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Armando has rightly taken NARAL to task for their endorsement of Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee. NARAL was one of the groups that fully opposed anti-abortion Democrat Jim Langevin's short bid for the Senate seat.

Nevermind that Langevin would've crushed Chafee and gotten us one seat closer to a Democratic-led Senate. And a Democratic-led Senate wouldn't ever let any abortion legislation see the light of day. But NARAL, myopic fools that they are, think Chafee is a better bet, despite his vote for Trent Lott, Bill Frist, and their allegiance to the James Dobson, American Taliban agenda.

NARAL, and many people here, whined and cried about Langevin, the way they whined and cried about Harry Reid, because of those Democrats' personal opposition to abortion. Didn't we know, they demanded, that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party?

To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is.

One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera. We don't stand for any ideals, we stand for specific causes. We don't have a core philosophy, we have a list with boxes to check off.

So while Republicans focus on building an ideological foundation for their cause, we focus on checking off those boxes on the list. Check enough boxes, and you're a Democrat in good standing.

Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights. It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts.

We have confused groups that are natural allies of the Democratic Party for the party itself. And the party has ceded way too much power, way too much control, to those single issue groups.

NARAL's endorsement of Chafee may be supremely idiotic and counterproductive to their own cause, but it illustrates my point beautifully. NARAL's interests may coincide with the Democratic Party's more often than not, but they are not one and the same.

So if nothing else, this should add urgency to party efforts to find that elusive core philosophy that will help brand our party independent of those single-issue causes. A brand isn't built on the basis of a checklist. And we, as a party, need to stop thinking that way.

(p.s. I nominate this post for "most misunderstood Kos post of all time" before I even submit it. But this isn't a hit and run issue, and we'll have plenty of time to break out and further discuss my assumptions, my sweeping generalizations, and the vagueries inevitable in a blog post of limited size.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:37 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No Misunderstanding (3.90)
    I don't there should be any misunderstanding about this excellent posting. Well thought out, well presented, convincing arguments, and - most of all - it has the ring of Truth and Reality we all claim to endorse.

    Very well said Kos, couldn't agree more. Thanks.

    •  naturally a word go dropped, sorry... (none)
      I don't THINK there should be any misunderstanding...
      •  I know what you mean... (none)
        that seems to happen to me every so often...

        As usual, you're right on, Kos. And I thought the meaning of this post was very clear.

        •  misunderstood? (none)
          i certainly expected the first post to flame ya.  perhaps you're being burned further down.

          ahh. horseshit.  there we go.

          in any case, i thought this post was excellently presented.  

          whatever your position on Langevin, i think we can all agree Chafee is worthless in fighting the pro-choice fight.

          he will be undercut or ignored. if a powerful Senator like Specter had to eat some Dobson humble pie, what power do you think Chafee has?

          i wonder if NARAL had not supported Chafee, if Bolton's nomination would've passed.

          The timing was bad.  The decision was incredibly stupid.

          They hurt their group, yes.  But what's really a shame is that they hurt their cause & it will be women in this country that will suffer as a result of it.

          Till the moderate Repubs show some backbone, they cannot be trusted to fight our fights.

          •  Just so we're clear (none)
            Since it seems I was the one to use the word "horseshit," let me clarify that I was not saying Kos' post was horseshit, or anything of the sort.

            What I said is that Kos apparently believes the view that "abortion rights are a core principle of the Democratic Party" to be horseshit, and that I didn't quite understand how he got there, since he seems to believe that privacy/equality ARE core principles of the party, and that the right to choose necessarily follows from those core principles.

            I may have been guilty of a failure to understand Kos (and I appreciate those who have tried to clear the point up for me), but I certainly wasn't attacking him.  Or maybe someone else used that word besides me, and this entire comment is pointless.

            •  nope (none)
              not pointless IMHO.  i think it's always good to clarify if you need to.

              i for one am glad you feel so damn strongly for choice & am happy you're on our side, whatever any disagreements (if any) on this NARAL decision.

              simple disagreements is ok b/c if we are the Reality-based community, then we present our arguments, get out the facts & come to a informed consensus.

              so, hey, go ahead & beat up kos.  i've called him a poo face.

              horseshit isn't so far away :-) (& yes, you didn't call him that).

              that being said, most of us here are for abortion rights & even more are pro-choice & what kos stated was not an attack on abortion rights but a position on how to best achieve our aims.

    •  Maybe you could explain (3.86)
      Since you understand this post so well, help me clarify the following.

      Why are THESE points true and valid:

      1. The right to privacy is a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party.
      1. Equality under the law is a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party.
      2. A woman's right to choose flows logically from both the right to privacy and the concept of equality under the law.

      And yet THIS point, in Kos' world, is utter horseshit:

      A woman's right to choose is a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party.

      Maybe you could help me understand the distinction, because I am sure not getting it.

      •  It's the difference between an axiom and a theorem (3.42)
        By "fundamental", he means a principle that can't be derived from other principles. If Choice can be derived from Privacy, then Privacy is the fundamental right and Choice is an expression of that right.

        Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

        by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:56:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok (4.00)
          And how is that difference meaningful at all in a political sense?

          Can someone view the "right to privacy" as fundamental, but still be against a woman's right to choose?  Can someone view equality under the law as fundamental, but still be against a woman's right to choose?  Many would say no.

          •  I'm sure they can and do. (4.00)
            Example: what about that murdered unborn baby's right to equality under the law?
            •  ok, so that makes the principle (none)
              "equality under the law for whomever the politicians deserve equality."

              Do you really think Kos is suggesting that should be our new brand?  I'm hoping for a response at some point from someone who actually understands his post, mind you.

              •  Well yes. (4.00)
                The problem with all such things is that broad principles can be very subjective. If you don't believe that fetuses are 'people', then you won't think they deserve "equality under the law". If you do, then you will.

                Even worse is the fact that all rights are not absolute--because sometimes they conflict. The classic example is the argument that freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to shout "Fire" in a crowded theater. But of course as soon as you bring up that point, then people start arguing about precisely where it should begin or end.

                Nowadays some people think that any news--true or not--that's remotely critical of our government or military could qualify as 'seditious' 'treason'. I think that's way off the deep end, but they don't. Also, some of them have TV shows, and I don't.

              •  ERm (3.70)
                This post said nothing like what you're twisting it in your mind to say.

                Its' shocking sometimes to see how many of even the best people dont seem to get the idea of politics and morality flowing from principle.

                Matter attracts matter. Therefor i dont fall off the earth. Therefor the earth orbits the sun. Therefore the moon orbits the earth.

                Kos's post is a display of the intense annoyance those of us whos politics flow from core principles with those who pick and choose their feelgood issue of the moment.
                "I'm prochoice! But hey middle eastern culture has different values and we have no right to judge!"
                "I'm for individual liberty! Well except i dont want those people owning guns. And letting the cops take 'drug dealers' cars without due process is fine by me!"

                Without core principle your 'ideals, issues and beliefs' are nothing but an empty facade.

                The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:19:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Try Telling Anyone Who's Had an Unwanted Pregnancy (4.00)
                  ...that choice is a "feelgood issue of the moment."

                  "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

                  by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:04:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Try telling one who's had a late term fetal death (4.00)
                    That a they should carry the a dead baby the rest of the way to term and endure painful labor of a dead baby, because the medical procedure that would allow  you (a) dignity and (b) health has been banned.

                    If procedures or time-frames are banned, we are standing in the way of women's health and well-bieng.  We are forcing families to suffer even more over the deaths of wanted children, simultaneously jeopardizing their health, and possibly their lives as the fetus begins to rot.

                    And even if we don't ban certain procedures outright, the only way to determine whether or not a particular birth did not reach term for the so-called "moral" reason is to look into the medical records of all women whose pregnancies don't come to term.

                    THAT's why this is a MEDICAL PRIVACY and, at its very core, a human rights issue.

                    It's really nice to keep things at the theoretical level, where all abortions are by choice. They are NOT.  

                    Get down here into the reality-based world and start thinking about the consequences for real families, and you've got your answer as to whether or not "choice" is a fundamental principle. It is.

                    Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
                    ePluribus Media - Donate!

                    by mataliandy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:19:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Just to be clear (none)
                      there is no law prohibiting evacuating a "dead baby"-- only live ones.

                      The partial birth abortion ban does prohibit "deformed" babies from being terminated after a certain gestational age, but then only by a specifically described procedure.

                      "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                      by Grodge on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:56:12 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  but try finding (none)
                        a dcotor willing to perform the evacuation - most won't b/c of fear of violating law.
                        •  Absolutely untrue (none)
                          As a practicing ob/gyn for over ten years, I can persoanlly vouch that even the most pro-life doctors would willingly and compassionately evacuate a dead baby at any gestational age; it's the live ones they have a problem with.

                          "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                          by Grodge on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:15:56 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  But I understand (none)
                            there is a problem with training.  If it's illegal, will they teach it and/or do they teach it to all obgs?
                          •  It's not illeagal (none)
                            to evacuate a dead baby. Anywhere.  It's legal everywhere!!  And yes, obs are trained to do this.

                            "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                            by Grodge on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:29:42 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Probably true (none)
                            In most cases, but not all.  What do we do about those women who draw the short straw?  

                            And even if every single case of fetal death were compassionately evacuated, why is it considered OK to step in if the baby isn't quite dead, yet? What do you do about families like this family, whose baby had no chance of survival other than a brief, excruciating period of anguish if it came to term:

                            ... They had to go to the only doctor in the state doing late abortions.  Little did they know what they were getting into.

                            They met with the doctor.  They had to listen as he gave them a state-mandated lecture on adoption options.  Believe it or not, these two loving people were folded in half in mourning for the little girl they would never meet, and this Doctor was required, under threat of criminal prosecution, to treat them like the mythical irresponsible teenagers drunk at the prom.  But it gets worse.  They not only had to listen to the lecture AND watch an "educational" videotape, they had to come back.  You see, the state had a "cooling off" period.  So off they went, to cry the night away and come back the next day.  The next day, the doctor inserted laminaria in Amy's cervix and told her to come back the following day.

                            On the third day Amy and Bob obediently returned to the hospital.  They didn't know there would be no anasthesia, for no anasthesiologist in the hospital was willing to assist with abortions.  So Amy, sobbing for her loss, was given a towel to bite on, and Bob paced the waiting room crying out for his daughter and listening to his wife scream in pain.

                            This is happening right now, in real life, to real people, who are suffering real losses. It's not theoretical. Inexcusable, abhorrent, and immoral levels of harm are being done under the guise of morality.

                            It's nice to think that other people will feel as much responsibility to their fellow human beings as we do, but that's just not the case.

                            That's why abortion procedures must be legal, period. It's why the government needs to get out of the doctors' office.  There must be no "out" for some self-righteous weasel to apply a binary filter to a vastly, vastly shaded landscape. There must be no psychological torture cloaked in the guise of "morality."

                            Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
                            ePluribus Media - Donate!

                            by mataliandy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 11:58:46 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I couldn't agree more (none)
                            but I was just stating the difference between a dead baby near term and a late term abortion.  cases such as the above are heartbreaking, and we know they exist and the government should stay out of the medical decision making process.

                            But nobody can mandate whether an anesthesiologist or obstetrician MUST participate in the process, or any process for that matter.  Hopsitals could be required to have pro-choice practitiioners on staff, but that becomes very burdensome in smaller towns.

                            Furthermore, we do not know how many late term abortions are done for medical reasons, as in the case you cited, or for social or personal reasons. The statistics are just not kept as a matter of privacy.

                            Most obs I know would have some queasiness about aborting a perfectly healthy fetus near term or even after viability, and so would a large number of citizens.

                            "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                            by Grodge on Tue May 24, 2005 at 05:20:08 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  Actually (none)
                        the problem is that the procedure is not well defined. Nor is the time.

                        Nor is there an exception for the health OR life of the mother.

                        That's why it's being challenged.

                        But in no way does it apply to an IUFD (intra-uterine fetal demise, for others.)

                •  You are insulting to all women (4.00)
                  When you say that the right to choose what happens to our bodies is the "feel-good issue of the moment."

                  Could you please be more condescending?

                  According to you, we're lost without "core values."  Probably true.  But the problem is that, obviously, my core values are different from yours.  But since mine aren't yours, they're not "core."  Who are you to decide what is core and what is not?

                  Very few are as pure as you seem to be, with your core values.

                  •  It's about (none)
                    macro issues. This thread has actually kind of served as a microcosm of what Kos is talking about. We began with a discussion of the way the Dems do politics and then, before anybody knows it, it's off to the races with "why abortion is important." Everybody needs to understand, especially here, that no one is saying choice is unimportant. What people ARE saying, in my understanding, is that for those among us who care deeply about choice, you do the party a disservice and consequently your cause a disservice by focusing single-mindedly on choice.
                  •  Oh get a grip (none)
                    The women i know happen to think im one of the most considerate people they know whether you believe that or not. Being raised by a single mother does that for you.

                    Condescending? Probably. Butting your head against a wall long enough does that for you. Its' a character flaw.

                    According to you, we're lost without "core values."
                    Yes.. if you dont have core values... there is something very, very wrong with you. And an issue isnt a "value". An issue Stems from a value. Which is what this and a thousand other posts have tried to hammer through the kneejerk rants.

                    Probably true.  But the problem is that, obviously, my core values are different from yours.  But since mine aren't yours, they're not "core."  Who are you to decide what is core and what is not?
                    Well i have no idea what your core values are. Is abortion a "value" to you? You know nothing of my values. You know that someone on KOS is with the vast majority of americans who do not fit your litmust test.

                    To try to make this clear, Again:
                    Prochoice/prolife isnt a value or principle. It's an issue. Individual privacy rights is a principle. Religious ideals are principles. An issue stemming from the clash of those principles is not itself a 'value'.

                    And that is what Kos, myself and many many others have been trying to get across for a very long time. But people find it so much more fun to scream and rant should anyone dare not mirror their mentality..

                    The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                    by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:30:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Let me see if I've got it (4.00)
                You're talking about a fundamental right vs. a right that is derived from another right.

                By the second line of reasoning, the right to choose is dependent upon a right to privacy. If we make the right to privacy the prime, or fundamental right, (which I believe is what Kos is saying, and, frankly, the legal basis for Roe) then potentially the application of that right is open to interpretation.

                If equality for all is a right (and I think it should be) then, as you have stated, that becomes the basis for "choosing" to whom that applies. And should politicians so choose, that can includes fetuses, and even embryos.

                On the other hand, if the fundamental right is the right to choose, the right to reproductive choice, then that right becomes inalienable. It is not derivative, although other rights can proceed from there.

                While I agree that the Dems need to have core principles, and I thought Dean did a reasonably good job of outlining some in yesterday's interview (see the Dean open thread post from Sunday) to me, the right for women to make these decisions, abortion or not, contraception or not, having sex or not, is absolutely fundamental. It goes to the very core principle of individual freedom, and not being required to submit your body and its uses to the whims of another person.

                And therefore it should be a fundamental right, not a derivative one. I disagree that this is a "single issue" thing.

                If women cannot make these kind of fundamental decisions, then any other rights they may have are diminished.

                •  Yes, but (none)
                  the corollary to this is that most people would agree with Roe that after a certain gestational age, ie, viability, a fetus should derive some right to life.  

                  NARAL and other pro-choice tend to take the choice rights to extreme, and while some may agree with this, most would not if pressed for an answer.  The devil is always in the details and when should the fetus' right to life take precedenceover the woman's right to choice, if ever?  

                  As a middle-aged male, do I have any dog in this fight?  Or should the decision be left solely to the teen-age mother, etc.  I do not have an answer.

                  "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                  by Grodge on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:03:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  See my later post (none)
                    you're right. At a certain point (viability, 20th or 24th week, 3rd trimester, whatever) the rights of the mother and those of the fetus are more in conflict.

                    The laws allow for that.

                    I still don't get why people think "NARAL and other pro-choice (groups) tend to take the choice rights to extreme". Please define what is meant by "extreme."

                    •  I admit (none)
                      that I made a broad generalization.  But my point is that NARAL would be loathe to back any political candidate that was the least bit squeamish about aborting a near-term infant (the Democrat who ran against pro-choice Republican Lincoln Chafee comes to mind), thus invoking a woman's right to choose.

                      "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -Albert Einstein

                      by Grodge on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:50:45 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I had a second term abortion (4.00)
              It was a terrible, heart wrenching choice.

              It was a private choice.

              I live with it every day, & it was 30 years ago.

              I still believe it was the right thing to do, tho I mourn i chose it.

              It is too complicated to put on a bumper sticker.

              I would rather have a pro life Democrat than a pro choice rethuglycon in office.  Why?  B/c the Democrat wouldn't be a shit eating scum sucking pig, & would make an effort to make abortion rare, legal & safe.

              If it's the choice between a nasty, back alley abortion, & available contraception, informed education, & legal abortion, I'm with the Dems, godammitt.

              Shame on NARAL.  Talk about an abomination!  Fuckiong Chafee will side w/the wingnuts, you freaking fools!  Wake Uuuup!

              The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X

              by x on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:27:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Chafee won't. (3.88)
                We're talking about a Senator who voted against the federal partial birth ban and even opposed the "unborn victims of violence" act, one of only two Republicans to do so.  He has co-sponsored Reid's Prevention First Act and the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, and has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood.

                Save your vitriol for the Republicans who don't go all the way for choice, like Specter.

                "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                by Adam B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:55:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, but... (4.00)
                  Why did Chafee have to vote on those issues?  Becuase the Republicans controlled the Senate and it's agenda.  If Chafee doesn't help the Republicans control that agenda, than our Senator doesn't have to vote on those issue.
                  •  That is true (none)
                    It's a tough call: until we get to 51, I like having him around.  But every Republican kept in a blue state means one more Democrat we have to elect in a less winnable state.

                    I'm not saying I'd vote for Chafee, ever, but I understand why NARAL wants to show their respect.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:38:01 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Then... (none)
                      they can choose not to endorse anyone.

                      Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - John F. Kennedy

                      by jpeskoff on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:51:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  And then the national Dems (4.00)
                        keep doing what they did in RI, selecting and pushing anti-choice candidates.

                        No thanks.  A Senator is retiring in my state soon.  I'm glad NARAL backed off Schumer, et al., from messing with more of us far from NY.

                        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                        by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:06:23 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No, that's a problem with the Dems... (4.00)
                          not NARAL.  If the Dems are the party that supports privacy rights - and thus choice, then they have no business supporting candidates that would abolish such rights.  

                          Your beef is with the Dems that can't get form a coherent message, not with NARAL.  If the Dems are putting up anti-abortionists because those candidates can win, the Dems a whores and should be treated as such.

                          Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - John F. Kennedy

                          by jpeskoff on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:18:46 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  And the core thesis (none)
                      however, is that the strategy, even for their goals, is flawed. For example, if you aren't the majority party, then you don't control the agenda, as we are discovering with the fillibuster debate this week. It's this kind of short term thinking by NARAL that makes the left so weak as a force in America. There is no way that they should have supported Chafee. Not to get off topic, but this is areally an issue of us being Americans- our short term thinking process. There was a point when this wasn't true. The NAACP worked for 50 years to get to Brown v. Board of Education- now we can't even build over a few years much last 5 decades
                      •  It was a different time (none)
                        But when civil rights legislation finally passed through the Senate in the 1950s and 1960s, it was because we had a coalition of liberal Republicans and progressive Democrats who pushed it through.  Read MASTER OF THE SENATE, people.

                        Our nation would be well-served by making our parties less ideologically firm.

                        "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                        by Adam B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:01:08 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you are wrong (none)
                          go back and check out what happened- it's what lead the reallign of the parties- precisely because of the idealogical differences- ie the dixicrats, the southern strategy etc. Please understand history- nothing that we are seeing is really that new- it's only a matter of understanding what's come before
                  •  Let the pro-lifers take over the Dems (4.00)
                    Which is the fundamental thing being argued for here--note all the strutting about of self-proclaimed middle-aged males extolling the Kossiam "rights to privacy" of fetuses--and your party leacders will stampede each other to appease the randall Terrys.

                    That's alll the "commitment to higher core principles" that experuience dictates one to expect.  Doubt it?  Ask any Iraqi.

                •  But when it comes to casting (4.00)
                  that all-important vote for the majority leader of the Senate, Chaffee will stick his hand up on Frist's behalf.  And that's where his value as an individual supporter of choice breaks down:  on the individual level, sure, he may vote against certain anti-choice initiatives.  But his membership in the Republican caucus allows Frist to set the agenda in that institution.

                  I respect his moderation on his individual votes.  But from the standpoint of the Republican hold on power, his role within that party is little different than the token moderates that they trot out at the national convention to distract viewers from the egregious wingnuttery of Republican policy.  

                  NARAL is a single-issue group, and I acknowledge that they're in something of a bind here.  Maybe they feel that backing a pro-choice Republican is a wakeup call to Dems about the centrality of their issue.

                  But I think Kos's point is that we're getting killed on these single issues, because they've congealed in our minds to little more than checklists.    The Democratic stance on so many issues has become fundamentally conservative:  I mean this not in the ideological sense, but in the sense of the Dem's instinctive proclivity.  When all we're saying is "don't change this, don't change that," it makes us look like we're in this defensive, rear-guard posture, and that psychologically has a debilitating effect.  It makes us look like we're fighting just to maintain damage control on a number of "special interest" issues, rather than setting the agenda.  The Republican tropes of "family values," "tax-and-spend liberals," etc. etc. are nearly three decades old in the public consciousness, and yet they are still capable of selling them as something dynamic, forward-seeming and new:  this is because they have also convinced the public that there is no central guiding philosophy to the Democratic party, that they are merely struggling to shore up special interests.

                  People are going to look at this comment and assume that I want to sacrifice women's equality before the law in the name of political expediency.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I believe that women's control over their own bodies is a cornerstone to their equality before the law.  But the way to secure that in the public mind is to tie it to first principles:  women's rights are important because they derive from the fundamental dignity of all human beings before the law.  This fundamental dignity binds together choice issues with progressive taxation, universal healthcare, decent public transportation and housing, a humane foreign policy, and the right to live in a sound environment.  

                  We desperately need to preserve a woman's right to choose, and I worry terribly that we're edging into a kind of Handmaid's Tale scenario.  But this is an area where the Democrats are going to have to go on the offensive with broad ideas in order to preserve the specific ones.  

                  Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

                  by Dale on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:05:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I absolutely agree with the thrust here (4.00)
                    And I've said it for months and years: the Democrats need to stop defining themselves as the Not-Republican Party, and our Presidential candidate, instead, campaigned as I Won't Do What Bush Does, rather than Here's What Democrats Will Do When We Have Power.

                    We need to get back to core principles: we are Democrats because we believe that government has a role to play in protecting us from the pernicious effects of the lottery of birth, to ensure that all Americans have a fair shot at achieving their potential.  We are Democrats because we believe that government has a role to play in protecting us from the corrosive effects of capitalism.  We are Democrats because we believe that government has a role to play in protecting our substantive equality.  Etc.

                    NARAL is firing an important shot across the bow here: if [the Democrats] desert us (Casey), we can desert you.

                    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

                    by Adam B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:31:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  "murdered"? "unborn"? (4.00)
              Who let Matt Trewhalla and Randall Terry into this discussion?  These are THEIR terms.

              But not even they have yet to claim that a fetus -- repeat, a fetus -- has a right to privacy!

              "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

              by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:21:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Get With the Program! (4.00)
                They can be "our" terms too if they poll well create a compelling frame for a big tent built around core principles instead of feelgood single issues like reproductive freedom, civil rights, war and peace, or what have you.
                </snark>

                "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

                by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:06:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  'Murdered unborn babies'...? (4.00)
              a single human cell is not a person and does not have a right to anything under the law.

              cheers,

              Mitch Gore

              Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

              by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:20:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  If it's in conflict with another fundamental right (4.00)
            Every reasonable person believes in the right of sentient human beings to life. However, the definitions of "sentient" and "human being" seem to vary. Thus the discrepancy. (I won't mention the whole "soul" thing since that complicates it more, but I feel it's a meaningless term anyhow.)

            I guess a simpler example may be if one were to kill in self defense. We agree that the two parties begin with a right to life, but one forfeits his in threatening the other's right to live.

            Likewise, if you could convince me that the fetus is a sentient human being, then perhaps its right to live overrides the right of the mother to privacy. I am not a huge fan of thinking in absolutes, however, and I think that sentience and humanity fade in rather than are granted magically and instantaneously at conception, which is itself not an instantaneous process. A zygote is not a morula is not a blastula is not a gastrula is not a fetus is not a baby. Children are afforded different rights as teens, young adults, and adults. Hell, I still can't become president yet as I'm not over 35 years old.

            But others apparently disagree over the granularity of this spectrum and see clear-cut delineation of the stages of life at conception, birth, and adulthood. As an aside, these people seem to consistently fail to consolidate the coming of age rights of drinking and military service to age 18.

            Thus a culture war over an issue which can never be resolved satisfactorily; there will never be consensus. Too bad Jesus had suprisingly little to say about it.

            The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken

            by Boss Tweed on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:38:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sooooooooo (none)
              We should become the party of "equality under the law," where the person who believes "women deserve an equal right to make medical decisions" and someone who believes "a fetus is entitled to equality so you can't abort it" are equally welcome, and we won't choose between them?

              Do you REALLY think that is where Kos was going with this post?

              •  Where Kos was going (4.00)
                I think he was making a couple of points. First, that issues should be grouped under larger underlying themes. And secondly that throwing away political power for the sake of ideologically purity on the specific issues under these umbrellas is myopic and foolish.

                For what it's worth, I believe any political power gained is hollow and transient without deeper cultural change, especially considering the constant drizzle of undemocratic and immoral sentiment (which seems to produce a lot of mudslides and quagmires lately.) Still, I agree with the spirit of what he's saying, which is that if a candidate is a proponent of the underlying themes of the Democratic party, they are worthy of our support.

                Anyhow, I was just replying to your question:
                Can someone view the "right to privacy" as fundamental, but still be against a woman's right to choose?

                And I by my reply I meant that, in summary, it depends on your priorities and the circumstances under which you apply them. That being said, someone who's vocal about the right to privacy is most likely not going to hold anti-abortion or forced pregnancy views.

                The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken

                by Boss Tweed on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:11:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Hmmmm.... (2.66)
                UserId 47198...

                Me thinks we have a TROLL!!!

                Tom DeLay is so corrupt...<HOW CORRUPT IS HE?>...He's so corrupt that when he takes the Oath of Office, he holds his hand OUT instead of UP!

                by mlkisler on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:19:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Phony sanctity of the sex control officers. (4.00)
              All those nice discriminations overlook the convenience of those oh-so-sincerely held opinions to the overall program of putting women's bodies back under coummunity control.
              •  Yes, I agree (4.00)
                In practice most of these arguments are strictly academic and people care more about the regulation of sexual behavior as punishment for perceived deviance from the accepted norm. The irony of this double standard (men should be virile and "accomplished", women should not be promiscuous) is that it would imply homosexuality if followed in actuality, a consequence its proponents would surely be unhappy with.

                The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken

                by Boss Tweed on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:32:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Jesus is alleged to have said about it (4.00)
              that you are to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

              Now, you sentient men out there, I look forward to the day when you go to the pharmacy for condoms and your privacy is violated -- you are refused and publicly humiliated. . . .

              "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

              by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:26:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Right of sentient humans to life (4.00)
              Actually, every "reasonable person" does NOT recognize the right of sentient human beings to life, which is why capital punishment seems to be something that supposedly progressive people can support.  Unless we want to seriously argue that felons are not "sentient human beings".
          •  Political economy (none)
            We expend effort fighting for choice.

            We expend effort fighting for freedom of religion.

            We expend effort fighting against the Patriot Act.

            Or we put all that effort into fighting for the right to privacy, and then get everything that follows from it for free.

            Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

            by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:55:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It can't (4.00)
            Can someone view the "right to privacy" as fundamental, but still be against a woman's right to choose?  Can someone view equality under the law as fundamental, but still be against a woman's right to choose?

            In my opinion, Kos should just admit that Langevin doesn't uphold a core Democratic principle, but since he's a winner we'll live with it.

            Sounds to me like Langevin doesn't have the stomach for the job if he can't handle a primary challenge.

            I hated logic, but I seem to remember if the positive is true, then the contra positive is as well.

            So:

            1) Democrats hold the Right to Privacy as a core principle
            and
            2) Freedom of reproductive choice follows directly from privacy.

            If this is true, then if one does not believe in the right to choose, one cannot hold the Right to Privacy as a core principle.

            In my opinion, Kos should just stick to Langevin doesn't uphold a core Democratic principle, but since he's a winner he'll live with it.

            Sounds to me like Langevin doesn't have the stomach for the job anyway if he can't handle a primary challenge.

            •  Am i not a democrat? (4.00)
              Extremist on the bill of rights. All of them. Including the second - there to protect the rest.

              Very pro-environment.
              Anti-capitalist to the point of abolishing the fed board and Locking the rate at 1%.
              Anti classist/plutocrat to the point i think we should have a 100% inheritance tax. And that tax entirely devoted to Education so Everyone has an equal shot.
              One of the most vocal on the minority rights we give lip service too while we watch the Fascist NYPD and LAPD try to emulate the South African police.
              Extremely supportive of womens rights - I believe women are equal. Not more and not less. And that the law should severely punish any infringements on their rights.

              I'm extreme on the separation of church and state. The founding fathers made it very clear. We shouldnt have a bible, a plaque, commandments or anything else religious in our courts or government.

              I'm Dead set against third term abortion except when the pregnancy risks the life of the mother.
              I'm strongly for parental notification. I dont see the logic behind children not being legally competant to sign a business document.. but can make the most important choice of their life.

              So do my beliefs on abortion make me a non-democrat? Unacceptable to the party? You want me out?

              I'm a lifelong democrat. A southern democrat. You've sent millions like me packing by selling out everything the party stands for in return for corporate kickbacks, and the votes of timid soccer moms and dads. Youve sent millions of african american , latin and other minority votes home because they didnt know they were supposed to be good nigras and wetbacks and vote for us then shut up and go away. You sent millions of the working class packing when you shouted the 'free trade' bullshit and sent their jobs packing. You sent a million or two packing when you decided the second amendment really only applied to upper class white women.

              How many you want to send packing because of your extremist agenda? How long before you realise you've been steering the ship into the icebergs and anytime someone tries to turn the wheel you throw them overboard?

              The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

              by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:45:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are a Democrat for sure (2.80)
                don't listen to those who tell you otherwise. They will vote for a Nader everytime the party doesn't adequately reward them on some pet issue. Like children they lack the ability to compromise, or to realize their own long time good. Me me me me me me me now now now now

                "These people combine the business ethics and tactics of Tony Soprano with the moral certainty of James Dobson"

                by Joe B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:57:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Oh please. (4.00)
                  Is that supposed to refute HiD's argument?  Where have we heard that kind of "argument", "If yer not with us, yer with (insert bogeyman here)."  Nowhere in HiD's post did I see him/her say that s/he is going to vote for Nader.  

                  If the best argument you can come up with against people who are (rightfully) upset that a Democrat wants to sacrifice women's rights to the god of political expediency is, "They're probably a turncoat anyhow!" then I think that's pretty piss-poor political strategy.  There are a lot of women (and men) to whom abortion rights are not just some petty side issue.  For me and a lot of other women, it IS a core issue, not wanting fundy idiots in either party to decide what we can do with our bodies.  And if Democrats can't stand up for that principle, then no wonder people are upset.

                •  Fuck you (none)
                  you got that right.  All this haughtier than thou with snotty remarks about Nader.

                  Look asshole I come from Massachusetts, I don't know how many times I've seen you right-wing cretinish DINOs have sold out very cvery mainstream candidates, like Scott Harshbarger, because they had the nerve to do things like bust crooked bagman who wormk the backroom deals for corrupt DINOs like yourself.  HOw you rammed crazy-man John Silber down our throats.  I'm supposed to gforget thiws and then get all guillty about Ralph Nader>  Like I said, FUCK YOU--SIDEWAYS

                  •  Larry (none)
                    If you read his post without your assumptions you'll get a whole new take on it. Try to remember... the only people I know on KOS who push the corrupt Dino scum we send home crying everytime they open their mouths. All of us  are sick of corporate shills infiltrating our party Larry.

                    And his post doesnt attack the green party, Ralph nader, or his real supporters.

                    He's talking about people like the one i responded to who threaten to vote nader if our parties one , and only, issue is their issue. As far as im concerned if thats the kind of democrat a person is id rather they left. Because after they find out the whining and crying just weakens people like Us and strengthens people like Reagan, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld et al.. they'll come back on bended knee asking how they can help us turn america around. Because you see.. thats  what those who abandoned the core of the democratic party are doing as we speak.

                    The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                    by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:15:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Dead set against...? (4.00)
                So if the woman is crippled for life, forced to live in a wheelchair, has no bowel control, etc. because of a late term complication in her pregnancy, but it didn't kill her, because she is forced to undergo a course of medical intervention against her will.... you are ok.., because it didn't kill her?

                So if I want and need to forcibly remove your kidney against your will to save my kid, tough shit, your kidney is mine?

                cheers,

                Mitch Gore

                Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:26:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Make shit up much Mitch (none)
                  oh yes thats right.. you do. I seem to remember having this argument before. And you refusing to provide any data whatsoever. Just your feelings and theories and fantasy scenarios.

                  The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                  by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:19:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What on earth are you babbling about? (none)
                    I haven't made anything up.

                    cheers,

                    Mitch Gore

                    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                    by Lestatdelc on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:29:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The (none)
                      "scenarios" etc etc etc. You get overexcited on this topic and dont argue calmly and logically.. and spout .... not that I ever do that of course.

                      By the way whether you know it or not i happen to like you quite a lot and love arguing with you. Even if you're always wrong and im always right (i love how that works out!).

                      The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                      by cdreid on Wed May 25, 2005 at 08:15:48 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Well I may not agree with you (none)
                and I've become increasingly liberal in my old age (reached the point where I have no brain) - but I don't want to kick you out.

                I don't think we have to have ideological purity. I'm far more in favor of discussion, and I think you have some very important viewpoints that the Democratic party needs to find a way to accomodate.

                I could go into the specifics of your points on abortion and where I agree and disagree, but perhaps later. I do disagree with you, however, that those who support reproductive rights have an "extremist agenda." I'd like you to flesh that out a bit more.

                But if we're going to talk about principles, you are damned spot on about the sell-out of the Democratic party on economics, minorities, free trade and other points you've made. The current trend of the Democratic party on these issues is where I see the weakness of the party and the lack of commitment to principles. This, I agree with you completely, is where the Dems lose out.

                And therefore, as Tom Frank has pointed out, if the Dems look increasingly like Reps on those key issues, I guess I could understand why you'd look for other points to differentiate.

                To repeat, if the Dems want to get back to core principles, they need to get back to their base on economics and supporting the people in their base.

                But I would argue, and argue forcefully, that we should not sacrifice fundamental rights, and I include the right to choose, to pursue those goals.

                •  Your post gets the point (none)
                  exactly. We disagree on abortion. We probably disagree on other things. I'm strongly pro second amendment. A subsection of democrats who for the most part dont even understand the issue turned my party against that right. Yet i continued to vote straight ticket democrat. Yet we fight for our party. Because we recognise that real democrats are of good heart. That we can argue and talk and work out our differences. That we realise that for the most part our party is the party of light (as it were).

                  And that is what you get, and i get, and Kos gets, that the extremists in the party dont. They'll sell us out, sell our party out, sell the american people out.. as long as they get what they want.
                  And that isnt either principled ,wise, or good for americans.

                  The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                  by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:28:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  SIngle issue voter (none)
                You're willing to throw away all your supposed commitments on social and economic issues and bolt the Dems and vote Dubya and Frist over Abortion?  Seems to me you have a hell of a lot of nerve denouncing others as "single-issue voters" then.
                •  Reading comprehension 101 (none)
                  They have it at your local community college. If you audit the class they may even let you attend for free.

                  I've voted republican once in my life. For a judge i knew personally. Every other election ive voted straight party democrat. You however i doubt can say that.

                  As i said before... its' available at your local community college.

                  The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                  by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:22:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  wow, sorry I went to bed (none)
                First, nowhere did I ask anyone to leave the Democratic Party.  It's not my place nor my interest.  I register as an independant in states that require registration.  I merely pointed out that Kos has been tying his underwear in knots trying to push Langevin forward while pretending he doesn't have a big black blot on his Democratic credentials.  His argument seems to be primarily trying to find a way to re-package the issue to avoid the debate.

                Secondly, you immediately ran to an extreme position on what for you is an emotive issue.  In your hysteria, you accuse me of holding positions that I may or may not hold.  If you feel under threat as a Democrat with a an unpopular position on abortion, I can't help that.  You are not in the mainstream of that party-- far, far from it.  If your party won't change to accomodate you on abortion, you are the one with the problem.  Because Democrats are not going throw out abortion rights.

                Personally, I don't believe even 5% of the population is in favor of abortion on demand in the 3rd tri.  So why wave that bloody flag?  It's a silly issue.  No honest doctor is going to abort a 3rd tri baby without a damn good reason regarding the health of the mother.  And most states already have laws protecting against it.  Move on to real issues.

                Only a minority really argue against parental notification as long as there is a reasonable safety outlet for kids in dysfunctional families.  The devil is always in the details and is where the extreme anti-choice crowd uses majority rule  to quash all abortion rights.  And hwy you get pushback.  Given your hysterical responses here, it's not shocking that the other side of the debate doesn't trust you and yours.

                And as a fellow southerner, all I can say to you is, don't tread on me.  Mind your own business

            •  Ideological purity (3.83)
              I still get mail from NARAL, and I think their commitment to "fighting the man" and ideological purity is pretty anachronistic.  Of course there are some people for whom government trying to control women through reproductive rights is a key issue, and I admire their gumption.  But I have to agree with Kos that to make it a defining issue to the extent that you'll never compromise on it is trading your real vote (one where you evaluate the deal and decide if you can live with it) for a feel-good yardstick of purity.

              Here's another way of taking a step back from abortion.  The right to "choice" as a word and a concept is way too narrow.  It's like defending people against moralizing teetotaler prohibition by advocating the "right to drink cheap whiskey".  Reproductive rights fit into a broad array of protections that allow women to dream and live their own lives - everything from acheiving adequate legal protection from abuse and domestic violence to equal education for girls to sexual harassment protection to ...  The point is that we are all interested in advancing women's equality (and as others here have pointed out, in the larger sense, we've done quite well).

              NARAL has let their activist rage (that's a good thing, it's what keeps dKos percolating) distill that broad picture into a single procedure (and an ugly, ugly moment and procedure at that).  And the procedure happens to be somethign that many traditionalists (even those basically in favor or women's progress) simply can't announce that they'll tolerate.  As long as NARAL continues to focus on ideological purity, that issue and the party that's chained to it are going to lose.

              Think of it this way: when you see a mom smack her crying little kid to shut him or her up, do you tolerate that?  I'd wager that many people here are morally opposed to anyone hitting kids, but keep their mouth shut, and likely don't call Child Protective Services then and there, and certainly don't change their vote on the issue.  Smacking kids is ugly, and a terrible way to raise them, but it's basically the mom's prerogative.  Fit abortion into that, and people will live with it.  Tell them that they have to support a mom's "right to smack" and you've lost em.

              •  Thank you for clearly stating (4.00)
                as few will admit here that Kos is willing to compromise on my rights.

                But not on the right to blog.

                "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:46:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And thank you for illustrating my point exactly (none)
                  I should point out that I happen to support legal abortion, quite strongly, in fact, though the procedure still gives me pause.  Kos' basic point, which I also support is that the "rights" approach is a mistake at this point, as it is precluding getting the people who consider it anything remotely like a right back in power.  I may end up playing more of the provocateur than I really intend, but I'd also point out that saying that people (presumably including myself) here are willing to compromise on your rights is essentially a version of Bush's "with us or against us" purity test.  Take that analogy for whatever it's worth.

                  In terms of acheiving our political goal (which I actually think we likely share), if we continue to formulate each individual piece of the puzzle as an absolute, uncompromising right, there can be no larger picture, and we are (or look a damn sight like) a Balkanized collection of individual interest groups.  Here's our abortion-related problem: clearly most of the people who are voting don't approach reproductive freedom as a right, or don't feel it strongly enough, or they wouldn't vote for these damn theocons.  We can either believe that there's a triumphant wave of pro-choice voters who just happened to be busy during every election over the last two decades, or we can realize that we've got to figure out an approach that will get people back on our team, however uncomfortably.  If I'm missing some golden opportunity or trend, I'd love to hear about it, but it's been going on long enough that things are starting to look conclusive.

                  Right now, we got next to nothing, so supporting a politician like Reid or Langevin, who might occasionally vote restricting abortion but, by virtue of having joined the Democratic party, obviously isn't going to make that a priority, seems a lot better than tacitly supporting a politician whose party (if not his own vote) wants to demonize and outlaw abortion.

                  The "choice" vs. "life" battle is all but lost if it's fought on the current terms, because it always comes back to us implicitly defending or advocating abortions (hence the analogy about defending the right to smack one's kids).  If you've got other ways to bring the debate back to women, I'd love to hear them, as you are obviously passionate about the subject.

                  •  Please tell me (none)
                    why, as you put it, "it always coms back to us implicitly defending or advocating abortions"?

                    If we are doing that, we are doing it on THEIR terms, not ours.

                    Someone I know, highly intelligent and politically astute, said something as much to me not too long ago and my jaw hit the floor. He said we needed to be defending choice, not abortion.

                    Isn't that what we ARE doing?

                    2 points:

                    1. There are those who want to protect the legality of abortion. There are others, like me, who see this as a fundamental right. I'm not dancing on the head of a pin. There is a difference. For those of us in the latter group, anyone who says "I support abortion, but" gives us the willies because we see that as a step to being willing to cave on what we see as a fundamental right to control our own bodies. (this is not a personal slap, so please don't be offended.)

                    But for those of us in that latter group, someone like Reid or Langevin will get our hackles up, because it's a threat we feel shouldn't be coming from our side. And it's extremely had to support people like that.

                    2. This discussion is about rights and choice, not about defending abortion. Don't take up the argument about the woman who had six abortions "without a care." State that's an outlier and be done with it.

                    Keep the discussion on those terms. Rights and choice. If you want to add privacy, fine. Don't defend abortion. Look, if you're troubled by the procedure, that's fine. It's not a pretty procedure. But that's really not the point. It's about keeping the right of women to choose to end their pregnancy OR NOT. And many choose the latter.

                    •  Don't defend abortion (none)
                      My point is exactly that, and why I think Kos hit the nail on the head.  Because we align around the particulars (abortion), we get blocked from talking about the larger and infinitely more valuable issue.

