Reality-Based Candidate Evaluations

by: Matt Stoller

Tue Jan 01, 2008 at 16:23


We like to mock Mitt Romney for changing his positions, Bush for claiming he could look into Putin's 'soul', and John McCain for completely changing his political skin to garner support from the fundamentalist and establishment types.  But I think the delusion goes both ways.

Let's do a thought experiment.  Let's say I were to put a generic candidate forward, and ask whether Democrats should choose him or her as our nominee.  This person rejected the Iraq war at the time of the war authorization vote and has a very liberal voting record as a Senator, though, like much of the caucus, has done little of substance to lead us out of the war.  He has a good if unremarkable career as a Senator, and is loved by Democrats all over the country for inspiring rhetoric.

Since declaring for President, this person has called Social Security a 'crisis', attacked trial lawyers, associated unapologetically with vicious homophobes, portrayed Gore and Kerry as excessively polarizing losers, boasted as his central achievement an irrelevant ethics bill, ran against the DC establishment while taking huge amounts of cash from DC, undermined Ned Lamont in 2006, criticized NAFTA while voting for a NAFTA-style trade agreement, compiled opposition research on the most effective liberal pundit in the country, refused to promise that American troops would be out of Iraq by 2013, and endorsed the central plank of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy doctrine, the war on terror.

How would you react?  You could concoct a 'theory of change' and argue that all of this is just deceptive, and the candidate is worth supporting anyway.  You could make arguments that this person can change the electoral map, with no evidence, and support him for that reason.  Or you could decide that this person means what he says and is running a campaign promising the country premised on conservative ideas such as the war on terror, maintaining an American presence in Iraq, and 'fixing' Social Security.

Any and all paths are open to you.  For my money, I'm constantly drawn back to Steve Clemons and his framework in describing John McCain.

But this person who knows McCain better than most made the point that sometimes the "person" that the candidate is just doesn't matter all that much -- at some point, the candidate becomes a franchise of so many interests and perspectives, sometimes in internal conflict with one another, that what the candidate really thinks or feels becomes less important.

That is why I spend a lot of time looking at advisers, funders, and other interests that surround these candidates. Each is somewhat of a free trade zone unto himself or herself for political interests vying to steer him or her this way or that.

It's lousy that this is the case -- but it is, and we need to be engaged as American citizens in trying to compel the candidates one direction or another -- and to punish or reward based on the positions that they are occasionally brave enough to articulate.

If you believe, as I do, that Bush's arguments about Putin were laughable, that McCain is a hypocrite willing to do anything to get elected, that Romney is an inauthentic unprincipled cartoonish villain who doesn't even have a strong commitment to evil, then you are able to weigh and consider evidence about political figures in the Republican Party. 

We like to think we live in the reality-based community.  And if you know all of these things, and you still support Obama, you have to concede that you are supporting a conservative candidate for President.  And that's fine.  But just go into this with clear eyes.

Matt Stoller :: Reality-Based Candidate Evaluations

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Conservative Community Organizer? (0.00 / 0)
A lot of people do get more conservative when they get older, but I've never met a conservative community organizer.  Obama can talk to conservatives and that is a huge asset in my book.  At least Obama is not using the classic Denocratic Candidate ploy, to run way left in the primaries then run right in the general.  Also, opposing the war in 2003 was a classic conservative position, classic conservatives don't rush into wars like Bush did.  So sure, call him the C word!

You're Right That It's Simplistic (4.00 / 4)
But you can't explain away the pattern that Matt points to.  And denial alone isn't dealing with it.

Talking to conservatives is one thing.  Picking up their spears and chucking a few of them our way?  That's a whole different ball game.

"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 ]
The denial is by the supporters (4.00 / 4)


[ Parent ]
Well, That's My Point (4.00 / 2)
I think that Matt's overstating it.  But it needs to be dealt with, and I don't see the Obamaphiles doing it.

Real men (and women) know their candidates aren't saints, and can at least admit some of their sins.

Tweens?  Not so much.  (The boy band thing, remember?)

"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 ]
Not to psychoanalyze (4.00 / 4)
I agree. I don't think Obama is a Conservative, but he is using Conservative frames because he is being a crass politician about it, and his supporters refuse to aknowledge this. It's personality over context and meaning. I had this conversation with an Obama supporter over at mydd about the definition of universal healthcare when the bruh-ha-ha over Krugman came up. I gave them a link to the wikipedia definition which like most makes it clear that the concept includes mandates. What was this person's response? They went to Wikipedia and changed the definition. That's when I realized how strong this behavior is about a cult of personality. They couldn't even see how fucked up their actions was. Part of it is I believe every cycle there is now the hipster crowd which shows up, knows nothing of politics, treats it as entertainment (the 'yawn' crowd when they read something they don't like they write "yawn' or if they can't argue their position they make a joke and write 'zing" as if we are in childhood carton show). they pick someone they think is hip and goes with it without understanding what any of it means. i've mentioned this before i have a friend who supported nadar, then dean and now obama- he strikes me as representative of the mentality involved. they have no core believeother than whats hot at the moment.

[ Parent ]
I Know The Kind, But... (4.00 / 1)
That's not all the support he has.  The vapid would-be-hipster crowd is simply not that big. Though the broader point about a cult has some validity to it, in the same sort of way that there was a cult around Kennedy (and, likewise, it was cultivated in both cases).

But I also think there's something deeper, that I'm working on a diary about.

"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 ]
thats cool but yal tend to over think these things (0.00 / 0)
i really do think there is a large class of apolitical voters who operate off general impressions about politics much like voting on american idol.

[ Parent ]
Oh, No Doubt (0.00 / 0)
It's just the pseudo-hipster demo is not that big.  A lot broader range of folks do vote on superficial cues, it's true.  This is well-established.  But when the political system is working properly, those cues can often be enough to produce generally the what the majority of voters actually want at a more considered level.

That's one reason that strong parties and a lot of other things that our punditalkcrazy likes to dis--like, say, "knee-jerk liberalism" (notice how there's never any "knee-jerk conservatism"?  well, Tom DeLay took care of that--look ma! no knees!)--are actually good for democracy, when we're always hearing that they're bad.

"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 ]
drought in one area, deluge in another (0.00 / 0)
okay, i should be honest. i think voters are kind of retarded. i know that's not p.c. I am aware of why that's the case. they are busy living their lives. but voters as rational decision makers just isn't the case anymore. they vote on some pretty retarded reasons. they don't feel they have to back it up with anything. i can't tell you how many times i've heard someone say-well that's just my opinion as if that excuses the fact they don't know what the hell they are talking about. i gave you the example of giving away the store and the strategic flaw it is for the party, but there are others. i am tired o f making excuses for it. i know politicians can't do what i am doing - which is to call voters on their failures but really its crazy you have to tell people that SS is in crisis is a right wing frame when the GOP just tried to privatize SS only 2 years ago with the exact same phrase.

[ Parent ]
How Much Attention Should People Pay To Politics? (0.00 / 0)
There is a fundamental disagreement between the populist and the progressive view of poltiics and public engagement.  And I plan to write about this some more this weekend.  But the short version, I think, is simply that we evolved in small bands where politics and personality were not nearly so far apart.  So what seems like it's superficial to you (or me, for that matter) has actually been selected for over millions of years.

The problem, therefore, cannot justly be laid on the doorstep of those who are simply doing what evolution leads them to.  Rather, the problem is that we have yet to construct the right sorts of social scaffolding to make things work better when your social world is up in the hundreds of millions--or even billions, rather than just a few score.

"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 don't know about the whole "real men" thing (0.00 / 0)
But as someone who went from an Obama skeptic (when the initial talk about his jumping into the race started a bit over a year), to a moderately enthusiastic Obama supporter (during his brief Man from Springfield period), to a mildly Obama-leaning fence sitter (i.e. right now, and since all these questionable actions began to get attention), I have admitted and continue to admit to his many faults (sins, evils, whatever).

But I also see many faults with the other candidates, which more or less balances it out for me--and I wish that THEIR strongest supporters would at least admit to these faults, seeing as how they keep calling Obama supporters (both hard and soft) "cultists" who will see no wrong in their guy. Well, what about them and their blindness to their guy or gal's faults, which are undeniable? The projection, mania, blindness and hyperpartisanship is unreal.

And hopefully soon over, once we have our guy, or gal--who will be a "real" man or woman.

;-)

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Kovie, You Must Realize (4.00 / 1)
That you are not the typical Obamaphile.  Not by several several levels of sophistication.

Now, I mostly stay away from candidate diaries of all kinds--especially at DKos, so maybe I've gotten a highly biased sample, but the Edwards supporters I've encountered are generally much more balanced and measured in their support.  I can well imagine that the folks who post an Edwards diary at DKos every day are not like this.  But I'm simply working with my personal experience.

