Monday, July 05, 2004

Green Dog Democrat

A Green Dog Democrat is the progressive "green" Democrat. Interested?



Dotty LeMieux said...
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EMainland said...
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HenriPoole said...

Welcome to blogsphere! Edwards is my second choice for President. I'm happy that he's made it to the ticket.

Burky said...

The best thing about the Democrat Party is that we do not all agree all the time which is better than the Republican Party which lock steps behind their leader.

stan sinberg said...

Congrats on your blog, Dottie.
Re your question: Of course John Edwards! He's sunny, compared to Kerry's glum, he's positive compared to Bush and Cheney's negativism, he's a good speaker, compared to all of the other players. And he comes across as a man of the people. Great choice!

gayle said...

I was very disappointed with Miami. The hard work Kucinich and his volunteers put in was apparently ignored, as he was during the primaries. The DNC seems to think if they ignore the call for peace, universal health care, and fair trade agreements these "irritations" will go away. Edwards? Who knows.

Dotty LeMieux said...

Hi Bloggers. Thanks for joining this discussion. On Democracy Now this AM, Denis Kucinich offered his explanation for why they ahd to "cave" in Miami. The political relaity is not enough votes on the floor.

We need to start reinventing a new political reality, by forming a Progressive Green Dog Caucus within our state Party. Other states are doing it. North Carolina calls their Green Dog, for which I can take some credit.

We need to speak out on progressive issues, and lead the way within our own Party.

Who wants to join this effort?

Dotty the Green Dog Democrat

Dotty LeMieux said...

This article appeared in the Marin IJ last week:

Please comment

TAKE THE PEOPLE’S PLEDGE: a Call to the Nation’s Progressive Community

It’s probably not news to people in Marin County and the Bay Area that many progressive Democratic, Green and Independent voters have yet to “fall in love” with presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry.

These people backed another candidate in the Primary. True, a wide margin of voters handed Kerry a hefty victory in these areas, still candidates Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean took a pretty big chunk of the vote in Marin greater than 15% combined. Even bigger in SF.

Many more people voted for the two of them, even though Howard Dean had dropped out and Dennis Kucinich wasn’t given a chance than voted for Ralph Nader in the 2000 election.

These are people who care passionately about the big issues facing our country, like the War in Iraq and the lack of health care for so many Americans. They care so deeply about these issues that they were willing to cast a vote that wouldn’t count to try to send a message to the Democratic Party and presumptive Presidential nominee John Kerry.

While a number of these people will vote for Kerry just to get rid of the Bush Administration, a significant percentage of them are strongly considering either voting for another candidate (the currently independent Ralph Nader or the Green Candidate) or not voting in the 2004 November general election at all.

Many progressives who will vote for the so-far less inspiring Kerry won’t put the same kind of time and effort into working for him that they did for their progressive favorite. Not unless the campaign heeds their call to take up some of the key issues that motivated record numbers of progressives in the primary election.

Chief among these is the war in Iraq. Howard Dean’s galvanizing call to take back the Democratic Party and the country, heard at the Democratic State Convention in Sacramento in 2003, had repercussions far outside the Convention Hall.

Dennis’ Kucinich’s Prayer for America and relentless championing of a Department of Peace brought together a diverse network of peace activists, spiritual seekers and left of center political wonks.

What these people want to know now is whether John Kerry will pay attention to them and their issues in the upcoming presidential campaign. Or will he take the middle road of least resistance, courting the so called undecided voters in “swing” states, those states where neither Democrats nor Republicans have a clear advantage.

Conventional thinking dictates that running to the middle in those states will yield results. That may be. But in 2000, we saw Ralph Nader win a larger margin of votes in many states, including Florida and New Hampshire, than those separating Bush and Gore.

With Peter Camejo now on the green Party ticket, all bets are off.

In other words, Kerry ignores the progressives at his peril.