                      Near as I can tell from the polls, the public at large does not see the "choice" issue in terms of the broad questions about women's progress, protections and role in society, they see it as being about choosing whether to have an abortion.  That's what puts us in the position of defending abortion.  I don't want to be defending abortion nor do I really want to talk about "6 abortions without a care" (that's a debate about licentiousness and quite likely not about abortion at all).  But that's where the debate keeps getting pushed.

                      As for women choosing their pregnancy or not, I'll relate an interesting discussion I had a couple years back with my girlfriend in the wake of a pregnancy scare.  She is firmly pro-choice and a feminist.  I'd even go so far as to describe myself as a feminist guy.  I had presumed that if she got pregnant, "we" would likely terminate the pregnancy.  She suprised me by saying that she didn't think she could or would want to actually go through it, and would carry the baby to term.  I was suprised by how left out I was, and it brought home some of the complexities of the subject.

                      As I understand it, part of the broad push for women's rights is to make sure that they are not totally burdened with the responsibilities of pregnancy and childrearing and hence prevented from shaping the outlines of their own lives.  And that means that men need to take more responsibility for children from conception through childraising.  As man that intends to do this, when push came to shove, being totally locked out of the decision-making process about a pregnancy made me pretty unhappy.  It was the first time I came face-to-face with the notion that my partner would have absolute control over a child that we had procreated together.  And it butts right up against the notion of less rigidly defined gender roles.  Yet I still want my girlfriend and all the women I know to have control over their destinies.

                      Obviously pregnancy affects my girlfriend's body and not mine, so she has a different level of say, but to argue that the legal framework should unstintingly protect a woman's absolute control over a pregnancy has the ugly side effect of locking out everyone else who's in the picture, quite possibly for the long haul - boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, aunts, etc.  I also recognize that sexuality is still often used as tool to control women.  That's what makes me think  that it's a grave mistake (and a losing position) to fit the issue into the mold of an absolute right.

                      •  I see your point (none)
                        and I can understand your concerns.

                        But I see an inherent contradiction in the last two sentences of your post. Do you?

                        Perhaps this is really one of those gender issues that is very difficult to breach. As a woman, I can completely understand where your girlfriend was coming from. I can also understand your confusion, perhaps grief and even maybe anger, at realizing that it was her decision.

                        But even if you created the child together, do you have the right to tell her to bear it for you? Just asking. To argue the point, it's HER body she'd be putting on the line, HER health, HER future economic well-being (and I think that's one of the points that really gets some people going, that they see abortion as a "lifestyle" choice.) And, not that you personally would do so, but what would there be to keep you from walking away the last month before the child is born, when she'd have no other options?

                        I admire your commitment to childraising, and I am thoroughly blessed to be married to someone with your views, so I'm just bringing up these as points of argument.

                        Like everything else around this issue, yes, it's messy, and people can and do get left out. And they get hurt and angry. In functional relationships, hopefully lines of communication are open that allow for all of these issues to be discussed, keeping in mind, of course, that this is always a subject under a time limit.

                        But would you or would you not agree that, when push comes to shove, the issue of pregnancy in particular and having a child more broadly is, in fact, going to impact her life more directly? And therefore, is it not, in the end, really her decision? Because as I said earlier, if your decision to continue the pregnancy trumps her decision not to, then her rights are violated, because it's her body that's affected.

            •  So we should get rid of Minority Leader Reid (none)
              by your "logic."

              After all, he doesn't support one of our core principles....

              •  Nope (none)
                I'm not arguing anything.  Just pointing out how Kos is tying himself up on this.

                If Right to Privacy is a core issue, then Reid doesn't agree with a core issue.  But I really don't care as he votes to uphold it.  

            •  On another note, you are confusing what Choice is. (none)
              You say that the right to choice stems from the right to privacy, and you are very correct.

              But you have somehow turned choice into support for abortion, which it is not.

              I am personally against abortion but support an individual's right to chose for themselves.

              Hence it is very possible to have a person who is against abortion personally but supports a woman's right to chose her own medical procedure.

              But than NARAL wouldn't support that person as a Democrat, would they?

              •  Basically I agree with your position (none)
                And if you re-read the original post, I don't think I argue either pro or con on abortion

                And I could care less what Naral thinks.  They are a single issue advocacy group and have the right to lobby as they please.  If Langevin doesn't have the stones to stand up for what he believes, and let the voters decide, then why spend so much time crying over him?  That's my only point.

                And you last sentence is bogus.  Naral would not support ANYONE regardless of party that doesn't share their version of prochoice philosophy.  This whole party/tribe paranoia escapes me.

          •  I don't get it (4.00)
            We believe that a third trimester abortion basically extinguishes the life of a baby, and should only be done when the mother's health is in danger and there is no other solution.

            But we believe that a woman should be able to have an abortion on demand the day befor the thrid trimester begins, because it's her body and the should be able to make her own medical care "choices".

            Let's face it folks, our position makes little sense, and while the nuts take it to extremes with their concern for the stem cell ("little people"?), their position is more consistent than ours.

            •  That's because it's all black and white to them (4.00)
              They simply everything because it's all they know. Our views may be more difficult to understand, but they do make sense.

              Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

              by rogun on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:03:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Dean put it best on MTP yesterday (3.83)
              When he said that he has never heard of a doctor who will perform a third trimester abortion without an ethical reason, such as life or health of the mother. He said that he would like to see state medical boards be the ones to come up with the ethical guidelines on this matter, not a bunch of politicians. He really re-framed the whole issue beautifully, imo.

              Here's the transcript:
              http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7924139/

              It's a decision to be made by a woman and her doctor. Let's not leave the doctors out of the equasion.

              "Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservative." -- John Stuart Mill

              by Auntie Mame on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:10:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Not necessarily -- (4.00)
              if you hold the view that life begins when the brain is developed (as evidenced by brain activity), there's no conflict.

              The vast majority of third-trimester abortions, IMHO, are probably done because of something going medically wrong, either with fetal development or the mother's own body. If nothing else, figuring out how to answer the questions about what happened to "your baby" would be a little tough (I've never been pregnant, so I'm just talking out of my hat here).

              I'm sorry if this offends the pro-life wing of the Democratic Party, but I cannot see a handful of cells as the equivalent of a thinking human being.

              "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

              by Cali Scribe on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:21:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  if only... (4.00)
                brain activity really began on a particular day, how easy this would all be. but it doesn't.

                I don't know shit about neonatology, but our ob/gyn told us that brain waves are perceptible by modern machines from a very early stage of the pregnancy; sometime in the FIRST trimester. Unfortunately, I have had to hang out in a neonatal ward and these little guys (I saw as early as 23 weeks) are truly human beings!

                I saw Dean, and he framed it as well as anyone could, but throwing the decision to a state-by-state "ethics" panel will not lead to the black and white right answers. Each state will have ethicists of varying shades of liberalism or conservatism and they'll decide based on those biases and there will be no consistency among the states.

                Usually these are gut-wrenching decisions, but what can we possibly say about the woman who has had 6 abortions without a care?

                •  Interesting. (4.00)
                  what can we possibly say about the woman who has had 6 abortions without a care?
                  That she's rarer than a third-term abortion, to the point of being a conservative strawman?
                  •  not unheard of (none)
                    multiple abortions are apparently very common in Russia, a country that had more abortions than live births every year for decades (not sure about the current situation).  Here's the best quote in Russian history (from a book published in 1995, "The Sexual Revolution"):

                    An engineer, age 22, referring to the fact that his wife had four abortions: "I often have to visit the dentist, yet I don't complain."

                •  What can we say to that woman? (4.00)
                  That we're awfully happy she hasn't brought six unwanted children into the world "without a care."

                  Or better yet: "Why don't you take advantage of our new free birth control plan?"

                  And if that doesn't work: "Have you considered our free counseling program. It might help you find out why you persist in such self-destructive behavior."

                •  Ithe third tirmester line is never exactly precise (4.00)
                  line, because exact moment of fertilization and gestation are never know exactly, and development is not an atomic clock either.

                  However, while the line of demarcation for third trimester may be arbitrary, it does more than adequately error on the side of safety regarding fetal development.

                  cheers,

                  Mitch Gore

                  Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                  by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:33:57 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  There's "Brain waves" (none)
                  ... and then there's "brain waves."

                  First trimester you get some activity in the brain stem and that's about it.

                  The cerebral cortex - which is where concious thought occurs - does not develop neural connections until about week 25.

            •  adherence to foolish consistencies (none)
              are the hobgoblins of little minds ( I know that's not the exact quote.)

              Does it have to be consistent?

              Okay, so here's the consistent point: viability. In most states (and it varies state by state) there are significant restrictions on abortions beyond the 20th week. The point of viability keeps moving earlier, but has not reached earlier than 20 weeks.

              And, therefore, the reason for those restrictions on purely elective abortions is because beyond that point in time, the fetus, if removed from the womb, has some reasonable chance at life, but highly likely to be medically compromised, so this becomes the point where there are competing rights between those of the fetus and those of the mother.

              Beyond 20 weeks, in most states, there must be fetal or maternal indications to do an abortion.

              The law is murky. It's not consistent. Roe is problematic, without doubt. But the murkiness is the reality on the ground.

              It's certainly easier to take an absolutist viewpoint (life begins at conception, etc.) because it is unarguable. You're never going to get away with trying to argue that point.

              But when you are talking about rights, particularly when there are competing rights, it is simply not possible to be absolute about it.

            •  The problem (none)
              is with the legislative attempts to determine at which specific day/hour/time the fetus is considered "viable".  Most states put a 20-week limit on abortive options; some, 23 weeks.  But there's no guarantee a fetus will be viable at 23 weeks or 20 weeks - it depends on the woman's body, each of which are unique.  95% of abortions are performed before the third trimester, so to view the procedure as a whole by making standard which is very atypical is not appropriate.  (Not that I think you were doing this, but it's easy to fall into anti-choice talking points on this subject.)

              It seems to me that instead of focusing on the woman or the fetus, we should ask ourselves if society is bettered by its government forcing women to give birth.  To me, the definite answer to that is 'no'.

              Dems taking advice from the GOP about how to make a better Dem Party is like McDonald's taking advice from Burger King on how to make a better Big Mac.

              by deep6 on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:13:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  not the whole quote... (4.00)
        And yet THIS point, in Kos' world, is utter horsesh!t:

        A woman's right to choose is a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party

        what kos said was

        And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all."

        the point being, the right to privacy is a core issue that makes us all democrats, but how the right to privacy affects our lives is more an individual (or 'coalition') opinion. to some dems, the right to privacy does not lead to abortion rights. to some dems, the right to privacy does not lead to blind opposition to the patriot act. it leads to other things tho.

        freedom of speech is something every dem supports, but some support it way more and in different ways than others.

        alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

        by chopper on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:16:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  by "none at all" (none)
          kos was referring to worshipping gods, not to privacy or rights.  sorry if I'm misunderstanding you.  

          There is a margin of interpretation "error" around the core of the right to privacy. However, I think that margin does not include (1) opposing abortion and (2) failure to oppose the Patriot Act.

          These two things fly directly in the face of supporting the right to privacy.  IMO

      •  Privacy -- Birth Control (4.00)
        As Dean said yesterday, the Democrats have to shift the focus from (what is perceived as) "defending abortion" to larger issues.  As he also said, the Schiavo case is a turning point in that regard, because it laid bare the intrusiveness of the religious right, in an area that most people have experienced.

        But the most crucial right to privacy to most people can relate to is birth control.  The shift needs to be from a focus on only pro-choice to the more universal right to privacy (which encompasses pro-choice).  But the pro-choice emphasis has put the cart before the horse, and from a public relations standpoint has been very damaging.

        Democrats must relentlessly educate people that the Dobsons and Bushes want to shove restrictions on all aspects of privacy down our throats -- whether it's hospice decision making, birth control, equal rights for domestic partners, and, of course, abortion.

        The right has successfully made the focus on the end of pregnancy -- e.g., late term abortions, obscuring that what they really want is control over pre-pregnancy or the morning after pill or early abortions.

        Dean noted that abortions have gone up 25% since Bush has become President.  He should also have noted that they went down substantially while Clinton was President. (Would that Kerry had done both in the campaign.)

        Last night's Sixty Minutes showed how fantasy has invaded our schools in bogus, false and counter-productive "abstinence" education.

        So Dean and Kos are right.  Use the broad appeal -- the "Right to Privacy" -- get the radical right fundies out of our bedrooms and sickbeds.  People need to be educated, and yes, frightened by how much the GOP, hostage to the Dobsons, wants to get between their sheets.

      •  Marginal because (none)
        I rated you a Marginal because your post is margingally (if that) productive -- because you're just taking the simple attack approach, and you don't even meet Kos half-way.

        Kos took a risk by posting a thoughtful and provocative line of reasoning -- and you played the simple reactionary card.

        You could have pushed the matter out of snark and into productive discussion with a bit more diplomacy that recognizes thoughtfulness with a more thoughtful response, i.e., "Perhaps, Kos, right-to-privacy and abortion rights are not separate principles to be ranked, but rather for many of us, one in the same."

        Flaming a thread makes it less productive.

        That said, who am I to talk...

        The Republican Party has become the Fascist Party.

        by TX Unmuzzled on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:26:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How did I flame the thread? (none)
          I made the post because I did not understand Kos' point.  Someone had said "I agree with Kos," so I asked them to explain it to me.

          I guess I could have just said "I don't understand Kos' point."  But I tried to break it down a little further than that.  I said, it seems to me that Kos is making several points that flow from each other, 1, 2, 3, and yet he vehemently denies that 3 is true, which leaves me confused.

          I still do not understand the difference between saying that the right to choose is a fundamental belief, and saying that the right to choose follows inevitably from one or two inevitable beliefs.  I apologize if you found it offensive that I asked the question, but I think you are incorrectly assuming that my post was an attack.

          Next time, I guess I will just say "I don't understand Kos' point," rather than try to explain what exactly I don't understand, and thus avoid the scourge of the marginal rating. :)

          •  You asked blunt (none)
            How did I flame the thread?

             and inconvenient questions, Steve and interfered with the spin.
             

            "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

            by colleen on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:44:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Big Picture Politics (none)
        I dislike single issue politics, because of it is evidence of an individual mind that has stopped thinking. Single issue politics form  around complex issues, which in an ideal world would require constant examination and thought. When I hear a single issue proponent, I hear a weary mind that just couldn't hold complexity in their mind anymore, couldn't listen to the opponent, couldn't understand that two opposing positions could be true at the same time. They opt out for certainty, I'll stop thinking and then I know I'm right and you're wrong and, man, this is easier.
        I am a fifty-six year old woman. When I became sexually active, abortion was illegal ---and there minimally effective birth control. I don't want my daughter or granddaughters to live in that world. BUT I am very, very uncomfortable with abortion on demand. I do believe it devalues life. I have come to a position of tolerating abortion "on demand" because I think the woman is the person who should make a very complex and difficult decision. I continue to work to make abortion safe, available and rare.
        Each day I think and feel differently about the issue, each situation and statement I hear requires me to examine this issue. I hold both truths in my head. I think NARAL's position was narrow and very counter productive.
      •  principle (none)
        A candidate can support a principle but not support all derivatives from a principle.  Not all derivatives are black and white and other principles may trump in a specific situation.

        A one issue group will chose a candidate supporting their issue regardless of the basic core principles of the candidate.

        Example.  
        A pro-choice single issue group has two choices:

        A democrat supporting progressive principles except abortion due to an overriding religious principle.

        A conservative supporting republican principles except is pro-choice for whatever reasons.

        The single issue group must vote for the republican regardless whether they disagree with the republican stance on a myriad of other issues.

        I believe KOS is making the case with focus on the core principles accepting that there may be disagreements on certain derivatives.

        •  I don't see how (none)
          a "single issue" group can disagree on "other issues."

          When I send my money to the NRA, for example, I expect them to use it to support gun rights.  If they say "we supported that anti-gun candidate because he was good on gay marriage and taxes," they run the risk that I may not donate again.

          If you give money to NARAL, you probably don't want to see them helping anti-choice candidates get elected.  If your only goal were to get Democrats elected, you would have just given to the Democratic Party.

      •  It is the difference of having a penis (none)
        If one has a penis then one's fundamental rights are more fundamental than the rights of those without a penis.  If you do not have a penis then your fundamental rights are negotiable depending on whether people with penises can win elections.

        ...get rid of that DoD "Total Information Awareness" program that's right out of George Orwell's 1984.... AL GORE, 2003

        by TeresaInPa on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:41:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I did misunderstand it..... (4.00)
      .....at first. But I came to understand by the end.

      Its true that Dems can not be held captive to every single issue advocate that has Dem leanings. And NARAL is not being disloyal to Dems by endorsing a pro-choice Rep because NARAL are not Dems. They are Pro-Choice advocates.

      We absolutely need to develop a consistant, recognizable brand that can be easily articulated. And like most contemporary branding, it is not about identifying with the product, but identifying with a lifestyle that is appealing to your target audience. That means a big picture approach that tugs at emotions rather than logic.

      The Media Is Dead. Long Live NewsCorpse.com

      by KingOneEye on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:54:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But an anti-choice party is worse than (4.00)
        one anti-choice candidate in a pro-choice party. Whether Democrats are or are not pro-choice -- and they had better be -- the Republican Party is vigorously anti-choice.

        Why couldn't NARAL just hem and haw in neutral? They have single-handedly undermined themselves and betrayed their allies in obedience to a fallacious imperative that they have to be in bed with someone.

        •  anti-choice party (none)
          and the more NARAL and others force the Republicans to pander to pro-choice groups and voters the less likely it is to be an anti-choice party.

          I guess it's real hard for some people to admit but the best postition for NARAL would be if both parties were pro-choice.

          Impossible?  right.  sure, everything is impossible.

          •  Republicans aren't linear on issues like this. (none)
            The Republicans don't reach for pro-choice women on the issue of choice. Around pro-choice women, they change the subject to security or whatever their print-outs suggest.

            Now the women of Rhode Island can proudly cast a vote to hear their rights defended by a member of the part that will destroy those rights at the first opportunity. Gee, the Chaffee around, they'll even appear to have deliberated. What a coup.

            •  is it too nuanced? not really (4.00)
              the women of Rhode Island should vote for the Democrat, and the Democrats need to explain why

              AND

              NARAL should support it's issue in broad ways, including supporting a Republican.  I believe in natural consequences, if people want to rag on NARAL and give their money to the Democratic Pro-Choice League or whatever they might invent, that's fair enough.

              But The role of a single issue group is important, and they specifically exist to identify people in either party that are voting a particular way.

              if people think their criteria suck, that is one thing, if they think they don't know the important legislation and their 100% is wrong, fine, but as far as I know people believe NARAL does a good job understanding the narrow interest in the abortion debate.

              You cannot prove that supporting anti-choice Democrats in power in the party will lead to a pro-choice result!  It depends a lot on "how many" and a million variables.

              NARAL has been much more objective when it rates Chafee and says it likes to be in well with incumbents.  It's stated, and again, single issue groups serve a function by identifying individuals across parties, like we need it MORE divisive.

              •  Wait a minute... (4.00)
                "But the role of a single issue group is important, and they specifically exist to identify people in either party that are voting a particular way."

                I live in the Red South.  I'm much more concerned about the "big" issue of creeping theocracy than I am in the single issue of choice.  Kos is right.  "Pro-life" stems from "pro-Christian" in the minds of most people around here.  That's why you'll find Southerners who are "pro-life" and who, at the same time, will tell you that they are in favor of a "right to privacy."  It seems to depend on how one's individual heirarchy of values is structured.  If Kos's suggestion is to be an action plan, then the heirarchy of values needs to be clearly defined as a primary part of that plan.  

                It's relatively easy to agree on something as broad as "the right to privacy."  The problems come when Johnny Red says, "Yeah, but "pro-life" fits under 'pro-God.'"  At the same time, that citizen can strongly support the "right to privacy" when it comes to unreasonable search and seizure, or to the legality of cunnilingus.  They can be "pro-life" and at the same time support our Iraq adventure.  If that seems wierd, it's just because their "value tree" doesn't look like yours.  And that, dear friends, is why you can't argue successfully with most Republicans.

                It doesn't just depend on how you frame an issue, it also depends on how you define the moral "tree" on which the issue sits.  You have to sell the taxonomy before you can argue the specifics.

          •  Impossible? (none)
            You'll know in a week. If the moderates in the GOP revolt over the "nuclear option" then over time NARAL could reasonably expect to gain pro-choice GOP seats but it's tough with primary dymamics. But you could see a resurgence of Rockefeller Republicans.

            But if Frist wins I'll wager the Republicans won't elect a single new pro-choice candidate in the next decade.

        •  Repubs are not an anti-choice party. (4.00)
          The point Markos is making, which with I agree, is that the Repubs have draped themselves the broader culture of life concept that includes the choice issue. So there are pro-choice Repubs who can still live in the larger tent.

          We need to do that too. Its NARAL's job to push for reproductive rights. Its Dems job to get Dems elected.

          The Media Is Dead. Long Live NewsCorpse.com

          by KingOneEye on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:34:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As long as they stay in the kitchen. (4.00)
            Regardless of the claimed heterogeneity on this issue, this tightly marched party is using its thin margin to pummel liberty and access to power. They are happy to use credulous allies to appear benign.

            NARAL cannot act as if we are in the ordinary ebbing and flowing of power. There is one national right whose protection hinges on stopping one national party.

            •  scary talk (none)
              that's fair enough in general, I believe those kinds  of warning valid, however, it's also true then that NARAL, thinking about reproductive rights, HAS to think of ways into this majority party.
            •  You get a four for that. (none)
              You have these northeastern Republicans who call themselves pro-choice for expediency's sake, like Guiliani and Pataki in New York, who get elected in otherwise blue states in numbers just large enough to put the GOoPers over the top.  How many people know that in the 15 or so blue states, about 10 of them have Republican governors, few of whom are worth a shit?  Why is that?

              I would consider GOP-held House and Senate seats and statehouses in blue states to be low-hanging fruit.  There are lots of pissed off Democrats in these states, and if we could only channel some of this pissed-offedness, we could retake the majority in one fell swoop.  How come we can't accomplish this seemingly easy task?

              What did we do to deserve George W. Bush?

              by republicans are idiots on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:03:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  One party? (4.00)
              So when Democrats vote for "PBA" bans along with the GOP, and the GOP Senator that NARAL just endorsed voted AGAINST the "PBA"... where is this 'one national party' on this 'one national right'....?

              cheers,

              Mitch Gore

              Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

              by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:40:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Holding open the vote until twisted arms yield. (none)
                Changing the rules to get 100% power out of 50 senators and one Vice President.

                The lawless use of leverage by one hellbent faction in control of the Republican party is making it a singularity of self-interested power with only a utilitarian interest in the people.

                •  Understood... (none)
                  so I should want to "fuck NARAL" for endorsing a candidate who votes on the correct side of the issue and is not part of the hellbent faction of said party?

                  cheers,

                  Mitch Gore

                  Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                  by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:23:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Abstain. (none)
                    NARAL should have held back any endorsement, I feel.

                    They are entrusted with a lot of money and energy because they are supposed to be smart aggregators of support. I think they did their best in the past to follow a strategy of preventing the polarization of the abortion issue. They are so tied to that principle, I suspect, that they choose not to accept the larger polarization around them.

                    At most, they should have told Chaffee they'd support him if he were a Democrat. Can they endorse both candidates at this point?

                    What we should do about it is to pitch a change of policy to them.

                    •  Why? (none)
                      Why should they have held back when they have a proven pro-choice candidate who votes better than numerous Democrats on the issue they advocate for.

                      Also, nothing at all precludes them from also endorsing whatever Dem candidate comes out of the primary if he or she is pro-=choice. NARAL has in fact co-endorsed other races.

                      cheers,

                      Mitch Gore

                      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                      by Lestatdelc on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:18:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  "Why should they have held back...?" (none)
                        Because how a Senator votes on bills that reach the floor is only the most visible exercise of power. In a chamber so polarized, for instance, committee assignments limit all legislative opportunities to the Republican agenda.

                        Thanks for the news that NARAL can co-endorse. I hope we present a candidate worthy of their endorsement.

                        •  Sorry, that is not a good reason at all (none)
                          Because how a Senator votes on bills that reach the floor is only the most visible exercise of power.

                          And Chafee votes pro-choice more than quite a few Democrats. BTW, the PBA fiction ban was passed because Democrats sided with it, in opposition to people like Chafee.

                          I would rather have a pro-choice Dem any day, but this need to want to "fuck NARAL" because the endorsed a solidly pro-choice candidate regardless of party ID (which is what issue advocacy groups do) is beyond stupid, especially given the RI race.

                          NARAL endorsing Chafee could possibly be a loadstone in helping suppress GOP turn-out (i.e. the right-to-cirminlization folks won't be doing GOTV for Chafee) and pro-choicers can still vote for a pro-choice Dem (assuming one comes out of the primary) who is good on the other issues as well. And nothing precludes NARAL form endorsing that Dem candidate as well (assuming s/he is pro-choice).

                          cheers,

                          Mitch Gore

                          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                          by Lestatdelc on Tue May 24, 2005 at 06:22:56 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Good points there. (none)
                            I doubt such a fiction would have gotten to the floor in any chamber with a Democratic majority, though.

                            If there is strong evidence that Chaffee's incumbency is displacing an anti-choice electoral opportunity, that would be reason enough to back him. So would the desire to preserve a reputation among allies for sticking with one's friends.

                            But under conditions severe as yesterday's, where the President's party was trying to clear away all our power, unleashing him to appoint justices eager to eliminate a basic right recognize by the Supreme court, the political calculations must be starkly against the President's entire party.

                            As for whether we ought to condemn and abandon NARAL, which is what I suppose "fuck NARAL" means, I agree that we certainly have not come to that. Of course, it might just mean "be very angry until they do something we approve."

                             

          •  exactly right (none)
          •  I disagree (none)
            Republicans had no position, or were at least nominally  pro-choice, until 1980 when they specifically added anti-abortion language to their platform. All this other "culture of life" crap has come on since then. And I need not remind how selective they are in their choice of what "life" to defend.

            They've used the abortion card as a wedge, railed anger, changed the terms of the debate, and have done it on the basis of abortion. Pure and simple. And frankly, pro-life Republicans have been able to latch on to this part of the party and win in some cases, even when they're "personal views" are different, because the anti-choice voters know that their party will still be in power.

            It is NARAL's job to push for reproductive rights. How is that accomplished by supporting a candidate whose party's stated goal is to make abortion illegal?

            Riddle me that.

      •  Like All Parties, You Have Choices To Make (4.00)
        Including a choice about your position on abortion.  The kos line seems to be that notably less bad than the GOP ought to be enough.  Well, for good reason it won't be for pro-choice groups.   You want to be a pro-choice party?  Be one. But that means not putting anti-choice people (by which I do not mean people personally opposed to abortion, but rather people in favor of more restrictive laws) in leadership positions, whatever other qualities they might bring.

        Would you rather, instead, be a big tent where anti-choice people can attain such positions? Fine. But don't expect the world to treat you like you're a pro-choice party. You will be what you are: a party that's less bad on issues of choice than the GOP.  

        "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:13:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dem problem: not standing up to Republicans (none)
          Armando has rightly taken NARAL to task for their endorsement of Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee

          Kos and Armando's patronizing tone says it all -- their problems with framing actually have nothing to do with NARAL's endorsement. Yet NARAL is being brought in as a whipping child to make a point.

          One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera. ...

          Now that's rich. Having dominion over my own body isn't a pet cause, fuck you very much. This pretend-exercise in framing is the age-old Dem ritual of excusing the bald fact that for years, the one group the Dems have reliably tried to accommodate is the right wing of the GOP. That's not the fault of NARAL or any group insultingly being trivialized for promoting "pet causes".

          We have confused groups that are natural allies of the Democratic Party for the party itself. And the party has ceded way too much power, way too much control, to those single issue groups.

          What fucking control? So-called centrist Dems in leadership want to exploit these groups as ATM machines and vote-bringers AND publicly bash them for cheap PR points rather than stand up to fraud-based GOP attacks from liars and crooks.

          This is the most corrupt, self-flattering, propaganda-spewing administration in history. Here's a good frame for confronting someone like abortion-millionaire Bill Frist when he claims to represent a "culture of life" in front of the cameras. Call him out for making a fortune from abortions and tell him to fuck off for insulting the public.

          The dais at GooperCon '04 had a bunch of pro-choice Repugs. Yet Dems didn't pressure GWB to explain his personal position on choice during the campaign, as Kerry was repeatedly pressured to do by the other side. Nope ... Georgie was allowed to have his cake and preach it too.

          Dems let the GOP distort what reproductive rights means (or what liberalism means, or what being anti-war means) and use the fraud for a 'moral values' bludgeon. That's not a problem with those "single issues" groups. Nor is it one of framing, branding or any other academic wankery that disguises a cheap exercise in misplacing blame -- it's plain old cowardice.

          So stop blaming NARAL or groups you laughably trivialize as 'single issue' for being a pain in the ass for Dems. Apparently, we're supposed to bring votes and financial support, then STFU while you and the party bash us for being a burden.

          This petulance about Langevin illustrates the Dems' problem perfectly. Kos and Armando blame people who do support the party most of the time as a way of excusing candidates who won't stand with the party much of the time to excuse Dem reluctance to effectively counter the GOP ALL OF THE TIME.

          Hijacked, my ass. It would be nice if, after CYA Dems at the top botched yet another campaign, the party and its wonks thanked us before tearing into us for being the problem.

          This machine fights fascism - motto on a Woody Guthrie guitar

          by Peanut on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:01:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Great (none)
            Fantastic. Couldn't agree more.

            Particularly about using the single-issue voters as ATM machines. How're the anti-choice Dems going to make up the funds they'll lose from Emily's list.

            One thing the Reps have learned to do is to play to their base, not only in the elections but afterward. And if you don't believe that, witness what's going on on CSPAN this week.

            Meanwhile, the Dems want to play it both ways: have the base stand up and give money and energy, then turn around and screw them and blame them for their own failures.

            Small correction: Frist didn't do abortions, not regularly anyhow (was a cardiac surgeon). Humana was built on abortion money (when it was illegal cash cow practice.) The Frist family later bought Humana.

    •  Hear, hear (none)
      Those of us who have been even slightly active in Democratic politics over the past three or four decades have had the excruciating experience of seeing things go down the drain because of the single-issue curse.  My personal introduction was the 1968 election, which we lost by a half million votes because those persons outraged by the war and the terrible mess at Chicago wanted to 'punish' Humphrey. Instead, they initiated on the long descent towards fascism that has brought us where we are today.  

      Compromise is not a dirty word.

    •  This post makes a lot of sense (none)
      It's much more on-target than Armando's post, which was primarily about NARAL's lack of Democratic Party loyalty. That's not the point. If Democrats aren't sticking to what Kos calls the "core principles," there's no reason to be loyal to the Party.

      But the problem of progressives being fixate don single-issue silos is one that many are waking up to, and moving beyond. You see excellent initiatives like the Apollo Project, which has united across the constituencies of labor, environment, etc. to advocate for a "clean energy" program.

      We need more efforts like this -- and Democratic Party politics has nothing to do with it.

      Blogging for a Progressive South http://www.southernstudies.org/facingsouth

      by ProgressiveSouth on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:15:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Heh...I love posts like this. (none)
      Good ol' straight-to-the-philosophical guts of it stuff. Very nice. These sorts of discussions always breed controversy, 'cuz they're so necessary.

      And as someone who has worked for the Democratic Party, Democratic candidates and single-issue groups, I still dont think its fair to pound on NARAL too hard for their endorsement for the same reasons Kos's point is well-taken. Sure, when I worked for the Dems I'd be screaming til I was red in the face, but single-issue groups are supposed to be a single-minded force of nature rather than an arm of the party -- they have to deal with the here-and-now and not get into parisan abstractions about votes for leadership (and yes, I do think that the vote for Senate leadership is the single most important issue a Senator will make for every issue I care about, but its gotta fall down the list for issue groups - well after votes on their specific issues -- how can it not?). I don't see as they had a lot of choice in the matter, much as it annoys the crap out of me to say it.

      undercaffeinated

      by odum on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:47:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exactly (none)
    It was this very same problem that Republicans were facing back before the 94 takeover.  They formed think tanks and focus groups and organized their message.

    It's time for Democrats to step it up and do the same.  We can't let ourselves be branded as anti-Christian values when we help the poor, endorse fair minimum wage and champion human rights.

    The key is getting the message out, and doing it despite the sound bits that Karl Rove so incredibly hammers into the minds of Americans.

    •  But what the Republicans did then (none)
      ...wasn't to come up with an "ideological foundation", they just indoctrinated people with the idea that "oh, it's too complicated for you, but trust us, we'd love to just cut your taxes, but it's against the laws of physics for us to do it unless we also deregulate the energy industry too."  Which works, for the 5 or 6 years until your voters start to figure out you're just wrapping bullshit justifications around the single issues you want.

      And sadly, I think an honest attempt (which I think is what Kos is pushing) to make your ideology consistent is even worse than just plain Republican demagoguery.  If you want to see that, look at the Libertarian Party.  You're boring as hell for 15 or 20 years, and then the issues leave your "ideological foundation" in the dust and suddenly there are 5 important issues for the next election and "right to privacy" isn't leading you to a position on any of them.

    •  Perhaps it would be useful (none)
      We can't let ourselves be branded as anti-Christian values when we help the poor, endorse fair minimum wage and champion human rights.

      to recognise what the 'anti-Christian' values are then. In this case it's biblical roles for women being championed as the moral choice. (curiously, without more than peripheral lip service being given to male responsibility) Simply put, the problem being that women were chattel when the bible was written. A notion which remains deeply attractive to many as long a it's not too closely examined.
      And may I add that reproductive freedom is integral to the Christian values you name. For instance, forcing low income women  to carry pregnancies to term is not helpful to the poor.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:09:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well... (none)
    I agree with this post, but that doesn't mean I didn't misunderstand it!

    Well said.

  •  Say that is pretty good! (none)
    I am going to give you a 4.
  •  Cry me a river (4.00)
    Oh no!  NARAL "whined and cried" about Langevin!

    In reality, of course, NARAL complained that the party shouldn't clear the field to anoint Langevin their candidate.  Langevin later decided not to run.  The extent to which NARAL was responsible for this decision is debatable, but what is not debatable is the fact that no one has the right to demand the field be cleared for them.

    If Langevin wasn't even willing to run in a primary contest against pro-choice candidates, he wasn't very seriously interested in the first place.  I'm tired of hearing NARAL blamed for his decision, just because they had the audacity to pursue an open primary.

    •  But Steve.... (3.00)
      ...certain consultants had fat contracts all lined up with Langevin, and when he decided not to run, they didn't get paid.  

      But bloggers and political consultants aren't "special interest" groups, because--well, they're just not, ok?

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:01:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey now (none)
        If you're going somewhere with that, I suggest you lay it out a bit more openly, because I don't think it's particularly courageous to just leave insinuations hanging out there with no proof.
        •  Nobody you know Steve (none)
          Nobody around here, that's for sure.

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:19:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  I don't have to provide details Steve (none)
              I'm not a journalist, I'm an activist.

              There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

              by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:38:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No (1.00)
                You're a wingnut. A coward. And a liar.

                We all know exactly what you meant freeperboy.

                The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:49:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually you need to read my posts (4.00)
                  A freeper, eh?

                  I'm actually a socialist and far to the left of most of the people here.  Go back and read a dozen or so of my posts on other diaries before you attack me.

                  Or is that too much bother for you?  Can't be bothered with the facts yourself, while demanding them of others?

                  I weary of having to fend off the Kos Thought Police every time I dare breathe a word that diverges from the party line here--and don't tell me there isn't one, because there most clearly is.

                  I am tired of the folk here who try to bully others into thinking like they do--by name calling, for example, or abuse of the rating system, or burying the other person under a mountain of obscenities.

                  It's no way to conduct political discourse, that's for sure.  It is a sure way to alienate allies.

                  My question to you is:  why are you so damned worried that someone who has genuine progressive politics might disagree with you?  Why is it so important that everyone hew to the "party line" on Kos?

                  Talk about freepers--they insist on such uniformity of thought.  Is that what you want for DailyKos?

                  There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

                  by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:30:21 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh please (none)
                    You repeat rethug talking point after talking point. And you SLANDER Markos with innuendo without the Courage to say it outright. That sir is cowardice.

                    The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

                    by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:00:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Nobody you know Steve (none)
          Nobody around here, that's for sure.

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:19:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  expectations and "it's relativism" (4.00)
    >NARAL's endorsement of Chafee may be supremely idiotic and counterproductive to their own cause, but it illustrates my point beautifully. NARAL's interests may coincide with the Democratic Party's more often than not, but they are not one and the same.

    fact is we need single issue groups, and we should not misunderstand them as perfectly allied with a group that spans a lot of positions on various issues.

    but you can't define a philosophy by eliminating single issues!

    I nominate "relativism" as the core philosophy...

    I accept your point that we can't mistake the positions of single issue groups as our herald, of course.  But we can't expect them to change either, we just have to be smart.  If they correctly call out some regressive anti-choice Dem, we can whine about that... God knows dkos isn't planning to call that out, right?  That's the front page position anyway.

    So someone has to.  And if we vote for a anti-choice Dem, that's fine but it's a little stupid to expect a pro-choice organization to do that.

    •  I may be wrong, but... (4.00)
      ...didn't NARAL endorse Chafee AFTER Langevin left the race?

      I don't expect NARAL to endorse an anti-choice candidate of any party, of course, but given a choice between two pro-choice candidates, why would they choose the Republican?  He may personally be pro-choice, but his very presence in the Senate lends power to those who would do everything possible to make abortion inaccessible.

      •  because they are single issue (none)
        and it's in their best interest to try to help the pro-choice caucus in the republican party.

        you ought to ask how the big bad NARAL really could "force" Langevin out of the race.

        why did Langevin let them make that decision for them... "hey!  a pro-choice group won't support me just because I'm anti-choice! wah!"

        is it really that suprising.

        Ok... they could have endorsed one of the Democrats not expected to win... and gone down with that ship...

        and we are supposedly talking about NARAL's best interest?  

        It's not NARAL's fault if Langevin caved... Democrats shouldn't be single issue but NARAL should be... it has to be!  That's the only reason it even exists.

    •  How about 'Faith in Reason' n/t (none)

      "Good idea Chuck, but syrup won't stop 'em." Firesign Theater, Everything You Know is Wrong

      by 3card on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:56:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Piss off Benedict (none)
      the Democrats are the party of relativism!

      Pass it on! Wear it proudly!

  •  Yes (4.00)
    When will we start emphasizing that nobody celebrates abortion - nobody's for it. Abortions are sad, even tragic happenings - but the right to control one's body stems from the right to privacy, health and equity.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:45:08 AM PDT

    •  That's the common wisdom (4.00)
      and the politically correct position, but for many women having an abortion is the least tragic part of an unwanted pregnancy.

      It does women no service to characterize all abortions as tragic, or even sad, and I would disagree that the message is not already emphasized. That subtle but potent condemnation of elective abortion is so all-pervasive in our society, so uniformly accepted, that it sets women up with an often unrealistic expectation.

      Women very frequently fear that they must be emotionally abnormal when they feel neither grief nor guilt, but only relief.

      Many might see recognizing that fact as politically disadvantageous, but it's the truth. One size does not fit all.

      •  monstrous attitude (2.33)
        of the left.

        i've known many women at my church who regret their abortions every day and wish they hadn't have had one. some still believe in Roe, others don't. but this is way more complex than the feminists want to make it out to be, and having a defiant celebratory attitude doesn't play very well w/ folks.

        •  Why is that a monstrous attitude? (4.00)
          Because you know women at church who feel badly about their abortions, that means that anybody who suggests that not all women feel grief about an abortion are wrong? Perhaps your circle is a bit too small to make such sweeping generalizations about how women "feel" about an abortion.
        •  regarding feminists (4.00)
          who in the world says feminists don't recognize this is complex?

          Just because we feminists who are pro-choice don't play off the grief and mixed emotions that (almost) all women have after facing an unwanted or complicated pregnancy, making a choice, and having to live with it? Just because we don't recruit such people to "tell the stories" of how horrible they feel having had abortions and thus just allow them to steep in it?

          Feminists, and others, who support choice, recognize the complexity of the issue. Far more that fire-breathers who want to reduce it to simplistic terms. There are plenty of support groups for women who are facing, and have faced, these difficult issues. They just do it in real terms, to offer true support, not to use them for political gains.

          And frankly, dammit, I don't know anyone who "celebrates" abortions. Get over that crap. Or find me one real-life example.

          IMO, it's those who cannot get beyond the "life begins at conception" simplistic, boiled down viewpoint whose ideas are monstrous and lack the ability to see the complexity.

        •  i'm not saying this is the case... (none)
          ...with the women you know, but often time these "regrets" you speak of don't exist until the woman starts going to some church. be sure you've got the chain of events straight. i read something once that said way more women feel relief for choosing an abortion than feel regret, even years after the decision.

          ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

          by FemiNazi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:38:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  No one (none)
          promotes the fiction of a "defiant celebratory attitude" except anti-choice extremists.

          However, while some women have regrets, others do not, and it is deceptive and damaging to women to insist that abortion is always accompanied by grief or guilt. That is the obvious, if inconvenient, truth.

          Unfortunately, there are many people so uncomfortable with the political hot potato that is abortion that they consider it advisable, and even necessary, to softpedal or misrepresent the facts. Even more unfortunately, many of them are politicians with a public platform.

          Fortunately for my own peace of mind, I am not one of them, and am free to say -- in public and in private -- that it is lies that are "monstrous."

  •  notice (4.00)
    here is some notice for people that have woken up and realized they would like to see progress made in this country, social progress, economic progress...

    ... the real curse has always been the "no issue" groups.  Groups that want in power and they don't have issues but a bunch of buddies they are just sure can run the show best of all.

    that's the real curse, and the Democratic party as a "no issue" club trying to deserve the votes of the people but without it's own issues that it stands firm... hey, that's how we got here, not because of dedicated activists and people that keep the fires burning.

  •  Bullshit post by Kos (3.80)
    And I'm perfectly willing to accept the hail of ones that is going to earn me.

    Didn't we know, they demanded, that choice was a core principle of the Democratic Party?

    To which I have a simple answer: The hell it is.

    Oh yes it is.  It ABSOLUTELY is.  Let's put it this way: if the Democratic Party abandons choice, I will vote Green, and I hate the Green Party with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

    A few points:

    1.  NARAL's endorsement of Lincoln Chaffee is indefensible.  No more need be said about that.

    2.  NARAL did not prevent Jim Langevin from running for the Senate.  Or at least, if they did "prevent" him, that means Langevin is a spineless wimp.  Here's what happened: Jim Langevin DECLINED to run for the Senate because he might have actually had to face some opposition in the Democratic primary.  What does that tell us?  I know what it tells me--Langevin is gutless and would rather sit tight in the security of a safe House seat than risk a little something over a Senate run.  And we do not need such people, people who turn tail and run at the mere hint of a fight, bearing our standard.  Screw Jim Langevin.  And I would urge Kos and everybody else tearing their hair and rending their garments about "oh poor Jim Langevin, waaaah waaah waaaah" to consider whether or not we might want to run a candidate with some balls for the Senate instead.

