• on a comment on The Issue Of Issues over 9 years ago
    I think you convey it and get your repositioning on the radar by picking an enemy and crushing him (or her).  

    Identity by contrast works for large audiences.  The enemies can include vauge, generic straw men, but they should also real people, like Tom DeLay (Clinton did this t=with Gingrich).

    We all know the straw men they attack:  it's how thy have defined us, with the code words they use.  Activist judges.  Media elites.  Left wing liberals.  Etc.

    We need to spread some vtriol of our own, but also hit some real targets.  Girgrich got himself on the map by targeting John Tower.  One good Texan target deserves another, I'd say.

  • on a comment on The Issue Of Issues over 9 years ago
    You're right on the substance, but I don't agree with the wrapping paper.

    We are not trusted by enough people, that is clear.  But I don't think we can win with "trust" as the vague but pervasive keyword.  Maybe Carter did it, but that was post-Nixon (if W's second term turns Nixonian in its level of scandal, than I of course reserve the right to flip-flop. . . er,I mean, to "revise and extend my remarks!").

    Only once in my life have I trusted someone who explicitly said "trust me."  Turns out I got suckered  ("Baby, why'd you lie to me like that?!!").

    Trust, I think, has to be subtext, not foreground.

    I think the above point about backbone is part of the way you package and convey trust, and I think another part lies in how you demonsrate that the other side is untrustworty: good old fashioned attack and smear.  Fortunately, we can do this easily with all the ammunition they're handing us.  We just have to have the stomach for it.

  • on a comment on The Issue Of Issues over 9 years ago
    I agree, this is Lakoff all over again.

    The reason I'd like to take a stab at "growth" is also because we core blue states are the ones feuling the growth of the nation's economy.  We are the core of the American entrepreneurial spirit.  And the the DeLay Republican party rebuilding the robvber barron coalition without shame, though with a fundamentalist/populist/know-nothing veneer, they've given us some room to outflank them on through our more genuinely populist, reformist, grass roots values.  But this is showing, perhaps, my biases as a small business owner and employer.

    The exurbs are filling up with new money.  To express it in crass terms, the exurbs are filling with people one generation removed from the trailer park.  They will become bobos later.  But we can fight against Republican strength there with a growth-oriented message, in the way I've described, IMHO.

  • comment on a post The Issue Of Issues over 9 years ago
    With apologies, allow me to repost (with minor edits) a comment I've written in another of your threads, as it seems relevant to your question about vague themes:

    I think the children gap is one we can close on a bit through the language of "growth."

    As a small business owner, I strongly believe that we need to engage small businesses, who see large businesses with deeper pockets buy the lawyers, lobbyists and regulatory influence they need to keep main street (and innovation) down.  This is consistent with the development of an emerging urban/suburban/exurban coalition strategy.  It also follows the lessons of Montana.

    The common theme here is growth:  growth for children and families, growth in our international competitive edge through education, growth in innovation and small business, and similar themes we can weave into the longstanding frontier mythology of the West.  (This could even help in a prairie state or two, given the regions old progressive roots, which srurvive still, a d differentiate prairie conservatives from southern ones)

    All of those seem like winning, coalition building themes to me, along with our traditional focus on work, civil rights (values), and environmental protection.  We need to steal only one theme from the other side to make this complete (and we can do it with credibility):  responsible, limited government (including fiscal and regulatory responsibility to ensure a level playing field).

    That, anyway, is what I've been thinking about as a way to leverage what you've described as the McGovern coalition.

  • I think the children/growth gap is one we can close on a bit.

    As a small business owner, I strongly agree that we need to engage small businesses, who see large businesses with deeper pockets buy the lawyers, lobbyists and regulatory influence they need to keep main street (and innovation) down.

    The common theme here is growth:  growth for children and families, growth in our international competitive edge through education, growth in innovation and small business, and similar themes we can weave into the longstanding frontier mythology of the West.  (This could even help in a prairie state or two, given the regions old progressive roots, which srurvive still, a d differentiate prairie conservatives from southern ones)

    All of those seem like winning, coalition building themes to me, along with our traditional focus on work, civil rights (values), and environmental protection.  We need to steal only one theme from the other side to make this complete (and we can do it with credibility):  responsible, limited government (including fiscal and regulatory responsibility to ensure a level playing field).

  • comment on a post Ding! over 9 years ago
    we had oodles of diaries on this site and others, abuot distilling our message to core principles.

    But we have no agreement, and no mechanism in place for crating our core message of rebranding the party.

    That's what we want our new DNC head to do, I guess, but there's no sense having these meetings unless the core message is in place.

    Other than that, the strategy of empowering and supporting the nighbors and house party people all across the country seems pretty obvious, and essential, and not just during the so-called "election cycle."

  • on a comment on New Partisan Index Chart over 9 years ago
    I live in Alexandria, VA, and the trends that include the expansion of the DC metro "mindshare" geography are real, and they account for Warner's ability to eke out a statewide win (that and his pro gun, pro NASCAR identity).  Warner was a self made millionaire out of the Northern Virginia tech corridor.

