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Ideological Blind Spots Doom Democratic Party to Becoming Irrelevant

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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:21 PM
Original message
Ideological Blind Spots Doom Democratic Party to Becoming Irrelevant
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 12:29 PM by ulTRAX
The Right has a grand vision. They don't shy from taking on the big issues or from planning where they want the US to be in 20-50 years.

In contrast the Democrats, the only force that can take the Right on, are mired in self-imposed ideological blind spots: issues they just refuse to rethink. In large part was see that ideological straight-jacket at work here at DU. Even the new expanded issues forums reflect the ideological limitations of traditional Democrats and don't expand to cover those issues true PROGRESSIVES see as issues. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

What do I mean? There's plenty of forums on the minor issues. But most are subsets of over-arching issues such as Constitutional reform, democracy, federalism, distribution of wealth, capitalism, corporate rights, civic equality, property rights etc.

Consider the 2004 race. Kerry worked entirely WITHIN the Right's agenda of irresponsible tax cuts. He did not challenge or expose the Right's agenda to strangle government by sabotaging revenues. Yet any issue not challenged, becomes more and more entrenched in the American mind.

The simple truth is this: unless Democrats can rethink those BIG issues they are making themselves politically irrelevant. They are dooming themselves to operate within a framework the Right has created and the BEST they can do is advocate minor tweaks to that dysfunctional system.

Where's the vision?
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. 49% of America is far from irrelevant
and the GOP knows it. That's why they keep using words like "irrelevant" to describe the Democratic Party. They only wish it was.
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I'll take it one step further-- we WON the last two presidential
elections. Repub theft does not make us irrelevant. Powerless, perhaps(where are you, Mr. "Reporting for Duty"?); but hardly irrelevant.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. you miss the point
I mean irrelevant in an ideological sense. Even if the Democrats swept the last election, my comments would still hold true.

That 49%... as big a percentage as it is, is only supportive of an Democratic Party that, itself, is in an ideological straight jacket. The Democrats lack any ideological offense to match the Right. Yet unless they do challenge those BIG issues, they are ceding them to the Right and forever will be forced to work within an ideological framework the Right has constructed. The last four years are a perfect example. The Dems refused to take on the Electoral College even though it gave us the morally illegitimate Bush Junta paving the way for the Right's complete consolidation of power. Kerry worked completely within the Right's framework of irresponsible tax cuts knowing that this is CENTRAL to the Right's plans to sabotage government. Shall I go on?
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think you're entirely correct....
I've also lamented Kerry's failure to define ANY significant issues outside the Bush agenda during the campaign. The democrats ran the 2004 campaign almost entirely on Bush's signature issues, e.g. "the war on terra" and "staying the course" in Iraq. If there's only going to be one real opposition party, it must work a little harder to distinguish itself from the republicans.
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Gyre Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
3. Where's the vision?
Who gives a fuck; because all the "vision" in the world doesn't matter if our votes don't count. Where's the national recount?

Gyre
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
17. even if all the votes count.....
Even if ALL the votes were counted with 100% accuracy... you're ignoring the possibility that many voters don't believe the Democratic Party is worth voting for. I voted Democratic this time but as a Progressive, the Party's lack of core principles makes me nauseous.

All you're doing is blaming vote fraud. So what if it's not true... or not enough to call the legitimacy of the election into question? What are you going to do if a majority of those who voted actually DID vote for Bush?
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sally343434 Donating Member (628 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. I see at least two errors in your analysis
I see at least two errors in your analysis:

1. It's becoming more and more clear that Kerry won this past election.

2. It is impractical to expect to "undo" the RW in one fell swoop. Kerry knew this, and that's why his proposals were modest ones. Since the democratic party of today is to the right of where the republicans were in the Nixon era, any meaningful policy change will have to begin with both campaign finance reform (to remove the corrupting influence of corporations) and doing something about the gerrymandering problem (which has foisted upon us a de-facto House of Republican Lords.)
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mike_c Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. "the democratic party of today is to the right of Nixon...."
Paraphrased to fit.

That's why I left the party.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. leaving out Watergate and Vietnam....
Nixon was a fairly progressive President by today's standards. The EPA and OSHA were created during his terms... finally bringing into the market the hidden social costs of corporate abuse of the environment and workers.

