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"D.C. is still trapped in 1970s thinking. It is hard for them to realize [the Democratic Party] really [is the] minority party. What they have to understand is that Republicans became a majority party only by being a really effective opposition party.

-Markos

Ronald Brownstein, writing in the National Journal, one of the must read publications for the Gang of 500, seems to be getting what the netroots, or at least Markos' part of it, is trying to do. Here are some excerpts (the entire article is reprinted in extended with the permission of the National Journal. We thank them for the courtesy.):

[T]he Internet is fast becoming the confrontation caucus in the Democratic Party. Defiance of Bush is almost instantly rewarded with a torrent of praise on liberal blogs and often with fundraising or other assistance from the blogs. . . The rapidly growing Democratic Internet activist base "is more partisan than ideological," says Howard Wolfson, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "And it stems from a feeling in the grassroots that Democrats in Washington were not fighting back hard enough against Bush."


. . . "We are actually starting to build the kind of noise machine, to reward or beat up on people, that the Right has had for a long time," says Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, 33, the pugnacious founder of the popular blog Daily Kos. "We are training these politicians that they don't have to be afraid of taking courageous stands -- and that they will be rewarded or punished based on their behavior.". . . The Democratic Internet base cradling that trigger does not speak with one voice. But the emerging generation of online Democratic activists, many of them young and shaped by the bruising partisan conflicts of the past decade, seems united most by the belief that the quickest way for Democrats to regain power is to confront Bush more forcefully and to draw brighter lines of division between the Democratic Party and the GOP.

. . . In strikingly similar language, Internet-generation Democratic activists from Moulitsas to Eli Pariser, the 24-year-old executive director of MoveOn's giant PAC, describe Clinton's effort to reorient the party toward capturing centrist voters as "obsolete" in a highly partisan era that demands, above all, united opposition against the GOP. Moulitsas and Pariser, like most other voices in the Internet activist base, want a Democratic Party focused more on increasing turnout among its partisans than on persuading moderate swing voters. Both, in other words, want a party that emulates Bush's political strategy more than Clinton's.

While Brownstein is right about the belief  from most of us that the right politics demands confrontation with Bush and contrast with the Republicans, I think he is wrong to believe that this approach alienates independent swing voters. If anything, the alignment that Indys are having with Dems in most polling shows that it is exactly the opposite. That this approach is ATTRACTING swing voters. This is where the fundamental divide between the DLC Centrists and us lies. Where we think the swing voter will land. Take my friend Ed Kilgore of the DLC for instance. Ed is a sharp thinker and writer, but Ed lacks confidence in our Democratic ideals:

[S]everal other centrist party strategists worry that the hyperpartisan turn-out-the-base strategy that many online activists demand won't work for Democrats, because polls consistently show that more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal.

"We are more of a coalition party than they are," says Ed Kilgore, the policy director for the DLC. "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

Ed, this is simply not true. And once you realize that, you will see why we are right and you are wrong. When we make folks pick sides agains the GOP Extremism of Dobson and the committed support to a policy of making sure the government leaves you alone in your private decisions advocated by Liberals, they will pick our side, in droves. Don't fear that fight.

And that is the real lesson, at least for me, of Markos and dailykos. The article discusses with him in detail his view on all of this and how he thinks we can make it happen. Here's a piece:

Eli Pariser and Markos Moulitsas

It speaks volumes about the Internet's tendency to diffuse power that two of the most influential figures in online liberal politics work alone, in their homes, in neighborhoods that have hosted far more rent parties than black-tie dinners.

. . . Pariser and Markos Moulitsas, the founder and ringmaster of the popular Daily Kos Web site, have emerged as two of the principal strategists shaping liberal use of the Internet.

. . . Moulitsas is more like a guerrilla force compared with MoveOn's teeming infantry. . . . Daily Kos's real influence is more indirect; it comes from the site's ability to launch ideas through the Democratic universe and to some extent the mainstream media, too. Moulitsas thinks of himself not as a journalist, but an activist. His principal goal, he says, is to provide "talking points" that Democrats around the country can use to persuade friends and neighbors, much the way conservative talk radio equips millions of Republican listeners every day with a common set of arguments and outrages for water-cooler conversation. "I look at this as armies," Moulitsas says. "It's training our troops how to fight rhetorically."

Both men emphatically keep their distance from the Democratic power structure in Washington. . . . Moulitsas is a bit more settled. He owns a car (a beat-up Subaru) and writes from the house he shares with his wife and infant son in a weathered Berkeley neighborhood known as the flats. When he moved in, there were crack houses on his street. Often he'll file his first daily posts via his laptop while he's still in bed.

The two men share little in personal style. The e-mails from Pariser to MoveOn members usually have the earnest and friendly tone of a chat at the corner store. The biting exchanges between "Kos" and the "kossacks," who post responses to him and to one another on the site, sound more like arguments at the corner bar. . . . In person, Moulitsas is soft-spoken, ingratiating, and quick to laugh. But online, he is  confrontational, impulsive, and unequivocal; the other day, he sweepingly dismissed the Democratic Leadership Council, Joe Lieberman, and The New Republic magazine as "tools of the GOP."

[Ideologically,] Moulitsas is more eclectic. He served a three-year stint in the Army, and although he opposed the Iraq war, he supported the invasion of Afghanistan and calls himself a "military hawk." His favorite Democrats aren't Eastern cultural liberals like Kerry, but Westerners who combine economic populism with libertarian views on social issues like gun control. For the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Kos is currently touting Montana's new governor, Brian Schweitzer, a favorite of both the National Rifle Association and Democrats who yearn for an unabashed populist message.

. . . Kos quickly found an audience by expressing the unmediated anger of the Democratic base toward Bush, and even more so toward Democrats who cooperated with him, especially over the war in Iraq. Moulitsas shrewdly built a community by providing readers unusual freedom to post their own thoughts, and rose to the forefront of political blogs on the same wave of grassroots liberal discontent with the Democratic leadership that initially propelled Dean's presidential campaign. . . Moulitsas says he's not promoting civil war between Democratic liberals and moderates. Some Democrats representing conservative states, like Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson, need to vote with Bush at times, he acknowledges. But, he says, the party shouldn't tolerate defection on its core priorities, Democrats who consistently criticize other Democrats, or those from blue states who vote with Bush. Those latter two points explain why he's so eager to challenge Lieberman, who has become a target of the Internet activists for defending the Iraq war and at times criticizing the Left. A primary against Lieberman, says Moulitsas, "will send a message that behavior that harms the party is going to have repercussions."

Moulitsas speaks with the abandon of someone who understands he is speaking only for himself.

. . . "D.C. is still trapped in 1970s thinking," sighs Moulitsas. "It is hard for them to realize we really are a minority party. What they have to understand is that Republicans became a majority party only by being a really effective opposition party."

Hear, hear! The whole article in extended.

POLITICS
The Internet And Democrats
By Ronald Brownstein, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Friday, July 1, 2005

In retrospect, the day in September 1998 when two wealthy software developers in Berkeley, Calif., posted an online petition opposing the impeachment of Bill Clinton may stand as the day his vision for the Democratic Party began to be eclipsed.

That petition from Wes Boyd and Joan Blades led to the formation of MoveOn.org, which has metamorphosed into the nation's largest and most effective Internet advocacy group. And MoveOn, an unstintingly liberal voice, has become the cutting edge of an online revolution that is reshaping the Democratic Party amid the intense political  
polarization of George W. Bush's presidency.

The rise of a mass Democratic Internet fundraising and activist base -- a trend that includes not only the 3.1 million-member MoveOn, but the political organization founded by Howard Dean, the Internet contributors to the Democratic National Committee and the John Kerry presidential campaign, and the thousands of partisans venting daily on left-leaning Web logs like Daily Kos and MyDD.com -- is beginning to shift the balance of power in the Democratic Party away from the "Third Way" moderation that Clinton and his "New Democrat" movement promoted.

Centrist organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council have produced nothing like the massive lists of activists and donors that liberals have assembled through the Internet. And that mass liberal base is pushing the party partly toward more-liberal positions, but even more so toward greater confrontation with Bush -- and increasing pressure on Democrats who consider cooperating with him in any way.

The Internet base, for the first time, has provided Democrats with a tool for raising money, recruiting volunteers, and directing messages  
to their partisans that is comparable to the capacity that direct mail and talk radio have long provided Republicans. But just as those tools have mostly strengthened the Right in the GOP, the Internet has mostly strengthened the wing of the Democratic Party that feeds on polarization and conflict.

Indeed, the Internet is fast becoming the confrontation caucus in the Democratic Party. Defiance of Bush is almost instantly rewarded with a torrent of praise on liberal blogs and often with fundraising or other assistance from the blogs and groups like MoveOn; the group's PAC, for instance, raised a breathtaking $800,000 from its members in less than three days this spring for venerable Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., a vocal opponent of Republican threats to block filibusters of judicial nominations.

Just as surely, almost all gestures toward collaboration with Bush provoke condemnation and outrage. Most often, the criticism amounts to angry denunciations on liberal blogs that can generate e-mails or unfavorable stories in the mainstream media. Pushing further, liberal bloggers have been openly trolling for a Democrat to challenge Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., in a primary next year on the grounds that he has supported Bush too often. And MoveOn recently targeted House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., with negative radio ads because he voted for the Bush-backed bill making it more difficult for consumers to declare bankruptcy.

The rapidly growing Democratic Internet activist base "is more partisan than ideological," says Howard Wolfson, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "And it stems from a feeling in the grassroots that Democrats in Washington were not fighting back hard enough against Bush."

In effect, the rise of the Internet base is now subjecting Democrats to a mass experiment in conditioning behavior -- a political equivalent of Pavlov's dogs. "We are actually starting to build the kind of noise machine, to reward or beat up on people, that the Right has had for a long time," says Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, 33, the pugnacious founder of the popular blog Daily Kos. "We are training these politicians that they don't have to be afraid of taking courageous stands -- and that they will be rewarded or punished based on their behavior."

In all of these ways, the Internet base is playing the same role in the Democratic Party that conservative economic and social groups (like the Club for Growth or Focus on the Family) play in the GOP. Both are increasing demands for ideological consistency and partisan loyalty. And both are becoming more influential as the country grows more deeply polarized over Bush's aggressively conservative agenda, and over the fervent Democratic opposition to almost all of it. On each side, polarization is feeding on itself, as the widening gulf between the parties strengthens those who argue that compromise on almost any issue has become impossible.

"The leadership of both sides has a gun to their head from the activist base," said Dan Gerstein, the former communications director for Lieberman. "If they don't hold the line, the trigger is going to be pulled against them."

The Democratic Internet base cradling that trigger does not speak with one voice. But the emerging generation of online Democratic activists, many of them young and shaped by the bruising partisan conflicts of the past decade, seems united most by the belief that the quickest way for Democrats to regain power is to confront Bush more forcefully and to draw brighter lines of division between the Democratic Party and the GOP.

In strikingly similar language, Internet-generation Democratic activists from Moulitsas to Eli Pariser, the 24-year-old executive director of MoveOn's giant PAC, describe Clinton's effort to reorient the party toward capturing centrist voters as "obsolete" in a highly partisan era that demands, above all, united opposition against the GOP. Moulitsas and Pariser, like most other voices in the Internet activist base, want a Democratic Party focused more on increasing turnout among its partisans than on persuading moderate swing voters. Both, in other words, want a party that emulates Bush's political strategy more than Clinton's.

"It may be in the 1990s, there was a middle; there isn't a middle now," Pariser says. "You have a Republican Party that is willing to break all the rules and accept no compromises to get what they want. In the face of that, saying 'I'll meet you halfway' is as sure a recipe for disaster as I know. You have to fight fire with fire."

Virtually all Democrats, even the most moderate, are growing more partisan as the battles with Bush escalate. But many Democratic moderates still fear that, both in substance and style, the politics that the Internet base is demanding may be leading the party away from the swing voters, especially in the culturally conservative red states it needs to regain Congress and the White House.

"The Internet is certainly a generator of some very positive factors for Democrats. But it's also a very small slice of our party, and if that slice dominates the entire pie, we're in serious trouble," says former Rep. Tim Roemer, D-Ind., a centrist whose bid earlier this year for the party chairmanship stalled at the starting gate after intense opposition from the Left.

Yet even while some centrist groups such as the DLC are warning Democrats to distance themselves from liberal Internet-based voices like Daily Kos and MoveOn, the party is more overtly pursuing their help in the widening confrontations with Bush. On struggles like the fight over judicial nominations, party leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada are now appearing at MoveOn rallies and holding conference calls with liberal bloggers.

Tellingly, even some traditionally centrist Democratic voices are wooing the Internet base. Simon Rosenberg, the founder of the New Democrat Network, a political action committee for Clintonesque New Democrats, courted the Internet activists in his unsuccessful bid for the DNC chairmanship earlier this year. Reversing Roemer, Rosenberg believes that party moderates must learn from the Internet activists' critique of Clinton's strategy.

"The core thing this new Internet culture is looking for is recognition that the highest order of our politics today is stopping Bush," Rosenberg says. "Circumstances have changed [since Clinton's presidency]. I do believe the New Democrats have been too slow to recognize . . . that [the Republicans] must be stopped at all costs."

"They Don't Need the Internet As Much As We Do"

In the 2004 presidential campaign, the Internet was more visible and consequential in American politics than ever before. It became a mass
medium for obtaining political news. The most comprehensive study [PDF] on the subject, by the nonpartisan Pew Internet & American Life Project, found that during the campaign about 63 million people acquired political news online, nearly double the number who did just four years earlier.

In the physical world and online, the number of people who participate in political activities is much smaller than those who read about them. But on the Internet, participation is growing substantially. The Pew study, based on a national post-election survey, estimates that last year 7 million people signed up to receive e-mails from the presidential campaigns; 4 million volunteered online for the campaigns; and 4 million contributed money to political efforts through the Internet. In 2000, only half as many donated online, Pew found.

About the same proportion of Republicans, Democrats, and independents used the Internet to acquire political information in 2004. But Pew's research found that Democrats and liberals pursued political activities over the Internet more frequently than Republicans and conservatives did. Democrats were more than twice as likely as Republicans to volunteer online, and nearly five times as likely to contribute money, according to unpublished data from the study.

The disparity reflects the relative importance of the Internet in each party's political infrastructure. Republicans have also aggressively increased their capacity on the Internet. The Republican National Committee has a 7.5 million-name activist e-mail list it mobilizes to support administration initiatives. The Bush campaign used the Internet to help organize volunteers for its successful get-out-the-vote campaign. And conservative blogs have developed large followings -- as they demonstrated by generating such a rapid backlash against recent comments by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., about Guantanamo Bay.

But the Internet is exerting less influence over the direction of the Republican Party than that of the Democratic Party, because it plays a much smaller role in the overall GOP political machine. Internet fundraising hasn't been as crucial for Republicans, because they have both a bigger base of financial support in the business community and a more developed small-donor direct-mail program dating back to the 1970s. Blogs aren't as important for Republicans as they are for Democrats, because talk radio, dominated by conservative hosts, already provides the GOP an effective channel outside the mainstream media to distribute its message. "They don't need the Internet as much as we do," says Wolfson, a top adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

Indeed, Democrats are increasingly relying on the Internet to match the roles that both talk radio and direct mail play for Republicans.

