The So(u)ljah Cultural Gap

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 21:40


Since Digby linked my Obama piece earlier today, I thought I would return the favor. As I explain in the extended entry, I think her post is spot on:
Chris Bowers :: The So(u)ljah Cultural Gap
Running to the right on health care and social security combined with the anti-gay gospel singer, taking Robert Novak smears at face value, repeating Jeff Gerth lies and now going after Paul Krugman, leads me to the niggling awareness that this is a conscious, if subtle, strategy. Any one of those things could be an accident, and perhaps some of them are. But taken as a whole, conscious or not, liberal fighters in the partisan wars are being sistah soljahed. Unlike the big issue of Iraq where being on the right side is being on the left side, these little digs and policy positioning are all sweet spots for the Village --- and sore spots for the base.

I'd add a couple ore incidents to the list, such as Obama calling Daily Kos boring, the Joe Anthony MySpace incident, triangulation on religion, Iraq and Iraq, and an, um, frosty relationship with the blogosphere, This sort of thing has happened often enough that it certainly seems like a pattern. Personally, I don't think it is a strategy, but rather simply who Obama is and what his campaign is. This was always how Obama acted, even before his campaign for President began, and even before he entered the Senate. As Steve Benson has pointed out, this is actually what Obama's famous 2004 convention speech was like. Obama hasn't changed, his public record was just comparatively thin before the campaign began allowing people to interpret him in manifold ways.

Of course, as Digby also notes, there is something to be said for all this. Subtle digs at the DFHs do help candidates in the eyes of the media clan within the Village, and Obama is easily the favorite candidate of that clan. At the same time, it hasn't really hurt him all that badly among the DFHs, who remain the cornerstone of his supporters at both the (record breaking) activist and rank and file supporter level. Whatever Obama is doing, it seems to be working, at least right now. Perhaps, for others, the very good things about Obama are outshining the negatives I see. His background before politics, his opposition to the war, the promise of cultural change he appears to embody, his excellent energy, media, and election reform policy proposals--indeed, there are quite a few things to like about Obama.

However, it is clear that all of the good things about Obama come in a package that views contemporary American politics from a fundamental different perspective than does the new wave of progressive activism that has risen in the last decade. It isn't just about his apparent opinion of the DFHs, either. If Obama really believes that he is somehow post-ideology, post-partisan, and capable of bringing contemporary Republicans to actually engage in real compromises over legislation in good faith, then I can't help but think that, despite his background, he is oddly naïve. Rather than believing that the contemporary manifestation of the Republican Party can be brought to the negotiation table in good faith, I think the best way to negotiate with them is to reduce them to below pre-1994 levels in Congress and without the aid of the Bush Dogs, which means 42 or fewer US Senators and 175 or fewer members of the US House. There are lots of other things that need to be done to clean up the Democratic Party, improve progressive infrastructure, and set positive, progressive feedback loops in motion, but a series of crushing election results is my main, short-term strategy for dealing with Republicans. Render Republicans so small as to make them temporarily inert, leave the rest of the arguments as internal Democratic and progressive affairs, and get a lot of good done really fast.

The village keeps telling us that DFHs are bad for Democrats. I don't believe them. The Village keeps telling us that Republicans are willing to truly compromise in good faith. I don't believe that either. I think the non-policy differences I have with Obama are pretty well expressed in our divergence on those two cultural concepts. It is a sort of Soljah cultural gap. Not only do I think Edwards is closer to me on those two points, but I'm also certain that Clinton is closer, too. Just as they do for Digby, these concepts make a difference to me when it comes to figuring out who I will vote for in the presidential primary (and I will vote). It is certainly odd that, among the "top three" Democrats, the candidate with whom I share the most educational (I've spent time in academia, too), occupational (I've been a teacher and organizer, too), age (Obama is only 13 years older than me) and place of residence (my neighborhood is much like the one Obama worked in) similarities is also the candidate among the top three with whom I diverge the most on our cultural approaches to contemporary politics. I wouldn't have expected that, but here we are, none the less.


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My thoughts (0.00 / 0)
Chris, I'd be honest with you. You just don't like Obama. Period. And so subconsciously, you are looking for the slightest of excuses to harpoon him.

It's getting tiring.


Yeah (4.00 / 2)
It's probably because he's a big racist.  I mean, it's not like he's provided any other explanation, or written extensively about his feelings on each candidate, his method for choosing, his policy differences, and their varying approaches to politics... Right?

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Don't be silly (0.00 / 0)
If you want to devote equal share to examining each candidate's records, why not do it? It's amazing how some of the other candidates' very questionable progressive records are overlooked. Take a look at what they did and not what they are saying right now as they run for president. But hey, Obama is just someone we can place under the microscope the easiest, right?

[ Parent ]
You're Totally Missing The Big Picture Here (4.00 / 2)
Chris has also said much more positive things about Obama than any other candidate, which is actually why he has written so particularly about Obama.

What's key here--though hardly the only thing--is that Chris's over-riding concern is long-term power-holding political coalitions.  And his analysis shows that non-white/non-Christian coalition of voters constitutes the demographic foundations of just such a coalition.  Given Obama's generally progressive orientation--as opposed to someone like Colin Powell or Condi Rice--he is clearly a potential leader in bringing this coalition to power.

Hence, precisely because of this potential, his actions and intentions are particularly worthy of scrutiny, precisely because they could be so consequential in such a far-reaching way that is not true of any other candidate.

Now, even if this weren't the case, there are really only three candidates who seem to have a shot.  Clinton is such a known--and, for most of the blogosphere, uninspiring--quantity that minute dissection is hardly needed (to understand where's she's coming from) or wanted (nothing very inspiring to see here).  Edwards is running basically a populist what-you-see-is-what-you-get campaign that is relatively simply and straightforward to critique, in rather well-known terms: Is it really all that populist? Is it really all that progressive?  Will it get the job done?  All fairly mundane questions.

But even without Chris's long-term approach to politics, Obama's campaign is inherently more complex, fluid, and hard to define, and therefore is going to draw more critical scrutiny from someone like Chris, who is not really interested in saying the same sorts of things that you can read on a 100 (or 1000, or 10,000) other blogs.

Capiche?

"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 ]
removed my rating (0.00 / 0)
Sorry if you thought I was being a jerk.  If you intended it as snark, I didn't realize it.  I must have been feeling sensitive to racism charges that day.  I do not troll rate very often.  Sorry if I offended you.

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


[ Parent ]
Looking again (0.00 / 0)
I think that the reason I troll rated you was because I thought you were accusing Obama supporters of using that argument.  Perhaps some have, but it still felt a bit below the belt to me when I read it that way.

Equally, I would have trolled another Obama supporter who accused Chris of being racist.

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


[ Parent ]
Is this a parody? (2.00 / 2)
Hm... my guess is, based on your handle, "proudlonghorn," you have some serious father issues, and having taken Obama as your father figure, have an anti-Oedipal reaction to those who critique even the expressed ideas of the man ... All of that is subconscious, of course, probably unbeknownst to you. 

