Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Of course a lot can happen between now and 2008, but I think it will be harder for the republicans to win the next time around because they don't have anyone to sell their program the way Bush did. I've come to the conclusion that George Bush and Bill Clinton are very much a like, they both could sell ice to Eskimo's. It will all come down to who has the most charisma. Just my opinion.


And Clinton and Bush are both almost exactly the same age -- almost exactly my age. We were all born in 1946. I'll never live it down.

Richard Lawrence Cohen

Absolutely right, Amba, and your comparison is on target. The Democrats are making themselves irrelevant, not even giving themselves a chance to develop leaders who could appeal to the nation as a whole.

I agree with Spud about the importance of charisma -- a quality totally lacking in the Democrats' most recent candidate. But I don't think it will be hard for the Republicans to win in 2008. They will simply nominate Dr. C. Rice. It will be a two-woman contest, making the election of the first woman president a certainty months before voting day. And Rice will win.

Jonathan Cortis

That's OK, amba, I have the same b'day as Barbara Steissand (not the same year, thank goodness!), that still bothers me.

As for the stitching together of a coalition, I think there is at least some blame that can be placed on the DLC folks. They're firing back just as many rhetorical mortars as they receive. At this point, I don't know who started it. Hillary is calling for a truce, and that is a good starting point. Unfortunately, she seems to be the only one interested in such a truce.

The GOP has it right. Their extremist and centrist factions both feel the same way about each other that the dKosians and DLC types do, but at least the GOPers have realized that they're all voting for the same guys, so radicals/centrists may as well work with the heathens/religious-nuts to eek out a win.


The Dems have maneuvered themselves into an odd position. They used campaign finance reform as a weapon and plank in their campaigns. This made individual contributions extremely important. It also made third-party loophole organizations like extremely important.

Then they found out that the disturbed fringe of the party was the best source of individual donations - both to the party and to the other organizations. So, now they have to play to the fringe for money, but appeal to the center for enough votes to win.

I think they keep losing until this problem is solved. Imagine how screwed the Repubs would be if all of their money was coming from the religious right...

I'm not sure how this all came to be, but I certainly blame Karl Rove.

Losing Faith

"Ideological purity is more important than winning."

Hmmmm, let's see, you're saying they SHOULDN'T be more concerned with sticking to their beliefs than winning? Win at any cost? Well that's one of the attitudes the people that are on the verge of leaving the Dem party are frustrated with. It's that attitude that's got so many Dems in the pockets of corporations. That's the main complaint I've seen and I agree with it. There are too many Dems on the Corporate dole to vote for them. They've lost integrity.

Tom Strong

This reminds me of an old baseball mythology: that of "clubhouse chemistry" - the idea that teams win, at least in part, because the players and coaches get along together.

This was put to the lie by the Oakland A's of the early 70's, who won three straight championships, all the while fighting, griping, cursing, and generally hating each others guts.

As in sports, I think success and failure in politics can be pretty mysterious sometimes. It seems possible to me that the current GOP "harmony" exists not because libertarians and paleocons have put aside their differences, but _because_ they're winning right now. Similarly, the Dems infighting has been magnified by the illusion that they just can't win.


Losing Faith,

If the left can't find a way to make an alliance with the center, their agenda will remain pure but quixotic -- unrealized. They won't have much recourse except to become raving prophets -- or Unabombers. If you care about, e.g., the environment, you can either lose purely, or win ugly. That is, you can compromise and maybe accomplish something, or you can remain uncompromising and irrelevant. Alas.


That is, if you want people to move your way, you have to meet them partway to lead them there.

Tom Strong

If the left can't find a way to make an alliance with the center, their agenda will remain pure but quixotic -- unrealized.

I don't know. I think this issue is really more complex than most people acknowledge.

I've met a fair number of people who've moved away from the Dems because of their left wing. However, I've met even more people who've moved away from the Dems because they seem weak, willing to go wherever the political winds blow.

Clearly, the Dems need to "capture the center." But it doesn't seem sure to me that the way to do that is by changing their policy positions yet again. As some smart person wrote (I forget who - was it you, amba?) - Americans didn't vote for Bush because they think he has a brain. They voted for him because they think he has a backbone.


I think in a head to head between Hillary and Condy, Condy would be blown off the map. The only thing she'd have going for her is that some of the traditional black Democratic base would switch for her, but Hillary would pick up a lot of the center since Condy is so far off to the right.

Agreed about the "purity" comment - some people are too unwilling to budge on their own somewhat radical points to realize that they're really not too far off from the moderates on some other issues.

The thing I'm seriously hoping for is that either the Dems take control or the Repuglicans get off their moral high horse crap and try to fix what's really wrong with the country - the deficit, the environment, the deteriorating infrastructure, our totally trashed world image, the horrible education system, the expense of and subsequent lack of access to healthcare, and the continually accelerating inequity between the rich and poor. Among others, of course.


