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So, maybe he's not 2% less evil, but...

vastleft's picture

If this came from anyone but Digby, I'd do this as one of those snarky "shorter" items.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't she saying that because Obama is black, the only improvement we can reasonably expect from him over other liberal-phobic Democrats is that he's black?

And the same goes double for Hillary, because she's not only a chick but a Clinton, so we'd have gotten even less out of her. The benefit with her would be the first woman president minus a CDS penalty.

In other words, the DNC and the superdelegates chose wisely. Is this a great party, or what?

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FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

in the months to come... that we can't expect / demand anything from Obama beyond the fact that he's black. That's the only change we'll get.

Submitted by cg.eye on

Not saying that about you, FrenchDoc -- it's their fallback position that change only has to be skin deep, or chromosome deep. Heaven forbid we get actual change rather than a slogan.

That's why the Village had to torpedo any candidate who even spoke about policy changes, and batter both Clinton and Obama into submission by turning up the heat in their fight, then complaining about the length of it, so no one gets out from under and starts fighting the media, which was the right stance to take to build a vital constituency.

Clinton couldn't do that, in time, and Obama never intended to. He depended on the Village's collusion to give him the nomination, and now they're returning the favor, by excusing every step he makes in their direction. What you name, you own.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Re: this post's title, I'm also in what Arthur Silber calls the "at least he's 2% less evil" camp.

Auntie Meme's picture
Submitted by Auntie Meme on

We chose serious symbolic change that has deep cultural meaning over serious ideological change that has deep political meaning.

The party system is designed to weed out "fringe" candidates---those who are more prone to overhaul large pieces of how things are done. And Digby's correct, the Villagers are a big part of the problem.

At what point does my vote become real? It pains me to say that I'm not sure it does. Oh, it counts...but it doesn't represent my issues. I prefer policy over ideology, so I don't count myself among the "we" that Digby references.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

It is not too much to expect Obama and everyone else to uphold their oath of office.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

It disturbs me that Digby is blind to the extensions of her logic.

She rails pretty well on what Somerby has spent weeks pointing out (so it's good she notices) regarding The Village and its fake populism. She also points out their goal to split any potential Democratic coalition. True also. But the faux-everyman, anti-liberal, anti-"identity politics", anti-PC Village CHOSE Obama, and why is that? Could it possibly be that they see Obama as the best choice possible? A black Democrat, who is basically a conservative (please don't make me find the links)? Who (as Digby points out) has no room to manuever to the left even if he wanted to? Who splits the non-black working class (white, hispanic, asian, please don't make me find the links) from the rest of the party, and in the case of whites, deliberately so? Who denigrates and diminishes the last Democratic president (whom The Village also despises)? Who is only too happy to do his best to continue the flip-flopper meme (see FISA, death penalty, etc.)? A blatantly corporate politician who actively seeks to split the party from its cultural roots of being for "the little guy"? Who also (as a special bonus) connects the party as strongly as possible with its bad, old, machine-politics past and against its more recent goo-goo reform politics (i.e. Feingold, Wellstone) recent history? He is a Village wet dream!

The only ones conflicted in this election are real Democrats, Teh Village is rolling around in catnip, tingles running up their legs. If you are MSNBC, it just doesn't get any better than this!

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

Submitted by lambert on

"The Bold New Democratic Party -- Now with 2% less evil!"

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

It's more evil than ever. It's just down to 2% less-evil than the Republicans.

To use a misleading slogan like that would be evil. Perfect!

Submitted by lambert on

Because the real question is "2% less" than what, and of course that's never stated...

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

"tepidly" endorsing it.

I tells ya, "tepid" is the new "bipartisan". Progressives have come a long way, baby!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

2% less vomit in your mouth.

I cannot beleive the crap that Digby wrote -- she really thinks its more important for the country to have a SYMBOL running the freaking country than it is to have someone competent.

She really needs to get her head out of here butt, because this country is a mess, and handing to over to Obama SOLELY BECAUSE HE IS BLACK is a very bad idea. Digby should join PUMA, because this "well, he's going to be an awful presideint, but at least he's black" crap is really nauseating.