    3.  A woman's right to choose is a core principle of the Democratic Party.  Have a nice day.
    •  it seems to me (none)
      that NARAL and other groups didnt just talk about abandoning the RI race, but rather they used this as blackmail against their involvement in other races as well.  that probably had more effect on Langevin than their involvement in HIS race.
      •  evidence? (none)
        •  open letter (4.00)
          Severla pro-choice activists, most of them Hollywood celebs, wrote an "open letter to Democrats" (wasn't even specifically addressed to anyone here in RI, to Schumer, to anyone in particular) decrying the DSCC's recruitment of Bob Casey and of Langevin, and in Langevin's case vowing to support Matt Brown in the primary and/or Chafee in the general. They really unloaded on Langevin too during that time-- it was a nationally unacceptable thing, yada yada yada. Meanwhile, here in RI the state NOW chapter was taking a far less confrontational route, holding up signs outside a big Langevin fundraiser at the Providence Convention Center respectfully asking him to reconsider his stance on choice to get their support.

          The difference in tone is stark, and indicative that this was about sending a larger national message to the Dems in wake of the values voters thing, Hillary's speech and how it played, Roemer's DNC candidacy, etc., plus Bob Casey. In reality, that all had NOTHING to do with the situation in RI-- Langevin was the go to guy because he is the most well-liked Democrat in the state, period, end of story. Choice was an issue when eh ran for Congress in 2000, facing three other highly-impressive candidates who were all pro-choice, and he won by a rather large margin in the end. Yet by making this national in scope, the institutional pro-choice movement added a whole layer that would have inevitably been there ina primary, but not to such an extent since RI Dems were trying to avoid that given the 2000 primary being so divisive on the issue of choice. Langevin-Brown could well have been an insider-outsider battle with choice as another issue, but instead NARAL decided to throw Langevin into a situation where he could either drop out or face a bruising and expensive primary that would leave him weakened on an issue Chafee could use against him. AND then they decide to throw both Brown and Whitehouse to the wolves in the end.

          So yes, to my vantage point, this is about national power politics nad sending a message to the Dems not to move away from choice, no matter what the scenario for an anti-choice candidate is. The added flourish of endorisng Chafee shows that in NARAL's mind, a pro-choice GOPer who meekly doesn't stand up to extremism, enalbes conservative control of things, and votes for anti-choice judges is something they can support; while an anti-choice Dem who would have opposed all of those anti-choice nominees on overall ideological and partisan grounds, is worthy of a huge effort to make sure he either doesn't run or gets bruised in a primary. Their priorities and motives are clear; its just that in the process, its rather wrong and myopic, and ultimately counterproductive.

          •  counterproductive (none)
            the way you said it the message was not to move away from choice... that's true... people say, "just one doesn't matter" but of course it matters just a bit, and each one is absolutely what we are talking about by "movement" to or away from choice.

            sounds effective the way you put it.

            In fact, most effective of all would be if Langevin comes back in now, then NARAL can't lose, they get to endorse the pro-choice candidate against a anti-choice candidate, and Langevin beats Chafee.

            •  not exactly... (none)
              Its effective in the sense that they made their point, that they aren't going to stand by and let the Dems move away from defending choice. I'm in agreement with that point being made if you've got two top-tier Senate candidates who are anti-choice, absolutely. But it could have been done a LOT more tactfully, without making it a national stink showing progressives as squabbling over how to cope  with the "moral values" issue when actually Langevin's recruitment had nothign to do with that, with respect to Rhode Island Democrats, and with respect to Langevin as if he was some zealot on the issue. He votes the wrong way, but he'd have voted against Bush's judicial nominees where its most important, and isn't an activist on his anti-choice position- unlike other anti-choice progressives like Jim Oberstar, who was one of the old white guys standing behind Bush while he signed the late-term abortion ban, which he had been pushing for years. When Langevin gets involved in related issues legislatively, its either as one of the bridge-building people Hillary Clinton was talking about (legislation to help prevent and reduce abortions via effective sex education etc) or as an especially-poignant advocate for stem cell research. So yes, by ignoring nuance, they got a broad point across, but also made it clear that they were thinking only of that broadness and not of the overall political ramifications. I honestly think that the  institutional pro-choice movement could have properly made that point and opposed Langevin in the primary, without going about things in that sort of a way which is ultimately counter-productive. And do remember, that I am talking about national hierarchical Beltway-based organizations and advocates (and Hollywood celebs) here, not some outcry of the pro-choice grassroots -- which as I said before exists very much here in RI and was set to be very active for Matt Brown/against Langevin, but did so in a much less ridiuclous way.

              I don't thin kthe original comment I was replying to implied that NARAL was threatening other pro-choice candidate,s or at least I didn't read it that way at 4 AM. What I was saying is, that NARAL definitely IS punishing the Dems in some sense on this one, making an early endorsement of Chafee despite their having their way in terms of who is in the DEmocratic Primary, as somethign that had been already in the works as a solid possibility. The message is that in an era where the Dems are genuinely trying to reaffirm and reframe choice protection, while also being more accepting of a big tent so as to support that reaffirmation, they'll stick to the old way of things and take their pro-choice GOPers despite the obvious flaws.

              Also, Langevin can't and won't get back in. It'd look ridiculous, especially as he's Sheldon Whitehouse's co-chair now along with Kennedy; and  even if he wasn't he's honestly not the type of guy to do that, trust me. Langevin getting back in would only cause another explosion nationally too, I'd think.

          •  and also (none)
            I missed the evidence of threatening not to support other pro-choice candidates as retaliation?

            is it in the open letter?

    •  The core principles of the Democratic Party (none)
      ...are what political consultants and party bosses TELL you they are.

      Which is exactly what's wrong with the Democratic Party--instead of listening to their loyal constituents, they preach at them about how selfish and stupid they are, instead of finding a compromise that can keep people happy.

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:03:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  not core to me (4.00)
      i'll stick with right to privacy.

      the thing is, even if i'm more pro-life than 80% of dems, i'm still more pro-choice than 80% of republicans, and it's because of my respect of the right to privacy.

      do you really want to argue about exactly how far the right to privacy ought to go? should we sit here all day, each telling the other that they're not a real dem because they apply that principle somewhat differently? why not just accept the fact that our shared commitment to the principle is sure to give us more common ground than we'd find with almost anyone on the other side?

      (a lot of republicans don't even believe there is a right to privacy in the constitution)

      peace.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:28:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We could run a candidate with balls (none)
      or we could find a woman candidate to for US Senate. They could use a few more up there.
    •  Huh? (none)
      NARAL's endorsement of Lincoln Chaffee is indefensible.  No more need be said about that.

      So endorsing a candidate who voted AGAINST the Trojan horse fiction of "PBA" bans.... voted the pro-choice position 100% of the time, should not be endorsed by a pro-choice advocacy group?

      cheers,

      Mitch Gore

      Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

      by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:48:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (none)
        not if the party he represents, and whose stay in power will be supported by his presence in the Senate, is adamantly opposed to reproductive rights and vows to restrict those rights.
        •  Like the 'PBA' ban...? (none)
          Which more than a few Democrats voted for?

          Sorry that's horse-shit, it isn't so good guys are Ds up and down the ticket and bad guys are Rs up and down the ticket, vis-à-via the abortion issue, which map solidly by party ID.

          If we had more Chafee's in the Senate on the GOP side, we would not have had the PBA ban fiction passed with the help of Democrats I am supposed to blindly support. According to more than a few around here at any rate, simply because they have a big D behind their name.

          Fuck that.

          I won't support Ds in a blue-state that are wrong on the issue(s) and need a compelling reason to do so in red-states (and a case can be made on a case-by-case basis, all Reid, and other deep-red state Dems) for short-temr seat caluclus reasons, but even then, long-term that is a losing strategy.

          cheers,

          Mitch Gore

          Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

          by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:16:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks (none)
      due to this, the day got nicer.

      A woman's right to choose is a core principle of the Democratic Party.

      Damn straight it is.

      And it better stay so, or the Greens will pick up my vote too.

    •  Thanks (none)
      due to this, the day got nicer.

      A woman's right to choose is a core principle of the Democratic Party.

      Damn straight it is.

      And it better stay so, or the Greens will pick up my vote too.

    •  nonsense (none)
      A woman's right to choose is not by any means a core principle of the Democratic party.  It may keep you voting Dem, but that's not a core principle - it's a specific issue.

      There are many Dems (myself not included) who believe life begins at conception.  What do you say to them?  Does killing life (as they see it) have anything to do with ending poverty, fighting oppression, a moral foreign policy, etc.

      What really irks me is the inflexibility of the pro-choice lobby.  I don't fundamentally disagree with them as I am pro-choice.  But in the end they undermine the progressive cause because we end up winning individual battles on abortion but losing the war against conservatism.

      A gaffe in Washington is when you tell the truth and people act surprised.

      by hotshotxi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:52:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Langevin - spine (none)
      Or at least, if they did "prevent" him, that means Langevin is a spineless wimp.

      I guess it shows just how sick a sense of humor I have that this amuses me - because although Langevin still has a spine he is, of course, paralyzed from the waist down.

      At one point I was watching one of his campaign commercials when the voiceover said something like "he's making strides to protect our future" or something like that, and I just broke down laughing.

      Incidentally, as a Rhode Island Democrat I've been writing frequent emails to Lincoln Chaffee telling him to show some balls on various issues (using more diplomatic language, of course). Every time I've received a bullshit canned response ("I appreciate your interest in this matter. Please be aware that I will continue to do my utmost to represent the best interests of Rhode Island.").

      Chaffee needs to go.

  •  I Agree (4.00)
    I understood. Not only that, what you say seems to me to echo exactly what Howard Dean said on Meet the Press yesterday. I never thought about it quite that way before, but I think you're both right. Reframing could go a long way toward eliminating some of the divisiveness surrounding these issues.  
    •  Dean on MTP (4.00)
      DNC Chairman Howard Dean:

      Let me tell you why I think we ought to--why I want to strike the words "abortion" and "choice."  When I campaigned for this job, I talked to lots of Democrats.  And there are significant numbers of pro-life Democrats in the South.  And one lady said to me, you know, "I'm pro-life.  I don't like abortion.  I would never have one.  I would hope my daughter would never have one.  But, you know, if the lady next door got herself in a fix, I'm not sure I should be the one to tell her what to do."  Now, we call that woman pro-choice, but she thinks of herself as pro-life.  The minute we start with the "pro-choice, pro- choice, pro-choice," she says, "Well, that's not me."

      But when you talk about framing this debate the way it ought to be framed, which is "Do you want Tom DeLay and the boys to make up your mind about this, or does a woman have a right to make up her own mind about what kind of health care she gets," then that pro-life woman says "Well, now, you know, I've had people try to make up my mind for me and I don't think that's right."  This is an issue about who gets to make up their minds:  the politicians or the individual.  Democrats are for the individual.  We believe in individual rights.  We believe in personal freedom and personal responsibility.  And that debate is one that we didn't win, because we kept being forced into the idea of defending the idea of abortion.

      •  Gosh, if Howard says it's so... (4.00)
        ...it must be.

        Howard Dean's never wrong, is he?

        "Abortion" is a word that has negative connotations, as it should--it's not a pretty choice, but one that should be universally available.

        The word "choice" is a positive one and it's one that should be emphasised--but Dean wants to not only downplay "abortion" but also "choice"?

        Democratic politicians have been saying for a long time that the issue is "a woman's right to choose" and I think that's a very positive way to frame it.

        Besides, isn't striking out the words "abortion" and "choice" a way of, oh, I don't know, pandering to single-issue voters who only vote Republican because of their anti-abortion stance?

        Yeesh.

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Make your own judgement (none)
          It's a transcript of remarks, not commentary - make your own judgements.

          The US has incongruous domestic policies that lead to more abortions and poorer health for women in general than in any comparable country. The US has the highest abortion rate of the G7 countries, the poorest health care, and is the most religious. And about 65% of people support legal abortion. So nobody is very happy about the status quo except demagogues.

          It's healthy to have discussions and search for better policy and politics. I disagree with Kos that Langevin was forced out in RI (he was never IN) and seniority in the House is a real thing. Why no arrows for Patrick Kennedy for passing on the race? But that's besides the point.

          But I agree with Kos's idea that people should defend principles and not interests. Interests change according to circumstance and are not always clearly understood to those outside a given group. But priciples can be articulated and shared between many groups. NARAL should support Russ Feingold not merely for his position on abortion but for his opposition to the Patriot Act. Ultimately he is defending the right to privacy in both cases and all the protections that follow.

        •  "Choice" by any other name (none)
          You say "choice" is a positive word, but Dean's little old lady doesn't think so.  She associates it with extremism.  I want her vote. If changing our terminology will help gain her support, then let's change our terminology.  

          After all, "life" in isolation is a positive word, but it takes on whole new shades of meaning when one tacks on the "pro-" part.

          •  The problem is (none)
            the Democratic Party has let the Republicans and the Religious Reich frame "pro-choice" as equalling "pro-abortion".

            Maybe it's time we reframe the debate, by branding "pro-life" as "pro-control". If the Right was really "pro-life", they'd be supporting policies that would improve people's lives, such as living wage, universal health care, affordable housing, etc.

            But that would be too simple, wouldn't it?

            "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

            by Cali Scribe on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:56:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Words have meaning... (none)
            ...take away "choice" and you--

            (a) Won't get the little old lady's vote (she doesn't like those gays, either, don't you know, and DEMOCRATS ARE THE PARTY OF GAYS)

            (b) Will alienate the current supporters of the Democratic Party.

            Quit chasing Republican votes and figure out a way to get the working class NON-VOTERS off their sofas and into the voting booths--pulling the lever marked "Democrat".

            Want to know how to do that?  Put together a progressive, pro-working class economic programme and sell it against the Republican's pro-corporate agenda.

            That would be much more difficult than repackaging the same old tired DLC nonsense, though, wouldn't it--because so many Democrats have sold out to the pro-big business agenda in the past 25 years.  Can't blame Dean for not wanting to take on THAT fight--but it has to be done.

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:57:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Boy was he good today. (none)
        I saw it after you did...he was a little nervous, and therefore not as smooth as we saw in 2003,  and so was russert...I noticed russert flubbed some lines.

        But I could see Delay just drenched in flop sweat, as Dean repeated [just as Luntz tells  bush to do during a speech] the attack points for the 4th or 5th time.  

        Thank Goodness someone finally realizes that marketing and framing a mass message, matters more today, then the underlying message itself. [repeat, rinse, repeat]

        And when he directly and emphatically refused to apologize..priceless.  They're so used to seeing a Dem bow like a battered spouse.

      •  We believe in individual rights (none)
        This is exactly the point.

        Because we support individual rights we have chosen to defend the individual's rights as well, be it gay rights, abortion rights, civil rights,etc.

        We end up a champion of the issue rather than a champion of the individual.  

        I agree we have been strangled by special interests.

        Why is the gay issue, for example, a Democratic issue?  We support the right for people to pursue the life of thier choice.  We don't support bedroom activity-gay or straight.
        Maybe some reframing is in order.

      •  re: (none)
        So the lady next door is pro-choice.  Move on.
      •  exactly (none)
        the problem is NARAL and others, due to a single-issue fixation, put all people who identify themselves as 'pro-life' under the same umbrella. 'you're either with us, or you're with pat robertson and eric rudolph.'

        the old woman Dean speaks of could be considered a 'pro-life democrat'. does she hate abortion? yep. does she think it should be a personal choice? yep. contrast that with your typical pro-life "there oughta be a law" republican, who hates on abortion and would love nothing more than a constitutional ban.

        when i think of a 'pro-life dem', i think of someone like the old lady above, who hates abortion but believes that it isn't her job to enforce that belief on others based on..wait for it...a right to privacy.

        like gun rights; there are pro-gun dems who think people should have the right to arm themselves, and are smart about it, and there are pro-gun goopers who are, frankly, frightening people.

        as long as you assume all people who identify as 'pro-life' have the same extremist anti-abotion mindset as the worst of christian right-wingers, you're doomed to fail.

        alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

        by chopper on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:59:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  All true, but so then is the Gooper Coalition (none)
    It's true about being a Coalition of parts...but to be complete, their are floods of people who would not turn out and vote if they weren't concerned about 2nd Amdn and Abortion and Taxes. (hoho called it "Guns, God, and Gays," but it he left out Greed.)

    When abortion was a states issue, Reagan was Pro Choice...because California is Pro choice...No Governor has ever been elected in California who is against choice.  When Abortion became a Supreme Court issue, Reagan flip flopped in 1975 and became anti Choice...Just like how Bush Sr. Flip Flopped in 1988 on choice.

    They Flipped because that's the only way to motivate a significant segment of their block to come out and vote...they don't have a progressive, good gov mindset...this group doesn't care about Fuel Standards.

  •  Good post... (none)
    I think you're right on track.  Democrats need to stand up for core principles... and the core principles need to be acceptable not only to strong liberals like you and I but to a broad range of Democrats and voters in general...

    As for the specific issue of abortion, I am absolutely revolted at how Democrats use this issue.  I don't give a shit about the rhetoric--all that matters is results, ensuring women have as much reproductive choice as possible.  In this regard, I fear Democrats are failing...

    With its stridency on abortion, the pro-choice movement actually may be limiting womens' choices with their stridency.  They are so determined to stand up for principle that they end up losing the battles and undermining womens' protections.  

    It would be better to take a more ambiguous public stance on abortion but to push privately for making more and more options available to women.  Since polls show that most Americans perfer a common sense approach to abortion, as long as our rhetoric is moderate they'll be happy.  In this regard, Democrats could learn a lot from President Bush.

    •  'Stridency on Abortion' huh? (none)
      Yes lets go all ambiguous and lets be all things to all people - can't afford to upset anyone now can we?

      Someone can be personally anti abortion but still be pro choice in the bigger scheme of things - there is no contradiction here. The individual is just saying this is my philosophy, yours may be different and that is fine with me. Isn't that what we are meant to be about you know, tolerance, understanding etc. This is what makes us different to the Rethugs.

      Personally I want a pro choice, pro peace and cooperation, democratic, environmentally friendly, Corporation regulating, wealth redistributing, Democratic party.

      These are all single issues but they all spring from the same Liberal/progressive philosophy. I don't want a Democratic party that the likes of Lieberman feels comfortable in - that has been our problem - ambiguity.

      Lets for once set out our stall and let them come to us. If we are percieved as possessing integrity they will come, if not in 2006 then in 2008.

      'Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it'. - GBS

      by stevej on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:49:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You need me and NARAL. (3.84)
    Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party.

    For you, perhaps.  I can tell you this however, I will -never- vote for an anti-choice Democrat.  I won't vote for the Republican either, but you guys (and by you, I mean the Democratic Party) need my money and my support in every single race you run.  You can't afford to throw me and tens of thousands of other women like me away, which is exactly what the Democratic Party is doing when it nominates anti-choice candidates.  The Democrats need to stand for some fundamentals, and abortion is one of those fundamentals, just like civil rights and Social Security.  For those of you that say that Democrats should be "flexible" on this issue, would you also be ok with the Party fronting a segregationist as a candidate?  There are some things we can't back down from and choice is one of them.

    In any case, if the Party panders to people like Ezra and Amy and weakens its support for reproductive choice, it will lose my money and my time.  And it needs those things just as badly as it needs my vote.

    That said NARAL should have issued a joint endorsement of Chafee and the pro-choice Democratic candidates, Brown and Whitehouse.    

    •  You'll take your ball and go home? (4.00)
      After all..

      Minority rights.. dont matter.
      Workers rights .. dont matter.
      The environment .. doesnt matter.
      War for oil     .. doesnt matter.
      Fascism         .. doesnt matter
      Bill of rights  .. doesnt matter..

      Because if someone isnt a zealot for your cause... then nothing else matters..

      The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

      by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:53:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Truth is, (none)
        we're all single-issue voters. We're just arguing about which issues are primary.

        I'd vote for a pro-life Democrat, because that's not my hotbutton issue. I'd vote for a pro-war Democrat, ditto. I'd vote for a pro-ANWR drilling Dem, or an anti-gay marriage Dem. I'd hate doing it, but I'd vote for them over a Republican with a better record, because overall I think all those things are better served by a strong D party with weak members than a weak D part with strong members.

        But if I Democrat said gays were evil and blacks were inferior, I'd never vote for him, even if he was great on workers right and all of the above. Does that make me a zealot for a cause? Maybe. But there've got to be things a Dem could stand for--or against--that alone would prevent you from voting for her, despite the rest of her record.

        Joe Lieberman has a damn fine record, except for two or three things, primarily the company he keeps and his hawkishness. Here on DKos, we all tend to be single-issue about those things, so we all tend to hate Joe. But he's great on dozens of other issues.

        That's why this debate is circular and unprofitable. It's not really about single-issue groups, or fundamental principles, it's still about pointing the finger at someone else's single-issue and saying they're wrong, but when they return the favor you call your own single issue 'fundamental.' (And that 'you' doesn't refer to you, cdreid, just a general pronoun.)

        •  Agreed (none)
          would I vote for an anti-choice Dem or a pro-choice Rep?

          This is a key, or hot button issue for me, but I agree there are soooooo many others on which the Republicans are just plain wrong. Including Chaffee.

          Even if both candidates were anti-choice, it'd be very hard (witness what will probably happen in PA, although that's not really a choice because there you're just voting on plain sanity.)

          But I have to say, my hand is going to push that Dem button, even if I have to hold my nose to do it, because the Rep party is going to do so much more to restrict my rights.

        •  You're just wrong Gussie (none)
          And that is actually the whole point of Markos' post.

          If a politician said blacks and gays were evil.. he wouldnt be a democrat. He'd be a republican mole.. sorta like Lieberman, Miller, Breaux and company.
          If you personally say you cannot vote for Senator Reid because he isnt prochoice that makes you a citizen, not a zealot. If i say i cannot vote for a politician who isnt strongly for the bill of rights,  and changing our corrupt economic system.. that makes me a citizen.

          When our Party and its' principle players however pick and choose issues based on poll data but dont actually stand for principle.. that makes the party corrupt. It makes the party a servant of it's aristocracy. And that force has been in play since the Carter years.

          When we stand for (all of) the bill of rights, the working class, fairness and justice we will become the party of america again. Until then we can sit back and watch the far right have their way with us.

          The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

          by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:06:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So people (none)
            voting based on single-issues is fine, and the single-issue groups are fine, too. It's only when the party caters to those people and groups based on poll data that there's a problem?
            •  not really ... you're sidetracked (none)
              it's a math problem ... in the senate, the answer is 51 (or 50, if the right occupant is up the street at 1600 Pennsylvania) ... in the house, the answer is 218 ...

              the reason behind it is, if those targets are reached, our side can establish the agenda by controlling what gets introduced, who gets recognized on the floor, what makes it through committee ...

              it's most often what a majority of the caucus decides is important ... all these single issues do well in our side's caucus ... an additional caucus member who may not be strong on a particular issue, but helps our caucus control the agenda, is extremely valuable to those causes our side respects

              meanwhile, as minority party, legislators' concerns include bringing something home ... call it pork, or call it needs (most of the time, it depends on who's lookin') ... therefore, they've got to make some "play nice" votes ...

            •  Um no (none)
              You as a voter have the obligation to vote for whom you wish. However when the party, or an interest group within the party.. or any other group decides we should be a party based on poll chosen issues rather than core principles we are rightly viewed as unprincipled and merely seeking power.

              Its about principle. The nonwingnuts when asked why they voted for bush say over and over its because , while they disagree with what he says his priniples are, they trust him to stand up for his principles. (Of course.. he doesnt actually have any but thats another subject). When they talk about us they say that we only seem to stand for abortion and gun control.. that they dont know what we stand for.. or that we stand for whatever gets us votes. That tells you a Lot about why we are powerless right now. And why we werent under the leadership of FDR, Kennedy, Johnson.

              The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

              by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:14:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  So women's rights don't matter...? (none)
        Your line of arguemnt is just as applicable to anti-choice Democratic candiates, of which we have more than a few in elected office, including those who vote for trojan horse laws the the "PBA" ban fiction.

        So we should be happy with anti-gay, anti-women canidates because he or sheis good on the enviroment?

        So I should fall on my sword on my rights, becuase a candiate is ok on your pet issue?

        cheers,

        Mitch Gore

        Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

        by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:01:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not quite (none)
          Think about what you're saying Mitch.

          You're arguing the Senator Reid -BAD. But the prochoicers who helped decimate our safety net - good. While the prochoicers who were behind the Iraq war - good... etc etc etc.

          We need to support Democrats because they are Democrats. You can nitpick that all you want and rationalise yourself into oblivion. But who is a democrat and who isnt is pretty clear and pretty understandable. If you're a member of the DLC you are indeed NOT a democrat. If your name is Lieberman you are NOT a democrat. If your name is Harry Reid you definitely Are a democrat.

          And Mitch there is a whole lot more to womens rights.. which flow from individual liberty.. than just choice.

          The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

          by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:59:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do think about what I am saying... (none)
            Reid is bad on women's rights, because he did vote with the GOP on the "PBA" ban fiction. Do I dislike him being the Senate Minority leader, on balance no, but don't sit there and tell me he is good on women's right, he isn't. He suck on that issue when it comes to specific policy and legislation (i.e. where the rubber meets the road, to use the cliché).

            Will I take him over a Rick Santorum?

            Any fucking day of the week. Would I take him over a Sen. Boxer?

            Not a fucking chance, because I cannot rely on him to secure my partners rights over her own body under the law.

            Nor will I get all bent out of shape if NARAL or any other advocacy group endorses a Chafee, who I trust more on that issue than Reid, or numerous other Democrats.

            Does this mean I want Reid ousted from the party? No.

            But I have not called for Langevin to be ousted either, but as a candidate for blue. pro-choice leaning RI... no fucking way. Why should I?

            And if Langevin is the best we can do in RI, then we are in serious fucking trouble as a party, precisely because we have only 'viable' in Kos and the D triple Cs view, candidate that don't back the party position on women's rights (which flow out of the right to privacy) as a principle.

            For you, Kos, Armando and anyone else to bitch and moan because an advocacy group endorses a GOP candidate which is bette r than numerous Democrats on the issues with which that advocacy group, and the PARTY holds as a serious (and rightfully so) issue, is fucking pathetic.

            Yes I understand that getting a Dem. majority will do alot towards safe-guarding women's rights compared to the freaks we have in the GOP leadership at this time, but given that Reid and other Democrats fucked women over on things like the PBA ban, to get all pissy about NARAL sticking to its principles and guns is not just fucking pathetic and lame, but disgusting.

            And for the record, I am not some purity test I "take my ball home if I don't get my way" Democrat either. If that were the case, there are a handful of local Democrats I would vote for and that would be it.

            I am aware of practicalities and political realties, but I am in the party (and actively so in the county party where I live) and I will fight like hell to change the party form within, to evangelize the principled position within the party and to the general public.

            I can live with a Reid from Nevada, but I could not live with a Reid form Rhode Island, nor a Reid from Portland Oregon either. Nor should I have to, since I am on the right side of the issue, Reid, Langevin and numerous other Democrats are not.

            Arrogant of me to say? Oh well. I can and will defend my position on a woman's right to choose, on non-heterosexual equality, on minority rights, on conservation issues, and a whole raft of other issues. I won't sell myself out on those issues and many others. Will I lump it and campaign for a Candidate who is on the wrong  side of some of those issues?

            Yes, if the alternative if worse. ANd I have done so in more than one election cycle, up to and including donating time and money toward such campaigns.

            But for people to get pissy with me because I won't "fuck NARAL" as Armando, and Kos have been agitating for because NARAL correctly endorses a candidate who IS on the correct side of the issue that NARAL is an advocacy group for, which is also the correct side that the bulk of the party supports as well, which Langevin, Reid and many other Democrats are not on, sorry, I am not a fucking robot who blindly backs any schmuck with a big D tapped to the end of his/hers name.

            Should we be screaming to "fuck" groups like "Veteran's For Peace" because they have issues with Lieberman over his GOP stance on war?

            I find you ranting about DLC Democrats NOT being Democrats as being even more absurd than the misguided attempt to paint me as some "my way or the highway" Democrat. SO Bill Clinton is not a Democrat? (FYI it isn't DLCers as a group that are the problem, though Al From can fuck himself gently with a chainsaw IMNSHO, but rather blue-dog Democrats)

            And I am well aware that civil liberties are about many more things than just choice, but you can say that about ANY civil liberty on its own, and I would point out that rights over on' sown body is far more fundamental than suffrage or numerous other more bright-line civl liberty issues. Your attempt to relegate and pit sovereignty over ones own body against other civil rights and liberties is fundamentally flawed. It isn't an either or of women's rights over their own body vs. other civil liberties, its both/and.

            cheers,

            Mitch Gore

            Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

            by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:06:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some small points here (none)
              The dlc is the group that gave us clinton, made us the party of the corporate rather than the people.. and lost us both houses and the presidency.

              Second you're damn straight i have a problem with them and anyone who supports them. I dont care what they think. Dont want to hear it. Wont shut up exposing the rampant psuedo-economic theology they spout. Wont be quiet while they spout their classist plutocratic crap.

              And i know you're a good democrat though we fight constantly. The post however did indeed suggest "ill take my ball and go home!". Well i have a feeling as far as a lot of us are concerned we're better off without anyone of that opinion.

              On this whole issue: I think you've really really really misread the posts you're replying too. You are rather extremist prochoice. More power to ya you have a right to be. But that also makes us kneejerk when we see things attacking our issues. I personally dont want our party to sell out prochoice people. I disagree with a lot of the parties stance on abortion (parental notification etc) but i do NOT want to change the parties position. Because most of the party faithful agree with you. However when an interest group whos only powerbase is its power within our party.. to have them sabotage us? That is a political question. And i think you and i agree on what should happen to those who sabotage us politically.

              Let me just say that again to make it clear. I dont want the party to moderate its choice stance. I havent seen other serious posts suggesting that. I think you're reading in things that arent there. But extremists Demanding allegiance to their personal cause? As far as im concerned they can take a flying leap. What happens to NARAL etc if the democratic party tells them they're persona non grata? They disappear. And a more sane and loyal organisation takes their place.

              The Democratic party needs to adopt its own moral and values principles (clawed)

              by cdreid on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:09:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  First off... (none)
                I am no fan of the DLC by and large, and agree with your take on 'triangulating' against basic progressive/Democratic populist principles which have been a bedrock to the Democratic Party since FDR.

                My point was, the real issue is blue-dog Democrats, more than the DLC, though I have no love lost for either group. There was a very insightful diary about the issue of blue-dogs being the real problem, much more so than the DLC... though I will repeat, I wouldn't piss on Al From if he was on fire.

                Second, your label of 'extremist' is wildly off the mark, as is your take that I am "take my ball home" or anywhere else for that matter. In fact its quite the opposite.

                I am firmly in the party, and I will not sell out principles for political expediency. Period. But I am not leaving the party, nor am I slacking of on my activism within the party or for the party.

                I will however tell people who are railing against usually allied advocacy groups, who do in fact help most of our candidates, and take a no apologies principled stand on the issue they advocate for, which is also a specific set of issues which are based on core principles I refuse to sell out on, that their "I am going to fuck NARAL" attitudes are not only myopic, but fucking pathetic.

                More importantly however is the dismissal and condescending attitude that somehow basic civil rights, like control over one's own body is 'demanding allegiance to their personal cause?' to the detriment of you or the party.

                You can say that about ANY single issue, so what does a party stand for if it will cut lose on an 'personal cause' for political expediency?

                What is comical is that 'party' supports are screaming vengeance because an issue advocacy group is endorsing someone who is better on the issue they advocate for, than many Democrats. It is insane to get bent on that and 'fuck NARAL' when they are in fact advocating for something which is non-negotiable (i.e. women's rights over their own bodies).

                cheers,

                Mitch Gore

                Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                by Lestatdelc on Tue May 24, 2005 at 09:55:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I got pissy wioth you (none)
              for repeating falsehoods about me.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Tue May 24, 2005 at 01:31:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Really? (none)
                First I didn't repeat any falsehoods about you, and you in fact accused me of lying (which is fucking bullshit)

                Second, you did in fact get pissy about NARAL and said you personally were going to try and "fuck NARAL" as best you could.

                cheers,

                Mitch Gore

                Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

                by Lestatdelc on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:21:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  vote nader? (none)

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:33:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Familiar rant v. "special interests" (4.00)
    It seems so familiar...maybe I heard it from THIS fellow?

    Perhaps someone should have warned Arnold Schwarzenegger that nurses are no pushovers. For weeks, California's famously tough Governor has been locked in a furious feud with the state's R.N.s over his decision to suspend new state rules that would limit the number of patients a nurse must care for. The tiff took off at a statewide women's conference in Long Beach last December, when the Governor ridiculed a group of nurses who were there to protest. To be sure, the R.N.s were provocative, unfurling a banner that read HANDS OFF OUR RATIOS--a not-so-subtle reference to allegations of female groping by Schwarzenegger that had dogged his gubernatorial campaign. But his response set a combative tone. "Pay no attention," the Governor told the 10,000 women in attendance. "They are the special interests ... I am always kicking their butts."

    http://www.calnurses.org/index.php?Action=Content&id=709

    Schwarzenegger thinks environmental groups, nurses, teachers, cops, firefighters--all of them are "special interest" groups whose agendas interfere with the greater good.

    Yes, quite a familiar rant.

    Except...except when you add all those groups together, they amount to a large part of the Democratic Party.

    Without union members, environmentalists, and so forth, there is no separate entity called the "Democratic Party".

    I understand all too well the idea that groups must act strategically--for example, the novel idea that a pro-choice group like NARAL would either sit out the Rhode Island race or endorse an anti-choice Democrat over a pro-choice Republican as part of a grand strategy to retake the Senate--but this entire post operates from a fundamental fallacy.

    That fundamental fallacy is this:  that a separate entity called the "Democratic Party" exists.  The Democratic Party has an organisational structure, people who run it, highly-paid consultants who jet from, oh, say Berkeley to New York City to attend closed door sessions which we ordinary folk are not privileged to attend...but without its members...these so-called "special interests"...it is nothing but a shell.

    The Republicans don't insult their disparate "special interests"--they attend to their needs quite closely and try to balance them.  That's all the Democrats need to do...it doesn't take any magic trick, just common sense.  And it certainly doesn't take any insults from people who accuse their own party of being a bunch of selfish "special interests" who can't see the forest for the trees.

    This critique is tired and hackneyed and spectacularly unhelpful.  Why not suggest a way the Democrats can satisfy NARAL and beat Chafee--by running the strongest pro-choice Democrat available and knocking Chafee out of his seat?  Best of both worlds.

    You go into elections not with the Democratic Party you would wish to have, but with the party you actually have.

    And how, pray tell, is the Democratic Party supposed to tame its "special interests"?  NARAL, for example, is under no obligation to anybody but itself--so what are you going to do about them endorsing Chafee?  The time to do something about is before the endorsement--negotiate with the leaders of NARAL to find a suitable Democratic candidate or at least get them to refrain from endorsing anyone in the election.  Publicly scolding an independent organisation--as Schwarzenegger did with the California Nurses Association--is a very, very bad idea.

    Kos' idea, in other words, is to launch a civil war inside the Democratic Party.  Hey, that's just the thing Democrats need right now, more infighting.

    I haven't "misunderstood" the idea (a familiar charge Kos and Armando make when they come up with bad ideas)--I understand it all too well.  I just think it's incredibly stupid.

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:59:26 AM PDT

    •  good response (none)
      but you've got holes, and despite your claim at the end I think you have misunderstood the post.  The point here is that it is about moral values, not specific issues and boxes that need to be checked in order to be a Democrat, Democrats share the same set of moral values, and the groups that make up our core constituancy should recognize that.  A pro-life Democrat shares the basic values that tend to lead to a pro-choice position, in this case to use Kos' language "right to privacy."  That is the value that is shared by all Democrats and in most cases leads to a pro-choice position.  Some people see the issue in terms of life and death of a baby, this is a different frame, but the larger frame is the right to privacy that the Democratic Party stands for.  And because respect for the right to privacy is a dominant value in the Party that all Democrats share then pro-choice groups are better off endorsing pro-life Dems than pro-choice Repugs.  The mainstream of the Democratic Party will never turn anti-choice (barring a total Party switch like we've seen a few times in the past) because the moral values of the party lead to pro-choice positions.  We need to be selling our moral values to the public, not our individual positions on each tiny issue.  What we do right now is try to keep our core constituancies in tact and selling our platform issue by issue.  Most voters don't pay that much attention, we need to sell our candidates as a broad set of values.  And if one plank on the platform is different, then so be it.  They are still a Democrat, and still embody the same basic values that we hold dear.

      "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

      by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:15:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are wrong (4.00)
        I understood it perfectly:  voters respond to a broad set of values.

        I happen to think it's quite wrong.  Bush, for example, triumphed in Ohio partly because Rove made sure an anti-gay marriage initiative was put on the ballot...to increase turnout on single issue voters (they hate gays).

        Voters respond to concrete issues, not values.  And I don't appreciate having things "explained" to me by people who think they're smarter than I am.

        Some people vote Republican because Republicans are anti-gun control.

        Some people vote Republican because Republicans are anti-gay marriage.

        Some people vote Democratic because Democrats are pro-gun control.

        Some people vote Democratic because Democrats are pro-gay marriage.

        And yes, it's a checklist of issues.  That's American politics.  Republicans just happen to be better at turning out the vote for THEIR set of issues, that's all.  

        I'm sorry you don't like American politics the way they are, but that's just too bad.

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:24:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't buy that argument (4.00)
          I don't think that'sthe way American politics are.  Republicans have sold themselves on a moral values platform, if not then they would be a totally unelectable party.  The reason for this is apparent, they support policies that benefit the very wealthy who represent no more than 5% of the population.  So they talk about the culture wars as though they were moral values, and they are.  They are moral values compatable with a strict father family.  We need to sell our policies in terms of the moral values of a nurturing parent family.  I've got a challenge for you.  Think about the Republican platform.  Now think "what ties these together, why do they have this position on taxes and this position on gay rights?"  Now after whatever answer you think of ask yourself this "now why do I hold the exact opposite view on all (or nearly all) of these issues."  The answer is a broad set of moral values.

          If American poltics are defined by people voting consciously about the platforms of the candidates and making a truly objective decision then how do you explain the PIPA report and others like it which showed the Bush voters had no clue where Bush stood on any issue and often disagreed with his view, but Kerry voters knew where Kerry stood.  The answer I would contend is that Bush convinced them that he shared the same moral values while Kerry offered every detail of his platform (thus opening him up to accusations of being a flip flopper).  So over half the voting population voted for a candidate who's platform they didn't know.  Not only that, but hateful anti-gay voters make up no more than 30% of the population.  Not all of them are going to be single issue voters, so how is Bush going to win by getting what is overwhelmingly a minority to the polls.  He doesn't, what he does is convince people that Kerry is for gay marriage, and suddenly a whole bunch of people who share Kerry's pro-civil union position are voting for Bush and for constitutional amendments banning civil unions.  If Kerry had come out and instead of saying "I don't support gay marriage but I support giving the same rights to gay couples that married couples have (AKA civil unions)." If Kerry had instead said "Equality under the laws is one of the core values that defines America, and robbing gay couples of those rights as the Bush administration seeks to do is wrong and takes us on a path to tyranny and oppression."  Had Kerry said something to that effect suddenly the civil union people all say "yeah, I agree with that" instead of saying "boy I don't know if they should be allowed to get married."  Kerry never established any moral values, while Bush's strict father moral values were over the top and obvious.  So the answer to your concluding statement would be that no, I don't like the way American politics function.  I would prefer for us to be able to win by speaking the truth and having an intellectual discussion about what is the best policy to pursue.  I would love for American politics to work like that.  But I don't think American politics do work like that.  It's values that win the day, and we need to accept that and start establish a language that can win if we hope to ever really compete.

          "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

          by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:53:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And most people vote Republican (none)
          because they are the party of values.  This is a branding issue, not a single, concrete issue.  Part of the point of this post was that we need to couch all of our interests under a single branding that we can sell to the voter.  If the Democrats capture all the single-issue voters and lose all the "branded" voters, I think we'll still lose, because most people aren't single-issue activists.  They have their own list of things they want.  Those who understand the politics of the candidates will make decisions and compromises as they look at the candidates' positions.  The large number of voters who do not understand the candidates' politics will look at the parties' (and candidates') brand, and make their decision from that.  Issue checklists do not a brand make.

          And I am so sick of this excuse that the Repubs won because they turned out their special interest groups better than the Dems.  For some reason, activists and pundits alike love this conveniently simple yet oh-so-incorrect answer.  Even the most talked-about group, the Fundies, aren't single issue voters.  They want (and are pretty close to getting) a wide variety of issues.  We lost because we never had got a coherent, branded message through the media filter to the average voter.  The Republicans have done such a better job at branding that they were able to cover up incompetence with a comforting brand that appealed to people on a broad base of issues, even though anyone who looked carefully at specifics could see that the brand was false.  

          "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." George Bernard Shaw

          by Shygetz on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:48:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Rebranding" is nonsense (4.00)
            The problem is not the advertising slogan.

            The problem is not the package.

            The problem is the product.

            Half of all people don't vote.  Why not?  Why aren't they voting Democratic?

            It's because the Democrats don't fight for them on economic issues.

            Read Thomas Franks' "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and you'll see that he doesn't call for "rebranding", he calls for substantive changes in the Democrats' economic programme--pro-working class and anti-big business.

            But the well-educated, well-heeled shepherds of the Democratic Party, whose own class interests are aligned with those of big business, don't want to hear that message.  So they babble on about "branding" and "repackaging" and basically selling the same old tired bill of goods in a shiny new wrapper.

            Voters, and non-voters, aren't fools.  They may not have all the fancy advertising slogans and such in their vocabulary, but they can clearly see when politicians are fighting for them and when they're not.  They'll stand up and fight for the Democrats if the Democrats will fight for them.  

            It's as simple as that.

            There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

            by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:02:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You think voters can clearly see (none)
              who is fighting for them?  If that is the case, why do so many vote against their interests?  If it's not because of the advertising, then why?  Is it because the electorate's interests are being better protected by the Rebublicans?  Bull.  

