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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:06 AM
Original message
The current difficulty of the Democratic Party.
This is my impression. The resurgent GOP draws its strength from the unholy marriage of two political groups: (1) the religious right, who want abortion banned, porn censored, prayer mandatory in school, evolution quelched, and (their) God installed back in government, and (2) the neocons, who want to implement PNAC's policies abroad. This has created a GOP that is much more unified than in the past. It is a GOP that is evicting or marginalizing fiscal conservatives, social moderates, and libertarians. This unity allows the GOP to form a clear message, and to stay on message.

In contrast, there is not now a unifying theme from the opposition. The Democratic Party today is a collection of loose coalitions. There are traditional leftists who oppose capitalism, a constant minority within Democratic ranks. There are civil libertarians. There are fiscal conservatives who are more and more realizing that the GOP is hostile to their views. There are environmentalists. There are moderates who see the resurgent right as more a danger than the declining left. There are foreign policy multilateralists and Wilsonians and pacificists who all are appalled at the way the neocons who took us into Iraq, even though the second two groups might have been persuaded by a different war in Iraq.

This mixed character isn't evil. That word I would reserve for the theocon-neocon alliance! But it does create difficulty in making an effective opposition. The kind of triangulation that Clinton achieved was -- and likely still is -- what is needed to defeat the GOP. The next Democratic candidate who does this won't use the same triangulation, but somehow will have to solve the same problem. The hole in most discussion of "shifting right" or "pulling left" is that politics has several axes, that are not as tightly coupled as most want to believe: social, judicial, religious, fiscal, environmental, foreign, etc. Stop thinking in one dimension.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. The resurgent GOP draws it's strength from a rigged political system.
What you are talking about is the candy coating on the outside.
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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. We either figure out some way to solve the fraudulent election
process or everything else is futile.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. The method is perfectly clear.
You have to get power at the state level, state by state, to
institute reforms. There have been some excellent changes in Maine
and Arizona, to name two, of late, and Iowa and New Hampshire would
make excellent targets for immediate future action (hint, hint).
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ladjf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Sounds good. Another thing is that the legality of having
partisan Sec. of State deciding the voting rules has killed the election process in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004). That has got to be changed. There's no way to stop a Gov. from appointing a partisan Sec. of State. However, the federal election rules and procedures should be federalized. (Fat chance of that happening.)

One hope is that there are at least some Republicans who would prefer honest elections. They, along with the Dems might get something changed.
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
22. Thank you, bemildred
I'm so tired of seeing answers to all the wrong questions -- does it NEED to be said that if you ask the wrong damn questions there's no chance in hell you can get the RIGHT answers?

Does it NEED to be pointed out that if we didn't lose the damn election we don't need to figure out what we need to do different but how to capitalize and expand on what we did right -- and even more so, CRITICALLY so, how to make the elections count properly?

It's quite bad enough that we won and didn't get to take office, but what makes me nauseous is the thought of how certain Repugs who know the truth must be laughing their asses off at our ever so sincere, gut-wrenching soul-searching about how to become even less Democrat, abandon even more of our base, and become yet more Republican so we can "win" the next election, which will NEVER happen if we don't fix the rigged elections instead of our politics.

And bemildred is so right -- this particular "candy coating" is simply the cover that makes it look like it was authentic. It also provides a small authentic base for the Repugs, and it keeps the rest of us (including them) distracted from what's REALLY going on through ever convenient but totally meaningless in the grand scheme of things wedge issues.
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GetTheRightVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
2. They are also unitfied in their haterd of the left, left should unify
against the right wing values, like torture, illegal imprisonment of citizens. I believe they have given us alot of values to hold against them but many do not know about what is going on with the right. We need to get the message out to them and soon.

