If you feel slightly amazed that you now find yourself standing on the far left wing of your own party, alongside 80-90% of the rest of the Democratic Party, in opposition to the unilateral occupation in Iraq, and to government intrusion of a woman's body (otherwise framed as "antiwar and pro-abortion"), join the club.
The issue for years has been that the liberals on the coasts have taken over the party and they have. I have no numbers, but I would daresay that moderates far outnumber liberals in the Party, they just have no voice in the leadership or media.
Moderate Democrats are progressive, but not liberal. The mistake liberals make is in labeling. It is true that more people than not are pro-choice, but they are pro-choice for VERY different reasons. The content of the pro-choice value is not uniform. If we considered many other positions that Democrats seem to jointly hold, we'd see that labels may be similar, but intent and content of terms or phrases differ significantly.
If you look at the Black community, the reason why republicans are not getting more Blacks is because of the historical context of overt racism. However, all things being equal, Blacks resonate quite well with a lot of conservative values. The only reason why the Democratic Party has the Black community in its pocket is not because Blacks are liberal, it is because the Party put its neck on the line for Black civil rights. That's the link.
I guess my point is that if you dice up coalitions in the Democratic Party, Blacks, Latinos, Unions, the hook is not liberalism, it is more political convenience. I think it would be a mistake to try to frame the party as a party of liberals, because moderates either leave or become inactive (I see literally dozens and dozens of these inactives, who are pro-life Catholics).
My take on what's been going on in lib blogsphere is that the left has felt marginalized and is trying to re-assert itself. Fair enough.
I think the frame should be more along the lines that Democrats believe in people, we believe that with help, from gov't or neighbors, people can rise and live the promise of the American dream. It seems that the bedrock of the Democratic party is in "being my brother's keeper." That in itself is the heart of progressiveness--"corporate" or "communal" responsibility. We fight for the environment because we are not simply out for our individual gain: we fight for civil rights because if you are not free we are not all free, etc.
I just feel there has to be a little more parsing out of the terms, i.e, liberal is not synonymous with progressive, and moderates and conservatives can also be progressive. And that the Democratic Party should not be framed as the liberal party, but as a coalition of progressives because more Democrats than not are moderate. IMVHO
Spot on. I'm in Southern MD and it is the South. Someone on kos had suggested that the DNC use MD as a test case. If you look on the MD county map, you would a really dark blue concentration representing the DC Baltimore corridor and then it's red all over.
I'm in Charles county, an hour south of DC. Approx 30% of the county works in DC, but it's not a suburb it is it's own region, very military, rural, guns. I think Democrats out number Republicans, but to give you a flavor of the landscape, Kerry won the county by 2 % in a state he carried by 13%. The counties further south of us and to the east, which are all considered Southern Maryland, are solid red counties: St Mary's and Calvert.
The county seems very southern in the sense that there is a high AA population, 27%, people here have very deep roots, there are confederacy issues down here and confederate gear is, though not extremely popular, has a definite presence here. Black and White folks have lived together here for a long time and there is a slightly higher interracial couple rate than in the country. The point is that this part of MD can be called "the south." BTW, Steny Hoyer, chief of the Blue Dogs is the House Rep. (Hoyer is something of a celebrity among conserv. Dems, he has been known to campaign in red states for Dem candidates).
One thing I note is that people are more pragmatic here than partisan on first blush. I haven't really gotten plugged into the politics. Steny Hoyer has made a living fighting for the military bases here which are the life of the community and everyone loves him for it and keeps voting him back to DC.
Also, this area of southern MD is tied to King George's county in VA. Very many residents of that county in VA don't have easy access to either Richmond or Northern Virginia, so many of them shop and work in Southern MD, they also send their kids to schools here and the Catholics go to Southern MD Catholic churches.
