• on a comment on There's Something Happening Here over 8 years ago

    Maybe Lamont can win, and maybe not.

    But that's not my point.

    I am unhappy with a lot of Senator Lieberman's positions.  If we were on the verge of a huge victory, I might support a primary challenge.

    But we are approaching what may be a very thin victory. We can't afford to throw away any advantage, and incumbency is a very powerful advantage.

    Further, the primary challenge is indicative of a trend in the progressive world of attempting to purge the Democratic party of "impure" officials.

    But this is putting the cart before the horse. Consolidating our position in the minority won't move our policies forward.  

    I'll admit, a huge ideological battle might advance progressive positions in the long term.  It certainly did for conservative principles while the Republicans were in the minority.

    However, if we are going to pursue a long-term strategy, we have to ask the following questions:

    How many more US soldiers and Iraqis are we willing to let die while we pursue ideological perfection?  We can only investigate the war from the majority.

    How much more incompetence in the face of natural disasters are we willing to let slide while we wait to become political saints?  We can only investigate incompetent policies and unqualified appointees from the majority.

    How much more environmental destruction are we willing to accept while we wait for every Democrat to get a perfect score from conservation groups?  Corporate money influences both parties, but the Democrats never proposed anything as outrageous as the "Clear Skies Initiative" or the "Healthy Forest Initiative".

    Further, if we blow a majority by one or two seats in the House or Senate because if internal fighting, we won't be credible with the voters for years to come.  The Republicans want to divide and conquer us, let's not do the job for them.

    The people we say we are fighting for car less about a  victory for progressives than a victory for progress.  We need to take the most progress we can get, and any Democratic majority will give us more progress than any Democratic minority.

  • on a comment on There's Something Happening Here over 8 years ago

    I understand that we are not going to get all we want.  I also understand that this is not a bad thing, as long as we are moving forward.  Any Democratic majority would be a step forward.

    While committee chairs are not automatically given to the most senior members, it is very, very rare that they are not.  The switches I outlined are practically guaranteed.

    I don't understand how working for a winnable change to a more progressive Congress, even it it is not a liberal dream, can be interpreted as a bad thing.  We can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • comment on a post There's Something Happening Here over 8 years ago

    I still need to bring up these questions:  

    Under what imaginable circumstances would a Senate Democratic minority without Senator Lieberman be better than a Senate Democratic majority with him?
    Under what imaginable circumstances would a House Democratic minority without Rahm Emmanuel be better than a House Democratic majority with him?

    These are the key question for progressives right now. The majority determines control of the committees.  As we have seen with Net Neutrality, most of the key work in Congress is done at the committee level, where chairmen hold significant power over what bills will come up and their final form.

    By the way, John Dingell, who  supports net neutrality, would become chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee ( which has  primary jurisdiction over this issue) if the Democrats win.

    If we were on the verge of a definite sweep, we could afford to be more picky.  If it looked like we were on the edge of winning a 55-45 majority in the Senate, it might make sense to have an ideological litmus test for our candidates.

    But we are going to have to fight tooth and nail to pick up six seats to get a Senate majority, and over thirty to pick up a House majority. We can't afford to throw away the power of incumbency in any election, because we will not have any progress without a change in majority in at least one of the Houses of Congress.

    No less a progressive than Saul Alinsky (famous organizer, author of Rules for Radicals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Alinsk y) complained that progressives had come to believe that "compromise" was a dirty word.  But if you have nothing, ask for 100%, and get 50%, you are a hell of a lot better off than you were to begin with, and you are in better shape for the next fight.

    We're progressives because we care about the state of the country and the world, and particularly for the neediest among us.  They want us to have a dignified loss that won't help them

    They need us to win that will make things better, even it takes with compromise.

    Any Democratic majority would be better than what we have now.  Only a Democratic majority will perform oversight and investigation into the abuses of this investigation.  If the committees shift:

    John Conyers, the most prominent Democrat involved in investigating the Downing Street Memo would become Chairman of the  House Judiciary committee, which initiates the impeachment process.

    The Senate Judiciary Committee would be chaired by Pat Leahy, who has a long history of fighting for civil rights and liberties. In addition, Russ Feingold, who has called of Bush's censure, would be the Chairman of  the Subcommittee on  the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights.

