Changing Of the Guard

by: Chris Bowers

Thu May 08, 2008 at 15:15


Just like Mike earlier today, I would also like to compliment Matt on his outstanding Obama's Consolidation of the Party article last night. Unlike the previous two Democratic presidential nominees, Al Gore and John Kerry, Obama has not only won the nomination campaign, but he has actually built a huge infrastructure within the party. The Obama infrastructure is enormous, and is the first intra-party movement to have surpassed the infrastructure built up by the Clintons over the past two decades. The Dean movement from five years ago was the first major threat to the Clinton power base in the party, but only the Obama movement actually surpassed it. This build-up was a necessary move on Obama's party, since otherwise it would have been impossible to defeat Clinton in a grueling, virtually 50-state campaign.

So, unless Obama somewhat surprisingly does not become the next President of the United States, the Democratic Party will experience its first changing of the guard since the late 1980's. What differences will be in store? Here are the three major changes I expect:

  1. Cultural Shift: Out with Bubbas, up with Creatives: There should be a major cultural shift in the party, where the southern Dems and Liebercrat elite will be largely replaced by rising creative class types. Obama has all the markers of a creative class background, from his community organizing, to his Unitarianism, to being an academic, to living in Hyde Park to shopping at Whole Foods and drinking PBR. These will be the type of people running the Democratic Party now, and it will be a big cultural shift from the white working class focus of earlier decades. Given the demographics of the blogosphere, in all likelihood, this is a socioeconomic and cultural demographic into which you fit. Culturally, the Democratic Party will feel pretty normal to netroots types. It will consistently send out cultural signals designed to appeal primarily to the creative class instead of rich donors and the white working class.

  2. Policy Shift: Out with the DLC, up with technocratic wonks. My sense of Obama and his policy team is overwhelmingly one of technocratic, generally less overtly ideological professional policy types. We should see a shift from the more corporate and triangulating policy focus of the Democratic Party in the 1990's, and see it replaced by whatever centrist, technocratic policies are the wonkish flavor of the month. It will all be very oriented toward think-tank and academic types, and be reminiscent of policy making in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's. A sort of "technocratic liberalism" that will be less infuriating than DLC style governance, but still not overtly leftist.

  3. Coalition reorganization: Out with party silos, in with squishy goo-goos. In addition to a shift in culture and policy focus, I also expect a different approach to coalition building. A long-standing Democrats approach of transactional politics with different issue and demographic silos in the party shift toward an emphasis on good government (goo goo) approaches. We will see lots of emphasis on non-partisanship, ethics reform, election reform instead of on, say, placating labor unions, environment groups, and the LGBT community by throwing each of these groups a policy bone or two. Now, the focus will be on broad, squishy fixes that are designed to appeal to several groups at once. George Lakoff wrote about this a couple months ago.

I know this is all pretty vague, but it does sum up my basic sense about the coming Obama administration and Democratic Party. Overall, instead feeling like Blue Dogs, Joe Lieberman and media pundits are running the party, it should feel kind of like PIRG, but a bit more right-wing, academic and well-to-do. In other words, PIRG without seeming like DFHs run the show. That should be an upgrade from the 1990's, but expect quite a few times where progressives will need to take oppositional stances.  

Chris Bowers :: Changing Of the Guard

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From your keyboard... (0.00 / 0)
...to God's terminal, or something like that.

I would like to see this come about.  Point 3 is harder sell though, since the old way is easier to fund to follow and to keep tabs on.


Actually... (0.00 / 0)
I got too excited about the DLC leaving the house in my comment.    But I think points 1 and 2 will be tempered by the need for point 3 to really work.   I think if point 3 fails hard, there's nothing to keep 1 and 2 afloat besides cool branding and that won't last forever.

In a sense, I thought Howard Dean kind of embodied the best possible 1-3, by making 3 count the most.

I think that progressives would have an easier time inserting themselves for a few good scores in your predicted world, but you are right, we won't own it.

But of course I'm no expert.


[ Parent ]
Chris is wrong... (0.00 / 0)
...absolutely wrong on #1 and his conclusions.  The democratic party has been, and always will be the people's party... not a party ruled by some sort of rich elites.  That is the Republican party.  If this election has shown anything, it has shown that ordinary people... giving small sums of money... can have their voices heard and make a difference.

Personally, if Chris is right, I'm not sure how much more different we'd be from the Republicans, except without all the "cultural" pandering.

I don't want that at all... The party should never be taken away from the people....  All we are doing is feeding into the false stereotypes that the Republicans have been throwing at us...  and it's also a guaranteed losing strategy for the future.  That doesn't mean we pander to blue dogs... Blue dogs  do not work for the interests of their constituents...  What it means is that we continue to progress economically and socially...  with everyone on the same page...

I'm a creative class type, and I feel that I share the same values and principles with the blue collar workers... that's what makes us Democrats.  That's what makes us win.

Fortunately, I think you are totally off base, but it feeds into the lies that the Clinton campaign and GOP feed into voters heads to turn them against us.  So, please stop.  We are all in this together... our goals are shared, not mutually exclusive.

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 ]
While I think you are wrong in the specifics... (4.00 / 1)
I agree with you that Chris seems to be missing something in #1, but I think its more that he has missed what the elite have represented in the party for the past two decades rather than the suggestion that the party was ever truly a party run by the people and not by 'elites'.

