Tag Archives: unity

Democratic Unity in Monterey County

The following was written by Shawn Bagley, Central Coast for Hillary 2008, California Democratic Party Region 9 Director and Vinz Koller, Monterey County Democrats for Obama, Monterey County Democratic Party Chair. They asked me to post it here and I was happy to agree – it’s a wonderful model of how Democrats are united for the fall.

We had a deal, and now we’re honoring it. Way back when the presidential campaign was just getting started, Shawn decided Hillary Clinton was the best choice, and Vinz decided on Barack Obama. Each of us threw himself into organizing for his candidate, joining many other volunteers on the Central Coast in working with one of the national campaigns.

This meant that throughout the primaries we would be opponents – working for the success of one candidate inevitably meant working for the defeat of the other. But at the same time, we would be working closely together on the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee. Furthermore, we were friends.

What to do? Was it possible to be opponents and allies at the same time?

Absolutely it was. Early on, we came to an agreement, with these terms:

  • By far the most important objective was to elect a Democrat for president. Especially at this point in US history, any other outcome was unthinkable.
  • And so we agreed that throughout the primaries we would compete vigorously but never destructively.
  • And when it was all over, whoever was the nominee would have our full and enthusiastic support.

That is where we are now. Barack Obama has won the nomination, and Shawn will put all his energy into getting him elected president. And if Hillary Clinton had won, Vinz would have done exactly the same thing.

This is not to say that it’s easy, because it isn’t. Shawn put his heart into the Hillary campaign, helping to organize thousands of volunteers into one of the most effective operations in the state, and even arranging for a visit to Salinas by the candidate herself. Watching Hillary concede, Shawn’s heart broke.

But as the candidates themselves have each said many times, in the end this is not about Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

It is about the future of our country. And it has seldom been more clear that the best future for our country is with a Democrat in the White House.

We are not the only two who have this deal. Friday evening, local Obama organizer Quinn Gardner drove with Shawn to Oakland to meet with the Northern California Obama campaign staff. They welcomed Shawn warmly, and he made the same promise to them that he had made to Vinz: he will do everything he can to help elect the nominee.

And, after all, it’s the same deal that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made, and that they are now honoring: a vigorous competition, followed by unity.

Of course Shawn is deeply disappointed that his candidate didn’t win, just as Vinz would be. But while Hillary didn’t win, it would miss an important truth to say simply that she lost. Because no candidate who has mobilized as much support as Hillary has can really be said to have lost. Hillary’s supporters, in their millions, have made their voices heard. And so the influence of Hillary’s ideas and of Hillary’s supporters will live on in a unified general election campaign to elect Barack Obama President of the United States.

As Hillary said in her speech Saturday at the National Building Museum, “The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand, is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the President of the United States.”

And as Barack said following that speech, “Senator Clinton… has inspired millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to causes like universal health care that make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans. Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I’m a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her.”

As we come together in unity, the competition has made us stronger. Locally and nationally, the Democratic Party is larger, more focused and more organized than ever before.

We are more likely than ever to win in November, so that starting on January 20, 2009, we can start putting this country back on the right course: the course of peace, prosperity, freedom and justice that we all believe in.

And that is the best deal for all of us.

Unity Will Flow Naturally From Integrity & Credibility – LA Debate Is A Good Place To Start

A few weeks ago, I wrote in about the promotion of celebrity, glitz, race, and gender issues directly by the media and subtly by the campaigns of Senators Clinton and Obama.  Interestingly, Senators Clinton and Obama and their respective campaigns have both stated that neither of them are promoting the gender or race, respectively, card.  Then, lo and behold, it comes out that the Clinton campaign set a “trap” for the Obama campaign on the issue of race and the Obama campaign bit “hook, line, and sinker”.  Only time will tell whether the strategy of  pandering to bigotry by the Clinton Campaign and foregoing South Carolina by promoting race as an issue and the extreme willingness of the Obama campaign to bite without any questions asked will pay off for either Campaign and/or hurt the Democratic Party on Tsunami Tuesday, February 5 and beyond.

