Full Court Press — what the OpenLeft brouhaha was about

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This is the piece that briefly got posted on OpenLeft Saturday night, was yanked under orders from Chris Bowers on Sunday, and was the target of a bizarre counter-attack by Bowers on Sunday night.  I outline this in my comment http://docudharma.com/show… on BuhdyDharma’s Blogging and the Left thread.

It is merely a simple tactic, and a work in progres.

The Case

The health care reform debacle is beginning to stink to high heaven, whether or not some rotted carcass labeled “reform” ever gets passed.

Obama now proudly walks in the footsteps of Lyndon Johnson and George Bush as he ships 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Hopes of seriously regulating Wall Street have been dashed to bits by the Goldman Sachs economic team Obama has put in charge of the henhouse, while Wall Street pockets the bailout money that we gave them and plans its next round of Ponzi schemes.

Working families only face more unemployment, and foreclosures, while employers exploit the hard times to crack down on the still employed, and the social safety net provided by state and local governments is ripped asunder.

At this moment, Obama’s Fed nominee is touting creating jobs by gutting Social Security.

And hope is dying.  

The progressive movement had had all sorts of hopes in the last presidential election.  I remember being in tears watching the solemn but joyous crowd gathered in Lincoln Park that election night.  We had won, and with a Democratic president and Congress, we would continue to fight for the hopes that had been held in check for so many years.  Yes, Obama said things that made me uneasy, but I had hope in the people who had carried him into office.  We the people would provide that extra measure of strength that our elected officials would need to see through all their promises.

Things were shaken up with the 2006 elections.  Progressives talked tough about Bush and the war and behold, Democrats got elected.  Try it again in 2008, we thought.  For one golden moment, it seemed to be working again.  America was moving left, and would continue to move left, now we could pass progressive legislation, elect more Democrats in 2010, visions of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930’s dancing in our heads.  But it now looks like all that still evokes the 1930s is the misery.

Obama went Wall Street, went military-industrial complex, went with the Bush torture regime.  But hope didn’t die easy.  See, we were told, Obama had this master plan, pacify the right, make the generals happy, lean over backwards for the Republicans, and then we would see the greatest piece of social legislation since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.  Health care reform.  Health care, as Obama had proclaimed during the campaign, as a human right.  Details kept out of sight, shadow-boxing over public option, Stupak kept under the radar.

Then in the week preceding the passage of the House version, the hideous truth was revealed.  Nothing until 2014, a bloody stump of a public option, mandate to force the uninsured to buy what they can’t afford, no price controls.  Stupak.  Lieberman.  Maybe a commission to cut Social Security.

Public option stalwarts Howard Dean and Anthony Weiner were suddenly on board, Stupak and all, because of that bloody stump.

The blogs were ablaze.  We’ve been betrayed, kill this monstrosity.  No, it’s great, don’t be a purist.  Save abortion rights.  No, improve it later.  I’ve been checking some of the blogs.  Now OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers has a big piece explaining why he shifted his position.  Firedoglake’s Jane Hamsher is touting the bill as a victory because of its bloody stump of a public option, having once absolutely insisted that if it didn’t have a ROBUST public option, it should be defeated.  Firedoglake’s readers are not impressed.  Matt Yglesias touts the “Public Option Pragmatists” and praises Bowers.  His readers aren’t happy.  Lots of “I’ll never vote again” stuff, utter disgust, along with the regular hacks trying to convince folks that all that piss is really rain.

Some might call anything on the blogs a tempest in a teacup.  But then there is this underlying poll showing 81% of Republicans are either “definitely” or “probably” voting next year, while among Democrats 56% are either “definitely” voting or “probably” voting next year, while 40% are “not likely” to vote or will “definitely” not vote.

While the Palin legions grow and the cold shadow of Weimar creeps across the landscape, the progressive leadership is reacting to this with varying degrees of hysteria or pseudo-militancy.  Congressional Democrats must do something to inspire the base, they cry.  They must be bold.  When in fact they are cowering in their hutches.  Rallying cries go out from MoveOn and the like.  Make phone calls for the public option.  Send us money.  Call your congressman.  Send us more money.  But not a whisper that if Congressman X doesn’t come through, they will face retaliation.

In a snapshot, the regular Democratic Party leadership is in a deadly state of paralysis at best, the progressive leadership is calling on the ranks to keep doing more of the same only with greater vigor, and the ranks are demoralized and beginning to drop away in disgust.

I have no hope for the Democratic Party leadership actually leading anything.  Many of them would just as well be rid of the party’s base.  The base did its job in 2008, but they only complicate things now with their unrealistic expectations and childish demands.

