Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Markos launched a warning today for Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post. His argument is pure Crashing the Gates:

Hillary Clinton leads her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising. Unfortunately, however, the New York senator is part of a failed Democratic Party establishment -- led by her husband -- that enabled the George W. Bush presidency and the Republican majorities, and all the havoc they have wreaked at home and abroad.

Of course, it's still early. At this point in the last presidential cycle, the first hints of Howard Dean's tr ansformational campaign were barely emerging. In 2002, the Democrats had no clear front-runner, but the conventional wisdom was betting on a handful of insider candidates with money and connections: Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman and John F. Kerry, and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt. These three were supposed to contend. The early polls gave them (especially Lieberman) the inside track to the nomination, and the media gave the rest of the field no more than its usual dismissive coverage.

But the netroots -- the far-flung collection of grassroots political activists organizing online -- proved to be a different world, one unencumbered by Washington's conventional wisdom. Even as the establishment mocked Dean and his supporters ("like a scene out of the 'Star Wars' cantina," laughed a rival campaign aide), his army of hyper-motivated supporters organized across all 50 states. This movement exploded onto the national scene when Dean began reporting dramatically higher fundraising numbers than his opponents. Had Kerry not lent himself millions to reach the Iowa caucuses, and had Dean not been so green a candidate, Dean probably would have been the nominee.

Markos goes on to talk about Bill Clinton's failed Presidency and Hillary Clinton's inability to comprehend the shifting power basis in the party.  It's a nice companion piece to EJ Dionne, who write about the Republican rebranding attempt.  Republicans talking like progressives is not new; it's been creeping around since Bush's compassionate conservative talk in 2000.  It seems however to have gone up a notch recently.

Thus are those who once derided Al Gore's environmentalism now painting themselves in very bright shades of green. Last month Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) took a drive in a hydrogen-powered car to show how much he cares about conservation and the planet.

Members of Congress who once eagerly showered tax breaks on the energy companies now want you to know they're tough on Big Oil. Last month House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) urged federal agencies to investigate possible price gouging by the petroleum giants.

What I find fascinating is that even as Republicans run towards he progressive center in terms of rhetoric, Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer are stuck with the 1980s inspired idea that 'the center' is a pro-corporate, pro-war, and socially-liberal-though-not-too-icky crowd.  My guess is that it isn't.  The center at this point is increasingly lying with independent progressive populists, a sort of holdover from the Perot voters and the people that Jim Webb is targeting in Virginia.

That said, it is not clear, and the progressive movement has not yet demonstrated, that we are worth taking seriously.  We have not turned out our vote.  We lay down for candidates like Bob Casey.  We do not fund our own.   I mean, Moveon and DFA haven't even come in for Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

We are an immature movement, and Hillary Clinton is making a bet that we are not yet at a point where we matter.  Is that a good bet?  I'm not sure.  My guess is that she will be able to get through the primaries without progressives, but it will be difficult for her to draw upon us when she is swift-boated in the General election campaign.  After years of not reaching out, and possibly a bunch of Sista Souljah moments (she is paying attention to Bill's advice, after all), bloggers are not necessarily going to want to defend her from salacious attacks inevitably involving Bill and their marriage.  Then again, it's quite possible that I'm wrong, and that the partisan juices will flow freely as they did in 2004, and we'll tapdance on command for Hillary Clinton.  That's what she's banking on.  I mean we did it for her husband, we're doing it for Bob Casey, and we're worshipping Harry Reid..

Tags: Hillary Clinton (all tags)



Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

It's anti-Hillary propaganda.  The fact is, whether we like it or not, the entire country isn't far-left.  I am WAY to the left of WJC and we don't know yet on HRC.  She'll campaign as a moderate but I can tell she HATES the conservatives.  

What I like about HRC and the Clinton people is that they have balls.  They ain't gonna run a pussy campaign like Kerry.  I find it funny that Markos has the balls to call the Clinton administration "failed" (how dare he?), when he fucking voting for HW Bush in 1992.  

Let's not eat our young here.  We should support the nominee and calling Bill Clinton's terms a failure is NOT productive.

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

The Clinton Presidency failed on two levels.

First, it failed to work with the DNC, DCCC and DSCC to create a lasting impression as to what direction the Democratic Party should take in order to continue the victories attained in 1992 and 1996.

Second, it failed to take policies that did work, specifically regarding the economy and international affairs such as the trade deficit and the former state of Yugoslavia, not to mention the rising issue of militant Islam, and create a mindset that could firmly resist the actions of the neocons should they attain power.  (This is not to say that there weren't successful policies in place, but there weren't installed the institutional mindsets that not only would disagree with the neocons, but that would be willing to resist their activities instead of running away when things got rough.)

Clinton worked with the idea that a frustrated public needed to be retaught what effective government was, and only got that job half-right.  He had effective policies on many fronts, especially after having to pick up the pieces of the Reagan and Bush I administrations, but thought that smart accomodation would be enough.  It wasn't.

Now we at the grassroots are willing to step up to the plate, and have been ready since the debacles of 2000 and 2002.  And the entrenched interests within and around the national Democratic Party don't know what to do with us, save perhaps use us as ATMs.

Hillary and her minions need to wake up to the fact that, if she leaves the netroots and grassroots with a "no choice" situation, most will take the unexpected choice - they will go home.  (Many of the minions won't even mind that, as then they'll see it as "the adults taking charge.")

Already I'm seeing that out here for the 2006 elections - frustration and a sense that individual efforts won't matter.  It's untrue, but to get people to act, you have to have someone who will call the situation for what it is.  Someone who will lead.  And they need to do it now and mean it, not after the 2006 elections and not out of a sense of convenience.

And that is how Hillary is perceived around here, like it or not - as someone who will not lead.

by palamedes 2006-05-06 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

If you want to stay home on election day 2008, then stay home.  But I will blame you for more wingnut Supreme Court justices.

I am an attorney who happens to be gay and I am worried about John Paul Stevens and the IMMENSE changes that would occur in this country if he were to be replaced by a conservative jurist.  If you think things are bad, you ain't seen nothing yet if Stevens is gone under a GOP president...even John McCain or Giuliani.

Though I'd like Breyer to be a bit more progressive, he and Ginsburg were worth not having a Republican in office.  Just like in retrospect, to me, Gerald Ford wasn't a failed presidency (that's how we got Stevens), Clinton's isn't either.

Can you tell John Paul Stevens is a hero of mine?

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

The Supreme Court is the only reason I will vote for any Democratic candidate in 08 even HRC.  But between now and the time when the primaries are over, my time and my money will go to someone other than HRC.  A candidate that I respect and who stands up for the things I believe in will have me working my ass off and donating until it hurts.  Although she would get my vote if selected, I would find it extremely hard to put that level of commitment into her election.

by MOBlue 2006-05-06 03:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Well, let's see....

I'm responsible for getting a state legislative district's worth of precinct workers to walk their precicnts - probably two to three times this year.  I've worked on this set of operations, off and on, since 1999.

I'm partially repsonsible for helping our local Congressional candidate be considered viable in the eyes of the DCCC and DNC through two videos produced on her behalf.  (That was before the video we created that challenged our local Republican Congressman to sit and listen to actual users of Social Security, face to face, in all its forms, which caused him to back down form using "Social Security reform" as one of his policy planks.)

I'm trying to help two state legislative district candidates get elected by helping create more of the support structure they need to win their campaigns.

I think I've done, and do, a few more things than you - pining for Justice Stevens just doesn't count, sorry.

And around my neck of the woods, the lack of support for filibustering Alito, after thousands of phone calls, faxes and emails were sent out in favor of doing so, by one of our Senators, was when support began to deflate once and for all among my set of the netroots/grassroots.

