Partisanship is not Enough

wapost poll.jpg

The poll is from the Washington Post.

Progressives are in a bit of a bind these days.  The Republicans are still sadistic extremists, and with the challenge to Hagel in Nebraska, they will remain that way for at least another few cycles.  Despite the victory in 2006, liberal Democrats are still cut out of power and policy-making.  House Democrats want to fund abstinence only education, Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher and Michigan Democrat John Dingell are trying to block California's actions on global warming, the CBC is sucking up to Fox News, Hillary Clinton is saying that she understands the war on terror because she is from New York and that we are safer since 9/11, and lobbyist and blog-hater Steve Elmendorf's business is exploding.

Abortion opponent and religious theocrat Jim Wallis may not have been quite right when he said"The Religious Right and the secular Left both lost on Election Night", but he wasn't far off.  Democrats haven't been able to restrict Bush in a possible attack on Iran because they can't get a majority to vote against yet another war.  And then there's the big betrayal, of course, on Iraq.   This piece by Mark Udall should give all of us pause in our strategic understanding of where we are in the party hierarchy.

Opponents of the war claimed moral high ground by voting against funding, knowing all the while that a presidential veto saved them from the consequences of actually scaling back the equipment and medical supplies that sustain our soldiers, while advocates of the war shed tears and thumped their chests about defeating "terrorists" without ever explaining how deploying our soldiers to referee a civil war does anything but weaken our national security.

Meanwhile, labor looks strategically unwise.  Three weeks after it's become clear that the Democratic front-runner's chief strategist profits from union-busting, two labor leaders, James Hoffa and Bruce Raynor, wrote a tentative whiny note to Clinton asking her to consider their concerns.  She promptly told them in PR-speak to go fuck themselves, and they don't seem to care.  And this has real consequences - here's a high level Democratic staffer talking to a business lobbyist on the Employee Free Choice Act in Roll Call:

"My pitch to the business community was, `You want a lot from us, but you're now siding with the hard right,'" said the second senior House Democratic aide. "This card check bill is never going to see the light of day, and this is what you're going to spend your political capital on?"

This is in Roll Call.  Roll Call.  Labor is the pillar of the progressive community, and is openly being dismissed as irrelevant.  And that's before getting to Rangel's utter betrayal and moral corruption in his trade deal.

The progressive movement on the internet isn't recognizing these realities either.  Read the op-ed above; Mark Udall thinks we hate the troops, and he's going to be coming around to us for cash in his Senate bid in Colorado.  And a lot of people are going to give it to him.  

Now, this might sound depressing, and it is.  But it's also a reality of politics these days, and it's the consequence of 35 years of organizing by the right wing and only around eight years on our side.  The people in charge of the political system are the swing votes and the people that those voters want to work with.  Steny Hoyer and Rahm Emanuel have positioned themselves to be this swing vote, and they have chosen to basically throw some crumbs our way (minimum wage) while voting with the Republicans on the big issues, like Iraq.  

This isn't permanent.  In four to six years and after a few more losses, it's possible that the GOP is going to realign around a more moderate agenda, and in the meantime we can broaden out and build bridges between progressives and independents.  We can learn to educate and/or cut off people like Udall, and encourage labor to stand up harder for workers.  But that hasn't happened yet, so moderate patsies like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer are still large and in charge.  We are still losing credibility among antiwar independents (see above graphics), and Bush is retaking the initiative as leader.

We're going to get there one day.  I date the beginning of the open left to the fall of 1998, when Moveon was founded in response to the Clinton impeachment.  We've taken huge steps forward with our primary challenge to Lieberman and our new crop of freshmen in 2006.  And we've branched into policy, and now have a few inside players on a few key issues.  