    These changes alone are worth accepting a couple of candidates we don't agree with. But there would be far more changes

    If you look at the 2005 vote ratings published by the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, (the percentage given is a key measure used by the National Journal and project Vote-Smart to show how liberal an elected official is), you can see what a flip in control in Congress would do at the committee level (modified from my last post of this, which included only the Senate.)

    SENATE COMMITTEES

    Agriculture Committee:
    Control would go From: Saxby Chambliss,  ADA 2005 rating 5%      
    Chambliss defeated Senator Max Cleland by smearing the triple-amputee Vietnam Veteran as a friend of terrorism because he didn't enthusiastically support the rush to war.
    To: Tom Harkin,  ADA 2005 rating 100%      

    Appropriations
    Arguably the most powerful committee in the Senate; since it controls all spending

    From: Thad Cochran, ADA 2005 rating 0%
    To: Robert Byrd, ADA 2005 rating 95%      
    One of the most passionate defenders of the Constitution, opposed the war.

    Armed Services
    From: John Warner, ADA 2005 rating 10%      
    To: Carl Levin ADA 2005 rating 100%      
    Levin  opposed the war.

    Banking
    From: Richard Shelby, ADA 2005 rating 10%
    To: (most likely)Christopher J. Dodd, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Budget
    From: Judd Gregg, ADA 2005 rating 5%
    To: Kent Conrad,  ADA 2005 rating 85%
    Conrad opposed the war

    Commerce
    From: Ted Stevens, ADA 2005 rating 5%      
    Stevens is one of the strongest supporters for drilling in ANWR, also famously refused to make oil executives swear to tell the truth at energy hearings.
    To: Daniel K. Inouye, ADA 2005 rating 90%      
    Inouye stood up to Oliver North during Iran-Contra, opposed the war, and has a Medal of Honor.

    Energy and Natural Resources
    From: Pete V. Domenici, ADA 2005 rating 15%
    To: Jeff Bingaman, ADA 2005 rating 95%      
    Bingamen opposed the war

    Environment and Public Works
    From: James M. Inhofe, ADA 2005 rating 5%
    To: (most likely)Max Baucus, ADA 2005 rating 90%

    Finance
    From: Charles Grassley, ADA 2005 rating 5%
    To:Max Baucus, ADA 2005 rating 90%

    Foreign Relations
    From:  Richard G. Lugar, ADA 2005 rating 10%
    To:  Joseph R. Biden, ADA 2005 rating 100%
    Note: Russ Feingold would chair the Africa Subcommittee, which would give him jurisdiction over Darfour policy.

    Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
    From:  Michael B. Enzi, ADA 2005 rating 10%
    To:  Edward M. Kennedy, ADA 2005 rating 95%
    Kennedy opposed the war

    Homeland Security
    From: Susan M. Collins, ADA 2005 rating 65%
    To: Joseph I. Lieberman, ADA 2005 rating 80%
    One chairmanship for him is a fair price for getting all the others listed.

    Judiciary
    From: Arlen Specter ADA 2005 rating 45%
    To: Patrick J. Leahy, ADA 2005 rating 100%
    Leahy opposed the war and is a constant fighter for civil rights.

    Note, Russ Feingold, who has called of Bush's censure, would be the Chairman of  the Subcommittee on  the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights.

    Rules
    From: Trent Lott, ADA 2005 rating 5%
    To: Chris Dodd, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Small Business
    From: Olympia J. Snowe, ADA 2005 rating 65%
    To: John F. Kerry, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Veterans Affairs
    From: Larry E. Craig, ADA 2005 rating 15%
    To: Daniel Akaka, 95%
    Akaka opposed the war

    Intelligence
    From: Pat Roberts, ADA 2005 rating 0%
    To: John D. Rockefeller, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    HOUSE COMMITTEES

    Agriculture:
    From: Bob Goodlatte, ADA 2005 Rating 5%
    To: Collin C. Peterson, 65%

    Appropriations
    Arguably the most powerful committee in the House; since it controls all spending.  Look at the difference:
    From : Jerry Lewis 0%
    To: David R. Obey, 100% !!

