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I wrote a response to this front page post by kos as a comment in the thread...of course, it took me so long to write it, and it got so long, that I think I'll make it a diary as well.

If you're interested in the crux of my beef with kos on "the issues"...this is it.  I suspect you will find it anti-climactic...but, I hope, worthwhile....

The first words in this post that are your own, Markos, are this straw man argument:

Defenders of certains groups will be quick to charge, "Kos attacks NARAL, so he's 'anti-woman'", or Kos attacks HRC, so he hates gays."

Which is not only not true, but a not-so-clever rhetorical swipe intended to slime in advance people who've made a much different critique of your positions and writings.

Kos, you've confused two things for some time, and you do it again here, and it's quite troubling in someone who is writing a book on the matter.  "Progressive constituency groups" does not equal the people who those groups were designed to defend...everyday citizens who happen to be black or gay or women, and who are core members of our Democratic coalition.

Women are not a special interest. African-American concerns with civil rights and unequal access to education are not a "pet interest."  Gay issues are not a "narrow interest."  These are, indeed, like environmentalism or war, all of our "concerns" by virtue of our being Democrats, and I would argue, citizens with a conscience.

The point that I've been trying to make, and I'm sure it is one most here agree with, is that the concerns of women, blacks and gays...which are of direct import to these citizens directly because how laws are written affect them directly...and the concerns of peace activists and environmentalists which are necessarily broader, must be concerns we all share by virtue of being Democrats.  These concerns deserve respect just as the citizens who are directly affected by them do.  We all agree on this, I think, and it underlies the cogency of Markos' whole point above.

However, counter to how the "progressive" position is being spun; and kos is spinning here.  The position of most "pre-Markos" activists has always been focused on coalition-building.  We have been for sitting in the same room and working together all along. (Veteran of Jackson '88 and Wellstone '96, and Gore '00 pre-netroots efforts here.)  In my opinion, that is harder to do when kos and many posters on this blog confuse people with groups, and dish on members of our coalition in ways that are unproductive and ignorant of our history.

There is zero incompatability of the progresssive, coalition-oriented position with blogging here on dKos, or in making the point, as Mark Schmitt's essay does, of the ineffectiveness of  "single issue groups" in creating fundamental change in DC in the current political climate.  In effect, the only folks advocating that point of view are some segments in single-issue organizations who refuse to make coalition.

Kos, you need to show us those segments. They are the specific target of your ire.  We need to see that spelled out, and it your right to do so as an essayist and author.  But, I would suggest, the proper response to these groups is not to lambaste them, but, quite simply do what progressives have always done: invite them into the room and work together. After all, if the core of your position is that we are all going to have to give a little,  wouldn't it be better to decide to do that together, as a collective strategy, rather than by cutting people off?

Unfortunately for all of us, kos, you've spent large amounts of your political capital confusing the issue, and unfortunately indulging in outdated and stereotypical attacks to boot.  

For my part, I am confounded by the fact that the answer always seems to be and the "liberal blogosphere."  While I have great hope in the netroots, politics is so much more than simply blogging.  Further, for kos, it seems the answer always ends up being a point of view that pushes some away and, at times, draws a distinction that denigrates some other "outside" group. That mode of operating contradicts the very argument for coming together that lies at the heart of the rhetoric of coalition and party.

Kossacks understand, deeply, that coalition and community are the core of what we've been doing here now for years.  We all know that the point of dKos and our efforts here has been to build coalition in a way that empowers and pulls people together with optimism and hope, and, yes, that wins elections and legislative majorities.

That was Booman's point yesterday, and it is, fundamentally, what my writing here has been about all along.  We are all saying that we need to come together.   I would argue, simply, that kos needs to stop confusing people with groups he disagrees with, and learn how to build coalition in this new medium in a more positive way...and to understand that the history of this struggle stretches back to a time before the internet, even if the internet is a tool we will use to change that history now, and in 2006.

Originally posted to kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 09:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our diversity makes us stronger (4.00)
    Each of us can have a separate cause they we vehemently support. AND each of us brings that passion to the big tent that is the democratic party.

    Dismissal = Disenfranchisement

    I read the first paragraph of that story - and walked away. Once again my experience, my skills, my knowledge were dismissed out of hand - because I fight passionately to retain my rights as woman - including reproductive rights. Reproductive rights that did not exist when I was a young woman.

    Can DailyKos really survive with this attitude?

    I'll wait and see...but participate even less than I have since the pie wars.

    Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you..... Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by SallyCat on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:03:45 PM PDT

    •  Pie Wars (4.00)
      I haven't gotten over the pie wars either.  It left a dull ache in my heart.
    •  This is part of our problem though... (4.00)
      people get upset and then walk away from the conversation...when what we really should be doing is the basics: discuss, debate, forgive and forget.
      •  yes, (none)
        the party of tolerance. in the end ,thats who we need to be , who we must be.
      •  Discuss and debate - yes (4.00)
        Forgive and forget....not ever

        Compromise on methods of getting the job done...Yes

        I am every marketing person's favorite person...very upper middle class, middle-aged, white woman. I write checks like no tomorrow when it comes to political causes. I work campaigns and make cold calls and walk precincts and stuff envelopes.

        What I've seen in the last 25 years is not that the issues are dividing the party. Weak, power hungry wimpy candidates running for political office as democrats are what has destroyed this party.

        I met Barbara Boxer when she was an abrasive and clueless woman running for County Supervisor. She had the guts to say what she thought and was respected for it. She made enemies and powerful friends. She has won the hearts of the democratic party. AND she doesn't back down from standing up for the 'special interests' of women's issues, gay issues, and dozens of others.

        We can be strong and inclusive...look to Senator Boxer.

        Give us candidates to support instead of wimps. Let's stop blaming those of us that actively march and support our issues and causes.

        Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you..... Ralph Waldo Emerson

        by SallyCat on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:37:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I didn't mean we couldn't be tough (none)
          about it...the forgive and forget was meant for our in-fighting here. We can compromise here as to how we will go about winning, but if we don't forgive those we argue with here, we just create more enemies for ourselves that we don't need. That's all I meant...
        •  If (none)
          the US was just a larger version of California, this theory might hold.

          Unfortunately it's not.

          (Cross-posted in my pants)

          by Calishfornia on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:46:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Senator Reid compromises (4.00)
            and still stands strong for Democrats.

