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The American Prospect has published the first part of Ruy Texeira and John Halpin's four part article on Democratic political strategy, messaging and branding. Their conclusion on what Dems need to do? Stand for something:

The thesis of this report is straightforward. Progressives need to fight for what they believe in -- and put the common good at the center of a new progressive vision -- as an essential strategy for political growth and majority building. This is no longer a wishful sentiment by out-of-power activists, but a political and electoral imperative for all concerned progressives.

After three consecutive losses at the presidential and congressional levels, progressives have been consumed with finding the strategies, tactics, messages, policies, media outlets, language and messengers to overcome their problems at the ballot box. Thinkers across the ideological spectrum battle it out over the wisdom of pursuing a hard populist approach versus a renewed focus on national security and cultural deficits with middle class voters. Philanthropists and elites focus their efforts on building new progressive "infrastructure"; grass-roots activists yearn for new organizational and media tactics and an aggressive public posture; and still others continue to long for the next incarnation of President Bill Clinton.

Unfortunately, while each of these approaches offers important insights, the totality of the advice simply misses the mark and obscures the underlying problem driving progressives' on-going woes nationally: a majority of Americans do not believe progressives or Democrats stand for anything. 1 Despite difficult times for the GOP in early 2006, Republicans continue to hold double-digit advantages over Democrats on the key attribute of "know what they stand for" and fewer than four in 10 voters believe the Democratic Party has "a clear set of policies for the country". 2

This trend, one we call the "identity gap," has been written about and discussed by others in years past. What is not understood is the extent to which this gap continues to drag down progressives and Democrats and depress their support in myriad ways. "No identity" translates into no character. No personal integrity. No vision worth fighting for. No domestic agenda. No national-security agenda. No basic understanding of the problems facing everyday citizens. No contrast with the other side. No reason to vote for progressive candidates.

(Emphasis supplied.) Yes, that was me yelling Amen! that you heard. Let's talk some more about this on the flip.

Texeira and Halpin write:

The identity gap in politics has serious direct and indirect ramifications. Directly, voters hold the Democrats' lack of identity against candidates and the party as a whole; indirectly, the lack of identity undermines Democrats' abilities to capitalize on their strengths and enables the GOP to capitalize easily on Democratic weaknesses.

This is a critical point in my view. Too many pundits think that being mushy keeps people from lining up against you (think "values" voters) when you try to "soften" the contrast between Dems and the GOP on social issues.  Kamarck and Galston were prominent in this group. So was my friend from the DLC, Ed Kilgore.

My view has been for some time to favor a Politics of Contrast. In writing on the Politics of Roe, I said:

But so what? you say. What does that have to do with the politics of Roe? This, Democrats can only be the Rational Party, the Moderate Party, the Sane Party if they stand firmly against the extremists. Given the feeling of the American People that Democrats don't stand for much imagine what they will think if Dems stop fighting for the right to privacy! Why then would a moderate voter look to Dems to protect them against the Extremism of the Republican Party?

In short, to give up on Roe is to throw away any notion the American People have left that Dems stand for anything. It is to rip apart the progressive wing of the Party and fracture Democrats in a way that was last seen when the civil rights laws were passed.

See, we have already had our split on privacy and abortion . Single issue anti-choice voters are Republicans. And they will never be anything else. The mistake that is made by Levinson is to assume that by putting abortion rights in play in the legislative arena this will automatically deliver all pro-choice voters to the Democrats. NOT IF THE DEMS ARE COMPLICIT IN DESTROYING THE WOMEN"S RIGHT TO CHOOSE! They will flock to those who will protect what they value. Dems giving up on Roe destroys the idea of Dems as protectors of women's rights. Those voters who suddenly find that the right to choose is in jeopardy are not likely to run to Democrats just as voters in 1856 and 1860 did not run to the Whigs and other politicians who sold out on slavery.

So let's consider the probable political effect of a Dem cavein on Roe -- (1) complete alienation of the progressive wing of the  Party - bad. (2) Laws banning abortion in the South and other Red States - neutral for Dems politically.  (3) No such laws in Blue States where Republicans will be permitted to be pro-choice - neutral for Dems.

Where's the big uptick for Dems? Only one scenario provides it - a Republican push for a federal law banning abortion. Blue states will recoil from this. Guess what? Dems HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY NOW! Why are we not using the Politics of Contrast now!

Indeed, if the "give up on Roe scenario  is played out, we will not have that opportuniy afterwards! The  fight is now. The contrast is now.

Fighting for Roe now is good politics as well as the right thing to do.

NOT fighting for Roe now is disastrous politics and the wrong thing to do. As Eugene at My Left Wing has said, it is the policy of the Whig Party, circa 1854. and we all know how that ended for the Whigs.

What is the cost of wishiwashiness? Ask John Kerry. From the Texeira/Halpin article:

The direct consequences of the identity gap were most evident in the 2004 presidential contest. According to 2004 post-election polling, the most commonly cited reason not to vote for Kerry among Bush voters who considered voting Democratic -- in other words, the voters who turned the election to Bush -- was Kerry's "flip-flopping" on the issues. 5 Indeed, it wasn't even close -- other issues like gay marriage, abortion, and Kerry's anti-Vietnam war history were all cited by only around one-third the number who cited flip-flopping. Similarly, the top reason cited by white Catholics for why Kerry lost the 2004 election was that the candidate was "not clear on what he stood for" (48 percent selected this reason as one of the two top reasons Kerry lost, twice as many as selected "permissive views on issues like abortion and gay marriage" as one of the reasons).6

Stand for Something. But WHAT to stand for? Some guideposts from Texeira and Halpin:

Tactical shifts on cultural issues, repudiating liberal policies, or acting "tough" on national security will not solve this problem. At the same time, pure base mobilization and the prospect of turning millions of nonvoters into reliable progressive voters remains a difficult, if not impossible, task. John Kerry garnered the largest vote ever for a Democratic presidential candidate -- nearly 60 million votes -- yet still fell short of Bush by more than 3 million votes.

A viable approach for majority building must devise ways to both strengthen the base and reach out to a huge pool of unattached voters who have voted Republican but are not convinced by the GOP's conservative agenda. This is not an either/or prospect for progressives at this point in time.

We need a new strategy of transformation for today's progressive movement -- one based on definition, principles, and a sincere effort to secure the common good. We must pursue an agenda that is engaging and substantively important for both the progressive base and important target audiences; an agenda built on a platform of broadly shared economic opportunity and a clear stand on the side of middle- and working-class families.

Ahhh. The Common Good! I like that. But seriously, this is the hard stuff. And some hard thinking is required. I like the Common Good of course, but what are we seeing as the Common Good?

A great start from Texeira and Halpin. I can't wait to read the rest of the article.    

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Irresponsible and immoral (31+ / 0-)

    You'd think Democrats would at least seize the opportunity to say that preemptive nuclear strikes are a bad idea -- and that our using them could lead to the suddden annilation of the entire planet. But they are unwilling to go so far as to even demand that nuclear first strikes be taken off the U.S. table. In remaining silent, they are not only spineless but profoundly irresponsible and deeply immoral. What part of "total global annihilation" do they not understand?

    •  Did you see (17+ / 0-)

      Ted Kennedy on MTP this morning?

      He said that almost exactly.

    •  the consultant-speak of it... (6+ / 0-)

      Being against nuclear war means you're "soft on national defense" as far as the consultants and the Joe Klein types are concerned.

      Nevermind that the average American would agree if you just stood up and said "no, we're not nuking Iran because THAT SHIT IS CRAZY!"

      •  Not 'consultant speak,' but BAD consultant speak (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Da Buddy, audemocrat

        There are plenty of highly intelligent, creative consultants on our team -- for some reason, however, an inordinate supply of moronic ones keep getting hired.  

      •  Another LBJ 'Daisy' commercial? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Da Buddy, firefly68, audemocrat

        Could we start saying that people talking about nuclear war are threatening America's security? Could we use the fear of death and destruction to scare people away from the pro-war crowd?

        LBJ did just this with the 'Daisy" commercial and people were scared that a vote for Goldwater was a vote for nuclear war.

        We should turn the tables on them.

        •  Diary (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Could we start saying that people talking about nuclear war are threatening America's security? Could we use the fear of death and destruction to scare people away from the pro-war crowd?

          Please turn this comment into a diary. The idea has real merit and needs to be discussed widely.

          Flesh it out...Include a link to the original commercial...Whatever it takes. Just do it, please!

          Nothing To See Here folks. Move Along!

          by Da Buddy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:31:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Remember the 2004 Presidential debates, (10+ / 0-)

      when Kerry was asked what the single most important issue was, and he replied, "nuclear nonproliferation?"  Remember how Bush was forced to parrot the same answer?  Not a peep about it since.

      Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

      by Simplify on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:48:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not the WHAT, it's the HOW (15+ / 0-)

      To the Democratic Party: When you mumble your message with an eye towards the polls and speak softly least you offend political sensibilities, the American Public can't hear what you have to say because its hearing is being blasted by the loud marching noise of theocracy and corporatism in action. Stand up straight and speak up!

      You know you're right because god thinks like you and you want the rest of the people to emulate god too.

      by Ayanora on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:17:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Problem Isn't Framing, It's Beliefs (10+ / 0-)

      Take war and peace issues (since you've raised them, Thaxter).  The Democratic Party includes an incredible mishmash of views on Iraq and Iran, that run from legitimately dovish (say, Barbara Lee) to cautiously hawkish (e.g. John Murtha) to let's-try-to-out-hawk-the-GOP (e.g. Hillary on Iran, or Kerry in his 2004 let's-send-more-troops-to-Iraq mode).  

      The problem with the Democrats on Iraq -- and now Iran -- is that they simply don't stand for anything.  This isn't just a matter of framing. It's a matter of having the party take a clear position and giving those who disagree with it approximately the same role in the party as pro-choicers have in the GOP.

      What's worse -- for the country and the Democrats -- is that the leading figures in the party remain hawkish, while an ever-growing majority of the base (and of the public at large) correctly want the troops to come home.  

      In short, an ideological fight within the party needs to take place for the party to offer anything more coherent on Iraq than desperate-sounding big tentism.  And if progressive Democrats don't take the bull by the horns and work on marginalizing the Hillary Clintons and Joe Bidens, all the talk about message will be for naught.

      First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

      by GreenSooner on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:45:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Messenger & spin more important (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think all these issues are important, and the core of why I'm a Democrat, but... our problem isn't our stand on the issues, it's our complete and utter inability to explain those stands in concise, impactful, byte-sized chunks.

        And at the presidential level, an even bigger problem is our seeming addiction to nominating sub-par campaigners.  Seriously, go back to 1976, and aside from Bill Clinton, every nominee we had was clearly far from the best campaigner, and some were genuinely crappy.  They might've been great people, and perhaps would be great presidents, but... crappy campaigners don't get elected.

        I understand the importance of seeming like we have firm positions, though I think the Roe example in particular is way over-emphasized.   But more importanly -- we need to finally admit that ELECTABILITY MATTERS.  And we need to factor that in at least as strongly as the positions themselves.  

        •  'Electability' (4+ / 0-)

          "Electability" is all the Democratic Party has worried about for the last two decades...and where has it gotten them?

          Progressives need to worry first and foremost about getting the right policies in place. Electability is only an issue in so far as it is necessary to gain power to effect change. Electability should be something you worry about after you've established a platform.  First establish policy goals, then frame them.

          If one thinks about electability before committing to actually supporting the right policies, the best case scenario is winning elections and watching the party slide further and further to the right. And we all know the worst case scenario:  losing elections as the public continues to believe that all you care about is winning elections.

          (Historically, much of the Democrats' talk about "electability" has come from the right wing of the party that understands they can only sell their policies to the base if they avoid talking about the merits of those policies, and instead focus on largely phantom concerns about what the American public will bear.)

          First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

          by GreenSooner on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:44:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, REAL electability (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Meaning quite simply... "campaigners who don't suck."  It has nothing to do with right or left.

            I disagree 100% that the "Electability is all the Democratic Party has worried about for the last two decades."  Rather, certain candidates have erroneously claimed to be electable because they have centrist or right of center stances.  And a lot of the rank and file have fallen for that BS framing.

            It's much simpler than that -- it's about charisma, abiity to connect, etc.  Watch a candidate and ask yourself if you would vote for him or her if you had no idea what their positions were.  That's how most of America realistically votes.  Don't believe it?  Well, in over 90% of the last century's presidential elections, the taller candidate has won.

            I'm not saying to not take positions -- far from it.  I'm saying to take strong positions, but to have them be championed by strong campaigners.  

            •  In the case of Dumya (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Da Buddy

              the candidate won who could most mangle the English language and sound like a stumbling bumbling idiot who is simultaneoulsy listening to a hidden transmitter earpiece.

              Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

              by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:26:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Don't underestimate Dumbya (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                He may well be the worst president we've ever had, but most of America simply does not view him as a bumbling idiot.

                I guarantee you that if you remove policies from the equation, and ask people who was more "likeable" -- Bush would've trounced both Gore and Kerry.

                And that's the point.  Bush is a terrible president, whose policies have been a disaster.  But because he comes across as likeable -- he gets elected.

                That's the lesson we Dems need to finally get.  Likeability trumps policies.   And if we're smart, we'll start putting up great, likeable campaigners -- who ALSO happen to have great policies.  

                I mean, there's 300 million people in America, and at least 100 million of them are Democrats.  Can we REALLY not find one who has the right policies and the ability to campaign well enough to actually win power to put them in place?

                We did it in 92 and 96.  We can do it again.

                •  I don't misunderestimate Dumya (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  but it's pretty scary to live with people who imagine Bush is "more likeable" and that is a reason to actually cast a ballot for the man.

                  I don't really believe people think that way though. I think that frame that he got elected because he's "likeable" is a construct of the corporate media.

                  Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

                  by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:39:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The fault lies not in the media, but in ourselves (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tiggers thotful spot, Da Buddy

                    Bravo on the "misunderestimate" insertion...  ;)

                    But my two cents -- if the corporate media is framing him that way, it's our own damned fault for not coming up with a better counter-frame, and pushing it hard.  

                    I don't buy that the corporate media is right or left.  I think they are 100% Green -- for $$$, that is.  

                    If we give them a good, engaging story, they will cover it.  And if Bush got framed as likeable, it's part because he frankly does come across as likeable -- and part because his media team kicked the crap out of us in getting out stories, sound bites, and media ops that made him look likeable.

                    •  Not buying this. (0+ / 0-)

                      NBC and CBS are both owned by major defense contractors.  You don't think that shapes their editorial polcies?  ABC is owned by Disney, which has always been right wing, even though they are gay-friendly.  Don't forget, Disney shut down on Michael Moore for fear that F9-11 might not be "profitable."  Oh yeah, that explains it.  

                      I hope I don't have to explain Foxnews.

                      In the meantime, you need to read anything written by John McChesney + Herman & Chomsky's MANUFACTURING CONSENT.\

                      It's only just about the $$$$ when the content of the story doesn't threaten elite interests.

                      I love the smell of impeachment in the morning!

                      by gabbardd on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:20:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Enough with the excuses (0+ / 0-)

                        Yes, I've read this stuff -- and I've also had a heck of a lot of success getting media coverage for campaigns that were very much outside the mainstream, and very much on the left side of the spectrum.  I've even had Fox give me on-air coverage of an effort that slammed the president and attacked the drug war at the same time.  

                        Look, you make some good points, and you're obviously well informed on the subject, so I don't mean this at you personally.  In fact, I suspect we're actually pretty close, and could do some great plotting together.

                        But I will say that 95% of the time I've heard complaints about the "corporate media" from our side, it's been nothing more than an excuse to avoid the hard work of coming up with good, coverage-worthy efforts.  

                        Sure the media is corporate owned -- but we can use it to our advantage.  They want good, engaging stories because those are the stories that get viewers -- and more viewers mean more profits.  

                        Give them good, creative, buzz-worthy stories, and they will cover you.  Come up with a new angle.  Do something funny.  Get their attention.

                        The media may be corporate owned, but if our side doesn't realize that after decades and decades -- and know how to use it -- I blame us.  

                        Creative, buzz-worthy stuff gets covered.  But the same old tired paleo-liberal whining and "hey hey, ho, ho" chants don't get covered.   And unfortunately, the latter is still very much the majority of what our side does.

                        •  'I'm your huckleberry.' (0+ / 0-)

                          Trust me, I'm on board for whatever you, me, or anyone else can come up with to get media attention focused on the multiple crimes of Bush Inc.

                          As a member of  Scholars for 9-11 Truth, I have to tell you that I was a bit saddened that it took an endorsement from Charlie Sheen to give us any attention in the media.  Be that as it may, your point is well taken.  

                          My reply to you last night was my first post on DKos since the Alito confirmation.  I'm just coming out of the state of disbelief, but I'm still less than hopeful about the Dems.  If they couldn't nix Alito, what CAN they do?  Anyway, thanks for your gracious reply.

                          I love the smell of impeachment in the morning!

                          by gabbardd on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 07:10:14 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Yes...But It Still Matters What You Stand For (0+ / 0-)

              After all, there are plenty of electable Republicans.  But you're not calling for supporting them.  Indeed, if electability is not about tacking to the center (and I agree that it isn't), that's all the more reason to oppose center-right Democrats.

              First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

              by GreenSooner on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:45:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  No more fights within the party! Must win Nov 06! (0+ / 0-)

        at this point we don't need an "ideological fight within the party". We need to win the Congress.

        And I think that we'd all agree that we would then have a better chance of preventing future wars if we did so.

        No big ugly public fights. Unified front against Bush and the Republicans. Reach across the ideological divide and win this next election or things will wind up much worse than they already are.

        •  Who's 'we'? (4+ / 0-)

          Among other things, we (i.e. the United States) need...

 get out of Iraq.

 establish universal healthcare.

 support civil equality for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.a

 forge a sane foreign policy that places diplomacy and cooperation ahead of military posturing and violence.

 create an economic policy that benefits real people, not fictional ones (i.e. corporations).

 aggressively pursue policies that address the climate change disaster that is fast overtaking the world.

          A party that's more or less behind these things deserves progressives' support. A party that isn't needs to be transformed or abandoned.  

          A "united front against Bush and the GOP" has two big problems:  1) it's an electoral loser because it's incoherent (see 2004 for a great example of this); 2) if it wins, we will be stuck with many of the same disastrous policies we have today, even if they are managed by people less crooked and incompetent than the ones presently in charge.

          First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

          by GreenSooner on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:51:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and who is more likely to get this? (0+ / 0-)

            Even if we don't get it all from a Democratic Congress, we are far more likely to have a voice and have a chance to get these things.

            If the Republicans stay in power we get nothing.

            We can't have any more Naderite betrayals that hand over the Congress to the Republicans.

            •  Please Explain How Naderite Betrayals... (0+ / 0-)

              ...lost Congress for the Democrats?  I can't think of a single recent Congressional, let alone Senatorial, race in which a Green candidate made the difference between victory and defeat for a Democrat.

              As for the likelihood of achieving the kind of policies I outlined above: neither party is likely to give us these policies.

              Are the Democrats as presently constituted less bad than the GOP?  Yes.  But they are plenty bad. And a number of the issues on which they are bad -- e.g. saber rattling over Iran and global warming -- are ticking time bombs.    

              It will never be the perfect time to insist on such a progressive agenda.  There's always an election coming up.  And the GOP will always be at least a little worse than the Dems.  But while voting for the lesser evil in the short run may occasionally be necessary, in the long run it may literally kill us all.

              And the longer that progressive Democrats refuse to insist on their party's adopting good (as opposed to less bad) policies, the more those of us who've given up on the Democrats will be proven right in our assessment of that party's possibilities.

              First they came for the human-animal hybrids...

              by GreenSooner on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 05:55:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  no understanding of tactics (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      we should always keep a nuclear first strike as an option.
      Why stand there and say? We wouldn't use a weapon till you use one first. nah, You keep all options in play, let them think you might strike first.
      Brinksmanship is a very dangerous game but it is the way that the cold war was won. We never backed-down.

      A President (Democrat or Republican) wants all options available - surrendering before negotations is what Clinton did with North Korea. did not work.

      Also, a President doesn't want to be limited by a public list of requirements to be met before being able to defend this country.

      The President whether democrat republican or other - is commander in chief, and the President needs all options in order to pursue foreign policies which will protect this country.

      •  'all options' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Under what circumstances would it be a good idea for the United States of America to launch a nuclear strike?

        It's a serious question.  I can't think of a single instance.  I don't think that amount of death is justified even in retaliation for a nuclear attack on us.  (This is coming from someone who is not a pacifist.)

        Better to be rid of the infernal things forever.  

        Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

        by Simplify on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:05:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A lot to argue with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First of all, you're ignoring the costs that come with "letting them think you might strike first." The cold war was insanely expensive for everyone involved, and not only in terms of money, but in terms of lives and squandered political opportunities. As a result of the cold war, we supported Diem in Vietnam, Marcos in the Philippines, the Duvaliers in Haiti... and bin Laden in Afghanistan. All eventually lost but the last, and now we're wishing he hadn't won.

        Second, it's not a given that we never backed down. Reagan abandoned Lebanon after the Marines were attacked. We walked out of Vietnam without winning the war, didn't we? I'm not saying we should have fought till every last soldier of ours was dead, I'm just saying that it's simplistic to say that we never backed down.

        Finally, it's not clear that the collapse of the communist bloc was due to our military resolve or to economic forces that would have kicked in anyway.

        Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

        by AlanF on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:20:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, I thought Kennedy was rather weak. (0+ / 0-)

      I wanted to hear him RAGE against the the idea of a first strike against a non-nuclear nation, an unutterly murderous betrayal of 50 years of responsible deterrence and an act that would justifiably make us into a global pariah for the rest of the 21st Century.
      He did not. And no one else has. It makes my blood boil that no Democrats have stood up for the IMMORALITY of this suggestion. Sometimes I just hate the Democrats so much I see red.

      We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. Aesop (620 - 560 BC)

      by AWhitneyBrown on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:11:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  stand for telling wingnuts to go to hell! (31+ / 0-)

    A nice start would be for Democrats to stand up and tell the Dobson/Falwell contingent to go fuck themselves. I'm sick and fucking tired of people having to go on TV and pretend like the fundies are rational people with a reasonable and legitimate political agenda. And I'm even more sick and tired of them being able to label any opposition to their twisted political agenda as "anti-Christian."

    It's time Democrats stood up and said:

    No. No I'm NOT going to listen to you because you are crazy, and I don't deal with crazy people.

    Stand up to the fundies and that'll show Americans you've got a backbone and will stand for something.

    •  Amen! (13+ / 0-)

      Not only stand up to theem, but, as I have been saying, wrap the fundie albotross around the GOP's neck. Start calling them the Party of Dobson.

      •  cause fundies scare EVERYBODY (14+ / 0-)

        The fundies scare people more than the Iranians.

        Show people a few of Dobson's more choice quotes, and their faces will turn white as snow instantly. Nothing is scarier to mainstream America than the thought that those ideas come from our own backyard, and not some bin-Laden-like tent in the middle of nowhere.

        •  Fear, authority figures, & political discourse (0+ / 0-)

          this has me thinking a lot of Lakoff's contention that conservative ideology is based in a mentality looking for a protective father figure. And much of it being based on fighting to preserve the image of the all powerful male authority figure who will make the decisions and keep them feeling safe.

          Heard a little on this just this morning on Air America.

          Anyway, those of us who don't subscribe to the need for a male authority figure to make the decisions and keep us feeling safe are just plain scared by these authoritarian types.

          And the big question remains how to flip the others from wanting a male authority figure to protect them and tell them what to do to being scared of these authoritarian types.

          •  This is the classic (0+ / 0-)

            Dems are the mommy party and Rethugs are the daddy party. Unfortunately, the voters keep into that trap and go for the "muscularity" of the Rethugs.

            "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

            by Kestrel on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:38:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We've got to emphasize both (0+ / 0-)

              nurture and protection, care and responsibility. FDR created welfare in the form of make-work programs, and he called a nation to self-sacrifice in fighting a war. We've got to reject any "mommie" labeling by anyone.

              •  It's not that FDR called for self-sacrifice... (0+ / 0-)

      's that he kicked ass on the Germans and the Japanese. And he was followed by Truman, who dropped the Bomb on Japan.

                It's the Rethugs who didn't want to fight Hitler (or the Kaiser before him) and it was Rethug families, like George Bush's grandfather, who helped fund Hitler's rise to power, because authoritarianism is what the Rethugs have always been all about. Sure, the Rethug financiers may not have realized in the early days that Hitler was a genocidal maniac bent on world conquest (though they should have and, typically, were blind to the facts), but they liked the way he pledged to bring "order" to a "decadent" society.

          •  Paint the authority figure as the abusive daddy (0+ / 0-)

            And the big question remains how to flip the others from wanting a male authority figure to protect them and tell them what to do to being scared of these authoritarian types.

            You paint the daddy in the daddy party as the guy who beats his kids when they step out of line. Because that's who Republicans are.

  •  you just (8+ / 0-)
    hijacked Delaware Dem's diary...

    I think the best approach is to address the mess that bush has left us. it's huge and it won't go away via media massage.

    the idiot comes to Silicon Valley to preach the value of science, when his entire presidency has been devoted to neo-medievalism.

    "Come on, Nicky, come home. Just come home. Home. Talk to me. ....Do you remember the trees?"

    by Miss Devore on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:38:39 PM PDT

  •  Am I just imagining things (5+ / 0-)

    or is Armando posting a lot more to the front page since he said 'goodbye'? ;)

  •  Standing for Something (4+ / 0-)

    It would be difficult for a corporate dependent party to stand for anti-corporate interests, ie, "the common good." It seems to me that the Democrats stand for an absence of idiology and for opportunism. If they have a platform it is blurry and written for a campaign after which it is forgotten.

    The Repugs on the other hand have a strong idiology and a consistent platform that they persue doggedly (ie. fascism).

    •  So... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich, Richard Carlucci

      The common Good = Anti-corporate Interests?

      Just asking.
      •  Frequently, Yes (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mickT, bronte17, BobOak, neroden, LiterateWolf
        Mindless anti-corporatism is like mindless devotion to anything, pretty mindless, but willfully ignoring the fact that "What is good for General Motors is good for America" was always bullshit is too.

        Automatically opposing everything the Chamber of Commerce does is as stupid as automatically supporting it.

        Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

        by The Baculum King on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:51:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And by that (0+ / 0-)

          I guess frequently no as well. Neutral is good.

          If Dems choose to adopt and anti-business stance we might as well get out of the business of government.

          •  Neutral Until the Facts Are in Hand (3+ / 0-)
            Outsourcing, while good for corporations and those whose income is tied to their stock, is devastating the American Middle Class just when it is most under pressure from other directions. It doesn't serve the common good.

            Improved industrial energy efficiency is not only good for the corporations and their "get" but is good for society as a hole, and thus worthy of support.

            A just Government that seeks the "common good" is not antithetical to corporate profit to corporations that accomodate themselves to that reality. What we have now is a system that is "gamed" from top to bottom to ignore the common good and favor those who play the "game".

            It's possible to change it, but it's not likely in my lifetime.

            Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

            by The Baculum King on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:17:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not anti business (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heart of the Rockies, bronte17

            but anti exploitation.

            •  PRO good business behavior, ANTI the evil stuff (0+ / 0-)

              As progressives we all suport the idea of a functioning economy that gets food to people's tables and goods to market.

              Our opposition to the bad behavior of some businesses is based on our understanding that there are standards of behavior that all of us (individuals, groups, businesses) must adhere to for the common good.

              The Common Good is the important idea, and the yardstick we measure the rest of it by.

            •  Not anti BUSINESS (0+ / 0-)

              PRO LABOR.

              You remember that stuff about the fundamental human right to form a labor union and have a living wage? It's in the UN treaties we haven't ratified.

              Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

              by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:28:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I GD hope so. (0+ / 0-)

        Do you think there's something the corps haven't taken already that they still need?  

        When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' - Theodore Roosevelt

        by dkmich on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:01:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Common Good vs Private Profits? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cory Bantic

        Generally, yes.

    •  You're right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mickT, Sharpner, Cory Bantic

      I'm continually confounded by otherwise politically savvy people who can't see how corporate money thoroughly pollutes the democratic process.

      Politicians won't push any issue that might make their campaign contributors jittery.  That's why we have an opposition party that doesn't oppose much at all.

      The Republicans were smart to go after organized labor in the 70's-- labor use to amply fund Dem campaigns. Now Dems and Republicans are chasing the same money and we're confused as to why the Dems are acting like a watered down version of the other side?

      It's simple and obvious and disheartening. . . and we hardly discuss it here at all.

      •  Le Difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's the difference between liberals and progressives. Liberals still have some illusions about this system and are looking for some sort of middle ground. Progressives have an anti-corporate class conscious perspective and usually a better understanding of the dynamics involved.

  •  Fairness (11+ / 0-)

    Last night, I saw the keyword fairness used as party of the DNC message.

    My response, WHAT?????

    I mean what does that even mean?  

    If Democrats took solid positions on outsourcing, insourcing, trade that are 100% for the American middle class I would imagine a clean sweep in 2006...
    but "fairness" sounds like platitudes coming from those free traitor/MBNA Democrats who are pretty much as hated as the NeoCons.

    I personally think they need to make a decision...either they are going to support the poor and middle class 100% and agree that in a block vote
    they will not bow to corporate lobbyists and multinational corporate demands or not.

    by BobOak on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:40:53 PM PDT

    •  Fairness is great (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MontanaMaven, dkmich, Simplify, concerned

      But we have to mean it.

    •  Fairness is the core (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mickT, concerned, Eryk

      Fairness is the core of what used to be the Democratic message.  Fairness goes to real equality of opportunity, and care for people who for one reason or another lose out in the great rat race that is modern America.  It is not a platitude.  

      As to outsourcing and trade, more people probably benefit from it than lose by it.  If that's not true, then 200 years of economic theory are wrong.  Fairness says that you help the losers by taking something away from the winners and giving it to them.  Fairness means redistribution of income and opportunity (which is a form of wealth).  Many people don't believe in fairness.  The libertarians don't like it because they think it is the first step to communism or fascism.  The wealthy don't like it because it takes something away from them.

      But most ordinary people would like it if the issue were properly framed.  Lincoln said, the nation cannot survive half free and half slave.  One could amend that to: the nation cannot survive 1 percent rich, and 60 percent very poor.

      •  wrong! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coral, LiterateWolf

        You're clearly not reading economics texts or understanding the theory.

        In multilateral trade theory the goods of production are assumed not mobile.  Please pull any econ 101/102 undergraduate text and look up multilateral trade..
        it's right there, in the assumptions and equations.

        That means people and jobs.

        Paul Samuelson, the "Godfather" of Economics also wrote a very damning paper proving, with math, that outsourcing is NOT GOOD FOR AMERICA!

        Please do not post the corporate kool-aid as truth, it's not.

        by BobOak on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:17:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A better word than fairness? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bronte17, concerned, Nellebracht, BobOak, Mae

        Justice.  Means more or less the same, but it's tougher sounding and connects more directly to the idea of what America is in the popular imagination. Inferences include the Pledge of Allegiance: "liberty and justice for all"; MLK's "I have a dream" speech:  "we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters"; even Superman: "truth, justice and the American way."

        •  An even better word: (0+ / 0-)

          Ca$h !

          Don't think this is a branding problem. Might be wrong.

          Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

          by adios on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:19:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good idea, use 'Justice' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BobOak, ActivistGuy

          You are absolutely right.

          Good idea ActivistGuy.

          And Justice has the added benefit of:

          1. Making our side sound like we support safe communities and people, and connects with powerful images of protection,
          1. Refers to important ideas in the Old Testament that Christian and Jewish voters will recognize
          1. Implies fairness but adds a connotation of competence to the user that fairness does not,
          1. cuts off at the pass any charges of redistribution or taking things away because we are thus firmly in support of people having what is rightly theirs (and we can debate the rest of this point after retaking Congress)
          1. Avoids the idea programmed by mothers everywhere that, "No one ever promised you life would be fair." Because Justice is something everyone should want and demand.

          Good choice of terms.

      •  You're a tool (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As to outsourcing and trade, more people probably benefit from it than lose by it.

        Tell that to people whose careers have been ended by outsourcing.

        If that's not true, then 200 years of economic theory are wrong.

        Politicians in the early days wouldn't stand for Americans to lose jobs just so some penny pinching losers can buy cheap shit from others nations. Trade is a 2 way street, not a one way dead end ally.

        This is why I vote Green and not Democrat. Greens care about Americans and their careers. And they aren't owned by corporate special interests.

        •  It's all about Job CREATION (0+ / 0-)

          Protectionism is a dead end.

          •  You living in a bubble? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tiggers thotful spot

            Hello?  Have you seen the trade deficit, the wiping out of the middle class, the only jobs created are burger flippin' jobs, the decrease in overall high paying jobs...

            Not only are you theoretically incorrect, seemingly you cannot read statistics and results.

            It ain't working and the theory points out it will not...the theory in fact points to dragging down the US economy to 3rd world status ...

            because we do not have free trade agreements, we have glorified outsourcing agreements written by and for multinational corporate interests.

            The only ones who think this stuff is a good idea are multinational corporations, playing domestic economies and short term profits against each other and hunting the globe for that latest slave labor pool to move their manufacturing to and to exploit.

            Eventually this will play out badly for the United States and the results of this are pouring over you like a bomb blast of nuclear waste.


            by BobOak on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:19:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I live in Italy, and your protectionism... (0+ / 0-)

              has been tested for over 30 years here and in most other places in Europe, and it's  a dead-end.

              However, you want to carve it up you are advocating protectionism.  There are no job guarantees, if you think that, then you haven't been in the market for very long. No American realistically expects job security.

              The economy isn't static, it expands and contracts. Sometimes companies have to cut jobs in order to remain competitive.  Here in Italy the only way they can cut jobs is to keep about a 15 percent temporary work force and secondly to not replace a job when people either retire or leave for a better opportunity.

              That means when a company is forced to cut jobs they cut all the temporary work force even though most of their new talent resides there, and then they can't replace the "movers" that find better opportunities.  Yet the "movers" also tend to be their best talent.

              In this way they have to reshuffle their current staff and they don't have the right people for the right jobs.

              This also means that they can't risk hiring people becasue they may have to guarantee them a job.

              The U.S. has a better policy of job creation over job protection.  

              Your ideas have been tested over the last 30 years here and they have failed.

              •  right (0+ / 0-)

                I believe Mussolini came into power due to your ideas...I believe the trade deficit was > 5% of GDP at the time.

                We can see what a dead end Europe is by the Finns...after all they only turned their country completely around and are doing beautifully.  Those terrible Finns, thinking social fairness is important to overall economic health.

                So awful, my God, they even calculate unemployment a little more accurately than the United many living in God, the Danube looks just like Katrina.


                by BobOak on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:57:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not that old. (0+ / 0-)

                  I had nothing to do with the rise and fall of Mussolini.

                  The idea that America could use the economy of the Finnish model is ridiculous.

                  I can only imagine that you are at University, becasue you are completely off-the-charts left.  There is a saying here in Europe:  "If you aren't communist when you are 20 then you have no heart.  If you are still communist when you are 30 then you have no brain!"

                  >We can see what a dead end Europe is by the
                  >Finns...after all they only turned their country
                  >completely around and are doing beautifully.

                  YOU said Europe is a dead end.  Here there is a quickening of the old beast, he is waking from the slumbers of over 50 years of socialism.  I am here to help him recollect himself.

  •  Anecdotal but true (19+ / 0-)

    As I have walked thorugh my district knocking on doors, even poeple who are diamterically opposed to the issues I am championing, have said they appreciate me running, and respect that fact I stick to my guns on what I believe.  Who knows, perhaps I will even be able to win their vote.  There is something to be said for fighting for what you believe in, instead of trying to please everybody. Democrat for Worcester's 6th District in Massachusetts

    by IrishHC on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:41:10 PM PDT

    •  AKA the Feingold Strategy (16+ / 0-)

      There's a reason why Feingold won several conservative, rural counties that Kerry lost. It's not because Feingold is super-skilled at blurring the differences between him and the Republicans, quite the opposite, in fact. But Feingold is very, very good in reaching out to voters who might disagree with him, but still appreciate his honesty and willingness to listen.

      •  Admittedly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coral, lightiris

        I think my younger age (26) lets people believe I am an escape from business as usual.  It permits me to play the role of an outsider (which I am).  However, I am finding sometimes standing up for that which you believe and providing an opportunity for change resonates regardless of ideology.  Again this is all anecdotal, but i would like to believe it permeates further than my small district in Massachusetts. Democrat for Worcester's 6th District in Massachusetts

        by IrishHC on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:54:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also 26 (0+ / 0-)

          It's a good age.

          •  Who says our age group (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmo, bronte17, nonnie9999

            is disengaged from politics?  Maybe we just need someone to speak to us, instead of at us.

   Democrat for Worcester's 6th District in Massachusetts

            by IrishHC on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:08:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  stats say it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lightiris, Simplify

              How hard did organizations work to get out the youth vote in 2004? Harder than ever.

              And still so many between 18-24 didn't vote.

              I'm in that age group myself, and while I voted, I know a hell of a lot of people who didn't. No matter how many times I told them, they simply wouldn't do it.

              It was like telling them to eat their vegetables - everybody agrees it's a good idea and will "try harder," but nobody is gonna step up to the plate and actually do it.

              There's just no time between X-box and American Idol to get off the fucking couch, it seems.

              •  I think that's a caricature (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                coral, bronte17, nonnie9999

                And inaccurate, too. In 2004, not enough young people voted, but turnout did increase compared to 2000 and, importantly, young people did turn out to support Kerry. I have also heard that the major youth voter registration drives will pay dividends in the future. I'm not sure where I read this, but I recall something about how there was a major push to register young voters in 1988 and it largely didn't appear successful. But in 1992, Bill Clinton won, in part due to a strong youth vote.

                •  No it isn't a caricature. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Heart of the Rockies

                  Sorry, but it's true.   Anyone with any campaign experience can tell you that all the best intentions in the world aside, the 18-24 demo, in the main, does not actually turn out for anything--they do not turn out to vote and do not turn out for the volunteer efforts they commit to.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm an adviser to a young Democrats group at school (I'm a teacher) and have had a lot of experience in campaigns; I love young people and devote a lot of personal and professional time to them.  That said, however, it is what it is:  don't depend on the 18-24 demo; they simply won't show up.  

                  Democracy is wasted on Americans.

                  by lightiris on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:33:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Out of curiousity.... (0+ / 0-)

                    ....what is the socioeconomic background of most of the young people you talk to?

                  •  The worst news is my end of the age spectrum (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coral, majcmb1

                    Us older folks do vote; in the past couple of elections, for the first time in my memory, Republicans outperformed Democrats among the over 60s.  Part of that is the dying off of the Depression generation with their FDR ties.  But it represents a major failure of the Democrats to keep the allegiance of a traditional voting bloc that benefits substantially from activist government programs.

                    •  Interesting anecdotal stuff on the (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      coral, matt2525

                      over 60 set.  I've been out collecting signatures for Mass Equality as our state constitutional convention is coming up May 10.  (We're trying to stave off hate amendment efforts in order to protect our gay marriage law.)  As I approached people, the most open-minded, by far, was the older set, aged 55 and over, I'd say.  They were followed by the 30-something female.  Very, very interesting.  We attribute their open-mindedness to wisdom and a pragmatic live-and-let-live mentality.  Gratifying stuff.  

                      Democracy is wasted on Americans.

                      by lightiris on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:48:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  gay marriage (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        coral, denniswine

                        I am running as a pro equality candidate in a district where some communities supported Bush, in Massachusetts!  I too have found the older voters either less interested or less opposed to gay marriage than other groups.  From personal experience, my grandparents said "if the worst thing you can tell us is you're gay, than we could not ask for more in a grandson."  Perhaps it is the wisdom of age.  I am just full of anecdotal evidence today.

               Democrat for Worcester's 6th District in Massachusetts

                        by IrishHC on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:58:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm in the Worcester 3rd. (0+ / 0-)

                          You have your work cut out for you in the 6th--yikes.  Charlton, East Brookfield, Oxford, Southbridge, and Spencer are tough towns--I feel for you, but keep on plugging.  I live in Holden but teach at Auburn High--and you'd be surprised at how liberal AHS is.  It's possible to succeed; don't give up.

                          Tomorrow I'm bringing a group of young dems from Auburn High into the State House for a field trip with Ed Augustus.   Snag 'em while they're young.  :)

                          Democracy is wasted on Americans.

                          by lightiris on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:17:21 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Feel free (0+ / 0-)

                            to volunteer for me or even contribute.  I am in this to win, and I know I can.  I grew up here, my family is from here, I know these communities. :-)

                   Democrat for Worcester's 6th District in Massachusetts

                            by IrishHC on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:45:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't have any numbers.... (0+ / 0-)

                        ....but I've heard there have been studies that have shown that the over-60 set tends to be far more open minded then they're given credit for. Anecdotally, I know my 97 year old grandfather is a fairly socially conservative Democrat. But he does favor either civil unions or gay marriage, mostly since there are some gay couples in his appartment whom he's friendly with.

                  •  There is a way to get them out to vote and it is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    if the Democratic party would start airing spots on the programs that age
                    group watch nationwide and targets that particular group with a strong

                    Such a message could be on the order of.

                    If you are between the ages of 18 and 30 your whole future life
                    depends on your voice in our election process now. Under our present situation you are going to be struggling all your life under a heavy
                    burden in order to just pay the interest on our ever growing national
                    debt. You are going to be living in increasingly degraded world
                    enviroment. You can help change that future to so that it does not
                    happen. To do that you must get active in participating in the political
                    process and elections today to get responsible Democrats into

                    When you give the younger group a clear choice on conditions that have
                    a drastic effect either good or bad in their lives and give them a clear cut
                    way to understand that their help is needed in making the choices that
                    will cause or eliminate those policeys you will get much more out of them.

                    That generation have for far too many years been ignored in and real
                    sense of their importance with the exceptions of targeted sales
                    advertising, which by the way when done right has great results.

                    It is time that they are recognized and encouraged because of their

                    The Christian fundies have forgotten one major thing about religion . If God wanted to enforce his will on people he is capable of doing it himself.

                    by eaglecries on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:53:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Turnout was a record (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  coral, bumblebums, metal prophet

                  Youth turnout in 2004 was the highest in 30 years.


                  Need a community website? I make 'em:

                  by Outlandish Josh on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:10:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You Bought Spin (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Youth turnout in 2004 was the highest since 1972, when 18 year olds were first allowed the vote. Moreover, the spread was 10%+ in Kerry's favor, as much as 20% in key battleground states.


                There's just no time between X-box and American Idol to get off the fucking couch, it seems.

                Don't believe the hype.

                Need a community website? I make 'em:

                by Outlandish Josh on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:09:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Geez... (5+ / 0-)

    I could have told the American Prospect that FOR FREE! And in fewer words than four articles! ;-)

    I'm sure many others here could too!

    Changing America 1 cup at a time... "I'm not a Liberal, I just use my brain."

    by coffeeinamrica on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:42:18 PM PDT

  •  The Best Politics is to Eschew Politics (7+ / 0-)
    Democrats need to decide what they would do if they were in charge of everything, and owed nobody anything but good government, and fucking SAY SO.

    Then, if they get to be in charge of everything, do what they said they would.

    It won't happen, because they owe this little bit of their soul to this interest group, and that little piece to that lobbyist, and the very small bit that represents "the common good" approaches insignificance.

    Evolution is the organizing principle of all known life; Your God is a theory postulated by goatherders before movable type.

    by The Baculum King on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:42:37 PM PDT

  •  To Win, One Must Inspire (8+ / 0-)

    Armando, you are CORRECT Sir  (best ed mcmahon voice).
    Democrats I hope speak with one passionate voice for change in this election. Change in Health Care, Change in Nat'l Security and Defense, Change in Economy and Change iin Energy.

    But you see, they will call for change.  It's what they suggest afterwards that is the Inspriration.  When someone is trying chose a candidate, they are seeking a problem solver, someone who will dedicate themselves tirelessly to ending corruption and making the system work again.  Ideas are key.  And the ideas must mean something, and be explainable in depth when necessary.

    BTW, Thought you'd love to see this Shout out your received from an admirer

    The Bush Years have been An Inconvenient Truth. I want Change. 22 to Open the Doors of Congress

    by kubla000 on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:43:24 PM PDT

    •  And, if you notice.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kubla000, LiterateWolf

      ....most of the Democratic Presidential losers in the past 50+ years have been uninspiring. Adlai Stevenson was a funny, smart guy, but not really all that inspiring. Hubert Humphery could be a very animated speaker, but he did not show leadership on the Vietnam War issue, which may have sunk his candidacy in '68. Mondale was all doom and gloom in 1984 and Dukakis came across as cold and certainly uninspiring in '88. While caricatures of Gore and Kerry as dull and stiff were unfair and inaccurate, there was some truth to them and neither could be said to be incredibly inspiring campaigners.

      So we need to put candidates out there who will get people up off their asses to vote Democratic, get people excited to be voting, not just doing an unpleasant civic duty to elect just another politician.

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coral, Lying eyes

        →→→ John Edwards

        Not an endorsement, that guy (and his wife).

        Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

        by adios on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:32:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          It's a shame his Two Americas speech was not really heard from during the Presidential campaign proper. I think as a Presidential candidate, Edwards can get his views front and center and can win votes like that. Less so as the Vice-Presidential candidate.

      •  Robert Kennedy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lying eyes, LiterateWolf

        He would have won in 1968.I have always believed that members of the republican party had him killed they were the only one's to gain because Robert was the only Democrat that could win in '68 with his death Nixon was a shoe in and as Watergate proved Nixon an the republicans would do anything for power of course I can not prove this but I'll always believe it.

      •  so we should have a casting call? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        i have to disagree. i think it is time to treat the american voting public as the children they are. scold them for focusing on one issue or another while forgetting about everything else. put them in a corner everytime they vomit up something they heard on faux news. give them a timeout for concentrating on image rather than substance. tell them they have a choice--they can continue voting against their own interests and mortgage their children's futures OR they can put the grown-ups back in charge. maybe mommy or daddy is not as much fun as uncle chucklebutt or aunt katherine harris (sorry, but what made-up name could possibly compete with that image?), but they know what is best for you!
        does anyone think jack murtha comes off as warm and fuzzy? yet, he spoke the truth to the sheeples and they listened.
        kids know deep down when they are out of control, and, whine though they will, they want to cling to someone they trust and have their best interests at heart.

        I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

        by nonnie9999 on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:35:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  change to what (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      1994 Republicans take Congress - why because they had a plan "Contract with America" - a plan which stated some very clear goals.
      They had a vision and a specific plan -

      Democrats today have no plan - none that I know of. They say we'll change - but change to what?

  •  Some ideas (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, neroden, nonnie9999
    1. No stupid wars/get serious on security
    1. Protect American liberties and freedoms
    1. Promote equal opportunity
    1. Keep America healthy
  •  John Kerry (10+ / 0-)

    A few weeks ago he was on a Sunday morning show and was asked if he supported censure.

    He said, "Yes." After a pause he launched into an explanation of how we needed to investigate and look at it, blah, blah.

    He just couldn't stop himself. He couldn't stop after "Yes." He had to keep going.

    In addition to knowing when to speak up, it is also important to know when to STFU.

    •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

      He could have waited, and let the pregnant pause do its work while his interviewer worked up a follow-up question.  That's the way one works this kind of gig.

    •  And yet he's running for '08 (0+ / 0-)

      There are a lot of top dogs in the Democratic party who think the correct approach is to perform careful analysis of each issue which then leads to the best solution. Those are the bozos that brought us Kerry.

      But our best leaders do not do that. I could never see Lincoln or FDR doing that. THey were thoughtful and intelligent but they understoof how to sell what they wanted to do to the public.

      I think Kerry truly believes that open logical discussion that takes in to account all issues will lead to the perfectly designed best solution.

      This country won't elect someone like that.

    •  New Kerry slogan: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kestrel, coral, hhex65

      John Kerry...he'll fight for YOU ! - then STFU.

      Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

      by adios on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:25:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about fixing Healthcare now? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, BobOak, neroden, Cory Bantic

    Ok, the Democratic party is looking for something they can do to show the country that they have ideas, can act, can implement, and are not just the party of Anyone but Bush.

    But the Republican's control all three branches of government in Washington. So what can the Democratic party do? They are blocked from passing any initiatives. And this makes them look weak (they are) and bereft of ideas (they are not).

    I think solving the health care crisis can be done now by the Democrats...

    Democrat '06 Victory part III - fix healthcare today

    thanks - dave

    ps - please post comments at the link above so people from other trackbacks will see your comment.

  •  I don't think any of you understand (4+ / 0-)

    If the democrats stand for something, then they might OFFEND someone.

    We can't risk that.

    (dripping with sarcasm, if you couldn't tell)

    •  So true (0+ / 0-)

      What Dems need to do is to copy the Republican and Libertarian platforms, adjust it slightly, and tell people that they are liberal even though they're conservatives. Works evry time.

    •  might offend the DLC types, you mean (0+ / 0-)

      goodness knows we dare not offend the little school marms at the DLC. They might get the vapors, or even go on Fox and say how we are too 'angry' to be nice  polite Dems who respect our Republican masters. (See 'Lieberman, Joe', et al)

  •  Walk Tall (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, BobOak

    I, too, have been thinking this for a long time.  The Democrats need to stand for something.  It doesn't matter what, and it doesn't matter if people disagree, but that standing for something, no matter what, shows guts and beliefs, and that will earn votes even if they disagree.  On abortion, a clear majority disagrees with the GOP platform, but they get votes because they stand on the issue and don't modify or back down.  Democrats need to do the same.  Stand against the war, and ignore the critics.  Stand for a woman's right to choose and ignore the fundies.

    Look at Feingold - people vote for him, whether they agree with everything he says or not.  He gets votes because he stands for something.

    The middle is a ghost.

    by KazHooker on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:45:39 PM PDT

  •  commonweal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cory Bantic, LiterateWolf

    is a sadly disused word nowadays.

    I like the "common good" too.  Of course the wingers will scream that that's socialism, but who gives a crap?  They'll do that no matter what.

    "When watchdogs, bird dogs, and bull dogs morph into lap dogs, lazy dogs, or yellow dogs, the nation is in trouble." - Ted Stannard

    by jrooth on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:46:10 PM PDT

    •  I like 'community' (0+ / 0-)

      but I agree, all these fine words have been tainted by wingers associating them with commies - and that's the real poison for them, not socialism. It's too easy, the words even have the same root.

      The best of the lot is probably "Common Good", because it sounds very Founding Father.

      We're all in this together.

      -8.25,-8.36 The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

      by sidnora on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:45:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's go back to basics (8+ / 0-)

    The essential question is:  What should government do? To me, government's purpose is to protect individual liberty and ameliorate unjust harm.  

    Democrats should stand for the rule of law.

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    Our government actually works really well when its citizens and their elected and appointed representatives uphold the rule of law.

    In this time of gross, blatant violations of every other sentence in the Constitution, Democrats don't need to come with "new" ideas.  We need to champion some really old ideas.  Let's get bedrock fundamental here.  When the rule of law isn't in effect, you have tyrrany and anarchy.  We are the party of democracy.  

    Although it may be too esoteric for a national party message, perhaps my favorite is Dean's mantra:  "You have the power."

    Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

    by Simplify on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:46:22 PM PDT

    •  'Liberty and justice for all' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, Simplify, BobOak

      The exact opposite of the Republican policies.

    •  it's not a marketing message. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      It's their Constitutional duty.  They are bound to it.  They may as well admit it, embrace it, champion it.  What's their choice?  there is no choice.  It's a duty.  It's the law.  The preable lays out the purpose of government, whereas what follows concerns implementation.  Anyone who has a different platform is..well, unconstitutional, to put it nicely.
    •  So overturn Roe v Wade? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Because if you are working to uphold the law, Roe v Wade is an obvious example of creating a new right to shove through something via the courts.

      I believe that abortion should be legal. But I also agree with your comment that we need to uphold the rule of law.

      Details here.

      •  Constitutional amendment, then (0+ / 0-)

        I've struggled with this myself.  Taking your argument as given, the intellectually honest stand to take is for a constitutional amendment protecting the right to privacy or something similar.

        Strict constructionism is a dead end because legal constructs can't anticipate all circumstances.  For example, strictly speaking the FISA provision for 72-hour ex post facto warrants violates the 4th Amendment, but it's a reasonable way to deal with "hot pursuit" cases.  The key is to maintain the intent of the legal principle and restrict exceptions to an absolute minimum of circumstances, with clearly appropriate justification.

        That said, if something flies in the face of the Constitution's intent, it shouldn't be our govenment's policy.

        It is a delicate line, isn't it?  Perhaps strict constructionism is the last refuge of the minority party.

        Just because we can, that doesn't mean we should.

        by Simplify on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:58:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  or just a law? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I think just putting it in law would be fine. First of all, medical technology is going to come up against whatever is put in the constitution - most people are against aborting a baby that would live if it was delivered at that time.

          As to a generic "right to privacy" - that opens up a gigantic can of worms. A root issue with fighting terrorism is that the more the government knows, the better they can fight. This is not an argument for letting the government know anything it wants. But again, we are going to need to adjust this as we move forward and technology brings up new possibilities and having an ironclad right to privacy in the constitution would be a mess in this case.

  •  It does seem to be unanimous that 'branding'... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is what we need.

    We need other stuff too, sure, but I suggest that everyone who wants to talk about the other stuff do so in a manner like "in addition to branding, we need....".

    Make branding a unanimous suggestion amongst the blogoshpereoi, I suggest.

    •  An excellent idea (0+ / 0-)

      As long as political campaigns are battles designed by "the people who sell you toothpaste" (as Noam Chomsky puts it), we really need to push the Democratic brand. Republicans have done incredibly well in drawing the public's focus away from ideas (where they'd get creamed) to broad, likeable themes. So, we've gotta fight back and make our brand superior and them put our good ideas into easily digestable form. We really need candidates like Bill Clinton or Russ Feingold who can take relatively complex and sophisticated ideas and make it so that any average person can understand it, without talking down to them.

    •  YES (0+ / 0-)

      Branding is exactly it.  Democrats have the ideas, have the 10 point plans, have the competency.  What we don't have is the slogan to cut through the media-babble and emotionally connect to folks.

      I'm proposing the slogan:

      "Building A Strong America - Built for All Americans"

      Democrats must fight for a robust and vigorous America - and an America based on fairness, the law and truth.

      •  Sloganeering need messengers (0+ / 0-)

        I'm all for sloganeering, and the need to promote a stronger party brand, but what's needed even more than catchphrases are the messengers to deliver them.

        Could you be one? Maybe!

        Need a community website? I make 'em:

        by Outlandish Josh on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:20:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  great messengers do exist (0+ / 0-)

          I think the Democratic Leadership is actually pretty good at the moment.  If the agendas could just gel around some solid "branding" and they act more unified than not I think the message machine can work for Democrats.  
          As for me - I'd love to be a messenger but that sort of thing is way, way, way out of my league.

      •  Slogans and sound bytes have a place. (0+ / 0-)

        Democrats have the ideas and plans
        Now let them restore competent government

        -- What really makes America, America?

        by mike101 on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:41:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cash on the line (6+ / 0-)

    I just got a call from the DSCC asking for money before reading this post. I told them I'd send money when they actually stood for something, like a resolution against first use of nuclear weapons or blocking the plan to carve up the internet into tiers of service.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:47:05 PM PDT

  •  ' Our political system does not compete... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, Chris Cosmos

    " ...Our political system does not compete with institutions which are elsewhere in force.  We do not copy our neighbors, but try to be an example.  Our administration favours the many instead of the few: this is why it is called a democracy.  The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore the claims of excellence.  When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the state, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege, but as a reward of merit; and poverty is no bar... The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicious of one another, and do not nag our neighbor if he chooses to go his own way... But this freedom does not make us lawless.  We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget that we must protect the injured.  And we are also taught to observe those unwritten laws whose universal sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right... "

      " Our city is thrown open to the world; we never expel a foreigner... We are free to live eaxctly as we please, and yet we are always ready to face any danger... We love beauty without indulging in fancies, and although we try to improve our intellect, this does not weaken our will... To admit one's  poverty is no disgrace with us; but we consider it disgraceful not to make an effort to avoid it.  An Athenian citizen does not neglect public affairs when attending to his private business... We consider a man who takes no interest in the state not as harmless , but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy,we are all able to judge it.  We do not look upon
    discussion as a stumbling block in the way of political action, but as an indispensible preliminary to acting wisely... We believe that happiness is the fruit of freedom and freedom of valour, and we do not shrink from dangers of war... To sum up, I claim that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian grows up to develop a happy versatility , a readiness for emergencies, and self-reliance."

     --Pericles, oration, from Thucydides II,37-41, Peloponesian War.

    Just a thought.  Musing a little.

  •  'Identity' with Politics of contrast? (0+ / 0-)

    This is a contradiction and the inherently empty NOT This.  Politics of contrast is an 'identity' based on the relation to the 'other' (i.e. the other party).  We are NOT this other party.  So what?  What are we?  We have to posit our constitution. This is what you haven't understood the entire time.

    •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think I understand fine.

      I believe you can and DO identify yourself in politics, in part, by what you are NOT.

      The very essence of "Throw the Bums Out."

      So, I guess I am saying "I'm rubber you're glue . . ."  

      "All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom. But then, who are these with whom Armando crossed verbal swords?"

      by Armando on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:53:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not 'This' is unsustainable (0+ / 0-)

        This 'something' is not this 'other', and the 'other' is not this 'something'.  They are both 'being-for-the-other'.  But what is the Democrat party 'in-itself'.  In other words do we depend on the Republican party for our identity?  If we are defined by the 'other', then we have no integral constitution.

      •  i think you are correct, but i would add... (0+ / 0-)

        we think you are smarter than that!! list the bullshit that the rethugs have been up to for the last 6 years and contrast them with how dems would govern. i think there are a lot of stupid voters out there, but that doesn't matter. even the stupidest person will respond to, i think you are smarter than that. want to get a bratty kid under control (once they are at the age of reason), tell them how smart they really are and how their actions belie that intelligence. make people respect themselves, and they will respect you.
        the drumbeat should be that the people were sold a bill of goods which turned out to be all lies. forgive them for being hoodwinked, and admit that a lot of smart people are gullible. however, to continue making the same mistakes over and over is not a sign of intelligence, and they are much smarter than that.

        I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

        by nonnie9999 on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:04:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats wil invent America's future (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobOak, neroden, nonnie9999, LiterateWolf

    This country is capable of leading the world in any sector we choose, providing we educate our children and think in 21st century terms in our support for science. The Bush administration has stolen our future and sold it to the highest bidder, and they got away with it by pandering to religious backwoods nuts.  

    "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Edward R. Murrow

    by justrock on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:52:11 PM PDT

    •  After (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Canadian Reader, coral, nonnie9999

      we put out the fires.  The health insurance fire, the offshored jobs fire, the debt fire and the war fire.  We should be using our great resources to lead the world to a better future not to smack it around.

      "Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar." Edward R. Murrow

      by justrock on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:04:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Put out fires? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The health insurance fire,

        If a Democrat said that we need a pubic health insurance plan, centrists will be the first to yell socialism.

        the offshored jobs fire

        Clinton signed NAFTA and Democrats helped pass CAFTA so they won't appear to be liberal. What makes you think Democrats will go against the interests of their corporate masters?

        •  Health care (0+ / 0-)

          If a Democrat said that we need a pubic health insurance plan, centrists will be the first to yell socialism.

          Most Americans support universal health care, even if it means raising taxes, but support drops if it means limiting choice of doctors.

          HR 676 would give all Americans health care and the freedom to choose from participating physicians and institutions.

  •  effective message distribution (9+ / 0-)

    is clearly missing from this piece. Perhaps it will be addressed in future articles but as it stands now if we don't employ more effective techniques for communicating our message all this hand-wringing will be for naught. Frankly, I think the messaging is a secondary priority after developing better distribution tactics.

    The GOP strangehold on national print and broadcast media editorial boards demands that we look to other means to channel TRUTHFUL progressive viewpoints and policy solutions directly to the voters.

    The netroots is certainly one mode however it misses large swathes of persuadable voters. I hope that Texeira and Halpin consider some modern-day interpretations of effective grassroots organizing that were used very successfully in the labor and civil rights movements to move millions of Americans to support then controversial issues which were aggressively attacked by conservative politicians and media barons.

    Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

    by em dash on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:52:19 PM PDT

    •  13,000 words to go (0+ / 0-)

      I imagine they will

      "All knew that Armando was an Armory of Wisdom. But then, who are these with whom Armando crossed verbal swords?"

      by Armando on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:54:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I certainly hope so (0+ / 0-)

        By the looks of the forthcoming chapters,

        Part I gives a general description of the political situation today and describes voting blocs that represent progressive and Democratic strengths. Part II, which will be posted next Monday, will examine progressive and Democratic weaknesses. Part III will appear next Wednesday and will discuss the limits of mobilization and of inoculation. Part IV will appear next Friday and describe the way forward.

        it doesn't look like they will be covering it.

        Unbossed--a dangerous blog for dangerous times.

        by em dash on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:03:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Only 13,000 - might not be enough. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth, nonnie9999

        We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.

        Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

        When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' - Theodore Roosevelt

        by dkmich on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:06:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats seem message-less and disorganized (0+ / 0-)

    when compared with goose-stepping Republicans toeing the Party line while grasping the mantra manual. Oh- and there's the little problem of few media outlets for Dem messages.

    It's time to be a Democrat!

    by annefrank on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:55:07 PM PDT

  •  Copycats (8+ / 0-)

    Here's what I wrote in a diary on August 26, 2005:

    Democracy Corps Is Perpetuating a Losing Strategy


    To Democracy Corp (Karl Agne):

    Your polling is fine.  But your conclusions perpetuate the losing DLC strategy of trying to be more like Republicans in order to beat them.

    It's trotting out the same old, tired, 1992-time-warp strategy that may have been a way in for Clinton, post-Reagan, but mistakenly assumes that political and cultural issues are static.  

    They're not.


    I have a particular problem with this paragraph:

    The result, as we pointed out, has been a vacuum that has allowed the radical right to establish its own twisted definition of what it means to be a person of faith in public life as the only definition available in the national public discourse that most voters see.  The further influence of  Republican efforts to reach out at the grassroots level to individual religious leaders and to use the pulpits of thousands of churches across America to reinforce this message cannot be  overestimated.


    The DLC's defeatist strategies are clearly illustrated in this passage from the August 15, 2005 Brummett article cited in your post:

    So, last week the Democracy Corps, an alliance of Democrat strategists founded by old Clintonites like James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, released findings of focus group studies among disaffected George Bush supporters in Colorado and Kentucky and rural voters in Arkansas and Wisconsin.

    They found that nearly all economic issues work among those rural voters to the benefit of Democrats, but that it doesn't matter because cultural issues are defining.

    Particularly among noncollege rural voters, there was little awareness of differences between Democrats and Republicans on health care, prescription drugs, economic policy and retirement security. Those voters assumed that the party closest to them on cultural issues would be closest to them on other issues as well.

    Let me ask you this... The fact that there was "little awareness of differences between Democrats and Republicans on health care, prescription drugs, economic policy and retirement security," can be attributed to what?

    Perhaps the fact that under the DLC policy guidance the last 15 years, we've been chasing the Republicans to the right, rather than promoting our own economic populism in these rural areas and red states.


    Christ (pun intended again), when will you guys get it?  People are looking for candidates (and a party) who actually stand for something.


    Wake up.  The American people are waking up and the poll numbers reflect their awakening.

    We have an opportunity here.  Let's not act out of fear of what the other side will do.  Let's play from our strengths.

    Visit Satiric Mutt -- my contribution to the written cholesterol now clogging the arteries of the Internet.

    by Bob Johnson on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:58:01 PM PDT

  •  Reform, Reform, Reform... (0+ / 0-)

    We need to show them how to fix it.  That is simple and valuable,  even I can understand that.

    "It's the Government, we're hear to help you."

    by Friend of the court on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:58:15 PM PDT

    •  Learning from Ross Perot (0+ / 0-)

      I think that was the appeal of Perot--opening up the hood, tinkering until you fixed it.

      He also tapped into the fear of job loss through outsourcing.

      Don't tell me this isn't an issue.

      Anyone in intellectual work in English is learning to fear outsourcing to English-speaking, low-wage workers in India.

      It's a problem that is part of the attack on the American middle class.

      The Dems should get ahead on this, except...

      "Control of the initiative is control of the battle. In the alley, at the poker table or in politics. One must raise." David Mamet

      by coral on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:05:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, ask why Demos stand for nothing. (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    xerico, MontanaMaven, LiterateWolf
    Hidden by:

    The Democratic Party stands for 2 things: 1) being the backup Republican Party in case this one fails; and 2)  is part of the entertainment--it plays the Washington Generals to the Harlem Globetrotters (Republicans) if you are old enough to know about that--in other words its pro-wrestling for all intents and purposes at the moment.

    Wake up y'all--the problem is not the Democratic Party it's you/us who don't understand the nature or power. You have to have a base of power that is willing to hurt someone. End of story--"convincing" the powerful to give up power demands a level of occult power most of us lack.

    Om Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu (may all beings in all the worlds be happy)

    by Chris Cosmos on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:58:43 PM PDT

    •  Washington Generals (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xerico, coral, nonnie9999, Trixter

      Nowhere is this comparison more obvious than on TV pundit shows. The typical script is red-hot, well-spoken right winger versus a cautious, polite, and largely deferential centrist posing as a liberal. In other words, they're just there to get beat up, while the right-winger showboats.

    •  Here we go... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Maven, bumblebums

      I was wondering when this particular branch of the left was going to pipe up - you know, the "they're both bad, isn't that a shame, tsk tsk tsk" folks.  I've run up against them from time to time and I have a term for them: the useless left.

      I'm not singling out the one who posted that sentiment, just pointing out that they exist and why they represent so well why the left in America is so ineffective.  I'm not making this criticism as an outsider - I was a part of them for a short while.  Short because their idea of doing something is reading/discussing books, watching documentaries and a protest march once in a while.  These are all good and worthy efforts, but it's missing a vital component - putting people into positions who can actually do something about it.

      This is why I support and work to elect Democrats.  It's not that I see them as perfection personified or the saviors of the nation - I see the party as the one who has the means to get people elected who are at least somewhat sympathetic to us on the left.  Protests and such work best when there are people in power who are at least willing to sit down and listen to us who've marched.

      Try doing that with the far right of the Republican Party.  They won't give us the time of day.

      Back to what we can do:  to those who are impatient or disappointed with the Democratic Party (I feel your pain) and have considered leaving it for a minor party, let me paraphrase what Randi Rhodes said recently:

      Those of you who say you are members of the Green or Libertarian or Whatever Party, you're really in an imaginary party.  Political parties get people elected and have the means to put their platforms into action.  There are no members of Congress with a (G) or (L) behind their names.  Until you can do that, you are in an imaginary party.

      Which brings me back to the Democrats.  We on the left are missing a golden opportunity - we already have a party ripe for the taking with the means and opportunity to get people elected but are pissing it away by denouncing it from the sidelines or looking for the next Ralph Nader.  You don't think the Democrats stand for anything.  Then run someone (or yourself) who does in the next set of primaries. Get a group of like-minded friends together and take over your local Democratic Party, starting at the county level then start movin' on up.

      It won't be instant gratification, it's going to take time and it's going to take some work.  The corporatists control the Democrats because we've sat back and let them.  It's time to pull the controls from them, get on that donkey, and ride.

      •  I have no problem with the roots Demos (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You can play the election game--I'm not really a leftist anyway but without power and that means access to the means of power i.e., the media, you're going nowhere.

        Still, it is honorable to struggle in that way. The point I'm trying to make is that most of you don't understand power--you have been brainwashed by TV and school. Read the classics.

        So many "liberals" don't understand that the way to power is with the fist, metaphorically speaking. You can take a non-violent way (the one I prefer) of King/Gandhi or perhaps the way of more hard-headed Union builders of the 20th century who actually accomplished something through their blood and courage (it will require blood and courage this time too).

        What is required is courage and bonding. You are right about the "useless left" it is useless because it does not seek to create disciplined committed cadre that are willing to sacrifice everything for their brothers and sisters. If those that oppose the Empire whether from the right or the left want to have an impact then it is time to take action in building something solid in your own lives instead of watching TV and making money to play with toys.

        I would suggest that the first order of business would be a series of boycotts, work stoppages and traffic disruptions. But none of that can work until the groundwork of building community gets done. Elections have been and can be stolen--but you never know, they can screw up so it is great to work within the system; just don't have any illusions about those that benefit from it and the way they get their way off camera. BTW, the enemy is not the poor guys who are on the fundamentalist right but the oligarchy who use them. Consider making alliances with the libertarian right--they often have more courage than those on the left but often lack brains.

        Om Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu (may all beings in all the worlds be happy)

        by Chris Cosmos on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Civil disobedience (0+ / 0-)

          And look what the students and farmers are doing in France.  I have made great inroads too with Libertarians here in Montana.  Every Letter to the editor I write is about taking our country back from the monopolies.  Farmers and ranchers understand monopolies and the harm they do.  One hundred and fourteen years ago, the Populist Movement rose up out of the Prairies and the Front Range.  They demanded the 8 hour day and we should demand it again.

          "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Harry S. Truman

          by MontanaMaven on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:58:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So centrist (0+ / 0-)

        How are those seats you guys won in the past 6 years? lost. Useless centrists.

        •  you just called the margin of victory (0+ / 0-)


          you may not like it.

          centrists won't win without the base.

          the base won't win without.... centrists.

          •  Centrists are different than corporatists (0+ / 0-)

            We can win without the DLC.  We can pick up votes from the 50% that don't vote anymore because they've given up.  They don't see anybody to represent them.  We can win back the Reagan Democrats.  We don't need the Neo Liberals.

            "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Harry S. Truman

            by MontanaMaven on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:49:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          Everything isn't about "seats". If there is no pressure on the Congressperson there is no action and the corporate agenda will win every time because they can hurt the Congressperson and the "liberals" can do what then? Do you think because a Democrat has a seat that he/she will follow an agenda that is not pretty much what all the rest do? Do you think that person will vote against a weapons program, or critisize Israel in any way? Do you think that person will work against an obviously illegal, fraudulent and stunningly brutal War in Iraq a la Algeria in the 50's? I think not because there is a game on the Hill and you play or you are out not matter what you personally think except for a couple Members of Congress and a couple of Senators they are all in the bag for "the man" and not you not matter what their lips say. That is reality. When you represent a coalition that can tell a Congressperson that if he fucks with you he is going to be on the street then I will say that you have a seat. You've got next to nothing right now. KOS and other i-net movements are something but it will take time and hardball must be played.

          Om Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu (may all beings in all the worlds be happy)

          by Chris Cosmos on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:57:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  i think zeus (0+ / 0-)

      agrees with you.

  •  Well there is standing for something and then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    there is saying you stand for something. The common good has already been defined.  They are doing a good job of repeating the same message.  Now the big question is - do they mean it?

    When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' - Theodore Roosevelt

    by dkmich on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 01:59:35 PM PDT

  •  Equitable Economics are Number 1 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, philgoblue, Eryk

    The underlying value of republican economics is greed.
    Their primary policy to enact their economic values is theft.
    We can obviously do better.

    1. Wages and Health Insurance

    The wage gap between the highest and lowest paid workers continues to grow obscenely. We must increase the minimum wage and provide health insurance for everyone.

    1. Regulate the energy companies

    Oil companies' profits are obscene. Loopholes for corporations to avoid paying their fair share must be shut down and the government should take a far more active role in regulating energy companies.

    1. Reform the tax laws

    The allternative minimum tax is grossly unjust to middle class families who are trying to send their kids to college while the whopping tax breaks are going to the wealthy. Repeal the alternative minimum tax and take back the breaks that the wealthiest taxpayers have.

    1. Stop pissing money away.

    Deficit spending lines the pockets of corporations sent in to "rebuild" after Katrina and involved in the war. Enforce bidding and contract laws so that taxpayer money isn't wasted.

  •  The operating word is leadership (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xerico, coral

    Apart from Howard Dean who displayed it on a number of dimensions, not just on the Iraq war, no leading Democrat has consistently displayed real leadership.  Leadership means defining what you and your followers stand for.  Dean was ahead of his time or moment, and got crucified for it. Gore is beginning to show signs of leadership, but muffed it when he was running.  Kerry definitely muffed it; Senator Clinton muffs it.  

    Dean is a good example of why there is a leadership deficit among Democrats.  He was 'sound bit' to death.  Other candidates are afraid of having the same thing happen to them -- just as Kerry let the Swifboat thing happen to him.  I sm very disappointed in President Clinton, who could have shown that leadership even though he can no longer run for President.

    The Democratic establishment are afraid of the base.  I'm afraid that is the core problem.

  •  Fight like a pissed off airedale terrier (6+ / 0-)

    I have been saying this for a long, long time. Democrats need to fight even if they end up losing some of those fights (Alito comes to mind). Most Democrats and Independents believe that the Democratic Party has been awol and has not acted like an opposition party. We are dispirited over the damage to our country done by Bush and his cohorts and we feel that no one is on our side in Washington

    Airedale terriers are intelligent and very powerful. When they or their loved one's are attacked they are unforgiving and fearless. That is the kind of spirit needed in the Democratic Party.

  •  Why do democrats agonize over the message? (0+ / 0-)
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    If I had time today, I'd diary this, but if it is not ABUNDANTLY obvious how democrats can craft a message from these founding principles, how we have strayed from these principle, how we get back to these principles and away from the current scandalous nature of government, and how these priniciples  relate to the "common good," then they do not deserve to be in office.

    Simple.  Principled.  Constitutional.

    go ahead.  be my guest.  disagree.  make it difficult.  roil the debate with hand wringing.  whip yourself into uncertainty about "marketing."  self-flagellate over how this will sell in the midwest.  How does this relate to the Iraq war?  How does this relate to katrina?  How does this relate to tax cuts for the rich?  How does this relate to 9/11?  And so on.  Go ahead, Democrats, twist yourselves into knots.

    •  You are so right. All they need to do is say the (0+ / 0-)

      freakin truth.  Kennedy said on Daily Show that corporations aren't people and all the rights they have been given are destroying this country.   TRUTH!

      When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' - Theodore Roosevelt

      by dkmich on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:10:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was just over at a right wing site (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I forget how I got there, it was "rebutting" the democrats new six point plan (or whateve we've just outlined). I guess what struck me most about it was that the people posting there

    they don't believe that the word public means anything, they don't believe that taxes are ever fair (or could be fair, or used fairly), they think that plans to pay for port security are "wishful thinking" or  "just pandering" but that paying for endless war is somehow realistic. In other words, these are not people we can reach. That's not all the republicans, and certainly not all the voters, but we are going to have to work very hard to remind people that there is such a thing as a public good, and that the public is filled with just plain citizens and fellow humans too.


  •  Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!
    Backing strict Pro-life dems is bad!

    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

    by truthbetold on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:09:31 PM PDT

  •  My Kerry experience (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, philgoblue, Simplify

    On the eve of the 2004 election, I spoke to a woman in Wisconsin who wanted to vote for Kerry, but just wasn't sure.  She told me that she was a life long Republican, but that she was very uneasy about the Bush administration.  She asked me why she should vote for Kerry.  I told her flat out why I was voting for him- all couched in POSITIVE DEFINITIVE TERMS.   Not just "Bush sucks" (though he undoubtedly did and still does) but "Kerry rocks".  

    After 2 or 3 minutes, she asked my name again.  I told her, and she said, "Well, Chicago Lulu, I'll be voting for John Kerry tomorrow, and I want you to know your phone call is the reason why."

    I thanked her and moved on to the next call.

    Now, I am not that eloquent of a speaker, but I spoke from the heart about the reasons I supported Kerry- his strong, reasonable approach to national defense, his support of crucial social programs, his (still brilliant) health care plan,  his desire to fulfill the government's responsibility to the people of this country.  

    By couching it in those terms I was drawing an OBVIOUS contrast for the woman, who like most thinking Americans was a little disturbed by the path the country was taking.  But I wasn't doing it in solely negative terms.  Not that they don't have their place.  But that wasn't the time.

    Anyway, that's one person...but I really believe that most people have more in common with that Wisconsin woman than maybe we're willing to see.

  •  Stump Speech (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know why Dems (these days -- it didn't used to be this way, way back when) have such a hard time just spittin' out what their principles are.  We here, here at this place on the internets, don't have a problem doing that.

    (Now, repeat after me in a dignahfah'd Suthun accent -- if you don't know about Big Jim Folsom, then think Tip O'Neil talking like Foghorn Leghorn; and, an alternative can certainly be a smart, sharp, young technocraty kind of Dem who leaves morons like Sessions in the dust, as long as s/he knows how to get to the point and not talk overly wonky to Joe and Jane Sixpack)

    "While my opponent wants to blathah ohn 'bout 'eeleagals' heeuh, and '10 commandmunts' theyuh, and 'suppoat mah Pres'dent' the othuh place, he ain't said NUTHIN' about buildin' a school; 'bout payin' a teachuh' to teach in that school; 'bout havin' a high payin' high tech job for our next genuhraytions to have when they get OUT of those schools and colleges; about how we gonna have clean Wahtuh, and clean ayuh to drink and breath!  He ain't said NUTHIN' 'bout the Boss Hoggs of Big Ohl gettin' FAT off GOUGIN' you at the pump.  NUTHIN' about the GUMMINT protectun them Big Drug Cump'nees and 'bout puttin YOU and yo momma and daddy in bankruptcy by chargin' over and ABOVE what they need to alREADY make themselves a tidy profit of Billions and Billions of dollars!  He ain't said NUTHIN' 'bout gettin' our boys and girls home from that WO'AH in Iraq that we don't have no bus'ness being in in the FUST place!  We GOT rid of Saddam.  Now let THEM do a little Work gettin' they'ah country and they'ah act togethuh!

     And WHY won't you hee'uh my opponent talkin' bout them things?  Why, because he don't want you THINKIN' bout 'em!!!  He don't want you thinkin' 'bout his FAT CAT dinnuhs with his FAT CAT Big Bus'ness Lobby Friends!  He don't want you THINKIN' bout your having to struggle to make ends meet while he plays off whites against blacks and Americans 'gainst Mexicans!  He don't WANT you thinkin' 'bout the inCOMPetence and crimiNALity and GREED of his Party!  Because -- and I'll grant him this -- my opponuhnt's  bright enough to KNOW that if you DID think 'bout them things they ain't NO way on God's green earth you'd ever vote for the likes of a RePUBlikin' AGAIN!  You'd vote for someone who DOES give a damn 'bout you; someone who DOES know that Gummints don't exist to be faree godmothers, but they don't exist to prop-up the people and corporatshuns that need the least proppin' up, and kickin' down the middle and tryin'-to-get-by classes, neithuh!  This Gummint's YOURS, and if you vote for ME, I'm gonna work like the devul to give it BACK to you!  Big Olyul, and Big Drug Compnees, and Big Evrything Else alREADY have enough money and influence!  How 'bout we try and give YOU a piece of the PIE for a change!"

    Hell, this stuff just writes itself.  Now I don't know about your neck of the woods, but this would, indeed, resonate down here.


    We're working on many levels here. Ken Kesey

    by BenGoshi on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:14:51 PM PDT

  •  I don't think the establishment Dems want to win (0+ / 0-)

    and thus the DLC brand will fill the campaign with rhetoric they know will make the Dems look disunited, weak, and hypocritical.

    Hillary will be at the forefront of this sabotage because she and Bill have already been bought by the Bush family so as to avoid any impeachment/trials of Jr.

    She's been guaranteed the Presidency by the corporatists who decide that these days if she scuttles the Dem ability to impeach.

    It's pretty simple. I don't think Progressives will be able to stop her. All she has to do is continue to make Dems look like disunited hypocrits.

    We've already lost. The DLC made sure that there would be no possibility to overthrow the corporatist movement now controlling America as long as they have a toe in our party.

    It will take a generation (as the GOP has said) to end this fascism, if it's really even possible now that the debate has been so lowered in America and people are so xenophobic.

    Personally, I think America is finished. We're the United States of Exxon. Have been for some time.

    Too bad for us.

    The only way to stop American fascists at this point is a bloody coup. And that's not going to happen in America. The country is too big geographically; there are 40% born agains who are on the side of the corporate theocrats; and we're simply not destitute enough to risk our own lives to break out of our totalitarian system.

    We're China Jr. now.

    Enjoy your New American Century everyone. I have no plans to be a part of it.

  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

    Stand and be counted.

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

    by muledriver on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:18:36 PM PDT

  •  No, No, NO! (0+ / 0-)

    It's not "What do we stand for" but "WHO do we stand WITH."

    My answer? Why, the bottom, oh, 75% of the income ladder. What are their issues? What is MOST important to them? Where are they on the cultural issues? How important (in the sense of being motivated to vote based on a party's position on them) are these issues to them?

    What does their day to day existence look like? How are they doing economically? Culturally? How are their families doing? List 10 things that they need, ranked from most-mentioned (in the context of a poll), to least mentioned.

    Are they being "heard" in the wider culture? Is anyone listening respectfully to what they have to say? If not, how does this make them feel, and what do they want to do with those feelings?

    I think I feel my very first diary building...

    Dear World: Sorry: we tried our best -- Half of America

    by mftalbot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:24:23 PM PDT

    •  You're Right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      People have been TOLD that flag burning is an essential issue to their personal freedom. It is not.

      They've been TOLD that gay marriage is a threat to their way of life, and that protection and safety through non-discrimination law expansion amounts to "special rights." They are not.

      They've been TOLD that capital punishment is a successful deterrent. It is not.

      They've been TOLD that building more prisons and keeping people locked up makes us safer. It does not.

      They've been TOLD that permanent tax cuts, regardless of how deep they are for the upper percentages of wage earners (who could burn money for winter fuel and not even notice the difference), will help everyone, eventually, especially the lower and middle classes. They do not.

      They've been told that pre-emptive war is the only thing that can bring ultimate peace. It is not.

      They've been TOLD that America is under attack in the world, that Christianity is under attack by Muslims and Jews and pagans, that patriotism is equated only to a belligerant military first-strike mentality, that "conservative" is good and that "liberal" is filthy and unpatriotic... and on and on.

      None of it is true, but it is repeated enough en mass that gullible people fall for it every election cycle. The balance of the American voting public (excluding the rabid right) are voting for principles that represent precisely the opposite of what they would consciously choose for themselves.

      Propaganda works incredibly well, as history bears out. The important issues that impact people most directly in their wallets and their peace of mind -- health care, job protection and fair immigration reform, border security, fair taxation, true national security, social security protection, balanced budgets, deficit reduction, fuel efficiency, decrease in dependence on foreign oil, clean and safe environment, good education, job training -- none of these issues is being addressed seriously by the GOP. NOT ONE SERIOUSLY.

      For Democrats to be unable to articulate consistent themes from this continues to astound me. It's as if they are fearful they will choose something that will be unpopular with half the people.

      It's time to take a stand -- not simply an offer of the "opposite" of what the GOP is doing, but taking a stand on the principles they actually believe in. To be unable to articulate these issues into clarity of vision is poisonous and disheartening.

      I believe there are many Democrats with character who do speak up, but their voices are diminished when they speak alone as individuals and not with a consistent, clear voice that makes sense and touches people right where they live.

      If the Democrats can't take advantage of these bumblers now, with a new opportunity for clarity each and every day, I fear we're in for a long stretch of GOP rule.

      "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." --George W. Bush

      by RevJoe on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:22:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make that.... (0+ / 0-)

    ...stand for something simple you can say in 30 seconds. We're dealing with people that apparently voted for George Bush here.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:28:50 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Many did vote for w (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But Why did they vote for him? If we are to survive as a party - at least, as a party I would want to associate with - we must thoroughly understand the answer to that question. More to the point, we should understand the answer because we went and listened to our brothers and sisters.

      Dear World: Sorry: we tried our best -- Half of America

      by mftalbot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:38:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats are adopting KISS (0+ / 0-)

    No, I'm not talking about the second-rate rockers with a first-rate stage act. I'm talking about a tried and true method applied in the business world to many tasks: "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" KISS is a beautiful strategy for several reasons. First, a KISS-based approach is easy to explain, remember, and manage. Second, KISS appeals to those who like simple solutions, which are also often the most effective. Third, provided it is not blatantly at odds with their basic interests, the recipients--the ones on the receiving end of the KISS--can embrace it without hesitation.  

    Dems are starting to do it with these "three point," "five point" etc. plans--and it's about time.

    The Regressives (i.e., the opposites of PROGRESSIVES) now in office have proven KISS works again and again. Regressives have spent an entire generation preparing and executing a KISS strategy against the political establishment—both traditional Conservatives and Liberals. They had their first big opportunity in the run-up to the 1980 presidential election. President Carter was simply not competent to handle three problems that overwhelmed him. He was vulnerable to KISS as all Hell.

    Enter Ronald Reagan: Morning in America; "Government IS the problem"; Trickle Down Economics; A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats; "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"   The majority of Americans regard the Reagan presidency as a successful tenure (pick a fight on this somewhere else). The foundation was built: the claim that Conservatism WORKS had legs it hadn't had since Eisenhower.

    Of course, the Dems were asleep at the switch, fat and happy, when the insidiously brilliant part of the Regressive KISS approach began. Job Number Two was to shape the word "Liberal" in the public mind into such an overtly negative context it could be freely used to discredit opposition to the Regressive agenda. Over a period of time and funded by skillions of dollars, this was done using think tanks for the elite levels, right-wing radio bombast for the grunt-work, and a free launching pad provided by Carter and a few meltdowns at just the right time in the Democratic-controlled Congress. Liberals are incompetent, weak, and corrupt--if you don't believe us, just look for yourself.

    The Democrats' "brand name" was gradually redefined by their competition. It was like Ford allowing GM to say openly and repeatedly for years that Fords suck out loud in every way and at everything. So effectively was it established in the minds of those who just can't be bothered to think critically that "Liberal" meant "bad," "Conservative" now also meant "good" by default. I once marveled at the fact that by the time members of Congress had web sites, Democrats wouldn't even put the word "Democrat" on their sites, but the words "Republican" and "Conservative" were liberally (/ahem/) sprinkled throughout the sites on the other side of the aisle.

    People were more than eager to be told that their problems could be solved simply by making the government smaller and removing it from areas where it had taken up residence. The only deviation from the plan was the one-term presidency of George H.W. Bush who was also done in by a KISSian maxim: "It's the economy, stupid!"  

    The Regressives, powered as we know now behind the scenes by the neocons and their ruthless Straussian philosophy of aggression, deceit and espousing a divine right to rule, stole the Conservative mantle. True Conservatives needed the Regressives in order to stay in power. Those Republicans with a conscience like Arlen Specter who didn't sign on whole-hog to the program became "RINOs," Republican in name only, the token moderates.

    Now "Conservative" would mean any point of view or person the Regressives supported. We can see how this operated over time. The most crystal-clear example: voting against funding U.S. troops en route to Bosnia was a Conservative (good) vote, but voting against anything to support the invasion of Iraq was a Liberal (bad) vote.

    It got worse when the Regressives and the Christianists figured out how to coordinate the use of sanctimonious piety to chrome-plate their complimentary agendas. Liberal was not just bad, it was now immoral, anti-God, and out of the mainstream. So began the "values war" with Bill Clinton supplying the Regressives with a WMD plus tricky redistricting leading to the Regressives capturing the White House and, eventually, Congress. We'd been KISSed and didn't even get dinner.

    Of course, the interchangeable demonizing of the very words "Democrat" and "Liberal" were not the only Regressive applications of blatant KISSified redefinition. I have to admire the chutzpah of saying black is white and up is down and having it stick over and over again: Shame on those who would wage class warfare against the rich!  Goodness no, it's not religion; it's the scientific theory of intelligent design!  Of course this law will give us clean skies, it's called the "Clean Skies Act."  "No Child Left Behind" sounds way, way better than "No Public School Left Standing."  Want to gut a federal program that's working?  Do it in the name of promoting "state flexibility."  Judges who applied the conservative rule of law and refused to legislate against gay marriage from the bench when the state hadn't bothered to do so were "activists."  The list is endless.

    Like any theory, however, KISS has its flaws. Some problems really ARE complex and require more than KISS. And, as The Great Communicator said, "Facts are stubborn things"; you can make up crap and attribute it to Al Gore and otherwise lie, exaggerate and suppress, but sooner or later, incompetence, greed, and arrogance will ug its rearly head. You can KISS your ass off but it won't make stranded flood survivors, exposed cronyism, hard-core evidence of torture in the name of America, a failed invasion or, ultimately, criminal indictments go away.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who will watch the watchers?)

    by The Crusty Bunker on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:32:29 PM PDT

    •  There's sell it, and there's do it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Crusty Bunker

      It's very simple - sell it with K.I.S.S.

      However, when figuring out exactly what to do and how to do it, bring in the level of complexity you need.

      No matter how complex a software product (my industry) is, it's marketed with a message of a sentence or two.

  •  Democratic Response to Bush led Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    The point of the article by Texeira and Halpin is correct.  The Democrats cannot rely on the Bush led Republicans to implode as a strategy for 2006/2008.
    What many progressives fail to recognize is that their is a big risk in a party out of power becoming too specific in pitching their alternative.  We do not want the debate to shift from them to us, but we must be preceived to be providing an alternative.  I believe we should do that by providing broad alternatives on issues where the Bush led Repubicans are obviously out of touch.  Iraq, deficit/debt, healthcare.  While at the same time we should focus on Democrats as a more competent and less corrupt alternative.

    All of these can be linked to one major theme: "We can do better".  We can do better as a country, and we can do better as Democrats.

    This is the theme we need to adopt-stress that we do provide a superior alternative, and link that to issues when we can, competence always, and the need to reduce corruption in government.

    We cannot continue to rely exclusively on the Republicans to help us when.  "We can do better".

    •  There's no risk in standing for something (1+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      That's all Kerry needed to do. But he was afraid if he stood for something, the election would be about him and he'd lose. Well, it became about how he didn't stand for anything and flip-flopped. At least if he'd taken a strong stand he could have told Bush he's full of shit and has consistently been pushing the same agenda. If anything, the Democrats just need to write up an agenda (it doesn't matter what it says) just so the press will stop writing process stories about "Republicans in trouble, Democrats can't take advantage."

      If your name was George Walker instead of George Walker Bush, your candidacy would be a joke.

      by dole4pineapple on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:51:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It has already happened (0+ / 0-)

    Where's the big uptick for Dems? Only one scenario provides it - a Republican push for a federal law banning abortion. Blue states will recoil from this. Guess what? Dems HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY NOW! Why are we not using the Politics of Contrast now!

    Amen brother.

    It has already happened.  Scalia and his ilk have always contended that overturning Roe will only make it a state matter.  Really?  So explain to me a national partial birth abortion ban?

    And where is the constitutionality of such a ban.  Where did the founding fathers provide a congressional power to regulate one medical procedure over another?  And that is all that is being done.  The abortion can happen if done one way but not another way.  If this is justified based on the "Interstate Commerce Clause", why even have a 10th Amendment.  

    Similarly, what was constitutional about Terry's law.  How can we pass a law that says one person gets a different right to judicial review then the rest of us?

    We don't need a frame.  We just need to tell the truth.  The truth is Republicans play to the most ignorant in this country and they can do it because they are not very bright themselves.  They don't understand our history or our constitution.  And certainly not something as complicated as biology.  

    Democrats really are the rational party and they should not by shy in saying that the Republicans are idiots.  


  •  Need more than lists to 'stand for something' (5+ / 0-)

    We are all Democrats because deep down we belive in "asking Americans to look beyond their own self-interest and participate in a common good".  We get that.  But, other people don't.  It is where our lists come from.  But, we will never win without having working for the common good as our overarching philosophy and publicly stating it.

    People want to believe in something bigger than themselves.  That desire leads many to religion.  Instead of blatantly pandering to relgious folks and invoking God (which I don't think will win over a single religious voter), giving them the opportunity to be part of something that advocates looking beyond one's own self-interest and working for a greater common interest will win them over.  Many joined these churches for community and for a sense of something bigger than themselves, and we could win them back from the Republicans (who will use every trick - gay marriage, etc.) if we offer them an alternative outlet for that desire.  

    People (and those in the media) will keep accusing Dems of not having a message as long as they keep answering the question of what the Democrats stand for with lists of policies.  No matter how many times the lists are repeated, they aren't a philosophy.  The future is uncertain and people instinctively want to understand the person (or party) running for office so that they can be sure the candidate will act correctly when something unexpected happens (say, something like 9/11).  If they don't understand what a candidate (and by extension, a the party he or she belongs to)believes in deep down, they won't vote for him or her.  The lists of policies the Democrats support are great, but they don't give Americans insight into what Democrats will do when something happens that we can't anticipate.

    The best way to answer the question as to what the Democrats stand for is to say that "Democrats believe in asking Americans to look beyond their own self-interest and work for a greater common interest, which is exemplified by our 6 priorities for the next two years: [insert policies that Dean and Rahm and others have been advocating on tv and in the doorhangers going out next week]".  The Republicans do this.  They make it clear that they believe in [extreme] individualism, which leads to an argument of less government and few taxes (the religious right has forced them away from many of their traditional priorities).  We will only get the media to stop saying we have no message by stating an overarching philosophy (working for the common good) that explains where all our specific ideas come from.  Such a statement would have the added bonus of attracting religious people yearning for something more than themselves and people who want to know more than the specific proposals we assert in order to gauge our possible actions when something unexpected happens.

  •  I love how we always hear Democrats in Washington (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    saying "Democrats need to stand for something" and then never propose what to stand for. I think Dean's plan is a good solution. The problem in Washington is that whenever someone proposes an agenda for the party, someone always says, "Oh you can't do that, it'll alienate swing voters." It's the classic problem of a group of people being unable to reach a consensus. We're not going to solve this problem until we get a presidential candidate who doesn't have to defer to anyone else in the party. Right now, who's leading us? Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Hillary, or another potential candidate? Until we've got an undisputed leader, this problem won't go away. The Democratic party is also still suffering from shell-shock. After seeing elections that should have been won in 2002 and 2004 somehow turn into Republican victories, Democrats in Washington think that no matter what, they'll somehow blow it, so any development is still somehow bad for the party. DeLay's still in office? Bad for the Democrats, since he might return as majority leader. DeLay quit? Bad for the Democrats because now a visible symbol of Republican corruption is gone. Democrats might not get the majority? Bad for the Democrats because Republicans will still be in power. Democrats get the majority? Bad for the Democrats because then they can't run against a Republican Congress and President in 2008. The Democrats in Washington are still so afraid of defeat that they refuse to take strong stands, which is what caused them to lose in the first place. No matter what happens in the election, expect Democrats to continue hand-wringing. If they lose seats, they'll become even more cowardly. If they gain seats, but not the majority, they'll still lament over how they couldn't win the majority instead of bragging about pickups. If they get the majority, there'll be handwringing over how it would have been better if they were still in the minority because then the next two years of Bush failures could be blamed entirely on Republicans.

    If your name was George Walker instead of George Walker Bush, your candidacy would be a joke.

    by dole4pineapple on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:47:58 PM PDT

  •  so tempted to click on the I'm stupid (0+ / 0-)

    after our lively discussion last week. However, I have far too much curiousity to see this immigration debate. With the exception of one or two people here I've found immigration debate digresses pretty fast into you're a racist if you support immigration controls or suggest that there is illegal activity occuring along the border. It's funny because my husband calls me a raging liberal, yet here I am moderate bordering on conservative on alot of issues.

  •  There seems to be an assumption... (0+ / 0-)

    ...implicit in all these 'what's wrong with the Democrats?' debates that - there is something wrong in the first place. Maybe there isn't.

    Maybe the perception of the Democratic party is essentially correct: maybe they - as a party, which is quite different than as individuals - are correctly perceived by the electorate as enablers for the richest and most powerful elements of American society, and willfully tone-deaf to the worries and angst of 'average Americans'. All this talk about 'framing' issues and tinkering with the 'message' may be beside the point. Shouldn't a political party start by fighting for causes, forming coalitions, standing up to opposing interests? The correct perception of its reason for being will then likely follow.

    Anyway, imo there is way too much echo-chambered discoursing of this subject, here and elsewhere. One stands for something by standing for something, not agonizing over why 'they' don't realize that it's being stood for. If the Democrats aren't doing a) b) & c) - maybe it's because they're unwilling to fight for any of them, in any meaningful sense.

    Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

    by adios on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:53:48 PM PDT

    •  The problem with Democrats is that (0+ / 0-)

      we run bad presidential candidates who can't do anything without first conducting a focus group. That's why we haven't won the last two presidential elections (and by winning, I mean when your guy is the one being inaugurated on January 20).

      If your name was George Walker instead of George Walker Bush, your candidacy would be a joke.

      by dole4pineapple on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:26:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you saying Dems need a Creed? (0+ / 0-)

    Are you saying Dems need a creed --Like the Apostles Creed of the Catholics......

    I dont get all these talk about needing to stand for something.

    I always thought Democratic Party is the party of labor, Public Education, Health Care for All, Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights for all, Environment, minority rights, equal opportunity, living wage.

    You are just perpetuating the meme that Dems dont stand for anything but that is not true.

    If you mean there are some bad Democrats, then that is true.  But the Democrats dont stand for anything is just a meme, an urban legend.

    Republicans are the one who cant even stand up for their public avowed principles like fiscal responsibility, wise use of military, little govt, libertarianism--instead just rubberstamp anything Rove says.

    Stop Corporate Influence; buy DEMOCRACY BONDS!!!

    by timber on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 02:54:08 PM PDT

    •  timber... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Democrats were the 'party of labor.' Clintons, DLC, fixed all that. Unfettered globalization is anti-labor. One of its core purposes.

      'Health Care for All' - like Hilary's abortive, insurance industry-formulated scheme, whose failure set back reform for over a decade?

      Stop focusing on the Republicans, we know who they are. Bashing them doesn't solve the problems people care about (except, perhaps, those in the aforementioned echo-chamber).

      Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

      by adios on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:04:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats are not like Republicans at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The myth that Dems and Repubs are the same was a sound bite from the Nader campaign that was said so many times that people think it is true.  It couldn't be less true.

    It is also a lie that the democrats have no policies.  THEY DO - just go to their website and read them.  They have  policies and they fight for them tirelessly but are constantly blocked by the republicans who then turn around and accuse them of having no policies. Then the media mindlessly parrots this false claim.

    I know exactly what the Democrats I support stand for.

    Democrats stand for

    The Common Good - education, public parks, a healthy environment, wise resource management with the future in mind, infrastructure to support the economy

    General Welfare
    - basic services for those in society who are unable to provide for themselves - children, the elderly and the disabled

    Individual rights and FREEDOMS
    as guaranteed under the constitution - women's reproductive rights, religious freedom, the right to form families as we wish, freedom to participate in all aspects of life without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

    National Security - the Democrats are just as willing to spend on defense as the Republicans but are in fact far more capable of making competent choices.

    Financial responsibility
    - Democrats have proven that they are better at managing money - they borrow less and get far more for the dollars they spend. The Democrats understand that the government must spend money in order to fill the responsibilities expected of them so they are not going to go out with pie in the sky tax cuts that just end up bankrupting the nation.  They are competent at enacting fair and realistic tax policy while Republicans only borrow borrow borrow from future generations.

    There is no comparison between the two parties.  The Republicans stand for none of these things.

    They do not believe in The Common Good or the
    General Welfare, but only in the politics of selfishness and greed.
    They hate our Individual rights and FREEDOMS, trying to impose Christianity on all, fight against a woman's reproductive rights and the rights of people to choose whatever spouse they wish.
    The only National Security they understand is the kind that lands billion dollar contracts for their political supporters.
    Reagon and Bush were so financially irresponsible that future generations will curse the ground they walked on.  That is if there is a future under the Republican energy, war and enviromental policy of neglect.

    •  Not true (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      coral, proximity1
      Hidden by:

      Democrats and Republicans both support the lose of American careers and jobs so the wealthy can buy cheap shit from China. Just look at who bought the parties.

      And your Nader bitching makes me wish I did vote for him. Green from here on out thanks to neoliberals.

      •  The Republicans thank you for that (0+ / 0-)

        At least someone appreciates it.

      •   there are, of course, TWO 'Democratic' Parties.. (0+ / 0-)

         There are, on the one hand,

        A ] the broad, average general-public who vote, usually or perhaps always, for Democratic Party candidates.  These may include actual formal members (i.e. they're on their county's member roster) as well as wholly unaffiliated voters (they aren't on any party's membership roster);

         B ]  on the other hand, there are the Democratic Party élite: the national and state party executives, the corps of wealthy contributors--regardless of their formal membership or not--and the professionals in elective office or professionals in electoral campaigning: pollsters, fund-raisers, political analysts, mass communications specialists, public relations professionals, policy experts inside and outside of formal academic circles.

        Call them, if you will, Group "A" and group "B"

        Clearly, on any average day, Group "B" is in theory and in fact in effective daily "charge" of the "Party".  It is "B" who determine tactics, strategy, plan agenda, generally determine who's going to be in the "first tier" runners for primary-election spots; what the party's "message" to the state or nation shall be, etc.

        And, if, as I believe, LiterateWolf had Group "B" in mind when s/he criticized the Democrats for being in so many ways hardly or not at all distinguishable from the Republicans, then I, too, believe that is the case; and to the great disadvantage to the greater common good of the nation, as well as to those Group "A" Democrats who have little or no influence beyond their ballot on primary or general election day.

         In this respect, Nader's critique is and was, I believe, unassailable.  At the Group "B" level, despite there being some number of genuinely humane and generous "small-'d'-democrats among these mainly wealthy Party élite, there is, that faction apart, not a dime's worth of difference between the wealthy and connected hot-shots in the two parties.

         Alas, electing Nader to the White House should have done next to nothing to alter the <two-party, one-general-political-élite> set of circumstances.

         It may be, and so I suspect, that if ever the Group "A" and "B" Democrats were to in both word and genuine deed attack the fundamentally inequal and unjust basis of the society's political power structure, that is, say, we are now and henceforth making it our firm policy to always defend the interests of the weak, poor, and politically powerless against the existing systemic powers which keep them effectively shut of their rightful place as electorally the determinative factor--the MAJORITY of the people-- then I think that would be seen and welcomed among average Americans of all parties as the next best thing to the Second Coming.

         If the Democratic Party were ever to become genuinely serious about the real practical purpose of a democratic society--to permit the majority to actually determine the political course of the community--it would without a doubt be a revolutionary change in American politics, since, of course, never has that been the case in the entire history of the nation.

  •  mcgovern's shadow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree that it is important for Dems to begin to stand for something, and that the analysis that this is an issue in some way more fundamental than the tactical ones that have received a lot of attention is an important insight. However, there is a problem that lies beyond even that. There is a reason that Democrats are wishy-washy, and until that is addressed standing for something is not going to be enough.

    Dems became afraid of our own shadow after the McGovern defeat in 1972. It was so massive, that it was like we came to think of our issues as losers in a what amounts to a conservative country. After liberal not conservative is used as a nasty epithet.

    In support of this assumption, notice that we only came into power twice, first after the Watergate scandal and second with an extraordinarily talented politician running against a split opposition. Notice that Clinton played down the liberal agenda to a large extent with DLC stuff, and then when he tried to bring pieces of it up, such as in health care, he was timid and was knocked for a loss anyway.

    Of course the radical right famously took a drubbing back in 1964, but they responded by building an infrastructure to get their ideas out and legitimize them.

    While we can't wait, we also need to address this core problem by working to promote our ideas, the substance of what we stand for. We can't think of what would appeal to those of us who already are liberals, but to the massive number of people who are not.

    Here are a few small immediate suggestions:
    Get rid of the phrase "pro-choice". It is reactive to "pro-life" and it makes abortion look like a lifestyle choice. It is appeals to those of us who like the idea of choice, but what about those who think that choices should be governed by a moral code. Also, it is easily parried by their: "it's a baby.." blah, blah, blah. I don't know what to replace it with, but pro-choice is as bad a slogan as possible.

    Refer to the religious right as "sectarians." That's what they are, and it has a nice reference to the Iraqi situations.

    Refer to the current medical system as "commercially-oriented," as in "Our commercially-oriented medical system." That ones self-explanatory.

    Refer to the "estate tax", as "large estate tax"

    "Marriage equality" is a good term.

    Longer term, I think that the building of this kind of netsroots echo-chamber, and the think-tanks are a good way to start, but more generally, we need to focus on ideas.

    The socialist party in Spain is a good model for what we need to do.

    •  The DLC would have us believe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we're in the time of McGovern. Even though last time I checked, we came 1 state from victory in the election. One of my pet peeves is when articles are written about how we're losing some group which is part of the Republican base. "Oh no, Democrats lost white male gun-owning, evangelical southern who attend church more than once a week by 75%-25%...we're doomed! We need to win the south and reach out to these voters and blah blah." Whenever Democrats lose, they have to reach out to the Republican base, but Republicans never have to reach out to our base. The reason we lost was lack of a competent candidate with a clear message, but the DLC is determined to blame on the Democratic base.

      If your name was George Walker instead of George Walker Bush, your candidacy would be a joke.

      by dole4pineapple on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:23:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is funny (0+ / 0-)

        we came one state away from victory.

        using the DLC model.

        such dems do not reach out to the repug base.  dean reaches out to dems who think abortion is wrong.

        is that reaching out to the repug base??

        the base is determined to blame the DLC.

        it's an intractable battle for the soul of the democratic party that help repugs win elections.

        but neither are at fault for the results of elections per se.

        that is unless part of the base is voting for a third party.

  •  Obvious and old news (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most kossacks could have told the Dems that, and have, for years - they aren't listening

    Kerry sure as hell wasn't listening - he was listening to pundits.

    The problem remains that Dems are afraid to take stands that they think are unpopular - and the problem for the rest of us remains whether to support them anyway "for the good of the party".

  •  Heal the divide, think holistic, be Democratic (0+ / 0-)


  •  i still find the common good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coral, Simplify

    insufficient motivation for the peeps at large.

    i wish i had a less pessimistic view of humanity.

    i still think a majority acting selfishly represents a more honest representation of the common good.

    really.  if people start walking out of voting booths saying "i want america to be better," and not "i want more for me," i'll be very surprised.

    but of course my point is...  "i want more for me" is not necessarily something democrats should try to fight against.

    it is a democracy.  people should do what's right for them.

    and every vote counts.

    •  Yeah, how to say- (0+ / 0-)

      When there's more all around, there's more for you... and at least that way people aren't trying so hard to steal what you've got.

      When everybody's helping build things, you get a lot wider range of things and that makes everyone's life better in more ways than trying to do it all yourself.

      -- What really makes America, America?

      by mike101 on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:28:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nothing wrong with longing for the next (0+ / 0-)

    incarnation of president clinton.

    jimmy carter was a more progressive dem president, but his presidency is regarded as a failure, and contributed to many of the misconceptions america has about democrats.

    by comparison, it appears carter "stood for something" more than clinton did.

    so who was the better president???

    longing for the next incarnation of millions of jobs, relative peace and prosperity.

    go figure.

    •  Clinton was on par with the very best (0+ / 0-)

      Presidents in the 'Cult of Personality' dept. Bill excels at 'feeling your pain' .. trouble is, at the end of the day, we don't have all that much to show for it.

      He's that good .. really good at making you feel great, as you are getting shortchanged.


      Carter was amongst the 'worst' in 'Cult of Personality' - Carter refused to be something he is not, i.e. 'bite his lower lip'. From the Playboy article, to wearing sweaters in the WH, to the attack of the 'rabid rabbit', the media played Jimmy Carter.

      Carter is definitively the better President, as far as I am concerned. .. and the better human being, as well.

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, freshly-demoted, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:10:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The gorilla in the living room (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    theran, ommzms

    is eating the recliner and gazing longingly at the the children:

    It's the war, stupid!

    The problems in Iraq seem intractable, to be sure.  Bush and the Republicans are mostly to blame.  But so are some Democrats.  We have to come to terms with that as Democrats, because it isn’t going to go away.  Members of our government and military could well find themselves facing war crimes charges in years to come.

    Our presence in Iraq endlessly complicates the situation – that includes the contractors, most of whom are carpetbaggers intent only on quick profits.  Our continued presence will be toxic to any possible progress. If we withdraw on a relatively rapid schedule, abandon our permanent bases and the green-zone fortress, and then pledge half of the billions we would have spent on occupation – no strings attached – to an internationally sanctioned reconstruction/recovery commission, we may be able to redeem ourselves to some degree.

    We can then invest the other half in healthcare, education and infrastructure - the issues that we really want to talk about.  As it is, this country will continue to be a disaster for the average citizen as long as all of our wealth is squandered on foreign adventures, whether Bush or a Democrat is running the show.

    There are two choices.  Stay in or get out.  There won’t be any meaningful consensus between the two.  Can Governor Dean square this circle? If we don’t stand for ending this criminal war that is killing the innocent (for generations to come, when you take the use of depleted uranium into account) and bankrupting the nation, what do we stand for?  What chance will our other initiatives stand when we are paying off the trillions in debt this fiasco is costing us?  Sorry to rant, but this is the most urgent issue the nation has faced in our lifetimes.  The idea that we Democrats will discuss it ‘later’ behind closed doors just won’t cut it. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

    by chuckvw on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:12:37 PM PDT

    •  what democrats besides lieberman (0+ / 0-)

      are responsible for how bush and rumsfeld waged this war??

      •  How the busheviks have conducted (0+ / 0-)

        this war is one issue, and a bit of a strawman in this context.

        That the war was conducted at all is another question.  Some Democrats believe to this day that the war was a good idea - Biden, Cantwell, Schumer (for example).  Others, Clinton, for example, are wavering a bit now, but were certainly hawkish a couple of years ago.  Bush's ability to sell this bloody fiasco as somehow bipartisan was at least an enabling factor if not a decisive one.

        Don't get me wrong.  I'm voting for Cantwell in November.  But we have to discuss this, unless you can stomach the thought of Secretary of State Dick Holbrooke coming on the tube to justify the bombing of Iran.... - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

        by chuckvw on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:43:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nail, meet Hammer. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "If we don’t stand for ending this criminal war that is killing the innocent (for generations to come, when you take the use of depleted uranium into account) and bankrupting the nation, what do we stand for?"

      Exactly. There is a moral and ethical debate that must happen before any thousand page mainfesto of progressive ideals can ameliorate the political landscape.

      End the war.  Do not start any more wars of ideology or other dubious (oil, liebestraum, etc.) motivations.  Address the issues of poverty, ecology, the protections in the Constitution, PEACE.

      You speak with perspicacity and accuracy. Truth to power...

  •  You know, I'm becoming a contrarian..... (7+ / 0-)

    This is the same horseshit peddled in November and December 2004, and it's as bad a misinterpretation and as unwarranted by real data as it was then.  People know what Democrats are and are about.  Not individually, but collectively they have a very accurate picture.

    A far better interpretation is this: Democrats fret too much, and that for lack of patience and anything else to do while waiting out while the political center wears out its conservative bias.

    Because yes, since the mid-1960s the center has biased conservative.  I don't mean that in some great intellectual sense, it's simply attitudinal in an unwillingness to give up a provincial set of perspectives and understandings.  A rejection of larger perspective.

    This results in an inability to appreciate the spectrum of liberal Democrat concerns and attitudes for what it is as a rather consistent and widely adequate whole.  From a narrow, pretty local, definition of the problems and solutions this spectrum of Democratic opinion looks diffuse, complicated, and not anchored to things that seem certain in this narrow, localized, definition of the world.

    What has been happening since 2003 is that the political center is wrenching its perspective wider, it accepts that this old provincial way of dealing with things is failing in an increasingly global arena.  But (a) not all of the center has begun this yet, though only very little has not (as of April 2006), and (b) they have trouble making sense of what they're discovering as they do try to broaden perspective.  Two different kinds of despair follow on each other, one of which is angry and afraid, and one that is desperately searching for someone to make sense of what they're learning about living realistically.

    Yes, they have trouble making sense of Democrats as part of the process.  But it's not inherently a Democratic Party problem.  It is an opportunity, though.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:19:00 PM PDT

    •  what an interesting comment (0+ / 0-)

      great comment.

    •  You provide an analytical framework for voters (0+ / 0-)

      but, your analysis assumes that the Democrats themselves are keeping up with your intellectual construction. They are still fighting the battles of Reaganism and Clinton. Your construction would make sense if they (the Democrats) were far a head of the curve and taking on the constructions you say are occuring- instead they are hiding from them. The consistency you speak of doesn't exist. Instead we get a lot of inconsistent positions masquerading as one pary. One can not be for the Iraqi war as it was executed, or originally thought up, and honestly say they are holding any left of center values of going only into necessary wars for example- because one has to prove necessity. One can't be for fair managed trade in which we increasely open up markets in a way that fairly protects workers and other issues and do so without regard to how trade agreements are written. Where is the consistency in what people are voting?

      •  there is none (0+ / 0-)

        and trying to achieve such consistency is fool's errand.

      •  I agree that Democrats are not unified (0+ / 0-)

        and that makes for a certain amount of ambiguity.  But that doesn't actually change the larger picture.

        Kerry kept away from legalizing gay marriage with a ten foot pole, but exit polling shows Indies were completely certain that by substantial preponderance the Party was for it.  This is in fact correct.

        Individual Democrats can say that they are in favor of continuing the war in Iraq until 'victory', or against a universal and efficient health care insurance system, or against a legal right to abortion, or against unions, or greater deficits, or open borders, or a hundred other things.  Individual moderate people may believe that, but collectively the political center just doesn't.

        About the one area where there is real ambiguity or a range of what Democrats stand for among voters in the center is gun rights.  I think the people who vote against Democrats on the basis of gun politics alone are not actually moderates or at the political center.  As I see it, they're Right leaners and deliberately uninformed or misinformed, or involved in grudges that can't be rationally addressed.

        Renewal, not mere Reform.

        by killjoy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:22:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This isn't about issues (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You summed it up with Kerry running away from gay marriage with a ten foot pole. Guess what- that's exactly the point. That's exactly what makes the democrats seem like they don't believe in anything. That they flip flop or are slick. People aren't stupid.  People were less bothered by the gay rights (well except those who wouldn't vote for you anyhow) than they were by the lack of character to say what you believe in. That's exactly the point of this diary. You are making an argument that has very little meaning in the context of what is being said. Essentially you are arguing- people know what the Democrats believe in so how can one argue that people don't know what the democrats stand for since that hasn't changed? Okay, yeah- they do know in theory what we stand for, but seeing that they know- and then seeing the Democrats pretend like they don't believe in these things. Seeing a Kerry say- I dont believe in that, or hold these heart felt believes at bay is exactly what is meant by not believing in anything. People who believe in something don't hold those core beliefs at bay.  What message does that send about what Democrats believe in to the public? It sends the message that we aren't willing to defend our positions. That we are cowards. Not leaders. Its a character judgement- not an issues checklist judgement. The issues are only illustrations of a deeper point. They are only evidence. Alito was only evidence. Iraq is only evidence. All these things add up to a picture of what we say we believe versus what we do. I think frankly some don't want to get that its not enough to say we share values- its important to act on those values. Even in a minority position- the Republicans used these opportunities to gain a contrast as Armando points out. It was from Reagan that they learned the value of failing to win. Reagan actually didnt win as many battles as he lost. What he did was the win the character war by losiing ton the issues. I guess I will close by saying- you suffer the same flaw as bimincat maybe suffers. Politics is a lot of things. This contrast of character is one of them.

        •  PS (0+ / 0-)

          Let me give you another small example. During one debates. Kerry was asked a softball question about whether he was liberal- and his answer was this convulted (read with serious voice)"Well I am many things and blah blah blah." When people were polled about whether they care if a politician is liberal or not- you know what- a lot of people surprisingly didn't care. We are a generation from Reagan and almost 2 terms after Clinton- and we are still operating as though people are stuck in 1988 when the word liberal had this big bad evil effect on voters. Its this inability to realize the world is not static that's at question here long with the points I make above about character. You can see that in HRC and the other anti Hillary's who are all running after if they are running the last campaigns rather than for 2008. Where is the adaptability in the party? Where is the trying to figture out how to talk to voters in a respectful- non bullshit way?

          •  well.... (0+ / 0-)

            Go ahead, define 'liberal' to me as swing/central centrist voters understand the term now or in 2004.  It amounts to a guess and Seventies associations with counterculture.  Then contrast that to what we mean when we use the term.  That's also the problem with too much emphasis on gay rights- not the facts but the associations the swing voter bias entails.

            About Hillary etc.-
            If you followed the '04 outcome carefully, Bush won a slight majority but no mandate to do anything other than carry on previous policies without change beyond some small initiative on fighting terrorism and some social conservative initiative.  He then blew that bit of social initiative on the Schiavo matter and much of the fighting terrorism capital went lost to the London bombing.  Since then Bush has been on downward spiral, expending all else his Party had.  The Republican political capital from gains in the House were immediately (and inadvertently) expended on the Bankrupcy Bill.  The Republican gains in the Senate are now expended too- they went into getting Roberts to replace Rehnquist (little/no change) and Alito for O'Connor (a vote shifted from moderate to Right).

            The lesson Hillary et al have rightly taken from the '04 election and what followed is that a win without a mandate in several issues is worthless.  She and everyone else also realized that you have to outflank the center to win it decisively, i.e. reach the point on the political spectrum between moderate and hardline Republicans.  This meant looking pretty Republican-identified in 2005, but in 2006 moderate Republicans are bleeding off into undecided and disbelief about their Party's hard line, and Hillary/Joe/etc have to track that development.  You'll see them turn left again as moderate Republicans turn left, i.e. soften and break away from their former allies over the course of the year.  I wouldn't worry about it.

            'Character' is what you trust when you don't trust or you don't understand the answer you get from the politician but want to support him/her anyway.  And 'character' is what you object to when you know the answer he's giving and understand it, but don't agree with it.

            Renewal, not mere Reform.

            by killjoy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 07:42:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Circular logic (0+ / 0-)

              You start by saying one thing (that people know who the Democrats are), and now, when challenged, argue something different (that the Democrats can be whatever they want so long as it helps them win)- which is it?  It can't be both without descending into the kind of tortured and painful Kerryeque-speak  of "I voted for it, before I voted against it" of which is the central thesis of Armando's diary. I suspect by 2008, HRC will be just as tortured as is implicit in your own predictions. And, by the way, I know people are fond of saying that the Democrats in leadership know what they are doing- but really- they went from being the majority to the minority all during the height of triangulation as a national strategy. With that track record- they should be trying to get all the outside advice they can get rather than defending their present approach for dear life. But, in the final analysis, fear is a powerful motivator, and the fearful always fall back on what they know rather than take the risk (and potential gains) of a new approach. In the private sector, they say that the biggest risks offer the biggest return (and biggest loses its true- but we are already down). In poker, when one is so far down one will usually go all in because the mimimums to play will often get you. I am giving you different analogies to get it through to you that I am talking from a different place than your tortured thought process. Mines comes from watching human psychology in different context. Where character are not just play words that you throw back at the person just to not deal with the point being made. Most of what the Dems do is based on fear. They make conservative moves because its what they know, and they aren't willing to risk what greater bets will require. ie, even adding character as a new mix into the calculus is too big a risk because it brings into question whether they have it.  They are left with your tortured logic. Which is doing more to help the Republicans than anything the Republicans could have do. I sometime think you triangulators are Republican moles. Not because idealogical bent. I am  going to bet if you are a Dem that I am probably more conservative than you on a lot of issues. I know my friend whom I discussed is. I am talking about strategies which in no other context would make sense. Especially where they have resulted in multiple loses already.  I can't say I am surprised- like I said above, fear is a great motivator. Unfortunately its not a great strategy for winning.

              •  . (0+ / 0-)

                You start by saying one thing (that people know who the Democrats are), and now, when challenged, argue something different (that the Democrats can be whatever they want so long as it helps them win)- which is it? It can't be both without descending into the kind of tortured and painful Kerryeque-speak  of "I voted for it, before I voted against it" of which is the central thesis of Armando's diary.

                No, I was only saying the word "liberal" means two different things.  To liberal people like me it means a particular part of the cultural mainstream.  To conservative or conservative-biased people it means something outside their definition of mainstream.

                I suspect by 2008, HRC will be just as tortured as is implicit in your own predictions. And, by the way, I know people are fond of saying that the Democrats in leadership know what they are doing- but really- they went from being the majority to the minority all during the height of triangulation as a national strategy. With that track record- they should be trying to get all the outside advice they can get rather than defending their present approach for dear life.

                I remember the Eighties and early Nineties pretty well.  The conservative Democrats in Congress who gave or denied the Party majorities were at best as liberal as Arlen Specter and Mike DeWine are now.   After the collapse of the Soviet Union's hold in Eastern Europe in late 1989 the Cold War inofficial partition of power and mutual moderation of the Parties ended.  These politicians ran off to the right along with their constituents.  They voted Clarence Thomas in to replace Thurgood Marshall.  They chickened out en masse on the 1994 effort at national health care.   They got destroyed or defected in 1994 and 1996.  From 1990 onwards they were de facto a variety of Republicans (but more diverse).

                But, in the final analysis, fear is a powerful motivator, and the fearful always fall back on what they know rather than take the risk (and potential gains) of a new approach. In the private sector, they say that the biggest risks offer the biggest return (and biggest loses its true- but we are already down). In poker, when one is so far down one will usually go all in because the mimimums to play will often get you. I am giving you different analogies to get it through to you that I am talking from a different place than your tortured thought process. Mine comes from watching human psychology in different context. Where character are not just play words that you throw back at the person just to not deal with the point being made.

                Thank you, but no thanks.  I've had my character and commitments tested beyond bounds you know.  

                Most of what the Dems do is based on fear. They make conservative moves because its what they know, and they aren't willing to risk what greater bets will require. ie, even adding character as a new mix into the calculus is too big a risk because it brings into question whether they have it.  They are left with your tortured logic. Which is doing more to help the Republicans than anything the Republicans could have do. I sometime think you triangulators are Republican moles. Not because ideological bent. I am  going to bet if you are a Dem that I am probably more conservative than you on a lot of issues. I know my friend whom I discussed is. I am talking about strategies which in no other context would make sense. Especially where they have resulted in multiple losses already.  I can't say I am surprised- like I said above, fear is a great motivator. Unfortunately its not a great strategy for winning.

                Well, there's always a dilemma for politicians of the minority party- consistency and 48% of the vote and 52% to the other side, or inconsistency and a limited chance at a higher total.  If you win, control of the office outweighs the inconsistency with most of your voters.  Lose, and your safe voters blame the loss on your inconsistency- not on having a disadvantage and needing to take a gamble to overcome it that the dice came up wrong for.  Lose such campaigns often enough, and the same people who demand absolutely that you win also characterize you as inherently inconsistent rather than unfortunate.  This is a kind of slander and a denial or sophistry of the basic fact- that your side is still inherently in the minority.  Then a whole pathology of failure and inferiority forms over time- fear of failure, evasion of the inconsistency charge, defeatism, magical thinking that purity alone will create victory, and so on.

                The only way this narrative changes is that your party becomes the majority in the electorate.  Then you can be consistent and take gambles in which the odds are always in your favor.  Then cold calculation works, and confidence or arrogance builds up, and a kind of superiority complex forms and triumphalism takes hold.

                You may not understand it this way, but your conservative friend and you want Democrats to play in a more conservative logic, to a narrower perspective on things.  Just what I described in my first post on this thread.

                Renewal, not mere Reform.

                by killjoy on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:33:13 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Not really, on one of those assumptions. (0+ / 0-)

          I think the people who vote against Democrats on the basis of gun politics alone are not actually moderates or at the political center.  As I see it, they're Right leaners and deliberately uninformed or misinformed

          I think a lot are VERY informed. A lot I've talked to are full aware that the same Democrats who call for total gun bans also have their own ARMED bodyguards...and they see that as absolute hypocrisy, and dangerous. Arms only for the rich who can afford personal guardians, not for the everyday citizen. Down that road lies such things as dictatorships and genocides, when one class is armed and another disarmed.

          A lot also had relatives trapped after Katrina, when the police couldn't help, the government failed, and they were on their own to defend their families from looters.

          "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

          by Loboguara on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 09:15:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  they do have a dreary sophistry (0+ / 0-)

            but the way they assemble the information they do have is invariably to justify and buttress their paranoias.  There tends to be no rational avenue or condition that would ever get them to resolve or give up their paranoid premise.

            It's an occultism, theologically speaking.  A gun is a variety of magic wand, as they see it.  Try listening to your gunloving friends for a couple of hours with that in mind and see whether I'm right or not.  Of course, if you ask the question straight up they'll deny it- but listen to the tale, not what the teller pretends to.

            I see no inconsistency about Democrats demanding levels of gun control and protecting themselves with armed bodyguards.  Gun control is about limiting certain kinds of sociopathy, and sociopaths resist it.  'Government', the proxy for society, is ostensibly what sociopaths hate most.  They're always against 'dictatorship' and 'anarchy' and 'race war' and the like, and see it around every corner.  The smart dictatorships give them all freedom and work and company of each other they like, of course.

            For some reason these people can't trouble themselves with nonviolent resistance and such as a means to fight a government.  Or it's as if being robbed at gunpoint is an existential calamity that is beyond bearing, one insult too many by the universe and an injury that justifies a desire to destroy lives.

            Renewal, not mere Reform.

            by killjoy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:25:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is, actually. (0+ / 0-)

              Or it's as if being robbed at gunpoint is an existential calamity that is beyond bearing, one insult too many by the universe and an injury that justifies a desire to destroy lives.

              Some of us prefer to not be helpless prey animals. And that's our right.

              "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

              by Loboguara on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 08:22:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If it actually changed the fact of being victims (0+ / 0-)

                and people did not generally interpret such an incident as an excuse to drop the burdens of civilization and indulge in predatory behavior, i.e. that of animals, themselves, I might agree.

                The occasional degradation is a fact of the world.  We are all tested.  Maybe we are not that strong or lucky, but survival is to bend and recover rather than snap.  Civilization is when we refuse to approve of snapping that way.  Barbarism is when we do.

                The choice between your stuff and your spirit is a calamity.  But only one of the two choices is worth living.

                Renewal, not mere Reform.

                by killjoy on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 10:56:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Predators do not understand reason. (0+ / 0-)

                  And are you not aware of the fact that in a significant percentage of muggings, the attacker, especially if they're on a drug high, will try to kill the victim ANYWAY, not only to leave no witness, but because they get off on a rush from it?

                  Compliance does not assure your safety. The most recent case I'd seen was a woman in a wal-mart parking lot who handed over her purse...and was stabbed in the chest anyway.

                  Because the attacker could. Because he wanted to. Because he was an animal.

                  And I am sorry, but in that sort of case, it becomes them or you. If you wish to be prey, that's fine. I do not. And as the saying goes, I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.

                  "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

                  by Loboguara on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 11:20:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I leave you to stand on your answer (0+ / 0-)

                    as you've stated it.  You've jammed your thinking into categories- 'animal' versus not, 'prey' versus not, 'them or you'- which I think you will discover are not ultimate or final.

                    Only personal experience can persuade you that these are inadequate understandings.  Let me suggest that at some point- though it lies far down the road- your physical death or loss of the material or ideological things your ego attaches to will no longer strike you as the worst things that can happen to you.

                    As for those aberrantly violent muggings...just what are the true chances of that happening to you?  Does the objective likelihood involved justify personal paranoia and paranoid (as opposed to situationally cautious) behavior?  And how many killings of nonviolent muggers, out of paranoia of their victims, is too many?

                    Renewal, not mere Reform.

                    by killjoy on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:05:14 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Umm... (0+ / 0-)

                      And how many killings of nonviolent muggers, out of paranoia of their victims, is too many?

                      The law is clear on least here, it is. If you have the ability to reasonably retreat, then you have the duty to do so. BUT...if you feel that your life is threatened, IE, the mugger shows you a knife or gun, then you are allowed to use lethal force to defend yourself.

                      So...if a mugger pulls a gun on you, they "might not be violent?" I'm not quite understanding that, but I sincerely hope you're not going to claim that such criminals are somehow victims of society. I rather tire of victims being treated as criminals while criminals are treated as victims.

                      And possessing the ability to defend one's self and the willingness to use it IN THE EVENT of a threat to one's life does not indicate paranoia, rather, a strong grasp of reality.

                      You do not expect your house to ever burn down...yet you have fire insurance. Why have it, then?

                      Answer...just in case. I sincerely hope I NEVER, ever have to use a weapon to defend myself or another innocent person. I do not want to. But if faced with a situation where my life is threatened, or the life of another innocent person is threatened, then yes, if bystanders are clear and would not be risked in the action, I will immediately act to end that threat via lethal force. I have no problem with that.

                      And neither did YOUR ancestors, likely. Our society has become complacent and spoiled, and has forgotten what it's like to have to defend one's family from vicious predatory sorts.

                      Katrina was a good reminder. There will be others, if the current course of government continues.

                      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

                      by Loboguara on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 02:00:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  What killjoy said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      matt2525, INDem

      It's just sad to see so many Democrats internalizing this belief that we don't stand for anything, or we don't frame things properly, or maybe our logo isn't flashy enough. If we just come up with the right marketing strategy we'll start winning again. Whatever. It's classic liberal over-think. We should continue to work on all of these things, of course. But the next major political shift may very well come down to voters just getting sick and tired of being broke. A lot of this is totally beyond our control.

      •  It's a GOP talking point (0+ / 0-)
        The claim that Democrats don't stand for anything and don't have any ideas is a GOP talking point.  I know what the Democratic party stands for -- with as much precision as you can pin down the ideology of any enormous group of people -- and I hear tons of great ideas coming from Democrats.  I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, but a lot of the improvement involves message discipline and message repetition to counteract this well-established GOP talking point.  
  •  Belief vs. Belief or Belief vs. Process? (0+ / 0-)

    A friend recently articulated the "it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe something" idea, in religious faith.

    I found myself disagreeing.   Although I've tried on beliefs for size, my "religious" goal has become to eschew belief and faith.  

    Well, so also in politics, setting up a competing set of beliefs, a competing religion to the Republican one seems to me the smaller part of any significant progressive agenda.    

    It's not the content of a progressive agenda, or the specifics of the doctrine, or the planks of the platform, but the means that we employ to live together and find voice that should constitute the difference between the biblical style (full of doctrines, beliefs, and holy texts) of Republican politics and its Democratic alernative.  

    The issue should be democracy and equality, internal to the party and external in the society.   And it must be manifest not as planks in a platform that specify taxation rates, health care programs, proposed levels of defense spending.   These are all secondary to the approach to life and politics and organizing from which they are derived.

    The Republicans are going to win every battle over fidelity to the bible, and every platform battle that involves constructing a more appealing set of planks than the other guy.  

    The Democratic approach must be about democratic politics, organization, community building.  It's not about constructing a different set of more attractive beliefs that can be lined up against Republican beliefs, and which will exhibit obvious superiority. The DNC Republican Lite game is just laughable...

    No, it's about living different kinds of lives, and constructing a set of connections and social and political processes that operate on a completely different field of play.  

  •  Yes, the Common Good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharpner, Ari Mistral, tonyfv

    My first encounter with the term was in the writing of Jim Wallis. He put it forward as a Christian concept, in fact, that is what sets it up so well. Treating others as you wish to be treated.

    About a month later I heard Wes Clark speak, and bingo, there it was again: Common Good. His initial speech began with a concise history lesson about how important it was for the early settlers who would have failed had they not banned together for the "Common Good." And how America's strengh has always flourished when neighbors work together. Then he moved into a series of parallel structures: it is not about what school my child goes to; it is about all of our children going to good schools. Ditto health Ditto jobs. Over the entire speech there was message of national strengh.

    One of the servers for the dinner grabbed a Clark button saying: That man is hope.

    Reading here I see a general gravitation toward wanting to separate ourselves from republicans by specifically enumerating what we are not. Most voters know that the republican mantra is: it's your money. And now we must prove that "yes" it's your money and by working with others you'll actually get more not less. There are times when private or individual spending is what works, but there are other times when collective is the best way.

    The Democrats walked away from that concept because huge social programs often caused waste and came to nothing. The DLC labeled that "old" and abandoned the concept of the Common Good, thus, we ended with no message, no vision, and no way to win. This is not a plea to return to social engineering, this needs to be about balance and what works for all of us.

    •  the common good was decimated (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coral, Ari Mistral

      by the reagan admin.

      the clinton campaign had to think of something else.


      but are YOU better off??  the majority clearly said "no."

      i'm sorry but i still don't think ... the "common good" motivates voters.

      not just cause someone says so.

      i need to see some data that backs it up.

      •  OM (0+ / 0-)

        This is not about a simplistic call for the voters to close their eyes and collectively hum "cooooommooon goooood." This is about addressing our needs with a vision. An honest vision. The truth. We are a large country, but we are also a community.

        An individual cannot solve Global Warming alone. Oh sure, we can change our habits, and our purchases, but without R & D, political will, and a national/international push, we will all melt. If we each bought a gun, we wouldn't have an army. If we each bought a book, we wouldn't have a school. There is a collective good.

        Politicians gather huge amounts of money, and stump all over the place. It is their job to provide the vision and rationale to arrive at an understood agreement, that there is a better way. It's called a campaign, and they have signed up to make the case, not squirrel around the edges.  

  •  The other day- I said you wrote your best post (6+ / 0-)

    I was wrong. This is your best post. Frankly, at this point, you are talking to a generation of Democrats who can't begin to understand what yo uare saying. I will give you an example. A friend of mine went to an event for a Democrat running for office in which this person was trying to solicit support from younger (ie 45 and under) AA community leaders. This person running is of the older age of Democrats- translation- Kerry's generation, that got bombarded for being the dreaded "liberal" so they learned to not say anything in the hopes of having no one notice that they were indeed liberal. My friend is to put it mildy a conservative Democrat. Religious,etc. You know what pissed her off. it wasn't that the person running was too liberal, it was that she thought he wasn't saying anything and that it was the same thing that had bothered her about Kerry. That by not saying anything, they conceed the territory that should naturally be theirs, and piss off those who maybe considering supporting them. She said that she thinks that this concept - of standing tall, is lost on the present generation of Democratic leadership. I have to agree.

  •  The time is out of joint (0+ / 0-)

    One of the ironies of this period in history is that the current direction of the country is so extreme that progressives have to be the authentic conservatives, as in preserving and defending the constitution, basic freedoms, and what's left of the safety net and (unwritten) social contract.  Obviously we need to do more than that, but we can't do less.

  •  Neither Party is Trusted (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donna Z, LiterateWolf

    Trust is the key to any relationship;  personal or public.  The Public Trust is bust.  There is Crazy Conservative and Republican Lite in Congress with very few exceptions and mostly in the House.  That is because most of their time is spent in trying to gain power or they are worried about losing power.  A person worried about power does not have a firm hand on the wheel.  He's shaky.  But with power sharing whether it's a personal relationship or with a colleague, you can draw strength from it rather than having it depleted trying to dominate.  This kind of power is safe, clean and abundant.  And this relationship of sharing power must be reestablished with the true leaders - WE the People.    

    That means that we democrats need to take a very strong stand against the neo-liberals at the DLC.
    We need to be for the Family over the Company
    We need to be for Civic Values over Corporate Values
    We need fair competition not monopolies.
    We need to be neighbors again instead just a bunch of  people living next to each other.

    Those in power are fighting this progressive attitude everywhere and in every state whether it is blue or red or whether they are Democrats or Republicans.
    That's why we are hearing all over the place and on college campuses that "winning" takes precedence over ideas and that politics trumps conviction. We hear that issues divide and values unite??  Everytime we hear this we should point and scream "It's a Republican.  IT's a Republican. Don't be fooled by the Donkey suit."

    It may be too late.  I don't think the DLC will let us have our party back. That's why our message will never be clear.  With the Free Trader Flat Earth Elitists running things in the backrooms from Chuck Schumer to Rahm Emmanual to Hilary and Bill, we are doomed.  It's time for that third party of conviction.  It's our 1860 and 1892 moments.

    Once we have our own home, we can then start "ministering instead of preaching" like Jim Hightower says.  We need to start rolling up our sleeves and come together for the difficult tasks that lie ahead.  It is urgent that we do this for any future to be possible.  

    "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." Harry S. Truman

    by MontanaMaven on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 03:49:51 PM PDT

  •  Jim Hightower (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, lurker123

    I wish he'd run. A very smart, folksy and progressive guy.

  •  A Common Good message (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Donna Z

    I had posted this on the Midday Open Thread and I see it fits here too.


    A newbie just sitting here on a Sunday afternoon wanting to contribute SOMETHING...

    Chairman Howard Dean addressed the DNC in New Orleans Saturday, and a quote of his speech I have read contains one of the messages Democrats need to broadcast to America:

    He said, "That's what we do as Americans: We band together, and we don't leave anybody behind."

    That message struck me as simple and powerful, and ripe for packaging into an even more meaningful point. An important point that can serve to begin changing this horrible political climate into a more sane and civil discourse. And if successfully applied after it helps win elections, can bring about even more changes that will benefit all.

    In Dean's quote, all good Americans including Republicans can agree with the first part of the statement, but what makes Democrats different is the second. What was needed after this quote (and Howard may have said it but I can't find a transcript), is telling about WHY that second part is important to Democrats, and to all Americans, really.

    I believe it is: "Because anybody we leave behind is more likely to turn to undesirable behaviors that will cost society more to deal with than preventing them." Surely wordsmiths somewhere can whittle that to more pithy terms.

    Like Nature and the vacuum, Republicans seem to abhor the fact that some people will not take the road to success. And by golly, they are going to force them to straighten up and toe the line. They have pushed a philosophy based on the belief that everyone is able to make a material success of their life (the "ownership society"). But like in Nature, vacuums do exist and the reality is that we have people that live in circumstances that do not allow them even the opportunity to choose to succeed.

    Most Republicans may not want to leave anybody behind, but their methods cut social programs and increase opportunities for financial success through tax incentives. Rank and file middle class Republicans don't see social programs as the foundation of a caring society (they are taught to see government waste and freeloaders), and the tax incentives are written to specifically benefit those who already have the resources to take advantage of them, but packaged and misnamed to mislead them into thinking they benefit everyone equally. So, people do get left behind.

    Their "ownership society" is code for a government that favors owners. It is cleverly written so that those with the most resources can find the loopholes and special clauses that will result in greater return for their investment. "The rich get richer" is the result, which is fine with the Republican party machine, because it is the richest that tend to support that party, and the money therefore writes the laws. This is a downwards spiral that eventually results in social upheaval.

    Americans of all political colors need to hear the message that grassroots Democrats are pushing - that their values are Middle America's values. And grassroots Democrats need to keep the fire under the feet of the party stalwarts to be sure that message is broadcast. And if American voters are value-driven, the party that can show it is aligned with those values will win consistently.

    Changes in the Democratic party's philosophy brought about by the unprecendented level of participation made possible by the Internet, such as Dean's programs to strengthen local party organizations, should serve to carry that message to Middle America, and start the process of reversing the many policies that have for decades favored the rich and elite. Those policies have served to keep our people from staying up with the ever higher quality-of-life levels that most other Western industrialized societies achieve.

    With those changes, Middle America, the class that drives this nation's success, will thrive on policies crafted to its benefit. And because Democrats care, the lower classes will have basic needs met so they can spend their scant resources instead on activities that help them grow into (at least) the middle class.

    But, what are the costs of this huge undertaking? Won't we need to raise taxes to pay for this? Unneccessary. The huge amounts of funds that government already spends on programs that benefit corporations and the well-off through direct programs and reductions in taxes, if instead applied to the lower end of the economic spectrum, would revolutionize society and move towards a more peaceful and successful future for all.

    Poverty, crime, drug abuse, and all the typical ailings of society would be reduced. More people would weave into the fabric of America. And in turn less tax money would be needed to sustain the safety net; taxes could then be reduced fairly, which would stimulate economic activity, resulting in greater wealth for a broader swath of people, which then keeps the cycle going as a never-ending spiral of progress with a minimum number of people in the unproductive class.

    That is a society that cares for all and gets results for all, yet allows for individual growth and rewardable achievement.

    That's what Democrats can offer America, that "we don't leave anybody behind" because it puts everyone up front. Would you vote for that?

  •  Where to begin? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Foreign Policy: How about a policy that seeks to accomplish that same "common good" on a global level; that listens to others, uses diplomacy, and realizes that war is an addictive evil from which no one involved ever recovers, and not this hegemonic approach.

    Environment: How about being part of a generation that is not so selfish that it refuses to do the things that will save future generations from the ecological horrors that are imminent. Today the NYT has an article that gets the facts wrong, slants the science, and negates the imperativeness of this most salient of issues.

    Government: The role of the Federal Government in our diurnal lives is a topic that needs serious and extensive debate.  From issues of health coverage to privacy, from safety nets to infrastructure, from the reason we pay taxes to how they are spent.

