Winning And Fighting For Core Values: How Dems And Progressives Should And Can Do Both

It has now become apparent to just about everyone that Barack Obama is a conventional politician who will run a conventional general election campaign. Unlike some, I am not surprised. Pols are pols and do what they do.

What I am more interested in is how we, as Democrats, progressives and pseudo activists, should react to this. I have stated clearly that I will be no mere cheerleader and I think I have been true to my word. By the same token, I will, without question, support and vote for Barack Obama as the best choice I have for President in this election.

Some see this as an inconsistency. I think it is not and I will try to illuminate my view on the flip.

I have spent a lot of time considering this issue. For those unfamiliar with my body of posts over the past 5 years, you can see all of my TalkLeft posts here (from mid-2006 to the present) and all of my daily kos posts here (from 2003 to mid-2006.

After the emotionally crushing loss to Bush in 2004, there was much political soul searching about "what Dems needed to do" to win. But one of the most intelligent and perceptive writers I ever read (and most people have never heard of her) wrote something that cut to the nub - that for those who care about issues have to be more than about a particular pol winning, it has to be about moving the ball on our issues. This writer, some old kossacks will remember A Gilas Girl, wrote:

"[U]nity" is the wrong goal. Let me suggest that what we want instead is "solidarity".

Unity in the end isn't democratic, it is fascist, especially if it requires uniting around oppressive or inequitable or unjust positions. The desire to feel strength in the power of numbers is, I'd suggest a cowardly one. To have everyone accept your tenets, your definitions, your values and your policies is a recipe for stagnation.

Solidarity on the other hand, provides support and the possibility for a common cause without requiring the relinqishment of differing interests. It expands the discussion, the process and the possibilities. We don't all need to agree, and we don't even help each other if we do. Solidarity is what politics and what community is about, not forcing single issues, solutions, identities or approaches, but about forging connections.

Solidarity is more than compromise, and shouldn't be mistaken as such. At its core is respect: respect for people and their experiences, respect for possibility, respect for the not-yet-known. It doesn't require assimilation (which must always contain some degree of erasure) and it belies two-dimensional (black and white) thinking.

Its a concept that's not foreign to US political history, but is certainly not familiar to contemporary politics. Its also the foundation of progressive politics.

This is the kind of work that needs to be done now. Its a small place to start, but begin here, with the difference between a politics of unity and a politics of solidarity and see the different directions they each yield. Then make that part of the move to rebuild maintain and rebuild a progressive and democratic America.

I have riffed off of these profound thoughts for years now and I was going to start quoting a litany of my own posts that played off of this theme. But I will do that in a later post because I think this statement is so important.

A final thought, for those of you who remember A Gilas Girl, I assume you miss her work as much as I do.

< Unity And Ideals | Life Is Good When You Can Chew Gum and Watch the Sunrise >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Wow. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:49:30 AM EST
    That's a great way of looking at it, and I wish that would have been the standard in this primary and could be considered in the general.

    Probably too late for that though.

    Thanks for posting that.  

    I remember her posting name.  What happened to her?

    Yes I miss A Gilas Girl (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:50:05 AM EST
    And this goes down in my memory as one of your best writings because this is exactly what I needed to remember in order to vote for Obama.  If only other clear Obama supporters had your abilities to point out how Obama does earn a Hillary supporters vote, it could be a different blogosphere.

    And this is forever worth remembering

    "[U]nity" is the wrong goal. Let me suggest that what we want instead is "solidarity".

    Unity in the end isn't democratic, it is fascist, especially if it requires uniting around oppressive or inequitable or unjust positions. The desire to feel strength in the power of numbers is, I'd suggest a cowardly one. To have everyone accept your tenets, your definitions, your values and your policies is a recipe for stagnation.

    Gilas Girl apparently rocks (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:52:22 AM EST
    Didn't read her or DKos back then. The distinction between unity and solidarity is a great point.

    I don't want to unite with the kind of people I observed at DKos this past year, whether they call themselves progressives, liberals, democrats, or anything else.

    But I also don't feel solidarity with them or the democratic party after this primary season. There has been too much disrespect and intolerance, and too much hatefulness as a means to an end. Where to go from here is the difficult question. Perhaps just apathy.

    She rocked liked very few have (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:54:21 AM EST
    I can honestly say no one has had a more profound effect on my own thinking on politics than A Gilas Girl.

    When I remember sitting in front of the (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:01:24 AM EST
    television the first Wednesday in November 2004 at 4:00 am, a warm bottle of unopen champagne sitting next to me while I stared at the screen in disbelief .......I begin to feel the beginnings of a solidarity.  When I remember two Iraq deployments under Dubya Bush I begin to feel a sort of solidarity tickle my nose instead of the much prefered champagne bubbles.

    I realized Tuesday night that election that Kerry (5.00 / 7) (#59)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:37:32 AM EST
    would not make it: Can't recall exactly which state or states' numbers made it nearly impossible for him to win, but by the time I got to the county Dem gathering spot around 8 or 9pm, those who understood voting patterns were grim faced. Some were still cheering each increase in vote counts, but it then dawned on everyone it was over. I was so crushed I had to go home before midnight.

    That loss was terrible, for the country. Kerry had not been my first choice, but, among those running, I figured he would be a decent president and would adhere to Dem values.

    But, for me, nothing was so terrible as the night the decision came down from the Supreme Five giving the FL election, and the presidency, to BushBoy.

    I could not believe it then--and still, thinking about the content of the "decision," can't believe they did that.

    I'm not sure which made me angrier, the day the Supreme decided to take the case, with their tenuous reasoning for doing so, or the day of the decision. But it stopped the vote counting, which the Supreme Five then used as part of their rational for saying a decision had to be made by them!

    Supreme Court justices are human, and ideological humans took over the court with Repub nominations. They still have control, with the occasional exception of Kennedy.  

    So, yes, I see the importance of a Dem prez--but, in reviewing how Obama acts, and what little we know of his past actions, I cannot say I feel comfortable he will appoint justices I will approve of or who will vote progressively. Looking at the recent 2nd Amendment decision, it's clear the Founders' words can be twisted to fit any desired outcome by a good, manipulative wordsmith.

    What to do...what to do.  Over at Sideshow, there was mention of a blogger who has decided to put the Constitution and the 4th Amendment above his initial support for Obama, who said he will not vote. Avedon said please vote, at least for the downticket Dems. Someone suggested voting for McKinney so the protest votes can't be called racist! Think of what this primary's emphasis on calling anyone who doesn't support Obama a racist has done! Oh my.


    After reading all of the very well worded (5.00 / 5) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:47:48 AM EST
    comments here I come away with the generalization that we fear all of the unknowns about Obama and he has recently given us good reason to prop up those fears.  Secondly, sadly his supporters in the blogosphere have done horrible damage.  I just stayed away from it when I realized it was happening out there.  The spaces I had found most credible in the past didn't seem to sway much in their ability to stay centered and factual, but it was small group of sites I confined myself to.  I haven't been as exposed to the hatefulness as much as many seem to have been.

    I think I know what you mean. Some of the Obama- (5.00 / 6) (#109)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:41:12 PM EST
    leaning sites do seem to be noticing that he may not be the second coming of FDR, JFK, etc.

    Now, they notice!

    What has somewhat amazed me is that this candidate, who, indeed, is a pol, is being far more obvious in his switches, changes, and flip-flops. And he doesn't seem to even care who notices!

    That is the part of his modus operandi which reminds me, alas, of BushBoy. Whatever he does is right; therefore, he is always right. So, why bother to address questions or criticisms? Except to silence them in whatever way possible.

    He took a firm stands against telco immunity (which is the front immunity for Bush Maladministration immunity, of course). He said he would join Dodd's filibuster. Now, he's Mr. War On Terra! National security trumps Constitutional rights! Strong man on terra! Yikes.

    Now, we all know Franklin's words about those who would give a little liberty for a little more security, that soon enough they will have neither. Our party's presumptive leader now takes Bush's stand that indeed giving up a little liberty (to the wondrous Unitary Executive) will give security to them, but especially to the UE, heh.

    Now, we all wanted Bush to change, based on facts. Our presumptive nominee changes on...what? Facts about winning the election? His real principles? Which are?

    I still have so many questions about this person who wants my vote (or does he? Does he think he doesn't need those few leftie/lib/progs out there?)....

    And now I'm also having serious questions about the Democratic Party. When even a "SF liberal" like Pelosi caves on the 4th Amendment? And the Blue Dogs are talking big time about getting more Blue Dog Senators?

    I really thought the change in the Democratic Party would be in a progressive direction; right now, what think all of you???

    And, where else can you go, Sweetie? It's the Dems or...what?


    I think I prefer the term "coalition" (5.00 / 3) (#111)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:49:37 PM EST
    as solidarity also seems not the best term just now -- and it brings up wonderful images of union solidarity on issues that aren't befitting for a candidate not firm on crucial issues.

    But effective coalitions have accomplished much in American politics.  One of my fave examples is from my state, which really wasn't Progressive statewide -- but they won many historic changes statewide, and then even some nationwide ones, by forming coalitions with Socialists and Populists.  And it wasn't easy as, after all, progressives were Republicans.  The coalition could be so uncomfortable that by 1920, it could only run its candidates as -- really -- the "Non-Partisan Party"!

    See also, of course, the origins of the Republican Party from the collapse of the Whigs and chaos of the 1840s, as BTD has written about before.

    What is useful about coalitions is exactly what is recommended here, I do agree -- they are tenuous, so business must be conducted with constant mutual respect, with the realization that anyone can walk any time, and above all with a focus on mutual issues, the very purpose of a coalition.  At the same time, there is respect for and understanding of lack of conformity -- "unity" -- on other issues upon which all in a coalition cannot agree except to agree that each component still has those causes and will pursue them separately.


    The Power Of A Word (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:54:03 AM EST
    Great distinction, and quite to the point we are at today. I hope that those who are unable to stomach Unity will be able to get their heads around the concept of Solidarity.

    I am in.

    No, (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:02:20 AM EST
    there is no solidarity as she explains it.  There is no respect for dissenting views. There is no championing of progressive, even democratic!, ideals by democrats.  

    Exactly (none / 0) (#137)
    by Chisoxy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:05:30 PM EST
    I agree 100% with her premise, and I wish we as a party had approached it and viewed this that way from the start. But the situation played out with one side doing whatever it could to tarnish, marginalize and to flat-out dehumanize the other. I cannot simply go and give my vote over when it was being made clear that I was not only unneeded, but unwanted in the future democratic party.

    My vote must be earned, just like Edwards earned it, then Hillary.


    I Am Not In (none / 0) (#88)
    by creeper on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:58:58 AM EST
    I can't.  I just can't...

    I'm not entirely sure that I agree (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:56:01 AM EST
    with the distinction she makes. I'm going to have to mull this over.

    Mulling is good (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:58:39 AM EST
    Indeed, I think that is what the intent of the piece is - a call to think.

    How ever can you think your way (none / 0) (#91)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:03:49 PM EST
    out of petit-Stalinist regimentation.  I'm not being clever here. You have to hope the purge doesn't land on your own er....neck.

    I've been purged (5.00 / 4) (#95)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:08:25 PM EST
    in terms of the blogosphere long before this.

    I have a freedom that others do not because of it.

    tobe honest, it is what made Glenn Greenwald's pieces on Olbermann so admirable - selfishly he would want to be in Olbermann's good graces - but his integrity would not permit his standing silent.

    He is truly one of the most admirable figures in the blogs.


    Integrity. (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:29:42 PM EST
    In the end, it's all any of us has that really counts.

    And yes...a gilas girl is as thoughtful and wellspoken as anyone blogging.

    And not only about politics.


    There still needs to be a "goal." (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:58:01 AM EST
    Poland, Lech Welesa, solidarinosc.  An over-riding theme: was it freedom, throwing off the USSR's tyranny, some form of nationalism?

    The idea of "solidarity" implies that there is a common "ideal" that disparate members of a group can seek.  FDR's consistent objective(s) was(were). . . ?

    Perhaps my pessimism, skepticism, cynicism block my own views of things, but I don't see the shining beacon on the hill that will bring some semblance of solidarity to the remains of what used to be the Democratic Party.

    Can you show some concept that will bring a Roman Catholic who views abortion as murder & an atheist who sees it as a tissue removal into some form of solidarity "for" or "in favor of" anything?

    "Defeat John McCain!"  Maybe.  Maybe for a while.  But, at best, that wears thin the day after the election.

    It's a fair point (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:59:40 AM EST
    People who aren't already convinced that they should support Democrats no matter what aren't going to be convinced by this. I don't think that's exactly the point.

    I think this has to do more with attitudes, expectations, and respect.


    Yes, but a bit of (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:05:44 AM EST
    red meat would certainly help.

    It is also about (5.00 / 5) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:10:05 AM EST
    discussing this.

    I have made clear I am no cheerleader and I certainly will not demand cheerleading from commenters.

    I will try to persuade with my best arguments and facts as to why folks may want to agree with me that Obama is the best choice for President now.

    But everyone is welcome to respectfully and civilly explain their own views, in support or dissent.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:14:13 AM EST
    Avoiding the toxicity of that other place would be good.

    I was going to say (none / 0) (#35)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:21:07 AM EST
    that there is no dialogue.  Indee, on most blogs, there definitely isn't, which is very disappointing.  People want to stifle dissension, which is doing far more harm.

    But there is dialogue here.

    Thank you.  I do believe that some of the people  who continue to read posts and comments here will come to some sort of agreement and mutual respect by November.  


    Agreed. I don't need to find affirmation (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:53:30 PM EST
    but as I continue to struggle to figure out what to do, I seek (comparatively) dispassionate, i.e., issues-oriented discussion.  The fandom stuff is just so not what is needed right now that it works against resolution of the intellectual struggle.

    I don't want to go dictionary on this . . . (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:39:31 AM EST
    . . . though some history is appropriate.  The idea of "solidarity" goes back through similar threads to the socialist & communist parties of Europe, the Wobblies & Bolsheviks of the USA, & the trade union movements--probably worldwide.

    It seems, too, that there were some beginnings of this concept in the French Revolution.

    Maybe even Ben Franklin's "we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately" is a sense of that without reference to Latin solidus.

    Again, I assert, the long tradition of solidarity against tyranny gave rise to positive concepts (partial list: standard work week, paid holidays & vacations, social welfare programs for healthcare & retirement & unemployment pay & the right to strike, etc.).  Please note how many of those listed items are still lacking in the USA or were lost during the reign of Saint Ronnie of Raygun.

