Your commentary is excellent and I agree with its position. I think that the labor/liberal split has been building for over 30 years and can be traced back to the 1960s.
In the 1960s the AFL-CIO, led by George Meany, backed the Vietnam War, thus outraging many liberals who were against that war. At the same time the Nixon Administration began an effort to force trade unions to accept black workers. Although started by the Nixon Administration, the Democrats, because they backed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 got the "blame," if one can call it that, by trade unionists. Liberals were seen by such trade unionists as backing programs that put them at a economic disadvantage in the sense that their children would not be able to get jobs in the trades.
Democrats need to start repairing that split and one way they can do so is by advocating what I refer to as "economic populism" issues. Issues such as mandatory health insurance, increasing the minimum wage, fighting out-sourcing, etc.
Professions which are licensed by the state, such as medicine and law, have ethical standards that are enforceable. Professions not so licensed, journalism for example, may have ethical standards, but they are not enforceable.
Since blogging is by definition such a profession, the idea of ethical standards is ludicrious. The marketplace will sort out bad blogging from good blogging and life will go on. This is just another attempt by the right to divert the attention of the media from the Bushies putting out propaganda at taxpayer expense. Sadly members of the media are falling for the diversion.
Actually what I should have said is motivation based on managing terror and fear. The article is called Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition by
John T. Jost
University of California, Berkeley
Arie W. Kruglanski
University of Maryland at College Park
Frank J. Sulloway
University of California, Berkeley
If you stop and think about it, this helps explains why Bush is so popular among conservative leaning voters. Take Iraq, for example:
He defines the problem as being avoiding future attacks on America, (this plays into fear), his solution is that we should "fight them over there before we have to fight them over here", (this is a very unambiguous approach and has the benefit of not leading to fighting in America), and once you adopt his solution there is no need for any more discussion, (cognitive closure, ie, he has identified the problem, offered a solution, and now there is no need to reexamine the solution).
He is doing the same thing with social security "reform": Social security is going "bankrupt", (arousing fear that Americans will not have enough money for their old age), solution: allow people to keep their own money, (note that it is a very unambiguous solution, ie, easy to understand, and superficially very appealing, who can be against allowing people to keep their own money?), and gives cognitive closure, (no more problem, fear of not enough money in old age is solved because Americans will keep more of their own money and thus have enough to live on.)
Now, we can continue to say that his analysis is wrong, won't work, etc., or we can develop ways of framing these issues that have traction among conservative leaning voters.
In 2003 there was an article published by a group of Sanford professors. They examined psychological studies conducted of conservative voters over the last 50 years. These studies were conducted in both Europe and America. The article concluded that conservatives are motivated by several factors. These include:
An intolerance for ambiguity;
A tolerance for inequality;
A need for cognitive closure;and
Motivation based on terror and fear.
If you start from the premise that America is a conservative country, then you can see why Bush got more votes. His appeal was ideally suited to appeal to conservative leaning voters, if you use the above model.
The reason why I like the idea of a balanced budget is that it is not ambiguous, and gives cognitive closure to the issue of social security "reform", tax "relief", and other conservative framing of public issues.
It is designed to appeal to conservative leaning voters. Here is the argument: Bush's plan for social security is bad because it increases the deficit. Bush's plan for permanent tax cuts is bad because it increases the deficit. Note that each one of those positions is not ambiguous, can be explained in one sentence, and gives closure to the argument.
Write letters to the editor of your daily papers and ask them what they are doing to make sure that their op-ed pages aren't being used by commentators like Williams to put out paid propaganda for the Bush Administration. It gets the fact out there and may lead to them actually doing something.
What Dems need to do is continuously stress how out of balance the budget is and stress that any government program has to be looked at in terms of a balanced budget. Dems should also start supporting the idea of a balanced budget amendment because Bush's tax ideas and his social security plans can't pass muster IF they are analyzed in terms of what they do to a balanced budget.
Dems should start introducing bills in Congress that call for a balanced budget NOW, not five years from now, not 10 years from now, but NOW. They should point out that all it takes to balance a budget is political will and obviously the Republicans don't have it, but we do.
Insisting on a balanced budget is good politics and makes sense morally because we are not passing on to future generations our messes.
which is putting up a voter driven effort to take the redistricting process out of the hands of partisan elected officials and put in the hands of a non-partisan commission. I think there would be support for such an approach.
What Ohio Dems need to do is push for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee every voter the right to vote by mail using the absentee voter process. This amendment would pass, would make us look like the party of reform, and would be better than what we have.
LOL, either way your point is impressive. Does anyone know of any seminars, lectures, presentations, etc., put on by people who have successfully used the internet?
My impression of the Dean campaign, which I gave money to in the spring of 2003, was that it didn't know what to do with the volunteers it recruited. That is, it didn't have the professionals to matchup the volunteers with the needs of the campaign. Is this impression correct?
Do we have any data on how many people who read the blogs end up volunteering their time in other ways?
I have been involved in a lot of campaigns and I always find that there is a huge discrepancy between people who say they are willing to work, and those who actually show up. I am wondering if the internet changes the dynamics so that you actually get a higher percentage of people who turn out and work the precincts because they feel more involved?
This is my thinking about political campaigns: the reason why candidates tend to use tv and radio where possible is that they are the fastest and best way to get your message out to a lot of people. They also don't require the consumer of political information to do anything other than continue listening or watching what they were listening or watching when the ad came on.
The drawback is that they are horribly expensive, and there is some evidence that they are losing their effectiveness, especially for downballot races.
That is why if a campaign or candidate could develop a lot of volunteers willing to spend time delivering the message it could be much more effective and much cheaper.
The advantage of the internet is that the communications tools on the internet are so much less expensive than other ways of communicating. If a way to develop volunteers from such a means of communication could be found, then it would be a great asset.
Here is my thoughts on the responses to the comment I posted: if you believe that the netroots should be developing the message, fine, but in the final analysis you need to get that message out. To get the message out you need either advertising or volunteers to carry the message.
I think that blogs and the internet are great at activating volunteers, and actually it is the source of some very good ideas, but it can't stop there. How many people who have posted online have gone on to either give money or work in a campaign by doing the work that gets votes?
if you want to help in a campaign then there are two things to do: 1. help raise money to get the message out, and 2. help use your time to get the message out. If you are not doing one of those two things, then all the blogging in the world will not deliver any votes.