Running A Primary Against A President

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Sep 04, 2009 at 15:44

Brian Beutler asks:

Would Progressives Primary Obama if He Compromises on the Public Option?

I have rarely met a primary challenge that I didn't like, but I can answer this question in one word: no.

It is not that I haven't considered primary challenges to a sitting Democratic President.  Back in 2007, when Matt Stoller was floating Eliot Spitzer as a potential 2012 primary challenger to whichever Democrat ended up in the White House, I thought it was a good idea.  Until his disastrous flame-out, Spitzer had just the right combination of qualities for a primary challenger to a Democratic President:

  1. Doesn't play nicely with the Democratic leadership;
  2. National political figure already elected to a major office;
  3. Anti-corporate, populist and progressive.
Other than Eliot Spitzer, Russ Feingold, who had already declined to run for President, is the only other Democrat to fit these characteristics.  So, even without Spitzer's flameout, no matter who had ended up President, there was an extremely-thin bench for credible potential primary challenges to sitting Democratic Presidents.  Unless your name is Kennedy and the year is either 1968 or 1980, those are very difficult candidates to find.  Before the Kennedy's, you have to go all the way back to Huey Long.

However, the way the 2008 election ended up turning out, a potential primary challenge was ruled out even slightly before Eliot Spitzer was no longer viable.  The identity politics at play in the 2008 Democratic primary, combined with the equally identity-based and viscerally bigoted reaction to Obama from much of the Republican base, created a political environment that had rendered a primary challenge to either a President Obama or a President Clinton impossible.

Given the make-up of the Democratic base, and given historic nature of the first African-American or first female President, any primary challenge would have blown the Democratic coalition to shreds.  Further, given the vicious identity-based attacks that have been throw at President Obama--attacks that would have been just as vicious had Clinton become President--the political environment was going to remain polarized and Democratic approval for a Democratic President was always going to be sky high.  For example, check out Obama's incredible--and stable--numbers among Democrats:

In addition to the near total absence of credible challengers and the potential destruction to the coalition, there is simply no base of Democrats to use in a primary challenge against President Obama.  That would have been the case for President Clinton, too.

There isn't going to be a primary challenge in 2012.  Instead, a combination of Congressional primary challenges and the Progressive Block is the best short-term strategy available to increase progressive influence in D.C.  

Chris Bowers :: Running A Primary Against A President

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I can think of one candidate, but I agree it'd be pretty hopeless (4.00 / 2)
The one I have in mind is Howard Dean.

There is no way a primary would work precisely for the reasons mentioned, and not to mention it would likely be a total suicide mission for the candidate given Obama's institutional support and strong support among various segments of the voting base.

Of course, if, god forbid, a public option-less health care bill, with a mandate, passes, no significant climate change bill passes, nothing is done on gay rights, Afghanistan continues to be a total drain, and the economy gets even worse, then, well, I'd rather not contemplate the possibility.

Here's a base (4.00 / 5)
The 75 percent of the people who oppose the war in Afghanistan, and the 60-70-80? percent of Dems who oppose New Liberal economic policies.

Sure, the odds of someone emerging who could actually beat Obama are slim to nil--but that doesn't mean there won't or shouldn't be a challenger to keep Obama honest, to register the dissent of a large segment of the party, to speak to passions of the majority. And that person need not be a "credible" candidate. He could be a former Congressman--Tom Andrews of Win Without War, say--or a business leader--Leo Hindrey, say--or a labor leader--Trumka, say--or a pissed off progressive--Lynn Woolsey, say. Or, to make things really interesting, a pissed off progressive Latino, like Grijalva. I just pulled these names of my ass; I'm sure they're are better and more likely candidates. The point is two years in a era in politics, and if current trends continue, it's only a little hard to see someone quitting the club and running. And I hope someone does.  

While I don't really disagree (0.00 / 0)
Aren't you describing a "sacrifice play"?  And, would we want to do that to a Democrat who was solid enough to actually participate in a primary?  Seems like a lot to ask.  Not that a selfless Democrat doesn't exist, but if they had the kinds of qualities that would make an Obama reelection team take them seriously, maybe we need to nurture them rather than sacrifice them.

[ Parent ]
Not really (4.00 / 2)
There are plenty of people who could make noise--that is, challenge Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire--but who could never be president. I mentioned a few examples.

Look, it's somewhat silly to thinking about this, but if bloggers like Chris are going to preemptively oppose a challenge...

