Sunday, February 04, 2007

About the DNC's "2007 New Directions Survey"

Possibly you received the latest mailing from Democratic National Headquaters? It's entitled the "2007 New Directions Survey" and, goodness knows, many elected Dems could use some "new direction."

So you may have opened the cover of the booklet with great excitement, "The Democrats really do care what the party faithful think! Here's my chance to weigh in!"

You might have been a little disappointed when the first page of the "survey" got straight to the point:

YES! I want to help Democrats move our nation in a positive new direction and strengthen our majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. To help Democrats in Congress deliver on our committment to move America forward, I am taking the following actions:

At which point you're offered the treat of contributing and they, helpful little buggers, offer you various dollar amounts you can select from. ($35 has a star next to it because, as the note explains, "Gifts at this level are urgently needed!" And if you doubted the urgent need, they assisted you by providing and exclamation point.)

Now there are probably twenty things (at least) wrong with the first page of the money plea, er, survey. But maybe, like us, you zoomed in on three words "move America forward." It's the same kind of shock we'd have experienced if, in January 2005, they had said, "To help Democrats in Congress deliver on our committment to Swift Boat John Kerry."

Move America Forward is an organization. It is right-wing, Republican wind machine. They have a number of campaigns going on at any give time but they're most famous for their efforts to "Move America Forward" on Iraq. That campaign included, "YOU DON'T SPEAK FOR ME, CINDY" -- an attack campaign on Cindy Sheehan (who never claimed to speak for anyone but herself). At the heart of its Iraq work is the belief that the country needs to "move forward" and stop asking questions about the illegal war.

So was it a slip of tongue or a Freudian slip on the part of the DNC to use the phrase "Move America Forward" while they waste everyone's time with symoblic measures in the Senate?

After you've donated money (or not, we recommend you return the survey with no check, ignore all the questions asked and scrawl "BRING THE TROOPS HOME" across it), you have three more pages of "survey." Maybe the Democratic Party really does want your opinion?

Well Iraq was the most cited reason by voters for how they voted. Iraq is the big issue. So how does the survey address that?

The first question asks you to "Please rank the following Democratic priorites in order of importance" and of the twelve items, they do include Iraq: "Setting a new course in Iraq." That's vague enough that respondents can rank that highest meaning "Bring the troops home" and the party can kid that it just means tinkering around with existing policies.

The third section addresses "Iraq, Other Foreign Policy and Terrorism." Five questions. The first asks you to rank Bully Boy's performance indicating that at the stalls, whomever put this survey together is checking out the equipment on the guy next to him over size concerns. The second question asks: "Should Democrats in Congress press for a set time frame for bringing our troops home from Iraq?"

Then they're off on foreign policy. (Iran, Somolia, Afghanistan, et al, don't show up.) Then it's off to Social Security, Education, Energy and the Environment and Health Care.

Should Congress cut off funding for the illegal war? US Reps Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsy say yes. Senator Russ Feingold held a hearing on whether Congress had the power to do so and what other war powers Congress had.

As Feingold noted, "In the United Sates of America, the people are sovereign, not the Presidents. It is Congress' responsibility to challenge an administration that persists in a war that is misquided and that the country opposes. We cannot simply wring our hands and complain about the Administration's policy. We cannot just pass resolutions saying 'your policy is mistaken.' And we can't stand idly by and tell ourselves that it's the President's job to fix the mess he made. It's our job to fix the mess, and if we don't do so we are abdicating our responsibilities."

(Feingold's opening statement is available online in text and audio form.)

So if the Democratic Party really is interested in what the party faithful think, shouldn't that be a question on the survey? Or are they afraid of the question?

Maybe Feingold or Waters to prepare the next DNC "survey" (money grab)?

Both refuse to resort to double speak.


Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday I participated in a rally and march here in Washington, DC, on the Mall, organized by United for Peace and Justice. United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of over 1,300 groups from all over this country.
Citizens came from near and far. They came by car and bus and train and plane to urge this President and this Congress to end the war in Iraq. They were young. They were old. They were rich. They were poor. They were every age, every ethnic group, all religions, all with one message: Bring our troops home now.
There were six Members of Congress who were present there, and we thanked all of the people who attended for caring enough to come to Washington, DC, to spend their money to urge their government to end this war.
Mr. Speaker and Members, this was democracy at work. It was a beautiful day. People were in high spirits. We walked. We sang. We chanted. And we literally said we love this country, we love our soldiers, and we want the best for our people.
We were joined by many veterans. There were several veterans groups there. But the most moving and touching part of this march was the mothers who marched with us, and they had signs. Some of them had signs of their sons who had been killed in Iraq. Some of them brought the message that they had paid a huge sacrifice and they did not wish Americans to continue paying this high price for a war that we should not be in.
This is a war that it is easy to be against, because we were led into this war under false pretenses. There are no weapons of mass destruction. We have been told that we would be greeted with open arms. We were told that we would be seen as the liberators. None of that was true. We are occupiers, and they want us out of Iraq. It is not simply that the Sunnis want us out of Iraq. It is not simply that the Shiites want us out or the Kurds want us out. They all want us out of Iraq.
This was a wonderful weekend because not only did we march and we rallied, but the marchers came to Capitol Hill and they lobbied their legislators. They knocked on their doors. They came from all these towns and hamlets and cities all over America to talk with their legislators. This truly was democracy at work.
And today we filled 1100 Longworth, the Ways and Means room, where we had a forum with 11 book authors who have written about the war in Iraq, what is wrong with it and why we should get out, and did we have a discussion. It was one of the most beautiful discussions with highly intelligent authors who have done research, who have put a lot of work into producing these books. And they shared with us in a very profound way what they knew and why they had decided to take a part of their lives to stop and write about what is wrong with our being in Iraq. So this was a wonderful weekend. This has been a wonderful time. I keep saying this is democracy at work because this is what the Constitution is all about. It is about participation of the citizens.
The citizens of this country are sick and tired of this war. I don't know why the Members of Congress are allowing the citizens to get way ahead of them. They elect us to come and represent them. They think that we have the resources to know what is going on. We give a lot of money to our intelligence agencies. We should be able to tell the people what is wrong and what is going on in Iraq. But, instead, they are ahead of us; and they are urging us to stop this war.
But, in the final analysis, they know everything about what we are doing. It is not enough to talk the talk. You have got to walk the walk. They know the difference between nuancing and posturing, and they want action.
And they know that we are about to have a resolution over in this House that will disagree with the surge, the escalation that is being advocated by this President. But they also understand that we can't stop that, that the President has already started to resend soldiers. These are not new boots on the ground. These are soldiers that have done their tours, that have been sent back a second and third time, and they say that is not enough.
They will know whether or not we mean business if we are prepared to stop funding this war.


Washington D.C. - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold made the following statement today reacting to the Warner-Levin compromise resolution regarding Iraq.
I oppose the weak Warner-Levin resolution as currently written because it misunderstands the situation in Iraq and shortchanges our national security interests. The resolution rejects redeploying U.S. troops and supports moving a misguided military strategy from one part of Iraq to another. The American people have rejected the President's Iraq strategy and it's time for Congress to end our military involvement in this war. We must redeploy our troops from Iraq so that we can focus on the global threats that face us.
Yesterday, Feingold introduced the Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007. Feingold's bill would force the President to safely redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq by prohibiting further funding of military operations in Iraq six months after enactment. Information regarding Senator Feingold's legislation can be found here:

Did you notice how easy it was to follow what both were saying?

Did you wonder where the "new directions" were in the DNC's "2007 New Directions Survey"?
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }