Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Party Animals

Clarification: A few people in comments seem to think I am advocating voting for The Precious should he get the nomination. You haven't been paying attention. I stand behind voting for Hillary for President whether I can fill in a circle on my ballot or if I have to write her in. Under no circumstances will I vote for either McCain or Obama and I hope that other Democrats (hell, Republicans and Independents, too) will do likewise. This post is about reclaiming the Party from the jerks who keep snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

My political theory writing is not going to happen in a hurry as there are too many things I still have to work out. It's back to more conventional political blogging for a while.

One of the more foolish phenomenons I am seeing in the blogosphere these days is the huffy declaration that if Hillary isn't the Democratic nominee, the poster will switch their party affilaition to Independent and vote McCain.

Bad move.

I have already made clear that a good Democrat does not vote Republican. What also needs to be clear is that we're talking about long term political power here. You may need to kick the shit out of some party bigwigs and rearrange the organization when they insist that you're a silly, girlie, racist who really shouldn't worry her pretty head about policy, but abandoning the party to these morons is not a politically strategic move.

Howard Dean is the big loser this year. If Obama cheats and bullies his way to the Democratic nomination, he will go down to a Dukakis level defeat in the general, and it's time to change the people at the top due to failure to perform. The price of forcing Golden Boy Barry on the Democrats when he did not win the Democratic vote is to be tossed out in the trash. Dean's inherent promise is his nominee will win the White House and sweep in a bigger Democratic majority. Deliver or move on.

If Hillary continues her fantastic climb in the polls and wins several blowout victories (especially when combined with The Precious being revealed for the weak GE candidate that he is), well, the delegate count gets closer, the super delegates start reevaluating who can really reward them, and we have a winner for the GE. Who then pomptly fires Dr. Dean's sorry ass and puts a different set of amoral bastards in charge of the party. (Hey, I love Hillary, but let's be real about the kind of people who are professional party power brokers.)

If you are disgusted by the political and ethical dead-end the old Northeast power elite , the corrupt Daley Chicago machine, and the idiotic enablers of the blogosphere are doing in this campaign, then the best reaction is to remain firmly attached to the party and support those officals who are not part of the CDS crowd. As long as that pack retains its grip on the party, we will be fated to an unending series of wimpy wonks who lose with such noble grace.

Stay on the mailing lists and send every request for cash back with a sweet comment that your money is going to Hillary (or another pro-Hillary candidate/organization of your choice) as long as the DNC refuses to count all Democratic voters. When you get phone calls for dollars, patiently explain that you will make a donation when the party leadership stops demonizing white working class voters and respects their contribution to the party, kthxby. Find out when your next local Democratic Party meeting is going to be and start attending. It might be aggravating while the Obamacan zombies are still shambling around, but they'll go away soon enough.

Parties are mechanisms for organizing people and making power persist over time. The reason the Republicans can dominate the political scene despite being a clear minority of the population is due in great part to party discipline. The only way to bring about political change is to command political power. The current Democratic leadership is entirely too comfortable with the rut they have settled into, and have shown themselves eager to be the punching bag for the Republicans as long as they can all be buddies after the Supreme Court nominations (thanks Leahy). They won't be dislodged if we leave them in charge.

Institutions, as I've blogged before, are the way we can sustain power over time. We are seeing the surface of what must be a tremendously wild power struggle in the depths of the party. This is a battle that has been going on since JFK and LBJ. It has to do with the fact that Obama was right in a very sad way about the Democratic Party having run out of ideas, namely, a solid idea of how to change the second act narrative of the party into something that does not denigrate its core constituents.

Hillary is asking us to look upon the way in which she endures the slings and arrows from all sides and consider what it means to never give up in the face of calumny, to fight fiercely for something tangible, and to always come back to the fight, for it will always be with us.



Shainzona said...

You want me to vote for Obama?

I don't know if I can stomach it? Really.

And what if he wins because the rest of us just cave to the damage that has been done and vote the part line....then Dean and Obama will feel vindicated and we will have them entrenched even more?

I don't know what to do!!!!!

Please give me some other alternative. Please.

Anonymous said...

No, Anglachel isn't telling any of us that we have to vote for Obama. She is just telling us that Obama shouldn't be the reason to abandon the party. She's right. We need to stick together and fix the Democratic Party and that means getting rid of the bastards in power right now. It means writing in Hillary if Obama steals the nomination then voting for the politicians who are risking their own careers to support Hillary.

Also, if this doesn't prove that Obama is an elitist then I don't know what will. I'm calling Obama the black John Kerry because this dude obviously doesn't know how to connect to the average working class American. This sort of behavior is what makes working class whites not vote for him more than racism:

Also, someone wrote this in the comments section. Hilarious:

"Nightline just had a piece on Obama making an ass of himself in Pennsylvania. First the bowling, then he goes to a Philly cheese steak shop and asks if they have goat cheese, then he goes to another shop and samples some meat that costs $100 a pound and the small sample he's tasting costs a dollar, then he goes to a bar and orders some European beer."

Obama also refused to eat chocolate in a chocolate factory because he wanted to watch his figure. Geez. How wimpy can you get? This is Kerry 04 all over again.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

goat cheese??? It's Kerry's silly wind-surfing thing all over again.

OK - so we need to take back our party. But - uh - how do we do that? Is Dean elected? How does that work? I get involved with the DNC every election cycle with some basic get-out-the-vote stuff. But in between the big 2 year cycles i'm not much involved (ok - not involved at all). Is there some opportunity for involvement in between these major election cycles? Could my participation in the party at the local level in-between the big 2-year cycles actually have an effect on the Democratic party leadership?

Sorry for these basic questions, but - um - I'm just kinda realizing that I'm not exactly sure how my political party's infrastructure actually works.

I also plan to write in HRC. Hopefully many others will as well. If 7% or 8% of the vote is a write-in for HRC, that will definitely say something to the Democratic party leadership. But other than that, I'm not sure what I can actually do to change the party.

CMike said...

My political theory writing is not going to happen in a hurry...

Digby just linked to this. I suppose you're familiar with these views of Kevin Phillips et al. but you might find them useful to reconsider. Sure wish I could find that post by Billmon on the Scots-Irish in America - pretty onnery of him to have taken his site down when he stopped blogging.

gendergappers said...

The full court press is beginning in our newspapers to warn women that they must not vote for McCain if BO steals the nomination. They miss the fact that most of us will just write in Hillary. Then we are voting Party. It does us no good as Dems to hold our nose and stomach voting for someone we believe is unfit for this office.

Don't be fooled about Supreme Court threats. The right wants the abortion fight continued as it builds up and solidifies their base.

mystic4hill said...

". . .the poster will switch their party affiliation to Independent and vote McCain. Bad move."

I have to admit, I already switched my affiliation to Independent, right after the California primary. The Democratic Party does not represent me any more (after 42 years of being/voting a diehard Dem!)

As an Independent, I won't vote for McCain. But neither will I vote for Obama. For the first time in my voting life, I refuse to vote for a candidate - of either party - who does not represent my values, my ideals, or my beliefs. And Hillary is the only one of the three candidates who comes close.

So, come November, if it's an Obama vs McCain race, and unless something changes drastically with Obama, I'll be writing in Hillary Clinton.

I've had Dems tell me that not voting for Obama is a vote for McCain. I don't agree. It could just as easily be said that not voting for McCain is a vote for Obama. My choosing to not vote for Obama means he's done nothing to earn my vote.

As great as my disappointment in the Dem party, I'll never vote Repub. Ever. No matter what. But that doesn't mean I'll ever again hold my nose and vote for a Dem who I find unacceptable. And I find Obama unacceptable.

And with all that being said, I still hold out hope that Hillary will be our nominee!

Shainzona said...

Oh, thank heavens! I went to bed last night after posting my comment (above) and couldn't sleep because I was trying to figure out how in the world I could ever vote for Obama.

I still have hope in my heart (yes, BO...we hope, too!) that Hillary will beat back these asses. And if she doesn't through "their" process, she will still get my and my husband's write-in votes.


Pat Johnson said...

