In Praise Of Lincoln Chafee

Dr Kraphammer, in the midst of yet another typically bullshit-laden column, says one thing that is nearly true: “The Republicans have shed the last vestiges of their centrist past, the Rockefeller Republicans.” (I say ‘nearly’ because it’s more accurate to say ‘conservative’ rather than ‘centrist’; by world standards centrism is liberalism, Rockefeller Republicanism is conservative, and Republicanism in its current and common form — the kind to which Dr Kraphammer subscribes — is determinedly reactionary, even fascist.)

Now this has been true, practically speaking, since 1980: Rockefeller Republicans out, trogolodyte reactionaries in. As such, Lincoln Chafee was a relic living on borrowed time. Atrios is right; Chafee could have, and probably should have, switched parties. But then maybe he wanted to preserve a decent Republicanism for as long as possible, if only for the history books’ sake. Whatever his reasons, he lost. On ABC Tuesday, Stephanopolous kept saying that Rhode Island was the bluest of the blue, and though Chafee was independent of Bush (and the voters knew it), Chafee would pay with his political life for being a Republican of any sort.

And so he has; Sheldon Whitehouse is Rhode Island’s new Senator. Chafee was a decent public servant thrown out of office for policies his party enacted but he often opposed; as such, it would be understandable if he had a bitter feeling about the election. But on the contrary, he seems stoically resigned to his fate, and what’s more, his ears seem acutely attuned to vox populi’s long and disgusted roar:

PROVIDENCE — In his first interview since losing the Republican U.S. Senate seat that has been in his family for three decades, Lincoln D. Chafee yesterday said a lot of people had been coming up to him “and saying, ‘We’re sorry you lost, but glad the Congress switched’ � from GOP to Democratic Party control.

Asked if deep down, despite his personal disappointment about the outcome of Tuesday’s election, he felt the same way, Chafee looked into the TV cameras and said: “To be honest, yes.�

So, with the remainder of his time he’s gonna do the right thing, oppose the nomination of that instrument of war criminals, John Bolton:

Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., who was defeated by Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse on Tuesday, told reporters in Rhode Island on Thursday that he would continue opposing Bolton. That would deny Republicans the votes they would need to move Bolton’s nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the full Senate.

Naturally, for holding to his principles Chafee is subject to the Batshit Yenta’s favorite catch-all slur: “Typical leftist Jew hater. Seriously..” More hilarity here.


Comments: 40


Hey, New England, can we make a deal?

Rhode Island can keep Chafee as Senator, if Connecticut can trade Lieberman for Lamont.

Either way, we still end up with one real Democrat, and one sorta-almost-but-not-quite Democrat.


I also read Dr. Stranglove’s column today, and I rarely do that. It was 16 tons of denial.

But on to Chafee…yes he is a good man, and better than a few/some/lots? of folks on the Democratic side (not even counting Lieberman here).

But organizing with the Republicans puts the likes of Pat Roberts in charge of committees. And we can’t afford that anymore, if we ever could.


There are a lot of people who espouse traditional Republican values that I feel sorry for of late. Chafee’s definitely one of them. Fiscally conservative gays probbaly top the list, with fiscally conservative minorities running in second place.

But hey – with the way the Democratic party’s been trending of late, they should all consider switching over. I’m sure they’ll find something they like.

Incidentally, this brings up a point I’ve been pondering for a couple of days now. I’m wondering if the Dems ought not swipe a page from the Republican playbook. This might get a bit meandering and theoretical, but I hope you’ll bear with me….

It’s pretty much a tautology to argue that most Americans are pretty much moderates on political policies – or they would be if nobody was yanking their chains and tugging on their heartstrings and such. The brilliance of the Rove strategy for winning elections is that it’s just a variant on the old Southern strategy (which, ironically enough, is primarily the brainchild of Kevin Phillips, and this is why no matter how many books he writes lambasting the current Republican party I will STILL see him in hell before I forgive him) – it’s a strategy not of “rallying the base” but of “inviting in the fringe”. Your average voter wasn’t an active racist when the Southern strategy was first adopted, but they weren’t averse to that quiet, passive racism, either. By tweaking the party rhetoric enough to make it look appealing to the CCC brigade, you could get people who tended to vote third party to consider voting Republican.

There’s a small right fringe in this country that by their nature belongs more comfortably in the Constitution party than the Republican party, but the Repubs went out of their way to invite the fringe in, and in doing so shifted the whole tenor of our great national debate to the right.

I would submit that there is also a small left fringe in this country that by their nature belongs more comfortably in the Socialist party than the Democratic party. I’m not embarrassed to admit to being one of them. I don’t think I’m nearly as dangerous as a Dominionist, and still wouldn’t be, even if I were as close to power as they are. I know I’m not the only one, either – there’s lots of us around here.

So, here’s my crazy idea: You Dems out there should caucus with us the way the Repubs caucuses with the looney Bible fringe. Don’t call it the Southern strategy; call it the “granola strategy” or whatever. Start deliberately pandering to voters like me. Use code words that will make me happy, like “popular front” or “Great Society” or stuff like that. Make it a point to publicly turn your back on the right wing of the Republican party – now that Webb’s in office, turn your nose up and cough politely whenever anyone mentions his name. Make some public noise for a single payer health care system. Stuff like that.

I’m just wondering if a bit of deliberate positioning like that on the part of serious, committed Democrats would be enough to shift the center of balance in American politics back toward the middle and away from this extreme right bullshit. And I’m concerned enough about getting that done that I don’t even mind being co-opted a little bit in the process.


The socialists who have won elections already caucus with the Democrats, Jillian.

I doubt if the Ricky Santorum backers who donated to the Green Party candidate in Pennsylvania were hoping to shift the debate back towards the middle.

And in Virginia, Gail the Rail took over 24,000 votes for the Green Party, three times Jim Webb’s margin of victory over George Allen. Do you think George Allen gives a crap about anything the Green Party espouses (let alone light rail)?

If you want to shift the center of balance, it’s going to be by fighting Republicans, and Republican enablers in the Democratic party…people like Ellen Tauscher and James Carville. Not by supporting the same candidates Ricky Santorum would cynically donate to.


I like Jillian’s idea.

We atheists are also out here thinking a little pandering in our direction would be appreciated. Working a few subtle code phrases like “separation of church and state” into the banter could do wonders to bring our attention in greater numbers, which tends to dwindle in the presence of the sort of holier-than-thou pissing contests the parties have been engaging in.

Of course real concrete actions like, say, shifting the entire budget of the Office of Superstition-Based Assistance over to basic science research and education would do wonders to bring an even larger group firmly into our camp.

But showing you care enough to at least pander is a great start.


Hating Pammy (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) isn’t racism, it’s a healthy reaction to neurotic shrill.


Personally, I’d like to see a little more talk about families–all kinds of families–from the dems. I caucused for Kucinich back in 04, not ashamed to admit it, I agreed with all his major points. I don’t know if that makes me a socialist or a pinko or just plain damned delusional or what, I like to think of myself as something of a Jim Hightower/Molly Ivins-style populist: all the idealism, none of the racism.

I vote democrat but don’t really think of myself as democratic. I suppose that won’t change, but they could get me to volunteer and donate more by not acting like I’m some sort of bad influence on the fringes of reality, trying to drag the party leftward into the public humiliation of endorsing man-on-male-baby-sheep-and-adolescent-lesbian-goat marriages or whatever it is they’re afraid of. Frankly, I want them leftward a good deal more, but there’s clearly a lot of open space they could stake out a position in between where they are now and free love communes.

And, Jillian, incidentally I sympathize with your Kevin Phillips thing. I feel the same way about Arianna “Compassion Fatigue” Huffington. I might forgive her eventually, but God, what an ugly thing that all was.