Or, we could actually stick to the issues, assume people believe what they say, and argue with what they say.


[ Parent ]
psychological attacks. (0.00 / 0)
I wasn't a Dean supporter, but it was out of bounds to start hitting people on their psychology when done in a direct personal attack like you just did.

This website is heading for Mydd territory.  Chris, Matt, Mike, etc., I wish you wouldn't let this get out of control.


[ Parent ]
uh (4.00 / 1)
it was a parody of what proudlonghorn just wrote, which was essentially, "I can read your mind, Chris. You don't like Obama."

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

[ Parent ]
sorry (4.00 / 1)
oops. sorry.  But then again it's impossible for me to be wrong, and I can see the future, and you can't.

(That was my lame parody of an increasing number of posters here.)


[ Parent ]
Naive or strategic (4.00 / 2)
We won't know for a while if he's naive or strategic. 

Really, this guy was a con law professor at Yale. Sterling resume.  He's been a US Senator. He's a black man, and grew up with all of the implications of that.  He has a brain; given all this I'd say he's capable of looking at a playing field and assessing how to get from A to B.  So by calling him naive you're questioning his judgment on a very basic level. 

Reminds me of when people would question Edwards and say he wasn't politically smart or tough enough.  I would remind them that he was a mind blowing trial lawyer, which ain't exactly an easy thing to achieve.  So I think the "naive" accusation is likely not true.

If posters show up and starts insulting Obama supporters again, I'd suggest that the blogmasters here should take note and remind people of the rules. 



strategic sthick (4.00 / 1)
OK is the bipartisanship something he truly believes in or is it the strategic sthick he thinks people want to hear?  Because if he truly believes it is going to work at this time - then indeed he is naive, I think.  Not an insult - reality

[ Parent ]
bi-partisanship (0.00 / 0)
Regardless of whether he believes it is realistic, it is definitely a message that has an audience. The beltway insiders obviously eat it up, but so do regular folks such as my mom.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
He taught at Chicago Law School 1993-2004 (0.00 / 0)


"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Very Smart People Can Be Quite Naive (4.00 / 1)
If you don't believe me, just look at some examples from the history of philosophy.

Naturally, Martin Heidegger's support for the Nazis is the superstar example here (though, personally, I'm not so impressed by his smarts, but you can make the same sort of case for him that you made for Obama).  But he's hardly alone.

Essentially, what you're doing here--inadvertantly, I am sure--is making an authoritarian argument: Obama's a leader, how dare we question what he thinks?  Chris is saying, "Here's the evidence of his naivite." The non-authoritarian response to his argument is simply to construct a defense of Obama's approach.

Quite frankly, I agree with Chris 100%, and I don't think it's an accident that such defenses are so scarce.  So you could really do something unusual if you'd step up and give us a compelling historical/political argument about why such an approach makes sense, rather than why we shouldn't question Obama's judgement.

"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 ]
See my post below.... (0.00 / 0)
(Incidentally, the comparison [even if tentative] between Obama and Heidegger is offensive.  Heidegger's right-wing tendencies were quite apparent to anyone who was paying attention throughout the 1930s, suggesting that his support for the Nazis came not from naivety but from his political convictions.  He was steeped in German anti-Semitism and his philosophy of "Being" was -- albeit in a coded manner -- anti-Semitic.  He actually carried out purges of the German university system for the Nazis, in large part because he wanted to eradicate Leftists and Jews from the academy.  His post-war comments notwithstanding, he had a pretty good idea of what he was getting into in the 1930s.) 

[ Parent ]
Jeez! Get A Grip! (0.00 / 0)
I only mentioned Heidegger because he's such a well-known example of someone whose vast learning was no antidote to naivite. And that's the only comparison between the two that I made.

There's certainly no doubt about his rightwing, even authoritarian tendencies.  But the Nazi leadership itself was quite sophisticated in understanding that people like Heidegger (and countless other lesser lights) were not about to endorse the final solution, for all their odious anti-Semitism, at least not at the beginning.  And this is where Heidegger's naivite--and/or playing on the naivite of others--undoubtedly came into play.

"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 ]
Ok, I overreacted -- I'm sorry; but (0.00 / 0)
I still don't think that it makes sense historically to view Heidegger primarily through the lense of "naivety" -- and, therefore, I don't think the comparison is apt.

The "final solution" wasn't actually formulated (or established as policy) until after Heidegger carried out purges of the German university.  So he wasn't really a pawn in the way you make him out to be.  Moreover, while decreasing his involvement in the Nazi party through the late 30s and 40s, he remained a dues paying member through 1945.  We have to see him as more than simply "naive" in order to explain these facts. 

I think that it is true that I overreacted, but I hope you can understand why comparing Obama with Heidegger (even if in a narrow way) would raise red flags for me...


[ Parent ]
Well, Whatever (0.00 / 0)
I never claimed that naivity was the primary way to understand Heidegger. But without it, there's no way to make sense of his involvement.  I'm not a single-cause kind of guy, as anyone can see from my comments, and I'm certainly not arguing a single cause here.

And, of course I'm aware that the "final solution" came much later.  When the Nazis thought they were going to rule the world for 1000 years, they were quite content to let their enemies live in zoos so that they could take weekend excursions to taunt and laugh at them.  Or, at least they were of two minds about it.  But their eliminationist mindset was quite evident from their earliest post-WWI history.  It was only the scope that expanded over time.

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


[ Parent ]
I know (0.00 / 0)
Oh I know that, but I can see the flip side. I think it's a strategy.  It's similar to what I would do were I Obama.

That's why I disagree with Chris, and moreover I admit I fit this into a pattern I've seen in his posts before, which I would characterize as fundamentally too willing to take candidates at face value. I'm actually much more cynical/pragmatic. 


[ Parent ]
Yes, Chris Is A Bit of A Romantic (4.00 / 1)
So am I.

In fact, one reason that Obama leaves me cold is that he's so much less ambitious than a truly transformative leader would be.  There's nothing there that speaks to my romantic soul.

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


[ Parent ]
I agree with you on one level, (4.00 / 1)
but on another, it's almost impossible to disentangle the strategy from the 'real' candidate.  Writing off things that a candidate says that you don't like as 'strategy' seems like an easy way to make excuses.

[ Parent ]
not an excuse (0.00 / 0)
Yup.  But I'm not making excuses.  I expect every politician I support to have some failings.  In the end I'm willing to just throw my hands up and say, "who knows."  That's not the MO around here, where people think everything is knowable.

So I'm really just pleading for people to "chill out." But that's impossible, hah.


[ Parent ]
naive or strategic (0.00 / 0)
I agree that we won't know for a while. His strategy seems to be to pander to beltway insiders, and it seems to working in that he is getting amazingly favorable press coverage from the babbling TV pundits. They are lapping up his hopeful audacity. They are basically regurgitating his own self-narrative.

The guy was the president of the Harvard Law Review, so he obviously knows how to schmooze establishment types. To call him naive might be a bit naive itself. But maybe not. Like you say, we won't know for a while.

