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The center cannot hold

vastleft's picture

See Glenn re: the myths (sorry, BIO) about the supposed needs and benefits of moving to the so-called center (i.e., adopting or accommodating the radical right's platforms).

I do disagree with him on two points:

1. IMHO, Samantha Power's famous security memo isn't quite an ideal tonic for the Bush Doctrine, given that it carelessly overplays the Iranian threat. I'm wary of that when Robert Gates does it, and I'm just as wary when it comes from a Democrat. The possibility that Obama will stay the course with Gates is all the more reason for such slips (or whatever they are) to give us pause.

2. I don't think there were ever grounds to be excited about Obama as a progressive change agent. He has consistently worked the Forer Effect, talking in circles, saying something for everyone without regard (or much scrutiny) for the internal contradictions.

Beyond that, there are many canny observations about the dumb-as-dirt strategy called "bipartisanship" or "centrism" — the errant path that Obama and his unquestioning supporters are traveling ever more rapidly.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

(Seriously now, isn’t that the sickest concept out of that whole disgusting book?)

No need for you to say sorry here though. I stand by what I’ve written and am pleased to discuss the issues; am delighted, actually, that anyone reads what I write.

Intended to pick up the conversation from here, along with extending my comment where I was talking to hipparchia and no I wasn’t riffing on your list of events because I had forgotten about your posts here and here (my bad, feeble minded). Now that you’ve started a new one on the topic, this thread works for me.

There is a huge disconnect between what voters tell pollsters and what voters actually do in the privacy of the voting booth. If they voted as they claim they think, The Democratic Party would have controlled government for a very long time and elected office would be dominated by progressives. That isn’t what has happened, and from the point of view of both the Democratic and Republican Party hierarchies the country has swung decidedly to the right when it comes to choosing between candidates for elective office.

You see in the last several elections a glass half full for progressives; I see conservatives with a full glass, both Democratic and Republican, but I see progressives dying of thirst. From VL here, with my comments italicized:

The Republicans are not the party of ideas. They’re the party of hypocrisy, corruption, arrogance, cruelty, and failure. Why would anyone want to sing Kumbaya with them, or think there was glory in it?
Why, indeed, and yet the voters consistently do.

* * *
Just where — besides the SCLM, Rightwing radio, and Karl Rove’s lying piehole — did we get the idea that this country naturally tilts to the right?
I sense that the country has been tilting rightward from the election outcomes. Whether or not this is "natural" is open to debate, but the electoral outcomes are clear - there has been a rightward shift.

* In 2000, Al Gore got more votes than Bush
And still lost the election. Argue that however you will, when the fight was over Dubya moved into the White House and Al Gore grew a beard.

* In 2004, John Kerry came incredibly close (if not closer, given another round of voting improprieties), despite Bush’s 9/11 and “War President” bounces, a massive slime campaign, and possessing the charisma of diet kelp
This is true, where "John Kerry came incredibly close" = John Kerry lost.

* In 2006, the Democrats won handily
Which Democrats won? IIRC, all the new Democrats in 2006 were conservatives. I'll go look, but not a single progressive name leaps to mind. Voters elected Democrats, true, but they elected conservative Democrats.

* On a good week (for him), Bush’s approval rating barely cracks 1/3
And still, on the Gallup Tracking Poll both Clinton and Obama have been neck-and-neck with McCain who is running as stay-the-course on Bush's record. NONE of the more liberal candidates would even be close to McCain.

* In the primaries, where Democratic voting is wildly outstripping the GOP’s, Obama’s attempts to leapfrog Hillary to “the center” are seeming to backfire.
Only true if "seeming to backfire" = Obama wins the primary.

You describe my list of election outcomes from 1968 onwards as a “myth” but I do not see any actual disputation; just a demeaning label. If you have a rebuttal to my assertion that for 40 years the electorate has consistently chosen presidents with political leanings from conservative to batshit-crazy-rightwing-whacko while rejecting everyone who could even remotely be called liberal or progressive, please present it. Simply slapping “MYTH!” on my argument and walking past won’t do.

Mind you, I am not agreeing that running conservative candidates is in the best interest of the Democratic Party, or the country, but rather I am describing why they have decided to do so. One could, as many do, rail against the Democrats for choosing this approach and demand that they field a more progressive slate but that actually hasn’t been working for them; when they do post presidential candidates who are even slightly Left, they lose the elections.

I am also suggesting that criticizing the Democratic Party leadership for not uniformly articulating and driving progressive policies is far too convenient; takes the onus off of us, lets us stay all smug and self-righteous in our progressive certainty. If there has been a failure to effectively present progressive ideas and policy goals, in a way that persuades voters to actually vote progressive instead of just talking about it, I say the fault lies with all of us on the Left. We, and that includes me, have done an inadequate job and the result has been a steady rightward drift of the voters over the last 40 years. The Democratic Party is submitting to what democracy demands, and following the voters.