Instead, he’s busy trying to fend off the Bush attack machine by running ads in battleground states. As one Kerry staffer put it to me, when I asked why he wasn’t building up his image and make some bold policy moves, “he wants to undo all that Bush crap first, then he’ll get to the other stuff.”
Getting to some of that “other stuff” may be the best way to undo the Bush crap. Otherwise as a May 4 Buzz Flash editorial puts it: “It won't matter if Kerry was a Vietnam War Hero and Bush was a grounded, AWOL, booze- and drug-using Chickenhawk, if Kerry doesn't act with the resolve of a Vietnam War Hero.” (
In the past few weeks any number of individuals and groups have been setting up websites and writing articles on websites and in alternative media with the goal of putting some spine into the Kerry campaign. Here are a few:

· Arianna Huffington has created an on-line petition asking Kerry to run on the politics of hope instead of fear. ( (Both Kucinich and Dean had a similar them in their campaigns.) She urges, “Instead of adopting the familiar - and failed - Republican-lite swing voter strategy,” go after the disenchanted non-voters, specifically single women. Many of those who worked tirelessly for the Kucinich and Dean campaigns were first time campaigners, many of them young disenchanted non-voters. These are the people who can be stirred to action by issues. The Kucinich campaign has a number of petitions on its website from the Department of Peace to repeal of the Patriot Act, with the goal of sending a million signatures to the Democratic Platform Committee.

· Others are trying to convince the progressive voter to vote for Kerry, even if their hearts aren’t in it. Getting rid of George Bush is job one, say groups like the Green Democratic Alliance ( and Ralph Don’t Run ( . Once we do that, we can tackle the issues.

· The new group Greens for Kerry ( is taking a pretty courageous stand in backing the Democratic nominee, even though their Party is vetting a candidate. The logic is to show solidarity first, then later tackle the issues.

· is asking people to name who they would like to see Kerry pick as advisors on progressive issues. (

But even those who are convinced a Democrat in the White House is our most pressing task in the next 5 and a half months don’t seem as willing to get out and pound the pavement for Kerry the way they did for Dean or Kucinich. Not unless and until they see some movement on the issues.

That’s where the People’s Pledge comes in. Started by Internet entrepreneur Henri Poole and marketing consultant Stephen Dinan, the People’s Pledge seeks to involve progressives in the Kerry campaign by asking them to choose from a list of issues they want Kerry to support. If he agrees to support any one of their issues, they agree to volunteer a certain number of hours a week between the Democratic National Convention in July and the General Election on November 2.

The goal is to have more than “$200 million of the people’s pledged time for Democratic commitment for progressive platform planks.” Pledges of time are valued at $10 an hour (what they call a “real minimum wage.”) (

The $200 million figure is to rival in time the amount Bush expects to raise in money. Already, the Pledge is averaging commitments equating to more than $20,000 a day. Since the Pledge is designed to snowball in size as more people get involved, they could well reach their goal by the Convention in July, demonstrating that progressives have considerable clout which can be used both as leverage at the Convention and in grass roots campaigning by the Kerry campaign.

The issues listed at the Peoples Pledge site range from getting out of Iraq within 90 days of taking office to universal single-payer health care to instant run-off voting and campaign finance reform. The genius of this approach is that it offers something back to Kerry beyond the promise of votes he still doesn’t believe he needs. And it connects people with others in their community to work for progressive issues and causes.

In the midst of the chaos and fear of these times is the hope that we will have a better more humane future. Or a future at all. Those are the stakes of this Presidential election. As Arianna Huffington put it on her recent book tour, “When your house is on fire, first put out the fire, before remodeling the house.”

Kerry must reach out to progressives to help him put out the fire. If he does so by taking a bold stand on some of the issues, he will not lose the middle. To the contrary, affordable health care, jobs and resolving Iraq are core issues for all Americans. Don’t let George Bush walk away with the middle class. Once this fire is out, John Kerry will need progressive allies in the remodeling of America’s future.
Dotty E. LeMieux

Dotty LeMieux said...

This resolution was passed by the Orange County Patrick Henry Demo Clu. I am proposing we use this as the base for a California Democratic Progressive Caucus. Comments?

WHEREAS Democratic progressives stand for the progressive visions of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin
Luther King and other great Democratic leaders whose dreams for the
Democratic Party and America should not be forgotten, and

WHEREAS Democratic progressives are feeling left behind by members of the Democratic leadership who have worked to get the Republicans on their side by supporting Republican agendas as opposed to Democratic agendas, and

WHEREAS Democratic progressives want to continue to work within the Democratic Party, to continue supporting the Democratic Party and to continue encouraging others to join the Democratic Party,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the PATRICK HENRY DEMOCRATIC CLUB calls for the creation of a progressive caucus within the California Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee and for that caucus to have a voice in official California Democratic Party and national Democratic Party policy.

Adopted unanimously on June 21, 2004

Marc Matheson said...

