Why No Progressives Are Running in 2008

In addition to being a reform Democrat, I am a progressive Democrat. I do not use that term in the sense of the Progressive Policy Institute, and I do not use it in the sense that I am really a liberal who is afraid to call himself such. Further, I also do not use the term in the sense that only those with clear positions are progressives, or only those who believe that John Kerry won the 2004 election are progressives. Finally, and most importantly, I also do not use it in the sense that only those who are willing to be partisans and go on the offensive against Republicans are progressives. For me, the label signifies that I am decidedly and unquestionably on the left wing of the Democratic Party. It is an ideological term. As much as I have made it very clear that I do not share the same views of New Democrats or DLC members as many in the blogosphere, as much as I have made it clear that I believe in party loyalty, and as much as I embrace a reality, rather than a theoretical / faith-based view of public policy, that does not mean that I shrink or become defensive when ideological labels are tossed around. I am a progressive. I am a Leftie, and I am proud of that.

With that out of the way, I would like to discuss how yesterday, along with many MyDD commenters, I was more than a little disturbed when I constructed The Great Thursday Presidential poll. Of the eight most likely contenders, there did not appear to be a clearly progressive option among the selections. I knew when I was constructing it there was not going to be a clearly progressive option. I knew it the night before when I had decided to post the poll. Hell, I knew it two months ago.

Starting literally when I was watching Kerry concede the election on November 3rd, I have spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what candidate could emerge in 2008 to appeal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama and Russ Feingold were the first two options that came to my mind. However, let's face it: it just does not seem very likely that either candidate is going to run for President in 2008. One is just too new to the Senate, and the other has too many family concerns to attend with. After them, the only two people who already have national profiles that come to mind are Barbara Boxer and Brian Schweitzer. (As a note on Feingold, I think As Gary Boatwright wrote it best in the comments, "Divorce is a tremendous emotional and mental stress under the best of circumstances. It depends as much on how much spirit he still has for the chase as it does on whether or not the divorce itself hurts his chances." Remember, this happened only one month after his mother died as well. How much of a mindset would anyone be in to run for President after those twin events?)

Let's face it: the progressive bench for possible Presidents is extremely thin. You just are not going to become President unless you have been at least one of the following: a General, A Senator, a Governor or a Vice-President. There are not many progressives currently or formerly occupying one of those positions, and some imaginary DLC conspiracy to marginalize the left wing of the Democratic Party is not to blame for this. Instead, over the last ten years, there have not been many progressive Democrats running for these offices. Further, from 1990 until very recently, when compared with the now well-established New Democratic infrastructure, there simply was no corresponding Progressive infrastructure to support those candidates that did run

For example, look at Democratic candidates for Senate in 2004 that came from the House: Bard Carson (Oklahoma), Chris John (Louisiana), Joe Hoeffel (Pennsylvania), and Denise Majette (Georgia). All four of these candidates were members of the House New Democratic Coalition during their time in Congress, and none of them were members of the Progressive caucus. In fact, in 2004 not a single one of the fifty-one members of the Progressive caucus ran for any higher office. If more progressives are going to run for President, they need to at least start by stepping up to the plate and running for something higher than the House.

Further, one has to wonder if, until recently, the progressive grassroots had as much to offer potential progressive candidates as the various New Democratic organizations. Long before MoveOn.org and Democracy for America, groups like New Democrat Network were working to identify and support moderate Democrats for higher office:

In 1996 Lieberman, Breaux, and Simon Rosenberg founded the New Democrat Network political action committee. "Our role is to add political muscle," says Rosenberg. In the 1997-1998 reporting period, its first full cycle, NDN raised $1.4 million directly, and another $1.2 million in so-called "bundled" contributions, gathered at fundraisers for individual candidates and funneled through NDN. In the 1999-2000 period, NDN more than doubled its take, raising $4 million directly and bundling $1.45 million more, plus $450,000 for GoreLieberman. Nearly $2 million of NDN's take in the last cycle came in large, unregulated soft-money chunks from companies such as Aetna, AT&T, and Microsoft and from trade groups such as the Securities Industry Association, who helped sponsor a $1.2-million fundraiser honoring Lieberman on February 13.

NDN's brochures sound like investment prospectuses. "NDN acts as a political venture capital fund to create a new generation of elected officials," says the PAC. "NDN provides the political intelligence you need to make well-informed decisions on how to spend your political capital. Just like an investment advisor, NDN exhaustively vets candidates and endorses only those who meet our narrowly defined criteria."

With three full-time fundraisers plus consultants in New York and Los Angeles, NDN runs a prolific schedule, holding more than 100 events last year. Most of them are typical Washington, D.C., money events, with the usual cast of characters from PACs and lobbying houses; a smaller number are held around the country. NDN also holds some large-scale happenings: Last year, its annual legislative retreat was held at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where members of the congressional New Democrat caucuses mingled with wealthy contributors from the private sector. Even more ambitious was its annual retreat in June, a three-day gathering spread out all over the San Francisco Bay Area, at which no less than 23 House and Senate Democrats met with executives who paid $1,000 each for the event, which was cosponsored with TechNet.

To many up-and-coming politicians, NDN's events are heaven-sent forums at which they can strut their stuff and ring up contributors. Case in point: Tom Carper, the newly elected senator from Delaware. Last year, NDN raised $55,000 for Carper's Senate race. But it provided an intangible benefit as well. "He's a believer," says Rosenberg. "In addition to all the support we gave him, he'd come to a lot of our other fundraisers, and he was able to meet a lot of new people and develop new contacts. That's one of the reasons why so many elected officials come to our events." For politicians like Carper, NDN is a pipeline for campaign contributions. For donors, NDN provides precertification that none of the politicians are noisy populists. "The candidates are validated to people in the room as New Democrats," says Rosenberg.

To ensure that liberals don't slip through the cracks, NDN requires each politician who seeks entree to its largesse and contacts to fill out a questionnaire that asks his or her views on trade, economics, education, welfare reform, and other issues. The questions are detailed, forcing candidates to state clearly whether or not they support views associated with the New Democrat Coalition, and it concludes by asking, "Will you join the NDC when you come to Congress?" Next, Rosenberg interviews each candidate, and then NDN determines which candidacies are viable before providing financial support.

During this same time period, Progressives were not doing nearly as much to identify and support potential candidates for higher office. In fact, even though the gap has now been almost erased, even in 2004, moderate Democratic organizations still distributed more money to candidates than groups such as MoveOn. Further, that MoveOn was able to nearly equal New Democrat Network in 2004 probably came as more than a little surprise to anyone surveying the Democratic landscape in early 2003. No one knew this was going to happen, not even our beloved Blogfather. Considering all of this, is it any wonder that Denise Majette (87.5% loyalty in the 108th Congress) and Joe Hoeffel (96.9% loyalty in the 108th Congress), identified with the New Democratic House Coalition even though their voting records were far more in line with the Progressive Caucus? Starting from their first attempts to run for Congress and ending with their attempts at the Senate, what were Progressives offering them?

If Progressives want Progressive Democrats to run for President, then we have to greatly expand our potential Presidential bench. Right now, that bench is so thin that it can be easily derailed by one or two family happenings. In fact, the Progressive Presidential bench is so thin that we seriously consider people like Obama and Schweitzer even though they each first took statewide office less than six months ago. By way of contrast, the New Democratic Presidential bench, comprises all of the eight candidates listed in yesterday's poll. This is not something they managed to achieve overnight, or by way of conspiracy. It took literally decades of organizing, identifying, fundraising and grooming candidates to achieve that bench.

Progressives are in the process of building an equivalent, if not a superior, infrastructure to help do the things that organizations like the New Democrat Network have done for over a decade. However, the two most prominent such organizations within this infrastructure, Moveon.org and Democracy for America, are still in their infancy when it comes to identifying and supporting candidates. While we have seen many signs of progress, it is going to take a long time to achieve parity with New Democrats when it comes to statewide offices. More potential progressive Presidents, such as Eliot Spitzer and Jon Corzine, are on their way. However, we are still in the early stages, and this is going to take a long time.

At long last, this brings me to an action. Many of the progressives on MyDD who were complaining yesterday about the list of potential Democratic candidates in 2008 should turn their eyes to a glaring opportunity to help build the Progressive Presidential bench. As noted for the past week, Mike DeWine is an extremely vulnerable Republican Senator from Ohio (also here). Perhaps the best and most obvious Democratic candidate to challenge for this seat is Sherrod Brown., who also happens to be a member of the Progressive Caucus. Swing State Project has a great post on him here. If progressives truly are forward looking enough to start building the sort of bench they currently see and envy on the New Democratic side of our party, then they need to start a Draft Sherrod Brown movement now. Only by propelling the Sherrod Brown's, Eliot Spitzer's and Jon Corzine's of the world into power will progressives be able to avoid seeing polls like the one yesterday again. If you want to see things changed, get to work.

One ore thing. Even if there are no Progressives running on the Democratic side in 2008, I'll still be working my ass off in both the primaries and the general election. Every other loyal, self-respecting, far-sighted, and reformed Progressive Democrat will do the same.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)



I love it!
I'm going to feel very lost in 2008 if Feingold doesn't run.  I think the progressive wing of the Democratic Party was hurt badly in 1994 and we're only now recovering.  There's been a stigma that you can't win as a Democrat unless you take the DLC line.  It's good to see that we're starting to organize again.
by LoganFerree 2005-06-17 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I love it!
I think Russ is a good guy. Lets hope that the fact that he can't seem to keep his own family together
won't distract him from being a pretty face
in the media..  who knows, maybe he'll
meet a "katie holmes" out there.. wait a minute..
strike that..
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I love it!

Is anyone else as creeped out about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as I am?  I have never seen a woman go from sex symbol to BLEAH as quick as she just did...

by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 12:57PM | 0 recs
Don't count Feingold out.
Saw him a couple weekends ago, still smells like a candidate.
by benmasel 2005-06-18 12:12AM | 0 recs
i don't totally get what you mean
by "progressive".  you reference the Progressive Caucus, but also others who are not affiliated.  For example, what makes Wes Clark not a progressive? What does Left mean in this context?

just curious...

by colorless green ideas 2005-06-17 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: i don't totally get what you mean
I really like your blog handle, CGI.  Nice taste.
If I may, allow me to attempt to establish
what sort of stances chris would be getting at:

The Real ID Act,
The Class Action Fairness Act,
The Job Training Improvement Act, the Congressional Budget for Fiscal Year 2006,
The Schiavo legislation,
The Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act,
The Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, The Energy Policy Act of 2005.
The child interstate notification abortion act.
Social Security Reform to Private Accounts
Gay Marriage Ban

Again, this is just a guess but Chris' definition
would likely include "Aye" votes for Job Training,
and perhaps Death Tax repeal. Nay for the rest.

The General would probably have at least
two other aye votes.  Wouldn't you think?
I guess what I'm saying is methinks being
'progressive' in this instance means distancing
oneself from the DLC..  Chris seems opposed
to centrism -

Being an indie, however, guys like McCain make
me feel good about 08. McCain is easily
the most progressive republican there is,and
his name is definitely in the hat. Funnier still,
Gingrich probably understands the net, and grassroots better than anyone so it will
be interesting to see the partisans
trip all over themselves to talk about
how awful Newt is (I think the best
description I have heard was, he's Richard Nixon, Glib.)

