« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

October 20, 2005

Report from the biannual Democratic Party of Oregon’s summit

Overall Impressions from the biannual Democratic Party of Oregon’s summit, in Sunriver.

My impression is that the Democrats in Oregon are

  • doing more of the right things
  • doing more of them better

It will take time for it to come to fruition, but people are working hard to be more competitive, reach more broadly and to fashion a vision of the future.

I saw a fairly low level of identity and issue politics -- most everyone is focused on common needs and building a more effective organization on many fronts.

The criticisms of the Republican power structure is more crisp, but, I think, still occupying too much air time relative to a positive, unifying vision of the future.

Among the forward-looking, positive vision/themes, the best were (no particular order):

  • J. Kitzhaber - articulating the case for, and changing the healthcare system to provide Universal Health more effectively and at lower cost
  • E. Blumenauer - developing part of what I call a “new urban-rural bargain” in Oregon thru new food grower-consumer strategies (I think this could be part of a three-legged stool of food, energy, water)
  • T. Kulongowski - think of K-college as complete public ed system since high school diploma isn’t enough in today’s economy
  • D. Carol - renewable energy investment for jobs in Oregon
  • J. Smith - not left, right or center, but FORWARD!

High level

The highly public policy failures (Katrina, Iraq, ...) and ethical failures (cronyism, corruption) have given Democrats an opening or (“reachable moment”  as one speaker put it) to touch independents and moderate Rs.  This means more than criticizing though, it means using their increasing openness to listen to alternatives in order to put forth a positive vision that they could evaluate ... where earlier their minds may have been closed.  (Note that Bush retains 79% approval among Rs though, so the opening is primarily with independents, who have left in double-digits per week, and only a few Rs -- there is no fundamental break within the R ranks yet.)

Looking at it from a Lakoffian view, a recent survey showed that the independents are “strongly dual” with both “strict” and “nuturant” metaphors operating, and faith voters lean nurturant.

Jefferson Smith captured well for me the need to move beyond the pundits false choices of left/center/right: “not left, not right, but forward!”

Gov. Kitzhaber made a good point about the importance of focusing on “ends” not the means“, so that

  • we don’t get caught defending policies that were designed for the right reasons but aren’t working as intended (more below), and
  • not being caught up in the political gamesmanship that focuses on gaining power and losing focus on *why* to gain that power: we have to have the positive vision of what we want to do when we have the power to move it forward
  • instead play citizenship over partisanship

There was very little ”identity politcs“ and issue politics in evidence to me.  For example in one workshop, the couple-of-dozen participants were basically united in being at the Summit because of concern about the kind of country their kids/grandkids would be stuck with if they didn’t get involved and change it.  That’s pretty fundamental and allows crossing traditional internal divides.

What I didn't expect: at least four times when the audience was moved to tears by the personal sacrifices some people have had to make these last few years.

Following are impressions from some of the key speeches

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Continue reading "Report from the biannual Democratic Party of Oregon’s summit" »

October 09, 2005

Book: Active Liberty by Justice Stephen Breyer

Stephen Breyer: Active Liberty Justice Stephen Breyer: Active Liberty

Justice Stephen Breyer articulates a coherent framework for interpreting the constitution as a Supreme Court Justice, responding to the neo-conservative "originalist" and "textualist" approaches. In it, Justice Breyer shows how he approaches his job by identifying the core principles the constitution embodies without being stuck in the 1700s nor moving from their grand intent.

Breyer's approach is founded on the idea that the constitution was often intended to provide grand, aspirational principles. He notes, the overlooked but obvious, issue that most of the "interesting" cases that arrive in the Supreme Court are questions that turn on the relative weights of different parts of the Constitution, not simply in understanding one part ... and thus is the hard part of interpretation. Active Liberty provides guidelines for that interpretation.

September 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Campaigns I Support

About Progressive Viewpoints