Obviously, it’s the Sodomy Strategy.


Mmmm, here’s some tasty wingnuttery with assclown gravy.
And the bonus part is the Euro press stories he links to are truly excellent.

Velveeta-Eating Surrender Buckeyes

Denis Boyles is author of Vile France: Fear, Duplicity, Cowardice and Cheese.

All he’s missing is the clown shoes and bicycle horn that goes Ah-oooo-gah!


We atheists are also out here thinking a little pandering in our direction would be appreciated.

Yeah! It would be nice to see a quote from a lunatic fringe liberal whacko from our politicians now and then, such as “wall of separation between church and state” or “it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God”. You know, something only a weirdo out at the edges of American society would ever say.


“And in Virginia, Gail the Rail took over 24,000 votes for the Green Party”

The Virginia Independent Green Party is not the national Green Party. It is not a Green Party at all. It is at best a slightly more socially conservative Libertarian Party, with an overweening obsession with rail.

How many times must this be said? The Green Party is not the “Independent Green Party.” It’s not the same thing. As far as Santorum goes, the Dems wouldn’t have had any Green opposition if they hadn’t run a pro-war forced-birther. And you won that one anyway, so please stop the fucking thanksralphing.

Finally, I hate to break it to you all, but Bernie Sanders isn’t a Socialist. That is, he is not a member of the Socialist Party or any socialist party. He might be a socialist. I’ll withhold judgement on that for the moment, but he is not a Socialist.


I’m not an athiest, but I am all for some athiest pandering if it means finally burying the stupid, stupid notion that there shouldn’t be a seperation of church and state. Hell, even if it doesn’t. My husband would probably appreciate it.


How about we set up a Department of Atheism and make George Carlin honorary Head?


I’m an atheist, and my goals are fairly modest, I think. I’m for whatever will make Amy Sullivan and Jim Wallis decide to render the entire political process itself unto Caesar and piss off. Go become anchorites off in the wilderness somewhere, you twits.

To be clear – I don’t have a problem with liberal Christians per se. I have a problem with them filtering everything through their identity as a liberal Christian while acting like the simple act of declaring themselves as such is supposed to impress anyone and mute any criticism. Just because it’s a firm belief of yours doesn’t mean it automatically deserves hushed, reverent tones from everyone who speaks of it.


Hey, Roomba, hate to say it, but it’s attitudes like the one you just expressed that keep me from voting very often for Democratic candidates at all.

Saying “The socialists who win elections are the ones who caucus with Democrats” makes as much sense as saying that the virginity advocates who win young people over are the ones who use porn stars to deliver their message. A socialist who works with a Democrat loses no matter what the outcome is, because socialists and Democrats don’t want the same things. It’s that simple. What I’m doing is offering to lose a little, for the good of the country.

Fighting Republicans is NOT enough to shift the center of balance in American politics away from this crazy-right verge it has taken, and this last election proves it. Many of the Democrats that the party managed to bring into office don’t share the views of people I’ve heard talking around here – they don’t stand for gay marriage, they don’t stand for reproductive freedom, they don’t have much in the way of a vision for getting all Americans access to health care. Do YOU think gay people should be denied the right to get married? Do YOU think a woman should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, even if she doesn’t want to? Do YOU think that it’s okay for one in five Americans to be unable to receive basic, nonemergency health care? Do YOU think it’s okay to vote in favor of torture and against habeas corpus? Then why on earth do you think these people represent YOUR views? YOUR values? They don’t.

If you want the party to start representing your views, you have to put pressure on it. Quit being so scared of the left fringe. We’re not Constitution-burning theocrats like the right fringe is. There are about six Maoists left in the whole country, and they spend all their time fighting with the ten Trostkyists over who has the right to call themselves the Fourth International. Hell, the only reason that any of my views would be considered “fringe” is because I live in the political cesspit that is America – in any other industrialized nation, my outlook would be considered a moderate left outlook, and I’d have MPs that actually belonged to the same political party I did.

