Obama Campaign Post-Mortem

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Oct 29, 2007 at 20:00

This should have been obvious to me:

Obama's campaign now says that McClurkin only wants to cure the unhappy gays. (The rest of us are, I guess, fine to continue trying to kill America's children.)(…)

So David Duke's only problem, per the Obama campaign, is that he villifies the happy Jews and the happy blacks?

Keep digging, guys. Obama keeps making clear that he hasn't learned his lesson, he doesn't understand what he did wrong, and he will continue to coddle those who attack our community so long as it wins him votes and money. His own staff admitted as much to the Washington Post:

This isn't simply a mistake, despite what I first wrote. If the Obama campaign is not only keeping McClurkin as the headliner of the concert, but also issuing memos defending his views, producing videos endorsing McClurkin before the event, and then allowing McClurkin to emcee the event, it is pre-meditated, not a mistake. Chalk this up as about the 2,257th time that I gave a high profile Democat the benefit of the doubt, and was then proven wrong. I should have seen it coming.

In fact, while it is always hard to predict the future, there are a number of things surrounding Barack Obama and the 2008 horserace pointing to his eventual downward slide and Clinton's eventual rise that I feel like I should have seen coming. I explain this all in great detail in the extended entry, but here is the short version:

  1. Barack Obama was never going to run as a partisan progressive or Democrat, and was always going to chastise progressives in right-wing frames whenever he was challenged by the left. His past statements showed a pattern of this behavior that should have been obvious.

  2. Given his relatively high support compared to his name ID, and his natural base among both working class African-Americans and the under-50, progressive "creative class" of the Democratic Party, he clearly had the best chance to defeat Clinton from the start of the campaign. In fact, he might have had the only realistic chance.

  3. Unless the underwent a dramatic transformation, bullet point #1 was always going to destroy Obama's chances with the under-50, progressive "creative class" in #2, which would in turn destroy his ability to defeat Clinton. The only candidate with a clear shot to defeat Clinton was always going to repeatedly undercut and otherwise press the "self-destruct" button on his own coalition. In the end, the result would be Clinton domination as the Obama coalition scattered among the rest of the field.

Seriously, I feel like I can see it all now, and should have seen it from the start. For some reason, I either willfully ignored, or simply failed to piece together, all of the warning signs. In the extended entry, I explain this all in much greater detail.

Chris Bowers :: Obama Campaign Post-Mortem
#1: Obama made it clear he would not run as either a partisan Democrat or a partisan progressive from the start.
Back on Sunday, playing on the whole "what happened to the Obama of 2004" theme, the Carpetbagger Report notes we should have seen that Obama was not going to run as a partisan from the start:

I went back and listened to Obama's whole convention speech again this morning to see what, exactly, was different. I noticed a few things. Most notably, Obama really hasn't changed his message that much at all. I think the question, "What happened to the Obama we saw in 2004?" actually gets the broader dynamic backwards - Obama's campaign may be struggling a bit in part because his message is too much like the 2004 speech.

If you have a few minutes, go ahead and take a look for yourself. Obama's message was inspirational, but it also underscored a variety of themes, including an emphasis on unity and hope. There was barely a hint of red meat in the speech. He didn't mention George W. Bush once. There were no references to Dick Cheney or congressional Republicans. Indeed, his only reference to the GOP at all was this: "Fellow Americans, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, I say to you tonight: We have more work to do."(…)

As it turns out, though, voters may not be looking for the 2004 Obama at all. Voters, particularly the Democratic rank-and-file, aren't so much interested in unity. Demonstrating a willingness to work with rivals across the aisle isn't necessarily a selling point.

We should have seen that Obama wouldn't run as either an ideological or Democratic partisan from the start. His 2004 convention speech made that perfectly clear. We should also have seen that a bruised and battered Democratic activist base, after years of defeat, being called traitors, and inability to get Republican to compromise on anything at all, wasn't exactly willing to just throw their hands up in the air and say to Republicans:

Homer: Why you cotton-pickin'--[strangles Cletus] [to himself] No, I gotta pass this class for my kids. [to Cletus] Son, let's stop the fussin' and the feudin'.
Cletus: I love you, Pa! [weeps]
Homer: I love you, Cletus! [weeps]

That wasn't going to happen, even though it would have helped Obama if it had. Democrats, especially the under 50 progressive creative class portion of the party, don't just want conservatives to finally stop attacking them so everyone can finally all hold hands. Instead, for once, they actually want to win. Unfortunately for Obama, he offered them milquetoast unity instead.

Now, in reaction to being pushed by the progressive base on McClurkin, Atrios notes the many ways that Obama lashes out against progressives:

Aside from the adoption of right wing frames, this kind of statement is incredibly insulting to both the LGBT community who are apparently "hermetically sealed from the faith community" and to the "faith community" which is apparently defined as nothing more than a bunch of anti-gay bigots. Not to mention the Democratic Party, which apparently includes no actual religious people.

It's really just insulting to everyone, with a touch of "shut the hell up I know best."

This isn't new. Obama has done this before. In fact, during 2006, he repeatedly engaged in the long-standing practice of chastising progressives for not being nice to people of faith:

Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats on Wednesday for failing to "acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people," and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans.

"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters," the Illinois Democrat said in remarks prepared for delivery to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty...

At the same time, he said, "Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square."

As a result, "I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy."

That was not an isolated incident:

We're now in a packed room at Eastern Illinois University. A woman stands up and tosses Obama what I assume she thinks is a bit of red meat. What, she asks, does the senator think of the pervasiveness of religion in public discourse these days? Obama doesn't take the bait.

"No one would say that Dr. King should leave his moral vision at the door before getting involved in public-policy debate," he answers. "He says, `All God's children.' `Black man and white man, Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic.' He was speaking religiously. So we have to remember that not every mention of God is automatically threatening a theocracy.

Obama has long criticized the left for being hostile to Americans of faith whenever he was pushed on this topic. In fact, he often made such criticisms without even being pushed. As such, there was no reason to expect that his reaction to criticism of choosing McClurkin, or really his reaction to any progressive criticism, would be any different. If Democrats and progressives criticized anything in his campaign that had to do with faith, those same Democrats and progressives would simply be told that they aren't properly reaching out to people of faith. At the same time, he has consistently failed to offer progressives and Democrats any red meat, no matter what Republicans would do or say. This is a clear pattern for Obama. We should have seen it coming.

#2: Only Obama Had a Serious Chance to Defeat Clinton
I was a little more on top of this one, as nine months ago I wrote the following in a post entitled Calling Bullshit On The Blogosphere's National Trial Heat Narrative:

Considering that Gore is just as well known as Clinton, but is a whopping 23% behind in national trial heats, his deficit clearly has nothing to do with name recognition. Edwards also trails Clinton by more points in national trial heats (19%) than he trails by in terms of name recognition (16%). At this point in the campaign, he [Edwards] is further behind Clinton (19%) than Dean was behind Lieberman (18%), even though the name ID gap between Edwards and Clinton (16%) is just one-third of the name ID gap that separated Lieberman and Dean (48%). Of the "top tier," only Obama, who trials Clinton by an average of 13% in trial heats, and 33% in national name recognition, is much further behind in name ID than he is in national trial heats. Thus, right now it appears that only he is a position to catch Clinton in terms of name recognition alone.