    I seem to be hoping for some change in the Democratic Party that leads me to see positive & progammatic issues that can generate or produce "solidarity."  The wishful thinking about positive thoughts & respectful behaviors sounds like the chanting from an ashram.


    A true big tent concept (none / 0) (#115)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:57:59 PM EST
    begins to capture it -- although I still think that a more apt metaphor may be a campground of many tents, with everyone a happy camper because of respect for boundaries.  Anyone who ever has dug a latrine in the wrong place will know what I mean. :-)  

    And the only resolution is to admit it was a wasted effort to put in all that effort in the first place, plus then you have to fill it up, and then you have to dig another -- all amid increasing pressure while having to hold in too much, if you know what I mean.

    Politics and outdoor toilets have a lot in common.


    Your slit-trench analogy is too apt. (none / 0) (#125)
    by wurman on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:39:32 PM EST
    It seems that the big tent concept, as well as the story line here by Big Tent, requires respect for the people involved--even to the extent of some sorts of almost formal etiquette (in the sense that the candidate will be Senator Obama, not "that *&^%$#@" from Chicago.

    Sometimes, though, when I attack an idea or a concept (such as the $102,000 to $250,000 doughnut hole for FICA tax relief) it is very easy to slip into vituperation, anger, hate, venom, etc.  From my point of view, 70 years post-FDR, I don't feel constrained by etiquette or respect to NOT denigrate that ridiculous idea--& yet totally avoid insulting the candidate.

    In several ways, genuine solidarity requires that the Obama campaign, & Sen. Obama himself, refrain from throwing me & my solid, unified, historical, unwavering vested interests in social security into the nearest latrine.  I'm already under the bus; don't need to add the sewage.

    FISA/TeleCom immunity?  Looks far too similar.

    Death Penalty?  We're not doing well here.

    Lobbying/K Street/527s?  Darn!  This really doesn't look very solid.


    Good point -- no respect for stupid points (5.00 / 2) (#129)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:14:22 PM EST
    but more the respect for those holding them, misguided and deluded Dems as they may be, so as to perhaps bring them around to being real Dems again.:-)  Attack issues, not people.

    Or, to make the Wisconsin camping analogy, we see news stories every year of campground fights that make even our barroom brawls here look mild.  So often, whether in campgrounds or barrooms, it comes down to boundaries breached.  There are unspoken rules, of course, about how close to be in a bar -- which is closer than you want to be to a latrine, but not that much so.  (It is such a cultural thing, as I find my foreign students can be perplexed by Midwestern spatial needs -- what we need to maintain, in this polyglot land, our "Midwestern nice.")

    So we are constantly reminded of the rules of outdoor etiquette -- whether at a campground, a stadium tailgate, our endless festivals to enjoy the outdoors, etc. -- and the barroom analogie  apply.  Basically: Don't p** in a beer cup unless you're sure someone isn't going to use it again.  Or, if you err, apologize profusely -- and buy the guy the next beer.  And the best brand in the house.

    Adapt the analogy as needed.  In this campaign, I have felt many a boundary breached by the equivalent of putting sewage in my beer cup and expecting me to put it down -- and with gratitude.    Instead, that's when I just pull up stakes or go to the other side of the stadium or find an entirely different bar, whichever. :-)


    Consider the concept of connections (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:59:30 AM EST
    and progress.

    Hmmm... (5.00 / 9) (#19)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:04:40 AM EST
    Yes, and Gilas Girl seems to place respect at the core of her solidarity goal. I think democrats have a lot of work to do in the 'respect for others' area. I think that you have been one of the few to insist on it. I do not see many other progressives, at least bloggers, using the core tenet of respect to achieve solidarity.

    Absolutely (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:11:37 AM EST
    It is a critical component of her philosophy and it was her way.

    that was something I always came up short on. But on this issue, I will do my level best to emulate her.

    Respect for all views on this is essential to achieving solidarity.


    I'd take it one step further (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by stxabuela on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:27:14 AM EST
    Respect for other people is essential.  If one has respect for another, as a fellow human being, disagreement on issues can be a real learning experience for both parties.  Without this mutual respect, true compromise is seldom possible.  

    BTD, there's a big difference (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:28:21 PM EST
    in my mind between sometimes getting hot under the collar a little too fast, which is the fault you have, and routinely denigrating and/or insulting others who might have different views as a habitual style and way of thinking, which is what has become SOP in the formerly "A-list" Obama blogs.

    Yes, there is a difference (none / 0) (#136)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:51:37 PM EST
    between those things but pointing that out is not apt in this case.

    Do not deny or steal from BTD his superior ability to examine and deal with his own strengths and weaknesses.  It is one of his most admirable qualities, for that alone is necessary for any of us to learn, change, grow...as BTD says he did from a gilas girl.

    Let's all cheer that admission and try harder to emulate it.

    Not easy.


    That is a very key point (5.00 / 4) (#116)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:01:54 PM EST
    Respect for the point of view of others is at the very core of what solidarity requires.

    It's on exactly that point that many reject the Obama movement as inconsistent with solidarity. Likewise, fomenting divisiveness is inconsistent with solidarity -- again a behavior trait many see in the Obama campaign and movement.

    I have to say, one thing that has really made me feel that solidarity is not going to happen is the reaction of Obama himself to criticism from Hillary supporters.

    According to what I've read, his response to their complaints about sexism and misogyny directed Hillary's way has been to emphasize his, and Michelle's, own complaints about how they've been treated. It doesn't take a lot of people skills to know how damaging it is for the victor in a process like this to adopt such a self-centered and dismissive attitude. And his remark that he was not going to spend a lot of time working to win Hillary supporters over and that they will "get over it" simply because he has better policies than McCain could hardly have been less sensitive. I'm not sure I can remember a politician who appeared to have less well developed instincts for how such remarks might be received. Lack of empathy is too mild a word for what this suggests in him. Such people rarely get far in politics, I think; Obama has clearly led a charmed life to get to this stage without major repercussions. I don't think his lucky streak will extend into the Presidency.


    Agree completely (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:10:19 PM EST
    It's too late to react in a particularly positive (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by tigercourse on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:58:04 AM EST
    manner. You don't elect politicians who don't share your goals and then expect them to somehow change. That's a waste of time and effort. You vote for the politican who does share as many of your goals as possible, and hope that they follow through (though never trust that they will). It's too late to do that. Once the political figure has your vote, you have very little power over them (unless you are a big donor).

    People become pliant when they (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:04:15 AM EST
    want to keep something though also.  Democrats needed to take back some of the playiing field under the banner of Democrat, and now they will have to fight to keep it.  We are always in revolution.

    It's coalition politics (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 10:59:15 AM EST
    The question is, which coalition is more likely to accomplish the things you care about?  Along the way, they're likely to spend time on a lot of things you don't care about, and maybe even some things you oppose.  In a nation where coalition politics holds sway, you have to accept that as the cost of getting things you want.

    What if the answer to that is (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:03:07 AM EST

    Then (none / 0) (#24)
    by Steve M on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:10:05 AM EST
    if you make a buck, it will be sheer luck.

