What Do We Want?

The Internet connection seems to have picked up a bit, so I’ll try to be a good little exhibit and demonstrate my keyboarding skills for the folks.

In his most recent Newsweek column, Howard Fineman demonstrates he’s only a couple of years behind the Blogosphere:

Democrats aren’t likely to find leaders and answers here in the capital, and can’t expect the traditional media to light the way. Instead, Democrats need to be a “states’ rights” party in a new sense, shunning the sclerotic political machinery of the capital for the new ideas, programs and tactics sprouting in the states–and in the digital netroots of America.

So far, so good.

Americans want optimism and ideas, and are tired of hearing about the capital.

Hmm, let’s think about this. Do Americans really want “optimism” and “ideas”? Most politicians I’ve ever seen radiate optimism like the sun, except when they’re in fear mongering mode. Us morose and brooding types don’t go into politics. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up the wazoo with ideas.

What do we want from politicians? Do we want to be wooed with promises (Oooo, baby, what would you do for a new health care policy?). Or do we want people who seem to be serious about governing? And how would one demonstrate that?

Fineman says the Dems have to think outside the box. No, really, he said that. And he gets paid for that, mind you.

A reference to Yearly Kos:

Zuniga and Armstrong bring the communications story up to date. The most successful presidents tend to be those who master the new media forms of their time: the letter-and-pamphlet writing era of Washington and Jefferson, the speechmaking-telegraph days of Lincoln, FDR and radio and newsreels, JFK and Reagan and television. Now the Net awaits its own Great Communicator.

[Interlude: Glenn Greenwald dropped by. It’s nice to meet people that are, you know, people, and not just verbiage on my laptop monitor.]

Maybe it’s because I’m working in a fishbowl, but I’m having trouble articulating what I’m looking for in a politician. Progressivism, certainly. Thoughts?

[Interlude: NeoJoe came by and says hi!]

18 thoughts on “What Do We Want?

  1. Americans want optimism and ideas..

    If that’s what we supposedly want, look no further than the Republican party. They brim with a sunny optimism borne of blind delusion, and plenty of wrong headed ideas as a result.

    Sadly I think Fineman is right. While it’s important to be aware of what people want, it’s more important to focus on what people need. Fortunately most of us are waking up to the how the Republican solution fails to deliver in the needs dept.

    What I want from a politician is someone who:

    – is grounded in reality, not fiction

    – puts the needs of the whole country ahead of particular groups or individuals

    – recognizes that the health of a society is determined by the health of its weakest members, and is not afraid to fight for those who lack power, and who understands that we all benefit as a result.

    – can see the interconnectedness of all things

    – has the guts to tell me the truth, not a bunch of pablum

    – can get things done

    – a three digit IQ would be nice. Someone who reads serious books, is respected by intelligent people, would be welcome (Al Gore). Someone who’s moved beyond the frat-boy or corporate wolf in terms of emotional maturity (your favorite highly respected female here, perhaps Oprah). Someone whose concerns are planetary in scope (Gorbachev).

    If you see Jesus or Buddha at the conference, let us know.

    Fineman strikes me as a highly paid hack. It’s people like him that cause normal people to take up blogging. He may be right in a shallow sense (focusing on wants over needs) but I nonetheless resent him telling me “what America wants”. What chutzpah.

  2. If you see Jesus or Buddha at the conference, let us know.

    I will, but first I’ll tell them to soup up the wireless Internet.

    He may be right in a shallow sense (focusing on wants over needs) but I nonetheless resent him telling me “what America wants”. What chutzpah.

    Isn’t advertising and marketing all about creating a “want” and then filling it? Maybe the Dems should forget the optimism and ideas thing and instead embark on a campaign to persuade Americans that they want good government.

  3. No doubt we certainly NEED good government. (Maha …It was great meeting you by the way, even if Security Lady blasted me on my way out, LOL)

  4. Someone who has the interests of the weakest and most powerless members of our society at heart. Someone interested in holding the strongest and most powerful to account, and demanding an obligation from them to the rest of us. Someone who can point to intolerance and call it un-American and mean it. Someone who will spend money on cargo container inspection instead of killing the next zarchawi.

