Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's the Facts, Stupid

Reagan once opined that facts were stupid things. They do tend to get in the way of what you want the world to be. Poor little Golden Boy Barry is running head first into facts these days and he probably echoes Reagan's sentiment. Why won't those darn facts just melt away before his incredible awesomeness and bow down to the Golden One? Dont' they know he is the second coming of Jesus, Ghandi, MLK, and JFK rolled up into one because of his mad speechifyin' skillz?

Paul Krugman tosses a cold bucket of facts over Barry's uncritical Reagan worship:

One thing that struck me about Obama’s apparent assertion that Reaganism represented a justified reaction against the excesses of liberalism.* Obama said that Reagan offered

a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been

So here’s my question: did Reaganism bring a return to a sense of entrepreneurship? Not that I remember. I think Obama is confusing the 80s with the 90s, the Reagan expansion with the Clinton expansion.

The point is that the quintessential business figures of the 80s weren’t creative entrepreneurs. They were big-corporation executives (Lee Iacocca) and takeover artists (Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky). The gazillionaires who started in garages came later. ...

I understand why conservatives want to backdate the good things that happened in the 90s, and pretend they happened in the Reagan years. But why is Obama playing along?

*In my next life I want to have legions of devoted followers who will fiercely declare that I didn’t really mean what I seem to have said, and that anyone who thinks I did must be a paid shill.


What do we learn from this? Barry doesn't know the facts on the ground and doesn't understand the real economic history of the nation, which gives a lovely follow up to Barry's pitiful statement in the last debate about how he isn't a detail guy. This is why details matter, so you can counter the claims of opponents. It also shows a certain lack of connection between The Golden One and the large mass of Americans (like the women I spoke about in the previous post) who darn well know when they did well economically and when they didn't, and it wasn't under Reagan. True Democrats all hated Reagan.

Krugman's ending snark is also illuminating. We're learning more and more that Obama's campaign and supporters are committed to a (dare we say it?) pattern of intimidation of critics and opponents. They flood online critics with nasty comments and accuse them of being shills for the opposition. They purposefully race-bait to try to portray Barry as some kind of victim of racism, and accuse anyone who contradicts their frame as being racist. They bus in people from other areas to try create the appearance of local support at rallies (talk about Reaganesque stage management). Their operatives engage in intimidation of potential caucus voters. In the primary where his campaign could not physically intimidate voters, he lost decisively.

The fact is that polling of all types shows that Obama does not have solid support from core Democratic constituencies, and that those who do support him do so more out of opposition to HRC than out of committment to Obama. In order to win primaries, he is left begging for Republicans and Independents to cross over and cast a vote for him as a way to thwart Hillary, not because of anything Obama himself has to offer them. The continual appeal to the myth of Reagan and some bipartisan, Kumbayah never-never land shows a contempt for the facts of how the conservatives came to power (appeals to racism, nativism, sexism, militarism) and how they have remained in power.

The fact is that Obama is running against progressive policies and goals, is disrespecting the Democratic base and is lauding the Republican rape of this nation in order to eke out primary victories.

If you don't understand and reject what Reagan and the conservative movement has done (and continues to do) to this nation, you have no business running as a Democrat.


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