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> Where do we go from here?, Now what?
Where do we go from here?
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nebraska29
post Nov 4 2004, 01:19 AM
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Being very active in local politics, I'm now trying to set up fundraising and other events. Understandably, people are disappointed, but I never knew how much people are just dejected about the election until I talked with about five others. I'm not thrilled about it, don't get me wrong, but there are a lot of us who are facing a political-existential crisis of sorts. I post this in relation to the Kerry "losing" thread because while I want to continue discussing why Kerry lost, I want to know what we can look forward to in '08
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English Horn
post Nov 4 2004, 01:50 AM
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QUOTE(nebraska29 @ Nov 3 2004, 09:19 PM)
Being very active in local politics, I'm now trying to set up fundraising and other events.  Understandably, people are disappointed, but I never knew how much people are just dejected about the election until I talked with about five others.  I'm not thrilled about it, don't get me wrong, but there are a lot of us who are facing a political-existential crisis of sorts.  I post this in relation to the Kerry "losing" thread because while I want to continue discussing why Kerry lost, I want to know what we can look forward to in '08
*



An excellent question. If John Kerry, as honorable person as he is, can not defeat a Rebublican as....emmm.... undistinguished as George W. Bush, then where do we go from here? There was nothing, absolutely nothing, that Bush can put on the table in front of American people and say "Here! I did THAT for you." Tremendous loss of jobs, shaky economy, deficits through the roof, a questionable war... how much GOP has to run the country to the ground? Plus, this year Democrats had some tremendous financial backers - MoveOn, ACT, George Soros... So it's not money - we had enough this year; not economy - most people are dissatisfied with their prospects and the way things are going; not Dow Jones - it's been down the month before the election; not public apathy - the core base has been very fired up prior to election, especially here in the Northeast; not even the Redskins smile.gif . We can not blame Nader - he wasn't a factor this year. There was nothing wrong with the message, and in my opinion, we had a great messenger. It is sad that the lower the state's income level is, the more Republican the state votes. The poorest states in the nation - bastions of GOP. The wealthiest ones - Democratic strongholds. Talk about irony. I do indeed feel dejected. ermm.gif
So what can be done? I am not a big fan of Hillary in 08' (although I do respect her personally). I don't think she can get to the "average Joe" the way her husband was able to do, and, supposedly, the way Bush does. A new face must emerge. Barack Obama would be an excellent candidate. Senator Bayh of Indiana is a possibility as well.
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Paladin Elspeth
post Nov 4 2004, 01:51 AM
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I say let George go ahead and bury himself.

More leaders will emerge from this. I don't think we should automatically assume that Hillary Clinton will be the next Democratic Presidential nominee.

Perhaps more Americans will have to experience, up close and personal, the results of job outsourcing and having relatives in the continuing occupation of Iraq before they come to the realization that while it is risky changing horses in midstream, it is downright stupid to stay on a horse that's lame. The problems G.W. is facing now will continue and, as per usual, the American people and not Dubya will be bearing the brunt of them.

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Eeyore
post Nov 4 2004, 02:01 AM
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I voted move farther left and actually stand for something because it had the actually stand for something section. Moving farther left is not really the issue. Developing a program to make the government more and efficient and more effective at meeting the needs of the people is a direction to go.

The Democrats have done nothing effective since 1996. A group of leaders did not emerge from the Clinton presidency. Where are they? 8 years in office and great advances in managing the budget, employment, interest rates, and stock market growth and no one emerges to take advantage of that success.

In 2000 the democrats could not effectively argue what they had done to improve the nation. The only person that emerged with legs was Hillary Clinton.

There are significant issues, foreign policy, social security, tax reform, job policies, energy policy, environmental stewardship that are begging for more visionary solutions. All problems have solutions. Some solutions can be win-win solutions that everyone can get behind.

What have the democrats been proposing and hammering away at since 2000?
We have only been able to point out what is wrong and not advocate more effective solutions.

Sure we've been locked at out the rooms of power, but we have a voice and if a vision can be created, than it can be spoken until it is heard.
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Lesly
post Nov 4 2004, 02:27 AM
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This is a cyclical trend that has as much to do with the redistribution of wealth as Bush's twang. A few good suggestions were made by conservatives (don't remember now, sorry), such as moving towards the center so it forces the Republicans back towards the center. It's a gamble, but one I think Republicans have already pulled off.

For the past half century Democrat was the party of social values, Republicans of personal values. While Democrats stressed government assistance to the poor and needy Republicans countered with personal responsibility. Social values is more profitable in terms of votes and the Republicans have pulled the rug out from under our feet. They are now the party of religious assistance by federal means, and with government funding comes more government involvement and restructuring.

