Gallup Party-ID Polls vs. Obama Strategy-A Deeper Look

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat May 23, 2009 at 14:30

In my diary this week, "Gallup Shows Broad GOP Losses In Almost All Demographics", I wrote:

Sub-Group Shifts Run Counter To Obama Strategy

Frequent church-goers were the only demographic subgroup to show no decline in GOP allegiance from 2001 to 2009, according to a new survey brief from Gallup.  Declines among conservatives and those 65 and older were also minimal--the only bright spots reported for the GOP....

Democrats gained most from further consolidating support in their strongest demographic groups, rather than winning over Republican core groups, a shift that goes contrary to President Obama's repeated overtures to the GOP base....

The chart below (which adds a fourth column to the one released by Gallup) shows a loss of at least one in five GOP supporters among eight of the nine groups where the GOP lost eight or more percent support among the population at large.  For example, the nine percent loss among moderates in general, from 37% to 28%, translated into a loss of 24% of GOP moderates--just shy of one in five.  Combined with a 47% loss of GOP liberals and a 0% loss of GOP conservatives, this is yet another indication that the GOP is becoming more extreme as it shrinks

The logic here seemed incredibly obvious and straight-forward to me:  If GOP losses were minimal among their core conservative demographics, and heavy elsewhere, then the party as a whole was becoming more extreme, and hence more unreachable via bi-partisan gestures, directly contrary to the basic logic behind Obama's repeated stress of a commitment to bi-partisan "pragmatism": if the pragmatists are fleeing the GOP in droves, then who's there left to be bi-partisanly pragmatic with?

The utter lack of any serious policy proposals from the GOP since Obama came to office would only seem to underscore the obviousness of the point I was making.  But instead, I got a range of counter-arguments, plus several folks who claimed to not understand what I was saying.  Obviously, it wasn't as obvious as I thought it was.  Hence, this diary.

Paul Rosenberg :: Gallup Party-ID Polls vs. Obama Strategy-A Deeper Look
To begin with, here again is the full chart of demographic subgroups, with their losses in percent of the total electorate, and as a percentage of the demographic within the GOP as of 2001:

And here's a condensed version highlighting four categories showing distinctly larger losses outside of the GOP base:

From the above evidence, I believe it's clear that the GOP is growing more homogeneous, more extreme, and hence less reachable.

The GOP has been in quite a quandry about how to deal with Obama's bipartisan outreach, which has helped contribute to the Democratic base's embrace of the narrative of Obama's political brilliance.  But skeptics--including most of the folks who write here at Open Left--are asking the same question they've been asking all along: what does it translate into in terms of policy?  Being popular and winning elections sure beats being unpopular and losing elections.  No question about it.  But being popular and winning elections cannot be enough in themselves, as the GOP victories in 2002 & 2004 most recently remind us.  They have to translate into successful policy--which, for reality-based types means not just successful in the focus groups, but successful in the real world as well. Obama continues to push policy compromises which significantly weaken the chances of them working successfully, in the increasingly vain hope of picking up some voluntary GOP support.  But the poll results highlighted above clearly tells this this is a policy without a sound political foundation.  Whatever it may be, it is not political pragmatism.  Nothing could be less pragmatic than continuing to give the gift of political relevance to this increasingly out-of-touch political remnant.

Legitimate and Illegitimate Questions/Counter-Arguments

All the above is based on data from a single source--Gallup's partisan ID data.  While this provides for consistency of the question over time, it does raise the question of whether it tracks with other data sources.  This sort of question arose in another closely-related context this week--Pew's figures on partisan ID, showing independents on the rise--which Chris showed was contradicted by the aggregate data from multiple pollsters in his diary, "Independents Declining Since Mid-April".

Speaking of Pew, on the surface, Pew's findings seem contradictory to Gallup's, but if one looks more carefully, this is not actually the case.  While the recent data trends (last few weeks) are certainly out of whack with other pollsters, over the time-frame Gallup was comparing--2001 vs. 2009 the picture of the GOP's ideological make-up is generally similar from the two different sources (see Pew chart below).  Pew actually starts in 2000, and shows GOP conservatives declining from 46% of all conservatives to 41%--a decline of 11%, compared to a 24% deline among moderates--from 21% to 16%--and a whopping 40% decline among liberals, from 10% to 6%.  The numbers here are different, but the overall shift is the same: conservatives dropped the least, followed by moderates and then liberals, in just that order.

