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Netroots Politics 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-to-the-people dept.
Michael Gracie writes "I picked up "Crashing The Gate - Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics" from the DailyKos website, albeit apprehensively. The Kos community has a "reputation," and some would suspect that any printed material associated with the site would parallel what is said there. Nevertheless, I was curious to hear what Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga would say, knowing they wouldn't have to deal with the instant (and often aggressive) feedback the "Kossacks" dispense. For the most part, I was pleasantly surprised." Read the rest of Michael's review.
Crashing The Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics
author Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
pages 196
publisher Chelsea Green
rating 8
reviewer Michael Gracie
ISBN 1931498997
summary A must read for constituents on both sides of the fence


As background, the authors are no strangers to the Internet or its political enablement. Armstrong is a household name in the arena, having started one of the first political weblogs, MyDD.com, and assisting with the Howard Dean campaign's blogging efforts. Zuniga is just as well known, if not more so. He founded DailyKos, which is likely the most popular political group weblog site in existence. In other words, these guys should know their stuff, and for the most part they seem to.

As pure reading material goes, the book ("Progressive Partner Special Limited Edition") is precisely 196 pages of 100% post-consumer waste recycled, old-growth forest-free paper, including 14 pages of reference notes and indices. The type is large, well spaced, and generally easy on the eyes. I knocked this puppy off over three afternoons, including note taking.

While I didn't fact check every line of the book, what I received was a pretty thorough, analysis-driven opinion of what has gone wrong with Democratic Party politics. It starts with a definition of "the enemy," the "cons" of the Republican political thought process. Corporate insiders, right-wing think tank graduates, religious leaders, and old-school mindsets are overstuffed in a barrel. What pops out is the realization that the Republican Party is less a tank mowing over everything in its path than a loosely bound, fragile coalition that has succeeded not by Borg-like assimilation, but through sheer patience and will.

Onward to the "failing" side, in which Armstrong and Moulitsas slice and dice their political party in what can only be described as a semi-hostile, scathing rebuke of the disorganization, the infighting, and the selfishness which has kept it divided. The authors are, however, quick to point at two examples of success (in Colorado and Montana during 2004). In those cases, campaigns took decidedly different approaches, but one thing seemed certain - anything BUT the status quo could work.

Diving deeper into the situation, "Crashing The Gate" now hits the hot button that is going to piss a lot of Progressives off - the wholesale pilfering of campaign dollars by political/media consultants, who enrich themselves fabulously while using worn out techniques that lead to failure after failure. The D.C. power base, showing no inclination to stop the madness, is not forgotten either. If any one point becomes perfectly clear to readers, it will be that big money has and is wasted in extraordinary magnitudes.

At this point, J & M point to McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, as the tipping in the power struggle over Progressive direction. McCain-Feingold redirected high-dollar contributions from direct-to-politicians pockets into 527 organizations that cannot "explicitly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for federal office." What it really did, according the authors, is force Democrats to look to "the people." Numbers no longer followed dollar signs - they had to follow individual support roll counts. Then Howard Dean captured the Internet's imagination.

The authors give Howard Dean a lot of credit for initiating the "grassroots movement," something I found unsurprising considering they were in the middle of it. By engaging a myriad of internet tools managed by foot soldiers, Dean quickly proved McCain-Feingold naysayers wrong. The Democratic stronghold eventually trounced Dean - they took it upon themselves to define him as "unelectable," and turn Dean's overzealousness into perceived nuttiness. It was a concerted attack, and not without casualties. First and foremost, John Kerry lost the Presidential election, and that is where I inferred that the tables really turned. While "wounds were being licked" offline, Internet activists maintained engagement as thought the battle wasn't over. As described, after Terry McAuliffe (Chairman of the DNC) departed, the bloggers made their presence hard to ignore, uncovering dirt on hand-selected McAuliffe successors, one after the other. Howard Dean maintained his loyalty to those folks, and the end result...he is now Chair of the Party.

The last chapter, entitled "Inside The Gate," follows up on some successes for the Democratic Party in places like Montana and Virginia, and infers that "grassroots" campaigning, not "netroots" organization, was the primary motivating factor. In many campaigns, however, "netroots" did play a role, and even when losses were incurred, the efforts succeeded in draining opposing candidates of funds and energy while giving good reason for progressives to relish in their newfound power. Fair warning - the net was not to be ignored.