"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 ]
Ah, smearing me by complimenting me! (0.00 / 0)
How very Obamaesque of you. ;-)

Also, the people who are so vociferously (as opposed to reasonably) opposed to Obama would do well to read up on progressive icons such as Lincoln, TR, FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ. They all had anti-progressive and quite troubling attributes.

But I guess that "fair and balanced" just doesn't cut it these days. ;-)

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Yes, Humans Are Contradictory (0.00 / 0)
No doubt about it.

But there's a legitimacy to such arguments insofar as (A) They are meant to counter excessive claims and (B) the political background is significantly more perilous.

As I've said a number of times--once in this very discussion--I would be a good deal more sanguine about an Obama presidency after two terms of Edwards.  I simply think that his fundamental political analysis is hopelessly flawed.  Give us a couple of terms of Edwards, and it could be fairly accurate.  It's Obama's political analysis that worries me more than anything.

(Also, from experience, I can tell you it's a lot harder to get people to say nice things about LBJ than to blithely embrace him as a "progressive icon".)

"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 ]
Funny how LBJ isn't seen as a progressive icon (0.00 / 0)
given that he was responsible for perhaps the most progressive ligislation since the New Deal, the Civil and Voting Rights Acts. Of course, it's his Vietnam record that precludes this (and perhaps deservedly), and maybe also his reputation for being abrasive, domineering, dishonest, and not above the occasional dirty trick. Which, I suppose, kind of proves my point about how the cult of the pure has been and continues to be a huge thorn in the side of the Democratic party (on the rank and file activist level at least), since '68, and we haven't really gotten over this. We want our politicians pure as snow, and when they invariably and unavoidably disappoint us, we turn on them. Thus the Clinton=Bush nonsense, the Nader denial, the deification of Gore (a great man, to be sure, but hardly a 100% progressive track record throughout his career), and now the attempted Obama takedown.

If I were Edwards I'd watch my back, because the left's current poster boy will surely be its next target if he takes down Obama and proves to be the imperfect politician that he clearly is (as they all are). You may be right that Edwards followed by Obama might be the way to go, and I wouldn't have much of a problem with that. But even if this happens, before long they'll both be the target of attacks from the left for failing to accomplish the impossible, or making the sorts of mistakes that are unavoidable in such a pressured job.

But I'm not entirely convinced that the country is ready for someone like Edwards. Will he be able to get a still conservative-leaning congress to bend to his will and pass serious progressive legislation, with a partisan strategy, which might feel good viscerally, but which, as Feingold, Wellstone and Boxer have found out the hard way, is very hard to do in today's corporate lobbyist-dominated political world? Does he have the political skills and toughness to do this? My doubts about this are why I am more open to (but still not entirely convinced by) Obama's brand of "bipartisanship", which I continue to suspect is a trojan horse strategy designed to neutralize the far right and win over the soft right and center, which would give him the political capital to actually pass progressive legislation.

Which is why I think that Obama followed by Edwards might not be too bad, either.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
McCarthyism & Vietnam (0.00 / 0)
What's really unfortunate about the distorted view of LBJ is that it fails to understand why he pursued the Vietnam War when he didn't believe in it. (Sound familiar?)  And the answer is pretty similar to why many congressional Democrats voted for the AUMF: perceived political survival.  Johnson had been in the Senate, and seen what the combination of the "loss" of China, the Korean War and McCarthyism had done to them.

In fact, he became the youngest Senate Minority Leader in history in 1953, after the Dems lost control of the Senate for the first time since 1933, and Barry Goldwater knocked off the former Majority Leader, Ernest McFarland.  LBJ made it his mission to regain and maintain the majority, and was firmly convinced that he would imperil the party if the Democrats "lost" another Asian country.

But this true history is not a straight-forward narrative in support of Obama, since his Senate career and Presidential campaign have not really fulfilled the promise of his early anti-war stance.  Rather, it's an indication of the need for much more serious questioning of all the candidates, which we have not gotten because of the continued neocon dominance in Versailles, which simply cannot admit the disaster of Iraq.

As for the whole purity thing, I think it cuts both ways.  Yes, Matt's criticizing Obama for a lack of progressive purity.  But Obamaphiles invite this by viewing him as wishes to be seen--as a pure outsider still untainted by Washington, who also wants to keep himself untainted by partisanship (which, of course, also means us).  Thus, if we embrace Obama, even while he articulates this narrative, we are somehow purified our taint.

You are certainly correct that Edwareds would face a fight.  Which would necessitate a lot more direct involvement of us on an ongoing basis, bringing pressure to bear.  I think this would do a lot more to build long-term progressive power.

Clinton, too, tried reconciliation when he started off.  And look at all the good it did him.  I don't really see why we should expect anything different if Obama wins.  We're going to be fighting either way.  I'm just significantly more clear what we'd be fighting for under Edwards.

"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 ]
Actually, IIRC, Clinton started out (0.00 / 0)
with exactly the opposite of reconciliation, since his two biggest policy initiatives during his first two years were gays in the military and Hillary's health care initiative, both of which were obviously progressive (in nature at least, even if they weren't quite as progressive as some would have liked), and in no way reconcilable to the GOP of the time (which while somewhat less far-right than today's GOP, was still quite right wing compared to what it was before Reagan). He could hardly have picked two more politically divisive issues to promote, and both not only failed, but hurt him and the Dems politically.

It was only after suffering politicals defeats with both and of course the terrible electoral loss in '94 (which wasn't entirely his fault given that congressional Dems gave him a hard time as president and had their own issues to answer for) that he went back to governing as a triangulating centrist, and regained some power and got things done, which were generally of a distinctly non-progressive nature--e.g. telcom bill of '96, NAFTA, welfare reform, military interventions, etc. So there is some logic (whether or not one likes or agrees with it) in Obama's approach, if in fact it's based on his reading of what happened to Clinton and the Dems back then (which of course is also ironic given that he's running against Hillary).

Of course, today's political climate is quite different from the one in '92-'94, with the GOP not nearly as popular and in apparent disarray, Dems more united and no longer saddled with the remnants of the Dixiecrat wing (who've mostly all died, retired or gone GOP), and the country seemingly ready for progressive reform (or at least the results of it, even if it's not yet ready to embrace the DFH mantra). So centrist triangulation (of the principled or unprincipled kind) might not only no longer be necessary, but no longer smart, and an Edwards-like platform and political style might make more sense on all sorts of levels.

On the other hand, the electorate's break with the right is still too recent, and still too based on disenchantment with the results of RW ideology and policies, than with the underlying ideology and policies, to be able to claim that the country is truly ready to embrace a real progressive kind of politics and policies (which Edwards is clearly representing right now, regardless of its sincerity). And I suspect that Obama, realizing this, has decided that a more centrist approach makes more sense right now. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree, but if true, it does have some plausibility. But also, of course, some reasons to doubt its necessity and wisdom. It's a really tough call right now, as I see it.

It might well be a 6 of one, half a dozen of another choice. Or not. I just don't know. But right now I'm still leaning Obama, for the reasons that I've outlined. But your reasons for leaning Edwards might well be the ultimately better ones. Again, I just don't know, so I'm going with my "gut" (the smart one, not the Bushie one, I hope).

As for LBJ, I was way too young (and still in Israel) at the time to remember his administration, but from what I've read about him, while I understand why he did what he did with Vietnam, I think that he erred, greatly. The decision to go to war must ALWAYS be based on its military and security merits, and not on political factors or speculative theories about dominoes and red scare nonsense. And any politician not prepared to sacrifice their career and their party's fortuned to make the right decision in such matters does not deserve to be in office.

Which is all the more perplexing, because not only did he end up seriously hurting himself and his party over Vietnam anyway, by persuing a politically-motivated approach on it, but he admirably chose to go against the principle of political self-preservation on civil and voting rights and other domestic matters, which did, of course also, hurt him and his party politically. So if you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't, you might as well do, and to hell with the consequences. Which, I suppose, argues for an Edwards presidency. But I'm not convinced that Obama wouldn't be like LBJ in the good ways, and like LBJ in the bad ways (i.e. another Bill Clinton). But, again, it's a gut-level guess, not a rational one.

Personally, I believe that the country is headed in a progressive direction regardless of whom we elect as president. How we get there is up in their air, but if we're to make it out of the Bush, Gingrich and Reagan years and survive as a viable democracy, it will have to be in a progressive direction, whether from a populist or semi-centrist perspective.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Woah, There! (0.00 / 0)
First off, Clinton's conciliatory mode was telegraphed in his decision to cut off further investigations into Bush/Reagan era wrongdoing.

As investigative reporter Robert Parry (who broke Iran-Contra scandal), recently wrote:

Unearthing Dirt

As President, Clinton not only turned the other cheek in regard to "Passport-gate" but made sure that federal investigators averted their eyes from other scandals implicating former President Bush. Clinton presumably thought that his magnanimity could gain some reciprocity from Republicans when it came to his own scandals.