In the same way conservatives court talk radio, Reid, for instance, held a conference call with liberal bloggers in late April to press the party message in the battle to preserve the filibuster for judicial nominations. Shortly thereafter, MoveOn, by far the largest online group in either party, turned out scores of volunteers for 192 rallies on the issue across the country on the same day. Earlier, the group generated 40,000 phone calls in a single day by dispatching volunteers with cellphones to ask neighbors to urge their senators to oppose the filibuster ban.

The Internet's most dramatic contribution to the Democratic Party has come on the bottom line. In the Democratic primaries last year, the Internet ignited Dean's insurgent bid by generating a flood of small online donations that ultimately provided about half of all his money. In the general election, John Kerry stunned the political establishment by remaining competitive with Bush in fundraising, largely because the Democrat raised $80 million in Internet donations for his campaign and another $40 million from his online list for the Democratic National Committee.

Meanwhile, Move On says that along with its PAC and its voter fund, it collected another $50 million in online contributions (as well as $10 million more from large donors such as liberal financier George Soros).

In all, Democrats and their allied groups probably raised about $300 million online in 2004, estimates Tom Matzzie, who helped run Kerry's Internet campaign and now works as MoveOn's Washington director. That means the Internet accounted for about 15 percent of the $2 billion that the Center for Responsive Politics estimates the Democrats and their allied groups spent in the 2004 campaign. (Republicans raised about as much overall, but relied on the Internet much less; although a comparable estimate for the entire party isn't available, the Bush campaign raised less than one-fifth as much online as Kerry did, which may give a sense of scale.)

Whatever the exact figure, the amount of political money and activity generated on the Internet in 2004 represented a quantum leap over the levels of 2000 or 2002. (MoveOn's PAC alone increased its online fundraising tenfold from 2000 to 2004.) The audience for blogs, though still small compared with mass media like talk radio or daily newspapers, is steadily growing.

Almost all analysts expect the political use of the Internet to expand at least as much over the next four years. "It is going to just explode between now and 2008," says Joe Trippi, Dean's 2004 campaign manager. Matzzie said recently that Democratic candidates and groups would likely collect as much as $1 billion on the Internet for the 2008 election. Veteran Democratic strategist Tad Devine predicts that the next Democratic presidential nominee will reject the public financing system, not only for the primary, as Kerry and Bush did, but also for the general election (which no candidate has ever done) to preserve the freedom to raise unlimited money over the Internet.

These projections are encouraging Democrats about their ability to compete financially and organizationally with the GOP. But one of the most profound truths in politics is that no money, or any other form of support, is free; it all arrives with some kind of price tag. Few Democrats have thought seriously about what that price tag may be for the lifeline the Internet base is now offering them. The Internet activists believe they are liberating the Democrats from the demands of "special interests" by creating an alternative source of grassroots money. But the Internet support, financial and otherwise, comes with its own strong demands, as recent visits to two of the movement's leading figures demonstrated.

Eli Pariser and Markos Moulitsas

It speaks volumes about the Internet's tendency to diffuse power that two of the most influential figures in online liberal politics work alone, in their homes, in neighborhoods that have hosted far more rent parties than black-tie dinners.

Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn's giant political action committee, and Markos Moulitsas, the founder and ringmaster of the popular Daily Kos Web site, have emerged as two of the principal strategists shaping liberal use of the Internet.

Pariser, working with Boyd and Blades and MoveOn's small group of 13 other employees, runs a vastly larger institution than Moulitsas does. MoveOn has become perhaps the largest source of funds, volunteers, and activism (such as e-mail and grassroots lobbying campaigns) for Democrats outside of organized labor. MoveOn officials believe that their membership, now growing by 75,000 per month, could reach 5 million by 2006 and perhaps 10 million by 2008.

Moulitsas is more like a guerrilla force compared with MoveOn's teeming infantry. He says his site receives 500,000 visits a day, more than any other political Web log (although many say figures on blog audiences are notoriously fuzzy, and Moulitsas acknowledges no one knows how much of that traffic represents repeat visits from the same readers). He estimates that his site raised about $700,000 for candidates in the 2004 election. That's not bad for someone armed with only a laptop, but MoveOn occasionally takes in that much in a single day.

Daily Kos's real influence is more indirect; it comes from the site's ability to launch ideas through the Democratic universe and to some extent the mainstream media, too. Moulitsas thinks of himself not as a journalist, but an activist. His principal goal, he says, is to provide "talking points" that Democrats around the country can use to persuade friends and neighbors, much the way conservative talk radio equips millions of Republican listeners every day with a common set of arguments and outrages for water-cooler conversation. "I look at this as armies," Moulitsas says. "It's training our troops how to fight rhetorically."

Both men emphatically keep their distance from the Democratic power structure in Washington. Pariser works out of the apartment he shares with his girlfriend on an ungentrified block south of Brooklyn's fashionable Park Slope; within a block of his building are shops selling off-price jeans, Mexican and Ecuadoran restaurants, and a pizza place where the crowd of teens hanging out one recent sunny afternoon included a young man with a fresh shiner under his right eye. Pariser is arguably one of the 50 most powerful people in the Democratic Party, and he doesn't own a car. He opens his apartment door wearing a T-shirt that reads, "I [heart] Social Security."

Moulitsas is a bit more settled. He owns a car (a beat-up Subaru) and writes from the house he shares with his wife and infant son in a weathered Berkeley neighborhood known as the flats. When he moved in, there were crack houses on his street. Often he'll file his first daily posts via his laptop while he's still in bed.

The two men share little in personal style. The e-mails from Pariser to MoveOn members usually have the earnest and friendly tone of a chat at the corner store. The biting exchanges between "Kos" and the "kossacks," who post responses to him and to one another on the site, sound more like arguments at the corner bar.

Pariser almost always considers his words carefully, as if imagining how they would look in print. In person, Moulitsas is soft-spoken, ingratiating, and quick to laugh. But online, he is confrontational, impulsive, and unequivocal; the other day, he sweepingly dismissed the Democratic Leadership Council, Joe Lieberman, and The New Republic magazine as "tools of the GOP." In 2004, Kerry's campaign cut its link to Moulitsas's Web site after he wrote that he felt nothing" when four American contractors were killed in Falluja, because "they are there to wage war for profit."

Neither are Pariser and Moulitsas ideological twins. Pariser and MoveOn fall in the party mainstream on most domestic issues (the group, for instance, has stressed fiscal discipline). But they define the Democrats' left flank on foreign policy. MoveOn as an institution, and especially Pariser as an individual, not only opposed the war in Iraq, but resisted military action in Afghanistan. MoveOn now is pushing Democrats to demand a deadline for removing American troops from Iraq.

Moulitsas is more eclectic. He served a three-year stint in the Army, and although he opposed the Iraq war, he supported the invasion of Afghanistan and calls himself a "military hawk." His favorite Democrats aren't Eastern cultural liberals like Kerry, but Westerners who combine economic populism with libertarian views on social issues like gun control. For the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, Kos is currently touting Montana's new governor, Brian Schweitzer, a favorite of both the National Rifle Association and Democrats who yearn for an unabashed populist message.

The careers of Pariser and Moulitsas have unfolded in contrasting styles as well. Pariser has been a political prodigy, the equivalent of a baseball player who makes the major leagues without ever stopping in the minors. The son of 1960s activists who founded an alternative high school in Maine, he was a recent college graduate working for a nonprofit in Boston when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shook America. Pariser quickly launched a Web site that promoted a petition resisting a military response to the attack (he urged "moderation and restraint"). Even though polls showed that most Americans supported the attack on Afghanistan, within two weeks Pariser had collected an astonishing 500,000 names for the petition. Soon he was receiving calls from media outlets as far away as the BBC. "They said, 'We've been hearing a lot about this. Who are you?'" Pariser later recalled. "[I said] 'I'm 20 years old; I don't know who I am.' "

Later that fall, Pariser brought his names to MoveOn (doubling the e-mail list the group had assembled duringClinton's impeachment) and joined the group as an organizer. Eventually, he directed MoveOn's campaign against the Iraq war (which virtually doubled the size of its e-mail list again). Now, with founders Wes Boyd and Joan Blades preferring a less public role, he's emerged as the group's most visible figure (at a recent MoveOn rally, he was introduced as "the man whose second home is your in-box"), and an architect of its efforts to expand beyond cyberspace into on-the-ground organizing. A few months ago, Senate Democrats invited him to address them during a retreat.

Moulitsas took a more circuitous route to his identity as the fierce Kos. He split his youth between Chicago and El Salvador (his mother's native country), where he lived amid a brutal civil war. After returning to the Chicago suburbs for a rocky adolescence, he enlisted in the Army at 17 and spent two and a half years with an artillery unit in Germany. College and law school followed, as Moulitsas contemplated careers as diverse as journalism and composing film scores. He was working as a project manager for a Web-designing company in San Francisco when he started his blog in May 2002, angered by Bush's direction and inspired by the example of the liberal MyDD Web site.

After years of uncertainty, he had discovered his niche. Kos quickly found an audience by expressing the unmediated anger of the Democratic base toward Bush, and even more so toward Democrats who cooperated with him, especially over the war in Iraq. Moulitsas shrewdly built a community by providing readers unusual freedom to post their own thoughts, and rose to the forefront of political blogs on the same wave of grassroots liberal discontent with the Democratic leadership that initially propelled Dean's presidential campaign. (Kos was one of Dean's first promoters and consulted for his campaign on Internet strategy.) Moulitsas's site has been so successful (Daily Kos has continued to gain readers even since the 2004 election) that it has not only become a full-time job but also allowed him to edge into a new role as a media entrepreneur by launching a series of sports blogs.

In Search of a Warrior Party

For all their differences in style, temperament, and experience, Pariser and Moulitsas, in conversations three days apart, demonstrated a series of shared political assumptions that reflect the solidifying consensus in the online Democratic community. Each man believes that the Democratic Party must change in the same way and that the rise of the Internet activist base is the critical lever to force that change. In Washington, many Democratic consultants consider the Internet a new source of funding for the party's familiar approaches and strategies. But Pariser and Moulitsas made clear that they, and those they represent, are looking for something very different.

Both men believe that the small-donor base developing on the Internet will allow Democrats to reduce their reliance on business for campaign financing. That, they argue, would allow the party to pursue a much more economically populist anti-corporate message that they believe could win back blue-collar voters who have trended Republican over the past generation primarily on issues relating to values, taxes, and national security.

Both say they recognize that Democrats cannot hold together for a scorched-earth opposition to Bush on every issue. Neither Moulitsas nor MoveOn, for instance, was enthusiastic about the recent Gang of 14 deal on judicial nominations, but both accepted it as a necessary tactical retreat that could allow Senate Democrats to fight the filibuster issue again, against the backdrop of a Supreme Court nomination.

But both men want a party of warriors who will link arms to resist Bush's principal initiatives, especially the restructuring of Social Security. "When our core values are being attacked," Moulitsas argues, "the party needs to stand together." In the long run, both want Democrats to move away from the Clinton model of courting swing voters through "Third Way" moderation and turn instead toward a Bush approach that tries to build a majority mostly by inspiring a large turnout from its base with an unapologetically polarizing agenda. To Moulitsas, the key lesson from 2004 is that Bush won re-election while losing moderates badly and independents narrowly to Kerry, according to exit polls. "We won the center and it wasn't enough," he insists. "So, clearly, we have to reach out more to our base."

Pariser, similarly, argues that Bush's re-election victory demonstrated that the "passion" of hard-core followers was "the most powerful political asset around. It was more than money, more than message -- it's that [Bush] harnessed that energy. To dismiss the energy on our side would be a tremendous mistake."

The two differ somewhat on the tactical question of how to tilt the party in this direction. But the difference is of degree, not kind. Moulitsas is heavier on sticks than carrots. His Web site crackles with attacks on the Democratic Leadership Council and other party centrists, and it actively supports the liberals searching for a candidate to mount a primary challenge next year against Lieberman.

Moulitsas says he's not promoting civil war between Democratic liberals and moderates. Some Democrats representing conservative states, like Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson, need to vote with Bush at times, he acknowledges. But, he says, the party shouldn't tolerate defection on its core priorities, Democrats who consistently criticize other Democrats, or those from blue states who vote with Bush.

Those latter two points explain why he's so eager to challenge Lieberman, who has become a target of the Internet activists for defending the Iraq war and at times criticizing the Left. A primary against Lieberman, says Moulitsas, "will send a message that behavior that harms the party is going to have repercussions."

Moulitsas speaks with the abandon of someone who understands he is speaking only for himself. Pariser, as the voice of an organization whose size makes it a target both for other Democrats and for Republicans like Karl Rove, who denounced it in June, is more cautious, but still ultimately eager to push the party in the same direction that Kos is pushing it.

In contrast to its earlier emphasis on Iraq, MoveOn this year has focused primarily on domestic issues that unify Democrats, like Social Security or the battle against Bush's judicial appointments. Rather than intimidating Democrats who support Bush, Pariser says, MoveOn hopes to reward those who confront him, with initiatives like the massive fundraising drive for Byrd. "We believe it's the role of the progressive movement to create the political space where politicians say and do the right thing," Pariser says.

But MoveOn hasn't ruled out more-coercive efforts to compel party discipline. It turned heads recently when it ran its ads criticizing Rep. Hoyer for supporting the Bush-backed bill toughening bankruptcy laws. And while MoveOn, with an eye on 2006, is focusing mostly on strengthening its volunteer organization in congressional districts held by Republicans, Pariser says that it's maintaining the option of building grassroots organizations to pressure Democrats who vote with Bush too often.

During a several-hour conversation, Pariser frequently said that the group had not yet decided to take such pressure to the next, far more explosive, step by supporting liberal challengers to Democratic incumbents. But he also repeatedly made clear that the group wasn't closing off the idea. "That's a question we are talking about now," he said.

In all of this, Pariser and Moulitsas, like many of those they represent on the Internet, appear very much the product of the Democrats' fall from power. Almost everyone in the party's Washington hierarchy can remember a time when Democrats thought of themselves as the nation's natural majority party. Pariser and Moulitsas are children of the minority. For Democrats, they believe, the first step toward recovery is to acknowledge that revival requires more than tinkering. In their eyes, it will require Democrats to think of themselves not as a governing, but an opposition, party that bloodies the majority Republicans by any means necessary -- much as Republicans did under Newt Gingrich in the final years of their assault against the decades-old Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. "D.C. is still trapped in 1970s thinking," sighs Moulitsas. "It is hard for them to realize we really are a minority party. What they have to understand is that Republicans became a majority party only by being a really effective opposition party."

Demise of the "Third Way"

One theory of international relations holds that wars most often start when a new force emerges to disrupt an established power structure, the way, say, Germany did in the early 20th century. Much the same dynamic is under way in the Democratic Party today. Through Clinton's two terms, centrists dominated the party. Now, largely because of the rise of the Internet activist base, the Left is resurgent. And that is heightening tensions.

For liberals who chafed under Clinton's reign, the emergence of MoveOn, Dean's Democracy for America, and the blogs is like the arrival of the cavalry. Robert Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America's Future, has been pulling in the tug-of-war between Democratic liberals and centrists for more than two decades. He sees the development of the Internet as a decisive tilt in that struggle.

"I think this means, certainly at a presidential level and probably at a senatorial level and maybe at a congressional level, candidates will always know there is a slot on the progressive side of the dial that can be competitive financially ... and they don't have to bow to the large-money interests in the Democratic Party in order to be financially competitive," he says. "Someone will always compete for that slot, and that, I think, transforms elections and transforms the opportunity to create the politics that many of us have thought is necessary to re-create a progressive majority for change -- one that has a clear economic message for working people."

