Monday, July 25, 2005
Dare to Fight and Dare to Win
The Texas statewide Democratic vote for state offices in the last 3 non-presidential general elections (1994, 1998, and 2002) was not representative of the Democratic base. The Democratic base is much bigger than the votes the Democratic statewide candidates received in those elections, but the party's message in each of those elections was not designed to motivate growth in the base voter turnout. Even when two minority-group candidates were put at the top of the ticket in 2002, the consultantocracy made sure that those candidates' campaigns did not convey strong populist messages of the kind that would speak to the base vote. I am convinced that strong populist Democratic campaigns appealing directly to the Texas Democratic base will wake the slumbering parts of our base from the sleep they have been in since at least 1994.
To those who will argue that I am wrong in this belief, you cannot show me that a hard-hitting, statewide Democratic populist campaign aimed at the base will not expand the Democratic vote statewide into a majority, when it hasn't even been attempted in such a long time. How could one know it won't make a difference if it is not given a chance? We've been using the "take no risks" warm fuzzy platitude messages over and over. Now it is time to do it the other way. It is time for the Texas Democratic Party to reclaim the political legacy of James Stephen Hogg, James V. Allred, Ralph Yarborough, and Jim Hightower.
It is time to discard the "avoid polarization at all costs" strategy, the "take no risks" strategy, the "appeal to everybody" strategy, and the "chase the middle" strategy. It is time to remember what Jim Hightower told us 20 years ago, "there's nothin' in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." It is time to cease the followership strategies of scripting campaigns on the basis of what people thought yesterday in polls, and assert the leadership strategies of campaigning for what we know to be right based on our deepest convictions of what we want for tomorrow. It is time to stop worrying about whom we might offend if we speak truth to power, and start worrying about what value are our lives if we don't speak truth to power. It is time to cherish partisan Democrats and reject nonpartisan Nothingcrats. It is time to forget "right-left" analysis and install "right-wrong" analysis. It is time to replace the "liberal-conservative" spectrum with the "liberty-tyranny" spectrum. It is time to stop worrying about how to get money from big donors and start worrying about how to get more money into working people's paychecks. It is time to fight for better lives for voters instead of peddle promises to voters. It is time to treat public office as a duty, not a promotion. We must fight for the people, not in order to win their votes, but in order to win them justice.
When we Democrats as the heirs of the noblest political tradition in the world - the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, James Stephen Hogg, Ralph Yarborough, Ann Richards, and millions of unsung Democratic heroes - learn and relearn and apply these things, the people will know we are there for them and they will turn to us, because they are in need and have been in need for a long time. The more courageously and more vigorously we fight for the people against economic, cultural, and political tyranny, all the sooner will they turn to us. When that happens we will be prepared to win for the people, because we will already be thinking like winners and conducting ourselves as winners. We will dare to fight and dare to win.
posted by snarko! at 9:24 AM
Monday, July 04, 2005
Independence Day 2005
"July 4, 2005 will be 229 years to the day since the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies audaciously declared the Colonies’ independence from Great Britain.
They knew their prospects for winning an armed rebellion against the might of the British Empire were exceedingly slim; and they also knew that if they didn’t win the struggle they would be treated as traitors to the Crown.
But they were aflame with a remarkable new vision for humanity, one of recognizing that liberty is not the gift of a sovereign but rather the natural birthright of humanity, and of visualizing that government properly exists only by the consent of the governed.
To seal their mutual dedication to the daunting task they had imposed upon themselves, they pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
For we who live in the Nation they founded 229 years later, it is incumbent upon us to rededicate ourselves to the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, and to commit all our effort and energy to the great task of restoring the vision of Liberty and Democracy that was boldly proclaimed to the world on that day."
posted by snarko! at 12:41 PM
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