by Duckman GR
The only way the Democrats are going to make any headway is to start doing things. Proactive, demonstrable, useful. So here’s a suggestion, inspired by the esteemed Shrill One and our one and only Bloglord Steve.
Under George W. Bush - who, like Mr. Reagan, isn't personally racist but relies on the support of racists - the anti-government right has reached a new pinnacle of power. And the incompetent response to Katrina was the direct result of his political philosophy. When an administration doesn't believe in an agency's mission, the agency quickly loses its ability to perform that mission.
Steve has often spoken about running a shadow government, akin to our British cousins, well, why don’t we run a shadow reconstruction/rebuilding/evacuee aid program? A lot of dough was raised, scattergun fashion, by Democrats and their groups and allies. Continue that, use DNC money if possible, and, who knows, maybe the Dems in Congress could get some earmarks that could be used in the effort.
That’s what I would like to see, a real effort by the Democratic Party to DEMONSTRATE through ACTION what our values are.
What kind of actions, you ask? Hire the people of the region at a livable wage to do clean up and repair. Attack the poverty situation proactively, set up some clinics to provide healthcare, address the racial divide that exists that makes this disaster so much worse.
I’m not talking about handouts either. People need to earn some of the help they receive, even if it’s on credit. But they also need the infrastructure built that will enable them to succeed. So I’m looking at some kind of Redevelopment Agency overseen by the DNC and headed by a board made up of current and past Democratic politicians, like John Conyers, Tom Daschle, Walter Mondale, Mary Landrieu, Wesley Clark, Max Cleland, Bruce Babbitt, Bill Richardson, and groups like MoveOn, Daily Kos, Sierra Club, NAACP, SEIU, AFL-CIO, CAP, people like Bill Moyers, Paul Krugman, set this up, collect funds, let contracts, build and supply schools, create a kind of Democrats only Peace Corps to get people to spend time educating and ganizing and building in return for low wages, pats on the back, shiny resumes, school credits, scholarship funds etc.
Why should everything go through Congress, especially when Congress is controlled by a bunch of selfish, greedy, and immature thugs, republicans all? Get outside the box a bit This could be done. To put to the torch the lie that government is the problem. Because it’s not government that’s the problem, it’s the people executing it that are the problem.
Think of the potential. The Democrats somehow get some earmarks through, and now’s the time as a big omnibus budget bill looms, for the express purpose of bringing home the pork to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama. What will the goppers do, cut it? That would look good in the newspapers, don’t you think, “GOP cuts funds for Katrina reconstruction!!!”
The Netroots could raise a lot of money towards this as well, yes, nothing like the 200 thousand millions needed, but certainly things that would run directly into neighborhoods, into hands of those in need. MoveOn has some 261,000 beds available, and I find that to be simply amazing. We would make a lot of friends that way, the right would decry it as political pandering, I would call it the purpose of politics, or politics for a purpose, or why we have politics in the first place. Something that helps to bridge the divide between the average class and the financially challenged class.
Something that would demonstrate why more people would be better off with the Democrats then the gop.
As Krugman notes,
Maybe President Bush would have been mugging with a guitar the day after the levees broke even if New Orleans had been a mostly white city. Maybe Palm Beach would also have had to wait five days after a hurricane hit before key military units received orders to join rescue operations.
But in a larger sense, the administration's lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina had a lot to do with race. For race is the biggest reason the United States, uniquely among advanced countries, is ruled by a political movement that is hostile to the idea of helping citizens in need. […] … To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?" Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish. By all accounts Ronald Reagan, who declared … that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," wasn't personally racist. But he repeatedly used a bogus tale about a Cadillac-driving Chicago "welfare queen" to bash big government. And he launched his 1980 campaign with a pro-states'-rights speech in Philadelphia, Miss., a small town whose only claim to fame was the 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.
This is george w bush’s gop. John McCain’s black crack baby. 20,000 stranded, dehydrated, hungry, angry, poor black people. Black looters and white finders. Willie Horton. The Southern Strategy. horowitz and his racism, malkin and hers, the bell curve, just some of the things that makes bushco so contemptible.