I went back to look how I marked the end of 2004 and the beginning of 2005 a year ago. And it turns out that I didn't even mention it -- apparently because I was so deep into harassing and chronicling the slithers and wiggles of the 'Fainthearted Faction'. I'm sure it was a better use of my time.
The last post of 2004 was a teaser about a "leadership shake-up in the fainthearted faction" and I followed up with six posts, all on the same topic, on January 1st.
I'm not sure it would have occurred to me to do a year-ending post. But a number of other blogs I read have done so. So I'll give it a try.
First, I'd like to thank the readers of this site, and even more thank the core of regulars who visit every day, send tips, feedback, criticism, all of it. I've been doing this now for more than five years. And sometimes it's hard for familiarity not to lead to taking for granted the fact that something like a hundred thousand people show up to read this site on any given weekday.
So let me just say that I really appreciate your being a reader of this site. On top of that I want to say a special thanks to the few thousand of you who've contributed this year to the upkeep and now expansion of what we're doing. Thanks.
Now on to a more substantive issue.
For folks of my political persuasion, last year ended on a very bleak note. But things started going badly for the president from the beginning of 2005 and went down hill from there. Looking toward next year, a lot of stars seem to be in alignment for the Democrats. And history, scandal and the comeuppance of past mistakes and villainies all seem stacked against the president and his party.
A moment so pregnant with possibility has inevitably turned to speculation about how the Dems could blow it -- which is a possibility well worth considering. And that leads to all the questions of which issues should the Democrats pursue, which will position them better, should they have more new ideas -- those and a thousand other questions that, together, all amount to paralysis and a morbid self-indulgence and introspection.
I say let's forget about all of that. Far better to concentrate on two things.
Saying that amounts to a lightning rod in itself, hoisted up for battering from all sorts of scolds. But it's nothing to be ashamed of. The point of a political opposition is to oppose -- if there are no grounds for opposition, then there is no reason for such an opposition to exist. Better to join the president's party or go out of existence. And certainly, for those who share the perspective of this site, there is plenty to oppose. To say 'attack!' simply means to maintain the initiative in the debates of the day -- always. And when it's lost to get it back as soon as possible.
Second, you can't be an opposition without knowing what you oppose and what you're for.
Bad writing is usually imprecise writing -- and its badness usually stems from the bad writer not having taken the time to think through just what he or she means to say. The cobwebs and vagaries of their minds are revealed in bad prose.
Bad politics usually stems from people not having a clear idea of what they're trying to achieve, where they're trying to go. Once you know where you're trying to lead the country, strategy and tactics and optics and gutting the other side all tend to fall into place. If not perfectly, then a whole lot easier. Where do we want to take the country? Forget the rest and think about that. That's the guiding star.
Enough of my sermonizing. Happy New Year!