"In order to prevent corruption of the Democratic Party structures, we must ensure that progressives are in charge of the party at all levels."
I get that you see this as a preventative measure, but progressives are no less subject to the allure of power than any other group. Without real teeth in the laws governing governance, and serious penalties (jail time) for governmental corruption, an all-progressive leadership would, over time, become as corrupt as any other.
(Okay, maybe not as corrupt at Tom Delay's bunch, but still pretty close.)
Progressives more than any other group should be willing to accept limits on power in exchange for wielding power, and that's an advantage to press both within the party and in the general public. Run candidates on a platform of serious, hard-hitting ethics reform -- with tough penalties for breaking the new laws -- and I think you'll get votes. Probably in bunches.
"So yes, it is a victory for the progressive movement."
No, it isn't. Or perhaps I should say that it isn't necessarily a victory for the progressive movement. The Democratic Party and brand are not synonymous with progressive politics. Progressives (or liberals) are the ideological and activist base of the party, but on a percentage basis they also represent less of the Democratic Party overall than conservatives do of the Republican Party.
Less than half of Democratic voters in any presidential election think of themselves as progressives. Unless you follow the logic that moderates are the dumb blondes of politics -- and many ideologues on the right and left do feel that way -- then there's more to the Democratic Party and brand than progressivisim.
I'm not anti-progressive. I'm just not willing to buy into the idea that a move in the middle by swing voters signals a broad embrace of progressive politics.
I also fail to understand why progressive advocates (not necessarily you) insist a priori that voters buy into the progressive cause before progressives target a specific platform or policy agenda that has appeal to the middle. As I've noted here and elsewhere, renewable fuels is teed up and ready to be hit to the moon, but most progressives I read are still complaining about the labels being attached to the voters who cast the deciding ballots in the elections just past.
The door at this moment is wide open. If progressives proved themselves of value to moderates then stock in their sub-brand or niche market or whatever you want to call it would go up at exactly the moment the conservative brand is taking a crippling hit. Seize the cycle.
I don't disagree with most of what you say, but you're confusing two issues. Dean's fifty-state strategy is the right stratgy over the long term. You don't need to be a stat geek, however, to know that most of the fifty states are already set in terms of which party they'll back in the electoral college in 2008. That's the next test.
Is it wrong to focus a message at mushy-middle swing voters? Absolutely not. The 2006 election just showed us -- and you -- that everybody essetially stayed put except a narrow band of Independents who came over to the Democratic side, plus a segment of the Hispanic vote. Ignoring that truth, and it seems odd that you would, is a recipe for failure. You can embrace that truth within a fifty-state strategy, and I think you should, but ignoring it or confusing it with some left-wing or progressive mandate would be the real mistake.
Spot on. There's only one party on the left and only one brand on the left. Everything else is noise. Which is why you hear so much of it right now.
The Republican brand has been decimated over the past five years, and yet no one seems to be grasping that simple point. They've failed, utterly, at everything, and that's what Democrats (and progressives) should be talking about.
"If we are going to work and fight together, it does not mean that conservative and moderate Democrats are allowed to openly bash and distance themselves from the left wing of the party, while the left-wing of the party gets thrown under the bus while it works to help elect conservatives, moderates and libertarians."
Yeah, that sure was ugly when all those moderates beat the hell out of John Kerry to extort more money from him. How can you trust a bunch of moderates who would take Press Secretary David Wade's words and twist them just like Bush did to Kerry's botched joke? I hate those reactionary moderates. They're always causing trouble, then pretending to be the victims. They need to get a spine and grow some and act more like you guys.
I wanted to thank you for cosponsoring the amendment that is rapidly becoming the only viable solution to the war in Iraq. John Murtha, as you know, stronly supports a similar (if not more aggressive) position in the House, so there seems to be a basis for advancing the issue now that both Houses are in Democratic hands. I'm also confident that if the Kerry-Feingold amendment were put up to a vote today there would be significanly more than 13 Democrats voting for it.
