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I've been rolling thoughts over in my head since the election results came in, wondering what can be done to rescue the Democratic party and the country from this relentlessly tightening corporate takeover of government.  It's easy to become frustrated or hopeless in the face of the appetite of voters for nincompoopery, flat-out lies and corporate propaganda.  

The Democratic party and the president lost this election primarily because they forgot to tell the country a simple, compelling story.  Leaders do that: they explain to people where they are, where they need to go and how to get there.  President Obama appears not to know that that is the most important part of his job description.  He's gotten lost in insider dealmaking and technocratic detail for most of his first two years.  He forgot to talk to the country in simple, understandable terms telling them what was wrong and what he was doing to fix it.  He had no Fireside Chats, aside from Saturday morning webcasts that nobody not reading Daily Kos ever saw.

Below find some thoughts on what the Democratic story might be, how it can work to our advantage, and how storytelling can re-elect the president and save the Democratic party from its leaders.

Restoration is the theme of my story.  Americans know that the country is falling apart.  We are no longer a beacon to the world.  The American Dream is the punchline of a cruel joke.  Our streets are potholed, schools seem beyond redemption, and the idea of our children having a better life than we did can't bear the least scrutiny.  America needs to be restored to its former glories, and Americans are dying to believe in their country and their futures again.   There are three central themes Democrats must weave together to tell a compelling story, and fight back against the crazies and the corporations.

1.  Restoring the Middle Class

Nick Kristof in the NY Times today wrote a column naming the most obvious unmentionable truth about America today:  we are a banana republic.  Our richest 1% take home 24% of national income, making us more unequal than erstwhile actual banana republics like Nicaragua and Guyana.  And as the rich get richer, all the rest of us get poorer.  Thom Hartmann has written an entire book about how government actions have repeatedly made and unmade middle classes in this country, and describes in painfully familiar detail how the current postwar middle class has been systematically ransacked and garrotted by 30 years of government policy.  This is the root of our economic crisis, just as it was in 1929, the last time income inequality was this severe in this country.  You can't have a stable economy which is this top-heavy:  it will inevitably topple over.

Democrats, then, need to diagnose the problem properly and communicate that to voters.  Americans are painfully aware that the middle class is dying, and would be very receptive to measures to bring it back.  Restoring the middle class should be the central theme of our story.  Reducing income inequality and putting money back into the hands of the many will necessarily involve taking some of the hoard of the rich away from them, and Democrats should not shy from class war.  It's time the rest of us fought back against the attacks by the rich.  Taking a firm and unwavering stance on ending the Bush tax cuts on the rich should be our first step.  Explaining why this is necessary will help introduce our story, but it must only be the introduction.  Some other chapters in this story are as follows:

  1. Restoring the estate tax to end unhealthy concentrations of wealth is a laudable goal, and pointing out how few people are affected by the estate tax should preface any discussion of it.
  1. A stock and derivatives transaction tax, as Britain has instituted, is a way to raise lots of money from Wall Street, "to pay the country back for the bailouts and the damage they have caused."  It will also help curb harmful financial speculation too, but that's a needless elaboration in our story.
  1. Trade policy has to be reoriented to bring jobs back to this country.  China is happy to bare its teeth at the mention of such changes, and their plutocratic co-conspirators in the boardrooms of the Fortune 500 will help them.  But people know where the jobs have gone, and they know nobody's trying to bring them back.  Americans need to hear from Democrats that we'll bring the jobs back.  
  1. The minimum wage needs to be raised above the poverty line, and indexed to inflation.  There's no need for the poor to get poorer in this country when they can find a job.  This rising tide will lift all boats, and will contrast nicely with teabagger calls to end the minimum wage altogether.
  1. Corporate taxes need to be reshuffled.  Cancelling tax breaks that do nothing to create American jobs, or even encourage offshoring, is a no-brainer.  The money raised can go to new tax breaks aimed at promoting domestic employment, to avoid the Republican hue and cry about tax and spend Democrats.
  1. Public colleges and vocational training schools should be expanded, and assistance with costs should be universally available.  Most Americans won't be ready for the work force coming out of high school, even assuming they finish high school, and we won't be able to expand the middle class nearly as much as we should without investing in our human capital. Education and training should be approached as urgently as national defense, because we won't be able to defend ourselves forever if our economy collapses and we can't compete in a future world economy.

There are many other chapters in this tale, but they all have to revolve around the simple theme of Restoring the Middle Class.  It's the most powerful antidote we have to the poison of free-market fundamentalism Republicans have made into conventional wisdom in this country.

2. Restoring Our Democracy

Citizens United and the flood of lying attack ads funded by shadowy zillionaires and corporate interests have scandalized most Americans.  This creates an opening for Democrats to talk about American democracy.  Many of us believe that the country is no longer a democracy, but an economic oligarchy running elections as a reality show, and sponsoring government as a wealth-transfer agency operating on their behalf.  But the residual power of the idea of democracy is powerful, and Democrats should use it while they still can.

The DISCLOSE Act is an entry point.  Much better would be calls for a ban on all political advertising except during a specified time before elections, as many other countries have.  Public financing should be proposed and debated, so the essential corruption of our current system can be highlighted.  Instant Runoff Voting, tamper-free voting systems, nonpartisan redistricting, expanding the voting public by proposing small fines for not voting -- all these things are done in other countries and can be done here.  The corporate stranglehold on the media must be challenged, and the extension of that stranglehold to the Internet must be a line in the sand.

Actual legislative reforms will be slow and difficult to achieve, but none will happen until Democrats start telling the story.  American voters don't know why IRV would be a good thing, but there's hardly an American who thinks the elections aren't rigged against them.  Tell them why, and what we'll do about it, and this will become a powerful story.

3. Restoring the Planet.

It is shocking and untenable that our national energy policy in the new Congress will likely be "reward oil and coal companies more, and deny climate change is happening."  The pushback against the capture of government and media by extractive energy industries must be strong and sustained.  Aside perhaps from education, it is doubtful that any story will so engage the young as Restoring the Planet.  Appeals to altruism and to self-interest among the young must be buttressed by economic arguments about jobs and the vast wealth transfer out of this country caused by reliance on oil.  Don't start the story with cap and trade or raising taxes.  Vilify the villains and call out the liars.  Point out the stakes.  Show the vanishing icecaps and the projections of a hotter and drier future for much of the country.  Tell the story first, so that the details will make sense for people.


We all want our country back.  The question is, who has stolen it?  The Democratic party has to have a story to tell voters that makes sense to them, that explains their dissatisfactions and their fears, and that tells them what Democrats will do to make their lives better.  That's what the party didn't do in 2010.  It had better learn that lesson in one damn hurry, or 2012 will be a much worse experience than what we've just gone through.

We Democrats who are not party leaders can't wait for our leaders to realize these truths or tell these stories.  We have to agree on what our story is and start telling it ourselves.  We have to look for and support candidates for office who are willing to tell a coherent story along these lines.  Our leaders have proven themselves -- in important ways -- feckless and incompetent at leadership.  They are craven in the face of the powers arrayed against them.  They don't appear to know where to go or what to do.  In times like these we can't rely on them to lead.  We must lead.  We have to learn how to form ourselves into a parade and march to our destination.  "Leaders" will either scramble to the front or get left behind.  It's a parade we must all join, liberals and moderates, critics and defenders.  The time for electing Democrats has for the moment passed.  It's time we all got together and created a party worth voting for.  That's what will win the next election.

Originally posted to Dallasdoc on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:25 PM PDT.


Between now and 2012 I will...

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Comment Preferences

  •  What are your ideas? (305+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pat K California, claude, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, jec, itsbenj, hester, deben, yerioy, importer, tiggers thotful spot, BigOkie, mattman, emal, cotterperson, hyperstation, OLinda, Troutfishing, jdld, eeff, patsy in pgh, Jerome a Paris, Heart of the Rockies, sardonyx, rasbobbo, Gustogirl, nicki37, opinionated, Song Jiang, TheMomCat, Zinman, conchita, understandinglife, Alden, undercovercalico, pdrap, Mlle Orignalmale, chuckvw, cosmic debris, luaptifer, Ignacio Magaloni, Larry Bailey, standingup, steelman, sngmama, Major Tom, fumie, ctsteve, sele, Wamsutta, wader, Getreal1246, psnyder, MrSandman, TexDem, DeadB0y, businessdem, pat bunny, gmb, TiaRachel, westyny, JimWilson, churchylafemme, regnaDkciN, a lynn, mnguitar, flatford39, dwahzon, Steveningen, Bluehawk, hazzcon, The Zipper, AbsurdEyes, whyvee, RebeccaG, riverlover, Pohjola, barbwires, dkmich, ybruti, Kitsap River, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Deward Hastings, BillieJohn, bablhous, slapshoe, eztempo, TexMex, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Julie Gulden, joanneleon, Desert Rose, bloomer 101, radarlady, 3goldens, Ckntfld, SherwoodB, sc kitty, Philoguy, basquebob, MT Spaces, YucatanMan, reflectionsv37, Burned, lotlizard, blue jersey mom, CWalter, FindingMyVoice, sodalis, deepsouthdoug, Ekaterin, mightymouse, Snud, Land of Enchantment, terjeanderson, noweasels, Jim P, begone, reddbierd, RJDixon74135, MagisterLudi, happynz, third Party please, buddabelly, adios, 417els, BlueInARedState, Naranjadia, Prognosticator, Hear Our Voices, mskitty, dougymi, abe57, arlene, dewey of the desert, kck, blueoasis, triv33, bubbanomics, nonnie9999, gooderservice, NearlyNormal, dirtfarmer, doinaheckuvanutjob, MBNYC, hlsmlane, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, means are the ends, RantNRaven, Dreaming of Better Days, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, kurious, Hedwig, Temmoku, Nulwee, bmcphail, Bobjack23, seabos84, bigchin, One Pissed Off Liberal, out of left field, BeninSC, Habitat Vic, Bob Guyer, camlbacker, california keefer, Debs2, offgrid, gloriana, terryhallinan, Outrider, Mary Mike, daveygodigaditch, terabytes, deepeco, Shadowmage36, aliasalias, Corwin Weber, Seneca Doane, Kentucky Kid, HCKAD, jayden, Uberbah, jnhobbs, millwood, uciguy30, ImpeachKingBushII, keikekaze, Jahiz, Neon Mama, Terra Mystica, alba, gizmo59, jwinIL14, mayrose, TheFatLadySings, elwior, Fe Bongolan, skohayes, monkeybrainpolitics, Happy Days, Lujane, geomoo, bluesheep, Jeff Y, mofembot, allie123, priceman, Quilldriver, HoosierDeb, Mike Taylor, lissablack, LaFeminista, maggiejean, prettygirlxoxoxo, aufklaerer, snackdoodle, greengemini, divineorder, lostinamerica, BigAlinWashSt, banjolele, JesseCW, Daily Activist, virginwoolf, zaka1, allep10, Mom in Maine, XNeeOhCon, Nonconformist, nancat357, ohmyheck, angel d, purplepenlady, Words In Action, cassandraX, appletree, p gorden lippy, eXtina, candysroom, BFSkinner, legalchic, RJP9999, Eddie L, melpomene1, shenderson, Lady Libertine, sharonsz, addisnana, PLGwannaB, Otteray Scribe, Floande, science nerd, Quantumlogic, no way lack of brain, Colorado is the Shiznit, allenjo, bluebuckaroo, Mz LadyPhoenix, thebluecrayon, vahana, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, yakimagrama, Situational Lefty, deeproots, princesspat, Aranfell, Kcox, marleycat, Cinnamon Rollover, dle2GA, jhb90277, LSmith, Vtdblue, whoknu, poliwrangler, Andrew F Cockburn, daveusf, brownd9, Willa Rogers, Regina in a Sears Kit House, MichaelNY, Mean Mr Mustard, Patric Juillet, OldDragon, APA Guy, OHknighty, dance you monster, turn blue, Eric Nelson, barkingcat, Lonely Texan, farlefty, drnononono, teabaggerssuckbalz, soularsystem, faloofa, supercereal

    I'm sick of waiting for a leader to lead.  It's time we found our way ourselves, and let the leaders find us.  

    Next topic after this diary: how do we do that?

  •  I think some sort of theocracy (6+ / 0-)

    perhaps with a ruling elite that meets secretly to make policy and divide up the spoils of unrestricted laissez-faire capitalism would be in order, backed up by the police and military and a severe curtailment of Constitutional rights.

    Or we could try Mormonism.

    Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

    by adios on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:34:07 PM PDT

  •  If I can make a tangential point (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, JohnB47, Nulwee, jayden, Turn Left

    I'm not sure narrowly keeping the house would have been so beneficial after all. What would have been the result? The remaining Blue Dogs would have been more powerful than ever and would cut deals with the Republicans. So then the blame could be laid on "Democrats" not passing legislation. Now, with the exception of much fewer Blue Dogs, it's all on the Republicans. Let them try to get through a budget while listening to both their corporate AND teaparty masters.

    Change takes time, so do donations. Nada until DADT is really, fully repealed.

    by gladkov on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:35:10 PM PDT

  •  I think this is a common misconception now, (38+ / 0-)

    that the problem was the messaging rather than the policy.  FDR's Fireside Chats might have been good for morale, but they would have been worthless without actual policy changes.  One of the things that Roosevelt did that gave people new hope is that he tried things, lots of things, things that didn't work.  It was refreshing because AT LEAST HE SEEMED to be doing something that they could see, feel, talk about, and not in an abstract way that was just spin.  As long as it's a messaging war between Fox News and the Obama admin's narrative, it's all a big failure.

    There's another diary on the rec list now, about how in Germany they are looking at us, at our 20% unemployment right now, by fair calculations, and asking is the American dream over?  That's not the narrative here, but people can feel it, that something has gone wrong and the people in charge are taking it in stride.

    Instead of better messaging, we need better policy, policy that is brash enough to be unmistakeable.  The Obama admin's position of trying to do useful things without offending people on the right has made their policies ineffectual (for instance, too small a bailout to work, hcr without a public option, Gitmo still open, houses being foreclosed on illegally without recourds...)  That's NOT a message problem!  The policy IS the message.

  •  If unemployment gets down to around 7%, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Uberbah

    (7.5 or 7.2 with strong job creation numbers) Obama wins and easily too and will beat any candidate including Lincoln.

    If the unemployment is above 7% and job creating is anemic to flat, well let's just say that it ain't gonna be easy at all. And messaging won't work because numbers will be indicating something else. All his opponent has to do is talking about the unemployment over and over and over.

    Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

    by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:45:23 PM PDT

    •  Not anymore, they can't (29+ / 0-)

      Republicans won the House, and will be crowing about how they're in charge now.

      The next two years will consist of power struggle and blame game, with each side trying to win all the credit and cast all the blame.  The party that tells the best story to voters wins.

      •  New Jersey, Ohio & Wisconsin (24+ / 0-)

        Governors got off to a great start (or great move in a first year in), huh?  That's a story in and of itself.  Nothing like pissing away stimulus money that could put tends of thousands of people to work building stuff we need for the sake of being an anti-Obama purist.  

        Wow!  They said NO to the President!  That will put food on the table and send my kid to college.

        PROUD to be a Democrat.

        by noweasels on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:53:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No my friend, the president will be blamed (7+ / 0-)

        or rewarded for good or bad unemployment rate.

        When Clinton took office, the unemployment rate was 8%. He killed Bush I for those numbers. Remember, Congress was democratic back then.

        When he ran again in 1996, it was 5% in November.
        Clinton shared 2 years of his first term with a Republican Congress, and they got zero, nada credit for that. Bob Dole could not even talk about that because the polls indicated one thing: the president gets rewarded for good numbers or bad numbers.

        Just like this time, 9.6%, the president's party got punished.

        Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

        by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:04:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may well be right (12+ / 0-)

          ... and the prospects for a big fall in unemployment don't look promising at this point.

          So how do we change the inevitable?  We survived the Bush years, barely.  I don't think the country could survive another Republican in the White House in the near future.

          •  I am optimistic actually about the economy (6+ / 0-)

            I am bullish. When we look at the inventories, they are at their lowest lowest levels ever. Corporations and businesses have learned to do more with fewer workers during this recession. However, for two months now, productivity is hitting a plateau. They are not even meeting demand. So, they have nowhere to go but start hiring.

            It is going to be slow for the first and second quarter, but i am expecting serious job creation numbers in 3rd and 4th quarter, and beyond that. I think by fall 2012, we will be around 7 with strong numbers indicating a very negative slope in the unemployment curve.

            That Obama could build on and could run on. There are two things that can screw this scenario up. One is a trade war with China and two some European countries are very shaky and can go belly up like Greece. We don't want that because that would scare business and would slow any recovery.

            However, Obama needs to start connecting with people. He really needs to work on his communication. He needs to start talking from the heart with warmth to the American people directly. That works with people. He is too distant, too cool. He needs to get with his inner self and find that fuzzy and warm Obama and gets him out there to talk to the folks. Remember how Clinton used to do that. At the end of Clinton's speech, folks would feel that he is their mother, and that the republicans are wolves coming to eat their babies. Obama needs to take a page out of that play-book.

            Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

            by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:20:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The bank / phony money / derivatives / (7+ / 0-)

              foreclosure crisis continues to drain money out of the economy.

              Until that ends, there will be no recovery. I've got family in other states who are all upside-down in their homes. And there was no "bubble" so-to-speak in their hometowns or states.

              But take millions of people who have homes they purchased for, say, $150,000 and those homes are now worth $80 to 90,000.  They've lost nearly 1/2 the value of their homes. They cannot afford to sell. They are all seriously considering whether to just walk away.

              Some estimates have the amount of money wound up in derivatives and their resale and related contracts to be nearly $3 Trillion.  That is money that does not exist.

              It's one reason why all the Fed's creation of money is not causing inflation: their creation is merely replacing the disappearance of other wealth.

              The entire economy must absorb this massive loss of wealth. Unless the fake money is directly addressed and/or the homeowners actively assisted - immediately - there will be no recovery in two years.

              There is, in fact, great potential for things to be worse.

              Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

              by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:54:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is one thing people need to learn & that is (4+ / 0-)

                they can't use their house(s) like a piggy bank. When you buy a house stick to it and wait. It's a longterm investment. It is not because your house depreciates that you walk away from it. The depreciation is only momentary. That is at most 2 or 3 years.

                One of my nephews got a job in Washington state. He had to move and he was upside down on his house like many folks. He didn't declare bankruptcy and just walk away from it. He rented it for 90% of the value of his monthly mortgage payment. He rented it very fast through a real estate agency.

                The real market would go up when the economy as whole would go up. And i am not sure that the system is still clogged with toxic assets. As for derivatives, they have their place, but not it the real estate market really.

                Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

                by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:50:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The real estate market cannot go up when the (5+ / 0-)

                  economy rises, because it is flush with thousands and thousands of excess homes. Even if employment rises and household income rises, the housing market will not rise until all the excess homes are re-absorbed.

                  "Using your home as a piggy-bank" really isn't the issue. That is a false meme.  

                  The fact is that millions of people once had a "paper value" of many tens of thousands more. Today, that money has vanished . The money they have paid into the house is gone. The value is gone off their net worth -- as much as 1/3 or 1/2 of their net worth is lost. Their economic condition is perilous.  

                  And their economic situation will not recover even when the economy improves and for many more years. Those home values will not turn around for a decade.

                  When people understand the true situation many Americans face... well, the picture is more awful than most of us can comprehend. That's why a real and effective homeowner support program is needed and now.

                  Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

                  by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:17:09 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You sure about that? (2+ / 0-)

                    "Using your home as a piggy-bank" really isn't the issue.

                    If part of the goal isn't to use the home as a savings vehicle, then what difference does it make if the value goes down?  How does it put them into a "perilous" economic condition?

                    Those concerns only make sense if we're starting from the premise that the home is, at least in part, an investment.

                    •  There is a difference between (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      burrow owl, gmb, Willa Rogers

                      "piggy bank" (which people were withdrawing from through cash out re-fis like crazy during the last decade) and investment vehicle.

                      At any rate, even if it is not an investment, losing that much money - say owing $120,000 on a house that can only be sold for $80,000 - is a huge huge hit.  How many people in the USA can take a $40,000 subtraction from their net worth?  What if they have to move to keep a job?  What if they have to move due to family circumstances?

                      This is an enormous and invisible problem. And no one is addressing it.

                      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

                      by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:33:33 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually it is not flushed with excess capacity. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    The numbers are not there to support your claim. I wish i can find the graphs and the article from last month FT.

                    The value that is gone is paper value and it will come back. It is not like it has gone forever. It is like buying a stock. it goes up and it goes down. If you always sell when the market is down, you lose money. You hold on to it and wait.

                    I think you exhibit serious misunderstanding of economic trends because some of the claims you are making have no foundation at all in data or empirical studies (just based on anecdotal stories) or maybe you are just pessimistic.

                    Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

                    by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 07:08:21 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I have been a land use analyst and economic (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gmb, Willa Rogers

                      forecaster for a Fortune 50 company for the last 15 years. My entire job has been to study building and construction trends. We called this one right at the beginning and thus our company did not have massive layoffs when the recession hit. We didn't expand grandly due to the housing construction bubble, simply because we could see it was a bubble. It doesn't take much more than land consumption, units built, and population trends, but we factored in much more than that.

                      Thanks for analyzing my knowledge base.  There are many factors that go into this, but the fact is, there are anywhere from 5% to 20% more homes than are needed in most markets in the USA.  There simply aren't enough people to buy or rent all of them. In many markets 30-40% of all new construction was sold to speculators - no one to occupy them.

                      And with housing prices so severely depressed, these losses "on paper" are going to hit people for years as they are forced to move and sell at a loss.

                      You talk about "sell at a loss" as though it were some simple thing. It is a huge financial blow to middle class families who never thought they'd have to worry about a housing crisis anything like this.

                      People cannot always "hold on to it." "Waiting" isn't going to be a short wait this time around. This is going to be a semi-permanent situation - taking 5-8 years to unwind. And all through, people are going to be hurt financially.

                      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

                      by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:40:53 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  In addition, prices are still falling. (0+ / 0-)

                      And a second round of price collapse may be in the offing. And... the commercial real estate sector may be about to undergo a collapse of its own.

                      The housing industry is looking grim.

                      Technically, the "recession is over."  But unemployment remains high. Why?  Usually the end of a recession sees an increase in construction, but there is no increase today. And there won't be for years. That is going to keep unemployment high.

                      Just one source:


                      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

                      by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:32:19 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

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

        I envision two years of absolutely nothing substantive getting done in D.C. So the question, then, is how do Democrats win in 2012 if they are effectively sabotaged by the Neanderthal sell-outs in Congress?  It has to be the message.  Perception is everything; truth is negotiable. I'm not clear, tho, on how progressives get a message out when they don't control the message machines. The Olberman debacle brings that home.

    •  Unemployment is not the weather. (7+ / 0-)

      It doesn't just happen, or not happen.

      It's directly impacted by Government policies...or lack thereof.

      How do you compromise with people who talk about you like you're a dog?

      by JesseCW on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:13:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No one says that it is like the weather. It (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is impacted by fiscal and monetary policies. The monetary stimulus is reaching its limits and the fiscal one, well there is still room for some.

        But the picture of productivity and demand is out there. Look at the numbers and you will see.

        Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

        by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Seven percent? A little too high, me thinks. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opinionated, Dallasdoc, gmb

      All an opponent will have to do is say how much the Republican wins in 2010 did - much more than Obama's administration did in his first two years.

      Obama is in a more difficult spot than he can imagine. I've seen no sign of him becoming a Democratic leader, for Democratic principles over the Big Banks and Wall Street preferences of his administration, let alone the problems with LBGT policy, immigration promises still waiting, etc, etc, etc.

      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

      by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:44:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  From where it is now, it is huge drop (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Moreover, studies show that it is the trend of the unemployment that is more important then the number itself. When it is going down and people see it going down through strong job creation, pretty much the impact of the number is lessen.

        As for the number itself, 7. Well that's a good number actually. When Clinton was elected it was 8. When he ran for reelection it was around 5 or 5.5. But the trend was descending and strongly so.

        Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

        by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:56:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, but Clinton was not struggling (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, gmb, blueoasis

          with the Great Recession either. The worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It will be a minor miracle if unemployment falls to even 8%.

          I would welcome that, but I am not counting on it.

          Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

          by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:23:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am little bit more optimist that you. I think (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            8 can easily be done, bringing it to 7 will be harder (just because business could shy from hiring huge numbers of workers).

            Anyways, i hope i am right.

            Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

            by Mutual Assured Destruction on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 07:01:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  PS: My pleasure to add some jewelry to your tags (12+ / 0-)

    Good on you, Dallasdoc.

    PROUD to be a Democrat.

    by noweasels on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 08:55:20 PM PDT

  •  The question is how do we create political will? (14+ / 0-)

    Democratic ideas are popular, when explained, but repub sloganeering and fear-mongering are more powerful motivators.

    1. We must be clear, concise and make catchy statements in explaining why and how repubs are doing a bad job at governing.  As well as how repubs are not governing in the self-interest of the average person.
    1. Make clear that Dems aren't against business in general, but rather unfair business practices, which ultimately cost us jobs, tax payer money and now give us less power in our own democracy.
    1. Continue to make the argument for transparent donations in elections.  If you or I have a public record of our donations, why don't corporations?  
    1. Education.  Rather than fight the charter school momentum, use the argument toward our goals.  Charter schools should only be incubators of good ideas, rather than competition for our failing public schools.  We should find a way to implement what's working in a cost-effective way across the public school system.  Thus, making the public school system stronger. Focus on turning out employable graduates.  Test results only matter so much if your graduates can't find a job.
    1. Most importantly, Dems need to focus on jobs and creative ideas to create them.  Since Pres. Obama has already focused on volunteering, one idea could be asking for volunteers in each industry to help train the unemployed in industries of the future.  Part of the stimulus went to job training, but we can make a public/private partnership, by asking for volunteerism.

    We don't have time to fritter away on circular firing squads.  It may feel good, but we'll blink and the repubs will have charged ahead with 10 of their goals.  The best ideas will eventually rise to the top.  I'd rather start the brainstorming now and get to those best ideas sooner.  Thanks Dallasdoc.

  •  Well, I'm not sure how much of that can be done (8+ / 0-)

    in the next two years, all things considered.  If we can't trust the politicians to do it and have to do it ourselves, what does that mean?  Force the politicians to do it?  Or spread the message and elect more and better democrats in two years?  While the wars rage and the corporations learn how to game Citizens United better and the Federal Reserve keeps doling out money to the banks.  While the IMF demands austerity measures in the U.S.  It has to be about more than winning elections, we need issue oriented actions that can reach the working and middle classes as a whole.  We need to stop the wars.  We need election reform, they spent over 2 friggin billion dollars this time.  Next time it will be double or more.  We have to find a way to force the issues.  

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:05:17 PM PDT

  •  Jobs (12+ / 0-)

    I'm starting up a grassroots movement to keep the pressure on Boehner for the next two years for him to come up with a job plan for us.  I'm sick of hearing the Republicans blame Obama for their mess; and I'm angry so many Americans voted against their own interests.  Hope to do a diary on my efforts tomorrow and hope kossacks join in.

    by Renie57 on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:16:52 PM PDT

  •  Who's listening? (10+ / 0-)

    Great points, but I don't think many Democratic leaders come here for ideas. They do come here for money and occasionally validation. But ideas? I think not. The losses will be chalked up to the usual causes - midterm fatigue and the tendency for voters to vote against the party in power when they feel things are not going well. And then we have the likes of Evan Bayh, whose credibility and insight are perhaps more greatly exaggerated now that he is leaving office, saying that Democrats overreached. We should be tacking towards the middle because this is what the public wants. It has been my experience that the middle ground is the haven of the people who neither comprehend the problem nor wish to put any serious thought into the solution. But the political mindset of today is that we should explore only the half-assed solutions in the center rather than any meaningful solutions on the edges. We start in the middle rather than arrive there as the result of debating the merits of a particular course of action. And so we are guaranteed, at best, a mediocre government, and far more often a completely ineffective government. No wonder people say they hate government. We need to adjust our aim a little higher. We need to strive for the ideal, rather than sacrificing our goals as being unattainable before we have even begun the effort. We need to stop being the team that forfeits the game during the coin toss.  

  •  How about (6+ / 0-)

    the plan Obama had to make senators tag a bill or earmark with their name.. and post it on the web... lets see the Repubs crawl all over that one :)

    Obama still has the microphone.. he needs to use it.
    Show the American people who is against them.. and how is for them. Educational databases. Special Ed. State Testing

    by librarianman on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:22:33 PM PDT

  •  this involves getting internet/public radio/tv (8+ / 0-)

    access:"The corporate stranglehold on the media must be challenged". how many people watch TV when internet is available? If you have internet, why do you watch TV?
    The better goal is getting more people access to public internet, public radio, and public TV.

    •  New media might be the key (10+ / 0-)

      Internet, social media, and all the things the kids are doing I have no idea about -- those are not in lockdown by the corporations yet.  Hell, even Iranian revolutionaries were able to use them in a much more totalitarian environment.

      As TV becomes more internet-based, I suspect the cable news channels will go the way of newspapers and broadcast networks.  It might work for Fox's elderly viewers, but our target audience may well be better reached in other ways.

      •  and they know it too (10+ / 0-)

        the fight for Net Neutrality needs to be a high priority.

        sigh ... along with DADT Repeal and Social Security mess, which are likely to be front and center in the next few months weeks.


        DK 4.0 around about now-ish would be a huge help I think.

        "Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does all the work." ~Mark Twain

        by Lady Libertine on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:42:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Fight for Net Neutrailty... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb, blueoasis, Boreal Ecologist

          is over, and Obama was simply not on our side; but what else is new?

        •  The main thing that's needed about net neutrality (5+ / 0-)

          is not the super bandwidth for HD video (though it's certainly beneficial), but merely the ability for people to connect upstream and downstream adequately for social networking as it is the future of political campaigning and started as early as 2004 with the Dean campaign. The FCC is having a major conflict of interest with mobile broadband providers and content providers, more than than residential based ISPs. And there's no reason the infrastructure can't be provided, especially if citizens decided to use their own networks, one of the decisions the FCC voted against in Google's request (They voted for open devices and applications, but not open networks nor i think or something else. I forget.)

          •  technically the hardware needed to connect (6+ / 0-)

            more than computers to establish an "internet" exists in many forms. while the internet as we know it runs on DSL/cable modem/fiber optics or over the cell phone 3G/satellite/4G, it could also be done via ad-hoc wifi networks and 802.11s (called mesh networking, as in the OLPC). It's an early experiment, but hasn't been tested on the scale of cities (except for Freifunk in Germany). Netsukuku is another one. These are theoretically and practically, open networks that could provide an alternative internet backbone infrastructure that, if legislated and allowed, could solve the problems associated with net neutrality (it wouldn't work as well in rural areas though).

            The problem the gov't has with the internet is the fact that many people use it to converse anonymously, rather than for it's preference in bandwidth to some commmercial sites over others.

      •  I think local media could be the answer (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, gmb, blueoasis, hlsmlane, aliasalias

        A network of web based, reality based, community news sites could be the answer. This should be community based using local resources. My great grandfather ran a small town newspaper in upstate New York. He used to do stories about the local high school play or the girl scouts . The main reason was that people would buy newspapers to read their name in it. Providing access to stories about the high school football team or the drama competition , links to useful local information would be the way to get people to access the site. Then they would get news from a more realistic perspective than the corporate media provides.

        It is impossible to introduce into society a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder." Frederic Bastiat

        by california keefer on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:59:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Joe Lieberman wants a government "kill switch" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, gmb

        … and other repressive mechanisms built into the Internet, right?

        I think the example of "Iranian revolutionaries" only interests the Washington Villagers to the extent that they provide convenient cover for covert U.S. ops to destabilize Iran.

        Those backing Lieberman's ideas absolutely see it as a top priority that authorities be given the means to block any grassroots movement's ability to use the Internet that way here.

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

        by lotlizard on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:47:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If we lose MSNBC... (7+ / 0-)

      then the Democratic Party is once more in the media wilderness.

  •  thanks for an inspirational and thoughtful diary (9+ / 0-)

    this would be a great message for the D's to carry. how to get them to do it is the question. I am cynical at the moment, unfortunately, and bereft of ideas.

    Seems like getting the Dems to follow the plan you have laid out is a basic purpose of this site.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:27:10 PM PDT

  •  Knitting (8+ / 0-)

    may play a key role in the restoration.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:37:21 PM PDT

  •  Bonus: it'll restore "restoration"... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard, blueoasis, RosyFinch

    Bonus: it'll restore the concept of "restoration" - which a lot of the cheerful yahoos on the other side of the spectrum think is necessary (largely for opposite reasons, because they're some combination of insecure, frustrated, undereducated, clueless, mean, and obnoxious).

    On a related note, it's like "taking back" "taking back our country" from people who are simple nationalists who happen to live in the same nation we do.

    There are a lot of Republicans (and some Democrats, but not nearly as many) who, if they were transported to some other country, forgot they were Americans, and managed to be indoctrinated as new citizens of Whereverstan, would be just as eager to wave their #1 foam fingers about how Whereverstan is the best country in the world, no matter what its governing system is, the values of its state and people are, how much opportunity there is in its economy, what the education system does, the level of available healthcare, or what its child mortality rate is. "We don't want to hear it; Whereverstan is #1! Woo-hoo!"

    Politico: Because Republicans need something to jerk off to.

    by Christopher on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:41:15 PM PDT

  •  A few possibilities: starting at local levels... (16+ / 0-)

    ...1.  going to city council meetings--not just on the rare to never occasion that an issue might hit home, but routinely.

    1.  Finding and attending local chapter meetings of Progressive Democrats--or if none in driving distance, attending Democratic meetings.  
    1.  Running for Precinct Delegate:

    For a person who is active in politics, knowing what a precinct delegate is important. A precinct delegate is a political representative of a local voting precinct. As a precinct delegate, a person can help their neighbors with local concerns, as long as they are in the same political party...

    Delegates can act as a go-between for the voters and the political party to which they belong. The delegates help with voter registration and take voter issues and questions back to party leaders...

    Delegates are usually elected by the voters of a district. Democratic voters choose Democratic delegates, and Republican voters choose Republican delegates...After being elected a delegate, those chosen statewide then commonly elect other delegates to attend a state convention...

    Precinct Delegates, and even those who attend Party meetings (some of which are sparsely attended) gain one important thing:  Access to state and sometimes federal elected politicians--much cheaper than being a lobbyist ;-)

  •  One clear idea I can offer is that, whatever the (13+ / 0-)

    final narrative and strategy we adopt, at the tactical level, as many  ideas to be communicated to large groups of persons must be accompanied by a narrative in film/video and/or pictures.

    We may need to settle on a small range of visual styles to decentralize this imaging of ideas effectively.

    Sound simple-minded? It isn't. Research shows that, if you want to break through  the stereotypes and narratives that the fascist right has constructed, you must use IMAGES--they will not listen to our words until AFTER the images have begun to influence their world view.

    Show multicultural America waving the red, white, and blue; show stories of successful Americans who once used the social safety net, images that reinforce how small businesses can be a natural ally of the democratic effort against corporocracy, show undocumented workers contributing to our communities, etc.

    This technique will accelerate the healing of the damage done to our natural allies after, say, driving home during rush hour five-days a week listening to Hannity and Rush. It will help us break their propaganda machine. Best of all, the more it reflects reality, the closer it will reflect our progressive vision.  

    The future: a riddle inside an enigma wrapped in a search engine.

    by Ignacio Magaloni on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:45:43 PM PDT

  •  The only difference between politics and war is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Dallasdoc, lotlizard

    politicians/lawmakers indirectly kill, maim and oppress people through the enactment of their policies/laws. Pre-concession (or conceding when you don’t have to) equates to a military leader sacrificing, putting in danger or turning troops over to enemy control (usually with the intention of producing/getting something in return), the only difference is directly vs. indirectly, the end results are the same.
    If people understood this shit, they wouldn’t be so quick to make excuses for this current cast of "democratic" characters.

  •  instead of a small fine for not voting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Tom, Dallasdoc, JesseCW

    how about a tax credit for voting? Like, $100?

  •  Uhoh. Another MSM "story".... (14+ / 0-)

    The Democratic party and the president lost this election primarily because they forgot to tell the country a simple, compelling story.

    No, that is absolutely wrong.  Obama told a compelling story:

    1.  He appointed free-market wall street friendly assholes like Geithner, Summers, Bernanke to set economic policy.  The result was not shocking.
    1.  He continued to bail out the banksters with no strings attached while his "loan modification" program resulted in dismal results and banks abusing it to trask homeowner's credit ratings for even attempting to use it.
    1.  He capitulated in secret deals with pharma long before HCR even became a pro-corporate bill under the leadership of Baucus.
    1.  He absolutely refused to pursue any charges or investigations into Bush-era offenses, such as torture, lying us into war.
    1.  His HCR led to a rise in insurance stocks - not exactly a good sign.  He allowed any meaningful change (such as the PO) to die without uttering more than a whimper.
    1.  By executive order, he created a "deficit commission" and then proceeded to stack it with assholes like Alan Simpson.
    1.  He appointed Eric Holder as AG, resulting in the investigation and subpoenas of peace activists even while declining to investigate murder committed by Black Water.
    1.  He defended the compensation of Wall Street CEOs when declaring that Americans would not "punish" someone for their success and for being a "savvy businessman".
    1.  He escalated the war in Afghanistan even while declaring Iraq "over", despite 50K troops in Iraq + at least as many private corporate murder driven mercenaries.
    1.  His DOJ decides to continue fighting against any halting of DADT.

    Obama's story is very compelling.  It just doesn't match his promise of "change".  Unless you credit the fact that pro-corporate policies are now being executed by a Democrat instead of a Rethuglican (at least in name).

    Then again, I'm sure it's all the Rethuglicans fault.

    The Power of The Obama Photobomb Compels YOU! Resistance Is Futile.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:53:42 PM PDT

  •  Call the fight what it is and fight it (12+ / 0-)

    I am so tired of the typical Democratic strategy of cooperation with Republican corporatist mental models. Instinctively I have always heard it as a command to shut up and let the elite have their way or they could make things a lot worse. Cooperation with that has less than no appeal to me. I won't sit there and let these assholes slap me around and pick my pocket while they tell me to smile.

    I agree that if we focus our story more people would hitch their instinctual response to getting sucked dry to our proposed solutions.

    I seriously love the way you think and have always resonated with your comments and diaries. Go Doc!

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 09:55:01 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, Bob (12+ / 0-)

      Money vs. People --  that's the basic conflict in my view of the political world.  Democrats have to get back to being the party of People if they're going to win any kind of sustained victory.  Last time they did that, Republicans didn't control a House of Congress for 40 years.

      •  Predatory corporatist repealing New Deal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Boreal Ecologist

        policies and thinking. They are dominant in the ranks of CEO types but not universal. It is nice to see folks like Gates and Buffett advocating taxation of excessive wealth and a return of the inheritance tax. We could probably get them singing this tune with us.

        Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

        by Bob Guyer on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:35:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama has been pre-emptively dismissive... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, gmb, denise b, lotlizard, Bob Guyer

          ... of any New Deal approaches.  Flat out said he's not interested in a CCC- or WPA-type approach.And we see that reinforced every time anyone from the administration emphasizes the numbers of private sector jobs created.


          exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

          by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:20:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing about a more progressive tax on wealth (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, Land of Enchantment

            either. I agree, we are in serious trouble and some of the most effective tools employed in the past are simply not even up for discussion. I know a lot of younger folks that grew up as teenagers and younger under the Regan rhetoric and it has really effected the range of things they will consider as well. These are intelligent folk that seem culture bound by the M. Firedman/Regan propaganda. That whole line of reasoning seems so tainted by rich people wishful thinking that it should be easier for thinking people to see through it.

            Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

            by Bob Guyer on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 10:17:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I've been wondering (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, lotlizard

      Isabelle Allende wrote, decades ago, in a fictional context but based closely on fact, about how everything disappeared from store shelves &c in an Allende-type government but magically appeared, almost overnight, when a military junta took over.  I sometimes find myself wondering, of late, if some of those corporations sitting on billions in cash reserves currently might not cut some money loose and hire enough to improve the numbers when they like the political climate better.

      exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

      by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:17:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  organize and report (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Mary Mike, aliasalias

    The rethugs will relegate the newly elected teaparty crackpots to minor congressional committees where they can rant and rave on late night c-span. The rethugs will continue to be the minions of wall street and the Koch brothers...since the are all Koch fiends.They will sink the economy even further. We must organize and report the continued corruption by the rethugs to our friends, neighbors, and any and all receptive media. We must elect competent people at the local and state level in order to move progressive political power forward to the national level.

  •  In thinking about this narrative or story (6+ / 0-)

    we have to be careful not to describe America as a failed state because this just becomes fodder for the love it or leave it gang that will brook no criticism of America. Of course, most of these people practice situational ethics. It was not alright to say anything bad about Bush, especially during time of war. But they are not so restricted when it comes to calling Obama a Muslim, a Socialist, and a foreigner. Still, one must phrase the narrative carefully to avoid as many of these criticisms as possible. We need to restore the once widely held view of America as the champion of the little guy. We need to derail the redistribution of wealth argument, which has indeed occurred, but not as the right wing describes. America must once again become the land of opportunity and not the land of opportunists. The little guy needs to know that the government is looking out for him and not into him. He needs to know that when he puts his money in a bank or a retirement fund that it's not going to be ripped off by the banksters. He needs to know that he'll be able to support himself and his family. He needs to know that there is no American royalty and that he will have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive as any other American citizen. He needs to know that his vote counts and that elections are honest.

    •  Not failed, but endangered (6+ / 0-)

      Americans love our country and want to think the best of it, but you'd have to be a serious Foxaholic not to recognize that the country is in trouble.  Acknowledging that reality will create much more of a connection with voters that pretending everything's all Morning in America right now.  

      You can't change a sucky status quo unless you acknowledge its suckitude to some degree.  Maintaining an optimistic outlook for the future while being realistic about the present would seem the essential task in telling our story.  That's why I chose "Restoration" as my theme.

      •  But we also need a villain for our story (7+ / 0-)

        Most good stories do. The tea party and the Repubs by extension have decided to make government the villain. We need to show how corporate greed and fraud are the real villains. And there are plenty of stories of fraud going back to Enron (and earlier) to draw from. Why do we only talk about Medicare fraud, but ignore defense contractor fraud and cost overruns and price gouging that are an everyday occurrence in almost every contract between business and government. Let's talk about the companies that pay almost no taxes and then steal from their government. Or the companies that provide shoddy products and services that endanger our troops, all for the sake of profit. How patriotic is it for you to rip off your country?

  •  I would add one more to restoring our democracy (13+ / 0-)

    We need to re-regulate the telecomm industry so we can break up the media conglomerates and get the fourth estate back to what it used to be in the Watergate days.

    •  Excellent suggestion (7+ / 0-)

      I've often said that if I could make two things happen in government they'd be public financing of elections and breaking the media oligopoly into a thousand pieces.  If those two things are done, all else becomes possible.  Without them, all else is nearly impossible.

    •  The Fairness Doctrine, eliminated by Reagan (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, gmb, fhcec, Mike Taylor

      in 1987 (by his appointees on the FCC) must come back.  This single action was the prime enabler of Fox and Rush, et al, and must be ended.

      In fact, Restoration of America and the Middle Class must completely replace all of Reagan's actions.  He was a true Serpent Lord: smiling, pleasant tone of voice, polite mannerisms.... all the while snaky arms stabbed everyone in the Middle Class in the back.

      Find a problem affecting America today and trace it back.  You'll find each and every one has threads, if not steel cables, winding back to Reagan's administration.

      Take the homeless crisis many cities are experiencing: elimination of Federal funding for the mentally ill and support for the cities, particularly inner cities.  Reagan.

      Pick a topic and study it: Reagan.

      Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

      by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:19:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It never applied to cable, and was mostly the (6+ / 0-)

        "False Dichotomy Doctrine" anyway.

        How do you compromise with people who talk about you like you're a dog?

        by JesseCW on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:24:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even if not reapplied to cable, (0+ / 0-)

          the Fairness Doctrine would prevent any airwave networks from constantly, continuously broadcasting right wing propaganda. It would be better than what we have now.

          That and the Equal Time provision need to be reinstated.

          Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

          by YucatanMan on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:47:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The "Fairness Doctrine" meant Blanche Lincoln (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burrow owl, gmb, lotlizard

            could rebut Michelle Bachmann.

            That doesn't help us much.

            "Don't compare me to perfection, compare me to Hoover. Hehehe" ~ Bizarro FDR

            by JesseCW on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:23:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  At least she wasn't completely nutty. Blanche (0+ / 0-)

              that is.  Depending on who was doing the choosing, there is the potential for mild rebuttal to scathing destruction of Republican talking points. And at least it would mean the potential to obtain airtime to counter the crazy teabagging right wingers.

              It is not a fix-all solution, but it would be a step.

              Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better. -- Harry S Truman

              by YucatanMan on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:27:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  YucatanMan - the Fairness Doctrine (FD) is bad (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, gmb

        You can scroll through my comments, I have commented on the FD during the last few days. But the short summary is that a new FD is a bad idea. The real issue is who decides what is "fair". Political speech comes in tall shades of gray. When we have government appointees telling broadcasters to give free air time to alternative views it crosses a line. I was in the broadcasting business during the old FD and it inhibited political speech. Fortunately there is no support in the White House, or Congress, for a new FD.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:31:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  either you regulate speech... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...or you regulate the economy.

          Your statement is frankly incoherent. What line specifically crossed? Who are these "government appointees" but civil servants charged with upholding the law? How does giving air time to alternate views inhibit political speech?

          What mechanism would you prefer that held speakers accountable for the consequences of their actions? Heads on spikes? Or confiscation of assets? Because those rapidly becoming the only remaining choices.

          A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

          by Boreal Ecologist on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:35:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  tipped and recc'ed (5+ / 0-)

    --although I have to admit that I personally am out of ideas and energy.  Frankly, I feel as though we are cowering under the bridge and being picked off one by one, and am putting more energy into my pooties.  

    But this attitude will not get us anywhere, and yours might.

  •  I am really not sure (6+ / 0-)

    I used to think that maybe by rescuing the labor movement we could have a chance for a functioning democracy.

    But frankly the Dems haven't done jack for the labor movement in a long time, other than at the state level and there we're talking about public employees' unions. And after decades of anti-union propaganda I have trouble talking about the labor movement to my white collar friends.

    There are quite seriously a lot of things wrong. And they're not newly turned wrong.

    Military Keynesianism was inflicted on us in the 1950s. And that has been with us ever since, the first of the big giant sucking sounds. Add to that "free trade", which has its beginnings at least as early as the 1960s, sucking the jobs away and replacing them with products made by the most desperate (Intel moved its factories to Malaysia before Gerald Ford got elected)

    Then they started taking a hatchet to government regulations way back in the 1970s, from the safety regulations to the rules preventing disastrous bank collapses. At the same time the anti-tax-man cometh, and he broughteth with him our current shitty schools and crumbling infrastructure. And we never did get to building a sane health care system or an energy efficient economy, for the wingers to tear down.

    But the most devastating of the innovations was the manipulation of public opinion by systematically corrupting the media and destroying institutions like labor unions that served to keep people informed. So now you've got a lot of low information voters who seem unaware of the cruel realities and how they were deliberately constructed by the ruling class:

    More than 1 out of 7 of us are now getting food stamps, in some of the red states it's 20% of the population.

    About 1 out 6 of us are without health insurance.

    1 out 31 are in jail or the criminal justice system.

    We're ranked 49th for life expectancy at birth.

    And on and on. Of course most dailyKos folks are aware of this shit. But for the Repuglicans and the flip-flopping independents, that's not the case. They either think nothing is broken, or that Obama broke it and a quick fix is possible by going back to the Halcyon days of GW Bush.

    For Sarah Palin it's "our morning" or whatever the fuck. Because she's clueless and because she's personally having a nice morning. But the nation has been headed down the tubes for a long long long time. There are so many forces arrayed against decency and rationality that I no longer know where to begin.

    41 million Americans on food stamps. So let's help bankers moar.

    by tiggers thotful spot on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:33:00 PM PDT

  •  Under Restoration: End GerryMandering. (4+ / 0-)

    That The Most important thing in district boundaries is that they reflect compactness and underlying political or geographic bundaries +/- 3%

    the gerrymandering is killing our democracy

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:36:33 PM PDT

    •  Too late. (0+ / 0-)

      Republicans won this round for the next decade.


      When the village is on fire, a sieve will not substitute for a fleet of fire engines. Sometimes incremental change won't EVER scale to address the problem.

      by Words In Action on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:54:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They Lost Florida, They Lost California. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If New York would induce a Anti-Gerrymandering
        Statute,  and we could put pressure on Texas
        via federal funds, that would end the worst of it.

        George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:58:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  #4: Restoring trust in government (9+ / 0-)

    I saw a great discussion somewhere in Orange today on the fundamental need to restore trust in government before Liberalism could function again in this country.

    That was my first beef with Geither/Summers/Bernanke/Obama economic recovery plan, that they never really addressed the credibility and trust cluster fuck that was the foundation of the collapse. They still haven't, stress tests notwithstanding.

    Too many lies, too much corruption, too much propaganda, too much covering up are all still going on from city council meetings all the way up to the many halls and marbled walls of the DC area.

    There is a lot of splainin' to do going all the way back many decades now from both parties, but most especially for the policies and actions of the last 10 plus years. After the explaining comes the restoration of much needed regulation and the honest enforcement thereof, ie) justice. That has to be part of the program to actually govern this messed up country.

    Thanks for starting this conversation Doc.

    The price of empire is America's soul, and that price is too high. ~JWF

    by cosmic debris on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:38:00 PM PDT

    •  We also (7+ / 0-)

      need to hold those responsible for the corruption and crimes committed against the people of our country and world wide.  The corrupt should without question be held to the same punishments that the average American would face if committing the same act.  You can't have trust in government that turns a blind eye to everything wrong any politician does and keep moving forward.  There is a time when those that have done harm need to answer for those acts.  And not be rewarded with retirement, healthcare, and a pension paid for by the people that were harmed.

      Nor can you have a political party threatening to take social security away from the disabled and elderly while they themselves receive a lifetime of benefits from taxpayers.  If there is a government tit, then there is also a taxpayer tit that government has been abusing for quite a while and they need to be cut off as well.  

      Trust can only be built if there is a balance in power.  We had a two party system because power had to be shared in order to wield balance effectively.  Until there is some sense of balance and justice for the people, trust will just further decay.  

      The American people and the desperately poor in other countries should have never become 'just," workers for the corporations to be used however the corporations desires.  

      Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Herman.

      by zaka1 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:47:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Item 4 Restoring our economy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, Bobjack23, zaka1

    Our Society needs to be about making things
    and reducing the clout of the bankers.

    That means restoring Glass Steagal,  
    and cutting taxes on physical assets not financial assets.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:44:05 PM PDT

  •  Fight for the RIGHT STUFF. Skip the process crap. (6+ / 0-)

    Democrats need to be for doing the right things to fix US problems and forget about "the narrative" and "framing the issues" and all the other meaningless process political junk.

    Unless Democrats advocate US solutions their getting elected is meaningless, as last two years demonstrated.  

    Medicare for All to cut US health cost by $800B per year, provide universal health care and get better health care results.

    Cut US oil use by 50%, eliminate oil imports and risky deep water or Arctic drilling, cuts US trade deficit by $400B per year (more than any stupid trade war with China would do) and cut US greenhouse gases by 50% in 10 years.  Also means we can cut our defense budget by $500B per since we have no external threat from Middle East oil cutoff.

    Fully fund Social Security by eliminating upper income limit and by taxing all income including the $200B per year in Wall St. bonuses not just hourly wages.

    Balance budget and pay down debt. Clinton did it, Obama can do it.  Cutting military costs by $500B is a big help.  Taxes = Spending plan unless unemployment is above 6% and the government can run deficit.

    Fixes US problems and people can understand what Democrats are for vs. "Restoration of Middle Class" which Palin and Pelosi would both say they are for while disagreeing completely on what it means.

    •  I love every one of your ideas (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, lotlizard, alba, Lady Libertine

      but each and every one of them is a non-starter in Washington DC with the current crop of asshats we put there, and with the media asshats, and frankly, with most uninformed voters.

      41 million Americans on food stamps. So let's help bankers moar.

      by tiggers thotful spot on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:00:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Non starter in DC" is Obama's pointless comment. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard, blueoasis

        If you don't articulate and propose the real solutions, nothing happens as Obama's failed presidency demonstrated.

        If you propose the real solutions and lose, US is no worse off.  If you propose the real solutions, fight for them, you might just make progress. Not trying is the only thing that makes no sense.

        •  The part I'm having trouble with is how to fight (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard

          for these ideas and actually win.

          e.g. I donate quite heavily to non-profits that advocate/lobby for these things and try to educate people why they're good ideas, try to organize citizen support, write letters to asshats in Congress assembled, etc.

          That doesn't seem to make much headway against the Billionaire funded "think tanks" that dominate the idea spectrum of the US of A.

          It's "trying" but it doesn't seem to be working. That's all I'm saying. I'm all for trying. But I hate being like the Chicago Cubs.

          41 million Americans on food stamps. So let's help bankers moar.

          by tiggers thotful spot on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:33:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What is "winning" if you don't fix problems? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, gmb

            Obama's presidency of expediency has failed to fix any of the nation's problems.  This has lead to political defeat.

            If a party does not advocate fixing the problems, it is pointless.  The Reagan/GOP is a perfect example. Its strategy for gaining power is to make government dysfunctional so people don't vote and corporate cash rules. The result is they win elections but they make US problems worse.

          •  I hear you. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            One example: still a college student, I became a life member of the Sierra Club in 1968.

            There have been a few successes, but overall it seems the Club is still struggling to lobby Congress and educate the public on the same big-picture environmental issues as in the Seventies.

            Meanwhile, their clout has steadily diminished and in terms of broad attitudes, the country as a whole has gone backward.

            Can't beat their backpacking and service trips and foreign travel program, though.

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

            by lotlizard on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:31:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Bringing the Democrats back is not enough (9+ / 0-)

    Alone, it will only give us yet another replay of 1993-94 and 2009-10.

    We need to build a non-electoral, non-partisan progressive populist movement that can exert pressure on the Democrats so the next time they come back to take advantage of the inevitable failure of the GOP, they can be made to do the right thing.

    "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

    by GreenSooner on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:54:19 PM PDT

    •  A True LABOR Party, (6+ / 0-)

      else our kids'll all end up as Labor all right, SLAVE labor...

      If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

      by HenryDavid on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:07:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yup. I've (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, gmb

      given up on the Dem Party. I voted straight Dem, but only because the GOP is worse. But if 2009-2010 taught us anything, it's that the Dem Party establishment is thoroughly, irredeemably corporate. They'll take our money and our votes, and they'll intentionally do nothing for us; and that's not going to stop. We need to be thinking beyond simply electing Democrats. Recent experience teaches us that doesn't work anymore.

      As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

      by Wom Bat on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:07:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the problem i have with your ideas (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, HenryDavid, lotlizard

    is that they are pretty boiler plate Dem platform material - Obama pretty much campaigned and continues to campaign on these exact issues.

    The reason that republicans keep winning on their absurd and twisted platform is that the problem falls outside the realm of reason and rational thought. Issues of sustainability: energy, water and food are quickly going to make our entire way of life obsolete. The political platforms dramatically fail to address the scope of the problems of our time and the people fundamentally know it. That is why politics is in an end game of ultimate denial. The status quo will collapse, and all the fundamental changes we seek will take place, because we will have no choice. There is no way to sell that reality politically tho. We will continue to lose on these practical sales points as long as the big bad is around the bend because the American people know it. They would rather buy soma at this point.

    Without steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, the global thermometer could rise by 6.0 degrees Celsius making large swathes of the planet unlivable.

    by Green Bean on Sat Nov 06, 2010 at 10:40:01 PM PDT

  •  I don't agree with everything you posted here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, Dallasdoc

    But what's more important is that you are thinking and making substantive suggestions.

    I do want to point out that restrictions on advertising would probably require a constitutional amendment, at this point, so let's be clear that that's what we are campaigning for.

  •  dallasdoc - ban on all political advertising? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    In your diary you state "Much better would be calls for a ban on all political advertising except during a specified time before elections, as many other countries have." Other countries don't have a First Amendment right of free speech. It would seem to me that your proposal is clearly unconstitutional.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:22:24 AM PDT

  •  What a Nice Story! Kind of like this one: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard, blueoasis

    If you act like a mouse, don't expect a cat not to eat you.

    If you fight like a man/woman, you may win.

    Study Power.  Second nature for Repugs; they get it.

    Aim for Power, you win elections, as an afterthought.  (Aim only for elections, and they steal your lunch, no matter how many little constitutencies you temporarily gain.)

    Nonviolent resistance -- King, Gandhi, Mandela -- foundation of EVERY PROGRESSIVE GAIN made in U.S. history DUHHHHHHHHHHH!!! -- gives the best hope to avoid the twin evils of Neo-feudal serfdom and violent revolution.

    Obama deserves the "educational support" that a public consciously resisting such a fate would provide.  Enable his Vichy Dem limpness, and he/we go nowhere.

    He's either with them, or with us.  We just haven't put it to him yet to force a decision.  (And watch the howling attack poodles shoot down those who would.)

    Like many/most liberals, Obama is afraid of power.  Herr Boehner isn't.  (It brings his paychecks, duh!)

    Once enough people are squeezed down enough, they won't be afraid of finding their own power either; they'll be afraid of hunger and early dying and unfortunately they'll make some bad decisions as they wake up from each level of propaganda heaped upon them... too bad we had to wait until that point -- if we turn now, the bodies won't stack up as high.

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:26:07 AM PDT

  •  Fuck you repigs... (0+ / 0-)
    Yeah you motherfuckers!!!!

    Teabaggers = Koch's Suckers

    by Armadillious on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:36:39 AM PDT

  •  I'll rec you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Even though I disagree with you.

    Restoration is a better framing for conservatives. For something to be restored, it had to be taken away first, and the Republican framing always has Democrats playing the part of taking things away. If progressives use the word restoration, it's easy for a conservative to take the word away.

    Investment is a better progressive frame. Investment means hope for the future. It means working to make the future better. It means planning now, working hard, and realizing a return later.

    •  Damaged (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, hlsmlane

      Damaged, rather than taken away.  Restore can even address things just overtaken by neglect, as in restoring a painting.  Or our crumbling infrastructure, for that matter the whole friggin' planet and its climate.  

      Also: I suspect the truth is that that post-WWII prosperity can't be returned to.

      exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

      by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 03:29:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  there's an allegory that came to my mind... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb chess any pawn can move two spaces the first move, but only in the first move. Thereafter, it can only move one space at a time. The opposing adjacent pawn then can remove that pawn from the board "en passant"(in passing). A pawn can check a king, but a king can't check another king.

    The point: In the current state of politics, economic strangulation, austere even draconian measures the kings use to keep those middle class pawns in a constant state of fight or flight-mode pitting one class against the others, we find ourselves in the most untenable position of removing each other from the game en passant, and dismissed by the king or the powers that be as irrelevant to the final outcome of the game. The opposing kings, therefore, stay above the fray and ignore the pawns, that is until they are checked.

    This is where the allegory comes to a crescendo. Because the kings rule by the confused mental condition that results from holding incongruous, often mutually contradictory, beliefs simultaneously(e.g. cognizant dissonance) which duplicitousness fatally misconstrues our deafening silence as complicity when in fact our anger is being stoked with each passing day-and despite some of us even holding their coats, while Rome continues to burn uncontrollably-one morning when they wake up in the belly of the snake they thought was fang-less and irrelevant, they will find that the opposite effect of they themselves being checkmated was not the end result they desired or anticipated.

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 01:22:23 AM PDT

  •  Which of your prescriptions (0+ / 0-)

    will increase individual discretion?

    Which of your prescriptions will decrease individual discretion?

    Until you're honest about those fundamentals, irrespective of party, it's just "Trust Me".

  •  Help the Graysons, ONLY. The Rest Get What (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb

    they've earned with their political incompetence OR they're selling us out -

    nada, nothing, shit.

    I did a few hours doorbelling for a new guy in a Seattle Legislative District race - Joe Fitzgibbon.

    I got 60 signatures for our tax the rich pig initiative 1098.

    Patty Murray - Jim McDermott - ALL my state reps ...

    I wrote in "Medicare ForALL"

    at least I know why I lost, instead of having to listen to those 2 incompetents, and their local toadies in the state legislatrue, blubber on about how duplicitous scum lie and steal.

    yawn. really?

    and ... you went to play hockey wearing a pink tutu and carrying a nerf ball and you got your ass kicked! imagine that!


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

    by seabos84 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 01:39:14 AM PST

  •  A Wonderfully Insightful Diary But... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, blueoasis, priceman

    I highly recommend this thoughtful, perhaps profound would be more appropriate, diary but there is a bit of poison in the medicine.

    Restoring the middle class should be the central theme of our story.

    This bit of DLC venom poisons nearly every discussion on dKos.  It is mindful of the heated discussion between Lawrence O'Donnell and Glenn Greenwald.

    O'Donnell had one telling rejoinder despite being on the wrong side of the argument otherwise in nearly every instance IMO.

    You liberals are so ashamed of yourselves that you call yourself progressives, said O'Donnell.

    The middle class is Republican to the core in its ideals and outlook.  It should not be confused with middle income but rather the insular upper class that looks down on the bulk of the population and is composed of the supervisors and underbosses and highly paid professionals.  It looks up to royalty and the uber wealthy and down on everyone else.

    We hardly need a return to Norman Rockwell's idealistic pictures of the 1950's, which that wonderfully cynical old bastard knew all too well, but to a new future of community that can sweep away the middle class pretensions with their fake morality.

    Despite the quibble, a most admirable diary that was a thrill to read.

    Could restore a badly battered hope for even this cynic.

    MIND, n.
       A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with. From the Latin mens, a fact unknown to that honest shoe-seller, who, observing that his learned competitor over the way had displayed the motto "Mens conscia recti," emblazoned his own front with the words "Men's, women's and children's conscia recti." - The Devil's Dictionary

    Best,  Terry

    •  Great points, but that is a false accusation by.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, gmb, aliasalias

      O'Donnell whom apparently isn't a historical expert anymore than he is a parliamentary procedure expert as he was dead wrong on reconciliation and confused points of order as being an automatic process during reconciliation, instead of of being called by the Senate parliamentarian if an item is not related to the Byrd rule.

      BruceMcF also schooled him not too long ago when he pretended to be a SS expert and started lying about the program because he was COS of the Finance committee in 1994 but apparently didn't pay attention.

      The point is for O'Donnell, progressive is not a replacement word for liberal; it has a direct connotation to the progressive era which was a response to the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age and their massive monopolies that had to be broken up by using government and a trust buster like Teddy Roosevelt, Robert M. LaFollete and others ones Standard Oil and J.P Morgan's Northern Securities company like the banks, and like insurance companies today that need this treatment, but aren't getting it.

      Someone could say he pro choice, but hate unions and love monopolies and he would call himself liberal, because he's socially liberal. yes the word has been demonized and it should be used more but most progressives are liberal, though the terms are not mutually exclusive, but it has direct economic anti-monopoly connotations historical connotations.

      Larry is ignorant once again when he says it's a crutch or to hide using the word liberal and I thought Greenwald got the better of that exchange.

      Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

      by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 03:14:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Was Teddy Roosevelt, the Original Progressive, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, priceman

        a liberal?

        You could go down a list from Bob LaFollete to Huey Long [can you picture Huey Long's ShareTheWealth program being a significant political factor today? I can't] of historic progressives and even include the like of Molly Ivins, as I would.  Then try to match any of today's liberals to that list.  Looks like a mismatch to me.

        There remain Progressive Parties that elect some local politicians, most notably in Vermont.  The tradition lives on in Madison, Wisconsin, as promulgated by The Progressive magazine.  It has been said the Madison Progressives are so far left, Berkleyites call them Communists. :-)

        Vincent Hallinan ran for president as a Progressive.  One of his sons, the former DA of San Francisco who stole my name :-), is clearly in the Progressive tradition.  Doesn't have all that much in common with liberals in my view.

        It is all arguable.

        Thank you for your thoughts.  I am in general agreement.

        Best,  Terry

        •  I meant to say the terms "are" mutually exclusive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terryhallinan, aliasalias

          If you read my comment besides that typo, it makes sense as to what I was saying. I apologize for the error.

          most progressives [today] are liberal, though the terms are not mutually exclusive, but and it has direct economic anti-monopoly connotations historical connotations.

          FDR was a liberal and he was inspired by his cousin Teddy in an economic sense, though I wouldn't say Teddy was a liberal as that was the point I was making besides the typo.

          It's a shame the share the wealth platform is not a significant political actor today though in a way it is, because although considered radical in its day, it made the New Deal stronger by Huey Long pressuring FDR, and so we all have the benefits of the New Deal, Social Security from Townsend's idea adopted by FDR among other ideas from the share the wealth pact.

          As you say, Madison Progressives are liberal and more often than not, at least today, progressives want to regulate big business and so do a lot of the liberal base, though the DLC is liberal, but not progressive like a portion of democrats who are not progressive, because they like that big money that comes from big business but they get to call themselves liberal.

          So it seems you would agree that progressive is not a replacement word for liberal as Lawrence O'Donnell said which was my main point

          Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

          by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 04:09:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are You Sure FDR Was A Liberal? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, priceman

            FDR promised to outdo Hoover in cutting expenses.  He kept his promise in the first days of the administration.

            FDR made more draconian cuts in veteran's pensions than Hoover had though he didn't call on Patton and McArthur to put down the aging veterans.  FDR was dealt a stinging defeat by Huey Long and the liberals on that issue and later had to relent on his idiocy.

            Keynes called FDR an economic illiterate and Krugman often reiterates the fact that FDR nearly drove us back into the Great Depression with renewed budget cutting before the 1936 election.  Most everyone agrees that World War II rescued us.

            Eleanor was indisputedly a liberal and used her influence well.  Little wonder Franklin sought solace elsewhere.

            Best,  Terry

            •  Not everyhting about him, surely (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, terryhallinan

              but Executive Order 8802 which created the Fair Employment Practices Committee was the most important federal move in support of the rights of African Americans between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It stated that the federal government would not hire any person based on their race, color, creed, or national origin. It banned discriminatory hiring within the federal government and in corporations that received federal contracts. Millions of blacks and women achieved better jobs and better pay as a result. He also tried to desegregate the WPA and CCC, but faced opposition from Southern Democrats thus endangering their passage.

              FDR also made two moves to try for health care for all though the AMA stopped him, but it's worth noting.

              That was after first meeting FDR, Keynes was later somewhat more pleased, but yet also disappointed because of FDR's 1937 mistake you mention. WWII brought full Keynesianism.

              I do agree with all your points. Eleanor was against the Internment whihc is the biggest stain on FDR's legacy. Huey Long pressured him on Veteran's rights and a stronger FDIC. FDR's base "made him do it" and he left his deficit fetishism for awhile because of it and brought upon the New Deal whihc helped everyone, though it should have been bigger like the share the wealth platform and every defunct RW economist wouldn't be able to trash it as they try to do today without context(The banking reforms of 1933 were probably the most significant via FDIC, Glass Steagall etc).

              Anyway, it's been nice talking to you. thanks for noting those errors.

              Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

              by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 04:54:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Correction Noted and Appreciated BTW n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
  •  The #1 narrative we have to change. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As long as our political system is an auction, it’s really just an illusion of representative government. Of course the talking-heads on tee-vee are going to reinforce the auction narrative, saying stuff like "How are the Democrats going to compete with all this foreign money going to republicans" etc., because the tee-vee LIKES the auction narrative, the tee-vee makes a lot of money from all those ads bought with corporate (and foreign) money and it’s in their interests to reinforce the auction narrative.
    We’ve got to explain to people that just because the TV says it’s an auction (because it’s in their interests to say it’s an auction) doesn’t mean it has to be an auction, and as long as it remains an auction (i.e. people keep consistently voting for the candidates who raise the most money), the laws and policies will continue to go to the highest bidder and organized corporate interests will continue to be put ahead of the people’s interests.
    This is the #1 narrative we’ll have to change before any meaningful progress can be made. And we won’t be able to do it on the TV or any form of MSM. It will have to be done by word of mouth and on the blogosphere. A pretty good rule-of-thumb for the average voter would be "avoid voting for the candidates who raise the most money, because they will likely have the most political favors to repay if they get elected". Instead of accepting the auction narrative (like the tee-vee wants us to), we must sufficiently educate people as to why the auction narrative is being reinforced in the MSM, why it must be counteracted and what they must do to counteract it.

  •  Great diary, Dallasdoc (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's no surprising that most of your solutions are ones I have been harping about for a long while as we are on the same wavelength and you are one of my favorite posters here.

    I would only add that we need to capitalize on killing the filibuster as Kagro X's campaign is doing now that President Obama has singled this way, though that has to be done right at the start of next Congress.

    Also Thomas Geoghegan has an important plan about unions, now that they are forced to be just a wing of the Democratic party and are sold out at every turn like they were during the HCR debate, I think this is the only way to save labor and in turn save the middle class labor created.

    Make it a civil right to join, or not to join, a labor union.

    Remember: organized labor is not our base. The working people of the country are our base. We have to repackage labor law reform, even over the protest of organized labor itself. Except for those in the big white buildings in Washington, few working people understand the Wagner Act. Few understand card checks or secret ballot elections or mandatory first-time arbitration. Few labor lawyers understand it. So make it simple: instead of trying to fiddle with an old 1935 law based on a collectivist view of the world, let's bring labor law up to date. How? Let's amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to give the same individual type of civil right to join—or, yes, not to join—a union.

    Elsewhere I have argued that letting working people hire their own lawyers, go to court, take discovery, rifle the files and get awards of legal fees would do more to bring back the labor movement than to go on bottling it up in a single federal agency like the National Labor Relations Board. If we amend the Civil Rights Act and let people go to court for any employer reprisal to block a union, and to let the rank and file get their own lawyers and start handing out subpoenas, we'll get back a labor movement fast.

    Keep in mind: the works councils and other forms of worker control fervidly supported by unions now in Germany at first did not have much support from unions there.

    I also agree with most of his ten things, except for his take on debt, as I think that's the most devastating narrative we could push given the deficit spending we need to embark on. I believe we should go James K. Galbraith's path also and finally fix the banking system(no financial reform didn't do this) and admit Geithner's stress tests were stupid and Democrats were stupid to believe them as they didn't get credit flowing as stated so the plan was a failure.

    Also taking Galbraith cue on expanding SS, not cutting it and not making excuses for Obama's commission which shouldn't exist,whether anyone here likes it or not.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 02:54:03 AM PST

    •  Not kill it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Change the rules around it, so it's harder to do.  Much harder.  Tom Udall's got a good plan for that.  I'd advise you to look into what he's been working on before calling for its complete demise.  (We woulda been in worse shit than we were during the Bush years without the filibuster.)

      exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

      by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 03:22:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Either way (0+ / 0-)

        I personally think the filibuster's out done it's usefulness, but when I say kill the filibuster, I  mean more to kill the toy filibuster that's really a threat of one anyway, but I'll remind you that I really don't need to be advised of anything here as I am well read on the subject.

        And why? Do we NOT have the Roberts court? Did Citizen's United NOT happen?

        Was there a Democratic filibuster I forgot about? Or did they cower under Bill Frist when he threatened to do this?

        Was FISA filibustered?

        Do we not have weakened 4th amendment rights now?

        Was there ever a war supplemental filibustered during the 2006 takeover?

        I think I know the answer. We didn't use the filibuster, so we should lose the filibuster because I grow skeptical of any plan that will be able to make it harder to use, though it should be done at the very least and I hope you're right about Udall's plan and if he's serious about it. the record doesn't speak strongly of this.

        Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

        by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 03:40:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do I owe you an apology? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          I hadn't realized:

          I really don't need to be advised of anything here as I am well read on the subject.

          Apparently, you already know everything.  Or rather: you know everything you want to know, and don't want to become informed about anything else.  I hadn't realized that from your initial comment.  Perhaps you could include that in your sig line to avoid further confusion for others?

          I did note that the article you linked to did not mention Udall and his initiative.  (He presented about it at NN10 in Las Vegas.)  But again, you don't need to be "advised of anything here", so I'd best bow out, as this diary's now old enough that few other readers will see it.

          So sorry.

          exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

          by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:11:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. I'm sorry, Land of Enchantment.. (0+ / 0-)

            Perhaps I took offense to the way you said it when I shouldn't have. I thought the tone was a little harsh as if I haven't thought about my position here, but I realize that perhaps that was uncalled for and I shouldn't have taken it like that.

            Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

            by priceman on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 02:13:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Well, Doc (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, 3goldens

    You seem to have gotten it right again.  Narrative matters.  It's confusing - I'm still stuck some on this:  Obama and the Party did a great job of storytelling during the 2008 campaign, then abandoned that entirely.  And I have yet to imagine a successful path to "compromising" with those whose stated prime directive is to destroy you.

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 03:16:19 AM PST

  •  The lies have to be refuted first (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, BillieJohn, hlsmlane

    then you can get control of the narative.Because of their lies, they get control of the narative. Then you need to get every talking head and every elected official on board with the message. I know we are a diverse party with many viewpoints, but if we don't do this, we don't win.

  •  None of this matters. (0+ / 0-)

    Wake up Dallas Doc no one wants to hear any of these ideas. My question is do you want the Texas Government to end Medicad in Dallas?

    The Repugs are not listening to anyone. You can shout from the roof tops the poor people have their heads down pulling their loads, the rich don't give a care, and it is going to be two long years before anything can be changed. You better seek out a bunker.

  •  Good to see you here again Doc! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Want to try lunch again?

    I blog on healthcare issues for Tikkun Daily as Lauren Reichelt.

    by TheFatLadySings on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 04:01:16 AM PST

  •  Ya can't ban political advertising; (0+ / 0-)

    the First Amendment precludes that an option.  What we probably could do, though, is shorten the time between primaries and the GE.  One thing notable about NY elections is that the primaries are just a month or two before the election, which really cuts down on the political season and, accordingly, on the need for tons of funds to run a many-month advertising blitz.

    I haven't crunched the numbers to confirm that, but it would be hard to imagine how it could be otherwise.

  •  Nice goals, but reformism won't get you there. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, thatwhichisgood, Billdbq

    All three aspects of your "restoration" are natural consequences of Capitalism.

    The one and only goal of Capitalists is to maximize profit, and three of the simplest ways of doing that are:

    1. Drive wages to the bottom to reduce labor costs.  For us here in America, that's meant every job that can be shipped overseas has gone there or will before long.  The resulting unemployment means that jobs that can't be shipped overseas will have too many workers competing for too few slots, thus rock bottom wages.

    Your solutions amount to Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the hill yet again.  How much blood was shed just to get a 40-hour week, minimum wage and the right collective bargain?  Those things have melted away against the onslaught of Capitalist propaganda over the past couple of decades.  In a few weeks, we'll see the same happen to Social Security.

    1. Use government to create monopolies and mandates and provide a backstop when Capitalism goes through its cyclical collapses.

    Capitalists love government as long as it serves them.  Governments can create monopolies, mandate that people buy the Capitalists' products (health "reform" anyone?) and collect taxes from workers to pay for the Capitalists' mistakes.  Governments also come in handy to wage wars from which some Capitalists profit handsomely.

    It's only when government falls into the hands of informed workers that Capitalists have any reason to fear it.  That's why they know how important it is to control the media and "invest" in some political propaganda to keep government in their hands.

    1. Dump costs onto the public.  Even better than reducing costs is simply dumping them on somebody else.  Would it cost some money to make your workplace safer?  Fuck it.  Let workers get hurt or killed, but make sure that the laws are written so you aren't responsible (the coal industry is good at that).  Does your manufacturing process or maybe even your product itself damage the environment?  Would it cost you money to make changes that would protect the environment?  Fuck it.  Spend far less hiring shill "scientists" to testify before the public and in the courtroom that everything is hunky-dory with Mother Nature (the coal industry is good at that too).

    Einstein saw all this--everything you write about--over 60 years ago.  Marx saw it as well.

    Unless you like having that huge boulder fall all the way back down to the bottom of the hill again and again, it's time to change the game.  Reformism won't get you there.  Electoral politics won't get you there.

    •  Great diary, Dallasdoc! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your contributions are always appreciated.

      Your Restoration diary describes Senator Bernie Sanders, Vermont's magnificent contribution to the US Senate and to our nation.  The President will regrettably never reach his level of political insights and common sense solutions to our national problems.  Same for the Senate Democrats; they are duds.

      Here in Dubuque we are blessed to have three fine Democratic state legislators who have to battle the newly-elected right-wing governor. Heaven help us here in Iowa.

      Tipped and rec'd.

      Strength through Peace.

      by Billdbq on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:11:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  DallasDoc (8+ / 0-)

    I have a ton of respect for you, am always interested in what you have to say, sometimes feel like you've been reading my mind after I've read your comments and I consider you to be a treasured online friend.

    So I'm going to level with you and my other friends and allies here.  I'm losing hope.  I'm not losing hope entirely, but I'm losing hope that we can work within the Democratic party.  

    I'm going to need some help from people here who I trust to get motivated again and to believe in something.  I'm tired of being lied to and manipulated.  I have not an ounce of trust in the leadership of the Democratic party.  

    I'm tempted to drop out and to become one of those Independents who both parties pander to.  I'm tempted to go with an "every man for himself" attitude and to forget about principles and causes.  I'm afraid that the only way that things are going to change significantly is after a period of very hard times for most Americans.  Very hard times.  This past election showed how confused people in this country are, and how little they understand what's really going on.  I think it also shows much they are tired of trying to understand what's going on, and elections are reduced to throwing the bums out and following extremists.  As times get tougher, I'm afraid that people will just turn on each other.

    The money and power is being concentrated.  We have no counterbalance.  We don't have a President who is willing to take them on.  We don't have a populace who is willing to do national strikes or who believe strongly enough in organized labor.  We've got a whole world full of people ready and willing to do our jobs for a fraction of the cost.  We've got a group of political leaders who are much more focused on marketing to us and hiding things from us than in telling us the truth.  And there are a substantial number of people in this progressive movement who are happy to enable this administration and this party in doing just that, and who try to knock us down every day.  They claim to be part of the movement, but really they are a counter movement.  Plus we've got all of these activist organizations who did fuck all to really work toward progressive causes.  We gave them money and support and activism for years and years and when push came to shove and we really needed them to exercise their influence, they became a "veal pen." When the Democrats came into power, big time, in 2009, they assimilated and all of a sudden, their positions of access and influence in DC became more important than the causes they were supposed to represent.

    Something has got to give.  Yes, we can "soldier" on and these movements take time, a long time, but the deck is stacked so highly against us.  Soldiering can't mean continuing to do the same things.  We've got to keep doing the things that work (what are they?) but we've got to find new ways.

    Anyway, I'm open to ideas and I've been a Democrat all my life, so leaving this party is not an easy thing to do.  I was this close to doing it after the health care reform debate.  I decided to postpone my decision.  But aside from some candidates who really do want to represent the people, I can't muster up the energy to work hard for this party as it stands.  I do think I could put my energy into an Independent Left though, a populist movement, and by populist I mean in the simplest sense of the word, for the people.  This big, mythical center, this mass of Independents who the Democratic party seems to care much more about than their own base, could use some organization and some better definition.

    Lastly, if progressives don't provide some leadership for that Independent Left, somebody else will.  Just like the idiot corporate-backed Tea Party stepped in and filled a void, someone will do it on the left too, and it's likely to be another astroturf group who don't have our best interests in mind.  Who knows, maybe that's what Axelrod is working on right now.

    •  Well said, joanneleon. (5+ / 0-)

      Right now, I find myself most aligned with Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent, and Representative Dennis Kucinich, a Green Democrat.  

      At 58, it wasn't easy for me to leave the Democratic Party, but I really am much closer in values to the Green Party.  In the November 2 election, I voted straight Democratic Party ticket.  Like Sanders, I "caucus" with the Democrats.

      Progressives in this country have to stand up, and there is little appreciation for progressives in the Democratic Party.

      Strength through Peace.

      by Billdbq on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:19:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hear you, joanneleon (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, joanneleon, lotlizard, Billdbq

      Working within the Democratic party has proved to be a waste of time, if you ask me.  In order to effect change within it we need to form a movement outside the party, to try to gain the critical mass to make it move our way.  Every bit of energy devoted to party activity at this point only distracts from that effort.

  •  This is far more than (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    emal, Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard, hlsmlane, Billdbq

    just a messaging problem. Obama and the Democratic Party do plenty of talking. Forget talking about the middle class. Tey've done lots of that, especially Obama. For the first time, they should start advocating for the middle class.

    I'm not holding my breath. I don't think the Democratic Party is honestly on our side. If they had been, the past 20 months would have looked a lot different.

    As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he ever were to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it. --Bulwer-Lytton Contest entry

    by Wom Bat on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:17:53 AM PST

  •  We are the narrative we've been waiting for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, BillieJohn, Billdbq

    We should talk these point around the water cooler, across the fence, at fellowship after church services and with our friends in the PTA.

    The great leverage of a leadership narrative is that once people agree on the goal, the means almost certainly line up as progressive actions.

    Government by, of, and for the People.

    Cool idea.

    Let's make it happen.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:50:55 AM PST

  •  Excellent Analysis! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Billdbq

    Good clear forward thinking.  Too bad you are not White House chief of staff!

    That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

    by Ed in Montana on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:51:13 AM PST

  •  Just what I needed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Billdbq

    Thanks for this article. It was the shot of Vitamin B that I needed to start feeling better after last Tuesday. Well done.

    Now let's get started!

    Bill Wilson "The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos."--Jim Hightower

    by wlwesq2010 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:52:51 AM PST

  •  Nice diary and a conversation that needs to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Billdbq

    happen for sure.
       Unfortunately DKos doesn't seem to be formatted well for anything like brainstorming. It's great for immediate action diaries (and even better for pointless meta) but not so much for planning. I hope we can find ways to change that or a place to do that.
       Tipped and recced.

    Debaggers Unite! So...where are those jobs John Boehner? And I say 'Hell No' to Boehnercare!

    by reddbierd on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 05:58:33 AM PST

  •  I'm going to thump the bible according to FDL (0+ / 0-)

    Express my admiration for and desire to collaborate with teabaggers and Grover Norquist.

    I am going to vomit ignorant, hateful "critiques" of a legislative session for the record books, piling on with the GOP in senseless declarations that Dems spent big yet did nothing.

    And then when swing voters, taking this message, vote for a group of spending-hating troglodytes, I'm going to double down on the ultra-stupid strategy of painting accomplished leaders as weak and feckless.

    Because I'm a blog "activist."

    Funny Sunday morning reading as this site has learned nothing in terms of being part of the problem in terms of a toxic media environment which produces poor results for actual progressives and other lovers of progress.

    Tired of sharing a space with people who despise Dems?

    by GN1927 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:02:42 AM PST

  •  How about leaving as an option in the poll? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, thatwhichisgood, Billdbq

    I am so weary after this week.  I want to think about ways to improve things, but cannot seem to think of a clear way forward.  So all I can think of is to leave and go to a blue state (CA?) or a bluer country (Canada?).  Or maybe just a very blue county in my home state of NC.

    Maybe I just need some rest from this stuff for a while.

  •  Absolutely correct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If our accomplishments were  was explained to the voting public we might have won.

    The rethuglicans have spent a fortune building up their meme. We used to have NPR. Now it is a hollow shell.

    Try to explain the benefits of the health care legislation to an independent voter. Rushbo and Beck  got there first.

    Our proble is we don't belong to an organized political party. We're Democrats.

    My money is going to Move On in the future.

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative. John Stuart Mill

    by thylacine on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:13:20 AM PST

  •  One way to wage this battle (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, lotlizard, greengemini

    We need to start talking up the points Dallasdoc raises, but here is not the right place to do it. Most of the people who visit this community (I've been a long, long lurker) don't need to be persuaded about the themes that should be our narrative. Talking about them here is like speaking in an echo chamber--it's easy to do, but it doesn't get anything accomplished.

    It's good that we discuss what we should be talking about, but we need to get out there and talk about these themes and ideas where "independent voters" will find them.

    I would suggest everyone start a simple blog (try for a free platform) that integrates your locality and who you are with the discussion. Put your own name on it, say generally where you live, and what your life is. For example, I would say: "I'm Bill Wilson. I live in the South Bend, Indiana, area. I'm a lawyer in a small firm. My wife works outside the home, we have one little boy and two dogs. Like many, our family worries about getting bills paid, health care costs, and saving for college and retirement."

    A short bio like that will help readers identify with you. People are more likely to accept the validity of an argument/persuasive point if they identify with the speaker. You don't have to mention that you're liberal or progressive.

    Then, write short articles about your community, the issues of the day, and how progressive or liberal ideas would make things better. Send those articles to your newspaper's letters to the editor section or post them in comments/forums of your local news media. That's one way to get people to read your stuff.

    Here's an important key: after you set up your blog, post the URL here or in a specific diary for that purpose so we can all link to one another. That will help with the legendary Google Juice. :-)

    I know some will disagree with this approach, but as my subject line says, it's one way to wage the battle. There are others that will work better for some people. The way I've suggested will work for other people.

    I'm off to go set up my blog. Who's with me?

    Bill Wilson "The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos."--Jim Hightower

    by wlwesq2010 on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:14:18 AM PST

  •  It all sounds good but if the President (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    continues on the capitulation trail, then Dems will be the minority party for years to come.
  •  Great ideas??? Sure!...Excellent solutions??? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, lotlizard
    You bet!  Working for the betterment of this country????  Heck yeah!

    Knowing how to create a message maintain the meme

    No way.  

    Most voters haven't a clue about which way is up, and need to have the pointer show them the way.  Sad to say that the Republicans can do it even with the most egregious stories and lies (heck, Goebbels knew the trick in a nefarious, and evil way).  So why can't the truth and logic work?  It could and would if the message was there in a plain, nonsensical fashion with Democratic politicians who have credibility, and kept their promises even if they don't make it past the divided House and Senate.  At least they tried...  Forget the "conservative media doing it for you as they just want to have the story for the headlines (translate that to "advertising revenue), so you need to be creative.  It's called putting your face out there as much as you can and control the media access yourself day in and day out.  It's also called not surrounding yourself with arrogant advisors who think their crap doesn't stink and that they walk on water.  You know who they are....They were responsible for causing this midterm fall the way it did and then jumped ship (are you lisenting Rahm??  Probably not as your "nest" is already feathered).  And what about our Administration running after Wall Street (read that Geiner, Summers  et. al.)?  What was up with that you might ask...No surprise:  The Democratic Party knows how to play the money game as well, only not nearly as well (and they never will).

    Results??  Just look around, and as they say:  

    "Read 'em and weep."  

    Anyone care to cut the deck?  Anyone know how too?

    "I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean I love the country but I can't stand the scene." - Leonard Cohen (Democracy)

    by LamontCranston on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:24:15 AM PST

  •  We must form an alliance with other progressive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, Lady Libertine

    blogs, media, any progressive entity.

    We need a single point of coordination.  Part of the nature of grassroots is it's from the bottom up but still, to be effective, it has to be coordinated.  Otherwise we're all running in chaotic directions.

    That single point probably already exists.

    Have to take my daughter to breakfast "date night" but will come back to see comments.  This and xaxnar's diary on the rec list are probably the two most important diaries here today.

    It's easy to be a destroyer.

    by poliwrangler on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:41:50 AM PST

  •  I will fight. (7+ / 0-)

    You know, just this morning, I decided, that no matter if it doesn't pay itself back for a long time, I am investing in a solar panel electric system for my house. And I think I know why I'm just gonna go ahead and do it. Because I can. Since the tea party morons and their corporate puppet masters are intent on stopping any progress and want to turn off the engines while the boat heads for a waterfall, I am just going to join in the progressive fight on every level I can, without waiting for Barack, Nancy, the Dems, the Easter Bunny or the Flying Spaghetti Monster to help me. I'm going to take some pennies out of the maw of the energy company and stop drowning polar bears all by myself. Even if it costs me money (what a great guy am I) !! And I don't need the Koch brother's permission to do so. Yet.
    Then, I'm going to fight on every other front that I can, including politically, socially, economically (I need to move my money).  F*#@ these A##&*@s!!
    Let's go!
    I just finished listening to the unabridged "Lord of the Rings" on CD in my car, after reading the books more than a dozen times since childhood. What I noticed this time: The good guys stand and fight when they are convinced they are doomed, again and again. Because it is the only honorable thing to do. Joy and valor will be achieved in the moment of fighting evil, no matter the outcome. Sometimes (ok, most times) they are delivered at the last moment. Sometimes, they just die well with their soul intact. We are at the moment. The Roberts Court, the Corporations, the politicians have sold us and the Republic out. It's time to stand and fight, though we are doomed.

  •  Restoring democracy also must include (6+ / 0-)

    doing something about America's media landscape. Obama goes to Asia and pins down contracts and almost no one in America will know that that happened, way fewer than those who are convinced that he was just there to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to stay in the Taj Mahal. Within this context of lies and distortions democracy is flat out impossible.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 06:56:28 AM PST

  •  tipped and rec'd (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, gmb, lotlizard, Hear Our Voices

    Restoration of the middle class is the goal.

