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Next comes viola solo(*)

By Michael J. Smith on Monday April 24, 2006 09:39 PM

JSP beat me to it -- I was pondering a post on the strange ominous silence in the political world just now.

My diagnosis, and I expect JSP would agree: the Democrats' idea is to inherit some congressional seats, without doing anything to earn them, solely because the Republicans have fucked up so badly. Anything the Democrats could possibly say or do would work against this faute-de-mieux strategy, so they're maintaining a tomblike silence that would make the Sphinx look like a chatterbox. No doubt the Republicans, for their part, have an October Surprise up their sleeve, as usual.

But to my vast delight, it appears -- if the New York Times is to be believed -- that there is one issue the Democrats are willing to let peek out: stem cell research. Thus the Times:

Democrats are pressing their support for embryonic stem cell research in Congressional races around the country, seeking ... to exploit a division between conservatives who oppose the science and other Republicans more open to it.

The question of whether the government should support or limit stem cell research has cropped up... especially in suburban swing districts.

"What Democrats want to do is gin up their turnout in the suburbs and divide Republicans, and right now they may do that," said Jennifer E. Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "This is the first real wedge issue Democrats have had with Republicans."

The topic may not have the power of those frequently used by Republicans to rally their... base, like same-sex marriage and abortion....

On Tuesday, [Democratic Senate candidate Claire] McCaskill appeared in the central Missouri town of Fayette, population 2,793, for a wine-and-cheese reception at an antiques shop....

What a delightful grace note: wine and cheese in the antique shop. This is a pretty good story by Times standards; somebody has almost a novelist's touch here. The wine and cheese among the bibelots says the same thing, a lot more compactly and vividly, that the stem-cell strategy tells us: this is a party that has absolutely given up on any kind of appeal to the mass of Americans -- a party which has consciously decided that its core constituency is the well-educated, the white-collar, and (of course) the suburban.

In fact I wonder whether we haven't seen an epochal flip-flop here. Maybe the Democrats' goal is to reduce turnout -- they've learned the lesson of '04, with its high turnout and very disappointing implications for the donks. Maybe the idea is that a race run on stem cells will be so soporific that only the brainiacs will show up to vote -- and of course, brainy souls that they are, they will pull the donkey lever, as always, just like the merest fool.

(*) In case you're wondering about the viola solo reference:
A man (call him Horace) went on a safari in darkest Africa with some native guides. They traveled on foot, going deep into the jungle where they could hear the screeching of birds and howling of wild cats and other fierce wild animals.

After a few days, Horace noticed that there was a constant drumming noise in the background. He asked the leader of the guides what the drumming was. He got no answer, just a stony silence. As they traveled deeper into the jungle the drumming got even louder. Horace tried again to find out what the drumming meant by asking the other native guides, but he still got no answer.

Finally one morning, after days of marching to this drumming (which by now was sounding quite ominous), the drums suddenly stopped. The native guides screamed and ran into the jungle to hide in the undergrowth. The leader remained, but he was trembling with fear. Horace asked "What is wrong? Why have the drums stopped?"

The native guide replied "Very bad."

"What?" asked Horace, who was expecting the worst.

The guide answered "When drum stops -- next comes viola solo!"

Comments (2)

So did anyone catch those nasty anti-Nader ads that some flock of stem cell advocates ran on Air America back in 2004 ? I ended up in this huge e-fight with one of their mouthpieces when I let him know just what I thought of his org's bullshit. Ah, youth...

Maybe the Democrats' goal is to reduce turnout

Ho ho! Why not? They prefer a predictable outcome over everything else. Reducing the voter pool makes that much eaiser -- fewer cards to count. A sweep would be catastrophic success. They'd have to come through for too many of the wrong people.

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