The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Alright, let's talk agenda for 2007-2008.  And I don't mean policy.  Let's assume that we are going to take the House, and we may or may not take the Senate.  We need to realize that we are winners, and learn to act like it.

If taking the House happens, it's going to be brutal for the Republicans, on a political and personal level.  It's not just the destruction of the K-Street project, the investigations, the minimum wage increases, etc.  In DC, it's not just that thousands of good policy jobs in DC will leave the Republican party and go to Democrats in the House because two thirds of the committee staff are going to switch from R to D.  It's the little things, like the fact that the crappy old used blackberries that Democratic staffers get on the hill because of the Republican administrators are vindictive will go to Republicans instead.  It's the little touches that are meant to wreck Democratic dignity that will be turned around.  And with that turnaround, hopefully Democratic pride will come back.  We will be winners, and they will be losers.

That's critical.

While the policy objectives in 2007 are important, I think it's more important to focus on the first fight that's going to happen.  It's critical that the Democrats pick one specific fight, fight it, and humiliate their right-wing opponents.  Be vindictive.  Treat them the way you were treated.  It's not just fair, it's immoral to do otherwise.  They must pay for the norms they violated, the brutal civic tissue they ripped up for power.  And then, in your first fight, pick one aggregated of right-wing power, and crush it.  It could be national religious broadcasters - mandate that local content requirements be upped so you can wreck their business model.  It could be media conglomerates - reform the FCC to give it teeth.  It could be changing Medicare Part D in a way that really hurts the pharmaceutical lobby.  It could be real ethics reform.  It could be a special CEO or billionaires tax, with a special tax rate that increases on corporate officers based on the amount they pay their lowest subcontractor's employee.  It could be agribusiness reform to turn the tide against Cargill and Monsanto and towards small farmers.

Just. Don't. Be. Nice.  

In 1981, the first thing Reagan did was crush the air traffic controllers union, just so he could announce there's a new sheriff in town.  His first legislative year was a phenomenal political success.  

What's going to be our 'new sheriff in town' moment?

Tags: Democrats (all tags)

Comments

114 Comments

Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I think that we should be bold, but we should do so in a way that is in the spirit of respect for the laws, etc.  I am not sure if selectively targeting Christian Radio using the pretext of insufficient non-local content would be the best idea.  How about something like a refusal to fund the war in iraq and afghanistan until complex reporting and transparency requirements are met for the conduct of those ventures.  Along with some answers to major questions, painfully truthful answers, within weeks.  In the meantime, there can be hearings with Bush administration officials under oath.  And I think we can get an increase in the minimum wage and expansion of health care for children.  Close the donut.  Too much stuff?

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I think it will be the moment when the supoenas from Chairman Conyers fly as far & fast as credit card offers to new college graduates.

But...please...let's wait awhile to toast our victory.  This thing could still turn around.

by howardpark 2006-10-07 04:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Well said.  There is a lot of time left on this election and while things look great let's wait until Nov 8 b/f we start talking about what we will do once we are in power.  

by John Mills 2006-10-07 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

The Reagan crushing of the air traffic controllers was even nastier then going after a supporter of the opposing party.  That was one of the handful of unions that endorsed Reagan.  They figured that with someone they supported in White House, they would be ok to strike.  Shows what trusting a Republican gets you.

To carry that analogy forward, it would be like the Dems figuring out a way to crush, say, the Unitarian Universalist church by getting rid of their tax exempt status as a warning shot to all churches.

by dansomone 2006-10-07 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

along that line of thinking, I see how we could purge the lickspittle lieberman "democrats" who will  put war, and the interests of big corporations, ahead of the interests of the party and the country.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 04:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

So, if we gain a bare majority in the House you want to launch a purge and do what?  Reduce us to minority status again?

Good grief.

by takhallus 2006-10-07 05:33PM | 0 recs
A purge?

hardly.  The biggest complaint against the Democratic party is that we don't stand for anything.  Joe Lieberman can't claim to be a Democrat right now but he is still voting to legalize torture and supporting war.  If we have people like that in our party, how can we claim to stand for peace and justice?

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

I don't mean to be unpleasant, but can you count?

If we take the Senate it will probably be by one seat:  Lieberman's.  So, if we take the Senate with Lieberman we should immediately drive him from the party and give the Senate back to the GOP?  So that you can feel ideologically pure?  Who's next, Casey?  After all he's anti-choice.  Hillary?  She's pro-war.

If we take the House it will be by a handful of seats.  What do you propose?  Purge everyone who doesn't meet your standard of purity?  We do that we're the Green Party.

American politics has never been about ideological purity.  We don't do Bolshevism.  We do compromise.

by takhallus 2006-10-07 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

I'm afraid you place some limitations on things that are entirely possible.  For example, do you not think that a nascent Democratic majority, with popular support, could not get a couple of Republican switchovers, or a "working-democratic majority"? I want to make clear that there is no problem with a Democratic party which makes room for Centrists, like Harold Ford in Tennessee who I think is a great candidate.  But Senator Lieberman and, a few other people in the party have shown themselves not to be moderate at all.  In fact, they are committed to an agenda which is not only unprogressive, but dishonest.  It is not "intolerant" to not have such people within our party.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

A nascent Democratic majority?  That gave me a good laugh, thanks.

We may get lucky because of Foley and because of Bush's miserable handling of Iraq.  That's not a nascent anything.

By what logic would you purge Lieberman and then expect a Republican aisle jumper to join us?  Which Republican do you know who is to the Left of Lieberman?

I'm going to guess that you're young.  And I'm going to go older and wiser on you and suggest you take about a 40 year look at the Democratic party.  We've gone from dominant majority to powerless minority.  That's a long-term trend.  And one lucky election where we may take back one half of one branch of government does not mean we are home free.  Disgust with Republicans is not love for Democrats.  

The only times we've taken the White House since JFK have been with bible-thumping southern moderates.  Carter and Clinton.  That's the reality.  If you think we're going to win on some pacifist-socialist ideologicaly pure ticket, you're naive.   The Green Party scores about 2%.  The Libertarians score about 2%.  They're ideologically pure.  Democrats and Republicans are, of necessity, "big tents."

So don't kid yourself.  We compromise in order to promote a Democratic agenda as opposed to a Republican agenda.  Is the Democratic agenda all about peace and justice?  No.  It's slightly more about peace and justice than the GOP agenda.  And that's where the game is played, there in the middle of the field.  And do you know why that's where the game is played?  Because that's the American people want the game to be played.

by takhallus 2006-10-07 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

"I'm going to guess that you're young."

I'm going to guess that you're not young.  I'm going to guess that once you were alive with the vigor of idealism.  But slowly, that fiction called the "real world" sucked your heart away, leaving nothing at the center of your chest but an SUV, which gluts itself on that polluting fuel called pragmatism:  "It is a market economy, afterall...  If we can only get 6.15/hr for minimum wagers, it's better than 5.15/hr..."

