What Sen. Spector’s Party Switch Tells California Voters

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen (“Single-Bullet“) Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party this week.  Rush Limbaugh reacted to this news by welcoming Specter’s departure, and added,
“take McCain with you.”

Specter left because the extremist wing of the Republican Party — the ones who listen to and agree with Rush Limbaugh and will tolerate absolutely no compromise of any kind from the most extreme conservative positions — have taken over and are driving others out.  This rightmost element, who call themselves the only “real Republicans” have a special name for people like Arlen Specter and John McCain.  They call them “RINOs.”  RINO stands for “Republican In Name Only” and refers to Republicans who are not conservative enough to meet approval of the absolutists.  (What is conservative enough?  Half of Texas Republicans want Texas to secede from the United States.)

Arlen Specter is hardly a liberal.  He has a solidly conservative voting record, (after switching parties he voted against President Obama’s budget), but not conservative enough for the hard core purists.  John McCain won the ire of this element for not supporting torture.

The Limbaugh branch of the party have been working to drive moderate-right members like Specter and McCain out, and are increasingly successful.  Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, another target of this element, warned that,

“being a Republican moderate sometimes feels like being a cast member
of ‘Survivor’ — you are presented with multiple challenges, and you
often get the
distinct feeling that you’re no longer welcome in the tribe.”

This demonstrates just how far the Republican Party has moved from its roots.  They have drifted so far away from their mission that even their last Presidential candidate is being urged to leave the party!  They have drifted so far from their mission that the “party of Lincoln” has a solid contingent supporting having their states secede from the Union!

This hard-core extremism is also being demonstrated in California, where not a single Repubilcan will vote for a budget — any budget — because their strategy for the state is to “let it go into bankruptcy, let it go off a cliff, we need to prove a point.”  The reason that crazy-sounding line has quotation marks around it is because it is a quote.  It is also the definition of extremism.  And, combined with the 2/3 rule that lets them block budgets, it is the reason California is becoming ungovernable.

Continue reading

Public Still Trusts Corporations More Than Self-Government

Marketing works.  But we already knew that.  Big business has been marketing the idea that corporations making decisions for us is better than having government run by the people.  And a lot of people have bought into that idea.

But is it really better to be government by corporations?  In February I wrote,

After decades of anti-government speeches claiming that government holds back business, government takes money out of the economy and government is less efficient than corporations, people came to believe that, as Ronald Reagan famously said, “Government is the problem, not the solution.”  This led to deregulation and budget cutbacks in all areas including education and infrastructure. 

If you think about it, government really is what We, the People want it to be.  In a democracy we jointly make decisions about the best way to manage our affairs.  So saying that corporations do things better is really an anti-democracy message.  What they are saying is that organizations run by a few wealthy elites telling everyone else what to do, with the benefits of everyone’s work mostly going to those few at the top, is a better way to manage society than to have everyone making the decisions and sharing in the results.

Just for fun, here is the video from that post again:

Here is more proof that marketing works:  A recent Gallup Poll of public trust of government vs corporations found that the public still would rather be governed by big corporations than by themselves.

Gallup’s recent update of its long-standing trend question on whether big business, big labor, or big government will be the biggest threat to the country in the future finds Americans still viewing big government as the most serious threat. However, compared to Gallup’s last pre-financial-crisis measurement in December 2006, more now see big business and fewer see big government as the greater threat.

Gallup’s results, graphically:

GallupGovtBusResults.gifMarketing works.  Especially when it is repeated over and over for decades, unopposed.  This blog reaches a moderate audience, but the message that government by the people is a good thing needs to reach people who don’t hear it very often, and only hear the marketed anti-government, anti-democracy message that is spread by the corporations.  Did you know that Speak Out California also provides speakers to talk to local groups across California and do radio and TV interviews discussing the benefits of government and democracy? Please contact us at info@speakoutca.org to schedule a speaker for your event.

Who Is Our Government For?

dday, writing in Giving Away The Tax Argument at Digby’s Hullabaloo blog, asks why so many California newspapers have “tax increase calculators” but no calculators that show people how much the budget cuts affect them.

In my life, I have never seen a “spending cut calculator,” where someone could plug in, say, how many school-age children they have, or how many roads they take to work, or how many police officers and firefighters serve their community, or what social services they or their families rely on, and discover how much they stand to lose in THAT equation. Tax calculators show bias toward the gated community screamers on the right who see their money being “taken away” for nothing. A spending cut calculator would actually show the impact to a much larger cross-section of society, putting far more people at risk than a below 1% hit to their bottom line.

