October 30, 2006

Playing by the rules

Chris Bowers over at MyDD posts one righteous rant. I didn't correct any of Chris' typos. I think they help demonstrate how really, really outraged he is. As a Howard Dean supporter myself, and newcomer to Democratic activism, I see a lot of this as well.

For the past several years, the progressive movement had, supposedly, risen to power and influence in the Democratic ecosystem by fervently playing by the rules.
  • We didn't support third parties against Democrats we didn't like. We kept it in the party, and used the primary system the party had in place.
  • We didn't sit on our hands when the candidate we backed in primaries lost. We always supported the winner just as fervently as we supported our candidate.
  • We found thousands of new activists to serve as precinct captains at a time when the party infrastructure was dying.
  • We channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns, significantly closing the fundraising gap with Republicans.
  • We opposed Republicans at every turn, fought them tooth and nail on every issue, even when some sections of the Democratic Party did not want to fight. We were more partisan than most Democrats.
  • We built huge media operations on a shoestring budget, without any official support whatsoever.

We played by the rules. We followed their rules more than Democrats in Congress followed them. And now, here is our payment:
Representative Ellen O. Tauscher of California, a co-chairwoman of the 47-member New Democrat Coalition, said that 27 of the top 40 contested House seats were being pursued by Democrats who have pledged to become members of the group, which says its chief issues are national security and fiscal responsibility.

"I think there's tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love," Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something "we've got to fight."
We are not wanted by large sections of the Democratic leadership. There are many out there who want our money, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want our precinct-by-precinct activism to help GOTV, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want us to fire up the base, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want to use our media to help spread their message, but they don't want us. There are many out there who want us to support primary winners, but they don't want to do the same.
Where are you Jim Gibson?
There are many out there who want us to fight Republicans, while they say they want to work with both sides. There are many out there who wanted us to play by Democratic Party rules, but they they have no intention of playing by those rules themselves. To them, we are akin to going over the cliff.

They languished in the minority for a decade, and when the chance to take power finally came back--a chance that we gave them--There are many out there who decided they didn't need us anymore. We are why they have never been closer to Republicans in fundraising. We are why the base is fired up. We are why they finally decided to run on Iraq. We are why they have so many more volunteers than they have ever had before. We are why there are more Democrats running for more seats than at any time in the past. We are why there is progressive media now. We are why countless Republican scandals have had a shelf life of more than two days in the established media. Every major improvement in Democratic infrastructure that took place over the past two years found its birth, incubation, and primary means of support in the netroots.

[...]

And I can't emphasize this enough--we did it all by playing by the rules. I know this, because I was there every step of the way. When Howard Dean lost, I worked even harder for John Kerry. Like everyone else in this movement, I ran for party office rather than just complaining on the sidelines.

[...]

When I didn't like Democrats, I ran primary challenges against them, but I always, always supported whoever won. And hundreds of thousands of people just like me did the same thing. Last week alone we did everything we could to channel voters to negative info on Republican candidates, and send millions of dollars to competitive House campaigns. And, in return, we get a Democratic establishment that refuses to play by its own rules, and considers what we believe in akin to going off a cliff.

[...]

Stabbed in the back, indeed. For some Democrats, it is more like they want to stab us in the face, at high noon in the town square. For many, our biggest crime was joining their cause and following ttheir rules.
Oh heck, just go read the whole post!

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