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Un****ing the Donkey ( Rick Perlstein Says Free Republic More Crucial than Heritage Foundation)
The Village Voice ^ | Thursday, July 28, 2005 | Rick Perlstein

Posted on 07/28/2005 2:52:20 PM PDT by kristinn

The centrist Democratic Leadership Council meets this week in Columbus, Ohio, with Senator Hillary Clinton the newly named chair of their newly launched yearlong "American Dream Initiative." Her mission: to come up with a new idea agenda for the Democrats. Recently our former national correspondent Rick Perlstein gave a speech to a group of powerful Democrats suggesting an agenda of his own based on his new book The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo: How the Democrats Can Once Against Become America's Dominant Political Party. Here, with some identifying details changed, is what he told them.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The name of this panel is "Building a New Idea Infrastructure for Progressives."

I was given the privilege of coming before you today, I suppose, because of my expertise on the history of the conservative idea infrastructure.

So it may come as a surprise to you that I've never been impressed by the argument that we need a new idea infrastructure. We've got more ideas than we need.

Sure, the right talks about "ideas" all the time. But they define it exactly opposite from us. For us it is a synonym for clever, complicated new policy options. For them, it's Plato's definition of Ideas: as unchanging essences. The stuff that builds foundations.

As usual, Ronald Reagan boiled it down to essentials. He liked to say—maybe he said it to some of you—"There are no easy answers. But there are simple answers." I'm here to say he's right. "Building a progressive idea structure" ain't the problem. It's recovering the progressive foundation. Do that, and we are un****withable.

It's simple. Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: "Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream."

Here's a dirty little secret. The Republicans know this. Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers.

Here's Bill Kristol, in a famous 1993 memo I'm sure you're all familiar with: "Health care is not, in fact, just another Democratic initiative . . . the plan should not be amended; it should be erased. . . . It will revive the reputation of the . . . Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests."

I'd say this memo is the skeleton key to understanding modern American politics, if it didn't make me yawn. There's nothing here that's unfamiliar to historians who've read Republican secrets going back 25, 35, even 70 years. You can sum them up in 10 words: "If the Democrats succeed in redistributing economic power, we're screwed."

They have reason to fear.

There is a website that thousands of committed Republicans spend hours on, giving and receiving marching orders. When people stray from the party line, it's not unusual for them to be banned. Free Republic, I'd argue, is far more crucial to the Republican infrastructure than the Heritage Foundation.

Please refer to your handout. The first column records some typical things "Freepers" say. The second records what the same Freeper said after the Senate voted cloture on the president's bankruptcy bill. Column A: "We are going to see a day, in our lifetimes, when schools force children to engage in homosexual acts as 'projects' or 'homework' for sex-ed." Same guy, column B: "The newly amended bankruptcy law is a criminal act perpetrated, bought and paid for by commercial pirates masquerading as legitimate businesses."

I won't belabor the point that I believe that the Democrats pay a huge long-term price for those Democrats who let that bankruptcy bill go through. The Republicans understand us better than we understand ourselves. When we are not credible defenders of the economic interests of ordinary Americans, we amount to little. When we are, we're a nuclear bomb to the heart of their coalition.

The Christian right is a political machine. Very little is asked of its cogs: just that they consult the call board on election day, and vote the way it says. It takes enormous effort to get them to do just that, as any of their leaders will freely tell you. Any of Richard J. Daley's precinct captains would have told you the same thing.

It doesn't take much to demobilize a machine voter: Just install some doubt that people who claim to be their champions are not really their champions. If the Democrats had been united against the bankruptcy bill, we could even have demobilized some of these Freepers.

That's the way they did it with us. The stuff about the Democrats being "cultural elitists" spread a nagging doubt. People stopped looking to the call board. Even some of the activists.

The time is ripe to do it to them. A Pentecostal friend of mine just returned from a mission to El Salvador with his childhood church from rural Louisiana. He used to regale me with tales of annual July 4 Pentecostal retreats that were like Nuremberg rallies in praise of the Great Leader. That's over now. The straw that broke the camel's back, he tells me, was people not being able to afford to go to the dentist. They also have vanishingly low faith in Bush's foreign policy, and in the Iraq war.

