Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 26, 2005

WB: Cease Fire Violation

Billmon:
For those in North America who still care about social justice, tolerance and rationality, Canada might be the better long-term bet. But unless someone is willing to challenge the conservative status quo in this country, unless activists are willing to try to cultivate and grow the liberal base, the DLC's political philosophy will become a self-fufilling prophesy.

Cease Fire Violation

Posted by b on July 26, 2005 at 22:38 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Billmon,

I agree with you mostly on this, but I think you are wrong on one key point. I think a serious problem with the Dem's nationally and the reason that they have such a small core base is the fact that the Dem's are not more agressive about defining themselves. The mush-the-differences DLC approach in my view hurts the Dems because they run right on every issue. No one respects a person who cannot stand up unashamed and say what they believe in. When your only core value is compromise and process, no one will repect that either.

Posted by: Bubb Rubb | Jul 26 2005 22:55 utc | 1

and let the corporate Democrats do theirs -- staving off extinction for a few more years.

Also, this idea is problematic because the DLC's thing is criticizing other Dems. It is like wingnuts criticizing liberals for not being tolerant of their intolerance.

Posted by: Bubb Rubb | Jul 26 2005 22:59 utc | 2

And we should accept the Democratic Leadership Council as a council of Democratic leaders because....that's what they call themselves?

Because they had the rudimentary presence of mind not to call themselves the Republican Wannabee Caucus?

That's rather like believing that there is something somehow actually smart about purchasing and eating a bag of SmartFood brand cheddar-dusted popcorn.

Perhaps what's needed is a letter-writing campaign to news organizations and their ombudsdudes, insisting they use the more accurate label, "the self-described Democratic Leadership Council."

Posted by: ralphbon | Jul 26 2005 23:26 utc | 3

I love the dino- Cretaceous mammal analogy. This is exactly where it's at.


I think we little furry ones can venture out a little more at all hours, patrol a bit more, mark territory, suck their eggs etc.
Not a pleasant thought for nourishment, but you got to survive.

Worried that V. Raptor DeLay or Bronto Biden will catch you. Not likely.

Be bold and multiply.

We are not lemmings after all, we are the dauphins of all we survey.

The whole world will shortly be ours.

Venceremos!


Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 26 2005 23:28 utc | 4

You may be right, Billmon. In the long run, Canada may be the way to go. But it seems to me that tolerating the DLC crowd to keep peace in the party, because the rest of us have nowhere to go, just guarantees that ultimately we all go to Canada anyway.

I realize that you don't want that to happen but you think it may happen. I think it may happen too, but I'd like to go down fighting. At this point in my life, I have very little faith in the American electorate to do other than what you believe they will do -- follow a center-right, religious course that favors Republicans.

However, adopting a make-peace-with-the-DLC prescription seems to guarantee that we get leaders and candidates like Lieberman, Biden, Clinton and Kerry. And to me, at least, that ensures Republican elections and ultimately the death of the Democratic Party as a viable entity.

All that may happen anyway, and that may be good, but if it does, at least we go down fighting if we try to stand up for liberal/progressive principles that actually favor the majority of Americans, whether they're too stupid or gullible to know or not.

Anyway, keep up the good work. I look to you more than any other blogger to help me frame the debates on this and other issues as we try to save our democracy from the Republican Party and the corporatists who hold the Democrats in their grip.

Posted by: Phil from New York | Jul 26 2005 23:32 utc | 5

"...unless activists are willing to try to cultivate and grow the liberal base..."

Growing the liberal base will be impossible: because both the DLC and leftists have neutered the women's rights movement. Until Democrats realize that they can steal married women's votes back from the RNC by using real economic carrots [legalized family wage sharing; fairer tax rates for secondary earners; fairer soc sec formulas for women; counting unpaid caregiving labor in GDP; treating time off work to provide childcare/eldercare with the same monetary respect as reserve military service; fairer divorce court proceedings; etc], you won't grow the liberal base. It will continue to atrophy as the DLC futilely chases the bigot vote and the math-impaired leftists chase only the votes of disenfranchised minority categories instead of noticing THE BIG disenfranchised majority: married women!

Posted by: gylangirl | Jul 26 2005 23:49 utc | 6

So would you agree that there are at the moment three political parties in DC: Republicans, DLC Democrats, and Non-DLC Democrats. That is my take on the current situation. I mean you don't see a group of moderate Republican politicians blasting the Republican right in the same manner and with the same consistency as we see in the DLC and Non-DLC feud.

Posted by: Syd Barrett | Jul 27 2005 0:04 utc | 7

The whole problem comes down to labor being taken to the cleaners. Labor has no-where to land and the dems aren't giving them a place with the dlc and it's free trade corporate policies leading the party. We need a populist labor movement like that taking place now with the breakup of the AFL-CIO. Hoffa and Stern are right. They need to get back to the grassroots just like the dems do. The dlc is caught in the DC corporate whore environment and have lost their way.

At TPM Cafe and a posting at Huffington Post by David Sarota give interesting insite into the thinking on both sides.

The labor movement needs some of that old time religion. My grandfather was friends with a lawyer for the Reuther brothers. He would leave the Detroit area and hide in northern Michigan when they got pissed at him. They took no shit. Thats the problem with current labor and the dems. They take to much shit trying to be intellectual when the rethugs and corporate greedsters understand nothing but brute force of power and make fun of intellectuals and logic because money rules above all common sense. Labor has to take the fight back to the grass roots. The labor unions have been as corporate as the corporations. I'm ranting now, but it sound good to me.

Posted by: jdp | Jul 27 2005 0:11 utc | 8

have been proven absolutely correct on the "ultimate issue" of the past three years

Goddamn right. Now, if we could just find that "principled progressive" anti-war leadership. At least, I assume that's what "principled" means?

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 27 2005 0:16 utc | 9

Billmon the mere existence of the blogosphere may be enough to turn around the religio-conservative ethos held 2:1 by US citizens.
I don't believe there is anything innately different about ppl in the US and have always held that the conservative perspective comes from cultural isolation combined with a media that speaks with one voice.
Blogdom changes that and I suspect that the process is accelerating and irreversible. Don't be even considering leaving because the rest of the world needs the sane voices that are within the US to stay there.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 27 2005 0:29 utc | 10

@jdp,

Well, when you make the labor force unfriendly for women, this is what you get. Many labor unions got their start when an upstart woman got pissed off and organized her coworkers. Then when unions got power, the men edged the women out of union leadership positions.

In 1948, the congress voted to edge Rosie the Riveter out of the paid workforce and back into domesticity via higher marginal tax rates for "secondary earners". No-where else do employed wives still have to pay thier husband's higher tax rate on their own meager earnings.