Didn't he have a plan for a guaranteed minimum income?
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. I see at least two errors in YOUR analysis
sally343434 wrote: "I see at least two errors in your analysis:
1. It's becoming more and more clear that Kerry won this past election."

I'm troubled by the stories I hear, but I seriously doubt they account for 3 million votes. For example, the stories out of Florida... that incoming votes could have easily been switched at a central tabulation center. Surely local official would detect the discrepancy of their local vote total from what the state was reporting for their county.

"2. It is impractical to expect to "undo" the RW in one fell swoop. Kerry knew this, and that's why his proposals were modest ones."

You'd have a point IF IF IF there was some evidence that the Democrats actually were taking on the big issues elsewhere. They are not. Kerry ran a terrible campaign. He refused to even use the correct Bush deficit numbers.... 568 billion instead of 415. He lost a chance to challenge the Right's fiscal irresponsibility by explaining how the federal budget shell game works... or just how much debt We The People are in. He refused to explain how this fiscal irresponsibility threatens Social Security. Kerry ran as a mainstream Democrat on the ideological retreat.

As a fan of Chomsky, let me use an example he used about the Vietnam War. There were the Hawks saying we had the right to be in Vietnam and needed to wage a more ruthless war... and the Doves who believed we had a right to be there but the costs of the war were too great. As long as the Public only hears those arguments, the subtext that America has a right to be in Vietnam goes unchallenged... in fact it's reinforced. Outside that spectrum of acceptable thought were the anti-war forces who did NOT believe the US had a right to be there.

Election 2004 was a lost opportunity of historic proportions. Kerry had the national stage and did not challenge the Right's hidden assumptions... and in effect further reinforced them.









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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. just one more point
Sally wrote: "2. It is impractical to expect to "undo" the RW in one fell swoop. Kerry knew this, and that's why his proposals were modest ones. Since the democratic party of today is to the right of where the republicans were in the Nixon era, any meaningful policy change will have to begin with both campaign finance reform (to remove the corrupting influence of corporations) and doing something about the gerrymandering problem (which has foisted upon us a de-facto House of Republican Lords.)"

I used the example that Kerry was operating within the framework of irresponsible tax cuts created by the right. Fiscal responsibility was an issue Bush handed Kerry on a platter. Yet Kerry refused to fully exploit it.

The problem with your approval of Kerry's approach is that the American Voter never becomes educated to simple realities that face this nation. So even if Kerry lost promoting a stronger Progressive agenda, at least he would have developed a stronger constituency interested in budget issues... citizens who better saw though the Right's "starve the beast" strategy and recognized the danger of high deficits/debt. I could use similar examples from everything from abolishing the EC to universal health care.

The Right will NEVER push for these reforms. The MUST come from Democrats or Leftist parties... parties who the Dems have gone out of their way to alienate.

If the BEST the Dems can do is fudge important instead of going on the offensive, then that retreat IS a ideological victory for the Right.
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Suzie57 Donating Member (67 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. The Right does have a grand vision,
which is to pretend that the left is not a large and viable force in this country. The mainstream media echo chamber is being a good pet monkey and doing all they can to help out, hell it's a easier gig than actually working for a living.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
9. I think your analysis is pretty good.
It is, however, premature to report that the dem party is but a gasp away from expiring. I am rather worried by the folks here at DU- and I'm beginning to think they are a sizable minority, if not an outright majority- who absolutely believe Kerry won the election and bushco stole it. Before someone comes along to flame me- not that I care too much- let me hasten to say that I'm sure fraud occurred. I'm almost as sure that bush actually won. Unless we can get down to business and start dealing with the real problem within the democratic party, we're in trouble. Oddly enough, we may be saved from our own structural and idealogical failings by the coming implosion of the republican party.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. miss the point
cali wrote: "It is, however, premature to report that the dem party is but a gasp away from expiring."

That's NOT what I'm saying. I'm talking about the Democrats becoming IDEOLOGICALLY irrelevant. Even if they swept the last election my comments would hold.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:03 PM
Response to Original message
10. The 'Right' is cold, arrogant, callous. The 'Left' lacks the assertiveness
That's why the Left continues to lose.

