exposed boob
I‘m impatient to get on with the important job of rebuilding the American civil state once we’ve dumped Bush. It will take at least a generation to undo and recover from the damage that this incompetent and reactionary regime has inflicted on the world in four short years. And I’m not entirely comfortable that corporatist interests and power elites aren’t so well entrenched in the political and economic fabric of America that even an enlightened Democratic president can make quick or significant progress once he takes power. Even worse, the disgraceful gerrymandering of Congressional districts has virtually guaranteed Republicans will retain control over the House indefinitely, essentially rendering that body undemocratic, with all that entails for a country that alleges it is trying to encourage (and sometimes impose) democracy on other countries.

But the immediate task at hand is to get rid of Bush, and we can worry about all these other problems once that’s done. So from the perspective of an outsider, here’s my advice for the Democratic party and their nominee to accomplish that goal:

  1. Keep your eye on the moderate and ‘swing’ voters and the ‘swing’ states. This election, incredibly, is going to be close. Continue to use high-profile, popular speakers like Michael Moore (people who can actually get media attention even though they aren’t running for office) to do the ‘dirty work’: Calling Bush a deserter and hammering home the evidence of his moral weaknesses: his early drug arrests, his open bragging about how his father’s connections got him out of military duty, his refusal to take an army medical, his army AWOL record. Moderates and ‘swing’ voters will vote against a coward, a liar, a braggart, a user, before they will vote for any issue. And keep harping on Bush’s disgraceful treatment of American soldiers: failure to even mention them in the State of the Union, under-equipping them for life-threatening situations, cutting their pay and veterans’ benefits. But this dirty work is not the job of the nominee or candidates, who should be focused on their agenda. Now that Wesley Clark has dropped out, he can help by going on the full-throttle offensive before the media lose interest in him. And the Democrats should definitely pick a VP from a swing state, not another sure-to-lose Southern state.
  2. Get the vote out. More than anything else, the corporatist agenda of the Bush regime has been to discourage individuals from believing they have any power as citizens, and to render them meek and subservient consumers. The election will be won by the side that can overcome that sense of futility, indifference and helplessness enough to get more of their people to the voting booth.
  3. Try to get the electorate mad about the domestic situation. This won’t be easy: Most Americans tend to blame themselves, not the government, when they’re unemployed or underemployed. They don’t understand that the Bush deficits are ruinous to the economy and will condemn their children to enormous struggle to find work and to pay these irresponsible debts off, so there’s no point in even talking about this issue, critical as it is. But connecting the Bush corporatists to outsourcing and offshoring, to an elitist and inadequate health care system, and an equally elitist and bankrupt education system, should work — these are issues people understand and relate to personally, and they’re Bush’s fault. I’d also like to believe that Americans can be angered about Bush’s ghastly environmental record and his outrageous gifts of public property to his private friends — but sadly I don’t believe that’s a critical issue this time.
  4. Prepare people for the worst in Iraq and Afghanistan. This will be even harder. No one wants to hear, or believe, that the massively expensive and globally unpopular invasion and occupation of these countries was an almost complete waste of money, reputation and human life. But it was, and this summer the situation there is going to get really, really ugly. Bush will use this to divert attention from domestic and personal issues and ask voters to give him time to ‘complete the job’ overseas. Democrats need to prepare people now for the inevitability of further Middle-East crises, and preclude Bush from using this tactic. Very difficult. Absolutely essential.
  5. Come up with two or three really innovative programs. Americans love new and bold ideas, and haven’t heard any in a long time. But these need to be actions, not slogans. Example: Joe Biden has proposed that America build and operate 1000 new schools in Afghanistan and Iraq. The cost of this is negligible by US budget standards, but the symbolic value of doing so would be enormous. And terrorists cannot win by killing schoolchildren. Another example: An across-the-board 20% rollback of prescription and OTC drug prices. Pharma companies have an average ROI that is 30% higher than other industries, and now outsource all new drug development risks to small biotech firms, so they could easily afford it. They wouldn’t like it. Voters would love it.
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  1. kuros says:

    very nicethank you

  2. Raging Bee says:

    “Continue to use high-profile, popular speakers like Michael Moore…”How about honest, believable public speakers? Michael Moore is a well-known liar who doesn’t even bother to justify his lies anymore. We won’t win any votes with that buffoon, even if he were to start shaving and dressing like he cared how he looked. (Notice how much good he did for Clark?)”…the massively expensive and globally unpopular invasion and occupation of these countries was an almost complete waste of money, reputation and human life…”Some Kurds and Shiites in Iraq, and a bunch of Afghans who didn’t like having their country used as a base for acts of war against powerful nations who did them no wrong, might beg to differ. The parents and loved ones of the US soldiers actually doing the work might also disagree. It’s years too soon to tell whether these operations were a success or a failure.”An across-the-board 20% rollback of prescription and OTC drug prices.”Ronald Reagan, in one of the few lucid moments of his entire career, had this to say about price controls: “Price controls haven’t worked since the time of Diocletian – and I’m old enough to know.”

