I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats Know The Same?

I feel the need to have a new post up covering the one I wrote below. I am not ashamed of what I wrote, but now that I have had the chance to vent, I'd like to move on and return to actually trying to win the elections. Still, before I do that, I think it is important to say something about ownership of the Democratic Party.

The netroots and the progressive movement have as much of an ownership claim to the Democratic Party as anyone else. We follow the rules, and we have provided an absolutely enormous amount of support to the party. As we work to move into the infrastructure of the party, LieberDems and "New Dems" alike do everything they can to distance themselves from they party. Lieberman's actions following the primary, as well as the actions of those Democrats who continue to support him, make it clear that it is in fact the Lieberman-Tauscher-DLC types view the party, its rules, and its members as a convenience to be easily tossed aside when they interfere with a personal path to power. This is our party as much as it is theirs. Hell, by now it is more our party than it is theirs. Lieberman and his supporters have become the new Naderites in our midst.

That alone means it will be our victory more than it will be theirs. Any Democrat who works to distance himself or herself from the Democratic Party cannot claim responsibility for a Democratic Party victory. That should be obvious enough. It should be just as obvious that I will never be kicked out of this party by those who view it as a personal convenience rather than as a necessary and vital form of solidarity. We need a broad coalition in order to govern, and neither conservatives nor progressive will ever be thoroughly purged from a Democratic governing coalition. Nor should they be, considering our nation's diversity and historical tolerance for dissent. To keep the coalition together, we need to do three things. First, we all must have an ownership stake. Second, we must all agree to act within mutually agreed upon rules to resolve intra-coalition conflicts. Third, we have to all be working for each other, despite our differences.

When we are told that we are driving the party off a cliff, it becomes clear that whoever made that comment it is not working for everyone in the coalition. That person is distancing herself form the party, as we move closer toward it. That alone means it will never be her victory more than it will be ours, no matter what numbers she cites. You can't run against / from X and then claim you catalyzed X's victory (well, maybe you can, considering the frequent illogic of our national political discourse). It also becomes clear that that person has less of an ownership stake, and is less willing to follow party rules if they don't suit her. She isn't willing to make the sacrifices that will allow us to govern together--she only wants to govern for herself and with a few of her friends. When a person like that rises to prominence in the party, that person becomes destructive to the party as a whole. In my book, that becomes the number one reason to run a primary challenge against someone. That's why I was on board with Lamont from before he even announced. Lieberman's Nader-like trashing of the Democratic Party for personal gain was a long-term pattern in his behavior. Iraq and his refusal to accept primary results are just some of the latest examples of that behavior.

I am a progressive, and I joined the Democratic coalition because that is where progressives belong. Just one look at the opposing coalition should make that clear. Fighting for progressives and fighting for Democrats does not in any way seem like a conflict to me. That goes for every time I support a conservative Democrat in a general election. As long as we all follow the guidelines I laid out above, it shouldn't be a problem for centrists and conservatives in our coalition to see no conflict here either. I desperately wish that lack of conflict is something more non-progressives in our coalition would come to understand, because as long as we are selling each other down the river for personal gain, our coalition stands no chance of governing to the benefit of the American people, winning elections, or even functioning as an effective opposition to Republican rule.

The actions of the progressive movement over the past several years have made it clear that we know it is our party. I hope those New Democrats and LieberDems who denigrate the progressive movement and the party's left wing at every turn will come to realize that it is their party too. It has been a long time since many of them they acted like they knew that, but we would all be a lot better off if they knew and acted like they did.

Tags: CA-10, Democrats, Ellen Tauscher (all tags)



Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

We are democrats.  So are they.  We may feel stabbed in the back sometimes (can we declare a moratorium on that phrase for a couple of days?) but so do they.  In the long run, we have to convince them that we are correct.  This means carrots, this means sticks, this means argument.  We can't fall into the RINO trap.  We need to be a reward factor.  I know it is not the easy way, but we have to focus more on the positive and less on vengeance.  People like Tauscher should not be attacked so much.  This network has got to be about support.  We just don't support every candidate.  If we start attacking our own just because we can, this whole thing will devolve into a pile of crap.  Ellen is probably just trying to position herself for the post election party.  If we rise to the bait we may be helping her and her ilk.  I like to think about the far right wing during the 2000 elections.  Somehow, they knew not to make waves.  They knew that GWB was their boy and they let him move to the juicy center while we were fighting over the left.  Tauscher isn't running for president, but shouldn't we try to be smarter than the Democrats of the 70's and 80's?

by SkinnerSan 2006-10-29 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats
To quote from another in the previous post's comments: "They have to hope that this will turn bad for us, so that they can punish us and stop us from taking them out race by race.  Their political future rests completely on the hope that we can be discouraged and turned off by setbacks along the way to taking control of the party."
Like it or not, we have to be Middle Eastern about this.  We have to take the long view even when it tastes bad.  Marathon, not sprint.  When we win we are NOT going to be given credit.  Winning has to be enough for us.  The machine pols are going to keep feeling us out.  That is their way.  That is really okay, I guess.  Ellen's staffers are reading this thread right now and tomorrow they will recalibrate their position on the issues.  As long as we know what we are dealing with, we will continue to erode them away.
by SkinnerSan 2006-10-29 10:53PM | 0 recs
Stop trashing Ralph Nader!

