Monday, May 26, 2008

Missed the Bus

I've been taking time out from the blogosphere the last few days to attend to ordinary things, like replacing my printer and doing some spring cleaning, and I come back to find out I'm really not one of the Important Bloggers of Left Blogistan. It seems that bloggers who are Important have been contacted by People Who Know and have been seriously informed that It Is Over and just accept that Obama will be the nominee. The Important people are now telling us peons to get on the Unity Bus before it leaves the station (I guess the Unity Pony is a bit spavined by now) and we are Left Behind. BTD has even announced that he will despise us if we don't all get on board.

I don't know whether to giggle or roll my eyes. I can do both, I suppose, but mostly I'll keep posting my crabby opinions just like I always have. I've said before I think that the point at which most bloggers have gone off the rails is in their desire to belong and "build community". Comments (and praise) are addictive and I'd be a bullshitter beyond belief to claim that seeing my visitation stats go from a handful of clicks a day to thousands hasn't affected what I write, or that my ego doesn't go pitter-pat when someone in the comments says how wonderful I am. There's safety in numbers, after all. I've watched too many otherwise reasonable people become raving morons on their blogs, and the common thread to all of it appears to be CDS. It's something that gets you instant praise from hundreds of commenters, it makes you seem very hip and anti-establishment to sneer at the failings of the Clintons, and it puts you in a very chummy circle. It's a lazy way to look radical without actually doing anything, kind of like hanging out with opportunistic bullshit artists in an exclusive little enclave in Chicago and think you're doing something daring. The great irony, of course, is that the leading lights of Left Blogistan whose great moral claim is that they stand in opposition to the media whores of the MSM have done little for the last six months except regurgitate the central anti-Democratic meme promulgated by the MSM, that we must band together to destroy the evil Clintons. It would be amusing were it not so self-defeating.

Krugman encapsulates the entire phenomemon in the dry opening sentence of his most recent column:
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.
All the way back to Whitewater. I'm not sure the Republicans understood at the time what paydirt they had hit with the demonization of the Clintons and the way in which the fake scandals churned out by the Rightwing Noise Machine would explode right along the fault lines in the Democratic Party, but they certainly do now. History, race and class have combined to split the party into two almost equally balanced constituencies, one of them dominating the party offices, the other possessing the votes to swing an election one way or the other.

Some pro-Hillary bloggers are dismayed that Krugman seems certain that Obama will be the nominee, but I think that's actually the problem he is addressing - the foolish grounds of that certainty. What he is diagnosing is not so much the horserace but the intra-party split and the way in which the present campaign does nothing to address the ways in which the Democrats' political agenda has been first derailed and then rigidly defined by the Republicans, namely, to spend their power and resources excizing a part of the party instead of reimagining it. Krugman gets to the heart of the matter:

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. ...

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. One more trumped-up scandal won’t persuade the millions of voters who stuck with Mrs. Clinton despite incessant attacks on her character that she really was evil all along. But it might incline a few more of them to stay home in November.

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.

The problem is not that Obama is the nominee. On this point, I'm actually in agreement with Krugman. That single fact, in and of itself, even allowing for the weakness of Obama's stated policy positions, is not the problem. Hillary herself will tell you that when you enter an electoral contest, you risk loss. The problem lies in the manner of the "win". One that leads to defeat in November cannot be considered successful, which is Hillary's own argument.

I'm pretty sure that a number of people in Left Blogistan are heaving a sigh of relief that Paul Krugman is finally "on board" and "accepting the inevitable" (discounting those going into apoplectic seizures at his advocation of Hillary as the VP choice), but they are not reading carefully. There is nothing in the tone or the topic of this column that "accepts" the outcome of the campaign. Instead, Krugman very succinctly lays out the electoral problem: the incessant assaults upon the Clinton legacy are a losing bet for the Democratic Party, one that will doom yet another White House run. He states clearly that the fault does not lie on the Clinton side of the divide:

Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

(My emphasis) In short, the Obama faction cannot blame their failures on Hillary because she is doing and saying exactly what she should. If the nomination goes to Obama, she is perfectly positioned to go into campaign mode for the party. The resentment and division does not reside with her. Part of my deep respect and awe for this woman is the way in which she will not allow the Republicans or the anti-Clinton Democrats goad her into doing anything that is not in the interests of the party, and thus of the people who need what the party could offer, such as UHC. Kruman then says:

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.

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.

Again, I recognize that this statement may be too much for the pro-Hillary wing to accept, but there is a lot loaded into these seemingly simple words. He's put forward two actions that are anathema to the anti-Clinton Left.

Seating Florida as is means acknowledging the legitimacy of Hillary's support. That is an article of faith among the Obamacans, that she is nothing but a monster, that no one really supports her, that she is so wildly unpopular that she can't win. Except, of course, to any rational person, she's a great public servant, millions of people adore her, she commands the unswerving loyalty of a significant part of the American public, and she's kicking the boys' collective butt in actual elections. Krugman makes clear that whether or not the delegate count will go in her favor, it is political suicide to refuse to acknowledge her popular support. More deeply, the opposition of the anti-Clinton faction in the party is what is preventing the party from capitalizing on the Republican failures from Bush I forward.