    The American people (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:15:46 AM EST
    seem to be on the losing end, no matter what they do, if the past eight years are any indication.  Neither party has done much to commend, although republicans have been worse.

    I need something more than hope at this point.  The lesser of two evils isn't doing it.


    Excellent point (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:00:33 AM EST
    Gilas girl (5.00 / 11) (#15)
    by frankly0 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:01:41 AM EST
    puts the basic point very well, making a sharp and relevant distinction.

    But the question for many of us remains: how much solidarity might we be able to develop with a movement like Obama's that seems built on divisiveness, smear tactics, and clear condescension toward others unlike them?

    Yes, there will be common ground with that movement and his leader on a number of policy issues. But do those override in fundamental importance and ultimate impact the basic differences about what the movement stands for in terms of its fundamental motivations, types of behaviors it countenances, and the kind of impact it actually has in the real political world?

    Look, the Obama movement has clearly engendered a degree of divisiveness far exceeding anything many of us have seen in our lifetimes. How can that end well? Even if Obama became President, how could he retain his clout in the face of so much inherent dislike in large segments of the American people toward what he stands for? How does such a political leader suddenly transform himself into someone genuinely capable of reaching out to, say, the working class voter, without condescension?

    In brief, does the short term policy gain one might get from an Obama Presidency outweigh the long terms deficits he represents in terms of the image he projects of the Democratic Party? If he is as President anything like what he's been as candidate, doesn't he define the Democratic Party precisely in the way that so many of us have fought for years to counteract: that it is elitist and patronizing and holier than thou?

    That, I think, is the calculation many of us are performing in our heads. Different people come up with different answers - not surprising given the complexity of the variables and calculus involved.

    Fair questions all (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:07:55 AM EST
    and for you personally, only you can answer them.

    But we will certainly try to promote a discussion of your questions here.

    While it is true that Jeralyn, TChris and I have made our views clear on those questions, I think the discussion itself is incredibly healthy and I hope and expect we will have a healthy, respectful and civil debate about those questions here at TalkLeft.


    Fanboys and Clintonistas (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Blogblah on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:49:58 PM EST
    BTD, this is the reason I found my way to this site and why I've lurked here for so long.  I hold no brief for the O-fanboys nor the Clintonistas, both of which I've found to be egregious in their blogposts.  All I can really find in the way of silver lining in all the racism and sexism as well as the typical self-loathing of many "liberals" the primary brought out in Democrats is that the blue version is veiled in "code" and "dog whistles" while on the red side of the blogosphere, it's just right out there in your face.  That's a long way 'round the mulberry bush to say how much I've admired the work you and Jeralyn have done to try and keep a moderated tone here, even though some of the supporters of Sen. Clinton here continue to annoy the bejeebus out of this supporter of Sen. Obama (I'm sure the favor is returned).    

    As to the original post, I'll observe this: I always understood that Obama's position was that he would go places doctrinaire liberals like me would hate in order to try and find a consensus with those on the other side of the aisle who are also not so doctrinaire in their conservatism, i.e., take the Repubs places that "faith-based" non-reasoning, lock-step pseudo-fascists would not like.  In a phrase, I knew he was a snake when I thawed him out, as the old story goes.


    Then good for you (none / 0) (#134)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:36:02 PM EST
    I can disagree with you straightforwardly on whether that's a fruitful tack to take in 2008 and we could talk it over and understand, even if never agree with, each other's point of view.

    But your clear-eyed view of the Obama choice is not shared by many of his fans, and he would not have won the primaries if it had been, I don't think.


    So if what the Democrats are asking for is (5.00 / 5) (#36)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:21:39 AM EST
    unity, they are being fascist? I don't feel any solidarity with the "New Democratic Party", but fascist I can relate to. When I think about what I value - respect for others (all others), compassionate care for those who need it, support for curiosity and inventiveness, long term planning vs. instant gratification, etc., I don't see the "New Democratic Party" supporting those ideas.  For the record, before anyone jumps on the usual replies, I don't see the Republicans supporting them either. So I'm faced with looking for a like-minded group which will support at least some of those things and finding a way into mainstream politics with them or wandering in the political wilderness. Barack Obama's candidacy aside for a moment, it's the New Democratic Party that I can't vote for. He is just the representative of that party.

    I respect how you process all this (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:24:03 AM EST
    It doesn't help me in my self assessments to read words like yours and reflect on the fact that many who love me accuse me of being overly optimistic at times.

    I am optimistic. (5.00 / 6) (#61)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:38:42 AM EST
    I wear rose colored glasses - literally. I'm just at a place in my life where I'm tired of choosing the lesser of two evils in so many decisions that I've decided to stop doing it.  As Tip O'Neil said, "All politics is local". So I'm working close to home this year. It actually feels good. Our neighborhood has decided to have our own "energy policy" for starters.

    Yes...agree. (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:14:27 PM EST
    Local feels good...and you can actually make a difference that matters.  It may not be earthshaking, affecting foreign policy and getting an invitation to a state dinner, but it is solid, important and necessary.

    After the 2000 Gore/Lieberman debacle I decided I couldn't save the world or the country with my politics, or even my state (although I could have statewide impact by selective issues' actions) but I could 'save' my community...my small town and surrounding county.  I could elect good local candidates and work with, train and educate others to follow them or help them.


    IOW, FranklyO (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:33:23 PM EST
    it takes two to tango.  We can talk here all we want about solidarity, but you can't have solidarity with people who don't want to have solidarity with you.

    I think most folks here at TL would eagerly go for solidarity, but we keep being told we have to accept instead unity with The One.


    she reappeared (5.00 / 6) (#26)
    by Turkana on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:14:05 AM EST
    mostly in late night meteor blades threads, last winter. she's one of the reasons i miss hanging out at daily kos. unfortunately, the site's widespread dishonesty and toxicity made it impossible to continue doing so.

    I saw your reply to Geekesque at TLC (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:28:28 AM EST
    last night. He was awfully hard on BTD and Talkleft, wasn't he? Unity to him means blind adoration I guess.

    He has a funny definition of what it means (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:36:11 AM EST
    to be "objectively pro McCain."

    By his standards, he has been "objectively" many things that I am sure he would rather not be described as. But I digress.


    I did not see what he wrote (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:38:29 AM EST
    But Geek does not even know what the word objective even means.

    The comments in all of their glory (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:41:49 AM EST
    This was my favorite from Geek... (5.00 / 4) (#78)
    by Teresa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:51:12 AM EST
    As an example of a critic whose words will NOT be taken to be those of a supporter but rather of an embittered primary dead-ender, one need look no further than Big Tent Democrat.

    I would have cut off my legs to got back a few years and have him say that at DK where BTD could have ripped him good.

    If that's the kind of feelings they have toward an Obama supporter who doesn't see him as perfect, how do they expect to win over those of us who didn't start out for him? They aren't healing any better than I am.


    He souns a bit embittered (5.00 / 7) (#82)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:55:10 AM EST
    does he not. And his worshipped candidate won. Sure, he would have been on the Unity Train had the result been different. I really believe that. NOT.

    BTD (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:31:21 PM EST
    do you remember after the 2004 election how angry the Bush supporters were? I remember atrios calling it the "anger of the enfranchised". People like Geek sound just like them. I guess this is what happens when you use hatred to promote your agenda. There always has to be someone to focus that hate on. It's the mirror image of the Bush Republicans.

