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Reposted from Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. by Ojibwa

Brand new Buzzwords like:

"common-sense, center-right, and competence" ...

[...] What that leaves the GOP is an opportunity to reformulate its center-right coalition in time for the next presidential race, when not only the policies but the spirit of Obamaism -- government by brute force and nasty partisanship -- will be on the ballot.

How do they do this?

First, by rejecting governance by bullying and by inflaming the base, the Republicans can earn the trust of the country as a whole [...]

Recall how Republicans won the Senate -- good candidates, focused on a common-sense agenda. The real payback is another big win at the polls. Democrats have show[n] that so long as they hold either house or the presidency, there is only strife and chaos. Now Republicans must show they are fully capable of running the show until Democrats come to their senses.

The best revenge for the GOP is victory
by Jennifer Rubin, -- Nov 21, 2014
-- Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

Beware of Republicans expecting:

"bipartisan agreement" ... aka in GOP-land as 'simple surrender' ...

“By any objective standard the president got crushed in this election,” Mr. McConnell said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting. “So I’ve been perplexed by the reaction since the election, the sort of in your face dramatic move to the left. I don’t know what we can expect in terms of reaching bipartisan agreement.”

Mr. McConnell said he has no objection to negotiating with the White House and gets along with Mr. Obama.

“We don’t have any personal problems,” he said. “There is however a deep philosophical difference.”

McConnell ‘Perplexed’ by Obama’s Reaction to Midterm ‘Butt Kicking’
by Jeffrey Sparshott, -- Dec 2, 2014

Beware of Republicans who want to explain away, their last six years of stone-walling filibusters as:

"non-personal ... philosophical differences"  ...  

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Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee recently launched The Big Ideas project.

 photo big_ideas_project_zps61936bbd.jpg

At this site, people like you and me can submit ideas we have for a better country. It's a great idea.

Some ideas from the current front page include:

  • Debt-free college
  • A law to regulate out-of-district money in elections
  • Full employment
  • A basic income guarantee
  • Reversing Citizens' United
  • Expanding social security
  • Etc.

The trouble I have is that I want all of these things. I don't just want to focus on one or two.

I want major change. So I asked myself the question: What's holding us back from major change?

I believe the biggest thing that's holding us back from doing these things is a corporate special interest group idea. It's the idea that government should serve the interests of corporations and this will, in turn, be good for everyone.

I know, crazy right? But a lot of people have bought into this notion because it has been sold to us as "freedom" in the form of smaller government.

The corporate special interest marketing and educational campaign has been so successful, in fact, that it dominates public discussion and opinion to the point where I don't think we're going to get anything on the PCCC's wonderful big ideas list until we can convince more people that there's a better way.

That is, the proposals on the big idea list make sense to us because we believe in a different definition of our country. We believe our country is a democracy that should start with people and we believe freedom is about opportunity and shared prosperity.

All the policies at the big ideas site make sense to us because of these beliefs. The problem is they don't and won't make sense to many, many people unless we first revive ideas about democracy.

This is why my big idea is about how to revive democracy and make possible more of the policy ideas on the big ideas list.

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Wed Dec 03, 2014 at 11:07 AM PST

The role of the mind in politics

by don mikulecky

Reposted from don mikulecky by akadjian

George Lakoff has an interview:  George Lakoff: In Politics, Progressives Need to Frame Their Values that makes some very important points.  The inability to understand what he is saying is, to me, a form of denial.   Those who fail to understand these scientific points are very much like the anti-science types on the right that are so often criticized.

Cognitive science is relatively new among the science areas that study the mind.  The approach is often met with the usual backlash to new progressive ideas.   Science has its  deniers as well.

Read on below we can explore these new ideas together.


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Reposted from NellBell03 by Ojibwa

Like the title of this entry why should I have to be ashamed of being what I have been called a liberal...which ultimately means why should I be ashamed of being a Democrat? More often then I like actually my Republican friends have said things like "It's only because you are young that you are Democrat, you will learn." or "Why are you a liberal?" To "You will learn and become a Republican."  One of my Republican friends has even asked me "I bet you would vote for him again wouldn't you?" (Like it was a bad thing). I hate to break it to my Republican friends no it's not because I am young, I am a liberal because I am a proponent for social change and I believe all men are created equal...hmm where have a seen that phrase before? I hate to tell you that in high school I did in fact register Republican and then I learned and registered Democrat and a proud one at that! And yes in fact I would vote for President Obama again! It is just too bad that they have a term limit, but if you would like to know that if I have it my way I will be voting for Hillary and am very proud of that! But hey that's just me.

Here is what Webster's Dictionary has as the definition of Liberal, (yes I did indeed look it up.)

 1lib·er·al adjective ˈli-b(ə-)rəl\
: believing that government should be active in supporting social and political change : relating to or supporting political liberalism

Liberal : of or belonging to the liberal political party in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom

: not opposed to new ideas or ways of behaving that are not traditional or widely accepted

By that definition I wouldn't be ashamed to be called a liberal.  That being said I have always been someone who wanted things to be fair, and always told my guy friends that just because I was a girl didn't mean I couldn't do what they can.  I believe in women's rights and that we should be treated equally and fairly.  I have also always been someone that has cheered for the underdog and that they were treated dignity and respect as well.  So I am sitting here writing this coming to the conclusion that it is a very respectable thing to be considered a liberal.  

This also just came to me as I was reading the definition of liberal again.  Especially the part that says "not opposed to new ideas or ways".  This may be a stretch but in his time Abraham Lincoln was probably considered a liberal especially when it came to freeing the slaves, I am sure that there were many who opposed that type of change.  And yes I know that he was a Republican but what one needs to remember that those who were Republican back then would more than likely be Democrats today.  I have told a couple of my Republican friends this and they shudder at the thought, but if you look at what each party stood for back then it is true, back in the 1800s I probably would have been a Republican and my Republican friends would have been Democrat.  (this is just something to think about).

I guess what I am trying to say is that if someone calls you a liberal and they want you to be ashamed of that don't be because it is a good thing and it brings about change no matter how slow or how little it comes it does happen.

Reposted from AndySchmookler by Ojibwa

On Tuesday, just before my Thanksgiving travels began, I posted a piece on the website Blue Virginia titled One Thing I Know about Ferguson. I posted version of the same thing on my Facebook page, and a Tea Party guy of my acquaintance reposted it under the caption, "Andy Schmookler attempts to further dumb down the left."

On the comments thread on Blue Virginia, I made mention of the "discussion" that then ensued, involving a variety of this fellow's political allies, and I described some of what was manifest there as disturbing. That led to some conversation involving several of us as to whether there was anything much "new" going on in the American body politic or if it is now just more visible thanks to the Internet or what.

My view is that quite possibly we are looking at a profound and dangerous development in a segment of American consciousness. Not everyone saw it that way, but as I was unable to provide people with access to that material, the discussion was handicapped. I'll provide it now.

First, my piece was very careful to make a single point that did not take sides as to the facts of the shooting and as to whether a proper grand jury process would or would not have indicted Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown. My piece, rather, was a criticism of the Missouri officials -- the prosecutor, and the governor -- for how they handled the process.

Of those officials, I wrote:

We don't need to know anything about the shooting to know that the officials in charge here failed to serve the public interest.

Their priority should have been to conduct the process in such a way as to maximize the chance that everyone would have confidence in its integrity and fairness. They didn't even try.

That should have been their priority because taking care not to damage the larger society by exacerbating a major fault line is what has been most important all along...

That would have meant bringing in a special prosecutor, of unquestioned integrity, in charge of the investigation and the grand jury process.

That was it.

Here's one of the first responses that it got on that Facebook page.

Andy, your kidding right? If your not your either stupid or foolish or just pandering to the left. You guys on the left and you race baiters are trying to gin up some racist issues that were settled over 50-60 years ago. I am tired of being blamed for slavery when NONE of my family supported and some of them bled and died for during the civil war. Most of the crime within the black community is black on black and the thug mentality that the rap culture portrays seems to bolster this view. Its sad we should be coming together as a country. When black witnesses tell the grand jury exactly what the cop said seems to me to be a slam dunk. But of course if he was indited then the grand jury did its job. We either have a system of laws or we don't, mob justice cannot and should not be allowed to prevail. What do you want to do not have a trial, throw a rope over a tree and put the cop on a horse and a noose around his neck and slap the horses rump, is that what you wanted? That is sure the way the black agitators wanted it to be. We should be ONE NATION, PERIOD.
One issue that arises for me is the question I put to that gentleman:
How did you get from anything in my piece to this idea you bring up of "mob rule." Or were you fully aware that that whole ugly image (a lynch mob) had absolutely nothing to do with anything I was saying, but chose to bring it up anyway just to rile people up?
Either way I find that disturbing.

