Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

Screwtape: Looking for Someone to Loathe

Posted by Adam Graham on May 20, 2007

The following comes from the “Screwtape Reports” feature on “The Truth and Hope Report” Podcast ( Democratic Strategist Dave Screwtape does his first podcast

Hello, this is Dave Screwtape welcoming you to the new Screwtape Reports podcast. I’ve gathered from several sources that this is a way to make large amounts of money, and having blown my earnings from the 2006 cycle on what a Christianists would call “riotous living,” I could use the extra cash.

As the end of the BushCo Administration draws near, we as Democrats face a difficult choice. I’m not referring to the choice for our party’s nomination, but rather for the position of Universal Loathed individual (ULI). Reading Congressman Blumenauer’s letter stating that he would not run for Senate due in part to the amount of campaigning that Karl Rove would require of him reminded me, that soon, to paraphrase Richard Nixon, we won’t have Karl Rove to kick around anymore.

Nor will we have Bush or Cheney after January, 2009. While we may loathe and despise them just as much, they’ll no longer be motivating factors, and that is when things get dangerous.

In the past we’ve been able to channel our hatred for ULIs into electoral success. If we hadn’t hated Richard Nixon so much, how would we have achieved such great victory in 1974? Let’s be clear that we can make mistakes with ULIs. Rush Limbaugh failed to do his duty in motivating Democrats during his tenure (1993-95) and we wisely replaced him with Newt Gingrich (1995-99). Our failure to fill this office from 1999-2000 led to our so-called “defeat”.

A good ULI will have several characteristics:

1) Political Power-This was our mistake with Limbaugh. He has a large listening audience, but unfortunately without political power, we are unable to make the American people afraid of him.

2) Human Flaws: This is helpful. We’ve for a long time worked to undermine Bush’s credibility by pointing out his penchant for making verbal gaffes. The American people bought into it and his credibility has declined on other issues as well. We should note this is not the same as making fun of someone because of a physical disability to be cruel. This making fun of someone’s disability in order to score political points, which is entirely different.
3) Courage: A good ULI will have some convictions they will fight for. When they fight you, you paint them as the bad guy in the media. Lacking this ability to fight creates huge problems. I was around during the first Bush Administration when we were trying to make George Bush I the ULI. A man who gives so easily under pressure does not need to be loathed by us, his own party will do it for us.

Now, if Republicans win (the higher power of your choice forbid), we should have easy work. We can attack Giuliani as an arrogant violator of Civil Liberties, McCain as a maniac, and Romney as taking orders from the head of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. Please note this is not like the fear of JFK taking orders from the Vatican.

Obviously should another candidate win, we’ll find another method of attack. However, as the media is the true god of the political process (just ask all the Christians who are looking to them to find out which candidates to vote for) I find that improbable.

If, on the other hand, we win the White House, we have a severe problem. There is simply a lack of loathworthy characters n the Republican leadership. John Boehner is the 21st Century’s Bob Michel, an amiable man who will set records for the number of years served as minority leader. In the Senate, there’s a little more hope. Mitch McConnell is someone I could come to loathe, but polls in Kentucky show his seat in jeopardy. Should he be defeated, we’ll likely see Trent Lott as Minority Leader. While Lott makes loathsome statements, his poor strategy makes him far more laughable than loathable.

Thus we could be in a difficult spot. When we have no one to loathe, we actually have to focus on governing. When that happens, often some little known figure we didn’t think to loathe can rise up and become our worst nightmare. Regardless of what happens in November, 2008, we must figure out who will be the next GOP leader and unite in our loathing of them before it’s too late.

The Screwtape Report is written by Adam Graham. The Screwtape Report is written from a Democratic perspective by a conservative in order to reveal Democratic strategy and thinking.

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