The ultimate point here though is that we are not a partisan movement and should no longer think of ourselves as such.  We are an ideological movement.  We have ideas, and want to see those ideas driven with power.  This means that we need to get down to the hard work of disabusing ourselves of candidate-centric politics, and work to create primary challenges wherever possible, as well as keep building forums for the dissemination of new ideas.  Udall may or may not be a good guy, though certainly he seems like an immoral coward.  I could probably not bring myself to support him, though I wouldn't blame others if they did.  But the point is that Udall has been persuaded that conservative ideas work, even if he's a Democrat.  And that's what we have to tackle.

Update [2007-6-8 18:34:3 by Matt Stoller]:: Democrats.com has a list of candidates who voted against the McGovern amendment and possible primary challengers.

Tags: Democrats, progressive movement (all tags)

Comments

51 Comments

Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Let me just say that even after 35 years of organizing and victories the Religious Rightist footsoldiers still get told to fuck off by the GOP leadership.

by MNPundit 2007-06-08 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

What a depressingly good point.

by LandStander 2007-06-08 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Tell that to all the gay people in red States that now have a Defense of Marriage Amendment passed. Tell that to all the women in states that only have one abortion provider in the whole state. Tell that to Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

When it comes to economics, sure, the bigwigs tell the base to fuck off. But on social issues, the Religious Right has not been wholely ineffective.

by AmericanJedi 2007-06-08 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I think his point is that the Religious Right, though they have some accomplishments, have never been successful at getting elected officials to back the majority of their core issues. Just as we progressives have a hard time get the politicians we support to champion the causes that are important to us. Both the progressive left and religious right have had some successes, but neither side has succeeded in transformational change.

But I think we will win - if history is any guide - and the religious right win lose. History is on our side.

by LandStander 2007-06-08 03:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

"For the reasons stated, I dissent from the Court's disposition and would affirm the judgments before us for review."
Ruth Bader Ginsberg -

(notice "respectfully" is missing from "i dissent", the last time i saw Ginsberg extract that word was in Bush v Gore)

The Religious fanatics won the last few years by picking up Alito and Roberts. That will have a longer effect than the next president's term(s).

With Stevens getting so old, there has to be a Democratic President if not the right will pick up yet another justice (6-3). The only hope to save the court is if Stevens (and Kennedy for that matter) go caput, a Democrat is in the WH.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-06-08 05:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Oh and Ginsberg is ancient as well (god bless her soul). That could possibly mean 3 justices going and 3 new ones coming in. The stakes are high, and Justices are a very helpful tool in the progressive movement.

Anxiety.

by sepulvedaj3 2007-06-08 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I meant "can be" a very helpful tool, not are

by sepulvedaj3 2007-06-08 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

The next president (especially so if they get two terms) could get as many as three or four appointments to the US Supreme Court. That's huge. They had better be good appointments too, young brilliant liberal/progressives not moderates or centrists. They need to serve as a counter balance to the conservatives sitting on the court that have skewed it so far to the right.

by Quinton 2007-06-08 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

You're right.  And change is slow and a long time coming, it always is.

If people don't have the stomach to fight over the long term, they should get out of this game.  

by Andmoreagain 2007-06-08 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

That's self-defeating. I can't fight forever. No one can. I might lose my job next year and feel compelled to drop out of politics simply because my life requires it. But does that mean that my contributions in the here and now are worthless?? I don't think that makes much sense.

by AmericanJedi 2007-06-08 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Every bit helps.  I think he was saying that a long, slow burn is better than one all-or-nothing throw. (Either is better than nothing, or course.)

by Go Vegetarian 2007-06-08 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

This is probably one of the more important posts you've written of late, with the key point being this:

The ultimate point here though is that we are not a partisan movement and should no longer think of ourselves as such.  We are an ideological movement.  We have ideas, and want to see those ideas driven with power.

It has long been evident to me that our partisanship is a product of our ideology, and not so much the reverse. I'm glad that others are coming around to that realization.