              Now you can argue against big business, and I'll buy into at least part of that argument.  But if the Republicans can brand it as "Democrats are against capitalism!" then we will lose, no matter how many people our policy helps.  The recent incarnation of the Republican party has shown that you can hide unpopular policy with good advertising; imagine what you could do with popular policy given good advertising.  If you had read Franks' book that you are recommending to me, you would know that he believes that the Republicans have fooled middle-class America through concentrating on "moral" issues, and ignoring financial ones.  You think that, by ignoring the techniques of public relations and concentrating on financial populism, we can win these people back?  Nope, read the book you recommend.  Hell, Republicans are convincing people that the estate tax is about morals!  If all we needed was better financial policy for the middle class than Republicans, we would be the majority.  We need populist policy and better public relations to get that policy to the voters and convince them that it is both important and what government should be working on.

              People may or may not be fools, but the truth is, most are under-educated when it comes to national policy.  You think voters just need a populist candidate to convince them to get up and vote?  Bull.  John Edwards, the closest thing we've had to a major populist candidate, lost convincingly to John Kerry in the primaries, and couldn't even encourage his home state to vote Democratic as a VP candidate.  Some people won't be pried up from their couches to vote regardless, and some feel that they don't know enough to vote responsibly, and some feel that their vote doesn't really count in such a large election.  

              By the way, I like your mildly insulting sign-off line.  I think I'll co-opt the idea.

              And you must be a friggn' moron if you disagree with me.

              "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve." George Bernard Shaw

              by Shygetz on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:16:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Individual interests are general, not special (none)
      Unless I mistake your point, you equate "members" with "special interests". This seems like a natural idea, but is, I think, mistaken.

      A handful of activists may identify themselves overwhelmingly with some single issue, but most activists -- and almost all voters -- have broader concerns. Society has broad concerns in part because of the diversity of its component individuals, but this does not imply that individuals themselves are single-issue creatures. Real human beings have concerns related to every major issue we face.

      A single-issue group binds together not people, but parts of people -- the parts concerned with that single issue. A collection of positions on single issues doesn't form a political philosophy, a basis for a powerful movement, or a basis for flexible yet principled governance. It doesn't even engage whole persons.

      I agree with Kos on this one: core philosophy first, issues second.

      I want a social medium that will present controversy as well as Wikipedia presents consensus.

      by technopolitical on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:52:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Add, don't divide or subtract (none)
      except when you add all those groups together, they amount to a large part of the Democratic Party.

      When you ADD those groups together, we have a coalition.

      When you DIVIDE the party by ignoring its collective interests, you SUBTRACT from the party's victories and the party's power.

      That's the math.

      ... with thunderous applause.

      by socal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:54:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're very right about there being no Party (4.00)
      without the constituencies. And too often the Democratic establishment has taken liberal and progressive constituencies for granted, thinking we've no place else to go, and sacrificed our interests. So then at some point these groups do go elsewhere--and then there's a great howling about betrayal. As you suggest, the Democratic establishment should respect the grassroots more and bring them into the decision process, and then there won't be these unfortunate schisms.

      I do think kos has a couple of good points, particularly regarding the fact that NARAL may be actually working against its pro-choice interests by supporting a Republican under any circumstances; and that our party should focus on principles from which issue positions flow. I do see a meaningful distinction there, and one that also shifts focus away from, say, the nonsensical idea that Democrats are trying to get women to have more abortions.

      However, I bridle at the chastising of NARAL as though they were unruly children. And references to "special interests," "interest groups," "Women's groups," etc. honestly just set my teeth on edge. After reading several posts marred by this tone, I've come to the conclusion that this may be an example of a certain tone-deafness in this regard from which some men suffer. (Armando does not--he gets it on this issue.) At least I hope that's all it is, rather than a more deep-seated condescension.

    •  Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner (4.00)
      Kos' idea, in other words, is to launch a civil war inside the Democratic Party.

      "Fort Sumter" in this war occurred on November 3, 2004, as we witnessed the public slapdown of anyone suggesting that fraud was behind the presidential vote.

      Kerry's position on "gay marriage" reported here the other day, is not unlike what Kos has written here about "choice." And Kos viciously panned Kerry for it, as I recall, repeating the vicious spineless ass slur, apparently to great applause.

      I will say one thing about Kos' position on choice.  It's nuanced.  And he wants to remind everyone, that before he votes for someone who's against choice, he's really for it.

    •  great post!!! (none)
      this is it for me.This is the problem with kos' diary, you hit it right on the head.

      The special interests have to fight their fight, have to fight for their cause- that's their role.
      A party that has it togehter may have been able to stop this particular incident, but yelling at NARAL isn't helpful.

      We have a democratic party shell that isn't a real structure the way that it needs to be.  To strenghten democrats we need to build that shell.

      This isn't the same as talking more about messaging as the other reply discusses, or figuring out our platform.  privacy vs. abortion vs. super broad vs. super specific.

      Its about the fact that we need to stop outsourcing the democratic party to interest groups. Those groups are amazing and do good things but we need a real party.  Democratic leaders, that are just that, democratic leaders not really the heads of choice groups, environ groups etc.  With the infrastructure behind the party that begins to create an identity that we call belong to.

    •  There is a fundamental fallacy (none)
      in your argument as well, though I agree with much of your post..

      Why not suggest a way the Democrats can satisfy NARAL and beat Chafee--by running the strongest pro-choice Democrat available and knocking Chafee out of his seat?  Best of both worlds.

      Because there are a LOT of pro-life Democrats who would not support this candidate.

      I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

      by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:52:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats as... (none)
    The party of responsibility? patriotism? family? human dignity? the party of "we" instead of the party of "me"? champions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? defenders of the Constitution? technology? science? the arts? the future?

    It would be a hard task to consolidate these into a single message, but then again maybe there's no need to. The message that we must get across is that we will not compromise our morality or ideals in the face of danger or the temptations of power. We have to mean it.

    My friend thehim has an interesting analysis in which he perceives a dichotomy in attitudes -- maybe this is a unifying theme of Democrats?

    The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken

    by Boss Tweed on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:59:27 AM PDT

  •  Without Choice (4.00)
    there can be no self determination nor can there be Democracy! Never forget this unless you want a Tyranny!

    "We drew the line in the sand, and like the fools they are, they stepped into the abyss." HMSJO

    by hmsjo on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:01:18 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely right (4.00)
    Many people who should know better call the Democratic Party a "coalition party" that has taken interest groups and meshed them together into a political party.  This is false, and needs to be combatted.  A while back when Kos posted about The D Brand he suggested that we use "The Democrats are the Party of people who work for a living."  But this misses the point precisely where the post today hit the nail on the head.  We need to talk about values.  Saying who we fight for talks about values little more than talking about individual check list boxes of what we support.  Here you cited "the right to privacy" and "equality under the law."  This is moving in the right direction.  In a diary that no one read I felt like I came up with the right brand.  And I will throw it out here, and use it at every opportunity I get until it's obviously rejected or has won approval and wide use.  The Democratic Party stands for a safer world, equity, and responsible government for a better future.  For more information on my reasoning as to why this is the correct brand, read the diary linked above.

    "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

    by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:01:28 AM PDT

    •  How about the values of... (4.00)
      ...Individual freedom?

      ...Right to privacy?

      ...Right to control your own body?

      All are folded within the abortion rights issue.  If a woman doesn't have the right to control her own body, she is not an equal citizen.

      It's as simple as that.  

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:06:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No they aren't (none)
        I listed all of them.  They all fall in under "responsible government" a government that doesn't try to control every detail of its citizens lives.  Republicans have successfully sold themselves as "lower taxes, smaller government, moral values"  Their platform is embodied in that frame, but it is not specifically mentioned.  I have emboddied absolutely every principle of the Democratic Party in that brand.  Vaguely yes, but it's supposed to be vague, it's supposed to be understandable.  A responsible government wouldn't involve itself in a tragic family affair as in Terri Schiavo.  The Terri Schiavo fiasco was at its core a debate over the right to privacy.  And a responsible government would not act that way.

        "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

        by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:24:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The terms are so fuzzy.. (none)
          ...that they are meaningless.  It's verbal mush.

          Voters want to know:

          1. What are you going to do about jobs and taxes?
          2. What are you going to do about crime and schools and health care?

          They've already made up their minds on those other issues.  You're not going to get anti-gun control or anti-abortion people to vote Democratic and that's just the way it is.

          The nice part is, you don't have to.  Polls show that 80% of all Americans favour gun control, and 65% favour abortion rights.  Problem is, Democrats are no bloody good at turning out voters who support them--it's organisational issues at the local level that affect this as much as anything else.  Democrats are also not aggressive enough.

          "Responsible government"--bah, that term is so general both sides could use it.  It's meaningless.  Who the hell is going to be for "irresponsible government"?  You have to give people something to put their teeth into.

          For example:  how about a change in taxes that raises taxes for the rich and cuts taxes for the middle class?  That's a concrete programme, not some vague promise of "responsible government".  Spare me the euphemisms and weasel words.  Politics is already too full of them.

          There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

          by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:44:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obviously not (none)
            If voters really wanted to know

            1)what are you going to do about jobs and taxs
            2)what are you going to do about crime and schools and health care

            Then Kerry would have won in a landslide, because people didn't agree with Bush on those issues, and all they have to do is take a look around to see that Bush's aproach sure as hell isn't working.  It's supposed to be fuzzy, it's supposed to be something that voters can wrap their hands around and say "yeah, that's what the Democratic Party stands for" they can't be expected to say that about the entire fuckin' platform.  First of all they'll find something in there that they really disagree with, and secondly they'll never look at the platform because they'll get everything through the 10 second sound bites.  We need a short coherent values based message that voters can understand.  The point of "responsible government" is to say that what government needs to be is not smaller necessarily, but responsible.  The size of the government doesn't matter if we're going to allow that government to interfere in our private lives.  They are supposed to be values that are hard to disagree with, but that we can frame the Republicans as disagreeing with.  They put "lower taxes" in their values statement and immediatly Democrats without saying anything become "the party of higher taxes."  The brand is something that we can throw out in 10 second sound bites, and when we talk about issues take the relevent part and discuss that value.  It's fuzzy for a reason, it is absolutely necessary to keep it short so that voters can hear it over and over again.  It can't be a paragraph or a run on sentence, it has to be short and sweet and encompass all our values.  It is something that when we talk about issues we can work back to.  Establish the value first, then talk about the issue.  Tell voters why they should care, and once they care about the basic values that our party embodies (and they will) then we can talk them into agreeing with out policies and finally voting for our candidates.

            "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

            by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:05:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  People already know what Democrats stand for (none)
              Maybe that's the problem.

              Democrats started to lose when the party embraced that DLC centrist bullshit and started aping Republican economic policy.

              Less corporate regulation?  Democrats are for that, too!

              Lower taxes for the rich?  Democrats are for that, too!

              And so on and so forth.

              Your entire premise assumes that voters are so stupid they need to be "sold" the Democratic Party as if it's a new and improved brand of soap.

              But the problem here is not the package, the problem is not the advertising slogan, it's the product.

              The Democrats have steadily moved away from their progressive, working class orientation on economic policy and have been "Republican lite"--the results have been disastrous for the Democrats, as they've lost governorships, control of both Congress and the White House, and are in danger of becoming entirely marginalised.

              All this babble about "values" and "branding" is just Madison Avenue doublespeak that does nothing to address the fundamental problem of the Democratic Party:  it is pro-big business, pro-rich, same as the Republicans--only to a lesser degree.

              That's why half of all voters--including most of the working class!--stay home and don't vote at all.  By staying home on Election Day, they ARE voting--they're voting for "none of the above", which is their right.  

              I submit to you that it's not that voters don't understand what the Democrats are all about, but that they DO understand--which is why they don't fight fo the Democrats.  Because the Democrats sure as hell don't fight for them.

              Many Democrats voted for that odious anti-working class bankruptcy bill.  Talk about "branding"--that branded Democrats as a party who can't even enforce party discipline on a crucial vote like that.

              All this talk of "branding" comes from the same professional political consultants--and some new wannabes, including certain self-important bloggers--who have led the Democrats to disaster and defeat.  Repackage the product is what they're telling us.

              They're wrong.

              You're wrong.

              Your counsel, if followed, will lead to further disaster in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

              There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

              by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:22:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This will surprise you (none)
                But I actually don't entirely disagree with that.  We do need to stop doing stuff like voting for the bankruptcy bill.  And the DLC arguments are full of shit, holding that we're losing elections because we're "too liberal" is a load of shit.  There is a set of core moral values that unites us as Democrats, and I think that a focus on those values will create more loyalty.  Instead of people being afraid of their constituants on crucial votes like the bankruptcy bill we need to know how to justify and rationalize our vote as the right thing to do.  And to do that we must first convince voters of our basic moral framework that generates progressive policies.  The talk of "branding" comes not from the consultants who have lead us to disaster recently, but rather from their opposition.  The theorists like George Lakoff and Jim Wallis.  Lakoff's argument is based in cognitive science and Wallis' (I have less understand of Wallis because I haven't read him, only of him) from a look at how Republicans have convinced voters to vote for vicious policies against their self interest by reading absurd interpretations into the bible.  Wallis (from my understanding) argues for a moral language that supports votes against the bankruptcy bill, against the estate tax repeal.  That's the kind of language that needs to be adopted.  The South Dakota Democratic Party was frontpaged here a few weeks back when they took out a billboard campaign saying "Jesus cared for the poor, so do we."  This is soft, but a good start.  We need to sell ourselves as the party of prosperity, of equality, and of a safer world.  Until we do that we're going to continue to have people trying to "move to the center" by voting for those horrible bills.  The move to the center and the framing arguments are in direct opposition to each other.  You offered what I call the "Wellstone argument" which shares many of the same flaws as the DLC argument.  What we need is not a "move to the left" or a "move to the right" what we need is to establish our moral values which will actually create tougher scrutiny for party loyalty by creating the question for DLC Dems who vote for the bankruptcy bill or estate tax repeal, "don't you value a government that works to create a more prosperous America for our children?"  The answer will be yes, but with that vote is unjustifiable.  These are three distinct factions, one has been tried on a small scale with some success (the Wellstone model), one has been tried on a large scale with no success (DLC model), and the third has not been tried by Democrats, but works quite well for Republicans (moral politics).  I think there are a lot of people out there who would feel alienated by the Wellstone model without a moral frame first.  I think we can be as liberal as we want anywhere in the Country and get elected if people understand the moral values that lead to that vote.  You should read "Don't Think of an Elephant!" by George Lakoff and then decide for yourself whether he is right, but I was totally convinced by it.

                "When I was a boy I was told anybody could become President, now I'm beginning to believe it"-Clarence Darrow

                by cwech on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:54:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  not that simple (none)
        it's only that simple if you presume that the fetus is not also an individual whose freedom is worth weighing.

        "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

        by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:40:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This (4.00)
    diary dovetails nicely with something I've been thinking about lately, namely, the GOP's idealogical consistency.  It occurred to me that issue by issue, Republicans choose the more emotionally resonant, feel-good position.  To wit: everyone gets a tax break!  We're spreading freedom!  Save the brain-dead lady!  You get your money to invest in private accounts!  God Bless America!! Etc.
    Now, of course, anyone even close to being up to speed on these issues isn't fooled by the rhetoric, but unfortunately, most Americans are not up to speed, and so they go with whoever pleases them more emotionally.  Which is usually the GOP, in contrast to the Democrat's wonky, sometimes abstract, and often intellectually conflicted positions (e.g. "At the time and with the available evidence, invading Iraq seemed like the correct thing to do, but now...")
    Which isn't to say that the left needs to be less wonky or conflicted, just that we need to steal a page from the GOP framing handbook.  For instance, health care - should be a slam dunk.  The biggest feel-good position there is - everyone deserves health care.  And yet, the Democratic party flounders on this issue by wonking it up and fear of looking socialist.  If it were a Republican issue, it would be shouted from on high that Health Care is a God-given right and how dare we not provide it for our hard-working citizens, et cetera.        
  •  Precisely (4.00)
    This is precisely the type of statement that needs to be made again and again, so we can remind party members why they are Democrats in the first place. If someone is a Democrat solely because it is the party of abortion rights, that is their right, and candidates will welcome their vote, but too many of these single issue voters makes for a very watered-down party...it becomes shallow, because it's not about fundamental beliefs regarding who we are as a people, but about a pet cause that (no matter how important it might be) is only going to be a small part of the total engine that is the government.

    First we ask: WHY is the Democratic party a natural ally of the pro-choice stance? I'm not sure the only answer is "privacy", although it's no doubt part of the bigger picture. But until groups like NARAL can see and articulate the Big Picture, they will continue to make boneheaded decisions like Chafee and be weak in their overall efforts to support any greater progressive movement.

  •  I agree totally (4.00)
    It's all about the Bigger Picture. Lots of these single issue groups (and they include unions, lawyers, etc.) simply fight for their isolated interests rather than what is good for the party (and America) as a whole. For example in CA we have public employee unions who band together against ANY cuts in their pensions, even when you have retired firefighters and teachers and prison guards making more money per year than WORKING firefighters, teachers and prison guards. If it keeps up we will be paying more money to retired workers than to current workers. Yet these unions won't budge, they won't let us come to common sense solutions. And the Dems in power are hogtied to these backwards, financially irresponsible policies -- both of these groups and others.

    It's time to let Democrats be bold thinkers again, allowed some leeway in certain policy matters as long as the big picture is correct. I'm tired of these single issue groups eating away at our soul for their own dwindling piece of the pie.

    •  Your facts are wrong... (4.00)
      Public pensions in California are calculated on the highest five years of a salary, and then paid at a percentage based on length of service.

      The most a retired civil servant makes is perhaps 50%-75% of his pre-retirement salary--which might be more than the salary of a rookie just starting out in the profession, but not more than a working union member at the top of the scale.

      I see Schwarzenegger's propaganda campaign of lies and misinformation has been very, very effective in California.

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:13:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a Federal Employee (none)
      And most retired officers make more than I did as a rookie...

      Mind you, my income's been flat for four years as my hours worked has declined for 90/week to 40/week.

      That's just the way it is in the civil service: they pay you nothing in the beginning and save the decent money for the very end. Otherwise it would be pretty hard to convince anyone to take the job and impossible to convince them to stay for the full career.

      --- "All I want for Xmas is some art from Alp Ozberker..."

      by opendna on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:30:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And when I was an employee... (none)
        ...working as a professor at UC Riverside, there were retired professors who made more than I did at the beginning.

        "At the beginning" being the operative word.  But your point about saving the high pay for the end of a long career is quite instructive--that's how people are enticed into civil service careers.

        This nonsense about "gold plated pensions" is just an excuse to break the public employees union, which are Democratic Party supporters--notice that Schwarzenegger never, ever, ever asks rich Californians to pay more in taxes to help balance the budget--no, he asks retirees to give up part of their pensions.

        Why is it only working people are required to "sacrifice"?  Why is a policeman who worked 20 years in a beastly job a "special interest" but some fat cat in Silicon Valley who makes $50 million a year NOT a "special interest"?  I guess it's because the rich and powerful get to control the language of politics, and they tell us that we, the working people, are "special interests".

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:07:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The curse of the political consultants (4.00)
    Who know better than all of us what's good for us.

    Abortion rights is important to you?  That's because you're too stupid to know what's really important!  Lemme explain it to you...

    I don't need anybody to explain to me what's important, thank you very much.  

    Gee, with brilliant strategising like this, how can the Democrats possibly fail?  

    Step 1:  Insult your constituents as selfish "special interest" groups, without having any real power to make them change their ways.

    Step 2:  Watch as Democratic Party erupts into further infighting while Republicans continue to consolidate power.

    Step 3:  Well, there is no Step 3.  Everything went to hell in a handcart in Step 2.

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:11:10 AM PDT

    •  Where are the Americans? (none)
      What I want to know is where the fuck are the "Americans". It's not just about one political party you know. It's about people who believe and are willing to die for the right of self determination. The right to have the freedom of choice. The right to as much freedom as you can stand. The right to live life however you want.

      If Kos wants to really make the democratic party cease to be effective then go ahead and tell people that they don't have these rights and see what happens to the party. The neo-cons are going to be laughing all the way to the bank you fools.

      You want to know the big picture? I just posted and article on this very subject. What you know is the result of your own myopic beliefs. Here's the link to the real big picture.

      http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2005/5/23/35634/8012

      "We drew the line in the sand, and like the fools they are, they stepped into the abyss." HMSJO

      by hmsjo on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:34:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Dems Fucked up (4.00)
    Look Im all for beating that weak Republicans in Democrats clothing but we can hardly blame NARL for endorsing the the Republican after the Democrats so blatantly pissed all over there organization.  NARL has to send a message to the Dems...were not push overs and if you  act against our interests were not going to blindly follow party Dogma.  Come fall 06 liberals still going to be beating the chaffing senator and if we dont we have only ourselves to blame.

    My white whale is a fair, free, and true Democracy.

    by IllinoisLiberal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:13:27 AM PDT

  •  This is asinine (4.00)
    Several other posters have covered the most basic points up above, so let me highlight one more: how does it make any sense at all to argue that "in a Dem-controlled Senate, pro-choice rights are going to be safer than in a GOPer Senate," while at the same time arguing in favor of a pro-life Dem from Rhode freakin' Island?!  

    If we elect enough pro-life Dems, what makes anyone think that a woman's right to choose is going to be safe?  Especially on the notion that choice is not a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party?  Moreover, if we need to resort to pro-life Dems in one of the bluest states in the entire country, the right to choose is in a great deal of trouble, because you'd better believe those red-state Dems are going to throw women under the bus when it's politically convenient.

    BTW, since when NARAL the one who's whining?  Did they kidnap Langevin and lock him up somewhere?  Make a credible threat on his life?  What's that you say...they didn't do any of that?  They said they'd oppose Langevin in a primary?  Well boo fucking hoo.  If Langevin doesn't have the stones to defend his pro-life views, then fuck him.  Somebody who doesn't want to stand up to a primary fight isn't someone I'll count on to defend Democratic principles in the Senate.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. --George Bernard Shaw

    by Categorically Imperative on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:17:37 AM PDT

    •  I disagree with kos (3.33)
      on this. I would oppose Langevin myself.

      But his logic is what is always has been - he believes Langevin beats Chafee easily and has serious doubts about the pro-choice Dems.

      If that is true, his logic holds.

      I reject his logic for 2 reasons. One, the issue is too central to our core values. Not negotiable for me. But the key is putting my belief to the test. In a primary. Two, it is too early for that type of calculation.

      But NARAL makes the same mistake and turns its back on the Party that protects its interest now? It is stupid stupid stupid.

      This is a two way street loyalty.

      You seem to argue that it is ok for NARAL to turn its back on the Dem Party, but not ok for the reverse. Well that is just plain bullshit.

      And, oh BTW, when did it become illegal to criticize NARAL?  

      And when I say Frist I mean Dobson.

      by Armando on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, there's where we disagree. (none)
        But NARAL makes the same mistake and turns its back on the Party that protects its interest now?

         The Democratic party 'leadership' and particularly the Senate has, post '04', been loudly signaling their intent to no longer protect these interests.
        The mildest thing that can be said is that those of us who are politically aware and pro-choice have reached a point of deep distrust that the party will to continue to protect pro-choice interests. (and, I might add, for good reason)

        "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

        by colleen on Mon May 23, 2005 at 11:28:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  rhode island is most catholic state in US (none)

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:48:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And RI also (none)
        Has a NARAL D- rating

        If you think that's not unusual, recall  that red state Alaska which has A or A-.  Or that red state Texas, whose rating is bad, but only D.  Massachusetts, another very blue state, only gets C.  

        Again, you're right--it's because of  Democrats, perceiving that RI and MA have a  very Catholic populace, figure that they will pander to it; they also believe that the pro privacy people have nowhere else to go than Democrat, and that therefore they don't have to give NARAL and NOW anything but the shaft in the form of politicians like Langevin who vote 100% antichoice.  Not 71% antichoice like Harry Reid.  Langevin votes identical to Tom DeLay on a woman's right to choose.

        And as a result, neither MA nor RI are prepared for the judicial and legislative fallout from the nuclear option, if Frist has enough votes.

        If the law that is floating around that taking a woman across a state line for an abortion is a felony is passed by the Congress, for example,  women in Rhode Island needing an abortion, but not qualifying under their repressive laws, will be in the same legal situation or worse than women in TX...Except that  Rhode Island is so small, many can walk to CT without difficulty.

        •  Wisconsin gets an F (none)
          So much for the great progressive legacy, for fighting so hard for the Dem ticket that we were the closest blue state in the country, for all the good it's done us on the ground here.

          We have a Senator retiring soon, and I am glad NARAL told the Dems to stop doing to other states what the party did in RI and Penn.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:53:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  only sort of right... (none)
          Your'e absolutely right to say the RI Dems have not much going for them when it comes to choice on the state level. We control 85 percent of the General Assembly in both houses, and while both of them have pro-choice majorities in theory, the reality is that traditionally thath asn't necessarily been the case and that people do end up supporting whatever restrictions are out there. And those people who are  absolutists on protecting choice and actually pro-actively support legislation to that regard, tend to be reps. and senators from more liberal (and often wealthy) areas, like Providence's East Side, that people in the rest of the state and even the rest of the party look down on. We are QUITE fortunate in fact that we just have bad overall status in terms of supporting various protections nad the status of laws on the books, given that fact and that we've got an anti-choice conservative GOP Governor.

          But you are DEAD wrong if you imply that this situation is because Rhode Island Democrats have "pandered on the issue." Actually, far from it, the last three cycles we've gotten GOP governors (the first one actually pro-choice in theory)  while we continuously nominated a staunch defender of choice who, as a State Senator, represented Providence's East Side! The fact is, its the other way around-- there ARE a ton of Rhode Island Democrats who just happen to be anti-choice, and its a big thing to deal with but no one is pandering in either direction to that end. Its all organic, in other words-- we have an anti-choice State Senate President, for instance, not because people were pandering, but because he was the guy everyone liked for the job after his predecessor resigned over possible corruption allegations, regardless of his strident social conservatism. So its not like RI Democrats can try and enforce a more pro-choice line-- institutionally, as I've said elsewhere, there has not been a RI Democratic Party; and legislatively/in state governance at large, as a result of that we do inevitably have a large number of anti-choicers and folks weak on choice occupying roles within the party.

    •  New England pro-lifers (none)
      I am going to hazard a guess that Categorically Imperative is not from New England.  MA and RI are teeming with Catholic (and non-Catholic) voters who are, at a minimum, antiabortion even if they're not completely antichoice too.  Remember Reagan Democrats?  Massachusetts loved Reagan.  

      Democratic Party supporters take New England for granted.  Same with MD.  They do so at great peril.  Find me a Democratic governor in any of those places.

  •  what a paradox... (4.00)
    i freak out when people argue on dkos that we need to make concessions on abortion in order to get our people elected. i'm certain, down deep in my heart, that if we give an inch, they'll take a mile.

    i'd prefer to frame things in ways that will help us win, such as saying "dems fight for our right to privacy." but then a little voice in my head says, "can't ya just hear gale norton saying 'yeah, that's it! i have a right to privacy when i'm polluting my land!'"

    i dunno....sometimes i think we're wasting precious time trying to win back the votes of dumbasses who voted for dubya, when we maybe should be going after those who are apathetic. at least they've done enough thinking about things to come to the conclusion, however erroneous, that it's hopeless.

    ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

    by FemiNazi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:18:04 AM PDT

    •  No one's saying we should conced (none)
      Anything. If you think that, then you are missing the point of this story. I'm not about to conced any ground here, but at the same time, I'm not going to excomincate Dems who don't think exactly as I do.

      As far as the point of this diary, it's not saying we should give up on this issue. It's saying that this isn't the only right to privacy issue out there, and there's a lot of other issues related to our other core vaules that also deserve our attention. We should be working on all these issuing, not pandering to groups that only work on one of them.

      Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

      by Goldfish on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:49:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, you're in no danger of pandering (4.00)
        to women in this diary.  None whatsoever. . . .

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:38:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ugh. (4.00)
        A woman is reproductive roughly 33 years of a her life, fully one-third, and you have the fucking nerve to render support for the notion that women should have personal control over those 33 years "pandering"?  

        Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts: www.devalpatrick.com

        by lightiris on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:58:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's not the argument in the diary (none)
        As far as the point of this diary...it's saying that this isn't the only right to privacy issue out there, and there's a lot of other issues related to our other core vaules that also deserve our attention. We should be working on all these issuing, not pandering to groups that only work on one of them.

        Kos is saying we should subordinate choice to the right to privacy, and then turn a blind eye when some Dem. politicians are anti-choice.  The problem is that conflated the legal argument for choice with the core principle.

        We don't support choice because of the legal arguments.  We support reproductive choice as a core issue.  

        It's a core issue because women's reproductive rights are central to modern feminism, and helping poor women overcome dire poverty internationally. Plus, the RTLers are attacking only poor women in the US, which also contradicts a core democratic belief.  (Since the only practical affect of right-to-life movement will be to ban abortions for poor women in some states, or nationally, which means the Bush daughters can still go to other states, or Canada or europe).

        Finally, there are liberal feminists who argue against the right to privacy as it's been interpreted post-Brandeis. These are complicated arguments, but it shows there's no good reason to subordinate choice to the right to privacy.  (Unless you're making a legal argument, which is not what this is about).

        This is not to mention the pandering comment, which you haven't explained....would you care to?

        Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

        by markymarx on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:10:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A curse except for one issue (4.00)
    And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

    As a staunch advocate for a woman's right to choose I strongly disagree with NARAL's endorsement of Chafee.  I also agree that Rights of Privacy are absolute Democratic principles.  All of the issues that stem from Privacy Rights are important but I would argue that abortion stands on its own in one specific way, if abortion rights are taken away women and girls will die. As sure as we're sitting here living and breathing women will lose their lives. The fear and terror women face in this political climate cannot be ignored or downplayed.  We are fighting for no less than our lives.  NARAL's endorsement is myopic foolishness but it is also dangerous.  Endorsing a pro-choice Republican senator is the same as endorsing Frist an thus Dobson, et al.  

    When we were placed under the pall of the Patriot Act we felt our civil liberties weakened and infringed upon.  When we lose our religious freedom it is a blow to every American no matter what faith they may be or if they are anti-religion.  But remove the final vestige of our rights of choice and women are sentenced to death or their lives are changed irrevocably if there is no other option besides motherhood.

    I agree that each principle of our party is made up of several single issues. When we speak of equality we are speaking of equality for everyone, that is a Democratic principle. When we speak of civil liberites we are speaking of liberties for each and every American, that is a Democratic principle. When we speak of National Security we are speaking of every American being safe and secure, that is a Democratic principle.

    But to lump abortion in with the spotted owl, trial lawyers, labor and gun control is unfair.   If we were living in the political world pre-2000 many of us would not be so adamant about our party standing firmly behind us on our rights of choice.  The reality is that we are seeing an assault against women that is unprecedented in all of our lifetimes.  

    As a result of what the Republican Party is today many women have taken a more strident position than in the past.  We used to accept being taken for granted.  We used to work campaigns tirelessly without much complaining about our issues that were seldom addressed.  We raised money, phone banked, walked precincts, canvassed, got out the vote, and led voter registration drives. We did all those things for the good of the party because we believed in the principles that our party stood for.  

    As long as I can remember if you asked someone what the Democratic Party is one of the answers would invariably be, the party of choice. Because we are living in a time when the Republican Party has little to no tolerance for the rights of women, our reproductive rights and our rights of choice we have proclaimed ourselves to be single issue voters when it comes to abortion rights. It's really the only issue that engenders that kind of response.

    We're only capable of doing on the outside what we're capable of being on the inside.

    by caliberal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:25:09 AM PDT

    •  Sorry (4.00)
      but the meter seems to have maxed out at 4.
    •  Thank you, caliberal (none)
      But to lump abortion in with the spotted owl, trial lawyers, labor and gun control is unfair.

      Well said.  If women don't have their health and their lives, END OF STORY.  May I repeat that?  END OF STORY.  Some men understand this, some don't.

      I'm really disappointed Kos chose to express himself in this way.  

      The Daily Kos is in many ways a male-centric blog where I seldom feel welcome (and yes, I'm aware some women feel differently, but IMHO, many feel the same way I do.)  

      Between the frequent "bitch-slapped" comments and posts like this where there are so many men who just don't get something this important to women, I tend to stay away more than visit (and certainly rarely feel inclined to participate.)

      (May I just say now how much I truly have appreciated when a man here stands up for the ladies on such occasions - there have been some wonderful men here who have warmed my heart in such cases.)  

      Howard Dean said in an interview Sunday that he was speaking to a woman Democrats describe as pro-choice, but she describes herself as pro-life.  She said she didn't think she'd ever have an abortion, but didn't want to make the decision for anyone else - which we consider pro-choice.  If there is a lack of clarity over the term, then let's work on that.  (And for sure there's a lack of clarity about what exactly Roe v. Wade stands for - most people think it imposes no restrictions on abortion at all, which is not true.)  

      But as caliberal said, to lump choice in with spotted owls, is wrong.  Apparently Kos believes this is better strategy to bring in more voters, but I believe this approach will backfire.  Such statements GREATLY risk alienating a group that has for a long time made the difference to any success the Democratic party has enjoyed - women.  And may I also say, it is a mistake to underestimate the number of pro-choice Independent and Republican women for whom our position on choice is our most compelling calling card.

      I strongly object to such a cherished right being dropped so casually to win votes.  Choice is not what is wrong with the Democratic party.  Surely a wise course of action might be addressing the backbone-challenged who are "representing" us in Congress rather than alienating so many women.

  •  an RI take on things-- LOCAL is what matters (4.00)
    You're lal missing the point here-- what has basically happenned that is irritating, is that a powerful interest group that is publicly perceived as representing the Demcoratic Party's base, and which the way things have operated the last 20 years or so sadly is basically a single-issue component of hte Democratic Party, is trying to make a decision for an entire state! And the most Democratic state in the union, with one of the staunchest progressive traditions in its history (albeit alongside a lot of corruption, and alongside the other usual negatives not in the popular narrative) to boot!

    We're not even talking about a decision made at the height of campaign season, but about 18 MONTHS OUT, before anoyne has really begun to make their case. They decided that their need to stop Langevin at all costs, and to keep Chafee secure as their one semi-decent Republican (who by the way votes for every Bush judicial nominee save one; but that's OK, we'll let Linc do that and make that one guy the basis for NARAL's scorecard so he can get a 100 percent rating!) outweighted whatever we decided here! That's frankly absurd, from a grassroots perspective in growing a progressive movement. Yes, there's a need for single-issue groups to operate, but they need to stop operating in the same old tired paradigm that only gets themselves and all of us progressives in trouble, and makes the Democratic Party look quite weak.

    And in that sense, Kos is right on the mark-- here you have not a group just sticking up for its guns, but assuming that it, from its Washington DC perch, is ENTITLED to make strategic moves using its poltiical power and capital, that affect our lives. No consideration of alternative ways of doing things, of a broaderp rogressive agenda, of letting things hash out-- lets stick to the old way and assert our power as not to be messed with.

    •  a few thoughts... (none)
      ....NARAL certainly can't say they represent the republican base, and since it's a two-party system...........

      NARAL is incredibly powerful and therefore is entitled to make strategic moves using its political power and capital simply because many people feel the battle for a woman's right to privacy is continually being threatened.

      what sort of paradigm, exactly, do you think NARAL should now use, since you seem to think their tactics are tired and troublesome?

      ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

      by FemiNazi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:58:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a few things (none)
        Just quickly a few starters (sorry this is a late reply, but I honestly am looking over comments I made at 4 AM now again for the ifrst time):

        1. For starters, NARAL absolutely is the reflection of a lot of political capital and energy built up, and they should definitely assert that power. In fact, they have every obligation to make it known that they won't let the Democratic Party abandon choice and that they are uncomfortable with anti-choice candidates. But you can't use that power in a vacuum-- context matters in these situations, in terms of how effective you are going to be and how things play out. Langevin, for instance, is a very different individual than Bob Casey, who himself is very different from a Ben Nelson. So NARAL needs to take that more into account, as they did not do in reasserting the tried-and-true way of things here, and realize that standing up loudly for choice is not necessarily enough to send the message even if it feels good. One can be absolute about this issue and send a message, but also understanding of complexities in order to actually  reach people and be effective WITH that position.

        2. In the realm of political power nationally being used, and used blindly, a lot of the problem there is that NARAL is now a DC-based organization mostly and thus caught in its own paradigm. Sure, there are state affiliates in some places, but Rhode Island sure isn't one of them. So, just like the Democratic Party is and other progressive groups are, place more of an impetus on grassroots activity-- but not just as a way of gearing up for national objectives, but actually communicating with people at the local level and factoring them into how things are done out of DC. I'd wager that   with Langevin out of the way and Chafee supporting Bush judges, and being generally weak as a Senator, if you did that with Rhode Island, you'd not have gotten a Chafee endorsement now; ironically the folks I know here on Providence's East Side most active as "progressives" including around choice are some of the ones who like Chafee the most among RI Democrats, as opposed to the average person in the rest of the state outside Providence, but even they are moving away from and generally concerned about Republcian power, and at the very least would want to wait and see. They should be taken into account rather than just making a decisino to tactically keep a friendly (yet ultimatley counterproductive) GOPer greased with cash and crossover legitimacy.

        Its wholly legitimate and desirable for NARAL to remain a powerful institution on a national scale and make those sorts of judgments-- but HOW they make those decisions and whether they recognize the intrinsic downside that comes with their national status, is a problem. The way this situation here in RI has been handled so myopically, with anyone who says otehrwise being told, "well we're defending choice dammit," is not a genuine attempt to do that. I'm all for doing all that can be done to make sure that choice stays at the center of the Democratic platform and is stood up for, but I'm also all for doing so IN ORDER TO REACH PEOPLE as opposed to reactively defending the principle. NARAL's current paradigm does so in a very simplistic way that overlooks local context and tries to game things from the national level, rather than oversee and coordinate them as should be the case.
  •  NARAL and Chafee (4.00)
    Of course a Langevin defeat of Chafee, in and of itself, would have helped the cause of choice. But I think NARAL was looking beyond that one race, and was using its endorsement of Chafee to send a message to other Republican senators that they could be pro-choice and get political support to offset the backlash from their own party.

    It was essentially a hedge bet to protect the right to choose in the event of a total Republican takeover.

    From a single-issue standpoint, you have to make contingency plans to cover the demise of the Democratic Party. From a Democratic standpoint, that's an outcome that can't be contemplated. So, as a Democrat, NARAL's move was pointless; but that doesn't make it counterproductive for supporters of choice.

    Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:35:36 AM PDT

    •  If so, it was a stupid hedge (none)
      It was essentially a hedge bet to protect the right to choose in the event of a total Republican takeover.

      OK, in the event of a "total Republican takeover", let's say 65 Republicans in the Senate, then only the votes of Republicans will matter, right?

      And if Chafee and a few other pro-choice Republicans are in that Republican caucus, then what... the pro-choice position is out-voted 59-6 in the Republican caucus instead of 65-0?  And that benefits NARAL how, exactly?

      Not to mention that, by using their money and influence more prudently, NARAL and other groups could make sure that the Republicans never get to 65 seats in the Senate.  That's a far better use of their resources than finding a few lonely Republican moderates to be outnumbered in a sea of Republican Dobsonites.

      ... with thunderous applause.

      by socal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:10:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessarily... (none)
        If the U.S. became a one-party Republican state and people finally saw Roe vs. Wade overturned in its entirety, there might conceivably be enough of a backlash that the Republican party would change its position. But not unless there were a sizable core of secure pro-choice Republicans to start with.

        Sure, it's an almost impossibly long shot. But if you were trying to plan ahead for that situation, what more could you expect?

        Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

        by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:32:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Reply (none)
      It won't be productive for NARAL if say... Republicans completely takeover and banned abortions.

      It would mean a lot of work for NARAL then... you know... fighting in the courts to overturn the ban and pleading their case to appointed conservative judges. Hard work.

      NARAL... Anti-Common Sense

      I'm still laughing at the line "Still Time To Stop The Nuclear Option" on NARAL's website.

      •  Yeah. (none)
        To the extent that endorsing Chafee hurt the Democratic party, it hurt the cause of choice. But NARAL apparently felt it needed the insurance, and was willing to pay the price.

        Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

        by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:59:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wha? (none)
      Of course a Langevin defeat of Chafee, in and of itself, would have helped the cause of choice

      Don't see how someone who's voted for every anti-choice bill that's been out there could "help the cause of choice"

      http://www.issues2000.org/House/James_Langevin_Abortion.htm

      I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

      by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:47:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then let me explain it to you (4.00)
        Don't see how someone who's voted for every anti-choice bill that's been out there could "help the cause of choice"

        It's because the legislative agenda is established largely by the party in control.

        If you want anti-choice judges jammed down the country's throat...

        If you want bills coming out of committee that nip away at the edges of Roe v. Wade in hopes of causing its eventual collapse...

        ...Then vote for a pro-choice Republican like Chafee over a Democrat.  Any Democrat.

        An anti-choice Langevin would be just as effective at causing anti-choice legislation and judicial appointments to emerge from a Democratically-controlled Congress as a pro-choice Chafee would be at preventing these things from happening in a Republican-controlled Congress.  

        The goal, in my view, is not to seek ideological purity.  It is to return the Democratic Party to the leadership of the Legislature.  That, not electing a moderate Republican, would go farthest toward protecting privacy (including choice).

        •  there's a lot of ifs in this argument (none)
          I understand what you are saying about the legislative agenda, and I agree that having Democrats in charge would go a long way towards setting the agenda.

          However, I disagree that this guarantees that anti-choice legislation would be prevented from reaching the floor for votes.

          "Bi-partisan" legislation has the biggest chance of actually being voted on, and on an issue by issue basis, the more examples you have of Senators willing to jump to the "other side", the more likely it becomes that such legislation will see a vote.  

          I'm not saying I agree with NARAL's endorsement.  I think they would have better served their constituency by endorsing one of the other Democratic primary candidates who was pro-choice,  however looking at Chafee's voting record on right to choose issues, I think I understand why they did it, and I disagree with attacking them for that decision.  

          I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

          by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:39:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are two ifs (none)
            And they are both accurate representations of this Congress.

            I do criticize NARAL.  Their action on this topic suggests they would rather win a battle than win the war.  

            In my view, a more appropriate position would be:

            1.  Work to return a Demcratic majority in Congress

            2.  Keep the pressure up, particularly in the primary season, to ensure that pro-choice Democrats are nominated

            3.  Lobby a Democratically-controlled Congress to prevent anti-choice legislation or judicial appointments from crawling out from under the rocks

            Their actions, on the other hand, appear to be:

                 A.   Keep the pressure up, particularly in the primary season, to ensure that pro-choice candidates are nominated

                 B.  In a contest where a pro-choice candidate is opposed by an anti-choice candidate, support the pro-choice candidate regardless of party or broader political implications

            In my opinion, 1-2-3 will go much farther toward acheiving NARAL's goals than will A-B.  

