Tag: strategy

And Now? (w/poll)

I know it’s hard to move on, but I really hope that in the months and weeks leading up to January 20th, the left liberal blogosphere will not focus its attention single-mindedly on every rumor of Obama cabinet appointments or even every toothsome morsel of gossip about Republican backbiting and infighting.

It seems there are three main responses progressives and leftists are taking to the new administration-in-formation.

The first is the classic honeymoon:

Cut the guy some slack, he’s got a lot on his plate. Already the election has had a transforming effect on the mood of people in the country and more good stuff is on the way. Now is not the time to be tugging his coattails.

The second is to try and lobby or bring direct pressure to bear on the Obama/Biden team, the Congressional Dems and/or the Democratic Party machine around a broad agenda or, more commonly a particular issue. In particular, This takes the form of trying to call in markers by forces who worked hard to produce the Obama landslide. The clearest example is the drive announced by the Change to Win union coalition to get the Employee Free Choice Act “card check” law passed in the first 100 days of the new administration. The AFL-CIO, for its part, is calling for a million EFCA petition signatures to be delivered on Inauguration Day. Similar calls have been launched by health care reform groups, (The push here to defend the 50 state strategy and its organizing core seems to fall into this category.)

The third is the one I want to argue for. It has already been modeled modeled by the Proposition 8 activists in California and their supporters around the country in the wake of Tuesday’s vote.. They chose a target, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (a/k/a the Mormon Church), and lit it up with militant demonstrations, extensive muckraking exposure of the facts, and public online debate over, and planning for, a possible boycott of Utah.

I would characterize this third option as creating a firestorm of struggles, locally-based in the main, around critical issues. These will by and large not make the administration-to-be their main target but will create facts on the ground in terms of social unrest among important sections of the people, which will have to be factored into their planning and policy-making.

A couple of additional points on this strategic approach:

1. Those arguing for the second approach should bear in mind the FISA battle of this spring, when folks across the left liberal blogosphere, a sector Obama owed bigtime, fought urgently to get him to stand up for constitutional rule in this country. A broad united front of progressives, liberals, civil liberties advocates and libertarians was quickly built. Funds were raised and teevee ads even made. What his backers got from Obama was one live-blog session with some staffers defending his unconscionable support for the Bush-engineered FISA bill, which passed.

2. Some may object that this doesn’t deal with the big picture can be made, but let’s take the example of the global economic meltdown and the rapidly deepening depression in this country. Obama’s seventeen-advisor panel is drawn from the very clowns and crooks who dragged the world into this mess. The best thing that could happen before the inauguration would be a wave of protests-against plant closings here, foreclosures there, tuition hikes on campus, service cuts in broke communities. The bankers, the automakers, the shippers are already whispering in every ear they can find, amplifying their urgency with “common sense” and the rustle of lobbying cash. We have to show that listening to them has real social costs as well as fiscal ones.

3. The worst thing about Obama for many of his supporters was his “tough guy” military stance, The promise of an eventual substantial withdrawal from Iraq-providing the high command agrees-is more than undercut by his pledge to dump thousands more troops into Afghanistan (the Graveyard of Empires, going back millennia) and “plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops.” It is time for the anti-war movement, which has done so much to crystallize opposition to the occupation of Iraq (and thus to turn the public away from the Republicans), to step up again. Troops are dying, Iraqis are dying. The war has brought unimaginable devastation to their country and costs ours $2.5 billion a week. We can’t wait for Inauguration Day to make our voices heard. A good place to start is the Iraq Moratorium. This locally-based Third Friday protest will be observed by groups and individuals around the country on November 21, for the fifteenth straight month. Make plans to take part now!

Crossposted at

Daily Kos

Planning NOW for 2010

On Tuesday voters will go to the polls to participate in what shall undoubtedly be yet another sham election in which the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is determined (but not necessarily by the voters).  Either Republican John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama is going to be dictator, but regardless of who it is come January, we’re still screwed.

This entry assumes Barack Obama shall become dictator Tuesday, but it can just as easily be applied to McCain should he cheat his way into office.

We had our chance to get Obama to listen, but far too many Democrats decided it was better to shut up and get in line behind him rather than force him to adopt left-wing policy positions.  What’s worse, we frittered away our chance to hold Congressional candidates to the proverbial fire.  I think the only way we can shape things is to work toward 2010 by making sure progressive independents and Democrats are elected.

Primary runs are only half the equation.  If they succeed (as they did in states such as Maryland), great, but we also need to have independent candidates ready to challenge recalcitrant Democrats in general elections.  If politicians don’t fear losing the elected seats they hold, they won’t have any incentive to represent their constituents.  I can’t think of a better way to put the fear of electoral loss in right-wing Democrats than the prospect of losing their seats of power to strong independent candidates or, if those persons fail to win, the Republican candidates.

If you haven’t already started locally, and I presume people have done this across the country, I strongly suggest spending the next two years building up to state-level offices.  Pick a local political party that has a record of getting results (e.g Progressives in Vermont and Washington, Greens in California, and so forth), and get disenfranchised progressives to join and organize.  Hold meetings to figure out which members are best suited to run for public office and then pool money to get them on the ballots in your communities.  Candidates should be screened for potential scandals, have records to match their rhetoric, and be able not only to communicate effectively, but seize and maintain control of the discussion.

Do that and you may be able to shape things in time for the 2010 midterm elections.  The time to start is not then, but now, in 2008.  Time’s wasting, so let’s get busy!

Laying the groundwork: Part II

This is the second installment in the series. In my first installment, I established that in order to grok the future, it is necessary to understand the present and remember the past and that in order to influence the future, strategies must be emplaced. In this installment, I will attempt to show Docudharma nation that there are proven methods, techniques and tools available that can be used to develop strategies. These are proactive methods and can be used to focus our resources towards achieving our ultimate goals; whatever those may be.

