Taking the Fight To Where They Live (Prologue):
The Rude Pundit has been on a weeklong visit to the deepest, darkest nether regions of Red State America. When he first arrived, he was greeted by car after car on the highway near the airport still sporting "George Bush for President" bumper stickers. The Rude Pundit is a listener, an eavesdropper. In plate lunch joints and bars, he heard the same things over and over: about how great it was that the President was tough enough to fight the terrorists in Iraq. Hell, the fuckin' newspaper here, in an end of 2004 story on the soldiers from this region, directly stated that the war in Iraq was about avenging 9/11. How do you counter that kind of localized propaganda? But, you know, there's something interesting that happens whenever you engage anyone who believes these things in a conversation: they get really, really defensive about Bush. And not in a coherent way. And not even in the knee-jerk-"I-support-my-President" kind of way. No, it's more of an "I don't wanna talk about it - shutupshutupshutup" kind of way, with ears covered and eyes clenched shut. In other words, they know. They know it's all been a huge failure. But they don't wanna know. And it's just easier to pretend that everything's fantabulous than face that horror, that abyss, of mistrust, of awareness of one's own complicity in the voting booth.

Sitting in a bar with people cheering on Auburn last night, the Rude Pundit explained to a friend about the snobbery of some of the intellectual elite in the Northeast. The friend, who is a university professor, smirked and said, "It's the reverse down here." Yeah, you know what he's talking about - the ones who think that Blue State liberals are snotty little fags and dykes who've never done a hard day's work and who wanna spread the liberal message like so many Bolsheviks in a Red Square coffee house. This is where the fight is. And all the many pundits and prognosticators of the "future" of the Democratic party have it absolutely, exactly wrong when they think the Democrats can triangulate themselves back into consequence. That way lies irrelevance and madness.

The simple truth is that Democrats, moderates, liberals, anyone, won't win by saying, "Lookeeme, I'm like you, Farmer Brown or Factory Worker Sally, look at me compromise on abortion rights and put on shit-stained boots to go out into the fields and talk about how much I hate queers." No, winning comes by saying, "Look here, Farmer Brown and Factory Worker Sally, you are like me." And that means on each and every coming battle - Social Security, judges, tax cuts, Iraq. The people don't want leaders who identify with them. They want leaders who they identify with. It's a fine, but important distinction.

The Rude Pundit is returning back to the warm embrace of Blue State America tomorrow, so he'll be posting some new Tales of the Christ Weary. But starting Thursday with Social Security "reform," the Rude Pundit will offer the path back to power. It ain't gonna be pretty. We'll lose some good people along the way. But their bones will make our stepladders as we climb higher and higher. Gird your loins, motherfuckers, 'cause it's gonna get hot.