Why do we, progressives, lose more than we win? We lose because we almost always play offense, and the reactionaries, by definition, are almost always playing defense.
Any student of military tactics will tell you that the defense always has an easier task. We are the change agents. We attempt to change the status quo. Look for a moment at the features of our society and government that we have instituted, consider how much work they required to accomplish. An end to human chattel. Suffrage for women. Social Security, Actual goddam civil rights for black folk. Then consider the judicial accident of Roe v Wade. (Accident in the sense that it was not the result of extended political action.) Those are now a part of the status quo. Those would all require enormous effort to reverse. (The Rethugs have no hope or expectation of reversing Roe v Wade, it would be the destruction of their party. It is only a sop to the deranged religious zealots in their ranks.)
For every effort in social progress that we bring to the table, climate change or universal health care, we are the army storming the castle. The Reactionaries have the castle. It take a lot less people to stand at the top of the castle and dump rocks and boiling oil down on the besiegers than it does to bring the ladders and grappling hooks.
The status quo has the inertia of citizens’ fear of change. The status quo can lie about death panels and granny croaking sooner, and we as the stormers of the castle cannot stop each of those arrows from reaching the electorate.
Progress is a king bitch. It is the slow boring of boards, and we risk our soul in the effort.
What is astonishing to me? That the whole teabagger campaign of the summer was a perfect reflection of the swiftboating of Kerry, and again, the Democrats were so goddam slow to respond. We let way too many lies get past us, and did not get up and fight back at the level necessary to win this. Our response was exactly as weak as that of Kerry’s campaign to the swiftboating.
You can find the thread of columns that discuss this further at: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2009/12/16/asymm_majs/index.html