If he did believe that he was responding to my argument, that reveals a failure of "reading comprehension" so huge that I'd fail a 9th grader for such a misunderstanding. Then the question would be, how did a guy who is not stupid get to be so "stupid" in interpreting what my piece was saying. And on that point, I would venture that this manifests someone so caught up in his ugly passions of hatred that he has been disabled from dealing with reality in any remotely healthy way.

And don't we see a lot of that on the right? Wouldn't this be a sign of something really sick and twisted and destructive that's come into the American political process far more than we have seen it historically?

Alternatively, if he knew full well that he was distorting my argument and was giving himself permission to pervert the discussion into an occasion to whip up the worst, Limbaugh-like emotions of outrage, and contempt, and racism, and a fury to make war on the "other side," then that is disturbing, too.

Don't we also see a lot of that on the right, too, an irresponsibility in the political conflict that goes way, way beyond how politics was conducted even in the hayday of Goldwater and Reagan?

Similar questions arose around a comment from a different fellow. I had just posted a comment on that thread, saying:

My whole premise is that we want to conduct things in such a way as to make our nation as healthy and harmonious as possible, to avoid unnecessarily wounding it. But perhaps that's the sticking point here.

One really has to wonder whether making things better is a goal of some segments of our body politic.

Somehow, this created the occasion for this other fellow to comeback with this:

So you should indict an innocent party just so you don't rile up an ethic group, willing to burn down their own and their neighbor's property....PASS
Once again, I expressed uncertainty about whether he was speaking his true mind:
Do you really believe I said ANYTHING like that? REALLY? Point to one sentence from me that says he should have been indicted.

Because I have seen you as smarter than that, I must wonder if you are speaking in good faith.

I was uncertain, then, and I remain uncertain-- neither of those guys ever responded to the question I posed to them about whether they really believed that what they were saying was a responsible reply to my argument that they were so grotesquely distorting.

Nor did I get any response from a question that I posed them by which I sought to get a genuine engagement on the issue I was raising in the piece:

Do you agree that it was important to do things in a way that would maximize the chance that everyone would believe in the integrity of the process, no matter what the outcome?

Do you agree that a great many people -- either rightly or wrongly-- do not believe that now?

Do you agree that decisions were made that quite predictably assured that this lack of confidence would accompany a decision -- whether that decision is right or wrong -- not to indict?

That is my whole argument. What in it do you think is mistaken?

What does this mean? I believe that we are here getting a glimpse of something profound that has happened to our country. I believe that we have a subculture that has been cultivated in our country over the past generation or so that basically makes a healthy democracy impossible.

A healthy democracy requires that people be able to talk over their disagreements and come to solutions that meet the needs of the nation and help it grow in good directions.

How can one accomplish that when one of the main forces at work in the political realm is caught up with the spirit we see on those comments-- full of the spirit of war, and completely disconnected from reality? [see Note below]

Yes, ugliness of this sort has always been around. But I think that is a mistake to see that continuity as the central truth, rather than some profound discontinuity that has developed in the American political system. That discontinuity is the rise to considerable power of what I am calling an "evil force," a rise during which that force has taken over the political right, and made one of our two major political parties an instrument of its destructive purposes.

Here's how I described how I see it on a comment on that earlier Blue Virginia thread:

I agree that this kind of ugly and irrational stuff has always been there. But I believe, though I would not know how to prove it, that there is another element in the picture.

The issue is not whether the phenomenon is new, but whether it has become a larger part of the national picture. For a variety of reasons -- the dark force that's taken over the right, including the rise of things like Fox News and Limbaugh, and as you say the Internet -- we have an interconnected subculture that has been fostering and fomenting some of the darker aspects of the American mind.

Through the workings of collective processes, pushed along by dark forces, what was once a fringe craziness of the John Birch sort has become a powerful part of one of our two major parties.

Likewise, at the grassroots level, people whose parents might have been, say, 5% caught up in political craziness have developed together a set of crazy doctrines and destructive habits of thought and feeling that occupy a controlling portion of their political consciousness.

