FDL Late Nite: Dear John. . .
I read our commenters here. They like you. You’ve staked out the most creative, progressive and politically incorrect ideas among the those in the top tier of Democratic hopefuls. Your anti-poverty agenda is heartfelt and really meaningful for what ails America. Your willingness to call bullshit on the “war on terror” is genuinely courageous.
But you’re too gentle, so far, to be trusted. It’s time to get your hair mussed. If you don’t, you’re going to continue to get this kind of hit piece coverage. The elites hate you and your anti-poverty agenda because they see you as a traitor to your class. They think you’re a sanctimonious prig for calling them out on their own blatant hypocrisy.
The haircut issue is a symbol for your lack of willingness to pick a fight and win it. People who support you need less North Carolina gentlemanly Clay Aitken (dog whistle: wimp wimp wimp) and more Ronald Reagan: the ability to slip a stiletto in someone’s ribs while looking them in the eye, smiling at them and making them laugh.
If you want to win, you have to show you can dish out damage, smiling, and never break a sweat. So far, you’re not breaking through.
I get that you’re banking on your superior organizing in Iowa to earn you a breakout moment, but you could do even better by playing offense before that happens. Kerry waited to try to throw a punch when he was swiftboated by the right and the media, and it was too late. Obama is campaigning not to lose: he’s running a personality cult campaign, and you can’t beat Hillary while you and he are splitting the “new wave” vote. You need to be more forceful in making your campaign about ideas that make a difference in people’s lives.
The questions for you, if you really want to pay the price to make the changes you say you want to make, are: can you “hit” a woman? Can you beat up, politically, on a black man and not feel guilty about it?
If not, please, stop wasting people’s time and money.
From what I can tell, you have the better ideas than the other top contenders do, but if you’re not willing to draw some political blood to enact them, you’re just not going to win the time and energy of the people I see in the base of the party who really want to fight for you. You have to fight for yourself first.
If you do that, effectively and deftly, then I suspect you’ll have people at your back, providing covering fire. If not, well, you can always become a university president somewhere.