Saturday, February 04, 2006

An Open Invitation to Progressive Candidates

Over the last week the Internet and traditional media have both been a buzz with stories and discussions about the future direction of Democratic Party and progressive politics. Although varying somewhat in content and context, one underlying theme is beginning to emerge. The American people as a whole, and Democrats in particular, are tired of politics as usual and are looking for candidates that exhibit some adherence to a core set of beliefs … that have an ideology.

Daniel Henninger in the WSJ expressed this sentiment when he said:


What interests the most motivated Democratic voters now is "progressive justice," "our values," "our rights," "public needs," Roe v. Wade. What interests their GOP opponents is "big government," "spending," patriotism, the "ethics" of cloning, "activist" judges, Roe v. Wade.

At a time when the Democratic elites no longer have a vibrant ideology and the Republicans in Washington are deserting theirs, the public across the spectrum seems to be screaming for recognizable signposts, shared political principles.



The fact that the WSJ, and Mr. Henninger are no friends of progressive ideals should not diminish the potency of his assertion.

The disgust on the part of both the right and the left for politicians whose core beliefs seem to drift with the political winds has been growing and is starting to become the barometer by which all future candidacies will be judged. In the coming election cycle ones ability to deliver a cohesive message based on a firm ideology will be the determining factor for success or failure.

Democrats in particular are reaching a point of desperation. We have seen time and time again, our elected leaders buckle and waiver under pressure to adhere to some imaginary “middle ground” that does not really exist. Afraid to take firm positions, based on principal and shared ideals, for fear of alienating some notion of an “average American” that has been conceived, not in reality but rather, in the boardrooms of advertising agencies and offices of political consultants. The “average American” is far more complex and freethinking than our current crop of political leaders give them credit for.

Most people favor those with a strong set of ideals and beliefs, (even if we don’t share them), to those who vacillate and capitulate. That fact can be borne out if we look at John McCain. Before his luster wore off and he became just another Republican lapdog, many Democrats were drawn to him, not because they shared many his beliefs, but because at least he appeared to have some.

So here is my message to you:

If you believe in progressive ideals and have the courage to stand up to the purveyors of the conventional wisdom who say that the only way to win is to play from the middle, come talk to us. The progressive Internet community is large and has many resources to offer you. All we ask in return is honesty and backbone.

In the last few days calls for aid to progressive candidates have been posted on various blogs and websites and they have been answered. Ciro Rodriguez (TX-28) asked for help and in two days received $50K form the community at dKos. Others have come also, Chris Owens (NY-11) and Ned Lamont in Conn. were brought to our attention as possible candidates who could use our help. Also, we can't forget the support we are giving to Paul Hackett in his run in Ohio.

We desperately want to change not only the face the Democratic Party but the course of this nation for the future. If you are running in a primary against a Democrat who has lost his way, or in the general election against a Republican, come and communicate with us. Let us hear your message. Tell us how you plan on effecting change and what is your vision for the future. Let us know where you stand on the great progressive issues of the day.

Our resources are great. We have the ability to make local races, national, with national support from all our members. We can be effective not only at raising money but also in delivering your message. We can reach out to those in your state or district and help them effect change. But, we can only do this if you make us aware. We have found many candidates on our own thus far, but no one can deliver your message better than you can.

If you have not yet finalized your decision to run, come talk to us anyway. Perhaps our words of encouragement might make your decision easier.
Veiw more from Manning the Barricades

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