April 30, 2005
-- by Thomas Leavitt
My mother forwarded me an email from the Children's Defense Fund, decrying the Budget Resolution passed the night before... the following paragraphy caught my attention:
The vote in the House was 214-211, and the vote in the Senate was 52-47. In the House, 195 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 15 Republicans voted against the conference report on the resolution. All those in favor were Republicans. In the Senate, 43 Democrats, 1 Independent, and 3 Republicans voted against the conference report, while 52 Republicans voted in favor.^
What's the first thing that strikes you about the numbers above?
I'll tell you what stood out for me: the Democrats were UNANIMOUS in their opposition. Not a single defector. The Republicans were NOT. Think about it: George W. Bush has accomplished the impossible - the Democratic Party is now MORE UNIFIED than the Republican Party.
You're probably wondering why the subject of this posting is "Have the Democrats finally given up?"
Well, aside from baiting you into reading on in order to find out what kind of scurrilous attack on the Democratic Party that crazy Green Party guy is going to launch into this time, I refer you to the same posting Dave pointed to a few days ago: "An Opposition Party Opposses", by Chris Bowers on MyDD (hey, can someone please, please, please get them to fix the typos and spelling errors?).
The title pretty much sums up the article's main point: the Democrats have more to gain by giving up on the idea that they have a role to play in governing the country (at least at a federal level), than by trying to pretend they still have the ability to make a significant impact on public policy at the national level. As Chris says, the Democrats are an opposition party right now, not a governing one, and they need to get used to that and play that role as effectively as possible.
In other words, in this case, "giving up" is a good thing.
 O.K., I couldn't resist: Open Letter to Howard Dean by Tom Hayden
Katrina vanden Heuvel asks the following questions in her introduction to Tom Hayden's letter:
I agree with Dean - a political figure I admire - that the war in Iraq has put the US in greater danger. But the question facing us today is who will speak for the millions of Americans who believe that continued occupation increases the danger? Who will speak for the millions who believe that the US has gotten bogged down in Iraq? Who will speak out against the (majority of the) Democratic Party's silent consent to the Bush Administration's Iraq war policies? Who will speak out about the wrenching human and economic costs of occupation? Who will speak out in support of a clear and honorable exit strategy? Who will make a clear, unequivocal declaration that the US will not maintain permanent military bases in Iraq?
Memo to Katrina: the Green Party has been steadfast in it's opposition to the war in Iraq, and to the continuing occupation.
To quote Sam Smith, in the Progressive Review ("THE BIGGEST MEDIA SIN"):
WHICH AMERICAN political party best reflects the views of a majority of citizens on the Iraq war, environmental issues, health care, campaign financing, population growth, genetically modified foods, and marijuana use?
The answer, based on various polls, is the Green Party.
While Tom's letter doesn't represent a "mea culpa" on the level of Medea Benjamin's December 20th, 2004 comments in the Nation:
MANY OF US IN THE GREEN PARTY made a tremendous compromise by campaigning in swing states for such a miserable standard-bearer for the progressive movement as John Kerry. Well, I've had it. As George Bush says, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me--you can't get fooled again."
For those of you willing to keep wading in the muddy waters of the Democratic Party, all power to you. I plan to work with the Greens to get more Green candidates elected to local office.
... it still represents an acknowledgement that the loyalty of the "progressive left" is back in play. Matt Gonzalez for President in 2008, anyone? :)
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I'm not going for a Green Party President until you guys show me you know what you're doing, but put a green part person in in the county level and I'll look at them. They need to run a real campaign though, none of the quarter-assed stuff I've seen from them so-far.
Posted by: VAdem at May 2, 2005 10:19 AM
Here are some recent quality Green Party campaigns at a non-national level... a few of the hundreds of successful races won and competed in by Green Party candidates at a local level:
Oakland (current): Aimee Allison for City Council
Endorsed by the Sierra Club (they don't endorse people without a chance to win), the Oakland Education Association, the Oakland Tenants Union, etc.
San Francisco: Ross Mirkarimi, District 5 Supervisor (won)
Doug Thron for Assembly, CA 1st District, 15,315 votes, 11.5% of total (semi-competitive three way race decided by a margin of slightly less than 10% of the vote)
Jo Chamberlain for Assembly, CA 19th District, 9,992 votes, 9.9% of total (not very competitive three way race)
Here's an example of what Jo did:
[September 2002]: The latest from the campaign is that we are going strong. Precinct walking every day. Weekends we are targeting Daly City and Pacifica. We have walked about 80 of the 323 precincts in my district.
Half of my voters vote absentee. Absentee ballots start being mailed on the 7th of Oct. At that point we will start mailing post cards the same day at the ballot goes out. The Elections Dept gives us the list each day. Postcards cost about $.26 each. We need to mail about 50,000 of them. That's about $13,000. We have about $7000 in the bank and are fundraising every day. Flyers are about $.10 each and we have distributed 50,000. We are switching to door hangers on the 7th of Oct too. Door hangers are $.05 each. We will get out about 50,000 of them costing $2,500. Total we need to do this is $15,500. All donations make a big difference in this type of campaign as to volunteer hours. We have about 50 really dedicated volunteers and about another 50 part timers. Want to help? Please do.
And of course, there's John Eder in Maine, who not only managed to get himself elected to the state legislature, but managed to get himself re-elected (even after the Democrats redistricted him out of his seat - kind of hypocritical, given their complaints about Republican efforts to do similar things in Texas, etc.).
Posted by: Thomas Leavitt at May 2, 2005 1:42 PM
Posted by: mortgage rates at July 6, 2005 12:23 PM
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