Source: Pew

Pew also shows the same rapid rise in Democratic dominance with leaners included over the same time period (bottom chart):

Source: Pew

A third data source for looking at the ideological makeup of the parties is the General Social Survey, conducted since 1974.  To present this data in manageable form, I've condensed it into half-decade aggregates, then broken out individual bi-annual polls for 2000-2008 on the bottom.  Due to the subsample size, noise is a consideration for individual polls, which is another reason to aggregate polls by half-decade.  There's only one half-decade since 1974-75 when the percentage of conservative republicans did not increase--as persistent a trend as one could hope to see.  The percentage of Republican moderates has also declined every half-decade since 1985-89, and the number of Republican liberals has declined every decade since 1990-1994.  With the smaller sample sized for individual polls, the same pattern does not appear poll-to-poll from 2000 to 2008, but when averaged together it is maintained.  There can be no doubt, the GOP is becoming increasingly dominated by its conservative base.

Confining ourselves to the South, we see that concentration is even more extreme--in the last two elections, conservative Republicans now outnumber liberal Republicans 10-1 in the region, now accounting for more than 1 in 5 Southerners, and heading toward 1 in 4.

In contrast, outside the South, the percentage of conservative Republicans is almost 4 1/2 points lower, and roughly comparable to the number of liberal Democrats.

This set of charts clearly shows both the growing dominance of conservative Republicans, and the dominance of Southern conservative Republicans on top of that--trends that have only grown more extreme in 2000s, as liberal and moderate Republicans have continued their declines from already low levels.

In contrast to the valid questions just addressed, the usually sober and reliable robertdfeinman raised a passel of objections that widely missed the mark:

I don't believe it

I think this is yet another example of a poorly designed poll. What it really is measuring is people's dissatisfaction with current economic conditions, but since that wasn't the question asked, the people used a proxy (GOP affiliation) as a way to express their discontent.

More meaningful would be to ask questions about fundamental beliefs that have been strongly correlated with political affiliation in the past. I claim people don't really change their fundamental views much; the changes in aggregate social norms are the result of the old ideas dying off.

Those who get worked up about abortion or immigration or high taxes will always harbor those resentments, but if there is no candidate making an issue of them they will chose some other marker to make a decision. It is true that the GOP is at a loss right now for attractive hot button topics to attract voters and this may affect their electoral prospects, but that's not a proof that attitudes have changed.

The GOP didn't lose by that much, it is mostly the result of our winner takes all election laws which magnifies small differences in voting. Furthermore the Dems have moved so far to the right that many in the GOP aren't afraid of them anymore.

We have exactly two "liberal" members of congress: Sanders and Barney Frank, and Frank has been yielding to the banking sector of late, leaving one, totally ineffective, senator.

While I share Robert's frustration at how timid the Democrats have become, this is neither so recent, nor so extreme as he makes out, and, more importantly, the relationship to the argument being presented is obscure at best.  The argument that the GOP didn't lose by much has been refuted by Chris in at least a couple of posts, and others have written about it as well.  The Dem victories in 2006 and 2008, while not as great as might be wished for in terms of potential were nontheless more convincing than anything the GOP managed during it's supposed period of "dominance".  And the claim that questions about party ID are "poorly designed" and just a proxy for "people's dissatisfaction with current economic conditions" is presented entirely without evidence.  There's certainly no doubt that GOP mismanagement of the economy has hurt them badly, just as it did after the 1929 crash.  Why that should be regarded as misleading is a bit beyond me.

In short, the information presented in the Gallup analysis of party ID 2001-2009 seems fundamentally sound, and the objections raised do not discredit that.  Robert certainly has a point when he says:

More meaningful would be to ask questions about fundamental beliefs that have been strongly correlated with political affiliation in the past.

But such shifts in values and beliefs were already noted during the campaign last year, and phenomena such as the ongoing shift on gay marriage suggest that this process of shifting beliefs in a more progressive direction is only continuing.

There is much more data that could be cited in an argument that Obama's strategy flies in the face of political realities--and I intend to present more such data as time goes on.  But the data from this one report from Gallup  does not support his fantasy of reaching out to ever-vanishing "reasonable" Republicans in any way.  He is simply mouthing a favorite Versailles narrative, which, like most Versailles narratives, has nothing at all to do with reality.

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I happen to be of the opinion that Obama is ideologically like (4.00 / 2)
Tony Blair. I think if he keeps up the trend of being pro-wallstreet in 2 to 4 years America will be like Britain, and third parties maybe on ascendant.  I read British media alot starting in 2000 when the covered the florida vote suppression better than any of the American papers.

