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As for primarying, I think that this may actually make things worse.  Because I think that a lot of this movement has been directed (in money terms) by liberal, not social democrats, and that when faced with a conflict between social democracy and liberalism, many of the new Congresspersons and Senators have adopted a social democratic path.

What has been happening has been in part due to the absence of an movement up to the task.

Indeed, it seems highly dubious proposition for a movement to be built in the process of trying to primary members of the millionaires club ... the focus has to be the House.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 05:57:30 PM EST
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It hasn't been the ability of the "movement" that I'm talking about here, it's their identity.

What I'm saying is that you have liberal bankrolling candidates who are social democrats, and then the donors act shocked when their agents don't act as liberals advancing their liberal interests.  

A point of clarification, I'm talking liberal in the economic, European, sense, here.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 06:09:20 PM EST
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Yes, the bankrolling of candidates by those who can write big cheques is symptomatic of the lack of a progressive movement. Trial attorneys would likely represent the largest numbers of people able to write big cheques who have distinct anti-corporatist sympathies ... other than that, most big money donors are clearly more liberal in both sense of economic liberalism and social tolerance.

And part of the conflict that you point to is intrinsic, because there are "liberals", in that double sense, who are insisting on achievement of policy objectives, for example regarding the environment and global warming, where achieving the objective is incompatible with their fundamentally liberal stance.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 06:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is why social democrats must push for campaign finance reform.  If an effective reform is enacted before the 2010 election, we could see a much strengthened progressive, social democratic component of the Democratic caucus in the House.  With someone of Kucinich's persuasion as speaker you would see a very different Democratic House.

Another significant reason to enact campaign reform is that a significant portion of the current contributors are going down in the flames of the melt down underway. Reform would obviate that problem.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 08:33:00 PM EST
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... of that ... given that any progressive movement in American politics is always an ephemeral thing in the longer scheme of things, campaign finance reform would be one of the things that the movement would work to push through as a structural reform to consolidate the ability to defend whatever progress has been achieved.

The formative enterprise for a progressive movement would be taking advantage of the gross gerrymandering of Congressional Districts to elect a solid Progressive-Populist caucus and using peer-to-peer small donation networks to ambush opposing members within the Democratic majority to spook them into going along with the Progressive-Populist caucus. On the back of that, real campaign finance reform might be attainable.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 08:40:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That may be a way to get there.  If so, 2010 would be the earliest possible date to accomplish anything.  I have my doubts that the current financial problems can be solved without directly attacking the problem, which will be strenuously resisted by the financial industry.  I don't see how incremental bail outs of the scale of $700 billion at a time are politically sustainable and I don't see how the existing bail out can succeed.  It will cost vastly more than $700 billion to blunt the effects of all of the excesses from the collapse of the bubble.  The decline in real estate values alone is wiping out over $2 trillion.  With around $50 trillion of derivative contracts coming due every month, who knows what further damage awaits?  Banks are right not to trust each other.

Were the food chain for our country contaminated from one end to the other by poisons, and people were dying in droves, adding a small portion of known good food to the supply would not solve the problem, even though that is probably what the Bush FDA would try to do.  The only certain way I can see to provide reliable credit in a relatively short time span is to create new banks operating under new rules with their capital provided by the US Treasury and taxpayer.  With a 3% reserve requirement $250 billion of the "bailout money" could capitalize new banks with a lending capability of  over $8 trillion.  These banks would be free of taint.  They would also be strenuously opposed by the financial industry.  Creating them would essentially be like releasing the real economy from being held hostage by the existing financial services industry.

The market to Bush and Paulson:

"Hands up! Your money or the economy!"

Bush and Paulson to the market:

"We're thinking, we're thinking!"

What they are thinking is that they would rather give the money to the existing financial services industry, even though there is no reason to think it will help.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Oct 12th, 2008 at 11:45:43 PM EST
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