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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 11:48 AM
Original message
Why can't we use wedge issues?
If its true that the democrats have a more popular position on the moral issues which used to be called wedge issues, and before that, social issues, how come we fail to exploit them?

Example: the Alabama referendum that asks for the state constitution to be amended to remove the language requiring segregated schools.
It might not have passed.

The dems could have asked every republican around the country asked if he is for segregation. Why not? Why not find out if Rudy Giuliani ever spoke to a group in Alabama and ask him if the subject came up and how he felt about it?

Another example: the supreme court struck down criminal statutes outlawing homosexual sexual conduct when, in 1996. Look at where the debate ended up: on whether the constitution could be used to force gay marriage on red states. We could have had years of beating on republican office holders, making them take stands on whether or not gay sex should bear a prison term, and be able to roll out the quotes for every seeker of national office. We could have a statement today from Bush in favor of such a law, real read meat.

Instead of winning, we are defined as being out of step with the majority on these wedge issues. We can't win by pretending they aren't divisive--they certainly are, but we can make sure that the the far right wing is on the small side of a divide or two.
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forgethell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
1. An excellent idea,
these are issues that should be discussed. Unfortunately, we progressives have often sought to shut the debates down by assuming that we were right, and that the other side should shut up. It didn't work, not because we were wrong, but because we did not really seek to convince.

If we can get these issues out into the public discussion, I think we will win on the issues. But we must also remember that our issues are not necessarily the issues that the electorate is interested in at the time of the election. We must argue and publicize, but realize that we could go down to defeat again. Then we must either educated the public, or perhaps we should be educated by them. Progressives are as subject to the same passions, the same emotions, the same logical fallacies, the same mistakes, the same greeds and needs as any other person on earth. We must learn from our mistakes if we ever wish to exercise power again.
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vinny9698 Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. You got a good point and we should use them
Minimum wage, health care, environmental issues, there are a host of issues that we are on the right side.
Credit card reform. There are more complains about credit card abuse then any other business.
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MattWinMO Donating Member (136 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. credit card abuse issue would help the conservatives
The problem with credit cards is consumers, not businesses. It involves consumers who run up credit card debt and then declare bankruptcy so they don't have to pay it off.

My family runs a business and I've seen how customers who owes us thousands of dollars have declared bankruptcy more than once to avoid paying bills.

That's why I feel liberalizing bankruptcy laws is a losing issue.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. another problem with credit cards.........
They are handed out like candy......Kids going to college are showered with credit cards and free crap to encourage them to sink themselves in debt. No job? No problem! No credit history? No problem.

They just grab the kids by the balls and sqeeze.
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. no, it's because credit card companies can change the terms of
Edited on Fri Nov-26-04 07:03 PM by SemperEadem
the credit contract at any time for any reason and you have no recourse.

Frontline just did an excellent expose on the banking and credit card business and the lengths they've gone to to hoodwink people with credit cards.

For instance: you have one credit card with bank A and another with bank B. CC-A has never missed one payment, balance is reasonable. CC-B, you missed two payments due to a reduction in your hours at your job--or whatever--and your balance is more than on CC-A.

Due to the fact that there is no longer a limit on the amount that banks can charge you in 'fees' ( and 'fees' is another word for TAX), not only can CC-A's bank raise your fees as high as they want, they can also raise your interest rate due to the fact that the missing payment was listed on your FICO score and you've changed the terms of your credit agreement by not maintaining your FICO score to what is was when you got the card.

It is not totally the customer's fault--the bank has turned into a loan shark and has gotten the government to 'back that ass up' and help them out.

Of course, your business could decide just to do cash and carry. It's your fault, too, that you didn't take the long view to protect your business by not dealing in credit
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DieboldMustDie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
29. Debt owed to your family's small business...
Edited on Fri Nov-26-04 10:07 PM by DieboldMustDie
and credit card debt aren't really the same thing. Credit card companies often entice consumers into taking on a lot of debt a low initial rates and jack the rates sky high.
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MattWinMO Donating Member (136 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
3. it would've backfired
If we had made a national issue of gay marriage, in the form of an amendment banning gay marriage it would've backfired on Kerry. If he trly opposed gay marriage, like he said, he would've had to vote yes on the amendment.

If he said he opposed gay marriage and didn't vote yes on the amendment he would've been seen as two-faced.