My money is on the indies. Chris goes to great
lengths to explain how we're irrelevant...?

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: i don't totally get what you mean
Forget the Death Tax appeal... Fair or not, let the Paris Hilton's of the world get taxed on their inheritance... F them... If life were fair, she'd be actually attempting to work for a living.
by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: i don't totally get what you mean
And forget the Republican spin "Death tax". It's Inheritance Tax. The dead person doesn't get taxed, the heirs do. In the Republican frame a guy works hard and when he dies, the government takes it away from him. In reality, it's the heirs who only get to keep $1,000,000 before paying some of it in tax. And forget whining about the widow. She gets to keep ALL of it. When she goes, the kids have to pay tax on the amount over $1,000,000 (Clinton proposed making that $4,000,000). That's above and beyond getting sent to the finest schools, getting a business stake, and having doors opened everywhere for them.
Think of Bush.
by antiHyde 2005-06-17 06:58PM | 0 recs
Mccain is not even close to progressive
Mccain is a maverick who goes against the right occasionally and on a lot of big votes. But more than 90% of the time he votes conservatively.  The most progressive republican, if such a thing exists, is lincoln chafee
by schwompa 2005-06-17 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Mccain is not even close to progressive
McCain is a "maverick" in his public image, and in his occasional stepping past the lockstep march required by the contemporary Republican Party.  But he's not a maverick unless you use the quotes.
by paperwight 2005-06-17 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain is hardly Progressive
He's a conservative Republican with a bit of populist maverick streak, a good guy who isn't an asshole like most over there (which wins him a lot of points on style), and has never met a microphone or TV camera he doesn't like.

Look at his voting record.   He's conservative, he's just not a whacko over and above that.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-17 02:33PM | 0 recs
This thing reminds me of Rumsfeld
standing up there, trying to explain
about "what we know about the things we know,
and the things we don't know..."

In physics, we have very clear definitions of
work. Its W = F*s  , work = force times distance.

In politics, would, perhaps - slanting your
blog be considered "work".  I believe you've
stated before that media entertainment
pays the bills... is that "work".

I would only encourage you, as a young,
un married, un-attached, roommate of a nice
guy - that you should stand for a self identification that doesn't require you to
explain yourself.

for example, I'm an indpendent. I believe
that both parties no longer represent
voter's interests, and that the majority
of DC has been overtaken by special interest
groups. I liked Dean, but he's listening
to special interests right now as well.
Sad to say, but the game in DC is rigged
so that the American people continue
to pay EIGHTY PERCENT of the tax burden.

The minute someone decides to tax the
freaking Media Entertainment companies,
for example, I'll see. But until then, I don't
explain, I don't complain. I get even.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:03AM | 0 recs
Progressive = liberal + some libertarian. Not left
As long as progressive means liberal in the truest sense, i am fine with that. I consider myself progressive, but not left wing.

For me, being a progressive can include being wedded to some liberal ideologies without having to be rigid about the process which people on the left can get hung up on. An example: Public Schools. Being progressive means you want better schools, even for the poorer classes. But how do you go about achieving that? I dont respect the public school system. If reforming the public school system is the best way of going about it, then I am all for spending most educational resources in improving public schools. If finetuning the charter school system is a better way , then I am all for that.

Another example: Helping the poor. It would be a priority for me in a government I vote for. However, the way you go about it does not matter to me.  Does that mean increasing taxes? Not necessarily. A progressive won't blindly say "we can't cut taxes because the rich should pay their share". I think they are two separate issues. One can find ways in getting private institutions to improve their charitable giving, while setting up guidelines to improve transparency in non profits. Also, one can make government more efficient to provide services to the poor at a lower cost, or one can make cuts in areas like defense(where there is a lot of fat) or some other area(like agricultural subsidies) to pay for services to the poor. If all else fails, then one can explore tax revenue.

The libertarian side of me strongly believes in drug legalization, the taxes of which can be used to fund enforcement of stronger highly addictive drugs and the rehab of drug abusers. The combination of the taxation and rehab aspects is the progressive side of me. At least, the way I define it.

by Pravin 2005-06-17 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive = liberal + some libertarian. Not

Friend of the Devil = Friend of Mine

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive = liberal + some libertarian. Not
All right, a little Grateful Dead.  Watch Live 8 on TV.  PINK FLOYD back together completely at the london show.  Hopefully, they will enjoy the one night and go touring again.
by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive = liberal + some libertarian.
WOuldn't the libertarian side of you be against taxing legalized drugs?  ;-)
by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive = liberal + some libertarian. Not
great post, great points, however, it only adds to my confusion, because i really didn't get the sense that chris meant progressive as in liberal in the truest sense.

there is so much confusion in labels anymore...

by colorless green ideas 2005-06-17 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive
I agree with you and your politics.  I especially wish that people around here would talk about the poor more.

But I think it is not wheather we agree on every policy issue its more that we agree on the BIG Issues.  That's what makes me progressive.

by aiko 2005-06-18 02:33AM | 0 recs
Progressive is:
progressive" as adj.1,moving forward. 2,advocating new ideas, methods, etc. 3,(Gram.) indicating action going on at the time, as is going; was going -n. one who is not conservative.

Reform is progressive.

Reform for better more effective government.

by aiko 2005-06-18 02:48AM | 0 recs
Let's not forget Bernie
As always - outstanding post...  In response to your point about no progressives seeking higher office in '04, I would say we're already seeing progress on that front with Bernie Sanders running for the Senate.  
by Cam 2005-06-17 11:29AM | 0 recs
That's Vermont, though.
Vermont's a political oddball. (But in a good way!) In the last few years, they've given us the Jeffords defection and the Dean-omenon, and now this. We can't really use them as a yardstick.
by catastrophile 2005-06-17 01:16PM | 0 recs
Re: That's Vermont, though.
We can however use Bernie, who doesn't accept either PAC money or corporate contributions, as a yardstick.