By contrast to the current campaign, Kerry, Edwards and Dean all had Obama's opportunity to pass Lieberman in 2003 purely through higher name ID. Importantly, all eventually succeeded. Four years ago, among the candidates who at one time or another occupied the "top tier," only Gephardt trailed Lieberman by more in national trial heats than he trailed by in terms of name recognition. Instructively, unlike Kerry, Edwards and Dean, he [Gephardt] never succeeded in clearly passing Lieberman in national trial heats. It is not a stretch to argue that candidates like Gore and Edwards face similar problems to Gephardt--actually worse--since their relative name ID / trial heat deficit is worse than Gephardt's (especially Gore's). And we all know how Gephardt's campaign turned out.

The lessons here should be clear. First, simple comparisons of Clinton's poll lead in early 2007 to Lieberman's lead in early 2003 do not hold up under scrutiny. Her lead in national trial heats in much larger than Lieberman's, despite a smaller advantage in name recognition (at least when compared to the so called "top-tier"). This means her lead is far more difficult to dismiss. Second, as I have indicated in the past, Obama is clearly in the best position to move up nationally, as he is in second place in national trial heats, despite being in last place among the "top tier" when it comes to name recognition. It also helps that he has a substantial netroots following, which will be a significant driving force behind any further upward movement on his part.

At the start of the campaign, Obama was the only candidate who led Clinton according to the "known universe metric." That is, only Obama had a higher percentage of support among people who knew him (42%) than did Clinton (30%). No other candidate even had half of Clinton's "known universe" score. This meant that increased name ID wasn't going to help anyone except for Obama and, counter-intuitively, Clinton. According to the "known universe" metric, the more likely people got to know every candidate, the more likely they were to support Obama and Clinton. As such, barring something truly spectacular, basically only Obama had a realistic shot of winning the nomination besides Clinton as the campaign wore on.

Obama's big chance was based his potential to forge a coalition of working class African-Americans and the under 50 progressive "creative class." This was, in fact, the coalition Obama built to win the 2004 Illinois Senatorial primary, as I saw up close in Chicago during the final months of that campaign. It wasn't even just a question of issues. Obama's particular appeal to this younger, urban, well-educated, wealthier generation was particularly natural and strong because it was primarily identity based. As I argued eleven months ago:

I think Obama, simply in terms of his demeanor and his biography, strongly appeals to politicos from a new generation and a new socioeconomic class because he strikes them in some sort of gut, intuitive level as being from that class. Multi-ethnic, post-Vietnam, highly educated, raised in a major urban center--these are many of the cosmopolitan, self-creating, forward looking aspects of life for many younger professionals. As much as we may or may not like Bill Clinton, coming from a little town in Arkansas is not a story many Americans can relate to anymore, because we just didn't grow up that way. Even John Edwards's story of growing up in a mill town when the mill closed seems very, very rustic for a northeasterner such as myself, since our mills closed down sixty years ago to move to places like North Carolina. These rustic visions of America simply are not where people are at these days, especially news junkies and activists within the Democratic Party and the bluer parts of America. Those people instead look to places like Harlem, where Bill Clinton now keeps his offices. People moving into the gentrifying areas of Harlem probably like Barack Obama quite a bit, and probably feel some sort of gut-level, identity-based connection with him that they can't even quite put their finger on at this point.

I can't quite put my finger on it either, but the rise of Obama, I believe, is largely based on a new vision of personal identity that will inevitably come to impact our national political discourse. Whether or not his speeches and policy ideas continue to live up to that identity remains to be seen, but it does give him an edge on the rest of older, predominately Baby Boomer field that, generally speaking, will not trumpet their urban or multi-ethnic roots. If he can continue to tap into this new identity and socio-economic wave, his campaign will be difficult to defeat, especially if it is combined with strong African-American support. A coalition of African-Americans and the professional, creative class (both within the netroots and the party establishment), would be a devastating coalition in a Democratic primary that I am not sure anyone could defeat.

It wasn't long before this characterization was demonstrated in actual poll numbers. The first major demographic crosstabs on the Democratic primary were released by Pew in late April. While Obama was trailing Clinton by 10 points among African-Americans, he was close enough to keep the overall campaign competitive. His real strength grew elsewhere. Relative to Clinton, at the start of the campaign Obama's best demographic categories were, in order, seculars (Obama +25 over Clinton), income over $100K (+12), college graduates (+7), Midwesterners (+6), ages 18-29 (+5), men ages 18-49 (+3), westerners (even), Dem-leaning independents (even), and self-identified liberals (-2). Clearly, his best demographics lined up with the progressive "creative class" strain of the Democratic Party that dominates the netroots: skewing male, young, highly educated, secular, and self-identified progressive / liberal. With the exception of the regional advantages Obama held at that time, the netroots oversamples all of the same demographic groups where Obama was leading. It should also be noted that the netroots also oversamples the LGBT community and the Jewish community, both crosstabs that Pew did not supply but I have little doubt started out pro-Obama. How could he have been ahead among all of the above listed groups, and not also have been ahead among those two groups?

Up and down the different demographic groups, Obama was winning the progressive "creative class." That support gave him a national lead in money and volunteers, and also kept him very close in national polls (down only 7.0% in early May), Iowa polls (ahead of Clinton in early May), New Hampshire polls (down only 7.7% in early May) and South Carolina (ahead in early May). It formed the center of his coalition, and he appeared positioned to defeat Clinton because of it.

#3: Obama's campaign undercuts his own coalition
In the first section of this article, I pointed out that Obama has, on multiple occasions, attacked secular extremist strawmen in his public statements. Now, I am not a campaign professional, but given that the Pew crosstabs showed seculars as clearly his best demographic at the start of the campaign, do those attacks make sense to anyone at all? Why would someone repeatedly attack his strongest demographic, especially when that demographic makes up one-fifth of the national electorate in the Democratic primary season? Consider further how that demographic is heavily oversampled both in New Hampshire (one of the five most secular states in the country) and in the key activist / buzz community of the netroots and blogosphere (which is about 40-45% secular in polls I have seen). Attacking your strongest supports seems like a colossally stupid campaign strategy. It seems like the kind of thing someone does if s/he wants to lose. Not surprisingly, given this tactic, Obama saw his early advantage among the progressive creative class disappear by early August:

Clinton has made significant inroads into voter groups that had broadly supported Obama earlier in the year. For example, Clinton now leads Obama by more than two-to-one (41% vs. 17%) among Democratic-leaning independents.

This group was evenly divided at 30% each in earlier Pew polling. Younger voters continue to be one of the core segments of Obama's base, though Clinton has widened her lead from 4-points to 12-points among Democratic voters under age 50. Clinton also has increased her advantage from 9 percentage points to 25 points among voters 50 to 64 years old, while also gaining among those 65 and older.

Ideology looked to be a critical dividing line among Democrats in earlier polling, but the liberal-conservative divide has largely disappeared as the campaign has progressed. In March and April, liberal Democrats were split between Clinton and Obama (32% vs. 30%, respectively) while conservatives favored Clinton by nearly three-to-one (42% vs. 15%). Today, there is virtually no difference between the preferences of these two subsets of Democratic voters.

And while college graduates favored Obama over Clinton by 31% to 24% in earlier Pew polling, Clinton has opened up a 34% to 23% advantage here as well. Still, less educated Democrats remain Clinton's strongest backers.

Even before he screwed up with McClurkin, Obama saw his early advantage among liberals, college graduates, Dem-leaning independents, wealthy voters, and seculars all dry up. He lost the creative class that was one of the two main components of his coalition, and the main component of his Iowa and New Hampshire coalitions. And, not surprisingly, after months of slowly gaining on Clinton in national polls, the trend reversed itself as his coalition fell apart. In early May, only a couple of weeks after the Pew crosstabs were released, Real Clear Politics showed Obama within 7.0% of Clinton nationally: 32.8%--25.8%. From that point on, it was basically all downhill for Obama. Now, he trails 47.7%--21.3% nationally according to RCP, a pro-Clinton swing of nearly 20%. Clinton's lead in New Hampshire has also more than doubled. Further, she has pulled clear of Obama in both Iowa and South Carolina, both states where she once trailed him. Yet further, she has also taken the lead in fundraising of late. Obama tossed his own coalition under the bus, and quite unsurprisingly began losing ground in the campaign as a result.

Of course, Obama didn't blow up his own coalition just by attacking seculars. He consistently blew it through his conciliatory message of unity toward Republicans, and his lack of leadership during the major congressional fights that began really heating up in May. While he was talking about reaching across the aisle and refusing to engage in either ideological or Democratic partisanship, starting in May Democrats and progressives began to suffer a serious of severe legislative setbacks at the hands of Republicans and conservatives. Late May is not only when the first of these defeats took place (the first Iraq supplemental), but it is also the time when Clinton began pulling away from Obama. Defeats like Iraq funding, FISA, habeas corpus, S-Chip, and official condemnations of the netroots began to mount. Instead of leading the charge on any of these issues, Obama kept talking about being bi-partisan and reaching out across ideological and party lines. This language still oozed through his most recent major policy speech on energy, delivered only three weeks ago. No matter what happened, and no matter how angry the progressive, creative class grew with these defeats, this language of unity with Republicans just kept coming from Obama.  In fact, while the group that once formed the center of his coalition was being officially condemned by the Senate, Obama didn't even show up to vote, and issued the following statement

The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements. This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq. It's precisely this kind of political game-playing that makes most Americans cynical about Washington's ability to solve America's problems. By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared.

The Senate was officially condemning MoveOn, by far the largest progressive creative class organization, and Obama doesn't even show up to vote. Talk about shooting your own coalition in the foot. And if not defending MoveOn and seculars wasn't enough, in the McClurkin incident Obama then went on and didn't defend the GLBT community, a group that makes up a double-digit percentage of the progressive creative class. Toss the Joe Anthony MySpace incident onto the fire, and Obama seems to have shot his own coalition in both feet and both hands. Maybe he kept shooting it because it just wouldn't die. I don't think there is any need to worry about that now.

Obama consistently refused to stand up for the people who once formed the heart of his coalition. Further, instead of showing leadership during difficult congressional fights, Obama consistently talked about reaching across the aisle and forming consensus while the other side of the aisle was regularly shooting down consensus legislation on Iraq, FISA, habeas, SChip and much more. How much more hollow could that make his rhetoric sound, especially when he was in the Senate when that all happened? In short, he did nothing that was necessary to keep his coalition of African-Americans and creative class progressives together. In fact, it wasn't even as though he sacrificed one for the other, since he continues to trail Clinton among African-Americans. Instead, he sacrificed the more overtly and naturally anti-Clinton segment of his coalition and made no gains in other areas as a result. This is especially bad when one considers that Obama lost the half of his coalition among whom he was actually winning. This is especially, especially bad when one considers that he cut off the half of his coalition that forms a much larger percentage of the electorate in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Basically, it was political suicide for Obama to not stand up for this segment of the coalition, and to keep preaching to them about the need to froge unity with conservatives and Republicans. He actively brought down the coalition that, at first, it appeared he would ride to victory.

Barring a miraculous victory in Iowa, I think that Obama is done and Clinton is the nominee. I don't see how Edwards comes back with only $1.5M to spend on ads in Iowa. Further, Richardson hasn't made any gains in the state in four months, and everyone else trails Clinton by about 25% in the state right now. Seriously, I think it would take a miracle for it to change. From the start, Obama was the only one with a real chance, but now has just suffered too severe a blow with the white, progressive creative class that he needed to win the state. After five months of losing ground among this group, the vicious, deserved, and nearly blogosphere-wide criticism of Obama today seems like too much to overcome. It is the nail in the coffin for his campaign. He just can't win the primary without those voters, and I don't see how he gets them back now.

It is ironic, really. During 2006 and early 2007, I always thought that the netroots would end up being the downfall of Hillary Clinton's campaign. However, it turns out that losing the netroots has been the downfall of Barack Obama's campaign, resulting in the rise of Hillary Clinton. We did determine the outcome, just not in the way I expected. I think we should have seen it coming, but the future is always hard to predict. While it is disappointing, it doesn't really make me sad. Hopefully, at the very least, the downfall of Obama's campaign will serve as a warning to anyone else in the Democratic Party who wants to harness the activism of the netroots to win, but who distances him or herself from the netroots in order to look palatable to the establishment. You can't throw us under the bus and expect us to still support you forever. If you throw us under the bus, well, there are better things we can do with our lives then continue to support you.

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Post-Mortem? (4.00 / 3)
"Losing the netroots has been the downfall of Barack Obama's campaign"

"We did determine the outcome, just not in the way I expected."

I think your conclusions are approaching hyperbole here. Although I can see why this riled people up, in a practical sense I don't see this as any more than a blip in the headlines, and probably won't factor into the judgement of most voters unless the story snowballs in the coming days. It definitely wasn't given a lot of time on the news shows today - far greater attention was paid last summer to his supposed foreign policy gaffes.

As the polls stand now, Obama is still the Democrat best positioned to beat Hillary, as difficult as that task might be, and I don't see this changing that in any significant way. He may have lost the vote of some of the influential bloggers, but until there's evidence that he has dropped in the polls because of this story, you might want to hold off on the post-mortem.

I think you will see... (0.00 / 0)
...the effects of the netroots as a news source come into play here. It no longer matters very much what the corporatist press are bloviating about as more people now get their 'news' on the Internet than do from broadcast or cable either one.

Where this is really going to kill Obama is with the youth vote and blacks. The younger demographic will recoil in disgust from Senator 'Hope's' pander to the haters of the evangelical base.

Blacks will not appreciate Barrack exposing an issue that troubles many of them to white criticism.

Stik a fork in Senator 'Hate'....he's done.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't say he's done (4.00 / 2)
It remains to be seen what effect this will have in Iowa and SC.  However, I enthusiastically supported him for the past year, and I just don't think I can do it anymore.

I think Obama has incredible gifts to bring to the presidency.  This was evident in his state senate tenure, first book, and US Senate campaign.  Unfortunately, he's let Axelrod and friends totally kill the very qualities that endeared him to young people.

I think he's more preferable than Hillary, but I can't count myself as a strong supporter anymore.

The funny thing is, I thought he would be the first politician since RFK who could take up the cause of justice and win with it.  He's blowing it by trying to be just another politician.

He needs to fire his advisers immediately.  They have been a disaster for his campaign.

[ Parent ]
Rorschach blot (0.00 / 0)
> I think Obama has incredible gifts to bring to the
> presidency.  This was evident in his state senate tenure,
> first book, and US Senate campaign.  Unfortunately, he's let
>  Axelrod and friends totally kill the very qualities that
> endeared him to young people.

Can you say "Rorschach Blot"?  I thought you could.


[ Parent ]
? (0.00 / 0)

I really don't see how Rorshach blot tests are relevant.  I don't follow.

[ Parent ]
Obama is the Rorschach Blot (4.00 / 1)
For the last 3.5 years Obama has been a Rorschach Blot onto which various Democrats have projected their own hopes and desires.  Many of those hopes have been contradictory and none were ever confirmed by Obama.  It was unclear to me from the beginning if he had any actual existence outside those conflicting projections.  IMHO that question has been answered over the last 3 months.


