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Is the choice really 'talk centrist and win or talk progressive and lose'?

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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:15 PM
Original message
Is the choice really 'talk centrist and win or talk progressive and lose'?
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 05:19 PM by jpgray
Does it really come down to that sort of exclusive choice? This is what I've been wrestling with, it seems, for the past four years. There seems to be a profound turn to centrist rhetoric among supposedly 'liberal' politicians. You can see it with Kerry, you recently saw it with Obama--they give Bush far too much leeway and are too weak in their criticisms. Regardless if you think this is necessary strategy-wise or not, you have to admit that it's the case--the criticisms and rhetoric could be far more powerful and accurate if our candidates wished to make it that way.

So why don't they do so? I *think* they are afraid that as a result they will lose. Why do they think they will lose? Often people tout various polls that show the American public to be in tune with liberal or progressive or Democratic stances on the issues. There seems to be the tacit implication that if Democrats espoused these stances more whole-heartedly, they would start to win over more of the electorate.

I see why they don't buy that, because I don't see recent evidence for it. Those who espouse progressive values strongly and wholeheartedly have a frightening tendency to lose in national elections and in primaries for the same. DARE to advocate cutting the defense budget, or even indicate the obvious fact that we won't always have the strongest military, and the pundits (and therefore the public) will tear you apart, even though such cuts will be necessary to maintain tax levels and balance the budget. DARE to question the tax cut, and you WILL be bulldozed by the media and the public when it comes to voting time. Does directly and strongly touting a liberal or progressive platform lead to losing when the votes come in? Or does it simply lead to all-out attack in the media? Or does it lead to neither directly, and we just haven't had the right candidate?

Are Kerry and others right to go for the centrist strategy? I still believe that a wholly progressive campaign, properly managed, could sweep the country up and win in a landslide--but evidence for that belief doesn't seem to exist, or at least I can't find it. I don't believe, however, that the 50% that don't vote are waiting for anyone who espouses these values--time and time again, candidates meeting that description have been there to vote for, and this 50% does what identifies them in the first place: they don't vote.
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Abe Linkman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
1. Too much corporate money in politics is why.
Both parties are too beholden to corporate interests, and that is why, in my opinion, few politicians with progessive ideas can ever get elected to anything much beyond local politics.
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AirAmFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
22. Yeah! For career Dem pols, it's not about winning or losing, it's about
staying in the game, about keeping your corporate pimps happy. They'd rather LOSE in November and keep control of the Democratic Party than WIN and empower insurgent forces like Dean's, Sharpton's, and the new voters Michael Moore and others are bringing in. Too much progressive talk and corporate sugar daddies will drop them. This is exactly what Tom Frank and others have been saying about the Democratic party. Whorish Democratic politicians have abandoned their "kitchen table" appeals to ordinary working people and allowed Republicans to win over working people with the phoney populism of guns, gays, and God.

We're stuck with the current state of the party until Election Day. But then it's time to think about new ways to finance the Democratic Party and Democratic political candidates, more like Dean's support base than like Lieberman's.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. That isnt even remotely true.
The politicans care only about winning. They have dedicated thier lives to winning. They appease corporations because MONEY WINS ELECTIONS. You need to accept that fact and understand that as long as it is the case politicans will need money or they wont be politicans anymore.

The people in power now are in power because corporate money wont elections for democrats. Until you magically change that condition you will have to deal with the fact that people in power in politics will be beholden to sources of money.
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AirAmFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #30
40. Not all political offices are elective
As long as they keep winning PRIMARIES, Democratic politicians' careers stay alive. In between losing general elections, pols who "behave" can be appointed to political jobs at lower levels of government, jobs within the Party itself, or jobs with allied organizations and associations.