More below the flip…

Regardless, the much bigger and underlying issue is integrity and credibility, which is why before I go any further I must point out that I am a supporter of John Edwards, the adult wing of the Democratic Party.  Senator Edwards, as most of you know, last summer was confronted by the national media that he was subtly pandering to the white, male vote in the context of electability in November, 2008.  John, without any hesitation or equivocation, responded directly and forcefully to the effect “If you are voting for me because I am not a woman…because I am not African-American…then I do not want your vote”.  Before that time, during that time, and since that time, JRE has continued to lead the Democratic discussion (and to some extent the Republican discussion) on the issues being addressed during the campaign (i.e. universal health care, economic stimulus package and the economy, predatory lenders and the home mortgage crisis-these are just examples as the list goes on an on).

Recently, I hear the candidates and their campaigns talking about unity.  If the candidates and their campaigns will stick to a discussion of the issues like Senator Edwards has done, then unity will likely not be an issue at the Convention and there would be no reason to discuss such an issue at this time.  However, when candidates and their campaigns welcome, condone, and encourage the media promotion of celebrity, glitz, race, and gender as issues, then I suspect that unity will be very hard to accomplish since these issues are deep-rooted, filled with strong emotional feelings, and very, very divisive.  The City of Los Angeles, the host of the debates this Thursday night, provided our country with a very visible example of the tragic consequences that can result from such divisiveness following the Rodney King state court trial.

Therefore, it seems somewhat prophetic that the Thursday night debate is in Los Angeles and Senators Clinton and Obama have another opportunity to follow John Edwards by doing what he did last summer…by truly being transparent, enhancing credibility, and demonstrating integrity…by showing that this is not about YOU THE CANDIDATE, but rather about US THE PEOPLE…by instilling unity before the nomination process is over rather than later when it will likely be too late even if it may not be politically, strategically in the best interests of YOUR CAMPAIGN and you might not be the next President of the United States of America (but it will be best for the United States of American and each of US who call it home).  The opportunity will be there on a national stage at the debate in Los Angeles for Senator Clinton to tell the voters “If you are voting for me because I am not black…because I am not a white, male, then I do not want your vote” and for Senator Obama to tell the voters “If you are voting for me because I am not white, then I do not want your vote”.  And, mainstream corporate media, for one of the few times in this campaign, show why you were once looked up to in this country as the Fourth Estate and confront Senators Clinton and Obama on this issue if they will not address the issue voluntarily and/or directly and do not accept any non-responsive, non-direct, “beat-around-the-bush” answer.  As a sidelight, the respect Senator Obama would have right now if he had come out and said the foregoing BEFORE the South Carolina Primary and got the same results he obtained would make unity a non-issue right now.

When the candidates and their campaigns directly, expressly, and unequivocally take race and gender out of this Democratic Campaign, the glamour of celebrity and glitz will also fall by the wayside.  The mainstream corporate media will then have no choice but to follow the real issues (and hopefully all of the candidates) that are truly important to the substantial majority of America.  If, or when, that happens, unity will flow naturally following the nomination no matter who the nominee is.

Are you represented by a blue dog? and what to do if…

here are 37 Blue Dog  or “moderate” Democrats in the 110th Congress. That’s using the projected 229 official Dems, 2 Independents caucusing with us. If the current totals hold, (c’mon Christine Jennings!) that’s still 16%(see the list at http://www.house.gov… )

That seems like a lot, to me. Sixteen percent “moderate” Democrats. Sixteen percent having special little “meetings” with the President. http://www.firedogla… Some of that 16% voting for torture in our name. http://www.dailykos…. Some doing the Family Research Council’s bidding on issues like marriage “protection”, eliminating abortion on military bases, and embryonic stem cell research. http://www.frc.org/g…

Sixteen percent. Well, we can afford it. After all, we’re in the majority, and we can count on “moderate” Republicans voting for common sense issues, rather than picking away at our 16% just for political points. We have moderates, and they have moderates, right? Right?