No review of a political reference would be complete without some conclusion for those so inclined. Rather than air my personal views, I will provide some perspective-based alternatives:

A) If you are anything close to Progressive (which I suspect many readers will be), you may at first feel a bit betrayed by your leaders, and certainly enraged by the pilfering of contributions that came from your pocketbook. Your suspicion that what is being suggested is emulation of the long-term strategies of the enemy is not unfounded. Crashing The Gates sometimes infers just that, albeit with a bit of a "net twist." Be patient until the end - you may wind up wanting to blog for your favorite local candidates - but it won't be an easy road. I'd say I concur with the authors that there is no short-path to election success, no matter the effort - the authors are making no promises, and that is refreshing from any set of written words deemed political. And be forewarned - what led to victory in a particular place and particular situation, might not work the next time. I interpreted that by reading between the lines.

B) If you lean right you will feel warm (and smug) over your Party's triumphs, and a little confused as to why someone would so openly lay out a potential roadmap for defeating you. You may be inclined to read the book again, just to make sure you have a game plan to thwart any such attempts. Alternatively, you might brush off any thoughts of a grassroots movement ever having a chance of taking your team to the mat. You have a "big machine" on your side, one constructed over decades - how could any grassroots effort put a dent in it? This reader, having a meager understanding of how "new media" communications spreads, says the latter take might not be a wise one. Conservatives have their pundits, but they should ask themselves whether they could engage armies of them.

C) If you sit in the middle, a most likely social liberal and fiscal conservative, I'd say you may still feel a bit lost. You have choices: go the route of the ultra-organized "idea generators," but risk more betrayal on the fiscal end while you turn blue over the social fanaticism; or, you can bet on those who still haven't gotten their act together, but have a lot of momentum, gained recently, in the new media realm. Yes, the progressives have a "new machine," but can they effectively control it as it grows? The conservatives have certainly proven they can steer theirs, and it is anything but small. Either way, you'll solidify your previous view that politics is about big money, intensive recruitment, and, ultimately, some form of indoctrination. You might not exactly get the "warm-fuzzies" if you fancy yourself an independent thinker.

I said my satisfaction with the read contained some caveats. It did, and they affect my rating of the book as such.

1) I found the historical elements of the book the very compelling - again, while I didn't check facts, I didn't feel I needed to. The first couple of chapters were relatively unbiased - at times I almost felt like the authors were glorifying Republican efforts. Then, wham, they actually say Republican strategies are "brilliant," while describing their party's entitlement participation philosophy (meaning, one should be happy to have a job on a Democratic campaign, even if you electricity just got shut off) in comparison to the well paid, constant grooming and care that Republican "students" usually received.

2) I was hoping for a complete separation between the web diatribe the authors are associated with, and their view to initiate change through hardcopy publication. Unfortunately, I found at least one element of major distraction, on pages 114 through 118, which referenced events regarding politically motivated compensation for both old and new media input. It hinted, unnecessarily, of some bitterness, while I would rather have heard a token "Oh well, that is how the game is played." The section in question was hard to shake - it followed me for the last sixty or so pages. Additional anecdotes describing "normal, sane" candidates having the ability to win elections left me chuckling a few times as well, meaning I had some difficulty disassociating the authors with some of what I have read at DailyKos.

3) The title conflicted with some of the nuances within. For someone sitting on the fence (as described above), I thought the authors would have tried to harder to convince that the supposed "progressive revolution" isn't just more of the same. The dollar signs strewn throughout made me think more about all the money that politics engulfs (even if it is raised by citizen journalists) than the power any individuals have to instigate real change. I sometimes felt that the subtitle could have included "people-powered fundraising."

4) As the authors point out (as excuse or not), the manuscript was scrapped late in the process. They started from scratch, under considerable time pressure, and I can respect that. In my eyes (assuming it is true), they scored some points here for admitting the need to start over, and re-working on the fly.