    Obey voted against the war

    Armed Services
    From: Duncan Hunter, California, Chairman 5%
    To: Ike Skelton, Missouri, Ranking Member 75%

    Budget
    From: Jim Nussle 5%
    To: John Spratt 90%

    Education and the Workforce
    From: Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, Chairman, 0%
    To: George Miller 100%
    Miller voted against the war

    Energy & Commerce
    Another top committee, it arguably has more jurisdiction than any committee other than Appropriations, which controls spending (above), and Rules which decide the procedure for every vote in the House (below)

    From: Joe Barton, Texas 0%
    To: John D. Dingell, Michigan 95%
    Congressman Dingell is the most senior member of the House, and has been fighting for national health care his entire career.
    Dingell voted against the war
    He supports net neutrality, and would become chaiman of the comittty with primary jurisdiction over this issue

    Financial Services
    From:  Michael G. Oxley 0%
    To: Barney Frank  100%
    Frank voted against the war

    Government Reform
    From: Chris Shays 55%
    To: Henry Waxman 100%
    Waxman is a supporter of Net Neutrality

    Homeland Security
    From: Peter King 0%
    To: Bennie Thompson 95%
    Thompson voted against the war.

    House Administration
    From: Rep. Vernon Ehlers 15%
    To: Juanita Millender-McDonald 90%
    Millender-McDonald voted against the war

    International Relations
    Current Chairman Retiring

    From (most likely): James A. Leach 75%
    To: Tom Lantos 95%

    Judiciary
    All impeachment proceeding must start from this committee

    From: Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. 0%
    To: John Conyers, Jr. 95%
    Conyers opposed the war

    Rep Sensenbrenner famously tuned off the microphones when Rep Conyers attempted to ask questions about the Downing Street memo during a hearing.  Rep Conyers then scheduled an open non-official meeting to keep up pressure on the issue.

    Resources
    From: Richard Pombo 0%
    No friend to the environment

    To: Nick J. Rahall,II 90%
    Rahall opposed the war

    Rules
    Very powerful committee, it determines the procedure for every vote in the House, including what amendments will be in order.  The Chair of this Committee is considered part of the leadership of the House.

    From: David Dreier 0%
    To: Louise Slaughter  95%
    Slaughter opposed the war

    Science
    From: Hon. Sherwood L. Boehlert 30
    To: Bart Gordon 90%
    Bart Gordon supports Net Neutrality

    Small Business
    From: Donald Manzullo (IL)  0%
    To: Nydia Velazquez (NY)  100%
    Velazquez  voted against the war.

    Standards and Official Conduct (Ethics)
    From: Doc Hastings 5%
    Protector of Tom DeLay

    To: Howard L. Berman 90%

    Transportation and Infrastructure
    Covers all Highway and Transit legislation

    From: Don Young 5%
    To: James L. Oberstar 90%
    Oberstar opposed the war

    One of the biggest supporters of public transportation in the House

    Veterans Affairs
    From: Steve Buyer 0%
    To: Lane Evans, Ranking Member 100%
    Evans opposed the war

    Ways and Means
    All tax legislation in the House is controlled by this committee

    From: Bill Thomas 15
    To: Charles B. Rangel 100
    Rangel opposed the war

    Intelligence
    From: Peter Hoekstra 0%
    To: Jane Harman 70%

  • on a comment on Speaking to Secularists over 8 years ago

    Thanks for the compliment.  I think it would be both good policy and good politics for Democrats to make an economic argument directly to much of the US religious community

    I don't understand your comment about non-believers, however. What belief are we talking about?

    If someone believes that it is our duty to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, I'll vot for them, and I won't care if they are following the precepts of Christianity, the commands of their conscience, or both.  For that matter, if they support policies to help the neediest our of mere politically expediency, I'll still vote for them, because I'd rather have the right thing done for the wrong reason than nothing done for the right reason.

    What officials do, not what they believe, is the real litmus test becasue, at the end of the day, that is what affects the people that we, as Democrats across the spectrum, believe govenment has a role in helping.  

  • comment on a post Speaking to Secularists over 8 years ago

    Candidates should dismiss the false divide between religious and secular communities.

