87% of PUMAs think Obama should be primaried in 2012

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Oct 31, 2010 at 16:00


Alan Fram's AP story, "Obama Primary Challenge? Nearly Half Of Dems Want 2010 Fight" has a catchy headline, and it's no wonder that Jeffroby88 flagged it in a quick hit. But between the content of the story and and the topline results (pdf), it turns out there's a lot there than meets the eye for anyone pushing a "dump Obama" agenda.  OTOH, there's a lot more there for those trying to puzzle out what, if anything positive might come of the current Democratic discontent.

In the story itself, Fram writes the provocative lead:

Democratic voters are closely divided over whether President Barack Obama should be challenged within the party for a second term in 2012, an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks Poll finds.

Then later writes:

Among all 2008 voters, 51 percent say he deserves to be defeated in November 2012 while 47 percent support his re-election - essentially a tie.

Among Democrats, 47 percent say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination and 51 percent say he should not be opposed. Those favoring a contest include most who backed Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful faceoff against Obama for the 2008 nomination....

_Nearly 3 in 10, or 29 percent, of Democrats who said during the spring of 2008 that they were backing Obama for the Democratic nomination now say they want him to be challenged in 2012. Seven in 10 want him renominated.

_Sixty-one percent of Democrats who said in spring 2008 that they were backing Clinton now say Obama should face an opponent for the party's nomination.

_More than 8 in 10 overall who on Election Day 2008 said they'd voted for Obama want to re-elect him, though 1 in 7 say he should be defeated.

So what gives?  47% of Dems say they want Obama challenged, but over 80% who voted for him want to re-elect him?  Where's that extra 27%+ come from?  And, more generally, WTFs going on?

Well, it helps to take a look at the topline PDF, where we get this additional piece of information about Democrats, or Dem-leaning independents:

That 36% of Obama voters is still hard to reconcile with the "80% who voted for him want to re-elect him." Are his GOP & independent supporters not aligned with the Dems actually more supportive of him than those in this subsample? It seems unlikely.  So the data itself has not been well-explained by AP.  But to the extent it has been shared, it seems that a lot of the discontent comes from folks who weren't all that sold on Obama in the first place.  

What's more, as for the blunt "Dump Obama!" approach, the poll found that just 3% of 2008 Obama voters had a "very unfavorable" view of him, while 7% had a "somewhat unfavorable" view, compared to 39% "somewhat favorable" view, and 48% "very favorable".

Clearly a lot of those saying they favor a primary challenge have at least a "somewhat favorable" view of him.  That's a pretty healthy sign for our democracy that so many folks can have at least a "somewhat favorable" view of a president, and yet still think that a serious primary challenge would be a good thing. But it's not a very good sign for those pushing a hardline "Dump Obama" message.

Maybe we really could have a mostly-positive primary challenge.... If, that is, we could find a candidate.  Hillary, obviously, is not exactly readily available for that slot.  But I'm pleased, at least, to see the level of sophistication shown by such a significant chunk of the Democratic electorate.

Paul Rosenberg :: 87% of PUMAs think Obama should be primaried in 2012

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I don't think those Dem McCain voters are mostly PUMAs (4.00 / 2)
They're probably mostly those conservative Democrats who don't ever vote Democratic in Presidential elections. I believe they wouldn't have voted for Hillary Clinton either.  

I guess it depends on what a PUMA is.  

Glad you looked into the details. Worth thinking about.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


Well, Perhaps (0.00 / 0)
Although

(1) This:

_Sixty-one percent of Democrats who said in spring 2008 that they were backing Clinton now say Obama should face an opponent for the party's nomination.

Stands in pretty stark contrast to this:

_Nearly 3 in 10, or 29 percent, of Democrats who said during the spring of 2008 that they were backing Obama for the Democratic nomination now say they want him to be challenged in 2012. Seven in 10 want him renominated.

And

(2)

They're probably mostly those conservative Democrats who don't ever vote Democratic in Presidential elections.

