What great comments the last few posts!
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lakelobos offered interesting objections to the post Democratic Blind Spots. (One question to you is, if you are a newcomer, where do you hail from?) He notes: "Obama seeks, in my opinion, to replace the old guard, never mind that its leaders Kennedy and Kerry jumped on the Obama band wagon, and totally ignores Hispanics, border states and, of course, working class voters."
I don't think this is in conflict with my claim that the old guard is trying to prevent the rise of a new power center. Obama is not necessarily playing the same game as his ostensible backers. Yes, I'm sure he would like to replace all power centers with his own even as it is not clear exactly what he would do with it, but as I pointed out in What if No One Comes to the Revolution, I have yet to see that his machine is as effective as is claimed. The proof is in the pudding and all his voter registration and fund raising isn't turning into any significant electoral advantage for him. He is talking a good fight, but it's kind of like his policies, lacking detail and muscle. Thinking several jumps down the game tree, it is just as likely that the current power brokers are using him exactly as the Republicans hope to use him - to knock out the real threat to their power and then get rid of the lesser annoyance at their leisure. Call it the "Fall Guy" theory.
The brass ring for the Democrats is the southwest. It is the core of the "forget the South" contingent led by Tom Schaller. He rightly sees that the Democrats need to capture the growing power of the Hispanic vote, but he sees it as a replacement for white Southern votes, a way to permanently exclude the South from the Democratic Party. This maintains Northeast/northern tier dominance of the party for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is also unspoken, though present if one reads between the lines, and it is singularly unpleasant. Mostly, the overriding desire is to prevent Southern leaders from gaining power within the party. Why? Same roots as CDS itself. All of this ignores the data that Krugman and others have presented about working class white voting patterns, not to mention the analysis of politicians like Jim Webb, who see dismissal of this winnable voting block as a sure way to minority party status.
Then Hillary proves heself to the NE elite's worst nightmare - she gets all the people except the wine-trackers themselves. She can form the Hispanic-Hillbilly coalition and move the power center of the party south of the Mason-Dixon. Were it not for Obama, the AA vote would be solidly behind her as well and there really would be an unstoppable Democratic steamroller. (Side note - the one group of Democrats most in favor of a unity ticket - that means the group who most wants to see Hillary on the ticket - is African-Americans. Obama's strongest and most dedicated supporters have the least problem with Hillary. I think this proves my contention that most AA voters are choosing positively for a favorite, not choosing punitively against an opponent. Eat my shorts, Blogger Boyz.) Long term, I think consolidating the southern tier is the only way to ensure long-term viability for the party, but it is going to mean a shift of leadership away from the Boston to DC corridor.
lakelobos also objects to my use of the term Left. I see your point, but we are also in a struggle for exactly what will count as "Left" in this country. The US Left is more centrist than I might like (being one of those creative class types and all full of book learnin') but more to the point this is the ground on which American politics is fought, to prevent it from being dragged off to the Right. US political theory and practice has always been practical and commercial, and is subject to the virtues and vices of that orientation. It makes for social stability amidst social dynamism, but it means a constant listing towards imperialism in the power centers.
To wrap up, while there is deep hatred of Hillary (even more than of Bill) among the Best & Brightest, something that is an ugly mix of misogyny, class arrogance and loathing of "white trash", I think the stonger political feeling among the Stevensonians is resentment. I've been chastised (stupidly) for talking about AA identity voting for Obama, even as I've said repeatedly that this is not a pernicious phenomenon even as it may frustrate the livin' bejeezus out of HRC supporters. What is not so obvious is that the wine-track is doing class identity voting when going for Obama; there are a lot of bitter, resentful "creative class" voters out there, clinging to their overly inflated opinions of their cultural and intellectual superiority. This is what is oozing out of their diatribes against Hillary supporters as well as against her. The recent posts by Bowers, DDay, and others of that ilk crowing about the triumph of Whole Foods shoppers to rule the world has always been there. It's just been coded and disguised with a lot of hooey.
Anna mentions something I had not considered, but which rings true on a number of levels - that there is more than a little pattern of the Clarence Thomas hearings in the curent contest. I don't want to push the comparison too far, but her core observation is right on the money: "Any and all criticism of the nominee is discounted as suspect racism and the woman trying to report reality is demonized with glee. "
OrionATL talks about how Mark Warner is kicking off his senate campaign - by going to the western hill country of Virginia. Right into the middle of the people the Democrats are supposed to reject and give up on because they'll never support "us". And, yes, I know which "Mudcat" you meant. ;-) Saunders is a favorite aggravation of mine. Orion also reminds us here that there were slavery opponents in the South, and they tended to be the ancestors of the people now being dismissed as irredeemably racist.
Ivory Bill Woodpecker, please remember that a lot of people who visit this blog, not to mention the prickly Anglachel herself, are card carrying, wine chugging members of the creative class, and most of us were shiftless, irresponsible college students in our glory days. What else is blogging but trying to recapture the joy of spouting off all sorts of nonsensical things and being judged clever for doing so? Just as there is no monolithic "bitter white working class," the unity of the Stevensonians is greatly exaggerated. Raise a glass of your favorite libation (I'm drinking a nice Rhone at the moment) in honor of people who think, no matter how much education has been thrown at them.