Moments like today help me appreciate the danger of having the suffix "wing" attached to your ideological preference (despite having previously described myself a leftwing progressive). Jesse Berney, an outspoken Clinton and now Obama supporter, has a piece of advice for Democrats, which he has posted on Arriana Huffington's blog: ignore the GOP! Berney says that the Democrats should do the exact opposite of what Obama has promised in his campaign (unity and change) because Republicans (all of them?) have attempted to demonize Obama as a radical, socialist, buddy of terrorists, etc. For this reason "bipartisanship is not an option for them." According to Berney, if the Democrats sweep the election -- whether or not they reach 60 in the Senate -- they should dismiss Republicans as irrelevant:
Democrats should just ignore them.
Ignore Republicans in Congress. Ignore their silly amendments, ignore their calls for hearings, ignore the speeches they give, and ignore them when they complain about being ignored.
Ignore their right-wing echo chamber. Ignore Rush Limbaugh and Matt
Drudge and Fox News and their newspapers and blogs. Ignore it when the
mainstream media amplifies them.
Ignore the daily talking points and the noise. Ignore the inevitable anti-Obama conspiracy theories. Ignore the horse race as their contenders jockey for position in 2012.
Ignore them all and just... govern.
If things go well on Tuesday, we'll have a Democrat in the White House and big Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress. Even if we don't reach the magic number in the Senate, we can probably get 60 votes on major issues when we need them.
That means President Obama can set a bold, progressive agenda and Congress can pass it with little or no fuss.
Interesting. I think I should start an official rolling tally of the number of white liberal guys who have convinced themselves that conservatism and the GOP have died. Apparently, they mistakenly believe that the mere fact that the U.S. will likely elect a black Democratic president proves that left liberalism has swept the nation. For most of the year, I was one of the few liberals who questioned the popular view among liberals (especially academics) that electing Obama would represent a triumph over all manner of evil -- especially racism. The recent wave of liberal euphoria and political fantasies demonstrates that this contrarian conversation must continue and must get louder.
In many ways, Obama's victory would represent a symbolic advancement in race relations. And while I believe that symbols can inspire action, the fact that people agree on a symbol does not guarantee their unified political action (or any action at all). I just read a post on the blog Open Left which announces that a Field Poll shows Obama up by 22 in California. Despite this O-surge in the Bear State, Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, has a strong chance of passing. This indicates to me that the blue revolution is largely an electoral victory, not a demand for comprehensive ideological changes.
The Democrats' probable victory results in large part from Bush/GOP exhaustion. Standing alone, it does not translate into the implementation of a leftist social or economic agenda, and it does not guarantee that a majority of the population would support such a platform. Berney's advice, if followed, would likely cause a 2010 repeat of the Newt Gingrich revolution that punished perceived liberal excess of the Clinton administration -- despite Clinton's fairly centrist (and even conservative) leanings. The liberal hype and gloating which gave us Gingrich pales in comparison to what is happening today.