They're getting demobilized.

That's great. But here's the catch. They have to have somewhere to go. That's where the simple stuff comes in.

Let's talk about Social Security.

The most glorious thing about congressional Democrats is that they have drawn the line and said: No further. Don't. Touch. Social. Security. It is a heroic stand. What's more, it's been enormously politically effective.

Now think about this: They are drawing on the capital of an entitlement passed 70 years ago.

They'll be drawing on the capital from Medicare 35 years from now. Congressional Democrats won't let them kill it. Because they understand: These programs make life in America fundamentally better. And because these gooses, Social Security, Medicare, lay golden eggs. They manufacture Democrats.

It is the duty of every generation of Democrats to produce new geese to lay 70 years of golden eggs. It is the only way our party has grown—as Bill Kristol puts it, by reviving the reputation of the Democrats as the generous protector of middle-class interests. They know they're screwed if we're credible in our pledge to deliver new kinds of power to ordinary people in their every day lives.

Democratic congressmen can do that, for example, by making a credible collective pledge that if you vote Democrat enough you will never pay another medical bill as long as you live. You really think people wouldn't stop voting Republican then?

It makes a virtuous circle. The most important exit poll finding from last year's election was not about moral values. It was all the people who said they disagreed with Bush on the issues, but they were voting for him anyway because they knew what he stood for.

What I call "superjumbos"—grand policy commitments that span generations—add value by the very credibility of the commitment.

It isn't any accident that not raising taxes is a pledge every Republican makes, on pain of political death. It has not hurt them even though, according to Stanley Greenberg's polls, only 30 percent of Americans call high taxes a very serious problem.

To complete the circle—in the same poll 77 percent called "the state of health care in America" a serious problem.

Remember when Dick Morris used to tell President Clinton that he couldn't afford not to be on the side of any issue supported by 60 percent of Americans? Paul Krugman reported a poll that 72 percent of Americans favor "government-guaranteed health insurance for all."

Guaranteed. Health Insurance. For All. Not, as I found it formulated on the website of even one of the most liberal senators, "access to affordable health insurance."

Simple.

Not easy.

So Democrats, let's get to work.


TOPICS: Editorial; Free Republic; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: New York
KEYWORDS: leftistgarbage; perlstein; villagevoice
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Great thinking Rick! Promise voters free taxpayer money forever!

The only problem is, folks ain't buying it no more. This ain't the glory days of the New Deal and the Great Society. Folks are, how should I put this.....more sophisticated than back then. They've learned from experience that government healthcare sucks and that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

Please Rick, don't ever change. Like Rush Limbaugh says, we'll need a few liberals left to remind people of the bad old days when liberals ruled the world.

1 posted on 07/28/2005 2:52:21 PM PDT by kristinn
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To: kristinn
There is a website that thousands of committed Republicans spend hours on, giving and receiving marching orders.

Talk about a terminal case of projection.

2 posted on 07/28/2005 2:54:23 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: kristinn

What's the deal? Almost 5 years here, and a dollar-a-day FReeper and I've never gotten marching orders. Am I missing something? :)


3 posted on 07/28/2005 2:55:24 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: kristinn

Ricky sent me a FReepmail one day that would make a sailor blush.


4 posted on 07/28/2005 2:55:29 PM PDT by cripplecreek (If you must obey your party, may your chains rest lightly upon your shoulders.)
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To: kristinn
Like Rush Limbaugh says, we'll need a few liberals left to remind people of the bad old days when liberals ruled the world.

Like Rush Limbaugh says, we'll need a few liberals left to remind people of the bad old days when liberals ruled almost ruined the world.

Better...?

5 posted on 07/28/2005 2:55:48 PM PDT by Keith in Iowa (Talk Nerdy To Me)
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To: kristinn
The most glorious thing about congressional Democrats is that they have drawn the line and said: No further. Don't. Touch. Social. Security. It is a heroic stand. What's more, it's been enormously politically effective.

Who cares that the surplus has been spent and the Trust Fund is a fraud that dwarfs the corporate accounting scandals for which the Dems get their undies in a mega-twist. As long as it's "enormously politically effective", morality need not be considered.

And then they wonder why they're losing.

6 posted on 07/28/2005 2:56:05 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: kristinn
>>>>What I call "superjumbos"—grand policy commitments that span generations—add value by the very credibility of the commitment


That's true until one actually goes broke. At that point, NOTHING! the government touches will have ANY credibility.
7 posted on 07/28/2005 2:56:14 PM PDT by .cnI redruM (Liberalism may be a form of mental illness)
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To: kristinn
Sorry, but I have no interest in un****ing the Donkey. As far as I'm concerned, the Donkey can stay ****ed. Or better yet, go **** itself.
8 posted on 07/28/2005 2:56:40 PM PDT by RichInOC (...oops, did I say that out loud?)
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To: kristinn
.....only 30 percent of Americans call high taxes a very serious problem

Kristinn, this is the most comical line in the piece..... Ask those in the top 10 percent about HIGH TAXES... Or better yet us middle classers who make up the majority of the revenues...and got next to nothing back.

9 posted on 07/28/2005 2:57:00 PM PDT by alisasny (We get 4 more years, you get OBAMA...: ))
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To: kristinn
If the Democrats succeed in redistributing economic power, we're screwed.

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky. We don't EVER worry about that. We know it will never work!
10 posted on 07/28/2005 2:57:32 PM PDT by MarkeyD (I really, really loathe liberals.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Rick must have missed the immigration and CAFTA threads.


11 posted on 07/28/2005 2:58:05 PM PDT by cripplecreek (If you must obey your party, may your chains rest lightly upon your shoulders.)
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To: RichInOC
Sorry, but I have no interest in un****ing the Donkey. As far as I'm concerned, the Donkey can stay ****ed. Or better yet, go **** itself.

LMFAO!!!

12 posted on 07/28/2005 2:58:34 PM PDT by houeto ("Mr. President , close our borders now!")
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To: kristinn

Bump to read at home.


13 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:03 PM PDT by Bahbah
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Republicans want you to work for the AMERICAN DREAM, Democrats want to SELL IT TO YOU.

The price from the DEMOCRATS???? Neverending payments for which they are not required to provide the actual item purchased. It is not within their ability or power to provide it anyway. We all know that.

But they still manage to SELL IT to much of the public.


14 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:04 PM PDT by UCANSEE2
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To: cripplecreek

He's probably scared of any thread other than the Hobbit Hole, Morford's articles.


15 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:26 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
Am I missing something? :)

The morning conference calls with Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh channelling the ghost of Lee Atwater. That's where us insiders get our GOP marching orders and directives on how to both subliminally sway the other freepers and spot and ban any heretics who perceive our dastardly plot.

Plus the donuts aren't bad, either.

16 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:45 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: kristinn; dirtboy
kristinn, you write an e-mail to Rick and tell him what a putz he is.

dirtboy, you sponge the drool out of your buffer.

—End of marching orders transmission for today.

17 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:49 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: kristinn
Must be talking about those trolls from DU.
18 posted on 07/28/2005 2:59:55 PM PDT by Panerai
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To: kristinn
Please refer to your handout. The first column records some typical things "Freepers" say. The second records what the same Freeper said after the Senate voted cloture on the president's bankruptcy bill. Column A: "We are going to see a day, in our lifetimes, when schools force children to engage in homosexual acts as 'projects' or 'homework' for sex-ed." Same guy, column B: "The newly amended bankruptcy law is a criminal act perpetrated, bought and paid for by commercial pirates masquerading as legitimate businesses."

I won't belabor the point that I believe that the Democrats pay a huge long-term price for those Democrats who let that bankruptcy bill go through. The Republicans understand us better than we understand ourselves. When we are not credible defenders of the economic interests of ordinary Americans, we amount to little. When we are, we're a nuclear bomb to the heart of their coalition.

See my tagline

19 posted on 07/28/2005 3:00:10 PM PDT by A. Pole (For today's Democrats abortion and "gay marriage" are more important that the whole New Deal legacy.)
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To: snarks_when_bored
dirtboy, you sponge the drool out of your buffer.

Kinky...

