Re: [NoIraqWar] at least there is one thinking dem
As I pointed out in a post that somehow got lost
in cyberspace, Kerry made two passing references to
Labor issues in the last debate. First, he said we
needed to increase the minimum wage--but never
explained why. Second, he mentioned that 4 million or
so people would lose overtime benefits because of the
Bush plans, but never explained what that meant
First, one has to understand what the Clinton
Administration did on their Labor Department web site
where they showed through graphs how the minimum wage
puts a floor under general wage levels showing that
the drop in the minimum wage after 1971 was followed
by a drop in wages in general (obviously a full
explanation of globalization, etc. goes beyond that,
but it still is not the type of false syllogism so
well worn by the Enterprise Institute).
To understand the "overtime" issue, one needs to
understand the National Labor Relations (Wagner)Act
and how it separates "management" from "labor." The
Bushites want to put more workers into positions where
their employers can say that they are "management"
"salaried" workers--which will deny them overtime.
It is the job of the Labor Movement to educate
its members on these issues and to bring this type of
education to the public in general; but Kerry
obviously did not consider understanding these issues
to be worth going out of his way to explain. He easily
could have brought out the fact that Bush is the most
anti-Labor "president" (in practice) of all time. But,
he wasn't prepared to do that.
There are several things that I can think of off
the top of my head that would go a long way in
promoting education in Labor issues. First, Jobs with
Justice Committee on New Priorities forums have
discussed any number of issues along these lines (one
particularly several years ago was very akin to the
United for a Fair Economy bit on comparisons of the
military budget to any other program for human needs).
The "Working Families e-Activist Network" is another
idea that the AFL-CIO is pushing to bring non-union
members into a relationship with the AFL-CIO. This in
some ways resembles the educational efforts of JwJ,
but takes it to the level of getting people certain
benefits for being members of the network
(http://www.unionvoice.org/). I also would encourage
people to read the Labor Party press and to look at
its web site (http://www.thelaborparty.org/).
Health Care, Social Security, the myth
of the stock market providing everyone with pensions
(401k's for example), Civil Liberties, and the Labor
Law, have all been discussed from a progressive point
I would think that one issue we might want to
push is actually having Howard Dean as the head of
'the Party.' While I don't think the DLC has nothing
interesting to say, their theory is clearly one-sided
and elitist (I.Q. and sophistication seem central to
their idea about who the Dem voters are). We need to
have people like Dean and Kucinich working to turn
around the headlong hurtle toward oblivion. We also
need more people like Bob who recognize the need to
recover Labor's stregnth both theoretically and
practically if we are to call ourselves truly
--- MarilynMKC@... wrote:
> This is Joe Trippi's prescription for saving the Dem. Party. The interestingThe Joe Trippi article is also posted on his website:
> thing is that this is the first time I've actually seen the need to support
> labor's growth as a key ingredient coming from someone like Trippi.
> Bob Lawson
> The Wall Street Journal
> November 30, 2004
> Only the Grassroots Can Save The Democratic Party
> JOE TRIPPI
> The staggering defeat of the Democratic Party and its ever-accelerating death
> spiral weren't obvious from the election results. Two factors masked the
> extent of the party's trouble. Without the innovation of Internet-driven
> small-donor fund-raising and a corresponding surge in support from the
> youngest voters, John Kerry would have suffered a dramatically larger
> defeat. And the true magnitude of the Democrats' abject failure at the
> polls in 2004 would have been more clearly revealed.
> Mr. Kerry raised nearly half of his war chest over the Internet. He was so
> successful at this that he actually outspent the Bush campaign. But it was
> the outsider campaign of Howard Dean, reviled by most of the Democratic
> establishment, that pioneered the use of the Internet to raise millions in
> small contributions; Mr. Kerry was just the beneficiary as the party nominee.
> And it was the risk-taking Dean campaign that forced the risk-averse Kerry
> campaign to opt out of the public financing system. Had that decision not
> been forced on Mr. Kerry, he would have been badly outspent by George
> Bush; he would not have been competitive at all throughout the long summer
> of 2004.