To acknowledge the legitimacy of the Democratic constituency that supports Hillary would mean relinquishing the prejudices of the Stevensonian wing against the Jacksonian, something I have been discussing for the last two months. First and foremost, it means rejecting the argument that this part of our party is nothing more than bigots and racists slavering for the chance to betray us to the Republicans. It means dropping the code of "hicks" and "Applachian problems", and taking seriously the need to defend the economic interests of this constituency. (Something Hillary does with her discussion of growing a green technology sector, for example) It would mean accepting that "The South" is part of Democratic politics and is a challenge to be embraced, not an impediment to be cast aside.

Finally, I reiterate a point I've made before: Winning by denying your opponent fairly won votes rather than taking the risk of defeat to reinforce the legitimacy of your own support is a surefire way to forfeit the general election. It makes you look weak and afraid because, well, you are weak and afraid.

The second point, offering Hillary the VP slot, is a bigger step because it would mean extending power to a rival who represents what you most detest, complicated by the fact that your detestation is not even rational. Looking at the collective psychotic fantasy of Hillary as would-be assassin that is welling up from the Obamacan faction, it is equally fascinating and repellant as an image of the structure of their collective demonology. The crime that is latent within their own hearts is ascribed to another. It speaks about the way in which they see themselves and their political opponents, innocent and vulnerable victims on the one side and rapacious, murderous monsters on the other. The problem with "unity" in this campaign has always been the structure of the psychosis of the anti-Clinton faction. Their unity is grounded in a fantasy of defeating something thast simply does not exist. This is why, at base, the obsessions of this faction makes those of us more firmly based in reality (whether or not we support Hillary) look askance at the Obamacans; if their current political opponent is an "enemy", a deeply distorted projection of their own inner fears, then what boundaries can there be on their relations with other who may disagree with their opinions, goals and objectives?

To sincerely (no matter how reluctantly) offer the position of VP to the person who is equally supported by just as large a portion of the party as you are is the only way to begin bringing people back to the party rather than driving them away because they scare you. If offered, I think Hillary would take it. Why? Because she has done the long-term math and knows that she can power the ticket to victory, sweeping in an overwhelming Democratic majority in both houses, and that she would have done this for the sake of the party and her constituents. Obama can try to bottle her up in the VP office but I don't see him being very effective on that count. And that, of course, is why the offer is unlikely to be made. It would make his victory dependent on her presence and it would further legitimize her part of the party, which is the diametric opposite of what the anti-Clinton wing wants to do. They would be forever in her debt.

But, we're looking at a lady or tiger situation here, or rather a co-dependent win with the lady and a crushing defeat you will never recover from tiger. Fail to seat Hillary's supporters while their votes still count and you lose in November. Seat them and you risk losing the delegate lead and get relegated to VP. (And, yes, Hillary will make Obama her VP without batting an eye.) If you still somehow managed to squeak out the delegate count, you instantly make her VP, thereby legitimizing your biggest political opponent, or you lose in November. There's no recovery from that. Failing to give respect and power where it is due only strengthens your opponent for the next round.

The actual political battle being fought this electoral year is whether or not the Democratic Party is willing to abandon its elitist politics of resentment against its own working class core and take that part of the population back from the Republicans. That means abandoning fantasies of Whole Foods Nation and living in archipelagos of urbanity where you can be ironically detached from the events of the dirty world beyond your redoubt. It means rejecting "unity" predicated upon a purge of what frustrates you in the party coalition. It means relinquishing your dearly held fantasies of the evil demons out to get you, and accepting that you will have to compromise with others to get things done.

Obamacans need to grow the fuck up and jettison their juvenile paranoid conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, who has done nothing except run a tough campaign. As Krugman conlcudes:

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.

If the anti-Clinton wing persists in the politics of demonization to the detriment of the party, they will be the ones left at the station as the Republicans drive off with the majority of the voters.



Jet said...

After being called a racist for voting for Clinton, why should I listen to anything Obama and his lackeys say? Even if Clinton gracefully supports Obama if he becomes the nominee, I will never vote for him and would rather vote for McCain. My in-laws feel exactly the same way. The hatred against Obama that Obama's campaign despicable tactics have engendered among Clinton supporters is what Krugman doesn't quite understand and seriously underestimates.

Unknown said...

I can't see Senator Obama offering Senator Clinton the vice presidency, because it would be a tacit admission of her status as an equal. If push comes to shove and he can suck it up and do that, I'll be impressed.

Pie Hole said...


My dear, you are the brightest light in the blogosphere. You are the axis of intellect, poetry and prose.

The outcome of the '08 election comes down to one question: if Obama and his merry band of batters put him at the top of the ticket, will women go back home and make nice with the sweetie? Personally, I fear the DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS BECOME THE BURNING BED?

There may be no turning back.

