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When Democrats Lean Right, They Lose: A History Lesson

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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:14 PM
Original message
When Democrats Lean Right, They Lose: A History Lesson
When Democrats Lean Right, They Lose: A History Lesson
by Paul Rockwell

George Bush eats centrist Democrats for breakfast. Senator John Kerry is a centrist, and as Michael Moore puts it: "We cannot leave the 2004 election to the Democrats to screw it up."

Ever since the demise of the once-progressive Johnson administration in 1968, when a lawless war on Vietnam destroyed the hopeful war on poverty, centrist Democrats have blamed the misfortunes of the Democratic Party in national politics on excessive liberalism, on progressive politics that appear too radical for the general population. Centrists claim that only by moving the Party to the right, even to the point of co-opting nationalism and military postures of the Republicans, can Democrats regain the White House.

The centrist theory, so often repeated in media commentary, contradicts the historical record -- not only the record of three successive defeats in presidential elections from 1980 to 1988, when the party shifted to the right -- but the overall record of Democratic presidents from Roosevelt to Carter. Since 1932 Democratic presidential candidates have achieved five landslide victories, and all five landslides were created through progressive campaigns that identified the Democratic Party with movements for social reform. The four campaigns of Franklin Roosevelt and the landslide victory of Lyndon Johnson in 1964 were grand coalition campaigns. These great crusades did not dwell on the white middle-class. Nor did they fawn over lost Democrats. Instead they reached beyond the party establishment to the unemployed, to the poor, to the new, rising electorate of the times.

With only one telling exception, no Cold War Democratic candidate ever won a decisive majority of the popular vote. Truman got 49.5 percent in 1948; Kennedy got 49.9 percent in the squeaker of 1960. Carter got a bare majority over Ford in 1976, a result of public hostility over Watergate. The one candidate who did sweep the country was Lyndon Johnson, and he made support for civil rights central to his crusade for the Great Society. The great Democratic victories (Roosevelt and Johnson) were all progressive, highly ideological crusades against poverty and injustice.

History does not vindicate the viewpoint of the right-wing Democrats. The centrist theory is wrong, not only in terms of electoral results; it is also wrong in terms of those huge fiascos that brought down three Democratic presidents -- Truman, Johnson, and Carter. While fidelity of FDR to progressive causes kept him in the White House for four terms in a row, no Cold War Democratic president kept the White House beyond a single elected term. The policies and mistakes of Democrats in office set the conditions for subsequent elections. What did the presidents of one elected term -- Truman, Johnson, Carter -- do wrong in office? The answer to that question tends to discredit the centrist position. Every one-term Democratic president made right-wing errors that precipitated his own downfall and betrayed the liberal mandate that held the Democratic Party together. The fall of Truman in 1952, the humiliation of Lyndon Johnson in 1968, the defeat of Carter in 1980 -- great Democratic traumas -- were all direct results of right wing follies in office.


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0719-01.htm
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Gyre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. The DLC views it differently
And cite to Clinton as evidence that conservative dems are the only way to win in 2004 (or ever for that matter). Hence, the slaughter of Dean in Iowa and Kerry as their chosen candidate.

Gyre
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. The DLC cites Clinton as evidence for everything
They're a broken record who base their entire strategy on two Presidential victories in which their candidate failed to win a majority either time -- one in which there was a significant third-party challenge (Perot) and another in which the Republican candidate was essentially an also-ran (Dole).

In fact, the DLC-model could be cited as a primary reason for the exodus of the working class from the Democratic Party. Since the DLC would rather recruit affluent, socially-liberal segments of society while actively voicing their intention to abandon attempts to pursue the working class vote through progressive economic policies, the working class has gradually left the ranks of the Democrats over the past 25-30 years.

