American Samizdat

Sunday, November 30, 2008. *
(I posted this on a number of group blogs. I got the most response, though somewhat hostile, over at the Daily Kos. I got more supportive feedback at the Booman Tribune, where I also argued we should recruit someone like Tom Morello to take a shot at the Illinois Senate Seat for 2010. (By the way, "viable" means he has to raise at least 2 million dollars by the end of 2009.) I haven't posted it earlier because we were getting other contributors besides myself and Uncle Scam and I wanted to let their lights shine for a day or two...)

Re: Lieberman Or Why We Need A "Viable" 3rd Party

by pshropshire
Tue Nov 18th, 2008 at 08:39:45 PM EST

Edit My Story...

I read with some interest the mean things that Markos said about Ralph Nader, arguably the greatest journalist who has ever lived. I voted for Barack Obama but with eyes wide open. I think he'll be better and more sensible than the Republicans in power. But we really need to take a deeper look at our loyalty to the democratic party and the democratic party only if we're really serious about things like the rule of law applying to everyone or even getting out of wars that would be more honestly defined as crimes. In short: if you really want to put the fear of god into Democrats, then you need to start supporting third party candidates. This crazy idea that we just keep giving them more money no matter how horribly they treat us simply isn't beginning to fly anymore.

First, we need to take an honest look at the questions of electing democrats versus progressive policy. It's clear that if you look at the last several years we've been successful at electing democrats. It's also very clear that we've failed miserably to enact progressive laws, get our people into offices that matter and in some cases we've even failed to ensure some fairly common sense conservative rules that we believe in like: the rule of law applies to everyone or shouldn't democrats support the party's nominee? Crazy ideas like that. So we might have a situation where Howard Dean has no role in the current administration but Joe Lieberman does! This is why we work hard for Democrats? I would hope not.

Two, why does the DNC establishment continuously fuck us over? Glenn Greenwald outlines the reality of our situation.

It is worth remembering that the Democrats who are going to exert dominant political control are the same ones who have provoked so much scorn -- rightfully so -- over the last several years, and particularly since 2006. This is the same Democratic Party leadership which funded the Iraq War without conditions (and voted to authorize it in the first place); massively expanded the President's warrantless eavesdropping powers; immunized lawbreaking telecoms; enacted the Patriot Act and then renewed it with virtually no changes; didn't even bother to mount a filibuster to stop the Military Commissions Act; refrained from pursuing any meaningful investigations of Bush lawbreaking; confirmed every last extremist Bush nominee, from Michael McConnell to Michael Mukasey; acquiesced to even the worst and most lawless Bush policies when they were briefed on them; and on and on and on. None of that has changed. That is still who they are.

Joe Lieberman didn't merely campaign against Barack Obama and several other Democrats. That's the least of his sins. He was not only among the most vocal supporters of the Iraq War, but at least as bad, has endorsed and supported every last radical Bush policy to expand executive power and surveillance activities while destroying core constitutional liberties and checks and balances. He used his Chairmanship for only one purpose: to block oversight into Bush scandals and corruption. He has spouted the most defamatory attacks, not only against Barack Obama, but against war opponents generally. More significantly still, Democrats in his own state -- his own constituents -- booted him out of the party, no longer wanting to be represented by him.

Remember the arrogance of that Obama turnaround on FISA? Well, the answer is, under the current Daily Kos construction, we have no where else to turn. What else can we do? "Where else can you dirty fucking internet beatnik hippies go? Just give me some more money and shut the fuck up," Obama might as well have said. He'll probably say something like that a lot during the next four years. Obama will probably do things that any sensible person would never equate with real "change".

Here are the Markos rules as far as I can figure them out: We support the democrats no matter what they do. We don't support Republicans, which I think is smart because they're an evil party (there shouldn't be a party that represents private interests against the greater good at every fucking turn)but we also don't support third party candidates who would better represent us. Further, we won't expend any energy into building viable third party candidates and/or well funded well organized third party runs. Now, to me, those last two facts, the reality that we don't support third party candidates or will work to build a viable third party infrastructure, doom us to irrelevance. This is why we lose. I might stress that this is also why we will continue to lose. They simply don't fear us. Finally, this Markos construction is a boon to the Republicans. I can very easily see a scenario where the republicans stop all meaningful reform/stimulus over the next two years, declare all dem efforts "fails" and make big gains in 2010.

Three: What is a viable third party run?You don't need a 50 state plan, at least initially, to prove our point to the democrats. You really need to focus on what I've been calling my 5/25 plan. You need to fund 25 house races and 5 senate races. You need at least 1 million dollars to compete for a house seat and at least 2 million to compete, realistically and viably for a senate seat. Now, this is where the expertise of the Kos community could come in handy. What 25 house seats would you pick to make your point? I frankly think they should run "Lieberman" style. Run them in the primary first and even if they lose run them in the general. We already have two senate opportunities in Delaware and Illinois for 2010. Tom Morello has openly talked about dipping his toe into the political waters in Illinois. I actually wouldn't mind Ralph Nader as a Delaware senator because I think he would use the fillibuster. The truth of the matter is that five senators that use the old fashioned Jimmy Stewart fillibuster could change congress. Just once, I'd like to see a senator as supportive of child healthcare as they are for wall street bailouts. I'd love to see a senator talk about that over a several day fillibuster as well. (You would need a stubborn asshole to do that...Nader looks right to me...)

Finally, if you like being disappointed by the dems, then don't keep your third party options option. Just keep giving them money and clap harder. I might note that both David Sirota and Glenn Greenwald have organizations in place that could start searching for and funding viable third party runs and candidates. It's clear that's what they're thinking. Feel free to steal my 5/25 plan and start real change. That would make the dems take notice. Primary challenges aren't going to do it. Most of these guys look at "public service" as an audition for "K Street" anyway...Time to try some new ideas.

Go watch The Acid Jazz Channel.

We Should Put Pressure on the Dems by:
. Giving them money no matter how often they betray us on core issues. 0%
. Vote Republican because we should cut our noses to spite our faces or vice versa. 33%
. Support viable well funded third party candidates to show that we have options too. 66%
. Clap Harder! 0%

Votes: 3
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posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:24 AM
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