• We have to reframe the argument and show a set of values as well as a reflection of poll numbers. Correctly done, this could help us define both the  abuses of  the Adninbstration and its allies and the Democrats vision for the future for 2006. This is the most practical goal in this fight, becuase this nominee will have to face questions but will be very difficult to block; he is certainly no worth losing the filibuster over.

    Suggestions:

    Don't fight about the "Presidents Nominee", fight about "America's Highest Court".

    As long as the frame emphasizes the "President's Nominee" and his or her "right to an up-or-down vote", Bush has implied ownership of the issue and the opposition is at a disadvantage.  However, a frame that emphasizes America's Highest Court puts ownership where it belongs: the American people.
    If we are talking about America's highest court, it flows logically that a member of that court should be acceptable to at least 60% of the American people, and at least 60 of their 100 Senators.

    Don't fight about abortion, fight about the Abuse of Executive Power.

    While poll numbers show that Bush's stance on abortion is unpopular, we will never win this on an issue that raises such passions among the conservative base and makes most of our own base justifiably uncomfortable.  Many of those against making abortion illegal are also for decreasing the numbers of abortions performed, particularly through improved education and economic conditions for women.

    We should argue that a America's Highest Court should not act to reinforce the secret, unaccountable government of Bush and his Congressional allies by pressing the nominee on the current abuse of executive power.

    The nominee should be questioned on whether the court should continue to allow the Administration the secrecy that put electoral strategy over national security, gave us energy policy written by oil companies, health care policy written by the pharmaceutical industry, and foreign policy lies that have resulted in an unending, incompetently planned war against the wrong enemy.

    In contrast we should stress, both in this fight and in 2006, that an effective government is conducted in the open to give voters control over their own lives and hold leaders accountable. It gives us energy policy that benefits the customers, health care that benefits the patients and foreign policy that protects us from real threats and seeks victories over real enemies.

  • comment on a post Supreme Court Open Thread over 8 years ago
    To the Nominee:

    What limits, if any, do you see to Executive Privilege?

    Please suggest follow-ups.

  • I never claimed literacy won the Revolution; I pointed out what many historians have demonstrated: that the average American citizen was better educated that his or her European counterpart, and that two of the most important leaders of the revolution were well aware of this.

    However, I'm less interested in debating how the Revolution was won than figuring out how the next election will be, particularly if those involved are willing to say what you have about the American voter:

    "Normal citizenry are hopelessly stupid. The founding fathers KNEW the normal citizen were stupid....

    ....The average citizen is an ignorant retard that does not understand the intricacies of politics and policy."

    You mention in your response:

    "To present day...Americans are intellectually lazy and prefer to be spoon-fed what to think and believe by public figures. 90% of the voting public doesn't follow politics but perhaps 30 days prior to a major election. Most don't read blogs if they even know what a blog is. The rest don't care."

    You had better hope so, because when the public that we, as Democrats, are trying to give a better deal, read opinions like this, they won't stay online long enough to learn about the issues.  

    "Vote Democratic, you bunch of idiots" is not a winning slogan.

  • This is the first time I've replied in anger to anything I've read at here but when I see statements like this:

    "Normal citizenry are hopelessly stupid. The founding fathers KNEW the normal citizen were stupid. Which is why they passed over a true democracy and advocated a representative government which favors more educated and upper-class citizenry in the halls of power who hopefully would have advanced beyond basic neanderthal thuggery."

    I just have to respond.

    First there is a difference between stupidity and ignorance.

    You, for example, are smart enough to write a vicious post and get it to an audience. I understand that biting pieces like that make some people feel good about themselves; maybe you need to vent.  Anyway, we all go to read an articulate, if insulting, piece of prose

    However, your ignorance of history, politics and image comes through at the same time.

    Let's start with history. If you look at the American Revolution and study the correspondence of the time, you will find that the average American was far better educated than his or her counterpart in Europe.

    Further, you will find that the Founding Fathers, particularly the ones actually fighting the war, depended on this education in order to defeat the vastly more professional English and Hessian troops they faced.  The Continental Army was among the most literate armies in the world.  Washington and Thomas Paine were well aware of this when Paine published "The American Crisis" which was subsequently distributed to as many soldiers and civilian supporters of the Revolution as possible and used as a rallying point.

