Preview: A Fistfull of Hugh's
A Fistfull of Hugh's
A Blog about Baseball and the Chicago Cubs.
Opening Day! (and my predictions)
The Real Opening Day is here folks!
After months of speculation, worrying, and discussing all sorts of not-likely-to-happen scenario's we can finally get down to some real games.
The Cubs open their season at Arizona this afternoon with Carlos Zambrano going against Javier Vasquez. It's only fitting that Carlos is able to start opening day. He was the rock of the pitching staff last year and it's an honor he deserves. Unfortunately, I'll be stuck at work until 6:00pm tonight so I'll miss watching the game live. Thanks to the wonders of Tivo though, I'll still be able to catch. I'll just have to stop looking at sports websites so that I don't see the score ;).
One kink in that plan though. The Fighting Illini will be playing in their first ever national championship game tonight. So, what the heck should I watch? Cubs Opening Day or Illinois Championship.
While this is the kind of "tough" decision I like to have, it's a bit of a pain in the ass. If only I wasn't stuck here at work this wouldn't be a problem. Damn work getting in the way of really important stuff like baseball!
Alrighty, time for a few predictions...
New York (Wild Card)
Chicago White Sox
Analysis and Quick Notes (Larry King style): I think Toronto will be a lot better then people think. They'll have some payroll flexibility midseason and should turn in a decent performance. I'd like to give the WC to Cleveland, but even my hatred of the Yankees doesn't obscure the fact that they'll get it in a walk. Oakland will be much worse then people are hoping. Billy Beane doesn't do re-building projects? He needs to. Small ball in U.S. Cellular is a spectacularly bad idea.
St. Louis (WC)
Analyis and Quick Notes: I'm a homer, Cubs win the division when St. Louis gets hit by the injury bug. St. Louis will still make the playoffs, even though it hurts me to say it. Atlanta's outfield will be their downfall. LA will miss Beltre a lot more then he'll miss them. Houston will be just plain bad 3 out of every 5 games. The Mets will figure out they wasted a lot of money before the all-star break.
So, there ya go. Here's hoping I'm not too far off. Even if I end up being as wrong as I could be, it's nice to have baseball back.
Well, we finally have some real Cubs news to talk about.
Sammy Sosa will most likely be traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Jerry Hairston and a couple of "eh" prospects.
I have to say I'm pretty happy with the deal, though the reaction in Cub Nation has been a bit mixed.
I think the cut and dry of it is, is that Sosa had to be traded. Period. We all heard about the reactions from last weekend's Cubs Convention. If Sosa had run out to RF on opening and been greeted by a chorus of boos, you might as well have just tossed out his season then.
As it is, this move is good for Sosa, it's alright for Baltimore, and it could be good for the Cubs.
I say "could" because how this works out for us depends on what Hendry's next move is (and we all know he has one up his sleeve). Right now there are a couple possibilties...
1) Cubs trade for Aubrey Huff in Tampa Bay. This is the ideal solution. If we can turn some of our prospects into a young OF with good patience (yay for walks) and good power, then the Sosa trade is a great move.
2) Cubs sign Jeromy Burnitz. This would be the worst-case scenario. Burnitz is just a slightly younger version of Sosa, who isn't as good. He showed good power last year but that was in Coors where I could post good numbers. If this is the next move then the Cubs will be worse off then they would have been with Sosa.
So, all we can do right now is sit back, wait for the Sosa trade to go through and hope Hendry makes the right decision. Should make for an interesting week at the very least.
It's as slow as slow can get....
It's been a few weeks since I've posted an update here, mainly due to the holidays. I got a new Cubs hat, since my old one was rather beat up and I think it was beginning to gross my wife out.
That was pretty much the only Cubs-related present I got this year, unless you count the new TV which will be playing Cubs games all summer ;).
But none of that is very interesting. What is interesting is that, despite not updating for 3 weeks, we missed not one, single important Cubs news item.
Zip. Nada. Zilch. Not a one.
Sure, there have been random news reports of the Cubs making Beltran an offer or that they're considering Magglio Ordonez but we've known all that for a while. I've been waiting for some sort of bullpen signing to take place, but there haven't even been any rumors on that.