DEM said...

Anglachel: Your metaphorical babies, I would have them.

Unknown said...

The Obama camp has already lost. By using all their desperate and unscrupulous tactics to win the battle for the nomination, they have already lost the war for the presidency. That's the point Hillary is making to the superdelegates who would listen. She has the popular votes (the true will of the people) and the poll numbers to prove it.

Cathy said...

Isn't the Party already dead? Most of my dad's family essentially left after McGovern. (Though most always voted against Reagan because being Californians they knew what was coming.) But it was (and remains) a shaky marriage. After my late mom took out her citizenship she voted Dem but generally stood more left than its leadership.

Most, but not all, returned to Dems after the religious right took over Republicans. But McCain doesn't look that scary.

What's left is a party filled with insiders riding on fumes of yesteryear. People will always blame this primary for split but Pelosi's failures on war and inability to fight off Alito/Roberts were far more disastrous.

What's the old slogan -- "1, 2, 3, 4, what in the hell are we fighting for?" As much as I don't want to see it may be best to let Party crash and burn so it can be rebuilt.

I would apologize to Greens but I see many of their faces driving Obama's campaign so I won't.

Go on Go on said...

Anglanchel - I'm a long-time lurker on your blog and I'd like to say: once again you've nailed it. Bravo!

orionATL said...

anglachel -

i think you said it before:

legitimacy requires risking power.

senator obama's campaign does not seem to be willing to risk much, presumably because they fear they are too close to the edge of failure to take a risk,

like seating florida and michigan.

we keep expecting leadership from the the senator and his campaign.

we keep getting disappointed.

it just doesn't come.

why is that?

and when will it ever?

how much longer are we expected to suspend disbelief

before we can reasonably conclude that senator obama has not a clue about how to lead this nation?

show me said...

It is hard to believe anyone who calls themselves piehole (no insult intended just curiosity) can express so well what you mean to your readers.You ARE the shinning light of the blogosphere.I wish I could be oringinal but you are the oasis in a parched desert and that goes for your commenters as well.

Not having majored in poly sci, I love your lectures. I keep wondering if you are some writer we already know in another genre? Jane Smiley comes to mind ( maybe because she is an academic)but she has reluctantly joined the club over on Huffpo.Really I hope you write a book about this election. I can think of no other writer whose interuptation I would trust. So many writers have lost all credibility to me throughout this process.It's a problem because I now can't find them credible on any topic.

I agree with Cathy the party leadership seems rotten to the core and incompetent to boot.In my wildest dreams I imagine Hillary rises to head up a new party. We really need a new party. What is with the Greens, do they know who Obama's backers are?

My biggest fear is not that he loses but that he wins. He would be a complete disaster. We would have the Democratic version of Bush,though admittedly with a higher IQ. A fundamentally weak narcissist utterly dependent on advisors.Everyone thinks the Republicans will eat him alive, I think it is the Democrats.

I truely think he will hurt the country economically and will finish off the unraveling of the New Deal.The party deserves to crash and burn but what about the rest of us?

McCain would be a far better alternative.It will be the first time I will vote Republican in my life.

If a big enough effort is organized by groups like, 'Democrats for Hillary', that all of us can make a big enough difference to swing the election I will join.I would much rather do that then ruin my record.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anglachel and Krugman, but I am less optimistic. As some commenters said, healing will be at best partial. Enough of Hillary supporters were insulted, cursed at, called names and treat like garbage to cross the line of no return.

Obama's new coalition, with recent support by Digby and Robert Borosage, seems to these people more than sufficient to win the election. Healing, therefor, is redundant and counter productive (with the delirious Obama supporters). For all we know, Obama is not going to give healing anything but lip service.

You two claims that he needs to bring the two parts of the party together. It's not clear that Obama thinks this way. Remember the Constitution doesn't mention delusion.

Lastly, I grow up in a neighborhood of fascists and my parent grow up in pre-Nazi Europe, Obama seems to be building an authoritarian party organization, where he is the only allowed voice and the only decider. His supporters mimic perfectly mobs the regime sends out to keep the population in line. This scares me a lot. It's a nightmare.

Therefore, for me Obama's lose in November is not a side effect but rather my goal.

Unknown said...

Okay, if the worst happened and Hillary doesn't win the nomination (which I still believe she has a shot to do, statements at various places that the Democratic powers that be "won't let her win" notwithstanding), my tentative plan was to vote Green for President, assuming it was McKinney and not Nader (I'm still mad at Nader over his part in 2000; I very much liked Gore and was furious at the smears against him, too, though they haven't been nearly as bad as what has come Hillary's way).

But a couple of people have mentioned Greens supporting Obama? What have I missed?

Keeping this at least partly on topic, I hate all this "vice presidential" and "what would it take to get you to support Obama" talk so many places; it's like a psy ops maneuver to get us used to the idea of Obama as the nominee and accept Hillary's defeat as a means of achieving her defeat.