They already have a place for pragmatists.  It's called the DLC.  This is the net-ROOTS, not the gnarled, tired ends of the aged tree.  Be the wise old yin to our impertinent yang.  That's the eternal friction that keeps things growing.    

"And I'm going to go older and wiser on you and suggest you take about a 40 year look at the Democratic party."

As long as we're one-upping each other, I'm about to go younger but learned on you and remind you of St. Franklin's effort to purge conservatives from the Democratic Party in 1938.  Further, if you would call the current Republican leadership of the two political branches of government "middle of the field," you really are very radical.  It's by the grace of 6 Senators that we don't live in a Judeo-Christian plutocratic theocracy.

by Lassallean 2006-10-07 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

I am young (mid 20's) and anybody who thinks we can just start booting people to the curb after this election is nuts

I'm as liberal as the next guy in this room, but my gosh...how on earth does anything progressive get done if we can't keep a majority for more than 45 minutes?

Yeah, let Lieberman vote for Majority Leader McConnell and see where that gets us...

by dickbaveta 2006-10-07 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

Actually, it's my wife who has the SUV, but it is a hybrid.  I'm the one who drives the big, evil plutocrat sedan, smoking fat cigars and conspiring with my fellow plutocrats (or in my case, fellow kid's book authors) to keep the working man down.

I'm such an idealist that every two years, like a sucker, I start half believing in the "youth vote."  And every two years you know who shows up to vote?  Grandma in her walker.

I'll believe in the netroots revolution when you manage to get someone elected.  So far you've managed to move the CT Senate seat from (D) to (I.)  We're now left to hope and pray that Lieberman's a man of his word and will caucus with the Dems if we somehow take the Senate.  Far from purging Joe the Dem leadership will now be forced to kiss his ass.

Although, I will say this:  to the extent that Americablog and this blog and Kos have been involved in the Foley thing -- and I have no idea how involved they've been -- it's some sweet work.

by takhallus 2006-10-08 03:55AM | 0 recs
You're right on all but the last sentence.

"Because that's where the American people want the game to be played."

The American people have nothing to do with it.  They didn't mark the field, they didn't set the goalposts, they don't referee the game, and they didn't hire the people that do referee the game.  

Yes, the American people have an instinct for the center, cause they're sensible working people who know that the middle path is generally right.  But they get told which is the middle path and who is on it, and they're too busy with their own lives to ever really question that judgment.  An Establishment chooses the candidates and marks the field.  After that, the votes are almost an afterthought.

Separately, Clinton was hardly a bible-thumper. More like a draft-dodging sexed up liberal.  But you're still right about the 40 year trend.  Congress is the inescapable marker of that.

by texas dem 2006-10-07 09:54PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Another random idea: Put teeth back into the establishment clause (good fucking lord, how far we've sunk) by:

(a) removing the federal government's ability to channel funds to any charities -- period
(b) funding a permanent branch of the 'Dept of Homeland Security' dedicated to shutting down religious organizations with political goals.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-10-07 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

You know, we might very well still have slavery if we had done that.  For about eighty years, almost the only voice against slavery in the U.S. was the Society of Friends (Quakers)  There are gentler ways of stopping megachurches from creating theocracies.  We don't have to be draconian.

by prince myshkin 2006-10-07 10:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

In fact, the real way to break the GOP coalition might be to de-regulate political action by churches and charities. The restrictions came from Lyndon Johnson in the first place to quash some annoying opposition, and cutting the actual megachurches loose from their political proxies by letting them to whatever they want would have the practical effect of speeding the fragmentation of the right wing political axis.

by Josh Koenig 2006-10-08 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

That second idea scares the shit out of me. I register independent the day the Democratic Party tries that.

by js noble 2006-10-08 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Matt, I think you are exactly right. We need to establish control from the very beginning. Its just like with children,you have to get your bluff in first. Like the time my 12 yr old son said to me - ' well what if I just dial Child Protective Services?'. I responded (with no smile on my face) ' What makes you think you'd be able to dial?'. The flash of doubt  in his eyes was worth a million dollars. Then he started to laugh nervously. I would never have hurt him but its always expedient to have them wonder. Its then same for the Republicans, they need to wonder what might happen if they pull more BS.

by druidbros 2006-10-07 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

That is really screwed up. You are going to regret that when you are elderly.

by Joe Gabriel 2006-10-07 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Absolutely. You get it. Now lets all get it and be prepared to get their backs when they step out, when Pelosi steps out ahead of her compadres who are wanting her job.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Oh, and if by FCC you mean not just restoring the Fairness Doctorine, but extending it to cable and satellite providers, so much the better.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-10-07 04:47PM | 0 recs
just to be clear

I would be totally down with that as a strategy, and could accept the incidental effect it would have on the Christian stations, as long as diversity and more local inclusion was the true aim.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: just to be clear

It would be expedient in this climate to exclude religious programming, I suspect. Political programming would be the target.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-10-07 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: just to be clear

Two points of view.  On Sunday mornings, it can be a public service to have mass or other religious services for shut-ins. Or other days for other faiths.  Most of the religious power play does not come from religious services per se. But as long as any religious group  endorses  one political party it exits the spiritual realm and begins a worldly grasp for power, it should treated with the equal time provisions of the FCC.  What do you think?

by prince myshkin 2006-10-07 10:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Take the following action in order

-1- Dare him to make another signing statement

-2- Impeach him as soon as he does

-3- Kick his sorry ass to the curb

by Tboy 2006-10-07 04:48PM | 0 recs
I suspect some will question whether he should be

impeached, with a Presidential election approaching.  It might be argued that the election will be a more appropriate reflection of the will of the people.  I say fuck it, let's impeach him, but then we will have to impeach Cheney, too and I guess that will make Nancy Pelosi President.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 04:51PM | 0 recs
I agree 110%

Ofcourse if it does happen we need to score a victory which could hopefully bring the left and right together to sow up the ulcer wounds of partisan gridlock...or am i in la la la land.

by optimusprime 2006-10-07 04:54PM | 0 recs
Yes, by all means let us bring the

bosom together with the viper!?

by Del C 2006-10-08 02:57AM | 0 recs
While....

... this post was prefaced with the caveat of "if taking the House happens," and while I couldn't agree more with Matt's line of thinking about what should happen if the House does go our way, I am superstitious enough to really, really hate this kind of stuff at this stage in the election cycle.  

A lot can happen in the next month.  

Let's not wring our hands thinking about how things should go in January.  

It's more important right now to focus on making sure January is a much warmer month than usual.

by Politicalhack06 2006-10-07 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

It's not really clear to me how the Dems, in control of either half or all of the legislative branch, are supposed to unilaterally crush anything. Wouldn't any of the regulatory changes proposed above require either new legislation (certain to be vetoed) or action by federal agencies that are part of and answerable to the executive branch? The FCC isn't about to get rid of all its Bush-appointed leadership just because the Democrats took the House.

There will be opportunities to humiliate the new House minority directly in procedural matters (opportunities the Dem leadership should certainly take). There will be subpoena power and power to run hearings, and there will be opportunities (if the Dems can stay together) to send out veto bait and lard up essential bills with poison pills. And even if we don't get the Senate, the reconciliation process will run differently.

But I don't think there will be any crushing going on till the Dems get the Executive as well as the Congress. I'd love to be wrong about that.

by jimBOB 2006-10-07 04:56PM | 0 recs
You might be wrong about that

A Democratic led-House could craft popular, powerful legislation, and send it to a Senate, which, if not Democratic, will have several Republican Senators who will be up for re-election in 08 and will have seen the presumable fallout in this election.  If it makes it through the Senate, George Bush is going to have to be either the callous President who vetoes popular legislation, or a President who attempts to salvage his reputation by signing it.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: You might be wrong about that

Wrong? My second paragraph says "send out veto bait and lard up essential bills with poison pills." which is essentially the same thing as what you are suggesting.

by jimBOB 2006-10-07 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: You might be wrong about that

Shh.  You're being sane in a thread full of lunacy.  Let the crazy people rant.

by takhallus 2006-10-07 05:37PM | 0 recs
I think that you

undervalue the procedural tools available to an incoming majority party with a wind of popular support at their backs.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Let me back up a step...

The biggest statements we can make will accomplish one or all of these things:

  • Shut down Fox News (as propaganda outlet for the GOP).
  • Shut down Rush Limbaugh (and all the Limbaughlings in local markets).
  • Shut down Focus on the Family and any other religious group interfering in politics.

If we are to make a big statement, anything we do has to be oriented to accomplish one or more of those goals. Nothing else really matters in terms of defanging right-wing power at the policy level.

(Oh, and by the way, nothing will actually happen, because the Dems  aren't that unified and Pelosi and Reid do not have the solid brass 'nads required to pull it off anyway. May they prove me wrong -- or do we somehow have the power to force them to? Not yet, I suspect.)

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-10-07 04:56PM | 0 recs
You have the right idea.

I think the most definsible thing to do might be to re-establish the Fairness Doctrine on the public radio waves.  That has the effect of shutting down Limbaugh; or rather, it forces broadcasters to give an hour to Franken for every hour they give to Limbaugh.  It would end, literally and by force of law, the right wing dominance of talk radio.

That's how you fuck somebody over.  Take something they worked hard to build by fiat.

Now, I'm not sure the Fairness Doctrine is actually a good idea. (imagine it applied to the Internet! or even cable.  who says which are the two equally legitimate sides?  is McCain vs Falwell fair?)  Also, one chamber of Congress aint enough to do that.  But that's the type of action you want; both a direct hit on their infrastructure, AND a defensible re-establishment of a historic and legitimate principle.

Lobbying reform and earmark reform might be enough.  Corporatation and defense contractors are always going to favor Rs (and corrupt Ds like Wynn that we don't need anyway).  If we can cut out the ability to give away public money to individual entities on the Congress' sayso, we end a big part of the corporate motive for supporting Rs.  And end corruption as well.

For instance, if you established hard-and-fast rules for competitive bidding, and thereby ensured that a company COULDN'T win a bid just by courting a congressman or a mid-level-executive-branch guy, then you'd have better cheaper government AND you'd kill a chunk of the R fundraising machine.

Also, we'd have a chance in hell of getting this through the Senate even without complete control.  Snowe Collins Chafee McCain could be pickups.  McCain especially would need something like this to pick up the McCain-Feingold cred he had back in 1999. And if he cared enough about campaign finance to fight with his own party over it, he might want to do this the right way anyway.

Seriously Matt, this might be it.  It hits the Abramoff and the Cunningham/PowayMafia angles.  There's already a press narrative about the R failure to do lobbying/earmark reform.  There's also a press narrative about "corporate welfare." We could sweep in and be the party that "does it right." And corporate lobbying for special earmarks will ALWAYS ALWAYS be an anti-progressive, and usually a flat-out Republican, force.  To the extent Dems do this it's the Daley/Wynn/Jefferson/Coelho way.  That's not good for our party and certainly not good for progressives.

Unfortunately, Pelosi and Murtha both have little earmark kingdoms built up.  But the nice thing about Dems is that even when they're personally involved in a system, they can be brought to see that it's a bad system and pass the bill that does away with it.  Think racist bastard LBJ, still with enough sight to make the changes that did away with his own mindset.  Dems could pass lobbying/earmark reform.  We'd have to sell them on it hard, but it would demolish the R fundraising infrastructure.  After 12 years of cowering under the Rs, it would look worth the sacrifice to them.  Pelosi and co lose 2 points but Blunt and co lose 12 or 14.

by texas dem 2006-10-07 05:23PM | 0 recs
And the best part of that....

    The Republicans don't have a useful argument AGAINST re-establishing the Fairness Doctrine, unless they finally admit that the media isn't "liberal" as they've claimed.
by Master Jack 2006-10-07 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

   *  Shut down Fox News (as propaganda outlet for the GOP).
    * Shut down Rush Limbaugh (and all the Limbaughlings in local markets).
    * Shut down Focus on the Family and any other religious group interfering in politics.

Perhaps you've heard of this little thing called the First Amendment.

Even an overwhelmingly Democratic  congress AND President couldn't ban a media outlet or a religious organization. Nor should they be able to.

A new Fairness Doctrine and removal of tax breaks for FOF (given their overt political activities) would be something you could do. Provided you had the Presidency, the House and a filibuster-proof Senate majority. (Good luck.)

by jimBOB 2006-10-07 05:24PM | 0 recs
Yeeha! Drain the swamp

Pelosi comes up with some good ones. Drain the swamp! I love it. Makes you think of muck-raking, mud creatures, foul odors, snakes, belly-crawling low-down varmits.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 04:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Yeeha! Drain the swamp

It's a great metaphor, but did you look at her actual list of 'first 100 hour' priorities? Perhaps she's attempting to be extremely politic, which would not be surprising, but jeezus, it doesn't even scratch the surface of what needs to be done.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-10-07 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Yeeha! Drain the swamp

Well, it's a 'hundred hours'. How far beneath the surface do you expect them to go in four days?

by BingoL 2006-10-07 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Yeeha! Drain the swamp

We're talking about taking one half of one branch of government.  You realize that doesn't make us dictators, right?

by takhallus 2006-10-07 06:19PM | 0 recs
Makes me remember

alligators in attics in New Orleans. They said they saw alligators swimming into attics. We don't have a count yet of the number of the dead, or the names of all the dead in the flood in New Orleans. But if we take the House and Conyers can investigate, we will have a count of the dead and missing, even those eaten by alligators, and we will have accountability.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 05:04PM | 0 recs
Now that is a disturbing image

people consumed by Alligators.  That is what you get with a "unitary-executive branch" and a unitary-Republican government.  