  5. Fineman is a hack. Cliche monger!

    What do we want?
    Separation of church and state!
    When do we want it?

    Also: Iraq and Afghanistan exit strategies, reinstated taxes for the rich, a “Manhattan Project” for alternate energy sources to power our vehicles and provide electricity. Recountable ballots nationwide. Restoration of Clean Air and Clean Water. And the Coal Miners’ protective regs while we’re at it.

    In other words, the Dems’ entire platform could be built around cleaning up Chimpy’s gigantic mess.

  6. “Americans want optimism and ideas”= Americans want more smoke blown up their behind?? I think not,Howie…

    I want a politician who isn’t a preacher…I don’t want to hear his testimony about how he found his /her faith.. he/she can save that for a church service.Plus if I have to be told about their faith rather then seeing it demonstrated ..it’s all just bullshit anyhow..

    I want a politician , not a snake oil salesman.Policy should not be decided at the top , then sold to the masses…policy should be called for by the masses and carried out by those at the top…
    The Iraq war is a prime example of a snake oil salesman.Their agenda to start the war there was planned LONG before they held any office….they then went about the task of selling us a war based on every reason but the real one…WMD,Liberation=snake oil

    More than anything I want a politician who’s sanity is not in question…people who claim to hear voices and claim things are going well while we watch a city drown frankly make it hard for anyone with a brain to sleep soundly at night…. I want One who thinks “perception over reality” is hogwash.

    I want a politician who will do the job without being so paranoid they feel the need to spy on their own American citizens…when it is the American people who should be afraid given the nutcase who has control of our nukes…Can you be sure you will wake up tomorrow to find the nut job hasn’t decided to nuke someone??If so, you have more faith than I.

    Maybe old Howie feels the need for more smoke to be blown up his ass but I want someone to tell me things are a friggin mess however,they have a plan to start the clean up.I want to hear a politician say we are all going to have to work and do our part to fix it…I want a politician to ask every American to get on board…We have had our fun spending like a crack whore at Tiffany’s now we have to buckle down and clean up the carnage(maybe they could say it nicer than that , huh?)

    I want to hear them say they want to restore a government that doesn’t spy on their own,that doesn’t use “terror alerts” as a fear tactic, that we will again be a nation that has no human rights questions like Gitmo, or our many”black” location where we torture the crap out of people….And finally when all of this is said and done I want to know American will say she is sorry for the things we have done wrong and that bush and his pals will be held to account for any crimes they may have been found to have committed….

    So if you see any politicians , give em a kick in the pants and tell them to get on it,, we have a lot of work to do and not a minute to lose…and if you see Howie,,, blow some smoke up his ass,, he seems to like it.

  7. I wouldn’t be adverse to a politician who respects the rule of law and believes the constitution isn’t an outdated scrap of paper. Also I could support a politician (like Murtha) who might really feel for the lives and suffering of our men and women in uniform, rather than denigrating their sacrifice with empty words and feigned emotion like some unnamed poiticians.

    Oh yeah…honesty would be a plus.