20 posted on 07/28/2005 3:00:40 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: kristinn
Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers

Ain't gonna happen, Rick. The democratic party is so bogged down with kooky, looney leftist fringe groups that it will NEVER recover to its glory days.

Keep on dreaming, though - it makes for good theater.
21 posted on 07/28/2005 3:01:04 PM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Islam is war)
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To: dirtboy

I hear and obey....


22 posted on 07/28/2005 3:01:06 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim (Now that taglines are cool, I refuse to have one.)
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To: RichInOC

**** the donkey. Didn't Peter Gabriel sing that.


23 posted on 07/28/2005 3:01:27 PM PDT by cripplecreek (If you must obey your party, may your chains rest lightly upon your shoulders.)
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To: dirtboy

These guys are stuck in the past. Regular Joes now know that government comes with a price, and that the price is often way too high not only in money but in freedom. No citizen wants his health or his retirement to be subject to the whims of legislators, or worse, government careerist bureaucrats.


24 posted on 07/28/2005 3:01:28 PM PDT by thoughtomator (Mohammad spent more than half his life killing infidels)
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To: cripplecreek
**** the donkey. Didn't Peter Gabriel sing that.

Yeah, but John Kerry lives it.

25 posted on 07/28/2005 3:02:32 PM PDT by dirtboy (Drool overflowed my buffer...)
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To: Tijeras_Slim
What's the deal? Almost 5 years here, and a dollar-a-day FReeper and I've never gotten marching orders. Am I missing something?

Are you logged in? :oP

26 posted on 07/28/2005 3:02:34 PM PDT by IllumiNaughtyByNature (If Islam is the Religion of Peace, they should FIRE their PR guy!)
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To: kristinn

27 posted on 07/28/2005 3:02:50 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: Jim Robinson

Waiting for marching orders here......Thought you MIGHT want to see this one.


28 posted on 07/28/2005 3:03:17 PM PDT by hoosiermama (Mr and Mrs Wilson III were both working UNDERtheCOVERS!)
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To: kristinn

"Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers."


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Made my day.




29 posted on 07/28/2005 3:03:28 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares
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To: All

bump


30 posted on 07/28/2005 3:03:39 PM PDT by tiredoflaundry (Tampa Bay, Fl. The lightning capital of the world!)
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To: kristinn
"Building a progressive idea structure" ain't the problem. It's recovering the progressive foundation.

They're too attached to their "Hate Bush" mentality to actually come up with a new guiding ideology.

31 posted on 07/28/2005 3:04:14 PM PDT by My2Cents ("The essence of American journalism is vulgarity divested of truth." -- Winston Churchill)
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To: kristinn
It's simple. Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: "Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream."

What insufferable arrogance. To refute, I quote the timeless Calvin Coolidge:

Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Government does not give one the tools - the desire of the individual does. The rule of law is there to allow the individual the latitude to pursue and build their own dreams on their own efforts.

The condescending nature of American liberalism is its Achilles heel - this mindless pretention that the American people cannot possibly survive without them. You lot rebelled against King George, but what they propose is far more suffocating, taxing and full of noblesse oblige than anything he proposed.

Regards, ivan

32 posted on 07/28/2005 3:04:25 PM PDT by MadIvan (You underestimate the power of the Dark Side - http://www.sithorder.com/)
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To: kristinn
The only problem is, folks ain't buying it no more. This ain't the glory days of the New Deal and the Great Society. Folks are, how should I put this.....more sophisticated than back then.

Most of us are, but not so with the DUmmies. I know a far too many rapid dems who can only spew FDR rhetoric, even younger ones too young to remember FDR.

Please Rick, don't ever change. Like Rush Limbaugh says, we'll need a few liberals left to remind people of the bad old days when liberals ruled the world.

Amen to that. We all need a laugh, if nothing else. And from the article:

The Christian right is a political machine. Very little is asked of its cogs: just that they consult the call board on election day, and vote the way it says. It takes enormous effort to get them to do just that, as any of their leaders will freely tell you. Any of Richard J. Daley's precinct captains would have told you the same thing.

LOL. Are they for real? Maybe that's how it works for DUmmies in blue nanny-state land...

