Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Clinton and Kerry at "Take Back America"

The Associated Press offers coverage of the mixed reception received today by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the liberal crowd at the Take Back America conference, from which your cybertrix blogs:

Clinton's attempt to strike a moderate stance on the divisive issue of the war contrasted sharply with the angry words of another potential presidential contender, Sen. John Kerry, the party's 2004 standard-bearer, who called the war ''immoral'' and a ''quagmire.''
Your blogstress, once an unabashed Hillary fan, now believes that the former first lady suffers from a very bad instinct for timing.

Straddling the center, a technique perfected by her husband during his presidency, was a necessity for any liberal seeking to retain power in the 1990s. But over the course of the last few years, the country has moved signicantly to the left -- and it never was as conservative as conventional wisdom would have it.

Move with the tao, Hillary, and stop thinking so damn much.

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The common good

A spirited discussion, arbited by Robert Borosage, took place today between Michael Tomasky, editor of The American Prospect, and writer Barbara Ehrenreich at the Take Back America conference. The volley focused on Tomasky's premise that, if they care to win elections and generally do the right thing, Democrats need to articulate their vision in terms of the common good. (Tomasky first put forth this idea in his piece, "A Party in Search of a Notion," for the Prospect's May issue, on which your blogstress has previously riffed.)

Ehrenreich appeared to take issue with Tomasky's point, though it was hard to discern on what grounds. Her problem with Tomasky's notion appeared to be that with the gulf that now exists between the haves and have-nots, there's no common ground to be had. Tomasky countered with an anecdote about how President Lyndon B. Johnson presented the 1965 Civil Rights Act to the American people: Johnson introduced the topic in a nationally televised speech by explaining what the bill would mean "for all Americans" -- not just blacks or minorities.

Your blogstress, being all about spreading the love, is still diggin' the notion of a common goodness.

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Kos still making news

Even as an army of liberal bloggers moved themselves from the Las Vegas confab known as "Yearly Kos" to the D.C.-based Take Back America conference, the Kos gathering continued to make news. Here's Howie Kurtz, media critic for the Washington Post:

Well, that liberal bloggers' confab in Las Vegas must have been a big deal--the NYT and WP each sent two reporters. That's more important in the gravitas sweepstakes than a bunch of presidential candidates being there, don'tcha think?

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Rove free to wreck the country

Today comes word that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will not be indicting White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, a fact that brough a tear to your blogstress's eye. Still, however fun it would have been to see the Pilsbury Dough Boy do the perp walk in cuffs, your Webwench knows all too well that even incarceration would have done little to spare us from the implementation of old pasty-face's evil genius in the 2006 elections.

How, you may ask, does your cybertrix know this? Why, she's from Jersey, silly -- the land where some of the nation's larger cities have been run from jail cells.

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Taking America back

Your blogstress reaches her devotees today from the hotel known in Washington as the Hinkley Hilton (so nicknamed because it's the place where John Hinkley attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan). What brings your cybertrix to such digs? Why, that would be the annual Take Back America conference hosted by the Campaign for America's Future.

Yesterday, your Webwench attended a lively panel discussion hosted by Mother Jones publisher Jay Harris, which included an all-star cast of progressive media types, including the media structure maven Tracy Van Slyke, publisher of In These Times, Cenk Uygur of the Sirius Satellite Radio show, The Young Turks, Robert Greenwald, the filmmaker who has brought vous et moi such gems as "Outfoxed" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," and Alex Walker, executive editor of TomPaine.com. It was Harris who, several years ago, convened a group of liberal media types to create a mutually supportive consortium through which to plot strategy and hash ideas. Since then, the group has evolved into a true incubator of new ideas.

Your blogstress found herself quite taken with panel members Robert Lovato of New American Media, a consortium of some 700 "ethnic" publications, and Julie Bergman Sender, filmmaker and principal of an outfit called "The Cause," perhaps because both affirmed your net-tĂȘte when she made her push for opening liberal/progressive media to great representation by artists. This is your Ă©crivaine's great bugaboo -- that her colleagues on the left moan about the movement's own lack of diversity while missing the points that:

a) communities of color often organize and politicize through the arts (hip-hop, homo-hop, poetry)

b) that whitey wonk-speak and Woody Guthrie-era labor songs ain't gonna win us converts from where we need 'em.

That said, many other ideas were bandied about, but this is your blogstress's blog, so she knows you're here to read about her. However, she does promise to bring you the messages of the thinkers on the panel once the conference has ended, and she has time to loosen the stays of her bustier and go through her copious notes.

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