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The Rashomon Campaign*

myiq2xu's picture

There will be no unity for Democrats this year. That's the cold hard truth. It hit me while I was reading this piece of crap by John Judis:

Clinton's second great political mistake lay in how she dealt with Obama's challenge. Sometime in December, having realized that Obama was going to be a genuine rival for the nomination, she and her campaign decided to go negative on him. They did the usual thing politicians do to each other: They ran attack ads taking his words somewhat out of context (Obama calling Reagan a "transformative politician"); they somewhat distorted old votes (voting "present" in Illinois on abortion bills); and they questioned old associations (Obama's connection with real estate developer Tony Rezko).

John McCain and Mitt Romney were doing similar things to each other--and Obama did some of it to Clinton, too. But there a was difference between her doing this to Obama and McCain's doing it to Romney--a difference that eluded Clinton, her husband, and her campaign staff. My friend David Kusnet, Bill Clinton's former speechwriter, explained the difference to me by citing what ex-heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson had once said about Muhammad Ali. "I was just a fighter," Patterson had said, "but he was history." Obama, too, was, and is, history--the first viable African-American presidential candidate. Yes, Hillary Clinton was the first viable female candidate, but it is still different. Race is the deepest and oldest and most bitter conflict in American history--the cause of our great Civil War and of the upheavals of the 1950s and '60s. And if some voters didn't appreciate the potential breakthrough that Obama's candidacy represented, many in the Democratic primaries and caucuses did--and so did the members of the media and Obama's fellow politicians. And as Clinton began treating Obama as just another politician, they recoiled and threw their support to him.

I was going to analyze the Kinsley gaffe committed by Judis, but Bob Somerby has already done that eloquently. But reading the comment thread to the Judis piece made me realize that we can't even agree on what has happened in this campaign.

I spent several years in family law, and it not unusual for opposing pleadings to describe events so differently that except for the names, you would think it was too completely separate cases. That's exactly what is going on now in the Democratic party. We are a family being divided, and we can't even agree on why.

Each side includes a candidate and their respective supporters. Each side has a mutually exclusive view of the candidates, the supporters and the events that have taken place.

There is virtually no common ground between the sides, save the goal of defeating John McCain and winning the White House in November.

To hear the Obama side tell it, Hillary is evil, her supporters are racists, and she has run a dirty and racist campaign. On the other hand, Hillary supporters believe Obama is the one running the dirty campaign, playing the race card and dogwhistling to his sexist cult member supporters.

The two sides can both look at multiple-angles of the same event on video and see completely different things. One side sees a scratch, the other side sees a bird being flipped.

How can there be unity in this circumstance? The two sides are diametrically opposed. This isn't about who has the better plan for health care reform, or which candidate will end the war.

I know what I have seen and heard during this campaign, and it conflicts with what the opposing side claims. I choose to believe my lying eyes and ears.

UPDATE: To clarify my point, imagine you are Dr. Phil and you have been appointed to facilitate reconciliation of the party.

Can it be done, and how?

*h/t zuzu for the new title

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orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

myq -

you could not have said it better. divorce is the prefect analogy.

i have watched over the last few weeks as increasing numbers of people who support senator clinton have written on weblogs i read that they will not support senator obama, period - whether clinton is the vice-president or not.

at first i was uneasy with this declaration. but last week i found myself typing those same words, with conviction and a set jaw.

i was surprised at myself; my passions had snuck up on me. having written that, i realized that i am beyond any point of turning back. i will not support senator obama.

to me he represents two very serious deficiencies, the same two deficiencies that defined george w. bush eight years ago:

- a complete lack of concern for previous political experience as a criterion for running for president. those who have pushed him forward - experienced democratic politicians like daschle, kerry, edwards and kennedy - do not care if he is too inexperienced to be president. their insouciant attitude toward the experience necessary for this unique and very difficult job astonishes me.

- that the obama campaign is focused only on winning the nomination contest, nothing more. they have shown virtually no concern for leadership or for governing. i think that is a reflection both of obama's own political inexperience and of david axelrod's personality and experience - winning is everything; we'll worry later about governing.

cal1942's picture
Submitted by cal1942 on

"winning is everything; we’ll worry later about governing."

And we won't worry that we've already thrown the advantage of a strong Democratic majority in Congress under the bus.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on


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

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

BTW, I enjoyed your post at Shakesville today very much.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Obama and Clinton with others--say, Dodd and Biden--and then look at how this season has gone and what each side has done. Give one Obama's resume and campaign, and the other Hillary's.

(if it's even possible, of course)

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Virginia Democrats had a deeply divisive primary in 2006. After it was over both the blacks and the older women walked. Webb beat Allen anyway. I would not have supposed such a thing were possible had I not seen it with my own eyes.

McSame, the RSCC and RCCC are way behind their respective rivals in fundraising. That indicates that the money men have already made their peace with Democratic rule and are now moving to plan B.

We will win and we will win big. The people who walk away will not have influence in the party in the future.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

"We don't need them?"

Where will those who leave go? To the GOP?

“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

wasabi's picture
Submitted by wasabi on

You're either with me, or against me.

I'll make life hell for you if you don't jump on the bandwagon.

And, oh, btw, you'll never work in this town again.

Feel the unity!

Submitted by lambert on

Exactly. This post from Booman, really opened my eyes. I mean, lambert, fine, the ferocious Taylor Marsh, sure, but Jeralyn?!

And it's impossible that they [Jeralyn] can just shrug off their performance in the primary and get back on board for the general. They have so little credibility...who would want them as an ally?

So, this throwing off the bus thing has been going on since Feb 24th, 2008. My first response here and here. And that, my friends, is why Boo won't speak to CD. She has a colleague who's not only an asshole, but proud of it. But I'm fired up! Feelin the unity!

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

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

I live in Virginia and tried looking this up before. What is your source to support the blacks and older women walking?

Webb's primary opponent was Harris Miller, a telecommunications lobbyist. There was a lot of rancor when Miller claimed a Webb campaign flier characterized him in an anti-Semitic way.

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

it's been commented on before,

but it still is very striking to me, as a male, that the weblogs lining up against senator clinton's candidacy seem to be almost exclusively male.

is this really the case?

are there some non-corporate-media weblogs run by females that give clinton a hard time in the same way moulitsas, marshall, bogg, some at mydd, et al. do? ok, arachne huffington, but who else?

this little discussed fact of the weblog world is starting to bother me - a lot.

all the more when the language gets increasingly unhinged from reality, e.g., josh marshall's claptrap today about clinton's effort to get the florida votes counted as being "toxic".

she's a politician. she needs the votes. politicians do this. it's their job

marshall knows this. he's a student of american politics.

what happened too his good judgment?

well, it's this way.


when folks get anxious, they can get angry.

marhsall is a passionate supporter of senator obama.

ANY of senator clinton's actions, other than agreeing to quit, threaten to prevent marshall's team, the obama team, from "winning".

marshall gets very angry.

but why only the guys, and mostly only the younger guys?

how and why does obama appeal so strongly to them?

Submitted by lambert on

It's toxic to him (WKJM) because it may prevent his advance to full Village status. That's like cutting off his oxygen. And not in the rubber wet suit way, either.

[Irony in title. xoxo!]

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

Julene's picture
Submitted by Julene on

So Obama, because he is African-American, should not have had ANYONE go negative on him or his campaign? OR was it just that a woman had the indecency to run a negative ad? Wow, that piece is stunning.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Maybe someone else wants my vote and will offer me something in exchange.

“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Submitted by lambert on

... with Doctor Phil as Plato, and the various Democratic factions as participants. I am not the one to write it, however.

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

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

And it’s impossible that they [Jeralyn] can just shrug off their performance in the primary and get back on board for the general. They have so little credibility…who would want them as an ally?

this is exactly the sentiment that was expressed by the Webbies. After Webb won the primary the Miller supporters called to offer their support and were told they were not needed. At that point the Miller supporters breathed a sigh of relief and sat back ot let nature takes its course.

I don't want to over do the similarities, Obama does not suffer from the same sort of personality disorder Webb has that prevented him from fullfiling the most basic obligaitons of a political candidate.

I also see many similarities between Obama and Doug Wilder, Virginia's only black governor. They have the same ability to play the race card at exactly the right moment. The difference is that Wilder carried SW Virginia.

