Friday, May 09, 2008

What if No One Comes to the Revolution?

So I've been reading that the Sippy-Kup Kidz (those who cart around their kups of kool-aide and suck on them constantly lest the buzz fade and reality intrude) have been crowing about what a superdoublewidefantastic party organization The Precious has built, how it's cool and digital and virtual and full of lots and lots of bloggers and money. They are especially touting his new voter registration drive efforts and how this will power him to victory in the future.

All of which makes me go so where were those voters in Indiana? Pensylvania? Even in North Carolina, where he should have had a much better showing if his registration drives had been as effective as claimed? Jeralyn points out that Obama did worse in North Carolina than in Virginia. His efforts didn't make a difference for him in Ohio, Texas, Massachusetts or California, come to think of it.

The fact is that the contest this year as such, not just Obama, is bringing out a huge number of voters, and half of them are voting for Hillary. Obama is not drawing a statistically significant larger number of people to the polls and he is not increasing his margins among Hillary's constituency. They are turning out in droves to vote for her.

So what about the millions of new voters who are signing up? Evidently, they are either voting approximately equally for The Precious and for Hillary, or else they are not any larger of a group than is already voting for Hillary.

This brings up an interesting point (well, interesting to a poli sci major, anyway), which is to what degree does Obama's failure to expand his base constituency as the primaries go on indicate that he has maxed his vote? The fundamental problem with Obama's candidacy, the one he has faced from the start, is that his coalition is both compact and loyal. Its borders are sharply drawn. They are to one side of the political spectrum and thus are not likely to defect towards the other political side, though they may defect somewhat into fringe groups. In the case of AA voters, this is not a gain of potential defectors, though there would definitely be an increase in the proportion of voters. The upper and upper-middle class white vote that will stay with the Democrats are also not a gain from Republican side. There may be a marginal increase in the percentage of under 30 voters from this class, but this gain is likely to be offset by the loss of older voters who feel rejected by their party. Independents who are already to the left will tend to favor him, but those who are rightward-leaning are no longer supporting him in significant numbers. His advantage with Republican-identified swing voters is also diminishing.

What is disconcerting is the overt rejection by the Obama faction of specifically working class voters who, as Larry Bartels has documented, make up one of the most loyal voting constituencies in the Democratic camp. This is a voting block that has consistently been shoved to the side by both of the major parties when it comes to policies, and which can be won over with direct and tangible pocketbook issues. Though usually portrayed as "white" because that is the largest ethnic group in that class, the working class is increasingly made up of people from all corner of the world, Latin Americans, East and South Asians and Middle-easterners.

My argument is not that Obama would only get the number of votes in the GE that he got in the primary. Turnout is always higher in the general, though the extraordinarily high turnout in this year's primaries do not automatically translate into a comparably higher level in the general. The bulk of interested Democrats may already have turned out. For example, Kerry got 2,938,000 votes in Pennsylvania in 2004, and the primary turn out this time was 2,306,600 (I'm rounding), a difference of just over 630,000.

The difficulty is that he is stuck with a rigid and isolated base and does not appear able to expand it proportionally in any significant way. The failure to attract the vote of the majority of likely GE voters is a serious problem, and even more so when 60+% of them say they won't accept you under any circumstances. I don't think that will hold, but if even a quarter of those voters stick to their guns, that's a loss of @125,000 votes out of every million.

The Obama campaign (not just the supporters) has made clear that they regard much of the Democratic Party with contempt. This is different than beating up on your opponent, which everyone understands as part of electoral politics (LBJ and rumors of carnal relations with pigs comes to mind...), but the cardinal rule of politics is you do. Not. Diss. The. Voters. EVER. Why? Because they have what you need - votes. His voter registration drives are failing to provide him with decisive victories in the primaries which is a strong indication that those votes just aren't there for him. Claims that he somehow has this multi-million strong army of voters being held in reserve for the GE doesn't pass the sniff test. He needs them NOW, and they aren't there.

Democrats win or lose elections based on the strength of working class turn out, and the working class is literally being told to stay home. With every insult and put-down, it becomes more likely that they might just do that.

If it is only the saints marching in to the voting booths in November, we are all in for some revelations.

Anglachel

42 comments:

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Anglachel - you've forecast that if Obama wins the nomination he will lose the general election. I agree. But take your prediction one step further. Any thoughts on how his loss in November will affect the Democratic party?

I know I'm basically asking for a weather forecast months in advance, and a weather forecast basically along the lines of: "so after the hurricane hits, what will the weather be like the day after?" But I thought I'd give it a shot.

lakelobos said...

The explicit narrative of Obama, lately through Donna Brazile, is that the new Democratic coalition is made up of African Americans, urbanites, suburbanites and the young. If I understand correctly, it isn't the FDR coalition less farmers and migrant workers, rather urbanite and suburbanites is code for creative class. That specifically excludes the largest minority group: Hispanics and also Asians and Middle Easterners. Mainly, it excludes blue collar workers.

Simple math tells you that Obama's new Democratic coalition is at best a quarter of the voting population. No matter how arrogant and elitist the Obama machine is, it's not likely that they are that stupid.

How do they intend to double their supporters? I don't have a direct answer to this question, but there is evidence that they have a narrative that explain this away.

From the boyz there is a constant drum beat expounding the magic of the precious one. He is the one that will change the way politics has worked for 10,000 years and his "nod" (Matt Stoller) will stop intra party infighting. Clearly, if you are lead by a super human, everything is possible.

The super human, the new Democratic coalition replace the 60 year old successful FDR one and the erasing of 10,000 years of a successful political discourse are a strong indication delusional campaign.

Total rejection of history as the dominant force behind the nature of the future is scary. You start from scratch, you are a new born; you clearly are totally unfit to lead a country in trouble and even a party to victory.

lori said...

I think the OFB are imagining the world as rendered in the film Metropolis - with lots of shiny, happy geeks and wonks living in celestial, honey lit cloud top homes, while those of us in the underclass toil below powering their pcs bitterly clinging to our guns and religion.

Really - Bowers' piece scared me. What kind of horseshit was that? I'm as loyal a Dem as there is, and I didn't see a place for me in that formulation. Maybe I'm not welcome to be political anymore.

CognitiveDissonance said...

lori, this delusional thinking scares me as well, particularly since you can't get away from it. It has seriously infested most of the MSN, particularly CNN and NBC/MSNBC, the New York Times, and even the Wall Street Journal. Most lefty blogs have been infested for a long time.

I was horrified to see more of this crap on Digby's blog posted by D-Day and Tristero regarding the major renovation Obama is doing to the democratic party, now called the "Obama Party."

Seriously crazy stuff. As lakelobos has pointed out, there is no majority coalition with the people Obama has in his cult. As Paul Begalla called them, basically just eggheads and AA's. That's not much of a group. Everywhere I look that has actually seriously plotted out an electoral map shows McCain easily winning over Obama in November.

It would be pretty hard for me to believe that most of the SD's don't know this. So what the hell is going on with these people? Are they really willing to crash and burn in November just to keep the Clintons from winning? They've had to rig the game almost beyond belief to do it, and they haven't won yet. But I am definitely scared at what is going on. It is starting to feel that our democracy is on its last legs, that the Bush destruction will never be reversed.

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gendergappers said...

Hillary's Voice blog has a report of voter supression in W. VA by bomabots calling in saying no need to vote.

Paper today had a "my turn" op ed piece in it. I started to scan it and got the impression that the writer was telling of the second coming of Christ - then I saw it was to be a male christ again and it would be called Obama.

Hozanna! Red seas be be damned, he has already parted the voters in race, age, gender, eduction and affluence. And this is just for starters. Impressive way to start bringing peeps together.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I voted for Edwards on Super Tuesday. He had dropped out a few days earlier, but I wanted to send Obama and Clinton a message not to overlook us working stiffs. Both have been too corporate-friendly for my tastes, but Clinton seems to be showing more concern for us working stiffs, plus Obama seems tone-deaf not only to the concerns of workers, but also to the concerns of women and sexual minorities.

I have felt uneasy about Obama, but couldn't quite determine why. I just got here, and this blog is starting to crystallize things for me.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

While this isn't quite the topic of the thread, I suspect that if Obama is nominated, the Corporate Holodeck Media will make Baby Bolshevik Ayers his running mate.

h/t to Norman Spinrad in "BUG JACK BARRON" for "Baby Bolshevik".

Pol C said...

Anglachel--thanks for dismantling this tripe.

The arguments put forward by Matt Stoller, dday, and others are delusional. It's the same kind of hard sell that gave us the dot-com bubble a decade ago, only now it's applied to politics, where the negative consequences are likely to be much greater. Obama's coalition is the McGovern contingent with Libertarians mixed in--the unification of the socially liberal strident, obnoxious, and entitled. The numbers can't begin to match the noise level or the arrogance. I've been voting for twenty years, and barring a miracle for Hillary Clinton, it's the first time I'll be leaving the top of the ticket blank.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I am beginning to think that if I DO vote for Obama in November, it will be only to keep Hair-Trigger McSame's finger off "The Button".

pm317 said...

This came to yesterday reading about how JFK turned his candidacy around to clinch the nomination in WVa after hearing voters' hesitation about his religion. He took the challenge head on and convinced the WVa voters that his religion would not be an issue and prevailed. This time around, Obama could have done the similar thing -- go with his best effort and convince those voters to vote for him. Instead look at what he has done -- he has avoided campaigning there with a false reason that he has already won the nomination. He is calling those voters to stay home and instead give him money. This is the extent of his respect for those voters and their votes. Irony does not begin to describe it.

Teresa said...

I've never been enamoured with the Democrats but I've always voted for them because I was literally AFRAID of the Democats.

