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March 10, 2006


I love this part:

Stung by criticism, senior officials at the White House and the RNC are reminding GOP members of Congress that Bush's approval ratings may be low, but theirs is lower and have declined at the same pace as Bush's. The message to GOP lawmakers is that criticizing the president weakens him _ and them _ politically.

They'll all hang separately because they all hung together.

And for the "oh, but the Democrats are divided" crowd:

All this has Republican voters like Walter Wright of Fairfax Station, Va., worried for their party.

"We've gotten so carried away I wouldn't be surprised to see the Democrats take it because of discontent," he said. "People vote for change and hope for the best."

good news is sort of against my nature

but I was heartened to see a Congressman from California openly call for withdrawal from Iraq a couple days ago

first one from California (amazingly enough)

a start

None of this disillusionment on the part of citizens is going to work to elect Democrats in 2006 unless we make certain that the voting machines throughout the country are leaving a paper record of votes. This is why everyone of you who cares about the future of this country and the preservation of our sacred right to vote and have our votes counted, accurately, should be calling your local supervisors of elections, as I did, yesterday, and holding them to account by asking if the machines being used have this paper record, as well as what safeguards they are using to protect the machines from tampering.

The mechanics of the vote are as important as the sentiment behind the vote. Hold their feet to the fire!

The finding that most Americans don't think Bush cares about "people like me" should be a key building block in the Dems' message. There are a number of key budget votes coming up, particularly on the tax side. The Estate Tax may be dead until after the midterms (or even until 2009, when it really will need to be fixed) but the extension of the dividend tax cut is on the table again, and of course a fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax. Only one is possible at all, and ought to be offset with other revenue.

The GOP really cares only about a tiny sliver of the population--the top 1%. maybe just the top .1%, who have seen their incomes rise astronomically while everyone else treads water or worse. The Dems really need to make peace with their populist roots and capitalize on these issues. It isn't "class warfare," it is "caring about people like you." And the Dems are in a far, far better position to make that argument, if they will jsut screw up their courage and do it.


You're right, but we've got ground to make up before we can get into just "care about people like you." When I was in SC a few days before the 2004 election, I met only 2 kinds of voters: religious conservatives, and libertarian conservatives. The couple my family and I had MOST in common with were working poor (they work two jobs, a middle-of-the-night office cleaning job and a drive 200+ miles a day to clean portajohns job) racists (though secular and not terribly xenophobic and therefore very welcoming to me and my white in-laws). They were going to vote for Bush because, "If I win the lottery some day, I don't want Democrats to take my money." Whether it's TV or something else, the notion that an honest laborer ought to be able to provide for her family has been replaced, in a lot of places, by the elusive promise that some day you might strike it rich. That is, I think the American dream has shifted away from the middle class dream to the ultra rich dream.

There are a lot of elusive voters in places like SC, but we will have an easier time in places like NC and MO. People smarter than I will have to figure out how to pitch the message, but it sounds from these polls like much more than a majority does feel that Bush doesn't care about people like them. The Dems have to develop a narrative embodying their ability to do something for these folks to translate those feelings into votes. I really think there is a majority out there for whom terrorism and fear don't trump everything, and it grows as we get farther from 9/11. And local issues are more important in congressional races than the presidency.

But I'm a congenital optimist.

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