Friday, November 12, 2004

Welcome Independent Minded Voters

I'm starting this blog to share ideas and invite discussion from voters (independent or otherwise) who backed Kerry in 2004. As time goes on I will also be discussing Kerry's leadership in the Senate and his chances for a Presidential bid in '08. For starters I'd like to seek out thoughts on the direction of the Democratic Party.

Where do they go from here?

How do they frame their message to reach out to more voters in the future?

What would you like to see Kerry do in the Senate?

What are your priorities for America?

How can the Dems better organize and mobilize voters in '06 and '08?

Your contributions and ideas are appreciated.


Blogger IFK Editor said...

Where do they go from here?Before The Democratic Party reverses course or make sweeping changes I think we need to review what they accomplished and how it could be improved. We also need to review how they frame their message. I think their "values" or vision for the country is still as relevant as ever, however it's possible that message didn't come across as well as it could / should have. It certainly was muted or complicated by Bush's relentless negative attacks. Perhaps the dems were not as prepared as they should have been for those attacks.

It's possible too the other side just did a better job targeting their key voters and campaigning specifically on issues that were important to that segment. It's obvious anti abortion and opposition to gay-marriage drove a large segment of voters.

While I don't think we should cave on our issues we should learn from that strategy. How can we frame an equally compelling reason to motivate key voters to support our vision for the country?

How do we strengthen our support networks and coalition of allies?

5:59 AM  
Blogger TomHering said...

"As time goes on I will also be discussing Kerry's leadership in the Senate and his chances for a Presidential bid in '08."

Thanks for starting this. I really wanted to see a place where we could follow Kerry in the years ahead - just as you plan to do.

"Where do they [Democrats] go from here?"

Hopefully, we won't dump Kerry the way we dumped Gore and Dukakis. A lot was achieved by rallying the party around Kerry in 2004, and it would be incredibly stupid not to build on the loyalty many still feel toward him.

"How do they frame their message to reach out to more voters in the future?"

Don't focus so much on practical issues. Americans want to hear something deeper and broader. Be visionary. Be idealistic. Appeal to the best instincts of Americans.

"What would you like to see Kerry do in the Senate?"

I hope he makes a genuine effort to be bipartisan. If that fails - because Bush doesn't understand the real meaning of bipartisanship - I hope Kerry leads the opposition. He can't be accused, then, of being an obstructionist - right from the beginning.

48% of the vote is a mandate for the minority opposition. John Kerry earned his own "political capital" in 2004, and I hope he spends it.

"What are your priorities for America?"

First, focus on the poor, the working class, and the middle class. Give them hope - make every effort to lift them up. Second, defend the progressive tax system. Remind Americans that the more someone benefits from the American way of life, the more they owe their country in return. Americans will understand the fairness and patriotism of that view.

"How can the Dems better organize and mobilize voters in '06 and '08?"

Go to church, and synagogue, and mosque. Speak up. Let others know that religion and moral values are not the exclusive property of the Republicans.

8:51 PM  
Blogger IFK Editor said...

No GOP monopoly on God
November 9, 2004

Did God vote Republican? You'd think so if you listen to some of the evangelical supporters of George Bush.

Regular churchgoers voted dramatically Republican in the election. Twenty percent of the voters identified "morals" as their major concern and voted overwhelmingly for George Bush (whereas those who named the economy and jobs or Iraq as their lead concerns voted 3 to 1 for John Kerry).

Bush charged Kerry, a practicing Catholic, with representing Hollywood values. Many voters believed in Bush because he had straightened himself out by taking Jesus into his life, and because he uses the imagery and language of evangelicals through his speeches. Democrats, Republican operatives charged, are simply divorced from the values of mainstream, religious America.

But Republicans have no monopoly on religion or on faith. And Republican policies often seem divorced from the teachings of the Bible. The Bible tells us we will be measured by how we treat the least of these. But under this president, poverty -- including childhood poverty -- is up. Poor children grow with inadequate nutrition, no health insurance, no preschool. Bush's policies of top-end tax cuts and cuts in support for the poor only make things worse.

Jesus was born in a manger, not in a mansion. He had a manger-up view of the world, not a mansion-down view. Jesus taught that a rich man was as likely to get into the kingdom as a camel through the eye of a needle. This was not exactly a widespread sentiment at the Republican convention.

He urged his followers to beware of worldly goods, to simplify their lives and follow him. He instructed them to serve the poor, not neglect them. Jesus taught us to love every child, to rise above the divisions of race or tribe or religion. When the men gathered to stone a prostitute, he challenged them. Who amongst you, he asked, can throw the first stone? He asked us to stand with the weak, the ill, the stranger in a foreign land. The politics of division practiced in the last election, the appeals to our fear of the other, contrast starkly with those teachings.

Nor does Bush's rollback of environmental regulations reflect well. The Bible teaches that nature is God's creation. We are as stewards to the bounty that God has created. We should be working to preserve it, not rolling back regulations to poison our air, neglect our seas and turn a blind eye to a global warming.

Finally, Jesus was a man of peace. He came as the Messiah when people were expecting and praying for a mighty warrior who would deliver them from their oppressors. Instead, God brought them a baby in the manger. Jesus taught the power of love, hope and charity -- not of weapons. He delivered them by sacrificing himself that they may be free. His teachings are far removed from George Bush's "war of choice" in Iraq, the euphemism used to describe an aggressive war on a country that posed no threat to us.

The pope has harshly criticized a war that the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has called illegal.

Democrats, particularly those like Kerry who serve in the Senate a long time, do fall into the trap often of talking about plans and programs, not right and wrong. They talk policy, not values. Not surprising, the Democrats who have fared well politically -- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton -- have been raised in the church and are comfortable with the teachings of the Bible. Americans sensibly want their leaders to have a strong moral grounding as they meet the challenges yet to come.

But God is not a political animal. The Bible tells us to tell a tree by the fruit it bears, not the bark it wears. Christ warns against hypocrisy -- the public display of faith without a true heart or without deeds of faith. Conservatives now suggest that God is on the side of Republicans at home and America abroad. That Bush is right to suggest that he has a mission from above in the war on terror. This gets the equation exactly wrong. It isn't a question of whether God is on America's side. The question is whether America is on God's side.

As war rages in Iraq and children go hungry in the richest nation on earth, the question should sober the political operatives who see God as a political weapon rather than an abiding guide.

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:15 PM  

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