I get pissed off by the sista solja-ing, and will probably vote for Edwards, but part of me wonders if, rather than being naive, he's just smarter than everybody else. He may just be doing what needs to be done in an environment where the babbling whores in the corporate media can sink any candidate they dislike with petty personal narratives ("earth tones" "angry and unelectable" "stiff" "unlikeable" "flip-flopper").

If we maintain net neutrality and by some miracle could break up the corporate media conglomerates, this sad state of affairs would be different. If Obama can enact policies that improve the overall media landscape, than I will put up with all the DFH-bashing he cares to dish out.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
covering all the bases (0.00 / 0)
As part of the propaganda system in this country, the corporate media basically ignores actual issues. Those are decided by elites who vet the candidates through "the money primary" (small online donations are undermining that system a bit since the Dean campaign,) and the masses are fed endless horse-race analysis and character-driven narratives. (It's a pathetic joke of a media system that works great for our corporate rulers.) So Obama is meeting the babbling TV pundits where they live and pandering to their bullshit self-image (The self-image that they sell themselves in order to avoid looking at their true role as soulless whores.)

While the superficial pundits are feverishly ignoring policy (as they have been trained to do to fulfill their role in the propaganda system,) Obama is appealing to progressive voters and activists by hitting the right notes with his policy proposals.

Then there's the corporate elites and their lobbyists. They are paying attention to policy issues. If Obama wins the nomination, will the message start to filter down from the media corporation boardrooms to the whores on our TV screen to crank up the "inexperience" narrative (or whatever they may come up with)? Or has he successfully schmoozed and reassured our corporate overlords also?

Time will tell. It sure would be more satisfying, though, to stop the games and get behind Edwards and just fight the corporate billionaires without pretense. But maybe Obama isn't playing games. Maybe he has actually consumed the Broderesque kool-aid.

miasmo.com


[ Parent ]
"Strategic" here implies not so good things (4.00 / 1)
If Obama is using the post-partisan thing as some kind of strategy to get elected, but secretly knows the Republicans are bad-faith actors and cannot by definition compromise meaningfully for the better governance of the nation as conceived by Democrats, that's a highly cynical ploy.

In fact, it seems pretty close to how Bush campaigned and changed tunes once in office.

So for the sake of Obama's status as an honest actor, I would prefer he was naive.

I know, there are various lines of thought about the necessity of playing a little rough to defeat the republicans, but I'm not really in favour of emulating their worst attributes to beat them.  Though I am mean enough I would really enjoy it if an Obama presidency told all his Republican backers to get stuffed while enacting a solidly progressive agenda.

The irony would be as good as the policy outcomes.

But still, we're supposed to be better and all that.


[ Parent ]
Cultural differences (4.00 / 1)
The fact that you ignore race when you talk about cultural similarities and differences speaks volumes about those differences between yourself and Obama.

Though I don't think that is the real difference.  That was just glaringly obvious to me when you talked about differences.  Unsurprising the way race is treated as a topic of discussion of course.

That being said I think the big difference is that there are some places in the country where democrats dominate and others where apathy dominates.  Obama is running for the latter and Edwards and Hillary are running for the former.


niggling???? (0.00 / 0)
why is this necessary? wtf?

on a more positive note, this was an interesting tidbit I read today:

Edwards is worth $54 million dollars
Clinton is worth $35 million
Obama is worth a paltry $1.3 million dollars

and yet whose progressives credentials are being questioned?

http://money.cnn.com...


I'm worth $15K (4.00 / 4)
At least, I am on a good day. I bet that makes me the most progressive person here.

[ Parent ]
Don't bother Chris.... (0.00 / 0)
...logic is waste on such.

Faulty logic is all they know so they can't recognize it when they see it.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
from the Master of Logic (0.00 / 0)
Amazing how you make these statements and don't see that they apply to yourself.  So objective.

You're in the blog blowhard hall of fame.  Reminds me of 2002-2004.

 


[ Parent ]
$54 million.... (0.00 / 0)
Choices make the man/woman. You included.

[ Parent ]
Did Digby and you both misspell "Souljah"? (0.00 / 0)
Not big Public Enemy fans, eh?

Or fans of recent history, I guess.


"Culture Gap," indeed. (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
Oh so that explains the ( u) - n/t (0.00 / 0)


Jeff Wegerson

[ Parent ]
I'll Defend Bowers on this one (4.00 / 3)
As someone who has lambasted Jerome Armstrong and Stoller (the "old" Stoller) for being unfair to Obama, I would say I have always thought Bowers to be fair in his criticism of Obama. I don't always agree with it fully, but I do agree that Obama could do better outreach to the netroots, and that he could do a better job of handling criticism from the left. Sure, sometimes it is overblown (and I think Krugman was being surprisingly nit-picky about Obama in comparison to Clinton), but Obama should respond on the merits, not with misleading fact checks and ad hominem attacks. Save that for George Will and Bob Novak. I'm a huge Obama supporter, but I don't think Bowers has been unfair. I think once we have an Obama presidency, Bowers kind of criticism will be vital to keep Obama on the progressive path, when the pressure of Washington inevitably builds on him to take the cautious, moderate road. Better to work out Obama's over-sensitiveness to attacks from the left now.

bowers' integrity is beyond reproach (4.00 / 2)
(and he may vote for obama yet)

[ Parent ]
Let me get this straight - (0.00 / 0)
You posted complete LIES with no evidence. Digby linked your post with complete LIES with no evidence - so now you'll pat her back and link to her - where she just makes shit up about Obama too?

You know - credibility is paramount - and if you guys want to claim that bloggers are journalists and that you all have ethics and credibility - then you'll have to actually STOP acting like mainstream full of shit journalists and start backing up what you say.

You said that you heard from "sources" that Obama's campaign was doing oppo research - NAME THEM or don't make the accusation.

You linked to Jerome - who clearly hates Obama - who has dropped in credibility with every single article he's posted this year - and who just recently smeared Oprah and Obama with completely fabricated LIES. No one has yet to make an attempt to prove the claim from that story.

Let's get down to the facts here Chris - if you're able.

Seriously - at this point I don't know why any of you have any credibility LEFT at all. I don't read MyDD anymore at all - shall I stop coming here too? That's what I do when journalists and bloggers make it clear to me that they have no interest in facts - I stop reading.


I didn't lie about anything (0.00 / 0)
With the update, the post is absolutely correct. And note that I only changed one word, "some" to "one." I didn't change it to "none."

[ Parent ]
I apologize for having missed (4.00 / 2)
where you substantiated the claim that Camp Obama did opposition research on "one" blogger.  Could you provide a link to that substantiation again?

Many thanks!


[ Parent ]
And if I did (0.00 / 0)
who do you think that would be good for? I can't think of a single person on any side of the matter for whom it would be good.

I don't have your link. Hopefully, I never will. It is better for everyone involved if it doesn't go beyond this point. Even though it was really bothering me, I kind of wish I had never brought it up, because it feels simultaneously like pandora's box and a privacy violation. If that isn't good enough for you, I wouldn't blame you.