33 posted on 07/28/2005 3:04:42 PM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: dirtboy

>>>>>That's where us insiders get our GOP marching orders and directives on how to both subliminally sway the other freepers<<<
Must...take...away...free..lunch...program...


34 posted on 07/28/2005 3:04:49 PM PDT by travlnmn41
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To: Mia T

fyi


35 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:02 PM PDT by jla
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To: kristinn

"If the Democrats succeed in redistributing economic power, we're screwed."

Not just Republicans, Rick, EVERYBODY will be screwed!


36 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:04 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Liberals-beyond your expectations! !)
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To: kristinn
There is a website that thousands of committed Republicans spend hours on, giving and receiving marching orders.

I should pay more attention, I always miss the marching orders.

37 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:05 PM PDT by humblegunner (If you're gonna die, die with your boots on.)
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To: dirtboy
Plus the donuts aren't bad, either.

You get donuts at your meetings????

38 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:24 PM PDT by mware ("God is dead" -- Nietzsch"....... "Nope, you are"-- GOD)
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To: dirtboy
There is a website that thousands of committed Republicans spend hours on, giving and receiving marching orders.

Talk about a terminal case of projection.

I know I got my daily 'marching orders' in my Yahoo inbox this morning.......I'm down the last two tasks on the list.

.........Laugh uncontrolably at the democrats,

and

........Turn to my framed photo of Ronaldus Magnus, pause, and salute.

39 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:31 PM PDT by Jackknife (No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.-MacArthur)
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To: kristinn

Perlstein's problem is simple. So simple it brands him as a dunce.

You can't be a strategist if you believe your own propaganda.


40 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:34 PM PDT by telebob
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To: dirtboy
dirtboy, you sponge the drool out of your buffer.

Kinky...

Yeah, baby...

41 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:37 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: kristinn

"If the Democrats succeed in redistributing economic power, we're screwed."

Not just Republicans, Rick, EVERYBODY will be screwed!


42 posted on 07/28/2005 3:05:47 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Liberals-beyond your expectations! !)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Mine are apparently lost in the mail too.


43 posted on 07/28/2005 3:06:18 PM PDT by SoDak
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To: kristinn
Democratic congressmen can do that, for example, by making a credible collective pledge that if you vote Democrat enough you will never pay another medical bill as long as you live.

It's the word "credible" that is the key. You guys lost your credibility a long time ago, and because of this the majority of Americans don't believe a word you say.

44 posted on 07/28/2005 3:06:31 PM PDT by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
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To: kristinn
The centrist Democratic Leadership Council meets this week in Columbus, Ohio, with Senator Hillary Clinton the newly named chair of their newly launched yearlong "American Dream Initiative."

If the DLC is "centrist," I am terrified to know what they consider to be leftist.

I guess from his description of Free Republic, and people being banned for "getting out of line," he must think that Jim is basically the head of the GOP. But I'm glad the left is finally acknowledging that talk radio and the internet has basically destroyed them by continually exposing their lies.

45 posted on 07/28/2005 3:06:31 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: humblegunner
I always miss the marching orders.

I figured I never got marching orders since I haven't earned my decoder ring yet!

46 posted on 07/28/2005 3:07:32 PM PDT by tiredoflaundry (Tampa Bay, Fl. The lightning capital of the world!)
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To: Jackknife; The Drowning Witch

ping


47 posted on 07/28/2005 3:07:35 PM PDT by Jackknife (No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.-MacArthur)
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To: Names Ash Housewares
"Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers."

From the party that doesn't know the meaning of the word "IS"!

48 posted on 07/28/2005 3:08:01 PM PDT by hoosiermama (Mr and Mrs Wilson III were both working UNDERtheCOVERS!)
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To: kristinn
...we're a nuclear bomb to the heart of their coalition.

No Rick, you and your failed liberal ideas are nuclear bombs to America.
49 posted on 07/28/2005 3:09:09 PM PDT by adorno (The democrats are the best recruiting tool the terrorists could ever have.)
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To: Jim Robinson

Ping for a laugh.


50 posted on 07/28/2005 3:09:14 PM PDT by Deetes (God Bless the Troops and their Family's)
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