So, since we've realized/accepted this fact about ourselves, now what? Clearly, increasing power for a partisan-based movement is simply a matter of electing more of your partisans, but increasing the overal power of an ideology is not so cut and dry. In Republican circles, their candidates are beaten over the head with their established ideology and held to that standard, while our side of the aisle nearly trips over itself to eschew all ideology (and then they wonder why the public thinks that Dems "don't stand for anything"), as if that is some moral "above the fray" highground.  Getting people in our party establishment, who seem to believe that all ideology is bad, to accept and enforce our ideology as party mantra will be quite the task.
 

by AmericanJedi 2007-06-08 12:48PM | 0 recs
I agree with this

"I date the beginning of the open left to the fall of 1998."

So then, to use Perlstein's Goldwater analogy, it was 26 years before Reagan, so let's put a Dem in the White House in 2008, but we shouldn't expect a progressive-dominated Democratic party and country until 2024.

Only 17 years away--better get cookin', people.

by david mizner 2007-06-08 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with this

Crap.  I don't want to be &*@# 55 years old by the time we get good government!

by Go Vegetarian 2007-06-08 02:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I just wrote a harsh response to this on my blog, but briefly: we should step back and think for a second about the suggestion that we abandon partisanship in favor of idealism. That suggestions goes against the core of the progressive/netroots project, which -- as I understand it -- holds that our ideas only have value once implemented, and that thus we are obligated to be both aggressive and pragmatic in implementing them.

To reject partisanship, as Matt proposes, is neither aggressive nor pragmatic; it's a retreat. We might be more comfortable if our progressive ideas are flowering freely rather than tied to the often-problematic Democratic Party, but then, what good would they be? Isn't that the kind of marginalization that doomed the 1960s left?

We are much more effective, and more true to our belief system, if we identify firmly and fervently as Democrats. Of course we have to reshape the party in a more progressive image, which is where primaries and such come in; but to explicitly put our ideas before our party is totally counterproductive.

That's the understanding most of us have been operating under for years, since Dean at least, through the 2006 midterms. Are we to abandon it now just because of a few setbacks?

by MarkusRTK 2007-06-08 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Speaking as a 2000 Naderite (a scarlet letter I'll deservedly wear to my grave), I can appreciate the dangers of rigid idealism. We need to maintain the "understanding," at least through the election. After all, you go to Washington with the party you have, not the party you might want.

by arbitropia 2007-06-08 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I disagree. Being ideological doesn't mean a rejection of pragmatism. The netroots aren't going to support Republicans, because precious few of them are to the left of even the worst Democrats and they still vote for Boehner or McConnell for leader, and they aren't going to support third parties, because they don't stand a chance in a FPTP system.

Being ideological means not excusing Congress when it betrays us, it means primarying our opponents, making people listen to us, perhaps even fear our electoral clout.

The Religious Right is ideological rather than partisan. That doesn't mean they aren't an intrinsic part of the Republican apparatus of power, it means that they make the party support them in return for their support.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-09 06:52AM | 0 recs
GOP Realingment

It's coming, obviously, but what makes you think it will be a more moderate party?  Don't be surprised if the Republicans go hardcore nativist.

by themann1086 2007-06-08 01:37PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Realingment

That's possible too.

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-08 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Realingment

Don't be surprised if the Republicans go hardcore nativist.

This is a serious concern. Look at how Europe, in all it's liberal glory, has fallen victim to violent and racist xenophobia. This seems to be the road the conservative base is following, and the Tancredo's of the world are only going to become more popular. If we continue to have talk of mass deportation, wall-building and cultural purism, the Left may have a new civil rights battle on its hands.

by LandStander 2007-06-08 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP Realingment

I'm not sure the Europe analogy works in general. Merkel's not as far right as was feared, Berlusconi's fallen, Haider's party is divided and weak, the Dutch right has never recovered from Fortuyn's death and Cameron is trying to move his party left, although his base is resisting it.

This swing within the right to less moderate policies is only really visible in Eastern Europe, which is still a poor, intolerant and heavily-religious area, and France, which has deep-seated problems with its minorities.

That's not to say that the GOP couldn't go nativist. However, for all the bile against immigrants, I don't think that such a swing could be accomplished without alienating the moderates who still vote Republican but have nobody of their ideology representing them.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-09 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I've needed a post like this.

by tigerintehsenate 2007-06-08 02:19PM | 0 recs
primary challenges

Matt says we must "work to create primary challenges wherever possible."

Democrats.com recently posted a list of 58 Democrats who deserve primary challenges because they opposed the McGovern Amendment to get out of Iraq by 4/08.

http://www.democrats.com/primary-2008-li st

Matt do you want to support this effort?

by bob fertik 2007-06-08 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

Speaking personally, each year a progressively larger fraction of my political donations has gone into Democratic Primaries.  My current project is getting progressive Jamie Eldridge elected to congress in the MA-05 special election.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-06-08 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

I don't live far from his district.  Is he a credible candidate?  Can you or someone else give me more info?

by jgarcia 2007-06-08 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

Well, there's his website www.jamieforcongress.com for starters.

Jamie is a very credible candidate.  He's a state representative, as are 3 of the other candiates (the 4th is a widow who never held elected office.)  One advantage Jamie has is that he's the only candidate from the southern half of the district, and he's also being tacitly supported by the governor.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-06-09 09:49PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

I wonder if we'll ever see a list similar to this for the Senate.

by tigerintehsenate 2007-06-08 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

that's much tougher because Senators aren't up every two years.

also you need a very rich candidate like Ned Lamont to take on an incumbent Senator.

in 08, the Dems who deserve a primary are:

  1. Mark Pryor (AR)
  2. Mary Landrieu (LA)

but Landrieu is the most endangered Dem in the Senate so no one wants to hurt her chances.

for Pryor, it would be great to recruit Wes Clark if he has no other plans...

by bob fertik 2007-06-08 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: primary challenges

Clark would make a grand addition to the senate if he doesn't end up VP or sec. of state.

by Quinton 2007-06-08 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I prefer to put partisanship first. My ideology and your, yours and the Markos's, etc. will never be in complete alignment. But we live in a winner-take-all constitutional system that assure us that there will always be only two viable parties at any one time. Our ideologies are close enough to one another's that we share an interest in seeing the more progressive of the two parties win.

by demondeac 2007-06-08 02:27PM | 0 recs
All I want to know is...

 ...WHY these anti-labor Democrats identify with the Democratic Party. If working Americans aren't the core constituency of the Democratic Party, then who is???

 Has anybody sat down and asked people like Udall WHY they're Democrats? I'm genuinely interested why someone would join a political party whose values they hold in contempt.

by Master Jack 2007-06-08 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: All I want to know is...

Because they have left the Republican extreme and Democrats keep thinking that Republican-lite is what we need to win so we invite them to run for us when they never were committed to the Democratic Party.  Unless these are challenged and no more are taken on we cannot have a real progressive agenda considered.

Of course they hold our values in contempt.  We don't value our beliefs enough to fight for them.  Republicans run in both parties.  We need to keep cleaning house and not be so hopeful that the moderates are on side.  See Webb and Tester.  They have been the disappointment in my book.  Perhaps they are needed for the total.  But they do not seem to support some of the main agenda items of the Democratic base.  And we make them into heroes and we wonder why then we don't have champions for what we need.

by pioneer111 2007-06-08 03:05PM | 0 recs
Re: All I want to know is...

If working Americans aren't the core constituency of the Democratic Party, then who is???

I want to elaborate on this, because I think a good part of building Matt's "open left" is contained in our answer to that. Awhile ago I did a post on what I think is the core of a progressive resurgence. Here's a list from that post (figures are from 2004):

   * Union members: 25 percent of the electorate; voted 65 percent Democratic

   * African Americans: 12 percent of voters; voted 88 percent Democratic

   * Latinos: 11 percent of voters; 56-65 percent Democratic (data is disputed)

   * Young voters (18-25): 18 percent of voters; 54 percent Democratic

   * Single women: 22 percent of voters; 62 percent Democratic

   * Jews: 3 percent of voters; 74 percent Democratic

   * Muslims: disputed percentage of voters; 93 percent Democratic.