Green Dog Democrats, progressive wing of the Democratic Party, sounds great - so long as it is substantially distinct from the current mainstream of the Party, neither "left" nor "right" nor even "center" of the contemporary political spectrum - as defined in sound byte and snappy advertising phrases. "Progressive" dogs ought to come in Heinze 57 variety mutt, people of all walks and communities of real, everyday life. Issues, not personality. Educating the candidates, not coming down on the predictable "side" of any issue. What people want to hear is the truth, real day-to-day issues. Not the corporate media (and political!) dumbing-down of the American heart and mind, but re-inspiration to get something done about our slide backward into white middle class 1950s "Ozzie and Harriet" nightmare - "duck and cover!" here we come again!!

Count me in, Dotty. My sleeves are rolled up!

Dotty LeMieux said...

Yes, Mark, you say it very eloquently. I have found a fellow "Green Dog Democrat" who works with moderate and progressive Dems on issues. This is what we need to stand for: Real life issues of real life people.

I'd love to hear what issues people care about in their world, their neighborood. And ideas for mobilizing the disenfranchised and disaffected; the ones who won't vote, or will go to third parties out of sheer frustration.

We need to keep this message coming loud and clear to the Ddems and to Kerry. Green Dog Democrats are not the enemy. We want Kerry and Edwards to win. We can help them do it, if they'd let us.


Dotty LeMieux said...


Go to for a good analysis of how Kerry can gather momentum in swing states among what the writer calls the republicn "unbase."

He needs to make a bod statement, not just generalizations about how Bush is going the wrong way. Be specific. Be bold. Offer alternatives.



EMainland said...

From the NY Times: "[Kerry] campaign officials have said they will ask speakers to temper their attacks on the president at the Democratic convention...Former Senator Max Cleland called the Bush administration's justifications for the Iraq War a 'pack of lies' in a conference call to reporters. 'Obviously the senator was speaking for himself', said a Kerry campaign spokesman." COMMENT: Should GreenDogDemocrats heed this Kerry spokesman or instead follow our own political instincts and continue to bash Bush in order to get Kerry elected in spite of himself? Does such anodyne "restraint" betoken another November defeat for Democrats? What would Michael Moore say? -- E. Mainland.

EMainland said...

A local progressive calls our attention to William Grieder's article in the current print issue of the Nation. Several points speak to GreenDog Democrats:
1) Kerry was the popular choice in the primaries because he seemed safe. Winning was too important this time. Voters feared taking the risk on Dean.
2) Kerry's cautiousness reflects the that of the Democratic Party. The one-time party of "aggressive reformers, propelled by advanced ideas" now sees itself as "sound managers, sensitive but less provocative, steering government in a more business-friendly manner."
3) Grieder thinks Kerry will win, maybe by a landslide, because "the warrior president is breaking up before our eyes. . . People can see the man is inadequate, even fraudulent."
4) This still leaves the question, "How will the Democrats govern?"
5) Grieder encourages progressives, after the election, to "become a force for trouble-making and
ankle-biting" to encourage the party to move on their issues and open a serious debate about social goals.

Dotty LeMieux said...

Ankle biting...I like the sound of that. It's what Green Dog Democrats do best!


EMainland said...

Here's a key statement for GreenDogDemocrats to show diehard greens who are looking for some way to kick out Bush but, wary of Kerry, still keep their green principles intact.


EMainland said...

Robert Kuttner, "The American Prospect", July, 2004 lays out four different interpretations of Kerry's "disconcerting quiescence" -- why he has been "eerily lackluster lately" -- and urges the candidate to get real before it's too late.

Mark Hull-RIchter said...

Don't know how on point this is, but:

Check out Natasha's latest article on who the most important leader at the DNC really is....

Dotty LeMieux said...

Dems Disappoint Dem Party; or WHERE is that Democratic Wing, Dr. Dean?

On Tuesday night, former Vermont Governor, Dr. Howard Dean, who roused a nation of anti-war activists in the primary, after receiving an awesome standing ovation that went on seemingly forever, delivered what can only be described as a watered down version of his stump speech, summing up by calling the Convention goers the Democratic Wing of the democratic Party.

It may well be that the delegates can be characterized that way, but can the Party leadership? In falling into line with what Arianna Huffington calls Kerry's "anger management" policy for the Convention, even Howard Dean was dull. Imagine that!

No anti-war rhetoric here, despite the fact that 90% of the delegates have stated they want the US to get out of Iraq sooner rather than later. They don't want more troops sent, and they don't want to "stay the course," the "course" resulting in over 900 dead and 6000 injured Americans and countless dead, maimed and homeless Iraqis.