    •  Just to be clear (none)
      I'm not supporting NARAL's move on this. I'm just saying I don't think it's "supremely idiotic and counterproductive to their own cause". If it were, it would defeat Kos' own argument -- he can't say NARAL is irrationally acting against its own interests as a single-issue group, and then try to use that as an example of why single-issue groups are harmful to Democrats.

      Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:45:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fatally flawed premise (3.94)
    Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

    Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights. It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts.

    I might buy the first seven-eighths of that if there were ever an indication that the Democratic  Party had any intention on "standing up"  for those supposed "larger, core principles" like equality under the law, and the right to privacy.  But there's always a "compromise" where the Dems have to sell out core supporters while the Publicans have to mouth some words, and then come back for what they didn't get the next year.  And there are always the apologists, demanding of those being sold out that they applaud their own sellout.

    •  Sorry DL (none)
      The sold-out also must donate their hard-earned money campaign actively for the seller as well in the name of party unity around a process they are kept out of.

      Ain't a gonna be doin' it no more!

      LL  

       

      Lefty Limblog - It is time to WIN instead of "Appease and Cringe". Fight the Rethugs!

      by LeftyLimblog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:40:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  spottend owls? (4.00)
    Even those with a blemish on their backsides should have someone looking out for them!

    "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
    "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:38:18 AM PDT

  •  I vote for more breakout (none)
    discussion and pinning down of the sweeping generalizations.

    See, I fundamentally disagree with markos that choice and privacy are not core values of the Dem Party.

    But I am willing to test my views through primary candidates.

    I feel strongly that my view would prevail in most of the Dem Party, but if in some jurisidictions, my view does not prevail, come November I will still support the Dem always.

    Because where it counts, the Party as a whole, choice and privacy ARE core values, and our leadership will defend it, even if their personal views are different.

    NARAL, when faced with the choice of a pro-choice Dem willing to block all judges who don't support Roe, and a pro-choice GOPer who confirms anti-Roe judges forgets, chose to endorse the GOP Senator.

    Indefensible.

    Opposing Langevin was not only right, it was their duty. I would do so myself.

    Endorsing Chafee was not only wrong, it harms the cause they claim as their single issue.

    And when I say Frist I mean Dobson.

    by Armando on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:50:26 AM PDT

    •  Huh? (none)
      "Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all."
      •  Huh huh? (4.00)
        See, kos want to tie it to a larger principle but that is not the reality of today.

        Choice, The Single Issue, is a core value.

        Privacy, the issue, CAN be a core value and SHOULD be a core value.

        But it is not perceived as such yet.

        And to talk about it as if it is already does not work today.

        As a political matter, running away from the choice issue by wrapping it in other words is a mistake and won't work anyway.

        Trying to wrap it in the privacy issue would hurt us in both.

        We must draw contrasts, not shy away from them.

        Both as short term practical strategy and as a longer term strategy.

        See, I told you I was for more discussion.

        And when I say Frist I mean Dobson.

        by Armando on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:16:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  double huh? (none)
          So you're saying because privacy isn't seen as a core vaule, we shouldn't work to change that? I thought the whole point of this was re-branding the Democratic party. The sooner we start trying to adjust what our core vaules our, the sooner the political landscape will shift to meet us.

          But if we wait for the landscape to shift before we take the plunge, we'll be waiting a very long time.

          Come see the house that Tom Delay built.

          by Goldfish on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:52:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nonsense (none)
            I wrote this -"Privacy, the issue, CAN be a core value and SHOULD be a core value.

            But it is not perceived as such yet.

            And to talk about it as if it is already does not work today."

            That, my good friend, means WORK on it, but do not act as if it is so TODAY.

            Look, we get into trouble when we either misunderstand or misquote people. I got all riled up with folks on the NARAL side of things for just that. Now you seem determined to do the same thing.

            Stop that right now.

            You do know that it is possible to do 2 things at once? And hold 2 thoughts at once? Like, from ym perspective, defend NARAL's right to oppose Langevin and deplore their endorsement of Chafee. The two thoughts are not only NOT mutually exclusive, they are complimentary.

            Similarly, we can recognize that the issue of choice is a core value of the Party while understanding and working towards insuring that Privacy, in more general terms, is a core value and is recognized as such.

            But conflating the 2 serves neither purpose imo.

            Look, there is a reason why Clinton said "safe, legal and rare." We don't celebrate abortions, but we know the the choice of having one MUST be personal and between a woman and her doctor.

            We don't say privacy should be "safe, legal and rare." We celebrate the right to be let alone. Indeed, that is why it can and should be a transcendant issue for Dems.

            Schiavo proves this. Why? Because while the radical right thought they could sell Schiavo as like the abortion issue, it played like a PRIVACY issue.

            The "Culture of Life" nonsense convinced no one.

            The Radical Right knows they can't win on the Privacy argument - they want it ALWAYS to be an abortion question. When they fail to make that connection they lose.

            Stem cells. Schiavo. And others to come.

            Privacy is a loser for the Right.

            But they do MUCH better on abortion.

            But we can win there too. But we destroy them on privacy.

            Let's not weaken our privacy argument by letting it be swallowed by the choice issue.

            We can win both, but we win BIGGER by keeping them spearate.  

            And when I say Frist I mean Dobson.

            by Armando on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:00:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That is true (none)
          This is not, as caliberal said above, about spotted owls.  This is about the health and lives of women.  

          Remember when the flight attendant says, put on your own oxygen mask first before you help those who need it?

          Without these one's health or life, there is nothing more one can do to help others or the world.

          Choice is THE core issue for most progressive women (and surely rates highly for the men who love them.)

  •  Since when do the dems (3.83)
    support a right to privacy in any meaningful way?   Have they ever come out and said that?  It has far-reaching implications in completely different areas than abortion.  Except for being pro-choice, Dems are in general every bit as anti-privacy as Republicans, as far as I can tell.  
  •  Single issue groups (4.00)
    The thinking of groups like this is something like this:

    1. Is the incumbent on our side or not?  If so, we endorce him or her.
    2. If not, is the opponent on our side or not?  If neither are on our side, we stay out of the race (or pick a minor party canidate).

    Basically, the logic here is: Most incumbents win.  Why piss one off by not endorcing him, if he is on our side?

    I can not argue with this logic.  It is not helpful to the Democrats' cause, and potentially could hurt NARAL's cause by not having a Democratic majority, but I understand what they are thinking.

  •  Zell Miller was on target? (none)
    He's an asshole and certainly no progressive, but this was a big chunk of his message-- the "groups" control the party.
  •  Agree 100% (none)
    Keep on saying this, Markos.  It needs to be said.

    Many interest groups are important to the party's coalition.  But they all need to remember that the well-being of the party is in their best interest -- particularly when you're talking about a group, like NARAL, that has no hope of ever getting squat from the leadership of the other party.

    The interest groups need to take a broader view of what is in their best interests, and not just a simplistic view of selected up/down votes by a candidate.

    ... with thunderous applause.

    by socal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:01:19 AM PDT

  •  NARAL and the Nuclear option (4.00)
    If you go to the NARAL website they have their own campaign to fight the "nuclear option" in the Senate with the following statement.

    The only thing standing in the way of President Bush and his cronies overturning Roe v. Wade is YOU!

    Isn't "YOU and pro-life Harry Reid" more accurate?

    Is it all about abortion with Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown? They both have some pretty radical notions about corporate accountability and the role of government regardless of their views on abortion. Does NARAL think the 208 confirmed judges were pro-choice?

    I think what Kos is that voting on a collection of interests doesn't make for durable coalitions. But coalitions based on principles are durable and able to achieve a greater good for all involved.

    NARAL is free to advocate however they wish but it's naive to see the issue of abortion outside of the current political landscape. Any moderate Senate legislation championed by Chafee is gutted in committee by the House GOP and the reconciled bill almost always passes. Shameful provisions are added to must-pass legislation and the GOP Senate rubber stamps them as law. How does Chafee prevent any of this? That's the game the GOP is playing. Until the GOP goes back to the old rules it's a losing game to support people like Chafee over Democrats.

  •  Republican single issues (4.00)
    In one sentence, Democrats are the party of personal liberty and a mutual social obligation to empower all citizens. That means you can believe what you want, do what you want with your life and your body (i.e. the right to privacy and choice), but that society (i.e. government) ensures that everyone has access to things like education, health, safety, employment, and social security.

    I actually have a much harder time describing the Republican platform without starting with single issues. Of course, Republicans would tell you that they're for personal freedom, but in practice that really means freedom from taxation (on the grounds that avoiding social obligations somehow empowers individuals who aren't already powerful) and freedom to own guns, but not freedom to live your life according to your own principles -- "Christian values" (as defined by religious conservatives) are absolute and apply to all.

    As I think about it, it's pretty amazing that the Republicans have managed to brand themselves as the party of core ideals and the Democrats as the party of a litany of special interests.

  •  You're not the first to say that... (4.00)
         Fellow Kossacks

         The idea that the Democratic Party hasn't provided a coherent core philosophy since Roosevelt has been around for almost 4 decades.

         Not since the "Great Society" of the mid 60's has there been a clear vision presented by the Democratic Party.

         The ultra-rightwing has in contrast, been fairly consistent since the mid 60's, in presenting a core philosophy (no matter how anti-American) sugar-coated, dumbed-down and perverted enough to make the vast majority of people who vote for republicans vote against their own self-interest.

         My own politics have me reviled by both wings for various and sundry reasons.

         The far-left anti-"bill of rights" morons hate me because I demand that the entire USA Constitution be honored and enforced, with no exemption of the second amendment. (You anti-second amendment, anti-Constitution scumbags are no better than the right-wing anti-Constitution scumbags infesting the current administration- until you realize that the second amendment was put there to protect us all from what the right-wing has planned for the USA, you are directly aiding and abetting the most evil regime in USA history.)

         The ultra-right-wing hates me because I demand that the entire USA Constitution be honored and enforced, and the current ultra-right-wing administration plans to nuke the Constitution in the name of even greater corporate profits and far greater concentration of wealth for the super-rich.

         What if the Democratic Party were to champion both the word and the spirit of the USA Constitution?

         What if the Democratic Party were to embrace the entire USA Constitution, without refusing to enforce a single right that left-wingnuts are far too stoopid to understand?

         The repugnicans plan to reduce the USA to a monarchy at best, a fascist dictatorship at most likely, and the Democratic Party is actively campaigning to abridge the only Constitutional remedy against fascism-the right to keep and bear arms.

         After the fall of the USSR, the former head of the KGB was asked "Did the USSR ever have a plan to invade the USA?"

         The former head of the KGB replied: "Are you crazy!?! You have too many citizens with firearms for us to ever even think about it!"

         It is ironic that the second amendment was put there to protect us all from a USA government gone corrupt.

         Now, the USA government gone corrupt is using the second amendment to nuke the only party able to correct the perversion of democracy comitted by repugnicans.

         Unless and until the Democratic Party is willing to stand up for >ALL< Constitutional rights, the USA will become just another third-world hellhole.

         Very liberal patriot.    

    •  I have an interesting opinion on the 2nd amendment (none)
      I believe that the second amendment is unenforcable in the real world.

      Basically, if the amendment says that one can not regulate the sale and ownership of "arms", then I should be allowed to own a tank.  Or a nuke.  Or chemical weapons.  Or a rocket launcher.  Or whatever.  Those are definitely all "arms"-so if the second amendment says you can't ban "arms", you have to make those all legal.  Obviously, this is silly on it's face-it would be wildly impractacle not to ban those types of weapons.  So, the second amendment is meaningless-if you can regulate or ban some types of "arms", then you can ban any type of "arms".  Besides, the words "well-regulated" are in there anyways.

      Now, having said that, I am in total favor of repealing most firearm restrictions, not for second amendment reasons, but because it's the right thing to do, for reasons you listed (we are for freedom, a well armed population prevents foreign invasion and reduces the chances of a tyricanical government, plus self-defense).  Oh, and taking this tactic will win us lots of votes, especially in the non-Pacific west.  We probably should still frame it in a second amendment theme for the public's consumption, even though the second amendment is invalid on it's face for reasons I stated.

  •  RIGHT ON! (4.00)
    You've given voice to my biggest frustration with the democratic party today.

    Keep shouting this, loud and long!

    Tom DeLay is so corrupt...<HOW CORRUPT IS HE?>...He's so corrupt that when he takes the Oath of Office, he holds his hand OUT instead of UP!

    by mlkisler on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:14:12 AM PDT

  •  Fighting for a fair and just society (4.00)
    That is what it means to be a Democrat and the core for which our party stands. Equality before the law, which includes civil, gender and gay rights, flows from this ideal.  As does fighting for those who need help in our society, the poor and the 45 million Americans without health insurance in the richest country in the history of the world. A fair society means equality of opportunity, which means improving our education system so minority and lower-class students have an equal chance for success. A just society is saving Society Security from George Bush and protecting the environment so it's not sold out to big oil companies. So does favoring corproate regulation to protect ordinary Americans from corporate abuses and fighting Bush's tax cuts for the rich. A just society calls for transparency, which means being against the Patriot Act, the influence of lobbyists, and Dick Cheney. Wanting a more just society means believing in a right to privacy that prevents government infringement on people's rights, as well as opposing one religious sect seeking to impose its will on the rest of us.
    The Democratic Party stands for an America that lives up to the ideals it espouses.
  •  Right On (4.00)
    Nice post, really dead on.  Every liberal activist in America needs to read those words.  Tomorrow, in fact, I think I shall print that sucker out and distribute it on the streets of my hometown of San Francisco.

    I'll let y'all know how it went after I get back from being tarred, feathered and strung up a telephone pole.

  •  Abortion Politics - Kos is Right (4.00)
    Leonard Cohen: "Kill another fetus now, we don't like children anyhow..."...

    The medical procedure of abortion is an ugly failure on many levels. It's easy to oppose. But there is a huge difference between a pro-life Democrat and a pro-life Republican; a pro-life Dem, for example, would favor policies to help make abortions less common, like better birth control, education, and things like the morning after pill.
    Republicans won't admit it, although Eric Rudolph did, but they hate abortion, because they see it as contributing to the low white birth rate. This is the only explanation of why they also hate birth control.
    Democrats who are pro-life should stand up and be counted. To hell with NARAL. NARAL and their shrill, single issue ilk speak for their issue, no more. They are special interests, the very definition of a special interest.  A party must be more than that. Frankly, I'm baffled why any Dem would let them run him out of a race.
    I'm also a pro-gun Democrat, and we lost more than one election because of the equally shrill anti-gun idiots. Finally, we got the message on that issue, but I know there are plenty of fools who would like to take us back there.
    There is a liberal elite. They are our second biggest internal problem, the first being the corporate water carriers; everyone who supported the bankruptcy bill, for example.

    Go Lieberman! Please. Anywhere, just go.

    by AWhitneyBrown on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:25:17 AM PDT

    •  What's wrong with the liberal elite? (none)
      I guess it depends on the definition, but I'm proud to have college professors supporting our party and not the Republicans. Republicans can have their greedy corporate CEOs. It's not like college profs have much influence on the party's platform and stance on issues (unlike the religious right with the GOP). Is NARAL part of the liberal elite? Well fuck them, NARAL just sucks. Special interests aren't really the liberal elite, just driven by their particular agenda.
    •  low white birth rate? (none)
      minorities have proportionally more abortions.

      (agree with your larger point about pro-life dems versus republicans)

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:53:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  clarify (none)
        I don't have numbers at hand, but you and AWB may be having a misunderstanding rather than a disagreement. IIRC, minorities have both a higher rate of live births and a higher rate of abortions, because of a higher rate of pregnancy. White however, have a higher proportion of preganancies that end in abortion. Once again, I may be remembering wrong, but iirc, you could both be right.
        •  that may be (none)
          i believe the data i've seen was raw number of abortions, not abortions per live births.

          hmmm.

          "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

          by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:25:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It makes no sense, of course. (none)
          The racial aspect of the pro-life crowd isn't based on any particular logic, factual numbers about birth rates, or actual data. It doesn't really even make sense, but nevertheless, it's there.

          Go Lieberman! Please. Anywhere, just go.

          by AWhitneyBrown on Tue May 24, 2005 at 04:11:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Except Langevin (none)
      unfortunately he was not Harry Reid.

      He was indistinguishible on choice from Ton DeLay.  Or from the views of the man formerly known as Ratzinger.

  •  Aesop (none)
    Once, a frog climbed up on the shore of a river.  From behind, he heard a voice ask, "Will you carry me across the water?"

    The frog's eyes bulged (even more than usual), and he replied, "Certainly not!  You're a scorpion.  You'd sting me, and I'd die."

    "Oh, no," the scorpion replied.  "If I stung you while we cross the river, I'd certainly drown."

    Molified, the frog argeed to carry the scorpoin across.  Halfway to the far shore, the scorpion stung the frog.  As the paralysis set in, the frog croaked, "Why?"

    "It's my nature," answered the scorpion as he sank.

    ================

    So, my question is which party is the frog and which is the scorpion?

    Kos, you're getting dangerously close to the Libertarian fallacy (people will always act like reasonable adults).  Single party voters ARE a pain (I know, I am one).  Groups with natural affinities to a party are a pain (you think First actually enjoys being in bed with Dobson & Co.?). Alumni, donors, and anyone else with money, influence, and an opinion is a pain.  You make choices about who you alienate and hope they're the correct ones.  

    There's another factor you're ignoring.  No matter how many Democrats there are in the Senate, they'll never be able to impact the Republican platform.  One pro-choice Republican can't change the platform either, but they've got a place to stand and begin the process (the Only Nixon could go to China effect.  

    "I don't bear a grudge. I have no surviving enemies."

    by usagi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:42:06 AM PDT

  •  Voters waiting for coherent philosophy (4.00)
    Voters are waiting for the Dems to articulate a coherent philosphy.  If we don't clearly state what we stand for the other side will.

    So far they are doing a better job.

  •  Kos is Right; To Hell With the Single-Issue Groups (3.66)
    When Kos threw out Abortion people who care about the issue got all riled up and stopped reading what he wrote.

    The problem with Single-Issue groups (as opposed to Special Interests) is that they will ignore the big picture to pursue their specific cause:

    Environmentalists will screw labor unions, unions will abandon feminists, feminists will denounce peaceniks... If the only way everyone will work together is if their own cause is used as a litmus test for the Party, then the Party becomes a checklist. 10-4: To hell with that!

    Solidarity is how our side always won; realpolitik zero-sum games is how the other side always won.

    Anyone who says "I'd rather vote Green than for a pro-life Democrat" needs to ask themselves if Abortion would even be on the agenda with a Democratic government. Pro-Life Democrats agree with Pro-Choice Democrats about one important issue: they have better things to do than roll back Abortion rights. This is something we only talk about when Republicans are in charge.

    ...And ditto for the biggest threats to ALL our pet causes. If you or your group is willing to sell out the Party and all the rest of us for a cheap one-off political score then you have no business hanging around because you don't understand our most fundamental value: The Common Good.

    --- "All I want for Xmas is some art from Alp Ozberker..."

    by opendna on Mon May 23, 2005 at 02:53:22 AM PDT

    •  As an environmentalist feminist peacenik (4.00)
      who is pro-labor-union, I understand the common good. Do you understand that each of these "-isms" is not a "single issue" but a broad, fundamental value? Those who identify most strongly with one should not sell out other groups' interests. But the Democratic party should not sell out any of these values either.

      There is no need to sacrifice any one of these causes. The zero-sum game of progressive causes is an artifact of the corporatocracy, which leaves us just a tiny piece of real estate over which to squabble. The solution is not to sell out one of these values or the other. It's to challenge the whole framework.

      Tough to do when you're being bankrolled by the very same corporations. Our problem is not single-issue groups. That's a red herring. It's the corporate power structure.

    •  "When Kos threw out abortion. . . ." (none)
      Good to see someone admit this, in straightforward terms.  Makes the next step for many of us just as clear.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:35:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You nailed it on the head (none)
      Pro-Life Democrats agree with Pro-Choice Democrats about one important issue: they have better things to do than roll back Abortion rights.

      As a member of the "minority" in the Democratic party it always intrigues me how many in my party truly don't see the real enemy standing in front of them.  If getting rid of abortion was my priority I wouldn't be a Democrat.  This is true for all pro-life Democrats I know.  

      If you are a pro-life Democrat and still vote Democrat then eliminating abortion is not your concern.  I am interested in everything else but overturing abortion.  I believe in birth control and emergency contraception...but using abortion as birth control considering the advances in ultrasound is upsetting to say the least.  The "clump of cells" argument and courts overturning the popular ban on partial birth abortion don't move the pro-choice movement forward.

      When electing Dems is less important than purity on abortion then women WILL LOSE that right to an abortion.  Most pro-life Democrats I know don't want to see abortion outlawed but would like to see an age where birth control and emergency contraception ARE "reproductive choice".  

      The current scenario where the perception (wrong or not) of abortion is one of being "on demand" with little regard to the life of the fetus.  

      There can be middle ground here...it need not be fetus rights vs. women's rights.  There can be balance...if we can separate abortion from birth control and make access to birth control and emergency contracpetion the real issue.  

      With 55% of married women continuing to vote Republican--abortion will be lost (if we don't stop the bleeding now).  But if abortion can be taken off the table...safe, legal, and rare...then access to birth control is the next logical step.  

      I would argue that those married women who vote Republican would have a hard time rationalizing supporting a Republican who wants to get rid of the pill and their access to emergency contraception.

      If we can't get back the majority then the Supreme Court will decide that fetus right's trump women's rights in EVERY scenario.  I don't believe that and I think a majority of Americans can agree on that.  So, how do we get back to a majority?  By understanding that a unified Democratic party is the only way to stop the Republican steem roller.    

      Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

      by mapKY on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:15:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  disagree, in a way (none)
        I'm a pro-life Democrat, and eliminating abortion is my concern.*  That's exactly why I could never belong to a party that's anti-contraception, anti-sex ed, and whose policies make it more difficult in every way for lower- and middle-class women to bring their children to term and raise them.

        * Well, actually, protecting human life is my concern, which is why I could also never vote for the party of aggressive warmongers and death-penalty  lovers.

        •  I think we agree... (none)
          Abortion is a concern just not my biggest concern.  Considering there isn't a party that is "pure" on life--abortion, unneccessary war, the death penalty, the environment,  etc I ago with the party whose heart is in the right place but misguided on certain issues.

          My biggest concern is fighting poverty and protecting the middle and working classes from Republican policies that are meant to help the rich at their expense.

          Never have so few taken so much from so many for so long.

          by mapKY on Mon May 23, 2005 at 11:34:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  the problem here is (none)
    that there is a difference between personal beliefs and how a person would support or object to something.  It's hard to think it possible, as the republican majority seems to think that their beliefs are more important than the constitution, but one can have a personal belief yet respect and understand that theirs is not the only one.  Go based on issues... what has this guy voted for?  what has he voted against?  we should be looking at that instead of what beliefs are.
  •  All 'single issues' are not equal (4.00)
    some are more equal than others.

    Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

    Ahh, if only that were true ( many of us wish it were) then we wouldn't be having this discussion - and the DSCC would not have selected Langevin and Casey as our candidates.

    (and those of us who are appalled would not be considered "fanatics")

    For many of us, such "single issues" are core values, but we percieve - correctly IMHO - they are not to Brand D and if we do not keep the party's feet to the fire our core values will be sold out in pursuit of "electability".

    •  Think about it (none)
      When you're taking on entrenched incuments, "electability" matters just a little bit. Try running Barbara Hafter against Santorum, see who wins, and then consider if you've helped solidify choice.
      There will always be enough Dems who support choice, but if the Dems aren't in power...
      •  If Casey wins (none)
        then the "D" people will claim that things are "better" because there are more "D"s

        On the other hand, isn't the DSCC rewarded in it's strategy of telling pro-choice people to go fuck off ?

        Don't you think they will do it again ? - after all, they got their man "elected".

        Or would it be better if pro-choice people took their votes and walked ?

        Santorum would win, but it could show that pro-choice "electables" are not electable - that might be a change for the better.

        •  What's the ultimate goal? (none)
          Is the goal to preserve choice? If it is, then everything that has been said about Democrats needing to be in the majority is true. With Dobson in the majority, choice is under seige.
          However, if the ultimate goal is for the Democratic Party to narrow itself so that it cannot appeal to more Americans, simply in order to keep the choicers happy and conform to a certain ideal, well that's dumb. It's America that has to live up to an ideal (part of which is preserving choice), not a sanitized Democratic Party, which should be welcoming to other points of view.
        •  What's the ultimate goal? (none)
          Is the goal to preserve choice? If it is, then everything that has been said about Democrats needing to be in the majority is true. With Dobson in the majority, choice is under seige.
          However, if the ultimate goal is for the Democratic Party to narrow itself so that it cannot appeal to more Americans, simply in order to keep the choicers happy and conform to a certain ideal, well that's dumb. It's America that has to live up to an ideal (part of which is preserving choice), not a sanitized Democratic Party, which should be welcoming to other points of view.
  •  This is whats (none)
    so great about the left, we can agree to disagree on specific issues and not attack or accuse others because of their position.
    We are so diverse that opposing opinions don't scare or threaten us, left is right and right is wrong.
    PEACE!
  •  endorsement (none)
    there is no law that says you must endorse one candidate over another.  It would have been better if NARAL had just refused to endorse anyone.
  •  Nobody has mentioned national security (none)
    Here's the damning indictment of the Democrats: Their great weakness in any national election is their lack of cred on national security.  Why don't they have a consistent national security policy?  Why do the consultants tell the candidates to get NS off the table so they can talk about domestic issues?

    Because there is no interest group in the Democratic Party pushing national security.

    We don't need a special interest group to change that.  We need a complete change in the party mindset.

    •  A solution (none)
      Clark in '08.
    •  DLC pushes security, don't they? (none)

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:55:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  DLC pushes for a policy on national security (none)
        Kerry's so-called electability was based on his national security cred.

        Yet his convention speech amounted to: "I was a hero in Nam."

        It's not enough for a candidate to have a position, the party must have a coherent position.  One that is not identified with a particular candidate, but is a party position.

        I recognize that this is a challenge in a party with lots of doves and hawks to go around.  But it is doable.  I always remember an aid worker describing watching an F-14 flying overhead in Kosovo and feeling so glad....  

        And think about the Rethugs NS priorities: Star Wars and nuclear subs, for God's sake.

  •  I'm writing a check today (3.70)
    to NARAL, thanks to these discussions.

    Go get a check from a spotted owl, if you would so equate us and our fates.

    Well, at least a spotted owl has a capacity to learn.  Kos and too many here have learned nothing from the other discussions here on the role of primaries and of how to win.

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

    by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:45:22 AM PDT

    •  two posts (4.00)
      It is also an odd post in that it is surely a post meant to divide Democrats into two camps instead of uniting them.  NARAL and pro-choice backers will find it offensive and shortsighted.  People indifferent to the pro-choice cause will think "yeah, Kos is right, those horrible NARAL people will cause us to lose the Senate.  It is definitely that one one-issue group that has caused all the problems for the Democratic party so we must complain about them (now in two separate posts) and marginalize them so that the Democratic party will once again be viable".

      Oh please.  

      •  It certainly has had a divisive effect (4.00)
        on me, as I now realize just how far from really supporting everyone's civil rights so many so-called "liberals" are.  

        The Dems were successful back in the day when they worked through these issues in the primaries and in the platform committee (meaning all the grass-roots-up discussions that went on before the platform committee met as well as then).  The platform was not a slogan of a few words but a list of exactly which "single interests" were under the Dem tent -- and then, after working through that process, the slogan was selected that best reflected all of the above.

        There was an embracing of interest groups then -- and a courage in coming out for those interests, as Johnson did.  He endorsed civil rights and specific rights within it -- voting rights, for example -- not some vague statement.  It was the other side that mouthed vague terms such as "democracy for all" but bashed anyone who made that more specific.

        Instead, the sort of thinking I see here starts from vague sloganeering, and that dooms us all.  I am more discouraged by what I see here than by what I've seen happening in the Senate.

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:31:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The party (none)
    As the person who took NARAL to task before Armando :), I say the party should take the following position.  The core principles of the Democratic party, historically, revolve around economics and defending the "little guy" against the economic elite.  All its candidates should subscribe to that general philosophy.  But we should allow for divergence of opinion when it comes to social issues, such as abortion, the death penalty and SSM.  So, in the Rhode Island example, the party should do what it has to do (support Langevin) and NARAL should do what it has to do (support Chafee).

    Democrats must confront the cultural populism of the wedge issues with genuine economic populism. Thomas Frank.

    by Paleo on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:48:15 AM PDT

    •  Great idea. (4.00)
      So, economic parity for everyone!  Fight for the "little guy" (because we sure won't fight for women - that's a "social issue") against The Man!

      ...unless you're a woman - your right to control your own body and not to become a baby factory is just a "social issue", so we don't need to stand for that.  So is your right to equal pay, and heck, why not throw in voting in general?  Those are just "social issues" too - don't want to alienate any fundy voters who might think that women should stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  It's a big tent!

      ...unless you're gay - your right to living your life without discrimination at work, at school, and from government officials who will recognize everyone's marriage except yours is just a "social issue", so we don't need to stand for that.

    •  Then you will lose (4.00)
       The core principles of the Democratic party, historically, revolve around economics and defending the "little guy" against the economic elite.  All its candidates should subscribe to that general philosophy.  But we should allow for divergence of opinion when it comes to social issues, such as abortion, the death penalty and SSM.

      and you will lose because you persist in seeing reproductive rights as a 'social issue'. You guys refuse to even entertain the noton that reproductive rights are a basic economic survival issue or that the culture has changed.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Mon May 23, 2005 at 11:47:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ideals vs actions (4.00)
    It's all well and good to talk about ideals, in fact  a consistent idealogical foundation for a political party is a good (if not essential) thing, but if one is not willing to back up one's ideals with a definite stand on a high profile topic like choice, one comes off as a coward or a hypocrite.  

    If the democratic party is not going to make choice a central issue, they should just say so and deal with the consequences.  They can't have it both ways by using tenuous extrapolations like "privacy means choice".

  •  single issue (4.00)
    Haven't you learned anything from the Repugnicans? They mobilized their core by focusing on single issues. The folks at NARAL and Planned Parenthood are enormously powerful interest groups. They (and other activists) are out there going door to door and frequently do not label themselves as Democrats. The majority of registered Democrats couldn't be bothered.
       And, yes, choice is and should be a central part of the Democratic platform. The endorsement of a anti-choice Democrat to run against Santorum is a slap in the face for activists that have expended time, energy, and money in support of the Dems. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is dead. Their decline is easily charted over the past 20 something years. Rather than fighting this slide, they continue to make themselves indefinable for fear of being labeled. That's why the Democratic Party is dead. More and more of us will be taking actions similar to NARAL, endorsing candidates from other parties, including Republicans at times.
        Somewhere along the way, the majority of Americans have bought into the defining of Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and Leftists as one cohesive group. We on the Left have rarely considered ourselves in agreement with Liberals and Democrats, and, in case you also forget the history, it was the Left that led the Civil Rights, Labor, and anti-war movements. We attacked Johnson for his role in Viet-Nam with the same energy we did Nixon.
  •  Just finished (3.75)
    "What's the Matter with Kansas."

    I had always wondered how the hell Republicans could convince people to vote against their own economic interests. What was wrong with these people? How could they be that stupid?

    Now I know. It was WE the Democrats who took economic issues OFF THE TABLE by turning our backs on the poor and the labor unions and becoming "Republican Lite."

    Talk about stupid.  

    •  ICAM (none)
      Now labor feels free to shop around.  And we're left with a country that doesn't produce anything.  We just consume!
      •  Very late comment here (none)
        But I have yet to hear a sensible explanation of what we are going to DO in this country if we don't PRODUCE anything. Sure, lots of people will end up waiting tables or cleaning houses or working at Wal-Mart but when even computer programming jobs are easily sent overseas, what the heck is to become of us?
  •  Abortion isn't a "single issue" (3.80)
    You cannot equate the right of women to make their own reproductive choices to gun control. If women aren't allowed to have control of their reproduction then they become victims of their own biology. Would you argue that civil rights are a "single issue"? Much like the right to vote, the right to make our own reproductive decisions is fundamental to our freedom and a prerequisite for any semblance of gender equality.
    •  What other issues are there? (none)
      Contraception?  I don't think anyone is getting primaried because of contraception.

      Sorry, abortion is a single issue.  It's important and it gets people riled up.  But it also costs the left support for dozens of other issues, including civil rights, where people who either oppose all abortion or support restrictions on abortion would otherwise be valuable partners for progress.

  •  no misunderstanding (none)
    Clear as a bell.  And, exactly, precisely correct.

    Democrats need to think clearly and long about what basic principles they represent.  They then, and not one moment before, need to articulate those principles in clear, plain language.

    At that point, whatever issue groups that care to line up with those principles are welcome.

    Kos is 100% correct.  The Democratic platform at the moment is a menu of single-issue checkboxes.  It inspires noone.

    Cheers -

  •  I think the point here (none)
    Is one of priorities and emphasis.  The objection to single-issue politics is not grounded (obviously) in a fundamental disagreement on those issues.  Most of us (obviously) are pro-choice, pro-gun control, and probably even pro-spotted owl.

    But first of all, are we going to say that every candidate needs to march in lock step with some kind of checklist of positions in order to be considered a real democrat?  I sure hope not, because we will lose creative, capable people to the Republicans if we do, which will only make them more powerful and diminish us. If we are so big on diversity, we need to practice it at home first.

    More importantly, our party's identity in the public space absolutely does need to be grounded in the larger principles, not the specific single-issue agenda items -- and we need to prioritize communicating the larger principles.  We cannot keep harping on the single issues at the expsnse of the larger, more resonant principles, because those are what capture people's hearts and minds.  And just as the Republican's bogus "culture of life" does not entirely preclude some marginal pro-choice Repubicans, so our culture of liberty with responsibility should not preclude people with reservations about unrestricted access to abortion.  

    In any case, what we need to be out there championing is the culture of liberty with responsibility (or whatever emotionally compelling phrase we are going to use to describe it), and not abortion, abortion, abortion.  Because right now, it is turning off too many hard-working citizens who cannot see that the Democratic party is the one looking out for their interests.  

    Why can't they see that?  Because the Republican's ability to create negative frames for these single issues has obscured it.  If we want to win (and we need to win) we must move to the higher ground of the overarching principles and find compelling ways to reframe not just what the Democrats are about, but what our democracy, indeed, what being an American is about.  

    Privacy
    Liberty
    Equality
    Responsibility
    An ethic of care

    You get the idea.  

  •  Amen Kos (none)
    NARAL ought to be ashamed, but I'll bet they're not -- their heads are so far up beyond the sunshine that they probably don't fully realize the damage they've done to our drive to regain at least one of the branches of government.
  •  democrats (none)
    Yes, it is all NARAL's fault that the Democrats can't regain seats in congress.  It couldn't be the weany way that the democrats turn on their own at the slightest provocation, could it?
  •  The problem is: (4.00)
    The Religious Right would NEVER endorse a pro-choice Democrat or Republican for anything.  They stand pat on their principles.

    Hell...they didn't even want pro-choicer Rudy Guiliana speaking at a Catholic University graduation...specifically because he's pro-choice.

    They're absolutists and they've won the whole enchilada.

    What's wrong with us?

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:08:05 AM PDT

  •  odd (none)
    this doesn't sound like the kos who was whining and crying last week about kerry's inability to check off the box on the gay marriage thing.

    great diary.

    •  One issue, but still loyal (none)
      Kos can be pissed off at Democrats, including Kerry, for positions they take.  In fact he should.

      But does he endorse their Republican opponents?  Ever?  NO.  He worked his ass off for Kerry. He played on the team.

      I am very pissed off at the Democratic Party and Kerry and Edwards in particular for how they take the District of Columbia for granted and do not lift a finger to help achieve equal political rights for DC residents despite the fact that they live here and we pick up their trash and shovel the walkways in front of their mansions.

      But I supported Kerry and Edwards once the ticket was formed.  And I am not helping Republican legislators win seats, even though some of them have supported DC voting rights much more strenuously than their Democratic counterparts.

  •  Liberty, Equality and Security (none)
    I'm a member of one of those "single-issue" social movements (as long as we call the "gay agenda" a single issue).  I also recognize that the Democratic Party is not the party of gay rights.  It's the party in which the struggle for gay rights fits better.  We, and I, will continue to work both inside and outside that party to reach our goals.

    But, the above are what I might see as the core values of the Democratic Party.

    Liberty: We support the right of people to be free in their person and to make life choices free from government control.  We, of the two parties, support personal freedom.

    Equality: We support the equal application of the laws, and equal citizenship rights.

    Security:  We support the right of each citizen to be secure in their person, their life, and their society.  We support some kind of social welfare (or insurance) state because it furthers people's security in their lives--they are less vulnerable to the risks of the market (or the greed of corporate masters).  We support actions that create a more secure nation and world, economically more than militarily.

    Just some thoughts..needs to be expanded.  

    I am a revolting homosexual!

    "If you don't like me, I'm going to make you hate me."*****Margaret Cho

    by MAJeff on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:10:05 AM PDT

    •  agreed, i'm a single issue voter (sort of) (none)
      but NOT a single issue Democrat.

      i am passionately pro-gay rights (well, has to be probably because I'm gay :).

      I'll be the first to throw a fit and criticize a Democrat (and there are far too many of them) who don't support gay rights. I will argue till I'm blue in the face that any Democrat who votes against gay rights is voting against Democratic principles... I will not support a Democrat in a primary that is anti-gay rights (good bye Kerry), BUT...

      I understand perfectly well what Kos has said here and agree. The Democratic party's support of gay rights should come from core principles (equal rights and right to privacy) not because it is on some 'check list' of issues.

      I will not deny that party membership (or whether they are in good standing or not) to someone because they are not pro-gay rights.

      I will argue with them till I'm blue in the face that their interpretation of our core values is f'd up, and I won't vote for them in the primary.. but I will NOT denounce them as not a Democrat and will more often than not vote for them in a general election as opposed to the Republican (unless the republican supports Democratic core values more than the democrat.... but you tell me when THAT has ever happened?)

      I understood Kos completely, and agree.

      "If you and I think exactly alike, one of us is unnecessary" "at least bleeding heart liberals have one"

      by wclathe on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:38:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just to rehash two of my previous comments (4.00)
    verbatim from the past few days as to where I stand on this:

    * The first was a comment on Friday in a diary about NARAL's action:

    I've worked with two different chapters of NARAL   (none / 1)

    at various points. Nice, earnest, commited to the cause.

    But, politically, both groups were children. They hadn't a clue about how to think long-term about goals and to develop a strategy. If they did, we would have been less likely to have had the setbacks we've undergone in many states. And they can't market to save their lives except to "the choir". Everything is reactive. Everything is black and white.

    IMVHO, I would suggest that donations go elsewhere. Emily's List perhaps.


    * The second was just yesterday in a comment about black and white liberal groups working more closely together:
    <snip>

    And you're right about the dearth of interaction between black and white liberal groups. But this is just symptomatic of the left being comprised of too many organizations who are narrowly one issue and don't play well with other organizations. No, I'm not implying that black liberal organizations are one issue. How could they be? The black community has too much diversity within that broad demographic.

    But look at this week's NARAL stink in RI. That is precisely what I mean. There needs to be a concerted effort for the less tunnel-visioned leftist organizations to work together and strategize for change. That's how the right came to hold such power: they built coalitions based on deal-making and compromise. (Little did they realize that the fundies would eventually reject the compromise straitjacket. The GOP will live to regret their concessions to those nuts.)

    And -- my controversial statement here -- we should all stop financially supporting the tunnel-visioned organizations who insist on helping the GOP by rigidly sticking to a one-note orthodoxy and who drop support for democratic candidates who aren't spewing their talking points.


    I'm old enough to have seen what works and what doesn't in a political sense. What groups like NARAL don't understand is that they have done more to set back their own cause in the past 20 years by sticking to the mindset and tactics of 30 years ago.

    Any liberal group that cannot see past the end of its own nose and can't understand that a good strategy for winning the game involves losing a few pawns should be cut lose.

    And, for my friends here, I am a woman who's had 2 abortions in her youth, wants to preserve this choice for my daughter, and am very liberal. I see NARAL f-king this up for my daughter's future and I'm pissed!  

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:19:57 AM PDT

  •  Utter bullshit (3.00)
    and that's really all I have to say on this one.
  •  And just in case that last comment was too subtle (none)
    ;-)

    I'm with you 1000% on this one, kos!

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:24:26 AM PDT

  •  This is KEY... (none)
    "Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

    Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights. It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts."
    _________________

    This is exactly why when I debate neocons using this approach I come away as they actual conservative in the discussion, and they are left dumbfounded, agreeing and "wishing all Democrats were like me."

    Which of course they are, once you get past the AM radio, cable news and bloginati definition.

  •  The curse of single issue groups (none)
    Emerson said it best: " A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by petty statesmen and philosophers and divines."  And that goes for single issue groups of the right and the left.  Hurrah for Reid, Langevin and Casey.
  •  "Most ridiculous Kos post of all time" (3.50)
    It's like reading a Fox morning memo.

    Just because Faux News says the Dems are a party hijacked by special interests doesn't make it true - at least, not in any meaningful sense.  

    Both parties cater to the interests of the elites that run the party - that's it.  To suggest that the Dems are 'a party hijacked' just because special interest groups assert their influence in the democratic process is just absurd on its face - unless one is just unconcerned with the concept of democracy when you're not happy with the results.  That the Rethug special interests fit more comfortably under the umbrella of "big-ass mf'in bizness" doesn't make those special interests any less 'hijacker' than NARAL.

    And you make it sound like the Rethugs have some core philosophy that can be talked about openly.  If it exists, I'd like to know what it is.  'Self-responsibility' is just code for 'keep all the black people out of my neighborhood'.  Should the Dem party have a faux core philosophy as well?  How about "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to"?

    My name is Kos and the NARAL folks blew up my guy Reid's chance of becoming majority leader and now it's my turn to cry?  WTF is that all about?

    Check out Link TV's daily Middle East digest program, Mosaic.

    by shmooth on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:31:47 AM PDT

  •  See, THAT'S the problem (4.00)
    We shouldn't be allowing the abortion issue to divide us because we shouldn't be having this discussion at all. We still argue about it, even in this seemingly enlightened age, in this allegedly modern country, in this supposedly progressive group of people, because women are STILL not seen as equal to men. That is evidenced by, among other things like unequal pay and inequities in health care coverage, the fact that we continue to have this argument over abortion -- and by the fact that men continue to think they should have a say in it. Men, frankly, it's none of your business unless a woman chooses to involve you in her particular situation. Until men can get pregnant, not just impregnate, they have no business being involved in this issue and trying to control decisions for an entire gender that is not their own. But until women really do have control over their own reproductive systems, that control will be used to divide us -- across gender AND party lines.
    •  NOT "about abortion" (none)

       With all due respect, this is, in fact, not "about abortion."