So we just wait and hope that Hendry has something up sleeve. Maybe in the down time I'll get around to posting my "Why I'm a Cubs fan" story. Hopefully Ed will be around with a Red Sox update here soon as well.
Winter Meetings come to a close.
The Winter Meetings have come to an end and surprisingly the Cubs leave without making any major deals. They got off to a quick start, re-signing Nomar, Todd Walker, and signing Blanco. Since then, nothing. There have been quite a few rumors, many involving our erstwhile slugger Sammy Sosa. There was talk about acquiring Danny Kolb, but that came to an end when he was dealt to Atlanta.
So, where are the Cubs now. They filled one hole in their lineup by getting the infield set. In addition, if Dusty is smart he'll use Todd Walker to fix the problem at the leadoff spot.
Other then those patches however, the Cubs still have the same problems they did prior to the meetings. They still need to get another high OBP guy, they still need an OF, they still need a closer, and hopefully they'll be able to deal Sosa.
All in all, it was a fairly disappointing weekend. We can only hope Hendry has a couple big moves in mind before Jan. 8th.
Now that Danny Kolb has been traded to the Braves the number of quality closers on the market is pretty much zero.
So, where does that leave our beloved Cubs? It leaves them with 4 internal and 1 external possibilities. Let's break them down real fast...
- Seemingly has all the tools to be a closer, but he's never really put it all together. He had one good season in 2001, but has been very erratic since then. He has a 95-100mph fastball and a very sharp slider which he has trouble locating at times. Farnsworth has also worked in a change-up the last couple seasons but it's not his best pitch by any stretch of the imagination.
Kyle's biggest upside is the fact that, despite his troubles, he still strikes more then a batter per inning. If he can get his walks down, this ability could make him into a very effective closer.
Kyle is my #1 choice to take over the role in 2005.
- Dempster is coming off Tommy John surgery and is expected to play his first full season in a couple years. He was used a reliever last season and didn't look very good. He has 18 K's to 13 BB's. For a closer you usually want to K twice as many batters as you walk since you're only in there for one inning. Dempster has only done this one time, in 2000 when he was an all-star for the Florida Marlins.
Dempster certainly has the stuff to be a closer. John Hendry said this morning in the Sun-Times that "He has got a 94-to-96-mph fastball and a slider that most hitters will tell you is well above average, and he certainly has the makeup and fortitude that's required."
Like Farnsworth, if Dempster can get his control back to 2000 levels he could be a very effective closer.
Ryan would be my #2 choice.
- The argument against making Hawkins the closer is very simple...he's one of the best setup men in the NL. He performed very well in this role with the Cubs last season and was even better when he was with Minnesota. He was forced into the closer role last season when Borowski went down. Now that we have other options for closer, he should be returned to his natural role.
Latroy is my #3 choice.
- Joe was a very good closer in 2003. Joe was a horrible closer in 2004. After off-season shoulder surgery there's no way to tell how he'll perform in 2005. He could come back stronger then ever (ie: Kerry Wood) or he might come back as a slower version of Borowski 2003. While we all hope it's the former, odds are it's the latter.
Until we know for sure how Borowski will perform he should be used as a backup setup man or a long reliever.
Joe is my #4 choice.
Now, the one external candidate I can see would be Ugueth Urbina
. Detroit went out and got Troy Percival this offseason, giving them two established closers. They might be looking to trade one of them.
As most Cubs fans remember, Urbina can be a very good closer at times. He dominated the Cubs in the 2003 NLCS, closing out games 6 and 7. He struggled a bit last season with Detroit, but there were a number of personal issues that could have affected his performance. The downside is his cost. In terms of salary he's easily the most expensive, plus you have to factor in whichever player we would have to give up.
What it come down too with Urbina is that with so many internal candidates he is just too expensive to take a risk on.
So, after all is said and done it looks like one of the Cubs relievers will end up as our closer this season. It will most likely be Farnsworth or Dempster, either one could be great or they could be horrible. We have to hope it's the former because if not we'll be watching the Cubs blow a lead to the Mets in the last week of September yet again.
