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Future of Progressive Causes

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  • jimcasey1@comcast.net
    In this, my first posting to this Anti-War discussion list, I some simple questions born of some very bitter frustration. Should those of us who wish to work
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 1, 2005
      In this, my first posting to this Anti-War discussion list, I some simple questions born of some very bitter frustration. 
       
      Should those of us who wish to work for peace and justice in the World continue to support the Democratic Party?   Should we look elsewhere for a new political party or even join the Republican Party in massive numbers to move that Party to the left?  Where should we put our resources? 
       
      The 2004 Election was not just a single defeat.  The supreme effort of a united Democratic Party failed to unseat a lying, butchering, incompetent president and allowed him to walk away with continued control of both houses of Congress and with prospect of packing the Supreme Court.  Democratuc party has failed to recapture either house of Congress in six consecutive Congressional Elections going back to 1994.  Democrats have lost 7 of the last 10 presidential elections since 1968.  Democrats have lost every nationally significant election in the 21st Century --- 2000, 2002, 2003 (California) and 2004.  Despite a mountain of evidence and vast amounts of help from every progressive group from Michael More to the Sierra Club, we lose in 2004.  Despite winning every debate, we lose the 2004 election.  The vaunted Clinton magic failed to carry even his home state of Arkansas in 2000 and 2004.  Even when Clinton was President he compromised away our principles and lost both houses of Congress (Neville Chamberlain?).  
       
      Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure peace and justice in the World.  If the Democratic Party is incapable of winning national elections -- even an election like 2004 when everything we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere for a path to secure the political power needed to further our causes (or to save them from extinction)?  Can the Democratic Party be reformed to the point where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win elections?  If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?
       
       
      Jim Casey
    • Ann Breen-Greco
      This email poses a critical question for us: Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure peace and justice in the
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 6, 2005
        This email poses a critical question for us:  "Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure peace and justice in the World.  If the Democratic Party is incapable of winning national elections -- even an election like 2004 when everything we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere for a path to secure the political power needed to further our causes (or to save them from extinction)?  Can the Democratic Party be reformed to the point where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win elections?  If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?"  This is something we need to be discussing in the coming months."

        jimcasey1@... wrote:
        In this, my first posting to this Anti-War discussion list, I pose some simple questions born of some very bitter frustration. 
         
        Should those of us who wish to work for peace and justice in the World continue to support the Democratic Party?   Should we look elsewhere for a new political party or even join the Republican Party in massive numbers to move that Party to the left?  Where should we put our resources? 
         
        The 2004 Election was not just a single defeat.  The supreme effort of a united Democratic Party failed to unseat a lying, butchering, incompetent president and allowed him to walk away with continued control of both houses of Congress and with prospect of packing the Supreme Court.  Democratic Party has failed to recapture either house of Congress in six consecutive Congressional Elections going back to 1994.  Democrats have lost 7 of the last 10 presidential elections since 1968.  Democrats have lost every nationally significant election in the 21st Century --- 2000, 2002, 2003 (California) and 2004.  Despite a mountain of evidence and vast amounts of help from every progressive group from Michael Moore to the Sierra Club, we lose in 2004.  Despite winning every debate, we lose the 2004 election.  The vaunted Clinton magic failed to carry even his home state of Arkansas in 2000 and 2004.  Even when Clinton was President he compromised away our principles and lost both houses of Congress (Neville Chamberlain?).  
         
        Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure peace and justice in the World.  If the Democratic Party is incapable of winning national elections -- even an election like 2004 when everything we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere for a path to secure the political power needed to further our causes (or to save them from extinction)?  Can the Democratic Party be reformed to the point where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win elections?  If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?
         
        Jim Casey
      • Talmadge Wright
        The issue should not be whether or not to support or not support the Democratic Party as a progressive. But, rather what strategy and tactics are needed to
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 6, 2005
          The issue should not be whether or not to support or not support the
          Democratic Party as a progressive. But, rather what strategy and tactics
          are needed to secure progressive power at a local, State, Regional and
          National level. In other words the question reveals more of a failure of
          imagination. The Right has been thinking this way systematically for
          over 30 years, ever since the loss of Goldwater. It's time we did the same.
          Besides a progressive agenda has more to offer the citizens of the US.
          Best, Talmadge

          PS: Elections are a tactic to win a strategy of securing access to State
          resources.

          *********************************************
          Talmadge Wright
          Dept. of Sociology
          Loyola University Chicago
          6525 N. Sheridan Rd.
          Chicago, IL 60626
          (773) 508-3451

          >>> annrun@... 01/06/05 6:53 PM >>>
          This email poses a critical question for us: "Our money, time and
          energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure
          peace and justice in the World. If the Democratic Party is incapable of
          winning national elections -- even an election like 2004 when everything
          we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere for a path to
          secure the political power needed to further our causes (or to save them
          from extinction)? Can the Democratic Party be reformed to the point
          where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win elections?
          If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?" This is something we need to be
          discussing in the coming months."

          jimcasey1@... wrote:
          In this, my first posting to this Anti-War discussion list, I pose some
          simple questions born of some very bitter frustration.

          Should those of us who wish to work for peace and justice in the World
          continue to support the Democratic Party? Should we look elsewhere for
          a new political party or even join the Republican Party in massive
          numbers to move that Party to the left? Where should we put our
          resources?

          The 2004 Election was not just a single defeat. The supreme effort of a
          united Democratic Party failed to unseat a lying, butchering,
          incompetent president and allowed him to walk away with continued
          control of both houses of Congress and with prospect of packing the
          Supreme Court. Democratic Party has failed to recapture either house of
          Congress in six consecutive Congressional Elections going back to 1994.
          Democrats have lost 7 of the last 10 presidential elections since 1968.
          Democrats have lost every nationally significant election in the 21st
          Century --- 2000, 2002, 2003 (California) and 2004. Despite a mountain
          of evidence and vast amounts of help from every progressive group from
          Michael Moore to the Sierra Club, we lose in 2004. Despite winning
          every debate, we lose the 2004 election. The vaunted Clinton magic
          failed to carry even his home state of Arkansas in 2000 and 2004. Even
          when Clinton was President he compromised away our principles and lost
          both houses of Congress (Neville Chamberlain?).

          Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most
          good to secure peace and justice in the World. If the Democratic Party
          is incapable of winning national elections -- even an election like 2004
          when everything we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere
          for a path to secure the political power needed to further our causes
          (or to save them from extinction)? Can the Democratic Party be reformed
          to the point where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win
          elections? If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?

          Jim Casey
        • Carol Gulyas
          Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to dismantle core social
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 7, 2005
            Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just
            helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to
            dismantle core social programs, starting with Social Security.

            Progressives need to check the radical starve-the-government agenda of
            the Bush administration, before it's too late. Paul Krugman, the NYT
            columnist who wrote "The Tax Cut Con" (full text at
            http://www.faireconomy.org/econ/taxes/KrugmanTaxCutCon.html ) has been
            an eloquent but lonely voice in this battle.

            This is from Krugman's remarks last year at Berkeley, emphasis mine:


            <...... "we're dealing with people with a radical agenda."

            That agenda, Krugman proposed, is to do nothing less than "starve the
            government" into submission. Through tax cuts that decimate revenues
            and create "deficits as far as the eye can see" (as Berkeley's George
            Akerlof put it in an earlier article) and by presenting Congress with a
            drastically underestimated bill for a war, Krugman says the Bush Team
            intends ultimately to lay siege to the social programs pioneered by
            Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

            With the government currently operating on 25 percent fewer dollars
            than it needs to fund all of its obligations, Krugman said, the
            eventual result will be the rollback of even supposedly inviolate
            social programs. "You can't eliminate 25 percent of spending without
            cuts into the big three: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But
            you can't do that. So something has to happen. Will we go bankrupt? So
            far the markets are in denial," he said. "There will come a moment when
            the bond investors will rebel. The United States is going to do a Wile
            E. Coyote run off a cliff, look down, and" — he made a cartoon-like
            face of surprise — "poof!"

            Krugman believes, he says, that the radical long-term plan of the Bush
            administration is indeed to force a budget situation where the only
            choice is to slash the Big Three, thus returning the U.S. government to
            pre-Roosevelt days when the elderly made up a much larger percentage of
            the poor population, and only the rich could afford good education and
            had access to health care.>

            http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/26_krugman.shtml
          • Susan Figliulo
            Two cents from a rank-and-filer: Wright is right. Organization and strategy are more important than any issue, though the war and the healthcare crisis may
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 7, 2005
              Two cents from a rank-and-filer:

              Wright is right. Organization and strategy are more important than any
              issue, though the war and the healthcare crisis may receive more
              critical media attention as they degenerate. But issues can't break the
              right-wing establishment's stranglehold on all three federal branches as
              well as the traditional media. When Tom DeLay and Ann Coulter are
              setting the agenda, nothing will work but for civilized people to
              organize from the bottom up.

              Reaching young people by non-traditional media (video: MoveOn et al) is
              key. And, as Wright points out, so is long-term attention to the
              grassroots, which are mighty parched.

              Susan Figliulo

              --

              Talmadge Wright wrote:

              The issue should not be whether or not to support or not support the
              Democratic Party as a progressive. But, rather what strategy and tactics
              are needed to secure progressive power at a local, State, Regional and
              National level. In other words the question reveals more of a failure of
              imagination. The Right has been thinking this way systematically for
              over 30 years, ever since the loss of Goldwater. It's time we did the same.
              Besides a progressive agenda has more to offer the citizens of the US.
              Best, Talmadge

              PS: Elections are a tactic to win a strategy of securing access to State
              resources.

              Talmadge Wright
              Dept. of Sociology
              Loyola University Chicago
              6525 N. Sheridan Rd.
              Chicago, IL 60626
              (773) 508-3451

              --

              annrun@... wrote:

              This email poses a critical question for us: "Our money, time and
              energy need to be devoted where they can do the most good to secure
              peace and justice in the World. If the Democratic Party is incapable of
              winning national elections -- even an election like 2004 when everything
              we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere for a path to
              secure the political power needed to further our causes (or to save them
              from extinction)? Can the Democratic Party be reformed to the point
              where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win elections?
              If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?" This is something we need to be
              discussing in the coming months."

              --


              jimcasey1@... wrote:

              In this, my first posting to this Anti-War discussion list, I pose some
              simple questions born of some very bitter frustration.