The Democrats don’t own my vote, and as long as the right wing of the Democratic party keeps acting like they do, they’re going to keep losing elections. Apparently what it takes for Dems to win an election anymore is for a seated president to wipe his ass with the Constitution on national television. And if you think the Republican party will make that mistake again…..good luck to you. You’ll need it.

…..and yeah, a little pandering toward the atheists wouldn’t hurt, either. There are a number of liberal religious types who would appreciate it, as well.


The left fringe is more or less doomed to be at best ignored, at worst derided, by the Democrats. Older Democratic leaders still blame us for ’68 and ’72. Ideologically speaking, most party leaders are actually closer to, and more comfortable with, the far right (which at least doesn’t question corporate capitalism) than the far left. And lacking a strong way to express itself in American political life, we on the left are much more useful for occasional, ritual Sister Souljah moments than for alliance building. In my experience, most Democrats feel that we should just STFU and be grateful that they aren’t Republicans (which they aren’t and which does make a difference, if not enough of one).


I think Steve Gilliard’s take on the Green Party is the right one.

And it pains me to say that, because I agree with a lot of what the Green Party claims to stand for. I should be a natural vote for them. But my God, they are so fucking awful at the actual work of politics – and then they act like that fact should be a point in their favor, like their disdain of the system shows just how fucking pure (and therefore worthy) they are. They either don’t get that they have to do politics before they can do policy, or they don’t care, and are therefore unserious.

Until they show that they actually understand how politics works in this country, instead of thinking they can magically change the system by the sheer power of their self-righteousness, the Green Party will have no influence on the politics of this country, other than turning it more Republican.

(Note that I am talking about the party infrastructure itself, and not applying generalizations to any individual Green voter.)


uncle fister,

There’s a lot that’s wrong with the inner workings of the Green Party. It spends too much time, especially at the national level, on navel-gazing internal battles that distract it from the real business of running campaigns. We do need to get better at the business of politics.

But you (and Gilliard) have two things wrong. First, we well understand that we need to get better at winning elections. We certainly don’t expect to start winning elections on the basis of our “purity.” Indeed, the whole purity meme is largely a projection. It’s something Democrats accuse us of. Greens don’t think of ourselves as particularly pure, let alone imagine our purity as somehow winning elections for ourselves. We do feel is that we have a distinctive set of values that are not shared by either of the two major parties. But that’s hardly purity and nobody (well nobody seriously…and certainly not the leadership of the Green Party) thinks that values alone win elections.

Second, as a minor party, the Greens face enormous electoral hurdles. For example, we are forced to waste huge time and money overcoming our nation’s ridiculous ballot access laws. And every election we contest predictably requires us to fight for inclusion in debates and other public forums that should include all candidates as a matter of course. No serious analysis of Green electoral performance should fail to take these factors into account.

None of this is to say that the Green Party has come up with a solution for the electoral challenges we face. We most certainly have not. But we are well aware that we haven’t and we’re working on solving them. If you sympathize with us, and think we can do better, come aboard and help!


It sucks around here without Brad.


Linc Chafee finding his own balls post election is something I certainly didn’t predict, but what a delightful surprise! It’s funny, but in defeat. he’s found freedom, including the freedom to oppose the bigwigs of his own party. So, huzzah to him. Sadly for Linc, I only foresee the Reoubs drifting ever farther to the right. He was unwanted in his own party for several years now. Fortunately for him, I’m a great fan of Governor Sebelius’ Borg-like assimilation method of ex-Republicans, though I’m sure Jillian disapproves. But I say, next time we need to run someone for Senate in Rhode Island, let’s run Linc–as a Dem, of course.


Then take a hike. Duh!


