I'll just say: no, I don't agree with any of that.
I have no clue where the netroots is going, so I personally am not ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I see the two distinct carts and horses as being inextricably tied together. Trying to move one without the other just moves us around in circles.
Before "we the netroots" can go marching forth, we have to have some idea of what we stand for. We can't really judge whether we are winning or losing until we do this. What are we supposed to be marching toward?
The anti-ideological nature of the netroots is a real problem here, in my opinion. Sure, we can always agree on opposing Bush and the wingnuts, but once we get beyond that, what positive vision does "the netroots" have for the country? That has to be addressed before (or along with) the strategic and tactical considerations outlined here.
What does all of this mean? Is this just a new tool for mobilizing voters?
How do we put it together with the existing policy areas - labor, environment, civil rights, etc? Or do we need to develop new issues based on these "lifestyle" considerations?
The problem I and others have with this technique, at least the way the Republicans do it, is that it seems to treat people no differently than if you were trying to sell them a particular brand of soup.
It's not about educating voters, or building solidarity, or anything like that. It's about manipulation. It treats voters not like citizens, but like consumers.
The American Prospect piece also treats voter preferences like they were set in stone; as if there's no way to change people's minds about, say, whether labor unions are good for the economy, or whether the rights of gay people have anything to do with the "average" American.
Lieberman Statement on Vote Against Bankruptcy Reform Bill
WASHINGTON - Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) today made the following statement on the passage of S. 256 the Bankruptcy Reform Bill by a vote of 74 to 25.
"I have always supported bankruptcy reform legislation in the Senate when it has reflected a bipartisan effort to enact a balanced bill for both debtors and creditors and I have opposed it when confronted with a bill that seemed one-sided. This is not a balanced bill. I voted against this bill because it failed to close troubling loopholes that protect wealthy debtors, and yet it deals harshly with average Americans facing unforeseen medical expenses or a sudden military deployment. The Senate simply rejected out of hand many worthwhile amendments that would have protected these and other working Americans who find themselves in dire financial straits through no fault of their own. As a result, I believe this is a seriously flawed bill and I am disappointed at its passage."
Lieberman of course voted for cloture, which was when opposition would have mattered.
I think the issue could be framed in a quite morally compelling way.
Lieberman says he is "pro-business," by which he means "give business everything it wants" so it can maximize profits, even when those profits come at the expense of the common good. Anybody who disagrees with this can be dismissed as "anti-business."
We are anti-corrupt business, anti-special interest business. We want to create a level playing field for businesses that play by the rules and do right by their workers and communities and not just their shareholders and executives.
Corrupt practices and special-interest corporate welfare make that impossible. Since Lieberman won't fight against these things, and in fact aids and abets such practices, he must go.
One major reason Democrats have failed to get traction on the issue is that Lieberman has, so far, been unwilling to play hardball as chairman of the Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee. (It's not the only committee investigating Enron, but it has primary jurisdiction over fraud and corruption within the executive branch.) Three months after Lieberman said he would launch an investigation of Enron's collapse, the committee has held only a handful of hearings and has yet to subpoena a single Bush administration official. Instead, Lieberman recently sent "requests" for information to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and others -- the congressional equivalent of "pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top." (They ignored the deadline for responding.)
Senator Joe Lieberman . . . is one of the faulty watchdogs and also a leading gatekeeper who blocked the timely reform of corporate finance. . . . he has shilled vigorously, sometimes venomously, for the very players who are new icons of corruption--major auditing firms, corporate executives who cashed stock options early while investors took a bath and, especially, those self-inflating high-tech companies in Silicon Valley that drove the stock-market bubble. As a New Democrat, Lieberman held the door for their escapades.
His most important crusade was protecting the loopy accounting for corporate stock options. . . . symptomatic of the deceptive bookkeeping that permeated corporate affairs during the boom and the bubble.
Back in 1993, when the Financial Accounting Standards Board proposed to stop it, Lieberman went to war. "I believe that the global pre-eminence of America's vital technological industries could be damaged by the proposal," he warned. The FASB, he insinuated, was politically motivated or simply didn't grasp the bright promise of the New Economy. Lieberman organized a series of letters warning the accountants' board to stop its meddling. In the Senate, he mobilized a resolution urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to squelch the reform. It passed 88 to 9. The regulators backed off--and stock prices soared on the inflated earnings reports. Whenever FASB tried to reopen the issue, Lieberman jumped them again. He was well rewarded by Silicon Valley and auditing firms. He is the New Democrats' favorite candidate for 2004.