              Should those of us who wish to work for peace and justice in the World
              continue to support the Democratic Party? Should we look elsewhere for
              a new political party or even join the Republican Party in massive
              numbers to move that Party to the left? Where should we put our
              resources?

              The 2004 Election was not just a single defeat. The supreme effort of a
              united Democratic Party failed to unseat a lying, butchering,
              incompetent president and allowed him to walk away with continued
              control of both houses of Congress and with prospect of packing the
              Supreme Court. Democratic Party has failed to recapture either house of
              Congress in six consecutive Congressional Elections going back to 1994.
              Democrats have lost 7 of the last 10 presidential elections since 1968.
              Democrats have lost every nationally significant election in the 21st
              Century --- 2000, 2002, 2003 (California) and 2004. Despite a mountain
              of evidence and vast amounts of help from every progressive group from
              Michael Moore to the Sierra Club, we lose in 2004. Despite winning
              every debate, we lose the 2004 election. The vaunted Clinton magic
              failed to carry even his home state of Arkansas in 2000 and 2004. Even
              when Clinton was President he compromised away our principles and lost
              both houses of Congress (Neville Chamberlain?).

              Our money, time and energy need to be devoted where they can do the most
              good to secure peace and justice in the World. If the Democratic Party
              is incapable of winning national elections -- even an election like 2004
              when everything we value is on the line -- shouldn't we look elsewhere
              for a path to secure the political power needed to further our causes
              (or to save them from extinction)? Can the Democratic Party be reformed
              to the point where it can become strong enough and clever enough to win
              elections? If we have to look elsewhere, WHERE?

              Jim Casey
            • Dennis Dixon
              Carol, I have a question. Who is handwringing about the Democratic Party? The national Democratic Party lost the election! Kerry won the debates because he
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 7, 2005
                Carol,

                I have a question. Who is "handwringing" about the
                Democratic Party? The national Democratic Party lost
                the election! Kerry won the debates because he made
                more and *better* points than his opponent -- who made
                the same illegitimate point over and over again. But,
                did the Kerry campaign actually have an alternative
                vision that people ever could get their minds around?
                If not, why not!

                The conventional wisdom seems to be that "moral
                values" trumped economic issues. How did a bunch of
                supposedly "intelligent" advisors to Kerry *not* make
                the economic issues "moral issues?" How did these
                geniuses not attack Bush on the prosecution of the war
                in Iraq from the beginning so that Kerry could not
                have had to come out with the brilliant response to
                the $87 Billion question, "I voted for it before I
                voted against it?" How is it that the national
                Democratic leadership could not answer the "Swift
                Boat" liars quickly and insist on tying them to Karl
                Rove and the repeated lying attacks on other people
                who went to Vietnam. How is it that they were not able
                to make the "moral" argument against Bush sending
                people to war without the proper equipment -- which they
                still don't have -- and then trying to make them pay for
                their own meals in the hospitals after they were
                wounded? Air America was doing this stuff every day.
                But, the Democratic Leadership Council did not want to
                alienate "the middle"(which is so ephemeral as to
                largely not exist). They ran a "technocratic" campaign
                against a fake "down home boy" -- and lost!

                Since then? Let's listen to Dick Durban start his
                questioning of an accomplice to murder, "Al" Gonzales,
                with the sentence, "I look forward to working with
                you...." This is before they have even finished
                questioning him about his torture memos and *after*
                Russ Fiengold pointed out Gonzales' criminal
                negligence in presenting cases to George Bush as
                governor of Texas as to evidence in Capital cases
                where there was either obvious incompetent defense or
                the accused was deemed to be mentally challenged (the
                "public defender" system is legally unethical by any
                reasonable standard anyway). Senator Shumer, another
                supposed "liberal," said effectively the same thing to
                a person who should be indicted for dereliction of
                duty in his role as Attorney General (I believe) in
                Texas. How can people who fawn over this creep save
                Social Security?

                This, of course, it not to say that to the extent that
                the Democratic establishment takes Social Security and
                other issues seriously, that we would not work with
                them on that. It is to say that we need to work
                *outside* the party on those issues as well and work
                *inside* the party to make it a real political party
                as opposed to some wierd PR outfit that's afraid to
                "offend" anyone. We need to tap into the militancy of
                the grassroots rather than allow the "consultants" to
                continue to lose elections.

                One last thing. Let us remember that the one guy the
                DLC got into the Presidency, Bill Clinton, only won
                because Ross Perot got 19% of the vote. His plurality
                was in the mid 40s. After managing to lose the House
                and Senate to the Republicans (who incidentally used
                the "filibuster" -- and then Dixiecrats and DLCers --
                to block Labor Law reform), he *rebounded* to beat the
                "King of Charisma" Bob Dole. The move to the "muddle"
                has lost time and time again. The National Democratic
                Party has not proven itself to be a reliable ally!
                Let's face it!

                Again, yesterday, most Democrats backed down on using
                Ohio as the first salvo in fighting for election
                reform. Thank god for Barbara Boxer

                Dennis Dixon


                --- Carol Gulyas <carolgulyas2@...> wrote:

                Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just
                helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to
                dismantle core social programs, starting with Social Security.

