Archive for the ‘YearlyKos’ Category

My President will be…

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

From Russ Feingold and the Progressive Patriots Fund comes this wonderful video. It seems during the YKos convention in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, PPF asked attendees to tell them one quality or attribute they wanted in their next President. Sadly, after watching the video I can testify that our current resident of the Oval Office has none of those great qualities in the video. The video reminds me of an old INXS video, the title of which escapes me.

Click the picture to view the video.

If you go to their site, they have a download of the placard used in the video. They want you to fill it out and then take a photo of youself holding it to use on their website. A noble venture indeed my dear reader! Russ Feingold is one of the very FEW elected rep’s that I still trust. Sadly, the list is getting smaller all the time…

Tags: Russ Feingold, Progressive Patriots Fund,

Kos: Defining The Center With A Circular Argument?

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

It is human nature to want to be right…and unfortunately, it is also human nature to make such assertions even in the absence of the necessary evidence. While I understand the instinct, I’m not sure it serves to advance meaningful dialogue or forge important alliances. In fact, it reminds me of the very divisive practices we have seen from Karl Rove and the GOP spin machine.

Yes, I’m speaking about the Washington Post article by Susan Gardner and Markos Moulitsas titled How We Won The Mainstream.. First, let me acknowledge that there is no doubt that Daily Kos has had a significant influence on the political dialogue in the last few years. At the same time, I would also suggest that it is far more difficult to measure the Kossaks’ actual ability to impact the outcome of elections.

Before I proceed…and before all of the apologists attack…let me offer an important caveat. I have no allegiance to Daily Kos (outside of an occasional posting on the site) and I am also not aligned with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC)…the apparent arch rival of Markos and company. I also have no particular axe to grind with either group…other than my own belief that seeking truth ought to trump the need to tout one’s political potency.

In truth, I find the tendency of both groups to wax on with absolute rhetoric…in a fashion reminiscent of Dick Cheney and the GOP’s neocon klatch…troubling and counterproductive. The following excerpts are from the article. You can also find Ed Kilgore’s response here.

Three years ago things looked bleak for the Democratic Party. […] Democrats appeared to be on the run, disorganized and demoralized. But outside of Washington there was hope. Grass-roots Democratic activists had seen the future of our politics in Howard Dean — plain-spoken and unapologetic.

Dean was elected chairman of the Democratic Party despite predictions of electoral doom by the usual suspects in Washington, including the Democratic Leadership Council. In the House, Democrats chose Nancy Pelosi to lead them over current DLC Chairman Harold Ford, who warned of disaster if Pelosi won. Calling her a “throwback” who practiced a “destructive and obstructive” style of politics, Ford proclaimed, “I don’t think Nancy Pelosi’s kind of politics is what’s needed right now.” Today, Nancy Pelosi is the first female speaker of the House.

Ford, like his fellow Washington insiders, grossly misunderstood the American electorate. […] Convinced that this is fundamentally a conservative nation, Ford demanded that Democrats unceasingly inch toward the right or risk electoral irrelevance. As then-DLC official Ed Kilgore put it in 2005, “If we put a gun to everybody’s head in the country and make them pick sides, we’re not likely to win.” But we who live outside the D.C. bubble — in all 50 states, in counties blue and red — were hearing voices at odds with the Washington consensus.

The new leadership responded. A concerted grass- and Net-roots effort, bridging online activists and the labor movement, forced Democratic officials to reject any “compromise” with right-wing interests seeking to gut Social Security. Democratic poll numbers rose in the wake of this victory as Bush’s fell. Standing strong for a core Democratic program was not only good for our country, it was smart politics.

Clearly, while the above remarks are for the most part an accurate chronology of the referenced events, they also attempt to paint a picture that exceeds the actual canvas…an artistic endeavor akin to closing one’s eyes in order to imagine and embellish a bigger and brighter picture than the one which has left us wanting.

Rather than belabor the reader with a spate of details, suffice it to say that Howard Dean’s mission to court not only the center but those on the right who he contends are misaligned with a Republican Party that regularly fails to address their needs seems to indicate a recognition that the existing “progressive” coalition must expand to be an ongoing force. It also seems to be recognition that the 2006 Democratic gains may have been more about opposition to the war in Iraq than a strong shift in shared ideology.

As to Nancy Pelosi and Social Security, may I posit that we’re simply looking at a situation one might equate with a “chicken or the egg” conundrum. Did strong voter opposition to a change in Social Security enable Pelosi’s stance or did Pelosi take the lead in shaping public opinion? OK, I’ll admit that the answer to my question may be an insult to the scientific endeavor I’ve invoked.

Lastly, if I understand politics, the citing of an event that is now distant history as evidence of where we are or where we’re going may make one feel good but it is also apt to be little more than an irrelevant footnote. May I suggest that the recent polling showing voter approval of Congress at three percent is a far better recap of what has happened and where we stand? I think a three percent approval ought to instruct that the future actions of the Democratic congressional leadership must improve and be better aligned with public sentiment.

Months later we championed Ned Lamont’s victorious primary challenge to Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Beltway insiders predicted that our success would cost Democrats the U.S. Senate, and consultants allied with the DLC fretted that activists were “pushing the party to the left.”

In fact, we pushed the party so far left that we positioned it squarely in the American mainstream and last year won a historic, sweeping congressional victory, something the “centrist” groups had been unable to accomplish for decades — not even in the DLC’s glory days of the 1990s.

By early 2006, so-called centrism had offered up Iraq, a tax regime that puts the burden on the middle class, bankruptcy reform that gave away the farm to irresponsible credit card companies, an outdated physical infrastructure, legalized torture and a crippled disaster-response effort in New Orleans. The American people, infinitely smarter than Washington insiders, had had enough. Unapologetic, muscular Democrats swept into office in dramatic numbers in state and local races nationwide.