Unless we can get voters to the polls who are demanding progressive change, we will be nothing to Nancy and Harry and Howard but slightly annoying noise. Their job, their responsibility, is to get more and more Democrats elected to office and defend those who are already there; they will take any “D” they can get if it helps accomplish that objective.

Our job, not theirs, is to drive the nation’s agenda in a progressive direction. We’ve done poorly at it; we will have to do better if we expect to win.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[it's a great method for training dogs, been using it for like 20 years myself, people not so much]

i'd dearly love for all people to have their consciousnesses raised, convert them all to real liberals, but ain't gonna happen. so we'll have to rely on other-directedness.

john edwards, breck girl

so, as i was saying, get a liberal candidate who can't be painted as a wuss/sissy/pansy/loser. problem solved. men with masculinity insecurity will automatically vote for him/her, the rest of us will use our brains.

as for laying it at the feet of the voters to demand more liberal candidates, how do you propose to do that?

you live in a state where ridiculous gerrymandering has ensured a bunch of solidly democratic districts, and therefore you have a plethora of democratic candidates to choose from. i live in a state where ridiculous gerrymandering has ensured a bunch of solidly republican districts, and therefore i have a plethora of republicans to choose from [and a dearth of democrats].

and wasn't it you who was telling me that political parties are private and undemocratic entities who can run whoever they damn well please as their candidates and my only choice is to either vote for the chosen one, or not? kinda like, i have to vote for obama or we're all gonna die, never mind agitating for a different candidate to vote for?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Or maybe that was Flipper; I get confused.

Found your comment way down here, not intending to ignore you. Interesting points, here are my thoughts.

H: shamu does not speak for me [it’s a great method for training dogs, been using it for like 20 years myself, people not so much] But as the article points out, a method that works for Shamu will not always work on a dog; each of them has a vocabulary that the trainer needs to learn in order to communicate. Similarly, a method of approach for political recruitment that works for one person may not work for another, even though their primal needs are the same.

i’d dearly love for all people to have their consciousnesses raised, convert them all to real liberals, but ain’t gonna happen. so we’ll have to rely on other-directedness. Don’t know what that means.

john edwards, breck girl…so, as i was saying, get a liberal candidate who can’t be painted as a wuss/sissy/pansy/loser. problem solved. There is no one so stout and strong that the VRWC cannot paint them as a wuss. John Kerry was wounded multiple times and heroically saved the lives of fellow servicemen at the risk of his own life, receiving three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for valor. Max Cleland served in the Army in Vietnam, made Captain, was awarded the Bronze Star and the Silver Star for valor, and lost both legs and an arm in service. George McGovern enlisted in the Army Air Corps and as a B-52 pilot flew 35 missions. He was awarded the Silver Star for valor and the Distinguished Flying Cross for piloting his damaged plane across enemy territory to a near-impossible forced landing that saved the plane and his crew’s lives. Democrats could run Attila the Hun and the VRWC would call him a cowardly appeaser. No amount of courage or strength will ever be enough to avoid the false charges.

men with masculinity insecurity will automatically vote for him/her, the rest of us will use our brains. Yeah. In 2000, Gore won amongst women voters by 11 points, and split the married woman vote with Bush – half of married women voted for George Bush in 2000. By 2004, women moved decidedly towards Bush; Kerry won all women by only 3 points, while married women favored Bush by 11 points. Women appear to have perceived Bush as compassionate in part because of his inclusion of AfAms, Rice and Powell, in his cabinet. When it comes to using the brain to choose a president, I’m not so sure there is that much difference between the sexes.

as for laying it at the feet of the voters to demand more liberal candidates, how do you propose to do that? Ah. If I knew that, would I be mucking about in the bowels of this little “C” list blog, exposing my vulnerabilities for all to jest at? But it is precisely because I don’t know how, and because I also feel strongly that we as progressives need to figure that out, that I write here. The diversity ferment that is Corrente, unlike any other blog of which I am aware, offers the power of the dialectic in an approachable progressive format where this question may be answered. No guarantees, but stick around; revolutions have begun in less likely places.

you live in a state where ridiculous gerrymandering has ensured a bunch of solidly democratic districts, and therefore you have a plethora of democratic candidates to choose from. i live in a state where ridiculous gerrymandering has ensured a bunch of solidly republican districts, and therefore i have a plethora of republicans to choose from [and a dearth of democrats]. That’s because you have fewer people persuaded of the value of progressive goals where you live than there are in much of California. All we need to do is find ways of convincing your voters that they will be better off under a progressive regime and Bob’s Your Uncle, the Republicans will disappear. Sounds like the Underwear Gnomes, I know, but trust me, I have thought this through; just a little more clarity on Step 2 and it'll all work out.

and wasn’t it you who was telling me that political parties are private and undemocratic entities who can run whoever they damn well please as their candidates Yes…and that’s true.