I have plenty of options regarding who to support to fight off the social and corporate conservative attacks on our society.  Pity you think only voting (and pining) is apparently all that matters.

by palamedes 2006-05-06 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Thanks for insulting someone you don't even know.  Because I like John Paul Stevens doesn't mean I do nothing but "pine" for him.  I hate older Dems that think that anyone they disagree with is a young whippersnapper who doesn't know what they are doing and hasn't "paid their dues."  That is an attitude more becoming of insider Republicans.  

Just because you may have worked for FDR and live in the past doesn't mean that I haven't worked my ass off for Democrats.  (and given them money, I might add).

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Did you read this person's post at all?

by bruh21 2006-05-06 10:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Oh young whippersnapper....

First off, you insulted me initially by insinuating that I was going to stay home and not vote after I gave a somewhat detailed opinion (of which davej, John Mills and bluenc have given well-considered responses, even if I don't entirely agree with everything they've said) of what I thought were the failures of the Clinton administration.

Second, you ignored my stated frustration regarding trying to get various potential activists/netroots/grassroots folks to work this election season.  (I haven't missed a election since I was elgible to vote.)

Third, you now decide to insult me regarding my age and affiliation with respect to my Democratic Party links.  I may have been in this game longer than you, but I doubt if I'm much older than you, if at all.  You know nothing about what I've fought for, however, and given that you are a lawyer, one in your position should never make statements when you don't have the background to support your accusations.

It was wrong of me, perhaps, to apply snark to your response to my first post, but you have a lot to learn about respect as well as comprehension.

by palamedes 2006-05-06 11:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

"This is not to say that there weren't successful policies in place, but there weren't installed the institutional mindsets that not only would disagree with the neocons, but that would be willing to resist their activities instead of running away when things got rough."

This is not really a fair criticism.  It is relatively easy for new Admins to overturn the initiatives of the previous Admin through executive orders and other policy levers.  Think about all the changes Reagan made when he came to office and the ones Clinton made when he came.  What has happened with W is not atypical it is that his policies are more radical than his predecessors.

What is a fair criticism is that Clinton did not do enough to build a strong party infrastructure for when he left.  He could have emulated the good things the Repubs have done like the policy network, the mentoring and the general team mentality they have.  I like Clinton and much of what he did but he was far more interested in his own success than organization building.

by John Mills 2006-05-06 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Fair criticism. I'm a Clinton fan, but he did not do a very good job of building up the party. Still, I will say this: before the progressive movement completely ditches the Clintons and joins the right wing in blowing off the accomplishments of the 1990s, it should consider the massive numbers of people who are now Democrats because of Bill Clinton. The man expanded the reach of the Democratic party, making people like Mark Warner viable candidates.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Agree.  I also think people miss how many younger people are Dems because of him.  People who were students in the 1990s are much more likely to be Dems.  Interestingly, people in school during the 1980s were much more likely to Repubs probably due to Reagan.  I think charismatic Presidents draw people to their parties and Clinton was definately charismatic.  I am sure the peace and prosperity of the era didn't hurt either.

by John Mills 2006-05-06 04:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I love the guy.  But we all need to get past the idea that some messiah candidate is going to come along and save us through charisma.  Instead we've got to get our hands dirty and start working hard and long-term to get the public behind us again.  

You're a NYC liberal and I'm a California ... whatever I am ... and we both know that the general public is not us.  But I don't think the Right has done it through good candidates.  I mean, really! Bush a good candidate?  I think it was instead through decades of pounding out that propaganda.  And now we have a long job in front of us winning the public back by explaining over and over again that democracy and community are better values and that the common good is a better approach to issues.

by davej 2006-05-06 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

You're exactly right that good candidates aren't enough. If Barack Obama ran for President, it would still be a tough fight, because the right has an apparatus with which to fight any Democrat. We have a long way to go towards building our own such apparatus.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I was one of those younger people, and your point definitely applies to me.

Also, as an Indian-American Democrat, when Clinton won, somehow, I felt that there would be more opportunites for minority Democrats to make an impact.  And I think that has happened.

by v2aggie2 2006-05-06 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

What is a fair criticism is that Clinton did not do enough to build a strong party infrastructure for when he left.

Exactly!  But I also recognize that we were all quite late in coming to understand what was going on with the Right's infrastructure - the funding, coordination, etc.  There were early voices sounding warnings (PFAW, Covington, Callahan...), but I think that a lot of us only really started seeing it and articulating it out of what was happening with Whitewater, Lyons and Brock's books, etc.

A key to understanding what happened, I think, is that Democrats and Progressives thought of themselves as a majority and continued to think of themselves that way and act based on that thinking for too long.  The result was a focus on GOTV instead of persuasion - focusing on getting out voters they thought they had without understanding how rapidly the number of people identifying as Democrats was declining.  They felt there was no need to persuade people, to explain WHY it is better for them if Democrats are in office. Meanwhile this was the entire objective of this huge (billions of dollars, hundreds of organizations) machine the Republicans had been putting in place since the early 70s - just endlessly pounding out the propaganda, saying ANYthing, just anything, to get people to vote for them.

So I'm not too down on Bill Clinton for that.  Few saw and understood.  But STILL thinking like that - thinking you can "chase the center" instead of working to persuade the public that the Right is extremely bad for them - is inexcusable now.  There is just too much at stake to give them or their arguments any ground.

by davej 2006-05-06 04:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Thank you and well said.  

by weinerdog43 2006-05-06 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

No...It's "Crashing The Gates" propaganda. All he's doing is whoring his book.

WaPo should have charged him for advertising space!

by dabuddy 2006-05-07 01:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

We have not turned out our vote.

I think we have, but there are not enough of us.

by MNPundit 2006-05-06 01:31PM | 0 recs
absolutely right

I was a precinct captain for Kerry in Iowa. We were given "vote goals" for our precincts, counties, and the state as a whole. Gore carried Iowa (barely) with about 650,000 votes. The Kerry campaign figured they would need 700,000 votes to win and used that as a basis for calculating the "vote goals."

We beat our vote goals by five percent statewide, but Kerry's 735,000 votes was still not enough--Bush got about 12,000 more (out of 1.5 million cast).

We did turn out our vote. We need more progressives, though. We also need more of the suburban Republicans to start waking up to what the GOP really stands for. I knew way too many pro-choice Republican women who voted for Bush, thinking that he would be more moderate in his second term.

by desmoinesdem 2006-05-06 07:13PM | 0 recs
Be cautious about political spectrum

The ideas are creeping in a bit too slowly from psychographics and marketing. Voters are a set of values and identities. Race, Religion and Region say more about how people will vote than a label like Liberal or Moderate.

The Conservative - Moderate - Liberal spectrum hides more than it explains. Approximating the world with smooth, simple political spectrum doesn't help us figure out how to get more progressives to win elections.

HRC's political position is about political positioning, and powerful interest groups, which is why she wants to claim the label of a being a moderate. That doesn't say very much about what she really stands for.

by MetaData 2006-05-06 01:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Well I still have no idea what the Progressive movement is (and yet I think I might be part of it). Are we just the left end of the Democratic Party? I've read Sirota on the difference between Progressives and Liberals but Jesus that definition isn't really identity shaping. If we're gonna harp and get excited about a movement I would sort of like to know what that movement is about.

by js noble 2006-05-06 01:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Interesting post.  One big problem the netroots have is we are unsure what the movement is about.  Matt sees it as an ideological movement.  Kos sees it as a reform movement and states in his Op-Ed piece that it is not about ideology.

