Sunday, May 28, 2006

Are You A Democrat ?

I've watched the Democratic Party be attacked by mainstream media and progressives for some time now, and there are aspects that are beginning to tick me off. No message, no nerves, no basis to exist...

No basis to exist? Yup, that's what I said. There seems to be an idea that there is no unifying concept of Democrat. Several times I've read some near variation on this theme, " You can't state why you're a Democrat simply. The idea is that a Party's members should be able to state in a sentence or two why they're members. OK, can you?

I can. I can because I don't expect my political party to run in lockstep on all the minutiae.

I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party stands for social and economic justice and the expansion of civil liberties.

That's pretty darn straightforward. Not a lot of ifs and buts, not a bunch of negatives, a plain statement of principles. The weekend of June 2-4 the Democratic Party of Oregon will have its Platform Convention. There will be quite a few statements of Platform Principles, but if you were to boil them down to their essence, that's what you'd have. It really isn't too complicated to look at my simple statement and make comparison to "the other Party." That isn't what this is about, it also isn't about, "We're not them," as a campaign strategy. The total concern I have about being a Democrat versus a Republican is actually being what I said and using that to remove the Republicans' nasty version of political thinking from power. I said removed from power, I think it's real important for a bunch of them to remain in government, a potent reminder of who and what they are.

I'm real sure a bunch of you have different versions of "why I'm a Democrat," but you also need to be able to express it in one to two sentences. No, that certainly will not cover all the nuances, but nuances are not why, they're an aspect of. Nuances, here's where the going gets sticky, because I am for economic justice I am against an artificially created labor glut in the blue collar wage market, that would be illegal immigrants. I recognize that a choice has to be made between two groups and I choose the group that has done everything the right way. It is not a contradiction. I'm allowed to continue being a Democrat and not appease illegal immigrants.

If we bog down in nuances, we can't define ourselves. If we can't define ourselves we cannot offer ourselves as an alternative. This is the attack line of the media, and yes we're under attack. We also have probably invited this attack. I will not go into the politics of our "leaders" beyond asking if they pass a simple test, do they fit our definition of Democrat. How can we expect the voters to give a rat's ass about our Party if it is not something definable? If I say I want to buy a car, I certainly do not expect to have a bulldozer as a choice.

So here's an offer of something to while away some idle time with, give a definition of Democrat that takes 1-2 sentences, and have it ready to offer up whenever that kind of question comes up. If you happen to be a politician, I seriously hope you get asked.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Strategy ??

Republican consultants are talking about how to win the mid-term election. The President evidently needs a boost, so Hayden's CIA hearings need to be contentious - with the Republicans coming out strong on anti-terrorism, privacy issues wimpy, a Gay Marriage Amendment to stoke the base, a play for the President as creating an illegal immigration resolution. He needs a poll bounce, especially with the "base."

Moving on to the race for seats, consultant thinking seems to be to play a "card" that if you don't trust Republicans, Democrats are worse. Also tie candidates to the DLC and Howard Dean, their thinking is scarier than the President's, is the line. As a sub-text is a Nancy Pelosi led Congress stalling government with endless subpoenas and investigations.

Since polling shows a pretty general dissatisfaction with Congress, there might be some traction for Republicans there. The real counter a challenger has for that argument is running as an outsider, untainted by Congressional BS. That's a tough argument to make in some races where DLC is heavily involved, but my opinion is that a distance from the Congressional power blocs is needed.

There's little a challenger can do about the President's agenda, except to carefully de-construct it into it's real components and challenge those. For example, coming out against Hayden does not address the actual problem which is not Hayden, but Fourth Amendment violations and the accelerating intrusion of government into private citizen's lives. That will actually play to some Republicans, while Hayden's confirmation hearings will be over by election time and being linked to any perceived partisan dispute is a loser.