            He is not pro-choice by my definition but provides options. He stands strong for equal rights without compromising or lambasting any group. Does he support gay marriage? Based on his Mormon background probably not. Does he support domestic partner health benefits and other protections against hate crimes against gays? Yes if I recall correctly.

            Senator Reid - conservative by my standards. He does not openly endorse the furthest ends of the liberal causes.

            BUT - and this is big - he doesn't use the divisive tone and attitude that is pervasive on this blog. The tone and attitude of inclusiveness can be found in conservative democrats. Just not in Kos' writing.

            Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you..... Ralph Waldo Emerson

            by SallyCat on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:05:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well I can say (none)
          ..AMEN to that Sallycat
  •  you said it better than i did, kid. (none)
    this is a conversation that we need to have.

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:07:11 PM PDT

    •  Amen!! (none)
      That really is all there is to say.  I think we are all after the same result and each of us brings different experiences and different skills to the table.  Why can't we take advantage of the strength that that diversity brings with it.


      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:18:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah we do (none)
      But I think people are going to have to have thicker skin in the future.  If we are the party of tolerance than we should tolerate dissent of any kind including frustration with other members of the coalition.  If we don't talk about it what is getting solved.  I think Kos should be free to state his opinions if that's how he feels.  In the end, its good for the party and the coalition.  They need to know we are watching.  
      •  Who is "they"? (4.00)
        The post above says expressly that kos has the right to make his points....but he should make those points in a way that works on building coalition, not tearing it apart.

        And none of us should confuse 'groups' with brothers and sisters in our coaltion.

        They?  What does that mean in this context?

        Forgive me if I felt that the bigger threat to our party was corporate sell out dems and corrupt back scratchers...that's a "they" worth paying attention to.

        ...k/o...flip the rock...

        by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:50:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here here (none)
          But I have to say, it is somewhat ironic given your focus on coalition building that Kos's angle here is really about building a stronger coalition.

          I don't mean in the "why can't we all get along" sense, for which Kos could use some obvious improvement. I mean in a strategic sense.

          I agree with pretty much everything you say in your diary, but I also agree with the basic thesis of Kos post.

          I can't believe I get to bring up John Nash twice in a single day, but it is clear to me that some of these groups need a crash course in Game Theory. What they need to do, and I believe that this was Kos point, is to start playing for the bigger team.

          I, for example, am a single issue dude. On a relative scale of 1-100, if the environment is 100, then any other progressive issue barely breaks 10. This is because I believe that if we don't learn to get along with nature real soon, none of these other issues, which I do care about immensely, will matter anyway. Ask someone who was just rescued from their rooftop in NO how much they were worried about gay marriage or schools teaching creationism while they were waiting to be discovered.  I would guarantee not very much.

          So the environment is it for me. Has been for decades. But I quit working in the environmental movement. I now work to return progressives to power. This is because I believe that a prosperous, thriving working and middle class as a result of populists, progressive policies will create the political climate to really address environmental issues.

          In fact, until that prosperity occurs, the environment is toast. Of course it is probably pretty much toast anyway, which led me to drink excessively. But I refuse to give up.

          All this is my own little Nash Equilibrium. I know that my issue won't succeed unless the larger progressive movement succeeds. And this has even compelled me to make sacrifices on the environment.

          So I, for one, am glad to see Kos and others embrace the concept. And I wish he would address it more tactfully and stop making enemies. What we need to do is convince these groups that this is a bigger game with broader strategies. They need to think longer term. Not always. But generally.

          So I support your appeal for coalition building. But that needs to include some team play by these issue groups. And the people they represent. People like me, the treehugger.

  •  Kid, (4.00)
    you must know at this point that there are a large number of people on various blogs saying that Kos is actively trying to hurt constituencies when he attacks a particular interest or issue advocacy group.

    I would turn your argument on its head, and ask you this simple question:

    Where is the evidence that these issue advocacy groups, using the tactics that they have articulated very clearly (bipartisan, non-partisan, endorsement of any individual regardless of party as long as that individual has a voting record that meets particular critera as defined by the board of directors of that particular advocacy group) - where is the evidence that their tactics and strategy have actually, materially, concretely benefitted the constituency that these groups purport to represent and advocate for?

    In short, I contend that the dismal political landscape of today, and the miserable record of defeats that progressive causes have suffered over the last quarter century - rollbacks of nearly every single victory gained in the first three quarters of the 20th century - are indicative of the failure of issue advocacy as a political strategy.

    As I said in comments on the thread attached to Kos' front page post:

    Let me ask you this since the breakdown of the grand coalition of labor, civil rights, womens rights, and gay rights organizations - a breakdown that took place in the early to mid 1970's, has the democratic party moved left, or right?

    Has the progressive movement been gaining or losing?

    Have the material results of issue advocacy driven politics been a net winner or net loser since the 70's?

    Compare that to the gains and progress made by disciplined, patient, implacable organizational efforts dating back to the early 1900's (New Deal, Liberal Reformism, Great Society, Civil Rights, and so on).

    It is very, VERY clear what wins and what loses, and if the issue advocates can't see that their strategy and tactics for the last 25 or more years have simply SUCKED, and if the Democrats can't see that for the last 25 years they have been aiding and abetting the enemies of civil society by further driving wedges between constituencies...

    Then we're fucked, well and truly fucked.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:07:14 PM PDT

    •  You are joining kos in placing blame (4.00)
      on "single issue groups".

      Is it not just as true, that a Democratic party that "scratched" a heck of a lot of backs in the 70's, 80's and 90's created an environment where folks realized that they had best fight for themselves because...

      Conrgressman Back Scratcher wasn't going to do squat for them?

      Having walked the line with NARAL pre-Casey, both in DC on on city streets, it sure didn't feel like there were a lot of folks just RUNNING to the side or abortion rights advocates, saying "here, let me help."

      Fwiw, my main point is that  we need to come together and sit in the same room.  I know I could sit with NARAL and HRC because I haven't demonized them....and I worry when we demonize here.

      At the end of the day, I think that gays and women are a lot better allies than "pro-life, anti-gay back scratchers."

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:00:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "issues" groups have had no Dem (none)
        party which they could count on to hold fast on some basic, public political planks.  I'm not even talking mechanics of policy or specific no-compromise points, but just general emphasese of healthcare, security, privacy, energy research, pro-environmental considerations, fair labor policies, etc.