I am uncomfortable with netroots being purely an ideology movement.  I see ideological purity as one of the biggest problems the progressive interest groups have today.  We have too many litmus tests and it results in everyone operating separately rather than as a team.  Think Jim Langevin and abortion and I am strongly pro-choice.

I am a liberal but I also live in NYC, the heart of blue America.  I have lived elsewhere in this country and understand that people in other parts of the country have different values and views and that is okay.  

We cannot be an ideological movement and be a 50 state party.  It doesn't work.  Look at the GOP, they are not a 50 state party and they never will be as long as they are beholden to the religious right.  

However, we can be a reform movement and a 50 state party.  We can talk about opening up the process, breaking the hold of special interest money and bringing new and innovative people into the process.  I believe all of these things will lead to a more progressive, open and participatory government even if we do not agree on every issue.

by John Mills 2006-05-06 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I don't want to speak for them but I think Matt and Kos are both saying what I said an a different reply to you here.  I think it's about "our" (Dems, Progressives, etc.) leadership reaching out to the general public and explaining why the stuff the Right is telling them is bad for them and why Progressive/Democrat values and solutions are better for them, instead of just accepting that people "have moved to the right and trying to craft campaigns around a more conservative-oriented appeal.  It is also about recognizing the strategies of the Right and working to counter them instead of playing right into them.

So, for example, the problem with Leiberman is not at all about ideological purity, it's about his reinforcement of right-wing ideology, and his enabling of right-wing strategies designed to crush ... well, Leiberman, along with the rest of us.

by davej 2006-05-06 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I agree and think this is what the netroots movement should be about - explaining why the right is wrong and why our solutions will make a better America. Most people are Democrats because they believe that government can be a positive force in people's lives.  I know that is the major reason I am a Dem.

However, good people can disagree on policy solutions.  That does not make them bad or evil, they just have a different opinion.

When I hear ideological movement, I think holding people accountable for not being right on this issue or that issue.  Maybe my view of ideological is different from others.  Lieberman is a different story because he hurts the party every time he bashes other Dems in public which is a huge no-no in my book.  Private discussion is great but don't air your dirty laundry on Meet the Press or Fox News.

My point is if we want to be a 50 state party we have to accept differing points of view.  Think of the Chet Edwards of the world who will be with you a lot of the time but will go against you from time to time.  Is our goal to drive them out of the party for being insufficiently progressive?  

It is very tough to be a big tent and ideological and I'd rather be a party which has a broad base to advance its agenda than one with a narrow base.  I also want to open the party up to more people so we can break the strangle hold of individual interest groups and make it more about advancing people's interests.  I related to the interest group stories in Crashing the Gate because I was in those meetings as a Hill staffer a decade ago. Nothing has changed

I don't want to become the left version of the Repubs which is narrowly focused and shut out of certain parts of the country.  20 years ago, the Repubs were competitive in the Northeast and CA, today they are becoming non-existent in this region because they have become so wedded to the religious right.  This is not the way to build a successful long term movement.

by John Mills 2006-05-06 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

You're right. I can't help but think that the netroots is only playing games when it insists that it's not ideologically motivated. Let's be honest: Lieberman is being targeted because of his moderate to conservative views. Nothing wrong with that, but let's be honest. I see the netroots as the left wing of the party. Whenever Kos or others insist that the blogosphere is really after some other intangible factor, I have to question it.

If the goal of the netroots is to advance progressive ideas, then perhaps elections shouldn't be the focus as much as shaping media and public discourse. After all, elections are about coalition-building, which might be distasteful to purists.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 07:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

"Let's be honest: Lieberman is being targeted because of his moderate to conservative views."

Leiberman is being targeted because he betrays the democratic Party, and backs up right-wing strategic narratives intended to crush Democrats.  His recent flirtations with leaving the Democratic Party demonstrate my point.  It certainly is not about his views - in fact Leiberman's voting record is much more solidly Progressive than many netroots-favored Democrats.  He is targeted by people who understand that the Right is playing a strategic game, and that we need to stand together to fight them and save democracy.

This stuff about the netroots being "the left wing of the party" is a marginalization/delegitimizing device, that means do not pay attention to netroots or bloggers.  It's like calling someone a "protester."

by davej 2006-05-06 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I agree with davej about Lieberman.  The major problem with him is that he goes on TV and says the Dems are wrong on this and wrong on that and it damages the party and helps the Repubs.  THe Repubs don't do that - think the Boehner-Blunt fight.  They fought it out in private but came to the public united even though I am sure they hate each other.  

I am not for stiffling debate - I think debate is good and necessary - but don't have it on the Sunday talk shows.  It doesn't help anyone but yourself.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Lieberman is being targeted because of his moderate to conservative views. Nothing wrong with that, but let's be honest.

Then why do you NEVER heard criticism of the Nelsons in Florida or Nebraska despite being arguably more disloyal in votes than Lieberman? Or how about Landrieu? I've heard maybe a handful of criticisms about her at most.

No it's because Lieberman would gladly sell all of us Dems to hell for his own power.

by MNPundit 2006-05-07 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Whoa there- I don't disagree with your view of Lieberman, but I have seen a lot of criticism/insults directed at Bill and Ben Nelson on the progressive blogosphere.

by JRyan 2006-05-07 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Agreed and if we want to be a 50 state party we have to tolerate the Ben and Bill Nelson's of the world.  It is not easy to get elected as Dem in either Florida or Nebraska.  However, unlike Lieberman, neither of the Nelsons damage the brand or assist the Repubs by bashing the party on Sunday talk shows.  That is a big dividing line for me.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 10:59AM | 0 recs
Netroots doesn't yet add up to huge numbers

First, if we are only a couple million, we are having an affect within ourselves. Engaging with each other solidifies our own beliefs, confirms our own commitments, and let's us know we are not alone.

While we don't yet have huge numbers of votes, we are increasingly influential within highly-involved groups, meaning those who read newspapers and pay close attention to politics.

Going beyond the self-referential...

We now we are being read by newspaper journalists and editors. For all the MSM sometimes pushes to negate the value of bloggers, they are reading our criticisms and research. The print media and possibly even television increasingly realizes that watch-dogs in the blogosphere are going to hound them to report truthfully. Also, we give them coverage to counter the right-wing media spin; i.e. the MSM is no longer the liberal end of the spectrum.

Also, we are obviously read by local and national political activists, campaign managers, strategists and candidates. This would even include the dreaded DLC and republicans. Maybe they resist being affected, but simply the act of reading changes their experience of what issues are important.

Those two groups are important actors in the national intellectual experience, and I suspect that the blogosphere is already having an impact beyond our sandbox.

That is not the same as having a direct influence on voting.

by MetaData 2006-05-06 05:17PM | 0 recs
Moveon & DFA

We do not fund our own.   I mean, Moveon and DFA haven't even come in for Ned Lamont in Connecticut.

I can't speak about MoveOn but the party line from DFA is that a candidate has to be recommended before they'll even consider adding the candidate to their DFA list.

Having said that, don't hold your breath.  The only Virginia candidate DFA supported last year was Leslie Byrne.  I asked about DFA supporting Tim Kaine and was told that DFA was going to endorse him in September.  Never happened.  I suspect Kaine wasn't "progressive" enough for DFA to endorse.

If someone in Connecticut wants DFA to endorse Ned Lamont, nominate him and have someone from the campaign apply on his behalf as well.

Candidate application

Recommend a candidate

by KimPossible 2006-05-06 02:43PM | 0 recs

OK, been reading MyDD for a long time now. This post finally got me to register so that I could comment.

Calling the Clinton Presidency a failure is way outta line.

I understand the point here...his Presidency helped entrench the DLC (no friends of mine) and failed to create "coat-tails" for a mid-to-long-term Democratic majority in Congress or the White House.

BUT...calling it "failed" is irresonsible, inflammatory and fails to take into account the most important thing - the United States of America was better off for the the Clinton Presidency. The Democratic party may have suffered as a result, but our nation reaped benefits.

Don't forget that this is the final goal...not party over country. We want to elect Democrats because they will make our country stronger and more prosperous, not simply because we self-idnetify with "democrats."

Please don't type the words "Bill Clinton's failed Presidency" again. I may start thinking I've taken in with the wrong crowd.

by bkharmony 2006-05-06 02:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

Agree 100%.  Clinton did have policies that made a stronger America and raised the living standards of most.  He wasn't perfect but it definately wasn't a failed Presidency.  I have defended his accomplishments here more than once.

His main weakness, as I see it, was that he was more interest in his own success than that of the party as a whole.  I am not sure that makes him atypical of most pols but it would have been nice if he had been able to accomplish both.

by John Mills 2006-05-06 02:52PM | 0 recs
Clinton was obviously successful

Bill Clinton had a lot of personal charisma, and he ran great campaigns. He won the elections in large part because he countered the Republican trend in the South. While the Southern strategy isn't the only one out there, you can make the case that "southern appeal" could win a big swing state like Florida or Ohio (yeah, I know, but half of Ohio is spiritually Southern, right?)

I imagine Clinton (Bill) would have been a good candidate to run against Bush in 2000 or 2004. Who among the present crop (planted or waiting to be sown) has the equivalent skills? HRC doesn't win on charisma and I don't see her workin' the Southern Strategy successfully, which leaves nostalgia for the Bill Clinton years. Not a bad thing, per se, but I think we're better off to create strategies for the future.

Which Democrat could win a significant swing Southern state like Florida or Ohio? Possibly: Wes Clark, John Edwards of NC, Mark Warner of VA, or Bill Richardson of NM.

The Latino Strategy?

With the huge flip in immigration awareness and a newly energized latino vote, someone like Bill Richardson might surprisingly turn Texas into a swing state, which would be a huge tectonic shift. That possibility makes him a threat to HRC. (Troll bait, I know.)

by MetaData 2006-05-06 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

Agreed. But in Markos's defense I think he's pointing to the fact that Clinton for all his popularity left office under just enough of a cloud ethically to allow space for the present Fascist Gov't to grab power. In that sense his concious centerist posterioring did nothing to save us from todays nightmare and in some ways set us up for Bu$hCo. Plus, we must always remember that without Perot in both 1992 and 96' Clinton would have had a much harder time of getting elected and was therefore never considered totally legit by many Independents because he was elected by a minority both times. It's also obvious had Bill only managed to keep his pants on knowing the rethugs were watching his every move we'd be in a far different place then we are today. Hillary isn't going to ride into office on Bill's record nor is she going to beable to capitalize on the disgust with Bu$shCo by then. By then Bu$hCo will have made sure every exit from the "new" Imperial Corp. state are welded shut forever. With The BIG Corps. now counting the vote democracy for all practical purposes will be over by 2008. The Repukes and their Corp. and religious allies are getting better and better at stealing elections. Very few of us who have watched what they are doing will be surprised at what's going to happen this fall when the demos fail to win either house of Congress even though the polls will show them in many races with huge leads. The Repukes care nothing about the appearance of theft they will hide behind their allies in the MSM and the courts . The pattern was set back in the fall 2000 election. Power is to be held by any means legal or illegal as far as these people are concerned. Rules and laws are for losers not for winners. The winners remember are the one's that ultimately write history and Bu$hCo and it's Imperial Corp/religious backers intend to write history from here on. We are being dragged into a Roman style state whether we want to go or not. I'm afraid the only way out won't be through a polling place this will be very obvious after fall 2006. God knows what Bu$h /Rove will pull between now and Nov. and after that all bets are off.

by Blutodog 2006-05-06 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

I disagree. Of all the ridiculous things that occured in 2000, I still think Gore could've won if he had embraced a little more of the Clinton/Gore legacy. And it WAS the Clinton/GORE legacy.

Clinton's outgoing poll numbers were healthy. I don't think the Monica scandal had as much effect on voters as the "Conventional Wisdom" held. I believe as we exited the Clinton years, people KNEW we had just been a part of a very prosperous part of American history.

If the inclusion of the outgoing President in the 2000 election had even positively affected 1% of the voters, that would've been enough for Gore to win. But Gore froze out Clinton.

The fact is, we'll never know what kind of legacy (electoral and otherwise) could've resulted from the Clinton Presidency, because Gore ran AWAY from that admirable record of achievements.

(P.S. I just want to diaclaim that I do NOT support Hillary in '08.)

by bkharmony 2006-05-06 07:12PM | 0 recs
Yes it did.

A whole lot of folks (myself included) started out disgusted with Billy's wandering willy, and felt he should resign for the sake of the office. Gore was a perfectly good backup. We only moved away from that when the Reps. went so far that the office would be hurt worse by caving.

In my case, I was partisan enough to vote Gore. But a lot of the midwesterners from my hometown took out that initial disgust by staying home. Gore suffered for Billy & Hilly. There's general consensus the horrid press was at least partially motivated for the same reason.

by ElitistJohn 2006-05-06 09:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

It's possible ur right and I'm wrong but it's also possible were both right. Certainly the choice of Joe Lieberman was a BIG mistake for Gore. Joe was awful and hurt Gore as well. Let's face it Gore was a lousy candidate and he had no idea of what he was going to be up against with Bu$h's thuggish gang. He should have paid attention to the way the Repukes acted during the Faux Impeachment of Clinton. He thought he was dealing with politics as usual and it's quite clear in retrospect it was anything but that. Oh well it's as they say ancient 20th century history. We live in Imperial times now.

by Blutodog 2006-05-07 05:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

I agree with bkharmony on the Gore campaign.  I was living in Portland, OR at the time and was volunteering on the Gore campaign.  Nader was a big problem and the people on the ground in OR kept relaying the message to the central HQ which was ignoring it.  

Low and behold, 3 weeks out central HQ calls the local campaign and says Nader is a problem, we have to do something.  No shit - they'd been sending that message for months.  They won OR but if they had addressed the Nader problem earlier those resources could have been directed to NH or FL and Gore might have won the whole thing.

The campaign made a lot of strategic mistakes which is why I am very leery of Gore running again.  If he does run, I hope he has learned from his mistakes in 2000.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Sigh...

Peace & Prosperity is not failure.  I'm disappointed, however, that Bill & Hill did not deliver on health care.

by howardpark 2006-05-07 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I'd post something but JGarcia said it well and concisely.

by InigoMontoya 2006-05-06 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC
thank you for the compliment!
by jgarcia 2006-05-06 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Folks not liking to hear the truth, Matt.

Glory be, it's good to hear.

The Clintons are conservatives.  Period.

Keep singing the truth and the people will hear.

"We're just the same as Republicans only less so," is not much of a slogan.

Possible you could even bring this old codger home.  Been away for a long, long time.

by terryhallinan 2006-05-06 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Bottom line: Bill Clinton represented where most Americans were during the 90s, and I would suspect even today. Moderately progressive, with an eye towards the future. Clinton stood up for our progressive principles when it came to judicial nominations, and he grew our economy for everyone. He fought off the far-right's attempts to take away a woman's right to choose, to eliminate public education, and to get rid of the social safety net. He grew the Democratic party, and gave progressive values a shot in the arm. Anyone who fights Newt Gingrich is a hero to me.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton

. .with an eye towards the future

The future is an abstract concept to the current leadership.  Too busy slamming - and running - on "bad Republicans".  I'll take a close look at a candidate who plans a world for my grandchildren, but I ignore those whose solutions are "not Republican".

Clinton understood the concept well.  IMHO it's one of the reasons he won both times.

by rba 2006-05-06 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton

I tell you, I see those qualities in folks like Clark, Warner, and Bayh. Could be there in HRC, too, but I haven't seen it emerge yet.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton

"Anyone who fights Newt Gingrich is a hero to me."

Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton were mostly indistinguishable then as they are now.  The Newt is one of those praising Hillary Clinton today.

It is fine if you think that the Democratic Party should speak mostly for the well off and leave those on the fringes of society to fend for themselves as best they can but don't they have Republicans to do that?

by terryhallinan 2006-05-07 12:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton

Ridiculous - Gingrich and Clinton indistinguishable? Someone wasn't paying attention in the 90s. Newt is trying for an image makeover, hence the nice things he has to say about HRC. He's also distancing himself from the Republican Congress, even though many of the GOP slimeballs came into the House under him. The fact remains that Gingrich is a hard-core, Norquist conservative. If it wasn't for Bill Clinton, Gingrich would have gutted the federal government and destroyed our way of life.

Ask folks who get the EITC if Bill Clinton left them to fend for themselves. Ask the millions of Americans who were lifted out of poverty during the Clinton years. Ask the kids who, despite everything, were able to go to college because of Bill Clinton. You think that would have happened under President Gingrich?  

by bluenc 2006-05-07 09:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

"and we're worshipping Harry Reid.."

How you have something in your craw regarding Harry Reid? Jeebus Matt, maybe it would be easier to make a list of the Democrats you DO like instead of spending your time inventing new superficial reasons to dislike a new Democrat every week. You sure you know what side you're on?

What's the Matt beef with Harry Reid? Is it more substantative than his choice of neck tie?

by Epitome22 2006-05-06 03:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I agree.  Harry deserves so much praise for standing up to Alito, and protecting the Supreme Court when the chips were down against a candidate who had lied to Congressin the past and had pioneered the use of signing statements.  (Of course, I won't suggest that Harry would stand up against Alito becuase of Abortion, since Harry believes women should be forced to give birth to children whether they like it or not.)

Yup, good ol'Harry.  He's sure on the side of Liberals and Progressives, and we should all be real thankful that he's willing to go all out in services to the principles we believe in.

by Ian Welsh 2006-05-06 10:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

People really have no clue how difficult it is to be a minority party in Congress.  To use a football analogy, Reid and Pelosi constantly face the Repubs at first and goal on their 1 yard line and are trying to prevent the Repubs from scoring.  90+% of the time you are going to lose in that situation.

There are things that they could do differently but they are going lose most votes b/c the Repubs have more votes.  That is why it is so important that the Dems get one or both houses of Congress back.  You can't do anything from the minority.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

and yet the republicans managed to do it effectively for decades before we had to do it. what does that say about our strategic ability that they were better at it. I suppose you can reduce it to idealogy, but then that would put you in a dicey position as a Democrat to say your opponent was better at being in the minority because they rep'ed the American people more. At its heart- this is the flaw with all these triangulation arguments.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 12:44PM | 0 recs
Not True

Actually as someone who was there during the Dem reign, the Repubs were not better in the minority than we have been.  They had virtually the same problems and frustrations we have today which is how Newt Gingrich rose to power in 1989.  He tapped that frustration of being in the minority for over 30 years and beat the status quo choice of the leadership, Ed Madigan.  His role toppling Speaker Jim Wright helped him but the real driving force behind his election as Minority Whip was the need to start fighting back against the Majority.  Gingrich loved throwing bombs and it really appealed to the Repub minority in the late 1980s.  

We rolled them regularly on vote after vote.  Look it up in the Congressional record, the Dems rarely lost a vote on any significant piece of legislation.  We delighted in sending legislation to Reagan and Bush I we knew would be vetoed from plant closing notification to re-regulating cable companies.

The Dem Congressional leadership today is very similar to the pre-Gingrich Repubs.  Gingrich, whom I hate, was both a visionary and person who could rally people to his cause.  He didn't win many votes in the minority but he gave the Repubs hope in the early 1990s.  The major difference today is I am not sure we have a Gingrich right now.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Not True

The answer is no we don't have a Newt or Rove or anyone else who "gets it" on our team in a position of leadership. No more than Clinton was like Reagan. Reagan was a revolutionary- he put a stamp on the Republicans that superceeds even Bush's present stamp. Which is exactly the point. We have individual actors who are not acting in the best interest of the party or country. When people come here tauting Bayh or HRC or whoever, I am thinking okay- but how are they working in the strategic long term interest? Which is the point about triangulation, and about how to achieve leadership when one is in the minority status. And even before Newt the conversation was being controlled in the 80s by the Republican frame, ie, Willie Horton, welfare queens, affirmative action, just to name a few frames. The DLC came about as a reaction to the conservative frame, and has continued to exist as a reaction to the conservative frame. This is indeed part of the problem. It's not a frame about moderation. It's a frame about "what do the conservatives think?" because the left is fundamentally weak. Maybe this is all too big picture, and not enough single vote type of looking at the world, but I think maybe that's why there is this divide between what I think of HRC and others.

I will put it to you this way. I am probably more moderate in actually than HRC despite her triangulation to seem more moderate than I actually am. But, like many- including her husband, she grew up in an era of Democratic decline. From the late 70s thourhg the 80s and 90s there was the counter reaction to the liberal strength of prior decades. I think that what we see in a lot of the Dem leadership is mechanisms that they built up to defend themselves against being labeled the dreaded "liberal." The problem is that the country has passed the Democrats (and Republicans) in terms of where it actually is. I would argue that neither party represents the person out on the street. This doesn't mean I am for a third party. It means its simply a reality that warps the discussion.

I remember when Kerry ran in 2004, and ran from the moniker liberal. He gave one of his classic mushy answers because of (and this is my speculation) the beating that liberals had taken in prior decades so he had learned to be cautious. The irony is that polling done after he made this mushy answered indicated people really didn't care as much as he did.

I think HRC will get pretty far on her money and name recognition. However, she will also do a lot of damage to the party because she reps a strategic approach that needs to die out. We need a Newt who thinks not just of his own interests, but those of the greater party. We need a Reagan who ignites the idealogues within the party. I believe we need these things because the best defense from a strong right, is a strong left, and vice versa. Anytime one is severely weakened- we get what we are seeing now.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Not True

I don't disagree with you although every political circumstance requires different solutions.  I am not sure triangulation was the wrong strategy for the Clinton era but it clearly is not right for this era.  I do not support Hillary for President although I don't hate her.  

I do think people have completely unrealistic expectations about what Reid and Pelosi can do from their posts as minority leaders.  There will be periodic victories from the minority but not very often.  Reid and Pelosi should not be immune from legitimate criticisms for strategy and policy mistakes but there are a lot of gratitous slaps at them that are unwarranted.

by John Mills 2006-05-07 08:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Not True

I am about to head to bed, but I wanted to say that I don't think people are unrealistic about their expectations. What they are doing is comparing it to the discipline that the Republicans show. In fact, one of the big points made, for example, during the Alito hearings was not that we expected the Democrats to win- we didn't have the numbers- but that it should not be based on rather faulty triangulation of what they Senators thought was appropriate according to a nebulous public opinion. Rather than shaping that opinion, they waited until it was too late- at the hearings to do anything. The time for shaping opinion in modern politics is from day one- in this case- when the nominee is announced- not at esoteric hearings that no one (read the public) really understands. I am trained as a lawyer, and I was  left wondering- why did they think most americans would understand what it took  me 3 years to even begin to grasp.  I can't imagine Newt or Rove would have waited. The fact we did and didn't bother to put up any real fight is the part that was distressing. Not that we thought we could really win. But starting from the assumption that one can not win is not productive.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 09:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Not True

This is a legitimate criticism about strategy employed on Alito and I have no problem with stuff like this.  What I have problem with is the gratuitous remarks from Ian Welsh which are devoid of the reality that the Rs with a 10 seat majority were going to get Alito through no matter what we did.  

Could we have fought better and harder - absolutely.  Could we have scored some political points and drawn a little blood - absolutely.  Would I have liked that - absolutely.  We lost the Supreme Court when we lost the 2004 election so we are really talking about throwing some red meat to the party base which is fine.  Maybe they need to do more of that.

by John Mills 2006-05-08 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Not True

No we aren't just talking about that. We are talking about how to win without being in the majority. Clinton's choice for the SCt were not just based on his winning elections. if they were, we would have seen more liberal nominees. The construction that you set up is an interesting one. One often use here to justify the way things are. This construction assumes that there is only one type of power, one type of way in which politics works. In the case of your argument, you assume that the only power that can be  had is that of what you think of as "real" power. So far, you have reduced it to two things- winning in 2004 and/or having the votes in Congress. There are other types of power. Power, that despite your reducing them, that are just as significant. ie, the power to shape the policy of your appoint for example- which is what the Republicans were able to do even as a minority by shaping the debate when Clinton was selecting his nominee. I heard none of this- in total- discussion that I hear by left leaning people that the Prez gets to choose his nominee. In fact, the Republicans were very adamant that Clinton had to consult with them. That he had to choose a moderate nominee. And Clinton gave in to their desire by choosing safer nominees- ie, a Ginsburg versus a Lawrence Tribe or Mario Cuomo. It's your inability to see that there are more forms of power than you name that limits the Democratic playing field. Indeed, I see that the leadership has the same kind of narrowly definitions that you do. It's clear in the way they talk in wonkish terms about things. It's also clear when it came time for the Alito hearing. It's like they didn't even know there was the power of the pulpit. Or, the power of being solid against or for something (they had some indicatios last year of that power when they shut down Congress- and therefore spoke in a manner that the press could not ignore or belittle as a ploy- although the press certainly tried.). I think as I have said to BlueNC your limited definition of power is a strategic mistake for the Democrats because it limits you in eventually obtaining the majority that you say you want to have. You are never going to achieve by solely focusing on the concept that - "we need the votes." My response- and that of others- assumes you need to get the votes. We are indicating strategies for getting there. And, that's not a base question. it's an electability question. I am old fashion. I believe the proof is in pudding. I look at whose strategies worked, and whose strategies do not. I find that the Republican strategies work- not just to the base, but for a long time middle America beause they understood power comes in different forms. The Democrats strategies of triangulation did not work because they didn't understand that power comes in in different forms. Ie, in the case of Alito- I had another indies say to me that even if the democrats lost on Alito they would have at least respected us. That's a character thing. It can't be broken down into a single election or single vote. It's a construction of branding- general traits that people associate with the entire groups. When people say for example Dems are weak in defense. It's not a single bill or single candidate- it's a generation impression of how they perceive our character. If Kerry , a war vet, couln't forthrightly defend himself against Bush, a draft dodger, then how was he going to defend the country. It was a hidden power that didn't hurt Kerry with his base- but did hurt him with the general electorate. That your analysis doesn't take this into account is my problem with discussions such as this.

by bruh21 2006-05-08 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Worshipping Harry Reid??  I like him OK but it's not worship.

by howardpark 2006-05-07 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

As much as I admire Markos for all the work he has done, that is a poor article so full of holes I don't know where to start.

For instance back in late 2003 Dean might well have looked strong but that alone did not mean he was a certainty for the nomination. And that is true whether or not Kerry used his own money is keep his campaign afloat.

As for this notion that the Clinton presidency was a failure - wow, that's an extraordinarily high benchmark to set and one that surely defines all but a handful of presidencies as failures.

Clinton made mistakes but Bush's victory in 2000 was in an election that Gore should have controlled. The Al Gore of 2006 is an impressive figure, the 2000 version was not.

To date I have seen very little to suggest the netroots can play a major influence in the 2008 primaries. Netroots victories have been few and far between.

by kundalini 2006-05-06 04:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

We lay down for candidates like Bob Casey.

Precisely so. I am not following the PA race, but clearly there are two other candidates, both to the left of Casey and most of netroots is ignoring them. Some of the biggest bloggers in liberal blogosphere are located in PA, yet they are more interested in taking down Liberman than nominating a progressive in their own state.

I know what I would think if I were Schumer.

by Alice Marshall 2006-05-06 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

maybe because neither of those candidates are truly credible and fail to take us to our goal in the state - electing a Democratic majority.

Find a more credible candidate, no a college professor or such, and perhaps they would embrace them moreso.

by KainIIIC 2006-05-06 05:37PM | 0 recs
Hillary will tank

Her poll numbers reflect name recognition and nothing else.

I know a small army of people who volunteered for various candidates before the last Iowa caucuses. Most of the people I know were involved with the Kerry, Edwards, Dean and Kucinich campaigns (Gephardt was not a factor in my area).

I literally do not know anyone excited about Hillary. She's got money, but who's going to be a precinct captain for her? Who's going to knock on doors and make phone calls for her? Who's going to tell their neighbors about what a fantastic speech she gave at the candidates' forum at their church?

Hillary will fall to the anti-Hillary. The battle is going to revolve around who becomes the anti-Hillary: Edwards, Warner or Feingold.

by desmoinesdem 2006-05-06 05:43PM | 0 recs
forgot to mention Gore

If he gets in the race Hillary has no chance whatsoever.

by desmoinesdem 2006-05-06 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary will tank

You're saying this as an IOWA Dem?  Wow, the brass balls to talk like that when IA voters folded like a house of cards for the establishment candidate.  Yeah, you know "no one" who will captain for her, but when the most sophisticated campaign operation in history descends upon your state, she'll suddenly have more support than she knows what to do with.  Iowa's Democratic Party sold out a LONG time ago.  I am rolling my eyes at your naivete vis-a-vis your state's voters.

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 07:11PM | 0 recs
how much time have you spent here?

AFSCME, a real powerhouse in Iowa politics, went for Dean. They worked the phones hard for him.

Sheila McGuire Riggs, a very influential former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, went for Dean (after first endorsing Bob Graham, who incidentally was my original favorite too).

Senator Tom Harkin, possibly the best-loved Democrat statewide, endorsed Dean toward the very end.

I am really sick of the revisionist history regarding the outcome of the Iowa caucuses.

How do you reach the conclusion that "the establishment" pulled strings for Kerry? Edwards would have won the Iowa caucuses if he'd had two more weeks OR if he had invested more in building up an organization in the summer of 2003. He and Kerry were both surging toward the end--Kerry's victory reflected the fact that he had a big head start on Edwards and way more precinct captains working on getting the vote out.

Hillary is not going to do well in Iowa in 2008. By the way, a lot of the big donors in this state are not behind her either.

by desmoinesdem 2006-05-06 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: how much time have you spent here?

we'll see.  She doesn't need the "big donors" there.  Why is it revisionist history when Dean was humiliated by Iowa.  18 percent?  That was sickening.  

Nothing against IA but it'll be a long time before I forgive them for thrusting John Kerry upon us and ruining Dean.  Immature, but that's how politics is.

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: how much time have you spent here?

With all due respect, Kerry ran a much better campaign in Iowa.  Volunteer-wise, he had a larger in-state group than Dean, who brought a lot of people from out of state.  There is more in-person, one-to-one campaigning in Iowa because it's first, and Kerry did better in that respect than Dean.  Being a poor TV figure doesn't necessarily mean you're bad one-to-one.

Dean wasted too much time going after Gephardt as the front-runner, and it became a murder-suicide.

Would Dean have done better than Kerry in the general election?  Who knows?

But he could only must a 3rd place finish in Iowa and the primary season in general.  If he couldn't get past Kerry or Edwards, and wasn't much farther ahead of Clark, why would this instill any confidence in his general election prospects.

I like Howard Dean, but his loss was fair and square.

by v2aggie2 2006-05-06 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: how much time have you spent here?

I guess I can blame Gephardt then!  LOL

Seriously, you make a good point.  The 2004 Iowa Caucus should be a manual on what NOT to do, especially if you have more money than you need...perhaps the amount of money does more harm than good.

Btw, I very much enjoy reading your posts.  I am 30 and, like you, was one of the "younger" people during Clinton.  Simply having a current Democratic president in office during one's formative years is immeasurably important to the future of the party.  It can influence lifelong voting patterns.

THAT'S why I get so upset when people talk of not supporting our nominee whomever that might be.

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 09:25PM | 0 recs
Re: how much time have you spent here?

Your posts are quite enjoyable as well, and you have been quite enlightening.

We definitely need to support our nominee.
Even our "worst" candidate is far better than the best Republican candidate

by v2aggie2 2006-05-07 02:00PM | 0 recs
Dean's humiliation was his own doing

He raised all that money and didn't know what to do with it. His tv ads were terrible after about September (the first ones he ran over the summer were good). Even Kos admits he had absolutely no message discipline.

He imported a bunch of college kids to do his canvassing instead of building up a network of precinct captains in the neighborhoods.

His direct-mail pieces were bad too. A couple of weeks before the caucuses all Iowa Democrats got a glossy, expensive-looking mailing from the Dean campaign that was a "caucus survival kit," containing all the info you needed to participate in the Iowa caucuses.

Think about it: is it a good turnout strategy to make the masses of Democrats think caucuses are something you need a "survival kit" to get through? The key to doing well in the caucuses is to turn out the people who wouldn't normally come to caucus. The way to do that is to get someone in their own neighborhood to call them or knock on their door. Several people at my precinct caucus told me they were only there because I called them so many times!

I had friends who were vehemently against the Iraq war and told me in the spring of 2003 that they were for Dean. After seeing him in person a few more times over the fall and winter, they liked him less and less. These people ended up caucusing for Edwards or Kucinich (the joke was that a Deaniac is a Democrat who hasn't heard Dennis speak yet).

I actually like Dean and think he's doing a good job as DNC chairman. He wasn't my choice for president, but I think he's a good person. That doesn't change the fact that his campaign strategy was terrible toward the end.

The Edwards surge was like a tidal wave, particularly among suburbanites in their 30s and 40s. We all started noticing it about a month before the caucuses. There's no way you can tell me "the establishment" was pushing Iowa Democrats to support Edwards. He did it all on the strength of his charisma, good tv ads and a flat-out incredible stump speech.

by desmoinesdem 2006-05-06 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Dean's humiliation was his own doing

Great post.  You sound very experienced and know what happened in Iowa.  I LOVE posts that I actually learn something from, especially from someone who was there.  

Forgive me if I am still a little emotional about Howard Dean.  I guess it was a disastrous strategy to bring in 18yo out-of-state granola college kids from Cambridge to try and tell 80yo Iowa grandmothers how to vote.

Could it be that he raised TOO much money.  Oh, the irony!!!!!

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 09:17PM | 0 recs
I'm starting to sound like a broken record...

But, what type of party do we want to be? One in which those with the money and the connections run the show? That's what HRC means to me. She's got more money than anyone out there. She's got all the connections. Wonderful. Terrific. I guess we should all just fall in line already.

Or how about this. How about we progressives back someone else. After all, it is a primary. How about we fall in line behind someone who is ready to listen to the ordinary America again, and will base his or her campaign on $100-200 donors, rather than private meet and greets with deep pockets who can drop $4,200 checks from every member of their family.

I'm already tired of the "but the Republicans might win" arguement. I'm so tired already of the "fall in line or it's your fault if we lose again" bull shit.

How about this: We might win. We might actually change our government. We might actually reform our party. We might fall in line behind someone who falls in line behind us. What a concept.

Let's stop playing not to lose. I've been a Bears fan for most of my life. I know what playing not to lose looks like. And I know the results.

The Radical Right forced their will on the GOP. It's time progressive and populist Democrats do the same.

by michael in chicago 2006-05-06 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: I'm starting to sound like a broken record...

Go for whoever you want. I don't have a candidate yet (Clark, Warner, Bayh all look good to me, provided Gore doesn't jump in). But once the party picks a nominee, either get on board or be prepared to hear some shit when President McCain nominates Pat Buchanan to SCOTUS.

by bluenc 2006-05-06 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Amen to Michael in Chicago, from another Chicagoan.

To elaborate on one of Matt's points--it would be a really good idea if we folks out here in the netroots won one, as a show of strength.  As of now, we 1) made Dean a phenomenon--not a winner; 2) came awfully close to putting Paul Hackett over the top--but couldn't; 3) didn't get very close to knocking off Cuellar, and with a former Congressman as our candidate, no less.

Winning one (or, ideally, several) that we weren't supposed to win would wake up the Democratic establishment to look at us more seriously.  Not that their approval should be our goal--their replacement should be our goal.  But we want them looking us in the eye when we say, "It's time to go."

by rayspace 2006-05-06 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

I am sorry but that's bogus. Winning any particular race will simply shift the arguments. I can already envision how it will work. "well, that was just a fluke" or "well that was special circumstances" And let's be honest, the other side has not had to provide proof of a win in a long time. I mean a strategy that has failed for 3 election cycles really isn't a strategy that someone should be tauting as a winning strategy. What have they won lately?

by bruh21 2006-05-07 12:36PM | 0 recs
One reason

No one ever mentions. Political Dynasticism.

If we are stupid enough to go for Hilly, we will start the thitrd decade of two family rule. WE laugh at Third World counties for less, and say they don't really have a democracy. Yet here we are, happily turning off our brains and creating a de-facto aristocracy.

Pseudo royal families. An ever increasing number of "legacy" legislators. Decreasing overall social mobility.

Amazing. People happily marching back to the middle ages.

by ElitistJohn 2006-05-06 09:56PM | 0 recs
Re: One reason

Good post.  Though I am a dedicated supporter of her's you are alluding to THE number one weakness of Hillary Clinton.  Most Democrats running may not see it, but the best strategy for the anti-Hillary candidate would be to run against a legacy of Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton (broke down on terms in office).