I will concede that progressive leaders such as Bowers are well-meaning.  (Maybe I’m too easy, I had also conceded that Obama was well-meaning.)  But they have cherished relationships on the fringe of the Democratic Party core:  jobs, the tiniest bit of influence, access to congressional aides, the joy of getting onto the Rachel Maddow show, etc.  However angry or militant they might sound at any given moment, they have no willingness to make a serious threat.  No stick.

And the ranks?  Some are perfectly willing to roll over, yes I believe in, yes I uphold, etc., the Democratic Party is my team just like the New York Knicks are my team and that emotional identification is the bottom line.  Smart people can say incredibly stupid things in this mindset.

Yes, they’ll target specific Democrats to punish them.  This is consistent with a completely fragmented, individualistic methodology that is completely paralyzing.  The Democratic Party is masterful at creating an endless series of either/or choices.  Lousy public option or none.  Stupak or lesser restrictions on abortion.  A nice campaign speech or not.  A campaign position or none.  Democratic Party or Republican.  Lesser or greater evil.  If this fragmented framework is accepted, then there is no way out of the trap, the current version of the La Brea tar pits.

Can’t say we will hurt you, the Democratic Party, if you cave on this principle or that.

But let’s look at the Stupak amendment.  Stupak didn’t do this.  It wasn’t passed by this Democrat and this Republican and this one and that one and gee which ONES should we go after.  The House bill containing Stupak was passed by the Democratic Party.

My concern is with those who can’t keep beating their heads against a brick wall are dropping away in disgust, a disgust I share, by the way, and who would indeed be abandoning the field.  My wife and I have filled out our passport applications.  What’s needed is a plan for the decent activists who’ve plugged away for years, who’ve haven’t shared the joys of being a party insider.  We can’t just call for nose to the grindstone, stiff upper lip, take (another) one for the team.  We need to give them something that they can do that is not contingent on the higher-ups leading it, funding it, legitimizing it.

We need to give them a stick.

Thus the Full Court Press.

The plan

The basic concept is simple and flexible.  The Committee for a Full Court Press (FCP) (I just made up the name) would agree on the following principles [slightly modified]:

o Troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq now.

o Medicare for all.

o No compromise on abortion rights, repeal Hyde.

o No aid to Israel until Palestinians have full rights.

o Regulate Wall Street to the max, no more bailouts.

o Tax the rich to deal with the deficit.

o Create a fund to save families from foreclosures.

o Rebuild and strengthen the social safety net, no cuts in Social Security.

The 8 points are offered as a suggestion, and would be decided upon by those initially forming the FCP based upon activist feedback.  But once approved, they would ultimately not be negotiable at the local level.

The bottom line is to have at least one FCP candidate on the primary ballot in every district.

The FCP activist would pay the required filing fee or gather required signatures or combination thereof to get on the primary ballot.  While any FCP candidate could run a full-fledged campaign with the intent to win the seat, a minimal candidate could:

o Ask the other candidates if they will actively support the FCP points and say so in writing.

o If they sign, the FCP candidate could simply endorse that candidate, or the best of those candidates (if such is the case) and campaign actively for their endorsee or not as the FCP candidate sees fit.

o If that candidate betrays the points, the FCP candidate would have the option of campaigning more aggressively.

If no other candidate supports the FCP points, the FCP candidate could minimally:

o Talk to the local press.

o Appear at candidate nights if any group sponsors them.

o Nothing in the plan precludes running a full-blast campaign to win.  It’s just not contingent on that.

Tactically, that’s it.  That’s the plan.  This requires some money and some effort, and ballot requirements vary from state to state, but is within practical range.  The main requirement after getting on the primary ballot is a willingness to make some phone calls and show up.  If the FCP candidate wanted to do more and could do more, that would be excellent.  But not required.


… which have come up as I’ve tried to clarify this plan.


Obviously there would have to be some kind of national structure, and some tasks such as fundraising and ballot access expertise require activity on a national level.  Likewise, there would likely have to be state structure of some kind.

But I think it would be a serious mistake to go into detail, just as it would be a mistake to present the 8 principles as some kind of polished master list.  Rather the structure should reflect those who respond to the plan.  I envision slow but steady growth, with structure determined by participants, and changed by participants as it develops.  There is no point in building paper empires with no one in them.

On the other hand, if you gave me $1 million, I could come up with an organizational structure in an hour, and if you gave me $2 million, I’d give you three structures, quite a bargain.  But seriously, let’s see who turns up first.

At this point, the FCP is myself and a handful of good people who have said they wanted to actively support this, and together we are fine-tuning the plan.  The task is to gather support for the central concept.  If a dozen people want to come aboard, that would take a certain level of organization, likewise 100 people would need a different one.  As would 500.  Hopefully we would need interim structures that would be quickly outgrown, to be determined by the participants at each step along the way.

Aren’t you duplicating the work of other groups targeting wayward Dems?

Very good question.  Answer:  no!

Organizations like ActBlue are extremely important, and I hope the Full Court Press would dovetail with them.  However, our approach is very different.  First, it insists on adherence to a clear set of principles.

