Monday, April 11, 2011

TRUE BLUE: Why we must replace O with a D

Glenn Greenwald -- who may be the best political writer we have right now -- has put together a series of headlines which demonstrates why the Democratic party must unhitch itself from the Obama wagon. I reproduce the image to the left.

At the end of last year, this blog devoted some space to the idea of re-creating the "New Deal" movement. A real life upheaval forced me to put that project on hold -- temporarily. I would like to get back to it.

But we've run into a problem of nomenclature. The Roosevelt Institute has a newly-prominent site called New Deal 2.0, which does excellent work. I do not want any hint of competition with those folks. Alas, they won't get down to the business of creating an actual movement.

They complain about Obama, but they do not push for his replacement. Their attitude seems to be: "If a challenger shows up, maybe we'll support him."

That's not good enough. We must scream for a challenger to show up. We must make it happen.

And no-one else seems to be doing that. We need a genuine grass-roots uprising -- Wisconsin gone national. If someone else starts such an enterprise, I'll join. Until then, I'm going to try to push on forward with a drive to revive the spirit of FDR.

So...please share any ideas you have regarding a new name for this initiative. We need something short, catchy, and redolent of the Democratic party's best years.

Incidentally, this issue marks the place where I part company from our friends at Corrente. Those guys remain mired in the romance of a third party. Even if such a party existed, any attempt to run a progressive third party candidate would be a fiasco akin to the 1948 run by Henry Wallace. (Wallace received 2% of the popular vote.)

No, we must burrow within. We must retake an existing party with a proud past -- and a not-so-proud present.

The most spectacular political achievement of our lifetime was the takeover of the Republican party by its libertarian or neo-liberal wing -- a takeover which began pretty much the day after Nixon declared "We're all Keynesians now." Give the Randroids credit: By eschewing the third party route (yes, I know that a Libertarian party exists -- and I wish it well!), by doing the patient, long-term work of infiltrating and commandeering the Republican infrastructure, they have succeeded in their project of radicalizing the nation.

Naturally, when faced with such a success story, many liberals and progressives will use all of their intellectual powers to come up with reasons not to emulate a strategy with a proven track record. That's the way too many liberals think. They love to come up with clever new reasons to fail.

Let's make this simple:

Henry Wallace, Ralph Nader, Barry Commoner and others went the third party route. The trick didn't work.

The hard-core neo-liberals decided to infiltrate an existing "legacy" party. The trick worked amazingly well.

What lesson do we draw from this? Which battle plan do we emulate?

If you count yourself as "too liberal for Obama," you must ask yourself a hard question: Do you simply want to carp and complain from the sidelines? Or do you want to see your ideological colleagues rise to a position where they can wield actual power and get things done?

Most progressives seem to feel comfortable only as carpers and complainers. That's why they traditionally counsel us to "Think globally and act locally," which is another way of saying "Impotence is cool."

Me? I want to see a true blue Dem take power and get things done.

Woah! Hey...maybe that's our new name...


Whaddya think?
Wasn't the blue assigned by the media?

Taking the party back from the Pelosi's and Brazil's would be ideal, but do you think they are going to go without a fight?

We need a Franken or a Kucinich to speak out. Or beyond my wildest dreams one of the Clintons to say, "Enough!!"

Without that there is as much chance of taking over as there is running a third party candidate.
Mike, no offense, but your response here shows the problem.

When the neo-liberals took over the Republican party, they thought in terms of the long haul. They weren't focused on, say, Everett Dirksen.

Nancy Pelosi is in her 70s. So is Harry Reid. These problems will take care of themselves.

You have to think BIGGER than that. I mean, yeah, think about 2012 -- but also think about 2024, 2036 and beyond.

You want a Franken or a Kucinich or a Clinton to speak out? Let 'em know that they will have an appreciative audience. Give them a podium from which to speak out.

"Build it and they will come."

If you want to keep waiting for a man on a white horse to rescue you, you'll be waiting a long time. Why not rescue yourself?
People don't seem to realize we have to build it ourselves. They want a savior, thus the rapturous adulation of Zerobama by the duped masses who look down at the right wing ditto heads. Kucinich is the LAST faux "savior" we need, please. He's a joke. Wisconsin is now the poster state for an American uprising, let it be Feingold we draft to lead us back to Dem roots. He's already started Progressives United (which has an unfortunate acronym!) but I'm not sure how we can use that for this purpose. The neo-cons who took over the Republican Party had a detailed plan and they implemented it by starting with the school boards, working up thru government office, then media and next they plan on taking over the arts as well. Sorry to say, our ditto-heads would never be this driven. They'll be satisfied with twittering away about how we "need Kucinich" and how "mad" they are that their boyfriend Obama "betrayed" them and how they're voting third party or not at all next time. Your True Blue is a good idea, but most younger people aren't going to identify so strongly as "Dem." Maybe "True Blue Takeover." Bill it as a takeover of the party.
Let's see - how did that work out for the last Democratic candidate who beat Obama for the nomination? Oh, yes, votes for her were given to Obama or for some reason were not counted.

