...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, August 11, 2003
      ( 12:36 PM )
Guess Who's This Week's Guerrilla?

Guerrilla News Network has chosen Howard Dean as this Guerrilla of the Week:

...it would be hard to argue that Dean isn't making a pretty
damn good case that he's the best thing the Left has going
as we head into the '04 election season. He says what he
believes, and he's energized tens of thousands of citizens
(including a high percentage of young people) across the
country. He also has the Party leadership shaking in their
loafers. Just based on the idiotic things Joe Lieberman has
said about him, he must be doing something right.

GNN goes on to print the comments of formerly green-voting Nico Pitney. I really liked what he had to say because I voted for Nader in 2000 and also feel that Kucinich most closely resembles my values among the candidates and I am far more progressive than Dean on most issues. This is a fine argument and one I think will help a lot of Greens and Progressives:

I passionately supported the Greens in 2000 and 2002. I
traveled 125 miles to see Dennis Kucinich speak when he
came to Los Angeles in May, and had the pleasure of introducing
him to a crowd of several hundred when he visited Santa
Barbara recently. Kucinich is a guiding light in Congress and,
of the nine Democratic presidential contenders, his views
most closely mirror my own.

Yet I won't be voting for Kucinich in the Democratic primaries,
nor will I vote Green in the general elections. My support will
go to Howard Dean.


In any case, the role of ideals in the voting booth is hazy.
Voting Green isn't necessarily the most effective way to
achieve Green policies. More importantly, supporting and voting
for Democratic candidates is in no way a personal affirmation of
the Democratic Party platform. It is, in part, a recognition of
Duverger's Law - one of the few reliable "laws" in the social sciences
- which states that American-style, winner-take-all, plurality voting
systems produce political structures intractably dominated by two
parties. Moreover, it is a recognition that the Democratic Party is
simply one network among many (albeit an incredibly powerful one)
through which those seeking fundamental political change in the
United States can act. Progressives ought to engage the Democratic
Party in the same way that we engage any powerful institution; we
should creatively test the limits of reform and attempt to produce change
that will assist us in our own wider struggles.


Why, of the establishment candidates, should progressives
choose Dean? His platform is as good or better than those of
Dick Gephardt and John Kerry, the only other two candidates
with a hope at gaining the Democratic nod. Vastly more important,
however, is the fact that Dean's web-focused campaign has the
potential to revolutionize the way American politics operates,
and progressives ought to be taking note.


There is, in fact, good reason to believe that progressive supporters
of Dean are well aware of his record, and are choosing to
support him despite its flaws. As American Prospect senior editor
Garance Franke-Ruta points out, "the most important part of the
Dean message is that it makes [supporters] feel that they have the
power to control their own destiny. ... This sense of renewed personal
power and hope seemed more important to most posters [to Dean's
weblog] than any specific policies that Dean supports or does not support,
and few on the threads agreed wholeheartedly with the former governor
on all his positions. Most recognized that he is a centrist who is fiscally
conservative and socially liberal."

Pitney goes on to elaborate on the various Dean positions that progressives may have problems with and to show how the Dean campaign is dealing with these, along with the incorrect reporting on some of the issues so far. I find it heartening that a progressive has written so well about this subject, and I hope that other greens and progressives and lefties in general will take the time to consider his very well stated arguments. We can work within the system far better with Dean as president, than we will with Bush for another four years:

"Patience and fortitude conquer all things," wrote Ralph Waldo
Emerson. In pressing times, progressives have demonstrated great
fortitude by committing themselves to institutions and social movements
that addressed injustices theretofore neglected. Howard Dean is no
holy grail, but amidst a trend in our country toward widespread political
ignorance and a sort of corporatized proto-fascist nationalism, perhaps
it is our patience that is needed now. What we have in Dean is a man who
can articulate liberal positions intelligently, passionately, and commandingly,
and who has the grassroots/netroots support and an appeal to diverse
constituencies that will allow him to defeat George Bush. Let's join Dean's
campaign, get on his e-mail lists, and spread the word.

Eyes on the prize, people. Eyes on the prize.

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