Although liberals like Borosage unreservedly embrace the new Internet forces, Democratic centrists have divided over how to respond. The most vehement camp views the Internet Left as a danger. These activists argue that for all of the organizational and technological capacity of the Internet activists, they are pushing the party toward policies, especially in foreign affairs, that will fatally narrow the Democrats' support.

Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic, developed this case extensively in a controversial cover story last winter when he called on Democrats to "take back" the party from MoveOn and the Internet Left -- what he called "the softs" -- much the way liberals after World War II rejected alliance with domestic Communists. Beinart was especially impassioned, but he is hardly alone. The DLC promoted his conclusions. And several other centrist party strategists worry that the hyperpartisan turn-out-the-base strategy that many online activists demand won't work for Democrats, because polls consistently show that more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal.

"We are more of a coalition party than they are," says Ed Kilgore, the policy director for the DLC. "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

Simon Rosenberg defines the other pole of the debate among centrists. In May, Rosenberg appointed Moulitsas as a founding adviser to a new think tank, the New Democratic Network, established to craft fresh political strategies for Democrats. Rosenberg has not only welcomed the Internet activists, but also argued that New Democrats need to learn from their call for a more partisan resistance to Bush.

Strikingly, Rosenberg accepts the Internet Left's fundamental argument that Democrats should move away from Clinton's efforts to court the middle by finding a Third Way between traditional Democratic and Republican approaches. Such efforts to find compromises between the parties, Rosenberg says, have become "obsolete" in the face of Bush's crusading conservatism.

"As powerful as the Third Way formulation was in the 1990s, it is an antiquated way of looking at the world ... and it is not a viable position in the United States right now," Rosenberg says. "What people [in the Democratic Party] are looking for is not a Third Way; they are looking for a modern progressive movement that can fight the conservative movement. [The choice] has become binary, and that is what has changed."

In this dispute, each side can already point to examples of Internet-base influence that support its case. Many give the online activists credit for helping to solidify Democratic opposition to Bush's plan to restructure Social Security -- in no small part by so openly threatening primary challenges against Democrats, like Lieberman, who have considered supporting him. "It has helped stiffen spines, and I think that's a good thing," said Wolfson.

Conversely, many centrists believe that the demands of the Internet Left influenced John Kerry's decision in 2003 to vote against Bush's $87 billion request to fund the war in Iraq. That vote became an albatross for Kerry in the general election when Bush used it as his prime example to accuse the Democrat, who had voted to authorize the war, of flip-flopping on issues. MoveOn had urged Democrats to oppose the funding, and Kerry cast his vote at a moment when Dean's presidential campaign, fueled largely by the torrent of online donations, was at its zenith.

Pariser and Moulitsas both say that the problem wasn't Kerry's vote, but his failure to effectively defend it. But to those who are uneasy about the party's direction, Kerry's stance against the funding dramatized the potential cost with swing voters for pursuing policies meant to energize the Internet base.

Like many other Democrats who have avoided extreme positions in this debate, Wolfson says that the challenge for Democrats is to maximize the tangible benefits the Internet provides without losing sight of a larger electorate whose views aren't nearly so fervent.

"It's wonderful to have a network of donors through the Internet that is the equal of the Republican direct-mail donor base, ... and it is obviously important for Democrats to have a way to talk to Democrats," he says. "The downside is if we have a conversation [only] with ourselves. And at this moment, the center of gravity in the U.S. is not on the left; it may not even be on the center-left, so a conversation geared to the left is, by definition, exclusionary."

At a time when Internet activists are agitating for challenges to party centrists, and liberal blogs are crackling with denunciations of legislators who vote with Bush, though, it seems unlikely that the party can reap the benefits of the online activists and donors without bending toward the confrontational politics they are demanding. "I don't think a Democratic politician anymore can poke the base in the eye," says Matzzie, MoveOn's D.C. director. "They can, but only if they are willing to walk away from everything the Internet can give them."

The Ultimate Test

This isn't the first time that technological change has triggered ideological turmoil. In 1972, the emergence of direct-mail fundraising helped George McGovern overwhelm the party establishment and seize the Democratic presidential nomination on an insurgent anti-war platform. Later in the decade, those same direct-mail techniques, adapted by conservatives, powered the rise of Jesse Helms, the "New Right" advocacy groups, and then Ronald Reagan. The spread of talk radio provided a comparable boost for the next great wave of conservative advance, the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.

The common thread is that each of these new tools proved more effective at mobilizing ardent activists than moderate voters. All provided new means to concentrate and harvest the emotion of an ideological vanguard that cared enough about politics to respond to requests for contributions or volunteers or calls to Capitol Hill. In that way, each technological advance strengthened the ideological edge of the parties against the center, just as the Internet is doing in the Democratic Party today.

But that history also shows that it's wrong to assume technology is destiny in determining a party's direction. Conservatives, aided by the new technologies of direct mail and talk radio, have consolidated their control of the Republican Party over the past three decades. Liberals, until recently, have lost ground in the Democratic Party for roughly the same period. The difference is that the Right has elected far more of its true believers to office than has the Left. McGovern, remember, lost 49 states in the 1972 presidential race; Reagan won 49 in 1984. Even today, the share of Republican senators and House members who qualify as hard-core conservatives exceeds the share of Democrats who could be identified as die-hard liberals.

This history frames both the opportunity and challenge for the reinvigorated Left that is now organizing online. The Internet's tremendous power to transmute ideological passion into money and activism is increasing the Left's stature inside the Democratic Party for the first time since at least Reagan's 1984 landslide over Walter Mondale, and perhaps since the McGovern campaign itself. But the Left's position inevitably will erode again unless the strategy it is promoting wins elections. After all, Dean failed to win a single Democratic primary and Kerry lost the general election, despite the unprecedented energy that each man unleashed on the Internet. The ultimate test of political success isn't inspiring passion or even generating volunteers and contributions; it's attracting more votes than the other side.

Moulitsas, for one, understands that as the influence of the online Democratic activists grows, so does the pressure on them to produce results. "The centrists' strategy [in the 1990s] didn't turn things around, and the decline for Democrats just kept going," he says. "If we get our way, and we have a more partisan Democrat [as the presidential nominee] and the money is there, and in eight years we haven't made any headway, I'm willing to say we should try something else."

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  run to the center or to the left? (none)
    Remember here when we all laughed at Bushie for running to the far right last election.  Many people here said we have a chance at the middle.  Guess we didn't.  Excellent article!!!  Hope we never have to support a candidate that will run to the middle or with their tail between their legs.

    Blue is the most popular color

    by jalapeno on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:14:22 PM PDT

  •  This quote really bothers me (4.00)

    "We are more of a coalition party than they are," says Ed Kilgore, the policy director for the DLC. "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

    This is the kind of attitude that ensures the Dems will be the minority party for another generation.  I hate to use the word, but it's defeatist thinking.  We ARE the majority on issue after issue.  We simply have to show the masses of centrist voters that we aren't just a bunch of knuckling-under, Repub-lite clowns.

    More comments after I read the rest of the post.

    This Far and No Further
    Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

    by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:16:07 PM PDT

    •  It bothers me too - but (4.00)
      not exactly for the same reason it bothers you.  Well, sort of.  Kilgore is correct that the majority of swing voters will not go to the far left as portrayed by the Republicans, but he is mistaken if he thinks that's where we are.  If Democratic positions are lined up against the consistently far right positions being put out by the Republicans, guess what?  We're actually closer to the center (or even on top of it).  We don't need to run any further rightward - the Republican noise machine in marching so hard to the right, those of us in a straight line look like lefties to them.  All we need to do is keep them from distorting the vision of the rest of the country.
      •  You're right (4.00)
        and you state your point well.  Centrist voters by definition "split" the vote.  No matter how hard we bang on them, we don't get much of a change from the 50/50 paradigm -- we might get a few percentage points here and there, but nothing much more than that.

        Dems have been playing mathematical games for the last few elections, assuming wrongly that except for a score or so of states, they're going to get beat, and therefore focusing on trying to eke out victories in "swing" states by appealing to "swing" voters.  I say bullshit.  Change the paradigm and change the voting patterns.  Do what the Republicans have done, but do it honestly and truthfully, and with the same force and vehemence.  Not only will that accomplish that precious 2-3% swing in the center, but it will energize millions of lefty voters who haven't felt represented up to that point.

        This Far and No Further
        Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

        by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:48:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Kilgore is VERY wrong because he's right (4.00)
          If we put a gun to their heads and say "choose," we lose.  We say, "You must be with us," and we lose.

          The GOP puts a gun to the voter's head, tells them it's actually Dems at the trigger and offers voters a defense from the gun if they'll join the fight.  They act behind the scenes like the majority and in public they act like the righteous oppressed.

          We have to start telling people the GOP is putting a gun to their head, and then they'll choose us.

          •  Kilgore Thinks It's About A Centrist Persona (4.00)

            And that's where he's wrong. Centrists don't want candidates who seem wishy-washy, flip-floppy, or triangulatory.

            Centrists are the folks who are generally non-ideological but appreciate clarity, straightforwardness, and ballsiness.

            And while Bill Clinton oozed enough sex appeal and pitched charmingly enough to make up in apparent clarity and ballsiness what he lacked in straightforwardness, he was a once in a lifetime fluke.

            The aggressive minority party stance is a perfect fit for the "you may not agree with me on every issue, but you will by god know where I stand."

            That is the message that resonates with so-called centrist swing voters, that is the technique that Newt Gingrich used so well, and in the post-WMD moment, it's a very good time for Democrats to proudly stand up for they believe in. And if the triangulators and the moderators say hold on a second, let's make it more palatable, that's the perfect time to say that when you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything, just like the lot of Democrats in DC who fell for just about everything the Republicans dished out about Iraq.

            •  Exactly! (none)
              Democrats have to lead! The language Republicans use is one of power and leadership and they pick the issues that have the most obvious and least complex connection to power and leadership and frame those issues in the same slant.  They talk like leaders - belligerant, strident and arrogant leaders - but leaders none the less, even when they were not in power.  We know this, but Democrats have not done this themselves.  Act the part of the leader, embody clarity, strenghth and leadership and the mushy middle will follow; and they will follow in ever greater numbers as the party that currently is in power collapses under its own abuse, criminality and rank corruption.
        •  60% turnout in 2004 (none)
          The voter turnout spiked at sixty percent in 2004, reversing a decline to maybe fifty percent in 2000.

          George W. Bush has a mandate of 30%.

          The overall decline in turnout fairly well maps the decline in the fortunes of Democratic Party candidates since Kennedy's presisency.

          Democrats need independent voters to turn out and split their votes six ways from Sunday, because some of those votes will go to Democrats. Democrats often win on those split tickets.

          Not all of your opposition is Republican, and if your candidate leaves a large enough opening on his left flank, some charismatic Green (or a Kucinich-style Democrat) could decide to take advantage of your perceived weakness and energize new voters to turn out for her.

          Might not be a worry, most non-voters I've asked point out that the elections have been compromised, thus why bother to vote?

          "Think this through with me, let me know your mind." - Hunter/Garcia

          by epcraig on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 03:59:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Time Will Tell What the Netroots Accomplish (4.00)
    if we are all just a bunch of hotair keyboardists, little better than the public and private sector vogon white collar piddle-life-away-middle-management suffocating this country while the rich steal everything.

    I LOVE this quote

    "I think he is wrong to believe that this approach alienates independent swing voters. If anything, the alignment that Indys are having with Dems in most polling shows that it is exactly the opposite. That this approach is ATTRACTING swing voters. This is where the fundamental divide between the DLC Centrists and us lies."

    IF we do NOT stand for something, we deserve to get our butts kicked.  

    rmm.

    Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders" http://www.liemail.com/BambooGrassroots.html

    by rmdewey on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:16:39 PM PDT

    •  You're exactly right. (4.00)
      Energize the leftist base and get them mobilized.  Let the centrists split the middle and quit pandering to them -- for every centrist vote we win, we lose the involvement, the energy, the committment, and the vote of someone on the left who believes as we do but doesn't see the point of getting involved with a bunch of namby-pamby Lieberman supporters.

      This Far and No Further
      Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

      by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:19:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's not the point, I think (none)
        It's "show that you stand for something, and centrists will be attracted to your party."

        For what it's worth, there's an error in that article: Markos' son is a toddler, not an infant. :)

        "Any content-based regulation of the Internet, no matter how benign the purpose, could burn the global village to roast the pig." -- ACLU v Reno (E.D. Pa. 1996)

        by Adam B on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:24:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right (none)
          and I posted something similar to your post below.  I wasn't clear.  I'm saying that the centrists are going to split no matter what we do, but by playing to our strengths we energize "our" voters as well as attract fence-sitters who like the fact that we're standing up for something concrete.  It's a fool's game to play to the center unless you have Bill Clinton's peculiar gifts.  Most pols don't.  But running away from our liberal roots ensures defeat and failure.

          This Far and No Further
          Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

          by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:36:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, but draw the line strategically (4.00)
      Defining the Dem position as advocacy of a collection of leftist dreams won't win a majority, but fighting for basic liberal principles can. The United States was founded on liberal principles, in the deepest sense of "liberal". Liberal means American.

      So draw the line strategically: include the center in an alliance against the Constitution-destroying, privacy-invading Radical Right. Don't abandon higher objectives, but fight for basic principles with broad appeal.

      This may not be radical, but it's clarity, not mush; a fight, not a compromise.

      Slippery-slope arguments are often taken too far. Yes, using them is a slippery slope...

      by technopolitical on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:52:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, absolutely. (none)
    . . . In strikingly similar language, Internet-generation Democratic activists from Moulitsas to Eli Pariser, the 24-year-old executive director of MoveOn's giant PAC, describe Clinton's effort to reorient the party toward capturing centrist voters as "obsolete" in a highly partisan era that demands, above all, united opposition against the GOP. Moulitsas and Pariser, like most other voices in the Internet activist base, want a Democratic Party focused more on increasing turnout among its partisans than on persuading moderate swing voters. Both, in other words, want a party that emulates Bush's political strategy more than Clinton's.

    We emulate the strategy without using the smear tactics and hateful, anti-American positioning.

    This Far and No Further
    Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

    by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:17:48 PM PDT

  •  My current diary (none)
         "Huff-Po Dan Caro' yo's Kos on Comcast-o" at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/8/5/145351/3851 is not exactly on-point but has some stuff on netroots, funding, Dean, Demo party direction, etc.
  •  Blogsphere = Talk Radio (4.00)
    I think what people need to recognize is that the Blogsphere for the left serves the same purpose that Talk Radio does for the right.  

    People have been calling for the liberal alternative to Talk Radio and have missed the point, it has been there all along.  The left and right are different so the form is different.

    •  They work well with one another (none)
      The leftist blogosphere and Air America (along with the other non-AA lefties on the radio, such as they are) circle one another, feeding each other.  We support and empower one another.

      This Far and No Further
      Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

      by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:21:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need to break media blackballing of the Left (4.00)
      Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs has often been pointed out in MediaMatters, FAIR and other watchdogs, the roundtable "balance" usually means getting several unapologetic conservatives and a journalist or two who uses the airtime to set the table. They DO NOT represent liberals or Dems no matter how often shriekbots like Ann Coulter say the media are librul.

      IOW, there's simply not equal representation and unapologetic voices from the Left in mainstream media.

      The moderator should set the table and be fact checking by default -- as well as calling out self-evident hooey, lies and distortions -- but increasingly don't consider that part of their job.

      Frankly, I've cancelled most spinfotainment channels (formerly known as news channels) and get my information from more reliable sources.

