Now that the train to restore America's long-abused middle-class has resoundingly left the station, the test of how Democrats have matured politically will be how well they attack Republican hypocrisy while staying on-message with the Six for '06 Agenda, which was stolen from this website by the Democratic leadership, thank you very much.
Make no mistake, the Hillary-Billary-Rahmmanuel-Reid Axis didn't suddenly decide to do the right thing. It was FORCED on them, not least by the writing on the wall represented by the Lamont tidal wave that peaked last Tuesday.
Almost two years ago we and other Americans called for primary challengers
to the "Lame Democrats," and our prayers were answered. Lamont in CT, Tasini against Billary Inc. And now we have the greatest bunch of straight-talking, ass-kicking candidates poised to take over congress that this country has seen in a long time, patriot-FBI-whistleblower Colleen Rowley, Bob Bowen, Eric Massa, Tammy Duckworth, and the rest of the blunt, war veteran, take-no-shit-from-these-NeoCon-bastards crew, the Band of Brothers (bandofbrothers2006.org).
The Loser "Centrists," and the lawyer-DLC-consultant-strategists who deep down don't care who wins as long as their millions are safe, talk as if a winning campaign isn't supposed to talk and chew gum at the same time. You don't attack because - oooo! - they call us angry and negative, no ideas! You don't get specific on issues because - oooo! - they say we are going to raise taxes! Until now, the Democratic party has been one masterly exercise in how to lose elections without looking like you are trying to. Who cares? It's not their kids bleeding in the sand. And the corporate money contributions keep rolling in to both sides just the same. The most important constituent to these fat, amoral slugs is their Beamer mechanic.
To Ned and Jon Tasini and the Band of Brothers. You guys have made me proud to be an American again. You can't even know what that means.
The Joe Lieberman-Hillary Axis isn't the "center," because WE are. That's a fiction whose lifespan is about up. Bill Clinton took over the party by jerking the wheel hard to the right while fishtailing left on social issues, making the NARAL SUV surburban soccer moms the center of gravity. With a deft move from the podium Bill kicked half the country over the ledge so he'd only have to worry about the other half. The half with money. Some more, some less. But some. And since reporters love to bandy about labels like "centrist," "moderate," and "left-wing" because it saves them from doing real work so they can get to the bars and start the serious drinking that much sooner, the only way to counter the spin will be to repeat the positions, exactly as Lamont has been doing.
Stop waste and fraud in healthcare so more people can be insured? That's "left-wing?" Make top colleges affordable for everyone? That's the radical fringe? Well, I reckon you better mark me down as one, what a kick in the head.
"The Six for '06 agenda is a carbon copy of my New Contract for America, which I have been emailing to Democratic honchos for years. Ask Tom Vallely, Kerry's Dog Soldier campaign buddy over at the Kennedy School. And a real nice guy. The high point for any activist is to get his ideas stolen. That's what you work for; that's the measure of success. And you, my small but influential audience, have done it again, whatever you are doing.
Ever since John Kerry decided to go with calling Iraq a "distraction" from the real war on terror in the first presidential debate, splitting Iraq off from the "central front" status the Republicans badly need it to have in peoples' minds, you have been shaping the debate.
It's too bad Kerry waited until two months before the election to take a position on the war. Like I said in my book, while George Bush spent a year honing his attack to a razor's edge, Kerry spent a year coming up with one.
The Six for '06 puts national security where it belongs: First. During '04 Bill Clinton advised Kerry to focus on the party's "strengths" on domestic issues. Knowing full well, as anything but a dumb politician, that nothing matters until you are out front on national security. Wiley Old Bill helped set Kerry up, I think, because he drools at the chance for all that Washington nightlife all over again, likker and wimmin, and this time Hillary too busy to care. YEEHAW!
The Republican-"Centrist" Fear Machine lost no time tarring Lamont's democratic victory as a danger to the nation, with a good old fashioned August, pre-election terror alert thrown in. Dick Cheney, (Joe Lieberman's new best buddy! Take note, ad-makers!) said Lamont's win reflects a "pre-9/11 mindset." He said Al Qaeda "clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."
In other words, the same old shit.
George Bush is right. We DO live in a dangerous world, contrary to "those" naive enough to believe there aren't people out to hurt us. I don't know anyone who says that, but they must be out there, because George keeps saying they are.
