Battlepanda: Battlepanda's Elevator Manifesto for Democrats


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Battlepanda's Elevator Manifesto for Democrats

Well, I see I’m a little late to the party as usual. But since the Democrats needs all the help with framing they can get, here’s the Battlepanda’s Elevator Manifesto for Democrats:

1) We’re for giving Americans the tools to succeed.
We cannot be the Mommy party, holding back the American people from their true potential because we are overprotective and afraid they would skin their knees. Americans want to play hard, not play nice. Instead, we have to cast ourselves as America’s coach. Like any good coach, we’re cheering for our players to give it 100%. But we also make sure that they’re not going on the field without their protective gear, and that any injured players are taken care of so that they can play another day. This is how we should sell our social programs -- nationalized healthcare, unemployment benefits, keeping social security the way it is, and increased spending on education.

2) We are against the consolidation of economic opportunity
We need to attack the Republicans for being the party of big business as relentlessly as they attack us for being the party of big government. And in the end we will win because big business is probably just about the only thing Americans fear more than big government.

To continue the lame sports analogy, we’re not just America’s coach. We’re the ref as well. Prosperity through free-market competition is the game. And it’s up to us to point out that the Republicans simply have too many shady ties to be considered fair arbitrators. They are in the pockets of big pharma, big oil, even big weather. We should call them the Enron party every chance we get.

This is also how we’re going to sell the estate tax. Instead of ‘reassuring’ the average American that he’s never going to get rich enough to worry about the estate tax, we should frame estate tax abolishment as a giveaway for rich brats who are hogging all the money! If we don’t level the intergenerational playing field, how are we ever going to get ours?

3) We will restore America’s independence…
George W. Bush might talk a tough talk about freedom and rugged individualism, but the truth is America is more pathologically dependent on (gasp!) other countries than ever.

First, we have the energy dependency, which Bush is totally in denial about. Drilling in ANWR? That’s like a junkie desperately groping under the sofa cushions in the vain hope of scrounging up enough quarters to buy another hit. Democrats need to hammer the fact that Bush’s inaction on reducing our dependence on oil means handing control to America’s energy supply over to basketcase states in the Middle East.

We are also completely dependent on other countries (like China) for credit. If they ever cut us off, we’d be plunged into a recession. The fact that Uncle Sam has to go a begging hat-in-hand to the central banks of the world should really highlight how embarrassing our enormous deficit has become.

4) …And protect what’s precious – our rights, values and our homeland
There is no other state in the world where the idea of individual rights is so sacred as the United States. No need to mince words – the Patriot act is simply un-American. You know what else we cherish in America? Our values. Values that are being trampled on every time we ship a prisoner to be tortured in Syria, or do the job ourselves in places like Abu Ghraib. Then you have Gitmo, which is a double-whammy of rights violations plus inhumane conditions with a thick sprinkling of hypocrisy on top. Republicans want to minimize their culpribility by making this an ‘us versus them’ issue. Democrats should make it very clear that when we’re outraged about those things, we’re not siding with foreigners against Americans – what we’re doing is fighting for the American soul. We need to remind people that what really makes us American is not our power or our riches, but our rights and our values.

As for protecting the homeland, lets push this thought experiment: Your home was robbed. As an American, how do you respond? Do you charge into the bad neighborhood where you think the robber came from, and start picking fights? Or do you hunker down on your porch in your ol’ rocking chair, cradling your loaded Winchester in your lap? The latter? But of course. It’s the American way.

Democrats need to remember that this foreign adventures business is quite antithetical to the American temperament. We are supposed to be the shining ‘citte on the hill’, to lead by example, not by meddling. The only reason Bush was able to drum up support was to paint his wars as moral crusades – the only kind of wars Americans will support. So, in order to attack this war, we need to destroy Bush’s underlying rationalizations for it rather than criticize its execution. Instead of complaining that we’re overextended, Democrats have a better chance of thundering righteously that we never should have been there in the first place. "Thunder" is the operative word here. Not whimper. Not whine.

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To borrow a metaphor from Seymour Lipset, the way we conceptualize the Democratic party and the Republican party as polar opposites is incorrect. They are more like competing department stores, selling the same kind of goods and vying for the same customers. This is why we cannot let Republicans have a monopoly on the American Dream. Not only can we not sell something else, we have to sell it better to win.

UPDATE: Edited for dumbass mistakes.