Dems have a Kate Problem

by , posted on Thursday, December 10th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

My youngest daughter, Kate, is 31. She’s married with three children. She has Type I Diabetes and was medically bankrupt at the age of 20 when she fell into a coma and spent two weeks in intensive care while uninsured. She is the principal breadwinner for her family, and despite her health challenges and past financial hardships they are doing okay now. In fact, Kate is doing so well right now that the most pressing personal family problem on her mind is that her brother will be deployed to Afghanistan this spring. And that is weighing heavily on her mind, though I won’t here go into what Kate thinks of the Afghanistan escalation.

Up until the 2008 election there was no force on earth – including me – that could move Kate to so much as vote. Her take on it: there is no point, big business owns government, and nothing will change. But in 2007 Kate changed, radically, sharply, suddenly, changed her mind.

Despite her unwillingness – no, make that adamant refusal – to get involved in politics before the last election, Kate is always well-informed (this site is among those she lurks on a daily basis) and besides, she was born and raised in Illinois, still lives here, so could hardly be unaware of Obama. The moment he announced he was in it, she was in it too and she started actively following and supporting other Dem candidates as well.

And therein lies the gist of the Dems Kate problem.

Kate is one of those people who are dubbed by business as “early adapters.” If Kate sees a thing, and likes a thing, it’s a sure bet that six months later, or twelve months later, or eighteen months later, the entire planet will be clamoring for what Kate wanted months before. That’s what early adapters do: they aren’t psychic, they’re just ahead of the rest of our timelines, or in tune with conventional wisdom before it is conventional, or maybe just trendsetters. If you want to know what is going on today, turn on CNN. If you want to know what’s going on in the future, call Kate and ask her what she’s up to today.

Now, the things Kate adopts are sometimes dumb. I can clearly remember having fits when Kate decided in grade school to stop wearing boots or reasonable shoes or even socks and instead chose to walk to school in any and all weather sock-free and in loafers. By the time she got to middle school, the school nurse was sending home notes to all the parents because she had hoards of girls showing up in her office with frozen toes due to loafers pack with snow, meanwhile Kate was over it. Like I said: dumb.

Sometimes the things Kate does are smart. Six months ago it occurred to Kate that she could put her tastes, instinct, talent – whatever you want to call it – to good use by buying not the stuff she likes, but rather stock in companies that sell the stuff she likes, so she opened an account with a thousand bucks, moved stuff around when she saw something she likes, and now it’s worth sixty-five hundred. Smart.

But the smart and the dumb are really irrelevant to the overall reality, which is simply this: if Kate thinks it now, everyone else will in twelve months or so – you can take that to the bank. Come to think of it, Kate is taking it to the bank.

So when Kate called me during her morning commute yesterday to complain about how utterly stabbed-in-the-back betrayed she felt over the Senate health care bill lacking a public option, citing the actual dollars regarding how screwed over she and her family will be, and predicting that her employer and their insurance provider will be finding new and creative ways to deprive her of care, I knew Dems had acquired a Kate problem.

When she said she would never, ever vote for another Democrat again, I knew it was bad, but assumed she would go back to not voting at all. When she said she would vote for any third party candidate she could find on the ballot, I knew it was really bad. When she said if she could not find a third party candidate she would grit her teeth and force herself to vote for the Republican I was appalled and tried to reason with her.

Her response: “Uh-uh, nice try, and don’t even bother to go to ‘cutting off my nose to spite my face’ because here’s the thing. At least when the Republicans screw me over to shovel dollars at big business they’re honest about their intentions. I will do anything, absolutely anything, to deprive the rat-bastards who lied to me of the opportunity to screw me over while lying through their teeth about it again. If I’m gonna get screwed either way, I’m gonna get screwed by people who know they’re lying rat-bastards and aren’t afraid to show it. I will get even if it’s the last thing I do.”

So, yeah, I think the Dems have a really, really big Kate problem, because what Kate thinks now…

Cross posted at DailyKos


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