    •  Yes (none)
      I think what people need to recognize is that the Blogsphere for the left serves the same purpose that Talk Radio does for the right.  

      And I would like to see a bit more coordination from it. One of the things that has made talk radio an effective tool of the GOP is the fact that they pick a message, either daily or weekly, and push it hard all day. The RNC sends them the talking points and there is very little variance from it.

      I'm not calling for a lock step thing like tr has become. But I am calling for a more unified approach. TR gets the GOP minions on the same page so that they can spend the day using those talking points with their co workers and friends. They use them in LTE's, you can't miss them if you have listened to tr.

      I'd like to see a variation of that tactic used here and with the other left blogs. I'm sure most of us use much of what we read here as a starting point for our conversations, much like the righties do with Rush and company. I've seen talk of this in the past, or at least that was my impression, and hope that we can somehow get it up and running.

      •  We've made big progress... (none)
        It's a night and day difference from a year ago.  Still have a ways to go but the left-wing machine is starting to function fairly effectively.
        •  Sure, we're making progress. (none)
          But we are so damn far behind the GOP in message machine tactics that I feel a need to push harder. The mid terms are right around the corner and having watched just how effective talk radio has been over the last several elections scares the shit out of me.
          •  Yes (none)
            that's what concerns me. Message machine tactics, as you phrased it works, but I think many Dems have a negative visceral response to that approach. Without it, though, IMO, we have nothing. I wanted to strangle Kerry continuously during his campaign when he could not accomplish this. I felt like screaming "focus, damn it, John!" We cannot make the same mistake again. But I still haven't heard our message machine roar to life yet, have you?
            •  Not yet (none)
              But I still haven't heard our message machine roar to life yet, have you?

              But I'm not without hope. As more people come here, like Slaughter and Conyers and Boxer amd John Lapp and more each week, I have hope that they are starting to get it.

              There were so many times during the election that there were some grat answers, frames and smackdowns which could have been used but went unseen by the powers that be. And there was never a call for help from us either. That was and is where talk radio shined. They took the issue of the day and made the talking point CW.

              That's what I'm hoping for here.

    •  I wouldn't bet on it (none)
      Right-wing radio is a popular phenomenon - everyone and their dog knows how to access it. Blogs are used by a ridiculously small percentage of the population. Plenty of the well-educated (to say nothing of the not-so-savvy) have no idea what blogs are or how to access them. We need radio to reach the masses.
      •  The early days of (none)
        talk radio were pretty sparse as well. The trick is two fold. One is that you have to direct people to the sites. The other is that you have to use he info you learn on blogs to push the message.
        •  Plus (none)
          you need a technology solution. People with dial-up connections or access only through work aren't likely bloggers.
          •  True (none)
            I think technology will inprove as we move forward. TR is mostly a transportation mode of info. People mostly listen in their cars, although Hannity seems to have quite a few ditzy women who listen at home.
          •  Fiber optics (none)
            If it's any consolation, I can tell you that Big Telecomm is pouring billions into fiber optic networks across the country right now, that will, as they say, bring "fiber to the curb". It will render dial-up obsolete virtually overnight, and make high speed access ubiquitous from coast to coast. The resulting explosion in internet usage should mean that blogs will become exponentially more popular and I suspect, match, if not overtake, talk radio as a preferred format for political news/discussion.

            The most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen & Stupidity - Harlan Ellison

            by Cantankerous Bitch on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 07:12:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  True, but (none)
        The Blogsphere is made up of readers who are interested and take the time to investiagte the issue and then influence their friends and family.

        Also the investigative work done by the bloggers trickles out into the media.  If you look at raw numbers not that many people really listen to Limbaugh, let alone all the lesser rightwing talking heads, but they influence the conversation in the same way the Blogs can.

    •  Talk Radio Vs. Internet (3.00)
      I think this is a very insightful comment, and I think it points out an important distinction between the two types of media we've gravitated towards, and one that's still apparent even in Far-Right blogs.  That's what the purpose of communication is.  Here at Daily Kos, the conversation is the reason we have posts- the comments are what I read for more often than not, because the posts themselves either take a very limited side or no side at all.  The frequent open threads often lead to interesting sojurns.  On top of that, the content that gets to the front page is often reader-supported rather than picked exclusively by Kos or Armando or an "editorial team."

      Now that's not to say there are no cooperative conservative blogs, but theirs are much more hierarchical.  Many don't allow comments.  Radio, while allowing some callers, doesn't allow many.

      The Internet is open to everyone and at least theoretically, our voices are all the same strength.  Some servers are "more equal" than others because they have more resources, but the cost of entry to make a political blog is INCREDIBLY low.  You just need an idea and about 10 minutes.  Then you've got a blog.  A radio show requires quite a bit more.  You've either got to have a friend in the business or lots of money.  Your voice gets listened to because it's out there- you have other voices to compete with, but not many.  In the end, having a radio show MAKES your views seem worthwhile/important whatever.  On the Internet its different.  It's almost a direct meritocracy.

      And again, these little things show the differences between our parties.  They're the party of exclusiveness and nepotism.  We're openness and meritocracy.  Kos is right--the vast majority in this country (and I'm thinking like 70% numbers) really DO agree with us.  Our values ARE theirs.  It's just that the Republicans have got us so befuddled about what being "electable" is that we waste all our time arguing about that instead of just telling people what we stand for--it's hard to agree with John "I can't make anything simple" Kerry when you can't understand what he stands for.  It was easy with Clinton, because you knew he'd at least "feel your pain" and that was enough to make it seem like he'd do the right thing.

      That's why we need to get up and say "These are American values-we know that because we're Americans and we can see that's what our neighbors and friends want.  We stand for that, and nothing else.  They stand for corporations and money- we stand for Families and Communities.  Who do you really want?"

      James

      "democracy in a republican era - like a police state run by the criminally insane on a schedule set by cable news shows." ~skippy, the bush kangaroo

      by jjhare on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:24:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! (none)
        This is what I was getting at but was too lazy to fully develop.  The left is about the dialogue, so the talk radio format of listening to one guy dominate the conversation will never fly.
  •  Fucking A. (none)
    I am proud to be both a member of the both the Dailykos community and MoveOn.  

    We will put the country back on the right (that being "correct") track.  

    "Whensoever the general Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force." -- Thomas Jefferson

    by Billy Shears on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:19:27 PM PDT

  •  This is an awesome article (4.00)
    plus I guess now I know who I'm probably going to support for President in 2008. -)

    "I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Jefferson

    by Michael Alton Gottlieb on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:20:14 PM PDT

  •  If you hold a gun to people's heads... (4.00)

    They tend to be liberal dammit!!!

    My sister votes Republican.  So I quiz her...

    Abortion?  Pro-choice
    The War?  Bad.
    Stem cell?  of course (she's a nurse)
    Gay rights?  Who cares if people are gay.
    Gay marriage?  Who cares.
    2nd Amendment?  Hates guns.
    Death penalty?  OK- she's for the death penalty.
    Taxes?  Those rich people should pay their fair share!

    So what the hell???! I ask.  You are aware that Kerry supports you on everything but the Death Penalty, and Bush opposes you in the same way.

    "He's a good man and will keep us safe."

    Allllllrighty then...

    (PS We have always joked that there is no way my sister and I are related, our brains work in such different ways, though we look alike).

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:21:16 PM PDT

    •  To which I hope you reply (none)
      "He's NOT a good man and he obviously is NOT keeping us safe."

      There's plenty to back up the "not a good man" part. There are lots of anecdotes referring to his behavior when he was growing up (trashing an apartment and refusing to pay for it, blowing off his Texas Air National Guard and then the campaign job that enabled him to get out of the TANG), and a bit older (drunkenly swearing at a reporter in front of the reporter's child), and even now, despite the fact that he is highly stage-managed. If you look at "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" clips on http://www.comedycentral.com, for instance, you can see one from a month or so ago (?) where he's putting down the prime minister of Luxembourg WHILE HE'S STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIM ON STAGE. Then, of course, there's the minor fact that Bush has never attended a military funeral.

      The fact that Bush is not keeping anyone in Iraq safe is starting to penetrate more minds. Maybe your sister's will be next.

      "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

      by AlanF on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:46:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's No Point to That Direct Reply (4.00)
        Folks who've had sales training will instantly recognize the response "He's a good man and will keep us safe" for what it is: an objection to a "sales pitch".

        Objections are non-sequitur defense mechanisms. The real communication, unspoken, is "You haven't convinced me ..." The implication is that there's an underlying reason why the target doesn't want to buy the car, purchase the annuity, or, in this case, re-align their political loyalties.

        Good deal-closers know that objections are not to be answered; rather, they must be overcome. Don't confuse them with impediments, which are only hurdles that must be addressed. Thankfully, the target will make very clear that an item is an impediment. If it's not clear, they're raising an objection, which means "not convinced".

        The best way to deal with an objection in political discussion is to retreat, asking probing questions, searching for the chink in their GOP armor. Try to ask gently leading questions to expose the target to his/her own doubts over betrayal, lies, distrust, or similar. There's plenty. Let the target tell you why they'll be convinced.

        Anybody not heard something like, "What will it take for me to put you in a new car today?" in an automobile showroom. That's a perfect example of a framed question, since there's an embedded assumption (that there's some way you'd drive out in a brand new, or perhaps slightly used, Audi).

        Also be aware that when you're trying to get somebody else to admit that they're wrong, they won't like it much. Nobody wants to appear stupid. It's far better to allow that person, especially if you care about him/her, to be able to save face. (All bets off if you'd just rather tease and/or make fun of them, but make sure you've got decent health insurance. For whatever reason, some folks become unhinged when they realize that they've been made a laughingstock. Far better to convince.)

        •  I agree with you completely (none)
          I wasn't really outlining a strategy for responding to that sister, just laying out for us why Bush is not a nice guy. I agree that it wouldn't be effective to present all that information to  someone at once.

          "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

          by AlanF on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 04:01:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You are right! (none)
       I have had the same exprience with many people. Dems basically are what the majority of Americans want.
       I see this as a very simple choice between the uber rich and everyone else, the only problem is we have let that 2% brainwash the other 98% by standing back and not calling them on their lies therby showing the 98 we do care if they get shafted and we will do all we can to protect/relay their voice in Washington and by not presenting a clear message of who we are and what we stand for.
       In the above paprgraph of course I am speaking of our Dem(lack of)leadership.  

      "I want the Republicans to stop hiding behind our troops for their policy failures!." !

      by arkdem on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:46:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely! (none)
      I seriuosly believe that a lot of the folks in "the center" who have been thinking of themselves as "leaning conservative" aren't really aware of what "Liberal" means.  We've allowed the Rethugs to define what "Liberal" means in terms that are very unappealing to these folks.  This is the result of not standing up and clearly defining and defending the Liberal position.  If (and when) the folks in the center actually hear us define ourselves through firm stands on issues, a lot of them, a majority I think, will come to understand, "Hey!  Maybe I've actually leaned Liberal all along!"

      I love the way you expressed this to your sister and think we need to expand on this approach - something along the lines of "You might be a Liberal if . . ."

      Or maybe a survey of this type:

      Which statement do most agree with, (A) or (B)?

      (A) All women and their children should have unfettered access to affordable, quality, health care that respects their privacy.  This includes unfettered access to contraception and sex education as a means to helping make abortion as rare as possible while remaining safe and legal under all appropriate medical circumstances.

      (B) Abortion is Murder and preventing contraception through artifical means is a sacrilege.  The availability of contraception and sex education only encourages promiscuity.  Abortion, contraception and sex education should be made illegal.

      I think that, when the positons are contrasted this way, most of the folks in the "center" will select option (A).  At which point you get to say, "Congratulations!  You might actually be a Liberal!"

      I bet Jesus would use His turn signals.

      by sxwarren on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:04:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People are more liberal than they realize (none)
        I use my mother as an example, she has spent her entire life (65 years) living in suburbs of Seattle (with college spent at SPU in Seattle itself)  She considers herself a Conservative, I always tell her that she is just used to being slightly more conservative than a generally liberal population, if she were to spend some time in Boise, or Texas, or Alabama she'd be amazed at how liberal she suddenly became.
        •  I've experienced this, too. (none)
          I have a Republican friend who is Liberal on just about every issue but taxes - and he knows it.  When SCOTUS decided the 2000 Presidential Election in Dubya's favor, he was the first person to email me the infamous, fake Time Magazine cover (all in black except for a picture of Bush and the huge-font headline in red, "We Are Fucked!").

          The two of us argue intermittantly with a mutual friend who is also pretty Liberal on everything, and yet insists that he's a Conservative.  This guy typifies the success that the Rethugs have had in painting "Liberals" as horrid and leaving folks with only one alternative - Conservative.  But, then, that's the core of their game - playing false choices.  You either stand with the Preznit and all of his efforts to protect Amurica, or you're a traitor.  Nobody wants to be a traitor, so you're only alternative is . . . ?

          We can play that game, too.  And we need to start RIGHT NOW while circumstances have the Rethugs at a disadvantage.

          I bet Jesus would use His turn signals.

          by sxwarren on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:27:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  People don't vote for policies (none)
      They vote for the man. Charisma and perceived character count for an enormouse amount, so let's not waste anymore time wondering why our policies aren't selling and find a good salesman.
      •  I agree with this, too. (none)
        I remember at the start of the '92 campaign season, the Dems were had a televised panel discussions among candidates who'd entered the primaries.  Included were the usual suspects (Harkin, Kerrey, Gephardt) all of whom were simply mouthing variations on the same, old, tired slogans.  Clinton was on the panel, I think as more-or-less an also-ran, to fill out the starting gate.  But when it came time for him to speak, I was just blown away at how original and thoughtful he was, how well his knew his shit, how clearly he defined and expressed the issues and, just as important, how well he sold it all.  He turned out to be that dark horse with a pedigree of "out of Arkansas, by Truck." It was at that point that I knew he would leave the rest of the old warhorses in the dust and be our next President.

        However, a salesman is only as good as how well he knows his product and how clearly he can explain it to the prospective buyer.  Without both this AND salesmanship, we're toast again.  SOME Democrat needs to be able to do both things.

        I bet Jesus would use His turn signals.

        by sxwarren on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:09:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Amending part of my last statement. (none)
        " . . .a salesman is only as good as how well he knows his product, how strongly he is committed to it, and how clearly he can explain it to the prospective buyer."

        I bet Jesus would use His turn signals.

        by sxwarren on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 03:18:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  To which I say: (none)
      Some see Bush as a "Bad Boy."

      ITSALONGWAYTOGO when you don't know where you're going; you don't where you're going when you're lost...

      by Omen on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:21:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  COMPROMISE WITHOUT COMPROMISING (none)
    The Democratic leadership does not understand this simple concept. Compromise does not mean compromising your ideals. You CANNOT attract support by simply emulating your opponent. They must start leading as opposed to simply catching whatever new wedge issue the right chooses to pitch at us next.

    I've been writing a series on a way we can change our platform to win, without becoming some pale immitation of our opponents. Look for that diary coming soon...

     

  •  D.C. is still trapped in 1970s thinking (4.00)
    Seems to sum up the somewhat condescending attitude that the author is still trapped in that thinking too, but at least dkos has him looking nervously at his shoes as he plays half-hearted apologist for the dem "centrist".

    Every day we see more and more signs that pack of kossack ants is indeed beginning to move the mountain.

  •  I'll welcome the end of the era (4.00)
    of the blushing Dems as much as the end of this arrogance over reason administration.