Democratic congressman Will Natcher served the old KY 02, an extremely conservative district loaded with blue-dawgs for four decades without accepting a dime of PAC money. Granted, it's more complicated than can be addressed in a single post or for that matter a diary; however, it's a subject Democrats can no longer continue to avoid if the party collectively wishes to lay any claim to being progressive.  

by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-17 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: That's Vermont, though.
There's a word for candidates who try a no-PAC, no-corporate statewide campaign in California:  "Also rans."  Vermont is a low-cost retail politics state.

Guys, the Democratic party, or even its Progressive wing, has got to slap itself every time it starts touting one-size-fits-all solutions.

I shake my head when some folks piss and moan about Harold Ford running for Senate in Tennessee.  Look, somebody like Barbara Boxer would get buried there.  Harold Ford might get elected and if so, he's about as liberal as you can be...in Tennessee...and still get elected.  I'll take it, to flip a Red Seat to a Blue Seat and get a liberal vote 80 percent of the time rather than a GOoPer who votes against us 98 percent of the time.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-17 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: That's Vermont, though.
The minority mentality won't win for progressives. If we accept the David Broder conventional wisdom that Harold Ford is as liberal as you can get in Tennessee, then we might as well conceed.

Progressives need to learn from the conservative revival. Conservatives didn't take over the Republican party by conceeding to the conventional wisdom and neither should we.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-17 04:14PM | 0 recs
Re: That's Vermont, though.
If that's the way you really think, which I do believe, then yes, you might as well concede.

Demographics is king in electoral politics.  There's a reason that Barbara Boxer can't win in Tennessee nor Jeff Sessions in Illinois.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-17 07:20PM | 0 recs
Another metric on why this post fails
Another metric that leads me to be suspect
about this post is simply, that the democrats
must oppose the republicans. That meme
really defeats the idea that either party
works for the common good.

From Chris' post in KOS:

"The majority of Democrats who voted must vote different from the majority of Republicans who voted. Thus, only votes that separated the two parties are included"

- Only votes that were different.
Suppose a Republican issues a resolution to
end the war. That happened last week.
What about a Republican who opposes drug use
in sports. Or a GOP leader that stands up
and issues a bill condemning corporate loopholes..
? This metric falls apart.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:38AM | 0 recs
The difference between progressive and liberal
I think that there is a real difference, but I haven't been able to articulate it.  Is populism properly thought of as Progressive?  Why does progressive equal left wing.  The most famous progressives I know of were Republicans, e.g., Herbert Hoover and especially LaFollette.

How do you make a distinction between the two Chris?

by Abby 2005-06-17 11:38AM | 0 recs
Democratic bench is kinda thin
Governors have, historically, had a better shot at becomming President than Senators or Congressmen do.

So I went looking for what Democratic Governors we might have available for an '08 run, and found this:

Here's what is disturbing.  OK, we have a couple dozen Democratic Senators.  But only 5 were first elected before 2002.  Five.

There may be a dark horse out there I'm not seeing yet.  One can still hope.  But I don't think it's just the Progressives who have no bench, I think this is problem is systemic in the Democratic Party.

by bhurtaw 2005-06-17 11:42AM | 0 recs
Yet another example of why this stuff is lame
As I was going through KOS (I don't tend to hang
out there alot, but I was tracking Chris'
writings there..) I happened across an
interesting thing.

Apparently, KOS is bent out of shape because
a Web Tools, and lets emphasize this, TOOLS
company has sold TOOLS to a customer that
opposes Gay Marriage.

So, what KOS did was post this letter
that seems perfectly normal, from
its CEO that said, hey, you know, we're selling
to lots of folks..

Kos then jumps on it, to try to define
what "progressive" means:

"The progressive community needs to decide whether they want to help fund a company that provides tools to hate mongers."

What BS.   Hey, next time you go to Home Depot,
ask them if they agree about the Patriot Act
before you buy a box of electrical switches.
See if they sell them to you.

I oppose corporate free rides, to an extent,
but if someone thinks the bully pulpit is there
to bully other companies, they're not
progressive, theyre just activist.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-06-17 11:47AM | 0 recs
You missed the point of Kos' post
Home Depot does not advertise by saying "We are the progressive home improvement company.  We only support progressive causes."

However, the company cited by Kos does exactly that.  So it's natural that progressives might want to reconsider whether to do business with them, now that it turns out they're not such a progressive company after all.

by Steve M 2005-06-17 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yet another example of why this stuff is lame
I guess the spectrum really is circular instead of linear.  Sounds a lot like the Religious Right boycotting Disney for all those years, or all the FCC complaints for the smallest things.  
by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 01:09PM | 0 recs
On target
Between the DLC and NDN there isn't much room left for the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. It looks to me like both organizations have ample corporate contributions to fund primary races across the country at all levels of government.

I'm not how progressive Democrats can ever catch up. It looks to me like the structural impediments are already in place in the Democratic party in much the same way structural impediments to a political third party are already in place.

I'm still waiting to see how the 2006 election shapes up to decide if I want to continue working within the party through DFA or shift my emphasis to an outside organization. It's possible I may split my time and energy between DFA and Move On. I've already located an Orange County Move On Meet Up.

One very big factor will be the Iraq war. There is no way I will be able to support a ticket that in any way supports anything except an immediate exit strategy. I can not in good conscience agree to support a blind Democratic ticket. At this point I don't see any way I could support a ticket headed by Kerry or Biden. I'm not too sure about Hillary.

