Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pitfalls for Progressives

Normally I find the LA Weekly to be a self-absorbed snoozefest (especially when compared with its spunkier little brother the OC Weekly), but their "Zeitlist" issue of "Politics, Culture, and Ephemera" this past Thursday was full of entertaining things like the top ten things we learned about primates this year. I also thought their list of 5 Pitfalls for Progressives to Avoid in 2006 was pretty sound advice. Here's my condensed roundup of that list:
1. Angry is not an answer. "Democrats lose... because they don’t yet offer a clear and proactive enough alternative."
2. Bush bashing. "After five years, the point is made. Everyone convincible is convinced."
3. Knee-jerking to the Left. "An effective Democratic Party in 2006 and 2008 has to be ... [n]ot more leftist nor more centrist, but more populist. "
4. Leaving the anti-war movement leaderless. "Politics is all about the art of building coalitions — not about enforcing purity." Plus, ditch A.N.S.W.E.R.
5. Hillary Clinton.
I had a chat yesterday with a classmate of mine who works for the Democratic Party. We both agreed that if the Democrats want to win, they're going to need a candidate who's likable and can appeal to people beyond the "blue state" core. Also, they need a governor, not a Senator. So go after Bill Richardson in New Mexico, Mark Warner in Virginia, or Brian Schweitzer in Montana. Everybody else looks like a loser in a national election.

To elaborate on point #4 up there, I'm not even sure I'd call myself "anti-war." I was never opposed to the basic idea of a war to oust Saddam Hussein but I had and still have a lot of major issues with many of the decisions Bush had made and policies he's taken with the war. As for the outcome, I guess I'm more optimistic than those on the left and more pessimistic than those on the right.


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