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I have been thinking for some time about how progressives keep on getting short-changed with political and social advancements. I think that it is time for a change in strategy. I know that we dont want to aspire to be like the religious right, but they are actually amazingly efficient at getting what they want. I believe that the reason for this is because they ask for some of the most extreme changes possible. It is becoming increasingly evident that our current administration is going to continue its philosophy of compromising from the outset so we therefore must adapt our own strategy if we want to accomplish anything at all. Instead of asking for what we see as reasonable we should instead ask for the most extreme possible variation of what we want, then after the compromising is done we will end up with some reasonable advancements.

Today's political climate has made it almost impossible for any serious legislative changes to be enacted. We all know that instead of enacting a real stimulus package (somewhere upwards of $1.2 trillion towards infrastructure and government jobs ) or any sort of housing foreclosure safety our government has instead compromised to weak solutions (30% of $800 billion towards tax cuts) or no solutions (as is the case for the housing crisis). When sweeping changes are required we get modest advancements which usually end up being a wash or even negative as they give Republicans an example of a failed Democratic legislative example.

Make no mistake, sweeping changes are necessary. Our economy is limping on, our education system is lagging, civil liberties are constantly being eroded, the rich poor gap keeps on growing, and the environment is shuddering under the ecological disasters humans perpetuate. When we ask for these sweeping changes to be enacted we get modest incremental adjustments not real change. How is it that the religious right which is in a significant minority in our country seems to get everything they want and progressives who are on the rise (maybe even a majority) cant seem to achieve anything? The answer is that we are too reasonable. Extremists are in there very nature extreme in their demands. The problem is the debate is set by the two extremes.

If the right asks for a christian nation and the left asks for religious freedom the compromise ends up being religious persecution of not all but many religions and a steady injection of religion into our politics.

If the right asks for no government spending and no new taxes and the left asks for government spending and a progressive tax system the compromise ends up being a flat tax and government spending only on the military.

If the right says that global warming doesnt exist and the left asks for a green economy and green jobs the compromise ends up being the status quo and a handful of incentives to slightly improve the environmental situation.

If the right asks for preemptive destruction of any religion or culture which doesnt think America is the best and the left asks for respecting other cultures and religions the compromise ends up being we preemptively attack a few nations which might prove useful for the richest of the rich in America but detrimental for our world image and the average American family (soldiers families and depletion of Americas money chest to fruitless endeavors).

If the right asks for judges who think abortion is a sin, guns carried by everyone in a school make the children safer, corporations should be able to contribute unlimited amounts to our political debate, and civil liberties can be disposed of because the government thinks its more convenient and the left asks for reasonable judicial prudence and empathy the compromise ends up being activist "conservative" judges who will rewrite the constitution and move away from our true conservative philosophies written in that pesky document of the Constitution.

These are just a few examples of how the right pulls the debate and what is seen as reasonable further and further to the right. It is easy enough to blame Obama or Democrats in Congress for not enacting sufficiently progressive legislation but it doesnt actually accomplish anything. I feel that it is necessary to push and pull them by any means necessary. If we keep on only asking for what we see as a reasonable advancement instead of demanding truly sweeping and even extreme changes then we will constantly be disappointed and receive nothing of any true value.

We must therefore demanding a return to a truly progressive tax code (not just settling for a flat tax), a complete and immediate removal of American troops from any arena (not just settling for a removal of troops in 2 years), social programs which actually put our entire population to work (not just settling for 8% unemployment), complete energy independence (not a gradual reduction of oil dependency), a complete and immediate removal of the military industrial complex, healthcare for anyone who needs it, a good education for everyone (not just the rich who can afford private schools or the Northeast who doesnt believe that evolution is a "theory"), a true stimulus package of say $10 trillion. After making this list these dont even really seem extreme enough. We have to pull the debate far to the left of what we think is a reasonable compromise.

Originally posted to phatrat82 on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 07:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  You forgot nominating George McGovern (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      for president in 2012.  Hey, he's still alive!

      We must therefore demanding a return to a truly progressive tax code (not just settling for a flat tax), a complete and immediate removal of American troops from any arena (not just settling for a removal of troops in 2 years), social programs which actually put our entire population to work (not just settling for 8% unemployment), complete energy independence (not a gradual reduction of oil dependency), a complete and immediate removal of the military industrial complex, healthcare for anyone who needs it, a good education for everyone (not just the rich who can afford private schools or the Northeast who doesnt believe that evolution is a "theory"), a true stimulus package of say $10 trillion. After making this list these dont even really seem extreme enough. We have to pull the debate far to the left of what we think is a reasonable compromise.

  •  Couldn't agree more (6+ / 0-)

    Except it is hard to imagine ten times of justice, and ten times of honesty.  

    It is also hard to say what you mean when you demand that your side stand up and fight the forces of destruction on the right.  Stand up ten times?  

    I want the CCC returned now.  I want my social security left alone.  I want the rich taxed.  Mb I really do want the CCC ten times over, and my social security locked up under ten locks and the rich taxed at 10 times their current rate.  

    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle

    by not2plato on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:46:20 AM PDT

  •  good faith (5+ / 0-)

    You assume that Democrats really want to make the changes they claim to stand for.  In reality, they want to find excuses to not change the status quo.  They would rather work with their Republican "foes" to stop progressive legislation.  Then they will all get rewarded by their corporate masters.

    And we keep falling for the same trick.  Oh, the Dem's are trying sooooo hard, but those darn Republicans keep pulling the football away at the last minute blocking us with the filibuster.  "We don't have the votes, nothing can be done about it".  

    The game is rigged.  Both Democrats and Republicans are playing for the same corporate team.  They are working together to obstruct any progressive legislation.

    We must use this (HIR) bill as an opening toward a renewed effort for a more comprehensive approach to health care reform. - Dennis Kucinich

    by MJ via Chicago on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:53:23 AM PDT

    •  not what the politicians want but the people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lotlizard, zedaker

      I agree with you completely that the Democratic politicians want to maintain the status quo. The same is true for the Republican politicians but they placate their base. The Republicans dont want to keep enacting these extreme views of the base but they do because the base demands them. The democratic and progressive people need to force the politicians into action.

    •  Oh, yeah, I'm working my retired ass off to help (0+ / 0-)

      anyone but poor people. Get a life. If you paint with a broad brush, you'll get tarred with it, too.

      I'm a proud Democrat in the best people-oriented tradition. There are lots more like me out here working to do something beneficial, even if it means taking down a Democrat here and there.

      What are YOU doing to make things better?

  •  This is a better idea than you may believe (7+ / 0-)

    Ever heard of the Overton Window?

    The Overton Window is a means of visualizing which ideas define that range of acceptance by where they fall in it. Proponents of policies outside the window seek to persuade or educate the public so that the window either "moves" or expands to encompass them. Opponents of current policies, or similar ones currently within the window, likewise seek to convince people that these should be considered unacceptable.

    Other formulations of the process created after Overton's death add the concept of moving the window, such as deliberately promoting ideas even less acceptable than the previous "outer fringe" ideas, with the intention of making the current fringe ideas acceptable by comparison...

    (Saw this on the diary save list or would have commented earlier.)

    "Doing My Part to Piss Off the Religious Right" - A sign held by a 10-year old boy on 9-24-05

    by Timbuk3 on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 08:31:27 PM PDT

    •  Everyone around here has heard of it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, lotlizard, zedaker, cv lurking gf

      For that matter, I'm sure all our elected officials have heard of it, too. What I don't understand is why they -- and, for that matter, we -- don't make better use of it.

      We had single-payer health care pushed all the way to "Acceptable," for crying out loud, and by the time we came out the other end of the sausage machine, not only was it "Unthinkable" again, so was a public option -- the supposed compromise measure. To achieve that kind of political failure demands commitment.

      "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

      by Geenius at Wrok on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 09:24:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pushing the Window works in steps. This time (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timbuk3

        around you actually got something passed. Next time, push it a little harder.

        Speed, quality, price. Choose two only.

        by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 11:14:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excuse me, but I'M not the one (0+ / 0-)

          who's in a position to push anything of the kind. If our party's designated mouthpieces aren't pushing too, we get nowhere. The right wing pushes with the force of billions of dollars. Nobodies like us can't stand up against that.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Sat Aug 28, 2010 at 06:05:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My theme of the day (6+ / 0-)

    You can't rush to a (right) of center compromise, wag your finger at the "extreme" left, and then go back to those folks for ideas or support later.  It doesn't work.  It lacks credibility.

    We all know that HCR is not done and that the bill that was passed was a strange compromise and not really designed to get medical expenses under control, that some sort of stimulus or economic retooling is necessary, that a serious discussion of stagnating wages must happen.  We get that isolating economic strength in a permanent ruling class will corrupt a free and open economic system.  We know that the era of US policing is coming to an end because it is bankrupting us and we understand that importing oil from countries we are warned are too dangerous to visit is not a good long term strategy.  This isn't radical thought--it's mainstream America that sees this.  Just talk to people and you'll find widespread agreement especially if you leave political labels out of the conversation.  But the tactic in Washington has been to run against these ideas as extremist and then wonder why voters check out and why anger starts to boil over in irrational ways.  

     

  •  I like it - what a great idea. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timbuk3, side pocket, lotlizard

    I had something like this beginning to rumble around in my head, but you put it in words. So glad this was rescued, and I hope you try pushing it again.

  •  Hooray (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timbuk3, side pocket, lotlizard

    I've been saying this for 10 years. That's why Obama should have started out with single payer so we might could get a public option.

    Great diary!

    "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

    by MillieNeon on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 10:25:58 PM PDT

  •  Ask? Hell, demand ten times what we (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    want, and if we get half of it, damn the bastards who gave it to us for the corrupt s.o.b.'s they are. Winning an election is the beginning of the struggle, not the end, my dears.

  •  strategy... (0+ / 0-)

    is because they ask for some of the most extreme changes possible.

    agree.  But one of the things they ALSO do is accept where they end up.  They accept incremental success.  We can't seem to do that around here.

  •  Here's what the Adminstration thinks about us: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Aaa T Tudeattack

    The press secretary dismissed the "professional left" in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, "They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality."

    Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: "They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president."

    I agree wholeheartedly with this diary. But we need to get really out there:
    The rich taxed at 90%.
    The military spending cut by 50%.
    Seize Wall Street, K Street, and any corporation who doesn't play fair.
    Bust up monopolies, especially in media.
    Move every wingnut into camps.

    Okay, not that far, but seriously as far left as we can get.

    •  I'm all for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alexandra Lynch

      de-programming centers for wingnuts. They are pre-disposed to it but nevertheless have been cruelly brainwashed by their daily three hour hate and fear radio and a booster dose of Faux Noos at any time around the clock.

      I am serious, these people represent a true threat to the Republic, the worst we've faced since the Civil War.

      - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

      by Dave925 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 at 01:47:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hard to say. Who thinks Texas and Alaska will (0+ / 0-)

        … ever really follow through on all the right-wing "secession" talk? That would, of course, amount to a genuine Civil-War type threat.

        Or isn't it all just hot air to, heh, push the Overton Window?

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Sat Aug 28, 2010 at 05:52:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Secession (0+ / 0-)

          The reason they will never vote to secede is that they will never give up the money they get from the federal government.  Both Alaska and Texas are among the biggest beneficiaries of federal tax dollars when compared to their meager contributions.

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