Friday, April 22, 2005

Progressive Update--4/22/2005

I’ll keep this brief. I have a quick heads-up for action this weekend, and a little framing update.

This weekend the Republican Party is abandoning our country’s foundation of the separation of church and state as the Republican Senate leader Bill Frist joins the campaign to participate in a rally claiming that Democrats are opposed to people of faith. This of course represents the total capitulation of the leading political party in this country to the fundamentalists (if this were Afghanistan, that would be grounds for invasion!). The religious right is preparing for an assault on Senate rules protecting the filibuster as a method to block voting for judicial nominations that are opposed by more than 40% of the US Senate, rules that have been in place for two centuries.

Move-On is organizing street-level action, to hand out flyers, make phone calls, and contact your Senators. If you are interested in joining Laura Anderson here in Newark on Sunday from noon to 2pm, email her at

Bush’s nominee to be the US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton (yes the guy who believes that the UN is an anachronism), was preceded by former Republican Senator John Danforth from Missouri. On March 30th, he wrote an editorial in the New York Times in which he wrote ‘in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around. The historic principles of the Republican Party offer America its best hope for a prosperous and secure future. Our current fixation on a religious agenda has turned us in the wrong direction.’

Progressives believe in, and fiercely fight to defend Americans’ right to faith. This is what our country was founded on, and this is what Republicans such as our President and the Senate leader are threatening. What we don’t believe in is to fight to force our faith on another. Progressives want to turn this country around, to enable it to support each of us living our faith without persecution. Of course faith for most progressives means caring about each other. Conservative Republicans are opposing people of faith who recognize that the bankruptcy reform, Social Security piratization, and tax cuts for the wealthy (Bush’s taxes are more than $20,000 lower in 2004 due to his cuts, and Cheney’s savings are over $80,000) are causing incredible harm to a great many Americans, Americans who are ignored by politicians such as Frist, DeLay, and Bush, who wear their faith on their sleeve while worshiping at the altar of lobbyists.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Progressive Update--4/8/2005

Common Core Values, Properly Framed are the Key—Progressives have far more in common with middle America than does the religious right and conservative Republicans. What we failed to do in 2004 was to ‘lead with the bridge’, talk first about our ideals, our core values. This enables us to build common ground with our audience, and only after achieving consensus do we proceed to strategy and policy. This is done most effectively with the use of metaphors, or frames, as written about by George Lakoff (and his book Don’t Think of an Elephant), and Jeffrey Feldman (

The FrameShopIsOpen site offers us tools to effectively respond to questions on current issues, such as the Social Security trust fund, fascism in America, and most recently, on how Democrats are different from Republicans. It offers an Elevator Speech. To effectively turn the tide, progressives need to unify our message, and permanently rise above the fact-only level.

Therefore, in political discussions, letters to the editor, etc, identify the highest ideal that supports your issue, and lead with this ideal. Only after you have tried to gain consensus on the ideal should you travel down to how your issue supports the ideal.

Blogs, Blogs, As Far As The Eye Can See—There are a growing number of progressive blogs, websites at which the authors (and sometimes readers) post articles. Several Democratic Presidential Primary candidates had blogs run by their campaigns. Delaware state Treasurer Jack Markell initiated which has some good stuff, including a recent posting from PDD (Progressive Democrats of Delaware framing guru Bob Stachnik). Celia Cohen runs, which I believe covers both the Democratic and Republican party actions in Delaware. She is known for timely, thorough, and interesting coverage, such as of last Saturday’s New Castle County Democratic Party Convention.

I just created to hold many of my progressive posts. It is very basic, as it is my first attempt. At this point, its goal is to make it easy to access my past postings without keeping a gazillion emails.

Local Politics Update—I am now a member of the local (23rd Representative District) Democratic District Council. Our district’s state representative is newly elected Democrat Terry Schooley (co-sponsor of HB36, ending discrimination in Delaware based on sexual orientation). She shared that conservative legislators tacked on an amendment to slow down the bill’s passage, exempting the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to which the regional Girl Scout council executive objected to being lumped with the discriminatory Boy Scouts, and demanded that the Girl Scouts not be exempted from the anti-discrimination bill.

In One Week—The Committee is hosting the 10th Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Auction from 6-9pm on Friday April 15th at the UUFN church. New Castle County Executive Chris Coons will be the auctioneer—this is well worth the cost of admission. I have a limited supply of these $10 tickets. Let me know if you’d like to buy a ticket! The proceeds will enable the committee to help local and less-local Democratic candidates’ campaigns.

You can meet Terry Schooley on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30am at the Eagle Diner. She would welcome a visit from you.

Keep it progressive!

Paul Baumbach