    We have to agree on what our story is and start telling it ourselves.  We have to look for and support candidates for office who are willing to tell a coherent story along these lines.

    We can't sit idle while the teabaggers hijack the country and fly it into...

    •  restoration: this is the part i thought obama (4+ / 0-)

      did a decent job on. the line in his speech where he'd ask: do you think china is cutting back on education? do you think china is cutting back on renewables? or cutting back on infrastructure?

      the audience would yell NO! in between each question.

      then obama would yell: americans don't play to come in second.

      it was a rallying cry and the most compelling and the punchiest part of his speech.

      we don't play for second place here in america!

      why wasn't this a theme that was nationalized for the midterms?

  •  One of the best diaries I've read (5+ / 0-)

    on dkos -- well-said.

    The narrative is everything -- that's why the RW has gone to such time and effort to bankroll Pox Newz and the rest of their hate media machine: the more they get their message out, the more they control all messaging.  Just look at the results . . . in the pre-election townhall meeting broadcast on CNBC, for instance, Prez Obama acted kinda surprised (!) that most Americans didn't know they had actually gotten a tax cut, and that his administration wasn't getting credit for all the accomplishments its racked up . . .

    Hellllooooo!  Mr. President, you're message isn't getting thru b/c you're either not sending it loudly enuf, often enuf, or it's being jammed by the RW Propaganda Machine over at Pox Newz/GOP HQ.

    And simply shrugging your shoulders, blaming the professional left (as Blob Gibbs did), or ignoring it, isn't working.

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, greengemini

    also speaking about values. We do have values as progressives. We just have to make it clearer (stickier).

    I voted, have you? If not please do.

    by OHknighty on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:02:44 AM PST

  •  "Facts have a liberal bias" - so let's push for (4+ / 0-)

    Keith and Rachel and Anderson Cooper to lobby their networks for a nightly "fact-checking" segment: a thirty-minute program that does what does with claims made by and about politicians. And it can be bipartisan, holding Dems feet to the fire, too.

    I really think such a program would be popular and would inject a much-needed counter to some of the propaganda floating around. God knows, there would be plenty of material.

    It would also be a resource for people who are really struggling to cut through the crap and get at the truth. Does the HCR bill raise or reduce the deficit? Is it truthful to frame the bill as "government-controlled health care"? Would Medicare-for-all raise or reduce the deficit? Etc.

    "There is no reason a Democrat has to be a weakling." - Alan Grayson

    by cassandraX on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 08:24:50 AM PST

    •  Good idea except people don't care (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      about facts. They vote their feelings and their values. We did not win the values argument.

      We have to stress our values and that the radical Republicans values are more money for people who already have more money.

      Tax cuts create votes not jobs.

      by OHknighty on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:27:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love your "restoring the middle class" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Kcox, OHknighty

    portion.  It sounds just heavenly and rock solid.  If the minimum wage were adjusted for inflation, we would not have aggregate demand problems...which is what is sucking the life out of all of us right now.

    And for energy policy, the Bloom Box is amazing and I want to be a part of THAT brave new world!

  •  I totally agree with your premises (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But your themes have been tried and failed.

    It needs to be more personal, more positive and dead simple. Sort of like: "cut your taxes" is.

    Say: "Putting all Americans first." "Making this country work for all of us."  

    Well, it is hard to create the nugget that people can grab onto. But that's what was missing in the election, and it's what needs to be agreed on and drilled into the public's heads.

    Does the public have one head or many???

    the future begins

    by zozie on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:41:13 AM PST

  •  We need to address 3 major things: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, BillieJohn

    just one isn't good enough:

    1. Candidates:  intelligent non shills able to speak in public with some gravitas.
    1. Money: to support the good candidates and put them before the public and to counter the propaganda from teh Right.  
    1. Message: Simple and unified messages of the day/week or month from the White House or Dean as DNC chair that all candidates can get behind.  Messages that are sound bite sized and repeated.

    The message is the most important of all three stages....cause if the message doesn't get out, doesn't make it into homes across America over and over...the electorate will fall prey to lies, wedge issues and propaganda again.  It won't matter how good the candidate or how much money we pour into him/her....if the people don't understand why they need to vote Democratic or for any particular Democratic or Bernie Sanders type Independent candidates.  If they don't understand that the Republican party (free trade, privatizing, deregulation) is what is destroying our middle class, why our jobs have been outsourced, and why democracy is almost gone...replaced by plutocracy, fascism, corporatism.

    "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

    by leema on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:44:25 AM PST

    •  Agree! Low Info Voters... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, leema the hurdle we need to tackle. And while some Low-info voters are not the brightest bulbs on the tree, that often is not the problem.

      The amount and breadth and complexity of issues and information is stunning. I am single and I work from home, so I have access to many hours of news each day, TV, Internet, and so on...and still I find I barely take a bite out of that sandwich.

      Consider my new assistant, an intelligent, full of spunk 30-something wife and mother of two young children. She has a very full schedule each day, plus now she is working part time for me and learning the somewhat complex elements of my business, plus she has another part-time job. How much time is in her day to delve into complex issues?

      We watched the President's press conference together, and got to talking about how so many jobs have been off-shored. Turns out she thought that the government sent the jobs there, and said, "why don't they just bring them back?" It never occurred to her that the companies, in order to boost profits, CHOSE to export the jobs, and are pretty much happy with the results.

      There must be zillions of little examples of things like this, where, short of the actual data, some bogus explanation takes root. All those lay a fertile ground for GOP smear message.

      "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling

      by BillieJohn on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:11:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually it is the policies and laws (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        changed over the past 30 years (last 10 years even more so) by our legislators (All Republicans & some Democrats including Clinton who signed off on NAFTA and the repeal of the Glass Steagall act) that have led to corporations now finding it more profitable to export mfg and our jobs.  So she was was the government that did it.  

        Can't fault the corporations for chasing PROFIT as that is their job.  They will do what they can within the law.  (and sometimes outside the law)

        Can 100% fault our legislators who voted to change our trade policies and banking policies  that are directly responsible for the decline of our middle class and the United States as a nation and its democracy.

        Everytime one of these slime shill politicians  talk about smaller government they are doing it again.   Government is the ONLY thing that can fight against the Corporate takeover...but only if the people we elect are not their shills.  

        "I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong." Richard Feynman

        by leema on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 01:39:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Time to take our country forward... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, 3goldens

    ~we study the old to understand the new~from one thing know ten thousand~to see things truly one must see what is in the light and what lies hidden in shadow~

    by ArthurPoet on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 09:49:53 AM PST

  •  Step One: Break up media consolidation. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, 3goldens, greengemini

    Until the RW noise machine is broken up, the progressive message won't get out.

  •  Progressive Strategy Going Forward (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I appreciate this diary.  I offered one just a bit ago that rolled down off the front page into the memory hole.

    I think there needs to be some kind of way for people who can think about how progressives can build a long term strategy that works can discuss the ways and means.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 10:13:54 AM PST

  •  I was just thinking about this this morning . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Dallasdoc, BillieJohn

    This isn't fleshed out completely, but the right-wing has risen based on de-legitimizing the idea that social programs contribute to everybody, rich and poor. De-legitimizing the efficacy of government administered programs.

    K. Rove has excellent tactical instincts, even if his politics are odious. His advice has always been go straight at the opponent's strongest argument. The Tea Party's strongest argument is that government is for "those people". Anybody that accepts government aid is a "loser." "We" are being bankrupted by these losers sucking off our hard work.

    I would like to see a media campaign that brings success stories to the public eye of individuals that were saved from crashing by the safety net. The series would show the contributions of that person and the others dependent on that person--family, friends, employers, neighbors.

    The problem is that high-income people have been allowed to tell themselves and each other the fairy tale that their prosperity is based just on their personal efforts. Their prosperity isn't dependent on a broad customer base created by liberal social policies. Isn't dependent on a skilled and knowledgeable labor base created by liberal education policies.

    Speaking from experience, I can tell you that it is incredibly hard to run an organization in which even one employee is faced with a personal tragedy -- spouse with health problems, drug-addicted kid, loss of a home, you name it. Watching your co-worker pulled under by something like this basically destroys an organization. Any manager or business owner that fails to at least make an effort to help in this situation permanently loses the loyalty and commitment of the remaining employees. Everybody's thinking, "What if its me, next time." Social programs have allowed employers to do what economists call "externalizing" costs of dealing with personal tragedies. Let's put faces on the externalized costs and show the business owners and corporate managers saying how important the person was to their organization.

    Not sure how all this would be organized, but I'm interested to hear reactions . . .

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

    by Kcox on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 10:14:40 AM PST

    •  Have You read Malcolm Gladwell's OUTLIERS? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, Kcox

      In OUTLIERS, Gladwell takes on (among other things) the idea that people like Bill Gates and others were just SO extraordinary that brilliant success was the only possible outcome.

      Gladwell takes great pains to point out the myriad of factors that combined to provide a path for Gates, et al, to have their brilliant successes.

      I think there is a lot to think about along this line. Dividing people into two groups, winners and losers, is really inaccurate. No one starts with a totally blank slate, and goes from nothing to everything, and progressives will be well-served to learn to point this out, aloud and often.  This is one myth that really needs to die.

      "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling

      by BillieJohn on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 11:49:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm damned pessimistic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about changing how the majority views wealth distribution in this country. And I doubt very seriously that until the people understand how they're being ripped off by an entrenched oligarchy there will be any movement to restore the middle class.

    I think the effort to distribute the wealth upwards began long before Reagan and he was merely the politician who got to raise the oiligarchy's flag in victory. The working class/middle class began to rise to power when the unions, supported by progressive politicians, gained the right to organize. Their victories gave us living wages and safe working conditions and other benfits that we now take for granted. But their victories were hard won in the streets and factories of America and their casualties were many. In other words they fought and sacrificed to birth a prosperous middle class future for their future generations, us.

    At the same time workers became victorious the wealthy powerstructure began their efforts to repeal all their gains and victories. Working people elected politicians who spoke openly about the class warfare being waged against the workers. People like FDR and the other progressive giants of an earlier age. For a time the minions of the upper classes were beat back and America grew stronger and richer by protecting the middle class from the efforts to repeal their gains. But capitalism being what it is always harbored those who plotted and fought to redirect the wealth of the nation back towards the top and to lessen the gains of the middle class.

    Now the decendants of the robber barons have regained their superior positions in this country and have convinced the middle class that it is better for them to be in charge. They have succeeded in deminishing unions and working class solidarity to the point that even progressives now fear class warfare and offending the status quo.

    The great battle for workers in America has been lost and it can only be won back by once again fighting a great class war like our forefathers did before us. Do you see that great effort on the horizen? I don't, thus my headline.

  •  We need a liberal Media outlet, a network and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, BillieJohn

    talk radio.

    And MSNBC which has served that function, is not it.
    Clearly they fired Keith on a flimsy pretext because he was TOO effective in rallying the troops. We need to create a place for him to go.

    To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

    by Bluehawk on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 11:15:16 AM PST

    •  My only point of disagreement is that we need... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...OUTLETS! We need many ways to get our ideas into the air. We need our own Frank Luntz so we can more effectively communicate our ideals and ideas, point up the benefits of the programs, and point out the hollowness of the Republicans' agenda.

      We need radio, TV, Blogs, magazine articles, bold exposes, books, pamphlets, lectures and conversations.

      For so much of Obama's first two years, there was no real message. Obama (naively IMHO) seemed to think that people would see the light of his policies and decisions and reject the GOP smears. They did not. They will not.

      He did say that "we are the ones we've been waiting for" ...I think we should take that literally and get going on getting the progressive message out.

      "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling

      by BillieJohn on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 11:36:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So simple and so obvious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, 3goldens

    Hard to understand why some otherwise bright people don't get it.

  •  Dallasdoc: Missing from your diary is this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, 3goldens

    The point you and Meteor Blades have made repeatedly about returning fairness and balance to the public airwaves, and breaking up the monoplies controlling the message [Rupert Murdoch & Phil Anschutz seem to be two peas in a pod].

    Bring them home now. It's time.

    by llbear on Sun Nov 07, 2010 at 12:36:05 PM PST

    •  That would come under restoring democracy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, llbear

      But I think we have to be strategic in building our story, without getting too out-of-the-box right away.  Breaking up the media oligopoly, while vitally important, can't be done right away.  People have to understand the threat to democracy first, and see steps being made in the right direction.  When the corporate media masters fight back, we'll be in a better place to counterattack.

  •  DallasDoc, what about Current TV , Al (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, 3goldens
    Gore project? Should this be supported more?
    •  I don't know about that (0+ / 0-)

      I've not found anything worthwhile to watch on current TV.  I check out Free Speech TV and Link TV once in a while, but the programming -- aside from Amy Goodman, lacks production values or compelling writing.  

      One of those could probably become a nucleus for a progressive TV outlet, if we all got behind it.  But it will need some more compelling programming to be successful.

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