                Progressives need to check the radical starve-the-government agenda of
                the Bush administration, before it's too late. Paul Krugman, the NYT
                columnist who wrote "The Tax Cut Con" (full text at
                http://www.faireconomy.org/econ/taxes/KrugmanTaxCutCon.html)
                has been an eloquent but lonely voice in this battle.

                This is from Krugman's remarks last year at Berkeley, emphasis mine:

                <...... "we're dealing with people with a radical agenda."

                That agenda, Krugman proposed, is to do nothing less than "starve the
                government" into submission. Through tax cuts that decimate revenues
                and create "deficits as far as the eye can see" (as Berkeley's George
                Akerlof put it in an earlier article) and by presenting Congress with a
                drastically underestimated bill for a war, Krugman says the Bush Team
                intends ultimately to lay siege to the social programs pioneered by
                Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

                With the government currently operating on 25 percent fewer dollars
                than it needs to fund all of its obligations, Krugman said, the
                eventual result will be the rollback of even supposedly inviolate
                social programs. "You can't eliminate 25 percent of spending without
                cuts into the big three: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But
                you can't do that. So something has to happen. Will we go bankrupt? So
                far the markets are in denial," he said. "There will come a moment when
                the bond investors will rebel. The United States is going to do a Wile
                E. Coyote run off a cliff, look down, and" � he made a cartoon-like
                face of surprise � "poof!"

                Krugman believes, he says, that the radical long-term plan of the Bush
                administration is indeed to force a budget situation where the only
                choice is to slash the Big Three, thus returning the U.S. government to
                pre-Roosevelt days when the elderly made up a much larger percentage of
                the poor population, and only the rich could afford good education and
                had access to health care.>

                http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/26_krugman.shtml
              • Carol Gulyas
                I agree with you. I think the point of my comment (and I didn t mean it to sound flippant) is, that we know all that. Nothing you said is news. The
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 7, 2005
                  I agree with you. I think the point of my comment (and I didn't mean
                  it to sound flippant) is, that we know all that. Nothing you said is
                  news. The question is, what are we going to do about it? If you are
                  suggesting a third party, then just say so. I don't think that is a
                  good strategy, but it is an option. As for Durbin, he will always have
                  my allegiance since he was courageous enough to vote against the Iraq
                  War in an incredibly intimidating political climate. However, i was
                  disappointed with the soft questioning myself.



                  --- In NoIraqWar@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Dixon <denndx@y...> wrote:

                  Carol,

                  I have a question. Who is "handwringing" about the
                  Democratic Party? The national Democratic Party lost
                  the election! Kerry won the debates because he made
                  more and *better* points than his opponent -- who made
                  the same illegitimate point over and over again. But,
                  did the Kerry campaign actually have an alternative
                  vision that people ever could get their minds around?
                  If not, why not!

                  The conventional wisdom seems to be that "moral
                  values" trumped economic issues. How did a bunch of
                  supposedly "intelligent" advisors to Kerry *not* make
                  the economic issues "moral issues?" How did these
                  geniuses not attack Bush on the prosecution of the war
                  in Iraq from the beginning so that Kerry could not
                  have had to come out with the brilliant response to
                  the $87 Billion question, "I voted for it before I
                  voted against it?" How is it that the national
                  Democratic leadership could not answer the "Swift
                  Boat" liars quickly and insist on tying them to Karl
                  Rove and the repeated lying attacks on other people
                  who went to Vietnam. How is it that they were not able
                  to make the "moral" argument against Bush sending
                  people to war without the proper equipment -- which they
                  still don't have -- and then trying to make them pay for
                  their own meals in the hospitals after they were
                  wounded? Air America was doing this stuff every day.
                  But, the Democratic Leadership Council did not want to
                  alienate "the middle"(which is so ephemeral as to
                  largely not exist). They ran a "technocratic" campaign
                  against a fake "down home boy" -- and lost!

                  Since then? Let's listen to Dick Durban start his
                  questioning of an accomplice to murder, "Al" Gonzales,
                  with the sentence, "I look forward to working with
                  you...." This is before they have even finished
                  questioning him about his torture memos and *after*
                  Russ Fiengold pointed out Gonzales' criminal
                  negligence in presenting cases to George Bush as
                  governor of Texas as to evidence in Capital cases
                  where there was either obvious incompetent defense or
                  the accused was deemed to be mentally challenged (the
                  "public defender" system is legally unethical by any
                  reasonable standard anyway). Senator Shumer, another
                  supposed "liberal," said effectively the same thing to
                  a person who should be indicted for dereliction of
                  duty in his role as Attorney General (I believe) in
                  Texas. How can people who fawn over this creep save
                  Social Security?

                  This, of course, it not to say that to the extent that
                  the Democratic establishment takes Social Security and
                  other issues seriously, that we would not work with
                  them on that. It is to say that we need to work
                  *outside* the party on those issues as well and work
                  *inside* the party to make it a real political party
                  as opposed to some wierd PR outfit that's afraid to
                  "offend" anyone. We need to tap into the militancy of
                  the grassroots rather than allow the "consultants" to
                  continue to lose elections.

