Sarah and Gwen: the Two-Headed Monster

This blog is about everything involving Lexington, KY or anything else we feel like yapping about.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Stupidity: Repeating a failed action to see if it'll work THIS time

Jerry Lundergan, the current head of Kentucky's Democratic Party, has announced that Democrats will be proclaiming their values when they campaign in 2006. Of course, they will be Judeo-Christian values. As a sign of this, Democrat Rick Nelson of Middlesboro has sponsored this year's (since this is an annual occurence in the KY General Ass) House bill to force the Ten Commandments into public buildings. Meanwhile, Jody Richardson, the Democratic Speaker of the House, recently commented that teaching 'Intelligent Design' (creationism renamed for the 21st century) should be a local school board decision rather than a vetted and proven portion of a standard science curriculum.

Lundergan and the rest of the KY Dem leadership claim that the 'liberals' in the KY Dem party are too much like the overall Democratic Party, which is 'too liberal' for Kentuckians. These claims are far from true. I am a liberal, bred and raised as such before the GOP made it a dirty word. I know them when I see them in action. There are very few liberals of either party in the Kentucky General Ass (not my abbreviation originally, but so accurate). I've endured years at the mercy of Democrat officeholders who would actually be Republican if their ancestors hadn't blamed the GOP for the Civil War.

When will Democrats realize that fundamentalists aren't going to switch parties if they mouth the same religious platitudes as Republicans? The party they've annointed is already in control of the government. They're not going to mess with the powerful bloc they already have by adding competition. They also rightfully see most of the lip service to faith and flash of Bibles as pandering when a Democrat is doing it (sad to say, they don't have the same clarity of vision when Republicans do the same thing).

There is another reason DINO tactics won't work: most voters don't really pay attention to what their officials do in office. In 2004, Democrat State Senator Dan Mongiardo (allegedly on the advice of a campaign manager) sponsored the amendment to the KY Constitution to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. Not only did it not help his campaign for the U.S. Senate, his opponent, incumbent Jim Bunning, claimed in TV commercials that Mongiardo supported same-sex marriage.

The commercials worked. Mongiardo lost the election. The only time the polls seemed close was when rumors flew that Bunning had Alzheimer's Disease (See? Nothing to do with his actual voting record). Mongiardo gained no ground with conservative voters and sacrificed the support of Kentucky's gay and lesbian community, who refused to contribute time or money to his campaign. (Incidentally, the campaign managers were confused by the hostility they were getting from the gays they phoned. Why were they taking this so personally?)

There are a large number of idealistic, open-minded people in Kentucky who don't bother voting at all because no one is providing them with a true alternative to 'politics as usual'. I saw many non-voters come out of the woodwork to support Kucinich for President, then withdraw from the political process again when he lost the candidacy. They felt no one else really had their values, or spoke for them. Thanks to the DINO strategy, we won't be seeing them any time soon. Too bad. They are the true unreached group in this state.

Sarah G


Blogger Wanderer said...

Unfortunately, few people pay attention to the political agendas of candidates, because what their agendas supposedly are when they run are so often untrue anyway. Those that vote do so on the basis of party, or on the characted and sound bites displayed in commercials, because so often the actual politics appear impossible to read.

As an example, our local mayor just got elected in november based on a platform that consisted mostly of saving a local city project that he has already shut down.

People watch things like this, the rare occasion where the issue is so public that everyone notices, and see the politicians do a complete 180 and decide that voting doesn't even make any sense, or that their odds are simply better picking a party that mostly espouses their ideas and praying.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Gwen Mayo said...

Those of us who do pay attention to what candidates really support are rapidly disillusioned by our government. I still remember how many of our state legislators were caught in a sting operation taking bribes as low as $200 in exchange for votes. Both the past governor (a Democrat) and the current one (a Republican) have been involved in shenanigans that shame the state. Our local water company poured money into city council races to influence the vote on condemnation. We would all be better served if the lawmakers forgot about the "Ten Commandments," school prayer, creationism, and who is and is not allowed to marry and focused a moral scrutiny on the behavior of elected officials.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Frank Glenn said...

We'll see whether John Q. Democrat pays even the same level of interest they did during Watergate by two model instances; whether they vote DINO's like Liebermann out and whether they call for jailing of the many politicians as they did during ABSCAM (which, incidentally, was called off by DOJ because it was too successful and might have shifted the balance of power "too radically" - READ "put too many real Democrats in power".)

7:38 AM  
Blogger The Pagan Temple said...

Good article. Democrats should realize that the point they should stick to is in protecting the rights of all Americans, including but not limited to Christians. Seems to me that if they would stick to that simple formula, eventually it might become a dead issue.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you look Bush won this state by 20%. Now look at the Senate Campaign and how many did Bunning win by? I believe it was less than 2%. I think Mongiardo's strategy worked!You all just don't get it. Thanks to your efforts against candidates we get Anne Northup and Jim Bunning...great representatives.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Sarah G said...

Anonymous, you shouldn't assume that 'Not working for' = 'Working against'. That's Bush logic. Certainly, after being attacked, you didn't expect gays and lesbians to volunteer for Mongiardo, did you?
My partner and I handed out Mongiardo's info with everyone else's when we walked our precinct (PLUS OTHERS that didn't have precinct people), and we didn't badmouth him to the people we met.
As for supporting Dems: Many KY Dem candidates were strictly on their own when it came to getting help. I ran off extra flyers for Lamin Swann (candidate in the 88th) because he couldn't afford to print more on his own.
Mongiardo's strongest support came from his home region and 'liberal' gay-heavy strongholds like Lexington and Louisville. He was ahead in the polls till the fundies came out in northern and western KY.
Part of the 2% losing margin you mention were gays and lesbians who told me personally that they would go to the polls for Kerry but would sit out the Senate race. They saw no difference in the two men.
Sarah G

12:11 PM  

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