        Every four years the prevailing party candidate needs to find a purpose or two that can be sold to the electorate . . . from a morass of good ideas, but no central focus.  People cannot trust what appear to be constantly new sets of ideas, regardless of how good they happen to be: instead, the Republicans paint Dems with the old hackneyed myths (and, some new, personal insults that prey on race, religion and sexuality prejudices) - which sells EASILY, because we've been so inconsistent in keeping to our own messages.

        All the while, family planning, abortion rights, environmental protections, healthcare cost and access advocates, etc. have been trying to find a way to stay relevant in politics within the public eye.  The Dems haven't brought them in very closely when it comes to making clear policy statements through any long-term, leadership initiatives . . . so, they have no choice but to court who they can, tactically.  It's a slowly losing proposition for both them and the Dems, because we lose their full support between elections and even during some of the important ones due to questioning of motives.

        Without a party that includes the so-called special interest groups in "think-tanks" of our own, we lose out by not coordinating policy in an intelligent and centrally focused fashion at the federal level.  So, we all go our own ways and try to bring it together every four years.

        How can we blame NARAL for trying to make waves when no party has brought them in and explained the realities of working together?  That nobody gets all they want, but that investing in making public political planks now will pay off with each winning election cycle.  Instead, everyone feels desperate and that only increases with each election season.  The Republicans, meanwhile, stay in the cat's seat of centrally-controlled, ridiculously transparent points . . . but win, because we can't challenge them as a larger group with consistently shown, rational purpose for existing as a representative party in this country.

        Blaming NOW, the Sierra Club or others for this state of affairs is ridiculous: they'd jump at the chance to work more closely with the party.  Everyone needs to agree that gains will be small at first, but only in solidarity can we win elections and make progress as we regain the majority numbers needed to effect real change.

        It also requires the Dem leadership to make hard decisions about their folks still playing the DLC 70s Republican-lite losing policy.  Either get with a newly minted set of planks - that's our toughest problem when it comes to solidarity, not hoping to bring in and gain the allegiance of these groups we'd like to work with on better rhythm.

      •  It's as though.... (none)
        Kid Oakland didn't even read what Kos had to say, but rather let his ego get in the way.  Kos is saying that interest groups are not the way to win ELECTIONS, to have sweeping national change.  Narrow endorsements and narrow activism by their very nature preclude a vigorous united front.  Anyone that can't see that democratic candidates have too many bases to pander to (especially on a national scale) in order to be successful is simply blind to reality.  "Coalition building" by interest groups is almost always little more than insular "back scratching".  I'll show up at your rally if you come to mine kind of stuff.  Right now we are in a fight for our lives.  How much damage has been done in five years?  The bleeding has to stop NOW.  We don't need a "coalition" of a thousand different (albeit good) messages, but rather very broad themes which could to SOME degree please or sum up those thousand voices.  A coalition is NOT a thousand slogans at the same rally.  A true coalition is putting aside your own project long enough to let that theme be your message.    

        Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

        by MatthewBrown on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:47:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Quite frankly... (none)
          ....I don't appreciate the cheap shot or the distortion of what I've written.  You didn't need either to make your point.

          You're doing exactly what Markos does, and what I disagree with...which is to flame the activists, and me,  while calling for the exact same coalition and making the same appeal we all are, and have been for years.

          You say, "narrow endorsements and narrow activism" ....and "I'll show up at your rally if you come to mine".  Who in the real world are you talking about?  You're certainly not referring to an activist world that I've ever participated in. Look at MyDD yesterday....does that look like a protest held hostage by narrow activism?  Hell, what that protest needs is more MEN.

          Narrow activism?  Democratic candidates pandering? whom?  To gay activists?  To environmentalists?  To African Americans?  To pro-choice women?  Give me a break.

          If you want to talk about pandering, you should talk about big $$$ and big companies, you'd be barking up the right tree.

          You see, the one sure effect of the focus on these attacks on supposed "narrow interest" enemies of coalition is to move off the table the critique of big corporations and monied special interests that Howard Dean started to make in 2003 before Kerry  became the nominee.

          A broad coalition of Democrats making that critique would be something we ALL could get behind.

          ...k/o...flip the rock...

          by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:17:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  ko (4.00)
    I agree with what you're saying here, but I have what is honestly a question that is not meant to be loaded in any way; when you say
    We are all saying that we need to come together
    are you saying progressives, or democrats at large? Do you include moderate to conservative Dems in there? DLC dems? Are you talking about party unity or progressive unity?
    •  Both.... (4.00)
      we need progressive paradigms in cities and states...and we need progressives on board and together for national coalition-building as well....and that means competing for the votes of every American.

      I wrote an essay yesterday that speaks to how I think we can win back the middle and stay true to progressive values at the same time.

      I don't think you'll find anything there that would preclude building as wide a coalition as possible and still being a party that is pro-Choice, pro-Civil Rights and loyal to the vision enunciated in the New Deal and the War on Poverty.

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:18:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So say we're talking about (none)
        the current Dem senate makeup, with a mix of DLCers, pro-lifers, moderate red-staters, progressives, populists etc. Except it also had us in the majority.

        You'd be cool with that?

        you WISH I was female

        by AnnArborBlue on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:33:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I want 60% (4.00)
          and I know what that means.

          And I want the 10% on one end to be able to sit in the same room as the 10% on the other.

          I get so frustrated.  But I've seen it.

          Van Jones, a black civil rights activist here in Oakland was emceeing a benefit for Katrina survivors last Saturday.

          The poets spoke, the musicians played, the survivors testified, the ministers spoke and then Van got up and the first thing he said was,

          "I want to thank our Lesbian and Gay brothers and sisters for coming out today and contributing so much.  Katrina has made all of us new neighbors, new allies and new friends...and it is stretching all of us in new ways."

          If only I knew more Democrats had that kind of guts and aplomb.  It's rare.  I bet Barack Obama could do the same thing.

          ...k/o...flip the rock...

          by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:16:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know I already ranted above.... (none)
            but to me this is an example of exactly what is often wrong with everything we do.  The ego, the identity, of the group gets in the way of a true coalition.  Everything is "black civil rights" guy or "gay and lesbian" group.  The FIRST and most important label has to be DEMOCRAT.  Granted, I know this example wasn't some democratic event or anything, but this is the very failing of current "coalitions" when it comes time to win a presidency.  Democrat first, pet project second.  We are in a fight and priorities are paramount.    

            Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

            by MatthewBrown on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:57:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  AAB (none)
      As seems par for the course lately I agree with your very fair question.

      And the question is: Is fairness just for thee and not for me?  

      Because just as with the Kos/DLC squabble, the Kos/"Single Issue" Groups squabble is indeed a war and for a war to end, BOTH sides need to stand down.

      (Cross-posted in my pants)

      by Calishfornia on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:19:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is the reason I'm here (4.00)
    "We all know that the point of Dkos and our efforts here has been to build coalition in a way that empowers and pulls people together with optimism and hope , and, yes, that wins elections and legislative majorities."  Inclusion not Exclusion. The Republicans are the party that hates and excludes people. We must always have the Open Sign turned on.
  •  Great Post! (none)
    Thanks K.O.! See my sig line.

    The leader of the free world shoud be able to button his shirt properly.

    by Tomtech on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:14:28 PM PDT

  •  Quadrangle Response (4.00)
    (a) Some people have accused Kos of just that, hating women for bashing NARAL's tactics, it's no straw man argument

    (b) The viewpoint that "Progressive constituency groups [do] not equal the people who those groups were designed to defend" is, actually, exactly what Kos has been saying for quite some time. It's some of his opponents who conflate the two.

    (c) Here's the little quasi-bulleted letter that matters. When people realize that the special interest group is them, when they see themselves threatened at the chopping block -- even by proxy as an organization purportedly representing them is threatened -- they flip out. There is no easy internal resolution once this has happened. You attack them/me in any way, even by proxy, you've shunned yourself from my heart. This happens with every plank in the platform of the Democratic party. People see their identities being weighed, realize they (or their proxies orgs) are up for slaughter, completely flip out, and we fall apart again. The Democrats are inherently weak in this way, we're a party of minorities who'll flip out when they see themselves getting weighed in electoral politics.

    (d) There isn't a common language to resolve this political problem. Kos and __ will talk past each other endlessly. It's pragmatism versus idealism. It's purity versus secularism. It's the medium versus the message. It's the vehicle versus the product. We've got to get together NOT on any plane of ideology, but instead find some compromise in how we deliver our ideals into the real world as it exists and get results. It's not about "coming together," it's about developing ways to effect our shared interests in a way that reaps harvests.

    •  in regards to your point D (none)
      I think before people can develop ways to effect shared interests, they need to realize that they HAVE shared interets. And I think in many ways, that's still something we're struggling with as a party.

      you WISH I was female

      by AnnArborBlue on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:18:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree that heads must roll... (4.00)
      and I think I heard, as we all did, in Obama's speech at the Convention a note sounded that  was clearly both inclusive of every one of us and very much about all of us taking responsibility for ourselves at the same time.  That includes taking responsibility for coming together to win victories.

      You see, there are no special interest groups, there is just us.  One's interest is all of ours.

      We need to realize that. And act like it.

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:28:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who's us? Us is us! Who's us? Us is us! (none)
        You see, there are no special interest groups, there is just us.  One's interest is all of ours.

        We need to realize that. And act like it

        But, see, that's abstract. That's not real. And that's why I don't see it as a possibility without some explanantion of how this holistic view of the "other half" will come to pass.

        •  Real to me my whole life... (4.00)
          I'm an urban democrat...I grew up white between a southern roots African-American family and a multi-racial gay couple...

          and today I hear Chinese and Spanish out one or the other windows.

          I don't think there's been a moment in my life where I've NOT been surrounded by the urban part of the Democratic coalition...and quite often...seen it in action at political meetings.

          Fwiw, where we fail is in bringing that richness to the suburbs and rural areas where folks who have the EXACT same concerns about health care and social security and the war in Iraq think of us as these "city dwellers" who are so different when we are not.

          Just my 2¢...and my core political beliefs.

          ...k/o...flip the rock...

          by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:35:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok... (none)
            ...I agree with your presuppositions. And as someone who grew up wholly in a rural 40% black area (then went to college while living in a 60+% El Salvadoran area), I get what you're saying. We in the same boat, end of story. I'm just saying in the modern political world what you're suggesting -- a coalition of the downtrodden -- isn't feasible in building a voting bloc. Again, it's all what I know versus what I can do.

            When I say "real" I don't mean "real" as in it doesn't exist for you, for me, for anybody. I mean it's not "real" in the sense that the platitudes will fall apart and result in fragmentation of the party's core before the first Tuesday in November. I mean that in the completely artificial world of politics we need to figure out a way to come up with a completely artificial unifying concept and terminology before we cohere. Hasn't happened yet.

            •  I'd say use "be very afraid" (none)
              but the Republicans already seem to have taken that one.

              you WISH I was female

              by AnnArborBlue on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:59:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  the concept (none)
              Isn't community the concept?
              (artificial sounding or not)


              I'm not going meta.  That is the one thing that unites us, both here and hopefully in the party and broader progressive movement:  We care deeply about a strong community!  
              And that involves people... real (flawed) people... diverse people... people who respect one another and can work together despite their (mostly superficial) differences... people who look out for each other, not just for themselves.

              Think about our issues:  reducing poverty, universal healthcare, equal rights for all, fair trade, reducing corporate power, respect for one another's autonomy (a.k.a. right to privacy and to make our own decisions), environmental stewardship, human rights, clean and sustainable energy supplies, real security grounded in social justice and not violence, etc.

              Some people care more about some subsets of these issues than others.  But, at least for me, the point of my stance on each of these issues is to build a strong community in which I and my neighbors can cooperatively co-exist (these c-words just role off the tongue!) and productively contribute, and raise my children to perpetuate.

              This is real to me.
              This is what I cohere (congeal?) around...
              The unifying liberal value.

              And it's why I'm here.

              Life is like this analogy...

              by shock on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:27:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The perfect is the enemy of the good. (4.00)
      I have always loved that phrase, because it is so true, yet so puzzling to many people.  You have to think about it to understand it.  

      That is what I hear you saying -- and I agree with you.  Absolute adherence to one's own ideals to the exclusion of all else is detrimental to the cohesion of the party as a whole.  So, if I say I won't vote for an anti-choice democrat who is good on every other issue, because and only because he is anti-choice, then you are saying that I am damaging the Democratic movement.  The perfect is the enemy of the good.  We agree.

      OTOH, if you demand that I overlook a virulently anti-choice Democrat whose voting record looks like Lieberman's, you would be demanding your own form of perfection.  That is what I hear from the Kossite pragmatists and that is unfair and unrealistic to expect.  You can't expect your pragmatism to be any more "perfect" than my idealism.  You have to understand that those of us "single issue" Democrats are fighting for our identities and you need to be pragmatic enough to let us do that while we remain a part of the party.    

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:37:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm one of those (none)
        practical Democrats, and I am glad you are a member of the party. But, I don't see you as an ally willing to join the fight. You outline the choices very well. The Democratic movement or your identity. So which is it?
        •  We're a pro-choice coalition (4.00)
          last time I checked.

          If the net effect of the anti-Naral stuff is to cloud that fact, then it has had a horrible consequence.

          (I'd like to point out to "practical" minded folks that it's a lot cheaper and more effective to fight for good national pro-choice policy than fight anti-choice criminalization of abortion in half the fifty states....what a tragedy and headache that would'd be fighting side by side, right?)

          At any rate The Democratic movement or your identity is such a bogus question to spring on a rank and file Democrat of any background or identity.

          How about first asking some of the fat white men who've sold our party down the river that question?

          There's one or two of them in our party still....even some slick Senators....where's the move to run primary challenges and push some of these folks?  

          I don't get the let's  "attack the same people the GOP attacks" line of strategy.  Those who raise that question have a very good point, if you ask me.

          Even pragmatically, why attack women?  Goodness's not like women tend to vote Democratic or anything.  

          ...k/o...flip the rock...

          by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:34:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok...that was too far... (none)
            fat white men is not fair at all...I regret that.

            I mean Dem elected officials who are more conservative than their districts...whatever their waistlines or gender....and that includes Senators who've phoned it in big time to big money...often, literally, from the cloak room off the Senate floor.

            Anyhoo, if I were going to read the riot act to a Democrat...that'd be where I'd start, the elected ones.

            Also by recruiting candidates like run for State and Local races.  (Is there a California Obama?  I bet yes.)

            ...k/o...flip the rock...

            by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:53:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Is perfection practical? (none)
          I don't think so.  My issues fall very neatly into the Democratic movement so I don't often have to make the choice I mention above.  I have two pro-choice Democratic senators and my representative is "Baghdad Jim" McDermott -- a Kossack himself.   What you want is lockstep adherence to party discipline -- to me that sounds like you want me to drink your koolaid.  I am not drinking anyone's Koolaid -- ever.  

          So in answer to your question:  It is both.  I am sorry that you think that eliminates me from your alliance.  I think you are expecting perfection, which as I said above, is the enemy of a really good result.    

          When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

          by flo58 on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 09:25:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  How do you order interests in a political party? (4.00)
      Take New Orleans for example. Moving forward there will be those here on Daily Kos concerned in varying degrees about the environment of NO, racism in NO, labor rights in NO, property rights in NO, corruption in NO, military presence in NO, and on to infinity. How much or how little an individual cares about any one of these issues is of great importance but not really of much importance to the Democratic Party as a whole.

      In the not too distant future Democrats will have a narrative for the reconstructon of New Orleans (I hope) and it will be important to push the clear and concise message for the 2006 elections (and immediate debate) to benefit the party AND benefit New Orleans. Those dissenting on one issue or another won't be silenced but won't be embraced beyond a certain point either. It's not productive collective activity to continually reopen subjects that a majority have already agreed upon. Much of the dispute between Markos and others has to do not with beliefs on a given issue but how much time should be given to debating the merits of one issue or another and how much should be focused on advancing the political interests of the party. Is that wrong? It rubs people the wrong way for sure but that's Markos's prerogative IMHO.

      One problem of the blogosphere is that many imagine themselves keyboard strategists very easily. Fewer imagine themselves carrying water in service of a larger cause. The right blogosphere has the 101st Keyboard Kommandos and the left blogosphere has an army of James Carville wannabees and not enough stamp lickers and door knockers (I include myself in this criticism). What Kid Oakland points out is that activists that predate the blogosphere are far more likely to be former water carriers than chiefs and don't take kindly to new people telling what they are doing wrong after years of hard work. What gives Markos the right? Well, the first amendment for one. People don't have to agree with him and he could probably be more diplomatic. People could also be less sensitive. Endurance and a thick skin are better than brains in politics. However loud or wrong Markos may be any individual will always get their say in response (on his forum no less). That's pretty inviting on his part even as he tells people to go screw if they don't like his writing.

      As much as sites like Daily Kos or MyDD serve as a petri dish for message development and strategic thinking there more pedestrian function is just bubbling up information in front of those that are already in power. Emailing and phone campaigns can serve as reinforcement - a kind of "rub the puppies nose in it democracy". But alone the blogosphere will not change the kind of puppy in elected office. For that you need to get out in the non-blog world and do the work hard work of politics.

      "A whole lotta HOOAH and not enough DO-AH." - Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

      by joejoejoe on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:59:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Disagree with Some Things that Kos Says (none)
    But on this one, I think he has a point.  He is not saying that he doesn't support the issues that these groups are fighting for.  He is saying that they are not fighting for their issues in an effective manner.  If these groups focus narrowly on their own issues to the detriment our primary goal- getting the Republicans out of power - then how can you blame Kos for criticizing them.  He's not saying he doesn't want to work with them.  He's saying that they need to look at the big picture.
    •  Might point is (none)
      less they, more us.

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:30:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you guys mostly agree (4.00)
        It's just a question of perspective and approach.

        kos sees the single-issue-interests as people who haven't come to the table of the new progressivism yet.

        You, k o, see these single-issue-interests as people who already have a seat at the table, but are lacking in the leadership to bring them from the progressivism of old to the progressivism of new.

        kos is smacking them around as if to say 'wake up', as if to say 'people will leave your single interest group for the new progressivism'.

        you suggest offering them a vision of hope that ultimately ties their interest into a new progressivism.

        kos thinks building a new progressive coalition will involve some purging of the stubbornly shortsighted.

        you think building a new progressive coalition will involve finding a way to speak to interests who already recognize a common enemy.

        republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

        by danthrax on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:49:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kos has particular views, (none)
    and expresses them.  From what I've seen, people are able (and more than willing) to make counter-arguments.  It's all part of the mess of coalitions.  No doubt Kos has the loudest voice here, but besides being a community, this is his blog, where he gets to rant about whatever it is that pisses him off about the world.  Should he have to start a new blog so that he can fully express his views?

    Sometimes he's over-the-top, granted.  And shrill as all hell.  Sort of a shame Kos doesn't know anything about Garrison Keillor--he could learn about the natural mellowing agents in ketchup.  But alas.

  •  I Agree, And Recommend (none)
    But, at the same time, I'll post a contrary (and seemingly hypocritical) post.

    I do not support the "Human Rights Campaign Fund," nee the "Human Rights Campaign."  I've watched them for years, and they've made a nice living for themselves pretending to do something (precious little) about homophobia.  I ask you, how strenous can a group be (which ostensibly advocates for gay rights) when they don't even have the word "gay" in their name?   Silly thing to point out?  Yes.  But look at their actions - which are even sillier.  It's a coffee clatch for rich white guys, who care nothing about gay rights, but only about their careers.  Lots more folks than Kos should be calling the HRC out.

    The NGLTF (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) is a much better alternative (IMO).

    At the same time, I agree with Kid's post.  If Kos wants to play guard dog for Democratic purity, he should start by focusing his efforts on the DLC, and not affinity groups.

  •  Okay...thanks to Red Dan, I (none)
    get what Kos is saying...but I also get what you're saying K.O., and I agree with you when you say that Kos should invite them to the table to discuss it. I agree with him though that these groups SHOULD be endorsing Dems...and never Republicans...but I think the way to get them to see that light would be to invite them here to discuss the issue...surely most of these groups will agree when they see how many of us here support them, but also support the bigger picture.
  •  Good News: You agree (4.00)
    Kos: As I've written before, take a look at the new progressive organizations arising the past few years -- MoveOn, the blogs, Democracy for America, National Political Hip Hop Conference, etc -- all of them movement-based multi-issue organizations. That is the future of the American progressive movement. Not the single-issue groups that continue to hold their narrow interests above those of the broader movement.

    KO: But, I would suggest, the proper response to these groups is not to lambaste them, but, quite simply do what progressives have always done: invite them into the room and work together. After all, if the core of your position is that we are all going to have to give a little, wouldn't it be better to decide to do that together, as a collective strategy, rather than by cutting people off? <snip>

    I would argue, simply, that kos needs to stop confusing people with groups he disagrees with, and learn how to build coalition in this new medium in a more positive way...

    The only  difference between Kos and KO is an "s"....which stands for Style.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:23:18 PM PDT

  •  I think Kos has it right this time (4.00)
    I have been all over Kos with respect to some of the earlier NARAL diaries, but I think he has finally made his point in a manner that makes sense.  Let's kick it around a bit.

    "Special interest" is a perjorative term and not conducive to constructive discussion.  What we're talking about here is "single issue" groups - which is not to say "oh, you only care about one issue, so you're not that important."  It simply means that the focus of your organization is that issue, rather than a particular party or ideological movement.

    As Kos lays it out, the problem is that with Democrats completely out of power, there is simply no one that progressive single-interest groups can lobby in order to achieve their goals.  Let's stick with the example of women's issues.  The fact is, even though there are individual Republicans who are sympathetic to women's concerns, the Republican majority simply is not interested in doing anything on these issues.  It will never be a part of their legislative agenda.  The only way they will even have a chance of accomplishing their goals is if Democrats are restored to power.

    But, critically: this is not to say that single-interest groups should subordinate their goals to the goals of the overall Democratic Party.  There's no need to ask that of them, because the fact is, even if they take only their self-interest into account, their self-interest requires a Democratic majority.

    Single-interest groups certainly don't need to support a candidate who is hostile to their goals, but if they continue with the old model of supporting a Democrat here, a Republican there, by focusing on ideology rather than party, they will end up with no one in Washington to listen to them other than a powerless minority.  A handful of sympathetic Republicans simply are not going to get an issue on the legislative calendar if the rest of the party opposes it.

    The single-interest groups can still stay focused on their issue, they can still insist that Democrats support that issue, they can still withhold support and funding from Democrats who go against them.  But I do think they need to stop providing support to Republicans, regardless of whether an individual Republican claims to support their goals.  Because as long as the Republicans are in power, every dollar and every endorsement they give to a Republican candidate simply helps maintain a hostile majority in control of our government.

    The groups that meet this description need to refocus their goals to adapt to the new political situation in this country - not for my own good, but for theirs.

    •  Well sequenced and laid out... (4.00)
      for all of us, is all I would add.

      Feminism is for everyone.
      Same with gay rights and civil rights.

      I like to point out that curb cuts cut the curb...they don't care if you're in a wheelchair or a walker...if you're three or ninety three.

      Point is, on all these issues, it's all of our issue.

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:27:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Outside Groups (none)
      I think the new GOP language for "special interests" is "outside groups". It's a ridiculous construct that's easy to knock down but I've yet to see any Democrat challenge anyone on the term.

      Dems could say:"Outside of what? These groups are citizens with the right to free speech or is the GOP opposed to rule of law?". But it gets ignored and soon will be commonly accepted like death tax and partial birth abortion. Ugh.

      "A whole lotta HOOAH and not enough DO-AH." - Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

      by joejoejoe on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:59:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks kid oakland! (4.00)
    I continue to be amazed by all discussions of why Democrats lose--they all make it sound as though Democrats have lost by huge margins.  We didn't.  The margins in the House and Senate are not that large.  Republicans have been able to win because first they can outspend Democrats.  We need to focus on that primarily.  Secondly, they have been able to define us--or some call it "framing."  We have become afraid to challenge them--the Limbaughs, Coulters, Theocrats have over run the airways with their vitriol--and we have stood by--wincing, ashamed. apologetic--why should anyone vote for us?

    Interest Groups become "conservative" over time--trying to protect what they have.  Looking to older groups to be in the forefront as they were when they were created just doesn't happen.  They are important in the policy process in helping to determine the "details" of policy--they deal with all the behind the scenes things that no one else is interested in--trying to protect their own interests.  They form coalitions to get things done--they have  little influence by themselves.....they mostly deal with Members of Congress who are their friends--they are at a distinct disadvantage when their friends are not in power.  These groups act on policies where they have expertise.  Why should they get involved in areas not in their interest?  They are closely involved with members of Congress on committees where their policies are introduced--they form "subgovernments"  working closely with Members of Congress, and the Bureaucrats who carry out the policies which affect their groups.  These relationships become almost incestuous.  