    The Raleigh/Durham area of NC shows a similar dynamic, and that's what you've been picking up in the NC county numbers.  There are more knowlege workers, government types and urban populations in that area.  

    Heck, even Lincoln, Nebraska has elected Dems in the past and still supors relative moderate Republicans, and is the least "red" part of what may arguably be the most secure red state (Nebraska also still produces mavericks like Chuck Hagel, and, formerly, Bob Kerrey).  

    I used to live in Lincoln:  it's a college town and a university town.  Now, it's not Austin, Teaxas by any means, but when you mix state government towns and college towns, you get more knowledge workers and at least a more purple shade, even in a red state.  That's where we have to concentrate at the local level in any pickup states we want to add to the coalition.

    It absolutley evades me how we can't get small business on our side.  Nevermind the U. S. Chamber of Commerce:  they are a conservative activist group.  But many small businesspeople like myself were quite attracted as employers to Kerry's health care ideas, and we don't like big national deficits (we know how to manage cash flow to survive).

    I think progressives in otherwise red states should find and build common cause with small to medium size businesspeople.  As businesspeople, we need a skilled and educated workforce, and we like fiscal responsibility.  But to do that, we on the left have to learn to shed what often amounts to our reflexive disdain for business and for businesspeople.  

    The President talks about small businesspeople being the backbone of the economy, but his policies prop up anti-competitive interests of bug business, who have the means to use lawsuits, lobbyists and regulatory agencies to create barriers to entry for those of us who want to innovate and grow.  

    This is a President, and a Republican Party, that talks a decent game on small business, but which sells us out and sides with the big boys against us every time.  A lot of us would like to offer good health benefits, but many of us can't, because we can't afford it, and many of us have not been hiring people because the costs of benefits are outrageous, uncontrollable, crippling and ever-expanding.

  • on a comment on New Partisan Index Chart over 9 years ago
    I get your point, but then again, if southern dems can't make any headway on the local level, getting organized and building local credibility, how can the Northeast, West and industrial north-central belt do any better?  These folks don't know how to craft a message or nurture a movement on your turf.  In Colorado, dem gains and momentum begin with change at the local level.  That provides s spark for the national party to blow on.  

    I live in Virginia, which could tip to the blue side based on the demographic growth and spread of the northern section outside of DC.  That's where the jobs are, and not in Virginia Beach.  If southern states can foster economic growth in teir own urban areas, then there will be something for dems to work with.  You can't make fire if you don't have a couple of sticks to rub together.  

    This dynamic of greater urban growth is what is beginning to tip Colorado - that, and a population growing tired of the American Taliban based in Colorado Springs.  I'm rating your comment a 4 because I think it makes a contribution, but Obviously, I'm playing devil's advocate against that position and proposing a challenge.

  • on a comment on Two Quick Notes over 9 years ago
    overlooking the valley.  They're looking out over a bunch of cows.

    The younger bull says to the older bull, "Hey, let's run down into the valley and fuck one of those cows!"

    The older bull looks at him, draws a cool breath, and replies, "No.  Let's walk down into the valley. . . and fuck 'em all."

    Two reasons I tell that story.

    First, you can use the occasional non-FCC approved word without insulting the people around you.  Ad hominen epithets are not the way to win friends and influence people.

    Second, (cue the neck roll and waving finger), "You don't know me!"

    Don't assume I'm not angry, and don't assume I'm not doing my part to push the party toward effective action.

    I just know the difference between fucking over one republican or fucking all of them over for one election, by building a widespread, sustainable movement.  

    So lighten up, and have a delightful weekend.

    Cheers!

  • I'm not sure it's just a matter of semantics.  A narrative about states does nothing to build a wider coalition.

    Narratives about people, their needs, their hopes and their struggles are much more unifying and much more able to boraden our base of support.  The great political communicators did this well, including Clinton and Reagan.  Edwards tried to do it with some success, though his candidacy had other problems.

    I'm not trying to play clever word games, but I think most of us would acknowledge that frames matter and lead to different images in the listener's mind.

  • comment on a post The Joy of Killing over 9 years ago
    In fact, I don't really see much (any?) daylight between what you're saying and what I'm trying to say.  But that may just be due to my failure to convey my thoughts clearly enough.

    I certainly don't think that a plan is sufficient.  In fact, in itself, a plan is useless, except if it is delivered in a way, and as part of a more broad tapestry, that illustrates character.  

    But the plan itself is not very meaningful.  We already know we have them beat on policy.  That is not our problem.  And that in fact is the essence of my entire argument:  plans don't give us national security credibility.  We have to be willing to communicate - genuinely - in a way that shows that we understand that "evil" exists and that human nature is far from wholly benign and that we have to be nasty and violent to defend ourselves.

    Cheers!

  • comment on a post The Joy of Killing over 9 years ago
    Why should people vote Dem on national security?

    1. We'll build an effective anti-terror "posse" (I like that language better than talking about "allainces" and "summits, which sound wimpy)

    2. We'll shore up the holes in our domestic defenses without lining the pockets of wartime profiteering corporation like Haliburten, and without detroying the rights of free citizens at home.