On one level, it's hard to imagine Obama, whatever happens in the next month, to really expose himself to a challenge from the left. On the other hand: wars. We'll see if we're actually out of Iraq in two years, and Obama appears to be committing himself to the war in Afghanistan. It's not hard to imagine casualties to keep rising, and for some 85-90 percent of Dems to oppose it. If the economy comes backs, Afghanistan might stay in the background, but then if the economy doesn't come back, Obama has an even bigger problem.

[ Parent ]
That's not the base (0.00 / 0)
If you want a credible primary challenger, you should look for a candidate who can estrange Obama from the Democratic non-white base.

This is, admittedly, a difficult task, and any progressive challenger who happens to be non-black will run the risk of creating African-American resentment.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
not time yet to make this decision (4.00 / 3)
While I personally don't mind folks throwing around the idea of doing a primary on Obama it really seems that we won't have to seriously face that issue until Jan of 2011.  

Right now it is still possible that Obama gets a clue and realizes that his Presidency is at risk.  Personally, I'm not optomistic that this will happen but who knows.

To me the more important issue right now besides health care reform is in the previous post here on OpenLeft.  We need to start getting ready to protect our friends, primary our opponents (the blue dogs) and do things that make the Democratic Party more democratic in the future.

history lesson... (4.00 / 9)
Unless your name is Kennedy and the year is either 1968 or 1980, those are very difficult candidates to find.

You seem to forget that Bobby Kennedy only decided to run in 1968 after the "radical" Gene McCarthy demonstrated that there was considerable opposition to Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic Party thanks to Vietnam.

Indeed, Gene McCarthy had practically no name recognition prior to his decision to run in 1968, and ran only because Bobby Kennedy was afraid that running against an incumbent would hurt his ambitions.   When the "unknown" McCarthy got 42% of the vote in New Hampshire (to Johnson's 49%) Kennedy suddenly decided that he wanted the Democratic nomination.

The lesson here being that a primary challenge doesn't have to come from someone well known.

The other lesson is that Obama's current popularity in the Democratic party is irrelevant -- Johnson was just as, if not more, popular among Democrats early in his term.  

Progressives need to understand that Obama IS NOT A PROGRESSIVE, and act accordingly.  That means being open to supporting a primary challenge against Obama.  Of course, by doing so, progressive "leaders" will wind up getting invited to fewer "conference calls" (and cocktail parties) -- but real progressive activists have always been about issues, not access.

This is false (0.00 / 0)
Gene McCarthy was very well known by 1968. He had been considered for Johnson's running mate in 1964.

On top of that Gene McCarthy had the support of anti-war college students and a strong grassroots and youth backing...Obama already has this.

[ Parent ]
McCarthy was not well known... (4.00 / 3)
although McCarthy may have been well known among the political elite, he was not well known throughout the rest of the country -- and his challenge to Johnson was written off by the media.  

As for McCarthy's support of "anti-war college students"... he got that by being the anti-war candidate, not vice versa.  The anti-war movement had gone first to Kennedy and asked him to run, and was turned down.  McCarthy also wanted Kennedy to run, and chose to run only after Kennedy turned down the opportunity.

[ Parent ]
There is no Vietnam (0.00 / 0)
no issue to galvanize support among Democrats against Obama. None whatsoever. the public option isn't it, Afghanistan isn't it.

[ Parent ]
There's no one issue like Vietnam (4.00 / 1)
because there isn't a draft.  Our mid-east policy is every bit the mess in conception and execution - albeit with far fewer US casualties - as our southeast Asia policy was in the sixties through seventies.

Failure to deliver real health care reform, the bailout of banks, yet another jobless "recovery," etc., may not galvanize a significant enough part of the Dem base to support a viable primary challenge, but it will do quite nicely for the GOP opposition in 2012.  

[ Parent ]
It's not hard to imagine (4.00 / 1)
the wars in Iraq (will Obama get out?) and Afghanistan creating the demand for a challenge from the left.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, it sorta is (0.00 / 0)
sorry, Afghanistan isn't his war...and yes, we will get out of Iraq.

[ Parent ]
That's like saying (0.00 / 0)
Vietnam wasn't Nixon's war.  These types of massive efforts over decades can't be contained within the neat parameters of the presidencies under which they're initiated.  

[ Parent ]
Vietnam wasn't Nixon's war (0.00 / 0)
it sure didn't effect him politically.  

[ Parent ]
At least until he got impeached over his strategy there (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
Hey Valtan (0.00 / 0)
what the hell would Robert Haldeman know about the relation between Vietnam and Watergate anyhow?

[ Parent ]
I was just talking about the article of impeachment relating (0.00 / 0)
to the bombing of Cambodia

[ Parent ]
I was talking about more than that (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
BS (4.00 / 1)
you don't really believe Vietnam didn't affect Nixon politically, do you?