At this point, I am happy to let the Obama campaign's denial on the matter stand as is. If that makes you feel vindicated and if this never comes up again, all the better. As long as it ends the discussion, I'd rather publicly eat crow then produce proof.


[ Parent ]
Gawd. (4.00 / 1)
If you can't substantiate a claim, don't make the claim.

Jesus, it's nice that you'll publicly eat crow, but that you'd grind progressive credibility into the ground by an unsubstantiated claim (that you are now unwilling to substantiate) that was linked by digby, atrios, et al. is, um, contemptuous.  I've always been a reader and a fan, but I guess not so much right now.  Or any more.

If I were you, I would ask that your claims be deleted, since you are unwilling to back them up.


[ Parent ]
I sent Atrios an apology (4.00 / 1)
and a correction, which he posted. Digby never linked directly to the claim, just to the entire post. TPM Election Central posted the Obama campaign's response, which I am happy to let stand. The only person's credibility at stake here is mine.

I made mistakes on this one. With the 10,000 to 15,000 words I write for public consumption every week, I'm bound to continue making mistakes. I'll correct them when I see them or, as is more often the case, when others points them out to me.

I've also made a decision to try and let it drop. It hurts pretty bad that it got to this point, but it is my own fault for making mistakes.

[ Parent ]
And you didn't retract the statement (0.00 / 1)
and apologize.

If CNN pulled this crap you'd be up in arms demanding a retraction/correction/and someone's job. Apparently you're held to a different standard.

Tell me again about blogger ethics?

We need a panel, that's for sure. Too bad I can hardly name a big-name blogger that could be on it.

What if I said, "some sources tell me that Chris Bowers works for a consulting firm advising Hillary Clinton - he gets around FEC filings because the consulting firm doesn't list those it contracts to work campaigns".

If I changed the "some" to "one", that would be okay with you?

Ethics indeed...I wish people actually had them.


[ Parent ]
I'll apologize for something (0.00 / 0)
I'll apologize for bringing it up in the first place. I could have made my case effectively without it. Also, I should have realized that bringing it up in public would require proof, the revelation of which would be worse than just letting the whole issue be.

That was a big mistake on my part. I also apologize, yet again, for claiming that the Obama campaign was doing this against several bloggers. Talk about compounding mistakes. I deserve all of the flack I am getting on that front.

I made a mistake. I made multiple mistakes. I was wrong. I apologize. The case can be made without those mistake laden, ill-advised charges that I made earlier. I think the two posts I made on the subject since then demonstrates that.

[ Parent ]
Obama is not just sistah souljahing the messengers (4.00 / 2)
of progressivism, he is and has been sistah souljahing the MESSAGE.

That is why his policy proposals are so wimpy and not that progressive. 

His good staff, who are internet, new media savvy probably had a lot to do with the vitality of his new media proposals. 
 

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
I have lifted this in full from a commenter Johnathan (4.00 / 1)
at Ezra Klein's blog. This was in response an earlier comment on how progressive he sounded in NH. 

"Oh, Obama's got the rhetoric. What he doesn't have is the follow up.

He reminds me of the folks who gunned for law journal at Yale (or Harvard, where he actually did). They were smart, no doubt, and ambitious as hell.

What they didn't usually have was an agenda that went beyond their own ambitions. Look carefully at Obama and you see a very smart, charismatic and ambitious candidate. What you don't see is a real, deep passion for the issues that transcends his ambition.

It's hard to doubt that Edwards feels passionately about the issues that confront poor Americans. That passion has infused hsi career for decades.

I also get the sense that Hillary was a wonk first, who by force of will turned to the electoral process as a vehecile for her policy ideas as well as her ambitions.

With Obama -- minus his rhetoric -- it's hard to discern more than the ambition.

Posted by: Jonathan | December 10, 2007 2:35 PM"

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
um, no (4.00 / 2)
If you think specific Obama policies are weak compared to the other candidates', please specify.

Otherwise, look at his foreign policy, climate change and internet policies.  These are arguably the most progressive of any of the candidates' policies.

The only argument you have would be on mandates, and that's debatable.

On residual forces, he's right with Clinton and Edwards.

Utopia isn't going to happen in 2008, but Obama's policies are a good start, as are the other candidates'.


[ Parent ]
It's nice to have something to flog... (4.00 / 1)
because it allows you to avoid the real issue which is that if Barack Obama gets to be president....  ignoring the progressive side of the party will be his standard MO.


"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
FDR changed the game of how you played politics (4.00 / 3)
by changing the policies that governed the country.  That's why Bill Kristol ordered the GOP, who had been somewhat willing to negotiate at first, to fight the 1993 Health Care Plan to the death.  He knew it was a game changer and would permanently expand the Dem party.

I dpn't think we have in him someone who's going to push the envelope on progressive policies.

So I repeat myself.  Worth rereading Krugman called "On Partisanship: 
http://select.nytime...

The reason I don't want him as the nominee is that I fear the kind of presidency he would have.  This could be a seminal time in political history. We could have in the White House someone who will not,  by both temperment and principle,  be willing to fully take advantage of that moment. It would be like FDR deciding that Social Security was a push too far.  I think that Krugman's suspicion that Obama only put out a health care plan because he had to, not that he passionately wanted to.

I do not have this concern with the other top 2 Democrats, Edwards and Clinton.  They both actually care about the policies they give to the American people not just the words they bring to the stage.

They are both partisan, Democratic partisans....and that's why the village media like Tweety and Russert are trying to take them down.  They really are the ones who are game changers, not him.


"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
okay (4.00 / 1)
To me, (almost) everything you cite here negatively is some sort of trivial incident that we try to draw some grand conclusions from.  Usually they seem to be screwups -- certainly I don't draw any conclusions from the MySpace incident other than some sympathy for Anthony -- that reflect poorly on the campaign.  I'd put the MoveOn abstention as more annoying, but ultimately this is just a vote designed by the Republicans to divide us.  Iraq is not trivial, of course, but would take too long to discuss.

Now, is there any evidence that Obama is NOT working towards the largest majority we can get?  He seemed to campaign extensively in 2006's -- and even 2004's -- general election.  He e-mailed his list on OH -- perhaps its just a plot to make bloggers happy, but I don't see it.  At the end of the day, I don't see that anyone else has worked harder to get into the majority. 

So I think the cultural approach IS different, just as you say, but I don't see where there is any important divergence. 

Let me say that I don't think either Chris or Matt are biased.  Both call them as see they them, and clearly are consistent in their approach.


New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


on the other hand (4.00 / 1)
Obviously at the end of the day little things can be a sign of more significant problems.

I never would have imagined that W.'s branding pledges as a fratboy was a sign that he would embark on a policy of legalizing torture, but it was. 

I was creeped out a few years back when the Democratic candidate for New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevey, scolded a local college student for having long hair and sloppy clothes, and now feel it was a warning.  (Of course, there are no primaries for important offices in the NJ Democratic party, so it's a moot point.)