Well, if the strategy of the Dems this year is to stay the Republican course, while nattily attired in Democratic Blue, they're missing the mark.

While Kerry plays to the mushy middle, Bush sticks to his theme: we're stronger, we're safer, we're tougher. Whether he is or not isn't the issue. The issue is they (Republicans) are consistent. The Dems are not. The mushy middle will go with the ones with a real message. Why change horses in mid stream when the one you rode in on is plodding on in the same direction, while the new one is wandering all over the streambed?

No, the Dems need to be decisive, and decisively Democratic; that will not only get them the mushy middle, who, as true Americans, many of whose sons and daughters are in jeopardy in Iraq, want to end the war, who want better jobs, who want better health care, but who also want to believe they are voting for someone who stands for something.

Standing firm and speaking out on these issues will also get them the much needed, even essential, 3% of voters who are now poised to vote for Ralph Nader or the green candidate, all but assuring the election for Bush.

Subtle difference won't cut it, not for either crowd. BE the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party; embrace those of us who want to get out of Iraq.

Acknowledge the Green Dogs among us, the progressives, and the unashamed liberals. Only that way, will the Democratic Party become Democratic once more.

Only that way, will the race be about something, and offer clear differences on issues that the American public is so hungry for.


Dotty LeMieux said...


It’s official; I’m in serious “LIKE” with John Kerry. It’s been a long and arduous courtship. But I think I’m ready to form a meaningful relationship. I had one last year, the year I served as California Political Director for Dennis Kucinich. He wooed me with issues, like Universal health care, an end to NAFTA and the WTO, and most importantly, a call to bring our troops home from Iraq now.

Dennis and his campaign never wavered, and even after he officially endorsed John Kerry, many of his pledged delegates cast their vote for Kucinich at the Convention. If I was there, I probably would have done the same.

But I’m in serious “LIKE” with John Kerry today because he did more than give a rousing acceptance speech; he showed us the real John Kerry. For months, I have cringed at his ponderous intonations. I cringed at his support for the Iraq War, and failure to include progressive issues in the Democratic platform, a platform which never even mentioned the Kyoto Treaty.

But I knew the real John Kerry, the veteran heroic not only in battle, but in his anti-war stand upon return. The real John Kerry has a near perfect voting record on the environment. And the real John Kerry rescues drowning hamsters, as we heard his daughter Alexandra say.

In his acceptance speech, although not saying all the things I wanted to hear,
he pledged to appoint an Attorney General to protect, not tear down, the Constitution and an Interior Secretary to expand, not shrink clean air and water protections. This John Kerry paid tribute to the sixties, to civil rights and to those of us who stood with him against an unjust war in Vietnam, just as we now ask him to stand with us against an unjust war in Iraq.

Yes, I am in serious “LIKE” with John Kerry. And I will, like any good partner in a relationship, push him to be even better. When campaigning in the swing states, I will ask him not to ignore the progressive voters, the ones who are still flirting with Ralph Nader. I will urge him, as I have always urged him, as Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean and Al Sharpton have urged him, to give these voters, as he has given me, a reason to stick with the Democratic Party. To give them a reason to fall in serious “LIKE” with John Kerry. We can’t afford to have them moving in with another candidate this year.

Who knows, by November 2, he may even have us falling all the way in “Love” with the next President of the United States.

Dotty E. LeMieux

Ken Roeder said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EMainland said...

What is the GreenDog Democratic position towards Kerry's comment that he would have invaded Iraq anyway knowing what he knows today? What reason could Kerry possible have for an invasion: all Bush's rationales have utterly collapsed. Bush and Co. are having a field day with this, saying Kerry has finally come around to the Republican side. Kerry's inexplicable, inexcusable utterance makes him sound literally no different than Bush on this issue. It's worse than waffling: it erodes any confidence GreenDog Democrats may have left in the people running Kerry's campaign. GreenDog Democrats have only one recourse: to let Kerry's people know how disgusted they are. What else is left?

Dotty LeMieux said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dotty LeMieux said...

Hello anyone. The Green Dog Democrat needs help getting her Blg to look interesting. Who can advise me?

Speaking of advising... We need to get some good advice to Kerry on how NOT to sound like a more boring version of Bush. He should hire Arianna Huffington. There are simple facts that show Bush as the liar he is about just about anything from jobs, the economy to WAR on Iraq and on Terrorism. (If youca n have a War on a tactic, as someone has said).

Are we safer? Obvioulsy not.

Bush has mastered the prototypical propaganda techniques. Tell a BIG LIE, and keep on telling it.