       What this discussion (come argument) is about is a single-interest group helping to keep the GOP in the majority in the U.S. Senate which, if such group actually thought about it, is not in the intersest of that group!

       Politics is just as much a game of chess as it is a knife fight.  The GOP's become skillful at both, while the Democrats, and groups which should be for a Democratic Majority, have become ham-handed at best, and horrible at worse, on both levels.

       JFK!  LBJ!  FDR!  Tip O'Neil!  Where are you when we need you?!

       BenGoshi
      __________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:12:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is very easy (none)
        for you to say it's not about abortion, since judging by your user name, you will never have to worry about getting pregnant.
        •  You just REFUSE to get it... (none)

           ... don't you?  I haven't e-screamed in a long while, but, sometimes it's just called for:

           It's about TAKING BACK THE SENATE SO THAT ABORTION RIGHTS CAN BE PROTECTED!!!  If you and NARAL want to JEOPARDIZE abortion rights, then, by all means, KEEP THE GOP IN THE MAJORITY IN THE SENATE.

            Good Lord, how dismally clueless can people be???!!!  This is like Nadar all over again!

           BenGoshi
          __________________

           

          . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

          by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:03:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  By the way... (none)

           "BenGoshi" is not a man's name -- it's the name of my profession, in a non-English language.

          BenGoshi
          __________________

          . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

          by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:16:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree with this (none)
      Men can not get pregnant, true.

      But males can be aborted.

      I think there are two anti-abortion viewpoints.  One is understandable; one is not.  The one that is despictable is the anti-woman viewpoint.  The one that is understandable is the belief that abortion is murder of a baby.

  •  a suggestion for a core principal (none)
    in addition to right to privacy.  loyalty.

    i know.  i know.  we can't separate an idea of loyalty from that thing lemmings do.  i understand all this.  

    but i've really given this a lot of thought, and i'm going to go way out on a limb here and suggest "loyalty" is not a dirty word.  we are, in better times, a great country and we should be loyal to each other.  we're a band.  we're a team.  we should have solidarity.

    i, for myself, have made honest mistakes and it is only my employer who, out of loyalty, gave me second chances.  and i have had occasion to do the same.

    now one might think it's the republicans who value loyalty above all, loyalty over truth, which i don't suggest.

    truth > loyalty.

    but i would also submit that what the republicans have is not loyalty for loyalty is a system of trust amongst peers.  what republicans have is a system of distrust amongst peers.  what they have is fear of reprisal.  loyalty is not "i better say this and this and this or else i'll suffer consequences."  loyalty is knowing that you can say what you think and no one on your team will assume the worst of your intentions.  so, as an example, when reid says he's pro-life we can remain steadfast in the knowledge that he doesn't say that with the goal to take away women's rights, he says that with the goal to reduce the conditions under which abortions become necessary in this society.  

    in short, i think loyalty is an american value.  i think it also can be a democratic party value.

    •  When the Dems are loyal to women (4.00)
      and stop putting up anti-choice candidates for Congress, candidates who aren't loyal to the Dem platform, let me know.

      This discussion may turn me into an Independent.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:47:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there you go (none)
        the automatic assumption/conclusion if a candidate is pro-life then they must be anti-choice.

        that's exactly what i'm talking about.

        •  Nope, have you looked at Langevin's (none)
          and Casey's records?  I have -- so stuff your automatic/axiomatic assumption about me.

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:10:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  they want to overturn roe v. wade (none)
            is this true???
            •  They want little to be left of it (none)
              The strategy is to so gut it as to make it meaningless, especially in allowing the resurgence of "states' rights."  The South is fighting that war again -- and winning this time.

              "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

              by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:26:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i have an open mind (none)
                do you believe if langevin was appointed king of rhode island and rhode island ceded from the union he would instantly outlaw abortions?

                if that's so, then i don't see how langevin can call himself a democrat.  he certainly wouldn't be adhering to kos's core principal in this diary... right to privacy.  you see cause despite kos's diary and some of things you find distasteful about it as well as my suggestion about loyalty, i would agree with kos that in extreme situations there are dems who have no point being dems anymore.  like lieberman.  now this is unfortunate, but, in my mind, there are these extreme cases, and if you think langevin is one of them, so be it.

                but the test here is langevin going really against a core principal of right to privacy and/or right to choose?  i see langevin described a passionate foe of abortion, but i do actually think that being a passionate foe of abortion and a passionate protector of rights is not mutually exclusive.  i believe, believe it or not, you can be both.

                i also understand the need to stake ground on the issue.  here in GA they just passed the 24 hour waiting period.  and, truth be told, if you could ignore the fact that this is clearly a stepping stone on the agenda to take away the rights of women, then i would have to say, quite honestly, i would support a 24 hour waiting period.  but this is not political reality.  you can't ignore this fact, and so, in a way, i am forced to oppose something i agree with cause if i support it then i am enabling the end goal which is to take away the rights of women.  and i, in no way shape or form, will do that.

                so, pls, understand i do understand the imparative we have to stake ground. and i bet kos does too.

                all that said, do you really think langevin's goal is to take away the rights of women?  in those words.  just like that.

                •  Yes, just like that, as his record (none)
                  is just that.  He consistently has voted for Republican-sponsored legislation that restricts Roe v. Wade over and over, more and more.

                  Again, have you looked at his record?  And why he got only a 10% rating from NARAL?  That is worse than many, many Republicans get.  He is BAD.

                  "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                  by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:29:25 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Good Post (none)
    and it needed to be said.  The so called conservative movement wanted to get government out of our lives, and this framing of the message is a good way to appeal towards those who aren't too far lost on the plane of wingnuttery.  Why should the government tell me what to do with my body, parents, children, life?  This goes back as well to the idea of personal responsibility, its your choice to decide what to do and reap the benefit or consequences of such.  Another pillar of the so called conservative movement.  Right to Privacy should appeal to that.

    "Dude, Wheres the soul of the Democratic Party"

    by marcvstraianvs on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:43:46 AM PDT

  •  NARAL and The Democratic Party (none)
    I have no problem with any group endorsing a Republican, that is the group's prerogative. What I have a problem with is a group like NARAL attempting to impose its choice on the Democratic Party. It is obvious that NARAL is going to do what is in its best interest. The problem isn't NARAL's for attempting to dictate the Dems' selection, it is the Dems for listening to a group that doesn't have the best interests of the Dem party as its goal. Langevin should have stayed in the race and seen what happened.
    •  This is exactly what didn't happen (4.00)
      in RI, or in Pennsylvania, for that matter.  I was the Dems who attempted to impose anti-choice candidates on those state parties and NOT listening to the locals.  Read up.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:49:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  NARAL's "Best Interest" (none)
        You hit the nail on the head, intentionally or not:  an issue-advocacy group has every right to endorse whatever candidate it damn well sees fit, according to which candidate would best serve such group's best interest(s).

        The problem is that by helping to keep Chafee in office, NARAL's helping to continue a majority-Republican Senate which, were there a single NARAL Board of Directors member who had something resembling a functioning brain cell kickin' around within the confines of their, apparantly, Thought-Free Zone noggin, they'd realize that a Republican-dominated Senate is not in NARAL's best interest!!!

        I've "gotten into it" with a half-dozen Kosniacs a few months ago when I dared to say that the Democratic Party should not make < insert extremely devisive issue here > its A-1 priority.

        I am absolutely for the Democratic Party standing up for a single issue, even if it leads to "losing a battle," if that issue is one that cuts across enough socio-ethno-economic sectors to show how Democrats are on the side of ALL Americans (contrast with the Corruptocracy that is defined by today's Theo-Republican Nutjobs), such as Medicare, Rx issues, that Bankruptcy travesty from a couple of months ago, CAFE standards (by the way Detroit blue-collar folks:  an auto industry having to re-tool to meet stricter CAFE standards will [1] mean MORE jobs, and [2] produce more competitive vehicles  which, in today's extremely competitive market, will mean, uh, MORE jobs!), anti-corruption crackdowns (from DeLay to Ken Lay...), etc.

        Thank you a thousand times over, Kos and Armando, for ranting on this.  You, we, ought to be ranting on this.

       BenGoshi
      _________________
         

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:22:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Right to privacy/equality under law (none)
    Damn, that sounds like a core philosophy if I ever heard one.

    Why is it so hard for our elected officials to boil their convictions down to this statement?

    Because liberals talk too damn much.
    They love to hear themselves talk, and most Americans don't like listening to it.

  •  NARAL and Michelman (none)
    I am very Pro-Choice and a life-long Democrat, but I would not look to Michelman's NARAL for moral or political support.  

    This is not to say that the state branches are not good, but I have found that the national office consistently misstates and missrepresents the abortion records of candidates to fit their short term political interests.  Statistics stop and start and avoid uncomfortable votes when it is convenient... and this is the information regularly spread to supporters!

    Sometimes the problem with issue advocacy groups is that they don't even really care about their own issue, but rather become a way to rake in money...

    Better a little Flip... Than all Flop. Vote Kerry Edwards 2004

    by Cornfields on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:05:16 AM PDT

    •  Michelman (none)
      She supports the Dem Brown in Rhode Island.

      she had nothig to do with the boneheadedness of the Chafee endorsement.

      And when I say Frist I mean Dobson.

      by Armando on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:10:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not necessarily (none)
        Yes, Michelman did not directly decide the Chafee endorsement as she is the immediate PAST president. And yes, she did atttend a fundraiser for Matt Brown as the guest of honor.

        HOWEVER

        She attended that fundraiser and gave a bit of money, but as a signal against Langevin, who had not yet said he wasn't running at that time--- NOT as a supporter of Brown's per se. Matter of fact, she went out of her way in talkign to the press at the time, to praise Chafee and say she might end up supporting him regardless of who the Democratic nominee was. And while she definitely didn't decide this one, I would be shocked if she did not have some role in the discussion that led to it, or at least if her positive signals toward Chafee did not.

  •  kos will be DLC by year-end (3.20)
    i wondered how this addiction to this website would end- thanks for helping me, kos.

    i don't have the time for white males who would but patronize me for my vote.

    jim langevin is a pussy, and kos and the rest are liars about the situation in rhode island. if the situation were as they assert, and langevin was as they assert, then he would still be running and he would win.

    adios, corporatists.

    •  i doubt that (none)
      the dude hates the DLC.
    •  cutting off your nose, to spite... (none)

       your face.

      and I thought it was only the GOPers (and Nadarites) who thought in black-and-white.

        So, one is either an (A) real Son or Daughter of Liberty, a real true believer who will "just show them" (and, in doing so, help keep the Frists, and Lotts, and McConnells, and Kaye Bailey Hutchinsons, and Cheneys, etc. in power); or (B) one is like Kos:  a sell-out corporatist, DLC-loving, Dobson accolyte, worse-than-the-Nazis, doesn't even like The Indigo Girls (oh my!), closet Bush-admiring, pig.

        Gee, it must be nice to have such a well-settled world view.  So much for nuance.

       BenGoshi
      __________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:40:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the reality of single-issue groups (4.00)
    I think some of us are confusing two levels of American politics:

    1. Strategy - pragmatic, tactical, behind the scenes

    2. Message - public, resonant, evocative

    I am not ready to jump on Kos's train of thought quite yet.  I think we can do a LOT more to hone a core message, themes that are paramount to most Americans.  

    The reality is that we all have our "pet" issues.  Think the Republicans don't?  There are gun-huggers, anti-immigrationists, Bible-clutchers, anti-taxation zealots, all kinds of single issue voters on the other side.

    That's reality.

    In the case of what happened in RI... I am not interested in demonizing NARAL here.  Protecting legal abortion as an option for American women is a large part of what they do -- it's their purpose!  If we nominate a Democrat who is nearly as oppressive to gays as most Republicans, well then, don't be surprised if gay voters "whine and cry" (Kos's patronizing phrase) -- meaning, stand up for our fundamental rights as Americans!  If that's whining, if that's crying, then frankly I'm a big ole baby from time to time.

    We are NOT losing the battle on actual positions.  We've been losing the battle on two other fronts:

    1. framing (a term that's used a lot in here, but for good reason)
    2. perceived heart, gut, spirit, conviction of message.

    Take framing.  The other side calls those of us who support a woman's right to legal abortion "pro abortion" and worse.  They call themselves pro-life.  We call ourselves pro-choice -- but we return courtesy for slander, and call our opponents pro-life!  This must stop. They are ANTI-CHOICE.

    We can do so much more in standing up proudly for what we believe, and in slamming -- much harder -- what our political opponents believe.  I'm heartened by the quality of Democrat testimony in the filibuster hearings.  I hope it's a sign of good things to come.  

  •  Right to privacy. (none)
    In other words MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS! I am so glad Kos pointed out the blindingly obvious fact the Roe vs. Wade isn't a womens' rights issue. It affects men as well as women. If a woman has a child, two people become parents. This has a huge affect on the lives of the mother and the father. Of course, the woman has the final say in the matter. But it is still a matter of whether the government respects the privacy of it's citizens. The decision to become a parent is about as private as it gets.

    Some people may think abortion is immoral, they may think assisted suicide is immoral. But there is huge difference between saying you think something is immoral and saying the government should get all up in your business about it. In other words, we may not agree about everything, but we no know enough to MIND OUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS!

    "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:23:05 AM PDT

  •  What if (none)
    the single issue was to limit the rights of blogs?
    Would Kos consider that a bridge too far?  I think most people have an issue that is make or break for them. Draft. Gay marriage.  Reproductive rights. Freedom of speech.  If it is not your issue it is seen as dumb to make too big a deal of it.  If it is your issue -- well that is different.

    I agree that issues groups are not the same as political parties and to that I say "Thank God." Issues groups can advocate for what is most important to them.  Parties must by their nature must appeal to the widest possible spectrum of people.  Both are necessary to our process, IMO.

  •  If Kos is wrong (none)
    then why are the republicans in control and where is our agenda?  
    •  Logic? (4.00)
      The GOP is in charge of everything.  Have they gotten to be in charge of everything by being a bigger tent than the Democrats on issues of reproductive freedom?  I think not.

      The GOP has gotten where it is by:

      1. Being rigidly ideological on this issue where it counts, packing courts with anti-choice judges, passing draconian laws at the state and federal level.

      2. Being happy to have a few token pro-choice Republicans around, but never in positions of real authority (perfect example: sockpuppet Tom Ridge as Homeland Security Secretary).  On the rare occasions where it's convenient (e.g. every four years at the convention) these folks are dutifully wheeled out for public display.

      3. Relentlessly accusing the Democrats of being the party with a narrow and intolerant position on these issues, largely using a single "fact" (Bill Casey's being denied a speaking slot at the 1996 convention...which had nothing to do with his position on choice and everything to do with his refusal to endorse the party's ticket).

      There are, of course, many ways to win elections....and many ways to lose them. But if, as your post suggests, the Democrats ought to emulate the GOP, to do so they should:

      1. Shore up the base by increasing the party's commitment to choice. Make choice a litmus test for judicial appointments (you can't say this directly, but you can say it indirectly as Bush & co. always do). Propose laws that you know might not pass  just to stoke the fires (e.g. full federal funding for all reproductive health services as part of a national health plan).

      2. Make a bid deal out of anti-choice people who are already in positions of authority (e.g. Harry Reid), while practically marginalizing the effect of these people and discouraging other such people from gaining power.  Rhetorically suggest that the presence of such people makes you a big tent.

      3. Paint the GOP as a narrow bunch of theofascists bent on taking away Americans' right to privacy.

      This may or may not be the path to Democratic electoral victory, but it's the equivalent of what's worked for the GOP, and it's not what kos is suggesting.

      "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

      by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:52:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You do not get to be a majority party (none)
    By saying you won't work with those who don't agree with you on a single issue

    That said, I don't believe single issue groups are the way to build a majority.

    The way to build a majority is to really begin standing up for the working class again.

  •  Core Problem: the Two Party System (4.00)
    The eight-hundred pound gorilla in the corner of this discussion is the two party system. Nobody's mentioned it, but it's absolutely crucial to the dynamic of what's going on here.  So long as voters only have two choices, there are enormous apparent incentives for parties to rush to the middle in the hopes of attracting the (somewhat mythic) center of the American electorate. This is particularly true when a party like the GOP moves off into theofascist country on issues like reproductive freedom.  A certain kind of electoral math encourages Democrats to move into "the center" on these issues, i.e. to come up with some sub-issues on which they can coopt the rhetoric or even the policies of the right.

    In practice these moves to the middle often fail, in part because a party which bases its electoral strategy around the idea of a big tent on contentious issues tends to be a party with a muddled message, and voters don't like muddled messages. Hence much of the recent history of the Democratic Party.

    Single-issue groups are an important weight against this sort of behavior. They are, as they should be, focused on a single issue. Don't like that kind of focus? Don't give money to them or work for them.  But if it weren't for groups like NARAL, many, many more Democratic politicians would embrace "partial birth abortion" bans, would support draconian parental notification laws, would support the kinds of restrictions that have made abortion legal but essential unavailable in many states these days.  In fact, even with NARAL many Democrats support these things.  And Democrats have counted on, and would continue to count on, the noxious logic of the two-party system: however bad they get on issues of reproductive freedom, they can pretty much count on the GOP being worse.

    A much better solution, IMO, is a modern, multiparty democracy.  Replace our outdated electoral system with some form of STV or proportional representation. Ease our ballot access laws. Then let people vote for what they actually believe in. Only that will end all this handwringing about what progressive political principles to sell out in the hope of electoral success.

    One final note: this conversation is about an issue that the Democratic Party has actually been pretty good about.  In other areas, such as economic questions (e.g. trade, or a living wage, or repealing Taft-Hartley) or war and peace issues (e.g. the defense budget, a Department of Peace, the war in Iraq), your party has to contend not only with the political logic of the two party system, but with powerful party elites committed to center-right policies.  In these areas, progressives have been voting for the lesser evil for so long we often forget that we could be voting for actually good policies, if only our political system didn't essentially force us to choose between only two options.

    "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:40:08 AM PDT

    •  This sounds wonderful and I hear it a lot but... (none)
      ... how do we get there from here?

      These fundamental changes to our election system will require a tremendous amount of political support and I have neither seen or heard any action, much less a feasible implementation plan, from Greens or Libertarians.

      -No mass efforts to take control of either party
      -No mass efforts at citizen education on the problems with the current system
      -No credible attempt to influence sympathetic candidates in power
      -No monetary support or promotion of advocates within the political parties, which is virtually required to implement such a system

      Simply put, implementing your scheme will require dominating the current two party system. Failing a complete collapse of the Constitutional government and Soviet style regime change, gaining the voting majority in one or both parties to pass the required state and federal constitutional changes.

      I guess it is easier to blame the system than develop a concrete plan to FIX the system. It will be nice to see more strategy and less wishful thinking from the fringes. Have a good day.

      •  Concrete Plan (none)
        Electoral reform is not all or nothing. Substantial change can take place incrementally.

        Let me just give you a few examples.

        1. Ballot Access Reform.  Our states have restrictive ballot access laws because, all else being equal, it is in the interests of both major parties to keep challengers off the ballot.  But a number of things work in the favor of opening up ballot access. First, open ballot access appeals to voters across the spectrum on the basis of fairness. And with growing numbers of voters registering as Independents, my sense is that this appeal will increase.  We can't kid ourselves, this is not an issue about which voters care deeply. But if you can get it on the ballot as an initiative, it can be sold to voters fairly easily.  Secondly, there are many instances in which locally (in time and/or place) one of the major parties sees open ballot access to its advantage. In the brief heyday of the Reform Party, the Democratic Party might have been helped, on the margin, by more open ballot access laws. In the age of Nader and the Greens (and these are, at this point, two separate things), the advantage seems to lie with the GOP. Republican state legislators are, thus, more amenable than Democratic legislators to opening the ballot right now.  An even more peculiar case is Louisiana, where term limits are tied to party membership in such a way that both parties got behind ballot access reform so that state legislators might stay in office simply by continually changing parties. Bottom line: ballot access reform is hard work, but it's very possible. A handful of states have relatively fair ballot access laws.  That handful can be increased.

        2. STV (single-transferable voting):  This is obviously a more difficult measure to pass, as it seems more unusual, and it's yet to be passed anywhere on the state level. But it does exist in a number of municipalities in this country. It's used successfully in many other countries (e.g. Australia). And it's a reform that can be passed without a federal constitutional amendment.  Again, I suspect this would most likely happen by initiative and referendum.  Like ballot access, it's not something most folks care about. But if they're given the choice to have more choice, my guess is many of them will find it attractive. There's also another significant factor in favor of STV:  it eliminates the problem of spoilers (a problem that increases with more open ballot access). STV is thus truly an issue that Democrats and Greens can build coalitions around; it's good for both of us.  (I should add that Nader does not like STV, in part because he actually likes spoiling...that is he sees the threat of depriving Democrats of electoral victory as one of his most powerful tools. I think that's cynical and shortsighted.)

        3. Proportional Representation: This would be VERY difficult to achieve, especially at the national level. Best bet here is to try to implement it in a state, and make it work there. Again, initiative and referendum is key to achieving this.

        You're right that at a certain point in all these reforms, masses of people need to be mobilized behind them.  My own feeling is that both ballot access reform and STV are fairly easy sells, once one has the money and people to put them on the ballot and advertise them.  PR would be much more difficult to achieve.

        Don't get me wrong: the money and people necessary to get them on the ballot and advertise them are a substantial barrier. But one thing we don't necessarily need is the support of either major party (though I think there are, as I mention above, local reasons why one or both parties might support ballot access reform or STV).  As a model, think of the tax revolt of the 1970s, which initially occurred outside of the major parties, and which initially expressed itself in ballot initiatives.

        "Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by GreenSooner on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:21:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bingo!! (none)
    Damn right, Kos, and thank you for saying it.  There's nothing like mirroring the Republican right by saying "there are certain issues for which there is only one position."  Painful though it may be, it's time for us Dems to grow up and realize that a civilized country -- not to mention a successful political party -- is not one which is made up of people who have come to see every issue in precisely the same way.

    Along with the Right to Privacy comes the obligation to focus on doing what one believes to be best without feeling the obligation to impose one's beliefs on everyone else. Do we have any sense of how authoritarian many liberals have come to appear to others?

    Really -- thank you, Kos!

    •  Here's the problem (4.00)
      Choice isn't 'single issue'. Even if you frame it just as choice, and not as the broacer 'right to privacy', it's not single issue.

      Here's a case in point: interested in economic justice? That's your hot-button issue? Fine. However, if you're anti-choice, then I don't want to hear a damn word about economic justice. Nothing will torpedo a woman's earning power like an unwanted pregnancy, especially an early one. Then we add to that the fact that kids are expensive. I remember reading here some of the defense of Casey, and how pro-working people he is--and my first thought was, "Yeah, if you're a man." Because if you do not allow women to make their own reproductive choices you take away their ability to make many of their own economic choices.

      Some of the other issues that come into play with choice are more obvious, like church-and-state and all that. However, the economic ones must be taken into consideration.

      Choice is absolutely fundamental, and not seeing that is blindness. I would never vote for an anti-choice candidate, because that candidate says to me, "If a woman gets an unwanted pregnancy, I want to dictate THE REST OF HER LIFE to her. I want her to decrease her earning power and take on this expensive responisibility and shut up about it." No, thanks.

      "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

      by ChurchofBruce on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:02:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, I'm pro-choice... (none)
        ... But I refuse to make that (or any other of many issues which make up a belief set) a litmus test.  I don't want to get into a discussion of abortion here, but I do want to stress that turning any issue in to a knee-jerk is not only authoritarian but politically and humanly very stupid.

        Sure -- you can always find a way to make your issue seem more important than anything else.  When someone tells me something "is fundamental and not seeing it is blindness," my anti-fundamentalist antennae go  ballistic, whether the issue is choice or saving habitats or being against the death penalty -- all issues which are important to me but not enough to make me a fundamentalist, authoritarian, my-way-or-the-highway type.

        •  I see your point (none)
          But it really does bother me that so many people don't see exactly what an anti-choice stance means to women. Too many people don't take the economics into account at all.

          So, let me rephrase that: people who don't see how an anti-choice stance would affect women economically are blind. People who think of this only as a 'moral' issue are blind, or at the very least not seeing the forest for the trees. To get a grasp on choice, you have to see the whole picture.

          And once you see the whole picture, then you can make a political decision based on it.

          Better? <G>

          "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

          by ChurchofBruce on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:59:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apparently it dosen't mean all that much to women. (none)
            More women voted for George Bush this time. Enough said.
            •  Not true. (none)
              More women voted for George Bush this time.

               Kerry lost much of the gender gap and badly because he was a dreadfully bad candidate when it came to appealing to women. But still a majority of women voted for him. 55% of married women voted for Bush and that's because they managed to get every mindless fundie female in the country to the polls. The dems neglected their natural constituency, single women (40% of us) to a degree which was truely stupid.
              The folks who voted for Bush overwhelmingly were straight males, a group who, overwhemingly, produced the lame dem strategy. leads the party and seem bent on continuing to insist on their inalienable right to do so.
              This FP post being one example. Enough said.

              "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

              by colleen on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:00:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, and by 'choice is fundamental,' (none)
          I meant, "Choice affect so many other things that we as Democrats are supposed to care about, that it is impossible to isolate it over on it's own as a 'single issue'."

          "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

          by ChurchofBruce on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:01:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I take your point! (none)
            There are so many sides to the matter we call "choice."  As a woman who has faced "choice," I know that there are many ways to avoid having to make that choice, things that I never hear talked about in a discussion of abortion. Sometimes "choice" seems to mean not having to make a choice!  

            But the economic consequences of just being a woman -- with or without pregnancy or child -- are appalling.  You don't have a choice of whether you're a woman or not.  But (and this is the key, in my thinking) we do have a choice, as women,  whether or not to collaborate with a culture that puts us in second place -- a position in which pregnancy is often the unwanted outcome.  Many of us do (like it or not) collaborate with that culture.  Those of us who have opted out of that value system have tended to find "choice" a less pressing issue because we've done everything we can to avoid conception.

  •  My womb.. (4.00)
    .. aint any body's business.  

    My civil right to choice is not fit conversation for those who feel they have some say, especially those who LACK this organ.

    My LIFE and my WOMB are not for you to debate, especially those of you who LACK ANY EXPERIENTIAL UNDERSTANDING of what it means:

    • to have a womb,
    • to live with a biology that is not derivative but PRIMARY.  

    What I mean to say by primary is that when you are female, biology, once that implantation event happens, takes OVER hon.  

    Women don't have it easy, they cant take things blasé, we are the bacon on that plate of eggs and bacon and THAT will never change.

    The primary nature of our biology means that there are some HARD REALITIES that women MUST seriously and soberly deal with:

    • life,
    • fertility,
    • infertility,
    • pregnancy,
    • labor,
    • miscarriage,
    • rape,
    • pre-natal care,
    • equal rights,
    • equal pay,
    • good healthcare
    • affordable healthcare
    • do you REALLY need me to type the many more "special interests" here?

    To a woman, these things ARE NOT ACADEMIC, THEY ARE CORE.  

    They are NOT special interest issues, they are LIFE.  

    When we get up at the crack of dawn to breastfeed, then years later to get the kids fed and to school, then years later to get them off to college, all because we LOVE THEM and because we gave LIFE to them.

    All of these issues and most of all CHOICE is not a derivative issue to be considered, bartered, or given away by those who have NO CONCEPTION of what THAT CONCEPTION does to other people's lives.

    Don't you get it?  

    CHOICE is the main frame, kids.  

    When I think of choice I am not thinking of a medical procedure, I am thinking about MY LIFE, and my CHILDREN"S LIVES.

    Oh if we could only demand that for every person who dares to consider a discussion on this infinitely private matter to bare their entire personal lives from their school transcripts, to their medical records to their bank account statements, and even then we are not even 1/4 of the way to the privacy we are talking about.

    CHOICE is about MY life, mind your own business.

    -----

    Tired of this administration's lies?

    by nika7k on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:43:28 AM PDT

    •  Women don't consider 'choice' a prime issue either (none)
      The numbers in regard to women voters in the last election simply do not support your theory.

      Among women, the broad issues of security and 'family values' scored a higher priority than the single issue of protecting the right to abortion access.

      Women aren't single issue voters any more than any other group.

      Democrats need to frame choice under the umbrella of broader issues to make choice a priority.

      •  You've already made this point (none)
        Because all these women voted for George Bush, all these women who think Christianity is the be all and end all, do you think now that we should advoocate for that?

        What about all these women who voted for Bush who think all women should be submissive, should we advocate for that?

        What about all these women who voted for Bush who don't give a damn about the environment.  Shoudl we give that up too?

        Just because all these women voted for GWB and they won, doesn't make it right.

        •  So, what are we going to do about it? (none)
          Well, we can dogmatically carry on an increasingly futile struggle or we adopt an effective strategy that gets our message accepted, legislated and garaunteed.

          I prefer the latter.

          See below

        •  So, what are we going to do about it? (none)
          Well, we can dogmatically carry on an increasingly futile struggle or we can adopt an effective strategy that gets our message accepted, legislated and garaunteed.

          I prefer the latter.

          See below.

      •  umm.. which women are you asking? (none)
        You going to tell me that Bush-voting women are all women?  

        I wont even begin to hear that because they, as with a hell lot of other Bush-voting cognitive dissonance-monkeys, vote against their own interest, time and again.

        There is nothing to GIVE up.  I dont speak for other women and I certainly will not GIVE away THEIR rights, just as you should not even be contemplating it either.

        I guess its possible that some people are not going to ever be in a "place" where they can hear my main message:

        1. Its about my WHOLE LIFE, its not about a medical procedure.  

        2. I am not ASKING YOU for permission.

        Fewer and Fewer women will be seeking "your" permission.  We all have to get used to that.

        I dont "fear" the christianist crusade against women's autonomy.  

        I empower myself, my mother, my sisters, and my daughters to ask NO ONE'S PERMISSION and to fight for freedom from that tyrany.

        Its obscene that in 2005 I should even have to say these things to fellow Democrats/liberals/progressives or to even have to make any such case.

        If you dont get that 51% of our population deserves equality and control over their own lives, then you need to work on that.  

        Get the to the hills, get some wisdom, get a life and stay the hell out of other people's business.  

        Its really as simple as that.

        The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

        by nika7k on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:59:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Circular firing squad. (none)
          "You going to tell me that Bush-voting women are all women?"

          I never recall saying that. I was saying that the reproductive rights message isn't resonating strongly with the majority of voters like it should and we need to do something about it.

          "I wont even begin to hear that because they, as with a hell lot of other Bush-voting cognitive dissonance-monkeys, vote against their own interest, time and again."

          There is a rather presumptuous assertion that permeates your argument. All Bush voters are, inflexible ideologues and no Bush voter supports abortion rights.

          With that attitude nothing could have been accomplished in the past, oh, one hundred years.

          "There is nothing to GIVE up."

          I never recall implying that either, but I did imply a need to expand the front.

          What I think we all want a feasible smarter way get the reproductive rights' agenda adopted, legislated and guaranteed. If framing it within the privacy meme and allowing some dissent from the platform is what is needed to achieve that, so be it.

          "I don't speak for other women and I certainly will not GIVE away THEIR rights, just as you should not even be contemplating it either."

          Talk about circular firing squad. I'm not contemplating anything of the sort, the theocrats are and they're winning.

          -Are they winning because they're right? No
          -Are they winning because American citizens are dogmatically stupid? Wishful thinking, but no
          -Are they winning because they have fought along a broad front? Yes

          Please stop jumping to conclusions or assuming my intentions.

          "I guess its possible that some people are not going to ever be in a "place" where they can hear my main message:"

          Agreed. We can start by getting the message out there to begin with. The theofacists own the debate because our advocates refuse to deliver to message at ground level.

          Activists always speak of Democrats going for grassroots support and pushing the meme through the media, when are the advocacy groups going to do the same?

          "   1. Its about my WHOLE LIFE, its not about a medical procedure.  

             2. I am not ASKING YOU for permission.

          Fewer and Fewer women will be seeking "your" permission.  We all have to get used to that.

          I don't "fear" the christianist crusade against women's autonomy."

          I am not your enemy and I am loathe to compromise reproductive rights, please remember that.

          I can too be condescending and say I don't fear them, but I do fear it because they are only two steps away from reversing Roe and every reproductive right with it.

          Well, I don't fear them enough to shrink away, which is why we need to convince enough ordinary Americans to accept our message and get it enshrined in actual laws, rather than always fighting a reflexive action against a reactionary enemy.

          "I empower myself, my mother, my sisters, and my daughters to ask NO ONE'S PERMISSION and to fight for freedom from that tyranny."
          It's comforting to believe you're an island, but how does that translate into victory?

          "Its obscene that in 2005 I should even have to say these things to fellow Democrats/liberals/progressives or to even have to make any such case."

          Maybe in your righteous indignation, you're "saying" to the wrong crowd.

          We're not the ones who need the hard sell. Jane and Joe in the herd need it.

          We need legislative guarantees, constitutional amendments. You have unwittingly adopted a defeatist strategy.

          "If you don't get that 51% of our population deserves equality and control over their own lives, then you need to work on that."

          We do, but smug platitudes alone guarantee defeat. A feasible, yet methodically driven strategy guarantees victory.

          "Get the to the hills, get some wisdom, get a life and stay the hell out of other people's business."
          Now you're getting kos' point."

          Go outside, talk to some ordinary sympathetic people, preferably in a non-condescending tone and maybe you'll gain some new allies rather than alienating existing ones.

          "Its really as simple as that."

          If politics was that simple we would all live in paradise.

          •  all pretty pat isnt it... (none)
            ...your answers.

            I wasnt trying to convince you.  

            I was telling you where I am coming from, as a woman, in this culture.  

            I have everything to lose.  

            Do you?

            I am not commenting here to try to convince Joe and Jane NASCAR.

            I think I am trusting you to understand that I have a valid reason to feel deeply emotionally invested in the future of my rights and that of my daughters.

            Bringing it all back in-circle to my main point: reproductive rights are not academic nor are they negotiable.

            NON-CHOICE-Oriented "progressives" or perhaps "democrats" may not like to hear that, but I am certainly not alone in my placing reproductive choice in the category of "Dont fuck with this".

            I will certainly not be blamed, as you would like, for perceived past losses in re: choice nor do I have a defeatist attitude.  

            Have you been on the front lines fighting for choice?  Have you worked in the women's healthcare community?  I have.  I have worked to provide critical services to women-in-need (esp rape victims) and until you can tell me that you are doing PRACTICAL things, dont tell me that I am to blame for any retrograde trend in the choice movement.

            The SM-62 Snark was a USAF intercontinental nuclear cruise missile that was operational in 1960-1961.

            by nika7k on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:38:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Guys, let me let you in on a little secret (4.00)
    When you become a woman you lose a lot of freedom.

    You have to think twice before

    going out at night
    choosing what to wear
    picking a parking spot
    having a drink
    taking a car trip alone
    camping

    Long, thoughtful, slow walks by moonlight don't happen- because even if you choose to take the risk, you can't fully focus on your thoughts because you are hyper aware of the danger.

    Now in this framework add the loss of autonomy that happens when you go to the pharmacy and they won't fill your prescription because of some imposed patriarchal philosophy.

    (We haven't even gotten to abortion yet- but can you feel the box closing in?)

    So reproductive rights are not one issue0 the are choice, safety, economics, freedom to move about freely, freedom of religion, and many others.

    But since we are talking practicality here- how to win elections- let me say my piece.

    This administration and the culture it fosters has put women up against a wall and we have no choice but to stand up and fight.

    This is not a single issue, it controls our lives.  Now if you want to win, harvest this energy.  Don't tell us to squish it for some long term gain, because we are in danger in the here and now.

    It is about winning isn't it?

    •  How incredibly articulate. (4.00)

        -- in contrast to a couple of my rants, above.  First, you reminded me of things that I should be reminded of and, second, you obviously get what Kos was saying:  it's not in NARAL's (and Pro-Choice folks', I am, ahem, one of them, btw) best interest to do that which would sustain a majority-Republican Senate.  Chaffee is NOT a "moderating force" within the GOP anyway:  he's an pretty much spineless anachronism with virtually no power and, when the chips are down, usually goes along with Frist and Cheney anyway . . .

       Thank you.

       BenGoshi
      __________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:56:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amen (4.00)
      Amen.

      I'm amazed at the sexism on this site, sometimes.  Truly amazed.  

    •  Help me understand then... (none)
      Please help me understand why so many women voted for George W. Bush?  There aren't enough men in the US to explain the 2004 numbers.

      sPh

      •  Easy (none)
        I see them as women who are content with the role our society has carved out for them and who would hate to be forced, by a mature, progressive culture, to act as individuals.  They were brought up to be sheltered; they can't see life any other way; they vote for someone who guarantees progress will make no demands on them.
      •  Maybe they voted more on other issues (none)
        Some of them may have voted for him because he's CIC in a war.

        Some of them voted for him because he's (supposesly) strong, resolute, a straight-talker.

        You can't tell me every one of these women voted on abortion, and abortion alone, so quit making this argument.

        What, just because politicians won elections, at one point in our history, by advocating slavery, should we agree with them.  They did win elections based on this, didn't they?

    •  For the last few weeks (4.00)
      I have been enormously saddened and dismayed at the failure of the kos and his pals to recognize what insult consigning choice to "one issue voters" is.

      Would he do the same when referring the AARP?  

      I don't think I am going to be reading here or posting much longer.

      The atmosphere has become hostile and unwelcoming to women...especially those of us who remember what life was like before Roe.

      •  To prevent Roe from slipping under the waves ... (none)
        ...we will have to stop assuming the public, including women, are truly appreciative of how important reproductive rights are.

        I appreciate that reproductive freedom is important. You know that reproductive freedom is important. But apparently, the American people don't know appreciate why reproductive freedom is important and don't know how much of it is under threat.

        The reasons is so easy for the theofacists to pull the issue away from pro-choice advocates is because pro-choice advocates obsess with political and judicial influence, and spend far less time on influencing and educating the grass roots.

        As a result of Roe, instead of building this legislative infrastructure to protect and promote rights, we have been cornered us into defending one badly phrased judicial decision from the sustained withering attack of fundy jihadists. We are in a counterproductive because we have not been advocating for a broad acceptance of reproductive rights, which involves building ironclad support into statutes that protect reproductive freedom.

        Now, the wingnut theofacists are threating to take the whole scope of reproductive freedom and the best NARAL can do is lobby against slightly less extreme federal judges and convince themselves that one republican senator is going to make a difference? That's not a strategy for success, that's rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

        The only way the reproductive rights agenda can  regain its positive momentum is for the advocacy groups to educate the the public on the importance of reproductive freedom. Democrats don't exist for policy education, they exist to get people elected. Otherwise we cede the entire framing and direction of reproductive freedom to the theofacists and their enablers.

      •  Please stay (none)
        We need the balance.

        But I must confess I am also dismayed and disoriented by the speed with which folks are throwing us off the train.

  •  Sorry Kos, but it can't be done. (3.83)
    We can't throw up a big tent over a garden full of single issue constituencies and rename the new entity "the Democratic Party".  The key strategy of the Repugs is not coalition building: it is subterfuge -- how to achieve your objectives by telling lies effectively.  If you want to emulate the Rethug strategy, you have to be willing to tell people what they want to hear and then do the bidding of the real stakeholders - i.e., the corporations.  In other words, you have to emulate Joe Lieberman and the DNC.

    Will Rogers still doesn't belong to any organized political party.   If you want to be a Democrat you have to thrive on the lack of focus and poorly coordinated self-interest.  That's your brand.  Live with it.  Celebrate it.

    I can see the appeal of developing a strategy around a set of core principles.  That's what the consultants are selling.  It's how they make a living.   On the surface, that appears to be the winning formula for the galaxy of conservative think tanks spawned by the corporate Borg.  But look at what they actually do behind the rhetoric.  The rhetoric doesn't track back to any core principles.  It tracks back to a Frank Luntz focus group designed around what sounds good.  The rhetoric is a means to accomplish the ends and nothing more.

    Democrats would rather die before they build that machine.

    This is why we want to puke when we hear "journalists" parroting the White House's talking points with their questions.  People with actual principles know that the purpose of the White House's red herring modus operandi is to move the focus of attention away from the hand which is performing slight of hand - palming the disappeared item.

    That your effort to inspire strategic thinking is a failure is evidenced by the fact that the majority of posters on this thread started re-working the abortion issue itself rather than addressing your point that we need a coordinated strategy.  The minute you started talking about a strategy, thousands of dKos tacticians go to work immediately trying to pull the discussion back down into the weeds.  

    We don't want an overarching strategy.  Get over it.  We want what we want and we want it now.  Strategy schmategy.

    When we sit down to write the Mission/Values Statement of the Democratic Party the last place we should start copying from is the Republican play book.  In order to do that, we would all have to admit that we are willing to lie in order to get what we want, and I don't think you'll find too many takers for that proposition around here.  Maybe I'm wrong.

    The core principle of the Republican party is that the ends justify the means -- unfortunately Democrats don't play dat.

    Democrats don't define ourselves in terms of what we stand for.  We define ourselves by what we're against.

    <end sarcasm>

  •  Getting Away From Single Issue Groups (none)
    I think kos is correct in his assessment.  And I was just saying to my wife yesterday, that the single biggest problem I have with the Democratic Party, -- a party of which I have been a member for more than 30 years -- is that it won't stand up and fight for core issues.  It's just pathetic and embarrassing the way Democratic leaders fall to their knees and cry "compromise" every time a political fight of any magnitude looms.

    Naral is not the Democratic Party.  NAACP is not the Democratic Party.  AFLCIO is not the Democratic Party.  Some members of those groups are members of the Democratic Party.  Some are not.  (It's especially ludicrous to be pushed around by the unions, when barely 60% of union members vote Democratic.)

    One of the best things that could happen to this party at this point would be for the Dems in RI to nominate Langevin.  Three reasons:  he almost certainly would win.  NARAL would campaign loudly against the Democratic Party, thus highlighting the fact that NARAL is not the Democratic Party and does not speak for the Democratic Party.  The Party itself would receive a much-needed boost by seeing that, in fact, we stand independent of single-issue groups like NARAL. We can be pro-choice without being pro-NARAL.  Good Democrats can contribute their money to the DNC instead of to NARAL.

