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The problem

Obama, in what WaPo's Dan Balz calls an example of a "toughened" "barbed exchange" in "a clash of seismic proportions":

[OBAMA] That's how political campaigns have been run in recent years. But I believe the American people are better than that. I believe that this defining moment demands something more of us.... If we think that we can use the same partisan playbook where we just challenge our opponent's patriotism* to win an election, then the American people will lose. The times are too serious for this kind of politics. The calamity left behind by the last eight years is too great."

OK, accept that Obama actually believes what he says, and indeed wants to move beyond "partisan divisions." Certainly, his platform's preamble says just that, and a Republican just became the major donor to the Denver Committee
by writing a million dollar check, and I don't know a more accurate metric of post-partisanship than that.

So, it's all good. Obama's right where he wants to be. And where is that?

Where Republicans can't be held accountable for failure.

I mean, where did "the calamity of the last eight years" come from, anyhow? Did a bad fairy leave calamity under a cabbage leaf? Did calamity come from the personal failings of George Bush? Or -- work with me here, O man -- is it just barely possible that the calamity came from the Repubican Party's control over all three branches of government?

And where Democrats can't claim success!

Again, why where things different nine years ago? Let me see... Hmm... What could account for that... Just give me a minute... Could the difference be that Bill Clinton, personally, was a better President than George Bush? Or could it be -- I'm just asking you to consider the possibility here -- that Democrats are actually better at governing than Republicans, because they want the government to work?

At some point, somebody's going to figure out that the reason Obama's message sounds incoherent is that it is incoherent. Again, if there are no significant differences between parties, then why not vote for a Republican?

What kind of a winning strategy says it's really OK to vote for the other guy?

That's the problem.

NOTE As opposed to smearing them your opponents as racists, or saying they want to assassinate you, of course.

UPDATE Even better is "how campaigns have been run in recent years." How fucking flaccid. I mean, Rove swiftboats Kerry, and Kerry... Kerry... Did just about nothing. Again, Obama refuses to hold Republicans accountable, and can't bring himself to say good things about Democrats.

UPDATE Given that we're all post-partisan now, and therefore it makes no difference whether you vote for the D or the R, a lot of women are voting for the R. Combine Obama's post-partisan logic with Obama's grossly misogynist campaign, and who can blame them? No doubt all the new registrations will make up for the women who've been voting Democratic for years, but feel their party left them. What could go wrong?

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haelig's picture
Submitted by haelig on

Seriously, Obama's unity argument twists and turns on itself to be virtually ludicrous: Yes, let's implement radical change by joining hands with the criminals who caused the need for change in the first place. Riiight.

Obama and his campaign's overinflated sense of worth and false success has set the stage for yet another Democratic snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory. But perhaps this is as it should be: I often think of one of Martin Luther King's final speeches, "The Drum Major Instinct," when he presciently declared:

"But this is why we are drifting. And we are drifting there because nations are caught up with the drum major instinct. "I must be first." "I must be supreme." "Our nation must rule the world." And I am sad to say that the nation in which we live is the supreme culprit. And I'm going to continue to say it to America, because I love this country too much to see the drift that it has taken.

God didn't call America to do what she's doing in the world now. God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. . . . But God has a way of even putting nations in their place. The God that I worship has a way of saying, 'Don't play with me.' He has a way of saying, as the God of the Old Testament used to say to the Hebrews, 'Don’t play with me, Israel. Don't play with me, Babylon. Be still and know that I'm God. And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power.' And that can happen to America. Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. And when I come and look at America, I say to myself, the parallels are frightening. And we have perverted the drum major instinct."

(Digest that Rick Warren!)

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Lam, you hit upon a very solid point, here. The danger in this is that if the voters can't hold Republicans accountable, they have absolutely no qualms about taking it out on any politician and party within reach, which means they'll take it out on the Democrats.

BTW, I'll say it again, but I don't believe for a second that Obama believes even half of what he says. I like to joke along with the rest of you about him not believing in partisanism, but to me, much like everything else he's done, he's shrewdly calculated that his message of post-partisanism is a winner. Whether he's right remains to be seen.

It always struck me as funny that he'd always refer to the Clinton's as "do-anything/say-anything" politicians, when it was he who was the ultra cynical and ultra-calculating one.

Really, I do not believe for a second that Obama is an naive (or even wordly) idealist. Nothing in his past, nor nothing in the present, points to him being any such thing, to me.

gyrfalcon's picture
Submitted by gyrfalcon on

"let’s implement radical change by joining hands with the criminals who caused the need for change in the first place"

I think you, and many others, totally misunderstand what he means by radical change. He's not talking about, never has been talking about policy, he's only talking about process.

If you understand it that way, it immediately becomes clear why the Clintons are just as much criminals, if not moreso, as the Bushites or McCain himself. They actually fight for stuff, which is, you know, undignified or something.

tewuwei's picture
Submitted by tewuwei on

Gyrfalcon, this cannot be said too much or too loudly, as many of us have glossed over this seminal fact RE BHO's "radical change"- "He’s not talking about, never has been talking about policy, he’s only talking about process."