I really think the party was being run like the Republican party in that the grassroots was dumped for corporate/wealthy fundraising and the elites of the party catered increasingly to that group in policy.  They kept the 'cultural pandering', and certainly seemed to do little to actually advance a more liberal culture, but in the end that left us with a party that increasingly ignored the blue color types who didn't care as much about protecting affirmative action or the right to choose, but did notice that the party sucked up to business and sold the worker down the river for corporate donations.  While I don't think the party has ever gone as far as the Republicans in selling out labor, it was enough for a lot of blue collar types to leave the party and vote on socially conservative issues rather than pocketbook issues.

Perhaps I am just to jaded and cynical to think of nation-wide political parties ever being truly 'of the people'.  There are by necessity elites who run things and make decisions based on a different set of criteria than what any particular individual or grassroots group might want. They have always made decisions, both good and bad, that have gone against the broad will of the party base.  

In a similar vein Obama has sort of shown the holes in the whole netroots medium as message concept of grassroots politics.  He has basically created his own group using the medium that potentially constitutes an elite outside and immune to grassroots pressure.  That is not to say that the netroots has no power, but relying on the medium as the message and suggesting that this will lead to catering to creative and netroot types in terms of policy is not a given.  


[ Parent ]
Chicago style national machine (4.00 / 4)
Two things.
One:
I just realized that Hillary's chance to be president was 2004. The Clinton's played it safe and are now paying the price.

Two:
We may be tending towards the Chicago nouveau-machine model of politics. Daley, born on arbor day, is a bicycling, tree-hugging sort of guy who has loaded up his regime with creative technocrats. Like Obama's machine it is very message discipline and top down.

Indeed if we are in the midst of a huge political shift and implosion of the Republican brand/party then even the one-party state system of Chicago may become the national model.

Jeff Wegerson


good one (0.00 / 0)
Also, Daley presided over a huge reverse migration back into the city, by all races.     With the lack of manufacturing, an Obama era might be very urban-oriented, which I think was implicit in Chris' post.

I also hear you on the one-party machine state.   If would be interesting to compare the new school Daley machine with the Clinton network/machine.


[ Parent ]
She would have gotten my vote in 2004 (after the collapse of Dean). n/t (0.00 / 0)


End this war. Stop John McCain. Cindy McCain is filthy rich.

[ Parent ]
Even more food for thought, re:2004 (4.00 / 1)
Illinois is the state where Hillary Clinton was originally from, and she would have had a very easy ride of it in the Democratic primary (I suspect) if she decided to move back and challenge for Peter Fitzgerald's seat in 2004, instead of going to New York (where she had no roots) in 2000.  She also may have done wonders for her presidential ambitions in 2008 (though I suspect she'd get a lot of criticism for running after serving four fewer years than she actually has), considering Barack Obama would currently be a relatively unknown State Senator rather than the most popular politician in the United States.

[ Parent ]
A minor point (4.00 / 1)
but Obama is United Church of Christ, not Unitarian.

Montani semper liberi

one other minor point (4.00 / 4)
Obama was well known as a shopper at the Hyde Park Coop.

[ Parent ]
LOL (0.00 / 0)
Recommended, just because...

[ Parent ]
This Is A Reference To His Mother (4.00 / 1)
My parents were Unitarians, too.  Means he got a better deal as a kid than his children will, probably.

"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 ]
His children are gonna grow up in the White House. (0.00 / 0)
That's a pretty good deal.  And I don't think they'll be having to sit through church of any kind on Sunday mornings either.

; )


[ Parent ]
So that (0.00 / 0)
explains it ...

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Thanks, Sadie (0.00 / 0)
You saved me the work.  

[ Parent ]
What I'd add (4.00 / 4)
to your analysis, is an examination of what house and senate gains can/will mean.

Also, what is going to happen to the GOP?  

That's as big of a factor in the new Democratic Party as Obama's quirks, style, and advisers.


What did you guys drink? (4.00 / 2)
The Executive is only the Executive (if he gets there).

All this talk of complete transformation is nonsense. The well dug in Dems in congress are not going to give up their power 'silos' for Obama. Hell, lol, Lawrence O'Donnell and Aaron Sorkin showed us that much. No Dem President in modern times has had carte blanche with either house - EVEN BUSH with his own Party and there is no one more lock step than the GOP. Certainly the Dems don't come close.

If people really think that Obama is going to control all the money and way of thought in congress and in State Houses and Governors offices then The Left blogosphere just fell off the face of the earth.

Seriously if you guys really think that some of these Senators who have been in office almost as long as Obama has been on earth are going to fan him with Palm Leaves then well...

My take is that they are going to roll Obama whenever they can. And I'm talking about Democrats! There are going to take Obama to school if he gets too pushy.

No Obama is not going to rule the world. He doesn't write bills, or budgets and if he stars vetoing his own parties bills then have fun with your one term Barack. Nor can he remove lobby money from congress. Yes he can remove lobbyists from the WH but he will just have the Executives of those Corps in their instead - we all know that.

About the infrastructure. Dean had one. From what I see Obama has the same thing but it grew bigger which was going to happen with one candidate or another. The thing is this infrastructure everyone is praising is ran by independent operators. Other than the money part which is all in-house Obama the rest is fragile and will breakup just like Dean's did. You see many of those heavily involved are young which is why they have the time right now to devote. But they aren't getting paid. They are in it for the passion. But after the party is over they will move on. And does anyone really think those who ate pork and beans so they could send Obama $166 are going to continue to eat pork and beans forever and keep sending in the money? I don't think so. Let's see - Keep sending Obama my money or take Suzie out and get...

As I said in Matt's thread, which many people echoed in their own posts, what is being talked about in the blogosphere is Fantasy Land.

