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In his attempt to illuminate the political realities on the ground, namely that the American people just aren't as angry and opposed to the policies and performance of the Bush Republicans as we here in the blogging community, Senator Obama inadvertently shone a big, bright light on the other elephant in the room. An elephant we can call The Absence of Leadership.  

Of course, the first elephant, often found grazing freely throughout the corridors of Democratic power, is the close cousin of the second known as The Absence of  Principle.

In failing to acknowledge said elephants, the Senator went a long way towards discrediting his otherwise excellent points.

Let's start with the first. Senator Obama argues that we should not judge a political career based on one vote. With this I would largely agree. The Congress is a complex business where the lesser of evils name the game. And because much of the wheeling and dealing that transpires there does so in the shadows, behind closed doors, it is terribly difficult to track and access the cost-benefit ratio of any single vote.

But what the Senator fails to acknowledge is that the "storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists" is not about one vote; it is about a pattern. It is about a history of votes that betray any sense of party identity or principles. It is not just about Democratic support for Bush's tax cuts, the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill or the confirmation of Roberts; it is about all of those votes combined.

It is precisely this emerging pattern that leaves so many to ask, "What does the Democratic party stand for?" Answering this simple question is perhaps the greatest challenge our party faces and, by failing to even acknowledge it, Senator Obama seeds little confidence in his ability to lead us forward.

His politically adept, and necessary strategy of setting a constructive "tone" is hollow in the absence of a defining, identifying principle.

We may not all agree on what that principle is. I have advocated that it is the historical purpose of the Democratic party to represent and protect the commonwealth. To give voice to the principle that we are all our brother's keepers and that social responsibility is as important as individual responsibility. Others may disagree.

But I think almost all here would acknowledge that, to some extent, we are lacking a unifying vision. And it is just not credible to attempt a dialog on inter-party tolerance and loyalty while ignoring this fact.

Senator Obama also correctly points out that the majority of Americans don't share the degree of hostility so many here hold for the president and his policies. While I would argue that working Americans aren't as corporate friendly as he seems to suggest, it is probably true that most don't find them "inherently evil."

And I would take the "imperialist brute" observation a step further: most probably do not know what imperialism even means in this context.

But Senator Obama completely fails to recognize that it is our job to change those perceptions.

Must I point out that a perplexingly large percentage of the American public also believes that WMD were found in Iraq. And that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks.

On the other side, I would argue that a vast majority of Americans did not believe that "government is the problem" thirty years ago. Or that private corporations were more efficient and effective at providing government services then the government itself.

There can be no argument that the voting public has been dissatisfied with the performance of government over the years. And for this the Democrats must bear much of the responsibility. But the shift in public perception against government was not just the result of cumbersome bureaucracies, inept management and too high taxes; it was the result of a massive, precisely orchestrated campaign to create that perception.

And this is what I mean about failed leadership. It is not enough to take a poll and decide what can be done. We must change perceptions so that we may do what must be done. We must educate. We must persuade. We must lead.

Frankly, it usually takes well meaning politicians a bit longer in the Beltway grinder to lose sight of this fact.

The mark of a great leader is the ability to know what the public wants even before the public does. People know something is missing. They sense a great emptiness. The job of  the Democratic leadership is to fill that emptiness with vision. And that vision will never come from a poll. It will only come from heart and principle.

I believe, in part, that emptiness is derived from the loss of our shared  commitment to one another. To our neighbors, to our communities, to all Americans. A commitment that was embodied in the New Deal, the Great Society and even the Apollo missions to the Moon. A commitment that has been replaced by the social Darwinism of the radical right. That has been sacrificed on the alter of the free market.

To restore that commitment, we must foster the understanding that we are all in this thing called America together. That we are interdependent. That we are only as well-off as the least well-off among us.

Recent historical events, from 911 to Katrina,  have provided us with ample proof of this interdependence. Not just that we are obligated to each other, but that the government has a profound role in meeting that obligation.

Where are the Democrats? Waiting for the poll returns to tell them how to play it?

The gap between the party and its leadership has never been wider. A gap exemplified by the statement that the Republicans "may have made things worse." What we are witnessing here and in backyards and living rooms across the country, are people filling the void of leadership with their own, homegrown vision. And, judging by the exponential growth of this site, it appears to be a vision the public is ready for.

While I completely agree that the tone we use can make or break the effectiveness of the message, it is our job to make people understand that George Bush is not the guy they think he is. That corporations are far too destructive and powerful for the public good. That our imperial adventures are ethically wrong and a threat to our security. That the Republicans have definately made things worse.

Senator Obama says our perspective "misreads the American people." I say we need a lot less reading and a lot more leading.

Originally posted to TocqueDeville on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:42 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes. (4.00)
    We need to present an alternative to BushCo.  We need leaders who can articulate whats WRONG with their policies and whats RIGHT about ours.  Pretty simple, really.
    •  I've been waiting 5 years... (4.00)
      "We need to present an alternative to BushCo."

      I've been waiting 5 years for the Democratic Party leadership to present not only an alternative to Bush, but to present a united party and a goddamn Presidential candidate that could actually win.

      "On résiste à l'invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l'invasion des idées." -Victor Hugo

      by Darksyde888 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:01:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Frustrating, isn't it? (4.00)
        Kerry actually had decent plans...his healthcare idea was one of the best and most pragmatic that I've heard...but what the hell happened?  We gotta stop letting the right wing and the media frame the debate...where do we send our politicians to learn how to stay on message???
        •  Why should we expect them to... (4.00)
          ...stay on message when we can't even respond to a simple plea for unity without going batshit.  
          •  When you're the "leader" (4.00)
            you have to project that unity.  I don't think the problem with Kerry's campaign was the democratic "base".  We were unified.  I actually like Kerry...and I don't like to be overly critical of democrats, but we gotta have that agenda and get rid of the myth that we "don't stand for anything".  Right now, Newt Gingrich is out working on getting a candidate to take on the agenda he espoused in his latest book.  While I certainly don't agree with his solutions, he takes on many current problems and offers a conservative fix for them.  If we can't offer a liberal solution then guess who's going to win in 2008?
            •  Unity (none)
              Sure we were united for Kerry.  But was that the end of it?   I'll agree that it would be great if our leaders really took the lead, but they haven't.  The biggest reasn is that we really haven't built the infrastructure.  The right spent decades building their machine.  The inner workings of that machine were built as much by non-politicians as they were by Newt and GoPac.   We spent those same decades looking for a great leader.  It is time that we took some responsibility for our future.  If Obama is willing to try and corral us into something resembling a unified front, I'm going to support him and fall in line.      
              •  I couldn't agree more. (4.00)
                We need this infastructure to build a MOVEMENT.  Thats what the right has done.  Right now, we need several think tanky types to be working on policy papers dealing with our need for universal care.  These people prepare the way...first you gotta get everyone to BELIEVE the need is there.  The same should be done for issues involving education, job growth, etc.  I will say that John Edwards is taking this approach and taking on the issue of poverty...we need many, many more such intiatives.
              •  Maybe the problem (4.00)
                is that we're a party of leaders. Leaders inherently go their own way, expecting others to follow. But unlike the Republican party, the "hive-mind," the Democrats are comprised of free-wheeling intellectuals capable of thinking for themselves and thinking on their feet.

                The strength of the "one-mind, one-voice" party mindset, as evidenced by the idiots in power, is that it is easier to sell something if it is simple, easy to pitch, easy to understand and can be repeated ad infinitum on TV so it reverberates in the collective unconscious. The weakness of this approach is that it is functionally impossible for an ideology to govern a nation. Thus our fearless leader in a Florida classroom, or on vacation, or taking a bike ride, or otherwise out to lunch when the business of state is at hand.

                Forget about unifying the message. Let's concentrate on finding a leader we can trust to make decisions, knowing that since we're all leaders in some sense (and want to set our own policy agendas) we'll never agree with everything he or she says or does. We micromanage too much. We have lots of leaders, let's just pick one - carefully - and work like hell to get the White House.

                •  Agreed that we need a strong representative, but (none)
                  let's never forget that we the people are the leaders.  The greatest success of the Republican party has been to convince Americans that we can't trust our own judgement as much as that of politicians of a certain brand, thus the birth of the hive mind-set.

                  In a representative democracy, leadership should mean charting the best course toward accomplishing the will of the people, not determining what the people should be thinking and charting the way toward that goal through subverting public opinion.

                  Only in times of unanticipated imminent danger should politicians be striking out on their own with the style of cowboy leadership sold by the Republicans.  When put to the test, through 9/11 and Katrina, the Bush administration has utterly and devastatingly failed.  In both cases, the response was delayed long enough to craft an agenda and marketing plan that met the needs of their narrow corporate interests.

                  I want a representative leader who will make me believe in America again.  I want someone who will earn my trust by trusting me.  I want someone who will speak to the interests of the majority, not the interests of the highest bidder.  I don't want a leader who views the opinions of a large group of citizens as a threat rather than an opportunity.

                  Living proof that not every Southern white guy is stupid enough to vote Republican.

                  by SouthernBlueNeck on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 04:29:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Strongly agree (4.00)
                Leaders aren't found, they're home-grown. And we're not going to grow any leaders, let alone a miles-deep bench like the Republicans have, unless we start building from the ground up, and that means real work from every one of us here, and the millions of others out there who are on our side but not on this blog.

                I realize this is not a comfortable or welcome thing I'm about to say, but this means YOU (and me, too). We have to go out and join our local Democratic parties. We have to give money and raise money so our local candidates can run decent campaigns. We have to run for our local community boards, school boards, town councils, or whatever is the first rung of the political ladder in our own community. We have to step out from behind the keyboards, put our own asses on the line, and take responsibility. We are not just the netroots, WE are the grass roots.

                The Republicans started doing all these things 40 years ago, and while they may have started out in a better place financially, they sure didn't start out in a better place demographically. The only way we can take back our country is through determined, sustained bottom-level organizing and campaigning, with a horizon of decades, not campaign cycles.

                First things first.

                As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

                by sidnora on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:26:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  First Stop: Local Democratic Committee (none)
                  Quite a coincidence.  I woke up this morning determined to find out if my local Democratic committee has anyone lined up to run against my Republican Congressman. So your comment really spoke to what is on my mind.  All the work I've always kind of assumed was being done by "political types" turns out to be work that I (and thousands of others who feel the same way) need to do to help rescue the country.
                  •  Yup. (none)
                    It's on us. In some places, very red or very small, it'll be easy to establish an electoral presence if only we try. In those places the battle line is clearly drawn against the Republicans. In others, it will be harder: my community is very blue, but our local Democratic organization is corrupt, entrenched, lazy and motivated mostly by self-interest. They forgot the meaning of GOTV long ago, except for when it affects them personally.

                    We're working on it, but it's got to be done, no matter where we live.

                    As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

                    by sidnora on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:50:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You have hit the nail (4.00)
                  on the head. Most people just complain and don't join their local Democratic party. We must change this mind set or else we will just keep losing local, State and National elections.
          •  maybe if we saw some unity... (none)
            ...from the Dems in Congress, we might be inspired to unify. Instead, we see Democratic congresspeople voting with the enemy unable to vote a unified party line.

            THAT's why I'm batshit; what's your excuse?

            don't always believe what you think...

            by claude on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 05:12:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Unity behind what or who? n/t (none)
          •  Consider the difference when Conyers post (4.00)
            People who may not agree with his message or policy don't attack him because everyone is so glad to see someone acting like a leader.
        •  What ever happened to Kerry's plans to (none)
          provide healthcare for Children?  He sent out the ad discussing how he was going to return to the Senate after the Presidential race and push for it, but I haven't heard anything.
        •  What happened (none)
          that was the voice of opposition?

          "who's the last man to have to die in...."

          "You can't awaken a man who pretends to be asleep."-Navajo saying.

          by quartzite on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:52:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you cannot start criticizing everything (none)
          the year you run for president. you need to start criticizing the corruption long before that.
      •  'Sigh' (none)

        --I am going to keep saying it:  the reason why you are still waiting and will continue to wait is that while you were waiting, the Democratic Party changed irrevocably and will not be able to give you what you want.  

        The only way to get what we want is to think of our opposition independent of a party - to build the core constituency and advocacy for change and then one of two things will happen.  The current Democratic Party will follow us or 2) we will make another party that will become the defacto progressive/liberal focus for opposition.

        There is no other way, unfortunately.  The current Democrats have already told you and others about their decision. They have behaved consistently with that message by not supporting the things you would like them to support and by failing to "oppose" things that you want them to oppose. The only thing that you have right now is YOUR denial of reality - cause make no mistake, the Democrats have been telling you and us this same message for a while now.  The thing that is holding up our solving this is our own denial and time wasted trying to put lipstick on the pig of the old Democratic Party trying to make it something that can represent our interests or do anything but support the corporotist power structure that is pulling their strings.

        I am getting used to being not listened to much less agreed with - and that is ok cause I know that I am right and as much as I regret the wasted time it takes to get you all to finally accept reality, I know that we have no choice but to go through this process until you have the truth come home to you once and for all.  Till then, I will be sitting on board the ship, next to the tea - waiting for you.  I will wait however long it takes cause I/we need your help - all of you.  But we can only use you if you are ready to work from reality and not stay in mourning about what is past and unretrievable...tomorrow awaits our strength and hopeful efforts....

        Stop Looking For Leaders - WE are the Leaders!!!

        by SwimmertoFreedom04 on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 02:25:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Very Good (4.00)
      Mr. Obama is very articulate, but in a blog format, I wish he'd cut to the chase.  Democrats are for the common good. In order to achieve the common good, we have to recognize that we are a commonwealth and we share.  The Democratic party lifts people up!  We're not about rewarding the few lucky enough to be born or strike it rich.  We are a commonwealth for the common good.

      Winning without Delay.

      by ljm on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:38:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Platitudes (none)
        Even good platitudes are no substitute for reasoned, nuanced analysis. If politicians could get elected simply saying "I'm for the common good!" they would. But how to best achieve the common good is a highly complex set of questions that any one of us only has an extremely partial and incomplete answer to.

        The Soviet Union was explicitly structured around a highly-advanced intellectual analysis of how to achieve the maximum common good. There was great beauty in the premises, and in some cases great care in the execution. The same can be said for Maoist China. Boy did they ever realize that "Corporations are evil"!

        There are no simple answers or programs -- there never have been in human history (aside from, say, getting doctors to wash their hands often -- and even that was very complicated to put over in the medical establishment a century ago). If we insist on simple political messages, we'll either get simpletons or liars as office holders -- or at best people who treat us like children who can't really understand or participate in the discussions of adults.

        Obama is speaking to us as adults. And here we're responding like children, complaining that the concepts and nuances are just too much trouble for us, why should we have to stretch our minds or learn anything new, anyway? We know who our little group is in school, and we agree in our group on what the correct opinions are on everything, and anyone who says otherwise is just stoopid. Yeah.

    •  I know (none)
      "Pretty simple, really." I mean, what exactly do these guys think their there for? If I wanted a bunch of potted plants, I would head to the nursery down the street.

      What we need is our own version of "Mr. Speaker, I paid for this microphone!"

    •  But you have to do it in a way (none)
      that doesn't scare them.

      I agree with Obama that the uninformed mid westerner finds us exotic and radical . . . and scary.

      We can only win them over by appealing to their reason and finding common ground.   We don't have to give up our own values.

      •  Wrong. (none)
        The political history of the midwest shows why Obama is out of step with it.  The expectation here -- see the history of populism, of progressivism, etc. -- is straight talk about substance and a plan of action, not tut-tutting about "tone."

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

        by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 09:48:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What an awesome quote (none)
          Is that in one of her songs?   Which one?
          Now I've got to go up to the itunes music store and
          listen to Carly.
          •  Let The River Run (none)
            -- the theme song for the movie "Working Girl," actually.  And do go hear it -- preferably where you can turn up the volume when the drums come in . . . and preferably where you won't be seen, because you just have to get up and DANCE!

            Some smart Dem politician will use this as a theme song, as every verse, every word, resonates so well today.

            Let the River Run

            We're coming to the edge,
            running on the water,
            coming through the fog,
            your sons and daughters.

            Let the river run,
            let all the dreamers
            wake the nation.
            Come, the New Jerusalem.

            Silver cities rise,
            the morning lights
            the streets that meet them,
            and sirens call them on
            with a song.

            It's asking for the taking.
            Trembling, shaking.
            Oh, my heart is aching.

            We're coming to the edge,
            running on the water,
            coming through the fog,
            your sons and daughters.

            We the great and small
            stand on a star
            and blaze a trail of desire
            through the dark'ning dawn.

            It's asking for the taking.
            Come run with me now,
            the sky is the color of blue
            you've never even seen
            in the eyes of your lover.

            Oh, my heart is aching.
            We're coming to the edge,
            running on the water,
            coming through the fog,
            your sons and daughters.


            It's asking for the taking.
            Trembling, shaking.
            Oh, my heart is aching.
            We're coming to the edge,
            running on the water,
            coming through the fog,
            your sons and daughters.

            Let the river run,
            let all the dreamers
            wake the nation.
            Come, the New Jerusalem.

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

            by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:57:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Run for Office! (4.00)
    I'll run your campaign!

    "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." - George W. Bush

    by 5oclockshadow on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:51:00 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the offer (4.00)
      But I prefer to be behind the curtain. Maybe I should run your campaign. :)
      •  I'm only recommending one Obama diary (none)
        And this one is it.

        Regarding running for office and recruiting staff: any candidate who ignores the wealth of talent at dKos is a fool.


        You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

        by AlphaGeek on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:00:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think I've logged in for over a month (4.00)
          but I logged in to recommend this diary.

          Something doesn't feel right. The past month my jaw has been on the floor constantly with what is going on in the world.

          SOMETHING DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT!! It's not just how badly the Republicans are fucking up; they always do that.

          Something doesn't feel right about the Democrats. It's almost like they are now being confronted by a choice. Do I give up my cushy, air-conditioned, well-heeled, lobbyist-enabled position, OR, do I do the right thing?

          Why, why would someone of conscience even pause on the question?

          •  Georgetown parties (4.00)
            Who wants to invite "Debbie Downer" to their Saturday night soiree in Georgetown? They don't want anybody showing up who's going to start debating poverty for crying out loud.

            Dick should go Cheney himself in the George Bush.

            by Joe Willy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 04:21:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's time for us to get over ourselves already (none)
            Didn't anyone learn anything from the Dean debacle? I supported Dean as well - in fact, I voted for him in the primary after he withdrew, because I wanted to make my statement and was unhappy with the other candidates.

            But I've said it before and I'll say it again. Besides not understanding the importance of how he appeared in conventional media, I believe one of Dean's biggest mistakes was his righteousness over his anti-war position. Yes he was right. But you can be right without being righteous. WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO CHANGE PEOPLE'S MINDS, IT IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO USE THE 'WE WERE RIGHT AND YOU WERE WRONG' APPROACH.

            This is the environment that Senator Obama is working in. If you'd like to try to turn the political tide sometime before the next century, it will be a lot easier to encourage people to come over to your side than to belittle them for not always voting the way you wanted. Belittling and intimidation may work when you're already in power. It doesn't work to change people's minds. Try to understand human nature here. It is hard enough for people to admit to themselves that they were duped by a demagogue. Clobbering them over the head with that fact thta you think they were spineless or clueless does not necessarily help the process.

            •  The only thing I do seriously - and it is not (4.00)
              follow politics - is try to understand human nature.
              I've spent my whole life trying to understand human nature.

              I don't call people stupid or spineless. People call me "Switzerland" because I don't judge them.

              You know what I know about human beings? I know that they rationalize, as Dr. Freud said. They invent a reason why they do the irrational things that they do.

