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Earlier today I wrote this diary about the failure of large environmental lobbyist groups and Democrats to speak out about the dangers of climate change because they were told (by Frank "Fricking" Luntz for gawdsake) it wouldn't poll well.  

Because the folks who took Luntz's advice looked at polls that said Americans' number one priority was jobs they stopped talking about the reality of the danger we all face from man made climate change.  Instead, they talked about "green tech" and how many jobs it would create, and allowed the Republicans and the Kochs and "conservative think tanks" and Fox News to dominate of the debate over the reality of how climate change is devastating our world.  

Since adopting that approach in 2009, the number of Americans concerned about climate change has dropped from a high of 2/3 of the population in 2008 to just a smidgen over 51% today.

By the way, that diary of mine got 4 comments.  Four, for an issue that represents one of the most serious dangers to our future.  But then again, who is talking much about climate among progressives at Dkos, or in Congress today.  It's become another issue that has been essentially taken off the table and marginalized, like other issues such as increasing taxes on the wealthy, prosecuting the people who made America the land of torturers, infrastructure spending, etc.

I appreciate the few diaries on climate change or other neglected progressive issues that make the rec list here at Dkos all the more because so few do these days.  Instead we get constant and redundant diaries about whatever the topic of the day is.  We are becoming not much better than old media in that respect.

You don't change the conversation if all you do is respond to the agenda of the other side.  We need to start talking about our own agenda.

  • Jobs, not deficit cutting.
  • Ending our wasteful foreign wars not continuing them into the indefinite future.
  • Income equality not income inequality.
  • Taxes on the rich, not eliminating the social safety net.
  • Climate Change and investment in renewable energy not an Energy policy that calls for more drilling for oil and gas in America and the mining of coal (which btw will never make us free from foreign oil, because we don't have enough  reserves no matter how much we drill or where.)
  • Regulating the Banks, not letting them off the hook for the experiment in disaster capitalism they foisted on us over the past decade that ended up making them even more powerful and funneling even more government dollars to keep them in business while we wait for the next shoe to drop.
  • Promoting the right of privacy instead of government intrusion in all aspects of our lives.
  • Defending Public Schools for all not backing hucksters who want to privatize our school systems
  • Making affordable health care a right not a privilege for the few.
  • Creating new infrastructure for the 21st century rather than allowing our old infrastructure to crumble around us.

Are these things we can accomplish in this Congress right now? Hell no.  But we should be talking about them loudly and consistently every day.

When Democrats did have control of Congress and the Republicans were in the minority they didn't stop pushing their crazed simplistic and divisive agenda.  They didn't stop talking about their "issues."  

Yet that has what the Democrats have done: given in and given up by reacting to polls and fearing to offend their big money contributors Fox News and the Beltway "opinion makers/pundits."  The Dems  have degenerated into a party of Hollow Men and Women (and no the few who are not do not make up for the majority who are).  They have forgotten that no change comes without hard work.  They have forgotten how to lead.

Everyday someone in or outside of the Democratic party should be going on a news show or holding events or protests to push the progressive agenda and push our issues.  Not respond to what the Republicans say.  We know what their agenda is, and so does the public. We need instead to be pounding away at what our plan for America is, not reacting to the demeaning and ridiculous and failed vision of the GOP/Tea Party/Big Business/Fundies who now control our political discourse.

It may take years.  It may be create frustration and anger, and even despair when the polls don't change immediately in our favor.  However, by fighting our battles on a field chosen by the Republicans we will always lose.  We can only win if we fight on our turf, for our ideals.  

Look what happened in Wisconsin.  A true grass roots movement arose to effect change, to say we're not going to take it anymore.  

In America there our millions of people out there, many unemployed and in desperate straits, many without health care, many just scraping by, who have been waiting for the national leaders in the Democratic party to arise and fight as hard as the people who protested against Scott Walker.  Waiting for someone like the Sheriff of Pima County (Tucson), Clarence Dupnik , who spoke the truth about what has happened in his state and standing up for liberal values.  Waiting but not finding them, or not enough of them.  