Obama is not going to be coroneted. He will wear no crown. Bush tried that and failed. Only one man ever got crowned in  DC and that was "Reverend" Sun Myung Moon on March 13, 2004 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

There is only room for one messiah in DC. LOL


[ Parent ]
you're on a god damn roll (4.00 / 1)
again with a well argued post. you're good when your not talking about HRC v BO.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

[ Parent ]
Same passion (0.00 / 0)
different subject.

[ Parent ]
Recc'ed (0.00 / 0)
for the Sun Myung Moon line. That was killer.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
I've become fascinated with what's going to happen to the GOP (4.00 / 1)
Their party, as it stands, is simply unsustainable. They got blown out in '06. They look like they're going to get blown out again this year. They've produced a tragicomically extremely unpopular president. And every demographic trend in the country is working against the way their party is currently constituted (as has been thoroughly documents by Bowers and co.).

Meanwhile, their primary featured not one but two insurgent grassroots would-be party-changing candidates with clear appeal to significant and dissatisfied chunks of the party base, in Huckabee and Paul.

I have no idea what that party will look like even in 2009, but another blowout is surely going to rattle their foundations enormously.  


[ Parent ]
Incredible, insightful, diary. One of your best. (4.00 / 1)
These predictions really get my hopes up and make me feel good. If everything you says comes true, I will be politically satisfied (in the short term). I think they are spot on and I have no reason to doubt or quarrel with any of them.

Compared to what we have now under Bush, these seems like an enormous step forward. And like Chris said, I think it will also be better than what we had in the 90s. It won't be our net-roots progressive bottom-up utopia, but at least everything our government does won't seem totally insane and we will have some common ground when arguing our message.

I think electing Obama was a neccessary step for the net-roots in the right direction. Once hes elected, I, and I'm sure many of his supporters will continue to pressure him to be more progressive. And once hes done being President, I will surely push for an even more progressive President next time around. Compared to Bush (or McCain), this is an enormous step forward.

Personally I don't see how he could possibly lose to McCain. He is infinitely more charismatic and they'll be on TV together all the time.

End this war. Stop John McCain. Cindy McCain is filthy rich.


Agreed (4.00 / 3)
I think Obama will end up being a huge transformational figure in terms of influence and getting a machine going but, as much as I like him, I think he'll ultimately be more important for the changes he makes possible for the next president.  Not really a comparison I particularly like, but Reagan will probably end up being the best comparison; he wasn't able to make nearly the changes he wanted to, but what he really did most successfully was make it possible for the people who come after to make the big generational changes.

He's got a lot of exceptionally talented people in his corner (Samantha Power, for example) with some great ideas, and they'll all be able to present some very DFH ideas in a very non-DFH, technocratic manner that'll be palatable to a large chunk of the population and fed to them in bite-size morsels.  But bite-size morsels are bite-size morsels and I don't know if Obama will be able to make any huge, sweeping changes or indeed if he really wants to.  He'll have a much more dramatic effect on the electoral landscape than on the policy one.

That said, if he's as good a president as we all hope he'll be, then he'll have paved the way for the next president to make a hard push for solid progressive with a polity that's much more ready to hear it.


[ Parent ]
The future vs. the past (4.00 / 3)
This was a calculated risk on Obama's part, but smart one: suspecting (probably correctly so) that there was a certain percentage of 65+ year old Democrats (representing 15-25% of the overall nominating electorate, depending on the state) who would simply not vote for him no matter what, he decided to gear his campaign explicitly to the 18-49 demographic, and slightly less so 50-64.  

While clearly never writing off older voters, I think the combination of HRC's more overt appeals to older voters and dismissal of younger voters (young people don't know what hard work is, college voter suppression in Iowa, etc.) and the themes of Obama's campaign (multi-racial, empowerment, bottom up, grassroots, citizen-oriented) created the perception that Obama was the future of the party, and cared about the 18-30, 18-49 demographics.  As someone who is 21, and did feel slighted by some of HRC's tactics (but also by some of Obama's other ones), there was a certain safety I felt with Obama's campaign, because as Chris points out in #1, I was "reached out to" and was far more similar to Obama in my personal background than to Hillary.

My 80 year old Democratic grandmother still drops the phrase "colored people" without thinking about it.  She has no real animosity towards black people, despite her language, and I don't if or how she voted, but I suspect she would have felt a certain "safety" with Hillary, as I did with Obama.  While it is entirely possible that lots of 65+ year old voters had other reasons for supporting Hillary much more than they supported Obama (the longer life spans of females being prominent in my thinking), there was a natural safety I suspect they felt with Hillary Clinton, one that Barack Obama could not break into.  

So while there was some risk to a strategy that was not comparably oriented to that of HRC, in terms of appeal to 65+ voters, he got the votes he needed to win, and if he wins the presidency, it will be all the better for the party.  18-49 voters, and especially 18-30 voters, are generally more progressive than their parents, and exponentially more progressive than their grandparents, and they are the future of the party (and many of them don't even know it yet).  Most people decide that they're with a party well before 50, and usually before 30, and with an Obama candidacy, it's entirely possible that we're building a stronger future of young, progressive Democrats who feel empowered with our party.  Just due to the benefits of longevity as compared to those who are 65+, they are far more likely to cast a vote for Obama's re-election, to cast many (hopefully progressive votes thereafter) and eventually run for office themselves.  

I could be completely right about this, or completely wrong, politically.  But here are some quotes regarding 18-25 year olds, from a Pew survey of their social and political views (their might be a more recent/issue specific one):

2004 Presidential vote: Kerry 56, Bush 43
Homosexuality should be accepted or discouraged: 58 accepted, 32 encouraged
Immigration strengthens the nation, or burdens it: 52 strengthens, 38 burdens

And my personal favorite...