Of course, this also might have something to do with the Democrats' failure to stand up for unionization, considering that white men who belong to unions STILL vote decisively Democratic -- it's just that their numbers have dwindled to some 9% of the work force due to New Democrat complicity in enabling corporations to smash unions, or at the very least refusing to stand up for unions.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Not only Clinton.
Every Democratic President in the Twentieth Century, from Wilson to Carter, ran as a centrist. Only losers "ran left".
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. If you think that Roosevelt and Johnson were centrists you simply don't
know how liberal were their agendas. I'd give anything to wake up tomorrow with their so-called centrism emanating from the DNC. In fact, I suggest that Kerry go after the swing voters -- he can start by wooing the Nader voters ... and then he can go on to speak to the 50% of the electorate that doesn't vote because no one even pretends to speak to their concerns. There are so many untapped voters -- if Kerry had the right message he could win in a landslide. People are so hungry for someone to step out and LEAD!!!!
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. FDR and LBJ ran as centrists, regardless of their agendas.
I'm quite sure Kerry's agenda is a lot more liberal than his campaign rhetoric, too. But running to the base is a guaranteed way to lose an election. FDR ran on balancing the budget and propping up the nation's banks, not exactly liberal red meat; and LBJ ran mostly on Goldwater being a right-wing nut, which he was.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
22. FDR got reelected three times
after people knew that he stood for very liberal economic ideas.

LBJ's War on Poverty was very popular, and if his misplaced sense of pride hadn't kept him pursuing the Vietnam War, he would have been reelected.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 08:47 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. So let Kerry run center and get elected,
and then, if his liberal policies are enormously popular, he can run on them to get reelected. But he can't get reelected in 2004, so let's concentrate on getting him elected.
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Classical_Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. I think they care more about corporate America than winning
Dean had to be killed precisely because he was not using their formula and more scarily still had success at raising money.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. How was Dean "killed"?
People didn't vote for him in the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary. Where's the conspiracy?
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genius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you. This article is very true.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Partial Truth - FDR ran as budget balancer for first term - LBJ was
not far from Center - Huge Dem majority in both houses allowed party to overcome the "Southern Dem/GOP" cooperation that had destroyed the ability to get progressive laws passed since WW2.

But I agree that Dems going right wing would be a disaster - one which I would help since I would say screw the election as to my own vote.
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
5. some things are different this time
In 2000, Both Gore and Bush essentially ran as moderates. This time around, Kerry may also be running as a moderate, but Bush has shown himself to be a hard-right neocon, who's explicitly running on a pro-war, pro-religion, anti-gay platform.


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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
6. This is such bull.
The Presidential elections we've lost by landslides are the ones in which we ran left - most notably Mondale in 84 and McGovern in 72. The Presidential elections we've won, we ran center (which is running right in commondreamsspeak). You can't point to a single Presidential victory for the Democrats in the Twentieth Century in which the nominee ran to the Democratic base.

It works the same way for Republicans (Goldwater in 64 for example). Candidates who win appeal to the middle. For Democrats, that means "running right," like Clinton did. We don't always win that way, but we never win the other way.
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Modale and McGovern didn't lose so much because they were liberal --
but because they were fairly lackluster candidates facing (at the time) popular incumbents -- also the party had become too fragmented and polarized into separate identity politics. FDR and Johnson and to some extent Kennedy did indeed run to their base. I was alive in the 60s and I can tell you that the liberal agenda was the agenda of the democratic party. Advancing civil rights and medicare and the voters act and head start and the war on poverty were radical -- but then the Dems were sure about the rightness of their vision -- and knew how to stand on the bedrock of principles instead of the slippery slope of 'polling data.' Furthermore, does it matter that much if we win now, if we stand for little more than the right wing anyway. Hopefully the democratic party is something more "than social clubs in drag disguise" to quote the 60s Bard.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:50 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I disagree
Kennedy didn't run to the base, as you seem to acknowledge. By the time Johnson was elected, the center was ready for progressive politics because of the civil rights movement, as well as to honor the memory of JFK. People also remembered the Depression quite well and that aide to the needy helped pull people through it. It was a totally different time. Carter ran on telling the truth and being someone clean from DC politics. You just can't take a moment in time and slap it on every election that comes along. Times change. Running to the left won't remotely work, as we've seen for the last 24 years. And if you can't see the difference between the socialist left and the Democratic Center, take off your rose colored glasses.
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Just how far to the right to we have to go to win -- and if we do,
then pray tell, what have we won? I mean did I really need a democrat that I worked hard for to give us Nafta and so-called welfare reform and de-regulation, etc.? Perhaps we'll win elections with that right wing crap, but I seriously question what it is that we're winning. I personally have no doubt that there is 'liberal' base to be tapped if we had a candidate with the leadership and vision to boldly stand on the democratic party's history of progressive politics and offer people (who don't bother voting) real choices that might actually make a difference in their lives. The democratic party has been offering up only luke warm 'progressive' platitudes for so long -- and not delivering that I for one am embarrassed to tell people how we're going to deliver affordable health care, better schools, etc. I'm waiting for the candidate who has the moxy to get up and proudly wear the mantle LIBERAL and educate the public that all the good things they have come to expect from government was brought to them by Liberals. We allowed the right wing to demonize 'liberal' and we need to stand up and take it back. We've got to get back to our real base -- the working class, the poor, the disenfranchised, women, racial minorities, etc. -- and give them a reason to vote again.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. A) Running to the base is a trick that never works, for either party.
Edited on Tue Jul-20-04 03:31 PM by library_max
B) Nobody said that electing a Democrat to the Presidency was a magic pill that would cure all ills - ills like a Republican Congress, for example.

