Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A liberal housewife's view on why Dems keep losing

Make no mistake: CAITLIN FLANAGAN despises Bush and the Republicans. She spouts her usual talking points about screwing the poor, unjust war in Iraq, yada-yada-yada. However, if you can get past that pap, you'll see that she actually has some great insight on why Democrats, in part, continue to lose elections. From Time:
...there is apparently no room for me in the Democratic Party. In fact, I have spent much of the past week on a forced march to the G.O.P. And the bayonet at my back isn't in the hands of the Republicans; the Democrats are the bullyboys. Such lions of the left as Barbara Ehrenreich, the writers at Salon and much of the Upper West Side of Manhattan have made it abundantly clear to me that I ought to start packing my bags. I'm not leaving, but sometimes I wonder: When did I sign up to be the beaten wife of the Democratic Party?

Here's why they're after me: I have made a lifestyle choice that they can't stand, and I'm not cowering in the closet because of it. I'm out, and I'm proud. I am a happy member of an exceedingly "traditional" family. I'm in charge of the house and the kids, my husband is in charge of the finances and the car maintenance, and we all go to church every Sunday. This month Little, Brown published a collection of my essays about family life called To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife. ... It's a book that pays tribute to the '50s housewife instead of ridiculing her.

...At the end of an interview on a national TV network, a reporter said, "Caitlin, I can't let you go without asking you one question." Here was her question: Was it really true that I'm a Democrat? Those reporters' assumptions don't tell you anything about me, nor do they tell you much about the reporters themselves: they made an honest mistake. What it tells you a whole lot about is the Democratic Party and the face it projects to the world. It's a party that supports gay families, as I do, and has vast sympathy for many other kinds of alternative lifestyles. But we let the Republicans have complete ownership of the image of the traditional family. And that's one reason we keep losing elections. (There's much more than that, Toots, but you are correct: it is a BIG reason! Middle America doesn't much care for cultural elites that seem to control the Democrats. We're kinda funny that way. - Ed.)
The Democrats made a huge tactical error a few decades ago. In the middle of doing the great work of the '60s--civil rights, women's liberation, gay inclusion--we decided to stigmatize the white male. The union dues-paying, churchgoing, beer-drinking family man got nothing but ridicule and venom from us. So he dumped us. And he took the wife and kids with him.

And now here we are, living in a country with a political and economic agenda we deplore, losing election after election and wondering why.

It's the contempt, stupid.
I have said frequently that liberals turn off a ton of people because they act like they're smarter than everyone else. Ironically, that self-perceived intelligence doesn't understand why normal America doesn't respond to their condescension. Mrs. Flanagan here, as a Democrat, seems to get that point.