Submitted by brucedixon on

among black preachers and the black political "leadership" class, and their enablers and followers, how the symbolism of having a pretty brown face at the head of the murder machine constitutes great progress.

One of our long-term problems in the black community arising out of the career arc of Mr. Obama will be the empowerment of folks pushing crappy message. This will not be fun.

Bruce Dixon
www.blackagendareport.com

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Cuz, I'm white, and I acknowledge that there are things about the AA community that I can't understand, but couldn't it be argued that "symbolic" progress has actually hampered the overall community's attempt to gain equality.

I'm thinking along the lines of "blacks can afford the new Jordans, they don't need these social services". Or "Chris Rock is the most popular comedian, so white people can't be racist(disregarding that Rock says things about black people that white people "like" to hear). Or "Bill Cosby has the most popular TV show so racism isn't that bad"(ignoring that his show was about a "good" black family). These symbolic victories have allowed the power brokers to pretend racism away, and an Obama presidency would seem to do this as well.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

they use examples of success and prominence as reasons to kill social programs and affirmative action and minority contracting, etc...not that they've ever needed reasons, of course.

they're doing it already with Obama.

Submitted by cg.eye on

"See, she's allowed to be unfeminine and have an Emmy-winning show! She even talks about her fiance."

Doesn't matter that both she and Rosie sold themselves out to any PR shill with a product, to the point that talk shows aren't talk shows, they're giveaway shows with occasional glossing of issues.

Doesn't matter if gays and lesbians can live or work where they choose, just so those with property to preserve can get married.

(Yeah, I'm harshing on something wonderful, but I also remember the vehement arguments against the marriage push in the 90s, because that took away from equal protection law initiatives. Call me bitter....)

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

we need employment and housing protections and to be added to the other groups on all existing Civil Rights Legislation far far far far more than we need marriage equality (but i'm happy they're fighting for what they want too, at the same time--the problem is that that swallows all the attention)

Submitted by cg.eye on

doesn't get out of office without his or her hands being dirty-- and that's the only color that should matter.

Where are all the people who've seen their share of black and hispanic mayors pushed out of office, before the indictments start? Hell, who don't go *after* the indictments start? Why have they been silent? Is the graft they expect to get that big, when our government is bankrupt? There's that much cash, to keep their mouths shut, or are they so used to being silent and begging that this is SOP?

The only people Obama will be indebted to are so far up on the food chain we don't even see their chauffeurs in public. And somehow a presidential candidate with a needed war chest in the millions isn't going to find certain contributions with strings attached? Sheesh.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Defending the indefensible leads Digby to cognitive dissonance and a poor conclusion

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Assuming most here feel the Republicans are 100% evil. I hate to say but PB 2.0 should somehow encourage the Republicans to be less evil (using 2% good as a goal to start) so we mitigate the possiblity of the Dem party being taken over by those who are only 2% good.... Um, which surely can't happen, right?

BTW, although I don't drink milk at all, 2% tastes even worse, like white spit.

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

they've driven out all their moderates so it's harder to even see non-evil voices in the GOP--all the Rockefeller Republicans and non-insane ones are pretty much gone.

their base has to encourage moderates to run-- just as we encourage liberal challengers and fight our "moderates" --but they've been doing the opposite.

Submitted by cg.eye on

that the moderates disguise themselves as Blue Dog Dems, and get elected.

Who else would take them in?

Whose party holds progressives in such contempt that they continually undermine them during candidate selection processes? Progressives don't sell themselves cheap enough, I guess.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

virtually indistinguishable from the rightwing Republicans--on social issues, economic ones, warmongering, etc--they certainly vote in lockstep with them all the time.

When i was little Lindsay was our Mayor here--him and Nelson Rockefeller were perhaps the most prominent of a whole big bunch of Republicans--not insane, socially good and even progressive sometimes, cared about more than just tax cuts for the rich, didn't want to turn the whole govt into a patronage/crony mill for their criminal friends, worked with Democrats on every single issue, ...

"... a time when the moderate and liberal elements of the so-called Eastern Establishment, such as New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, still played a major role within the party. ..." -- the Kennedys actually come from the same exact powerful strand of our society--many others too.

also from there-- "... The pundits and editorialists think they have learned the necessary lessons from John Lindsay's career. Thank God, they seem to be saying, we no longer have any illusions that government should act to improve the lot of the poor, or that politicians should encourage the aspirations of workers and young people for a better life. ..."