There’s one thing that bothers me, and it’s people who think that Green and Socialist are synonyms. They’re not. There’s some pro-ecological critiques on the Left, and there’s some pro-working class critiques in the Green movement, but the two are separate entities. There are plenty of conservative, right-wing Greens. There are plenty of Greens, especially deep greens, who are frankly anti-humanists misanthropists, which isn’t very left-wing or progressive at all.

And anyone who calls himself a socialist and on the other hand advocates voluntary simplicity or other such tripe makes me want to barf. There’s a difference between supporting the rights of the poor, and idolizing or wanting to emulate them. We don’t need people who think that slumming is socialist.

“There is nothing too good for the working class.”
– Rudolph Rocker


Right you are, BlackBloc. It’s also important to distinguish between greens (as in people whose politics are driven by their environmentalism) and Greens (as in members of the Green Party of the United States, or Green Parties in other countries). The USGP really does not contain a lot of conservative / rightwing greens. It does contain a pretty powerful bloc of socialists, many of whom are grouped around Peter Camejo, who often like labeling “conservative” (or what’s worse “Democratic”) those within the party who disagree with them on anything. FWIW, I’m totally down with the notion that good Greens can also be good socialists, though I do have an issue with folks within the GP whose first political loyalties seem to be to the ISO. One of the things that separates most green politics from most Marxist-Leninist (though not all socialist) politics is that greens tend to be less teleological in their views of the political future. And from this difference flow enormous disagreements over political goals, strategy, and tactics.

Smiling Mortician

It’s funny, but in defeat. he’s found freedom, including the freedom to oppose the bigwigs of his own party. So, huzzah to him.

I agree that Chafee appeared relieved to have been able to speak his mind after losing — but not in Rush’s I’m-not-gonna-be-waterboy-anymore way. After all, he’s been quietly voting his conscience for a while now, so I’m not sure I’d say he finally found his balls. He’s had them all along, I think, but the MSM hasn’t seen fit to give him a podium prior to doing something really notable like losing his Senate seat.


Jillian’s right. Hell, I’d agree with pretty much all of the positions in this thread. But here’s my problem with them all. They’re theoretical Political Science debates that amount to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. America is effectively a two-party state, and there are forces more powerful then us, more powerful even than the parties themselves, that will keep it that way. My political views, while not entirely embraced, are at least a lot more closely represented by the Democratic party. It is probably a fair statement that I don’t vote Democrat because their views are my views, but rather I vote Democrat because they are Not-Republican. I believe firmly that given these two, and only these two choices, America will be better off under Democratic leadership.

Maybe Karl Rove snuck in my house one night and hypnotized me, but I’m pretty much convinced that as a whole, the american population is becoming more theocratic, more authoritative and less supportive of essential liberties which they genuinely see as “coddling” criminals and terrorists. They value major parts of the constitution less and less, and more and more support a platform of us vs. THEM.

For Democrats to retain power and prevent the final descent into something dreadful and ugly, we’re going to have to accept some compromise to our basic positions. To stand on leftist principals might very well be to invite catastrophe. I’d like to be wrong, and we have a year to watch what the electorate says, but I think this is the country we live in today…



The Roomba of History™®©™ said,

November 11, 2006 at 7:49

The socialists who have won elections already caucus with the Democrats, Jillian.

You totally missed her point, Roomba. She’s calling for DEMS to caucus with SOCIALISTS, not the other way around. In other words, it’d be nice if the socialists supporting the Dems could get even some token support in return, instead of insults.

Back to your docking station, your batteries are getting low.

(Sorry, but this thread is getting WAY too serious. I come here for snark, dammit. Where’s the snark? I miss Gary.)


hoo boy!

Pam’s all angry because them Krauts (who are all personally responsible for the Nazi horrors of 60 years past) got really dhimmified and let some tortured Iraqis start legal proceedings against Rumsfeld. THE CALIPHATE IS AROUND THE CORNER PEOPLE !!!11! WATCH YOUR BOTOXED NECKS!!!

Now she’s got a post up titled “Death to Germany!”

