Kos and Jerome are part of the progressive netroots that has helped educate us fellow liberals that the time for dismantling the stagnant Democratic party is nigh.
This is a great book. Much like Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant, Crashing the Gate distills the past 60 years of American politics into a slim, strategic volume.
Chapter 1: American Reality, Circa 2006
Democrats don’t have the ‘institutional machinery’ to support and implement their agenda.
Being centrist lost us the 2000, 2002 and 2004 election cycles – being Republican lite isn’t working.
Simply waiting for the GOP to self-destruct isn’t enough (their under-performance will be their downfall).
We are in a two-party nation – it is easier to reform the Democratic party rather than start and energize a brand new party.
Key Republican constituent groups:
Corpoate Cons: want policy that enables unfettered, unregulated capitalism + subsidies, bailouts and lucrative contracts: oil barons, steel magnates, pharma, big oil, finance/banking.
Theocons: effective in mobilizing the vote – but very demanding group. The faithful consistently vote against their own economic interest. People vote their values – they vote their identity – who they want to be – not who they are.
Neocons: Project for New American Century, etc. Pre-emptive military action, American exceptionalisn, etc. All this equals war-is-hell/shithole. Again and again, mistakes are rewarded with medals and promotions.
Paleocons: the GOP old guard – true fiscal conservatives seeing their party hijacked by the previous groups.
Katrina illuminated the perils of underfunding government: Bush spent Katrina eating birthday cake with John McCain. Condi partying in NYC. Bush’s fly-over NOLA. Astrodome evacuation.
LBJ’s win of Goldwater was the wake-up call for the GOP.
2004 – Rob Stein (former Clinton official) presented PowerPoint ‘The Conservative Message Machine’s Money Matrix’ outlining how a handful of families had funded an entire ecosystem of convervative institutions, magazines, think tanks, policy centers and journalists.
Democrats have to stand for something – not just be ‘not Bush’.
Backlash Insurance: Republicans are making inroads to make their dominance permanent with judicial appointments, gerrymandering, voting machine chicanery, dismantling Democratic donors, state level successes. ‘Sunset provisions’ that appear to defang long-term legislation but make much more inertia required to unseat it.