              "Rationalization: A defense mechanism in which a plausible reason is unconsciously invented by the ego to protect itself from confronting the real reason for an action, thought, or emotion." (Gerald C. Davison; John M. Neale: Abnormal Psychology, Eighth Edition)

              Senator Obama is not dealing with reality; he's dealing with rationalization. He's answering the call of the abused person; he's answering the call of the in-the-dark person. He's making it seem that Democrats who don't fight have a good, logical reason for not fighting. He's intimating that they have a long range plan. How many people here believe that they have a long range plan?

              You know why Bush had an upswing in his polls this week? We don't want to believe that our president is a doofus. I don't want to believe that. I specifically DIDN'T VOTE FOR THE MAN TWICE, yet, when he stood in Jackson Square a little while back, I wanted him to say the right things; I want him to do the right things.

              I am not a Democratic activist. I have NEVER given money to a politician. You know why? Because I care about human beings. I care about our planet. Yet I'm here on this site, for a year now, lurking almost every day. Why?

              I feel like Senator Obama cares too. But I think he's rationalizing to keep the caring side of himself from coming out now.

              The society we have now in America is rotten to the core. Do I have a link? Proof? Am I rationalizing? Are the Democrats going to fix things?

              •  Gee, (none)
                I sound like a big asshole with my remark about not giving money to politicians because I care. I'm sorry about that. I know so many on this site do that because they care about the state of the world.

                Just color me really pissed right now! And IR-rational.

              •  Strategy and Tactics (none)
                Working to elect progressives is a great ong-run strategy in addition to cultivating existing Democratic officeholders to support a more progressive agenda.  

                If you think it's an even better strategy to try to alienate and/or defeat every Democrat who hasn't voted 100% the way you want, fine. Personally, I don't have the patience to wait for that turnover to happen. I don't think the country can wait that long - there's incredible damage being done, and every year we wait makes it that much harder to undo it.

                I don't have a ton of confidence in much of the current Democratic party either - that's why I'm a registered independent. But every Democrat who voted for the war in Iraq isn't necessarily Lieberman.

                I don't support Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate, for example - I'm really angry she voted for the war. But I wouldn't try to defeat her in a primary in a New York race for Senate. I think that overall, she's still a decent Senator.

                I think Obama wants to help move some middle-of-the-road Democrats closer to the progressive side as American public opinion turns. One way to do this is to give them political cover to do so. One way NOT to do so is to attack them in public.

            •  Dean was gutted by the media (4.00)
              because he opposed corporatism.

              He wasn't wrong and he wasn't overly righteous.  Once the media owners started to see him as a potential President they knew they had to undo him.  

              "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." - George W. Bush

              by 5oclockshadow on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:28:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well yes (none)
                Dean was covered extremely unfairly by the media and I'm still ticked off about it, especially when you compare it to the free ride Bush was getting. But I'd suggest people stop whining about it and figure out how to deal with it.

                Dean wasn't blameless. He completely underestimated the power of conventional media and started believing Trippi and the echo chamber about how the Internet and the blogosphere could counteract conventional media.

                Guess what? It couldn't. Not yet, anyway.

                A great politician would have figured out how to work the media to help get his message out.

                Obama is a rare progressive who is able to articulate a progressive agenda in a way that plays well to mainstream America AND on TV. I'd suggest we treasure that, not crap all over it.

                And I stand by my contention that Dean was overly righteous over his antiwar stance. I was 100% against the war, and after awhile, I'd start cringing when I'd hear him talk about how right he was and how wrong everyone else was. It was the wrong way to try to move public opinion.

                Look at who helped move public opinion. Cindy Sheehan. Look at her methods. As far as I've heard, she is not out attacking politicians outside the Bush administration who supported the war, and she of all people certainly has every right to.

              •  No.. (4.00)
                Actually Dean was gutted by the political media because in the rock-scissors-paper war, he was the TNT.

                The conventional political media are terrified of someone who's going to move past the typical left-right divide, and start leading not by polls, but by good ideas.

                They're terrified of the next FDR.

                This is our story...

                by Karmakin on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:47:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I've never read a politician (none)
              blogging here with such a self-righteous tone as Obama's.  You've got it backwards.

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

              by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well and good (4.00)
              But what Mr. Obama was advocating was fundamentally wrong.

              Now amount o great oratory on tone is going to change the fact that we cannot continue to accommodate an intractable enemy of progressive and American principles which is at the core of the GOP.

              So stop BSing me about tone and being congenial, setting a better appealing voice to things when the bottom line is that Roberts should not have been confirmed because the Executive told the Congress to go fuck itself when it demanded to know about who they are appointing to a lifetime position as head of the Judicial branch. And the list goes on and on, form Bankruptcy bills, to the IWR vote, on and on.

              Fine, talk nice, speak softly and be congenial, but fucking don't cede an inch in the votes. Articulate in nice friendly ways why the GOP world-view is a disaster and why progressivism is at the root of everything good and noble about America. Speak about it in ways that are not in your face, but for fucks sake speak about! And critically, follow it through with real substance and not cede an inch when it comes to the votes.


              Mitch Gore

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

              by Lestatdelc on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:34:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Right On!! (4.00)
        Claiming that a politician is absolved of responsibility for any problem because the people don't know enough to care about it basically nullifies the politicians position in a representative government.  We pay these guys to read the fine print, understand the issues, and to LEAD us in the best direction for the commonwealth.

        It is funny how this morning I woke up thinking about Mary Landrieu this morning and her state's requestion for a huge federal program to rebuild.  I know she would never have approved of this kind of before because her consituency is so conservative as she probably is as well.  Now she is an FDR Democrat all of a sudden.  People like my Grandparents benefitted greatly from FDR's programs but still passionately hated him.  What if FDR had worried about their opinion?  Not only would they have suffered, but we as a commonwealth would have suffered.  

        Katrina has been a great exercize in understand what meaningful leadership is.  The ship is still rudderless five weeks later.  I kind of don't care who decides to become a leader at this point, but I am keenly aware like most other citizens that there are none among our government representatives at the moment.

        Senator Obama is wrong that people don't know what is going on.  They have seen lives lost because of that lack of leadership and common sense.  Ignore them at your own peril, Senator Obama and friends.

  •  You are right but wrong about the New Deal (4.00)
    The New Deal did not benefit everyone. Everyone is rubbing their heads about what happened in New Orleans.  If more whites would step back and understand there has never been a fair playing field for blacks, then they would not have been so horrified about the poverty in New Orleans.  Or maybe they just pretended to be horrified because it was too embarrassing to admit many people in this country must live this way.

    You are right on the mark of lack of leadership!

    No stinking party owns my vote. They are all in bed with each other.

    by pmob5977 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:51:55 PM PDT

    •  I never said it did help everyone (4.00)
      I don't know where you got that from. It wasn't in the text of my post, nor was it implied.

      I said the principle of our commitment to each other was embodied in the New Deal.

      Quite a different thing.

      The New Deal was flawed. But that principle is not. And it is that principle we must restore.

      •  When you said ALL AMERICANS (4.00)
        I assumed you meant everyone.  

        "I believe, in part, that emptiness is derived from the loss of our shared  commitment to one another. To our neighbors, to our communities, to all Americans. A commitment that was embodied in the New Deal, the Great Society and even the Apollo missions to the Moon. A commitment that has been replaced by the social Darwinism of the radical right. That has been sacrificed on the alter of the free market."

        I understand the point you were trying to make but the point I was making was that not all Americans benefited from the New Deal. I think it is important to clarify this fact.

        No stinking party owns my vote. They are all in bed with each other.

        by pmob5977 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:15:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  CYA (3.33)
    That Obama post was just a CYA post after he was under fire first time around voting for Condi.

    IMO, if he wants to defend his voting for Robert, then he should make complete legal argument and the ramification instead of rambling all over the place.

    That sort of post we can appreciate. Everybody makes calculated decission, it may cost him in the future but it also will result in praise if his reasoning is correct.

    Rambling post, usually just invite more puzzlement. (ie. he is wasting people's time to cover something he knows he can't defend with 'bla bla bla'.)

    Incidentally, has anybody ask Obama about Condi Rice dysmal performance yet? He OWNS his Condi vote, and Condi is not exactly 'performing'

    • Ferragamo of freedom
    • Losing Russia and central Asia
    • Losing China
    • MIA in Asean meeting
    • relationship with Europe is as bad as ever
    • We lost significant goodwill from ALL middle east major allies (Saudi, egypt) Also Turkey

    CONGRATULATION OBAMA, You OWN your Condi vote.

    You eff up pal.

    •  He didn't vote for Roberts. (none)
    •  Condi is doing as well as anybody could (none)
      given that she has to push Bush's policies.  It's the vile policies that get us hated.  Condi's job is to wrap it up in a nice palatable package - and she tries - it's just that there's nothing to be done.

      (Except for the shoe shopping.  Now THAT was inexcusable.  But that wasn't on the SoS question list.)

      •  Isn't it implied... (none)
        ...that she agrees with policy by doing the job?  I understand that loyalty is number one priority with this Admin.  Condi is there.  No excuses.
      •  On of the weirdest comments (none)
        I have ever read anywhere! Bizarre. Have another drink.

        For every complex problem there is a simple solution that is completely wrong.

        by MarkInSanFran on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:37:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Condi has not ever done her job (4.00)
        Every bit of information about the 9/11 attacks that our government had — and there were a LOT of bits — went to her desk when she was the NSA.

        Press drafts of a speech she was to give on 9/11 (or maybe 9/12, can't remember anymore) barely mentioned the word terrorism. While the FBI, CIA and every other information-gathering entity we have were all screaming about an impending attack, that keynote speech was about missile defense. "Terrorism" barely existed for the Bushies because in pre-9/11 days there was no money to be made from it.

        Even post-Brownie, Condi's Cat5 incompetence will be remembered by the historians.

    •  Then why wait 8 months after the Condi vote (none)
      to write this diary?
    •  Flame away. (3.50)
      I think Rice should have been confirmed.  She was well within being reasonably qualified.  Can we please get off this bullshit about demanding that democrats vote against every Bush appointee.  Of course we don't like them.  Bush won the election, so he gets to choose his nominees, not us.  If someone (say Bolton) is just obviously not qualified fine.  But bitching and moaning because that's not who WE would pick is ridiculous.  I can personally see why someone would vote yes or no for Roberts.  I think there's an argument to be made that he is/isn't qualified. If we wanted the nominees that we think would be perfect we should have won the goddamn election.  Now, flame away and reply with every way that Condi is bad, without addressing the fact that she was qualified for the job.  

      Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

      by MatthewBrown on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:22:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You, sir, are insane (4.00)
        The woman "misstated" information that led us to war because she "missed it" in her inbasket.  She has demonstrably lied to the world and led us into WAR, and you say she is qualified to be Secretary of State?

        She is reasonably mistrusted around the world yet she is qualified to represent us to the leaders of said world?

        Give me a break.

        •  The only problem is (none)
          that the only people that "demonstably" showed this were liberal bloggers.  Nothing was ever "official".  You're putting me in the position of defending her personally.  I hate her.  All I'm saying is that, on paper, she was qualified for the position.  Again, I can see why congressman would give a yes or no vote.  There is a pathos developing here that wants Dems to oppose every nominee.  Of course we all don't like BUSH's nominees, but we can't oppose them all.  I'm a little more farsighted.  When there's a Dem in the White House, you would have to accept Repubs blocking every nominee b/c they don't like them.      

          Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

          by MatthewBrown on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:22:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no way (4.00)
            Even not knowing all her failure now as SoS, she was an utter disaster as NSC head.

            • Osama determined to strike inside the U.S.?
            • I didn't read the NEI?
            • then lying to public. (mushroom cloud, WMD, Missile defense speech planned around sept 11,)

            as an NSC she failed to prevent one of the biggest domestic attack in history.

            As an SoS, she is a big failure. It may not be as obvious as lying about WMD, but observe Iraq slide to bigger disaster, lost of major allies in middle east (Egypt, Saudi, Turkey) Those are all big diplomatic failures with serious consequences. The whole thing will soon turns into visible cost.

            At least Collin Powell can hold our allies together from not running away. But Condi can't.

          •  asdf (4.00)
            I think MatthewBrown is actually helping to highlight the real problem with Obama and his diary...  He writes, "the only people that "demonstably" showed this were liberal bloggers."  And that is exactly why the Obama diary ticked me off so much.  Because it serves as a perfect example of an issue where our leaders (Obama, et. al.) failed to do their job.  And then he comes here and tells us to capitulate, because he enjoys smooth sailing so much more than rough and tumble politics.

            So MBrown is being calm and analytical in his assessment.  He is 'right' because people like BO failed to demonstate the facts.

            And how many times has this happened?  Would Obama have made waves and forced Brownie out of FEMA?  Or would he have just maintained a pleasant tone?  It was the bloggers that had to make that happen.  And I'm sure there is a long list of these examples.

      •  Qualifications (4.00)
        The President chooses his nominees with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Rice's lies about aluminum tubes and Niger, and her inaction in the face of the Clarke 2001 memos and the 8/6/01 PDB unqestionably render her unqualified.  Just because this is well known here, and not generally, does not mean it is not true.

        The policies the unqualified Rice advocates are engandering all of us. Have you heard her advocate accelerating the pace of destruction of Soviet Nukes to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism?

        Will you be arguing that she is "qualified" when this (far more serious) ignoring of an "August 6 briefing" results in the nuking of a city?

        Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Emperor Claudius

        by Upper West on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:55:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Condi was the right vote (none)
      Why?  Because of her relationship to Bush, Bush lets her be the kind of Secretary of State that Powell might have wanted to be.  Powell wanted to deal with the North Koreans from the get-go, as Clinton had, but Cheney and the neo-cons reined him in.  Since Condi has more juice with the idiot, she can actually execute.
      •  Except she didn't (none)
        • She actually go back to negotiation with north Korea.

        • She lost middle east and central asia.

        • The only birhgt spot is gaza withdrawal. But even that is filled with bombing and Israel attack.

        She basically muddles through and get nowhere quick. It will cost us a lot specially with Asia and Europe where her presence is a complete running joke.
        •  No... (none)
          She actually go back to negotiation with north Korea.

          She got the deal. She got Bolton out of there, put in Chris Hill, and she got the deal Bush should have gotten 4 years ago.

          She lost middle east and central asia.

          Are you talking about the alienating effect of the Iraq war?  Agree, but that happened before she got to State.

          The only birhgt spot is gaza withdrawal. But even that is filled with bombing and Israel attack.

          I don't know how much credit I'd give her for that.  She has changed the tone of the administration slightly, and she's not getting bullied by the Pentagon like Powell was.

          She wouldn't be a good SoS for most Presidents, but for someone as intellectually insecure as Bush, who needs to know someone closely in order to trust them, she's the best we can hope for.

          •  No deal yet (none)
            • No deal yet. It's all promise to be discussed next meeting. No documnet has been signed. Everybody in the know just chuckles it seems. see here:

            • No I am talking about Egypt (that forcing Egypt to do fake electionis pissing off a lot of established elite and really doesn't change egypt politics in real way), Saudi (oil price, observe how it goes up and down), Turkey (kurdish, Iraq)

            • About gaza, I think you are right. But you have to hand it to her some credit. She is able to smack Bush to make him stfu and not to promise anything to Sharon. Sharon always goes around powell and talk to Bush destroying/messing up any weekly plan.
  •  Sorry abou the above link- Here it is again (none)

    No stinking party owns my vote. They are all in bed with each other.

    by pmob5977 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:53:19 PM PDT

    •  Wow. Thanks for the link. (none)
      I never lived in the South, nor was this covered in American History.

      The children of the poor perish in their beds, while the blastocysts of the wealthy are preserved for all eternity

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:17:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  New Deal discrimination was in the North (none)
        as well, and the West, for heaven's sake -- wherever minorities (Native Americans, for example, as well as African Americans) and women lived.  White women also were left out of the New Deal, even before the New Deal, because of one of FDR's first policies:

        To fire women from federal government posts because men were the wage-earners in his world, no matter that many women were single and supporting themseves or the heads of fatherless households.

        And that is taught in many American history textbooks.  If not in the ones in your schools, ask your school board to do a better job in buying them.

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

        by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:02:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm fascinated by the Obama Mania here today. (none)
    Not fascinated enough to post a rant or anything, mind you -- but I'm working up to it.
    •  Why? (none)
      Mania? Fascinated? Please give us a teaser.
    •  What always fascinates me (4.00)
      is the way people always complain that polititions don't talk to them, and then many complain about what they said.

      People don't seem to understand that not everyone thinks the way they do. And I think the most important thing he said was that people on blogs tend to go ballistic because of one vote. It's kinda dumb. People were calling Feingold a "traitor" for voting for Roberts. A friggin traitor. Save that shit for Rove/Franklin/Libby/Cheney.

      I'm not slamming this diary, nor the diarist. But I do have a problem with many people who claim that Obama doesn't get it.

      It's just possible that he does and the rest of us don't.

      •  I think he gets it. (4.00)
        I just hope we go to the next step...if you get it, then start working to offer solutions.  

        I do agree that we must see that not everyone agrees with us.  I've long since come to terms with the fact that my political views are often out of the norm to a certain extent.  But we gotta start somewhere....

      •  Well put (4.00)
        Everyone here keeps going on about how Dems dont stand up for each other, how Biden slams Dean and he shouldnt have, etc. But then when a Dem stands up for another Dem as Obama did for Leahy, oh, well, that's stupid, because it's a vote you didnt like. Dont get me wrong, I think voting for Roberts wasnt the right thing to do, but to call someone with the record of Feingold a traitor is just awful. And I think that's what Obama is trying to get across. You cant go absolutely ballistic over one vote like that.  

        So rumor has it that President Bush is drinking again. Sure, why not, he's got everybody else drinking.-Dave Letterman

        by jj32 on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:05:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Defending Dems (none)
          if they are Dems fighting for what Dems and progressivism are about is legit. Defending Dems who act and vote as enablers fo the GOP do not deserve defense, they deserve a pink slip.


          Mitch Gore

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

          by Lestatdelc on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:41:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Becauseof one vote?? (none)
            So Feingold, Leahy, Wyden, should all just leave the Dem party cuz they voted for Roberts?  I gues individual people can certainly have a litmus test, but I dont think it helps to have one when you are trying to build a party.

            So rumor has it that President Bush is drinking again. Sure, why not, he's got everybody else drinking.-Dave Letterman

            by jj32 on Sun Oct 02, 2005 at 08:39:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  If Obama Didn't Want Any Feedback, (4.00)
        he wouldn't have posted.

        Senator Obama, here's my feedback:

        Don't rely on the attitude of the general public to gauge what your responses should be to Administration policies and actions.  The general public does not follow what's happening in Washington and it's up to you and it's up to us to educate them.  You lead, and we'll follow.

        We are at a distinct disadvantage.  We don't have truthfulness in the press and other media.  We're heavy on media whitewash.  The people should be told.  Until they are, it makes no sense at all to use them as a barometer.  If the Democratic leadership insists on doing this, we're lost.