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

should be to promote social justice at all levels of society, economically, socially, culturally. And to support groups and people who work toward that goal.

If the democrats can't be bothered, then, PB2.0 should go after them just as PB1.0 goes after the Republicans for pretty much everything.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

FD,

The Crunchy Peanut Butter *MUST* be nonpartisan. The fall of the conservative movement happened, IMO, because they aligned exclusively with the GOP. When partisanship is allowed, its just a short hop and skip to cultish attachments to less progressive candidates vis a vis Obama.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

which is why the focus should be on issues and analysis / critique and not electoral politics (which is necessarily partisan).

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...we must also be willing to vote and support Republicans when they appeal to a progressive agenda. We can lobby both sides and stick to issues but unless we put our votes up for grabs it's a wasted effort.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

The GOP abuses bloc voting power and Congressional majorities, so I supported ousting even the last good Republican, Lincoln Chafee (not a bloc voter, but part of their majority).

Of course, the Dems have done little better with those majorities (a slim one in the Senate, it should be noted, and a big enough one except for all the f-ing turncoat Bush Dogs).....

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...and a minority can get stuff done if they want. Republicans have proven that you don't have to have the majority. The only thing other than money that politicians react to is votes. If we want to push an agenda we must control our votes and use them for the leverage they are. Look at how the fundies got what they wanted even though they are numerically small. Fundies have never been afraid to sit out an election or punish the GOP until their issues take the forefront. Keep falling in line and no one on either side will ever respond to you because you've taken your vote out of play. That's why we keep hearing, "they've got no place to go" -- there's an unspoken "fuck 'em" that's attached to the end of that statement.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

What's better, blue-dog Dem who is super conservative or liberal GOPer? The legacy of the conservative movement from the 50s to the early 90s is that they helped define the "mainstream" of politics. The "mainstream" political positions were outside the policy wonk mainstream. This meant that both Democrats and Republicans accepted the conservative defined "mainstream" and hence pulled us to the right dramatically.

I'm a partisan (or at least used to be), but that doesn't mean I believe the progressive movement should align with the Democratic Party. Rather, I think the Democratic Party should align with the progressive movement. Does that make sense?

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...on the issues of our generic liberal republican vs. blue dog and how they align to progressive goals. The thing is, *if* blue dogs start losing to liberal GOPers and we make it loud and clear that the reason they lost was because of their conservatism then we start to shift the candidates.

I'll be honest I voted for Harold Ford Jr. (D) against Corker (R) but by the end of the race I was kind of glad that Corker won because Ford's campaign was to the right of Corker's. There is NO REASON for Blue Dogs to run to the right on economic issues. Rural voters are to the left of the democratic party when it comes to economics. A Democrat only needs to come off as slightly socially moderate to win here and by that I mean pick one issue that has no real chance of changing and go with it. I would pick guns and then offer a straight liberal platform and I fully believe it would work.

Submitted by lambert on

I know that will sound odd to anyone who sees me as a ferocious Hillary partisan, but I saw myself, I think correctly, as redressing an imbalance. Still do.

Perhaps non-partisan is not the right word though -- too many goo-goo, ineffectual connotations, and non-partisan implicitly accepts the partisan frame while purporting to stand outside it.

What I would like to convey is the idea that partisanship just in a whole other "fish needs a bicycle" mode for what we want to do -- so perhaps apartisan would be a better word?

Strange bedfellows....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Encourage liberal challengers and fight moderates, you mean who exactly? Not PB 1.0 surely.

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

PB was doing all the time--it's the rise of Obama that has stopped true progressive activism --- so many orgs and blogs got on board the bullshit "unity"/"postpartisanship" train, and even now have ignored the fights that used to matter most.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

This was supposed to be the year where the progressive agenda triumphed. I think the Democratic leadership decided we couldn't have that and pushed the Obama candidacy precisely to derail it.

Submitted by lambert on

We have a winner.

They want 2006 to be the high water mark.