Lieberloser-Tauscher-DLC Dems are the ones that are fucking up this country!  They are the enablers.   I am a Green because of the DLC but I will also support progressive Democrats.  I have donated to Kucinich and McNerney recently.  I applaud all you efforts and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  But, stop directing your anger at us!  You Blog Masters met with Clinton, and reported the orgy you felt when you met him.  You should have called him on this very issue.  Yet none of you reported on his DLC positions.  Also, Democrats have the power to change the laws to implement Instant Rank Voting (IRV), but they chose not too!  As a result, your justifications for trashing Nader and Greens are similar to the those used by Bush against the Dems. Get it straight!  

by jncamane 2006-10-29 10:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Stop trashing Ralph Nader!
"They" are the enablers!  Do you know what "enabler" means?  Greens are the enablers.  Hey, why don't I just refuse to vote for the liberal party because they don't conform to my personal views 100%.  
     I have no time for people who can't understand why this country has a 2 party political system and always will have.  "Winner take all."  Look it up.  Take a class.  Stop voting for 3rd parties.  It is always counterproductive.  Conservatives who don't vote republican are hurting their cause as much as you are hurting ours.  The place for you to express yourself is THE F'NING PRIMARY!
by SkinnerSan 2006-10-29 11:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Stop trashing Ralph Nader!

By your logic:  We would still have slavery, women would still not be allowed to vote, we would be separate but equal, senators would be  nominated by the govs,..., etc.  You assume we can not evolve into a more democratic country.  Maybe you should take a class.  At this point you are using Rovian logic.    

by jncamane 2006-10-29 11:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Stop trashing Ralph Nader!

SkinnerSan writes:

"They" are the enablers!  Do you know what "enabler" means?  Greens are the enablers.  Hey, why don't I just refuse to vote for the liberal party because they don't conform to my personal views 100%.  
     I have no time for people who can't understand why this country has a 2 party political system and always will have.

jncamane writes:

By your logic:  We would still have slavery, women would still not be allowed to vote, we would be separate but equal

I don't recall anything in the Constitution about a demand for only 2 parties - or any parties for that matter.

Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party was early on an affront to those who wanted one party.

The Republicans were initially a third party that coalesced around the fight against slavery.

I am writing as a liberal who was "forced" to vote for Nader (who also disagreed with the Greens as much as I do though he used them), for Perot, for Andersen, for anybody but the Democrats and Republicans who had become corrupt and turned against the citizenry.

The NY Times has a piece today about many Democratic insurgents - Heath Shuler is featured - running to the right of the Republicans.  A poster mentioning that in a diary was torn limb from limb as a lunatic troll by the faithful.

Hey do you want us or not?  Do you want liberals who care about a decent respect for ideas or do you want a closed club of Republican Lites that would prefer chains to freedom?

Your choice.  We liberals will always be the outsiders.  If you can accept the pro-torture, pro-life loons; why is it so hard to accept liberals?

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-30 12:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Stop trashing Ralph Nader!

Well-said.  And I'd add that the Dems, with the Republicans, consistently oppose IRV legislation, so that they can use the "spolier" line and maintain an institutional control over the electorate, which subverts, rather than promotes, democracy.

And the "Nader-like" analogy is absurd.  Nader's campaign came out of a disillusionment with the Democratic Party because of the DLC take over.

by justinh 2006-10-30 02:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Stop trashing Ralph Nader!

Do you even read our posts? I have seen some lefty bloggers here show support for moderates like Mark Warner who I am sure does not adhere 100% to their agenda. I personally have put out many posts supporting some liberals here even though I am sure I am not as liberal as you are.

It's about how they conduct their business. If people like Lieberman and Schumer want to espouse their agenda, that is fine. But the way they treat other democrats is wrong. It is precisely their lack of openness which you accuse people here of which is setting people off. Are you telling me people here attack every single senator who is to the right of them?

by Pravin 2006-10-30 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

So I guess your number one priority is changing the manner in which electoral collage votes are distributed?  What PAC do you contribute to that has this as their goal?  That is really the beginning and end of this argument.  I like the parliamentary system.  I think it is in many ways superior to ours.  We do not live in that kind of country.  In order for 3rd parties to make any kind of sense the very bones of our democracy need to be restructured.  The fact that Greens and Libertarians cannot see that this is not the time for that kind of stuff proves their lack of political savvy.  You might as well be throwing Molotov cocktails at McDonald's, for all the good it will do you.  

by SkinnerSan 2006-10-29 11:42PM | 0 recs
Nonsense! Only modest reforms are needed...

to make this a stronger democracy.  IRV, for example, can be implemented with out constitutional ammendments. This is the case in San Francisco. If IRV gets implemented, I assure you, more than 90% of the Green votes would go to Democrats at the final count.  Also, remember it was the Greens that questioned the Ohio vote in 2004 while Kerry/Democratic Party gave up with-out a fight.  If Democrats won't stand-up for Democracy, Greens Will!

by jncamane 2006-10-30 12:14PM | 0 recs
Re: new democrats vs progressive

who's this Tauscher lady and can she already claim members that arent even elected yet??..how can she already do such a thing...i would understand if the progressive caucus gets real mad and isnt this a powerplay to overpower pelosi and the liberals?

by Maria19Rodriguez 2006-10-30 12:26AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

I think the problem here is considering Rep. Tauscher's remarks as being directed towards the "netroots" and progressives in general. She's clearly angling within the Democratic caucus itself.

During the race for Minority Leader, a large swath of the California delegation tried to strongarm her by threatening to have her district redrawn & her forced out if she didn't support Nancy Pelosi for leader. If that's playing by the rules, then clearly the Game is a little trickier than we'd like to realise. You can't take the politics out of politics and Rep. Tauscher is simply trying to secure her & her ideaological comrades' security & safety within the party through numbers.

I realise this isn't what Chris was objecting to. He was balking at the notion that Progressives would drive the party left off a cliff. First of all, considering what we've had to endure these last 6 years, to focus on fears of moving too far to the left really illustrates shameless & thoughtless lack of priorities on Tauscher's part, and considering all the things the Progressive movement has done for the party the last few years and, let's face it, considering some of things that have been done & supported by Democrats of the Tauscher mode in recent years, they should be on their knees with kisses and praises for "The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" to speak of them as a nuisance is the height of disrespect.

I've always admired the pragmatic respect Chris Bowers, who by his own admission is very very progressive, has shown toward more conservative factions of the party, even when they don't deserve it. So for him to be offended probably means something is offensive & I apologize for characterizing is as melodramatic earlier. I'm just trying to point out that a lack of internalisation of the "We are the world" memo among Democrats isn't limited to the "New Democrats" alone.  

by Epitome22 2006-10-30 12:27AM | 0 recs
Re: New Democrats

I could be wrong, but I think a balanced budget and strong defense are two good leading issues: Domestic and international security.

I talk to a lot of people who are sitting on the fence right now--former Republicans who have just had enough of Bush and the bible thumpers but haven't yet been able to commit to voting Dem--and those are frequently their top issues.

Should they be the only issues? No.

The list Pelosi has been touting--Medicare bulk purchasing, minimum wage increase, 9/11 commission recommendations and lobbyist reform--are also very good. Then, I think, many of the other progressive issues should be addressed.

However, if you want to make the Dems a majority party again, you have to adopt the issues that a majority of the country are concerned about. The deficit and national security are important ones.

That's especially true for the latter, given how many times we've had our clocked cleaned on defense issues.

by Bush Bites 2006-10-30 01:03AM | 0 recs
Those are the same people I talk to

I was following right along, not objecting too much, then I sensed the outrage when she detoured to off the cliff. Ouch.

I'm not familiar with Tauscher to know if she has a history of comments like that. Or has said anything specific about the netroots.

Seems to me there is a bit of a defensive posture already taken by netroots leaders, possibly in anticipation of inevitable articles and themes if Lamont loses. You know damn well jackasses like David Brooks will thrill to focus on that outcome as representative, as opposed to the House and Senate bottom line. Hell, the articles are probably already written.

Anyway, this is an excellent post-vent post by Chris Bowers. Especially since, if I set my clock correctly last night, he posted it at nearly 4:30 AM Eastern time.

by Gary Kilbride 2006-10-30 02:00AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats
Progressives have every right to be proud of having contributed to a strong victory next week, particularly in pushing and working for a true 50 state strategy. With victories expected in states like Montana, Indiana and North Carolina, we can claim to have fully restored ourselves as a national party.
So why are folks so sensitive about a New Democrat caucus? Doesn't a truly national party necessarily include people who disagree? We don't seem to mind that we're supporting candidates who disagree with us on guns, for instance. But let someone mention the dread words "New Democrat" and the talk turns to backstabbing and the like. Are folks worried that, after the election, the netroots will be thanks and sent away empty-handed? Influence truly earned cannot be denied.
This election is not about the liberals vs. the centrist in the Democratic Party. It's about holding the GOP accountable for driving our country into a ditch.
My advice is to calm down and get back to work. Let's do what we need to in the next week to seal the deal. And after the Democratic Party wins control of the House and maybe even the Senate, we can get about the hard work of fixing the mess the GOP left for us to clean up.
by tommywonk 2006-10-30 02:17AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats
As a young man I in the late 60's and early 70's growing up in Chicago I thought change was needed in Chicago goverment. I mean unless you wre part of the "in" clot group you could not have a voice. Along came Bill Singer and we took off to right the wrongs of the world. In the end we lost because WE did not want to work with the old "in" group. The city went side to side without any real direction. Then 25 years later someone came along who preached everyone should be included and took control. Now that person has formed a new "in" group. Has lost sight of including all.
Please think about the leson WE need to work together are goal needs to be unity, inclusion and compromise this will insure a great base to win the White House in 08
by KevinB 2006-10-30 02:49AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

Consider the source.  Haven't you guys spent a little ink on pointing out how much big money Hoyer gets. This isn't about rejecting the left, this is about Hoyer still continuing feeding at the trough.  

Back in the nineties I went to a meeting of the Friends Committee on National Legislation and some guy who lobbied on liberal causes was telling me, with great pride, how he managed to get his sound bite out.  For a long time, everybody has been talking in catchy meaningless phrases and raising money to invent and broadcast those catchy meaningless phrases.  

After Lamont won, one of the major diarists on dkos wrote a great diary where he said that our battle is the ant versus a shoe, and the ant won.    You are famous now, and influential, and I can say I read you when. We are not going to lose because we are now an avalanche of ants.  

It's always hard for people who have adapted to a corrupt system to change.  I bet, if no one was listening, and Hoyer were actually describing the world he wanted to live in, it would be more like yours than you think.  When I was teaching, endless numbers of teachers were doing things they  hated to manipulate their students into being quiet and filling out boring worksheets so that the teacher would look good; but they did, in their heart of hearts, still want to inspire curiousity and high-mindedness.  Somehow life can just grind you down.  

Don't let it grind you down.  You're my hero. You're a leader in a historic fight.  And I think you're going to win.

by prince myshkin 2006-10-30 02:50AM | 0 recs
Take It

I think we need to get in the habit of not feeling hurt or angry when the establishment Dems try to slam the door in our faces.  Tauscher's remark was a gatekeeping statement--but it was also a sign of fear:  fear of us.

Last year at YK, Stoller made a passing comment on a panel discussion that most people missed--but which I thought was the most insightful observation of the entire event (not intending to give Matt a big head, here):  We won't get power by asking for it, but by standing up and taking it.

Everybody needs to write that short sentence on a piece of paper and read it at least once a day.  Then, when some establishment Dem over the next few weeks or months or years tries to slam the door on the Progressive movement, we don't respond with anger, we don't respond by feeling betrayed.  We just say, "You're goddam right we are taking over this party.  And if that makes you afraid, you're in big trouble."

When a Dem says that the party needs to be "protected" from going over the Left "cliff," that means that she feels her power being taken from her.  We need to see those kinds of remarks as affirmations of our success, not as acts of betrayal.  Only then will we truly begin to take hold of what we have worked so hard to build.

I believe we can win these elections.  But whether or not we win all of them--whether or not we take back the House or the Senate, or Lamont wins or Webb wins--we are here,  now.  The future of the Democratic Party is ours, and nothing can stop that but our own modesty--our own unerstandable desire to be welcomed.     It would be great to have the Tauschers of the party welcome us with open arms.  But even if the do, we need to stand up and take it.  

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-30 03:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid the real issues

This is pretty rich: you guys bash centrists all day long like they're far-right Republicans; you extort money from incumbents as if it's your birthright; you treat most of the people in the Democratic Party like they're too stupid to know how to breathe, and yet one comment gets floated in an NYT article and you go into hysterical fits of righteous indignation.

Can I suggest an alternative?  Look past the taunts that you perceive to the deeper questions.  For example, do you or Matt Stoller actually have a position on the issues that Ms. Tauscher raised?  Because from where I sit nothing would cripple the Republican Party faster than having Democrats take responsibility for national security and fiscal responsibility.

Can you, as progressives, get behind those issues?  Can you put national security issues like war and fighting terrorism at the top of your own list, so that the Republican Party no longer gets to make those calls?  Or does that make you feel too uncomfortable?

There are times when I think you're so completely wrapped up in your emotional life that you're going to perpetually allow people to push your buttons and turn you into the kind of attack dog that ultimately only proves the charges that are being leveled against you.  Or are you actually looking to be that predictable and easily used?

[Hint: that was another one of those taunts that you need to get better at ignoring.  How did you do?]

by MarkB 2006-10-30 03:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid the real issues

Funny stuff,  MarkB.  Your own crankiness packaged as self-help advice.  You should save that comment as a clipping for your job search file.  I hear Dr. Phil is always hiring...

[Hint: LOL]

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-30 03:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues

Yet another complete whiff on the questions: should Democrats accept responsibility for national security and fiscal responsibility?

by MarkB 2006-10-30 04:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues

Actually, that "whiff" is the pungent smell of the GOP talking points you're reading from.  And it is a strong smell.  Your "question" makes about as much sense as asking, "Should Democrats stop undermining President Bush's efforts so American can win the war in terror?"

Oh, jeepers.   Let me think hard on that one.

When you stop posing as a cranky senior statesman dolling out advice to the little people, and start asking questions that are more than Republican sound bites, maybe someone will start taking you seriously.

Until then, I'm going to keep using your clever little "hint" in brackets formula...

[Hint:  *raspberry*]

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-30 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues


Another non-answer.  You're better at it than most, but you're still incapable of responding on the merits.

I think Democrats need to seize national security and make it their own.  Publicly accept responsibility for it and in doing so marginalize Republicans.

You think you don't have to take a position, and to my mind that's because you're afraid of being responsible for war and death.  That's understandable, but it means you cede the issue to the Republicans, and they keep beating Democrats (and progressives) up with it.

[Hint: hint.]

by MarkB 2006-10-30 05:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues

A "non-answer" to a non-question:  I'd say I'm batting 1000.  

It's not that I don't think I have to take a position,  but that I don't answer dishonest questions.  Do you have a position on national defense? Or are you really so far gone that you think "strong on defense" is your position?  It's not a position. It's the rhetorical equivalent of throwing a beer in someone's face.

You obviously feel slighted by Progressives for some reason--god only knows what that is.  Maybe you volunteer for Lieberman, I have no idea.  So you come here and toss aggressive, but hollow questions at us to feel better about yourself--claiming that your real goal is to find out our "position" on "security"--as if Democrats are "weak on defense" (c.f. Karl Rove).  But that's not your real goal.  Your real goal is to feel better about yourself at the precise moment that Progressives are making historic gains in these elections.

Here's my hint to you, MarkB:  start thinking your own thoughts and strop trying to forge a political identity out of the fear and intimidation thrown at you by Republicans.  One key reason the country is voting for Democrats is because it sees the Republican attack on Dems (e.g.,  "Dems are weak on defense") as little more than fraudulent and divisive politics that has led to thousands of deaths and millions of lives ruined. Stop climbing on board that corrupt logic at the exact moment that even the most politically disinterested are finally waking up from it's spell.  The majority of the country now sees the phrase "Dems are week on defense" as being about as meaningful as the punchline in a zombie movie.  That should be a hint that it's time for you to go "cold turkey" from viewing your world through the narrow lens given to you by Karl Rove and Dick Cheney.