                  One last thing. Let us remember that the one guy the
                  DLC got into the Presidency, Bill Clinton, only won
                  because Ross Perot got 19% of the vote. His plurality
                  was in the mid 40s. After managing to lose the House
                  and Senate to the Republicans (who incidentally used
                  the "filibuster" -- and then Dixiecrats and DLCers --
                  to block Labor Law reform), he *rebounded* to beat the
                  "King of Charisma" Bob Dole. The move to the "muddle"
                  has lost time and time again. The National Democratic
                  Party has not proven itself to be a reliable ally!
                  Let's face it!

                  Again, yesterday, most Democrats backed down on using
                  Ohio as the first salvo in fighting for election
                  reform. Thank god for Barbara Boxer

                  Dennis Dixon


                  --- Carol Gulyas <carolgulyas2@...> wrote:

                  Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just
                  helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to
                  dismantle core social programs, starting with Social Security.

                  Progressives need to check the radical starve-the-government agenda of
                  the Bush administration, before it's too late. Paul Krugman, the NYT
                  columnist who wrote "The Tax Cut Con" (full text at
                  http://www.faireconomy.org/econ/taxes/KrugmanTaxCutCon.html)
                  has been an eloquent but lonely voice in this battle.

                  This is from Krugman's remarks last year at Berkeley, emphasis mine:

                  <...... "we're dealing with people with a radical agenda."

                  That agenda, Krugman proposed, is to do nothing less than "starve the
                  government" into submission. Through tax cuts that decimate revenues
                  and create "deficits as far as the eye can see" (as Berkeley's George
                  Akerlof put it in an earlier article) and by presenting Congress with a
                  drastically underestimated bill for a war, Krugman says the Bush Team
                  intends ultimately to lay siege to the social programs pioneered by
                  Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

                  With the government currently operating on 25 percent fewer dollars
                  than it needs to fund all of its obligations, Krugman said, the
                  eventual result will be the rollback of even supposedly inviolate
                  social programs. "You can't eliminate 25 percent of spending without
                  cuts into the big three: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But
                  you can't do that. So something has to happen. Will we go bankrupt? So
                  far the markets are in denial," he said. "There will come a moment when
                  the bond investors will rebel. The United States is going to do a Wile
                  E. Coyote run off a cliff, look down, and" � he made a cartoon-like
                  face of surprise � "poof!"

                  Krugman believes, he says, that the radical long-term plan of the Bush
                  administration is indeed to force a budget situation where the only
                  choice is to slash the Big Three, thus returning the U.S. government to
                  pre-Roosevelt days when the elderly made up a much larger percentage of
                  the poor population, and only the rich could afford good education and
                  had access to health care.>

                  http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/26_krugman.shtml
                • Talmadge Wright
                  To Carol and Dennis and all, The assumptions many people are making about the DLC and the Democratic Party in general is predicated upon a middle exisiting
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 8, 2005
                    To Carol and Dennis and all,

                    The assumptions many people are making about the DLC and the Democratic
                    Party in general is predicated upon a "middle" exisiting in the
                    electorate. What proof do we have that a middle position exists? Is it
                    simply based upon a numerical average or median? Is it real? Is it
                    manufactured? What does "middle" mean? Appeal to whom? Again, the lack
                    of imagination and reasoned analysis is stunning. Why should the
                    Democratic party appeal to the fictional "middle?" The Republican Party
                    certainly did not. What does the so called "middle" mean in an era of
                    niche marketing?

                    What is needed is an analytical and critical interrogation of ALL
                    political terms. This does not seem to be happening by anybody except,
                    perhaps people like George Lakoff. Language and public relations is
                    important. So are tactics of outreach.

                    Perhaps we would be beter off in discussing 1) Purpose, 2) Communication
                    and Outreach, 3) Strategy of success, 4) Goals, etc.

                    Second, what are the vehicles of these things? 1) Churches, Mosques,
                    etc., 2) Schools, 3) Media, 4) Think-Tanks, 5) Government bodies, 6)
                    Non-profits, etcs.

                    How many people remember that it was the development of mass mailings by
                    the Right which expanded the base of their party, combined with
                    centering their organizing effort through local churches and the
                    electronic church, via the Christian Coalition. This was supplemented by
                    the extensive funding of Right wing Think-Tanks by corporate foundations
                    and both talk radio and cable broadcasts. We have made a start with Air
                    America and several progressive think-tanks like the Economic Policy
                    Institute - but, on the whole, it is dismal indeed. The effort is better
                    placed on two aspects: 1) Concentrating all of our efforts on supporting
                    progressive media sources, think-tanks and foundations - as opposed to
                    simple street activism, 2) isolating those Democrats who have not
                    demonstrated a clear committmemt to a free and progressive America,
                    censoring those who have opposed it and supporting those, like Barbara
                    Boxer and Ted Kennedy who have demonstrated a clear committment.

                    In other words the issue is not, again on whether or not we support the
                    Democratic Party. The issue is more serious. That is do we have the
                    capability to establish, sustain and expand a progressive perspective
                    throughout the general body politic. The failure of many of the
                    movements of the 1960s was precisely this - the failure to
                    institutionalize our views in a serious, long term and committed
                    fashion. Rather our views were coopted by the established parties and
                    then watered down.