and my only choice is to either vote for the chosen one, or not? Yes…and that’s also true. At the Presidential level, that is, and to a large degree for US Senators as well. US House of Representatives races are much more open to local uprisings and state legislators or city and county races are also much easier to affect. The VRWC and Republicans have exploited that vulnerability to great success; progressives should be able to do the same.

kinda like, i have to vote for obama or we’re all gonna die, We will have to elect a Democrat or yes, we’re all gonna die. Sorry about that; blame the Republicans and the people who elected them.

never mind agitating for a different candidate to vote for? I haven’t said that, and certainly I don’t agree that’s true; I’ve been busy here and elsewhere agitating/campaigning/arguing for anyone but Obama. I failed at that; it happens. I am certainly open to legitimate criticism of Obama, and I’ve said that here repeatedly. Equally, I don’t approve of gratuitous and false accusations of Obama or any Democrat; those actions should be reserved for Republicans, who deserve any kind of abuse conceivable. Assuming that Obama actually gets the Democratic nomination, I will have no choice but to support him and try to defeat McCain. Sometimes good is not an available choice and I must settle for least bad; this is not the first, and likely will not be the last, in my lifetime.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[the first jaws was filmed here, at least part of it was. to audition as an extra, you had to be the nth caller to the radio station and yell that in your best alarmist voice.]

[s'okay if you were ignoring me, i was over at pandagon, being a puma]

But as the article points out, a method that works for Shamu will not always work on a dog; each of them has a vocabulary that the trainer needs to learn in order to communicate. Similarly, a method of approach for political recruitment that works for one person may not work for another, even though their primal needs are the same.

and here i've been using the same vocabulary for dogs, cats, horses, and fish. actually, the way i was taught to apply it [to all animals other than people, at least] is that it's a way of teaching them all english. that way, they can understand us. they're free [depending on your concept of free will] to respond as they see fit, we just make it so they get the mostest of warm fuzzies whenever they respond the way we want them to, whatever their version of warm fuzzies is [so yeah, the trainer has to be savvy enough to figure out just what motivates each individual voter animal].

Don’t know what that means.

you're the one who brought up other-directedness, so i took a guess at what you meant. i'd rather talk voters into logically deciding that progressive values are in their best interests, but i'd settle for subliminally suggesting to a large number of them that that particular [progressive] candidate over there is teh awesum. david axelrod has been pretty successful with his marketing campaign so far.

There is no one so stout and strong that the VRWC cannot paint them as a wuss.

i'm not sure that stout, strong, and brave, and worthy are bullet-proof. maybe the only armor is to not have any noticeable weaknesses, at least in the first few stealth progressives, rather than to have some especially noted strengths. bill clinton didn't have any of those war hero type characteristics particularly, but he didn't have anything that could easily be painted girly man either.

ok, i got a kick out of imagining attila the hun as a cowardly appeaser, so thanks for that.

Yeah. In 2000, Gore won amongst women voters by 11 points, and split the married woman vote with Bush – half of married women voted for George Bush in 2000. By 2004, women moved decidedly towards Bush; Kerry won all women by only 3 points, while married women favored Bush by 11 points. Women appear to have perceived Bush as compassionate in part because of his inclusion of AfAms, Rice and Powell, in his cabinet. When it comes to using the brain to choose a president, I’m not so sure there is that much difference between the sexes.

women care about social justice more often than men do [or rate it as more important]. this is a surprise? this is actually one of the things i occasionaly gnash my teeth over, because my own opinion is that feminism got hijacked by including all these other [equally worthy] issues: racial justice, gay rights, kids, women being treated badly by moslem extremists, etc. women, and by extension, feminists, are expected to solve all these problems [all caused by men, imnaaho] before being granted full rights as human beings.

as a microcosm, i offer up the current puma situation. the democratic party, with its inclusivenes fetish, demands of its feminists that we be all-encompassing and perfect [witness all the i want a woman for president, just not that woman remarks about hillary] and if we do hold out for that woman for president, we're just being petulant. the republican party otoh, is cynically plotting out how best to harness that 'petulance'. more power to them, i'm not a purity troll. if, in exchange for their votes, the pumas are able to wring meaningful concessions out of the republicans on the issues they feel are most important, i say you go, grrrlz. meanwhile, the democrats want our votes, but only if we bring the correct attitude too.

according to my [admittedly meager] research for my nfp post, it was the democratic party that was against women voting. i'm pretty sure the republican party of the day cynically exploited all that 'petulance' but as my nice, centrist, moderate republican family has always delighted in reminding me, the gop was feminist when feminist wasn't cool.

and on married women voting republican... many more single women in the democratic party than in the republican, which means lots of married women are republicans. given that the christianists, who believe that women are the weaker vessels and must, among other things, vote as their husbands tell them to, are mostly republicans, the 2004 result isn't surprising, and could maybe be explained under my model. in 2000, we weren't at war, manly men weren't too likely to feel threatened by their wives voting for gore. in 2004, we were at war [always a he-man extravaganza] and having their wives be soft on terror reflected badly on the [patriarchal christianist] married men.

it's only a hypothesis, but it's one based on living most of my life surrounded by these people. i don't know if there's detailed exit poll data from those 2 elections or not, but i'd like to see how married, born-again/evangelical men and women voted, and what their party registrations were.