Pam’s really lost… er… she must’ve been drin… er… What’s the line?

Oh yeah: It’s Pammy being Pammy!


Thanks for saying that Mikey. I had much the same reaction to much of this thread. It reminds me of getting stuck at the wrong table for a school function, with polisci dept people. (Tho I’ll give Jillian and the other “fringers”,not used derisively, credit for keeping up with current affairs. Most socialists don’t, or at least most of the ones I know, don’t. Their purity of essence frees them from such transitory concerns.)
Ideology cannot trump pragmatism if we want to survive as a nation. Ideology puts ideas over people.
That is wrong.
Ideas and ideals are well and good, but they also get people killed when not properly attached to reality and practical concerns. I’ve volunteered for the Green Party, the ‘real’ Green Party, years ago, and practical they ain’t. Neither are the Maoists who run the bookstore that is my grad school’s polisci dept’s defacto bookstore. Those Maoists are admittedly concerned mostly with trying to get other people to do work for them.
Fringe groups are full of people who don’t work well with others, have impractical ideas borne of unachievable ideals, and who form into factions which get caught up in internal squabbling. All of which is part of why I love em, when not theocratically flavored.
But Mikey is right. When the world is perfect we can debate how best to organize it, but in the meantime, the best thing I can see to do is work hard to keep the really batshit money and jebus worshippers at bay. Maybe it doesn’t have an animating principle for scholars to formulate and debate, but as a Nietzschean I don’t feel a need for one. I feel a need to live, and to clear away the crap history has dumped on us today.
In the meantime, we have debates over who’s a true socialist or who’s a true lefty or etc etc etc and instead of consistently working together to prevent the problems we almost all recognize are there we get caught up in what amounts to purity tests and holier than thou arguments. Mental masturbation, in other words.
Personally, I say fuck isms. They’ve only been trouble for mankind.


That turned into more of a rant than I meant it to be. Sorry for the frequent clumsy language.


If a couple of days of the Democratic Party winning the mid-term but not yet being in power drives Pammy this nuts, just think what she is going to be like in two year after the Democrats have controlled both houses for that time and when, hopefully, a Democrat other than Lieberman wins the next Presidential election. She will be completely doullaly, no, she will be stark raving bonkers, beyond psychotic even. There is much to look forward to over the next couple of years.


I agree with much of what you said Brad, and yet… I would like to see Socialist priciples brought more into play in this country, the way they are in, say, Sweden. Socialism isn’t dead, and it isn’t an anachronism. There’s where I agree wholeheartedly with Jillian. We’ve allowed the blood and guts capitalists to have their way. Welfare reform honestly makes me sick. I’ve needed to get help from the government a couple times, as a single mother. They make it as hard on you as they can to get the most measly assistance. We’ve let them turn the idea of universal health care into a dirty word by calling it “socialized medicine”. WTF is wrong with socialized medicine? Should a person’s economic position determine that person’s worthiness to live or die? Not by the standards of any civilized country. Should a person freeze to death like a popsicle in the winter because he can’t pay his power bill? Not in any civilized country.

The Democrats have basically abandoned the poor. And I have voted for them anyway, because like you, Brad, I am a pragmatist. Certainly the Republicans aren’t going to be swayed into bringing back any of the Great Society ideals. The only hope we have of that is the Democrats. Republicans aren’t going to help reform labor law so that unions can regain power for the working people, and they aren’t going to put the brakes on jobs going overseas, either. The Dems probably aren’t going to help there much, either, of course, but are still more likely to do so than the Repubs.

My friend voted for Nader in 2000 because Al Gore wasn’t pro-choice enough for her. I sometimes ask her how she likes her pro-choice president now? Not to bash on Nader, because at the time his ideas were a lot more in line with mine than Gore’s and if I were going to vote my preferences over practicality would have voted for him myself, but all I could think about was a possible eight years of George Bush appointing wingnuts to the SCOTUS. ‘Nuff said.


