Better Angels

"...all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." ---Abraham Lincoln, First Innaugural Address

Friday, November 19, 2004

Friday Feline

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Yet Another Thing They Do Better Than We Do

I thought I had a really great idea. One of the suggestions I made here was a way to get kids more involved in the DNC:

Why just target highschool kids? Start 'em young, when they're learning about the colonial era and pumped up about patriots and freedom. I know that if the DNC backed me up I could get together a group of local progressive homeschoolers to form a "Democracy Corps." or something. They'd just have to give a little direction and some donkey t-shirts. It'd sort of be like the girl scouts, only with fewer cookies and more constitutional law.

Well guess what? The Christiantonians thought of this already. Behold Generation Joshua, a "civics education" program for homeschoolers run by the Home School Legal Defense Association. (HSLDA is run by Michael Farris, one of the signers of that infamous call-to-theocracy, the COR Manifesto.) Generation Joshua's director is Ned Ryun, son of Congressman Jim Ryun of Kansas. (What IS the matter with Kansas, anyway?)

GJ members get to participate in an online civics curriculum, chats with folks like Representative Ryun and David Barton of Wallbuiders fame and a connessiuer of truly horrible cowboy shirts. (Barton was the guest on Believer's Voice of Victory every night during the RNC and I tuned in just to witness the red, white and blue with mother of pearl monstrosities.)

They also got to participate in a little hands-on learning this fall:

The Student Action Teams, run thru HSLDA’s Political Action Committee, will be an opportunity for Generation Joshua members to put into action their stewardship of this great nation. The last week of the general election, starting October 27, 2004, teams of students will begin campaigning for pro-life, pro-family candidates who have been surveyed and endorsed by HSLDA PAC. Generation Joshua members will be given preference in participating in these teams. There are no additional costs for Generation Joshua members to take part in the Student Action Teams. All travel expenses, food, and lodging will be covered for those participating.

So how about it Dems? You ready to put the power of homeschoolers to work for you?

Monday, November 15, 2004

Dr. Copernicus, Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone

Yes, yes, we all know about the Christian Right and their "Intelligent Design" schtick. But what do you know about Geocentricity? That's right, boys and girls...the Earth is a stationary object around which all other heavenly bodies rotate. How do we know? Because the Bible tells us so.

Is this just some fringe theory, or does it have legs in "Biblical Science" circles? Is this the next junk science issue to appear on ballot initiative everywhere? How can you tell if you're looking at the next big fundamentalist jamboree?

In library science we look for something we call "authority" when we look at information sources. "Who wrote this?" we ask ourselves. "Who endorses them?" Unfortunately, evaluating authority in this case is a down-the-rabbit-hole proposition. The question to ask: Which nutjobs take this other nutjob seriously? How much money do they have?

This particular nutjob has a stirring defense of his theory posted on his website. It was written by Martin Slebrede, the Vice-President of Chalcedon, Inc, hotbed of Dominionism and favorite charity of good old Howard Ahmanson.

Sooo...big names? Check. Theocratic billionaires who like to throw money at projects like this? Check.

Oh, crap.

National What Now?

You know that new movie, "National Treasure" where Nicholas Cage is trying to steal the Declaration of Independence? Just a mindless Hollywood fantasy, right? Maybe. Or maybe the screenwriter was inspired by the fact that Diebold, the nemesis of would-be voters everywhere, provides the security vaults for America's most precious artifacts. Oy.

Speaking of the DNC...

There's an amazing diary over at DKos tackling just this issue. Go. Read. Propagate.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Whither the DNC?

The other night Atrios asked for ideas on what the DNC could do better. The result was one of the most optimistic, exciting and fun-to-read threads in a long time.

I went through the comments and discerned several main ideas floating around (click the title to read comments on this topic):

Education:
The DNC should be actively involved in educating citizens about our government and their place in it.
The DNC should help educate young Dems in organizing, fundraising and media and PR.

Infrastructure and Organization:
The DNC needs to reorganize, from the top down.
Two chairs? The CEO and the COO, or one message person and one money person.
Borrow winning ideas from the RNC like direct mailing, databanking, grooming college kids for party jobs
Get the DNC active full-time instead of just in election years.
Creative fundraising.
Regional communication centers.
DNC supported foundations like Heritage Foundation et al.

Service:
The DNC should encourage and support local Dems to "put their money where their ideals are" through local service projects

The Message and the Media
Framing, framing, framing.
A clear, consistent message statement.
Coordinated weekly talking points.
"The party of the people NOT corporations"
Be Dems, don't try to be Republican-lite.
Return to the base and old-fashioned progressive values.
Focus on familes.
Stop campaiging to demographics instead of campaigning on ideas.
Training programs for local dems to help them become more media savvy.
Advertise, get a PR machine going.
Reach out to young people.
The DNC "on the road" bus tour.

Get Local
Help folks run for local races, especially SOS.
Sponsor local events, start "Democrats for local issue x"
Decentralize management, get out of the Beltway mentality.
Meetups etc.
Start Dem clubs for students, feeder programs for the College Dems.
Better Web presence for local Dem organizations and a place for county coordinators to get info, make connections.
Permanent voter registration and education drive.

I trimmed out the OT comments, overlap and "me too" posts and reorganized the comments into these groups.

Education (back to top)

· How about framing our platform so that it appeals to the "average folk"? How about talking to the average folk, period?How about explaining to the average folk that their representatives are in Congress to represent their interests, not to make laws for the convenience of corporations and the like?How about holding "democracy seminars" to give people a decent civic education so half the country doesn't still stay home on voting day?How about organizing mass voter contact with representatives so that even Republicans can't ignore their real constituents in favor of lobbyists?
Lettuce Prey Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:22 pm

· Education. Education. Education.Good teachers.
pie Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:22 pm

· Why just target highschool kids? Start 'em young, when they're learning about the colonial era and pumped up about patriots and freedom. I know that if the DNC backed me up I could get together a group of local progressive homeschoolers to form a "Democracy Corps." or something. They'd just have to give a little direction and some donkey t-shirts. It'd sort of be like the girl scouts, only with fewer cookies and more constitutional law.
Biblio Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:44 pm

· I agree with many things, particularly the media training, vote protecting, and reframing arguments. But there's one thing in Lakoff's book that has been largely ignored here.I'm a smart professional who is preparing to work full-time or even go back to school to bring the Democrats back to power. But when I look around the internet, as I have for the last few days since I made that decision, I can't find anything to send me in the right direction. Lakoff is right; we need a centralized message to take the country back, and we need to train a generation of thinkers, journalists, and spokespeople to shape this message and get it out to the people.So I guess what I'm saying is the Democrats should have and advertise a career counselor who can give people ways to help. If someone wants to devote their life to the cause, why not help them in the right direction? The party could identify talented individuals early on and make sure that they utilize that talent properly. We need to take our country back. Let's make sure our best people are doing that.
Bill Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 9:41 am

· How about, to expand on Withnail's idea of a traveling dog and pony show, going into high schools to give programs on our constitution? Would that just be too too boring and an excuse for kids to skip assembly?
Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:35 pm

· How about, to expand on Withnail's idea of a traveling dog and pony show, going into high schools to give programs on our constitution ?
Only so long as we take flamboyant homosexuals along with us, so they can recruit the kids into their lifestyle choice. Not a bad idea, though. One thing I've notice is that College Republican organizations are well organized and direct feeder programs into the GOP. The largest College Republican chapter in California? You guessed it: UC Berkeley.College Dems need to counter the College Republicans by emulating their very effective model, but use their power for good, not evil. Each chapter of the College Dems should have some kind of liaison from the party to pick the best and the brightest College Dems into meaningful positions in the Party. Send the smart ones, the dedicated ones to campaign manager school in Washington every year and then send them out to find and run candidates. College Demos need better newspapers, too.Remember, the point of the Democratic Party is to win elections and advance our agenda. I think that getting too involved in activism is a distraction. Just win, baby.
Old Hat Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:44 pm

Infrastructure/Organization (back to top)

· Compile detailed info and records and quotes and whatever on each and every member of the GOP in the House and Senate. To be used to attack come election time.
Bubba Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:15 pm

·Become more active on college campuses and on the INTERNET!
MisterX Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:16 pm

· I'm thinking the DNC should become more involved in helping with the Democratic Party message.It should serve as a coordinator for the 2006 midterms, and since we lost a few governors seats as well, maybe provide some assistance to the state Democratic Party infrastructure. Obviously off of the national stage the DNC's role would be minimal, but the organizational capabilities, and fundraising capabilities could, and probably should, be shared with the state organizations.After, most people contact with the "Democratic Party" is, for the most part, at the state level.
David (Austin TX) Email Homepage

· Lettuse, we need to talk less and listen more.Someone mentioned this the other day. The Dems should start visiting their constituents and listen to what they have to say. That they only do this during campaign season (other than isolated appearances) speaks volumes about their concern for the voters.
pie Email Homepage 11.11.04 –

· Doesn't the RNC do a lot more?The DNC needs to start running people like us for local school board elections and city/county supervisor positions. The DNC should create a cadre of direct mail specialists. Hire some bright college kids straight out of college, turn them into PR flacks. Hire bright college kids straight out of college and train them to run campaigns, like what Emily's List has been doing.
Old Hat Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:30 pm

·"Find more candidates like Obama. Then make sure they get elected."-Anonymous Good point. There should be a system that nourishes the young members (from organizers to politicians to be). Camp Wellstone is a great model: http://tinyurl.com/4wwou(or click my homepage)
Yoshimi Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:35 pm

· Fund the loyal opposition.There's going to be fights galore,USSC nominations, gutting of SSI, rape of tax system. Money will play a part in these. DNC can help
tmcotter Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:38 pm

· Old Hat: The Internets are still a baby. The DNC would be wise to get in on the ground floor of this marvelous grass-roots communication medium. This year was the beginning; by '06 we need to have our cyber-infrastructure humming. We either join the future, or get relegated to the past. I've seen the past, and I don't want the future to look like that...
Doozer among Fraggles Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:39 pm

· Damn long thread. Well, these have been said before in slightly different ways but I'll say them again:1) InfrastructureCreate a national level template for data collection (into something like Demzilla). A basic consistency in data collection (i.e. who's registered in my town, how often do they vote, what issues are of interest to them) would go a looooong way every cycle when this data is collected yet again and the different communities that make up a CD or such are mismatched. In off years, we, at the local level, are collecting this data. Why waste it?
carnot5 Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:50 pm

· Here's a suggestion:As Matt Yglesias and Josh Marshall have pointed out, Rove has basically maneuvered the Dems into a virtual position of a quasi-parliamentary opposition party.The Dems need to EMBRACE that role and present clear and compelling policy alternatives to every major GOP agenda item from here through '08.To do that, as many here have noted, the DNC Chair would be the ideal spokesperson.But that involves reconfiguring the job. The LAT over the weekend had an op-ed advocating Bill Clinton for DNC Chair. Ignoring Clinton for the moment, the bigger idea in the piece was splitting the Chair into a "COO"-type operations-and-fundraising director and a "CEO"-type charismatic spokesman.If the DNC could do this -- and enforce party discipline up and down the ranks to ensure that the "CEO" spokesperson was indeed the single lead voice of the Dems, then this position could essentially function as a "shadow president" for the next four years. This "shadow president" could speak out weekly/daily/what-have-you, giving the Dem agenda and counter to the b.s. from the White House.This would also essentially position whomever fills this "CEO" role to be the presumptive nominee in '08. He would be able to say, "I have over the last four years given the American people a clear policy alternative to the ding-dongs who screwed everything up."My personal choice for this "DNC CEO" would be John Edwards (filling this role for four years would fill in the c.v. gap he'd otherwise have, and would give him the "gravitas" some feel he lacks), but I can see good arguments for Howard Dean, Mark Warner, and several others. More here: http://croatan.blogspot.com. Write the DNC if you agree!
The Confidence Man Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:55 pm

· Donna Brazile for DNC is another idea.We need a master organizer.McAuliffe's original raison d'etre was that he could raise a ton of money.Now, we can do that in our sleep via the internet to stay at near parity with the GOP.So, why do we need him?Someone with major organizational skills we do need.The question then becomes, do you want an organizer or a firebrand mouthpiece for the party as its head?
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:59 pm

· What to do with the DNC? Fire everyone sounds like a start. I'm serious too. We're in big trouble, not turn it around in 06 or 08 trouble, we need to wake up and get new people with new ideas running things. If the Dem party doesn't change the 24-year ass-kicking will continue. Thanks to the great McAuliffe and Clinton we now have lost every branch of gov't...thanks guys, great idea going to the middle to get those swing voters. Worked like a charm. They raised lots of money though, probably bought some nice suits, and very nice hair I must say.
spectator consumer Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:01 pm

·Jumping ahead w/o reading the thread, so someone may have already said, but the DNC needs to be active full time. Why did I read that Ohio, which everyone knew would be crucial, had no real organized party apparatus on the ground? That's inexcusable and the DNC should have recruited and trained and funded a first class Ohio Democratic Committee. Ditto Florida and other battleground states.If no locals are available, which I doubt, import smart young people who will spend 5 or 6 years doing the organizing and putting the structures in place in return for national jobs later on.
Hecate Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:10 pm

· The first of many things I would like the DNC to do is stop the stupid in-fighting going on amongst the Dems who are only interested in their own political gain.Sure, NY (for example) could use a good Democratic Governor, but does Schumer have to give up his Senate seat to fight a primary with Spitzer? And the loser, will probably drop out of politics and go back to making real money on Wall Street. Why can't the DNC step in and say NO? Both of these people are very competent and the country (if not the Dems!!) need both. The same could be said for CT and NJ etc.
TALL16 Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:25 pm

· What everybody is basically saying is:Keep the campaign going between electionsSeriously. Have any of us received talking points for LTEs in e-mail after the election? How expensive would that be? Heck, elected Dems don't even have talking points.There is a huge energy explosion among people who want to go back to work right now. And the DNC has done nothing to put it in motion.
Smallbottle Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:43 pm

· And while I'm on that subject, how about a system like Pacifica uses? No, not the quadrennial fundraisers (although, then again...) but, the monthly Credit Card contribution scheme they use. $20/month from a million or so of the faithful would buy some PR, hmmm? Then again, it seems so obvious, is it legal?
Doozer among Fraggles Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:59 pm

· so is the consensus that our first priority is free, fair, fully verifiable voting in the USA?God, it kills me to have to ask that question, even.then a team to develop, promote, focus and spread our message?because really, if you want to talk values, we've got it over the GOP in spades -- especially if you want to talk "Sermon on the Mount" Christian values.The GOP is a bunch of arrogant SOBs.I read Dobson & Co's voting statement last night, and about puked. Unmolested nature -- that is to say, God's own handiwork -- isn't good enough for these people. It has to be "improved" by human kind. Jesus' own message -- the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the tares, the woman at the well -- isn't good enough. They prefer the "improved" version from Paul (don't get me started on Saul of Tarsus).But the deal is we need to be sure the next election results are verifiable. Then we need a hellacious PR team of our own.Cool. When do we hack the satellite feeds for Fox/CNN/ETC?
The Other Sarah Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:04 pm

. [2]Much of what needs to be done is just organization, but it's not done correctly, because many of the people doing it are guys in their 50's who can't quite get it into their heads that 70% of the people who can and will help them are women, so they need to learn to respect the things women like to do, and if they don't know what those things are, they need to ASK.There are several areas that need to be covered. Counties should have adults who serve as youth club coordinator, and they should assist student club leaders whenever possible. We need to get people and businesses to sponsor Explorer Troups on behalf of the Democratic Party. Almost all Explorer troups go camping, but more than half have a special area of interest. Start grooming young democrats early. Since democratic training properly done is quite the opposite of indoctrination, then far from having anything to be ashamed of, we can be proud of what we teach the young folk. American History, or even American Revolution Re-Enactment Camp is also an interesting idea. Good resume credit for any aspiring pol.sci., am. hist., or prf. arts major.Create a Party Platform CD with answers to any question a pundit might ask, or for that matter, any citizen might ask. Call it 'DEMOCRATIC ANSWERS'.Start Democratic Action Groups that rebuild our infrastructure here in America. In the northern states, institute drives to get new road construction to include the use of road as passive solar collector, using inexpensive heat transfer technology, as pioneered in the Scandinavian countries. Start and maintain a national drive to get the military to release Aerogel for testing for use in construction, consumer goods, and vehicles.RAISE FUNDS AND HELP SOMEONE BESIDES YOUR FAT DUMB HAPPY SELF! Get groups of democrats together and form them up as Democrats for (whatever needs doing). Build playgrounds, but leave a little plaque or scribble in the cement that this park was built by so and so. Buy and install solar panels for senior citizens and the poor. When the local burned out husk or dilapidated house goes on the auction block, initiate a democratic co-housing project, and welcome your republican neighbors.I'm nowhere near done, but this should do for the moment. Remind me to tell you where we can get a lot of the money for this sort of thing.
John Iceknife Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:32 pm

·OK, I'm gonna take my tithing idea a bit farther. Maybe run it right off a cliff, I dunno.There are so many places the Center-Left Dollar can do some good, we can drive ourselves nuts--or broke--trying to cover all the bases. How about a clearing-house sort of organization--here's something Soros might be able to arrange, and not have to be spending his own money. Or at least not so much--that would accept our donations, and allocate it, say quarterly, according to the votes of registered contributors. Unworkable? Too grandiose? Too susceptible to WF&A? There's gotta be a fly in the ointment somewhere...
Doozer among Fraggles Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:36 pm

·Thanks, Tena.Here we go, more stuff:[3.5 argh]Have Dean's web team coordinate online activity. Build six regional communications centers, and two alternate hidden ones that are only used in emergencies. Have each center staffed by an on duty NOC op., and an on-call security team. Set up general IRC chat, with moderated and unmoderated forums. Also have a private server with encrypted access for party operations use. Use e-mail and chatrooms to coordinate the activities I'm talking about. Specific sites to assist people with different tasks would be helpful... one for county coordinators, one for youth coordinators, one for event planning, etc.We have to take back our media. We start with FOX. Every affiliate and owned station needs to be buried in complaint letters for review during their license renewal. The target is enough letters to represent the equivalent of 1.5% of the population of the estimated audience of that station. Set up online petitions to be sent as well. Force affiliates to drop FOX. Tell the general public the truth - FOX lies, because Rupert Murdock is a hostile foreign national determined to defraud America to line his pockets.If you're 100% honest, you can talk as hard as you need to. This "president" is hell-bent on murdering an unknown number of American and Iraqi teenagers and young adults. Chances are, someone you love, a child you love, will die in this needless criminal war. Talk hard, fight clean. Use a clean scalpel, cut to the heart of the matter. Enough pontificating, back to the matter at hand.FOX, Sinclair, Clear Channel, all the media monopolies need to be broken and scattered. We need to find lawyers and returned service personnel willing to file against FOX for their various lies; particularly families that've lost members because of those lies.We best promote the party by demonstrating who and what we are, not by running our mouths and demanding money every thirty seconds. Got to give to get, and only in serving are we served. We claim we think government should serve the people, and not the other way around. Let's put our time and effort where our mouth is.How the hell do we expect to win in the south without holding bluegrass festivals??? How about a good old fashioned barn raising for an indigent family in a rural community? Or gardening parties for seniors to help with their lawns? You want to unite instead of divide America? Then you can't just talk the talk, you have to WORK and PLAY the walk.You hearin' me out there in the night?Ok, I'm done.For now.Until I think of the other 90,000 things.
John Iceknife Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 10:30 pm

·Start establishing block grants to liberal writers, the same way the Republicans do. Establish a liberal Townhall.com. Establish one or more DNC-supported Foundations to espouse liberal ideas (like the Heritage Foundation, only better).
meph Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 10:44 pm

·I think the DNC should be the salesman-in-chief. Someone who puts the talking heads in their place, someone who gets them standing in the aisles and singing hallelujah. Someone who makes people either want to run for office, or work for their campaigns. Someone who makes people open their checkbooks, and smile while they're doing it. An outsider who doesn't say the same old things, in the same old way.A visionary who makes us see his vision and inspires us to make it happen.Oh! I guess I'm talking about Howard Dean, aren't I.
Susie Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:22 pm 11.11.04 - 7:22

· oh yeah, the MONEY.[4]Ok, like I mentioned, bingo parlors and event spaces are possible methods, and a lot of fun. But I happen to know where thousands (hundreds of thousands) of dollars are collecting dust, and I keep contacting party finance people about it, but the election's had 'em too busy to do anything about it yet. Funny thing is, the money already belongs to the DNC, and/or various now defunct campaigns. It's sitting in the state controllers office in virtually every state in the nation.Don't take my word for it, go look at the website for your state controller, and find the unclaimed property section, sometimes called property location. Enter 'demo' in the search function, and look at what pops up. There's several thousand in California alone.This, by the way, is a great public outreach tools. You go down the list of people in your neighborhood or precinct, and call the ones with more than 30$ sitting in the state treasury. Tell them "Hi, I'm so and so, I live over on blah blah. Did you know that the state is holding x amount of your money? " Tell them how to claim it, make sure they understand that they owe you nothing, and that you're doing it as a public service on behalf of the (whichever) campaign. If you're fundraising, tell them that normally property locator get 10% of the recovered amount, but you're not asking for that. Instead, if they could give that ten percent to (whatever), or whatever amount they can manage, you'd appreciate it. I've done this, it works very well. On the other hand, I rarely bother with amounts under $2000.Hold a pottery party with a lot of celebs, and auction off the finished works, with a party video, and an autographed photo of the celeb with the ceramic. Invite celebs who sew to quilting bees, auction the quilts off for insane amounts of money.Homeless people can be assisted with honest work that helps them get homes, helps the environment, and saves the environment: urban biodeisel collection and filtering stations. After the business paperwork, it takes buckets, space, coffee filters, hand pumps, and some hose to get started.We can buy cheap property and start wind and solar collection farms. That cuts dependence on foreign oil, helps support and reinforce our infrastructure, cuts into the ass-fat of the petrophiles, and helps provide cheaper energy costs to the surrounding communities, all while making a profit. Energy farming is becoming an up and coming fund raising technique.more later.
John Iceknife Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 10:59 pm

·Hold a post election convention. Figure out what we did right and what we did wrong and move on as a group.
Yoshimi Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:57 pm

Service

· How about by supporting our troops- and before you get your panties in a twist, I'm not talking about the shallow, bullshit bumper sticker "support our troops" crap the Bushies talk of...I mean the Dems should become the champions of our troops that are in a FUBAR situation, are underequipped, overstretched, back-door drafted, and left to fend for themselves with their wounds when they come homeKerry said to them "Help is on the Way."OK then. Let's go help.www.optruth.org
Michael Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:18 pm

· WRT: helping folks - after the Citizens for Equality/ElectionProtection meeting yesterday (have I mentioned lately that Bush only carried Dallas County, Texas by one steenking point?) people were talking about things to do at grassroots level. One suggestion was a coat and jacket drive. Good idea. Anything that makes the point that we care.
Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:34 pm

·I'm with Michael, posting at 7:18; one thing we can do is support the troops as individuals. If you go to Books for Soldiers you'll find an awful lot of folks in need of reading material and lots of other mundane things to make their lives better. If you think the more miserable they are, the sooner we'll bring them home, remember our Dear Leader's refusal to think about anyone other than himself. Some of these guys (and gals) just need a kind note. Who knows who you might convert in the process, though I don't recommend campaigning at all. They don't need that. Sign up and pick yourself someone to help out.By the way, a few of them, particularly chaplains but others, too, are working to help Iraqi kids. Just read their notes; some of them are absolutely heartbreaking.It doesn't cost more than a couple of bucks to ship a small box to Iraq because, technically, you're sending to a military address here in the U.S., and then the military is reshipping.
Out and About Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:19 pm

.Jumping into the support the troops movement is a great idea, too. There are active VFWs everywhere. Why can't the DNC get involved with those. Why can't we raise money to help the troops with equipment and help their families? Just make damned sure it is publicized and that it is known that it is Democrats who are doing it - Put our actions where our mouths are.
Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:25 pm

The Message and the Media ((back to top)

· How about framing our platform so that it appeals to the "average folk"? That should be job 1. That requires a leadership with balls, charisma, and credibility.
Catherine Durkin Robinson Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:16 pm

· Well, not to repeat what is already becoming a bit of a lefty cliche, but it seems to be time to at least try out Lakoff's reframing ideas -- which might suggest that the DNC and its chair could play a role in formulating and articulating a coherent ideology (he doesn't use the word, but this is what he's talking about) -- that is, begin to gather together the effective metaphors based on progressive values that might be used to frame the debate. The RNC, it seems, plays a significant role in coordinating the VRWC, and the DNC could do likewise instead of just sitting around gathering dust. Undoubtedly this is why more "idea" driven candidates like Dean are being put forward (and just as undoubtedly, this is also why they are being resisted).--
Stusdf Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:17 pm

· Easy; First, define what "progress" is for society. The whole thing about the current Conservative politician/pundit is the fact they generally aren't for the advancement of society and the human race, no matter how much they say otherwise. They are status-quo. A dead-end.A nice strong and (important) basic mission statement would be good. Armed with these things, all could see very easily where we are going.
Spider Jerusalem Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:42 pm

· Vicki - I was talking to a guy last night who said the same exact thing - that our party is the party of individuals. Since we don't march in lockstep, like the Repugs, make that our strength. It is an expansion of the big tent idea. We are with the people - not the big money.That's great. Now it has to be sold.
Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:43 pm

· Doesn't the RNC do a lot more? We can take a cue from some of their strategies without having to duplicate their, um, duplicity... Get out vision out in front of the public. That is the single most important thing we can do. We need someone to stand up and fight on behalf of the image of the party and of liberals in general. I realize the party does not equal liberals, but just the same someone needs to work on our PR - a lot. A whole lot. We are fighting against a media that is completely Right wing - your local wingnut post and the resulting thread proved that once and for all., Atrios. There are mini Rush Limbaughs from coast to fucking coast.If we can't fight the Mighty Wurlitzer, we are doomed to always fight uphill battles.For christ's sake - can our leadership please formulate a clear and consistent message and put it out in front of the public?Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:28 pm

· DNC and other organizations should be in the business of figuring out a clear, compelling message for 2006 and 2008. Get the candidates lined up behind it and make clear what we want to do with the country.Think back to the Rs in 1992 vs 1994. We don't have to make a "Contract on America." I don't agree with the message, but I do admire the way they got it across. We should make a very clear, concise, desirable message for Americans to consider.Lots of talk in the blogosphere about how Dems didn't have a coherent message, or shied away from what message they did have.
Eric Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:43 pm

· Inspire the Democrats to stop being afraid of being demonized. Every election we get so worked up figuring out how we can nominate someone who won't fall into the GOP's well-known talking points that we fail to get candidates who are actually, you know, good. We automatically concede the argument, and are always on the defensive. People think "Democrats=taxes" because the GOP has hammered that into their brains, but also because we've lost the ability/will to fight back. We need to get people thinking "GOP=deficits."I have an idea on how to reframe the debate in the favor of Democrats.I think we need to make the Democratic Party the party of the people, not the party of corporations. The money that Dean and Kerry were able to raise from individuals was astounding. The Democrats must sever their ties from corporations and become the honest to goodness party of the people. We can win on that value alone. The Party needs to be reorganized from the ground up. All Democratic politicians must be held accountable for severing their cozy relationships with corporations and even major PACs.The Republican Party is even more corrupt, and I don't see that they'd be willing to sacrifice the money trail. So the Democratic Party should.It's a radical idea, but I think it would flush a level of honestly through the Democratic system that neither political party has seen in decades. Who represents your needs better? The party of the people, or the party of corporations? We need to call the Republicans on their lies and ties to business and corruption.The major obstacle is how to honestly divorce the Democratic Party from corporate, political ties. Maybe the Pandora's Box in this issue blows my idea to smithereens, but I'd like to think that this idea is possible. And then maybe I'm just full of shit. Just an idea that's been percolating in the noggin.
Vicki Stein Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:38 pm

· More than anything, build the brand.
Dave J. Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:44 pm

· On a very concrete level, the DNC should:1) Be in charge of consolidating and then disseminating the party's message on a long term basis, but also specific messages that last for, say, two months at a time, and then a weekly message. Talking points.2) Once the talking points are determined and sent out it needs to be in charge of keeping all Dems on message.3) DNC needs to be in charge of getting our talking heads on television on a consistent basis, on complaining to the press when the Dem point of view is not be represented proportionately, etc. It needs to be in charge of keeping people like Donna Brazille off tv, and people like Bob Kerrey on tv.OT: I want a television station, yesterday. I got at least $100 for one right now. Everyone has their culprit list for this last election - mine is Fox News. I just don't believe anything we do will be enough to overcome the disinformation and propaganda put out by Fox. Let's face reality. A television station is within reach. Let's do it. If Atrios or Kos puts up their name to verify that the funds will go towards starting al liberal news network to combat Fox, we'll have $10 million in two months time.
Peter Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:49 pm

· 2) MessageThe usual compliant. If the DNC could put together the Dems vision (and yes, we do have one) into simple memes (not talking points, not poll tested crap), we, again at the local level, can move them out into the public. Couple this message movement with feedback(and recording the response into the database of 1) could give a huge jump on the next election cycle. carnot5 Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:50 pm

· Hire George Lakfoff and the Rockridge Institute. Everone in the party must learn how to frame the debate for our moral progressive values. Have a whole year of workshops to teach candidates, party officials, office holders and any interested progressives, how to frame and reframe the debate in favor of our progressive agenda.
Phil Philiben Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:54 pm

· Dems need discipline. Start adhering to some simple tenets and getting all spokespeople to parrot them.
Mule Kicker Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:04 pm

The DNC should teach people how to act on television: how to write talking points, how to use talking points, what to say when the Republican interrupts, how to look appealing on television (comb your hair!), etc.A horrible example of where the left is right now with television was on the Daily Show last night. (The ACLU guy kept having his earpiece fall out and it was embarrassing.)
Daniel Stewart Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:06 pm