    This issue is our values, not how we came to them.  And there are plenty of progressive values across the religious spectrum.

    The evangelical community, for example, does not subscribe to an idealogy that lines up with eith party's platform.  While it tends to be conservative on social mores, it is ofte very liberal on econmomic justice.

    The problem is that the Republicans have given evengelicals a half loaf, while the Democrats have offered nothing.  The Repulicans have made a direct appeal to evangelicals on social mores.  The Democrats have econmonic values that would appeal to this comunity, but they have not tried to pitch them.

    You can't assume that voters will come to you.  As Tip O'Niell pointed out, "People like to be asked."

    And you can ask without being false. A candidate can adress a religious audience and say, "We  don't agree on everything, and we don't have to.  We only have to agree on what is most important, and I, like many of you bleive that we to helop the neediest in our society. I ask for your support so that, together, we can accomplish this."


  • To rephrase:  Will they thank us for losing with dignity or for winning with compromise?

    In all seriousness, we have to think about what will best help the people we stand up for. Progress is more important than pride.

    Things are too close to risk any seat out of ideological stubbornness. With control of the committees,  any Democratic majority will provide more oversight and investigation into this administration's corruption and incompetence than any Republican majority.  That alone is worth using every advantage we have, including the incumbency of members we disagree with.

  • comment on a post CA-50: 36, 35, 34, 33, 32... realignment? over 8 years ago

    will be the ones for Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate, because they will determine who chairs the committees in Congress, which is where most of the work of the House and Senate is done.

    No less a progressive than Saul Alinsky (famous organizer, author of Rules for Radicals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saul_Alinsk y) complained that progressives had come to believe that "compromise" was a dirty word.  But if you have nothing, ask for 100%, and get 50%, you are a hell of a lot better off than you were to begin with, and you are in better shape for the next fight.

    I have major problems with a lot of Senator Lieberman's positions.  If the Democrats were well in the majority, I would consider supporting a primary challenger.

    But we do not have a comfortable majority and will have to fight tooth and nail to take advantage of the chance to grab a slim one.

    I cannot imagine how staying in the minority without Senator Liebermanould be better than being in the majority with him.

    If you look at the 2005 vote ratings published by the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, (the percentage given is a key measure used by the National Journal and project Vote-Smart to show how liberal an elected official is), you can see what a flip in control of the Senate would do at the committee level:

    Agriculture Committee:
    Control would go

    From: Saxby Chambliss,  ADA 2005 rating 5%     
    Chambliss defeated Senator Max Cleland by smearing the triple-amputee Vietnam Veteran as a friend of terrorism because he didn't enthusiastically support the rush to war.

    To: Tom Harkin,  ADA 2005 rating 100%     

    Appropriations (arguably the most powerful committee in the Senate; since it controls all spending)

    From: Thad Cochran, ADA 2005 rating 0%

    To: Robert Byrd, ADA 2005 rating 95%     
    One of the most passionate defenders of the Constitution, opposed the war.

    Armed Services
    From: John Warner, ADA 2005 rating 10%     

    To: Carl Levin ADA 2005 rating 100%     
    Levin  opposed the war.

    Banking
    From: Richard Shelby, ADA 2005 rating 10%

    To: (most likely)Christopher J. Dodd, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Budget
    From: Judd Gregg, ADA 2005 rating 5%

    To: Kent Conrad,  ADA 2005 rating 85%
    Conrad opposed the war

    Commerce
    From: Ted Stevens, ADA 2005 rating 5%     
    Stevens is one of the strongest supporters for drilling in ANWR, also famously refused to make oil executives swear to tell the truth at energy hearings.

    To: Daniel K. Inouye, ADA 2005 rating 90%     
    Inouye stood up to Oliver North during Iran-Contra, opposed the war, and has a Medal of Honor.

