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  #1  
Old 03-19-2005, 03:45 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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David Horowitz' theory: A "Shadow Party" is trying to pull the Democrats leftward

Doing some googling research on right-wing activist David Horowitz (who, back in the '60s and '70s, was a left-winger and member of the Black Panthers) turned up a new theory of his: There is a "Shadow Party," masterminded by George Soros, which is scheming to take over the Democratic Party and/or drag it in a leftward direction (or possibly set up a third party). By his account, this had its genesis in the McCain-Feingold bill, which limited the Democratic Party's ability to collect and spend "soft money," thus made it more dependent for money (and footsoldiers) on nominally nonpartisan organizations such as MoveOn. From Horowitz' website "DiscovertheNetwork" (which is intended as a "liberal-watch" resource for right-wingers who want to know what the liberal orgs are and who is funding them -- but which also could serve as a pretty good information resource for newbie leftists who want to know who the players are*) -- http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/gr...asp?grpid=6706:

Quote:
Part 1: Overview

The so-called "Shadow Democratic Party" or "Shadow Party" is a nationwide network of non-profit activist groups, whose agendas are ideologically to the left, which are engaged in campaigning for the Democrats. Its activities include fundraising, get-out-the-vote drives, political advertising and covert operations (including opposition research, media manipulation and "dirty tricks").

The Shadow Party was conceived and organized principally by George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Harold McEwan Ickes - all identified with the Democratic Party left.

In its mix of more than five-dozen unions, activist groups and think tanks, the Shadow Party has built a mighty coalition, marrying the youthful energy of the MTV generation with the ideological fervor of New Left activists who cut their political teeth in the battles of the 1960s with the ruthless tactics and financial power of New Labor, whose flagship unions - the SEIU and the AFSCME - have managed to thrive while other unions shrink, through the ingenious expedient of organizing workers in the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy: the government workforce. Many of the political strategists and operatives spearheading this government union movement are veterans of the New Left themselves.

As the Democratic Party becomes ever-more dependent on the Shadow Party for its funding and foot-soldiers, the Shadow Party gains leverage with which to impose its radical agendas on the more moderate Democrat rank and file.

<snip>

No Republican Counterpart

Republicans have also responded to McCain-Feingold by raising soft money through independent groups. However, no elaborate Shadow Party has emerged among Republicans comparable to that of the Democrats.

Part of the reason is that Republicans are less dependent on soft money than Democrats. Republicans fund their campaigns mainly through small, hard-money contributions from rank-and-file supporters. Such contributions are permitted under McCain-Feingold, which allows donors to give up to $2,000 per candidate per year to political parties, and up to $5,000 per year to registered federal Political Action Committees (PACs).

Democrats are far more dependent on the sorts of huge, soft-money donations from unions, corporations and wealthy supporters which the Democratic Party is now forbidden to accept under McCain-Feingold.
Issues for debate:

1. Does this "Shadow Party" really exist, in the terms Horowitz describes? Or is it just his name for every Dem whose politics are to the left of the Democratic Leadership Council's?

2. What does he mean, "No Republican Counterpart"? What about the whole conservative movement from Goldwater's 1964 campaign to the present, which has effectively marginalized liberal Republicans? (See Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (Penguin Books, 2004), which tells the whole 40-year saga in highly readable detail.) How come when leftists do this it's a "Shadow Party" but when right-wingers do it it's a movement?

3. How powerful are the named organizations and individuals within the Democratic Party at present? (Not powerful enough, apparently, to win the 2004 presidential nomination for Dean.)

4. These are all very public, high-profile political organizations, and the whole world knows they are generally allied or in sympathy with each other, and what they stand for. What's "Shadow" about it?

5. Is Horowitz correct in his analysis of the differential impact of McCain-Feingold on the two major parties?

6. What's this about Hillary Clinton being "identified with the Democratic Party left"? I think that would come as a surprise to her and a bigger surprise to most Democrats. Her politics are maybe five degrees to the left of Bill's, and he was no liberal, let alone a leftist.

7. What role does George Soros (and his fortune) really play in all this?





* Curiously, the DiscovertheNetwork website (http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/default.asp), while it seems to be a comprehensive effort to list all "liberal," "leftist," "progressive" or "socialist" organizations and prominent individuals in America (and the UK), has nothing at all to say about Ralph Nader, the Green Party, the Communist Party USA, or the Socialist Party USA. (There is a page on the Democratic Socialists of America.)
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2005, 04:09 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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If someone's actually pulling the Democrats leftward, I wish they'd get to work already. On the other hand, in my opinion David Horowitz :: credible : George Soros :: poor.
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2005, 04:29 PM
Sample_the_Dog Sample_the_Dog is offline
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Which is more plausible:

That there really is a "shadow party" going to great lengths to accomplish a dubious end by Byzantine means?

Or that Horowitz is peddling a trumped up conspiracy theory to the sector of his constituency that gobbles up this kind of tripe like candy?

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  #4  
Old 03-19-2005, 04:41 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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This is called attacknalysis. There are plenty of voices out there that are peddling what they present as political analysis, but their underlying purpose is simply to frame the debate in a certain way or take covert potshots at the other side under cover of simply analyzing things. For instance, Horowitz is simply lying when he talks about the "more moderate" Democratic rank and file. All Democrats are undifferentiated leftist trash to him, and he'd call the most conservative Democrat a communist if it suited his purposes. He's only currently saying otherwise because it gives him room to claim that the party is getting worse (which is a difficult sell if you already describe them as a the pinnacle of evil to begin with).
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2005, 04:42 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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The conspiracy angle theory is all wrong. There are several groups, however, organized over the internet, who are doing a lot of work to pull the Dems leftward. They have a lot of money, but as of et haven't gotten much to show for it. Their favorite canidates keep losing (see Howard Dean).

McCan-Feingold comes from another angle. IMHO, they're both doing something really bad there, and need to be stopped. They're doing it to try and keep other peopel from claiming their seats and to eliminate public speech as much as possible.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2005, 05:38 PM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is offline
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It would be really heartening to believe that ANY group associated with the Democrats were that organized, whatever their goals. As it is now, we have The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight vs. The Keystone Kops, standing in a circle and executing each other in the foot for control of the Democratic Party.
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2005, 05:43 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit
McCan-Feingold comes from another angle. IMHO, they're both doing something really bad there, and need to be stopped. They're doing it to try and keep other peopel from claiming their seats and to eliminate public speech as much as possible.
Can you back up your assertion that the bill makes it perceptibly easier for McCain and Feingold to hold on to their respective seats? Or that they're trying to "eliminate public speech"?

Also, does the bill have different effects on the Republican and Democratic parties, as Horowitz argues?
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2005, 05:54 PM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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Is there a Shadow Party? Er, sort of. I worked for America Coming Together over the summer - one of the liberal "527" groups funded largely by George Soros and the AFL-CIO, among others, that come into existence largely due to the fundraising restrictions of McCain-Feingold. And although we said we weren't "partisan", we had no qualms about promoting "progressive" causes - so yeah, we did function as a sort of shadow Democratic party, along with other groups. We even referred to ourselves as such, on occasion.

Now, is this "shadow party" of activists and philanthropists pulling the party to the left? Maybe - my co-workers at ACT and I were probably to the "left" of John Kerry - we had a few Deaniacs and some people who'd supported Edwards in the primary. There were also quite a few people who thought John Kerry was the best thing that could happen to the party, on the theory that he might actually be able to attract centrist voters. That said, other "progessive" 527s - not ACT, so far as I know - have been trying to apply pressure to the DNC to go farther to the left. Heck, that's one of the reasons Dean won the DNC chairmanship.

So, I'd say that absent the scare-talk, Horowitz is actually right - there is a shadow party, and parts of it certainly are bringing the party to the left. The thing is - I don't see anything sinister here. There's a large bloc of committed activists who want to see the party's platform move more towards the left, they make no bones about it, and they're having an impact - what's wrong with that? One could just as legitimately say that a "shadow" party hijacked the Republican party during the Reagan years, in order to move a right-centrist fiscal conservative party into hard-right social/fiscal conservativism and foreign policy neoconservativism - Republicans aren't griping about that.
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Old 03-19-2005, 06:17 PM
Mr. Excellent Mr. Excellent is offline
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Just to elaborate - I'd argue that this is simply the way parties have always evolved. With rare exceptions, party doctrines change due to the actions of (relatively) small, dedicated groups. If the new doctrines mesh with the will of the people, the changed party will do well in elections. If the activists have driven the party in an unpopular direction, it *won't* do well in the polls. That's just the way it goes.
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Old 03-19-2005, 06:45 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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I think 'shadow party' is a stupid term, meant to suggest some powerful cabal of people pulling the strings of the populist movement. I don't think that is accurate at all.

Here's what I think:

1. McCain-Feingold was a travesty. I said so when it was being debated.
2. The creation of '527' groups has given some very large organizations the ability to raise vast sums of money.
3. Groups like "Move-On", "Worker's World", "America Coming Together", "International A.N.S.W.E.R", and others have incredibly sophisticated organizing and mobilizing capabilities.
4. The Internet is giving these organizations the ability to reach deep into the grassroots and raise tremendous amounts of money.
5. There are some very rich, very powerful people driving some of these organizations. George Soros, etc.

There is no grand conspiracy, go 'shadow party'. There is, however, a large organization on the left that does not have a right-wing counterpart. The closest the Republicans came in the last election was the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, and the amount of money they raised was trivial compared to the collosses on the left.

The unfortunate thing is that the politicians in Washington are seeing dollar signs looking at the kind of money MoveOn etc. can bring to the table. So they are selling themselves out to organizations that really are far left. The chairmanship of Howard Dean reflects this.

At some point the Democrats are going to have to decide between the money and their desire to be elected, because if they allow these groups to pull the Democratic party over to the far left, they are going to be marginalized for decades.
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Old 03-19-2005, 07:59 PM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
There is no grand conspiracy, go 'shadow party'. There is, however, a large organization on the left that does not have a right-wing counterpart. The closest the Republicans came in the last election was the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, and the amount of money they raised was trivial compared to the collosses on the left.
I guess you never heard of the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, etc., etc., or deep-pockets righties like Richard Mellon Scaife.
Quote:
The unfortunate thing is that the politicians in Washington are seeing dollar signs looking at the kind of money MoveOn etc. can bring to the table. So they are selling themselves out to organizations that really are far left. The chairmanship of Howard Dean reflects this.
Yeah, sure. Have I mentioned that I get really tired of conservatives telling us more liberal types how big a mistake we're making by not moving to the center?

Howard Dean's chairmanship isn't about left and right, except in Al From's nightmares, and a few conservatives' fantasies. It's about Democrats actually standing for something and fighting for it, as opposed to seeing everything as subject to compromise. Ben Nelson's a Democrat who's willing to stand and fight, even though he's a conservative Democrat from a conservative state, Nebraska. Joe Lieberman is, overall, a fair distance to Nelson's left. But Joe would rather sell out on anything and everything, and take all sorts of potshots at his own party, if that's what it takes to look 'moderate' and reasonable in the eyes of the commentariat.

MoveOn has raised some money. George Soros has contributed some money. But in 2004, John Kerry got far more money in small contributions from individual donors across America than Soros contributed to any organization, or MoveOn raised. And the same holds true for House and Senate Democratic candidates, taken as a group.

What McCain-Feingold did for the Democrats was to drastically reduce their dependence on the outfits that used to give them 'soft money.' You know what this means? It means that the Democrats are becoming more representative of the people who vote for them, and less representative of corporations that used to funnel money to them. How can this be a bad thing? Last I checked, this was how democracy was supposed to work.
Quote:
At some point the Democrats are going to have to decide between the money and their desire to be elected, because if they allow these groups to pull the Democratic party over to the far left, they are going to be marginalized for decades.
Kinda like the GOP got marginalized by moving to the right over the past 40 years? I never have gotten a straight answer from any of you conservatives about how moving away from the center would be a tragedy for the Dems, despite having worked so well for the GOP. Except as a corollary to your belief that conservatism is the right way to go, so there ought to be two parties, one extremely conservative, and the other only moderately conservative.

But like I said, what's going on in the Democratic party isn't about left and right. It's about staying pretty much where we are, only actually sticking up and fighting for that bit of ground, rather than compromising every last belief we might have.
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Old 03-19-2005, 08:28 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
There is no grand conspiracy, go 'shadow party'. There is, however, a large organization on the left that does not have a right-wing counterpart. The closest the Republicans came in the last election was the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, and the amount of money they raised was trivial compared to the collosses on the left.
Man, those poor Republicans: how ever will they compete with the much better funded Democrats! (---faints, has to be revived with smelling salts---)
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Old 03-19-2005, 09:13 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Rtfirefly said:
Quote:
Kinda like the GOP got marginalized by moving to the right over the past 40 years? I never have gotten a straight answer from any of you conservatives about how moving away from the center would be a tragedy for the Dems, despite having worked so well for the GOP. Except as a corollary to your belief that conservatism is the right way to go, so there ought to be two parties, one extremely conservative, and the other only moderately conservative.
But that's exactly what DID happen. You guys who think the Republicans have moved to the right are nuts. Remember how powerful the religious right used to be? Remember the Contract with America? Remember how Republicans wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, shut down PBS, eliminate the National Science Foundation, etc?