    As to "passing over a true democracy", that was both a necessary political compromise to keep the new country together and a matter of practicality; they was no high-speed communication or transportation network around to allow referenda on pressing issues.  

    On to politics:  Insulting the voters is a pretty bad way of winning elections.  There are vested interests in this country that want to keep the American people uninformed about current affairs that way.  The corporate giants who own our media outlets prefer an entertained and docile population to one that will threaten their profits.  Try educating the voters; it's more work than calling them stupid but ultimately more rewarding.

    Finally, PR: You are doing a disservice to the candidate you support by attacking the people she will need to win.  Learn better or go work for the other party.

  • comment on a post The Daily Pulse: Weekend Roundup over 8 years ago
    I was impressed by the following quote from

    "Religion not a tool for poor politics":

    "The media won't let me be a Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant Christian if they perceive my "morality" goes beyond the anorexic boundaries of abortion, same sex partnership and displaying the Ten Commandments. When I insist that the lives of the babies who were birthed are as important as the ones waiting to be born, the media and the theocrats snatch my Christianity away and dump me in the garbage can of "left-leaning, commie-pinko liberalism."

    I added the emphasis above.  For anyone who really cares about a "culture of life" and the safety of our children, read the following and urge you representative to support Rep. Louise Slaughter's
    efforts to do something about it.  It should make your blood boil.

    http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/071405HA.shtml

    Excerpt:

        Unborn Babies Soaked in Chemicals, Survey Finds
        By Maggie Fox
        Reuters

        Thursday 14 July 2005

        Washington - Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides, according to a report to be released Thursday.

        Although the effects on the babies are not clear, the survey prompted several members of Congress to press for legislation that would strengthen controls on chemicals in the environment.

        The report by the Environmental Working Group is based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical cord blood taken by the American Red Cross. They found an average of 287 contaminants in the blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA.

        "These 10 newborn babies ... were born polluted," said New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, who planned to publicize the findings at a news conference Thursday.

        "If ever we had proof that our nation's pollution laws aren't working, it's reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not yet lived outside the womb," Slaughter, a Democrat, said.

        Cord blood reflects what the mother passes to the baby through the placenta.

        "Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests," the report said.

     

  • There is no question that Bush and his allies are corrupt, but I think we need a more expansive frame than "corruption" for a couple of reasons:

    1) We need to attract as many voters to the table as possible. Keeping the argument to "corruption" may cause Republican voters to circle their wagons and reinforce their support for Bush and his allies.

    There is precedent for this: many Democrats, myself included, were so infuriated after 2000 that we took every opportunity to insult Bush supporters for stealing the election.  This caused many people who were on the fence about his subsequent performance to stay with him.

    What we didn't so, and should have done, was point out every instance that he broke a promise to his own supporters.

    Our frame for the Republican leadership must include betrayal, because they have consistently broken promises made to their own supports.

    2) The idea of "Hidden, Secret Government" should also be part of the argument. Secret government enables both incompetence and corruption because no one takes personal responsibility (a major Republican theme) for anything.

    The theme that will cover this all, I think is "Effective vs. Defective Government".  It is an umbrella that covers all the abuses we've seen, and allows us to offer a solution:

    Defective Government is hidden from the voters; they have idea how the rules that affect their lives are made.

    Effective Government makes decisions in the open, so voters know what they are getting.  With effective government, you get health policy made for patients, energy policy made for consumers, and foreign policy made to actually protect US citizens.

    Defective Government allows no discussion and treats questions as attacks.

    Effective Government takes "advice and consent" seriously, making sure that members of America's highest court are acceptable to the highest numbers of Americans.  It listens to top intelligence and foreign policy experts to make sure that defense policy is directed against enemies that actually attacked us.  

    Defective Government takes no responsibility. No one will admits to mistakes, no one is punished for wrongdoing.

    Effective Government shows who makes decisions and how they are made; national security and executive privilege are used to protect American citizens, not corporate profits.

    Defective government only serves insiders, and insiders will eventually betray everyone else.

    Effective government includes as many as possible, so that policies work for as many as possible.

  • comment on a post Montana, Idaho, Utah... over 8 years ago
    The controversy around Howard Dean seem to be less about his ideology than about his tactics.  We are not goping to loose members of the Democratic Party because of Dean's stance on issues.  