[ Parent ]
I'm sorry but (4.00 / 5)
--- "Blacks will not appreciate Barack exposing an issue that troubles many of them to white criticism" --- is such a bizarre, cynical, and simplistic comment, I don't even know where to begin.

One Million Strong --- Join up!

[ Parent ]
Could you point me to some ... (4.00 / 1)
...statistics that show "more people now get their 'news' on the Internet than do from broadcast or cable either one"?

[ Parent ]
It has already snowballed (4.00 / 3)
Six months ago, Obama led in South Carolina and was ahead of Clinton in Iowa. He was down only 7-8% in New Hampshire and nationally. He was well ahead of Clinton in fundraising. He was positioned to win.

Where do things stand now? Clinton leads Obama, outside the MoE, in Iowa. She leads by 20 in New Hampshire. She leads by double digits in South Carolina. She leads by 25% nationally. It has already snowballed, and Obama has already suffered something bordering on total collapse in the campaign. This story was just the nail in the coffin  to any hopes he had of forging the necessary coalition to win. He blew that coalition up himself, and has been suffering in the polls for over five months now as a result.

[ Parent ]
It's still early. For real (4.00 / 4)
However, it turns out that losing the netroots has been the downfall of Barack Obama's campaign, resulting in the rise of Hillary Clinton. We did determine the outcome, just not in the way I expected. I think we should have seen it coming, but the future is always hard to predict. While it is disappointing, it doesn't really make me sad.
If you'd like someone other than Clinton to be the nominee, name a name and start fighting for him.

[ Parent ]
Obama haS BEEN rising in the poll's in Iowa and is statistically tied with Clinton.

If you believe this anti-gay gospel singer will sink Obama's campaign, then have Edwards and Clinton go to SC and denounce this singer before an all black audience.

What you hate to admit is that their is a large contingent of AA who are anti-gay within their clergy.
This poses a problem for democrats because the AA population makes up 25% of the democratic base.

Many poll's that I have seen have him leading Clinton among AA.

Be very careful in attacking him to hard by a bunch of white boy's, because this could result in a backlash by the AA community.

I have not yet seen any prominent AA leader's attack Obama over this incident.

[ Parent ]
Uh... (4.00 / 2)
...the most recent poll of African-Americans on this subject that I can find - CNN, October 12-14 - puts Clinton's support at 57% and Obama's at 33%. Among black women, it's 68% to 25%. Black men are split about evenly. The African American sample in the poll of 1212 Americans was 307 people.

Got a recent poll that conflicts with this?

[ Parent ]
I must be reading different polling in Iowa (0.00 / 0)
The last poll had Obama WITHIN the margin of error in Iowa. 

Obama is second as he was six months ago, but to Hillary and not Edwards.  He is VERY well organized in Iowa - which is in some ways a better predictor of the final result there.

Hillary's Iowa lead is historically low for a national front runner.  While she has improved in Iowa, there is a yawning gap between her national performance and her performance in Iowa.

THE question on the table is why?

[ Parent ]
Why in Iowa (0.00 / 0)
Obama had staffed up a full quarter before Hillary and has spent about $3.5 million in ads, about twice Hillary's level.  Edwards was established there and has worked the state hard for four years.

The results are fully reasonable.  Obama and Edwards should be doing better in Iowa than they are nationally.  And they are doing better there.

So here we sit, 65 days out from Iowa and 70 days out from New Hampshire.  The elbows have been flying for a while but so far, no dirty tricks.

Obama and Hillary each have so much money I wonder why neither one pulls a Ross perot and schedules a series of shows on Iowa TV to discuss the issues.  Heck, Obama could pull in Oprah as a guest and call it Obama and friends and offer a little politicking, a little talk, and a little entertainment (so long as he stays away from the gospel music show).

[ Parent ]
I don't want red meat (0.00 / 0)
That is part of why I am an Obama supporter and much of why I liked the speech in 2004.  It may be that Democrats are too cranky and too in needs of a bloody battle to vote for someone like Obama, if so I will be disappointed.  I have been disappointed before.

This divide through the heart of America is bad for our country and bad for Democrats.  That is why people like Rove and Gingrich work so hard to divide us because their issues work better when people are partisan and the crowds are hungry for blood.  If America is going to head its rift with the world, we first need to heal the rifts within our nation.  We shall all hang together or we shall all hang separately.

McClerkin is a mistake.  Someone did a really shitty job vetting him and just didn't think before inviting him to an event.  Once the complaint went out frankly Obama staffers didn't understand what the problem was.  We all know that Obama is not homophobic and isn't going to throw the LBGT community under a bus.  We also all know that Obama is religious and part of what appeals to secular and religious Democrats is that he can speak in terms of faith in a way that does not threaten the secular.

When outsiders look upon the netroots during times like this, they call us shrill and conclude that it is impossible to please us.  I don't believe that this incident says anything new about the Obama campaign.  It says that some staffer made a faux pas, and that the Obama campaign didn't understand what we are upset about.

Mostly it says that Obama values the opinion of multiple, conflicting constituencies, and will attempt to listen to them and promote their interests and values when he agrees with them.  If you believe that America will choose the politics of division then you may be right, we have done so before.  I would be disappointed.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

[ Parent ]
Oh dear God!!! (4.00 / 3)
This divide through the heart of America is bad for our country and bad for Democrats.  That is why people like Rove and Gingrich work so hard to divide us because their issues work better when people are partisan and the crowds are hungry for blood.  If America is going to head its rift with the world, we first need to heal the rifts within our nation.  We shall all hang together or we shall all hang separately.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Rove and Gingrich attack and divide because they want to be seen as strong and the Democrats to be seen as weak and defensive. Every year that we complain about the divisiveness of Republicans and appeal for unity, we get our asses handed to us in our own hats.

We all know that Obama is not homophobic and isn't going to throw the LBGT community under a bus.

I don't think that Obama is homophobic, but by giving a McClurkin a mic and a platform on behalf of the Obama campaign, Obama did throw the LBGT community under a bus.

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

[ Parent ]
Impossible to please? (4.00 / 4)
I've heard this a lot, and it just ticks me off more each time. What is so freakin' impossible about asking of our candidates that they ...

Are respectful, at the least, towards the many communities who constitute the Democratic base.

Want to get out of Iraq.

Have a good environmental program.

Support economic justice.

Don't act like jellyfish when confronted by Republicans.

As far as I know, those are all pretty popular positions with Democratic voters at large. They are all preconditions that I think at least a plurality of elected Democrats could meet. I don't see what's so sodding impossible about asking someone running to carry the banner for the entire party to meet basic tests like these.

Where candidates get into trouble is when they start trying to sound like Republicans. And yeah, it's pretty impossible to please the netroots by running as a Republican. But it's also not very popular with the general electorate, among whom voter identification as a Republican has fallen to its lowest point in decades. What's so dang difficult about asking candidates to be Democrats and adopt popular positions?

[ Parent ]
Obama was the 'stealth' candidate for the Right (0.00 / 0)
Wing of the Money Party.

Look for teh healing with:

Clinton/Obama '08!

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

he misunderstood independents (4.00 / 6)
My guess from your analysis is that he misunderstood independents. His campaign was always aimed at independents and African Americans, probably because Clinton did well with the rest of the base. But he used '90s era appeals to independents as moderate swing voters. Two Bush terms have polarized independents, though even before 2000 the moderate swing vote had largely vanished. If his support was in the independent "creative class" (a la the Emerging Democratic Majority) then speaking to them like Perot independents was completely brain-dead.

It's like I'm reading a middle school love letter. (0.00 / 0)
"You can't throw us under the bus and expect us to still support you forever. If you throw us under the bus, well, there are better things we can do with our lives then continue to support you."