Lieberman's victory was extraordinarily costly for the economy, not to mention duped investors, unhinging valuations and fostering the overinvestments that now hang over the tech industry. Accounting professor Itzhak Sharav of the Columbia University Business School describes Lieberman's intervention as the first step on "the slippery slope that got us mired in the Enron swamp." . . .
Big pharmaceutical companies and health insurers have been among the most generous donors to Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman . . . In his nearly 12 years in the Senate, Lieberman has been one of the strongest advocates for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries . . .
When Lieberman co-founded a campaign group called the New Democrat Network in 1996 to raise money for centrist Democratic candidates, drugmakers and health insurers stepped in as major supporters.
Aetna Inc., based in Hartford, Conn., and Citigroup Inc., which merged in 1998 with Travelers insurance, have been the two largest donors this year, contributing $50,000 each in unregulated soft money, according to new records released to The Washington Post by the New Democrat Network. American International Group Inc. and Cigna Corp., whose health insurance business is headquartered in Connecticut, each put up $25,000.
The New Democrat Network has also received financial backing from such pharmaceutical giants as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Schering-Plough Corp. and Glaxo Wellcome Inc., along with the industry's main trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association. . . .
Insurance and pharmaceuticals provide Lieberman with his fifth- and seventh-largest sources of support, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lieberman is one of the few Democrats who supports limits on the liability of companies that are sued for injuries caused by products or services. He also supports one of the key goals of HMOs: limits on punitive damages and independent, outside review of judgments against health plans.
Lieberman also has lobbied hard for pharmaceutical companies on issues ranging from research and development tax credits to streamlined FDA reviews of applications for marketing new drugs.
the basic Republican viewpoint--that politics is a product that you have to sell people in a demographically targetted manner.
This is right. GFR writes as if people's world-view and political preferences are set in stone, as if political argument can't alter people's perceptions of self-interest and their political preferences.
When it came to defining themselves in the nation's ongoing cultural battles -- such as the battle over "family values" -- Democrats had virtually ceded the field to Republicans, presenting an uncertain face to the public. Voters, the research showed, were looking to cultural and lifestyle markers to determine whether or not a candidate was, in fact, going to do right by the economy, the Democrats' one persistently strong area. The Democracy Corps pollsters concluded that voters saw traditional Democratic economic concerns as having little to do with them, being mainly "manifested in costly government social programs or political alliances with labor unions and minorities." The party's inattentiveness to cultural matters had, paradoxically, left these voters with "absolutely no sense that Democrats have a viable alternative vision that would truly promote broad economic growth or increased prosperity for working Americans."
Is the problem here really "inattentiveness to cultural matters"? Or is it rather a failure to formulate and push a view of the economy that explains why labor unions and social programs are good for the economy and social justice too?
Then there's this:
American voters have taken shelter under the various wings of conservative traditionalism because there has been no one on the Democratic side in recent years to defend traditional, sensible middle-class values against the onslaught of the new nihilistic, macho, libertarian lawlessness unleashed by an economy that pits every man against his fellows.
Well, then, is the problem just that we are inattentive to cultural matters or also that we are not developing an institutional blueprint for an economy that is more just and cooperative.
Why is anything she says here an argument against "economic populism"? Once we have that, it should be pretty easy to find a moral justification for social justice. It's all right there in the New Testament.
Ideas? I know GFR is one of Bowers' favorites, but she's not one of mine.
. . . you don't understand a damn thing about liberalism, except maybe what you've seen on Fox news.
Democrats . . . value equality of result above all else.
Oh really? Says who?
. . . the Democratic Party has a problem. . . . It is the minorities' party. It is the party of the poor and oppressed. It is the party of civil rights for race, gender, and sexual orientation. . . . Traditional morality is not about equality, it is about right and wrong. It is about justice. To say "we are all equal under the law" is a at best a partial and misleading truth. The truth is that the law separates law-keepers from law-breakers.
So blacks, gays, and workers are "wrong"-doing "law-breakers" that don't deserve equality? If not, then why do Democrats have "a problem"? And just whose law are they breaking? Ken Lay's? Pat Robertson's?
I don't know about your "traditional morality," but I do know that in the United States of America "all men are created equal."
Yes, equality is a core value of liberalism. Not "equality of result above all else," as you frame it, but yes, political, economic and social equality is a core value of liberalism. It's a strength, not a weakness.
Tara Wall, a senior advisor for the Republican National Committee, told BlackAmericaWeb.com that black Americans can trust Altio.
"Judge Alito personifies the qualities President Bush said he would seek in a Supreme Court justice and African Americans can have confidence in . . . A man of great personal character . . . Alito has shown a mastery of the law and a deep commitment to justice and equality"