Two lessons here that seem salient to me, if I'm right about this:

1) The power of collective cultural processes to mold people's consciousness (thought and feeling) is enormous, and should be kept in mind as we consider what's happening in our country. (I find myself amazed at how fragile rationality turns out to be.)

2) It is of vital importance that we be alert not only to new things that arise, but also to dramatic shifts in the proportions of things, which can usher in major changes in a society using only old ingredients.  

Our nation is in serious trouble. If my perceptions are correct, we have had a significant portion of our fellow citizens enculturated into a mindset that cripples our democracy, and results in our nation evolving in all sort of directions that are contrary to our values. (On plutocracy, on climate disruption, on what spirit is manifested in our political process.)

This is dangerous, and it is important that we perceive the nature of what it is that we're fighting against: the thing that produces those ugly responses to my Ferguson piece is the same thing that gave us official torture promoted from the very top of the American government, that gave us the Citizens United disgrace, that entitled a political party to make the failure of the president its top priority in a time of national crisis.

It is ugly. It is far more dangerous than almost anyone seems to be recognizing. And it must be fought and defeated.

See the evil. Call it out. Press the battle.


Note from above:

* To a supportive commenter that had come into the conversation through my Facebook page, and whom I'd gotten to know when I was running for Congress, I wrote:

We are dealing here with a frame of mind in which, among other things, reality is not given the kind of respect that some of us were raised and educated to give it.

Someone here claims that the grand jury did its job just fine. How he or anyone else can know that beats me. Grand jury proceedings are secret. Is it because he likes the result that he "knows" that. Is it because whatever he wants to be true must be true?

I don't know if they did there job right or came to the right conclusion. But one acknowledges one's ignorance only if one has the intellectual discipline it takes to work toward the truth.

I would bet that these same people "know" that climate change is no big deal. And "know" that Benghazi IS a big deal.

Truth, for one of our present political subcultures, consists of whatever serves one's agenda.

Reposted from akadjian by Ojibwa

Earlier this week, I posted an article about abortion conversations that generated a great deal of discussion.

Here, I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments and highlight some of the amazeness.

The title quote about judgments came from vcmvo2's comment about a couple who had to end a pregnancy to save the mom-to-be from a heart defect.

 photo dolores_umbridge_550_zps9671d184.jpg

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Reposted from Bob S by Ojibwa

“ That's a bunch of garbage,” Graham said. “That's a complete bunch of garbage.” This quote from Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina on the report that came out from his own party that was investigating Benghazi found nothing much to fault the administration's handling of the incident. This is a symptom of ignoring facts, and sticking with conspiracies theories that fit into his warped sense of reality.  Senator Graham is not alone in this thinking.  Fox News; Limbaugh, Will, Gingrich, and assorted right-wing wing-nuts fit into this category. They choose not to believe anything that doesn't fit into their perception of what is right and wrong.  

This phenomenon isn't anything new.  You can find instances of this throughout history.
 In President Kennedy's time a congressman from Texas denounced President Kennedy on the house floor for assuming “almost unlimited power” and using “dictatorial tactics.” The right-wing also said that Kennedy's use of executive orders that by-pass Congress would transform our Republic into a dictatorship.

 When the Affordable Care Act was proposed you heard about all kinds of things that could happen, including death panels.  When Medicare was proposed the same term was used, of course that never happened, but it doesn't  stop the right-wing of doing it again.
Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater two of the icons of right-wing thinking had this to say about Medicare.

 Ronald Reagan: “If you don't [stop Medicare] and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in America when men were free.” 1961

Barry Goldwater:  “Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink.”

It's obvious that these two dove off the shallow end of the pool once to often and hit their heads. If these two guys and the other people who were against medicare or the
Affordable Care Act had legitimate arguments against them they sure didn't show up in the absurd comments made then and today. None of the things these people have
said has come true or has caused us as a country to suffer.  All it has done is make life easier and better for the elderly.  

I used Benghazi and Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act as examples. There are many more things that have been said by these people that are out of touch with reality. I think this quote by former Senator, Vice-President of the United States Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota sums them up nicely.  

