Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More Like This Please

As usual, Rachel Maddow talking sense is like hearing a voice in the wilderness.


Tree Hugger said...

I think Maddow is right on to point out that the Dems don't need to be so "bipartisan" on health care reform (or on anything, actually). Indeed, voters did vote for a strong Dem majority for the very purpose of having strong Dem action on policies like this.

I urge progressives/Dems to bombard the Congress and White House with emails, letters, and voicemails asking them to rightfully assert their full power that voters have given them. Trust me, that would be a great help. Dale, you should encourage this in any way you can.

Dale Carrico said...

Check out the amazing p2p-organizing Jane Hamsher and others are doing -- Firedoglake and MoveOn are both busy busy busy. Nobody reads me but thousands upon thousands read them, they are awesome.

As I said earlier, however, I do think you should pay close attention to rope-a-dope possibilities inhering in claims of seeking bipartisanship that repeatedly expose just how obstructionist Repugs are being and provide Blue Dogs cover in conservative districts for enabling the Dem majority to act like one when the time comes to set aside the soundbite jibber-jabber for mid-term election campaign spots and actually vote.

Tree Hugger said...

Of course I know about MoveOn, but not as much about Firedoglake's grassroots activities, so thanks for mentioning it.

As for the rope-a-dope possibilities, call me artless and simple, but I think the better strategy would be to just go after what we want without worrying about blue dogs, GOP/repugs, mid-term elections, etc..

The Dems' problem has always been that they are too weak and compromising to the point of being self-defeating. Apparently it doesn't matter that they have a strong congressional majority AND the white house--they're still like this. No matter what, they are perceived as unable to achieve their policy goals/promises for which they are elected. And it is this very perception of being weak, ineffective, overly compromising--a perception held by both left AND right voters--that will be their downfall in the midterm elections and beyond. Mark my words.

Dale Carrico said...

I agree the pre-emptive compromise of single-payer for the public option seemed then and seems now rather dimwitted. Rather than calling single payer socialism these jackholes are now calling the public option socialism. I don't really agree that Obama didn't expect this, but I do think this should be playing out more smoothly given the campaign.

If we really want to play pointless woulda coulda shoulda I happen to think that Dems should have spent the last 15 years after the defeat of Hillarycare (so-called) educating a generation of Americans about the desirability of extending Medicare into single payer so that now that we have a mandate we could take it for a walk. But we didn't. Facts are stubborn things.

You say we should stop worrying about Blue Dogs and then you complain that Dems are acting like they don't have the majority they do -- but the Blue Dogs are part of that majority. Blue Dogs aren't compromising, they are expressing the less-left convictions they and their constituencies actually believe (wrongly in my view, obviously, but there is it). To a certain extent Dems are acting exactly as if they have a majority of the divided kind they actually do.

You say we shouldn't consider mid-term elections -- what planet are you on? (Don't take that amiss -- I'm on your side here.) These are politicians! They eat sleep and drink election cycles. We need to point out that the governing party tends to lose seats in mid-terms after partisan Presidential victories and that if the Dems want to maintain control of Congress they need to overcome the enthusiasm gap polling already shows arising from apparent Dem timorousness on healthcare by getting real reform through. Once the President gets a real win that everybody will know is a real win, then Obama's numbers will rise even higher, losses will be recouped, the Dems numbers will rise, and Dems can beat the odds. It is precisely by insisting on focusing on mid-term campaign realities that we can push for the public option in a language these people will understand, these people who are the actual people who will or will not make this happen.

Confronted with these realities progressives need to fight for more and better Democrats, we need to express our support for Dems from their left to push them left. We need to be pushing Obama from the left, too, like Jane Hamsher and Howard Dean are doing, not giving up or complaining. Instead, of course, many will just declare pre-emptive surrender, sigh histrionically about how everything was doomed from the start, and echo the right's assertions about our own weakness (a real winning strategy if I ever heard of one).

We need to push Congress, get them on record supporting the Public Option, write the White House letting Obama know that the Public Option is indeed essential to us... not complaining about betrayal, but letting Obama know we are behind him.

Don't get punked by ill-sourced AP reports that the Public Option is dead on arrival. Don't whomp up rumors and right-wing frames. Push, push, push from the left. Not as enemies but as supporters of Dems who want to do the right thing (or who will pretend they want to do the right thing if enough of us show we'll hold them accountable). Assume this can happen and work and it will. It's too early to give up or get angry -- just work!