As Clinton was taking office in 1993, three important investigations were underway, all of which Clinton could have helped by ordering key documents declassified or giving other backing to the investigators.

Special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was still battling the cover-up that had surrounded the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s; Democratic congressmen were digging into the "Iraqgate" scandal, the covert supplying of dangerous weapons to Iraq's Saddam Hussein in the 1980s; and a House task force was suddenly inundated with evidence pointing to Republican guilt in the "October Surprise" case, alleged interference by the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 to undermine President Jimmy Carter's efforts to free 52 American hostages then held in Iran.

Combined, those three investigations could have rewritten the history of the 1980s, exposing serious wrongdoing by Republicans who had held the White House for a dozen years. The full story also would likely have terminated the presidential ambitions of the powerful Bush family, since George H.W. Bush was implicated in all three scandals.

However, Clinton and the leaders of the Democratic majorities in Congress didn't care enough about the truth to fight for it. Instead, they saw the truth as a bargaining chip that could be cheaply traded away.

Clinton agreed to let George H.W. Bush retreat gracefully into retirement despite Bush's brazen attempt to destroy Walsh's criminal investigation by issuing six pardons to Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve 1992.

In his 2004 memoir, My Life, Clinton wrote that he "disagreed with the pardons and could have made more of them but didn't." Clinton cited several reasons for giving his predecessor a pass.

"I wanted the country to be more united, not more divided, even if that split would be to my political advantage," Clinton wrote. "Finally, President Bush had given decades of service to our country, and I thought we should allow him to retire in peace, leaving the matter between him and his conscience."

By his choice of words, Clinton revealed how he saw information - not something that belonged to the American people and that had intrinsic value to the democratic process - but as a potential weapon that could be put to "political advantage."

Joining the Cover-ups

On the Iran-Contra pardons, Clinton saw himself as generously passing up a club that he could have wielded to bludgeon an adversary. He chose instead to join in a cover-up in the name of national unity.

Similarly, the Democratic congressional leadership ignored the flood of incriminating evidence pouring into the "October Surprise" task force in December 1992.

Chief counsel Lawrence Barcella told me later that he urged task force chairman Lee Hamilton to extend the investigation several months to examine this new evidence of Republican guilt, but Hamilton ordered Barcella simply to wrap up the probe with a finding that the Reagan-Bush campaign had done nothing wrong.

Some of the new incriminating evidence - including an unprecedented report from the Russian government about its knowledge of illicit Republican contacts with Iran - was simply hidden away in boxes that I discovered two years later and dubbed "The October Surprise X-Files."

The "Iraqgate" investigation met a similar fate under Clinton's Justice Department, which chose to ignore or dismiss evidence of covert shipments of dangerous war materiel to Saddam Hussein during the 1980s.

When former Reagan national security official Howard Teicher came forward with an affidavit describing secret U.S.-backed arms shipments to Iraq, Clinton's Justice Department went on the offensive - against Teicher, bullying him into silence.

Second, gays in the military wasn't a big initiative. It was supposed to be a no-big-deal sort of thing.  Bush never even made an issue of it, which is why Clinton thought he'd just do it first thing out of the box, during his honeymoon period.  That was when he discovered that there wasn't going to be a honeymoon period.  Not 'till Bush in 2001, at least.

Third, Clinton had already signalled that he would backpeddle on the promised middle-class tax cuts, beause of a threatened run on government bonds if he did, and you can see quite clearly in the budget numbers that he had already started aggessively reducing the deficit well before Gingrich swept into power:

    1990  -221.0
    1991  -269.2
    1992  -290.3
    1993  -255.1
    1994  -203.2
    1995  -164.0
    1996  -107.4
    1997  -21.9
    1998  69.3
    1999  125.6
    2000  236.2

What's more, the drop in the deficit in his first two years was disproportionately due to slowdowns in spending growth--up just $80 billion from 1992 to 1994, compared to $100 billion from 1994 to 1996.

(No link, this is from a downloaded CBO PDF, but easy enough to find by Googling, I'm sure.)

Fourth, in less hard-number-tangible, but nonetheless quite viscerally real territory, there was his clearly established pattern of caving--most dramatically on the Lani Guinier nomination, which was an utter disgrace.  He clearly showed that he was not going to stand and fight, even while it was obvious that the GOP wasn't going to stop attacknig.

Fifth, as for the health care plan--it was a corporate-friendly disaster, that looks much much better in hindsight, and in light of who attaked it, how and why.  Clinton essentially buried a growing movement for single-payer, and by completely sidelining the more progressive alternative, made the ultimate drift to the right and final collapse almost inevitable.

Not a happy 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 ]
"Supporters"? All too often "worshipers" is a more apt description. (4.00 / 1)
I learned early on to bypass Obama's speeches and to straight to the voting record and debate content, if any. As such, I can't say whether he fosters irrational and unquestioning support, but no one can deny he's got it. I know some of these people, and talking to them makes me feel, no snark and no exaggeration, very much like it feels to talk to a loved one who has joined a cult. And yes, I do know exactly how that feels.

[ Parent ]
WTF is the matter with the blogosphere. (4.00 / 3)
I can almost understand how the country at large can get phished by Obama, but the people on the blogosphere ought to know better.  Every word that falls off the golden boys silver tongue simply conjures up visions of Elmer Gantry conning the flock. 

Well Matt.  I appreciate the effort you, Chris, Sirota, Jerome and others have made to educate the so called reality based community.  I feel as disappointed in what is happening now as I did when Obama and the rest of the Dems helped Lieberman to screw Lamont and thumb his nose at us.  You might find the links in this comment interesting.


[ Parent ]
you assume the audience is static (4.00 / 1)
and that this is a matter of logic. i know how to ask questions such that if it were a matter of logic the person to whom iam talking will naturally come to the answers themselves. ie, why the attack on trial lawyers if you know that this is an attak the right does as well? it mostly leads to circling the wagons, and becoming defensive becauase the question  itself makes them uncomfortable with their choice.

[ Parent ]
I congratulate you, really. (4.00 / 2)
I'm 62, and I don't have the time or the patience for ego.  If someone is old enough to vote, they ought to be old enough to sort out fact from fiction. If they knowingly choose to support a glib tongued salesman(sounds just like Bill Clinton), I respect their right to do so.  This is America, and it is a free country for at least another 20 minutes.  But I absolutely can't handle, I don't have a clue but it feels good.  What was the name of that group waiting for the spaceship to come for them? 

Guess we can strike up another win for the msm and the establishment.


[ Parent ]
Of course there are many, many ..... (4.00 / 4)

.......................'conservative' community organizers. They are called preachers. And like Obama they are pushing something called 'faith'.

As to Obama's tactics they're crap. He's not going to get support from the base by constantly using 'conservative' frames. And his whole vision that Republicans would support him in the GE is proof postitive that he's not ready for prime time.

There are better tactics to be used. Too bad for Obama that JRE already owns the best one. That would be populism.

Not that the money behind Obama would allow him to use that.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
He may run even further right... (4.00 / 3)
...in the general election if he's the nominee.  It's my guess that he will, in fact, because he seems to triangulate both by instinct and by conscious strategy.  Obama is bringing new, younger people into politics, which is great, but I sure wish he wasn't filling their heads with the lie that Democrats not getting along with Republicans is the big problem in our country.

[ Parent ]
his strategy can only work with the politically (4.00 / 1)
igorant or conservative

[ Parent ]
Yep (4.00 / 1)
We could be educating the ignorant as an investment for the future, but instead, our candidates these past few cycles have generally chosen to go with the flow (of right-wing lies) in order to "win".

[ Parent ]
Thanks (4.00 / 3)
It's about time this was noticed by a major blogger!

Obama's Not A Conservative, Matt (4.00 / 3)
Obama is a lot more self-contradictory than his supporters will admit, but it's going overboard to call him a conservative.  What he is, is complicated, technocratic, and a plausible populist stand in for the sort of fundamental change that his Verailles supporters--the Broders, the Brooksies, the Andrew Sullivans, etc.--will do everything in their power to prevent.

I think of him as a boy band candidate.  Instead of The Stones, the Dave Clark Five.  Instead of The Velvet Underground, the Monkees.  Instead of The Clash, Duran Duran.  Instead of the Slits, the Go-Gos. Instead of Public Enemy, N Sync.

In short, all the faults you point to are there.  But not quite the heft.  It's more just a Versailles thing.  He picks up conservative ticks because everyone there does it.

"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


Not sure if this is a slap or a tickle.... (0.00 / 0)
Paul,
Since boy bands mostly suck, I assume this is a negative shot at King Kumbaya. But in the interest of open-mindedness, I'm willing to hear how he's a "plausible populist stand-in" for "fundamental change" and more support for the notion that his recent ticks (fleas?) are just what you get when you lie down with Versailles running dogs and not what he really represents. Please clarify if you would

[ Parent ]
I'm Saying Not Much There There (4.00 / 2)
It's not just that they suck, but that they're superficially pleasing, and seductive, but in a non-threatening way.

