The Democrats' war room

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Thomas Veil, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #1
    Interesting article in the Las Vegas Sun, describing the War Room that Sen. Harry Reid has set up to help the Democrats:

    Nice to see that the Dems are finally getting organized, and are on the attack for a change.

    However, Trent Lott and various other observers are not wrong when they say that the Dems still don't have their own message. It's fine to tear down Bush, but the Dems shouldn't be back-slapping themselves too much over his decline -- his idiotic policies were bound to collapse under their own weight. What the Dems have done well is point that out to the American people.

    That's not the same thing as having a message or a plan of your own. And that's the part I worry about. Because the Dems still aren't sure who they are. The "squishy middle" still dominates -- you know, the guys who the rest of us derogatorily think of as "Republican lite"; the guys who are willing to defend liberal values...as long as it doesn't offend any corporate interests. And then on the other side, there is the vocal minority of Dems who still admire guys like FDR.

    For better or worse, the Democrats are going to have to decide which kind of Democrats they are. For everyone's sake, I hope the "Republican lites" don't continue to dominate, because that's a losing proposition. Oh, they might win some elections, but they won't win the hearts and minds of the average working person...and thus, they won't have any "staying power".

    It's nice that Harry Reid & co. are taking the PR battle back to Bush...but I wish they'd pay as much attention to what the American people -- liberals, progressives and populists in particular -- want them to be.
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    I think you are right generally, but I would take issue with a few things. First, I don't want the Democrats to copy the right to the point where they are acting the same. Yeah, in the short term I want them to fight dirty just as the GOP does; but once the Bushies are out of office I don't want to see the Democratic party set up shop for a decades-long majority either.

    Of course, that presumes a GOP in the minority won't resort to the stupid **** they were obsessed with when Clinton was in power.

    What I'd like to see is the American people ceasing to allow 'the politics of personal destruction' to be rewarded with election to higher and higher offices. I'm sure I'm dreaming here, the country is more polarized than when BushCo took office and I'm not confident at all that we're ready to join hands and sing Kumbayaa together.

    Second, for all the hand wringing about the Democrats not putting forth a plan of their own -- it's not necessary yet. If you put out a plan, suddenly you're not being attacked for not having a plan, you're being attacked for having a plan they don't like. So it's a no-win proposition, and as long as the GOP is doing their level-best to destroy themselves there is little point in exposing your plan to enemy attack earlier than is necessary. Spring will be fine for a Democratic strategy that takes advantage of GOP ethical failings, spendthrift ways, poor strategy in Iraq, Katrina, gas prices etc. But make no mistake, the attacks from the right will not stop just because the Democrats release an alternative.

    Of course, if this were a civil discussion, it would be best to have the plan out early and debate it openly; perhaps tweak it a little. But in this current atmosphere that would invite disaster.

    Third, I'd also take issue with your statement that the Democrats need to decide who they are. I'm not sure if you mean that they need to cater more to their base or not, but that's how it sounds. Catering only to the left wing of the Democratic party will not get the Democrats far. The problem for Democrats is that they are a vast group. Of course the same can be said for the GOP, but the social conservatives seem to have pretty much hijacked the vocal portion of the party. In the case of the Democrats, what needs to happen is rather than pushing individual issues (environment, abortion, affirmative action etc) by powerful interest groups, they need to put these ideas forth as part of a larger idea. Stronger families, stronger communities, stronger nation. Privacy instead of abortion rights. Equality rather than affirmative action. Articulate the values that lead to the policy, rather than the other way around.

    As much as I disagree with Reid on some issues, I would let him lead the party without hesitation. The Democrats need to be seen as pragmatic, not ideological.
     
  3. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Exactly - what the democrats need to realize is that even if the entire electorate thinks that the Bush is garbage, that may not mean much for the 2006 and 2008 elections because first, Bush's bad image may not tarnish other republicans, and second, the electorate might think the Dems are just as bad. The Dem's have to promote a solid vision.

    In my opinion, the core of the new democratic platform should be:
    - national health insurance,
    - free in-state college tuition,
    - decriminalization of marijuana (legalize & tax),
    - higher minimum wage,
    - immigration reform,
    - cut self-employment tax in half

    All of those issues affect everyone and would give every voter something to relate to, and the last issue could pull in lots of republican voters who are on the fence.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    And just where are you going to get the money for that Mr. Tax'n'Spend Northeastern Liberal!

    Actually I like the list, although I'm not sure it would be wise to campaign on ALL of those issues. The first two are an awful lot of spending. The third is weak on crime, the fourth would put off an awful lot of the very people you want to woo with the final one, the fifth is fine (and like all politicians you can hype the issue without actually DOING anything about it ;) ) but the last one is brilliant. If the Democrats came out swinging on that alone they could probably win back the Congress in '06.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    agree.

    dunno who's gonna pay for that. i'd suggest something along the lines of improved education savings plans. i'm not familiar w/ what exists now, especially at a federal level, but perhaps make them tax-deferred?

    i think that should be a state matter, but the national platform could include a bit about the justice department being hands off.

    agree.

    per mac's comment.

    definitely would like to see reform in that part of the tax code, of which your suggestion could be a part. reform here goes hand in hand w/ a national healthcare plan, imo.
     
  6. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    Location:
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    #6
    Here's a simple idea. Stop sucking. That's it. Not that hard really. I want to vote for someone for a change instead of just against. I know I'm being glib, but they have so many different people saying so many different things they need to do, I figured I'd just throw out an easy one. ;)

    Too many cooks spoiling the pot, let's just make it simple.
     
  7. tristan macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Funding these things really isn't an issue. Expanding college degrees will pay for itself through future tax revenue. Education is a fantastic national investment. National health care insurance could be paid by a payroll tax on employers and employees that would replace the amounts they're paying right now. It would also eliminate medicare taxes. A higher minimum wage will bring in some more tax revenue, assuming job creation doesn't suffer. So will selling and taxing marijuana.

    Immigration reform will increase tax revenue and reduce tax expenditures if you start bringing in more skilled labor rather than just unskilled, like we do today. Self-employment tax cuts will lead to more job creation, business purchases, etc, so some of the cut will be recaptured in the general economy.

    I'm not saying the whole thing would be revenue neutral immediately, but I think over time you'd see tax revenue increasing, and the impact would be minimal. Everything you do that pushes people into the middle class and helps them stay there will increase tax revenue. The government makes almost all of its tax revenue off of the middle class, because they're the only ones that it can be collected from.
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    probably don't even have to raise taxes to cover it. mr krugman explains:
     
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #9
    Hey, I like all parts of your proposal. I just don't think you campaign on things that to you are necessary, but to the opposition are bigger government, higher taxes, and soft on crime. I'd go with perhaps one of the two first items on your list, and as mentioned, be for decriminalization, but not explicitly. Just mention it when asked, don't promote something like that.

    Raising the minimum wage would be a good campaign plank, but I just think it runs counter to the desire to woo those whom you would target by repealing the 'self employment penalty'. Those are the small business guys (and gals) who want economic freedom. Now, I'm not saying that a fight for a hike in the minimum wage isn't worth fighting, and failing a move to support a repeal of the 'self employment penalty' I could see it being used successfully. I would simply pick one or the other to hype, not both.

    And personally, I'd rather see the Democrats pushing for equality for the little guy, in this case the self-employed.
     

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