Women have been pushed out of the labor force this way for generations. Ergo, labor is less potent. The unemployment rate doesn't count women who would like to work but can't because the IRS would confiscate all their earnings. If employed wives were not forced back into domesticity, there might be more public support for public education instead of so much home schooling. More married women would vote for labor issues, higher wages, better benefits, if they got to keep their careers. Paid childcare might have a chance if women hadn't been forced to BECOME the childcare. With more women involved in Labor movements, you'd have more troops for other progressive issues like the environment and anti-war issues.

And single feminist careerists wouldn't have to avoid marriage and kids like it was the plague.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jul 27 2005 0:29 utc | 11

It's great that Billmon has gotten back up on his feet after his post election funk. However this little DLC thing is certain to bring back the depression because it should make us face the facts that liberalism as a political force is dead. It's always a loser. From pre revolutionary Russia to post WWI Germany it always ends up a pathetic footnote. In the face of ideology it loses every time.

Now that 'conservatism' has congealed into a mostly coherent ideology and more importantly that ideology is attached to a political party a new chapter in American history has begun.


Never before has an ideology held sway in America. Never before has a Party in America maintained such lock step dicipline. That it avoided them was probably an historic accident .
The 20th centuries development of the means mass communication and the knowledge of how to use it to control thought, emotion and action have finally come home to roost in America.

Ideology itself is the enemy of freedom. Ideology is the enemy of wisdom. To insist Democrats adopt one is logical from a political tactical point of view but hopeless as a strategy to attain liberal goals.

(Liberalism is not an ideology. Firstly in the classic sense it was a method of resolving competing ideas. In other words Classical Liberalism was an operational blueprint. Second, modern liberalism was based not on one or two simple ideas but was rather a hodgepoge of ideal about policy with the only unifing cord being that all wanted to give the maximum amount of freedom to the maximum amount of people.)

Liberalism is dead. Liberal politics is dead. Dead in the sense that it will be a force in electoral politics. The age of ideology has finally achieved the total victory that eluded it in the 20th century.

Posted by: Rapier | Jul 27 2005 0:30 utc | 12

TEHEHE, Rapier!

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 0:46 utc | 13

I'm sorry... the Dems have fumbled the ball too often and too badly. For the past five years, they have written the far Right a blank cheque... while the Right has the temerity to call them obstructionists and traitors. They have reduced themselves to becoming the little kid who wanders two steps behind the playground bully and says "Yeah!"

I have to disagree with Mr. Barrett. There aren't three parties; I'm hard pressed to see two parties. Any group that voted to prolong the sunset of the USAPATRIOT Act, keeps voting to throw more money at Iraq, rubber-stamped all but the most noxious 2% of BushCo's appointees and has failed to give more than lip-service to judicial investigations of fraud, larceny and malfeasance (WMD, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay, voting irregularities in Ohio and elsewhere, misappropriations in defense spending, and on and on and on)... well, you can say they are in bed with the Republicans. For my part, I say they are f***ing Republicans.

I'm not excited by the prospect of more partisan gamesmanship. We might be able top spend long periods of time fine-tuning the idea of what the correct course for America might be, but it only takes a half-a-glance to see that we ain't on it. If ever a third party stood a chance to be recognised on American soil, this is it. If a genuine progressive leader (Labor... Green... doesn't make any difference anymore) with a set of cojones actually appeared on the horizon to stand up to the US military-industrial complex, I'd rapidly become the most partisan guy who ever drew a breath. But failing the appearance of an American George Galloway, I find these conversations about revitalizing the Democratic Party as hollow as I did when H. Ross Perot sputtered it. We are rapidly approaching the time when the only solutions I can see involve grabbing a pitchfork and a torch.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 0:49 utc | 14

If "liberalism" were truly dead who would the Rovites have to attack? If there weren't liberals Republicans would have to invent them.

I suggest that qualities of liberalism will survive any short term upheavals in the body politic. Should the U.S. devolve into a theocracy, wherein belief trumps "that which can be measured" and "because" becomes an irrefutable answer, most rational human beings would have to at least consider a move north, or risk some kind of ostracization. Chrisitanity is (in my humble opinion) constantly in search of outward enemies: as in a Dirty Harry film fans get to root for violence as long as it is in the name of righteousness. Christians love violence: every year they cart out their Jesus and duplicate the deicide, the horrible, painful crucifixitian of their titular god. I have (with a straight face) asked Christians why they insist on keeping Jesus on the Eternal Cross: let him go--it's the only humane thing to do. Instead they hold on to this suffering aspect, as if the unifying symbol for flesh and spirit was largely a kind of sublimated S&M. Go figure.

Bottom line: you have to have a bad guy for the good guy to slay or catch (so liberals come in handy), and you have to keep Jesus in eternal suffering if you want to maintain a crazy quilt religion/admixture belief system of Jewish, Zoroastrianism, paganism and greek/roman mythologies. Life is a fucking carnival.

Liberals aren't dead. They're stuck on the cross.

+++

Posted by: MJS | Jul 27 2005 0:53 utc | 15

@Mono:

But then there is the problem of money.


I think most anything well financed with a coherent message could flatten this turd-blossom shit, BIGTIME!

I hate this defeatist whimpering all around.


Except for the money, it wouldn't be that hard.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 0:56 utc | 16

Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira!

Pitchforks and torches! String 'em up on the lampposts! Allons-y, citoyens!

Posted by: chatsdame | Jul 27 2005 1:00 utc | 17

@chatsdame:

Good waste of 3/16" cable and lampost IMHO.

Pikes and bill hooks and a mob would be cheaper.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 1:05 utc | 18

Rapier

not dead. Always the victim of overestimation to be sure, new media are, nonetheless, counterhegemonic.

some MoA comrades hector the blog for its dearth of action and excessive talk. But, critiquing liberal values is action, even if a lot of the work is just talk. And we have proof of reality (the result of the war especially) that the consensus view here--to generalize: the selective defense of liberalism oriented to positive liberty and distributive justice--is fucking vindicated! We're on the right side of history! And there's a record of our probity! And that counts as a little attempt to demonstrate we can make history a lot more humanely than you know who.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 27 2005 1:06 utc | 19

Dean showed there's a grass-roots base, thin but wide, that will have your back if you dare say things that not long ago would have been concidered slightly left-of-center, but are now concidered radically left because of ground conceded by an out of touch Democratic leadership.

Instead of Democratic "leaders" whose testicles retreat up into their stomachs when a candidate tells the truth, it would be outstanding if they would stand strong and support them. Short of that, it would be at least marginally acceptable if they would just shut the fuck up.

Is it too much to ask that within a political party, if you don't have something nice to say about one of your party members, don't say anything?!?