He's a "plausible populist stand-in" for "fundamental change" because that's his whole schtick, and a good deal of people are buying it.  But, of course, you can't get fundamental change if you aren't even trying to acheive it.  For him, fundamental change just means that people stop fighting so much.  Well, they can do that just by Congress taking longer vacations, and everyone watching cooking shows instead of Faux Nuz.

Finally, I wasn't so much saying that these [[congradulations for catching my double-entrendres, now whatcha gonna do whitch 'em?]] aren't what he really represents.  I was saying he represents adpating.  Which is why I think he might be an okay President after a couple of terms of Edwards, when the environment he'd be adapting to could be a good deal more progressive.

"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 ]
Don't mind me, just unbolding (4.00 / 1)
Nobody here but us chickens.

[ Parent ]
It's now a tossup as to whether you..... (4.00 / 4)

.....Matt Stoller, The Great Orange Satan, Digby or Atrios are the biggest Obama hater in Free Left Blogistan.

This latest Obama triumph of campaign rhetoric attacking Gore and Kerry, coupled no doubt with the DMG poll, has stirred up the feces-flinging fans of Senator 'Hope' like HuckaBee!'s statement about when conception takes place.

I guess nobody told Obama he was running for the Democratic nomination.

This is gonna be a real shitpile of a primary. The most amazing thing is that none of the supporters of Obama realize that he's running a campaign that will lose the GE.

Who besides Joe Lieberman believes that Republicans will vote for Obama in the GE?

Some might vote for Edwards but:

A black man...

Named Hussein...

Wearing as Letterman put it, 'A really nice suit....'

I just don't see that happening.

Well, he does disapprove of trial lawyers.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


I Think You're Wrong (4.00 / 5)
I think Obama can win.  (This year I think Estes Kefauver could win, and he's been dead since 1963.)  The problem is, what would happen next?  I'm afraid that what's most likely is a mix of disappointments, minor accomplishments, and bad compromises sold as major acheivments.

And it will be even worse if he really is that concerned with changing the tone in Washington, because to do that, he'd have to abdicate, and let some Republican take his place.

Alan Keyes, perhaps?

"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 ]
Hah...hah..hah... (4.00 / 1)
Alan Keyes!

What a perverted sense of humor you have Paul!

I really don't agree that a dead Dem could win. Remember the MIghty Wurlitzer has yet to fire up behind one ReThug.

But more worrisome is the Obama campaign's record of gaffes. It won't take more than one and one half Donnie McClurkin's and he will be toast in the GE.

He just doesn't have the campaign experience to weather the ReThuglican hurricane that will hit him.

Just my opinion but there it is.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Guilty As Charged! (0.00 / 0)
What a perverted sense of humor you have Paul!

Keyes is half Zelig, half Stassen, half Billy James Hargis.  And if that's too many halves, we'll he don't care any more for mathematics than he do for evil-oootion!

As for the Rep's prospects, no doubt they can mid-sling up a tsunami.  But as Digby pointed out recently, the conservative big guns don't mind losing, it's an excellent opportunity to angry up the troops again.

"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 ]
Yeah... (4.00 / 1)

..........and it would give their pals in the 'Democrat Party' some nice cover, 'See, we won...we won...and....

We didn't need no stinkin' progressives to do it!'

But no matter how you slice it. Neither the ReThugs, the 'Democrat' Party nor Obama have any ideas...or rather their ideology prevents them from implementing ideas which will solve the serious problems facing out nation.

It's all about, 'More of the same.'

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
So, you are saying (4.00 / 3)
that some collected remarks from the campaign trail are a better measure of a candidate than:

- his or her record to date
- his or her life story
- all of his or her policy proposals
- and the entire rest of his or her remarks on the campaign trail.

Sorry, but I don't buy it. You can conclude from this that the candidate doesn't hesitate to selectively use right wing rhetoric for perceived political advantage, if you like, or that the candidate is actually to the right of some of the other candidates on some of the issues, but that he or she is a conservative?

Reality based is not quite the term I would have used.


Didn't we have this argument already? (0.00 / 0)
Senator 'Hope' talks, votes and acts like his mentor Joe Lieberman. He's no more a progressive than Huckabee.

He's a Liebercrat.

I wish Ron Paul would make some news this Obama, Obama, Obama bs is really getting tedious.

Gonna be an interesting week.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I Think You're Right That He's Not A Conservative, But... (4.00 / 1)
What do you think is going on?  How do you explain it?  That stuff with Mcclurkin was deeply offensive--and not just to gays, but to people like me who've had gay friends all their lives.

"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 ]
How do I explain it? (4.00 / 4)
Liar, opportunist, and conman. 

[ Parent ]
I really think he's a creation of those... (0.00 / 0)
...........forces which want to forestall a real progressive campaign for President.

How did a less than one term Senator get the money and infrastructure, such as it is, to mount a fairly successful campaign such as he has done?

Like they say, 'Who benefits?'

Lots of folks on the right, the DLC, Versailles. Mind you I don't say it's a conspiracy just a conjunction of forces who found in Obama a candidate who even if he loses could be of use to their interests.

And so they all got behind him and pushed. If nothing else they've succeeded in all but drowning out Edwards message which is deserving of getting a hearing which it has not gotten on a national level so far.

I mean Matt's talking about never seeing Edwards speak. Chris comes on board at the last minute. Kos also the last minute. Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of this given the reality of Obama's claims to be a progressive candidate and his ability to blur his real politics.

He's a Liebercrat. His ignorance on the gay issue could be many things, the black community is far behind the rest the nation in it's understanding of being gay, but most of all I think he's the kind of guy who's not overly concerned with others apart from what they can do for him. I saw him speak in Oakland along with my fellow blogmates, one of whom is black, and the universal consensus was that the guy was blowing smoke. Lot's of good sounding rhetoric but nothing essentially different from any other member of Versailles.

It's all about getting elected. Nothing else.

But....

What does the race look like if Obama doesn't run?

That 's a question which throws some light on things.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Pattern (4.00 / 2)
I don't think Obama is conservative. More like a candidate moving toward a centrist approach in a hurry. But this pattern of movement toward the mythic center of late raise concern, as does his support in previous primaries. His ditching of Lamont was troubling. His throwing of Cegelis under the bus in the 2006 primary stuck close to home for me. Both greatly undermined the progressive movement by effectively hurting genuine progressive candidates in support of center-right candidates.

If teaching is so easy, then by all means get your degree, pass your certification test(s), get your license, and see if you can last longer than the five years in the classroom 50% of those who enter the profession never make it to.

Here's My Worry (4.00 / 1)
He explained his conversion to Christianity as resulting from working with a lot of preachers when he was a community organizer.  So what happens when he works with a lot of Versailles insiders?  I think we're already starting to see.

"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 ]
my question is why is independent or centrist (0.00 / 0)
always a move to the right. if obama were truly independent minded one would expect a variety of moves. this logical - find the answer for yourself question- is met with suspion by those who want to support him.

[ Parent ]
He's no liberal champion (4.00 / 1)
Regardless whether he's conservative (I personally consider him a moderate that accommodates the right and scolds the left), if he doesn't fight like bloody hell against the right-wing in Washington he'll be neutered and co-opted before you can say "change we can believe in."

[ Parent ]
Now I have seen everything. (2.00 / 2)
Wow what a meltdown!

explain in your own words (0.00 / 0)
how what obama has said and done differs from a moderate conservative. please do so without relying on how obama is unique and instead talk in terms of actual strategy.

[ Parent ]
Please explain in your own words (0.00 / 0)
how you're not selectively picking and chosing facts to make your case.

Name one moderate Pub who was openly against the war from the start, gave up a lucrative legal career to become a community organizer, voted against the MCA and FISA, and didn't voted for K-L. MAYBE Walter Jones. Chuck Hagel and Ron Paul are not moderate Pubs.

Calling anyone who's not an Obama hater a cultist and such is not an argument. What it is, though, is the makings of a repeat of '68. Better to be pure than to win, I suppose.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Chuck Hagel Is A Moderate Conservative (0.00 / 0)
At least in tone and manner, and generally on the basis of votes.  His DW-Nominate scores for the last 3 full sessions:

107th Congress: HAGEL  36 492  0.927  83.000
108th Congress: HAGEL  29 533  0.946  66.500
109th Congress: HAGEL  52 537  0.903  59.000

"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 ]
"Hater" nonsense (4.00 / 2)
"Calling anyone who's not an Obama hater a cultist and such is not an argument."

"Obama hater" doesn't work either.

