Get This Party Started: Moving Beyond the Gender Gap

From the diaries--Chris

First of all, thanks to Chris Bowers for inviting me to post here on MyDD. I read blogs regularly, but this is the first time I've ever posted anything.

This post is part of an ongoing series of discussions Chris kick started to discuss "Get This Party Started : How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win" - a collection of essays, edited by Matt Kerbel, which focuses on the strategies Democrats need to start winning again.

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A Permission Slip for Republicans

Since the divide between being an American and a Republican is as great as the divide between democracy and totalitarian fascism, I propose that all these Republicans who support warrantless wiretapping, torture, deprivation of legal council, and unlimited executive powers put their name on the dotted line. Why not start a signature drive whereby these Republican patriots prove their allegiance to their leader by waiving the very rights they so venomously oppose. I suggest a form like this, designed to look like an "official" party document mailed to each registered Republican in a manner consistent with "official" party correspondence with a tracking number and a reminder that they are being watched:

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Anti-War Movement, Then & Now

I recently read David Mixner's memoir, "Stranger Among Friends" -- Mixner is best known for his activism related to gay rights but much less so for his role in the late 1960's anti-war (Vietnam) movement and with electoral politics.

I was struck by Mixner's experience, early in his activist career, when the best & the brightest of staff for Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy and many of the liberal Senators of the time moved fairly easily between the left stream of mainstream politics and the anti-war movement.  Mixnir himself went directly from the McCarthy campaign to the Mobilization to End the War.

Things are very different today.  I can't think of anyone I knew (and I knew a lot of 'em) on the various 2004 campaigns who is working in the anti-war movement.  A few are working for leftish pressure groups.  Most are working for consulting firms, political and otherwise.

The anti-war movement has attracted big crowds and, like her or not, has made Cindy Sheehan into a near household word.  There is however, a huge gulf between anything that could be termed the "Anti-War Movement" and the political mainstream, even on the left.  I think this is too bad and hurts both. The anti-war movement needs to move beyond the fringe groups like ANSWER that nurtured it in it's early days.  The left needs to be seen as standing for something and nurturing it's base.  Clearly the "base" is anti-war.  

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Democrats Lack A Strategic Plan of Action

As the netroots has undoubtedly noticed, the Democrats are lacking a strategic plan of action. A plan designed to put certain elected Democrats behind certain issues, to move forward together, to rebuild the Democratic Party's infrastructure, and to change America.

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How Do We Go On The Offensive?

Democrats are the minority party.  Almost by definition, the Majority sets the agenda, especially in majestic settings like the State of the Union.  Democrats also don't have a real leader, instead we have several politicians with followings -- John Kerry, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Wes Clark, John Edwards...a long list...but no single leader that everyone agrees upon.  The opposition controls the White House, The Congress and the Supreme Court.

SO how do we go on the offensive? How do Democrats reframe and refocus the debate, even in the short term?

I'm not looking for unrealistic, easy answers like "Get a Spine" or "remove Bush now"...anyone have any bright ideas?

The best I can do right now is that we should attack the GOP on the prescription drug mess and start taking a stand against war with Iran.

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