C) But surely you'll agree that we're better off with a Democrat in the White House than with a Republican. Bush years, Clinton years, which did you prefer?
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. I disagree -- the Repukes have consistently nursed their base.
They have managed to shift the political spectrum so far to the right that issues that would really affect people's lives are not even on the table anymore -- they were able to do this because democrats too ran away from the so called liberal positions. In my talks with real people, I don't believe that most have themselves shifted to the right -- they still want decent, affordable and reliable education for their kids, efficient transportation, environmental safeguards, decent wages, affordable health care, etc., etc. Sadly many have told me that neither party addresses their needs -- so why bother voting. I can point out all the nuanced differences between the parties -- and for most, they don't get excited. I think they've been let down by the dems too long -- to believe us anymore.

Of course, I prefer Clinton over Bush -- but personally I'm tired of the lesser of the two evils choice. Clinton really wasn't all that great. This is the last election that I'm going to work or vote that way -- if the democratic party doesn't want to be the progressive party anymore -- fine -- I'm joining one that is.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. It's a fallacy to think that the people you talk to are representative
of the electorate. We all tend to talk to people who are mostly like us.

Republicans have won only by running to center. That's why Bush made all that preposterous noise about "compassionate conservatism." The reason I think he has little chance in this election, despite having the money and the media on his side, is because he has lost all credibility to pretend that he's a centrist. His whole appeal pivots on the brash cowboy routine of sticking out his chin and pretending that he's always right, so he can't do much to soften his record. But you can see him trying, by making a big fuss over John McCain for example. Republican centrists like Giuliani and Schwarzeneggar are going to be featured at the convention. Anything Bush can do now to make himself look centrist, he'll do.
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Emillereid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. I am not that naive -- the people who are mostly like myself are
politically active, vote every time, etc. What you're calling the center is really quite a bit to the right. We have to shift the spectrum back to issues that in fact speak to people who no longer vote or who have been hookwinked by the repukes' 'compassionate conservatism.' We have to talk about real compassionate ideas that will make a difference in their lives. We have abandoned our progressive principles, got too involved in 'identity' politics and in so doing have 'lost' our way.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 11:39 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. When I heard Jim Hightower speak last night, he said that
Texas hadn't really turned Republican. What had happened was that the majority of people stopped voting because they felt that neither party cared about them. Only 27% of the population voted in the election that made Bushboy governor.

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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. And here again, the outright fantasy
that everybody who doesn't vote agrees with me.

Every actual study on the subject shows that people who don't vote split approximately the same on the right-to-left scale as people who do vote.