Sosa Trade Rumors
Chicago Sun-Times - Mr. Sosa goes to Washington?
Sosa going to the new Washington Nationals seems to be the hot new rumor. Looking through their roster I noticed a couple trade possibilities, the most likely of which is Jose Guillen.
Guillen plays RF, the same position as Sosa, so he would seem to be extraneous should a trade go through. He's a good hitter, posting a .294/.352/.497 line last year. He has had some personal issues but Dusty seems to have a way of calming these types of players down.
Other then Guillen, there doesn't appear to be much in the way of OF on the Nationals. So, unless there are going to be a bunch of prospects sent to the Cubs (unlikely due to the money situation) Guillen seems to be about it.
My opinion of this trade would be a fairly positive one. While I'm wary of Guillen due to his past, he's younger then Sosa, plays better defense, and draws more walks. Washington would get the big name star they want, even though he's the inferior player.
Pavano going to the Bronx...
...and I couldn't be happier. The talk around the Baseball Blogosphere is that Pavano is going to sign a 4 year - $42 million contract with the Yankees. Let's look at his stats real quick...
Year Ag Tm Lg W L G GS CG SHO GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP BFP ERA *lgERA *ERA+
1998 22 MON NL 6 9 24 23 0 0 0 0 134.7 130 70 63 18 43 83 8 1 580 4.21 4.11 98
1999 23 MON NL 6 8 19 18 1 1 0 0 104.0 117 66 65 8 35 70 4 1 457 5.62 4.70 84
2000 24 MON NL 8 4 15 15 0 0 0 0 97.0 89 40 33 8 34 64 8 1 408 3.06 4.64 151
2001 25 MON NL 1 6 8 8 0 0 0 0 42.7 59 33 30 7 16 36 2 0 199 6.33 4.62 73
2002 26 MON NL 3 8 15 14 0 0 0 0 74.3 98 55 52 14 31 51 7 2 350 6.30 4.16 66
FLA NL 3 2 22 8 0 0 2 0 61.7 76 33 26 5 14 41 3 1 269 3.79 3.99 105
TOT NL 6 10 37 22 0 0 2 0 136.0 174 88 78 19 45 92 10 3 619 5.16 4.08 79
2003 27 FLA NL 12 13 33 32 2 0 1 0 201.0 204 99 96 19 49 133 7 3 846 4.30 4.03 94
2004 28 FLA NL 18 8 31 31 2 2 0 0 222.3 212 80 74 16 49 139 11 2 909 3.00 4.10 137
7 Yr WL% .496 57 58 167 149 5 3 3 0 937.7 985 476 439 95 271 617 50 11 4018 4.21 4.23 100
162 Game Avg 12 12 35 32 1 0 0 0 201.7 211 102 94 20 58 132 10 2 864 4.21 4.23 100
Career High 18 13 37 32 2 2 2 0 222.3 212 99 96 19 49 139 11 3 909 3.00 4.71 152
* indicates the value is park adjusted
Does this look a pitcher who's worth $10 million a year? Admittedly, he's a good pitcher who had a very good season last year. He's not an ace, however, and he isn't the answer to the Yankees pitching problems.
Currently the Yankees rotation looks like it will be Mussina, Vazquez, Pavano, Milton (maybe), and whoever they throw in the 5th spot. Mussina used to be an ace, but he experienced a significant decline last season as his ERA+ dropped from 129 to 98. He's also going to be 36 years old when spring training opens so the chances of him rebounding are pretty slim. Vazquez turned out to be a huge disappointment and looks like he'll be Jeff Weaver Redux. Pavano and Milton are both average pitchers.
So, if Milton signs at 3 years - $21 million the Yankees will have spent $42 million for a collection of #3 or #4 starters. When their biggest competitor, the Red Sox, have a rotation consisting of Pedro Martinez (it appears likely he'll re-sign), Schilling, Tim Wakefield, and David Wells these 4 Yankees just aren't going to cut it.
The Yankees will certainly contend with their lineup, but for this team the only thing that really matters is the playoffs. Unless something big happens, and currently there aren't any rumors out there, the Yanks won't have the arms to compete in October. Like I said, I couldn't be happier.