Thank you for your vision and for having the guts to stand by your convictions.
The last Clinton to-do item was re-electing Joe Lieberman, and they accomplished that by having Bill Clinton throw Ned Lamont under the bus on Larry King. If you want Dean to stay, you better be prepared to fight like hell.
Murtha. I wasn't sure about this until I saw CNN a bit ago. Murtha helped Pelosi campaign for her leadership positions, against -- get this -- Hoyer.
Yeah, Murtha has earmark baggage. Yeah, he's only viable on the left because he's come out against this war. But he's a great big huge knuckle-busting guy, and I don't think he's going to take any guff from anyone if Ms. Pelosi asks him to get something done.
"And here is a big key: conservatives only outnumbered liberals by a 32%-20% margin."
I agree, that's the closest I've seen that margin as well. But take note: it still means there are over 50% more conservatives in this country than there ard liberals.
That has an important corollary: conservatives by definition make up a greater percentage of the Republican Party than liberals do the Democratic Party. Whatever you want to call non-conservative, non-liberal voters -- centrists, moderates, morons, whatever -- there are necessarily more of then in the Democratic Party than there are in the Repubican Party. All you have to do is do the math to see that that's true.
Assuming a 50/50 division between Republicans and Democrats:
Just looking at those numbers you can see that it's more important for Democrats to be able to bridge the moderate-liberal divide than it is for Republicans to bridge their own divide, because they begin the game with a base that is 50% larger than the Democratic base.
There is no more important political reality for progressives to deal with than this stark fact: at most, and this has been true for four decades, liberals or progressives amount to 20% of the population. They're the innovators, they're the agitators, but they're also a minority. Without forging bonds with people like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer to the right, progressives have no chance of helping the Democrats govern in this country, and that would be a shame.
I canvassed door-to-door as a precinct captain in IA in late 2003 and early 2004, which means the dead of winter. Only got a touch of frostbite once, but I was glad I wasn't too far from home when it set in.
I think you're taking the right approach. There has to be some acknowledgement that the territory we're in is aberrant: polling methodologies are based on norms and normal years, not abnormal years. An honest and simple way to correct for that is to tilt your results to the conservative end of whatever spectrum you're dealing with.
If Dems do better, they do better. If not, you didn't pile on and add to the euphoria. Which, to my mind, is something the Republicans are very good at creating in the minds of beaten-down Democrats.
On Dems accepting responsibility for national security, and why it's key to beating Republicans:
Even better, progressive voices such as MyDD's Jonathan Singer are on board:
Credit must be given to DPC Chairman Byron Dorgan, who is organizing these hearings. Not only do these show voters that the Democratic Party is serious about improving American policy towards Iraq by providing oversight -- which even a Repbulican Congressman admits has been "inadequate" under the current GOP Congress -- but they also show voters that the Democratic Party is a party of action, not just naysaying (as some Republicans claim), and what's more that Democrats can work in a bipartisan manner so thoroughly lacking in Washington today.
That's the dam breaking. If Republicans and President Bush cannot hold the Democrats back on the issue of terror(ism), then their party has been discredited at its core.
Every Democratic candidate and every Democratic and progressive voice should be stepping forward and accepting responsibility for national security today. The country is looking for someone to take responsibility: Democrats should step up and be counted.
One study estimates that about 16 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq have PTSD. But military officials say they don't keep tabs on how many troops still fighting have been diagnosed. Most soldiers are never screened, a GAO report finds.
That's the kind of living nightmare that the Republican Party -- including John McCain -- is willing to accept in order to retain political power.
"As you know, you have to go to war with the
Army you have, not the Army you want."
-- Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense
December 9, 2004
Then you grind that army into the desert sand for two more years, man by man, trading their lives, their limbs, their sanity for another month of promises, another week of denials, another day of escape from the noose that history is drawing ever tighter around your neck. It is an epitaph, writ every day in caskets, blood and screams.