Jim Hightower is inspiring, but he understands diddley-squat about practical politics. Texas is utterly Republican, though there are a few Democratic spots in it.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Liberals at the time were bitterly disappointed in Kennedy
because he ran such a centrist campaign. It was pointed out that in the debates there was very little difference in the positions stated by Kennedy and Nixon - the main difference was in the quality of the presentation. You're probably thinking of speeches Kennedy gave after he got into office. Johnson ran mostly on Goldwater being a wingnut, which he was. FDR ran on balancing the budget and shoring up the nation's banks for his first term.
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Sugarbleus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:29 AM
Response to Original message
9. WooooooooooooHoooooooooooooooo LOVE IT!
Thanks for the post. That's what I'm talkin' bout!! Been in here arguing with others over these types of issues for a couple days.. Some dems just don't get it! I guess one has to have lived long enough to "get it". I get it!
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
21. All I know is that if we have to run to the right-sliding center to win...
... then we're all basically screwed anyways.

Whether or not it's historically true is debatable, as this thread obviously proves. Also, it's clear that one side isn't going to convince the other.

However, to focus on the reality of the situation as it affects each and every one of us, as opposed to the electoral games at play -- if we have to consistently move to the center in order to win elections as that center slides further and further to the right with each passing year, then we've already lost. The primary difference between the Democrats and Republicans ends up being that one offers a slightly slower course toward destruction, while the other runs toward it at breakneck speed.

Given that choice, I'll gladly take the slightly slower course. But it doesn't mean that I refuse to recognize it for what it is, and to call it out as such.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 08:51 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. The view from Pluto
is that the sun and the earth aren't very far apart.

The view from the earth indicates otherwise.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. And that has what to do with the price of tea in China???
You can produce all of the snappy one-liners you want to, library_max. The fact remains that so long as both parties represent corporate interests over people (as the Democrats have chosen to do over the past 25 years, helping to explain the way in which the working class has fled from the party and never looked back), we're headed on a path toward self-destruction.

Like I've said before -- when offered a choice between riding in a car travelling straight toward a cliff at 110 mph, and one meandering along the same course at 55, I'll choose the one going 55 every time. It's not a difficult choice. But it still doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the fact that the course overall is an erroneous one.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. Perspective.
Edited on Thu Jul-22-04 08:56 AM by library_max
If you'll look at the political history of the US, you'll see a pattern of losses and gains, two steps forward and one step back. Progress is a tough, slow process. Advances get made when sympathetic people in office find historic opportunities to move the ball forward - but this only happens when you get sympathetic people into office first. Nobody ever got to be President by promising to change the world, or even the country. They did it, if they did it, after they got into office.

But too many of our current progressives think that if they can't get everything they want right now, then the country is on a slow slide to "self-destruction." Never mind that most of the things we want are things that this country has never seen before. Never mind that this country survived through sweatshops, subjugation of women, the American holocaust, and even slavery, and that at worst only one of those things is threatening to come back.

The rich and powerful have always run this country. You want that to change? Well, so do I. But demanding seven impossible things before breakfast isn't going to get us what we want, and neither is pretending that the world will end if we don't get it soon enough.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. Where did I say I expected "seven impossible things before breakfast"?
I simply pointed out that, at least from where I stand and what I see, the course being offered by both major parties is a dangerous one, with the difference being primarily in degrees of danger -- which, I acknowledged, is more than enough reason to support one side over the other.

If you'll look at the political history of the US, you'll see a pattern of losses and gains, two steps forward and one step back. Progress is a tough, slow process. Advances get made when sympathetic people in office find historic opportunities to move the ball forward - but this only happens when you get sympathetic people into office first. Nobody ever got to be President by promising to change the world, or even the country. They did it, if they did it, after they got into office.

We've done this dance before. I tend to believe that the change often comes not from "sympathetic people at the top", but agitation at the bottom that becomes realized once slightly sympathetic people at the top realize it cannot be ignored any longer. The true power in a socio-political system always lies with the people, not with those at the top, because those at the top are fully dependent upon the cooperation of the masses in order for their power to be realized. It's just a shame that too many people (myself included, to a large degree) live in prisons of their own making rather than realizing their individual and collective power.