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Take down Rumsfeld and make Bush take a person of our choosing in his place.  Rumsfeld stands in the way of any positive changes regarding the war on terror.  He has totally castrated the joint chiefs position and taken away the ability of leading officers to give real input.  I would like to replace him with Colin Powell who, despite whatever flaws he might have, is a soldier at heart who loves our men and women in uniform.

by Mike Pridmore 2006-10-07 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Repeal Taft-Hartley. Be very difficult to accomplish, but if we could pull it off every exploitative corporation and right-wing Republican in the country will turn an even paler shade of white.

by McSnatherson 2006-10-07 05:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

A young mother on a street corner in Seattle talking to me about wanting to go home, but home is gone and her 90-year-old grandmother didn't make it out.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 05:14PM | 0 recs
Crush the corporate media!
We also need to hold our dems feet to the fire!  It is time to end corporatism!  
It is time to work and live like real Americans and make OUR government work for We The People!
by kevin22262 2006-10-07 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

They have to pay for that and the young woman on the plane we read about on the blog who broke down crying listening on her cell, the story of her soldier friend caught on fire 80 percent of his body and she couldn't stop crying. They've got to pay for this one way or another. Accountability means you pay. You steal, you have to give the money back. You wreck the country, you have to make restitution. The mother sitting on her son soldier's hospital bed, he lost a hand, and both are listening closely to the doctor who says why he must amputate the other hand.

You can't give back the hand or grandmother or home or skin or peace of mind, but accountability means you must pay.

End the war on us. Take back the House.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Minimum Wage and Tax cuts for the wealthiest.

by vwcat 2006-10-07 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

First, IMO, a law that increases the minimum wage, and does nothing else.

Even if the bill gets vetoed, you still force Republicans to say they're against the working class.

by Samer 2006-10-08 07:43AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Elections:
Federal, non partisan redistricting laws. Take redistricting completely out of the hands of those it benefits.

Standardize federal election laws. It's rediculous that each state gets to make up their own election rules for federal offices

Open source electronic voting.

Online voting

Extend election day to a week to allow more people to go to the polls.

Eliminate the court's ability to choose high level federal officers (Congress, Senate and President.) If a winner can't be determined after 2 recounts, the election should be held again.

Congress:
Eliminate all earmarks. Appropriations for special projects in a Congressman's district should go in a dedicated "earmarks appropriations" bill. These earmark bills could be consolidated into yearly appropriations bills specifically designed to address the need for congressment to bring home he bacon for their constituents. But all earmarks attached to completely unrelated bills should be eliminated.

President:
Eliminate Presidential signing statements except in the case of certain wartime functions.

Law:
Eliminate judicial precedence. Just because a case was ruled one way 25, 50, 100 years ago, doesn't mean it was the correct verdict for all time.

Constitutional amendment clarifying church/state separation.
Constitutional amendment clarifying privacy rights.

by ktoz 2006-10-07 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I love your "election" ones, I've been thinking about almost all of those over the last few months.

by forecaster15 2006-10-07 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

For the short term, Dems need to take power if nothing more, to bring back some accountability. But I think long term that the very designations of Democrat or Republican have outlived their usefulness.

Government could learn a lot from business in the areas of micro targeting and micro financing but the only way I can see that happening is if these huge unwieldy parties are fragmented into constituiencies that are more responsive. And the only way to do that is to destroy the practice of gerrymandering.

It's a mess, but if dems take the courageous first step I think we'll someday have a better country where this party identification won't foment such hatred on both sides.

by ktoz 2006-10-07 06:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Pelosi's 100 minutes will be largely symbolic. Congress just doesn't operate that fast. That does not make them unimportant. They must ring loud. The impeachment process might require a bigger landslide that we will get, but my dream is of Cheney in jail and Bush trembling in his seat.

by wallyn4bz 2006-10-07 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment
Pelosi's 100 minutes will be largely symbolic.

But no more so than her 100 days, I fancy... ;)
by skeptic06 2006-10-07 06:51PM | 0 recs
Oops - how's that for poetic justice! (n/t)

n/t

by skeptic06 2006-10-07 06:57PM | 0 recs
i could not agree more.

Especially that this moment be attached to a tangible policy change.

I love the CEO tax idea.

It's emphatic, an action that sends a message too.

Because we need them (their base) demoralized, long enough to show the young people (early teens when 911 happened) what real Democrats look like.

New Sherriff in town meets New Deal.

by cdodd 2006-10-07 05:57PM | 0 recs
I like the way you think!
   Paticularly the idea tying taxation to employee salary...brilliant!
   I think we should hit big business hard - show it the back of our hand.  Since we can't get through any decent campaign finance reform, we should aim to outraise Republicans in 2008 and beyond.  Big business runs the Republican party, and as we can now see, the religious right does not.  The religious right gets off easy in my view.  Big business should get an ass-kicking.
   This begins with HALLIBURTON and the military-industrial complex.  Cancel or renegotiate (as warranted) all government contracts related to the war.  Cancel all Halliburton contracts immediately.  Kill anything connected to any formerly powerful Republican.  Put Hoyer on this -he's evil.
    Domestic Business.  Launch federal investigations of mega-corporations (no anti-trust lawsuit bullshit), but only ones that donate overwhelmingly to Republicans (Leave Target alone).  Investigate Walmart, McDonald's and Home Depot for treating employees badly, hiring illegal immigrants, and for breaking up unions.  Raise the minimum wage.  Wait on universal healthcare, until the mega-corps suffer enough.  This will have a two-fold effect: better working conditions for millions of hard-working Americans.  Even better, these corporations will have less money to donate to Republicans.  Or maybe they will learn their lesson and start donating to Dems (raise the white flag).
    Hit the Telcos, the pharmaceutical industry, and cable network giants.  This means you Rupert Murdoch.  Bring back the "equal time" legislation that a former Republican president (Reagan) got rid of.  Restore the freedom of the public airwaves.  Make it legal for Americans to buy drugs from Canada.  Make it so that it is safe do so (set up a regulatory body that exists only for drugs from Canada).  That will wake up Big Pharma!  I'm not sure what to do with the Telcos...  I don't really understand this sector very well.  Help me out.
    This agenda will have a two-fold effect.  (It might actually be popular with working class people!)  It will help destroy the Republican noise machine, and will cut down Republican funding seriously.  We would then have the messaging and the money to set us up for the win in 2008.  If the Republicans don't have a fundraising and messaging advantage they'll be sent wandering in the wilderness for another 40 years.  
by cilerder86 2006-10-07 05:59PM | 0 recs
KFC kills more people than Al Qaeda: Health!

No more windfall profits from the health of the American citizen. Period.