· Fly-over country is not going to vote for us if you pretend to be Republicans. This is so condescending it's crazy. Some of you still can't understand what's happening. No one believes the Democrats stand for anything. So what if we appeal to the red-states, they've been voting against their best interests for 24 years. It's like thinking Kerry would get the military votes because he was a war hero...makes sense until you accept the basic reality that republicans own the military vote. Talk God and morals like Clinton and Pelosi say and you'll just end up looking like fools.I'll say it again. If people want to vote God, or military, or pro-business, they will vote GOP.
spectator consumer Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:09 pm

· Read Thomas Frank, read Keillor, read Lakoff. We need a return to our base people. It's painful to watch this. Like the guy that said Kucinich and Oberlin college isnt our base??? The fuck it isn't. The Democratic party is the party of the cities of the population centers, we have the people if we only return to the messages that won us power for the better part of a century. Workers/Unions NOT free trade/NAFTA, equality, inclusivity, helping the poor, advocating for the students and young people, providing for the children, looking out for the elderly and fighting people that would put their pocket book above helping their fellow American.The problem here is that Rush, Foxnews, and Rove have done such a number on our party that many of us don't believe our own values can win. Stop listening to the conservatives, stop playing their pro-business game. Do not support these moderate Dems who have so effectively neutered our party.
spectator consumer Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:23 pm

· The worm is right. New faces, winning races. Let's get this thing changed. And let's focus on the family, no pun intended. We have to be the party that focuses on rights and security and opportunity for FAMILIES.And Hesiod is right -- Wes Clark was a missed opportunity.
Mule Kicker Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:26 pm

· The problem is that Democrats think of their base as a group of constituencies, like African Americans, or Unions, as opposed to PEOPLE WHO AGREE WITH OUR CORE VALUES AND IDEAS!Stop campaign to demographics, and start campaigning on IDEAS.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:27 pm

· Spectator Consumer:Dems have a natural base in the military. Most enlisted men are Dems. We need to appeal to them. Getting a few Dem leaning military types to help support the party's efforts will be key. As will stopping the Dem appeasement of the anti-war left.
Mule Kicker Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:35 pm

· Someone who can kick ass and take names needs to be in charge of weekly talking points (Hillary?) and deciding who does and does not go on talk shows. Donna Brazile should have been yanked long ago and she's not the only one. Train these people in how to interrupt!!!!!! How to stay on message. How to ridicule the other side. If my law firm can hire consultants to teach this stuff to lawyers the Dems can hire them for our spokespeople.
Hecate Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:43 pm

· Ask who it is you are trying to persuade?Traditionally youth are idealistic and liberal. The ones to target are the youth that start out with their parents' conservative politics.Not too many "old" conservatives are going to become liberals. If they vote with the liberals it's a vote against the party in power.
The Spirit of Howard Beale Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:46 pm

· Spirit - that's a good point, too. The young are already with us, to a large extent. And they are getting more involved than they used to. High school kids were really involved this time - Jon Stewart and Bill Maher are unbelievably popular with high school students here. When we catch them early, we have them and we need to make sure we keep them.We also need to be clear that now we are the party of fiscal responsibility. That actually matters to both young and older voters.
Tena Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:49 pm

· We need a progressive network, yes, but we need to continue to hammer the CNN's and the MSNBC's which persist in putting up journalists, who are supposed to be neutral, as the "liberal" voice against people like Pat Buchanan. The other night, I watched, with the sound off for a while, Bob Woodward and Pat Buchanan debate; Woodward can hold his own but Buchanan was spewing while Woodward was trying to be factual. We need some raving liberals--people like Jon Stewart only NOT Jon Stewart--to go onto to these stupid programs and hold up our viewpoints.
Knot My Hair Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:50 pm

· missing the point .. it isn't the reframing that is important -- it is coordination and consistency... the DNC is the place where EVERY democratic politician and pundits gets their talking points before they go to media or public.also DNC needs to help encourage and develop credible voices in mainstream media that won't get out muscled and overwhelmed by the right wingers on talk shows.
smartone Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:59 pm

· smartone, by god aren't you right. I am so sick of watching our pansy-assed representatives get flustered on tv. fer chrissakes, Bob Kerrey shows up the sunday before the election on Meet Timmy Russert and, after doing badly for the first two questions, absolutely ate Timmy's lunch thereafter. Where the hell was he all season?And I agree with the no need to reframe issue; the things we stand for are american values, and we just need to remind people of that. by god, i should make bumper stickers like:Freedom of Speech, Brought to you by LiberalsFreedom of the Press, Brought to you by LiberalsThe Defeat of Nazi Germany, Brought to you by Liberals
PoppieProng Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:03 pm


· I should addFreedom of Religion, Brought to you by Liberals
PoppieProng Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:03 pm

· Work with George Soros, Warren Buffet, and others with money and an honorable progressive American mindset to purchase media outlets and bring true journalism back to the media.
freelove Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:18 pm

· Democrats and people of good will must recognize that the "values" deficits perceived in this culture by mainstream voters - whether they're voting Rep. or Dem. - are real. Agree with spectator consumer that Dems need to return to their traditional base. There is a spiritual void in our society. Only the religious zealots have proposed an answer to it. That's why the country has moved so far to the right. The televangelists, etc. aren't really selling salvation, of course. They're selling indulgences. But they own the moralistic language. We need to expose the phoniness of the entire movement in language which will appeal to peoples' hopes and dreams - not their fear and greed.Just a thought.
cosmis rays Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:24 pm

· I think the DNC should run an aggressive ad campaign designed to re-brand the Democratic Party. It should set out to educate Americans on the core differences in the parties. Studies show that more people agree with liberal values (pro-choice, civil unions, environment, etc.) and this should be pointed out to them. We need to educate the public and connect with the working class at the same time. During a campaign there's no time to do this. Now's the time! Then we can connect the dots during the campaign.
Shoeshineboy Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:44 pm

· Ideas:1. The DNC should make sure that all dems are asked to attack everything the repubs do that can be considered "immoral" with facts and specifics. 2. The DNC should make sure that all dems, when asked to go on television, ignore the scarecrows, or better yet, point out that the questions or comments of the opposing idiot and/or talking head are in fact scarecrows.3. The DNC should make sure that all dems are prepared for interviews and photo ops.4. The DNC should already be cultivating its farm system for '06. They, and each state's dem party, needs to be finding strong, principled candidates who are not afraid of presenting a liberal agenda; now is not the time for rest.5. The DNC needs to develop a set of issues we will run on, and bring the fight to them: offense, not defense. Such issues can include: torture of enemies; unlawful detainment of prisoners; erosion of civil liberties; corporate corruption; stagnating job creation; incompetence of military strategy; failure in the war on terrorism; intolerance of mankind. Box the opponent into the corner and make them explain why they are so immoral.6. The DNC needs to realize the press will not do its job. Quit expecting them to.You see, I think Kerry lost because he didn't fight. I heard Joe Lockhart say on Al Franken that they backed off a lot of issues because they didn't want to seem like they were piling on. That really needs to stop. The American people like a fight and they want a man to stand up for himself. Now, look, I'm not being Pollyanna-ish; i do realize that roughly 20% of this country will never ever in a bazillion years believe anything that comes out of a dems mouth, but I get the distinct feeling that 51% of this country doesn't feel a deep loyalty to the repubs; they just felt they could get along better with Bush. Yup, they're idiots, but here's the thing. They believe things. They believed what Bush told them. All we need to do is get the info out to them first... This post is already too long. I'll continue a little later.
PoppieProng Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:49 pm

· When the neocons do what we all know they will - we need spokespeople that appeal to the southern and midwestern people. God bless Michael Moore, but he ain't it.Yes, but he WAS it, once. More than any other lefty, Lakoff included (Lakoff ESPECIALLY) he knows how to talk to Americans about political issues. It's not forced or academic but heart-felt, simple, and forceful, without the cloying folksiness of Hightower or Ivins, or the Yankee smartassiness of Stewart or Franken (who nevertheless are very good at talking to average non-Southern people).In fact as recently as F 9/11 Moore made lots of converts. I was in the theater in a hardcore Republican suburb when he did.But he's been smear-machined by the Right, and that means he's been put in the Crazy Bin for all time. And this is the key: you can frame issues all day, you can come up with great metaphors to talk to "average folk". You can get a great political wit to do it for you (Moore, Franken, Stewart). But it won't make any difference until we control the volume and repeat like they do.Shit, we ARE the "average folk". Many of us live in the South. The Bush voters are our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, employees, bosses, ministers, teachers, gas station attendants. But it's very hard to cut through the noise, and the noise is everywhere. THAT'S the issue.One more thing: one reason young people vote for Kerry in such numbers, I would argue the MAIN reason, is that in college and high school they have isolated themselves and insulated themselves from the mainstream culture and thrive in their own noise machine. And that noise machine is receptive to our point of view. We need to spill over into the broader culture.
swifferBoat Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 10:01 pm

· Do the obvious, but unexpected...advertise!!!! The biggest problem with the Democratic party is that nobody can clearly state what we stand for. So educate them. Republican wouldn't know what to...nobody advertises without an election. We should pull an "ad council commercial on them... inform the public as to why the Democratic party has been good for them, why we are the "heart" of the country...that conscience and responsibility are not Republican, and that we are the uniters.As stupid as the "brains on drugs" scrambled eggs commercials were and as simple as the got milk commercials are, you get the message. There should be an ongoing campaign to frame the debate about how accessible, real, non-threatening, and identifiable the party is. Don't trust the media to brand the party, dammit, brand it yourself. Then it won't be a candidate, but a PARTY.Advertising 101: you want people to buy into something, make them feel so good about it, they can't imagine their life successful without it.Karl Rove is successful because he is a savvy advertiser first, and a political strategist a distant second.
jen Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 12:09 am

· I agree with Jen. We need some public relations ads to start airing right away explaining what the Democratic party stands for and how Dem policies affect ordinary peoples lives. Have policy seminars around the country to trade ideas and to actually listen to what we people on the ground think about things. It seems like the leadership has no clue how to deal with real people. Get out of Washington and meet and greet fellow Dems! Work with the state and county parties to reach the most people and get us excited about where we're going for cripes sake!Deejay Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 12:26 am The answer to Atrios' question is obvious: fact sheets.The DNC should be sending out fact sheets informing people of what they obviously don't know about the Bush administration. These are cheap and the information is there, and you can give people links to verify it online. Why they didn't blanket the battleground states for months leading up to the election is beyond me.Facts are what the Democrats have that they aren't using. Republicans don't have them, but they're using what they've got (emotional appeal) very well. For an example of what I mean, see this (though shorter) : http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041108&s=facts
Ruttiger Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 1:36 am

· Hire a marketing firm.We're dead in the water when it comes to messaging, because we're always too concerned with laying things out to the extreme, including their nuances. Screw nuance. It hasn't worked for years, and that we had people a week before still making up their minds...well, those are people we could have convinced with a solid marketing campaign.The idea of politics as a theater of policy is dead. Politics is a theater of public relations, and the policy should stay in the background, available for those who wish to seek it out.It should be the DNC's job to help mold platform, and then hone message points to fire up the broadest coalition.
Greg Turner Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 9:29 am

· The Democratic party should fund a media campaign of TV ads saying something like this... "On November 2, the country made its choice. We in the Democratic Party respect and honor that choice. The Republican party, however, now controls the White House and both houses of Congress. The Republicans promised they reform Social Security without raising taxes, cutting benefits of increasing the national debt. They promised you they would increase your access to quality health care, without increasing the costs to you or to businesses. They promised you they would stop your jobs from being shipped overseas. They promised you they would increase the number of good, manufacturing jobs in this country. And they promised you they would win the war on terror, and would bring Democracy and freedom to Iraq. It's time to hold the Republican Party and President Bush accountable for their promises. The Democratic party believes it has better ideas on providing affordable, quality health care to all Americans, prescription drugs for our seniors, strengthening and improving social security, winning the war on terror, and democratizing Iraq. But, we will also will be your eyes and ears in Washington, D.C.. We will hold President Bush the Republican Congress' feet to the fire, and demand that they deliver on their promises to you. You deserve nothing less. After all, that's what you voted for."
********************
By doing this, Democrats would be setting expectations for the GOP impossibly high. When the GOP inevitably fails to meet these goals, the Democrats will be there to stand on the aide of the voters and step E-mail me with your thoughts. (I shut down my blog).
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:22 pm

· When the neocons do what we all know they will - we need spokespeople that appeal to the southern and midwestern people. God bless Michael Moore, but he ain't it.Neither is Ashton and Roseanne, for the love of Pete.Is it heresy to find a good salesman/woman????Catherine Durkin Robinson Email Homepage

· The Dems need to start advancing some good wedge issues -- even if they will get shot down. Let's take up the cause of the military and see if the GOP had the courage of their convictions. Let's look into anti-union practices of Wal-Mart.
Mule Kicker Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:42 pm

· Following up on Susie's salesman-in-chief idea, I'm thinking a perpetual tour bus, sort of like Charles Kuralt used to have with his "On the Road" segment on the CBS Evening News. Meet people, have celebrities sometimes, whatever. Just create the impression that the DNC, and Democrats generally, care what people think, no matter where they live.
Withnail Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:29 pm

Get Local (back to top)

· Become more active on college campuses and on the INTERNET!Fuck the Internet. We need to get serious about running people like us for school board elections and other local positions on the ballot that come up every November. The DNC can help field and support candidates for these elections, instead of sitting on its ass for three years out of four, as Atrios points out. Start at the bottom and build our way back up.The DNC also needs to make a series of regional colleges to send potential precinct captains and GOTV leaders to. Say, one for each state. Something like that. We need organize our organizing skills.
Old Hat Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:26 pm

· Contribute time and money to local races. Democracy for America and cough cough the Christian Coalition is a good example.Y
oshimi Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:15 pm

· I agree with implementing a more aggressive approach on the internet and in local races. We need to take over all Republican Secretary of State offices in every state to make for more fair and well run elections.
CallMeOrko Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:26 pm

· Identify, support, mentor, groom and otherwise do what's necessary to develop some bench strength in every purple county out there. Most state party organizations are a shambles. A well run DNC could do a lot to fix that.
flory Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:37 pm

· Reframing is the thing. The wingers have snatched up all the American icons heroes for use in their propaganda. Maybe the Dems could become the party of the Bill of Rights, clearly articulating the policy ideas that go along with each amendment.I like the idea of "democracy seminars" or teach-ins at local schools and civic institutions.I also think service should be key. Have a community service component to the party. Something like "Democrats put their money where their mouths are." Use Meet-up or a similar program to regularly get people together on a local level to help out in their communities. Not only does it actually do some good, it puts the Dems in a new light. Maybe I'd even change my affiliation.
Biblio Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:37 pm

· The DNC could sponsor a series of town hall meetings and debates across the country where local state and national Dems answer questions. They could all get on the local( and regional) TV. evening news, radio call in shows and even write ups in the newspapers.They could also make videos for smaller local dem offices that open up 3 months before the elections and are staffed completely by volunteers. The videos would help the volunteers explain the Dem party positions and train people to promote candidates and good advertising techniques and all that stuff.
Big Nasty Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:38 pm

· I also recommend that we concentrate on taking over state legislatures to effect redistricting, and to build up a farm team for federal offices.Internet driven fundraising can have an enormous impact on local races, that it might not have on a Congressional or Senatorial race.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:38 pm