    Silly talk (5.00 / 7) (#79)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:53:35 AM EST
    He wants a cheerleader now.

    Little does he know that preaching to the choir helps keep the choir in line, a fairly unnecessary exercise.

    What is funny to me is where are my post cheerleading for ANY pol?

    Hell, even my support for Dodd was a cynical act on my part - I demanded a pander to my views.

    Right now, I have a choice to make on my vote and  are what matter the most to me and how to forward them.


    I'm ambivalent (5.00 / 2) (#89)
    by andgarden on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:59:16 AM EST
    At some point, I intend to shut up and get on with winning. Though, for now, I don't find pressing issues at all inconsistent with doing that. It's clear that people who spent all primary season cheerleading and not asking for what they really wanted will find a minimal audience for their concerns now.

    Cheerleading (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by Coral on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:14:01 PM EST
    and cheering from the sidelines will not win this election. I think it's going to be a lot tougher than anyone expects.

    Obama leaves me cold, but McCain -- a whole lot colder.

    I'd like to see Obama's campaign people really start to reach out warmly and enthusiastically to the Democratic base that they seem to have left behind.

    Because enthusiasm and a feeling of being included is going to be very important in getting out the vote.

    It isn't up to disaffected Dems right now to push solidarity, it's the Obama faction who needs to lead and pull the rest of us into the fold.

    As it stands right now, I'll vote Obama, but give him money? Make phone calls? Post lawn signs? That  and all other extra efforts like canvassing, etc, are motivated by the heart, and with Obama my heart's not in it yet.


    If Obama wins (5.00 / 2) (#98)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:13:06 PM EST
    The Big Orange doesn't have a point to it.

    I'd Hazard that Geek'd have to move into the Whitehouse. Minister of Loyalty or what not.


    "Right now, I have a choice to make (none / 0) (#119)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:09:29 PM EST
    on my vote" -- means. . . ?  This blog and its hosts are all for Obama, as you have been from the beginning, correct?  

    So you -- and we -- have the choice to try to use leverage for issues now?  Is there really hope of that?  It seems to me that andgarden's pessimism as to whether that is possible is not misplaced.  But then, maybe there will be change again on that, too.  It would have to take a downturn in the polls for Obama, though, I think.  (Not that I think he has a comfortable lead, by any means; it seems to be, once outliers are tossed out, as outliers ought to be, that he has about a 4-point average lead in polls.)


    he did admit to having lost it (5.00 / 7) (#81)
    by Turkana on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:55:09 AM EST
    during the primary wars, but he's still so disturbingly toxic. i had gone out when he started railing on this site and btd, but i see that all the time, these days. a few days back, at dk, i saw blueness ripping me and btd- utterly dishonestly. i can handle criticism, i don't like lies.

    Blueness' seems to have an obsession about me (5.00 / 6) (#84)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:56:41 AM EST
    I note for the record that I have not posted at daily kos in near years.

    It is remarkable.


    he does (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by Turkana on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:58:38 AM EST
    i've seen it on other sites, too. and he's a very smart guy, and he's seen a lot, but when it comes to you, he becomes an absolute child.

    Perhaps That Obsession (5.00 / 4) (#94)
    by creeper on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:08:16 PM EST
    is a result of his fear of the amount of influence you wield, BTD.

    In case you missed it, TL was linked to on the CNN website this morning in their analysis of the "unity" party held yesterday.

    This blog is an island of sanity in an otherwise insane medium.


    I would love to say Obama is our (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by crabbydan on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:14:33 AM EST
    shining light of 'hope', but there is nothing, repeat nothing, in his past that could validate this. He has divided our party like no other. The press are enabling, what I perceive as a flawed candidate. They need to draw him out early so any mistakes can be corrected before the republicans get hold of him. He/We will win a squeaker or lose big. Hillary despite her flaws was a proven fighter. Obama is a spinner...the electorate admires one of these traits and despises the other. Despite what the press has created, the American public will sniff it out.

    I do not follow your point (none / 0) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:25:06 AM EST
    I do not see where anyone, least of all me, has argued that Obama is our shining anything.

    I do remember being quite upset (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:22:15 AM EST
    with Sen. Kerry during the campaign, especially because he refused to clearly distance himself from the Iraq war.  But, dispite that, I never considered voting for George W. Bush.  As I will never consider voting for John McCain.  What happened?

    I guess someone did consider voting for (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:27:27 AM EST
    Bush.  I'm putting puppy photos up in the next open thread.  You should go look at them, only to broaden your awareness and knowledge though since I have had an extremely recessive color show up :)

    I'm (5.00 / 6) (#54)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:34:34 AM EST
    sure that 4 years ago I would have been in 100% agreement with that statement. I would have voted for cypress stump for President with a D beside it's name. However, the last 2 years have dramatically altered my thinking and I think I have become much more of a movement liberal than a democratic party voter. Now, I'm not a purist. Certainly, you would never vote for a Dem in GA if you were. However, I must have some issue "solidarity" with a candidate and a belief that the candidate will stand strong in the face of the opposition. I don't see that in Obama. I see him as willing to compromise literally everything away and in the end getting nothing at all from him. And if you get nothing from him then how is he any different from McCain on that account?

    Iraq war and SCOTUS. (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:37:30 AM EST
    Iraq will not change with Obama (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:41:56 AM EST
    he will be so afraid to appear weak, his foreign policy will be scary.  

    McCain was right, we are not getting out of Iraq or the Middle East, global politics are now about where the oil reserves are.  Russia and China have alliances and US and Europe are not getting any of the goodies.  


    Then let's shift to a discussion of (none / 0) (#68)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:44:48 AM EST
    who advocates drilling off the CA coast.

    As always...you have the points. (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:47:07 AM EST
    But alas, has Kathy come back?  

    Haven't seen anything here (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:48:00 AM EST
    from her.  Long trip.

    Man I hope she comes back (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:50:04 AM EST
    I don't think she's coming back (none / 0) (#107)
    by Dr Molly on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:33:13 PM EST
    I've thought that for a long time.

    I don't think that Obama will pull us out of Iraq (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:51:01 AM EST
    as decisively as Hillary, but he isn't going to be Mr. Stay The Course and glory found in blazing guns.  That is really a huge change right there that has the ability to lead us down many many different paths back home.

    For your sake (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:54:48 AM EST
    and the sake of thousands of troops and the Iraqi people, I hope you're right.

    I wouldn't be this optimistic (none / 0) (#86)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:57:54 AM EST
    if I hadn't seen his National Security advisor lineup.  That gave me hope.  As my Aunt pointed out though a few days ago, if Obama is President he becomes the new "decider".

    Obama (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:47:37 AM EST
    now says "no timeline" and apparently supports Cass Sunstein for the SCOTUS. Sunstein thinks Roe was wrongly decided from what I've read. So, what difference does it make in these areas to vote for Obama?

    I think Sunstein was being the (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:49:23 AM EST
    academic he is on Roe.  Similar to the discussion her yesterday about Heller:  would the 9th Amend. be a better basis for the ruling than the 2nd Amend.?  

    Though To Be Clear (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by The Maven on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:09:51 PM EST
    Obama essentially sided with Scalia and pals against the Court "liberals" on the death penalty for child rape and the handgun cases.  Combined with his admiration for Sunstein, as others have mentioned, folks should not be under any illusions that Obama would seek to replace a Justice Stevens, say, with someone even remotely of a similar judicial philosophy.

