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Old 10-07-2005, 03:45 PM   #1
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Report to Dems: Don't Tilt Too Far Left

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...601645_pf.html


washingtonpost.com

Report Warns Democrats Not to Tilt Too Far Left
By Thomas B. Edsall
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 7, 2005; A07

The liberals' hope that Democrats can win back the presidency by drawing sharp ideological contrasts and energizing the partisan base is a fantasy that could cripple the party's efforts to return to power, according to a new study by two prominent Democratic analysts.

In the latest shot in a long-running war over the party's direction -- an argument turned more passionate after Democrat John F. Kerry's loss to President Bush last year -- two intellectuals who have been aligned with former president Bill Clinton warn that the only way back to victory is down the center.

Democrats must "admit that they cannot simply grow themselves out of their electoral dilemmas," wrote William A. Galston and Elaine C. Kamarck, in a report released yesterday. "The groups that were supposed to constitute the new Democratic majority in 2004 simply failed to materialize in sufficient number to overcome the right-center coalition of the Republican Party."

Since Kerry's defeat, some Democrats have urged that the party adopt a political strategy more like one pursued by Bush and his senior adviser, Karl Rove -- which emphasized robust turnout of the party base rather than relentless, Clinton-style tending to "swing voters."

But Galston and Kamarck, both of whom served in the Clinton White House, said there are simply not enough left-leaning voters to make this a workable strategy. In one of their more potentially controversial findings, the authors argue that the rising numbers and influence of well-educated, socially liberal voters in the Democratic Party are pulling the party further from most Americans.

On defense and social issues, "liberals espouse views diverging not only from those of other Democrats, but from Americans as a whole. To the extent that liberals now constitute both the largest bloc within the Democratic coalition and the public face of the party, Democratic candidates for national office will be running uphill."
Galston and Kamarck -- whose work was sponsored by Third Way, a group working with Senate Democrats on centrist policy ideas -- are critical of three other core liberal arguments:

· They warn against overreliance on a strategy of solving political problems by "reframing" the language by which they present their ideas, as advocated by linguist George Lakoff of the University of California at Berkeley: "The best rhetoric will fail if the public rejects the substance of a candidate's agenda or entertains doubts about his integrity."

· They say liberals who count on rising numbers of Hispanic voters fail to recognize the growing strength of the GOP among Hispanics, as well as the growing weakness of Democrats with white Catholics and married women.

· They contend that Democrats who hope the party's relative advantages on health care and education can vault them back to power "fail the test of political reality in the post-9/11 world." Security issues have become "threshold" questions for many voters, and cultural issues have become "a prism of candidates' individual character and family life," Galston and Kamarck argue.
Their basic thesis is that the number of solidly conservative Republican voters is substantially larger that the reliably Democratic liberal voter base. To win, the argument goes, Democrats must make much larger inroads among moderates than the GOP.

Galston, a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, and Kamarck, a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, in 1989 wrote the influential paper, "The Politics of Evasion," which helped set the stage for Clinton's presidential bid and the prominent role of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. In some ways, the report released yesterday showed how difficult the debate is to resolve.

Their recommendations are much less specific than their detailed analysis of the difficulties facing the Democratic Party.

They suggest that Democratic presidential candidates replicate Clinton's tactics in 1992, when he broke with the party's liberal base by approving the execution of a semi-retarded prisoner, by challenging liberal icon Jesse L. Jackson and by calling for an end to welfare "as we know it."
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Old 10-07-2005, 09:38 PM   #2
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Don't tilt too far left? I haven't seen them tilting anywhere lately. In fact I haven't seen them, full stop.
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Old 10-07-2005, 10:18 PM   #3
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i agree with kieran. the democrats suck.