But too many of our current progressives think that if they can't get everything they want right now, then the country is on a slow slide to "self-destruction." Never mind that most of the things we want are things that this country has never seen before. Never mind that this country survived through sweatshops, subjugation of women, the American holocaust, and even slavery, and that at worst only one of those things is threatening to come back.

Are they really? Mostly what I look at are simply repeating versions of the same general themes. Elevation of competition over cooperation. Glorification of selfishness over selflessness. What real difference is there between the glorification of psychopathic personalities like Jack Welch today as compared to the elevation of the likes of J. Pierpoint Morgan and Andrew Carnegie a century ago? The elevation of global militarism within our society is a relatively recent phenomenon of the last 50-55 years -- but there are common parallels that can be traced through the rise of practically every major power throughout history. Perhaps what I look for isn't necessarily policies that have never been realized before, but rather a shift in attitudes and values that has never been realized before in Western Civilization (but existed in many others that were overrun by so-called Western Civilization).

The rich and powerful have always run this country. You want that to change? Well, so do I. But demanding seven impossible things before breakfast isn't going to get us what we want, and neither is pretending that the world will end if we don't get it soon enough.

The rich and powerful have not always run this country as much as the ethos of greed, selfishness and exploitation embraced by them has done. I hardly claim to be pretending when I state that I believe that the world as we know it will end if this is not soon stopped. We're currently in the midst of the biggest mass extinction since the dinosaurs -- but this one is largely due to the actions of those heading Western so-called civilization. Our air and water sources are becoming increasingly degraded due to our industrial processes and single-minded obsession with "increasing production" and "economic growth". Exploitative processes have simply evolved from outright slavery to the wrecking of "developing nations" and their cultures by forcing mass industrialization upon them under the mantle of "globalization". Arable soil suitable for agricultural use is diminishing at an alarming rate, one that will only accelerate as the global climate crisis intensifies due to our unwillingness to re-examine our ways.

You're perfectly correct in stating that it's a matter of perspective. From my perspective, we're reaching a crisis point. I would be dishonest if I yielded to portraying it as anything but that.
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Points.
Historically, your "bottom-up" model of progress is a trick that never works. Abolitionism had been around for over 100 years, got nowhere until Lincoln got into office. Populism had been around for decades, got nowhere until FDR got into office.

Your case against historical progress (we're still ruled by competition and selfishness, etc.) works only when you pull it into realms so abstract that everything is a matter of opinion. As for others who were overrun by Western "Civilization," you're talking about pre-industrial tribal peoples. Do you really want to return to pre-industrial tribal society? Do you want to hunt your food and make your own clothes by hand? I know I don't.

As for the environment, you do know that the air and water have been getting cleaner over the last few decades, right? As for mass extinctions, the world has survived those before, regardless of the cause. I'm not saying it's not bad, just that it's not apocalyptic. As for arable soil, we get more crops out of less nowadays.

Alarmism does not serve our cause. It just makes us look ridiculous to the general electorate.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Counterpoints...
Historically, your "bottom-up" model of progress is a trick that never works. Abolitionism had been around for over 100 years, got nowhere until Lincoln got into office. Populism had been around for decades, got nowhere until FDR got into office.

Like I said before, we've engaged in this dance numerous times. You act as if the efforts of those who started "fringe movements" like abolition and populism had nothing to do with its eventual success, that they came around simply due to the act of one single person. To that, I say bollocks.

Your case against historical progress (we're still ruled by competition and selfishness, etc.) works only when you pull it into realms so abstract that everything is a matter of opinion. As for others who were overrun by Western "Civilization," you're talking about pre-industrial tribal peoples. Do you really want to return to pre-industrial tribal society? Do you want to hunt your food and make your own clothes by hand? I know I don't.