        •  right on! (4.00)
          america is deeply tired of politicians who run their policies based on focus groups.

          come out for something or against something, with a stand you truly believe in, then let the f*cking chips fall where they may.

          americans (at least, those on the internets) would respect an honest stand than a popular one.

          join the skippy challenge to raise money for katrina relief!

          by skippy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:51:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  According to the polls, (4.00)
            not just 'Murricans on the Internets want leaders to have principles.  Isn't the "fact" that Bush "stands for something" what got him elected?  Why are we all forgetting this?  Why is it any different for Dems?  The idea that not standing for something makes us somehow more "reasonable" makes me crazy.  It's like the Dem pols are hiding that there's no there there by refusing to stand for anything.  I could forgive most votes I don't agree with except for the bankruptcy bill vote.  There is no conceiveable way that benefits the country as a whole, it was written solely to benefit greedy corporations.  So that one is my bottom line.  Yours may be different - I know for many women, the right to control their bodies is the bottom line.  For some of us, it's the war in Iraq.  Our bottom lines are different, and that is Ok - but we need our leaders to at least vote for the Common Good, not the enrichment of the privileged, and engage in debate about what the Common Good is.  That idea was never even broached by the pols during the teeny, tiny window of discussion time during the stealth bankruptcy bill.  At least there is a conversation about abortion, the war - but I hear very little national discussion about the nature of the common good, and that is what I am waiting to hear discussed by our so-called Democratic, so-called "leaders".
            •  Common Good (none)
              That sounds fine. Maybe the Democrats can start focusing on the Common Good in policy and PR. The sound of it would go over fine: if they could only now figure out what they think the basic common good might be.
            •  Last election (none)
              I thought Kerry did an admirable job of articulating a vision of the common good.  If the media doesn't want to report it and/or the electorate doesn't want to hear it, or doesn't buy it, well, what can ya do?  At the end of the day voters make choices and they're not always the choices that I would like them to make.

              "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

              by fishhead on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:30:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  On one vote... (none)
          The only way to gauge a politician who was elected to support our views -- not his -- is by their voting record. And you are only as good as you last vote. If the people of Illinois wanted fealty to the  current administration then they would have elected a Republican. If you are not communicating with you elected representatives regarding their voting then shame on you. If they vote in a way that is against the democratic principles (whatever they may be) then they should be history.
      •  I think he was lecturing us. (none)
        I think he was telling us how to be and what to accept. He was not having a dialog.

        Future Democratic presidential candidates: We NEED a sustainable ENERGY PLAN now!

        by lecsmith on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:26:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Politicians talking AT them (none)
        and not with them is the complaint -- politicians talking about anything but issues.  A politician talking not about substance but about "tone" in times such as these is out of touch, at least with this blog where people come to talk about issues.

        Obama obviously didn't spend a week lurking, reading what this blog is about, by the rules of this blog.:-)

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

        by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:05:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So I'm right. (none)
          You don't like what he had to say.

          The fact is that tone is a very important factor. Both the highly partisan tone and the talking down to tone. Gore was savaged for sounding as if he was talking down to the voters. And a big part of Dean's meltdown was the fact that people saw him as a rabid left partisan.

          Dean probably would have had a shot if he had read the political wind and moved back to his true place on the spectrum. Instead he stayed with the tried and true, run left in the primaries and tac back in the general, even though it was obvious that the electorate wasn't under the old rules. Dean was far more centrist than anyone else who had a shot but you never would have known it from his tone.

          Whether anyone likes it or not, tone is a huge factor in politics.

          •  And his tone was wrong (none)
            especially for this site, so he failed as a communicator.  Writing is not communication.

            So we're both right.

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

            by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 11:39:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just because what he (none)
              said was not what people wanted to hear, does not mean he failed. I would submit that that makes us more of a failure than him.
              •  I would disagree because (none)
                what people want to hear from their leaders is about substance, and what he talked about was form -- i.e., he talked about "tone" but didn't really get to the promise in his diary title of talk about "truth."  If so, we would know that Dems have a strategy about the next nominee, for one.

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

                by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:14:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Starved for communication. (none)
      That's us. I believe that Sen. Obama was speaking from the heart and telling us the truth as he sees it. When's the last time a politician told you the truth? We're like children whose mother smiled at them for the first time in a year. We may be critical of what he said, but we love it, love it, love it.

      One Utterance, one response (really!). Will there be another Utterance?

      The children of the poor perish in their beds, while the blastocysts of the wealthy are preserved for all eternity

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:22:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That was not communication (none)
        as communication is suiting the message, including the "tone," to the audience . . . and then listening.

        He did neither.  He showed that he can write, but writing is not communication.  Hollywood is a good place for good writers.  We want more than that in Washington.

        Try this: look at his title.  The first word was "tone," and that he talked about.  But the second word was "truth," and that we didn't get -- truths about any alleged strategy in the Dem votes on Roberts, about any strategy for the next nominee, about any strategy -- any "truths" -- that the Dems are using to deal with this administration's plan.

        We didn't even get truth-in-advertising in the title of his diary.

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

        by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 11:43:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well reasoned and (4.00)
    well written.  This says so much:

    "I believe, in part, that emptiness is derived from the loss of our shared  commitment to one another. To our neighbors, to our communities, to all Americans. A commitment that was embodied in the New Deal, the Great Society and even the Apollo missions to the Moon. A commitment that has been replaced by the social Darwinism of the radical right. That has been sacrificed on the alter of the free market."

    America may have become too successful in the acquiring of things -- money, houses, cars, toys.
    Before we believed that we deserved and had to have these things - we were better off.  Certainly the climb up is always better than the slide down.  

    The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

    by xanthe on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 07:59:34 PM PDT

  •  I think he gets it more than you know (4.00)
    I'm pretty disheartened by much of the reaction to Senator Barack's diary.  Your criticism that there is a leadership void is valid, but in posting today's diary, Barack took a real step towards assuming that mantle.

    More than anything, what the Democratic party lacks is unity and cohesion.  Here Obama Barack implores us to help present a better face for our party, and he is torn down for it.  Let me ask you, if we truly need leadership, when was the last time a more able, charismatic, intelligent leader has taken the time to reach out directly to you and attempted to begin the hard work of getting us all on the same page?  And while I'll agree that it would be wonderful if the party standard bearers would take the lead and coordinate themselves, isn't it possible that forces within the party make this nearly impossible and that Obama Barack is cagey enough to understand that the leaders will follow us if we lead?


    •  That's what I think (4.00)
      I don't disagree at all with Tocqueville's call for more leadership and an adherence to principle.

      But my sense is Obama gets it. And I think his plea for unity and cohesion is absolutely on mark.

      I despair of Dems ability to do that, though, and suspect too many Dems see unity and cohesion as little more than an impediment to their own individualism.

    •  Leaders following us? (none)
      Thanks for a most thought provoking post.

      Maybe, just maybe he is that cagey.

      ------- 1776 called. They want their country back.

      by EdlinUser on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:23:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Please understand (4.00)
      I am quite fond of Barak Obama. His speech at the convention was profound. I just think he missed something in his post today and I thought I would share that.

      I haven't given up on him yet by any means.

      •  Fair enough (4.00)
        But the issue isn't giving up on him or not.  It is whether we have a willingness to be unified.  I think Senator Obama gave a pretty good picture of where we should accept compromise and where we shouldn't.  And while I share much of your frustration with the mistakes of the past, this guy has just taken a bold step towards attempting to create a common language for our party.  You tell me...when and where is a better train going to come along?  

        I urge everyone in this community to re-read his diary and consider taking this man's words to heart.

        •  Do we want (4.00)
          the kind of machine the republicans have built?

          Do we want to exploit religion as no more than  a tool to win votes?

          Do we want to buy the support of corporations by promising the kind of pay back that destroys the natural world?

          Obama is asking us to stop fighting each other so that we can win elections and put good men in office. Ah, but who are these good men? No one, it seems, is good enough.

          I can tell you here and now that I would vote for Obama. I would vote for Dean. I would voter for Al Gore in a heartbeat. I would vote for Kerry, again. I would vote for Edwards, for Wes Clark, for Hillary Clinton. ..

          I am just looking for a good democrat. And I see plenty of them out there. We can't wait for the perfect candidate. We can't wait for perfect senators or governors. Look at what we've got in office now--if we get a dem who's honest, we're already ahead of the game.

        •  We'll be a lot more unified... (none)
          ...when our leaders in congress show a lot more courage in fighting the Republcans and the Bushco machine.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

          by expatjourno on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:47:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  But your words assume the worst (4.00)
        For example:

        "Senator Obama completely fails to recognize that it is our job to change those perceptions."

        How can you or I know that he does not recognize something, particularly something so obvious? Part of his message is that no one should be judged on a single action. Or, I would add, on the absence of emphasis on a particular point in a single communication.

    •  but (3.50)
      this is a friggin BLOG!!  I come here to read/discuss/argue.  And part of that discussion includes criticizing elected critters.  

      He has a blog of his own, that he hasn't updated in over a year.  And he comes here telling me(us) to behave?  In a poorly written, overly long 'diary'?  It just rubs me the wrong way.

      If you read the many many comments on these threads, we can't even agree on what the hell he was trying to say.  Some folks seem to think he was criticizing us for being 'purists'.  I read it (and god it was painful reading) as telling me I'm not allowed to hold my critters' feet to the fire when I want.  WTF?!  He is an elected official.  He will be coming to us for support, volunteer hours, money, etc.  But he doesn't think we should have opinions?

      •  He's probably had a few more pressing (none)
        issues than updating his blog or posting on Daily Kos as often as you.  The reason everyone quibbled over its meaning is because they brought their own bullshit to the table with it.  I can't even begin to fathom in what universe his diary was poorly written compared to your comment.  The mind boggles.    

        Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

        by MatthewBrown on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:15:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, but.. (none)
          once a year?  

          grasshopper's point is well taken.

          join the skippy challenge to raise money for katrina relief!

          by skippy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:41:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not really... (4.00)
            I, for one, don't give a shit whether he blogs or how often he does it, or whether that gives him the "cred" to come here and chastize us.  A high profile Senator takes the time to try to communicate with us about an issue we're talking about, but it's not good enough because he's not a "true" blogger.  Fuck that.  Not everyone blogs, knows what it is, or gives a shit about it.  Furthermore, to say that Barack fucking Obama's diary was poorly written whilest tossing around "wtf's" and the like, is drowning in an irony pool so deep it apparently cut off the oxygen to Grasshopper's brain.  I know I'm dropping the F bomb a lot but it's late.    

            Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

            by MatthewBrown on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:35:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Spot on. Have a 4 (none)

              ownership society - you are on your own

              by Sam I Am on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:32:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  more important than how often he writes... (none)
     often does he READ what we are posting here?  Is he reading the comments in his diary, and those of the other diarists yesterday and today?  

              If he is, I'd like to see some "dialogue".  If he's not reading our responses, then he's just using this site for his own purposes.

            •  no no (none)
              I'm not making myself clear if you think I am saying he isn't a true blogger or should blog more or whatever.  That would be stupid.  

              But yes, as political communication, Obama's staff writer did a poor job.

              But it's a day later so screw it.  I got nothing to add at this point that hasn't been said somewhere in the thousand+ comments on the other diaries.


      •  You need to check again buddy (none)
        You are incorrect.  It has not been a year since he updated his blog he even has podcasts on his website.  I suggest you check again my friend before  you post anymore misinformation.
        •  asdf (none)
          I'm pretty careful about that stuff.  I googled him before I wrote anything.  I was looking for a non .gov site and only found his old stuff.  But, it's moot, my point was misunderstood.
        •  I would ask that in future (none)
          you respond to my comments if you are going to 1 bomb them. That's the only way I will be able to know how I went wrong for you. In case you forget where you dropped the bomb, here's my comment:

          Obama ought to go back and read (2.50 / 2)

          the speech he gave at the last Democratic national convention. He articulated principles there that most of us  - and most of the country, I bet - could enthusiatically support. He forgot those prinicples in his recent post on dKos. Too bad, Senator. You blew it.

          The name is not the thing named, the map is not the territory. -- Gregory Bateson

          by semiot on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 17:08:00 EDT

          Thing is, I really admire Senator Obama. I was transported to a vision of a better future by his speech at the convention. But with friends like you, he's not being helped on dKos IMHO.

          The name is not the thing named, the map is not the territory. -- Gregory Bateson

          by semiot on Mon Oct 03, 2005 at 03:53:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We shouldn't mistake... (3.50)
      ...honest discussion and analysis for disunity and hopelessness. Senator Obama did reach out today. I hope he welcomes all the different viewpoints. If consensus is what we're after, then we must do the hard work of looking at every angle. We must be willing to discuss, disagree, agree, hone and learn from each other.

      We can look at our current Administration and see the result of everyone being expected to think and act alike.  Dissension, I understand, is not tolerated in the Bush White House.

      I applaud Senator Obama's post today.  I don't agree with him on much of what he said, but I think part of what he intended was to get this dialog going.  I hope I'm right.

    •  I was disheartened by all the doe-eyed people (3.75)
      cheering him. Did you guys read the same blog entry as the rest of us? It was fairly 1990s DLC boilerplate:

      1)Things really aren't that bad
      2)Even if they are, any attempt to make them better would really only make them worse
      3)Because we're not strong enough or smart enough to effect change, and besides
      4)People might not like us, therefore
      5)Any progressive change will be in tiny incremental steps over the long haul (which is always a few elections over the horizon), and
      6)The base should sit back, quiet down, and trust the leadership, ignoring the fact that half the time we're doing nothing to promote their values, and the other half we're actively working against them.

      And what was that dig (twice, I think) on pouring money into the same old programs, regardless of whether they work? Was that a slam on Social Security? Medicare? Of course we want programs that work...but that was such a blanket statement, and just kind of hung out there with no explanation.

      You know, the Roberts confirmation doesn't bother me because it my lead to a watering down of Roe, it bothers me because there was never any fight at all...or even a contrast of what a liberal nomination would look like. I mean, what kind of man gets called "F U" by the Vice-President on the Senate floor, actually calls the VP a few days later to make up, and then a few months down the road votes for the opposition in a key vote? That is just bizarre. No wonder Joe Sixpack thinks the Dems are a bunch of wimps. People's Exhibit 1: the Senator from Vermont.

      BTW: For those of you keeping score on the "issue avoidance" strategy of circumventing the nuclear option, that strategy has so far:

      1)nullified the threat of a filibuster, since people are afraid of employing it
      2)won approval of the entire slate of lower court conservative candidates, and
      3)won approval of a very young, bedrock conservative Chief Justice.

      And all that because so called leaders were afraid of going to the American public and presenting the charge that the administration would do anything in its power-indeed abuse power-to ram through nominees that were way, way to the right of the mainstream, even though polls at the time showed the "abuse of power" meme was sticking in the public mind.

      Wow. If this is winning, I don't want to see losing.

    •  LOL (2.00)
      Centrists forget that an opposition party opposes things. If Democrats can't do that, then they do appear weak to Americans who will then vote for Greens or Republicans. Why vote for a pussy Democrat who is too scared to stand for anything because they might upset the centrist who want to compromise with fascists and compromise America's hopes and dreams?
  •  Did you get the impression that, (4.00)
    in "[h]is politically adept, and necessary strategy of setting a constructive "tone"...], he was actually saying implicitly that we are the ones who should shut up and we are the ones who should  adjust our expectations to the same low level as the quieter, easier to placate, "non-ideological" people?

    I am spitting mad at this corrupt plutocratic government. I don't consider it ideological to object to the government lying to me, stealing from me, and generally behaving like organized crime.

    Why don't they see the corruption that is so deep and wide?

    Is it because they are benefitting from it? I certainly get the impression that most senators have privately decided to give up fighting and to protect their own careers and pensions.

    Future Democratic presidential candidates: We NEED a sustainable ENERGY PLAN now!

    by lecsmith on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:18:10 PM PDT

    •  hell yes (none)
      that was the impression I got.  And I've said it all upthread.
    •  I had that same impression... (none) first.  I'm not sure now.  I want to give the Senator the benefit of the doubt.  I hope he will continue this dialog with us.  Perhaps he can clarify his position and we can all learn together.
      •  Ditto (4.00)
        I've come to the same conclusion: most Democratic senators are only covering for their own cushioned cocoons. In fact they probably rather like being the minority party because it means they need to do less work, have less thinking required and bear less basic responsibility. Barak's ramblings now make me see things that way. Why doesn't the man just say something concrete, get to the point, make a real proposal, show the present power brokers up for what they are: crooks and liars? I have a proposal: each Democratic member of either house of congress state in ten sentences what the basic premise is of their political career. They are not allowed to mention the following: religion (including any god), constitution, flag, troops, patriotism, American way of life, founding fathers and all the other razzmatazz Reganite cliches which have been choking us to death for as long as anyone can remeber.
      •  The art of reading (none)
        Most of the so-called intellectuals on this site are not very intelligent. They don't analyze what baggage they bring to the reading of a blog. Some don't even realize that they have any baggage.
    •  Abso-motherfuckin-lutely! (none)
      The house is on fire and we're getting a stream of piss from some ineffectual collection of appeasers, whose names happen to be Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo.
    •  I didn't get that impression (none)
      I thought he was issuing a plea for party unity and discipline.  You know, the kind of thing that the Republicans have and use to their advantage.  A few months on dKos will reveal a world in which Democrats tear down Democrats with alarming regularity.  The pillorying of Kerry - even as he was running for President - was a regular feature.  Hell, who needs an opposition when Democrats do the Republicans' work for them?

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:37:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is an awesome statement (4.00)
    ... and I am happy to add my name to the recommended list.  Passivity in the face of right wing aggression and hostility is a proven path to disaster.  Leadership is not necessarily a proven path to anything -- except a devotion to reality and the truth.  

    TocqueDeville -- I have not seen your by-line here recently (which may be my fault) but I'm happy to see you back!

  •  We don't need leaders, we need followers. (3.50)
    Republicans are good followers--Democrats aren't. We are natural-born questioners who believe that challenging authority is not just a right, but practically a duty. Herein lies the huge advantage our opponents have over us. Republicans consider it 'patriotic' to let others think for them; that's 'loyalty' in their book. Obedience is their cardinal virtue; with us, it's almost a sin.

    It's not our leaders who are at fault, TocqueDeville. It's us. We don't know how to follow an intelligent leader. We can't brook the smallest disagreement or overlook the slightest foible. We need to learn that loyalty sometimes means just shutting up and following our leaders--trusting them, to use an old-fashioned word.

    It's not that they need to learn how to lead. We have great leaders in Reid, Obama and so many others. It's we who need to learn how to follow.

    •  Does this mean... (none) want to be like the Republicans?

      As I mentioned up-thread:  This President's "successes" stem directly from his refusal to hear dissenting arguments and to make informed policy decisions based on what he learns from those arguments.  Do we really want to have "successes" like those we've witnessed this President achieve?  <Iraq comes to mind.>

    •  'We'? You got a mouse in your pocket? n/t (none)

      We must have stem-cell research. How else will Congress and the media grow spines?

      by bablhous on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:19:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who is our leader? (none)
         Do we have a LEADER?
         I eagerly await an answer.  
      •  Our leader (none)
        would be the person whom a majority of Democrats chose to follow. A majority of Democrats, however, would not be able to agree on what color the sky is. This is exactly my point.

        What makes someone a leader? Followers! This is not rocket science. Our opponents' party is composed largely of people who fervently desire to be told what to think. Huge numbers of them will assemble unquestioningly under any banner reading, 'Republican.' That's the whole secret of their so-called 'framing' and 'discipline.'

        We, on the other hand, are a vast pack of lone wolves, full of doubts, critical, insatiably curious, and we won't give our allegiance to anyone or anything we haven't investigated and questioned thoroughly first.

        For this reason, we (by 'we' meaning Democrats, including any Democratic mice that may have wandered into my pocket) are constitutionally incapable of rallying behind even the best men and women in our party.

        Again, it's not their fault for 'not leading'; it's our fault, for refusing to follow ('he's not perfect,' because 'he doesn't agree with 100% of my positions,' 'he voted to confirm Roberts', etc. etc.)

        •  I followed Kerry and Edwards (none)
          Kerry failed to "lead" but I still voted for him.
           If someone leads, really leads, speaks up against this administration, tells it like it is, I'll follow.
        •  A Leader (4.00)
          I found in Howard Dean all of these qualities of a leader. And, I for the first time in my life, got involved in a political campaign.  I opened my wallet, I volunteered, I blogged I spoke to my friends.  This one man was capable of making a normally politically non-particpant, roll up his sleeves and get involved.