    Paul Hackett's success in the most rural counties of OH-2 makes this much clear: it takes a fighting Dem to get the message through.  

    No more bullshit "strategy" excuses.  Fight or get out of the way.

    Comments referring only to ratings are a nuisance. Noise. They waste time and bandwidth. We're all dumber for having read them.

    by willowby on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:24:47 PM PDT

  •  Taking a stand draws voters (4.00)
    If anything, the alignment that Indys are having with Dems in most polling shows that it is exactly the opposite. That this approach is ATTRACTING swing voters.

    Centrist voters are looking for a party whose candidates take stands.  I'll give the goddamned Repubs one bit of credit, they take clear stands on one issue after another.  Because they take clear, simply explained stands on an issue while liberals skitter back and forth trying to cover every possible base, the centrists are buffaloed by their energy and their forthrightness into believing that since they're loud, they're clear, and they're unchanging, they must be right.

    We cannot overestimate how powerful Bush's refusal to back down from particular stances is with centrist voters.  We know he's wrong, but they aren't so sure, and they're taken with his refusal to consider alternatives or back off from a stance.

    This Far and No Further
    Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

    by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:26:08 PM PDT

    •  Yup... (none)
      Centrists are, by their very nature, ideologically weak and need to be led by stronger, more partisan political figures.  These are the people most likely to respond to attack ads, public gaffes, and compelling personalities, and they like to be on the winning team. They may be smart or stupid, sophisticated or not, but most of them will follow the person who is the most forceful in plying their ideas without violating the boundries of civilized behavior.    
      •  From the TaxWisdom.org blog: (none)
        The Issues might actually be important to many Swing Voters early on in a political campaign, but when both sides start to pick apart each other's facts & interpretations, the typical Swing Voter quickly becomes confused.  As the debate over The Issues drags on, Swing Voters realize that they don't understand the details well enough to make an informed decision, so they end up relying on their impressions of the candidates.  Republican strategists see this clearly.  That is why they continuously try to create doubts in the minds of the Swing Voters about the  character of the Democratic candidate.  They know that it doesn't really matter if they can't find any real flaws in their Democratic opponents.  Accusations, insinuations, & innuendo will work just fine.  They hope to encourage voters to question the motivation and dependability of The Democrats.  They try to create the perception that Democrats are "defective" in a disturbing way.  By accusing, the Republicans suggest to Swing Voters that they are not [defective like the Democrats].  What was the non-existent "defect" in John Kerry's character that Republicans alerted Swing Voters to this year?  They claimed that he was an indecisive and shallow "flip-flopper."

        Very perceptive.

        This Far and No Further
        Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

        by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 09:12:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  heh. (none)
    Over at redstate.org, someone's pondering whether they should track references to Daily Kos in the MSM... I didn't have the heart to tell them that there's an easy, automated way to do just that, and when you do, it seems to turn up the most references to... redstate.org. I guess this will give them fodder for another article. Sad, really...
  •  Brownstein (4.00)
    He's one of the few journalists who doesn't have their heads up their ass when it comes to analyzing the Democratic party.  Most just rely on their DLC-heavy rolodex and Washington CW.

    No more Melissa Beans!

    by Paleo on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:36:17 PM PDT

    •  True (none)
      I have had to defend Brownstein in the past here unfortunately.

      HE is sharp and mostly fair.

      Course we are creatures of our environment, and his is the MSM, but he is quite good.

      And I said it long before this.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:53:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The metaphor of Whoville (4.00)
    It is right to think of ourselves as the minority, and this is no more plain than on talk radio. The unfortunate things is that liberal radio just will not sell (not in my opinion), because of the very fact that liberals are inclusive and tolerant. Controversy sells, not acceptance.

    But we can challenge the GOP noise machine, and really should do so at every opportunity. Yesterday, on the local sports talk radio, a caller compared Raphael Palmiero's finger waving to Congress with Bill Clinton. I ask the host to read my non-sports comment on the air, and he did:

    While George Bush did not wag his finger, he certainly did lie to the American people when he claimed that Iraq had WMD's and that Hussein was an imminent threat. Ask the families of Maine's servicemen and women which is worse.

    Challenge the GOP noise whenever you can! Add your voice to the other denizens of Whoville.

    •  I disagree with you about liberal radio (none)
      I buy Al Franken's argument that we're both truthful and funny, while the conservatives are neither. I'm not sure that Franken himself is the funniest guy, but I love Stephanie Miller, and I like many of the rest (Randi Rhodes, etc.).

      And I'm sure there is a market for funny-and-tolerant. I know that loud-and-intolerant forces me to turn the dial, and there MUST be many more like me out there.

      "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

      by AlanF on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:53:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I looked forward to Air America when (none)
        it was announced that it was coming to Portland, Maine. I did not care for the morning show, but listened to Franken's show for about 6 month's. I got tired of Mr. Franken's shouting about how he was correct on some little point - it seemed so childish. His guests were great, with David Sirota a favorite. But I just couldn't stomach it any more. Another thing that bothered me was that emails from listeners were not part of the show. I work in an office and can't call and hang on the line for an hour.

        I did come to like Randi Rhodes, and RFK Jr.

        If only the intelectual fulfillment I find here could be transfered to radio....

        •  I'm with you (none)
          Even though many of them are smart people, and I'm often impressed by their level of knowledge and insight, the intelligence is watered down to fit the format. The other thing is that when you're on the Internet, you can read and search at your own pace. You can't do that when you're listening to the radio.

          "There's more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line" - Indigo Girls

          by AlanF on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 03:56:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Definitely a market for liberal talk radio... (none)
      It may never be as big as the conservative market nationally, but they're doing quite well and beating the right in certain markets.
  •  What happened to Dems? (4.00)
    I mean really?  Dems are fitting into the big Elephant's script like players in a play.  Where the hell is the spine?  The only one's I've found has been in places like DailKOS, Americablog, TPM, etc.  But until we get Dems making statements publicly and getting big audiences to hear it then we are just wasting our time.  

    There is no question whatsoever that Dems are by far closer to the public's view of the way things should be.  The problem is that most people that are only casual observer's see the Dems as a bunch of spineless whimps.  For the most part there has been no reason to think otherwise.  There is no uniform voice, there is no consistency in language and there is no consistency in message.  Most importantly, though it has improved under Reid, we cave everytime the Elephant speaks.  For Christ's sake would someone of some stature fight these bastards?  Conyers, Boxer, Slaughter and a couple of others have made statements here and there, set up petition drives, and made good posts on blogs, but damnit where is the passion?  Where is the outrage?  And for Christ sake quit apologizing!!!  If you aren't tough enough to take some heat and back up what you say then how the hell do you think anyone would take you seriously?

    Some will say it's Dean.  Well unfortunately Dean is viewed by most outside the political realm (and inside somewhat) as a nut.  No we need respected democrats to raise their voices.  Slam a few podiums.  Get on the weekend talk shows and call these bastards out.  But most importantly, don't apologize for ANYTHING!!!  Every apology is just another nail in our coffin.  Where is Kerry?  Kennedy?  Pelosi?  Why are we not seeing them on the air constantly dealing with these issues.

    If these guys would just speak up, show some passion, and show some spine, you would be amazed at how many would follow.  

    Oh...and one last thing.  The more we start to use Obama the better.  That guy gets it and will connect with the populace better than anyone.  Just read his speech regarding social darwinism.  That's the kind of language the public needs to hear.  And every damn Democrat out there should be jumping on chairs to support it.

    •  Is this the one? (none)
      How does America find its way in this new, global economy? What will our place in history be? Like so much of the American story, once again, we face a choice. Once again, there are those who believe that there isn't much we can do about this as a nation. That the best idea is to give everyone one big refund on their government--divvy it up by individual portions, in the form of tax breaks, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own education, and so on. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it--Social Darwinism--every man or woman for him or herself. It's a tempting idea, because it doesn't require much thought or ingenuity. It allows us to say that those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford--tough luck. It allows us to say to the Maytag workers who have lost their job--life isn't fair. It let's us say to the child who was born into poverty--pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And it is especially tempting because each of us believes we will always be the winner in life's lottery, that we're the one who will be the next Donald Trump, or at least we won't be the chump who Donald Trump says: "You're fired!" But there is a problem. It won't work. It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it's been government research and investment that made the railways possible and the internet possible. It's been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools that allowed us all to prosper. Our economic dependence depended on individual initiative. It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we're all in it together and everybody's got a shot at opportunity. That's what's produced our unrivaled political stability. * Source: Knox College Commencement Speech, Barack Obama, June 4, 2005

      The most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen & Stupidity - Harlan Ellison

      by Cantankerous Bitch on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 07:25:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just want to reiterate: (3.75)
    standing up firmly for our ideals ATTRACTS swing voters.  It does not repulse them.

    Thats not only true....its key.

    A real soldier died in his 8mpg Hummer so you could play soldier in yours.

    by environmentalist on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:37:27 PM PDT

    •  Ding Ding (none)
      standing up firmly for our ideals ATTRACTS swing voters.  It does not repulse them.
      Thats not only true....its key.

      Give the person a seegar.  For years there's been this assumption among Democrats that most people who view liberalism in a negative light perceive it as something dangerous or subversive. That's undoubtedly the case with people firmly lodged on the Right whom we'll never win over in a million years. But how about those people who don't like liberalism because they see it as something shallow, wishy-washy, and unprincipled? Who do we think the Bush crowd was targeting with the "flip-flopper" meme about Kerry?

      As for the sudden blinding revelation that "we lost", IMHO we lost 30 years ago when Democrats began accepting the conservative premise that Government Is The Problem. You could see that process unfold as early as the 1976 Carter and Jerry Brown campaigns.  Democrats sold the pass a generation ago, and they've been paying for it ever since.

      Most people never have to face the fact that in the right time and the right place they're capable of anything. -- Noah Cross

      by angry blue planet on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:19:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the National Journal (none)
    Too bad I can't afford the $2,000 a year subscription price ($30/issue). It was great when I was a student...only $240 a year. Oh, well. Worth every penny.
  •  McGovern (4.00)
    Yeah, McGovern lost 49 states, but don't forget who he lost to. And I seem to remember something about that guy (and his VP and his AG and a bunch of other people) ending up leaving office...

    If the Democratic "hawks" of '72 had stood behind McGovern, he would have won. But they, too, made their peace with the Republicans because they were caught up in the war fervor.

    Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

    by darrelplant on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:38:24 PM PDT

    •  Don't forget (none)
      that McGovern shouldn't have been the nominee.  Muskie, a much more centrist candidate, was the frontrunner until he got "Canucked."  The center and right elements of the Dems were much more behind Muskie, and refused to support McGovern.

      This Far and No Further
      Tons of info and opinion on the right's attempted takeover of the USA

      by Black Max on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 09:30:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not forgotten (none)
        I didn't forget. It reinforces the fact that "centrist" and "rightist" Democrats in 1972 -- who were the mentors of many of the current Democratic leaders -- were willing to abandon the party's nominee and let Nixon win another term rather than admit their culpability in the failures of the war in Vietnam, despite McGovern having been a decorated WWII bomber pilot.

        Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

        by darrelplant on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 12:19:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  McCain-Feingold (4.00)
    You can thank McCain-Feingold for a lot of this.  Without the cushy corporate soft money to rely on, the party has been forced to look to the grass roots for funds.  It's long overdo, and gives the base more clout and the DLC less.

    No more Melissa Beans!

    by Paleo on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:38:27 PM PDT

  •  Ideology and Partisanship: Not Either/Or (4.00)
    If Democrats want to base their success on the rise of the GOP from the 1960s through the 1990s, they should pay attention not only to partisanship, but to ideology. Yes, the GOP became an extraordinarily effective minority party prior to 1994 by maintaining extraordinary partisan unity.  That this unity has survived electoral success is pretty impressive (if a very bad thing for the nation).  In many ways the catchphrase for GOP unity is Reagan's famous "11th Commandment": Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Your Fellow Republican."

    Funny think is that it was Reagan himself who led the intraparty ideological warfare of the 1970s that was at its most bitter during his nearly successful 1976 GOP presidential primary challenge to the incumbent president, Gerald Ford. And remember: Reagan was bitterly criticizing from the right an administration that included among its key players Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney!

    Yes, the GOP has distinguished itself by its partisan unity. But they only achieved that unity after conservatives decisively won their ideological battle against the GOP's old, often moderate-liberal Eastern establishment. This intraparty feud raged from roughly 1960 until 1980, when the last vestiges of the moderate and liberal Republicans had effectively been reduced to irrelevance within the party.

    The effective ideological unity of the GOP was the very foundation of its extraordinary partisan unity.  

    Support IWT
    Independent World Television
    The Alternative to the Corporate Media

    by GreenSooner on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:38:57 PM PDT

    •  what you write is my fear (none)
      that we will have to engage in an all out ideolgical war in the the Dem party for some Dems to get it.

      I hope we dont have to do that, and we can continue to concentrate our firepower on the right, because that otehr road is a long hard one and by the time it is done America might be gone for good.

  •  We ARE on the 1970's! (none)
    Except that we are not playing the majority party role. GOP is the all powerful majority party, with all 4 branches and public opinin on it's side, plus a conservative Supreme Court and wide reaching legislation to further it's goals: Patriot Act, Litigation caps, Bankrupcy bill, Corporate Welfare laws...

    For the next 30 years it matters little whether a conservative occupies the Oval Office or if conservatives hold majorities in both houses of congress. The Supreme Court will always be there to reverse any "counter-revolutionary" legislation.

    This is the new "New Deal", a conservative wave sweeping through all the nooks and cranies of our US society and if we don't learn how to work on minority, as a weak force that doesn't have nor will have all the cards, we will be pulverized and forgotten...

    News For Real: It's Over. We Lost.

  •  This isn't helpful (none)
    If you have something to say that's way off-topic, write a diary.  Otherwise, you will be troll-rated by people like me.  Now settle down and think through what you want to say and if this isn't the place for you, start your own blog.  Stop acting like a Republican.
  •  good article (4.00)
    It isnt about ideology. fuck i aint a liberal, i am a partisan.

    That said, in 2006 the net roots and grass roots HAVE TO DELIVER.

    2004 was too early and we werent organized enough and didnt really have a fucking clue to be honest, we were just flailing away at everything that moved.

    I think now we realize we need stronger candidates who will speak their minds and not parse their words, and speak of a strong set of core values in a way that is compelling.

  •  War (4.00)
    Is a difficult issue for Dems... especially when you have people who identify themselves as hawks in a party that is supposed to be the opposition to the militarists on the right and their military industialists b uds.

    The middle is pulled by a CLEAR position stated by the right or the left.  The dems as repub light is what many perceive the run to the middle as and this will not bring votes onto the D side.

    To change things the Dems need to get out the vote and appeal to the issues which THEIR base cares about... jobs, health care... no war for lies... veterans benefits and a "non interventionist" foreign policy... as well as safe environment.  Let the repubs pander to the moral nuts on the right while the dems respect religion and personal freedom.  Yea yea freedom is on the march... PERSONAL FREEDOM. And that means freedom from gov in the bedroom, in the doc's office, but NOT in the boardroom.

    Dems need to really stake out a very different vision to fire up people who are losing faith in the whole system... too much money in corrupt politics.. votes don't count... people are powerless corporations are powerful.

    Dems need to wage class warfare or rather engage in the one the repubs started.  There are and always will be more workers than bosses.  Go with the workers... and forget about the bosses.