Party identification:
48 Democratic
35 Republican

http://people-press.org/report...


yes (4.00 / 5)
I see it that way also (as a 37 yr old woman).

I would also point out that the under-50s are really being forced to look at poltics from a survival point of view more than ever before.  With global warming, over population, food supply being hi-jacked by corporate interests,empire economics, diminishing educational opportunities, healthcare atrocities, etc....the stakes are more obvious.  We also have better access to information which really brings home the fact that we are in bad shape.

Because we have information and access to unrevised accounts of history (& the present), we are also cynical.  We should be cynical.  But that can lead to apathy and a shit load of escapism....that is why I think the "hope" message is resonating with some.  We need some hope in order to be motivated to try and change our future.  Obviously Obama sees this and is running with it, should be interesting to see if it works.  


[ Parent ]
A Return to the Failed Policies of the Early 1900s (4.00 / 5)
As I wrote several months ago--Obama is an early-20th Centrury progressive, not a post-Vietnam one.  The former focused a great deal on process, and trusted that substantive equity would naturally follow.  The downside of this is that these policies have already been shown to fail.

I'm not saying that they didn't do anything good.  But I am saying that they were inadequate to the scope of the problems they faced, which meant that they failed in the long run--if not sooner.  A classic example of the failed process reforms of the Progressive Era is the initiative.  California is Exhibit "A" here, so it's not surprising that I raised the original problems in a recent exchange in the comment thread of this Calitics diary questioning the process in its entirety.  While the problem with the initiative, as I lay it out, is not with process per se, but rather with the particular process that was chosen, this is symptomatic of a deeper problem: Without a substantial stake in the viewpoint of "the least of these"--those who desperately need substantive solutions sooner, rather than later, even the processes solutions will not be optimal by their own standards.

I obviously have a lot more to say about this, and probably need to do a diary about it.  But my bottom line point here is that the early 20th-Century progressives failed for reasons that are still applicable today.

"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


Looking forward (0.00 / 0)
to that diary.  BTW, I appreciate your posts as I always learn things from them.

[ Parent ]
And (4.00 / 4)
The Progressives looked pretty similar to the so-called "creative class" that Chris likes to talk about (perhaps for the same reasons that when academics write history they tend to put academics in a good light). A coalition of teachers, reformers, social workers, and liberal religious types. Middle class people that wanted reform but not a revolution. They got a few things done (income tax, FDA, National Parks), but it took a coalition of those dirty working class folks and farmers to actually get some real social justice accomplished during the 1930s.


[ Parent ]
I disagree Paul (0.00 / 0)
I disagree with your statement that Progressives failed.

The referendum system is inherently flawed.  No ways around that.  But the referendum system should not be conflated with Progressive policy.

Being a Progressive/Liberal means that sometimes your policy solutions are going to have ill effects.  You are advocating for a change in the system.  There is no way to know if a policy will or will not work.  So claiming that early 20th century Progressives failed because the referendum system sometimes created bad outcomes is off.


[ Parent ]
Whoa (4.00 / 5)
I think you are off on a few points.

1) Out with the Bubbas - Obama is very supportive of trade unionism. Just because the media narrative is that Obama is on the outs with these groups doesn't make it so. Obama will be trying to revive labor who is the historic best friend of the white working class so they are not going to be on the outs. If you mean Dixiecrats when you say "southern Dems" then I'd agree but that's only a small slice of the modern southern Democratic party.

2) Out with the DLC, in with the wonks. - Out with the DLC, yes. In with the wonks? No. Obama has not spoken favorably of the social engineering projects of the Democratic majorities of the 70s. His pragmatism and anti-wonkism shows in his refusal to include a mandate in his healthcare plan. His cap-and-trade with auction isn't a wonky fix, it's hardcore pragmatism. The entire point of addressing global warming is to solve the problem, not get close but fail by a half measure. The difference in healthcare is a partial success still helps millions of people where a partial success in global warming leaves billions of people far worse off. I think of Obama as a hardcore pragmatist, not a wonk.

3) Coalition reorganization: Out with party silos, in with squishy goo-goos - The "squishy goo-goos" are definitely part of the old power structure in DC. They are more interested in complaining about ethics then working to build a better government. I don't see Obama using these organizations at all. He'll go straight to the people as he did with the public whip count that drove Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd into the light when they were blocking the "Google for Government" earmark database pushed by Obama and Tom Coburn. As for partisanship I think there will be a very similar amount of intransigence in the Congress but Obama will seek to detach the intransigence on ISSUES from party loyalty. He'll enable Republicans in Congress to issue good governance legislation against the will of their leadership.  Obama will encourage the GOP space to regroup as a true ideologically conservative party and that will make it harder for Democrats in the long run. I think the more ideological members of the GOP (Brownback, Coburn) will be empowered to break with the hack leadership (McConnell) and offer their own legislation that finds backing across the party aisle. That's not mushy bipartisanship (which IMHO Obama was never about), that's governing. The Middlemongers like Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins who try to find the most moderate view as portrayed by the DC establishment are going to have a tough time in the Obama administration because he's actually interested in things getting done besides the awarding of Liebermanesque bipartisan street cred.  

John McCain


nice comment tripleJoe (4.00 / 1)
And trademark Middlemongers ASAP.

I'm enjoying this post and threads.