But after the Stoller/Bowers stuff, and add Donna Brazille, I'm equally afraid of the Democrats and the Republicans.

But now, I see the the Democrats are really trying to destroy the platforms of the Democratic Party and I certainly can't let that stand. I've heard that in my ridiculous state, you can't write in a candidate if they've lost the primary for the same office, so I figure I can send the greatest message by voting for McCain.

As I've said, I really don't think the Republicans are MORE dangerous anymore, just different dangerous. I don't think Obama's getting us out of war, and with his dog whistles about Reagan, the Social Security crisis, etc, I think McCain won't be any worse than Obama.

And pertaining to the Supreme Court, well, electing Obama is delaying the inevitable, because I really do believe his election -- even his nomination -- will result in many, many more years of Republican rule, and even more and worse judicial appointments.

Anyway, here are my musings FWIW

Teresa said...

Shoot, I meant:

"I've never been enamoured with the Democrats but I've always voted for them because I was literally AFRAID of the Repubicans."

The rest of what I've said stands...I think.

gendergappers said...

TERESA - Write in votes are OK if you are filling out a ballot - there is space for write in votes - but be sure to check the box next to the one you write in.

Also, machine voters in PA - and this may go for rest of country - say no write ins. But check this url out, because you can write in and this tells you what to do.

http://www.nota-pa.org/writein.html

I'd also advise anyone considering a write-in vote to check with their own election commission/city or town clerk and other election officials. I'd forget about asking the DNC bastards.

jacilyn said...

It seems to me the only motive they could have for deliberately insulting Democrats is that this (especially combined with his "new politics" theme) is supposed to be the call that the new voters hear, that will drive the new voters over to the "new Democratic" party.

So I assume the goal is to basically shift the campaign's message, as soon as Hillary is not a concern, to the message "hey, if you like everything about the Republicans except all that church stuff, we have a new party over here - and *we* allow beer!"

Basically a party of what real Libertarians call "Kos Libertarians" - they must have something else they are planning to use to appeal to their intended voting bloc. Deliberately disowning the working class is how they will show they are 'real'.

At least, that's all I can think of with the (limited) information we already have.

But it seems to me that whatever happens, the folks in power already won - the rich get to keep all the economic gains (and power gains) they managed to grab during the W years. Just like the subprime mortgage, who cares if the ship goes down, if you get to sail away on a very well-fixed-up lifeboat?

Pie Hole said...

Anglachel, Thanks for another brilliant post. I've posted on this subject and see that you've said it much better. But, FWIW, here tis [cross-posted at No Quarter].
-------------------------------
Obama's 'new coalition' is the same as the Dem's old coalition, only smaller. He has: AAs, the youth vote and YUPPIES who are now called the "creative class" - to make them sound like something different. Beyond that he has the temporary backing of some "Dems for a Day" who voted to nominate him because he will be easier for the GOP to beat in the GE.

Most crucially, Obama doesn't even have the support of three of the largest, most committed, demographic groups from the old coalition: women, older voters, and Latinos.

Hillary has those voters. And she has brought a huge, new demographic to her campaign: working class white voters. Bill Clinton was the last Dem to have the support of that group and, evidently, we can't elect another Democratic President without them. It is ASTOUNDING that Donna Brazille is so blinded by what ________ ? that she chose to piss all over the Democrats' most elusive demographic on national teevee.

Looking ahead to the GE, when the "Dems for a Day" cross back over to McCain, Obama will be left with a much smaller grab-bag 'coalition'. If they choose not to vote for Hillary, she can still win without them. Hillary’s coalition is quantitatively larger and qualitatively stronger.

Obviously, Obama and the DNC have not yet come to terms with the fact that he has alienated the vast majority of those Hillary supporters. They still expect the elderly folks and women to reflexively get behind the Democrat to save reproductive rights and social security. But it's different now: this time the putative nominee has demonstrated outright contempt for those two core constituencies, and working class whites, and Latinos. Obama has miraculously unified us: against him.

On a positive note, there is a sense of solidarity in this outsider status and a sense of strength in numbers. It would be good if we could hang together and take that into the future. Call it the ABBO alliance: Anybody But Barack Obama.

cutepeachpanda said...

Hi chinaberry turtle,
I don't think anyone can predict what will happen when Obama loses the general election, which I am almost certain he will if he is our nominee. I've already told you that there is no way I will vote for Obama. At this point I'd rather vote for McCain just to see Obama lose. I think there will be major chaos which I will only find to be hilarious. The netroots, the media elite, and the Obamabots will blame Clinton and her supporters as they always do instead of asking themselves what they did to make us stay at home or vote for McCain. I don't know if thing will really change. I'm hoping that some progressives will wake up and realize that if they ever want to win an election, they have to stop alienating Clinton supporters and working class voters. But I think the easier thing for them to do is continue to paint Hillary Clinton as a witch who destroyed the Democratic Party rather than blame themselves.


P.S. - You didn't miss anything at graduation. They were cheap enough to serve us meatballs from the cafeteria for the reception :P

missplsd said...