My point is Southern MD would be a great testing region for the DNC as far as testing southern appeal. On the flip side, as much as I hate to say it, MD democrats need to begin to move out to the outer counties and establish the party there. It just seems to much to depend solely on one region. I honestly believe that if the MD GOP had its act together, they could make MD a swing state. The other point then is that one pratical effect of "writing off the south" (I know no one is advocating that literally) is that we lose large swaths of Blue states and then we are even more dependent on smaller areas.
I remember pre-election, fondly scouring the liberal blogpshere for enlightning articles, insights,stats and the like. As a Kerry supporter, I've greatly soured on the biggies on lib blog, not that it means anything to anyone. but the Kerry bashing has gone beyond the pale.
I was a Kerry supporter right from the beginning. I saw how the media hated him and doomed him from the start, the media loved Dean-he was a rock star, the media loved the Clark story as the guy who would rescue the Democrats and the Clintonistas put their weight behind Clark.
I was there when we got news that Kerry was going mortgage his house to finance his campaign. I saw multiple defections and I saw people swear they would go down with the ship. There's a reason Kerry won Iowa, and I would hope lib blogsphere would at least keep it in mind, people love Kerry and the more of him they see, the more they love. We Kerry supporters got insulted time and time again, the media never did and still won't acknowledge that people are passionate about this guy, they spin the ABB theory left, right and center. I suspect the Edwards people feel the same.
It is not true that Kerry/Edwards did not understand the power of netroots. To start with, Edwards supporters were the first to use Meetup, not Deanies as is CW. Of all the candidates, I don't know who is more internet savvy that Elizabeth Edwards. I was part of the very early, start up Kerry blog and forum team, (I was a moderator on that forum for a while) and I know for a fact that the online component was very important to the campaign and actually, Theresa, knew who quite a few of us were, because she frequented the Kerry blog.
Many online organizing groups were formed early on and I got my share of face time and phone time and email time with people in the campaign, when I needed to. Of course as the primaries progressed and the general election started, access was all but impossible, but c'est la vie. Like Kerry said on Letterman, they basically had to throw a multi-million dollar corporation together on the fly. We have to remember that Bush had is structure in place by 2001, Kerry had to get up to speed in weeks.
Let's not overstate what the internet can do. I'm a believer in netroots, but this is the first persidential campaign in which the internet was fully utilized and so there are going to be growing pains. It'll take a while to understand how to fully integrate netroots into a campaign. That is to be expected. (For instance, the study that showed that in the last weeks K/E did more fundraising and BC did more info and GOTV stuff, that's a great lesson that I don't think we can fault the K/E team for missing.) In the long run, the internet did not bring us our extra 100,000 votes in Cleveland, or 13,000 in Iowa and New Mexica, only tradition hand to hand could have done that.
We have to remember that the internet, for all it did for Dean, did not deliver for him. People will also say the same for the general election, that we didn't deliver. It is up to the liberal netroots to argue our case and increase respectability. We can't expect to be treated like royalty, just because we show up. We have to muscle our way in and then tell everyone else to shut the heck up because we have something to say. We have to earn our place and that simply takes time.
The other problem with netroots, is this, we have to recognize that a substantial chunk of our base, including African Americans and Latinos are not internet accesible, fwiw.
I'm not optimistic that we can maintain the unity that we showed during the campaign. And by unity, I'm not saying we all agree on a candidate or DNC chair, but the present vitriol that is slowly being spilled is not healthy. Apparently, this is not as bad as Democrats have done it in the past and I am sure glad I had nothing to do with the party then.
I hope the next primary is heavily contested. I'll be a Kerry supporter then, but I like a good fight. I think, whoever the Democratic nominee is next time, we can kiss 10% of the votes goodbye. I suspect the left will not want a moderate nominee, and the moderates will bolt if there's a far left candidate. If it's Kerry, I suspect, we lose the left. I don't know. But this is the time, in the face of adversity, we could decide to remain a united party or revert to tribalism.
I 100% believe its moral values. I've seen the blogsphere go from moral values to terrorism to across the board to anything, trying to dice up this election.