I know Slashdot readers have their opinion of bloggers in general, and it is not always the most favorable. However, as a consistent reader of both Slashdot and several major political blogs I have to say "Crashing The Gate" is a heck of a job from a couple of "bloggers." I am now intensely curious to see if Glenn Reynolds's "An Army of Davids" paints a different (and/or alternative) picture of the "netroots" phenomena.

As a final offering, Armstrong and Zuniga note that the world of progressive bloggers could already be four to five million strong, with extraordinary growth predicted for the future. In addition, they offered that anyone, anywhere could contribute. But, a democratic system requires mutual acceptance, healthy debate, and a willingness to accept a role alongside, not hands above, the rest. The online world already seems to be straying from those core tenets, with clubby recruitment gatherings, A-list bloggers and too much crosstalk. Without some correction, I wonder whether the growing political force the authors portray can sustain itself long term, or whether new media will turn out like old media - sensationalist, untrustworthy, and begging to be ignored."


You can purchase Crashing The Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Netroots Politics

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  • Re Subjectivity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:06PM (#14877429) Homepage
    The Kos community has a "reputation," and some would suspect that any printed material associated with the site would parallel what is said there
    Yes, they do. But I know of no news or opinion service that doesn't have a reputation. Many don't trust Fox because they are to the right. Many don't trust the NY Times because they are to the left.
    Whatever we write, no matter how much we try to be 100% objective, will be subjective due to our own experiences, culture etc.
    That being said- Kos is not someone I always agree with- but he does show that many Democrats are not liberal hollywood weenies. Many Dems (like my grandfather and Kos) are Vets. I don't consider myslelf Dem or Republican, but thats another story....
  • by bwd (936324) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:06PM (#14877433) Homepage
    It looks like the scope of the book is much too narrow to infer any type of trend. Thomas Friedman's book The Lexus and the Olive Tree gives a much more macro view of the democratization of information and the impact the internet has on government. Although a bit dated, its scope is much wider and thus its easier to pick out trends than it is in this book.
  • Review of the review (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:09PM (#14877476) Homepage Journal


    As a lover of the free market and someone who has seen repeatedly that all politicians lie, and no politician will run government the way you want it run, I am constantly surprised by the Progressive movement. I have so many friends who label themselves Progressive, when they don't realize that the Progressive ideaology is no different than the political agenda of both the Democrats and the Republicans: to control others against their will in hopes of creating a better world. The reality of any political agenda is to control the many in order to give more power to the few, usually the friends and family (the cronies).

    Here's my review of the review:

    assisting with the Howard Dean campaign's blogging efforts.

    I'm sure Howard Dean had time to blog himself. Most political blogs are carefully crafted and planned by the campaign crew -- it is no different than a speech given by a politician: they usually haven't read it before hand.

    precisely 196 pages of 100% post-consumer waste recycled, old-growth forest-free paper

    Which means the paper costs way more to make than regular forest paper. Considering that this cost means more people had to work on it, more air conditions were run, more people had to drive to work and more buildings were needed, I'm not sure how environmentally friendly the book is. I do know that Boise-Cascade has a great tree-planting policy, so I prefer to buy non-recycled paper. In fact, I never buy recycled products unless there is no alternative.

    While I didn't fact check every line of the book,

    I check every fact because I don't trust political books.

    what I received was a pretty thorough, analysis-driven opinion of what has gone wrong with Democratic Party politics.

    In my experience, the Democrats and Republicans both have the same problem: they don't follow through with their promises. When they do pass a law that they promised to pass, along with it comes 1000 other pork barrel projects. Usually the law is so modified from the promise that it has unintended consequences that affect us all in a negative way.

    Corporate insiders, right-wing think tank graduates, religious leaders, and old-school mindsets are overstuffed in a barrel.

    That's an interesting attack there. Almost every single Democrat in federal office is a corporate insider as well. Instead of being think tank graduates, most Democrat politicians are graduates of a college where the mindset is more socialist than Democratic. Don't get me started on old-school mindsets -- the Republicans definitely have forgotten the old school that they came from.

    the infighting, and the selfishness which has kept it divided.

    Of course there is infighting, you're talking about accepting a job that gives you incredible power over the masses.

    campaign dollars by political/media consultants, who enrich themselves fabulously while using worn out techniques that lead to failure after failure.

    Consider that the campaign finance system was broken by any time of reform or regulation (which created these consultants and it is now these consultants to fight for even more reform to give them even more power)

    The D.C. power base, showing no inclination to stop the madness, is not forgotten either. If any one point becomes perfectly clear to readers, it will be that big money has and is wasted in extraordinary magnitudes.

    The big money would not be wasted if campaign finance was deregulated, and Congress and the President were returned to the minimal powers as set forth by the Constitution in very specific ways. Destroy the power of the federal government, and you'll see the big money disappear.

    redirected high-dollar contributions from direct-to-politicians pockets into 527 organizations that cannot "explicitly advocate the election or defeat of any candidate for federal office."

    Actually, McCain-Feingold was written specifically to keep incumbents in powe
  • Politician's pay (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yoik (955095) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:33PM (#14877678) Journal
    One problem with politics is that there needs to be some return for competent people who work in the field. Otherwise it gets dominated by thieves and obsessives. Right now the thieves are winning.

    The big challenge is finding a way to offer a decent lifestyle to an honest, sane politician.

    The book seems to be complaining about one system for doing that.
  • Jerome & Markos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TheGrapeApe (833505) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:39PM (#14877724)
    Let me say that I think the "net effect" that these guys have on the political & media scene in America is, in fact, a very _very_ positive one; They have played a critical role in bringing America back to the yellow-fedora-wearing-"get-the-story-at-any-cost" style of journalism that the mainstream media has been denying the public for a long time. Granted- most of their stories lean to the left, but the right has the "Drudge Report" to balance that out. So, insofar as they act as "channels" for information, they are very valuable: They've played an important role in making sure that the MSM doesn't "pin" stories like the Abramoff/Delay/Culture-of-Corruption stories under the public's radar.

    As political analysts? Take it with a grain..no, a _block_ of salt. It's ironic that this topic would get posted today...as it marks the 0-for-20 record for them in backing House candidates (they couldn't even get Cuellar [TX-28] into a stinking _runoff_!). They want to harp and harp about how bad the "party establishment" is...and they propose that they should be the shining leaders of this movement to replace that establishment...But it's hard to buy their arguments when their record is as poor as it has been. They are kelp being tossed around in the waves of American politics. They might like to think that they are making those waves - and I'm sure their book contains all manner of self-congratulating passages telling the reader how they think they did that - but they aren't. If you are reading this article - Congratulations! You have a better record at supporting democratic candidates than either of them do!! But if you want to get a book that tells you why their "New Establishment" is so much better than the ones put together by Democrats _who actually got elected at some point_, then go pick it up at your local book store.
  • "Progressive" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:39PM (#14877730) Homepage
    How is it that people who prefer big, tax-supported bureaucracies that manage a significant amount of public and private life are called progressive? This is what's so ironic about my geeks and nerds. They can see the obvious fatal flaw in a Windows NT domain and the centralization that it brings to a network topology, but they cannot see the even greater flaw in directing the economic output and general government of a country from a single point, often the central government.

    There is nothing progressive about having a general preference for state controls over the people and the economy. It's a reactionary fear that somewhere, somehow someone might say, do or produce something that others might not like or that might make them happy.

    You know who was a true progressive? John Locke, not Noam Chomsky or any other leftwing hack. John Locke was the first person in the modern world to stand up and say, who the hell do you think you are to boss everyone around like you're an emissary from the divine? Divine right to rule, rule by the mob, the proletarian revolution, they're all descended from the old idea that some people are born to control others.

    Liberals, in the classical sense, were the first ones in modern history to overturn all of that, which is why Marx hated liberalism. Most of what "progressives" stand for is just another way to tear down the individual and elevate the group. How that's different from our ancestors' tribalist tendencies is beyond me. You want progress? Move away from tribalist notions of what the group means toward a modern notion which is a freely chosen, non-coercive relationship.
  • By the numbers: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:53PM (#14877853)
    #1. Repair the voting system. If you cast a vote, it must be counted. Until the votes of the people are counted, there won't be any reform.

    #2. If you can't vote, you can't contribute. No corporations giving money to candidates or their election funds. Only people can vote and only people should be contributing money.