@ cutepeachpanda

re: "The netroots, the media elite, and the Obamabots will blame Clinton and her supporters as they always do instead of asking themselves what they did to make us stay at home or vote for McCain."

Since I've started down this ugly path into the blogosphere, I have been asking myself what it is about Obama that is so alienating to a certain group of Clinton supporters. Unfortunately, asking myself isn't getting very far. So I'm asking you: what did Obama, the candidate, do to alienate you so much that you would hope McCain gets elected? I understand if you don't like him; I understand if you think Clinton is a superior candidate. But what are the positions he's taken that you find so dangerous or offensive? If your main claim is that Clinton is superior because she is more likely to beat McCain in the general, then the answer, surely, is not to support McCain just to prove you're right.

re: "I think there will be major chaos which I will only find to be hilarious."

What will be funny about a McCain presidency? Only someone who is insulated by class and race from the trauma of living in "chaos" could sit back and find it funny. Who are the elitists again?

FreakyBeaky said...

The question isn't addressed to me, and I have decided not to decide how to vote until much later in the process (and we don't have a nominee yet), but parts of an answer are:

I resent Obama's use of race and sexism. Painting the Clintons, of all people, as racist - outrageous and intolerable. The tide of sexism he has surfed on - unforgivable and enraging.

I resent how utterly disrespectful he is of Clinton, who is, warts and all, a hardcore partisan Democrat. And that (except maybe the "hardcore partisan" part) goes for her husband too. I think this disrespect extends to her supporters.

I resent how utterly disrespectful he and his media surrogates (I'm looking at you, Donna) are of people who actually have to work for a living. If the Democratic party is not to stand for them, then who or what is it to stand for?

I totally disagree with his "post-partisan" position. We don't need healing and unity and doing away with "the old politics of partisanship and division." We need a knock-down drag-out fight over how the economic pie gets divided and what we are supposed to stand for in this country. Does that make Clinton my ideal candidate? No, it doesn't, but FDR isn't running, and I want a partisan Democrat. Clinton is that.

Based on his evident willingness to conciliate on core issues, his inability to discuss policy like Clinton does (or is it lack of interest?), his nonsensical non-universal health care plan, his "Harry and Louise" attacks on UHC, his resurrection of the non-existent social security "crisis" that the Democrats had only just killed, his center-right economic advisors, etc., I don't trust him on the major domestic issues of the day.

Over the course of the primary, I've gotten spoiled by Clinton and been disappointed by Obama. I feel like, in Clinton, I've finally gotten to see what a real Democrat looks like. There were others that could have fit the bill perhaps, and I thought Obama would be one of them. But he has convinced me that he isn't. It has become very hard to swallow the idea that I should vote for this mushy milquetoast centrist and his vague, policy-less message.

I really don't think Obama is qualified for the Presidency. Sorry. It's possible that McCain is more *disqualified*, but it's depressing that that appears to be our choice (see above).

Enough for now - II wanted this to be shorter.

FreakyBeaky said...

Oh yeah - I don't believe the electoral coalition of African-Americans and affluent white Deomcrats (he's not going to get affluent white Republicans) is a winner or much of an accomplishment. An electoral coalition of African-Americans and working and middle-class whites - now THAT would sweep all before it like a mighty river ...

gendergappers said...

Eggheads and AA's and kiddies - OH MY!

What else would you call this but the BO Party?

missplsd said...

@ freakybeaky -- I've numbered your objections.

(1) "use of race and sexism"
(a) "use of race": I disagree strongly. Obama has occasionally responded to race-baiting with accusations of racism (the Ferraro comment, for instance) but the vast majority of these criticisms have come from unaffiliated supporters. And in any case, responding to race-baiting is not, itself, race-baiting. Nowhere has Obama suggested that a certain group of people should vote for him because of his or their race; nor has he threatened that his African-American supporters will refuse to support Clinton if she becomes the nominee. Indeed, for the most part, Obama has been accommodating and post-racial. This is the same feature you criticize below in your discussion of his "post-partisan" aspirations. Yeah, Obama is a huckster who claims to transcend partisan lines, racial lines, you name it. I disfavor this characteristic as much as anyone, but admitting it below undermines your claim here.
(b) "use of...sexism": I see little to no evidence that Obama has tried to exploit the misogyny of the media coverage and some Clinton opponents. I agree that the misogyny directed at Clinton is hideous and something we must all stand against. But you've pinned this tail on the wrong donkey, I think.

(2) "how utterly disrespectful he is of Clinton": Again, what kinds of things are you talking about? "Likable enough"? Is that it? Because that surely pales in comparison to the demeaning things Clinton and her surrogates have said about Obama. This has been an ugly primary, but I don't think any of Obama's punches have been so hard that I can imagine Clinton supporters being unable to vote for him in the general election.