[ Parent ]
"harder for Democrats in the long run" (4.00 / 1)
Just to clarify -- I mean Obama will end up helping the GOP purge it's own reflexive cronyism, pay-for-play pork, and dog whistle bigotry. I think there is political space in the future for a kind of hybrid GOP libertarian/business party that seeks to provide a more minimal social safety net with smaller government. If the GOP figures out a way to fill that space in 2012 or whenever then Dems will probably have a tougher time holding a big majority in Congress. All of this would be good for the nation but it would make the future harder for Democrats because Obama will have forced the GOP to make modernizing changes to it's message that make it more palatable to a majority. Think of Obama as Thatcher, a catalyst to produce the equivalent of Tony Blair's New Labor, only for the GOP.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
I agree with most of your post (4.00 / 1)
Just one point of disagreement: there is a bigger space for social conservatives in the Republican party because 'they' are more of a true 'they' than these business libertarians. And where else are they gonna go?

Just because this would likely cement the Republicans into the minority for the near term future does not mean there is no space for them. It's just that their destined space is a might smaller than that reserved for the growing big tent that is the Democratic party.


[ Parent ]
Agree with 3joe (4.00 / 2)
Chris' post is a good one, but I also quibble about some of the categories.  

1)  "Out with the Bubbas"  The only Bubba in the party leadershipn  is Bill Clinton, at least by his roots.  All of this "white working class" stuff is drivel.  The DLC folks, who I think you are talking about, are corporatists who turned the party AWAY from the actual working class and toward the (mostly upper) middle class and business.  I agree that Obama will actually be more pro-labor than Hillary.

2)  Here you've got the DLC, correctly.  But the opposition isn't with "wonks" so much as "triangulators" and small thinkers.  Agree that obama is above all a pragmatists.  But contrary to many here, I think Obama is going to think big, at least bigger, especially on issues like global warming.  (I suspect he leaves health care more to Congress.)  But he won't be wedded to the solutions of the past, but will be trying new ideas.

3) If Obama's styrategy is what I think it is, he will offer the GOP and conservative Dems a chance to be at the table, then will go over their heads to the people if need be.  Bsically I concur with 3joe's explanation on this count.  That's what i've always believed Pbama was about.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


[ Parent ]
Can we please get this "dream" ticket crap out of the media? (4.00 / 1)
This may take a massive step back if Clinton makes her way onto the ticket...

Not to be too picky... (4.00 / 4)
to his Unitarianism

Obama is not a Unitarian, he's a Congregationalist (the older name for the United Church of Christ, especially in New England, was the "Congregationalist Church").  The Unitarians were a "modernist" group that split from the Congregationalists in the early 19th Century over the  doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.  The Congregationalist/United Church of Christ maintained the orthodox Christian position on those issues, and basically falls under the category of "mainstream Protestantism."

It probably isn't a big deal, but, considering the "Obama is a secret Muslim" rumors circulated by right-wingers over the past few months, we should be clearer on his actual religious position.


His Mother, I Believe (0.00 / 0)
Not being big into candidate bios, but I recall hearing this.  

So, since this has come up, I just Googled a bit and came up with the congregation she attended: East Shore Unitarian church.

"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 ]
PAUL (0.00 / 0)
I have to admit, sometimes I have no idea what the hell you are saying (one of you other posts here), but when I do get it, I'm usually impressed.  I can't believe you took the time to look up Mrs. Obama's former church.  Keep writing, I'll do my best to understand and feel confident that you have done your research.

[ Parent ]
Very nice (0.00 / 0)
I think this is much more on target then Matt's post referenced, which i think ignores the natural trend toward fragmentation that comes with victory. Anyway, on the above, gosh darn it, this sounds pretty good. Goo goo reform is great for progressives in general. I think adding to #1 I would say its also the end of the Baby Boomber generation, yes we'll still have to suffer through their raiding Social Security and Medicare, but they are on the way out. Amen!

Yes, there will be times were we'll have to take opposition stances, but we're going to have a lot more energy for doing so too since we likely won't have to waste so much time fighting on so many fronts like we had to from 2003-2007.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


Does anybody REALLY think the CorpoRats are gonna lose (0.00 / 1)
their ability to block anything they wanna block in the Senate with 41 votes?

The most optimistic forecast I've seen puts the very TOP number of (nominal) Senate Dims at 57. And the INCLUDES the likes of the Loserman, the Nelson boys, Ms. Lincoln and Tim Johnson (why were folks so desperate that he recover?), and a couple more fence sitters (both Byrd and Rockefeller are unreliable). Dims keep, probably increase their (nominal) majority in both Houses, but effective control will remain in the hands of the CorpoRats, their minions, toadies and lickspittles.


We were desperate for him to recover (4.00 / 8)
because we're decent, considerate, compassionate human beings.

[ Parent ]
Obama drinks PBR. . .eww. . . (0.00 / 0)
Sorry, I had to add a bit of snark.  Aside from the "Blue Velvet" cultural reference, I never understood the PBR thing.  

yeah (4.00 / 1)
I mean, I'm a Obama supporter at this point, but the PBR are thing is just so annoyingly trendy. PBR was vintage cool ten years ago, its like when people started listening to Beasty Boys when Sabotage on Ill Communication came out, when Pauls Boutique was what established them as genius 6 years earlier. Actually Ill Communication is a lot better than PBR. But you get what I'm saying.

Aside, picking up a quip Matt dropped yesterday, I think with the substantial demographic shift Obama is bringing to the Dem party that from now on we should talk about politics in band metaphors.  

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare


[ Parent ]
No Time to Hate in 2008 (0.00 / 0)
Grateful Dead

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


[ Parent ]
Gary Hart finally beat Walter Mondale (4.00 / 2)
Not sure if it's totally apt, but I've considered Obama v. Clinton to be a rematch of Hart v. Mondale--Young "new ideas" technocrat against the entrenched party elder.