So, doesn't that pretty much make them the original PUMAs?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
No, it doesn't (4.00 / 1)
The PUMAs were mostly a media concoction, a small percentage of Hillary supporters, and predominantly women.

One ugly aspect of the campaign was the vile sexism that Obama supporters showed towards Hillary, which Obama seemed to let run for far too long before chilling it out. Hillary cried, all that.

You set up a guilt-by-association chain, where disloyal Dems (Party Unity My Ass) who voted for McCain are linked with Hillary supporters, because Dems who voted for McCain were disloyal.  But it was a majority of men who supported McCain, and a STRONG majority of women who backed Obama.

Clearly the vast majority of Hillary supporters supported Obama in the general, and while I'm sure this wasn't your intention, your formulation ("87% of PUMAs"), even in jest, is a shot at women.  You might better have recalled the Stupak amendment, if you want to link women with Dump Obama.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Sure It Was A Media Concoction (0.00 / 0)
And yet, here they are, real at last!

You know what Reagan said: Facts are stupid things.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
I'd love to see Obama face a primary... (4.00 / 4)
... but, given that I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell that he'd lose, who among the Democrats is willing to sacrifice their political career to do it?  I'd happily see Grayson or Feingold primary Obama should they lose their seats Nov 2nd (Gah!  And, if they do, how did that even happen?)  But, why would they risk driving their "favorables" even lower in the eyes of the DLC/DNC?  And, even if a primary moved Obama to the left, what on god's green earth makes anyone think Obama would honor the promises he made?  We've already been through this, yes?

I'll give you a different scenario (4.00 / 1)
A Democrat challenges Obama from the right.  Maybe someone like Evan Bayh who is motivated by some sort of bitterness.  I would kind of like to see the comedy value of Harold Ford making a go of it.

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

[ Parent ]
There You Go! (0.00 / 0)
Maybe Joe Lieberman could run as well!

Remember Joementum?

Who could ever forget?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Why not? (4.00 / 1)
Al Gore would probably support his former running mate, too.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Hopefully, it would show Obama that the left does have power (4.00 / 1)
and that we could really weaken him if we wanted to.

Unfortunately, the fact that Obama can't run for a third term kinda neutralizes that.  Too bad we don't have initiative, referendum and recall on the national level.


[ Parent ]
It would show Obama the left has power... (0.00 / 0)
...how, exactly?  And, the left would weaken him in precisely what way?

I've already ceded that there is no way Obama can lose a primary, and that no Democrat who might want to challenge him (and would also appeal to progressives) is going to do anything to hurt their "favorable ratings" with the Democratic Party apparatus by losing to Obama.

Are you working with a different set of assumptions?  You'd have to be to imagine that the distribution of power would be different as a result of a failed primary challenge, and/or that Obama would be weakened in the process.  Working with my assumptions the exact opposite would be the more probable outcome.

What assumptions are you working with?


[ Parent ]
If a challenger runs to Obama's left (as opposed to his right) (4.00 / 3)
and gets a significant chunk of the vote, it shows everyone that there's a certain dissatisfaction with Obama on the left, and that Obama (well, Democrats in general) will have to do more to nail down the leftist base.

Also, keep in mind that Obama doesn't have to lose the actual elections to lose the primary.  If he wins primaries but the challenger makes it close, it could be enough to drive him from the race.  It'll work better if there's an actual coherent leftist movement behind the challenger as well.

And yes, I realize that few credible candidates would want to step up to the plate and challenge Obama.  I'm not expecting Obama to be challenged by anyone who has a viable chance (e.g. someone currently holding elected office).  But, it's still something we could discuss.  I do think Obama will get one or more challengers of the non-viable kind (I think most Presidents do anyway).  Hopefully someone other than Lyndon LaRouche will run against him from the left.

I'm not sure how to answer your question about assumptions.