Mind you Britain has several institutions that mitigate against third parties much like American, but third parties are still on the ascendant there.

Quarter of voters set to reject main parties at EU elections, poll shows

Guardian/ICM survey finds 27% planning to support a minority party on 4 June

Guardian/ICM poll on EU elections. Graphic: Paddy Allen

More than a quarter of voters are planning to reject the Westminster establishment in next month's European elections, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll carried out in the aftermath of the MPs' expenses scandal.

It finds that some 27% of voters are already planning to support a minority party. The poll also uncovered evidence that more could soon join them.

The results follow two weeks in which Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats have been battered by the press and public over the publication of MPs' expenses.

Contrary to some predictions, however, the poll suggests that it is the Greens and the UK Independence party (Ukip) who are making the running on the political fringes, as opposed to the British National party.......

The mainstream British threat has been hyping the threat of bnp, the equivalent of the teabaggers or the montana militia, but clearly the british public is going for the greens and independents.  

If the democrats continue to imitate the republicans, we can probably expect third party defections in the next two to four years.

My blog  

It Could Happen (0.00 / 0)
The UK has three more-or-less major parties (the Liberal Democrats being a cut above Pluto status), which produces a more fertile ground for further entrants.  And European Parliament elections routinely bring out more third-party votes, so I wouldn't read too much into this.  The Greens did quite well in these elections early on in a number of countries, leading them to think they were about to break into the bigs.  But aside from a coalition with the SDP in Germany, they've never come close to realizing that potential.

That said, the Dem response to the financial crisis has been so craven it takes one back to the 1880s, when the Populist Party emerged.  So I wouldn't say a third party is impossible by any means.  What really seems impossible is a second one.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
well I happen to think the libertarians and the greens (0.00 / 0)
will be on the ascendant simultaneously, and may eventually replace the republicans and the democrats.  It would be a great thing for the constitution and the economy if they did.  I just wish third parties would focus on a congressional elections and not just a Presidential ones.  If they did this we would know they were serious.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
Correct on Blair-Obama (4.00 / 3)
People keep thinking his "strange" moves are 1)all part of some brilliant progressive plan that will reveal itself in the end, or conversely 2)the sign of a well-intentioned but misguided outreach effort.

But if you take the third possibility, that he never intended to change the system, and that his rhetoric on the campaign trail was him just fishing for votes, then every move he's made lines up.

From a stimulus that purposefully sidestepped any new long-term spending commits (such as a national infrastructure project, or government funded tution), to carrying on the Bush legacy in lavishing funds on the banks, etc. etc. It all started with his inaugral address, where (as Krugman pointed out) Obama said the real problem was not ideological, but a lack of willpower and responsibility in implementing that ideology. Even today, he mocks calls for real change by saying that "we aren't starting from scratch". Well, if we're saying from the get-go that we are bound to the system that exists, that obviously negates real change.

To sum, Obama isn't here to change the system of corporate-run, capitalist DC, or that of a superpower which gets too trigger-happy sometimes. He's here to restore everyone's confidence in that system, by smoothing over-just slightly-its rough edges.

I think people need to distill what that means.

[ Parent ]
Don't hold your breath (4.00 / 2)
The two party system have proven incredibly resilient over the past 200+ years, something that can't be said British politics.  As much as I'd love to see it, there are too many structural features of US political institutions that force third parties to ally with and ultimate assimilate into one of the big two.  

[ Parent ]
But... (0.00 / 0)
Chris Bowers pointed to a poll in his recent posting:

His point was that people generally prefer the status quo, and that there is second point in that they also support contradictory ideas, like enhanced social benefits without any tax increases to pay for them.

To me this is yet another indication that political affiliation is being used for as a proxy for attitudes which aren't captured by poll questions. It also seems that many don't have coherent attitudes.

So, if people are satisfied with the status quo then changes in political affiliation aren't as meaningful as one would like. I suppose the situation is further complicated by Obama's personal appeal which attracted people for that reason over his specific policy views.

The GOP may be in the wasteland, and this may have important implications for the future makeup of congress, but I'm not sure that this illustrates a change in attitudes by a large sector of the population.

As long as the Dems continue to ignore those who favor change, the fact that they are in the majority is likely not to have too big an effect in any case.  

I'll create my own aphorism: poorly worded polls produce poor results.

Policies not Politics

Repetition Does Not Increase Coherence (0.00 / 0)
I don't even see a coherent argument here, Robert.  How can asking about party identification be "poorly worded"?

