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Gene Lyons finds uncreative racists who spurn Obama surprisingly articulate and informed

Surprise, eh? Gene Lyons:

If nominated, Obama can’t possibly defeat Sen. John McCain without bringing Clinton voters to him. Recently, however, I’ve been hearing from many passionate Democrats who say they can’t and won’t vote for him in November, so I asked a few to explain why.

Mine is no scientific survey. Ranging from 26 to 86, my correspondents live in seven states, North, South and Midwest. They don’t know each other personally. None participates in politics except on a local, volunteer basis. I chose them because they’re unusually articulate.

Most think Obama a sure loser in the George McGovern, Michael Dukakis tradition. They believe he’s totally unqualified.

“I’ve voted for every Democrat from president to dog-catcher since 1952. That will end with Obama,” insists H. in Maine. “He won’t get 150 electoral votes, more than he deserves. The Democratic Party’s been teetering on the edge of extinction. Obama’s arrogance will kill it....

“ Just four years out of the state Senate. If he were white or female, his candidacy would be a joke. Imagine if he’d opted to run for vice president with Hillary. Mc-Cain would lose, Democrats would come close to 60 Senate seats and pick up 35 in the House. The Democratic left’s need to swoon after eight years of a moron, coupled with unbridled Clinton hatred, will produce a disaster for the party and country.”

It’s the Obama campaign’s cynical use of race beginning in South Carolina that’s the deal-breaker for others.

“He is making his way to Denver by dividing our party over race, which is maybe the most idiotic campaign tactic ever,” writes C. in Kansas. “This time the witch hunt is coming from our side. It’s heartbreaking. Obama supporters want you to think Bill and Hillary Clinton are lifelong members of the KKK. The audacity of hope campaign has had the audacity to go there.... This fall, they’ll try to make nice and talk unity, but the people they alienated in the most hateful way won’t be there. They deserve to lose for being so callous and childish.”

J. in Florida agrees: “Obama and his supporters’ use of the ‘race card’ against the Clintons (with the help of the in-the-tank media ) is sickening. Now we have vile, racist, crazed-for-power Hillary. Obama means to avoid the ‘divisiveness’ of the Clinton years by blaming it on them. That’s a despicable lie, and he knows it. The only way of avoiding divisiveness is to cave to the Republican agenda, which I believe he’s more than eager to do.

“He and his supporters,“ J. adds, “have systematically sacrificed the central constituency of the Democratic Party—the poor and working class—on the altar of constituencies who look to politics for reaffirmation of their identity: college students and childish Sixties neo-libs. (The African American constituency makes sense, so no gripes there.)”

By abandoning the principle of universality in health insurance, most think Obama has guaranteed that meaningful reform cannot be achieved. Z. in Georgia adds that Obama’s vagueness on economic issues foretells disaster. “He has no perceptible position on the economy other than ‘We can do better. Yes, we can. Say it with me.’ I foresee broken campaign promises followed by belt-tightening austerity measures in a one-term presidency. In short, Jimmy Carter in a better-tailored sweater.” “ I view the Obama candidacy as a narcissistic endeavor by a mediocre politician dividing Democrats along social vs. economic progressive lines, ” J. insists. “He’s forcing a choice between winning in 2008 and possibly saving Roe vs. Wade and promoting gay marriage vs. fighting for the poor and working class. “ I’ve decided I won’t help Obama and his personality cult transform the Democratic Party into an organization that represents only the interests of rich, social liberals.”

What do I think? I suspect most will grudgingly return by November, but that non-African American working-class voters won’t.

Sure, it's a Broder-esque technique, and not, as Lyons himself admits, scientific. And so fucking what?

The Village is always wrong about everything. Lyons, during the years of the attempted coup by the Republicans that culminated in their impeachment attempt, was right. Along with very few others. So he's got a track record. Of course, in the age of the anti-Cassandra, that might not be a good thing, but a man can dream....

But what right have I to dreams? I'm a racist.

NOTE Anglachel has a great post on unity vs. legitimacy in this primary.

No votes yet


trishb's picture
Submitted by trishb on

My entire family, all of us Ohio transplants from upstate NY (it was the economy, stupid) voted for HRC in the primary. My mom is the daughter of a lifelong Dem pol. My grandfather was a judge for close to 30 years. Most of mom's experience in the voting booth involved one little lever labeled "Democrat."

Not too long ago, my mom was so disgusted with this primary that she considered a write-in for the GE. Then she ranted she'd vote for McCain. Granted, that lasted for all of a week, but I never thought she'd even consider any non-Dem vote in her lifetime. She's now at the point where she'll vote for Obama, but she's pissed.

basement angel's picture
Submitted by basement angel on

I don't understand how or why a conviction with Patrick Fitzgerald as the prosecutor isn't a bigger concern. Should Rezko be convicted on any charge that contains the word "bribery" in it, his $625k purchase of property that allowed Obama to buy his dream house, is gonna look like a bribe to an awful lot of sane Americans. As Buchanan pointed out, Fitzgerald won't start squeezing Rezko until Rezko is convicted and is facing his remaining decades in the stripey hole. If obama is the nominee, it won't even mattter if Rezko is telling the truth about that transaction. The medium is the message and all that.

You know, it's reminding me a lot of Spiro Agnew - who went from a lowly county seat, to governor to the White House in under six years. Now, Spiro looked a lot cleaner back when Nixon picked him than Obama looks now - not a good sign. Vetting is a good thing.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Whitewater, and the Clintons were innocent of wrongdoing in that one.

So it really won't matter if Obama is innocent or not.

“The Clintons' biggest failure is that they couldn't get their own party to support them.” - Bartcop

whaleshaman's picture
Submitted by whaleshaman on

basement angel: Vetting is a good thing.

Unless you're counting on CDS to carry the day.

God, do you also remember what an insufferable self-righteous prig Agnew was?

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

We the Obama rejectionista wonder how large a group are we. Obviously, we believe that Obama is a malignant growth that endangers the party and the country. Our size does matter to the survival of the party.

My son, the political prodigy, claims that most of us will turn around by November. This youngster is seldom wrong on political issues.

We will see.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...won't come back in November without Clinton at the top of the ticket. If we allow this 'new' coalition to succeed in replacing the working class, women, latinos, asians, etc. we lose forever. The party will never be beholden to the issues of a constituency it has replaced so while McCain may do harm to our causes, supporting this takeover kills our causes forever because it leaves us with no party and no power. Obama would create a new republican party that's socially liberal but economically republican and against the interests of the working class along with a whole bunch of other members of the "old coalition." He's essentially making the perfect party for Andrew Sullivan.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I think that the rejectionists (people who won't vote for Obama...but they won't vote for McCain either) is a relatively small group.

The real challenge for the party is the "silent majority" -- ye olde 'average american". Right now, they favor a generic Democrat for President --- but we don't run "generic" candidates.

John McCain needs to do one thing to win -- prove to America that he's not Bush. Americans recognize that Bush is the problem, its not "the system", its the guy in charge.

Submitted by lambert on

But they could be wrong...

To me, it is "the system," not Bush. And there seem to be 4 not 3 and not 2 players:

1. McCain wing of the Republican Party. Insane, but not Bush, and McCain personally is at least not a sociopath, which is a mercy.

2. Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, the vaunted "Clinton Machine." Base of working class, women, Asians, Latinos, older folks. People who need government to work, especially on universal health care.

3. Obama wing of the Democratic Party. Base of AAs, "creative class." People who need government to work, but higher up Maslow's hierarchy of needs than the Clinton Wing (Data point: A-list focus on public transportation in cities. They have insurance that works, so they want their gas prices dealt with.)

4. The Obama Movement, which has an independent existence from the Democratic Party (independent database, independent voter reg), and whose cadres, in my view, are engaged in a hostile takeover of the Democratic Party, with a view to replacing base #2 with base #3. Corporate backers prefer this, because, for now, base #2 is more expensive than base #3. Ice floes; dog food; early death without health care -- preventing all that takes money, and also competes with private initiatives.

So, the choices are alas not binary. They are:

1. McCain vs. Clinton = Clinton (the map vs. the math)

2. McCain vs. Obama = Obama + Obama Movement (Obama wins)

3. McCain vs. Obama = McCain + Obama Movement (Obama loses).

Note that the Obama Movement wins, whether Obama wins or not.

