Rebuilding (d)emocracy - Part 1

In the November 20 edition of The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel gives a list of ten things we should consider to strengthen our democracy here at home. With voters being dropped from the rolls with no notice, machines counting votes that can never be verified and voters staying home in record numbers it is obvious we have a problem in this country.

Many of her ideas have already been discussed here in the pages of BlueNC. I think these are discussions we should continue, especially with the elections over and problems we might have encountered fresh on our minds.

The piece by Katrina is subscription only, but I don't think she will mind if I list all ten of her suggestions to help guide our discussions. Also, for those subscribers, here is a link. I'm not sure I agree with everything she says, but the piece and the subsequent letters to the editor printed in this past week's edition give a great starting place for those of us who follow elections.

Please follow below the fold...

How Stupid Is Brian Nick?

Yesterday I reported that gubernatorial wannabe Bill Graham has chosen an up-and-coming loser to be the brains behind his campaign to take over the governor's mansion. Today the News and Observer follows up with more brilliance from the boy wonder.

Nick will also be senior strategist for N.C. Conservatives United, which is Graham's political committee. But that committee is likely to morph into Graham's gubernatorial campaign if, as expected, he announces for governor.

The move by Nick could generate more gossip that Dole does not plan to seek a second term in 2008. But Nick says that is nonsense. "She is fully committed to running," Nick said. "Honestly, the fact that rumors come from the Democratic Party should tell you what they are worth. That is wishful thinking." (emphasis added)

Nifong and The Next Election

Could this be the face that will haunt North Carolina Democrats?

In light of recent developments, Michael Nifong may be guilty of egregious prosecutorial misconduct in the Duke rape investigation. Already it appears that professionally Nifong is toast, and there is speculation that his malfeasance may not be covered by prosecutorial immunity. In what may be the ultimate irony in this Gothic drama, Nifong himself could wind up being the only "player" who faces a judge and jury.

So what are the implications for North Carolina Democrats? Well, normally there shouldn't be any implications. After all, in normal circumstances the office of District Attorney in Durham isn't something with a great deal of political consequence. But then again, these are not normal circumstances.

Dan Conley on John Edwards and Heart

Over at the political wire, Dan Conley has put together a post that is....well, I don't know. I think he makes a couple good points, but he ends with a dig at Edwards with which I don't agree. It's

The "Big Heart" Campaign

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will chase history in their 2008 campaigns, early clues from former Sen. John Edwards suggest that he will take a different route, running as the candidate with heart...
The subtext of the Edwards campaign will be that it's not enough to represent Americans who have been locked behind walls of power, you need to tear down those walls and deal head-on with issues of poverty, job creation and health care accessibility, the three prime impediments to expanding and strengthening the middle class. While others will try to craft the perfect Iraq policy, Edwards will take the more emotionally satisfying approach of bringing 40,000 troops home immediately and the rest as soon as possible.

Bill Graham choses loser to run campaign

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You know things are falling apart in the Party of Greed when an aspiring gubernatorial candidate has to scrape the bottom of the competency barrel to find help with his hapless campaign.

From the Charlotte Observer.

Salisbury lawyer Bill Graham says he is not officially running for the Republican nomination for governor, but he now has an unofficial campaign strategist. Brian Nick, a veteran of Sen. Elizabeth Dole's office and of national Republican politics, has signed on as a senior adviser to Graham's N.C. Conservatives United.

Kay Hagan for Congress?

In yesterday's Greensboro News Record there was a long and complementary profile of North Carolina Democratic State Senator Kay Hagan. She lives in Guilford County and is one of the Senate's chief budget writers. The piece interviews a number of sources including State Party Chair Jerry Meek, Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight and the Senator herself.

The article describes Hagan, who is 53, and has been in the NC Senate since 1998 as "a successful fundraiser" who's considered a "business-savvy centrist."

Meek is quoted as speculating that "if Howard Coble were to step down," she would be an ideal candidate for the Congressional seat in the 6th District. In what may sound like a bridge too far, Meek goes on to hope that, "..she would be one of the folks who would take a serious look at challenging Elizabeth Dole in 2008."

The Senator herself won't be specific about her ambitions except to say that she'll probably be running for "something" in '08.

USA Today on Health Care in 2007

Fire as Pure Stochastic Patterns

The USA Today
gives a nice round-up of the Health Care issues that MIGHT come before the feds. The article reminds me of a comment I read somewhere, the person said that they read the paper shaking their heads saying "We've been talking about that online for weeks." So it is with this story. The focus of this story is the Ron Wyden bill for "universal health care" that will be introduced in January.

Arguing For The South

Nationally, one of the hottest topics in progressive politics is whether or not the Democratic Party should consider the South a lost cause.

Thirty years ago that subject would have been considered absurd on its face. Back then the South was the indispensable partner in Roosevelt's New Deal coalition. The South was the lynch pin, the hinge, the fulcrum of Democratic power. Now some believe that it is the great nemesis of the Democratic Party, and chasing after the South is about as useful, and ennobling, as calling your ex-wife and asking her for a date.

This argument has both its advocates, and its critics throughout the progressive movement. Howard Dean has staked tremendous political capital on his "50 State Strategy" and the contention that a truly national party must compete everywhere. Other influential leaders in the party, like Rahm Emmanuel, would argue that spending fifty cents on grass roots organizing in Mississippi is fifty cents wasted.

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