[ Parent ]
Afghanistan does (0.00 / 0)
have the potential to become Obama's War, if he doesn't play the cards right and decides to commit tens of thousands more over there in a futile effort at winning something.  Not on the scale of Lyndon's commitment in Nam, nor with the casualty numbers, but it could turn out to be a troublesome and very unpopular ongoing venture nonetheless.

Fortunately, I don't think Obama is quite the stupidly stubborn warhawk that LBJ was.  Far more personable a president than Johnson too.  Like likable Clinton, that easy going style and good bond with enough of the public is likely to keep him politically viable even when things get tough.

[ Parent ]
Also Afghanistan is different than Vietnam (0.00 / 0)
Even with all the opposition to it, it had a purpose.

Much of the opposition to LBJ's Vietnam adventure was because no one understood why the hell he started it. Why did we go there in the first place? It seems completely pointless.

Afghanistan may be fruitless, but it wasn't pointless. Americans know why we went there, even if they want out...I don't think we'll see the same level of opposition to it and I also don't think we'll still be there at these levels in a couple of years.

Anywsy, I find the whole thing ironic considering it was only three years ago that I saw Bernie Sanders arguing we needed more troops there.

[ Parent ]
You do know that our involvement in Vietnam (4.00 / 1)
predated the Johnson administration by well over a decade, don't you?

[ Parent ]
Of course I do (0.00 / 0)
but it was LBJ that turned it into our war. Until the Golf of Tonkin our involvement there was really no more than advisory.

Pretty much, I'd wager a bet that the public protest over Vietnam would have turned out different if the North Vietnamese government were protecting a group responsible for killing 3,000 Americans.

At the risk of sounding like a neocon, 9/11 is the reason I think it's unlikely Afghanistan would become Vietnam.  

[ Parent ]
But then again, (0.00 / 0)
The Communist bloc was a lot, LOT scarier than the terrorists ever pretended to be.  

[ Parent ]
And Obama claimed Afghanistan (4.00 / 1)
during the election by committing to it and opposing it to Iraq - where our troop levels are the same level as during the initial invasion - in the context of the campaign against McCain.  

So in a very meaningful sense, Afghanistan is Obama's war far more so than Bush's.  

[ Parent ]
They are both his wars now. (4.00 / 1)

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The public option is Viet Nam.... (4.00 / 1) many of us.  I, for one, would be delighted to support any challenger to Obama - with my money and my time.

Obama is setting single payer back a generation with his weak stance on health CARE reform.  He came in with a mandate and the only mandate I'm hearing is that everyone must become a prisoner of insurance companies - whether they can afford to or not.

Health Insurance Reform is just another bail out for big insurance companies - under a different name.  And the ones getting screwed are the people who have been getting screwed all along.

[ Parent ]
SO WOULD I! (0.00 / 0)
What about FISA, and warrantless wiretapping, and not prosecuting Bush & Cheney, and on and on and etc., etc.?  If he doesn't fight for the Public Option, I'm sick to death of him!

[ Parent ]
And that worked out.... (4.00 / 1)
...oh so splendidly for us!!

Just like Nader's candidacy worked out so well for America!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Don't blame Nader (4.00 / 2)
when Gore ran the most singularly incompetent campaign in the past 40+ years.

The GOP duped Gore into ditching Clinton, and he was stupid enough to fall for it.  That's not Nader's fault.

Nor were Gore's debate strategy and the decisions of board of elections officials in Florida to approve ballots that they knew to be faulty in any way related to Nader.  

[ Parent ]
Actually I do blame Nader (4.00 / 3)
he was the margin of difference in two states; Florida and New Hampshire.

[ Parent ]
But hardly the only reason for that margin (4.00 / 1)
Indeed, the "old Jews for Buchanan" vote accounted for Bush's margin of victory many times over by itself.

That leaves aside the decision to jettison a wildly popular sitting President who happened to be one of the best campaigners of his generation; and this during a time of tremendous economic prosperity to boot - how incredibly stupid.  

[ Parent ]
Not to mention the post-election postmarked military ballots (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
And the decision to challenge only specific districts (0.00 / 0)
instead of the statewide vote, etc., etc.

So many bad decisions - but Nader is an individual, and that makes it easier to demonize him rather than understanding the various and complex causes that contributed to Gore's defeat.  

[ Parent ]
RFK was the only way to beat Nixon in 1968 (4.00 / 1)
How was it McCarthy's fault that he was shot?  And that the Democratic party establishment then decided that, despite overwhelming support for the two antiwar candidates, they should throw their support to Humphrey in a circus of a convention?

