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Democrats (and Bloggers): Stop Arguing, Unite Behind "Hostage" Banner, and Win

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Oft-times, the cleverest strategies are recognized only in retrospect, emerging from a situation that was never intended.

We have one, now.

But, only if Democrats and progressive bloggers would stop shouting about who gave up what, and for what, and when, and focus like a laser on the goals: extending unemployment insurance, cutting taxes for the middle class, spurring new job-hiring, and not giving away the farm in order to achieve it. And then repealing DADT and approving START and the Dream Act. For strategic reasons, raising the debt ceiling, now, so we do not get blackmailed in February.

Those are my immediate goals, anyhow. If you agree, then let us agree to psychoanalyze the President at another time. The Republicans have provided the key, but no one can hear it with all the noise.

Stop. Listen to what the Republicans are signaling is their Achilles heel.

Deliberately or not (who cares!), the president's announcement and press conference both crystallized the issues (previously obfuscated by Republican rhetoric) and triggered a response by Republicans that showed their vulnerability.

Before, the national consciousness was numbed by big government/small government, job-creators, all kinds of irrelevant nonsense so that the values at stake could not be processed.

Now it is clear: to do what the economy and nation need, we -- the taxpayers -- have to bailout the wealthy again. And, not just the living, but the dead. If you are dead and wealthy, the Republicans love you more than if you are alive and middle class.

The American people don't like bailouts. They don't like being held hostage.

Hostage. Consider the outrage that provoked on the right (although they used themselves to get Bush's Iraq war funding almost every cycle -- so it works!). That should tell everyone that it struck a cord, it is very potent, it triggers feelings of lack of control, of being told what to do, of hijackers and suicide bombers -- elements of the reptilian part of our brains that Republicans have been so successful at exploiting.

So, KEEP USING IT. Every one, in every venue, in every television/radio/written/YouTube medium. The American people are being held hostage.

Do NOT JUSTIFY the use of the word. That's the discussion the Republicans want. It diverts attention from the American people being hostages to whether it is a four-letter word or not.

JUST KEEP USING IT. When reporters challenge the use of the word, just keep using it.

And, oh, Democratic leaders, translate that into a strategy. We are not going to be held hostage. What could that mean? Well, you could bring up each and every element of the tax package individually. If they filibuster, it is being held hostage.

Start with unemployment insurance (and how about helping out the 99rs as well, while you are at it?). Make it the signature issue of being held HOSTAGE or not. If they call for cloture, adjourn, go into the halls and fan out with interviews. The only word we should remember from those interviews is HOSTAGE.

Then, bring up the bailout for the wealthy. Bring it to a vote in the Senate. Don't filibuster it. Don't hold it hostage. Give them a vote.

Then, bring up middle class tax cuts. Same thing.

And so forth.

The only way for the Republicans to prove that they are not holding hostages is to let the individual items come to a vote.

The American people will not be held HOSTAGE any longer! It's freeing. It's liberating. It's potent. It could be the start of a movement*. It's a basis for collective action to act for ourselves to do what we need. Johnny's schooling, Sara's clean air, grandma's social security, the needs of the unemployed...and so forth..are not going to be held hostage to ideology, to the elite, to polluters...take your pick.

Let's go.

*Much, much more needs to be done to create a sustainable movement. But, nothing wrong with getting it started, here and now.