Start with explaining that.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Difficult (0.00 / 0)
It's difficult to clarify my point. But it's not that stating party affiliation makes for a poor poll question, but that it makes for a mostly useless one, at least from the point of view of those trying to draw some larger message from the trends.

For example:
1. People lie about the party affiliation. Usually they say they are "independent" when they don't want to admit their true leaning.
2. People vote along party lines while believing themselves as being "independent", a form of self delusion.
3. Some people will never give up their party affiliation no matter how things change or what they say, me, for example.

It is possible that since the GOP has no coherent platform at present that they will fail to attract those who were previously swayed by guns, abortion and gay marriage, but its not clear what will happen to these voters. They may just stay home.

There was a poll out today (I've lost the link) which showed that attitudes towards gay marriage differed by age group, with the youngest now having a majority in favor. So much shift in political positions may just be due to demographics.

Many of the races for congress were pretty close. This shows there is still a strong party affiliation for the GOP. Theoretically you could have 100% Dems in congress with an excess of votes of 435 nationwide (one per district) - this is an artifact of our winner-takes-all electoral system. This is important for legislators, but doesn't really reveal much about voters.

If you want to understand people's attitudes, then ask about attitudes, and if you want meaningful results you have to construct polls which reveal internal contradictions and compensate for them. I guess that's the difference between a sociologist doing research and a political pollster.

Policies not Politics

[ Parent ]
A Poorly Designed Objection (0.00 / 0)
News flash, Robert!  People didn't vote for Arnold Schwarzenneger because of his stand on the issues.  And they didn't vote for Ronald Reagan, for his issue positions, either. Come to that, they didn't even vote for Eisenhower for his issue positions--it's just that he actually was a military hero, rather than playing at being one.  So the role of issues in US politics has always been a problematic one.

What else is new?

Party ID still means something even if it is ambiguous.   But no one ever said it wasn't.  Not around here, at least.

Your objection is like someone walking into a Star Wars movie, and saying, "Hey! This isn't Star Trek!"

True. But nonsensical.  We never said it was Star Trek.  

You and your Vulcan mind meld.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Feisty (0.00 / 0)
You seem to be a bit feisty today.

Can we get back to how we are going to get a bunch of business-owned legislators to do the "right thing" on health care, climate change and the other important policies?

Policies not Politics

[ Parent ]
Clear Thinking (0.00 / 0)
Right now there's a lot of blockage that's not going to be easily swept away.  We need to intensify political pressure, and that requires a lot of different things to work together, one of which is better, more coherent analysis of what forces are at work, where we stand, and why.

I don't think it's going to be possible to get this sorry lot to do anything close to the right thing--as we've already seen with the undersized stimulus, the oversized free lunch Wall Street bailout, the war funding, defeat of cramdown, etc.  The question is how do we strategize forward, which is not a great place to be right now, given that this should be when we are really getting things done.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I'm no scientific poll reader (0.00 / 0)
But a couple of points based on your interpretations.

It doesn't necessarily mean the GOP is becoming more extreme.. since their platform and their rhetoric and tactics remain the same. It's just the clarity shows up in a poll as some folks move away.

Also, in light of all the O'dem policies, war on terror, continued Bush Paulson bail out, defense of unitary executive principals in courts, continued warrantless surveillance, coddling health insurers above all else.. even removing the D base's ability to sincerely discuss single payer, or discuss not waging three needless wars at the big tables, etc, etc.

Dems either moved so far to the right, or in truth were already there. R's or I's who moved over to D are finding a much more friendly environment with better rhetoric and Obama's silk velvet denial compared to his actions. It's just like their idea of their old party, more so for them than those of us who said this is not who we are as Americans or Democrats.

Seems to me the country largely remains extreme... no matter the shift in R, I, or D identity.

Perfect example: Arlen Specter and his sizable D welcoming committee.

Two Different Things (4.00 / 3)
There's a confusion throughout your comment between elite party leadership and base composition.

Thus, this doesn't wash in two ways:

It doesn't necessarily mean the GOP is becoming more extreme.. since their platform and their rhetoric and tactics remain the same. It's just the clarity shows up in a poll as some folks move away.

First, their positions and rhetoric are shifting, well into cukooland.  And second, they are losing liberals and moderates as they do so.