:mad:
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pnorman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. "theocon-neocon alliance!"
I LOVE it! I'll be plagiarizing it for a while to come. THANKS

pnorman
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Smarmie Doofus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
5. Excellent post... good analysis; I would say maybe...


you've left out the corporate element of the GOP marriage. It's a threeway...
IMHO... with $$$$ being the dominant partner.
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sadiesworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
7. Your dismissive attitude toward FDR dems is...
intriguing.

"There are traditional leftists who oppose capitalism, a constant minority within the democratic ranks".

Are you including:
-Union members?
-The majority (in any poll I have ever seen) who oppose corporate globalization, "free" trade, and outsourcing?
-The dem politicians who are making inroads in red states with a message of economic populism?
-The republicans in FLA who voted for a minimum wage increase?
-Those who oppose privatization of SS?

From where I sit the economic death spiral of the middle class is perhaps the largest problem we face. It is also the issue that cuts across party lines.


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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. See my response to mandyky
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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
8. " traditional leftists who oppose capitalism"
You mean traditional liberals (not leftists) and usually they do not oppose capitalism, they see the need for some social safety nets to protect the less fortunate. People who are anti-corporation are not necessarily anti-capitalism. Corporations unlike individuals have no conscience, and corpoartions protect their officers from "personal responisiblity". Corporations, as we see in Iraq, are not patriotic, nor do they support the troops, except a PR/Marketing stunt. What we have installed, moreso under this current administration, is an extreme corporate welfare state.

People in the Democratic Party need to watch how they say what they say, and reframe their words to make sense, not to repeat dittohead babble and right wing talking points. This is not meant to attack the poster, just an example of the regraming we need to do and that we need to be conscious of the words we use...
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. No, I meant what I wrote. I agree there is a framing problem.
Let's distinguish roughly two different positions.

Traditional liberal. Favors capitalism, including its corporate and global aspects, but also believes in government regulations to moderate externalities, pollution, corruption, and monopoly, and in social programs that take into account that real people are not rational economic actors fallen from economist's heaven, but have a very human lifecycle. There's no conflict here. Most people in the west now realize that capitalism is the goose that lays the golden eggs. They might dicker over what to do about penning the goose so it doesn't shit on the sidewalk, and how to divvy up the eggs, but they are eager to keep the goose alive and healthy and laying.

Leftist. Opposes corporate capitalism and wants to fundamentally rewrite the rules of how western economy works. This is the minority who think it's time to cook the goose, and do something else. These include various varieties of Marxists, and others who want to nationalize or democratize business. Perhaps we should include here radical ecologists who want to drastically reduce humans' footprint on earth.

BTW, I agree completely that corporations are conscienceless, and also with the previous poster that corporate welfare is an important aspect of the modern GOP.
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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. You are using "dittohead speak"
Edited on Sat Jan-08-05 11:31 AM by mandyky
Marxist, radical ecologists

Not meaning to flame you but you sound just like Mark Luther (from AAR's Al Franken show).

Yes the Democratic Party has radicals. George Bush is a radical. So are the Christian Right that love him so much.

I probably could fit right in with Socialists, except that I try to be pragmatic and realistic. We can't really create a utopia, but we cannot privatize everything either. Healthcare in this country is a prime example. This health insurance is NOT working when 40+ million (and growing) citizens can't afford it. Insurance is protection against something that might happen. Healthcare is necessary even for healthy people - dentists, glasses, immunizations, checkups.

I am not anti-capitalism as much as I am pro-experimentation about marrying capitalism with socialism in some areas like education and healthcare. We also have to take care of the environment. And the drug companies that pay their executives 2 billion dollars a year, have an extreme Marketing budget, and then claim they need money for R & D as an excuse for not cutting drug costs in the US.

Seeing the problems in capitalism does not make some one a "Marxist".
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. I'm not sure where we disagree....
I agree wholeheartedly that seeing some of the problems in capitalism, and wanting government moderation of them, does not make one a Marxist. That was the point in my distinguishing between what I call a "traditional liberal" and a "leftist." I also agree that George Bush is a radical. I view fundamentalism as the greatest danger to freedom in this nation.