The only protest I can make is when the DNC mailed me a request for money. I have sent them money in the past but not this time. I sent the request back with a note saying until they change leadership over there that reflects the will of the voter, and not the will of the DNC, I am withholding any further contributions. And I cannot vote for McCain, nor will I vote for Obama, but I will write in Hillary's name if she does not get the nomination. You cannot ignore the female voter and expect we will just roll over and play dead. This is the only way I know how to send a message.

AdrienneJ said...

Dear Anlachelg,
I enjoy your work very much. But this time I think you're way off. I will vote for McCain over Obama. Yes sirree...That I will do. And the reason isn't quite as simple or as shortsighted as you seem to think. There is an element of -- if I can't watch my team Michigan win the football game on Saturday afternoon, then I will enjoy nearly as much watching Notre Dame have the crap kicked out of it. I don't like Notre Dame because they have a reputation that they didn't earn, the refs outrageously tend to favor them, they go to bowl games when they shouldn't, they are hyped by the media constantly without having any merit within their organization. Sound familiar?
Well sure it does.

But there's a difference between football and this nomination contest (and I mean more than the wearing of shoulder pads). Many of us feel--and I certainly do--that Obama is not just a candidate that we like less than our girl, Hillary. We feel that he is DANGEROUS. Get that? Dangerous...He is not just another hack politician. He is working on a McCarthy level (yes the real McCarthy, not the Bill Clinton version.--and by the way I posted that Obama's racism hunt was the new communism hunt and that he was the new McCarthy before the Obama campaign started throwing that senator's name around. You don't think someone would have stolen my idea, do you?)
Anyway, I do not need McCarthy as my President. I do not need a President who is blackmailing superdelegates (I'm sure Stabenow's husband getting busted for a 150 buck trick was in the national interest and that the story getting into the national press was just a coincidence. Ignore the fact that she is a Clinton super in that ex- US state, Michigan.), strongarming delegates, buying superdelegates. Using thug tactics at caucuses (similar to his soul-mate Shrub shutting down the re-count in Florida) disenfranchsing votes,etc.
You want this guy for your President? Are you crazy? For years as a democrat I have had to vote for the candidate who was the lesser of two evils. Now, finally, I have a candidate who I feel is an actual good. If good is take down by evil? What do you think I am going to do? Reward that behavior? I am gong to go back to voting for who is the lesser of two evils. The lesser is John McCain.
You think you can change the decmocratic leadership- and that will be how we Clinton supporters "punish" the party? I ask again, are you insane? Have you seen how much they care about what we have to say? Oh, I'm sure they'll shake in their boots if we all vote democrat and keep them in power. I'm sure everything will be arranged according to the justice our outrage demands.
Really, Anglachelg, this post is beneath your powers.

bmcs said...

Sorry. No Can Do. I'm huffy as hell about the disenfranchisement of Democrats. I won't collude with my party when they are committing electoral fraud by disenfranchising Democrats. Brazile and Dean EXPECT US to stay with the party. The most potent weapon we have to show our rejection is to refuse to support THEIR action by speaking with our VOTE in November--to stand in solidarity with the voters in those two states if their delegates do not count in choosing the nominee for the party. If we STAND WITH THE DNC on this, then they will have been right to bet on our cooperation with their voting fraud. I won't do it. I will not allow them to perpetuate this obscene act and get away with it. I'm sure not going to countenance the disenfranchisement of Democrats by the DNC. I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. My vote is my voice on this one.

gendergappers said...

Remember that BO has said many times that Hillary's supporters would vote for him BUT HIS SUPPORTERS WOULD NOT VOTE FOR HER.

Now I don't remember anyone in media or DNC criticising him for advocating votes for McCain.

If the bastards declare BO to be Dem candidate, the strongest protest we can make for such an unfair primary is a big showing of NO votes for BO by writing in Hillary. Solidarity sisters and brothers.

Unknown said...

For cmike: Part of Billmon on the Scots-Irish...

Common Sense Gram said...

Sorry- I agree with the poster above- Obama is DANGEROUS! In ways we don't even know about yet.
Nope, I will vote down-ticket but I will not vote Obama.
Wrie in Hillary!

Unknown said...

For those who miss Billmon, there is an archive (sort of) at Unfortunately, there is no directory, and you must click on the link to the left of [MAIN] to get to previous entries. If you know the date of the entry and have a lot of patience, you might find what you are looking for.