Chicago Sun-Times - Hendry supports Sosa but still could trade him
First off, I'm thinking about re-tooling this blog into a Cubs/Baseball blog rather then a politically-oriented anything goes blog. I'm finding I just don't have much to say when it comes to politics lately and there are a million other blogs that cover that area pretty well. I feel I can contribute more to a baseball discussion so I'm going to start focusing on that.
That said, I was combing the Chicago newspapers this morning and I found this little gem of an article.
The main topic is regarding Sosa and whether or not he'll be back next season. I have a lot to say about that, but I think the most important thing mentioned in this article is regarding the Cubs payroll. Apparently, Hendry has been authorized to spend up to $100 million on players this season. For the Cubs, a team which has always maintained a low payroll despite being one of the most profitable teams in the league, this is a huge step. It seems as though they're finally committed to using their vast financial resources to field a successful team.
Now, obviously one does not have to spend a lot of money to compete in MLB. Just look at the Oakland A's and the Minnesota Twins. No one can deny, however, that having some spending money gives you a bit more room for error when making personnel decisions. It's all in how you spend it, but if Hendry has shown us anything it's that he's a smart GM who isn't prone to wasting money (Blanco and Neife aside).
The most obvious way to spend the money would be to go after Carlos Beltran. They could, potentially, sign him even if they don't trade Sosa but that is unlikely. If Sosa stays then J.D. Drew becomes the most likely candidate to replace Alou in the OF. I assert, however, that even if Sosa is traded J.D. Drew would be a better fit then Beltran would. Let's compare...
Year Ag Tm Lg PA Outs RC xR xR27 xW OWP BA *lgBA OBP *lgOBP SLG *lgSLG OPS *lgOPS*OPS+ psOPS SB%
7 Seasons 3911 2621 603 | .284 .278| .353 .348| .490 .446| .844 .794| 111 89%
* indicates the value is park adjusted
Over the past 7 seasons, Beltran has consistently hit above league average in all major catagories. Most importantly, he's had a decent OBP in his career. As I said in my earlier Cubs article, their biggest failing right now is their in-ability to get on base. They just can't do it. They can hit HR's with the best of them, but no one is getting knocked in. In addition, Beltran has a very good Stolen Base (SB) rate which is another area where the Cubs are sorely lacking.
Now let's look at Mr. Drew...
Year Ag Tm Lg PA Outs RC xR xR27 xW OWP BA *lgBA OBP *lgOBP SLG *lgSLG OPS *lgOPS*OPS+ psOPS SB%
7 Seasons 2869 1811 484 | .287 .268| .391 .341| .513 .433| .904 .775| 133 76%
* indicates the value is park adjusted
As we can see JD has is well above league average in OBP, much more so then Beltran. He's also higher in SLG% and BA. His SB rate is also good, though Beltran has him beat there. On the surface it looks like a no-brainer, but there is one statistic that is troubling. We notice that Drew, in the same number of seasons, have more then 1000 fewer Plate Appearences (PA) then Beltran does. This is due to a number of significant injuries that Drew has suffered throughout his career. Last season, with the Braves, was Drew's first full season. He hit very well last year, but the injuries are still a cause for concern.
Oh yeah, Drew used to play for St. Louis. BOOO!!!!
So, why do I believe that Drew would be a better fi[...]
Took you long enough...
It's about time you showed up Ed. BTW, how many shirts have you sold so far? ;)
Sorry for taking so long between posts, but I got stuck playing Half-Life 2. Game of the year so far, it's even better then Rome: Total War. There's only one game that might beat it and that's Sid Meier's Pirates!
I played the original version of that game to death on the Atari ST. I can remember every little detail like it was yesterday. The copy protection in the beginning ("What month and year does the silver train arrive in Tortuga?"), getting tossed in jail, ALWAYS using the longsword, etc, etc... Great stuff, and from what I hear the new version is supposed to be just as good. I probably won't get it until Christmas, but that's okay. I'll probably still be playing HL2 then.
Ready to go...
Well, I've got HL2 preloaded on my machine and ready to go for launch on Tuesday.
