yesthattom: (Default)
[personal profile] yesthattom
Lakeoff has a great article about why whining about Bush Jr being incompetant doesn’t help the democrats. It dismisses his accomplishments, which have made substantial BAD changes to our country.

One thing he says really stands out:
Conservatives also strive to get rid of protective agencies and social programs. The deficit Bush created through irresponsible tax cuts and a costly war in Iraq will require drastic budget cuts to remedy. Those cuts, conservatives know, won’t come from military spending, particularly when they raise the constant specter of war. Instead, the cuts will be from what Conservatives have begun to call “non-military, discretionary spending;” that is, the programs that contribute to the common good like the FDA, EPA, FCC, FEMA, OSHA and the NLRB. Yet another success for the conservative agenda.
I know that we Democrats have a difficult time coming up with a “ word” explanation of what we stand for to compete with the Republican “lower taxes” line. However the above paragraph seems to have the seeds of what I’m looking for. The fact that the common good is best served by programs like FDA, EPA, FCC, FEMA, OSHA and the NLRB... at least when they’re run well and for the people speaks volumes. Yes, everyone can pick nits with these agencies, but “lower taxes” has the same problem and they overcome it (for example, “lower taxes” was never to imply that the military shouldn’t get all the funding they need).

Maybe my “elevator pitch” for the democrats is something like:

“A well-managed government serves people best”
Still too many words, but it hits the points I want.

It’s NOT Incompetence

When Progressives shout “Incompetence!” it obscures the many conservative successes. The incompetence frame drastically misses the point, that the conservative vision is doing great harm to this country and the world. An understanding of this and an articulate progressive response is needed. Progressives know that government can and should have a positive role in our lives beyond simple, physical security. It had a positive impact during the progressive era, busting trusts, and establishing basic labor standards. It had a positive impact during the new deal, softening the blow of the depression by creating jobs and stimulating the economy. It had a positive role in advancing the civil rights movement, extending rights to previously disenfranchised groups. And the United States can have a positive role in world affairs without the use of its military and expressions of raw power. Progressives acknowledge that we are all in this together, with “we” meaning all people, across all spectrums of race, class, religion, sex, sexual preference and age. “We” also means across party lines, state lines and international borders.

The mantra of incompetence has been an unfortunate one. The incompetence frame assumes that there was a sound plan, and that the trouble has been in the execution. It turns public debate into a referendum on Bush’s management capabilities, and deflects a critique of the impact of his guiding philosophy. It also leaves open the possibility that voters will opt for another radically conservative president in 2008, so long as he or she can manage better.


Conservatism itself is the villain that is harming our people, destroying our environment, and weakening our nation. Conservatives are undermining American values through legislation almost every day. This message applies to every conservative bill proposed to Congress. The issue that arises every day is which philosophy of governing should shape our country. It is the issue of our times. Unless conservative philosophy itself is discredited, Conservatives will continue their domination of public discourse, and with it, will continue their domination of politics.

Date: 2006-06-26 06:06 pm (UTC)
qnetter: (Default)
From: [personal profile] qnetter
I believe we need to keep coming back to the theme of "the common good" -- whether it is in regard to those programs the Rethuglicans chooe to call "socialist" or things like the estate tax -- which indeed *was* social engineering intended to keep wealth from passing to the next generation without benefitting society. Why? Heh, heh -- *because* we are an achievement based society. By whom? Heh, heh, heh, heh -- Republican Teddy Roosevelt.

Date: 2006-06-26 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No truer words were spoken. Conservatism hurts America and Americans.

Date: 2006-06-26 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, why do conservatives hate America?

Date: 2006-06-27 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Because you hurt the ones you love.

Date: 2006-07-15 10:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Because they aren't interested in democracy and freedom.

Conservatism vs Incompetence

Date: 2006-07-08 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting take on the issue. There are a lot of distinctions to be made in the broad movements conservative and progressive. The real problem is the extremes in both groups. The "reactionary religious right" and the "revolutionary loony left" are both equally dangerous to our individual and collective freedoms and well being.

The Republicans have been successful for three simple reasons. One, they have managed to articulate a vague " Lower taxes, smaller government, strong on defense, family friendly" platform that resonates well with a lot of people.
Two, they have managed to paint Democrats as being the antithesis of those four warm and fuzzy points. Unfortunately, the Democrats have frequently helped them do it.
Three, the Democrats have not in recent history come up with anything you could call a positive progressive vision for the country. All they have managed to do is say vote for us because we are not them.

If the Democrats are going to get any where they need to win elections and to do that they have to come up with a program that will appeal to a broad majority of people. So far, this just doesn't appear to be happening.

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