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September 28, 2005

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Great job, 'Wheel.

You are absolutely right about impeachment. People REALLY need to get off that hobby horse for any number of reasons. More importantly, people have to understand that if the Dems return to power, it is because the people expect us/them to GOVERN, not to spend 2-4 years in payback. We need to undergo something like "the cleansing of the Shire" at the end of "Lord of the Rings", which would include a decent number of prosecutions. But the end must always be GOOD GOVERNMENT not political payback. And it must be oriented toward sturctural reforms that will make recovery possible.

To your list I would add (or amplify) the fact that these clowns were willing to take money from anyone--Saudis with ties to al Qaeda, Russian mobsters, Iranians, shady Israelis, mobsters, anyone. They consistently put Party above Country. Done dare to call it treason, to recoin a phrase, but at least we can call it graft on an unprecedented scale. And explain how all the skimming of tax dollars for cronies costs the American people in increases to their own taxes and cuts in bebefits and services.

These guys (DeLay, Norquist, Abramoff, Reed, the like) have to be made radioactive so that it is a liability to any GOP politician to be associated with them or take their money. That will help level the playing field.

Absolutely emphasize growing income inequality. There was an article in the SF Chronicle today about how it now takes $80,000 for a family to have a middle-class lifestyle in the Bay Area without a house or more than minimal vacations. People work harder than ever and are falling further and further behind while the top 5% (especially the top .5%) live ever more lavishly. The Dems need to get behind fair taxation (rich pay their fair share) and increases to the minimum wage, cutting payroll taxes but raising the salary cap etc.

And energy conservation. Real energy conservation. Higher CAFE standards to lower pump prices; more mass transit and more regional planning so people can live nearer their jobs.

I agree with your proposition that we need a sexy but clear narrative directed toward the middle and working class that voted Bush and the Republicans, and that essentially thinks of audience as faithful and conservative Christians who got eaten whole at Breakfast. What happened? and why didn't we know?

We've been through this before in American History -- and probably will again because for some reason our mix of cultures are prone to the wiles of the Confidence Man or the various shades of Elmer Gantry. And yes, they all eventually encounter the flaw that results in their downfall, but they sure do take a lot of folks security with them.

After FDR was elected in the 30's, we named many of the remains of the late Republican era things like "Hooverville" -- and we kept using the term for about 50 years. It worked -- it reminded people of lost dreams and all, and it kept folk suspicious of medicine man nostrums about the economy until Reagan came along with supply side theory on the back of a napkin -- and all too many people fell for it.

What say we start by calling refugee trailer parks "Bushvilles"? What else can we name?

Heck, if we had learned the role Poppy really had in Iran-Contra, we'd probably not have his son messing with our country right now!

Which, I've always thought, is why one of Bush's first actions in office was to reverse the regulations that presidential records had to be made public, making them effectively property of the ex-president rather than of the people.

This time around, we must refuse to back off our own

I agree, but that means require an additional strategy for countering the inevitable "there's no difference between the parties" BS.

This needs to be about corruption.

For political payback, they sell out in intelligence agent working on weapons that are a life-and-death matter to all of us.

For contractor profit, they sell out the military they profess to support, paying more for undelivered meals and mail, trucks that leave when it gets dangerous, while claiming it's for "private sector efficiency."

In order to give tax cuts to wealthy contributors, they cut the budget for flood control, emergency preparedness, and god knows what else that could be a matter of life and death for you or your family members.

In a game of "their money or your life", they'll choose their money every time.

Redshift,

From the time they did things that, given the perspective of history will appear clearly wrong, I have maintained one reason they were so intent on winning in 2000 was to bury Poppy's papers. I would bet there's more than what we suspect about Iran-Contra in there. Particularly when you go back to his CIA days.

I don't know what to do, but I do worry VERY hard about all these bad guys getting to skulk offstage in 2008 without our having publicized their villainy. Once Bush is out it will be very hard to "run against Bush" or even bring him up again. If we don't get our pound of flesh out now, make them pay a political price for all their crap, we'll be right back here in 2012 or 2016. And that scares me more than anything.