    Obama's judicial nominees would be vastly better than McCain's, but I expect they would be more along the lines of "I can live with that" than someone I'd be at all enthusiastic about.  Maybe a slightly more left-leaning version of Anthony Kennedy, but that's about it.


    Cautious (5.00 / 5) (#62)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:39:20 AM EST
    My fear is 'the movement" .  It was artificially created and it has to be fed and sustained to prop up the candidacy and if it happens the presidency.  I, refuse to give power to "that" movement.

    Solidarity yes, but with what?  Bipartisanship to the point of capitulation?   Solidarity with a party that excludes large swaths of the historical Democratic base?  Solidarity with a campaign that diverted the agenda from a Democratic agenda to one of a person/icon and a concept of "change" equal to the "war on terror" abstraction?  

    Frankly, I have entered full force apathy.  

    Solidarity vs. Unity (5.00 / 6) (#83)
    by santarita on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:56:30 AM EST
    I think that is a good distinction.  And I like the notion of unity as a totalitarian concept.  ("You're either with us or against us." as Bush might say.)

    But to me the term solidarity evokes the Civil Rights Movement or the 60's Anti-War Movement.  In both cases people who came from different sides of the political aisle, different religions, different cultures, and different beliefs for a common overarching goal.  They were there to support each other moving towards a common goal.  The differences didn't matter because they were trying to achieve an overarching goal that didn't require giving up the differences.

    The concept of solidarity doesn't apply to supporting either of the two major parties because there is no overarching common goal (other than electing their candidate).  I suppose the platform this year will have more meaning than in many other years because it might tell us whether or not the Party has overarching common goals that can form the basis for a movement that inpsires solidarity.  But I suspect that the marketing side will take over the drafting and it will say all things to all people which means that it will say nothing.

    I agree with this (none / 0) (#105)
    by davnee on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:27:59 PM EST
    Solidarity works within and across coalitions.  Some goals will be common only to Dems, but many more are common across parties and we have to work to find the common ground in promoting our values (and even work sometimes at finding common ground in understanding our values so that we can work together).  

    So what is our purpose?  I don't want unity.  That's not a purpose.  And I don't want change.  That's not a purpose either.  What are we going to fight for?


    How's about (none / 0) (#139)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 03:31:16 PM EST

    Or integrity?

    Maybe fairness?

    I know!  Progress!


    It a good point, and a great post (none / 0) (#135)
    by Rojas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:49:26 PM EST
    by the way.
    For there to be solidarity, someone's going to have to clue us in on the program. What are those core Democratic values and do they exist at all?
    As I watched the construction of the security state continue unimpeaded throughout the 90s, it begs the question, is it simply a matter of "anything goes" so long as we are blessed with a growing economy?
    I think you are right, articulating those "values" will fall to the marketing side.

    Exactly what are Democratic core values? (5.00 / 8) (#90)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:02:19 PM EST
    I'm not talking about Democratic voters values here. I'm talking about what issues and policies will the actual party take a firm stand on. Is there any remaining issue that they will actually fight the Republicans?

    I have never been naive enough to think that any politician or party would actually represent me in all the areas that I wanted.  I never thought that politicians would be above being politicians. I did believe that there were at least a couple of areas that the Democratic Party were rock solid on.

    If the party will not stand firm on upholding the rule of law or protecting the Constitutional rights of its citizens, what will it stand for?  These are not small negotiable items IMO.

    The party leadership that in 2005 stood firm against the Republican mantra that Social Security was in crisis made the  decision to firmly back the candidate that adopted the same Republican mantra. Can I now trust this party and its leadership to protect Social Security? Has this issue now been removed as a core value of the Democratic Party? I always thought that at least on this issue I could trust the party. Now I'm not so sure.


    Digby has Greenwald column snip that spells out (none / 0) (#114)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:54:46 PM EST
    how badly Dems in Congress practice "solidarity." Compare the R's almost total "unity" with the Dems. Who do some of these Dems think they are representing? It makes it very understandable why we fund the wars, why we don't have a decent healthcare system, etc.

    It's based on a Lieberman statement that McCain will have an easier time "getting things done" than Obama, even with a Dem majority. I mean, how could we count on many Dems to invoke cloture?

    Here's Digby's column with a list of Dem votes--where the Dems clearly enabled almost everything Bush wanted. It's literally sickening (yes, I almost got up from the desk to head to the loo, thinking I might throw up. But I do have a stronger stomach than I realized. This may help in November....)


    Money Talks (none / 0) (#128)
    by santarita on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 02:12:56 PM EST
    Don't you think a lot of the Republican "unity" in Congress was bought by the party leaders as in "You vote with the Party and you get the funding for your campaign."  Perhaps it's not blatant but they know what it means to buck the party line.  Once the Dems have a good majority, they may try the same trick.

    Maybe we should be asking our Dem reps what they (none / 0) (#117)
    by jawbone on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:02:36 PM EST
    DO feel are Dem values and principles?

    I have a so-called Repub "moderate" rep. He never knows how he's going to vote on anything controversial to voters in NJ, even in this district which has one of the richest counties in the nation (and, yes, it does tend to vote Repub!! so he has a sinecure), often until he gets to floor and is told whether his vote is needed or not. He is allowed to have "moderate" votes when they're not needed to get something passsed--or when the Repub vote is obviously going to lose.  Thus, he can pretend to be "moderate."

    Freylinghuysen, the perfect Northeastern Moderate Republican--who somehow always votes party line when it's important to a party victory.

    I think his principles are to retain as much wealth as possible for the uber-wealthy (by being rich they've demonstrated they are responsible citizens and worthy of becoming even richer), strong nods to some civil liberties (but nothing which interferes with the Unitary Executive), some votes for the environment, passenger trains are good in certain places...actual principles? Who knows?

    My senators play some games, but Lautenberg is almost always on the progressive side. Menendez, still establishing himself, waffles around--but both voted against giving telcos immunity. Bless them.


    My Democratic Rep does represent me and (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by MO Blue on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:29:36 PM EST
    my values on most issues. Unfortunately, his positions wind up being the losing position on most important issues.

    What does my new Democratic Senator value? From what I can determine, she values the bipartisan credentials that she gets from voting in lock step with Bush and the Republicans on Iraq, FISA and immigration more than anything else. She brags constantly about how bipartisan she is.

    She is a brave soul who conveniently, per her staff, is always "undecided" on the above issues up until roll call when she somehow always votes the same way.  She has stated that she and Obama are ideological allies. I tend to agree with her statement and to me she is truly representative of the NEW Democratic Party.



    We do ask them. At every convention (none / 0) (#123)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:31:19 PM EST
    actually, we tell them, and they tell us.  It's called putting together the party platform.

    I find it a useful to-do list to keep at hand to test the party.  Perhaps the need is to have Dems in Congress do so.  With a camera at hand to record some shocked reactions at what is in the platform, the statement of the party's principles?

    Of course, too many Dems in Congress were put there by the DNC, DLC, and certain blogfolks who knew fully that those candidates departed greatly from too many of those core principles of the party.  And I realize now that's when I started to leave it.