    •  Pro-War or Anti-War? NEITHER (none)
      We have to stop buying into the false choice of pro-war vs. anti-war. Moat Americans are neither. Most Americans are bi-polar on war. They don't want to fight unless there's a good reason to do so, but if it comes down to a fight they want to kick ass hard.

      What the Democrats need to do is to convince the public that (a) they will not go to war unless there is good reason, and (b) when there is a good reason, they will not hesitate -- they will act swiftly and kick ass hard.

      I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

      by homeland observer on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:48:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Armando (none)
    That was well worth the wait. Much better than the one you did yesterday and took away. Bravo.

    *"We are a Nation of Laws"-11th Circuit*

    by Chamonix on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:43:16 PM PDT

  •  Minority Party (4.00)
    The minority party effectiveness of the Republican Party, I believe, is truly their downfall. I totally agree with much of the article and want to put that out now, as I will be addressing this topic of minority party throughout the bulk of this response.

    Republicans have positioned themselves as the eternal minority party.  We see it when, in favor of a persecution complex, they eschew their failure to meet their obligation to lead.  They cannot get their policies approved except through strong arm tactics and then they complain about those obstructionist Democrats.  Honestly- at this point it is starting to sound like the villain at the end of Scooby Doo cartoons: "And i would have succeeded, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"  This is not a fundamental failure of the Republicans to recognize the function of government and the rights and obligations of the minority party.  It is failure on the parts of the Republicans to realize the rights and obligations of the majority party.  

    I do not believe they have quite grasped yet that the majority status is not something attained as a means of exploiting your radical agenda.  It is not a means of silencing the people with whom you disagree.  Instead majority status is an obligation to rule through discourse and to seek to service the interests of the other 49% of Americans who did not vote for you.  I believe that this will inevitably break the Republican Party.  We can already see it starting:  The Plame case is just another instance in which the Republicans (drunk on majority power and uncaring about its obligations) refused to listen to any dissent and then moved to crush that dissent.  The refusal to listen to dissent stems directly from their obsession with minority status and their inability to cope with majority status.  

    When they were the minority (and I still maintain majority and minority status in America has nothing to do with the judiciary or Congress and everything to do with who holds the White House) they would exonerate their procedural maneuvers with accusations that the majority was either corrupt or inept.  Interestingly this is the complete Rovian pattern.  Many people believe that Rove's strategy is to simply attack where the candidate is strongest.  That is an abstracted (Cliff's Notes) version of the attack strategy.  

    The complete pattern is to attack those areas were there is a great deficit between the enemy and your candidate.  The Republicans as minorities were obstructionist, ineffective in solving problems as opposed to pushing ideology, and as the light of majority is starting to show and will continue to illustrate: even back during the days of minority the Republicans were thoroughly awash in dirty money and dirty tricks.  This is the tactic of a group that would turn the minority rights safeguarded by the Constitution into bases for geurilla warfare.

    The Democrats, perhaps, should not strive to emulate this Republican model of the minority party.  It is important that they recognize their limitations as a minority and shed the majority signatures that still linger: such as an eagerness to abandon minority privileges in a desperate hope for compromise.  That is truly the issue at stake with Democrats and their minority status.  They are currently comprised of very effective middle managers- people who are used to making the seemingly difficult decisions to compromise (Leiberman, for example).  This is DINO not necessarily in that Leiberman is not a Democrat; he's simply a majority Democrat- the sort you hire for skills rather than ideas and energy.

    The majority Democrat is dead currently.  That does not mean it will not be resurrected at some point, but the failure to understand their place in the political cosmology is as dangerous to Democrats as it is to Republicans.  Luckily the obligations of minorities does not include 100% success.  We have the privilege of breathing room and time to regroup.  The Republicans are going to be killed by their very wishes to have majority.  I suppose power is much like the djinn's of old:

    be careful what you wish for.

    How do you eat an elephant? A piece at a time.

    by electricgrendel on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:47:11 PM PDT

  •  Nice Article (4.00)
    Only point that I would want to add that just because one is against centrist triangulation doesn't mean one is against moderates. Moderates are not the same thing as centrists. This point needs to be hammered home if you are going to suceed in changing the party's mentality.
  •  We are the future. (4.00)
    Hey guys. Hi. Yeah, I'm from the liberal blogosphere. The place with the numbers you wish Redstate had. Yeah. Got some bad news for you. We are grassroots. We pass the word. We spread the news. We are 50,000+ sharp-eyed eagles watching your every move. We are everywhere. Sure, one for one, you're more wealthy then we are. You can drop 500K on a single candidate, no biggie, you figure it's worth it to own Congress. But ten thousand people donating a fifty dollars each cancels you out. You can't silence us either. You don't own us, you don't own this media, we are independent of your conglomerates and corporations.

    It puzzles you, doesn't it? You can't understand why everything you've known for so many years isn't true anymore, can you? Well, I'll give you the answer to your questions. Your questions are Who, who is doing this? Why, why are they doing it? How, how can they be doing it so well? Where do they come from, and when did they become so powerful? There is a single answer to all those questions.

    We. Are. The. Future.

    You are obsolete.

    Do you hear that, RNC? That is the sound... of inevitability.

    I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

    by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:48:31 PM PDT

  •  Welcome to the circus. (4.00)
    "Ringmaster".  No truer description could be said.  Heh.

    I always get choked up with pride when I see that people on the outside are recognizing what we are doing.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you are all inside a revolution, you just don't recognize it yet!  

  •  A Nice Illustration of One of My Hobbyhorses (4.00)
    Notice what centrist activists say in response to progressives in this article:
    These [centrist] activists argue that for all of the organizational and technological capacity of the Internet activists, they are pushing the party toward policies, especially in foreign affairs, that will fatally narrow the Democrats' support.

    This is so typical of the way that the DLC and other "New Democrats" have fought intraparty ideological for last two decades. They never argue for the merits of their positions; they always argue that,  <crocodile tears> unfortunately the American people just won't accept progressive ideas </crocodile tears>

    This sort of thing has hurt both the Democratic Party and the cause of progressive politics in inumerable ways (I'm, of course, more concerned with the latter than the former).  First, it helps label progressive ideas as out of the mainstream ("even the liberal New Republic...").  Secondly, it has led the Democrats to waste endless time trying to figure out what ideas will sell, rather than wholly embracing the ideas they actually believe in, and then working to sell those ideas.  Third, it has particularly encouraged progressive Democrats to trim their sails and assume that they can never win, so they might as well support what (party Heathers say) will win.  Fourth, as it turns out, the "New Democratic" notion of what wins elections is largely wrong, so in addition to everything else, y'all have tended to lose these elections.

    So the "New Democrats" have really done two terrible things to their party, and to the nation's politics. First, they've dragged the Democrats to the right. Secondly, in order to to this, they've replaced real discussions about intraparty political differences with shadow discussions about what wins elections in the abstract.

    Support IWT
    Independent World Television
    The Alternative to the Corporate Media

    by GreenSooner on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:53:15 PM PDT

    •  The problem is also one of adaptivity (4.00)
      Their arguments is essentially one that grows out of the party from the 1980s when we were losing because we were "liberals," or that was the argue of the DLC in 1992. This argument hasn't been tested recently. Indeed, most people last year when Kerry was trying to run a DLC approved message of "I'm not a liberal" were probably going "so what if he is?" The DLC isn't reacting to what maybe changed circumstances that reflect a new receptiveness to our ideas. Instead, they are reacting to battles that happened in the 1970s and then 80s. This is the heart of why they avoid risk- they think that risk will lead to greater lose. They think this because they aren't bothering to "really" determine where people actually stand. They don't want to test where they actually stand because they think where they stand is still in 1985 with Reagan.
  •  Don't make the same mistake (none)
    I was pleased with the close margin in the OH-02 special election and joined those who said this was a good sign for Democrats in 2006.
    But then, as a Kentuckian, I remembered last year's special election in Kentucky's sixth CD to fill Ernie Fletcher's seat. While the district is certainly not as Republican as OH-02, Ben Chandler lost all but two of the counties in the district in the gubernatorial election. Three months later he ran for Fletcher's old seat and won all but two counties in the district in the special election. National Democrats saw that has a sign of discontent, and believed the result bode well for the Novemember election. You know what happened.
    What's the moral of the story? We simply can't make the same mistake again. We can't assume that just because Paul Hackett did so well we can sit back and expect the same thing across the nation. We need to see this as an oppurtunity to make inroads with those upset at the Bush policies. We can't let "victory" in 2006 stop with Paul Hackett - it should start with Paul Hackett.
    •  Changed circumstances (none)
      My problem with your analysis is that it's not about being adaptive to changed circumstances. Has anything changed since those special elections? This adaptivity to each district's circumstances and understanding that the general evironment has shifted from when the other elections occured is crucial to any assessment of risk. Things have changed even since Nov 2004. Go to the front page for the polls on Bush's numbers. So we need to adapt to these changes. That's what a party in opposition does. It is nimble and fast. Moreover, the danger of continually assessing risks rather than experimenting to test theories is that we will never learn new approaches.
  •  Look at Wisconsin (4.00)
    The 2004 election tallies in Wisconsin - the spread between Feingold & Kerry - Kerry barely clinging to the Senator's coattails!

    "Only poets know how many poems end up as pies."

    by DJ Rix on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:55:37 PM PDT

  •  Defining "1970s thinking" (4.00)
    Just so you are all aware.

    During the 1970s, the Democrats saw major losses in their voter base, and failed to unseat Nixon at the 1972 election. But they got lucky - Nixon self-destructed and the result was renewed Democratic majorities in the Congress - thanks to the "Watergate babies" of the class of 1974, and this held on long enough to give Carter a squeaker victory in 1976.

    But it was also not enough to rebuild the party or its majority. 1970s thinking, then, is the idea that all we have to do is cobble together a few victories here and there, score a victory in the presidential campaign, however narrow, and we will be back in business, the nation will come back to us, the Republicans will be sunk.

    Such thinking was catastrophically wrong in the 1970s. And it's even more asinine today. Thank you, Armando, and thank you even more, Kos, for making this absolutely crucial point, and making it crystal clear.

    I had much more to say on this matter in a front-page entry at My Left Wing earlier this week, in case you're all curious.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:56:01 PM PDT

    •  asdf (none)
      Such thinking was catastrophically wrong in the 1970s.

      You disparage the notion of "cobbling together" victories as an electoral strategy for the '70s. Please explain how you would have dealt with the aftermath of the fatal fracturing (nay, meltdowns) of the Party in both '68 and '72.

      It seems to me that Carter's "squeaker" victory in '76 was a triumph of the "cobbling" strategy.  

  •  for all the hoo ha over the culture war (4.00)
    it has been argued fairly convincingly that the election in 2004 came down to terrorism.  and "staying the course in a time of war."

    kilgore's metaphor isn't devoid of literalism.  terrorism held a gun to the head of america.

    and america chose.

    the democratic party IS a coalition party.  and it had always ocurred to me that this was both a strength and a weakness.  to wit:  that wonderful skit done by jon stewart during the election about the DNC convention.  it was a focus group of the usual suspects, jews, afl-cio, environmental activists, the out of work logger, a lesbian, a black person, etc. etc. etc...  and of course the joke goes on the environmentalist wants to save the trees and the afl-cio guy needs a job, and so on, all these people are for the same candidate, but their agendas are totally at odds with each other, and the joke goes on: how can this party every hope to pull it together??? and then,... i can't wait for the republican national conventional where none of these voices...[beat]... will ever be heard.

    so we are more of a coalition party than they are...   that's exactly what dean is saying when he calls the repug party a monolithic white christian party.

    the worst thing i can say about ed kilgore's statements is they re-inforce the repug frame,...  we are likely to lose as long as we continue to allow the middle to think voting dem means voting for abortions.  and we do that by responding to that frame.  we are likely to win the second the middle becomes convinced voting for repugs means giving up their right to privacy.  

    (OPTIMISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE! THE HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE STINKS! LONG LIVE TROTSKY!)

    by BiminiCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 12:57:45 PM PDT

    •  Since (none)
      that was the only thing I said, the last part of your comment, what is your beef?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:51:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  categorizing kilgore's statement (none)
        as wrong in some absolute sense.  we are a coalition party.  it think it's still important to understand how we're different from the repugs in this regard.  different.  better.  and more prone to infighting.

        but you're right, i'm not disagreeing with your main point.

        (OPTIMISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE! THE HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE STINKS! LONG LIVE TROTSKY!)

        by BiminiCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:27:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course (none)
          you know that what I said was wrong was the part about making folks choose means we lose.

          why do you choose to willfully misunderstand me?

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:42:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i don't actually know that (none)
            the statement says some stuff about us being a coalition party, and the statement says some stuff about forcing people to choose means we lose.  

            then you said he was wrong.  and the netroots was right.

            i'm not wilfully trying to misunderstand you, i'm trying to clarify the situation at hand.  while i agree with you that kilgore sets up a false dichotomy within a frame that empowers repugs, (and even then i'd have to say kilgore would deserve a chance to defend such a charge), he is right that we are a coalition party that has some work to do on that front as well.

            (OPTIMISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE! THE HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE STINKS! LONG LIVE TROTSKY!)

            by BiminiCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:54:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  So how has this changed from yesterday? (1.66)
    So this is a just longer version of the diary we saw yesterday, right about an article from July 1? All this self puffery is making me dizzy. We can't find anything else to talk about?
  •  The best explanation for the existence..... (4.00)
    of DailyKos I've seen...

    An explanation that doesn't make us look like toolish sellouts but totally aware of the best use of partisanship, which is going to often extend to securing very liberal views, as well as the pratical partisanship of adiding and abetting Democrats because they are Democrats.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine

    by Cathy on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:01:39 PM PDT

  •  Great read!!!! (none)
    Lots to think about in there.  Didn't realize MoveOn was quote that big.

    The ...Bushies... don't make policies to deal with problems. ...It's all about how can we spin what's happening out there to do what we want to do. Krugman

    by mikepridmore on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:02:57 PM PDT

  •  Noise Machine (3.66)
    "We are actually starting to build the kind of noise machine, to reward or beat up on people, that the Right has had for a long time," says Markos Moulitsas Zuniga

    Is that what we're doing here? Building a liberal version of the right-wing noise machine? I hope not. The purpose of the noise machine is to obfuscate, distract, confuse and generally misdirect the public from the truth, making it impossible for people to separate facts from fiction. I like to think that left-leaning blogs are the corollary to the right-wing noise machine. The antidote.

    Sorry to cherry pick. It's a long piece but that one jumped out at me.

    "I've already said too much."

    by Rp on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:03:50 PM PDT

  •  thank you... (none)
    Armando, well done... I don't agree with everything that is said over here but I what you just wrote was spectacular. The article itself is great but your comments summed up my feelings completely.

    Don't fear the fight.

    http://yellowdogdems.blogspot.com/2005/08/fighting-dems.html

  •  The D.C. dems act like (4.00)
    an abused spouse.  I have sat in many meetings with these women and they weep for the beatings they took, and for the damage done to their children.  But asked to confront the abused, they are afraid (and rightly so) and know they will probably have to give up their comfortable home, and the money they received as the "I am sorrys" come in.

    It is risky challenging power, and I believe that as we challenge power, that is when the going really gets tough.  They cannot stand challenge and WILL retaliate in a more and more aggressive fashion.  I also believe that by 2008 we will know one way or the other if this country is to be ruled by one party system, governed by corporate lobbyists through a fake head of state, or if power will return to the peoples' house, and voting will matter again.

    The question remains, as the struggle intensifies who will fight and who will be afraid of waking the abuser.

