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Pick up that knife, Barack!

vastleft's picture

If and when Barack Obama wins the Democratic nomination, it will be, ironically, the death of hope for me.

Once again, it's not so much that he's a bad guy or all that different from Hillary Clinton on policy.

It's that his vaunted campaign is everything I would have hoped the (potentially) winning 2008 campaign wouldn't be: Truthy and Retrograde.

Truthy, in the sense that the feeling of hope/change/unity is considered the same as — no, more important than — the means/plans/history/intention/prospect of accomplishing anything in particular.

And retrograde, meaning a campaign that moves the Overton Window rightward, even when the public was already demonstrably dragging it the other way.

How many more people are going to die because we failed to repudiate the Reagan Revolution when we had the chance?

Why must Democrats act like the airhead in a slasher film who drops the knife next to the still-breathing monster and then turns around, acting like the coast is clear?

And why isn't the audience screaming, "Pick up that knife, Barack!"?

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Submitted by lambert on

Because I feel good!

It's morning again and again in America!

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

Submitted by lambert on

Don't accept the ride into town from the creepy stranger!

And so on...

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

Ariadne's picture
Submitted by Ariadne on

My operating assumption for some time now has been: Obama is going to win the nomination and win the general. I am not worried about McCain. I am worried about the next 8 years, and what comes beyond. I'll use the word "movement" in my comments to prevent myself from using less diplomatic words. I speak as someone apparently given the vaccine against the movement, because at this point, I feel worn out, alienated, and increasingly challenged as I contemplate my anti-McCain "x' in November.

I'd be more confortable with more reflection in the movement and less weeping in stadiums. Our society has been torn in deep ways, yet not stopping to think and consider. In the case of the movement, the critique that it has become hyped and self-referential is a fair one, and some ugly things have arisen from that. I've noticed an emerging good cop/bad cop dynamic: nice Obama supporters are beginning to admonish observers of the movement's behavior (sometime banked in an apology, sometimes not so much). "That’s not fair, that’s not ME, I’m a nice Obama supporter, you are being unfair with your broad brush!" Sometimes, they will suggest that the bad eggs are not *real* Obama supporters, but infiltrators. The correct response, it seems, is to reach out and hug the nice Obama people and say some variation of: "oh yes, of course you’re right, you’re the change we've been waiting for!" And that is, indeed, nice. But it also short-circuits the reflection process, and since Obama will be the change we’re waiting for, likely for 8 years plus a legacy beyond, it's time to go a bit further.

So, nice people surely acknowledged, this tactic avoids any fundamental reflection on exactly what kind of movement has been purposefully manufactured. The nice folks don't seem to address some fundamental sticking points. They do not acknowledge that the not-so-nice Obama fans could be connected to the "reaching out" strategy, the very concept that has kept some of us from conversion. We don’t know what effect "reaching out" to independents and Republicans will have for LGBT rights, climate change policy, choice, affirmative action, health care, and so on. We are not encouraged by the results so far – if, in fact, the ugly Obama fans are infiltrators, they are partly the luggage that comes along with the "reaching out" process. It makes me, for one, less inclined to reach.

As well, the extent to which the movement has participated in a discourse of Clinton hate in order to hit the big time needs to be processed. Sometimes that participation is tacit and sometimes it is gleeful. Sometimes it involves looking the other way. However, it is a mode of thinking and talking that has driven good people away – including people like myself, who are not even Clinton supporters per se, but have found themselves in her camp as a reaction to the vitriol and the "post-partisan" strategy. For myself, I'm uncomfortable with the Obama campaign being all about the Obama campaign. It's not that I'm thrilled by Clinton, it's that I want no part of the structure built amidst the rubble. That's not what some of us call hope. And there seems to be an assumption that when Obama ascends to the throne, we'll all fall in line like good little soldiers, but more and more, I'm noticing people express reservations about how effectively they can handle November. These reservations are a consequence of the campaign's strategies. Moreover, it's looking to me like some of the people with the reservations are the genuine good guys, the Dems who cough up the money for the un-sexy elections, the mid-term races, the local ones, the not-so-exciting ones. The message they seem to be hearing is that the "infiltrators" (and I don’t believe that the nasty ones are all infiltrators) are more valuable in the big tent than them. I can see how they might be hearing that particular message.