Therefore, it does not matter what his policy positions are. His weathermen will tell him which way the wind is blowing, and which way to tack. We've already seen that, so we can believe that is how he would govern. All while assuring us that HE is tacking IN A WHOLE NEW AND BETTER WAY!

Submitted by lambert on

... and you have to wonder if the real concern with process is just to game it. Same deal with the Rules and Bylaws Commitee. Ick. I'm not seeing a whole lot of concern for process as such here. As Aristotle says: You are what you repeatedly do.

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

tewuwei's picture
Submitted by tewuwei on

The "process" changer must first convince "the public" that whatever he offers is by definition new and better. That, for the most part, this changer has done.

Then, he has carte blanche to implement whatever change accrues him benefit, even if that means "gaming" the existing process. Just because his new and improved "process" has turned out to be a horrible mutation of what it replaces, does not mean he is not preoccupied with process over policy. In fact, that seems to be all he cares about. Gaming the process, that is.

gyrfalcon's picture
Submitted by gyrfalcon on

Thanks so much for the great King quote. It is truly prophetic.

I've thought off and on since the assassinations of the '60s, and on through the succession of mostly horrible elected leaders, or handicapped ones, that we're simply not being allowed to get out of our mess by following someone's visionary and charismatic leadership because all those leaders keep being taken away from us one way or another.

I think we're being given the message that we have to come up with the bollocks as a people to demand we change course. And we're totally failing in that challenge, seems to me.

gyrfalcon's picture
Submitted by gyrfalcon on

preceded by several paragraphs of whining about how mean old McCain is saying nasty, untrue things about him. That's the sound bite from the speech, predictably, that's getting most of the air time.

gyrfalcon's picture
Submitted by gyrfalcon on

I was quoting haeflig's post above. Criminal as in "Oh, noes!!!"

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

At some point, somebody’s going to figure out that the reason Obama’s message sounds incoherent is that it is incoherent.

the incoherence lies in the fact that Obama is using attack politics to go after McCain while at the same time decrying attack politics.

And that comes off as disingenous in the extreme -- not to mention "whiny".

Rather than complain about McCain's tactics, he should have adopted them -- and gone one better. What he should have said is "McCain's accusation is of course ridiculous. The real issue is why John McCain thought it was more important to support George Bush than to support the troops. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, McCain had a responsibility to make sure that our troops were properly equipped for Iraq....but they were sent in without proper personal or vehicular armor. McCain has been running for president for eight years, and when he should have stood up for our troops in 2003, he was far more worried about the impact of criticizing a then popular republican president."

Now, that would be controversial, but the fact that McCain failed to lead when he was in a position to do so on the question of protecting our troops is something that Obama can and should hammer home. And to the "how dare you" response, the answer should be "I am not claiming that McCain doesn't care about the troops. But its clear that he cared about something else more than the troops, because it was his responsibility to make sure that the Administration was not sending troops into Iraq unless they were fully prepared. There was no "crisis", other than a political crisis, that required our troops to invade Iraq without the necessary planning and equipment to ensure their safety. Regardless of whether you think the war was justified or not, there was no justification for going into Iraq without the proper planning and equipment."

Submitted by lambert on

Yes, there's that too, but Obama consistently lays out problems in time frames -- "the 90s", "recent years," "eight years ago" -- and when you combine that with the post-partisan schtick, you can't hold parties or institutions or "brands" accountable either.

It's a mess.

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

Davidson's picture
Submitted by Davidson on

Basically, same old bullshit: big problems demand a Messiah (read: desperate times call for desperate measures), change election, pretend Obama gives a damn about anyone but himself, McCain = Bush, etc..

Side note: I couldn't help but notice this:

Speaking in Albuquerque, N.M., Monday about equal pay for women, Obama said that he didn't want his daughters "to ever confront a situation where they are disadvantaged because of their gender. The thought of it makes my blood boil."

Are you fucking kidding me?!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

...Obama's kids are the Children of The One -- and that status should "transcend" any considerations based on their gender. They will be endowed with Oneness, and be known as The Halves, and their Halfnesses will be coddled and adored accordingly.

Submitted by lambert on

Mine did, and I don't even have kids. What a tool.

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

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and even the clip of him saying "his blood boiled" wasn't emotional at all, but cold.

Only when he feels personally insulted does he show any life at all.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

but he meant it.

That's why people could forgive him for . . . well, you know.

------------------------------------------------
“When someone engages in divisive behavior, any resulting division is their responsibility” - Melissa McEwan

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

about stuff that hits him alone--even when he tries to act tough and pissed about his kids or Michelle it doesn't come off as real.

I've never seen him pissed about any problems we face, or vowing to fight them the way he vows about all character attacks on him alone. From Wright calling him "a politician" and liar to Hillary and others calling him a lightweight and only words to McCain's attacks now.