[. . . The media already highlights the tax side of the equation over spending, dramatically portraying tax increases while relegating spending cuts to paragraph 27. It feeds the tax revolt and distorts the debate. And it’s completely irresponsible.

In Why Are Public Assets Being Cut Right When We Need Them Most? Jay Walljasper, of OnTheCommons.org wonders why public transit, libraries and other things the government does for us are all being cut at exactly the time people need them? As the economy turns downward more people need to take the train or bus, or use the library. Jay makes the connection,

Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, one of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, proposes closing the state’s budget gap by reducing corporate taxes and slashing state aid to local governments. This will mean painful cuts in public assets, such as transit and libraries.

. . . This loss of our public assets is an alarming threat to our society. The things we all own in common and depend upon–libraries, transit, parks, water systems, schools, public safety, infrastructure, cultural programs, social services–are being gradually but steadily undermined.

For many years I have been blogging at Seeing the Forest, often coming back to a question, “Who is our economy for?” For some time now regular incomes have stagnated, while incomes at the very top just go up and up. The GDP keeps rising, productivity keeps going up, but regular people see less and less of the benefit of this increase. In fact, if you look at charts and data, the stagnation of incomes started almost exactly at the same time as President Reagan took office and started implementing the corporate agenda of anti-tax and anti-government policies. So is this a coincidence?

Throughout human history we have seen one scheme after another wherein a few people seize power and devise a system to hold it and use it to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. This is human nature and through history we have seen it happen over and over.

America formed in reaction to the British monarchy’s exploitation of its people. We, the People formed our government to band together and protect each other from attempts by the powerful few to exploit us. Our Constitution was supposed to be include a system of checks and balances to account for the nature of power.

It is time for the people to take back that power and use it to again benefit each other. And it is time for California’s newspapers to do something for We, the People and include a “budget cuts calculator” as well as tax increase calculator. It is just as important, maybe more so, that we all understand how we’re injuring and jeopardizing our future with the budget cuts the Republicans required in this year’s budget negotiations.

Electing Delegates to State Convention

There is an important opportunity this weekend to elect delegates who will choose the new California Democratic Party Chair at the State Convention in April. With a new leader (Art Torres is retiring from the position which he has held for over a decade), there will clearly be an opportunity for a new direction. We received this email from the John Burton for Party Chair campaign. Given the importance of the race, we wanted to pass this on to you. 

This Saturday and Sunday, January 10th and 11th, every Assembly District will elect delegates to the State Convention. 

delegates elected at this meeting make up 1/3 of the voters who will
choose the Party Chair at Convention in April.  This is a huge
opportunity for activists to elect delegate candidates who are
committed to electing John Burton as our next Chair!

need YOU to turnout voters to the delegate elections.  Voters must be
registered Democrats who were eligible to vote in the November 2008
election in the district caucus they are voting in.

Please do the following two things to help our campaign be successful this weekend:

#1.  Attend and vote in your district’s delegate election.  For a list, go here:  http://www.cadem.org/site/c.jrLZK2PyHmF/b.4818171/k.4638/Assembly_District_Election_Meetings.htm

#2.  Send a personal email out to all your contacts, either in your assembly district, or regional/statewide. (we
have attached a sample email alert for a district-specific message, as
well as a regional/statewide message) If you use Facebook or another
social networking site, send a note to all your friends!  Please cc us
on the email at info@burton2009.com!

Every district will elect 12 delegates (6 men and 6 women).  There will be a Burton Volunteer at each site with the list of Candidates pledged to support Burton.  People don’t have to know the names ahead of time to go vote.

If you have any questions, please contact us at Shawnda@Burton2009.com


/The Burton Team

Also, we want to refer readers to this post by PeteB2 over at Calitics:

CA Dem Party Delegate Elections are Next Weekend: Support Progressives

Thank goodness the Progressive Democrats of America, SoCal Grassroots,
and the Progressive Caucus of the CA Democratic Party have joined
together to run Progressive Slate candidates for next weekend’s state
party delegate elections (election times/locations here).
 The statements of the candidates give you so little to go on, and
sitting through several hours to hear them speak individually before
figuring out who is really the progressives of the bunch is a really
arduous thing to go through.  I believe we can really make a positive
change in the party by getting real progressive activists in delegate
positions who can challenge the party when necessary. 