[ Parent ]
This is like the Nader argument (0.00 / 0)
Humphrey nearly won that election and could have if a number of outside events - for example, Mayor Daley's inexcusable thuggery - hadn't buttressed Nixon's "law and order" message.  

That's not to say that you're wrong about the power of Bobby's antiwar message and that he could have won too.

In fact, this example only further helps to support the idea that primary challenges in presidential elections aren't toxic by definition.    

[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
but most of that came from the fact that the convention pretty much decided to ignore the desire of Democratic voters to have an anti-war candidate run.  

Regardless of what Daley did, would there have been anything like the mass protests in the streets of Chicago if they had merely nominated McCarthy, or if RFK had not been shot?

[ Parent ]
HHH as nominee (0.00 / 0)
was a foregone conclusion at the convention for at least two reasons.  First, after Bobby was shot, McCarthy curiously began to run a very tepid campaign for the next 2.5 mos, lasting all the way up to his half-hearted behavior at Chicago.  

Second, the antiwar forces at the convention lost in their effort at putting a strong antiwar plank into the party platform.  

Daley and his thug cops were the main event on display at the convention, no question.  But behind the scenes, this was a convention that was being run by Lyndon and his many powerful allies, and he wasn't about to accept any antiwar plank or antiwar candidate as the Dem nominee.

Beating an incumbent is very hard work -- even when the incumbent isn't running ...

[ Parent ]
Attacking the administration by attacking the Blue Dogs (4.00 / 3)
I think it's clear that Rahm Emanuel, at the very least, sees the Blue Dogs as it's "front line" in positioning the administration.

I think Chris is right that a primary challenge is likely impractical.  But systematically going after the Blue Dogs would not only help reposition the party, it would send a very loud and very clear message to the Administration about its political strategy.

Think of it as a proxy fight over the direction of the Democratic Party, with the Blue Dogs and the Administration on one side, and progressives and the unions on the other.

We may not be able to get at Obama.  But we can force the Administration to deal with us by going after their allies.

The thing is, if there is no primary challenge, then ... (4.00 / 1)
... 2011 is a working year. Sure, the Republicans are caught in the primary news cycles for two years ... but not the Democrats.

And more time for the Republicans have to concentrate on the legislative agenda is not, as we have seen, necessarily good for the overall process.

So from the perspective of Democrats, this is three mid-term cycles in a row, with a possible interruption by the Presidential general election for part of 2012, then a general election cycle in 2016.

Which means we see the whole Senate and the whole Congress three times. That is what we are working on tackling.

Wouldn't it be easier to just make Obama/Blue Dogs lose (4.00 / 3)
than to primary them?   If we join forces with the Republicans, taking them out will be a slam dunk.  Yeah, it'll suck having Republicans in charge, but it sucks anyway.  At least this way, they'll get the message.

I think that would be the fastest way to get their attention.  If they act like Republicans in office, we'll make sure we elect one instead.  

Oh my, this is certainly just not very good thinking. (2.40 / 5)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
See Clinton wasn't far enough left, so we helped the Republicans wage war on sanity (2.67 / 3)
for eight years and got Obama.

So if we "help" the Republicans get another eight years (Cheney/Palin 2012!) we will get Pelosi for four as a reward, then we'll partner with the thugs for Michelle Bachmann/Glen Beck 2024!!! and then we'll have Franken! "President of the Former United States"

I can't wait!


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Didn't we already do this? (0.00 / 0)
like twice.  

[ Parent ]
So you're saying our choices are a right-wing Democrat or an even farther-right-wing Republicn. (4.00 / 3)
Okay, I get it, you don't like the left having true options for 2012.  That's your problem.  It should not be one for progressives.  I say we put someone up anyway, maybe Bernie Sanders if his seat isn't up, or seek out a governor with genuine progressive credentials and a solid record.  The worst that happens is that Obama gets the message: "We do not support you either in the primary or the general election.  You blew it.  Enjoy your retirement from politics."  Because, assuming he hasn't been impeached by then (and this is assuming the GOP retakes the House of representatives), he's not going to have the support he did last year going into 2012.  He's exposed himself for the right-wing extremist he is, and for the shameless corporate whore he has always been.

Can I get this set to music? (4.00 / 1)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
You naughty naughty wobble (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Youa re free to do whatever you want (4.00 / 1)
There are always "real" left-wing candidates running. In 2008, there were three socialist, one green, plus Nader.

