTIVELY fight Right-wing Republicans; sadly, the party only seems interested in fighting Democrats, and, were I interested in that, I'd BE a Republican, because they seem to be doing a fine job of it WITHOUT our help. Indeed, having been demonized for more than a decade by the other side, I am loathe to hear ourselves demonized BY Progressives as well. Why, to hear it, you'd think that the old Nader argument (THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE) wasn't hallucinatory psycho-babble at all, but actually made sense.
There IS a difference. Not, perhaps, as great a difference as one would hope, but a difference nonetheless. If you don't believe that, then ask your "Green Party" or "Libertarian" congressperson for help the next time you're up against the IRS or the State Department. See how far you get. This is a world of "half a loaf is better than none," and the Republicans offer no loaf at all.
So put the political pornography away, Progressives, and take the "razor blades" of self-flagellation and self-mutilation and toss them in the garbage can as the first step down the road to psychological wellness, and electoral recovery. OK?
Nonetheless, I have re-registered as an 'independent' and resigned my position as a PCP, believing that one cannot serve credibly as both journalist and partisan.
Some notes from the local elections:
The contested campaign in Lane County that Michael Grossman of Seattle was running—Phil Barnhart—was a 2-1 victory for Grossman.
Barnhart spent about $100,000 to win what may well prove a worthless seat, while Spasaro spent over that in a losing cause. There is an increasing arms race over legislative seats in Lane County as totals ramp steadily up. In 2002, the Democratic primary candidates spent an almost unheard-of $150,000 aggregate on this same seat.
According to the Money in Politics Research Action Project, overall spending on legislative races remained fairly flat from 2002 levels, although they note: 'in November 2002, 16 percent of legislative races were competitive'this year, only 10 percent are.' So the situation is either better or worse, depending on one's spin.
In the Prozanski/Norm Thomas race, it was unsurprising that Prozanski pulled a 2-1 advantage in Lane County. After all, he had a $250,000 war chest, spending $225,000 by October 21. What WAS surprising was that this margin held in conservative Douglas county and other parts south.
It seems Prozanski's strategy of carpet-bombing the same long-winded 'Enron' commercial in heavy rotation for over a month must have worked: $30,412 in broadcast buys between 9-15 and 10-21.
Maybe advertising on Rush Limbaugh, Lars Larson, Matt Drudge, et al on KPNW means that ANY message repeatedly broadcast during the Right Wing hate-a-thon will sway the Faithful. While it was nothing less than shameful to see so much progressive political money going into the pockets of Drudge, Larson and Limbaugh, we can take consolation in the knowledge that grass-roots contributions in this election were but a drop in the bucket.
Most of the progressive money shoveled to the Right Wing Attack Dogs came from corporate Democratic funders. The Senate Democratic Leadership Fund alone contributed $152,253.20 of that $250.000. One wonders who he's beholden to?
Finally, after over a decade of attempting to get a progressive majority on the County Commission, that fantasy is ended, as Faye Stewart edged Don Hampton in the East Lane contest. By all rights, there shouldn't have even been an election for the seat this year, but Tom Lïnïnger turned his back on those who campaigned for him, and bailed out after winning in 2002 for potential tenure at the U of O Law School. Lïnïnger is the incoming president of the City Club, and still an important figure, so he hasn't suffered, fortunately, and we are a safely conservative county once again.