The list of causes
that candidates on this slate need to advocate for is something I agree
with nearly to a tee, and I really appreciate that they are laying out
what the criteria for selection is.  

Please go read the rest of this post at Calitics.

us your thoughts and ideas
on where you would like to see the
Democratic Party going, now that we’ve got new leadership in our
country and a hope for real change in our country and its politics.

They — It Affects Our Thinking

I want to caution about the use of the word “they” in current policy debates. This use of “they” leads to a kind of understanding in our brains that might just be short-circuiting our ability to make rational decisions. How we understand a problem has huge implications for how we decide to solve those problems.
Let me use the current debate over providing a loan to the auto companies as an example of what I mean. Some people say that “they” – the auto companies – did bad things. “They” opposed higher CAFE standards. “They” pushed SUVs because SUV sales led to higher profits in the short term. “They” made cars that were not as good as Japanese cars. Therefore “they” deserve what they get.
But who is the “they” here? What happens to your thinking about policy solutions if you instead understand that SOME executives of these companies were able to get their hands on the resources of the company, and did things that increased their own personal fortunes, even as their actions harmed the long-term profitability of the companies? In fact THOSE particular executives might have already fled with the loot they got for themselves, leaving the car companies behind.
Do you see what I mean? In that first use of “they,” where you think of a company as some kind of a sentient being, a monolithic entity that makes decisions, you are led toward one kind of solution. Namely to let “them” fail and let “them” deal with the consequences of “their” decisions. The companies “deserve” to fail because “they” did certain things.
“Let them fail” ignores the millions of jobs at stake, the communities that those incomes support will be seriously affected, and that the country’s manufacturing infrastructure will be further degraded if the auto companies fail.
But if you think about it the other way, where certain individual bad actors were able to make personal fortunes off of their access to company resources and their control of company decision-making (and lobbying), we are led to very, very different conclusions about how to fix the mess we and our economy are in. In this mindframe the solution that presents itself involves dealing with the bad actors, and setting up rules that keep future bad actors from being able to cause companies to harm themselves and the country in their pursuit of personal gain.

Sisters of St. Joseph and Hospital Workers

So many of us have a hard time living up to our own values. Here is a story of one example.
The Sisters of St. Joseph have a proud history of fighting for human rights and human dignity and improvement of conditions for working people. But like so many progressives — and people in general — the Sisters of St. Joseph appear to be having trouble living up to these values when they apply to themselves.
A few days ago Julia Rosen wrote a Calitics post titled, Sisters of St. Josephs it’s time to make peace with your workers. I urge readers here to go read that post. Julia writes,

It is a dirty little secret, but often times the more virulently anti-union employers are religious orders that run health systems. Such is the situation with the Sisters of St. Joseph who run the St. Joseph Health System. They have been resisting the efforts of their service employees to join SEIU-UHW for the past three years.

And at Huffington Post Delores Huertes has a post titled, Together We Marched in Solidarity. I also urge readers to click through and read it. She begins,

This week I’m joining St. Joseph Health System workers, Attorney General Jerry Brown, Father Eugene Boyle, actor Ed Begley Jr, and community and religious leaders to call upon the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange to make peace with their workers.

next she makes the important point,

For decades, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange have fought for justice for California’s workers. In the summer of 1973, they marched in solidarity with Cesar Chavez and farm workers during the brutal Grape Strike. I witnessed the Sisters putting their personal safety at risk. They walked picket lines and even went to jail with more than 3500 striking farm workers. I was inspired by the Sisters’ commitment to stand with the farm workers, even in the face of violent provocation.

Yes, it appears that the Sisters of St. Joseph are ready to stand by workers, walk pickets lines, and fight for the rights of workers. But this time they are holding back when it involves their own workers. Huertes continues,

Over the last three years, workers in the St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) who care for the sick and vulnerable in our community, have been working to form a union with S.E.I.U. — United Healthcare Workers West (UHW) so they can have a real say in the decisions that affect their patients, their families and themselves.
But the Sisters, who founded and hold majority control of the Board of SJHS, a $3.5 billion system of hospitals and clinics, sadly are using heavy-handed tactics similar to those used by other major corporations to deny workers a free choice about whether to form a union. SJHS workers have told me directly, that the SJHS management is fighting their efforts and violating federal labor law by threatening union supporters with arrest and job loss – and denying them free speech. Public records show that SJHS has hired some of the most notorious union-busting firms to fight their employees. Meanwhile, government officials have cited SJHS for violating its employees’ basic labor rights, including illegally firing, spying on, and intimidating workers who want to form a union. These heavy-handed tactics leave workers feeling threatened, intimidated and disregarded.