You can choose them if you want. Your desire to blame someone else for not having what you would consider a "real" choice doesn't make any sense. If you want a real left-wing alternative, then just vote for one.

[ Parent ]
Mr. Bowers, once again you are being disingenuous. (0.00 / 0)
We had Kucinich in the Democratic party, along with Edwards and Gravel.  All three were shunted aside in favor of a pair of corporate whores whose childish bickering dragged on and showed just how utterly shallow the electoral process has become.  YOU and those like you, who shill for stooges like Obama, you are the ones joining in with the corporate media establishment to deny us options.  The result is that we're not allowed to consider people like Kucinich, Edwards, Gravel, McKinney, or Nader, because God forbid we should actually waste our time, energy, and campaign contributions on candidates who actually represent us.  And just how has your method of discouraging people from considering genuine left-wing candidates worked out so far?  Oh, wait a minute, it hasn't.  Sucks for all of us, unfortunately, but you seem to have learned absolutely nothing from any of it.

[ Parent ]
Brilliant stuff (4.00 / 6)
Yep, that John Edwards. He was totally ignored by the blogosphere.

A real champion of peace, too.

We are real Obama shills on this website. No one pushes harder for him than we do.

And its true that people are such rubes, they will only do what I say. Its too bad I don't tell them about  other candidates, because then those rubes who would vote those candidates. But really, in your world, they are easily manipulated rubes either way.

And if having a clear conscience is your goal in politics, good for you. My goal is to change things.

But if you want a clear conscience, I hope you aren't paying any taxes. Because then you paid for that bombing in Afghanistan today, just like I did.

[ Parent ]
I said they were shunted aside. (0.00 / 0)
Kucinich, Edwards, Gravel, McKinney, and Nader were shunted aside.  I did not say they were ignored.  You know this.  Nor did I say Edwards in particular was a paragon of progressive virtue, he being a Johnny-come-lately left-winger.  Having watched the same primary season I did, you know full well that the vast bulk of media attention was turned toward the petty bickering between Clinton and Obama.  By the time Super Tuesday drew near, Edwards ended up leaving.  The gates had shut on him just as they had on the others.

Your argument is false.  Deny it as you will, but you do have a bit of power and people do listen to you.  That's what happens when you organize and take a leadership role.  Unfortunately, you've chosen to abuse that role by promoting agendas you really don't even seem to believe in - not because you think they're practical or that they will do some good, but because you've bought into a lie that tells people they can hope for no better, so it's pointless to even try.

I'm unemployed.  I'm one of the poverty-stricken masses people like you only write about in conceptual terms.  I haven't any income to tax.  I visit the student food bank at college (which, thank God, is paid for through FAFSA - although that is soon to run out) in order to eat on any kind of regular basis.  I look for work and don't find it.  I say this not to garner pity, but rather, to point out the fallacy you engage in by trying to figure out who I am and what I'm about.  Nice attempt at a guilt trip, though...NOT.

My goals in politics are to see progressive legislation that helps people passed into law, to see that legislation rigorously enforced by a law-abiding executive branch, to promote those candidates and bills that would bring about those ends, and above all, to tell the truth wherever and whenever I can.  Those goals, and my adherence to progressive principles, are what allow my conscience to be clear.  If you were to share those goals, your conscience might be clear as well.

[ Parent ]
Except that Chris endorsed Edwards. (4.00 / 2)

[ Parent ]
As did I, and possibly a plurality of bloggers here, though thats just out of my hat. (4.00 / 1)
I wonder what you mean by shunted aside. Do you mean there was a conspiracy of railway workers? Their trains weren't allowed into the yard? Or perhaps their box cars was diverted to West Virginia?

Or do yopu mean they couldn't organize and inspire their way out of a paper bag? Or in reference to Edwards, damn his week and arrogant nature, are you making a Fruedian reference to railways and trains being you know, wink wink. Edwards train was shunted aside after being found on the wrong track?

Maybe you mean shunted in the old as in: no one voted for them.

Mr. Kwaitkowski I will ask one more time that stop troll rating, and attempting to hide, my comments before I ask that you be banned.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Edwards, arrogant? And no one voted for him??? (4.00 / 2)
Sry, but this looks like total nonsense to me. Edwards certainly appeared less arrogant than Obama, and not more so than Hillary. And lots of people voted form him, even though not as much as for Hillary and Obama. But much more than for Kucinich and that other guy, Senator Whatshisname.