    We have to get up off our knees before we can walk the talk.

    mp

  •  Principles and Politics (none)
    I agree that the right to choose flows from the right to privacy, and that it is an "issue" that flows from a "principle".  Politically speaking, though, I believe principles are composed entirely of their relationship to the individual issues.  Since more than one principle is often at stake in difficult issues such as abortion, principle becomes more nebulous, so the pragmatic among us stand on the issue rather than the principle.  Principles are fine, we all have them, but issues are where the rubber meets the road.
  •  much too late to this party (4.00)
    And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

    Um, someone like Langevin is coming from the position that the right to privacy EXCLUDES a class of people; women. If the Right to Privacy is a core belief, and Langevin advocates a position holding that women have a more limited Right to Privacy, then Langevin doesn't hold to a core value of the party. Therefore, not a good candidate.

    IIRC, Langevin opposes all forms of birth control as well as abortion. That is very different from the position taken by Reid.

    Oh, and remember, interest groups are made up of dues paying VOTERS. When you attack them, you attack their voters.

    "Whenever a Voice of Moderation addresses liberals, its sole purpose is to stomp out any real sign of life." - James Wolcott

    by Madman in the marketplace on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:03:58 AM PDT

  •  That has been my main worry about (none)
    The Democratic platform. The loudest supporters of the Democratic Party frequently tend to be these single issue elements, and this played a key role in the defeat for the presidential campaign of 2004.

    Shortly after it became obvious that Kerry would be the democractic candidate, most polls showed that the issues of greatest consern to voters were issues in which the Democrats showed a very clear lead, and while the focus remained on those issues, Kerry held a clear lead over Bush, a decisive lead. At that time, the issue of health care was uppermost in the minds of voters being polled, followed by concern for the economy, followed by the war in Iraq.But as November neared, the issue that went up to there front was the vague issue of values, heavily linked, let us be frank, to the issues of abortion and gay marriage. There was no openly obvious campaign to move these issues to the forefront, but as usual, the usual suspects on these single issues on the right hammered this into the base voters, and also into areas where socially conservative Democrats live, work, and worship.

    An example of this lies in one Catholic Organization,, called Catholic Answers, who attempted to place some very clearly pro-Republican Voters guides into every Catholic Church in America. The Catholic Church, and its voters, are largely liberal with the Church supporting every liberal position other these two single issues of abortion and gay marraige. Even though the United Council Of Catholic Bishops, advised by both canon lawyers as well as their secular attorneys told Catholic Answers that they could not place their so obviously Republican Supporting "Voters Guides" in Catholic Churches, the damage had been done. Catholic Liberals especially those within the American Church Hierarchy were kept at bay by being continually attacked on the issues of sexual abuse by priests, which was rather openly attributed to homosexuality within the priesthood by the right wing minority in the church, (while the church leadership as a whole went to great pains to state that there was no link between homosexuality and pedophilia), so the conservatives were able to move forth an agenda that was not directly supported by thr Church. The "Five non-nrgotiables" of Catholic Answers, which made non-negotiable all aspects related to anti-abortion issues and anti-gay issues, were given a front seat among Catholics, while very clear statements that Catholics had to vote on a wide variety of political issues and not just a few wedge issues, which was the position of both the Vatican and the majority of American Bishops was pushed into the background.
    Lieral Catholic Bishops and other officials were even pushed into retirement.

    The voters guide actually put out by the Bishops openly stated that it was necessary for voters to consider all issues that are of concern to the church, such as social justice, national health insurance, government welfare programs, particularly those regarding food stamps and the WIC program for poor women and children. The Bishops told the Conservative support group that they could absolutely NOT place their voters guide in any Churches anywhere in the United States. However in the short period of time between this attempt, and the elections these conservative elements were able to attracct the attention of many, and give them only the part of the entire message that they wanted to be heard.

    But the Conservative Catholic groups kept hammering away on the single issues in all of their outlets in the media and on the Internet, and conveniently left out the other issues that the Bishops said had to be supported.

    This occured everywhere, even though Catholics overwhemingly vote the Democratic Party line with Catholic voters generally voting 60 percent Democrat and 40 percent Republican. Conservative Catholic sources hammered away at the line that voting for a pro-choice candidate results in automatic excommunication, without refering to the addendum called the "Nota Bene: which stated that any Catholic could vote for a pro-choice candidate if they were nort voting for the candidate soly because they were pro life or pro-gay marraige. It was clearly stated that a Catholic could vote for such a candidate if they were doing so because of other positions held bythat candidate which are consistant with Catholic Beleifs, such as social justice, programs for the poor, national health and so on.

    A campaign of conservatism by omission was on, and the conservative had deep pockets to run this campaign. The Democratic party ignored this one venue, but Republicans did not and gave it every bit of finaicial support it could.

    The conservatives had the upper hand due to large sums pumped into their coffers and the unusual wide audience they are given on the major Catholic Radio and teleivion outlets, which are run and supperted by conservative Catholics by and large.

    Liberal Catholics have only one relatively liberal source on the Internet advising them on candidates from both parties who consistantly support both all positions held by the Catholic Church and seeks out candidates who support them all, such as anti abortion and anti-gay marriage democrats who also oppose the death penalty, and also support government programs realting to social justice and health care and anti-Iraq war and so on. However, even this source is frequently overwhelmed by conservatives attempting to push the two single issues into the forefront and weaken and then push the other issues into the background.

    Much of this an many other churches was done in the background, with conservative elements hamstringing the social issues of the religious liberal in the U.S. and pushing the two issues of life and homosexuality into the forefront, while the major liberal issues, supported by most mainstream churches, vanished.

    If you remember, the mainstream churches and many of their ecumenical organizations support all of the platform position of the democratic party and are only at odds with the issues of life and homosexual marriage, and even on these issues, there is wide disagreement. There is far greater agreement on all of the other issues which are at the center of Democratic Party core beliefs and almost singluarly opposed by Republicans.

    In many states which have recently been attempting to create statewide single payer health insurance, the largest single backer was the Catholic diocese of these states )PA, CT and MD, I beleive)

    In this arena however, our strengths are diminished and our weakenesses enhanced simply because we do not show up.

    Conservatives , both religious and non--religious kept hammering at these two side issues, while there was no active liberal attempt to move the social issues back into the forefront, as being larger issues effecting many more people. Because by and large the leadership of the democratic party avoids trying to make point on religious turf, and that is largely where they lost ground. Most of the mainstream churches opposed the Bush tax cuts, opposed the cuts to social programs and education, opposed the war in Iraq (even Bush's own Methodist Church went so far as to chastise him for Iraq).

    We can win in the public forum, but given the general religious nature of the American public. or claim to religious belief, Democrats continually lose on religious ground, becaue here is no one present to make the Democratic point, and this leaves the field wide open for conservatives to present their position as the position of the religious leadership.

    Democrats will always support ths issues of abortion rights and gay rights, but if they are seemingly placed at the center of our platform by the right, without a strong attack on the attempt to do so, we cannot win. And if we cannot win, neither can these two issues.

    It would be best if we returned to the core values of the Democartic platform which are support for people and not things (like corporations). We can easily show how trickle down economics will always fail, we can always make the point that it is better to give tax cuts to voters who will spen their money on goods, and so support good companies and winnow out those that are not good. WE can always point outthat it is better to go to war with the support of the U.N. so a lot of other countries pick up the tab for the war, not the American taxpayer alone.

    We have a good core, just that we do not focus on it, and we do  not have good organizationa that get this message out to the public. We have NARAL, which has an important message, but when the major organization that supoprt us have a single message, only that single message is heard.

    Neither gay rights or rights of women for choice cannot survive if the right stays in power. Putting these issues on the backburner for a while is not to throw them out. But it can allow us to win power again, and then bring support them where it counts. In Congress and in the White House and in the Courts.

  •  What Democrat Stand For: (3.60)
    Electing (and re-electing) themselves.  How compelling.  But the number of people for whom this is the pole star of their politics is very limited and those people are, basically, a single issue group themselves.

    How crushing to realize that politics (in both parties) is mainly made up of people who demand, "what's in it for me?"

    It's fine to criticize people who care about the spotted frickin owl and the right of frickin privacy.  But what are professional Democrats actually going to do about groups they've fucked and taken for granted all these years?  Expect them to keep voting for Democrats when Democrats are a pathetic minority?  Kick them out of the party?  Insult them, thereby adding insult to injury?  Tell them to take their frickin issues and go form a third frickin party?

    NARAL may not have the decades of political experience or wisdom one gains by setting up a marginally successful communication tool. Pardon NARAL.  

    But perhaps NARAL made the arguably rational decision that the Democrats weren't likely to win back the Senate in 2006.  In that case, for them, not everything was riding on electing a Democrat to the Senate in Rhode Island. Especially since Chaffee had supported them worked with them over the years.

    Perhaps the wet dream of a Democratic Senate majority wasn't compelling enough to get them to betray a political ally and install one of their enemies as the new unbeatable incumbent.

    And why the fuck are the Democrats unable to come up with a set of principles the party stands for beyond re-electing more Democrats? People are getting tired of waiting for the political geniuses who run the party to come up with something.  

    I could certainly forgive NARAL if it responded that New Democrats wear their inexperience and naivite on their sleeves when they act like all this hasn't been argued and fought over for twenty-five years or more.

    Sometimes people have to act based on how things really are.

    This aggression will not stand, man

    by kaleidescope on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:08:50 AM PDT

  •  Kos may or may not be right... (4.00)
    ...I don't know if I agree or not. But how is calling NARAL "myopic fools" any better than what the DNC says about MoveOn or Lieberman says about more liberal Dems. You're not going to start a productive discussion with language like that. If your arguments are persuasive maybe you can make headway with NARAL. But has anybody with clout tried to talk to them privately, or only tried to convince them by insulting them publicly? The public insult approach doesn't usually work for me! ;)
  •  The frame (none)
    "Right to Privacy" is a horrible frame.

    Which sounds better, "Right to Privacy" vs "Culture of Life"?

    Anti-abortion folks view abortion as murder. Should murderers walk free because they have a right to privacy?

    Its a good post, but we need to work on the frame.

  •  Yet another Amen. (none)
    We either hang together or we'll hang separately. The single-issue focus is for the selfish and shortsighted. All issues are connected. We must work together.
  •  NARAL is wrong and kos is wrong (4.00)
    NARAL's endorsement of Chafee is idiotic and not even helpful for that organization's own narrowly construed agenda.

    kos's reasoning is nothing new.  it is the same reasoning the democratic party forced on blacks for many years, to get them to go along with the party of strom thurmond.  fortunately, fanny lou hamer was not buying.

    harry reid seems to be doing a fine job, in many ways.  but having him as a leader is a fatal flaw.  anti-choice is an unjust position.  it is an economic issue, also.  anti-choice people can always get abortions in civilized countries IF they have enough money. it sure would be nice to know how many of our anti-choice politicians have helped get their daughters and wives safe legal abortions in civilized countries.  anti-choice gets dressed up as a conscience issue - anything can be, even the invasion of iraq - but it is ultimately a class issue, and fearful pandering to dobsonism.

    you can say that choice is not fundamental to the democratic agenda.  well, civil rights used to be in the same category.  democrats won for decades with a tacit understanding that there would be no party discipline on civil rights.

    i am a democrat because i believe being one is the best way i can do my part to bring better public policy to this country, and to get out of these dark ages.  when democrats cozy up to unjust policies they are holding us back in the dark ages.  

    anti-choice is hypocrisy.  it is lies.  it is anti-life.  the very term pro-life is a dirty lie.  anti-choice is cruel, murderous and dishonest.  if it is an issue of conscience, the logic of it provides NO EXCEPTIONS for rape and incest.  once you provide for exceptions, the moral logic disappears. so what is an anti-choice politician who would accept any exceptions doing? pandering, pure and simple. and what do you call someone who would make a teenage girl bear a child conceived when her father rapes her? i guess that would be a purist.

    NARAL is wrong, and kos is wrong.

    •  Anti-abortionists get abortions (4.00)
      All the time!!

      As someone who's worked in clinics since 1976, I can verify with lucidity that I've seen daughters, wives, girlfriends, etc. of prominent anti-abortion politicians coming into clinics for abortions.

      In fact, we've often had anti-abortion picketers come into clinics as well.

      You see...they have good reasons for the abortion...unlike all the other slutty women who get them because it's convenient.

      I'd like to call for these women to either lobby privately their menfolk, or expose them publicly for the hypocrites they are.

      BTW...this includes Catholics, WingNuts, Rethugs, Preachers, etc.  

      I keep trying to tell the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party that there are over 40 million women out there who've had abortions.  There are only 22 million Christian Conservatives.  Go after the numbers...because voting is a numbers game.

      Many of these women may be in the "closet", but when you demean their choice and their past, you're losing a voter to the Right Wing "I have sinned" crowd.  If they can forgive, can't we?

      HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

      by annrose on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:27:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  meh (none)
      i don't believe reid is anti-choice, i believe his is anti-abortion.
  •  Sad Kos (4.00)
    Thanks for the forum & the generally good ideas, but your fixation on denying women their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO AN ABORTION is getting tedious, real tedious.  Sadly, I do understand your foolish post, & am not enlightened by it.  So, do us all a favor & shut up about it, you're doing the rethugs job here.  Worry less about NARAL & more about the Constitution.
  •  Wow Great post Kos (none)
    This is what I have been telling my fellow Democrats. They keep thinking only ideoligical pure (whatever they deem that to be) deserve support. We need to understand that no two people are ever 100 percent in aggreement. Its OKAY lets understand a Democratic majority is the way to their goal. Not just one candidate.
    •  women's sovereignty (none)
      Listen Ladies and Gentlemen:

      Women's bodies are their bodies and in a free society each woman gets to choose what happens to and in her body.  End of story.

      Personally, I think women need to resurrect ancient and more holistic non-surgical ways to end an unwanted pregnancy (they do exist and they are not as dangerous as the medical community would have you believe early enough in the process).  Women need to learn more about their bodies, have more control over their sexuality (which will help to prevent unplanned pregnancies), and request that men stay out of this debate unless specifically invited to chime in.  

      Persons who are morally offended by surgical abortions (a position I understand -- I too believe in the sacredness of the life force) should work night and day to help women get access to the contraception they need (especially young women) and -- just as important -- help create a society in which women are empowered to experience their sexuality in self-supporting ways.  AND to promote policies and attitudes that do not penalize single mothers!!!

      Sheesh.  Isn't it obvious folks?  

      May all beings be free from fear.

      by shakti on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:46:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Earth Charter (4.00)
    Dear Kos and readers:

    The Earth Charter is a comprehensive vision for a sustainable and peaceful global community, and addresses many of the "single-issue" causes endorsed by progressives.  

    <http://www.earthcharter.org>

    (Can someone show me how to insert a link?)

    It really is all connected:  women's rights, economic justice, environmental justice, the peace movement ... these are not single issues, but rather different facets of a whole vision.  

    May all beings be free from fear.

    by shakti on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:32:11 AM PDT

  •  You're supporting the Republican's claim... (none)
    ...that the Democrats have absolutely no principles and stand for nothing. That's what Republicans say. And you're both wrong.
  •  the benefit of the single issue groups (4.00)
    Who among us is going to do a better job than NARAL of tracking where candidates stand on choice issues, what legislation is pending on choice issues, and what actions need to be taken to protect the choice issue?

    This is what they are they for.   If I want to judge how a candidate stands on choice.. I'll see what NARAL has to say about him/her.

    They have done far more work to protect the right the choose than any political blog can even dream of.

    This does not completely discount Kos's arguments, and I agree that it makes things "messy" for the party.  But blaming a single issue centered organization for having an opinion on that issue to me seems to be missing the point of why such an organization exists.  Their original name, was after all, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, not the National Committee to Elect Democracts.

    I don't know anything about Langevin so I'll leave that for those in the region to argue but if NARAL says he was a bad candidate for choice, then I believe them.   Doesn't mean I wouldn't still vote for him if he was in my state, even though I am firmly pro-choice.   I don't think Kos is giving Democrats enough credit here to make choices based on the whole landscape.  The important thing is that we get accurate pictures of the pieces of that landscape, and I think NARAL provides that on the choice issue.

    I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

    by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:36:21 AM PDT

    •  not blaming them (none)
      for having an opinion, blaming them for being so single issue driven they can't see they're shooting themselves in the foot.
      •  sorry (none)
        I don't see how a group whose reason for existence is protecting the right to choose is shooting themselves in the foot by endorsing someone who has voted pro-choice in most cases...

        Compare and contrast below:

        http://www.issues2000.org/Social/Lincoln_Chafee_Abortion.htm

        http://www.issues2000.org/House/James_Langevin_Abortion.htm

        Again, NARAL is not in the business of electing Democrats, they are in the business of protecting the right to choose.  

        Democrats need to take the information that's given to us by effective single issue groups and use that to make an INFORMED decision.   Just because NARAL endorses Chafee, doesn't mean you have to vote for him.  It doesn't mean NARAL is short sighted, or stupid, or shooting itself in the foot.  All it means, is that in their opinion, (which seems borne out by the facts), Chafee is a better candidate for choice than Langevin.

        I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

        by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:00:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (none)
          NARAL is not in the business of electing Democrats, they are in the business of protecting the right to choose.  

          if NARAL has lost sight of the fact that electing democrats IS protecting the right to choose, that's too bad.

          I'm not going to apologize for Langevin, that's not the point here...  the point here is clear.  a dem majority in the senate is MORE valuable to NARAL than getting to state their opinion about one election.  at least i would hope they were capable of seeing that.

          •  okaay (4.00)
            maybe I'm just slow, and am not getting your point, but how is helping elect a democrat who is FIRMLY ANTI-CHOICE, and has voted FOR EVERY piece of ANTI-CHOICE legistlation to come down the pike helping to protect the right to choose?

            No one needs to apologize for Langevin, he has his views and he votes according to them.

            A slim Dem majority in the senate that has 10 ANTI-CHOICE democrats who will vote with 95% of Republicans FOR legislation that opposes the right to choose is not going to help the right to choose.  I would hope you are capable of seeing that.

            I'm mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!

            by MarkinNC on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:20:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i can see that (none)
              there's also the issue of confirming appointments. and if langevin is simply going to side with repugs on everything then, you're right, there simply is no point.

              but don't think when it comes down to real party loyalty that chafee would vote against a judge that would overturn roe v. wade just cause he has a better pro-choice record.

              i would suggest given the inner machinations of the senate that having a dem would be better than having a repug, reid can take him aside and say to him "dude, i know you and i are passionately anti-abortion but us dems need to say unified on this."   at the very least i would prefer to have the majority and the guy on our side, at least technically.  but if you know langevin so well to know that he'd just tell reid, "nope.  i'm gonna continue to break with the party on this," then fine.  that's it then.  i can see how that doesn't help NARAL at all.

  •  It needed to be said. (none)
    Thanks.

    Privacy, personal sovereignty, dignity, forever.

  •  Gay Marriage - A Single-Issue We Can Do Without (4.00)
    What I am about to type may read as heresy in the world of queer politics. So be it. But, as a proud gay man, I think gay marriage has become a single issue we can do without for the time being.

    The politics of gays and lesbians has been framed solely on the issue of marriage, which in the last few years has seemed, to me at least, to be too big a leap in the slow progress of gay rights in this country since Stonewall and a terrible mistake. It is a single issue that has become a very successful rallying cry for our enemies and makes many of our supporters in the Democratic Party cringe.

    I vigorously supported Howard Dean in the primaries because he'd worked a compromise (admittedly at the barrel of a court order) in Vermont that I thought could be sold nation wide - and still did the job of securing equal rights. He said that he'd insist on equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians, but how the states achieved equal rights would be their business. Was that something that could be sold in a Red State? We never got the chance to find out.

    The question for each candidate was always the same: are you for or against gay marriage? And if you were a candidate, your sound-bite answer could only inflame the single-issue group or groups on either side. It was a lose/lose situation

    Now, I've been in a committed relationship with my partner for over 9 years, and, quite frankly, marriage isn't all that important to us. I remember, fondly, a time when queer politics wasn't about assimilation or `becoming normal' - it was about living our lives the way we see fit and not facing legal discrimination for doing so. You can call it marriage, domestic partnerships or civil unions... hell, you can call it cornflakes for all I care - as long as all Americans enjoyed equal rights under the law. In my opinion, this is a goal to be achieved statute by statute, town by town, county by county and state by state as it has been for the last 36 years.

    I'd rather see gay political organizations and the Democratic Party do the tough work on gay rights piecemeal, in an evolutionary manner, than in one (great?) leap forward. The idea of gay marriage is an easier sell when all the rights and trappings of marriage have slowly been enacted into law over time.  

    But this would require patience and a lot of slow, hard work. It would also require that gays and lesbians not put Democratic candidates, who, even if they don't support gay marriage, at least pose no threat to us, to a litmus test than can only assure that the Republican candidate, who more likely than not will be a terrible threat to us, gets elected.    

    •  Civil Unions (none)
      Why doesn't everyone in the country know that Bush endorsed Civil Unions in the closing days of campaign 2004?
    •  what about guns?! (none)
      On top of this, think of how many contests (think-- the west) we have lost due to guns.
    •  I agree with you (none)
      I have made this arguement over and over again.  I get absolutely shelled every time I make it.  However, I will agree with you.  

      THis is not the time for gay marriage. Every time someone advocates gay marriage, a democrat loses office.  Gay marriage is NOT a principle of the democratic party.  It is simply one of many positions that we can take, and it is the one which will destroy the party.

      Just on Friday, I heard another example of someone, a young person, saying "I'd vote democratic, but I cannot support gay marriage, which is not biblical."  You multiply that by 1 million or so, and you see why Dems are in trouble.

    •  You made a factual error ... (none)
      "The politics of gays and lesbians has been framed solely on the issue of marriage, which in the last few years has seemed, to me at least, to be too big a leap in the slow progress of gay rights in this country since Stonewall and a terrible mistake."

      Marriage has been the issue in the SCLM, and only because it is so controversial.  The big issue is equality, and marriage is one such indicia of equality.  But gay bashing and AIDS issues don't get as much play in the media because it is hard to find talking heads to bitch about those issues.

      Talk to some actual gay activists - don't let cable news skew the debate.

      •  actual gay activists? (none)
        Perhaps I wasn't clear: I am talking about national vs. local politics.

        On the national stage, cable news (and most newspapers) have made gay marriage the central issue. That's why I said gay politics has been hijacked. The truth of the matter is that we have enabled this hijacking.

        I've been an activist in the past and will be again. But I'm of the opinion that any gay or lesbian individual who is 'out' is an activist.

    •  I'm Not Sure You Understand the Stakes (none)
      www.dailykos.com :
      You can call it marriage, domestic partnerships or civil unions... hell, you can call it cornflakes for all I care - as long as all Americans enjoyed equal rights under the law.

      Except that domestic partnerships and civil unions are NOT the equivalent of marriage. Actually, the struggle right now is not over instituting same-sex marriage; it is over banning it by means of hard-to-repeal Constitutional amendments. And that is where I take my stand: I will not support any politician of any stripe who supports a Federal Marriage Amendment. If that makes me a single-issue voter then I will proudly wear that badge as to do differently is simply to aid and abet my relegation to the status of second-class citizenship.

      •  not the eqivalent? (none)
        I agree with you 100% about the bans... but, if Civil Unions afford all the rights of marriage, how are they not the eqivalent? Is it merely the name?
        •  In Theory, You're Right; in Practice, (none)
          it would be very difficult for civil unions to have all the benefits of marriage. We would be fighting endlessly to change hundreds of laws in all the states and then would these civil unions have any meaning outside the US? But as I indicated, I don't even thinks that's the fight right now. All we're doing is struggling to preserve the possibility of  gay marriage in the future against the wingnut attempts to amend the US Constitution to forever ban it.
  •  Kos, nail down those planks!! (none)
    I will add my voice to those who salute you for an excellent Post. However, this well written post should be the start of a new manifesto for the Democratic party. You are right in that the party need to define the FUNDIMENTAL ISSUES that it stands for. I would call this RE-INSTITUTIONALIZING the Democratic Party! You have introduced two great planks; the right to privacy, and equality under law. Now we need (eight?) more comparable planks to finalize effective Party re-institutionalization. I am not making light of such a task, it's a lot of work but it must be done.

    The final party platform must be such that all Democratic candidates, state and federal can and will support all planks without reservation. The words of the Party Platform Planks should be emblazoned across the "entry archway" leading to the re-institutionalized Democratic party. As you so aptly point out let the single issue groups find accommodation where they can within the planks of the party platform. No more "tail wagging the dog". I'm ready, let's get started!  

  •  Are we hypocritical? (none)
    I think Republicans are shortsighted and irresponsible.  I think they tend to be elitist and exclusionary, and ideologivally rigid to the point of being myopic.

    That said, they seem to have done a MUCH better job than us as of late of being the "big tent" party on the issue of abortion.

    We, after all, didn't allow Bob Casey to speak at our convention, and we ran a perfectly good candidate out of Rhode Island.  They, on the other hand, elect nearly enough pro-choice Senators to account for their majority.

    And, to that fact, are having a very nice time running our country--and they don't seem to have sacrificed any of their "core" values.

    Perhaps we can learn something from this.

    •  Agree mostly (none)
      Bob Casey was not allowed to speak at the Dem convention in 1992 NOT because he was pro-life/anti-choice/whatever but because he refused to endorse the Democratic nominee.  

      Having said that, I agree with you (and with Kos, I suppose) that we should not necessarily ban people from the party because they aren't pro-choice.  

    •  Harry Reid (none)
      The top Democrat, Harry Reid, is anti-abortion. Name one Republican who is in a position to set policy on the issue who is pro-choice. The Republicans have their own problems with ideological intolerance--life is miserable for moderate Republicans right now, much more so than for moderate Dems.

      Bob Casey didn't speak at the Convention, but Jim Langevin gave a speech on stem-cell research.

      I think we need to be more inclusive, and allowing the party to be highjacked by single-issue, special interest groups is a mistake, but on the whole the Democratic party is much more tolerant and inclusive than the Republican party. This is a trend that will intensify in the coming years as the religious right demands its pound of flesh from the Republican party.

  •  It's all about the values (none)
    It's not that being pro-choice isn't a good illustration of holding the values of the Democratic Party, it's that defining a "good Democrat" should be about the values rather than the specific policy choices. Thus, the problem isn't NARAL endorsing Chafee (the enviros, specifically LCV, will too, by the way, and enthusiasatically) it's the identification of NARAL with the Democrats. And that's something we in the blogosphere can help change. I know NARAL doesn't think of itself that way. We shouldn't, either. Maybe we wouldn't be so disappointed then.
    •  But it isn't with Republican groups.... (none)
      While NARAL is correct in principal, I go to the Alaska example of how Republican-leaning interest groups stay with Republican's and in this case NARAL doesn't.

      In Alaska, pro-life groups endorsed Lisa Murkowski even though she was Pro-choice, and the NRA, a very powerful group in Alaska, endorsed and spent money on behalf of Murkowski even though she had received a "D" raiting and Tony Knowles was much more conservative on guns (and consistantly recived "A" and "B" raitings.)

      Why? single issue discipline. If they would have left they knew that there was a good chance that seat (and many thought at the time the senate) would go to a democrat, which would not be good for them in the long run. So they endorsed against their principal for the long term greater good.

      Here is the problem that we run into as democrats (and I have run into this many times as a campaign worker). In the tough races in democratic areas our single issue freinds leave us for a moderate Republican, and in Republican areas the Republican friends won't leave them for a moderate democrats. That puts us politically at a dis-advantage.

      Kos is right. In the more and more partisan world we live in it is right for us to ask groups like NARAL to think of the big picture, and at least sit this one out.

  •  Excellent post... (none)
    I think you are really making progress on your branding strategy, and this is much better than your "Democratic party is the party for people who work for a living" idea. I think you are doing a great job of identifying core Democratic principles, the right to privacy and equalty under the law, are core Democratic principles, and what is more they are priciples that resonate with the public.

    The right to privacy is a tricky issue though. Everyone wants their own right to privacy respected, but never seem to have a problem with the government puting its nose into some other's right to privacy (i.e. gays, suspected terrorist, etc.)

    One thing that I think badly needs to be articulated is the Democratic party's stand on defense issues. The Republicans have done a damn good job of branding the Democratic party as the one that is "weak on defense." And any Joe on the street can tell you that the Republicans are "strong on defense." Even when many Americans feel uncomfortable with the Republican position on specific foreign policy issues (i.e. war in Iraq), they stick with the Republicans because "they know where they stand."

    IMO, the Dems stand little chance of correcting their current misfortunes long-term until that is corrected. Sure they can make short-term gains due to Republican over-reach, but long-term success will remain elusive until the Democrats have articulated what they stand for in relation to national defense.

    •  Hear, hear (none)
      It is sad that this diary has focused so much on abortion rights rather than the broader issues that Kos is raising.  

      Gary Hart has been saying for 20 years that the Dems need to get their NS bona fides in order.  Will the Dems finally start listening, now they've lost all branches of national government?

      Or is back to the focus groups for 06 and 08?

      •  Here's a start. (none)
        We will resume having a War Department, not a Defense Department.

        America should use its warfighting capacity only for defending our boarders and sea lanes from clear and present dangers to the United States.

        The people, through their representatives, should decide when and where to go to war. An informed, democratic populace has proved consistently better at determining what is a productive, just, and necessary war than warmongering politicians and generals ever have.

        Therefore it is necessary to devolve from the consolidation of military power into the hands of the executive, i.e. decelerations of war must be passed by Congress as decelerations of war.

        Military contractors do not get to make military decisions. Contractors get paid for results not their expertise in procuring military welfare.

        Once war is declared we leave the tactical decisions to the Generals and Admirals, not partisan hacks and keyboard commandos.

        The CIA provides intelligence. The CIA does not provide propaganda. The CIA advises. The CIA does not overthrow governments or otherwise insert itself into geopolitics. If we need someone dead, let the military kill them.

        Ban all new age military euphemisms like collateral damage, police action and defense department. War should presented to the people as dirty, ugly and, hopefully, rare.

        The democrats should look for sterling military leaders enthusiastically agree with these positions.

        Is this a good start?

  •  Privacy is LESS the core issue (3.50)
    This statement by KOS is wrong:  Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are.

    How so?  You are confusing legaleeze with core values.  We are not pro-choice as liberals because of the legal arguments for choice.

    In fact, there are some serious liberals who argue against the right to privacy at least as defined by Louis Brandeis.  Are thoese who hold these views not Democrats now?  As in here:

    http://historyofprivacy.net/

    Reproductive rights, on the other hand, are key to modern feminism and the key to lifting poor people around the world out of poverty.  As such, anyone who abandons reproductive rights is anti-feminist and anti-poor, which is much more clearly anti-liberal core values than being anti-privacy. And in this country, being anti-choice is mainly just an attack on poor women, since rich women like the Bush daughters will always have access to abortions elsewhere.

    Finally, from a pragmatic political point of view, single-issue groups are effective.  They exist on both sides.  They do exactly what they were designed to do. And for that reason, they're not going away, regardless of what we say or think in this diary. Jeez, just think about it for a second.

    Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

    by markymarx on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:11:51 AM PDT

    •  this is true (none)
      Finally, from a pragmatic political point of view, single-issue groups are effective.  They exist on both sides.  

      but i find the behavior is different.  single-issue groups on the right are less inclined to stay home even when they don't get what they want.  they are more loyal.  i can picture dobson and co. vilifying a rogue republican when they have a chance to do so.  but they would never choose a dem over a repug no matter what the ratings said in some voting record.

      this NARAL business is a perfect example.  our single issue group supports chafee cause chafee has a better record on abortion rights.  ok.  fine.  that's their business.  so.  it should follow then, if single issue groups are the same for both sides, that some repug anti-choice group would break with traditional partisanship and support langevin.

      but it doesn't work that way.  cause their business is not just to outlaw abortion but also to get repugs elected.

      •  Really? (none)
        Are you sure about that?  Seems to me while they may not vote for Dems, they will stay home on election day if their candidate breaks with them.  

        They did it to George's Daddy and they've already threatened to do it again if the Repubs don't start moving on their core issues.

      •  so what you are saying is (none)
        that single issue groups are great as long as they behave like Republican single issue groups do.

        If only Democrats would behave more like Republicans!

        •  kind of (none)
          nothing wrong with having opinions.

          all i know is our single issue groups are only interested in the issue.  getting dems elected is incidental.

          and, it appears, repug single issue groups are interested in both things, their issue and getting repugs elected.  getting repugs elected is not incidental.  it's, as it appears to me, it's part of the charter.

      •  well (none)
        Whatever we might think of that argument, we would both agree that it's question of strategy, not "core values" right?

        At the risk of oversimplification, I would say in general, the GOP tends not to abandon its "core values."  And that's probably good strategy as it turns out.

        Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

        by markymarx on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:44:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  think about this (none)
          I would say in general, the GOP tends not to abandon its "core values."  

          does this really go without saying?  didn't bush end up supporting civil unions at one point?

          personally i think they float just as much BS to their own constituency as they do to us.

          part of it is the appearance of loyalty.  the other part is really very pathetic... loser republicans are just happier being lied to with repugs in charge than having dems in charge.

          they'll send out delay to preen about terri schiavo after the election but i guarantee by the time the next cycle rolls around it'll be arnie and rudy taking center stage at the next convention.  and those religious freaks will still be waiting for abortion to be outlawed.  but they'll also still show up at the polls.

          •  well, yeah, but... (none)
            My point is only that it's very pragmatic for NARAL in the long term to prevent any anti-choice candidates from winning, ever.  So they will keep doing it.  And that Democrats ought to consider choice a core value.  So it's a win-win.

            The rest is harder to predict.  I once lived in a place where pro-choice democrats sunk an anti-choice candidate who had a good chance of winning.  And you know what happend next?  The democrat who was nominated instead, who was 10 times better as a person and a politician, actually won.  This was in a Republican district. The northeast is pro-choice, man.  Get a whiff.

            There are other calculations, too.  Such as whether a having a few real moderates left in the Republican party is such a bad thing.  I'd like to see the moderates take their party back.  Not that I'd ever vote for one...
             

            Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho Marx

            by markymarx on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:46:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Answer Me This (none)
    How do we fix it?

    I'm worried that we're in a rut. Just like the Republicans in days past, it's not as simple as waving a magic blog around and righting (oops, bad choice of words...) the ship. We need to have a plan, and we need to start now.

    Seeing Dean on MTP this weekend made me think that he might "get it." But I'm not sure...

  •  Pet cause (4.00)
    Women's right to choose is a "pet cause"...?

    Fucking pathetic Kos. Fucking pathetic.

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:15:37 AM PDT

    •  I can fault Kos for mangling his point (none)
       here, but I see what he's saying. It's a pet cause only if you don't tie it to other things. Democrats have been bad at tying it all together. Rather than taking broad swipes at his language, we should be helping him construct that method of tying everything together.  

       For me, there are two overarching themes that run through the Democratic Party in my lifetime: Personal Freedom and Interconnectedness. Personal Freedom to me means that the government can't make many decisions about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for you. The only time they should is when what we'd do directly impacts others. That's Interconnectedness.

       Example: I'm in favor of gun rights. Personal Freedom to me means that I should have the right to own a gun. Interconnectedness means I shouldn't be patrolling my front yard in the Weaver position. It also means that an effort to keep them out of the hands of criminals is required by the government, because what criminals do with them affects all of us in myriad ways.

       That's what we have to do with all these various single issues. Dean started doing that in his MTP interview yesterday. Then once we have it, we can distill it and make it easy for people to grasp if they want it, just like the Republicans do.

      I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

      by Anderson Republican on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:27:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WOW (4.00)
    "One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera."

    I thought one of the purposes of liberal blogging was to combat these types of right-wing stereotypes head-on.

    Geez, I had it completely backwards.  We're supposed to ECHO what we hear from Rush and O'Reilly and Hannity, etc.  Freakin' "Femi-Nazis" and "Environmental Wackos" are destroying this party!  (You seem to have forgotten the Anti-war groups here Kos, don't forget they turned the formally God-fearing, war-lovin' Dem faithful into a bunch of "French-speaking Surrender Monkeys!"  And why in the world didn't you condemn all those marriage-destroying "Faggot" groups!)  We would have won the last election if we had stood up to them!  Bill Clinton tried to warn us!

    And this: "So while Republicans focus on building an ideological foundation for their cause,"  OH. MY. GOD.

    Is my calendar wrong? Is this a belated April Fools joke?

    •  You are completely missing the point. (none)
      The point is, we are right on these issues, and the point is that we are right for the right reasons, because they flow from a core set of principles.  We already hold those principles; this isn't about inventing new ones.  But we've failed to frame these issues and ourselves in these larger principles in terms that people can understand.

      Kos is absolutely correct about this. I've been frustrated about it for years.  It's one of the reasons I backed away from Dem Party activism (I still support and volunteer, but I no longer work in campaigns at a management level.)  I couldn't deal with the myopic single issue types.

      I come from red small-town America, and grew up in a household where my father's rantings would have embarrassed Archie Bunker.  You have to know how to reach these people, and appealing to their belief in privacy, individual rights, the responsible use of power, and so on, is not selling out to Limbaugh et al.  It's allowing NASCAR America to understand that we have a hell of a lot more in common than they've been led to believe.  Do that and you can succeed in your quest for equal rights for all people, a right to manage your own health issues, and so on.

      •  I get the point (4.00)
         
        Democrats have no overall, defining message.

        But the fault for this belongs to the party itself, not outside advocacy groups.  Kos could have easily made the same point without resorting to Republican smears.

        I also take real issue with the suggestion that the Republicans are unified in their goals.  I've never seen such disparate groups vying for power before!!

        They have an incredible propaganda machine, no doubt about that.  I'm all for building our own message machine.  But you don't find too many Republican spokespeople attacking their own.  

        •  The initial attack... (none)
          ... was on Langevin, by NARAL.  Some of us are tired of this kind of unwillingness to give a little to gain a lot.  NARAL gets its way on the relatively small matter, and helps Republicans install anti-choice judges who will cause harm for a lifetime.  That's dumb.
  •  NARAL is free to endorse (4.00)
    the candidate who best backs their issue. NARAL is not the Democratic party.

    There is no way NARAL could endorse a candidate who disagrees with their fundamental purpose. That would be absurd.

    Let's blame those nasty women for standing up for their rights.

    Yeah, that's been going on for centuries.

    It doesn't work any more. You are either for individuals' right to privacy and control of their own bodies or not. If not, fine, but don't claim you are and then slam those who really are.

    Sorry. An anti-choice candidate was the ONLY person in the WHOLE STATE who could run? Puh-leez!

  •  how much longer is kos going to bash prochoicers? (3.66)

    really, isnt there anyone else kos can be bashing besides NARAL?

    god, i hope this isnt the future of the democratic party

    "You will determine whether rage or reason guides the United States in the struggle to come. You will choose whether we are known for revenge or compassion. Yo

    by AmericanHope on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:38:51 AM PDT

    •  So, if Constitutional Rights are Core Principles.. (none)

      Ninth Amendment: (The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.)

      It would seem that kos should denounce himself for his eagerness to sell out the unenumerated Constitutional Right of women to control their own bodies.

  •  Hmm (none)
     I don't misunderstand this post at all.If I'm reading it correctly, you're taking a macro view of "defining" Democratic core principles, whereupon a woman's right to make her own medical decisions with her doctor and without government interference is part of the larger issue of the right to privacy.

    Pretty simple, really, and one that libertarians and conservatives alike should get behind, logically speaking.

    But since there's not much logic to be found on the other side of the aisle, I hope you'll forgive me if I stick with my micro-issues, while doing my best to support the macro message.

    Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

    by Maryscott OConnor on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:40:32 AM PDT

  •  Here's my problem (4.00)
    "One of the key problems with the Democratic Party is that single issue groups have hijacked it for their pet causes. So suddenly, Democrats are the party of abortion, of gun control, of spottend owls, of labor, of trial lawyers, etc, etc., et-frickin'-cetera. We don't stand for any ideals, we stand for specific causes. We don't have a core philosophy, we have a list with boxes to check off."

    As I said last time this subject came up (and I'll avoid the language this time), the Democratic party for me is only a vehicle with which to realize an agenda.  If the party fails to move the agenda forward, then the fact that the party is labeled "Democrat" means nothing.

    Here is my other problem.  I have friends and collegues who work for NARAL and the NRDC (another group that has been criticized for being single issue so I am going to include them here).  These friends and collegues are lawyers.  My friends could be making alot of money in the private sector defending corporations and polluters.

    But my friends at these, what you call, "single issue groups" go to work every day to protect our rights and to protect our environment.  And I can't stand it when people on blogs criticize my friends in NARAL or other groups.  NARAL lawyers are performing a great public service.  What are you doing that is so great?

    I would like to also add that most of my friends at NARAL and the NRDC took time off - their own vaction time - to go campaign for Kerry in swing states during the election.  Now that is dedication.

    Frankly, if the Democrats screw up and nominate an anti-choice candidate, then NARAL is entitled to throw a non-partisan bone to a Rethug who is pro-choice.  It's called being true to the agenda.  Besides whould it really have been THAT hard to find a pro-choice Democrat in Rhode Island?

    Finally, let me say that it really angers me to read commenters on a blog criticizing people in NARAL, or any other progressive advocacy group.  These people are doing a great service in protecting our rights.  Think of it this way, there are lawyers making $50K at the NARAL that could be making $2M (base, before bonus) at a big law firm.  Essentially, that lawyer is giving $1,950,000/year to pro-choice advocacy.  Do any of the commentors criticizing NARAL give that much to the cause of protecting choice each year?  I really doubt it.  Let me be blunt - any of the psters here who work for corporate America(TM) have no business criticizing NARAL or anybody involved in protecting the public interest.  And it really angers me when non-public service people complain about advocates, when they depend on those same advocates to protect their rights.

  •  This is perhaps one of your best posts (none)
    •  Worst. Post. Ever . (4.00)
      It blames outside groups for the Democratic Party's mushy, muddled themes. It's pure, unadulterated scapegoating.

      In truth, The Dems don't have a unifying message because they won't come together and agree on one.  They are too fucking terrified of the Republicans to draw a line of demarcation, to define themselves as a real alternative for America.  

      They've allowed themselves to become the "Me Too, but with less Gusto" party.  They have no one to blame but themselves.

      •  It's not blaming (none)
        but then you would have to think about what he is saying, and I don't see much thinking as much as knee jerk reaction. ie, how much sense does it make to take on short term tactics like supporting chafee when they hurt your long term goal- which is his thesis- notice today the S Ct is again taking up the abortion issue. Yet, you would have us believe its not important who is in charge- which is his point I believe- long term principles would allow us to have better grounds to fight on rather than short term tactics and NARAL- he is right hurt themselves as much as they hurt Democratic efforts.
  •  I'm Confused. Isn't Abortion-on-Demand... (none)
    what NARAL's purpose is?  Isn't the organization designed to be a single issue entity?  Maybe I'm wrong.  I've been in a G-d rat trap for 8 months, but doesn't the "A" in NARAL stand for ABORTION?  Doesn't it then hold that NARAL would support candidates who support ABORTION?  Doesn't it also hold that NARAL would oppose candidates who oppose ABORTION?

