November 3, 2003

"Desperation Politics:" Revenge of DemNerds

Driving through a host of dying rural towns out west last September, one of constants were the community-based wall murals that decorated this or that building on vacant Main Streets. In a town in Nevada where the mines had died, there was an art gallery called, fittingly, "Desperation Arts." Next to Desperation Arts was a parking lot and on the wall was a 80 foot by 30 foot mural depicting the glory days of the town. Down the main drag there were about five other murals with the same sort of community spirit themes. My traveling companion, who had seen a lot more of small western towns than I had, gave a nod to the last one we passed heading out and said, "When the big murals show up, the town has pretty much had it."

That comment came back to me this morning when reading about the latest twitch in the corpse of what once was the Democratic Party: Voter registration gets high-tech twist, which announced -- DEMOCRATIC PAC IS HOPING TO USE WIRED COFFEE SHOPS TO DEFEAT BUSH

Call it the attack of the new ``latte liberals.''

A new Democratic political action committee recently unveiled in Silicon Valley hopes to plug into the latest technology craze -- wireless-enabled, or ``WiFi,'' coffee shops -- to help defeat President Bush in next year's election.

The Committee to ReDefeat the President -- a jab at Bush's loss of the popular vote in the 2000 election -- hopes to register 1 million new Democratic voters and get them to the polls next November....

How... how... well, quaint. And done in the key of what might well be called "Desperation Politics."

Here you have an effort to somehow organize folks hanging about coffee houses, whose single guiding passion is a hate of the President (That har-de-har-har "ReDefeat" replete with that capital letter in the midst of the word that signals Nerd group), to put on a cell-phone blitz. Yes, this is a political tool made up of Starbucks and unlimited nationwide minutes.

Here's the founder and the 'vision' statement:

The PAC is the brainchild of David Lytel, 45, a Washington, D.C., high-tech investment analyst who helped launch the first White House Web site while working for President Clinton from 1993 to 1994....

Lytel's hope is to help a new class of volunteers who are committed to defeating Bush in 2004 but who live in Democratic-controlled regions, such as the Bay Area, that are unlikely to be closely contested in next year's election....

``Via cell phones, laptops, Web-enabled technology and WiFi, I can put the tools of being a very successful volunteer in the hands of people who have a few hours to give,'' Lytel said.

Hmm, people who have a few hours to give while hanging about in coffeehouses. Sounds like we're dealing with the hard-core unemployed, especially if the current economic trends continue.

We can just hear them working the cell-phone WiFi Wiki now:

"Can you hear me now?"
"Is this Mrs. William Midamerica or 118 White Pines Road, Omaha?"
"Hi. You don't know me but I'm calling from a Starbucks in Seattle and I wanted to talk you into defeating the unelected President and ruler for life George W. Bush."
"Well, my son in the Marines ..."
"That's just the point. We want to bring him home alive and well by throwing out this unilateral UN hating tax cutting evil evil man which we know you'd hate if you could only live in Seattle for ten years."
"... my son in the Marines was burned to death when the plane hit the Pentagon back in 2001. He was one of the 3,000 Americans that died that day. My other two sons have joined up since then and they are serving in Kabul and Baghdad. We have no choice in this war. They will kill us all if we let them. You probably don't realize that since you will probably never, ever, serve your country, will you?"
"Does this mean you are not going to vote Democratic tomorrow?"
"It means that I will never, ever, vote for a Democrat again in my life. Nor will any member of my family or friends. Goodbye young man. I hope sometime you find something worthy of believing in beyond your spite and hate for the President of the United States."
"Ah, have a nice day." Hangs up. " fascist bitch."
It's all there. The big vision by the Clinton-era web guy. The Net, always the Net, as the killer app that will save the Democrats! from themselves.

It is never the message being sent, it always that it is not being received. It is never the liberal vision being broadcast, it is always that it is not being tuned in. It is never the candidates and their content that is killing them, it is always the lies of the Resident. It is never their policies that are polluting them, it is always that those policies are not being listened to and believed. It is first, last and always not the fault of the Democratic Party. It is America's fault for just not listening.

The only way to counter this is to play the Net tech card which says that Tech trumps Truth; which says that if you just get enough tech out there, you'll find that hidden majority that shares your hate of the President and wants, really, really wants to pay more taxes. All you need is a few more hi-tech volunteers and you can turn this whole thing around.

Lytel's plan has it all. The cell-phone. The WiFi. The Net. And that staple of marginal political parties since the 17th century, the coffee house.

So draw that big picture on the walls of high tech, Lytell. Whip those partisans into a latte-frothed frenzy. Perhaps slap a CD on the Starbucks stereo that's a compilation of Kumbiya, Blowin' in the Wind, and This Land is Your Land. It'll make for a nice atmosphere.

Keep those lattes coming. Fire up the browsers, whip out the flip phones and let your fingers do the walking.

When the unlimited minutes reach their limit and you're tired of phoning home to America, you can go outside and paint a large mural of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton on the coffee house wall. Make each figure smaller than the previous one so that we can mark the amazing progress of a major political party from the party of Hope to the party of Hate in less than fifty years.

"When the big murals show up, the town has pretty much had it."

Posted by Vanderleun at November 3, 2003 5:49 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

volunteers who are committed to defeating Bush in 2004

Is it just me, or is this weird?

Traditionally, political activist movements would describe themselves as something like "committed to a [candidate name] victory in 2004". But this group, unless I misread, is strictly negative. Is it me or is this kind of unprecedented?

Posted by: jaed at November 4, 2003 4:03 PM