And what happened to Republicans when they did this? They lost the presidency, they lost seats in the house and Senate. They got absolutely hammered in the 1996 elections.

Then the Republicans turned back to the center. Instead of eliminating the Department of Education, they bumped its funding 40%. Jerry Falwell got taken out to the woodshed. Pat Buchanan was ostracized. Gingrich was out on his ear. Christ, they don't even talk about school vouchers any more.

The result is that the Republicans are sitting in the center, and the Democrats are moving off to the left. It is my opinion that if this continues, the Democrats are going to lose even more seats in the house and Senate in the next elections. They'll lose the ability to filibuster, and essentially have no power at all.

As a Canadian, I can tell you that it sucks to have a one-party state. Our conservatives immolated themselves the way the Democrats seem keen on doing in the U.S., and the result was a Liberal government that became essentially unaccountable. That made them lazy and corrupt. It's not a good thing.

You don't have to agree with me. From the perspective of the lefties on this board, the Democrats are still centrist. But from the perspective of the center, the people you need to win elections, the Democrats are moving left. Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Howard Dean are becoming the faces of the party. Harry Reid was supposed to be a moderate Democrat, but he seems to have tossed his hat in with the left wing of the party.

The Clintons know what it takes for Democrats to be elected. They are the two best politicians in the Democratic party, and it should say something that Republicans used to think both of them were lefties, but now they represent the conservative wing of the party.
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Old 03-19-2005, 09:27 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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I have to agree with Sam Stone here on the Republicans. As much as people scoff, Republicans have at least in practice, been far more "compassionate" than their rhetoric. They've allowed pro-choice members to have center stage in their party, and they've basically signed on to a lot of things that drive Grover Norquist batty.

I don't really agree on the Dems. I don't think the Dems have moved anywhere at all. Painting them as moving left is just the usual attacknalysis (Reid is a big figure! He disagrees with Republicans on some things! He's a leftist! I am an incisive critic of politics!). But what Dems HAVE failed to do IS to move anywhere. They have been stuck defending the status quo: ironically even when they are not the party in power! Even with Bush as President, what was the Democratic message? Bush is going to destroy this social programe, Bush is going to destroy that social programe. What Sam cannot see is that Democrats are conservatives, Republicans are liberals. Democrats are reflexive and reactive, Republicans are the reformers, the do-ers.

Face it: Republicans may have bad ideas. They may have good ideas. But they have ideas: they actually have a vision for changing the country, reforming things that aren't working, bringing things in line with some overall ideal. Whether or not that's just rhetoric, it's a lot more exciting and vital than "our Social Security, oh noes!"
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Old 03-19-2005, 09:39 PM
ITR champion ITR champion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
1. Does this "Shadow Party" really exist, in the terms Horowitz describes? Or is it just his name for every Dem whose politics are to the left of the Democratic Leadership Council's?
Until Horowitz provides some evidence that his claims are true, I would list this up there with the sort of rubbish we expect from people like ... Horowitz.

Quote:
2. What does he mean, "No Republican Counterpart"? What about the whole conservative movement from Goldwater's 1964 campaign to the present, which has effectively marginalized liberal Republicans? (See Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (Penguin Books, 2004), which tells the whole 40-year saga in highly readable detail.) How come when leftists do this it's a "Shadow Party" but when right-wingers do it it's a movement?
I don't see any "shadow Republican party" either. When you have groups like Focus on the Family on your side, who needs it?

Quote:
3. How powerful are the named organizations and individuals within the Democratic Party at present? (Not powerful enough, apparently, to win the 2004 presidential nomination for Dean.)
Not very, judging by the fact that the Democratic Party has not stood up for their causes much in the past few years.

Since the "shadow party" doesn't actually exist, question 4 can't be answered.

Quote:
5. Is Horowitz correct in his analysis of the differential impact of McCain-Feingold on the two major parties?
He's pretty much right about McCain-Feingold. He somehow neglects to mention that the Democrats made up the money they lost from M-F by grassroots fundraising over the internet.

Quote:
6. What's this about Hillary Clinton being "identified with the Democratic Party left"? I think that would come as a surprise to her and a bigger surprise to most Democrats. Her politics are maybe five degrees to the left of Bill's, and he was no liberal, let alone a leftist.
While the idea of Hillary being far-left is absurd to anyone who's remotely connected to reality, it's been standard belief among the Limbaugh-Coulter crowd for years. Look: Horowitz is just making all this up, so why should he bother making up stuff that makes any sense when his target audience will believe whatever he says? He could declare that the shadow party was run by Michael Moore, Elvis, and Scott Peterson and his minions would believe it.
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  #16  
Old 03-19-2005, 09:47 PM
pantom pantom is offline
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What Apos said: the Dems need to get them some new ideas.
Reagan won, and rewrote the battle lines of the debate for everyone who came after him, because he identified the increasing tax burden because of inflation affecting salaries even as tax brackets remained unchanged, known at that time as "bracket creep", as a major problem, promised to fix that, and did it. The Dems of the late seventies resisted doing anything about this bracket creep, thereby squandering the huge lead Nixon had given them via Watergate, and Dems have been resisting new initiatives ever since.
Or, to put it simply, the best defense is a good offense.
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:16 AM
Bricker Bricker is online now
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Hillary as "Far Left"

I don't agree -- so far as I can see, Mrs. Clinton's policies mark her as a centrist Democrat. She's left of ME in most things, yes, but not "far left."

What I see in many cases is a willingness to assign "real" positions to her, unsupported by any evidence. That is, the response to the argument that her positions have been moderate is: "Oh, that's not her REAL view. She's only saying/doing that to position herself for the 2008 presidential run."

It's unclear to me how the apparent psychic powers of the speaker have developed the ability to see in Senator Clinton's mind so well.
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:13 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Apos said:
Quote:
What Sam cannot see is that Democrats are conservatives, Republicans are liberals. Democrats are reflexive and reactive, Republicans are the reformers, the do-ers.

Face it: Republicans may have bad ideas. They may have good ideas. But they have ideas: they actually have a vision for changing the country, reforming things that aren't working, bringing things in line with some overall ideal. Whether or not that's just rhetoric, it's a lot more exciting and vital than "our Social Security, oh noes!"
Actually, I agree with everything you wrote. But then, I'm not a conservative. I'm more of a Libertarian. Ayn Rand described herself not as a conservative, but as a 'radical for capitalism'.

