Strategic Despair

From the terrorists: We are not feeling any strategic despair in Iraq—you are,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Thompas P.M. Barnett :: weblog,, 27 October 2004.

Proof of the Ideological Coalition Shift,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD,, 21 December 2004.

This would…,” by “Jas1001,” Daily Kos,, 21 December 2004.

To take Dr. Barnett wildly out of context:

My point is this: the strategic despair is on our side (our troops decry: “My God, there’s too many of them to kill, we’ll never get the job done!”), when it should be on our opponents’ side (“My Allah, there’s too many of them to kill, we’ll never get the job done!”). So guess who’s talking about pullout and who’s talking about jacking up the effort?

Strategic despair is both a symptom and cause of defeat. It is a sympton because defeats generate it. It is a cause because it creates a culture of defeat. If you’re going to lose anyway, why not take the easy route? Its so much simpler to become anti-social, blame every setbacks on some conspiracy, and continue to be destroyed in peace.

Unrelated but almost simultaneously works on MyDD and Daily Kos indicate liberate Democrats are feeling it in the worst way. Discussing the long-term inability to find liberal voters, Mr. Bowers writes

Now, no one can dispute that there are more self-identifying conservatives than there are self-identifying liberals, but I admit that my entire argument is based on the assumption that the two coalitions are now primarily ideological rather than regional and ethnic. To date, I have not had the hard evidence to back this assumption up, and instead I have attempted to infer it from my studies on the partisan index. However, today I finally came across exit polls for every presidential election since 1976. Looking at these polls leads me to believe that I now have the proof of this ideological coalition shift that I always desired.

In other words, the conservative southern shift into an ideological coalition only slightly preceded the non-southern liberal shift into an ideological coalition. The two coalitions, which had been primarily ideological for several decades, became almost entirely ideological as 85% of liberals and conservatives now vote for the coalition that supports their ideology. In 1976, that number was around 70%. Half of the non-ideological partisans abandoned their party, and because there are more conservatives than liberals, Republicans benefited greatly from such a shift.

We are living an ideological age. We need to recognize this, and be willing to fight an ideological war. If liberals remain significantly outnumbered by conservatives, Republicans will remain the “natural” ruling party for two generations.

Strategic despair in the long term situation. The editorial’s admirably couched a call to action, but if Republicans may remain as a “natural” ruling party for two generations, it can’t be good.

On the rumor of a much more tactical move to make generally Kerry-supporting income-tax states to pay more in federal taxes — which would “punish” states that vote wrong and retard the long-term growth of states that “govern” wrong, a very elite Daily Kos follower frets

This would…

redraw the economic landscape in America to crush remaining Democrat bases of fundraising while encouraging business and wealthy individuals to move to red states.

It’s so… wonderfully brutal, ruthless and efficient, in an evil sort of way.

If there is no left, the center cannot hold.

To summarize these: the long term hopes for the left are very bleak. They will become bleaker. Without a left for balance, all political debate will be within the right. America will be as rightist as France is leftist.

It is hard for me to believe the titanic impact President Bush has had. Under him America has gone from a Clintonite nation with an ascendant New Democratic ethos and tenuous Republican Congressional majorities to having the GOP as a radical, progressive, structural, governing party.


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