Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Politics Ain't Beanbag"

If you know who first said this, I'd appreciate it if you'd remind me.

Yesterday on "Fresh Air" NPR aired an interview with two men who have published a book about the Republican campaign to take over and make the United States a one-party country. They outlined the strategy and tactics used. I was in my car most of the time, and my antenna is broken, so I didn't hear it all. I'll probably just read the book.

But I was noticing how Karl Rove appeals to his base, how they bring all "conservative" groups together for a weekly breakfast strategy meeting to put out a unified message, and how they take charge once elected, acting as though they have a mandate when they won only a squeaker.

As the saying is, politics sure ain't beanbag. But the DLC has been acting as though it is, they have been playing by the Marquis of Queensbury rules, and have lost the last four elections. Yet they were on NPR again this morning arguing that you have to appeal to the undecided middle in order to win. They cite the victories of Bill Clinton and Al Gore as evidence that what they do works. Well, Clinton's last victory was four elections ago, and they have come out on the losing end of every election since.

Of course the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen, and both Gore and Kerry gave up too quickly. I e-mailed them in 2004 that Karl Rove wouldn't have given up that easily. But then Karl Rove had already done his manipulation in advance. The purge of the voter rolls in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, the inconvenience imposed on Democratic voters, and the uncounted ballots showed his handiwork before the election took place. Still, an honest counting would have given the victory to the Democrats, even with the miscounting of votes on Diebold's part.

Yet the party leaders rolled over. In Mexico the people took to the streets demanding an honest recount. Maybe it's time for us to take to the streets again.

We took to the streets to stop the Vietnam War. It took a number of years, but they finally listened. Now Vietnam is an ally.

We took to the streets to prevent the Iraq War, but we didn't have enough leadership in power to back us up. But we will win if we keep our hearts full, our blood boiling, and our prayer lives active.

We don't necessarily have to stoop to Karl Rove's level, but we can learn from his ruthlessness and determination, from his appeal to his base.


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