[ Parent ]
Your assumptions: (0.00 / 0)
1.  challenger comes from the left
2.  significant chunk of the vote
3.  Obama/Dems will respond as you predict
4.  coherent left
5.  left as movement
6.  non-viable challenger

[ Parent ]
Well, these stats (4.00 / 2)
suggest that a challenger almost certainly wouldn't win, but we knew that already. They also suggest that a challenger would get a receptive hearing from Democrats (except for those in the establishment and at Daily Kos, if that's not redundant.)

Which is to say these numbers are encouraging for people who support a challenge--people who, by the way, include Paul Rosenberg. (He supports a challenge, just not as strongly as Jeff.)


WTF (4.00 / 3)
Stop drinking the Dem Kool Aid! Your stats are meaningless. The hell with a futile primary challenge....  Feingold, Kucinch, Grayson, Sanders(of Vt), and others should form a coalition with the Greens and form a real Progressive Party, one that is Progressive 24/7, not just before big elections with meaningless messages about "hope and change."  But of course they don't have the balls to do that, each one is more concerned about his own career, so you will continue supporting the "liberal" branch of the Oligarchy Party.  But don't worry, one day you will receive your recognition from the Commander-in-Chief(as we go to war with Iran to save the economy):  "Liberals, you've done a heckuva job!"

It's not about balls ... (4.00 / 1)
... and we don't need this sexist macho bullshit.

Feingold, Kucinch, Grayson, Sanders(of Vt), and others should form a coalition with the Greens and form a real Progressive Party

But they won't.  So what are YOU going to do?  That's the bind.  A left primary challenge is accessible.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
And having this conversation now is important (4.00 / 2)
because just how accessible it is is going to depend on how badly things go on the 2nd, and on just how destructive the Republicans are for the eight months or so after that.  

[ Parent ]
My conclusions are modest: (4.00 / 2)
(1) It's very interesting that the "challenge" numbers are so high, given that primarying Obama has not been a feature of mainstream press coverage.  Rather, it has been simmering below the radar.

(2) If a national primary were held tomorrow with one or more challengers on the ballot -- of any stripe -- Obama would certainly prevail.  However, the primary is not being held tomorrow.

(3) PUMAs are only a small percentage of 2008 Hillary supporters.  Hillary supporters are probably all over the map, from those who would like to bomb Iran to those outraged over the Stupak amendment, and every combination thereof.

(4) There are quite a few chickens that have not yet had time to come home to roost, including (a) Obama's response to his Catfood Commission; (b) Obama's stated commitment to concentrating on the deficit rather than job creation; (c) Obama's pathological commitment to bipartisanship with an at least more Republican Congress (not guessing the final tally); (d) continued unemployment and massive exhaustion of unemployment benefits; and (e) his increasing inability to govern.  Certainly the list is far from exhausted.

Dump Obama fans have many views of the matter.  My personal opinion from the beginning is that the merit of such a campaign is not contingent on whether he is actually beaten in the primaries.

According to the Huffpo piece, "Nearly 3 in 10, or 29 percent, of Democrats who said during the spring of 2008 that they were backing Obama for the Democratic nomination now say they want him to be challenged in 2012. Seven in 10 want him renominated."

What's most significant at this point is not so much the percentages as the absolute numbers, particularly the 29% of 2008 Obama supporters who think he should be challenged.

After all, 90% of 100 voters isn't much, but 10% of 10 million is rather more significant.  In other words,there is critical mass for a progressive Dump Obama challenge.  There is a base that can be organized in an independent direction.

There are innumerable variables here, possibilities for a left challenge, a right challenge, a multiplicity of challenges as Obama weakens and others smell blood in the water.  I don't know how this will play out.  I've written more on FDL, Dump Obama: not for wackos only, if you are interested in that discussion.  But I've been telling progressives there, per the old lottery slogan, you've gotta be in it to win it.

In any event, to me, the most important fact at this moment is that Dump Obama has emerged from a tiny niche of the blogosphere into the mainstream.


For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


Challenge (4.00 / 1)
The chain of events would depend on Tues results.  If the Right tidal wave doesn't materialize then Pres. Obama strength and hope for a primary challenge is a not viable.  If the results are mixed then anything is possible.