While looking into this I came across a December, 2007 article at the Catholic News Agency, Catholic health workers’ effort to unionize could crowd out Catholics. Please read to article to learn about the subtexts of this unionization battle. From the story,

A political activist in Sacramento [. . .] said the UHW takeover would be a “done deal” if the employees’ demand for a fair election agreement were met.

If you read the story it is clear that the activist mentioned is very much against unionization and supports the Sisters’ efforts to keep the workers from having a unionization vote. But if allowing a vote for a union means that a union is “a done deal” then it means the workers want a union.
Any way you look at it, it is a shame that the Sisters are trying to keep their workers from voting on whether to have a union. The Sisters need to understand that they are role models for their community. They were positive role models standing up for their values when they supported the farmworkers. They can again be positive role models by showing that even when it affects their own interests they are willing to stand by their values and support worker rights and human rights.
It is time that the Sisters of Saint Joseph allow their workers to vote on whether they want a union.

Netroots Nation Report

I thought our readers might like to get an insight into how last week’s annual Netroots Nation convention went, and how it keeps the blogging world energized. Here is an inside look at the event. (‘Netroots’ stands for the online, networked, “bottom-up” grassroots of democracy.)
First of all, Austin is like a big, very very very very very very hot Santa Cruz. The daily high temperature was between 96 and 104 each day I was there. The convention facilities were great, and are located right downtown, surrounded by restaurants and the entertainment district. The hotel was next door to the convention center with several other hotels nearby. It’s also near Austin’s famous “bat bridge” from under which hundreds of thousands of bats emerge each day just after sunset.
Two thousand people attended the Thursday through Sunday event. The crowd and speakers were much more diverse than previous years. This is a gathering of all ages and demographic groups, centered around the progressive blogs.
Netroots Nation used to be called YearlyKos. This event sprang up from the large community that had grown up around the DailyKos website, but the gathering itself is a larger Netroots gathering not just associated with that particular site. Hence the change to Netroots Nation.
The first day, Thursday, was set aside for caucuses. There was a labor caucus which really wish I could have attended. There were a few state caucuses. There were caucuses like Native American and GLBTQ, and even a Geek caucus. There were caucuses for websites like MyDD and Firedoglake.
The evening Keynote on that first day was Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic Party, introduced by General Wesley Clark.
Friday the panels and workshops started. Friday and Saturday were arranged with two panel slots before lunch and two after. Each of those slots had THIRTEEN different panels to choose from! And of course everyone wanted to attend at least tow, more likely four of those at any given time. For an idea of what one of these panels was link, here is the description of The Next President and the Law:

Fri, 07/18/2008 – 9:00am, Exhibit Hall 4
A new Democratic president will take office on January 20, 2009, facing a federal judiciary stacked with Republican appointees in 20 of the last 28 years, and a Department of Justice that has been more tied to the President’s policy interests than the impartial enforcement of law. What should the next president do with the courts? What should the priorities be for his attorney general? What legislative initiatives are needed to restore fair access to the courts?
PANELISTS: Cass Sunstein, John Dean, Adam Bonin, Michael Waldman

There were thirteen sessions like this to choose from at 9am, then thirteen more at 10:30am. Then for lunch Markos of DailyKos and former Senator Harold Ford, now head of the right-leaning DLC, had a discussion on stage. I wrote about this at my personal blog, in the post, Harold Ford at Netroots Nation on FISA:

Harold Ford and Markos held a discussion on stage at lunch here at Netroots Nation. I didn’t catch all of it, but at one point Ford was talking about FISA and telecom immunity, along the lines of “If you have a company, and the government comes to you and says ‘If you do this for us it will help national security’ then what can you say?”
I’ll tell you what you can say. You can say, “DO YOU HAVE A WARRANT?”