    Yes, those who support Democrats must work together--no question.  But it seems disingenuous for the person who dismissed the womens' studies set, peace visualizing hippies etc. to now be calling for unity.  We can come together if we treat each other with respect--which after going a few rounds with Armando and some of his supporters--I have found sorely lacking around here.  Rather than respectfully disagreeing,  you are dismissed as being stupid if you disagree with them and Kos.

    "It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory. a case of do or die!"

    by PoliSigh on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 10:36:36 PM PDT

  •  Thanks again, KO (4.00)
    I'm going to invoke digby here in a very bad paraphrase, but he advances an argument that I don't think many people here are willing to entertain -- that groups  like NARAL back a Republican like Chafee to send a distinct message to the Democrats who are stumbling all over each other in their rush for the middle, i.e., don't take us for granted or think we'll be there if you sell us out.  Of course that irritates the "big tent" people who really don't give a hoot about choice in the first place, because it's forcing them into a position where they either have to affirm it as a core value of the party or lose the backing of an enormously powerful part of their constituency.  But NARAL, like the NRA, is playing hardball.  

    Thanks once again for being a beacon of light and integrity, ko.

    •  that bears repeating (none)
      groups like naral would be insane to sit back and wait for dems to act on their behalf.  think about how much attention they got with their chafee endotsement.  dems take them for granted at their peril.

      When you are going through hell, keep going! - Winston Churchill

      by flo58 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:39:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sheesh--24 hours later, Armando is still (none)
    insulting me, telling me I am full of shit on another diary--sure makes me want to join hands and sing Kumbya with him and Kos.

    "It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory. a case of do or die!"

    by PoliSigh on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:07:25 PM PDT

  •  KO (4.00)
    YOu know where I'm coming from.  People said above taht we don't have a language, a terminology, to unify.  Well, it's not so much that we don't have it, but that it has fallen out of fashion.  We need to start thinking and talkig in the dialect of solidarity.  That language begins with this:  "An injury to one is an injury to all."
  •  An Old yellow dog observes (4.00)

    Kos and Armando are a bit young, raw, and crass for leadership yet. Time will smooth them out. They're a  bit desperate to keep riding the tiger.

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

    by Rolfyboy6 on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 11:19:58 PM PDT

  •  Mostly agree. (none)

    I think the biggest problem is that Kos expresses what he is trying to say poorly. And in so doing causes people to take the wrong point away from it. It's not true that people don't say he's anti women, or anti whatever, because I see it all the time.

    It used to be that single issue group methods of backing the person, not the party, worked in their favor. But the new Republican party doesn't work that way. The whole Chaffee/HRC thing is a perfect example. The guys very good on a whole range of issues. Better even than some dems. But he is a completely marginalized Republican with zero clout in the party. By virtue of the (R) by his name he allows his party that extra seat and a majority. So while he does right by gays and women the people in actual power hurt them at every turn.

    We don't live in anything near a bipartisan world anymore. The Reps make the rules and those rules now keep Democrats from having any say whatsoever in the process. They don't even get to read many bills before they vote.

    I'd love to be back in a time when adults ran our government and actually worked together toward a compromise. But the only chance of that is if the dems take back control. And the only way that is going to happen is if special interest groups stop backing Republicans.

    I think Markos can be very grating. But I also think he has a very valid point. People need to look past how he says things and look at the underlying points.

  •  looks like you hit the rec. list (none)
    with a ballon. when lightning strikes small wonder, it has been said.
  •  Maybe my optimism cup is ... (4.00)
    ...filling up again after a long drought, but this essay and the comments from many people who fall at various points along the spectrum of this long-standing debate give me hope that maybe we're heading for some unity once again. Not quite yet, but maybe at some converging point down the road.

    Thirty-one million new blogs are created each year. Try ours at The Next Hurrah.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:27:59 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, I've sensed it too... (4.00)
      and I've followed the "advance press" about the kos/jerome book with avid attention.

      The closer we get to it being written....the more positive and coalition-oriented it seems to become.  

      Let me say this: it should be positive.  Goodness really should be.

      And optimistic.

      I mean, what the hell are we here if not a ragtag band of "can-do" kids?

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:39:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am all confused (none)
    by the Kos post. This may sound frivolous, but it  seems like a fashion issue to me. Like if there were a march Kos would ever approve of, it would be really dull and have really bad fashion and big busloads of intensely creative and intelligent people from all across America would not go to it in a million years.
  •  Kos is Right (none)

    I don't get it... is all the commotion that KO always raises merely about Kos' "tone," rather than about the substance of what Kos is very clearly trying to say:

    [T]ake a look at the new progressive organizations arising the past few years -- MoveOn, the blogs, Democracy for America, National Political Hip Hop Conference, etc -- all of them movement-based multi-issue organizations. That is the future of the American progressive movement. Not the single-issue groups that continue to hold their narrow interests above those of the broader movement.

    Because if it is merely about "tone," rather than about "substance," than I say, please grow up and try to really get what it's being said. The end of the day both KO and Kos are saying the same thing: we gotta work together, and know that narrow focus on pet causes is/has been the downfall of the left. I agree with Kos, the goal at this point in American history is to build "movement coalitions," and to understand that narrow issue focus can only work if one's coalition is in control -- which clearly we're not.

    Again, Kos is crystal clear on this very uncontroversial point, so what's all the commotion about?

    Email: bedobe (at) gmail (dot) com

    by bedobe on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:47:22 AM PDT

    •  No, there's real disagreement... (none)
      Maybe you don't see it, that's cool.

      MB spoke to some of the reservations well with this comment.

      My point is that kos coming out and leading by saying, and I paraphrase "you're going to call me anti-gay for posting the perfectly harmless piece about environmentalism from the American Prospect" is really disingenuous.  You seem to buy into that.

      In my view, if you want to be welcoming, you welcome people.  It's that simple.   You don't poison the well by putting words in their mouths, or by predicting your own martyrdom.

      However, I don't think it's just kos...(and yes, I think it would pay for everyone, including and importantly myself, to look elsewhere for a good long while and leave Markos alone to write his book...I'm going to do just that.)...DC Democrats are looking at 2006, they're looking at the poll numbers and they are thinking about 2004 and what its "means".

