Memo to Netroots: Now do you understand?
Democrats are caving on Mukasey, and they will next cave on telecom amnesty. This comes on the heels of several other colossal capitulations. I hope you get it now: Democrats are no longer on your side. They no longer cooperate.
I have been arguing lately that the best way to get cooperation from Democrats is to treat them as co-equals, that is, when they play NICE, you play NICE, and when they play NOT VERY NICE AT ALL, you play NOT VERY NICE AT ALL. Always playing NICE or NOT NICE never wins. Furthermore, cooperation breaks down under these conditions, because there is no incentive to cooperate. If you are going to vote for Democrats no matter what they do, they will take your vote gladly right before pooping on you. Is there any strategy that is dumber than that?
The much, much smarter strategy is a variable strategy, one that makes intuitive sense, and one that has proven to be virtually unbeatable in professional contests. This variable strategy is called TIT-FOR-TAT. Here are some brief rules for playing this strategy:
Never be the first to defect.
So far, so good. We got Democrats into power in 2006. We played nice.
Step Two: :
If another player defects, punish them at the very first opportunity.
Oops. Democrats have pooped on us. Repeated betrayals. They continue to pile on the betrayals into a giant poop pile. Democrats are playing NOT VERY NICE AT ALL. When is our next opportunity to punish them? 2008. How do we do it? Take away their seats of power. Don’t vote for them. Your vote is all you have to influence them, and it is powerful.. Incumbents don’t care about your money, your canvassing, or words of support. They have plenty of corporate donors. Save your love for the new progressive blood, the primary challengers. Just vote the incumbent bastards out. And just the bastards, not incumbent cooperators. There is plenty of defection to go around. Nancy Pelosi (my district) comes to mind. Further, although this strategy has little to do with influencing Republicans, consider voting Republican. Why? You want to make sure that your punishment works. Make the punishment hurt (and losing to Republicans due to your base’s defection will triple-smart). I guarantee, losing to Republicans in 2008 will leave marks. Deep ones. Make sure they understand why they got punished , in case they are too dumb to figure it out. Tell them why, and tell them in advance. The advantages are plenty. You exert pain without violence. It’s legal. Plus, the surprise value alone will sear it into memory. Finally, by telling them about your intentions now, it could prompt cooperative action by Democrats prior to 2008, thus vitiating the need to vote for slimy Republican. I will discuss some drawbacks below, after discussing Step 3.
Step 3: :
Forget about it. Go back to Step One. Next time you have an encounter with Democrats, resume playing nice. Give them an opportunity to show what they have learned about cooperation.
Oh sure, they will be pleading for succor at the next election. They will be begging for relief. And we will give it to them. Then we will watch what they do. They won’t make the obvious, gratuitous mistakes again. They will think hard before slapping us in the face, knowing that we slap back, hard, like we mean it. Meanwhile, we continue primary-ing the dogs. Same rules.
Objections to slapping back hard like we mean it
All objections are based on fear of Republicans. First, I am no longer afraid of Republicans. This experiment is going down the shitter anyway. I’m more afraid of Democrats who act like Republicans, because they are our last hope. Republicans will NEVER cooperate with you. They are constant, so put them out of the equation entirely. Ignore the constants, and focus on the variables, the part of the equation that can change, the Democrats. The Democrats need your vote. They NEED IT, like Gollum needs the ring of power. Watch him closely as he leads you into Mordor, but drop the paralyzing fear, and get punitive. Start slapping these fuckers back hard. Clap them upside the head until they’re growing cauliflower ears.
The Supreme Court has always been the main problem with this idea. Here’s the solution (via Gooserock): Vote for a Democratic President. The President will act as a firewall on the Supreme Court until we get better-behaved Democrats into Congress. An added value is this: If we cannot trust our own Democratic nominees to defend and restore the Constitution now (and who anymore believes we can?), why would we trust them in 2008 with the full backing of a Democratic Congress? Having a Republican Congress will serve as a strong check on any potential abuses of power pioneered by BushCo, and enabled by Democrats.
You know, I’m beginning to think the Founders were more ingenious than ever before. This system is more flexible than I expected. The Democrats will not forget their time in the wilderness they so richly deserve. Only when they realize your power and will, will they adjust. Bottom line: I’m doing this for your own good.