What he doesn't say is the danger is a direct result of his policies. Before the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan was well on the way toward stabilization, with all of NATO onboard. Al Qaeda was on the run, even if Bush did let top leadership escape at Tora Bora. Then came the invasion that proved to Muslims that we were not out to avenge 9/11, but to steal oil, build permanent bases, and humiliate Muslim men. If I read in the paper that foreigners have occupied my country and are killing and raping American women, I guarantee you I'd be planting IEDs in the middle of the night, too.
The blunder of Iraq is on the magnitude, militarily, of Hitler opening the second front in the East against the Russians. We'd all be speaking German right now if Hitler had contented himself with half the world instead of all of it at once. Even if you agree with the disgusting, un-American proposition of unprovoked, "pre-emptive" war, just as Hitler's war was lost the minute he took on the Russian winter, our war on terror is lost as long as we stay in Iraq, which prevents redeploying to the Afghan-Paki border to hunt down the people who, um, actually attacked us.
Democrats give aid and comfort to the enemy? Uh, Dick? Joe? George? Betraying (not "outing", this is not about gender) Intelligence Officer Valerie Plame and her covert networks tracking WMD is what gave aid and comfort to the enemy, as did losing 300 tons of HMX explosives in Iraq (remember that one?) As did fighting against the establishment of a 9/11 Commission, as does fighting its recommendations now. The Bushies do everything they can to keep us safe, except for one thing: the work. (SEE THE LOPEZ 12 STEPS FOR WINNING THE WAR ON TERROR.)
There will always be conventional war. It will start and it will stop. What George Bush's Amazing Invisible Enemy can do to my Constitution is my main concern. Once you give up a right, you never get it back, except by force. I'm still hoping this country can avoid that kind of trouble. The best start is for us to agree that if there is another wave of terror attacks, it will be George Bush's fault. No one opened up that second front but him. He did it against the advice of absolutely everyone, including his own father and James Baker III. SIGN THE THE IMPEACH BUSH IN THE EVENT OF ANOTHER ATTACK PETITION
And now, here is my original New Contract for America. Compare it to the Six for '06 Agenda.
The key is to get away from the endless litany of politicians promising everyone everything welfare workfare car-care affordable housing ad naseum that is the usual Democratic spiel. Folks can't remember all that. And accomplishing even a few of the Six for '06 would put the country way ahead of where it is now.
Ralph's New Contract for America (abridged, full post from last year here)
-Distinguish Iraq from Real War on Terror - We are properly at war in Afghanistan and in the mountainous border regions of Pakistan, and Iraq is exactly the quagmire bin Laden wanted. It draws resources away from the hunt for Al Qaeda and from the critical stablization of Afghanistan. Redeploy to Afghanistan and the Paki border. Then we mop up, make peace with the Muslim world (an apology for the Shah of Iran might go over well,) and put the genie back in the bottle. Get back to the good old days when armies fought each other and left civilians mostly out of it. Hell, some guys just LIKE to fight.
-Save American Retirement Security - Time magazine says more and more people who worked twenty or thirty years for the same company are losing their pensions. Recently-passed laws allow corporations to renege on their pension promises.
-Restore college opportunity, by enabling students to go to any college they an get into on a need-blind basis. Yes, I'll take credit for this idea, which I've been pushing since my first days as a candidate in the early 90s.
-Environment - A "Marshall Plan" within the first hundred days of a non-Republican majority to start down the path of clean, sustainable energy independence.
-Be the Pro-Constitution Party. Again, if Bush can't give us safety without shredding the Constitution, we'll find someone who can.
-Worker training and re-training to smooth job transitions after lay-offs. We are the only Western industrialized nation without it. Why?
-Don't Get Bogged Down on Health Insurance. Sure, progressives are for it, and the Bush Faction is against it, but the details should be kept to, if you are working full-time, you get health insurance, and you start paying for it by recovering the $10-$20 billion wasted on Medicare and Medicaid by over-billing. Then you start rewarding doctors for preventing as well as curing. You'll see a lot of docs getting their patients into olive oil and alfalfa sprouts.
-IMPORTANT: All of the Above Means NOTHING without a paper voting trail in every American precinct. - a no brainer.