It's not about backing the winner and it’s not about sour grapes. It's about something far deeper than that – about fissures that are coming to light, and maybe they needed to come to light for some time. Maybe this is inevitable, and the alliances of circumstance during the past 8 years are not sustainable. Whatever the process, I'm not sure the movement should take for granted anyone's obedience.

To be specific, it galls me for one to think of having to unite behind the same structures that damned Clinton to the ninth circle of Dante’s hell. For example, I've heard the cry "throw out the DLC" endless times, and it’s not that I have a problem with that particular battle cry. But that battle cry gets tinny when I'm being asked to line up quietly behind Obama, and one of his economic advisors, Austan Goolsbee, is a senior economist for the DLC. Or, I'm told that Obama is the future and Clinton is the past – yet, Obama has surrounded himself with Clinton advisors like Anthony Lake and Dennis Ross. And, of course, dear Zbigniew Brzezinski to boot.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/3/vot...

Indeed, Obama seems to relish surrounding himself with Clinton advisors. How can she be so horribly horrible, then?

http://www.time.com/time/politics/articl...

Others have written on Obama’s positions on trade.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/dis...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-siro...

Again, it's not that Clinton is a heroine on these issues. It is, however, an observation that it is difficult to swallow the party line about Obama, when Clinton got the sharp blade and Obama gets a pass.

I find myself wondering, what will the Obama movement be all about when they can no longer bond by eviscerating Clinton? How will they sustain the Reach while turning their sights on McCain? How will they hold onto progressives as we start hearing about policy (I know, policy!!) on trade, social security, gay marriage, immigration? How will the movement adjust to dissent in the ranks, currently more or less unified by a vigorous Clinton antipathy? Where's my place in the tent if I don't want redemption and atonement through a redeemer, per Barbara Ehrenreich?

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080303/eh...

And, where do the outcasts from the movement gather now? Can we pitch a little tent outside the big event for the kids who aren't cool?

I've heard: "don’t judge Obama by his supporters." On reflection, I don’t accept that line of thought. Obama has specifically marketed him campaign as a movement, and in a movement, the supporters are indeed important. And if they're the you I've been waiting for (and I wouldn't say they're the we, since I don't want to be part of the you), the you need to understand why some of the we are increasingly alienated and eyeing the door.

Oh, one last thing -- I refuse to toss Paul Krugman under the bus. He wrote a very good article about the physiological and social roots of poverty a couple of days ago. I'm keeping him next to me, in the front seat, just on principle.

Submitted by lambert on

With comments like that, you should be posting. Mail me with with Contact form...

As far as the Obama supporters... The first "good" one I see cleansing a thread of Hillary Hatred I'll give a hug, for sure. I haven't seen one yet.

"Those other ones are so unpleasant, but what can you do?"....

And of course your question:

what will the Obama movement be all about when they can no longer bond by eviscerating Clinton?

Well, since they want Unity with the Republicans, I'd say there's only one place to go....

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

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Unfortunately, they're apparently using it to stab John Lewis (http://www.time.com/time/politics/articl...). Yes, that's right, the man who got his head bashed in fighting for, among other things, the right to vote doesn't get to exercise that right without getting payback from the movement. Of course, I'm sure Obama will denounce this effort immediately. Not that I'm going to hold my breath.

And, Adriadne, an absolutely beautiful post that captures so much of what I feel. Hope there's room for me in the little tent.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

...Obama is going to win the nomination and win the general...

Don't be so sure of that. Don't be sure Clinton could, either. Don't be sure the election won't have its very own special set of circumstances.

I am far from convinced that a Republican will not be coronated in January 2009 regardless of the will of even 80% of the electorate.

Nobody here speaks of throwing Krugman under the bus.

The critiques of Obama I've read here from Vastleft and Lambert seem legitimate. There's a whole lot more style than substance, and the substance I see panders far too much to the Right. But none of the moves he's made to develop a cult of personality are moves that a Clinton wouldn't attempt if they could.

As far as pandering to the Right goes, the Clintons are in no place to talk.

