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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

If you haven’t already, read Michael Tomasky’s July 2 article on The American Prospect’s website.  Tomasky does a nice job of outlining and defending the many good and noble reaons why liberals are angry at Bush…and then making the very necessary point that anger doesn’t win any elections.  The point isn’t to get mad, the point is to beat these guys.  They’re masters of brutal tactics–in DR’s view, Karl Rove’s true genius–and anger, unfortunately, is not an effective counter to these tactics.
Consider some of their choicer recent tactics.  Mark Gersh’s article in Blueprint explains how Republicans out-gerrymandered the Democrats in the redistricting from the 2000 Census.  And T.R. Reid describes how Republicans in Colorado have successfully re-redistricted that state’s Congressional seats to give Republicans more of an edge, particularly in the newly-created 7th district that Bob Beauprez narrowly won in 2002.  Of course, this is what the Republicans in Texas also attempted and, though they were temporarily thwarted by Democratic lawmakers fleeing to Oklahoma, they haven’t give up yet.  Indeed, there is every indication that the national Republican leadership is determined to try the re-redistricting trick anywhere they can get away with it. 
Another Republican tactic, described in an exhaustive article in The Washington Monthly by Nick Confessore, is their development of a political and patronage machine based directly on business lobbies in Washington, DC.  The GOP’s basic message to these lobbies is: no Democrats allowed.  We’re the only game in town and we want all the jobs, political support and money from you guys.  In return, we’ll try to give your business clients everything they want.
No tactic too low.  No maneuver too venal.  This is the essence of the today’s Republican tactics.  But you’re not gonna beat these tactics by ranting and raving about how awful Bush is.  You’re going to beat them by being equally tough and smart in how you play the game.  Sure, anger feels good.  But winning feels better.