Poor baby, the world is out to get us! Let's just take our ball and go home!

The netroots have ceased to be a partisan-but-fair check against conservative Democrats. The entire system is now used to body-slam anyone who isn't Edwards.

Yep.... (0.00 / 0)
and this right here is why:


Neither Obama nor The Hill are what the country needs.

Edwards is.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
body-slam anyone who isn't Edwards (4.00 / 5)
What are you talking about? It certainly isn't this site. Somehow, I fail to remember our endless support of Edwards here, or really anywhere else.

Do you even read the blog on a regular basis? Did you even read this post? You might want to tailor your comments to be relevant to whatever thread you are posting on, rather than using cookie cutter dismissals that vary widely in relevance.

[ Parent ]
Well, ask yourself WHY (4.00 / 2)
To the extent that the netroots really are "body-slamming" everyone but Edwards, you might want to ask yourself why this is the case. While doing so, you might reflect on the fact that Edwards is the only candidate that hasn't sold progressives down the river.

[ Parent ]
Obama (4.00 / 1)
I'm happpy enough to see Obama fall to the margins.  Gives Edwards a better shot at Hilary.

And by the way, I know at least 500 Democrats.  Not a single one of them is enthusiastic about Hilary as our Presidential candidate.  Where are these legions of Hilary supporters?  I can't find a single one.  WTF?

I don't have nearly as many friends (4.00 / 1)
Or at least close friends. But among my twelve or so "circle" of non-political professional friends, three are big Hillary supporters. One likes Kucinich, one likes Obama, one likes Richardson, and as far as I know the rest are undecided. You could simply have an usual sample, or maybe you aren't pushing them enough.

Granted, two of the three people I know who are supporting Clinton are both of my parents. Shows you how small my circle is. :)

[ Parent ]
I meet 50 to 60 folks a month at.... (0.00 / 0)
....Drinking Liberally and only one of them 'likes' Hillary and he doesn't really understand her positions.

For what it's worth I think the Hillary hysteria is a combo of name id and corporatist press propaganda.

We will see if Obama falls in the polls it should get interesting.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
Thinking from "the gut" (0.00 / 0)
... as Colbert puts it. I've run into a few Hillary supporters, and none of them ever articulate their support in terms of policy or positions. It's just a gut feeling as far as I can tell.

To be fair, the whole identity appeal that Obama had with the progressive, creative class is also a gut feeling, but at least there's a feeling of shared experiences like growing up middle class and working hard through college.

[ Parent ]
friends (4.00 / 2)
I have a billion friends, and every one of them voted for Dean in 2004.

[ Parent ]
I know about five active Dems; (4.00 / 1)
one of them would crawl across broken glass for Clinton. She's maxed out. You can't talk to her without hearing a Clinton pitch. She loves her; she identifies completely.

Not only are they out there, but they're formidable. I'm pretty active, more than most I guess, I donate and I write LTEs and I call my Senators and of course I vote. But my friend? SHe's a friggin' dynamo, she's worth fifty of me.

[ Parent ]
Me (0.00 / 0)
Kazumatan raises hand as one of the few out-of-the-closet Clinton supporters that knows more about where Clinton stands on the issues than the average anti-Clinton person.

I you want health care, work hard. If you want universal health care, vote for liberals.

[ Parent ]
Chris, did you even check the source on this? (4.00 / 1)
Sorry, but John Aravosis has been all over this with little more than cheap shots.  The Post article he cites says only this:
The concert was to be the highlight of this outreach and while the crowd left excited, it was clear the campaign still regarded the controversy as complicated. Aides gave reporters a three-page memo detailing McClurkin's and Obama's views on gay rights that noted in capital letters "MCCLURKIN DOES NOT WANT TO CHANGE GAYS AND LESBIANS WHO ARE HAPPY WITH THEIR LIVES AND HAS CRITICIZED CHURCH LEADERS WHO DEMONIZE HOMOSEXUALS," with quotes detailing those statements from the singer.


That's all the chance Obama gets to respond before you reprint his association with David Duke?

I also note that Perry Bacon Jr. is the author of both this superficial analysis and the article which apparently formed the basis of Matt's (and numerous other bloggers') highly misleading attacks on Obama regarding Social Security. 

You are being played.

re: (4.00 / 1)
Obama responded to the controversy on this one by having McClurkin MC the event when he should have pushed him into the background.  He gave McClurkin a platform, which shouldn't have been done.  If he wasn't going to kick him off the tour, he at least should've told him to play his music and shut up.  He also should've appeared at the concert himself.

On Social Security, he picked an odd issue to attack Clinton on.  I don't see anything wrong with his proposals, but he shouldn't frame it as a character issue or one of "crisis."  I think that was Matt's problem with it.

[ Parent ]
Obama didn't frame SS as a character issue or a crisis (0.00 / 0)
That's the problem with the "get Obama" theme that's traveling the internet today.  Check out the AP story (not written by Perry Bacon, Jr.) which clearly points out Clinton's waffling on the issue followed by Obama stating unequivocally: "The underlying system is sound."

On the McClurkin "issue," we'd better not have any type of "Rock the Vote" this election because apparently it's now acceptable to saddle the candidate with any view one of the musicians may have held.  I wonder what Slaughter's position on extreme use of drugs and alcohol might be?

[ Parent ]
Barack never ever called it a crisis (4.00 / 2)
That's just hyperbole.  He said the exact opposite in his statement on Saturday:
In Des Moines, Obama spoke about his solutions for Social Security, and said President Bush's argument that the system is broken and needs an overhaul is an exaggeration.

"The underlying system is sound. The actual problem is a projected cash shortfall that can be readily solved. But the longer we wait to solve the problem, the bigger it grows," Obama said.

Amy Lorentzen - AP 28 Oct 07

Source:  The Associated Press

One Million Strong --- Join up!

[ Parent ]
Obama: SS must be "fixed" (4.00 / 1)
In Obama's own words:

"If we have failed to have a real, honest conversation about Social Security, it will not get fixed.

To say that SS needs to be "fixed" entails that it is broken. He didn't just say we should make SS less regressive; he implied that SS is fundamentally broken.

[ Parent ]
How is he being played .. (4.00 / 2)
if McClurkin actually got up on stage and spouted his crap? ..  It doesn't matter if Obama agrees with McClurkin or not .. if he lets McClurkin spout off at a Obama sanctioned event .. then people are gonna associate the two .. they aren't gonna go digging through the program .. or go run to the WaPo for a buried paragraph

[ Parent ]
What anti-gay things did he spout on stage? (0.00 / 0)
I haven't heard of any.

[ Parent ]
If this statement is.... (4.00 / 2)


Why did he give him a pulpit in his campaign to preach his views from.

Two words:

South Carolina....

Obama's staffers, like many other campaigns, just don't 'get it'. This is a 'Maccaca' moment for Barrack.

You cannot address different constituencies with different messages and get away with it anymore.

And it's even getting harder to 'dog whistle'...all of which is a good thing.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
What anti-gay views did he preach from this pulpit? (0.00 / 0)
None that I have seen printed.

[ Parent ]
Anti-gay comments (0.00 / 0)
The not-so-good reverend said:

"God delivered me from homosexuality."

Such comments, I would think, would be deeply offensive to gays, as they directly entail that homosexuality is some kind of disease or curse that one needs to be delivered from.

[ Parent ]
I doubt he said that at any pro-Obama event... (0.00 / 0)
ACitizen mentioned that it would be highly improper for Obama to give McClurkin a campaign pulpit to preach anti-gay bigotry from.  I agree that it would.  But I don't believe that's what happened.  In fact, it doesn't appear that McClurkin did any preaching on the subject of homosexuality at any Obama event.  Are you saying differently?  Or are you just saying that Obama should be tagged with anything that a musician at one of his fundraisers has ever said or believed?

[ Parent ]
Actually he just did (0.00 / 0)
McClurkin said this at the pro-Obama concert. http://www.americabl...

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

[ Parent ]
Those were his comments at the Obama event (0.00 / 0)
As clarkent pointed out, the quote I provided came from that very event. The reverend has said MUCH WORSE things in other forums, most famously accusing gays of "trying to kill our children" and comparing them to murderers and prostitutes.

[ Parent ]
To follow your logic, Chris ... (0.00 / 0)
Hopefully, at the very least, the downfall of Obama's campaign will serve as a warning to anyone else in the Democratic Party who wants to harness the activism of the netroots to win, but who distances him or herself from the netroots in order to look palatable to the establishment. You can't throw us under the bus and expect us to still support you forever. If you throw us under the bus, well, there are better things we can do with our lives then continue to support you.

How about the next time the Democratic Party throws us under the bus?  Obviously I can live with President Hillary in ways I can't live with President Giuliani/Romney/Thompson/etc.  Not a precise analogy.

But the next time the Democratic Party throws us under the bus, just what do we do?  And you know they will.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

In the immortal words of ..... (0.00 / 0)
Steve Guilliard we:

Fight Back!

And no, I'm not voting for The Hill. Sorry, I just can't see her as all that much better than the others. She looks better...but she would not be better.

Besides polarizing the situation isn't all bad. Better the enemy you know than the 'friend' who will stab you in the back.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
hmmm (4.00 / 1)
This doesn't flow logically.  The "Democratic Party" is an abstraction.  Obama is a man.  We can remake the "Democratic Party" into something that doesn't throw us under the bus.  Changing "Obama" is much more difficult.

It really is as simple as "more and better democrats" with perhaps more emphasis on the latter now that Dems have the nominal majority.

[ Parent ]
The Democratic Party is an organization (0.00 / 0)
I'd say more, but I'm trying to get these tire tracks off my back.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
If you can live with being sold out (4.00 / 1)
If you can live with being sold out because you're more scared of the Republicans than you are outraged at your "allies" who sold you out, then there's not much you can do if the Democrats throw you under the bus. 

But if you think, like the conservatives who backed Goldwater (and Reagan's challenge to Ford in 1976), that no one election cycle is more important than the next and that the goal should be for your ideas to win out in the long run, then you can do a lot.  Run primaries against the Democrats who throw you under the bus.  Don't vote in the general for the compromise candidate.  If Senator Clinton wins and you don't like what she does as President, try and find a Gene McCarthy to challenge her in the 2012 primary.

It's not easy to dissent, but if you're going to hold your nose and vote for whomever the Democratic establishment ordains in the general, then there's no reason for the establishment to listen to you.  They can already count on your vote.

Voter Genome Project

[ Parent ]
Ron, I agree with you 99% (0.00 / 0)
But I can live with Hillary because:

(1)  I don't think there's much that can be done to influence things in the short run;

(2)  There's the old United Front Against Fascism thing; and

(3)  My concern is how we use NOW to organize ourselves to have an impact in 2010.

We have to get off the treadmill.  Being tied to short-term impact means we can never build the momentum for a major leap.

Living in the great state of New Jersey, which I assume is going big for Hillary, whether or not I vote for her depends on whether it rains that day.  :>)

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (0.00 / 0)
I can understand where you're coming from.  I held my nose and voted for Kerry in 2004 because as a then-Manhattanite, I felt that my life was at risk if W and his incompetent crew continued to be responsible for my security. 

It unfortunately turned out my instinct was right that if they stayed in power there would be a catastrophe made worse by their incompetence, much to the misfortune of Louisianans (including members of my family, none of whom were physically harmed but a number of whom lost their homes).

Voter Genome Project

[ Parent ]
Misunderstandings (0.00 / 0)

There are many problems with your analysis of Obama's campaign. The first, and most significant is misunderstanding the power of the netroots. The second is a misunderstanding the constraints Obama placed upon himself as he began articulating his campaign. In any event, why Obama is floundering now, in your eyes, is due to both outside events and the frames the netroots and the traditional media painted Obama's campaign.

First, 2004 showed the limits of the netroots to elect a presidential candidate. Unlike congressional races, more attention is paid toward the primary (and general election), by the public and interest groups alike. A reason why Dean was successful was that he was able to gather a lot of attention during the "invisible primary" season, while the other candidates were expecting a different sort of race. The attention on Dean's candidacy captured the focus of the traditional media - thus propelling him into the lead. Kerry and Edwards were slow(er) to receive attention - and slow(er) to respond to the new campaign. In 2007, every Democratic candidate is waging an open primary in the "invisible primary" season. This makes it unlikely that any one candidate (especially a long(er) shot) is going set the terms of the primary season.

Second, the netroots does not have a clear favorite in the Democratic primary. Front-page authors have publicly refrained from endorsing a candidate, and are quick to criticize any campaign, and the "grassroots netroots" are split between Edwards, Obama, and now Dodd (with a vocal, but growing group of Clinton supporters). Also, over the past year, there appears to be a narrowing of what it means to be "progressive" - with the emergence of a litmus test that many diarists subscribe to (most prominently on the issue of residual forces). This makes it easier to find flaws in any of the candidates.

Jumping from the netroots to the campaign, I believe that you do not understand the difficulties Obama faced from the beginning, and the tightrope he needed to walk in order to beat Clinton. What has happened over the year is that Obama's message of transcending politics lost to a practical belief that we (as Democrats) need to win this election. As such, we are drawn to leadership - bold pronouncements denouncing the Republicans (now) - instead of putting faith in a new kind of politics or that a new kind of (progressive) politics is possible.

The second reason why Obama is failing to make this argument was that he was accused from the beginning, by both the traditional media and the netroots, of not putting meat into his stump speeches. People wanted to know his policies from the beginning of his campaign, and he was unfairly compared to Edwards (usually by Edwards supporters) as not having any substance. That frame caught on. In the netroots, people are surprised and react positively to Dodd's statements on the AG, telecom immunity, and other positions of leadership, while Obama usually does not get the same credit when he does take a stand. That being said, Obama has played it cautiously (nearly too cautiously for me), in taking a sharp position on the issues that progressives care about. Another frame that the netroots has bought into is the blurring of Obama and Clinton. Opponents of Obama charged from day one that Obama would compromise on progressive (or Democratic) principles, and would be a repeat of the Bill Clinton DLC years. I think that any neutral analysis of Obama's history and voting record would not bear that out. These two frames have doomed Obama's standing in the netroots.

Additionally, Obama's post-partisan politics is also pragmatic, for the moment. He, nor any other Democrat, benefits from attacking Clinton. Primaries should be ideological battles, not personal ones. In this sense, the issue that would harm Clinton the most would be that she is much more of an elitist (and tied to Washington) than the other Democratic candidates. However, the more she is torn down by the left (on extraneous non-issues), the more likely it is for Democrats to not get excited about the general election. Already, Republicans are running against Clinton as the incumbent, while Democrats (especially with Clinton as the nominee) to ensure that the failures of Bush are on everyone's minds when they vote.

going to address one part of this (0.00 / 0)
"First, 2004 showed the limits of the netroots to elect a presidential candidate. "

No.  In 2004 the netroots was still a toddler.  In 2006 it hit adolescence.  It might never reach adulthood, but it's pretty clear it was far from its potential in 2004.

[ Parent ]
minor clarification (0.00 / 0)
"In 2004 the netroots was still a toddler.  In 2006 it hit adolescence.  It might never reach adulthood, but it's pretty clear it was far from its potential in 2004."

I agree with you about the power of the netroots has grown, and is still maturing, but as I mentioned in my post, in 2004, the netroots (around Dean's campaign especially) had more unopposed path toward influencing the terms of the primary season and which candidate to support. Now that every candidate is running a two-year campaign (to the general election), other interest groups are more willing to come forward earlier and influence the framing of the campaign.

[ Parent ]
If Obama wante dto communicate what the 'new politics' (4.00 / 2)
was going to be, he had ample opportunity to.  When he actually spoke, it seemed like the new politics of hope seemed pretty damned identical to Bill Clinton's type of leadership.

[ Parent ]
Obama's greatest weakness is not leading (4.00 / 2)
He has been such a waffle-weenie-see which way the wind is blowing Senator on the most important issues in the Senate, (aka: typical Democratic Senator) that I can't support him.

His votes (when he did vote) ended up on the correct side, but has he ever been first to take a stand on Iraq, FISA, anything?  Clinton hasn't either (which pisses me off) but she's the frontrunner, kicks butt in the debates, and has shown that she doesn't need the net-roots supporting her as long as they aren't against her.

John McCain won't insure children

[ Parent ]
Iraq 2003 (0.00 / 0)
I'd like to know if Obama was the first in the State Senate to oppose the war, or if he was going with the flow to pander to his legislative district?

John McCain won't insure children

[ Parent ]
For the progressives what results do you really want? (4.00 / 4)
I want a better future with a government that is not run by the corporate elites and representatives the kowtow to business when they are supposed to take care of the people's interests.

I do think the system is rigged and Edwards is the only one really speaking out.  He gave a major policy speech today and not one major blogger is featuring it.  Why is that?  His policy proposals set the agenda for the Democratic and some of the Republican primaries.  Health care, middle class economic issues, unions, and even leaving Iraq wouldn't be discussed if Edwards was not in the race.  Obama was not bringing the progressive agenda forward. 

However Edwards now is clearly stating why all these problems are there

And the truth is the system in Washington is corrupt. It is rigged by the powerful special interests to benefit they very few at the expense of the many.  And as a result, the American people have lost faith in our broken system in Washington, and believe it no longer works for ordinary Americans. They're right.

Edwards approach may not be the traditional one, but what we need is a new and more transparent one that owes its win to the people.  At the very least I would think the bloggers could analyse what he is saying.  I, as a progressive am so dissappointed that key people think that the money issue cannot be overcome in creative and ethical ways in order to get his message out.  I agree it is a huge challenge, yet I really believe he can win over Clinton.  And if he did progressive agenda would be decades ahead of where we will be if Clinton wins the nomination.  I am not willing to cede the nomination to Clinton at this time.  I really wish others weren't so willing to do that too.  If she wins, she wins and I will deal with it at the time.  But I hold out the possibility that we can have a more healthy result.

Edwards speech today gave me hope that we could have a president that really cares about people and would create the political climate to allow positive change in how the country is run.

Join other progressives at EENRblog

whatever. (4.00 / 2)
1) What makes you think that we need a partisan Democrat in order to win the General Election? Is it the polling numbers that say voters would rather have someone who can work across party lines to get things done than someone who is staunchly partisan, by a margin of 39 points? Because that, well, just doesn't make any sense.

2) Exactly how many under 50 creative class people vote in the Iowa caucus? Last time I checked it was something like 67% over the age of 65. Obama needs old people, not bloggers, to win Iowa.

3) This: "If you throw us under the bus, well, there are better things we can do with our lives then continue to support you."

So that's it. The blogosphere is just another single-issue constituency, just another mouth to feed, as opposed to the noble force for change in this forward-thinking progressive movement you often pride yourselves as being. That is incredibly sad.

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards.

Jenifer (4.00 / 4)
You are practically the only Obama supporter I've met online who is actually capable of engaging in dialogue and debate with non-supporters.

Don't get me wrong, I know there must be many other people like you, I just haven't met them.  But just because I have encountered you, I have a higher opinion of Obama than I would otherwise.

On the other hand, this recent incident gives me a significantly lower opinion of Obama than I previously had.  I was skeptical, but I never thought I'd be quite this appalled in quite this way.  Put simply, Obama just doesn't seem to get what it really means to treat gays and lesbians with respect.  He is trying to explain to them why they shouldn't be offended.  And that is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

This is why I think you're terribly mistaken when you say:

So that's it. The blogosphere is just another single-issue constituency, just another mouth to feed, as opposed to the noble force for change...

This is so mistaken. Obama has taken countless pot-shots at the blogosphere.  I remember when he took one of his first shots, Kos commented on it--and the fact that people weren't the least bit angry with him--with an attitude of "Wow! This guy must be the real deal! He doesn't pander, and we love him!"

The sad truth is that Obama has done this repeatedly over the past couple of years, and it's finally just gotten old.  I honestly was more willing to forgive him taking pot-shots at secular folks like me than I am willing to forgive him taking pot-shots at religious gays by denying their existence.  I'm sorry, but I just have way too much respect for the likes of Mel White than to sit quietly by and watch him be disrespected like that.

I don't know how characteristic I am in this respect, but I have a strong feeling I'm far from alone. The netroots really is a place of community, and people do learn to care for each other, to care for those who are ostensibly different from them, but whose stories move them nonetheless.

And so that's why I think that the netroots response is the exact opposite of what you take it to be.  It is not self-interested, but other-interested.  Obama has turned his back on "the least among us" one too many times.  It's time for him to start reading the Bible, and stop hitting people with it.

I do not blame you for continuing to defend Obama. I can see how he may well have fed a very deep hunger in you.  I think a lot of people felt that way, to varying degrees and for varying reasons.  It's extremely difficult when someone speaks to and feeds a deep hunger, to recognize that there may still be something wrong, or missing in them.  Yet, we all know that it is the most natural thing in the world for children to love their parents, regardless of whatever faults or flaws they have.

Sooner or later, this is a lesson we all need to learn--we are the ones we are waiting for to save us.

"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 ]
Nobility? (4.00 / 1)
I was an Obama supporter , but I can't say it is noble to support him when he is hurting others.

2 Obama needs old people, but he just lost young people. 

The campaign isn't over yet, but this was a profoundly stupid mistake.  Now that Obama has made one I expect him to make others

[ Parent ]
Obama blew it on Iraq (4.00 / 3)
He spoke out against our invasion but now that he's running for President he refuses to call for an immediate withdrawal now of our forces.  His caution on Iraq today has doomed his campaign. 

Why trust Obama with power when he's inexperienced and position on the defining issue of the campaign is no different from Clinton?

For those that think we need a gradual withdrawal from Iraq:

The bogus idea that if the U.S. leaves things will worsen is both inherently racist and ignorant.  Iraq is where western civilization began, and the Iraqi people are more than capable of sorting out the problems within their country.  In addition, the majority of those current problems were caused by and continued to be propagated by the foreign occupation forces.


First off... (4.00 / 3)
Obama's campaign is not dead because, well, Barack is still actually alive and still campaigning, the last time I checked.


The netroots candidate has always been John Edwards. It's you guys who are choosing not to listen.

One has to wonder what you'll all say after Edwards wins.

What? (0.00 / 0)
"What you hate to admit is that their is a large contingent of AA who are anti-gay within their clergy."

So being anti-gay is the best way to reach Black voters?  I suppose that explains why Republicans have had such strong support from Black Americans these past few elections.

"As such, we are drawn to leadership - bold pronouncements denouncing the Republicans (now) - instead of putting faith in a new kind of politics or that a new kind of (progressive) politics is possible. "

Why can't we have both?  Obama has been going around talking about the need for "leadership"--but not actually providing any, despite ample opportunity. 

"people react positively to Dodd's statements on the AG, telecom immunity, and other positions of leadership, while Obama usually does not get the same credit when he does take a stand. "

What stand would that be?

"What anti-gay things did he spout on stage?  I haven't heard of any."

The whole controversy might have been forgotten in the swell of gospel sound except Mr. McClurkin turned the final half hour of the three-hour concert into a revival meeting about the lightning rod he has become for the Obama campaign.

He approached the subject gingerly at first. Then, just when the concert had seemed to reach its pitch and about to end, Mr. McClurkin returned to it with a full-blown plea: "Don't call me a bigot or anti-gay when I have suffered the same feelings," he cried.

"God delivered me from homosexuality," he added. He then told the audience to believe the Bible over the blogs: "God is the only way." The crowd sang and clapped along in full support....


I didn't know homosexuality is something from which a person needs to be "delivered". 

Obama is not really a progressive. (4.00 / 1)
Outrageous comment, right? 

A progressive is someone who decides political issues on the basis of conscience.  Christian voters don't do that.  They argue about what various interpretations of biblical passages imply that they should do.  There are lots of points of view, but they all agree that what is important is god's will.  What god wants. Obama is one of these.

Deciding on the basis of conscience means on the basis of your own attitudes to what is right and wrong, what is better and what is worse.  NOT consulting the Bible.  NOT asking the minister.  NOT inferring what MLK or Jesus would have done.  None of these standards of judgment is your conscience.  If you have to look it up in a book, it's not morality.  Obama doesn't get that, and that's why he isn't a progressive, even though he is relatively enlightened for a Bible freak.

Good Analysis (4.00 / 3)
This is exactly how I've seen Obama all along.  Part my frustration with some of the blog leaders was their inability to Obama this way.  I got into more than one thread with Obama supporters claiming he didn't mean what he was saying on the compromiser language, which seemed too cynical by half.

Of course, as an Edwards guy, and a member of the creative class, I differ with your analysis of Obama being the only one who could have won.  Edwards had a chance to put together the creative classes, environmentalists and labor.  Obama has so far acted as a media sponge, soaking up much of the attention and probably money Edwards would have gotten.  In practical terms it was only the Obama-Clinton alliance that blocked SEIU from endorsing Edwards. And I suspect the Obama distraction prevented many mainstream bloggers from jumping on full force with Edwards.

All that said, I still think Edwards has an outside shot at winning.  And even if he doesn't his leadership on health care, global warming, trade and Kyl-Lieberman have made the debate better, and will continue to.  So I'd urge progressives to throw their lot in with Edwards, to back both the candidate and the progressive movement.

I've thought for awhile... (0.00 / 0)
that the secret ingredient missing in Edwards is essentially what Dodd is doing now - focusing on civil liberties and a return to a rule of law.  It would fit in well with Edward's economic themes, as they help spring forth a narrative of "America has gone the wrong way the past few decades, and we need to return to our roots."  This is a comfortable, small-c conservative frame that I think the majority of Americans can get behind.  But Edwards sucks with framing sadly.

I really wish we could create a Frankenstein's monster candidate. If only we could transplant Edward's stances on economic issues, Dodd's on Civil Liberties and a return to constitutional rule, and Richardson's speedy Iraq pullout date into one candidate, we'd have a winning combination.  But no one seems like they can get it together. 

[ Parent ]
There has been nothing missing (0.00 / 0)
in Edwards campaign except people looking for a savior rather than a leader.  That was the attraction of Obama.  Edwards is the hardest working candidate and subconsciously people even in the netroots want a winner.  When Obama overshadowed Edwards then netroots didn't want another losing campaign.  And that is what they got by focusing on Obama.  Great polls but ultimately not the results. 

Edwards is what the progressives say they want.  He is not choosing his platform to please progressives.  He is choosing what is right.  They should be supporting him.  but.....

Join other progressives at EENRblog

[ Parent ]
How many times have you been correct? (4.00 / 1)
I don't mean to be impertinent, but it seems relevant.

"Chalk this up as about the 2,257th time that I gave a high profile Democat the benefit of the doubt, and was then proven wrong."

Do they generally meet your expectations, or are you hoping against hope?  (as it were).

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

Wow. Serious Delusions of Grandeur. (4.00 / 3)
I'm certainly not an Obama fan, but to write off a candidate who is within the margin of error of Clinton in Iowa and who has raised 70 some odd million bucks (with, if memory serves, more cash on hand than HRC) is some pretty serious prognostication. Built on some wholely unwarranted assumptions of power for the netroots left within the Dem party structure. For one thing, Obama can quite well win this nomination without the left, since the left is currently being split between many candidates.

This week's Obama train wreck will be utterly forgotten by December, as many other seeming "catastrophes" have been in the past. How curious it is that we all forget that lesson over and over and over again.

Agree Completely (0.00 / 0)
I'm not a stalwart Obama supporter either (I'd be happy with either Obama or Edwards, but haven't settled on a horse in this race), but there's something inherently ridiculous about the presumption that because Obama has displeased the netroots on this, he might as well pack it in.

If the netroots constantly makes the perfect the enemy of the good they will not have a horse to back this cycle, and that's only a bad thing for us and for the process. Yes, it's good to hold candidates' feet to the fire, but to drop a candidate every time they fail to pass the progressive purity test is ridiculous. What happened to the pragmatic netroots of '06, the one that would put everything it had behind the best candidate it thought could win?

Thing is, the vitriolic reaction to Obama in this case is perfectly explainable. Obama has never sat right with the leading netroots bloggers because, even though they are in total agreement on most of the issues, his post-partisan rhetoric is simply not compatible with their worldview. Any talk of compromise or shared goals is anathema to the fighting spirit of the netroots. I'm not knocking the netroots for this, that's just the way it is. What's hard for the bloggers to accept is that Obama's approach does resonate with a lot of people, many of them Gen Xers and Yers and many of them creative classers - how else would a first-term senator have essentially matched the most powerful couple in Washington in fundraising? It's not just because Obama's a nice guy - it's the appeal of his rhetoric and his message.

If anything, wouldn't a post-mortem be better suited for the Edwards campaign at this point? You know, the one that HAS embodied the spirit of the netroots, but who has dropped off in the polls far more than Obama, and unlike Obama, has struggled to raise funds? Personally, I think it's inaccurate, not to mention bad tactics, to write either of them off.

[ Parent ]
i think if you went back and looked (0.00 / 0)
you would find that Obama has displeased the netroots over and over and over again. 

[ Parent ]
This is different (0.00 / 0)
This is like Elizabeth Edward's remarks against Obama and hillary.  Some people wont get it(the netroots didn't get that for the most part), but he just pissed a lot of people off.

[ Parent ]
Every Democratic Candidate Threw the Anti-War (0.00 / 0)
consituents under the proverbial bus.

(Except, maybe Chris Dodd)

And no one declared their campaigns to be "post-mortem".

Whose campaign died when impeachment was taken "off the table" without so much a a whimper from the Democratic candidates?

So why pick on Obama? - he's just being a pragmatic Democrat, right? 

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

Unrealistic Expectations (4.00 / 1)
I think many in this community had unrealistic expectations about Obama & that he is being judged according to an unrealistic, higher standard. 

yep (4.00 / 1)
and since they expect nothing much from hillary she gets a pass ?????

[ Parent ]

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