What's the point of being openly against the war when you vote to give blank checks to Bush to fund an ending war?  Mind you, he voiced his opposition to the war as a representative of a liberal district that was quite anti-war so it was not an act of tremendous courage.  When the chips are down where has Obama been?  Either not there to vote against (Iranian resolution for one, even though he co-sponsored an earlier bill that included the same incendiary language marking the Revolutionary Guard as terrorists) or calling for "bipartisanship" (think: Social Security or seeking the support of a vile homophobic bigot).  We're dealing with a rabid right wing and he refuses to recognize the reality of what we're up against.  Instead he dismisses us as being childish, engaged in a "food fight."

Where was the "judgment" when he spewed inflammatory Pakistan rhetoric earlier this year?  We're in a most desperate state in terms of foreign policy.  There is nothing that shows he can has the competence to lead on a global level (Again, a five-year old speech when the chips weren't down and a voting record that runs counter to his rhetoric doesn't count).

Where was his "judgment" when he voted to approve of the Patriot Act?  Our Constitution has been fundamentally undermined and there's nothing that shows he'll fight to restore it.  What battles has he waged on behalf of our rights against the overwhelming tide of opposition?  With all his brilliance as an inspirational speaker why hasn't he led on the issue?

Basically: Where's his leadership experience?  Where are the results?


[ Parent ]
And where have our other top candidates been? (0.00 / 0)
I'm not disputing that he's been quite dissappointing on a number of issues as senator, and now as candidate. But in what meaningful way have the other two done any better, either in the senate or elsewhere? Why is Obama being subjected to a level of truly bilious animosity that, in terms of the reasons that are offered to justify it, would apply to the other two if applied equally? Why is Obama being singled out (I think I know why, but that's another issue)?

Both Hillary and Edwards voted for the war and the original Patriot Act. Hillary has not apologized for either as far as I know, while Edwards has apologized for at least one of these. But what has he done to end the war or overturn the Patriot Act? Not a fair question, you say, since he's been out of the senate for two years? Then why is it nevertheless fair to criticize Obama for making a speech against the war when he wasn't in the senate and from a liberal district, when Edwards is now not in the senate and running a progressive campaign (politically, at least, as we have very little senatorial proof that he'd actually preside as a progressive--I'm not saying that he won't, and I actually think that he will, but there's no way to KNOW that other than "gut feeling", i.e. trusting that what he says is what he means and what he'll do, which is really all that we have to trust Obama on, yet he, unlike Edwards, doesn't get the benefit of the doubt).

In case you don't get what I'm getting at, I'm not so much defending Obama in this instance, as asking why he's getting cut apart in ways that Edwards deserves to be cut apart, yet isn't. People talk about Obama cultism, but what I'm seeing much more of is anti-Obama cultism, matched with Edwards cultism. And I find it interesting that both are happening at the same time (and led by what almost feels like a coordinated progressive blogger campaign). How is Edwards demonstrably much better than Obama, or Obama demonstrably much worse, when Edwards voted for the war, the Patriot Act, and a host of other heinouse BushCo bills. Why the double standard?

It seems to me that in the final days before the caucuses, a large segment of the progressive blogosphere has come down with some sort of anti-Obama mass hysteria, and love of all things Edwards, a panic, I suspect (assuming that it's not being coordinated by the Edwards and/or Hillary campaigns--and anyone who discounts this possibility is truly living in fantasyland) that Obama, whom everybody seemed to worship just a few months ago, might not be Golden Boy after all (which cooler heads realized all along), and thus undeserving of our nomination, which Edwards is suddenly seen as deserving by leaps and bounds, when evidence for this is entirely missing (he's made lots of wonderful speeches--so freaking what, so has everybody else, but what did he do as senator that was so freaking great that's any better than what Obama has done?).

Sometimes I think that us Dems want to lose, so we can go only playing the purer than snow victim. And whenever we find someone who seems to have a chance at winning and doesn't seem half bad, we desperately and viciously look for ways to tear them down, lest they win--or worse, prove to be less than perfect. This happened with Dean, it's happening with Obama, and I'm convinced that it would happen with Edwards, given enough time.

So I ask again, admitting all of Obama's faults, how exactly is Edwards (let alone Hillary) any better on his legislative RECORD (and he served twice as many years as Obama so surely you can come up with something that's twice as good as anything that Obama has done)? Or is the unspoken message in the Obama takedown that none of our candidates deserves to win, and with any luck they won't, and we'll have President Romney, McCain or Huckabee in '09?

Like I've said, this has the makings of '68. And there are probably still some idiots out there who think that worked out ok for us, and the country. Because nothing short of perfect (even if it's illusory) will ever be good (heh) enough for us.

I will support whomever the party nominates this year, and vote for them, because even our worst candidate will still be leagues better than their "best". I have expressed my mild preference for Obama but view Edwards as a fine candidate and man as well. Even Hillary, whom I have lots of problems with, would be better than a Pub--lots better.

But I don't get the sense that many of the people currently trying to take down Obama would do the same. I.e. the moron purist Naderite wing of the Democratic party--as opposed to the Democratic wing (and I bet that most people here don't even know who coined that phrase--no, it wasn't Dean). It's not the attacks against Obama that bother me, but their transparent dishonesty and political stupidity, given that Edwards is not provably better and this circular firing squad nonsense can only hurt. But what's another loss if you've got purity?

Ok, back to the great orange satan for me...

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
When you say, (0.00 / 0)
Name one moderate Pub who was openly against the war from the start, gave up a lucrative legal career to become a community organizer

do you mean that he turned down specific offers, or that with his resume, he could theoretically have made out like a bandit? What if it was part of his kindergarten Master Plan to build a resume of community service to point to, just for this kind of occaision? I know he worked at a law firm that did some voting rights cases, but what, specifically, did he do? Around which issues was he "organizing? With what results?

Could someone elaborate on this, please? Or point to some authoritative source that can provide specific answers? When you say,


[ Parent ]
He was editor of the Harvard Law Review (0.00 / 0)
and a star pupil of Lawrence Tribe. Unless something deeply, deeply serious happened during his time there that would have made getting a decent legal job almost impossible (in which case I think that we would have found out about it by now and which it would have been the right thing to do for someone on OUR side to reveal by now to avoid the other side doing it in the general and thus destroy his chances), he would have had ZERO problems getting a high-paying job at a top-flight law firm. So whether or not her got and turned down specific offers is really besides the point. I will assume that the K reference is a snark.

As for the organizing and legal work, I can't specifically point to any right now. Not because there aren't any, but because I'm short of time right now and don't have time to do the proper research. But I'm sure that his site has a lot on this, and Google can take care of the rest. I'll try to dig some specifics up later and get back.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
You're messing up the timeline (0.00 / 0)
and overselling the choices Obama made. He got his B.A. from Columbia and went to work for a consulting firm. I think he lasted a year there before moving to Chicago to work as a community organizer. After several years in that work, he went to Harvard Law School. Upon graduation from Harvard, he moved back to Chicago and went to work for a law firm where his work involved representing community organizations and civil rights cases.

I agree that with his resume, it's highly unlikely that Obama couldn't get a job at a "high-paying job at a top-flight law firm" if he wanted one. But given his other choices, I don't know why you'd assume that he wanted one. And it's reasonable to conclude that those white shoe jobs suck if your goals are broader than earning as much money as possible at the firm with the most prestigious name. I think the reality - Obama doesn't like being a business consultant, works as a community organizer, goes to law school, returns to represent community/civil rights interests with a better skill set and for a better salary - is more impressive than the false choice you lay out - Obama sacrifices American dream of working 70-80 hours a week doing corporate lawyer work in order to do community organizing.

Having said that, while I'm impressed with Obama's history of community organizing, I'm curious how open his door has been as Senator to hear the concerns of those same types of organizers.


[ Parent ]
You are correct (0.00 / 0)
I did get the timeline wrong, which I realized just before coming back here as I read his Wiki entry. It would, I agree, seem a bit peculiar if, after his stellar Harvard Law experience, that he'd become "just" a community organizer (as opposed to one who worked for community goals as a lawyer), given that his law degree and experience would have allowed him to accomplish things on a higher political level.

I am impressed, though, that even though it was the late 80's when the economy was booming and where someone like himself could have written his own ticket in the legal or corporate world (or as a lobbyist or such), he decided to teach, and do community-oriented legal work. He could have made a lot of money but decided to do good instead (not that there aren't people doing a lot of good who aren't also earning a lot of money, but the two don't usually go together this early in life).

I can totally relate to his apparent disenchantment with the corporate world. I'm only a few years younger than him, also went to an Ivy (but have no advanced degree), graduated in the late 80's, and went on to work for several major corporations and even a consulting firm for a while. And while the money was (or could have been, if I had decided to make a career of it) quite good, it was soulless bottom line-oriented work, and I simply did not have the heart for it. As, apparently, Obama didn't (but quite a few of our peers did, sadly).

