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December 05, 2008

Prog-Dem Forum Post-Mortem

Homeprogdem_2 I hope people found our liveblog useful last night. It was admittedly really tough to deliver the substance of the conversations, both because it's hard to type that fast, and because you sort of had to have a certain level of historical knowledge about Prog-Dem relations to follow along.

Terri Hallenbeck did a good job of delivering bite sized blog posts over at the Freeps blog, VT Buzz.

If you want to see the whole conversation for yourself, it'll be available on Channel 17 next week. They'll air it on TV, and put it up on their website.

And I'm betting that Shay will have some thoughts to share, too.

Thanks to everyone who helped organize it, and who attended.

Disclaimer: this is excerpted from another comment I just posted in the WG blog, thought it might be of interest here as well, would be glad to hear other's views of last night.

Progressives tried, in good faith, to work things out in many races, many times, and we were repaid, over and over, with treachery, lies, and bold political aggression. So the answer to the question is, No, we can't be civil because Democrats decided not to be.

For example... At the discussion last night, Rep. Donovan seemed to think that the 2002 redistricting/gerrymandering fiasco that cost Burlington a District was somehow the doing of Republicans and Progressives working in secret!

What an incredible rewrite of history! It was and is common knowledge that it was John Tracy and the "blue dog Dems" who engineered the final result as a personal payback to Bernie for supporting various candidates John had to run against... the seat was held by Carina Driscoll, who happens to be Bernie's step-daughter. I am surprised Johanna doesn't know this...

The biggest surprise of the evening had to be Rep. Donovan's frank admission that the D's strategy on the Health Care bill last time was WRONG, and that Catamount Healthcare is a fiasco. Gee, thanks, now can you DO something about that with your "party people"?

Otherwise it was the same platitudes about incrementalism... the "Affordable" Housing bill was the best we could do and has many important almost-done things in it! Half-baked is better!

I come away more sure than ever that, despite the good individuals who participate in the Democratic Party (like Rep. Donovan), the *moving* of the "big tent" to accommodate centrist views leaves progressives "out in the rain", and that we need our own tent more than ever, to eventually replace the one carried away by neo-libs/DLC types.

I believe Jake set the tone last night for the upcoming City Meeting Elections... and it's not nice. Watch your back, and keep your head down if you are afraid.

As it is seen now ,not as it was ..............
My hope is that both groups will come to an accommodation of some sort not a marriage but perhaps something that benefits all Vermont's left ,near and far.
I read several "live"blogs of the Dec. 4 Dem/Prog get along event.
During the back and forth regarding past slights and scars it occurred to how long ago some of that was .Someone mentioned back in 1981, when Bernie ran for mayor.A new generation is voting and running for office now assessing the parties as they are now not based on history.Who ran against what Democrat as a capital 'p' or little 'p' way back when is fairly obscure to some .

Indeed, it was so long ago, why can't those Democrats get over it?

Especially since Bernie has as little to do with the VPP as possible.

I meant everyone get over it .....

Umm, my point was that most people have, some democrats apparently CAN'T.... tell THEM to let it go...

Everyone is all inclusive

"It was and is common knowledge that it was John Tracy and the "blue dog Dems" who engineered the final result as a personal payback to Bernie for supporting various candidates John had to run against"

This is the biggest piece of ignorant, clueless crap I've read in a blog comment, and that's saying a lot.

VTPROG sure is some paranoid and nasty piece of work, for whom there is only one absolute, true, and correct viewpoint -- his. Some would say that that is the very hallmark of the Progs. That'll sure foster cooperation from the Dems.

One of the more salient points raised during the forum (and which addresses some of the comments here) came from Democratic Rep. Joey Leddy Donovan.

For there to be a more collaborative effort (and especially in Burlington), she observed, "There need to be a few more funerals and a few more egos deflated."

In other words, the old guard of Progs and Dems need to get out of the way and let the new generation of pols rising up through the ranks of electoral politics have some say.

Sounds like the basis for another forum.

Sorry chaps, but the aforementioned "crap" is the truth. Go ask Ms. Driscoll.

I am not paranoid about anything, but why are you so upset about someone correcting factual errors or even self-serving spin?

