An excellent post, but sadly, you inadvertently forgot the "obvious".
For ease of understanding, I am the Chief Jefe of the Chicano Veterans Organization (CVO), and I am also the writer for the Cactus Juice Commentaries and which can be found on the web site for the CVO.
Now, I am a supporter of John Edwards and recently came to this postion back of January 16, of this year. And here is what I wrote then:
Put me down for the John Edwards column!
When the Super Tuesday Presidential Primaries arrive into my neighborhood, I will be voting for John Edwards. Thus, be so advised.
I want the opportunity in future years to advocate my issues and to a candidate, that if elected, is not wedded to the 'establishment'. So, to put it in today's context, permit to explain my reasoning in much greater detail. And being the infernal Optimist that I am, elections are all about Hope.
1. My Issues:
a) Languages. I am of the belief that if our children don't commence learning and simultaneously, English, Spanish, and Portuguese from Kindergarden foward, our children will not become globally competitive, and in particular, this Indigenous Hemisphere. To wit, we will continue to permit the 'nativists' to determine our future. However, none of the candidates--Edwards, Clinton, or Obama, share my view. And consequently, I have a long row to hoe in the years ahead for my advocacy, and pardon the agricultural metaphor.
b) Public Financing of Congressional Campaigns. Edwards is advocating such a systemic, and in which I agree wholeheartedly. Thus, a positive checkmark for Edwards.
c) Academic-Military Draft. Given that none of the candidates, Edwards, Clinton and Obama support a military draft, their opposition is the traditional position of the Democratic Party. Thus, opportunity abounds for me. Consequently, Edwards will have to be convinced and which will take considerable effort in the years ahead. And to do so, the "door opening" exists given his determination to address poverty in an innovative manner. As such, the Academic-Military Draft addresses both national security and poverty directly, without any fluffiness or puffery embedded.
d) Universal Health Care rolled-into the VA's Medical Systemic. When it comes to the politics of universal health care, Edwards, Clinton, and Obama are determined to accept the insurance industry as the continuation for being the driving force for the 'economic' component of health care. Sadly, it's that economic component that overrides the 'political' component, and to our detriment. Consequently, my advocacy in the years ahead is to convince Edwards on his support for the notional that Congress has the "responsibility" to pay for universal health care and it's the President's responsibility to craft the "Basic Package" of Medical Goods and Services, that each of our fellow citizens will receive.
And with respect to my Four Issues, currently, Edwards is in agreement with me regarding Public Financing of Congressional Campaigns. With the remaining three, we are still at odds, but perfection in politics is neither desirable nor achievable.
2. The requisite "authenticity":
Edwards, will, at the end of the political day, be recognized as a candidate of "power" and to me that is important. And if this power is utilized competently and wisely, Edwards will be able to accomplish far more than either Clinton or Obama. Additionally, Edwards has the determination and skill set to bring the Republican senators in Congress forward for Progress.
Clinton, will, at the end of the political day, be recognized as the Democratic Party's "establishment" candidate and will adhere to the standard operating proceedure where money is the overriding factor for any level of "influence" when it comes to addressing particularized issues. And as Chicanos, we are not overly wealthy and we have very little in the way of discretionary income to compete effectively with the sharp elbows of competition.
Obama, will, at the end of the political day, be recognized as the candidate that best represents the new horizon for the "second generation" to paraphrase President Lyndon Johnson when he signed the Civil Rights Act and all the legislation that followed. He is a unifying figure, and of that I have no doubt, but "personality" does not provide competent attention to particularized and important issues. Historically, Chicano politics has been predicated on personalities of leadership, but as a community of self-interest, we must remain wedded to our issues, and accept nothing less no matter how tempting it would be to participate in a poltical behavior for personality.
And finally, there is much good to be said about both Clinton and Obama. However, there is much good to be said about Edwards, as well. Thusly, Edwards has now become "my candidate".
And in closing, the Chicano Veterans Organization will not provide an "institutional" endorsement for any candidate, but on a personal note, I will and now do so.
Today, if one carefully "hears" and one carefully "listens", you will find that Edwards is the only candidate on both sides of the political aisle that addresses "rural America".
And since I have a fond affection for Rural America, if it were possible, I would deliver a serious tongue-lashing to America's wordsmiths and pundits regarding the wrongheadedness for their cavalier dismissal, and outright neglect for the much-needed attention that should be accruing to Rural America on a daily basis.
