Of Mice and Men and Women and Gays and Black and Latinos and etc... etc...
"A state that has established uniformity of purpose for a year will be strong for ten years. A state that has established uniformity of purpose for ten years will be strong for a hundred years..." Sun Tzu - "The Art of War"
"Any resident of Manitowoc County, at least 16 years of age, who subscribes to the progressive principles of the Democratic Party is eligible for voting membership and shall become a member upon payment of dues and receipt of such dues by the county unit." ARTICLE III. Membership - Constitution of the Manitowoc County Democratic Party
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Democrats are hung up on the Big Tent thing. It's being mis-used. Inclusiveness was never meant to include Republican ideology. Rather it was intended to include people struggling on their way up regardless of racial or sexual or other associations that are too often used as barriers to economic and political access. It is not a coincidence that Democrats have a commanding lead among blacks and Hispanics who know all too well that these divisions have been used against them. Gays and women have learned the same thing and are Democrats because of it. They are Democrats because of the stark differences between our party platform versus the Republican's. Where it comes off the rails is where we start to listen to the political science cynics who tell us that you can carve up the electorate by slicing and dicing those values while ignoring the value of good management and leadership and good old fashioned marketing.
Its hard to argue with success! Skeptics of the values argument are hard pressed to explain how the TEA Party's anti-RINO campaign has lead to such obvious electoral success. The parsers of voter opinion will tell you that playing the voter demographic game is the only way to win. The problem with that is that in order to appeal to the widest number of voters you have to shed the very things that hold the party together. It leads to cynicism and disunity and ultimately to defeat. Any claim that a party has to the moral high ground (however they define it) is destroyed by dilution. You cannot ask sweat and sacrifice without answering the ultimate question - "WHY?" The answer must be clear and unequivocal. It cannot be - just because...
If you think this isn't enough just read some business web sites. Not the PAC sites like the Club for Growth, the ordinary work a day business sites like www.manta.com. Can the owner of a Ford dealership afford to have its employees coming to work in new Toyotas?
What business people know that Liberals don't
When I get blow back on purging Democrat DINOs I ask for one thing. Evidence! Show me where supporting un-Democratic candidates has actually worked! The evidence says something else. In the last assembly race here the eventual nominee was an apologist for nearly every Democratic plank. Openly homophobic in opposing marriage equality he took only four of the ten city districts. LGBT Tammy Baldwin took twice that many. For two decades 25th Assembly Democrats suffered under the representation of Bob Ziegelbauer who consistently voted with Republicans. The argument was at least he put a 'D' in the seat which counted toward a Democratic majority so even when the local party finally voted to reject him the State party stepped in and endorsed him. Only the balance of power has NEVER shifted on a single seat in Madison. When you ask Dem leadership how many times Bob's committee votes tipped legislation away from them you get stony silence. To my great dismay the party has been repeating the mistakes of the past.
Nationally we are the winners! We kicked butt in 2012. Wisconsin in particular went for both Obama and Baldwin. Only by state level manipulation were the Republican able to hang on. It is only by our own arrogance that we didn't see fit to fixing redistricting when we had the chance. Under full Democratic control this idea was shot down because it was seen as our advantage at the time. Do I need to point out that one of
|Allowing competing ideologies|
in the ranks moves the fight
inside the tent and destroys
all sense of purpose.
In a recent local case one individual was allowed to sit on the executive committee while openly supporting a right wing Republican Mike Howe who was running against a dues paying Democratic party member. That was bad enough but when I wrote a piece about Howe's labor woes I was verbally attacked in a committee meeting by that member for having revealed some unfavorable yet entirely true facts about his friend. It was later revealed that hewas not not even a party member and had never even paid his dues, a clear violation of Article II of the State constitution. He had no expectation of voting rights at all much less a seat in the committee. Uniformity of purpose begins with adherence to the rules. The ensuing polarization effectively destroyed the operations of the party for the entire year.
Are we deaf? The biggest argument comes from those who might have been at least allies but have lost faith that that there are any real alternatives. You hear their lament all the time... "They are all the same!" Why can't we hear that? What did we think would happen if we decided that some tax cuts would be OK and that some program cuts would be OK. Maybe a little privatization won't hurt. Pro choice? Screwed by Act 10? Pro environment? Set that all aside because victory can be found in surrender! Huh? Tell me why you would expect anyone to put on his pants and go to the polls if they believe (correctly as it turns out) that the it doesn't matter? Did you hear the question?
Unity can't be faked! You can appeal to unity all you want but real unity comes from Tzu's uniformity of purpose. The troops ask, "What are we fighting for?" A general can tell them. A Politician cannot.
- Do we need another candidate who tells our platform is rubbish?
- Can we tolerate party leaders who openly support Republican candidates?
- Do membership rules apply to everyone?
- Which of your values are willing to live without?
- Who owes greater loyalty? We to the party or the party to us?
- What are we fighting for?
- Who the hell are we and why should we part with our time and treasure to advance this cause?
In the words of Henry V,
"He which has no stomach for this fight, let him depart!"
What we lack are leaders strong enough enforce the rules we agreed to and the principles we ascribe to.
When we accept candidates and other leaders with un-Democratic values we are not helping the party gain some meaningless numeric majority. We are undermining that all important uniformity of purpose. We cheapen ourselves in the public eye. And, we send our best friends packing leaving us to suffer the company of fools.
The real way to attract more people to the party is to be the party we were meant to be. We need to offer real alternatives that are consistent with our platform and say so with a clear and unbroken voice. We need to be less willfully blind and wisely allocate resources to those who have demonstrated and ability to lead and not follow. We must sell our own products and not pirated copies of the competition. We must follow our own rules and hold party officials and candidates accountable when they do not. Even if pacifistic Democrats reject the analogy to war it is at the very least, a matter doing of the job at hand. Sun Tzu would have been a good businessman I think. The question is whether or not Democrats can do the business of the party.
Note: I recently came across this piece at Raw Story which I think supports this and other similar points that Ive made:
This is what he believes it would take to refashion the progressive mindset: the abandonment of argument by evidence in favor of argument by moral cause; the unswerving and unembarrassed articulation of what those morals are; the acceptance that there is no “middle” or third way, no such thing as a moderate (people can hold divergent views, conservative on some things, progressive on others – but they are not moderates, they are “biconceptual”);Progressive linguist George Lakoff: ‘Liberals do everything wrong.’