Established politicians FEAR the unknown of greater participation in politics by ordinary people who have no single agenda. This is the explanation why Democrats often go along with undemocratic election laws and procedures. For example, same-day-voter registration raises voter turnout by between three and 15 percent in Minnesota and a few other states that have it. Career politicians often oppose this reform because it tends to make election outcomes less predictable, and gives the Jesse Venturas of the world a real shot at winning..
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #40
44. You paint an unfair and erroneus picture of democrats.
You are just demonizing them. Democrats are not trolls who live under a bridge. To a man they all want to think they are helping people.

People who lose elections do not do well in politics. You are missing a very important point. If the democrats didnt win any more elections, they wouldnt have a party, they would have no resources and they would have no power. They exist solely to get people elected, it is why people give them money and why people give them power.

The fear thing is a little true. People who make decisions with big consequences tend to be fairly risk aversive. The more you have to lose the less risks you tend to take. So politicians are very cautious of change and are very risk aversive.

even if it seems that trending more liberal could result in more votes this year, there is still a strong urge to stick with what has worked at least a little bit in the past and stay centrists and stay business. So the party is only very reluctantly moving a little liberal until they have actual results that convince them that it isnt so risky to be liberal. They to see liberal election results for them to take the chance of destroying the party.
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AirAmFan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #44
56. I'm glad we've reached at least some common ground. I'm not talking about
ALL Democratic politicians. There's a spectrum of financial dependency on a few big single-issue donors. At the progressive end lie Howard Dean and Congressman John Conyers of Detroit, who's consistently come out with the lowest average contribution in studies of political contributions since the 1960s.

My views on democracy and financing politics have been shaped recently by hearing Tom Frank talk about his book, "What's the Matter with Kansas", and by reading Matthew Crenson's "Downsizing Democracy: How America Sidelined its Citizens and Privatized its Public".
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. I care more about the walk than the talk.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Me too, but the talk gets many people here upset
And having both a good walk and a good talk is better than having just one or the other.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Nobody cares how you walk unless you win and are in office.
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maggrwaggr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
4. F911 just passed the $100 million mark
I don't think it did this because he walked on eggshells and was worried about pissing off RW America
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Going to a movie and voting for someone are two different things
But you're right in that it shows that people are at least INTERESTED in hearing the other side of this story. The Democrats haven't as a group really provided that other side, although some individuals within it have done quite well.
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never cry wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #4
26. A politician must stay above the fray
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:19 PM by steviet_2003
Have you ever heard bunnypants take a direct shot at Kerry? Hell no, he has plenty of surrogates to do it for him, rush, insanity, drudge, you name it. MM is Kerry's surrogate, as is Move On, AAR and a handful of others. A pol who calls names comes across as an immature whiner. Going positive seemed to work much better for Edwards than Dean's tactics when it came down to actually getting people to vote for him. (No offense to the good Doctor, what he did in starting this progressive snowball rolling can NEVER be forgotten.)

Here's from a thread I recently started:

The Kerry strategy is based on polls showing more than 90 percent of voters firmly aligned with one party or another, with as little as 5 percent up for grabs. Kerry's polling shows that those "persuadable" voters don't like negative politics. They give Bush poor approval ratings, but they still aren't comfortable enough with Kerry to vote against the incumbent.

"Swing and independent voters are very much up for grabs. Kerry has to make the sale, and he has a long way to go to make the sale," said Harold Ickes, who helped run President Clinton's re-election convention in 1996.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archi...

edited to add the DU thread link: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kerry speaks progressive policies using moderate tones.
Some folks don't appreciate it because they want the left to speak in red meat tones in response to the right's use of that style of rhetoric.
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
8. If You Don't Win... You Can't Govern...
That being said we need to expose Bush's lies but in a way that is palatable to the masses... More is sorrow than in disgust....
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. It did, and thats what matters.
Polticians follow the votes. And people on this forum seem to refuse to aknowledge that since Reagan, liberals have had a bad track record running as liberals. Clinton won the whitehouse as a centrist, and until now the trend has continued.

Businesses got power not because the democrats are evil, but because well funded democrats won elections and poorly funded dems lost elections.

