I'm strongly supporting the Draft James Webb campaign. All I have to say here is, I feel very sorry for the state of the Democratic Party in Virginia if the head of the ITAA is going to be their Senate candidate. That is along the same lines as if the head of the National Right-to-Work Foundation were the Democratic candidate for Senate.
Just another "New Democrat" who loves globalization and outsourcing, and thinks the tech sector holds all the solutions for our economy (as opposed to, say, reviving organized labor and rebuilding American strength in the manufacturing sector).
I was hoping James Webb would jump into the race. At least he would be running on a staunchly antiwar platform. Any idea where Harris Miller stands on the war? That's the litmus test.
Harold Ford voted the right way on this. Shouldn't the title of this post be "Harold Ford sells out illegal aliens"? Illegal aliens are NOT legal immigrants. As I've said before, if Democrats don't get out in front on this issue, the Tancredo and Gilchrist crowd will, and we aren't going to like the things they will propose.
I would support all of those except for expanding the National Guard. What is the point of that one? The first line of defense for homeland security should be everybody in the community as a whole, including first responders (firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, police); doctors, nurses, mechanics...but going beyond that, it should be everyone. Our society is already too infested with a "let the professionals handle it" mentality while ordinary people are discouraged from taking an active role in helping out when there is an emergency.
Instead of expanding the National Guard, how about this proposal:
Non-military national service program for young adults. Bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Programs to train large numbers of ordinary people in such skills as first aid, CPR, EMT, search and rescue, auto mechanics, etc. Other skills as appropriate locally (wildland fire fighting in western states for example.) Encourage all ordinary citizens to become certified in whichever of these interests them, so they will be prepared to help in an emergency instead of the current pathetic "just mind your own business and let the professionals handle it" mindset we now have.
Teach classes in all of the above in high school. Not as "vocational" classes for the non-college bound, and not in the old sexist way that shop and home economics used to be, but for everyone.
Community get-involved days. For example, a litter cleanup day, a graffiti cleanup day, a park maintenance and cleanup day, a school repair and improvement day. Encourage the whole community to get involved.
Instead of imposing the National Guard as the first role in protecting the community, I would like to see the community returned to having the first role in protecting the community.
This is the sort of data we need to counter the right wing's "Volvo driving, Latte sipping liberal elitists" meme. Detroit, Gary, Newark, Flint, Oakland, and D.C. are working class cities where people have family values, work hard for a living, and are trying to make ends meet in the face of the right wing's deregulation/deunionization/wage cutting slave labor agenda. (I mean family values in the good sense here, where strong family ties and a work ethic still reign. Not the right wing's bastardazation of the term to mean an anti-gay and anti-abortion agenda. Family values is another term we need to reclaim.) Even Berkeley, S.F., and Cambridge are working class cities despite what the right wing noise machine would have us believe.
Latte sipping elitists? You need look no further than Provo, Utah and Orange County, California to find them. I'm very familiar with both :) The right wing may be fooling some of the people some of the time with their meme, but they aren't fooling me.
I guess the big issue here is class solidarity: how to get working people barely scraping by in rural Oklahoma, Idaho, and Nebraska to see themselves in solidarity with working people barely scraping by in Flint, Gary, and Oakland.
I don't have any answers but some observations. The right wing has been very successful in playing the race card, dividing the white working class against the Afro-American working class. It's high time we call bullshit on the right wing's race baiting and promote class solidarity as the alternative. I'm no Marxist, just an old school labor oriented liberal who thinks the natural home of the working class should be the Democratic Party. The right wing has gotten away with their dividing the working class on the basis of race (using wedge issues like "crime") and on other wedge issues (guns, gays, etc.) for too long.
About Newt, he has a long history of co-opting popular revolts and channeling them back into support for the conservative right. That's really what the "contract on America" was all about, co-opting the Perot voters, the term limits movement, the throw the rascals out movement, and popular outrage over Brady, Waco, and Ruby Ridge. Newt pulled it off in 1994 with the help of a growing right wing noise machine. All the popular outrage that was brewing in 1990-92, and arguably was a factor in helping defeat the first Bush regime, wound up being channeled into moronic Hillary bashing, anti-environmentalist and anti-union demagoguery, and working class people turning out in large numbers to vote their class enemies, the Republicans, back into office two years later.
I wouldn't be surprised if Newt tries to co-opt today's popular outrage over the Bush regime and possibly even the Iraq war. It would certainly fit his style and his past history. No matter what Newt says he thinks about Iraq or Bush policies, his record is that of a movement conservative idealogue whose role is to co-opt and channel populist outrage into support for the party responsible for the outrages in the first place. He is not to be trusted.
Most of the prominent Blue Dogs voted against Patriot Act renewal: Sanchez (CA), Salazar (CO), Tanner (TN), Ford (TN), Peterson (MN), Boucher (VA), Michaud (ME), Matheson (UT), etc. The Blue Dogs don't look like the problem in this case.
Also along those lines, Nathan Newman did a good post yesterday on where our priorities should be in the upcoming Supreme Court fight:
"The trap for progressives on the nominations fight for O'Connor's successor is just to talk about abortion and other social issues. We need to split social conservatives away from their corporate allies and highlight the rightwing ECONOMIC views of potential nominees...." more at http://www.nathannewman.org/log/archives/003187.shtml
Yes, Feinstein has always voted like this unfortunately. She votes pro-choice and pro-environment, but on other issues she supports a conservative pro-corporate agenda including "free" trade, globalization, deregulation, and union busting, and is one of the worst advocates of "law and order" in the Senate on issues of civil liberties, job rights and voting rights for those with convictions on their records, the war on drugs, building up the national security state, capital punishment, and censorship of the Internet.
This seems to be a problem on the West Coast in general; Murray, Cantwell, and Wyden tend to follow the same voting pattern as Feinstein (Cantwell for example was a co-sponsor of one of the "law and order" bills a couple of years ago that effectively barred anyone with a past conviction on their record from ever working in the trucking, mining, or railroad industries or even owning a fireworks stand.) The most common Repug sponsor of the law and order stuff that Feinstein, Cantwell et al sign on to is ultrarightwing kook Orrin Hatch of Utah.
This problem on the West Coast seems to be the peculiar viewpoint that liberalism is defined by being pro-choice and pro-environment, rather than being defined by economic populism and standing up for the common people over big business, the deregulation/anti-union lobby, and the law and order demagogues. It explains why, for example, the only dissenting vote against NAFTA from the Washington State Democratic delegation came from Jolene Unsoeld, who not coincidentally was also the only member of the WA delegation to not buy into the law and order tripe either. It's also why (as the book "What's the Matter With Kansas" illustrates so well), we have lost the support of the working class of America. Drop economic populism and individual rights, and what do you have left to stand on? "But...I'm pro-choice! I'm a pwogwessive!" No, you aren't, not if you vote like a Repug on other issues.
I'm a "yellow dog" Democrat in the general election and vote a straight ticket, and do not support quixotic efforts such as the Green Party which will divide our strength. But along with this goes the need to take back the Democratic Party from the D.C. insiders and free-traders, and we also need to start seriously thinking about primary challenges against those Democrats who vote against economic populism, including Feinstein. And CAFTA is one of the most important issue as a litmus test. The message has to be sent: either get back with the program or we will replace you with somebody who will.