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How did Jerry do?

by: Julia Rosen

Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 19:50:29 PM PDT


Here are my initial thoughts on his FDL chat which just concluded.  I don't think he was ever going to gain a lot from his comments, but the appearance was important.  He left a lot folks frustrated, including yours truly with his failure to address repeated questions.  He was never going to be able to get to them all, but I believe it may be wise for him to take the time to respond to some of them.

Jerry was able to clear up one very important thing.  His negative comments about the leadership were about two things, letting FISA go through without a fight and not stopping the supplemental with the rule he voted against (that's a pretty parliamentarian discussion, not worth getting into right now).  Jerry stuck strong to his belief that he can bring along Republicans to negotiate a pull out and override the president's veto.

More below the fold, including the my questions that went unanswered.

Julia Rosen :: How did Jerry do?
Here is my initial question, which Jane Hamsher echoed further down the thread.

Jerry, thank you for continuing the dialogue. I feel confident in saying that we have a heck of a lot more in common than we don't. That said, there seems to be a big difference in what you believe is the swiftest path to ending the War and the blogosphere/Dem leadership/AAEI.

My question is why did you choose to speak to that particular reporter at the WaPo about our differences on a day when you were working to repair your relationship with the netroots?

He never came close to talking about the Washington Post article and his role in its formation.  I repeated my question in a different way towards the end, but before he ended the chat.

I may be beating a dead horse at this point, but I don't think anyone disagrees about pressuring Republicans to come to Jesus on the war. I actually think it is a great idea for you to be doing this up on the Hill with individual Republicans.

What I question is talking about it publicly. There seems to be little for you to gain from talking to the press, unless someone has tried to make the case that appearing "moderate" on the war and conciliatory towards Republicans is to the benefit of your re-election. That could not be further from the truth.

Ambassador Joe Wilson was tenacious in the thread and his points were never addressed.

I'd like to know who on the Republican side of the aisle you think you can work with who won't in the end double cross you or be forced back into line by the Republican leadership.
Let me add as one who has fought the right tooth and nail for the past five years, offers of compromise are viewed as weakness on the other side and pocketed as concessions.

There is the issue of trusting them and working with them in general and then the point about the discussion of those efforts publicly.  There is severe friction on both items.

Wilson again:

I have to leave and it is clear that there are many more questions than you have time to answer, so let me just offer a thought or two.
It is the nature of democracy to seek the compromises that benefit the many without disadvantaging the minority's essential, constitutionally protected rights. And in normal times your ideas of persuading republicans of the value of your positions would be laudable.
These are not normal times and your political adversaries have a very different agenda as we have seen since the arrival of Newt, and then W to positions of power. It is clear that they are committed shredding of the constititution and the imposition of undemocratic and unAmerican practices including the politicization of those very institutions that have grown up over 230 years to protect our contract with those who govern us. It is an unprecedented power grab and simultaneous looting of the American treasury for the benefit of a few who they hope will keep them in power. You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy.

As an afterthought, the military takes orders from civilian authority. We don't "negotiate" with generals.

This post is a little rougher than I would like, but I want to get this up while everyone has the discussion fresh in their mind.  I know I was on IM with two regulars round these parts and people are wanting to mull over what just went down.

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How did Jerry do? | 19 comments
The netroots is entering new territory (5.00 / 2)
It's never been forced to really face the consequences of its successes. How the greater community handles it will be key to the course moving forward.

And that's a high class problem to have to face (5.00 / 2)
I just keep telling myself that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and we need a whole lot more such victories... and such problems.

And I get down on my knees and thank everyone who worked so hard to get rid of Pombo.

These opinions are my own, and are not representative of those of any of my employers.


[ Parent ]
That's important perspective n/t (5.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Joe Wilson's Wikiquote Page (7.40 / 5)
Now on Joe Wilson's Wikiquote page:

You don't negotiate with fascists, you defeat them in the name of democracy.

Hear, hear!


Quote (7.25 / 4)
of the day, if not the week.