Hillary and Clark pretty much define the conservative limits of an acceptable ticket for me.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-17 12:03PM | 0 recs
It's part of the destruction of the middle class
We can't catch up to the corporate types because we don't have the finances to catch up. The upper class has 80% of the capital in this society. All the rest of us are fighting over the last 20%.

I've set my sights low for the 06-08 cycles. Getting people in office who will fix the voting machines is my only objective. We aren't going to be able to get much, so that's what I've focused my attention on. It's an achievable goal. We have a chance for fixing the rest at some point in the future IF we get the voting process fixed now.

by afs 2005-06-17 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: On target
Consider strategy that includes the infiltration of ideas.

As the progressive wing of the Dem party is strengthened through fundraising cababilities and communication online our thoughts and ideas become more valuable and quite frankly more mainstream.

We will influence other orgs as well as create our own.  Candidates will come to us.  Politicains will move toward progressive thought.

Its an evolutionary process.

by aiko 2005-06-18 02:42AM | 0 recs
There are two aspects to "progressive," and I assume that's how you mean to use them.  There's progressive on the domestic side, meaning an economic populist as opposed to a third-wayer, and progressive on foreign policy, meaning opposition to the Iraq war, etc.  While I agree there is no one running who is progressive on both, I would argue that Edwards is progressive domestically.  Which is why progressives should support him.
by Paleo 2005-06-17 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive
I agree I think Edwards is very progressive domestically--not sure why chris doesn't
by aiko 2005-06-18 02:43AM | 0 recs
Obama Progressive?
Obama voted to confirm Gonzalez and for the Bankruptcy deform act? How is being pro-torture and pro-loan sharking progressive?
by Alice Marshall 2005-06-17 12:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Progressive?
What the hell are you talking about?  Obama did not vote yes for Bankruptcy or for Gonzalez.  Get your facts straight before you throw things out like that.  





Vote Summary

by yitbos96bb 2005-06-17 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Progressive?
Good catch. I should have checked the facts more carefully prior to giving a premature positive rating. Thanks.
by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-17 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Progressive?
I made the same mistakes. I think the problem is that Obama flirted with both votes and finally came down against both. I just wish he wouldn't say that he "might vote in favor" at any point. It confuses his positions. I suppose he does it so he won't get accused of being dogmatic or closed-minded.
by antiHyde 2005-06-17 06:49PM | 0 recs
and he criticized Dean
by aiko 2005-06-18 02:25AM | 0 recs
Re: and he criticized Dean
Is this against the law or something?
by v2aggie2 2005-06-18 04:03PM | 0 recs
Howard Dean Speaks for Me
by aiko 2005-06-19 02:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Dean Speaks for Me
by v2aggie2 2005-06-19 07:53AM | 0 recs
Narrowing the bench
The path to the Presidency seems to be becoming less diverse.  The last general elected was Eisenhower, over 50 years ago.  The last one before that was garfield (a political general at that) in 1880.  Cabinet members used to be a source of possible Presidents but the last to go that root was Herbert Hoover (1928).  In the last 100 years only JFK made the transition from Senator to the White House and only Bush I made the jump directly from the Vice Presidency.

That leaves us with Governors and sitting Presidents (who may have become President due to the death of the President).  Or a former Vice President who wants it bad and goes on an extended quest (Nixon).  If Cheney is not in, the most likely winner really would seem to be a governor.  There are no unsightly habits of legislative speech (I voted for the 84 billion before I voted against it), no voting records to attack, and usually a lot less in terms of Meet the Press type appearances.

If we want a liberal bench we need to elect liberal governors.  Four of the last five major party nominees who were governors were elected President.  The one loser, Michael Dukakis, was the only liberal. (Bush II, Clinton, Dukakis, Reagan, Carter).

Part of this task, and a major part, is sweeping out Republican governors in liberal states like California, New York, Massachussetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.  Since there are fewer blue states this is significant.  FDR, after all, was the governor of New York and even Jefferson (who had come from the Vice Presidency) had been Governor of Virginia.

by David Kowalski 2005-06-17 12:48PM | 0 recs
is also a blue state with a rethug for Gov.
by aiko 2005-06-18 02:23AM | 0 recs
Progressive vs. Centrist
Gov. Warner gave an interview to salon.com and described his "way" of winning the Presidency. He is running as a "centrist." Any thought?  

Here is the link http://satire.myblogsite.com/blog/_archives/2005/6/14

or http://satire.myblogsite.com/blog then go to June 14, 2005

by dtlc 2005-06-17 12:55PM | 0 recs
According to Warner, America hates Democrats
Warner set up a lunch to meet with LA Times staff and to get interviewed. I guess he was pissed off he didn't get the Clinton rock star treatment, because he basically went off on a rant against all West Coast Dems, calling them all elitists because he thinks they treat Southerners like Joe-Bobs.... and that's why America hates Democrats

Of course... the very fact that Clinton does get treated like a rock star completely wrecks his claim that West Coast Dems treat Southerners bad. Clinton is a Southerner.

by afs 2005-06-17 01:06PM | 0 recs
This is a standard
complaint of Red America, that we coastal urban sophisticates look down on and mock them.

To some extent, it's true. For many of us, Jeff Foxworthy is all we know about the modern South. And to many in the South, Dharma & Greg is all they know about us. So stereotypes often define the debate. Sad but true. There are exceptions, of course, but you'll notice that the Clintons now live in New York.

by catastrophile 2005-06-17 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Progressive vs. Centrist
George Bush ran as a centrist.

I wasn't terribly impressed with the Salon interview. When did technology become a new idea? The main criteria I'm judging candidates on is how well they bash Bush and Republicans.

I saw very little in the interview that was staking out any positions that separate him from Republicans. It was typical oatmeal mush centrism.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-17 04:31PM | 0 recs
how does hillary fit into this discussion?
by TimRusso 2005-06-17 01:08PM | 0 recs
More fertilizer for the roots
Starting from the position that Governors usually are the strongest candidates, the question then becomes are there ways to get more progressive/liberal (I fail to be convinced there is a real difference) candidates for governor in the states?

Governor's don't just spring from the soil.  To get elected governor, the candidates almost always have either had other elected state office or have been significant leaders in the Legislative branch of their state.  And to get to either of those alternatives, they usually have held city or county offices for some amount of time.

We should be thinking very long term.  How to get liberals/progressives to run for low level offices in their localities (and how to support them when they do).

BTW, I was disappointed that Brian Schweitzer was not included among the poll choices - so I choose 'undecided' - I might have chosen that in any event given it is so early.  He seems to be my kind of liberal/progressive.  

by JimPortlandOR 2005-06-17 01:25PM | 0 recs
Gosh, I've always thought that Clark was pretty solid on the progressive end of things.  The only thing I've seen that is a mark against it is his potential support for the flag-burning amendment.  But I've seen him routinely stand up for progressive ideals, and he has a real credibility behind it too, in a Nixon-goes-to-China way.  

Then again, my definition of progressive definitely does not exclude a muscular foreign policy.  I'm very progressive but I consider myself more interventionist than isolationist.  I'm just a diplomacy-first variety, and I think Clark is too.

by tunesmith 2005-06-17 01:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Clark is a progressive.
Consider these positions: On taxes, he would have repealed the Bush tax cuts on those making over $250,000/year, to reduce the deficit. But in addition, he had a revenue-neutral plan that would have simplified the tax code, cut taxes on everyone making under $100,000/year, and imposed a 5% surtax on income above $1million/year.

He proposed something that my friends who supported Kucinich tell me sounds a lot like his Dept. of Peace, only without the "let's hand the GOP a rhetorical victory they don't even have to work for" name:

"I also propose creating an agency that will bring the same skill to solving the problems of poverty, disease, and ethnic conflict that we have brought to the challenge of warfare. We should be using our great capacities to prevent conflicts early so we don't need to use force later. That means drawing on the skills that now exist across the federal government.

This new agency should have a budget for real research and development, real planning, and the ability to draw on the US national civilian reserves which I proposed last month. This agency will give us a power to engage that we don't have right now. Because we don't need a new strategy of preemptive force as much as we need a new capability for preemptive engagement." (cite)

His positions on poverty HIV in the developing world, and the environment (pdf) are also quite strong.

by hilzoy 2005-06-18 02:49PM | 0 recs
Populist, not "Progressive"
No one is going to get elected waiving his arms and declaring his allegence to left-wing ideals.  How many votes did Kucinich get?

There are LOTS of votes to be had by demonstrating one's responsiveness to the concerns of "real people", which inevitably puts one on the "left" side of most issues today.  It worked for Dean until EVERYONE (and I do mean everyone) ganged up on him.  It would have worked for Kerry if he could stand to listen to anyone but himself (and Bob Shrum).  It almost worked for John Edwards, who only pretends to listen.  

The most likely populist candidate this time around is Brian Schweitzer. (Even his getting in the race at all will likely be in response to a "draft" movement.)  He is brilliant at identifying himself with the concerns of average voters, which is what got him elected in an overwhelmingly "red" state in the first place.  And he reeks of genuineness: his populism is the real thing. Democrats wondering how to take back rural America should take notes every time he speaks.

by Jim in Chicago 2005-06-17 01:36PM | 0 recs
Well, I looked at the poll...
thought "Warner"... then though "Geez, almost the whole damned list is last season's retreads.  The only name there that I don't think got dragged around as a possibility for the last cycle is Warner...". So I voted "undecided".

I'm rather hoping that we can twist Schweitzer's arm, and get him to run.

We haven't seen a Western-syle populist from the center... or center-left... in a long, long time.

by ogre 2005-06-17 01:43PM | 0 recs
So why weren't progressives added to the poll?
Okay, so you knew there was no clear progressive choice on the poll. Why not add one?  it seems that by not even acknowledging progressive candidates on a progressive blog, we're caving in to the DLC.  Do another poll and add Feingold.
by schwompa 2005-06-17 01:58PM | 0 recs
Nobody's perfect
One reason it's hard for populist/progressive candidates to gain support is that the farther a voter is to either side of the ideological spectrum, the more likely they are to demand perfection.

You see it all the time here and you see it at dkos.  A candidate can have a sparkling liberal record, but one "wrong" vote and people come out of the woodwork to say how they'll never give a dime to this candidate.  There is no sense of relativity, no sense of proportionality.  One bad vote destroys it all.

The odds of finding a candidate who agrees with you on every issue are slim.  The odds of finding 51 Senators who agree with you on every issue are minimal.  The odds of finding 218 Congressmen who agree with you on every issue are zero.

This does not mean "move to the center" or any of that garbage.  It simply means that an otherwise excellent candidate may have one or two positions that we don't like, and we need to live with that, because in the real world we have no replicating machine that can churn out an endless supply of perfect progressives.  The sooner we realize this, the sooner progressive candidates will start getting the grassroots support they deserve.

by Steve M 2005-06-17 02:34PM | 0 recs
I guess I haven't absorbed
your specific definiton of Progressive?

What qualities or policies qualifies someone to be identified in your eyes as Progressive?

by BigDog 2005-06-17 03:19PM | 0 recs
I still think Feingold
is a possibility. I got the strong sense that the divorce had been planned for some time (no proof, just a sense from comments made by the two of them). Feingold has been traveling around the country talking to "red staters" since the election, and set up the Progressive Patriots Fund:

The Progressive Patriots Fund is dedicated to promoting a progressive reform agenda and supporting candidates across the country.