I don't hear any ideas out of the left any more. What's the progressive plan for fixing social security? Where's the overarching defense policy? What about Medicare, which is in far worse shape than Social Security?

And the reflexive anti-Republicanism that has substituted for new ideas isn't a winning plan. Bill Clinton signed onto welfare reform despite the fact that it was a Republican idea pushed by Republicans in Congress, because he was capable of seeing good policy no matter which side of the aisle it came from. As a result, he gets the credit for it.

It baffles me that the left is in such a knee-jerk obstructionist mode. Take the war on terror - We're fighting fascists - people who persecute gays, oppress women, and want theocratic government. They should be the natural enemies of the left. And yet, many on the left just can not bring themselves to get behind this war, other than to call out Osama Bin Laden personally, as if he was the beginning and end of what is going on.

Or take Social Security. Right now, social security is hugely regressive. The poor and middle class pay far more into social security as a percentage of their incomes than do the rich. But even worse, Social Security does not allow the poor to pass saved wealth on to future generations. The rich can afford investments that will perpetuate their familial wealth and keep their families rich through generations. The poor give their retirement money to the government, and their own children get to start from scratch. It's a bad deal for the poor and middle class. If you could figure out a safe way to move that money into property that the people own, you'll do a lot for class mobility on a generational basis, and the left should welcome that. Instead, they stamp their feet and demonize Bush for daring to re-think a social program.

If the Democrats were at least willing to debate this in the realm of ideas, they'd have a chance to get rid of the most objectional parts of Bush's plan. He himself has said that EVERYTHING is on the table, including tax increases on the wealthy. He's just trying to start a real debate. But the dems have slammed the door. It's poor governing AND poor politics.
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:54 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is online now
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Not any plan is better than the status quo, ya know. You don't make changes for the sake of making changes, as you've been vociferous about telling us in other categories when you were happy with the Reps, Sam.

But here's a list of responsible positions on the topics you're whining about:

Social Security - basic system OK, needs more funding, combination of raising cap and phasing out bogus borrowing from the fund (while restoring surplus to prevent borrowing) should do it.

Medicare: Restore Bush's cuts - it worked fine for a long time.

Defense policy ("overarching" or not) - engagement instead of confrontation, global alliances and combined efforts, you know, all the stuff that worked fine for decades until the petulant bully attitude took hold.

"Reflexive anti-Republicanism"? Snicker. That's what you call simple responsibility these days? No, it's not sexy, it doesn't appeal to the baser emotions like Bush's belligerence and spite do, but it's what civilized society is all about. There's nothing to apologize for.

Quote:
He himself has said that EVERYTHING is on the table.
As long as it's already part of his plan. When has Bush given you any indication that those with the temerity to disagree with him on anything can get listened to? Why the hell do you think we should believe it now, especially from you?
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Old 03-20-2005, 10:09 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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So you're position is that there's nothing wrong with Medicare, and in fact you want to add on to it? That's your solution? By the way, which Bush cuts would those be? You mean the 700 billion dollar prescription drug coverage he added on to it?

As for defense, what do you do when global alliances don't work? And alliances to do WHAT? The Europeans staunchly opposed the invasion of Iraq. You do too. Fine, what was your alternative plan? Do you really think that just 'getting bin Laden' is the end game?

As for Social Security, you don't see the fundamental unfairness of a system that allows rich people to invest their money and turn it over to their kids, but poor people have to give a large chunk of their income to the government, and their kids get none of it even if the retiree dies before he sees a nickel of his investment (assuming the kids are grown up)?

This system might have been fair back when the rate of return for participants was decent. At least then you could say that they actually weren't losing anything. But when the system gets to the point where the rate of return for people paying in is much lower than what they'd get in traditional retirement investments, it becomes unfair, and it hurts the poor and lower middle class the most.
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  #21  
Old 03-20-2005, 10:11 AM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Er, "Your position". I hate wayward apostrophes.
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  #22  
Old 03-20-2005, 11:46 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
So you're position is that there's nothing wrong with Medicare, and in fact you want to add on to it? That's your solution?
Essentially, yes. What problem do you identify - beyond the one your libertarian/partisan blindness tells you, which is its very existence?

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By the way, which Bush cuts would those be? You mean the 700 billion dollar prescription drug coverage he added on to it?
Been there, done that, ya know. It adds a cost burden to the recipients. That's a cut.

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[As for defense, what do you do when global alliances don't work?
Etc. Consider that everyone else just might be right, and you alone might be wrong. Bush didn't do that, and, as blindly loyal as you are, you don't even consider that it's a possibility.

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And alliances to do WHAT? The Europeans staunchly opposed the invasion of Iraq. You do too. Fine, what was your alternative plan?
To keep up what we'd been doing. It was working fine. But that's been explained to you ad nauseam without effect, either.

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Do you really think that just 'getting bin Laden' is the end game?
Of course not (and it's getting hard to keep this GD-worthy). Nor did I mention that, either - where the hell did you get that straw man? Getting the chief murder conspirator and bringing him to justice is necessary, of course - but since Bush doesn't think so, neither do you. There is no "end game", of course - there is only constant carrot-and-sticking and constant containment of threats.

Quote:
As for Social Security, you don't see the fundamental unfairness of a system that allows rich people to invest their money and turn it over to their kids, but poor people have to give a large chunk of their income to the government, and their kids get none of it even if the retiree dies before he sees a nickel of his investment (assuming the kids are grown up)?
Of course I see some unfairness in any regressive tax. One solution is to raise the cap so it is, if not progressive, at least less recessive. There are obviously other ways to do that. I already mentioned that - why would you disagree, except perhaps out of blind hatred? What, btw, do you think of eliminating Bush's deficits to reduce pressure to borrow from the trust fund - is that another example of your highest principle being sheer partisanism, which in your case is extremely unusual?