Will be interesting to see how it plays out on the policy side.


Hart won a long time ago (4.00 / 1)
Gary Hart's "new ideas" became the basis for DLC policies and basically the entire Bill Clinton presidency.

[ Parent ]
Soylent Green (0.00 / 0)
sounds more appealing than your vision of the future.  I may have to sit this election out.  I'm sure Obama and Donna Brazile won't miss me.  They seem to be living in a different country than I do.

Good points, but a major offensively one.... (4.00 / 2)
Instead of saying Bubbas, why didn't you say White Trash.  Your comment in this particular area is no better than Faux News' Fred Barnes saying that working class is a euphemism for low class folks.  To paraphrase an earlier post, bubbas, not creative types, won us the 40-hour work week.  Hailing from the working class, what I really like about Obama is that he worked as an organizer with working class folks dislocated in the Chicago rustbelt.  Most creative types don't even know a working class person.  At least Obama doesn't truck in your gibberish.

Bubbas aren't only in the South (4.00 / 6)
Bubbas are code for working class folk.  Like me.  And my mom and dad and the rest of the family.   And you know what, they are pretty cool folk. All of them are solid union Dems right now.  But that could change.

I've got to know, just what is wrong with wanting to make sure that the people whose sweat and tears keep this county going are taken care of.  Isn't that what being a Democrat is.  Am I wrong here.  WTF.

If there is no working class how can there be a creative class?  If there is no one making the furniture, houses, appliances, picking the food and milking the cows just how are YOU going to make it in life.  

What is wrong with you.  How have you become so callused?  What kind of sick person gets their jollies from kicking working folks when they're down.  I used to think that you had some really neat ideas on how to bring us all together but right now I don't know whether to be sad and disappointed or enraged.  If all you're thinking about is yourself then how are you different from the Republicans?  Really, I'm serious.  Just how different from them are you?


Where was the negative tone in Chris' post? (0.00 / 0)
It was a description of a cultural change in the party leadership that is likely to happen - not even an endorsement of it as a goal. How you get this:

I don't know whether to be sad and disappointed or enraged.  If all you're thinking about is yourself then how are you different from the Republicans?  Really, I'm serious.  Just how different from them are you?

...from this post I do not understand.

[ Parent ]
I'm talking about (4.00 / 1)
the throwing of the working dems overboard.  Bubbas and Southern Whites, that's the working class.  You otherwise know them as the Archie Bunker voters, Lunch Box Dems or White Trash.  While there are racist people in working class I'd like to point out that there are racist people in all classes.  The "Creative Class" has this misconception that the reason that the "Working Class" doesn't vote in large drove for Senator Obama is because they are racist.  This isn't the truth at all.  They don't vote for him because the don't believe that he has their best interests at heart.  He talks down to them.  To me.  Insults them, knowingly or not.  And this post just confirms the derision that the "Creative Class" for those not like them.  Which is funny because they make mock the "Working Class" for the very same thing.

It was a description of a cultural change in the party leadership that is likely to happen - not even an endorsement of it as a goal.

It was an endorsement.  Who are you kidding.


[ Parent ]
"Squishy fix"?! (4.00 / 1)
Seriously, this is parody, right? Stoller, Lux, Bowers, all the commenters -- It's like this "Murder on the Orient Express" schtick where they're all in on it?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
No, just a bad dream (0.00 / 0)
nt

[ Parent ]
elite Dems, not working Dems (0.00 / 0)
I think the problem is that Chris conflated "Bubbas" with southern Dems and Liebercrats, and also with the white working class. On the one hand, I think the derision is basically directed at conservative/corporatist party elites. But the term "Bubba" has a cultural connotation that has nothing to do with elites of any kind, but does connote a certain ex-president. At any rate, its clear that it's the party elites he doesn't care for.

On your reading, on the other hand, he is impugning the working class.

As someone who neither shops at Whole Foods nor bowls, I'm willing to give Bowers the benefit of the doubt.


[ Parent ]
Pseudo Bubbas would've been (0.00 / 0)
a better word. There is nothing working class about Joe Lieberman.

I think he's talking about the Democrats who mouth pious platitudes about sticking up for workers at the same time they are gutting unions, and signing Benedict Arnold trade agreements.

Good riddance to those guys.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Yep... (4.00 / 2)
They are generally the same ones who gut unions and sign Benedict Arnold trade agreements, but then vote for Alito and Roberts, abortion restriction, and flag burning bans.  In other words, they are Republicans with a "D" beside their name.

I have always believed the best way for the Democrats to get back into a generational majority would be swing hard left on the economy and generate some real economic justice. Much like the Republicans have been able to link their regressive economics to the social conservative values of their base, Democrats could sell gay rights, racial justice, and pro choice much better to a much larger group if they actually pushed economic policy that benefit the majority (hell, 99% of us would benefit with a swing to the left).  Democrats have spent the past 20 years selling out to business just like the Republicans and then losing tight elections on social values.  

My main worry is that I don't think Obama is much of an economic justice type.  Edwards was the imperfect vessel for such a plan, but Obama, with his background, would have been ideal.  


[ Parent ]
Don't get upset, Lisa.... (0.00 / 0)
....I didn't like #1, either... working folk are the base of the party, and our efforts, now and in the future, will be working to improve their lot.

We are all in this together...

But, at the same time, the condescension is purely from your side.  If a person is educated and cultured, he is labeled as an elitist and should not count, by the bubba standard.  Creative class folks have been belittled and berated by the bubbas for 30 years, not the other way around...

No on is throwing away anyone or anything... you will not be only welcome by the party, but we hope that you will have a stronger say...