But aren’t you imposing a litmus test?

Of course.  About goddamn time, too.  The Democratic Party as it now operates is an orgy of pragmatism.  Judged in terms of pragmatism, it has failed utterly unless your pragmatic goal is to attract corporate contributions.  Like it or not, litmus has been working for the Republicans in terms of moving public policy to the right, e.g., Stupak.

Wait, you were talking about ActBlue type groups!

As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, the 8 principles, while hardly comprehensive, constitute a broad agenda.  With single-issue groups, you can support abortion rights and bombing the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and Gaza, all in one unholy stew, or vice versa.  Not good enough

Additionally, other groups engage in a lot of bargaining.  Full Court Press isn’t a bargain.  Don’t support it, you get challenged.  Period.

They are also focused on targeting, which is part of the “completely fragmented, individualistic methodology that is completely paralyzing,” as noted above.  It goes after individuals, who then plead their individual cases.  Full Court Press goes after the entire Democratic Party for its misdeeds.  It was the Democratic Party that passed the Stupak-laden House bill.  Anthony Weiner may plead, “It wasn’t me, it was that nasty Mr. Stupak and I had to go along!”  Sorry, Anthony.  Sorry, Nancy.  You voted for it, you get challenged.

But what about actually winning seats?

That seems to be everyone’s first thought.  But it’s a mistake.  Going for a win without massive resources forces us to play their game by their rules.  Full Court Press will drive them crazy because it breaks the rules.  We are challenging the entire Democratic Party with 435 cuts.

To put it simply, if Anthony Weiner has to pay the price for what Stupak does, it gives him an incentive to try to do something about Stupak rather than simply trying to keep his own hands clean.  We are angry, we are crazy, we’re not gonna take it, won’t get fooled again, no more promises in the dark, no more leading role in a cage.

Don’t your 8 principles open the door to all sorts petty wrangling?

They do.  Unfortunately, such is the human condition.  But the Full Court Press is for people who actually want to do something.  We have to trust that people who actually want to do something will actually do something.


So Anthony gets on our good side by signing the 8 principles.  But he doesn’t act in accordance with them.  Full Court Press isn’t magic.  Not a blueprint for all situations.  Evaluations have to be made.  But he’s young and hopes to have a future, so I’d guess that next election he’s got a Full Court Press challenger.

Ballot Access, how hard is it?

It varies by state and my small random checking should not be considered definitive, but I came up with the following:

    Massachusetts needs 2,000 signatures.

    New Jersey 200.

    California takes $1,367 and 3,000 signatures.

    Texas requires $3,125 and 500 signatures.

Some states need only signatures, or a filing fee in lieu of signatures.  200 signatures could be gathered by one person in a hard weekend.  3,000 would require some kind of campaign team, volunteer or hired.  (Hired teams have a tendency to sign up Disney characters, beware.)  Here is where national expertise and fundraising comes in.  It looks tough, but not insurmountable.  As an aside, if you ask for a contribution when someone signs, you can raise about $1/signature fairly easily.  Petitioning can be a money-maker, not a drain, if done properly.

How long will it take to get this off the ground?

While it might be possible to run some Full Court Press candidates in 2010 if we attract some eager leaders, the organization is frankly not yet born.  We have to lay groundwork, including recruitment, fundraising and ballot access  plans.  By 2012, however, we could be able to field 435 candidates.

Will such low-key races be effective?  Will anyone even notice?

Damn sure they’ll notice.  Why?  We’ll be like a gleaming silver needle headed towards an over-inflated balloon.  They may look smug, but their underlying weakness is the huge disparity between their shenanigans in Congress and the opinions of the Democratic base, as well as the American people.  Too many of them have gone unchallenged too long, and the thought of having to actually fight for their seats against anyone will send chills up their spines.  435 chills.  435 needles.

Where did this idea come from?

A few years ago, it was just a throw-away idea I tossed out from time to time and it met thundering silence.  I don’t consider it particularly brilliant, merely stating the obvious.  Since then, I have grown increasingly disgusted with progressive leaders who are calling on politicians to do something, weary of progressive ranks calling on progressive leaders to do something, calling on other progressives to do … wait, that was me.  I had to take responsibility for making the Full Court Press a reality or I was no better than any of them.  In that spirit, I say to angry progressives, the Full Court Press means you taking a lot of responsibility for the direction of this country.  Getting on the ballot is serious work.  You’ll take flak from the smug and the comfortable and the bought.  But at this point, it’s clear that nobody else is going to do it for us.

And someday, as Bob Dylan put it:

  Oh the foes will rise

  With the sleep still in their eyes

  And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’.

  But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal

  And they’ll know that it’s for real,

  The hour that the ship comes in.

  And they’ll raise their hands,

  Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands,

  But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered.