You'd been doing so well recently. Don't fuck it up.
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  #23  
Old 03-20-2005, 11:50 AM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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The national Democratic Party needs some things, like a new and improved spine in its leaders. One thing is doesn't need is to pay any attention to David Horowitz. Or for that matter, Sam Stone.
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2005, 12:14 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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ElvisL1ves: I'm through talking to you. You can't learn to play nicely.
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2005, 01:33 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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Sam, I agree with everything you wrote to me except about SS. While I don't think the Democrats are being anything but reactionary and obstructionist, I also don't think Republicans are being even remotely sincere about this issue being an invitation to discuss ideas. I'm still not clear what their idea for fixing SS is. Private accounts is a "solution" that makes about as much sense as declaring that you can now pay taxes into a special government fund that will be used to buy food stamps for you. If its all about people wanting to invest their own money, cut their payroll taxes outright, period.
This isn't really the place to debate Social Security, but I think it's pretty hard to maintain that the he is just trying to start a debate when he has pre-framed it and pulled a bait-n-switch about the insolvency of the fund to a program which has nothing to do with addressing that insolvency.
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Old 03-20-2005, 01:55 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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Originally Posted by Apos
Sam, I agree with everything you wrote to me except about SS. While I don't think the Democrats are being anything but reactionary and obstructionist, I also don't think Republicans are being even remotely sincere about this issue being an invitation to discuss ideas. I'm still not clear what their idea for fixing SS is. Private accounts is a "solution" that makes about as much sense as declaring that you can now pay taxes into a special government fund that will be used to buy food stamps for you. If its all about people wanting to invest their own money, cut their payroll taxes outright, period.
This isn't really the place to debate Social Security, but I think it's pretty hard to maintain that the he is just trying to start a debate when he has pre-framed it and pulled a bait-n-switch about the insolvency of the fund to a program which has nothing to do with addressing that insolvency.
That's all fair, and I agree with you. For whatever reason, Bush is refusing to talk about private accounts for the reasons he wants them, and instead is trying to sell them as a 'fix' for social security, which they are not. What they are is a way to move a downstream liability upstream, which will cost more now and save some later. But mostly, they are part of his 'ownership society', in which he is trying to restructure social programs so that the ownership of the assets is held by the people instead of the government. He thinks this is a good thing (and so do I, at least in principle), but if so, that's what he should talk about.
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  #27  
Old 03-20-2005, 03:34 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Stone
I don't hear any ideas out of the left any more. What's the progressive plan for fixing social security? Where's the overarching defense policy? What about Medicare, which is in far worse shape than Social Security?

And the reflexive anti-Republicanism that has substituted for new ideas isn't a winning plan.
No, Sam, you don't hear any ideas out of the Democrats any more -- no more than you heard new ideas out of the Republicans from the New Deal to the Reagan Revolution. And the "left" you hardly hear at all, because, compared with the right-wingers, centrists and liberals, it hardly has a voice. But if a leftist faction or left-liberal coalition took over the Democrats, as Horowitz purports to fear, then I think you would start hearing some new ideas. Many of which I've discussed in this forum, and you can find more on the websites of the "leftist" groups Horowitz names and, even more, those he doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
And yet, many on the left just can not bring themselves to get behind this war, other than to call out Osama Bin Laden personally, as if he was the beginning and end of what is going on.
He isn't, of course -- taking out one man will not cripple a decentralized organization like al-Qaeda. But Saddam Hussein's regime never had anything to do with "what is going on."
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  #28  
Old 03-20-2005, 04:18 PM
furt furt is online now
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No, Sam, you don't hear any ideas out of the Democrats any more -- no more than you heard new ideas out of the Republicans from the New Deal to the Reagan Revolution.
Which is exactly the point ... the pubs, and certainly the true-believer conservatives -- were the next thing to politically irrelevant that whole period.
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  #29  
Old 03-20-2005, 05:41 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Stone
You guys who think the Republicans have moved to the right are nuts. Remember how powerful the religious right used to be? Remember the Contract with America? Remember how Republicans wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, shut down PBS, eliminate the National Science Foundation, etc?

And what happened to Republicans when they did this? They lost the presidency, they lost seats in the house and Senate. They got absolutely hammered in the 1996 elections.
Um, the "Contract with America" stuff was part of the so-called "Republican Revolution" of 1994, and is widely credited for what was called "a tidal wave of Republican victories" in Congress and in gubernatorial seats.

So yeah, in fact, the Republicans have moved to the right, and it's worked pretty well for them politically. (What didn't work well for them in 1992 was the recession and Bush I's perceived cluelessness about the economy.) I think it's a bit misleading to point to the failure of some of their wilder schemes as evidence that there's been no overall rightward shift among the Republicans.

I do tend to agree, though, that of recent years (excepting religious right-wingers like Ashcroft and the gay-marriage amendment flap, and similar PR issues), the Republicans have been less flamboyant about embracing social conservatism, and more dedicated to the pursuit of crony capitalism. At present it's less about ideological fervor, as in the Contract with America days, and more about strategic maneuvering.

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Originally Posted by Sam Stone
But even worse, Social Security does not allow the poor to pass saved wealth on to future generations.
Neither would Bush's plan, though. According to his proposal, you have to annuitize at least a minimum amount of your savings upon retirement, and any unused portion of it disappears when you die. For the poor, that minimum amount would cover everything they've got. There is no currently proposed modification of SS that would "allow the poor to pass saved wealth on to future generations", and IMO it would be just about impossible to design such a modification and make the system solvent. Talking about how privatized SS accounts would be a great asset-builder for the poor is basically snake oil, as far as I can see.
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  #30  
Old 03-20-2005, 05:44 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is online now
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And for good reason, furt - those "ideas" had been rejected. But we changed - the success of the New Deal, and even more so of the attitudes and senses of responsibility it entailed, enforced by the WW2 spirit, led a large part of the population so far out of poverty that they forgot about it. The average person with his own house and a stable job and a car and a guaranteed pension had enough upward mobility, thanks to the Democrats, that he could actually identify more with the wealthy. The party offering "We'll cut your taxes, so what if the government goes into debt, it doesn't mean anything, it'll turn out all right somehow, and anyone further down the ladder got there by their own fault so don't worry about them" got to be attractive to those who had lost their sense of social responsibility. Many of us got complacent, and at some point we'll pay the price.

So how do you "sell" responsibility to each other and to future generations, against a movement that says you don't have to, facts notwithstanding? Do you let things collapse first and try not to get blamed? Or do you simply hammer home the message that the policies that have worked so well for so long are right for everyone, appealing to people's higher nature instead of their selfishness?


P.S. Translation from Stonese: "You're right but I can't make myself admit it to you". Nothing new here.
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  #31  
Old 03-20-2005, 07:00 PM
jshore jshore is offline
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I would agree with some of Horowitz's analysis but with a very different twist. I think what these new groups are doing is trying to pull the Democrats back toward the Left, mainly on economics issues, after the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council) pulled them to the Right on these issues in order to try to make the Democratic Party more amenable to corporate donations.