CMike said...


Thanks. Yeah that first passage sounds like it is from the particular essay I was thinking about. Billmon posted on the subject several times.

The Wayback Machine does not have a complete billmon dot org archive but it has most of his posts. Unfortunately Wayback does not have much of a search engine for its content. However, I'll have a better chance of finding that post now by working back from the date on the thread to which you linked.

Brownell said...

I have soured on Senator Obama. Starting with knowing that he was less qualified than Senator Clinton, then being offended by the snide sexist comments in the early debates, then outrage at the cynicism of distorting the Clintons' words and imputing racism to both of them - I did not have any outrage left when the Obamanation sank our best hope to carry Florida and Michigan. If he wins the nomination by foul means, and if he manages to defeat Senator McCain, I devoutly hope that Senator Obama will have the reserves of courage and perseverence that President Kennedy (who also had a thin resume and a dirty machine behind him when he was elected)found within himself. But "President" Obama will have to do it on his own. I won't help him.

That does not mean I or any Democrat should vote for a Republican, or stay at home. Get serious. There are better alternatives. If we are denied the chance to elect Senator Clinton our President, there are good progressive Democrats running for Congress who need all the energy we could bring to a Hillary Clinton campaign. And any President, Republican or Democratic, will be helped or hindered in direct relation to the quality of the 2008 Congress. There are many roads to a better democracy.

As for actually voting for Obama, if he gets the nomination, I'm not sure. Fortunately I live in New York, which is a safe Democratic state, so I don't really have to hold my nose and vote for him if it comes to that. If I lived in a swing state, though, my duty would be clear. If that's your situation, get a very good clothespin and prepare to do what needs to be done. Any Democrat is better than 4 more Republican years of war and bankruptcy, with 2-3 more Republicans on the Supreme Court, with dangerous Anti-American fanatics growing in strength around the world. As I said, Get Real.

CMike said...


Thanks wasabi_cat. I ended up googling to a Kos comment about it and looking under properties for the link number. I was able to do that because I had the text from your link to work with.

Anyway, if Anglachel is going to work up something with the long view of the politics of the South our host might find this useful reference material.

Too bad the graphics including that "Look fmailiar?" map aren't there. I remember those two maps at the end made an impact on me.

Unknown said...

I agree with BMCS except that I am mad as hell about the disenfranchisement of voters in MI and FL. To hell with Dean, Brazile, and the MSM who have become Obamabots, to hell with all the formerly progressive blogs such as Daily KOS, Talking Points Memo, MyDD and Huffington Post who attack me for speaking up about their savagery towards HRC as well as their banning of people who don't believe BO is the next annointed leader of this country and to hell with the cartoonists such as Jeff Danziger and Pat Oliphant who continue to portray our former President and First Lady as scum who aren't worthy of anything while Dubya is portrayed favorably. I am determined that no matter who gets the nomination to write in HRC and I will continue to ignore the blogs whose advertising revenue has begun to fall like a brick because HRC supporters have turned away from them and I will boycott cartoonists whose work isn't fit for my dog to squat on. I am mad at the pass given to all the dishonesty and other crap of McCain & BO is overlooked but if HRC even opens her mouth she is attacked, such as her recent remarks on Bosnia illustrated. To all those who are urging our gal to quit the race I hope they experience instant karma when HRC becomes the next president. Then maybe we can restore the Fairness Doctrine to the MSM and giving the elites a big steamy bowl of STFU.

Unknown said...

I believe that this is a power struggle within the party between the New Democrats and the New Left dressed up in an empty suit. The New Democrats sucessfully moved the party to the center by redefining the progressive economic and social policies of FDR and modernizing them to make application more feasible. This centrist platform attracted the Regan Democrats who were
wary of the factional fighting that had been tearing up the party through the late 60's - 80's. The focus on the economy, education reform and redefining foriegn policy unified the party and helped the party overcome it's radical lable based on the factional bickering brought on by fringe causes. The New Democrats understood much better that to accomplish anything, it is always better to take a broad approach and pay attention to details. Most of the country would support fringe causes if they are legislated fairly and in a reasonable manner, but the middle and working class revolt when they feel coerced. The New Left has always had a problm with compromise of any kind , failing to realize that pragmatism is not concession. I've always been a pragmatic liberal. With some issues legislation must respond strongly to current needs and sometimes there must be compromise until the times catch up to the demand. This is pragmatism. The New Left is and has always been pretty extremist, and this is important for certain causes like MLK's fight for civil rights legislation, but the New Left tends to have a problem with prioritizing causes and the party ends up in factional identity political infighting. The New Left will move the party to the left and we will lose the stability we had gained during the Clinton/Gore administrations. If FDR was running today his platform would resemble Clintons because FDR adapted and responded to the times The details are what matter. HRC has developed a detailed plan for universal healthcare, a classic FDR new deal principal. The emphasis for democrats on the later civil rights era has led to a confusing loss of memory and understanding of our legacy. We had allowed the GOP to identify us and minimize the foundation of the modern party. If Obama is our nominee, the GOP will simply play up to voters his radical New Left political allies who constitute his base. We will return to the politics of expediency and pandering to factions. We will lose the long vision. Obama does not have the political experience or ideological maturity to sucessfully manage the upcoming battles within his own party or congress. In a best case senario his would be an ineffectual one term presidency similar to Jimmy Carters with few accomplishments but alot of disappointments and a failed leagacy. In a worst case senario as President he would cave to the identity factions and be endlessly caught up in one failed civil rights legislative battle after another while nothing is accomplished economically or in global affairs. Obama as a candidate does not engender the confidence of the working class. He is a classic left leaning liberal, which means he sounds good but doesn't convince. Leadership requires being willing to piss some people off because there are priorities and to convince the electorate that the changes they must make are in their own best interests. Leadership requires leading the nation to change which is never easy but necessary in response to the times. It requires a toughness that JFK, LBJ, FDR and Clinton/ Gore had. The differences in the temperment and capabilities of Obama and Clinton are glaring. In my opinion the reason he is getting the support he has paid for by some party leaders is that these leaders want a president they feel they can dominate. Pelosi et, al. do not want Clinton because they know they will not be able to dominate her. Clinton will fight to legislate and will not pander to the special interests. Her economic and healthcare strategies are going to hurt a little bit. It's going to get messy and has to in order to clean up this mess. Either we seek to continue trudging the centrist path of long vision and substantive change or we return to the left and return to short term solutions that make the factions feel better but are quickly over turned when the GOP regains power. It took the GOP 40 yrs. to dismantle the New Deal and they still haven't dismantled all of it. The New Democrats can save the New Deal by redefining it and making the platform flexible and responsive without losing the principals uopn which it was based. Progressives have lost our collective memory and have become lost in the factions. When our party regains our progressive ideaology based in the legisalative courage of our greatest progressive leaders we all of us move forward and benefit. Progrssive politics always moves too slowly for the Left, but the gains are more long lasting because they are not based on politicians winning the next election but on pragmatic consideration of the bigger picture. If Obama gets the nomination, I will walk away from the party of FDR as I watch alot of the leaders I admire walk away. I think HRC will still have a remarkable career but I wonder if the New Democrats who I believe are the natural evolution of the FDR progressive platform will survive in the numbers and influence needed to counter balance the New Left. To witness party leaders willingly throw away the New Democrats is like watching a collective insanity based on self seeking ambition enact a coup and replace the party concerns with a cult of personality. It is a total disconnect with the electorate, party principals and a misguided delusion as to the definition of leadership. It will represent a new identity for the party that we can ill afford. As a party we will pave the way for another Reagan and the disaster that we have seen with the deranged politics that even fiscal conservatives in the GOP have become disenchanted with. We will continue down this radical path of the left and the right. The third way and it's rational approach of balanced progressive legislation will be dead for decades at a time when we can least afford it. Your posts are great and it's a nice place for an FDR democrat to come in from the cold.

Shainzona said...

What I don't understand about the New Left is how they can support Obama - who's man claim to fame is his desire to play Kumbaya with the Repugs - as in "hands across the aisle".

That position can't lead to truly progressive governing but will, IMHO, result in moving farther to the right of center. So Clinton should turn out to be the more progressive candidate.