Whole communities “can be afflicted with emotional instability, frustrations, and irrational behavior. That emotional instability that affects a significant but small minority in our midst that some call extreme right.  They still see the world in total black and white they are still substituting dogma for creative thought. They are angry, fearful, deeply and fundamentally disturbed by the world around them”

Reposted from Mike Lux by Ojibwa

This blog post is partly about politics and partly about economic policies that will expand America’s middle class and make it more prosperous in the modern era. The story of the 2014 election was that Democrats can’t succeed at the former without succeeding at the latter. A Democratic strategy, that is superb and state of the art on voter targeting and turnout, can’t succeed if you haven’t delivered the goods to the generally younger and less prosperous people you are trying to turn out. Carefully refined political positioning and focus group tested ads won’t win swing voters, if those swing voters haven’t felt the benefits of you being in office. And economic policies that deliver better stock prices and profits to businesses, and even create a fair number of new jobs, don’t feel to voters like prosperity when they never get a raise or when those new jobs being created pay low wages.

To be clear, Democrats don’t deserve all or most of the blame for an economy that still punishes the poor and middle class 7 years into the economic crisis that began building in 2007 just because Obama has been president for most of those years- not even close. It was George W. Bush’s policies and regulators who led us into economic collapse while cluelessly ignoring the bright red warning signs flashing everywhere around them. And the Republican House and Republican Senators in the last 4 years who blocked good policies that would have helped create more jobs and raise a lot of workers’ wages (infrastructure spending, minimum wage increase, etc) deserve a great deal of the blame. But the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was the one who pushed for the most massive deregulation of the financial industry in modern history, and Obama’s made a series of decisions that haven’t helped either- failing to restructure Wall Street excess when he had the chance to in 2009, agreeing to a program of extreme austerity when the economy was still severely damaged in 2011, and keeping his executive actions to raise wages and spur the economy much more modest than they could have been over the last 2 years . And beyond the facts on what Obama has or hasn’t done on the economy, when you are presiding over an economy this bad at raising wages, you are going to get most of the blame from the voters.  

So let’s talk about the politics first, starting with the Rising American Electorate (RAE) that Democratic strategists like Stan Greenberg frequently talk about- African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, unmarried women, and voters 30 years old and younger. In the Obama years, and in the Democratic wave election of 2006 that was a precursor to Obama’s decisive 2008 victory, those voters have tended to be Democratic base voters, although there are more swing voters in those demographic categories than many casual observers realize. The problem for us as a party is that if you look at what has happened to these constituencies income, net wealth, job prospects, amount of student debt, and political rights during the Obama presidency, they haven’t done very well. If you want to look at why those constituencies didn’t vote in higher percentages, or gave a lower percent of their vote to Democrats in 2014, you can clearly start with that as an explanation. Yes, it is true- and important to point out- that Republicans’ policy prescriptions are a lot worse for all those constituencies than Democrats, but at some point we also have to deliver some tangible benefits to our voters.

The RAE is central to any Democratic prospects for the foreseeable future. We have to deliver on policies that tangibly improve their lives. We have to cultivate, motivate, register them to vote, and turn them out to vote. But for at least another  couple of generations, especially in non-presidential election years but even in presidential election years too, we still have to do relatively well with the white working class voters that used to be the foundation stone of the old New Deal majority. The numbers don’t add up in swing Presidential states like OH, PA, MI, WI, IA, NH, or MN, which tend to be a little too old and a little too white to win 51% of the vote with a political calculus geared mostly around the RAE. The fact is we won these states in 2008 and 2012 not only because we did so well at turning out RAE voters to vote and winning strong percentages of them, but because we did respectably among white working class- mostly because of the herculean efforts of the labor movement. Similarly, a RAE-centric and Obama-centric strategy doesn’t add up to wining a majority of the Senate, where Democrats have an overwhelming majority of seats in states won by Obama, 41-11 but we still have to win some seats in the 24 states carried by Romney: if Landrieu loses, there are only 5 Democrats among those 48 Senate seats. And even if you were to lessen the impact of gerrymandering, which has been a fact of political life since the earliest days of the American republic, there is no way we get to a majority in the House without doing better among white working class voters because so many RAE voters are concentrated in heavily Democratic urban core House districts.

