Posted: 08/11/07 18:48
by Dave Mindeman
I realize that what I say here doesn't really count for much. People are busy watching what Brodkorb cooks up or what the paid bloggers at MinMon can generate. But what I give you here is the opinion of somebody who works in the trenches. I work on the campaigns, the lit-drops, the door to door exposure. I am out there doing a lot of grunt work and if I have the time... outside of that and the job that I do to earn a living... I do some writing on this blog.
I scramble, sometimes, to get regular posts on here.... often I don't even proof read much of it (probably shows); but you get direct thoughts as they come out of my head.
I view issues as more important than party, but I have been at this long enough to know that, for now, the Democrats are the only party that can move a progressive agenda forward. Even if they are doing a lousy job of it.
That's why I support IRV. Issues will never get a fair hearing as long as we are restricted to the two party dogma we have now. But that is still a far off dream, because the powers that be have a heavy investment in the status quo.
So, I am going to issue a couple of gripes.
My first one comes in regard to how we select our Presidential candidates. Watching New Hampshire officials wring their hands at other states changing primary dates, borders on idiotic. Iowa and New Hampshire, two lilly white states, going to the extremes they do to protect "first in the nation" status is narcissistic.
On top of that, we have this bizarre Iowa "straw poll". Straw polls used to mean a spontaneous preferential vote. In Iowa, it means buying votes at $35 a head... not to mention the free barbecue. So, candidates that think they will lose drop out and tell everybody its meaningless; second tier candidates expend enourmous sums to get 2nd or 3rd place finishes that they claim gives them huge momentum .....while "moneybags" candidates flaunt their ability to throw money around. And to cap it all, need we mention the media frenzy that surrounds this tribute to capitalistic marketing? Somehow, through it all, we are supposed to derive some real political meaning. It is truly a bizarre ritual.
My second gripe deals with the Democratic party. Locally, during the special election in 28B, the DFL decided that they would help out the local candidates by mailing "hit" pieces about her opponent. Before their own candidate could establish her issues, they put out a negative message, which may have been technically true but gave the voters a bad connotation about the DFL candidate whom they did not know yet. It was a bad decision and in a 400 vote loss, I think it cost her enough votes to swing that election.
The state DFL party is so concerned about the negative ways of the GOP, they feel they have to make pre-emptive strikes. That is wrong, because, first of all, they should be an issues party, and secondly, because they are just bad at doing it.
On the national level, the Democratic message gets so chopped up, triangulated, and pureed, as to be unrecognizable. Every principle they hold to, has at least a dozen qualifiers cemented on the end. Watching Bill Richardson squirm about the "genetic or choice" question at the GLBT forum was pure discomfort. He didn't have a clue. The next day's clarification only solidified the mistake. But I don't mean to single out Richardson. Clinton and Obama waited till the last second to vote on the last war authorization bill....waiting to make sure they could try to spin it both ways. Edwards preachiness about the war rings a little hollow when he didn't show that courage when he actually had votes to give in the Senate or during a vice presidential platform he had for an entire campaign.
It is hard to keep knocking on those doors...putting yourself on the line with each face that responds to those knocks. The miles you walk and the numbers you dial.... you want to believe in it --- but sometimes it is awfully hard.
You can go back to ignoring me again. It is just one view from the trenches. Next year, I'll get the calls to head out on a rainy Saturday to drop leaflets or trudge through the snow on another GOTV endeavor. I'll bite the bullet and trudge on.... but sometimes you wonder.... Is anybody listening?