Posted by: jexter | Jul 27 2005 1:14 utc | 20

@gylangirl I'm not sure I can agree with: "Many labor unions got their start when an upstart woman got pissed off and organized her coworkers" but I'll leave discussion of that for another time place.
The part of what you say that I find particularly interesting is "More married women would vote for labor issues, higher wages, better benefits, if they got to keep their careers. Paid childcare might have a chance if women hadn't been forced to BECOME the childcare. not because I disagree with your statement but because if you are correct it shows an incredible basic political incompetence by the dems.

One of the reasons in other parts of the world that women's issues have been to the forefront of leftist policy is that firstly the vast majority of 'floating' voters are women and that women have been shown time and time again in both polls and focus groups to be more likely to cast their ballot on the basis of a couple of issues that directly effect them than men are.

There is no way of explaining this without being gender specific to the point of sexism, but so we don't all end up in a slanging match over generalising behaviours on the basis of gender can I say that I believe that this difference has always seemed to me to come from cultural conditioning and/or the different expectations placed on the genders.

So i don't know if this is true in the US but in a few other countries where I have observed pro 'life' actions, men outnumber women by 3 or 4 to 1. Polling however shows that when it becomes time to make a decision which way someone is going to vote a pro-male may consider the candidate's views on abortion to be a minor determinant but a pro-choice woman (pretty much the majority of women in the west, apart from the US where I simply don't know what women's views on this are) will cast her vote almost solely on that because it is such a basic issue.

Superficially this seems obvious because this issue directly effects women but with men the effect is more peripheral but I've long felt that's a bit simplistic.

When I used to read the fine print in polls and focus group outcomes another common finding was that men would make a decision about which party they support once at the start of their voting life and probably wouldn't change again. If they did change they were likely to stay with the party they changed to come hell or high water. Women on the other hand tended to change the party they supported much more frequently.

With an electorate political system where the outcome of a national election can come down to a small number of marginal electorates this can give women an extraordinary amount of power.

I first became aware of this in Australia when an extremely rigorous child support system was introduced. Don't get me wrong I am fully supportive of a system where non custodial parents contribute to the upkeep of their children, but this new system was draconian and severely disadvantaged any 'new' family that a non-custodial parent may have responsibility for.

Anyway some of us pressured the politicians in Canberra about this because it was causing poverty for some children at the same time as it was relieving other children from poverty. The pollie put in charge of listening to our concerns was a man. There aren't that many women in politics in Australia, probably more than the US but less than many other places, nevertheless by appointing a bloke the underlying message was nothing would change. If the govt were considering a change they would have found a careerist woman to sell the policy to women.

He tried to appease us since we were from a group of unionists who generally supported his mob and we were split about 50/50 by gender, so he tried pragmatism along the lines "If we change the policy we will put off women voters who will change their vote. If we don't we will annoy men and they (mostly) won't amend their voting intention because of it."

Sorry I was going to try n keep this short. If the dems are ignoring women's issues then they do so in the conscious knowledge that it will come back and bite them. I guess the only reason can be the obvious one. There are just so many males in dominant positions in the dems that the dems can block out reality.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 27 2005 1:28 utc | 21

The blog isn't the White Rose Society, or Stephen Biko. But you never know; dissent exists here, and that's important.

And I know, working out my ideas here, sharpening the points, has helped me changed the political commitments of several people in my life.

I'm not burying some of the 12,000+ falluhjans murdered, or leading marches in Karachi, but I'm doing something.

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 27 2005 1:33 utc | 22

"There aren't that many women in politics in Australia" should read:
There aren't that many women in National politics in Australia

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 27 2005 1:35 utc | 23

slothrop

my critique was not of you or your question - which i think is absolutely imperative

even here where i work with people in trouble, real trouble - all the time including politcal refugees - who have been violated, trotured, had their families murdered - i feel still as if i do so little

& i feel what is happening - what is happening in our time so physically - that i find little seperation between what is happening in iraq & what happens in my life. they are one - & have been one since i was a child

it has never been possible for me to seperate social from cultural imperatives - they are one & the same & at the end of the day we change people - one by one - & we change them in part by our onw exemplarity - which includes our own frailty in front of events

so understand the anger is never towards you comrade - but yes perhaps sometimes with language - sometimes with concepts - because the butchers seem to be habing it all their way despite historic efforts on the parts of people to oppose them

tho i think there is absolutely no possibility of changing the bankrupt democrats from the middle let alone from the left

fraternally

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jul 27 2005 1:43 utc | 24

Forget the DLC. Forget the Democrats. Let's all get together and register Republican. We have a better chance of changing that party than we do the Democrats.

Posted by: steve expat | Jul 27 2005 1:45 utc | 25

Let's all get together and register Republican. We have a better chance of changing that party than we do the Democrats.

I have had that same thought from time to time -- but I don't think I could handle the projectile vomiting.

Posted by: Billmon | Jul 27 2005 1:50 utc | 26

To clarify, I was not advocating storming the Bastille... as tempting as that might be. I don't think mob-rule is the solution, and if I did feel that way I certainly wouldn't have posted that in a public forum in this age of security-hysteria.

I am frustrated by the options. The Dems seem every bit as pre-occupid as the Republicans with playing political games to worry overly much about the people they were supposed to be representing, and this has gone on for too long now to think that, deep down, they really do have some integrity in their cowardly, avaricious hearts. Nobody is going to come galloping in during the final reel to save America (and the billions around the globe who are suffering in its name)... least of all the Democratic Party. I agree with Billmon on the overwhelming majority of issues, but I can not, for the life of me, understand why he seems to feel that the Dems are our only hope of being rescued from the nightmare we have all been living these past five years. The only qualitative difference I see between the Dems and Repubs at this point are that the latter are at least effectual with their self-serving machinations.

@Mega-Marsupial

Yeah. Money. Always comes down to that, doesn't it? Why did Bush the Younger get the nomination in 2000 over McCain? Because he was able to generate more money. Here's a thought...

Maybe the money issue is PART OF THE DAMNED PROBLEM. Maybe people with money tend to only vote in directions that make them more money... so write that rich minority off in the first place. Remember Bush's famous opening words: "Some people call you the elite, I call you my base." Okay, great. But there are a hell of a lot more of us non-elite out there. My take on it is: "Some people call you the elite, I call you my opponents and the enemies of humanity."

Maybe if the serfs put one of their own forward instead of emulating the policies and lifestyles of the gluttonous they might not be trod upon as heavily? Idiots driving expensive SUVs and jabbering away on cell phones aren't fooling anyone... THEY ARE STILL POOR! Put lipstick on a pig and it is still a pauper... or something along those lines.

No, any campaign that makes money its focus will become as out-of-touch as the caviar set its supposed to be opposing. Here's my thoughts about a campaign: Run it on a shoestring and run it as an opposition campaign. No shaking hands with your rival, no laughing apologies over eighteen holes at the country club afterwards... point up the (MANY!) flaws in the policies of the monied set and do not worry about hurting their tender little feelings. Stick to your message. Do not cut deals with them. Do not try to come across as Mr-or-Ms Nice Guy.

