Friday :: Aug 18, 2006

The Parties Are SO Over!

by pessimist

On a cellular level, growth is not possible without division. Throughout our nation's history, growth has often occured because of a split in something - a separation from our mother country, opposing alignments in political philosophy, economic distribution, etc. I have felt a growth spurt coming on - and I'm not alone.

I've been sensing signs of political splits in both parties more than seeing them, at least until recently. It's the nature of these splits that makes them of great interest. For the GOP, they are losing touch with their feminine side, while the Democrats are losing touch with their traditional base.

Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY), a weekly Contributing Author for The Political Junkies, and a Columnist for BuzzFlash, who sees Joe Lieberman as the representation of the forces splitting the Democratic Party

I thought that it would be we progressives who would eventually have to make the move, separating ourselves, who clearly represent the view of a majority of Democratic voters, from the right-wing, collaborationist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) leadership. With the defeat of Joe Lieberman and his immediate declaration as an independent candidate for the US Senate, it is now becoming apparent that the DLC, for whom Lieberman stands as an ultimate bellwether, has begun that splitting process.

While "mainstream" Democrats have so far lined up behind Lamont, I have not seen anything from the DLC doing so. As of August 17, there is nothing at all that I can find on their website about the election or its aftermath. Given the alacrity with which Lieberman started his independent campaign and given the non-response of the DLC, a week later, to the outcome, whether only covertly or not, it is quite obvious that the DLC is backing Lieberman.
In my view this is but the first step towards a DLC-lead split in our Party.
There will not be an official split yet, but whether [Lieberman] wins or loses, in my view there will surely be one before the next Presidential election. Our side needs to begin planning now on how to deal with it.

The corporate-funded, collaborationist, DLC-lead wing of the Democratic Party is indeed "Georgite-lite." No wonder The Decider plants a smooch on the cheek of the DLC's numero uno elected official. And Lieberman, with massive Republican support, will go all out against liberal and progressive Democrats.

The question then becomes why? It's all about policy; the policy of the DLC and its principal backers in the corporate sector. The DLC and their corporate backers are concerned about too much trashing of the Constitution, they really are concerned about too much unilateralism in foreign policy, they really are concerned about mounting debt, national and private.

BUT, they will put up with those aspects of Georgitism because they like so much so many of its other policies... The War on Iraq... no national health insurance program... tax-cuts-for-the-wealthy... unfettered export of capital... to end welfare... [and] freedom from any kind of government regulation.

Hold that thought while we look at the distaff troubles facing the Republican Party:

Republicans Losing The 'Security Moms'
By Jim VandeHei, Washington Post Staff Writer
August 18, 2006

Disaffection with President Bush, the Iraq war, and other concerns such as rising gasoline prices and economic anxiety are proving more powerful in shaping voter attitudes.

Significantly, Pew and other polls in recent days have found little or no advantage for Republicans in the aftermath of last week's foiled terrorist plot in London, even as Vice President Cheney and GOP leaders have warned that the event showed the risk of voting for a Democratic Party that they say is dominated by security doves.

In its latest poll of the general public, conducted after the news from London broke, Pew found a majority voicing concerns that Democrats were too weak on terrorism, the precise charge Republicans have made over the past 10 days.

Washington Post-ABC News surveys found the Republicans held a 30-point average on the issue of terrorism in 2002-2004. But in the past two years, the GOP advantage has evaporated.

David Winston, a Republican pollster who advises GOP leaders on election strategy, said married women in particular are often spooked more by the uncertainty of Iraq than the threat of terror. "They are increasingly unwilling to sustain the sort of sacrifices that we have to make over there," even though many support the mission, Winston said.

Remember, I said at the beginning that the GOP has lost touch with its feminine side. See for yourself:

Jo Ann Smith, a divorced mother in Upper Arlington, said she voted for [Rep. Deborah] Pryce [R-OH] last time but certainly will not this fall because of the war issue alone. "I am just totally disgusted with this war," Smith said. "I understand terrorism and the threat, but I am sick of hearing about it." Smith said she will vote for Democrats across the board, mostly because she considers Republicans the "worst of two evils."

Marylee McCallister, a mother of three who was a Republican for 42 years until this April, ... voted for Bush because she believed his warnings that the Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), would weaken the nation. "I was dumb," she said. "Now, granted, they came here and rammed bombs into us, but I am afraid we have gotten into something full scale which perhaps did not have to be."