And this:

Also, in light of all the O'dem policies, war on terror, continued Bush Paulson bail out, defense of unitary executive principals in courts, continued warrantless surveillance, coddling health insurers above all else.. even removing the D base's ability to sincerely discuss single payer, or discuss not waging three needless wars at the big tables, etc, etc.

is the result of the Dem establishment having pretty much lost touch with reality, after decades of fatuous excuse-making. Right now, the GOP is in such shambles, that the Dems can mess up quite a bit without suffering too badly for it.  And, so, that's exactly what they've decided to do.  But this doesn't reflect on what the GOP has done to itself.  It reflects on the Dem's pathetic inability to do substantially better.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Actually, more extreme (4.00 / 1)
Nationally, 45% of republicans identified themselves as conservatives in 1974/75 vs. 71% in 2008.  Republicans are far more likely to be conservatives today than in the recent past.

A Republican Administration in the early 1970s created the Environmental Protection Agency.  A Republican Administration in the mid 70s established Federal mileage requirements for the nation's auto manufacturers.  Today, Republicans violently fight the existence of global warming and evolution.

I can cite similar swings in a whole variety of areas.  The Republicans of today bear very little similarity to the Republican during the Nixon/Ford years.  Maybe they share a little paranoia but otherwise, those Republicans really wanted to govern and actually seemed to care about more than the top 5% of the population.

As for Specter, his lifetime Progressive Punch score was the highest of any Republican in either house of Congress and he is till to the right of every Democratic in either House.  He's going to have to move left to be accepted, substantially left.  The evidence is that he is slowly doing that.   He's in Walt Minnick territory for this session and moving towards Ben Nelson.  

One more piece of evidence.  Drmocrats in the House cover a range of 56 Progressive Punch points on  their lefetime scores;  Republicans cover 28.  The median Progressive Punch score for Republicans in the House is 5.97.  No joke.  This is a tight knit extreme party that is generally getting more extreme and more tightly knit.  Those uniform votes on big pieces of legislation are scary.

You want to know how extreme this is getting.  Pro life or even neutral is unacceptable.  Even Bush was unable to get much backing on anything other than a strict anti-immigrant policy.  Unfortunately, although that is not change I agree with, I do believe that a strong rightward move is happening within the Republican Party.

[ Parent ]
pro-life with exceptions (4.00 / 2)
is also unacceptable.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, GOP candidate against Dave Loebsack in IA-02 (D+7), was anti-choice except in cases of rape, incest and where the health of the mother was at risk.

Even though this is the most Democratic district in Iowa, even though it was represented by a pro-choice Republican before Loebsack won in 2006, a significant faction within the Iowa GOP found Miller-Meeks' position intolerable. Iowa Right to Life trashed her in their newsletter a few weeks before election day. Iowa's RNC committeewoman, Kim Lehman, also headed Iowa Right to Life and refused to unequivocally endorse Miller-Meeks for Congress.

In December the GOP state central committee voted to censure Lehman for not endorsing Miller-Meeks, and the censure motion passed by only one vote. So: an RNC member didn't fully support a pro-life Republican candidate in a strongly Democratic district, and then there almost weren't enough votes on the GOP state central committee to even censure the RNC member, let alone replace her.

That is an extreme party.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
True (4.00 / 1)
Roughly 3/4ths of all Americans support abortion in cases of rape, incest and where the health of the mother was at risk. Only around 1/8th would allow no exceptions at all.  They are a tiny minority, yet their hold on the GOP is remarkably strong.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Maybe Obama's strategy isn't designed for the electorate (0.00 / 0)
I agree with your point that constantly appealing to the rightmost elements in US politics saps Obama's political power and makes for poor strategy.

But perhaps team Obama designed its strategy to appeal to the MSM and its simplistic black v. white take on issues rather than real voters.  Maybe Obama thinks the only was to appear as a "true bipartisan" to the MSM, given the "talent" they present - Bachmann, Buchanan, Rove, Liz Cheney - is by appealing to the absolute worst elements in our politics.  This dovetails neatly with the MSM's pro-corporate agenda.

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with you.  I'm just trying to figure out why an otherwise seemingly thoughtful, rational guy would se such a stilly, self-defeating strategy.    

it's not self-defeating if you never had any intention of upsetting the status quo or CW -- (0.00 / 0)
it's absolutely the desired strategy then.

[ Parent ]
Explain how what you say (0.00 / 0)
differs from a conspiracy theory.

[ Parent ]
it's a strategy for national political success, if you're a Democrat -- (4.00 / 1)
making a fetish of bipartisanship and not being ideological and of common ground, etc, is what the media has always demanded of Democrats, and only Republican and rightwing and pro-corporate and pro-religion and "strong on defense", etc, views are considered "centrist" and "serious" and acceptable and correct.

