I’m at the opening plenary session at Take Back America. This is the 5th annual conference.
Live blogging: (I’ll update it as it proceeds)
Bob Borosage is speaking, his theme: the conservative era is at an end and our task is to outline what comes next.
Summary: They failed – Iraq, Katrina, economy not working for working people. So we have to make sure he public understands this. The conservative words sound good because they are meant to — they have been tested to sound good. But the reality of what they did is different.
Katrina was a teachable movement, but you do have to teach it. Republicans aren’t going to, they will say that things went wrong because they were not conservative enough. But they failed not simply because they were corrupt and incompetent – they failed because they get the world wrong, and we have to teach this lesson over and over again so Americans learn it.
Americans agree with progressives on the issues. But we need to do more than just repair the damage the conservatives have done — we need to break the conservative shackles on debate.
Ending the war is crucial and will be difficult. Changing laws to help unions organize is a critical reform toward helping regular people start getting ahead again. We need a trade strategy that works for the country not the multinationals. We need energy independence.
The progressive bloggers are here and they have taught us how to fight.
This is not the time for timidity – don’t want to hear people talking about tracking to the elusive “center.” This is our time to claim the future. We have to grab this opportunity and if we don’t grab it somebody else will and they will take it in the wrong direction.
We have done it before. FDR’s reforms enabled the creation of a middle class. …
We can do this. We can take back America, it’s up to us.
Eli from MoveOn is speaking now. Can’t wait until this conference is called “OK we’ve got America.”
After 9/11 President Bush exploited the fear that people felt to start a war, … and to win two elections.
For those of us who really believe that when and where and how you are born should not dictate your fate, this has been a very dark time. Looked for leaders to guide us out, and mostly they didn’t come. So we realized we have to take on the responsibility ourselves. Bush and Rove are dismantling our democracy. We have to defend it.
As we fought we got stronger and new ways to talk to each other emerged. DailyKos, etc. League of Young Voters, Color of Change, MoveOn. We grew. Now MoveOn has 3.7 million people, adding a quarter of a million in the last month alone.
In 2006 people rolled up their sleeves and got to work to elect a Democratic Congress.
For this movement of millions we are creating an idea of a true progressive America for the first time. We have won some battles but the ar goes on our work is far from done. With the country rallying behind them on every issue it is hard to understand why our Democratic leaders are making some of the concessions they have been making.
But the point is that it wasn’t our leaders who stood up – it was US. Millions of people took responsibility for what was happening so we shouldn’t be waiting around for the politicians to deliver us, we could wait a long time. If we want to stop the climate crisis, or get health care or end the war we have to make them do what we want them to do. The millions of us will find a way.
Andrea Batista Schlesinger of the Drum Major Institute.
Nature vs Nurture – for the right it’s just nature, it just happens. All the things that are going wrong. But it’s not nature is it? We know that the social contract has been obliterated. The point of government is that we are supposed to “social engineer” for the benefit of people. The creation of the middle class is the best evidence for a progressive ideology.
The Employee Free Choice Act is an opportunity. We can reform the bankruptcy bill. We can push for universal health insurance and also paid sick leave and family leave…
When we aim for the best instead of the good we can offer this country something.
Rep. Keith Ellison
Let’s talk about leadership and how to pump up, build and strengthen the progressive movement. Don’t shortchange the vision. If we don’t know where we’re going we don’t know where to go.
1964 was the low point for their movement. Barry Goldwater had gotten some ugly results in the campaign and it was bad times for the conservative movement. But they were patient, and understood that projecting a vision was going to take a lot of work. In 1973 Lewis Powell wrote the Powell Manifesto that said this is what we have to do. We should make people think that running government like a business is a good thing to do. Now we all understand – Enron, etc. – that running government like a business is not necessarily a good thing.
Be patient, you might be mad at the Congress for not ending the war in 6 months, be dissatisfied, but don’t turn that into a cannibalistic enterprise. If you want health care, peace, sustainability – it is going to take everyone. We are itching for change and sometimes in that frame of mind you turn on people you don’t think delivered for you fast enough.
Politicians will see the light when they feel the heat.
Make sure that we continue to strengthen ways to continue to communicate with each other. We are diverse, the more we share, the more we understand each other, we can act as a unified body to make change.
All focused on putting maximum pressure on our political leaders to make it impossible to go on with this war after September.
Representative Jan Schakowsky
Remember that some of us in the Congress are you. Play your role out there as we play our role inside.
No one wants to end this war more than Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Her primary goal has been to end this war.
We need the strength of unions watching out back, bringing health care, sick leave. Organized labor is a driving force behind the progressive movement. Unions are under attack because of what they do – they hold corporations responsible. That is why they are under attack and why we should all stand with labor.
Go to costofwar.com to see what could be done with the money spent on the war.
(Almost out of battery…)
18,000 Americans die each year because they do not have health insurance and can’t get the care they need… a listing of the groups this number doesn’t include, including mental care, immigrants …
We will not be satisfied until we all get health care…
It is our job to build political pressure so we can’t be ignored.