    Energy and Natural Resources
    From: Pete V. Domenici, ADA 2005 rating 15%

    To: Jeff Bingaman, ADA 2005 rating 95%     
    Bingamen opposed the war

    Environment and Public Works
    From: James M. Inhofe, ADA 2005 rating 5%

    To: (most likely)Max Baucus, ADA 2005 rating 90%

    Finance
    From: Charles Grassley, ADA 2005 rating 5%

    To:Max Baucus, ADA 2005 rating 90%

    Foreign Relations
    From:  Richard G. Lugar, ADA 2005 rating 10%

    To:  Joseph R. Biden, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

    From:  Michael B. Enzi, ADA 2005 rating 10%

    To:  Edward M. Kennedy, ADA 2005 rating 95%
    Kennedy opposed the war

    Homeland Security
    From: Susan M. Collins, ADA 2005 rating 65%

    To: Joseph I. Lieberman, ADA 2005 rating 80%
    One chairmanship for him is a fair price for getting all the others listed.

    Judiciary

    From: Orrin G. Hatch, ADA 2005 rating 5%

    To: Patrick J. Leahy, ADA 2005 rating 100%
    Leahy opposed the war and is a constant fighter for civil rights.

    Rules
    From: Trent Lott, ADA 2005 rating 5%

    To: Chris Dodd, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Small Business

    From: Olympia J. Snowe, ADA 2005 rating 65%

    To: John F. Kerry, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    Veterans Affairs

    From: Larry E. Craig, ADA 2005 rating 15%

    To: Daniel Akaka, 95%
    Akaka opposed the war

    Intelligence
    From: Pat Roberts, ADA 2005 rating 0%

    To: John D. Rockefeller, ADA 2005 rating 100%

    We need this majority.  After all, we are progressives because we want to make things better, particularly for the neediest in our society.  We they thank us for loosing with dignity or for winning with compromise?

  • comment on a post Boxer and Clark on "Climate Crisis" over 8 years ago

    Then take a look at this excerpt from Bill Mahers April 21 New Rules.  I post it for the environmental message, not for any other opinion he expresses.


    And finally, New Rule: Democrats have to claim their rightful place as the party of environmental protection. Now...for way too long, Republicans have been getting away with rolling their eyes when anyone mentions the planet. You know, as if it's "Smurf Forest" we're talking about instead of the one and only place we can survive!

    Now, tomorrow is Earth Day, when President Bush gets his picture taken in front of a tree and Dick Cheney shoots whatever flies out of it. And, as despicable as this administration's record on the environment is, it never was their issue. But Al Gore made a living in the Senate talking about the environment. He makes a living talking about it now. It's just when he was running for president that he shut up. And that's why Democrats keep losing. They don't stand up for what they believe in, yes, like "girly-men", from making the counter-argument.

    "How can we explain climate change in a 30-second campaign ad?" Oh, I don't know. How about this: "The Republicans want your children to die." There, I did it with 28 seconds left. Is that scaring us? Well, somebody ought to.

    How come the Republicans can pick seemingly bogus, random issues like activist judges and boys kissing, and Mexicans pouring over our borders, and get everyone all worked up about it, and the Democrats can't figure out how to demagogue Armageddon?

    Hey...you know what else is pouring over our borders? Greenland. You know, Republicans do a lot of things badly, like plan wars and balance budgets and...dance. But they sure understand that the winner in an election is the one who scares the most crap out of the voters. "Gay marriage!" "Terror alerts!" "The war on Christmas!" How long before Janet Jackson's tit strikes again?! And it's a lot bigger now.

    But the environment is real. You can smell it. In parts of Houston, you can grab hunks of it with your hands and use it to lube your car! And if there is a single face you might want to use to personify this evil, he was in the news this week: the retiring and handsomely-compensated chairman of Exxon Mobil, Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond. [photos shown of Lee Raymond and character "Fat Bastard" from Austin Powers film]

    If Lee looks like he's been eating the earth, he has. Even worse, his company has been paying for fake science to confuse people into thinking global warming was still too iffy to act on. You know, if the Democrats can't make this prick into their Willy Horton, they are so pathetic, they might as well go ahead and nominate for president that nice blonde lady who married Bill Clinton. You'll thank me in a year.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I literally fear for my kids' future, and I don't even have kids. Glacier National Park in Montana, you know, named for its glaciers, had 150 glaciers when they opened. It's got 26 left today. If we don't take care of places like Montana, we're going to faced with an even bigger problem: gay married men with absolutely no place to go fishing.