Yeah, I voted for Nader in 96 but abstained in 00, since I have the luxury of living in nyc and not needing to fear my electoral votes will go where they’d do the most harm.
I agree with you on the value of what are generally called socialist public policies. It seems most polls consistently show most americans do, too, except maybe about the poor. I don’t know how to make that desire into reality, tho, and I don’t know if anyone does. But I think the baggage, deserved or not, socialism brings with it is enough to require rebranding. A rebirth in socialist ideology will just bring a counter-reaction that would make the current culture war look civil.


I’m afraid you’re right about that, too, Brad. I don’t know what will fix it either. I just wish something would. We need a populist movement among the poor here, to stir things up. I have a feeling that if this is going to happen, it will happen in the immigrant community. I honestly think this is why the right fears the immigrants so much. They see the movement of the people in Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America and it scares the hell out of them. A few more years of globalization, and the time may be ripe. Who knows?


That’s the point of this reconquista crap, if one can be so generous as to say it has a point. When the scary brown mass begins to assert itself the repubs who’ll be on the other end of it are going to cry invasion and either things are going to get real scary or real change will begin. Probably some mix of both.

Gary's Dust Bunny Bin

Maybe more of a positive change than scary, now that we’re in a “post 11/7 world”. We can only dream. I’m going to my dreamfields shortly, as my migraine meds are rilly kickin’ in. Wheee…. Opiates are the masses of the people.


Another small ‘s’ socialist chiming in here. I’m a registered Democrat, and I volunteer for them, raise money for them, even. Because they’re not Republicans.

A couple of things…As to Lincoln Chafee crossing the aisle, remember how many years his father was an old-style, fiscal conservative Republican. I think it would have been very hard for him to jump ship with that legacy behind him. But now? Lincoln Chafee is probably one of the few people who can actually get away with saying, ‘I didn’t leave the party, etc.’ Who knows what will happen now?

And as far as Gilliard’s diatribe against the Greens, I think you all either missed or left out one of his (to me, anyway) most salient points. The Greens seem to jump into these national races, and, whether they intend to or not (I don’t think there’s much doubt that Nader intended to) act as spoilers, and hand close races to the Repukes.

Gilliard’s best point was, why aren’t the Greens concentrating on starting locally? Why aren’t they seriously, repeatedly trying to get seats in state Houses and Senates, or become Mayors or get on City Councils? I know, there are some doing it, but it seems to me, that for the most part, they are not building an organization, they’re grandstanding. Same with the Socialists.

If we want the Democrats to caucus with us, we need to have a real base, not just an ideology and a few zealots. We need to see more Socialist mayors, and State Senators in the Western and Mountain States, more Green First Selectmen in the New England towns, etc. When we have that kind of experience and strength, then I think we will see the Democrats come to us. If we can deliver a sizeable, guaranteed bloc of votes in a certain district, then hells yeah, they’re gonna come courting. And they’ll bring flowers, even.

And I’m already hearing Democrats talk about universal health care. They may not be talking to us about it, but they’re talking about it.

Another thing is education. I don’t mean just our public schools. The working peoples’ parties used to work (sometimes through the unions) at political education for poor people who don’t know how the government or the economy works. I think the lack of this is why people are voting Repuke, against their own interests. Because they don’t understand who is NOT on their side. I know we probably all do this on a small, personal scale. I know I do. But why aren’t there the equivalent of the Working Men’s Night Schools any more? I know we got the shit kicked out of the party leadership during the McCarthy era, when socialist = communist OMG, and Reagan put the boot in on the what was left of the unions, but there must be somebody in a leadership position who can get the ball rolling on stuff like this.

I dunno, maybe I’m just being a glass half full sorta person. Cuz I have some new meds, too. Woo hoo! Or perhaps it’s just leftover euphoria from putting some brakes on the murderous bastards who are destroying our country on their way to destroying the world.