As far as anyone hoping for a Green Third Party that would be a Republican Wet Dream and a disaster for the Democrats.  If the Green Party moved into the Democratic Party like the Tea Party has with the Republican Party then anything is possible.

I think it's really up to Hillary and the Presidents hate factor.


[ Parent ]
I'm not sure why viability of a primary challenge should depend on Tuesday's results (4.00 / 1)
especially if a better-than-expected showing represents a rejection of Republican policies rather than an embrace of Democratic ones.

[ Parent ]
Confused (4.00 / 1)
Would a primary challenge from Hilary Clinton be considered from the left or the right?

Personally, I don't think she'd be interested. Were H. Clinton still interested in political campaigning, I doubt she would have quit the Senate just as the Health Care Reform issue was coming over the horizon.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
I truly doubt if she would run ... (0.00 / 0)
... but an interesting question given Paul's hauling out the PUMA stuff.

During 2008, I had considered her to the right to Obama, based on some foreign policy positions and her representing the DP old guard.

But let's take another look at that old guard.  Hillary's roots are in the traditional party establishment, and key elements of that establishment are organized labor, and groups like NOW, NAACP, official gay rights groups, etc.

It turns out that Obama's real mission was to break those groups, do a Sister Souljah on the party base ostensibly represented by those organizations.  Thus, if they move against Obama, they would constitute a challenge on jobs, Fair Choice Act, Stupak, DADT, etc.  That would have a left cast, quite independent of Hillary's personal politics.

Question:  if Hillary had been president, would the Stupak amendment have gotten through?

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
I don't know what would have happened to HCR if HRC were Prez. (4.00 / 1)
People chose not to nominate her in 2008.

She chose to quit the Senate.

Had she not joined the Obama Administration and remained in the Senate, I suspect we might have seen a different process and a different result in terms of health insurance reforms. She would have been there, twisting arms and speaking up.

 

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Though I'm not a Hillary fan ... (4.00 / 1)
... credit where credit is due.  And the way she was treated was despicable.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
I favor both primary challenges and third party challenges (4.00 / 2)
I want to make dems work hard to win the left and will leave winning the election up the candidate themselves.  I think the problem is that you think you are a candidate and not a voter.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
As we discussed in your QH (4.00 / 2)
the most important factor is what kind of primary challenge this is.  A challenge from the left is what we want.  A challenge from the right would only make things worse.  And it sounds like a lot of Democrats want a challenge from the right.  That fact represents an abject failure of the left to define the political spectrum.

[ Parent ]
Or, if there are many ... (0.00 / 0)
... which would we support?  Part of the trick is  to figure out what we can control or impact, and what we can't.  So those who say, "let's run Feingold" without a clue as to how we would "run" Feingold are missing the mark.

We seem to have 2 broad choices, or so it seems at this point.  We can see who comes along, and pick the best.  Or we can run a smaller name (even unknown) or "our" own, and project them into the mainstream through doing the ballot access work.  Both have merits and weaknesses.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
What if (0.00 / 0)
Obama faces both, signaling dissatisfaction from all wings of the party?

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

[ Parent ]
He can always follow his mentor's path (0.00 / 0)
and declare as an Independent.


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Lol, that'd be amusing (0.00 / 0)
the "America for Obama Party".

[ Parent ]
OK, so how do we push Obama to the left? (4.00 / 1)
In time for the 2012 election cycle, without a primary challenge?

Win or lose tomorrow, I don't see any narrative emerging from this election (or any non-election movements) that will push the Administration in a progressive direction.

If the Dems "win" - i.e. don't lose as badly as predicted - it will be read as a "near miss" and the already cowardly Dems will strat selling us on the "holding pattern" strategy (although "strategy" might be too kind). Oh yeah, and I'm pretty sure the left-end of the party will be blamed.

If Dems "lose" it will become yet another reason to move to the conservative positions, because well, "the people have spoken".