These initiatives:

- Massive overhall of health insurance industry and big pharma

  • Massive overhall of hospitals and medical care
  • Massive overhall of health education in public schools
  • Massive public immunization programs
  • Massive regulation of "death food" industry (a.k.a. junk food)

5-year targets for:

  • Radical decrease in childhood asthma
  • Radical decrease in childhood Diabetes
  • Radical decrease in Heart disease
  • Radical descrease in STDs (all of 'em)
  • Radical leap forward for cancer treatment
  • Basic healthcare for every American (ain't rocket science)

All of the above kill more people every month than terrorism.

It's obscene that we panic so much about gatorade and baby formula getting through airport security, but we are asleep on healthcare.

Health, health, health.  Enough already with this nonsense of a fat, artery-clogged, wheezing, pill-popping, helpless and afraid population.  For goodness sakes.  What's the point of national security if the population drops dead at 45 anyway...

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-07 06:00PM | 0 recs
Second that

If we can actually drop a health care package that works, it will be a solid cornerstone for a governing consensus. It wouldn't be a direct slap-back at the GOP machine (unless this could somethow keep pharma money out), it's the program all GOPers fear: a massively popular public initiative that works.

It takes money out of big business, shows people  that the gov't isn't the worst administrator, and more importantly frees them from subservience to their crap jobs that give them health care. With the baby-boom wave reaching retirement age, this will be huge. For the incoming millenial generation that's reaching their mid 20s (and the end of when their parents can easily provide their health care) it's a big winner for the future too.

by Josh Koenig 2006-10-08 01:50PM | 0 recs
First battle: Murtha vs. Pelosi for Speaker

Really, even before we take control in January (presuming we win, cross-fingers...) the first major battle is going to begin the day after the election, and that's Murtha vs. Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

We have to get our ducks in a row NOW on this one, because there's not going to be any relaxation time  on this.  Either we get organized and fight for Murtha, or the Murtha-wing loses to the entrenched Rahm Emmanuel.  If you think that we are going to be more united AFTER the election, you are wrong.  The same assholes that have stood in the way of standing up to Bush are going to be running the show if we don't position ourselves to challenge them and make their lives miserable in the months before January.  Really, they're going to fight for the choice jobs, and we need to make sure they know this victory wasn't for THEM.

by Dumbo 2006-10-07 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

When Jack Davis replaces Tom Reynolds in November, how much will be gained by having a Democratic representative that most of all wants to put some hurt on illegal immigrants from Mexico?

Before rounding up a posse to go hang the rustlers, might be helpful to understand there are a whole bunch of bad guys in the posse as well as across the aisle.

Hard to imagine at this point that Democrats won't regain the House.  

Make it a good victory, people, not a lost crusade that continues to do harm to the country.  Let your wounds heal in the sunshine rather than festering in vengeance.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-07 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Sooo..you support the Chamber of Commerce and their right-wing agenda to force wages down by tacitly allowing an infrlux of cheap labor?

by ACSR 2006-10-08 05:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I'd love to see a Democratic Congress attach to ALL LEGISLATION a clause that reads something to the effect of: "This law as passed by Congress and signed by the President is not subject in its intrepretation or enforcement to any so-called "signing statement" or other executive document that is not specifically contained herein."  Force Bush to use his veto if he dares.  NO MORE SIGNING STATEMENTS!

by OHIOJOE 2006-10-07 06:17PM | 0 recs
You've got this wrong

We can't go looking for a fight; the voters won't stnd for it, nor should they.

More likely, Bush/Rove will try to sucker us into a fight, framed so that it makes us look like idiots, damned if we dom damned if we don't.  We just have to make sure we fight OUR battles, not theirs.

Remeber.  We can't get legislation passed over Bush's veto.  But we can establish positions, policies, programs.  A few might get passed into law.  The rest will establish a base for 2008, showing that we can be off and running with a democratic president.  WE establish the agenda.

That;s what happened during the 100 days in 1933 and in the passage of the Great Society Legislation from 1964-66 (three years).  Great amount of legislation, hearings, etc. had been prepared before hand.

by Reptile 2006-10-07 06:24PM | 0 recs
I am new in town...

although I have read this blog daily for more than  year.  And I admit that I logged on just to reply to this thread.....  

The worst and most deadly thing the dems can do is to provide efficient, ethical, and responsive leadership.  The goal should be to show that not only do we differ on policy and philosophy, but we are also the better leaders.  And that means that humiliation for the sake of humilation is a really bad idea.  Dems have been treated like crap in DC and that has made our government worse.  We should treat them with the respect that we deserved.  Not because they deserve it, but because our country deserves it.  

So, the new sherrif in town moment?  Let's do it by driving a dagger in the hearts of anyone who thinks that the dems might not be the better party.  Real lobbyist reform.  Real ethics reform.  And control federal spending in a way that the republicans never did.

by zmus 2006-10-07 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Matt,

I am a long-time reader, but this post by you is very disappointing.

It would be foolish to waste credibility on cheap theatrics.

There is plenty to do, and few easy solutions.

Top priorites are probably escaping Iraq, dealing with nuclear proliferation, and health care reform.

But events will probably intrude and make any kind of consistent focus difficult.

If  you want to do a service, solicit specific legislation to address the 3 problems that I identified.  We need all the good and practical ideas that we can find.

by jwp26 2006-10-07 06:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

theatrics is the same thing as perception. and perception is the thing needed to create an effective bargaining position. ask clinton 1992 versus clinton 1994 what the difference is between winning,a nd really winning.

by bruh21 2006-10-07 06:39PM | 0 recs
Disagree.

   We should not pretend to be above it all.  We're not.  We all play by the same rules in politics: there are very few rules.  

by cilerder86 2006-10-07 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I have my own wishlist, but reality bites. If we take either or boss houses, it will be a narrow margin. I agree, we need to do something dramatic, and immediate, but it's got to be something Democrats can communicate to everyone, and show the difference between us & them.

My suggestion:
  Fix Medicare D donut hole. Pay for it by allowing government to negotiate with drug companies.

Any republican that votes against that is going to have a lot of explaining to do, and it's going to put them on the defensive and do nuances, which they hate.

by mbhuff 2006-10-07 06:38PM | 0 recs
absolutely--Medicare is the best idea

The GOP will hate having to vote against this.

by desmoinesdem 2006-10-07 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

As much as I'd like to agree with Matt, this suggestion seems 85% crazed to me.  The disanalogies with Reagan's "New Sheriff" move (or other examples thereof) are much stronger than the potential analogies.

1.  Lack of coordination:  a President is one guy; he's already coordinated, so to speak.  The house is not ever going to act with that sort of coordination.  Plus, Presidents get at least 4 years to do what they want after such moves; the congress is up again in 2 (less really), so there's lots less time to recoup the expense to one's image in the minds of those in the middle, who very likely will be unmoved by or even repulsed by such heavy handedness.

2.  Without winning the Senate, the best we can do is still to grandstand, monkeywrench, and obstruct the worst of the Republican excesses.  And "obstructionism for obstructionism's sake" may be good policy at this time, but bad politics.  Even if people dislike Bush, they are not likely to appreciate that simply stopping the republicans is really the best we can do.  It's too easy for Bush/Rove to find ways to split Democrats, and take credit for whatever we might be trying to accomplish otherwise.  So subtlety and PR is mostly what we need if we don't win the Senate.

3.  If we do win both chambers, then the coordination problems are even greater than noted in 1.

4.  Since Bush will likely have an un-beatable Veto over any stand-alone Democratic bills passed, no real controversial legislation will likely get past him, and he'll pay little price for vetoing things that don't have a pretty firm public support behind them.  Of course we can attach good things to must pass legislation, but even then I'm not sure that it will do much good.  Bush can simply refuse to enforce it.

I much prefer what I heard Pelosi suggest earlier in her "first 100 hours" message.  Democrats should, as many have suggested above, show (at least publicly) a "we're above politics" face, and present popular and reasonable bills that will be politically costly to reject.  Favorite possibilities include many of those mentioned above, but I'd add:

More money for Katrina victims, flood prevention, and renewable energy research
A new stem cell initiative
Lobbying reform
Curbs on unscrupulous lending practices
bankruptcy reform

And of course investigations of waste and fraud in Iraq.

Any shivs the Democrats use had better be well hidden, since the liberal media is still not liberal, as Atrios likes to say.

Ump.

by Umpteenth 2006-10-07 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Pick a fight. Pick any fight but especially a fight you are willing to stick to to the last howling end. That's how you deal with a bully. A bully is a coward so first you show him that you know how afraid he really is and how unafraid you are.  

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

1) We're not going to have the power to pass anything over Bush's veto.

2) The fantasy that the Party of caving on Iraq, tax cuts, Alito, habeas corpus, torture, the Bankruptcy Bill, and the PATRIOT Act will suddenly grow a spine is laughable.  If the Dems take the House, they'll muddle around, terrified of their own shadows, until they are made to look as weak as they are.

by Kimmitt 2006-10-07 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

there is some truth in what you asy about the timid Dems

Be responsible, and be a forceful voice.  Hold hearings; give the media a news hook for stuff kept hidden by the Repubs

Do some good; build a respectable brand name.  Encourage people to become lifelong Dems.  Build the base.  Build a responsible core of policy positions.

Don't give the media excuses to paint us as snide and reckless

by jwp26 2006-10-07 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment
Two suggestions,first: as the Senate adopts rules for the new session, eliminate the filibuster. (rules adoptions are simple majority votes)  If we don't, out slim margin will not allow us to do anything.  Hypocritical I realize, but ruthlessly necessary nonetheless.
Second suggestion: Repeal the Taft-Hartley act as we increase the minimum wage.  This would be a real payback to working men and women that have supported our cause.
Bonus third suggestion: Remove all Inspector General offices from the Executive branch and have them report to the appropriate oversight committees of the House and/or Senate.
by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-10-07 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

The British citizens stuck it out through night after night of German bombing and death. Every able man in America went to war, willing or not during WWII. My childhood was terrorized by drop and cover drills for the day the Russians nuked Puget Sound. We're supposed to be afraid of a Bush veto? The one to fear is John Conyers, investigator and Pelosi when she's angry.

by mrobinsong 2006-10-07 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

أنا حقّا أتلقّ  9; ما من فكرة ماذا أنت يكون تقول هنا.  هو يظهر [جيبّر 10;ش] إلى ي ، غير أنّ يساند أنا أنت في سببك ومع ذلك.  لأنّ نحن ينبغي ب التصق معا ، لأنّ كابن [فرنكل 10;ن] [فمووس 04;ي] قال ، "إمّا ب التصق نحن معا أو تعليق على حدة."

by gobacktotexas 2006-10-07 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I think Pelosi's idea of the 'first 100 hours' is decent, but with an Iraq war investigation component added. Rule with the same iron fist that the GOP has, and force Bush to start vetoing legislation that will make him even more unpopular.

by PsiFighter37 2006-10-07 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Crushing the Unitarian church for symbolic reasons is not just wrong, it's Republican.

If we're not any better than that, the system is too rotten to be saved.

by herbal tee 2006-10-07 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Revoke tax-exempt status for the Religious Right and close down Jerry Falwell's university.

XT

by Xpatriated Texan 2006-10-07 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Interesting.
Omnibus Anti-Terror Bill of 2007. To increase national security by cargo inspection, aiding devastated US citizens, and ending of all counter-productive anti-terror policies.

Appropriations for port security and cargo inspection, along with repeal of all Bush43 laws granting varied assaults on the Bill of Rights. New legislation to specifically prevent future coups d'etats such as we've recently suffered in the US. And finally, redeployment of Iraq occupation forces. National Guard to redploy to post-Katrina rebuild.

by labradog 2006-10-07 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

While it's surely gratifying to talk about putting out the hit on the Pubs (of whom I am one), I'm convinced that the quick, slap-the-other-guys-around sort of power plays that you're talking about will work at cross-purposes with your taking the WH in '08. Look at it this way: how do you Dems repeatedly characterize the Bush admin?

Reckless. Mean-spirited. Vindictive. Hyper-partisan. Unwilling to compromise. Shrill.

While you may think that your years in the wilderness justify a "new sheriff in town" moment, I think you'll be much better served by contrasting yourselves with the Bush admin. Don't look "reckless, mean-spirited, etc."; appear as the thoughtful, considered, gracious winners, instead of "picking a fight" the moment you assume power in the House.

And for those of you who think I'd prefer that you soft-sell the progressive agenda for my own party's advantage: wrong. In fact, I hope that you'll overreach in the ways you've been discussing in this thread. A hyper-aggressive Democratic majority in the House that defunds the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, sics the dogs on religious broadcasters, and tries to drive Rush and Hannity of the radio for patently partisan reasons will energize and anger the Pub base in ways you can't imagine. You'll serve as Bush's foil and give Rove, Inc. an opportunity to redeem the remaining two years of his term by appearing to stand against the "reckless Dem partisanship that imperils our national security, etc." Worse (but better for folks like me), you'll give the next Pub presidential nominee something to talk about besides the Pub failure to advance the conservative agenda over the past twelve years.

The aggressive measures you're talking about will set the Pubs up nicely for '08--and will handicap the prospective Dem nominee, who will probably perfer to articulate a more moderate agenda than that advanced in the House, but will be saddled with a collection of partisan albatrosses.

By all means, don't lay down and die--fight, and fight hard! It's what you should do, and Lord knows my side needs the workout. But hide your anger and work to appear gracious, responsible, measured, and temperate. It'll pay off in spades.

'Course, what do I know? I'm just one of those knee-jerk idiot evangelicals you folks equate with Muslim terrorists when you're not telling us that your favorite book in the New Testament is Job.

by Do It Right 2006-10-07 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Job is something you guys will be looking for, Lord willing.

by FishOutofWater 2006-10-07 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Good, sound arguments. Thanks for the information "from the other side", so to speak.

I agree that just going in and doing the same things we're probably going to win by condemning is a bad idea, we need to do what needs to get done, but not by flaunting our power.

by forecaster15 2006-10-07 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

LOL

by Do It Right 2006-10-07 08:00PM | 0 recs
Maybe just give them notebooks and calling cards

"It's the little things, like the fact that the crappy old used blackberries that Democratic staffers get on the hill because of the Republican administrators are vindictive will go to Republicans instead."

At first, I thought this was tongue in cheek.  But probably not.  So....Wow!  Who gives a flying rip about this?  Except for some whining staffers.  If this complaint ever really made it to the public, the Dems would be the laughingstock of all politicians worldwide.  Substandard blackberries.  Awwwww.  Half of America can't get good internet service and many couldn't afford it if they wanted to.

I suppose that this comment suggests that we are paying for blackberries and better for a whole lot of staffers.  Maybe we should just eliminate these as perks (let the Congressmen buy them from their budgets if necessary) while we push to reimpose Pay-as-you-go.

by The lurking ecologist 2006-10-07 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I have to say I think that's a terrible idea.  We haven't won the white house, we most likely won't have won the senate.  So how can we stick it to a party that still will control most of the federal government?  This is exactly the reason why i'm aprehensive about taking back the House this november.  I want it as badly as anyone but at the same time i'm worried people will squander the good momentum we've gained.  Look how long it took to swing the public to our side after 9/11.  Think about all the legislation that got shoved down our throats.  Our focus should be parlaying this into victory in 2008.  That's when the good stuff happens.  Until then, petty little things like blackberries and christian radio stations are what's going to get the Republicans back on track.  The Republicans haven't been successful because they've been mean, they've been successful because they've run good campaigns.  Lets win in November, fight hard for what's right but not stoop to their level.  Not because its the moral thing to do but because its our ticket to victory in 2008.

by wjr24 2006-10-07 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I 100% agree with wjr24.  

I became a Dem a few years ago because I got tired of the crap going on on the other side.  It didn't fit me and I felt like I needed to stand against it.  For the Dems to get into the spiteful pettiness of the Republicans would be terrible.    

by KC 2006-10-07 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I think the Democratic Congress should pass bills that are simple, direct, and extremely popular but which will draw immediate vetoes from Bush.  No riders, no amendments, no pork, just the following bills that everyone can understand:

1. Increase the minimum wage to 7.25/hr (higher if possible)

2. Pass a bill funding stem cell research (again).

3. Raise the CAFE standards.

4. Pass a special tax on oil profits, the proceeds of which go directly to development of alternative fuels.

5. Mandate incremental conversion to ethanol and hybrid engines.

6. Pass a resolution demanding phased withdrawal from Iraq and redeployment to Afghanistan.

by Lassallean 2006-10-07 08:31PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

thanks kc.  good to have you on board.

by wjr24 2006-10-07 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I'm familiar with the concept - most business books suggest the same for a new manager. Let everybody know who's in charge by making some change or picking a fight with the "strongest" subordinate.

What's crucial, is that it be a fight that you know you can win. Otherwise you just look weak.

My suggestion? Overturn the NLRB ruling that takes union rights away from people who have some "supervisory" tasks, but aren't really supervisors. Pass a bill that restores the previous understanding of the law - that in order to be classified as a "supervisor" the employee must have real management authority, such as hiring and firing.

by KarenJG 2006-10-07 08:42PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Increase the number of PBS stations.  Fully fund those PBS stations.  In general make it difficult for the MSM with out compromising free speach.  

and reomve the Big F@*#ing Oil banner ad from this site!

by jncamane 2006-10-07 08:52PM | 0 recs
Re: spending that political capital

yes yes yes to election reform, corporate reform, fairness doctrine, tax reform, minimum wage increase.  

and something related to health care or drug access.  

and something about global warming, because hello, if we don't, in 10 more years we won't need to worry about elections, we'll all be crowded onto deserts w/o plants or animals to sustain us.  

by chiefscribe 2006-10-07 09:50PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I'm convinced it has to be something that will give American labor a jump-start and reunionize the workplaces, with the big box stores like Target, Wal Mart and Home Depot topping the list of places to unionize.

This is the only way to ensure the rebuilding of a base of solid Democatic support.  The Republicans have such a base in the evangelical churches.  We have nothing comparable.  We used to, in both organized labor and in the old Democratic machines in the big northern cities and in the south.  The machines of course were problematic.  Reviving organized labor is the answer.

Reviving organized labor would also have the effects of: (1) creating a strong and unified base that will put a check on globalization, ensure against any further expansion of "free" trade agreements, put a check on the mass influx of cheap junk from China now being dumped on the world markets, and roll back NAFTA and the WTO.  (2) This in turn will spur the rebuilding of the American manufacturing base and our infrastructure.  (3) Livable wages.  As more workplaces become unionized, even non-union employers will be forced to pay higher wages in order to compete with union jobs for labor.  This will exert an overall upward push on wages.  Minimum wages will begin to rise again in response, just as they did during the mid 20th century when much of the U.S. economy was unionized.

What is the one thing we can do that will enable employees to unionize again?  What will accomplish the automatic repeal of all state "right to work" laws, stop employers from holding captive anti-union meetings and other union-busting activity, render the recent NLRB decision defining "supervisors" null and void, etc.?  What is the "one ring" that will bring the whole anti-union Mordor crashing down on itself?

Easy.  The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

When Taft-Hartley goes, the entire rest of the anti-union package will fall like dominoes.

Priority #1 needs to be repealing Taft-Hartley.

by ACSR 2006-10-08 04:35AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Sure - raising prices at Wal-Mart--where nearly everyone in Middle America shops--will win you plenty of friends.

Come on, people! As you're always telling the Pubs, it ain't the 50's anymore. Bare appeals to "workers' rights" won't do you any good if the "workers" themselves bear the brunt of the resultant high prices.

You can do better than this. I know you can.

by Do It Right 2006-10-08 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment
We should go after...everything. By that I mean, don't pick one public issue. Find twenty that will infuriate and dishearten Republicans (the previous comments are a good list), and try to sneak them in through dead-of-night riders. Most won't get through--the Republicans will probably control the Senate and have a presidential veto. But some will. Hit them whenever there's a target of opportunity. We're not at the point where we can force issues. Reagan controlled the executive branch which wields a lot of regulatory power; congressional Dems won't be able to do that. Patience is required here (hopefully).
by mfeld356 2006-10-08 05:28AM | 0 recs
Huh?

this is not why I'm hoping for a Dem takeover. I don't think we should be wimpy and take and BS but I don't think we should go for payback or try to replicate what the GOPs have done.