          Mr. Obama represents me.  I am awed by the tremendous respect and dare I say affection the people of Illinois have for him. In most quarters of the state mind you even.   He is eloquent but I must say, I personally am not impressed with him. (yet)

          He seems all too willing to cast his votes in some compromise rather than on principle.  It is one thing to not speak ill of collegue for their vote, it is another to vote in a manner and pattern that is reprehensible to Democratic ideals.  

          It is true that Progressives and Liberals are fundamentally different than our Republican cousins in terms of our propensity to think and act for ourselves.  But there should be a common thread of principle that we act by.  I don't think Senator Obama has shown that in his pattern of voting. I think he is showing his willingness to appease the Republican Majority rather than to be a bold leader like Howard Dean has demonstrated.

          So, I propose a compromise.  If Mr. Obama will show leadership by demonstrating his committment to Progressive ideas in his voting and oratory, we'll cut him some slack.    

    •  An observation (none)
      It seems at some point, everybody in the Democratic Party seems to thinks that they are a know-it-all (including myself).  So when there's a disagreement on one issue, Dems may run off in a huff or just gripe.

      That's their right, of course.

      But as the old saying goes, you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    •  Lame, totally and utterly LAME (none)
      So you just want to "win"

      You want to be a good, obedient, mindless follower

      so your party can "win"

      Is that it?

      Give me a fucking break.

      "As individual fingers we can easily be broken, but all together, we make a mighty fist" Watanka Tatanka (Sitting Bull)

      by wild salmon on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 05:11:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you can't follow a backpedaler or a groveler n/t (none)
    •  Disagree (none)
      clownservative voters aren't merely automatons.. they really, really believe in conservative philosophy and their "leaders" who champion it.. even though right now we have a so called conservative administration totally going against nearly every major tenet of conservative philosophy.. that is beside the point (for now).

      we definitely have a leadership and message problem. voters MUST be inspired to get off their asses, make the effort to get to the polls and vote.

      democratic "leaders" are NOT getting that job done.

      it's just that simple.

      losing Ohio by 100,000 plus votes and thus losing the election?


      •  You make my point. (none)
        Why have the 'clownservatives' (love this word) failed to abandon the neocons, who have betrayed their so-called 'principles' at every turn? Because to them, obedience = patriotism.  

        Unfortunately there isn't a single real, live, breathing man in this world who would look like a 'leader' to a decisive majority of Democrats. They'll pick some guy apart until there's nothing left of him to root for. Their loyalty dissolves with a single vote, a single pet cause left unsupported.

        Also, we didn't lose Ohio.  

  •  mmmmm (4.00)
    "I believe, in part, that emptiness is derived from the loss of our shared  commitment to one another. To our neighbors, to our communities, to all Americans..."


    I'ts too wet to work. Let's buy a DVD.

    by emmasnacker on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:36:19 PM PDT

  •  Statistic (3.66)
    Senator Obama also correctly points out that the majority of Americans don't share the degree of hostility so many here hold for the president and his policies. While I would argue that working Americans aren't as corporate friendly as he seems to suggest, it is probably true that most don't find them "inherently evil."

    Maybe, maybe not.

    But statistically speaking, dkos audiance is not trivial.

    Obama may meets several thousands people during his trip and maybe personally talk to several hundreds. Most probably all of them are from "friendly' audiance receptive to his presence. (how many of them going to come up to hm and say really critical thing? a couple dozens maybe?)

    While dkos, we have several million hit a days, and each big thread has several hundred posts.

    so at least if Obama is talking about statistical impression, he needs to check his math.

    •  What people think (4.00)
      What people think may be changing as we speak. I wondered when I read Senator Obama's statement that you cite, whether he gathered those impressions BEFORE Katrina, and whether he'd be getting different impressions now.

      I live in a red state and have contact with a lot of conservatives, and among some people I saw a HUGE change in attitude after Katrina. Basically, people that I am quite sure voted for Bush, are now questioning authority and openly criticizing the system and talking in more 'global' terms about issues rather than in the constant stream of cutesy Reagan-style anecdotes that usually passes for discussion. And they seem to be paying closer attention to what's going on than you'd expect.

      This is only one person's impression but I have the sense that there is some kind of monster change going on.

      •  Oh how I hope you are right. (none)
        I'd like to think so. Katrina helped, certainly... I'm just not sure how permanent those perceptions will be. I no long underestimate the power of Fox to brainwash the masses. And without persistent dem leadership to help those perceptions "gel" or "crystallize", I don't know how enduring that shift will be.

        But, skepticism aside, I do hope you are right.

      •  plus... (none)
        all politicians inside the beltway take an average of 10 years before they even smell what's really going on in america.

        i would posit that most dem leaders are still reacting to newt gingrich's revolution, not knowing that it's actually petered out.

        join the skippy challenge to raise money for katrina relief!

        by skippy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:53:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  One Problem--Evil Can Be Measured (4.00)
      It's measured in units of
      • the 1st derivative of trickle-up dollars per second
      • outsourcing per month
      • military casualites per day
      • pension-losses per week
      • right-messages-per-day over left-messages-per-day
      • stonewall-bytes per hearing
      • voter misperceptions per election
      • lies per second squared

      There are times to take the pulse of the passengers and there are times to take the helm and tack ship.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:58:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And I'd add that people would be much more likely (none)
      to say what they really think in an anonymous online environment.

      You can practice and practice all the cool things you are going to say to that hot girl sitting up front in the class but when you are face to face with her it's, "nice weather we're having, huh?"

      I think the voting booth is much closer to the online environment than is the face to face meeting with a senator, especially one who made a stirring speech during a nationally televised political convention during the campaign season of what was referred to time and again as "the most important election of our lifetimes."

  •  Just (4.00)
    think for a minute. I can not recall any anti-progressive/pro rethug issue we have had come up in recent memory where all the Dems have voted against it. Not confirmations, not legislation. But almost everytime the other side gets almost 100% support. Its almost as if we are not a political party. We do not see Dem block voting on anything anymore. The Dems in Congress seem to have the attitude of "every man for himself".

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson

    by llih on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:38:13 PM PDT

    •  But isn't that same imperative ... (4.00)
      ... common on Kos? Every man for himself, unity is nothing but uniformity and I will not give up my individualism for you! etc.? Proudly otherwise described as herding cats?

      Maybe the Dems in Congress are represeting us more true to form than we care fo admit.

      •  And yet we here ARE unified... (4.00)
        I bet everyone here at DKos despises Freeptards. Kinda like we all hate Bush.

        Yet, what we hate is defined by what we love. We hate dictators because we love freedom and democracy. If we hate Bush and the Republicans, it is because we love the Constitution, The Truth, Justice, the American Dream, etc. In the last election we made the case that "we hate Bush". What we should have done was said that "we hate bush because we love America". We would have done much better, I think.

        It's truly a shame that those high ideals aren't things that many of our leaders in congress can find it in their hearts to get behind.

      •  The difference is... (none)
        ...we don't really NEED a strategy for winning the way THEY do.  Our strategy can be more general.  They must think more tactically if they're interested in winning an issue now and then.

        I think they're easily pulled away from unity by constituency concerns and specific promises made for their districts and states.

        (I can see a straggler or two on a vote, but they seem to be doing this on purpose just to make stark raving lunatics out of the lot of us. </tiny snark>)

      •  One (none)
        can be an individual and still work for the common good. What we see is there are many who put their own careers ahead of principle, party ideology and the will of the people. We have no party platform that our party members subscribe to. I don't believe there is one progressive issue that we could get a majority of Dem politicians to agree on.
        Take the issue of the bankruptcy bill. Senator Reid said he believes people should have to payback what they borrowed. He voted for it. So there is no grey area or relief for those with real need. His vote smells of corporate interest and this guy is the leader of our party. Now we all understand that the bankruptcy bill does nothing for the American people in general. In fact it takes away the ability for those in financial trouble to get a fresh start. It only helps those in the business of lending. Now I ask you "do the lending institutions in this country need help?" I could go down the list of issues and find prominent Dems that voted on the other side on everyone of them.
        The money, power and corruption of corporations should have no place in our party. We have to start looking at the bigger picture of what is best for the majority of citizens, not this particular group or interest. If we have any hope of taking our government back from Corporate America, we have to do better as a united party.

        "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson

        by llih on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:58:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm thinking ... (4.00)
    ... we could, with just a bit of effort, make the recommended Diaries nothing but incisive critiques and sensitive --- but passionate --- discussion of Obama's diary.

    Cme on, guys! Let's give it a try! Recommend ALL Oama diries!!

  •  perception and reality (none)
    But Senator Obama completely fails to recognize that it is our job to change those perceptions.

    Yes, but don't forget it is also our job (including Obama's) to attempt to change the realities (as well as the perceptions)!

    (Note that, in some cases, this cannot be done without first changing public perception, but this isn't always the case.)

    Life is like this analogy...

    by shock on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 08:53:55 PM PDT

  •  I am not misreading the American people (4.00)
    I am an "American people". A true-blue American. I am not a political entity. I have a constituency of one. I only represent myself.

    I come here to dailyKos to learn the news that is not showing up in the MSM. I come here to Kos to find like minded people.  I come here to practice my first amendment right. Most of all, I come here to Kos to feel heard.

    The way I see it, we are the progressive version of "talk radio." Maybe dailyKos and similar sites change the political dynamic by stirring up the base.

    The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair. H. L. Mencken

    Now substitute the word party for country.

    Edward R. Murrow:We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.

    by digital drano on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:07:50 PM PDT

  •  Tocquedeville should be on the front page (4.00)
    Tocquedeville has been on fire lately.  I am very impressed with what he's been writing lately.  In this diary, as with his about the protest, he shows an excellent combination of passion, fidelity to principle and pragmatism.  That, and a great, persuasive writing style.

    Next time Kos is looking for front pagers, I'd suggest they contact Tocquedeville.  This community could do worse.

    Thanks for contributing and for so often capturing my sentiments to a T.

  •  A question... (none)
    What principled stands do you feel a candidate, regardless of party affiliation, must take before you are willing to support them?

    If we stand on principle then maybe we have a chance to change the Party.

    But first we have to identify what those non-negotiable items are.

    "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

    by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:18:25 PM PDT

    •  Let's start with the basics: (4.00)
      1. Truth (such as "they are criminals")
      2. Justice (ie, put them in jail)
      3. The American Way (restore our highest ideals and values to our government and foreign policy)
      •  Keep it basic... (none)
        Wonderful comment. This is the kind of simple creed we need to keep everybody on message. My wife keeps asking me how they get away with it. They are getting away with murder, and we are letting them. We can send the rethugs to hell by telling the truth everyday, fighting to put them in jail, and restoring the republic as we knew it. thanks.
    •  I believe in democracy (none)
      And I trust democratic concensus to determine that unifying principle. I have put forth not only what I think it should be, but what I believe it has been historically: defense of the commonwealth.

      And if, in a few years or so, a new defining principle emerges through passioned discourse and democratic concensus that is not what I believe in, I can reassess my affiliation.

      But I don't believe that will happen. I believe that fighting for the interests of the commonwealth, for ordinary Americans, against the interest of the few, is exactly what the majory of Americans want the party to be about.

      And until recently, it has always been what the party is about. It's not called the Party of the People for nothin'.

    •  Here's a couple.... (4.00)
      1. A willingness to state unequivically that global warming is a real and imminent threat. That to mitigate the effects of that threat he/she would, ASAP after assuming office implement a completely transparent, "open source", 10-15 year manhatten project style program to wean the US off of fossil fuels.

      2. A complete and total repudiation of the imperial presidency the Cheney/Bush admin has built over the last 5(8)years. A return to the separation of powers the founders intended. A promise to make government as transparent as possible with the exeption of course of items that actually pertain to national security.

      3. A complete repudiation of the anti-science/anti-education policies of the last 5(8) years. A belief that preaching should be left to the preachers and science should be left to the scientists. ID in philoshopy/politics/lit classes along side everything else, no problem; ID as science, bad, Bad, BAD!!! And did I mention fucking bad?

      How's that for a start?
  •  This Is Essential: (4.00)
    "And this is what I mean about failed leadership. It is not enough to take a poll and decide what can be done. We must change perceptions so that we may do what must be done. We must educate. We must persuade. We must lead."

    You've said it all.  The people don't know.  Who will educate them?  Who will lead us?

    Bravo.  Your diary hits the essence of why Senator Obama's diary left so many cold.  He's taking his lead from an uninformed, manipulated public.  Surely he can see what's happening in our MSM?  Where does he think the public gets information?  Does he think the public he's polling digs for answers and information the way most of us here do?

    No, they don't.  They work, they come home, they turn on the tube.  That's it.  Who has time? They think they're getting the scoop from FOX.  How can they know any different if they're not thinking critically and there's no one willing to tell them anything different?

    Yes.  Leadership is sorely needed.

    •  the thought occured to me reading your post... (4.00)
      ... that something has changed.

      Blogsites like this one have been filling the vacumn.  Instead of a few really great political leaders and jounalists informing the public it's been the blogsphere doing it.

      It's been apparent for awhile that what worthwhile information and ideas that creep into the MSM has usually been initiated and under discussion on Kos, TurningPointMemo, and other similar blogs.

      It's also quite apparent that reporters read blogs and that we are an important source for them.

      The proposition that we need to 'tone it down' may be appealing to timid politicians and entertainment news managers... but thank God that's not likely.

      "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

      by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:38:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with this... (4.00)
        ...and I also think blogs are self-correcting in a way no single pol or pundit can be.  I have often refined my first take on an issue considerably after having heard the opinions of others here and expressed some of my own.  The give and take really allows one to refine a viewpoint and zero in on his or her true feelings about and understanding of an issue.

        Many are willing to "dis" the blogs, but the fact is, the discussions usually find the essential matter naturally--like a pendulum finally coming to rest.

        Now for the right-wing blogs I'm not so sure. They're different in their intent, I think.  But perhaps they will also, in time, self correct.

        I do think we're on to something here. The sad thing is that so many are not yet involved--those people Senator Obama sees as not so awfully outraged.  This too may come.

        •  This is the essence of Kos' Big Theory . . . (4.00)
          about the netroots. It's the market of ideas made visible.

          And I completely agree with the revolution this implies. To miss this, or have a Pol tell us all to basically STFU to some imaginary commity (that's been gone since Reagan), is shocking in its backwardness. I would have used "ignorance" there, but I don't think it actually is ignorance; Obama are chosing to sit on a "rational, centrist" fence that doesn't even exist in this political environment.

          The whole day here has been quite puzzling. Scary and puzzling . . .  Who in the Dem leadership even gets this?

  •  Got to agree with the Tocque-ster (4.00)
    Obama isn't leading, he's pleading. There's no strength in the civility he pleads for. Most people really don't know what Democrats stand for, and not all because of the top down media. They have not distinguished themselves significantly. If they establish an identity, then its all good. I think Goethe said that in order to do something, you must first be something. The Democrats aren't much, sad to say.

    The Moe Sizlak Experience, featuring Homer Simpson.

    by lepermessiah on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:23:36 PM PDT

  •  We ache, we ache (4.00)
    for a leader. After 9/11, I, and I think most of the public, were ready to sacrifice. We knew America had a problem and we wanted to pitch in to fix it. What were we asked to do? Go shopping! WHAAAAAT?

    That empty, hollow feeling is still there and it has grown into frustration. I want to make a difference, I want to change the future for my children and everyone elses. I want to save America, and yes the stakes are that high. Clearly the republicans have no interest in sacrifice and only look to poiltical gain, so we turn to the democrats. Is there a leader among them? Will they come together and begin to lead. Here is the shocker, the dirty little secret, that I feel too many are missing. They do, and they will. Slowly the power of the grass roots is percolating up through the party, Feingold, Dean, Clark, Reid, Pelosi and others are starting to take charge. It will take time, but I feel things are changing.

    Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein

    by DrSpike on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:25:21 PM PDT

  •  Unfair characterization (4.00)
    what the Senator fails to acknowledge is that the "storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists" is not about one vote; it is about a pattern. It is about a history of votes that betray any sense of party identity or principles. It is not just about Democratic support for Bush's tax cuts, the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill or the confirmation of Roberts; it is about all of those votes combined.

    I didn't read a defense of Lieberman in Obama's diary. In it and his early statement about the Roberts vote, he was saying it's wrong for progressives to jump all over guys like Leahy and Feingold becuase of this one vote. There's certainly no "pattern" when it comes to Senators like those two. But that didn't stop the vitriol from many who post here.

    As for the Roberts vote, I look at the 50/50 split among Senate Democrats as just about the ideal result. It says we're reasonable but we are also not a rubber stamp (giving us credibility in terms of both fairness and toughness for the next nomination battle). Roberts really was a close call. His legal qualifications were about as good as it gets. Many who know him -- including liberals -- say he's no ideologue. Those memos he wrote in the Reagan administration were a long time ago. His refusal to answer questions meaningfully could turn out to be because Coburn and Cornyn wouldn't have liked the answers, not Leahy and Feingold. As Hatch pointed out, many left wing groups vehemently opposed Stevens and Souter, only to be very pleasantly surprised.

    If I had a vote, I would have gone against Roberts as Obama did, but it would not have been a "slam dunk." When we jump all over someone like Leahy or Feingold (who had the guts to vote against the Patriot Act, for goodness sake), we just make ourselves and our cause look bad. That is what Obama was trying to tell us, and very nicely I might add!

    "We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe." --Howard Dean

    by Jim in Chicago on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:25:57 PM PDT

    •  you know what... (none)
      every one gets a say.  including people who denigrate good senators over one vote.

      hey, that's democracy.

      would sen. obama rather we sit like good repubbbs and sing bible songs about how god loves us, and repeat an oath to our leaders, and try to silence anyone who disagrees?

      or will he welcome the myriad of different voices, including those who (perhaps wrongly, and perhaps too quickly and too loudly, but nonetheless quite independently) disagree with their elected leaders?

      what are we, chattle to show up every 4-6 years and vote, then push the paypal button when they need some $$$, only to slink back into the silent majority and shut up?

      obama gots the wrong internets if that's what he wants.

      join the skippy challenge to raise money for katrina relief!

      by skippy on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:46:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama diaried here, didn't he?! (4.00)
        If he didn't care about our voices, he wouldn't have taken the time to address us so thoughtfully and respectfully.  I wish I could say that all the comments addressed toward him on these threads were so polite and well reasoned.

        "We can win elections only by standing up for what we believe." --Howard Dean

        by Jim in Chicago on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:26:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Different leadership styles (none)
          I don't think we want all our leaders to be like Howard Dean. Now, there's nothing wrong with Howard Dean, but what is the point of having 5 just like him? I think Obama has his own distinctive style, which works for him. I think we will need his style of leadership to not only unify progressives, but to unify progressives with centrist and even moderate rightists.
      •  Poeple coertainly have the (none)
        right to vilify a Senator for one vote.

        And I have the right to say that is a stupid thing to do.

        ownership society - you are on your own

        by Sam I Am on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:42:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  diarist wasn't talking about just one Senator (none)
      The diarist was referring to a "pattern" of votes by the Democratic caucuses at large.  Where the yeas and nays line up may look different from one vote to the next, but on one issue after another, the Democratic Party as a caucus has caved.  

      This pattern has become especially infuriating this year, because Democrats have had so many golden opportunities to take the fight to Republicans -- and they've not even shown up to fight.  

      It's not any one particular vote that angers us -- it's the whole long laundry list, that just keeps growing.  

  •  Obama is dead wrong (3.00)
    the American people don't believe politicians give a damn about anybody but themselves.

    the proof is the world in which we all inhabit.

    ever see a politician go hungry? on welfare? homeless, crazy sick trying to figure out how they can pay the rent, and the children's medical bill on minimum wage, without insurance?

    neither have i, and that includes obama.

    that young man may be pretty but he forgot or never learned that the first principle of government, the very reason govrnments exist is to do justice to its citizens.

    until he is willing to put it all on the line, willing t ogive up his life and comfortable lifestyle for that like dr. King, then he might have someting to say of value. until then he can go fuck himself

  •  I agree ... (4.00)
    ...with many of your points, as I almost always do. Let me address just one, which I think is most problematic:

    But I think almost all here would acknowledge that, to some extent, we are lacking a unifying vision. And it is just not credible to attempt a dialog on inter-party tolerance and loyalty while ignoring this fact.

    Agreed. Yet every time somebody takes on the subject of what unifying principle we should have, we all end up in ... disagreement, often shrieking disagreement.

    It's easy enough when we're talking boilerplate: Fairness, justice, equality. Who doesn't agree with those? It's the details, the meat, the nuances that rile us against each other.

    In other words, we want leadership, tough, GOP-bashing leadership in what we often say is the tradition of the Democratic Party, while we conveniently gloss over some of those "traditions." But when somebody actually stands up to lead, a good portion of us will veer off and say: NOT. THAT. DIRECTION!!

    I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Democrats try to come up with a left version of the GOP Contract (on) America, which so many folks believe won the Republicans their 1994 victory, like, say, this one, only to have it nitpicked or ignored.

    We believe - most of us liberals and leftists and even some centrists, in bottom-up politics - a party that listens to its rank and file and leads accordingly. But where is OUR unity, OUR vision, OUR ... ahem ... manifesto?

    Gawd knows I'm as sick and frustrated as anyone here or elsewhere in Left wwwLand because too many Democratic officials are unwilling to stop, as RenaRF put it so well in her Diary, taking punches from the GOP and start delivering them. But, as a social-democratic leftist of the old school, I'm a believer in leadership from the bottom, and we seem too embroiled in our own disputes to provide either that OR the skeleton of a unifying vision.

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

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:36:21 PM PDT

    •  Here's one issue that deserves to be make or break (none)
      The question of the illegal and unjust war in Iraq is non-trivial.  Opposition to it should unite us and we should demand that any candidate who wants our support oppose it unequivocally.

      "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

      by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:44:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I'm with you, but ... (4.00)
        ...if you just take a look at stances among Kossacks - not to mention elected (and would-be-elected) Democrats, we've got the following positions on the war:

        • Probably necessary; but war poorly conducted; and now must be won.

        • Probably unnecessary; but war poorly conducted; and now must be won.

        • A mistake; war incompetently handled; exit strategy needed; but must not "cut and run."

        • Not a mistake; but a concoction using 9/11 as an excuse to push the agenda of GOP faction of rightwing idealists; war incompetently handled, phased withdrawal but no timetables.

        • A war planned long in advance to press an ideological and economic agenda and shore up other imperial interests and those of Israel and put the U.S. in easy reach of various oil states and a crimp in the plans of China and any resurgence of  Russia while enhancing the oligarchy as exemplified by the likes of Dick Cheney; war fought incompetently; exit strategy should consist of leaving as soon as logistically possible, exemplified by Bring the Troops Home Now.

        • Same as above with the proviso that Bush and Cheney be tried for war crimes.

        I have my choice. But if you try to get Democrats to unify around one of those - or a variant of the ones I listed - you'll have a fight on your hands.

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

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:17:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  great summary of the situation Meteor (none)
          I agree with you we have a fight on our hands.

          It's a worthwhile fight and it needs to happen.

          "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

          by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:27:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Make this a diary with a poll (none)
          if the Democrats can't find a unifying position with regards to the Iraq war (what it was and what it is now and what - under the circumstances given - should be done about it) - it would be pretty disappointing on the long run.

          The Republicans went into the war with a lie (and Democrats were easily willing to believe the lies), and the Republicans will get out of the war with a lie.

          What is needed is to recognize the nascent lies and excuses the Republicans will find to get their behinds out of the warzone and still claim to have won the war in Iraq, brought peace and freedom to the Middle East. Of course the war against terra has to go on, otherwise the  Republicans would lose their main job to distract the American people and scare them to death and police them to hell.


        •  well, let's work it out ... (none)
          Good precis of the situation. There should be some basic agreement, though.

          Perhaps the thing to do is for the party to agree on saying the war is a disaster, unnecessary, based on lies, all Bush's fault, and a glaring example of his terrible leadership, cronyinsm, and disconnect from from reality.

          [an example of a speech: "let there be no mistake - this criminal president ignored the work of our intellingence agencies, lied to you, the american people, sent our children over to die, to lose limbs, and to be brutalized, took thousands of dollars from every american family, pushed our country into massive debt .... all for what? so he and his friends could get rebuilding contracts? so the mullahs in Iran could become more powerful?"


          and not focus too much on how to fix it, since there is no agreement. perhaps point out that there may be no good solutions, since bush et al f*&%ed up so bad... stress how bad things really are.

          And at the same time, try to persuade people to come to some sort of larger agreement

          I have a hard to believing those "the war must be won" choices.  I believe as time goes on, people will move away from those choices.

          "I'm a vampire baby, suckin' blood from the earth..."

          by mightymouse on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 04:55:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yesterday's news (none)
            Thing is that the decision to invade Iraq, the "going along" of most Democrats, and, indeed in many ways, Bush himself are history.

            What we need to know is whether or not Democrats support the neoconservative policy of preemptive wars (all I know for sure is that Joseph Lieberman certainly does).  If our leadership can't come right out and condemn that  tragically lunatic ideology, I have no use for them.

            This is a no-brainer, imo, but I haven't heard anyone in the senate express this.

          •  I believe this is Dean's position. n/t (none)

            The children of the poor perish in their beds, while the blastocysts of the wealthy are preserved for all eternity

            by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:59:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Bring the troops home now (none)
            We have to argue this position and convince people that this is the right thing to do.

            We can all agree that the war in Iraq is wrong, but then we must demand that it be stopped.  We need to force the government to get out, otherwise what does an agreement to simply regret it mean?

            The war cannot be won.  The longer we are there the longer it will drag on, more Americans and Iraqis will die, more national treasury will be wasted, the damage already done to the region and to the United States will get even worse.

            There's no shortcuts.  We have the right position on this, the only right postition, and we have to stand up and fight for it.

            Compromise on this question is abdication and that is not an option.

            "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

            by DoDi on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 09:39:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  One of the current icons ... (none)
            ...Paul Hackett, takes exactly this "must be won" stance.

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

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:11:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Spot on as usual (4.00)
      I completely agree, it is a challenge. I said so in my post that it may be the most challenging problem we face as a party - what do we stand for.

      I keep trying to advocate that the Party of the People stands for the interests of the people, the commonwealth, everyday Americans. Often times against the interest of the oligarchical few. I know that's what our party's founder, Thomas Jefferson had in mind.

      If someone can convince me that our party should stand for something better, I'm all ears.

      But our country desperately needs someone to fight for the little guy. Those who don't have lobbyists as John Edwards so cleverly put it. And I can't think of any orgaizaion or entity better for the job than the Democratic party.

      And, on a not so side note, I can't imagine a more popular, powerful mission for our party to resume.

      •  Like turning an aircraft carrier on a dime (none)
        We have a bigger problem than the Democratic party. Ever wonder why the U.S. is the ONLY country in the G8 that does not have universal health care? Remember Clinton's attempt at challenging this when we still had a majority in Congress. There are perceptions of what is "fair" in the U.S. that just would not survive a nanosecond in other developed countries.  

        For me Obama gets it and many Kossacks don't. We need to bring a lot of people with us that do not yet share "all" of our positions (which we "all" seem to agree that we don't agree on what "all" these positions should be).

        Sure let's say what we are for or against, let's influence our representatives to speak out, but let's not hack away, unproductively, at the people helping us pull this country in a more progressive direction nor demand 100% fealty to a list of positions that a representative's voters may not yet support or understand or that may not fit in with a known but unannounced strategy (e.g. I voted for so I can defeat the next one with the help of a filibuster that needs the tacit support of some Republicans).  

        nota_bene: maybe it has something to do with this guy -  John Calvin

    •  issues vs. values (none)
      This is exactly why I always come back to values. We can ALL agree on certain core values (e.g., justice, equality, liberty, opportunity, etc.). Where we get our panties into a twist is when we start focusing on the details of issues.

      Soooo, how about focusing on the values, examining what policies would be congruent with our most cherished beliefs, and then agreeing to let the details work out as discussion proceeds and experience reveals.

      What the American people want is a unifying vision. When we can get them moving in a positive direction, they will then tell us how they see that working out through policies and programs. So, one of the questions I think we need to ponder is whether we all want to be in control of the details, or whether we can trust that a positive vision of the future will naturally reveal those details as we move toward that vision.

      Remember "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"? That was part of a positive vision, and people didn't ask "Well, what exactly do you mean by "do for your country." They just did it.

  •  Fucking Bullshit (none)
    I'm getting tired of reading bullshit diaries criticizing Senator Obama's call for party unity. Before I continue, I will say that I don't think I'm profusely intelligent when it comes to political strategy. Furthermore, I consider myself a DailyKos reader who occasionally comments on a given diary. However, today the final straw broke my fucking back!

    While I deeply respect all my fellow Kossacks' opinions on Obama's statement, I think the knee-jerk criticism given to Obama by many people on here is utter bullshit! I will not attempt to deconstruct any arguments or offer new insights regarding Obama's message. What I will say is that Obama is right on the fucking money. Why have we been losing elections lately? It isn't because we show weakness to the fucking GOP. It isn't because we're not ruthless-enough.

    The main fucking reason we continue to lose is because we are NOT UNITED AS A FUCKING POLITICAL PARTY. One of our most promising leaders calls for unity and the defense of our allies and, many of us, blast him. That, my friends, sends a message to the GOP. It says to them that we can't handle constructive criticism. Furthermore, we shouldn't even call this a political party. It's a mere coalition of special interest groups. It's a gathering of single-issue advocates who could give a flying fuck about his fellow Democrat's plight. At least the wingnuts stay on message. At least they defend they don't confuse the fuck out of the hicks in the southern states.

    What thought crosses voters' minds when they think of the Democratic Party? For some, the thought of economic justice comes to mind. For others, gun control, or women's rights, or affirmative action, or welfare, or education programs, and etc. Why the fuck haven't we created a universal message acknowledging these ideas? If we marginalize a few voters, I say fuck them. We're better off without those single-issue assholes. They'll turn their back on their party in an instant. We need to remember what made this party great - a strong message of equality and opportunity, backed by civil rights and liberties, headed by a united party.

    I frankly don't give a fuck that people criticize Senator Obama, despite him being my state's senator. But I do care about the split within our party. Come on, this is dailykos. We should be on the same page, or at least strive to get there. Let us not divide ourselves with petty bullshit about what one of our leaders said. Obama gets it. Obama knows what this party needs to win. That is why he's in the position he's in. Unfortunately, many people on here are fucking up. Fuck all the factions within the party. Fuck the people who are in this party for a single-issue. Either we make these people REAL Democrats or let them get the fuck out. Thanks Senator Obama for the outstanding words. Hopefully people will come around before this country becomes a theocracy.

    Oh yeah, SLAYER owns!

    In the Clinton administration we worried the president would open his zipper. In the Bush administration, they worry the president will open his mouth.-Carville

    by dime rip cfh on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:39:32 PM PDT

    •  I'm not in the party (none)
      because of a single issue.

      Hope that makes you a bit happier.

      "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

      by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:46:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (none)
        After reading my rant, I noticed I was too harsh. I let me emotions get to me. I made my comment sound as though single-issue voters are the only thing wrong with the party. But hey, Obama's right.

        In the Clinton administration we worried the president would open his zipper. In the Bush administration, they worry the president will open his mouth.-Carville

        by dime rip cfh on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:49:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Is it appropriate to be a single issue voter? (none)
          It depends on the single issue.  

          The war in Iraq qualifies IMHO.

          "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

          by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:01:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  look (3.66)
      I think I understand all your points.  But in the end I just keep coming back to the fact that this is a BLOG where we come to discuss/criticize.  This is not the left's version of redstate.  

      In the end, I'll vote for the Dem on the ticket.  But here, I am free to rip into any politician I want.

    •  Hmmm... (none)
      ...either with us or agin' us?

      "Either we make these people REAL Democrats or let them get the fuck out."  Oooo.  That's harsh.

    •  The good senator is (none)
      right in his defense of Sen. Leahy.  But the rest of his post is surely open to discussion among many of us here.  What is his single message?  We have to work together - both Dems and Repubs.  Yeah, but it takes two to tango.

      Go White sox!

      The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

      by xanthe on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 05:11:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  wrong (none)
      If you think Kerry lost in '04 due to an absence of party unity, I'm not interested in you theories of how to correct "the problem".


    •  I don't understand you. (none)
      I think I read the same diary that Obama posted. Wasn't there just one?

      The main fucking reason we continue to lose is because we are NOT UNITED AS A FUCKING POLITICAL PARTY.
      That's what Obama's critics are complaining about, duh. We would like to see a united party. Most of us are not screaming about it, just responding to Obama's reasoned message about why it is our representative are not united.

      One of our most promising leaders calls for unity and the defense of our allies and, many of us, blast him.

      Unity? Behind what principle(s)? Behind whom? To support what? My reading is that he doesn't want us calling his colleagues names. Fair point, but not all that interesting.

      At least the wingnuts stay on message.
      OK, so what's the message that we're supposed to stay on? That our leaders do no wrong? Or do Democrats actually stand for something?

      Why the fuck haven't we created a universal message acknowledging these ideas?
      Who do you think "we" is? You mean we at dKos are in charge of creating a universal message for the Democrats to present to the American people? OK, read this diary and comments. Done. But I thought that was the responsibility of the Party leadership. Have they done it? No. Did Obama articulate one? No. That's what people here are complaining about.

      The children of the poor perish in their beds, while the blastocysts of the wealthy are preserved for all eternity

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:42:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Democratic Message (none)
        Obama has articulated a Democratic Stand, not in his blog but in his convention speech and in his graduation speech at knox college. I believe the author of this diary "borrowed" Obama's philosophy, especially the part about us all being our brother's keeper.
    •  LOL (none)
      Most liberals aren't single issue voters.

      Your method of being centrist and kicking out a mjority of Democrats is a good idea though. Let them go to the Green Party and Democrats go the way of the Communist Party because centrists stand for nothing other than compromising with fascists.

  •  Great Diary, TD (3.88)
    Two comments, one strengthening your argument, the other, in keeping with my chosen role, disagreeing in part.

    First, projecting outrage about the Bush administration makes political sense, even if most Americans aren't converted to that belief.  

    To see what I mean, look at the conservative politics of Clinton hatred.  The right never convinced the U.S. public that Clinton was the antichrist.  And they paid some price for the overreach of impeachment in the 1998 midterm elections.  Nonetheless, Clinton hatred was crucial in George W. Bush's making the 2000 election close enough to steal.  It energized the GOP base, and helped encourage the Gore campaign to make a series of important missteps, most notably putting Holy Joe on the ticket.

    Bottom line: there are often cases where a party can improve its political fortunes by making arguments that don't match the views of the majority of Americans...and not only because they might at some future time convince a majority to adopt that view.

    Second, my disagreement.  You write that the Democrats' failure to act as you (quite reasonably) wish they would is due to sins of omission: the lack of a clear, unifying theme; the failure to lead. And certainly, the Democrats haven't done either of these things. But the root cause of this problem is a huge sin of commission: the leadership of the Democratic Party is deeply committed to militarism and economic policies that benefit big corporations first.  In so doing they're rather out of step with much of the Democratic base.  This makes it very hard to lead or articulate a vision, in part because they essentially have no interest in leading the country in a progressive direction.  It's telling that in many ways the most successful line of ideological argumentation within the Democratic Party over the last two decades has been the pseudo-prudential "centrism" of the DLC ("we just have to be GOP-lite to win elections").  The desire to win elections is the biggest thing uniting the center-right leadership of the party to its progressive base.  And that won't change unless the base both demands a leadership that actually shares the commitments about which TocqueDeville so elequently writes, and figures out a way to turn those demands into real power within the party.  And I don't see either of those things happening.

    "This war is an ex-parrot." - The Editors

    by GreenSooner on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 09:56:18 PM PDT

    •  Excellent second point (4.00)
      I think that sometimes gets overlooked by people here on dKos.

      I'd add this, it isn't so much as they see being GOP-lite as the solution, but really, they are catering to the wishes of those who pay their bills - corporations.  And the military industrial complex paid its donations to get its war.  Standing on ~35% of the world's oil (Saudi and Iraq) was enough to have plenty here and abroad whistling marching tunes prior to the war.

      Many big corporations donate to both parties.

      Truth be told, if there was real democracy or "progressive" thought, then we'd really have more than two parties to choose from.  We're closer to an Iranian "democracy" than we think.

  •  Brilliant! (none)
    I could not have put it in a more eloquent, uplifting fashion.  Bravo!

    Peace in a world free of Religion, Peace in a world where everyone gets Heaven... -- Toni Halliday

    by Wintermute on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:20:23 PM PDT

  •  I agree with much of what you said (4.00)
    But it is not a fair appraisal/response to what the Senator said. If you were to take out all references to Sen. Obama [and by the way, it is Sen., not Mr.] and laid it next to what he said, I would agree largely with both.

    It is amazing to me that he should become today's whipping post for a statement that is largely unassailable.

    I think we have basically proved his point.

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

    by muledriver on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:22:58 PM PDT

    •  Your sig line makes this really funny (none)
      but I bet Mr. Obama, the etiquette expert, could tell you that "Mr." is exactly the title to address American leaders -- ever since George Washington laid down that rule.

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

      by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:26:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey Freshman Obama! (1.00)
    Look. you should carry water for say, Barbara Boxer, Carl Levin, or Ted Kennedy. Or even that ol' racist yaller dawg Byrd. Not for the Bushites. Pu-lease.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 10:23:53 PM PDT

  •  Step away from the computer! (3.33)
    All of you.  Step away.  And breathe.  You are so caught up in trashing Sentaor Obama, it's actually frightening.  I can hea the goddamn teeth gnashing.
    •  it's not just Obama ... (none)
      ... that causes the gnashing of teeth

      it's the tradition of 30 yrs or more of democratic discombobulation. his words don't come in a vacuum.

      the only solution is for progressives to get more active in the party, run more candidates, win more elections, get their message out more.

      otherwise, the democratic party SOP will not stop the right steamroller

      "I'm a vampire baby, suckin' blood from the earth..."

      by mightymouse on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 05:15:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm... (4.00)
    A lot of what you say about lack of vision, leadership, and the commonwealth, I find spot-on. However, I think your tactical approach is both "holier-than-thou" and repellent to the people you want to woo.

    For example -
    When you say:
      George Bush is not the guy they think he is.
    Joe Sixpack hears:
      I think you're a fool for liking/trusting/voting for that guy
    When you say:
      corporations are far too destructive and powerful for the public good.
    Joe Sixpack hears:
       I hate business
    When you say:
       our imperial adventures
    Joe Sixpack hears:
       I want America to be weak or I despise the military

    or, in summary, they hear I'm a left-wing idealogue and you should be more like me

    Now, I do prefer the left-wing idealogues to the right-wing ones (ever since I got over a 6 month bout of being a Reagan Democrat), but I don't think you can put together a majority sounding like one; which is why Bush speaks in code to the faithful - stealth "red meat" for the right wing, and a carefully stage-managed "just plain folks" image for main street.

    Yes we need vision, yes we need principles, and yes we need leadership that can articulate those principles and vision. Once we have that, we can be more than "not the *ing Republicans" and we'll be much more electable. We also need to not turn the other cheek and call "bull" when the opposition pulls it, but we don't win by playing "us versus them", we win by convincing America our leadership is better.

    And one of the first tests of that is picking battles on behalf of our vision of America that we have a shot at winning, and winning some of them. What will it be? Whittling down corporate welfare? Supporting our veterans fairly? Building an emergency response system that works? fixing our healthcare system? What, what, what?

    Now's the time for an agenda that will give voters a better reason to choose "D" than "they're not Republicans"

    •  I mostly agree (none)
      I just don't believe Joe Sixpack is reading this blog. The democraphics of the Dkos tell me it's not only ok to post high-brow, volvo driving rhetoric, but to have open strategy sessions.

      Which is largely how I see this post.

  •  This is really frustrating (4.00)
    Saying that criticizing Obama is harmful to the party is liking saying criticizing U.S. policy is harmful to the U.S.

    Now, that said . . .

    Obama seems to be saying that he stuck his finger into the wind and found that people aren't very angry so he/we need to take a milder tone.  

    This diary takes exception, saying that the Democratic party needs to do more than gauge the wind and then react.

    WHY are people not very mad?  Could it be because they aren't aware of what's really going on?  Just a few months ago we in blogland discovered to our dismay that we were aware that $9 billion was missing from Iraq BEFORE the folks on the Hill had a clue about it.  Unless they, too, were blogging.

    So then isn't it the dems' job, as opposition party, to make sure that people understand what's going on?  How they're being harmed?

    Then he goes on to say that people think the preznit "won" and therefore can appoint the judges he wants.  Hello?  So isn't it the dems' job, as opposition party, to talk about "advise and consent"?  And how the 'nit's choices could harm them?

    I could go on.  Basically the examples all lead to the same basic idea:

    The dems want to test the wind before making a move, they're afraid of "upsetting" people or appearing "contrary" or making a big deal out of anything the public isn't already outraged about.

    And their inaction simply allows the ignorance and acting against self interest and lack of outrage to continue, and the repukes to remain in power.

    Bobby Kennedy walked into ghettos and decried poverty, loudly announced that he detested and planned on ending the war, and told us that it was time for us to get off our asses and do something, as a nation.  He challenged us.  He said we needed to take care of one another.  He wasn't afraid to tell us there was work to do, that the status quo wasn't good enough.  He didn't wait for us to tell him what our concerns were or to ask him for ideas.  He led us.

    Obama DOES miss the point.  Howard Dean stood up and said HEY!  We can do better than this!!!  They're messing up this country! And although he is NOT a liberal, liberals and greens and GLBT and moderates and even republicans flocked to him.  Because he LED, without polls and wind testing.  He said what he had to say, he trusted us and respected us enough to tell us who he was and what he stood for.  The repukes called him angry (which is bogus) and the dems recoiled in fear instead of backing him up.  Can't do anything the repukes might call us names about, now, can we.

    We didn't always agree with everything he said, but we thanked him for his honesty. We always knew where he stood.  

    SHOW US WHERE YOU STAND.  Never waiver from that spot.  We won't need to agree with every vote, just with your integrity.

    Waiting for people to get angry is a non-starter.  Hoping they'll get fed up with "them" and turn to "us" is likewise a waste of time.  Being afraid of repuke attack tactics is pitiful.

    People in the U.S. don't know what they want.  They're unhappy, frustrated, worn out.  They know something's not right, and the polls show it.  The time is right for someone, anyone, to stand up and LEAD.  Bush and his cronies keep doing that, appearing like they have some answers, some sort of plan, and people follow because they lack direction and they're looking for something UNDEFINED.  His freaking approval ratings are going up - because dems are still capitulating when he's down for the count.

    Message to dem leadership:  DEFINE IT.  


    Stop capitulating because you think it makes you look like a nice party to join.  BE a party worth joining.  Never vote for any reason but because you think it's the right vote - NEVER because there's some presumption that the preznit should get what he wants.  

    They won't do it for our President.  And it's NOT good for the country to keep going along to avoid confrontation.  

    Checks and balances only work with real voices, real confrontation.

    How is it a bad thing to say that party leaders should unify AS A PARTY and lead us?

    •  Many at Kos reacted to Obama's Diary (none)
      as if he were the problem.

      I am beginning to wonder is the posting of Obama's diary and the subsequent vitriol directed at the Senator ws the day that Dkos jumped the shark.

      Iraq, Katrina, and corruptoin are finally bringing the GOP down.  Maybe, just maybe, the public wants something other than a Dem version of Tom Delay.

      ownership society - you are on your own

      by Sam I Am on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 08:59:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I said earlier (4.00)
    We can't keep ignoring the simple fact that "we" don't have any "issues most important to us". There is not one vote on which Democrats haven't given BushCo help, even in the incredibly rare instance when their unity would have meant a defeat for the evil misguided GOP agenda. Not one.

    That's what we're pissed about.

    We're not "single issue people" upset about a "pet cause". We're upset that the Democrats --in spite of several good chances, and in spite of America saying loud and clear that it doesn't like the direction BushCo is taking us -- the Democrats haven't delivered even one victory for progressive causes by standing united on any issue progressives care about.

    Didn't oppose Iraq -- didn't do their job in demanding the President prove the need for Iraq and haven't done their job demanding accountability for a war of aggression.

    A Democrat co-authored the PATRIOT act.

    Democrats caved on every single vote that was close, enough to ensure that Bush hasn't lost a single thing on his agenda yet.

    (Everyone brings up Social Security destruction, but it was the American people who killed that!)

    •  This has been the history of the Democratic Party (4.00)
      They do nothing until forced by independent mass movements.

      It's always been the American people who had to force them by first organizing themselves independently.  You name it... workers rights, civil rights, women's rights, unjust wars, the environment.

      I can't think of a single progressive advancement where they didn't have to be dragged kicking and screaming and forced by a mass movement into finally aquiescing to the will of the people.

      The Iraq War will be just the latest example of this age old rule.  Already the majority of Americans want the troops brought home and the war ended.  Yet the Democratic Party officials continue to argue for dragging us deeper into the Big Muddy.

      "Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?" --George Carlin

      by DoDi on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:20:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interestingly, (none)
        that is what Dean said in "The Great American Restoration", his official announcement speech. That when America goes astray it has always been returned to the right path by the people, and that he had taken his que from what he had heard around the country.

        We are all wearing the blue dress now.

        by PLS on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:00:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Party unity (none)
    starts at the top.
    You lead, actually lead, really, REALLY LEAD, and I will follow.
    •  Bullshit (none)
      You're a centrist, right?

      Fuck leaders! Leaders come from the bottom and march to the top. Other help them get there, pushing idiot centrists out of the way. That is how all leaders became leaders.

      Take your centrist "support the fascists" bullshit back to the Libertarians.

  •  Obama needs to go back to school (1.50)
    If he thinks he can 'read' America.  He's obviously illiterate!
    •  A little harsh Pen (none)
      My read is that he is maybe worried about the divide in the USA and it seems the Dems are getting the worst of it.  But some of us think it's weak top down here -- he may feel we're straying too far afield to be effective.  I give him that but I want more.    

      The beneficiaries are likely to be...large corporations and development firms. (O'Connor, J. dissenting in Kelo). God bless you, J. O'Connor.

      by xanthe on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 05:15:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ah, the power of the blogosphere... (4.00)
    They've gone from simply ignoring us to telling us to shut up.


    "Mr Pres, what's your opinion on Roe vs Wade?" "I don't care how they get out of New Orleans!"

    by Leggy Starlitz on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:37:54 PM PDT

  •  Vision (none)
    The Democratic party stands for economic and social responsibility.

    Well, that's what it should stand for. It's a good tag line, and I say we need to work at it to make it true.

    •  Social Responsibity (4.00)
      That's what I have called it from the beginning.

      I started test driving commonwealth pretty recently. People like wealth.

      Dean has started using social responsbility when asked what the party stands for. I doubt he got it from me. But it's encouraging.

      •  echo chamber (none)
        It's (part of) what blogs are good for. We need a quick and easy way to describe the Demcratic party like the GOP's "small goverment and tax cuts." Once we've got that I think we should bounce it around the blogosphere until it gains traction with enough people that it becomes the frame for what the Democratic party stands for.

        How's the commonwealth working out besides the wealth part? Do people get it?

  •  Obama knows about those elephants (none)
    He's just not interested in pointing them out in public.  If a Senator does so, it amounts to airing dirty laundry in public.  

    Obama's day will come.  He just needs a bit more gestation time before giving birth to the tsunami that will wipe the GOP out of power.  And he will, when he runs for president.  I have faith in this man.

    "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." -Thomas Jefferson, 1809.

    by Subterranean on Fri Sep 30, 2005 at 11:51:13 PM PDT

  •  MLK (4.00)
    I notice that there's an ad on DailyKos with the picture of Martin Luther King. Coincidentally, I think this is the kind of leader that TocqueDeville has in mind.

    Stopping an amoral Karl Rove and his lockstep, terrorized Republican party, the mad NeoCon world vision, and reversing the enormous damage that the incompetent and foolish Bush had caused our government and country will take as brilliant, as committed, and as HEROIC a person like MLK.

    When such a person realizes the danger we're in and decides to put his political life, not to say life, on the line, is committed to fighting the losing fight because he knows he's in the right, then we will be on the path to change.

    Damn the fucking torpedoes!

    •  I cannot imagine Dr. King (none)
      in his first address to a motivated constituency, such as this one, using it to talk about "tone."

      Nor was Dr. King's dream that a promising young Senator of color would, after reaching the mountaintop on the backs of so many who gave their lives to the movement, give etiquette advice instead of an agenda for change.  

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

      by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:30:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cindy Sheehan. One pissed off honest Mom... (none)
      ...doing what the entire Democratic Party (Well, with a few exceptions, such as Mr. Conyers, Mrs. Boxer, and a few others) can't do.

      Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

      by Alumbrados on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 11:12:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  amazing, outstanding diary (none)
    and the best response to Obama yet.  I sincerely hope that he and the rest of the Democratic congress actually read it.
  •  amazing, outstanding diary (none)
    and the best response to Obama yet.  I sincerely hope that he and the rest of the Democratic congress actually read it.
  •  Opinions and persuasion (4.00)
    I think Mr. Obama spends too much time considering what Americans currently believe, and too little time considering how to persuade Americans to believe the progressive values I know he holds.  Failing to filibuster was yet another lost opportunity to persuade Americans that liberals hold valuable opinions.  The conventional wisdom of Washington democrats is that this would be a "waste of ammunition" as though there were finite number of words in with to describe the consequences of conservative policies.  Filibuster is by definition an infinite affair.  Even if the filibuster failed, the message would be delivered.  The message we get now is the Roberts has bipartisan support to slash our freedoms if he so chooses and that democrats stand for cooperation.  Cooperation is good, but cooperation doesn't get me to the polls on Election Day.  The best way I can think of solving the Democrats worst problem (the perception they stand for nothing) is to pick something and not compromise on it.  And what better principle would better fit the bill than freedom?

    If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

    by Bryce in Seattle on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 12:49:05 AM PDT

    •  Your first sentence is spot on (none)
      and sums up perfectly the problem with Obama's diary.

      Btw, imagine anyone else coming on here with a FIRST diary like that -- a lecture about "tone" instead of ideas about substance, about progressive values.

      His honeymoon is over.

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

      by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:21:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attacking is not leading (none)
    I agree that we need to appear as leaders, at the same time as the Republicans increasingly show themselves to be incompetent crooks.  But going on constant attack, opposing every nominee even if he might be the best we can hope for from a conservative Republican president, is not a sensible way to do it.  We would be much better served to take the opportunity presented by the vacuum of leadership the GOP has vacated, and present our own positive ideas!

    And those of you who are dissing Obama are frankly fucked in the head.  We need him and a thousand more like him, if that were possible.


    •  Exactly what his critics are saying (none)
      here, isn't it?  That he came here, in his first diary yet, to criticize about "tone" rather than to talk about issues.

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

      by Cream City on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 10:23:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Touche (none)
        But we're all politically savvy folks here.  Well, maybe not savvy (I don't believe that insisting "the Islamic people who are fighting the economic imperialist policies of the United States in their region are CORRECT in their basic take on what is up" is remotely savvy), but we all possess far more information about current events than does the average public.

        Point is, though I do think Obama ought to talk about issues, this site is first and foremost about political strategy--at least as I understand it.  And the people here aren't among the group of swing voters I referred to who need to be won over by a good "sales pitch".  They should instead be the front line of the effort on the ground, taking marching orders from people like Obama.  Sure, their input should also be listened to (I think all of us on the left believe that in a workplace or any organisation, ideas should come not just from the top down but also from the bottom up), but ultimately we all have to be on the same page if we want to get anything accomplished.  And acting more strident in far-left rhetoric isn't the way to do it.


  •  Ignorant... (none)
    "While I completely agree that the tone we use can make or break the effectiveness of the message, it is our job to make people understand that George Bush is not the guy they think he is. That corporations are far too destructive and powerful for the public good. That our imperial adventures are ethically wrong and a threat to our security. That the Republicans have definately made things worse."

    Dems in congress are OWNED by the same corporations... YES OWNED. OUR Government is a huge failure, quit thinking its just the repugs.

    It's sad that Mr. Obama is takin all the shit for the useless dems in congress.

    And fuck the tone. When you get pushed you push back. When an administration is at 40% approval rate, the minority party needs to step up and push even harder, which it hasn't.

    Hacket might have lost, but he stepped up to the plate and took some hard swings. Most Dems in congress aren't even in the batters box... Pathetic.

    •  You know... (none)
      Greens never accept money from corporations and special interest groups. Not one $ in 20 years. A party of Americans. They have a better chance than Democrats since Greens stand for something other than centrists who lack vision, morals, and spines.
  •  The "Death Tax" (4.00)
    This is the best example of the Toqueville's point about the right's "orchestrated ccampaign" to make people believe that repeal of the estate tax -- something drastically against the interests of 99% of Americans -- is an act of "fairness."

    And the Dems who support repeal have either cravenly surrendered to the GOP onslaught of lies, or venally hope that they or their heirs will personally benefit.

    Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out -- Emperor Claudius

    by Upper West on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 04:37:44 AM PDT

    •  The death tax... (none)
      I believe that the democratics who vote with the republicans on anything, whether it's the death tax or the Bankruptcy bill, do so because they believe the "myth" that republicans represent a true majority, rather than the lunatic fringe of american society. They are a truly defeated party because they can no longer see reality.
  •  Imagine being married to an abuser, (4.00)
    waking up every morning wondering, "What will he do to me today?" Sick with dread, treading ever so carefully so as to avoid that first blow - that's the Dems position at this point. Tax cuts, debt, wars, FEMA, media coverage - the USA is crumbling and the rethugs just keep on dishing out the abuse.

    An abused spouse doesn't get to go to college (the spouse controls the money), she can't create a healthy alternative - her energies are spent ducking and dodging and groveling for survival.

    The only possible solution to create a new life is to walk away. There is no negotiation possible with an abuser - they feel that the situation is perfect as it exists.

    The Democrats have to walk away to build up their sense of self and competency.

    Trust me, I lived with an abuser.

    •  Are Democrats in the House more (none)
      feisty? It seems to me they are.

      I have often felt that the senior Democrats have been acting like abused spouses. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out how not to make the Republican smear machine attack them, with the help of the media. They have internalized the smear machine's paradigm and don't seem to see their way out of it. They are not leaving the marriage because they would have to find other means of support.

      Future Democratic presidential candidates: We NEED a sustainable ENERGY PLAN now!

      by lecsmith on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:43:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautifully written. n/t (none)
  •  Ghost shirt society (none)
    In Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano, the plot goes around well meaning upper eschelon managment types revolting against a rigid class oriented government.
    At the end of the story, the revolution begins but immediately is taken over by the mob that takes over the movement. Instead of a well organized takover of industry the mob smashes and assaults nearly everything it comes into contact with.
    In the end the lead characters commizerate about what went wrong with their scheme and how it went from an intelligent arguement to people running wild in the streets.
    We on the left need to keep a perspective. Yes, I know many of us are ready for a fight, but unless we fight for the right thing at the right time we may spin away from each other and off to the land of gibberish.
    Yes, its fun to demean and ridicule, but it is also infantile and is exactly what the other side does. Don't join them. But, keep your powder dry.
  •  A-Freaking-Men (none)
    Even through my entire letter I didn't say the most important thing:

    In his attempt to illuminate the political realities on the ground, namely that the American people just aren't as angry and opposed to the policies and performance of the Bush Republicans as we here in the blogging community, Senator Obama inadvertently shone a big, bright light on the other elephant in the room. An elephant we can call The Absence of Leadership.

    That's really it, isn't it?  That's the catch-all for all of it.

    HEY - why haven't you visited my blog?

    by RenaRF on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:06:51 AM PDT

  •  The Shining Light? (none)
    Senator Obama inadvertently shone a big, bright light on the other elephant in the room. An elephant we can call The Absence of Leadership.  

    huh? I, nor anyone else who has been paying attention the last fifteen years requires "a big, bright light" to understand that we have nearly ZERO leadership from the democrats.

    and yes, that includes during the Clinton administrations when corporations got basically everything they wanted.. just like now under BushCo.

    it's TIME to fact the painful reality and stop avoiding the obvious: on numerous major issues/policies there is little to NO difference between republican and democratic "leadership" in our House of Lords. there is only bullshit talk known as "ideology".

    HOW COULD there be any real difference? these guys are all members of the same club! they are nearly all millionaire WASP lawyers and business men!

    WHERE'S the "difference" here?

    clue: when you boil it all down, there isn't any.

    •  None (1.25)
      Mostly, we get upper middle class to upper class baby boomers who want a better retirement at the expense of the young (like most boomers). Why support them when they only want to support themselves and dare tell us to shut the fuck up when we want them to do something for a change?

      Go Green. Fuck with centrists and make them cry to their mommas. I'm tired of corporate welfare and favors. We need a party for the people, not corporations who could care less about America.

  •  Yin and Yang (none)
    I think there's a sort of Yin-Yang balance here...

    Yes, we need to enforce a party identity, as DeToqueville argues.

    But yes, we also need to be pluralistic and tolerant of dissent, as Obama argues.

    We have to find the balance between these two poles, and that's what this debate is about. Surely both sides can recognize that it is possible to err on both sides: that enforcing party discipline too ruthlessly will thin our ranks; but also that being too pliant with dissent will weaken our brand and dilute our results.

    On another point: DeTocqueville's post is good, but he is dodging one of the thrusts of Obama's argument, which is simply that name-calling never persuaded anyone in politics.  I think that's hard to deny.  (Unless anyone here had second thoughts about Clinton because of all the names the right called him?)

    It seems to me sometimes that we as community lay too much store in stridency.  Dean was perceived by some as the only true liberal in the 2004 race, despite his demonstrably moderate platform, because he was the most strident.  Perhaps we should judge our politicians more by their policies and less by their tone.  Obama comes here and says, 'hey we might persuade more people if we tone it down a bit and stick together more' -- basically he's just making a tactical suggestion  -- and people react like he just demanded we privatize Social Security.

    •  Good Points (none)
      but the other point here is it is more than a bit lame for Obama to call for calm and unity in the face of an illegal, bloody war (with the generals now saying we aren't pulling any troops out in 2006 {surprise!!} and informing us the Iraqi "army" and "police" forces suck and aren't ready to do anything substantial)..

      and realizing other major issues such as we are in no way prepared to deal with major natural disasters let alone artificial ones that may be rolling in our direction, we still have a major poverty problem, still no national health insurance, a sucky economy which provides jobs for a limited number of people...


      yeah, sure.. let's be calm. it's play off season. the Red Sox Beat Down the Yankees last night.


    •  Sorry TocqueDeville (none)
      for mangling your username.  Confusing you with the french guy.
  •  Leadership, yes. (4.00)
    Part of what's been going on is an endless dance of what I call the "pre-leaders."

    The Party is obviously disunited, and those who have attempted to assert leadership have all been shot down or smothered within the Party. Individuals rise to prominence, then fall, and maybe rise again. But there is no one with a mantle of leadership which anyone else is bound to honor or agree to. That's part of why the frothing right wing hate mongers have decided that George Soros is our "leader." No lie. Since they think he is the one with all the money, he must be our leader. Ha!

    Some of what's been going on right here is a leadership struggle. Markos is widely acknowledged as an "influential party activist" -- not yet a leader, though, except within this community -- and to move to the next level, he needs to assert leadership, which these days appears to be a matter of going off in an approved direction against the majority interest. Let's use the issue of mass public protest. Recently there was a huge brou-ha-ha over the protest marches in DC and other cities, in which (according to internal poll responses anyway) the majority of Kossacks expressed their general approval of protest marches as a tactic in the overall struggle against the forces of Republican Darkness and the War On Iraq.

    Markos was silent about it for quite a while. Then he weighed in and begged to differ, suggesting that marchers could better use their time and money writing letters and donating to candidates.

    In this, he was echoing the views of a number Big Bloggers. And perhaps echoing the views of many of those in the consultant class and the governing class in general.

    Protest marching doesn't get the kind of attention from the media it once did, true enough. And media attention is an obsession with many activists, and especially with would-be activist leaders. "Get this to the media!" has become an almost constant cry. And in this country, the big media, at any rate, report only to the extent that doing so enhances the position of the governing class. Consequently, grassroots actions, and particularly mass demonstrations of protest against that class are considered passé, worthless, ridiculous, and worse.

    Part of leadership is getting people to do something they otherwise wouldn't. Or conversely to prevent them from doing something they otherwise would.

    There's a concerted effort right now, within the governing class of the Democratic apparatus, to guide or lead the people away from expressing their instinctive dismay at the behavior of that governing class -- both Republican and Democratic.

    Summary: You should not march and carry signs, it's worthless. The media doesn't pay attention, you get better results from writing letters and donating money. You should not express your outrage at Democratic Senators voting against the interests of the people of United States of America by voting yes on John Roberts -- even though a 'no' vote carries no cost. You should be quiet about it because there are all these other "good" votes, so what's the problem? It's ONLY one vote. You are wrong to criticize the actions of elected Democrats in office; there is a strategy that no one is willing to divulge. It's hard work. Elect Democrats, even though they don't know what they stand for. Don't piss off Republicans. They are our friends. Trust us. We know what's best for you. You don't. Don't listen to Cindy. Don't pay attention to your gut instinct. Sit down. Shut up. Give money.

    Leadership among Democrats involves getting people to go along with this crap. And we see many efforts underway to get us to go along with it. There is strenuous resistance, thanks be, but over time, if the would be leadership hammers away hard and long enough, resistance can be worn down.

    A question is: where does this crap originate? It doesn't come from the base/roots, not even close. It doesn't come from the CBC -- which has been the only consistent conscience the Democrats have had since 2000. It does seem to come from parts of the media (especially FOX), but not all of it; don't forget there is a huge and growing progressive media that calls bullshit all the time on this "don't rock the boat" crap. It DOES seem to come universally from the Democratic consultant class of parasites. It comes from Republicans, because of course they don't want anything from the uppity unwashed masses to interfere with their power. And it comes from some prominent elected Democrats who don't want anything to interfere with their power, or at least their collaborative arrangements with Republican power, either.

    The American people, en masse it seems, are moving away from what they are coming to see as an utterly corrupt and self-interested governing class. The American people are finding more and more in common with one another than they are in the antics of those in government, to the point where Party almost doesn't matter.

    The failures of the Democratic leadership are appalling, but they pale next to the craven indifference and wholesale corruption of the Republicans. The People see this, they can tell what's happening, and they are recognizing that both parties have failed miserably and that failure has been deadly and destructive.

    The effort within the Democratic apparatus to convince the People that they shouldn't speak out of turn -- and when they do speak they should dress well and not gather in large groups and should be polite --  about what they see happening is doomed.

    But that's where leadership is right now.

    We'll see a continuing shift by the people away from it that will quite possibly unite Americans for the first time in a long time.


  •  Wonderful diary (none)
    without the diatribe that causes me to NOT finish more caustic pieces. One point that Obama made was that we can disagree (and even agree!) without tearing each other apart.

    I, for one, am tired of reading/hearing "we need new ideas." I am one of those who TocqueDeville would say has that great sense of emptiness. I expect our "leaders" to come up with some of those new ideas. Perhaps I fazed out reading Obama's diary, but I really don't think I saw any new ideas there.

  •  Thank you, you write so well, TocqueDeville (none)
    I'm really having trouble trying to figure out what the Democrat strategy is right now.  They've lost the working middle-class. The only reason the Republicans are doing worse in recent polls, is because they're screwing up.  Not because Democrats have caught the imagination of the American people.

    One I think they should do is stop fighting culture wars against the Republicans, and go back to fighting a class war.  By culture wars I mean the Religious Right vs. Radical Left - family values vs. gay marriage, prayer in school vs sex education, pro-life vs. pro-choice.  I'm not saying that these issues aren't important, but in day-to-day life, they don't personally affect the majority of Americans.  Republicans are using these issues as a major distraction from the issues that Democrats can hit them hard with.  In these culture issues, Democrats are trying to appease everybody, and they look like they are just pandering to whatever voters want to hear.  In essence, they have become a party that stands for everything - and looks like it stands for nothing.  

    What they need to do is fire up the class war.  Employment, job security, and falling real wages are big issues.   I honestly don't understand why the Democrats aren't' beating the Republicans senseless with the Deficit, tax breaks for the rich and corporate corruption.  Our nation's educational system is in need of a major overhaul.  Republicans would rather build a Star Wars missile defense program than take care of and educate children. Then there's the energy crisis and the environmental issues, and of course the Iraq war.

    Seriously, what is the Democratic platform? What do the leaders stand for?  I honestly can't figure it out.  And I follow politics fairly well.  Imagine what people who don't follow politics are thinking.

    •  End the class war? (none)
      Democrats can't do that. After passing NAFTA and CAFTA, they have to encourage globalization to attract the spineless centrists who would prefer to be on their knees sucking Bush's cock than standing like real Americans. Democrats have to boost boomer retirement funds afterall.

      Green Party is in reality and is way past the distractions Bush and Kerry both focused on last November.

      •  No, no (none)
        Re-start the Class war.  End (or at least put on hold on) the Culture war. That's what's killing the Dems right now.  They are trying to appease everybody - pro-life and pro-choice, religious and non-religious.  They look as wishy-washy as they are on those topics.

        They need to get into the Employment, Education, Environment, and Energy topics.  They need to DEMAND a resolution to Iraq - get it fixed in get out.

        I saw in the news that sports athletes are going back to DC to testify about something regarding sports.  Unbelievable! with all the problems going on in the US now.  What world are the politicians living in?

  •  My reply to Senator Obama. (none)
    Reprinted here from my response to Senator Obama's  Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party diary.

    We've heard from the Neo-Conservatives...

    Now we get the Neo-Centrists.

    "Can't we all just...get along?"

    No, sir, we cannot. When I first heard your act on Air America in an interview with Randi Rhodes...who cut you WAY too much slack in my opinion...about a year ago, I thought "Oh. A REALLY slick politician."

    Nothing else.

    You evaded and eluded and elided your way through a minefield of questions about Iraq, politics, etc. with consummate grace.

    And you didn't SAY shit!!!

    It is too late for this, Senator.

    Where have you been on the really important issues of the last year?

    On the Ohio and Florida voter suppression and fraud?

    On the media blackout of the various damaging issues that have arisen regarding the Bush adminiustration?

    The Downing Street things.

    Gannon/Guckert and all things Rovian that his presence at the White House press conferences implies?

    Did you stand at George Galloway's side?

    Or John Conyer's?

    I mean STAND. Not support from way back in the bleachers where it's safe.

    Have you stood up and said that the Islamic people who are fighting the economic imperialist policies of the United States in their region are CORRECT in their basic take on what is up, if not necessarily in their choice of tactics?

    Have you railed against the (nonexistent) continuing energy conservation policies of the U. S. establishment?? At the criminal consumption of energy that make this criminal war "necessary" in the FIRST place?

    No. You have not.

    Because you are playing politics.

    It is too LATE for "politics".

    We are immersed in the Third World War...the war of the have-nots against the have-too-muches...and they are armed with WMDs. As are we.

    Time to back the fuck off...not play word games in order to get elected again.

    You have several years left in your term...DO something with them instead of trying to get re-elected.

    I do NOT support you OR your tactics...nor am I convinced of your ultimate strategic goals, either. as usual, right?

    Conflate, conform, compromise.

    Until KABOOM happens.

    Wrong approach.

    We are in radical trouble now.

    We need radical leaders to take us out.

    Wake up.

    Halfway won't do anymore.

    It really won't.

    Wake up.


  •  WTF? (4.00)
    "Of course, the first elephant, often found grazing freely throughout the corridors of Democratic power, is the close cousin of the second known as The Absence of  Principle.

    In failing to acknowledge said elephants, the Senator went a long way towards discrediting his otherwise excellent points.

    Who are you and why should I believe you?  The good Senator Obama is there. He's in the arena. He's doing the job and he's doing a damn fine one at that.  Why should I accept, or even countenance, what you say? What do you know about leadership?  

    I wholly agree with the words of Sen Obama starting with trenchant observation that our job is harder than theirs. What's more, he's doing it.

    Are you you a liberal counterpart to those sad, old-testament types on the right who seem to think leadership equals ruthless, cunning and blunt mean-spiritedness? Are we all to descend into some Machievellian nightmare in an attempt to match penis length with the Republicans?? Is this a playground? With taunts, bickering and the resulting shoving match?

    Will you be happy with any "leadership" less than a brash arrogant liberal version of George Bush?

    If that's the case, I don't want to be in the same party as you.

    Chastity is the most un-natural of the sexual perversions.

    by petr on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 06:41:51 AM PDT

    •  Excellent!! (none)

      I totally agree with you.

      As a man, I can appreciate your "penis length" remark. We men can get so insecure and stupid!


    •  It's simply incredible to me (none)
      ...that progressives are spending so much time and energy here criticizing Senator Obama for some of his remarks.

      Obama is working for a progressive agenda. Maybe he's not 100% in synch with those further to the left, but he also happens to be one of the few politicians in America who can effectively articulate progressive causes in a way that appeals to more centrist voters. That's a hell of a lot more important than parsing every word in a blog post for points you want to disagree with.

      There's a difference between expecting your leaders to adhere to basic principles, and complaining because sometimes a politician dares to hold an opinion that's different from the one YOU are sure is pure and just and true. Because you know what? It is really unlikely you will ever find a politician you agree with 100% of the time - unless you decide to run for office yourself.

    •  That's right, it's hard, hard work. (none)
      Our finger tapping is nothing compared with that of our representatives who have to say Yea or Nay to all those bills written by industry lawyers.

      It's an "arena," all right. Our reps seem to have forgotten their weapons, forgotten unity, forgotten strategy. Didn't ANY of these people serve? No wonder they get cut up so much.

      The children of the poor perish in their beds, while the blastocysts of the wealthy are preserved for all eternity

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:57:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this diary (none)
    This is a great statement in response to Mr. Obama's diary--the best one I've seen (including the one from Kos). I thought Obama's diary made some very good points, and your diary, rather than refuting them, adds another and necessary dimension.
  •  I Have A Real Simple Answer (none)
    I fully respect everyone's right to express their opinion on this site, even to rant if need be. Go for it!

    What I am having difficulty with though is it is fine to rant and complain about ineffective leadership in the Democratic Party and how they should be doing this and that.

    I say the answer is simple - ELECT LEADERS you want in power - don't just complain about the people there -

    ELECT your people

    (Note: I did not say anything about talking about your people, those you admire and agree with, I said ELECT. If your people are not elected, they are reduced to joining in on liberal blogs and ranting and raving).

    I am not naive. It is hard as hell to elect someone, but that's the point. You demand purity of principle, and yet seem to overlook what it takes to be elected.

    If Hillary Clinton, for example, needs to show a toughness of security and a more moderate tone on abortion to be elected President, good for her.

    I became an activist because of Howard Dean. He was a blunt say it as he sees it kind of a guy and many here admired him for it. Let's see - where did his campaign go? Is he living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Was he EVEN the Democratic nominee? I seem to remember otherwise. Maybe Howard was a bit politically naive.

    Sometimes you have to kiss butt to get elected and even to govern. Purists will rant and rave, but unless all you want is a debating society where we debate what America should be like instead of having the power to change America - our guys (and gals) need to be ELECTED.

    With that said, I am NOT suggesting our politicians cannot show more leadership. But we will disagree where leadership ends and NECESSARY politicking begins. That line is different for everyone.

    But I learned last year, our number one focus MUST be to ELECT those we want in power.

    And for those on this site you want to abandon the Democratic party because it is not as pure as you want, I say, go ahead, abandon the party. Help elect more Republicans - because that is what abandoning Democrats will do - help elect Republicans, period.

    If you don't care about more Republicans being in office (ie, the Democrats are like Republicans), then what the hell are you doing on this site, other then to rant and rave?

    Steve Wild
    Daily Speech

  •  Howard Dean is still our best 'change agent' for (none)
    Dem party and is working it 'bottom up' in addition 'top down' because this is the ONLY way to make it happen.
    •  Some very human information behaviors that impede (none)
      the sharing of knowledge and collaboration

      1. People only accept and internalize information that fits with their mental models and frames (Lakoff's rule)

      2. People cannot readily differentiate useful information from useless information, and feel overwhelmed with content volume and complex tools (info overload, and poverty of imagination)

      3. The true cost of acquiring information (time wasted looking for it) and the cost of not knowing (Katrina, 9/11, Poultry Flu etc.) are both greatly underestimated in most organizations. And this has strong ramifications in the political beliefs of most Americans like we see exemplified here on Daily Kos.

      Frustrating isn't it ?
  •  A Few More Comments... (none)
    Believe me when I say this...

    I FULLY appreciate the frustration and anger on the current state of the Democratic Party and the "leaders" in power. I really do.

    I understand the need to vent and complain. It is theuraputic and necessary.

    November 3, 2004 was one of the darkest days of my life after working my ass off to get an ineffectual candidate elected President. Kerry was TOO cautious for too long. When they slimed him with the Swift Boat attack, he should have come out swinging with righteous indignation.

    I was appalled that Democrats lost last year given all the bad news for the Republicans. 2004 was lost in large part because of the excellent (and disgusting) manipulation of fear and the big bad terrorist boogey man. DISGUSTING!!!!!! And they threw in the fear of the faggots (I'm one of them) running amok. THAT INFURIATED ME!!!!!!

    Now 2005 and things are much worse. Yet, in part, because of last year, I am not convinced, YET, we can see Democratic gains in 2006. I am cautiously optimistic, especially in Ohio. And yes, I will be working the 2006 campaigns.

    But, what you all need to do is not just complain on this site about ineffective leadership in the Democratic Party.

    First and foremost - create your own point by point manifesto of what the party should stand for. Then find candidates who agree and fully support it. Then ELECT them to office.

    Simple? Hell NO!!!!!!!

    Complaining on a Blog? REAL SIMPLE.

    Steve Wild
    Daily Speech

    •  Have you ever even been to a dem convention? (4.00)
      At the county, state, or national level?

      Because if you had, you would see the innanity of a statement like: "First and foremost - create your own point by point manifesto of what the party should stand for. Then find candidates who agree and fully support it. Then ELECT them to office."

      What the HELL do you think we do in the party all year long, every year, and especially during general election years?  From the local level up, the members of the democratic party meet and hammer out PLATFORMS on everything.  It goes to the national level, and the bastards we send to the legislatures and to Congress shred it.

      That 'manifesto' you suggest we put together?  It's done.  It has been finished since friggin FDR.  We just tweak it based on changes in our communities and social consciousness and, historically, based on what the opposition party is trying to attack IN our platform.

      Sorry to come down on you, but I am sick to death of listening to Americans who don't know jack about anything about the political process.  And you don't. Not if you think there's some alternative manifesto that could be 'introduced.'  I guess you are suggesting that we throw out the local, state and national platforms?  The ones created and honed by 1000's of ordinary Americans every month.

      We have GOT to stop talking to ANYONE about 'the party' who doesn't even know that there is a structure and a process to how that party operates and HOW we tell our reps to represent us.  I guess the only thing to do is grab ahold of the arm of our neighbor and DRAG THEM TO THE NEXT COUNTY DEM PARTY MEETING.  They meet in every community in this country on a monthly basis.  No one seems to know.

      THEN maybe we can explain what the DLC is to our neighbors and they would understand that we have a totally autonomous, self-seeking organization that has NOTHING TO DO with the grassroots political process of PLATFORM CREATION.  

      LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

      by letsfight on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:23:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm Very Well Aware (none)

        of the diversity of our party and the MANY MANY different viewpoints of peopl in it and the many many platforms we have developed since FDR.

        So what's your point?

        If a platform you already endorse exists -

        ELECT candidates who will actually support it and live it

        If they fail you, ELECT new candidates to replace them.

        Democracy is messy and hardly perfect.

        It includes your right to complain.

        But I would think it would be more satisfying to elect people who will follow your ideas and not only complain (not that you are one only complaining).

        So let's have a spirited debate. Let's condemn Obama's remarks if we so choose. Let's pillory Hillary (I know it rhymes) if she disappoints.

        Some of us will work to elect people who will live what we want, but with that said, NO candidate will EVER please us ALL THE TIME, EVER. That's life.

  •  Where are the democrats? (none)
    "Where are the Democrats? Waiting for the poll returns to tell them how to play it?"

    And that hits the nail on the head.

    The only "principle" that the democrats in Washington seem to have is:  "Can I get away with this vote, and still get elected?  How can I stay in DC? Gee, what month is it?  When is the next election? Oh, will my constituents remember this to the degree that they will vote for my opponent?"

    It seems ALL the votes are conditioned on that ONE PRINCIPLE.  Getting re-elected; avoiding a reprimand in the local consituent's newspapers; not getting asked the hard questions back home.

    It's all about keeping a job that they refuse to f'ing do.

    I am sick of it. Been a yellow dog for close to 25 years. At this point, I encourage everyone to vote REPUBLICAN across the board in the next election. It's just ONE VOTE, after all.  Our only problem is one of time:  when will the American people wake up and throw ALL of them out of DC? When will we collectively 'storm the bastille.'  

    The only 'out' I can see from the graft, corruption, decimation of the constitution, etc., is to just let the neocons reign supreme without the cover of bipartisanship so that the American public can finally SEE how very bad it is and do something about it.

    I am not really going to vote republican.  But for the first time, I ask myself, who DO I VOTE FOR?  If I lived in Illinois, do I actually cast a vote for Obama 'because I am dem'?  I have always been far left but I have always voted straight ticket. Always. Always. Always.  The only thing I can see is that my dem vote translates into total and complete support for the agenda of a radical fringe group aka the neocons.  WOW.

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:12:21 AM PDT

    •  If You Don't Vote For a Democrat (none)

      You voted for a Republican, period.

      It's your right to do.

      You are 100% right, ALL politicians (with very few exceptions) from ALL parties do what is needed to be elected and stay elected. Why would they do differently?

      If a politician merely wants to stay true and blue to his or her principles without regard to electability, I suggest they become college professors instead of politicians.

      Yes, we the people MUST complain. Yes, we the people MUST hold our politicians accountable. But until you can get a majority of voters to agree with you, your complaining will not change government. But, by all means - keep complaining - maybe Americans will finally listen.