Bowers is wrong on #1... Ordinary folk, the netroots, et al, will have a greater, not lesser, say in the party.

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 ]
Huh? (0.00 / 0)
If a person is educated and cultered?
 You mean better than other people correct?  Better than me?  No really the derision is on your part.

No on is throwing away anyone or anything... you will not be only welcome by the party, but we hope that you will have a stronger say...

So you admit it.  You believe that you own the party and you will graciously let me in.  Hmm.  But no, I'm the one the is condescending. Riiiiiiiiight.


[ Parent ]
Whoa! (0.00 / 0)
Who said better than you?  Who?  Me?  No, you did!  You just proved my point, that it's the bubba's that are condescending to the creative class types...  I never said I was better than you... ever!  You felt I implied it, 'cos it is what you want to think.

Creative class types and working class types are different, but neither one is superior.  We all share the same goals.  If anything, it's been the working class types that have tried to drive a wedge between us.  Why do you show so much hate towards us?  I'm from a working class family, in a working class town, I've worked the working class jobs...  I managed to get out 'cos it wasn't for me...

Far from condescending, I admire and am jealous of those who have a strong back and the energy to work those 12 hour factory shifts.  I wish I had that physical strength.  I don't... God gave each of us unique and different gifts (yes, I'm religious, too.. are you falling out of your chair, yet?)

But, yes, I must be "elitist" somehow... I don't think I am better than you, but it's pretty clear that you think that you are better than I.

And, yes, I used the nominative case there... that way, I can be the "elitist" you so crave me to be, and you can then bash and belittle me like most Americans do, 'cos I took Latin in Catholic high school.  "Regular" folks wouldn't talk that way...  C'mon!  Show your condescension!!!  I'm just a worthless elitist!  Call me a snooty nerd!!

C'mon!!! You know you want to!!  It's been that way for 30 years... That's what Republicans have been doing to the party as a whole... ripping into people who went to school...  and now, Clinton democrats are doing it, too...  which is ironic, since she went Wellsley, can't pump her own gas, or even make her own coffee....

Stop bashing us... we're all in this together...  I'm fighting for you... so stop fighting against me!

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 ]
More... (0.00 / 0)
...I can't stop, 'cos your post made me so mad...  After hearing for 20 years about the "evil" liberals from Rush Limbaugh et al, this year I had to hear it from half of democrats...  Why?  We've been belittled for so long... SOOO long... and I never thought I'd hear the same thing from the members of the party that I support.  

And then Hillary channeled her supporters to hate us, too... Why?  'Cos I went to college?  'Cos I'm rich?  Well, that's laughable... I'm not even close... The union factory jobs around here pay way more than I get... college means a lot less in terms of earnings than a lot of people thing....  So, what is it to make you  hate us so much?  I know why Rush Limbaugh types hate the educated, but Democrats, too?

et tu, Brute?

Oh, yes... Shakespeare.. here come the "elitist" insults again...  I guess it should probably be a crime to even have books and libraries, right?

30 years of being insulted and belittled by Republicans for being the "smart kid" is more than enough for me...  I'm tired of it... Chris Bowers is tired of it... If you feel that you don't get respect from us, it's 'cos you don't give any towards us...

We're not so different, you and I... stop trying to drive a wedge between us...  Let the Republicans do that...

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 ]
and bubbas run the world, (0.00 / 0)
right?

Seriously, what does that mean "the condescension is purely from your side?" And coming from a guy who fancies himself "Lord Mike?" If your comment doesn't just ooze condescension and arrogance I don't know what does.

I have a feeling you could learn a little something about what it means to be a Democrat from working class people.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
I was working in a factory... (0.00 / 0)
...while you were still in diapers... Don't tell me about being working class...  I know it better than you... I also know that I was ostracized and shunned by my community 'cos I went to college...  Care to explain that, miss reverse elitist?

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 ]
Man your post reeally made me mad! (0.00 / 0)
Another comment...

My username is a inside joke... I am hardly a lord or anything close...  you'd be suprised at how "regular" I am...  Unlike, Hilary, I can pump my own gas and make coffee...

I find the double standard interesting... the "regular folk" can complain and moan about how they've been mistreated by "elitists" (when there is no evidence to that effect), but when the "creative class" types complain about the very real attacks on the intelligentsia in our country by the right, we are the ones being condescending?  Please!

Tell me, what makes you so superior to us that you have to belittle us any chance you get?  We don't belittle you... quite the contrary, we've tried very hard to work together...  yet, the condescention from your side is palpable...

And yes, I used a big word... I guess you'll bash me now.. call me an elitist nerd... you know you want to... want to put me in my place... It's cool... I've dealt with that stuff since I was in grade school... The smart kids are never liked... It's why this country has gone down the tubes... We supposedly value education, but then society bashes those who are educated.  No wonder the country is going to hell in a handbasket.

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 ]
You've lost me here: (0.00 / 0)
the "regular folk" can complain and moan about how they've been mistreated by "elitists" (when there is no evidence to that effect)

I don't know where you've been for the last thirty years while the conservatives waged total war on the middle class. If you somehow missed that, well there's nothing I can say to you now that will change your mind.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
The conservatives did wage war... (0.00 / 0)
...on the middle class... they also raged war against the supposed "elitists", who, by their definition of who elites are, tend to be even poorer than the middle class...  So, as democrats, we are all one and the same, and we've been beaten up equally....

That's the point I'm trying to make... we're not separate, we are the same... we are democrats...  a diverse party full of different people, but with the shared goal of common prosperity for all.