Because the Democratic party's national leadership (with rare exceptions) so often fails to try to push for the most rather than accepting the least, Democrats have become the party of "We kept your losses to a minimum (this time)" instead of the party of the working classes, the poor, the oppressed, and progress in the best sense of the word.  Right now the Democratic party as a whole is only a vessel to propagate the careers of politicians who have no message other than "We're not as crazy as those guys over there."

Winning elections means nothing if nothing changes.  We don't need a party that helps the banks while giving away the rights of the rest of us.  We don't need a party that is afraid to stand up for progressive, liberal ideals.  We don't need a party whose idea is to compromise before the bargaining even begins.  And we sure don't need a party that refuses to tell the truth about jobs, taxes, climate change, the need for government and so forth because it doesn't poll well.

Once upon a time the Whig Party fell apart because it had no consistent message, because it tried to be all things to all people and ended up being nothing to anyone.  That is the path the the current Democrats are following.  If the Dems want to be only a center right party doling out slightly less benefits to corporations than the far more extreme right-wing party that is now the Republican Party, what value do they provide?  What reason is there for us to vote for them?

If they refuse to speak for the issues  we as liberals and progressives care about, what benefit are they to the vast majority of Americans, people who the Republicans are trying to turn into wage slaves and a permanent underclass to be exploited by the Disaster Capitalists on Wall Street, in Big Oil, and in the Defense Industry (among others)?

No benefit.  None.  

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads.  They can fight for us or submit to the power of multinational corporations and accept their place as the least favored child of corporate America.  If they choose the latter, their future as a viable political force is doomed.  If they choose the former, well, isn't that better than selling out the country you supposedly love?  Isn't that why Democratic politicians got into politics in the first place: to make America a better place?

Let's all hope they choose wisely.

Originally posted to Steven D on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Frustrati.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It would indeed behoove the Democrats (12+ / 0-)

    Politically and Morally, to begin moving farther away ideologically from the Republicans.

    Good diary, and thank you for eschewing vitriol.

    They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

    by Whimsical Rapscallion on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:20:11 PM PDT

    •  It would indeed behoove Democrats (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      praenomen

      to stop denigrating the party, and to mobilize the masses to punish the Republicans (and Blue Dogs), ie; the right, as the real, actual freakin' enemy, for a change.

      Unless and until we elect more better Democrats, and achieve a progressive/moderate super-majority in the House and the Senate...the Chamber of Commerce will remain in control, and we will be screwed, no matter how much people yell and cry at "teh Dems".

      just saying...

      Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

      by Radical def on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 10:02:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your Diaries are very good (11+ / 0-)

    And important.

    I think people are numb with horror, right now.

    They need to pee, buy some popcorn and a soft drink, and re-enter the theater in the dark.

  •  A couple years after Bill Clinton was out (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, Pluto, dreamghost, joanneleon

    of office, I watched a speech he gave to, I can't remember who, and the main thrust of the speech was if we were to embrace green technology, we would be creating millions of jobs in the near future.

    Instead, they talked about "green tech" and how many jobs it would create

    To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

    by gooderservice on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:38:31 PM PDT

    •  And we never got those jobs (5+ / 0-)

      did we.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:39:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The entirety of my comment did not show up (4+ / 0-)

      in preview, nor did it post.  (That's the first time I've seen that happen.)

      Anyway, I copied my comment before I clicked post.  Here is the rest of it (I hope it works)

      That really hit home with me, the way he said it.

      Anyway, if done right, if we "show them" how many jobs are created by green tech, that may be better than trying to convince everyday people who are busy just trying to survive that climate change is real and climate change will devastate us and future generations.

      To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

      by gooderservice on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:40:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But if no one believes climate change is real (3+ / 0-)

        they buy into the republican view that climate change is a job killer and green tech is unnecessary.