On the ohter hand, Edwards lead the way by introducing many important progressive topics inton the primary, and the others merely reacted on his proposals. Regardless what you think about his personal behaviour, he deserves respect for standing up for the interest of the poor and the working class when Hillary and Obama tried to focus their camapigns on the alleged "center". Good for the Dems that Edwards ran, and lets hope there will be someone like him in 2012, or else progressive issues will be all but ignored by the president again.

[ Parent ]
I think that like Clinton, that forgetting how important ones contribution could be (0.00 / 0)
That it is arrogant to not take a little time realize how many powerless people rely on you, and even suffer a little, not to say don't search out movement damaging pleasure.

Yeah so I say arrogant. QWe all have failings, but to fail when carrying children on yopur shoulders, in a flood, is less than normally forgiveable.

Clinton said he sex in the Oval office "because he could" sheer arrogance. Self involved irresponsibility.

And I meant, not that no one voted for him, but that he did not win enough votes, as with the other saviours who were apparently "shoved aside."

I endorsed and supported and wrote for and plead for John right up to and until his exit. I was more than disappointed at his inability to win enough votes.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
I guess our difference on this is culturally based, HoP. (0.00 / 0)
Here in Europe, we simply don't expect our candidates to be totally monogamous, or to be paragons of perfect marriages. I guess Edwards would have suffered from the scandal, if he would have run here, too, but he wouldn't have had to drop out. People know they're not voting for a husband, but for a political leader, so they don't care that much for the private lifes of politicians. And privacy rights have a stronger value here. Probably the party that would expose such a "scandal" for political gains would suffer form a backlash, too. Since you see that differently in the US, I guess we won't find a consensus on this.  

[ Parent ]
One reason why it was as much a blow with Edwards (4.00 / 1)
was that he hinged so much of his candidacy on his relationship with Elizabeth.  In much the same way that Spitzer's scandal was made all the much worse by the aggressive way that he stood for law and order.

[ Parent ]
I make no judgement on whether the public should care. (0.00 / 0)
I don't castigate Edwards' for out of marriage sexuality or betraying his wife's trust, though I could. I am castigating John for the crime against the people he was fighting for.

He knew what the response would be, in the country he lived, what problems he was entrusted to deal with, what greater trust he was asking for, and decided to risk his ability to live up to that trust.

If "in Europe" as you say, Edwards' having sex with a staffer, would not cause him to lose an election, or even lose one of two points in an election, then his error of judgement would be smaller.

Drinking for example is not a sin in my eyes, I drink. Taking charge of a group of children, putting them in a school bus, then going drinking, before the drive down the mountain, is.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Stop posting trollish comments and I'll stop negatively rating them. (0.00 / 0)
Don't whine just because, unlike you, some of us are willing to use the ratings system properly and fairly whenever you violate site rules.

[ Parent ]
Then pls point out which site rules HoP violated. (0.00 / 0)
Because his comment was harsh criticism, but no personal insult or obscenity. Your comment above is much more trollish than both that you TRed. To pretend that you "use the ratings system properly and fairly" is simply ridiculous in its hypocrisy.

[ Parent ]
You do realize Chris supported Edwards, right? (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
And I did vote for the left-wing alternative. (0.00 / 0)
I wrote Kucinich in for president, and Edwards in for vice president.  MY conscience is clear.  I doubt you could honestly say the same.  You, unlike most of the left, have some power in that you have a voice in political circles people listen to.  When you could be promoting progressive goals and candidates, you actively seek to discourage us from doing so, and all on the lie that we can't do any better, that we have to accept the bad options we are forced to endure as the only practical, "possible" ones.  That is destructive to the cause of progressives.

[ Parent ]
How presumptive of you (4.00 / 1)

[ Parent ]
LOL!!! This man voted for Kucinich, so his concscience is clear! (4.00 / 3)
That is the height of his responsibility!!

This is as ridiculous as it arrogant. he demands rights, demands respect, demands being heard, and his responsibility to keep the democracy is over! Oh except for his attacks on others who did not give up arrogantly upon making a futile gesture.

Ah the good German who voted for the socialist, last time they allowed a vote, so now he is not obliged to do anything about the nazis in Berlin, except of course attacking the resistance.

Mr. Kwaitkowski I will ask one more time that stop troll rating, and attempting to hide, my comments before I ask that you be banned.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
I would support that view. Not the first TR abuse by Mike. (4.00 / 2)
And he already has been warned repeatedly.

However, I don't like your comments about Germans who voted social democrat, or communist, in 1933 at all. They already suffered under SA mobs violently attacking their meetings and events, and made a courageous stand against those hooligans. It wasn't them who surrendered to the nazis, it were the conservative voters who supported a coalition with the devil. Pls don't distort those historical facts.