    The question is: can he deliver?  It hink the answers is going to be yes.  Expanding the small doner base is both the right thing to do and the only practical strategy for revitalizing and  expanding the Democratic party because:

    1) We will never have access to large corporate doners again.  Corporate America responds to two things:  Bribery and Blackmail.  When the Democrats were in the majoreity, they were able to threaten Corporate America into supporting them because they controlled all investigation, regulation and tax matters.  They don't have that option now.

    The Republicans have taken a different approach and bribed their supporters with promises of deregulation, and tax breaks, and, worst of all,  tort deform (it reforms nothing).  Again, this option is unavailable to Democrats, becuse they can't offer better bribes, and shouldn't even try.

    1. The new campaign finance laws make small donors the best place to go for now support.  In addtion, the activist base of the democratic party  has now become a major source of funding, and alienating it would guarantee defeat.

    2. The goal end goal is commitment;  money is a tool. When you rely on small donors, you get  commitment by accepting money; when you rely on large doners, you get ist by spending money.

    A thousand small donors are likely to turn out to volunteer and vote just by virtue of having invested in the campaign.  Ten huge donors will vote for their candidate anyway; their money has to be spent to attract other voters.  

    4) Finally, and most importantly, developing a large small donor base makes Democratic claims to be alternative to the Republicans legitimate.  Democrates are about expanded prosperity and real justice; they should court those who need these things.

  • on a comment on Montana, Idaho, Utah... over 8 years ago

    While I am a Dean supporter and think that he is taking the party in the right direction, I agree on this.  

    The real question is: Which party will actually reduce the number of abortions?  (This is raised and addressed very well by Jim Wallis in his book "God's Politics, Why the Right Gets is t Wrong and the Left Doesnt; Get It")

    The abortion rate was down during the Clinton years, primarily because those more likely to have them were better off.  

    Futher, if Bush and his Congressional allies really want to protect the unborn, they had better get on this NOW:

    Unborn Babies Soaked in Chemicals, Survey Finds
    http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/071405HA.shtml

    Excerpt:

    Thursday 14 July 2005

        Washington - Unborn U.S. babies are soaking in a stew of chemicals, including mercury, gasoline byproducts and pesticides, according to a report to be released Thursday.

        Although the effects on the babies are not clear, the survey prompted several members of Congress to press for legislation that would strengthen controls on chemicals in the environment.

        The report by the Environmental Working Group is based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical cord blood taken by the American Red Cross. They found an average of 287 contaminants in the blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and the Teflon chemical PFOA.

        "These 10 newborn babies ... were born polluted," said New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, who planned to publicize the findings at a news conference Thursday.

        "If ever we had proof that our nation's pollution laws aren't working, it's reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not yet lived outside the womb," Slaughter, a Democrat, said.

    End of Exerpt

    Republican emphasis on criminalizinbg a procedure without adressing the despation that makes peolple consider it is part of their pattern of talking the talk without walking the walk.  

    You can't judge policy by laws passed, only by results achieved.  This is true of lowering the  abortion rate, improving school achievment (No Child Left Behind sure sounds good, but where's the money) protecting the envirnment (note the Orwellian Clear Skies Initiative, which protects us from industrial pollutants by _increasing) the amount of poison we breath), or defense (London).

    Likewise, we can't just complain without offering our alternatives and allowing the same accountability that we demand.

  • comment on a post Coin-Gate ACTION ALERT: 3 Reforms to Clean Up Ohio over 8 years ago
    The title asks its all.
  • comment on a post Are Generic Congressional Ballot Polls Accurate? over 8 years ago
    Polls like this need to be presented to our activist/donor base as both victories and incentives to keep at it.

    Most important, we need give our activists something to do and teach them how to do it.  The simple mechanics of precinct analysis, canvassing, house parties, and seeking small contributions have to become second nature to core groups in every Congressional district (there's only 435 distritcs in the country, this is doable).

    We also need to grab as many victories as possible along the way.  Whenever we hear about local progressive initiatives, we should spread the word and generate support for the local activists (Note: we should never, however, put ourselves in the position of dictating to the local activists.  It generates resentment among our allies and gives ammunition to our opponents.)  Nothing builds confidence like a series of wins.

  • on a comment on Dean: 'I Agree with George Bush' over 8 years ago
    Please forgive the typos above.
  • on a comment on Dean: 'I Agree with George Bush' over 8 years ago
    "For my money, the real story is still the Downing Street Memos & the deliberate deceit they reveal. The outing of Plame was fallout from the larger scandal of deceiving America into war.  It was, if you will, part of the coverup."

    Downing Street has to be kept on the radar, but we need to put it, Rove, and the rest of the deception, incompetence and corruption shown by this adminstration and its allies under one unifying umbrella.

    I think "Defective, Secret Government" works as a frame for several reasons:

         1.  It makes responibility and accountabily, rather than ideology, the center of the argument.  Pricipled conservatives don't support criminal activety and security leaks any more than pricipled liberals.

         2.  It allows us to make the connection between the closed-door culture of Bush & Co. and:
             A. Failed policies made by elite indsiders (health care, energy, social security)
             B. Corrupt hidden deals in Congress (DeLay, Cunningham, et cetera)

         3. "Defective" and "Secret" are tied together in the frame, much like "Liberal", "Elite" and "Media" were so effectively tied together by Gingrich.  It also implies it's own solution and gives us something to be for: "Effective, Open Government".

  • on a comment on Open Thread and Straw Poll over 8 years ago
    I should have put this better.  I think any governor, including Warner, would be a better candidate that any Senator, not because people will have the least knowlege about their stands, but because Governors have an easier time defining their stances, and Senators are too easily defined by their opponents.

    Congress requires legitimate compromises and switches that are, unfortunately, very easy to distort.

    For example, A member of Congress might initially  vote for an education program, then later vot against it after an offensive amandmet has been added to the original bill.  All the opponent has to say at that point is: "Senator __ voted against education" and the candiate is immediately on the defensive.  If the Senator in question tries to point out that ther wer two votes, he or she will then be accused of flip-flopping.

    The most pricipled member of Congress occasionally has no procedural choice but to vote for something that seems to go against everything they believe in.  If you go through the voting record's of Members of Congress, you can make the most right-wing look like communists and the most left wing member look like rabid conservative.

  • on a comment on Open Thread and Straw Poll over 8 years ago
    In "The Revolution Will not be Televised", Joe Trippi's book on the Dean campaign and its implication for politics in the future, Trippi's criteria for picking a candidat is described as "The most progressive one who has a chance of winning."

    No democratic candidate at this point will win the Presidency by becoming "Repulican Lite".  Denocrats need to offer a contrast ands progressives are now the most important part of the Democratic base.

    However, a lot of things can still cause a progressive candidate to loose, and one of those things is runing from a position that will automatically out himn or her on the defensive. Running from the Senate does this.

    The more progressives prove their organizaztional and fundraising strenght, the more all the candidates for the nomination will move toward progressive stances.  This is not just talk: Bush in both his politcs and policy has moved much closer to the Religious Right as President than he did as Governor of Texas because of their strength in the Republican Party.

    The goal is to get progressive policies enacted, if this requires a "conversion" by a moderate, attractive candidate, it's still a win.

  • on a comment on Open Thread and Straw Poll over 8 years ago
    It's not all that matter, but it's the most importatn thing right now.  

    Midterms are all about organization and turnout.  To win this one, we need to do a couple of things:

    1.  Maintain the enthusiasm of the activists who suppported the Democrats in 2004.  Give them something, anything to do, including:  
        a. supporting the Democrats in the 2005 Governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey
        b. registering voters.
        C. learning the basics of online and offline activism, from experts in both fields.  We need to have the entire range of skills, from bloggin to walking precincts for candidate.

    1.  Continue to combine our voluteer base and small donor base into a hard-core group of supporters.

    2.  Find unifying frames for what Democrats support and what we suppose.  These frames must be narratives, not litanies, as James Carville would say.  I've posted before that the Lakoff-suggested theme of "Effective Government" works for us particularly if open and honest goverment is emphasized as the key to effective and accountable government.  In contrast, the various examples of Adminstration and Congressional Republican incompetence and corruption can all be tied to their current style of governming as secretly as possible.

Diaries

Advertise Blogads