(3) "how utterly disrespectful he and his media surrogates ...of people who actually have to work for a living": Again, the only evidence you have to point to here is "bittergate." And yes, perhaps Mr. Obama's words were poorly chosen. But do you think Clinton actually feels any differently about the white working class? It is she, after all, who suggests that white working-class voters are too hobbled by irrational prejudice to vote for their economic interests if Obama is the Democratic nominee. The working-class people I know want jobs, healthcare, union rights, and for their friends and kids to stop going to war. You can make a convincing argument that Clinton is more likely than Obama to achieve these things. But surely Obama is more likely than McCain, no? Furthermore, I question an implicit assumption here that African-Americans, who make up one of Obama's core constituencies, do not "actually have to work for a living." This is Reagan talk, not Democrat talk.

(4) "his 'post-partisan' position": I partly agree with your criticism here, though this promise to heal partisan divides is the same position our last several presidential nominees and most of our national leaders have taken (Pelosi has been refreshing in this regard). And when you look beyond the "different kind of politics" rhetoric to Obama's voting record, stated commitments, and criticisms of the Bush administration you get almost exactly the same thing you get with Clinton. They are promising to stop the court-stacking, to try to get universal healthcare, to end the war. Further, what kind of answer to the problem of not being partisan enough is deserting the party? Hoping for a McCain win? Actually voting for McCain? By saying you don't know if you can bring yourself to vote for Obama, you are revealing that you are not actually a loyal partisan.

(5) "don't trust him on the major domestic issues of the day": Neither do I. But based on some of the same factors, I don't trust Clinton so much either (with the obvious exception that her healthcare plan is far superior). The question is, if you're not sure Obama is going to fulfill his promises and your hopes, why would you support someone who is actively committed to fighting against the things you want and likely to succeed? These are reasons Clinton is your first choice; they are not reasons that Obama shouldn't be your second.

(6) "I don't believe the electoral coalition of African-Americans and affluent white Deomcrats (he's not going to get affluent white Republicans) is a winner or much of an accomplishment. An electoral coalition of African-Americans and working and middle-class whites - now THAT would sweep all before it like a mighty river ...": Again, this is a reason to support Clinton in the primary (if you believe that Obama could not win the support of working-class whites), but I fail to see how it is a reason not to support Obama in the general. Clinton is superior, you say, because she is more likely to build this electoral coalition to beat McCain. If the primary goes the other way, isn't the goal still to beat McCain? The eventual Democratic nominee, who is very likely to be Obama at this point, will need all of these constituencies. Clinton's recent comments about "hardworking Americans, white Americans" and other racial divisiveness are only making it less likely that Obama will be able to appeal to white working-class Clinton supporters in the general election. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Anglachel said...

Kids, don't feed the troll.

Anglachel

missplsd said...

Excuse me? What makes me a troll? Are you so insecure in your position that you can't handle questions? I'm someone who shares your purported ethical commitments, and I am genuinely confused by some of the attitudes in your posts and comments.

Pie Hole said...

Freaky Beaky,

Thank you for your reasoned response and detailed listing of specific reasons for your disaffection with Obama. The person who asked the original question was, evidently, not being sincere. But, I appreciate what you had to say nonetheless; and I share your views.

I also appreciate that Anglachel looks out for those of us who are at risk of being bled to death by da trolls.

missplsd said...

Freaky Beaky,

Thank you for your reasoned response and detailed listing of specific reasons for your disaffection with Obama. The person who asked the original question was, evidently, not being sincere. But, I appreciate what you had to say nonetheless; and I share your views.

I also appreciate that Anglachel looks out for those of us who are at risk of being bled to death by da trolls.


What? I'm really so confused by the protocol here. I disagreed with freakybeaky's conclusions and thus I am insincere and a troll?

I am trying to thoughtfully engage with the comments here, but I come from a different perspective. FWIW, I am a self-identified leftist who sometimes sits out national elections. I am not an Obama supporter, but I also haven't found his candidacy as corrosive as some of you have.

I think I get why some of you support Clinton over Obama (and freakybeaky's comment was helpful in this regard). But I have asked a different question: what has he done to make it unconscionable to support him over McCain? I still haven't read an answer that makes sense to me.

CMike said...

Anglachel writes:
***************
The failure to attract the vote of the majority of likely GE voters is a serious problem, and even more so when 60+% of them say they won't accept you under any circumstances. I don't think that will hold, but if even a quarter of those voters stick to their guns, that's a loss of @125,000 votes out of every million.
****************

The fan club wants you to know we read every word.

I think you were thinking "a quarter" and you wrote 125...as you know a quarter of 60% is 15% and 15% of a million is 150,000.

Anglachel said...

CMike,

Nope, my math is right. 60% of Hillary voters, not 60% of all Dem voters. If Hillary is getting @ 50% on average, then 1/4 of 50% = 12.5%.

It is not reasonable that 60% of all Hillary voters (32.5% of all Democrats), no matter what they say now, will follow through with refusing to support the Democratic nominee.