  And like Pharaoh’s tribe,

  They’ll be drownded in the tide,

  And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.

If interested, you can e-mail me at fullCourtPrez@comcast.net


Skip to comment form

  1. buhdydharma

    including Obama.

    But well meaning doesn’t feed the bulldog or get legislation passed. And as we come out of the Mushroom Cloud of the Bush years, that is what EVERYONE is struggling to find the best way to accomplish.

    We are essentially ALL n00bs in this Brave New World, and trying to find our way to effectiveness in overcoming The System through point and counterpoint and debate over the best way to be effective.

    Only one thing is sure, NOT speaking our minds, or trying to shut down the debate, will get us exactly nowhere.

    This is a valuable contribution to the debate, thank you.

  2. sharon

    i am buried in end of the semester projects and can’t comment at the moment.  but i will respond.  also forwarded to a group of new yorkers who think similarly.  whether or not they will take action…..  i’ll be in touch when i resurface.

  3. keikekaze

    There are maybe sixty-something Reps who really are serious progressives already–good enough for me, anyway!  

    Meanwhile, in my district, we’re already primarying Jane Harman with Marcy Winograd.  Marcy got 36 percent of the vote in 2006 with a late candidacy and little organizing.  This time, she’s getting organized!

  4. banger

    Nicely put. This is what we need and it provides us with a focus which the left-blogosphere sadly needs. We are definitely going down and the Dem Party wants no part of the left. They are now a Ceter Right party — they have deliberately hacked off the left beause they have calculated that the left (as has been the case for nearly 25 years will do nothing).

    If you want to be effective you have to scare the shit out of the pols. That’s it, end of story. They are there no to lead but to reflect public opinion. If we are too weak and mealy mouthed to assume political power we get nothing which is precisely what we have gotten since Nov of last year.

    The points standards and principles are important to stick with as a starting point. I would add the most important item not on the list and that is:

    Return to Constitutional Rule

    Again, well done Jeff Roby — keep us up to date. I’ll support a party like you describe. I might add also that we should stop (I mean this emphatically) with the pragmatist line or that “it’ll be years before we can have an effect” or “it takes too long”. No, No! No! However long it takes we must do something like this of we are lost.  

  5. metamars

    You have a comma at the end of the URL.

    I recommend reading the comments at jeffroby’s diary, and also Chris Bowers’. Not least because I posted long comments, there. :-)

  6. rossl

    and you’re not worried about short term losses, go third party on their asses.  Spoil as many elections as possible – that’s what the Prohibitionists did, and well it got them Prohibition.  That’s what the Socialists did, and it got them a lot of nifty New Deal programs.  You’ll be hated, you’ll probably cause short term hurting in terms of Democrats and in terms of humans who are hurt by Republican policies (I mean, I hate a lot of Dems but still think they cause less hurt than Republicans), but if you think like Nader, you could damn well be effective.  He wasn’t, but that’s for a variety of reasons – one of which is destroying the Green Party.

    Don’t listen to me, though.  I’m in a bad mood.

  7. metamars

    The link is here.

    Only the deadline for Illinois has passed. Thus, YOU, TOO, COULD RUN FOR CONGRESS IN 2010 (unless it’s to represent Illinois) Just eyeballing it, it looks like March is the deadline for about 50% of the states, and all filing deadlines occur by the end of July, 2010.

    The pay’s not bad, either – about $173,000/year. Unlike tens of millions of Americans, Congress critters have lots of options for healthcare insurance which they can easily afford, major surgery is free at Walter Reed Hospital (I think it is), and unlike tens of millions of Americans who also are lucky enough to have health insurance, the odds of being dropped by your insurance company, while you’re in office, are zero.

    Oh, and the taxpayer-paid frequent-flyer miles alone are are awesome! Are you listening, Californians and other West Coasters??? *

    * OK, I have to admit that I don’t really know if Congress critters get their plane fair re-imbursed. I’m assuming that they do, up to some reasonable limit.

  8. AndyS In Colorado

    that your 8 points talk about the Palestinians, but make no mention whatsoever of domestic LGBT rights, what seems to have been a major “stubbornness” issue on the part of the incumbent Democrats.

  9. metamars

    If not, do you want somebody else to do so, for you? (I can’t, having been banned from there.)