Yeah, as a party they have setbacks any charitable person can disagree with, but there's also abortion and gay rights to contend with. On gay rights, at least, we're in the minority. On abortion I think three decades of access has made a younger generation of women complacent and oblivious to the legal ramifications of a Roe overturn that probably won't be restricted to abortion itself.

Months ago I said I didn't think the country was galvanized enough so that we'd witness an ideological swap as in the 60's, but I think that time may be coming. You can't draw people without something to distinguish yourself by, and the party of personal values is capitalizing on our social successes.

This'll take a long term game plan, though. The higherups had already planned to clamor the party needs to go further to the left. Since Kerry lost they'll rethink that. I think that's the best move, but it will be difficult to keep pressing the wedge issues without grass roots proclivity and lightening the reliance on representation by proxy organizations. I'm not proposing a dramatic shift to the center. Any shift at all requires careful deliberation that's as much instinct as it is knowledge.

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nighttimer
post Nov 4 2004, 02:36 AM
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I didn't vote for any of the poll choices and here's why.

I listened to the Tavis Smiley radio program on NPR this evening. Along with all the post-election analysis there was a psychiatrist who said what many are now experiencing is Post-Election Stress Syndrome. That may be a fancy way of saying, "depression" but the point is well considered.

How many of us really got emotionally invested in this election? Who put signs in their yards, knocked on the doors of total strangers, put a bumper sticker on our car, drove voters to the polls, wrote a check, called people during dinner to ask them to vote for John Kerry?

How many of us stood in line in the rain and the cold for hours to do something we had waited four years to do: Vote George W. Bush out of office.

Now it's over. The guy we didn't want to win did. Overwhelmingly. Decisively.

That's a pretty good reason to be bummed out or start drinking heavily. beer.gif

But it's not a good reason to give up the fight. If there were reasons to be against Bush on November 2nd have they all magically disappeared on November 3rd?

A Dubya freed from the limits of having to run again can do a lot of damage. Damage to civil rights and a woman's right to choose and the environment and our standing in the world community and healthcare and the economy and on and on and on...

These aren't just cries of "doom and gloom." This is a call to arms. We can take about another 60 seconds to feel sorry for ourselves and then we'd better get BUSY! The need for a MoveOn.org is more acute now, not less. The need for people not to let the activist spirit that has been awakened go back to sleep is critical.

Ask yourself just one question: WHO BENEFITS IN A SECOND BUSH ADMINISTRATION? Odds are it's not people like me or people like you.

So go ahead and be depressed. Call in sick and stay in bed thinking dark thoughts if that's what it takes.

Then get your butt out of bed and back into action. We had our shot. We missed. The electorial process is a vitally important part in how to bring about change, but it isn't the only part. If you can't stand to lose then you shouldn't play the game. We give that advice to children but as adults we find it awfully hard to take ourselves.

I have a new signature and I would like to share it with you now:

drumroll.gif We don't have time for despair. The fight doesn't change. It just gets harder. But it's the same fight.
--- Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) 1944-2002


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Cube Jockey
post Nov 4 2004, 02:52 AM
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I voted "move left and actually stand for something" but I could also very easily say that this is the GOP's '64 - let the GOP bury itself. I'll address both of them in my post.

First and foremost, this election proves one thing to me - message is key. The Democrats proved that they have no idea how to run a campaign and communicate a clear and concise message. How many times did we hear from our conservative counterparts here on AD things like "Kerry has no plan" or "Kerry Flip-flopped on X". Most of us passed it off as partisan rhetoric because we knew what Kerry was talking about and we saw his vision. But what this should have showed us is that America didn't understand what Kerry was selling and if they did, they didn't think it was significantly different from what Bush was pushing. We needed to communicate in small soundbite sized morsels what our agenda was, how we were going to implement it and we needed to back that up with extremely detailed plans.

If you really think about this its true, the last Democratic president won on style and charisma, not substance. The GOP is the master of message, but we don't have to sit here and take it.

Secondly, I do think we need to move farther left and draw sharp distinctions between the Democratic party and the Republican party. Bush and Cheney kept chanting "the liberal Massachussetts Senator" during the last weeks of the campaign. I say, so what?! We need to take the word "liberal" back, it isn't a dirty word and I'm sick of hearing people use it like it is one. I couldn't be more proud to say that I'm not only liberal but a San Francisco liberal. It is time for the Democratic party to paint a powerful vision for the future of America in the minds of voters. The republican party seems content to keep us in the dark ages, appeal to "traditional" values and use fear to keep us in line. We are different, and we need to articulate that. What I'm talking about here is embracing a very progressive agenda which will bring America into the 21st century politically. We need to embrace the ideas of "radicals" like Nader, Dean and Kucinich. We should not try and court the right wing and swing voters with our social agenda, we should be defining the new society.