It is interesting reading the comments. The consensus seems to be the dems are in trouble. And that may very well be. But what about the republicans? Who's going to sell their program, Bill Frist?? George W. Bush is going to be very hard to replace just like Bill Clinton has been. The republicans can say all they want about Hillary, but who have they got???

Amba, Dolly Parton was born in 1946 too.

Losing Faith

You don't have to continually compromise your beliefs to "capture the center". If anything, getting back to what they believed years ago and regaining their integrity should recapture some of the center for the dems. They don't need to alienate the further left wing of the party in order to do this either. They're not approaching it in the right way as a party. Some individuals are on the right track. Conyers is looking like a true man of the people since I've started paying attention to him about 2 years ago. Rethugs have a good attack when they start in on the values thing. They can show where dems used to be about something and really don't seem to be about anything now. I've never believed that talking point, I feel dems just aren't addressing it properly. "Refocusing" to a different standard, yet again, is NOT going to resolve it. Unfortunately the thugs have made a loud noise about the dems only being anti-repub, so even pointing out the repub hypocrisy looks like it's working against the dems. The only thing that kept me voting dem is I think the rethugs are worse and scarier. That's not something that will keep someone in a party for very long. It's more likely to just turn them away from politics in frustration.


Rethugs! I love how this word is mutating. (I originally typed "Repuglicans" as an "innocent" typo.)

You are right that the Democraps need to stand for something. And the working class is one of the main things they used to stand solid for. (In '68 I was for Bobby Kennedy not élite Gene McCarthy because RFK managed to speak to both workers AND minorities. in a way the Democratic party died with him.) They basically abandoned that for politically-correct academia, Hollywood, and hip-corporate Silicon Valley.

However, it's also wrong to say they should go "back to" their old values, because the world has changed too much. If they are going to speak to the economic anxieties of the working class today, they'll have to find brand-new ways to do it. See the discussion at TPM Café, introduced here, for some groping toward insights on that.

Losing Faith

I didn't mean they should approach there values in the same way they did 30 years ago. Of coarse the world has changed. They had to be fighters for equal rights among races once upon a time, now it's not as tough of a fight (although one that is still being fought). However, their abandonment of workers for corporate pay offs is unacceptable. The recent rumblings about dropping women's abortion rights as an issue is also unacceptable. They're complete abandonment of issues in hopes of "Victory" really paints them as a party with no core morals. It lends credence to the rethug argument that dems are for whatever it takes for them to win. I understand abortion is a VERY difficult issue. That shouldn't equate to completely adopting the "oppositions" view, it should just get them to discuss it in a more open, frank manner.

Just for clarification, I got the "Rethug" thing from someone about a year ago. It stuck, especially with all the bullying these "republicans" have been doing. It just gets worse and worse. A review of Sensenbrenner's activities of a couple months ago is enough to earn them the Rethug moniker.

The current political system and party options is frustrating a lot of Americans. The dem party is part of a broken machine. If they want to win, it probably wouldn't be much more difficult than reaffirming their core values; doing a bit of "house cleaning"; and standing on government reform, and clearly demonstrating how to go about it, so it is truly "For the People".


Truly "For the People" would be good. Unfortunately "the People" don't have "the money." proved that a lot of money could be raised from small donors over the Internet, but that's probably not the working class.

Also, the Dems have NOT abandoned their position on abortion rights. They are only trying to find the common ground with the opposition of reducing unwanted pregnancy. The fact is that about two-thirds of the country wants abortion to be legal with some restrictions, and to be least restricted during the first trimester. (Plan B ought to be available over the counter.) If the Dems push a more radical position than that, they lose the center. The pure "abortion on demand" position alienates too many.


My problem with Hill is that, if the Dems wish to put forth a candidate of the center, s/he has to be genuinely from the center or have no credibility coming out of the box.

Hillary has no cred as a centrist. [Lieberman did (does)]If she runs to the center, I predict that vast numbers of people (including women) will see through her rhetoric, because up until her Senate role, she wore her ideology right out front.

Sort of the same way people "just didn't trust" Jawn Kerry. They could tell he was a phoney.


And I agree with Spud that the Repubs have a challenge picking the right guy to follow Bush. I'd say McCain has the right stuff, but he's pretty much PNG with the party heads now. Frist is a non-starter and Romney -- well, he's from MA, 'nuff said.


AND he's a Mormon.


Fascinating comments, many of which I feel are right on, beginning with Amba's entry. ALL of which leaves me "without a Party," and in search of a political leader. The good news is, we have a couple years to coalesce some sense and strength out of The Center. The bad news is, Bush et al are in charge till then. Here's to Survival and keep up the good conversation!


And please keep participating in it!!

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