Jen Dillon from the Democratic Party.
Ashley Walker at the Campaign for Accountability.
The Jim Jackson for School Board campaign.
Those are the people and places I've gotten emails from in the last 48 hours or so. Every one of them was about the upcoming election. Almost all of them were hitting me up for money.
Feel free to click on any of the links above and help out if you can.
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The thing is, though, it's getting late. We already have our ballots. People are voting (which means I'll probably be getting more of those emails, not less). The gap of undecideds is dwindling, fast, and is likely narrower than we really think based on polling.
After doing campaigns, I've learned (the hard way) that it's best not to build yourself up to Election Day (an impossible admonition, I know). It's best to pace yourself.
But this post isn't about that -- it's about the road map that's already plotted out.
I think that Republicans are well on their way to taking over the U.S. House, and they may pull it off on the Senate side, but as of today I'll bet they won't. Nonetheless, here's the pre-deterimined narrative for the next days and weeks after the election.
A handful of "tea party" people will have won. Discussion about their impact will dominate the political news for some time.
There will be big surprises no one will see coming. This will be translated into the "does polling work" meme, which is certainly a legitimate question in some ways.
There will be much discussion about how much of the outcome is a rebuke to Obama and his agenda. Which will be followed by slightly less noisy discussion of how the economy affected the outcome, how the national mood affected the outcome, the role of race, the role of issues like immigration, the wars, terror, and on and on.
And that's about it. My personal prediction (today) is that this election certainly carries the potential to basically disappoint everyone. It could disappoint Republicans if they don't sweep enough seats. It could disappoint crazy tea bagger types if they don't get enough of their folks elected (or, subsequently, if their folks are seen as compromised by the GOP, which is inevitable -- more on this in a minute). Democrats are clearly on-track to be fairly disappointed, too, though there are some who would say they are already disappointed (in Obama, in a centrist agenda, etc.).
Independents have the potential to be disapointed in another hyperpartisan campaign season, though at this point my usual approach to independents and third-party pushers is what the hell do you expect?
This is the way it works. And this final prediction -- it's the way it'll work two years from now, too.
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Two must-reads from Rolling Stone.
First read the Obama interview. I got through 99% of the thing thinking, "Man, this ought to be required reading for every disaffected Democrat in the country."
And then I got to the very end, where he walks back into the room and says to Jann Wenner:
We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that's what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we've got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place.
If you're serious, now's exactly the time that people have to step up.
Forget what liberal and progressive activists say -- that's the exact kind of language that I find totally unhelpful. I think me, and most people like me -- and most people who would consider themselves to the left of me -- think that A.) they are serious already, B.) they have stepped up, and C.) were never on "the sidelines" to begin with.
And for our efforts have been given the proverbial smack down from the likes of Robert Gibbs and my email buddy, Joe Biden.
And now Obama himself.
I've always had this worry about Obama: that he and his team of very, very smart people have a tendency to overthink it. Why in the world would any reasonable thinking person believe they could prod me to "shake off this lethargy," to "stop whining" (Biden's quote), to get "drug tested" (Gibb's quote), and then turn around and send me the cheeriest damn email I've ever gotten asking me for cash?
Let's be clear: I don't have a problem with the governing or even the governing philosophy. I need not recite the litany of Obama victories again, and I won't -- but they're notable, worthy, and are totally awesome. I support Obama because he is governing the way I expect and the way I want.
What I take issue with is the communications piece.
Mr. President, I know you think you're reaching centrist Americans who are tired of both sides arguing. I know you think the verbal "hippie punching" (to use the progressive term) makes you look like a reasoned, bi-partisan, conciliatory figure. It doesn't. It makes you look like an ungrateful bully.
Oh, and don't forget the golden rule of political communication (in which I have my degree): you can only communicate effectively one way at one time. In other words, while you're sharpening your claws on the backs of the people who got you into office, the other side is getting their message to the American people.
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And by "other side," I mean the tea bagger party whack-a-doos who Matt Taibbi writes about in the other must-read from Rolling Stone. I practically insist that you read the whole thing.
But there are three sections which stood out for me. Here's the first:
Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.
"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.
Especially that last paragraph. That's it. That's the "Tea Party".
But folks, the amazing thing isn't how aptly Mr. Taibbi has described the tea party movement, or at least the demographics. The amazing thing is, they're winning.
Here's the second piece.
You look into the eyes of these people when you talk to them and they genuinely don't see what the problem is. It's no use explaining that while nobody likes the idea of having to get the government to tell restaurant owners how to act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the tool Americans were forced to use to end a monstrous system of apartheid that for 100 years was the shame of the entire Western world. But all that history is not real to Tea Partiers; what's real to them is the implication in your question that they're racists, and to them that is the outrage, and it's an outrage that binds them together. They want desperately to believe in the one-size-fits-all, no-government theology of Rand Paul because it's so easy to understand. At times, their desire to withdraw from the brutally complex global economic system that is an irrevocable fact of our modern life and get back to a simpler world that no longer exists is so intense, it breaks your heart.
I bolded that one sentence because it speaks very clearly to our national celebration of idiocy that I've been lamenting for some time. People don't want to understand complex things. This is easier.
Here's the last thing.
This, then, is the future of the Republican Party: Angry white voters hovering over their cash-stuffed mattresses with their kerosene lanterns, peering through the blinds at the oncoming hordes of suburban soccer moms they've mistaken for death-panel bureaucrats bent on exterminating anyone who isn't an illegal alien or a Kenyan anti-colonialist.
I believe Taibbi is right on this one, too -- the Tea Party is nothing more than a corporate-sponsored wing of the GOP, and this is their future. But don't be so dismissive of it. It's worked before, and it may well work again. And it's worked because in their core, they are speaking to a fear that is prevalent in the country -- it's the fear we were asked to check at the door in the name of Hope and Change... and though some of us still believe things get better, it's been slow in coming for too many average Americans.
My progressive and liberal friends will shudder at the thought, but it's what we have in common with our tea party brothers and sisters -- a lingering fear that things aren't going to quite be all right, at least not yet. Jamming a finger in our chest and telling us to "buck up" isn't going to help, either. Nor is the fundraising email.
Keep governing well, Mr. President -- but talk to us like we are your partner in governing, not like we're the slow kid who dropped the ball. You're in charge now. Talking to organized constituents like we own a stake in the outcomes of your governance (you know -- we don't call it a representative democracy for nothing) might be a good start, sir. Because Mr. President, talking to us like we're a mob of unruly neer-do-wells won't cut it this cycle. Or the next one, for that matter.
See you on the campaign trail.
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We'll be done writing about Election 2010 soon enough. And then it's on to 2012. Turn your eyes, your hearts and minds to Iowa, my friends.
And in the meantime, take heart. It's almost Friday: