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Monday, June 13, 2005

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

There are some questions in life that should never be asked: Does this make me look fat? Many men who find themselves on the receiving-end of this question end up imitating a deer caught in the headlights, some men curl up in the fetal position, while brothers with game simply say, "You know you look good, gurl." It is a question with no good answers, much like Democrats kvetching about Republicans being offended by the words of the Chairman of the Democratic Party.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why Democrats should give a rodent's sphincter about what Republicans think. We are not trying to sit around the Rotunda and sing Kumbayah with them - we are trying to defeat them and their vile agenda. Vile, as in dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Vile, as in sending our sons and daughters off to an immoral war unequpped while cutting their benefits back home. Vile, as in cutting taxes on the greatest among us while eviscerating services for the least of these our brothers. Vile, as in increasing polution and deflowering our national treasures while naming the initiatives Clear Skies and Healthy Forests. Vile.

I mean, what kind of Battered Wife Syndrome is the Democratic Party dealing with? We are not married to an abusive spouse - we are engaged in war. The emotional well-being of the enemy is not something for us to worry about. No, part of our job actually is to demoralize the enemy - to reduce the emotional well-being of the enemy. When the enemy is no longer willing to fight then we win by default. Sound familiar? That is precisely what the Republicans have done to the Democrats, and what is the Democratic Response? Bend over and take it like a man? Alan Colmes must be proud.

Does this make me look fat?

No, but those bright red pumps that the Democratic Party is wearing sure makes it look like Bush's video-girl because the Democrats are straight getting pimped. It's time to man-up! Here's what the Democratic Party needs to do (lifted in large part from CFA's Blogswarm):

A modern Democratic Party needs leaders who can format a hyperlink. Not only do we need leaders who understand current e-campaigning, but we need visionaries who can see the vast potential that lies in the future of the internet. We need to fight in real-time across the internet, the blogosphere, and on the search engines. We need a phat online war room that never stops and perpetually interjects our side into every conversation online. Every site with a conversation needs our comments and links.

The DNC should invest financially in the blogosphere. The DNC should have an ad with the message of the day on every single liberal blog (new every day, even Sundays and holidays). For a million dollars we could have two thousand points of TV in one major media market or we could subsidize hundreds of bloggers who are fighting tooth and nail online for our side, 24/7.

No more fundraising emails. Period. If the Kerry campaign had asked the Dean campaign, they would have learned that constant cash-appeals turn people off. The Kerry campaign burned their list. As people stopped opening the emails the campaign suffered a huge opportunity cost when they needed to organize supporters in the end. Emails should only be used to initiate interaction - once people are vested in our actions they'll help fund the effort with their phat donations.

End Sentences with Prepositions
We need to campaign like we have a seventh grade education and unlearn the linguistic hindrances that hold us back. The people that we target with our ads don't talk like the people who make them. Our candidates need sentences with a subject, a verb, an object and then a period. Look how people write emails - forget what you learned in English class and talk to people. Tell a story. Focus on connecting to the audience instead of winning the hearts and minds of the proofreaders. What do you think you're more likely to hear at a chicken joint at dinner time, "Its the economy, stupid" or "A Stronger, Safer America"? We can earn mad cred when we write from the heart.

Lead America
If we only follow polls we will be reactive to the whims of Americans and we will not be able to win in the long run. We need to take the lead on issues, establish positions based on our values - not our polling - and lead the people. The Alberto Gonzalez nomination was a perfect example - instead of having a debate about whether we should oppose him we should have had a debate about whether a torture supporter should lead the Justice Department and then hit him with everything we have. No more conversations about strategic positioning. No more debates about triangulation. No more arguments about electability. We have to stand up for what we believe and fight with everything we have.

Answer The Right Questions
Democrats seem to be answering questions that don't mean a thing. The question isn't whether Howard Dean offended Republicans, the question is why is the Republican Party the homogenous WASP party? The question isn't whether the 60 Minutes document was a copy of the original, the question is whether or not the content of the memo was true. The question isn't whether or not we can trust paperless voting machines, the question is why on earth would we not want absolute assurance of the integrity of the vote? Democrats need to ask and answer the right questions.

We need to learn how to distill issues. The Right will never say an issue is complicated since every possible situation fits into their worldview in a manner where they know what to do. People learn our values by seeing how issues fit into our worldview, not because we say, "God Bless America" at the end of our speeches. When we turn our backs on our values, people lose respect for us.

Any change advanced by the GOP will regress our country. We need to fight every proposal. Choosing battles is a strategy that is inherently flawed. Compromising is likewise flawed. We need to fight to win and plan to lose strategically. As an opposition party, we must evaluate our leaders by their success at opposing. If they are ineffective we must replace them immediately.

We cannot offer compromises, instead we need to offer coherent alternatives to Republican proposals. These proposals must be crafted with an eye towards framing the next election, not influencing the Republican Legislation since we will be fighting to prevent any change from being enacted.

Make News
Dean understands this, but Kerry didn't get it until he brought in the Clinton people and by that time everything that happened was news. We can decide what we want the headlines to be with bold action. The further up the ticket the greater the role the media plays in the outcome. Instead of complaining about the coverage, we need to understand the media's perspective and needs, then create campaign storyboards too good for them to pass by.

Value work
Kick consultants off percentage, pay a good hourly wage and demand results. Have you ever heard a consultant who was working on percentage recommend not spending more money on TV? Even in the battleground states with markets so saturated with political ads that people are 100% tuned out? We need to budget according to results, and that is impossible when consultants have a financial incentive to spend on distribution instead of creation.


How many trainings on e-campaigning has the Democratic Party hosted? It would be nice to have somebody teach us the tactics instead of having to figure things out on our own as we go along. I have yet to hear of any trainings on how to campaign online.

West Coast Offense
We had the largest GOTV ever and we still finished 10 points shy from where we needed to be. The Kerry campaign thought they were going to win and tried to run out the clock in the last two weeks. The Democratic Party has been silent since the election. We can never let this happen again. Elections come and go but the battle for America's future never stops. We need to campaign every single day of every year like we are 10 points down, because we are. We need a passing game and a strong defense, we must never again finish an election like we only needed to make it to field goal range and GOTV will put us over the top. No. We need to be winning beyond the margin of error and let our hustle and determination show that we want to win more than the GOP. We need to contest every down, force turnovers, and inside the pile we need to claw and poke and squeeze and bite and spit and do whatever it takes to make sure we have the ball in the end. We have to play to win.

This is what the Democratic Party needs to do, but African Americans For Democracy can do a lot of this for ourselves. It's time to get to work - are you in?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 2:03 AM

Read or Post a Comment

Comments & discussion welcomed - what do you think?

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Monday, June 13, 2005 11:54:00 AM #

First of all, You should change your organization’s name to “African Americans for Democrats” If you truly represented “Democracy” you would encourage your participants to be informed and active participants in the democratic process. This leads me to another suggested name change.

You call your blog “The Underground Railroad” but rather than leading our people to freedom, the Democrat propaganda you perpetuate does nothing more than continue the cycle of psychological slavery that has made Blacks politically irrelevant since the civil rights movement.

Perhaps a better name would be “The Plantation!”

Posted by Blogger Craig DeLuz @ Monday, June 13, 2005 12:33:00 PM #

This is very inspiring and informative information. Keep up the good work. I think the name is perfect, I didn't spot any "democrat propaganda" as our friend Craig DeLuz cites. It seems AAFD should support the type of candidates that have a true understanding of the black experience and are willing to articulate that in the halls or congress, or wherever the microphone exists.

Keep up the work...continue the struggle for progress.

By the way, a big '06 to Talib!

Mr. Kouri C. Marshall

Posted by Blogger TomorrowsLeaderToday @ Monday, June 13, 2005 2:24:00 PM #

Silly Craig, tricks are for Republicans. It is, after all, Dubya - the leader of the GOP - who admits to catapulting propaganda. Do tell, is it propaganda to note that Republicans plan to dismantle Social Security when Grover Norquist has himself said that the objective is to undo the New Deal? Is it Democratic Propaganda to note that Bush's Misadventure in Mesapotamia was a war looking for a justification when the British - not the French - admit as much? Is it Democratic Propaganda to mention that the troops have been sent into combat without the tools necessary to keep themselves alive when everybody knows about the troops having to resort to hillbilly armor since the Republican President and Republican Congress failed them? Is it Democratic propaganda to note that the same people who are screaming the loudest about supporting the troops are also the ones voting to cut the veterans' benefits of those same troops? And Bush's pilaging of the environment speaks for itself.

No, it is not "Democratic propaganda" to point out these truths - it's simply telling the truth. After all, if there is anyone who should be a Republican it would be me - issue-for-issue I'm much more conservative than the average Democrat, but the Republican Party is openly hostile to people of color and people of little means. I will not sell out the majority of my people, but you are certainly free to do as you like. It would be nice to have Blacks in both parties in such a way as to make the parties fight over our vote, but the truth is that the Republicans are only interested in siphoning off enough Black votes to weaken the Democrats - they couldn't care less about the well-being of Black folks. Not that the Democrats care much more, but we do have a working relationship with the Democrats that we can leverage to our benefit. That requires us to get organized as a people, and that's what we're trying to do here at African-Americans For Democracy. So long as we are not organized and working together we will be politically irrelevant - whether we vote Democratic or Republican.

This current group of Republicans is much too reminiscent of the National Socialist German Workers Party from a few years back for my comfort level...

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Monday, June 13, 2005 2:34:00 PM #

Well STATED!!!

Posted by Blogger TomorrowsLeaderToday @ Monday, June 13, 2005 3:03:00 PM #

I have a buddy mine who is Republican. We once could talk about our agreements and disagreements. The past couple years, his poltiical rhetoric has gotten more over the top. He has substituted labeling and belittling for open dialogue. His politics are getting smug and belligerent.

Unfortunately, I believe this example of political behavior is being set at the top, by the people who are currently running the country.

Any Black person who can't name at least one problem with both Democratic and Republican parties has stopped thinking.

If you're believing completely what either one of them are selling, your mind's on the plantation and is in need of liberation.

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Monday, June 13, 2005 6:46:00 PM #


I agree with one point....

Any Black person who can't name at least one problem with both Democratic and Republican parties has stopped thinking.

And as long as we continue promote the DNC talking points without taking an hones look at both parties,then we will always be relegated to political insignificance.

If what you say in your blog is the truth, then why not post the whole truth.

For example:

Who fought to keep slavery legal? Democrats!
Who instituted Jim Crow Laws? Democrats!
Who founded the Klu Klux Klan? Democrats!
Who fought against the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Democrats!
Who has failed to educate black children and locked them into failing inner-city public schools? Democrats!
Who supports union only project labor agreements; preventing black contractors from bidding on government construction projects? Democrats!
Who has orchestrated the modern day genocide of Blacks? Democrats!

Sometimes the Truth hurts!

Posted by Blogger Craig DeLuz @ Monday, June 13, 2005 8:21:00 PM #

Truth is an interesting thing - so dependent upon context it is. It was indeed the Democratic Party that fought to keep slavery, and it was probably Democrats who established the KKK (the Democratic Party itself didn't establish the Klan, obviously), and it was indeed the party of Lincoln that abolished slavery. That all began to change when Harry Truman endorsed an integration plank that was to be included in the 1948 Democratic Platform. The Southerners who had been opposed to the inclusion of Blacks bolted the Democratic Party and formed their own party - the States' Rights Democratic Party, aka the Dixiecrats, and they nominated Strom Thurmond as their presidential nominee. Remember him? Republican from South Carolina? Many of the Dixiecrats became Republicans after the 1948 election, but all of them switched to the Republican Party after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act in 1965. As Johnson put it, he handed the South to the Republicans for 50 years. You see, it was Southerners who blocked the Civil Rights Act - a bipartisan effort no less with the Dixiecrats working with the Republicans - and it was Northerners and Westerners who pushed it through - again a bipartisan effort with the Rockefeller Republicans working with the Democrats.

Here's the problem - where are today's Rockefeller Republicans? They're extinct, they no longer exist. They were wiped out by the Reaganites, so if you do not subscribe to the most right-wing dogma that comes down the pike from the GOP then you have no place in today's Republican Party.

Speaking of today's Republican Party, let's look at your "critiques" of today's Democratic Party. You accuse Democrats of failing to educate Black children when Republicans pathologically block every initiative to increase funding for those same Black children? That defies credulity. And how does supporting Union-only labor agreements prevent Black contractors from bidding on government projects? Black contractors don't have union shops? Is that you're assertion? That makes no sense. You want to pin the modern-day genocide of Blacks on Democrats? What are you smoking? Who is it that always claims the Law and Order mantle (i.e. the keep-them-niggers-in-their-place mantle)? Always the Republicans. War on Black Men, er, Drugs? Republicans - Reagan in particular. Manditory (Draconian) Sentencing? Republicans. It is certainly true that some (many) Democrats have been trying to out-Republican the Republicans, but again that was one of the main points of this thread in the first place - Democrats need to stand on Democratic values, not Republican values, because that only serves to elect more Republicans.