Now I’m no magician so perhaps I don’t understand the art of illusion…but to cite the Ned Lamont primary victory without acknowledging his eventual loss to Joe Lieberman as evidence that the country has shifted leftward seems to be at best a sleight of hand and more likely a fictional fantasy. If Harold Ford’s loss in Tennessee is evidence that the DLC’s demand to move the Democratic Party to the center proves their misjudgment, then the fact that independent candidate Joe Lieberman was able to defeat the darling of the Netroots Left points to the miscalculation of Moulitsas and his followers.

Before the apologists converge to argue that one must look at the political climate of Connecticut before calling the Lamont candidacy a miscalculation, I would argue the same to be true regarding the outcome in Tennessee…so let’s not waste our time. The truth of the matter is that neither the Kossaks nor the DLC have much to crow about. I’m sorry to be a buzz kill, but isn’t it possible that 2006 was about saying no to George Bush and his Iraq quagmire?

Further, when I read Moulitsas’ and Gardner’s carefully crafted creation, I can’t help but think about the many postings I’ve read in Netroot land about the need to toss out the many Blue Dog Democrats who were elected in 2006…and for those of you who may not be familiar with the term, Blue Dog Democrats are viewed to be a loosely linked group of Democrats who were elected in conservative leaning districts who embrace a much more conservative position than the Netroots.

Pardon my skepticism, but I’m struggling to follow this tortured line of reasoning which on the one hand seeks to contend that 2006 is evidence that the Netroots is the mainstream and on the other hand argues that the Blue Dog Democrats need to be targeted in 2008. Do a Google search on Blue Dog Democrats and see what you find. Isn’t it possible that these people won in their districts because they didn’t move too far left…and they capitalized upon the dissatisfaction with George Bush and the war in Iraq?

I’m still trying to decipher the particulars on the candidates Moulitsas and Gardner are referring to when they mention the “unapologetic, muscular Democrats” who were swept into office. Undoubtedly, the Democratic Party was successful in state and local races but this particular reference struck me as noticeably vague.

Last week, at the YearlyKos convention, all these players came together to celebrate our newfound unity and to organize for the coming battles in 2008 and beyond. The DLC was nowhere to be found — unless you looked in Nashville, where its members continued to preach, in empty halls, about the “vital center.” Even the Democratic presidential candidates have figured out where the heart of the party now lies: with the new, unashamedly progressive movement.

The DLC had two decades to make its case, to build an audience and community, to elect leaders the American people wanted. It failed.

Their time is up. The “center” is where we stand now, promoting an engaged and active politics embraced by significant majorities of Americans.

I know I’m being particularly sarcastic…but is the “defeat” of the DLC the kind of political victory one wants to tout when given the platform of a national newspaper article? My instincts about people suggest that my friends over at Daily Kos have gotten lost in the minutia of one-upmanship.

I’m reminded of the natural rivalry that exists between my two young nephews. As the younger one strives to outdo his older brother, my sister agonizes over their propensity to succumb to the immaturity and pettiness which one might logically expect from children.

I’ve yet to figure out how to explain the seemingly similar behavior from Mr. Moulitsas and Ms. Gardner. A sociologist might argue that political potency has become a metaphor for the passing on of one’s genetic code…whereby their vituperate vignette is an attempt to assert viability and virility. Rather vexing, if I may say so myself.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Which Candidate?

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

I’m sitting in the airport in Chicago trying to get home. I figured since I had ample time, I’d start uploading a little of the video I shot yesterday at the Presidential Candidate forum. While we as a blog are not endorsing any candidate at this time, I think the following exchange between the big three spell out quite clearly the differences in the big three candidates (there is also a great bit by Sen. Dodd. I like that guy). In my mind, Edwards picks up major ground and Hillary looks like the same old political machine we’ve seen before. Obama looks like Obama. What that means is up to you.

It’s funny to hear Hillary mention that lobbyist money in terms of nurses and teachers and “yes corporations” right after we find out she’s a major recipient of Big Healthcare donations. It’s hard to bite the hand that feeds you now isn’t it?


(I applogize about the video. I didn’t have a tripod and it was rather loud - still you’ll get the point)

Dem candidates at YearlyKos

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Thanks to David Sirota for bringing this to my attention. Hillary gets laughed at after Edwards brings up ‘K’ St.


If the video doesn’t show up can watch it on youtube here.

Blue Collar with Yellow Tail?

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Dinner at YK was interesting. It was a real example to me of “liberal inclusiveness.” Everyone seemed to have a great time, well at least if you were on the the list tonight for the big sushi shindig. Which we weren’t. So no food for us. Fuckers! (maybe we didn’t see the thing to RSVP. I never saw anything, but it could have been us)

Well Jet got in, just not the rest of us. It seems she knows people (the wonderful, beautiful, super awesome Chicago Dyke). Luckily she’s not to good for us, so she came back outside when we couldn’t get in. Oh well we never said we wanted to have dinner with them anyhow. Who the fuck eats sushi on a Friday night when there is drinking to be done. So we’re off to find trouble and some real liberal food. It’s Chicago! Hello people ever heard of pizza??? Deep dish? Eating sushi here is like giong to Paris and eating Mexican food.

How can you claim to represent Blue Collar values when you are sucking down Yellow Tail tuna with all the snottiness of Queen Elizabeth 2.

Well we may vote with em but we don’t have to like em.

(written on my mobile while walking down the street)

(ps if you were in there eating while we were not, we like you. It’s all those other bastards we dislike. You’re cool!)