Sorry for the rant. Even sorrier there’s no preview button and I can’t even tell if it makes any sense.


See now Gary’s bin is posting for me! 🙂


Gentlewoman, just one thing, and then I really, really have to lay down my weary head. I think there has been a concerted effort to actually destroy the availability of education for the poor. It gets more and more expensive to get into a state university, or a community college. They’ve made some kind of horrible rule that a kid who gets busted for drugs in high school is not eligible for federal aid… ever. It’s a systematic goal of disenfranchisemnt. (That word looks wrong, but it took an incredible amount of effort to type it, so it must stay as is.) But we must work hard for change, and work from within. That is my firm belief.

Good night!



Here in California, and especially in San Francisco, we Greens are concentrating on party-building, outreach, voter registration (non-partisan, kids–we register a lot of Democrats) and local races. Know who opposes us the most? Democrats. We have a nest of wealthy scumbag Republicans in San Francisco (their most public face is Don Fisher, founder of The Gap) who finance some Democratic politicians–ever hear of Dianne Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi?–and who make sure that no one goes too far with that “liberalism” stuff. Last time a Green ran for mayor–and he almost won–he had Dem heavy hitters blowing into town (Bill Clinton amnog them) to oppose him.

We Greens have carried a lot of water for the Democrats with our GOTV and voter registration efforts, and the Dems piss in our faces every chance they get. I’m supposed to seek them out and beg to be allowed to support them? This li’l California boy voted Nader both times (it’s a safely blue state, so there was no float for Bush) and would do it again. The national Democratic party is all corporate shills and Republican-lite DLC sell-outs. The left in this country has plenty of people in it who aren’t voting because they’re disgusted; maybe reaching out to such people is Step One in solidifying the Democratic victory.


I hear you, Doc. It’s even worse where I am in MO, as I’m sure you know. I do the voter registration and the GOTV phoning and volunteering in the office and the rest of it. By the end of the McCaskill campaign, all the young Democratic Party interns were alternately fascinated and horrified that someone so much older than they could be so much more radical.

These are young college kids, and the Dems have them so brainwashed already that they’re afraid of teh crazy leftist bloggers! Some of them didn’t even know about ActBlue, and the ones who did said, well we only got $35k (or however much it was) from Barbara Boxer’s ActBlue for Claire. And I was like, ‘excuse me? You only got $35k from Boxer and how much did you get from Clark? And all the PACs? And the smaller donors, like Act Sadly, and the rest of us mere mortals? You ungrateful little creeps, how about you give it all back if it’s nothing to you??’ Seriously, if we don’t do something about campaign finance and clean elections, we’re doomed to be ruled by the corporatocacy forever.

And yes, you get pissed on by the ‘centrists’ who don’t want to appear ‘too far left.’ But what else can we do? We didn’t have a single Green, much less a Socialist candidate on our county ballot. We had a few Independents, Libertarians and Progressives, but they were crackpots, as far as I could tell. We’re not going to get a grassroots Socialist or Green party going here, our industrial base is gone, and the Repukes in the State House made MO a ‘Right to Work’ state, so naturallly, there are no unions to speak of.

If you are discouraged in SF, imagine being in SW MO! 😉 The city I live in is full of ‘universities,’ but with the exception of MSU, they’re all affiliated with conservative Christian sects. So there goes your prime recruiting ground for Greens.

Obviously, Teh Revolution will not be made in Springfield, MO. Just thought I’d let you know, in case you were wondering.

But it sounds like you are doing exactly what needs to be done in CA. It doesn’t happen overnight, but believe me, at some point, you will have enough votes for the Dems to come to you, hat in hand. And that is when we start dragging them to the left. That is when we start getting our issues on the table, and in the damn platform. I can’t see a viable third party ever replacing the Big Two, but I can see a future where the Dems will form a coalition with the Greens or the Libertarians or the Socialists, or all of them. It has to happen, because people are waking up to the fact that their issues and their wishes are being ignored.


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