   * Furthermore, "there are other groups in the core as well: liberal people of faith, environmentalists, civil libertarians, the gay rights movement, the anti-war movement, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, consumer advocates."

Those are the people of the future Democratic party that advances progressive policies. We have to make it so.

by janinsanfran 2007-06-08 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: All I want to know is...

Now that's a tent I'll camp under.

by LandStander 2007-06-09 12:33PM | 0 recs
Re: All I want to know is...

Mark Udall can fuck off

Rahm Emanuel can fuck off

Steny Hoyer can fuck off

and so can that smug aide who said that bill was DOA

And, yeah, some censorship-lovers who blanche at swearing will troll-rate me.  But I don't give a shit.  I am tired tired tired of these Democrats thinking they have to be conservative to win.  Do they not read the polls that show our positions win on EVERY issue?

I only have limited resources, both in money and time.  My resources will ONLY go to true blue progs.  Fuck all these sell-outs on Iraq, trade, UHC, and the environment, and gays.

by jgarcia 2007-06-08 05:19PM | 0 recs
I ask the same question about women

All these people who scream "single-issue voter!" and hem and haw about whether they're feminists or not, just so they can suck up to social conservatives, are alienating a vital constituency of the Democratic Party.

by hrh 2007-06-09 06:48AM | 0 recs
A silver lining -- sort of

 If the Democrats keep acting like DLC'ers and continue enabling Bush and the Republicans, they WILL suffer heavy electoral losses next year. The drop in polls for Congress this week was just a taste of what's coming if the Dems continue to pretend that the public voted them in to carry on the proud legacies of Frist and Hastert.

 After all, why vote for a faux-Republican when the genuine article is available?

 While the consequences of a Republican victory in 2008 will be extremely dire for the nation, it will finally and permanently discredit the Vichy Dems, and allow the party -- if it's still a viable entity -- to finally go in the direction it needs to go.

 Then again, I thought that the 2002 electoral debacle would be the end of the DLC-nexus, too...

by Master Jack 2007-06-08 02:55PM | 0 recs
Re: A silver lining -- sort of

Wouldn't work. It's never their fault, it's always the unwashed left forcing absurd policies on the sensible centre.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-09 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Matt, I will probably comment about the substance of this post later. but right now, I want to take serious issue with the use of the phrase "anti-abortion and theocrat Jim Wallis." It's not that there's anything substantively wrong with the appellation. It's that you use it as a pejorative. It's like saying "avowed homosexual." This is exactly the kind of anti-religious lack of respect that turns many away from more progressive politics when our politics happen to be more in alignment with a greater aspect of the Bible (well, at least the New Testament) than conservative thinking. However any of disagree with Wallis, he is at least trying to bring more religious people into alignment with the majority of the progressive agenda. It's not like harry Reid, another avowed anti-abortion advocate, hasn't been at least moderately good for the Democrats. Not perfect, mind  you. But there's been good there.

by blackmahn 2007-06-08 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

If the right to choose is not a core value of the Democratic Party, it is at least a core value of progressivism. This is about the right to sovereignty over your own body versus the right of the government to rule your body. Moral opposition to abortion is certainly justified, but to support curtailing other people's right's in this respect has no place in progressive politics.

If it comes off as anti-religious, too bad. There is no point to having a big tent if it entails allowing in those who would repress women for their own religious prerogative.

by LandStander 2007-06-08 03:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Using anti-abortion as a negative appelation does not make you anti-religious. It means you believe in a woman's right to choose.

And if using the term theocrat as a negative appelation makes somebody think you're anti-religious, I'm not sure you want their vote anyway.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-09 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

There are now essentially three serious political movements in this country superimposed upon our two-party system.