Let's stop fighting against each other...  I apologize if I slighted you in any way.  It was not intentional.  I want to work together... ok? :-)

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 ]
I hear you. (4.00 / 1)
Actually, I suspect your story is probably close to my own. The smart kid, the nerd who didn't fit into the working class culture he/she grew up in, and fled as far as he/she could as soon as possible.

In my case anyway, this led to ambivalence and a certain amount of survivor's guilt. I have a nice life now, with nice things and nice people -- but what about the ones I left behind? They weren't all mean or bad. Many of them are just as smart as me, just as deserving. But I am the one who got out.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
We are very much alike!!!! (4.00 / 1)
Wow!  Your story is almost exactly like my own.. and yes, I know that I got VERY lucky... it had nothing to do with grades or school, but I found someone who believed in me and gave me a chance when no one else would... If not for him, I'd be still delivering pizzas or something, even with all my hard work at school...  Knowing how difficult it is to get the American Dream nowadays, I am very empathetic to those who are struggling... I've been there at the bottom of the world...  I want everyone to get their chance, too...

That's why we are democrats!  :-)  That's why we should stay united!

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 ]
?? (0.00 / 0)
Are Conservatives and Elitists the same thing?

Although I don't share Lord Mike's bitterness - I know where he's coming from, in some circles all a college degree will get you is a sneer.  

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


[ Parent ]
Duh. (0.00 / 0)
Conservatives are the elites who learned to marginalize Democrats by calling them "elite."

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Bubba's do run the world... (0.00 / 0)
...Look at the current president, look at all the republicans in congresss, the supreme court, the blue dogs, corporate CEO's...  compare that to the number of "elites" that you complain of... you'll find that the ratio is strongly in the "bubba's" favor...

But, keep playing the victim card... and keep bashing the smart kids who are just trying to make a better life for themselves, their families, and other fellow americans who have been left out of the dominant "bubba" culture in 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 ]
Surreal (4.00 / 2)
I'm reading this again today, along with Matt's post, hoping I see it in a different light than I did the first time I read it.  No such luck.

My God, you guys are not who I thought you once were.  

If what you are predicting is true, then our Orwellian national nightmare is not even close to being over.  In fact, it might be just about to get worse.

So this is the "bottom up" that Obama has been talking about?  Except it's not.  It's really top down.  Hmm, okay.

I guess I'll be painted as an out of touch, old school person who is resistant to change.  Except you'd be wrong. I'm the same age as Obama. Having been in science and technology for 20+ years, my whole life has been about change and I embrace it, when I believe it's honest and positive change.  That's not the vibe I'm getting here.

Have you no concerns about such consolidation of power into so few hands?  Have you no concerns about handing the presidency in its current BushCheneyMongeredUnitaryExecutive condition to a small group of people who are telling donors to stop donating to other grassroots organizations and who are monopolizing "the data"?  

The Bubba thing is really offensive.  You're talking about a lot of good people who really just want a decent life and don't want much more than that.  We need to start making things in this country again and we need decent jobs that people can be proud of.  We need stronger unions as a balance of power.  We can't outsource every damn thing.  If you're ready to throw the working class, middle class demographic out the window, along with many women and other demographics, then you've lost me too.  

Good God, I can't even believe this.  Unless I'm really missing something here, the so-called Creative Class is losing their collective creative mind.

Last week, there was much hand wringing about how the Obama campaign has ignored and shut out the netroots.  This week, you've somehow received the "vision".  Or is it the koolaid?    Did they finally pay attention to you and this is the result?  Wow, this is quite surreal.

And yes, I know, you don't need my vote.  I hear that loudly and clearly.


I think that Chris has been misunderstood... (4.00 / 1)
...or at least I hope so.  One thing is for sure, he's very wrong... especially on number 1.  I think he's projecting his reaction to all the liberal hate that has been projected at him... at us... for so many years.

Don't worry, Joann... It's not how he sees is...

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 ]
Agreed... (4.00 / 2)
I understand your frustrations Mike...I have had the same feelings for the past three decades that intellectuals are somehow being blamed as the root of our problems in this country.  

But to me this is purely a framing argument we are having. Where its the 'Bubbas' vs. the 'Creative Class'.  One term is undeniably pejorative the other a positive and neither are defined for the casual reader and people are jumping to conclusions.

Not sure where Chris is pulling Bubbas from and my first take was that he was somehow talking about blue collar whites.  I would never use 'Bubba' to describe pro-business, white collar intellectuals that make up the DLC which has been running the party all these years.  Perhaps many of the DLC-types are the less racist remnants of the Dixiecrats, but Joe Lieberman is not a Southerner and Bubba would be the last term I would attach to him.  Chris should have just stuck with corporatists and DLC'ers, unless he really means something different than our reading and really thinks the party has been run by Southern blue collar types.

I also hate the term 'Creative Class' because it suggests those occupations not covered by the term are 'Uncreative'.  Just because someone likes to work with their hands doesn't make them uncreative anymore than programming a computer correlates with someone being creative.  White collar Democrats or Liberals is probably the best term.  Most white collar Republicans are in business, while most white collar Democrats fall under the occupations defined as the so-called 'Creative Class'.

There is definitely a potential rift in the blue and white collar divide in the party that we shouldn't ignore in this semantic argument.  Many of the party's current problems have been cause by a wing of the white collar end of the party (pro-business) and Chris is suggesting a shift to the other wing (the culturally liberal white collar end).  I think the real shift needs to be to a coalition of blue and white collar democrats based on economic justice.  The culturally liberal side of things usually is an easy side benefit of economic prosperity, but in difficult economic times they can become wedge issues if there is no real fundamental offer of economic change from one party or the other.  


[ Parent ]
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