Will Obama “Toughen Up” for the General Election? Can He?

One of the most profound questions regarding Obama is his approach and tenor towards those most of us around here consider the scum of the earth, the war criminals and torturers at the top of the Republican Party. John McCain is not much more than a replacement part for their Reign of Terror to continue unabated. And of course he is as full of shit as a row of portapotty’s after a three day rock concert and has held more positions than the KamaSutra.

An aggressive, attacking campaign posture will destroy his credibility, despite his protectors in the Merde Stream Media. The question is….will Obama attack? Or play the post-partisan, “reasonable” (in the face of Repub madess) nice guy?


We got a clue last night. These lovely words did NOT come out of Obama’s mouth, but from Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

h/t Scout Finch

“What’s reckless is continuing the Bush-McCain foreign policy that has cost us thousands of lives and a trillion dollars in Iraq, strengthened Iran, enabled Hamas to take Gaza, took our eye off al Qaeda, failed to capture Osama bin Laden, failed to finish the job in Afghanistan, and left us less safe and less respected in the world. No amount of utterly predictable fear-mongering and tough talk can change the fact that John McCain is running to continue the most disastrous foreign policy in recent American history,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Media War: The Power Of The Press…is Profit

Forgive them Father for they know not what they don’t.

They don’t report the news that matters, they report the news that sells.

Kagan Research, the media research firm, projected that the four cable news channels would earn $699 million in pre-tax profits in 2006. That would represent a jump of 32% from 2005, when they generated $529 million.

This is the first challenge of taking on the media, what they do is making money…so why should they change?

Before cable, TV news divisions were expected to lose money. It was considered part of their responsibility to the public, for using the public airwaves, to make a profit on their other programming.

The came Reagan and Gordon Gecco. Then came cable, the came the internet.

The NYTimes just got rid of a hundred people, journalism without sensationalism isn’t profitable.

“Ultimately the guarantor of our freedoms are the people.”

GORE: Ultimately the guarantor of our freedoms are the people. And these kinds of outrages, a president saying that he has the right turn George Washington’s 200-plus year prohibition against torture and torture anyone he wants with his assistants gathering in the basement of the White House – according to recent revelations – personally reviewing the kinds of torture techniques being used prisoner by prisoner, its obscene.

As usual, Al Gore is right.

Unfortunately, The People have a few obstacles in their way.

Such as a Congress that is …(Editors note: long, expletive laden description of Congress deleted for space reasons)….ineffective. So ineffective as a matter of fact, that in his post on Dkos yesterday Senator Kerry in effect said that we have more power than he does….

And, when it comes to getting coverage on television, I really think you are selling your own power short. My going on the television and shoe-horning a 5 second mention of this into an interview – especially when the interviewer wants the interview to be on something else – doesn’t really change the nature of coverage. And I could hold press conferences until I’m blue in the face and it won’t get more coverage if the news networks don’t want to cover it. In the end, the main pressure the networks feel is from you. It was satisfying for me to go on MSNBC and tell them they had to get over asking about Wright all the time, but what can really bring real change is when you make folks like CNN realize that you didn’t want to hear any more about it. Activism works.

When you push on your end, and I push on mine, we can make sure everyone knows that we all demand answers to this. We need to keep up the clamor in every way we can.

….he is saying, by my interpretation, that it is the press that holds the ultimate power at this stage of our democracy. That it is the biggest obstacle facing We The People in taking back our country.

Republican Resignations: read ’em as “Redeployments”

Remember when the blogosphere lit up with comments about the resignation of Karl Rove? Rove Resigns! echoed across sites across the world.

But that was too simple. Too easy.

Rove didn’t resign — he wasn’t going away. He was being redeployed.

Fragile Coalitions: Lessons from ENDA and McClurkin, part I

The last month has not been a good one for the loose confederacy of interests usually filed under progressive causes.  First, LGBT activists nearly devoured themselves over the proposed changes to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), in a struggle that challenged the commitment of ostensibly queer activists to the T part of the acronym and eventually resulted in public resignations from the nation’s most powerful LGBT lobby.  Second, the Obama campaign’s ill-advised decision to launch a gospel tour with publicly outspoken anti-gay singers led to a series of campaign flubs, bitter exchanges, and an epic flameout on Daily Kos that really has to be read to be believed. 

Though I don’t doubt the general commitment of everyone involved to the same umbrella set of goals, the fissures and lack of well-articulated overlap between interest groups has the potential – especially when lacking a strong central figure to act as leader – to turn nasty.  That’s exactly what happened this past month, and I want to perform a brief autopsy to show where things went wrong, and whether it’s possible to avoid these kinds of explosions in the future.  Spoiler alert: I really don’t think so.

Investigative Issue Action Blogging: An Intro Diary

Yesterday Armando was blogging about the Netroots being at a crossroads regarding specifically issue action and especially about Iraq, and I proposed a strategy for altering that trajectory called Investigative Issue Action Blogging.  I’d like to flesh out that idea here this morning.

Here’s the basic idea: Create blogposts about specific legislation or actions to be investigated that can be researched collaboratively and acted upon, in order to collectively lobby to move a piece of legislative action forward. This includes nominations (i.e. Attorney General), investigations (i.e. Blackwater or Wiretapping) and legislation (SCHIP, FISA, IRAQ, GLOBAL WARMING on and on and on.)

Oh God, More Meta: “The Netroots”

It’s a mistake imo to talk about “the netroots” as if it’s a something instead of many things, because it gets thinking about what can be done off on the wrong foot right from the start. It’s like saying “the American citizenry is at a crossroads.” Um, OK, but not particularly useful.

The leftosphere blogs perform five main functions that I can see:

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