The Politics of Definition

Here's your roadmap, Democrats.  This is a foretaste.  After all four parts have been published, I'll do another synopsis.  From the American Prospect:

The Politics of Definition
Exclusive: A path-breaking and challenging new study on how progressives and Democrats can close the "identity gap," being published on our site in four parts. Part I: the lay of the land, and progressive strengths.

By John Halpin and Ruy Teixeira
Web Exclusive: 04.20.06

... The thesis of this report is straightforward. Progressives need to fight for what they believe in -- and put the common good at the center of a new progressive vision -- as an essential strategy for political growth and majority building. This is no longer a wishful sentiment by out-of-power activists, but a political and electoral imperative for all concerned progressives.

There's more...

Polls: Gloomy on economy; Bush at new low; Bad news for incumbents

From the right-wing crazies at Fox News:

FOX Poll: Gloomy Economic Views; Bush Approval at New Low

NEW YORK  -- More Americans disapprove than approve of how George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Congress are doing their jobs, while a majority approves of Condoleezza Rice. President Bush's approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.


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A golden opportunity for Democrats

It's a long essay, but an incredibly important one.  I hope you will click through and read it all.  This is just a taste.  From Michael Tomasky at the American Prospect:

Party in Search of a Notion

... The prevailing conventional wisdom in Washington -- that the Democrats have no idea what they stand for -- has recently been put to the test in persuasive ways...

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The Consultant Red Herring

David Sirota on what the real problem is with Democrats.  It's not just the EXISTENCE of consultants:

I in no way endorse the tired, pathetic, often half-witted thinking of today's consultant class. And I do believe consultants have contributed to the Democratic Party's awful election record in recent years.

But the operative phrase is "contributed to" - not "responsible for." Why? Because to focus more blame on consultants - as opposed to the politicians who hire them - is to avoid the real problem.

Here's what David considers the most important point in Kos and Jerome's new book:

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... in so very many ways.  But today, let's help them figure out how to simplify the message defining what they stand for and how they're different from Republicans.  Democratic pollster Ruy Teixeira said recently that Democracy Corps' latest list of focus-group tested phrases sound too much like a laundry list.  So let's lend a keyboard.

Here are some I thought of yesterday after reading Teixeira's post:

We want what's best for all Americans, not just a chosen few.

We want better, not bigger, government.

Everyone should pay their fair share.  Nobody likes to, but everybody has to.

Are you better off than you were six years ago?


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Suburbs? What? The SOUTH?? WHAT??!!

UPDATE: Stacey Tallitsch and Steve Sinton will be on Barry Gordon From Left Field TODAY, webcast from, 4 - 7 pm Eastern (with Tony Trupiano, of MI, and a DCCC rep, too)! What a show!!! (tell a friend :)

There have been some especially interesting analyses recently that go against the conventional wisdom that suburbia and the South belong to Republicans.

From Democracy Corps, "Cracks in the Two Americas" (pdf), March 3, 2006:

The most important shifts [from Republican to Democratic] are taking place among the world of Republican loyalists, which will have big strategic consequences... The combined data set shows major shifts in the Deep South and rural areas (even before the most recent controversies), blue-collar white men, and the best educated married men with high incomes. [Emphasis added.]


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