There's a big controversy going right now where retail copies are being sold early and Vivendi (the publisher) isn't letting Valve (the developer) unlock the game. A bunch of fans are getting in a twist about it and screaming bloody murder.
It all strikes me as pretty silly. They are going to be able to play the game on Tuesday no matter what, so I fail to see why waiting a couple days is a big deal. Now, I may be a bit biased simply because I won't have much time to play the game until Wednesday but still...
We've waited for this game for 6 years, what's two more days?
You lookin' at me?
Found this personals listing on Andrew Sullivan
"Straight male seeks Bush supporter for fair, physical fight - m4m. I would like to fight a Bush supporter to vent my anger. If you are one, have a fiery streek, please contact me so we can meet and physically fight. I would like to beat the shit out of you." - a current New York listing on Craigslist.
We live in a straaaaange world.
"Final Straw" by REM - a protest song written at the commencement of the war in Iraq, it seems even more appropriate after the "latest triumph" of King George 2.
As I raise my head to broadcast my objection
As your latest triumph draws the final straw
Who died and lifted you up to perfection?
And what silenced me is written into law.
I can't believe where circumstance has thrown me
And I turn my head away
If I look I'm not sure that I could face you.
Not again. not today. not today.
If hatred makes a play on me tomorrow
And forgiveness takes a back seat to revenge
There's a hurt down deep that has not been corrected.
There's a voice in me that says you will not win.
And if I ignore the voice inside,Raise a half glass to my home.
But it's there that I am most afraid,And forgetting doesn't hold. it doesn't hold.
Now I don't believe and I never did That two wrongs make a right.
If the world were filled with the likes of you Then I'm putting up a fight.
I'm putting up a fight.Putting up a fight. make it right. make it right.
Now love cannot be called into question.
Forgiveness is the only hope I hold.
And love- love will be my strongest weapon.
I do believe that I am not alone.
For this fear will not destroy me.
And the tears that have been shed
It's knowing now where I am weakest
And the voice in my head. in my head.
Then I raise my voice up higher
And I look you in the eye
And I offer love with one condition.
With conviction, tell me why.
Tell me why.Tell me why.
Look me in the eye. Tell me why.
We'll Get 'Em Next Year
ChicagoSports.com - Bringing heat
Yes sir, it's time to start thinking about baseball again. After my brain went into shutdown mode after the Cubs were eliminated (though it did temporarily return during the Yankees - Red Sox series) I finally feel ready to start thinking about next season.
The Cubs were good last year, better then a lot of people give them credit for. They improved on their 2003 regular season record despite an incredible number of injuries. That said, there are some serious problems with this team.
Despite what Dusty Baker says, OBP and walks are very important. I recall a DB quote from spring training where he said something to the effect that walks "clog up the basepaths". That's ridiculous. Clog them up for what? The Cubs didn't steal very often so it couldn't be that. So what is being hurt by having more men on base? Last season the Cubs led the league in HR's by a wide margin, yet they were in the middle of the pack in runs scored. Why? Because no one was on base when they were hitting those HR's. So, getting folks on base should be priority #1.
Next, they need to get a real closer. Despite his troubles, I think Latroy Hawkins is a very good relief pitcher. But he's a setup man, not a closer. There isn't a very big FA market out there for closers so the Cubs will probably have to trade for one. Though Rob Nenn is a FA this offseason and it's possible he could come back from an injury plagued 2003 to have a good season. This should be priority #2.
They also need to find a replacement for Matt Clement. I highly doubt he'll return to the Cubs so they need to go out and get a good #3 starter. There are plenty in FA (Eric Milton, Kevin Millwood, Estaban Loaiza, Brad Radke, and a few others) or they could make Dempster a starter. Also, I really think they need to resign Glendon Rusch. He proved he's still a good pitcher last season and it's obvious he enjoys playing for the Cubs.
In addition to the big 3, there are a few other holes the Cubs to need to concentrate on. They need a new backup catcher now that Bako is finally gone. Mike Redmond is a FA, but I doubt he would agree to be a backup and we shouldn't sign anyone who would take significant playing time away from Barrett. Greg Zaun is also out there and he has decent pop and defense and might make a good backup.