I realize this falls under the realm of "typical politics" to some extent, but after the campaign this spring some things I would have previously let slide are now just ticking me off even moreso; this "hillary as vp i.e. she has lost" is one of them.

The whole phalanx of "Obama has won/you must vote for him or (pick which bad thing will result, from WW III to getting unhip cooties)" stuff out there is just making me dig in harder. I'm not sure the reach out for unity camp really understands how to reach out (not that it's gonna do much good in my case unless he does a whole bunch of things he ain't gonna do).

Anglachel said...


If you think that I or Krugman are optomistic, you need to re-read. We're simply describing what must happen for the election to be salvaged. I myself don't think there's a prayer in Hell of this happening, but that doesn't change the conditions for reconstructing the party. What I describe, keep in mind, is only a band-aide for this particular electoral cycle, too. We're in triage mode.

I myself have only two rules: First, I will not give my vote to a Republican. Ever. Second, I will be voting for Hillary in November, even if I have to write her in.

I agree that Obama has an authoritarian view of politics and that this perspective is shared by far too many "progressive" activists, analysts and power brokers for my comfort. Thus, my concern is with the party more than with the election, which he will lose. The reason I do not advocate leaving the party is because it is stupid to relinquish an institutional structure of that complexity and national scope without a fight.


lori said...

Obama looks a lot like Agnew to me, so even if he is at the top of the ticket, in light of Rezko, I have no particular faith in his ability to hold office. If Hillary is on the ticket in either role, I will vote Democratic. If she isn't, I won't be voting in the presidential race.

I expect her to stay in because, among other things, Rezko looks like a ticking time bomb to me. What happens if he is convicted of bribery? I feel like a lonely voice, but it seems likely that his otherwise inexplicable $625k favor to Obama will look an awful lot like a bribe to most sane Americans. I want Hillary there to deal with the fall out should that be the case. I mean, just think, Rezko doesn't even have to have any evidence of any charges he makes about Obama to destroy the campaign. Remember, McDougal had been prosecuted and acquitted on the failure of Madison Guaranty before Clinton ran for the presidency. That certainly didn't slow down the investigations now, did it? Rezko starts chattering and this thing will blow up like Jiffy Pop.

What is clear is that Obama has proceeded without proper respect for the Mighty Wurlitzer - the same problem both Gore and Kerry had. And just like those two, Obama believes that Clinton brought a great deal of what transpired on himself. Unlike Gore and Kerry, he has not bothered to clean his past associations and actions up. If he left Wright and Rezko hanging around - two associations that most contenders for high office would have rigorously avoided - we all know that there is more to find. That's why Hillary must be the VP, should he get the nomination and why she must accept. It's also the reason I will vote for him - I think he's dirty and I think he'll go down.

Hillary knows they must both be on the ticket if the party is to have any confidence that they can win. I don't like Obama, though Hillary seems genuinely fond of him. But Obama as VP, should Clinton be the nominee, is fine with me. Because of his red state wins though, she needs him less than he needs her. That's the other part of the equation that he finds repulsive.

NYSmike said...

Yes, you are wonderful!

That being said....As a democrat all of my adult life, as someone who was proud of what Bill Clinton achieved in years with a house and senate of republican majority, as currently watching the media, the Obama campaign and their Obamaniacs and the DNC throw the Clintons under the Affirmative Action bus....I can only say...

I will not being staying home this November. If not Hillary, then McCain in '08. I am sure the dems will make gains in both the house and senate, so a republican president will be no big thing. With Hillary, with McCain, I know what I am getting...with Obama..he hasn't been vetted, he has no experience, he answers questions with vague talk of Hope & Change...I can not with good conscience put my nation in the hands of someone who will need on the job training. It's just that important!

And come the time that Barack annoints himself the nominee via the media and DNC, I will be switching affiliation from DEM to IND!

orionATL said...

this business about "healing" and "unity"

arouse strong negative emotions in me

emotions of wariness and deep, deep suspicion,

emotions i suspect have to do with a sense of being manipulated,


a sense of being told when I personally can and cannot continue to reflect on an emotion-based problem -

commands or instructions which no other person, and certainly no one who does not know me personally, has any right whatsoever to order.

this is the same emotion i get when i watch a tragedy like columbine or virgina tech,


within 48-72 hours some moron in the nytimes or on teevee will begin talking about counselors or chaplains


then, inevitably, begins the chorus of cawing media blackbirds telling the nation that it is "TIME to heal".

which, in media-speak means "we've covered the story and sucked what's useful to us out of it - time to move on.

do these nitwits really believe that each family's or each voter's emotions can be so easily turned on or turned off?

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy said...

You really are "scary smart," aren't ya?

I sent this, with the following note, to a friend who doesn't think Obama's campaign is notably different from Hillary's:

I think this is a very wise analysis. To accept it is to accept that there are some differences in the kind of campaigns that Hillary and Obama have run, differences that I believe are quite real.