If I knew that, would I be mucking about in the bowels of this little “C” list blog, exposing my vulnerabilities for all to jest at?

[pulling out the flashing knives] like obama, i've remained above it all, but have i mentioned, sweetie, just how much i hate the misspelling/misuse of free rein?

but seriously, yeah, i don't know how we get more progressive candidates either, but i agree we really need to do that, like, yesterday. last century would have been really nice.

you think we need better voters, and then we'll get better candidates, while i think that we'll only get better voters after we give them better candidates. i have little to base this on, falling back on dog training again, and some disjointed bits of psychology that i've gleaned, but people who have trouble imagining that things could be different, come up with all kinds of creativity once you show them a few templates to jump strt their thinking processes. hence my assertion that we need to present the voters with some number of better and more diverse candidates, and then they'll run with the idea, and build on it to boot. but expecting enough voters to know ahead of time what kind of candidates to ask for? i think that may be asking too much of them, at least if we want to get up a critical mass of voters.

The diversity ferment that is Corrente

it's why i've been lurking here for a couple of years now. stick around? you'd have to beat me with sticks to get me to leave, now that i've finally crashed the gates of the mcb.

All we need to do is find ways of convincing your voters that they will be better off under a progressive regime and Bob’s Your Uncle, the Republicans will disappear.

underwear gnomes, indeed. dude, we can't convince progressives to run here. you know where i live? joe scarborough, msnbc talking head, he was our most progressive representative in recent memory [ok, i could be exaggerating a bit, but not much]. local offices? we have a 5-member county commission, and a few years ago, 4 of them managed to get arrested all on the same day and thrown out of office for corruption. by jeb bush, brother to the current president. obama is squeaky clean compared to what you'll get from this corner of almost-alabama. clarity? i'm hoping for a miracle myself.

and wasn’t it you who was telling me that political parties are private and undemocratic entities who can run whoever they damn well please as their candidates Yes…and that’s true.

i want my tax dollars back. that's what paid for that primary that the allegedly private dnc decided didn't count. i figure they got about $4 million worth of free election services. that amount wouldn't go far in a state of 18 million people, but it would have bought a year's worth of health care for 2 or 3 thousand kids. don't get me wrong, i like primaries, and think that caucuses suck, but i don't care what the supreme court says, this makes the 2 major parties at least semi-public entities. or else they're leeches, which they probably are anyway, but who's checking?

Sometimes good is not an available choice and I must settle for least bad; this is not the first, and likely will not be the last, in my lifetime.

reagan was the first sucky candidate i got to vote against, so i feel kinda like that's all i've been doing for all my voting lifetime, settling for least bad.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

would be so wrong, and I would never, but then there is the whole how many hours in the day question and the intense need to put up pretty flower pictures never mind the entire world is spiraling down into a black hole of total destruction; Priorities, Please.

H: [so yeah, the trainer has to be savvy enough to figure out just what motivates each individual voter animal].
Hmmm. Not wanting to leap to a rash conclusion, but have we found a point of agreement? If so, should we both be pleased by that or should one or more of us be worried? :-)

maybe the only armor is to not have any noticeable weaknesses
Call me cynical, but trying to find a candidate without any noticeable weaknesses may be tough since we are going to have to draw exclusively from a pool consisting only of human beings. Plus, there is the problem that the Republicans just lie about the Democrats anyway; je répète, no one is so perfect and unassailable.

bill clinton didn’t have any of those war hero type characteristics particularly, but he didn’t have anything that could easily be painted girly man either.
Humping every skirt in sight is I suppose one way of demonstrating manliness; not so sure how that would translate for a woman candidate.

imagining attila the hun
Old Atilla gets a bad rap. For his time he was more enlightened than most, and in some ways – freedom of religion, for instance – he was more progressive in his administrative policies than are many societies today.

women care about social justice more often than men do [or rate it as more important].
I think not true. Women are more open about proclaiming their concern for what they see as social justice; men are more reticent about being open in the same way, having been warped and abused as children into believing that they have to appear dominant and assertive and dismissive of “social justice” issues if the want to be seen as “real” men. The truth is that men are just as committed to fairness and justice and social responsibility as are women, witness MLK and Gandhi and a long, long list that includes me and others around here.