There also is the issue of the disenfranchisement of the Democratic Party in the states of Michigan and Florida. That's a really biggie, and the Clintons' behavior has left a sour taste in my mouth. There are fouls on both sides.

Contact sports and politics are like that.

It's good to document the atrocities.

But you look at them, and compare them to what's going on among the Rethuglicans.

They're spinning our infighting to steal it again in November, and damn the popular vote.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

Sima's picture
Submitted by Sima on

Simply magnificent. The concerns and reservations you hold are those I hold, and you've done an amazing job expressing them without impugning characters and so on.

As for me, I actually expect McCain to win if Obama gets the nomination. Many moderate Dems I know don't see what's 'so bad' about McCain. They respect his service and so on. I could point out the bad things, and I do, but it still doesn't sway them much.

I don't know if they will vote for McCain, I doubt they'll vote at all, or they might mark the x for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

Submitted by Avedon on

Obama better win the general election, because if he doesn't, they'll blame "the left. They'll say it's all our fault for trying to pull the nominee to the left, or for not getting behind them months earlier, or for a million other things that will be all our fault.

And if he gets into the White House, he'd better be fucking FDR, because that's what we're going to need, and if he's anything less, you can forget everything else but trying to get across the boarder.

More liberal media at The Sideshow.

Submitted by lambert on

They're going to blame the left no matter what....

I mean, Kristol, Sullivan, Brooks, Broder--everybody who is anybody-- told the Democrats how to win: Act like Republicans! And dammit if the Big O didn't give it his best shot, but they just wouldn't let him.

Honestly, I blame The Clenis.

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

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Sure, you laugh now. But if Obama flames out in November, you just know it's going to be because Hillary didn't drop out after Iowa and unite the party behind the Anointed One. Not to mention all those incredibly negative debate ads she ran in Wisconsin. And showing him up by suggesting Florida votes be counted. He's damaged goods now. It's not his fault. It's the Clintons' fault.

Submitted by lambert on

It's hard to laugh when you're pounding your forehead on the desk, and believe me, I've tried.

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

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm sure they have a team of people preparing ways to blame "the left" for something, even if he does win.

Something to make them feel better when they toss us bickering Boomers into the Soylent Green hopper.

Lambert thinks they'll put him on an ice floe with a couple of cans of dogfood. But he always was a dreamer!

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

My Gen-X super secret memo promised I'd only have to pay for one. Geesh, I can't even trust Obama not to sell me out on that? I knew he was a boomer.

Ariadne's picture
Submitted by Ariadne on

At least, that's my attitude, and I'm very grateful to see others who are in a similar mind-space. I actually felt a little sheepish pouring out all the above, but once the floodgates opened, the animals were washed away two-by-two.

And speaking of two-by-two, I mischaracterized something: of course, I was speaking of Bill Clinton advisors in my comments. Obama's eagerness to surround himself with Bill Clinton's advisors while hanging Bill around Hillary's neck like a week-old albatross is an instance of the repudiating *and* co-opting technique. Cast the Bill Clinton administration as a regressive disaster mired in partisan bickering, but hire lots of Clinton advisors. See also – condemn the "excesses" of the 60s and 70s but have your campaign put you out there are JFK/MLK v2.0. And carefully make sure it's not *you* making the comparison. Remember to point that out on occasion. And hire Zbigniew Brzezinski. Don’t forget Zbigniew.

It reminds me of Dr. Dolittle, and the mythical creature, the Pushmi-pullyu. Now that I think of it, it's kind of a pony with a head on each end, and when it tries to go forward, it ends up being pulled backwards. When I was little, we had the Dr. Dolittle LP and a record player in the basement. Rex Harrison. Forgive my own moment of Gen X nostalgia.

In any case, there are truly some very loyal Democrats that are being disaffected, and now I even know one in real life. I never would have thought I could hear such disaffection from him – he's as yellow as yellow could be, and might possibly vote for a Labrador retriever, if it were on the ticket with a "D" next to its fuzzy head. I'm wondering about the long term implications for the Democratic party, and how things will look in ten years. Contemplating the purple states, they go blue not in one fell swoop because of a redeemer, but because of years of hard, hard work, hitting the pavement, often during elections that aren't cable news infotainment events.