But is a path to healing the party’s wounds, and a path to legitimacy. Here’s hoping that Obama is smart and gracious enough to take it.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Anglachel - if Hillary is on the ticket as VP, would you vote for Obama? Your opinion would mean a lot to me and my vote. Here are my two concerns:

#1: This would turn into the classic incompetent boss relying on his hyper-competent secretary to get things done, while simultaneously grabbing all the glory for himself and denying her any recognition. I simply could not stand for this to happen, and yet I suspect that's exactly what such a ticket would turn into once in the White House.

#2: In eight years, after 2 Obama terms as Prez, Hillary runs for the White House. And, lo and behold, Obama endorses someone other than Hillary. I simply could not stand for this to happen. I would just explode if that ever came to pass.

Because of the above two reasons, I don't think I could vote for Obama-Hillary ticket. What say you?

Also, you said: "Obama can try to bottle her up in the VP office but I don't see him being very effective on that count."

I want to share your confidence on this, but I don't. If Obama, Mr. Prez said: "Look Hillary, your president is asking you to sit in your office and be quiet for 4 years." , what would Hillary do? If she's willing to take one for the team by going into the VP slot, why wouldn't she keep taking one for the team by being a yes-man VP? I mean, isn't that the whole purpose/function of the VP?

Thanks for your post Anglachel. I really hope Hillary is not in the VP slot though, because I so lust for the opportunity to see Obama go down in flames in Nov. w/o any collateral damage to Hillary.

alibe said...

Not only will I not vote for Obama, I have decided to vote for McCain. That way my vote will count twice...the vote Obama didn't get and the one McCain does get. Obama will have to find 2 voters to make up for me. I will do everything in my power to save our Democratic party from Obama...even if it means voting for McCain. At least we will have a party to fight against McCain. If Obama wins, there will be no party left to stand up for us. It will be Obama all the time. I feel the main goal at this point if Hillary does not get the nomination, is to prevent Obama from his taking over and destroying the Democratic party. If he loses, that will be the end of Obama. Period. He will probably even lose his Senate seat. Good bye to the likes of him and Axelrove and the other traitors who backed this fool. That will be worth voting for McCain. And if the Supreme Court is appointed by McCain, it wouldn't be any worse that what Obama will do. If anyone has the time or inclination, look up the connection to Conservative Judge Michael McConnell and Barack Obama. Particularly, the article McConnell published in Vol. 104 of the Harvard Law Review which Obama put out. It gives the legal reasoning for how Abortion can be denied federal funding while still permitting religious schools to benefit from Federal Funding. And to think Obama got NARAL's endorsement. But check out how Obama got a fellowship and a place to write his book thru McConnell because he was "impressed" with Obama. Yea, I bet he was. Obama's true colors were made apparent thru conversations to a very conservative, soon to be appointed a Federal Judge by GW Bush. Yea, Obama is no liberal in my book. More like the manchurian candidate. Also check out how McConnell is connected with Callebresi,
McConnell and this Callebresi wrote an article together. Callibresi wrote many articles, most repugnant, esp dealing with unitary executive, signing statements...etc.
Yes, I will vote for McCain, despite having vowed never in my life to ever vote for a Republican. But a vote for Obama would worse.

jangles said...

Excellent post; I like Krugman's writing and your insight and commentary on it. Given the Obama campaign actions on the RFK bruhaha this Friday, I do not think they have a clue about what it would mean to make nice nor do they have a clue that it would be in their interest to do so.

I date myself but I think it is absolutely flabbergasting that everyone sees Obama as the inevitable nominee well before the convention gavel comes down in session. With the delegate counts this close, the superds and even the popular vote, I find this early finish just a mindblower and it is all about one thing---money (or in the case of the DNC the lack of it).

misfit said...

Anglachel--I really enjoyed Krugman's column today also. He has been the only positive part of the op-ed writers at the NYT. I cannot say how disappointed I have been in this newspaper otherwise. I think something to remember is that there has been a massive effort to discredite HRC before each recent primary. Remember that after the WV primary (1 week before the Kentucky primary) there was a huge media kerfluffle over the "white voter" comment. She had to renounce her comment and supporters such as Rangel said how dumb it was. It seems to me that we experienced this same phenomenon this past weekend. The extreme nature of this effort (RFK) reflects the extreme anxiety about two upcoming events: the May 31 Rules Committee meeting and the anticipated strong showing by Clinton in PR.

orionATL said...

to, perhaps, make the the 6:08 comment less obtuse -

for my money, the fundamental social transaction in politics is "loyalty".

loyalty is an emotion-based commitment; it is not an analytical decison,

unless, of course, you are an experienced politician (this is NOT said sarcastically), in which case your experience and your goals compel you to analyze your loyalty.

the basic question for the democratic party if it anoints senator obama is just how strong is the loyalty to senator clinton.

if it is weak, then clinton supporters will be more easily persuaded to vote for obama.

if it is strong, then clinton voters will be reluctant to vote for senator obama.

many of the comments i see in the weblogs i read are, at base,

very personal statements of strong loyalty to senator clinton.

but these are only a few hundred or thousand, at the most.