    I get the larger point about cutting off your nose to spite your face.  But, NARAL is not an extension of the Democratic Party.  The group, by definition, needs to live/work in an environment where there are Republicans AND Democrats who influence policy issues.  

    I applaud the group for supporting the people who support their cause and opposing people who oppose their cause.

    You could, of course, start the D-NARAL.  

    Who's the ass kisser wit the first posting, by the way?

    Well, after this, I should think nothing of falling down stairs.

    by Alice Burro on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:47:39 AM PDT

  •  I see you were right about being misunderstood... (none)
    ...some of the comments here are truly off base, almost like the blinkered squawkers of the single issue groups whose power you are lamenting.

    For the sake of clarity, and in an effort to reduce the misunderstanding, here is (IMNSHO) the key point in kos's article:

    It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts.

    Emphasis mine.

    Sharp, constructive, thinking by kos.

    ...and you can write that down, and put a dash in front of it, and put my name at the bottom.

    by deafmetal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:48:30 AM PDT

  •  Who is at fault? (3.50)
    Single-issue groups haven't "hijacked" the Democratic Party so much as the lazy Party has viewed them as a shortcut to getting votes. (Unless you somehow view the Democratic Party as a helpless participant in this.) And kos recognizes this when he says "And the party has ceded way too much power, way too much control, to those single issue groups". But this point may be obscured by the initial foolish. ignorant rant - "pet causes", "spotted owls" - Limbaugh language on this site. Feh. This isn't about the single-issue groups - they are a fact of life, they are independent entities who aren't always going to do what we want, and sometimes they are pretty damn effective in achieving their goals. It's about the Democratic Party taking control of its own fate. I don't see why it is necessary to vilify groups that should be our natural allies in order to have that discussion.

    ... yet even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

    by Blue the Wild Dog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:50:55 AM PDT

    •  Beyond the word choice of (none)
      "hijacked" what would you call NARAL's actions?
      •  I don't think (none)
        NARAL's actions were wise. But independent entities aren't always going to act rationally, and the outcome isn't under our control. (I say "our" because this is primarily a partisan Democratic Party blog.) The discussion should be about what (if anything) the Democratic Party could and should have done differently in that case, and more generally sharpening our core principles, like kos talks about later. I just don't see the trashing of "special interests" as productive or germane to that discussion. Just my opinion.

        ... yet even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

        by Blue the Wild Dog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:02:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's the point above (none)
          how the democrats should not be beholden to the irrationalities of particual interest groups who aren't thinking long term versus parties who m ust think long term. I wish- and this is a wish for most Americans in general that you can get rid of the for us or against us approach. His discssion of NARAL is to point out how our interests are not completely overlapping with each other. It's not bashing- it's asking people to realize- as he points out at the very end- the complexity of the situation. That parties are about the complexity, and not just the issue. To do that- he had to explain the context of why or else most people - as they are still doing here- would dodge his main point. Ie, here I am reading everything from he's bashing to well what about the rights of women to an abortion- none of which answers the fundamental point that he is raising and none of which can explain how he can raise the issue in any other way- how would you raise how the interest of NARAL do no concide perfectly with the Democratic party even if they have the long term interest in common. How do you point out that there short term tactic leads to short bad judgement for the party and (frankly for them). And, here is another point- which I mentioned else where- How do we do as Howard Dean talked about yesterday- talk to people who are for each american having the right to make their own decisions here without governmental interference. I think one of the issues as he has pointed out is that there are entrenched interests on both sides. NARAL has a culture and language that isn't as much about even securing the right as it for its own political strategies- and that's fine- but how are we suppose tod eal with these differences. I mean the option that many of you leave is to say that there are none- even after they attack a candidate and turn around and not bother to support the Democratic candidate after holding out that they would
          •  Great comment (none)
            My original comment was that kos' bashing (and there was clearly bashing at the start of his post) needlessly obscured the point he was trying to make, and that I agree with, and that you are elaborating on, and making in a much more reasonable way than kos did.

            ... yet even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

            by Blue the Wild Dog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:19:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed (none)
      I think you make an excellent point that the Party has used these groups as a shortcut to votes.

      Nobody is villifying these groups.  What we are complaining about is the use of the checklist to determine good Democratic candidates.

      The problem with the checklist is that it means we find as nominees people who are most adept at promising everything to everybody... these people are usually the worst at delivering anything.

      •  Mostly agree (none)
        but talking about "whining and crying" and using Limbaugh code words like "spotted owl" and "pet causes" is vilification, and that's the part of the post I was objecting to. I suspect kos' second post on this subject will be more worthwhile.

        ... yet even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

        by Blue the Wild Dog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:59:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know (none)
          A lot of Republican arguments wouldn't resonate so well... if they weren't true.

          So I don't think it's a compelling argument to make that we shouldn't say something just because Limbaugh says it.  Unless you have some other argument to go along with that.

          Now I'm not a big Limbaugh defender, and in fact I think many arguments that the Republicans do make are designed not so much to reinforce their base, but as to resonate with Democrats.  I'm not certain "pet issues" and "spotted owls" falls into that category, however.

          •  Well (4.00)
            I think from my comments that it is pretty obvious that I consider statements like "crying and whining" and "pet causes" to be pointlessly demeaning, completely independent of whether it is something Limbaugh would say. So I consider your response a bit of a strawman in that you are inferring that I hold the position that we shouldn't say those things because Rush says them, when in fact I didn't say that, and my comments state that I consider kos' rant to be counter-productive.

            ... yet even the dogs eat the crumbs from their master's table.

            by Blue the Wild Dog on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:24:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I've been stewing all morning over this. (4.00)
    You know, as a pro-choice woman and an elected official in the Democratic Party here in Massachusetts, I find Kos's post demeaning and patronizing.

    First off, women's reproductive rights is not a "pet cause."  An issue that affects half the population for a full one-third of their lives cannot, by definition, be considered a "pet cause."  

    Second, as others have pointed out here, you have embraced and reinforced the very stereotypes that the right constantly uses  against us.    

    Third, your parsing of the notion of privacy to not necessarily include abortion and choice is deeply disingenuous.  Reproductive rights are a fundamental principle of the Democratic Party whether you want it to be or not.  (And for the life of me, I don't understand why you take issue with this--and I probably don't want to know.)  

    You claim a "party has to stand for more than the sum of its parts."  Well, them words sound kinda purty, but in reality they are meaningless as the parts provide the integrity for the whole.  A political party, actually, is only as good and as strong as the issues for which it stands.

    Now, NARAL is trying to make a point here--and one that the Democratic Party should pay heed to.  They did not need to come out this early and endorse anyone, but they did--a Republican.  It's certainly a stick in the eye to the Dems, no doubt about that.  But their point is this:  you field anti-choice candidates, you will not get our endorsement.  This isn't rocket science given NARAL's stated mission.

    We shouldn't be fielding anti-choice candidates as a party, either, any more than we should be fielding pro-Jim Crow candidates or anti-labor candidates or anti-EPA candidates.  If I supported right-to-work legislation and believed that unions had outlived their usefulness, I'd be hard-pressed to call myself a Democrat even I insisted on putting a D after my name--and the Party needn't support me as a candidate.  

    The fact is the Democratic Party does stand for something already, it's just that some people don't like what it stands for.  Well, speaking as one of one-half of the population who is reproductive for roughly 33 (and the best) years of my life,  when the Democratic Party starts supporting candidates who wish to limit my reproductive rights, my quality of life and freedom, then they lose me as a Party member.

    What is so difficult to understand about that?  Does one really need to be a pro-choice woman to get it?  I certainly hope not.  

    Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts: www.devalpatrick.com

    by lightiris on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:53:46 AM PDT

    •  Does that include Harry Reid? (none)

      I tell you there is a fire. They have this day set a blazing torch to the temple of constitutional liberty and, please God, we shall have no more peace forever.

      by Anderson Republican on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:57:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do deliberately not understand that (none)
      this is specifically about whether you will have the right in fact v. having it in theory? How is it helpful to your cause to keep the current Republican majority in control.
    •  Generally I mirror your opinions, but this... (none)
      ...is disingenuous:
      Third, your parsing of the notion of privacy to not necessarily include abortion and choice is deeply disingenuous.

      What kos said:

      Problem is, abortion and choice aren't core principles of the Democratic Party. Rather, things like a Right to Privacy are. And from a Right to Privacy certain things flow -- abortion rights, access to contraceptives, opposition to the Patriot Act, and freedom to worship the gods of our own choosing, or none at all.

      There is no suggestion or inference that reproductive rights are not included in the notion of privacy.

      In fact it states quite clearly that abortion rights flow (ie: are contained within) from a right to privacy.

      Sorry, like I said, generally my opinions are very similar to yours, but this seems to be a misunderstanding of kos's article.

      ...and you can write that down, and put a dash in front of it, and put my name at the bottom.

      by deafmetal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:21:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The BLESSING of the single issue groups (4.00)
    Single-issue groups brought us every bit of progress realized in the 20th century, from a woman's right to vote, the right to organize a union, the right to a minimum wage, the right to breath clean air and drink clean water, to the ending of America's horrible system of apartheid and the right for people with different skin color to get married. And that work is isn't done yet!!!

    The Democratic Party ought to be concerned about strengthening the groups that make up its natural constituency, like unions. Branding is what Coke and Pepsi do, and what bloggers and pollsters and pundits and consultants like to think about a lot. Meanwhile in the real world outside the blog-o-sphere, there are some states in this union where it is practically impossible for a woman to get an abortion, in spite of her right to choose. And if she's poor, fuggedabowdit.

    The real work of making progress in this democracy has been done and always will be done by so-called single-issue groups. And my attitude is: fuck anyone who gets in the way of that progress, whether they are Democrats or GOP.

    •  So what you are saying (none)
      is it is more important to give the ax to someone running for senate because of a SINGLE ISSUE than taking back the Senate from a group of ideologues that will take away a woman's right to choose as soon as they can.

      Langevin in the Senate was not going ot take away choice. Langevin in the Senate combined with Democrats in the majority would PROTECT choice because most of our Senators on our side of the isle wouldn't let it happen. Many Democratic Senators are personally pro life but never act to take away that choice.

      But with the Republicans in charge, you can kiss it goodbye as soon as they are allowed to pack the courts.

      It's called strategy. It's called the big picture. it's something that single issue groups don't get.

      YES, I beleive single issue groups are important and have done ALOT of good. but the Democratic Party needs to have vision, not as Kos said, checkboxes.

      (and yes I'm pro choice, yes I feel it's an important issue. but it is one of MANY important issues we need a Democratic Party that is actially IN POWER to do anything about)

      •  Oh, for God's sake. (none)
        What she's saying is it's about the issues, themselves, and how they reflect core party values. And this idea that all we should be focused on is taking back congress, regardless of what it does to the platform is ludicrous. How long will most elected Dems be pro-choice, if the party takes that tack? How will we "brand" this. "Democrats: The Party of Compromise." "Compromising Any Principle to get Elected." Inspiring.
        •  Technically I am a HE (none)
          As far as I know I've always been a guy. :-)

          But you've got my point.

          Without the issue groups that kos slammed, life in America would suck, for most people.

          40 hour work week? Fuggedabowdit. You'd work 14 hour days, with one day off every two weeks. Your workplace would be unsafe, and you'd have no sick leave, disability insurance, vacation, or retirement. You'd be drinking toxic sludge and be inhaling foul waste. When you go to buy food it could be rat meat or contain poison, who knows?

          Issue groups dragged the Democratic Party into doing a lot of good things in the 20th century. Not the other way around.

          What kos and a lot of people here are calling for sounds like the horribly nuanced -- dare I say Kerry-esque -- position of supporting "privacy" while not actually supporting anything that logically stems from privacy, like the right to choose an abortion and actually obtain one in the USA somewhere.

          It's just empty word play, like the Republican's "culture of life": a meaningless slogan you trot out, that everyone can applaud. (I mean, who's for a "culture of death", really?) But when it comes to pinning down exactly what those principles mean?

          <crickets chirping>

          kos is just pissed because the issue groups demand to know what the hell it is your principles mean. And when they turn out not to mean what they ought to, the issue groups don't exactly have any obligation to vote Democratic.

          You all stand on the shoulders of giants who cared about "single issues" and "causes".

          Adults would live with that. and instead of whining about their dedication to causes.

          Earn their votes, or lose. Simple as that.

          •  Sorry 'bout that. (none)
            Your post was so sharp and on-target, I took you for a woman. But, hey, you're pretty smart for a guy! (Pat, pat, on the head. Now you know what it's like to be an intelligent woman. Fun, huh?)

            But, as I recently opined to another fairly bright male friend, the Dems seem to be trying to co-opt the winning formula of "Seinfeld." Democrats: A Party About Nothing.

            Words cannot describe how pissed I am over this debate, and it's been going on, on different threads, for days. Even John McCain knows that everyone in America is a special interest. The problem is not special interests. It's that only the special interests with big purse strings make it to the table.

          •  yes, it's about the issues (none)
            but Kos' point in "slamming" them is about do we let those single, individual issues dominate party decisions and strategy or do we think larger - do we think abotu the forest instead of the trees?

            I'm not saying thos egroups and their issues aren't important and didn't do a lot of good (or that they can't still). What I'm saying is handing over party strategy to a series of checkboxes and single issues plain will NOT WORK in today's poltical organization.

            The Republican Party is too well organized out of broad issues that feed single issues - the party focuses on the broad while the issue groups handle those themselves.  But here's the key difference between them and us - their issue groups know that to succeed they need a Republican majority, so they settle for elected officials in some areas that they may not agree with.

            They know when their party is in power fighting for "family values" and "small government" that it will be easy for their single issues to fit into those broad themes,no matter the "republican score" any individual politician may get from their own checkboxes.

            •  now that I think of it (none)
              here's something simple to consider

              Which is worse:
              A) A Republican controlled Senate that will destroy [insert issue here] as soon as it can pack the courts/pass insane right wing laws, but at least the Democratic Senators are ideologically pure for [insert issue here]

              or

              B) A Democratic controlled Senate, combined with better party loyalty on the big issues, that will not pack the courts with right wing ideologues/pass insane right wing laws bent destroying [insert issue here] (no matter the individual stance of some Democratic Senators on [insert issue here])

              If you said B, congratulations, you get the point.

              •  So, the point is... (none)
                ...all we need to be sure of is that the Democrats hold a majority of the seats, regardless of where they stand on issues. That way, we can go back to the way it used to be, with Democratic majorities doing things like voting down the Hyde Amendment, overturning the Mexico City policy and the family planning gag rule, and torpedoing the nominations of Rhenquist, Scalia, Thomas and their ideological brethern.
                •  asdf (none)
                  thanks for the oversimplification. marvelous.

                  small steps

                  we cant' expect to have a democratic party that's is perfect and in line with our expectations right away. The first thing we need to do is get in the majority to stop the WORST offenses of the Republicans that are going on RIGHT NOW.

                  or are you of the Nader belief that as things get worse we'll eventually (someday. maybe. hopefully.) and automagically turn the Democratic Party on its head after the Republicans have done so much damage we can't stand it anymore (no mind all the peopel that would suffer in the new, and that it would take decades to undo the damage)

                  ideological purity is killing the democratic party. Or haven't you noticed that the Checkbox Based Democratic Party/activism has been steadily getting its ass kicked?

  •  If Choice is a core Democrat Principle... (none)
    than why the hell didn't NARAL endorse a Democrat?

    And doesn't it make it even crappier that they endorsed so early as to undermine the pro-choice Dems who are running?

    What, did they think that if they didn't endorse Chaffe he was going to change his position on Choice?

    And how is voting to give Frist and the wingnuts power over the chamber (and in a week where the religious nutcases are trying to estinguish the filibuster...how do you think those judges are going to rule on Choice?!!!) instead of having a Democrat in the office.

    Until the Democrats and these interest group start going after Blue State Republicans (like the Republicans did in the red states), we will continue to be a minority party...

    And all the issues we care about will be under assult daily...even if Linc Chaffe is a nice guy.

  •  there's the rub (none)
    this thread is the purest, most beautiful illustration of the achilles heel of the left. organizing a loosely allied group of folks who each think they have the world's interests at heart, it turns out, is like herding cats. the only way to herd cats, i've found, is to go where you want them to go and open a can of tuna fish.

    kos, i think if you were to put together a platform based on those core principles you'd be better able to spell out that your approach does indeed create a tent under which all of the splinter interests are made happy... essentially opening the can of tuna. but in the meantime, all you're going to hear is the howling of each individual.

    build a tent based on your fundamentals and they'll all seek shelter under it.

    (talk about mixing metaphors, yikes.)

    if everywhere you go smells like dogsh*t, you should probably check your own shoes.

    by monsterofNone on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:07:04 AM PDT

  •  Darn effin' tootin' (none)
    This diary is 100 percent on target.

    However, the party also has myopia because it likes being identified with issues over ideals. When is the last time you heard a Democrat talk concretely and explicitly about ideals? Clinton? Obama?

    Plus, when an issue is too hot for their constituency, Dems feel obligated to drop it or backpedal, and they look like asshats.

  •  Misunderstood? (none)
    Rather than people misunderstanding your post, I think a lot of people have such tunnel vision that they cannot understand your post.

    As you so incisively say, this isn't about one or two causes, it is about core principles from which those causes stem.

    Until we can articulate that -- the way Republicans have so effectively done by using phrases like "culture of life" and "personal responsibility" -- we will be a coalition of single issues rather than a party of a great beliefs.

  •  Late to the party here (none)
    but I think women's rights and human rights are fundamental. I confess I'm not as immediately grabbed by this thing called "right to privacy" (which feels a bit abstract) although I do support all the things it seems to imply and I'm against invasion of privacy. I'm sure I could get on board but it's a matter of real differences in what are core and what are offshoots of core issues. That needs to be vetted out.

    I missed the NARAL debate but I think kos is being a bit inflammatory here. I'm not at all a single-issue person on reproductive choice, and I really rue single-issue, identity-based PC politics which is I think kos' thrust here -- and yet kos' post went too far the other way and made me feel like saying fuck you if you don't think women's rights (reproductive ones being the most basic) are fundamental.

    But -- What kos is trying to do here, it seems clear, is establish the biggest, most basic, most fundamental set of core beliefs that all Democrats can agree on and get forcefully behind, giving up infighting and cross-purposes and winning little isolated or misguided battles but losing the war. Agreed, utterly -- we need to have common purpose and common message and the collective, undivided force. This a pretty strident opener (and perhaps more disagreement-fomenting that necessary). But hey, we got gigabytes to discuss it. And kos never claims to be some all-powerful arbiter of opinion on dKos. Quite the contrary. So carry on.

    Reality - Humanity - Sustainability

    by Em on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:12:29 AM PDT

    •  core (none)
      the right to privacy is the core on which abortion rights is based. SCOTUS found that the right to privacy, while not explicit in the constitution, is implicit. the right would have that opinion eradicated and with it any right for a woman to choose her own reproductive course. kos is right in saying that this fundamental right needs to be shored up in order to guarantee a woman's right to choose.

      if everywhere you go smells like dogsh*t, you should probably check your own shoes.

      by monsterofNone on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:02:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Legally, to be sure, but personally, (none)
        and messagely, I'll need to warm up to the phrase "right to privacy" as a rallying cry to put my time and energy behind. I believe in it utterly of course, and all it stands for (no patriot act, privacy of sex among consenting adults, fourth amendment rights etc), and I think it probably embraces something broad and inclusive and maybe ultimately very politically effective, etc. But the phrases women's rights and human rights have more pull to me personally and perhaps messagely (if I'm any indication). I'm willing to listen and get on board though. Right to privacy, hooYAH! I'm working on it... I know it embraces what I believe in, it just doesn't -- yet -- sound like a fundamental, first principle, whereas human rights and freedom do.

        Reality - Humanity - Sustainability

        by Em on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:24:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Less Than the Sum of Our Parts (none)
    Kudos to Kos for his assessment of the threat of Democratic balkanization from single-issue politics. Following the 2004 election, I made a similar point in "Less Than the Sum of Our Parts".

    An excerpt:

    As Democrats wallow in the mire of Tuesday's electoral devastation, many are looking for silver linings in the clouds of the Republican trouncing.  From record turnout, new voter registration, impressive fundraising, and the proliferation of liberal 527's, many progressives are finding solace.

    Comforting as that might be during this time of mourning for progressives, this search for palliatives misses the real point of Tuesday's disaster and obscures the hard work we have to do.  That is, Democrats fundamentally have neither a clear, coherent public philosophy nor simple, hard-hitting messages that the 21st century "infotainment" media require.  Simply put, a fractured Democratic Party doesn't know its message or even its audience...

    For the full piece, see:

    "Less Than the Sum of Our Parts"

  •  EXCELLENT (none)
    All I can say is tha tyou are EXACTLY right Kos. I don't think I can even bring myself to read the comments of all the Chicken Little Democrats and the "My Issue Is Supreme" Democrats that will have their panties in a bunch over this.

    It's killing us at every level - local, state and national. I see it here - for some reason many Democrats in Indiana positioned themselves as "anti-daylight savings time" in the fight to put us into the 20th centurty (no mind 21st) when it comes to our clocks. When asked why, I barely got an answer. But any Democrat who favored DST got ripped by fellow Democrats.

    Single issue politics are for minor parties. A party like the Democratic Party should be a party of vision and a general philosophy.

    (And yes, I am pro-choice, yes I feel it is a very very important issue. But just one of many - and sabotaging our efforts to take back the senate because of ONE issue is idiotic to say the least)

    •  Single issue groups like... (none)
      ...the American Woman Suffrage Association?
      •  asdf (none)
        it's a difference in the time. At that time

        1. single issue groups didn't DOMINATE the party of that issue. that issue was part of a broader thing and a broader movement of equality.

        2. the conservative opposition wasn't as well organized around broad themes and wedge issues as it is today.

        Face it, focusing on single issues at the expense of the party as a whole, the 'balkanization' of the party, just plain WON'T WORK in today's political climate.

        It's nice to remember a time when it did but with the way toe Republican Party is now structured we give the power of the Democratic Party to individual interest groups at our own peril.

        •  Nice name, Descolada (none)
          I agree that the political environment is different--and that the party is in many ways "balkanized". My response was a bit simple.

          However, I think that if we take a close look at the unity and the power of the GOP, while we may find organizational principles that we can emulate and learn from, there are many ways in which these guys are as fragile as the later day Roman empire.

          Our model for a democratic coalition will have to be less top-down. It will require genuine leadership and diplomacy. People will have to learn to work together without corrupting their principles. Often times "compromise" means "do as we say."

          Also, I think we should turn first to intra-party divisions before we start making demands of independent groups like NARAL. Here's what I said about this earlier.

          Thanks for your reply. I agree in spirit with what Kos is saying in these two posts, but I'm not sure we should expect NARAL to be a Democratic institution.

          BTW, Speaker for the Dead may be my favorite novel of his, even before Ender's Game. We will not even discuss what he descended into in the Ender's Shadow Series. Eeeeeew.

  •  Marginalizing people (4.00)
    "Another example of a core Democratic principle -- equality under the law. And from that principle stem civil rights, gender equity, and gay rights. It's not that those individual issues aren't important, of course they are. It's just that they are just that -- individual issues. A party has to stand for something bigger than the sum of its parts."

    Calling something as important as equality under the law an "individual issue" is part of a nearsighted approach that makes sure we will never be a cohesive group capable of standing against the Neo-Cons.

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by jaysea on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:20:33 AM PDT

  •  NARAL is not the Democratic party (none)
    There are hundreds of single-issue groups out there. These groups are by definition trying to influence the politics from the outside. Why should they throw their support along party lines?

    Chafee will not vote anti-choice.

    Having said that, with the Democrats in power, NARAL is much more likely to see their agenda fulfilled. I think their strategy is arguably muddled here.

    While I personally question NARAL's strategy in this instance, I think the core of Kos's post points to the Democratic party itself.

    There are thousands of pressure points. The Democratic Party is an organization that lacks a definitive core ideology and a self will. We need to tend to our own garden.

    Kos is right in that we need to define our principles and get a lock on that vision thing. This is a matter of strategic importance as well.

    Have "single issue groups hijacked" the party? Or has the party abandoned the wheel?

    I say, let the Democrats be Democrats. Let NARAL be NARAL. There's a lot of room for overlap.

    As an aside to what this post is really about, I hope NARAL continues to put pressure on the Democrats to be pro-choice. Why?

    Because any action that interferes with the reproductive autonomy of women is an action of oppression.

    I think we can work together with those whose beliefs are different from our own. I don't care how you feel about abortion, but I do care if you try to obstruct access to birth control and I do care if you reduce my sisters to second class citizens.

    I say, go NARAL.

    I say, Democrats, let us captain our own ship.

  •  With all due respect ... (none)
    I can understand NARAL's perspective here.

    Consider that Langevin came right on the heels of Bob Casey.

    Casey all of us who are pro-choice just have to grin and bear. He's got more going for him than any other potential candidate, and while he wouldn't be a vote for reproductive freedom he will replace someone far more extreme in that department, and he will be an improvement over Santorum on other issues. Given the "Alabama in between" nature of PA outside of its metro areas and college towns, he's also more likely to get votes Hofer or Penacchio otherwise wouldn't. (We'll know this is a serious wedge when anti-abortion groups in PA start questioning his creds in this area).

    (Also, even though I am pro-choice I would vote for an anti-abortion Dem over a more extreme Republican if (and only if) they publicly distinguished themselves from their opponent by promising that their beliefs about abortion would lead them to fight like a crazed pit bull for contraceptive access, increased funding for prenatal and child care and issues like that. Publicly promulgating a standard like this from this website wouldn't hurt, IMO).

    But then came the Langevin bandwagon, in a state whose population is solidly pro-choice, vying to replace a pro-choice Republican. This would be a net political loss for reproductive rights (and even a pro-choice Democrat would have less seniority and experience than Chafee does, although that doesn't count for much in today's Senate).

    Consider that by endorsing the odd Republican, NARAL also gets some support from outside the usual Democratic circles, as it's harder to argue they're a Democratic party-line group.

    Now, it was perhaps stupid politics in the short term to run Langevin out of the race, then turn around and endorse the Republican. Certainly some bridges are blackened.

    But in the long term NARAL has followed the example of some labor unions and shown that it is not married to either political party, only those candidates who best support its issues. It might actually have worked to their favor.

    (And consider this: Has the NRA or RTL ever run a candidate out of a party primary, only to endorse an opposing Democrat who was solidly behind them? No, and that's why no one can say that those movements are anything but Republican stalking horses).

  •  With a nod to Pastor Martin Niemoeller (none)
    In America, the Democrats first tossed
    the gays and lesbians aside,
    and I didn t speak up
    because I thought
    it could help win the election.

    Then the Democrats tossed
    the peace activists aside,
    and I didn't speak up
    because I thought
    it could help win the election.

    Then the Democrats tossed
    the feminists aside,
    and I didn't speak up
    because I thought
    it could help win the election.

    Then the Democrats tossed
    African-Americans aside,
    and I didn't speak up
    because I thought
    it could help win the election.

    Then the Democrats tossed
    environmentalists aside,
    and I didn't speak up
    because I thought
    it could help win the election.

    Then the Republicans
    won the election and
    came for the Democrats,
    and by that time
    no one was left
    to speak up for me.

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by jaysea on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:30:18 AM PDT

  •  B&W versus Shades of Grey (none)
    In around 1988 I went through a period where I tried to align my way of thinking with my deeply held personal beliefs.  I came to the conclusion that the problem I had with my way of thinking was that it was Black & White, but my personal beliefs aligned with reality caused for shades of grey.

    Now recently I've been going back and rereading various philosophers such as Locke, Hume, Kant and so forth who influenced our founding fathers.  Trying to understand the context of the time, as well as their arguments.  Because one argument that has frequently be levied against shade of grey thinking has been Subjectivism or Relativism.  I don't find that to be the case at all, rather than on the balance of pros and cons, at a certain point the balance tips placing the issue into the category of right or wrong.

    Now in the course of my readings this past week I did come across a nice quote which I thought best explained that reasoning.  Sadly, i lost that quote and cannot find it.

    I just thought it interesting that we are dealing with the same issues today, as Hume did say 250 years ago.  Then again, Hume risked a death sentence for expressing his beliefs, so we have progressed.

    But back to my initial claim.  I think B&W thinking is a sign of immaturity.  That is, children think of things solely in terms of B&W, as you mature to adulthood you understand there is more.  Just because there is no Love does not mean there must be Hate, is the simplest of these lessons that children must learn as they progress into adulthood.

    Today, I find most of the arguments the Republican party puts forth fall into the B&W category.  That is, in large part, what i find so objecting.  But there are those in the Democratic party who fall into the same mindset, and I wonder if the key here is not the single-issuer voter per se, but the B&W version of that.

    On abortion, I am pro-choice.  However, I am in favor of parental notification laws, as well restricting abortions in the 3rd trimester.  But fundamentally I am for Private Rights.  It's just that there is a balance, and at certain points that balance falls into wrong, even though at other points the balance is right.

    •  Wouldn't black-and-white thinking (none)
      also describe someone who supports ONLY Democrats, no matter where they stand on the issues?

      Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

      by jaysea on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:46:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (none)
        I think the complaint against NARAL is not that they endorsed Chafee... But that they strong armed Langevin out of the race, and then didn't bother to wait to see who else might be running before endorsing the other party.

        I think fundamentally NARAL should be party agnostic, as they have their issue they want to push forward.  Even more importantly, I think that by being bipartisan, they make their issue advocacy stronger.  The NRA should learn from that, and will when the time comes when their issues are not politically popular.

        For myself.  I only align with Democrats today, because on balance I find them more right than wrong.  However there are times when I get extremely frustrated, and there could be something that tipped the scales to make me vote Libertarian.

  •  oh, come on now (none)
    Nobody has talked about throwing any group aside, for heaven's sake. We're talking about core principles under which a Democratic 'big tent' can allow for many opinions, groups and causes.
  •  I still don't get this post (4.00)
    ...but I'm getting closer.  So many comments have frustratingly said "Kos is 100% right and I couldn't have said it better!!!" without explaining to those of us in the dark exactly what Kos SAID.

    I guess my fundamental problem is that I can't figure out if this post is about branding or about something substantive.  I think Kos' point is one of the following:

    1. Our position on abortion rights should not change at all, but we are framing it badly.  We should talk about a "right of privacy," because that is a broader concept that doesn't make it sound like we are in the pocket of a single-issue interest group.  Abortion rights are still part of the right to privacy, but we should talk about the latter, rather than the former.

    2. We shouldn't have a position on abortion rights per se.  We should stand for the right to privacy against government intrusion - something everyone should be able to agree on.  If someone believes that abortion rights do not necessarily follow from favoring the right to privacy, that is a legitimate view and they are no less a Democrat.

    Since so many people seem to understand exactly what Kos meant - is it one of these two things?  Or is it a third altogether?
    •  its the second one. (none)
    •  Howard Dean did it without bashing the base (none)
      The real Democratic wing of the Democratic party has a leg up on the Chicken Wing of the Democratic party and its inexplicable need to delegitimize its base in every public appearance. Dems should show some loyalty too.

      Howard Dean has the right idea. On the issue of abortion or last wishes, keep Tom DeLay and his fucking loony bin out of people's PERSONAL MEDICAL DECISIONS. No bashing of NARAL. No tap-dance about abortion being right or wrong. No ceding of moral high ground to the Pugs.

      Dems who hem and haw for the cameras that abortion is somehow wrong -- secularism is somehow wrong, same sex marriage is somehow wrong -- have no excuse for delegitimizing their support, as KOS and Armando have also felt the need to do by representing quite large groups as 'single-issue' or frivolous.

      (eg, Anti-war groups involve environmental, human rights and foreign policy issues. After seeing what the Iraq fiasco brought out in torture, environmental wreckage, corporate corruption and  an exploding ME, wouldn't it have been great if we actually were treated seriously by the Dems two years ago?)

      No one needs a finely crafted official frame to call laughably corrupt cross-waving crooks like DeLay on their own fakery. Howard Dean does it without the need for fancy frames.

      STAY OUT OF PEOPLE'S PERSONAL MEDICAL DECISIONS.
      STAY OUT OF PEOPLE'S PERSONAL RELIGIOUS DECISIONS.
      STAY OUT OF PEOPLE'S PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP DECISIONS.
      STAY OUT OF PEOPLE'S PERSONAL FAMILY DECISIONS.

      And Dean added that he doesn't need anyone telling him whether he's a good Christian or not. And then he lit into the Pugs -- he didn't pause to take a slap at people who weren't religious.

      I do agree with KOS that Dems need to find a way to lead as a majority party. IMO, they'll never get to be one if they're too chickenshit to show they can be an opposition.

      This machine fights fascism - motto on a Woody Guthrie guitar

      by Peanut on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:33:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is not that Democrats have... (4.00)
    too many single issue groups. It's that they can't cave on principle fast enough to make Joe Lieberman happy. They are becoming exactly what Republicans have long accused them off, the party with no ideas and no purpose, other than to get elected. People respond to Republicans, whether they agree with them or not, because they come across as having the courage of their convictions. Backbone is appealing in a politician, and the Democrats are well on their way to becoming the party of invertibrates.

    I said it before on another thread, and I'll say it again. The reason Dems are selling out their principles and drifting to the right to pick up moderate voters, is that to return to the progressive values that would win them states like Kansas, would mean they'd have to jettison their corporate puppeteers. So rather than refuse to do the bidding of credit card companies, banks, telecom companies, etc. that pick the pockets of ordinary Americans, they are selling their souls, a little at a time, to pick up a few mythic "values voters." These big money interests are the special interests that are killing the party, not NARAL.

    •  Hear, hear (4.00)
      As Molly Ivins recently wrote:  "If Democrats won't stand up for working people, to hell with them."

      Going to call Molly Ivins a Freeper?

      There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

      by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:50:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post ... no misunderstanding. (none)
    Living in Alabama, I can tell you all I hear is that the "Democrat" party is the party of the special interests, not the ordinary Joe. We may never win here in a presidential race, but we can win in other more moderate southern states if the party starts standing for broad ideals Joe six-pack can understand and find some way that they apply to him (or her).
  •  NARAL (none)
    A lot of the posts seem to be addressing the most intractable problem in politics today -- finding common ground between those who support and those who oppose abortion rights.  I don't think that this is going to be resolved by deciding the Democrats stand for some vague themes -- you either support or oppose abortion rights, and you can either live with a candidate with the opposite view, or you can't.

    I think the focus here should be on the counterproductivity of NARAL's endorsement. Chafee may vote the right way on specific bills addressing abortion, but he will also vote to support the Republican leadership and will vote to confirm anti-choice judges.  Harry Reid and Jim Langevin (if elected) will vote to oppose Bush's radical right-wing judicial nominations, even though they are pro-life.  Abortion rights supporters are much better off with more senators from a majority pro-choice party than they would be with a single senator who is personally pro-choice.  When you support Chafee, you are supporting Frist, Santorum and all of the other radical right-wing Republicans in the senate.  

  •  Shadowthief's Modest Proposal (4.00)
    Everybody here who is:

    *Pro-choice (NARAL, NOW)

    *Pro-environment (Sierra Club, Greenpeace)

    *Pro-civil rights (NAACP, ACLU)

    *Pro-civil liberties (ACLU)

    *Pro-public education (NEA)

    Please leave the Democratic Party now.  

    You are special interests and you are not wanted.

    On next Election Day, stay home--so the "Democratic Party" can soar unfettered of your weight.

    There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

    by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:48:54 AM PDT

    •  Geez (3.50)
      That's an overreaction. All Kos is saying is that we need to accept the big tent if we are to sustain any political power. If we become a party only of progressive interest groups, and don't allow for any centrists (John Breaux, Mark Warner) or conservatives (Joe Manchin, Phil Bredesen, Gene Taylor), we will be a smaller party than the Liberal Democrats in Britain. We must allow for a certain amount of ideological diversity if we want to have more than, oh, 28 Senate seats.

      Yeah yeah, I know, the rapture is coming.

      by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:26:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, I missed the purge... (none)
        ...of the Democratic Party of all the centrists and moderates.

        So Lieberman got kicked out, did he?  And Dianne Feinstein?  And the three-fourths of the Democratic senators and congressional representatives who are "moderates" (and that's being as kind as possible) and not liberals--including the 73 Democratic House members and 18 Democratic senators who voted for that odious bankruptcy "reform" bill that robs regular people at the expense of banks and credit card companies--they're all gone, too, eh?

        Wow, the purge is complete, comrades...Ralph Nader for President!

        And you accuse ME of overreacting?  Geez....

        There are three kinds of people: Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.

        by Shadowthief on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:46:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes (none)
    We didn't win in the past as a single issue-obsessed party. We didn't win by having a litmus test on every candidate we run. I mean, think about it: JFK probably would have opposed Roe v. Wade as a devout Catholic. Bill Clinton was strongly for the death penalty. LBJ was seriously homophobic. Yet these were all great presidents in their own right (at least I think so). It's not about single issues, it's about the overall package. JFK inspired the space program. Bubba got us into the Kyoto Protocol, gave us the first surplus since 1969, passed a number of progressive legislation despite a Republican Congress, and even tried to get universal health care early on. And LBJ did more for civil rights than all other 42 presidents combined.

    Shame on NARAL for endorsing a weak-kneed Frist lapdog like Chafee. Langevin may have opposed abortion (like many great Democrats have in the past), but he is a solid progressive on every other issue, from labor to the environment to guns to economics. This single-issue litmus test must stop if we are ever to win again.

    BTW, note that many Dems I liked during the primaries have been un-liberal on some issues - Howard Dean, as we all know, was rated an "A" by the NRA; Dennis Kucinich and Dick Gephardt both used to be anti-abortion; John Kerry, Bob Graham, and John Edwards voted for the war...

    So please guys, get real. The GOP's interest-group obsession will soon bring them down, and it's already brought us down. We must reopen the big tent and let in almost anybody to the left of Zell Miller if we want a strong majority coalition again.

    Yeah yeah, I know, the rapture is coming.

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:22:19 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely, completely agree (4.00)
    SO well said.  We got a NARAL mailing this week and it hit the recycle bin unopened.  I'm furious about their ill-considered action in RI.  It reminds me of Julia "Butterfly" Hill, whom some consider some kind of environmental "heroine", when the fact is that she succeeded in being allowed to BUY ONE TREE, while the surrounding forest was chopped down (of course the tree will die soon, too, as redwoods' root systems are interconnected).

    "Saving" one tree at the cost of the forest is the kind of nonsense that single-issue advocacy groups end up responsible for, and an inability to integrate the "checklist", as you've described it, into a set of values makes those of us on the left look extreme, unrealistic, and, frankly, sometimes stupid.

    The biggest problem with the checklist is that it gets people off the hook of having to think. All you have to know is the "liberally correct" position, even if you can't explain why you support it.  I remember being at San Francisco State University in the 80s, and "the position" was support for the FMLN in El Salvador against the evil US-based death squad government.  Except that it turned out that the FMLN was torturing, mutilating and murdering innocent civilians, too.  

    The real world is nuanced.  It's not black and white.

    (Of course, the Reps are even worse on the thinking front, between blind slave-worship of free markets and thumping of King James' Rohrschach blot)

    I've worked for environmental organizations for nearly my entire adult life.  At times, I've found myself in difficult waters--how do you deal with housing affordability when you're fighting sprawl, for example?  

    Well, the answer is that you support in-fill development, higher urban densities and transit and pedestrian-friendly design.  And then you get pilloried by neighborhood groups which, by definition, are single-issue groups.  If you have integrity, though, you stand up to that criticism in the name of pursuing the higher good.  

    Sinking Langevin was a politically despicable act, and a strategically stupid one.  NARAL should be ashamed of itself.

    If you support Bush, you don't support the troops. It's that simple.

    by Dracowyrm on Mon May 23, 2005 at 10:47:33 AM PDT

  •  A better example (none)
    Back in 1993, NOW supported Christine Todd Whitman (a "moderate" Republican) over the embattled Jim Florio for New Jersey governor when the latter was in reelection trouble for raising taxes to pay for a previous governor's deficit.  It made them look bad (their reasoning pretty much seemed to be that CTW must be OK, because she's a woman) and moved along the career of a politician who is, at best, only one notch to the left of most of the other rabid right-wingers.  This is a pretty good example of Kos's point (and arguably a better one than the NARAL example).  That said, I don't totally agree with Kos, but my other comments are on the followup story to this one.  
    •  Christine Todd Whitman (none)
      Back in 1993, NOW supported Christine Todd Whitman (a "moderate" Republican) over the embattled Jim Florio for New Jersey governor when the latter was in reelection trouble for raising taxes to pay for a previous governor's deficit.  It made them look bad (their reasoning pretty much seemed to be that CTW must be OK, because she's a woman)...

      No, the reasoning was that Whitman and Florio held virtually identical positions on the issues NOW-NJ was asking about in that election cycle. And NOW has standing policy that, in cases where candidates are equally qualified, women candidates are given preference. I don't think that's an unreasonable policy for an organization devoted to advancing women in politics.

      ...and moved along the career of a politician who is, at best, only one notch to the left of most of the other rabid right-wingers.

      One notch? Ridiculous. Her views on social issues would put her to the left of most Democrats in Congress, especially back then.

      •  Yes, but (none)
        Yes, you're right that CTW wasn't actually that bad on social issues (although I don't agree that she's to the left of most Dems in Congress).  I think in the end, she ended up not being a very progressive governor (several of my friends in NJ said that they and a lot of other people were upset by her budget cuts, and the way that taxes basically devolved from the state government to local govts. when state taxes were cut).  And thanks for reminding me about NOW's logic re: selecting who to endorse and not to endorse; I understand it, but personally, I don't agree with it.  I'm all in favor of electing more women to political office, and I've voted for plenty of women in my time (Mikulski, Katherine Kennedy Townshend, several state/county people, etc.) but I don't think we should endorse or not endorse based solely on gender (or race, or orientation, or religion, or whatever), even when all other things are equal.  It just seemed to me like NOW was kicking Florio when he was down, which made them look bad (again, just my opinion).  
        •  "Who is this "we" you (none)
          speak of white man?"

          NOW stands for NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN.  They are not a rubber stamp for the democratic party.
          While I would have voted for the democrat if I lived in NJ, NOW did exactly as they should have done.

          ...get rid of that DoD "Total Information Awareness" program that's right out of George Orwell's 1984.... AL GORE, 2003

          by TeresaInPa on Tue May 24, 2005 at 03:48:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The "we" I speak of is liberals (none)
            and I know all about NOW, but I still don't like what they did.  And I'm not saying that they should be a rubber stamp for the Demorcrats; all I'm saying is that I didn't like what they did.  By the way, I was a member of NOW at the time.  

            And you already know that I'm a man, but why did you assume I was white?  

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