The right spent its time in the wilderness cultivating an entire self-supporting alternative media ecosystem from the ground up.Read the whole comment.
I've been much put off by the "elect Obama/Clinton no matter how dumb they are, because McCain is batshit crazy!" idea that's floating around lately. It's true, as far as it goes, but aside from my conscientious objections, this idea reveals a lack of strategic thinking.
No good general predicates the success of his or her strategy on winning every battle. But that's precisely what the Democratic party has been doing: they have to win every election no matter what or the country is screwed. If they have to shift to the right to win this or that election, they do so, because if they lose on principle, they still lose.
The one time I showed up at a Drinking Liberally event, I was appalled. The dominant theme of the discussion was about how to win elections. When I tried to talk about substantive policies and progressive ideology, I was mocked as an unrealistic idealist.
The Republican strategy is very simple, and very powerful: When they win an election, move the government to the right. When they lose an election, prevent the government from moving to the left. Sure, they'd like to win every election, but they know they won't, and they have a plan in place for when they lose, and thus they can afford to lose on principle.
The Democratic "strategy" is precisely the opposite. When they win an election, they try (with diminishing success) to prevent the government from moving to the right. When they lose an election, they themselves move to the right to win the next one.
Closely allied with strategy is logistics. In a battle of values, ideology and people to propagandize that ideology are the resources a general must marshal to the front. Art describes the conservatives' logistical system. The left's ideological logistics used to be the academic humanities, but too many idiots have become so mired in bullshit postmodernist nihilism that they've become an ideological laughingstock.
The fundamental problem is that the left doesn't like ideology per se, and the left doesn't like private money. For good reasons: The last time we had a leftist ideology, we ended up with Communist totalitarianism. Private money, especially when concentrated, is a poor driver for social and economic equality. People with a lot of money tend to want to keep it, and they invent endless rationalizations why they should keep it.
But ideology and money are too effective to simply abandon. Ideology unites the True Believers, who are the driving force in any social change. Furthermore, most people have jobs to do, children to raise, lawns to mow — they're busy keeping Western Civilization afloat, thank you very much — and they simply do not have the time and energy to carefully and intellectually evaluate each position on its subtle and nuanced merits. "Just fucking tell me what you stand for!" they yell. The conservatives actually stand for something, and even though it's most people really think it's kind of odious, at least it's something. The progressives? Not so much. What little progressive ideology exists is all over the map, and 90% of it is useful only as a drug-free method of general anesthesia.
The failure of the Democratic party is so deep, so profound, that we must see its function as effectively part of the conservative movement. The Democratic party maintains the illusion that we have an adversarial political system, and they serve as whipping boys and scapegoats to take the blame for conservative practical failures.
Of course, that the conservatives are better at politics than progressives is not the worst problem. If it were, then we might end up with a harsher, more unforgiving country than I would like, but nu, life is tough. The worst problem is, of course, that the conservatives have lost all connection with objective reality, especially economic reality. Our actual economy is in tatters: We don't actually make anything any more. Even our intellectual and technological economy is in tatters: We are no longer actually teaching science, math and engineering to actual Americans. Our entire economy is based on suing each other and selling our homes to the Chinese for electric can openers. And that's it. When that runs out, we'll have nothing left. Our supposedly mighty army will be impotent: What good is an army when your opponents make the bullets? (Or grow the food and own the homes of those who make the bullets.)
It's far too late to change anything. All the institutions necessary to preserve an actual democracy — academia, the media, the opposition political parties, the economy, campaign finance, the judiciary, the rule of law — have already been corrupted and owned by the conservative movement. Electing Clinton or Obama to sit in the Oval Office and take the blame for the conservatives is not going to change anything. It's just as plausible that it'll make things worse as it is to stave off collapse. The Christianist military and militia, for example, might be more likely to actively rebel against a Democratic party government than a Republican party government.