I also don't see how the Netroots makes this happen.  Only Rahm, Nancy or whoever is the new leadership.  Netroots will have to become the new Christian right to pull this off, the new Parisian mob -- calling for the heads of those who have trangressed against us.  Doesn't sound like too much fun to me.

I hope we -- adroitly -- take power responsibly and take rational decisions to keep our power. For example, extract a price from the associations who bought the GOP line that there would never be another Dem majority and purged all their Dems.  But, this should be done quietly.  Our public face should be one of true cooperation.  We should respect and give a place for GOPs who want to genuinely work for policy.  We should expect that -- no matter what we do -- the Hannitys of the world will cry wolf  But, we should create a real shining example of how things could be.

That is, that government can be about making good things happen for American electorate rather than for simply one of the parties. I think that might be a compelling and sustainable electoral proposition.

by lojo 2006-10-08 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I think the wisest strategy of all is to threaten no one directly.  

By threatening, say, C, J and Q in the alphabet soup of GOP "clients" you give relief to the rest of the alphabet.

Matter of fact, scariest thing to do might be to have a conference to talk about how to be fair to Team Red.  That will scare them to death.  

For the record, if the Republican Party refers to the "Democrat Party" we should respond by ditching "Grand Old Party" and "GOP" as Republican talking points.  That party is not grand.  Its values are not old, but are corrupt theocratic innovations against the content and spirit of fairness, thrift and modesty in government and in civic life.  So if you find yourself saying "GOP" slap the f&&& out of yourself until you stop.

by Bruce Godfrey 2006-10-08 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Yeah, because if this administration and this Congress has shown us anything, petty vindictiveness is the best way to run the government.

This is really stupid, the eye for an eye "moral" mentality that leads so many conservatives to whine that we have to stick to the Geneva convention while the bad guys get to do whatever they what.  So what?  Doing the right thing might be a heavy burden to bear.  It's hard to turn your right cheek to the man who just slapped your left.  But it's the right thing to do.  Each memeber of the House and each member of the Senate represents the same number of people, all of them American citizens and all of them deserving equal representation in the American Congress, regardless of party affiliation.  If we're not going to uphold that ideal, than we are no better than they are, and this fight was worth nothing to us.

by Ryan Anderson 2006-10-08 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Exactly right.

If we take the House it's all about 2008.  The only question should be:  what actions will convince voters that Democrats are better than Republicans, more honest, more responsible, more focused on issues that matter to voters.  No inside baseball.  No vendettas.  The voters are sick of this partisan shit and want something to start believing in.  We need to project a positive, optimistic, competent face.

Rather than obsessing about Bush we should signal that we are moving beyond the cramped partisanship of the Republicans, back to issues that help people in their daily lives.  Work on tuition credits, work on health care, work on sensible immigration reform, work on minimum wage.  We need to be the party that solves problems, not the party of "fuck you, now it's our turn."

2006 is the opening to 2008.  We're about hope.  We're about a better life.  We're about lifting some of the burden off people's shoulders.  Future, not past.

by takhallus 2006-10-08 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: A purge?

If we come up 51/49 in the Senate Joe Lieberman can either vote for Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid.  

Which do you want?

How about if Lieberman French kisses George W. Bush on the White House lawn, which do you want?

What's that?  You still want him to vote for Harry Reid?

The fact is if Lieberman wins he'll have far more power in the Democratic party than he had before.  No one is going to be purging him, they're going to be kissing his ass and offering him chairmanships.  If we come up to 51,  Joe Lieberman will own the Democrats at least until 2008.

by takhallus 2006-10-08 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

It would be great if the dems. could address this sort of stuff ( from great LA Times piece today):

"Michael Wilson, a professor at UC Berkeley's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, said the United States is becoming a "dumping ground" for consumer goods that are unwanted and illegal in much of the world. Wilson warned earlier this year in a report commissioned by the California Legislature that "the United States has fallen behind globally in the move toward cleaner technologies."

by sb 2006-10-08 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

The corporate Demos will want to be "nice" to their former masters, and not want to do to them what they've done to us for the last 12 years.

Steny Hoyer will sell us out. There's even talk he'd challenge Pelosi for Speaker, as have some others, should the dems take power.

really. I mean does pelosi really have what it takes to fend off such a challenge? I doubt it. She's got her own scandals brewing back home anyway.

by Schadelmann 2006-10-08 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Uh, no, not really:

WM has what, 1 million employees?

Any how many customers pass their doors on a daily basis?

So you'll force the customers--many of whom are shopping at WM out of necessity, not choice--to subsidize what you think WM should pay its people?

Yeah, that'll work. C'mon.

by Do It Right 2006-10-08 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

This is what I need.  

by Kimmitt 2006-10-08 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe just give them notebooks and calling ca

Oh, I think it was probably illustrative too.  And likely overstated because that is Stoller's way.  MyDD wouldnt' be as fun as it is without Stoller being inflamatory sometimes, especially now that Boatwright is fighting the housing authorities in Cali.  That said, let's assume that the Dems will win the house and therefore will have a soapbox to stand on.  They can then succeed in fighting for Democratic Party (read: middle america in the broad sense) values and differentiate their leadership from the current nasty, pettiness that imbues the GOP.

On the first part, they pass these simple straightforward bills that others have suggested in this thread.  (Stem cells, min wage, election reform [but NOT online or weeklong voting--sorry upthread poster])

On the second part, they DON'T govern like the GOP.  They either ignore the spoils of war bullshit like the blackberries.  Or they cut that crap out  all together for everyone and do it publicly, so that the public realizes that even though the house won't be able to completely change the budget killing ways  of the GOP, under Dem leadership, we will reign in excesses.

by The lurking ecologist 2006-10-08 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Lucas,

Respectfully--this money that you're "giving" to the people making minimum wage--where is it coming from? Who are you taking it from?

By your logic, why shouldn't we simply engage in a massive confiscation of income from individuals who don't "invest in the US economy" and transfer that wealth in the form of pay raises to every worker making less than, say, $10.00/hr?

by Do It Right 2006-10-08 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

This was a really stupid post by Matt, and really shows the gulph between priorities in corners of the liberal-progressive cause. I want my government doing something good for the public good, not wasting, time resources & political capital abusing government for partisan purposes. That's for the GOP.

by Epitome22 2006-10-08 01:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

Well, this week it stands for Grotesque Old Perverts.  More generally, Harry Truman's comment that they're the "Guardians Of Privilege" is far truer today than it was when he said it.

by Alex 2006-10-08 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: I suspect some will question whether he should

Agreed. And theres the bonus of having a Democratic congress getting to choose a new VP (and the front-runner for the Republican nomination).

by js noble 2006-10-08 08:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The New Sheriff in Town Moment

I don't know, but I wish there were some way to ignore comments by certain trollish users.

by aip 2006-10-09 06:33PM | 0 recs

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