Archive for April 30, 2011
Iowa is Starting from Scratch
by Paul Deaton
This week, a group of Iowa Democrats were sitting around a table talking about redistricting and the 2012 campaign. Everyone at the table was a veteran of many campaigns and present were elected officials, retirees, union members, a couple of folks who had run for office and a couple interested in running for office. Core activists in a Democratic party that hopes to regain some of the ground lost in the 2010 midterms. The conversation effused political experience and some of us relished that quality of the evening.
The coalition of voters who elected Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in the US House and Senate disbanded with the tide that brought Democrats to power. The sooner we embrace this idea, the more effective we will be in the run up to 2012.
Despite the persistence of Organizing for America, and its transfer from the DNC to the Chicago headquarters of President Obama's re-election campaign, the coalition of voters will have to be rebuilt for 2012. If the midterms are an indicator, there is a lot of work to do to re-establish Obama's mantra of “Respect, Empower, Include” which got lost in the last election cycle. People at the table nodded when talking about starting from scratch, something we do with every election.
As we snacked on chips and salsa, what seemed hard was taking the moment for its actuality, understanding it apart from the political habits of the past. If Republicans were disorganized in 2008, they have become better opponents despite the wide range of views in their party. Much of Iowa is turning purple, leaning red, in reaction to our government's failure to do things to bring us out of the recession and towards full employment. There are proven tactics in campaigns, like raising money, meeting voters and gaining visibility in communities. At the same time, ground tactics are not enough, although that evening, strategy seemed elusive.
A significant question was are “no preference” voters really without preference? Or, do they seek cover to get along in a society that is overly politicized? This seemed more true than not. Heads nodded again.
Over the summer a hundred conversations like ours will take place as Iowa gears up for another election. In a year of divided government, the challenges seem formidable. We have no real choice except to rise to the task of electing Democrats again. This year, facilitated by redistricting, we will start over from scratch.
Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend
editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail
Senate Hearing on Afghanistan Next Week
On May 3, 2011, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Afghanistan: What is an Acceptable End-State, and How Do We Get There? Here is the link where written testimony will be posted. In July, the United States is to initiate a draw down of forces in Afghanistan, and for people interested in ending our wars, it is time to take notice of this Senate Hearing.
As Matt Southworth of Friends Committee on National Legislation wrote on April 25th, “Will the Obama Administration finally acknowledge that the military led strategy in Afghanistan is failing
by every metric and shift to another kind of mission in Afghanistan?
The U.S. should not continue to slug on militarily while being outmaneuvered
by Taliban with shovels. Perhaps a diplomatic mission with the desired
ends of a political settlement with all Afghan groups would be best to
deliver peace and regional stability. Next weeks hearing has the
potential to shape the impending policy shift. You can weigh-in by contacting your elected officials today.” Read the rest of Southworth's article here.