Well maybe not so much, according to the Washington Post. The 110th Congress isn’t going to have as large percentage of “moderate” Republicans in their caucus as they had in the 109th.

With the defeat of Leach and several other Republican moderates Nov. 7, the Democrats’ victory in the midterm election accelerates a three-decade-old pattern of declining moderate influence and rising conservative dominance in the Republican Party. By one measure, the GOP is more ideologically homogenous now than it has been in modern history. The waning moderate wing must find its place when the Democratic majority takes over in January.

In fact, the Post says the Republicans “moderates” will account for “well under 10%” (of the Republican caucus) http://www.washingto…
And I don’t have to remind anyone here that a “moderate” Democrat is a LOT farther to the Right than a “Moderate” Republican is to the center. In fact, a “moderate” Democrat today probably votes closer to a middle of the road Republican thirty years ago, and a “moderate” Republican today would look like a Goldwater Republican then.

So, what to do? Where to start? Start here:
Start organizing for 2008. Some guy named Stu quoted Chris Bowers:

“I want 80 serious challenges to GOP House incumbents every two years and a Democratic name on the ballot in all 435 districts,” he demands. “I have had enough of just targeting the twenty or so top races – let’s engage in a full-frontal assault. … The first step is to identify eighty Republicans against who we could mount a serious challenge.”

http://www.dailykos…. I say, let’s get our percentage of “moderates” down to where the R’s have theirs. Ten percent of our 229 Dems is 23. Figure we’ll need 20% more serious challengers, since incumbants are entrenched, to win the 14 primaries we’re targeting. That means, to paraphrase Chris, I want 17 serious primary challenges to the Blue Dog Dems, and a Progressive Democratic name in every Democratic primary with a “moderate” Democratic incumbent for the 2008 election cycle. I’ve picked mine: http://dumptauscher….

Look for a candidate. Jerry McNerney was asked to run by his son. http://www.jerrymcne… Who do you know? Who’s on the back bench of your local politics. Your state representative, town councilman, mayor, alderman (sp?). Here in California, we have term limits, so a lot of our state pols are looking for jobs in ’08. How do you qualify a candidate? See the next two steps.

“It’s STILL the economy, stupid” How’s the economy where you are? How’s your potential candidate’s record on small business? Did they vote a big tax break or other incentive so Wall Mart could move into your town? Build any stadiums for multimillionaire sports franchises? What was their reaction when jobs in your neighborhood were outsourced. (see the P.S. below on other Congress-critters that may need replacing.)

Don’cha know there’s a war on? I’ll bet a pizza and beer with the first five people that email me that the war in Iraq is still a campaign issue in 2008. There are quite a few cities and towns that have had symbolic votes for peace. Also, there are more vets coming home every day. We saw in the last election that returning vets can run and win as Democrats, the DCCC’s Duckworth notwithstanding. ($3 million! Oy, vey!)

Why am I suggesting this, since the “moderate” Democrats are in place for the next two years, anyway? I’m glad you asked. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean we can be passive and quiet.

We need to make some noise. Let your blue dog know they’re being watched. An old dog CAN learn new tricks, and as Governor William J. LePetomane (Mel Brooks) said, “We’ve gotta protect our phoney baloney jobs, gentlemen!” http://www.imdb.com/… My little blog is less than 2 weeks old, and I’ve already gotten some email that looks like it came from  sources closer to Tauscher than the average constituent. And I just started publicising my blog yesterday! Hmmm…

P.S. There are non-Blue Dogs who actively acted against the poor and middle class, too. That means any Democrat that voted for the bankrupcy bill. (73 names, feel free to find primary candidates for ALL of them, lited here: http://www.commondre… ) Then there’s NAFTA, CAFTA, any “free” trade bill as opposed to a “fair” trade bill. Keep an eye on the upcoming minimum wage bill in Pelosi’s first 100 hours. If she doesn’t get every Democratic vote, you’ve found a blue dog.

Cross posted at Kos and MyDD