  10. Arctor

    are expressing the complete disavowal of continued suppoprt for Obama. And as one who was an ardent contributor to his campaign but who got off the bus early on, I can only say hooray! I could post this comment virtually in any of these diaries and say the same thing: giving Obama and the DLC-Democrats more time is a dead-end prescription for greater disaster. This is a horror show that has to be ended and as complicated and ardous as the task outlined here appears, it is a good start. I would hope that even more to the point, progressives run a viable independent candidate against Obama win, lose, or draw! This idea that moderation and “pragmatism” will gain incremental victories is unrealistic hogswill. Those who continue to support Obama are just too weak to admit we all were had by the great American fog machine: Obama was created by Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod and is a totally empty vessel for continuation of the national security-Wall Street Shock Doctrine version of latter-day Capitalism. Every action he has taken is consistent with who he represents, there is no defending it. Just watched Keith Olbermann fuming about the health-care bill compromise; it’s obvious he’s days away from spilling his guts over Obama as we all are here. From here on in we have to realize to paraphrase Barry Goldwater, “moderation in the pursuit of progressive values is no virtue!” To the f…ng ramparts!  

  11. Miep

    for a miserable life.

  12. TomP

    with all you say, it is an important contribution to the core debate of whether the Democratic Party can be reclaimed (or claimed) for the people instead of the corporations.

    The minor criticism of Chris was not personalized and he should be able to take it.

    It is disappointing that he censored this diary.

  13. Lady Libertine

    but I confess way out of my league, Im the anti wonk around here. I posted this essay here a couple of weeks ago, I think its the best way I can express my basic agreement.

    DO … something!

  14. metamars

    I’d love to see the following on a bullboard, banner ads, etc.

    “Lousy Congress Got You Down?

    Stop whining, start FIRING

  15. Allison In Seattle

    But what about actually winning seats?

    That seems to be everyone’s first thought.  But it’s a mistake.  Going for a win without massive resources forces us to play their game by their rules.  Full Court Press will drive them crazy because it breaks the rules.  We are challenging the entire Democratic Party with 435 cuts.

    This is actually brilliant. It’s a version of Dean’s 50-state strategy.

    We’ll force the R’s to spend money in MORE places, thus, they can’t win them all.

    Running with a real, honest, caring platform — another way to describe your platform — against ALL of them, would change the dialog. Move the Overton Window.

    Both of those are Very Very important.

    More than winning.

  16. dharmasyd

    …to get here.  But I must say, your ideas are good–well thought out, well written, and nicely reasoned & balanced.

    Thanks jeffroby.

  17. jeffroby

    Being more visible has responsibilities.

  18. TMC

    is paved by “well meaning” good intentions. We are aping the country with a 6 lane highway. Why are they all sell outs when people will still not be able to afford the insurance they need, will  be forced into inadequate policies and die because of it. They are sinking us into a even deeper hole (the grave) and lining the pockets of the insurance monopoly. Gagging on this crap. They just want US to STFU.  

  19. Michael Wilk

    With all due respect, one’s actions pretty much determine what his meaning is.  To date, I simply see no evidence to make me believe Obama means well.  The same goes for the other monsters running this country.  They mean nothing but harm.

  20. Nada Lemming

    I’ll get back to you after I’ve walked around the block (in the blizzard) and thought about it some more.  

  21. CitizenDane

    to break the 2 party system?  The only way I know to do it is to introduce something like Range Voting (http://www.rangevoting.org).  Anyone here aware of it?  Have opinions about it?  I was originally a big proponent of Instant Run-off Voting. I still think it’s a big improvement over our current “lesser of two evils” system but range voting looks even better.

    Back to FCP – great idea, I would support it strongly.  

    Per your mention of ActBlue, I’d love to see them support this.  Perhaps FDL would support it too.  

  22. BruceMcF

    … wing to the movement, and there is also a challenge in working out a modus vivendi with other groups.

    The bastards will try to promote a fratricidal fight to prevent the radical progressive wing from playing their critical role of expanding the cramped political terrain anywhere to the left of the meaning-of-the-term-conservatism that is the dominant tendency in the Democratic Party Establishment (as opposed to “Conservative as a Brand Name for Reactionary Politics”) … because they always do, and far too often they are successful at it.

    The role that the radical progressives must play is a vital role to play because conserving the status quo is quite literally not a viable option when the status quo is killing us, first in the birth defects and cancer plagues, and now by a frontal assault on our life support system.

    We of course cannot do it with a radical progressive wing alone. We also need a progressive populist wing, because the alternative to bringing along with us the large numbers of people who know that things are fucked but do not know why is to have them recruited by the corporate bastards to join the fight against their own self-interest. And I’m beat from teaching economics to some of those same people for four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening, or I’d be able to put my finger on a third big wing that absolutely essentially needs to be – oh, wait, we need a fucking small business wing, because small business is getting screwed time and again and again and again by big business using them as foot soldiers in pursuit of policies which always leave big business with the slices of cake and small business fighting over the right to lick crumbs off the cake knife. The reality is that we have carried small town versus big city animosities left over from the formation of the New Deal coalition blind us to the need to rethink the coalition and find spaces where we can offer what the corporate bastards can never offer them – a fair chance. And of course the small business wing is also the small farm wing is also the creative class entrepreneur wing.

    We need a parallel internetworked solution, because the Star networks we keep trying keep getting killed by either smashing or coopting the central node in the network.

