Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Matt Stoller and bar fights

As if often the case, Matt Stoller at MyDD makes a lot of sense, this time in discussing possible Democratic nominees for president. Stoller's analogy is simple: who would be on our side in a bar fight?

Well worth the read if you have the chance. Here's a snippet:
The way to gain my support in 2008 is to show that in a bar fight, your sympathies are with liberals and are set against the bullies that have been running the country for so long. You can run on anything you want, you can talk of unifying the country or any sort of conventional wisdom chatter. You don't have to speak to me directly all the time with everything you say. You can pander on video games or ethanol, or whatever you need. But you have to speak on some critical point, some piece of entrenched power, and promise that you are going to gore that conservative ox.
It's an intriguing post that articulates a lot of progressive concerns going into 2008.

The party is a big tent, but you have to be willing to fight for progressive values in the end. We can compromise on marginal tax rates and tons of other specific issues, but candidates need to reject the positions of corporate America or the religious right as the beginning and end of the discussion.

If the last three years or so have shown us anything, it's that we succeed when we define our own terms. While I'm not a huge Lakoff fan, the fact that he pointed out how to frame things was a hugely positive development.

But it's about more than "framing," it's about finding authentic voices for democracy, and to the extent possible, subverting and working around reactionary big media forces. To the extent blogs are useful for this, great.

Anything that helps regular folks participate and understand the process, and diminishes the control exerted by elites, is good. Blogs are probably just a small part of this chapter in our history.

Progressives must put themselves on the side of regular folks as much as possible (populism!), not trying to tell them what to do, but to "clear a path" for them to govern themselves, to borrow a phrase from Stoller's post.

Democracy by and for people.

We wouldn't have troops in Iraq right now if we hadn't experienced one of the worst episodes of yellow journalism in over 100 years, and the forces that created that yellow journalism in the first place are by and large still very powerful. The right wing stink tanks aren't going anywhere, and if anything most closely resemble a wounded but still dangerous animal.

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