First of all, there is a distinction to be made between Catholics and non-Catholics. Kerry did quite well with Catholics and regular weekly Catholic mass attendees.
On the fundamentalist Christian front. Not everyone is going to admit or realize the role morality played in their vote. Many are aware that voting against the gay marriage ban stinks of bigotry, and would not openly admit that that issue drove them to the polls. They'd probably say it was terrorism of something else.
The other consideration is that on Christian radio and in Churches, it was the morality message that Bush will preserve the sanctity of marriage that got Bush a further hearing. So the morality message opened the door for Bush to sell his entire package. These people may not say morality was the reason for their vote, but it sure was the root of it.
I think we all know in our gut that that moral issues were huge but we are struggling to accept it because the numbers don't seem to pan out. We have to trust our instincts, numbers are not worth the paper they're on if the interpretation is wrong.
From anecdotal evidence, working among Catholics, I know for a fact that many people, with whom John Kerry agreed on 90% of their positions, who were even pro-choice!! voted for Bush, because they were badgered into single issue or they were told that Kerry was too extreme.
I'm interested in forming a progressive Catholic 527. Anyone know how one goes about doing this. What forms to file, do I need a board? how many people have to be a part of it? Is there a website that can serve as a resource? Are there pitfalls to watch out for? . . . .
He is one heck of a compelling individual. My wife likes him, I like him, and he is John McCain with a sense of humor and likeability.
He also distinguished himself in the Abu Ghraib scandal. He did not tow the party line, but was tough with the principals.
He has also made it clear that if the republicans don't begin to reach out to black voters they are toast. He is one person that could give us problems.
He's from South Carolina, but strikes me as a decent person. He doesn't necessarily scare me, but if he throws his hat in the ring, I wouldn't underestimate him. I would vote for the Democrat, but not against him. If I can say that as a partisan, imagine what non-partisans would say.
but it's not just a matter of the party reaching out to Catholics, it's also a matter of moderate and/or moderate-liberal/marginal Catholics refusing to surrender the church to the reactionaries.
But that's my point--they didn't, for the most part. So in Iowa, 53% of that very Catholic state thumbed their noses at the Catholic Right and all that noise from Bishops. I do know that many moderate Catholics and even conservatives, wished that they could overcome the abortion talk so that they could vote Kerry.
I received emails from moderates and even liberal Catholics who felt alienated from the Democratic party and said they were more than willing to join in if they were not rejected for their pro-life views. If the party opened its arms to them, like it has begun to in this cycle, we can pick off quite a few points in midwest battleground states.
I think I disagree. We are very close to a majority, we just need to add or pad our coaltion and moderate Catholics are it. They are White and fall naturally left of center. Believe it or not, these people are pro-choice and along with liberal Catholics, form a Catholic majority.
I strongly disagree with the characterization that the Republican Party has gotten the "devout" Catholics, by which, most mean, weekly Mass attendess. With all the crap the Bishops pulled and the Catholic Right, Kerry won the Catholic vote in most of the midwest and southwest battleground states!!!! In MI,WI,PA,MN (51-52%) in MO, ground zero for the communion controversy (49%), IA(53%), NM (63%!!!), NV(52%) and all this even though he demonized by the Bishops and the Catholic Right. And BTW, in most of these states, Kerry pulled about 45% of weekly Mass attendees, that is huge. (In NM, it was over 50%). These were devout Catholics too.
Catholics were 27% of the electorate on Nov 2, even though they are only 20% of the general population. That is a reliable active political base and it responded favorably to Kerry and rejected the Right.
OH was the midwest exception (55-45). I think the problem was that OH was under the radar on the values, Catholic issue. The focus in OH was more guns and jobs. But that number can easily be brought in balance with the other midwest battleground states.
Moderate Catholics are pro-choice in a jumpy way. If you don't throw abortion in their faces, they can live with and even support pro-choice. I think the Democratic Party has to moderate it pro-choice delivery and bring it in line with where the country as a whole is.
