It never seems to end. The endless calls for the left to fall in line  from certain elements of the institutional Democratic Party (always eager to give a quote “off the record”), “liberal” magazines, pundits and the “liberal” blogosphere. Various special interest groups (aka VOTERS) are chided to all but sign loyalty oaths with the party, with promises that their issues will be “dealt with” at some point in the future.

We saw it during the suffrage movement (starting with Abigail Adams after chiding her husband not to forget “the ladies”). We saw it during the civil rights movement. We heard plenty of it last year regarding the gay rights movement. This year, after gays were pushed back in the closet (“gay marriage cost us the election!”), after all of the promises to African American voters were betrayed ONE DAY after the election, it’s time to go after the feminists again.

crossposted at Liberal Street Fight

Just who, exactly, is the party supposed to be fighting for? It’s an important question, and there seems to be a battle going on for the answer to that question. In fact, the attacks aren’t just aimed at women, gays and minority voters, but also at the party Chairman, Dr. Howard Dean. Which “healers” should we follow in the difficult years ahead?

A person has to ask how many times this ideological snake oil will be sold by the faux “healers” that have run the Democratic Party into its current sorry state. They stand before their wares, thumbs hooked self-importantly into the pockets of their waistcoats, while they lecture the gathered masses that the solution to ALL of the problems of life are at hand, if only the rubes would continue to swallow the proferred bitter and ineffective medicine.  

Their advice is especially stomach churning after so many groups fought long and hard for the party’s nominee in the last Presidential election. Women’s groups were very active, fighting hard on the ground, raising money and getting the word out. They, like their other allies, worked hard to “stay on message” (those patent salesmen speak with such purty words) so as to not derail the nominee’s campaign. A campaign that was as ineffective as many patent medicines. Like any snake oil salesman, the “leaders” of the Democratic Party went on to blame the “patients” for not taking the medicine properly.

Some on the left still hope that the chairmanship of Howard Dean can save this party from it’s own ineffective nostrums. As befitting his training, the Doctor actually tries to listen to the people he serves. He speaks plainly, offering his diagnosis of the problem, and his course of treatment. In fact, in Seattle on Sunday, Dr. Dean said:

“We need to be everywhere,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a red state or a blue state, only purple states.”

Next, Dean said the party <u>must rally minorities and women early, or “reach out to our core constituency now — not wait until Election Day.” During the last presidential election, the party took for granted such traditional Democrats, and paid for it: For instance, Democrats lost ground with women in 2004, Dean said.</u&gt

“I would like to find a woman to be the next mayor of Spokane,” he said, adding that citizens turn to women to restore trust after public scandals.

Dean’s schedule yesterday seemed to underscore his plan for engaging women and minorities. Before meeting with the women’s political group yesterday, he attended events hosted by black and Asian Pacific islander groups.

So what are leftists to do? The fact that Dr. Dean has come under very public and dismissive attack from such “leaders” as Senator Biden and failed Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards might encourage some that they should stay and fight for the soul of the Democratic Party. That so-many beltway insiders are chiding Dean in the press, after only 100 days in his office, could very well demonstrate that he is building too much of a base amongst “outsiders” (again, aka VOTERS) for their comfort. Staying and working with Dean for the future of the party may very well prove to be a worthy endeavor. It is a risky course, however, given the party’s history with “outsiders” (see the Carter administration).

Some consider joining, or forming, a third party. That may be a road that has to be considered. After all, it was the Green  and the Libertarian Parties that went to court to protect the right for EVERY American’s vote to be counted in Ohio. That, too, would be risky, given the built-in barriers to third party success in the electoral system.

Perhaps idealogical alliances can be struck, voting blocs to mirror those adopted by our more like-minded leaders in Congress. Perhaps the leaders in the Progressive Caucus itelf should consider splitting the party, joining Jim Jeffords in the Senate and Bernie Saunders in the House as a separate and united bloc independent of the two woefully corrupt “mainstream” political parties. That might sound to some as extreme, but as the “centrist” tide rolls along, it might be worth considering.

It is time for leftists to keep their options open. It is time for those on the left commit to each other, and our shared ideals of fairness, equal opportunity and our faith in a shared humanity. It is time to raise our voices, and make it very clear that vague promises will not be accepted from a party of corporate insiders that has shown itself repeatedly willing to sell out those most at risk in our society. We must form alliances, a progressive, liberal bloc to put pressure on the Democratic Party, ready to back up Dr. Dean as he makes progress toward a truly effective party, but ready to step back if the Vichy Dems continue to undermine his efforts.

It is especially important that we fight for the civil and privacy rights of ALL Americans, not just those who make pundits, DC insiders and the mythical “centrist” voter feel unchallenged.

Maybe in the next two elections we can finish the title above with the word “Democrat”, but it seems plain that the time is not now. It is time to make the party earn the left’s vote, or for the left to launch insurgent campaigns in primary races and in the general elections, if the party continues to undermine or lock out liberals.

image from Farm Security Administration Photographs of Florida

also diaried at dailykos

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