Sunday, January 02, 2005

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

As we begin a new year, it is time for every loyal Democrat to make a resolution to "vote" in 2005 with his/her wallet. Fortunately, there is a new website: "Choose The Blue," to help you accomplish that goal.

Choose The Blue tracks political contributions made by corporations through political action committees (PACS) and employee contributions to political parties or candidates in recent federal elections. According to Choose The Blue, if every voter who voted "Blue" in 2004 spends $100 in 2005 on products of a corporation that supported "Blue" candidates, over $5 billion in revenue would be shifted to "Blue" supporting companies.

Below is a sample of how corporations distributed their political contributions:

Airlines: Jet Blue gave 89% of its donations to Democratic candidates. America West Airlines gave 87% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Automobile Insurance: Progressive Insurance gave 91% of its political contributions to Democratic candidates, while State Farm Insurance gave 81% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Banks: World Savings and Loan gave 92% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Wells Fargo gave 63% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Books and Cards: Barnes and Noble gave 98% of their contributions to Democratic candidates. Hallmark gave 81% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Cable TV Providers: Emmis Communications (Power 106 LA) gave 90% of their contributions to Democratic candidates. The Sinclair Broadcast Group gave 95% of their contributions to Republican candidates.

Gasoline: Shell Oil gave 54% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Arco gave 65% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

General Food Category: Sara Lee gave 64% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. JM Smucker Company gave 100% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Grocery Stores: Costco Companies gave 98% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Albertsons gave 73% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Household Products: Sweetheart Cups (Sweetheart Cup Company) gave 99% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Drano (SC Johnson & Son) gave 87% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Retail Stores: Bed, Bath, and Beyond gave 93% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Circuit City Stores gave 96% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Telephone Service: Working Assets Funding Service Inc gave 100% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Alltel Corporation gave 74% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

Wireless Service: T Mobile gave 52% of its contributions to Democratic candidates. Verizon gave 60% of its contributions to Republican candidates.

In 2005, please support the Democratic Party by patronizing those companies that have made significant contributions to Democratic candidates. Please support theDemocratic Party with your vote, your words, and with your dollars. Working together, we can take back our country from the right wing extremists who control our government and have caused serious damage to our economy, our environment, our civil liberties, and to our image throughout the world.






Sunday, December 26, 2004

Bush Vulnerable on Iraq

A recent CNN/USA Today/ Gallup Poll (conducted 12/17-19/04) shows that Bush is extremely vulnerable on the war in Iraq.

The first question asked in the poll: "Do you approve or disapprove of the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq in March 2003? 48% of the respondents said they approved, 51% said they disapproved, and 1% were unsure.

The second question asked: "Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. has handled the situation in Iraq in the past few months?" 39% of respondents approved, 58% disapproved, and 3% were unsure.

The third question asked: "Compared to a year ago, do you think the situation for the United States in Iraq is better, about the same, or worse?" 20% of the respondents said the situation was better , 32% said it was the same, 47% said it was worse, and 1% were unsure.

The final question asked: "Would you favor or oppose sending additional U.S. troops to Iraq to help with the upcoming elections in Iraq?" 50% of respondents were in favor of sending more troops, 48% were opposed, 2% were unsure.

The significance of the poll is that a clear majority of Americans disapprove of the initial decision to go to war against Iraq and the manner in which the Bush Administration is handling the Iraqi situation. A clear plurality of Americans believe the situation is getting worse, and the country is evenly split on whether to send additional troops to Iraq for the specific purpose of helping with the upcoming elections.

The bottom line in regard to this polling data is that a large segment of the American electorate has a sense of apprehension about the Bush Administration's approach to Iraq. How do Democrats respond to that apprehension?

The way to respond is by adopting a policy of "economic nationalism." At a time of sluggish economic growth and a deficit approaching one half trillion dollars, how can we continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on Iraq? Why do we have money for Iraq, but no money for health care for the more than 40 million Americans who have no health insurance? Why do we have money for Iraq but no money to provide our kids with a decent education?

In addition, we need to remind the American people that America committed troops to Korea in 1950. More than 50 years later, our troops remain in that country. Is that to be our fate in Iraq?

Once the elections in Iraq take place in January (if they take place in January), we must use that event to make the case that, in the final analysis, it is up to the Iraqi people to bring order and stability to their own country. We can provide equipment and training, but the future of Iraq should be in the hands of Iraqis. In keeping with that concept, we should mobilize the American people to pressure the Bush Administration into adopting a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq once a new Iraqi government has been elected and takes office.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Democrats Need to Move On

The time has come for Democrats to stop wringing their hands and get over their depression about last Novembers presidential election. Now is the time to analyze what went wrong and how we can do better next time.

First, what went wrong? The following is a list of the lessons we Democrats should learn from this election:

Lesson #1: The Democratic nominee shouldn't come from the Northeast. Like it or not, there is a clear bias by some Americans against a candidate from the Northeast. In recent years, the Democratic Party has nominated candidates from the Northeast twice, and the candidates lost both times.

Lesson #2: Nuance and ambiguity have no place in a political campaign. Kerry's position on Iraq hurt him with many Americans. For much of the campaign, his position on this issue was unclear to most Americans, including many of his supporters. The best message in a political campaign is a simple message.

Lesson #3: Personality counts in politics! Throughout the campaign, Bush was portrayed as being folksy and down to earth while Kerry was depicted as being a humorless "blue blood."

Lesson #4: In a political campaign, you cannot allow your opponent to use you as a punching bag. Throughout the month of August, the so called "Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth," launched attack after attack on Kerry's Vietnam record. Amazingly, the Kerry Campaign made an ill conceived strategic decision not to counterattack. As a result, Kerry lost his momentum and was forced to play defense, responding to the other sides attacks. His greatest asset: his record in Vietnam, was turned into a liability.

Lesson #5: While some Democrats may not like to hear this, the reality is that the "values issue" is very important to many Americans. The Democratic Party ignores this issue at its own peril. When I refer to values, I'm not talking about Republican values i.e. bashing gays, supporting a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion, banning stem cell research etc. I'm talking about values like feeding the hungry,"clothing the naked," and judging people by the content of their character, not based on their race, religion, national origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation.

How can we do better next time?

First, I suggest that we nominate a moderate candidate from the South. Since 1976, two Democrats have been elected president. Both came from the South. In addition, three-fifths of the 270 electoral votes needed to elect a president come from the South. Writing off this entire region makes it extremely difficult for a Democratic candidate to win a presidential election.

Second, the nominee of the Democratic Party for president must have loads of personality. Bill Clinton proved how important it was to have a Democratic candidate who could "shmooze" the American people.

Third, the Democratic nominee must be tough. When the Republicans try to smear him, he must be willing to counterattack immediately, and beat the hell out of the other side.

I am confident that if the Democratic Party follows these principles and selects a candidate with these attributes, we can be successful in 2008 and reverse the destructive right wing tide currently being promoted by George W. Bush and his reactionary cronies that threatens the future of our country.