And being that I am from Arizona, and have had some historical experience with the late Barry Goldwater, Senator McCain is, in today's political environment, to the Right of Goldwater,and my junior Senator Jon Kyl is even further to the right of McCain. Thus, in a comparison or a contrast, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, would be considered 'conservative' in that historical date and time.
In any event, I will support the Party's nominee knowning that my lonely vote will not disrupt the 39% Metric of SuperDelegates. And I too know that back in 1972, the DNC adopted the Rule of the SuperDelegate in order to prevent a known 'radical' from receiving the 'nomination' and thusly, leading the Party to an electoral disaster. And such is our national history.
As a Democrat, I am a self-described "aggressive" Moderate, so I will leave it to the Progressives as to whether I "measure-up" or "measure-down".
And I prefer "big" ideas!
First, in the run-up to the Invasion of Iraq, I called for a Declaration of War with the sole purpose of investigating the "unassailable" facts knowing full well that Bush and Cheney "measured-down". Thankfully, history has proven me correct and America "measured-down".
Secondly, I prefer a universal health program "rolled-into" the VA's medical systemic, since the difference is in "receiving" health care and in contrast "who pays" for this health care.
And thirdly, I favor a military draft. Obviously, the onslaught of young people unable to afford college is going to be a tremendous burden on the economy, especially when these educational outsiders are unable to speak English, Spanish, and Portuguse effectively in order to compete.
And yet, as a member of the riff raff, I am expected to give Hillary Clinton a "free pass" since her first and last "big" idea failed in Bill Clinton's first term. And as to Bill Richardson, I am expected to "identify" with him since I am Chicano from the Sonoran Desert? Hell, Richardson has quickly forgotten that Chicanos did not come to AG Gonzales' defense, given that Gonzales had no history for an effective offense favoring "fair elections", "civil liberties", "immigration reform", and "human rights".
And although I am not highly impressed with our roster of candidates, the GOP candidates suck, so if I can convince Clinton and Richardson to my point of view, then my being an "aggressive" Moderate has paid for my overall cost in terms of a political engagement. And if not, I will still be thankful that none of our candidates have evolved to a out-of-the-closet Neo-lib. And if so, I am in for a rough political future.
If it were possible, I would invite a sensate sociologist to come out to the Sonoran Desert, and commence the process of interviewing 3.5 million Chicano military vets regarding Diversity and Mobility, and it would be interesting to measure the outcomes from these academics.
Considering that these vets are married and have sons and daughters, and are very high efficacy voters, would the outcomes track the economic indicators, political yardsticks, and the social or numerical 'door openings' that lead to the American Dream?
Thus, these academic thesis' would not correlate to the successes in Human Rights, opposition to anti-immigration, and the disgust toward the authoritarianism espoused by the Right.
Needless to say, the behaviorists have yet to craft a measurement tool that supersedes any measurement standard for self-discipline and hard work.
I am responding in opposition to your statement that "educational system, in general, is failing", and thus, I am suggesting that you should take a gander at Judge Alex Kozinski's legal opinion relative to the Court of Appeals decision in the recently overturned decision with respect to "voluntary" desgregation in our public schools.
Moreover, having the parents travel the distance of one and one-half hours to comply with a local "voluntary" desgration plan was outrageous. To wit, there were empty chairs in the classrom available, the thusly, the application of Common Sense was egregiously absent by the affected school board and their administrators.
However, I do agree that teaching and testing to academic standards does have its faults, but not the the extent that our public schools are failing, generally-speaking.
And yet, to equate all the "problems" to the primary and secondary schools, is really missing the point. To create intelligent and rational adults requires that we, as a society, reach beyond what is currently available, and establish educational vehicles that reach into adulthood, and perhaps, comparable to Dodd's, "national service". As such, Dodd's notional is at best, a canard. To wit, we should reach back into history and if so, we will find that a military draft, effectively established the middle class as the Middle Class. And that is what is needed.
Consequently, I have long advocated an Academic-Military Draft in which America's young, either high school graduates or high school dropouts, can achieve a quality education without having to inflict an onerous financial burden on their parents for this educational cost.
Of course, after you have read Judge Kozinski's legal opinion, I am prepared to further pursue this discussion.
Perhaps, I will go out and buy Greenwald's book, but more than likely, he has went "easy" on Bush. Now, if it were my particular interest to to "assess" Bush, and write accordingly, I would title my book: "The Bush Bigotry Biz: Personality and Propaganda". And why?
Life comes down to character traits or lack of as metric tools, and using government to advocate, indirectly of course, vote fraud and voter disenfranchisement, speaks eloquently of and for him. To disrespect your fellow citizens and to use the levers of power to achieve and reinforce one's history for having been a graduate of Lee Atwater's School for political fragging, proves, at least to me, that Bush and Cheney have intentionally elevated this art form to a political science.
So, one can take an assessment on an issue by issue basis, and see these character traits in political action.
But to use the "macro" view, for the past six and half years, Bush has yet to set a solid foot on any Rez in America. Consequently, his schematic was to distance himself and his "bad" public policies from America's racial and ethnic populations, and where there has been any intersection, has been at the margins. Thusly, he represents his constituency without ever having represented America. And the Native America view is that he has a "hole in his heart!"
But I am comforted by the fact that should there ever be a tax or surcharge visited on Conservatives for their Invasion of the Wrong Country, you can bet that you will not be able to find a Conservative or an "enabler" that will subject themselves willingly to this tax or surcharge for repaying the due bill that will be visited on our grandkids.
After having read the Mudcat Saunders thread, I find that Mudcat should get off his duff and run for public office, and thusly, he would see how well he fares in competitive politics and obviously, where 'street cred' is at a premium. And since he is consulting for the Edwards campaign, I don't see any 'value-added' to the Edwards effort.
Perhaps, I am a tad too cynical from here in Republican-landia (Arizona). Take, for example, when you reside among the Right, a "survial instinct" kicks in with respect to politics. History is a savvy Truth-Teller. Back in 1900, there were only 250,000 Native Americans in America and today, the number now surpasses several million.
Of course, white America is not enamored with a military draft and a universal health program rolled into the VA's medical systemic, but it will happen as more 'racial and ethnics' continue to aspire to the overarching American Dream, and all the political opposition that emanates from the Consultant Class will not deter this progress.
And yet, we can learn from the Right. Ron Paul has it correct when he speaks about the candidates on the Right, "They're worried about the immediate next election, which is the Republican primary, and anything they can pander, they'll do it, and they'll forget about what they believe in, they'll forget about the Constitution, they'll forget about building coalitions."
Need more be said about the Ten Morticians that are currently attempting to bury the cadaver of the Republican Party while it's still alive?
Back in 2004 and here in Arizona, John McCain was running for re-election. The Democratic Party standard bearer was running on a platform of "anyone and anything but Bush" and of course he lost and big time. He also lost my vote. And I am Democrat.
Thusly, I cast my vote for McCain for two reasons. An "anyone but Bush" speaks only to empty rhetoric. And secondly, I always knew that McCain would self-destruct on the premise that he never had the gumption to continue beyond South Carolina when the graduates of Lee Atwater's School of Tough Love got to him in 2000.
Now, I am not into any form for self-vindication, but as long as the standard bearers of the Democratic Party exercise some self-retraint on the level and volume of rhetoric, and demonstrate the actualizaton for some serious aggressiveness on the nexus for ideology/principles, Democrats will always do well at the ballot box. So, it's kind of nice to see Chris Bowers, make the distinction necessary to understand the difference between the 'swing voter' from 'swing activist'.
In the past few days, I have narrowed my choices up (not down)to either Edwards or Richardson. Sadly, Clinton or Obama do not rise to my "metric" for decision-making.
Further, I am reminded of what the 'stumble-bum' from Hoover, and which almost all will recognize is Victor David Hansom. He recently opined that the "race industry" will see a Latino "majority" in the Southwest. Of course, he was into his usual self for denigration and disparagement for all who disagree with him. Unfortunatly, Hanson is old history but doesn't know it yet. And which brings me to my point since I am a "racial and ethnic" and who doesn't post that often anymore here at Mydd. Thus, I have been a slackard with my regard and appreciation to the hard work accomplished by Bowers, Stoller, and the many others.
In the run-up to the Iraqi War, African Americans, Chicanos and Native Americans were over-whelmingly opposed to the war. At the time, I faulted Edwards for voting for the War. And after the War, he recanted and which was good enough for me. And yet, I have continued to fault white America for its mass delusion and in support of a foreign policy premised on a Manifest Destiny Exported. Thankfully, white America has caught up to me, and that is indeed good news.
I am a military vet and I am currently in charge of a vets-type organization that on occasion speaks for the privates, the corporals, and the sergeants in contrast to the officer corps since they too have their own and distinct voice. And most of the time, we are at odds on the important issues.
As of yesterday, I have been delegated to interview Edwards and Richardson with respect to our organizational agenda. Consequently, we have four options, 1) endorse Edwards, 2) endorse Richardson, 3) endorse both Edwards and Richardson, and 4) make no endorsement.
Consequently, this internet discussion led by Chris Bowers and the many posted comments on Edwards is helpful to say the least, with respect to our preparation for this pending interview of Edwards.
And our agenda is not vast to say the least. Take, for example, currently we are focused on immigration, a universal health care rolled into the VA Medical Systemic, and crafting a newer and better military draft as an "academic-military" draft.
In closing and to make amends for not adequately participating at Mydd, tomorrow, I will be posting a diary here at the Mydd on our take for immigration as a "first" plank for an Agenda for Humility and Self-Restraint. It will be titled, "Immigration: Challenging Orthdoxy". And please feel free to tear it apart should that be your desire. Of course, I will make myself available in defense of this diary.
Why do you and the like-minded get your knickers in a Gordian Knot when it comes to the Third Way?
As such, the Third Way doesn't speak for me, and much less doesn't recognize me as a viable constituent. Take, for example, I am self-described "aggressive" Moderate, and tend to share much more of a philosophy with the Progressives.
And yet, being that I am from the Sonoran Desert, there is little if any commonality by me with the Third Way. Again, on another thread, I posted the notional for re-instituting the Military Draft. And if you have any "cojones", then, the military draft should not be seen as a detriment to America. If anything, the Third Way, would never consciously recognize that the Military Draft led to the Chicanos, the Native Americans and the African Americans achieving a middle class status since the long slog of World War Two and despite the heavy-handed resistence by Organized Labor and Corporate America for excluding us, the 'racial and ethnics'.
One of our features in the Sonoran Desert is the old adage that "The only thing that changes in America, is its history". And given the accuracy of this adage, the Third Way is an outfit that is reflective of East Coast politics, and thus, my obvious lack of enthusiasm for such an organization. Furthermore, they strive to maintain their 'elitism' when the riff-raff like myself and other from this Indigenous Hemisphere, know better, and yet, we will continue to count our votes until we too reach our 'tipping point' for electoral politics.
But our self-restraint and humility will preclude those of us in the Sonran Desert from establishing a 'newer' and 'better' elitism. :-)
Let me repeat what I have stated for years-on-end, and this comes from my perspective here in the Sonoran Desert. And I could even include the Rez.
The Republicans will continue to play their constant card of "Democrats are weak on defense" for the simplified reason, that to attack the Republicans, the Democrats MUST remove the onus for having eliminated the Military Draft. And until such time, the Democrats will be fighting their incoherent history, and for a life-long Democrat like myself, I am incensed at the short-sighted view and thinking of my fellow Democrats and our national leadership for not having the good grace for recognizing the obvious.
When a few Democrats took to insulting the Republicans as "chickenhawks", I found the insult pleasing, but still short-sighted. However, to move the Republicans back on their heels as per politics being a "contact sport", challenging the Republicans while selling the mantra of "everyone has skin in the game" that a military draft would accomplish, Bush would fold immediately, and begin having to defend his use of the National Guard in the manner that he has. Of course, the Achilles Heel for the Republicans is the military draft, and the Democrats are too damn fearful of using politics as a "contact sport" to achieve success. Thus, "Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil" cannot commence until the Democrats, recognize a better and far more rewarding reality.
Last week, I posted an item over at the Cactus Juice Commentaries on the web site of the Chicano Veterans Organization. To wit, I used my status as the Prince of the Sonoran Desert to issue a "dick-tat" that Income Tax Day is now formally proclaimed as the "Chicano Military Vets Day."
And the Lament of the Goldwaterites:
The Republican Party lost its way. A party that should stand primarily for individual freedom and smaller government became the champion of dictated morality and run-away special-interest spending. A party that used to walk softly and carry a big stick began to march clumsily and carry a big mouth. A party that was once dedicated to restricting government power and respecting the Constitution has used current events to justify doing the opposite. It is ironic that the state that produced Barry Goldwater and conscience of conservatives should have followed down the wayward path, with predictable results. (Grant Woods, former AG)
And Nora Jones on Cultural Americana:
In a boat that's built of sticks and hay
We drifted from the shore
With a captain who's too proud to say
That he dropped the oar
A tiny hole has sprung a leak
In this cheap pontoon
Now the hull has started going weak
And we're gonna be sinkin' soon
Obviously, I have been "abandoned" by my fellow Democrats, if I were to believe Krugman. Don't get me wrong, I do like Krugman but he is capable of being an ass.
Take, for example, I am a self-identified "aggressive" Moderate of the center-left. Thus, I believe in a single payer Universal Health Care Systemic residing within the VA's Medical Care and Hospital system. Additionally, I believe in reinstituting the military draft as an "academic-military" draft in order to provide some upwardly mobile economic development tools for those in need, as well as halting the continuing our "abuse" of our men and women in uniform. Ya' know that Important Demographic, the one-third of one percent of our population?