Unfortunately the gay marriage amendment would've helped Republicans since they oppose gay marriage and support the amendment.

Kerry's positions on most social issues are too complex for the American electorate. He should've just said that even if people don't approve of gay relationships that allowing them to have civil unions doesn't really effect anyone else's lives so what's the point in banning gay unions.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. Because The Media Makes Those Issues Disappear From Public Discourse
What gets talked about on the news is the Republican talking points of the day.
Kerry did bring up many issues on which the majority supports us.
They disappeared without a trace in the media, which only wanted
to talk about terrorism and gay marriage.


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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. That's not good enough.
I think that the media will talk about lots of inflammatory things, if someone volunteers to talk about them. They have time to fill, too. So we fill it.

But maybe there has to be a two pronged approach. If you don't want a wedge issue to take prominence, don't add oxygen to a fire. For gay marriage, there was the spector of the SF mayor trying to get the ball rolling on approval of gay marriage through the judicial system by giving out licenses. Of course it created a stir--it was meant to. And it defines the wedge issue where the mayor, and by implication all gays and everyone who backs gay rights, is on the smaller side, that is, not just pro gay marriage but pro gay marriage instituted by court rulings in opposition of the majorities of states and without any discussion except of constitutional precedents that we didn't vote on the first time. We put ourselves on the smaller side while inflaming all the nutbags and distancing ourselves from the moderates who could have been convinced if they were ever given the issue.

If the wedge issue works, play it up. If it doesn't, play it down and do what you can after the election. Works for Bush, so it should work better for democrats.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Wedge Issues Work For Them (and only them) BECAUSE OF The Media
> I think that the media will talk about lots of inflammatory things, if someone volunteers to talk about them.

We did. They didn't. ("and now for the latest developments on the
Laci Peterson case")

> They have time to fill, too. So we fill it.

It's their time, they fill it however they want, (thus says shrub's FCC)
and they wanted to re-select the shrub.

All very neat and tidy and impregnable.

Yes, we have the net. I'm sure the vast majority of those who use the
net regularly voted for Kerry. How do we reach the others?
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snippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. I think it is more the fault of the democratic party rather than the media
On air television people are just empty talking heads who let the guest say anything he or she wants without challenge or questions. The republican party is extremely well organized and well disciplined in repeating its talking points while the democratic party usually has no talking points.

It is not uncommon to channel surf political shows and see 15 different republicans on 10 different shows all saying the exact same thing, using the exact same words and the exact same emphasis. And the republican taliking point is repeated over and over and emphasized regardless of the question or topic under discussion. Democrats on the other hand all have different responses to the same questions and there is no repetition. The overall effect of this is that the republican talking points dominate the media. The democratic party needs to change that.

The job of the media is not to inform viewers or readers or to discover the "truth" concerning a particular topic. The job of the media is be profitable by increasing ratings or circulation. Some media organizations may choose to try and increase ratings or circulation by trying to be informative or investigative, but that is true for only a few. Television political shows almost never do this though. They just provide a soapbox to people from each party to say what they want to say. Republicans use the soapbox more effectively than democrats by having a consistent message on a given day or week and staying on that message.
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Dr Ron Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. Freedom of Religious Choice
If we can word it right maybe we can turn around the debate.

Polls show that a majority are open to civil unions and abortion to some degree, even if they would allow more restrictions than now present.

Everybody support religious choice in princple.

What if we had some sort of measure to protect people from having their personal choices infringed upon due to the religious views of others. The details would be tricky, but if we could pose banning abortion and civil unions as examples of some imposing their religions on others (which is exacly what it is) we might be able to take the moral high road away from the religious right on these issues.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
9. I know. Use Tom Delay too. "Do you think he is ethical?"
Do you persoanlly think they should change the rules so that he can be unethical? What does this say to the children?

Ask this to McCain, AR-nuuld, hell-if there is actually a Liberal at a press conference, George Bush or at least his press secretary.

DEMS should ask every Republican on TV to take a stand one way or the other on hot issues- on the confederate flag, on Abortion when the mothers life is in danger, etc, etc..
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. "Do you agree with Jerry Fawell, Rev Moon & Fred Phelps?"
"No?- then why do they vote, campaign for, and raise money for your party? Should you give it back?...no-no-you are changing the subject- why do all the moderate Republicans try to sweep the "Guns & Gays" base under the rug- are you not proud of that voting bloc? Lets get to the bottom of this...Why does Fred Phelps and Reverend Moon support you so strongly?"