New observation: The Obama movement is about to become the most dedicated group of pragmatists in the world. I say this after witnessing some truly acrobatic discussions about this story, calling into question whether Obama is firm against private school vouchers:

http://www.nysun.com/article/71403

One theme I saw from the movement – Obama is correct not to let past ideology get in the way of Our Children. But as these policy (I know, policy!!) nuggets come to light, I think we'll see more and more one-eighty degree turns, as the Obama camp chastises anyone for "non-practical" and "overly pure" positions. I'm half laughing as I type this. But oh, it's not the good kind of laughing.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

And I thought Clinton's position on video games was bad...

The problem I have with Obama's "ideology" which so often boils down to "show me it works" is that while it has a certain appeal, particularly for those too good to engage in the horse-trading world of politics, it ultimately leads to policies that don't work. Because what it lacks is any basis in values. It's not enough to look at some study, which is being done by a conservative group as I understand it, about how 1,000 kids (or ever how many) did in Milwaukee schools on vouchers. Because that study is probably not going to consider the long-term effect of slowly destroying a public school system or permitting government funds to be channeled to religious schools. It's not going to ask if there are better ways to get the same results or even just different ways. If the study says these kids did better, then it works and there's no reason to object to the voucher program.

Because lots of solutions will work for a particular individual or group of individuals, but aren't necessarily what would be good for a society as a whole because values matter.

His healthcare plan, particularly his argument against mandates, is a perfect example of this. It might be the best thing for me if I decided not to spend my money on health insurance, but instead chose to do X with it. I might get hit by a bus tomorrow, be killed instantly, and never need the insurance. But it isn't good for society to let individuals opt out of health insurance. For much the same reason it isn't good for society to subsidize individuals opting out of public schools or Social Security or any other broad, society-based program. Because when you let individuals opt out of such programs, you weaken the overall effectiveness of them and the rationale for them. Indeed, that's why Milton Friedman and so many conservatives have advocated these opt out programs, they recognize that the programs are so popular they can't kill them with a single blow, they'll weaken them first and sell it as giving people "choice" and, other than on abortion rights, who could be against that?

And, this pose of Obama's as some sort of non-ideological rational man plays right into conservatives' hands. They are fighting an ideological battle, this has absolutely nothing to do with what makes sense or solving problems, if it did, they'd be advocating single payer healthcare. So Obama is essentially going into an ideological battle unarmed. I'm very leery that that can or will end well.

The irony about this is that Obama and his followers have painted Clinton as the "triangulator", as the one with no true values who will say anything to win. But that, in my view misses the point. Clinton's compromises tend to be more pragmatic in political terms, not ideological terms. She believes you can't win the ideological war unless you win the election and so trims here and panders to win elections. Also, like most politicians she often recognizes that sometimes you have to give up A to get B. Now, there are places where she trims and panders that I don't like and some As she gives up that make me wonder if the B was worth it, but those don't necessarily go to her underlying values or ideology other than her basic belief that nothing matters unless you win (she seems to have believed this since the 1970s).

I think healthcare is instructive on this, after losing UHC in the 1990s, Clinton didn't give up on expanding access to healthcare. She continued to work on S-CHIP and other smaller programs, waiting until the time was right - until the political climate changed and she was in a stronger position politically - to advocate once again for UHC.

But back to why so many feel disaffected by Obama's campaign. The Obama campaign is to unity what Bush was to compassion, it's a slogan to throw you off what Obama is really doing, which is winning by dividing. The fight for Democratic loyalties was already set between Edwards, populist, and Clinton, establishment. That would've been the real struggle over Democratic votes. Obama knew he was going to have problems appealing to baseline democrats against these two more established figures and so he needed a new constituency, Republicans and independents, and to start cleaving Democrats from Clinton and Edwards - first by generation (younger, first time voters, this allowed him to pull some white males and women from Edwards and Clinton), then by geography (pulling his name off of the Michigan ballot, Edwards made a mistake here by following suit, IMO), then race (solidifying the black vote for South Carolina), then gender (white males). He hasn't so much united folks beyond his core consituency, as played identity politics to slowly drive support away from Clinton (and previously Edwards). Not surprisingly, this has left the people he hasn't been dog whistling to attract, primarily old-school Dems and white women, feeling a bit put out, if not outright angry.