my own opinion is that feminism got hijacked by including all these other [equally worthy] issues: racial justice, gay rights, kids, women being treated badly by moslem extremists, etc. women, and by extension, feminists, are expected to solve all these problems [all caused by men, imnaaho] before being granted full rights as human beings.
Setting aside for the moment the bracketed comment – because if we go there now we’ll never get anything else settled – it appears to me that this statement of yours validates my position vis a vis trying to form the sort of broad wide-based coalition needed to effect the full array of progressive changes we need. Correct me if I am misunderstanding, but this long lost is exactly what we need to accomplish and I am in complete agreement that of course it is completely unfair to place the entire burden on women; even more so to place it on the feminist sub-set.

the democratic party, with its inclusiveness fetish, demands of its feminists that we be all-encompassing and perfect
How quickly we once again diverge. I don’t know of anyone who expects feminists to be all-encompassing and perfect. I believe I can safely speak for all men when I say we have no such expectations and are very, very clear that we never should; you will have to check with non-feminist women for their take on the matter. Just out of curiosity, though; is it your position that the Democrats should perhaps develop an exclusiveness fetish to set things aright?

if, in exchange for their votes, the pumas are able to wring meaningful concessions out of the republicans on the issues they feel are most important, i say you go, grrrlz.
Hm. The problem here is that the Republican Party – capital “P” – has become an organized criminal enterprise; no one not in the gang is going to be wringing any concessions out of them. The most that will happen is what the religious fundies got – fleeced, IIRC, and for no particular gain. It can’t be that these Puma People expect the Republican Party can be coerced, bullied, bribed or reasoned with in any way to do any thing that is not in the direct corrupt Plutocratic interests of the Party hierarchy. No, can’t be; no one is that naïve.

the democrats want our votes, but only if we bring the correct attitude
I hate to be the one to break this to you; you seem a sweet enough person. Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party want your vote – but neither of them give a bloody damn about your attitude, or how you feel, or much at all about what you want. That needs to change, and the only hope for that change rests with the Democrats because the Republican Party is an organized criminal enterprise. The Democrats are disorganized, and therein lies the opportunity.

the gop was feminist when feminist wasn’t cool
Yes, but that was then and this is now. Over the last 80 years, the Republican Party has been taken over by – say it with me – an organized criminal gang. They are not in the least interested in feminism; they aren’t even interested in humanism.

i don’t know if there’s detailed exit poll data from those 2 elections or not, but i’d like to see how married, born-again/evangelical men and women voted, and what their party registrations were.
I’m mildly interested as well; let me know if you find the data. I rather suspect that in both 2000 and 2004 you’ll find that registered Republican women largely voted for Bush, and registered Democratic women largely voted for Kerry. It was unregistered, independent, unaffiliated women who shifted the balance towards Bush; perhaps this is an argument for registering all women, like handguns, but that is probably unworkable and I shan’t pursue it.

have i mentioned, sweetie, just how much i hate the misspelling/misuse of free rein?
Not as I recall, but thanks ever so for doing it now. Funny, isn’t it, how the brain will sometimes make these substitutions and we start seeing things as correct when they are not; I shall endeavor to not make that same error in future. As long as we’re being honest and open with one another, and may I say how refreshing that is, I must say that I am equally distressed, sweetie, by those who do not capitalize the first word in a sentence. Quite puts a hitch in my comprehension get-a-long, if you know what I mean. I do notice that your habit on your own blog is to use proper capitalization conventions; surely then, no need to make mention of this again.

you think we need better voters, and then we’ll get better candidates, while i think that we’ll only get better voters after we give them better candidates.
Not quite exactly so on my part, and again I apologize for not being clear. What I want are better informed voters, enlightened if you will. I expect that once enlightened, those same voters will expect better candidates and indeed they will emerge. I am quite the unrepentant capitalist, you see; I believe that demand drives development and that when there is sufficient demand, someone will be inspired to find a way to meet it. There is no shortage of ambitious progressives; what is lacking is a pool of voters willing to embrace progressive goals and that is, I believe, what needs changing.

i want my tax dollars back
You’ll want to bring that up with the people who decided that Floridians would take on for themselves the cost and complexity of a primary election. Oh, wait; that would be the voters of Florida and in turn that will have been – in some small part – you. The Democratic Party didn’t ask the people of Florida to hold a primary election by ballot. Especially, it didn’t ask that the primary be held in a way that violated the Party rules. I am, I confess, entirely at a loss as to why you or anyone in Florida is angry with the Democratic Party. The rules were clear, the options were clear, and in the end the clear penalty for breaching the rules was equitably enforced. How in any way should the Democratic Party be the object of your wrath over the Florida primary, or that of anyone else? Another unpleasant detail; that same Republican Party the Puma People are all hot to cozy up with imposed the same 50% delegate penalty as did the Democrats; rock and a hard place on that topic, eh?

that’s all i’ve been doing for all my voting lifetime, settling for least bad.
Welcome to the club. The last presidential candidate I was seriously excited about was Bobby Kennedy; been a long hard road since then.