The progressive movement can do one thing that will very quickly and easily change the direction of the democratic party, we need to make our values count in votes. We need to get democrats and especially liberal democrats elected. If our ideas get them elected, they will adopt them very quickly.

It is so bloody simple, our system responds to votes. To change the system you have to change the votes. No amount of whining or moralizing will change that.
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Blue Wally Donating Member (974 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
10. To some degree.........
The Democratic party was too successful during the 1933-1980 timeframe.

We won all of the major battles, particularly in the economic area. Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and civil rgihts are not going to be turned back.

The party was once the leader on national security. This was fractured during the Vietnam War.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
11. I know this is pointless...
I've said this a million times if I've said it once, both here and elsewhere over a long period of time. Few listen. It's something a lot of progressives don't want to hear -- hell, I don't want to hear it either. I'm not going to go into detail because it all seems like wasted effort, but here it is, in a nutshell.

Radical progressive change of the variety desired by some has happened very few times in history. To make matters worse from the progressive point of view, the United States has institutional barriers in the form of a legally enshrined party system that makes that kind of change even harder. Worse still, the relationship between monied interests and political power is so strong that not a single shift in that party structure has ever occurred in this nation's history without a concurrent shift in the economic foundations of the country forcing those monied interests into realignment. (One could argue a possible exception with regard to the Civil War era, but that's a tangent that could take a book to explain.)

That's the history we're working against. It has never been a matter of sending the right message to voters or potential voters. The same model has dominated American society since its foundation, when voter participation approached 80%-90%.

What has taken place is progression in small steps. That's all the system will bear unless some catastrophic social or economic circumstance breaks the system down so that it can be rebuilt. (Think Great Depression or civil war. No matter how bad we think we have it right now, it has not come close to being that bad for the vast majority of Americans. And, the great leaps all took place on the heals of some similar scenario.) The Civil Rights Act -- indeed most of the Great Society initiatives -- were the culmination of over a century of political battles won in small steps. LBJ's g-g-grandmother wouldn't have been the first to urge a Civil Rights Act.

That said, we are approaching the breaking point, one similar to what took place near the end of the 19th and into the early 20th century. If it is not effectively dealt with, as it wasn't then, we may yet have our next great depression and an opportunity for massive change ... if that's what we truly want.

So, as sort of an oblique answer to your question, there are two basic choices for potential national leaders: Play the system (talk centrist) and encourage change in a slow and steady manner or tear the system down and start again. I do not discount the possibility of the latter, but I do question whether those who advocate it truly understand the potential consequences of what they desire, or even how to go about it.

I'll put on my flame suit now. :-)

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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. And even if you feel the system must be torn down,
until that happens you must work within it. That is the mistake of the progressives up to this point. They see how sour the system, but do not know how to go about changing it, and in the mean time they let thier frustration push them out of the system only strengthening thier marginalization.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. Exactly... n/t
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Don't worry--I've made several long, banal threads on the subject :-)
The only problem with that theory is that in many ways, when we elected a Democrat to high office by his centrist rhetoric (Clinton), the country simply continued its march to the right. Media deregulation continued, welfare was 'reformed', etc. Good things happened too, such as a slow balancing of the budget, but the Clinton administration was centrist in word and deed, not just in word. It's unclear to me that they brought us any distance away from where we were already going and are continuing to go now. They surely slowed things down, and maybe that's enough reason to vote.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. Clinton...
Well, Clinton wasn't exactly the ideal person to make the theory work. In many ways his centrist rhetoric matched his ideology, or at least the one he chose to utilize as President. Kerry certainly isn't as liberal as the right would like centrists to believe, but his voting record indicates he is more liberal than Clinton. Anyone who has spent any time studying rhetoric can see the way Kerry picks and chooses his phrases for maximum appeal. I don't know why some think (not referring to anyone specific, just a general observation) that right-wingers are the only ones who moderate their tone in order to push their true agenda.

