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Tuesday Talk: How do we advance progressive policy?

November 09, 2010 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Last weeks’ election is going to have a profound impact on Minnesota policy, especially if conservative lawsuits push the gubernatorial recount into the next legislative session and Governor Pawlenty stays on as the state’s chief executive. Minnesotans want to move the state forward. Therefore, if a protracted recount battle allows conservatives to dominate the policy debate, what do Minnesotans lose?

How do we advance progressive policy in a conservative-controlled legislative environment?

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  • Mary says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:26 am

    We first need to make sure that our election recounts are started immediately and completed.  There is no excuse in this age of not getting those done before the beginning of the new session of leadership.  What happened with Senator Franken can never be allowed again. 

    My hopes for progressive policy advancement are just that.  Hopes.

  • KJC says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

    As unpopular as it might sound, the very first thing to do is to look at ourselves for what we’re willing to do… rather than starting thinking about what “they” should do.  When we’re absolutely clear about what we’re actually willing to take a genuine stand for (vs. it merely being a “want”) only then start thinking of how to generate that in the world.  I’m only agreeing that it’s a world that could use some transforming (vs. “change.”)  As the French saying goes “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”  We surely don’t want to spend effort that way!  Transforming always at least starts with ourselves, which is fundamentally different than the tired old us vs. them game.  Gandhi and MLK had it right..

  • hughes says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    You don’t. Whoppeee!

  • Jon Miners says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I think we stay focused on our issues, to talk more to the public than ourselves.  Republicans don’t have policies, they have a policy vacuum, and it’s up to progressives to take the initiative to fill that vacuum.

  • herbert a. davis,jr. says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I am not sure “advancing” is even possible, certainly not likely!

    To follow the example of the repuglicans at the federal level, I think we should abandon the facade of “let’s all get along” and call this what it is; class warfare aided by theocrats who are offended by secular government and what it stands for.

    I think the people who do not vote need to know that the war is almost lost and that they either get active and vote or they will live in a state much more like Texas or Alabama!

  • Tommy Johnson says:

    November 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    We need to fix the fragmented messaging delivery infrastructure.

    Clearly, most Americans favor the progressive agenda; for instance, take Health Care Reform.

    GOPers ran on the platform of repeal; apparently the voters agreed.  But, on which specific aspect of repeal did they agree with?

    Prior to HCR (the expertly messaged “ObamaCare”), rape was a pre-existing condition and grounds for denial of coverage and/or a new policy.

    Seriously.  Go Google “rape is a pre-existing condition”

    With the population +/- 50% female (I’m not going to go get the specific %), do women really want to repeal HCR and go back to the dark days when,through no fault of their own, suffering a violent and traumatic experience could/would lead to some health-care bean-counter telling her:

    “Hey, sucks to be you.”

    I think not.

    Do husbands and fathers of daughters want to go back to those dark days?

    I think not.

    Do the parents of high school kids with no plans for college want to go back to the dark days of “here’s your diploma, and here’s the notice from your parent’s insurance carrier saying you’re now on your own”?  The parents of college graduates?

    I think not.

    We’ve had the same problem for years and Years and YEARS:  the message most Americans agree with doesn’t get heard.

    If a tree falls in a forest but nobody hears it, did it make a noise?

    It’s time to get to work on fixing the problem:  a fragmented messaging distribution infrastructure.

  • Jen says:

    November 9, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I know you all mean well, but progressivism is scaring the heck out of me. You’ve got ads with everyday people saying they are communists, an MSNBC reporter saying he’s a Socialist.

    So many people think that it’s “nicer & kinder” to be progressive. Please open your eyes and see what the REAL agenda for progressivism is all about and look at history and decide if that is really what you’re aiming for. I challenge anyone who labels themselves progressive to watch FOX News today from 4-5 (or DVR it) and come to your own conclusions.


  • Ben says:

    November 9, 2010 at 10:50 am

    A couple of thoughts.
    First, how about giving the electorate viable candidates? In my opinion the DFL candidates for the past Senatorial campaign that recounted ad nauseaum, and the going to be recounted governor candidate were no where near the quality candidate(s) I can support. I honestly believe that given a substantial candidate either party has a strong probability for success. What has been on the ballot in the past elections has been a sorry commentary on the political process in Minnesota.
    Second, isn’t it about time that the political hacks accept the fact that the man in the street really does not give two hoots and a whistle about the party affiliation? Of course there will be philosophical differences on the majority of issues facing the state. What we do not need is the mindless quaqmire of party line politics - we need a pragmatic approach to the solution of the pressing problems facing us. Consider that if the elected puppets of their party that have held congressional seats in the past had spent more time doing our work - not their party’s agenda we may have had a quality of life and liberty than what we have today.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    November 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I’m with Tommy Johnson on this.  The Republicans have propagandists like Karl Rove and the uber-talented Frank Luntz - coiner of the words and phrases we hear from the mouths of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Fox News—

    death panels will let grandma die
    Dems want socialism, communism
    Obamacare (part of socialist agenda)
    rammed through the Congress
    class warfare (against the rich)
    soft on terror (seeks peace)
    birth certificate is phony?
    reducing Social Security benefits
    reducing Medicare benefits
    to tax is to steal our money
    smaller government (but same services)
    government doesn’t create jobs
    anti-business climate

    The purpose of these words is to arouse fear, anger and resentment among members of the electorate - especially those who have lost jobs and/or homes.  And many vote based on the gut feelings these words call forth by voting against those they have been taught to blame.

    Maybe we need a progressive word and phrase list to land in guts with a message of hope (and action that gives reason for hope) that politicians can draw on.





  • Kathryn Z Berg says:

    November 9, 2010 at 11:28 am

    We absolutely MUST be on message.  It must be repeated constantly.  There are so many facts that would astound people if they only knew. 

    However, we must avoid the George W. school of truth telling, which is, repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it is true.  We need to repeat our TRUE message over and over.  Get in front of the media as often as the Wingnuts do. 

    We must also make it emotional.  That is why Obama won four years ago, is that people got emotional about his message.  He isn’t a particularly emotional person, so it needs to be delivered by all. 

    HCR:  We need to be realistic about this.  There will be no true health care reform unless we start getting to the root of problems and stop drugging people for everything.  Big Pharma has a hold on the country and they are fighting every group or organization that tries to suggest that there might be another way.  Neither the conservatives nor the progressives are ever going to have a meaningful impact with just tweaking the administrative part of health care.

  • Bernie says:

    November 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Since when is democratic deliberation illegitimate? The consensus from the posts here seem to indicate that the electorate simply does not understand the progressive message and are influenced by fear tactics from the right.  If they only understood they would see it our way. Have you considered the possibility that the electorate understands the message clearly and they reject the premise that for every problem there should be a government program or regulation and believe that a political system that fosters ever expanding government is not sustainable?

  • Brandan Fiedler says:

    November 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    We have to try to convince the legislators who are Republicans that a progressive agenda is the best for the people.  Too many people voted for a Republican candidate because they agreed with them on one issue (abortion, same-sex marriage).  Should Mark Dayton get the Governor’s mansion, they better not try to shove budget cuts that hurt the poor through because he will veto it.

  • Jen says:

    November 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    To respond to Brandon -
    You’re assuming that someone like me who doesn’t want the country to turn to Socialism is anti-abortion and anti-gay. In fact, I’m pro-choice, and have no problem with gay marriage. I am worried as hell that our country is bankrupt and being manipulated into giving up our republic form of government by progressive socialists like George Soros. That is what Americans across the nation are worried about. It’s not about party affiliation it’s much more serious than that.

  • Bernie says:

    November 9, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Brandon, I believe that the republicans have enough votes to override vetoes by the governor.

  • Annie Schultz says:

    November 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Start using the term “pro-women’s health” instead of pro-choice, which sounds exceptionally benign when compared to “pro-life”.  After all, that’s what this issue is all about—doing what is right for the health of girls and women.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    November 10, 2010 at 4:11 am

    There sure is some serious denial going on here on this site. We have progresives who seem to have no idea that “Progresive” is just a sneaky elitist way of admitting your “Socialist”, for proof you don’t have to go to Fox News just go to 24/7. If you can find one bit of difference between what “Honest Progresives” mean when they call themselves progresives and what you mean than you can begin to understand why we see no differance. While the GOP is having it’s internal revolution with the “Tea Party”, it’s time for the same kind of revolution within the Democrat Party. Until that happens you power grabbing, elitist, white collar public employee, middle class, scum are going to have a real hard time leading us anywhere.

  • Mary Moore says:

    November 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Emphasize that, although Minnesota has higher income taxes, we have MUCH lower property taxes than many states.  For example, in Texas, one’s property tax might easily be 5 times more than it is up here, according to relatives that live down there.  Same is true in other states.
    Regarding health care, I think it would be much wiser to first find ways to get costs down BEFORE requiring that everyone pays for health insurance.  For example, use more natural medicine which is often much cheaper or follow examples of other countries.
    Instead of being too costly, it appears to me that Obamacare is going to save taxpayers money.  Before passage of this bill, people without insurance often apparently received free healthcare with costs paid for by tax payers. 
    The new Health bill also keeps insurance companies from denying people coverage once they get sick.