One, the hard right, composed of religious theocrats, gun rights nuts, nativist racists, homophobic bigots, anti-science wackos, militaristic pro-war and torture chickenhawks, necons, and radical libertarians.

Two, the progressive left, composed of progressive bloggers and activists, liberal intellectuals and academics, anti-war liberals (i.e. anti ANY war that makes no sense and is not justified or necessary), labor, minorities, gay and abortion rights activists, and environmentalists (I'm sure that I've left some out).

And three, the right-leaning "moderate" "center", composed of people who for the most part are not struggling to get by, pro-corporatists, big business, the M-I complex, neoliberals, moderate Republicans, conservative Democrats, Blue Dogs, DLCers, the MSM, Clintonistas, and people who still in the 90's.

I suppose that I could also include a fourth group, the politicall apathetic and uninvolved, but they don't really play much of a role and might as well not even exist in terms of political impact, although they do represent some marginal pickup opportunities for any of these movements.

Clearly, there are divisions within each movement and it's not always completely cohesive. But by and large these are the current policy and ideological divisions within out political system. And although Dems are now in charge of congress and likely to pick up more seats and the presidency in '08, it's still weighted in favor of the right in terms of policy and ideology, even if no longer towards the hard right.

The far right first group is obviously very much on the right. And while the left is, obviously, on the left, the middle group still leans way too far to the right (even if not towards the far right, which it never did and which it never could or would except perhaps rhetorically in order to get these peoples' votes). And since they tend to determine which way things break in the policy and ideology tug of war between right and left, they continue to break right.

I think that one bright spot is to recognize that this middle group is really composed of two sub-groups, and that we have an opportunity to split one of them off to side with us, which if done right can swing US politics our way for a generation or longer.

One subgroup is those who "lead" it, i.e. the big business and M-I neoliberal corporatists like the DLC, Blue Dogs and "moderate" Repubs, and of course the corporations, super-rich people, think tanks and media outlets who are behind them.

And the other subgroup is the mostly middle class, middle America, suburban independant voters who tend to support them. E.g. Lieberman and Reagan Democrats, pro-choice secular Republicans, moderate libertarians, pro-fiscal responsibility and low-taxes types, etc.

We will never get the first subgroup to side with us because they are by definition opposed to most of our policies and goals. But we can get a significant number from the second subgroup to join us if we do a good enough job of appealing to them and their priorities (thus the appeal of Obama, who superficially at least appears to have something for both us and this subgroup). And if we can do that, then the first subgroup will have to follow our lead, not vice-versa (and the hard right will be pushed back to the political margins that it came from and belongs in).

Which is why we desperately need progressive thinkers and leaders who can not only articulate fresh and practical new policies and ideas that are inherently progressive yet also appealing to this very large and important middle group, but who also have the smarts, courage and perseverence to fight for them for as long as it takes, as this is going to be a TOUGH and LONG process if we're to win it.

You're right, as the country moves away from the policies and leadership of the hard right, control of this nation's political system is going to be resolved by a fight for the hearts, minds and votes of the middle, between progressives and corporatists (which is why Romney is clearly the designated heir apparant by the GOP powers that be, since he's most likely to both get the GOP nomination and appeal to this middle group, and similarly why Hillary's the top choice of the corporatist crowd).

This is going to get nasty before it gets resolved. And it's going to affect congress as much as it will the presidency, if not more so.

by kovie 2007-06-08 03:13PM | 0 recs
fabulous post!!! I love it.

you got it figured out, my friend.  I just wish more people would learn what you already know.

by jgarcia 2007-06-08 05:22PM | 0 recs
the important thing to remember is:

never give up.
never surrender.

-C.

by neutron 2007-06-08 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

I couldn't agree more. Electing Democrats takes us partly there, but only partly. We have to go much farther.