Making it worse, Obama has covered all of this divisiveness not only under the shield of Unity, but also by running his campaign against Clinton very much like the Republican campaign against Democrats, if you want to know what Obama is really doing, just look at what he accuses Clinton of and that's your answer. Divide the party? Play the race card? Play the gender card? Triangulate? Work the Super Delegates? Claim that some states don't count? Which, of course, only leaves the rest of us even more disaffected.

Submitted by scoff on

A study (linked below) released in Oct. 2007 by the Center on Education Policy shows that private school students perform no better in math, reading, science or history than their public school counterparts when "...family background characteristics are taken into account."

Public High School Students Do As Well As Private School Students

IOW, the choice of schools make no discernable difference in the outcomes of students' educations. What makes a real difference is the involvement and support of parents.

Well, Duh!

Vouchers, IMO, serve no realistic purpose other than their intended one, i.e., to destroy the public school system and thereby open up the field for privatization. The billions of dollars controlled by the Dept. of Education are a prize big business simply cannot resist.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I have a couple of sisters in the teaching biz, many friends, and a son (who made dean's list, 4.0, first semester freshman year, did I mention that lately?) majoring in secondary ed, so the subject is of some interest to me.

You are absolutely right on that study, which is just the most recent of hundreds done over decades. Take a classroom, tell some portion thereof that they are gifted in some way --that they have talent in art or music, or they scored off the charts on some special test--and suddenly they do better in those areas.

it works just about as well if you tell the teachers that these random kids have these test scores. They get called on more, and expected to do well, and if they do badly on a test they get sympathetic help figuring out where they went wrong rather than punished as screwups.

It's not all about expectations of course; you can play all the mind games you want but it still helps an awful lot to have a weathertight roof, heating and air conditioning that works properly, good maintenance and janitorial people, proper textbooks and supplies, and desks that don't leave splinters in the ass.

And to rant on a slightly different but related issue, what frosts me even more than vouchers are the homeschool people who tout that practice as "superior" to public schools.

You give any public school a student-teacher ratio closer to 4-1 than 25 or 30 or 40 to one, and I'll bet you get just as good if not better results than you do from Amateur Teacher Mommy. But pay taxes sufficient to get ratios down that far?? Mais non, quell horreur!

/rant off. Great post scoff, come back often. :)

Submitted by scoff on

That study caught my eye when it was reported. If I'm not mistaken there is a parallel with the home-school scene. Home schooling isn't any more effective in and of itself. In fact the opposite is often true. What gets missed too often by too many people is the effect that a parent's participation has on a child's education. Teachers, contrary to what most parents want from them, are not miracle workers although the ones that had to put up with me would probably qualify as saints. I ask too many questions, usually ones that have no really good answers.

Interesting that your son and mine are very close to the same age. Mine is also a freshman. While he is capable of a 4.0 and he did manage to make Dean's List last semester, he's too much like me and isn't driven enough to get the kind of grades he's capable of. Again like me, he's likely drawn in too many different directions by too many divergent interests. I just hope that, unlike me, he completes his degree.

BTW, Tell your son I said congratulations and keep up the good work. A pat on the back for his effort won't hurt him a bit.

Submitted by lambert on

If, as you say Scoff:

Vouchers, IMO, serve no realistic purpose other than their intended one, i.e., to destroy the public school system and thereby open up the field for privatization.

then how can a progressive like Obama be supporting them? Next thing you know, he'll be turning Universal Health Care into another corporate welfare program for insurance companies. Oh, wait...

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

Submitted by scoff on

Maybe, just maybe, it's a case of mistaken identity and Obama isn't really the Messiah some claim he is.

Maybe he isn't even really that progressive.

Maybe he really is a politician after all.

Wouldn't suprise me one little bit.

Submitted by lambert on

That's why I endorsed Hillary. Social Security and Universal Health Care are of paramount importance to me, Obama's dogwhistling to the right on both of them, and his advisors don't give me any confidence at all.