Take Bruce Fein. He's great on the Constitution and he's a whistleblower. And a Republican. Fuck, he helped write the Clinton impeachment! Would I vote for him over, say, Steney Hoyer? It would be a hard call, I can say that much.

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

amberglow writes:

it’s the rise of Obama that has stopped true progressive activism

But they were all of them deceived, for one other ring was made.

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

What we got here in Nebraskeeeee.

You submit your paperwork sans party designation at the local level.

Of course, it's pretty clear which sides most people fall on once they open their mouths.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

One of the corollaries to this discussion is that there can be work done on the Republican side of the equation. Their primaries have been completely ignored by progressives, and the strategy since (and including) Reagan has been to paint every single Republican as extremist right-wing and think that will "scare" people away from Republicans. That hasn't worked so well has it?

I wonder if that strategy hasn't played directly into the hands of the Blue Dog types, who (like Obama) look at the so-called center as defined just slightly to the left of whack-jobs who think you should beat children and animals.

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

--and GOP cheating--most districts are either safely GOP or safely Dem -there are very few truly mixed ones anymore.

It's safe seats for the most part, and they just swap out one Repub or one Dem for another, and they usually don't change hands unless there's a crime, scandal, retirement, or the person is just a joke, or the moneymen want someone else, or they want to reward someone. Once a Rep or Senator is reelected at least once, they tend to stay in office as long as they want.

-- take Katharine Harris's 13th District, for instance (of FL 2000 infamy)-- she replaced a retiring GOP Rep -- she was the pick as a reward for her "deeds" in 2000, and then she didn't run for re-election (she wanted the open Senate seat but they didn't want her in it)-- and the GOP ended up cheating to get her replacement -- Buchanan -- in as Rep -- http://select.nytimes.com/2006/11/24/opi...

leah's picture
Submitted by leah on

Herb, the verb,

Digby has been as acute an observer of the villager ethos as Somerby, and for almost as long as Somerby, except that no one has been doing it longer or better than Bob.

I, too, found her conclusion somewhat puzzling, but I think she is absolute right about the way that everything associated with liberalism, from Social Security to Affirmative Action has been used the way that the right used to be able to use socialism and communism. There is much more to be said on the subject, but I recommend that everyone read the Neal Gabler piece on the LA Times website, see Digby for the link. It won't satisfy you, and he makes the unfortunate choice not to use "so-called" as a qualifying adjective when he talks about how "liberal columnists" are the ones who have created the negative image of liberalism, rather than movement conservatives, but it is amazing to read any recognition from someone who can get printed in the LA Times that major media figures who are generally placed on the liberal wing of the centrist mainstream, and yes, shocking as it is, that would include people like Maureen Dowd and Chris Matthews, are perpetually hostile to liberal candidates and ideas, and just as perpetually uncritical of the conservative right.

Those of you who think the SCLM is in the tank for Obama haven't been reading much of what they've had to say recently.

Nor do I think that Digby is defending the Democratic fear of their own base and their own best ideas; she is saying that those attitudes are reinforced by assumptions that the media has convinced a lot of Americans are unquestionable truths; I'm thinking of statements like the US is by nature a conservative country. Unfortunately, many of these tropes of received conventional wisdom can co-exist with a majority of Americans actually supporting liberal ideas, ideals and programs.

I also think, and I'd bet that Digby does too, that Obama fails to resist this tendency at his own electoral peril. When it comes to that, he has had a bad couple of weeks.

I also think it's an odd construction of racism to use it to describe the process by which an African-American came to be the Democratic nominee for president. I would agree that the confusion may proceed from Digby's conclusion that Obama is some sort of symbolic choice, and I also think that is a partial way to look at his success. Let's be clear; a large number of grass-roots players in the progressive movement made the decision that Obama was more likely to be the more "progressive" candidate. They may have been wrong; they may have fallen prey to notions about the Clintons that derive directly from everything about the SCLM and its work that most of have spent years fighting; it may have caused them to cease their own media critique, but I doubt that people like Matt Stoller of Boomman, or Josh Marshall were attracted to Obama because they viewed him as a triangulating right-leaning centrist.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"triangulating right-leaning centrists" so anyone not a Clinton was better for too many of them, sadly. And it wasn't just a media-created image, but something the left/liberals/progressives all still believe. (he was too right on trade, economy, corporate subsidies, workfare/social stuff, etc)