But here's the real deal, if the President's numbers stay down and his righteous base and fiscal conservative Republicans continue to feel insulted, those voters may stay out. It is important to not energize those folks by making inflammatory statements. As an example, coming out supporting gays paints the candidate as morally dangerous, however, stating an opposition to a Constitutional creation of a second class citizenship gains the high ground without creating an image of support for a lifestyle the majority of Americans don't care for. The link that cannot be made is for a candidate to be seen as espousing that lifestyle, it is important to stay out of the emotional quagmire, and as a sexual issue it is an emotional quagmire. Scaring the fiscal conservatives is equally dangerous, the President has done that damage, leaving them to stew in their own juices is the best course. No Democrat who cares about social programs is going to be able to court that vote, the idea is to leave them alone.

Here's the sticky part, the Democrats have to turn out and the Independents have to be out and swayed. The real problem isn't so much pleasing these voters, the President and Congress have done the work of displeasing them, the work is making them care enough to vote. That's a tough one when so much of the public is disenchanted with its elected officials, that discontent rubs off on everyone. "I'm not one of them," helps to a certain extent, but getting the people you want to the polls takes much more than political statements.

The voters need to be reminded that they are important, that their vote carries real weight and does determine the direction of society. That's out of the candidate's hands, that takes face time and persuasion, something that has to be done locally. Letters to the editor, speeches, etc only reach the active voter, there are no good mass contact methods for reaching the disenchanted or apathetic available to low dollar campaigns. So the candidate needs to activate the troops sufficiently to get that kind of commitment.

If you're an active supporter, you already understand what needs to be done, if you're just tired of the current administration, it won't go away without some real serious help.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A New Role

There's been a slight change in the Title of this Blog and it's taken on a new role. There are things I want to see happen or quit happening and this where I'm going with this, so first up, waldenbush needs to go and Carol Voisin is taking a shot at it. I'm all the way in her corner on this one, and so should you be.

This is going to be about something other than raising money, money is important but it's a losing proposition to start thinking money will win against waldenbush. He'll have $1,000,000 to spend and he'll do it. So, help with money, but set your sights on the real goal, reaching the voters.

Speaking of voters, what voters? 30% turnout? The 2nd CD Primary candidates gave the voters a wide choice of the Democratic spectrum and candidates who did not look the same or sound the same. Candidates who managed a civil friendly campaign. 15 minutes and a $0.39 stamp to participate was too much to expect. This has got to change. This is our fault, us being the politically active. We've let this build up over the years, we've let a sense of fatality creep into our politics.

We've tolerated a run to the middle, we've tolerated the people not contributing, we've tolerated a whole lot that's intolerable. It's time to stop tolerating.

I say this is something we can do, we can raise politics out of the "so what?" dumps. It's going to take work and some money, but we cannot continue like this. I'm pressing my County Party to raise its profile, to show that we're here. We'll do that and then we'll do some more things. This is going to take a lot of person to person contact. When your friends say, "My vote doesn't count" or brag that they're "Independent" have arguments ready, good arguments. This country will go into the toilet if we continue on. I like Carol and I congratulate her, but let's look at some numbers, she won by a wide margin, but her 17K votes put her at winning the vote of about 13% of the registered Democrats, we need to have elections that are not that minority ruled. How an 80% vote would have affected her vote margin is immaterial, we need candidates who have the backing of a significant portion of the voters to have legitimacy to govern.

Next time you get ready to complain about the state of affairs, stop and ask yourself what have I done.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Election Day is Over

Well, it's 12:30 AM 5/17/2006 and my share of the vote has climbed to 11%, I'd say that's sufficiently bad enough to say, "Goodnight Gracie." I had no particular expectations about the outcome, but I sure hadn't foreseen a number that bad. Well, the voters (the few that bothered) have had their say and I'll surely go along with them. Carol Voisin seems a sure winner, by a large margin and she's a smart, thoughtful, nice woman that I like quite a bit. She, like any one of us, will have her work cut out for her, I sure hope the folks who've taken an interest in my little endeavor will help her out, I intend to.

Now it's a good time to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who've helped me out, with money, time, enthusiasm, and some votes. I'm horribly disappointed by the turnout, this was the Democrats opportunity to pick the direction of their Party and a whole bunch of them couldn't be bothered enough to take a few minutes fill out a simple form and spend $0.39 to take charge. Something needs to be done about that.

