Is there space in the Democratic party for conservatives?

I'm a conservative Democrat, a former elected official and a current elected county party official.

I could not get behind Obama, so I followed the advice of Old Thom Paine ("Lead, follow, or get out of the way.")  From convention to election, there was no lurking, no trouble making, no trolling and no sock puppetry from me.

Now that the election is over, I'm back and still a Democrat.  But, I still haven't bought "the dream".  I didn't fear the apocalypse, but I don't anticipate the rapture.

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I was seeking a progressive Alaskan's view of Palin...

I certainly found this entry from today's Mudflats blog intriguing (and it isn't what I'm hearing on television):

Well, this Alaskan is sitting here in disbelief.  This is a total gift to the Obama - Biden ticket.  As the nation scrambles to figure out who Sarah Palin IS, the thinking people of Alaska are simply mystified.  I'll be posting about this a lot later in the day after I'm awake, (it's early a.m. here in Alaska) but first impressions: - McCain obviously is looking for the Hillary vote since obviously women need no other criteria than a set of ovaries to mark their ballot, right?  I mean women don't actually make policy decisions, do they?

He's  also looking for the Evangelical vote.  Palin, a creationist, pro-lifer will appeal to this crowd.  Her fondness for creationism in schools, and the recent birth of a Downs Syndrome child can't hurt here.

The pro-drilling crowd will be pleased too.  Why she's even suing the Federal Government for daring to suggest that polar bears should be listed as `threatened'.  Can't have those damned bears interfering with the oil rigs.

And did you know there is currently a state ethics investigation of Palin going on?

Then there was this comment from one of Mudflats' Alaskan readers:

McVictim picked a bible thumping breeder who has a pro Bush, anti Environment stance that goes beyond the ordinary.
It's clear they hope to grab some disillusioned Hillary voters and the Christian Right.
That alone spells defeat in THIS election.
It was a bad choice and I couldn't be more pleased.
Looking through Mudflats' background pieces on Palin I also found this comment:
Palin's meteoric rise to governorship, and unbelievable popularity both stem, ironically, from her squeaky-clean image, and pledges for honesty and transparency in government. So how about releasing the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's analysis of the polar bear situation? won't do that? Hmmm. Could that be because the scientific evidence that was so incontrovertible it even persuaded the Dept. of the Interior, also persuaded Fish & Game? Transparency when convenient. Honesty when advantageous to your own `oil & gas' agenda? It's hard to stay squeaky-clean when you're covered with oil.

So I guess McCain picked her because she only had one house.
Under The LobsterScope

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Don't sidestep the Abortion issue.

The abortion issue was used successfully against Kerry, with lethal consequences. Obama's campaign needs to tackle this charge head-on, instead of playing defense. He certainly isn't on the losing side of this debate, not by a long shot - and especially not in the Christian context.

Given that abortions have been occurring since the beginning of time, and given the tunnel vision and hysterical tones adopted by many conservative Christians on this subject, it's interesting that the number of times the word "abortion" appears in the Bible is: exactly ZERO. Jesus' mission on earth was to effect a change of heart and soul - to almost the exclusion of affairs of the world. He showed little desire to change the political or social landscape, and seemed averse to dismantling laws of the time - hence "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's".

The New Testament also emphasizes the importance of motivations of the heart over the deed. For example, the exhortation in Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (NIV). Passing laws against abortion would have little impact on one's desire to have one. Overturning Roe v. Wade would do little to effect a change of heart.

Many in the pro-life movement bring up the numbers of abortions since the beginning of time, to draw comparisons to the holocaust - and to juxtapose these against the numbers of war casualties. The key deception here is that the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq resulted from the decision of one man, or one cabal of men; one key decision that robbed so many of their lives. In contrast, the millions of abortions are a result of millions of personal decisions and desires - desires that that (as explained above) won't change by outlawing abortion.

My personal position on this issue is nuanced - I do believe that life begins at conception. The point to be emphasized, however, is that the legality of abortions should never have been a rallying cry for Christians, who would do better to instead address the root causes of poverty and other social ailments behind such a decision.

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Under My Skin

So have you ever read anything that just gets so under your skin that you just have to respond. Even when you know it gains you nothing, aside from some wingnut attacky crap.

Well GRRRRRRR. I got so mad about this I had to answer, which meant I had to sign up, which meant I went on a posting freak out.

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Thinkers Think Again

A piece in the Sunday New York Times reports that conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation are engaged in hot internal discussions about self-transformation.  With support for a conservative president and a conservative Republican party at all-time lows, the Times reports, "policy cooks have returned to the kitchen to whip up a menu of new solutions for conservatives disaffected with the party." Some, like A.E.I. fellow and Bush alum David Frum, are even taking a fresh look at conservative heresies, like the idea that it's in all of our interest to offer people in prison education, mentoring, and support for their children.

Those of us in the progressive ideas sector could also benefit from some self reflection.  Few if any transformative progressive ideas emerged from the crowded, marathon primary season, and few are on display in the current debate.  And that's especially true when it comes to the concerns of the voters who are bringing the most progressive energy to the race: new African-American, Latino, and young voters.  Those voters are struggling with broken systems of education, health care, credit, immigration, housing, and criminal justice, among others.  And they are ready for a reinvented, positive role for the public structures that expand opportunity.

Progressive think tanks and advocacy groups have to step up to that challenge.  For decades, we've been seeking incremental change and, more often, fighting off harmful proposals.  As the Bill Clinton years proved, that dynamic won't magically change just because a more left-leaning Administration or Congress is in office.  It will be up to us, and to the new generation of organizers, activists, bloggers, and thinkers, to bring the big ideas and to push them forward in a form and language that resonates with everyday Americans.

While holding tight to our values, we'll need to reexamine some core assumptions.  And, perhaps most importantly, we'll have to really listen to the hopes, dreams and concerns of our nation's diverse communities--not just through polls and focus groups, but through tough and honest conversations and the interactive power of Web 2.0.  Now is the time to ask ourselves some tough questions, and to change what we do in response.

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