the democratic party, if it nominates sen obama, is gambling that most of senator clinton's loyal supporter will go over to sen obama.

that may happen, but, as anglachel has shown, it would not take more than a few thousands of these loyalists to provide a republican victory in an electoral college swing state.

the democratic superdelegates are playing a very dicely game,

and, incomprehensibly,

playing it in a year in which the democratic party should win enormous victories in the congressional and presidential races.

that this is, in fact, the situation the democratic party faces,

reflects an absence of competent, or professionally analytical, leadership in the party hierarchy.

that vacuum at the top explains why the obama camp is able to go after one superdelegate after the other,

one at a time,

like wolves after weakened elk.

orionATL said...

alice -

very informative about obama's social connections.

given the fact that i could never figure out where obama came from (no national reputation or experience) and how he rose soooo fast,

i too have long has the sense of the senator as a manchurian candidate.

i just don't know who is managing the puppet.

for your consideration about the puppeteer, i include this quote from today's rezkowatch:

[ Mayor Daley's brother Bill is currently an Obama advisor. The Mayor's chief image defender, David Axelrod, is a top strategist for Obama and was also the media consultant for Obama's US Senate campaign.

On April 1, 2007, Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and chairman of the political science department at the University of Illinois, told the New York Times: "Axelrod’’s mostly been visible in Chicago in the last decade as Daley’s public relations strategist and the guy who goes on television to defend Daley from charges of corruption”.

Corruption within the Daley administration has no beginning and no end. The Feds arrested 15 more people in Chicago this week, including developers, contractors and city employees. "A mole wore a wire for a year while acting as a bagman carrying bribes from developers and contractors to Chicago building inspectors, exposing systemic corruption in the Zoning and Buildings Departments," according to a May 22, 2008 Tribune report.

Evelyn Pringle can be contacted at ]

Esmense said...

The racial, generational, gender and class divisions and prejudices Obama has exacerbated and exploited during the primary can't and won't be healed for the general election.

Both Obama and McCain will run as candidates who start out distrusted and disliked by large numbers of people in their own party's base.

Both will try to attract independents and disenchanted members of the opposition party by by disassociating themselves in significant ways from their own party's most recent history, and most recent presidential administrations -- running as the "reform" or "change" candidates.

Since "reform" and "change" are arguments that, to be successful, first require gaining the electorate's trust, both will spend the largest part of their campaigns doing everything possible to to create distrust of and undermine any positive personal image of their opponent.

As a result, 2008 is likely to be one of the ugliest, most personally negative general election campaigns we've ever seen -- with the winner being the candidate who marginally emerges as the less despised and distrusted of the two.

God help us.

Unknown said...

I'm convinced that Obama is a Dem version of Bush. He's way too full of himself and he's got way too short a resume to be a good president. The way he dug in on the whole "meeting foreign leaders without preconditions" gives me the creeps. This showed both that he thinks so highly of himself that he will not admit error (remind you of anyone?) and that he's a foreign policy lightweight (yes, as POTUS you do bestow legitimacy on anyone you meet with). Since I don't want another Bush, I'll either sit out the election or vote McCain.

pm317 said...

Even to just think of Clinton in the VP slot makes me very uncomfortable. It reinforces so much of the cultural stereotype of a more qualified woman having to sacrifice for the greater good by by making way to a lesser candidate. Instead I would like to focus on her fighting this out using the popular vote count and argue the legitimacy of her nomination based on the states she has won and the strength of the coalition she has put together. Unlike Obama she has treated his supporters including the AA community with the utmost respect. Not recognizing this fact will cause further division in the party to the extent that both will be equally rejected by one faction or the other, if that has not already happened. What a dangerous game the Obama campaign and the DNC have played in their anti-Clinton delirium? The bottom line is he needs her more than she needs him to win in November.

Falstaff said...

"Looking at the collective psychotic fantasy of Hillary as would-be assassin that is welling up from the Obamacan faction, it is equally fascinating and repellant as an image of the structure of their collective demonology. The crime that is latent within their own hearts is ascribed to another."

Exactly. For a more extended -- and somewhat darker-hued -- rumination along the same lines, I'll be presumptuous enough to invite you to check out my first blog post at:

I've been a fan of yours for awhile now. Keep up the good work.

lakota in ga said...


Thank you for being here! You are an oasis in my desert of wandering, looking for some semblance of sanity in a world in which it seems there is not a mind left to lose!

To say I'm in a state of shock over the events of the last few months is to put it mildly. I've never experienced anything like this!

My party....the one for which I've cast votes all my long life....has become something I no longer recognize. This is not the party that produced a man like FDR, for whom my grandmother shed tears at his death. This is not the party that produced men like JFK and RFK for whom my mother shed tears. And I can't believe it's the same party that has treated a truly great American woman in this shameful way! I will not be voting Democrat if Obama is the nominee! I will vote Republican for the first time in my life! I will not "come home" to continued abuse from the party or to vote for a man who has condoned and perpetuated the abuse of another human being, a US Senator! And, I will not vote not vote for him even if Hillary is on the ticket as VP. I will not perpetuate with my vote a more qualified woman propping up and doing all the work for a less qualified, less honorable man. No, I won't!