And, I think to the extent that this is helping to pull the Democrats away a little bit from the corporate feeding trough and toward a more grassroots fundraising strategy, that is a most excellent thing.

Note that there is zero...absolutely zero...evidence that I know of that the Dems lost because they were too far Left on economics issues, despite what the libertarian-leaning conservatives on this board would like to believe. Rather, the evidence is that many people who agreed more with the Dems on economics issues voted for the Republicans instead because they agreed with the Republicans on the social issues. (Of course, the Republicans also got the more corporate and libertarian-leaning folks too...But, let's face it, those folks are always going to tend to vote Republican in the end. Libertarians may want the government out of both their bedroom and their wallet, but they seem to vote more with their wallet in mind.)
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  #32  
Old 03-20-2005, 09:57 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by furt
Which is exactly the point ... the pubs, and certainly the true-believer conservatives -- were the next thing to politically irrelevant that whole period.
And the Pubs didn't become politically relevant again until they dragged the party hard right. My point is, the Dems should learn from that example and go hard left, willingly. And they should take a lot of other lessons from the conservative resurgence, too. It didn't just happen. It didn't result from something predictable and inevitable like a "political pendulum." It resulted from a conscious, directed effort that started about the time Goldwater got creamed in 1964. It took a lot of work and money, over the course of decades, by millionaires like Scaife and Mellon who set up right-wing foundations and think-tanks, and the ideologue scholars who staffed them, and millionaires like Murdoch who set up right-wing media outlets, and the journalists who worked for them, and above all footsoldiers -- grassroots activists of various right-wing factions who worked hard to take over their local Republican Executive Committees and to get out the vote for Reagan or whoever, swamp their local newspapers with letters-to-the-editor, make a mighty noise in the blogosphere, etc., etc. (As I said in the OP, Wooldridge and Mickelthwait tell the story very well.) Substantially what Horowitz accuses the "Shadow Party" of trying to do, and we can only hope; but it hasn't really taken off yet.
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  #33  
Old 03-20-2005, 10:04 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Kimstu
There is no currently proposed modification of SS that would "allow the poor to pass saved wealth on to future generations" . . .
Actually, there is such a proposal in the air, although it's not a modification of Social Security and not something you're likely to hear from either party in the next few election cycles. See these links: http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?...cle&DocID=1146; http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=section&secID=14.
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  #34  
Old 03-21-2005, 11:58 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Stone
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Originally Posted by Rtfirefly
Kinda like the GOP got marginalized by moving to the right over the past 40 years? I never have gotten a straight answer from any of you conservatives about how moving away from the center would be a tragedy for the Dems, despite having worked so well for the GOP. Except as a corollary to your belief that conservatism is the right way to go, so there ought to be two parties, one extremely conservative, and the other only moderately conservative.
But that's exactly what DID happen. You guys who think the Republicans have moved to the right are nuts.
OK, you seem to be talking about since 1994; I was thinking 1964. I agree that the GOP hasn't moved a whole lot to the right since 1994, but that's because they were almost to the edge of the flat earth by then.
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Remember how powerful the religious right used to be?
USED to be?? You mention Falwell further down; he's repeatedly been invited to the White House by this Administration, even though he's not only yesterday's news, but a fruitcake to boot. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is considered the Religious Right's main influence-wielder these days, replacing Pat Robertson, who in turn replaced Falwell during the Bush I Administration.
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Remember the Contract with America?
Worked, didn't it?
Quote:
Remember how Republicans wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, shut down PBS, eliminate the National Science Foundation, etc?
So they overreached on a few specifics. Hasn't seemed to reduce their power much.
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And what happened to Republicans when they did this? They lost the presidency, they lost seats in the house and Senate. They got absolutely hammered in the 1996 elections.
Say what?? They didn't have the Presidency to lose, in 1994. When they lost the Presidency in 1992, Bush Sr., who wasn't a flaming right-winger, was President. And they may have lost a few seats in Congress in 1996, but far fewer than they won in 1994. 1996 was an adjustment, not a repudiation of the Gingrich Revolution.
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Then the Republicans turned back to the center.
Maybe you missed 1998. A high-tech lynching of a President over a blowjob (yeah, I know, it was the lying, not the sex; I'm looking for the NK-Pakistan-Libya thread and coming up empty) wasn't exactly moving toward the center, especially when they went full-speed-ahead with impeachment after the voters repudiated the idea in November 1998.
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Instead of eliminating the Department of Education, they bumped its funding 40%. Jerry Falwell got taken out to the woodshed. Pat Buchanan was ostracized. Gingrich was out on his ear. Christ, they don't even talk about school vouchers any more.
Other than the fact that isolationism is out of style on the right at present, the names have changed, but the same stuff is being pushed. Including vouchers.
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The result is that the Republicans are sitting in the center
You've got a funny idea of 'center'. Cutting taxes on wealth and unearned income, while leaving the working American's tax burden more or less unchanged, isn't centrist. Gutting Social Security isn't centrist. Bush's judicial appointments damned sure aren't centrist. The bankruptcy legislation wasn't centrist, nor was the gutting of the right to file class actions.
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Harry Reid was supposed to be a moderate Democrat, but he seems to have tossed his hat in with the left wing of the party.
So, what's he changed his mind on, in the past few months?
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The Clintons know what it takes for Democrats to be elected.
No, the Clintons know what it takes for them to be elected.

Please compare the number of Democrats in Congress in 1991 v. the number of Democrats in Congress in 2001. (Or 1991 v. 1999, or 1993 v. 2001, or however you want to do it.) Bill Clinton did NOT build up his party; he left it weaker when he left office than when he arrived. He did nothing to give it a focus and a direction in the wake of 1994, despite being President for another six years.
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  #35  
Old 03-21-2005, 07:34 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
And the Pubs didn't become politically relevant again until they dragged the party hard right. My point is, the Dems should learn from that example and go hard left, willingly.
You do realize that you've just said, "This is what the Republicans did to win. So let's do the opposite!"

Regards,
Shodan
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  #36  
Old 03-21-2005, 10:52 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan
You do realize that you've just said, "This is what the Republicans did to win. So let's do the opposite!"