Finally, we need to replace Moises Alou and Mark Grudzelainek. IMO, we have rookies who could fill the hole in LF (Dubois or Kelton) but the big name being thrown around is Carlos Beltran. He would play CF and Corry Patterson would most likely move over to RF with Sosa in LF. I'm not sure if the Cubs can outbid the Yankees, or even if they should, but that would be a huge pickup and immediately provide a great boost to the offense. As for 2B, we should resign Todd Walker. He did very well last year and would make for a good #2 or #6 hitter depending on who replaces Alou.
Oh yeah, Sosa. What in the world do we do with him? He acted like a total "Pujol" (to steal a phrase from my beautiful wife ;) ) for pretty much the entire 2003 season and I just don't see how he can become a part of this team again. BUT, and this is a big but, who in the world is going to take his contract? There were rumors flying around that the Cubs and Dodgers were thinking of swapping Shawn Green and Sosa, which would be a decent deal but that seems to be dead in the water. This is definitely something to keep an eye on and I think the Cubs would be much better of without Sammy on the team. He was a great player for quite a few years, but his time with this club should be over.
That's all for now, back with more later.[...]
Why do video game companies hate me?
In the next two weeks both Half Life 2 and World of Warcraft will be coming out for PC.
That is just plain unfair.
I don't have a lot of free time as it is and either one of those games would easily occupy every bit I have. But with both of those, and NCAA 2005 on the Gamecube and ship building on the weekends, I'm at a loss. Now, some people would say..."Don't buy one of them". To those people I say..."You don't understand the mindset of a gamer". That's not an option. I have to buy them both. I would die if I didn't.
I just don't know what do. Life is so hard.
Talking Manhatten, can you check with Ryan to see what he's planning to do w/ regard to WoW?
Work is boring. Let's leave it at that for now...
I was listening to sports radio on my way back to work this afternoon and it's just...well...it's just not any good. This was the "premier" sports radio station in the area and I don't think I heard but 10 minutes of actual sports talk the entire time. I was driving for about 45 minutes and at least 30 minutes were actual ads, the broadcasters reading ads, or the broadcasters discussing how good the ads were. 5 minutes were useless (and horrible sounding) music. The other 10 were taken up by a "thrilling" discussion of the girly-men on the Cowboys.
I'll stick with WBAP Talk Radio or NPR. Thanks.
Well, I'll stick with those until I get satellite radio at least. XM is now carrying every single baseball game so you might as well just sign me up now.
It's interesting, I never thought I'd listen to the radio but now that I have a 30 minute commute to work CD's just don't cut it anymore.
Though Flogging Molly still rules all.
Daily Kos :: Carville Gets It
Daily Kos :: Carville Gets It
Pulled from the Daily Kos comes this great story. As with my previous posting, it's nice to see senior Democrats thinking about how to fix the party as a whole, and for the long term, rather then just focusing on the 2006 mid-terms alone.
This is your sister, by the way
Just a word or two about the impending death of American intellectual life...
We tried to impeach a brilliant Rhodes scholar and gave a C-average college drop-out a second term. The MAP (Moral Authority Party) has deemed that we shall regress from the innovation, creativity, learning, and progress of the 1990s to the passive consumption and reactionism of the Cold War era. We will no longer contribute anything to the world but moral reprobation and a steady market for cheap beef. We will continue to fall behind in education. We will watch as other countries reap the international glories and fiduciary rewards of stem-cell research, cloning, robotics, nanotechnology, and genetics. We will watch our standing in the world drop from Pillar of the International Community to Embarassment of the Western Hemisphere. Cuba will continue to have a higher literacy rate, lower infant mortality rate, and more comprehensive national healthcare system than we have or ever will have. We will send our own Lost Generation of leaders, artists, educators to chase windmills and die in the Middle East. We will watch as public libraries, public museums, public lands become distant memories or private corporate theme parks. Oh dear, I could go on but I'm getting too depressed.
I've got two words for you, America: buyer's remorse.
One more thing...
I kind of touched on this in my last post, but for all the "Bush = Hitler" comments the right complains about, they're just as hate-filled and vitriolic when they want to be. Especially when they're discussing things amongst themselves or out-number the Democrats in the room.