While my resentful side might wish for that, my political scientist side has looked at too many voting analysis papers to consider it probable. It might happen if the Obama campaign continues to insult and demean the half of the party not voting for him, but I don't think it likely. I do see double digit attrition as likely.

Anglachel

missplsd said...

Anglachel, since you're here in the comments this evening, could you please explain why I am unwelcome here?

Anglachel said...

Turtle,

You asked - Anglachel - you've forecast that if Obama wins the nomination he will lose the general election. I agree. But take your prediction one step further. Any thoughts on how his loss in November will affect the Democratic party?

A lot of that will depend on the nature of the loss. Big or small? Dividing along class lines? Does he lose blue states or just fail to capture swing states? etc.

I don't have an answer to the question because every time I think I have something nailed down, the Obamacan contingent goes off in some unbelievable direction. Like telling working class voters to stay home. WTF?

I also think that McCain is being severely underestimated by the triumphalists. The move he did today, calling out one of Obama's supporters for trashing Hillary, was a brilliant move that will pay big dividends later. This is the strongest candidate the Republicans have fielded since Reagan in terms of cross-over appeal.

Anglachel

darrow said...

Anglachel - I've been an admirer of your writing for the last couple months as I've sought out progressive bloggers who weren't drinking the koolaid. I'm so damn mad at the Democratic party and their disenfranchisement of half of their base that I have had it.

Today at Left Coaster paradox had a post similar to the group of saints you're referring to in this post. Here's the ending of it:

I have no doubt whatsoever the blogosphere and internet political activism will continue to thrive and grow next year, just as I am implacably certain John McCain and the Republicans are about to get the unholy shit beat out of them in an epic record-shattering loss by Barack Obama and all the rest of us. No self-identified, registered Democrat is staying home this year, no matter what happens, the Independents are all breaking Democrat and we have awesome internet activism machines, Jesus what a rout it’s going to be.

A "SeaMBA" left a wonderful comment that sums up almost exactly the way I feel. (If only I could write as well as he/she or you!) Anyway, I thought that it really fit here. It's long, but well worth it. Check out the comments for follow-ups here: http://www.theleftcoaster.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=12508

(The emphasis added is mine - this is what the Obamaphiles need to hear over and over. Why we need a reason to vote for Obama and not against McCain and what Obama has done to alienate half of the Democratic base.)

"Warning: Long post.

I have been a registered, voting Democrat for 22 years, as long as I have been able to vote. I have identified as a Democrat for 33 years, as long as I have been politically aware. I'll let you do the math. I haven't missed a general election yet. I have made it to most of the off cycle (local votes on local issues not held in November) votes. I am probably what you would call the creative class. I am college educated (Environmental Studies). I have lived on an organic farm. I have a graduate degree (Business). I live in blue Seattle. I am pro-choice. In the 1970's, as a child, I recognized the need to switch away from an oil economy.

And I am somewhat offended and disheartened by Paradox's naive statement that

"No self-identified, registered Democrat is staying home this year, no matter what happens, the Independents are all breaking Democrat and we have awesome internet activism machines, Jesus what a rout it’s going to be."

Given that at least this self-identified, registered Democrat is definitely, seriously considering not voting for Obama if he is the nominee I think that Paradox needs to take a deep breath and take a long hard look at reality. As a matter of fact I would need to be convinced that Obama is the right person to be President, not that McCain is the wrong person.

I'll tell you why.

Until a few weeks ago I had a Kerry/Edwards sign in my window to show my disgust with Bush. I didn't start out this election cycle with a preferred candidate (other than not wanting Kucinich because I knew he couldn't win in November as core Democratic his ideas might be).

But my candidate of choice started to emerge back in January. I don't remember the exact dates of all the events, but here is a list of the various things that began to turn me against Obama (no, not for Clinton). Obama saying that he would get Clinton's supporters but she wouldn't get his. Michelle Obama's unwillingness to state unequivocally that she would support Clinton if she was the nominee. The online communities slamming of a hardworking and committed Democratic candidate that drove me from sites like Huffington Post and Talking Point Memos. MoveOn.org's endorsement of a candidate during the primaries. (Particularly when Clinton voted to defend MoveOn and Obama didn't -- something that just confounded me.)

Driven from my normal sources for news that was not likely to get much play in the MSM, I started reading new blogs, like The Left Coaster. Here I discovered eRiposte and read about the differences between Clinton and Obama (articles that seemed to me to be the best researched and documented around). I noticed that the MSM was giving Obama a pass and buying into what is now called Clinton Derangement Syndrome (I will admit, that I was at first worried about Clinton's "negatives"). The heavy hitters in the Blog-o-sphere where saying the same thing as the MSM. That was a big red flag. I blame the MSM for much of the current mess we are in. And I blame current DNC leadership, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for a serious lack of spine in not forcing the Republicans to actually filibuster and veto and letting the MSM paint Democrats as "do nothing" and ineffectual, rather than showing Republicans to be obstructionist.

Then came the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida. More DNC lack of understanding of how to win. No vision.

Throughout all this I started learning more about Clinton. I knew she was a fighter based on all that she had to put up with from the Right Wing Noise Machine. And the more I learned the more I became impressed by her knowledge of policy; her understanding of politics; her grace and poise under pressure. I saw her give well thought out answers under attack in debates. I saw her display humor. I came to actually like her.

I also came to know more about Obama. I learned about his "present" votes. I have heard that he was essentially handed bills that others had worked on in the Illinois Senate (I had no idea that the job was only 55 days a year). I learned that he aided and abetted a slum lord. I learned he didn't see much difference between Bush's position on Iraq and his own when he could do something about Iraq, despite having been against the Iraq war when he was in no position to do anything. I have seen him speak without a teleprompter and off the cuff. I learned that he didn't hold any hearings on NATO despite NATOs crucial role in Afghanistan. His excuse, too busy campaigning for President. I heard him offer a universal health care package that leaves 15 million people still uninsured and is unworkable. I just heard him say that he has been to 57 states and still has two more to go. I have learned that this man can't handle pressure.

So here I am faced with a choice. Vote for a strong, smart leader or vote for a charismatic unknown. The Democratic party needs leadership. It needs a fighter.

We need a fighter because the Republicans, while on the ropes are still fighters. They still have the MSM in their pocket. They still have access to huge amounts of money.

Obama offers the Republicans a perfect opportunity to frame him. Clinton has been raked over the fire. Obama has nowhere to go but down, Clinton nowhere to go but up.

Back to my feelings about the heavy hitters in the blog-o-sphere and the DNC, because it is at the core of why Obama will have to campaign for my vote harder than McCain or Clinton as a write in.

If the people who claim (legitimately or not) the thought leadership of the Democratic party aren't willing to give all Democratic candidates a chance to make their case; aren't willing to take chances (like rearranging the primary season to better reflect America and real voting patterns); aren't willing to challenge the mainstream media; are able to connect with the base of the party; well then, I think that the Democratic party needs to loose again because they obviously haven't learned what it takes to win and to lead(I never thought we needed to loose before, we just didn't have a fighter in the ring for the past two election cycles). Here is my biggest fear -- Obama wins, and turns out to be another Carter and I have seen nothing to convince me otherwise (although I think Carter had better ideas than Obama) and the Democratic party is trounced for the next 20 years. If McCain wins, I think that Americans will not be able to simply blame Bush, but will see that Republican policies, no matter who is in office, are simply wrong. I would trade 4 more years of bad policy for 4 years of okay policy followed by 20 years of bad policy.

Please convince me I am wrong. But don't give me reasons why Obama is better than McCain. Give me reasons why Obama is truly "the change we have been waiting for" compared to Clinton. Show me what he has done that shows me what he will do. Don't simply point me to Obama's website. Point me to third parties that compare Obama's record to Clinton's in the way that eRiposte did. Then address his electability in realistic terms. Use past voting patterns in the electoral college. Address how he will fight back against 527's.

I don't want hope, I want facts that lead me to believe. More of the same from Obama supporters will only harden my view that he is the wrong person.
Help this self-identified, committed Democrat believe in the Democratic party and Paradox's hoped for rout.

Sorry for the long post. I love America and I think that Democratic values really do represent what America was intended to be. I am just frustrated by thinking like Paradox's because when I hear that stuff I know we are going to lose again. Something we, and the world, can't afford."
Posted by SeaMBA at May 10, 2008 10:48 AM

workingclass artist said...

Great essay....Keep up the VOICE OF REASON....
Donna Brazille does not care that there are big stretches of country side between those big cities.
There are also big cities ( shock ) where the majority of residents are not African American...
The hostility and racism tha spews forth from Donna Brazille and those associated with Obamas' campaign is sickening....Obama et, al. have set back race relations 49 years....
UT SEMENTEM FECERIS ITA METES...
( As You Reap...So You Will Reap...)
VERITAS VOS LIBERABIT....
( The Truth Shall Set You Free... )

workingclass artist said...

Sorry...Typo....
UT SEMENTEM FECERIS ITA METES...
( As You Sew....Shall You Reap....)
scuse'...

missplsd said...

@ workingclass artist --

Is your argument that Obama can't be president to people who aren't African American, that he has run on some kind of black nationalist platform? This doesn't ring true to me. Maybe I have misunderstood what you're saying, or maybe I have missed some of the evidence on which you are basing this conclusion. I am open to hearing your arguments and explanation.

p.s. I think you meant "sow" -- but homphones are the most forgivable of all typos. :)

Potato Head said...

Don't know whether missplsd is still around, but I couldn't let the ignorance about Obama's race bating pass unanswered. The definitive rebuttal is here: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=aa0cd21b-0ff2-4329-88a1-69c6c268b304

As for the working whites remark, if Hillary could make that demographic observation about a white wine-track candidate, why can't she make it about a black one? Who's the one who's holding a racial double standard?

missplsd said...