Running with a message of someone new, not involved with either family, would be, IMO, very effective politically.  Change.  The nonsense of the conservatism of HRC being her detriment and a non-starter is a red herring.  She deftly has created a progressive voting record that will ultimately inoculate her from charges of not being sufficiently progressive.

by jgarcia 2006-05-06 10:11PM | 0 recs
Re: One reason

Both arguments are valid critiques of HRC. The fact is she is triangulating. The fact is that she is indeed dynastic- in fact one relates to the other. Which is the point of this diary because if you think about it, the complaints about her being like her husband, are exactly about the fact that she is cut from the same cloth, and doesn't allow for new ideas to come into the mix. Those ideas happen to be triangulation. Just as BUsh 2 happen to be a reaction to Bush 1. I think some of you are so vested in wanting to support a particular candidate that these sorts of points are lost on you. The only thing this person above did was rewrite what is at the core of a lot of people problems with HRC- that she's not a break from her husband. She's just taking the party in a direction it has already been- which were fine for the time- but now we need new blood that doesn't think the same way.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: One reason

Perhaps you are judging her too soon?  Don't you want to wait until the primary season gets under way in earnest before saying that she brings us back to an irrelevant time.

by jgarcia 2006-05-07 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: One reason

she's been positioning herself since she ran in 2000 for the Senate race. I think frankly that there is a lot of naivette involved in politics. I know what HRC is about because I have been following her and how she's been positioning herself on issues. It's been primarily from her husband rule book. The danger she represents is not her policies- is the continuation of triangulation as a strategy for the party which isn't a long term prospect for the party development. I am not one to believe that any one person can make or break the party. In fact i say the same things about Bush- he's not destroying the Republican party as is being tauted now- as though he's something unique- what's killing the Republicans is that their idealogical beliefs are at odds with good and effective government in modern democracies. Similarly, HRC's flaw - is that she will run according to the triangulation strategy that she's been building since she decided to come to NY to run for Senate. Any validation of this strategy by her getting the nomination (I don't believe she can win so it's just the nomination) will continue for yet a few more cycles the decline of the party strategically.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: One reason

PS, and if I didn't make it clear- the danger she reps is a continuation of the entire party- and not just herself of a strategy that has proven to be a failure. In this sense- not policy- Clinton has been a failure to everyone except his own presidency. We can not judge him merely by what he did, but what he created for the future. Did he help build a viable long term Reaganeque revolution where by the Democrats would have strategies for multiple election cycles to win? The answer has to be no. What ever one thinks of Clinton- he didn't provide a Reagan like revolution. And before, you say this isn't important or not something we want- you need to realize that the only way to have a proper center (which is where I am at politically) is to have a relatively strong left to go with a relatively strong right. With triangulation we get only a strong right. Strategically- as someone in the middle I have seen how my views which are mostly moderate have become "liberal" because the system has shifted further right.

Clinton in continuing this approach will help herself but not the party. That's the thing that is missed here. It's possible for individual candidates to be "right" about their individual prospects- but still do damage to the party because their strategy such as Joe going on TV are demetrimental to questions of branding the party. It's how Clinton failed- he didn't brand the party toward a viable revolution- whereas Reagan did create a brand that has shown longevity even if ultimately I think Reaganism will fail under modern democratic pressures.

by bruh21 2006-05-07 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Something I've been bouncing around: say, despite all of our best efforts, HRC wins the Democratic nomination. At this point, I think her best option would be to pick Obama as her running mate. Several reasons:

1. Neutralizes her lack of appeal to moderates and progressives.

  1. Brings out tons of new voters (Obama is incredibly popular)
  2. Inoculates her against the dynasticism charge; the campaign could be more about the future with someone like Obama on the ticket

The way I see it, HRC has a slim chance of winning, but if she puts someone like Obama on the ticket, who has enormous popularity, she could win over enough voters. What do you think?

by bluenc 2006-05-06 10:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Bob Casey? If I lived in PA and the choice was him vs. Santorum, he'd easily get my vote. But I wouldn't ever waste my time campaigning for him, nor for any 'lesser of two evils'.

Lamont over Lieberman? My heart and soul are there, but there's an element missing to this strategy. Lieberman's Connecticut is economically conservative and despite his weakness as a national force, his popularity at home makes almost any opponent a quixotic venture that all progressives acting in lockstep aren't going to surmount.

I always felt part of being progressive is having the wisdom to save ammunition for campaigns with at least a longshot chance of winning, not simply going all-out to remain ideologically pure.

The rarest bird I've seen in American politics is the Compassionate-breasted Conservative. But I maintain my belief that the almost as rare Pragmatic-Foot Progressive can replenish its species in the wild.

by KevinHayden 2006-05-07 03:01AM | 0 recs
When I hear the word "pragmatic,"

I reach for my mouse ;)

by eRobin 2006-05-07 09:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

What races are we neglecting because of Lieberman? Really?

Also whats with Pragmatic FOOT?

by MNPundit 2006-05-07 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

This is an interesting post, but from my view, Hillary is much more like Dean than she is like Kerry et al.  Don't get me wrong--she has Kerry et al's politics, but that's not what I mean.

Hillary is like Dean becuase she's the candidate that everyone is paying attention to--the presumptive front runner who has yet to be tested before the voters.

I think when she is finally put up for a vote, she will get very little support.

by Reece 2006-05-07 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Hillary is, as Markos points out, the insider candidate. Dean was very much the outsider candidate.

Primaries are usually, though not always, determined by what might be described as organisational support. For each state you look to get the key players in your corner and get them to turn out the vote.

Now the assumption is that Hillary, through her connections, her capacity to generate money for others, and her own war chest, will gain far more organisational support than any of the other candidates.

For all his supposed strength in late 2003 Dean never had much organisational support. His was a bandwagon that needed strong results in the early primaries to convince people that he was a serious player.

Despite the lack of support among the netroots, Hillary controls the factors that usually determine the result of the primaries; something that Markos appears to have ignored in his article.

by kundalini 2006-05-07 07:56AM | 0 recs
Thank you

for making this clear:

That's what she's banking on.  I mean we did it for her husband, we're doing it for Bob Casey, and we're worshipping Harry Reid.

by eRobin 2006-05-07 09:42AM | 0 recs
Markos a Little Off on Dem History

I share Markos' qualms about HRC and his embrace of the new outsider energy Dean helped catalyze and inject into the party, but Markos' version of recent history is a little shaky.

By the time Bill Clinton reached the White House, taxes and government activism had been under increasing attack for 25 years, and you can't blame that on him.  He tried to take some of the wind out of the anti-government sails by balancing the budget and reforming welfare.  He didn't get the welfare reform he wanted, and after originally vetoing the Republican version  he signed a watered-down version when he became convinced that a veto would cost him reelection and lead to a more draconian Republican bill.

Two of his liberal initiatives, universal health care and stiffer gun control, contributed heavily to the Republican Revolution in 1994. And while he could never pass major new programs, he used the budget process to pass a huge expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (bringing 4 million out of poverty), the Children's Health Insurance Program (providing health care to millions of low-income kids), and big tax credits that allowed students to go to two-years of college practically for free.

I would have liked to see more, and he would have like to do more, but it wasn't 1935 or 1965.  The point is that writing-off all "Clinton Democrats" or "third-way approaches" ignores the reality that exists in this country beyond the Netroots and potentially undermines effective approaches to instituting policies that further progressive values. And while ineffective triangulation may have contributed to Democratic losses in the last two elections, obviously the biggest factor was reluctance to change horses in the midstream of war, and particularly to the horse that didn't seem as tough on national security. And you can't blame Bill Clinton for that either!

(Although I'm still voting against HRC!)

by lonestarpedro 2006-05-07 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Markos a Little Off on Dem History

Also, by the way, Clinton went up against the tobacco companies.  I think linton was a great President and possibly the most Progressive President in many ways.  Althoush I am also not supporting HRC in the primaries.

by davej 2006-05-07 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Rebranding Republicans versus HRC

Whether we tapdance for HRC will ultimately comedown to who the GOP Nominee is.  If they pick a W clone or worse, guys like McCain, Tancredo, Allen or Frist, I think you see the partisan juices flow.  If the GOP selects a true moderate (and none come to mind) then you might see the progressives stay home in an attempt to send the party a message.   The other chance would be HRC picking a progressive VP, such as Feingold or Dean... In which case we would tapdance to insure the Progressive VP is either the MAN (or Woman) in 8 years or the frontrunner in 2012 in case of a loss.

by yitbos96bb 2006-05-08 01:24PM | 0 recs


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