        We can't keep speaking to the choir.  We have to speak up as loudly and consistently for our agenda as the GOP does for theirs.

        "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

        by Steven D on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:43:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's more denialism here than you would think. (0+ / 0-)
        •  Agreed about the speaking up part. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mnemosyne

          But I think if everyday people can't see it, feel it, and they don't see any immediate hurt from it, I don't think it's a winning strategy to try to convince them the dangers ARE HERE.

          I think if the elected officials just "quietly" go about creating green technology jobs, eventually people's energy bills will go down, for one thing.  Also, if more incentives are given to buy hybrid or electric cars, again, people will see a monetary savings.  Then they can be told why that happened.

          "Climate change" is not a sexy, attention grabber. And that's unfortunate, but I think that's true.

          I have a small car that gets pretty good mileage.  I can never see ahead of me on the roadway -- 90% of the cars surrounding me at a stop light, or even a grocery store parking lot, are SUVS, some smaller, some mid size, many, many super duper large ones.  I'd venture to say 90% of the time there is only one occupant:  The driver.

          The Democrats need their own "Frank Luntz."  I'm pretty sure we have several of them, except they're not being listened to.

          To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

          by gooderservice on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:57:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not Possible Under Clinton Economics (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cadejo4, dreamghost, Aspe4

      China's leading the way in green technology now. No more green than any other technology can be made cheap enough here to help  much with jobs under Democratic and Republican party trade policies.

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

      by Gooserock on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:51:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mnemosyne, alizard

        Or, to put it another way, not since Reagan destroyed our manufacturing base and turned corporate laboratories into Star Wars research facilities.

        The U.S. has a very odd, and inevitably self-defeating, view of technological development, which relies heavily on patents spun out of corporate or university labs and venture capital. I watched the death of the display industry in the U.S. first-hand and was absolutely astounded the first time I saw the size of plants in Japan for depositing thin films of amorphous silicon or ITO on glass. There was nothing even remotely similar in the U.S. and it would have taken years to bring manufacturing up to that level. If green technology is anything like flat panel displays, there'll be a few companies with a dozen or so employees working on something with a DARPA grant. Any useful technolgy (and there won't be much) will be purchased by companies abroad.

        "I had seen the universe as it begins for all things. It was, in reality, a child's universe, a tiny and laughing universe." Loren Eiseley

        by cadejo4 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 04:16:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats Aren't Liberals. (12+ / 0-)

    They include some liberals but it's not a liberal party. Compassionate conservative is closer in many ways.

    If liberals want a party, they're going to have to organize independently, message to the voters independently, and start feeding issues and candidates into the Democratic Party to replace the conservatives. That's going to take time.

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

    by Gooserock on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 03:49:09 PM PDT

  •  Nice Rant Steven D (3+ / 0-)

    I dread the day when Climate Change fallout,

    all hits the fan at once.  (Japan-like)


    The Fiscal Hawks then,

    will find some way to blame the Democrats,

    "WHY in the World -- Didn't you warn us?"

    How bad it would be?  

    (assuming they've missed their ride -- on the Rapture Express, by then.)


    Got Time?
    Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

    by jamess on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 04:38:40 PM PDT

  •  Too Many Opportunists in Politics (7+ / 0-)
    Isn't that why Democratic politicians got into politics in the first place: to make America a better place?

    That's supposed to be the reason but their actions show otherwise.  Chris Dodd pledged not to become lobbyist once he left the senate but he is now a lobbyist for the Motion Picture Assoc. of Amer.

    We need a lifetime ban on becoming a lobbyist after leaving congress and we need 100% mandatory public financing of elections. That's the only way to take the money out of politics and only the true public servants will run for office.

    I'm so beyond the partisanship that makes many liberals defend all Dems. Too many people are blinded by partisanship and the media doesn't educate people on the issues unless it fits into the culture war narrative. These banksters are destroying our economy but no meaningful legislation can be passed to stop it because people want to look at the issue through partisan lenses when the big scam is that both parties are slaves to Wall St. The fight over a few social and culture war issues to maintain the illusion that the major parties oppose each other.