  3. Raging Bee says:

    I notice that people on the left waste a lot of breath demanding “new ideas” and “really innovative programs,” but rarely, if ever, come up with any themselves. Most of the really new and helpful ideas – like drugs and electric auto engines that work – come from the evil profiteering corporate scumbags whom leftists love to hate.

  4. Ivan says:

    Dave, you’re right on the money with regards to picking a veep who can carry a swing state. The media is busy sending mash notes to John Edwards at the present time, but if Kerry–who appears to have in the ag-bay–tagged someone like Gephardt, the Dems would have a chance to pick up states like Missouri (natch), Ohio, West Virginia, and one or two others.

  5. Steve says:

    I have been one of the voices advocating Edwards for VP, mostly for his likeability factor. But I can see how Gephardt might be the better choice.

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    In case there is any doubt, ‘Raging Bee’ is the new moniker of ‘Dave the Pony Tailed Writer’.

  7. You forgot two important things. First, give heartily to our candidate. Money is access in politics, and money wins. Don’t let the big corporations be the only ones to give.Second, get out from behind the computers and participate! Go to a rally, volunteer on a campaign (it’s easy, even if you’ve never done it before, and there is always something useful for you to do), make sure democratic leaning people are registered to vote ( and get to the polls, call conservative talk shows and tell them why you are voting against Bush, etc, etc. Organize!

  8. Redza says:

    This is probably “off topic”, but someone told me: “It’s only innovative when it fulfills a need.”What do you say to something like that? (I don’t quite agree with that statement that you have to have a need before innovating. Sometimes, innovation creates a new need for something, either products or services.)Just getting ideas here. (Thanks.)

  9. Dave Pollard says:

    Globalize: Absolutely. My list wasn’t intended to list everything that needs to be done, and was really aimed at the party ‘machinery’ rather than the grassroots, which is actually doing rather well already.Redza: I agree with the hypothesis (in fact I’ve voiced it on these pages). I think there are many needs, such as a need to reinvent US foreign policy in a demonstrable way, and a need to help Americans deal with health and education costs at a time when the government coffers are empty. My examples in point 5, and any other innovations that have a hope of getting traction, need to respond to these deep-seated needs. Maybe we need to start by articulating exactly what the immediate needs are, especially those perceived by moderate and swing voters. I’m sure the pollsters for the Dems could do that fairly easily; some of them are quite obvious.

  10. Rayne says:

    There’s a movement afoot to try and build on our progressive new unity here in the U.S., to help the grassroots stay together and work building a new and better America regardless which candidate becomes the Dem nominee. It will be an umbrella organization, one that welcomes people of all campaigns, political parties and paths to build a community of like-minded progressive folks, those of us who believe in building a *greater democracy* than we’ve had in the recent past. I’ll be posting and disseminating information about the first Meetup event, expected in mid-March. In the mean time, I encourage you to continue to gather at any Democratic candidates’ campaign Meetups, to continue to help Dem candidates’ campaigns and to discuss the kinds of objectives and outcomes you’d like the Democratic nominee to tackle and/or any umbrella “unity” group to tackle. Be sure to spread the word around, ask others to watch for and join this unity effort.There are some heavy-hitters on board this movement from across multiple campaigns and other groups, working together right now to launch this effort; I sincerely hope we’ll be able to continue our work together and expand our reach, strengthen our impact for positive change. We have the power to build a better America, a greater democracy! Hope folks in Canada will be able to contribute as supporters in some way as we make progress.

  11. Dave Pollard says:

    Sounds great. There are many people living in Canada who are eligible to vote. They tend to be much more liberal than average (almost as many voted for Nader as for Bush in 2000). CommonCause is currently involved in a registration drive up here. If there’s anything we can do, at the design and development level, let me know and I’ll work with my Canadian network to make it happen.

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