Thanks very much,

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Policy Statement

These items will be more fully addressed in separate Articles

> Civil Liberties are not subject to the government's convenience
> The Rule of Law applies to all Americans equally, the President is not exempt
> Taxation Policies should support expenditures and be based on the benefit derived from the financial/economic system
> The bottom of the economic ladder must be addressed, the level of poverty and marginal income in this country is atrocious
> Iraq Policy is a disaster, a change in direction is required
> Veterans programs must be fully and adequately funded. No one has given more than
> Transparent and secure elections are fundamental to participatory democracy
> Environmental decisions must be made and they should be based on science with consideration of economic and social benefits, the status quo of angry stalemates is not acceptable
> Rural issues must be addressed regardless of voting power, it comprises a vast majority of the American landscape and is essential to our economic and social well-being
> Federal rules regarding educational programs must be fully funded.
> An independent and varied media is essential to our form of government, the current constriction of ownership is unhealthy
> Illegal hiring depresses wages and distorts business competition , employers must be heavily sanctioned for this activity.
> American Grown Label should go forward and mean what it says, American Beef is born here, raised here, and killed here, no nonsense about across borders life, period.

This will be expanded as time allows

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why a Blog for a Campaign Site ?

First and foremost I have a Blog for a campaign site because I like the interactive format. No, I don't edit "comments" or delete them. Well, a few have gone with candidate photos that needed to go, nobody seemed to miss the pictures or the comments about them. Yes, it's my site so I get the big page, but you get to tell me about it and I like that. I'll run my campaign that way and if you all have me hold an office, I'll run it that way, also. I don't like formality, it often acts as cover for things that should be out in the open, you tell me and also anybody else that reads this thing, then we all get to know. I may comment back or I may just let it go, but rest assured I read them and think about it. Mostly you've been nice to me (ok the pictures left a lot to be desired), but I do want to know what's on your mind. Comment away.

Another thing going on with the Blog is that it's free. Free is a good thing for the poverty stricken. I'd rather spend your money getting out and talking to you than impressing you with pretty graphics and nice layouts. I've learned not to waste on construction sites, use things as much and as well as possible and get good outcomes. I'll try real hard to spend your money well.

I've read articles about media management, there are some pretty slick ideas there. Mostly I don't like them. I like the idea of returning calls and being available, I also like being straight with people and I can apologize when I'm wrong, immediately... Any time you do something in public there's an opportunity for things to go wrong, if you already know that, then it's no big thing to correct it or apologize. This idea of waiting it out, spinning it, or just ignoring it is ludicrous, nobody's fooled and you just look like a corrupt arrogant ass. (anybody come to mind?)

Waldenbush said (Oregonian 2/24/06) he's running "because I like bringing people together and solving problems." Looking at a campaign chest of over $800,000 pre-Primary, I'd guess he's been bringing a lot of folks together, folks with a lot of money. I just can't see that the problems he's been solving involve the 2nd CD, it seems he solves problems for people with lots of money and they don't seem to be here. You'd think he's had some real competition out here, you know close races like: 65%-35%, 75%-25%. Maybe it's because I'm just a nail-banger from NE OR, but I don't think I could figure out how to spend all that loot to get to be a Congressman.

Now, really. Isn't there something wrong with this picture? I don't mean the part about giving money, I mean the amounts and where it comes from. I don't suggest legislating against it, I suggest making it a waste of their money. Seriously, just tell the waldenbushes, "No!"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I 'll try to get this in some kind of order:
Deficit ,Iraq, Ohio vote called into question, Iraq, Social Security privatization, Iraq, Harriet, Iraq, Medicaid, Iraq FEMA, Iraq, Scooter, Iraq, Warrantless wiretaps, Iraq, Right to Die, Iraq, Abromoff, Iraq, Ney, Iraq, Cheney, Iraq, Cunningham, Iraq, DeLay, Iraq, Iran, Iraq, Deficit, Iraq, Afghasnistan, Iraq, Gasoline, Iraq, Goss, Iraq, Fogo, Iraq, Phone mining, Iraq;
George Walker Bush, Republican Senate, Republican House, waldenbush, thank you so very much.

For Pete's sake VOTE