Many have said that the ODP had nothing to do with Paul Hackett getting squeezed out of the Senate race. I don’t believe it, and here’s why: The Lawnmower Culture. The actions of national Dems in calling for Paul to get out of the race and clear the way for their establishment darling is evidence of this. The people get excited and grow something ground up – hell YOU grow something from the ground up – and then come along with the party machine and mow it down.

Whether or not the ODP had a hand in the Valentine’s Day Massacre is debatable – Redfern denies it and at this point I’m left to take him at his word. It indeed may have just been a hit from the big office.

But last night’s pre-primary endorsement process is an example that the ODP subscribes to the Lawnmower Culture. Candidates who had done a good job of positioning themselves among voters, and voters who had been germinating the seeds of the grassroots for some time, were mowed down in favor of the machine.

Now, I ask you, what good is it for us to “grow the grassroots”, “build the party from the ground up”, or have an “88 county strategy”, when all that will happen is for the party insiders to cut things down nice and neat to suit them? How do I with a straight face go out into precincts in Delaware County and tell people we are building something that will matter when i know deep inside we will become like party marionettes expected to go along with whatever the landscaper says?

I’m not saying I will not continue to do so, but ODP leadership needs to understand their actions have affects – sometimes deeper than they may think. We are out here and we are watching. In fact, there is probably more scrutiny at this level than ever before and it is not going to get any better. So I have a suggestion for the ODP: Put the lawnmower in the garage and break out the fertilizer!

Update: To extend the metaphor, if you feed and grow the grassroots to a certain point it is too high and will bog down the lawnmower. That should be the goal.

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  • I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but if I were, I’d say that this lawnmower notion thing requires that people be encouraged to grow themselves and others and causes, and are purposefully mowed down to do as much damage as possible to the spirit that might otherwise look for a new place to grow yet again and threaten the machine.

    As I said, I’m not a conspiracy theorist, don’t usually subscribe to such theories. But the patterns of behavior that coincide are very very unsettling, to say the least.

    I’ve actually thought this about Bush and No Child Left Behind – say you want accountability – who would say not to that, really, in some form or another – but then make it so that schools and so many of them, fail so miserably that the faith in the public schools is undermined to the point where everyone is pulling the kids out. Except barely anyone can afford truely private school, so they fall into the welcoming hands of the parochial schools that are less expensive and then you have instant indoctrination mills for the religious right.

    No – I don’t ACTUALLY see it that way, but that pattern is reinforced by certain policy choices. And, as I said, I find the confluence to be EXTREMELY unsettling.

    Likewise with the observations you make about The Party – and I’m sure it’s not only happening with the Dems. I know there are GOP members who feel the same way about their party.

    Very, very disturbing.

  • anomolous

    Actually, Jill, your theory about No Child Left Behind is very close to what many have been putting out for a while and what I have come to truly believe; that of course they are trying to punish rather than help schools that fail in order to destroy the. But not so much to help parochial schools which are mostly Catholic, a group the Christian right tends to be prejudiced against, but to essentially destroy educational opportunities for anyone but the rich and the most determined upper-middle class (something that unaffordable higher education and the replacement of grants with back-breaking loans is also contributing to), by shunting most of the population into inferior “charter” schools. Then they can blame these people and their lack of education for their poverty. Meanwhile, taxes from their Wal-Mart jobs will sudsidize school for the wealthy.

  • An interesting metaphor. But of course it comes with it the argument that grass sometimes gets choked with weeds.

    The party needs the grassroots. But the grassroots needs the party. Both are necessary components for victory.

    To switch metaphors, the party is the hardware while the grassroots is the software. Without the software, the hardware is just a really expensive door stop. But without the hardward the software has nowhere to run.

    What disturbs me most about situations like this is that they may be driven by self-interested parties in either group who find keeping the party and the grassroots at each others throats as being protective of their interests. This includes both Republican operatives AND entrenched Democrats who feel threatened by shifting power bases.

  • Sooz

    Yes, shifting power bases…and those who have the power never want to give it up.

    The party “hardware” desperately needs to be staffed with new personnel who are capable of running in sync with the grassroots. Because right now (and for several years, in fact) Democrats are like a dysfunctional family that, when faced with adverse circumstances, responds in ways that only make the situation worse.

  • How about…the hardware needs a new operating system?

  • bryan

    can’t run windows xp on a commodore 64

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