You see- for it to work, you cant let go- you have to keep hammering...
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
11. I'd thought that the environment would have been used to good effect
Considering that Kerry was impeccable on this issue and bu$h sucked out loud. The Wise said the environment was a non-issue, but what else were they wrong about? I believe it to be more of a case the Democratic Party being too beholden to corporate interest.
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hightension Donating Member (77 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
13. Would outsourcing be a good example?
I kept wanting to see Kerry slam on that issue. The idea of giving a passing mention of "tax breaks for companys that outsource" didn't have the impact that actually pounding the issue in a populist way would have done.
Personally, I think it's the key issue that is going to effect everything else, and people would respond to it if it was dealt with in a bare knuckled sort of way.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Kerry Seemed to be Pounding on Outsourcing Whenever I Heard Him
But unless you watch CSPAN, when would you hear him?
They pretty much kept him off the major networks.


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hightension Donating Member (77 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. I've got a 4 year old.
It not often that I get to see anything that i want to see!

I felt that the average person would have been better inforem on the issue had they seen the Frontline episode about Wal-Mart.
For me, it laid out many things that I already knew, but in a "Roger and Me" kind of way.
I suppose a populist approach would be the "wedge issue" of accusing people of not having pride in American workmanship, or something to that effect.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. That's My Point. Most People Never Got To Hear What Kerry Had to Say
Because the media was whoring for Boooosh so much.
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hightension Donating Member (77 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. was more of an issue made
other than the "tax credits for sending jobs overseas"?

It's aggrivating how there was a near absence of Kerry for long periods of time, by the nat'l media, that much is DEFINATELY true.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. He Proposed a Tax Credit for Creating Jobs AT HOME
as well as doing away with the tax incentive for offshoring.
Seems like a good policy to me. Revenue-positive too, since
employed people are less likely to need public assistance.

Under Booosh, offshoring will only end when the dollar drops so low
that it is no longer economically viable.
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hightension Donating Member (77 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I do remember those
statements. In what little time of sound byte news I was able to catch.
I guess what I'm saying is that for a "wedge issue", being bare knuckled would have been good to see. Maybe a constant hammering about American pride in American products. About the crappy quality of sweatshop produced items.
Having read Naomi Klien's "No Logo" a couple of years ago, I'm struck at the simplicity of the "wedge" with this type of thing.
It would be a solid, black and white issue, that would resonate with people.
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dogman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
14. Stem cell research was one and a good one.
But Laura Bush said he was the first to fund it and the issue died in the MSM after his lying ass was covered.
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-04 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #14
32. Well, let's look at that---two questions have to be answered
1. Can the issue be framed so that democrats are in the majority?
2. Is the issue one that mobilizes that majority to vote for dems?

Remember, a yes to one but not two means we have won a debating point, not an election.

Bush worked hard to make the answer to no. 2 a "no", to defuse the issue on his side, by letting some stem cell research go on and lying about how much it was. He gets to claim to his base that he is protecting life while nobody else gets all that mad about it.

Could we have regained the issue in such a way to--and this is what counts--MOBILIZE THE MAJORITY TO VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS? Bush was all about mobilization of his base without tipping off the majority. All stealth. Because the dems are in the majority, or are at least closer than Bush and his radical neocons, we should be able to mobilize more votes with less effort.

Did anyone think about it? Or is using wedge issues too much like politics for us?
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xerox Donating Member (143 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
15. Segregation
is bad!
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
18. This Is Such A Great Thread/OP It'll Surely Sink Beneath Kerry & Obama
sux threads.

IMO, Affordable Health Care/Education/Living Wage are "wedge" issues especially the way Wes Clark said they VALUE FAMILIES rather than just emptily mouthing the words "family values".
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-04 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #18
31. It'll sink behind fifty DU Lounge threads with weak puns and cat pictures.
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
19. the repugs have gotten away with it
Edited on Fri Nov-26-04 07:09 PM by SemperEadem
because they've been allowed to be vague and to obfuscate the issue and not had their feet held to the fire with regards to how far they want to take their path... if you've noticed, not one of them will stand in his/her truth and declare what the punishment for these 'infringements' should be, or how far they feel it should be taken.. they constantly blow off the questions.

When they say they want a return to 'xtian' values, then ask them which flavor of xtianity are they talking about? Which denomination is the one that should be adopted? What will happen if people don't convert to that denomination? Burn them at the stake for heresy? What about the Jews, Muslims, Buddists, atheists, etc.? What about the freedom of religion we're supposed to have in this country. Whose pride is so out of control that they feel that they are entitled to decide for the whole?

When it comes to abortion, make them declare what they feel the punishment should be for all. Prison for the doctors and the mothers? Then, because fetuses have rights now, if a woman has a miscarriage, should that be investigated by the police as a suspicious death? Should her doctor be interrogated as to the course of medical care she received or should have received? Should the office personnel be questioned at length about the financial status of the patient, her ability to pay for and willingness to attend all required visits--because if she didn't have enough money to make her appointments, then how could she have the money for necessary tests, and if she didn't have the tests due to finances, should she be charged with endangerment when she knew full well when she got pregnant that she couldn't afford visits which were necessary for optimal prenatal care?

Outlandish? Absurd? Yes---but don't fool yourselves into believing it could not happen. 6 years ago, no one here believed that by 2005, the basic rights of grown women would be in the most precarious danger that they've ever been in since before we were granted the right to vote, but they are.

It's when you out them by making them declare themselves that they begin to look like the dangerous, radical idiots that they are. Most people, even those so-called 'moral' people, are used to the rights that they perceive that they have... and the ones howling the loudest will be the ones wanting to get attention onto the fact that they no longer are afforded something they took for granted which they thought would always be there.
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lawladyprof Donating Member (628 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. I heartily agree and have been advocating pushing them all the way
to the logical endpoints of their positions, especically on social issues.

You wrote

"not had their feet held to the fire with regards to how far they want to take their path..."

Right now we are making the mistake of not going after the pharmacists who will not fill/doctors who will not prescribe birth control pills--from the angle of "these people would make birth control pills illegal if they could." And that's a story with enough pizazz to catch the media.
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Inland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-27-04 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #19
30. You use an example pointing out what to do, and how far we are from it
Edited on Sat Nov-27-04 09:17 AM by Inland
A question on how to punish abortion if made illegal hung up Bush I so badly he had to take a day to think of a lame response. It was a fine, fine moment that I love to repeat with people who try to argue for laws banning abortions.

But who actually debates abortion? Not the fundies. They are on pure stealth mode. They know that they are in the minority, and don't require their candidates to publically denounce abortion. And not us, because we assume that the majority just plain mobilizes itself.

Did anyone manage to make Bush admit that he wanted abortion banned? Did we make him commit to the smaller part of the great divide? Did anyone have a commercial to show the complacent masses with Bush saying, "Abortion should be made against the law and punished by a jail term?" Or a commercial of Bush standing with someone who had made a similar statement? Heck, for being an anti abortion party, can you even think of a pubbie politician who felt it necessary to even take that stand for the record? I can. McCain, because he hadn't told the righties behind closed doors and he seemed, well, suspiciously normal. Bush and others are so far in the fundie camp, they don't have to reassure anybody.

All Bush's rightie backers believed Bush would appoint SCt justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, even though he got away with vague signals in his speeches.

The terms of the debate were whether we would allow thirteen year olds to have abortions against the wishes of their parents, which anyone has to admit is a little more problematic, a little less alarming, than preventing all abortions with criminal penatlities. We somehow end up on the thin side of the divide with the majority position.

Bush got to have his cake and eat it too, by mobilizing his base and never having to take a stand. He ended up on the fat side with a minority position.

We have to push the wedge issues in a way that we end up where we belong at the end of the day.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
22. We SHOULD. Put a wedge between the Oldtime Reps and the End Times Reps.
.
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Radical Activist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 08:33 PM
Response to Original message
25. Our wedge issues are economic ones
We should be pointing out the way Bush hurts the average American with the special favors he gives to corporations. We can't use those issues right now because too many national leaders in the party have taken too much corporate money and gone along with the corporate agenda. If we start acting like real Democrats again we can peel away middle class swing voters in the south and midwest who are voting based on social morality issues.
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