And, for once, I pray that your incredible intellect and insight is not right, and that Hillary does not accept such a demeaning offer.

After all is said and done, I quit this party as it has betrayed me.

cellocat said...

Thanks for your intelligent and articulate writing.

After long months of thought and longer weeks of agony as I realized that Obama wasn't a candidate I liked less, but instead a person whose poor judgement and moral cowardice renders him an unfit candidate for office, I have decided I will not vote for him. I second the question above; is it true that the Green party has been supporting him? That was also my choice, to vote Green since in WA I cannot write in Hillary's name on the ticket. I think that if Hillary were to take the VP position, it would end her career; he'd bring her down with him. She'd be better off staying in the Senate. So, I will only vote Dem this fall if Hillary is on the top of the ticket, preferably without Obama as VP. Otherwise, it's Green, or horror of horrors, no vote at all. McCain is NOT moderate, and I can't bring myself to vote Republican.

I still think Hillary can win. And I am endlessly grateful she hasn't let them push her out. Such courage and perseverance are a wonderful gift to us.

gendergappers said...

Another great, informative article, thanks.

If BO did offer HRC the VP slot I'd bet it would not be for the usual reasons.

I think it would be so he would have a handy whipping girl on hand to take all the blame for his mistakes and failures.

One who already has the animosity of the msm and blogs.

babzter said...

Your discussion of Krugman's column hits the target. It seems that a non-hysterical exchange with the Obamaniacs is next to impossible. I was flabbergasted (God I love that word) when I read the posts on BO's official site -- talk about bizarro world. BTW this is the first time I've read your blog and I think it's brilliant.

PS -- on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" this morning, did anyone catch Tucker Carlson doing his "Hillary's like a cat in a box", and then making the claw sign with his hands while he made the lovely "catfight" rarrrrrrrr sound. Are people really so blind that they don't think that's sexist?

Matt said...

My last couple of comments have been deleted but sense I keep reading I will keep trying.

Your analysis and writing are excellent as always but I fail to see how your argument doesn't cut both ways. You argue that if Obama wins the nomination that all of Clinton supporter will either vote for McCain of not vote at all. Either of these outcomes would mean a loss for Obama.

But lets assume that Obama wins the delegate and super delegate nomination and the DNC decides that HRC gives us a better chance in the general. What makes you think that the millions of people that have voted for Obama will come over to HRC. Don't you realize that they will furious that the "establishment" stole thier elected candidate. Do you really believe that they will rush to support or vote for HRC.

You scoff at the unity comments and rhetoric but you have to see that without unity either candidate will lose. You can't have half of your voting pass pissed off and expect to win.

How would you explain an HRC nomination to all the people who voted for Obama. What makes you think that thier support and loyalty are any less then yours.

Just curious.


No Blood for Hubris said...

Great post. Thanks.

Oh, and this is for you, Matt: Thanks -- For the Vitriol.

Matt said...

No blood for Hubris, thanks for the link. However, calling me names doesn't answer the question. If Clinton manages to win the nomination how does she plan to get the voters that will feel like their candidate was stolen from them.

I'm not bashing Clinton. I'm suggesting that neither candidate has the ability to win without the support of the other candidate's voters. It is a question that is going to have to be addressed by which ever candidate wins.

I wrote my thoughts out better on my blog.

Let me know.


Anna Belle said...


You are right where I am. I used to say I would vote "present" if Obama was the nominee by voting down-ticket races only. But his actions and those of his surrogates have left me so increasingly frustrated and angry that I have decided (yesterday, in fact) that I WILL vote for McCain, and it will be an attempt to push back against all of this neoliberal "crashing the gate" nonsense. I'm no longer interested in working with them--I want them crushed. I want them out of the political arena, or at least I want their power curbed.

I don't want a Democratic party that's more like the Republican party, and I certainly do not condone unity with criminals, which is exactly what Obama proposes, and why he's popular on both sides. Republican elected officials know they will skate like they did with Carter if Obama is elected, and that Hillary will make them pay, as they should, for their traitorous behavior the last 7 years. It is still the regular folks fighting against the corruption of the rich and powerful, but now we have to fight the assholes on both sides--the left as well as the right!

Tethered Iguana said...

wow, i agree with all the positive statements here: excellent commentary on Krugman and very well reasoned.

I thought of one thing when you compared the Stevenson and Jackson wings.. it's also the Bryant versus Wilson wings.. that true worker populism that joins common cause with farmers, migrants, working stiffs. Bryant, a perennial Democratic presidential nominee, of course eventually wound up portrayed as the rube buffoon nutcase in Inherit the Wind made mock of by the great cynic and original creative classer, HL Menken.

I mean, Darrow, smooth talking, smart, ambitious, big city Dem versus Bryant, small town low-education bigot..

where have we heard that before?

Anglachel said...