You are right in asking how open to everyday people and their worries he's been as senator (and of course how open he'd be as president). He doesn't exactly have a stellar record as senator. But then no Dem does, including the best of them, and also including his top rivals. But I am nevertheless quite impressed with his pre-senate career and accomplishments, and have a hard time imagining him as the Liebermanesque president that more than a few of his more vocal detractors have been making him out to be. He's far from perfect, but he's no Joe.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Style and Substance (4.00 / 1)
I read this blog regularly because I respect Matt and Chris's thinking. But both have a tendency, exhibited by this post and shared widely in the blogosphere, to conflate style with substance; reality with rhetoric and representation.

Obama a conservative candidate? I won't argue that he's not, other than to point out that the only evidence Matt's given in favor of this claim is misleading characterizations of Obama's 'framing' (a notion which, by the way, is pseudoscientific mumbojumbo) of issues.

Take, for instance, the claim that "Obama has endorsed the central plank of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy doctrine, the war on terror"- this is just downright ridiculous. The central plank of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy doctrine isn't a bit of rhetoric about terrorism: rather, it is and always has been, if anything, an aggresively hawkish posture in the middle east and elsewhere. Anyone who thinks that Obama's actual foreign policy would be any more similar to Bush/Cheney than Clinton's or Edwards is deluded; and particularly deluded if they think so because Obama sometimes uses the same language they do.


question (4.00 / 1)
how exactly can one adopt the language of the right and not adopt its meaning?

how can one put down gore as being divisive, say ss is in crisis, question the need for mandates, attack krugman, not lead on iraq, skip the iran vote, attack democrats as secular atheists, support gay bashers, etc without being at least the tool of the conservative movement? how is this different from lieberman other than one you support and the otheer you do not. it behooves you to make  your case. right now you aren't. so far we've gotten denial from posters such as yourself. prove your case.


[ Parent ]
It's not difficult (0.00 / 0)
Try:

'I believe that we should fight the war on terror not by presiding over a civil war in Iraq, but rather by focusing our attention on the worsening situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan' (Not a direct quote, but you get the idea)

Same 'language', different meaning. 


[ Parent ]
So tweaking the definition but keeping the right wing frame (0.00 / 0)
And you are left with the same central problem- namely foreign policy shouldn't be  limited to a construction of it that relies on a war on terror.

it was our  limited understanding of the cold war's consequences that provided the seeds for al qaida. the same will happen here because you are tweaking and not understanding the big picture. meanwhile other things are happening that aren't on our radar because of the centralizing right wing frame.

its precisely this tic for tac with the right that makes your argument nothing but warmed over clintonism with a different face.


[ Parent ]
Style and Substance Again (0.00 / 0)
Clintonism and 'Obamism' are different phenomena altogether. The former involves placating conservatives by implementing conservative policies; the latter involves placating conservatives (viz., expressing respect for them as fellow citizens) by occasionally using their own language in order to disagree with them.

[ Parent ]
there is no difference in outcomes (0.00 / 0)
with whatyou just said. Its your belief there will because you assume this discussion is static and that conservatives are stupid.

[ Parent ]
point of clarification (0.00 / 0)
bush was a natural reaction to clinton because politics is define or be defined. the same issue obama will run into with his game.

[ Parent ]
ironically i am a moderate (0.00 / 0)
i simply am one who isn't busy trying to prove i am a centrist which is your argument.

[ Parent ]
Conservative? (4.00 / 1)
Based on spin and half truths?

Your argument would be more convincing if you weren't trying to pound it into your readers with a hammer.


another poster not making the case (0.00 / 0)
on the issues- how is matt wrong? and i mean go through them and in a detail way show how he is not at least aiding the conservative arguemnts

[ Parent ]
Just so.... (4.00 / 2)

...........folks here aren't real interested in what you 'believe' in the HuckaBee! sense. 'Faith' ain't gonna get us through the coming hard times. Knowledge and ability are needed. Obama spends more time talking Kumbaya than anything else.

As for his supporters I've yet to see one who can argue the case for Obama in a rational, reasoned way.

It's all about 'believing'.

It's all about 'trust'.

It's all identity politics. The same politics that gave us:

Nixon....

St. Ronnie....

The Bushwacker...

'Trust' someone who won't vote to protect my civil rights?

When hell freezes the second time pal.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Even if it's about personality (0.00 / 0)
Which for some it clearly is, it needn't be about 'trust' or 'believing'. Obama's written two books (the first of which is, by the way, brilliant just as a book), which together paint a clear picture of his personality and political sensibilities.

Some of us are convinced that this personality, and these sensibilities, are more likely to lead to actual success in implementing progressive policies than Edward's divisive paleo-populism  or Clinton's blurry DLCism.  Importantly, though, this conviction, in my case and I suspect many others, is based on evidence, and not mere 'faith.'


[ Parent ]
that believe is what makes it a cult (0.00 / 0)
a) his strategy is almost exactly the same as clinton. indeed, one of your fellow supporter proves it above in his definition.

b) clinton was as gifted as obama and failed, but you claim obama will suceed. that says a lot

c) you ignore circumstance and context. always a dangerous sign.


[ Parent ]
by th eway (4.00 / 1)
you still provided no one bit of evidence that matt is wrong. thats not lost on me either.

[ Parent ]
I don't know that this is going anywhere, really (0.00 / 0)
But as to the 'no evidence' accusation, my first comment took issue specifically with Matt's claim that Obama endorses 'the central plank of the Bush/Cheney foreign policy' by pointing out the obvious fact that the use of a certain bit of rhetoric is not the central plank of the Bush/Cheney foreign policy.

[ Parent ]
its up to you for this to go somewhere (0.00 / 0)
since i have left it to y ou to prove your case. matt claimed several things. you choose one that was you thought easier to defend. overall picture is what i am seeking which is why i am asking for multiple answers. if i were seeking the simple answer i could have just called ou  name. this was your chance to prove us wrong.

[ Parent ]
Fighting Terrorism As A War (4.00 / 1)
rather than a crime is the central plank of the Bush/Cheney foreign policy.  If Obama were instead running on rejecting the "war on terror" framework, and addressing terrorism as both a crime and a symptom of deeper problems, that would be a whole different ballgame.

And I suspect you know that as well as anyone else.

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


[ Parent ]
I'd rather no one used the 'war on terror' language too (0.00 / 0)
But that doesn't mean that I think the way to achieve that is to tell half the country that they're full of it.

There's something to be said, both pragmatically and morally, for justifying policies in a way that nearly everyone can, in principle, accept.  And sometimes the best way to approximate this ideal is to express your respect for your fellow citizens by granting that they might be less than utterly confused or depraved in their thinking about political matters.


[ Parent ]
but you okay with telling hafl the country that (0.00 / 0)
we are at war?

[ Parent ]
you claimed it was just rhectoric (0.00 / 0)
and yet wht do you do here, and whose position do you accept as the dominant one?

[ Parent ]
So, Screw Reality, Screw Solving The Problem, Sing Kumbayah Instead? (0.00 / 0)
Sounds like a plan!

A recipe for more disaster, in fact.

You see, this is the whole problem in a nutshell: If you buy the premise that the problem is simply how people talk to one another, then you are condemned from the start to never actually addressing the real problems, since, by definition, you can't even address the problems without making people upset.

Gay people excepted, off course.  You can upset them all you want.  "Secular liberals," too.  And trial lawyers, of course.

If it starts to sound idiotic, then maybe it's just beause it is.

"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 ]
Now I'm confused (0.00 / 0)
I thought I was arguing, contra a certain strain in Matt's post, that there's a difference between allowing some measure of legitimacy to conservative rhetoric and endorsing actual conservative policies. Obama, I submit, has done the former, but I challenge anyone to show that he's done the latter. 

[ Parent ]
I Don't Think There Is A Bright Line Between The Two (0.00 / 0)
We are in a Gramscian culture war. Have been for 30+ years. You legitimize their rhetoric, you give them support, and this leads all too easily to actual endorsements faster than you realize.  Most of what Obama has done is in the squishier areas--failing to step up and fight when it was needed--but sometimes he has clearly voted against the progressive base.  The point is, it's all part of a larger continuum. One thing bleeds into another.

"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 ]
There it is the central fallacy that you've.... (0.00 / 0)
..bought into:

But that doesn't mean that I think the way to achieve that is to tell half the country that they're full of it.

Who said that? What Democratic candidate, much less progressive one, is campaigning on that meme?

Answer: Zero.

You've allowed the ReichWingers what our response to the attacks on our nation by Muslim fundamentalists should be to be defined in binary fashion. According to the likes of 'Bloody Billy' Kristol the only way to deal with these enemies is mount a gigantic military operation, profitable for some that, and kill them all!