    Clinton brought me back -- but now I'm gone for good, to the point of even being an Independent.  I will not admit what I used to say about Independents. :-)


    Party platforms are ususally ignored, but serve as (none / 0) (#144)
    by jawbone on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 12:30:48 PM EST
    a means of tossing a few crumbs to The Base and/or outliers in the party.

    I think more Dems used to believe it was something to serve as the basis for action when in office, but now I'm not so sure.

    The Repubs have played that game with their platform for years--however, some of the outliers did get pretty much in control over time.

    Hope for us'ns?


    Beautiful comment (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:10:03 PM EST
    It actually made me consider voting for Obama, until I started thinking about why I feel that I can't. I used to feel solidarity with the party. Never unity, when I think about it. I'm not the blindly obedient type.  He broke solidarity with me, by allowing his campaign to use right-wing tactics to win the campaign, by standing up against the Bill Clinton's administration, which I believe was the last ray of sunlight we have seen in this nation, politically speaking, and now by standing up for principles I don't believe in.

    Solidarity/Coalition with hypocrites is hard (5.00 / 7) (#101)
    by davnee on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:16:29 PM EST
    I'm very much on board with these insights about solidarity and coalition.  Unity does strike me as somewhat fascist.  Solidarity allows space for disagreement.  And disagreement is healthy in a free society.  Heck, the presence of disagreement may be the only way to know you are truly free.  But wurman brings up a good point above about still needing an orienting goal that roots solidarity between disparate forces. Something must be shared in common, be it justice, freedom, enterprise, heritage etc.  Even if you disagree in some measure about what these common goals mean, you still need them.

    But the Obama movement/New Democratic Party, whatever you want to call it, is so empty to me.  I don't understand what its goal is, other than power for itself.  Everything that it professes to be, all this new politics post-partisan unity garbage, strikes me as a hypocritical con.  So what is left?  What are they fighting for, other than power?  It sure ain't unity.  And I don't want unity anyway.  So, once again, do they share my overall goals, and merely disagree about method or messenger?  Beating Bush is not sufficient for me to join in solidarity.  I need more.  I want a positive goal.  Not a negative one.  So what are we fighting for?  The common man?  Obama doesn't seem interested.  Realizing equality at last?  He tells me the old battles are over.   Justice?  Freedom?  He rates an incomplete on these.

    I'm waiting for a sincere call to a positive common cause.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.

    For many of us to be "Dems for a Day" (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:37:15 PM EST
    now, when we were the Dems before, is still the purpose and practice of the Obama campaign, as best I can figure out from the lack of reaching out yet.  If not now, when?  This is the time to define, with McCain's campaign still not finding its footing.

    The call-out on some created and manipulated issue aimed at me will come around mid-October, I guess, to make me come trotting.  But it looks like I'm gonna be real busy then and may just miss the message to come on back for a day -- and then go away, because I don't fit the "New Dem" profile.

    For one thing, I am far too aware in my work and my life that the old battles are far from over -- and that now some on which I thought there was progress, at least in the Dem party, have to be back on any agenda that will matter to me.


    Solidarity for the sake of ... (none / 0) (#118)
    by santarita on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:03:03 PM EST
    solidarity is worthless.  And it is hard to have solidarity with people you detest, rightly or wrongly, just for the sake of solidarity.

    That's why there has to be some overarching common goal or principle, that is meaningful to you.  Then you don't care if the person that your marching with in support of the goal is a hypocrite or an adulterer, etc.  

    It may be hard to get past the negative aspects of the Obama Campaign because it is hard to see what the overarching common goal or principle is.  Sure, it's change but change to what?  It's hope but hope for what?  The Obama Campaign or Movement reminds me more of a marketing effort than a political campaign.


    I go with the idea of solidarity (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:51:44 PM EST
    Give me something to hold on too, to work for, to believe in.

    I remember reading a post on Open Left.  Can't remember who wrote it but it was about the new progressives.  I was floored. I didn't fit in with any of those new tenets and I have been a Democrat, almost Yellow Dog, my entire life.

    I came away knowing I was not a progressive when I read that. I am a plain old Democrat. I guess the kind the party no longer needs.

    I would be joyful to achieve solidarity other than anyone but.  Seriously. I worked for the party, donate, canvass, call, write, etc....

    I will admit that I would accept some tweaking here and there;  defense, affirmative action ..not much though. And if I am willing, how is he going to do it?  How far to the right will he go? What's his middle? How much of a change in the Democratic Party is he talking about?

    ps. I do know this. I do not like the man.  But hey.

    Reality Check (4.00 / 3) (#22)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:09:13 AM EST
    Obama doesn't give a whit about anybody's profound thoughts about "unity", "solidarity", or pretty much anything else. And, frankly, to describe him as a "conventional politician" gives him way too much credit.

    Everything Obama has ever done has been about pursuit of power for himself. He doesn't give a damn about "progressive" politics except to the extent they help him gain Power. But when the time comes, these "progressives" will find themselves joining his other former allies, mentors, and the like under the bus. Let's face it, you are dealing with a guy who, while a member of a militant African American congregation, went out of his way to trade favors with slumlords who exploited the very same African-American community he claimed to champion, and in fact represented in the legislature. This is the brand of politics Obama represents, where everyone is either the slumlord or the chump.

    Don't be the chump.

    I would say that just about anything (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:16:31 AM EST
    a politician does they do out of self interest.  Don't we all?  I know I do.  Politicians want the job of representing us, with that comes a lot of power but the job is representing us.  Who will represent me better?  Who will entertain some respect for the issues that matter to me?  George Bush doesn't care if my husband does seventeen tours in Iraq, neither does McCain.  Obama doesn't give me warm fuzzies but it either but if troops start going utterly psycho and shooting stuff up because they are now nuts I do get the feeling he will care about that and do something to end it instead of excuse it and stay the course.

    Reality check (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:27:04 AM EST
    If you are incapable of actually reading what is written and responding to it, you are not welcome to participate in my posts.

    this is your final warning.

    Let me remind that being banned from my posts does not ban you from the site. You are still allowed to participate int he posts of Jeralyn and TChris.

    I am sorry but I have no patience for unmitigated stupidity.


    Oh boy! (1.00 / 0) (#106)
    by pmj6 on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:28:12 PM EST
    So, let me get this straight: you are not going to be his cheerleader, but you are still going to vote for him, no matter what, regardless of his policies? Which one of us is the unmitigatedly stupid here?

    Let me make myself perfectly clear: it is your willingness to vote for Obama NO MATTER WHAT (at least that is my impression--if there is a red line that, if crossed, will compel you to change your mind, I don't recall seeing it in your posts) that allows Obama to get away with indefensible behavior. He has already crossed my red line so he will not have my vote. If this offends you, by all means ban me. If you want to turn this blog into yet another version of Daily Kos echo chamber, it's your prerogative.


    Let me get this straight (none / 0) (#108)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:34:08 PM EST
    You are incapable of expressing your disagreement with me without insulting me.

    It is precisely because I will not allow my posts to become like a daily kos thread that you are NOW banned from my posts.

    You are of course free to continue to comment in the posts of Jeralyn and TChris. You are NOT allowed to post in my threads anymore.


    Solidarity? (1.00 / 0) (#29)
    by jmac on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:15:18 AM EST
    Could you get more Rovian?

    Um what? (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:22:23 AM EST
    For the record (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:24:06 AM EST
    this is precisely the type of discourse that will NOT be tolerated at TalkLeft.

    One more like this will lead to banning form my posts. Remember, being banned from my posts does not ban you from the site. You are still able to participate in the posts of Jeralyn and TChris.


    it's Union language. (5.00 / 2) (#93)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:06:39 PM EST
    which is a good thing.

    I though solidarity was Polish? (snark) (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:18:06 AM EST
    oops I "thought" it was Polish (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:18:51 AM EST
    why do think solidarity is Rovian?

    You can achieve (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:29:47 AM EST
    solidarity by getting people together to work for something or to work against something. Rove is a master of solidifying people against. Personally, I'd rather be for something. Right now, I have no choices in this race that are voting "for" - only against.  It's a cold feeling.

    That makes solidarity Rovian? (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:37:00 AM EST
    that is ridiculous. simply ridiculous.

    I took the comment as an insult and it was intended as such and I will not be insulted.

    So if you think it was acceptable please be forewarned it is NOT acceptable to me and I will ban anyone who insults me in my posts from posting in my posts.

    That does not mean they are banned from the site. They can comment in Jeralyn and TChris' posts.


    It was not intended as an insult. (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:47:51 AM EST
    There are mechanisms used to achieve solidarity.  Some of them are positive and some of them are negative. That's all I meant.  

    Excuse me (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:05:08 PM EST
    Rovian is an insult and will always be taken that way BY ME.

    I will not accept it.

    Do not refer to me as Rovian ever.


    It was not referring to you. (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:18:08 PM EST
    I was referring to the mechanisms that can be used to achieve solidarity.  And yes, some of them are "Rovian". I presume that you want the Democratic Party to stand solidly behind Obama for positive reasons. You are not resorting to "Rovian tactics" to scare us into voting for John McCain. Why would you think that these comments were directed at you?

    I meant not voting for McCain (none / 0) (#104)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:21:32 PM EST
    What's wierd about Rove (none / 0) (#110)
    by Salo on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:42:18 PM EST
    now that he is a talking head, is how prosaic his points are. He's almost Gergen like in his deliverly.  I think he's probably just a beast we built up in our own minds.

    No, he really is a nasty beastie (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 01:42:37 PM EST
    but it's just that we see some Dems doing nasty beastly things to each other and us now.  I keep reminding myself of that when Rove sounds reasonable -- reminding myself that his real methods are unacceptable to me, no matter who does them.

    I also remind myself of the dangers of "petty evil" -- that looking only for the red cape and pitchfork and horns can fool us, as most of us tend to stand firm against horrific evil.  But petty evil works like water torture -- drip, drip, drip . . . and then you're drowning in it.


    Now I understand. (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:32:28 AM EST
    You are certainly correct (none / 0) (#53)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:33:24 AM EST
    about the negative aspects that can be applied to solidarity, but this was used way before Rove came on the scene.  He certainly has mastered it, however.

    One final warning on this (none / 0) (#47)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:28:03 AM EST
    I strictly enforce the policy that comments be on topic.

    I can't find much wrong with either of your posts (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:31:41 AM EST
    other than you are snotty to each other.  Hope isn't a plan and Obama is very Bill Clintonesque.

    Frankly (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:42:01 AM EST
    I wish he was clintonesque. I probably could easily get behind that one. Bill Clinton campaigned as a Blue dog throughout the 1992 primary. You knew what you were getting for the most part.

    OK, Sorry Not Baseless Rants (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:31:45 AM EST
    But illogical ones, imo. You were obviously insulted on a deep personal level during the campaign and that appears to be the basis for your rants.

    I say that only because, on the issues, Hillary and Obama are nearly identical and both represent core Democratic values. There is no case to be made that either one of them are Republican lite.

    Personally I do not see either as progressive, as they are more centrist than anything else.

    If you toned it done a tad, (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:35:17 AM EST
    it might help with the Solidarity thing.

    They aren't the same (5.00 / 6) (#97)
    by dianem on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:11:34 PM EST
    People talk about how Obama and Clinton are the same. I'll grant that their platforms are similar. But, when they are NOT the same in terms of character and values. Clinton didn't allow her campaign to personally attack Obama and his supporters. She used standard political rhetoric, talking about experience, qualifications, and subtle differences in policy. She didn't try to, or allow her campaign staff to, poison the well by suggesting that Obama was immoral in any way. Most Clinton supporters don't think he, personally, acted in any sexist ways - because Clinton never allowed her people to make that claim. Conversely, most Obama supporters think that Clinton race-baited, because Obama's campaign made that claim. Clinton isn't special, by the way. Any number of candidates would have run the same campaign she did. Very few Democrats would have allowed their campaign to tar their opponent the way Obama did.

    Clinton also did not run as a hard core progressive candidate and then tack right. She ran as what she is - a centrist liberal with solid progressive values who is willing to work with others to get things done.  


    Please don't try to (none / 0) (#64)
    by pie on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:41:02 AM EST
    diagnose the problem.  You don't seem to know what a rant is either.

    The issue for me is although they may hold similar viewpoints, Hillary's experience, education about the issues, knowledge of politics, and her ability to confront, even win over, former detractors made her the better choice.

    We're getting second best.  Actually, Obama was my second-to-last choice of candidates.  Pretty hard to suddenly be on board after that.


    Huh? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:57:34 AM EST
    I assume this is not directed at me.

    "Democrats are Democrats" (none / 0) (#75)
    by Andreas on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 11:49:39 AM EST
    BTD wrote: "Pols are pols and do what they do."

    No. The behavior of Obama is not characteristic for politicians in general but for Democrats and other opportunists. Representatives of the Socialist Equality Party do not act like that.

    So: "Democrats are Democrats and do what they do" would be a more appropriate statement (while nearly as empty as the other one).

    Solidarity and winning (none / 0) (#99)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 12:13:48 PM EST
    I liked A Gilas Girl's post very much.  We should take back the word.

    However, since the 2004 election was brought up, let me say that it is my firm belief, backed by plenty of evidence, that Ohio was lost due to Republican shenanigans, not to a greater number of Ohio voters preferring Bush.

    No amount of solidarity will help Obama win unless his campaign is on the Repub dirty tricks at every level.  Kerry caved on his intent to count every vote in Ohio.  I hope we can generate enough "solidarity" to insure that Obama gets every vote that is coming to him.

    Heh. (none / 0) (#140)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:02:04 PM EST
    It appears that 'count the votes!' is no longer a core value of the Democratic Party, so your call to action may not resonate.

    In fact, the Democratic Party recently insured that Obama got even more than 'every vote that was coming to him!'

    Better find another slogan for unitysake.  That one won't fly.


    Count the votes! (none / 0) (#141)
    by Lora on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:22:43 PM EST
    Well, I'll sing it loud and clear!  For democracy's sake if nothing else.

    Maybe you can be in (none / 0) (#142)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 28, 2008 at 04:36:51 PM EST
    a 'historical skit' about 'long-ago Democratic values' for the youngsters in the party who didn't live through 2000 or any of the other count-the-votes struggles of our Democratic past.

    Heh (none / 0) (#143)
    by Lora on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 01:18:58 AM EST
    ...errr, thanks!  I, uh, would welcome the opportunity to eddicate the young'uns before I get slapped with a gag order...