In other words, give the voting public a genuine alternative for a change.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 1:57 utc | 27

didn't work for Kucinich. didn't work for Nader.

Posted by: catlady | Jul 27 2005 2:04 utc | 28

Agree with most of what you said there, Mono, but there are sources for money I think, that don't compromise anything.

You have got to get the message out, and that takes money.

I am interested in winning in 2008.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 2:10 utc | 29

Uneasy feeling that there are too many the democratic leaders that would rather retain their position than win an election. As to the centrist thing: without Dean warming up the race Bush would have beaten Kerry by 6% oor more, notice the repugs are masters at playing to whatever audience they happen to be playing to and tht there's no law against this, and I think the centrists will fall in line if someone gets the part fired up.

Posted by: ken melvin | Jul 27 2005 2:17 utc | 30

@catlady

Kucinich was a nice guy with plenty of integrity, but he was trying to get the Democratic Party nomination. I thought I had covered the "Democrats as plutocrats" argument already. It would be interesting to see him get fed up and run as independent, though.

As for Nader... we could lose a lot of bandwidth discussing that train wreck. Was he serious about his campaign? Was he too inconsistent with his approach? Was he on the the Republican payroll? Maybe, all of these. Maybe none. But at the end of the day, Ralph Nader does not represent all independent political action... and people might be just a weensy more fed up the status quo now than they were in 2000 and 2004, what with the high crimes and misdemeanors and continued body counts and all.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 2:21 utc | 31

All bout message and money Ken.

Frankly, I think most anyone here could, at random,piss a better candidate than the dem national party will offer up in 2008, if left to their incestuous, suck hind-tit devices.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 2:28 utc | 32

1. The enemy is status quo power out of touch with the new age. The status quo power of the Democtratic power is as out of touch with the new age as is status quo Republican power. This doesn't make these status quo power holders the same.

2. The catalog of "liberal" amd "left" and "progressive" issues of the past fifty years is part of the status quo power out of touch with the new age. For goondess sake, all the young bigots out there have now been brought up on politically correct talk and Disney movies and Scoobie Doo. Its over. Gay has become a slur of the young in one generation.

3. Change is as easy as going to the population and coming up with an agreement on somethings that matter. The status quo doesn't want to take this risk because it is surely the end of the status quo. It is not the end of "liberal" quite to the contrary. That is exactly what liberal should be doing and whoever is not is with the birdbrain dinos no matter which of the old status quo labels they prefer.

4. Time for a hostile takeover of the Democratic party that undoes those idiotic reforms of three decades back.

5. As to religion being the problem, my sense is that when a young woman calls herself Christian now, it is as often as not a way of saying she is for simple human decency, and these a days, the only port in the storm is Christian, which, is a sad commentary on what the "left" has come to represent.

Posted by: razor | Jul 27 2005 2:36 utc | 33

It gets more amusing all the time.

Thank you razor for your input.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 2:43 utc | 34

It's this problem isn't it. As I said in that earlier comment, I fear that we are not up against a tussle between left and right, but an institutional need to achieve unity through hysteria. It may be that the best any of us can do is to calm down some of the people infected with the bloodlust.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 2:54 utc | 35

That's a big problem, but not the only one.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 3:11 utc | 36

Oh. Are there other problems too? I'm sorry, I hadn't noticed.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 3:16 utc | 37

debs is dead tells me, " if you are correct it shows an incredible basic political incompetence by the dems."

What are the Dems if not incredibly politically incompetent.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jul 27 2005 3:18 utc | 38

@JJ:

Sorry.

I thought wise asses were omniscient.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 3:20 utc | 39

It's entirely possible they are just being pragmatic, Gylan. Whoever gets the increasingly dubious honor of holding the office of President of the United States in 2009 is getting saddled with the tab and clean-up of what amounts to an eight year long frat party. Of course nobody wants to get stuck with that... but somebody has got to do it.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 3:23 utc | 40

Actually, the DLC does us a favor every time they attack the left. They cannot win any primaries outside the red states; their darling Lieberman was pathetic and Biden will not do any better; (Clinton would be a disaster); they have to spin their wheels and fulminate at the dominance in the blue states of the progressives. I think by exposing their own vacuity they guarantee their future impotence. To beat the Republicans, to roll back the right and change the climate in this country, it is essential we take back the party and revive opposition to the prevailing authoritarian trend. If the DLC gains control it moves the entire political scene in America to the right.

Posted by: della Rovere | Jul 27 2005 3:26 utc | 41

@MM

The wise-ass reading is consistent with omniscience, if you think it through.

Seriously, though, and with respect, the statement "That's a big problem, but not the only one" comes across as a sententious non-answer answer. If what you mean is that there are larger, more pressing problems, fine. If you mean that this is a known problem that can be overcome, that's fine too. But if that's what you mean, that's what you should say.

Peace.

Posted by: Jassalasca Jape | Jul 27 2005 3:29 utc | 42

@JJ:

Point taken.

It is one of the major problems that we have-"safe seats". And everyone has been playing that game since God knows when--both sides.

In what I have been saying tonight, I regard it as part of the playing field.

Peace be with you.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 3:38 utc | 43

The irony of this post is that I largely, if dispiritedly, agree with the dinos on short-term strategy. The kind of red meat, rev-up-the-base politics that many liberal bloggers seem to favor almost certainly won't work for the Dems the way they work for Karl Rove. That's not a philosophical statement, just a mathematical one: The conservative base is a whole lot bigger than the liberal one -- almost 2:1 in some surveys. For better or worse (guess which one I choose) this is a center-right country, and also one in which a whole lot of voters are inclined to put their religious prejudices ahead of their social and economic interests.

Short term you're probably right, but IMO short term thinking is exactly the malaise that afflicts the Democratic "centrists".

The Republican ascendency didn't happen overnight. It happened after years of assiduously cultivating their base and developing a political narrative that depicted "liberals" as elitist snobs well outside of the mainstream of Middle America. Admittedly, the Republicans also had the advantage of being the party of priviledge and of having supporters who were ready and willing to merge their political and business interests through control of major media properties. While this was happening however the Democrats watched, with what in retrospect can only be described as far too much complacency, as their own base shrivelled under the relentless pressure of globalization.

If the Democrats really want to be competitive over the long term IMO they must do three things: first, they must we willing to clearly enunciate a set of principles that distinguish them from the Republicans; second, they must be willing to do the heavy spadework to rebuild their party at the grassroots level and re-energize their base (Colbert King touched on this issue a few days ago in the Washington Post Click here); and, perhaps hardest of all, they must accept that it might take several years of hard work before this strategy begins to bear fruit, and even that in the short term it might result in setbacks for which the party must be psychologically prepared and against which it must be willing to persevere.