Then two more groups of thirteen panels at 1:30pm and 3pm, with an evening “Netroots Candidates Event” where what seemed to be fifty candidates for office around the country who the netroots are supporting were introduced. (I spotted Pete McCloskey at this event. McCloskey was a California Congressman who ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 Republican primaries, and who co-founded Earth Day.)
And then there were the parties… Parties and parties. There were lots of parties. And there were parties.
Saturday kicked off with “Ask the Speaker”. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was on stage taking questions that had been solicited in advance from blogs all around the web, as well as live questions from people attending. Then there was a surprise. One of the questions that came over the speakers was from Al Gore! And Gore walked onto the stage to give a brief talk about climate change and the nature of our politics, and took questions as well as Speaker Pelosi.
Then more panels … The lunch keynote was Lawrence Lessig who talked about the destructive nature of money in politics — whenever money is involved you can’t trust the results, just like with medical research funded by pharmaceutical companies. So of course you can’t trust money in politics.
Then more panels. I put on a workshop titled, “Blogging and the New Green Economy,” described as follows,

This workshop will discuss how bloggers can support and organize around the efforts of environmental justice activists, union leaders and city government officials to help create a new green economy.

(Last year I put on two major sessions and participated in three other panels, and the year before i was also involved with several. So just doing this one was a relief.)
Saturday wrapped up with a keynote speech by Rep. Donna Edwards. This is significant because the Netroots supported Edwards in a primary race against another Democrat who was supporting a corporate agenda. She won, and it has sent a signal to other Democrats that they can start to change their behavior. And now the SEIU and others are planning to run at least ten primary challenges in the next round of Congressional elections. This is a very important development which I wrote about in my post SEIU’s Accountability Project — Making Politicians Do The Right Thing. I wrote,

First, it finally gives politicians whose hearts are with us a reason to vote with us. Second, it tells politicians who don’t agree with a progressive agenda (of reducing corporate power over our lives and restoring democracy to the people) that their time is past, that we will run candidates against them in the primaries and these candidates will have strong support.

Then there were parties. And more parties. Lots of parties.
And parties.
Finally, Sunday began with a multi-faith service led by “Pastor Dan” who posts at the DailyKos-associated blog Street Prophets. Following that the keynote speaker Van Jones was introduced by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom was great but Van Jones gave a memorable talk that will be available in video online soon.
A tremendous amount of networking happens at this event. I once called it the largest gathering of people who know each other but have never met. It is events like this one and the Take Back America conference where a new progressive movement is being built. One this that was significant this year was the exhibits, where organizations involved with the Netroots have booths to show off what they are up to. There were quite a number of these this year, which shows that an ecosystem is starting to develop.
Someone caught a photo of me speaking to the California Caucus:
(That’s a really bad shot of CA-46 Congressional candidate Debra Cook in the front.)
There are several blogs (here, here) and diaries at DailyKos with pictures, (here, here, here, here), and a Flickr album I located.

Failure to Support Progressive Movement Dooms Another Organization

This is a guest post by Dr. Katherine Forrest, Co-Founder of the Commonweal Institute. It originally appeared at the Commonweal Institute Blog.
The Rockridge Institute wasn’t the only progressive infrastructure organization that folded this spring. Another was the Center for Policy Alternatives , which shut down in April, 2008, after having been around for 32 years. CPA provided policy ideas for state governments, published an annual collection of policy recommendations, and trained future legislators. Like Rockridge, CPA’s executive director, Tim McFeeley, stated in his final e-mailed message that a main reason for CPA’s demise was the lack of support for infrastructure organizations among progressives.
Dealing with the need for ongoing support for their political movement’s operations is a challenge that needs to be addressed successfully, regardless of whether modern “progressives” align themselves more closely with independents or liberals or any particular political party.
I know many people who call themselves progressive, and even more whose sentiments I would consider to be progressive. But VERY few recognize that ongoing support, year after year, not just at election time, will be needed to build and sustain a political movement that works for the things they care about. Fewer still act on that recognition.
This seems to be a blind spot for progressives. They exemplify two American traits–fixation on personality and lack of patience and perspective. Progressives keep looking for a messiah candidate who can lead them out of the wilderness, pumping their dollars into candidates and campaigns, while ignoring the need for continuing work on moving public opinion and building the progressive base between election cycles. Progressive funders, notably including many in large nonprofit foundations as well as individual political donors, tend to make grants for short-term efforts (seldom exceeding 2-3 years), after which they are eager to move on to some exciting new venture, rather than supporting long-term social change efforts that reasonably will take a decade or more to achieve.
Notably, some working with disadvantaged communities are talking about how to do fundraising to “resource the social justice movement.” We can only hope that movement awareness spreads to encompass other issue areas, instead of remaining limited to social justice. After all, we’re all in it together–across the board, people have economic, housing, legal, environmental, educational, medical, and transportation needs–and that list just scratches the surface.
A progressive movement is what we need, and that movement needs SUPPORT. Too bad it didn’t come in time to save Rockridge Institute and Center for Policy Alternatives.

