Regardless, Sirota's seven lessons from the 2004 election are worth considering:
- Fight the Class War -- progressives are making inroads into culturally conservative areas by talking about economic class *** It is us-versus-them red meat, straight talk about how the system is working against ordinary Americans *** focus [on] unfair trade deals and taxpayer givaways to the wealthy
- Champion Small Business Over Big Business -- at the grass-roots level, small-business people are far less uniformly conservative, especially as the GOP increasingly helps huge corporations eat up local economies *** entrepreneurs don't like high taxes and regulations, they also don't like government encouraging multinationals to monopolize the market and destroy Main Street. *** out-of-state corporations [are] using loopholes to avoid paying taxes, thus driving up the tax burden on small in-state companies *** focus on small manufacturers
- Protect Tom Joad -- [oppose] the Republican-backed "Freedom to Farm Act" *** [call] it the "Freedom-to-Lose-Your-Shirt" bill *** the new subsidies would primarily go to large corporations, encourage overproduction that depresses prices, and reward big farms over small ones *** the GOP is digging in, already planning to repeal country-of-origin labeling laws that help small farms differentiate their products from larger corporate producers
- Turn the Hunters and the Exurbs Green -- the GOP's willingness to side with private landowners and developers is now putting the party at odds with these constituencies *** [promise] to prevent the state from selling off public land *** many of the Bush administration's plans [go] 'against what nearly every local elected official on both sides of the aisle has asked for.' *** [transform] environmental advocacy from a potential "liberal" albatross into an asset in conservative areas.
- Become a Teddy Roosevelt Clone -- [claim the] law-and-order mantle *** [realize] the political benefits of fighting white-collar crime, big-business rip-offs, and corporate misbehavior *** Though opponents labeled [New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer] anti-business, he countered that he was pro-business because he was protecting the integrity of the market *** [fight] to prevent companies from illegally reducing their pensions *** corporate traitors *** [push] legislation to prevent taxpayer subsidies from going to companies that ship jobs overseas *** the GOP's reliance on corporate money means it cannot muddle the issues by pretending to meet progressives halfway
- Clean Up Government -- Republicans' obsession with narrow cultural issues while the state's looming fiscal crisis was ignored [has driven] a deep wedge between fiscally conservative live-and-let-live Republicans and the neo-conservative extremists with an agenda
- Use the Values Prism -- successful red-region progressives are using economic populism to define their cultural solidarity with voters *** populism culturally connects these leaders to their constituents *** plans to protect hunting access not only attract votes from outdoorsmen but also project a broader willingness to fight for Joe Six-Pack and the state's way of life *** [translate] translating legislative fights into values language at home *** question whether America should provide huge tax cuts to the wealthy while its schools decay *** about out-of-state media conglomerates pumping obscene radio shows into [a] culturally conservative market *** [make Enron's] antics a values commentary on the problem of unethical corporations
Read the whole thing -- it's worth your time.
Sirota closes asserting that "having the guts to stand up for middle America -- even when it draws the ire of corporate America -- is as powerful a statement about morality and authenticity as any of the GOP's demagoguery on 'guns, God, and gays.'"
Gee, it all looked so simple... and then he called for Democrats show some guts.