What kind of post-election narrative do you see emerging?  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


Why would Obama honor (4.00 / 1)
any moved-left-leaning-promises made during a primary in anticipation of 2012, that he didn't honor in prep for 2010?  What makes anyone think that Obama pre-2012 will be a different Obama than we saw in pre-2010?  Or, that the political machine behind Obama will be any different pre-2012 than it was pre-2010?

I no longer believe "change" can be initiated at the top.  It's going to have to be grown from the bottom.  IMHO, the better question is, What is it going to take to grow a movement on the Left?  And, to answer that, we need (1) a definition of Left that (2) recruits enough of us.  I don't think we have either right now, and I don't see how we'll have it even in two years.

It's no longer "about Obama" for me.  Obama could be anyone.  It's now about the context and gestalt of the anyone who could be Obama.


[ Parent ]
You are correct about context (4.00 / 1)
But a primary challenge from the left of the incumbent President is hardly an example of "change from the top".

I get the idea of growing movements and changing the culture - but those are long-term plans. Good plans, but on a longer time scale than the next elections cycle. I'm not saying that we shouldn't think long-term - just not ONLY long-term.

Post 2010 election, what narrative will emerge that will synergize with the long term goals you have outlined?

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
a primary challenge ... of the incumbent President is hardly an example of "change from the top" (4.00 / 1)
It isn't?  I think it is.  For my money, you're still too far up the food chain.  Anything to do with POTUS is too high up.  Anything to do with Senators (IMO) is too high up.  I'm hoping that anything to do with the House isn't too high up, but I'm not sure about that.

I'm talking about local.  Building an OFA type, 50 State type, ground game that doesn't depend on the Democratic Party apparatus.  That's where the narrative and the numbers - if they are to have any meaning - will come from.  It won't be up to me to define that narrative.

I don't see even a whiff of Hope™ for any strategy that is anything less than long term.  I'm happy enough to let those who do press forward, but I'm going to be neither surprised - nor particularly sympathetic - if they get their noses badly bloodied in the effort.  This hole we're in is a really, really deep hole.  I'm all for making a whole lot of noise, and taking credible shots when opportunities arise.  I just don't think those opportunities are going to be out there in the short term, I don't think we'll even be offered enough "raw material" out of which to create opportunities.  Our real chances lie out in front of this two-party and institutional train wreck.  And, that - most auspiciously - looks like 2016 to me.  And, we still won't be successful.  We'll only have begun to make a dent.  IMO, your time frame - your planning horizon - is waaaaaay too short.


[ Parent ]
A long-term strategy begins with short-term tactics (4.00 / 1)
You pose a false dichotomy.

A primary challenge is not change from the top, if the challenge comes from below.  UNLESS one assumes that replacing one safety-net-slashing warmonger with another safety-net-slashing warmonger is the extent of your vision.  It is not the extent of my vision.

POTUS gives us a focal point we currently lack.  Your "50 State type, ground game that doesn't depend on the Democratic Party apparatus" is absolutely what we need.  But how is that to happen?  I believe Dump Obama can give impetus to those efforts, around the call for Jobs (and safety net), peace, and civil liberties.

Without some national focal point, you run into fragmentation and demoralization.

If I come out of this with nothing worse than a bloody nose, I'll be quite happy.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
I'm beginning to understand why I experience you as such a hapless source of frustration. (4.00 / 1)
And, why I typically don't respond to you.  If you had any real designs on changing the 2012 narrative you would be down phone-banking for some incumbent, building the network, gaining access to the right people, and acquiring the resources to actually do something.  You would not be here.  You would not be at FDL.  You would not be expending your energies online.  Not that I think you really have a clue about what it is you'd do if you actually caught that tiger by the tail, because - as I think you're already quite aware - you're too far behind the curve to make a difference or to matter.  And, I think it's that "safety" that prompts you to pursue the course that you're on.

One last time.  The revolution will not be tweeted.  There's a clue in there for you.


[ Parent ]
I would take you more to heart ... (0.00 / 0)
... if YOU weren't online chastising me but were instead busy phone-banking, building the network, gaining access to the right people, and acquiring the resources to actually do something.  You would not be here.

If I didn't matter, you wouldn't have written this comment.