[ Parent ]
Again my failings as a writer imply something not intend. (4.00 / 1)
The camps at Auschwitz were filled socialists and marxists and homosexuals, they were filled with resistors from the catholic Church, and pacifists, the lame and people who were just ugly in the eyes the nazis. I didnt meant, and did not intend to imply, that those heroes and victims were responsible in any way.

I do not feel or think that.

I was actually doing the opposite, intending to do the opposite. If someone who had, done the one thing, voting against the Hitler machine, had then felt that no more resistance was morally needed, that would be similar to Mr. Kwaitkowski's position.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Lie. (0.00 / 0)
I have never abused the terms of use.  You and HouseOfRegress, on the other hand, have abused the rating system on dozens of posts.  You excel at that, and then whine when someone legitimately troll-rates your troll comments.

[ Parent ]
Nonsense. (0.00 / 0)
I TRed a commercial link spammer. And you, in total ignorance of the rules here, TRed me for that, despite all my efforts to explain this to you. Good luck when you show this to Chris as an example of ME abusing the TR system.

Btw, next time I see you abusing the TR system I won't hesitate to escalate this. Enough is enough.

[ Parent ]
You don't know that. (0.00 / 0)
His link was in violation of a rule that, given the numerous ads on this very web site, is at best hypocritical.  That could simply have been brought to the attention of the administrators, who could easily have removed it and issued whatever warnings necessary against further violations.  Yet his comments were not in violation of site rules.  You troll-rated those comments because you didn't like what he had to say and you had no legitimate response.  You were too big a coward to address the points made, so you used a pretense in an effort to get him banned.  THAT is the TRUTH.  I trolled-rated you for abusing the site rules, nothing more.  And I'll continue troll-rating your and HouseOfRegress's comments when those violate site rules.  Deal with it.

[ Parent ]
It's not your business if the rule is hypocritical. (0.00 / 0)
Complain to Chris if you want.And then you will see how "easy" it is to get the attention of "the administrators". Especially for such nonsense. And as I already explained to you, Chris himself wrote we should TR such comments, and he will ban those users when they show up in the "hidden comment" list. I didn't event this procedure at all. So, your TR was a violation of the rules here, not my action. If you want other rules, do that at your own site. Period.

[ Parent ]
Don't presume to tell me what is hypocritical and what isn't. (0.00 / 1)
I call 'em like I see 'em.  And I have complained to Mr. Bowers.  Just remember this, child: whenever you and HouseOfRegress violate the rules or abuse the rating system, and I catch it, I will do as decency requires and troll-rate it.  If you don't like that, then stop flaming people who disagree with you and stop abusing the rating system.

[ Parent ]
I'm not your child, asshole! (0.00 / 0)
Stop this. Now. I've really enough now of your crap.

[ Parent ]
I don't know about where you live (0.00 / 0)
but when I went to vote last year in New York City, there were seven candidates for President;

Barack Obama
John McCain
Roger Calero
Gloria La Riva
Cynthia McKinney
Ralph Nader
Bob Barr

there will, in all liklihood, be about that many next time to, so you're free to vote for who you want.

[ Parent ]
These are all Parties in America nominating candidates today (4.00 / 1)
    * American Party (1969)
   * America First Party (2002)
   * America's Independent Party (2008)
   * Boston Tea Party (2006)
   * Independence Party of America (2007)
   * Jefferson Republican Party (2006)
   * Moderate Party (2006)
   * Marijuana Party (2002)
   * Objectivist Party (2008)
   * Party for Socialism and Liberation (2004)
   * Peace and Freedom Party (1967) - active primarily in California
   * Prohibition Party (1867)
   * Reform Party of the United States of America (1995) - currently divided into two factions both using the name of the "Reform Party"
   * Socialist Equality Party (2008)
   * Socialist Party of the United States of America (1973)
   * Socialist Workers Party (1938)
   * Unity Party of America (2004)
   * Workers World Party (1959)
   * Working Families Party (1998)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Inevitable show down (4.00 / 3)
The Republican party is, for all intents and purposes, defunct.  The Democratic Party is now the party of corporate America.  The fight will come in the democratic party  between progressives and corporate democrats. It is inevitable.  The question is how do progressives prepare for the fight and when do we begin it.

I like the idea of primaries against blue dogs. As noted, it takes away Emanuel's base.  That may be the only way to go until 2016. Obama's refusal to adhere to the advise of CRASHING THE GATES will doom him to a single term.