Many on the left believe that this threat can be met using police tactics. The British have been successful with that to a great extent. Certainly much more successful than Mr. Decider and the insane Cheney have been in Iraq don't you think?

And here we are with Senator 'Hope' and the Clintonista gang. Who believe we have to out tough Cheney et. al. Senator hope votes to label a militia of the Iranian state a 'terrorist organization and will not 'take the military option off the table....'

That's thinking progressively alright. Let the other side define  BOTH sides of the debate.

So that no matter what you say you're wrong.

Why not tell the American people that Iran has been trying for years to get the U.S. to negotiate the issue of their seeking nuclear power?

Why not tell the American people that the people of Iraq pose, and never did pose, any threat to us whatsoever and that the way out of there is to STOP KILLING IRAQIS and negotiate a regional peace settlement?

I'll tell you why Senator 'Hope' wont' do any to that.

Because he does not trust the American people to understand the reality of the situation. He's more comfortable working with the broken binary view of the world the very words GWOT represent.

He will not offer any solution other than his backers and the corporatist press approve of because for him...

It's only about getting elected; not solving the problems we face.

I'm done with this shit for today. Email me when you guys want to talk some Ron Paul.

Until Obama gets his butt kicked real good in an election neither he nor his supporters are going to open their ears and listen.

Hope that happens real soon.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Someone get out the paxil please! (0.00 / 0)
Geezzzzz!

[ Parent ]
example of what i mean (0.00 / 0)
can't answer question- attack the questioner.

[ Parent ]
I'm not being clear here.... (0.00 / 0)

..........if it's about 'personality' it's not a viable campaign whether from Obama or a specific issue. 'Personality' is identity politics. The idea that because Colin Powell of Condileeza Rice where black meant that they were going to provide a 'counterweight' to the racist nutjobs that filled the Bush admininstration. The idea that HIllary Clinton will care more about young girls subject to slave labor conditions in Thailand than she will about her corporatist backers because they are female, like her.

I don't want to hear about what Obama sez about himself and his vision. I don't want implications of him being progressive because he's black or because he was a 'community organizer' whatever that is when it's at home.

I want to know what he thinks of the current tort system.

Hey! Trial lawyers are bad!

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay....

What about unions?

My good friend Oprah who loaned me her bully pulpit to put me forward don't like 'em.

Gotcha Barrack!

What about global warming?

Al Gore is a loser because he's sooooo partisan.

Right, tell ya what Senator 'Hopeless' you get back to me when  you decide to run for something in the Democratic Party.

Not the Lieberman Party.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
shorter: define or be defined in a nutshell (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
by the way (0.00 / 0)
acitizen is far more liberal than me, but we understand the game being played here, but i get the feeling you dont

[ Parent ]
You want me to write an essay? (0.00 / 0)
I simply expressed an opinion.

Am I allowed to do that here without citing references and backing everything up to your satisfaction?


[ Parent ]
Overly negative, I think (0.00 / 0)
I prefer Edwards to Obama, but I think that your case against him has problems.

The strongest point you raise is Obama's association with homophobes; the McClurkin (sp?) stuff was not forgivable.  But many of the other points you raise are rather weak.

Take Social Security.  Most Dems don't think there's a crisis, but if Obama identified a false problem, he proposed a progressive solution to that problem: raise the cap.  This would make the tax code more progressive.  It is certainly not the kind of change a Republican would make.

The trial lawyer shot, while bogus, was in a context where he was claiming that being a civil rights lawyer is more noble, again hardly something that a Republican would say.

The alleged attack on Gore and Kerry?  The guy's somehow saying that he can do better than them with a kumbaya approach, but it's hardly much of an attack.

Ned Lamont?  Unfortunately, even true progressives like Barbara Boxer let their personal relationship with Lieberman trump their political interests.  And Obama did provide more support for Lamont in the general election than most Dems did.

I was offended by the Obama campaign's attack on Krugman, who I admire, though calling it "oppo research" seems a bit much.

Obama wouldn't promise that all troops would be out by 2013, but unfortunately, Edwards and Clinton wouldn't promise this either!  I'm upset at all of them for that one.

Your claim that Obama "endorsed the central plank of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy doctrine", supported by a link to an article talking about his hesitant hand-raising in response to one of those stupid yes-or-no debate questions, is completely bogus.  The phrase "war on terror" is just rhetoric.  There are any number of foreign policy issues where Obama has strongly distinguished himself from both Bush and from Clinton, particularly this peculiar notion that we don't even talk to "rogues", or at least not until the other side has surrendered.  He's attracted some smart people on the foreign policy front, while the "liberal hawks" are all in Hillary's camp.  Edwards has paid much less attention to foreign policy than either Obama or Clinton.

If anything, Obama reminds me of Bill Clinton in 1992, who also ran a feel-good, triangulating campaign.  Not that progressive, but hardly a conservative either.  Both have a talent for charming audiences; both have a tendency to attack some Democratic constituencies to impress the Village.  On foreign policy he strikes me as the most sensible of the Big Three, though none of the three will do anything about dismantling the US role as world policeman, unfortunately.



I have a magnetic ribbon you'd just love! (0.00 / 0)

....It  says,

'Just pretend everything's Okay!'


Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
That's a non sequitur (0.00 / 0)
... since I don't think everything's OK, not by a long shot.

Try reading what I wrote again.


[ Parent ]
Just ignore him/her (0.00 / 1)
If you're looking for accuracy and honesty rather than selective "reasoning", look elsewhere. Paul R's anti-Obama arguments are vastly more honest, compelling and complex. I.e. they ARE honest, compelling and complex. As opposed to Mr./Ms. Non-Sequitor.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Why? I got it the first time.... (0.00 / 0)
...Obama knows what he's doing far better than we mere 'progressives', at least in your humble opinion, so we should shut up and get out of the way.

Point is he doesn't know what he's doing.

Other than getting re-elected that is.

Maybe that's OK with you.

But it's not with me.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
good points (4.00 / 2)
I did focus on the negative here for the purpose of this thought experiment, and you raise some useful skeptical claims.  But I also left out a bunch.  For instance, I didn't focus on his failure to do anything to stop the Military Commissions Act, or his lack of leadership on, really, anything for the last three years.  I could discuss his unhelpful attacks on the party during Roberts or Alito, or war funding, or anything else.  But the bottom line is Obama and Clinton have had, for better or worse, the biggest microphones in the party, and have refused to use them.

Let's go one by one.  Social Security is not in crisis, and saying so isn't just a problem because I don't like that he says it, it's a problem because he's flat out wrong on a major policy issue.  And that's not even taking into account problem that once you open up Social Security to tinkering, the Villagers will get their hands on it and not let it alone.  And lifting the cap isn't a progressive solution, it's a road to increasing the surplus so Republicans can give that away to future tax cuts.  The attack on Krugman, and his attacks on bloggers, are similar though probably worse since they are designed to marginalize aggressive liberal voices in the public debate and in an Obama administration.  'Oh that's just Paul Krugman/bloggers, you know how they don't like Obama' instead of addressing the substance of the argument.

Trial lawyer, Kerry, Gore - not such big deals, except they are consistent parts of his narrative, to take shots at key constituency groups and party leaders and imply that standing for progressives values is dirty in some way.

Obama did sabotage Lamont in a more meaningful way than most Democrats, I was there and I saw it. 

The residual troop dispute is to the discredit of both Edwards and Clinton, but three wrongs don't make a right.  And Obama's endorsement of the GWOT is a big deal, even though you think that half-heartedly raising his hands in a debate is a relatively meaningless way to express it.  In some ways that's even worse, since it shows he doesn't have a clear attitude on the central plank in our foreign policy apparatus enough to have more than a cursory position. Or maybe he actually does endorse a deeply authoritarian GWOT and was just looking around to see what others were doing.

Either way, he endorsed it and his recent statements about using force in Pakistan suggest he means it.


[ Parent ]
Actually, Krugman has written (0.00 / 0)
that it might not be a bad idea to lift the cap, IIRC, if projections that social security will be ~20% underfunded end up being reliable enough, but that at present they are not, so it's premature to do this now. And while raising the cap would, I suppose, encourage Pubs to persue future tax cuts for the rich (something that Marshall has been arguing), the lack of such an enhanced surplus has certainly not stopped them from doing this till now. I'd argue that persuing Gore's "lockbox" approach--i.e. making it illegal to decrease actual revenues based on increased non-revenue sources such as the low-interest loan that the trust fund actually is, which is fully in line with PayGo--would be far more effective, and that social security policy should be persued independantly of its possible impact on other policies.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
As for Pakistan (0.00 / 0)
IIRC, what he said was that if there's an Islamist Talibaneque takeover of Pakistan and/or its nukes somehow get into the hands of these elements, and no other means to secure its nukes could be found, that he would support the consideration of using military force to secure them. Are you saying that this is bad policy, or simply bad politics to say it? Are you also saying that anyone who says this can't or shouldn't get elected, and that anyone who means this does not deserve to be president? I'm confused here.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
OH? (0.00 / 0)
You noticed.