                    So I am advocating working on institution building, part of which is
                    concerned with electoral strategies. However, the bulk of the work must
                    be in institution building whle neutralizing Republican (or better yet,
                    Conservative) opposition. Again, I urge everyone on this list to study
                    seriously the successes and failures of the Conservative Right from
                    Goldwater forward - look at their writings, their speeches, their
                    organizational tactics, their institution building, etc. We can learn a
                    great deal from our enemies.

                    Best, Talmadge

                    Talmadge Wright
                    Dept. of Sociology
                    Loyola University Chicago
                    6525 N. Sheridan Rd.
                    Chicago, IL 60626
                    (773) 508-3451


                    >>> carolgulyas2@... on 01/08/05 1:24 AM wrote >>>

                    I agree with you. I think the point of my comment (and I didn't mean
                    it to sound flippant) is, that we know all that. Nothing you said is
                    news. The question is, what are we going to do about it? If you are
                    suggesting a third party, then just say so. I don't think that is a
                    good strategy, but it is an option. As for Durbin, he will always have
                    my allegiance since he was courageous enough to vote against the Iraq
                    War in an incredibly intimidating political climate. However, i was
                    disappointed with the soft questioning myself.



                    --- In NoIraqWar@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Dixon <denndx@...> wrote:

                    Carol,

                    I have a question. Who is "handwringing" about the
                    Democratic Party? The national Democratic Party lost
                    the election! Kerry won the debates because he made
                    more and *better* points than his opponent -- who made
                    the same illegitimate point over and over again. But,
                    did the Kerry campaign actually have an alternative
                    vision that people ever could get their minds around?
                    If not, why not!

                    The conventional wisdom seems to be that "moral
                    values" trumped economic issues. How did a bunch of
                    supposedly "intelligent" advisors to Kerry *not* make
                    the economic issues "moral issues?" How did these
                    geniuses not attack Bush on the prosecution of the war
                    in Iraq from the beginning so that Kerry could not
                    have had to come out with the brilliant response to
                    the $87 Billion question, "I voted for it before I
                    voted against it?" How is it that the national
                    Democratic leadership could not answer the "Swift
                    Boat" liars quickly and insist on tying them to Karl
                    Rove and the repeated lying attacks on other people
                    who went to Vietnam. How is it that they were not able
                    to make the "moral" argument against Bush sending
                    people to war without the proper equipment -- which they
                    still don't have -- and then trying to make them pay for
                    their own meals in the hospitals after they were
                    wounded? Air America was doing this stuff every day.
                    But, the Democratic Leadership Council did not want to
                    alienate "the middle"(which is so ephemeral as to
                    largely not exist). They ran a "technocratic" campaign
                    against a fake "down home boy" -- and lost!

                    Since then? Let's listen to Dick Durban start his
                    questioning of an accomplice to murder, "Al" Gonzales,
                    with the sentence, "I look forward to working with
                    you...." This is before they have even finished
                    questioning him about his torture memos and *after*
                    Russ Fiengold pointed out Gonzales' criminal
                    negligence in presenting cases to George Bush as
                    governor of Texas as to evidence in Capital cases
                    where there was either obvious incompetent defense or
                    the accused was deemed to be mentally challenged (the
                    "public defender" system is legally unethical by any
                    reasonable standard anyway). Senator Shumer, another
                    supposed "liberal," said effectively the same thing to
                    a person who should be indicted for dereliction of
                    duty in his role as Attorney General (I believe) in
                    Texas. How can people who fawn over this creep save
                    Social Security?

                    This, of course, it not to say that to the extent that
                    the Democratic establishment takes Social Security and
                    other issues seriously, that we would not work with
                    them on that. It is to say that we need to work
                    *outside* the party on those issues as well and work
                    *inside* the party to make it a real political party
                    as opposed to some wierd PR outfit that's afraid to
                    "offend" anyone. We need to tap into the militancy of
                    the grassroots rather than allow the "consultants" to
                    continue to lose elections.

                    One last thing. Let us remember that the one guy the
                    DLC got into the Presidency, Bill Clinton, only won
                    because Ross Perot got 19% of the vote. His plurality
                    was in the mid 40s. After managing to lose the House
                    and Senate to the Republicans (who incidentally used
                    the "filibuster" -- and then Dixiecrats and DLCers --
                    to block Labor Law reform), he *rebounded* to beat the
                    "King of Charisma" Bob Dole. The move to the "muddle"
                    has lost time and time again. The National Democratic
                    Party has not proven itself to be a reliable ally!
                    Let's face it!

                    Again, yesterday, most Democrats backed down on using
                    Ohio as the first salvo in fighting for election
                    reform. Thank god for Barbara Boxer

                    Dennis Dixon


                    --- Carol Gulyas <carolgulyas2@...> wrote:

                    Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just
                    helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to
                    dismantle core social programs, starting with Social Security.

                    Progressives need to check the radical starve-the-government agenda of
                    the Bush administration, before it's too late. Paul Krugman, the NYT
                    columnist who wrote "The Tax Cut Con" (full text at
                    http://www.faireconomy.org/econ/taxes/KrugmanTaxCutCon.html)
                    has been an eloquent but lonely voice in this battle.

                    This is from Krugman's remarks last year at Berkeley, emphasis mine:

                    <...... "we're dealing with people with a radical agenda."