    The issues that progressives -  who, after all are a diverse group of people with every shade of religious, ethnic, and intellectual variation -  want to define as a whole need to be discussed, debated, and written about, as we do here daily, and not listed in phony manifestos by politicians whose interests may or may not be selfish.  I believe that this is the beauty part of what is happening here and around the world.  A discussion is taking place, ideas are put forth, questions are asked, hypocrisy is called out, and truth speaks to power. What is more "progressive" than that?

  •  Make a list (0+ / 0-)

    NOT OF THE PEOPLE BY the lobbyists, FOR the corporations!

    Competence NOT cronyism

    Integrity NOT corruption

    Right to privacy  NOT phone tapping at presidential whim

    Freedom of speech NOT penned off remote corrals for those who voice disagreement.

    Diplomacy NOT Imperialism

    Truth and transparency NOT spin, smoke, and mirrors

    Religious freedom, NOT religion based legislation

  •  Security, Privacy and Justice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Forgive me if you've read similar comments of mine on other threads, but I really believe in it.

    Security includes National Security -- protection against foreign and domestic threats and Economic Security -- protection of health, jobs, pensions and the safety net.

    Privacy includes privacy against government intrusion (as to surveillance, wiretapping, incarceration, etc.) and in personal matters: birth control, end of life matters, abortion.

    Justice includes electoral, racial, gender and other factors.

    This approach incorporates a positive Democratic message with the main abuses of the administration and the fundie/neocon agenda.

    The Democratic Message: Security, Privacy, Justice

    by Upper West on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:07:22 PM PDT

    •  Good Trinity (0+ / 0-)

      I complete agree with your three themes.  I think that's about the right number too.  Forgive me if others have posted the following points too, but I've used the following three:

      Economic justice: health care, education, social security, environmental protection, etc.

      Civil rights and liberties: essentially your privacy point.

      Responsible foreign policy: International support for wars, adherence to Geneva conventions, etc.

      These contrast nicely with the (bullshit) Republican themes: tax cuts (for the rich), family (hate) values, and strong (irrational) defense.

      Work with themes, then have your policies fit the themes.

  •  Maria Cantwell (0+ / 0-)

      She's following the DLC formula hook, line, and sinker. Alienate the base and grassroots and "look tough" on national security by being "hawkish" (using This despite enjoying the advantages of incumbency in a BLUE statthe Republican definition of "hawkish": an eagerness to resort to the most violent solution to a problem before considering any others).

      The result? She's probably going to lose this fall, even with anti-GOP sentiment at its peak. This despite being an incumbent in a BLUE state.

      DLC-style triangulation/pandering should have been forever discredited after the debacles of 2002 and 2004. Instead, some officeholders seem to think it's a winning approach. We have reached the point where, I believe, this kind of attitude cannot be described as ignorance. It's deliberate.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:29:47 PM PDT

  •  Maria Cantwell (0+ / 0-)

     (Reposted to clear up a pasting mistake.)

     She's following the DLC formula hook, line, and sinker. Alienate the base and grassroots and "look tough" on national security by being "hawkish" (using the Republican definition of "hawkish": an eagerness to resort to the most violent solution to a problem before considering any others).

     The result? She's probably going to lose this fall, even with anti-GOP sentiment at its peak. This despite being an incumbent in a BLUE state.

     DLC-style triangulation/pandering should have been forever discredited after the debacles of 2002 and 2004. Instead, some officeholders seem to think it's a winning approach. We have reached the point where, I believe, this kind of attitude cannot be described as ignorance. It's deliberate.

    "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

    by Buzzer on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:31:55 PM PDT

    •  Correct me if I am wrong... (0+ / 0-)

      But isn't she basically a "Microsoft Candidate"?

      From the Southwest, Living in the Midwest & Loving the Purple that is Ohio.

      by Loganpoppy on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:41:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  She's a corporate Dem (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't mean to imply that she's a DLCer herself (she might be, I don't know); just that she's applying their formula to her re-election campaign.

          An approach that will fail. It almost always does.

          She may or may not be the Microsoft candidate. MS isn't all-powerful.


        "Le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge."

        by Buzzer on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:45:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  She has the advantage of a weak opponent (0+ / 0-)

      I'll voting for her, despite my strong feelings, and I csn explain that in a phrase:

      Democratic chairpersons of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. - Kicking against the pricks since '98!

      by chuckvw on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 08:05:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are more (0+ / 0-)

    of these diaries on what the Democrats do/should/will stand for than there are Al Queda second-in-command guys.


    I think GreenSooner has it largely correct: it's not that the ideas are lacking, it's the UNANIMITY that is lacking.

    'Framing' (AKA 'marketing') is a way of trying to put makeup over the fact that the Dem party's representatives in Congress don't really agree on core policies, the way that the GOP's reps will be 100% unanimous in favor of cutting taxes for wealthy people or eliminating regulations on businessmen. The Democrats have to have a plan that they all agree on 100% -- what we have now is a pig with lipstick that rarely flies in the elections.

    Unanimity would allow the Dems to call the GOP out on its extremism every single day. The majority of Americans don't want environmentally destructive laissez-faire capitalism and endless wars. The GOP finds ways attacking ideas like universal health insurance as "out of touch with the American people" in spite of the fact that the people consistently say they want these things. If a progressive Democrat says "we're for this" they're not able to muster the chorus of voices in agreement, so that the contrast between parties is crystal clear... on health care all you get from a lot of Dems is random mumblings about "affordability"  "within 10 years"... almost anyone can defeat the party of meaningless mumblings.

    Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

    by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:43:30 PM PDT

    •  the whole advantage to having (0+ / 0-)

      a democracy, a 'big tent' and having discussions is there are a wide range of opinions.

      Democrats never will march in step like  Rape-public-cans.


      It would be nice if they could try to put up an appearance of getting together once in a while, though.

      "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, freshly-demoted, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

      by shpilk on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:03:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I want (0+ / 0-)

        more than just "an appearance of getting together".

        In order to accomplish things in government you have to agree on something, otherwise what the heck is the point? It's not supposed to be just a big discussion "for grins"; at the end of the day budgets have to be passed and bills have to be voted on. Which way are the Dems going to vote?

        Why should I believe Democrats will fix our broken health care system, for example? Some of them can be trusted to use their power (if they get it) to do something about the problem, and some cannot. Why should I believe the Democrats will stop the runaway military spending that is killing our society's future? Almost none of them can be trusted to raise that subject.

        Whereas if I am a GOP supporter who opposes abortion I can rest assured that the vast majority of GOPers are going to vote against abortion. If I support the GOP because I want a tax cut because I am rich, I can rest assured that the vast majority of GOPers are going to vote for that tax cut for me. There is no doubt with the GOP, and that works to their advantage.

        And more to the point of this diary, any set of proposals or slogans or packaging or marketing or "framing" or whatever you want to call it is going to fail with the ~250 Democrats in Washington DC because they won't agree on anything but pablum. (The new Democratic party framing: "We like puppies and the flag")

        Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

        by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 06:23:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's something to what we're suspecting (0+ / 0-)

    ...about the Democrats having no agenda and no vision. True, they've been bitch-slapped by the GOP in Congress, the WH and even by James Dobson and his rat hordes but when they punch out at the end of the day, all politicians are alike. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, they're all the same and they think parochially.

    And there's something to what people were saying about Kerry. Of course, Kerry was a much better choice than Bush but he looked appealing only by conspicuous relief. Voting for Kerry, for many of us, was the lesser of two evils (and I'm from Massachusetts).

    Because he was wishy-washy, because he was a flip-flopper. He made some valid points during the debates in Oct. of '04 but he should've hammered those home and offered more than the broad strokes of how he was going to pay for his agenda.

    Classic case: At one point, Bush quite reasonably asked Kerry, "OK, how are you going to pay for all this?" and he could afford to cross his arms and wait for Kerry to walk into the bear trap by saying, "Well, I'd have to raise taxes, of course," which he certainly would've if he hadn't been robbed in Ohio.

    Saying that you intend to raise taxes during an election is like admitting to being obsessed with kiddie porn. You might as well just pick up your hat and take it out of the ring.

    The playing field wasn't leveled because, as the incumbent, Bush had enough smarts to know that the rules were different for him than they were for Kerry. Bush knew that he could count on a castrated media and his minions in the shadows to spin, deny, ignore or whitewash any and every stupid thing to come out of his mouth. He knew that he didn't have to use the media as part of his campaign strategy.

    Kerry did. And that was the bear trap that he walked into. Kerry, in short, never had a chance. He was damned if he did and damned that he didn't.


    Defending bad taste and liberalism since 2005.

    by jurassicpork on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 04:44:27 PM PDT

  •  Right but wrong... (0+ / 0-)

    Of course we need to stand for something, to fight for something, to be passionate for something positive.  But it's all meaningless until these values -- standing for something, fighting for something, being passionate for something -- are personified in actual elected leaders.  

    Any charismatic leader would know instinctively that what we needed was to advocate our positive agenda, not be reactive, and be strong and resolute (not to be equated with being an a-hole, GWB notwithstanding).  

    Unless and until we get ourselves a real leader or two, we are doomed to continue our long walk in the desert.  Sorry Hillary, sorry John, sorry Joe, sorry every cautious, well-fed Democratic pol, but you are no good to us.  If any of you were going to help take back our nation, you would have done it already.

  •  The problem is NOT standing for something (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem is not standing UP for something. Lots of progressive democrats stand for the things that we believe in. The problem is when push comes to shove they are afraid of chasing away the "swing" voters, and so they equivocate. They choose careful phrasing. They praise the other side's point of view. They take the first opportunity to turn on their own party to show they are independant and to show they are most certainly not "liberal".

    We need people in our party that are leaders. People that have a backbone. People that aren't afraid to say what they mean, and mean what they say. That's why I think Dean is a breath of fresh air, and we need more like him and less like the DLC.

  •  ok (0+ / 0-)

    the more i think about this.

    the authors say "stand for something."

    that is defined as "the common good."

    so what the fuck does "the common good," mean anyway??

    "john kerry, what do you stand for?"

    "the common good."

    "howard dean, what do you stand for?"

    "the common good."

    "senator clinton, what do you stand for?"

    "the common good."


    these people make sense not because they've outlined a specific platform.  they have not.

    they make sense cause they've set themselves in opposition to the rear guard of the democratic party.

    which is the facile way to get people to agree with you.

  •  Similar to what I told the DNC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They called me about an hour ago asking for money.  I explained that although I am happy to contribute to individual candidates, there are too many Democrats who are not standing up to the Bush administration, and I feel my money does more good with outspoken progressives (e.g. Russ Feingold's PAC) than with the DNC, where some of it may end up with the more spineless Democrats.

    The fundraiser said he's been hearing that a lot and that he really couldn't argue with it.  I sure hope he passes that message on to whoever hired him!

    He said the DNC's position was that many Democrats were not vocal in their opposition to the Bush administration because the Democrats are currently in the minority, and that they could be more outspoken after they win a majority.  I told him I wasn't buying that - if they want to be a majority, they need to start standing up for themselves and for what the party is supposed to believe in.  If you give people a choice between a Republican and a Republican-Lite, they'll choose the real thing...

  •  Sound Biteable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't know that the dems have to distill their campaign into a few sound bites.

    They stand for a whole range of social justice issues... all stemming from fairness, justice, dignity of every person, decent health care, housing, and of course preserving the environment.  And of course ethics and accountability.

    On foreign policy the dems  see the US as part of the international community not dominating it.  We believe is FAIR trade, international law, and nuclear non proliferation and especially we  believe in using diplomacy and engaging the comunity of nations to solve interantional problems.

    Dems also advicate for energy independence and getting the science, technology and industry moving in that direction.

    We are the party who cares about and advocates for the needs of ALL the people, all the nations, the world's environment, not just the pursuit of wealth and making way for those who are into it.

  •  Common (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    good and common wealth .. this is what needs to emphasized by Democrats.

    There is something sickeningly out of balance with the concept of CommonWealth in a nation has such abject poverty and disnefranchisement along side such outrageous over consumption and greed.

    The rapid shift is classes is making our country in a caste-based society.
    Like today's Russia and China, the stratification tearing us apart.

    It's un-American, to the extreme.

    Democrats need to personalize these  disparities, everywhere they can.

    "Rovus Vulgaris Americanus" nasty, freshly-demoted, soon-to-be-indicted co-conspirator -7.63, -9.59

    by shpilk on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 05:59:29 PM PDT

  •  talk core principlesT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This whole "what do we stand for?" issue is lame. Rush has tried to make a dirty word out of it, but we are liberals, and our "problem" is that we now seem to be embarrassed to be liberals. Why in the world are we embarrassed to talk about what it is to be liberals? We started losing elections when we became ashamed of who we are and what we believe. I think that we will not turn that around until we are again proud of our core philosophy.

    I go to the dictionary and read, "Liberalism is a political theory founded on the natural goodness of humans and the autonomy of the individual and favoring civil and political liberties, government by law with the consent of the governed, and protection from arbitrary authority."  (American Heritage Dictionary, 2004) Just what is there to be embarrassed about in that?

    Did you ever look up the definition of Conservatism? "The inclination, especially in politics, to maintain the existing or traditional order, and the opposition to sudden change in the established order" (same source). Anyone think that is something to be proud about?

    Push the definition. That is what we should be touting, because that is what we are, and "aren't you that too?" is what we should be saying to everyone. All we need to do is point to the dictionary definitions and let the public decide which set of principles they want to be leading this country.

  •  What are we afraid of? (0+ / 0-)
    What are we scared of? Why do Democrats have to be so cautious and DEFENSIVE? Are we ASHAMED of ourselves?

    It's totally correct that the Democrats have nothing else to offer, except the same old crap offered by Republicans. In fact, the Democratic Party is almost indistinguishable from the Republican party.

    The so-called "leftists" in the Democratic party have been totally marginalized. No one dared to back a person like Howard Dean (who supposedly is an extreme "leftist") against Bush in the last Presidential election, and we settled for Kerry who is like a leftist Republican. We allowed just one speech by Dean to destroy him, while on the other hand nothing proportionate seems to be happening with the Rebublicans, even after all their lies about WMD's, Iraq, etc. and their corruption (Abramoff, ENRON) has been totally exposed. Why have we stopped saying things about the link of Enron executives with the Bush family? What about oil executives attending Govt. briefings with Cheney?

    "Liberal" is not a dirty word. Similarly "patriotic", "morals", etc. do NOT describe Republicans, but they have been able to SELL these misconceptions and lies to the American people.

    I think George Lakoff has the problem identified, though I don't agree with everything that Lakoff says. I think the following article by Lakoff is quite enlightening:

    We need to stop using the MARKETING PHRASES coined by Billion-Dollar Republican think tanks like "death tax" for estate tax, "faith-based" groups for right-wing religious fanatics, etc.

    At a time when we Democrats should be attacking the Bush and the Repbulicans, we are still being our own "cautious" (actually, COWARDLY) selves.

    I wish some of our Democratic leaders start looking for ideas and phrases from our posts! Otherwise, it's just a matter of a few weeks, and Rove and Co. will be out with new marketing phrases, lies, etc. to divert our attention from real issues and thus continue to win elections.

  •  The problem is... (0+ / 0-)

    The problem is, and one that people obsessed with electoral politics and so-called majority building, is that whats issues and stances are of concern and are popular has little to do, if at all, with candidates and campaigns. If gay marriage is a big issue, its not because all of a sudden Republicans made it that way, or Democrats waffled on it, its because most people at the cultural and social level dislike the concept. Running new candidates or changing the gameplan up every four years isn't going to substantially lead to change amongst a wife portion of the electorate. Only sincere efforts at social and grassroots change can. And thats not something that can be donated to on a blog.

  •  Amen, Armando. Excellent diary-important-thanks (0+ / 0-)
  •  Don't you Dare Disparage the Progressives! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "a majority of Americans do not believe progressives or Democrats stand for anything."

    This is Bulls---!  How dare you lump Preogressives in with the gutless, corporate-owned democrats!!  Progressives have been working consistently and fearlessly for the same goals of social justice, peace environmentalism, and sane US policies for years!! Fearlessly!  In the face of cynicism, threats, and ridicule by both the democratic and republican elite!!!  They were in the streets before the Iraq war, protesting the lies while the Dems voted to authorize it!! They decried the Bill of Rights-destroying Patriot Act while the dems passed it without even reading it!!!  They argued for immigration reform out of a sense of social justice long before the dems recognized taht they could exploit the issue to divide the repubs!!  They have fought for universal health care while the dems were timidly watching the polls!  They have fought for sound environmental laws and controls while the dems cut back room deals with the repubs to roll back existing laws!!  In these and a hundred other issues, the Progressives have been unwavering in their defense of American ideals!
    Do not EVER! EVER! attempt to put Progressives in the same boat as gutless democrats!!!!
    How dare you, sirs!! How dare you!!!!

    •  It's not hard to be fearless (0+ / 0-)

      when you have nothing to loose. Progressives have no power, hold few offices, control no branch of government, nor will they probably ever in the United States.  The people of this country do not like progressive ideology.  
      Progressives are generally part of the reality based community - but on on this one thing, they refuse to face reality. The best that the left can hope for is that America will  be governed from the center. The left will never have power.  As long as the lefties insist that they have all the pie and keep dropping out or voting Green - The far right will be in control of this country.

      Your either with the democrats or your with the republicans.  THE US has a two party system, winner take all.  The Greens were not even allowed into the debates.

      I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm just saying.

  •  Well, if they stood for anything other than a (0+ / 0-)

    softer version of what Republicans stand for (the elite interests whose money supports their campaigns), they could consider standing for it.

    I love this latest strategy.  Sit on your hands and watch/hope the Repugs implode.

    Given a compliance of the press and the lack of an independent judiciary that might actually prosecute their crimes, however, that implosion might not even happen.

    Most Dems have been absolutely pathetic.  I know infighting would hurt them, but people like Howard Dean ought to be fighting to get real candidates to run against anyone associated with the DLC semi-cons.

    I love the smell of impeachment in the morning!

    by gabbardd on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 10:14:43 PM PDT

  •  Try Listening (0+ / 0-)

    Progressives need to fight for what they believe in -- and put the common good at the center of a new progressive vision -- as an essential strategy for political growth and majority building.

    Apparently, they haven't been listening. We have been broadcasting what we stand for here for years. At what point are they going to get the picture?

    Liberal Thinking

    Think, liberally.

    by Liberal Thinking on Sun Apr 23, 2006 at 11:32:03 PM PDT

  •  I think we all know this by now (0+ / 0-)

    Straight up; I don't need to read another article saying how important it is that Dems are seen clearly to stand for something.  I already know this.

    I need to read what the Democratic party stands for.  That's all.


    I've been throwing my vote away on third party candidates. Persuade me to throw it away on a Democrat instead.

    by DemCurious on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 12:06:51 AM PDT

  •  Stand against something also (0+ / 0-)

    Like the Bush Doctrine.

    Drive a wedge into the heart of the GOP - seperating traditional fiscal conservative/sane people from the hawks by pointing out the deficit and world perception of US.

    And all of this will be for naught anyway if the GOP can rig the voting machines. They will unless they are stopped you know.

    Seeking political sanity.

    by xrepublican on Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 07:39:26 AM PDT

  •  I would say Democrats stand for the Middle Class (0+ / 0-)
    I think Democrats have a history of standing for the middle class. Which also means that Democrats help the poor achieve the dream of becoming middle class.

    Yes Democrat means environment to some and woman rights for others - but all these things have a common theme. Protecting our rights to a clean world and at the same time the government not meddling in life or death decisions that is between a doctor and Patient.

    So it is hard to put a one liner on a bumper sticker.

    What we need to hammer on is that Democrats are REAL    - Not some puppet propped up and marketed by the neo-cons or right wing nuts. Reagan and Bush were such obvious blow up dolls. The republicans have put in office demented (Reagan, Alzheimer) (Bush, Psychopath) Presidents that are asleep at meetings and fail to Lead. It is all dependant on the staff around them. And we know the criminals that George Bush has chosen.

    •  By middle class... (0+ / 0-)

      Standing for the "middle class" means of course, that there is inevitably a "working class" underneath them. "Helping to achieve" means nothing in the face of stratification, but then again, considering the response on here to women's rights as just some political football, and that supporting gay marriage means somehow you're not homophobic, its not a surprise to me that most support the divisions that are so stark in our society.

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