      •  But (none)
        A vote for a Democrat is also a vote for a Republican.

        Here is a list of things Democrats helped Republicans pass:

        Weaking of ESA
        Iraq war
        Patriot Act
        Energy bill
        Transportation bill
        Cuts to college funds
        Cuts to progressive social programs
        Tax cuts to encourage offshoring/outsourcing
        Corporate welfare
        No-bid contracts
        Worthless apointees with no preper experience/education
        No push to find Bin Ladin
        No election reform
        No support for Conyers on DSM
        No calling out corruption

        So far, Democrats = Republicans

    •  Fuck with them (none)
      Vote Green, Libertarian, Reform, Independant, Communist, whatever. Get enough to vote for the same 3rd party. Do that just to see the look on centrist's faces as they shit their pants. Work for me. And as long as Democrats help pass Republicans laws left and right, there is no difference between the parties.
  •  Jumping down to the bottom to say (none)
    Less Reading and MOre Leading




  •  When did being direct and concise become undiploma (none)
    Our message is watered down by too many concerns about being offensive. The truth should never be  offensive when it is stated clearly. If it differs from the MSM or the Republican talking points, then it should be clear to the reader why. Coming out with the point/counter-point, supported by facts is what people need and crave. What scares me is that people do not even understand the main thrust of what democrats are trying to communicate. We need to stop worrying about what they want to hear and how we should say it. People will choose their position based on a strong message with supporting arguments.
  •  One of the things (4.00)
    that upset me about Sen. Obama's diary relates to that last sentence: aren't we the American people?  Am I not a member of the American public?  Do I not count as a member of "the common people" because I'm a liberal?  If our own leadership doesn't see us as their constituency, we're pretty damn screwed, aren't we?

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

    by tryptamine on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 07:27:09 AM PDT

    •  I was troubled by that too (none)
      I, because of the framing of it automatically severed the reader and the audience it was given to from the American people, the commonwealth, etc. The "Oh you, don't get the American people because you are a liberal and you don't STFU because the American people are ignorant and not angry about things".

      You picked up on one of the more troubling and to be frank, fucking insulting things Mr. Obama posted.


      Mitch Gore

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

      by Lestatdelc on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 01:52:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the absence of leadership (none)
    "Senator Obama inadvertently shone a big, bright light on the other elephant in the room. An elephant we can call The Absence of Leadership."

    3 points on this diary and comments:

    1. As others have said above, we the people must take responsibility and stop looking for the "great man" to tell us what to do.
    2. We Dems tend to eat our own if they are not perfect. Look at what we're doing to one of the most principled, intelligent, and compassionate representatives in Congress.
    3. True leaders are ark-builders. They show people a way through the hard times and offer them hope. They are empowering. They listen and hold up a mirror so that the people can see themselves and where they are heading. This is what we can look for.

    This is, perhaps, what we would find if we weren't so hell-bent on tearing apart anyone who had flaws and made mistakes like a human being.

    Are we looking for perfection because we are afraid that we'll fail without it? Do we really need a savior, not a leader? I hope not, because if that's the case we'll be drinking our own Kool Aid. Methinks it's time to examine ourselves and stop looking around for someone to either idolize or blame.

  •  Couldn't agree more (none)
    Spot on. I said it yesterday in a few threads - it's about a leadership vacuum - you aid it better than I today. Nothing more to add.
  •  Fantasy Sports (none)
    Most blogs are the fantasy sports equivalent of politics.  

    In fantasy sports you get to have all all-stars.  You don't get some regular players who have to do the hard stuff.  The players who have to come in for 10 minutes and give the star a break aren't part of your team.  Those bench players sometimes average obscene numbers when carried out over the course of a game.  They seem like they'd be great players to put in for the whole game.  But, when you put them in for the whole game, their numbers don't carry out the way you wanted them to.  They drop down to a more earthly per minute average.  

    The point is that the stars are the stars because they can play a whole game.  They know when it's time to really push, and when it's time to play smart for a few minutes so you'll be ready when it's fully necessary.  

    I used to post a lot on some sports boards.  I was kind of embarrassed about it.  I knew way too much about the NBA.  Way too much.  I've never been on an organized basketball team.  Yet, I could make a convincing argument for why certain players should be retained, or when certain coaches should be dumped. And there are lots of people who can do the same thing.  You just adopt the language and go.  It's kind of the same on political blogs.  

    I know very little about Obama.  I didn't follow the and his college numbers.  I don't even know where he played in college.  But, I think he's doing a pretty good job of playing a complete game at the pro level.  Sometimes those all-American college guys come in and try to do what they did at the college level and they just can't.  They completely crap out and get dumped into the pile of players who have a 5 year contract, but get shuffled around as salary add on in trades.   Then, when their 5 year deal is over, you'll find them playing in Croatis.

  •  A Democratic "Contract" for 2006? (none)
    I completely agree.  The Dems need leadership.

    A core group of Dem "leaders" and Dem 2006 candidates need to  coallesce around a set of principles to run on.

    (I hate to say it, but much like the 'Contract for America' in 2004).

    We lost the presidential, but we can make 2006 not only a refferendum against the corrupt Republican party, but a referendum FOR our ideals.

    Even if we don't take back Congress in 2006, we would still be able to point to those principles, tell the country that this is what we stand for and use any gains we make to demonstrate our strength going into 2008.

    Now what would those principles be?

    I've heard Jesse Jackson Jr. assert a group of ten, he referes to as a Second Bill of Rights.  Why not start there?

  •  I'm wondering if it's worth (none)
    considering that the blogs unite, MoveOn, Kos, MyDD, BooMan, etc, to create a document that gives an outline of the issues we'd like addressed and send it to our own community like  a petition to sign and then send it on to Reid and Pelosi.
    We probably could get a majority to agree of needing a timeline on Iraq, a true energy policy, healthcare policy,etc. Just playing with this idea it seems like the leaders are good at putting out general statements on what we stand for but when it comes to voting it doesn't reflect our interests. Maybe we could take Reid's own directive and elaborate. But the ultimate purpose would be to show them a united voice outside the beltway and push them to unite better. They always come to us to sign petitions on single issues, to raise money, to get the word out about single issues, why couldn't we engage them with our own united stance? And as to uniting on a single stance, we come to the middle of the issue. Just an idea here, be curious what people think.
  •  Good diary, rec'd. (none)
    "the American people just aren't as angry and opposed to the policies and performance of the Bush Republicans as we here in the blogging community"

    To this I have to say: I am a self-proclaimed starkravinglunaticradical--always have been, always will be. So you can expect me to have my undies in a big-ass bundle bout now and to be screaming at the top of my lungs: REMOVE THESE FUCKING CRIMINALS FROM OFFICE.

    BUT, my plumber is not a srlr, nor is my pastor, nor is the sales clerk at walgreens, nor my postman, nor my fellow professors at the U, my dentist, my physician, my hairdresser, my drycleaner.

    And yet, ALL of them, ALL of them are pissed as hell about what is happening to this country.

    At the same time, they are AFRAID to speak out. They are afraid (as my plumber says) that the IRS will come after them if they do; they are afraid (as my colleagues say) that their tenure will be at risk (cf. Ward Churchill); they are afraid (as the clerk at Walgreens says) they will lose their jobs; they are afraid (as I know from the pastor) the 501 (c) 3 status of their organization will be jeopardized.

    As I have always said, the "terror tactics" of the new Fascism will not include the threat of physical terror (as was the case with the Nazi regime), the threat will come in the form of FISCAL terror (you lose your job: that means you risk losing, in this order, your health care, your house, your car, your credit rating, before you know it, you're on the street and voila! in the case of any emergency, you end up in the Superdome!--now, if that ain't enough to scare you into shutting up, well, I don't what is).

    However, IF there were big name Senators like Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, et al. out there screaming at the top of their lungs and making sure the press is there to HEAR them and BROADCAST their statements, certainly, any number of extremely frightened citizens would get the drift: gee, if it's OK for them to say it, maybe I can risk it too.

  •  Late to the party, (none)
    but thank you Tocque for articulating this.  It is exactly what is missing from Senator Obama's plea.  I hope he has read this reply, for I see in him great potential to be one of the leaders that we so desparately need.  Now if we can just get you to run for national office . . . please?
  •  Barack O (none)
    That diary is one of the  most thoughtful, measured, intelligent statements I have ever read on the internet. It should be written on parchment and sent to every Democratic officeholder in America. Thank you so much for this superb statement of what our Party is supposed to stand for. I wish Sen. Obama would read it, and remember that he was elected from the state that gave America not only Abraham Lincoln, but also Paul Douglas, Adlai Stevenson and many other of the greatest men our country has ever known.
        These men did not become legends because they compromised their beliefs, or because they stood for nothing. They were men of principle and integrity. Let us hope Sen. Obama decides to join their mighty ranks --and to stand up for the principles articulated in wonderful diary that began this blog.
  •  If we don't fill the vacum, someone else will (none)

    That's my main fear. There is a huge leadership gap in this country right now. The nation is largely adrift with the nominal leadership -- the GOP and the Bush Administration even less capable of effectively controlling events than they ever were.

    As loath as I am to fully buy into James Howard Kunstler's very pessimistic view of our petrochemical-constricted future, in a recent post on his blog, Clusterfuck Nation he raises a very sailient point.

    On the markets, the price of gas is now heading north of $15 a unit (1000 cubic feet). It could easily hit $20 by Christmas, which would be about 700 percent higher than the price in 2002. Everyone in the non-Sunbelt is going to feel the pain this winter, and quite a few of the poor and infirm may freeze to death.

    This is going to be a whole new kind of crisis for America and will set off a new kind of political fury. Both parties will get it in the neck but, of course, the Republicans led by the Bush White House will get it worse, because they are nominally in charge of things. There will be nothing they can do about the natural gas crisis. You can't get any significant amount more of it from overseas because it requires special tankers and terminals to receive it, and those terminals will not be built before the robins come back to Kalamazoo. The Democrats will have to prove that they don't deserve to join the Whigs in the Hall of Extinct Parties.

    The political allegiance of the American public will be fully in play. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and we are likely to see the emergence of something new, perhaps something like the British National Party (BNP) which combines a very aggressive agenda on energy policy with overt fascism. The American people will be starved for action, too, and will be waiting for a man of action to embody their desperation. Let's hope that the characters who percolate out of this mess are not maniacs.

    As the ecnomic situation worsens and the neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties display any clue that they know how to deal with the situation, things could begin to get sticky indeed.

    Someone in the Democratic Party has to take the bit between his or her teeth and risk being called a lunatic for a year or two. The payoff, when the going really gets tough: that person will be seen as a visionary and a potential savior. Churchill anyone? Right now the most likely candidate in my book is Gore. But he could surely use some help. Perhaps Mr. Obama will take up the challenge. But that's a pretty tall order for a freshman senator.

    So, I don't think it's fair to blame Sen. Obama for what is really an accurate analysis of how we need to approach the debate wihin and whithout the party. He's right on that issue. What he is missing -- and probably either doesn't see or does not feel in a position to address -- is the lack of a party leader with some vision to take the Democratic Party out of its New Deal and Great Society past and into a Post-Petroleum future. That is going to require a great deal of intestinal fortutude. Let's home someone comes up with it sooon.

    "Being Irish he possessed an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through brief episodes of joy."
    - W. B. Yeats

    by cman on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 09:54:45 AM PDT

  •  I had the same essential message (none)
    in reply to the Senator's diary entry.

    It's fine to discuss tone and temperment with the wider electorate, but the Dem leadership will only get patience concerning their actions and willingness from us to sound measured if they all show a general subscription to clearly laid-out, progressive planks.

    They have nothing right now, at least, nothing across the board.  Every new issue which hits Congress generates another effort to divine where Dem leadership might possibly stand from square one.  Wondering where our party members stand relative to party ideals shouldn't be a constant, churning exercise: even considering the natural individuality of strengths and local interests which will lead to rational reasons for being more or less involved in any given vote/issue, the leadership has not widely publicized any major progressive principles against which their party members can be considered.  They have no baseline for the party, therefore all of the Kerry campaign's fine points went into a black hole of history, for example.

    Without Dem party leadership and general solidarity for the progressive points Senator Obama properly notes we should attempt to move forward, us in the electorate have little reason to give them the benefit of any doubt, since they give us nothing but doubt as a party on where they generally stand.

    It's easy: make public the party's main points, sign up all elected officials and enforce solidarity towards those directions - even if members disagree on how to make progress, at least we'll see them supporting the same, general principles.  That would go a long way towards giving us something solid to support in each election and during crucial legislative votes.

  •  Right Fuckin' On! (none)
    I knew there was something I didn't like about Obama's post, and I knew it was because it was the same shit we hear all of the time from the DLC, but I couldn't nail exactly what. You, excellent diarist, have it nailed. My favorite 'graf:
    And this is what I mean about failed leadership. It is not enough to take a poll and decide what can be done. We must change perceptions so that we may do what must be done. We must educate. We must persuade. We must lead.

    The moment Obama was whining about, "But we have to be this way because everybody else thinks this way!" I should have known that he had a fundamental misunderstanding about what leadership is. Leadership is not about living in the present, following that fleeting snapshot of reality you get from either a poll or from talking to people. It's about having fucking goals (roughly translates to "values" in politics speak) and figuring out how to get people to work with you towards those goals willingly. Where the people are only matters in as much as it determines you tactics for lining them up to follow and how fast you can realistically expect to get there.

    To make a long story short: Get up off your asses, Democrats, and lead, follow, or get the fuck out of the way. If you can't do one of these three, this train will run your ass over once we've built up the steam. And the steam of our Vast Left Wing Conspiracy is building, fast.


  •  Bingo (none)
    You hit all the essential points.
    There is far more to be said to Sen. Obama and to the Democratic "Leadership" (Gag. Choke. Gasp. Sigh).
    But this about sums it up.
    Overall the problem Obama and pretty much every other Democratic politician displays, is an inability to take a role in educating the populace.

    I notice this with Dean, also with Kerry in the general. They would acknowledge things in their speeches and debates that would get true believers, and people in the know, fired up, but which meant precisely nothing to people who didn't already know.

    And knowing is half the battle. But only half. The other half is fighting the battle. For which leadership if not essential is certainly useful.

    9/11 + 4 Years = Katrina... Conservatism Kills.

    by NewDirection on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 12:24:50 PM PDT

  •  Damn. (none)
    ...and here I thought that I was somehow unique in this thought.

    Good to see a lot of us realize the same thing.

  •  Yeah (none)
    Nail on the head, and something I've been saying in I don't know how many posts.

    The progressive movement will never win until we change peoples' minds on fundamental issues such as the role of government in our lives. We need our own noise machine now more than ever. I don't think the Democratic Party gets this at all. Why on earth create Current TV, when FOX News is the #1 watched news network.


  •  Senator Obama & a Great Day for Democracy (none)

    Senator Obama & a Great Day for Democracy

    I first posted this as a series of comments in response to diarists dismayed at the welcoming that Senator Obama received from what's been affectionately described as the "rabble" here at DailyKos .

    I've been heartened by what I've witnessed in response to the Senator's diary; because it's been a great exercise in democracy, 21st century style.

    Senator Obama has not been dismissed nor belittled in the more thoughtful responses/diaries; and, if he is truly interested in hearing what Americans -- all Americans, not just what insiders consider "Average Americans" -- have to say, than am sure that he and his staff appreciate much of the feedback earnestly submitted by this group of Americans.   Moreover, Senator Obama's main message, that we should act with "civility" and not-throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water over one vote, is hard to dismiss out of hand and to argue against -- I mean, it's just plain commonsense, though rather innocuous and lacking substance.  And, while the Senator's advice and gesture are appreciated, at this point, it simply is much too little and much too late.  In stead, this group of Americans demand and need more from their elected representatives.  Here's what I believe the "rabble," Americans all, is looking for -- at least this is what I want: I want my elected Democratic representatives to more stridently advocate Progressive principles and to provide affirmative/concrete leadership in crafting a Democratic brand/message that we can rally behind. It's that simple.

    Now, in the marketplace of ideas, competing brands/messages arise frequently and, eventually, one vision wins out.  However, for this to occur, there must be enterprising salesmen/political leaders aggressively presenting their competing visions, from which the public then decides which brand/message obtains their support.  However, because the marketplace of ideas is often saturated with products, salesman/political leaders must be assertive and aggressive in presenting their product.  It is in this last part of the process that we, Americans, feel that the Democratic sales force has failed on.  The Democratic party sales team is, it appears, content in picking up the scraps from the failures of the dominant Republican brand -- even as that brand is showing clear signs of overexposure, unsatisfactory customer support and an incapacity to meet the American public's demand for real leadership.  And yet, rather than mounting an aggressive and glossy ad campaign to attract customers and to invigorate the Democratic brand, the Democratic sales force is content with mediocre gains at the margins.  To illustrate, look at what Apple did when it was on the brink of extension: it innovated, brought new products/ideas to market, presented an integrated marketing strategy for its entire line of products (from the iMac to iTunes to the iPod), and it aggressively saturated the market place with vibrant glossy ads -- going so far as to open Apple stores -- presenting Apple products as the alternative to the bland Windows beige PCs.  (By the way, am a Windows user.)  Today Apple is enjoys economic success, has seen its market share rise and it continues to drive innovation and ideas in the PC industry -- even as Windows based systems collectively have market dominance.

    Again, I urge understanding, the response to Senator Obama has little to do partisan purity or orthodoxy... it is more simple than that... it's as basic as expecting our elected Dems to stand up to the bully and to give voice to our frustration.  Am sure we all understand and appreciate how the vast majority of the grassroots -- my self included -- are simply tired of hearing about comity and so-called moderation when we (Democrats and Progressives collectively) have been taking it on the gut since the Gingrich Revolution, through the Clinton Presidency, the post-2000 elections, the charges against our patriotism during the 2002-midter elections, the abuses in Iraq and the Swift boating of John Kerry.  And, yes, this list doesn't even begin to record the grievances against the Republican party... not by a long shot.  Recent polls affirm that we, Progressives and America at large, want and expect the Democrats to stand up to the Republican party.  As to the charge of "obstructionist," you know that it -- and worst -- will be made, because that's what Republicans do, have done and will do... so let's not be surprised when they react exactly as expected.

    Moreover, a lot of the responses to Senator Obama have been extremely thoughtful, and if he and his staff have any sense -- which am sure they do --, they'll find a lot themes to adopt and messages to fine tune.  The DailyKos community has done the Senator a service, which am sure he appreciates -- it is, after all, a two way street... he "spoke," and we responded -- democracy at work.

    Remember, it is the role of elected officials to hear their constituents and to represent them.  Now, this is how it's supposed to work in theory, I understand.  In the real world, the people are supposed defer to authority... at least that's how it works.  Well, I say, why not let theory win out for once... why let not OUR elected representative hear how it is... how we feel... and how WE want more than innocuous calls for "civility" and to not-throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water.  After all, it's supposed to be By the People, For the People; and not, From Elected Officials, For Elected Officials.  We, here at DailyKos and across America, We are the people... today we've seen democracy in action... we've gathered in the 21st century version of a democratic forum and aired our concerns and aspirations to an elected Democratic official that honored us by opening dialogue.  The people, hopefully, will have been heard and OUR representative and OUR democracy will be the better for it.

    bedobe (at) gmail (.) com

    by bedobe on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 03:22:16 PM PDT

  •  I've disagreed with your views previously TD (none)
    And I won't apologize for it.  But I find your points well reasoned here, and I happen to agree with you.

    (although I will acknowledge that my responses last weekend contained more spleen than reason).

    When I must guard my thoughts, feelings and words, lest I be unpatriotic...then my country is lost

    by crimsonscare on Sat Oct 01, 2005 at 03:25:42 PM PDT

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