During the time that the Right has controlled government, they have established deep roots by filling the Supreme Court with their appointess, purging Federal prosecutors who won't work for them, purging lobbyists who won't work for them (K Street Project), propagandizing a significant portion of the public, shifting the country's wealth from the poor to the the wealthy, etc.

We need to do similar work, but with progressive goals and using methods. So not only do we need to elect progressive Democrats, we also need to reinvigorate democracy. We need to implement Clean Money elections and clean up the election system, we need to restore the mainstream media to the role of watchdog of power (instead of lapdog to it), and we need to empower people to think of themselves as citizens who demand and work to create a good society. We can't just grab the reins of power like the Right did, but we must democratize society and transform it so that it actually works the way a democracy should -- a fair and equitable system based on law, not a system based on corruption, bullying, propaganda, and hero worship.

by RandomNonviolence 2007-06-08 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Are you capable of writing anything that is not repulsively offensive and hysterically over the top? "Sadistic extremists" and "Hillary Clinton told 'em to go fuck themselves" are both pretty egregious choices of words. How about a little sense of proportion? You really are a ultra dull and predictable caricature. How about a little original thought or depth? Boring.

by nothing117 2007-06-08 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Are you capable of writing anything that is not repulsively offensive and hysterically over the top?

Yes.

"Sadistic extremists" and "Hillary Clinton told 'em to go fuck themselves" are both pretty egregious choices of words. How about a little sense of proportion?

Sure, as soon as we stop killing people in Iraq.

You really are a ultra dull and predictable caricature. How about a little original thought or depth? Boring.

Sounds great!  I'm waiting.

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-08 09:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

You have your head in the sand if you think what Matt wrote is over the top.  In fact, he is much more positive and optimistic than I am.  I think we need to drop the Democrats on their asses.  I think we should be voting for Nader in protest, big time.  If Nader doesn't run, write him in.  If the Dems lose, too bad.  We are as wimpy as we accuse the Dems of being.  They take us for granted, and we help them do it.

by dkmich 2007-06-09 05:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Sounds about right. Now that Democrats have majorities, the focus of the netroots should be not just on electing Democrats, but on electing good Democrats.

In 2006 the Heath Shulers of congress were a valuable addition, as they created the majority. But they can look after themselves. The focus should now be on a) filling any safe open seat with the most progressive candidate possible and b) supporting candidates in redder areas, but only so long as they're broadly supportive on at least some of our most important issues. Provided the majority exists and isn't under serious threat, there's no reason not to try and make it a more effective majority for our ends.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-09 07:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

The right began taking over the country after the infamous Powell memo in 1971.   In theory, progressives began something similar with the foundation of Moveon.org,  as you note.  

But the real moment when the movement to Take Back America began was when Howard Dean stood up at the DNC Winter Meeting in 2003 and demanded "What I want to know is why Democrats..."   are voting for the war, tax cuts, etc etc.   It was Dean who saw the real problem was with the Democrats as much as it was with the Republicans.  

If Moveon's foundation had been so important, would we really have seen such disasters in 2000 and 2002?  Let's remember, it's Dean who really promoted the phrase, Take Back America, and he may have been the first to coin it.  

So we actually have been at this about four years.   Not long, considering what we have to unravel.

One of the big reasons there is so much drift in the Democratic Party right now is that the Governor has been somewhat silenced by his position at the DNC.   His voice is missed.

by tea in the harbor 2007-06-09 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Partisanship is not Enough

Excuse me but I know Congressman Udall very well, and he is no conservative who feels conservative ideas work. He's a man who does a rare thing these days. He votes from his head and his heart, and if he says it you can take it to the bank. I'm sick of those on the left who start with this utter crap about how "if you don't agree with me or see things my way then you're not a "progressive" or "liberal" or a "Democrat." We all know Joe Liberman, we all have to put up with Joe Libermen Mark Udall is NO Joe Liberman. UDALL 08!

by jaymarvin 2007-06-10 02:33AM | 0 recs

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