Regardless, I should add that in the long run, I'm really more concerned about Congress than I am the President. Part of the reason Bush has been able to run roughshod over this country for the last four years is because he's the leader of the party that also controls Congress outright. The initial steps in making change take place at other levels of government than the President. Certainly the President can move things, i.e. push his own agenda, but without Congress, and in some cases State legislatures, to back him up, he's not as free to do all as he might like. This did hurt Clinton on some things.

I don't know what Kerry will do quite frankly. I hope he does well, and I think he has potential. If at least one house of Congress goes to the Dems, he has an even better chance. The theory of slow change is by no means perfect, but it's what we've got, unless, as I said, we tear the whole building down and start over.

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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:03 PM
Response to Original message
14. Read Thomas Frank's new book and get back to me
No that is not the only choice.
Republicans certainly haven't been talking to the center, they've been talking to the fanatics and winning.
Anti-abortion
Anti-homosexual
Anti-liberal
Anti-progressive.

Isn't it about time to give them a taste of their own medicine?
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thats funny, I thought Bush ran as a compassionate conservative.
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:05 PM by K-W
Republicans run very centrist. Bus is still running centrist, even after one of the most radical administrations of all time.

They run publically centrist, yet at the same time they appeal to racists, fundementalists, and bigots and the media never call them on their hypocrisy.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Right--'no nation building, no arrogant foreign policy, lockbox' etc.
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:08 PM by jpgray
His campaign rhetoric in 2000 consisted of a series of centrist policies that he violated in every way once he started governing.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. you know what Ive been thinking
maybe Kerry can do the same thing, go partisan once he wins.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. That's my hope as well
Clinton was far superior to his Republican bookends, but he governed a little too centrist for my liking. Kerry is going to have a lot to fix when he is elected, and when Iraq, the bad economic policies and the other messes Bush has created come down on his head, he will be in serious political trouble. I hope he takes a 'damn the torpedoes, straight ahead!' approach and governs as far to the left as Bush did to the right. :)
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. well Kerry is more liberal than Clinton by far in my opinion
I like Kerry as a person better than Clinton as well, having Kerry in the white house is a very nice prospect no matter what some say, I personally admire the man a lot.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. It will depend on the media and public opinion and congress
The republicans won a small coup using manipulative tactics and superior resources. They set thier sites on beating clinton no matter what it took, and that severely limited what clinton could even think about doing.

If Kerry wins, but the progressive movement loses momentum we will see another clinton presidency with a liberal whose hands are tied behind his back, this will piss off progressives and weaken the movement more potentially leading to another 2000 election, where liberal voters are suprressed or marginalized into a third party.
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
24. To some of the public they run centrist, agreed
but to some of the public they don't (as you point out) that is, to the racists, fundamentalists and bigots.


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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. Right, which disproves your point.
You claimed that they won the election running as radicals. Thier platform and campaign message were very centrist, centrist rhetoric won the election for them.

The radicals are loyal to the republican party because they know that the rhetoric is just rhetoric and the rhetoric is full of code words and tricky phrasing that give the radicals a different message than the political center.
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #32
35. It doesn't disprove my point at all
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:31 PM by 56kid
They ran as radicals and centrists depending on who they were talking to.

I knew they were radicals and that all the compassionate conservative talk was bullshit.

I'm betting a lot of people who voted for them knew that too.

There's no proof of what won them the election is there?

Plus They actually didn't win the election, remember?
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. Erm, what country were you in during the 2000 election?
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:37 PM by K-W
Bush didnt run as a radical, that is out and out wrong. He never said radical things to anyone. HIs message was more radical with some groups, but he always talked up the compassionate conservative thing. He was always claiming to be pro enviroment, pro working class, pro civil rights. Even now, after attacking all of those things and more he is STILL running pro enviroment, pro working class, and pro everything else. That isnt the focus of his campaign, but on those issues he talks like a centrist liberal.

The radicals knew he was thier man because they were told by thier leaders and because Bush used coded rhetoric. Saying that we need to stop abuses of the tort system signals that he is going to be attacking trial lawyers and protecting corporations from being held responsible by courts. We know this, the corporations know this, but the message itself is moderate. If that was all we knew about Bush we would think he was just using common sense.

