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"The Great Surrender":Reason to be Angry other than Bush or Dean

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Raya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 01:21 PM
Original message
"The Great Surrender":Reason to be Angry other than Bush or Dean
Edited on Tue Dec-23-03 01:35 PM by Raya

I have come across and Opinion piece really says what my anger is about. It is NOT about BUSH. It is NOT about DEAN. It is about the failure of leadership in my party and in the progressive movement as a whole. I dont think they were feeling my pain, and that of many in the rank and file, at the horrible things happening in our country, when they failed to rally around Al Gore to create a unified and passionate effort to take back our country.

I think they failed us when they didnt respond to media anointing Dean as The Man, and allowed many of us to get sucked into the movement only to later realize that The Man is nothing like we thought.

I have been a rank-and-file democratic activist for more that 25 years. I am angry because I though we could actually take back our county next year, but now I fear we are being led by a candidate who, for no fault of his, does not have what it takes to beat Bush and was never really committed to the progressive causes I have marched for.

I am angry that it is December and we are not trouncing Bush in the polls. I am angry because my Party leadership is just looking on while democratic chances in 04 goes of a cliff.

I guess none of them is worried about their next pay-check.


The Great Surrender

Published: December 23, 2003

In 2000, John McCain led an insurgent campaign against the Republican establishment. Say what you will about G.O.P. elites, they do not lack self-confidence. When McCain hit them, they hit back, viciously. In South Carolina, they insulted McCain's honor, caused him to lose his equilibrium and left him battered and defeated.

An election later, the Democratic establishment faces its own insurgency campaign. Howard Dean has launched a comprehensive assault on his party's leaders. First, he attacked their character, charging that they didn't have the guts to stand up to George Bush. Then, he attacked their power base, building an alternative fund-raising and voter mobilization structure. Now he is attacking their ideas, dismissing the Clinton era as a period of mere damage control.

So how are the Democratic leaders defending themselves? They are responding as any establishment responds when it has lost confidence in itself, when it has lost faith in its ideas, when it has lost the will to fight.

The first crucial moment in this campaign came in early August. Dean was beginning his surge. He was on the covers of the newsweeklies. Instead of trying to confront him when he was still beatable, the rival Democratic candidates suffered what can only be described as a fit of moral panic. Some of those who supported the war in Iraq pretended they opposed it. Months went by and nobody offered more than passing jabs at Dean's integrity and ideas.

Today, the Dean campaign is immeasurably stronger, but faces its second test. Bush's recent successes have halted Dean's momentum. Nearly 60 percent of Americans now approve of the president's performance, while roughly a fifth of voters say they hate or strongly dislike him calling into question a campaign built almost entirely on mobilizing the Democratic base. If there is a moment to rethink Dean's campaign, this is it.

And yet the mood within the Democratic establishment is dour and fatalistic. While most Washington Democrats expect that Dean will get trounced in the fall, they are not trying to head off the catastrophe. Some fear a party feud more than a defeat. Some don't want to get on the bad side of the likely Democratic nominee. Some privately love what Dean says even as they fear he will lead to disaster. Most important, the Democratic establishment lacks the will to stand up for its beliefs.

The closest thing to a Dean resistance movement is emerging inside the Lieberman campaign. Joe Lieberman is trying to rally the forces of Clintonism. The Clinton Democrats won, Lieberman argues, because they supported free trade and middle-class tax cuts. They were vocal on values, strong on defense. They were hopeful, not angry, and transcended partisanship rather than reinforced it. Dean has veered from all of this, Lieberman concludes.

And yet while Lieberman and his staff are energized, there is little evidence that the rest of the Democratic establishment is. Gephardt, Clark and Edwards refuse to criticize Dean in any comprehensive way. And in truth, even Lieberman is unwilling to go for the jugular.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Last week, I asked Lieberman if he would pick a fight with Dean on values. I asked him if he had formed any conclusions about Dean's temperament. I asked him if he would run commercials pointing out that if Dean had his way, Saddam would still be in power, filling mass graves. No, no, no.

Presidential campaigns climb a hill of righteous indignation. By the time they squared off in South Carolina in 2000, the Bush and McCain campaigns loathed each other. But in the Democratic race, the Dean campaign has all the loathing and the passion.

It is a loathing not only for Bush but also for the Democratic establishment, and contempt for its weakness. Nothing has so vindicated the Dean campaign as the Democratic establishment's pallid response to it.

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Warren Stuart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. This guy works for Murdock!
A sleezy tabloid hack writer, he was put on the Times to balance Krugman.

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Raya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Is it not possible to talk about the ISSUE rather that personal insults
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Scott Lee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 03:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. So you and Howard Dean agree!
This is good news.