Not saying the left is a pack of saints, we certainly have our fair share of extremists, but I don't think either side holds a monopoly on hate-filled rhetoric...
Let's start with politics...
I have to admit I went into a bit of a depression on Wednesday. I just couldn't believe that Bush won a second term. It seemed like some sort of unreal nightmare. Of course, my location didn't help my mood either.
I work at a very conservative company here in Texas and it is just filled with rapid Bush fans. Everyone here refers to him as "W" which just makes me sick to my stomach. So, I come in on Wednesday in a pretty pissed off mood. Everywhere I go someone is talking about how great it is, calling Kerry "the biggest jerk in the world", and mocking Kerry during the press conference. It was just about more then I could take. Pretty soon the vitriol moved onto Clinton. Folks were going on about how Clinton was a drug traffiker, how he murdered Vince Foster, etc..., etc....
On an aside, I really don't understand the fascination the right has with Clinton. It seems like every time the word "Democrat" comes up Clinton gets insulted. Sure, he wasn't the greatest guy, but they make him out to be Satan. Wierd...
Anyway, I remained totally distracted and didn't get any work done that day. As we got closer to the end of the day I started thinking about what we, as Democrats, needed to do in order to make sure this didn't happen again. I was asked by a family member how Bush won, here's my response....
As for Bush, I know how he won. It comes down to a fundamental problem with how we, as Democrats, think. We think we're right, obviously, and that the way we see the world is the majority view and all the Bush supporters have just been snowballed by the GOP Spin Machine. Last night we found out we were wrong. Like it or not, the majority of the country does not agree with us.
What we need to do is to reframe the major issues, starting with "values". For years, the GOP has determined what that word means. In our culture right now values is equated with heterosexuality, religion, and a good handshake. With that definition, the Democrats have no hope of carrying the issue after Clinton. We need to change it. We need to equate "values" with hard work, tolerance, and self-awareness. That's how we can own that issue, which is very important, again.
Also, we need to get rid of the idea that "liberal" is a dirty word. Repubs have made it cool to be conservative. The Democrats need to do the same thing with being liberal. We need to embrace the word, make it our own. Yeah, we're liberal and goddamn proud of it! If we can do that then we take away a major attack strategy of the Republicans (ie: Kerry is the most liberal senator).
Finally, we have to stop being "poll politicians". This is where are ideals and positions vary based on the current opinion polls. This worked for Clinton, but only because he never had a strong challenger and because he's the best speaker of the modern era. It goes hand in hand with my last point. We need to stop reacting and start dictating. We need to say "This is what we're for! We're for gay rights. We're for international cooperation. We're for universal health care. We are for a balanced budget. We are for the environment. Take it or leave it." Voters may not agree with all of the party's stances, but they will respect that we have them. Look at the Repubs. Their base does not agree with the entire platform, but they know where their party stands and they support them because of it. The most identifiable quality of the Democratic Party is "We're not Republicans". That won't cut it.
So, there ya go, that's why Bush won. Now, we've got two years to get our act toget[...]
And so it begins...
Well, welcome to my new blog. It's titled a Fistfull of Hugh's simply because it was the only thing I could think of at the time. No special meaning, other then that my online nickname is "godhugh" and I wanted to incorporate it somehow.
My goal for this blog is two-fold:
One, I just want a place where I can post random thoughts and stories. I've always felt it was important to get whatever you're thinking out and a blog is as good a place as any.
Second, with the recent presidential election I've found myself to be more motivated to involve myself in the political process. I currently live in Texas, one of the very red states, and I've noticed a lack of Democratic perspectives here (outside of Austin at least). I'd like to be able to share what it's like to be an out-spoken Democrat in a very Republican area and to hopefully provide some insight into why this area is so conservative.
Oh, and I'll probably spend some time talking about video games and computers.
So there ya go, that's why I'm doing this and what I hope to accomplish. I also want to add that my grammer and punctuation is not the best, but I try as hard as I can. Maybe it will improve, maybe it will get worse. Like the country, we can only hope for the best.