    #3. End all PAC/lobby contributions. If a PAC wants to convince a Congress Critter to do something, that PAC can send a brochure or booklet or study. But it must be printed. That is all that they can do. No trips. No dinners. No gifts.

    Once you've managed those, the people will have a CHANCE of taking back their government. Right now it is run by corporations, for corporations.
  • Re:"Progressive" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:58PM (#14877912)
    Honestly, I think your opinion here is not quite accurate. That is, you are building a stereotype without merit based on a perception issue.

    There's a lot more here that I could debate. But consider the alternative of Republican economic policies. Do you think they are free-market and pro-individual? At this point, the people I know who are progressives simply know that the Republican policies don't work and they are looking for an answer to combat them with.

    The Locke arguments do work with this group, when framed right.

    Although I really don't get your Windows NT point, since NT is a distributed control environment.
  • About Democracy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argoff (142580) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:08PM (#14877998)
    I only RTF'd the first fiew PP's, but I thought it was important to point out. Democracy is not an end in itself, it is a means, a means to preserve liberties and freedoms that people are entitled to from birth. It is a tool, and like any tool can be used constructively or destructively.

    Freedoms do not mean free room, borad, health care, eduction, and (insert good cause here) coerced at every one elses expense by the popular mob. Anyone can do grand feats when done with other peoples money.

    Freedoms mean free, as in free will, as in your right to controll, allocate, and use opportunities, money, and resources honestly gained without the government coercing it away. All to often people act like the government taking money from one group of people to give to another has consequences so neglable that it isn't even worth mentioning. Well, the truth is that it is that the consequences are more harmfull for government to take from people, than if individuals had gotten it by stealing it all by themselves.
  • Keep dreaming. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ivan Matveitch (748164) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:09PM (#14878017)
    Doing that would mean preaching to people outside the choir---eg, persuading moderate American intellectuals that your policies are preferable to those of the other party. Jerking knees (or something worse) on the web seems unlikely to help.

    But who knows, I haven't read this book, maybe it's all about how to turn their site into a bad-ass propaganda machine.

  • by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:27PM (#14878157)
    I'm a libertarian in the small-l sense. While in 2004 the Libertarian party did make an attempt to be serious, I generally find that it's mostly filled with college kids who think the world is simple and don't really spend much time thinking.

    Consider this line off the website:
    "The Libertarian Party would increase employment opportunities by slashing taxes and government red tape. We would also end the welfare system with its culture of dependence and hopelessness."

    Now we tried this once, a long time ago and it resulted in a series of boom and bust cycles made most famous with the Great Depression. That's not to say I necessarily support the Great Society programs in entirety, but I do support the safety net. In fact I would argue that the safety net allows the economy to grow faster, as people are willing to take risks because they know if it doesn't pan out they aren't entirely fucked. Now obviously there is balance, but eliminating it is as bad as over doing it.

    Anyway, this is the kind of policy ideas you come up with when you analyze something, see one small symptom and then decide that is the disease. It's like a doctor amputating a leg because you've got a blister on your foot and then saying "See, the problem with the blister is solved!"

    I don't agree with the Right and Left dichotomies, but the Libertarian party isn't the answer either.
  • by Tiber (613512) <josh.knarr@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:28PM (#14878176) Homepage
    1) I found the historical elements of the book the very compelling - again, while I didn't check facts, I didn't feel I needed to.

    And that's exactly the problem. You look at things like the Rather reporting on George Bush and the blatent falsehoods and the Republicans do it so much better then the Democrats. How many people pledged to defeat the Patriot Act only to sell you out and vote for it? But that might not be important to you, that might count as fact-checking. You look at the careful review done about the CBS memo [littlegreenfootballs.com] and it becomes startlingly clear that fact checking is not only encouraged in politics, it's required. If dKos is urging you not to trust the people making up the government, then the least you can do is fact check the book. If you don't trust one, why would you even consider trusting the other?