· I'm not digging the traveling circus sort of thing. The only people who would be interested are those already predisposed to political science, and American History, which is one small group of people.The DNC, and affiliated groups should participate in any type of "Civics Day" type activities.I think the best solution would be to make the Democratic Party connected to that sort of program, rather than as the sponsor/organizer of that sort of program.I think ultimately taking the position of sponsoring/organizing events will, in the short term, make people think the DNC is being a bit too opportunistic.In your face subtleness is what is called for. Helping the Jaycees put on a 4th of July Fireworks display, where the DNC is a participating sponsor, rather than the title sponsor.Being a participating sponsor of various craft fairs, etc.Then, after name recognition begins to kick in, and people begin to associate the DNC with the sorts of activities that people like to do, then stepping up the involvement.Perhaps a title sponsor of a large event.Ideally a large number of small events, where the entry costs are small, but over time increase exposure to a much larger, and diverse group of people, who may then become receptive the to Democratic Party message.Any end goal needs to accomplish 2 things. First, make the DNC be seen as a local community entity, even though they are located in Washington. Second, make the DNC be seen as helping that community. By getting candidates, and elected representatives at any level out in front of their constituency.The financial outlay does not have to be large to be effective, just well placed.
David (Austin TX) Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:47 pm

· A Democratic "Contract with America." A genuine platform that is more than platitudes. A document that spells out what Democrats believe, and what we want to achieve.[shameless plug] I've been working on my thoughts for what that would look like at my blog. [/shameless plug]
Josh Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:47 pm

· They need to get off their lazy butts and start giving the Repubs a run for their money. They're stifled by the inside the beltway mentality.Seriously, if they have to resort to asking all of us what they should do to compete with Republicans, they're really in trouble.Communications, coordinated message, coordinated media strategy, grassroots mobilization at the state level (directly or by proxy), MWBO - management by walking around (have someone seriously in charge of field operations).
Demgirl Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:48 pm

· Fuck the Internet. I tend to agree. Nothing beats a physical presence with a face you get to know. Someone here or at Kos was suggesting opening one-stop, old-style "precinct" offices, where people needing helping dealing with governmental bureaucracy could go. Same person, I think, talked about opening up youth-oriented political internet cafes, though I think opening them for old farts like myself might also be good. The point is to get an actual human group working side-by-side, instead of the too-easy-to-bail-out internet world.Not that internet and other computer-oriented activities should get the short end of the stick. But that should concentrate on the back-end portion of that, in service of the upfront, human aspect.
dave Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:50 pm

· Demgirl, you raise a good point about the inside the beltway mentality. DNC headquarters should be staffed with people from the recently successful state and local campaigns - people who know how to win. The air may be a little stale in Washington.
Withnail Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:51 pm

· Idea number six:Move the Democratic National Committee Headquarters to Columbus, Ohio.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:52 pm

· Follow-up thought to my 7:51 p.m. post - de-centralize DNC management, so that it's more responsive on the state and local level, more flexible, and less identifiable with Washington.
Withnail Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:53 pm

· 1)id a few key 2006 races and make them nationwide campaigns using the internets - it will keep the internet infrastructure that is developing focused and in campaign mode. I'd give a kidney and some cash to get rid of Santorum and Delay - if I was getting pestered and informed about the elections on all the blogs I read about an "unholy trinity" Atrios and Kos et al had id'd, I'd be more likely to stay focused and involved.2) Dems will never tolerate a top down hierarchy like the RNC types - the DNC needs instead to monitor what's happening at the grass roots level, on the internets, in state parties etc - communicate good ideas around the country; step in with infrastructure, funding, expansion to take local ideas up to the next level. 3) I like the traveling dog and pony show idea.
Pudentilla Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:54 pm

· Spirit of HB,Good point. If the DNC would decide to ensure that Dems win SoS in every key state for the next five or six years, I'd contribute real money to that effort.
Hecate Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:46 pm

· As a high school teacher, I agree with starting 'em out young. Maybe next year, I'll start a dem club at our school. Too many kids are idealistic with no way to express it. We should also start listening tours to get at what's really going on in the rural areas instead of relying on journalists to tell us.
Catherine Durkin Robinson Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:54 pm

· First, elect someone with stones and fresh face. MuleKicker suggests Gen. Merril McPeak.Second, set out a simple platform based on a simple clear message.Third, recruit more heartland voters and Flyover Democrats. Start getting more former military people into this party. With the disastrous Iraq war going on, there should be plenty of veterans who want to get involved. There is no reason we can't be the party of the military.Fourth, identify candidates who adhere to our message and elevate them and promote them in the national public arena -- even if they are local candidates.http://mulekicker.blogspot.com/Rebel against the Party establishment.
Mule Kicker Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:56 pm

· I think the best thing the DNC can do for the next two years is support the growth of local grassroots. Keep the networks that were built in the GOTV and through the meetups etc. Build on this to have a strong base for the 06 cycle, when the state level is the ticket.
samia Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:58 pm

· Between elections the DNC must work on message, message, message. Seize control of the language and put the Republicans on the defensive....where they have had us for years! I also see a role for the DNC in voter education in areas where there are lots of potential voters who are new to the system. There needs to be a permanent registration effort.
Plenty Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:23 pm


· [1] The DNC should spend the election and the mid-terms supporting our candidates, and pushing our agenda. The rest of the time should be spent doing the same thing.This is done by enlisting county coordinators in EVERY SINGLE COUNTY IN AMERICA. Make it interesting and fun for those people, have a special central website for them. Have them establish three levels of phone tree: one for election work, one for emergency issues, and one for special projects. Base operating budgets on population per county. Some county coordinators can operate out of their living rooms, some need offices and staff. Be sure to provide adequate staff in heavy fund raising areas, regardless of population levels. Have county coordinator create an event crew (theater and performing arts students are often helpful in this capacity, and you can write evaluations, so they get academic work study credit), and a list of venues willing to discount or donate use of facilities. Do the same with caterers, grocery stores, any business willing to contribute cash or donate in-kind. In-kind donations can be better in some cases for all concerned. Use the venues, hold events, and make sure you don't lie about the events. This approach is useful just because the republicans can't really emulate it with any hope of success.Open a string of nonprofit Democratic Party Bingo Parlors across the country, and have decent prizes. Open Democrat Reading Rooms that carry our propaganda, mostly the old stuff... y'know, Payne, Jefferson, Madison... not liberal or progressive exclusively, but conservative and centrist democratic as well. Democracy wants to hear from everyone.Start a CONGREGATION OF TRUTH movement, with a program of respected religious leaders who travel from church to church (and anywhere else that'll have them) and present a program based on truth and morality according to the great religious teachings, in the context of current and recent events.Of course, if you give me time, I can do much better, but this is what flew off the top of my head.These are the things I haven't already discussed at length on the MRR blog. Look over the last couple of days, and you'll find a lot from me about steps to move from conspicuous consumer capitalism to high-craft ethic capitalism.
John Iceknife Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 9:18 pm

· Local races is right. Start taking back statehouses and county boards. Fund local Democratis in the reddest of the red areas. Don't even pick and choose - just throw $1500 at every Democrat running to be a state legislator from a rural district. That little bit of money goes a long way in these races, and they could do it many thousands of time over, every year.And a system for distributing info. Appoint someone who will serve as a cyber-liaison to the directors of a couple dozens campaigns, each.Eight, ten years from now, these guys start winning Congressional seats.
joe Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 10:52 pm

· The DCN needs to develop website for each state so that every level of elected offices in that state can be found and used to lead users to the democrats in those offices or those seeking the offices.
EasyRider Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 11:44 pm

