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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Occasional Repost

(GetReligion.Org, 2007)
My friend Mark Dorlester's OpEd.
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Just opinion:

We, the nation and we, Obama supporters are in one hell of a pickle. Idon't need to recap the headlines; you know the top national problems, and much of the news today was on the idea that the national self-deception of the past 10 if not 30 years has finally been penetrated: our problems are real, serious, and they will not simply go away with the next business cycle.

Further, we Obama supporters all have areas of great disappointment with the President - in terms of our expectations 3 years ago vs. the reality so far.

But we have a critical choice: we can accept that whoever gets the Republican nod will be somewhere between "not at all to our liking" and"lethal to our democracy" and therefore we can rally to support Obama, or we can let our national problems and political anger fester and watch the country go off the proverbial cliff. The worst of all worlds would be to work like hell with no focus and no attention to Obama's re-election needs, so that our effort is largely wasted.

You should know by now that I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker. I carry no one's water. I have strong independent opinions. Nonetheless, I hereby declare that this situation is one of very, very few in my life where I am, however reluctantly, willing to sublimate my own drives - in most areas - to those necessary to get Obama re-elected. We are entering a"political 9/11" situation until the next election. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that if we lose to the political right, there will be no hope left (pardon the entendre). I've been telling friends and family for 10 years now that our democracy is gone. If we lose this one, it will never come back. Wisconsin was not an uplifting harbinger.

The next few weeks are the calm before the storm. The political power bases in Washington are taking the typical August break - assuming the stock market doesn't sink another 20%. In any event, after Labor Day, all hell will break loose and it will likely stay that way for 14 months. The question for us then becomes: what do we listen to for guidance, and where and how do we target our efforts?
As to guidance, the laser-beam answer: we listen for direction really intently to the White House and the campaign, not to the pundits. Not to the news grabbers. When we need to vent, we clearly so state and do not - ever - try to divert attention out of frustration. This is hard for independent-minded folk like us. So was Normandy.

As to focus, I suggest we mentally divide our thinking into 2 major categories: (1) issues and (2) battleground states. On issues, obviously, it's jobs, jobs, jobs and programs creating them. On battleground states it's Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Florida, and then New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, and Minnesota. That is, as of today. As time goes on, the campaign will let us know how the map is playing out. We MUST keep in mind that presidential elections are NOT - repeat NOT - national elections.Electoral votes are tallied state-by-state. No national popularity poll has any electoral meaning. Going nuts for Obama within California or New York is worse than foolish - it helps the Republicans by wasting valuable Obama resources where they have no electoral impact. Therefore I, a lifetime Maryland resident, will be putting in whatever I can to help in Pennsylvania and Virginia, not downtown Baltimore.

This is not to say that there won't be serious work to do in all 51 electoral states. It IS to say that an infrastructure program that does more for Michigan than for NYC is the one we want to support. Keeping EPA's reach softer in Pennsylvania may be temporarily necessary to keep those folks employed, like it or not.

Above all, we simply cannot afford no-return wild goose chases having zero electoral benefit/potential. I don't know about you, but that's a harsh reality for me. I like the freedom to go wherever my mind takes me. But a lack of discipline in this election risks a Fascist-vision Bachmann society, or a Yee-Hah Anarchist-vision Perry Society, even if Hidden-vision Chameleon Romney were to win.

That is an unacceptable risk for me.

Enjoy the break.

-Mark
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(Interested in contacting Mark? I would be happy to forward any emails to him.)
Lisa Lindo
thepolicygeek@gmail.com

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