Without a demand for progressive policies and goals, there will be no progressive candidates. Unless progressives can figure out how to frame and communicate the beneficial nature of progressive change, that change will not occur. What we’ve been doing hasn't been working. If we want others to change, we will first need to change ourselves – we will need to be the change we seek. What must happen is no more complicated, and no less daunting, than that.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

This ia another example of why it's not good for you, as a man, to try and speak to the experiences of women.

I don’t know of anyone who expects feminists to be all-encompassing and perfect. I believe I can safely speak for all men when I say we have no such expectations and are very, very clear that we never should

You don't know anyone? I find that hard to believe. I think it much more likely, that as a guy, you have never had feminine or feminist expectations put upon you, so you really can't speak to this.

As feminists in the Dem Party, we are expected to ignore our issues for the good of the party, and come together, even after a candidate actively leverages misogyny for their electoral benefit(and on similiar theme from hipparchia, Republicans sure as hell wouldn't let that happen to a Republican woman running for office). IOW, we are supposed to be good little women(which coincides with that "ladies" discussion we were having).

And as far as excluding people from the Dem party, misogynistic little dickheads like Kos and Aravosis shouldn't let the door hit them in the ass on the way out!

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Why should I speak for the experiences of women? Where have I done that? That statement began with an "I" and had one "I" after another all through it. I spoke for myself, and yes presumed to speak on behalf of men in general (surely I'm not denied the authority to speak from a male perspective as well?) about expectations of "perfection".

I see those claims thrown around, have for a very long time, and I believe them to be untrue about men as a group (don't bother dragging out some troglodyte from under a rock, there's always one somewhere). Especially I do not see that as true about men who are aligned with the Democratic Party, and most especially it does not include men who are actually progressives.

Lesson learned this year is that being against the Iraq war, or the Iraq Occupation, or even George Bush, does not make someone a progressive. Plenty of conservatives oppose Bush, like Kos and Huffington and so forth. That they were mistaken as progressives, well, it was a mistake. I made it too, about some of them. Damn them if you will, but lumping me in with them - saying ALL men or men as a class or group are awful beings who expect "perfection" - is simply untrue.

I understand that some people derive benefit from perpetuating gender stereotypes, in both directions, and find self-validation in the denigration of others who are in their eyes different or to whom they feel opposed or by whom they feel oppressed. That's a problem in the Middle East, and it is a problem with perpetuation of gender conflict in America. Too much generalization, too much fanning of unfounded enmity, too many hurtful stereotypes thrown around without regard to truth or effect. It is hurtful to progressive goals, I don't like it, I don't approve of it, I'm opposed to it, and I'll damn well speak out against it when I see it as I see fit.

No one I know, and I know a lot of people, expects you or anyone else to be "perfect" or "all-encompassing". Be whoever you want to be; champion whatever causes suit you; no problem here, or anywhere in the Democratic Party as far as I can see. Are there people who are both sexist and Democrats, whose sexism benefited Obama? A few. Are there also people who are both racist and Democrats, whose racism benefited Clinton? A few. So what? There are jerks out there; doesn't mean all men are jerks, and do let me point out that a whole lot of women have an irrational dislike for Hillary Clinton too.

Saying all men, or most men, are sexist is itself sexist, and counterproductive to any women's rights effort or feminist goals; alienating half of all humanity isn't a good start towards anything. If you can't see that, then I humbly suggest that it is you who should reconsider whether you have any right to speak for women. By doing so in this way, you do more harm than good at any effort towards real progress.

Oh, and while I'm at it, explain to me how it is that you as a feminist are expected to do anything that my lame good-for-nothing male ass is not also expected to do with regard to the nominee this year? I have no enthusiasm for Obama at all, and scarcely any more for Hillary, yet it is likely that I will have to align myself with one or the other of them against John McCain and the VRWC criminal conspiracy that calls itself the Republican Party because I have no other choice. Being displeased with Obama as the nominee isn't limited to feminists, and isn't exclusively a feminist issue. I'm at least as unhappy as you are about it.

Nor is the real truth that another Republican presidency will destroy America along with the whole damn planet a feminist issue; please be very careful that you don't kill us all in your zeal to punish one man.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Let's make a deal, you don't try to speak for all men, and I won't either, ok?

Because that's the problem I'm having with what your saying, is that you say men don't act like this, I say they do, and point to the recent attitudes and behaviors displayed towards women in this primary("get over it" "where else you gonna go"), and you continue to tell me men don't do this. My whole problem with what you originally said, is that hipparchia talked about a phenomenom that EVERY WOMAN HAS DEALT WITH, and you brush it off, saying "Men don't do that" which is bullshit, and I won't hesitate to call you on it, no matter how much I love you.

how it is that you as a feminist are expected to do anything that my lame good-for-nothing male ass is not also expected to do with regard to the nominee this year?

Wow, straight white males and their policy objectives were unceremoniously thrown under the bus? Funny, I don't see them down here with us women, and our reproductive rights and equal pay.

