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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Band of Brothers: Mission & Framing

Posted by DavidNYC

My post about the pending launch of Band of Brothers has received a very positive response, for which I'm grateful. A lot of e-mails and comments have raised some very thoughtful issues, so I wanted to continue the discussion.

First, I want to make one thing absolutely clear: Being a veteran does not automatically make you a good candidate, and I would never make such a claim. As I noted, there are lots of positives that veteran status does confer. But being a vet doesn't necessarily do any any of the following: make you a good speaker; give you name recognition; give you a "personal touch" when interacting with voters; help you cut good ads; or raise you money. In other words, all of the things which make for a good candidate on the campaign trail.

And that's precisely why Band of Brothers exists. Our goal is to help candidates who have a particular built-in positive - ie, veteran status - become excellent all-around candidates. Veteran status is only one element of a candidacy - albeit an important one. We're here to bolster all the other elements, and to provide a unifying umbrella to let veterans across the country speak together in one powerful voice.

Second, I wanted to address an issue of framing. The lazy media wants you to think that Dems are weak-kneed and wobbly on matters of national security. We all know that's bullshit. So it's important to stress that these fighting Dems are not "exceptions" to this pernicious media stereotype. These men and women are fighters precisely because they are Dems.

Hell, the Democrats have been fighting non-stop since FDR's time - fighting on behalf of the rights of the unrepresented, and fighting against entrenched interests who have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. We've fought - and continue to fight - on behalf of the elderly (Social Security), the disenfranched (the Voting Rights Act), the poor (Medicaid), and on and on. The Republicans, meanwhile, are only interested in more tax cuts. That's not fighting - that's just greed in action.

I don't want to make a facile comparison between political battles and a willingness to potentially sacrifice one's life in service to this country. But I can only imagine that a strong fighting spirit animates any veteran running for office. And that fighting spirit is right at home in the Democratic Party. We saw it with the fiery Paul Hackett, and I can bet you we're going to see it a lot more from 2006's Band of Brothers.

Posted at 01:41 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Band of Brothers | Technorati

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I'll keep nudging until somebody else mentions it, but Carl Forti and the NRCC has fired back at the Fighting Dems:

More Here

One bit of "information" from Forti:

"These are Democrats who happen to be military veterans who are running for Congress, It's one résumé item. Just because you are a military guy doesn't make you a congressman."

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 02:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I couldn't agree with you more. The candidates, these "Fighting Dems" need to be able to balance their Veteran status, with other issues.
They can't:
1. Only talk about being a veteran.
2. Not talk about being a veteran.

If they can balance being a veteran with a populist/fair play message, we may have found the right formula for victory with these guys.

Posted by: DFLer22 [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 02:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think Forti knows the Republicans are prone, and that's why he's trying to downplay Democratic veterans.

Remember when the Republicans talked about "Citizen Legislators"?

And remember when most of them broke their term-limits pledges? and when they got involved with shady lobbyists?

I would like for these candidates to say something about how their previous experience would make them better legislators than the typical Republican legislators.

Some reasons I can think of

1) Ability to work with others for the good of their district (which might even involve bipartisanship *gasp*)
2) Independence from lobbyists (as opposed to the dependence the GOP has on lobbyists)

Of course, there'll be something which mentions Iraq too.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 03:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

RBH: That article was prominently linked at DailyKos yesterday. I just don't feel like Forti's more-than-obvious spin is worth responding to. Of course, we could re-spin Forti's crap as an attack on veterans. Hmm. Maybe that's not a bad idea.

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 05:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for hilighting this little point. I am concerned that when these Fighting Dems make appearances in the media the hosts will go out of their way to make jokes about how they are the exceptions.

The Fighting Dems themselves must make this point repeatedly whenever there is any suggestion that they are exceptional.

Posted by: Chris Andersen [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 06:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I fell victim to the Kos Cycle


Article gets mentioned on Kos, another blog mentions it, a Kossack finds the article on that blog, and then does a diary on it.

Whoops. :D

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2005 08:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The "Band of Brothers" project is a great project.

I wish you had not chosen that name, though. It's true that the candidate list has expanded to include a couple of excellent female veterans running for Congress, which is good. But calling the whole thing the "Band of Brothers" obviously reinforces the idea that soldier = male hero = male political leader. Part of what it means to be a progressive is to champion the idea that those old stereotypes are wrong: there is nothing about being a strong, powerful leader that requires XY chromosomes.

As you continue to frame the focus of the "Band of Brothers" project, you can mitigate this problem by particularly emphasizing and highlighting some of our female veteran candidates. (That will surely also encourage more female Democratic veterans to consider seeking political office in the first place, which helps our side a lot.)

Posted by: JR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2006 12:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment