I beg that you explain this. I deeply disagree with the notion there is a such thing!
History shows that the only folks who ever maintained a modicum of peace in the Middle East were the Turks -- and what price?! Why, the price that Israel and the US are now paying.
We dump massive wads of dirty money into a part of the world that refuses to join the world.
I sincerely doubt anything but the most brutal force will ever govern the Middle East. The conditions for democracy simply do not exist there.
Currently, the Middle East is about as far along the timeline as Europe during the Religious Wars of the 1500s.
Which means that indigenous democracy (if it ever comes to pass) is probably 200 years away, minimum.
However, it will never resemble our democracy. Our democracy is a product of the dueling interest of the corporate state against Anglo notions of individual liberty. The most the Mideast can hope for a range of pro-military democracies (such as Turkey and Egypt) and theocracies (such as Iran).
So, for the time being -- our lifetimes being -- the Middle East is hopeless for democracy.
The GOP didn't get its shit together until the Reform Party came along and MADE them do it.
Maybe it's time for Dems to do the same. It would just be interesting to see if aybe we center Dems could actually find enough common ground to do it (doubtful, since we're pretty split between pro-corporate centrists and pro-reform centrists).
Maybe the far left could file a small apology and start something.
I dunno. Listening to everything everyone has said here, it's pretty clear that most Dems think the LEADERSHIP is the the PROBLEM!
So . . . since the leadership never goes away, and would likely pollute any success achieved anyhow (look at Tom Delay's heaping crap on the Contract with America), maybe it's time to abandon the party and not look back.
BTW -- how sexy is it when this dude Fowler posts, and then makes no effort to reply?!
On some level, I think the next few years need to be a reckoning for America. And, for that reason, it's better that the GOP gets blamed!
Frankly, what would Kerry have done? His first four years would have been a wash, because he would have wasted it mopping up Bush's mess.
Instead, we get to sit back and let it all be the GOP's problem. If they can't handle the war, oh well! It didn't bother them to let Vietnam start the ball rolling on the Dems' decline.
By 2006, we'll have a great litmus test for just where America is. Because, I struggle to see how Iraq gets better, unless the UN has a change of heart or the US gets a draft.
Also, the economy has limited upside. It's just structurally not ready for massive expansion. Nothing like the 1990s will occur again until a whole new industry comes of age (such as computing did).
In the long run, it's probably better that we lost 2004. It gives us noice to get our game together.
And, we get a nice onesies, twosies, threesies set-up. In 2005 we get a couple soft races such as NYC mayor. In 2006 we get the chance to challenge several purple state Republicans. And then we get another hellbent two-year campaign leading into the 2008 Presidential races.
The thing I never got about literal interpretations of the Bible is that the Bible does not provide enough information in some instances, while it provides too much contradiction in others.
Also, there's no archeological evidence for some of the more outrageous claims from the Bible (for example, shouldn't we have found the bones of the race of giants that supposedly lived in ancient Israel).
It's just too much to treat the Bible as more than a strong guide with a number of key points that you must observe.
It's very difficult to define a broad group of "Hispanics". If no one demonstrates this better, it is the Cuban exile community. They're staunchly conservative. Cubans are the only group tagged Hispanic that you can bet will vote in numbers.
Mexicans on the other hand skew much more socialist than Cubans. But, they're less likely to vote. For a number of reasons, most Hispanic immigrants just don't vote in large numbers. Why?
Well, most come from parts of the world where their votes aren't counted anyhow. Ask a Chilean or a Guatemalan how the US gov't manages it when left-wing parties win!!
Also, Hispanics generally live in slightly more suburban and exurban areas. This is, of course, dead center for GOP outreach programs, anyhow.
And, many Hispanic communities are already in "Blue states" such as California, Illinois and New York. People vote less if they believe the outcome is decided in advance.
If anyone knows where they are, I'd love to see exit polls for Hispanics from "purple" states, such as Colorada, Michigan, and Florida. Michigan's older Mexican communities particularly ingrigue me.
Abortion. Sorry to mention it, but abortion is a HUGE wedge issue in Hispanic communities.
The one strong sign for Democrats is that where Hispanic populations are growing, Democratic counties are springing up. We're getting stronger throughout the SW. Mexican-Americans, with a little outreach, can become the cornerstone of a coalition of Dems in Texas within the next decade.
My nagging suspicion is that Dems are missing a few good "Hispanic" issues.
For example, a real wedge issue waiting to be used is Christian missions in Latin America. Many folks seem to not know that Evangelical churches are blowing wads of cash converting ROMAN CATHOLICS in Latin America. A number of Hispanic friends have told me they find this deeply offensive. After all, what need is there for a mission to save Christians!?
It would also be a great issue to code anti-Evangelical messages.
Frankly, we need to start wedging the Evangelicals away from other Christian groups. They;re not crazy about each other, anyhow.
Those are just my thoughts, from what I've gathered among friends.
I think Dean could achieve some gains by gene splicing DFA into the DNC.
DFA has impressed me.
I've been working on a variety of county-by-county maps from the 2004 elections, and the one thing that hit me is that in Deep Red counties, wherever the Deaniacs had an HQ, they brought the county into competition.
For example, I live in western PA (a centrist, Reagan Dem, NRA region).
DFA had HQ in Pittsburgh (obviously), Erie, Johnstown, and St Mary's.
Allegheny went Kerry (no brainer), Erie went soft Kerry (had been a splitter favoring GOP in recent elections), Cambria was split (has been slight GOP since the death of steel), and Elk was split (in the middle of some DEEP RED counties).
I'd like to see a more aggressive move into Red Counties to test how effect DFA is in '06.
While I opposed the war -- on the grounds that the Middle East is a hellhole that only the Turks were ever able to rule -- now that we're ass-deep in Iraq, we've got to muddle through.
The threat to Mideast peace is simply too great.
My suspicion is that we'll find a way to accept one of the only three working forms of quasi-democracy in the Middle East:
A Shi'ite theocracy; not the most acceptable to us, but probably the easiest exit strategy. We hand off the gov't to the Shi'ite leaders and let it be their problem.
A secular, pro-military democracy a la Turkey. However, Turkey had Ataturk and the Young Turks to establish a strong, meritocratic military as the core of Turkish democracy. Trying this in Iraq could fail on unimaginable levels.
An intelligence state democracy a la Israel or Egypt. However, the distrust between Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'ites would likely gut this system, since it favors an imbalance toward one group. Also, the parallels to the Ba'athists might be too obvious.
Maybe even a Bosnia-type model might be worth a try (a loose confederacy donimated by the Shi'ites and the Kurds).
Really, the Ataturk model would be ideal. But, the Turks had the advantage of weaker neighbors at the time. One wonders how Turkey would have democratized had the global game not just finished a round of fighting before 1922.
Still, some for of strong, militarized state is necessary to maintain order. Obviously, Allawi isn't the man for this job.
In the end, I suspect what will happen is the Shi'ites win, the Sunnis never quit fighting, and the Kurds go their separate way.
The Turks and the Israelis are already betting on an independent Kurdistan (Turkey's tone toward the Kurds has become more concilliatory since the war).
So, we proably will get a stable, strong democracy when Iraq is done. It will just be called Kurdistan.