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democraticrevolution Donating Member (100 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:22 PM
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Thinking Twenty Moves Ahead

Thinking Twenty Moves Ahead
by Jason Gooljar

I was recently talking to a political operative that has been in this game for over thirty or so years about the current field of the DNC chairman race. If there was anything that I got from this conversation, it was something that I had never really thought about enough and that was compromise. In the aftermath of November we are divided in more ways than one. Besides the soon to be clich red and blue, you have divisions inside of political parties and groups that can be just as destructive.

The way the media portrays debate in the post crossfire world is to set up direct confrontation between to warring factions. They both scream at the top of their lungs and the one who looses their voice first from being the loudest, and most arrogant wins the debate. But, does this type of environment really discuss the issue? Do we as a nation want to be divisive or progressive? We can either remain divided and the issues that concern us will never get done justice, or we can instead try to look at things from a new perspective.

This operative I spoke to yesterday used a term that I think best sums up the new direction we may need to take. That term was we need to start looking at the things that unite us, instead of divide us. It is true that no one will ever agree on things all the time. However does that mean we should just ignore one another and stay within a clique of our own beliefs? As Democrats or Republicans and the left, right, or moderate leaning in those parties, we are all going to have core beliefs that we will never veer from. For those core beliefs democracy must be utilized to settle our dissagrements. For these issues we should start to look at things that lead to progress and that is compromise. Within an issue what can we all agree on?

If we don't start to look at this I do fear that there will be those that will start to look at different population segments and look for an issue that will split that segment and turn it against one another. We have seen a strategy that now uses issues to influence elections. For example a candidate who realizes that there is a split in the nation concerning gay marriage can take the side of being for or against it and if the population is divided 60/40, if they take the right side it could possibly mobilize people for a win. However, what good does that do for the population? There is now 40 percent of that segment that is now jaded and will not work with the other side on anything.

So now as a result of this we have a President of a divided nation and eleven or so states with referendums that passed prohibiting gay marriage. But what if we had done things differently? What if we saw that division and looked at a way to find some common ground. Would not progress have been made? Instead of division? For instance we could have looked at the sides that were for and against and came up with some alternatives using legislation. We could have seen that people regardless of race, sex color, creed and sexual orientation deserve to have equal rights. Now, instead of marriage why not look at what married couples are allowed to do legally? The resulting compromise would result in possible partnership rights legislation.

With that compromise the part of the segment that eventually wants to see gay marriage made legal in the sense that they can have marriage licenseses, can continue to fight for it in a social forum. But by compromising in the short term it takes nothing away from their movement. It certainly does not add to the division of the nation. Even people who don't like the current system of social security by compromising instead of trying to eliminate social security we might have been able to find a way to fund those private accounts by not eliminating social security. Of course, if they truly dislike the new deal program they can continue to voice their opinion in a public forum but at least a compromise might have been made in the interim.

Finally I will close on the topic of the DNC chairman and the insight I was given by this operative recently. First of all I think there has to be a consensus that the Democratic Party must remain united and be a party of inclusion. What good is a party that can become divided? Will it be weak or powerful? Can we continue to have a weak party? I do not think we can afford that if we hope to have an infrastructure that can support our candidates. If there is a candidate for the chairman that represents only one side what will happen if that candidate gets elected? What would happen is the other side would possibly leave the party and what good is that? There are two things that I can see us doing with this situation. We can either look at a candidate that we can both agree will do good things for the party. Or a candidate that is interpreted to be from one side if elected can reach out and truly try and bring the party together. Unfortunatley when comparing this election to the presidential we see an example where the President has not reached out to bring the nation together, and as a result turned many people off.

As far as the role of the chairman of the DNC I feel that it is one that if not done correctly can hurt the party. The best way to describe it would be to say it's a double edged sword. Let's say you have a chairman who takes a public stance on the issue of a nominee for the US supreme court. Then let's say the congressional democratic leadership votes to confirm that appointment because instead there is another issue that they wish to save the firepower for or they strike a deal with the GOP that if they confirmed this appointment then the GOP would not block a bill that they are going to bring to the floor for a vote. You would then have a chairman at odds with the congressional leadership. Thus, resulting in a divided party at the top of the pyramid.

The other side to this would be if say, the chairman went along with the democratic leadership and they all stated that confirmation of this nominee would be done. The public would then be outraged with the chairman. If he's a popular chairman then being at odds with the people may not be something he would want.

In closing it all comes down to compromise and interpretation. Even in my local town and it's politics sometimes when you do something you may feel is right it may be interpreted as something else. I think this can be a regressive way to think. Siding with another faction for or against a candidate or an issue does not mean that you support or hate everything that they do. I think when we think this way we truly miss out on the potential of progress. Who knows maybe one day in the next four years George Bush might have a good idea? But will we be able to support it without hearing the word traitor in the background? Will we fall into the trap of opposing someone just to oppose them? I see it at the local level now, I can only imagine what it's like when you multiply it nationally. Whoever the next chairman of the Democratic National Party is I hope that the public can now start to think in terms of progress instead of division and compromise along with democracy. Let us break free of the tunnel vision where it's our way or the highway.
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electropop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:30 PM
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1. The possibility of compromise depends on a rational opponent
who is concerned with outcomes. You can't negotiate with madmen: they are incapable of compromise or even of understanding their own actions. They simply prey on the base instincts of the gullible, and as soon as one issue has lost its excitement to the proles, they invent another. At least this is how it goes with the "values" issues.

On issues where the taxes of rich people are at stake, it's a whole different story. They will stop at nothing to get a free ride from society, and will not compromise on issues like Social Security. To negotiate with them on saving it is to miss the point. Their goal is destruction of the program, ours is preservation. There really isn't a compromise position in there. The best we can do is use what few real Democrats we have left and try to block them at every turn.

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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:45 PM
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3. Absolutely, well said! Electropop, you cannot say this often enough.
Maybe eventually enough people will get it and we'll mount a real opposition.
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bklyncowgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 02:45 PM
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2. Compromise means both sides have to be willing to give
In the past few years it's the Democrats who've been doing all the giving and the Republicans doing all the taking.

I'd love it to work the way you've outlined in your post. I think at some time in the past it may well have worked that way. The fact is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by right wing extremists who see any sort of compromise as weakness.

Being reasonable, working with moderates on the other side, sure but selling out core beliefs, no way.
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