Elizabeth Moore, a married mother of one, said she is frustrated by the war but sees no better alternative. "I am one of those who, when a bully slaps you in the face, you slap them back," she said. Still, the self-described moderate Republican and Bush supporter said the military operation has distracted GOP lawmakers such as Pryce from equally important issues back home. "Too much time in Washington," Moore scoffed, explaining why she is likely to vote for Pryce's Democratic opponent this time. She voted for Pryce in 2004.

I suspect that other issues, despite the GOP 'fight them over there' mantra droning on, are what is catching the attention of practical-minded women:

Outgoing Gov. Bob Taft (R) has pleaded no contest to ethics violations. Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican running to succeed Taft, is way behind in the polls. Several GOP candidates said Blackwell is almost certain to lose to Democrat Ted Strickland this fall. Unemployment is low by historical standards, but, as in much of the industrial Midwest, voters are anxious about the declining manufacturing sector and stagnating wages.

These issues are traditionally Democratic strongholds and would attract working class, and practical-minded female, voters. Yet in true Lieberman/DLC DINO fashion, Chicago Democrats are too afraid of their own corrupt shadows to do much about them:

Daley slams visitors who tout wage laws
By Gary Washburn, Tribune staff reporter
August 18, 2006

`You manage your city,' mayor says of 2 leaders

Officials from Santa Fe and San Francisco told Chicago aldermen on Thursday that minimum-wage ordinances have had no negative effects on their cities and have not scared off big retailers.

Two years after his city's measure went into effect, "the economy ... continues to grow," said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss. "Unemployment is low.... Business growth is strong." In Santa Fe, where businesses with 25 or more employees are required to provide at least $9.50 an hour in total compensation, gross receipts last year grew by 7 percent, compared with typical annual increases of 4 to 6 percent in previous years, Coss said. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, which says it has tabled plans for new stores in Chicago pending the fate of the ordinance here, is planning a third store in Santa Fe and is "willing to pay a living wage," he said.

The message was similar from Supervisor Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, where businesses are required to pay from $8.85 to $10.75 an hour in addition to $1.60 an hour for employee health care.

As opponents of the ordinance circulated reports and data Thursday purporting to show that Santa Fe's economy has been hurt by its minimum-wage measure, Coss and other advocates of raising the compensation of low-paid workers presented a very different picture at a hearing called by Aldermen Joe Moore (49th) and Freddrenna Lyle (6th), two vocal proponents of a new Chicago minimum-wage ordinance that calls for compensation totaling $13 an hour by 2010. It applies only to employees of stores with at least 90,000 square feet whose operators have $1 billion or more in annual sales.

Moore, who shrugged off opponents of the big-box measure who complained they were not permitted to speak at the hearing, said the information produced Thursday showed that "the sky has not fallen" in Santa Fe and San Francisco. "And I think the sky will not fall in the city of Chicago either," he said.

I don't think it's the sky that is about to fall in Chicago, but the wrath of Wal-Mart attack dogs:

David Vite, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which opposed the big-box ordinance, took a dim view of a broader measure. "We already have a higher than national minimum wage in the state of Illinois," he said.

This growling menace could only frighten the weak, spineless DINOs who infest the party of the DLC:

[An] alderman who voted in favor of the big-box measure said Thursday that he could change his mind if Daley exercises his veto power. "I am going to study it more," said Ald. Ray Suarez (31st). "I just don't want to see us get hurt. I don't want to see people lose their jobs. I don't want to see companies move out of the city." The ordinance passed with 35 votes in favor. A veto override would require 34 votes, and Suarez became at least the fourth alderman who voted for approval and since has signaled a willingness to switch sides.

Let's not allow facts to change our already bought-and-paid-for made-up minds! Santa Fe's Mayor Coss said that Wal-Mart is going to open a third store there despite having to pay higher wages! Wal-Mart isn't leaving San Francisco either!

As a former 'Chicagan', I'm ashamed of you lightweights! Da Mare, Richard J Daley, father of the current mayor, would have run all of you out of your seats with hand-picked challengers if you dared to act like this on his watch. Whatever benefitted his constituency most is what he did. His constituency was the workers of Chicago, and under his leadership, Chicago thrived. It still is doing better than many places I've visited, as my recent family business trips back there demonstrated. Wal-Mart isn't going to walk away from all that cash.

Grow a spine, be Democrats, and do what's right for your constituents. It's what they would want. It's what your wife would want. It's what Da Mare would want.

Leave being Republican to losers like GOP Joe Loserman.

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