(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
After taking time out from blogging, I decided that it’s time to start crafting the points discussed by Jeff Roby in his entry, “For a Full Court Press“. This obviously isn’t going to be completed overnight. It should be designed with as much input as is reasonable and with time enough to include all the relevant details while listening to all interested parties. But we do need to get the ball rolling now. Already, some states have seen their filing deadlines for Congressional races pass. If we’re to lay the groundwork for the Full Court Press, and test it out on at least a smaller scale this year in preparation for 2012, this is the time to do it.
And so, without further adieu…
Before delving fully into this first entry on developing the points of issue required to implement the Full Court Press, I’ll sum up what it is and what we hope to accomplish with it. Simply put, we on the left will craft a set of issues-based points that will be drafted into a pledge for all members of Congress to sign. Those who refuse to sign the pledge, or who sign it and then renege, will face both stiff primary challenges and independent opponents from the left. Jeff Roby’s original idea focuses on the House of Representatives, but we can start testing this plan by targeting Democrats who are up for re-election in both the House and the Senate. This effectively cuts the number of races we can influence roughly in half, making the Full Court Press an easier task in 2010, since we know from experience that no Republican is likely to respond positively to any kind of public pressure.
In order to get things going, we need a pledge to take to elected officials to sign, one that by putting their names on paper will obligate them to adhere to progressive policy positions and fight for them vigorously. Again, those Democrats who sign the pledge we will leave alone unless they renege, and those who refuse we make every effort to defeat. Yes, this will mean that we risk Democratic seats going to (or back to) Republicans, but considering that most if not all of the Democrats elected to Congress in 2006 and 2008 have legislated like Republicans, there’s really no legitimate reason to think that we can expect any worse should that happen. In order to win any conflict, one must often risk losing. Many a campaign, be it political or in the theater of war, has been lost because of timidity. Just as the conservative movement hijacked both the Republican and Democratic Parties, we on the left must use our own movement to retake at least one of the two dominant political organizations. By restricting ourselves to working solely within a partisan operation, we have lost the ability to influence the Democrats. The Full Court Press allows us on the left to regain that power by recreating left-wing movement politics.
Alright, so which policy point do we tackle first? Health Care? Civil Liberties? Re-Regulation of the Economy? There are many issues to choose from, but you may be surprise to find that many of them are related to one another – indeed, all of them are related when you break it all down, but for the sake of organization we will divide the issues important to Americans into a slightly larger set of related categories. Bear in mind that when the final pledge is presented to elected officials and other candidates for public office, the points thereon will not necessarily be in any particular order of importance; each and every one is as important as all of the others, and adherence to the pledge must be absolute. No deviations must be tolerated, or else what’s the point of making public officials sign any kind of pledge?
So let’s pick an obvious one: Peace, Not War. Sounds pretty easy, right? Not as much as you might think. Shall the left demand full and timely withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and anywhere else the U.S. is actively involved in combat operations? If so, what will take their place – especially in the case of the effort to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and finally dismantle al-Qaeda?
I can list some ideas, but for the Full Court Press to be a truly movement-based effort, reader participation is required. The left must be united in this effort, because otherwise we cannot stand against the far right (which has been united for decades). That means everyone who wants genuine change must be willing, able, and ready to put in ideas and vote upon the final set of issue-points. I’m only one person, as is Mr. Roby, the originator of the Full Court Press idea, and I can’t think of everything that needs to go into the pledge.
Here is what I propose (please use the comments section to add your own ideas):
- Full military withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and other active combat zones – an end to warfare in our time.
- Redirect efforts in the so-called “war on terrorists” to law enforcement, international cooperation (intelligence-sharing, Interpol operations, and diplomatic agreements, among other actions) to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and end al-Qaeda.
- Reduce the Pentagon budget by a factor of one half by 2020.
That’s a start, but it’s obviously not everything that can go into the first point on the pledge. Again, please use the comments section to add your own ideas.