How we should be appealing to "true" conservatives (not Republicans) and swing voters is through their wallets. The Republicans once held the reputation of being fiscally conservative, and they painted Democrats with the "tax and spend" label. It seemed to stick when in recent years it couldn't be further from the truth. George W. Bush has run up the deficit, trashed the economy, and is in the process of passing on all our debt to our children for his political gain. Let's hammer the Republicans in their wallets by promoting a fiscally conservative agenda. We could push for reforms to change the government and try and run it like a business. I think that this will be the common ground that will resonate with swing voters, independents and Republicans fed up with their party's fiscal agenda.

The Dean Factor. Howard Dean was on to something during the Democratic primaries, and instead of learning from his example, the old guard Democrats shot him down, marginalized him and destroyed him politically. Dean knew a thing or two that none of the old guard seems to have learned. First, you have to have passion for your beliefs and argue them with conviction, otherwise people are just going to think you are another dull politician telling everyone what they want to hear. When I listened to Dean speak (who I voted for in the primaries) I agreed with what he said, believed he would act on it and believed he would fight for my interests. When Kerry was selected he would talk, and I agreed with some of the things he said but I never truely believed he was different and I knew in my heart he'd change his position in a heartbeat if a gallup poll told him to. But he wasn't Bush and therefore the lesser of two evils.

Dean excited people, lead the revolution in internet fundraising and grassroots support. I believe that Kerry raised in excess of $300 million this year before federal funds kicked in, almost as much as Bush. Gore on the other hand only raised about $25 million (?) before federal funds kicked in. The reason that Kerry had such a huge warchest wasn't because there were new democratic millionaires or because people were so strongly for him, it was because of the groundwork that Dean laid with people donating $5, $10, $25 at a time through the internet.

If the Democratic party is smart they'll turn to Dean for advice and hope that he'll speak to them after they burned him.

As to the second part of my sentiment, I do believe that this will be the GOP's '64, but only if we take it to them. That party is incredibly arrogant and they think America is stupid and we can be lead around by our noses, I think they are about to find out exactly how false that is.

Bush will fail during this administration, his own hubris will be his demise. It is November 3rd today and absolutely nothing is different than it was on November 1st. Iraq is still a mess, Bush still has no plan to get out, the explosives he let slip away are still in the hands of terrorists and if he thinks elections will be successful in January he is deluding himself. The economy is still weak, people will still lose jobs. Bin Laden is still on the loose, terror is on the rise and Al Qaeda is still operating and planning. We still have little credibility internationally and Bush still has no concept of diplomacy.

He is doomed to fail and that is a fact. The good thing though, is that he might finally have to take responsibility for his actions at some point during this term. Terrorists will eventually strike again and 6 or 7 years removed he won't be able to blame Clinton, 9/11, the Democrats or even the soldiers - it will be his fault, and everyone will see that.

So what do we do to capitalize on that? We get involved and take congress by storm in 2006 during midterm elections. You have to give to Democratic candidates until it hurts in 2006, volunteer, write letters, make your voice heard. These problems will still be around in 2006 and perhaps worse and that is when we have to strike, that is when we can say "I told you so" by sending some Republicans packing back to their home state.

In 2008 we must get a flawless candidate selected for the office of president, it must be someone with passion, someone articulate, someone different. They must have vision and they must be able to communicate that to America.

QUOTE(Howard Dean)
I want my country back. We want our country back. I am tired of being divided. I don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore. I want America to look like America.
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nighttimer
post Nov 4 2004, 03:35 AM
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Cube Jockey, ya know I agree with most of your sentiments, but I do think that the meltdown we experienced Tuesday is still too raw a wound for many of us.

The idea of "moving further to the Left" has a feel-good sound to it, but who exactly is the standard-bearer for this movement? A good, solid liberal like John Kerry had money, organization and a George W. Bush working for him. It didn't work for him so why do we think it will for a Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean or John Edwards in 2008?

Don't like the names I've thrown out? I'm open to suggestions. Joe Lieberman? Wesley Clark? Al Gore? John Breaux? Dick Gephardt?

It's high time Democrats and liberals (two mutually-exclusive terms) stopped counting on Dubya to fall flat on his face and hand us the keys to the White House. It isn't going to happen!! Haven't we learned from 2000 and 2002 and now in 2004? Bush is NOT going to beat himself. He has an organization behind him that will not permit this to happen. The political graveyard is full of smart Democrats that "misunderestimated" Bush and his appeal and his power time and time again.

Remember how frustrated the Republicans were because they couldn't beat Bill Clinton and had to endure eight long years of hell on Earth because they couldn't get rid of him? What goes around comes around.

What worries me is how RED America is today and how isolated those patches of BLUE are. We ignore that at our own risk. It doesn't behoove the Progressive Left to pin all our hopes and future to the fickle fortunes of the Democratic Party. Anybody who thinks the Democratic Leadership Council is thinking about tacking Left in 2008 is smoking something. Somewhere in America there's a Democratic governor calling up Kerry for his Palm Pilot of donors. There's not going to be a sudden embracing of Howard Dean, because right now he comes from the wrong side of the country.

I'm not pouring cold water on the notion of the Democratic Party finding its soul and moving to the political Left as all the parking spaces on the Right seem to be full. But that approach in and of itself is not a winning strategy on Election Night 2008.

We've tried running a committed liberal with a liberal record on top of the ticket and we got our butts handed to us. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What we want here in our little corner of the Internet isn't what matters. The question is what kind of Democrat can the Democratic Party nominate that we on the Left can stomach but can still actually win?

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Lesly
post Nov 4 2004, 04:05 AM
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I want to toss two Slate articles that I feel cover what's on our minds right now nicely.

Whither Liberalism? Again?
Democratic Values

I did not read them before posting. tongue.gif While I consider Bush's reelection and Senate/House Republican gains a great loss for average Americans, not just the party, I'm looking at it as an opportunity as well. (Not to mean I side with the DLC.)

This post has been edited by Lesly: Nov 4 2004, 04:06 AM
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Cube Jockey
post Nov 4 2004, 04:10 AM
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I too share a lot of your sentiments nighttimer, and I really think I have gone through pretty much all 5 stages of the grieving process in the past 24 hours.

But, after reflecting on it I have resolved that the only thing to do is take that angst and hold on to it, use it to gain an edge. We have to say "fine, you won this battle, but we are going to win the war". And we will, in the end progressive thinking always triumphs over "traditional values". The philosophies we hold dear have advanced society and they will continue to do so. The lure that the GOP has is that people are afraid of change. I am perfectly willing to drag people, kicking and screaming if I have to, into the future.

I don't think the superstars of the Democratic party are any of the people that you listed, and especially not Hillary Clinton because people would vote against her simply because of who she is. The knight in shining armor who will ride in on a white horse isn't going to be any of the players in the game today, it will have to be someone new. The players now will never be able to adapt to the new strategy necessary.

If you take a look at people like Howard Dean, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Barak Obama you'll see that they basically have a few things in common: they don't fit the norm for a politician, they are outsiders, they have passion and you can't pin them down to a specific ideology. It will be one of these people or someone like them that should be the next super star of the Democratic party.

There are a lot of reasons we got our butts handed to us in this election, John Kerry being liberal wasn't one of them in my opinion.

If the Democratic party refuses to change and keeps trying the old methods that worked for Clinton or even Carter then they had better get used to losing because we'll have a longer losing streak than the Boston Red Sox. I for one don't like to lose.

I don't think America is really so red as the results would have us believe. I personally believe that Bush was able to successfully turn this election into a referendum on gay marriage and that is why people showed up to vote. I have seen (but don't currently have) exit poll data suggesting that a majority of people voted for Bush because of his "morals". At least I hope that is what the deal is, because otherwise I have to wonder - has america really just been blind, deaf and dumb for the past 4 years?

We have nothing to lose, and if we don't take some risks we'll never be anything but an also-ran. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Can it really get any worse than it is now? We lost the battle for president, we lost ground in both the Senate and the House and soon enough Bush will stack the federal benches and the Supreme Court with judges that will make Scalia look like a Marin hippie that wears hemp clothing, eats free-range chicken and drives a Prius.

We need to start thinking about 2006 now while the loss is fresh on our minds. We need to get our message out to the Democrats and fresh faces into incumbent Republican districts and take back the Senate.

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Fife and Drum
post Nov 4 2004, 10:04 PM
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I think the GOPís success can be attributed to a few factors.

If you measure the political spectrum on a scale of 1 Ė 5, with 1 being the far left and 5 being the far right, my guess is the majority of Americans fall in the 2.5-3.5 range. And when faced with candidates that are clearly to the left or right of 2.5 they will tend to choose the more conservative one.

