Recommendations for 2008

With George W. Bush about to rub it in the Democratic Party's face and the DNC chair race underway, there is a lot of brainstorming in their ranks about how to regain power. Reach out to new corners while maintaining the core principles and all that nonsense that's bound to fail. What I'd like to see from them is a little housecleaning. The party that bills itself as the party of civil rights and liberties has a lot to explain as it is.

First, the Drug War needs to end right now. Most of the momentum for drug-law reform comes from Democrats (at least in the Big Two), but the party has yet to get behind this position. It may seem radical, but you're not the party of civil liberties if you support the Drug War. Pick one. This issue has been framed by tough-on-crime types so that if you support drug legalization (or some weaker variant of reform) you are soft on crime and not to be trusted with power. What the United States need is a loud, firm voice saying that drug use is your own decision. Play up the obnoxious moralizing of the Republican Party. We're sick of it here on the ground.

Democrats have also had a great deal of trouble lately with "national defense" issues. This has been taken over by the Republican Party and all that Democrats seem to be able to do is say "we're strong too!" in a very unconvincing way. The issue would become a lot easier for them if the leadership had the stones to say that the military budget is far, far too large and that the United States need to scale their military down dramatically -- because the terror threat is overdramatized as an issue in the first place and because the current terror strategy, waging illegal wars in hellholes, is not going to help anyway. Instead of always taking second in a race the Republicans make the rules for, change the game. It needs to happen, and they're in a prime position to do it.

Don't be so knee-jerk PC that the entire South and large swaths of the Midwest and West write the Democratic Party off entirely. When Howard Dean said that he wanted "to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks," he was completely vilified, and that plus The Scream knocked him out cold. This leads me straight into my next recommendation: don't assume that people who vote Republican are all ignorant rubes. I grant that at least some of them must be, but for example some people might actually be proud of their Southern heritage and not equate Confederate nostalgia with racism. If someone releases a book discussing race differences, he might be trying to explain rather than justify, and help rather than hurt. If someone wants to keep more of his own money (not that Republicans would let him do this) maybe he's not stingy but thinks he can do more good his own way. Talk to people as rational entities, and you'll find they're a lot less Republican than you thought.

If this criticism seems harsh, it is still intended as constructive criticism. I don't know how much more I can take of a Republican House, Senate, and President, or how much the country can take either. It is important that some of the more powerful factions in the Republican Party are stopped, and only the Democrats are in a position to do this, at least in 2008, so listen closely, Democrats at all levels: take a stiff drink, tell it like it is, and defend yourselves without stuttering. Don't let the Republicans frame the debate every time. You have some issues to clear up before you're ready, but once you are ready, you can do a lot of good.

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I'd love to see the 'War on

I'd love to see the 'War on Drugs' end, but druggies are a minority, and a largely non-voting minority at that.
I disagree about the real war, but that's irrelevant here.
The Dems can't win elections as the "pro-drug/anti-war" party.
How can they win?
Find charismatic, politically smart individuals who want to run for office as Democrats.
We (the People) don't care so much about official positions: it really is more of a popularity contest.
Much as I wish you were right about the drug war (and glad you're wrong about the real war) both issues are just wet clay waiting for the right populist artist of a politician to sculpt them into an election-winning work of political art.

You have some issues to

You have some issues to clear up before you’re ready, but once you are ready, you can do a lot of good.

That would be a first.

- Josh

I’d love to see the ‘War

I’d love to see the ‘War on Drugs’ end, but druggies are a minority, and a largely non-voting minority at that.

"Druggies"? It sounds like you've totally bought the Drug War line that all, or even most, drug users are drug abusers, and that only drug users are harmed by Drug War policies. The Drug War has become so hysterical and pervasive that there are now plenty of ordinary, middle class people who know, love, and/or are somebody whose life has been ruined by Drug War confiscation or minimum sentencing laws.

Yes, Virginia, I'm on your

Yes, Virginia, I'm on your side.
Just a little more pessimistic.

McClain, May you be the next


May you be the next person to have his home and personal belongings permanently seized by the police because you happened to live next door to someone who was a casual acquaintance of a drug dealer. Are all your opinions this thoughtless?

Oh, I'm sorry Alex - was I

Oh, I'm sorry Alex - was I unclear?
Guess I should've started that comment by writing:
"I’d love to see the ‘War on Drugs’ end,"
oh, wait: I DID!
Then, when Ms. Warren somehow failed to notice my anti-prohibitionist sympathies, I pointed out that I was on her side.
Maybe if you put down the crack pipe for a minute and read what I actually wrote, you'll notice that I don't have any problem with you, or anyone else, smoking whatever they damn well please.
I just think it's a damn shame that you and I and Ms. Warren, and all the stoners, junkies and freaks, and all their friends and well-wishers PUT TOGETHER can't muster enough votes to change this failed and evil policy of prohibition.
(Hope the little animated pictures help with your reading comprehension.)