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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Democratic Self-Examination
Eric Jaffa of MoveLeft Media asked the following question after the November 2 election:

Worse Than I Imagined
by Eric Jaffa
November 3, 2004

I realized the possibility that Republicans might keep the White House, the Senate, and the House.

But it didn't occur to me that Republicans might do all that, and actually gain seats in both the Senate and the House.

What do you think we did wrong?

What is your opinion of the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort?

What should we do differently next time?

There have been numerous responses of varying quality (I won't quote the one that includes "homophobic alcoholic" in its contents). Here are some of the better ones:

Kansas Blue Dog, November 4, 2004 8:58 AM
I don't know that anything went wrong per-se. Move right is not the answer, though I personally am mostly pro-life...there have to be exceptions for exceptional situations. In future campaigns, "Right to choose" could be more softly worded and not an issue of emphasis anyway.

This time, we have to get organized earlier (like yesterday)and work harder. Too much of the US map is comprised of red states. The Dems are not reaching-out effectively to the entire South or Midwest...big problem....

Start with the message in the center, and move it left gradually.

Get vocal...now. Dems need to unify as a party and get together on the message of the day. There will be disillusion with this pres. and his agenda; people have voted against their own economic interests and against the best interests of this country as a whole. As this begins to manifest, let's just be there...to support, to open up...not to rub their faces in it. We already know that they are good at responding to criticism with denial; look at what just happened.

Three point plan: (1) Dig the dirt and save it up for campaign situations (surprise...!) Don't worry, there is plenty of dirt to dig. Hypocricy is a big compost heap! (2) Gather good and reliable demographic information and the most compelling stories to match the most common problems.

(3) Demonstrate effectively how the policies of this administration have created or exacerbated these most common problems.

Dems.--Get your best and brightest. Leave no stone unturned here...get people to work. Ask for volunteers and be specific: what, when and maybe how. Lots of people want to help, but they don't know where to begin.
Barry, November 4, 2004 10:55 AM
You can't sell Hate. People aren't willing to commit to someone who's primary message is the other guy is doing everything wrong. They want to know specifics on how you will make things better. The problem is the Democratic party is very divided on many issues, the only thing they could unify on is their Hate for G.W. So, while they were able to unify the Dems with that message of "Hate Bush" It had a negative effect on Independents and undecideds and in fact also turned off some Dems.
sadpike, November 4, 2004 12:06 PM
Stop...can you people please understand most of America are country bumpkins. We don't have to understand quantum physics or in-depth political science for whatever technical quasi point to be made. HERE it is MOST of Americans are reasonable people (Both Democrats & Republicans) The Elitist have come to roost in the leadership of the Democratic Party. The Republicans also have elitist attidudes from time to time, however, the "common man" are more and more so finding the Agenda of the far-left not very appealing. The power is in the middle and like it or not the republicans are closer to the middle.
notsoliberaldemocrat, November 4, 2004 12:52 PM
Here in the Bible belt, people don't think a Christian can be a Democrat. Even my son caught flack at school from a frend who learned his dad was a registered Democrat. Kids say, if you're a Democrat, you're gay because they support gay rights. Sunday morning I came out of church to find anti-abortion flyers under my car windsheild calling to support Republicans. It is preached from the pulpit to "vote of God's values, God is pro-life. God intended a man and woman to be married."

This may make some people mad, but churches around here got serious.

Because they feel like Christian values are under fire and they got pro-active.

It is my opinion that as long as the Democratic party is polarized so far to the left it will continue to lose ground.

One reason Bill Clinton got elected the first time was because he was more moderate. The Republicans already have a edge because they are against gays, abortion and taxes. They like guns, killing and feeling superior to everyone else. Most of the people I know are the same way and relate to them.

I know this is not the place to say quit being so liberal, but if Democrats want to appeal to the overall population we have to consider it. Go Hilary!
Barry, November 4, 2004 2:19 PM
The Point is you need to be able to take a stance in order for people to support you. You can't just say the other guy sucks.

Can anyone tell me where Kerry stands on Gay Marriage? He doesn't support it, but he doesn't support creating any laws or taking any action to show his disapproval. Why? Because he knows that the party is split on the issue. On the other hand Bush also doesn't support Gay Marriage and has no problem acting on that. why? because his supporters are very clear on where they stand on this issue and so he doesn't have to worry about pissing off a large segment of his conservative base.

While I agree with most that this particular issue is irrelevant in the big picture, it is a perfect example of an issue (one of many) that the Democratic party is confused about.
Philip Shore (manager@americansupermart.com), http://www.americansupermart.com, November 4, 2004 4:37 PM
If I had to do it over again, I would of never voted for Clinton whom I considered a Republican-Democrat.To me JFK was the greatest American president ever.

And his speech What is a Liberal?is and was the most powerful political message of the 20th century.

JFK speech 1960 http://www.cjnetworks.com/~cubsfan/whatis.html

The past is prologue.I think with the Democratic Party renouncing officially the liberalism of JFK and thus my liberalism, and turning to Republicanism, that it will be the end of the Democratic party as we know it. Most of the local dems will get bribed (excuse me receive large sums of influence money to shift to the Republicans) especially in swing states in the future.If you think the 2000 Selection was bad wait until 2008.

I am of the opinion that the Dems will not be voted in power by the people electing a president until around the year 2074.

All the judges on the bench vote Republian Democrat anyway,so it does not matter if the next 4 Bush will pick on the Supreme Court. Most people I think know the courts have not had liberalism minded judges for around 20 or 30 years now.

The Democratic Party is over Democracy is dead it died in Bush v. Gore 2000.