It's just that, to me, most of these Obama incidents don't have any resonance for me.  It might well be naivity, self-delusion or a failure of imagination, but it is how I feel.

I think the comment below mine is actually the best of the thread.  Is there a reason to think, for example, Obama or Edwards or Clinton would sell us out to a Republican congress, or settle for half-measures with a Democratic congress?
 

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


[ Parent ]
Yes I think there is real serious cause for concern (4.00 / 1)
And I have always felt this way about him.  That was my response to his conventon speech.

I think that by his nature he gives up more ahead of time that he has to because he too often he accepts conservative framing.  Read the 2005 Dkos dairy  Tone, Truth and Democrats

http://www.dailykos....

"According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party.  They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda.  In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in "appeasing" the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda.  The country, finally knowing what we stand for and seeing a sharp contrast, will rally to our side and thereby usher in a new progressive era.

I think this perspective misreads the American people"

I disagree with most of what he said in that diary. I disagree with the above.  I think he is justifying his own inherent intellectual temperment.....and maybe even psychological one (a multiracial boy in lots of different cultures.it's a definite coping strategy).....which is to find the right answer in the middle. Accept the other's point of view. It's so nice..so kumbaya.  and so wrong in terms of fighting t=for th things that will matter in the future.

But I don't want to be nice to Republicans....I just want to beat them....just like Chris does.  If we beat them badly enough them maybe they will approach bipartisanship without a knife hidden behind their backs......but accepting their frames undercuts progressive principles and enpowers them

No the reason I don't want him as the nominee is that I fear the kind of presidiency he would have.  This could be a seminal time and we would have in charge someone who will not by temperment and principle be unwilling to fully take advantage of it.  It wouldbe like FDR decidieng that Social SEcurity was a push too far.  I think that Krugman's suspicion that Obama only put out a health care plan because he had to, not that he passionately wanted to.

I do not have this concern witht the other top 2 Democrats, Edwards and clinton.  They both actually care about the policies they give to the American people not just the words they bring to the stage.

They are both partisan, Democratic partisans....and that's why the village media like Tweety and Russert are trying to take them down.  They really are the ones who are game changers, not him.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
This is getting out of hand (0.00 / 0)
Neither Obama nor Krugman are innocents here. Krugman's column on Friday was one of the worst he's ever written and contained some shockingly anti-progressive framing. The concept of individual health insurance mandates are deeply right-wing - we're going to force Americans onto the mercy of private companies AND give them massive subsidies even though these are the same people who conduct Murder by Spreadsheet as a basic business practice? And punish Americans by garnishing their wages if they evade the mandate?

Obama was right to respond, but the way he and his campaign did has merely made things worse. It was a poor response and instead of attacking Krugman, they should have stuck to attacking his flawed reasoning, pointed out the available evidence that challenges his conclusions.

Now we're at a point where it's seen as "right-wing framing" to attack a Democrat's individual mandate plan, even though Obama's criticisms were valid. And those of us who remain undecided - Obama's health plan isn't worth the paper on which it's printed - are now stuck in a murderous political crossfire.

The more I watch of this primary the more convinced I become that we are best of sitting it out. There are no true progressives in the race (I'm not convinced Kucinich is one, and in any case he has zero chance of winning) so what exactly do we gain by picking sides? No, we're better off continuing to build our own movement independent of these presidential candidates. Force them to respond to us.

And be willing to tell Krugman when he's wrong. It happens. He's not infallible.


Why Krugman (4.00 / 1)
You guys know that Krugman was on the Enron advisory board, right? See Robin Blackburn's article in New Left Review, 14, March/April 2002...

I just don't see how Krugman is supposed to be some sort of authentic progressive voice, whose oracular views are not to be opposed. He's been wrong, as RiM points out.


[ Parent ]
unfortunately ... (0.00 / 0)
... while true single-payer would be a whole lot better than making everyone buy into some plan, doing neither means we'll still wind up with large numbers of uninsured people.

So while I like Obama on foreign policy, the fact remains that he doesn't have a health insurance reform program that will solve the problem.


[ Parent ]
Neither do Edwards or Hillary (0.00 / 0)
Although all 3 plans are steps on the road to get there.

[ Parent ]
Krugman WASN'T On "Enron's Advisory Board" (4.00 / 2)
He served on an advisory board, one of several that the company created, and was paid for a single 4-day event he participated in, as he explains here.  Andrew Sullivan's attempt to smear him for it is dissected here. Not defending Krugman for it.  But let's not exaggerate, shall we?

The Times hired Krugman precisely because he was a smart, but middle-of-the-road economist who could write (columnist experience with Slate and Fortune) and knew a fair amount about global trade.  They were expecting that to be an increasingly important topic.  They were not expecting George W. Bush, the actual person.  They were expecting "a humble foreign policy," "compassionate conservatism" and all that yadda-yadda-yadda.  Then Bush came along with his incredibly deceitful tax cuts, Krugman said, "Wait a minute!" wrote Fuzzy Math, and the rest is history.

But Fuzzy Math was the real turning point.  It was the place at which simply adding up 2+2 turned Krugman into a passionate progressive.  Unfortunately, the rest of Versailles did not really believe that 2+2=4.  They still don't.  Krugman does.

Obama, not so much. 

Which is one of the reasons that Obama gets such good press.  At least during the primary.

"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 ]
Then Obama should be willing to say he's wrong (4.00 / 1)
when he calls him out.  Obama chose to attack Krugman without really going after him on substance. 

[ Parent ]
The larger argument here doesn't follow (4.00 / 3)
Chris,

You seem to be implying an argument (with Obama, or Obama's supporters) about strategy when you talk about crushing the GOP in the upcoming elections and forging a working Democratic majority.  But what is the counter-position?  There is no reason to think that Obama (or any of his supporters) is hoping (or working) for anything less than an overwhelming Democratic majority.  We all want that -- but wanting it doesn't mean it is going to materialize. 

The conversations that it seems to me we should be having are 1) whether Obama (or Clinton, or Edwards) would cave to GOP-initiated policies (i.e. welfare reform, telecommunications act, etc.) if the Dems lost control of Congress, 2) assuming a relatively narrow Dem majority, who would most effectively push progressive legislation, 3) on issues where the President has a lot of control (i.e. foreign policy) who is the most progressive, and 4) who is most likely to usher in a significant leftward political realignment in this country. 

The level on which this conversation is actually taking place is quite disappointing.  It is almost entirely about rhetoric and some nebulous concept of "culture."  To the extent that it is about Obama's "view of the political culture" it is almost entirely speculative.  The idea that you can offer a meaningful symptomatic reading of Obama's political orientation based on disparate and seemingly random campaign actions is quite a stretch. 

Like I said, I think there are conversations to be had about these candidates -- I just don't think we are having them here.