                    That agenda, Krugman proposed, is to do nothing less than "starve the
                    government" into submission. Through tax cuts that decimate revenues
                    and create "deficits as far as the eye can see" (as Berkeley's George
                    Akerlof put it in an earlier article) and by presenting Congress with a
                    drastically underestimated bill for a war, Krugman says the Bush Team
                    intends ultimately to lay siege to the social programs pioneered by
                    Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

                    With the government currently operating on 25 percent fewer dollars
                    than it needs to fund all of its obligations, Krugman said, the
                    eventual result will be the rollback of even supposedly inviolate
                    social programs. "You can't eliminate 25 percent of spending without
                    cuts into the big three: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But
                    you can't do that. So something has to happen. Will we go bankrupt? So
                    far the markets are in denial," he said. "There will come a moment when
                    the bond investors will rebel. The United States is going to do a Wile
                    E. Coyote run off a cliff, look down, and" * he made a cartoon-like
                    face of surprise * "poof!"

                    Krugman believes, he says, that the radical long-term plan of the Bush
                    administration is indeed to force a budget situation where the only
                    choice is to slash the Big Three, thus returning the U.S. government to
                    pre-Roosevelt days when the elderly made up a much larger percentage of
                    the poor population, and only the rich could afford good education and
                    had access to health care.>

                    http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/26_krugman.shtml
                  • Dennis Dixon
                    Carol; I have to apologize to some extent because I never received Talmadge s first comment (but I found it when I looked in
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 9, 2005
                      Carol;

                      I have to apologize to some extent because I never received
                      Talmadge's first comment (but I found it when I looked in http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NoIraqWar/ last night). So
                      to that extent, I didn't know exactly what you were talking
                      about. I assumed that Talmadge's comment had something to
                      do with people "wringing their hands" over the Democrats.

                      I had better hopes for Kerry, but we know what we're up
                      against. We have to defeat the DLC within the Democratic
                      Party to the extent that we can (the "middle" nonsense is
                      a rhetorical device that needs to be exposed as meaningless).
                      We also have to work independent of the Democratic Party in
                      order to build the rational base.

                      When the piece was posted saying effectively that we should
                      "ignore" the Democrats, I started to answer that, but I quit
                      because I found it it was too tiresome. But, anyway, part of
                      it said that we have been fighting the "Regular" Democratic
                      Party in Chicago for years (there are two parties in Chicago
                      -- both Democrat). They have tried to suppress our vote.
                      They have had people electioneering inside the polling places.
                      They have tried to intimidate people with their presence at
                      the polling places. They have had monetary resources that
                      we could never hope to come up with. But, we have beaten them
                      any number of times on the ground -- on the issues. Rey Colon,
                      Manny Flores, and Cindy Soto up here are people that are in
                      office because we helped develop their base and watched the
                      polls so that the "regulars" could not steal the elections.
                      This is different, but has similarities. The DLC types are
                      just more sophisticated bullies.

                      I think that what Marilyn said about 3 meetings back about
                      reaching out to the rest of the state is something that we
                      might explore. There are ethnic associations and organizations
                      that people we know in Chicago might be able to tap into.
                      There are Labor union locals that we need to reach out to
                      (people might still have friends in Decatur, for instance,
                      from the Staley strike in the 80s). There are universities
                      and community colleges where we might be able to develop
                      some sort of outreach and communication. Having lived briefly
                      in Mattoon, IL, I know that there is alot of resentment of
                      Chicago out there. But we can break through I think if we
                      have the issues (Mattoon, for instance has an agricultural
                      base and also has several factories that have shut down or
                      have downsized considerably -- it reminds me of Hegewisch
                      with the unemployment). They didn't seem like religious nuts
                      to me. I would like to see if we might be able to set up some
                      sort of clearinghouse operation to keep track of and learn
                      more about other peoples' issues and points of view about
                      them (Carl wrote a piece about farm pricing in the 80s that
                      people should look at).

                      Barbara Boxer was on the radio the other night and pled for
                      the fact that the Democratic Party is "diverse." She did not
                      say anything about "the middle;" but she did indicate that
                      simply having "the Left" take over the Party would probably
                      not be that fruitful in the end. However, I think there is a
                      general consensus on issues like social security (though not
                      absolute), medicare, and things like raising the minimum wage,
                      etc. What the characters in Washington need to do though is
                      come home and start riding the bus and subway *here* for a
                      while. This high rent, high tuition, high debt, dwindling
                      employment opportunity business has got to end.

                      Thank you and sorry that I snapped at you. With the
                      information I had, it did sound flippant....Dennis


                      --- Carol Gulyas <carolgulyas2@...> wrote:

                      I agree with you. I think the point of my comment (and I didn't mean
                      it to sound flippant) is, that we know all that. Nothing you said is
                      news. The question is, what are we going to do about it? If you are
                      suggesting a third party, then just say so. I don't think that is a
                      good strategy, but it is an option. As for Durbin, he will always have
                      my allegiance since he was courageous enough to vote against the Iraq
                      War in an incredibly intimidating political climate. However, i was
                      disappointed with the soft questioning myself.



                      --- In NoIraqWar@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Dixon <denndx@y...> wrote:

                      Carol,

                      I have a question. Who is "handwringing" about the
                      Democratic Party? The national Democratic Party lost
                      the election! Kerry won the debates because he made
                      more and *better* points than his opponent -- who made
                      the same illegitimate point over and over again. But,
                      did the Kerry campaign actually have an alternative
                      vision that people ever could get their minds around?
                      If not, why not!