  8. We want to feel good about America. And we want the world to see that we are good people.

  9. I just got into “Armed Madhouse” by Greg Palast.The weather was crappy jesterday, so I was able to get about 1/3rd into it.Great read, although it is a pisser-offer, makes me wonder if it’s even possible to turn this thing around, but I don’t have much of a choice.This is my home, and as much as I fantasize about running away, I know it won’t happen.Y’all need to read this book, then tell everyone you know about it.
    A young fellow that helps me with chores dropped a bomb on me a couple of weeks ago, he joined the Army Reserves. I asked him why, he said the money is great, he’ll get to finish his college when he gets back from basic training, and everything is cool, besides, one of his buddies is just back from his 2nd tour in Iraq as a marine, and said it “isn’t so bad”. When I asked him what motivates his age group to join up during war he said a lot of his friends need the money, have no direction in school, and some just want to kill people…f’in great.
    My friend is 6’8″ tall and as graceful as a great dane puppy,I don’t let him use the power tools, he damned near cut a finger off with a hammer several months ago, that’s a trick in it’s self, hope he makes it out with all his body parts intact.
    An associate of mine told me over lunch today that she supports the war and (of course) the “Troops”.
    She said we’d better fight them “over there” than over here.
    I asked her how “they” would get here….Magic carpets, or wtf…
    My touretts is acting up again.
    It appears that a major assault is about to happen in Ramadi, thousands more will die for a lie.
    So Swami, if WE are good people, how do WE stop this evil?So many are so ignorant of what is happening & this is the problem.
    Until Bush weaseled his way into the White House, I NEVER read a political book, I’ve read three in the past month, and am addicted to political blogs.
    Where will this all end? Perhaps it will simply implode under the weight of this evil, I hope our citizens will wake up and throw them out, but people are afraid to get out of the comfort zone.

    I’m not criticizing your words, just blowing off a bit of steam.
    Hurricane day tomorrow, perhaps I’ll finish “Armed Madhouse”.

  10. Freedom. I don’t want to be shackled to a job by health insurance. I don’t want to feel like I can be crushed and destroyed by cruel bankruptcy laws and catostrophic medical illness.

    I want to know that my government is guarding sensitive sites like nuclear reactors and is shoring up infrastructure so that a bomb doesn’t knock us all out of whack. I want a government who looks to the future technologies of renewable energies and tells me what I need to do to reduce my energy use so that we can avoid destroying our civilization.

    I want a government who keeps me free from those fears so I can discover myself and develop myself to the fullest. So yeah, Freedom for Fear.

  11. The pundits say Democrats need to show “authenticity.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I would guess that it may be a reference to all their hedging and triangulating. I do find this quality frustrating. I want to get a sense that there is URGENCY in the air, that there is real passion to change what is going on. But, I’m afraid, most Democrats these days are milque toasts.

    I want maturity, experience and this sense of URGENCY and concern from the heart about where America is going. Wes Clark’s speech at the TX Convention a couple of days ago showcased these attributes. Frankly, he’s the only one I see that eschews the smarmy ass-kissing and phoniness I see all over the place. He’s a breath of fresh air–he treats his listeners with respect and really wants people to understand what is happening to his country.

    Clark is the only one keeping me hopeful for 2008; if Democrats pass him over, I won’t be wasting my time trying to light a fire under the Democrats any longer.

  12. We want grown ups in charge. People with sane ideas and a realization of the fact that actions have consequences, and that reality trumps ideology. We want to get rid of the corrupt criminal lunatics who have hijacked this country and turned it into a cesspit of greed, sleaze and warmongering.

  13. erinyes..I don’t have the answer. The best I know how to do is to speak out against it just like yourself. Even if I’m pissing to the wind, I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing I didn’t go along with the lies and that I cared enough about my country to seek after the truth. I share your frustrations and I have hope that this scourge of ignorance and evil that is plaguing our nation will soon come to pass. I guess in the battle for truth, ignorance has the advantage.

    Anyway, keep ranting, I enjoy your posts and I enjoy your wit.

    Alberto is whipping up outside.. we really need the rain

  14. I want somewhat who is willing to fix mistakes once they’re found. I want a politician who believes that, no matter what, there are somethings decent people don’t do and don’t ask non-decent people to do. (Gitmo and rendition.) I want a politician who says, “When the poorest Americans do better, we all do better,” and formulates an economic policy that way. I want a politician who listens to all stripes of eggheads and tries to do the best good for the greatest number of people. But most importantly, I want a politician who actually thinks long-term. Like ten-forty years long-term, at the least.

  15. Fineman needs aneditor.

    Kos’s name is Markos Moulitsas (patronym) Zuniga (matronym). Unless Newsweek has changed its stylebook, a reference to Kos using only one last name should call him ‘Moulitsas’. Just as Hugo Chavez Frias is referred to as ‘Chavez’, Vicente Fox Quesada is ‘Fox’, etc.

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