But I fear that Krugman may end up like George Will and for having written four thousand columns without ever having addressed the "need" for Egalitarianism in America.
Both of you are far too hard on yourselves. As to the 'criticism', it's generally meant to be 'fair' if it's understood that the criticism is reflecting a particularized "self-interest". And with that in mind, let me suggest the following:
Since I am from the Sonoran Desert, I conveniently opt for the mantra of the "Status Quo Bias". Put simply, knowing that all of us speak out of self-interest when it comes to Thought and Action, we should not be disheartened when disagreement surfaces. The real question is of a legitimate disagreement that drives us apart in our approach to politics.
Take,for example, immigration is a primary feature in local and statewide politics in Arizona. Thus, Flake (R)of Arizona and Gutierrez D) of Illinois have crafted a 700-page monster on immigration reform. Immigration will never be effectively reformed until well after 2008, and so, I continuously ask myself, "Is Gutierrez just another Republican 'enabler'?" And has Senator Kennedy been 'enabling' Senator McCain?
Now, I am a self-identified "aggressive" Moderate and I do have much in common with the Progressive, and yet, I admire both you--Matt and Chris--for bringing forward much common sense with respect to the myriad issues that confront us on a daily basis.
In closing, let me recite an experience of the the 1980's of the Reagan Era. One afternoon, Reagan too his afternoon sieta and his NSC policy wonks crafted a study in which the Spanish-speaking folks had a high propensity for becoming "fifth columnists" and which to my way of thinking is treason. And yet, I am Spanish-speaking person a I am also a Chicano military veteran for having served in the Vietnam War. I mention this experience to express my optimism with regard to the younger generation, and not to express any bitterness for being libeled and slandered as a "fifth columnist".
And yet, I attribute my long history for political partication and engagement to my appreciation to and for Common Sense. And when we fail to utilize our Common Sense, we as a nation will become easily manipulated out of our jock strap as per the Invasion of the Wrong Country, i,e, no Declaration of War but the easy use of a Weasel Clause.
And as a Demcrat, our Elected and Appointed Officials should be recognized for doing the right thing, and equally important, highly criticized for their wrongness with the expectation that they won't make the same mistake twice.
In summary, to those of you who are the managers and to the 'grunts' who work behind the curtain here at Mydd, keep up the good work. Andas always, my Thanks!
I am a firm believer that the "mainstream" of the political bloggers on the Internet have or practice a tad of disdain for Special Interest Groups, so let me add two ideas to this debate in order to "help" if possible, our center-left bloggers.
By way of background, I am the primary writer for the Cactus Juice Commentaries on our internet website called Chicano Veterans Organization. (and, no this is not a adv. plug). Consequently, the twin perspectives of military veterans and of the Sonoran Desert, are addressed and expressed. And neither with perfection nor with considerable articulation, but with the sincere desire to raise issues and points, not normally considered by the national pundits, who are not shy in expressing the self-perceived "wisdom". And if one understands Common Sense, being readily "dismissed" equates to "not caring".
And thusly, my first point is that a political blogger should create for itself a "community of self/special interest" in which once the reader arrives to the site, is encouraged to participate, especially from the perspective of becoming a front page writer/contributor. In doing so, the "emotional" connection is established and maintained, and hopefully, perpetuated among the like-minded in America.
And my second point, is that in tandem with the political blog, the managers of the political blog should create a "news letter" that informs and educates the "tangential" community. By this I mean the folks who may have a political interest in one aspect that can become the "hook" that leads to greater participation in the future.
In closing, the issue of "original content" comes from the front page writers and not neccessarily from the national news media outlets. To wit, at the local level, the front page writer can conduct an interview with an Elected or Appointed Official that has both consequence and significance for the self/special interest group. Take, for example, I am prepping with currently available research since I will be conducting an interview in the near future with Congressman Raul Grijalva from Tucson. Why? He is the Sub-Committee Chairman with oversight responsibility for our National Parks, among other things. And "tangentially" he is important to tourism, not only here in the Sonoran Desert, but all across America.
Now that I have gotten somewhat "windy," I will cut this commentary short. And lest I forget, I see and read Mydd on a regular basis, since I too see Mydd as a "self/special interest group" on the "process of politics". And needless to say but I will,Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller and others behind the curtain, do an excellent job that is not easy to accomplish. Thus, my hat tip in appreciation.