they didn't bother to even dig deeper at all, and if they have buyer's remorse now--or are excusing the actual sad truths being revealed now--their latching onto Obama in the face of evidence that he was no better and in fact worse has damaged their own ability to fight for truly progressive causes/policies--now or in the future. Being proven a fool and sucker says tons about their smarts and judgment and ability to critically and accurately assess things.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and I'm not going to offer it to her over there anyway because it is just too interesting to watch people who supported Obama during the primary - even reluctantly - coming to grips with what that means. If he continues to have WTF moments at this rate, by the time of the Convention his supporters will either be twisted up in absurdist contortions or on their knees begging Hillary to get back in the race.

What Digby sidled up towards is something that I've offered here previously and gotten great derision or simply been ignored, and that is the remarkable nature of the decision by the Democratic Party to winnow down the choices very early to either a woman or a black man. This is not a trivial matter, and yes both of them are conservative centrists to one or another degree and yes both of them triangulate and waffle and reposition themselves on a regular basis, but still...nominating either this woman or this black man for President of the United States is astounding, bold, assertive, risky and inherently progressive regardless of their individual actual political positions.

Election of either one, simply by virtue of it not being yet another white male, will be a transformative event with beneficial implications for America and the whole world beyond the ability of anyone to foresee in the moment. While I had wished that the Democrats would have decided to wait another couple of cycles and gone instead now for specific progressive policy change, I cannot bemoan the historic nature of their generalist decision. It may be that I am the timid one, and it is the Democratic leaders who deserve respect for their boldness; as has been said here repeatedly, power is only useful and deserving of respect if it is put at risk.

There are many things about Barack Obama I do not like; nearly as many that I don't like about Hillary Clinton. Never the less, I will support either one of them, rejoice in either one of them, be grateful for either one of them, and if it happens I will count seeing either a black man or a woman seated in the Oval Office as one of the high points of my life. Far more good will come of this than harm.

The election of John McCain, on the other hand, would be a mistake of the greatest possible proportion; it would be nothing less than a vote to end democracy in America, and for destruction of modern civilization across the globe.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

but was running anyway no matter what they thought--and the black man was entirely their pick and pushed to run this time as opposed to a future cycle -- some say specifically because he was also a historic, symbolic "other" which would counteract/negate the historic, symbolic "other" slot that Clinton already was filling.

A white guy as their pick to run against her would not have had that symbolic power at all, and would have ceded that ground entirely to her alone.

That's a problem with symbols, and "firsts"-- and counterprogramming/strategic choices.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Who, where, when, what evidence do you have that there was any collusion by "they" early on in the race beyond squeezing out Edwards? Even Elizabeth Edwards, no fool, gave equal weight to sex and race in decrying what was being done to John.

As Edwards was being eliminated, both Obama and Clinton had ample opportunity to make their case in public and in private. Eventually, and after what appears to me in retrospect to be due deliberation, the leadership decided to back Obama. (Not what I would have done, but then not my decision to make.) So did very nearly 50% of the Democratic primary voters, so it isn't as though the leadership chose someone unheard of or generally despised.

Doom and gloom, doom and gloom, doom and gloom; neither Clinton the woman or Obama the black man was ever going to be a full-on progressive champion, and while on some issues Clinton is IMHO preferable to Obama either of them once elected will serve my main purpose, ending Republican hegemony in the White House, equally well.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

sign up for food bank, see if any church offers a service.

Also, see if there is a Van Pool in your area
http://www.vanpool.com/
The go places public transport does not go, it might be cheaper than driving

heating, I don't know what to suggest. Anyone want to share their favorite navy beans recipe?

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Leah,

IIRC, the only thing I objected to was Digby's conclusion, and you had troubles with it as well. I have no problem with the Democratic party wanting to make a "symbolic" choice of a woman or African American, and I agree on some levels that would be "transformative". But that doesn't mean I want Michelle Bachmann or Kenneth Blackwell elected president.

The points I made clearly flow from Digby's own analysis, which aside from getting yips on the putt put her on the green looking at a birdie on the hole.

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Around these parts we call cucumber slices circle bites