    The problem with politics is that people turn their brains off and don't do fact checking. Everyone has their own dollars at stake, they're going to say whatever it takes to get more of those dollars. How many Democrats said they would defeat Bush and the Patriot Act simply to turn around and vote to renew it?
  • Re:Jerome & Markos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mykej (33237) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:43PM (#14878303)
    You have to look at the 0-20 record in context though. They've sought out races in which there was no outside support. The DCCC is horrible about writing off races far too quickly. Markos and Jerome seem to believe that campaigns aren't about going for the sure things, they're about you know, campaigning. Trying to change minds. It doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't happen in one or two cycles.
  • Re:Success... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:00PM (#14878454)
    "KOS" didn't "force" the other side to do anything, any more than the "other side" forced "KOS" to do anything.

    I think you're giving too much credit where it isn't due...
  • by Politburo (640618) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:38PM (#14878745)
    I'm unclear how deregulating campaign finance will cause the problem of big money in politics. I agree that Mc-F isn't the solution.. but I really don't understand how you think deregulation will magically fix things.. even if all power was moved locally, money is still there.

    As far as social programs being born locally.. certainly an interesting ideal.. however insurance (and this is what most social programs are) really only starts working well when you have a large pool to smooth out the risks and use group power to leverage prices, etc. Exactly how is a 300 person hamlet going to get health insurance? Old age insurance? (aka social security) etc? We all know you are anti-regulation.. how would you feel if every town had wildly different laws and regulations? Have you considered the potential impact on your ability to run your businesses and make money?

    "Vote with your feet" is really an idealistic notion. Whatever happened to New Hampshire? Wasn't it supposed to be a libertarian paradise by now? They're still looking for 1,000 people. Just one measly thousand out of 300 million.

    The fact is that moving isn't something that people do lightly. There's still Democrats in Kansas and GOPists in Massachussetts.
  • by Egregius (842820) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:56PM (#14878872)
    Funny you should say that. Mafia can be seen as an alternate form of government; a direct competitor to 'official' government so you will. They have their own hierarchy, forms of organisation, and benefits. Many organised criminal gangs the world over offer protection from crime to locals in return for a certain form of taxation (such as cooperation with the main source of income).

    Large-scale criminal organisations often actively compete with government over being sole authority over right and wrong in a region. A certain mafia-esque crime organisation in Northern Italy offered/offers insurance in case of injury/death while working, and regular payrolls for it's 'civil servants'.
  • Re:Success... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:48PM (#14879227) Homepage
    The Democrats seem to feel that they can ignore 90% of the country, as long as they win the swing states.

    Please note that in 2004, Kerry almost completely ignored Middle America, running a coastal campaign. He spent almost all his time in the Blue States, preaching to the choir, then wondered why only the choir voted for him and the rest of the congregation didn't.

  • Troll Mod Unfair (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:34PM (#14880053)
    Actually, I was a big Dean supporter based on his policies and aggressive "give 'em hell" attitude, but I have to mostly agree with you. Even though he didn't come out and make the accusation, giving any recognition to the conspiracy idea was a really, really bad move.

    However, the "Dean Scream" shouldn't have been all that bad at all. I mean, honestly, go back and listen to last bits of the speech he was giving. He was just doing some good old-fashioned rabble rousing and cheerleading. I blame the media (in particular the right-wing dominated elements of the media) for making a big scandal out of little more than a really nerdy cheer. I don't think he shot himself in the foot so much as hand the shotgun to hungry partisans eager to shoot it for him.

    At any rate, the Troll mod is totally unfair.
  • by (trb001) (224998) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:20AM (#14882002) Homepage
    To a certain extent, both Democrats and Republicans do all of the above. The problem is, if you measure each of your points listed above on a sliding scale of how well a party/politician has achieved them, in order for all of *your* sliders to be perfectly aligned, the party/politician has to have pissed off, in some way, 99% of the people in the country.

    Everyone has a different threshold on these ideals; for instance, you say you want civil liberties defended to the hilt. What's that mean? No more search warrants because they're an invasion of my civil liberties? Okay, the police can no longer search a person's house and most murder investigations never get solved. Is that too extreme for you? Why? *MY* slider has defense of civil liberties all the way to the right, while *YOURS* is set at 80%.

    The short answer to your question is "No", and the long answer involves something about accepting a compromise and focusing on reforming our current laws.

    --trb

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