i have no one to vote for. it's sad.
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Old 10-08-2005, 12:23 AM   #4
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I disagree with that article. I think the Democrats need to stop being wishy-washy, show some backbone and offer voters a clear alternative to the Republicans. A growing number of people are getting sick of what the Bush administration is doing to this country, and they need to take advantage of that.
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Old 10-08-2005, 12:30 AM   #5
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I agree entirely, I think that the best way is for the progressive community to follow through on it's threats against the DNC, Kos lead the way!
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:11 AM   #6
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The Democrats are not a left wing party, with the possible exception of social issues like abortion.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:15 AM   #7
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Social issues are issues of individual liberties that do not fall on the right/left dichotomy.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Social issues are issues of individual liberties that do not fall on the right/left dichotomy.
In your opinion...maybe.

But favouring legalised abortion on demand is generally seen as a left wing position.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:26 AM   #9
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blah fucking blah.

who here was in a coma the last two Presidential elections?

One was an absolute majority Democractic victory (popular vote) and another the most ballots ever cast for a losing candidate, Kerry was thousands, not millions of votes from victory. The boneheads might have you think this was a 77-0 victory ala the New England Patriots playign Temple University in football. Give us all a fucking break.

You'd think this was fucking MOndale and Dukakis.

84, Mondale and 88 Dukakis asskickings were followed by two consecutive Democrat wins in the Pres. elections.

Doesn't mean anything. Teh voice against the right wing is loud, it's just not united and may not ever be, as narrow minded to be so united to be against the "fags", or some other bullshit issue.

Maybe they should take up an issue against those who eat the carcasses of hooved footed animals. The honor of Leviticus should be upheld!!!!!

Fuck all the noise.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:27 AM   #10
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Not intrinsically left wing. I think that the dichotomy between right and left is more about the role of government more than particular issues.

If we are going to divide left and right by issues such as social freedoms or foreign policy then most people will be put on the outer.

Conservative, Progressive, Libertarian, Anarcho-Socialist etc. are all different political ideologies that can usually be grouped right / left even though they have different positions on issues.
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Old 10-08-2005, 01:51 AM   #11
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The dichotomy between left and right in the UNITED STATES is almost completely socially driven, with all due respect I am not convinced you could appreciate this, you as an outsider or even some coastal Americans. To me it is more than apparent, painfully obvious even.

The people deciding issues of note (in the US), live in the areas of the country not driven by pop culture issues or even popular political problems. It's mostly a question of "morality". It's a "God" issue.
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Old 10-08-2005, 02:19 AM   #12
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Thats the culture wars, a topic which emerges often enough here; and in practically every single part I fall down on the side of the "leftist intelligencia" ~ reproductive rights, censorship, teaching of creationism in schools etc. ~ benefit of a post-Christian society I suppose. The fact that there are political blocs that attract voters and that these blocs are broadly centrist in position should not alter the actual definitions of what constitutes what.

Judging by the actions of this administration and quite a few poltical players the American right stands for protectionism, big government and social engineering. A few things that again show how utterly useless the right / left dichotomy is.

The terms have different meanings depending on where you are talking about. Conservative can describe a Tory, Republican, Mullah or man with bomb strapped to his chest depending on what politics is being discussed and by whom.
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Old 10-08-2005, 02:26 AM   #13
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Yes sir, I most certainly agree.

In the context of American politics, you cannot seperate the dichotomy of left vs right from the social aspects, while the clinical deifinitons are different and transcend this, I was unde the impression we were talking American politics.

Sorry if I was out of turn.
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Old 10-08-2005, 02:28 AM   #14
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but one last thing, i am partaking of the bourbon of choice tonight, and I read further up on the thread that your conversation was more or less with financeguy.

So excuse me for that.
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Old 10-08-2005, 07:49 AM   #15
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I think the Left/Right Dichotomy in the US stopped being about the role of government a long time ago, although plenty of lip service is played to it. It's morphed into whether big government and tax dollars are going to support your interests or mine. Both sides want government when it suits their interests; neither side wants it interfering when it doesn't.
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