New Orleans During the World Series we finally learned something interesting about Barbara Bush that wasn’t horrific. It turns out she knows how to keep the box score on a game. While the Georges were rubbernecking and Laura was talking over her shoulder, the Iron Fist of Texas was dutifully minding the box score. If you don’t know, then learn, because we are all being asked to keep a score card for the efforts offering to save us from something now in these moments of our anger and alienation.
For the most part the dominant prescription for the dealing with the grassroots movement of the Tea-People and others is not a grassroots movement but it seems money and moderation. It turns out that when the right is storming the halls of Congress and the White House, it’s an organic apple a day, if you please. The basic teams in the field still seem to be the Tea-people versus the Me-People, but let’s mark the scorecard.
Yesterday’s news of more players joining as free agents included the Liberals spearheaded by Rob MacKay, who was labeled as a Taco Bell guy, but is better known to many of us over the years as a supporter of serious reform in California on many fronts and more recently as a big whoop with the Democracy Alliance, a Democratic political club of a 100+ rich contributors, and David Brock of Media Matters and its allied organizations. Brock’s main quotes seem to focus on the fact that he was really good a raising money and that he was confident that he could raise money for whatever the Liberals wanted to do. Program will follow.
There was also news that Steve Rosenthal, another long time comrade and friend, was convening people in DC to look at moving something forward to save the day. Given Steve’s long history with CWA, DOL, and then as political director for the AFL-CIO, and then as labor’s point man in a number of efforts around battlegrounds and voter mobilization, it’s fair to believe that Steve would be the point man for Labor.
It’s hard to call the Liberals and Labor parties, because these seem more like party caucuses trying to win the hearts and minds of the Democratic Party. These are fly traps for money. If they can get the commitments and dollars, then maybe there is capacity and a program based on a social network model: come where the big money and big players are and be with us! The one sure guarantee is that all of this will give the White House heart burn. Other than that, start marking your scorecard and see who you want for the fantasy team of big donors and operators.
And, then there’s my favorite: a real party of NO – the No Label Party. The Wall Street Journal dutifully reported a story on its entry into the field to galvanize moderates. All of this seems to be a contribution in terms. What passion would motivate moderates? I guess it would be who could say “excuse me” louder or something. It’s hard not to immediately think of Jim Hightower’s famous quote that the only thing in the middle is a yellow line and dead armadillos.
But this is serious and not because from the article’s quotes it seems to be uniting defeated and disgruntled candidates who lost election because they “were too moderate,” but because the Big Bucks of Bloomberg are lurking behind this. How do we know? Kevin Skeekey, Bloomberg’s long time deputy mayor and constant political wizard allowed his hand to be seen clearly as putting the organizers together from the Dems and Republicans to organize a big moderate confab in December. For Kevin to allow his role to be seen so clearly means that this is a neon signal that this is SERIOUS and that the Mayor is making his move, whatever that move might be.
Now why someone as smart and skilled is allowing any nascent effort in the political lists to be called the No Label Party even inadvertently is beyond me. Sometime it’s just really important when you are trying to actually fire up a grassroots movement or a political prairie fire to actually leave Manhattan and think about how it might all look and sound. Whatever? At least they are pretending to be a party caucus and lobby but willing to dive in and swim at the deep end of the pool.
There’s still a lot of room for real people to organize something that’s ours, but the early message being sent and received seems clear. It’s about the money, honey. Eventually, people will vote with their feet and we’ll see if we have a real response that resonates with the American people.