Monday, June 19, 2006

Reader Submission: Testifying in Columbus on the proposed Ohio anti-abortion bill

When I tell friends where I spent my time last Tuesday, they think I must be mistaken. Surely, I didn’t just tell them that I went to a hearing at our statehouse on a bill that might have been expected in the legislature in 1906, not 2006. Surely, I could not have said that supposedly intelligent, thinking, progressive people consider it civilized to make abortions completely, totally illegal under any circumstances—even prosecutable should an Ohioan cross or help someone cross the state line to obtain a safe, sanitary termination of an unwanted pregnancy. Surely they didn’t mean to further defile a victim of rape or incest by forcing her into another unwanted, unbidden act that will forever change her life. No, they said, you must be incorrect. Everyone knows, they said, that abortions will go on, as they always have, whether they are legal or illegal and that, in the later case, only the rich will be able to afford safe ones. And, some said, who wants to force someone to have a child when she feels she cannot or must not.

It makes me sad to think that some honestly believe that a living, breathing, knowledgeable woman has no right to choose what happens inside her own body. I won’t try to argue the philosophical or religious views that abhor this particular act, but surely they don’t believe that a woman’s body belongs to the state, that her rights should be subordinated to others beliefs, that she should be enslaved to the choices of others. Well, maybe they do. Maybe that’s why Ohio continues to slide down the continuum of desirable places to live. Or maybe it’s just another political ploy to create more divisiveness among voters.

At the least, wouldn’t we be better off spending time and money on preventing abortions through good education and family planning? I applaud that family value.
The above submission does not necessarily reflect the opinion of MCDAC or any of its members.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dem News Links for week of June 18th, 2006

Wall Street Journal prints Zogby survey showing Republicans in only 7 of 16 battleground Senate races.

Blackwell attacks Democrats' faith in God at speech in Toledo.

Strickland counter-attacks.

Editor & Publisher, a trade magazine for the publishing industry, points out that the media is either downplaying or ignoring poll results that show majority of Americans want deadlines for pulling out of Iraq.

Congressman Ralph Regula under fire for steering federal money to museum created by his wife.

Congressman Murtha blasts Rove on Meet the Press, scores him for sitting on his "fat backside in an air conditioned office", calls Bush's policy of "stay the course" "stay and pay."

White House press secretary criticizes media's concentration on fate of missing American soldiers.

Majority of Americans think that the Iraqi war has made things "worse off" for Americans.

DeWine criticized for allowing telecom mergers to take place with no oversight.

Is Blackwell courting racists and then trying to cover it up?

Interesting graphic about which Ohio counties are supporting which gubernatorial candidate financially

This article details how much money each candidate is raising outside of Ohio

John Kerry says Republican plan for Iraq is "lie and die."

Political Change is Hard Work

Not to sound too much like our president, "Bubble-Boy", but political change is hard work. That may be why the number of people who actually work for political change is only a small percentage of the number of people who talk about political change. Yet, while talking about change is important because it helps shape political discussions in our homes, workplaces, schools, etc., in the end political change is only accomplished by people going out and contacting other people.

In the last 40 years or so political campaigns have gone from being labor intensive to capital intensive. Back in the 1960s and even in the 1970s most political campaigns relied more on volunteers than on paid help. If a campaign wanted to do a mailing, for example, it got a bunch of volunteers together at a location and everyone put on address stickers and stuffed envelopes. If a campaign wanted to do phone work, they needed live bodies to actually make the calls.

Now, it is much different. Because of technology it is possible for a mailing house to mail thousands of households at one time. Because of technology, it is possible for a campaign to use "robo-calls" and put their message into thousands of homes and never use a real person to make the calls. The reason why it is tempting to use this technology is because you know the work gets done, there is very little co-ordination involved, and companies for whom this is their business generally do a better job than volunteers, no matter how well intentioned.

All of this technology comes at a price. First of all, it is expensive and that means that more dollars must be raised for political campaigns. This puts Democrats at a disadvantage because Democrats generally don't have as much access to money as Republicans. Second, by removing humans from the process, you have lessening the involvement between the campaign and the people the campaign is supposed to be about serving. Third, by relying so much on technology campaigns are giving the impression that they only people who matter are the ones signing checks. This only increases the cynicism that people have about politics.

The flip side, though, is that is politically inclined people want political campaigns to be about more than fund-raising they have to be willing to do the hard work of politics. They have to be willing to make phone calls, go door to door, work parades, drop literature, and do all the things that are essentail to winning elections, but which are also not fun.

If you are reading these words chances are good that you are interested in bringing about political change. What you have to ask yourselves is whether you are willing to do the hard work that is necessary to bring about that change. We can't answer that for you, only you can give that answer.
MCDAC hereby authorizes the reproduction of the above without attribution.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reader Submission: Why Busby Lost CA-50 Special Election

I wanted to comment on the election for Duke Cunningham's congressional seat. From my reading, I did not get a sense of the Democratic candidate's position on the immigration issue. This is a prime example of both the Republican strategy for '06 and a deficiency in Democratic values and/or tactics.

Middle Americans are against amnesty, guest worker programs, and for a fence to stop illegals, yet it would seem many Democratic candidates hold a different position. They talk of providing social programs for illegals, positively about guest worker programs, etc. The White House's sudden shift to the immigration issue was intentional for this California special election seat. It was a test case: Can Republicans, given their continuous failure, win elections? The answer they received from the voters was YES if they target a wedge issue that Democratic candidates are on the wrong side of with the general public.

What image does it give the American voter when Democratic candidates say to the American people, you should burden yourself and the country with the financial responsibility of illegal aliens. Add to that the back drop of job insecurity many Americans feel with foreign outsourcing. Democratic leaders must finally come to understand they must reflect middle American values and not believe they can impose their own and win.

In 2004 the gay marriage issue was divisive among Democratic candidates and middle American voters. We are now suffering four more years of additional decay to American life under the Bush administration. Was the democratic stance on gay marriage the result of a vocal well connected minority? Yes. Is the democratic stance on immigration equally mis-guided? Yes.

Middle American Democrats must stand up to our vocal minority and say your position is out of the mainstream and does not warrant losing an election over. Does access to gay marriage really improve life for the vast majority of Americans? The answer is NO. Middle American Democrats must retake control of our party or Republicans win, and that, America can not afford.

Kim Kendall
The above is posted with permission of the writer. Posting of entries on this blog does not necessarily reflect the views of MCDAC or any of its members.