So, bdblue, you write in your excellent comment that:

He hasn’t so much united folks beyond his core consituency, as played identity politics to slowly drive support away from Clinton (and previously Edwards). Not surprisingly, this has left the people he hasn’t been dog whistling to attract, primarily old-school Dems and white women, feeling a bit put out, if not outright angry.

But what I want to underline is that there's a policy aspect to the anger. It's more than "feeling left out," as it were. I have a right to feel angry that Obama's snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for progressive values with this one-time opportunity by leading the party in a direction where my friend whose feet are bleeding into her shoes won't get help. We all know stories like that. Some of us are living that story. So what are we supposed to do? Lay back and enjoy it?

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

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Part of how he's divided folks along identity is policy. Like any politician, Obama needs to attract new followers while not cutting into his base. This is why we get to play 1,000 rounds of What Obama Really Meant. He's deliberately soft in his policy rhetoric, looking like the rational, "do what works", "I'm not against all wars" middle-of-the-road man. Many of us Democrats do not want a middle-of-the-road guy, so that requires Obama supporters and spokesmen to reassure us through round after round of What Obama Really Meant.

The healthcare issue is a great example, Obama continues to say that he's for healthcare for everyone. That he simply disagrees with Clinton and others about how to get there, specifically mandates. Now anyone who has read a lot about both the policy and politics of UHC will probably find mandates to be a huge issue. Fortunately for Obama, that's a relatively small group of people. So he can weaken his plan, signaling to the industry and others that he's not some revolutionary, but not be called on it.

Why isn't he called on it? To the extent mandates will be unpopular, they will be unpopular with the young and healthy, also known as Obama's base. They will also be unpopular with Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who hate "Hillarycare" and big government, also known as Obama's base. Now combine this with his movement aspect - these folks will go out and tell everyone else in the movement that mandates don't matter, that they are, in fact, bad. And besides Clinton screwed up healthcare the first time, never mind that one of the guys who torpedoed her is heading up my effort, and so you can't trust her (this also has the added effect of undermining Clinton's experience edge). And if you question this, then ultimately you are questioning Obama and if you question Obama, you're a cynic who doesn't believe in change (and probably a racist) and we'll throw you out of the movement.

What makes this so brilliant is that it permits folks to hear and see in Obama anything they want, while Obama hasn't actually promised any group anything. It gets otherwise strong liberals to ignore or discount his right-wing framing. It gets women to ignore and even defend his sexist dogwhistles. He remains uncomitted, free to see where the political winds blow.

And some folks get so caught up in the "movement" that they ignore the fact they don't really know where the wind will blow with Obama. It's like all those moderates and independents shocked by Bush's policies, the only reason they were shocked is because they weren't listening to him with a critical mind. They heard the parts they wanted to hear and ignored the rest.

If Obama turns out to be a center-right president or even just a center president, many of his supporters will be shocked. But they shouldn't be because he's told them how he intends to govern, they've just chosen not to listen because they like being part of a movement and they like him. And why do they like him? Because they see themselves in him - the young see the young (even if he's not really that young), the liberal elite see a liberal elite (even if he's not a liberal), and the African Americans see an African American (even as he sends reassuring signals to the white male establishment). That's the other reason why it was critical to demonize Hillary Clinton and use the sexist dog whistles, you can't risk having young women or white men identifying with her.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Upstream, Ariadne has it just right: The Obama movement is about to become the most dedicated group of pragmatists in the world.

Assume quotation marks around "pragamatists." If Obama decides to invade Guatemala to avenge Pearl Harbor and to make our official language Swedish, the new game will be W.O.R.D. (What Obama Really Did), and it will be played in virtually the same way as W.O.R.M.

Sure, a few relatively reality-based types will get disillusioned, but it will probably be a slow bleed, unless the Rovian stuff works extremely fast, and then they'll turn on him like "Reagan Democrats" did against Jimmy Carter.

Submitted by lambert on

phat, especially this part:

The truth of a proposition depends on its adequacy to its object ("Is the drawing a true likeness of Antony Flew?"). The truth of an object depends on its adequacy to its concept ("Is the figure drawn on the paper a true triangle?"). Problems arise when the definition of the concept has no generally accepted form, for example when it is vague or contested.

