Unfortunately, we have ceded the battlefied to the Falwells and the Robertsons
This is exactly right. Chris's interpretation of Carson's words, or more accurately, the import of them is not right.
People are afraid of the future right now. Globalization is ripping apart communities, and people are feeling uprooted. I think what Carson's saying is that these people are scared, we aren't talking to them about it, and they are finding refuge in an autocratic, fervent religious philosophy. We are acting as if better health care is what they really need. When they feel like they need more.
We are the party to give them more. The GOP is really on the side of the very forces that are ripping apart their lives. But we need to understand what is going on and speak in terms that people can feel.
Yes, I think it's simple branding. Because look at the margin among "moderates." Kerry wins that in all but the most conservative of states. Some of these are people that could be described as "liberal" if they only knew what the word really meant. But they describe themselves as moderate because the word "liberal" hasn't had ANY positive branding done on it at all.
The key to these numbers is not that conservatives outnumber liberals. We already knew that. The key is how many states Kerry won the "moderate" vote. Self-description of labels is an extremely imperfect data point. Obviously many who call themselves "moderate" are willing to vote Democratic.
I'm not a CA resident either, but California grinds its Governors to dust. Always happens. The government (with its contradictory resolutions) and media atmosphere are just death on politicians. So, whether it happens this year or not, I fully expect Arnold to be whimpering like a girlie-man sometime soon . . .
There's no way Mr. Pro-Choice, Ugly Divorce, Pictured In Drag Giuliani ever makes it through the GOP primaries, "America's Mayor" or not. The fundies would never, ever allow it. Same for Powell. Condi doesn't have the skills, imo.
McCain, however, is still burning with ambition, and his public support of Bush was definitely a fence-mending exhibition for him. We'll see . . .
Ahnold. Takes a bit more time to amend the Constitution. And it's hard to imagine such an amendment being anything but easy to shoot down.
Dean and Rosenberg both seem good, but for opposite reasons. Rosenberg is a good behind-the-scenes guy, and he really understands what the Democrats need to do (the NDN seemed to be the only group running pro-Democratic branding ads). Dean, however, rocks as a spokesperson, and he understands the power of retail politics and getting local and grassroots. Unfortunately, he's the worst at ass-kissing of any major politician I've seen (little patience for it), and the DNC Chair does quite a bit of that. So . . . both of them together would be terrific, but they're too important to both be there. So . . . I guess it depends on what the main role of the DNC chair will be. Public face, inspirational leader: Dean. Organizer and an insider that can still push the DNC in a new direction: Rosenberg. I think they both respect the importance of communication with the grass roots. If it's one of those two, they should set up serious collaborative relationships with the organization of the other (DFA or NDN) and utilize the other's talents.
The others . . . nah. Maybe Ickes. No Brazile, certainly no Clinton. It's time to move on. Panetta? Yawn.
Oh, certainly. At this point, it almost seems like the rest of the world should have some sort of say in American politics. The Westphalian idea of nation-state seems to be crumbling anyway, but Americans are stubbornly, frantically trying to hold on to it at home while ignoring it abroad.
But that's one thing that makes us Democrats . . . even though you're in London, we still think your opinion matters . . . ;-)
I agree with you. I think the Democrats need to do something positive.
Chris, I think you are making "White Protestant" into way too much of a homogenous voting bloc. After all, Kerry picked up a good percentage of them. The key demographic is "born again" and "Evangelical." They are a large group, but made up for by our base. But, there is a large group of "White Protestants" that do not fall under that rubric and can be peeled off from the Republican Party.
I think this whole "values" discussion runs off the rails sometimes when it focuses too much on religion. What the Democrats need to do is articulate some basic moral judgements about what we think is right. By ceding the "morality" argument, the entire discussion gets reduced to "gay marriage" and abortion. But that completely misses the point. Some people see John Kerry as the lesser on "moral values" because they see him as "saying anything to get elected" or "lacking core principles." That's what the GOP hangs on Democrats all the time, and the reason it works is because the Democratic brand identity doesn't have "core values" associated with it which the candidate can be perceived to be defending. If "Democrat" is associated with values, then a Democrat can be seen fighting a moral fight. Without that, it's difficult to not be seen as vacillating, or weak, or slippery, or just too "flexible" on what he or she believes. It's bullshit, but that's the way it works.
What the Democrats need to do is to come up with a vernacular for talking about what we believe in a way that conveys that moral fiber. We believe things, now let's talk about what they are and why they are worth fighting for.
Oh, but we should also demonize the other side. Definitely right on there. In fact, it's two sides of the same coin. We have to say that we are right to be able to claim that they are wrong.
That's the best, most optimistic thing I've seen yet. It's clear, empirical evidence of a swing underway that a half-billion dollar campaign of lies and unprecedented hate-mongering could barely hold back.
No doubt, liberals in this country have work to do. But the groundwork is being laid.
Exactly. This is pure branding. On issue after issue, the public agrees with Democrats and usually that means the "liberal" position. But, since Democrats have done no positive branding of the term, it's still associated with an ossified Congressional majority and the economic chaos of the 70s. I was struck by the NDN's "Preview" ad, both because it was a good ad and because it was the only positive branding message I'd seen in a long time about the Democratic Party.
First, though, we need to figure out the associations we want the term "liberal" to create in people. Fiscal management, equal rights, good jobs? Those don't quite do it. The reason the brand "conservatism" works is that they have clear associations with it, some of them fraudulent (patriotism, individualism, low taxes, moral rectitude, strength on security, etc.). Of all of those, only taxes has any basis in actual policy. It's why the GOP is so addicted to tax cuts. Without them, they cease to have any legislative meaning as a party.
Liberalism: effectiveness, responsiveness, moralism, celebration of our unity, upholders of our nation's highest ideals; also hopefulness, strength and rationalism. I could go on all night, and probably will soon with someone. But, I'll leave it there for now.
This morning feels like the dark day that it is, but I haven't given up hope yet. I think we need to hold on to that, to demand recounts, and to make a stink about a lack of paper trail.
For 2006: We need a new media. Make no mistake: If we cannot shift the media--and the myths and archetypes that it presents--we cannot win. We must start with the internet, create new models of communication, and partner to make them work. We need to stand behind them; we need to fund them; we need to make them so desirable that they will reach across partisan lines--like Obama has been doing: not to cave but to enlist GOP in our quest to return justice and wisdom to our country, which is built on the truly great principles of freedom and democracy. Let's create a new media to fight this fight--and let's all boycott new organizations. Drop your subscriptions to your local or regional newspaper if it is bought and sold. Refuse to give networks ratings. And put your money into internet media! If we all band together on this, we could sock it to the newspapers. I used to work at one; if we all pulled out, it would wreak havoc on their system and cause them to reconsider their bought-and-sold reporting tactics.
Never. Look, if I could be guaranteed Kerry had 311 EVs in the bag, I'd work like hell to make it 340. If I knew Kerry was up by 4, I'd want it to be 8. I don't want Bush defeated, I want the largest victory possible. I want (but don't really expect) a total humiliation for all that guy stands for. I want his name to be electoral poison for years to come. I want every cause he's ever fought for tainted by the mere association.
Besides, Nov 2nd is just the next battle in a very long fight.