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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:02 PM
Original message
What to do about "we'll come back for you" politics?
Edited on Sat Nov-17-07 05:07 PM by Truth2Tell
So Adolf L. Reed nails it in the November issue of the Progressive. In "Sitting This One Out," Reed shares his views on the dismal state of the Democratic primary field and the present dilemmas faced by many thinking progressives. But we've all heard this story before. What Reed adds to the usual fare is an analysis of what progressives are doing wrong, and why it's foolish for us to expect democratic politics to reflect our values right now. It's a great read.

http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed1107

OK, HERE WE ARE AGAIN, a year out from a Presidential election, and we’re all supposed to be figuring out which of the Democrats has the best chance to win—determined mainly by the standard of raising the most money—and subordinating all our substantive political concerns to the objective of getting him or her elected. This time, I’m not going to acquiesce in the fiction that the Presidential charade has any credibility whatsoever. I’m not paying any attention to the horse race coverage—that mass-mediated positioning in the battle for superficial product differentiation.

The Democratic candidates who are anointed “serious” are like a car with a faulty front-end alignment: Their default setting pulls to the right. They are unshakably locked into a strategy that impels them to give priority to placating those who aren’t inclined to vote for them and then palliate those who are with bromides and doublespeak. When we complain, they smugly say, “Well, you have no choice but to vote for me because the other guy’s worse.” The party has essentially been nominating the same ticket with the same approach since Dukakis.

-snip-

A friend of mine characterizes this as the “we’ll come back for you” politics, the claim that they can’t champion anything you want because they have to conciliate your enemies right now to get elected, but that, once they win, they’ll be able to attend to the progressive agenda they have to reject now in order to win. This worked out so well with the Clinton Presidency, didn’t it? Remember his argument that he had to sign the hideous 1996 welfare reform bill to be able to come back and “fix” it later? Or NAFTA? Or two repressive and racist crime bills that flooded the prisons? Or the privatizing of Sallie Mae, which set the stage for the student debt crisis? Or ending the federal government’s commitment to direct provision of housing for the poor?

Yep, true all dat. But why won't they listen? Why aren't the progressive movement, the base, the activists and the passionate left a defining force in our Party? Reed postulates that the lesson "progressives have forgotten or failed to learn," is that we need to organize on the ground before we expect politicians, even of the highest caliber, to respond to our pressure. We must present them with a real movement to represent. This is, in Reeds words, "why the endless cycle of unofficial hearings and tribunals and rallies and demonstrations and Internet petitions never has any effect on anything."

Zing. He follows:

As an illustration, consider the recent contretemps between John Conyers and the pro-impeachment, anti-war activists who attacked him as a sellout for failing to push impeachment over Nancy Pelosi’s and the House Democratic leadership’s opposition. His critics accused him of betraying the spirit of Martin Luther King. But that charge only exposes their unrealistic expectations. Conyers isn’t a movement leader. He’s a Democratic official who wants to get reelected. He’s enmeshed in the same web of personal ties, partisan loyalties and obligations, and diverse interest-group commitments as other pols. It was the impeachment activists’ naive error, and I suspect one resting on a partly racial, wrongheaded shorthand, to have expected him to lead an insurgency. If the pro-impeachment forces had been able to organize a popular movement with militant local to national expressions on a wide scale, Conyers would have had the leverage necessary to press the movement’s case to Pelosi and Democratic leadership, or at least he and the others would have felt real pressure to act more boldly on this issue. Instead, an understandable sense of urgency led them to take a politically self-indulgent, doomed shortcut. The result is much wasted effort, unnecessary enmity, and another demoralizing defeat.

Politically self-indulgent, doomed shortcut. Yep, we gotta stop taking the shortcuts.

Much more here to think about:

http://www.progressive.org/mag_reed1107

edit: to correct link


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hisownpetard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yeah, the "We'll come back for you" bit, just like Blitzer said to DK when he was
passed over on the last debate, the only one onstage not allowed to answer a question
to which all the others replied. Kucinich said, "Hello? Hello?" into his mic and Blitzer said,
"Everyone will get a turn," and then proceeded to not give DK a turn at all.
The same "We'll come back for you" lie, over and over again.
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Zactly
Wait right here, we'll be back..... I promise....
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hisownpetard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. It could also apply to all the people left homeless by Katrina. The ones stranded
on the rooftops, and floating in the water.
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yep. If they'd just get out there and create a "movement" the politicians
might listen to them.

Sometimes, you take care of people regardless of the political fallout; just because it's the right thing to do.

I am so tired of politicians. Are they really a necessary evil? *sigh*

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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I'd love to see the day when politicians
did right because "it's the right thing to do." But if we wait around for that we may be waiting a long time.
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Yeah, I know. We can't even pretend anymore, can we?
Okay, I'm depressing myself and anyone else who reads and agrees with me.

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hisownpetard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. "The right thing to do"?? Hey, is that coming back into style?
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Cerridwen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. For some of us, it never went out of style. For others, their definition of right
has a few more $$$$ signs in it than I'm familiar with.

I need a wry smile smiley. :D

:/

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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. Organizing on the Ground--Bingo,
You are absolutely and positively correct.

The perfect example: Christian Coalition worked for sometime but
they have had real power in the GOP and still do. Every Republican
Candidate(House and Senate) attend their conventions knowing they
had better play it straight. Do not promise anythig they cannot
carry out.

Think over the past 6 yrs, How GWB has appeared at times to be
pandering--but they got what they wanted. No Embryonic Stem Cell
Research. The list goes on.

The Conservatives got their center Right government as our conservative
wing voted with them in Congress.

Serious organizing and being reasonable in our Progressive Goals.
It is easy to overreach once organized.

Even though the RR might seem fractured, they are being political.
The GOP knows they cannot win without them.
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. There is much to be learned from the political tactics
of the Christain right. No doubt about it.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. But...they were funded by the Robertson/Falwell/Evangelical Ministers and Mellon-Scaife/Richard
Vigurie and the Vast Repug Big Bucks backers like Coors and Domino's Pizza...with money for massive mailings...issues that that the RW Evangelicals and Big Money Repugs and even Lobbyists could come together on. Democrats have Hollywood and Mainstream Lobbyists who go with whichever way the power looks like it's heading. There isn't money for Grassroots and the Dem Party in most states is calcified. When the Deniacs started getting involved in local politics, in many states they found the doors bolted shut. They loved the action on the ground but as far as getting in with the Dem "Powers that Be" it is very difficult unless you have alot of money or are a minority organizer with a long track record.

The best thing Howard Dean and the Kucinich and Green Activits have done is try to bring the Dem Party into the Computer Age by getting the Voting Records Computerized so they even know where their own Dems live and how often they vote! The PTB are always happy for volunteers but if you start to rock the boat you get the "Pelosi/Reid" treatment. Everything is "off the table" and just donate but don't expect anything else from us until you have a track record.

Until we have money in the Grassroots and the backing of local power structure it's as hard to break in locally as it is to get Pelosi and Reid to listen to us. Repugs worked from the bottom up...building coalitions. We need the money on the Dem side and to have the Developers and Business interests supporting us. That's not easy for Democrats to do unless we want Clintonomics/DLC policies forever...

It will take misery in this country economically before we Progressives can get some backing for our ideas. That will be coming shortly. THEN we will have our chance...and we better use it.

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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:33 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. It can be done
I've been making a pest of myself within the local Dem power structure for awhile now. (Kinda like here :) )

Others have joined me. Longer time and more staid Party insiders have joined us. We speak out against corporate influence at the State and local level within our own party. We knock on doors, attend meetings, volunteer, make friends, open eyes, etc.

Baby steps.
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Yes....we've made progress...and it is baby steps but compared to
what was going on in 2000 and '01 we've come a loooong way. Sorry to sound cranky in my post about this. It's just that like the quotes in your OP, I'm disappointed with many of our candidates and Reid and Pelosi who are doing "Politics as Usual" and raking in the big bucks and concentrating on winning in NH & Iowa rather than looking at the whole country. The "front loading" is depressing because my state isn't even voting until May 5th. Half the country will be forced into a "done deal." That's not good.

Anyway...I will read the whole article ...and was responding to the snips. It's always good to read the whole thing for the perspective. I'll read it tomorrow morning...being cranky and ready to turn in.

Thanks for the post.
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eleny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R - with thanks
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flashl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
12. Blacks know all to well the "we'll come back for you" politics. n/t
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
13. It all comes down to talking to your neighbors
Become a PCO and get more people participating. I've pretty much gotten over expectiong my neighbors to be issue junkies, but if you put yourself out there as your local Dem representative, you are there when people reach their involvement tipping points.
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Quite so.
Even if you find your local Party to be snooty, or conservative, or inbred, or whatever. Get involved and change it from within. We have to do this locally and in small groups. Key word: do.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-17-07 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
17. What are the Liberals going to do?

"What are the Liberals going to do?
Vote for a Republican?!!! Hahahahahahahahahahaha"
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-18-07 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Ha!
:rofl:
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