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I was contemplating things today as I often do and it occurred to me the Democrats are suckers for wedge issues. In the 2004 election John Kerry had some good ideas. One thing he mentioned during the convention was commenting on OPECs ability to manipulate the U.S. economy. A great wedge issue that could've earned some great traction. The problem is they can never get their wedges to pick up traction yet the Republicans almost always are quick to identify and either plug or squash those issues.
Case in point is Ohio. The Democrats were doing quite well on Ohio, despite the strong Republican presence upto and include Bob Taft. The jobless rate is up, the war in Iraq is going on and things are looking good for the president. Then someone whispers QUEERS WANNA GET MARRIED and all hell breaks loose. "Damn those queers don't need to get married" or "them queers is gonna take us all to hell." The whole place sounds like the Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, KS. It's insane. Then groups of people who'd never voted before, in 200 years of statehood voted in the election because George Bush is against queers/fags/lesbians etc. The liberals get ticked off because how dare anyone use religion to dictate terms on who should be able to get married and then how could anyone who's a Christian be a Democrat?
The Democrats get suckered into this arguements and it's absolutely ridiculous because we get eaten alive on them. In all honesty, Democrats need to try and avoid these hotbutton issues. Stay away from them for the moment. Concentrate on issues people understand, like gas prices and jobless rates. Talk about the national deficit. Ask why people in New Orleans died and why does the mouthpieces of the GOP spin it in another direction? The Iraqi war we have to be careful with because no one wants to be seen as being disloyal and not supporting the soldier but at the same time, Cindy Sheehan has the a voice and others like her should continue to hammer the administration because it's tough to argue against a mother who's son was killed.
If we keep on these issues, I think the Dems can do better, it's just a matter of hitting the other side in the jimmy and keeping them reeling. It's tough but it's possible.
posted by Stithmeister @ 6:46 PM
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i know some folks don't like her, but here's a cogent point from Arianna Huffington:
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This is a point that needs to be hammered in over and over and over until it sticks. When a republican tries to get Democrats to talk about gays, abortion, etc. we need to argue that those are not the important issues we need to be discussing. We need to talk about the economy, health care concerns, gas prices, whatever. But we can't let Republicans define "important" issues for us.
Everyone read George Lakoff's book "Don't think of an Elephant". It's about framing - or watch his DVD. It's fantastic.
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Read the article and agree fully. When I started Reading Huffington, I found too many of their 'Tag Lines' for the articles too strident.(Oddly enough, just like certain Hard-Core Conservative sites). However, it seems that this the US has become a 'Scream-ocracy'. Whoever screams loudest gets listened to. And we know that the News Media has become nothing but Sound-Bites for the Short Attention span crowd.(i.e. 90% of America)
But to the point. The Democrats seem lost. Kerry becomes less useful by the day (and thats saying something). Clinton (Bill that is) has decided 'f*ck it'. I can't imagine what they've offered him, but he & Bush Sr. wander around like gay lovers, hand in hand these days. Hillary (The other Clinton) could best serve by starting to be a strident Bush-ite. So many Republicans hate her that they'd turn on Jesus if she started supporting him. I begin to think that the Repug's have offered to run a wiffle candidate next time and let Hillary win (IF thats IS Possible, I think Howard the Duck could beat her in truth).
I can't think of any Dim-ocrat currently talking of running that has any real platform different from the Repugs.
Hell, Nader is almost begining to look better. But I'd still vote for Howard the Duck. He at least respects his cigars to much to waste it on an Intern.
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Ok, i've been looking at (leftist) political sites all morning, and an overall theme has been "Where the f()k is the leadership of the Democratic Party"? My latest thought........
How do you get to be a party 'leader'? Well, there's the occasional charismatic person who steps in, but mostly it is seniority, not so? i think pretty much all the current leadership figures of the Dems are career professional politicos, and most of them (other than Hillary, but while she's sorta new as a Senator, she's very much an 'old hand' as a politician) have many years of re-election behind them.
Now, anybody in government is dedicated to one thing above all: making it to retirement. Go look at the clerks at the DMV, or at the highest ranks of staffers in DC, they all want to make it to that (relatively) high pay, inflation-adjusted, health insurance costs covered retirement. That's the 'hook' to get civil servants with lower base pay compared to , say, industry.
Unfortunately, many years ago Congress voted themselves a retirement plan. Now think about that. One would believe that, in a system of open and fair elections, at best the chance of re-election would be 1 in 2, or 50%, per election. Thus, to make even a 20 year career, a Senator would have to make 3 elections (1/2 x 1/2 x1/2 = about 13%) and a House member 10 (1/2 x1/2... = 1 in 1024)! Yet every Congresscritter gets reelection and makes retirement.
More, the real power within Congress is being a comittee chair. That's where you really get power to bargain, deal, spend, and make changes. Congress starts alloting the standing, important chairships after a Congresscritter has been there for 10 years.
The Democrat "leadership" has succumbed to the lure of retiring a Congressional person, and of moving up the ladder (those chairships) by staying in place. They are careerists. They don't oppose their opposite numbers because they dine with them, and golf with them, and because next week those opposed might oppose them. They select the blandest, safest version of the main media positions on things (currently Republican created) because the point is an uneventful re-election, not making changes - or should i say, "waves". They always have an argument why their political capital should be saved for some nebulous time down the road and not a stance now. They will let their opposition make mistakes, and will passivly benefit from them - can't help that - but won't make active use of them . that might hurt somebody's feelings in the cozy world of DC.
The Republicans are still coasting on the Reagan years, when a few made the dare to take a stand, and were rewarded. Since then, by dint of effort, they have shaped the media message to reflect their positions, and now their passive careerism can match their actual wants and beliefs. The Democrats don't have that luxury, but are unwilling to risk rocking the boat in the attempt to reach the boat's steering.
Why doesn't the Democratic Party have any leadership? Because it already has bodies in the leadership slots, for whom actually leading is too much risk. Either the rank-and-file will push them until it's riskier to sit on the duff than to move ("I'm supposed to be leading the revolution. Did you see which way it went?"), or they will continue in their comfortable positions forever...or until retirement to a nice gated community with all the good friends they made in their career of 'public service'.
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I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.
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