Or, you can keep posing as a policy guy who thinks "tough on defense" is an actual position--which, frankly, is more entertaining for me, but  I suspect less satisfying for you in the long run.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-30 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues


You've been drinking too much kool-aid.

On Dems accepting responsibility for national security, and why it's key to beating Republicans:

Even better, progressive voices such as MyDD's Jonathan Singer are on board:

Credit must be given to DPC Chairman Byron Dorgan, who is organizing these hearings. Not only do these show voters that the Democratic Party is serious about improving American policy towards Iraq by providing oversight -- which even a Repbulican Congressman admits has been "inadequate" under the current GOP Congress -- but they also show voters that the Democratic Party is a party of action, not just naysaying (as some Republicans claim), and what's more that Democrats can work in a bipartisan manner so thoroughly lacking in Washington today.

    http://thepremise.com/archives/09/22/200 6/173

That's the dam breaking.  If Republicans and President Bush cannot hold the Democrats back on the issue of terror(ism), then their party has been discredited at its core.

Every Democratic candidate and every Democratic and progressive voice should be stepping forward and accepting responsibility for national security today.  The country is looking for someone to take responsibility: Democrats should step up and be counted.

    http://thepremise.com/archives/10/07/200 6/312

More here:

    http://www.thepremise.com/index.php?s=na tional+security+accept+responsibility

On Bill Clinton throwing Ned Lamont under the bus:

    http://thepremise.com/archives/09/28/200 6/196

On why Joe Lieberman can't be trusted:

    http://thepremise.com/archives/10/12/200 6/296

On what I think about the war in Iraq:

One study estimates that about 16 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq have PTSD. But military officials say they don't keep tabs on how many troops still fighting have been diagnosed. Most soldiers are never screened, a GAO report finds.

That's the kind of living nightmare that the Republican Party -- including John McCain -- is willing to accept in order to retain political power.

"As you know, you have to go to war with the
Army you have, not the Army you want."

-- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
   December 9, 2004

Then you grind that army into the desert sand for two more years, man by man, trading their lives, their limbs, their sanity for another month of promises, another week of denials, another day of escape from the noose that history is drawing ever tighter around your neck.  It is an epitaph, writ every day in caskets, blood and screams.

    http://thepremise.com/archives/10/28/200 6/504

Just goes to show how wrong you can be sometimes, Jeffrey.  There's more than one kind of Democrat.

[Hint: you forgot to add a hint.]

by MarkB 2006-10-30 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid[ing] the real issues

More than one kind of Democrat?  Goodness!  So much I'm learning in this exchange.  Hold on a sec while I use my blue crayon to write your pearl of wisdom in my coloring book...

[Hint: zzzz.....]

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-30 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Whining and avoid the real issues

Actually the centrists want to have it both ways. They want to put national security at the top of the list when their stupid tactics don't get exposed to the public. When they get exposed as incompetent on national security, they like to whine about it being just one of many issues.

by Pravin 2006-10-30 06:52AM | 0 recs
An independent's perspective (who will caucus D)

Chris, as an independent who will loyally work with the Democrats for at least the next three years (through 2008) I would like to add my perspective.

First, I think its interesting how you continue to reiterate that there are , somehow "rules". The rules in play are of course, the rules that you would ascribe to to create a strong coalition.

But what is that coalition purposed for? This is the question. It is to promote legislation, and administration of the country.

It is clear to me, as an independent, that as long as the legislative process itself has its feet cut away from  it - in the current environment of rampant lobbyism, there will be no laws written or constructed so that any one coalition can take a meaningful stance. Case in point - was it not the Hurricane Katrina relief bill that made your coal fired power plants in Pennsylvania such that they could dump more mercury in the air.

What better to illustrate this problem, than to show that our legislative process creates bills that, to address environmental catastrophe - republicans like John Cornyn, of Texas, can add random, almost arbitrary pieces of legislation to them, that make them meaningless.

Perhaps a better illustration of the "rules"
would be John Kerrys "I voted for the war, before I Voted Against it" position that he so eloquently stated for the benefit of the republicans in 2004.

(I saw a bumpersticker that said "I voted for John Kerry before I voted against him")

Well, John Kerry, like Jack Murtha, is something of a Hawk. He likes to play it safe with invasions, etc. but will vote to increase military spending nearly every chance he gets.

So, the defense appropriations bill that he voted "Against" was a bill that had, by again, a republican, another rider on it that said that the war would be funded, and oh by the way - we'd also give a big whopping tax break to the top 1% of American society so in addition to having a war, we can also cut the funding out of the war so that we won't win it.  But we'll bring home the pork!

So John Kerry votes against this brazen, lobbyist type activity.  

Do you remember what happened? Well, the GOP talk machine said that Kerry was "pandering to the left". I guess you could say he was being "Driven over a leftist cliff" by the fact that Dean was winning on an anti-war platform.

Truth be told, All americans have always fell the same. We don't want to benefit from ill gotten gains. We want to think of ourselves as a beacon of democracy - and we want to explore the realm of  governance and create new forms of government that build tolerance, and effeciency. So people who want less waste, that call themselves conservative - are ok in my book. And people who want more transparency and honesty - people who, like myself, would say that if we were going to war - we would pay for it too - well those people fight wars, and win them. They can call themselves, as you do, liberals.

