Young Democrats of Harford County

For Democrats of all ages and other like-minded folks in Harford County, Maryland.

Meeting on Wednesday!

Posted by Annie on January 14, 2008

Our next meeting is at 6:30 on Wednesday, January 16th at Sean Bolan’s in Bel Air.  We will be having a mock debate of sorts involving the Democratic presidential candidates.  If you haven’t made up your mind yet or if you have and want to fight for a candidate, go to Sean Bolan’s on Wedndesday.  Click here for directions.  It should be interesting!


5 Responses to “Meeting on Wednesday!”

  1. As a non-Democrat, I didn’t really try to make the debate. I won’t be allowed to vote in the primary anyway, even though my tax dollars are paying for it and non-partisan offices, such as Circuit Court judge, are up for election. I am interested in hearing why Democrats support who they do, though, and what their vision of the next President of the United States is. Perhaps we could get a summary of the meeting, for those who couldn’t make it.

    I think a lot of Democrats, independents, and non-voters agree with me that none of the Democratic challengers offer anything woth voting for. I would love to hear some ideas about that, or a response to the excerpt below, which I think sums it up pretty well:


    “The discussion needs to begin with the uncontroversial assumption that neither of the two Dem front-runners has any credibility among serious progressives. Both are hopelessly compromised, one supported by Rupert Murdoch, the other by George Will. The one a recipient of lavish contributions from hedge fund billionaires, the other stuffed to the brim by investment banking firms. One in the pocket of energy consortia the other bought and paid for telecommunications conglomerates.

    For a brief period, the Edwards candidacy provided a flicker of encouragement for the much vaunted Democratic wing of the Democratic party but by this point it seems certain that (yet again) the strategy of working within the Democratic Party promoted by, among others, Norman Solomon, David Sirota and the Progressive Democrats of America has been a failure. Rather than throwing more good money after bad, the left needs to (yet again) recognize the traditional role of the Democrats as the graveyard of progressive movements, the Edwards campaign joining on the scrap heap the failed candidacies of Kucinich, Dean, Jackson, McCarthy among others. While this is all water under the bridge for the moment, it will be something to keep in mind in 2012 and before when a similar cast of characters will try to sell the same rancid meat in different packages.”

    I personally cannot believe that Obama has been able to convince so many people that he represents a break from politics-as-usual. As a third-party member constantly working to maintain ballot access, this article says everything that needs to be said about Obama’s thoughts on what politics is and how it is to be played (even against Democratic party-mates).


    “Obama knows his way around a ballot
    By David Jackson and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune

    The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

    There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.

    Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.

    But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics…
    A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it…

    “Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?” Askia said. “He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?”

  2. trumanesque said

    Greetings Brian,

    I would agree with you, but you’re wrong. Democratic candidates offer a lot this year. Each has an actual health care plan, a responsible energy policy, a plan for helping us dig out of the recession, and a plan for bringing the troops home. And each would address global warming. Any of them would be better than any of the Republicans’ “here’s another tax cut” sloganeers. No candidate is perfect, just as no political party is perfect. But we have to elect somebody, and it may as well be the most qualified, most capable leader who can and will tackle our most pressing issues.

    I sympathize that you can’t vote in a primary in Maryland. It’s really wrong that non-D’s or R’s can’t vote for judge. But your temporary disenfranchisement is not a basis for telling the world not to vote for any Democrat. Enough Republicans are saying that. We can argue about whether it’s right or wrong, but at the end of the day, Americans will put either a Democrat or a Republican in the White House. If you’re a progressive, you’d better hope that it’s a Democrat.

    The anecdote about Obama is pointless. Obviously his campaign successfully challenged petition signatures. If his rivals had really wanted to win, they should have gotten authentic signatures. Good for him in insisting his opponents play fair. We need a leader who’s not going to take dirty tricks lying down.

    See you in November.

  3. If I were a progressive, which I am, I would support neither Clinton nor Obama, if I valued my vote. “Progressive” doesn’t mean “better than a heartless conservative”. The term has to mean something or it is useless. Their stances on the key issues you point out show just how much the “change” candidates support the status quo that we all agree sucks.

