Losing by Winning and Winning by Losing

Posted on August 20, 2010 by

Here’s what I’m not going to talk about: 

  • How the Obama election triggered an amazing sense of elation that began to dissipate almost immediately 
  • How almost overnight the republicans figured out how to undermine the new president and his allies 
  • Whether it would be better for democrats to hold slim congressional margins or turn over control of one or both houses
  • Whether some miracle – the economy flips or Osama bin Laden surrenders – will change our fate

What I will talk about – but briefly – is how to cope with the next few months and tolerate the inevitable:

  • Work on a local race or state campaign that you believe in (lots of good ones in California:  beat Whitman, legalize pot)
  • Detach – if only slightly – from instant news cycles and polls 
  • Read a history book

Finally, I reject the notion that if republicans take the House, for example (I thought I wasn’t going to talk about this), it gives them a stake in governance and wipes out their “just say no” strategy. 

But if one consequence of the ’08 victory was to make us feel defeated, than maybe we should try the opposite. 

Instead of losing by winning, how about winning by losing?

Comments (12)

 

  1. i should not tell you this (which means i am going to go ahead and tell you this anyway), but i view 90 percent of political contests and legislation as just games with few winners and many losers, with as little consequence or importance as games of sports, and sports have no consequence or importance, so that when people talk politics (as here, for instance) i turn a deaf ear, same as when people talk sports i turn two deaf ears

  2. gilda haas says:

    hi lou
    i will read a history book. To be inspired. What’s your favorite?

    • Lou says:

      I like all of these:

      American Sphinx
      The Character of Thomas Jefferson
      Joseph Ellis

      Reconstruction
      America’s Unfinished Revolution
      1863 – 1877
      Eric Foner

      The Fifties
      David Halberstam

      Southern California
      An Island on the Land
      Carey McWilliams

      Justice for All
      Earl Warren and the Nation He Made
      Jim Newton

      Blood and Thunder
      The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West
      Hampton Sides

      Embattled Dreams
      California in War and Peace
      1940 – 1950
      Kevin Starr

  3. Martin Jay says:

    Let’s not throw in the towel – just yet!

    If strong Democrats get out a strong message to the
    voters and remind them – of what the republicans said “no” to constantly – we don’t have to resign ourselves to that.
    I call it “winning by . . .winning”.

  4. Richard Slawson says:

    It is never better to lose than to win. If the question is whether a political party will win or not it can only be in the sense of how it will effect the party. However, if we are looking for a determination on the effect on Americans then the answer should view the short term, long term results.

    Short term, putting the Republicans in power will change nothing. The Republicans only care about winning and maintaining power and control for Wall Street. Why would they be concerned about the public’s view of their part in governance – they never have before. They will continue to block any progressive, sensible actions that would provide growth for the middle class other then what big business wants for their own gain.

    Long term, the Republican Party in control of anything will stiffle any chance of enacting changes in Labor Law, which would provide for the growth of Unions and therefore, workers having a say in the workplace and the country. Long term, Republicans will use a leadership position as a soap box to support more right-wing crazies, with the hearings that they would fill with presenters from the extreme and paid-for groups like the “Heritage Foundation”, the “National (no) Right(s at) to Work Foundation” and a host of other big business funded groups.

    The Republican Party isn’t interested in average Americans. We only need to look at the Trade Laws, Political Contributions System in our elections, Opposition to Social Security, Medicare and threatened repeal of national healthcare to know what they stand for -Profits at the expense of everyone else!

    Let’s work hard to get sensible, balanced and progressive politicians elected. Don’t give an inch!

    • Lou says:

      While we’re coping with the possibility that we could take a real beating in November, our side may – in the end – be more energized and mobilized than many pollsters and pundits believe.

  5. You can throw in “Citizen Worker” by David Montgomery in that bunch.

  6. Shannon says:

    hate to discourage anyone from inaction. The book I would recommend is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” 1492 to present. Doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference (some) who is in office. They have been using the same tactics for 500 years plus. Control the media and use fear i.e. religion, patriotism etc. Two sets of laws, one to protect the powerful and one to control the masses.
    Signed Still out there fighting.

  7. Shannon Dowell says:

    I hate to discourage anyone from inaction. The book I would recommend is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” 1492 to present. Doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference (some) who is in office. They have been using the same tactics for 500 years plus. Control the media and use fear i.e. religion, patriotism etc. Two sets of laws, one to protect the powerful and one to control the masses.
    Signed Still out there fighting.

  8. Saul Schneider says:

    Regarding the concern about Obama, it is not shared. Obama has been in office a year and 7 mos. He was handed a mess created by 8 years of Bush Cheney. There is now a very intelligent person in the white house who appoints wonderful justices and good people in general, makes thoughtful and progressive statements from the bully pulpit about the environment, health care, and every other issue. We are leaving Iraq.

    The republicans can do what they want but the fact is that he is in for almost 2 and a half more years. The changes will be felt and they will be positive. When Nov., 2012 comes around, Obama will be reelected. The car companies will be coming back. Obama is making big changes within the system that will reverberate for many years. Remember, the economy got screwed up royally under Bush Cheney. Obama is doing everything possible to help.

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