Moderate Catholics are very concerned with social justice issues, poverty, war and peace, death penalty, and foreign policy. The Democratic Party does not need to do anything to get them back, all it needs to is soften the image of the party as beholded to NARAL and PP (fair or not, that is the perception). I dealt with Catholics a lot this cycle and I heard this time and time again. They feel that the party does not want them because they are not gung ho about abortion and they can't stand the Republicans.
The party does not have to get any more religious, Moderate Catholics like it the way it is sans the "abortion-is-a-good-thing" perception.
I posted this originally in the poll comments, I didn't realize that we had a diary here. Here's my thoughts on Kerry for 08.
I blogged about this at my blog. Of course, I am a die-hard Kerryite.
1) It is obvious from the list that no one will make a good enough candidate. Hillary was supposed to be a lock for 2008, but we know that it would be a joke nationally. Bill Richardson is the best on-paper candidate (domestic, foriegn and executive experience), but he'll get killed with Los Alamos scew ups as Secretary of Energy and who can forget Bryd lecturing him during Senate hearings and telling him his Washington career is over. That's one heck of a commercial.
No one else is viable at all. Vilsak is an unknown quantity. He will have the domestic experience and the outsider status, but these days with Terrorism, the lack of foreign policy will decimate him.
If there are new fresh faces out there, four years is simply not enough to give them the name recognition to go toe to toe with the 2008 Republican challenger. (Remember that Clinton, though a fresh face, was on the party inside track). The Republicans are going to field on heck of a heavy weight, be it McCain or Jeb or Hegel or Guilliani, whoever it is, a start-from-scratch-candidate is not going to work.
2) Kerry is now well known to the electorate. He'll eventually come within 30,000 votes of wining the election. His favorability is high and clearly the nation saw him as presidential. He loss margin in many states was within 5%, NV, IA, NM, OH, FL, etc. Arkansas and North Carolina were 45% for Kerry. Reasonably, if you take the gay ammendments and the single issue abortion votes off the table, Kerry wins quite simply. Remember going into Nov.2, we felt very good about our chances.
My point is that,
a) I agree, the swift boat, flip flop, criticism of Kerry would have no teeth in 2008. Neither would Kerry have to focus on his Vietnam service because he has passed that national security threshold. In 2008 he can focus on his Senate record.
b)Also, if Kerry is eyeing 2008, I suspect he'll beef up his Senate record using his new-found clout.
c) Assuming Bush screws things up so bad, the nation will want someone whom they trust can fix things, Kerry has already made the case for competence and progressive centrism and I think the nation will look kindly at Kerry. if Bush screws things up, people would be less willing to elect another Republican, but would want to know that there's a tough-minded and smart Democrat who can fix things. Only Kerry passes this test.
d) The key to the Democratic coalition building is the moderate Catholic vote. If you remove the issue of abortion, you'll find that most moderate Catholics are left of center. Kerry won the Catholic vote in NM (63%), NV (52%), IA(53%), MI,WI, MN, PA (51%), showing that there is already a natural affinity and that is our Rovian 4 million next time around (All this even with the Bishops handing over the keys to the Church to the RNC). We don't have to give up on pro-choice, because they mostly are pro-choice, we just have to soften the edges of the message.
I think Kerry is the logical choice. I think he is excellent and the party came to love him and respect him during the primary process: whose chest on our side did not swell with pride during all three debates? And by conceeding gracefully and promptly and not playing sore loser, dragging out this thing, he has gained the respect of a nation not willing to re-live the fiasco of 2000.
That's why I say Kerry for President 2008
I'm in Maryland and I hear quite a bit about Warner. He is a compelling candidate and was touted for VP, but again, we have field a heavy weight, especially in foreign affairs and someone who'll need little or no learning curve. The Republicans will have a powerhouse in place.
It just simply is a new world. Chances are that we will get hit again by terrorist in the next four years or there will be a serious attempt and the nation is not going to want to have someone learning on the job.