Hi Turtle,

Per your post on 5/26 @6:35, my answer is I don't know what I would do. My opinion is there isn't a snowball's chance in Hell of this happening (vs. the 100% certainty that HRC would make Obama her VP) for all the reasons why it needs to happen - the Obamacan faction cares more about seizing power than anything else.

I don't think Obama would ever turn to Hillary for help, nor do I think she'd sit around and wait for him to ask. She knows what power is for - to make people's lives better - and she'd simply do it. She is loyal to the party, she won't backstab any Dem president, but she is not going to wait for permission to do anything, as her campaign fully shows. This is exactly why his faction doesn't want her around.

After reading the run down on the caucuses over on TalkLeft, I am more certain than ever that Obama is a 100% losing bet in November. All I can do is keep posting about the political realities, just like I always have, and hope some super delegates are paying attention.


Anonymous said...

Ditto everything said by Pie Hole. Should Obama become the nominee I will not vote for him and I will never vote for McCain which leaves me disheartened, dismayed, disquieted and all the other words beginning with 'd'. PS: you know, Matt does have a point.

Unknown said...

The VP has almost no real power in statutory terms, and Obama is the sort of guy who makes very sure who has power and who doesn't. It's one of his defining characteristics as a leader, in fact. Cheney had power because Bush either wanted him to or was too weak willed to stop him.

Don't let your distaste for Obama to make you think he doesn't know how to cut people off who won't kiss the ring, or that he won't use power to force people to bow or that he lacks willpower. He very much will cut people, and he would do so to Hillary the second they took power. She would be stuck in one of the most powerless offices around, bored spitless. She would have more real power as a Senator.

As for the blogosphere, I have been somewhat dismayed by the pack activity displayed (and took the time to defend Clinton at Huffpo this weekend, mainly because I was outraged. I prefer her to Obama, but not a great a deal. However I am coming to despise her enemies.)

However, CD is sincere, and is only telling you what she heard. Doesn't mean she or her contacts have to be right, but I would believe the messenger is accurately conveying what she has been told in this case.

Don't let it go to your head ;), but you've been doing some good work.

Commenters: I ain't a fan of Obama's at all, and would prefer Clinton to win, but please do remember that he is better than McCain. I'd judge there's an even chance McCain will attack Iran, for example, and I'm sure Obama won't. On almost every policy issue he's better than McCain, and even if you believe only half of it, that still adds up to a lot of people McCain will kill or hurt that Obama wouldn't. Sometimes politics isn't about getting a candidate you consider good, but about choosing the lesser of two evils. That's not pretty, that's not good, that's not the way it /ought/ to be.

But sadly it is the way it is. Fight to the end for Clinton, but please step back aftewards and consider what McCain would do to America and the world if he were president.

fachero said...

I don't know if I'll get an honest answer to this or not, but what is your argument for seating the Michigan and Florida delegates as is after everyone involved agreed beforehand to the sanction for moving the primary?
The other question I really would like an honest answer to is if Senator Clinton were ahead in pledged delegates and Obama were insisting on seating Florida and Michigan delegates, do you honestly believe she wouldn't be opposing that?

I ask because the intensity of disdain for Obama here seems, to me, identical and sometimes as irrational as the intensity of disdain for Clinton elsewhere.
Does every Obama-hater here really, honestly believe Hillary Clinton is a real progressive who really will do something substantial about whatever your favorite issue is (health care, militarism, etc.)?
There was a candidate who was at least talking like a real progressive but circumstance resulted in the southern white guy being at a disadvantage. Go figure.
No we're stuck with two candidates whose progressiveness is highly questionable.

orionATL said...

ian walsh -

for may money one of the three, along with emptywheel and looseheadprop,

most informative posters at firedoglake.

ian posts, or did post, every saturday evening.

i'd comment there much more often if firedoglake weren't so damned hard to log into after 5pm and on weekends.

ian posts on a very interesting and important topic badly ignored by much of the weblog world


Claudette said...

I'm so glad to have found your blog. I had begun to think I was all alone on the planet. My party has moved to a place I can't go and I'm stunned. I didn't have a favorite after Richardson dropped out, but after listening to many misinformed and sometimes downright racist voters comment that Obama would never get their vote, I decided that defeating McCain should be paramount, and that meant supporting Hillary Clinton. The more I supported her on blogs, the more I was called every name in the books for even dare to mention that Obama might lose to McCain. I remember the day that the Clintons were branded my liberal Democrats as racist because they dared point out the fact that some white Democrats are racist and won't vote for Obama. When did stating a fact start to make you a racist?

Anyway, I believe the Democrats have once again found the perfect path to losing an election that should be a cake walk, and I also believe that even should he win, Mr. Obama will be forever distrusted by a large part of this country and will have a difficult time governing.

I wonder if all those liberal bloggers have considered the price this party will pay if Obama loses to McCain........then what? It could be decades (if we aren't bombed to oblivion first) before an opportunity comes again to sweep the conservatives out of our lives, at least for a time.