  •  $87 Billion (3.50)
    Conversely, many centrists believe that the demands of the Internet Left influenced John Kerry's decision in 2003 to vote against Bush's $87 billion request to fund the war in Iraq. That vote became an albatross for Kerry in the general election when Bush used it as his prime example to accuse the Democrat, who had voted to authorize the war, of flip-flopping on issues.

    Kerry could have either grown a spine and defended his vote in a coherent manner (ie, "I made a mistake, the war was wrong to begin with and is still wrong"), or he could have listened to the "demands of the Internet Left" when he voted for the IWR.  He did neither and ended up looking like a flip-flopper.  Surprise!

    •  Or (4.00)
      He could have said, "I approved it when the 87 billion was supposed to come out of the tax giveaways to the rich.  I changed my vote when it was supposed to come out of the pockets of most Americans."

      In any case, he lost because he did not lead.

      "Figs! In the name of The Prophet, figs!" E.A. Poe

      by moltar on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:21:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Albatross for Kerry" (none)

       It need not have been:

       All he had to do was say, "Hell no!  I wouldn't have voted for this damn war if I had known then what I knew now.  Good God, how could anybody?!  But now we're there, so we've got to (a), (b), (c). . . "

       But, nooooooo. . .  he had ta get all mealy-mouthed about it!  Dammit!

       BenGoshi
      __________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:38:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't it nice to come home? (none)
    Ahh... and this is why we all love dKos.  Thanks, everyone!

    Anyway, This article sums up the "feel-good" 2000 election where there were some of us (myself included) who were all about voting against the entire establishment.  The Ralph Nader "demopublicans / republocrats" meme really hit home for a lot of us.  Some say it cost Al Gore the election.

    Democracts have got to distinguish themselves from the Republicans.  No more "Republican-lite" from our leadership, it's got to be a clear-cut choice.

    Luckilly, this isn't hard to do, it just takes courage and leadership to do this.  Wow!  What a concept!  Leadership from our Leaders? Who woulda thunk it!?!

    This also would go a long way with bringing in a whole host of so-called "centrist" Republicans.  Stand up, be strong and differentiate yourself from the Republican machine.  You'll find that all these centrists may not agree with every one of your positions, but a free-thinking, couragous leader will win nearly every time.  It's OK to disagree!   I know plenty of Republican voters who are looking for a choice and without a choice they'll just vote like their parents.  Most Christian Republican Voters really don't care for Frist, Dobson, Bush and the gang.

    In addition to all that, I'd love to finally see an outspoken, unashamed Atheist run for office.  

    •  An atheist! What a relief! (none)
      I am so sick of religious whackos of all persuasions that I would give my vote to a good-hearted, intelligent and kind atheist any day of the week.

      The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. -Coco Chanel

      by Overseas on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 10:58:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Clinton Would Pass Kos Litmus Test... (none)
    if she fulfilled the family legacy of taking it the opposition, irrespective of the characteristically Clinton move to the center. Some of the most bitter losses we have suffered over the years is when her husband was not able to lend his strong voice to the debate. In 1994 many democrats didn't want a then unpopular Clinton to campaign with them. In 2000 Gore didn't want Clinton to play a strong role. I feel it remains to be seen whether she can be a strong partisan voice. If she is able to pull it off  she could move to the center all she wants, with the caveat that she strongly contrasts her position with the GOP rather than those to the left in her own party. Triangulation is a selfish move that is not in the party's interests.
  •  Hmm (none)
    The trap that I'm afraid this whole movement might fall into is depending too much on polling.  I don't see a huge difference, perhaps with the exception of the 'Bush honesty' polls, between poll numbers now, and poll numbers a year ago, yet Bush won and Repubs gained in both houses.  The key difference here is that Republicans are playing for the election, while Dems are still playing for the polls.  For instance, if you took a poll, 90% of Americans don't like going to a dentist.  You may take that as a cue to come out with a big anti-dentist strategy, or justification if you already have one.  But still, if someone has a toothache, 100% of them are still going to go to a dentist.

    I think the Kos strategy is going in the right direction, and I'm here so I think this is the best shot going. I'm just still not entirely convinced that we aren't interpreting the dentist poll as saying we can call for banning dentists and win elections instead of saying people may not like going to the dentist, but they know they have to, so we need to be better dentists.

  •  "If we offer America a choice... (4.00)
    ...they might not choose us"?  

    These people make me sick.
    .

    •  That was a paraphrase, not (none)
      a direct quote.  

      But I was talking about this:  

      "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

      •  There is something tragically messed up (4.00)
        with that view of life. Essentially, afterall, doesn't that statement becomes a self fullfilling prophesy?
      •  And isn't that the point? (none)
        To get people to make a choice? The quote implies Dems shouldn't want people to pick sides but still should vote Democratic? How can you possibly vote without picking a side?

        Furthermore, imagine: You're an average person who doesn't spend much time (or any) focused on politics but rather is trying to earn a living, raise a family and pursue happiness. There are two parties. An election arrives. One party refuses to make people choose and the other--who have the media eating out of the palm of their hands--paints the non-confrontational party as lacking principles and corrupt, and provides "evidence." Who are you likely to vote for? Amazing that some people just can't see that.

        It is as useless to argue with those who have renounced the use of reason as to administer medication to the dead. - Thomas Jefferson

        by hyperstation on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:40:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's just like Iraq (none)
    Notice how a very small force can tie down a much better equipped and better financed force in Iraq?

    We can do the same thing with the Federal Government -- if only we would.

  •  Don't hurt your elbow (none)
    Kos, As my late father used to say "don't hurt your elbow patting yourself on the back."

    Good recognition, but Democrats are still in the distinct minority. No time to feel all that good about things.

    •  Jerk (4.00)
      Markos is too modest to write this or even point it out himself.

      I wrote this.

      So start slapping your face for the gratuitous shot.

      I'm sure your father has a saying for that too.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:46:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't understand a gentle ribbing (none)
        Armando,

        My comment was intended to be a gentle ribbing. His recognition is well deserved. I am very happy for Kos. He deserves recognition for his achievements.

        You on the other hand, well lets just say you are a lawyer. :)

    •  I can see why your father (none)
      said that to "you." if your attitude here is any indication- I would disparage you too.
    •  Gotta feel good about something sometime! (none)
      Is your real name Debby Downer? (from SNL skit)

      wah, wah, wah.

      Armando posted this, not Kos.  And heck, even if Kos himself had posted it - so what?  He hardly would be hurting his elbow since I've hardly ever seen him brag about anything before.

      Markos' front page offerings are almost exclusively focused on issues and not on himself.

      It was good to hear him get some recognition and the article reflects the growing influence of this blog.

      I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

      by diplomatic on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 06:29:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Read my response to Armando. (none)
        I guess you guys are a bunch of college kids who need constant reaffirmation. Armando posted this story, but Markos' permitted it. That being the case, despite Armando's claim of responsiblity, it is still Markos baby. In any event I was kidding. I really like this site. It is just about the best in the blogsphere. But Democrats are still losing, and have been for a long time. They won't start winning until they start working. You working for change?
        •  Armando a college kid who needs reaffirmation? (none)
          Could you be more off the mark?

          Wah, wah, wah.

          By the way did you know that feline AIDS is devastating and there's not much that can be done about it?  And even if we did find a cure, the rest of us humans are still left with the fact that we're all going to die someday anyway.

          Wah, wah, wah.

          I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

          by diplomatic on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 07:41:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulate yourself.... (none)
    Bill Schneider just awarded "netroots" the Political Play of the Week.
  •  There's an adage in sports (4.00)
    If you play not to lose, you probably will.

    And that had been a common theme among Dems in natioanl elections.  they have been so afraid to alienate voters, that they come across as wishy-washy.

    Being more moderate than liberal, I still vote Democratic for basic principles.  But many moderates, who share my views in many areas vote Republican, because they see the republcians as stronger, more principles than Dems.

    I used to believe in being more centrist, but that is a bunch of hooey.  Not that we go radical left, but we must point out the differences, which is very easy given the current state of republican leadership.

    Be loud and be proud.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:32:25 PM PDT

    •  You wrote what I've been thinking (none)

       Well put.  I couldn't agree more.  "Run left" or try and suck up to the DLC?  I mean, sheesh!  Are those the only two choices???  Of course not!  You articulated it well, so I won't re-hash.

       BenGoshi
      __________________

      . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

      by BenGoshi on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:07:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gee . . . ya think??? (4.00)
     

    ". . . Democrats in Washington were not fighting back hard enough against Bush."

     Golly.  The revelations just keep pourin' in!

    BenGoshi
    __________________

    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:33:41 PM PDT

  •  Armando, you've said a mouthful (4.00)
    "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

    Ed, this is simply not true. And once you realize that, you will see why we are right and you are wrong.

    This isn't about confrontation. It isn't about partisanship, either. It's about CHOICE. What Ed Kilgore and the others conveniently neglect to mention is that the DLC has been putting a gun to voters' heads and making them choose the GOP--straight up or on the rocks.

    Those who want the Democratic Party to stand for something are quite happy to have a choice, especially since none existed beforehand.

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:35:43 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for setting them straight, Kos (none)
    I especially resent the DLC attitude that all we are doing is drumming up the base and will alienate the middle.  Independents want candidates who stand for something and aren't afraid to express their ideas.  The DLC is so thick-headed.
    •  you don't think it alienates the middle (none)
      when bloggers talk about how everyone in the middle is spineless??

      (OPTIMISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE! THE HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE STINKS! LONG LIVE TROTSKY!)

      by BiminiCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:40:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  no one is saying not to be moderate (4.00)
        Being partisan and being liberal are two very different things.  Ben Nelson doesn't get beaten up around these parts, even though he's quite conservative.  The reason for that is, unlike Joe Lieberman, he doesn't speak ill of other Democrats publically.  People realize that when you're representing Nebraska, you can't get away with being a liberal like Barbara Boxer, and that's fine!  But be a Democrat and be proud of being a Democrat, don't beat up on your own team.
  •  Progressive Democrats have the issues, too (4.00)
    Absent from Brownstein's analysis and the conventional wisdom of DLC triangulators is the plain fact that the majority of Americans support progessive, Democratic positions on the major issues.

    The majority of Americans oppose criminalizing abortion;

    The majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage;

    The majority of Americans oppose mandatory prayer in public schools;

    The majority of Americans support funding for embryonic stem cell research;

    The majority of Americans oppose privitizing social security and prohibiting the importation of cheaper prescription drugs.

    Most Americans --and most of the world-- supported continuing inspections in Iraq when Bush decided to invade; most Americans were appalled by the Republican Right's exploitation of Terri Schiavo.

    Yet even on these issues --where Democrats enjoy strong majority support-- the DLC Triangulators quietly tremble in fear, seeking any excuse to comprimise with Republicans and then blaming a boogeyman "Left" because voters don't believe they will fight for anything.

    Progressives' call for sharper distinctions a return to core values and aggressive advocacy in the face of Republicans will work because the majority of Americans are already with us on the issues.

    •  the DLC triangulators (none)
      agree with the majority of americans on all these things:

      The majority of Americans oppose criminalizing abortion;

      The majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage;

      The majority of Americans oppose mandatory prayer in public schools;

      The majority of Americans support funding for embryonic stem cell research;

      The majority of Americans oppose privitizing social security and prohibiting the importation of cheaper prescription drugs.

      Most Americans --and most of the world-- supported continuing inspections in Iraq when Bush decided to invade; most Americans were appalled by the Republican Right's exploitation of Terri Schiavo.

      (OPTIMISM IS THE OPIUM OF THE PEOPLE! THE HEALTHY ATMOSPHERE STINKS! LONG LIVE TROTSKY!)

      by BiminiCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:52:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The issues Americans support (none)
      In the issues that you raise, I think several of them depend on how you ask the question or phrase your argument.  And the Republicans have been masters at manipulating language to win votes and build popular support.

      Until Democrats can frame the debates in language that favors our positions, then we will lose.  Just as we lost on the Estate Tax aka "The Death Tax" debate.

      I think the key win we have recently has been framing the Social Security debate.  The Republican mantra has been "personalization", "personal accounts", and "Saving Social Security."  Their standard language manipulation/mischaracterization malarchy.  But we managed to remind people that their plan was to privatize Social Security and deprive people of Social Security's promise. That's success!

  •  The entire framewrk has shifted... (4.00)
    ...so that even the debate about left vs. right is wrong.

    For evidence see kos' litmus test from a few days ago. Ideology and even policy do not make up the line in the sand that we're drawing here. What we are fighting for, in a very Braveheart kind of way, is freedom itself. The core American ideal of liberty is what is at stake; that the Republican Party is willing to give it up for power is an alarming process to watch unfold before us, but that is indeed what is happening.

    As I've said a few times before, the right has made a faustian bargain with religious fundamentalism.  The Christian fundamentalists of the Republican Party want the same thing that Islamic fundamentalists want-- for everyone else to abide by thier belief system, whether everyone else wants to or not. In effect this is the attempted overthrow of the Enlightenment, the dismantling of modernity, and with it the eradication of individual freedom that is the foundation of liberalism.

    All of the other things that flow from individual liberty--equality, rights, fairness, the free association of communities, control of your own body and property--are under threat as well. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but with the fundamental principles of our democracy under attack by religious fundamentalists, I think this is a very dangerous time.

    For too long we have sat back and watched the right be taken over by fundamentalists who see liberty as a vice, not a virtue, since it means we can choose not to live according to their beliefs. Many assumed that they couldn't possibly go any further or become more extreme, and they have consistently done so. That Kevin Drum is lamenting that Gingrich now looks like a moderate is as clear a sign as you'll ever see. So over the years we watched as they fueled the effort to get Clinton out of office  by any means necessary, to get Bush into office by any means necessary, and going forward to change the Constitution of the United States to restrict rights rather than expand them.

    Having thought of myself as a moderate for a long time, I now look at DLC centrist types and wonder when they're going to realize that they are fellow travelers with those who hold a fascist world view that will eventually turn on them? When will they understand that they are enabling American's own fundamentalists? When will they see that, indeed, more than anyone else it is the fundamentalists among us who hate us for our freedoms?

    Instead the centrists think we're still quibbling over whether or not the FBI needs a court order to search our library records, or whether or not we should or shouldn't tinker with marginal tax rates to come up with a private account sop for the right. Those are political issues worthy of debate or course, but if that is all we were worried about, then dkos would probably not exist.

    More than anything, the DLC and Dem centrists do not seem to understand the stakes of the moment in history that they are in place to change. And that is abso-fucking-lutely infuriating. If they did understand it, then again dkos might not exist. But no, they are the proverbial frog in the proverbial pot. Unfortunately, we'll all get boiled alive with them as they sit on their fucking asses wiping their brows and bitching about the heat. Well, some of us are unwilling to sit by any longer waiting for them to do something. Some like kos want to kick the fucking pot over and use it to beat the shit out of the cook.

  •  Great Article (4.00)
    Interesting insight on how politics and the internet are struggling to work together.  I thank the internet gods everyday that they've led me to this wonderful site - I'm more active now then I was even in college.  I'm going to my first protest this weekend in Crawford, I've signed up to work on Chris Bell's campaign and I talk to practically everyone I meet about politics.  I think you guys energize the base and win centrists when you stick to your guns and don't back down.

    Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore; They're already overcrowded from Your dirty little war. - John Prine

    by Laura D on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:42:09 PM PDT

    •  Not gonna take it anymore (4.00)
      I'm with you, Laura.  I'm tired of sitting on my ass watching our great state of Texas go to hell, and all I can do is send money to some district in Ohio?