  • comment on a post Your Tax Dollars At Work over 8 years ago

    I think the opinions expressed by the usually ideological opposed O'Reilly and Maher indicate an ideological shift and how to take advantage of it.

    Old news, but the recent rants by O'Reilly against oil company price gouging, his more astonishing assertion that Brazil was on the right track by mandating ethanol use in cars decades ago, and his mind-blowing statement that we are paying for our government's failure to do the same, lead me to one of two conclusions:

    1) Murdoch just bought a lot of stock in ethanol production, or

    2) There is a change in the wind.

    Maher, in the most recent New Rules (can't find a transcript yet) showed how Democrats can take advantage of this change by actually becoming the party of the environment, particularly regarding global warming He gave a list of non-issues that Republicans have used for successful fear mongering and then asked "How hard can it be to demagogue Armageddon?!"  

    Indeed how hard?  And should the Democrats do it, it would be on legitimate reasons to scare people silly:

    Global warming: any business owner on the coasts, never mind the rest of the population, should consider where to send his or her next campaign check.  Insurers of those properties might also want to avoid another Katrina scale-disaster, or worse;

    Pollution can be reframed in terms of health, which is a much bigger issue umbrella.  "Disease" means more to people than "auto emissions";

    Finally, there is a double whammy on national security: "Why do we continue to fund people who want to kill us buy buying fuel that is killing us already?"

    There is potential to turn this into a serious winner, as long as the financial, health and security aspects are the key emphases.

  • comment on a post Progressive Strategy Notes over 8 years ago

    In "The Revolution will not be Televised" Joe Trippi sums up his political philosophy pretty succinctly: support the most progressive candidate that has a chance of winning.

    Note the two parts to that philosophy, especially the second part.  And expand it to this: do whatever it takes to move progressive ideas forward.

    Many of us are progressives, in large part, because we are trying to make the world a better place, particularly for the most needy in our society. Never compromising may give us a chance to pat ourselves on the back, but it does nothing, absolutely nothing, for the people we want to help.

    A democratic Congressional majority composed of the most conservative elements of the party would at least perform oversight and act as check on what may be the worst and most dangerous administration in history. The most progressive Republican majority would never do that.

    Of course, a Democratic majority in either chamber of Congress would not be uniformly conservative. In fact, it would put some of the most experienced liberals at the helm of extremely influential committees, where most of the work of Congress is done. John Conyers and Pat Leahy, both dependable progressive, would head up both of the Judiciary committees; John Conyers was the Congressman who demanded official hearings on the Downing Street Memo and went on to hold public hearing on the issue even without the current chairman's support.

    Do we want to pass up an opportunity for progress, even if it involves compromise, in favor of a defeat that makes us feel good about our ideological purity?

    I hope not.  Because if you start out asking for 100%, compromise and get 50%, you at least have more than you had before and are in a better position to fight for the rest.

    Remember the people we are fighting for, and ask if they would rather we loose with dignity or help them through compromise.

  • on a comment on Saturday Evening Open Thread over 8 years ago

     
    The issue isn't "spineless Dems", it's unorganized progressives.

    Elected officials can't help us if they loose their seats.  So trick is to make them know that we are the best allies they can have.  

    We can't just state our positions; we must demonstrate their potential. We have show that going with us means that we will provide volunteers, resources, publicity and votes for the candidates better than any other group of constituents.  They will go where the votes are.

    Demonstrating that we will help get them reelected will move them to our position far better than lambasting them, and it is the best strategy when we are so close to a majority in one or both of the chambers of Congress.  

    I would hate to loose this because we were more willing to attack a Democrat than court one.

  • Let's remember a fundamental truth of all political candidates: they go where the votes are. Whoever the candidates are, both Republican and Democrat, they are going to modify their positions to match those of their most influential constituents.  

    So we need to become the most influential constituents! Organize, show strength and push the issues.  If it becomes clear that the grassroots are willing to show up (which is 80% of success), press local elected party officials to support their views, (another 10) and provide volunteers and funding through large numbers of small donations (another 10), then the grassroots will determine the platform.

    And if we are strong to control the platform, all we need to do is wait for candidates to come to yus, then pick the most competent and electable.  