In case you haven't noticed, the conversation has shifted.  It's not whether Obama should be primaried.  Rather, it's that given the great likelihood that he WILL be primaried, how do we respond to that.

It's a more interesting question.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Wow, that was... patronizing (4.00 / 1)
Maybe you don't give Open Left as much credit as it deserves.  Discussion of electoral politics helps liberals decide where to send those donations or volunteer those weekends.  It makes them more informed and enables to better persuade fellow voters.

I do think that Open Left needs to be more directly engaged in elections.  This could be done in a number of ways; one of the easiest is to cover specific elections more regularly so as to provide positive attention to worthy races.  I also think that blogs in general can coalesce into a sort of advocacy group that seeks to organize leftist voting blocs.  This is one way our discussion of primarying Obama here can translate into actual action primarying Obama out there in the "real world".


[ Parent ]
So (4.00 / 1)
your short-term narrative is....what?

If not now, when?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
If not now, when? ... (4.00 / 2)
... Was pre-"Obama" (see: Sirota, David).

My short term strategy?  I've already specified (a) I don't have one, (b) I can't imagine one that will be anything but ineffectual, so (c)I won't be cowed into participating in one.  All of my energy is going "long term."

And, with this, I'm done.  I wish those who pursue a 2012 effort all the luck in the world.  I believe you're going to need it.


[ Parent ]
A short-term "strategy" is something of a contradiction in terms (0.00 / 0)
But you don't even seem to have a short-term "tactic"!

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
I think you underestimate party-building at the local level (0.00 / 0)
I thoroughly agree that we need to build up liberals at the local level, but in California at least, there are already a lot of great liberal Democrats at the local levels, who can at least graduate to the House or even the Senate. (For some reason, once Democrats run statewide is when they start becoming unattractive.)

[ Parent ]
I'm not counting on Obama to honor anything! (0.00 / 0)
Dump Obama is crude and rude.  There are two points to it:

(1) establish our capacity to punish, instead of playing the eternal Charlie Brown; and

(2) build independent left organization off the challenge.

SpitBall is right about this being a long-term project.  But as they say, today is the first day of the rest of your long-term project!

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Long term (4.00 / 1)
I also reiterated that long term is a good way to think.

Challenging Obama (or any other politician running for office) from the left in all possible campains is a short -term plan that appears to synergize with the longer term goals.

One can agree or disagree with you intentions - but you've attempted to lay out both short and long-terms plans.

The short-term plan from Rosenberg appears to be a "holding pattern" designed to last until we can manage to create a liberal/progressive media and change the culture of the US. I'm not certain that plan is viable, as the Democrats that he expects to fly in this holding pattern fall over themselves to move to the right.



"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Hmmmm.... (4.00 / 3)
I don't see having a primary challenger as a totally bad thing. I think it could possibly help make Obama more accountable.

Yes (4.00 / 1)
and it would make it impossible for Obama supporters to personalize their attacks. General, left-wing disatisfaction.  

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
Some thoughts (4.00 / 1)
It seems to me that the folk at Open Left that champion a dump Obama agenda would obviously want to challenge him from the Left.  But the poll suggests that it would be attractive to Hillary Clinton supporters in 2008.  I can not see anyone dissatisfied with Obama here happy with a Clintonista challenge.

There's also been some discussion that we need a primary challenge from the Left in order to move Obama to the Left.  The assumption is that Obama would move to the Left to not let this challenger cut into his base on the Left.  I seriously doubt that.  It seems to me this would give him the ultimate in triangulation; the chance to run against the Left and prove himself the reasonable Centrist.

Educate, Agitate, Organize, Mobilize, Act!


some replies to good questions (0.00 / 0)
As I've said above, Dump Obama is crude and rude, but it can establish our capacity to punish; and build independent left organization off the challenge. If we work like hell at it.

We seem to live in world of Godzilla movies.  2 monsters fight it out while we run screaming down the streets. But that's not the entire picture.