  23. TMC

    your health insurance may deny your care if you have an exposure they can deny

  24. Nada Lemming

    but it’s not that cold.  It’s like 4 degrees out.  Plus the windchill isn’t any more than -25.  For a MN winter, it’s quite normal.  Ice fishing season is just around the corner, only about two weeks late.  

  25. TMC

    I thought I hated NYC winters. We just get the mean fuglies. Rain, sleet, ice mostly gone the next day, like a NY minute

  26. jeffroby

    A prospective Press candidate could approach her/his incumbent, for instance one of your sixty-somethings, and ask whether they support the Full Court Press principles.  (As an aside here, we need to keep them broad and simple and few.  To be finalized some time next year.)

    If the good incumbent supports the principles, then they are in fact a Press candidate who can be supported to the extent possible.  If the good incumbent refuses, perhaps that incumbent isn’t quite so good.  We file a candidate in the primary.  We might fight heartily to defeat the incumbent.  We might settle for getting on the ballot and sending out a press release.  We retain considerable tactical flexibility.

    However, there is also the issue of the Democratic Party.  Most Democrats voted for the House version of health care reform WHICH INCLUDED THE STUPAK AMENDMENT!  Therefore, the Democratic Party did this.  If Congresscritter Jones doesn’t  want to take heat, then she/has a responsibility to change the Democratic Party.  How HARD we campaign against them can certainly be influenced by the extent they do this.

    A further note, as I’ve said elsewhere, the Full Court Press stands traditional progressive politics on its heads.  Instead of focusing on targeting the worst, and concentrating resources, it goes after the whole pack more lightly.  The game of Go, rather than Chess, as it were.  I believe the aggregate impact will be greater.  Much harder to defend against.

    This makes participation more accessible to the angry rank and file, while targeting a few like ActBlue does has a huge pull to get big names and big money.  And frankly, big names and big money are more likely to be sucked into the Democratic Party tar pits.

    Accessibility is also why we focus on the House rather than the Senate.  Much easier ballot access.

    If others want to target the worst of the Democrats, we are in no way against that.  But 435 is our priority.

  27. jeffroby

    … We are not a party.  Our focus is the congressional Democratic primaries.  There will be major discussions going on regarding general elections, and the 2012 presidential primary and general.  We’ll see what develops and respond accordingly.  Ours is not a strategy, it is tactic that will hopefully someday be part of a larger strategy.

    Could it help lay infrastructure for a future independent party?  History will tell.

    Love your spirit!

  28. jeffroby
  29. banger

    a long time ago and foresaw what happened this year. I’m not sure it is possible to reform the Dem Party in any way right now. I’m not saying it can’t be reformed but we are up against it now that we became so much toilet paper for the oligarchs. I no longer believe that the U.S. elections are honest — by that I don’t mean that the votes are completely rigged but there is no way to really know. We spend so little time and attention to the underpinnings of our democracy that anything can happen. The very fact of that makes me deeply suspicious.

    Having said that, I think the main problem is in the way candidates are selected and their relationship to the Propaganda Organs (MSM). Unless you play by their (the MSM) rules, which are dictated by political operatives of both parties, you cannot get coverage that can either get you known or treat you fairly. Look at how they treat candidates who wander from the reservation, i.e., the Narrative a.k.a. “Washington conventional wisdom”.

    I think an alternative party that can be in or out of the Dem Party — or in some cases the Republican Party should be created — my point is that it should not be allied to the Democratic Party but independent, but as a pragmatic matter would support some candidates of either party if they went along with at least some of your principles.  

  30. Hound Dog

    Should this not be a plank?  since campaign financing might just be problem numero uno?

  31. metamars

    From wikipedia:

    Electoral fusion was once widespread in the United States. In the late 19th century, however, as minor political parties such as the People’s Party became increasingly successful in using fusion, state legislatures enacted bans against it. One Republican Minnesota state legislator was clear about what his party was trying to do: “We don’t propose to allow the Democrats to make allies of the Populists, Prohibitionists, or any other party, and get up combination tickets against us. We can whip them single-handed, but don’t intend to fight all creation.” (Spoiling for a Fight, 227-228). The creation of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party made this particular tactical position obsolete. By 1907 the practice had been banned in 18 states; today, fusion as conventionally practiced remains legal in only eight states, namely:

       * Connecticut

       * Delaware

       * Idaho

       * Mississippi

       * New York

       * Oregon

       * South Carolina

       * Vermont

    In several other states, notably New Hampshire, fusion is legal when primary elections are won by write-in candidates.

    The cause of electoral fusion suffered a major setback in 1997, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided by 6-3 in Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party that fusion is not a constitutionally protected civil right.

    (emphasis mine)

    Over a roughly 100 year period, there must have been many changes in the dominant party in many (most?) of the states. So, we can infer that both Dems and Repubs don’t like fusion voting, because it threatens their grip on power.

