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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Betrayal of Bases, Movement vs. Party Politics

Richard Viguerie has an amazing op-ed in the Washington Post that illustrates a key reason that the conservative movement has grown so powerful over the last 30 years. Yes there is the investment in infrastructure and ideas and people, but the conservative movement also isn't afraid to tell the Republican Party to fuck off:

Conservatives are beginning to realize that nothing will change until there's a change in the GOP leadership. If congressional Republicans win this fall, they will see themselves as vindicated, and nothing will get better.

If conservatives accept the idea that we must support Republicans no matter what they do, we give up our bargaining position and any chance at getting things done. We're like a union that agrees never to strike, no matter how badly its members are treated.
This is something that progressives are slowly learning, that progressives lose over the long haul unless we are willing to tell the DLC to fuck off regardless of the fact that they have a 'D' after their name.

In 1948, conservatives were unhappy with Thomas E. Dewey's liberal Republican "me too" campaign, and enough of them stayed home to give the election to Harry S. Truman. In 1960, conservatives were unhappy with Richard M. Nixon's negotiations with Nelson A. Rockefeller to divide the spoils of victory before victory was even achieved, and John F. Kennedy won.

In 1974, conservatives were unhappy with the corruption and Big Government policies of Nixon's White House and with President Gerald R. Ford's selection of Rockefeller as his vice president, and this led to major Republican losses in the congressional races that year. By 1976, conservatives were fed up with Ford's adoption of Rockefeller's agenda, and Jimmy Carter was elected with the backing of Christian conservatives.

In 1992, conservatives were so unhappy with President George H.W. Bush's open disdain for them that they staged an open rebellion, first with the candidacy of Patrick J. Buchanan and then with Ross Perot. The result was an incumbent president receiving a paltry 37 percent of the vote. In 1998, conservatives were demoralized by congressional Republicans' wild spending and their backing away from conservative ideas. The result was an unexpected loss of seats in the House and the resignation of Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). [...]

Sometimes it is better to stand on principle and suffer a temporary defeat. If Ford had won in 1976, it's unlikely Reagan ever would have been president. If the elder Bush had won in 1992, it's unlikely the Republicans would have taken control of Congress in 1994.
If progressives want to win in 2008, we need to take back our Party from the DLC this year. That is why populists fighting DLC'ers in the California Governors race and Montana Senate race need to win on June 6th. That is why it is so important for Joe Lieberman to lose his senate seat. And that is why Melissa Bean needs to lose in the fall. If progressives can pull this off, it will prove that DLC'ers are screwed in open-seat primaries, incumbents aren't safe from primary challenges, and progressives are willing to stay home. Progressives need to prove these three things to create the movement politics that conservatives figured out long ago.

When conservatives look at elections, the goal isn't necessarily to elect more Republicans, but to further the movement which may include losing to grow stronger. When the DLC looks at elections, the goal is to win regardless of what is compromised and what damage is done to the brand (meaning we grow weaker even if we win). Progressives need to stop compromising in vain attempts to try and win the next election. We need to win every day and build a long term movement. There are going to be times when some people with 'D's after their names need to be told to fuck off. This year those days include June 6, August 8 and November 7.

If you live in California, on June 6th tell Steve Westly to fuck off. He is weak and worse yet he is Arnold without the muscles. His anti-tax ads are as anti-government as anything the GOP spews and are doing long-term damage to our brand. If he wins, we lose and Democrats will get blamed. He is nothing but another Gray Davis. He needs to be told to fuck off.

If you live in Montana, on June 6th tell John Morrison to fuck off. Morrison will do anything -- no matter how unethical -- to further his career which is a cowering GOP-lite. He violated state ethics laws and he came to the defense of a corrupt lobbyist to in an attempt to let K Street know that he is their man. He needs to be told to fuck off.

If you live in Connectict, on August 8th tell Joe Lieberman to fuck off. Lieberman is a founding member of the type of triangulation politics that Steve Westly and John Morrison and Melissa Bean now worship at the alter of. He has given "bipartisan" cover that allowed President Bush to run the worst administration ever. Bush couldn't have done it without his favorite "Democrat". He needs to be told to fuck off.

If you live in IL-08, tell Melissa Bean to fuck off. Melissa Bean broke her promises when she became one of the CAFTA 15. She voted for Bankruptcy. No matter how anti-worker the legislation, Bean will provide the GOP with bi-partisan cover. UNITE HERE, SEIU, the Teamsters and the Machinists are all backing an Independent candidate to make an example out of Bean. She needs to be told to fuck off.

This is how progressives can evolve from Party politics to movement politics. Support Phil Angelides, Jon Tester, Ned Lamont, and Bill Scheurer.

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