Just because you know he is a radical does not mean he is running or that he ran as a radical. Go back and read his speaches, look at his platform now. It is more radical, but it is still centrist.

Im a bit baffled at where you are coming up with the idea that he was running as and elected as a radical.

Do you not remember the 'Bush is the same as Gore' meme that was very very very dominant in the country. They both talked centrist politics. That is how Bush ran then, and that is how Bush is running now. How can you not see this?
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:43 PM
Response to Reply #37
39. God told me
God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.'"

Sounds pretty radical to me.

I'm in the same country you are unless you think NYC is another country.

Talking code that people understand means that he is ALSO running as a radical.
He's doing both things.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #39
41. no not at all
You are right in that his actions are radical, but his rhetoric simply is not. He justifies his radical foriegn policy with centrist rhetoric. We went into Iraq in self defence, it was the humanitarian thing to do.

The things he does say that are radical to you are unfortunately centrist in this country right now.

The entire point of talking code is to not run as a radical. If talking in code was, as you say, presenting oneself as a radical, no one would ever talk in code. He talks in code because it presents him as a centrist.
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. I understand your point
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:54 PM by 56kid
I think it has some validity, actually, on the level of presidential politics.
I realized I got a little off track, because when I made my original point I was thinking of elections on various different levels of the country, not solely the presidency.
I think there is a lot of running to the right and not to the center in the House, in particular. I don't think Delay runs to the center for one.
Brownback, the Senator from where I used to live (Kansas) isn't running to the center.
By creating a base that has run to the right, repugs can make feints to the center on the presidential level. I'll give you that.
That's why I'm saying they do both.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. Certainly some districts elect radicals.
People in those districts have a luxery as far as not having to be centrist. This is true of liberals and conservatives. Kucinich can get elected as a progressive in his district.

And in some sense those people are still running as centrists. The center where they are just happens to be different than the national center.

look at New York City. It is very liberal, so liberal is the center. Both the dems and the republicans run as liberals. They both aim at the center of the new york spectrum.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #47
49. Kucinich actually represents a somewhat conservative area
It went for Gore in 2000 but not by as much as many will suspect.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. Indeed, he is definately an exception, but people like him rarely win
and that is just the cold hard reality of it right now.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. right
though there are other liberal dems who represent republican presidential election voters.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Can we do that and win, do you think?
I think that theory forgets all the work the Republicans have put into acquiring vast media capital and into bulding a think-tank policy-making sector second to none. The left is too disorganized at this point to mount an effective offense on the same lines as the Republicans, especially when corporations own so much of the media. Who is going to outwhore the Republicans when it comes to corporate deregulation? Nobody. And so much money is there to be made, I can't imagine anyone giving a group who wants to redistribute it anything resembling a chance.

I don't think it's hopeless, but if we mount an effective offensive here, I don't think it will resemble at all the Republican methods of divide and conquer--I think it will be similar to what coalesced around Dean, but on a larger scale.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. We will never have the luxery of wealth.
We must fight our battles using grassroots organization.

The little guy always fights the uphill battle, that is burden as people
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #16
29. I don't know the answer to that, it hasn't been tried recently.
so the jury is out so to speak.

Since I referred to Frank's book, I think he identified the problem, but I didn't see a solution in his book.

I think though that one thing that creates a lot of power is sincerity and really standing up for your convictions. So, if you a real died in the wool progressive and really believe in social justice, yet run centrist because you think it will help you win, people will smell a rat. And connected to that, is that people respect sincerity and conviction even when they don't agree with the viewpoint. Sometimes I think people vote more based on their belief in a person's sincerity and truthfulness than they do on their agreement or disagreement with their position.
Not always of course.

Great results require great risks. Is it a risk to run centrist? Hardly.

I'm feeling a little fiery today, tomorrow I might be all for running centrist out of pragmatism, but not today.