                      The conventional wisdom seems to be that "moral
                      values" trumped economic issues. How did a bunch of
                      supposedly "intelligent" advisors to Kerry *not* make
                      the economic issues "moral issues?" How did these
                      geniuses not attack Bush on the prosecution of the war
                      in Iraq from the beginning so that Kerry could not
                      have had to come out with the brilliant response to
                      the $87 Billion question, "I voted for it before I
                      voted against it?" How is it that the national
                      Democratic leadership could not answer the "Swift
                      Boat" liars quickly and insist on tying them to Karl
                      Rove and the repeated lying attacks on other people
                      who went to Vietnam. How is it that they were not able
                      to make the "moral" argument against Bush sending
                      people to war without the proper equipment -- which they
                      still don't have -- and then trying to make them pay for
                      their own meals in the hospitals after they were
                      wounded? Air America was doing this stuff every day.
                      But, the Democratic Leadership Council did not want to
                      alienate "the middle"(which is so ephemeral as to
                      largely not exist). They ran a "technocratic" campaign
                      against a fake "down home boy" -- and lost!

                      Since then? Let's listen to Dick Durban start his
                      questioning of an accomplice to murder, "Al" Gonzales,
                      with the sentence, "I look forward to working with
                      you...." This is before they have even finished
                      questioning him about his torture memos and *after*
                      Russ Fiengold pointed out Gonzales' criminal
                      negligence in presenting cases to George Bush as
                      governor of Texas as to evidence in Capital cases
                      where there was either obvious incompetent defense or
                      the accused was deemed to be mentally challenged (the
                      "public defender" system is legally unethical by any
                      reasonable standard anyway). Senator Shumer, another
                      supposed "liberal," said effectively the same thing to
                      a person who should be indicted for dereliction of
                      duty in his role as Attorney General (I believe) in
                      Texas. How can people who fawn over this creep save
                      Social Security?

                      This, of course, it not to say that to the extent that
                      the Democratic establishment takes Social Security and
                      other issues seriously, that we would not work with
                      them on that. It is to say that we need to work
                      *outside* the party on those issues as well and work
                      *inside* the party to make it a real political party
                      as opposed to some wierd PR outfit that's afraid to
                      "offend" anyone. We need to tap into the militancy of
                      the grassroots rather than allow the "consultants" to
                      continue to lose elections.

                      One last thing. Let us remember that the one guy the
                      DLC got into the Presidency, Bill Clinton, only won
                      because Ross Perot got 19% of the vote. His plurality
                      was in the mid 40s. After managing to lose the House
                      and Senate to the Republicans (who incidentally used
                      the "filibuster" -- and then Dixiecrats and DLCers --
                      to block Labor Law reform), he *rebounded* to beat the
                      "King of Charisma" Bob Dole. The move to the "muddle"
                      has lost time and time again. The National Democratic
                      Party has not proven itself to be a reliable ally!
                      Let's face it!

                      Again, yesterday, most Democrats backed down on using
                      Ohio as the first salvo in fighting for election
                      reform. Thank god for Barbara Boxer

                      Dennis Dixon


                      --- Carol Gulyas <carolgulyas2@...> wrote:

                      Talmadge is right; hand-wringing about the Democratic Party is just
                      helping our enemies, while the Bush administration steadily arms to
                      dismantle core social programs, starting with Social Security.

                      Progressives need to check the radical starve-the-government agenda of
                      the Bush administration, before it's too late. Paul Krugman, the NYT
                      columnist who wrote "The Tax Cut Con" (full text at
                      http://www.faireconomy.org/econ/taxes/KrugmanTaxCutCon.html)
                      has been an eloquent but lonely voice in this battle.

                      This is from Krugman's remarks last year at Berkeley, emphasis mine:

                      <...... "we're dealing with people with a radical agenda."

                      That agenda, Krugman proposed, is to do nothing less than "starve the
                      government" into submission. Through tax cuts that decimate revenues
                      and create "deficits as far as the eye can see" (as Berkeley's George
                      Akerlof put it in an earlier article) and by presenting Congress with a
                      drastically underestimated bill for a war, Krugman says the Bush Team
                      intends ultimately to lay siege to the social programs pioneered by
                      Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

                      With the government currently operating on 25 percent fewer dollars
                      than it needs to fund all of its obligations, Krugman said, the
                      eventual result will be the rollback of even supposedly inviolate
                      social programs. "You can't eliminate 25 percent of spending without
                      cuts into the big three: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But
                      you can't do that. So something has to happen. Will we go bankrupt? So
                      far the markets are in denial," he said. "There will come a moment when
                      the bond investors will rebel. The United States is going to do a Wile
                      E. Coyote run off a cliff, look down, and" � he made a cartoon-like
                      face of surprise � "poof!"

                      Krugman believes, he says, that the radical long-term plan of the Bush
                      administration is indeed to force a budget situation where the only
                      choice is to slash the Big Three, thus returning the U.S. government to
                      pre-Roosevelt days when the elderly made up a much larger percentage of
                      the poor population, and only the rich could afford good education and
                      had access to health care.>

                      http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/26_krugman.shtml
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