    On the other hand, if make this about candidate without first establishing what we are opposing and supporting, we have no guarantees that the candidate will stick to our issues.  

    I think the platform writes itself: this administration and its allies have been so incompetent and corrupt that the best campaign will be the one that attack the most.  And not with a laundry list of proposals, but with a promise to sweep away the secret, insider crony government that makes failure inevitable.

    Once that is the battle cry, then the best candidate is the one who can yell it the loudest.

  • Keep up the pressure on this one. Norquist is one the THE central players in the conservative movement.  For years he has used Americans for Tax Reform to gather every major conservative player in Washington togeter in his famous Wednesdy strategy meeting. No one in the movement is outsude of his circle. If he is convicted, a pillar of the Republican  Party falls apart

    Do the research, circulate the findings, write your newspapers (never forget the Mainstream Media can help if pushed!)call your Representatives and Senators and make the tipping point.

  • If you really want to understand how progressives can reach out to evangelicals without compromising on our ideals, read "God's Politics,  Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It" by Jim Wallis.

    Wallis, an influential evangelical and remarkable   activist, calls on Christians to judge all candidates, Republican and Democrat, by how they will actually act on the full range of Christian concerns, includeing poverty, war, civil rights and social justice.   He argues that effectively that every great progressive movement in the United States, from the abolition of slavery, to voting rights for women, to the end of child labor laws, to the Civil Rights movement included, and was often led, by religious leaders. He also makes the case that progressive politics is in the best tratdition not of of American citizenship but also Christian citizenship.

    My favorite quote so far (Wallis is at a meeting with a Republican strategist right after the 2002 midterm elections):

    "This very smart political operative said that Republicans won middle-class and even working-class people on the 'social' issues, those moral and cultural issues that Democrats don't seem to understand or appreciate.  He even suggested that passion on the social issues can cause people to vote against their economic self-interest.  Since the rich are already with us, he said, we win elections.

    I raised my hand and asked the following question:'What would you do if you faced a candidate who took a traditional moral stance on the social and cultural issues?  They would not be mean-spirited and, for example, blame gay people for the breakdown of the family, nor would they criminalize the choices of desparate women backed into difficult and dangerous corners.  But the candidate would be decidedly pro-family, pro-life (meaning really want to lower the abortion rate), strong on personal responsibility and moral values, and outspoken against the moral pollution throughout popular culture that makes raising children in America a counter-cultural activety.  And what if the candidate was also an economic populist, pro-poor in social policy, tough on corporate corruption and power, clear in supporting middle- and working-class families in health care and education, an environmentalist, and committed to a foriegn policy that emphasized international law and multilateral cooperation over preemptive and unilateral war?  Waht would you do?' I asked.  He paused for a long time and then said, 'We would panic!'"

    It's a great book for anyone concerned about how the definition of values has been warped by the Republicans

    From Wallis' biography:

    "Jim Wallis, an evangelical, is the leading figure at the crossroads of religion and politics in America today. He is a public theologian, nationally renowned preacher, faith-based activist and author of seven books. He is the founder of Sojourners, a nationwide network of progressive Christians working for justice and peace, and continues to serve as the editor of Sojourners magazine, covering faith, politics, and culture. He is also the Convener of Call to Renewal, a national federation of churches and faith-based organizations working together to overcome poverty by changing the direction of public policy..."

  • Limbaugh appeals to people through both style and substance.  We won't get votes from people who agree with what he says, but we have to consider those who like his entertainment value first and pay attention to his politics second.

    Limbaugh is a confrontational entertainer with an incredible talent for mockery.  He is the right wing version of the most vicious Satuday Night Live sketch you can imagine. This is his primary appeal for many people, who would rather identify with his perceived toughness than the perceived weakness of left wing spokespeople.

    We do not need to abandon our ideals, but we need to present ourselves in a way that voters can identify with. There is nothing new about this idea. Martin Luther King Jr.'s colleagues marched in jacket and tie, so that the people watching TV could identify with them.

    I've heard it said that liberals need to "stop hugging trees and start kicking ass".  I couldn't agree more. If that means cutting our hair, putting on ties, and talking tough, so be it. We could do worse than make fighting for justice seem macho and cool.

Diaries

Advertise Blogads