-- Seabrook


I can see how I implied that was the argument (0.00 / 0)
But I simply was as eloquent as Digby. It isn't so much the strategy, as the appreciation of the opposition that matters in this case. Sure, he wants to win at the ballot box, but he also thinks he can bring them to the table in good faith for actual compromise. I think the latter is folly, and shows an error in judgment in terms of what we are up against from the Republican elite.

[ Parent ]
Moynahan said (0.00 / 0)
In order to make substantial and meaninful policy changes you need agreement with 75% of the senate,

UHC will not take place unless their is bi-partisamship.

The american people want the congrss to get things done and quit the bickering.

Krugman finally said that he thought Obama's Health plan was progressive just weak and not a republican plan and he apologsizes for saying it was so.


[ Parent ]
I see both points (4.00 / 1)
I think Chris is right on not expecting the Republicans to come to the table in good faith and compromise.  However, the bully pulpit is a powerful tool.  Obama could have the ability to go over the heads of Congress directly to the people to push to get things done.  That is how Reagan passed his right-wing agenda with an overly Democratic Congress.  I think Obama can communicate even better than he can.

There's only so much pressure politicians can take.  If framed and executed in the right manner, Obama could disarm the opposition, after all, who wants to run in 2010 and 2012 on an anti-health care platform.

With Bill Clinton, the Republicans had a bullseye that turned off a lot of the public and revved up their base.  Thus, they felt no pressure to deal with him.  Obama is not as easily hated and does not rouse the same irrational passions in the right.

All this is pure speculation, but I've doubted Obama before and agreed with Chris in October that his campaign was dead.  Obama proves me wrong time and again, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt on this.


[ Parent ]
FDR (4.00 / 1)
Needed 3 elections to get sufficient majorities in Congress to enact his agenda (starting with 1930 here).

America is quite capable of reducing the Republicans to a handfull of seats. 

And the whole golden era of bi-partisan cooperation happened because Democrats were dominant and Republicans knew they had to compromise to keep their seats.  But if they think the majority is attainable, they are not interested in good faith negotiations and there is little point pursuing them.

The reason is quite simply that they are a party run and dominated by high social dominators and authoritarians.  Psychologically quantifiable bad people.  People like that only make deals for their own benefit.


[ Parent ]
Ok... (4.00 / 1)
This discussion is on firmer ground.  From my perspective (developed, for instance, upon watching Obama's interview at Google), Obama's goal is to sever the GOP elite from their more moderate congressional members, and to create a situation where GOP representatives fear for their political futures if they don't go along with a Dem-generated set of policies.  It's not that he believes in negotiating in good faith with someone like Kristol (or the former GOP whip) -- that would indeed evince a stunning level of naivete (incidentally, do you really think that someone who cut his teeth on community organizing is this naive about power?).  What he seems to want to do is discuss policy (via the 'bully pulpit') in a way that enables GOP representatives and senators to save a modicum of face in the eyes of the broad conservative public when they go along with said policy.  In doing so, he actually lowers the point at which they would be willing to defect, and makes meaningful reform more easy to win.  And if you want to say that this is naive, I would simply say that he has a track record of making progressive reform happen in less-than-ideal legislative contexts.

Yes, of course, if the Dems win a 60+ majority in the Senate, this is not the best strategy.  But do you really want to pin all of our hopes of reform on that victory?  And do you really think that if it happened, Obama wouldn't alter his approach?

Now, you might say: why let the GOP members save face when we should be shaming them by forcing them to vote in regressive ways, thus tanking their chances in subsequent elections.  The problem with this logic is that it assumes that meaningful progressive reform cannot be passed when the Dems have a slim majority, and (more importantly) that the failure to enact meaningful reforms won't have negative repurcussions for Dems in subsequent congressional elections.  If the president and congress are controlled by the Democrats, then a string of policy defeats will reinforce the 'Dems are losers' frame. 


[ Parent ]
Does Obama understand how politics works? (0.00 / 0)
I think the people Obama listens to and surrounds himself with are basically Progressive Insider Elites.  That's who he is and that's who he listens to.  In his head, he just wants to get back to the time when technocrats like himself can just put out good ideas, fight it out with those who oppose those ideas, and the outcome is for the best.  He sees both the Clintons (and the baby boomers with their 60s culture wars) and the DFH's in the blogosphere as fucking up this imaginary way he wants the world to be. 

Ultimately what bothers me is not just that, as Chris paints him, Obama doesn't understand the reality of the modern day GOP- Im just not so sure he understands how politics works in general.  His success isn't due to shrewd political calculations like the Clintons, but by living an incredible life and being in the right place at the right time in our nations history.  I just suffered through 8 years of having an ignorant, close-minded president who actually made smart political moves to forward his reactionary agenda- I don't want to suffer for another four years of the tragedy of having a brilliant one who can't get anything done. 


Take a look at what Obama did with Death Penalty reform... (4.00 / 2)
in Illinois.

This episode would appear to demonstrate that he is anything but naive or or a pushover when it comes to legislative politics.  He succeeded in forging a consensus when no one thought an agreement could be reached. 



[ Parent ]
Id be interested to hear more (4.00 / 1)
About that.  My larger point is not that he doesn't understand legislative politics, but rather institutional politics. And he's largely ignorant about these things because the last five years the institutional structure of this country has been very good to Obama.  He's done great, a meteoric rise- no wonder he doesn't think our institutions are rotten to the core- if they are then what does that say about him? 


[ Parent ]
Sure (0.00 / 0)
I wrote it up a month ago.  Two excerpts:
Working under the belief that no innocent defendant should end up on death row and no guilty one should go free, Obama helped get the bill approved by the Senate on a 58 to 0 vote. When Blagojevich reversed his position and signed it, Illinois became the first state to require taping by statute.

"Obviously, we didn't agree all the time, but he would always take suggestions when they were logical, and he was willing to listen to our point of view. And he offered his opinions in a lawyerly way," said Carl Hawkinson, the retired Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "When he spoke on the floor of the Senate, he spoke out of conviction. You knew that, whether you agreed with him or disagreed with him."

"Without Barack's energy, imagination and commitment I do not believe the very substantial and meaningful reforms that became law in Illinois would have taken place," said author Scott Turow, a member of the state commission that recommended many of the changes.

...Obama was at the center of the emotional debate.

Legislators and lobbyists who worked with him describe a lawmaker who was personally involved, refused to abandon some needed changes but also demanded compromises from both law enforcement and death penalty critics.

A proposal to require that police record interrogations of murder suspects was opposed by police, prosecutors and the Democratic governor and considered so touchy it was separated from other legislation. It also was the issue that garnered Obama's special interest.

"I thought the prosecutors and law enforcement would kill it," said Peter Baroni, who was then a Republican aide to the Illinois Senate's judiciary committee. "He (Obama) was the one who kept people at the table."



[ Parent ]
Ahh (4.00 / 1)
Seem to have found a juicy topic... :)

I will say,

If Obama really believes that he is somehow post-ideology, post-partisan, and capable of bringing contemporary Republicans to actually engage in real compromises over legislation in good faith, then I can't help but think that, despite his background, he is oddly naïve.