    For now, I think it’s best if left-leaning citizens try and take over the Democratic Party, and right-leaning citizens try and take over the Republican Party. Right now, both parties are ruled by moneyed interests.

  32. jeffroby

    You are absolutely right, any list of principles that doesn’t in some way embrace LGBT rights is fatally flawed.

    This is only a sample list, to show how the Press would be tactized.  I think it’s important to keep the list small and simple or it loses flexibility.

    We will probably finalize the principles sometime next year, based on those participating in the tactic, and we’re listening to everybody.

  33. jeffroby

    if you think like Nader, you could damn well be effective

    All the other oft-repeated arguments (pro and con) aside, the Full Court Press can work with relatively limited resources.  3rd party campaigns would take vastly, vastly more.  The foundation for a 3rd party doesn’t yet exist.  Massive anger in and of itself is insufficient.

    If you want a 3rd party, you’ve gotta start developing tactics to lay that foundation.

  34. jeffroby

    need to get to know them

  35. Nada Lemming

    so we have that going for us, which is nice.  

  36. TMC

    I’m a summer person, shorts and a tank top or a bathing suit, anything more is over dressed. I want to be a beach bum when I grow up. 😉

  37. Nada Lemming

    Me, I like cold. Cant’ wait for winter to start.  I would like to live in Duluth, where the summers are cooler and the winters are slightly warmer.  My wife wouldn’t go for it now, but if we get Supertrain to Mpls, she might.  

  38. Shaharazade

    and now I sit with my teeth chattering as I type no matter how many layers I have on. Can’t say that I’m grownup but I sure wish I was within spitting distance from the ocean, preferably a place where swimming or rolling in the sand does not require a wet suit. Old non grownups can’t return to a dream that is now just a traffic jam and heat.        

  39. TMC

    He’s better be careful or hell join the ranks of persona non grata at Dkos along with FDL and Greenwald.

  40. Allison In Seattle

    It’s the

    “Church Of Latter Day Capitalism”

    That’s what they all belong to.

    And what we should be objecting to, big time.

    Yes, Obama was created by Rahm, and David, and a couple of older white guys who identified him early on, very early, forget their names.

  41. TMC

    or Morea. I’m a French citizen

  42. Michael Wilk

    I think they’re worth the effort.  Obviously they need to start out locally and build up to state level, which will take years.  No time like the present to start, and you’d be surprised at where and when they can win these days.  If nothing else, the threat of a credible third party challenge might be exploited to our advantage.  

  43. rossl

    either.  But whatever.

  44. Nada Lemming

    and everything?  

  45. Lady Libertine

    lucky you.

  46. TMC

    to the grass shack. Just give me a spear gun and a snorkle and I’m set.

  47. TMC

    I mayhave to move a little inland

  48. metamars

    I suggest that you use a catchier title, though, like:

    “Change from the Bottom Up” ON STEROIDS – the 435 Dem Primary ‘Full Court Press’

    You don’t want anybody thinking you diary will be about basketball…

  49. Lasthorseman

    Got banned three times there.  Just another Kos left gatekeeper organization.

  50. banger

    It really means that if all of us are ourselves then (right-wingers, left-wingers, centrists) we’ll be better off because we will have “escaped the moneyed interests”. Well yes, but by definition the moneyed interests are right-wing (assuming they are trying to preserve and protect their power). What we call “right-wing” is something different I think. They are populists who are true neighbors of all real leftists (again, who actually oppose the status-quo). Yes, I know that their “stuff” is hard to comprehend.

    But I’m cursed to see everything as a metaphor (at least in part) and I see the concerns of the populist right and genuine and real at least symbolically. They know something is deeply wrong and that the ones in power appear to be misleading them. But the Glen Beck’s and Rush Limbaughs were out there day in and day out hammering on their essential ideological points. They ideologically trained part of the American people with nary a peep out of “the left”. In other words the opposition to Globalization, New World order, Washington pols chiefly comes from the right — ok, sure this is just a confidence game but it’s also a fact that “the left” identified so much with the establishment left (the “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party) that it lost its independence and connection with fundamental political truths in favor of the Washington Democratic Party establishment which is always read to be or appear to be on the left — I mean these are sensitive guys who care about the arts and have intense and interesting lives. But when push comes to shove they side with their class (they are usually very well off if they’ve gotten near WH power). The closer you are to “leadership” the richer you become (or have to be), usually.

  51. jeffroby

    … but groundwork needs to be laid, as I did with OpenLeft.

  52. metamars

    … who are losing their political religion. Here is a post from yesterday, e.g.


    I know many here will disagree with my reaction to the no-single payer, no public-option sellout but my reaction is to as soon as I can re-register as an independent voter after 38 years as a registered Democrat. I will admit when I first registered as a Democrat (in California) I was leaning towards registering as an independent but due to the closed primaries I felt it was a better use of my vote to register as a Democrat. I feel the continuing capitulation to the right-wing Republicans and conservative Democrats shows me that the Democratic party takes the progressive wing for granted and really has no intention of moving forward with any kind of progressive agenda. Don’t look for any significant change on the war stance, climate change or any other liberal leaning subject as the Democrats have no intention of making any substantial change to the status quo. Re-registering does not mean in any way that I will give up on progressive causes at this time I just feel that trying to work from within the Democratic party is a waste of time and until the party shows me that they will strongly support the American people as a whole rather than the corporation and the ultra-wealthy they don’t deserve my support. Yes, if it takes the Democrats losing seats and even the Presidency to get them to wake up and reestablish their historic spot as the representatives of everyday citizens then that is what must be done. I have had it with empty promises and spineless Democrats (why the hell was Lieberman in the room for the final health care work?) luckily I have one Senator where I live now, Bernie Sanders, that I can wholeheartedly support.

    (emphasis mine)

    I hope the DD community will spend their time contacting the latest persons losing hope at online blogs, and channel them into the Full Court Press – as opposed to endless arguments with ‘Obamabots’, which strike me as mostly a waste of time.

  53. TMC

    I can spit from my backyard into the ocean and right now I’m freezing. I try too look on the bright side. As of Dec. 21 the days begin to get longer and it is 3 months to spring.

  54. Shaharazade

    has filed a suit which makes it so no one can sue Yoo or any of the torture lawyers gave Bush’s torture program the thumbs up and tried to make the war crimes legal. The dkos ‘community’ including the endless lawyers of mass destruction over there are busily defending this. The Law it appears is only King when it doesn’t interfere with politics. Moping up the mess bush left does not include the blood as we need to move forward and get the extortionist’s profit margins up. They gave the dude the peace prize for his future forward movements and he’s obligated to protect the government against frivolous law suits which after all benefit the terrorists. Nuremberg was for Nazi’s not the rest of us.

    Obama ‘intentions’ seem to be turning the loyalists into good Germans who could care less about harm, law or democracy. He is actively supporting and giving protection to the monsters who still run the country. There is no line between the last batch and this one it’s a seamless transition which the Democrats are fighting hard to maintain. Gonzo’s DoJ is still in place to proclaim war crimes and corporate crimes legal and in the national interests. All this to keep Sarah Palin and the bad terrorist’s from wrecking our country. Unbelievable enough that this administration would brazenly call this change, but what really scary is that the people who elected him because of the harm done, defend and support Obama version of the same criminality, lawlessness and destruction of human rights.

    This is premeditated harm and were ‘moving forward’ with it, the fierce urgency of now demands it.  The  Democratic rank and file says ‘get a mop and help’. That’s the change that unbelievable to me. How can people delude themselves politically to the point where because a Democrat says it they believe it to be both good and necessary to fight for and protect. He does not mean ‘well’ he means to change what ‘well’ is. He defines moving on as proceeding down the same path the Bushies cleared by codifying it and calling this reform . He gets his peace prize today the Obama lovers say it’s for his good intentions. Patience is required for these intentions to come about, meanwhile get his back and work to legislate extortion, legalize war crimes and get a mop, you enemy of the good.                                

  55. dharmasyd

    Obama ‘intentions’ seem to be turning the loyalists into good Germans who could care less about harm, law or democracy.

  56. dharmasyd

    …thinking.  I’m with you on this for sure!

  57. jeffroby
  58. jeffroby

    I like :>)

  59. seabos84

    george kennan, or david gergen, or … just another wannabee serious villager.

    It is his blog, so he gets to define what is right and wrong and good and bad, BUT, to pretend is that is any different than your run of the mill veal pen aspirant,

    especially when he is just a petty censor –

    fuck censors, fuck bowers.


  60. Michael Wilk

    He can’t even handle passing remarks that, in their larger contexts, aren’t really about him anyway.

  61. metamars

    Never forget the URL!


         Lousy US Congress Got You Down?      

         Stop whining, start FIRING    



  62. justCal

    …are being violated in terms of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment(in my opinion).When considered in light of the recent assault on constitutional rights across the board maybe the best approach would be to demand that the constitution be returned to it’s place as the fountainhead of all laws.

  63. jeffroby

    I agree that we need to break the 2 party system, but that’s far down the road.  Guarantees that no one would support it, and it would be easy to try to do so.

    My focus is national, even though it entails running a lot of local races.  The focus — at this point — is to find a FEW issues where the party base is in advance of what the Democratic Party is actually pushing.

    That’s the gap where we can exert leverage.

  64. lotlizard

    That one comment is full of worthy ideas and insights.

  65. lotlizard

    … Michael Moore punching bag.

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