Combine that with bdblue's comment above:

What makes this so brilliant is that it permits folks to hear and see in Obama anything they want, while Obama hasn’t actually promised any group anything. It gets otherwise strong liberals to ignore or discount his right-wing framing. It gets women to ignore and even defend his sexist dogwhistles. He remains uncomitted, free to see where the political winds blow.

There you have it. I don't know what to do about this.

And thanks, also, bdlue, for showing how demonizing Hillary was strategic. It was always clear to me they were leveraging it, I just wasn't sure how.

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

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

They should be shocked if he turns out to be a center-right or centrist President since that goes against what so many profess to believe in (many, like Kos, also profess to want a fighter). But, yes, there will be a core base who will simply change their beliefs and priorities so that they align with whatever Obama does. Having invested so much in him, they will not be able to admit mistake.

Of course, if he turns out to be the second-coming of FDR, without the internment camps, then I will gladly admit my mistake. Because I don't think I would ever be so happy to be wrong about someone. But then I'm someone who sees politicians only as a means to getting policies and not as a means to cure the cynicism that nestles so happily in my soul.

Submitted by lambert on

in a crisis.

Do you think there is a crisis coming? Naaah....

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

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

I love this blog.

phat

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Yes, strategic to drive away young women and appeal to men, the latter through yet more sexist dogwhistles (e.g. "she'll do anything to win", "20-year plan" - and they all cowered in fear of the ambitious woman), that he was able to do both simultaneously was brilliant in an awful kind of way.

And then, again, there is the weird group dynamics that the Obama campaign, either by accident or design (or both) has been able to exploit. Aside from the simple, I want to be with the kewl kids aspect of the movement's hatred of all things Hillary, I think Anglachel has struck upon a deeper appeal - shame. Not her shame, but ours. In this way, Anglachel (http://anglachelg.blogspot.com/2008/02/h...) compares the glee with which the left has taken after Hillary Clinton to an honor killing, that makes her the perpetrator instead of the victim (and some of the most ferocious attacks are by people claiming Hillary plays the "victim" card). Hillary is polarizing. As Anglachel says:

Why is she putting us through this? Why is she making us a part of the smearing and shaming of her? Even more than with Big Dog, there is a maniacal obsession with punishing Hillary Clinton for having been the victim of the right wing's and the MSM's misogynistic assaults.

Now, I think this insight into why so many on the left are uncomfortable with Hillary is brilliant. I do, however, disagree with Anglachel on why the left feels shame. I don't think it has anything to do with Hillary's staying with Bill or with her AUMF vote. I think it has to do with a desire on the left to want to see all of the failures and ugliness of the 1990s as the Clintons' - and only the Clintons' - fault and thus absolve the rest of the party for those failures.

That she is still there, still fighting for universal healthcare, still fighting for women's rights, refusing to be cowed in the face of unimaginable attacks by the rightwing reminds Democrats of their own failures. Their failure to rally around UHC, their failure to defend the Clintons early and stop Ken Starr, their failure to win and survive those rightwing attacks in 2000 and 2004. She refuses to simply agree that it's all her and Bill's fault and go away.

Anglachel, again:

At some level, the brutal attacks on Hillary have nothing to do with her acts and deeds. It all has to do with the detractors' feelings of shame over what she has done or refused to do. She should have withdrawn from public life rather than insist that her life is her own to do with as she likes and deems right. She will not be a "good girl" and capitulate to the blustering alpha-males in the room.

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

I find it interesting that the Obama supporters here in Nebraska still seem hellbent on pointing out whatever awful thing that Hillary seems to have said, even after our caucus.

Who are they trying to convince of what?

It strikes me that they're still trying to convince themselves that they made the right decision.

phat

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

The stories about Antony Flew and his "conversion" are depressing, to say the least.

phat

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Roy Varghese, Gerald Schroeder and John Haldane have been buttering up the old boy for a long time and finally got him to put his name to a book Vargheseh wrote and Flew knows nothing about. Sad. Should be criminal.

PZ Meyers has the skinny.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

"Remember this every time some apologist brings up the name of Flew to argue against atheism: this is an example of the depths to which desperate Christians will sink — they will lie and take advantage of the confusion of an old man to get a trophy for their wall." -- PZ Myers