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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
28. as long as we allow it
As long as Democrats allow the right wing to determine the agenda, and even the candidates, yes - this will continue. We haven't yet begun to understand that a victory of that sort is no victory. If we Democrats aren't happy with the status quo, if we want to rescue ourselves from Republican assimilation - we're going to have to walk tall and speak truth to power - even if it means losing some of the time. God, Guns, and Abortion aren't going to put a roof on anyone's home, or food on anyone's table.

We cower. We let them put us on the offense - and we're so damned afraid that the neocons might criticize us, that we cringe in corners and get defensive. If we shouted our traditional Democratic values (jobs, education, health care) at every opportunity and stopped backing down - we might get somewhere.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Why do those who shout those values LOSE, then?
That argument just seems way too simplistic--Kucinich and to a lesser extent Dean were right there on the issues you mention, and both were passed over by primary voters. Nader is right there in the general election, and HE is passed over by 97% of the voters.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. We don't.
That is what the right wingers are telling us. We lose more acting like them.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Kucinich, Dean and Nader act like right wingers?
No, they do not. Do they win national elections? No, they lose to people who pander to the center, and to the establishment. As long as this is the case, I don't buy the argument that all one has to do to win is fully espouse progressive rhetoric--it seems those who do that do not win in national elections.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #33
46. Thus is one of the biggest misconceptions on DU
Everyone is still in denial over the fact that conservatives have very soundly defeated leftists. Reagan man-handled liberals. Clinton was the last great victory for the democrats and he ran as a centrist. Gore ran as a centrist and nearly won the election. Republicans hold both houses of congress.

Get with the program, whether you like it or not the conservatives are having a lot of political success and centrist dems have had alot more than left wing dems. There are some exceptions, but they are just that, exceptions. Dean has not yet won a national election and Kucinich certainly hasnt shown he can win anything but his particular district.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:07 PM
Response to Reply #46
54. I could say the DLC has a hand in this.
They do, you know.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #54
55. That is a symptom not a cause, sorta.
Like any complex system everything effects everything, but the DLC didnt take power in the party through force and then make it shift right, thats not how it happened at all.

Politicians want to win, and there are many schools of thought on how to win. The DLC was one such group and they have thier idea of how people can win elections. The thing that you seem to be missing is that thier way worked. They got congressmen elected and more importantly, they got bill clinton elected. Gore didnt win but didnt seem to do horribly. They have power because they have won, people listen to them because thier ideas worked.

If a group (such as Dean's) is able to win elections with a progressive view, that group would grow in power in the party. If they could get a president elected they would more than likely supplant the DLC.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 09:11 PM
Response to Reply #55
64. They did it through financial power.
Corporate power. That is who they are.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #31
36. There is an odd parallel to the movement conservatives
The concept of a silant majority. Our views are right and best for everyone, so obviously if people heard our views they would agree with them.

It was their justification for the press being liberal. They kept the people from hearing the truth about conservatives and the world and thus they needed to be destroyed.

The problem was they were wrong, and later conservatives abandoned this idea and created thier own constituancy through manipulation.
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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #31
62. I didn't suggest
that the victory would begin in one voting cycle. It won't. It will take some losses. The right wins by whipping folks into a frenzy about guns, abortion, or gay marriage. Eventually the dunderheads who fall for that will begin to realize that who marries who does not affect the cost of their health insurance, or that worrying about fetuses of the future won't pay the rent.

If we don't speak about it, people don't hear about it - because they aren't getting real news. Trembling in fear before conservatives is pathetic - but we do it. Our Democrats in Congress did it in September of 2001 when that little prick questioned their patriotism. If they'd stood up en masse and spoken up, we wouldn't have lost so badly in 2002. But we didn't. We let them choose the dialogue and set the agenda. We were too afraid of seeming wimpy on defense to fight back - so instead we proved we were wimpy, by letting them get away with that.

I don't believe people are more conservative - they're just more manipulated.