Big Al, Newark, DE, November 4, 2004 9:57 PM
Eric, To answer your question, Kerry could have been more conservative on the way he proposed his tax strategy. That probably scared a lot of people. Better that he had focused on a realistic plan to save Social Security or a military strategy that was better than Bush had, not some dumb remarks about how he would form a better relationship with France and Germany. Kerry kept saying he had a plan for just about everything. After awhile with no specifics forthcoming, it became a joke.
Brian (wgardi@yahoo.com), BR/LA, November 4, 2004 11:36 PM
I am a fairly left of center guy and I got pissed when Ashton Kucher was screaming down the president on TV. The '70's Show's biggest idiot as a mouthpiece for my party. If I was dead center that may have been enough to turn me. Kerry really needed about 20 minutes of commercials and paper ads explaining who he is and how he was going to do it. Just a damn shame, nothing against W. but I'd sure like to see Edwards as his vice, that guy had a vision. Howard Dean should have been the one shouting the pres down. More shots of Kerry at play and more about his family. People like Bush so the attacks slid off. People did not know Kerry so they stuck. I hope we make the correct choices in 06 and 08 of I fear the true democratic party will fall off the left side of the spectrum forever.
Tim, New York, NY, November 5, 2004 8:37 AM
One reason I believe, among many, why Kerry lost is his association with "entertainers". I voted for Kerry, but I found his loss to be bittersweet. Ashton, Garafolo, and Springsteen are hardly qualified to pontificate on matters like the economy and world diplomacy. I don't mind endorsements, but they need to keep their simple-minded judgements to themselves. They insult my intellect. That's not to say I want to hear Toby Keith either. At least Bush keeps his distance from him. The democrats, first, need to clarify their message. Secondly, they need a more intelligent vessel to deliver it. Air America, as a journalistic entity, is about as credible as Fox News. However, at least Fox has people with journalism degrees or REAL governmental experience.
babyyo, Chatt., Tn, November 5, 2004 1:05 PM
We are truly a house divided and I believe the best idea would be to split the party. The far-left is keeping democrats from getting elected. I really like the Progressive party idea. Even thoughI would definitely fall into the Progressive category, I don't suffer any illusions that a Prgressive will be elected in my lifetime. Democrats might reclaim some moderates and certainly much more of the youth vote. The two party system just does not work for progress in America.
frustrated, Kansas City, MO., November 5, 2004 2:01 PM
I wish an election was no longer based on canidates picking at each others downfalls and "flip flops", and stick to their core beliefs for running. What ever happened to an election that was about what you were going to do, and not what the other guy is not going to do. Left or right, they were going back and forth the duration of the election, this election was petty which no one can deny. Personally I hope that all those who voted for Bush knew why they voted and can stand behind him when he runs us into the ground in the next 4 years.
Little guy, Las Vegas, NV, November 5, 2004 2:12 PM
What does the Democratic party stand for? They used to stand for the "little guy". From what I've seen over the past four years, the emphasis has moved from the representing the little guy to "Bush is dumb". What an inspirational message!

It doesn't help that the spokespeople for the democratic party are out of touch with Joe American. What does Barbara Streisand know about the needs of everyday americans? Has George Clooney ever had to roll pennies to make the rent?

The party needs (1) a relevant message, and (2) credible spokespeople.
Steve, Richmond, VA, November 5, 2004 2:43 PM
Harry Reid illustrates the problem perfectly. Now, the head Democrat in the Senate is anti-choice and pro-gun. The Democrats are worthless, corporate-loving, spineless bastards who are nothing more than moderate Republicans. I have never in my life voted for Nader, so don't pin that on me. I belong to my local Democratic committee and have always voted Dem. Enough of those losers. One thing Bush said was true- Kerry was as pro-war as Leiberman until he saw how popular Howard Dean's message was. Then, Kerry spent the entire campaign explaining why he voted for war. Say what you want, but he could never explain that or shake it off. He ran a lackluster, wishy-washy, conservative campaign and ran away like a little girl whenever someone used the word "liberal." That is what went wrong, my friend, and that is why the Democrats are as worthless as tits on a bull.
babyyo, Chatt. TN, November 5, 2004 5:29 PM
The democrats are also going to have to do better at pointing out the moral implications of our policies. For instance, health care for all Americans could be promoted as a Christian cause. After all, Jesus was the original doctor without borders. Welfare and tax reform could also be put in a religious perspective because anti-materialism is one of the tenets of Christianity. Of course, don't ask me how anyone who has ever read the New Testement could ever support the war. Does anyone else see the lack of religion, even non-denominational, alienating to some.

I suppose some of you have heard the allegations brought forth by blackbox.org. Maybe we really do just need to fix our elections to get a democrat in office. Check out the site if you're suspicious of fraud like me.
new jersey progressive, November 5, 2004 10:26 PM
True, Kerry had no message beyond "I can do better" and "I can get the rest of the world to help us win the war on terror." Of course, anyone could have done better than Bush (his own party knows that); But Kerry failed because he did not communicate our "values" is it moral to lie about why we are going to war? is it moral to give tax cuts to billionaires while thousands are losing their jobs? Is it moral to leave millions of children without medical care? Is it moral to abandon research that stands to cure diseases like diabetes? This election showed the moral bankruptcy of our religious institutions as much as anything. All these preachers who supported Bush should be ashamed of themselves. They are as corrupt as Halliburton and all of the rest. Many of us everyday Democrats support the little guy against the big interests. We were severely let down by our candidate. Sadly, we will all suffer. But I say: let the Republicans have their rope. Let's see what they do. If it continues as it has for the last four years, even the corrupt ministers and corporate types won't be voting with the right next time!

There's much more; this is only a sample.

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