Friday, February 20, 2009

Fighting the Liberal Loser Syndrome

Carpetbagger has a post about a ridiculous ad campaign brought to us by the same dopes that spent $2.8 million trying to smear Obama by linking him to Bill Ayers before the election.  This time, they're spending $1 million in an absurd effort to inform people that one trillion is a big number.  And I wish them luck with this.  Hell, I hope they throw another million dollars into the mix.  Every conservative dollar throw towards this sort of loser ad campaign is another dollar wasted.

And yet, some liberals still don't see it that way.  Somehow, despite huge electoral victories in 2006 and 2008, we're still losing.  Sure, we got our stimulus bill and other measures that would have been impossible with a Republican Whitehouse.  And there's little chance that they can stop us from getting most of our agenda passed before the next election.  But we're still losing because we're supposedly letting Republicans frame the debate without offering one of our own.

Here's one commenter's thoughts on this:
You can decry this talking point as much as you want, but it is the kind of thing that has worked extremely well for Republicans....These talking points have a simplistic logic which a lot of people will accept UNLESS THEY HEAR A COUNTER ARGUMENT. Sadly Democrats and the media rarely offer one.
Even after Republican policies have been proven to be an unmitigated disaster, Democrats are still allowing the right to frame the debate and control the terms of our public dialogue. They allow powerful talking poinst to go unchallenged (American corporations do not pay the highest tax in the world nor do tax cuts pay for themselves).

Our nation will never get back to living in the reality-based world until Democrats learn how to communicate and the media is pressured to start informing the public accurately about important issues. If our current crisis is not enough to make this happen, I give up.
And my question is: What public discourse is this guy watching?  We're winning.  The stimulus passed largely how we wanted it and is so popular that many Republicans who openly opposed it are now bragging about the funds that are coming to their state.  And Obama is still very popular.  Even Congressional Democrats are fairly popular, while Republicans are still tanking.  So what is this guy talking about?  And he's far from the only one.

The Republican Catastrophe

And I suspect that a big part of the problem is that these people have become so conditioned to losing that they have no rhetorical framework to use when they're winning.  And in fact, they've got nothing to talk about when they're winning.  Whenever they heard Democrats mocking Republicans for spewing nonsense, they reflexively chastise those Dems for not "getting it."  But these guys "get it."  They understand how the game is played and why Dems keep losing.  And they need to keep repeating this stuff until Dems stop mocking Republican stupidity and start doing something about it.

But you know, we ARE doing something about.  We're winning.  Democrats ARE pushing back and we've been doing it for several years now.  Republicans might still control the media, but liberals have control over the internet, and the internet has more influence than the media because there's more of us and we're smarter.  Josh Marshall can now influence the media.  Atrios and Kos can rally the troops to influence Congress.  And then there's that Obama guy, who doesn't just have the smoothest political instincts in Washington, but the loudest voice too.

Yet somehow, these people are still stuck in 2002.  They're still warning us about attacks that ceased being effectively several elections ago.  And they still refuse to understand the impact 9/11 had on our public discourse.  Had it not been for 9/11, Republicans would have tanked in 2002 and Bush would have lost in 2004.  And now we're more powerful than we could ever have hoped to be, while Republicans are weaker than ever.

And even still, for as much as Democrats touted Republican success, they never really got much of what they wanted.  Besides war and tax cuts, Republicans really weren't able to get much out of Congress.  Not only were they unable to gut Social Security, but they actually increased Medicare benefits.  These were two programs conservatives have hated for decades, yet they had no success in weakening them.  The reality is that Republicans were really never that powerful.  And that's because they're really only good at spin and trickery; but actually doing things has never been their strongsuit.

Acting Like a Winner

Liberal fear-mongering aside, the Republican downfall isn't a fluke event that will easily be reversed.  It was a long time in the making and merely got stalled because of a catastrophic event that favored them.  But it was 9/11 that gave them the respite, not a financial crisis that gave us one.  Their power peaked fourteen years ago and they've been struggling to stay relevant ever since; relying on gimmicks like government shutdowns, impeachments, and war, in lieu of getting real results.  And now with Democrats in charge and finally in a position to achieve their goals, we'll only gain in popularity, while they'll chase themselves into further irrelevance.

And my biggest worry is that this loser syndrome will continue to infect us, and every political event that doesn't entirely favor us will be touted as more proof that we're losing.  And it's that defeatist attitude that was always a big part of our problem.  If you want to be a winner, you have to act like a winner.  And if you act like every setback is a defeat, it will be one.  Republicans know this, which is why they still pretend they're winning, all evidence to the contrary.

And in this case, there was no setback at all.  We're winning and the loser Republicans are just wasting money by making an attack that will convince no one of anything.  Yet still, we're told this is a bad thing for us and chastised for laughing at them about it.  The sooner these people stop telling everyone that we're losing and develop rhetoric on how to keep winning, the better.


Green Eagle said...

A very good post, as usual. I've felt for awhile that Democrats are suffering from a sort of post-traumatic distress syndrome, after getting outmaneuvered by Republican dirty tricks so many times. And I don't hold myself above this, either. There is still a side of me that's surprised every time Obama pulls off another victory.

The funny thing is, I think the Republicans have known the truth since around 1996, when they failed to get people to buy into the Contract with America. They saw that demographics meant there were going to be less Republicans every election day, and it was at that point that they escalated their always abominable behavior to include impeachment, electoral theft, war, etc.

The press is still providing a lot of cover for them, allowing them to continue spreading their malicious fantasies, but, as you point out, the train has left the station and they are still on the platform.

Anonymous said...

But you know, we ARE doing something about. We're winning. Democrats ARE pushing back and we've been doing it for several years now. Republicans might still control the media, but liberals have control over the internet, and the internet has more influence than the media because there's more of us and we're smarter. Josh Marshall can now influence the media. Atrios and Kos can rally the troops to influence Congress. And then there's that Obama guy, who doesn't just have the smoothest political instincts in Washington, but the loudest voice too.

Yup. And there are more people getting online all the time, while the influence of the corporate media continues to diminish. We aren't only winning but we are poised to continue winning, and I see no reason for us to let the Republican party recover, now or ever again. Let the honest ones start a new party if they want.

Green Eagle said...


I totally agree with you and the good doctor. Republicans are on a long slide into irrelevance. They know it; a lot of people on our side just haven't yet understood the magnitude of the change that is taking place.