Regards,
Shodan
No. What the Republicans did to win was move away from the center and in the direction appropriate for their party. I recommend the Democrats do the same.
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  #37  
Old 03-21-2005, 10:56 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Plus, in our case (and unlike the Republicans'), our moving that way would be the best thing for the American people. So we get to have our cake and eat it!
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  #38  
Old 03-22-2005, 07:32 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
No. What the Republicans did to win was move away from the center and in the direction appropriate for their party. I recommend the Democrats do the same.
If the principle you want to propound is "The further from the center, the more likely Americans are to vote for you", I find that hard to believe. If it were true, nobody would vote Democratic, they would all be members of the Socialist Worker's party, and Pat Buchanan would have picked up support as he moved further to the fringes.
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Plus, in our case (and unlike the Republicans'), our moving that way would be the best thing for the American people. So we get to have our cake and eat it!
Entirely true. The more marginalized and extreme the liberal parties in America, the better for us all!

As I have mentioned in other threads, I warmly encourage the Democrats to move as far left as is recommended by many Dopers. By all means - go for it!




Regards,
Shodan
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  #39  
Old 03-22-2005, 08:15 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by Shodan
You do realize that you've just said, "This is what the Republicans did to win. So let's do the opposite!"

Regards,
Shodan
I was wondering if anyone esle noticed that. It's kind of hard to believe that it's only movement away from the center that counts, and not the DIRECTION that the party moves.
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  #40  
Old 03-22-2005, 08:32 AM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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BrainGlutton, per your OP:

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4. These are all very public, high-profile political organizations, and the whole world knows they are generally allied or in sympathy with each other, and what they stand for. What's "Shadow" about it?
While I can't say for certain that this is how Horowitz means it, "Shadow" does not necessarily mean a secretive organization. It's also used in the sense of a "copy" - a shadow that does everything the body does. In this context, a "Shadow party" would have (whether officially declared or merely tacitly acknowledged) its own party structure and hierarchy while remaining under the umbrella of the Democratic party which has said structures of its own. The term "Shadow government" has been used sometime to refer to governments-in-exile such as those of Tibet, or a set of government positions that non-governmental organizations might assign to members in anticipation for eventually assuming governmental responsibilities, e.g., the PLO, the ANC pre-1993.
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  #41  
Old 03-22-2005, 08:38 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
I was wondering if anyone esle noticed that. It's kind of hard to believe that it's only movement away from the center that counts, and not the DIRECTION that the party moves.
Let's put it this way: the Dems aren't ever going to re-emerge as the dominant party unless they represent a clear alternative to the GOP, in some way that a majority prefers.

On national security, the best the Dems can hope for, near-term, is a draw: not enough people will think they're more capable of handling those sorts of issues
until they actually get into power and show they can do a better job with that. So that's off the table.

So the Dems have to distinguish themselves from the GOP on domestic issues. Since enough Dems have caved on a series of Bush tax cuts, bankruptcy legislation, ANWR, and a bunch of other stuff, the line's rather blurry these days. If the Dems move further towards the GOP, there will be even less distinction between the two parties domestically, and no reason to choose the Dems. "Vote for us - we're the same as the guys who are running things, except in some tiny ways that you'll never notice" isn't going to win any elections. Neither is "We're just like them, except we'll say 'no' to a few of their worst excesses."

Wherever you think the Dems are, where the Dems need to be is consistently enough to the left of the GOP on enough issues of importance so that it's clear (a) that there IS a difference, and (b) WHAT that difference is. Unless the Democratic 'brand', if you will, is distinct from that of the GOP, and unless it's clear just what the Dems have to offer that's different, they're not going to get over the top.

I can't see that there can be any controversy on this last paragraph. I think the controversy may be a matter of where different people perceive the Dems to be, now.
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  #42  
Old 03-22-2005, 08:58 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
It's kind of hard to believe that it's only movement away from the center that counts, and not the DIRECTION that the party moves.
Yet that is the position of those decrying the Democrats' "lack of ideas", applauding the Republicans for being "the party of new ideas". That concept of the meaning of "ideas" is indistinguishable from "major changes", which refers only to the scalar and not the direction of a movement.

Note for yourself the number of people attracted to simply the air of "strong leadership", who have little idea about or concern for the things that candidate or party is actually doing. The number of people who prefer seeing bad things done well to good things done strugglingly is scary - and they're enough to tip elections.
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  #43  
Old 03-22-2005, 09:18 AM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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In truth, though, what some forget is that Gingrich and his "Contract With America" only got traction because of some high-profile scandals among the House Democratic majority which gave the impression (not entirely without justification) that the Democratic Congress was more interested in personal perks than in any sense of accountability toward the people. Most of the CoA involved congressional accountability and responsibility rather than actual conservative-movement government policy.

The Democrats could conceivably capitalize on such similar shenanigans by the congressional Republicans, if only they weren't so focused on Bush. The recent ethics rule tinkering that the GOP tried to do for DeLay was a hole in Republican armor that the Democrats could have and should have been able to drive a semi through. But they hardly took advantage at all.
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  #44  
Old 03-22-2005, 09:27 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly
Let's put it this way: the Dems aren't ever going to re-emerge as the dominant party unless they represent a clear alternative to the GOP, in some way that a majority prefers.

<snip>

Wherever you think the Dems are, where the Dems need to be is consistently enough to the left of the GOP on enough issues of importance so that it's clear (a) that there IS a difference, and (b) WHAT that difference is. Unless the Democratic 'brand', if you will, is distinct from that of the GOP, and unless it's clear just what the Dems have to offer that's different, they're not going to get over the top.

I can't see that there can be any controversy on this last paragraph. I think the controversy may be a matter of where different people perceive the Dems to be, now.
Those are all good points. And of course it's overly simplistic to talk about a party moving left or right, since it's certainly possible to move one direction on some issues and another direction on other issues.

Given the screw-ups that the Republicans have made in Iraq and on the deficit, it sure seems like that gives the Democrats a golden opportunity to work those issues as a key part of their message. Balancing the budget is neither a left issue nor a right issue-- it's just good governance. And few people really want to be at war, no matter how much rah-rah hype you hear.
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  #45  
Old 03-22-2005, 09:43 AM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Originally Posted by RTFirefly
Let's put it this way: the Dems aren't ever going to re-emerge as the dominant party unless they represent a clear alternative to the GOP, in some way that a majority prefers.
The key phrase being, "that a majority prefers". So far, the majority shows no sign of preferring a leftist solution to the country's problems, and so the idea that a sharp shift left will bring in the voters is, in my view, misguided.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly
On national security, the best the Dems can hope for, near-term, is a draw: not enough people will think they're more capable of handling those sorts of issues until they actually get into power and show they can do a better job with that. So that's off the table.
Probably true. And one of the reasons Kerry ran into problems. He was a decorated veteran, but his record once he got home from Viet Nam and in the lead up to the Iraq war was not one that presented a credible alternative to Bush. And, of course, Clinton was in power during the planning stage of 9/11, and the embassy bombings, first attacks on the WTC, and the Cole incident, so as you say, the record of the Democrats while they were power is not reassuring.

But if, as you say, the Democrats need to present an alternative view to succeed, they will have to jettison many of their current leaders. They all voted for the invasion, and so it is hard for them to present themselves as credibly anti-war. Which makes the election of Dean as chair interesting. Does this mean the next generation of Dem leaders is going to be peaceniks and protestors? A difficult line to walk, to appear anti-war enough to present a credible alternative, while still not leaving yourself open to charges of being weak on terror.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly
"Vote for us - we're the same as the guys who are running things, except in some tiny ways that you'll never notice" isn't going to win any elections. Neither is "We're just like them, except we'll say 'no' to a few of their worst excesses."
Possibly.

You mentioned the Contract with America earlier, the foundation of the Republican takeover of Congress. What would you think of a Democratic version of the same? Some clear statement of their priorities, with a way to verify that it has been carried out. Not vague platform statements - clear, unambiguous statements of what you will do, with a timetable and most of the weasel room taken out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTFirefly
I can't see that there can be any controversy on this last paragraph. I think the controversy may be a matter of where different people perceive the Dems to be, now.
I think this last is important. So a Democratic CwA might make sense, as a way to start establishing your own presence in the political landscape, instead of letting someone else do it for you.

But I don't mean "The Democrats are united behind the idea of affordable health care for all", or suchlike. Political boilerplate doesn't mean anything. Something more like "Democrats will submit a balanced budget plan within a hundred days of taking control of the House". Something real.

Or you can go on screaming "Bush lied!" for the next four years, and let someone else run the country.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #46  
Old 03-22-2005, 10:53 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by cmkeller
While I can't say for certain that this is how Horowitz means it, "Shadow" does not necessarily mean a secretive organization. It's also used in the sense of a "copy" - a shadow that does everything the body does. In this context, a "Shadow party" would have (whether officially declared or merely tacitly acknowledged) its own party structure and hierarchy while remaining under the umbrella of the Democratic party which has said structures of its own. The term "Shadow government" has been used sometime to refer to governments-in-exile such as those of Tibet, or a set of government positions that non-governmental organizations might assign to members in anticipation for eventually assuming governmental responsibilities, e.g., the PLO, the ANC pre-1993.
I've more often heard the phrase "shadow government" applied to the opposition leadership in a parliamentary system like Britain's, who are expected to have a complete cabinet picked out, an MP for every ministry and portfolio, at all times so they can be ready to move into power immediately if a political crisis should put the opposition party in power.

But that, obviously, is not what Horowitz means by "Shadow Party" in this case. He (rather disengenuously) means something much more sinister.
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  #47  
Old 03-22-2005, 10:58 AM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
And of course it's overly simplistic to talk about a party moving left or right, since it's certainly possible to move one direction on some issues and another direction on other issues.
Agreed. IMO, the Dems should jettison cultural-liberal issues like gay marriage -- or at least relegate them to clearly secondary priority -- and focus on economic-populist issues like more progressive income tax, more progressive Social Security payroll tax, universal health care, etc. That's the only way to win the red states.
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  #48  
Old 03-22-2005, 12:29 PM
Shodan Shodan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Agreed. IMO, the Dems should jettison cultural-liberal issues like gay marriage -- or at least relegate them to clearly secondary priority -- and focus on economic-populist issues like more progressive income tax, more progressive Social Security payroll tax, universal health care, etc. That's the only way to win the red states.
Right - Democrats running on a promise to raise taxes and soak the rich.

That'll play in Peoria.

I think the major issue for Dems is going to be the deficit. They have already blown a chance on Social Security, and I doubt if they will be able to shut the shrilly stupid part of their party on national defense. And the trouble with health care as an issue is that Bush has already done what they want to do with prescription drug coverage, and it is
  1. hugely expensive,
  2. unfunded, and
  3. not as expensive and unfunded as the Dems want it to be.
So the Dems have the choice of saying, "Bush's bill is stupid, let's do a lot more of it", or "what we have been pressuring for over the last decade or so was really stupid. Instead, we can..." and then come up with some reasonable plan.

IMO, the only realistic choice is the second. But it will need to include some kind of rationing. And again, it is going to be plenty hard for Democrats to present themselves are pragmatic on health care, given what they did on Social Security.

I keep wondering if the Dems learned anything in 2004. You can't beat something with nothing. Coming up with some reasonable alternative to Republican plans is fine. Simply saying "Nyet!" to everything is not.

So you don't lilke the Bush plan for Social Security? What's your alternative? Just to deny that there is any problem until the demographics clobber you?

You don't like the Bush plan in Iraq? What's your alternative? Pull out and let the thing go to hell just when it is showing some encouraging signs?

You don't like the deficit? (I don't like it myself.) What's your alternative? Tax increases that are swamped by huge increases in spending on everything under the sun?

I have said it before - we need a credible alternative voice in American politics, if for no other reason than to keep the Republicans honest. But you aren't credible if you have nothing to offer.

So far, a lot of what you have to offer looks suspiciously warmed over.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #49  
Old 03-22-2005, 02:37 PM
furt furt is online now
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
And the Pubs didn't become politically relevant again until they dragged the party hard right.
Mmm... my timeline would go:

30s - 60s: true conservatives nearly irrelvant. Only centrists like Ike elected.
'64: conservatives reemerge. Seen as extremists. Trounced.
64-80: conservatives make a slow slog back to respectability, finally taking power when they find a champion that is unabashedly committed to his principles, but full of creative new ideas and optimistic in tone.

Probably what the dems need to do is nominate Howard Dean so they can have their 1964.
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  #50  
Old 03-22-2005, 02:56 PM
Hyperelastic Hyperelastic is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
Agreed. IMO, the Dems should jettison cultural-liberal issues like gay marriage -- or at least relegate them to clearly secondary priority -- and focus on economic-populist issues like more progressive income tax, more progressive Social Security payroll tax, universal health care, etc. That's the only way to win the red states.
I'm a lifelong Democratic voter, but lately I have come to believe that the people in charge of the Democratic Party actually don't give a frog's fat ass about the middle and working classes. Their MO is to build their platforms around promoting behavior that, if it actually occurred in the house next door to the DNC, the DNC would move to another neighborhood. Then, when they lose elections, to blame it on the electorate's unhealthy obsession with "values".

As far as Horowitz, what a nut. His argument seems to be the Democrats have interest groups and rich supporters. As far as I can tell, that is still legal.
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