Can you explain again what I wrote that bothered you?
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mandyky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Do you know what a dittohead is?
A dittohead is a Rush Limbaugh listener who parrots back all his buzzwords - like leftist and marxist.

Maybe we do agree on things but the language you use seems like right wing speak. The labels, generalizations and stereotypes, that kinda thing.

Just curious - what news station do you watch, what books do you read?
You said your an Independent, what issues are important to you?
Just wondering...
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. What terms would you like to use?
I just finished Jonathon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. Good read -- I highly recommend it. I get most of my news on the web, but occassionally watch McNeil-Lehr.

The two issues that are most important to me right now are (1) the threat to civil liberties from the ascendance of the radical right, and (2) the economic risk from Bush's borrow-and-spend policies, which I think is greater than most people realize.

I think you give Limbaugh too much credit. "Marxist" was in broad use before he was born. Unlike Limbaugh, I use the term much closer to how Marxists themselves use it, e.g., I recognize that liberals, in the traditional sense, favor capitalism. (I also recognize that Marx had a much better understanding of capitalism than most of those today who use his name only as a perjorative. Marx was quite a perceptive fellow. But that's a somewhat different issue.)
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. I'm a traditional leftist who opposes capitalism.
Maybe the poster meant what he/she said.
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. Thank you!
I disagree with you. But I'm not going to pretend that you don't exist!

:hi:
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
13. The "trouble" with the DP is that it stands for everything and nothing.
It has no base principles that it clings to. It is a mishmosh of often conflicting interests. It's "big tent" has turned into big mess run by bosses who say anything but stand for nothing.
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Grip Donating Member (40 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Agreed!
I would say the biggest problem is they don't have a clear message.

The DNC is long on what they are against but not on what they are for.

What is the plan? What are you going to do? Why should I vote Dem?
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eallen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. In our electoral system, parties necessarily are coalitions.
Even the GOP is a coalition. It is more unified, in that it unites fewer groups of larger size, primarily the religious right and the neocons.

It's unreasonable to expect a majority of citizens in a nation as diverse as ours to have a truly unified view. Instead, there are some number of viewpoints, none having a true majority. To get parties that more closely reflect political groupings, we would have to modify the voting mechanisms that lead to a two party system. In particular, we would need to move away from geographic, winner-take-all districts and to some form of proportional representation for the House of Representatives and for most state legislatures. As an independent, I think that is a good idea. What makes it difficult is that it is anathema to both major parties, since it would weaken their political power. The one thing on which both the GOP and Democratic Party are in full agreement is that the two-party system has to stay.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-08-05 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. The Republican Party is a coalition of conservatives not moderates.
They now hold sway because the DP offers little except a "not as bad" alternative that isn't a real alternative at all. The "middle", "center", "moderates", as the DLC claims, are actually pretty conservative at this time. They respond to the Right Wing rhetoric of "patriotism", "lower taxes", "individual liberty", etc, and the joys of materialism. To try and appeal to them, the DP has used the ploy of moving right in an obviously superficial way that patronize them. Thus we get "Pro-Choice" candidates who decry "Partial Birth Abortions"; "Pro-gay" candidates who oppose gay marriage; "Gun control" candidates who praise guns; "Anti-corporatist" candidates who accept money from the corporations; etc, etc.

I agree with you entirely on the two party system and the desire of both parties to keep it intact. It will only be broken when enough people rebel against what amounts to a one-party system that represents the monied and powerful.

Will it happen? Yes. The trouble being that "the people" who will bring down the system don't live here. America is a dying empire flailing about trying to keep control of it's "vital interests" (it's colonies) through brute force. It's failing in that, as indicated in Iraq where the "world's most powerful military" can't even control a third world country.

The question of conservative Republicans vs moderate Democrats is one of how fast the empire crumbles. We're overextended and going broke. A phenomenon experienced by almost all previous empires. It's the downside of being "Number One".

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