I tend to have the same reaction. In a certain sense I think Obama is not quite ready for what he's up against, in the same way that Kerry clearly wasn't. It also speaks of a certain base confidence in the establishment that I think is misplaced, or perhaps a lack of comprehension as to where and how large the problems we face really are...

Me | My Work | Future Majority


Wow! Bowers screws up. (4.00 / 1)
And worse than that he 'hurts' Senator 'Hope'.

Lot of meta about 'bi-partisanship' and 'coming together...' strange talk from a guy, Obama, who sees no value in one of the greatest episodes of 'coming together' in American history.

The Labor movement. You know, unions, 40 hour week, overtime, safety...

Old outmoded Democrat Party shit like that. Check this link all you Obama supporters....

How do I love Oprah...let me count the ways!

...and realize that 40 years ago a 'Democratic' candidate for President would have signed his political death warrant with this behavior. But now in a culture drenched in the importance of that least of all important human inventions, fame, we have someone whom many call  'progressive' doing and acting like Richard Nixon did around Elvis. And for the same crass reason. Short term political gain.

I don't give a good gotdamn if Chris screwed up. He and Digby are honest hard working bloggers and to see him attacked by the ignorant cultists of a flash-in-the-pan politician who has no respect for progressive values, and unionism is a progressive value, is disgusting.

The voters, in the end, will sort it out.

Judging from the desperate, cowardly lashing out of the Senator 'Hope' campaign I doubt he will be successful. But...

I could be wrong.

I'm not wrong however about the disgraceful attempts to squelch free speech exhibited here. Political speech is mostly opinion and thus needs to be given wide leeway but personal attacks and ad hominem slurs are a ReichWing tactic.

They don't belong here.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


... (0.00 / 1)
ACitizen: Bowers equals 'Dear Leader.'

[ Parent ]
I love responding to AC's comments (0.00 / 0)
Because it's so damn easy.  Let's take this point-by-point
- On labor issues, please point to where Obama turned his back on unions, or where he and John Edwards differ on the types of legislation they voted for or against while in the Senate.  On the episode in question, link to the actual article, not snippets that selectively quote it.  It seems to be a campaign screw up that was resolved with the AFL-CIO before the speaking event.
http://blogs.suntime...

- If John Edwards had the support of Oprah, damn right he would take advantage of it.  Instead, he has Kevin Bacon on the trail (who I actually prefer), who is not Elvis or Oprah, but has legendary connections.

http://www.iht.com/a...

- I agree with AC's defense of Bowers and Digby.  They are strong voices and have the best of motives.  Sometimes I disagree with them, but they write in thoughtful, intellectual  arguments that challenge readers.  I appreciate it.

- However, AC, I don't see all the attempts the squelch free speech here.  Most of the comments aren't that rabid.  There are a few hostile ones, but nobody has come to point of bile spewing as you have in your comment above calling Obama supporters 'ignorant cultists' and Obama himself 'disgusting.'

What will you do if he is, in fact, the nominee?  I know if your man Edwards is, I will enthusiastically support him.


[ Parent ]
Almost all right, except here: (0.00 / 0)
Rather than believing that the contemporary manifestation of the Republican Party can be brought to the negotiation table in good faith, I think the best way to negotiate with them is to reduce them to below pre-1994 levels in Congress and without the aid of the Bush Dogs, which means 42 or fewer US Senators and 175 or fewer members of the US House. There are lots of other things that need to be done to clean up the Democratic Party, improve progressive infrastructure, and set positive, progressive feedback loops in motion, but a series of crushing election results is my main, short-term strategy for dealing with Republicans. Render Republicans so small as to make them temporarily inert, leave the rest of the arguments as internal Democratic and progressive affairs, and get a lot of good done really fast.

While that is indeed the best way to deal with Republicans, I don't think we can count on that being allowed to happen anytime soon.  In the current environment, in which a relatively small national Elite Media can have a huge influence on electoral outcomes (remember Clinton Is Faltering week, or the Mark Foley Extravaganza), Democrats are just not going to be allowed to reach these pinnacles of electoral dominance.  I am hopeful that we can pull off a much bigger Congressional majority than expected in this 2008 race, but we're not going to be allowed to wallop the Republicans for three or four cycles running, because a superstrong Democratic Party just does not serve the interests of the elite all that well, even with Hoyer and Emanuel at the wheel.  The elite is going to make sure the GOP maintains some meaningful power, so the "reduce them to irrelevance" plan just won't be achievable.  (Not in this media ecosystem anyway.)

In that case, having an extremely skillful negotiator who doesn't just sell out on major principles could be a very valuable thing.  I don't know if Obama is that person or not, but if he were that would be an advantage.

Now, I could be wrong, and if I am it will be because there are enough Steny Hoyers at all levels of the Democratic party that the elite can get what they need without actually manipulating a failed Republican party into a position of power.  If they let us have six years of control of House, Senate (57+ votes) and White House, then I'll be quite pleasantly surprised, and it will be because all three entities have proven willing to deal with them.  That's fine; I'd rather negotiate directly with the elite, than with a powerful GOP caucus that only partly represents them.


we weren't (0.00 / 0)
Supposed to win in 2006 either.

The media are an embuggerance, for sure, but the landscape has shifted and is shifting further.  Super-majorities are attainable, and even stronger majorities would mean more veto-proof passages and less successful filibusters.

49 Republican senators can get 40 votes against cloture easier than 42 or 43 Republicans.

250 house Democrats can get to 290 "ayes" for override easier than 233.


[ Parent ]
I disagree that we weren't supposed to win in 2006. (0.00 / 0)
1) Washington Post had reported that the "revolt of the elders" in the GOP against major elements of the NewGOP was ongoing.  Powerful players like Scowcroft and Baker were gunning for Rumsfeld.  Other powerful players were gunning for Abramoff and DeLay.  They were talking about cleaning up their own house.  Abramoff was snitched on by other major GOP lobbyists.  That's when and how the investigation of him began: when other parts of the GOP got sick of him.  McCain stage managed the public release of documents to lead to certain targets (DeLay) but not others (Norquist).

2) Hastert was targetted for a house cleaning as well.  There was no reason for the Foley story to fixate on Hastert so quickly and powerfully, except that Hastert was a crook and everyone knew it and he needed to go.  Other stories with similar tangential connection to major leaders go unexplored all the time.  The media helped drop a dime on Hastert because the elite had decided he needed to be gone.

3) Dismay over Iraq was widespread in the Establishment by this time.  Witness people like Sandra Day O'Connor saying "I had no idea it was this bad."  Flipping the House was understood as a way of reigning in the bad actors in Iraq and hopefully providing cover for a change of course from the president.  The tone of coverage in December suggested that the Establishment was shocked that Bush rejected this opportunity and went for the Surge! instead.

4) The DSCC outraised the NRSC by a lot.  That's not just because of the relative talents of Schumer and Dole.  That's because big money wanted to see a check on GOP power.  I don't think they expected us to actually take the chamber, but I don't think they were terribly upset by it either.