Let me take you down to the county level to show how this worked in the 2014 election. I’m going to use a couple of examples given to me by Paul Booth from AFSCME, one of the best political strategists in the labor movement. I have talked about why and how RAE voters overall were not as motivated to turn out this year. But one thing Democrats proved is that they could be successful mechanically with great GOTV operations in targeted places. First example: the labor movement and other Democratic forces decided that the way to win the Florida Governor race was to do a massive turnout operation in heavily urban and Democratic counties in the state, and they picked 5 as their top targets, the 3 big South Florida counties as well as Pinellas (the St Pete/Tampa area) and Orange (Orlando). They did an incredible job: Crist had almost 123,000 vote higher margin because of the work in those 5 counties than the Democratic candidate (Alex Sink) did in 2010, which was more than double the goal they had set for themselves. The problem was that the Republican margin for Scott in the 60 more Republican counties- mostly more rural and whiter- increased by about 131,000, meaning instead of winning by 56,000 as he had in 2010, he won by 64,000 instead. Here’s a 2nd example: the turnout operation for Democrats in Milwaukee and Madison was incredibly successful- they went so far above projections in Madison that they ran out of ballots by late afternoon and had to print more. But again, Walker’s team won by bigger margins in rural Wisconsin than he had in 2010, and it was enough to carry him to victory. As Paul said after telling me these stories: “we need to go beyond Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy. We need a 3,144 county strategy.” (That’s how many counties there are nationwide).

This is not fashionable talk among some of my fellow progressives. Among some people I talk to, the natural tendency of younger, lower income, black, Hispanic, and unmarried voters in presidential years will solve most of our problems, especially if we do a good job of turning them out to vote. But that’s not what the numbers say: if we only get the 38% of white voters we got this year in 2016 in places like OH, MI, MN, NH, IA, PA, WI, CO, and other swing states, we will not win either the presidency or the Senate back, let alone the House.

So where do we get those extra voters who are white? Union members who are not people of color are part of the answer, but union membership continues to slip every year. Young whites are part of the answer too, but our numbers among that demographic have slipped a lot from the Obama 2008 high, and their economic problems aren’t getting any rosier. We got a lot more white unmarried voters, especially unmarried women, in 2008 and 2012 than we did in 2014, so hopefully we can win more of them, but again, this economy isn’t tending to lift them up much. back Gays, Jewish voters, non-religious voters who are white are part of the answer, but (as with the labor and youth categories) we are already getting most of the votes we are going to get from those modest sized categories.

We can win back a lot of the swing white voters in the categories above with a stronger message and outreach strategy, but with the weak economy continuing to be a drag, I believe it won’t be enough. To solve the problem Booth identified, we have to start a serious re-engagement with working class white voters- in message, outreach and organizing, and policy. We can’t ignore them and hope the surging RAE vote alone carries us to victory.

The way to win more votes in those whiter, older, rural counties is a message of economic populism. The good news is that economic policies and messaging that appeal to white working class folks also appeal to RAE voters. As I wrote yesterday about progressive populist candidates who won important statewide victories in 2014 (Merkley in OR, Franken in MN, Peters in MI, Shaheen in NH, and Malloy in CT):

Let me note one other fact about these races: In a year where white, working-class swing voters mostly deserted the Democratic party, all of these candidates did well with this demographic group. Of the states where we won those victories, only one -- Michigan -- had a significant people of color population. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Oregon are four of the whitest states that Obama won in 2008 and 2012, with neither a large African-American or Hispanic population. And in Michigan, while there is a large black population, a Democrat can't win without competing well in the mostly white working class suburban Detroit counties like Macomb, which Peters did. A populist message and narrative worked for those Democrats.
Democrats need a clearly defined and strongly messaged economic platform that helps low and moderate people. We can’t only bash the Koch brothers and Wall Street, although we certainly should do our fair share of that- it helped the candidates I mentioned above win, and kept others running steeply uphill races in this terrible cycle like Braley, Udall, Hagan, and Begich in the game all the way to the end. But we also need a Democratic economic agenda that provides a compelling roadmap as to where we want to take the country: a $15 per hour minimum wage; an investment in road, bridge, and school construction; putting insulation into every public building that needs it in America, and saving billions of dollars of utility bills in the process; millions of new manufacturing jobs in wind and solar energy; a fair trade and currency policy that will create millions of new manufacturing jobs; an end to a tax and regulatory policy that encourages job out-sourcing and reckless financial speculation; a rigorous anti-trust policy that helps small businesses compete with big corporations; and a welcoming hand to the hard-working immigrants bringing their talents to our nation.

