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What Krugman said

I know, I know, Krugman. Only called his shot on the Bush administration while everybody else -- and by everybody I do mean everybody -- in our famously free prss was wanking. But what has he done for us lately? Today's column -- I'm fair-using most of it, because Krugman writes so tautly it's almost impossible to excerpt him without doing violence to the thread of his argument:

It is, in a way, almost appropriate that the final days of the struggle for the Democratic nomination have been marked by yet another fake Clinton scandal — the latest in a long line that goes all the way back to Whitewater.

Why does all this matter? Not for the nomination: Mr. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. But he has a problem: many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House.

To the extent that the general election is about the issues, Mr. Obama should have no trouble winning over former Clinton supporters, especially the white working-class voters he lost in the primaries. His health care plan is seriously deficient, but he will nonetheless be running on a far more worker-friendly platform than his opponent.

But elections always involve emotions as well as issues, and there are some ominous signs in the polling data [in the rolling estimates for FL, OH, and PA at].

The point is that Mr. Obama may need those disgruntled Clinton supporters, lest he manage to lose in what ought to be a banner Democratic year.

So what should Mr. Obama and his supporters do?

Most immediately, they should realize that the continuing demonization of Mrs. Clinton serves nobody except Mr. McCain. ...

Nor should Obama supporters dismiss Mrs. Clinton’s strength as a purely Appalachian phenomenon, with the implication that Clinton voters are just a bunch of hicks.

So what comes next?

Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part. ... She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

But mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised — starting with his own party.

One thing to do would be to make a gesture of respect for Democrats who voted in good faith by recognizing Florida’s primary votes — which at this point wouldn’t change the outcome of the nomination fight.

Another way to do that would be for Obama to fix his health care plan.

The only reason I can see for Obama supporters to oppose seating Florida is that it might let Mrs. Clinton claim that she received a majority of the popular vote. But which is more important — denying Mrs. Clinton bragging rights, or possibly forfeiting the general election?

What about offering Mrs. Clinton the vice presidency? If I were Mr. Obama, I’d do it. Adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket — or at least making the offer — might help heal the wounds of an ugly primary fight.

Here’s the point: the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose. He needs to do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

I'll bet my first Early Girl tomato that none* of Krugman's wise suggestions will be adopted.

That is, the demonization of the Clintons will continue, Hillary's supporters will continue to be written off as hicks, and Hillary will not be offered the VP slot.** Nor will Obama address the deficiencies in his health care plan.

My views are based on Obama's past performance in the campaign. If Obama has made no gestures of respect when he hasn't won, why would he do so after he has? His base won't demand it of him, nor will his handlers, nor will our famously free press, and so it won't happen. If it were going to happen, it would already have happened; it's not like there haven't been opportunities.

Krugman assumes that the goal of the Obama faction is victory in November. I argue that it's control over the party machinery that's the have-to-have, and the election that's the nice-to-have. (Obama's movement is permanent and has its own sources of funding and its own database. That is the real prize of this election.) This working hypothesis is, to me, the only reasonable explanation for the willingness of Obama supporters to write off whole portions of what used to the the Democratic Party -- with the enthusiastic support of the "creative class" [cough], naturally. (That's what dismissing Clinton's support as being "Appallachia" translates into; I'm surprised Krugman doesn't draw the obvious conclusion here.)

Now, this is one time I'd really like to be proved wrong. So let me translate Krugman's column into some litmus tests that I would accept:

The VP slot is meaningless kabuki to me, at least. If Hillary wants it, fine, but why on earth would Obama give her any real authority? He'll lock her up in the Naval Observatory and send her on foreign travel for women's issues.


1. Obama could fix his broken health care plan. That's the number one issue for many of Hillary's supporters; I know it is for me.

2. Obama could throw some subordinate under the bus and hold him accountable for demonizing Hillary. Somebody needs to pay for that, and be seen to pay. This I know will be kabuki, but it's some kabuki I'd really like to see.

3. Obama could totally rule out Social Security privatization, say that Medicare is the real problem, and address it.

4. Clue stick for Obama supporters: Telling Hillary supporters to Shut The Fuck Up, both on line and, for pity's sake, at work and socially, isn't helping do anything except create a climate of fear in an already fearful country. Is that what you want? If Obama could find a way to address that, it would be useful and interesting. Healthy, even.

There are a ton of ways for Obama to make "nice." So far, whenever he's had to change to do so, he hasn't. Leaders lead. Will Obama?

I don't think so. I hope I'm wrong.

NOTE * Since bringiton says that the 5/31 DNC meeting is already wired, I leave that out of these considerations.

NOTE ** I'm open for side bets on the most insulting offer possible; my guess would be Sibelius.

UPDATE Kossacks respond to the Shrill one; hilarity ensues. Boiled down? "I used to like his writing back when he wrote more about economics... ". Plus ça change.... Fools throw a stone into the sea, and even the wisest can never find it.

UPDATE Avarosis takes time out from watering his orchids to trash Krugman. Hilarity ensues, as he concludes:

There is just too much drama, negativity and in-fighting swirling around the Clintons and the coterie. We've had enough of that.

Avarosis? Too much drama? Quelle surprise, or, in the vulgate, Who knew?

No votes yet


DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

in a way Obama won the same way Kerry won, with the media either cutting off oxygen to his opponents (Edwards & co) or demonizing Clinton. This sets the stage for them to do the same to him.

His great advantage over Kerry is that his position on the war is seen to be consistent. Also, when the media begin to demonize him, it will be far more transparent.

Also, McSame can't raise money.

Submitted by lambert on

Nominate Obama, the press hates him the least. It may be that BTD has, indeed, touched bottom on the appropriate level of cynicism.

Yes, it really is necessary to turn off your TV. Fortunately, the stupid oligopolies keep jacking up the prices for content that's worse and worse.

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

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

An Obama/Clinton ticket will win in November, though it does have a hint of old style Europe about it (arranged marriages between potentially adversarial countries). Any Clinton supporters out there who would not vote for that combo? Any Obama supporters out there who would not vote for that combo?

One may parse out motives until the atom is split, and perhaps enjoy Oppenheimer's "I am become death" moment. One may also work for (gasp!) unity in the party, the party that will not stack the SCOTUS with Caligulas.

Never shut up, bitches: call them like you see them and please continue to call them. But consider the occasional climb to the upper deck to look at the field from the sky and not just from the dirt infield. What inning are we in? Anyone?

This is not an admonishment, this is a fucking plea. Every gain is a short-term event: every loss is eternal.


Submitted by lambert on

... no loss is eternal. It's organic matter for new growth. The gain is the complexity of the garden.

And, as I keep saying, I'll vote for Obama no matter who his VP is (modulo very unlikely events under the heading of ????). I'm just not sure Clinton as VP is going to work or produce the expected results.

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

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

"Any Clinton supporters out there who would not vote for that combo?

And a lot of the Clinton supporters I know in RL won't either. To us, it's an insult. She's the stronger candidate, why should she be there helping to drag the Unity Pony across the finish line, when she can accomplish it herself.

If it were Clinton/Obama, of course. But I live in a safe red state that won't go to Obama, so my vote won't matter in the GE. Now, if Clinton were on top of the ticket, my state could be competitive, so it would matter, but as of now, if Krugman and CD are right, and Obama is the nominee, I will do nothing to assist in this hostile takeover of the Dem Party. Better four years of McCain now, than 16 yrs of Repub Rule starting in 2012.

And also, I'm sick of the SCOTUS argument. Number one, It's a Dem senate. If they can't keep the atrocious ones off the bench, why in the fuck am I even supporting the party? Number two, I have seen nothing from Obama that gives me any faith that he will do better. Roberts, anyone? SCOTUS nominees are prime real estate for Unity, IMO, and I don't trust him.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

why would Sibelius be so bad? because of her SOTU response? Remember Bill's nominating speech in 1988?

Submitted by lambert on

... what I've heard said elsewhere (can't go look for links, now). He'd have to do it carefully to avoid sending the message that women are interchangeable. That would be bad, right?

[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

The only way Obama can be judged the "winner" is by sanctioning the outcome of a rigged fight. Now even Paul Krugman has accepted the "inevitability" argument. Many Supers have come to the realization that it will be near impossible to get the DNC's thumb off the scale. I suspect that a desire to be on the "winning" side is causing many to join in slathering lipstick on the pig. (I'm not willing include their votes in any total until they actually cast ballots at the convention.)

The pledged D count stands at 1658-O, 1500-C. Both are so far short of the 2210 needed to win that the only way to declare a "winner" is to sanction a crooked system.

I am counting on Hillary to take this thing all the way to a floor vote at the convention. Every last ballot should be cast in public view. Bullying behavior is no more acceptable in politics than it is in the schoolyard. Capitulating to skulduggery does a disservice to every American who plays by the rules.

I'm not willing to use my vote to support this dishonesty. How could I ever have faith in an administration that rose to power by climbing the dung heap of this primary season. Obama will have to "win" without me.

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

Tell all those who are now dead (I don't have their address) that Gore's "loss" was not an eternal loss, at least as played out by them. Tell anyone who remembers the August 6th PDB if the strange and casual dismissals (later put forth by Condi Rice) would not have been a Gore team response. Tell the ghosts of the people on those planes, in those buildings in New York, Washington DC and on that field in Pennsylvania: tell them they would not have had a defender in the White House instead of a shill. Tell New Orleans about eternal effects while the Shock Doctrine that is being utilized to exploit the tragedy surrounds them.

I agree, the garden is eternal, and from death comes life, but from the deaths of our soldiers and the people of Iraq, what life will spring? What a bitter harvest.

Loss and life are both eternal (because I said so!). I too have stated I will vote for the Democratic candidate in November, but I support an Obama/Clinton ticket right this very moment

(Inverted Proto-Troll Prophylactic: I don't see any other options for the Democratic ticket in November, and for a variety of reasons. Take it from someone who loves to live in "what could be": sometimes I have to live in "what is.")

Best wishes to all who garden. Voltaire says hello!


hobson's picture
Submitted by hobson on

I'm probably wrong but it seems to me Al Gore was no Al Gore in 2000. Losing seems to have a good effect on some Democrats.

Submitted by lambert on

... and the deaths this time around will come from lack of health care for people I know. It's everywhere. It's memorial day.

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

MJS's picture
Submitted by MJS on

You have shown me someone (yourself) who would not support an Obama/Clinton ticket (if he's on top). My work here is done.


Submitted by lambert on

... and if the Obama campaign is, in fact, capable of taking Krugman's wise advice things might fall out differently. we're primates.

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

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I would hate to feel personally responsible for running you off, after you finally came back. All I know, is I'm not the only one who feels this way, even here at the Mighty Corrente Building, though apparently, the only one with the balls to say it.

My vote is more strategic than anything. I really don't know what I want out of this election, if Obama is at the top of the ticket. The only thing I do know, is I want to show my displeasure to the DNC for having this candidate foisted upon us, a candidate I feel will not be able to accomplish anything at a time when our nation is desperately in need of some accomplishment.

I personally feel that he would be another Carter, if he were to get elected, something I don't see happening regardless. Yeah, a Dem would be great in 08, but if it's the wrong Dem(and I think Obama is) it only leads to worse things later. Like another 16 years of Republican rule, along with congressional majorities.

OTOH, I know that if McCain is elected, especially with Lieberman whispering sweet nothings in his ear, our exit strategy from Iraq will lead through Iran, I'm not stupid. The military is actually incapable of accomplishing this, so I'm hoping for a reprieve.

I like chaos myself, and to see the military rebel against the civilian leadership over the folly of Iran, and then see a breakdown in societal order, would be no skin off my nose. We will either survive or die, which is all we can ever do(like I said in another thread, a population check is coming, and I really don't think there is much we can do at this point to stop it).

I will do the best I can for as long as I can. But if there is to be any hope for our country(and I do believe our long years as head of the global order are now at an end, though we just don't know it yet) things must change. I can't change the Republicans, but I can do my part to change my party, the party I do believe is the best hope for the future, a hope they have thoroughly dashed this primary season.

* Updated to fix title, which I inadvertantly typed as saying "Hope this means you won't come back", instead of "Hope this doesn't mean you won't come back."

Sorry. :)

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

That I will talk people out of voting for McCain, or writing Hillary in.

I will still defend Obama from the really egregious shit, like the Luttwak piece Leah posted. My boss actually brought the "Muslim father" point up, which she had heard from her Baptist Minister, politically active Republican father. I told her it was BS, and something silly to consider when choosing a president. But actively work for him? No. As I said, I'm truly indifferent to how this election works out.

I do respect another's choice to vote for Obama, though. Our vote belongs to each of us, and I respect that choice, though I will try and persuade others with what they do choose(though never Republican). And people can try to talk me into Obama, I will state my reasons, and eventually there comes a point, where persuading does no more good.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

if Hillary wasn't running. My opinion of him exists independently of the competition between himself and Hillary

Some people see the distinction between Obama, Hillary and McCain as "good and better vs. bad"

I see is as "best vs. bad and worse," with Hillary as the best candidate.

“Rules are not necessarily sacred,
principles are.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Submitted by lambert on

What a concept!

(I wonder what kind of President Stuart Symington would have made...)

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

Corner Stone's picture
Submitted by Corner Stone on

*Really* want to see HRC take the VP slot? I know I wouldn't.
From my perspective it would be much better for all if HRC stayed in the Senate and pushed her agenda from that pulpit. Playing second banana to a third rate Movementarian doesn't seem like the ultimate implementation of her skills and all the work she's done to this point.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Obama's showing every sign of being a weak president. If Clinton can become Senate majority leader (an offer the DNC ought to make if it really wants her to make nicey-nice before the convention), there's a chance for the Congress to reassert itself against a dictatorial presidency. The Senate could take the leadership role in a liberal agenda. I think the House is already fairly liberal, and the Senate moving glacially in that direction. Obama can't veto liberal legislation without losing virtually all popular support.

Man, there's gotta be a pony here somewhere!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

as a student of Crane Brinton, I think we are in a pre-revolutionary society. All the classic signs of a poor government in a rich society, alienated middle class, etc etc

classically revolutions are not led by experienced hands, Neru in India, Acquino in the Philappines, Havel in Czech Republic, etc. So Obama fits the mode (Although I would argue Obama is more Napoleon/Thermidor then revolution) In that sense he makes more sense as a leader for our times.

I agree with Atrios' take on Clinton. She really is a prisoner of conventional wisdom. She is the very best it has to offer. I often think of her as a super glamorous verison of LBJ. I think of Obama more as JFK, and from me that ain't no compliment.

I am very discouraged and am just waiting for the nominating process to be over.

Submitted by lambert on

Sounds like a post -- the more analytical tools the better.

LBJ.... Oh, LBJ. We got Civil Rights legislation (where all parties, MLK/LBJ, were necessary but none on their own sufficient) and we got VietNam. And it was the best and the brightest that brought us VietNam....

Everybody is a prisoner of a worldview of some kind. A picture always holds us captive. I think one dividing line is tolerance for risk. I have little tolerance for risk, and even less for the sort of risks I am being asked to take with Obama. Hence my choice of Hillary. It's always possible for things to get a lot worse, says the New Englander in me....

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