I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November

Obama keeps the GOP viable... (0.00 / 0)
...the way that Obama is going, he'll be so unpopular by 2012 that the any GOP candidate will be considered credible.  Indeed, Obama and the GOP are creating a symbiosis -- neither one has to actually address the needs of the country, because the alternative will be so distateful to so many people.

That's why a primary challenge is vital -- by 2012, Obama will be just about the only Democrat that could lose to the GOP.  

[ Parent ]
Not very good thinking. (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
too early to rule it out (4.00 / 4)
I don't see a candidate, nor do I see an upside, but it's still too early to categorically oppose a primary challenge to the president.

I agree, primary the Blue Dogs!! (4.00 / 2)
I wouldn't mind losing a few of them.

What if continual capitulation (which appears to be the plan) to (4.00 / 1)
right-wingers over the next 4 years brings him way down in approval with Dems? Then would it be worth it?

That seems to be the WH plan.

Too early to rule it out (0.00 / 0)
and that support you cite is a mile wide, inch deep.

funny you should mention this (4.00 / 4)
the capitulation to the "you're gonna rape our childrens' minds" was the last straw for me.  I voted for Obama, I gave him money (first time ever for me, and I'm 53 years old).  I gave him every benefit of the doubt.  But

oh, and new & improved rendition
"look forward not back"
suck up to corporate lobbyists, after expressly promising not to do that

I'm just done.  Just before your post came over the wire, I'd logged in to all the Obama lists I'm on and unsubscribed.  Asked 'em to lose my name, my number and my email addresses.

I'll work my heart out for a genuine progressive who challenges him.

I'll vote for him in 2012 if he's the nominee, but I'll not give him a dime nor will I volunteer a nanosecond of my time for him.

No dime. No time. And no vote from me! (0.00 / 0)
Why?  What Nora said.

[ Parent ]
Thank you, now we know, thats who you are. (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
kucinich (0.00 / 0)
has street cred

whatever you think people owe you, that is what you owe people

third party challenge? (0.00 / 0)
Chris is probably correct, no Democrat will challenge Obama in a primary, but there is a possibility that a credible third party candidate could emerge.

If Obama continues to alienate his base, a progressive third party challenger might get some traction.

Yes Nader will come back. (0.00 / 0)
And the Palin/Beck ticket will get close enough that theft and rigging will prevail again. But your conscience will be clear.

What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.

It is an accustom'd action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.

Lady Macbeth:
Yet here's a spot.

Hark, she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to
satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Lady Macbeth:
Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!-One; two: why, then
'tis time to do't.-Hell is murky.-Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our pow'r to accompt?-Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
I am despondent (4.00 / 1)
I really don't care whether he loses to a republican at this point. He is giving us the republican massachusetts plan, where by I will have to purchase private health insurance whether I can afford it or not..  We may as well have voted for Mitt Romney.  The sad thing is our only alternative was Hillary who would have done the same shit to us.

My blog  

The plan at the moment is to subsidize people who cannot afford what they must buy. (0.00 / 0)


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
yeah right (0.00 / 0)
that is what mitt did/said too!

My blog  

[ Parent ]
But, wasn't it you, Chris, who once wrote that the sheer presence... (0.00 / 0)
..of a progressive candidate makes the less progressive candidates move to the left? I'm quite sure you described Edward's influence in the primary 2008 in that way. Without the progressive stance of Edwards, neither Clinton nor Obama would have been forced to make healthcare a main issue in their campaigns. So, according to your own logic of 2008, which I totally endorse, OF COURSE therer should be a progressive challenger! This should be a no brainer, really, and I wonder why you forgot that lesson from the last primary?





We don't need another single-payer opponent... (0.00 / 0) replace the incumbent single-payer opponents.

[ Parent ]
Ah yes (0.00 / 0)
Howard Dean 2012, Get Disappointed by Someone New

[ Parent ]
the dems need people of color in thier coalition to win (4.00 / 1)
people of color, especially blacks, will support Obama for a second term in overwhelming numbers over any primary challenger.

how will it look when a white primary challenger panders to the white educated and mostly young "creative class?" The fabric of our party will be stretched thin if the working class african americans go one way and the creative class goes another, in a state by state primary.

and i don't think a dem person of color is out there who would consider/dare take on Obama.

its not all about health care...

I don't agree. (0.00 / 0)
I think it's inevitable.

Unless he develops a populist streak and suddenly displays some bold leadership (unlikely for the Professor in Chief), disappointed Democrats will be looking for someone who can pull us out of the downward slide.

I don't know about you, but I'm more worried about what it says about the Democratic party if there isn't a challenger. Because that means everyone in the party acquiesces to this institutionalized corporatism, and that means we have to start a new party.  


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