Facts. Context. Logic.

Try them some time.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Monday, June 13, 2005 9:02:00 PM #

I think that Mr. DeLuz is just trying to overrun logic with talking points. If he actually wanted to appeal to Black people, he would do more than offer simplistic, easily disregarded platitudes (that we've already heard from every Republican talking head given a soapbox). We already know that the Republicans are on some kind of "appeal to the darker peoples" offensive (that's actually just a way to mollify whites who have some modicum of humanity), but as you show, there's no substance. If you guys really want to speak our language, talk about things like the incarceration rates among Black men, H.I.V./A.I.D.S. among Black women, the economic conditions facing poorer Blacks segregated in the inner cities. In other words, talk about things that matter to Black people, and not things clearly conceptualized by white Republicans as simplistic appeals to people who don't know their history and have no sense of the current reality, like Mr. DeLuz.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005 12:04:00 AM #

You say the Dixicrats became Republicans. You must be talking about Bill Clinton’s mentor, one of the Leaders of the Southern Block J. William Fulbright…No he was a Democrat. How about the author of the Southern Manifesto, Al Gore Sr….No he was a Democrat also. I got it! Current Senator and Klansman, Robert Byrd… No he also is a Democrat.

As for my other points:

1. More money is not what our schools need. In California, as in other states, the schools districts that have received the most funding over the past 10 years have in fact performed the worst. (see http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ for test scores) and (see http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/fd/ ) for funding information.

2. 95% of all Black owned construction firms are merit shop contractors. This is why the California Black Chamber of Commerce has worked with organizations like the Association of Builders and Contractors to fight union only project labor agreements. (See the following article from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy http://www.educationreport.org/article.asp?ID=325) or contact the California Black Chamber of Commerce for yourself. http://www.calbcc.org )

3. And the Genocide to which I am referring is called Abortion. I’ll bet you did not know that twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died fromAIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined. Or thatAbout 13 percent of American women are black, but theysubmit to over 35 percent of the abortions. For more info I encourage you to visit www.blackgenocide.org or www.klannedparenthood.com. And that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was a know racist and promoted population control through programs like the Negro Project. This is a Democrat led genocide, as they are the ones who are fighting for government funding for abortions, removal of parental rights and partial birth abortions.

Once again I will offer that the Republican Party is not perfect. Nor will I contend that all Blacks should become Republican. But we must be honest with ourselves when it comes to both parties. And I have yet to read one objective criticism on this blog of either party.

At least I admit on my site that I am partisan. All I ask is that you do the same.

Posted by Blogger Craig DeLuz @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005 11:23:00 AM #

1. African-Americans for Democracy is a political action committee, which means that it is partisan. Legally, there is no pretense that we will be neutral.

2. As the "About Us" section of our website says, we are a volunteer organization that grew out of the Howard Dean for President campaign. If you believe that the current GOP leaders are steering the Republican Party into radical agendas, you'd find a lot of agreement here. Similarly, if you believe that Democrats aren't standing up to Republicans enough, you'd find a lot of agreement here to.

3. If you are sincere and principled in your opinion that partisanship should be transparent, you will go to "Black America's Political Action Committee" and criticize them with the same vigor that you've applied here. I don't anyone would visit their website and conclude that they are non-partisan, like they say are.

Republicans have perfected this as art form, parading loyal Black Republicans under a non-partisan cover.

Please deal with the problem in your own house.

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Tuesday, June 14, 2005 9:17:00 PM #

It's interesting every time someone is involved in the truth; you get one of those Black Republicans trying to throw a wrench into the mix. I bet this Craig guy is part of that Project 21 group that is led by a white man who instructs black conservatives what to say. The new trend is this - whites feel more comfortable to have a black person attack another black. This is the newest trend to how low some of us will stoop. The good part about this whole exchange is this, Craig wouldn't be here if you were not covering tough issues.


Posted by Blogger Cynthia @ Thursday, June 16, 2005 10:33:00 AM #
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