You are missing the fundamental point: neo-libs think "cooperation/working together" is a good goal because it results in "winning/success"... Good as tactics, bad as strategy. The need to "reposition" policy towards the center is a "big tent" strategy that results in lousy legislation and public policy. Examples from VT include the "Affordable" Housing bill and Catamount "Healthcare"... these legislative failures result in human suffering and maybe even deaths. The failings on the national level should be obvious...

You will find plenty of cooperation from progressives, if you stand firm to the principles outlined in the alleged Democratic platform. I say alleged because, well, show me some proof in the form of powerful, sweeping legislation.

Start with having the guts to raise some revenue from rich people this year.

"the aforementioned "crap" is the truth. Go ask Ms. Driscoll"

The "aforementioned crap" being a fantasy-land assessment of the reasons and motivations behind the Democrats involved in the last redistricting battle.

Funny, I don't recall seeing Ms. Driscoll there (or anyone likely to call themselves VTPROG on an anonymous web post) when those conversations behind closed doors in the Democratic Party office were taking place.

In other words: fantastic conspiracy drama = still crap.


1. Assuming Ms. Driscoll would even say what you claim she would say (that the redistricting was alleged payback for her stepdad's alleged misdeeds against John Tracy -- a rather fantastic story in the first place), why do I not recall ever hearing this from her?

2. Again assuming she would say it, why do we have to accept her allegations as the truth?

3. I thought Ms. Dricsoll gave up her seat voluntarily for family reasons?

4. Aside from being Bernie's stepdaughter, what were her qualifications for holding public office anyway?

This is all way too conspiratorial and Proggie . . .

What a nasty tone some of you set- spewing out petty insults, stroking your overblown egos and taking obvious joy in creating discord. I certainly don't wonder why you all can't get along!

This is now available on line for folks wanting to revisit, keep up with the conversation.

Rep. Donovan was the one who alleged a gerrymandering conspiracy between Republicans and Progressives. I was simply correcting the matter with the information I heard from elected officials at that time.

Go ahead and find out for yourself from John, Carina, or anybody you care to ask who might know, rather than denying it. Dare ya!

AS for your questions:

1. She didn't want to be a sore loser, is my guess, and stoop to the low level of those redistricted her out of a seat.

2. Why wouldn't you? Don't you trust people to tell the truth?

3. Nope, she was forced out first. Happened to vaguely coincide with starting a family, but could be viewed as a happy coincidence by them, I would imagine.

4. Carina was elected to the Burlington School Board, the Burlington City Council, and then the Vermont State Legislature. Sounds like she had some qualifications by the time she was there.. the voters sure thought so!

I find it notable that useless turd and odur, ahem, odum, are all fired up by this simple correction to Rep. Donovan's statement, but have nothing to say in response to my point about the need to "reposition" policy towards the center resulting in lousy legislation and public policy. IN fact they seem to have nothing to say to support Rep. Donovan's allegation of conspiracy, nor relevant to the question at hand: how, and to what extent, can and should Progressives and Democrats work together? And Why?

Tell me all about your big tent and what room there is in there for me? HMMM?

"2. Why wouldn't you? Don't you trust people to tell the truth?"

This from the guy who accused Rep. Donovan of "rewriting history" and who believes there was a vast Burlington Dem conspiracy to redistrict Driscoll out of her seat?

Only Progs tell the truth?

And we're supposed to just accept your theory as to why Driscoll never uttered a single word of public complaint about the supposed conspiracy to take her seat?

You're unbelievable. That may be why there's no room for you.

This is absolutely hysterical and proves my comments from prior to the forum were correct... nothing great will come of this discussion. I believe Re. Donovan's statement that a there need to be a few more funerals and a few more egos deflated was the most prescient thing said all night.

As far as those evil Dems go (talking to you VTPROG)... if you don't know the back-stabbing BS stuff that so many die-hard progressives have pulled over the past many years it's because you don't know what's going on in your own party. There's plenty of blame on both sides, but the claim that Progressives are so holier than thou when it comes to process and how issues are addressed behind the scenes simply makes me laugh. And progressives should be careful what they use email for... it's a small town and "reply all" and other loose email practices aren't the best way to maintain an ongoing political discussion. Should any of the emails that I've heard of and seen from progressive leaders come to light, it would be just as embarrassing as some that the Dems sling as well. More so, in fact, because Progressives put themselves on such a high pedestal and claim to be so much more morally superior to anyone else in the state. Again... I think all of what I've said cuts both ways, I just hate it when the VTPROG-type hypocrites deny it.

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