September 23, 2008
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On Winning

My Fellow Progressives:

We are going to win. This election will be close — closer than it should be. Hard work remains. But we are going to win. For the first time since that brief 100 days in 1932, a progressive American president will have working majorities in the House and Senate.

This is a time for calm and for resolute determination. We have suffered a terrible losing streak. We have been close before, only to see our hopes dashed. We have been defeated by Bushites and by Roveans so often that, even now, we jump at shadows. But no October surprise could trump the economic disasters now unfolding, and no last-minute proposal will overshadow the Bushite request for dictatorial disbursement of a trillion dollars.

The Bushies will not surrender with grace or dignity. They will obstruct, and lie, and cheat, and steal, and they will blame it all on us. It will not matter. We will face frightful challenges, at home from an shattered economy and abroad from a world where even our friends distrust and fear us as spies, torturers, and incompetents. The Court may be salvageable — indeed, the prospect of a lifetime of signing futile dissents might even lead Thomas and Scalia to greener pastures. It will not get worse, and we will add to the bench some young, energetic, and superb jurists who will restore the court’s integrity and preserve our rights. Small changes in labor law, blocked by Wall Street for generations, can give workers real voices — not just on the assembly line but in the office. We can stop endless bickering over sex laws and fix our health care system. Social Security will again be secure against the pillagers and privatizers. We can hire experts where expertise is needed, and government can once more recruit from Harvard and Stanford, not merely from Pat Robertson and Oral Roberts.

The next election will be rough. But time is now a friend to progress: Ohio, Virginia, New Mexico, Arizona, and — yes — even Florida grow bluer every year, while the New England bastion of Republicanism is and will remain a distant memory. For decades, whenever we need to remind voters of corruption and incompetence, we need only speak of Bush.

A thinh is about to happen that has not happened since the Elder days: the Progressives are about to wake up and find that they are strong. Happy days are here again, though much hard work remains; I'm still half expecting the phone call that says, “We need you in Akron; the buses leave from Boston Common tomorrow night.” Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself.