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Electoral victories are sometimes built on hopes and dreams, sometimes on fear and anger, sometimes on both. Over the past 30 years progressives have often resorted to emphasizing fear of the Republicans – completely justified, in my view. President Obama’s 2008 campaign, however, showed that progressives can also win by inspiring hope.

And yet, particularly in bad times, hope can be a hard emotion to come by. The President stepped into what may be the worst economic situation in American history, which I will explain in a bit. Since the President couldn’t wave a magic wand and make up for decades of economic decline in two years, enough people in enough suburban districts got confused and voted for Republicans in 2010. While their wins are certainly sobering, it doesn’t mean we have to give up on hope – on the contrary, it is important to be as audacious as ever.

What I want to suggest is that we need to think in the long-term, say, in at least a ten-year time frame, so that we can articulate programs and policies that have a realistic chance of solving our economic problems. Note that I didn’t say, "a realistic chance of political victory", because there is a difference. Right now, anyone with the audacity to propose sweeping changes will be accused of tilting at windmills...or wind turbines, as I will explain below. But people want solutions that will solve their problems. What to do? If you propose realistic solutions, you will be accused of being politically unrealistic. I think the way to deal with this is to say, "these are our long-range goals. We can’t get them now, but if you help us build a progressive majority, this is what you will get – and you’ll like it a lot better than what you’re going to get from the Republicans".

So what are some long-range solutions? The first step is to simply start thinking about long-range solutions, because the progressive community has been so busy fighting against conservatives that there hasn’t been much energy put into thinking in the long-run. But since I just published a book (warning: book plug about to occur) called "Manufacturing Green Prosperity: The power to rebuild the American middle class", I thought I’d share some of my thoughts – and I hope this inspires readers to share their thoughts too.

I said that Obama may have inherited the worst economy ever, and the basis for my saying that is my viewpoint, which I spend much of my book, explaining, that manufacturing is the most important part of any wealthy economy. You may have noticed that lots of blue-collar workers have been losing their jobs – I just heard the head of the Steelworkers’ union, Leo Girard, say that 40,000 factories were shut down during George W. Bush’s term in office.

The difference between the Great Recession and the Great Depression is that Roosevelt was president when the U.S. stood as the great manufacturing colossus of the world; the problem really was one of demand and getting money into people’s hands. Now, there is a demand problem, but it’s very much compounded by the problem that our main wealth-generating engine, manufacturing, is in decline.

So, what to do? Well, the President did a pretty good job of explaining the situation in his op-ed recently in the New York Times:
"We need to rebuild on a new, stronger foundation for economic growth. And part of that foundation involves doing what Americans have always done best: discovering, creating and building products that are sold all over the world... We want to be known not just for what we consume, but for what we produce. And the more we export abroad, the more jobs we create in America. In fact, every $1 billion we export supports more than 5,000 jobs at home."

Up through the 1960s, we always had a trade surplus. Our trade deficit, that is, the difference between the goods we bought and the goods we sold, in 2007, just before the Great Recession, was about $850 billion; if we had a trade surplus of $150 billion instead, that would mean 5,000,000 more manufacturing jobs, using the President’s figures. And since each manufacturing job supports three other jobs in the economy, according to the Economic Policy Institute, that would just about take care of unemployment as a problem. How’s that for some hope?

So, how do we rebuild manufacturing? Here is where we can get around the inevitable cries of "socialism" and "get the government off our backs", because probably the economic endeavor that governments have always done best, throughout history, is to build things. We need to build, build, build. And what was the single biggest building program that our government ever undertook? The Interstate Highway System, championed by a Republican president, Mr. 1950s himself, Dwight David Eisenhower! Did you ever hear anyone call the Interstate Highway System a socialist plot?

President Obama has put some money into what could become the 21st century equivalent – high-speed rail. The stimulus bill directed $8 billion toward high-speed rail. While that is a small amount, consider that in 1954 Congress only authorized $175 million for the interstate system, while in 1956 Eisenhower was able to get through a $27 billion commitment. So small beginnings can turn into history-changing systems.

According to the US High-Speed Rail Association, it would take $600 billion to construct 17,000 miles of high-speed rail, spread out over 10 years. Since I like nice round numbers, let’s say that an Interstate High-speed Rail System, along with new and improved regional transit systems, cost $1 trillion over one decade to build. If all of those tracks and trains were built in the United States – a crucial assumption – then a market like that would go far in encouraging the re-establishment, not only of an American train industry, but even more crucially, the industries that provide the machinery and parts for trains, the foundation of an industrial economy.

Another national system that could provide a long-term market for manufacturing would be an Interstate Wind System. The stimulus led to greater-than-expected wind installations in 2009, which could be a first step toward an efficient national wind network. Having a national wind network would mean that there would always be wind-generated electricity available to the country, because the wind is always blowing somewhere. In my book, I estimate that a system that could provide about half the electrical needs of the country, plus the improved electric grid required to carry the electricity, could cost around $2 trillion dollars, again over 10 years. Such a system would allow us to provide carbon-free electricity to the electricity-based high-speed rail and transit systems, and enough of the rest of our consumed electricity to lead to the closure of most if not all carbon-and-pollution-spewing coal plants.

There are many other systems that the government can build, and should build simply in order to avoid ecological problems and to avoid the collapse of necessary infrastructure, like the bridge in Minneapolis. We could encourage construction of efficient buildings in the center of cities and towns, solar panels, energy retrofits of buildings, electric cars, and even retrofitting manufacturing plants to use less and pollute less. All of this building would not only lead to millions of jobs in the short and medium-term, it would provide a secure base for a thriving middle class – now there’s a dream for you!

As for paying for all of this, since we would be creating new wealth and new wealth-generating capacity, there are many ways to go. First, the government could simply lend the money, and would probably make a profit on the investment. Or, it could attract private investment. Since money is simply a reflection of the wealth of the country, it would even be economically justifiable, I would argue, to simply create the money to pay for the construction (which would be better than borrowing the money, but that’s another story). Of course, we could try to recoup some of the $1 trillion in corporate handouts that the fiscal commission uncovered, by getting rid of free caviar for the rich. Basically, the investment would pay for itself many times over.

Now imagine that a program based on building the manufacturing base, and rebuilding the transportation and energy infrastructure and cities and towns, swept a solid majority of progressives into Congress. And I don’t just mean Democrats – I mean progressive Democrats, not Ben Nelson Democrats that President Obama has to deal with, or the old Southern Democrats that FDR and LBJ had to deal with. I mean, what if the President had a Congress that would pass anything he wanted? I said I was audacious...

Of course, the sad truth is that such a progressive majority would probably take longer than a second term of the Obama presidency to put together. But then we’d remember the Obama presidency as the start of the American Renewal, wouldn’t we?

Cross posted from ThePeoplesView.net

Originally posted to JonRynn on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:41 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rebuilding this country will have to be Defense (0+ / 0-)

    spending.

    That's how Eisenhower got his funding for the Interstate System.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    -Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:47:32 AM PST

    •  Actually, Defense was not the main event... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polecat, Blogvirgin

      ...but I once heard former Speaker Jim Wright say that they had to put the defense stuff in the bill in order to get it passed -- hard to say.  I think the Pentagon will have to be re-oriented, shall we say, toward infrastructure building.

  •  Re-district....nt. (0+ / 0-)

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

    by ctexrep on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:49:25 AM PST

    •  How are you going to successfully redistrict (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      when the Republicans hold the majority of the Statehouses and legislatures? I wonder if many who stayed home and pouted during the midterms gave any thought at all to the consequences with regard to redistricting in the year of the census?

      I support the President.

      by Blogvirgin on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:11:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kind of like this should have (0+ / 0-)

        been thought about in 2009 and not AFTER one of the largest historical LOSS for the Democrats.

        Me thinks this whole scenario is to late. Now we're invested where we should be saving what we've already passed in the last term.

        Here's the REAL thorn in this whole approach, right now in KY were attempting to hold onto the Gov seat--BUT that means to progressives--shudder' the hated BLUE DOGS to many, but not to me and many others.

        "It is not power that corrupts but fear." SuuKyi, Burma

        by Wary on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:11:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which is why so many people around here (0+ / 0-)

          proudly proclaimed they would not vote, or not vote except on X, and demanded others follow their lead.

          You build any movement by persuading people  actually to vote the way you want them to vote, not the way you and others like minded insist they should want to vote. Talking to people around here of like mind does not produce that result. Cussing folk out for being stupid and deserving what happens to them when they don't vote the way you want them to vote, does not get them to vote your way. Nor is reading them out of the party helpful. That makes them less likely to vote for Party candidates or anyone they associate with dissing them in that way.

  •  Corporate media are the main enemy n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Dream, that's the thing to do (Johnny Mercer)

    by plankbob on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:52:46 AM PST

  •  It's impossible. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, FG

    The only way to do it is by building a moderate majority with progressives.  

    It's a numbers thing.

    •  So would moderates go for a rebuilding program? (0+ / 0-)

      To go back to the Interstate Highway System and the issue of jobs, perhaps it would have a certain appeal for moderates.

      •  Of course (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Day24Day7

        the nature of a moderate is flexible.  

        It's a funny thing.  My best friend is a teabagger and he thinks of GOP moderates as liberals and liberals think of DNC moderates as conservatives.

        Moderates make the world go'round.

        •  Well, I think that's an advantage of (0+ / 0-)

          a building program.  I think this is something people haven't really focused on, that governments do a good job (within limits) of building things.  And it gets away, or could get away from cries of "socialist!", not that there's anything wrong with that.  The redistributive ideas are still necessary, in my opinion, because of the extreme inequality of wealth in this country, but paying private firms to construct things has certainly been supported for the military, why not for the infrastructure and manufacturing?

          •  I can't say I don't know (0+ / 0-)

            why this doesn't happen anymore on a grand scale but roads are something a prefer to spend lots of cash on.  I'd rather spend $200 as a share than $600 on new shocks which is the trade off in the end.  

            Although I do have sever problems with socialism I would be willing to take the label if good stuff gets done.

            I'm in MN and we just did a ton of road work all over the place.  It happens just not huge interstate projects.

  •  Easy. (3+ / 0-)

    You will never build a progressive majority so long as people are more worried about "winning" than actual progressive vicories.   This is how we end up with DINOs and Blue Dogs in office.  And everytime these blue dogs stab the progressives in the back, they shrug and say, "What can you do...they come from a red state and progressive candidates wouldn't win".  

    My response is always the same.  What is the difference whether a Blue Dog Dem or a Republican is in office if the only legislation that gets passed is right-wing legislation?   There is none.  So what is the point is spending time, money and other resources to get them elected?  I'd much rather use that time and energy to push for progressive candidates EVERY SINGLE TIME, even if they lose.  

    That is the only way to change the political discourse in the country and make people more aware of progressive issues.  You won't do that by "beating" the right by running less-right candidates who only end up compromising truly progressive values and policies.

    A long-term plan is exactly what is needed.  Mainly because we need to be willing to lose elections if it means kicking out deadweight candidates.  And it needs to happen again and again until the Democratic party gets the hint that they will only ever regaion power if they start representing their progressive base.  Because the fact is that on major issue after issue, the majority of Americans support and believe in progressive policies and yet neither party seems willing to act on that.  

    So we see what we have seen already...people bouncing back and forth regardless of what the party says or does because they just want to kick all the bums out.  The problem of course is that they both seem to be bums and voting is just replacing one set for another.   We need to make sure the Democratic party represents modern values and modern/future voters.  Those voters are young and much more progressive and willing to support progressive issues and candidates.   Just look at 2008 as proof and 2010 to see what happens when those progressive young voters are ignored.

    If you want a progressive majority, we need to risk losing in the short term to build a party that understands and is willing to act on the needs of our younger, more progressive voters.  

    •  I think you can do both at the same time, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, sebastianguy99

      that is, you can run candidates that win now, and then, after you have gathered a certain critical mass of support for a well-articulated program, you can run someone who supports the more far-reaching goals (unless of course the incumbent comes along). Although personally, I put all my time into long-range goals.

      Now, the advantage, it seems to me, of having a concrete program, is that you can measure the office holder by how well he/she is doing relative to the program.  Otherwise, you just have phrases

    •  More Than This In How the Rightwing Took Over (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      the Republicans.

      They voted Republican all along. Mostly though they organized independently to create their own alliances, message machine, voter education, and create candidacies and policies issues to feed into the party.

      Yes they did a lot of primarying, and sometimes at the cost of a party seat as you say, but they weren't waiting for the party to do these things for them. And they put the most emphasis on the entry level local & regional races & issues thereby turning the Republican party into their farm team, right from the beginning.

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

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:16:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Political stamina is required. (0+ / 0-)

        A sustained Progressive majority must include local and state offices. I have to question whether we have the stomach for really building such a majority seeing how many don't seem to be able to deal well with anyone that is more than a tick to the right of them on a number of issues?

        I say this because any majority is going to have to include a Progressive "Southern Strategy" due to demographics.

        I really don't see how those folks are going to withstand the transition period that is going to be necessary if they find President Obama so abhorrent?

        The Republicans understand that in order to exercise power, you have to keep showing up more than the other guy, no matter what.

        The diarist is correct, I believe, that rebuilding a manufacturing base will go a long way in building a successful electoral base.

        "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

        by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:50:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sestak in PA, & the one in Arkansas (0+ / 0-)

        those were the big two pushes. Neither worked out, couldn't hold onto Russ Feingold's seat either.

        Had the Dems at least held onto even slightly the House this time, then these plans would have had a shot.

        BUT there was a 'message' to be sent, so I read here day in and day out for months right here and other places.

        I do think it's time for the Democratic Party to build a new base on the big tent model that worked so well.

        "It is not power that corrupts but fear." SuuKyi, Burma

        by Wary on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:39:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blue Dogs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wary

      are better than Republicans for one very important reason: the House.

      The majority gets to chair the committees and set the agenda. Without the blue dogs, it's all Repubs all the time. I'd rather have a guy who votes Dem half the time than one who does so none of the time.

      But that's just me.

      In a perfect world, they'd all be like Bernie Sanders, but we ain't there yet.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:23:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yet. (0+ / 0-)

        The majority of Americans and the record number of young people who came out to support President Obama, voted for change.  They voted for a public health option and true environmental reform and holding people in power accountable.  The voted for the end of the Bush regime, end of pointless wars and the end of domestic spying and torture.

        What they got, mainly because of Blue Dogs in the Senate, was none of those things.  Nope.  They got business as usual and old REpublican ideas.  They got called "retards" and told to STFU.

        And then people can't seem to figure out why the Dems lost so badly in the last election.  I mean, President Obama did so many great things...in theory...if you look at it through the filter of business as usual that is.

        The Dems had 60 seats and still couldn't pass a single piece of actual progressive legislation.  They literally passed old Republican legislation.  So you'll have to excuse me if I think we should keep Blue Dogs in office because that lets us control the Senate.  When the Dems are passing old Republican ideas then it is still "all Republican all the time".

        •  Start of a good progressive list (0+ / 0-)

          Rosencrantz, you put forward what I think is a good start on a list of a progressive agenda: "They voted for a public health option and true environmental reform and holding people in power accountable.  The voted for the end of the Bush regime, end of pointless wars and the end of domestic spying and torture."

          What I don't see there, however, is something that gets to the core of the economic problem, or even, the problem of economic decline, which apparently most of the public thinks is happening.  In other words, there is a huge opening for talking about some fundamental changes in the economy.  Let's assume that financial re-regulation, say, to pre-1999, would be on a progressive list, although that still does not turn around the economy.  Robert Reich wants to redistribute income through the tax code, that's another good start, although I don't know how much people know about that idea, but it still does not get to the fundamental problem of economic decline.  You could say we need another stimulus, which is true, but that still doesn't do it.  

          My diary above was meant to address the issue of economic decline, unless you can think of progressive initiatives that I'm not considering.

          •  Some ideas. (0+ / 0-)

            The problem seems to be the Dems aren't willing to do what is necessary to stop the economic decline which didn't just happen over night.   This is something that has actually been happening slowly over the past 20 years or more.   The slowly increasing gap between rich and poor, the slowly stagnating standard of living of most people, the practical halt in seeing average wages keep up with inflation or even CEO pay.

            What needs to happen is Health Care should be sold as an economic issue.  Businesses are having problem competing with foreign companies who don't have to worry about health insurance costs hitting their bottom line.  Citizens who don't have to pay for health insurance in single payer systems have more money to spend on other things which actually DOES create jobs and stimulates the economy.  spending money on private insurance only pads the coffers of CEOs and helps stocks, which are a majority owned by the wealthiest minority anyway.

            The problem is that politicians, and many regular people too, seem to think Wall Street is the economy.  It isn't.  Wall Street is a casino.  Wall Street is a way for companies to make more and more money for themselves by taking it out of other places where it will do more good for more people.  I believe they refer to those things as externalities in the economic business.  Take the money from the people while simultaneously dumping on them the cost of problems you create.

            Taxes on the wealthy also need to go UP so social program which help the weakest of society can work better.  That way people who are down on their luck don't suddenly become a crippling problem like we are now seeing with morgage forclosure and unemployment etc.   These people need proper help to sustain them and years of cutting social programs to pay for pointless wars or wealthy tax cuts is the reason.  

            We are seeing economic decline because our economy has always been a Jenga tower.  Politicians keep taking away from the bottom to give to the top.  And no matter how shaky that got, they kept going because they think that is how the game is played.  Not that things are starting to collapse they are confused and don't know what to do.  Mainly because none of them has the foresight OR the balls to do what needs to be done.   Primarily, standing up to the rich, to wall street, and accepting that the power should be in the hands of the majority or people, not the majority of wallets or bank receipts.

            •  Yes, health care is an economic issue, AND (0+ / 0-)

              we still need to get to the bottom of the economic decline.  As for health care, certainly if we had, say, Medicare for all, much less a public option, we could liberate a good 5% or more of the GNP for consuming things that need to be consumed.  Certainly, if we could move some of the 15% of the GNP that the top 2% have grabbed since 1970, down to the middle class, that would help.  But what I submit to you is that unless we revive manufacturing, these other things won't help to increase the pie.  And unless we construct a new infrastructure that doesn't rely on oil (or at least on much less oil), and for the long-term, that isn't going to destroy the climate, it won't help even if we get medicare for all or redistribution of wealth.  

              This kind of discussion has not been going on in the left (I have lots of writings or links on this at http://www.economicreconstruction.co... and I will keep trying to bring these issues up.  But besides solving problems, I think putting forth a program that addesses economic decline also helps to glue together all of progessive concerns, particularly if at the middle of the program is a believable set of plans of how to reverse economic decline.

    •  And yet 'Progressive' Dems in blue Dog areas (0+ / 0-)

      DID NOT WIN in this election did they?

      VA 05 perfect example. He stuck to his 'Progressive' values and went down.

      So go ahead and 'risk' losing the 'short term' but that short term always turns out to be much longer than previous 'progressives' ever thought it would be, like from 2000-2008 and in just 2 short years 'prgressives' decided to send a 'message' to 'show' the Democrats, like they did in 2000, the nation went farther to the right by 2008, and now we're about to go further against the direction 'progressives' want to go.

      This plan should have been worked on well before now, but not to worry, 'message received' from this election.

      "It is not power that corrupts but fear." SuuKyi, Burma

      by Wary on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:30:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One time does not = a trend. (0+ / 0-)

        THAT is the problem with such short term thinking.  The way I see it, we have propped up the problematic system too long by our "only winning matters" mentality.  WInning is meaningless if it doesn't bring the results the majority of people want and voted for.  That is just a fact.  So to keep focusing on winning seats, even if it means continuing to help Blue Dogs get elected is a waste of time and simply naive.   If you want true change in this country then you need to change your own thinking.  Because the politicians aren't going to change theirs if it keeps working and getting them elected and eventually moving into cushy corporate lobbyist jobs.

        This system of trying to win has resulted in the progressive wing of the party AND the progressive base being completely ignored and written off.  Just look at what is happening now compared to Obama's promises in 2008.  Where are his liberal advisors?  Liberal staff?  Liberal appointments?  Any liberal economists anywhere to be found?  I think I hear crickets chirping.   In fact, the only time Obama seems to acknowledge the progressive/liberal base is when he is upset that his right wing policies are being criticised and he tells them to STFU and get in line.

        Why do you think the discourse keeps moving further and further right, and progressives/liberals are now praising Obama for promoting health care, finance, or environmental policies that were originally thought up by REPUBLICANS.  This is our progressive change?  Old republican ideas that only seem progressive because the discourse has slid so far to the right?

        And why wouldn't the discourse slide to the right when we are ignoring the blue or purple states, ignoring the progressive base, in favour of focusing on holding on to red states and blue dogs with a death grip, even if it means betraying out own political values in the long run?   Seriously, I would rather lose VA 05 time and time again to keep pushing progressive candidates.  Because that way when there are debates or ads, the people will hear actual progressive soundbites against Republican soundbites instead of Republican vs. right of center.  

