Skip to comments.The Left Asks, Will We Ever Win Again?
Posted on 06/02/2005 12:51:03 PM PDT by neverdem
June 02, 2005,
The Left Asks, Will We Ever Win Again?
Searching for answers at the "Take Back America" conference
What is the most urgent priority for today's "progressive" movement?
Walk around "Take Back America," the Washington conference put on by the liberal organizing group Campaign for America's Future, and you'll hear lots of answers.
We need media reform.
No, we need election reform.
No, we need a better way to frame our message.
No, we need to stop Wal-Mart.
No...well, the list goes on. But perhaps the number-one concern for progressives, according to one questioner at a press briefing after the conference's opening session, involves a much more basic problem. "We need to stop being so polite," she said. "Liberals are congenitally polite and reasonable and rational." The speaker went on to explain that those traits, while appealing, make it simply impossible for liberals to effectively counter the harshness of right-wing attacks.
To be fair, much of the self-criticism at "Take Back America" was a bit more searching than that. Eli Pariser, head of MoveOn.org's political-action committee, chided Democrats for relying too heavily on rich donors and growing out of touch with ordinary people. (MoveOn raised millions from small contributors on the Internet, to go with the millions donated by George Soros, Peter Lewis, and others.) Pariser became nearly indignant when discussing the votes of some moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill. "No Democrat should have voted for that bankruptcy bill," he said. "Not one!"
Former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile got in her shots at the Bush administration she referred to it as "Dick Cheney and the rest of those creeps" but also aimed a number of diplomatic criticisms at the politicians in her own party who took part in the recent Senate filibuster compromise. At least a few Democrats, she said, no longer deserved to be in office. "Some of our progressive friends lose their way and forget why they're up on Capitol Hill," Brazile told the audience. "We may have to run you [for office]."
That's the difference a year makes. At the 2004 "Take Back America" conference, held in the midst of a passionately fought campaign, no one was taking public shots, veiled or otherwise, at Democrats. There was just too much at stake to wander off the reservation. But now that campaign is over, and the next one is not quite underway, so the people at the conference can afford to be a little less guarded when talking about their side's problems.
But not totally unguarded. While Pariser and Brazile made a few pointed comments, much of the criticism of Democrats, and of "progressives" in general, heard at the conference was of the "there's nothing wrong with our message, it's just that we haven't communicated it effectively" variety. Indeed, a significant part of the conference's schedule of speakers is devoted to that single seductive idea. Scheduled appearances by Democratic message guru George Lakoff, What's the Matter with Kansas? author Thomas Frank, and right-wing hit-man turned left-wing hit-man David Brock will all deal with the so-called message problem.
Lakoff's panel discussion, a primer for Democrats, is entitled "Talking American."
Another theme of the conference is the belief that the American people are desperately unhappy with George W. Bush and the state of the nation. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake presented the results of focus group studies in which participants were asked to describe their feelings about the condition of the country today. "They used words like 'disappointed,' 'doubtful,' 'concerned,' and 'shitty' in describing their sentiments," Lake said. Perhaps in keeping with that last description, Lake recommended seriously that Democrats adopt political slogans like "It's time to clean out the stables."
Lake also said that her research showed that Democrats should not be afraid to use the "Two Americas" rhetoric that failed to win even the Democratic nomination for former Sen. John Edwards. "Voters are not afraid of a class-based 'Two Americas' message," Lake said. She also recommended that Democrats use the focus-group-tested phrase "family stress relief" to describe their programs. Look for that soon from the Democratic caucus.
Finally, with the campaign pressures off, the organizers of the conference appear to be more willing to publicly address what might be called their diversity problem. As it has been in the past, most nearly all of "Take Back America" attendees are white. Last year, Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future, said that was simply the result of scheduling conflicts, that many potential minority attendees were busy at other events. But this year, after Los Angeles mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa told the crowd, "You look at this room today, and you don't see the kind of diversity we need to build a strong movement in America," Borosage openly discussed the conference's rather overwhelming whiteness.
"The obvious shortcoming in the conference is that the diversity of the panels is not reflected in the diversity of the audience," Borosage told a news conference after the opening speeches. Changing that situation will be "the lead project that we undertake next year," Borosage said, promising that the 2006 conference "will look very different" from today's.
Borosage might also have said that in addition to a lack of racial diversity, the conference also featured a large number of attendees who could be described as being of a certain age. In fact, one speaker at the dinner that capped off the conference's first day began his talk by saying, "This is quite a moment for me to see so many men in ties and women in dresses. We must be on some way station between SDS and AARP."