Personally, I'd like to vote against the Obama Movement. I don't like movements led by charismatic leaders that don't have any institutional checks, and I sure God don't want to have to deal with OFB trolls infesting the threads for the next ten or twenty years, as the Movement gears up for permanent campaign mode (and, if Chicago machine politics are any guide, start dividing up goodies among themselves). Unfortunately, the only way to do that would be to vote for McCain. Ick. His finance director tortured a dog. Sociopaths...

I think we need to take the people who say they want to throw Clinton's base out of the party at their word. When we didn't take a similarly radical view of Bush, it worked out very badly. Anyone seeing this issue covered in the press? No. It's reframed as "can Obama pick up working class votes." That's the tell right there. Sorry to be paranoid.....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

I live in California. If this state is a swing state in November, Obama is already in deep doo-doo. He will have already lost all the
normal swing states, and the only question will be the size of McCain's victory.

“The Clintons' biggest failure is that they couldn't get their own party to support them.” - Bartcop

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

this should be spread far and wide--

"... Obama means to avoid the ‘divisiveness’ of the Clinton years by blaming it on them. That’s a despicable lie, and he knows it. The only way of avoiding divisiveness is to cave to the Republican agenda, which I believe he’s more than eager to do.” ..."

Rain's picture
Submitted by Rain on

I think we are a small group too, but then it doesn't need that many to stay home in the swing-states to lose them. (Thats why they are called swingstates, no?)

I'm still shocked that Gore lost his home state in 2000. Bush was unpopular in 2004, and even a weak Dem like Kerry should have done better. A lot of Dems held their nose and voted for Kerry, (as they have for several others) and like they might for Obama too, but subtract a point or two here and there, who just can't be bothered on the day.

Then there's the cadres of Party campaign volunteers, the ground-troops who usually get out there, election after election, to do their bit for the Party, but just don't feel enthused enough this year.

Thats the problem my family has in Florida. My sis-in-law has been out there every election year since 1972, doing the foot-slogging for the Dems, but with all that went on this primary, she said to me in an e-mail " I keep getting DNC e-mails with links to fund-raiser events, but when I click on the links there isn't one within a hundred miles. Then the DNC ask for money and I feel like I've been refused an invitation to the high-school prom, but then expected to come along and decorate the hall!! Not this year. B.. and I are now planning a holiday to Scotland in the fall. We were going to do it next summer but have brought it forward. "

And then McCain isn't Bush to many Americans. Even with the rumors of Republican Party implosion & disarray, fundie disaffection & rumblings etc - Repubs have a much stronger historical pattern of 'coming home in the fall' than Dems do. When I think about the alternatives, the Repubs did end up choosing their strongest chance.

So.. in short - without having a Bushie-Repub figure to rally Dems against, added to a percentage of tepid hold-nose voters, and some small percentage of drop-offs, stay-homes etc - Obama really needs to have a rabbit or two to pull it off methinx.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he's gonna lose at least 5%-10% of all of these groups for sure--
--us GLBT people
--older Jews (60 and up, esp in FL)
--rural white women and men
--Independent men
--all swing voters in the rustbelt.

Whether they stay home or just go McCain is up in the air.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

is what i mean.

And if 72 is the guide, young people participated in the primaries, but not in Nov., which could happen now too.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Not too distant past, where many in the blogosphere were educated, about why claiming someone is articulate, is actually racist?

It was about one of the candidates, I can't remember which one, but the lesson that was taken away by many, is that by calling someone articulate, you are implying that others like them don't have the capacity to be articulate. The whole "Exceptional" discussion was had at that time as well.

I only wish I could remember which candidate that was all about.


Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

Maybe I'm missing something but all this wailing about losing the Party seems strange. It wasn't that long ago that it seems the dominant point of view among left bloggers was that the Dems were all gutless, feckless and Beltway. Get rid of Nancy and Harry was heard a lot too. I don't remember hearing that much about Hillary though.

I think Lambert hit it on the head in another post or perhaps here when he said he expects to be gnawing at the ankles of whoever is running the Village. Can it possibly be as bad as it is now even if Obama wins?

I can't believe he will want to continue to flush money down the Iraq toilet forever. Or that he will sanction, let alone order torture. I can't imagine him nominating an Alito for the Supreme Court.

I'm not a fan of Obama but it looks like he's going to be the nominee. As often in the last many years, the Dems are not my ideal. I just don't see a viable alternative now.

Submitted by lambert on

I didn't want to be kicked out of it!

And it's not getting better. It's getting worse. Unity is worse.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.