That doesn't mean you would support an obviously unjust group of men. It just means that, like the conservative british, if you were to play by their rules, you would walk in a straight line, wear red, and fall in when you got hit by the musketball of the georgia militia hiding in the trees, wearing green, and scattering when you walk by.

I will be in the Democrats camp because the vast majority of democrats these days have an agenda that goes for change.

I would honestly like to be part of a party - but here in Georgia, you've abandoned us completely. The bush republicans here drive their kids down to 46th out of 50 states, educationally,  - trying to teach them that invading countries is good for us. They spend their time trying to tear up science textbooks.  They are a serious problem to us.

And the democratic party has done practically zip.
So this is nothing new to us. You are up t here in Pennsylvania, where you have an organized party.

Down here, we only have whomever the GOP has planted within our party to keep it weak. There are plenty of people in the mold of Jimmy Carter, who are wary of the "ted kennedys" of the world, but would be here to give you the 21 electoral votes.

But there are also even  more people who are the Zell Millers of the party - who, by the way, now works for Fox news as a paid consultant.

The main thing I am saying is that , it would be great to have a party -

But shouldn't the rules say, also, that at least, the legislation we would have our party coalition for - could be legislation that could be readable by everyman?

I am Indian, new to your country. My husband's family (you remember turnerbroadcasting before you kicked him off the cliff?) came here 220 years ago, from Austria - for one thing. They wanted the bible to be read in the language of the people. While the Catholic church today , just a few weeks ago- brings back the undecipherable latin mass - all my husband's family really wanted was to hear the words of the bible in a way that they could understand and implement in their lives. So they were hounded out of Austria and into Germany and finally here, where the new system of government supported it.

Quietly, the Bush republicans have , through the use of the broken legislative process - created new rules, like signing statements - that let them break the constitutional roles that were the great insight of our founding fathers.

And now, given that there is a midterm election up, in which there might be a single chance to have a check on their power - we are playing dangerously close to providing the bush republicans with exactly what they need. A reason to pretend that they again are in the minority and that the reason why nothing gets done, is because of Democrats.

Well, Dean has seriously reshaped this party - and his work shows in every single victory I see.

So, Come elections next week, my husband and I are going to party. We're going to break out the sparkling apple cider (family tradition) - and then, if , as my main goal with this election, we can make Harry Reid the senate MAJORITY leader - then, we'll let "Give 'Em Hell Harry! " decide what to do about whipping.

And if they decide to really boot the lobbyists and advertisers and special interests and practically all of the things that DC has tricked itself into believing needs be there (thanks to television) we will win, again and again - and there will be a 20 year reign of prosperity and I will settle down, and pull the lever for the Democrats every time.

Right now, I am serious when I tell you that I am not happy being an independent, and I Am only an indie because I know that - no matter how the partisan battles are fought ( and generally they are fought with advertising money, thats why the DLC and their slick machine still exist - and why green senator Ned Lamont is battling for his life against mr. "Antiwar" lieberdem) --- it really doesn't matter. Doesn't Joe teach you that? In the end, its about the lobbyists. They are getting the politicians elected that will try to undo the democratic majoritys. Deadlock for the past 4 years, deadlock the next two - all at the expense of the taxpayer - and all because lobbyists can write the legislation now, instead of the people -

Remember this famous line .. "Son, are you aware that we don't even read the legislation on our desks anymore?"

Good luck Chris. I hope you win.

by heyAnita 2006-10-30 03:35AM | 0 recs
Re: An independent's perspective in Georgia

That's what the 50-state plan is intended to do: create a grassroots Democratic Party everywhere. Look around; if you don't have one now, you will soon. Better yet, work at making one.

by joyful alternative 2006-10-30 04:52AM | 0 recs
Future Planning

Several tracks must be pursued.

The first is that  progressives need to start collecting funds on Nov 8th publicly stated to be used to oust wing nut D's that have been in office and the ones recruited by Emmanuel.

The DLC has used D's money for years to torpedo progressive D's to promote sock puppets and rethuglican lites so until they get slapped around from the progressives they will continue to do so because it works. Something they learned from thier rethuglican mentors that no matter how slimy or dishonest a tactic if it works use it.

Think how useful such a fund would have been in the Texas primary where a reactionary D won or in Il 06 where a sock puppet was propped up with money meant to be spent against rethuglicans but was in fact used to sabatauge a true grassroots candinate. There are other examples to numorous to name ( maryland Congressional race is another notable example)

The second track is to work on the inside and change the rules so that emmanuel, or what ever puppet he supports, cannot use DCCC money and influence to torpedo progressives by supporting carpetbaggers etc. (i.e. IL 06) any money spent is spent against the right never against the left period.

Progressives must let Senators know on Nov. 8th that if lierman gets elected any D senator that supports his attempt to steal seniority will pay in '08 by having a challenger, loss of ground support and loss of grass roots fundraising.
Bad behavior must be punished.

A few noteworthy targets would offer an important object lesson to other potential Quislings.

by Rational 2006-10-30 04:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Future Planning

I had an idea about that.  The Democrats could have a list of, say, 20 detailed proposals.  Not too detailed.  Iraq, and five tangible things we should do.  Health care, and five tangible thigs we should do.  Then when election time came, voting Democrats would look at the record of their representative and if he or she had not been effective, or especially if he or she had been counterproductive, we would run an opponent.  I know it's hard to change a culture that likes to make this a popularity contest, but the main reason to pay attention to character is get somebody ethical and effective, with the power of persuasion necessary.  Other than that, it's the issues, baby.

