Member since: Wed Jun 20, 2012, 02:49 AM
Number of posts: 11,627
Number of posts: 11,627
Posted by merrily | Sat Nov 22, 2014, 06:42 AM (0 replies)
Between them, Roosevelt and Truman won an astonishing five Presidential elections in a row and had Democrats winning House and Senate seats for decades.
DLC founding member Clinton, helped by Perot, won before most voters had heard of the DLC or were aware of any schism in the Party (Many still are not.)
DLC founding member Gore lost (or won, depending on your perspective), but not by a landslide, either way, shall we say.
DLC founding member Lieberman couldn't make it deep into the primary.
Senate New Democrat Caucus founding member, Kerry lost.
Obama, who did not mention his New Democrat status until after the election and ran to DLC founding member Hillary's left won the primary and the general.
Still, the New Democrats took over the Party. And the Party seldom, if ever, has done worse than it did in 2010 and this month.
Yet, we are told again and again, that the only electible Democrats are New Democrats. Go figure.
Posted by merrily | Fri Nov 21, 2014, 07:47 AM (1 replies)
"liberal" means--and that is complicated by the fact that we are getting more global: "Liberal" means something very different to someone from abroad than it does to a 1960's hippie. And what a1960's liberal thought was further right than what liberals before McCarthy thought. Today, a lot of people simply think it's something like a synonym for "Democrat."
"Progressive" is another word that seems to mean different things. In 2008, both Obama and Hillary referred to their policies as "progressive." The founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, Will Marshall, was a DLC founder who signed the PNAC letter, urging Bush to invade Iraq. http://www.publiceye.org/pnac_chart/pnac.html I don't think most people who are calling themselves progressives on DU mean the same thing by that word as Hillary and Marshall do. Just a hunch.
Basically, I think we may need a new word, one that will mean the same thing to European DUers as it means to USians and one that distinguishes the policies of the Republican left (who founded the Progressive Party) from those of Democratic left.
The policies of Teddy Roosevelt, apart from his racism, were indeed ahead of their time before women got the vote. Today, not so much. But the Will Marshall/DLC brand of progressivism doesn't go as far as Teddy on all things. Teddy was adamantly against monopolies, like the ones Disney and Comcast have become. You don't see a lot of that from Third Wayers.
Posted by merrily | Sat Nov 15, 2014, 06:01 AM (0 replies)
Sadly, that unfortunate attempt has been rather successful.
New Democrats recognize that they are not traditional Democrats. Hence, they called themselves "New Democrats," rather than simply Democrats. In so doing, they were saying, in effect, "We're different from all the Democrats who have gone before us. So, please don't confuse us with the likes of FDR, HST, LBJ and RFK, or even Carter."
At the same time, though, they, of course, wanted the votes of the Democratic base. So, they have attempted to refine "liberal" so that traditional Democrats are considered the far left. That makes the center right the norm for Democrats, instead of the center right.
I don't see "liberal" as the direct opposite of Third Way. I see "traditional Democrat" as the direct opposite of Third Way. I am a traditional Democrat.
In the day of traditional Democrats, like FDR, HST, LBJ and RFK, the far left was socialistic, quasi-anarchistic, "tune in, turn on, drop out, etc. (Think, as to FDR, the Hollywood crowd that got blacklisted after McCarthy, and, as to LBJ, Bill Ayers, Timothy Leary, et al. The ones that made the WWII generation go bonkers and turned some of them Republican.)
FDR, HST and LBJ were not liberals. A PBS program I saw a while back said that FDR had actually run to the right of Hoover. Of course, you can't trust PBS anymore, but, deceptively or not, that view was attributed to pundits who commented in the days of the campaign. Hell, FDR even imposed a hefty war tax to pay for WWII. Yes, he taxed rich people more, but everyone had to pay up. That's not liberal or Third Way or Republican, just traditionally Democratic. (Of course, I am traditionally Democratic only on the domestic side, and not all of that. Not at all a fan of Dixiecrats, internment, the Cold War, etc.)
HST was a Missouri farm boy who attended Sunday School and began public school only at age 8, who was so desperate to join the military that he actually memorized the eye chart so he could cheat on his physical exam! Although he integrated the military, earlier, he had also joined groups that he thought would give him votes, including the WCC.
He did not learn of the Manhattan Project until after FDR died, but used the atom bomb twice on a nation that would have been defeated anyway. With people barely over WWII, he started the Korean War without a vote of Congress. Cold Warrior par excellence as well. That was no liberal!
FDR was elected four times and Truman once, despite sinking approval ratings, Strom's challenge and a Progressive Party* challenger. (HST, of course, retired undefeated, supposedly because Bess wanted to get the hell out of DC. For that matter, HST didn't think much of DC, either.)
Strom's "third" party challenge took away many Southern votes from HST at a time when California was still going Republican in most Presidential elections and Democratic Presidential candidates really needed Southern votes to win. (California did go for Truman, I believe, but not by much.) So, yeah, it was a squeaker, but HST did win, making it five times in a row for Democratic Presidents. Those five consecutive wins were not the work of some leftist fringe of the Democratic Party of that day. Traditional Democrats, and, as to HST, maybe even some Republicans, "built that."
After Truman, of course, you had Ike, a World War II hero whom some Democrats had tried to run against Truman in 1948! And, on the Democratic side both times, you had Adlai Stevenson, a brilliant and good man, but not charismatic to most voters of the day and no match for Ike's name recognition and popularity. And that's what it took to break the Democrat's winning streak at the top of the ticket. (Who knows how much bipartisanship may have been involved in that election? Democrats were already going Cold War on steroids and some of them had wanted to run Ike themselves in 1948.)
Read between the lines of JFK's speech accepting the nomination of the Liberal Party for President. He's almost defensive about it. Clearly, he needed every vote he could get, running as, not only a Catholic, but an Irish Catholic, after a long, theretofore unbroken string of WASP males. "No ethnics, including Irish, need apply."
But JFK's speech cleverly and very carefully qualifies exactly what he is accepting, even as he appears to be complimenting liberals. ("If 'liberal' means XYZ, then I'm proud to be a liberal." Implied: "and only then. None of that socialist stuff." )
On MTP (MTP ran the clip on the 50th anniversary of his assassination), while running for President, JFK mentioned that Democrats had saved American capitalism (something he should know about, given his father's role in helping write New Deal legislation so that Wall Street sharks like Joe would be reined in by the new federal securities laws and the new SEC, so ordinary folks could have confidence in Wall Street again).
LBJ also won an election, even though the Southern states had already started going red in a very dramatic way. Also, many among the older generation of the Party were disgusted by the druggies and draft dodgers that their kids seemed to be turning into; and the liberal wing of the Party and other Americans opposed him over the war. Liberals sure "didn't build that" victory, either. Traditional, mainstream Democrats did.
Southern Sunday School teacher and entrepreneur Carter was big on civil rights, but he sure kept that deregulation ball rolling, the one begun by Nixon and continued by every president Democratic and Republican, to Clinton and Obama. Very little remains of the New Deal and the Great Society remain, besides the "Third Rail" programs. Carter is still proud of the deregulation he and his Democratic Congress achieved. Carter is a humanitarian; and I greatly admire him for that. I also admire him more than I can say for not starting a Middle Eastern conflagration over the hostages, just to show Ted Koppel how much spine the Oval Office had. Was Carter an economic or "big government" liberal, though? I don't really know.
In any event, FDR, HST, JFK and LBJ were simply Democratic Presidents, as what the Democratic Party stood for was understood at the time by rank and file voters. Their domestic programs, fiscal, union, equal rights, etc. was what ordinary Democrats thought the Democratic Party stood for.
The mantra of my extended family can be summed up by my mom's response, when my then-teenaged sister asked my parents to vote Republican in one Presidential: "Vote Republican? No, we don't vote Republican. Social Security. Unions. We don't vote Republican." That was the Democratic Party I thought I was espousing, the traditional Democratic Party that took care of people like my family. Then, not so very long ago, I learned about "New Democrats."
Liberals of the 20th century were way to the left of FDR, HST, JFK and LBJ. During the first half of the 20th century, before McCarthy, they were attending Communist Party meetings, even joining up. During LBJ's day, they were throwing bombs into the Pentagon john, etc. Not voting at all in protest.
That's not most people whom the Third Wayers falsely label the far left of the Democratic Party today. That's certainly not me. I am not a New Democrat, but I am not a liberal. I would never have been brave enough to walk at the militia, like the Kent State kids or break into the Pentagon, like Bill Ayers, or go to Vietnam, like Jane Fonda, or even go to jail. I am simply a traditional Democrat on the domestic side (sans the heinous stuff). Just an ordinary hard working, pro-union, pro equal rights, law abiding citizen (though I may be willing to say "fuck that" if a revolution starts) who literally loves voting in every election, even if I have to write in candidates. Just a garden variety, traditional Democrat. (Sorry for the long reply: when meanings of words get twisted, attempting actual communication gets much more difficult for me.)
*not to be confused with the confusing way that the term "progressive" is used today.
Posted by merrily | Sat Nov 15, 2014, 01:55 AM (0 replies)
New Democrats do share some big goals with Republicans. For example:
http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/05/10/obama-packs-debt-committee-with-supportes-of-social-security-benefit-cuts-and-privatization/ (note Paul Ryan, of whom few had heard at this point).
It's probably not so that the editor of Harvard Law Review, a man who has been in and around politics most of his adult life, is simply incapable of seeing things that are blatantly obvious to most DUers.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, people hit what they aimed at.
Posted by merrily | Fri Nov 14, 2014, 10:35 PM (1 replies)
Posted by merrily | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 02:50 PM (1 replies)
Time to stop freaking out over the election and start healing so we can get to work on 2016 ASAP. Besides, it's Friday. And, it's Robin Williams (RIP)
Posted by merrily | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 12:45 PM (1 replies)
This is not news.
They were in all political parties throughout the entire history of the US, including the Democratic and Republican Parties; and they still are.
Republican Lincoln ran originally on barring slavery in the territories that were then not yet states, while Democrat Douglas was willing to allow the heinous institution into the territories. Therefore, the secessionist states went mostly Democratic. However, racists continued to be in all political parties
Democrats like Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman, JFK, LBJ, RFK, Carter and other members of their party very knowingly risked the dominance of their political party in order to try to do the correct thing. As a result, Democrats did lose secessionist states and therefore their political dominance. After LBJ, one can trace the loss of dominance as incumbents in 1964 were gradually eliminated for the most part, with their seats going mostly to Republicans. (The famous photo of Truman, holding a newspaper with the headline "Dewey wins" resulted from a 3rd party challenge to the Presidency by a Southerner, in retaliation for Truman's integrating the military via Executive Order, so LBJ knew exactly what the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act might do to US politics.)
About the only thing that allowed Democrats to elect a President after the secessionist states went red was primarily California. It had been going Republican in Presidential elections finally woke the fuck up to the fact that Republicans were no longer a noble-ish party and started giving its electoral votes to Democrats. That somewhat compensated for the loss of Texas's electoral votes and gave Democrats at least a fighting chance at the Oval Office*.
All of the US, especially the secessionist states, but not only them, has a shameful past. And racism continues everywhere in America, among some members of all political parties. However, the party that has done most, after Emancipation, to get rid of racist laws is the Democratic Party. Many Democrats either joined the Party or remained in it precisely because of that. And, very obviously, Democrats were the party in which Democrats like Chisholm, Sharpton, Jackson and Obama ran for President. Doing more than eliminating racist laws and enforcing voting rights legislation is not within the power of a political party.
Recently, Republicans have been trying to catch up somewhat on shedding a racist and xenophobic image because they analyzed demographics and realized that cannot win without minority votes. Democrats did it when they knew it would cost them votes, maybe the entire South. For me, that's very significant.
Any implication that Democrats, as a Party today, are more racist than any other political party, or for that matter, any other group, should not stand unrefuted.
*With the exception of Lieberman, founding members of the DLC/Third Way/ center right wing of the Democratic Party were in Southern states, and were mostly those who then had Presidential aspirations. I don't think that is coincidental.
Posted by merrily | Fri Nov 7, 2014, 03:43 AM (0 replies)
Funny, when Dems win elections, they don't seem to look quite as closely at what voters "wanted." Then, we just got a lot of posts about how Democrats don't represent just Democrats, but all Americans (Duh? So do Republicans, but elections are SUPPOSED to have consequences. That's probably why we have them. Republicans sure do get that when they win.)
Democrats know what goes into how people vote: billions of dollars worth of TV ads. Messaging skills that the allegedly dumb Republicans seem to nail while the allegedly smart Democrats never seem to match that skill. Corporate media. Discouragement with the status quo translating to a change election. Low info voters. And on and on. They know better than any of us that the results of an election do not equal necessarily equal what Americans want for their lives.
Not buying any cop outs. "Along Came Jones," an old Western that On Demand featured a while back, taught me something: You can assume all day long why people act they way that they do. However, that is speculation. Very often, you can really tell what someone actually aimed at simply by observing which target they hit.
Posted by merrily | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 07:15 AM (0 replies)
Falchuk got just over 3% of the vote, which is what he was aiming for. I am sure he and his Party would have welcomed a greater percentage, but he got what he needed.
Three Green Rainbows ran, though none for Governor. http://www.green-rainbow.org/
All lost, of course. (I'm embarrassed that I did not even know the Green Rainbows had sued the Secretary of State!)
Just as a gut reaction, not based on research, ballot questions seemed to go the way of those who spent a lot of money on TV ads.
I voted the opposite of the way I thought the big ad buy spenders seemed to want me to vote. I did hesitate some about automatic tax indexing, though. I think accountability is important, though perhaps it is more of an illusion than anything else.
And, again, our very own Scott Brown lost in New Hampshire. That makes me smile every time I think of his cynical, Koch loving smirk.
Posted by merrily | Wed Nov 5, 2014, 05:42 AM (1 replies)