The poll is a static snapshot of the moment.  Of course Hillary supporters would be a major factor at the moment, if only from inertia post-2008.  But to me the most significant feature of the poll is that primarying Obama now breaks into the mainstream, and the fight has only begun.

My thinking is based on what we can organize, not what Obama will do.  We need to educate, agitate, organize, mobilize and act! as one wise commenter put it.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Thanks for calling me wise (0.00 / 0)
but my wisdom is that primarying Obama will not accomplish any of the following:

1) End up with an Obama win but he's been forced to the Left.  No, he'll remain Centrist while using somewhat progressive rhetoric.  He's less likely to move to the Left with a primary challenge from the Left.

2) End up with a different nominee who's more progressive who will then win the election.  It's more likely that Obama will win the nomination.  Even if a progressive did beat Obama it wouldn't mean progressives took over the party, it would mean progressives split the party and a fractured party with an insurgent nominee would do even worse than if Obama won the contest.

3) End up with a stronger progressive movement, even if we lose the nomination and/or the election.  Look.  I don't want to vote for Obama ever again.  I feel sick at the idea of supporting a Neo-Liberal who is widening the illegal war on terror.  But my wisdom tells me that Paul is right and the underpants gnome theory describes the Dump Obama movement.  I think we need to do something, but looking for a candidate to primary Obama doesn't appear to me after serious reflection to get us where we want.

We won't change things by finding the right knight in shining armor to ride the right horse into office.  It's a system wide problem.  Plus that's making the mistake of thinking the solution is top down, if we just got the right guy or gal at the top.  We've got to movement build from the bottom up and change the system and the narrative.

We need to do movement building.  We need to do things to make us more powerful in the party.  We need to do long term work to counter the narrative.  We need to build structures that wage politics not as electoral spectacle but as ongoing struggle in making legislation.  I keep coming back to building Unions as the proper structure for that impact.

Educate, Agitate, Organize, Mobilize, Act!


[ Parent ]
I see an Obama challenger as complementary to, not conflicting with, liberal movement building (0.00 / 0)
Let's face it, the Presidency is the most high-profile political office in the country and running a primary challenger is the way to put our "there is something to the left of Obama!" message through a megaphone.  It might be the only way to get media attention as well; the national media won't cover an intense State Senate primary race somewhere.

The right kind of liberal primary candidate can clearly and articulate not just the case against Obama, but the case for old-school liberalism, in a way that no one's done for probably thirty years.  If we want to achieve electoral success, we have to win the hearts and minds of the American people.  This will be done at the grassroots level but also at the heights of the electoral process where strong messages can inspire future generations of liberals.

Finally, having some primary challenger on the ballot would at least give us the comfort of having someone else to vote for besides Obama.


[ Parent ]
Okay then (0.00 / 0)
I'll ask the question I remember myself asking when this kind of stuff first came up.  I never got an answer, not even at FDL.

Who are we going to primary Obama with?

......

Right now I'm thinking of Chris Matthews asking Michele Bachmann if she intends to now have the House investigate Democrats for un-American activities and she answers by answering a different question.  Then he keeps asking and she keeps not answering.

I'm also thinking of Lawrence O'Donnell interviewing the leaders of the Tea Party organizations and asking them over and over to tell him one specific item in the U.S. Budget they'd like to cut and all they say is that we must cut discretionary spending but never saying what they are going to cut.

......

So I'll ask it again.  Who are we going to primary Obama with?

Educate, Agitate, Organize, Mobilize, Act!


[ Parent ]
I don't know (0.00 / 0)
and to my knowledge I don't recall you ever asking me that question before.

I think at the very least there should be someone else on the primary ballot besides President Obama, who is to Obama's left (and is not Lyndon LaRouche or one of his followers).  That person could be Joe Schmoe that no one's ever heard of.  Just give me someone else to vote for besides Obama.

After that, if someone can actually do well and even beat Obama in the primaries, that's be awesome.  I don't know who that person is yet.  Nor do I think that's the priority right now.  The priority right now is to educate as many Americans as possible about the left's case against Obama, and what real liberalism/progressivism is and why it's better than anything we've gotten in the past thirty years.