    I don’t think the Progressive Democrats for America are the best possible model, but let’s use their example on health care. PDA has prioritized a single-payer health care system. Neither Clinton nor Obama support a single-payer system. They support universal coverage, but leave the implementation of universal coverage in the hands of employers and private insurance companies. If you’ve seen ‘Sicko’ you know why that system is doomed.

    Both Clinton and Obama voted against funding the war in May of 2007. Fair enough. But both Clinton and Obama voted for over $240 BILLION in war funding in 2007 alone ($124 billion on 4/26/07 and $122 billion on 3/29/07). These were emergency supplemental bills, not the yearly allocations for the Department of Defense. They were not approving pay for soldiers or medicine for their babies – they were approving President Bush’s request for extra funds solely to continue the occupation of Iraq.

    Clinton and Obama’s belief in global warming and promises to do something about it are meaningless – John McCain believes that we ought to do something about global warming. I congratulate Clinton and Obama for their recognition of reality.

    I guess you can’t appreciate my anecdote about Obama’s challenging of his opponent’s petitions without having participated in a petition drive before. Most discrepancies occur not because of “dirty tricks,” but because someone signs a petition using the incorrect address, putting the zip code in the wrong box, signing a petition for the wrong county, etc. I don’t see challenging all four primary opponents off the ballot as a triumph over political shenanigans – I see it as using legal leverage to deny voters the right to choose from among candidates with diverse messages. The article says that Obama knew that’s what it would look like he was doing, but he did it anyway.

    If you want to learn about petitioning “dirty tricks,” look into what Democrats in a dozen states did to Ralph Nader in 2004. 🙂

    Happy a Super Tuesday!

  4. trumanesque said


    We can argue about whether Clinton’s or Obama’s plans go far enough to meet some idyllic standard. We can also discuss whether any plan has a political chance of success in today’s climate.

    None of that is the point. I was responding to your assertion that none of the Democratic candidates “offer anything worth voting for.” A candidate who recognizes our country’s vital problems, and has a forward-looking plan to solve those problems that will benefit the most citizens, is worth voting for. I believe both remaining Democratic candidates fit that bill.

    The root of “progressive” is “progress.” It usually does not mean immediate, 180-degree reversal. It’s OK to argue that we’re at such a crisis that we must move that fast. But to equate slower-than-desired change with no change at all is wrong and irresponsible. It may end up with the no-change candidate winning, and we can’t afford that.

    P.S. I wasn’t present for the Obama-Chicago petition hearings, and neither were you. We don’t know on what grounds the signatures were invalidated, but they were. Some of us refer to “legal leverage” as simply “the law.”

  5. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I think we’re coming at the issues from two very different points of view. I don’t view refusing to fund the war or using the $240 billion that we spent on it in 2007 to pay for universal health coverage for Americans as “idyllic”. I view it as something that could happen (and with a Democratic majority in Congress, should have happened) if politicians listened to what the majority of people – not the majority of defense contractors and health care executives – wanted. This is the “problem” that I want my President to recognize – not that people need things, but that the reason people need things is that the President has prioritized bankers, investors, and owners ever since we had Presidents. Like Matt Damon said in Good Will Hunting – read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”. That book will knock you on your ass.

    It has been this way since 1789, so I argue that now is the time to take a 180-degree turn. Nearly all progressives agree. Check out George Lakoff’s book “Don’t Think of an Elephant” for his analysis of progressive values and what they mean. Accepting glacial change is a liberal value, not a progressive one. Progressives are defined by their belief in radical change and refusal to be constrained by established systems.

    It doesn’t really matter what the petitions that Obama challenged to make sure he was the only Democrat on the ballot looked like. I’m saying that someone who talks about “change” as much as he does never should have looked at them. My point is that he sees the world of politics as one in which people should be excluded if they fail to meet certain standards (and that these standards were not created randomly – they were created by people working to preserve power for themselves). Why should a Democrat have to turn in any petitions to be on a Democratic ballot they are otherwise qualified for? I can’t think of a reason, but he accepted that point of view and applied it, using the legal system to exclude others. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right.

    Just like it’s not right that independents and third party members can’t vote for non-partisan judges next week. Does that fact provide specific reasons not to vote for a Democratic candidate? No. But I hope that, as an analogy, it helps progressives realize that Clinton and Obama are the ones who helped create, sustain and pay for the system they are now saying is broken.

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