[ Parent ]
Of course the problem of governing... (4.67 / 3)
... is figuring out precisely what tactics you need to use to defeat them.

I love Wilson's rhetoric. The question is how do we actually best defeat them?

I don't think we're going to see a lot of "come to Jesus" moments from Republicans.  I agree with Joe Wilson that we're dealing with a radical unAmerican force in the modern Republican party. And I think that the path to victory is in bringing the fight to them relentlessly.

But I also tend to think "let a thousand flowers bloom".  If McNerney thinks he can peel off a few Republicans, great. But pleas, Jerry, don't contribute to the media narrative of a fractured Democratic party while doing so.

Having said that, I also don't want my fellow bloggers to contribute to that same narrative, either, by being overly ready to go for Jerry's jugular.

How would we all feel if the next noxious Republican thrown up against Jerry were to run ads quoting critical stuff that they've peeled off of the blogs to use against him?

These opinions are my own, and are not representative of those of any of my employers.


[ Parent ]
but to put it in perspective (5.00 / 1)
How would we all feel if the next noxious Republican thrown up against Jerry were to run ads quoting critical stuff that they've peeled off of the blogs to use against him?

I'm much more worried about anti-war Dem candidates getting hit with ads using Jerry McNerney's quotes (to media that undecided voters have actually heard of).

Twitter: @BobBrigham


[ Parent ]
I'm also having a hard time (0.00 / 0)
imagining how the Republicans can actually profitably thrash Jerry based on the ire of the evil rabid crazy lefty bloggers.  "Jerry, NOT LEFT ENOUGH for the bloggers, but too left for the district..." Wha?

It's like an inverse Sistah Souljah, kind of an own goal if they do that.


[ Parent ]
good question, Wilson rocks, so does Lane Hudson (6.50 / 2)
I think it was good to clear up the point about the leadership.

Pragmatically, my view is that it is important to realize that the environment community probably won't step up to re-elect McNerney to the degree they invested in beating Pombo (who was known to the scientific community as an environmental toxin).

So I think he has three main areas of support to rely upon to get re-elected. The first is leadership and I'm guessing he was apologizing to everyone up the food chain before he worried about the bloggers. The second is the bay area progressive community, and to the extent solid communication with the netroots will keep things from boiling over too much offline would be key. As for how much he neutralized opposition or will be able to maximize what could have been future support, we'll see.

I think tonight made a lot of sense, but how many questions remain to be answered means that it is too early to tell. But I'm glad this was put together tonight and I've just left the "Disappointed in Jerry McNerney" facebook group -- for whatever that is worth.

Twitter: @BobBrigham


So Bob, What Do You Think Of My Battleground State Organizing Proposal (0.00 / 0)
here?

Don't you think it's time for the netroots to raise their game, and become more pro-active?


[ Parent ]
putting together something longer on it (0.00 / 0)
Think I'll post it as a diary on Open Left, I agree overall, but I'm trying to wrap my mind around the "why" where the borders where gut tells me I should disagree but my mind hasn't fuller wrapped itself around the figuring out how to say what I'm feeling. Sorry, could be a while as I have a lot of other super-big picture stuff going through my mind.

Twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
Huh? (0.00 / 0)
As far as all of this never negotiating with fascists stuff, clearly we did in the years prior to World War II and as records are starting to show, we kept lines of communication open throughout the war.  That is true of every politcal group that today is thought of as evil (The Confederacy, the Communists, the Falangists in Spain) but in their time had political power. 

One of the basic tenets of democracy is that people are capable as a whole of coming to good decisions if given the chance and so you always try to have discussions about your views, not shouting matches and as Gahndi said, "you should always avoid demonizing your political opponents". 

As for the specifics on the war, not only have a lot of Republican's moved against it, but one of the reasons the American people are so united against the war is that they understand there is bipartisan opposition and that tells them it is not all political rhetoric.

If Republicans were in lockstep for fighting, they would be more concerned that there might be some truth in the fears "W" is pushing and the country would be more divided.

But beyond all of that, if you look back in our history as a country, there have never been strong political steps forward by progressives without prominent crossover support from the opposite side of the political aisle.  Not ever. 