      I'm getting out there too for the '06 elections and this site has been key for getting me up off my butt.

    •  Same here (none)
      Google led me to this site and I'm very grateful. I've always been active in politics, but lately it's been discouraging as hell. I'm totally bored with the following term, but "empowering", I believe, is the effect DKos has.

      I was also very interested to learn of Kos' background and more about his goals.

  •  Here's the problem with the strategies of (none)
    "centrist party strategists", they target a phantom created by a linear (left-center-right) view of a 2 dimensional reality (left-right-up-down).

    Prof. Paul Ray did some great research and came up with a much more accurate model of the electorate a few years ago. IMO, the model clearly demonstrates why DLC thinking is totally flawed as well as why/how the GOP's wedge strategies have worked so well. It - the New Political Compass - also provides important insights into how we can employ similar strategies, with far different content of course, to regain political advantage.

    npc-image.jpg - 11362 Bytes

    I put together a slightly slimmed down version of Prof. Ray's article describing the model and the - now somewhat dated - research behind it. The edited article is located here.

    Read it - the executive summary at least - and spin your thoughts on the implications and how we can use it to our advantage.

    Democracy is a contact sport...

    by jsmagid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 01:55:57 PM PDT

  •  damn it, Armando (none)
    This is f*cking brilliantly said:

    When we make folks pick sides agains the GOP Extremism of Dobson and the committed support to a policy of making sure the government leaves you alone in your private decisions advocated by Liberals, thet will pick our side, in droves. Don't fear that fight.

    As a minor, late-to-the-dKos party (44K +) poster who has given you shit for acting up at times (not saying you noticed, nor should you have), let me extend a hearty thanks for the clarity, intelligence, and passion of this post.  

    I could not agree more.  Your way of articulating it cuts through all the "conventional wisdom" bullshit, without going into the apologetic gyrations that are all too common when talking back to Beltway nonsense.   Bravo.  

    Lincoln 1860, indeed.  Many thanks.

  •  Dem dinossaurs must get real: We lost (none)
    Daily Kos: Stephen Pizzo: It's Over. We Lost.

    What is over ?
    Something huge has unfolded right under our noses. Something that will change America for decades to come: The New Deal is over. The cultural revolution we won on the 1970's is no longer dominant. The Democrats are not opinion leaders anymore. There was class warfare being waged, not by liberals, but by conservatives. And, they won that war.

    Becoming a real opposition party, in the minority
    Instead of moping around thinking we are doomed or of daydreaming that the Democrats will return to their 70's power with "the next election" we need to get real: We lost, they won. The deck is stacked against us and it will be for a long time, thanks to the Supreme court and all federal government being on their hands and the press licking their boots. We have to fight now as the GOP fought on the 1970's as Markos says: From the opposition point!

  •  I have been thinking about this... (none)
    for quite a while now.
    I grew upin a lower middle class blue collar household during the sixties. My family (and most of the people we knew) had what I called the "blue collar chip" on our shoulders. We were a liberal democratic household and saw those that we assumed were republicans eating steak and "thinking they were better than us". Country music and stock car racing were for "common folk" The Viet Nam war was being foisted upon us by big business and "country club" hawks.
    Somewhere in the eighties the world turned upside down.I have credited this change to Reagan's "aw shucks" manner, perhaps it was the rise of post war intellectualism...I'm not really sure. But The republicans managed to create a world where the "blus collar chip" is now focused towards the left. It is now the liberal left that is portrayed as "thinking they are better than us". Country music and stock car racing are still for the "common folk" but the "common folk are republicans. The republican right has managed to cause an entire social class to think, act and vote against their economic self interest. Proving I guess that identification is stronger that self interest. Sociology 101 I guess. Anyways, I think that political strategy is nice and all, but what we really need to do is figure out how society flipped, and flip it back...politics should follow. Just my 2 cents.
  •  a thesis (none)
    this piece really is a thesis on the risng liberal blogosphere.

    well done

    http://yellowdogdems.blogspot.com/2005/08/thesis-on-liberal-democratic.html

  •  elite media rewards NON-IDEOLOGICAL bloggers (none)
    So, kos got a mention in the elite media. And what message is there for bloggers who also want to be mentioned in the elite media?

    Let's see what the elite have to say. From the National Journal article:
    "The rapidly growing Democratic Internet activist base "is more partisan than ideological"

    They LIKE non-ideological bloggers. And they reward that with media mentions. Partisanry is OK by them. Fight fight fight. But keep ideology out of it. Ideology might mean nasty stuff like high taxes on the rich, tariffs on goods from low wage countries, stopping labor arbitration via mass immigration and outsourcing. Nasty leftwing stuff like that, huh?

    They like ideologically empty, heavily partisan stuff---JUST LIKE THE MASS MEDIA does. All light and heat, and no ideology. Look around here. See all the cute little names for the opposition: bushitler, bushit, rumsfailed, etc? All partisan fury and no ideology. Good little meat puppets. Focus on political trivia, on the political horserace aspects of it all. Keep your eyes on the trees, not the forest!

  •  Confronting History (4.00)
    Part of what we are confronting -- and this is what most Democrats in Washington do not yet realize -- is a view of history that has moved from the fringes of American thought into the Whitehouse.

    While I am going to caricature this view of history in the interests of brevity, I think you will recognize the face my caricature portrays.

    Let's start with Hitler and WWII. The neocons believe that both the holocaust and the devastating destruction of WWII would have been avoided if the allies had acted sooner and with greater force. They see the sluggish nature of popular democracy as a flaw that must be overcome by the leadership of a noble elite. As part of this leadership, the noble elite must be willing to use military action for goals and strategies that are beyond the comprehension of the common man. In order to so this, the noble elite must both create popular support and also reduce the need for popular support for military action. This type of elite leadership did finally emerge in the UK and the US during WWII, and only then was victory possible. The Vietnam war, on the other hand, turned out badly because the noble elite was undermined by enemies within: the liberal press, the academic quislings, the red diaper babies, and the boomers who were corrupted by sex and drugs.

    Added to this, you have the older conservative meme that FDR used his popularity as a war time president to push through a stealth program that was designed by fellow-travelling socialists to undermine the work ethic and the moral fiber of the nation. In other words, rather than seeing Roosevelt as a leader who gained political capital from his economic successes and used it to help insure victory in war, these folks see Roosevelt as a leader who gained political capital from being commander-in-chief and used it to push through an economic program that would otherwise have been a non-starter.

    Those who are stuck in the 1970's cannot confront this view of history. To confront this view of history, we need to make Americans understand that we are living in the 21st century, and we will either deal with that reality or that reality will deal with us.

    I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

    by homeland observer on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 02:29:12 PM PDT

    •  interesting.. (none)
      and of course, the "noble elite" are now viewed as "one of us" by the common man. Not because we have aspirations to become one of them, but because we believe they are one of us. Whats the secret ingredient? Flag waving? God? the fuck-you attitude towards criticism? I wish I knew.
  •  Is the Democratic Party a Liberals only Party? (none)
    What if you are moderate, where do you fit in and for whom should you vote?

    What if you are socially progressive, but economically free-market oriented?  What if you are socially conservative, but economically Socialist oriented?  Must the party choices be Extreme Capitalism & Theocracy and Extreme Socialism & Secularism?

    I think that would be extremely unfortunate if the parties were aligned like that and allowed only the "true-believers" any authority.  The result would either be viable third parties or much lower voter turn out.

  •  DKos and MoveOn are both (none)
    a breath of fresh air. I grew apolitical after the "pet" activism of my college days in the early 80's. I voted, but nothing inspired me to go a little further. Looking back, I see great causes on the Left all splintered into little tables on my colleges quad. Contrast that to the Right in the 80's and you saw one table with every thing the Right stands for at one big table.

    Fast forward to today and I see a growing family that can still have root causes to work on, but one that finally recognizes that getting people into office is what really matters.

    I'd also like to say that it's nice to see the flirtation with 3rd parties on Left finally dying down.

    I'm not sure I agree with Markos in targetting DINO's just yet. I don't like Lieberman either, but I think it's premature at this point to risk a senate seat without the majority. What if you lose the seat? I'd rather have Harry Reid leading the senate in '06 with Lieberman than Mitch McConnell running the show with some freshman Republican senator from CT in Lieberman's seat. I know that's kind of defeatist, but I don't see any republican beating Lieberman.

  •  The Democrats are the Minority Party IF (none)
    and only IF the tabulations of the votes of the last three national elections were correct.

    The reality based community here fails to face the reality that there is no way to know whether the tabulations of the last three elections were correct.

    Can anyone prove the Republicans won these elections?  Certainly not.  Not in any auditable fashion.

    Talk about faith based....

    So who with credibiity can say we are the minority party?

    I say we are not.  Somebody prove otherwise if you can.

  •  Nice article... (none)
    ditto on the comments that there are two axes of alignment: economic and social.  "Conservative" and "liberal" alone don't cut it.

    Hey hey, ho ho, irresponsible corporatism and social intolerance have got to go! Hey hey, ho ho!

    by kfractal on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 03:46:07 PM PDT

  •  Strong in politics = strong in fighting terrorism (2.50)
    If anything, the alignment that Indys are having with Dems in most polling shows that it is exactly the opposite. That this approach is ATTRACTING swing voters.

    So true.

    People want strong and confident leadership because:

    1. people elect LEADERS
    2. those who are apathetic about politics, want to know they are electing someone who is confident in their decisions
    3. in a time of defense, people want someone "strong" protecting them.
    If we can't even seem to be united in our fight against our bitter political enemies, how do we expect the American people to believe that we will be any more united in fighting terrorism?  That's something that many in the party have completely loss sight of, especially the DLC.
  •  We can do both: (none)
    "We are more of a coalition party than they are," says Ed Kilgore, the policy director for the DLC. "If we put a gun to everybody's head in the country and make them pick sides, we're not likely to win."

    The thing is, we need to define where we stand as a party. Then, we need to explain why we are not Republicans. Then, we need to show why, say, a Libertarian should vote Democratic instead of Republican.

    People want a candidate who tells you exactly where they stand on the issues. If a candidate is a straight shooter, people will give them the benefit of the doubt on the issues even if they don't agree with them. In addition, they want a candidate who can work across the aisle with the Republicans on common concerns, like campaign finance reform or body armor, for instance. Russ Feingold is one of the rare breed of politicians who can do both. That's why I consider him the most electable candidate.

  •  There are conservatives in the social democracies. (none)
    Why are the conservatives in the social democracies so weak that pretty much, the liberal socialists maintain control even when they lose the reins on occasion? Isn't it because Scandinavian and European conservatives are primarily economic conservatives, a minority faction of the wealthy and corporate elites. Social conservativism does not seem to be a factor and pretty much people vote for what is best economically for the majority. In the USA, this is not the case. Yes, we have a minority of wealthy artistocrats, but alone, they couldn't win an election to anything. What we have is social conservatism and it is the social conservatives that have led Republicans to election victories. By social conservatives, I mean the Jim Crow Republicans now respectably touting their cause under the flag of white nationalism, Reagan's contribution to the party, if you recall, and the Evangelicals courted by Rove-Bush. I do not favor notions such as Dean's that we should court red-necks, or that an anti-abortion stance should be espoused, but without consideration of the role of these two important Republican party factions, it is hard to see how a Democrat can win a national election. Well, Kerry almost did, even though he failed to capitalize on the most ostentatious proWealth agenda ever put forward by a president. Wealth and income inequality has not been this vast since the 1920s. Clinton I think saw the light regarding the Jim Crows and gave them a pretzel, a promise to change welfare as we know it. You know, get all those lazy, freeloading Blacks off the dole. Smart move because many states were moving in that direction anyway, on their own. Still, it moved Clinton toward the middle and he won. Then, he acted like a socialist: raised taxes on the wealthy and Hillary got busy on a nationalized health care program.

    My point is: you can't disregard reality, a Democrat especially, if you want to take the presidency or create a senate or house majority. The Republican's weakness is their economic conservatism, or whatever you want to call the spend and borrow economics of the past twenty five years, which seems to have rewarded the wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. The poor have remained poor, mobility is a proven myth, and the middle class is sliding to where it is the smallest among the western industrialized countries. What more of a message do you need?

  •  DLC & kos/Pariser. (none)
    It seems so blatantly, overwhelmingly obvious that Kos and Pariser are on the right track and the only track. Conversely, I am simply amazed at the wrong-headedness of the DLC. 2 brief observations:  1) a lot of this is about tone rather than policy. Moreover, I think the coming elections will be more about what they did wrong than what we might want to do right. There is a lot of moral outrage in the country now - hardly confined to the left.  This needs to be tapped; and by a really strong voice. Why does the DLC persist in speaking in the voice of sweet reason? 2) the war is going to be THE issue, unless Bush pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  All it takes is developing a firm, powerful anti-terrorist stance while insisting that we get out of Iraq, because we need the money and manpower to fight terrorism.
    Lastly, what we need is authentic belief, as opposed to focus group and poll generated stuff invented by 'pro' politicians. I'm 70, so this isn't the effusion of just another kid.
  •  DLC & kos/Pariser. (none)
    It seems so blatantly, overwhelmingly obvious that Kos and Pariser are on the right track and the only track. Conversely, I am simply amazed at the wrong-headedness of the DLC. 2 brief observations:  1) a lot of this is about tone rather than policy. Moreover, I think the coming elections will be more about what they did wrong than what we might want to do right. There is a lot of moral outrage in the country now - hardly confined to the left.  This needs to be tapped; and by a really strong voice. Why does the DLC persist in speaking in the voice of sweet reason? 2) the war is going to be THE issue, unless Bush pulls a rabbit out of the hat.  All it takes is developing a firm, powerful anti-terrorist stance while insisting that we get out of Iraq, because we need the money and manpower to fight terrorism.
    Lastly, what we need is authentic belief, as opposed to focus group and poll generated stuff invented by 'pro' politicians. I'm 70, so this isn't the effusion of just another kid.
  •  We are changing politics (none)
    Conservatives hate liberals because in the long run we always win.  You can't kill ideas, and most educated people are open-minded.  The Kossacks are making a difference already and we haved only been around for a couple of years.  This is a bandwagon and Americans love to jump on a bandwagon when they think they can be a part of something big.  We are going to keep growing and getting stronger, you can bet on it.  We WILL make a difference in the next few elections and will change politics for the better.
  •  No Wonder the DCCC Struggles (none)
    From above:

    The rapidly growing Democratic Internet activist base "is more partisan than ideological," says Howard Wolfson, the former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    This is telling. The discussion I've seen here is partisan only in that the minimum price of admittance is, arguably, furthering the Democratic cause. But, the discussion is primarily ideological. And it is ideology precisely that the DCCC (as well as struggling Democratic candidates) is short on.

    I love that Markos is willing to make Lieberman pay for the damage he's done to the liberal/progressive cause. This is the only way that the Democratic Party can restore itself to power.

    And it's why we need to fight back when people like Hanson try to frame us and why we need to terminate Hillary's presidential candidacy early. (See http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/8/5/94153/21350/48#48.)

    Thank you, Markos, for providing the forum!

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:23:22 PM PDT

  •  Kerry? (none)
    A second thought on Kerry: how does a very wealthy Democrat married to a very wealthy woman, however poor her roots, run for president against Bush's proWealth agenda? Word to the wise on picking Democratic presidential candidates for 2008: he/she has to be able to attack to Bush/Republican proWealth agenda.

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