    3. We'll use more targeted approaches to going after terrorist cells with force anywhere in the world, wherever we choose, without host-state permission if necessary.  But we will pressure host states with means other than invasion to cooperate and root out their own terrorist cells.  (Trial Balloon:  We'll help create a Global Antiterror Alliance or GATA, to function as a new security allaince along the lines of NATO.  Member states will gain economic development resources if needed and benefit from friendly U. S. trade policies, and states that refuse to cooperate will be subject to GATA sanctions).

    4. If the invasion of another country is necessary at some point, the Democrats will understand what is at stake, weigh all the options beforehand and choose the right approach.  The Democrats are better at nation building than the Republicans are, and unless we want to be stuck in quagmire after quagmire, that matters.  The Dems are better because we'll use American power - all elements of American power - more effectively to produce the actual results we need.

    That's a start at some rough ideas.  But I think we gain just as much if not more headway on the credibility issues through derivative issues and symbolic ones.  We need to pay attention to  candidate and spokesperson tone, character, biography, repetition of message and willingness to piss someone off some of the right people .  As Noam Shreiber (if memory serves) points out today at TNR:  

    What could Kerry have accomplished by harshly criticizing France's kneejerk obstructionism during the runupp to the war, by pointing out the later discoverd corruption of the UN and of France and Russia by Hussein, and by staying harsh and rough on Saudi Arabia?  If he had, he might have been more credible.  Touting his Vietnam record was useful in small doses but not relevent to the current challnges we face, given the ability of the other side to blunt or netralize his war record by playing up his anti-war record (albeit with many lies)>

  • comment on a post Two Quick Notes over 9 years ago
    I found that whoe "pussy" diary offensive and more than pointless.  It was an adolscent screed signifying nothing.
  • Then let's talk about people.  Not states.  States are abstractions that don't matter.

    If we do right by enough people, we'll win enough states.  First things first.

  • comment on a post Shaken To My Core over 9 years ago
    The recent diary about Brad Carson's TNR piece prompted me quickly to pen the following.

    It respresents a statement of values for liberals in the modern world, a kind of civil "credo."  It does not present a litany of policy positions, but it can serve to reframe and introduce the policy positions we all generally support.  Even more, it responds to something Coburn writes about in his piece.  It presents a defense of, and in fact presents the case for the necessity of, liberalism in the modern world.  

    I don't pretend to think that this statement of belief is well crafted or in any way final.  But I submit it as a draft for Kos Community review and for comment, editing, additions, etc.  I am taking our conversation in something of a new direction that represents a continuiation of much of what we have been concluding together these past two weeks.

                                         The Conscience of a Liberal

    We believe that all men and women are created equal, and are endowed by the Creator by the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    We believe that a free society supported by a responsible government will respect the privacy and liberty of its citizens.  

    We believe in work and fair representation for all citizens in the political process.

    We believe that America should be a beacon of freedom around the world, principally through our example and our conduct, and not through the exercise our military might.  The use of force may often be necessary to defend our security and our freedoms, or to support our allies, but we recognize that we cannot convert the members of the world to our values through force of violence.

    We abhor the culture of irresponsibility, for responsible citizenship is the heart of liberalism.  Government exists to enforce necessary standards of conduct to support a civil society, but does not exist to enforce personal morality.  

    We believe that any faith genuinely expressed must come through personal conviction, and not through state coercion.  The endorsement of a particular religious sensibility by government itself undermines and corrupts both our thriving religious institutions and our government.

    We believe that a free society is founded on an informed and educated citizenry.  We support and believe in public education as a public good, and believe that government plays a healthy role in supporting scientific inquiry and research that is guided by the researchers themselves.  The wonders of the modern world, from the many consumer goods we enjoy to the marvelous medical treatments that save and extend our lives, all rest on a public value and promotion of free and independent thinking, and a tolerance for divergent views and lifestyle choices.  Indeed, the support of the entrepreneurial spirit demands that divergence of thought be valued, respected and celebrated.

    We further believe that public education and the support of public health, especially for children, together represent our core values.  We are optimistic about our future and the future of our ideals for all humankind, and accordingly, we pledge to protect and support the health and growth of our citizenry, especially our children and our families, however those families may be constructed.  We believe that civil marriage should involve the lifetime commitment of two adults to love and support each other until death.

    This is America.  These are our beliefs.  We live in a time of great fear and dislocation, as technological transformation creates economic and social instability across the globe.  During such frightening times, it is tempting for people around the world to seek the familiar comforts of absolutes and fixed world orders represented by fundamentalist and totalitarian ideologies of any kind.  The modern world is merely the next step in the evolution of human freedom, and we as Americans must not be afraid.  We are the inheritors of a noble legacy and of a great pioneering spirit.  

    The conscience of a free citizen of America demands that we support the underpinnings of freedom even when they seem inconvenient or frightening to us.  For in the end, it is with our ideals and with firmness of purpose that we will create a world, maybe generations hence, where freedom is loved and defended among all the peoples of the earth.

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