For you, it's having to hold your nose for another candidate you don't like. For women, who have been taken for granted by the Dem party since it accidently became the party of women's rights, it is about saying enough is enough.

You can't bargain away our reproductive rights, you can't just pay lip service to equal rights, and you can't actively leverage sexism and misogyny to win an election, and expect us to keep coming back. This primary season has been the final straw.

Now, I will say that if another candidate, Edwards perhaps(who I orginally supported but even that is now gone under the admiration I have gained for Clinton) were in Obama's place, having won the nomination the same way, I might actually be persuaded by the whole "McCain's gonna end the world!!1!eleventy-one!" argument, but since Obama hasn't done a damn thing to prove to me that he'd be any damn better, you're gonna have to find a better argument to get me to advocate for Obama, instead of against him.

I actually have more faith that McCain will value competence, more than Obama, who looks to be on track to surround himself with sycophantic "Yes" men, like Bush, and we know how well that worked out(Meet the New Brownie, Same as the Old Brownie).

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'm holding out for bats.

[actually, i'm not, although i do like bats. i'm feeling a tad under the weather and more than happy to take time out for flower pictures. but yeah, one or more of us should be worried. sweetie.]

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

The overweight cat, I mean.

Sorry to hear about ill weather; wishes for a swift recovery.

Been procrastinating on the bats, more data, more data, but I may have to give up and just deal with what there is.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

" In 2006, the Democrats won handily
Which Democrats won? IIRC, all the new Democrats in 2006 were conservatives. I’ll go look, but not a single progressive name leaps to mind.

John Yarmuth.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and there are a couple of others, swept along on a surge (sorry) of anti-war sentiment. We'll see how they do after the Iraq Occupation winds down.

My main point, which you strolled past whilst aiming for the picayune, is that the increase in the Democratic caucuses, both House and Senate, came dominantly from new members who are positioned on the conservative side of centrist. The Democratic caucus was pushed rightward in 2006 rather than being strengthened on the left. In evidence I submit that the new members from 2006 accomplished little or nothing in the way of even pressing a progressive agenda and were entirely ineffective in blocking further Plutocratic advancement. The election in 2006 was not an endorsement of progressivism; it was no more than a mild rejection of the worst excesses of Bushist Plutocracy. Anyone who saw more was engaged in wishful thinking.

Many people celebrated the congressional elections of 2006 as a mandate to take down the Bush administration with impeachments and putting a stop to at least the Iraq Occupation. This belief was unfounded projection, not connected to reality. The notion that 40 years of the electorate systematically empowering Plutocrats could be reversed in a single off-year election was entirely fanciful, and undescored a clear lack of comprehension regarding the depth of Plutocratic penetration of our governmental structure. The election of 2006 was no more than a weak beginning of a beginning, a slight slowing of an enormously powerful long-term rightward trend that has not yet run its course.

The election this fall will not be much different in outcome, even if the Democrats take the White House. In the Senate a residual Republican/Democrat Plutocratic coalition will be more than enough to block any serious progressive intitiatives, and in the House I expect to see the Plutocratic BlueDog-Republican coalition actually strengthened. Obama, by all appearances, is no flaming progressive (nor is Hillary Clinton) and in any event will find any leftward initiatives as difficult to press as did Bill Clinton. While 2006 was only a slowing down of the decline, a 2008-2012 Democratic administration will be - at best - a bottoming out.

If progressives work harder and smarter, maybe by 2012 we can get our message across and move enough real progressives into the Congress to start some positive motion; getting even that much accomplished will depend on turning the economy around by then as well as disengaging from Iraq and avoiding any large new misadventures, none of which will be easy. With the Democrats in office there is a chance we can do some good and soften the blow before human existence turns into Hell on Earth; with a Republican in the White House, there is no chance at all.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I'm linking to a post that I feel does the talking for me.

I apologize (and hey, why be so hard on a book inspired by Al Gore?) for not having time to do the whole point-counterpoint thing here. We've each said our peace here now and before, and I leave it to others to size up the merits of our arguments. Had I the time, I'd engage in detail but I'm just tapped out. Won't keep me from posting altogether (remember, you know me better than I know myself), but I'm gonna have to pass this time.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

and fair enough. Perhaps I'm feeling a tad anxious and overly sensitive these days - one thing and another.

Of course, you're still wrong :-)

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...and try as I might I can't really distinguish that stance from their Neocon counterparts who wish to spread freedom and democracy via the military.

inna's picture
Submitted by inna on

they're called... Neoliberals, or Neolibs.

"…and try as I might I can’t really distinguish that stance from their Neocon counterparts who wish to spread freedom and democracy via the military."

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

Neo-cons refers to pushing for US imperialism through military force.

Neo-libs refers to pushing for global capitalism through liberalization of trade.

There is convergence between the two, to be sure, but the emphasis is slightly different. The first is primarily militaristic whereas the second is focused on economic matters.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...Neocons are also neoliberals (economically speaking). So can Humanitarian Hawks that are like Neocons militarily-speaking really be called Neo-Libs?