For what ever reasons, by nature Americans are socially conservative, resistant to change and will choose a candidate they feel wonít rock the social/moral boat. This past election clearly demonstrates that social/moral issues outweighed all the other more pressing issues. Throw out the Iraq war and the deficit and Bush probably gets 55-60% of the vote.

The other major factor that I see is what the GOP and their supporters have done in the last 10-14 years: brand the word liberal as if it were the coming of satan. This is reinforced daily on highly popular right wing shows and continuously repeated by Dubya during the debates. Add the fact that most voters donít take the time to properly educate themselves on the issues and/or candidates and it makes the perfect GOP elixir.

This was no more evident than in my home state. With approximately a 60/40 proportion of registered Demís/Repís there should be no way a republican would stand a chance, especially this election. Since KY wasnít a swing state we didnít get the presidential media blitz. What we did get in hotly contested Senate/Representative races were a lot of RNCC sponsored commercials that attacked the democratic challenger by making claims like ďIf elected, Mongiardo (Bunnings opponent) will follow the liberal agenda of KerryĒ. Almost every commercial sponsored by the RNCC would toss in the ďLĒ word.

So I think moving more to the left is political suicide.

How do we bounce back?

Two things hurt Kerry: the liberal stamp and the Ďflip-flopperí. We need to support a more moderate candidate, thatís why I was for Edwards in the primary, his only vulnerability that I saw was he was a trial lawyer. Big woop.

W need to find another young Senator who either hasnít had a long track record to attack (Obama) or one thatís a proven moderate. My preference is to find a governor.

Iím sure I donít have to remind this group, but the last two Dem presidents were governors. Itís hard to pin that liberal tag on a governor, they have no legislative voting record.

Putting our hopes on Hillary is a huge mistake: sheís a horrible public speaker and from my observations a very marginal leader at best.

Getting rid of Terry Mcauliffe would be another place to start.

Edited for grammer.

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Cube Jockey
post Nov 4 2004, 10:28 PM
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QUOTE(Fife and Drum @ Nov 4 2004, 02:04 PM)
Two things hurt Kerry: the liberal stamp and the Ďflip-flopperí.  We need to support a more moderate candidate, thatís why I was for Edwards in the primary, his only vulnerability that I saw was he was a trial lawyer. Big woop.
*


I was thinking today, and I don't think "being liberal" was really Kerry's downfall. There is no doubt that Kerry was in fact liberal, but his problem was that he refused to be the person he was. Kerry tried to appear moderate and take moderate positions on things, but there are three problems with that:
1) The Republicans consistently pointed to his record and shows that he was in fact liberal (in other words lying)
2) It is rather hard to be something you are not all the time, just like it is impossible to keep telling the same lie the same way, eventually you'll trip up.
3) People can see through all of that, and they knew he wasn't sincere even if all of us wanted to believe he was.

The problem isn't with being liberal, and if the Democratic party would simply embrace that and then get the message out that it isn't a bad thing™, we could counter the Republican Noise Machine on it. I really don't think the average American understands what "liberal" means, they just know about all the negative connotations.

The Democratic party needs to offer something the Republican party doesn't and give us a reason to vote for them instead of against the Republicans. I personally think that starts with having a clear and exciting vision for the country, embracing socially progressive values and being fiscally conservative (because the GOP is the polar opposite of that these days and that is where many traditional Republicans disagree with the party).
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post Nov 4 2004, 10:32 PM
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The news networks are saying that it was "moral values" which made the difference--this is according to the exit polls that were taken. Obviously, evangelicals represent a larger, more influential group than some of us thought.

Some of the reaction of the evangelicals was out of fear (remember the rumor that Kerry was going to take away their Bibles rolleyes.gif ), but the two issues evangelicals pointed to were the abortion issue and gay marriages.

Now on the gay marriage issue, Kerry said he supported civil unions (same as Bush!) but not marriages, but Bush brought up the subject, and I can imagine some faithful churchgoers cringing at the thought of watching a next-door neighbor in tux and tails carrying across the threshold his husband dressed as a blushing bride. Shades of Ru Paul and all that. And while evangelicals can ignore Old Testament teachings of not drinking milk while eating meat and so forth, there is a long history of detesting the thought of (especially) men having sex together.