If some 'hero' were to show up as an alternative, the Democratic leadership will give the nomination to Obama anyway. And then, insist that everyone has to sit down, shut up and give money and support to Obama.

Count me out of that BS show again.
I always hated that cliche.

This year, for the first time ever, the Japanese canceled a "scientific" whaling expedition to Antarctica on account some protesters. The Japanese whaling fleet wasn't stopped by followers of one of those large mainstream environmental groups -- the kind that hand out those stupid "Think globally act locally" bumper stickers. The Japanese whalers were stopped by Paul Watson and his crew, a handful of brave people who act as globally as they think.
I think we should forget about Obama and whether or not anyone runs a primary against him. If we work toward having progressive majorities in the House and Senate, we don't have to care who's president, even a Republican can't do much harm.

But we need to consolidate the splintered progressive groups. Why do we have so many? Why can't we work together?

Until we can address that question and get over the obstacles to presenting a united front, we're not likely to have much of an impact, despite the fact that what we want is what a majority of Americans want.

Carolyn Kay
Start with the school boards, that is why a third party challenge never went anywhere. The Big Egos went for the brass ring right off the bat. Everybody knows this.

So we get some of our people in congress, then what? By the time we get a few more elected the first batch will be corrupted by the Pelosi, Reid, Brazil gang.

Joe, what I got from your post was that you wanted someone to step up to Obama. That won't happen without a "Big Name" Democrat going first. We can start agitating but nothing will happen in time for 2012. I believe it's a lost cause anyhow. If I misunderstood you, sorry.
What Mike and Caro said.
The Democratic brand is dead as far as I'm concerned. They'll go down with the current ship of state.

I'd rather try to build a Liberal party from splinter groups using the core values ... yes VALUES ... of the environment, civil rights, and economic rights...

We should use the American Wild Horse for a symbol.
kat, I think you're amazing. But...NO NO NO. NO!

Look, don't you think that, back in the days when Nixon made that "We're all Keynesians" remark, there were libertarians who were just as angry at the Republicans as you are at the Democrats?

Of course there were. That's why a libertarian party was started.

And just what has that party accomplished in all this time -- aside from helping Democrats get elected?

You are exemplifying my words:

"The most spectacular political achievement of our lifetime was the takeover of the Republican party by its libertarian or neo-liberal wing..."

"Naturally, when faced with such a success story, many liberals and progressives will use all of their intellectual powers to come up with reasons not to emulate a strategy with a proven track record. That's the way too many liberals think. They love to come up with clever new reasons to fail."

You, and all other lefties, should examine your psychological motivations. What is it about the possibility of success that bugs you?

Why do you seek to emulate a strategy that is a PROVEN LOSER? Why do you constantly think up clever reasons to turn away from a strategy that is a PROVEN WINNER?

Face the fact, Kat. You -- and a lot of the rest of the left -- are not really compelled by policy and ideology and history and all of the rest of that stuff. You SAY you are, but I do not believe you.

No, after watching politics and reading history for over four decades now, I am convinced that most lefties act the way they do because they WANT to fail.

Success means wielding power. And what has the Amazing Spider-Man taught us about power...?

You just don't want the responsibility. That's why you will always prefer the LOSER strategy of forming a third party.

Admit it.
Joseph. So, where's the Federalist party now? Where'd the Republicans come from? That's a failed third party strategy?

How are you going to get former Republicans like Senator Ben Nelson out of the Democratic Party? How are you going to get Obama out of the Democratic Party?

Either way. it's an uphill battle because money's co-opted what's in the Democratic party completely. The Green party and the libertarian party are both narrow interest movements. You need a movement based on broader shared values. I don't think the chances of uprooting the current centrist-right Democratic Party are any greater than trying to start fresh. It's taken 30 years for the religionists to infiltrate the Republican part. You got 30 years?
Oh, I forget to add that I have no idea what spider man did,said, or does ... pick another metaphor.
I agree with you, Joseph -- I don't think building a third party will be successful.

We have to make the Democratic Party pay at least as much attention to us as the Republican Party pays to its right-wing religious branch and its neo-con libertarian branch (they intersect, but are not the same).

To make them appreciate us, we have to hurt them and they have to know it. Withhold money, time and the votes -- and scream about it -- if they ignore us. It may take an election cycle or even two, but it is the only way.

Its about time all the so-called "Progressives" that are calling the Democratic Party their home but have actually been Conservatives and "former" Republicans got called out.
Lets name names. There's plenty of em and alot of them are bloggers. I name Arianna Huffington as one of the biggest liars and con artists out there. All we have to do is look in the not too distant past and reveal all who voted/promoted Ralph Nader in 2000 or mentioned Vince Foster in 2008.
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