We have a very small window -- less than three years -- to define the Bush presidency and the R congress. We are in our least organized period in history, but we also have amazing new innernet tools. We've got to win the battle for short-term voter interpretation of the last five years, or we'll still be faced with a 45-45 nation, and we'll still have a slim majority in all chambers on the very best of days, and when we lose that, we'll be back to round two of this farce. And our country is barely strong enough to dig out of 2000-2008; I'm literally not sure we can handle another four or eight years under these guys out of the next sixteen.

The battle for the legacy is on. I hope.

Terrific post, nicely amplified by Mimikatz. My one quibble would be to ditch any focus on "minorities" (too many pitfalls, practical and ethical); "furriners" should do nicely.

On sacrificing our own, the "sweep it clean" party has to go where the dust bunnies are, in service to both virtue and politics: Newt pushed the House Bank scandal even though it snagged some Republicans (himself included, IIRC).

This -- "Impeachment won't work because it will allow the Republican party to publicly cleanse itself of its guilt" -- is beautiful. I've touched on this in a more general way in other threads here, but you hit it perfectly: there's nothing more important than making sure the whole malign movement is well and truly vanquished. No escape hatches; no quarter.

Oh, yes, texasdem, that's what this has to be about. Any Republican who's ever given any support or cover to their party's pernicious agenda must be tarred with the Bush-era brush, which must stand for more than just Bush: he was just the figurehead chosen to front for the culmination of a decades-long program. On that score, emptywheel's prescription is more than a good start. The other half of the cure, of course, has to be the Dems' own agenda.

rj

Yes. You're right--and I apologize. Here's what I posted over at DKos in a cross-posted thread:

I regretted this statement...

Do I think it relevant that Douglas Feith was selling secrets to Jews and Harold Rhode was funnelling secrets through Chalabi to Iranians as opposed to, say, the British? Nope. But will some Reagan Democrats care they were selling secrets to, you know, "minorities"? You bet.

...during my whole walk. (Dog was wondering why I was so gloomy even though it was a magnificent fall day.)

It's not that I want to race bait. I'm just saying that this message will resonate for some people primarily in the context of their own fears. Yeah, I want to alleviate their fears by addressing the root cause of it, their fundamental insecurity (economic and otherwise). I want to educate them so their insecurities aren't expressed primarily in terms of race. But first, I want to 1) reclaim power and 2) make damn sure these nutcases can't come back and ruin America all over again. I guess I would appeal to their fear primarily by talking about selling secrets to enemies.

Selling secrets to enemies -- that's it. And I couldn't agree more with your general thrust: it's way past time we started playing hardball. And unlike the Republicans, we don't have to lie about our opponents or our own positions; we just have to grow some...finally.

This time around, we must refuse to back off our own.

I would add that this applies not only to Democratic politicians, but also to some of our nutty special interest groups, and to liberal government programs that just aren't working properly.

All that distrust of "liberals" and "big government" won't disappear just because one generation of Republicans screws things up. It may go away for a few years, but it'll come back. If we want to stay on top of the Republicans in the long term, we'll have to rebuild the public's trust, not just in the Democratic party, but in the idea that government can be a force for good. (Hopelessly idealistic, I know.)

Not hopelessly idealistic, YK -- essential! We MUST tackle exactly that, head-on; any chance a future Dem government might have of setting things right depends on it. In a small way, ridicule can help here...I think I've pushed this line here no fewer than three tiresome times recently, but it's actually working for me: Republicans who claim Katrina proves you can't depend on government are exactly like the guy who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy on the grounds that he's an orphan. I'm telling you, every time I've used it on a Republican (the first time spontaneously, in amazement and disgust) it's made them laugh, then mumble something indecipherable, then shut up. (The independents laugh, and then nod...)

We've got to reclaim the FDR legacy of pragmatic liberalism (see, for starters, DemFromCT's "freedom from fear" post of several weeks ago). The idea that government can be a force for good is an indispensible part of our message: the positive part of the one-two punch we need to execute, the other part of which emptywheel outlines here.

And YK, on "liberal government programs that just aren't working properly" -- at the risk of pulling this thread off its course, I think that's an important point: FDR was utterly flexible in his quest for what worked, not just what was theoretically beneficent (hence my use of "pragmatic liberal" above). And I've always maintained that much of the Dems' trouble in fending off the ascent of the right has been the refusal even to tweak anything, thereby giving the opposition some legitimate small targets that they happily blew up into "see? can't trust gummint!" Eyes on the prize -- always remember the goal.

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