> Mr. Kerry's lead among young voters hid just how bad Election Day really was
> for Democrats. In 2000, voters between 18 and 29 split their votes evenly:
> nine million each for Mr. Bush and Al Gore. But in 2004, two million more
> voters in this age group turned out to vote. And while Mr. Bush won the same
> nine million, 11 million voted for Mr. Kerry. But when we set aside his two
> million new younger voters, the true disaster is revealed. In 2000, Mr. Gore
> and Ralph Nader won a combined total of 54 million votes. This year Mr. Kerry
> and Mr. Nader got 53 million (ignoring the two million new young voters).
> Mr. Kerry was a weaker candidate than Mr. Gore. He lost so much ground among
> women, Hispanics, and other key groups, that the millions in Internet money,
> the most Herculean get-out-the-vote effort in party history, and the largest
> turnout of young voters in over a decade, couldn't save him. Had the young
> stayed home, the sea of red on the map would have grown to include at least
> Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire -- perhaps one or two more.
> Meanwhile, Mr. Bush, received 50 million votes in 2000, and 59 million in
> 2004. He added nine million votes. That's because Karl Rove had a plan and
> the campaign executed it brilliantly. But the problem for Democrats is not
> Mr. Rove; it's that they're doing the same thing over and over again,
> expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity.
> Since the Democratic Leadership Council, with its mantra of "moderate,
> moderate, moderate," took hold in D.C., the party has been in decline at
> just about every level of government. Forget the Kerry loss.
> Today the number of Democrats in the House is the lowest it's been since
> 1948. Democrats are on the brink of becoming a permanent minority party.
> Can the oldest democratic institution on earth wake from its stupor? Here
> are some steps to pull out of the nose-dive:
> * Democrats can't keep ignoring their base. Running to the middle and then
> asking our base to make sure to vote isn't a plan. And to those who say
> talking to your base doesn't work -- Read the Rove 2004 playbook!
> * Democrats must reconnect with the energy of our grass roots. One of the
> failures of the DLC was that its ideas never helped us build a grass-roots
> donor base. As a result, Democrats held a lead over Republicans in only one
> fundraising category before this election cycle: contributions over one
> million dollars. That shows how far the party had strayed from grassroots
> fundraising before the Dean campaign. We must build a base of at least
> seven million small donors by 2006. With the Internet it's possible. But
> it can't just be about the money, it also has to be about ideas.
> * The one thing we learned in the Dean campaign was that the 30 people in
> Burlington weren't as smart as the 650,000 Americans who were part of our
> campaign. Instead of a DLC in D.C., Democrats should be holding Democratic
> Grassroots Councils in every county. Democratic National Committee members
> in each state, along with the state party, should host and moderate these
> meetings to develop ideas that come from the people, instead of the experts
> in D.C.
> * A party that ignores the needs of state and local parties is doomed. We
> must begin to invest aggressively in states we continually write off in
> national elections. If we don't, the decline of the party in these states
> will continue until we're non-existent. Look at the south.
> * In a world in which companies like Wal-Mart pay substandard wages with no
> real benefits, our party has got to find innovative ways to support organized
> labor's growth. A declining union membership is not good for the country,
> it's not good for working people, and it certainly isn't good for the
> Democratic Party.
> * The Democratic Party has to be the vehicle that empowers the American
> people to change our failed political system. We all know the damn thing is
> broken. Democrats should lead the way by placing stricter money restrictions
> on candidates than the toothless Federal Election Commission does. A party
> funded by contributions from the people can do this. A corrupted and
> corroded party cannot. The Democratic Party shouldn't wait for campaign-
> finance reform -- it should be campaign-finance reform.
> * Finally, what is the purpose the party strives for today? What are our
> goals for the nation? You couldn't tell from the election. Very few good
> ideas come from the middle, and they tend to be mediocre. Consultants have
> become adept at keeping candidates in that safe zone. But the time has come
> to develop bold ideas and challenge people to sacrifice for the common good.
> Experts will tell you that you can't ask the American people to sacrifice
> individually for the common good. Those experts are wrong -- it's just been
> so long since anyone has asked them.