The reason is because all politicians are individuals who think and generally try to represent their communities wishes, not partisan automatons who take their orders from party leaders.  You have to keep the lines of communication open and figure out their concerns if you want to get anything done, especially when you have the power of the Presidency on the other side.  JMO!


I've Got TWO Bridges I'd Love To Sell You (0.00 / 0)
The one in Minnesota is a little under the weather.  But the one in Brooklyn is really a peach!  Everyone who ever sold it has made a profit!

But beyond all of that, if you look back in our history as a country, there have never been strong political steps forward by progressives without prominent crossover support from the opposite side of the political aisle.  Not ever.

I just knew the Civil War was a damn Yankee myth!

The reason is because all politicians are individuals who think and generally try to represent their communities wishes, not partisan automatons who take their orders from party leaders.

Hey, Rip Van Winkle, it's not 1970 anymore!

Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy


[ Parent ]
the question isn't (8.00 / 1)
whether we need Republicans on board--the question is how we get there.

That was the subject of the comment I made on it.  There are two possibilities:

1) Negotiate and compromise (fat chance with this crowd)

2) Force vulnerable Republicans to choose between Bush and their jobs.

Being nice does not work with this crop of so-called Republicans.  Hardball is the only thing they understand, so that's what has to be played, especially when the public supports us on it.

It's Bush's occupation.  It's our fault if we accede to it.


Precisely! (0.00 / 0)
And the problem with (1) is that it interferes with (2) in multiple ways.

That's why it's not good enough to say, "Oh, well, he means well, so let's just let him try and see what he can accomplish."


[ Parent ]
I vigorously disagree with Jerry's premise (4.50 / 2)
and others, that you need a veto proof majority to end the occupation.

Two words: You don't

If your objective is moral and to end the occupation, the pressure is not on you, the pressure is on those who wish to continue the occupation; in the obverse, if your objective is political, you also need the occupation to continue to use try to use it against the Republicans; the problem with the latter is that those with critical thinking skills can see through your cynical ruse, and those without won't vote for you anyway because "your a derty stinkin libral thet hayts Amarica".

One very important reason the founding fathers split and subdivided the government is because they wanted the proverbial checks and balances. Which is why they explicitly set out the premise in the Constitution that Congress sets the rules and training for war and the spending bills can last for no more than two years at a time - so that the reasons for going to war and being in war - or in this case occupation - would have to be revisited annually or at the longest, biennially.

Was it Charles the 1st, or Charles the 2nd, who after ten or so years of a long war using his own royal funds, had to call parliament back into session after those ten years and  on bended knee ask for funds to continue his war?

You don't need a bill to end the occupation -- they need a bill to continue it


Charles the First (0.00 / 0)
He eventually lost his head because Parliament refused to be cowed by him.

Someone - I don't remember who, exactly, perhaps Sean Wilentz - argued that this Bush Administration was a fascinating parallel of the Restoration of the Stuarts under Charles the Second - which ended in the overthrow of the Stuarts in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

It's an *incredibly* important point you make here by bringing up 17th century England. It was out of that experience that the political ideas and political institutions of the American Revolution and the Constitution emerged. The notion that a strong legislative body was needed to check a powerful executive was not new to the 1787 Convention - it had been a MAJOR issue in the colonies dating back to Charles II. Nearly every colony witnessed a battle between the legislative assemblies, which the colonists believed were the rightful representatives of the people, and royal governors, sent out with orders from London to assert the king's privileges.

It was 17th century ideas, like those of John Locke, created in the midst of the fight by Parliament against the Stuart absolutists, that animated the Patriots leading up to the Revolution. It was those ideas that were incorporated in the Constitution to ensure that America would never experience anything like a Stuart king's efforts to wage war and spend the people's money extravagantly.

Yet here we are. Bush has accomplished things the Stuarts never dreamed of. The lessons of the 17th and 18th centuries seem to have been totally forgotten.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave


[ Parent ]
How did Jerry do? | 19 comments
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