5) The whole Mark Foley thing was way way way way way overplayed, and it was overplayed because it served the interests of the Establishment, which wanted to see a GOP defeat of some magnitude in the House.  The fact that Emanuel was allowed to parse his way into denying prior knowledge -- prior knowledge that he did in fact have -- is evidence that the media and their controllers wanted this story to redound to Democratic advantage.

Now, all that said, our victory was bigger than they expected.  Virginia was more Democratic than they thought, Montana was more Republican than they thought, NH and Iowa were both more Democratic than they thought... voters do still matter. 

But yes, elites do choose sides in elections, and they were on the Democratic side in 2006 in a big way.  It was time for "divided government" again.


[ Parent ]
negative lit drop by Hillary and Krugman (0.00 / 0)
http://www.politico....

there you go....


Obama's Souljah (4.00 / 1)
"Obama hasn't changed, his public record was just comparatively thin before the campaign began allowing people to interpret him in manifold ways."

This is the problem with worshipping a politician with a slim record. People projects their hopes and dreams onto him. They see things that are not there.They just "know" their Messiah agrees with them on this or that issue. He has not much of a record. He is a blank slate. They can delude themselves into thinking he is the second coming of Abraham Lincoln.


[ Parent ]
Obama can bring Dems long term success (4.00 / 2)
Polls have repeatedly shown that Barack Obama has crossover appeal. A significant portion of Republican voters would support him in a general election.

Yet his voting record is far from conservative. He has a history of supporting progressive policies in the Illinois state & U.S. senate and unlike Edwards or Clinton, he never supported the war in Iraq. So why does he seem to appeal to "centrists" and "Republicans?" Because he can articulate a progressive agenda and frame it in moderate terms.He can appeal to the millions of Americans who don't consider themselves liberal- but are. Studies of American public opinion conducted every year for the past 30 years have found that when it comes to what people actually want from their government, between 50 and 80 percent of Americans are idealogical liberals. Yet a plurality of Americans identify themselves as Conservative. The way to overcome this is not only by re-branding ourselves as progressives but also by having a leader who can build a broad consensus among THE PEOPLE. If he can appeal to Republican and centrist VOTERS, there is no limit to what he can accomplish in office. And he will help Democrats down the ticket. Getting things done in Washington isn't only about having a Congressional majority, its about having public opinion on your side. Look at Bush's failed social security privatization effort. He had a majority in both houses yet because the majority of the public opposed his plan, the GOP buckled. By appealing to the millions of self-identified Republicans and Independents who are more liberal than they realize Obama can effectively pursue a progressive agenda. Obama can build broad support among the general population, putting pressure on Republicans to compromise or risk losing their jobs. And while building these coalitions he will help the Democratic Party. Just as Reagan (whom I strongly dislike) created Reagan Democrats while pursuing a Conservative agenda, so too can Obama create Obama Republicans while pursuing a Progressive one. I have family members who I've fought with for years who are life long Republicans who want to vote for Obama. I have a friend who is fervently anti-choice ready to vote for a pro choice Democrat in Obama. I know people in their 30's who have previously expressed little interest in politics eagerly waiting to vote for Obama. And most of them wouldn't vote for Clinton.
Hillary can win with 52% or so and build small coalitions if she's lucky. Obama can win in a landslide and usher in years of Democratic dominance. The choice is ours.


Crossover appeal and the long term (0.00 / 0)
> Polls have repeatedly shown that Barack
> Obama has crossover appeal. A significant
> portion of Republican voters would support
>  him in a general election.

I have actually seen Obama's crossover appeal in action in rural areas of Illinois.  So there is something to this.

Now, what happens after the election when the Radical Right goes after him hammer-and-tongs with everything including their communications channels into the crossees' social group and, perhaps more importantly, the full-bore dolstchosslegende about the Iraq mess?  The Radical Right is salivating over the thought of 4 years of non-stop vituperative blaming of "librul Demorats" for everything that Bush/Cheney has messed up.  Are Obama's crossees going to remain crossed?  Will he have a strategy for dealing with the attacks or a base to help him carry it out?  These are my doubts.

sPh


[ Parent ]
Good point! (0.00 / 0)
I understand your doubts, and I hope he can respond to such attacks. Whether he has a strategy for after the 2008 election remains to be seen. However, his prospects for the General election itself look quite good, and hopefully, if he becomes President, he will accomplish enough Progressive objectives to  win over his one-time progressive opponents like Mr.Bowers. We will see.

[ Parent ]
Obama cult (0.00 / 0)
This is the problem a cult mindset. Cultists don't need evidence. They just know.

There just know Obama the savior will win in a landslide. He will carry red states like Georgia and Oklahoma. He will have conservatives in the media fawning over him during the general election and beyond. He will force the Right Wing Noise Machine to go out of business. He will get the GOP in Congress to cooperate with him. On and on..........

The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that Obama is more electable than other Dems means nothing to them. They live in an evidence free world. There are polls out showing 40% say they would never vote for him. That is with all the fawning coverage he has received. Imagine what his numbers would be after the GOP/media go after him and give him the Gore treatment.

None of this matters to his cultists. They just know he will win in a landslide. It is a cult.


[ Parent ]
RE: Obama "cultists" (0.00 / 0)
Dear MikeB.,

You say that there is no evidence to support the claim that Obama is the most electable Democrat because of his unique crossover appeal. Here are 7 reasons why you are mistaken:

http://firstread.msn...

http://www.salon.com...

http://www.sun-senti...

http://firstread.msn...

http://www.thecarpet...

http://www.time.com/...

http://www.timesonli...

ttp://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/06/07/217086.aspx\

If you can, please take the time to read these articles, published in respected publications like Time magazine and the London Times.Sorry I only have 7 articles to back up the argument that Obama has the greatest crossover appeal. I only had about 10 minutes to compile the evidence. Next time, please do some research before you attack Obama supporters as "cultists" who have no evidence to back up their opinions.The perception that Obama is the most electable candidate can be supported by legitimate evidence. It is wrong to assume that those who disagree with you are all idiots. I don't assume you are a fool, and I'd appreciate it if you extended Obama supporters the same courtesy.

As far as your claim that Obama believers think "He will carry red states like Georgia and Oklahoma", I don't know many Obama supporters who claim that this is likely. That would be a ridiculous thing to say, and you'd be right to point this out if this was a common assertion made by Obama supporters. It isn't.

It appears as if you are deliberately distorting the arguments of Obama supporters to make your attacks seem valid.That's dishonest, and I'm sure you are an intelligent person who doesn't have to resort to making distortions and  hurling insults to win arguments. I hope that in the future you will use factual arguments instead. Thank you for your time. I hope you have a nice day, and I hope that once the primary season is over, we can put aside the animosity and support the nominee, whoever it may be. Happy Holidays.


[ Parent ]
Her post is a spot on the record of an otherwise brilliant blogger (0.00 / 0)
And do you really have no clue as to how petty you come off in these overwrought ramblings?

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