And with the 'Right' having some odd but present charisma, we really are irrelevant.
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Mike L Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. The next Dem presidential candidate needs a pit bull strategist
like Carville to run his/her campaign. To lead the DNC, we Democrats must find a proactive Dem version of Karl Rove who is willing to do anything to win. Finding the right candidates is the first thing. Using psychology to the maximum is the second.

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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
11. Don't you mean "more irrelevant"?
As they continue to grovel to the right? Another lost election due to pandering and they still see it as a "strategy".

They whimper when they should be growling. They offer only watered copies of the republican agenda so as not to displease the so called "moderates". They make excuses for not being an opposition party.

And, they again, tell us that it's the only way to "win". Barnum would be proud of them.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. ya, I think that sums it up
Every assumption left unchallenged becomes accepted as fact by the vast majority of people. As long as the Democrats operate within the ideological framework created by the Right, they ultimately reinforce it. Clinton was one in favor of this move to the middle... but he also had a grander strategy. He understood that unless the federal government produced a surplus and paid down debt, then there was little chance for a Democratic agenda in the long term. This is why Bush rushed to sabotage debt paydown as his number one priority.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
18. The candidate who had the grandest vision and the power to communicate
it to a crowd was marginalized by the media, so much so that most people had never even heard of him.
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 10:37 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. and.................................
And s/he/it was?

Nader?
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Mike L Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
20. The problem is....
"He did not challenge or expose the Right's agenda to strangle government by sabotaging revenues."

"strangling government" sounds good to most people. No one thinks THEIR pocketbook issue will get cut.

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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. that was Kerry's job to explain
Ya... many might buy into the Right's "strangle the beast" philosophy. But if fully exposed would the vast majority of Americans put up with the deliberate sabotaging for federal fiances knowing deficits would rise and all this debt would be passed on to their kids? In 2000 Bush proposed massive tax cuts deliberately blurring the lines between an annual budget surplus with being debt free. He ran claiming the annual "surplus" "proved" government taxed too much.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. In 2000 We the People were some 5.6 TRILLION in debt. Is this simple reality so difficult a message for Dems to explain?
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-04 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #20
27. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-04 02:54 AM
Response to Original message
23. Dean did this--he should run the party
He found the right balance between being progressive, tough, and plain spoken.

Don't sugar coat your arguments, and especially don't sugar coat the other side. Call the republicans what they are: Con men serving the wealthy by fooling the religious.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-04 02:58 AM
Response to Original message
24. polite=boring
If you are making a valid argument with honest evidence, there's no shame in saying the other side is either incompetent or intentionally lying.

If it is truly an honest difference of opinion, that's one thing, but with the neocons, there's a fairly obvious element of deceit in what they do, and they should be called on it often (if the media ever provided a forum with longer than seven second sound bites).
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-04 03:05 AM
Response to Original message
25. The ideological straight jacket...
...is the reason 100,000,000 citizens didn't bother to vote.

Neither Party wants to change the status quo. Both Parties and the Corporations that OWN them are perfectly happy to limit the Political discussion to :

Who does or doesn't get an abortion,
Who does or doesn't get to have a gun,
who does or doesn't get married.

God forbid someone like Dean or Kucinich or Sharpton starts talking OUTSIDE the box. Both of the establishment Parties joined forces to shut them up.
I'm sick of it!
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ulTRAX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-16-04 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. we see the same ideological straight jacket here at DU
Edited on Tue Nov-16-04 10:22 AM by ulTRAX
Dean or Kucinich or Sharpton are outside the box? They represent the left wing of the mainstream Democratic Party.... but they hardly represent the spectrum of Progressive thought outside of the Party. Where would you place people like Chomsky?

The DU reflects the same ideological straight jacket as the Party does. Of all the new forums that were created... NONE really deal with the big over-arching issues of which most other issues are subsets... constitutional reform, rethinking corporations... federalism... markets... property rights... democracy.. taxation... US role in the world.

Yet without a discussion of these BIG issues, the BEST Democrats can do is tweak instead of reform a dysfunctional system and doom themselves to working within a framework created by history and the Right.

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