Monday, November 15, 2004

litany versus narrative

Kevin Drum irritates everyone today by pointing out that the reason Dems have a litany and no resonant narrative is because we've already achieved so much of our agenda we've been reduced to backing and filling in response to Repub erosions.

While my initial reaction to this post was "what rose-colored world are you living in???", I realize that its the prospect of losing all those things won last centery that makes it seem so catastrophic. Things look bad because we measure them against what we had, not pie in the sky we hope for.

Also, Kevin's post made me realize that Dems don't so much lack a narrative as we do a *new* narrative. Our narrative is decades old, and it's all about achieving what in many ways we already have achieved. The narrative still has great value as our core, but it no longer has resonance.

So instead of maintainance repair people, we should be thinking like designers. At the same time, our design should be solidly built on the basic foundations that are currently crumbling away, so that we simultaneously shore them up as well as proving their worth and our consistency.