Someone called this something like a parliamentary system, where even fairly low interest voters could choose effective leadership based on whether the stood for and produced results on the issues of their choice.  And the Republicans should do the same thing.  The only thing is, the issues that they say they stand for are not the ones most Americans support.  Americans are much more liberal than they think.

by prince myshkin 2006-10-30 05:30AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

Personally I wouldn't worry too much.  All you can really do is put pressure on politicans by threatening their chance at reelection.  And this election will allow bloggers to do that.  

To me that is ultimately what matters in this election.  What politicans say isn't important at all.  

The question is whether or not they fear you.

by sterra 2006-10-30 04:21AM | 0 recs

I have an early night - and WW3 breaks out! ;)

The facts of life are pretty much down to the arithmetic: neither the liberals nor the DNC/NDC/Blue Dogs will have a majority of the majority in the House - assuming the Dems have the majority, natch.

Each side will be constantly pitching for the support of the Mister In-Betweens. Since so many of the main committee chairmanships will be going to liberals (if seniority rules), it's only natural that the mods will be reaching out to the guys in the middle to balance things up in the party.

Which means Hoyer as Maj Leader, of course. And a fair amount of leeway from Pelosi on going off the reservation on non-procedural votes.

Part of the pitch which will come very early (like now) is on the promised ethics rules: Son of Tony (Coelho, that is) is, we know from the Washington Monthly piece (if we didn't before!) not a zealot on cleaning up Congress.

First choice for the in-betweenies (in the first hour of the famous 100: do they go full bore with Pelosi's crusade, or lean with the Hoyerite not so fast folks?

Fundamental problem for lefties: there aren't enough of them to take control of the Dem party in any foreseeable scenario. Hence the need to compromise.

Which is a dirty word, but a necessary bargain.

by skeptic06 2006-10-30 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Wow!

compromise is a short-term necessity, but in the long run the battle of ideas is what will bring the progressive movement back. there's a potential goldmine of ideas out there having to do with rational, goal-oriented policies that are focused on the common good, not the interests of the conservative elite. its too bad that "micro-partisan" Dems so often engage in personal bickering. the same energy put into that could instead be put into building a powerful platform we can take to the rest of the US.

by Chris G 2006-10-30 08:41AM | 0 recs
Be Cautious

As an independent looking from the outside on this shift of power, let me throw out a word of caution before everyone here goes running off with this victory declaring a new progressive uprising.

The GOP is weakened in this cycle, particularly in the "red-state challenged" races because the neocon warmongerers and ultra-religious wingnuts that have siezed control of that party have left the center unguarded and the Democrats in those areas are pouncing on them.  The current administration and their rubber-stamp proxies in Congress are feeling the heat from alienating key "traditionally Republican" constituencies, in particular libertarians (with a small "l") and moderate Christians.

Libertarian Republicans believe in small government, economic free markets, and non-intervention, both domestically and globally.  The current administration with its war of conquest in the Middle East and it runaway pork and earmark budgets and record deficits have left libertarian conservatives behind from their parties.  This is a large constituency in upper plains areas, and it's not surprising to see the GOP base eroding in MT, WY, & ID this cycle as a result.

As far as Christians go, I know that most Evangelicals are not necessarily Catholic, but nevertheless, a good indicator of "mainstream" political beliefs among the devout is the Vatican.  The Vatican has been as strong of an opponent of the Iraq War as any country.  Simply put, war and killing are not Christian values, and most certainly fabricating evidence in order to justify an aggressive war of conquest for personal profit is about as un-Christian as you can get.  As the slaughter continues and the un-Christian war rises in importance for ture Christian voters relative to issues like abortion and gay marriage, devout Democrats are getting traction.  You are seeing this in people like Heath Shuler and Brad Ellsworth, who are taking conservative evalgelical seats as the current GOP is increasingly exposed as immoral.

What is the point of this?  If you win because the GOP has left themselves open to attack from the center instead of the left and then try to take the party to the left, the Democratic control of Congress is going to be very short.  In short, the Blue Dog or New Democrats are going to be the kingmakers in this Congress.  If Nancy Pelosi and the progressives try to shove a real leftist agenda through Congress, these people will either stop it, switch parties (if the GOP cleans up its act), or be defeated in 08 by more morally upstanding Republicans that will fill the moral void once the current Titanic sinks.

Tausher's "driving off a cliff" statement was uncalledfor at this point before the election, but you all should take heed of her sentiments.  Incidentally, I think that Nancy Pelosi herself is smart enough to recognize that the Democrats are winning by reclaiming the center and to remain in power, they must rule from the center.  She has already said that there will be no impeachment process and is talking about bipartisan issues like the 9/11 commission.  She needs to make sure she keeps the part on this track in order to keep it in power.

Finally, one more important point.  If progressives want a true majority in Congress, they need to reclaim all of the blue state and positive PVI districts that they can with progressive candidates.  Chris has noted the importance of winning back as many "blue seats" as possible for progressives this cycle.  This is dead on.  Brad Ellsworth and Heath Shuler and Jon Tester will help get the neocon war machine out of power, but they won't help the progressive agenda.  Lois Murphy and Ned Lamont and John Hall will.  These are the people who it is most critical to win this cycle for progressives (as opposed to the larger Democratic Party).

by NJIndependent 2006-10-30 04:54AM | 0 recs


We are close to being the dominant (or equally matched) party here.  How do we wrap this one up and progress further?

