Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wildly Liberal

Obama certainly doesn't sound like a populist, outraged at our economic crisis.
Persecuted Comrade Anonymouse - commenter on Calculated Risk
I didn't watch or listen to the debate last night partly because I was coming down with something (Um, anyone I was emailing last night, sorry for the incoherence, I really felt like shit) and partly because my own mind is made up about these two clowns.

Instead, I wandered over to Calculated Risk and read the live blog window and (when CR shut down the window) the Haloscan comment thread. The reason I did this was to get away from the opinions of the political blogosphere, which have settled into their respective camps and cliches, and observe what an audience of swing voters had to say.

The readers and commenters on the economics blogs, which I also follow, is much more like the profile of the typical independent voter that each side needs to swing over to win the election - predominantly white, male, libertarian-leaning, anti-political, of varying levels of economic expertise but thinking they are the bomb when it comes to such matters. Here are some quotes I transcribed from the live blog, which was shut down within 20 minutes for lack of substantive discussion of economic issues by the candidates:

- Both of these guys should be thrown out.
- Neither looking presidential
- Turning it off now
- Shady Property Obama and Seven Houses McCain
- Who is less prepared?
- This is a train wreck
- They both lose my vote

In the regular comment thread, I was struck by the quote I used at the start of this post, and by this one: Obama: "Quite [sic] calling me a liberal." That was in response to this answer from Obama, taken from the CNN transcript of the debate (Thanks to Lambert for finding it for me):
Tom -- or John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly that's just me opposing George Bush's wrong headed policies since I've been in Congress but I think it is that it is also important to recognize I work with Tom Coburn, the most conservative, one of the most conservative Republicans who John already mentioned to set up what we call a Google for government saying we'll list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that John's been railing about.

Quit calling me a liberal. Lack of outrage. They both lose my vote. Obama protesting against being called a liberal and finger pointing (as well as sounding like a moron - set up what we call a Google? No, you may call it that, but "we" say "set up a Google search".) (I misunderstood the context - correction h/t Swift Loris) that the other guys spend money, too.

McCain was at least somewhat true to the bastardized Republican legacy of opposing expansion of the Federal government by talking about tax cuts, reduced spending and less government (except for more military), even as it is the absolutely wrong way to go given our national condition. No one expects McCain to say anything different or do any better. What I observed was a keen sense of disappointment that Obama wasn't stronger, more direct, with better responses, offering something concrete on any of the topics discussed.

The consensus in the discussion thread was that the candidates were both crappy, out of touch and mostly incoherent, but that McCain was more successful with his attacks on Obama than the other way around. A number of people commented that if this was the best that Obama could do after intense coaching for the debate, it did not speak well of the candidate. Least prepared presidential debate ever was also said in one form or another several times.

Here's the problem. Why isn't the Democratic candidate prepared to go in there swinging? It's more than just that Obama the individual is not inspiring or prepared (though it is true on both counts). It is that he is a perfect representative of the Unity Democrats' political philosophy. This is not just him up there being a milquetoast whiner. He is as much a reflection of his faction in the Democratic Party as McCain is of the dominant strands in the Republican Party.

What we should have seen was in fact someone who was outraged, who was "wildly liberal" in substance and style, who did not count it among his successes that he worked with extreme conservatives to set up a nickle and dime watch list to try to judge Congress critters on dollar amounts, and instead would blast McCain on the substance of their respective politics.

But that's kind of the problem, isn't it? There isn't that much daylight between the way the Unity Pony types are willing to allow the government to operate and the the way Movement Conservatives want to run it - privatizing risk of all kinds (physical, economic, medical) for individuals and socializing protection for the elite at the top. Think of all those campaign contributions and kick-backs, mmm-mmm good!

If you fundamentally believe things are OK in this country, if you don't diverge that much from the substance of your opponent's political approach and think that the real problem is some partisan troublemakers who need to be more argeeable, this is what your politics will look like.

Me, I could do with somone who is wildly liberal.



Shainzona said...

"If you fundamentally believe things are OK in this country, if you don't diverge that much from the substance of your opponent's political approach and think that the real problem is some partisan troublemakers who need to be more argeeable, this is what your politics will look like."

I have been amazed this past week at the conversations I have been having with an assortment of people who really know that things are not OK in the country, who are widely divergent from both candidates'/party's political approach to the problems, and who are dying for a troublemaker to get rid of the whole crew in DC.

But at the end of these discussions, I then found out that I was actually talking to a conservative republican and we were on the absolutely same page.

My eye doctor yesterday. My piano teacher on Wednesday. And we laughed at the end of our discussion when I declare that I am a flaming liberal but they were conservatives.

Voters from both parties are hungry for change now - but not the change that the Unity Crew has foisted on us.

Today, my darling daughter and I talked and talked about the problems - but we both know the solution. Hillary Clinton. Please come home!

Unknown said...

Was at my favorite bar/restaurant, gotta remember to hand out my blog cards more, and got into two discussions of the 'debate'. Now what I saw was not 'debate' it was a mutual backslapping event. At a time when folks are scared, and they are on my twice weekly sales calls to potential clients I actually hear the overtones of fear, this for the first time in 20 years. People are scared no messin'

Bottom line from both men I talked to was, 'They are all the same...they don't give a fuck about us...nothing to be done...' for this, this alone, Nancy Pelosi, Schumer, Donna, Howie all the 'leadership' of the 'Democrat' Party should be turned into crow bait.

A year ago expectations were running high. My so called 'progressive' friends where excited about the prospects. People thought that change was in the air...on the way.

Now we see the fruit of the Obama scam. And it is a Republican influenced, corporatist fifth column assault on the Democratic Party which has succeeded beyond Rove's wildest dreams. With the help of the idiots on the blogs, Kos...Bowers...Marshall...Jeralyn and their vile 'followers' the citizenry no longer believes that this cycle will change a damn thing.

That at least is reality. Obama's damage will be limited in that no one is taking him for anything but what he is. A clueless empty suit.

Something new will emerge and I hope it will come from the real progressives and working classes, some do wear suits also, and we can clear the dead wood out of the party and the 'sphere. There are plans afoot to do the first. I intend to raise the issue of the second.

I call upon Kos, Bowers, Marshall et. al. to STFU! for at least a year. They have proven their utter incompetence and engineering change. Plus....

None of them can write their way out of a wet paper bag.

As for being a liberal. I ain't I am a progressive in the tradition of Teddy R. and FDR. Our time is coming.

The other side has nothing and the Quislings are idiots.

The day of the conservative and his parasite the neo-liberal is ending in the wreckage of an economic system run by morons. As the Pareto curve gives way to the L-curve the citizenry is realizing that having an HDTV and beer in the fridge does not make you rich.

And further, that under this system neither you nor your descendants ever will be more than debt slaves.

This knowledge is starting to sink in and when it ripens the type of fruit it produces will be dependent on us.

Real progressives.

Anonymous said...

Obama's campaign strategery could be called "Me too, but nicer!"

I was hoping the circumstances of this election (Iraq, Bush, the economy) would bring out a FDR-style liberal candidate from the Democratic party.

Hillary came the closest, but she still wasn't what I was hoping for.