      I would hope that the netroots could be a force to make that mean something progressive.  And to do that we've got to come together and not snark apart....and there's been hella snarking going on.

      You call it style.  I call it harsh lessons of past wars.  And a knowledge that something that was present here one year ago...a pro woman, pro gay, really diverse less visible now even though, I truly know it hasn't gone away.  Everyone's still here.  There's just more snark and bile on the surface.

      One of my first front page pieces was about gay inter-racial adoption...I haven't read an FP like that in a long time.

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:16:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The thread is dead (none)
        so you'll probably be the only one to see this. I think that MB basically agrees with Markos' point, but like many of us not his tone.

        I think the people that want to jettison certain groups are fools. They seem to think that by getting rid of people we will get more people. I think most of them are young and still haven't grasped a lot. nor do they understand that it could very well be them that get's jettisoned. They are the people that still don't understand that old saying about the Nazis, "first they came for..."

        Most of those people get shouted down when they post their diaries, rightfully so. But they should not be confused with those of us wh are calling for a different dynamic. Or better described as the new dynamic forced on us by the new GOP.

        I'm not sure how it can be done, but I think the issue groups should be only backing dems in order to get rid of those new republicans. But they should also let the dem party know, in no uncertain terms, that if they are left out in the cold they will be losing more than those single issue groups, they will be losing those of us who back the broad coalition of single issue groups. If that makes any sense to you.

  •  So where does this leave (none)
    folks who've always been frozen out of the Democratic coalition?

    For those of us with an interest in reforming drug policy, there was a bit of an opening in the carter years, but with clinton came not only a slap in the face, but legislation that enables us to be executed, with only 1 Senate Dem (Feingold again) voting aganst.

    No-one who voted against the USAPATRIOT Act has lost an election. I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State. Or Yours.

    by ben masel on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 01:35:29 AM PDT

  •  Praise the Lord for the Black Coalition (none)
    I remember when the now called "special interest groups" were simply factions of the Democratic Party. But Dems choose (or mindlessly) accept the label of their opponents.

    Now I laugh and make a fortune off the same ones that I torture and a world says, "Kiss me, son of god." ~ They Might Be Giants

    by misscee on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 04:40:55 AM PDT

  •  Riddle me this, then, kid (none)
    Where's the "we" in NARAL? Where's the "we" in HRC? By their very nature, single-issue groups exclude a broad coalition--which I agree with you we need. But I think Markos is more right than you are on the usefulness of single-issue groups in it.

    Let me illustrate with an example. The Human Rights Campaign (of which I have been a supporter in the past, but am not now) has been lobbying for years to get a federal ban on employment discrimination against gays and lesbians. All well and good, and something I hope we'll get very soon at the federal level, though I'm fortunate enough to live in a city and a state, and work for an employer, that already afford me that protection.

    But where has HRC been on other employment equity issues? Have they been out working for living wages? Better occupational safety standards? Pushing back against the Republiconartists' attempts to water down the age-discrimination provisions already on the books? Not so much, at least insofar as I've been able to discover.

    I think you'll agree with me that all of those are important issues for progressives, and ones we'd all like to see addressed in Washington. But HRC is likely to say "Gee, we'd love to help, but that's just not our set of issues." They welcome the support of progressives with broader agendas that also include gay rights, but seemingly can't be bothered to reciprocate when one of their progressive allies needs a little help with one of her issues. That's not how one goes about building an effective coalition, that's how one maintains one's effectiveness (and power) as a single-issue (or perhaps in this specific instance it's better to say "single-constituency") group.

    And that, as I believe Markos has been saying all along, is part of the problem that we need to be trying to fix.

    •  Let me put it to you this way... (none)
      When does our critique slide over into hostility and become a barrier to building coalition?

      What happens if participation here gets branded...not just as one of disagreement with a group's electoral politics, or even one electoral endorsement that group has made...but seen as disagreement with their mission or, more fundamentally, their members?

      My point is that we need to be sitting in the same room.  Frankly, I haven't see the direction of the critique here as being pointed in that getting us there.  Maybe the amen post, booman's post and this discussion represent a hopeful turn.

      Of course, you're right to say that if HRC think that doing zero coalition work, zero electoral coalition building is effective, then they are selling their members and contributors short in the face of a massive GOP machine.  But is that really the case?  

      Shouldn't we invite them here as a first step...wouldn't being inclusive advance coalition in powerful ways?  Can you sit at the same table as NARAL?

      ...k/o...flip the rock...

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 10:33:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No to that last (none)
        NARAL is not welcome at my table: they don't speak for me, they don't represent my views. NOW, Planned Parenthood, Catholics for a Free Choice, all of them I can talk with. But not NARAL.

        On your larger point, I think you're forgetting that coalition is a two-way street--at least. But NARAL, and HRC, are single-issue groups. They're not interested in diluting their efforts on the issue(s) they've chosen to focus on by working for broader issues or with broader groups of people. How can we form a coalition with them, given that attitude? More to the point, why would we want to? If all they're going to do is take our time, our talent, and our treasure, and not work for any of our goals? Isn't that the classic definition of working at cross-purposes?

        •  I can meet with anyone... (none)
          further, i can walk into a room and make my case no matter what the environment....

          (and, no, I'm talking within reason here...violent  bigots...I'll take a pass.)

          Part of the reason I can do that, however, part of my ability to make that case, is precisely because I can meet with anyone.

          I think that's what we need in the Democratic P Party.   Talented folks who can walk into a room and change outcomes.

          ...k/o...flip the rock...

          by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 11:56:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  People, I can talk to (none)
            Groups that advocate for positions diametrically opposed, not so much. And I think that's something you're going to have to address, kid: not everybody has your take on the world. Those of us who are not NARAL supporters, but still Democrats, still liberals, still progressives, aren't exactly feeling welcome at the table when you're telling us we're going to have to welcome NARAL as well.
            •  Well, you're welcome at my table... (none)
              but so are the women who participated in the thread where you came out so strongly anti-NARAL.

              I'm not perfect, but I'm a fighter who doesn't often quit, and I can listen to anyone.  I still have the right to respond.

              (On a side note, I just called the Oakland archdiocese regarding the seminary witch hunt that's coming down....that is simply wrong and destructive...and so right wing.

              I'll write about it soon on k/o.)

              ...k/o...flip the rock...

              by kid oakland on Fri Sep 16, 2005 at 12:47:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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