But more basic than that is the fact that the Democratic party at this time does not seem to make allowances for those of us who are socially progressive but still oppose abortion. As long as the Democrats do not include us, we will feel marginalized and the GOP will hold an attraction for us. So far, I have not been tempted to jump the fence because this President is so socially unconcerned and/or unaware of the plight of many Americans, and he is quick to declare war on the wrong people. But I've got to tell you, every time I hear the pro-choice people dismiss the pro-life people and just refer to an embryo as a mass of tissue, I think again about whether I belong in the Democratic party. Can't we be pro-life and pro-birth control and pro-jobs and universal health care?
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post Nov 4 2004, 11:32 PM
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Not voting on this one, but here's what I see coming down in the next four years:

First off, a Bush second term could very well be the best thing that happens for the Democrats. A full failure, as with Hoover, will get us the right person to lead in the right direction at the right time (hehe).

Dean created the new way of raising campaign funds, via the Internet and meetups. Hone that great idea -- millions of $25 donations will equal and exceed a handful of million dollar donations. Work small, think big -- and with each passing year, more people will be online.

Stop thinking four more years. Start thinking two more years. We'll have a shot at Congress and many state/local positions in two years. What do you suppose Bush will do to keep Congress? War has already been used, and terrorism will be another two years old. What will be the big fear factor? Also keep in mind that the Iraq situation will be another two years old.

Simplify messages and make them strong. Where do Democrats want to take this country? If we are headed in the wrong direction, what is the right direction? We need to be very clear on this.

I was first thinking that we ought to get as nasty as the Republicans, as ruthless. But now I don't think so. We need to offer a much better vision, a much better direction -- a political leadership that will benefit the most people. That'll get the votes. Remember Clinton and the vision thing that confused GHWB? Something like that.

For everyone who worked so hard and feel so disappointed, I drink to thee. Thank you for all your hard work, all your belief, all your pouring out to help this nation become something it once was, and better. You are all heros in my book.

And I suspect many others. Someone somewhere is thinking of doing a rock opera on the election of 2004. Andrew Loyd Weber? Bon Jovi? Hey, that's the least that musicians and playwrites can do for you all -- immortalize the effort.

I bet such a thing would make piles of money, too. Got nearly 60 million possible customers!

Yeah man, and make the characters just like you all are. Really beautiful and hopeful, and tragic near the end. Tell the story from the streets. End with hope, something bright and inspirational, like Tomorrow.

It's always there flowers.gif
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DaytonRocker
post Nov 5 2004, 01:04 AM
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I'm a registered republican, but voted straight democrat this election, so I hope that allows me to make a post in "enemy territory"...smile.gif

I'm not sure the democratic party can go anywhere but up. Not only did the dems put their best up against the worst president in history and lose, but lost 5 seats in the house as well.

I could be wrong, but there might be a message in there somewhere.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anything the democratic party can do and remain the same party. Clearly, gay marriage is a show stopper. If you want to hold out for this issue, you'll be left standing at the alter. I'd say drop it. America is not ready for it. If you strongly disagree and want to push that forward on principle, you'll lose healthcare, education, and other social reforms at that issue's expense. Is it worth it? Do you want to lose everything because of an issue most Americans disagree with?

Another issue is gun control. Personally, I am closer to the democrats than republicans on this issue, but I favor only handgun control. But most of America believes that democrats want to steal their guns from them regardless of the truth. So, that perception needs to change. Take it off the table. Since we do not enforce the current gun laws, why bother?

Abortion is the only issue where neither side will give. And I wouldn't suggest the dems give up on it no matter how much I think pro-choice is legalized murder. That pretty much defines the party. So, you really need to hope for the best with that, but don't be shocked as America moves even further away from pro-choice.

Since I think moderates on each side of the aisle are fairly close on most social programs (education, health care, etc), the abortion issue is not unsurmountable.

But what is unsurmountable is putting up a plastic potted plant (Gore, Kerry) or a divisive figure (Clinton). Can't the dems find anybody everybody likes? Is it really that hard?
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Jaime
post Nov 5 2004, 01:06 AM
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Sorry DaytonRocker - this is for declared Democrats only (just like the big red note says thumbsup.gif )
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NiteGuy
post Nov 5 2004, 03:11 AM
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QUOTE(Nighttimer)
I'm not pouring cold water on the notion of the Democratic Party finding its soul and moving to the political Left as all the parking spaces on the Right seem to be full. But that approach in and of itself is not a winning strategy on Election Night 2008.

We've tried running a committed liberal with a liberal record on top of the ticket and we got our butts handed to us. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. What we want here in our little corner of the Internet isn't what matters. The question is what kind of Democrat can the Democratic Party nominate that we on the Left can stomach but can still actually win?


