The Democrats have been found lacking in a lot of areas lately—strategy, gumption, electoral success—and part and parcel of each of their individual difficulties seems to be the larger problem of refusing to play the same game as the Republicans. It’s an understandable resistance; the game the Republicans play is dirty, unethical, and avaricious. But it’s also undeniably successful.

Democrats often seem to able to sufficiently console themselves with “it’s how you play the game,” forgetting that “it’s not whether you win or lose” isn’t especially applicable to politics. In fact, it is whether you win or lose. Winning or losing makes all the difference in how this country is guided into her future. Are we going to hit the same stride as many of our allies, seeking to attain as close to an egalitarian society as is possible, or are we going to slip into what effectively amounts to a capitalist theocracy, where a single man’s interpretation of God’s will defines our collective ethics? Well, it all depends on who wins, doesn’t it?

There’s also a certain sense among Democrats that moral rectitude will always win out in the end. Maybe in the movies. Maybe, if you believe in that sort of thing, in the afterlife, God or karma or the fates will dish out what’s due each of us. But here in the corporeal world, it’s just not true. Life ain’t always fair, and the good guy doesn’t always win.

So here’s my proposal. You don’t have to be quite as nasty as the opposition, but they make the rules, so let’s play by them. And to get us started on the right track (pun intended), I suggest we turn to one of their familiar tools to help guide our way.

Unless you’ve been trapped under a rock for the past few years, or if you’re one of the few lucky bastards so isolated in blue state utopia that you’re unaware of trends among the wacky Right, you’ll have instantly recognized the What Would Jesus Do? bracelet that’s become all the rage among devotees of a particular brand of Christian doctrine. When faced with a temptation or difficult decision, all the wearer has to do is glance at his wrist and think about what Jesus would do, then it’s off to the races. Or not, depending on whether one thinks Jesus would approve of betting on the ponies.

Our bracelet will say WWRD–What Would Republicans Do? When faced with the choice of mindlessly confirming, oh, say, a torture-endorsing Attorney General that the administration has nominated, even if his confirmation is a foregone conclusion, or raging and howling and picking on every little detail on his résumé then casting a protest vote, even if it will ultimately be little more than symbolic, let WWRD? be your guide.

When faced with the choice of approving a conservative judge or filibustering, even though Bill Frist has strongly advised against it, let WWRD? be your guide.

When asked to approve a total failure of a National Security Advisor into a new cabinet position that amounts to a significant promotion, let WWRD? be your guide.

When asked to support an amendment codifying discrimination into the Constitution, let WWRD? be your guide.

There’s no need to lie or swindle or abuse your power; just think of W the RWD in the same situation and act accordingly. And when they cry foul, let WWRD? be your guide. Call them traitors and go on Air America to impugn their credibility. Because they’re Republicans, you won’t even have to lie to do it, which makes playing by their rules a lot easier to justify, doesn’t it?

And remember, even if WWRD? does seem a little bit hard to swallow, it’s got to be easier than swallowing our pride for the rest of our lives while the country goes down the shitter. They count on us being above their ridiculous antics. They take it for granted. But now it’s time to get down in the dirt. Saying you played a fair game while the winners run off with America’s soul isn’t much consolation anymore.

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