The joke got a brief and not-terribly-enthusiastic laugh; even activists proud of their radical past did not like being so pointedly reminded that they were getting on. But the past made another appearance just a few moments later, when a small wave of nostalgia washed over the room as an organizer for the radical group ACORN, at the dinner to accept the "Paul Wellstone Citizen Leadership Award," began to chant from the stage: THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!
At first a few members of the crowd joined in. And then more. And more.
THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!
THE PEOPLE UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!
Talking American, indeed.
Byron York, NR's White House correspondent, is the author of the new book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time.
POWER TO THE PEOPOLLLLLE
Oh, I find this so laughable. The same people who say "Bush is Hitler" say they are too nice? Stop it alrrady.
The strange "memorial service" of Paul Wellstone
Paul Wellstone was a socialist. He never met a government program he didn't like or a tax increase he didn't support. He felt that government should run every facet of a citizen's life and was unashamed to say so (unlike most democrats). For this he gets credit as an "honest" politician.
He voted against the Gulf War and any armed solution to the current Iraqi problem but supported Clinton in every military adventure. He saw nothing wrong with Clinton's obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury. For this he gets credit as a "man of principle."
He promised to only served two terms. He was killed campaigning for his third term. For this he gets credit as "a man of the people."
His memorial service was a strange event. It was not even a service. It was a political rally. Issues and campaign speeches were made. People were yelling, chanting, smiling and laughing. Party leaders tried to out do themselves in how loud they could get the audience to applaud. The evil people (Republican Trent Lott and Independent Jesse Ventura) were booed and scorned for merely attending. There was excitement in the air.
Paul Wellstone's sons energized the crowd. They had just lost their mother, father and sister but they were leading the crowd, with fists in the air, with chants of "We will win!"
Democrats, at taxpayer expense, flew in from all over the country. All the major news outlets had continuing coverage and analysis of the speeches.
Nearly forgotten were the broken bodies of Paul, Sheila and Marsha Wellstone. They had become campaign props. Hardly any prayers were said. God was not mentioned. None said "may he rest in peace."
Paul, Sheila and Marsha are now before their God. May they rest in peace.
Translation: "We haven't lied well enough--the public can see right through our message."
The answer is "NON"
You can if you like...
If that's the way you are...
But don't come crying...
When the voters hang you out to dry again.
I think the left's main problem is that they don't have that tough guy image a winner needs.
I suggest they get together and go beat up those Marine Corps sissies at Parris Island.
It would be easy kickings for guys like Orca Moore and Stuart Smalley against a bunch of the kind of dumb skinny kids that would join the corps.
Then everything would just fall into place for them and they'd be heroes.
The answer: I sure as hell hope not!!!!
for a later read
"POWER TO THE PEOPOLLLLLE"
Can't you just see them standing there with their fists in the air, long hair and one of those paisley headbands?
Hmmmm, let me see....
A republican "security" president who refuses to secure the southern border.
A republican president who cuts taxes but also spends like a drunken sailor.
A republican president who does nothing to abate offshore outsourcing, even though people in my neck of the woods are jobless. (Whether you think it's the president's job or not, the jobless have votes).
A republican majority in congress that cowers to a democratic minority.
Yeah, the libs will gain some ground.
Democrats should take their message of reasonableness to Iowa, and New Hampshire, and Vermont, and Washington and ... YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Lets see, will the left ever win again? Well I guess that depends on how much the far right pisses us folks in the center off in the next 4 years.
I'm not sure if they remind more of the Nazis rallying at Nuremburg or a Communist show put on by Castro.......
The Left will again win, but that will be because we, as Conservatives, will have failed.
It's a shame.
PING FOR LATER
Until the Left adjusts to the paradigm shift initiated by GWB and Rove, their odds of winning nationally will remain slim.
What President Bush and Karl Rove did was to change the old political equation that said that you *must* win at least New York or California in order to win nationally.
Under the old political school of thought, politicians with national asperations had to cater to the most radical of New York and/or California political power-brokers.
But no more.
Now the equation is reversed. If you want to win nationally, you have to win in the Heartland.
This means that politicians with national asperations have to have political positions that are acceptable to mainstream Americans, a radical change from the old style of politicking.
Catering to New York and California power-brokers is now a liability instead of an asset.
Suddenly the anti-gun and pro-abortion positions of the past are no longer the ticket to the White House, for instance.
In fact, politicians with national asperations had better know what the Lion's Club, PTA meetings, churches, and football crowds are hearing.
Which is to say: it's no wonder that the Left is enraged, in denial, confused, and depressed these days. San Francisco bathhouses and NYC cocktail parties are no longer the path to national power.
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