Night, you're right. We don't need to move left. And we certainly don't need to move further right. One of the articles Lesly links to makes that point rather succinctly, I think. Moving further right only allows the Conservatives to move even further right, while still demonizing us as being "too far left".

Where we're at is just about right, I believe. And we do have a couple of candidates that can win for us. Ready?

John Edwards, Barack Obama, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

John Edwards we already know from his primary and VP candidate roles. Barack Obama, while new, and despite Keye's labeling of him as a left wing radical is actually quite centrist. The same goes for Blago and Warner.

The other thing they all have in common, as opposed to the current Democratic leadership, is an ability to take the issues, and condense them into short, meaningful answers that make sense to the public, whether in speeches or debates.

And by meaningful answers, I mean they are able to show that they too have "shared values" with the people they govern, and don't concede the "values" or "morals" argument to the Republicans.

I don't think Obama would really be ready in four years, but as a running mate to someone in eight? Absolutely.

John Edwards has a problem now, not in that he was part of a losing effort, but that he's not going to be in the Senate at the end of this year. If he's going to make a credible run, he needs to find a place that will maintain a fairly high profile over the next few years. Maybe running a Democratic think tank, or some such thing. If he can do this, he'd be my first choice.

Rod Blagojovich has been proven popular in a state that is actually quite "RED" outside of Chicago, mainly for his ability to work with the State houses here to find ways to balance the budget, coming to office with a $10 billion deficit, and yet maintain services.

The other popular stance here, is bucking the Feds on getting a program started to import drugs from Canada, while pushing for the ability to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for prescription drugs through the state medical services departments.

Mark Warner was elected in 2002. Since then, he's assembled a bipartisan coalition to win General Assembly support for the nation's most ambitious tax reform proposal. The plan lowers the income tax, reduces the sales tax on groceries, and closes corporate tax loopholes. And he's done this while getting the state out of a $6 billion dollar shortfall.

Warners tax proposals, particularly eliminating the buisiness loopholes allowed the state to make new investments in public education, higher education, law enforcement and healthcare, while preserving the state's reputation for fiscal integrity.

Any one of these guys would serve well, have a reputation for bipartisanship, and more importantly, can package their message in a way that shows they are thinking about the "average joe" and his values of hard work and fair play, without having to "fake it".

This post has been edited by NiteGuy: Nov 5 2004, 03:14 AM
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nighttimer
post Nov 5 2004, 06:23 AM
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I read a great quote today by political analyst Larry Sabato. He said, "There's nothing wrong with the Democrats that winning a presidential election won't cure."

Right. We've just forgotten how. But look at this way: Now we know how the Republicans felt when they had to get through eight years of Bill Clinton. It SUCKED and now we're in the same position.

I think there's a natural response to view the conservative success of the last three election cycles as the rise of the Right and the demise of the Left. But tell me something---does anyone think Hilary Clinton is the answer to the party's problems in winning elections on a national scale?

There's plenty of room on the Far Left side of the political paradigm. The problem is that isn't where the masses are, and becoming even more elitist and removed from the masses isn't going to win them back from the GOP. It's not that Bush isn't a right-winger. He is. But he's successfully packaged himself as being right smack-dab in the mainstream of contemporary political thought. Senator Clinton can't make that claim.

As for John Kerry? Nice guy. Great resume. Solid U.S. Senator. Boring as hell. About as charismatic as a telemarketer. Once again the fact has been hammered home that skilled senators don't make for great candidates. Smart guys lose out to dumb guys people feel comfortable with. Maybe we've been wrong all along and Americans want a President dumber than they are. Three million voters can't all be wrong, can they?

I'm not prepared to turn the party back over to the Democratic Leadership Council so they can barf up some Republican-Lite loser like Joe Lieberman in 2008. There are a lot of talented liberals and moderates in the party that can run and win in 2008 against whomever the GOP puts forth as Bush's successor. But coming up with another Howard Dean/John Kerry Eastern liberal isn't going to get the job done. History and the political realities of this country make such a move prohibitive.

And I agree with William Saletan of SLATE that despite his inability to win North Carolina, don't be quick to dismiss John Edwards. Could a Edwards and Wesley Clark ticket done any worse than Kerry/Edwards?

My thoughts are just as unfocused as everyone else's after the whupping we took. But at least we're thinking and mutually agreed there needs to be some ch-ch-changes made.

That's the first step to positioning ourselves for the 2006 Congressional races.