        ANd frankly, I believe that constantly putting out the same message over and over, that progressive policies are the only true change and the only way to help average PEOPLE, eventually it will sink it.  But two candidates running on the same issues isn't going to bring the change we need.  No, as we've already seen ample evidence of this past two years, it will actually prevent change and only further disenfranchise millions of potential voters who are tired of the system and see no difference between the two parties.

  •  No, the Biggest Building Program Was Tariffs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Blogvirgin

    They enabled us to build an entire economy and viable nation.

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

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:10:56 PM PST

    •  Tariffs were important (0+ / 0-)

      but they were not what I'm calling "building".  "Building" literally means that; for instance, tariff income was used for one of the most important building projects of the 19th century, the canals, without which we'd probably at the income level of Mexico (although we are headed that way now).  Railroads were another example.  Tariffs are trade policy; what I'm talking about is more what they used to (still do?) call industrial policy.

  •  You don't. Can't build a majority if only about (0+ / 0-)

    20-25% of voters support you. Maybe you can try to temporarily hijack the Dem party (like right wing hijacked the Republicans) but it's unlikely to last.

    •  Except (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whimsical Rapscallion

      If you create a liberal version of the Tea Party which could run primary challenges in safe seats and let the chips fall where they may.

      This would allow the Democratic Party to be more mainstream nationwide.

      The Liberal Tea Party and Democrats would come together only for the elections.

      Its risky when the liberals knock off a moderate in a moderate state and the liberal gets trounced a la The Theiving Witch in Deleware. But in the end it would inject more progressive ideas into the party the same way the Tea Party does the GOP.

      The one benefit the Tea Party brings to the GOP is they can never take the base for granted. It can bite them in the ass when wingnuts win primaries but the GOP is acutely aware of what the base wants and yet nationally is still seen as being pretty mainsteam by most of the electorate.

      It could work. The problem is the left doesn't have the billionaires and lobbyists to fund it.

      •  You need to say what you are for... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FG

        that is, there has to be some real distinction between a conservative Democrat and a real progressive -- what defines that?  Is there a list somewhere?  I'm not being facetious -- well, maybe a little.  For instance, medicare for all is an identifiable, differentiating issue.  I think a nationwide high-speed rail system is another easy-to-digest idea.  I can't even think of what would be an easily identifiable progressive list.  The Tea Party has a list of basically one -- cut taxes (well, maybe "eliminate regulations").  Progressives need a list too.

        •  Most people don't care about rail enough for it (0+ / 0-)

          to be an important electoral issue. Maybe mass transit in general can work in some states as an issue. I certainly agree that progressives need some sort of moderately specific list of things they advocate to help with branding.

          •  Rail would be just one part, (0+ / 0-)

            me thinks, so you could also have wind, solar, but the important, central point is that these would be ways of rebuilding manufacturing.  That should be the main focus, it seems to me.

      •  It's certainly a good idea to support liberals (0+ / 0-)

        in primaries but it's not exactly new. This site has been doing a lot of it, for example.

    •  20-25% (0+ / 0-)

      self identify as liberals, but far larger numbers agree with progressive ideas.

      "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

      by happy camper on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:28:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can start by.... (4+ / 0-)

    ....not calling anyone who doesn't believe as we do a corporatist, centrist shill.

    "The enthusiasm gap has more to do with abnormally high levels of Republican interest in the election than with despondent Democrats." -Nate Silver

    by malharden on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 12:50:14 PM PST

    •  Yes please! (0+ / 0-)

      Especially when no distinction is made between a Halliburton and a Kos Media which is a "corporation".

      I've often wondered if anyone else has thought about the irony in a self-identified kossack referring to someone else as a "corporatist shill"?

      "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." ...Bertrand Russell

      by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:56:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Longer than a second term...ha-ha... (0+ / 0-)

    how about longer than 2 generations...

    Obama - Change I still believe in

    by dvogel001 on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:24:34 PM PST

  •  You need think tanks (0+ / 0-)

    The right has put a tremendous amount of money into think tanks to sell their ideas to the public. We need to sell our ideas to the public as well, we aren't going to be able to shove everything through legislation. The problem is that the left doesn't have a fraction of the money that the right has.

    When you poll the public on issues the public seems very liberal. The problem is that the public hasn't seen anyone offering these ideas. A lot of what passed for "left" would have been seen as moderate before the Reagan counterrevolution.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:57:05 PM PST

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