Yes, the "moderates" are going to howl that accentuating rather minimizing differences with Republicans is political suicide -and without a thoroughgoing effort to rebuilt the party from the base up they might even be right. On the other hand, is it really credible to believe that their own strategy, which amounts to telling voters "Democrats are just like Republicans, only less so" is more viable over the long term? When the only two brands of ideas available in the political marketplace are Republicanism and Republicanism Lite which is more likely to develop the stronger brand loyalty? Moreover however the "centrist" instincts of many in the party leadership is slowly strangling the Democrats because it is zapping the energy out of the party's base, without which the party has no future to speak of. If the Democrats take only one lesson from their last leadership race it should be that the party's core is motivated and willing and waiting only for a leader who can inspire them by reminding them of how Democrats are different from Republicans and how the difference is worth fighting for. This was the message Howard Dean brought to the Democratic leadership but which they were unwilling to hear. Instead they destroyed Dean as a heretic to their inside the Beltway mindset and annointed one of their own as the "safe", "moderate" choice. Of course the safe choice still went down to defeat, but in the not too distant future that might seem like no more than a footnote to the story of how the Democratic leadership crippled their own party by alienating their most activist members.

Now we come to the core of the problem: even with an energized base, the Republicans arguably still have a 2 to 1, maybe even a 3 to 1, advantage. That's why the central plank in the Democratic strategy must be to expand their base among uncommitted voters and also to lay the groundwork to win over significant numbers of people who identify themselves as Republican. There are certain parts of the Republican base that will probably always be immune to Democratic blandishments, but I see no reason to believe that this is true of the base as a whole. Democrats have long realized that on the basis of economic self interest alone the Democratic party is the natural home of most Americans. What they have not yet figured out however is how to package their message in a way that is accessible to constituencies that are not traditionally Democratic, and this is where an energized base and a commitment to developing the party from the ground up is crucial. Republicans, knowing full well that many elements of their agenda had nothing to offer ordinary Americans, instead built bridges to voters by emphasizing things like Christian evangelism and patriotism. Democrats must aim to refocus the discussion on bread and butter issues like job opportunities and access to affordable health care -issues that directly and immediately impact the lives of voters and on which the Republicans are highly vulnerable. For this strategy to succeed they must go well beyond the current approach of asking people for their vote once every few years and build grassroots organizations that reaches people where they live and work and which politically sensitize them to the issues which effect their lives on an ongoing basis. In some respects such organizations would help fill the void left in the Democratic party by the decline of organized labor, and they would also provide a means of counteracting the propaganda to which voters are constantly exposed by Republican front organizations like Fox News -albeit one that acts from the bottom up, instead of from the top down.

The problem is that this all sounds like an awful lot of work, and it is. For Democrats inside the beltway it's frankly a lot easier to concede the Republican advantage and try to eke out an existence by taking their own base for granted and scavanging a few votes here and there from the Republicans when they can. In the short term this might even be the marginally more successful strategy. However, for reasons I have already discussed the most likely long term consequence of such a Faustian bargain is to condemn the party to irrelevance.

Posted by: Lexington | Jul 27 2005 3:42 utc | 44

Forthe record here isthe Galloway statement that is anathema to the DLC. I might not agree with everything,but I sure like it better than the Bush/DLC victory over terror nonsense:

Respect
07/07/2005

We extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives today and our heartfelt sympathy to all those who have been injured by the bombs in London.

No one can condone acts of violence aimed at working people going about their daily lives. They have not been a party to, nor are they responsible for, the decisions of their government. They are entirely innocent and we condemn those who have killed or injured them.

The loss of innocent lives, whether in this country or Iraq, is precisely the result of a world that has become a less safe and peaceful place in recent years.

We have worked without rest to remove the causes of such violence from our world. We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings.

We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East.

Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence.

George Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow

Posted by: della Rovere | Jul 27 2005 3:45 utc | 45

joshua frank tuesday @ counterpunch on hillary at the DLC convention:


During the Senator's speech at the annual DLC convention in Columbus, Ohio, she promised to help resurrect the non-existent Democratic dexterity of the 1990s. "[The Republicans] turned our bridge to the 21st century into a tunnel back to the 19th century," said Clinton. "The clear mission of a unified Democratic Party is to back us out of that Republican tunnel, fill it in, go back across the bridge, and get America back in the business of building dreams again."

it just baffles me why anyone even bothers giving the dems the time of day after 2000, let alone 2004. JFC. has there ever been a better opportunity for some real vision & leadership? think big. there is a revolution going on right now and we're on the endangered species list. this is no time to remain normal. as r.d laing reminded us in 1967, "Society highly values its normal man...Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years". we need a reality-based counter-revolution. we are the agents for that change. not the dems. not the rethugs. we are. we can dream when we're dead. right now we need to be wide awake, thinking unconventionally, and acting out.

Posted by: b real | Jul 27 2005 3:59 utc | 46

@Lexington:

Just one helluva analysis of the current predicament.

Get yourself a job inside the Beltway, and get the message out.

Great thoughts!

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 3:59 utc | 47

b real

right on

Posted by: slothrop | Jul 27 2005 4:05 utc | 48

You folks have a nice rest of the evening.

It was a very good discussion we have had, and I think a lot more n the future would be salutary.

The best to you.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 4:13 utc | 49

"Now, if we could just find that "principled progressive" anti-war leadership."

We had that person. His name is Howard Dean.

Posted by: | Jul 27 2005 4:53 utc | 50

Above Dean comment is mine.

Posted by: susan | Jul 27 2005 4:55 utc | 51

Billmon's analysis presupposes a closed system.

That is a mistake.

As 9/11 demonstrated, America no longer controls its agenda -- or its psyche.

You might as well compare America today to Bruce Banner, mild and generally pleasant until he gets angry and hulks out.

A couple of London-like bombings, a tunnel or a bridge in New York someplace, and IMHO you can kiss off the Democrats, of all kinds.

Posted by: Lupin | Jul 27 2005 5:43 utc | 52

I'm sorry Billmon, but a ceasefire with an aggressor is a non-starter.

Your metaphor about DLC/dinosaurs demonstrates why your hope for a truce is futile. What does the DLC have to lose by attacking us? The DLC knows that we are the only threat to them -- and a weak party with them in control beats a strong party led by smart mammals. They can lose to Republicans forever and still keep their sinecures, but if they lose to us once they'll have to work for a living. That's why the DLC attacked Dean much harder than Bush. Dean is a threat and Bush isn't -- not because Dean threatens their ideology, but because he threatens their paychecks.

Dean and the libs are trying to change the fundraising structure of the Democratic party, and that's why we must be stopped.

I'm afraid we have no choice but to fight them for the party. The DLC might not know how to fight Republicans but they sure know how to fight other Democrats, and they're not about to hand the party over.

I'm also afraid that it's going to take a comet for the liberals to have a chance again.

Posted by: Vin Carreo | Jul 27 2005 5:47 utc | 53

The Dems are going to centripetally explode, the same way the AFL-CIO has, and the Centrists will front the least obnoxious person they can find to run against the Republican nominee, and we'll get something like Dan Quayle versus Janet Reno, then all hell will break lose in the world, no doubt through Rumsfeld's Black Op's brigades, and Dan will carry the fight.

Another eight years of RNC and Village Idiots.

Why would anyone believe the Dems will prevail?
It's like the Boy Scouts believing in Tinkerbell.

Posted by: Bog Gerik | Jul 27 2005 6:26 utc | 54

The only reason the DLC is looked upon as Democratic Leadership is because the MSM calls 'em that. The MSM calls 'em that because their paychecks get cut at the same bank.

I've noticed several attacks on "progressives" in various internet venues in the past twenty-four hours or so. There's an orchestrated movement to paint "progressives" with the "liberals" brush... thus recycling the neo-liberal brand?

The neo-cons and neo-libs are merging, formally, against any independent opposition.

But as Billmon pointed out, 85% of Londoners agree with Galloway. We are in the majority.

What's needed is a simple description of the "big problem".

Four decades of unequivocal American support for the Israel allowed the far-right there to take over and four decades later their outrageous greed led to 9/11.

The greedy folks in our own country allied themselves with the very well organized Israeli far-right in America to do the "smash and grab" in Iraq which has turned out exactly the way we feared it would.

Our own country is in very tough shape as a result of all of this and the only cure is to go back to basics and redo our foreign policy based not upon the pipe dreams of the highest bidder but upon the elimination of the basic injustice upon which it is presently founded.

And a simple statement of the solution.

Stop fighting in Iraq today and bring the troops home as quickly as possible. Bring the troops home from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan as well.

Go back after the mass murderers of 9/11 and 7/7 and bring them to justice.

Insist, together with all the other people in the world, that Israel withdraw into its 1967 borders now and conclude a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

Stop all funding for Israel until Palestine is up on its feet and there is no more war betweeen the two nations.

Now you will say that this is impossible! No politician could be elected on such a platform. I say that no politician who ran on such a platform could raise a dime from the Republicrat-Demoplican Axis, but would surely be elected by a landslide.

Cobbling the Demoplican Party back together will give us the continuance of the Republicrat regime, or a Demoplican regime. A distinction without a difference. John Kerry, Mr Anybody But Bush, gave us Nobody But Bush. And he and the rest of the bought up Demoplicans voted more money for the war, voted for the PATRIOT Act, and just came out for more troops for Iraq. If he had won there already would be more troops in Iraq. He and Clinton and Biden and the rest are creatures of the AIPAC and the multinationals and are working for those interests and against the interests of the American people.

The only way change will ever come about is to work for something that is actually different than what we have now.

Register as a Republicrat or as a Demoplican or as a Green and run for office. Knock the Republicrats out of the Republican Party, and the Demoplicans out of the Democrat Party in the primaries.

Speak the truth and don't take money from the AIPAC or multinationals.

That's the only hope for change.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 27 2005 6:52 utc | 55

I don't expect the US to radically change; but to quote YES MINISTER (Sir Humphrey's comment about Germany), I would expect them to rejoin the human race.

Which, let's face it, they've abandoned for while.

The Dems are fuckheads of the Jar-Jar Binks variety who will never prevail against the Empire, esp. if the sheeple are fretful.

As was the case with Germany, in order for reasonable but real change to happen and take root at this time in America, the shitstorm needs to hit first.

(And in that respect America won't be that different from any other Imperial nation in history.)

To expect otherwise is delusional.

Posted by: Lupin | Jul 27 2005 7:04 utc | 56

In case it's not hopelessly obvious the reason they're touting yet another HillBilly Admin. now is to provide cover for Dean running around the country declaring war on women. She's their resident WINO - nothing more. IF she's serious about running for Pres. she should be in DC preparing to lead filibuster against Roberts. If they let him in to form the core of the Fascist Court w/Tony the cow Scalia, it's completely over...any talk of presidential politics will be just so much masturbation...

though arguably it's that anyway, since the Repugs haven't won an election for the White House since nostaligia for the gipper carried DaddyBush in for one term.

(A final thought on a WINO presidency - Pirates would prefer it, if at all possible, as they're unspeakably evil, they'd prefer a female announce they have destroyed your Social Security & Medicare. She's already agreed to the destruction of Soc. Sec. according to the New Yorker - I don't have the link handy, it was on Duncan's other blog, Atrios, but just when he should have confronted the statement that all the dlc approved candidates agreed to destroy it, he literally started yakking about playing w/his dick!! He's nothing if not a well-trained party hack. It was really astonishing. Since all these bastards would prefer to live in a plutocratic male-supremacist police state, they really should move to Latin America, so we can have our country back. The burden is not on us to move to Canada as we're the ones who merely want America to be America.)

Posted by: jj | Jul 27 2005 7:13 utc | 57

Veteran of Iraq, Running in Ohio, Is Harsh on Bush

CINCINNATI, July 22 - In the Second Congressional District of Ohio, which Republicans have controlled for the last two decades, the quickest route to political oblivion could be the one chosen by Paul L. Hackett: calling President Bush a "chicken hawk" for not serving in Vietnam and harshly criticizing the decision to invade Iraq.

August 2 is next Tuesday, isn't it?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Jul 27 2005 7:33 utc | 58

This discussion has been kicking around this board for at least a year I know of. Its a vital debate but I hope eventually that all of those that are directly involved in it make a decision and stick to it. It won't be a consensus decision but that doesn't matter in the slightest.

These assholes and morons beyond desription that populate the positions of power in the dems are plainly taking those who oppose repugland for granted. As far as they are concerned they're the only game in town so they don't need to listen to you.

If someone's taking you for granted the worst thing you can do is engage with them. Doing so merely gives them more opportinuity to behave like the pigs they are.

If it were my call my country I would completely ignore the dems and everything they say and do whilst encouraging others to do the same.

Playing 'hard to get' is a mean and manipulative piece of passive aggression but it is very effective on simple minded bullies who depend upon knowing their victimisation is successful.

My decision would be to forget the dems and move on they will be happier than pigs n muck at first but very quickly they will become desperate. The only reason they get any crumbs off the corporate table is because they are meant to be the loyal oposition. If another more potent opposition was being more effective the PACs n funding would disappear.