    Many pols run as Dems because they simply want to be in congress and running under that party makes the goal easier.

    "With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program."-Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Aspe4 on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 04:46:15 PM PDT

  •  I was just talking with a friend of mine about (3+ / 0-)

    how we need more vocal democrats to run in AZ.  We get the wimpiest dems to run.  What's with that.  Good diary because my first lament is how the democrats never talk about and stand up for democratic issues and ideals.  Like you said the R's never shut up.  We need louder Democrats.

    I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, "Marseillaise of Peace," 1841

    by notdarkyet on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 04:55:32 PM PDT

  •  excellent - republican appeasers must go (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, Celtic Pugilist

    if they don't quit waving the white flag before negotiations even begin. republican enablers and appeasers need to be marginalized, starting locally, which we are doing. fortunately I am in the Democratic state of California where republicans are something be joked about except for their refusal to go along with reasonable budget balancing plans.

  •  Good job. Democrats... (4+ / 0-)

    ...generally do not put forth their position in the LOUD, clear-cut, ballsy, passionate, incisive manner that garners attention and followers...instead they seem to always assume a craven, defensive posture when confronted by the bully/bigot/stupid stances taken by the republicans. We need to see someone like Alan Grayson (who is no longer in a position to be pressured by the squeamish Party structure) on TV three or four times a week deconstructing the republican horseshit.

  •  Let's see now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    Last year we had some kind of a spill of something off the coast of New Orleans, and spent three months watching it every day and night.  We still do not fully appreciate the extent of the damage done there.  This year, a series of natural disasters has left us with a very un-natural disaster, the end, nor the final magnitude of which, we can not see.  How many knocks on the door do we need?  When are we going to answer it?

  •  As much as I care about climate change... (0+ / 0-)

    and other urgent issues you listed...you get no rec from me on this diary, for all the disgusting whining and moaning, blaming it all on the Democrats.

    What is it you don't get about the real politik, that even with the putative "Majorities", we didn't have jack shit, because there were too many Blue Dogs among them?

    You want the Democrats to talk and act like and deliver like they had a super-majority of progressives and moderates, when in fact, they didn't, after '08, and it's worse yet, now, largely because of perspectives like this diary represents being promulgated 24/7 in every venue.

    It's going to be a lot harder to get there, in 2012, with people sniveling and sobbing about how shitty the Democrats are, instead of focusing on the right, who really deserve all the credit, and all the blame, for the many problems and urgent issues that we face as a nation.

    Democrats will be able to do exactly what and  how much they have enough votes to implement and enforce, and not a whit more...not because they don't "want" to do more, but because the Republicans will kick their ass on every vote, unless and until we have a progressive/moderate super-majority.

    If you really genuinely care about these issues, you'll stop blaming the only party that offers any prospect whatsoever for resolving them.

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Fri Apr 01, 2011 at 09:55:38 PM PDT

    •  A few parts that don't make sense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D, cville townie, Cassiodorus

      On one hand, you say we should focus on the Right as the source of all the problems but a second later you say the Democrats are "...the only party that offers any prospect whatsoever for resolving them."

      If they are the only ones who can do anything and they fail to do anything, then they don't deserve the blame?

      Republicans will kick their ass on every vote, unless and until we have a progressive/moderate super-majority.

      Why don't Republicans need super majorities to win every vote?  Are our ideals so unpopular with the citizens of this country that our leaders should be afraid of standing up for them?  

      I personally believe that most people would agree with what we hope to accomplish if our leaders showed even half as much talent for messaging and stubborness as the Republicans.  Unfortunately, those don't seem to be the Republican traits they are most trying to emulate -- they're too busy taking Banker Ass-Kissing 101.

  •  Repubbed at Frustrati (nmi) (0+ / 0-)

    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" -- Gandalf, in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings"...

    by Cassiodorus on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 06:27:56 PM PDT

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