See, Howard is largely about attacking and dismantling the corrupt, decrepit, insider addled system called the current Democratic Party leadership. A revolutionary always gets the dirty work. He or she has to charge in and make a huge mess in taking down an obselete and inneffective system, as well as be around to clean up and restructure the new one.

I'm happy that you agree it is time to take the old one down.

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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 03:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. Dean's momentum has been halted by Bush?

The news of Dean's demise has been, and will continue to be, greatly exaggerated.
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quaker bill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
5. Another source for more or less the same opinion
Is It Time to Believe?
By Michael Tomasky

This is where Howard Dean comes in. If one thinks of the Democratic Party as rebuilding itself after its disastrous 1980s, then Deanor more appropriately, "Deanism"is a new and potentially more powerful stage of the rebuilding process. Clinton rebuilt (forgive the Marxist terminology, but it happens to fit) the superstructure. Dean is rebuilding the base. "If Clinton modernized the message," says Simon Rosenberg, the most prominent centrist Democrat who's enthusiastic about Dean, "then Dean is rebuilding the party. In the '90s party, it was, 'Write us a big check.' Regular people were left out of that equation. Now, through new technology, we're getting them back in."

There's a tricky thing about this rebuilding stage, though: It excludes party insiders. It has nothing to do with Washington. It's no wonder that Democratic insiders, so accustomed to having complete ownership of a process like a party primary campaign, should dislike Dean and even fear him: He has stolen the process right out of their hands. He is not "of" them in any way, shape or form. In fact, his accumulating successes merely serve to emphasize their irrelevance to this rebuilding stage. No wonder they should take a kind of emotional comfort in writing him off as the new George McGovern; it's much easier to dismiss a thorny thing than to come to terms with it.


The article goes on to describe merits of other candidates and how they could still win the nomination. (I omit to comply with the 4 paragraph rule, but provide the link) Then:


Unless, that is, he benefited from an insider-driven process designed to block Dean at all costs. At this point, after he has amassed the armies of small donors and bloggers and volunteers, blocking Dean is not blocking one man. It's blocking the hopes of millions of Democrats whounderstand the importance of thiswould walk through fire for a candidate for the first time in their lives. That isn't something that should be done cavalierly; in the long term, blocking the active participation of these millions may do more damage to the Democratic Party than four more years of George W. Bush.


Insiders need to start thinking about making their peace with Deanism. The partythe (still) post-1988 partyneeds a rebuilt base, and Dean is doing that in a way that has no precedent. And instead of fretting about all the ways Dean could lose, the insiders might do better to spend some time thinking about how he might win.

<<end snips>>

The American Prospect seems rather less conservative than Brooks. It seems easier to dismiss a thorny thing that to come to terms with it.
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Raya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. I worked for JERRY BROWN (1192). Wanted To Remake Party. BROWN was REAL
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eileen from OH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Hmm, I don't see how these are anything close
except coming from a kinda/sorta starting point. I love what Tomasky wrote and think it is dead on. Brooks is a conservative who, as some have noted, has been signed on as a counterpoint to Krugman or to combat their so-called liberal slant.

From there they draw completely different conclusions and advocate different paths to use.

Brooks talks about confronting and defeating "Deanism" as the way to go and can't figure out why they don't just take him out. (What would replace it and the same-old, same-old, I cannot discern.) Considering the source, I'd be disinclined to take his "advice."

Tomasky talks about embracing "Deanism" and melding it into what Clintonism has already done for the party. It does not mean that Dean has to be the candidate, but that the party regulars outta be very careful how they treat his candidacy, as it's the only thing new and fresh to appear in Dem campaigns in decades. And if the only reason the Dem establishment wants to quash him is because it challenges the traditional power base, well, that ain't a good enough reason. Masking it behind "unelectiblity" damages more than the Dean campaign. Because again, they offer nothing new to make this election any different than the others we have lost. What a damn shame if the Party, in their zealousness to oppose and dismiss one man, loses an extraordinary opportunity to remake the base of the party as well.

Whether you like Dean as a candidate or as a person and whether you support him or not, the fact is that his campaign has already changed the way politics works and rather than fighting it, we need to learn how to ride and use it, no matter WHO the candidate is.

eileen from OH
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Raya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-23-03 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks for a Thoughtfull response. I agree. I feel my movement has become
caught-up in a campaign effort that on a close look may
not be very noble. I feel that the fatal flaws of our presumptive
nominee may lead to the destruction of the movement and the
dashing of our dreams.
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WiseMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-03 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Tt is INACCURATE to talk about Deanism. Dean is new to Effort

And is really an unlikely leader of it.
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WiseMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-24-03 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Once Dean in Nominated we must all Rally against Bush. Until Then ...
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