Are the values promoted by a society really abstracts, or do they have something to do with the way that a society functions? Hell, I'd say that a lot of what you see as far as gang violence and involvement in the drug trade is simply their way of following the larger values promoted within our society regarding competition and selfishness. The primary difference being, if a corporate suit orders the dumping of toxic waste into a river of a third-world country that supplies drinking water for a nearby town, he's hailed as a visionary for increasing stock value. If a gangbanger shoots a rival in order to solidify control over the local black market, he's a thug.

Are you following me yet, or am I still being too abstract?

As for the environment, you do know that the air and water have been getting cleaner over the last few decades, right?

Where? In previously industrialized countries? Of course. That's because we shipped all our degradation to the developing world. That's called "globalization". You do know that clean drinking water supplies on earth are actually DECREASING, right?

As for mass extinctions, the world has survived those before, regardless of the cause. I'm not saying it's not bad, just that it's not apocalyptic.

You're right. The world will bounce back. Humans will become extinct. Therefore, it seems that although such a scenario isn't apocalyptic for the planet in the long run, it's QUITE apocalyptic for humans.

As for arable soil, we get more crops out of less nowadays.

Fact: Crops need topsoil to grow. Fact: Current industrial agricultural practices are destroying topsoil at an alarming rate (not to mention contaminating freshwater sources with chemicals). Fact: Topsoil can only be generated at a rate of something like an inch every 1,100 years. You can't create something out of nothing. Once the topsoil's gone, it's gone. You do the math on this one.

Alarmism does not serve our cause. It just makes us look ridiculous to the general electorate.

Oh, yes -- the electorate. We wouldn't want to do anything to ever upset or disturb them. It's all happy faces and good times ahead. :puke:

All sarcasm aside, I realize you're speaking in a complete "electoral" sense here, as you couch all of your comments. But there are just times when we (as people, not as party representatives) have to be willing to step out of the electoral box and be willing to tell the unpleasant truths, if we ever want to truly address them.

Or do we ever want to address them? :shrug:
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library_max Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-23-04 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #32
34. Well, you started the dance, not I.
And, like you, I am revisiting it not so much for your sake as for the sake of those listening. And I don't pretend that Lincoln invented abolitionism or that FDR invented populism - I said that they provided the real-world results of those movements. The ideas you're talking about are already around and being discussed among Democrats. We don't need Kerry to invent them, but we need him and a lot more Democrats in office before we will have any chance of enacting any of them. And it doesn't help us get Democrats into office to attack them on grounds of ideological purity, or bully them to "run left."

I'm no happier about street gangs and corporate pollution than you are, but when I look at the feudalism, the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, kings with divine rights, the Industrial Revolution, and the two world wars, I still say that things are better now. There has been progress, though a lot more progress remains to be made. Fundamental human nature hasn't changed? Well, it isn't gonna. We'll have to work around that.

Humans will become extinct, huh? Do you have a timetable on that? I guess I was 'way off base about you being an alarmist . . .
:eyes: :eyes: :eyes: :eyes: :eyes: :eyes: :eyes:

Regarding the electoral box, this is a thread about the advisability of John Kerry and other national Democratic candidates running to the left instead of to the center. So I do not apologize for anchoring my responses in practical electoral politics - that is what we are supposedly talking about.
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BaysideLiberal Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 09:47 AM
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29. I agree
first post
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 11:16 PM
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33. I'd look to more recent history
Throughout the 90's, Democrats tried to run to the right- and they lost the House and Senate. Gore tried to run to the center-right, got nowhere and then when he turned up the populist heat, his numbers soared. In 2002, they tried to play Bush lite, and got a shelacking.

It's amazing to me that many in the Democratic party still haven't gotten a clue about this- we WILL lose by running to the right. Why? Because it looks like the party is weak and doesn't stand for anything. For all the labels people like to throw around, the bottom line is that progressive issues and WINNING issues- think about it. Go down the list.

If Dems would just grow a collective spine and stand up for their former ideals (they're going to be called LIBERAL anyway, regardless) and nationalize the election based on their contrast with the lunatic right, they'd win back both Congress and the White House, hands down. If thet fail to do so, it will be yet another prescription for defeat.
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