Then they will come looking for you and if you haven't engaged in their schoolyard taunting you will be able to pick off the dems you want at the same time as they don't have a clue where you are coming from.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jul 27 2005 7:35 utc | 59

The Democrats have a golden opportunity to become the party of victory in the war on terror. The war on terror is being lost by the Republicans. That is evident. All the Democrats have to do is say that they will win the war on terror, win it without spending precious blood and treasure on a colonial adventure in Iraq, and they will win in a landslide. When will otherwise intelligent people figure out that the Democratic party must become the party of VICTORY.

Posted by: arbogast | Jul 27 2005 7:36 utc | 60

The War on Terror was just conceded. It's over. They've lost. This just happened when they renamed it. It is an opportunity. The more egg collects on their faces, the more their followers will flinch.

Liberalism/progressivism will never die. This is a huge system in constant flux. The parts that grow old, archaic, atrophy and die are always being replaced with new growth. Every living system works this way. Progressive politics will probably re-emerge big time. And fairly decent politicians will too.

I think the blogosphere is way more powerful than people realize. It is so young and experimental, but it is the town hall of modern times. And the excitement is unmistakable. something is being hatched. Something great, I believe. People are really feeling direct involvement with the political process and this will grow. The collective exchange of ideas is more than I've known, although it will take some experience to gain power and credibility.

As more politicians get websites and communicate with the voters we might see some progress. It is an unbelievably quick and easy way to get votes and money outside of the corporations and traditional fundraising. It's a brand new tool and those people who are hip to it could be in some sort of political vanguard. We have the numbers, as always. That's our ace.

I think ultimately, even in our lifetimes, we might very well see tremendous growth in the power of the people. When they contribute directly to the campaigns, they will demand returns.

Both parties are struggling now. They will have to all sqirm their way to some solution if they want to retain any power. It's really hardly our problem. They are utterly confused. Suddenly the War on Terror doesn't exist? Let them all be. We've got important things to do.

Posted by: jm | Jul 27 2005 11:43 utc | 61

I'm not sure I agree with Billmon about the country being basically center/right. I think a lot of it is how you frame it. Look at Americans' support for Social Security - isn't that support for a centerpiece of liberal government?

Government-guaranteed access to health care -- another centerpiece of liberal government -- would also appear to be a political winner --- according to this
Kaiser/Roper Center Poll -- just one of many at the linked site. Check out the responses to this question from May 2005:

Q: America's health care crisis must be addressed. Today 45 million Americans lack health insurance. We must work to provide access to affordable, high quality health care to all Americans by creating a program based on Medicare that can apply to everyone. We need to build a public health system that helps educate people and prevents illness rather than one that just treats it....Would this make you much more/less likely or somewhat more/less likely to support this Democratic candidate?

Much more 52
Somewhat more 24
Somewhat less 10
Much less 11
No difference (Vol.) 2
Don't know/Refused 1

According to this poll, such a position -- a Democrat endorsing government-guaranteed access to health care -- is supported by 76% of the population. And this isn't liberal?

How about the vaunted cultural issues? According to the Pew Poll, which has been tracking Americans' attitudes on a variety of religious issues for years, in 1987, 51% of Americans (versus 43%) supported the right of school boards to fire teachers simply because they were gay. In 2003, in the midst of the Right-Wing Fundy surge? Now, 62% of Americans say that a school board has NO right to fire a teacher for being gay -- while a mere 33% would allow school boards to fire gays. Not only a fairly liberal position by historical standards, but an area of massive sea change when the tide is supposed to be going the other way.

So I don't see this country as necessarily a center-right country. I bet a lot of so-called "conservatives" support expanded health care, social security, and tolerance towards gays -- even gay teachers -- they just have been taught to label themselves "conservative" in spite of their non-doctrinaire views, for a variety of reasons. The DLC does nothing to change this self-identification problem. The DLC should be tolerated when they're not attacking liberals; but since they exist for no other purpose, that toleration should not extend too far.

Posted by: | Jul 27 2005 13:03 utc | 62

The above was me. And the first poll question starts with the preface "What if a Democrat were to say "America's health crisis must be addressed . . ." etc.

Posted by: NickM | Jul 27 2005 13:11 utc | 63

In the long run, Canada may be the way to go.

Here in Canada, our DLC runs the country, we just call them "Liberals". We also have a minority socialist/labour party, we call them "New Democrats". They actually supported each other in a minority showdown when the "Conservatives" almost had enough votes to force an election.
Hmmm, left leaners WORKING TOGETHER. What a concept!

Posted by: doug r | Jul 27 2005 14:01 utc | 64

Clinton Democrats=Rockefeller Republicans

They have a vested interest in the status quo. Most of these folks came up in an era of Dem control. Rationalize by playing close to the middle they are only an election away from regaining power.

Posted by: ! | Jul 27 2005 14:30 utc | 65

LINK


David Sirota on the Huffington Post is great on this subject.

Posted by: Mega-Marsupial | Jul 27 2005 14:42 utc | 66

The pubs segregate their Armanis from their sans-culottes. Each faction ignores the other, believes it controls the party, and things work out very well.

I wonder how they enforce the unwritten No Sniping Rule.


Posted by: | Jul 27 2005 16:23 utc | 67

@jj

LOL! Thanks for introducing the acronym 'WINO', and for ID-ing the right and centerright as advocating a 'plutocratic male-supremacist police state'. I will start using these terms.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jul 27 2005 16:45 utc | 68

Just for grins, I went to the DLC site and searched for "CAFTA". Guess how the DLC feels about it...

Posted by: | Jul 27 2005 19:04 utc | 69

The DLC has proved time and again that they know how to lose elections. They were lucky with Bill Clinton. He was the ultimate campaigner and charismatic as hell. But he wasn't winning elections because he was Republican-lite. He was winning them because people genuinely liked the guy.

The DLC is ultimately responsible for the fact that the Democrats have such a helluva time articulating VALUES. They muddle things up to the point that the Dems appear to have nothing more than wishy washy GOPness.

They're an albatross.

Posted by: carla | Jul 27 2005 19:33 utc | 70

@Gylangirl, glad you appreciated it. At the risk of being redundant, I do want to be clear that I'm being precise, not name-calling here - lest there be any doubt.

Why male-supremacist? That's what the attack on abortion is all about - to restore male control over women. Why apply it to Dems & Hillary? It's applicable to anyone not filibustering Roberts, or anyone not fighting Dean running around the country soliciting anti-choice garbage for the ticket.

Why police-state? They fought for Homeland Sec. Dept. & Negroponte to Head it - both opposed by Repugs. They're giving no indication yet of filibustering Roberts, altough he participated in only decision I can think of that's worse than Dredd-Scott - last wk. he participated in decision that anybody in America, citizen or not, can be kidnapped & held, tortured, whatever, no due process. This is IT for America - under this decision all dissenters, in short all of us, can be simply taken...end of story...If you don't Filibuster someone who participated in this decision, the Filibuster has Zero Meaning....Nothing else matters about his background, personality, affiliations...This is the Heart of a Police State...