Democratic voters are against all of it, and demand candidates that denounce it and promise change and diff priorities -- so pols say they'll "change" things, and "end the Iraq war", etc.

Democratic voters don't ever punish the pols for not following thru. And the wealthy and powerful funders -- and the media -- do punish Democratic pols if they do follow thru, or try to do so. And DC pols are not funded by voters -- they only need votes once every few years.

The Democratic Party has openly abandoned the fight for more rights or more and better social programs or less war or being for workers instead of owners, etc -- and have been rewarded with far more corp money -- and rewarded with votes anyway (bec the alternative is worse).  

[ Parent ]
take NAFTA, for instance -- (4.00 / 1)
Obama spoke out against it over and over -- but sent Goolsbee to reassure Canada he didn't mean any of it even as he was doing it.

And the result is that nothing has changed, and he appointed a privatizing "free trader" as Trade Rep (a Republican, too) -- and with the stimulus and trillions for banks and auto things, there's even more outsourcing and still no restrictions or protections for jobs staying here -- even with all our money going to them.

And the status quo (which very much hurts us all the time, especially now) is the result. That's not because Obama really wanted to change our trade policies or cared about the millions who do -- but because the opposite was always true.

Those who want the status quo and existing systems and policies to continue got what they paid for, and they wouldn't have funded Obama if they were at all worried it would change.


[ Parent ]
related - on "common ground", principles, stances, outreach, policy, & the Democratic party -- (0.00 / 0)
http://www.religiondispatches.... -- Common Ground: Winning the Battle, Losing the Culture War --

... attempts by Democratic Party centrists to urge Abandoning Core Principles in the Interest of Political Expedience.

I had blogged on Daily Kos and Huffington Post about reports in the summer of 2007 from progressive activists warning of Democratic Party spinmeisters telling people to not emphasize Separation of Church and State, Reproductive Choice, or Gay Rights. I wrote a post, "For Progressives who Vote Democratic but Value Human Rights," arguing that "Human Rights are Not Political Commodities:"

We understand that the same First Amendment that guarantees separation of church and state guarantees the rights of Christian conservatives to defend their views in the public square, and to seek redress of grievances through a variety of political and social channels. In recent months, however, we have seen indications that some in the leadership of the Democratic Party, and some of its candidates for public office, are seeking the votes of Christian conservatives by suggesting there is room to compromise on reproductive rights and gay rights.

I first became alarmed about Democratic Party backpedaling on these issues when Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic Party, came to the 2007 Daily Kos conference in Chicago. Before a crowd composed primarily of progressive or left-leaning Democrats, Dean spoke of reaching out to evangelicals mentioning just one name: the Rev. Rick Warren. While Warren may, as he appears, be a nice guy, he is certainly not a progressive. He is at best a moderate (with some baggage about gay people, especially in Africa). A buzz went around the conference typified by blogger Pam Spaulding who wrote: "I respectfully refuse to consider women's rights and gay rights as a commodity to be traded for votes from evangelicals."

Fred Clarkson, "Pastor" Dan Schultz and I began alerting our readers on Talk to Action and Street Prophets to the perils of election-cycle political compromises that threaten the core values of the progressive community. Others posted similar concerns. When we saw our allies among the Progressive Pragmatists appear to jump on the bandwagon of the backsliding wing of the Democratic Party, we were flabbergasted. What happened to the progressive coalition I thought we were building together? I felt as though I'd just been tossed out of the lifeboat.


and from there -- from 06 -- "Abandoning Core Principles in the Interest of Political Expedience" -- (0.00 / 0)
[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
The point of bipartisanship is to make an extremist side seem more extremist... not to win them over.


Paul's head.

Stick to pretentious analyzing of political buzzwords.

The Point Of ANY Politics Is To Actually Succeed (4.00 / 1)
If Collins and Snowe were voting with Obama, conservadems weren't undercutting him, and Harry Reid weren't channelling Rush Limbaugh, then you'd have a point.

But in that alternative universe, I wouldn't have written this diary.

Keep making an ass of yourself.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
. (0.00 / 0)
Ah yes, faced with the reality of what your poll numbers show, with the reality of the wedge being driven between the party with people like specter, powell practically getting excommunicated, what do you do? whine about "conservadems." Who gives a flying fuck. Collins and Snow are still republicans and Reid is still a pussy. That isn't really what the strategy is about. Think longer term than 100 days. Maybe then things will dawn on you.

[ Parent ]

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