Why Building Progressive Infrastructure Matters So Much

On the same day that Barack Obama raised one million dollars in one minute for his campaign George Lakoff’s Rockridge Institute announced that they will be closing their doors.
In the comments at the OpenLeft blog post, The Rockridge Era Ends, Paul Rosenberg wrote,

As If We Needed Any More Proof That Democrats STILL Don’t Get It!
This is really terrible news–not just because of the loss of Rockridge, as if that wasn’t bad enough, but because it shows so clearly that there is NO recognition of the need to build progressive infrastructure.
Just look at how many millions have been raised by the Presidential campaigns this cycle. And just a tiny fraction of it could have not just kept Rockridge afloat, but DOUBLED it in size. …

I want to say this about that:
Donating a dollar to a progressive infrastructure organization like Speak Out California today is like giving ten dollars to EACH progressive candidate in every local, state and nation race this November, two years later, and every election following.
Let me explain what I mean. Progressive infrastructure organizations like Speak Out California and Commonweal Institute and information outlets like California Progress Report and Calitics are working to help the public understand and appreciate what progressives are about. By explaining the benefits of a progressive approach they help build public acceptance of and demand for progressive policies and candidates — across the board. As more people understand why progressive solutions benefit them more than conservative proposals, they develop a lasting positive identification with the progressive “brand.” Then later, during the election cycle, they vote for progressive candidates — across the board.
This is how the conservatives have been so successful. They work year-round to convince people to identify as conservatives. (You’ve probably complained or heard people complain that that have managed to turn “liberal” into a bad word in people’s minds.) When election time comes around it’s as though all that their candidates have to do is point at the opponent and shout “liberal” to win. They ride a wave of nationally-advanced propaganda convincing people to support “tort reform” or “tax relief.” This has been going on for years, so at election time everything is laid out for them on a silver platter, with the public prepared and primed.
Progressive candidates, on the other hand, are generally on their own, starting from scratch for each election. Their general campaign begins in the late summer or fall, they have to decide what “issues” to run on, they have to develop a message from scratch, by themselves, and then they have to reach their voters from scratch. And they have to do all of this on their own in just a few months. No wonder conservatives, even with their awful “you’re on your own” philosophy, have managed to do so well and gain so much traction.
This is why building up a national progressive advocacy infrastructure would leverage all of those campaign donations and help us build a sustainable progressive majority. A few dollars to progressive advocacy organizations on any given TODAY builds long-term support for every progressive candidate on any given TOMORROW. It provides leverage — lowering the need for massive election-cycle funding.
The demise of Rockridge Institute demonstrates that the Democratic Party donor base hasn’t yet gotten that message. Instead, masses of money have to be raised for candidates at the very last minute — for example a million dollars in one minute, the day before the big Pennsylvania primary. And almost all of that money will just literally go up in the air to pay for TV ads that leave nothing behind to show for the money. They don’t build the brand, they don’t tell people about the benefits of progressive ideas, they don’t help other candidates… But almost nothing for the Rockridges and Speak Out California’s and Commonweal Institutes.
Please think about donating to help build a solid progressive infrastructure of organizations that will work year-round to help the public understand why progressive policies and candidate are better for them than the conservative solutions. This will help build a sustainable progressive majority in America. Please help these organizations grow. It’s about building a progressive ecosystem that benefits all of us.

Take Back America – Wednesday — Where From Here?

I am at the Take Back America conference in Washington DC. Several panelists at Take Back America have pointed out that things seem to look favorable for progressives in this election year. People are rejecting Bush, the Iraq war, the effects of conservative economics and a list of other failures of conservatism.
But this does not necessarily mean that the public is turning to progressives. Turning away from something bad is a different thing from choosing to turn toward something else. Even if we do Take Back America in this election there is no foundation yet for holding on to it.
Good things are happening. There is a lot of new energy in the developing progressive movement. New organizations are forming. Thousands upon thousands of young people are getting involved. Conferences like this are connecting progressives from around the country.
But progressives have not yet started reaching the general public to promote the benefits to them of a progressive approach to solving our country’s problems. Until this become a regular component of the progressive movement we risk losing this momentum.