By calling out centrist democrats who are winning their elections by giving their voters what they want?

What is the Big Tent if we slap a litmus test on all comers as to whether they are progressive enough?  governing DEMANDS sensitivity to what people want.  We have proven in the past that we are all too happy to take the bait on issues like gun control and abortion, and they have hammered us with it.  If we plan to GOVERN, then this would be a good time to accept REALITY of where voters are at.  A middle stance will work against the belligerent right wing fundies, if we don't drop dead at the first hint of political diversity.  

You have to run on issues that run well where you are.  A good new candidate is going to listen to the voters, not the blogs.  It's five minutes to midnight and you want to declare war on your own damn party?



by anselm 2006-10-30 05:16AM | 0 recs
Take a Deep Breath

We are a coalition party, we are not always going to agree. I think you are reading way too much into the NYT article. Let's wait and see what happens if and when we take the House. I don't imagine that a lot of Dems from western and southern states are going to back gay rights and gun control, but they will probably work with us on trade agreements, tax policies, etc.

by mrgavel 2006-10-30 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party. Why Don't New Democrats

Exactly mrgavel.  

And Chris, with all your claims of "ownership" and sabre-rattling over the DLC vs. the "movement, where is your focus on the real issue - that diverse, leadership-hungry, sometimes provincial group known as the VOTERS?

by anselm 2006-10-30 05:36AM | 0 recs
Nobody has sole proprietorship

Take Tauscher's statement and flip it: if it were a statement about the Progressive Caucus or Netroots Endorsed Candidates, many people who are upset with Tauscher would be cheering, whistling, and stomping their feet.

It is not Tauscher's party.  But Tauscher and those who sail with her are one important constituency.   But neither is it the "Netroot's" party.  Though they are also one important constituency.  And if I thought about it a few minutes I could probably identify other, if overlapping, constituencies as well.

If Progressive candidates want to form the Democratic equivalent of the Republican Study Group,  a mirror image group comprising the more ideologically Progressive members, so be it, though I would encourage a close look at the RSG's failures as well as its successes while doing so.

But the "we don't need them, fuck them, we can get along without them" narrative is one of Karl Rove's fondest wet dreams.   As Ben Franklin said, if we don't hang together we will surely hang separately.

After the election, the netroots will be able to point to victories where it couldn't have happened without them.   There will also be Democratic victories where the netroots will rate an asterisk if they aren't an outright hindrance; the snarking against Harold Ford or Jim Webb by some who find their ideological purity insufficient is the kind of cut-off-your-nose behavior that have lead some to conclude that Democrats never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

by InigoMontoya 2006-10-30 05:47AM | 0 recs
Time to run a primary opponent...

...against Ellen Tauscher in 2008.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-10-30 05:59AM | 0 recs
Re: I Know It Is My Party.

There will always be differences of opinion, outlook, preferred outcomes, etc between radicals, liberals, moderates, mainstreams, conservatives, libertarians, and what-have-yous. There will always be struggles to define objectives, priorities, resource allocation, etc. among the same groups. That's what the polictical realm does. That will always be what any not-utterly-corrupt party does. How could it be otherwise?

We have come along way toward changing the outcomes of those differences and struggles, but we were never moving toward a goal of harmony and eternal unity. That will never happen. Politics is a place of struggle. How could it be otherwise?

We don't struggle to level the playing field and let ideas win on the merits. We struggle to make our objectives reality. Part of that struggle has been to overcome the corporate money advantage--not for it's own sake, but to defang a powerful opponent in the struggle to realize our objectives. How could it be otherwise?

The struggle can be honest, but there will always be a struggle insofar as there are genuine differences of need and desire--and I posit that there always will be. How could it be otherwise?

As for the stabbed in the back meme: let's leave that bit of dishonesty to the conservative ideologues. There will always be stabbing and backs as well as fronts are as fair game. How could it be otherwise?

by Hoi Polloi 2006-10-30 06:57AM | 0 recs
Why Don't New Democrats Know The Same?
I'd like to know what conservative Democrats mean when they use the term "too far left."   What in the world are they concerned about?  Are they worried that the lefties are going to propose that Americans have a decent health care system?
Or that we won't engage in stupid, expensive and destructive wars?  Or that we will demand fiscal accountability?   Just what terrifying "leftist" policies are they worried about?
by global yokel 2006-10-30 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Don't New Democrats Know The Same?

My take on it is that the "too-far-left" Dems want to ban and/or overregulate guns in a variety of contexts, legislatively adopt gay marriage, release terrorists (or blanch at interrogating them)out of Guantanamo, and pull out of Iraq to the detriment of national security.

There has to be room for variation on these issues for the Dems to win nationally on anywhere but the coasts.

by anselm 2006-10-30 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Why Don't New Democrats Know The Same?

Anyway, that's how I think they are seen.  In some cases it may not be accurate, but the point is show, don't tell.  Stand with, or at least work with, those centrists who differ incrementally from the netroots, and you will take the wind out of your worst critics' sails and sweep up crossover support.

by anselm 2006-10-30 07:52AM | 0 recs
following the rules gets you no rights

there are no rules.

you followed no rules.

people have tried to get their readership and usership to "follow rules", they have tried to impose rules, on behalf of the party.

you don't actually deserve a piece of the Party for that dirty job, quite the opposite.

by pyrrho 2006-10-30 11:46AM | 0 recs


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