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If you're thinking of staying home, you're thinking of making a mistake.  Right now, the Republicans are making the next election a referendum on our current performance.

Performance they are deliberately dampening.  I know we want results. I want results. I know we're angry at people in our party.  But two years is not enough, apparently, to convince Republicans out there to give up.

We've gotten soft, complacent, maybe not on the issues, but maybe on what it takes to keep our power against the aggressive assault of a rival party that thrives on their opposition to us.

There's no use trying to reason this out.  Republicans have chucked reason out the window.  They're not trying the altogether impossible task of trying to win on the merits.

They've been twisting the American people up emotionally, trying to get everybody back to thinking in their intuitive terms of liberals as the bad guys, the folks who aren't in Washington to solve problems, but to spend taxpayers money and burden them with more costs.

I am not suggesting we fight fire with fire here.  I am suggesting that our job from the last two elections is not over, and we've got a public that is disillusioned from where they were with us in the last two elections.

Our trouble, really, is that we're not going to get the chance to change the policy we need to change, if the Republican turn up in strong enough numbers and we don't.  We need to match their stubbornness, not expect that they'll see the light.

If you're Gay, if you're battling for Healthcare reform, if you're trying to battle to see our intelligence and defense apparatus saved from the legacy of Bush, I guarantee you that failing to show up and failing to push people to vote against the Republicans will be a failing strategy in 2010.

I know you people want reasons.  I know you people want a simple relationship of reward to action.  I do, too.  But we can't start the process of purifying the party, of enforcing the party will just yet, if we're facing the challenge we are in 2010.

The Republicans are trying to work this out in a line of circular reason, pointing to their wins as evidence that the country hasn't turned against them.  They are trying to completely bypass any responsibility for their continued obstruction, for the failures they've never been repentant about.

They are trying to force you to give up first.  Maybe you got good reasons to give up yourself, bitter disappointments.  I know.  I'm mad as hell we're not doing better.  But if we decide we have the luxury of giving up here, things only get worse, because the Republicans have made this nothing less than a fight to escape the legacy of this last decade, the Decade from Hell.

This is about more than just our individual agendas, this is about the ability of liberalism and progressive politics to overcome the Republican's frenzied, fanatical opposition to any departure from the status quo.  We're not in a polite philosophical battle here right now, we are in a very nasty fight for the future of this country, for the ability of our politics to triumph over theirs.

Yes, people are disappointed.  They need to remember why they're feeling like shit, what party brought it about, and understand that any vote against a Democrat this coming election could grease the skids on the return to the very politics that put us in this terrible position.

We need them to perceive the truth about what's happening in Washington, and we need to understand it ourselves:  The Republicans are united in their efforts to stall our legislation, and they are doing their best to leave us empty-handed coming into the next elections, including on healthcare.

We need people to understand that going back to divided government will not free us from gridlocked government.

We need those numbers on that link to go up.  We need to realize that the big fight out there is still with the Republicans, and if we fail to win it, then no other fight, not for gay rights, not for healthcare, not for a foreign policy that make sense will get any easier.

We need to win the fights that let us win the other fights first.  It's a bitter compromise, but the alternative may be a bitter defeat.  America does not need another decade in the Wilderness.  The Republicans do.

Update 11/27/09 11:44 CST Well, this is certainly an honor, and this diary's certainly not where I left it this afternoon.  I hope I've helped stir up a good debate about our strategy going forward, and hopefully we can make 2010 a year where the third time is indeed the charm!

Originally posted to First Amendment Remedies on Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 06:04 PM PST.

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