This organization will enable me to be a part of a larger national effort to build the Democratic Party throughout America. I plan to travel across the country, listen to others, speak out on important issues and advance a progressive reform agenda.

The challenges far too many Americans face every day did not go away with the past election. I will continue to give voice to those who believe we must work to provide health care for all Americans, protect and create jobs, ensure fiscal responsibility, and fight terrorism while also protecting our freedoms.

In both so-called red and blue states, people have a voice that needs to be heard. People in every state want a dialogue that moves beyond the electoral partisan politics and ideology that divide us.

That is why I intend to help begin a dialogue about how we move forward as a country united by the values we share and the challenges we face together.

Senator Russ Feingold

That looks an awful lot like somebody getting ready for a national run.

by Madman in the Marketplace 2005-06-17 03:20PM | 0 recs
Larry King & the Blogosphere - Humor and Fact
  1.  30 second look at Blogads will show you the numbers.  Exaclty as Chris Bowers said.  Kos is the most influential.  Its incredible the traffic the guy generates. MyDD is doing very well.

  2.  This is a good start/end for Friday - have a good weekend all. Larry Kind was given a father of the year award!  This is fun. The guy was married 7 times with 6 kids - for goodness sake.  

A must read. Filled with facts and has Larry's MUGSHOT - honest to goodness (Click on the word arrest)


by dtlc 2005-06-17 03:46PM | 0 recs
My 1986 Webster defines
"progressive" as adj.1,moving forward. 2,advocating new ideas, methods, etc. 3,(Gram.) indicating action going on at the time, as is going; was going -n. one who is not conservative.

There's something in there for everybody to grasp...big tent philosophy. I know there are a great many Democrats who fit into #2 and advocate new ideas and methods within the party; however, I simply no longer believe the Democratic party is collectively willing or capable of actually fighting for either and that floundering within the corporate two-party structure will not result in meaningful progressive action or change.

The two party system only served post-industrial America well when it provided an alternative to corporate power. Anti-corporate progressives possess the means, energy and strength to carry our battles forward now on our own terms. It won't be a painless transition but we will eventually begin to win some isolated battles without compromise if we have the courage to begin the process now.

The primary motive of progressives still remaining within the Democratic party appears to be fear that we won't be effective if we abandon the  traditional two-party system. I disagree and think that the current British three-party structure  should alleviate some of these anxieties. While I fully understand the differences between their parliamentary system and our own, I tend to focus more upon the similarities in a strictly political sense.

For example, their Conservative party imploded in much the same manner as the Repugs are beginning to show signs of doing here. It's only a matter of time until  fiscally conservative Repugs begin to inch away from their socially repressive counterparts  towards the lifeboats. The question is whether or not to grant them access? I think not unless they wish to enter under our terms of major election reform to include the abolition of the electoral college. My point is that we must position ourselves in a manner to permanently obtain the means for continual progressive change to have an uninterupted opportunity to flourish once the current oppressive Repug coalition falls apart. As progressives, we only give ourselves the best opportunity to enact our desired outcomes through having our own unified voice.

Once the liberals spilt, the Tories didn't immediately take over the government. The exact opposite seems to have taken place in that the Tories have been reduced to semi-permanent minority status. It's not until progressives split from the Democratic party and form their own corporate-free voice that they become capable of forging a wedge between the DLC crowd and the Repugs on important progressive issues.

The Green party has a potentially powerful anti-corporate   progressive message from which our goals may be accomplished. There was a record turnout for the last presidential election despite the fact that both candidates from the corporate parties were silver spoon Yale skull and crossbones brothers. Y'all who consider yourselves progressives should sit back, close your eyes for just a few seconds and imagine what we could accomplish with a viable progressive ticket on the presidential ballot every four years.  


by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-17 04:11PM | 0 recs
green party
has potential if it can become something other than a refuge for far left-liberals/democrats/progressives.  there are definitely signs of that becoming a possibility in the future, especially now with certain libertarian and "radical centrist" groups seriously looking at solving environmental problems with more market oriented solutions.  and many within the environmental movement coming towards those solutions from a different direction.
by colorless green ideas 2005-06-17 04:25PM | 0 recs
I'd rather keep the 2.74% and win with a meh Democrat than lose that 2.74% and get a Bush Clone in who invades Canada.

You Greens have to come back to the home planet and realize you only hurt your cause.  America has a binary democracy-the canidate who has a significant third party precense on his side of the bright line in the middle is running with his hand tied behind back.  At this point, primaries are where such a decision should be made.

by Geotpf 2005-06-17 04:48PM | 0 recs
Re: "You Greens"
did you read my post? i was commenting about the prospects of the Greens as a succesful thrid-party, right now i think they are marginal, if not worse. there are some hopeful signs from the periphery of the party, and the eco movment in general, but it's too soon to tell.

me, i vote democrat.

by colorless green ideas 2005-06-17 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: My 1986 Webster defines
There aren't that many similarities between Britain and here  They din't have a Presidency for one, or an eletoral college for another.  That is why smart greens became Deaniacs.
by noalternative 2005-06-19 03:58PM | 0 recs
Feingold is running for president
Nothing he has done (except get divorced) has indicated otherwise; in fact, just the opposite.  We may need to lean on him a little, "draft" him, but he's in.
by Geotpf 2005-06-17 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold is running for president
LOL Exactly my point bubba. Russ would be a great Green candidate. He flip-flopped on responsible gun ownership but I think most Greens would forgive him.  

He doesn't have a prayer of winning the Democratic nomination because he's divorced and single. He's unelectable in neighboring Iowa (a marginal swing state) and New Hamspire (a socially conservative swing state). He has no military experience. Clark will eat him for lunch with the DLC crowd. Stick a fork in him: He's done.