[ Parent ]
You're Paying Too Much Attention To Facts (0.00 / 0)
My fiendish plan is working!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I think your scheme depends upon folks on the left tolerating (4.00 / 2)
Obama's proving he is a "reasonable  Centrist". It works because he is relatively certain that, no matter how far he moves to the right, as long as he maintains his "Democratic Party" label, the left-wing of his party will fall into line and continue to cast their votes, $ and effort in support of him and his neo-liberal agenda.

How does leaving Obama unchallenged NOT end up in the same place?


"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
But Obama is wrong (4.00 / 2)
A static snapshot tells us very little other than that a primary challenge or challenges are in the works.

The factor that won't go away is that -- in a Democratic primary -- his maneuvers put him to the right of the base.  Catfood commission, all that.

His only hope is that progressive leaders can whip the base into line through playing up the Republican demons, and  actively suppress a left challenge.  I don't think it will work.  Those progressive leaders will end up abandoned.

The question abuzz here is no longer whether there will be a primary challenge, but what kind or kinds of challenges.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Facts (0.00 / 0)
the poll found that just 3% of 2008 Obama voters had a "very unfavorable" view of him

don't matter to you at all, do they, Jeff?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
More facts (0.00 / 0)
The poll showing that 29% of those supporting Obama in the primaries (per HuffPo) think he should face a primary challenge don't matter to you at all, do they, Paul?

Allow me to speculate a bit, as there are many questions that the poll didn't ask.

I assume, for better or worse, that the questions were asked in the sequence published.  So my question is, when the primary question was asked, did the answers reflect an opinion that the respondents ALREADY HAD?  Or, given the relative lack of coverage of the primary issue to date, is it the case that the poll was the first time the respondent had considered whether a primary challenge was a good thing?  Thus functioning as something of a push poll?

Or a combination thereof?

You may have noticed that there has been a lot of media coverage concerning tomorrow's elections.  In 2 days, speculation over the meaning of tomorrow's results -- particularly what they mean for Obama's future -- will heat up even more than it has already.

At that point, the talk of primarying Obama will become general.  Then we'll see how it plays.

No need to repeat what I've said on other comments on this thread -- I assume you've gone over them with a fine-tooth comb.  The main conclusion I'm drawing is that Dump Obama (or primarying him, for you polite folks out there) is going to be a mainstream issue, there is plenty of time for candidates to enter, and my hope is that progressives can make at least one of the challenges that I think likely to happen be a progressive one.

As Chairman Mao said, you gotta be in it to win it!

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan


[ Parent ]
Right (4.00 / 1)
You may have noticed that there has been a lot of media coverage concerning tomorrow's elections.  In 2 days, speculation over the meaning of tomorrow's results -- particularly what they mean for Obama's future -- will heat up even more than it has already.

Seems to me that such a situation is a place for the progressives to work on "learning to crawl" by trying to influence (dare I say, "set"?) the narrative of what these election results mean for the future - near AND long term.

I have yet to hear anything about how the progressive wing of the Democratic party plans to approach this opportunity.

I'd suggest watching the Tea Party infused GOPpers (and a few Dems) and measuring their performance relative to the establishment GOPpers. Did steeping with the Tea Party help or hurt the Conservatives? If it helped - attack the extremism, if it hurt - point out the extremism of the Tea Party. In either case, paint the Tea Party as the divisive element and attack their extremism.

All of that seems somewhat obvious, but I expect the "left" to get caught up in finger pointing about who is to blame for their losses.

What is the progressive narrative on this election? How do you plan to use these results to synergize with the long term goals?

Its bigger than Obama, sure, but Obama is not insignificant.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."


[ Parent ]
I want to look at the numbers on women voters (4.00 / 1)
The polls say that women's votes -- once a bastion for the Dems -- have dropped to even with men's.  Stupak?  I don't know.

For the wheel's still in spin And there's no tellin' who That it's namin'. -- Dylan

[ Parent ]
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