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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-05 08:35 PM
Original message
Insider/Outsider or building grassroots?
What is Kerry doing lately anyway? Is he developing an insider/outsider theme and will that play for him nationally? I have been wondering about that ever since I saw him speak in Boston back in mid-April. I think it all depends on who is doing the framing.

Let's recap a few of the facts and see we can lay out the jigsaw pieces in some sort of logical fashion.

1. The Democrats are the minority party in Congress right now. They are outsiders. They control no national branch of government.

2. Kerry is both an insider and an outsider. He always has been. He is an insider by virtue of the fact that he chose to attempt to change the system from within. (Again, it's who he is. He is not a bomb-thrower. He is a 20 year veteran of the US Senate.) He has always been something of an outsider also. During his investigative days in the Senate (before Rethugs scuttled the investigations, sigh!) Kerry would go after Dems. This did not endear him to Party higher ups. He was a bit of a loose cannon and Party higher ups could not always count on him to 'play ball' and protect their interests. (The recent NYTimes article calls Kerry, in so many words, a loner again. That word has been used before as regards the Senator. LOL! Sometimes he just doesn't like to play the DC game.)

3. Democrats have to change the rules of engagement. The Rethugs have successfully 'boxed' them into a false image that is costing them local, state and national elections. The Rethug meme on the Dems is that they are not on the side of 'ordinary' Americans and are at odds with the 'values' that ordinary Americans hold. This is a very powerful mythology that has penetrated pretty deeply into the American electorate. It must be broken. elected pols cannot do this on their own, they just engage the people.

4. Kerry, as a Dem pol, is developing another way of communicating with his base (and he does have both a state and national base) that involves acknowledging the fact that Dems don't have the power to affect change and that 'We The People' have to get involved. Kerry is betting that the current Rethug cage that has been constructed for the poor and middle class is of short duration. It can be breached. This is key.

5. How do you break through the Rethuglican Noise Machine and the Rethug cage of false values and economics lies that Rethugs have been telling. By keeping your eye on reality. That is Kerry's "felt needs" idea. Health care is a troubling issue that affects millions of Americans. So are concerns about jobs, outsourcing, the gulf between rich and poor, concerns about housing, the environment and so forth. This also includes, of course, the very basic concern about possible tampering with the American voting system and about possible defrauding of the American people at the ballot box. That is a big "felt need."

6. So what does this mean? Kerry is trying to build a case that real Americans are being ignored by their representatives in national government. The national Rethug Party has forgotten about "We The People" and is only responsive to "We Big Corporations." He is trying to establish a case that, as of right now, the Democrats can't do much in the way of positives to make the government pay attention to it's own people. But the Democrats are the ultimate vehicle for that turn around. He and other Dems are the ones who are listening, they are the ones trying to save basic programs like Social Security and Medicare from Rethug heartlessness and cruelty. The "felt needs" can only be addressed by those who are genuinely listening.

&. This is both an insider and an outsider appeal. It threads the needle. The Boston Globe simplified this message to just an insider/outsider argument, which is too simplistic. It is both. The outsiders are the ones who must pressure their reps. The Reps are insiders who can affect actual change. They have to work together. The Globe story didn't do the work to connect the dots.

What say you? Am I crazy or what?
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-05 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hmmm, I feel and 'in other words' coming on
In other words, the pipes are clogged. The normal process whereby the people get to express their concerns to their elected reps is blocked off at one end. This is Thomas Frank's point. We have to clear out the pipes. That way outsiders get to talk to insiders and actually feel that someone is listening.
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politicasista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-05 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. No, you're not crazy
I applaud Kerry for trying to see the bigger picture even though haters will never see that.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-05 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. Wicked smart, as you like to say, TayTay!
If he's doing all this, it can only be very good for the Democratic party. He'll be building a new reputation for it (# 6) from the grassroots on up, more than Bill Clinton ever did for the party. BC built up himself, but the Dems remained weak.

And yeah, ( # 2) he is enough of a maverick to be willing and able to go his own way, and break new ground to that end. You have to be able to think outside the box for a problem this complex. Someone's had their thinking cap on! He's ( # 5) using "felt needs" in people's lives as a way of driving his message home to people. He wants to be right there with an answer when they seriously stop and ask "why?".

Wicked, wicked smart. :)
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-12-05 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
4. No, your not crazy.
If your crazy then I'm crazy to. I agree with you entirely. There is such a need for someone to reach out to the people- me being one of those people. We are starved for representation and it is only getting worse. I wonder if Kerry picked up on this during his campaign travels? And you know what, if Kerry is doing this partially as a prerequisite to a possible 2008 run I think it is wonderful way to reach the people. I do not however, consider another run his only motivation, in positioning himself this way,as some seem to allude to.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-05 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. If his motivation is to win in 2008,
it doesn't matter. These actions will help him get the nomination only if they work in creating a better dynamic for Democrats running in 2006 and if he is very lucky, passing some much needed legislation to help people. The entire Democratic party will be helped if these ideas work. Part of his motivation is that he was very obviously touched by the people who saw him as their source of hope. He is still fighting for people and I think even if there were a rule that a failed candidate could not run, he might still be doing what he is doing.

He is not working against anyone, at this point, so this is no legitimate reason for Democrats to not support him on this if they think it's a good idea.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-05 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good analysis
Sounds like what is happening - I'm surprised that Kerry has made as much progress in moving in this direction in such a short time. I also think some of the flack he's getting from all sides is because what he is doing may be showing signs of possible success and it is sometimes against their vested interests.

Imagine that Dean had made some of Kerry's felt need statements and comments that Washington is not working for you and had come up with the idea of using DNC lists to have people across the country "co-sponsor" attractive pieces of needed legislation that Dean could then find a Senator to actually write and sponsor. How many times would the words "genius", "brilliant" , "true leader", "liberal","radical" have appeared in a series of Kos Diaries extolling the vitues of the good doctor, if he did either of these things, much less both? But instead because the same things are done by some boring loser without a message, they are bad.
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politicasista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-05 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Bingo!
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JI7 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-13-05 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. no, that's exactly who it viewed it when i read what KERRY SAID
i know enough not to take the headline of any article as telling the true story.

the thing that sucks is that it was very easy to see that he did mean the things you describe but the others just wanted to bash instead so they distorted or lied just as right wingers do.

i truly think they WANT things where they can complain about. that's why even when positive things are being done they respond with negative comments.
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