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There is a long-standing tradition in Democratic politics. It is an ugly, brutal fact. Inside the beltway they don't really much care about Democratic volunteers and activists.

We are utterly taken for granted.

From the point of view of the majority of long-standing Democratic politicians we are seen as nameless, faceless, trouble-making, easily replaceable, meddlesome busybodies and...not much more.

Everybody in politics who has made a career of it has come up dealing with blow hards and ne'er do wells at city council meetings, hearings and during campaign events. To many career DC types that is all we ever are or conceivably could be: people to stand around and talk awkwardly to occasionally. We couldn't possibly have sincere and relevant insights about, say, the war in Iraq.

That is an impolitic truth, and it's important to understand that truth as a way to understand this moment in American political history.

My take on where we currently stand within the Democratic Party is this: from the point of view of the vast majority of our electeds there is no reason to do much of anything right now.

The current climate looks like a blow out for Democrats in the House and the Senate in '08. Hillary looks like a lock for the nomination. If Clinton chooses Obama as a running mate there is no way in Hades that we won't have a massive turn out of our base for election day 2008. We Democrats are raising money hand over fist. Lobbyists and corporate dollars are coming to us. Party identification is up. Demographics are trending our way. The President and the Vice President are at extraordinarily low poll numbers. There is simply no good news for Republicans right now on any level.  (Well, except for that pesky situation in the Supreme Court.) There is not a Ralph Nader in sight.

From the point of view of elected Democrats, especially those who represent safe districts and have all the dollars they could ever need and hence grassroots/netroots support hasn't really meant anything tangible, the operative question is: why should they do anything or take any action that involves sticking their neck out especially due to pressure from a demographic they view, mistakenly, as a bunch of kooks?


This point of view transcends ideology. I've been treated to this attitude by folks of all ideological stripes.

This gets into our history as a party. Democratic GOTV, especially our labor union GOTV, has always had a "show up, go there, do this, eat the donut, go home" ethos to it. It's not like anyone really wanted to know what us Democratic volunteers thought, or felt, or to make us "feel good" for doing it. (And that was the genius of Martha Gamez in Tracy California, the conversations we had after walking precincts, the sharing, the trading of stories and tactics.)

This is also part of the structure of the culture of Washington. Part of "coming of age" in DC has meant dealing with the hoi polloi, the great unwashed of American politics. There are very deep lessons that people internalize...a kind of us vs. them that sets in inside the beltway...when you come up in Washington or New York and learn to see yourself as a professional political person. This us vs. them gulf is especially evident for Democrats since the base of our party is made up of people who make less than the median income and have less rather than more education.

The us vs. them gulf is also in evidence when DC types deal with waves of exasperated people calling on the phone who "don't and can't really know" all that they know from inside of the game in Washington. Most people working in Democratic politics know that most Democratic politicians and their staffs are sincere people who believe, roughly, in our political platform and try to work within the system to advance our agenda. Our elected officials are just doing what Democrats have always done...and, aside from a few glaring seems to finally be working again. The dollars are rolling in!

But, yes, most of our elected leaders oppose the war, they just don't think they can do much of anything about it right now and Hillary Clinton and Steny Hoyer are happy to keep that thought uppermost in everyone's minds. (Shame on them.)

There is also, I must admit, a grain of truth in viewing motivated amateur political activists as outsiders and outliers. In many ways, we are. (Unfortunately, American Democracy gives us pesky critters this thing called free speech and a town square.) Further, we grassroots activists often do ourselves no favors in playing into exactly the stereotypes and lenses through which career political types and electeds view us. And, yeah, let's talk about this further.

To be frank, oftentimes when I talk politics with everyday people, eg., people like you and me, they say things that are utterly counter factual and make no sense. Could be someone answering a door, could be a fellow activist. That's no surprise. Politics is a complicated subject, especially the arcane legislative ins and outs of Washington. Most political professionals have an area of expertise they stick to and don't venture too far from it for that very reason. Try discussing politics with a political scientist sometime. It's edifying. They won't commit to much.

All that being said, the current situation cannot hold. And there's a reason it can't hold.


The leaders of our political party are deeply wrong.

We aren't kooks.

We aren't outliers.

We're citizens.

And we are living at a transformative moment in American political life, and, yes, that means that the majority of the citizens of this country, regular people like you and me, want a change of course in Iraq and a change of course in our nation's politics. We Americans want meaningful reform...and soon. The voters of the United States haven't often kicked a party out of both houses of Congress because they wanted the status quo.

Would someone please tell that to the Democratic leadership?

There is pressure within the body politic and it has to go somewhere. The president is unpopular. The Congress is unpopular. The war is unpopular. The GOP is unpopular. The Democratic party is barely popular. (Hey, they're sending us money, we've got to be doing something right!)

For some godforsaken reason, however, all of the above groups have conspired to fund and escalate an ongoing unpopular occupation of Iraq with no end in sight.

That is not a popular point of view.

And it doesn't even begin to address the root and branch fundamental reform we need to make in our country and our political party. Hell, never before in American life could you say that we needed reform in so many areas of our society at once. But there you have it: immigration reform, education, the environment and global warming, energy independence, health care, predatory lending, campaign finance reform, corporate regulatory reform, net neutrality, media consolidation, veterans services, Gulf Coast recovery, restoring Habeas Corpus and respect for the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. None of these issues can wait.

We need change and we are getting more of the same...from some very surprising quarters, too!


I want to close on an optimistic note.

I keep telling people to get involved locally. That is something that I will reiterate tonight.

Get involved in the local party, be professional in how you conduct yourself, run for office, write informative articles on local blogs on local and national issues, give to candidates that you know, work to support candidates whose politics you trust and believe in, seek to engage politicians with whom you disagree and attempt to get them to see the sincerity and relevance of your views, participate in sincere, nonviolent protest and free speech, write letters to the editor, and above all else, create a culture of respect and empowerment for yourself and other volunteers and activists who think like you.

We are not kooks. We all know that. We are citizens. And, I, for one, believe in the netroots and the grassroots. I'm not alone. Some people in DC very much get it and get what we are trying to do. We met a few of them at Yearlykos. We have friends in powerful places, one or two of them have even sent me an email from time to time telling me to keep it up.

In fact, we've been right about this country, this war and about this moment in politics much more than we've been wrong or awkwardly pushy at times.

If you know a politician who understands where we are coming from, someone like Darcy Burner, understand that that politician is worth his or her weight in gold to us. If you know someone who you think should run for office...groom them, invest in them, let them know! They are likely better than the unfortunate lot we've got to work with right now!

We are a part of something that is not about business as usual in American political life and it is our responsibility to grow and nurture it. If what we are doing is worth doing, friends, it's worth doing right. This is going to take some time.

At the end of the day, we need to understand what Howard Dean meant when he said "You have the Power." Chairman Dean was trying to counteract a generation of lethargy, disrespect and contempt for grassroots Democratic activists coming from Washington DC.

I'm afraid that there is a huge dose of cynicism laced in my message tonight given what we've seen go down today. Unfortunately, I think it's true.

They think we're kooks.

Our job is to show them exactly how wrong they are.

We do that by getting organized and staying organized.

We do that by getting local.

We do that by galvanizing opposition to this war and the misguided leadership of the Democratic Party.

We do that by supporting each other and changing politics in this country one person at a time.  

Not easy, nope.

But that's the job that history's thrown at us.

Links: DFA, MoveOn, Progressive Majority, Young Elected Officials Network, Blue America, BlogsUnited, PartyBuilder, Progressive Punch, ePluribus Media, Public Citizen, Media Matters, ACORN, Color of Change, Courage Campaign, New Organizing Institute, Open Left, WellstoneAction, CraigsList Foundation, Rockridge Institute, Families for Freedom, Center for Independent Media, SkylinePublicWorks

Originally posted to kid oakland on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 08:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope so much... (193+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, RichM, Lupin, Ed in Montana, kid oakland, northsylvania, joeesha, Sean Robertson, jennifer poole, melo, ferg, joannegmurphy, bluecayuga, jxg, cosbo, TrueBlueMajority, am, surfbird007, scrutinizer, mlharges, shayera, LynnS, rhubarb, Bexley Lane, zenbowl, sobermom, Meandering Fox, Carnacki, object16, Walt starr, musicsleuth, Jerome a Paris, Creosote, Disgusted in St Louis, bronte17, BlackGriffen, Silverleaf, Shadan7, Mary Julia, nyceve, grrtigger, eddieb061345, srkp23, Morague, highacidity, wanderindiana, mkfarkus, splashy, arkdem, dmsilev, sidnora, dejavu, psnyder, Dallasdoc, Chamonix, casperr, IndyScott, TiaRachel, Munibond, Kidspeak, churchylafemme, noveocanes, joliberal, betson08, snakelass, papercut, Eddie Haskell, lcrp, walkshills, Panda, Anne Hawley, WisVoter, NapaJulie, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, ChaosMouse, kd texan, adigal, julifolo, waitingtoderail, chumley, marina, 3goldens, Owl of Minerva, NoMoreLies, Elise, Five of Diamonds, LostInTexas, PBen, PsychoSavannah, andgarden, Luetta, trinityfly, devadatta, Blissing, cfk, dunderhead, GreyHawk, Barcelona, annefrank, blue jersey mom, exmearden, petestern, wardlow, Pluto, stillrockin, Ekaterin, psyched, dhfsfc, dus7, Major Danby, trashablanca, Liberal Protestant, danmac, The Sinistral, Yellow Canary, victoria2dc, Esjaydee, mcartri, Marcus Tullius, kck, Farradin, StrayCat, Skeptical Spectacle, condoleaser, NearlyNormal, el cid, ER Doc, Unitary Moonbat, doinaheckuvanutjob, quantumspin, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, Senator Debra Bowen, Cassiodorus, means are the ends, Dreaming of Better Days, shaharazade, Downtowner, kurious, Autarkh, Temmoku, blueintheface, sasher, Riddle, BentLiberal, seabos84, bigchin, ignatz uk, flagpole, marykk, Russ Jarmusch, blue armadillo, ricsec7, dallasdave, jds1978, LillithMc, lynmar, Duccio, kath25, flumptytail, Jimdotz, 7November, NoMoJoe, jayden, tcdup, Oreo, Junglered1, rrheard, technolinguist, leonard145b, ImpeachKingBushII, MichiganGirl, Bikemom, TomP, Light Emitting Pickle, fayeforcure, lisastar, berkeleymike, dragoneyes, Fast Bike, AshesAllFallDown, bythesea, Johnny Rapture, Residentcynic, peaceloveandkucinich, pamelabrown, landogriffin, LaFajita, Blogvirgin, xysea, StrangeAnimals, protectspice, Tom Enever

    ...that people read this, and listen to it.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 08:59:25 PM PDT

  •  George McGovern did (76+ / 0-)

    UC Santa Barbara, 1975, Campbell Hall, McGovern walks out on stage.  

    1,000 of us stand on our chairs and applaud for more than 5 minutes.

    Finally we quiet down.  George says...

    "Well, we didn't win in 72, but in Isla Vista I carried 97% of the vote."

    We get back up on our seats and cheer for more than 5 minutes again.

    15 minutes have gone by since he walked in and we have let him say one sentence.

    Quiet again and he says

    "Well, we didn't win in 72 but none of our people are in jail either."

    I remain at a loss why we have not taken this war on in the streets.  I know, I am reliving the past people say, but when are we collectively going to get off our asses and bring this ___er to an end like we did the last one.

    We can't rely on the Democrats or Republicans to end this one, just like we couldn't rely on them 35 years ago.

    Tell me when and where and I'll be out again.

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:00:12 PM PDT

  •  It's not possible to express how much this warms (11+ / 0-)

    "We will now proceed to construct the socialist order."

    by 7November on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:02:24 PM PDT

  •  KO, please post a tip jar! (26+ / 0-)

    I recall a commentary on NPR some years ago that analyzed the way decisions about how advertising dollars were really spent, and how TV show cancellations really worked.

    The common perception is that corporations vie for the customers with the money. The reality, the editorial concluded, was that the most moneyed segment of the market--people in their 50s--were routinely ignored. Shows that appealed to that age group, even if very successful, would be cancelled because advertisers didn't want those people in their stores. (I paraphrase.)

    The commentator basically concluded that everyone, from your 12 year old on up to the biggest corporate sponsor, only wants to hang out with the cool kids.

    I guess the Democratic Party is kind of behaving the same way.

  •  we also do it by fielding candidates (18+ / 0-)

    in all levels of elections. School boards are important, town councils are important, we can't just focus on the federal level we have to take the party back from the ground up.

    To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

    by Tanya on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:08:21 PM PDT

    •  I am running for city council (53+ / 0-)

      up against a 7-0 GOP council. I cannot tell you how hard it is. We have a mini-Bush administration here, with corrupt mayor and rubber stamp council -- but that's not the worst of it. What kills me is the friggin apathy -- how little the people who live here know about their government, how it works, and what is happening. They think I am the kook -- that the things I say can't possibly be true or else "the newspaper would look into it." Right. The newspaper that loves the mayor and his builder/developer friends who run all those big ads in the paper, and cares not a tittle for the town but exists to return money to Lee Enterprises shareholders. The smartest -- or should I say the cleverest -- folks here know the game and play it for all its worth. Mayor hosting a fundraiser? I better plunk down $2000 and get my name on the pork list. Oh sure there are supporters. Like all the Democrats who say they voted for the Democrat -- when you know (but they don't) that they live outside city limits and are lying through their teeth. And the others who promise their votes -- sad, though, they haven't been registered to vote in a decade.

      We have a huge, huge problem out here in city council America. The GOP here is positively Rovian: loads of money, tons of lies, a bent toward business on one hand and religion on the other (our city web site has a page that says "We are a religious city ..." -- WTF???) Politics here have gotten nasty, because the GOP made it that way. And frankly, too many of the men in that group LIKE IT THAT WAY. It's a contest, a mini-war, and they want to win it. It is not about good government, and it has the honesty and ethics completely fucking wrung out of it to the point that you don't know where to even start talking about how far we've sunk and how badly we're being screwed.

      To change this, I would have to work 24/7, send twice as many mailings as the opposition, and get a fair shake from the media. I haven't got 24/7 (I'll try, but sweet Jesus) and forget the media. Money? Here's how much I've received so far: $500.

      Part of the problem is me, I know. But it's like this: you think you see a dusty pot you can clean -- it looks possible. But then you get up close and see that there's not just dust on the outside, but the whole damn thing is full of shit. Much bigger job, maybe impossible.

      You know what else? People have grown accustomed to lies. They are familiar with the slick one-liners and the "support the troops" pablum and if you say that shit, they think you're electable and presidential. Speak the truth, and they look at you like you're from outer space. I'm having my own little Howard Dean scream problem: be a fake and they like your style, cut the bullshit and they're scared as hell.

      Take-away point: The GOP beat us. They're on the council, the school board, the water reclamation board. They bought the builders (and the builders bought them), the ministers, the teachers, the city hall beat reporters. We Democrats are outsiders. It will take years -- or a friggin depression mixed with global warming mixed with bird flu -- to get back in -- and what good will that do us? Yeah, we get the pot then. When the shit is so thoroughly caked on it will never come off.

      Thank you for letting me rant. I needed that. Now, back to work ... thanks, guys.

      "There are four boxes to use in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury, ammo. Use in that order." Ed Howdershelt

      by JuliaAnn on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:51:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I really don't (25+ / 0-)

    think this is limited to Democrats.  I know GOP activists who also believe that the DC establishment views them as children.

    This is a great diary, KidOakland.  Anyone who has spent time as a volunteer on a campaign has run across the attitude that you describe.  And I have seen it whether the candidate is on the left or a moderate.

    It is fundementally depressing.  The GOP types I know tell me they have Rush to keep the GOP establishment in line.  Who, they ask me, do Democratic activists have?

    It has not been a question with an easy answer.

  •  Bless you, K.O.: (17+ / 0-)

    You've taken me back in time so far that tears come to my eyes:  wife went to the polls  to work for McGovern in Amarillo, Tx.  She came home crying so few had voted for McGovern. It was all over before it started.

    Alas, how time flies.  :-(

  •  We're twins on the "get involved locally" ... (69+ / 0-)

    ...theme, kid oakland. You've done prodigious work in that regard. Kudos.

    As for us "amateur political activists as outsiders and outliers" it's true that's how we're viewed. It's also true that the ideas of outsiders and outliers, from Abolition to women's suffrage, to unionism, to the social safety net, to civil rights, to censorship, to reproductive rights, to feminism, to gay rights have all come from outsiders and outliers.

    Eventually, what we fight for becomes conventional wisdom and is adopted by mainstream politicians, and an accepted part of our culture. As long as, that is, we keep fighting, no matter how much our leaders utterly take us for granted.

    Good Diary.

    "When shifting paradigms, it is important to put in the clutch." -- Patricia Limerick

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:11:38 PM PDT

    •  When we beat our ideas into them (43+ / 0-)

      ... then they think those ideas are theirs.  That's a sad and inevitable truth.

      Leaders don't convene the parade.  They are just the pros who are quickest to scamper to the front.  It's up to us to make the parade happen, and choose the route and direction.  As we do this, we'll find our leaders appearing; not before.

      Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

      by Dallasdoc on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:14:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You make a very good point. (20+ / 0-)

      And it's what makes state and national politics so hard to get into. There's so much banging your head against the wall, it's easy to give up.

      When I started volunteering for the Clark campaign, I was given control over my region due to the fact that I was the first one to sign up. I tried reaching out to the paper, started going to Dem meetings and contacted all of the local kingmakers.

      But since I was relatively new to the area and not well-known, I got nothing but excuses and aggrevation. The Democratic Party didn't want to hear my ideas for change, they wanted me to sit behind a table and sign up new Dems. The paper was nice, but they weren't going to give us very much coverage because we didn't have enough firepower.

      It just seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get any traction. But supporters in other areas kept going and have done phenomenal work doing outreach in Northern Virginia and getting Jim Webb elected.

      I give longtime activists credit. It takes a lot of dedication to keep going when so much seems stacked against you. I admire the ones that just keep banging their head against the wall until they break it down.

    •  This diary is the equivalent of (24+ / 0-)

      watching the bus as it heads for the cliff and saying, jump on everyone, we need more passengers.

      Every single one of the movements you cite above DID NOT come about by anything resembling this:

      Get involved in the local party, be professional in how you conduct yourself, run for office

      Please get real. The issue is how do we retake our party from entrenched power? Entrenched power with one very common and simple thing to lose, money.

      The reason why the entrenched Democratic Establishment in Washington doesn't listen to us, don't represent our will, is because they don't fear us. This is how politics works.

      How did the Christian Right get the ear of the entrenched power in the GOP? Because they said, 'You either bend to our fucking will or we'll let you fucking lose.'

      And they did. They left Bush Sr. out to dry. What did Jr. do 8 years later? He kissed their ass.

      So, let's juxtapose that with this:

      seek to engage politicians with whom you disagree and attempt to get them to see the sincerity and relevance of your views, participate in sincere, nonviolent protest and free speech, write letters to the editor, and above all else, create a culture of respect and empowerment for yourself and other volunteers and activists who think like you.

      I support every one of these measures. But you notice anything missing here?

      If we're going to get our country back, we are going to have to get our party back first.

      And we've lost our party not because we haven't convinced them of the "sincerity and relevance of [our]views."

      We've lost our party because Washington is the fucking Mafia. It's the biggest racketeering game in history and everyone, to one degree or another, is either in on it, or not willing to stick their necks out far enough to stop it.

      And the real power in Washington has literally TRILLIONS of dollars in not letting a few upstarts with an internet connection change anything.

      Grow the fuck up. This is the politics of empire. Every week some asshole kills his wife for $20,000 in insurance. What do you think people will do for $20 billion? I give us 1 in 1000 odds. And only because of this little miracle called the internet.

      Remember the Howard Dean meetups? That was some serious local self-organization.

      And it struck fear into the hearts of not just the Democratic Establishment/mafia. But into the entire power structure.

      But that was because it was local organization as an EXTENSION of online, People Powered organization.

      It was a real, powerful, and threatening to the established order movement. And the Democratic Establishment, the Media Establishment, and even some big money Republicans tried to kill it.

      Is it dead? Was that a one shot deal that rose and fell with Howard Dean? I hop not. Cause that's our only chance.

      •  No Reason to be Dead (18+ / 0-)

        Believe it or not, Meetups (or DFA Linkups) still happen. We still call ours a Meetup and it's been going on since the early days of the Dean campaign and hasn't stopped. In fact, it's grown, matured, gained a lot of respect and even clout locally. We nurture and try to inspire and direct the energies of people who attend the Meetup with the blog I do. We also serve as an information clearinghouse for other local causes, as well as candidates. They come to us for support and interaction. We try to get people interested and involved in local and national issues and races. We have succeeded beyond our dreams in many ways.

        Like Dean suggested, we worked hard and succeeded in attracting and getting a large number of grassroots progressives elected to precinct, ward, county central committee and state central committee offices. Our from-the-roots candidate for county chair won. By a lot. Our choice for state chair won. In a landslide. We are on the inside AND the outside now. We work both angles.

        When we first entered party offices in significant numbers we were viewed as naive troublemakers. We probably were. We were rowdy and mouthy and rebellious and sometimes rude. We were ignorant about many aspects of politics. We came up against many brick walls and large blobs of dismissiveness and contempt. But now things are different. We've learned how to have impact in much wiser ways.  Many of the powers that be respect us, court us allie with us and sometimes even fear us. We've helped get sometimes huge crowds at once empty events like legislative hearings. We have friends at the legislature who work with us on bills. All kinds of new people are running for office. People get reved.

        Of course all is not sweetness and light. There are still many lunkheads and dead souls holding Party offices. But they think twice about dissing us as they once did. Progress is being made.

        In fact, tonight was Meetup. Our main guest was a state senator who is now one of us. He works with us. He sponsored bills at the last session that we suggested and helped draft. He is an ally. He loved being at our meeting tonight. It reved him up as much as it reved us up. There is a two-way street developing between a number of our elected officials the grass-net-roots here.

        Sometimes, like I have lately, I can question why the hell I am devoting so much of my life to these endeavors. When I see clearly how misbegotten and dishonest and cowardly so many Dems in DC are, it can literally make me feel sick and defeated. Even hateful. But then there's another Meetup. Or another post like this one. And I pick myself up and keep moving towards the light, moving towards change, moving to work for a new page turning.

        I do think that blogging on its own has intrinsic value, but that blogging coupled with an action group of any sort is 1000 times more effective and rewarding. A sense of community develops. Real time partnerships are made. Action begets action.

        Even though it's generally not considered cool to Meetup anymore, I highly recommend it. Or forming one of the Drinking (or whatever) Liberally groups. Or something, anything where people can feed off one another energies and thereby increase it tenfold.

        Great post kid oakland. Right on time.

        •  what a wonderfully hopeful comment (0+ / 0-)

          I've copied it out & put it in my wallet, so that when I start to feel like everything I'm striving for is slowly slipping thru the cracks, I can take out your wonderful comment and find hope.
          Thank you.

          ps- found this thru top comments!

          The hippies had it right all's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.MMorford

          by RiaD on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 02:37:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree on the overview (0+ / 0-)

        and to answer your question about the "netroots" -- yes, as a threat it's dead and has been for years.

        I absolutely agree with your description of Institutional Power in DC.  What KO is describing, IMHO, is that even theoretically sympathetic Dems in DC are unwilling to attack the War because it would threaten institutionalized power in DC -- the Party, the Pentagon as an institution, etc.  And that's simply unthinkable to them.

        The eunuchs owe everything they have to the Forbidden City.  Why would they ever threaten it?

        I also agree that, at first, Dean did represent a threat to institutional power in DC.  He came out of nowhere, seemingly, and was operating with resources they weren't familiar with and didn't control.

        But that's really completely over at this point.  The "netroots" is in no way, shape, or form a threat to Institutional Power in DC.  We're part of it, a resource to be tapped  just like the PIRGs or the Sierra Club or NOW.  That's why the nobility electeds feel so comfortable posting diaries here and coming to YKos.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:18:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Putting the finger on the weakness they have (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Canadian Reader, RiaD, LaFajita

        This is the politics of empire.  And only because of this little miracle called the internet.

        Remember the Howard Dean meetups? That was some serious local self-organization.

        And it struck fear into the hearts of not just the Democratic Establishment/mafia. But into the entire power structure.

        But that was because it was local organization as an EXTENSION of online, People Powered organization.

        It was a real, powerful, and threatening to the established order movement. And the Democratic Establishment, the Media Establishment, and even some big money Republicans tried to kill it.

        This is why "net neutrality" is a big deal, citywide free muni wifi is a big deal, expanding the access of the commons and our own media coops is a very big deal.

        It isn't ruled, controlled and filtered by the master class.

        Even if we get the miracle of a drawdown in Iraq in significant numbers starting  this month, there are still 700 bases, low intensity  firefights in South America, Indonesia, Africa, Asia beyond Iraq and Iran.  And WE need a policy to deal with the transition/aftermath of empire. The one that is an anachronism in the 21st century with no support from any other country to speak of for damn good reason.

        America has been stolen, your citizenship is a hollow fraud, and you have no power. What will YOU do to reverse these hurts, crimes, outrages?

        by Pete Rock on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:53:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with a large portion of your ... (6+ / 0-)

        ...comment here. But what's missing is what I have always argued for: activists must split their time between electoral politics and extra-electoral politics. They need to create clout outside the electoral arena, which is where the power to change things came from originally in all those reforms I mentioned above, starting with Abolition.

        That extra-electoral activism is more important than the electoral kind, but to really gain power, you've got to have both. As for "our" party, YOU "grow the fuck up." There have only been a couple of windows in Democratic Party history when it has been "our" party, if, by that, you mean the "little people." That was in the 1930s up to about 1938, and from 1969-72. You can add in the six months of the Dean period if you like.

        The rest of the time it has been a struggle to try to keep the party from carrying us over the cliff in that bus.

        "When shifting paradigms, it is important to put in the clutch." -- Patricia Limerick

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:32:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry about thaat line (0+ / 0-)

          Honestly, by the time I got to that point, I forgot whose comment I had clicked reply to.

          And I very much would like to add Dean's "6 months" to you understandably oversimplified spurts of people power. I would like more to add the next 6 years.

          Can you help with that? By not blowing smoke up people's asses about what it's going to take to defeat the most powerful oligarchy in the history of oligarchies.

          Specifically, we are overthrown not by the sword, but by a little box with antennas on it.

          Just watch the first 10 minutes.

          Our power is right here. Like the printing press.

      •  General Strikes are the only answer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because this comment is 100% accurate.  Politics is power, power is money, and the only way to rest power from entities/systems is to deprive them of money otherwise they holds all the cards.  

        It will get nasty but know for a fact that our political system is bought and paid for regardless of party affiliation.  That's what bugs me about the civility before justice crowd in this place.  Civility hasn't worked in recorded history and never will in.  The incivility doesn't have to be violent but it does need to be confrontational.

        Stop buying the product and stop helping to manufacture a fraud being constructed by unsustainable inhumane methods and systems/entities will be forced to change.  It means a massive reorientation in the way America lives and works and how it perceives itself and its role in the world.  That ain't happening anytime soon and probably not in the next 20-40 years.  

        We are so far ahead of the curve here and we must accept that sad fact.  Our victories will be small over time.  Our victories are capturing young minds before they are warped.  We are simply trying to till the fields and sow the seeds that can yield a a better crop in harvests to come assuming the soil isn't toxic.  It might be--only time will tell.

        At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. Aristotle

        by rrheard on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:50:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "mmmmwahh!" to you for such a great comment! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiaD, LaFajita

      In case you haven't seen my comment above, you'll see why I agree, Meteor Blades.

  •  Bursting the Bubble (70+ / 0-)

    Kid, do you think the professional, inside-the-Beltway crew have any inkling how insular, how patronizing, how anti-democratic their attitude is?  Do they have any comprehension of the fact that their insider knowledge is a prison, not an expertise?  Do they see that their very inclusion in the Club is a surrender, not a victory?

    These ironies go a long way toward explaining why our politics is so broken.  We pretend to be a democracy, but we are a revolving aristocracy, with corporate oligarchs calling the tune the courtiers dance to.  And the courtiers think we're naive?

    This cycle I'm giving money only to outsiders, those who have worked with the netroots in the past and almost won last time.  I'm hoping my money goes toward building a cadre of the Not-Clueless, new New Democrats who might remember what the concept of representative democracy is supposed to be about.

    Our Democratic leaders are part of the same Insider Party as the Republicans.  They either need to shape up, or go the same way as that other branch of their party.  The job is ours, and we won't give up.

    Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

    by Dallasdoc on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:11:41 PM PDT

    •  In my experience (21+ / 0-)

      they have too much faith in the own superior intelligence to know how absolutely transparent they are.

      I think the fact that so many of them were wrong on Iraq bothers them a little.  They comfort themselves by telling themselves that the anti-war types were just a bunch of pacifists who were right about the war, but for the wrong reasons.

      The irony is that if they were here in late '02 or early '03 they would know we were right because we say how events would develop far more clearly than they did.

    •  How do we keep outsiders thinking like outsiders (12+ / 0-)

      once they become insiders? I'm sure that many an insider started out as a reform minded outsider, but eventually caved to the pressures to go along to get along. I'm convinced that eliminating lobbying altogether is a good start. The idea of paying for a go-between to present an issue to your elected representatives is antithetical to the idea of representative government. I also think that campaign advertising should be limited and free to all candidates. After all, the networks are broadcasting over publicly owned frequencies leased to them by the government. In general, I'm in favor of public campaign financing with reasonable limits. The amount of money spent on campaigns these days is obscene. We should be able to inform the public of all they need to know about candidates at a fraction of the cost and additional information should be available by request. Campaigning has become a media circus of misinformation that really tells the voter very little about the candidates and the media-sponsored debates with their arbitrary structure are a joke.

      •  change the rules (10+ / 0-)

        but then the question is, how does one change the rules when the ones who do the changing have succeeded within the current set of rules?

        initiative works in places like CA, but it's a sticky thing, nationally.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:20:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I believe your question may have a simple answer. (10+ / 0-)

        Our elections are for the most part run like a High School election for Prom Queen... The most popular always win.

        The problem is that the most popular people are not always the strongest people, the most principled, and are quite often the most easily influenced by peer-pressure. I think this applies to the majority of people... Everybody wants to be liked.

        It is a rare person that has the courage to stand up to their peers and say "This is wrong and I'm not going to be a part of it." I think it's hard for us sometimes to remember, that no matter how influential or powerful a politician might be... Politicians ARE human... and they're susceptible to all the same flaws of human behavior.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:36:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If You Really Ran Prom Vote Like Political Ones (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Janet Strange

          it would be beyond bizzarro.

          • None of the students can talk to each other except in physical pairs. Gatherings of more than 3 arranged by the students themselves aren't possible in this school.
          • All debate is conducted over the school intercom. Almost nobody can get on, and when you do, you can only speak for 15 seconds.
          • The school intercom costs $100 per second for the candidates to book for ads.
          • The school walls cost $100 per square inch to book for hanging posters.
          • The food and snack contractors own the intercom and rights to all the walls and they collect all the fees for campaigning. They are protected from the students by their 1st Amendment right to hang their own posters everywhere in the school and broadcast their own announcements all day long.

          Now go take on the day.

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

          by Gooserock on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:44:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "leaders" is right (8+ / 0-)

      I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of folks in the H of R who still cherish ideals and would love to kick some Republican butt, but they can't bring themselves to buck the leadership, because they've been told "it isn't done", more or less.  We shouldn't be surprised that Pelosi, Hoyer, etc. are less than firebrands:  they're machine politicians & have finally achieved their fur-lined foxholes & don't want to risk it all on mere principle.

      Pols who don't play by the rules don't get their bills, far less their earmarks, passed, so they don't get reelected, so they don't get to achieve the seniority that allows them to set the tone.

      Furthermore, I suspect there's a lot of "you go first" happening among the newbies.

      Not all that different from the corporate world.  Or high school.

      The truth shall make ye fret... -William DeWorde

      by flagpole on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:17:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  in other words (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JuliaAnn, Kidspeak, victoria2dc

      The Democratic power structure "leadership" comprises people who are far too stupid and naive to run a country.

    •  Outsiders (4+ / 0-)

      Speaking of outsiders, what do you think of Glenn Melancon?  If you're in Dallas, this is a local race for you and I'm interested in what you've been hearing.  (Watch the video):

      You don't hear Democrats talking like that too often.  In some ways it sounds like a cross between LBJ and RFK (and I'm sure they're both rolling over in their graves over that linking).

      If we're really going to pursue a 50 state strategy, this seems to be a good way to talk about Democratic values.  It's why I'm a Democrat.

      •  I'm not in Dallas anymore (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dunderhead, StrayCat

        I love economic populist messages, though, and am a sucker for genuine appeals to idealism.  At bottom I'm a New Deal Democrat, and still think that's the route to electoral success and national renewal.

        Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:05:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Right on! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, LaFajita

      DallasDoc, your first sentence

      Kid, do you think the professional, inside-the-Beltway crew have any inkling how insular, how patronizing, how anti-democratic their attitude is?

      pretty much sums it all up. What I find frustrating is that we, the people, cannot introduce, let alone pass any laws that will have any meaningful impact.

      The Beltway insiders get to decide what's the law, what is legal, what is permissible etc. They are supposed to represent the citizens of their districts, but only the naive think that they actually do. Do you think anyone of them (it goes for both parties) actually faces the consequences of their actions? After they are done with their terms, they will go on to lucrative jobs being consultants for the same corporate entities that lobbied for (or against them).

      Like you, I've decided not to donate any money to Democrats until I see them actually taking action on the war, poverty, homelessness etc. rather than coming up with arcane (at least to me) rules, bye-laws, censures and motions that explain to me why something cannot be done.

      I'm so frustrated, I cannot even come up with a coherent response. Meh!

      Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Groucho Marx

      by technolinguist on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Lord (34+ / 0-)

    I needed this tonight.

    I keep reminding myself that You Have the Power doesn't mean that I get to think about something and it automatically comes true.  It, unfortunately, isn't magical power.  It's just the ordinary power of hard work.


    Hey Kossaks! Come to the September 18 Meetup in St. Louis. Details at ShowMeProgress

    by maryb2004 on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:12:08 PM PDT

  •  Going local. (22+ / 0-)

    First, let me say that I feel like you are answering my call for help from earlier today.

    Thanks for writing tonight. Though I doubt you had my comment in mind, there is a connection there I sorely needed.

    I am more and more convinced that going local is the only way anything is ever going to change, and it is going to take more than a handful of election cycles to see a difference.

    Some days, like today, Daily Kos and ePluribus Media (where I'm on the board of directors) just seem to be barriers, and like giant Hotels California, it feels like we are all just prisoners of our own device.

    Guess that's why I went and blogged at Blue Indiana today, and why I imagine I'll be going there more often. I don't feel much like I'm making a difference around these parts these days, but going "home" or going local I felt like I was making a difference.

    Spread the word - bring your state and local news to ePluribus Media

    by wanderindiana on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:13:56 PM PDT

  •  One thing the Dem pols think they know (15+ / 0-)

    is that we won't be willing to cut off our own nose to spite our face -- that is, they must figure that even when they're inventing new methods of pre-emptive surrender, we'll support them anyway.  After all, we wouldn't support the R's, would we?

    Of course we wouldn't.  But that doesn't mean we have to follow the dictates of the Party Machine.  We don't have to give to our irresponsible representatives in safe seats, so they can anoint candidates in other districts.  We can give directly to more dynamic candidates in those districts.  And we need to be part of the process of choosing those candidates -- of being those candidates.

    We need to work it, work it, work it.  Slowly, more patiently than we can really stand, but without giving in to the powers that be-tray us.

    •  The interesting thing though, is that (3+ / 0-)

      supporting them used to be monolithic--I didn't have enough visibility into the overall national party structure to selectively help the good ones--I'd just support the national party.

      That's changed--the internets give me fine granularity on my support. Somebody pisses me off, no soup for them.

      I think the dynamic has changed, and the cocktail weenie crowd is going to be surprised come primary season.

      Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
      --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

      by dallasdave on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:57:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good to know how others cope. (6+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing.

    "History will judge the GOP abdication to NeoCons as the single worst tactical blunder since the Taliban gave safe harbor to Osama bin Laden"

    by BentLiberal on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:18:43 PM PDT

  •  Let's not kid ourselves, so to speak... (6+ / 0-)

    there are kooks among us. Heh.

    Great diary and right on. There seem to be a lot of people who are newly involved, brought together through desperation and the internets, who really seem to believe that we can fix things, la poof, if the Dems will just listen and do as we want. Then we can all relax and get back to whatever we were doing before. Twenty or thirty years from now, when they're still at it, they'll snicker at the memory. Or what they can remember of it.

  •  This diary is fabulous (43+ / 0-)

    A large portion of the work that I've done over the past 20 years has been grass-roots organizing.  Whenever I work with pollsters or media people or even other 'grass-roots' people from Washington the experience is a disappointment...starting out with the happiness of a new romance but always deteriorating when they can no longer conceal their contempt for volunteers, paid door-knockers and other Democratic riff-raff and then, finally, for me because of my attachment to them.  Sigh.

    But I remain convinced--in fact I'm more convinced than ever--that grass-roots work is the key to success.  I often tell people that I believe we could end world hunger if we had enough block captains.  The human spirit collectively directed towards a common and lofty goal is a beautiful thing to see.

    Thanks again for this diary.

    'how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died?' Bob Dylan

    by St Louis Woman on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:20:48 PM PDT

  •  Excellent commentary ko (22+ / 0-)

    Thank you for you insights. Start local, work hard, get the message out. It makes me remember my dad. When he was in his early 60's he ran for state representative in a rural Iowa district against a very established, multiterm republican. He and my mother went door to door throughout several counties in a very red district.  The first race he lost.  

    Two years later, he ran again, he and my mother went door to door, and several pairs of shoes later my father unseated the very established republican and I know that it was because he took the time, to go door to door, to talk to the voters and explain why he was the better candidate. And he was. Tragically he died in the last week of his first term, however, my mother, who was at his side the whole time thru the campaign to being his "assistant" during the legislature was elected to that seat for two additional terms at a time when women in the legislature were a rarity.

    Sorry to ramble, but the point I am trying to make is they stood up for what they believed on a local level, conveyed the message and stayed true to those ideals. And, to me it encapulates what we, as progessives, must do. Door to door, talk to people, listen to people, be involved at a local level and let it start to grow there.

    -6.25 -5.33 Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley

    by dansk47 on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:21:33 PM PDT

  •  I feel I am as disaffected as the next gal or (10+ / 0-)

    guy.  I am sick about the way many (not all) elected Democrats in DC are seemingly oblivious and disconnected with the country, especially on the war.  Maybe it's because it's foreign policy-oriented and they assume DC "experts" have more knowledge than the voters in the rest of America.  (And, I used to think that was true until the last 6 years.)

    But what you say simply is not true.  Activists may sometimes be viewed as a nuisance.  But, at base and on the whole, they care about us and they always have.

    I've worked on the Hill (briefly) and have many friends who have truly worked on the Hill, who are veterans.  There are lots of reasons many members of Congress are not hearing us, or -- more accurately -- are not acting courageously on what they hear.

    But the reason is NOT because they don't care.  I just think you are absolutely wrong on that.

    •  I hear you (26+ / 0-)

      and respect your corrective point of view. I think my piece states that our electeds are sincere people who are admired by their equally sincere staffs and who support our agenda.

      For myself, I don't hear or feel the care from DC that often...not nearly as often as I get the sense that the "insider class" is way too caught up in the rules of the game as it is played inside the Beltway.  

      I can say that I admire and respect people who choose careers in public service in all its facets. It is not easy answering the phone on days like today, or reading the emails, or being a Congressperson who tried to do the right thing but failed. I respect my colleagues and friends in DC.

      But we need leaders to strike some fear into dinosaur Democrats who feel that they can now do whatever they want.

      (When I read about the amount of earmarks we kicked out despite the reform it just galls me. The gulf between what we promised and what we delivered is steep when viewed from out here.)

      What is going on in Washington right now?

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:41:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your thoughtful reply to a perhaps (21+ / 0-)

        too combative post.

        I can't pretend to have my ear to the ground in DC, more than the better-informed people around here who do not live in DC, as I do.

        But based on discussions with my limited circle of staffer-friends, fear is indeed the issue.  Fear of being painted as weak.  Fear that a terrorist attack could happen and create a worse bad climate for Democrats who are concerned for personal liberties and act on their concern.  Fear that they might lose recent gains.

        Mostly, I think their cowardice boils down to fear of how the media will spin things.  

        It's sad.  I can't defend such cowardice.  But I do not think it's based on a lack of care about we think.

        I have come around to the idea that they need to feel a counterbalancing fear from the grassroots -- fear based on one (or a few more) of their colleagues being "primaried."

        We can't be their psychologists or enablers.  We have to recognize that what we say does matter, but be willing to make it real, in a smart way.  

        •  asdf (15+ / 0-)

          I have come around to the idea that they need to feel a counterbalancing fear from the grassroots -- fear based on one (or a few more) of their colleagues being "primaried."

          We can't be their psychologists or enablers.  We have to recognize that what we say does matter, but be willing to make it real, in a smart way.

          I think what happened recently with Darcy Burner is a bellwether. We raised enough money to send a message to the Washington State Dems. Darcy's primary opponent sure as hell got the message, didn't he?

          That's "making it real" in terms even the most entrenched machine Dems can understand.

          You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war. --Albert Einstein

          by Sharoney on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:09:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I used to defend the fear (13+ / 0-)

          But Democrats acting out of fear were defeated anyway and now I've grown tired of it.  Good political strategy is one thing but utter cowardice is another.  It reminds me of the people who drive 20 mph while getting on the freeway.  They think they're being safe by driving slowly while really they are endangering their own lives as well as the lives of others.

          Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

          by SoCalLiberal on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:11:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True, so true. My fear on the other (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YellowDogBlue, WisVoter, SoCalLiberal

            side is acting with as much hubris and ideological purity as the Republicans have, once we teach our elected Democrats to have a spine.

            Dare I say, in a narrow sense the DLC-type, Democratic moderates have it right, but only in that sense of acting with an open mind and with caution.  In rejecting the DLC, I hope we do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

            •  I think we're in the midst of a sea change (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              campskunk, Kidspeak, PsychoSavannah

              in American politics.

              But frankly I don't want our Democratic politicians betting the farm on it.

              Americans voted for heavily for Bush less than three years ago. Who's to say they won't tend to swing back that way?

              •  They will (7+ / 0-)

                if we don't give them a reason to vote for us.

                We bet the farm on the Civil Rights Act.  Should Johnson have held back instead?

                Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

                by Simplify on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:45:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No. I think the CRA solidified an inevitable (6+ / 0-)

                  trend against us in the South and among Archie Bunker whites in the North.

                  But it was more than that.  Democrats became corrupt.  They supported failed government programs for the sake of ideology.  The country was still majority Democratic for many years after Johnson, despite the capriciousness of Presidential politics.

                  I believe Democrats failed because they became bloated and out-of-touch, beholden to status quo interests, rather than because of principled stands.  Of which we should be proud.

              •  I think you're right about the sea-change. (5+ / 0-)

                But I think it's a bit more permanent in the short term than that.  I think 9/11 distorted the natural trend, and now it is reasserting itself with even greater vigor in reaction to the incredible overreaches of the Bush presidency.

                The hope for me is that the Democrats can achieve progressive goals when they have the chance, but not give into some of the excesses of the 70s that (rightly) exposed them to scorn in the late 70s and through the 80s.  By "excesses" I mean corruption, defending failed government programs for their own sake, failing to assert the moral rightness of Democracy in the face of leftist regimes, etc.

                I hope we can fulfill the need for good governance, and restore the belief that government can promote the common good, while not penalizing people who achieve success by initiative and enterprise.

                That sounds a little DLC-ish. But, believe me, I'm a liberal.  I hope we remember a little about humility and patience for those whom we disagree with (for me, that's the gay-haters) if we ever achieve the power to enact broad-reaching change.

                •  I'm not opposed to the DLC (3+ / 0-)

                  That sounds a little DLC-ish. But, believe me, I'm a liberal.  I hope we remember a little about humility and patience for those whom we disagree with (for me, that's the gay-haters) if we ever achieve the power to enact broad-reaching change.

                  I'm a liberal but I think that moderation is a key to long term victory and successful policies.

                  Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                  by SoCalLiberal on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:15:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I AM opposed to the DLC. And I'm (8+ / 0-)

                    a person that naturally might have an ideological disposition toward them -- having been disgusted by some of the excesses of elected Democrats in the 70s and 80s that (in my view) undermined the goals of progressives.  The mindless promotion of failed government programs and resistance to any notion of reform, the waste, the knee-jerk opposition to self-made entrepreneurs, opposition to all business, etc.

                    But the DLC has become a nest of corporate interests and ideolgogues who have no problem bashing Democrats in the Wall Street Journal Op/Ed pages, and similar.  They might as well be Republicans.

                    The DLC and all who are associated with them, need to be relegated to irrelevance.

                    •  That argument is more than fair (5+ / 0-)

                      But the DLC has become a nest of corporate interests and ideolgogues who have no problem bashing Democrats in the Wall Street Journal Op/Ed pages, and similar.  They might as well be Republicans.

                      This drives up my ire to no end as it does for you.  I want the DLC to be relegated to total irrelevance but I don't want moderate policies being thrown out.

                      Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                      by SoCalLiberal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:13:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My main concern with the DLC is that it (7+ / 0-)

                        is not Democratic, as in the party.  I am inclined to agree with a vision of the party that is committed to promoting business and entrepreneurship.  Fine.

                        But these guys have proven they are unwilling to listen to any liberal voices in the party, and they regularly attack fellow Democrats.

                        They are not reliable allies.  

                        I consider myself pro-business and liberal.  I think there is no contradiction there.  I actually believe a single-payer, universal health care system would benefit business.  

                        I think the DLC would not be a reliable partner in achieving that change in health care.  They would have no problem attacking progressives.

                        They are unreliable.  They are like The New Republic in the 90s (and now).  They are a Trojan Horse for conservatives.  They deserve no place in the movement.

                        •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          OHdog, Joelarama, LaFajita

                          But these guys have proven they are unwilling to listen to any liberal voices in the party, and they regularly attack fellow Democrats.

                          They're also failures.  They have not helped win any elections.  

                          I consider myself pro-business and liberal.  I think there is no contradiction there.  I actually believe a single-payer, universal health care system would benefit business.  

                          Agree on the first part.  Disagree on the second part.  We've been through this before though so let's just agree to disagree.  I'm tired and need to go to bed anyway.  Lol.  :)

                          I think the DLC would not be a reliable partner in achieving that change in health care.  They would have no problem attacking progressives.

                          The DLC is not reliable when it comes to social issues either and are all too willing to toss them aside.  I have seen this with a large number of Democrats who support Arnold.  People expect me to have voted for him and to be a supporter.  Well excuse me but this man is against civil rights, he's cut critical mass transit funding, and is cutting programs for the mentally ill while saving tax breaks for yacht owners.  So no, I am not a fan.  

                          They are unreliable.  They are like The New Republic in the 90s (and now).  They are a Trojan Horse for conservatives.  They deserve no place in the movement.

                          I would agree.  What I meant by not opposing the DLC was not opposing (some of) their economic policies.  I think the organization has become pure trash.  I should have clarified.  

                          Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                          by SoCalLiberal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:34:26 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes! (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            hhex65, SoCalLiberal

                            A few years ago my brother in DC (yes, he's one of those), encouraged me to "get involved" with the DLC.  Well...there really wasn't any possible involvement, other than to send them money, or subscribe to their stuff.  No input wanted, no input needed.

                            I was just another shmoe from the flyover zone - which seems to encapsulate the entire country other than DC, some of NYC, and  bit of Boston.

                        •  universal health care (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          YellowDogBlue, adigal, LaFajita

                          would be a huge boon for business. a lot of liberal stuff is pretty self-interested for business, really.

                          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                          by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:37:39 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  i find this telling (6+ / 0-)

                  failing to assert the moral rightness of Democracy in the face of leftist regimes, etc.

                  given the number of right wing regimes that we backed over the years, with nary a peep from the so-called defenders of democracy.

                  surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                  by wu ming on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:23:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, it is telling. I would condemn our (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    WisVoter, SoCalLiberal

                    support of right-wing regimes, as well.  Chile.  Saudi Arabia.  

                    But Democrats in the 70s failed to unequivocally back democracy over leftist regimes.

                    The same tendencies exist today, with Venezuela for example.  

                    •  um, chavez won that election (6+ / 0-)

                      the coup was, once again, from the right, not the left.

                      for what it's worth, i did not support his coup attempt earlier, back in the 90s. but when you win that many elections, i think calling him a tyrant is a bit much.

                      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                      by wu ming on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:58:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I agree. He won that election, according (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        SoCalLiberal, OHdog

                        to Jimmy Carter, whom I trust.

                        But while an election is important, it is not the definition of democracy.  It also has to do with respecting the rights of the opposition, supporting democratic institutions and principles, upholding basic rights.

                        Chavez is no democrat.

                        As we have learned in Iraq, an election does not create a democracy.

                        •  Eerie parallels (0+ / 0-)

                          Your summary is spot on, and may be applicable to more situations:

                          But while an election is important, it is not the definition of democracy.  It also has to do with respecting the rights of the opposition, supporting democratic institutions and principles, upholding basic rights.

                          Et, tu Bush?

                          Chavez is no democrat.

                          Neither is Bush.

                          As we have learned in Iraq, an election does not create a democracy.

                          Some have similar feelings about the US in 2000 and 2004.

                          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

                          by mataliandy on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:05:04 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, he won the election, but... (0+ / 0-)

                        He has done some decidedly undemocratic things, like persuading the Venezualan congress to enact a law allowing him to rule by decree, proposing they do away with presidential term limits and otherwise consolidating power as I understand.

                        He may or may not do good things with these powers, but they are not especially democratic.

                        •  term limits are not democratic per se (0+ / 0-)

                          nor are they undemocratic, they're just a policy, and the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches can vary a lot within the arena of democratic governments. whether the people have a way to keep a government in check is the key element of democracy (as well as protections of the human rights of the minority; hegemony of a wealthy minority is not one of those rights BTW), and as far as i have seen, chevez has won in fair elections with increasing % of the vote, even with an exceptionally hiostile and well-funded opposition press. that tells me that the people are getting what they want.

                          venezuela is one of the more democratic countries in south america, much moreso than many of our allies in that region, historically. chavez is not hauling away dissidents and torturing them to death, or leaving them to rot in prison. shutting down TV stations that backed a coup attempt is hardly tyrrany, and i suspect that the same would be done here, were anyone to take up arms against an american president of either party.

                          opposition to america does not make one a tyrant, any more than it makes one a saint. one does not have to support chavez to accept that he is a democratically elected leader with broad popular support.

                          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                          by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:16:45 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree with much of what you are saying. (0+ / 0-)

                            The "ruling by decree" thing is the most ominous to me.  Apparently, the Venezualan congress passed that, and Chavez did not just declare it, but still, I don't think for a moment that he was not behind it.  It is not democratic.  It's quite similar to what Bush is trying to do here with his unitary executive.

              •  Reading your comment a second time (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                YellowDogBlue, catfood, SoCalLiberal

                I think I understand better.  I hope, too, that Dems  in power will not sit back and assume they will succeed because fate, demographic trends, or Hegelian dialectic (for lack of a less pretentious expression) will achieve it for them.

                I get the feeling that the Dems in power bet too much on trends rather than good strategy and initiative.

            •  I'm not asking for radicalism (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DCDemocrat, Joelarama

              And unhinged assaults on the Republicans.  That role can be filled by those at Daily Kos.  But Democrats need to assert themselves.  Now I'm not threatening to abandon the party or not support them.  I find that to be childish and immature.  And many people will threaten it just over the party not tending to their pet issue or not being as radical.  But I do know that without strong positions and policy, the Democrats will not do as well in 2008 as they should.

              Dare I say, in a narrow sense the DLC-type, Democratic moderates have it right, but only in that sense of acting with an open mind and with caution.  In rejecting the DLC, I hope we do not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

              I reject DLC strategy more than I do policy.  I think the left has a role to play in creating business opportunities and protecting people within the market as well as increasing access and equality of opportunity.  The right does not beleive in it.  

              I'm not a fiscal conservative though.  

              Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

              by SoCalLiberal on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:21:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You nailed that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                When it comes to unhinged, we've cornered the market here at Big Orange.

                "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." --Hillary Clinton: America's First Woman President!

                by DCDemocrat on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:56:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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

                  We can all be a little unhinged from time to time.  Or at least I am.....  In any case, I think there needs to be some balance in what we're talkin about and looking at.  People need to be able to make distinctions between policy, strategy, and personality.  When we lump everything together, we learn and accomplish very little.  Rahm Emmanuel may be an asshole but he's not a conservative.  The DLC may have some good ideas but generally, they stink.  

                  Speaking of unhinged, I had one wild incident today.  I was driving downtown today.  And I was making a left at a protected arrow  and there was a car in front of me in the left turn only lane that just sat there.  Now green arrows represent a green light and you have the right of way.  Nothing irritates me more than people who either ignore or disrespect the arrow light.  So what do I do?  I honk the horn.  The car moves but not before these two angry men (quite possibly gang members) start making wild, angry gestures (some of them were gang signs) at me.  They then give chase to me and follow right up behind me continuing to gesture.  Well I high tailed it (dangerously since it was during mid day lunch rush hour) and they pulled over and stopped following.  It was frightening at the time but now I feel somewhat betrayed and angry about it.  These people commit a traffic error yet by honking at them, I've offended their machismo and they're angry at me.  

                  Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                  by SoCalLiberal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 09:14:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  They knew they had made a mistake, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    and when you called them on it, their pride was injured.  It's the kind of emotion that makes people pretend they were right when in their hearts, they know they were wrong.  I am glad you are safe.

                    "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." --Hillary Clinton: America's First Woman President!

                    by DCDemocrat on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 03:44:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's just like current Republicans (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      They cannot admit a mistake and go into a blinding rage when you call them on it.  

                      I am glad you are safe.

                      Me too.  

                      I guess that's one benefit of living on the westside, you can honk at people and they won't chase after you.  

                      Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                      by SoCalLiberal on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 12:19:07 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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

                        is in a rough neighborhood.  I lived at Loyola High School for a while when I was in the Jesuits.

                        "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." --Hillary Clinton: America's First Woman President!

                        by DCDemocrat on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 01:46:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  USC is in a rough neighborhood (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          It's getting better and the campus is quite safe but I get constant emails from the school's Department of Public Safety on crimes committed off campus.  And my parking is off-campus too though all I have to do is cross a street and I'm on campus.  I'm glad I don't have night classes.  

                          This did not take place in the University Park neighborhood though.  It took place in the Financial District.  That's what is annerving about it.  Downtown is decidedly not gang territory.  In fact it generally has crime problems abnormal to LA but normal to other cities.  Late night muggings, Aggravated assault, crimes related to the large homeless population, theft out of vehicles.  But gang crime is really a non issue.  It's a hands off area generally (downtown also doesn't tend to get bank robberies or a lot of car thefts, which LA is famous for).  The real thing to worry about are mentally ill homeless who are unsupervised and often violent.  At certain corners of the former Skid Row (now Gallery Row), at 5th and Main and 7th and Main, there used to be open drug sales.  

                          I lived at Loyola High School for a while when I was in the Jesuits.

                          I didn't know that people lived there.  That school is in Koreatown.  A lot of people want to say Koreatown is "downtown" just like they do about USC but neither are actually downtown.  There is a push to call University Park part of downtown for business reasons but I'm opposed as it would as it would detract overall from downtown and make planning more difficult.  Downtown should be a completely walkable area within its boundaries.  And it's a suburban style area, which conflicts with downtown's overall planning.  

                          As far as I'm concerned, downtown does not and should not contain University Park, Elysian Park, Angelino Heights, Solano Canyon, Chinatown, Westlake, and definately not Koreatown.  Downtown is generally defined by the 110 freeway on the west, the 10 freeway on the south, the 101 freeway on the north, and the LA River on the east.  Where there is some leeway though is in the immediate area west of the 110.  This is known as "Center City West" and I think could be included as part of downtown.  It's really not part of Westlake and historically, a good deal of it was part of Bunker Hill (before being seperated and ripped apart for the 110 freeway).  The western boundary in that case would be Lucas Avenue (though only from 1st to 8th Street).  At furthest, Witmer Street but anything father than that is really not downtown.  I may seem picky here but I find it offensive when places far away from downtown are labeled as 'downtown' (this is often done by detractors of the area).  

                          Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                          by SoCalLiberal on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 05:09:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Loyola High School (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            The Jesuits live on campus.  They had borders years ago, but they abandoned that program.  I lived there in 1978, so that was 30 years ago.  It was essentially a Latin neighborhood in those years.  If it's Korean now, there has been a major demographic change.

                            "Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." --Hillary Clinton: America's First Woman President!

                            by DCDemocrat on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 03:30:43 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Interesting stuff (0+ / 0-)

                            I was so glad I did not have to go to a boarding school for high school.  I would have hated it.  But I can see the neccessity in having them.  There are now efforts in California, led by Karen Bass, to create public boarding schools like the SEED school in DC.  As a Jesuit, did you help teach any classes or assist the school?

                            I lived there in 1978, so that was 30 years ago.  It was essentially a Latin neighborhood in those years.  If it's Korean now, there has been a major demographic change.

                            It's actually quite interesting.  So far as I know, Loyola High School is in Koreatown but it could be in Pico-Union.  The deal with Koreatown is that it is not actually Korean.  Years ago, probably around the time you were living there, Korean businesses began sprouting up east of the Wilshire Center area, around Western Avenue.  Because of this the city named this whole area "Koreatown" even though the population of the area was 2% Korean.  This led to a major influx of Korean population but today the Korean population for the area is between 20% and 24%, so still the minority.  Interestingly enough, there has been an influx of whites into the area, mainly around Wilshire Boulevard.  Why is this?  Basically young whites looking for cheap rents in cool old buildings (and there are quite a few, especially those getting refurbished) and compared to the rest of LA, the rents are cheap.  This is where the apartment building that was featured as Jerry's place on Seinfeld is located.  Plus if you happen to live near Western, Normandie, or Vermont, you have access to rail transit that can take you to places.  In fact, new expensive high rises are being built on top of the stations (though there really aren't enough stations or lines yet for it to be effective).  

                            Now, Loyola is fairly close to the 10 freeway.  Those neighborhoods were originally affluent white neighborhoods.  But as the freeway came in, the neighborhoods were destroyed and the whites left (if not from the demolition from the freeways, from blockbusting) and those neighborhoods became almost all black.  This was during the 1950's and 1960's.  A new phenomenon started in the 1970's and 1980's with a large influx of Latinos, many of whom were not Mexican but Central American (btw, this is why I reject all the idiots who call LA a "Mexican city").  The neighborhoods soon became split but then became almost all Latino.  You lived there during the time of great change.  But also being 1978, you were probably there during the pre-cocaine height of gang wars and gang violence.  This was probably pretty scary.  

                            Obama-Villaraigosa 08'!

                            by SoCalLiberal on Sun Sep 09, 2007 at 09:48:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  Cowardice (5+ / 0-)

          That sums it up.  If they were more aggressive about getting on TV or whatever, there'd be no fear.  A Republican will call a press conference to relate a fart and it'll be a media circus.  A Democrat could call a press conference for any number of things that went wrong, but instead, they write strongly worded letters/press releases.  Pffft. Is there no one in DC working for Democrats who know how to work the media?  

        •  They need to fear us more than they fear Repubs (0+ / 0-)

          They need to fear that we might decide that we don't want to be taken for granted and ignored, and that we will no longer contribute time and money to them. But they don't even care about that - it seems as though big business has decided to go with the Dems this time around, so they don't need our money as much anymore.

          My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

          by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:01:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it's fear of how the media will spin things (0+ / 0-)

          We have a serious problem with the SCLMedia.  What the hell can we do?  Seriously, what's the best use of my time to attack that problem?

          Obviously, if you're reading this, you've discovered that there are places to get information beyond the usual outlets, but we are still in a tiny minority.

          Al Gore would be finishing his second term right now if it weren't for the coordinated attacks of big media in 1999 and 2000, in particular the Washington Post and the "liberal" New York Times.

          Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

          by DrFood on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 11:27:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  KO, do you think (0+ / 0-)

        ....that what we're all really calling for here is a Labor Party? Or at least a strong Labor movement? That that kind of organization is the the only way to have lobbyist-level impact?

        The reason Europe has remained more socially progressive is that all the industrialized countries have strong labor parties. When a strike is called--it's not marginalized as it is here--it shuts down the country.

        I'm thinking pressure on the beltway dems and "taking it to the streets", while it should continue, is in fact keeping us from noticing  where we really need to focus the progressive class-conscious battle.

        In the forties there was even an Artists' Union, shockingly enough.

        We need a Joe Hill and a Mother Jones for Walmart, MacDonalds, home-makers, nurse's aides. Etc. Etc.

        If the belt way won't listen to us we need to take our energy and organizational time to another tactic.

        Daunting, I know, but I'm wondering how to analyze the problem and the solution differently.

    •  OK - so what ARE the reasons they are not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      hearing us, or acting on what 70% of Americans, not just the base, wants in regard to the war???

      You see, I doubt your assertion that they care. I think they take advantage of us, take us for granted, and do what is best for them and their corporate lords.

      That is what I think. And I see no Evidence to the contrary.

      My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

      by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:58:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish that I had your confidence, kid (8+ / 0-)

    But even politics at the local level is so disconnected from what goes on in Washington that the local political leaders are forced to hire lobbyists to talk to their representatives in Congress about the needs of local government. And these are the people who are at all of the campaign fund-raising events, have all of the contacts, and know all of the political operatives. They are local party leaders. It's hard to conceive of a wider gulf. What chance does the individual voter have in this environment? We seem to have come to a point in which we have no direct lines of communication with our elected representatives unless we represent a significant bloc of voters or a sizable campaign donation of six figures or more or we have hired an expensive lobbyist to talk to them. Write your congressman or Senator, usually by email, and you will most likely get an automated response or a tailored response based upon the subject matter that regurgitates the views of the representative on that particular subject. Politicians want your money, but not necessarily your opinions. You are unlikely to get a point by point response to your queries. I realize that our representatives have voluminous emails to respond to and that it is not always possible to give everyone an adequate response, but it seems that our representatives appear to be becoming more insulated from their constituents. Instead of talking to voters, politicians talk to pollsters and most polls deal with specific issues and don't necessarily provide a portrait of what voters consider the most important issues. I hope the political climate changes for the better, but it seems to be headed in the wrong direction.

    •  yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, MagisterLudi

      I sensed that phenomenon at YearlyKos.  Wouldn't it be great if elected officials or other bold-faced names would actually attend various panels, etc, instead of just zoom in and out for their own particular events? (I mean actually elected, not the candidates who did spend so much time with us, like Darcy.) I say that realizing and understanding that the Pres candidates couldn't have squeezed that in, and knowing that Congress was still in session -- BUT, what are the odds that our congressfolk would hang out with us if they could, rather than eat-and-run?

  •  Well, maybe they consider us kooks (11+ / 0-)

    But that doesn't explain (let alone excuse) that they ignore the political will of the majority of the people of this country. Nor does it explain that they do absolutely nothing to end the unmitigated disaster that is the Iraq war, even though most of them privately know that the situation will only continue to spiral out of control. You cannot explain these attitudes without assuming a hefty dose of cynicism.

    Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

    by brainwave on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:30:06 PM PDT

  •  If we do not try, we can never win. (11+ / 0-)

    Change will not make itself.  

    Jessee Jackson said it at the Democratic Convention in either 84 or 88: "Keep hope alive!"

    They win when people give up.  The only guarantee we have is that if we do not try, we will never make change, and they will win.

    So we have to try.

    Great diary, Kid Oakland.

    "The greatest anti-poverty movement in American history is the organized labor movement." John Edwards

    by TomP on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:37:15 PM PDT

  •  You're an inspiration, KO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kidspeak, dunderhead, St Louis Woman

    What a great piece of writing. Thank you.

  •  And when you do get organized (10+ / 0-)

    and get involved in politics, if you are so lucky as to climb the party hierarchy, do not let yourself be corrupted as well.  So many of those who are there now started out like us.  Look at John Kerry's Vietnam War activism, look at Hillary Clinton and her work on impeaching Richard Nixon.

    As for this:

    oftentimes when I talk politics with everyday people, eg., people like you and me, they say things that are utterly counter factual and make no sense.

    Funny thing is, the very same applies to our fine politicians, if you can actually pin them down and make them answer a question honestly.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:42:18 PM PDT

  •  You are exactly right (10+ / 0-)

    and it's very discouraging.  I had the opportunity to to speak one on one with two very senior, very powerful House members within the last couple weeks, and they both had essentially the same message. (I'm paraphrasing one of them here): "I do my job with the Constitution in one hand and a calculator in the other.  We cannot afford to take any action that will put our chances for the White House at risk."  

    And there you have it. I was devastated.  How many lives will be lost due to these political calculations?  How much more damage will they allow?  

    My husband and I were discussing this tonight and we have concluded that they don't care because where are we, lifelong, activist Democrats going to go?  They are willing to risk our vote, because, in their "calculations", it's not really much of a risk.        

  •  Yup.... (8+ / 0-) long as there is nowhere else to go,  progressives are the Dem establishment's bitches.

    The Dem establishment can openly denigrate progressives, because there isn't any downside to it.  Hell, they actually enjoy doing it, because it gives them a feeling of power while it also makes them look good in the eyes of the people who really matter: the Broders.

    From: Dem Establishment
    To: Progressives
    Subject: STFU

    Quit your bitching and just write us another check.  

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 09:50:45 PM PDT

  •  we do this by not giving up (6+ / 0-)

    by not talking about giving up.

    by not looking like we're giving up.

    by not acting like we're ever gonna give up.

    I'm sick of the GBCW stuff. (I mean, come on. You came here for a reason. Did you just forget, or isn't it important anymore? Do we play too rough?)

    Being an activist is like being the most excellent Fuller Brush salesman ever - you learn to love rejection. And you keep knocking on the next door and the next until you make a sale. Then you start again.

    thanks, kid. Very great diary.

    How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard
    Visit me at exme arden

    by exmearden on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:09:23 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like boo hoo to me. (6+ / 0-)

    In my experience, politicians at all levels are very attentive and responsive to activists who either (1) deliver votes or (2) influence those who do.

    Problem is, most activists can do neither, unless they are affiliated with a labor union or other significant organization.

    •  Always Been Some Confusion Among Activists (5+ / 0-)

      about the nature of the American system. Especially among intellectuals, who project out of their/our world a belief that it is some sort of problem-solving system constantly in search of ideas.

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

      by Gooserock on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:27:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No confusion here (19+ / 0-)

        on either front.

        My point is pretty simple: powerful forces within the Democratic Party don't want any significant debate on any substantive change in policy in Iraq and don't want root and branch reform within our party to happen any time soon.

        They are sitting on their hands.

        We in the grassroots/netroots have pretty clearly delivered votes and donors and early money, and, whether it is MoveOn or DFA, we have done some very serious and tactical grassroots training and organizing around party reform. We will do organizing around the upcoming Iraq votes.

        We're not stopping, either. PFAW's YEO program and Progressive Majority's efforts are part of this larger trend as well...and, quite often, tie into grassroots efforts.

        Within the local blog movement we are trading knowledge about fundraising and building local PACs and recruiting candidates and creating a space where folks interested in working on campaigns can trade info and find jobs.

        However, we currently have no way to impact a Steny Hoyer or a Rick Boucher or a John Dingell the way things are set up...especially the way they spring these things as fait accompli...

        and, no, imo, those guys don't give a hoot about us and never have.  Hence, the diary title.

        k/o: politics and culture

        by kid oakland on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:51:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree they don't care what we think now (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, Silverleaf, LaFajita

          but during the Vietnam war we Boomers were out in such huge numbers they had to at least listen to us while they maligned our characters. The draft made the difference then, the more body bags we saw of our contemporaries, the more enraged we became. And there were a LOT of us. There WAS power in numbers. There was real revolution, there were social changes...we mattered.

          A longtime political junkie and activist, I volunteered for my first Democratic political campaign in Santa Barbara while I was still in high school and got very involved over the next few years. Even then, there was a hierarchy to precinct work that made most of us who went door-to-door feel less than appreciated. But we were idealistic and we did it with gusto.

          Nowadays they just want my (our) money. Coincidentally I, replied to yet another DNC fundraiser letter tonight. It's the same thing I say to the DNC folks who call me all the time.  Not one more dime until our Democrats grow spines and stand up  to the the war criminals occupying our White House and STAND UP FOR US! And I always say a lot more, especially about the DLC...but I'm sure they don't give a shit.  

          Yeah, they don't give a hoot...but you're more polite than I...they really don't give a flying fuck. Money doesn't talk it screams. For a while there in the late 60s, early 70s it felt like we counted just a bit. Now, as you say, it's the netroots's a different grassroots ballgame. And still, they ignore their own peril.

          Would someone please tell that to the Democratic leadership?

          We do...and we always will...because we DO care and we won't stop until the day we die despite what spineless, lily livered, money-grubbing assholes our "party leaders" have become

          •  if numbers were what counted (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YellowDogBlue, LaFajita

            then the millions of americans out on the streets before the iraq war would have made a dent. we matched any vietnam-era protest, before the war even began.

            politicians knew better, they had special intelligence.

            what we haven't tried yet is violent disturbances and simmering mutiny. i know it's taboo and all, but that's the ingredient i see as being different between the two wars.

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:43:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Things off the table (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndySteve, LaFajita

          Pelosi (in)famously took impeachment and defunding the War off the table.

          We, here at dKos, have taken not supporting the Democratic Party off the table.

          No surprise how entrenched power has responded to those unilateral concessions.

          "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

          by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:42:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'll be damned. (14+ / 0-)

      Forget activists -- how about being responsive to constituents?

      How about a little courage over calculation?

      Damn me, I'm still so naive that I believe the principled can and should rule.

      Spread the word - bring your state and local news to ePluribus Media

      by wanderindiana on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:19:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  democracy is a dangerous and radical idea (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wanderindiana, seabos84

        dean is the last politician that i know who honestly valued it.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:43:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may want to reserve a spoonful of cynicism (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jxg, wu ming, wanderindiana, LaFajita

          Dean is FAR better than the all-calculator crowd in DC, but has his moments of buying into the "conventional wisdom."

          He "gets" much of what the beltway crowd doesn't get regarding the grassroots, but he supports the stance of no progress on Iraq until after 2008 and is fervently anti-impeachment.

          Reading between the lines, it seems that he sees keeping Bush in office as a rallying point for the anti-Bush vote. Ditto for the war as a rallying point for the anti-war vote. If Bush or the war are gone before '08, then those votes are no longer guaranteed.

          I say this because that's what I have heard from him. At a training session for party insiders in VT, he said he wouldn't try to stop the impeachment grassroots movement, but doesn't think impeachment is a good idea, because we're better off from an election standpoint if Bush stays, since people hate Bush so much. On the war, in his speeches, at least since June, he has focused on 2008 and how electing MORE Democrats will end it. He has not said it needs to end now, he has not said that we need timelines for withdrawal.

          The top-down push against grassroots action here in VT has been very strong. We're swimming upstream, and they've opened the floodgates to make swimming that much harder.  They seem more interested in proving their strength against the grassroots than in fighting the entrenched Republican Governor as he dismantles the programs and policies that make our state such a nice place to live.

          It's not pretty, and those observing from the sidelines are starting to walk away. Some good friends, who were STRONG Democrats 4 years ago, when I approached them last weekend to see if they'd help out on their town Democratic Committee, said, "Not under ANY circumstances. No. Never." That's an exact quote.

          Maybe things are different in other states, but maybe not. In NH, my life-long Republican father-in-law refuses to vote for any Republicans at this point, but equally telling (and a more recent development) his wife, an 80-yr-old life-long Democrat is furious - she can't understand why the Democrats are being "such cowards" <- her words, not mine. She may still vote for the Democratic nominee, but she may also just decide to stay home.</p>

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

          by mataliandy on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wearing Blinders on a Quest (6+ / 0-)

    I read a good book recently - A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge. In it a people of traders, the Qeng Ho, runs into a people of slave owning conquerors, the Emergents. One particular Qeng Ho has a dream of turning the traders into the backbone of a lasting interplanetary civilization so that civilizations in individual systems don't have to collapse anymore, thus falling under the rule of two bit tyrants. Now, the Emergents' slaves are kept in line through a kind of mind control called Focus - think of it as turning people into task oriented idiot savants. In Focus this particular Qeng Ho sees a way of making his dream become a reality. Saying more would spoil parts of the book later than the introduction, but suffice it to say that I think I see a similar pattern here.

    Politicians, especially Democrats, have to be so focused on their goals and ideals that they become willing to compromise everything else in an effort to achieve them. First and foremost, of course, is the thought that, "If I don't do it, who will?" so their primary objective is maintaining power - keeping their powder dry. Everything else, including their principles, their allies, and even "short term" setbacks to their goals takes a back seat. So when they sell their soul to lobbyists and big donors it isn't corruption, but a sacrifice they make for the greater good of keeping themselves in office so that they can achieve their goal.

    And therein lies the problem you address in your diary. Many of them care about us, but only in a kind of abstract way that advancing their ideals is caring for us, even if they have to use us as tools to do it. Along the way, however, the have forgotten that which motivated their ideal in the first place - us, as in We the People.

    It's not surprising that such a thing would happen, either, when you sit back and think about it. In order to get to where they are they have to navigate a grinding gauntlet that includes interacting with the "hoi polloi," especially the nutters. Persevering in the face of that probably requires one to develop an intense focus on one's goals, to the exclusion of all else. The sad thing is that I'm not sure how to change it. Perhaps requiring them to take time off? Not term limits, per se, but some kind of enforced sabbatical with no fundraising, living in their district, or something.

  •  Well, KID, we can change that... (6+ / 0-)

    By continually finding ways to let them know that we WON'T be taken for granted. One of those ways is to support the candidate for president we find most willing to stand up to the status quo, DLC-style inside-the-beltway pols. Same for Congressional candidates; if our views aren't being represented, we should find someone who does.

    They can try as they might to out-spend us, but if we turn out, they cannot out-vote us.

    "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."--Miguel De Santa Anna

    by GainesT1958 on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:41:29 PM PDT

  •  Glad someone finally pointed out the donkey... (16+ / 0-) the living room.  Even better that it's someone pretty much universally expected such as yourself.

    I differ with you only in your final conclusion, in that I don't think volunteering or working at any level will change anything.

    I had a lot to say here, but it's late and I'm tired, so let me hit the highlights:

    *-Electing more Democrats obviously doesn't help

    *-There are no such creatures as "better" Democrats
    (Weren't Jim Webb and Jon Tester supposed to save us all?)

    *-Yes, there are differences between the two parties, but both share the same fundamental assumptions regarding class, wealth, and the military-industrial complex.  It's these assumptions that stand in the way of real change.

    *-21st century Republicans are fascist scum. 21st century Democrats are Eisenhower Republicans.  These are far preferable to fascist scum, but I hope to be pardoned for the fact that I don't want to vote for Eisenhower Republicans, but for those who actually represent my views.  Wake me when FDR is resurrected. (Or, better yet, Eugene Debs or Huey Long)

    *-The briefest glance at history shows that, despite the valiant efforts of many brave and determined men and women, things have always essentially been this way with only the window dressing changed.

    *-With the mixture of irrevocable climate change, nuclear weapons and apocalyptic religious fundamentalism now fermenting its brew in the world at large, even if things could be done, they can only be done too late to prevent catastrophe.

    *-Here's the ultimate catch, leaving all my previous nonsense aside:  Republicans are so utterly atrocious, so appallingly gross and destestable, that Democrats know full well that they can do basically whatever they want and still get a huge, vast amount of "nose-holding" votes.  Thus, they have no real reason to listen to their base--they know they've got your vote locked up regardless.

    My plan is to do like Thomas Jefferson and retire to Monticello and solitude and quietly gaze down upon the world as it self-destructs and goes to hell.  Except I have neither wealth nor a mountain, so I guess a dark bedroom and a bottle of cheap hooch will have to do.

    (...guess I went off on that rant after all)

    "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey

    by Raybin on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 10:53:31 PM PDT

    •  I know how you feel Raybin..... (8+ / 0-)

      But I simply can't just give up. It is not in my nature. I sometimes get VERY down about all of this, but when I am on my deathbed, am I going to regret not doing more? What about the children of our children? Don't they deserve our blood in the fight for they're existance in a life of liberty? I HAVE to fight now for the little Steve that hasn't even been born yet. The depressing part of all of this is the grieving process involved in coming to accept the fact that, on a level of SELF-interest, our immediate future (the next 20-30 years) is already pretty much written. It is going to suck. I believe that we have to come to grips with the fact that we are not going to see significant change in our lifetimes no matter how hard we work. If we work EXTREMELY HARD we WILL see movement in this stagnant cesspool of lying liars and murderers that smile in your face as they are insuring that they will keep you down. But primarily, our reward will be to hand down the internalyzation of our "inalienable rights" as described in the Constitution of the United States to our children, and to give them the tools to continue the fight.
      But, after saying all of that, I believe that it is our sacred duty to BEGIN the fight for our children's children. We have grown up in an increasingly dysfunctional society of instant gratification that, on it's face, is predisposed to predict failure given the generational requirements necessary to save the Republic from the dark forces of the "new world order" and the "military industrial complex".
      On that note you said:

      *-21st century Republicans are fascist scum. 21st century Democrats are Eisenhower Republicans.

      I would only like to point out two things in response to that quote:
      1.) At this point, Ike looks pretty good compare to what is out there.
      2.) Hillary, we should remember, was a "Goldwater Girl".

      As tempting as it is to give up and to just curl up with some Guiness and a fifth of Irish Whiskey, if we care about the future generations, we have to put down the bottle and accept our role. Our grandkids are depending on it.

      Great Diary KO.

      Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ..John F. Kennedy

      by irishamerican on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:24:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well said.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        babaloo, irishamerican

        ...and it's the only thing that keeps me going.

      •  Well, this comment pretty much nails it, (0+ / 0-)

        right down to the bottle(s) of Guinness. Thanks.

        Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
        --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

        by dallasdave on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:59:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm glad you have hope (4+ / 0-)

        I have none and see nothing on the horizon that could ever rekindle it.  Nor do I see much worth fighting for.  If you do, I am extremely glad for you.

        I also wish you and all others who feel like you do the best of luck.  I'd be overjoyed beyond words to be wrong.

        "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey

        by Raybin on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:08:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I can't give up either (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because I look at my great-nieces and think about what's facing them -- and I look at my other nieces and nephew who may someday produce more children for me to try and keep track of (my oldest great-niece is in 8th grade, ACK!).

        Maybe we started this way too late for ourselves -- but if we work hard and start from the bottom with quality candidates in local and state positions (and also work on real campaign finance reform to level the playing field), then maybe those great-nieces (and any future great-nieces and great-nephews) will reap the benefits of a sane government. It's worth a shot -- hell, if it's a choice between trying to make a difference and sitting on my fat ass, I'll do my best to choose the former...

        "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

        by Cali Scribe on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:21:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nice to see you man (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Raybin, wu ming, shayera, JuliaAnn

      I really miss you and your words here.  

    •  Holy crap I'm stupid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I just re-read this and I meant to say "universally RESPECTED" not "universally EXPECTED".  Yeesh.

      "A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government." --Edward Abbey

      by Raybin on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:08:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Brilliantly put, Rabin n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:45:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone is moving down a peg. (6+ / 0-)

    All my family were always volunteers and donors to Dems. No more. Volunteerism is too much for us at this point, Donating is on rapid decline. My friend who was a donor called today and said enough -- no more money. The Dems may see the influx of Indies as a plus, but it could come at the lose of the base. The Indies only know that they were burned by the Repubs and have yet to feel the burn of the Dems. Dodd and Edwards speak for us now -- don't vote for compromise. Dems need to see that there is no middle at this point.

  •  Sounds like (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kidspeak, adigal, dunderhead, tcdup

    it's time for a few primary challengers to the leadership.

  •  they have the luxury of not caring about us (9+ / 0-)

    because all we have to threaten them are carrots.

    we will see movement when they fear us more than they fear the media saying mean things about them. making ourselves useful to the party is one part of it, but without being able to hold something credible over their heads, we don't really give them much reason to give a shit.

    dean scared them in '03. he does not scare them now. not ponly does jerry mcnerney not scare them anymore, jerry mcnerney isn't even scared of us.

    contract negotiations look a lot different if the employer thinks the union can and will strike if lines are crossed. while i don't think that denial of service is the only or even the best way to get their attention like a 2x4 upside the head, something has got to change in how we're going about this.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:18:29 PM PDT

    •  They see us as tiny rodents. (0+ / 0-)

      And it's true. But we're millions of tiny rodents with checkbooks and good, hard, unmanaged information. We're mammals. They're the things Adam and Eve rode to church 6000 years ago.

      The Bush regime is the asteroid.

      Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
      --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

      by dallasdave on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:03:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As someone who's probably more of an insider than (8+ / 0-)

    most here, this diary is spot on and a great insightful piece of work.  The problem with the Beltway is that it narrows the mind and makes you forget why you wanted to be there in the first place.  Its not that the people there are nescesarily bad, though some are, it's that DC is its own little insular, book-smart, affuent world that's out of touch with what's really going on in this country.  Iraq is but one example of this.

    There's a lot that I miss about DC, and I'd like to go back eventually, but I hope I don't forget what I just said when I get there.  And if I do happen to forget, I'm sure there are plenty of people here who will remind me.

    And, I think the advice about getting involved locally is really great.  For one thing, the next 10 years are going to be transformative in the Party as the baby boom generation that has been dominant in party affairs for three decades moves on.  Much of the new leadership will come from places like this.

  •  Darcy Burner is now unopposed (7+ / 0-)
    for her district's Dem nomination, because her primary opponent just dropped out and endorsed her after last week's Netroots fundraiser.  (At least I think there weren't any other opponents).  Similarly we helped Jerry McNerney beat back Steve Filson in the hotly contested primary to run against Pombo in 2006, plus we helped Jon Tester and Jim Webb get their nominations.  And don't forget Ned Lamont beating Lieberman in the CT Sen primary!  That was probably the most important single race of 2006 since it set the tone for the general election seasons, where the Dems whacked the GOP and took majorities in both houses of Congress.  So we demonstrably, indisputably can make a difference in candidate selection.

    What we need next is more raw shows of power where we primary out DINO incumbents like Lieberman (and make no mistake, there will be no more elections like that where the GOP torpedos its own candidate in favor of an ex-Dem).  Those are the most important elections for the netroots, both to replace reactionaries with progressives and to widen the majority.

    And don't forget that a wide Dem majority is the last thing the DINOs want.  A wide majority  means the leadership can tell a DINO getting too Bush-oid, your seat is expendable.  The Bush Dogs get the influence that they have, precisely because the Dem majority is so narrow.  So they have every reason to want to keep it that way, and they must be thwarted.

    Hawkish on impeachment.

    by clyde on Thu Sep 06, 2007 at 11:54:43 PM PDT

  •  But we are the New Base (8+ / 0-)

    of the Democratic Party.  A fact, that in your subdued state of mind about the realities of current politics, you are not focusing on.  

    The demographics of the "netroots" are not among the traditional demographic "base" of the Dem Party (ethnic and blue collar).  This new base (we) are more educated, more affluent, and much more wired into the machinery of popular culture, than any period since Roosevelt, and certainly since the party became the de facto home of "progressives" in America.  

    People like us were freaks and outliers in the 60s.  Legitimate "fringe" in the numerical sense.

    But for a variety of reasons unique to this moment in American history, the formerly "fringe" wing of the Democratic party has had its stature grow, its base broaden, and its power within popular culture ascend to almost "mainstream" levels.  Levels of acceptance and power within the culture it has not enjoyed since maybe the 30s.  Especially among younger voters.  

    Naturally it will take awhile for that demographic shift to start showing up as elected officials, and finally old incumbants.  (There are still some Roosevelt Democrats in Congress.)  

    The time will come.  Especially if we end up with a Democratic House, Senate and Presidency next year. When the "new base" will be undeniable.  Then we may see the "attitude" shift people have been hoping to see around here.  

    If there really is a Dem "shutout" thrown in the next election, we should see the "new base" begin to manifest itself in positions of real power in this country.  

    The answers to many of the questions you imply, in this wonderfully thought out piece about the "progressive wing's" future within the Party, should pretty much be apparent by the end of next year.  

    •  interesting (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jxg, Kidspeak, adigal, barbwire, dallasdave

      So essentially what you're saying is that the different cultural movements of the sixties have grown so broad that they are already or will represent the dominant ethos of Americans?  That makes a lot of sense to me.  The counter culture as the culture.  Awesome.  

      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 one outer on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 12:44:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you're underestimating the number of blue collar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      adigal, seabos84

      democrats out there. it might seem like everyone's a white collar professionl here on dKos, but there are a hell of a lot of foplks with modest means that make up the backbone of this party's voter base. any path forward has got to make common cause with them to be successful.

      surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

      by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:47:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, EXCEPT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        part of that demographic (the white working class) has been trending Republican since things like civil rights and affirmative action became hallmarks of this party's commitment to democracy.  They've been "lost" as a "base" for some time.

        As demographics shift (America gets more "brown") and the economics get tougher in this country, there is going to continue to be a long period of blame and anger among "white working class" voters.  It will take time before they realize (again) which party has their true interests at heart.  I'm afraid that demographic will continue to be won over by Republican appeals to racism and selfishness for awhile.  Until the white working class voters come back to the Democratic party, the "netroots" demographic will become increasingly important as a "base."  

        •  um, not all working class americans are white (0+ / 0-)

          but even so, one of the strongest predictors of voting behavior remains income and education. college educated whites still lean republican, for all the talk of a netroots "base."

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:07:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  An anecdote about Democratic Leader Howard Dean (18+ / 0-)

    At Yearly Kos, right after Howard Dean's keynote address there was a DFA "Grassroots Victory" meeting.  It was one of those things where we were just using the opportunity of a national gathering to check in and find out what folks were doing on the grassroots level across the country.

    So, we were going around the room, introducing ourselves, saying where we were from, and what we or our local DFA group had done over the past year.

    Shortly after I gave my little spiel (wallflower that I am, I was sitting up at the front of the room and was one of the first to speak) Howard Dean strolled in. He must have come through the back service corridors, because he entered at the front of the room, rather than the back. I had never before seen him without any advance people, alone and casual.

    He sits down on a chair along the side of the room, listening to people talking about organizing voter registration drives, running for school board, or helping electing the first Democratic officeholder in their community since whenever... story after story of people volunteering their time and energy.

    DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes whispers something to Howard - I didn't catch it, but I'm pretty sure he was asking if Dean wanted to say anything to the group. I did catch Dean's reply: "No... I'm really enjoying this". And that was obvious. Dean was lit up and glowing.

    I can tell you from direct personal experience that there is one Democratic leader who genuinely understands and appreciates the grassroots.

  •  I don't care that they don't care about us... (5+ / 0-)

    ...Who's sitting at an 18% approval rating? Congress, not us. Who's Mister 28%:? Bush, not us. Let them take us for granted. Let them dismiss us. We in the blogosphere made this party what it is today. If it wasn't for us they wouldn't have a majority today(the power of which, that they still haven't figured out how to use). And it's a long, long way until November 7, '08.

    I've got a surprise, that may not be a surprise since KO mentioned the phenomenon tonight, this party may be in for the shock of it's life the day after the elections, if they continue to anger the anti-war wing of our party even further, by accepting the Bush meme of continuing to occupy Iraq. I for one, am not going to support ANY candidate that stand with us and FIGHT to end this war of aggression and occupation for a false mission!

    Nobody gets an "automatic" vote or endorsement from me. And they better not take our votes or support for granted, if they know what's good for them!

    08.04.07 It took the Titanic longer to sink than for the 110th Congress to surrender to Bush.

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:06:32 AM PDT

  •  wait, there's a Democratic party still? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lupin, wu ming, Pesto, Northstar, LaFajita

    No way.

    Seriously, when do the rich elites ever give a crap what the poor peasantry has to say, until we're at their gates with loaded weapons and lighted torches?

    You know what the problem is?  With everything?  It's that you all refuse to challenge or at least make a meaningful critique the goddamned system, the one called Capital, that's responsible for all the heinous deceit, torture and murder going on in this world at the micro and macro levels since white people figured out you could have phony paper money with no gold standard (1913) as long as you kept the population fucked up enough on cigarettes or booze or drugs or television or apathy or whatever was on hand so that no one would notice.

    The wretched system, the one that will surely hammer the last nail into the coffin of this planet, is as much of a sacred cow to you all as it is to the staunchest, most backwards "conservative" that ever dragged their knuckles on the pavement.  I get so tired reading all this shit about how much money we're raising for this one or that one, so this one or that one is gonna go to fucking Washington and get the money outta politricks once and for all.  

    This shit is such a racket, for real.  Look at all the so-called "progressive" non-profits, raising all these millions of dollars for what?  To solve the problems?  If they ever did that, those executive directors and their pals wouldn't have jobs.

    When ideas become framed as commodities, they must focus their content on "competing" in the "marketplace," and their focus can no longer be on what made them worth listening to in the first place, this thing called t-r-u-t-h, independent from $$$$$.  Once that line is crossed there's no going back, and those ideas aren't ideas anymore, they are advertisements.  Advertisements with no product.  Social Justice, as an ideal in all its forms, is no different and is not exempt from this pitfall.

    Everybody sits on here and whines, oooohhhhhhhh, why? why? why? is everything so fucked up????  Why are the children starving, the people dying, the lies appealing, the world that might be worth living in vanishing from under our feet like digital quicksand?  But when it comes to even trying to make some sort of gesture at what is really wrong, the way our system of value has come to emphasize quantity with no hint of quality, no one says a word because we all gotta eat tomorrow so it has to be this way.

    Trying to make a Just world happen under Capital is like trying trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an anvil.

    I'm sad.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:16:00 AM PDT

  •  Forget the Dems...for now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Trying to get their attention and push them to take stronger stands is not working, for the reasons that you ably describe. They know that, barring major and unlikely developments, they're likely to sweep the elections next year and have a Democratic administration and larger Democratic majorities in both houses. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN. So while they need us to do the GOTV footwork, they don't need or care for our opinions and ideas. They will do what they feel is most likely to get them this huge win, and nothing that they feel might threaten it. Sure, some Dems will take principled stands and do the right thing. But there simply aren't enough of them to make enough of a difference. Maybe someday, but not now.

    So I say forget the Dems, as they're simply not going to change as a result of our pressuring them, and let's go after the Repubs, who, after all, are far more responsible for this war and all the other problems we have than the Dems, and have far more to answer for than them. And they're also a lot more vulnerable and scared than the Dems are--for good reason--and thus more likely to respond to outside pressure. We need to shift our focus from haranguing, criticizing and attacking Dems, which will lead nowhere but endless frustration on our part, and towards haranguing, criticizing and attacking Repubs, in their districts, to make them crap their pants and fear for their futures. They are vulnerable nearly EVERYWHERE, and the more vulnerable we make them feel, the more they will break, and the more they break, the easier and thus more likely it will be for Dems to take a meaningful stand against the war.

    Enough fighting our side. We need to fight the other side--the real reason for our troubles. In a perfect world, our side would do the right thing. In the REAL world, we need to make it easier for them, by going after the other side--who make it easier for us by the day.

    •  I am amazed at the people here who think (5+ / 0-)

      sweeping in '08 is a done deal. Lots of independents and Republicans will not vote for Hillary. Lots of people, like my husband, who is totally disgusted at what he calls the BS of the Dems will not be motivated to go out and vote unless I really force the issue. Why should he? What will Hillary or Obama do differently? He has had almost a year to see that all they do is talk, and then, when the time comes to be a leader, they slink away in a sea of excuses.

      2008 is NOT a lock. Giuliani, Thompson or Huckabee would all have a great chance of defeating Hillary, perhaps Obama, probably not Edwards, I am thinking. The overconfidence and arrogance of those who think it is a done deal scares the hell out of me.

      My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

      by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:33:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not a done deal (0+ / 0-)

        but larger Dem majorities are all but certain, and a Dem president much more likely than not. None of the likely Repub candidates are as solid as they might look right now. Their policies will offend either the Repub base or swing voters, and they'll find it hard to attract over 50% of the vote. Many voters to the right of traditional Dem voters will stay home and not vote out of disgust.

        And they are all vulnerable to attack ads by our candidate, each for their own reasons. Rudy would, I believe, self-destruct, having some serious anger management issues and major problems regarding his 9/11 performance--the fireman and police unions will absolutely demolish him. Thompson will be revealed to be a do-nothing rubber stamp Repub buffoon. Huckabee's too far-right to be electable in today's political climate. Only Romney, I think, stands a chance of winning, being the slickest and most disciplined Repub. But even he could be beaten by highlighting his incessant flip-flopping.

        No, it's not a done deal, and no one should rest easy right now--and no one is doing so, I believe, and certainly not me. But it would also be unrealistic to deny that our election prospects are looking good right now, and are something to protect and build upon.

    •  No, the Dems are contributing to the deaths... (4+ / 0-)

      ...of our troops as we speak.  And they are complicit in keeping this criminal administration alive and well.

      We will NOT forget the Dems.

    •  whoa! (0+ / 0-)

      If they vote money to continue the War, they are doing it to protect their voting record and their chances of election.  I'll vote against them, Democrat or Republican.  

      •  Politics is a slimy business (0+ / 0-)

        we're not electing saints, but politicians, which often means choosing the lesser of two evils. Doesn't have to, but usually does. To opt out of voting, or hope for a non-existant or vote for unviable "third choice", is irresponsible, as we saw in '00.

        Symbolism and purity do not mix well with politics.

  •  Great diary, KO. Helps somewhat with my pessimism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, Sharon in MD

    I agree about the need to act locally. However, I'm in a very solid Democratic city, district, etc. And it is corrupt, also, and hideously divided by race and income. I can't say at all that corruption is a Republican habit - I think it is hard for entrenched powers to keep the corruption out, whatever their party.

    Fighting the complacency of the city and state Dems seems like pushing the great stone up the hill and seeing it roll back again, even farther away.  

    There is this assumption that Labor (this is Michigan), will get out the vote - but I know that my very large union has not very much influence on its membership.

    I think there is a very good chance that a Repub can win this state in 2008 - for the presidency and the governor's office.

    It is tiring just to think of what needs to be done.

  •  Remember Obey's "Idiot Liberals" Comment? (6+ / 0-)

    Back in March, responding to pressure to actually do something about getting us out of Iraq, Congressman David Obey (D-WI) called anti-war activists "idiot liberals" for criticizing him and not understanding DC politics. According to Obey, we all just don't understand that you have to destroy the village to save it fund the war to end it.  A typical example of what KO is talking about here.

    What's even more depressing is that a lot of the netroots rose to Obey's defense. Here, for example, is kossack Big Tent Democrat, blogging at the (typically misnamed) Talk Left:

    As one of the "idiot liberals" (actually I am not a liberal at all, I'm an anti-Debacle Centrist) Obey references, I want to take a moment to defend Congressman Obey. Was he uncivil? Of course. Was he inappropriate?" Perhaps. But do you think Obey does not care? Or does not want to end the Debacle? Of course he does.

    Well, actually, I'm not at all sure that David Obey actually wants to get out us out of Iraq. If he does, he's utterly incompetent. Either way he has to go.

    Big Tent Democrat (and I don't mean to pick on BTD who is hardly unique and is part of a much larger problem) highlights another aspect of this whole problem: it is about ideology, not just attitude (so I guess I disagree with KO a bit).

    Read the start of that BTD quote again:

    As one of the "idiot liberals" (actually I am not a liberal at all, I'm an anti-Debacle Centrist)...

    Why do liberals, let alone actual leftists, expect centrists to do the right thing?  Why should we be surprised when centrists are cheered by Obey-like outbursts at the DFHs?  

    At any rate, the bottom line is that we have now tried six months of the supposed David Obey approach to getting us out of Iraq...which, frankly, I believe is actually the David Obey approach to convincing Democratic voters to support the war by indirection. Whatever it is, it's clearly not getting us out of the war.

    It's time for the David Obeys of Congress to start listening to the "idiot liberal" DFHs.  Or it's time for them to go "home" (which usually turns out to be a DC think tank or K Street firm...but at this point, I'd take that).

    This nicely summarizes what's wrong with American political life today. (Source)

    by GreenSooner on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:24:28 AM PDT

  •  Beautiful diary... (6+ / 0-)

    Just what I needed to start my day.

    I was there on June 23, 2003 when Dean gave his Great American Restoration speech in Burlington.

    The history of our nation is clear: At every turn when there has been an imbalance of power, the truth questioned, or our beliefs and values distorted, the change required to restore our nation has always come from the bottom up from our people.

                                      Image Hosted by

    "The government is us, you and me." - TR

    by Chance the gardener on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:05:04 AM PDT

  •  My Mom (0+ / 0-)

    Won't even buy me a donut.

    Are You Voting Dem In 2008?

    by Edgar08 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:08:38 AM PDT

  •  What's happening in Vermont? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon in MD

    They had a pretty good impeachment thing going.  And only one state has to succeed to force an impeachment investigation -- right?

  •  The first thing is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...we primary at least one person ASAP who's been pro-war funding/anti-impeachment.

    Maybe the rest will take a hint from that.

  •  It's worse than not caring. It's abuse of power. (6+ / 0-)

    They've effectively removed the impeachment clause from the Constitution and are supporting an illegal, criminal war, resulting in the murder of our own citizens (the troops).

  •  Something interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It strikes me how often in discussions of the Republicans need to satisfy their base, particularly the evangelical crowd, the pundits raise the point that this crowd is always in danger of just not showing up at the polls.

    I don't think I've heard much mention of any significant chunk of the Democratic base threatening the same. It's hard to nudge the leadership if you don't have any leverage...

    "Almost every desire a poor man has is a punishable offense." - Louis Ferdinand Celine

    by goneblank on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:42:10 AM PDT

  •  Welcome to politics (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, adigal, LaFajita

    Anyone that thinks a pol cares about them is extremely misguided. A pol cares about the next election - period.

    This is OK though, at least it is if the people do not have an over sentimental view of the process.

    I am relatively new to the USA and am stunned at how politicians are regarded here.

    Let me explain something:

    Politics does not pay well.
    It is, contrary to popular opinion, very hard work and very long hours.
    Only a borderline egomaniac/sociopath would be interested in it as a career.

    Here is the real shocker for many here
    Et al.
    All care about there own careers more than they care about you and this is not a bad thing.

    Impeachment is not an option ........It is a duty.

    by stevej on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:48:25 AM PDT

  •  Stop sending checks for a month. (8+ / 0-)

    That will get their attention even in a so-called blowout year.

    Try two months. even three.

    They'll figure out what we're worth in a hurry.

    What this war needs is more cowbell.

    by cskendrick on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:55:02 AM PDT

  •  This split also exists within campaigns (4+ / 0-)

    You have the ground troops, there in Iowa and NH and other places, setting up the phone banks and canvassers, and the national people who are about image and packaging and strategy.  I saw what a disaster that split was nearly 30 years ago when I volunteered for the Kennedy campaign.  

    I was with the ground troops who never slept, never had any money, and who knew the voters.  Then I ended up with the national people who were well fed and who were compensated.  They were nice enough but the passion was missing.  It was all about positioning themselves to be in the better state for the next round of primaries.  So much was left undone by them.  And yet they were the ones sleeping in hotels while ground troops slept in nests of our dirty clothes on the floors of offices and storefronts.

    Yet I still have hope all these years later.  The pushback is getting louder and harder and more insistent.  They won't be able to hold out.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:04:49 AM PDT

  •  Excuuuuse me... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paradox, adigal, Sharon in MD

    but Hillary is as much of a 'lock' for the nomination as my foot. And that is to say: she is not a lock. Obama just scored Oprah's endorsement, Edwards may get the the ball rolling with a win in Iowa, and nevermind that Gore is inching ever closer to crapping on everyone's parade by cannonballing into the disturbingly-yellowish swimming pool that is our primary field. With a prior nomination under his belt, an Oscar in one hand, and possibly a Nobel Prize in the other. I like him.

    The race is incredibly fluid (no pun intended), and no candidate is a lock.

  •  In A Pinch, We're Good Volunteers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, adigal, dunderhead, LaFajita

    They like it when we show up to cheer, stuff envelopes, make calls.... and hold the preprinted signs.  And don't forget to contribute by clicking that link.

    Just as the GOP has its potemkin village Republican scenes, and they are really really professional about it on a grand scale, we too have our own version of the potemkin village Democrats.  At least we have a leadership who, without really thinking about it, want that image.  They just don't want our real opinions all that badly.

    Some of this, unfortunately, is probably the nature of human organizations.  But, of course, it is profoundly disappointing.

    •  We are becoming the anti-abortion crowd (5+ / 0-)

      Used over and over again for our votes and hard work, and once the politicians get what they want (POWER) they ignore us, push us aside, treat us like the crazy aunt in the attic.

      Why is this so hard to admit?? Let's look in the mirror, folks!!

      My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

      by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:44:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's too much of a rejection of core existence (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, adigal, dunderhead

        Why is this so hard to admit?? Let's look in the mirror, folks!!

        Being used and ignored means that representative democracy is a joke. Being abused and lied to by your Party means there is no political structure for one to work in if you reject it.

        I am in not in denial, and I have loudly proclaimed I will...not...enable....pyschosis.  That's what it is, it's sick, and I actually become part of the problem by handing over my money and votes.  I won't give any more money (perhaps to this Darcy demi-god everyone raves about) and I'm trapped into giving my vote again.

        I've also left my people behind, the children.  I doubt I'll continue that, it's why I'm typing now.  If so many people were not hurting so terribly I would not be here.

        It's a terrible path of pain and betrayal, with nothing left but failure of duty and The Shiteye from all your old friends.  Most people just won't do it.

        •  I have always wanted to know the truth (5+ / 0-)

          As an ex-Republican, it took me many years to see and admit the truth - that very few representatives represent us. I thought the Democrats might be different. But they are not.

          Now, I sound like I have given up, and if a repub is elected in '08, I will make some alternate plans for my family. But, I will work to try to get some real progressives elected. My district, she is new and NOT a progressive, but I will seek out other districts and contribute to them. Call for them, even. But not for any presidential candidate who refuses to listen to 70% of the American people. No way.

          And how in the hell can the Dems be afraid of being blamed for another terrorist attack??? Bush has been in power for almost 7 years, he hasn't found Osama bin Laden, and the DEMS are afraid?? If I were Obama or Clinton, I would talk about Osama every single day, and the failure of the Republicans to find the man who killed our citizens.

          My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

          by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:10:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll post on this at The Left Coaster (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adigal, BigBite, dunderhead, LaFajita

            The very condensed answer as to why Democrats are afraid is that they think they have no media voice, no way at all to influence the narrative.

            If Bush says they are responsible for death and terrorism it will become concrete truth because FOX and the corporate vultures who dare to call themselves journalists will make it so.  Period.  Then their careers will be over.

            They think they can't fight back, they know they can't.  It's ridiculous, but that's what it is.

            •  If they want media (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              adigal, dunderhead, LaFajita

              here's what they should do: Have Pelosi and Reid and whoever else dares to think out of the box make a passionate statement that they will be sitting on the steps of the Capitol until a binding bill implements a troop withdrawal timetable, habeas corpus is reinstated and FISA is put back in charge of electronic surveillence approval. Explain why in no uncertain terms and spell out how and why the Repubs want eternal war and are dead set on destroying the Constitution and civil liberties.

              Then invite anyone and everyone from everywhere to come join them on the steps if they agree.

              Imagine the outpouring of people from all over the country who would flock to DC and be amazed and energized and wildly exhuberant. How could the sour puss fascists counter that? Or the media jugheads?

  •  We are of like minds tonight (4+ / 0-)

    I just wrote a diary stating I will not spend one penny supporting any Dem who will not unequivocally call for the end of the war:

    As to them winning the presidency in '08 with Hillary, I would not be too sure about that. Most independents and moderate Repubs I know WILL NOT vote for her. Period.

    My file on Adigal: Another one of them left wing girls way too smart for our own good. Her phones need to be monitored.

    by adigal on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:28:46 AM PDT

  •  a KO by KO (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mftalbot, boofdah

    good job Kid and you have further inspired me to stay local and be locally involved ....

    note to susan s - i promise :)

  •  Give up hope. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Face the ugly truth. This country will continue on much the same path as its been on since 1980...a steady path downward with a ruling class far disconnected from ordinary folks.

    The Democrats deserve to lose the next election, and this country deserves whatever happens as a consequence.

    "Rhymes overflowin', gradually growin', everything is written in a code so it co-in- cide"- Rakim

    by brooklynbadboy on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:57:37 AM PDT

  •  In terms of the general election (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    there is no way in hell that there will be a Hillary/Obama ticket.  Too risky for turning out the Republican base.  Sad, but true......

  •  not 'more sincerity' but A DOWNSIDE is needed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, dunderhead, tcdup

    dont want to burst anyones bubble BUT do you really think the dc politicians dont think we are sincere?  its not 'more sincerity" that is needed, its a downside to ignoring us that is needed and we offer NO Downside at all.

    unless and until we back up our "sincerity" with hard and fast threats to cut off capitulators from the growing grassroots movement aka 'the netroots' no amount of action on our part will make one iota of difference in DC.

    we demand action, they say 'ok yeah sure, now send us mo money so we can enlarge our majority" and then WE get the old 'are hands are tied, we need more money to elect more democrats and THEN we can do what you want"   its our own 'friedman type unit"  its always 'wait till next time" with our own party these days but the capitulation keeps happening...because they see NO DOWNSIDE to ignoring our will.

    unless and until we show the democrats that there IS a downside to continuing to play us for saps and suckers the games will continue.

    my message to Democrats in DC:

    "either END THIS WAR or we will show you the door"


    by KnotIookin on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:12:30 AM PDT

    •  Good point on consequences (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dunderhead, LaFajita

      but I think it's important to think beyond shuffling the guest list at the next "535 Most Important Nimrods in the Country" party.

      As far as Institutional DC is concerned, even big turnover of Reps and Senators is acceptable.  What causes major worry is a serious threat to the system as a whole.

      That can, IMHO, involve electoral politics.  But it can't be confined to it, for 2 reasons.  First, because elected office-holders correctly recognize the huge advantage they have in defending their own power at the ballot box.  And second, because systems are threatened in general by forces from without, not from within.

      In general, I think it makes more sense to just spend much less time on electoral politics, rather than digging in deeper with a plethora of primary challenges.  But I also think that mass, direct action challenging Capital and the institutions of American power has about as much chance of catching fire in this country as soccer has of becoming our #1 spectator sport.

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:38:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the thing they need to realize... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, dunderhead, Snud

    The current climate looks like a blow out for Democrats in the House and the Senate in '08. Hillary looks like a lock for the nomination. If Clinton chooses Obama as a running mate there is no way in Hades that we won't have a massive turn out of our base for election day 2008. We Democrats are raising money hand over fist. Lobbyists and corporate dollars are coming to us. Party identification is up. Demographics are trending our way. The President and the Vice President are at extraordinarily low poll numbers. There is simply no good news for Republicans right now on any level.  (Well, except for that pesky situation in the Supreme Court.) There is not a Ralph Nader in sight.

    This is all, indeed, the case--today.

    But it is not of the Democrats' doing. Just a little while ago the Democrats were adrift and helpless in the "post-9/11 world". Thing is: they haven't changed. They're still the same hapless "pre-9/11" (but more importantly: pre-Republican jettison of all ethics and morals in the quest for ultimate and irrevocable victory) Democrats that they always were. It's the Republicans who have changed and who have made all this possible--and, indeed, not just possible but actual.

    Democrats can just do nothing and ride the wave as long as Republicans keep screwing up absolutely anything and everything in the entire world. Now it certainly doesn't look like they are going to stop doing that, but they could.

    There's an idea in Chess (stemming from a general strategy in game theory) that there are two kinds of "traps": the first is one where, no matter what the opponent does, you will end up ahead if you create the trap. The second kind is one where you will end up ahead as long as the opponent plays poorly, but if the opponent plays well then you will only end up even or maybe even behind! The general strategy is that, even if the potential gains are much greater for the second kind of trap, you should prefer the first kind. If your opponent plays poorly you will win anyway, but if your opponent plays well only the first kind will give you an advantage.

    The Democrats, right now, are in full-on "let's hope they don't stop stabbing themselves in the face!" mode.

    I worry that this is not enough.

    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:39:20 AM PDT

  •  Primary ALL The Fuckers. Jim McDermott is my (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dunderhead, dallasdave, tcdup

    critter, and last fall he stood in front of the 36th legislative district democrats (where I am a precincet committee officier) and gave us the conventional wisdom speil about why impeachment was a waste of time for ... nancy's white gloved fingers.

    so WHAT grand strategy great tactics were there instead of impeachment.  I'm willing to defer to the pros


    we got the power ONLY if we stop being fucking chickenshits ourselves AND

    only work for
    only give money to

    people who are fighting for us by leading !

    of course we have to be labelled kooks who back losers ...

    that way we'll support fucking crap candidates who are 'electable' !!!!!

    and who fucking lose and who fucking sell us out.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:52:37 AM PDT

  •  Internet should diminish the importance of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, adigal, dallasdave

    Washington Democrats.

    •  Ignorance of the diff between chatter and action (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Knowledge by itself does nothing. You still have to crush their nuts or ovaries in a vise of career extinction or unpleasantness to the extent of withdrawal from politics. Bush and Rove are masters of this art. goes without saying. Learn how to do it.

      As long as it's brownskinned people who don't attend church and speak english, "nothing is off the table". Including nukes.

      THAT has to change among Bush Dog Dems,Bludogs or whatever weaselly expression they hide behind.

      America has been stolen, your citizenship is a hollow fraud, and you have no power. What will YOU do to reverse these hurts, crimes, outrages?

      by Pete Rock on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:38:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wittenburg & Blop-O-Popes (0+ / 0-)

    Wittenberg is frequently credited with unleashing the Protestant Reformation, and

    just like here in Blog-O-Topia

    all kinds of people are argueing over what he said and what he meant

    that he being Martin Luther

    of course, Luther was argueing about another he

    the Pope

    and another he


    and everybody argues about what he said and what he meant.

    blog-o-topia is gonna be successful at holding these fuckers accountable if we make it easier for millions to easily participate.  

    if blog-o-topia is gonna be about WHO is the Blop-O-Pope,
    and What did the Blop-O-Pope Say
    and what did the Blop-O-Pope mean
    and my Blop-O-Pope is better than your Blop-O-Pope

    then we won't accomplish shit.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:15:52 AM PDT

  •  All true ko (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid oakland, dallasdave, LaFajita

    But there is something more. The "electeds" don't know how to govern effectively in the media/activist culture of the 21st century. Over the last six years, the democrats in congress failed to act as an effective opposition party, and now when they control the House and nominally the Senate, they can't act effectively in opposition to an out-of-control executive.

    But also, democratic activists, such as many of ourselves and our colleagues, can't work with elected democrats well either. Here in Montana, many liberal activists have written off Governor Schweitzer already as being "too conservative", or "not a real liberal".

    We are always waiting for the perfect political savior rather than working better with what elected dems we have. And we are never going to get that perfect savior.

    Who will stop this war of lies? Keith Olbermann May 23rd, 2007

    by Ed in Montana on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:16:05 AM PDT

  •  2008 is a lock (7+ / 0-)

    Just like Humphrey in 1968.

    Same attitudes, same people, older but more polite populace.

    •  Funny! (0+ / 0-)

      As a high school Young Republican, I stuffed envelopes, knocked on doors and built the balloon drop for the rally in Memorial Hall.  As a reward, I met Ted Agnew and was taken out for a steak dinner at the Rafters.

      My parents voted for Nixon.  I was so happy when he won.  

      Thanks for reminding me of the Happy Warrior and how he didn't win.

  •  If your not involved in your local party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't want tho hear any whining about the "Leadership".

    It is a simple matter in some areas but a dangerous career choice in others.

    You have to choose. If we choose local party officials who are willing to represent our point of view, it eventually rolls up the chain.

    It is not a fast process though and I can understand why many don't have confidence in that tactic.

    But you must work locally in addition to whatever shortcuts or power politics strategies you're also choose as your path.

    Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president but they don't want them to become politicians in the process
    --John Fitzgerald Kennedy

    The biggest threat to America is not communism, it's moving America toward a fascist theocracy... -- Frank Zappa

    by NCrefugee on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:17:50 AM PDT

  •  I'm reminded of the Cluetrain Manifesto (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paradox, kid oakland, Crazed Weasel

    But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about "listening to customers." They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

    Clark/Dodd/Edwards/Gore/Obama/Richardson 08!

    by pontechango on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:25:10 AM PDT

  •  kid oakland (8+ / 0-)

    We've met with our Democratic challenger John Unger three times at Waffle House to discuss different things - first to feel him out and explain the netroots and our strategy goals.

    Last night's meeting was the shortest: two hours. The first lasted until 2 a.m.

    He's listening to us. He's taking our suggestions and working them into his campaign. I don't want to say too much publicly, but he really is the kind of candidate the bloggers want. How many other races will the candidate sit with us in Waffle House listening to us on messaging, striking back, projecting a strong Democratic image, etc.

    While we don't agree with him on every issue -- and we've hammered things out in good, frank conversation -- at least we're at the table having the conversation.

    John Unger is the kind of candidate that can win this Republican held district and be there with us on the war, helping the poor, labor rights, worker safety, healthcare, foreign policy.

    So yes I'm working my ass off for his campaign. We're in the position at bloggers that we could only dreamed of being in before.

    Breadth of view is one of the essentials of our profession. The interplay of ideas and the oblique uses of knowledge are often of extraordinary interest. S.H.

    by Carnacki on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:25:20 AM PDT

  •  Maybe for some, but not for all. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ablington, Eddie Haskell

    Sorry, if what you say is true, I wouldn't be involved.  But I am convinced that many, many Democrats are very grateful for the work we do both on line and off line.  The Democrats went through a time in the wilderness, and we still haven't come completely out of that period yet.  Those years were when the grassroots made way for big corporate money, and subsequently losing elections.  Well, the grassroots has made a comeback, and Dems have begun to start winning.  They know we are one vital piece of the system that made that happen.  

    They don't take us for granted.  At least the ones I am willing to write about, when they do good.  That is both nationally and in Virginia.

  •  Vote for us. Then shut-up and go away. ( nt ) (8+ / 0-)

    The distinction that goes with mere office runs far ahead of the distinction that goes with actual achievement. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:05:53 AM PDT

    •  Yep. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi, dunderhead, LaFajita

      My own Congresscritters (that would be Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Rep. Inslee) in general don't even bother to acknowledge the emails and letters I send them.  Well, once in a great while I'll get a reply -- a form letter that basically says "Thanks for sharing"... along with two or three paragraphs of utter bullshit.  And a reply saying "Yes, you're right, and I'm going to do exactly as you suggest"?  Don't make me laugh.

      I'm starting to hate them all.  It's not Republicans who are evil.  It's politicians.

      •  Evil politicians (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Although some are certainly evil, I don't think the problems we have are due simply to evil individuals.  If that were the case, all we'd need to do would be to replace the Evils with the Goods and everything would be hunky dory.

        You can recognize an oppressive, corrupt system by this characteristic:  good, intelligent, well-intentioned people do objectively evil things as a result of their participation in and commitment to the system.  The CEO who closes a plant in the US to hire near-slave labor in China might be a really nice guy, who'd stop and help you change a flat on a rainy night.  But he does something objectively evil because he's "just doing his job."

        Institutional power in DC is what it is, and it's doing what it's supposed to do.  Putting good people in the Institution won't change the Institution itself.

        "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

        by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:56:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have a quote for you... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pesto, LaFajita

          I just went and hauled out one of my favorite books, "The Golden Gate" by Vikram Seth.  It fell right open to the page I was looking for, too.

          Context: It's about weapons systems designers.  Oh, and it's in verse.

          Those who devise these weapons -- decent,
          Adjusted, family-minded folk --
          Don't think that they plan death.  Their most recent
          Bomb (which, as an engaging joke,
          They dubbed "the cookie cutter") batters
          Live cells and yet -- this is what matters --
          Leaves buildings and machines intact --
          This butchering brainspawn is in fact
          Soothingly styled a "radiation
          Enhancement device" by these same men.
          Blind in their antiseptic den
          To the obscene abomination
          Of the refined ampoules of hate
          Their ingenuity helps create,

          They go to work, attend a meeting,
          Write an equation, have a beer,
          Hail colleagues with a cheerful greeting,
          Are conscientious, sane, sincere,
          Rational, able, and fastidious.
          Through hardened casings no invidious
          Tapeworm of doubt, no guilt, no qualm
          Pierces to sabotage their calm.
          When something's technically attractive,
          You follow the conception through,
          That's all.  What if you leave a slew
          Of living dead, of radioactive
          "Collateral damage" in its wake?
          It's just a job, for heaven's sake.

    •  Oh, and leave a check on the way out n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

      by Pesto on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:51:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a role model: Diane Wilson (0+ / 0-)

    Recipient of the 1997 Bioneers award and the author of the book An Unreasonable Woman: A true story of shrimpers, politicos, polluters and the fight for Seadrift, Texas.

    Her book publisher's website:

    Her 1997 Bioneers speech:

    The Dutch children's choir Kinderen voor Kinderen (= “children for children”) is a world cultural treasure.

    by lotlizard on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:27:54 AM PDT

  •  End the war or lose 2008- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, dunderhead, tcdup

    Seriously, why the fuck bother when it's apparent they aren't going to do a damn thing to end this war?  Seriously if Democrats currently in office are out of their league, then they need to step down and appoint capable replacements.

    There are plenty of capable people who can assist in the procedures to get the ball rolling, Constitutional scholars and attorneys, why aren't they tapping into the wealth of human resources available to them?  

    For Chrissakes Dems, many of us will work for FREE to get us out of Iraq!!!  Just ask us!!!

    •  Perhaps, as a matter of national self-interest, (0+ / 0-)

      we ought to start focusing on 2010.  I sincerely believe that there is no way that the Constitution could survive another four years with a Bush clone in the Presidency.  

      Just because the current crop of Dem leaders is too spineless to stand up against the imperial ambitions of Bush/Cheney, we cannot fail to fully support whoever is the Democratic nominee for President.  

      Once that is done, however, I'd be willing to risk a Republican Congress in 2010 with a Democratic President in order to show these entrenched careerists that it's time for them to go.

  •  Rec, a thousand times rec! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The main problems stem not only with our political parties but the entire nation's fear of moving away from the status quo.

    Ask yourselves, we can elect women/minorities as mayors, senators and reps but the possibility of allowing one in the big chair? Preposterous! When will one be "qualified"? Considering how well the status quo is serving us isn't it time to "think outside the box"? Change will occur when we as a people really want it.

    Love 'em or hate 'em we have to ask is it time for a change of business as usual despite party affiliation? We the people need to demand that change of those who represent us or we will truly get the government we deserve rather than the one we want.

    Let me do right to all, and wrong no man. - Dr. C. Savage, Jr.

    by pwrmac5 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:46:51 AM PDT

  •  Here's a role model:Dan Maffei for Congress NY-25 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid oakland

    Dan Maffei is a Democratic candidate in Upstate New York who knows where we're coming from and takes every opportunity possible to show that he's listening.

  •  Have you read the Obama article in GQ, ko? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, faithfull

    I just read it this a.m. over my morning bowl of cereal, and he acknowledges this Beltway mentality quite candidly. He also says that we in the "movement"-oriented wave of politics (i.e. the grassroots/netroots/etc. on the ground) need to be pragmatic as well as idealistic.

    This is a hard pill to swallow, but it is a realistic point to keep in mind as we move forward (and we shouldn't let pragmatism prevent us from doing what we can to move forward).

    Shop for pearls from a Union Democrat - my aunt Maryjane's Sea of Pearls!

    by boofdah on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:08:33 AM PDT

  •  the 2008 Election will be a referendum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on all of Capitol Hill.

    I am putting my money on several incumbents getting the boot, on both sides of the aisle.

    Chuck Norris Fears Democrats.

    by roboton on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:10:01 AM PDT

  •  Primary the fuckers who treat us like that. (5+ / 0-)

    Go vote in MoveOn's poll on the issue - we absolutely should primary Democrats who refuse to represent their constituents.

    •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, tcdup

      I'm a Move On member and received the survey and said yes we should get in the primaries to support progressives. Remember that far fewer voters vote in primaries than general elections and it should be easier to select progressives. The DNC called me recently and I told them not one more dime until they do something to end the war and impeach the bastards and to take me off their list until they do.

  •  This is so strange (5+ / 0-)

    before reading this diary, I woke up really mad.  And so I called my 2 senators, Durbin and Obama, and asked them to quit folding like cheap suits.  To stand up next week when Petraus comes up to read the White House report to them.  To get a spine.  I told them I was a voter, a contributor, and I walked precincts.  I asked them who they thought was going to do their stupid lit drops.

    Then I called Rep van Hollen, the chairman of the DCCC, and told him that MoveOn is considering primary challenges, and that if they fold again, he'd have a lot more on his plate than he thought.

    I asked them all if they were trying to get Congress' approval rating down to 0.  I asked them all why they can't stand up to a president who is accepted as a liar.

    It's so frustrating.  I feel there's little I can do to get through to them, and yeah, I feel like they treat us like dirty f***ing hippies.

    •  Keep it up! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Keep calling as much and as often as you can. Hopefully with enough pressure they will begin to get the message that ignoring us is not a sign of resolve but of self destruction!
      By the way I have and will continue to calling these employees of ours until my fingers are just stumps!

      Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

      by eddieb061345 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:28:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can't soar with eagles (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if we let the Turkeys(Beltway boys) get us down.
    Changing the Democratic party is a long term operation and makes Political sense but, and it's a big but I'm just so sick and tired of the reality that we have to endure the REAL Horrors of all the dying while the Pols do their Political Kabuki dance all over Washington!

    Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

    by eddieb061345 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:22:53 AM PDT

  •  I'm somewhere halfway... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think it is important to vote to punish the Republicans, ie: for the Dems, and not for a third party.

    While that motivation is enough to make me want to vote for the Dems, I am nevertheless deeply dissatisfied with their performance so far.

    I am even more dissatisfied with my perception that none of the current top candidates truly challenge the notion of our exceptionalism and imperial ambitions.

    That said, I also believe that the various crises we will face as a country in the coming decade will make the current crop of Dems either irrelevant (say, like Gorbachev) and/or will force some of them to adapt and change and turn into tomorrow's "FDRs" (if you will) (who couldn't be elected today anyway).

    What matters is that we here are ready and prepared to foster this transformation when it will inevitably start to happen, say around 2010.

    In the meantime, we're only positioning pieces on the chessboard. The real game hasn't begun yet.


    by Lupin on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:23:27 AM PDT

    •  We can "CHECK" them (0+ / 0-)

      If we don't quit! I agree with your feelings. Every day I wake up with pain in my soul a the reality we all war haters must edure! I want and sometimes actually do scream! But giving up is the true enemy an we must not let it defeat us.

      Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

      by eddieb061345 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:36:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem is by voting and working for .... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dunderhead, LaFajita

      the Bluedogs or the New Dem types who are holding the caucus hostage, you are affirming them. They are reinforced by the fact you have held your nose.

      If Dems cave on Iraq this time, we have time to send a different message.

  •  The only diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eddieb061345, dunderhead

    Im recommending today

    "If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." Abe Lincoln

    by faithfull on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:23:58 AM PDT

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

    This us vs. them gulf is especially evident for Democrats since the base of our party is made up of people who make less than the median income and have less rather than more education.

    That simply isn't true anymore.  I know that is your point.  But looking at the demographics on this site alone, most are over 40, white, highly educated and make 6 figures plus.  Solidly upper-middle-class.  I'm not saying that makes us 'better', I'm just saying that shows the frustration and anger at the status quo runs much deeper than just a bunch of angry, uppity minorities.  Underestimate this at your own peril.

    Here's the problem.  An overwhelming majority of politicians, both Democrat and Republican, are the product of the lobbying and financing of the Corporations and Military Industrial Complex.  They owe there very positions to organizations that run counter to what most Americans want.  What has been produced from this system is a bunch of spineless panderers that are more interested in holding power than doing what is right.  They are not leaders because leadership means original thought - and original thought is frowned upon - it doesn't get you that corporate cash you need to get elected.

    I have stated many times that I am a pessimist.  The problem is systemic - and will not be fixed until the system breaks.  We will not see real leadership until the old model completely fails.  God help us if this brings Hitler instead of FDR.

    "Frankly, you epitomize weak. Your every pore exudes feebleness. You *are* surrender monkeys." - Meteor Blades to Capitulation Dems

    by RichM on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:29:30 AM PDT

    •  Maybe it will bring us another Thomas Jefferson (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      barbwire, LaFajita

      Hopefully without the slaves, but a man nonetheless willing to shed blood and fight another Revolution should it be necessary.

      But Hitler, FDR, Jefferson ... they all required DRASTIC change to have the opportunity to step into power.

      That drastic change will wreck our country, turn our lives upside down, and be the ONLY thing that will allow fundamental change.  Look back in history. Paradigm shifts only happen in crisis -- whether real or fabricated.

      Question authoritarianism.

      by m00nchild on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:50:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Netroots Size (0+ / 0-)

      I think you're vastly overestimating the size of the netroots compared to that of the part of the base that works in low paid jobs and has less education. You really should work a polling place sometime and see who comes in.

  •  The DC powerstructure even works AGAINST us when (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    our nominee turns out to be an anti-corruption, open government Democrat.  They can't have someone who believes in open books to gain and use that power of the oval office.

    This talk by historian Douglas Brinkley occurred in April 2004:

    Whom does the biographer think his subject will pick as a running mate? Not Hillary Rodham Clinton. [DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "VP Hillary?" 372KB]"There's really two different Democratic parties right now: there's the Clintons and Terry McAuliffe and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] and then there's the Kerry upstarts. John Kerry had one of the great advantages in life by being considered [unable] to get the nomination in December. He watched every Democrat in the country flee from him, and the Clintons really stick the knife in his back a bunch of times, so he's able to really see who was loyal to him and who wasn't. That's a very useful thing in life."

    Think about all the hard work the grassroots and activist Dems put into 2002 and 2004, and the Clinton people were out sabotaging us and all our primary candidates then, and protecting Bush as part of their Hillary2008 campaign.  THAT is true disdain.

    Clinton defends successor's push for war
    Says Bush 'couldn't responsibly ignore' chance Iraq had WMDs

    Did Carville Tip Bush Off to Kerry Strategy (Woodward)

  •  Yes, we're called "idiot liberals" because we... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhubarb, dunderhead, LaFajita

    actually expect Democrats to do what they elected to do and stand up to Bush on Iraq, eavesdropping, and raiding the Treasury for the benefit of their wealthy donors.

    The only reason we might be considered idiots is we keep accepting their pathetic attempts to placate us.

    We waited until is time to get tough. If they do NOT stand firm on Iraq, they get no money, no time, no energy, and possibly not even a vote.

  •  McGovern (0+ / 0-)

    It's interesting that a number of people who rec'ed this diary talk about how it broke their heart when McGovern lost.

    It broke mine, too.  But what's the lesson of his loss?

    You get self-righteous, you lose.  You lose, your enemies win, and your name becomes a synonym for "loser".

    How many people rec-ing this diary voted for Nader, because Gore was "the same as Bush"?  Not that they will admit it, now.

    So, all we have to do is force Bush to "put the Humvees into reverse"?  What would be the consequence of that?  Nobody knows, but probably Rove's dream of a permanent Rethug majority comes true.

    In politics, you lose, you're nothing.  But, you were "right"!  You're still nothing.

    Self parody is a delicate art.

    by gzodik on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:32:29 AM PDT

  •  well if there's a blowout, let it blow progresive (5+ / 0-)

    We desperately need more and better Democrats.  We need to attack the Bush Dogs full force, head on.  Up and down primary challenges.  This won't weaken the Democratic party, it'll make it stronger and better.  If the party wants to take us for granted like the GOP took the religious right for granted, LET THEM DO IT AT THEIR PERIL.  

    We know who the BULLSHIT Democrats are.  I'm not talking about be 100% or even 90% on all the issues.  If you want to be against abortion fine, or pro-death penalty, fine.  I'm not shooting for fucking purity here.  BUT GOD DAMN IT, END THE FUCKING WAR, IT'S A MILITARY, SOCIAL AND FISCAL DIASTER.  GET A FUCKING CLUE.

  •  I'm almost done with local involvement (4+ / 0-)

    Get involved in the local party, be professional in how you conduct yourself, run for office, write informative articles on local blogs, give to candidates that you know, work to support candidates whose politics you trust and believe in, seek to engage politicians with whom you disagree and attempt to get them to see the sincerity and relevance of your views, participate in sincere, nonviolent protest and free speech, write letters to the editor, and above all else, create a culture of respect and empowerment for yourself and other volunteers and activists who think like you.

    This sounded real good 2 years ago.  Become the change you want to see, and all that.  I joined the Democrats 2 years ago and got elected party secretary of my county.  

    I got heavily involved in working with kossack fredb on his idea of health care reform, which galvanized our county party. Over two years we got a resolution passed at the state convention about health care reform, published, wrote to every politician we could to get our plan a hearing, and . . . crickets.

    We got the brush off so many ways and from so many people we should have a little shrine to it.  Dave Obey, Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl, Governor Doyle, and on down.  Our state senator flatly said he wouldn't stick his neck our for health care reform, and the assemblywoman intimated as much.  That assemblywoman, by the way, told me one day at the fair that campaigning is the part of her job she doesn't like very much.  

    Being a formal Democrat has sucked from day one to now, and I am quitting once my term is up.  To hell with being a feces covered monkey to them.  I have worked pretty damn hard in my party for almost no reward in terms of real change.

    I'm turning to local extra-partisan organization having to do with food networks and other sustainability issues.  I'm pretty sure that almost any group has more pull with legislators than a Democratic grunt.

    I have seen the fnords.

    by rhubarb on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:38:39 AM PDT

    •  The problem is you have to suck up and play along (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MontanaMaven, rhubarb, pontechango

      to get anything done. But by the time you've spent years doing that, you pretty much have extinguished the light that drove you in the first place, and then you are just another cog in the crony machine.

      I prefer to remain loosely connected to the actual party, help out to gain entrance, and remain outside the actual power structure and build a base to influence it. So don't drop out, drop in with principles intact!

    •  Don't tell me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you thought you'd get almost immediate change. Stick with it. They are counting on scaring you away. If you keep bringing more and more people into active roles in the party you'll start overwhelming them with pressure and the realization you aren't going away. That's the key: your aren't going away. Drives them nuts.

      •  You're right. I just kind whined a bit above (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rhubarb, barbwire, Goodbye Kitty

        about the crap we take as real liberals in Montana run by business moderates.  I'm a County Chair and it's been a rough 3 years here.  The men here actually look like thugs.  But I've got a radio show that irritates the right and the left and that helps me stay sane.

        Gadflys and Muckrakers Unite.

        "It is not be cause things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

        by MontanaMaven on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:34:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's complicated (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wanderindiana, barbwire

        I'm a full-time student and mother, and need to triage my "disposable" time.  Being involved in that party has be a total brick wall experience.  Total.  Since before the 2004 elections.  We haven't even had incremental change, just Dave Obey (my congressman), telling us where to get off.  

        And our county party was exceptional in its activism.

        So to hell with it. I'm not giving up; I just no longer wish to be a party wheelhorse.

        I have seen the fnords.

        by rhubarb on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:40:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We need to do what the right has done (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bikemom, xysea

      Start getting candidates elected to local school boards and city governments. This is the way to go.

      it took the republicans nearly 30 years to lock-down the system, and we need to start taking it back.

      At least when Democrats screw us, they use Lube...

      by Goodbye Kitty on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:49:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kid Oakland (7+ / 0-)

    You have been somewhat an inspiration to me.  Because of your I got involved in my local precinct, make house visits, walked the nieghborhood, etc.  

    Just a few days ago I made the same realization that you have described here.  If I tell somebody that GWB should be put in jail, they look at me like I am from outer space.  Sure, people here on Daily Kos and other liberally leaning places understand what I am saying, but the vast majority just don't want to be bothered by anything that requires an ounce of thought.

    Keep on fighting.  I will, although I must admit I am losing hope.  The masses need to come to their senses and realize that the gov't is what we make it, not what they tell us it is.

    "Constitutional Crisis Forthcoming"

    by egarratt on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:56:36 AM PDT

  •  Our new power: targeted donations. (4+ / 0-)

    At least from my point of view, I didn't have the information in the past to target specific candidates, especially during the primaries. Information was too hard to get and too well managed and spun. So I focused locally and nationally, primarily for the general election.

    Now I can focus on local contests in other areas where Bush dogs and spineless weasels are running. I can participate in primary-ing them. Millions of frustrated others also have this power. The elite cocktail weenie crowd does not understand this. Yet. They will during the primaries.

    Disruptive technology has given rise to a disruptive political tool. Which will disrupt the existing power structure.

    Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.
    --Basil King, Canadian novelist, 1859-1928

    by dallasdave on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:16:26 AM PDT

  •  The Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid oakland

    should take a page from Apple's playbook: Think Different.

    For years tech pundits have predicted the collapse and fall of Apple. And for a while it looked like they were right. But then Steve Jobs came in, made a lot of people pissed, but went with a policy of Business Not As Usual, and the company's doing well.

    What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results? Well, by that definition the Democrats are certifiable -- it's time for a new direction, but it might take a new generation to see that come to fruition.

    "If impeachment is off the table, so is democracy." -- teacherken

    by Cali Scribe on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:24:37 AM PDT

  •  It's not if "they" care. It's if web has impact. (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting opinion but evidence seems to be the opposite

    A few examples:

    1. Red state elects Democratic Senator which gives Democrats majority in Senate and changes everything. He thanks his netroots supporters, says it would not have happened without them.
    1. All Democratic candidates attend a yearly netroots conference for question and answer.
    1. National political debate is done based on questions from a popular website.
    1. Popular discussion and video website having impact on races and national political debate.
    1. Candidates run for office based on web support.

    Real question is not whether "they" care. It is whether the various grass roots can have an impact and the answer there is they have a huge impact.

    As Chairman Mao said, power comes out of the barrel of an LCD screen.  It's not what they give, it's what we take.

    •  Red state senator thanks netroots then votes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kid oakland, Bikemom

      for the Iraq war supplemental and tells supporters it"to support the troops".  Not sure how much I got for my $2300. We will see.

      "It is not be cause things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." Seneca

      by MontanaMaven on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:37:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He is a RED STATE Senator. (0+ / 0-)

        " Not sure how much I got for my $2300. "

        Well you didn't get a Blue State liberal firebrand but you got a lot for a Red State.

        You got rid of casual racist in power in US Senate.

        You got rid of leading right wing evangelical Republican presidential candidate.

        You rid of a mindless supporter of government by lobbyist.

        You got a vocal, articulate opponent of Iraq war.

        You got an honest, thoughtful US Senator who you can trust to make good decisions based on his view of what's best for the country.

        You got a populist Senator who wants every American to have health care. got a lot for your money.

  •  This may be why so few Senators jump to President (0+ / 0-)

    Presidents usually come from outside of the Washington politics; even if they were in it previously.  People, especially Dems, I feel, instinctively know what you are saying and try choose from outside of Washington.  Here we will likely have two current Senators winning the nomination to the office.  Only the implosion of the Republican party will counter this general rule, hopefully.  They won't go gently into that good night.

    You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy. --Ambr. Joe Wilson

    by FightTheFuture on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:38:38 AM PDT

  •  I am in the beginning stages of grooming someone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...for 2010 to do a primary challenge on an extraordinarily powerful Democrat.  And I intend to make sure she wins.

    I am eager to hear any thoughts or advice from my fellow outliers...


    You can be as free as you want, so long as Republicans control birth, death, sex and marriage. And whose vote counts.

    by ultrageek on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:40:00 AM PDT

  •  The solution is wat Thom Hartmann has (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    been saying for so long.  What other have been saying also.  We have to take over the Democratic party from within.  Keep on pushing candidates at the local levels and up to the top levels.  At a certain point, Blue Dogs will be  distant memories, and entrenched DC politicians will be retired or removed and we can hopefully have something still left to build a future with.  

    This is what the über-conservatives have been doing with the Repuglican party since Goldwater's defeat.  Look, now, 40 years later, and they have gotten so much of what they wanted.  Only their overreaching at this point with that sociopath and all the disasters he has wrought might they loose it.  Note I say might for it is not certain, their control is so through, people so dis-empowered, that they might still maintain the control, although we will have then slid throughly into fascism, and feudalism.  America will then be a sad bitter footnote on history; a hope that could have been, but wasn't.

    I don't want that!

    You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy. --Ambr. Joe Wilson

    by FightTheFuture on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 08:46:13 AM PDT

  •  Funny, that's how they see voters too! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    From the point of view of the majority of long-standing Democratic politicians we are seen as nameless, faceless, trouble-making, easily replaceable, meddlesome busybodies and...not much more.

  •  another oxymoron (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic leadership?

  •  Even the good candidates sometimes ignore us (0+ / 0-)

    I worked GOTV for Darcy Burner in the 2006 election.  She was running for US Congress in Washington State.  She was a good candidate.  She is passionate about politics, friendly, smart and hard working.  She's progressive in her issues on policies.  She has a real shot to learn from her mistakes and win this time in 2008.

    And yet, a personal letter recently sent to her about concerns of mine went unanswered.  Perhaps a staffer never got the letter to her.  I don't know.  But it definitely fits the profile of what Kid Oakland is talking about.  Democrats do take their volunteers for granted.  As good as she is, Darcy could do much better.  Almost all Democratic candidates could do better than they are in reaching out to volunteers who work for them.

  •  Could not have been better said... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And believe me when I say that I tried and got rated as a Troll.  (Which irritated me, thank you.)

    This is a wise diary, and has a terrific message.  Patience, Self-Respect, Long-Term Effort.

    I get concerned about the apolplexy that many express here when the Democrats continually capitulate.  It is perfectly understandable since people are being violently killed, maimed, and uprooted by the tens of thousands.  But outrage that serves only to enhance GOP prospects on election day is counterproductive.

    I live in Darcy Burner's district.  I contribute money and effort on her behalf.  I hate it that Dave Reichert won re-election over Darcy Burner in 2004 solely due to voters who pulled the lever for Kerry/Edwards and Maria Cantwell and then switched columns to the Rethuglican Reichert, and then switched back to vote for Democratic Legislative candidates.

    This war, the bellicosity towards Iran, the poisoning of the earth, and the diminishment of civil rights and the rule of law are all obscenities.

    Thank you for this diary and the encouragement to take the long view.

  •  Progressives: Take over DNC (0+ / 0-)

    Progressives will be able to enact their agenda only after securing leadership and council positions within the DNC and other party mechanisms.

    "What's in the name of lord [governor], that I should fear; To bring my grievance to the public ear?" - The Crisis, January 13, 1777

    by TPaine on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 09:18:08 AM PDT

    •  Hmmm...isn't the netroots guy heading DNC? (0+ / 0-)

      "Progressives will be able to enact their agenda only after securing leadership and council positions within the DNC and other party mechanisms."

      OK...that happened. Now what.

      I think there are many other forces at work, campaign finance being the biggest since who has the money usually wins and who provides the money and why becomes over riding force.

      Also, liberals are only part of the Demcoratic party.

  •  Namaste! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wanderindiana, kidfury


    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 09:38:57 AM PDT

  •  Well, Kid Oakland, I say this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fuck 'em.

    I'm not gonna vote for or support or speak kindly of anyone - friend, relative, whoever - who doesn't stand for what I believe in.  And what do I believe in?  Standing up for basic human dignity.  Decrying the use of war as a diplomatic instrument.  An unbending dedication to civil liberties.  These aren't all of the issues I (or any of us) could cite as important, but as umbrellas, they certainly cover almost every issue out there.  And Democrats better be there for those issues, or else I'm not voting for 'em ever again.

    My friends, too.  Everyone I know feels this way.  

    Go to, take a break from politics for a while, rock the fuck out!

    by Nathan Hammersmith on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:20:09 AM PDT

  •  We cant be 'pink fluffy clouds' thinkers anymore (0+ / 0-)

    We no longer have the luxury of believing that Democrats will fix everything (or anything) about the system. They too have a vested interest, as do the Republicans, in keeping the status quo enforced.

    We do not nhave the luxury of hoping for a viable third party without throwing the 20 elections to the repiglicans, waiting for a base to build.

    We DO need to continue to support Democrats that support our collective values and send the message that those who dont are history next election.

    We need to find positive ways to retain our individuality while not sacrificing the greater good.

    Oh I dont know. Im not the sharpest tool in the shed, but sometimes blunt objects do the job

    At least when Democrats screw us, they use Lube...

    by Goodbye Kitty on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 10:46:41 AM PDT

  •  "There is no Nader in sight" (0+ / 0-)

    And maybe this time around that's a problem. Maybe a "Nader" should enter the race as a 3rd party candidate now with the promise that he will step down only when the Democratic Congress will stand up to Bush on Iraq and refuse to fund this debacle. If the ninny Democrats refuse to stand up and a Republican wins as a result of the "Nader", the Republican inherits Iraq, which the Democrats are doing nothing about anyway. Maybe all the "pragmatists" and their Beltway friends could live with that. Look, I hate Ralph Nader for his role in bringing us BushCo to begin with, but where in hell are all the principled Democratic leaders (Pelosi&Reid Clinton&Obama)to deliver us from it? Cowering in a corner. I don't think that's what the American voters had in mind at the 2006 elections. Maybe the threat of a "Nader" will wake them up before it's too late.

  •  Pre-WW1 Period Analogy (0+ / 0-)

    Going into WW1, I'm sure that the British Liberal Party felt the same way as the current Democratic Party leadership.  The war crushed the Liberal Party.  It never recovered.  After the war, the Labor Party received the support and the votes of the working man, anybody whose primary income didn't come from their bonds and the dividends.  A century later, the Liberal Party is still limping along, radiating a gradually fading glow earned during its glory days.  The Democratic Party seems intent on heading down that same path.

    Does anybody want to elaborate on how the German Socialist Party managed to find itself tagged with having been lied into supporting WW1 and then with being forced to negotiate the peace treaty after not having been involved in prosecuting the war for four years?  It does sound familiar, doesn't it?

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 11:37:18 AM PDT

  •  Good post, kid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think so many of us are just pissed off beyond belief that we worked so hard for so long for this weak-ass majority that has done squat that they were elected to do.

    Yet here we go again.  They want money, energy, boots on the ground, and they come courting, promising change, etc.  I just don't buy it, and I will not be donating to any incumbents this year or next year for that matter.  Primary opponents, maybe, but not this crop of liars.  

    They told us things would change.  They lied because, like you said, they really couldn't care less about the base so long as we keep showing up and doing their work for them.  Not anymore, not for me.

    ending the Iraq War will be the greatest struggle of our lifetimes.

    by Humboldt Jodi on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:18:09 PM PDT

  •  Our brand new congressman (0+ / 0-)

    has supported progressive and anti-war positions.  He even comes to anti-war town meetings and is not afraid to talk to us protestors or even have a photo in the paper with us around.

    Other than him, I cannot think of one Democrat in our state I would cross the street to spit at.  The rest of the bunch wants to bring casinos to Kentucky to "help" our economy.

    Nationally, I am going with Kucinich, even if I have to write in his name.

    We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. -- William Faulkner --

    by Silverbird on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 01:30:10 PM PDT

  •  This sounds like... (0+ / 0-)

    ....a serious problem with self worth.

    "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

    by pere on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 02:48:59 PM PDT

  •  Trying to get involved locally (0+ / 0-)

    and live in a very Democratic area.  The problem is - if you exclude the lip service they give to social programs our local Democrats are really all Republicans.  It's all about business, period.

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

    by Bikemom on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:13:34 PM PDT

    •  Well then you have to pick an issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and go door to door on that issue the a community of activists ready to run to transform what being a "local Democrat" means.

      I see this here in Oakland, too.

      We are all liberals here, but there are "reformers" and "business as usual types."  We need to empower and invest in each other's leadership and stick together.

      We can win, and here in the Bay Area, we are beginning to make some headway. (And, btw, you can be entrepeneurial and a reformer...many are.)

      I like this guy...and his story is illustrative.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:29:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Door to door? (0+ / 0-)

        Oh my - I don't know if I have it in me for that.  Besides all the time it will take (would need serious preparation too) - I'm already a bit of a misfit in my new New England suburb and it's really hard to imagine anyone going door to door here.  This would seriously reinforce the "kooky" liberal stereotype.  

        Since it is a smallish community I might do better at local fairs or other events.  Guess it is time to start reading the local paper(ugghh).

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

        by Bikemom on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 07:20:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The answer to this us vs. them divide is simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, Pegasus

    Those of us who care about the movement more than the policy, and ideals over expedience, need to stay right here, outside of elected politics – in the arena where we can afford our steadfast idealism – and continue to use our democratic power to scare the living shit out of our elected leaders until they do the right thing.

    Randy Shaw writes of this issue quite succinctly in The Activist’s Handbook. In Chapter 2, "Elected Officials: Inspiring Fear and Loathing," Shaw tells the story of the amazing Industrial Areas Foundation organizer Ernesto Cortes, Jr., and quotes him saying:

    It’s unfortunate that fear is the only way to get some politicians to respect your power. They refuse to give you respect. They don’t recognize your dignity. So we have to act in ways to get their attention. In some areas, what we have going is the amount of fear we can generate. We got where we are because people fear and loathe us."

    Here’s where it’s simple: To all Democratic "Leaders" – We’re with you when you’re with us; we’re against you when you’re against us.

    The left side of the blogosphere has always been better at standing for purity in ideals, because as Markos has pointed out very eloquently in the past, the wingers came up while their leaders were ruining everything, and thus because their little apologetic lapdogs. We came in the minority, with almost no power, and saw ourselves as an ideological movement (a progressive one) as much as a partisan movement. We understood why our leaders were failing us in electoral politics, and how to get their attention.

    So again: We’re with you when you’re with us; we’re against you when you’re against us. We need to make it our mantra. Hell we’re already good at it more often than not. Look at the excellent (currently rec’d) diary questioning Speaker Pelosi’s credibility and lack of commitment. It’s beautiful.

    Speaker Pelosi and other wimps – we’re coming after you. Be afraid.

    And to all Kossacks – Be heartened. This is a difficult process. We’ve already gotten their attention. We knew they’d try to screw us the minute it was expedient. We also know it won’t work. We’ve got their number, it’s just going to take a lot more time, and way more hard work to collect it.

    Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

    by surfbird007 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:29:16 PM PDT

    •  The problem with this, IMHO, is that (0+ / 0-)

      we can't afford to stay home during elections right now.  Our current threats are empty, out of necessity, because our majority is so thin.  My view of it is that we should continue to build our majority this cycle, make damn sure we get a (D-White House), and then start cracking the whip.

      I really should expand on this more, because on the surface it's a pretty weak, Friedman-Unit-esque argument.  Unfortunately, it's Friday night and I'm headed out to dinner.


      "If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you."

      by Pegasus on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:51:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I have never suggested a boycott as a means to attain such a level of respect/fear from our leaders, and never would. Boycotts are generally ineffective anyway.

        I see two means: 1) serious action in the primary process - recruiting many candidates for robust debates with many choices so incumbents don't take their supporters for granted (as much, anyway), 2) once we've voted D in the general, being on their case day and night until they do the right thing. Shaw's book actually discusses a lot of the great tactics behind this strategy - I won't do it injustice by trying to sum it up.

        Melissa Hart is gone - thank you Chris Bowers

        by surfbird007 on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 06:01:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  it makes me ill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid oakland

    whenever I see someone write or say "Hillary has a lock on the nomination"  The fact is that she doesn't and I hate that complacent thinking that we are all just going to vote for her.  I'm not.  I'm going to vote for Obama.  He gets it.  He knows that the beltway crowd is politically smug and not a little corrupt.  He also sees its corrupting influence on policy decisions and on campaigns.  That's why he doesn't accept PAC money from Washington DC lobbyists.  He looks at the big picture and comes up with a solution that not only deals with the root of the problem, but deals with the long term consequences of the problem as well.  He's thoughtful, honest and sincere.  Those are not bad qualities or anything to make fun of although I know the other side will.  He's intelligent and has good judgement; and I trust him.  We have a unique and probably once in a lifetime opportunity here.  We always complain that there isn't anybody worth voting for and those few who would make great presidents, don't want to make the personal sacrifices that such a responsibility entails.  Well, stop your whining, here is your perfect opportunity to vote for someone who is actually worth your vote and then some.  It's your golden opportunity.  And he doesn't think activists are bores, he actively recruits them; just take a look at his website and sign up or an event near you.  But yet, all I hear is, ..."Hillary's got a lock on the nomination".

    Pathetic is as pathetic does.

    People who have no hope are easy to control and those who have the control have the power. Neverending Story

    by choppycursur on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:30:04 PM PDT

    •  And leaders lead and speak out forthrightly (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think Hillary has a lock on anything, and, if you read the diary carefully, you'll see I am right there with you loathing how people make that assumption.

      Fwiw, watching the new Clinton campaign ad that says, "Vote for me, I will end the war in Iraq as President" makes me realize that Clinton is saying, in effect, "Under my leadership in the Senate nothing will change between now and election day in Iraq."

      It doesn't work that way. You can't be the de facto leader of the party, it's nominee, and absent yourself from the demands of U.S. citizens and your party between now and January 2009.  But Senator Clinton does just that...she talks about "we" in the Senate, but "I" for when she wins election in November 2008. It's as if the 110th Congress does not really have to do a thing, as if there are no expectations regarding the pressing issues facing our nation.

      I am very open to Barack Obama but as I write above, leaders lead, they build coalitions, they speak out, they bring people together.  What is Barack Obama going to do this fall to combat George Bush's policy in Iraq?  How would he lead the party as a Senator and nominee in crafting a change of course in U.S. policy? How will he bring progressives into a winning Democratic coalition and let us know our voices, our activism and our donations of time and money are being heard and respected?

      I think we are all waiting for what Senator Obama has to say on these topics in the next weeks.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 03:43:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  here's a (0+ / 0-)

        link that may answer many of your questions.  It delves into Barack Obama's history as an Illinois State Senator and his U.S. Senate accomplishments as well.  Barack Obama is a do-er, he knows how to get things done and he respects dissenting opinions but does not capitulate to them.  He is exactly what we need now on the world stage as well as at home.

        Below is a snippet from the linked post by Daewoo Kim:

        Though not cited by Senator Obama in the same interview, I would add to his major achievements in Springfield:  campaign finance reform; and ethics reform.  These were considered major accomplishments in Illinois.  When Senator Obama entered the Illinois Senate, he told Emil Jones, the Democratic majority leader in the Illinois Senate, that he wanted to work hard.  He asked Senator Jones to send him any difficult assignments.  On the issue of campaign finance reform, he was handpicked by Mr. Jones to lead the Democrats' senate efforts at campaign finance reform.  (Senator Obama wanted to limit individual contributions, but nipped and tucked seeking consensus.  Obama was pragmatic.  The result was the most ambitious campaign finance reform in nearly 25 years, according to good government groups.)

           Senator Obama demonstrated political courage in opposing bills he believed were unconstitutional or poorly written, even if the vote could later be used in misleading 30 second commercials against him.  He opposed a bill to toughen penalties for violent crimes committed by gang activity, because the bill didn't clearly define a gang member, and seemed targeted at Hispanics and Blacks.  (This does not mean he is soft on crime.  He also voted for, or sponsored, over 100 bills to strengthen criminal penalties (e.g. against sex offenders, domestic violence, drug dealers)).  He opposed a bill that allowed home owners to use a gun in self defense in their homes.  (He opposed that bill because it only applied to towns that already prohibited any private citizen from possessing a handgun.  He opposed it because the law could lead to homeowners using guns in the street.  He also wanted to defer to local governments.)  He also opposed a measure which proponents claimed was designed to protect "live babies born during abortion procedures."  (He felt the measure would define a fetus as a person and criminalize every abortion.)  His death penalty reform bill was also given little chance of being passed into law, yet was eventually passed by unanimous consent of the Senate.  (Audacity of Hope, pp 58-59)

           The clearest example of Senator Obama's political courage was his vocal opposition to war in Iraq in 2002.  At the time, many Democrats with national ambition were supporting George W Bush's posture on Iraq.  At the time, Bush and the war still had public support.

        People who have no hope are easy to control and those who have the control have the power. Neverending Story

        by choppycursur on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:50:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why should they come here and take people (0+ / 0-)

    "seriously?" Let me ask you that question. Why should Pelosi and other elected Democrats, who are extremely busy, spend time coming here? I ask this question twice because there have been times when elected Democrats have come here to post, only to be greeted by rude comments and insults from shrill posters? If I were an elected Democrat I'd probably not want to come here again if the only comments that I received were insulting and disrespectful.

    I understand not agreeing with what elected officials do, but perhaps they wouldn't think that people on this site were "kooks" if they expressed disagreement respectfully when they come here. Perhaps that is part of the reason why they may view the people here as "kooks"?

    I do agree with you, however, on working at the local level. That's how the far right took over the GOP.

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

      The diary addresses that issue and encourages people to be sincere and respectful.

      The point is that we need to get organized and stay organized and fight to make sure our viewpoints are included in the Democratic coalition. That list of organizations at the bottom of the diary makes my point.

      The current situation where so many progressives are represented in Congress in districts that run 70-80% Democratic has the effect of diluting our voice.  The GOP, in states where they control redistricting will create numerous 55% districts knowing that they can win them and that, more likely than not, elect very conservative members of Congress.

      The Democratic Party for reasons oftentimes relating to historic civil rights and segregation issues does not have that luxury.  Our voters live in high majority Democratic districts right next to each other; many progressive activists live square in the middle of those districts.

      Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry and Dick Durbin have every reason to come here and address us.

      We progressives have every responsibility to overcome historic roadblocks to our effectiveness and work to build coalitions that enhance our power.

      We won't do that simply by "playing nice." It will take primary victories like we won in CA-11. And, at times, it will take us raising our voice and working together when the Democratic leadership, as it is doing now, seems intent on ignoring the will of the vast majority of Democratic voters.

      The McGovern Amendment had 169 Democratic votes in the House. Given the make up of those districts that is one hell of a lot of Democrats and American citizens represented by those 169 votes to end the war. We deserve respect and a voice in DC.

      I for one would like to ask why Representative Tauscher's bill to force the administration to reform redeployment policy has not been passed?  We should have passed that last spring. It would have a huge effect on war planning and policy.

      We should also have a clear vote on permanent bases.  The law exists prohibiting them, but it's not at all clear that that law is being followed.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:04:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again you didn't directly address (0+ / 0-)

        one part of my comment. Why should key Democrats come here when many of them are often greeted with rude, shrill, disrespectful, and insulting comments? I've seen it happen on several occasions. Maybe they won't perceive Kos members to be--taking your words verbatim--to be "kooks" if they actually voiced their disagreements in a mature and respectful fashion?

        You make one major mistake here. The Democratic Party includes more than just "the netroots" and "progressives". People who post here are not the only constituency within the party. Democrats in the interior, Rockies, Plains, and the South don't share the same views as Democrats on the coasts in major dark blue cities. Often people here act as if the rest of the base thinks like them. That's hardly the case.

        •  I did address it (0+ / 0-)

          and having interacted with you a number of times, find you to be a bit of a contrarian.  Nothing wrong with that, but you are somewhat insistent on pretending that there's disagreement where there isn't.

          Ie. I make a plea in the diary for people to be professional, polite and sincere and engage with our political system and you lambaste me as if I was saying the opposite. Then you say I didn't address your point about politeness, when I did in the post itself.

          Further, the frame that dailykos is full of "rude, shrill, disrespectful, and insulting comments" is one advanced by Bill O'Reilly. The vast majority of people who post here are polite and sincere and express themselves with proper decorum, especially when elected officials choose to post here.

          Key Democrats and electeds should come here because interacting with people is their job. Communicating with members of their party comes with the territory.  If those citizens have a dissenting point of view, well, that's the way it is.

          The user base of DailyKos reaches all over the nation. I would agree that "bloggers" and "online activists" do tend to think that we represent the full spectrum of Democratic views when we don't. Our poverty is more in terms of racial and income demographics than viewpoint, however.

          And that cuts both ways.

          You seem to think that the nation as a whole takes a point of view much closer to your own views. I've shown you before that that's not always true...on the topic of deportation for one.

          I think the "base" is a definition that is up for grabs and open to change within the Democratic Party. I don't claim to be "it." I recognize, however, that as a progressive I will always be working on being in coalition inside the
          Democratic party. I embrace that.

          I want to have my ideas have a chance to win inside our coalition. I want to be a part of a coalition that can help my ideas become law and the policy of the land.

          I know that process is not perfect. I am willing to negotiate and debate and work together with people I don't always agree with.

          I think I've tried to do so with you.

          k/o: politics and culture

          by kid oakland on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 05:45:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't say the entire blog was "shrill" (0+ / 0-)

            nor did I say that I agreed with Bill O'Reilly's interpretation of Daily Kos. But when elected officials have come here to post the reception that they've gotten has been often tainted by rude and shrill posts. I can remember when Jane Harman and Chuck Schumer posted here. It wasn't that people disagreed with them, but rather they were the targets of insults.

          •  And so have I (0+ / 0-)

            I think we are more on the same side on most issues than we disagree.

  •  I used to love them... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kid oakland

    but I had to kill them...

    I used to do a lot of work fund raising and such for the Democrats, and I even got paid to do it, but after the 04 elections I was laid off, and that was that, I am done, finished, I will do no more.

    I listened to old ladies say they would go without to give money to the Kerry campaign, I listened to people pissed off about how things were going who were willing to give each month, I heard it all, and I watched John Kerry sit on money and use to keep his slim hopes alive for 08. I can no longer be a whore for the party.

    I now work in Human Services and the smiles I get from the developmentally disabled soften the blow from the fact that I make very little money. I also feel much better about what I am doing, it felt like I was robbing old ladies before, especially when you see what the politicians do with the money these donors sacrificed to give.

    I prefer peace Wouldn't have to have one worldly possession But essentially I'm an animal So just what do I do with all the aggression?

    by jbou on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:29:55 PM PDT

    •  To be fair (0+ / 0-)

      the organizations and efforts listed at the bottom of my diary are worth supporting and participating in.

      There are many more as well.

      The challenge is that we simply don't have the campaign finance and media ownership reform for the good work that is being done to have the leverage and attention it deserves.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Sep 07, 2007 at 04:46:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Words to Live By (0+ / 0-)

    Get involved in the local party, be professional in how you conduct yourself, run for office, write informative articles on local blogs on local and national issues, give to candidates that you know, work to support candidates whose politics you trust and believe in, seek to engage politicians with whom you disagree and attempt to get them to see the sincerity and relevance of your views, participate in sincere, nonviolent protest and free speech, write letters to the editor, and above all else, create a culture of respect and empowerment for yourself and other volunteers and activists who think like you.

    That should keep you busy for awhile.

    Never confuse kindness and patience with stupidity and weakness!!

    by Joes Steven on Sat Sep 08, 2007 at 06:07:39 AM PDT

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