Why plutocratic - that's what the DLC is - it's the Wall Street takeover of the Democratic Party. And No it is not Centrist. It's break out the binoculars farrr right - it's everyone FDR fought like hell to take our country back from...it's the Prescott Bush's financial agenda. And it's destroying us again.

DLC used to cover their ass by saying they were far right economically, but socially liberal. Now w/their war on women, they're even to the right of Barry Goldwater socially - as he opposed government playing any role in women's reproductive decisions.

Perhaps "Centrist" means they're smack in the middle between Hitler & Stalin.

Posted by: jj | Jul 27 2005 20:14 utc | 71

Hummm.
Maybe we are being a little hard on ourselves?
I mean it was 48% nation NOT 18% nation.
A majority of Governors and State Seats.
Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated ??

Posted by: Scott McArthur | Jul 27 2005 20:39 utc | 72

A couple of thoughts on this thread...

I don't think it would be a waste of time looking at the fairly successful progressive movements in countries like Venesuela and Brazil, even Mexico. They had or have the party corruption, corporate control of media, police state etc. that the US progressives have to oppose and the US foreign policy to fight as well.

Is there a 'core values' platform for progressives? I started jotting down a list, and it got longer, and longer. vis.

1) Fair Elections
a) Paper trail on all ballots
b) All able to vote, all votes counted
c) Instant Runoff Voting

2) Uphold Constitution
a) Free Political Speech
b) Right to Privacy
i) Abortion
ii) Drugs
iii) Consensual Crimes
c) No Discrimination
i) Sex
ii) Religion
iii) Race
iv) Sexual Preference

3) International Leadership
a) No (More) Blood for Oil
b) Geneva Conventions
c) International Law
d) Prosecute Terrorists via Interpol

The list begins with issues that relate to having a democracy in more than name only, then issues that directly affect voters, then issues of our relationship to the rest of the world.

To the last I would add "No pardons for war criminals."

Props to Billmon for routinely kicking discussions like these, MoA for fostering the forum, you all for another great discussion.

And all must have prizes. Cheers.

Posted by: PeeDee | Jul 27 2005 22:24 utc | 73

@PeeDee

I like what you have assembled here. It's a very good start. I'd be interested in your thoughts on progressive US economic policy and environment issues.

As for prizes... if we got a genuinely equitable, democratic government out of any of this, every day would feel like Christmas morning.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jul 27 2005 22:58 utc | 74

It is pointless to talk about a battle for the Democratic leadership between the DLC faction and progressives. The battle is already over and the DLC'ers won years ago. Almost all major candidates for office will be from this group and this is not going to change. They have the corporate backing, while the progressives, as usual, have nothing. You are kidding yourself if you think that the Democrats are going to get more progressive. The opposite is obviously true. Once again, I think that getting a mass registration of progressives into the Republican Party is a better chance for change than trying to move the DLC gorillas even one inch. Teddy Roosevelt was quite progressive, anti-corporate, pro-environment, for example, so there is some historical precedent for the Republicans. This could also send the religious right scattering.

Posted by: steve expat | Jul 27 2005 23:41 utc | 75

The DLC is a bit like General Motors. They aren't stupid. They see what we see, and yet they keep making cars that in the long run will put them out of business. Why is that? Because Americans like big cars, for several reasons. First, Americans are obese -- it takes a big car to hold an American. And you need larger motors to get their mass in motion. Second, Americans are used to big cars -- they are quieter, you sit higher in the saddle, and you have all that space to waste. When Detroit makes small cars it loses money, so it concedes the market to the Japanese, and in lesser measure to the Koreans and Germans. Yet they know as well as we do where the price of gasoline is going, and they know they can't make long run money selling Hummers.

Now, the DLC is a bit in the same situation. They have to sell a product (that's how they see their job). The marketing research tells them that the public likes a certain product and so they design their product to meet the market. They don't try to manipulate that market to take the product they really would prefer and know is better for the long run. They think that if they can just get their market share up, they will be able in that long run to move to a saner trajectory.

I think a lot of of us believe that policy is suicidal, just as the Detroit strategies are suicidal. Unfortunately, we don't have a Japanese company to run our politics for us. Maybe China will jump in when the time is right.

Posted by: Knut Wicksell | Jul 28 2005 1:45 utc | 76

Being a former democrate. I feel I have a useful opinion on why they have been self destructing. I now am a conservitive with pro-union tendencies. Notice I did not say republican. I just happen to agree with them more now. My overall views have not changed that much but what the Ds have stood for has. My primary views that have changed are that tariffs are bad. That anything big, corporations or unions can become corupt. That I don't want the government to do anything for me besides roads, military, and a temporary safety net. The last change was from personal experience. The dems of today are not the dems of my father. Basicly no longer are they for strong america, working class(as opposed to welfare class), reasonable moral values, and independent people.
Instead they have changed to a conglomeration of outside views. Pick modern defination of any modern defination of liberal views (historical liberal views were primarly about business) and they side with it. Can't convince a majority. Ram it through the courts. My first change came with partial birth abortion. I can understand why the other types of abortion are legal. I can't condone it myself but I understand. But come on. This is brutal procedure that seems like something out of nazi germany. At this point I realized how radical they have become. I was upset about the election in 2000 but history had other cases of similiar instances. The last straw was the tax break. The dems considered me rich. Funny I was struggling to pay bills but I was rich. No I was middle class. That tax break came right to me. Sure Bill Gates got some too but the rich guys always gets something. If he doesn't the poor guy doesn't either. Fact of life.
If the democrats went to a strong immagration policy (check in at the door and here is your tax id number). Pro small to medium business. Working Class not welfare class. Rational Environmental policies. Majority rules and minority consessions. Smaller government is better government.

I might vote for them again. The radical left enables the radical right. And the radical right usually wins.

Posted by: danscan | Jul 29 2005 4:54 utc | 77

@PeeDee

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2005/7/20/192651/386>Over at Euroboo, an American reader has started a Liberals' Manifesto -- might be worth a glance.

Posted by: DeAnander | Jul 29 2005 5:02 utc | 78

@PeeDee - paper trails for voting are useless. You need a paper ballot - but we have those, so they rig the counting machines. Paper trails mean nothing, as it's trivial to program machine to print one thing & do something else internally. When I discussed this w/Dr. Dill, the Stanford Comp. Sci. Prof. who worked so hard to alert people to the problem & obviously knows this, his response was - That's the most we can possibly hope for from the political process.

Posted by: jj | Jul 29 2005 5:33 utc | 79

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