Greens and progressive Democrats would flock to him if for no other reason than he's the only Senator that voted against the Patriot Act and the occupation of I-wreck. A Feingold Green candidcay has the possibility of throwing the election into the House, not a bad bet for progressives if Democrats can take back the House in 2006 on impeaching Bush.

Green support will not remain static at 2,74%. Son, I'm a former Dem, a college grad, a vet and voted for Jimmy Carter and every other Democratic candidate for the presidency through Senator Kerry. Wake up and smell the coffee: The Democratic party has been captured by corporate interests and is simply no longer worth supporting as a vehicle for progressive change.  

by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-17 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold is running for president
I don't see anything with the Greens that would suggest that they are going to grow at all.

The Democratic Party's secret weapon is its diversity.  There is strong minority support within the party that needs to be harnessed into a more powerful force.

by v2aggie2 2005-06-17 08:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold is running for president
SS Smith, please recall that an election thrown into the House is by a vote of state delegations, not overall members.  All those dinky Plains states get one vote each...same as NY or Calif.  For the foreseeable future, even taking back the House as a whole, Dems lose on any election thrown into the House.
by InigoMontoya 2005-06-17 10:08PM | 0 recs
Protest Candidacy
The idea is the "protest candidacy".

Feingold wants to run not because he thinks he would win necessarily, but because he wants heat on the frontrunners to include liberal values and policies. Nader achieved this by accident almost: because the closer the general election got, the more uneasy Democrats became with Gore's message, not vice versa.

The Republicans do this every time, running genuine wingnuts like Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes long enough to force guys like Bush and McCain to "walk the walk" through their early primaries. While Bauer and Keyes get no personal attention themselves, (or even the Pat Buchanan's) of the world...their campaigns tend to work as a lightning rod from keeping the GOP  too sterile in platform. (At least, declared platform.)

So I agree, Feingold will prepare himself to run as the "progressive" for a couple months and if his campaign really catches fire I think he'd be ready to go the distance. But the mere fact that he shows up in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Alabama and forces whoever wins the nomination in Warner, Clinton, Baggins to watch their step or face another Nader-esque swell of disenchantment and potentially voter apathy...allowing the Republicans to take the general election once more.

by risenmessiah 2005-06-18 02:00PM | 0 recs
Feingold will NOT be a protest canidate
He is not Kucinich or Sharpton.  Feingold will not run if he does not think he can win both the nomination and the presidency.  If he thinks he can't win the nomination, or if he can win the nomination but will lose the presidency, while another Democrat could win, he won't run.  He has stated this publicly.

I personally think he can win the nomination and the presidency.  His only negatives (in an "electability" sense), in my mind, are his religion and marital status, and I don't think either are anywhere close to fatal.

by Geotpf 2005-06-18 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold will NOT be a protest canidate
I don't get your comment.

I never said Feingold COULD not win the nomination. But no one (except the incumbent running for reelection) knows if he/he are assured a ticket to the Convention. The whole reason you run in a primary style system is to represent your constitutents and platform to the states at large. It is, if you will to help the party decide en masse what they like and what they don't like.

Feingold a "protest candidate" in that he's "protesting" the lack of other progressive voices. It's just as Dean became the "protest candidate" by being anti-war. You don't seem to like this term because it implies there is a great deal of futility to the primary process. But in fact, if Feingold quits before he starts...there's no telling how much the Democratic Party won't benefit by having a frank discussion about our core beliefs and values as a party.

by risenmessiah 2005-06-19 01:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Feingold is running for president
I think he is very electable here in Iowa. We are the home of Tom Harkin.   Who gives is shit whether he wins the Green nomination. He won't be President and he will make it so a dem won't be President either. Really, we're not Britain.  They don't have a Presidency or an electoral college or the South.
by noalternative 2005-06-19 04:01PM | 0 recs
Evan Bayh is not a progressive
but you are wrong in your characterization of Jhn Kerry.  John Kerry was the most progressive candidate this party has nominated in quite some time since McGovern or Mondale.  He was of that era after all.

I have known him and his positions for 30 years.  I know how he thinks.  He in no way in the same category as Evan Bayh.

I will even say that you don't have enough information or knowledge of Was Clark to say that about him.  Indeed I would say that Wes Clark doesn't know that about himself either.  

Which is why, even though I admired him, I did't support him.

Hillary actually has more progrressive initial instincts which she does temper.  Bill is less progressive instinctually than she is.

by debcoop 2005-06-17 05:18PM | 0 recs
Eons of Blog Time
The amount of time that this is going to take is what makes this so difficult to all of us. No doubt you are right, but it's hard. You've heard the jokes about how a day is considered a week in blog time. This kind of massive project will take eons of blog time. We need to realize we are in this for long haul.
by who threw da cat 2005-06-18 06:28AM | 0 recs
You Never Addressed the Winner: Clark
So this is a progressive blog and Wes won the poll. So he is not a progressive though favored by the progressive bloggers here?

Sorry, can't find the logic here.

by noelschutz 2005-06-18 08:07AM | 0 recs
So What is a Progressive.
I like Osama, but don't see him any more of a progressive than Wesley Clark. I am scratching my head here.
by noelschutz 2005-06-18 08:08AM | 0 recs
Er, uh, ah....
Obama,not Osama (a moderate extremist?)
by noelschutz 2005-06-18 08:22AM | 0 recs
Labels are pointless
I've hardly met anyone except the minority extremist fringe groups in each major party that can easily be canned within a label. Most people simply have personal beliefs that range across the spectrum and are thus resistant to easy catagorizing. It all a waste of time, imo.
by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-06-19 09:27AM | 0 recs
thanks chris
I am /was moved by your post.  judging by the comments and conversations with friends, people don't get it.

this is a war, and an organizing effort never seen before.  this will happen.

by aiko 2005-06-19 06:03PM | 0 recs


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