· The old Chicago precinct captain got his precinct to go 8 to 1 for his guy down the ticket when the candidate at the top of the ticket got creamed (see Bilandic, Michael) because the voters in the precinct knew him and liked him and voted for his guy *for him, * for their friend Frank, who asked them personally. I was there, I heard him say it: "I know you can't vote for Bilandic, I can't either, we're all mad at him, but you know, we've got a guy further down the ticket. Would you vote for this guy as a favor to me?" And they did. They did it because Frank the precinct captain was their friendly neighbor, the guy who'd help them get a pothole fixed, the guy who'd get scholarship papers for little Mikey and chat about what a great time his nephew Tommy had at State U., the guy who'd help grandpa clear up the tangle with the VA. One-stop friendly service and information.He also could say "hi, how are ya" in all the languages represented in the precinct, even those spoken by non-citizens, and he knew all the kids' names. He sent Christmas cards, Hanukkah cards, Ramadan cards, Chinese New Year cards, Greek Easter cards, birthday cards -- he kept Hallmark and the post office in business. He did the things friendly neighbors do. He helped the voters in his precinct, and when he needed some help from them, they gave it.Now what was going on upstream from Frank? The ward committeeman (who was not necessarily the alderman) was the company commander of the precinct captains and he kept tabs on what was going on with them and their precincts. The ward committeeman was one of fifty in the city and thirty in the county, and the committee slated the city and county candidates, on the basis of connections and experience. They had a farm system -- the statehouse was the AAA league. Gotta have a farm system.Go read "Don't Make No Waves, Don't Back No Losers" and "We Don't Want Nobody Nobody Sent" for details. Read "The Last Hurrah" for a loving picture of an old-fashioned machine pol in a fictionalized Boston.Yeah, machine politics is old-fashioned and messy and it isn't hip and cool and progressive (and God knows there's been some first-class slimeballs involved). But we can learn a lot from how it works. It's been successful for a long long time.By the way, I'd start younger than high school. Grade school. Sponsor a Little League team like the local hardware store does. Sponsor the fireworks at the minor league ballpark (*everything* is sponsored at the ballpark). Don't just have your pols marching in the 4th of July parade, sponsor the parade. Hand out little flags to everyone along the route (and not cheap plastic ones, either). Make the county Dem organization and its friendly people well known for civic good works and fun. It's gotta be fun or no one wants to be part of it.Start Dem clubs in junior high. Take the kids on field trips to city hall (with pizza!) and the statehouse (with an overnight!).strawhat
Email Homepage 11.12.04 - 11:39 am

Etc. (back to top)

· Suggestion number three:Build up a country-wide counterintelligence unit of progressives and Democrats that can infiltrate and gather intelligence on GOP campaigns AND their shadowy "independent" groups.If we can blow the lid of these groups from the inside with documentations and other evidence of direct connections to GOP campaigns, we can both expose Swift Boat like operations as frauds, delegitimize them with counter-propaganda "I was on the inside, and they are all crooks and liars," and also make GOP campaigns paranoid that our intelligence unit will nail them if they pull any of their traditional hanky panky.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:42 pm

· Idea number 5:Start pretending to be fundamentalist Christians, and send a lot of fan mail to Judge Roy Moore begging him to run for President in 2008 as either a Republican, or as a third party candidate when they nominate Rudy Giuliani or John McCain.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 7:49 pm

· Now for a really radical idea:Nominate our President and Vice President in 2006!Hold the convention in the Summer of 2006, and have a Presidential nominee on the hustings as THE spokesperson for the party in opposition for two years.
Hesiod Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:05 pm

· oh geez, i'm not going to be some fucking slave or drone to a political party which really doesn't give a shit about anything much more than maintaining its own dwindling power.the question is also the answer--IDEAS. whether the DNC as an aging institution survives or not doesn't really matter to me any more. but there needs to be an effective opposition party to the current party in power, and i don't think some minor changes are going to cut it.tear the whole damn thing down and start from scratch, maybe even change the name. all new candidates have to be more in the obama mold, while completely phasing out the aging batch of democrats who are completely worthless. the DNC and most democrats just don't give a damn. i want candidates who are willing to fight, and maybe only serve one term, if it means actually accomplishing something.
the worm Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:06 pm

· 4 things DNC can and should do: 1. Organize the GOTV effort. Put people on the ground especially in RED COUNTIES in OH and FL so we have an idea what the hell is happening on the ground. Clearly, we were surprised this year. Have to win 2 out of the big 3 states OH-FL-PA2. Polling: I think DNC and Kerry's team did not have good data to work with. Their polls sucked. Their pollsters sucked. Must have good and accurate data.3. Overall messages for different groups i.e. hispanics, blacks, married women, especially single women. Figure out a way to get single women’s' support. Kerry lost the hispanic votes in NM and NV and FL. 4. and most importantly, a memo to all future candidates: DO NOT EMPLOY BOB "I always fuck up" SHRUM.
snoopy Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:11 pm

· Here's what we really need:I hear a lot of hand wringing about social security, new appointments, tax code changes. How about some action? This is the most criminal administration ever. We need multiple assaults to through them off their stride - Whitewater type investigations into their lies, secret deals to help their rich friends and so on. We are still in reaction mode - to Bush appointments, Fallujah, tax and SS threats. We need to attack and lawsuits are the way to do it. We need lots and we need them to be talking points for our side. How about a taxpayer suit requiring legislators and the president to do due diligence before spending our cash? Important intelligence info was ignored on the road to Iraq. That is taking money out of my pocket. Gonzalez has made our prisoners of war less safe by voiding the Geneva Conventions. Shouldn't he, and Bush, be held accountable? Bush alone is responsible for shredding protections against mercury poisoning. Shouldn't victims name him in a suit? Powell lied to the UN. What body should we apply to prosecute him?Simply, those in our government acting out of self interest, rather than in the interest of the people should be prosecuted. Elected officials should be subject to at least the level of oversight we use against corporate ones. Lawsuits are the way to go. Let's stop reacting and ACT!
Mark Milstein Email Homepage 11.11.04 - 8:33 pm


All Apologies

I hadn't seen this before: people of faith expressing sorrow, solidarity and hope to Iraq through picture messages.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Cat in a Box



Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Not so sweet vindication

Was it just a few months ago that my friends and family were rolling their eyes every time they heard me say "Ahmanson?"

He's in this electronic voting thing up to his pointy little dominionist ears.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Onward Christian Soldiers...

Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war.
One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago.
"Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.
The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world.
"Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.
Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."
The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with holy oil to protect them.
"God's people would be annointed with oil," the chaplain said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads.


More here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Friday Cat Blogging



His name is Captain Angus "Shanks" McPhee, commander of all he surveys.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sorrow

After great pain, a formal feeling comes--
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The feet, mechanical, go round-
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought--
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone--

This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--
First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go.


---Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Even Obama Gets the Blues



What? You're challenging my vote? You're goin' down, man.

Hmmm...



"Let's see...Dean at HHS? Clark at State? What about the Big Dog? Damn, this is gonna be fun!"

Today's The Day We Take Back America

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!


----From "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes

Monday, November 01, 2004

Grrrrrr....

Mara "Nice Polite Republican" Liasson just wrapped up a report on All Things Considered with her usual partisan aplomb. It was a pre-election look back at the campaign with highlights and lowlights called "Key Moments in the 2004 Campaign." She stated that Kerry's focus on Vietnam left him open for attack and then played about 30 seconds of Swift Boat Vets for Bush clips. She said the Swiftees dampened any post-convention bouce Kerry might have had and never once mentioned the fact that the SBV was associated with prominent Republicans or that, more importantly, that the charges they leveled against Kerry had been completely discredited!

The audio isn't up yet, but check back here later this evening and give a listen. (Update: It's there as of 6:00 p.m.)

*sigh* I guess it's time to write another letter to my old buddy Jeff.