Let's get this party started. devil.gif

This post has been edited by nighttimer: Nov 5 2004, 06:34 AM
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CruisingRam
post Nov 5 2004, 04:19 PM
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I had really wished Tony Knowles had won the senate seat here in Alaska- he is the absolutely most perfect dem contender for the white house there could ever be. Mayor, Governer, and very well thought of one at that, a dem in a republican state. Very very centrist, but with business development leanings. He was a frat brother of GW, dropped out, went to Vietnam, served with the 101rst with distinction, came back to Yale, completed his degree, married, left on a lark to Alaska became a roughneck on the oil patch, then opened his own deli in downtown Anchorage, became mayor, then governer, and ably governed Alaska and Anchorage during out worst economic downturn in our states short history.

Extremely charismatic, very nice guy, creditials up the ying yang- this guy would knock the socks off any challenger, and would give Bill Clinton a run for his money as a campaigner if he could just get on the national stage.

There is no way the repubs could even think of labeling him as a liberal, and he is pro-choice and very centrist- it is a candidate I could get very excited about if he could just get the attention of the national stage.

With him as the lead ticket and Obama as running mate, I don't think anyone would stand a chance against him. There are just no skeletons in his closet.
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Lesly
post Nov 5 2004, 04:27 PM
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My thoughts aren't unfocussed.

The Religious Right was born after Goldwater's defeat. It was a political reaction, not a national identity emergence. We're talking about three decades of a cumulative, multi-faceted effort to round up social conservatives and align them with the Republican party using everything from think tank lobbyists to syndicated talk show radio and opinion polls to shape public perception.

The GOP never endorsed or publicly acknowledged a Christian branch until now. By that I mean just giving charities federal money to spend on so-called social services with little oversight. Reagan had the best of both worlds in that he was able to placate the Religious Right and keep a semblance (or at least appearance) of conservative values. The support the Religious Right has received from the GOP and the political inroads theyíve made truly concern me on issues like a complete ban of abortion and actively seeking to tear down the wall between church and state they claim never existed.

I donít want to sound like a paranoid atheist but I donít think we have an appreciation for how much power they have consolidated over time. I would never have imagined the White House stroking the Apostolic Congressí objection to Sharonís plan because Israel needs to be intact and the temple rebuilt for Christís return. Do I think the Religious Right directly affects foreign policy today? No, but it isnít coincidence the AC has access to Elliott Abrams.

This is the result of huge effort on the part of the GOP and the RR. If the Democrats turn it around it wonít happen overnight. I donít think itíll take 30 years to retake the House/Senate, but rippling effects take time to bring about change and a long-term commitment. The biggest hurdle Democrats face is Democrats. Even at our best we're more fragmented than Republicans at their worst. For all the welfare state woes the opposition piles on us I truly believe we value self-determination of the individual to a fault. It will take a national plan, not a presidential plan, to keep us focused long enough to reach the goal line. We can start with a coherent platform that can be gracefully expressed. In the meantime we may be better served by adopting a posture of Loyal Opposition the Republicans deserted when they won all sides.

Thinking of Goldwater now, my biggest concern is the Dems will implode and grasp at straws, any straws, as I believe the Republicans did four decades ago. I wonder if the Religious Right had emerged if the country had not swung as far to the left as it did during those times. I'm not going to knock the advances liberals made, though. As dirty as LBJ ran his campaign calling Goldwater's mental health into question he conceded the South to Republicans when he signed the CRA into law. I'm afraid the shock of losing this election may similarly affect Democrats.

I don't want us to latch unto special interests in the middle of an identity crisis and wind up being, not looking, like the anti-religion party. That's a reactionary response. Reactionary responses are better suited for campaigns to stifle your opponent's crap, not mold your party. In fact, I think we rely on special interests too much, when they should be move around us like satellites, keeping a respectful distance. Cooler heads should prevail until leaders emerge.

I'm not proposing dramatic change. I certainly don't want the DLC to turn us into Republicans with good hair. Doing nothing would be even worse. An exploration of the middle can be fortuitous.

Although the office of the presidency has a lot of power I'm more saddened by the House and Senate results. Part of me hoped Bush would get reelected so he'd have to answer for his mistakes, whether or not he's willing to admit them. This time there is no Clinton, no Greenspan, no dot com bubble to blame for dreadful mismanagement leading to a seven trillion dollar national debt. Another upside may be that, bolstered by election results Republicans overplay their hand, and public backlash will be waiting in the 2006 Senatorial race. I suspect we'll see more and stronger right-wing influence as the GOP gets more comfortable in its majority role.

This post has been edited by Lesly: Nov 5 2004, 04:32 PM
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