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

(if you think of Samantha Power here) are neither neo-cons nor neo-libs.

For Samantha Power, the point is to use (US or UN for that matter) military power to further humanitarian causes (like stop the genocide in Darfur).

For neo-cons, the point is to further and strengthen American military power and prevent the rise of other military power, to perpetuate American dominance. The idea is that if we can't stop the Chinese from kicking our a$$es economically, we can do so militarily.

The neo-libs work through the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization to force open economies that have been fully integrated into the global capitalist system whether they like it or not. (The neo-cons are in favor of doing that militarily... Iraq is a good example).

Am I just confusing you further?? ;-)

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

I think I'm the one confusing people...

I just don't see a real difference between Humanitarian Hawks and Neocons in practice. Oh sure, one says that we should act according to national interest while spreading democracy and the other says we shouldn't really act because of national interest but for humanitarian purposes only but when it comes down to it we are ultimately talking about using the US military to impose a specific agenda generated by either HHs or Neocons.

Power proclaims herself to be an HH. Matt Yglesias does a good write up on HHs here.

The neo-lib thing was in response to the suggestion that HHs are neo-libs. I was trying to suggest that I can see HHs being described that way etymologically speaking (they may in fact be new liberals) but that neoliberalism is used overseas to describe what we tend to associate with Republicans/conservatives and also Neocons. Am I making more sense now?

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

I would add that HHs are more likely to support multilateral interventions rather than unilateral. They support UN or NATO missions, rather than US going it alone, which is what neo-cons would favor.

HHs are also not obsessed with promoting free markets as neo-libs and neo-cons are.

So, yes, HHS are liberal in the American sense whereas neo-libs are fundamentalist liberals in the European sense.

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

And I agree with your additions. :)

tnjen's picture
Submitted by tnjen on

...would make a great post. I'd love to hear what Correntians think of the odd mixture of ideas coming together around Obama and his wing.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Rockefeller Republicans, if you like. (think Whitman, Kean, Snowe, etc--socially ok, but economically not)

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

how Owellian. There is nothing humane about war. It is time, past time, to start discrediting war mongers of every description.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

we do with cases of active genocide in progress... politely ask the perpetrators to please stop it?

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

that this is something I am really struggling with. Knowing that we could stop violence in parts of the world and don't do so. The genocide is Rwanda did not have to happen. It could have been stopped but was not by failure of political leadership.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

humanitarian interventions must be UN--to stop genocides we have to beef them up, or allow joint NATO/UN coalitions or something.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i've heard from a bunch of Europeans that we actually intervened on the wrong side in Bosnia--what's the deal with that? did we?

willyjsimmons's picture
Submitted by willyjsimmons on

that at this point, sending "American" forces anywhere to do anything other than build stuff is a non-starter. (Natural)Disaster relief.

Nothing that involves ammo.

Contingency forces? No no no.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

McGovern flew a Consolidated B-24 Liberator:

Like that one.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

stuck it in as a placeholder and then forgot to go back and fact-check myself, overwhelmed what with the staff being off on holiday and all.

Smart catch, cenobite, and thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I have always depended on the corrections of strangers.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Let's just review The Rulz as proposed:

1. I am not allowed to speak in general for for all men, but you can speak in general for all women.

2. Whatever policy objectives you have at risk with Obama are important and matter; whatever policy objectives I have at risk with Obama do not - because I'm a white male.

3. ...

Well, doesn't matter, because I won't play by those first two rules, thanks anyway for the offer.

Not one single positive progressive goal of mine, inlcuding the protection of full reproductive process rights for all women, are likely going to go unmet with Obama. My hopes anymore are not for progress, and what little progress I had hoped for was never more than fanciful at best to begin with. The best I can hope for is that things don't get a whole lot worse. Oh well.

Under McCain, everything will get much, much worse than it is now, so bad that we as a species will not recover for a very long time and maybe never. For the Plutocrats, this is exactly about establishing a domination that will last for a thousand years. McCain's comment about being in Iraq for that long was not off-the-cuff; they really are planning to contol the world for 50 generations or more.

If you can't see that, if you can't see that for all their shortcomings the Democrats (and with either Obama or Clinton there would be shortcomings) are nowhere near as bad as the Republicans, then I have nothing more with which to persuade you. It is for me so startlingly clear.

Electing McCain ends America as a democracy. It is no less dire than that. All of our rights will be stripped away. The middle class will be destroyed. Public education will cease to be anything more than a factory for producing service workers. Gay rights? Don't make me laugh. You'll be lucky to not be rounded up and imprisoned. Unemployment won't be a problem, what with the wars and the occupations there'll be plenty of low-paying government work for the poor.

With Obama and the Democrats (or Hillary, this still is not over) progressive interests still have a chance. Under McCain we will have none, and we probably never will have any. All will be lost.