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Thursday, November 04, 2004

So Now What? Part II 

Yesterday I offered some initial thoughts on lessons learned from Tuesday's electoral debacle. I was hardly alone: the blogosphere is awash in postmortems and protostrategies. Today I'll review a little of what I've seen suggested and offer some reactions.

Thinking Outside the Box
Let's start with some of the wilder suggestions:

Angry Bear endorses a "starve the Red beast" strategy whereby Blue states adopt policies to staunch the net outflow of tax dollars to the Red regions. Gets the blood goin' doesn't it? But think about the likely collateral damage...

Atrios (building on a Nick Confessore idea) suggests that Democrats need to start adopting one of the Republicans' serially-successful strategies: offering stupid red meat ideas as central campaign issues. Confessore focuses on state ballot initiatives, which is an interesting idea: obviously, since Republicans control the entire federal government at this point, it's awfully tough for Democrats to get items on the agenda in any way other than plebiscites. The other institutional mechanism that the GOP has repeatedly used for this purpose is the constitutional amendment process (which has the virtue of gaining a lot of publicity for bad, red meat ideas, with a low risk of actual adoption); the problem here, even if we dismiss the fundamental drawbacks of using the constitution to extract short-term partisan gain, is that it's tough to see how Congressional Democrats, especially in the House, could get floor consideration for their mischievous ideas.

My brother has started coming up with some concrete proposals: obviously, to the extent that these are supposed to be red herring issues, it's a bad idea to discuss them on the internet where anybody can see them. Still, I'd love to get readers' thoughts.

UPDATE: Talk about synergy. Atrios is now proposing a combination of the two ideas discussed above, in the form of a "Tax Fairness Act" requiring the some kind of proportionality between the federal funds flowing to and from each individual state. This is a terrible idea policy-wise, both because it would be likely to exacerbate regional economic downturns and because the likely victims would be (as always) the poor and defenseless. Does it make for good, harmless (except to GOP electoral hopes) political theater? I don't know.

UPDATE 2: djw makes the case against a blue state retreat of the kind suggested by Angry Bear and Atrios quite eloquently:
I support gay rights for all who are gay. But I'm alot less worried about the rights of a 35 year old computer programmer in San Francisco than I am about a teenager in rural redland. I want good teachers, good textbooks, and a sound, reality-based curriculum in all schools, but it's a lot more important for children in the households of those with less education, who have precious few other ways to learn that the worldview of their parents and community isn't the only option in the world. The malnutrition that accompanies extreme poverty is most damaging to children. The forms of pollution that would almost certainly return to redland have a much more substantial negative impact on the health of children.

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