The biger the lie and the more often told, the more it seems to be believed.

Sad but true.

So if it works for lies, why can't it work for truths?

Tell a BIG TRUTH and keep on telling it.

That's what I thik Kerry needs to learn.

If anyone wants my opinion.

Dotty the Green Dog Democrat

Dotty LeMieux said...

Johnny we hardly knew ya

I hope we’re not saying that at the end of this campaign about John Edwards. Today’s Chroncile story points out his relative absence in the press or on the talk shows. While Cheney does full attack dog mode. When I put a bumper sticker on my car for the Democratic team, I wanted it to read Edwards Kerry. John Edwards is the one to connect with Voters, and not just the ones in obscure corners of the swing states.

He’s the populist. He’s the firebrand. He ‘s got charisma and can stand up to Bush and Cheney’s whoppers and fear tactics that the American people are being hit over the head with on an hourly basis.

He also is the one, in my never to be humble opinion, who can connect best with the Dean and Kucinich true believers, and would be Nader voters in those swing states who may make the difference in this election.

Let Kerry court the mushie middle with his mushie rhetoric, and unleash Edwards to do his Two Americas show for the rest of us. And you know what? The so called undecided voters will get it too.

Undecided doesn’t mean they can’t decide whether they like blue or red better. Or whether they’d rather send their kids to die in Iraq or not. It means they haven’t heard a clear message that resonates with their lives. John Edwards can deliver the goods.

James Carville and John Edwards have a lot in common, Southern firebrands who came up through the ranks. Clear messaging and a strong voice. Is Carville really on board, as rumored? Let us hope so and let us hope he and Edwards exert influence over the wimps at the DNC and in the inner circles of Kerry’s coterie to pull this campaign out of the doldrums and into the ring.

Take off the gloves, tell it like it is and charm the pants off the American public with truth and justice. That is the American way and the American public is hungry for it.

EMainland said...

A Green Dog Democrat friend sent this:

We're all old enough to remember Hubert, but I'd forgotten this. It's a fable someone should send to

LBJ's move cleared the way for Humphrey to campaign to succeed him. Circumstance made him the nominee when McCarthy faded and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June. Humphrey yearned to oppose the war, but he couldn't bear to abandon a wartime president, one who also had warned him what he'd do to Humphrey's tender parts were he to leave the reservation. The antiwar movement was in full chorus during the campaign. Former supporters of Kennedy and McCarthy excoriated Humphrey as a murderer and a racist at the tumultuous Democratic convention in Chicago and then during the
campaign, for not being willing to break with the war policy. Stolidly, the "happy warrior" backed LBJ in
speech after speech, becoming more and more worn down by the vitriol his message seemed to evoke.Then in late September, he spoke in Sioux Falls, S.D. and, in frustration, pledged that "Come January, it's a new ball game. Then I will make peace." "Engineers and farmers jumped to their feet and cheered," recalls Humphrey biographer Carl Solberg. The same message won a standing ovation in Louisville the next day. But it was Sept. 27, only six weeks before the election, and staffers handed Humphrey polls showing him 15 points behind. "If the polls are really what they seem to be, I don't stand a chance. I don 't give a shit any more, I'm saying what I want to say."He got his chance when
the campaign bought a half hour on NBC TV on Sept. 30. After agonizing through the night with top aides over the content of the speech, Humphrey delivered a hard-hitting call to halt the bombing in Vietnam. Simultaneously, he removed the vice presidential seal from his campaign plane and, from then on, campaigned as his own man.The response was electrifying, although a number of cynics didn't take Humphrey at his word. But as he repeated the theme again and again in subsequent days to newly-cheering crowds, his poll numbers began to rise. LBJ was noncommittal about his veep's speech but failed to campaign for him until the very eve before the election. By then, Humphrey had
closed to within two points of Republican Richard Nixon. In the end, Humphrey lost the election, 43.4
per cent of the popular vote going to Nixon and 42.7 per cent to Humphrey. The consensus of those closest to the campaign was that had the campaign lasted another three days, Humphrey would have won. The parallel of the Humphrey/Nixon campaign to that of Kerry/Bush is striking, with many Democrats calling for John Kerry to adopt a harder-hitting, more combative style on the stump. A casual observer might say, "Well, it's early yet." But students of history realize it takes time to turn a lumbering campaign around, and the election is only 47 days away.

Forbes B-Black said...

What do you mean when you say "green?" This may sound like an obvious question, but the word means different things to different people...