Armed with a real agenda like that, we can create a narrative about who we are, what we believe in, and what our values are. The story that we can tell is about an America that built a prosperous and expanding middle class where everyone who wanted a job was able to find one, where workers actually got raises and decent benefits most of the time, and where there was dignity in work and our families had the chance to pursue our version of the American dream. Over the last few decades, we lost that America, as the level playing field got tilted more and more to wealthy CEOs and big businesses who could get sweetheart deals because of their insider connections. The things we are advocating for are more jobs, better jobs with higher pay, and a level playing field so that workers and small businesses can get a fair shake rather than being rolled by big money.

As progressives, that is what we fight for, that agenda and that hope for the future of America. Based on all the evidence I see, even from the rotten year of 2014 but also from other polling and evidence, that agenda and narrative about America will build an electoral majority.

Reposted from johnell by Ojibwa

And why Democrats need to embrace them.

Listening to the presidential address on immigration last night, I realized that every time he utters a phrase like "It’s also not who we are as Americans", or "My fellow Americans, it strikes a nerve in the Republican amygdala; waves, in Mitchell's words, "a red flag.". It invokes a visceral response because when Republicans say, in pompous, stentorian tones, "The American People", they surely are not talking about people of the President's ilk. They have a highly refined sense of who an "American" is. Every time President Obama invokes the proprietary pronouns, we, our, us, etc. it is a dagger to the heart of those who view him as an usurper.

I would suggest that we Democrats do a small bit of reframing and adopt the phrase "We Americans" and say it as frequently as possible. Our elected officials should speak in terms of 'we Americans'  in front of a backdrop of diverse citizens and posit our case in that rhetoric. The Republicans have cast their lot with the one percent. We Americans should stand together, declaring our solidarity and embracing all the threads which weave the tapestry of our culture. It clearly is us versus them and if 'We Americans' don't declare our common cause, we will deserve the oligarchy we've allowed to supplant our democracy.

Reposted from akadjian by akadjian

Here in Cincinnati we’ve been engaged in a fight to not become the largest metropolitan region (2.1 million people) in the country without an abortion clinic.

When someone posted an update about the fight to one of our local politics forums, it attracted comments like the following painting right-to-lifers as “pro baby”:

 photo conservative_01_zps8df88c1f.jpg

With language like this, the issue is politically charged to say the least. Most people are afraid to even respond because they know they're going to be accused of "baby killing".

What I want to demonstrate is that it’s not that difficult to win conversations on abortion (and other highly charged conversations) if you understand what the opposition is trying to do and if you’re willing to try a slightly different approach.

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Reposted from don mikulecky by Ojibwa

"Framing" is a term used often by Lakoff and others and if you want a nice example of circularity and a word trap start with that word.  There is only one really good way to deal with the word framing and it is not easy.  Some people have criticized Lakoff's use of the word and if you listen to their criticism you see that they are fighting certain straw men because they have never understood the basis for the word's use which is actually quite complex.

It is easy to see how this happens because Lakoff is trying to do the tough job of making complex reality seem simple enough so that his audience will stay with him.  If one gets into the science behind these ideas one needs to study more than a little bit.

So we have some real irony here in that Lakoff is often the victim of the way his term "framing" has been framed in the minds of others.  Such complexity and circularity is my cup of tea so read on below and I will unscramble the omelette as well as I am able.



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Reposted from SusanCStrong by SusanCStrong
Middle Fork Eel River, just before the confluence at Dos Rios, April 2011
A Watershed Metaphor for These Times

By Susan C. Strong

Of course right now everyone on the left and among the Democrats is feeling shocked and down because of the horrid 2014 election. There’s been a torrent of analysis and blaming on our side. Although many factors were in play, one stands out. That’s the role of corrupt corporate money in fueling Right wing victories and hamstringing Democratic alternatives. But much more will be needed to repair our election funk than analysis and blame. More even than trying to force Democrats to move off their usual pale red 1% corporate agenda. I’m talking about something for us now, a vision that could serve us as a source of hope and wisdom for the long haul ahead. That something could be the watershed metaphor.


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