Don't know whether missplsd is still around, but I couldn't let the ignorance about Obama's race bating pass unanswered. The definitive rebuttal is here: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=aa0cd21b-0ff2-4329-88a1-69c6c268b304

I have read the Wiletz article and substantial commentary on it (almost all negative). Wiletz is a fine historian, and I agree with his conclusion that some of the accusations of racism (e.g., about the LBJ remark and the "fairy tale" quip) are disingenuous. (I haven't seen much evidence that the outrage comes from the top of the Obama campaign, though. And we all know that supporters say crazy things without the permission or endorsement of the campaigns.) However, overall, I don't think he adequately explains away some of the Clinton tactics (in fairness, this was pre-Ferraro, pre-Wright fracas, pre-"hardworking Americans, white Americans" -- so he didn't have to assess these things). Moreover, he fails to account for why, with a majority white electorate, an astute campaigner would choose to isolate himself as an African-American candidate or to mobilize paper-thin and trumped up charges of racism. This makes his argument rather incredible. The fact that he doesn't disclose his close ties to the Clintons further weakens his authority. It's understandable -- and laudable -- to want to defend your friend who has been accused of racism, but to turn it around with comparisons of Obama's campaign to the Willie Horton ads and Reagan's state's rights speech in Philadelphia, MS, is seriously embarrassing for such a great historian.

As for the working whites remark, if Hillary could make that demographic observation about a white wine-track candidate, why can't she make it about a black one? Who's the one who's holding a racial double standard?

Huh? There's no double standard: Clinton wouldn't make the same remark -- about "white Americans" -- if she were making a simple demographic observation about a white candidate's support. She might play up the class bases of each candidate and try to paint her hypothetical white opponent as an elitist (indeed, both Clinton and Obama tried to do this with Edwards), but that's not what I, and others, have objected to. Here, Clinton suggested that only white Americans are working people. She also tried to exploit (perceived) racism in the white electorate for her own political gain. That's playing the race card.

missplsd said...

One final note, because I have come to understand that I am not welcome in Anglachel's world --

People aren't ignorant, insincere, immature, trolling, or crazy just because they question you or disagree with you. These kinds of slurs are the same ones to which several of you have objected when they come from Obama supporters. I would hope that you are more welcoming to other friendly interlopers in the future.

gendergappers said...

Traveling around these blogs, I get the distinct impression that BO goons are posting, dressed up in pretend reason. They are baiting us into giving information so BO can anticipate critics and make speeches showing he is really just what we want.

He is too stupid to understand all the reasons why Hillary is so much better so he needs to know what to say that will make all those horrible women come running to him, bow down and kiss his feet.

It is counterproductive to respond to them - they count on us being polite to them because they "sound" so reasonable. Especially as they leave claiming their purity - don't kid yourselves - they don't leave because they are having to much fun doing the devil's work.

missplsd said...

Traveling around these blogs, I get the distinct impression that BO goons are posting, dressed up in pretend reason. They are baiting us into giving information so BO can anticipate critics and make speeches showing he is really just what we want.

He is too stupid to understand all the reasons why Hillary is so much better so he needs to know what to say that will make all those horrible women come running to him, bow down and kiss his feet.

It is counterproductive to respond to them - they count on us being polite to them because they "sound" so reasonable. Especially as they leave claiming their purity - don't kid yourselves - they don't leave because they are having to much fun doing the devil's work.


Wow, just wow. I hope most of you aren't quite this paranoid and delusional.

And yes, I'm really going now. This kind of cult-like shit actually kind of freaks me out.

sas said...

The last sentence about the cults was funny.

Yes, the Obamabots are visiting these days.

Now that they have trahsed our candidate thoroughly, and said vile things they:
1. want to make up
2. they need our vote
3. they want to report back stories about how terrible we are

Whatever. 1. We don't make up with abusers, 2. You won't get our vote, and 3. we don't care what you say, because you have no hold over us.

FreakyBeaky said...

OK. We've been admonished not to do this, but:

"Here, Clinton suggested that only white Americans are working people."

She absolutely, positively did not. This is an example of the kind of race-baiting-baiting spin that we get from the Obama camp. Working class white Americans, among others, are not going for Obama. It's not racist to point that out. At least Clinton has learned not to apologise for this stuff - she would then be attacked for admitting guilt.

Missplsd, if you think the race-based attacks are mainly coming from the Clinton camp, that Obama has not exploited the sexist attacks against Clinton, and that "bittergate" is the only example of disrespect for the middle and working class from the Obama camp, then you and me are going different directions and we'll just have to agree to disagree. As the the cutting-off-the-nose thing, that's the other side of the coin, and as I said I will not be making a decision about how to vote for some months.

FlipYrWhig said...

if even a quarter of those voters stick to their guns, that's a loss of @125,000 votes out of every million.

The only improvement I'd make to this post is this, for "stick," read "cling." ;)