Of course, we could continue to be assimilated into the Republican Party and accept our fate.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. OK, now I understand you
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 08:04 PM by jpgray
I sometimes think that you're absolutely right--that we need to draw our line in the sand, take our licks, and proceed from there full-steam. The public may not be responding negatively to progressive policies, they may be responding negatively to our lack of committment to said policies when it comes to our campaigning and governing. Am I reading you correctly?
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. Walk tall and speak truth to power
well said
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Individualist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:47 PM
Response to Reply #28
42. It has been allowed too long
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:48 PM by notsodumbhillbilly
I wholeheartedly agree with you, maxanne. Just once I'd like to hear an elected dem say yes, I'm proud to be liberal, then discuss the good things liberals have done for this country.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #42
50. Stop asking politicians to stick thier necks out until
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 07:03 PM by K-W
we figure out how to keep them from losing thier heads.
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thinkingwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
43. neither extreme wants to hear the truth
but the truth is that the vast majority of americans are centrists. The reason that our recent elections are so close is NOT because voters are either right or left, but because they are neither right nor left and pick candidates based on the one or two issues they care the most about at the time of the election.

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salonghorn70 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #43
48. Agreed
You nailed it thinkingwoman. I'm almost convinced that trying to convince activists that the average voter is centrist is a lost cause. Bill Clinton understood it and we had a President. John Kerry understands it and we will have another President.
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thinkingwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #48
57. from your mouth to...
God's, Godess's, Nobody's ears!

I prefered Edwards during the primary and didn't really understand what Kerry was doing, or not doing, earlier this year. Now I have come to believe that he may be as smart or smarter politically than Clinton, if that is even possible. I am looking forward to this week's convention!
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #43
52. and they are centrist to be centrist, not centrist out of ideology
Which is why the conservative movement has been able to shift the center. By exposing public opinion to a bevy of extreme unbalanced conservative views, they have created the appearance that the center is very conservative.
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thinkingwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #52
58. I disagree
I'm encountering centrists who are passionate about their beliefs, which cut squarely across party lines.

These people believe neither side addresses their concerns and craves reasoned compromise for the greater good AND personal advancement.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. well, yes, but the center does move and can be moved
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 07:32 PM by K-W
If most people had strong beliefs, then why would republican propaganda work so well?

And someone having strong beliefs isnt really the issue here, it is how they come about thier ideas. The republican noise machine has effected even people with passionate beliefs.
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thinkingwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. I think
you missed the point of my first post...my belief is that the centrists pick candidates based on the issue most important to them at the time of that election.

Logically that means they can be swayed and switch which party they vote for time after time after time.
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K-W Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #60
61. Understood, but what controls what issue is important to them?
The democrats are with the majority in almost every topic. Most people are pro education, pro envirometn, pro responsible spending and pro a just tax code. If they voted on issues, democrats should be winning big time.

But republicans lie and manipulate them into buying republican spin on those issues. Thus people do not in fact vote with thier beliefs and issues, they vote based on perception and propaganda.

Right now the center in this country thinks that a conservative approach is best for the economy. That is factually ludacris, but that is the center, not because of ideology, but because of manipulation.
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thinkingwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #61
65. I don't think
the center of this country thinks that a conservative approach is best for the economy. What is the evidence of that?

And "what controls what issue is important to them" is irrelevant to my post and point.
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
66. People Who Get "Turned Off" By Anger
There seems to be a group of people who think anger is itself a bad thing and that expressing it somehow "lowers" oneself to some unacceptable level. To these people, I say fuck you. You've driven us through two major losses at the polls with your inept complacent strategy, and it's time you get out of the driver's seat. When your house is on fire, you don't calmly talk it out, you destroy the fire. If you don't produce with your strategy ASAP, you better get the fuck out of the way.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #66
67. Yes, they should take a look at how Howard Dean won the primary.
Oh wait a second...
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 09:04 AM
Response to Reply #67
68. Character Assassination By The Media?
Dean wasn't even angry.
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