What I mean by influence in the future of the party, calling for people to change their registration to independent is not going to move the party in a positive direction. I am no longer an active Democrat, so it is not for me to say, but were I interested in playing a part in the future, I would look for down ballot races to get interested in or start planning for 2010.

Howard Dean went through a brief period of being furious with Kerry because of the smears, and threw himself into the 2004 election. Dean also made Democracy for America into his own organization for change. Hillary could make the Hillary bloggers into the same sort of organization, but only if she plays good sport, and indeed, I am certain that she will.

Everything depends upon Obama's choice of VP and the way the convention is done. The way Florida is being handled, I am not filled with confidence.

I also cannot understand "progressives" who think they can disenfranchise two states and it not come back to bite them in the general. That type of denial is incomprehensible to me. That part really does remind me of the McGovern people who wouldn't listen to anyone.

Outside events are going to have a huge impact on this, the situation in Iraq will continue to deteriorate, in ways that will be impossible to conceal (especially if there is a full scale Dien Bien Phu style collapse). The housing crash will continue to escalate, and then in early September we will have hurricane season.

I also think it is likely that McSame will have his own "George Allen" moment. The Republican party may very well implode the way the Illinois Republican party imploded.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

You only need to crash the gate if you are outside. WKJM and others make some serious scratch and they now work hand and hand with the gatekeepers. No need to rock the boat to get attention anymore. Once you make it in, you assimilate. Repeat the same lies and frames.

Its hard to explain their gross hypocrisy. *shrug*

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on


if i were myq, i might say something else.

for now i'll just say that cutting his oxygen hose (reminds me of a crime novel my wife read once)

is a really interesting thought.

not that i take any side in this conflict,you understand,

it would only be to keep poor josh from making a bigger ass, still, of himself than he has already made.

speaking seriously now, for a brief second, what marshall has done to his reputation and to trust in his good journalistic judgment is really sad.

Submitted by lambert on

... though WKJM is exemplary in so many ways.

There's a structural issue that needs to be addressed to make sure this doesn't happen again -- the critique is as needed as it ever was. But we were naive to think that the "best" (i.e., most read) of us would pursue it beyond a certain point. The old is dying and the new is waiting to be born. In the interim a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. It all just happened in Internet time, that's all. I have a vague feeling that the issue is not the blogs, but the nature of how blogs are networked... But can't really formulate it.

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

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

If the media, the superdels, the DNCniacs and all the other opinion shapers had just been honest from the get-go, I could have saved months of wading through troughs of crazy-making crap trying to figure out what the hell I was missing.

It is so much easier if the label fits the product. What has been going on is not "The Democratic Presidential Primary Campaign".

In fact, it is the "Pigmentation Density Competition"!

If I'd only known!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

orionATL's picture
Submitted by orionATL on

you do mean, don't you,


blonds have more fun than brunettes?

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Look at the turnout figures for Petersburg, Hopewell and other predominately black jurisdictions it is painfully obvious that black voters stayed home. A precinct breakdown would make this even more clear. Some black precincts had turnouts as low as 20%.

The women's vote is more difficult to document, but it was clear that in No. Va women were voting in the congressional but not the Senate race.

That is what makes me think Obama can will this.

jackyt's picture
Submitted by jackyt on

I mean that since the system is rigged, and the riggers know exactly what they are doing, they could save us all a whole lot of anger and frustration by just announcing "da REAL rulz" at the outset.

Instead they waste copious quantities of time, money and good will thinking they are so clever they can hoodwink us into wanting what they want us to want. And then someone with a big mouth spills the beans anyway. So now we know what the game is, and they know we know, and we're still supposed to lose gracefully.

Now we're at the point that no amount of lipstick is going to pretty up this pig. So exactly what purpose has the charade served? Why not save us all the time and trouble by being honest in the first place?

Yeah, I know, naive.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

and both young and older men can be koolaid drinkers. And if a woman, perish the thought, gets in the way of the 2nd coming, I mean the election of the first black MAN, well, it's her fault if she gets hit. "If you weren't such a bitch, I wouldn't have to hit you."

I've been wondering what % of Obama supporters are ex-Nader supporters, if that sort of religious zealotry is part of the mix. And I wonder too what the race would look like if Clinton were black.