Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Encourage the Conservative ID

Kevin Drum is looking at the National Review's Corner reaction to the Obama speech this morning, and is making a political error of grievious magnitude:

See? Barack Obama's just another race hustler. I suspect that the "official" conservative reaction in columns and op-eds will be more restrained, but the longer that race stays front and center in the campaign, the more time the real conservative id will have to ooze into the forefront. Obama can't be looking forward to that. [my emphasis]

In the past couple of years, one of the most reliable indicators of a winning Democratic issue is when the conservative movement ID is at the forefront of the public debate. It is ugly, repulsive and oozing with pus, and it alienates marginally attached Republican voters and winnable for the GOP Independent and Democratic voters. We want more of the conservative Id in the forefront of the conversation.

It is the same analysis that would have led one to conclude that caving in on Schiavo was a good idea. Instead the American public reacted harshly against this massive federal inteferernce into a painful and personal decision process.

It is the same analysis that would have led one to cower as the economic Id of the GOP was on full display during the privatize and destroy Social Security debate. Contrasting this Hobbesian vision with a collective security provided by the common effort led to a rapid squandering of any political capital that Bush may have thought he possessed for overt actions.

It is the same analysis that has made anti-immigration rhetoric the tough new thing from both the GOP and the DLC wing of the Democratic Party despite knowing that this rhetoric will piss off a massive and growing swing voting bloc. And also despite significant evidence that this rhetoric is not moving exisiting voters effectively into the anti-immigrants' camp.

It is the same analysis that has encouraged Democrats to cave on any national security fight until recently. It is the analysis that has given rise to massive liberal, progressive and activist disenchantment with our nominal politcal leadership. The conservative Id will try to insist that the boogey man hides under every bed and will robocall and attack ad alive any Democrat who opposes them but give a pass to collaborators.

The conservative Id is ineffective and counterproductive to advancing the GOP's political fortunes, and it is not something that should inspire fear in Democrats. Instead it should be welcomed as a golden opportunity to create a sharp and sustained politics of contrast that works.

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