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October 06, 2005

"Miss Havisham Democrats"

It's funny-- it's funny and it's true.

Not if they carry folks I've taken to calling Miss Havisham Democrats. Many of us remember Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and the eccentric dowager whose bizarre manipulations drive the novel's narrative. Too grotesque to be believable even to our youthful imaginations, Miss Havisham remains stuck in the humiliating moment when she was left at the altar. She wears a moth-eaten wedding dress and only one shoe, because she had yet to put the other on when she first learned of her jilting. Heartbroken and embittered, she lives in a decaying mansion, having stopped all the clocks to reflect the moment of her abandonment.

All this would be harmless if Miss Havisham kept her withered obsessions to herself. But she seeks revenge, adopting the beautiful Estella, grooming her to work vengeance on all men, specifically the novel's hero, Pip. Miss Havisham's harsh vendetta wastes her own life, inflicts great pain and disrupts the future.

...

Because Miers' pedigree is less glittering, expect her performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee to matter far more than it did for the new chief justice. But expect also for the Miss Havisham Democrats to fail to see the danger they run for themselves. It's one thing to arrange one's home, car or mind as a morbid shrine to a horrid moment. It's quite another to expose that psychic furniture to the world.

When we first meet Miss Havisham, her oddities appear faintly comic. Only on better acquaintance does her refusal to put away her severe disappointment strike us as sad and, finally, destructive. I'm afraid too many Miss Havisham Democrats, and their elected representatives, will be unable to resist the opportunity for a highly public and embarrassing meltdown.

I knew that reading the Cliff's Notes for Great Expectations would pay off for me one day.

I guess it's High School Classics here at AoSHQ. Time to start working on The Red-State Badge of Courage.

Related: Party analysts urge Democrats to give up "election myths."

The said the current "myths" are:


_The belief Democrats can win if they just do a great job of mobilizing their base. Republicans have improved at mobilizing their own base, so Democrats need to do more than that.


_The theory demographic changes over time will make Democrats a majority, a questionable concept with the Hispanic vote increasingly up for grabs.


_The belief Democrats can succeed politically if they simply learn to talk more effectively about their positions.


_The strategy of avoiding cultural issues, playing down national security and changing the subject to domestic issues. National security is too dominant a concern now.



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posted by Ace at 02:47 PM

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