Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Failed Strategy

Adoration among Democrats or liberals for an important couple has been a fixture of Democratic and liberal politics.

Sean Illing of Vox recently interviewed Roosevelt University political scientist Sean Illing, author of "It's Time to Fight Dirty," which urges Democrats to recognize that Republicans are fighting a procedural war rather than a policy war.

We cannot, Faris realizes, "restore order by respecting rules that are not respected by Republicans" and thus he recommends Democrats institute several changes, including: 1) breaking up California into six states, which he believes would yield 12 (rather than the current  two) Democratic senators; 2) granting statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which he argues would result in four Democratic senators; 3) eliminating the filibuster, so progressive policy may be legislated; 4) packing the Court with additional (left-wing) Justices.

Evidently, Faris proposes additional moves in his book. Such procedural changes obviously would require a significant control by the Democratic Party, whether in the legislative branch or the executive (depending upon the particular measure).

The change in focus itself is arguably more important than his specific recommendations, of which I believe #1 and #2 are superior to #4, which I prefer to #2.

I haven't read Faris' book and thus am otherwise unfamiliar with his reasoning. But what I find most intriguing about the interview is omission of a critical name by both interviewer and interviewee, although the latter maintains that Democrats must fight dirty as do Republicans.

That name is Obama- and not primarily Barack, whose addition to the discussion might have sidetracked it.

It was convention time on July 25, 2016 when Michelle Obama declared "How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high."

Cheers, applause!

The following day, Steve Benen wrote "no speaker in Philadelphia offered a more powerful indictment against Trump than the First Lady."

In October, Mrs. Obama delivered what a headline writer referred to as "Michelle Obama's powerful New Hampshire speech" which included

Now, we need to recover from our shock and depression and do what women have always done in this country. We need you to roll up your sleeves. We need to get to work. Because remember this: When they go low, we go …

Audience: High!

Yes, we do.

Following that speech, the Atlantic's Adrienne LaFrance gushed "The speech has been called “remarkable,”powerful,” “desperately needed,” and possibly disastrous for Trump" and noted

It has become an unofficial anthem for the Clinton campaign: “When they go low, we go high.” The applause line originated with Michelle Obama, in the remarks she gave at the Democratic National Convention in July. Since then, Clinton has frequently invoked the phrase on the trail.

The irony, of course, is that "going low" in the campaign delivered the presidency to a crude and rude habitual liar while "going high" brought an unexpected and devastating defeat to Mrs. Obama's own party.

We should have learned during the previous eight years that when one side fights dirty, the other side will lose playing by the Marquess of Queensbury rules. The election provided confirmation. The last 18 months have provided further confirmation.

With an upcoming controversy over a Supreme Court confirmation, the Democratic Party has been provided another opportunity to wise up and invoke the Faris doctrine rather than the Obama doctrine.  Activists could, for example, promote a third party candidacy in the Senate campaigns in West Virginia, Indiana, and North Dakota, where center-right Democratic incumbents have taken Democratic voters for granted.

Opponents obviously must be bold and wise however they fight the Trump appointment to the Supreme court.. But for now, it is as clear as it is unacknowledged: Michelle Obama's strategy leads only to defeat and despair.

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