I didn't think you realized you were confused about Obama's 'positions' on the issues. We have a saying at our meetups, a Drinking Liberally chapter, it goes like this:

If you don't like the position Obama has taken on an issue; just wait a while he'll take another one contradictory to the first one shortly.'

Hope my 'reasoning' doesn't escape you this time, pal.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Another substanceless comment from you (0.00 / 0)
in a long line of them that substitutes meaningless adolescent snark and ad hom attacks for actual substance. You have not responded to a single one of my points. It's all just "You don't hate Obama like I do, therefore you are an idiot and I will insult you".

Yeah, gotta love that reasoning. Funny how the guy who actually voted for the war never gets this sort of treatment. Hmm. The anti-Obama cultism is simply unreal.

And so obviously coordinated by some desperate elements. No, not all criticisms and even attacks on him are coordinated, or undeserved. But clearly, more than a few are.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Hey.... (0.00 / 0)

....I'm, in this case, just reporting what my fellow progressives are saying about Obama. You don't like it...

So what.

I'm not 'reasoning' with you. I know from watching your dialogue with Paul, that and your comments at dKos, that that ain't gonna work. Your seemingly immune from understanding that your 'style' is built on personal slurs and blurring the lines.

You haven't had anything to say other than telling, yeah telling, everyone here that Obama is right and we aren't.

My style is what it is and it's the way it is for a reason. Bloviate, stamp yer foot all you want. You've been here spewing the usual Obama crap for most of the day.

Why don't you knock off now and head on over to dKos where a constant stream of attack dog rhetoric passes for dialogue these days.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Does "A" stand for Adolescent? (4.00 / 1)
Because that's the "style" that you're adopting here with anyone who disagrees with you, or of anyone that you don't like. E.g. "son of Lieberman", "bloviate", "spewing", "crap", "knock off now", etc. And that's just from off the top of my head.

It's also quite "telling" that you'd say something as dishonest as "telling, yeah telling, everyone here that Obama is right and we aren't", which is not only not true, but quite revealing of your own insecurities that come to the fore whenever anyone disagrees with you. I have not been "telling" anyone anything of the sort, but rather ARGUING (a distinction, I realize, that is lost on you) as to why Obama MIGHT be doing this, and why it MIGHT be smart, despite there being some problems with this approach which I've acknowledged and expressed my worries over. If you or anyone else disagrees, then that's certainly your prerogative. But I'd hope for more substance and perhaps even some civility (and screw what BTD says about civility, he's simply wrong and most people seem to agree) instead of your invective and infantilism.

In case you didn't notice, this is how Paul has been engaging me and other Obama "defenders", even though he basically agrees with what you're saying. That's because Paul is a lot more sophisticated in his thinking and mature than you, by orders of magnitude.

I never cease to be amazed at how a certain element in the blogosphere (as in real life) simply cannot handle contrary points of view, and needs to resort to ad hom smears and attacks to deal with their insecurities.

And I don't need to "head on over" to DKos or anywhere else, thank you, just because you tell me to. Like I said, you simply cannot handle people who disagree with you.

So "telling". (As was that self-revealing troll-rating you gave me.)

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Obama on Pakistan (0.00 / 0)
Obama threatened to attack Pakistan--pre-emptively--to take the fight to the terrorists this August.  He stated he would violate Pakistani national sovereignty if (obviously conditional) Musharraf failed to root out terrorists ("If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will").  I believe any so-called surgical strikes against Pakistan would be disastrous, however, the most troubling part was that he also vowed--without condition--to deploy US troops to Pakistan to take the fight to the "terrorists" ("The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan").

http://www.barackoba...

Mind you, this is same Senate chairman who failed to convene a meeting on NATO, which is deployed in Afghanistan and, thus, directly involves the "war on terror" and Pakistan.  Considering this was done after being hammered for his stance on diplomacy during the debates, he did it to show how "tough" he could be.


[ Parent ]
Honest Question re: Lamont (0.00 / 0)
What did Obama do to sabotoge Lamont?  I honestly don't remember.

[ Parent ]
in all (0.00 / 0)
He was invited by the Connecticut Democratic Party to speak at the Connecticut Democratic Party annual dinner, and at that dinner offered a paragraph supporting the Senate candidate endorsed by the Connecticut Democratic Party.

[ Parent ]
lying (0.00 / 0)
Adam tends to lie when discussing Obama. 

Prior to the primary, Obama came to speak at a dinner honoring Lieberman.  He then promised to endorse the winner of the primary, and then when Lamont won, refused to do anything to help him.

This was significant because Lamont lacked validators and was counting on Obama as one of the biggest stars in the party.


[ Parent ]
It was not "a dinner honoring Lieberman" (0.00 / 0)
It was the Connecticut Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner, a fundraiser for the state party, not "a dinner honoring Lieberman".  Chris Dodd spoke warmly of Lieberman at the event, but you rarely hear anyone discussing *that*.

Obama did endorse Lamont the night of the primary, and did send a max check, and did email his supporters urging them to help Lamont.  I know Tim and others have complained that it wasn't enough, but to say Obama "refused to do anything" is false.


[ Parent ]
Good reply ... (0.00 / 0)
Several of Matt's points remind me of the '$300 haircut' and 'he invented the internet' BS.

The front page posts on this site are usually better written than that.


[ Parent ]
Obama is the perfect man for the job (4.00 / 1)
of finishing off what's left of The New Deal.

Bill Clinton got sidetracked in 1998 by his compulsive need to boink interns, or he might have done it (he dismantled a part of The Great Society; and got a whole lot of privatizin' done under "Reinventing Gubmint", which the unreality-based now blame on G W Bush as if Halliburton wasn't the biggest contractor in Bosnia Kosovo).

George W Bush wasn't able to get away with killing the remnants of The New Deal because he's a Republican and he played partisanship football 110% of the time instead of cutting Democratic insiders in on the winnings (if he'd have greased a few Democratic skids into Lobbyist-ville and Halliburton-land, he might have been able to pull it off...)

Big Money needs a Democratic candidate to bet on, just in case the GOP is made to pay for further screwing up the country these last 7+ years. Someone who can be counted on to bail out the banking industry with a heap of tax dollars. Hey now, it's well past time for some serious socialism for the rich, thanks to giving mortgages to anyone with a pulse.

Big Money would probably like to have bet on Hillary as their Democratic insurance policy, since she's just another Bill without the intern-boinking. But she's a polarizing figure thanks to years of delusional paranoid attacks by the Right Wing's mighty Wurlitzer. She might still do in a pinch, however.

Obama, on the other hand, can ride into town on the winds of "change" and "freshness". He can even start out with policies that are modestly left-wing, like eliminating the payroll tax cap for high-paid workers. As long as it's understood that every "solution" to every "crisis" should be the result of "bipartisan problem solving". Wink, wink.


So Bill Clinton=George W Bush=Barack Obama? (0.00 / 0)
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. And there really is no meaningful difference between the two parties.

Hi Ralph! Thanks for giving us Bush!

The perfect is actually the friend of the good, it seems.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Nice straw man reply (4.00 / 2)
I can tell you're living in the fantasy world where Bill Clinton didn't start us down the road of privatizing the services to the military (hello Halliburton) and privatizing social security (thanks Ms Lewinsky for being so alluring and stopping that)... we just pretend that never happened.

Ralph didn't "give us" Bush, contrary to your delusions. He was a minor player in the whole affair; a gadfly, a speck about the size of Pat Buchanan. Let's just pretend that a lot of people didn't actually vote for Bush, that Gore-2000 and Gore-2007 are almost from opposite worlds (and that Gore's VP candidate is now a Republican in everything but name), and that the Supreme Court didn't make one of the most awful decisions in its history. It's so convenient to pretend it was all Ralph's fault and not notice everything else that happened. Wraps it up nice and neat, like a story about the Easter Bunny.

The blogosphere is no more reality based than the rest of the country. Maybe just the opposite.


[ Parent ]
If you would be so kind as to... (0.00 / 1)

..............not take this person as an authority from the blogosphere.....

I'd really appreciate it.

Easter Bunny...heh........

heh....heh....heh....

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Look, I Voted For Nader, But This Is Ridiculous (0.00 / 0)
First off, I voted for Nader because I live in California, so I did it as a tiny push to the left.  But if I'd lived in Florida, I would have voted for Gore.  My object is simple--move things in a more progressive direction, by whatever means come to hand.

That most definitely is not Ralph Nader's objective however.  Once upon a time maybe.  But not anymore.

And just because other people helped bring us 8 years of Bush does not get Nader off the hook.

I think they call it "joint and several liability".

"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 ]
How about the... (0.00 / 0)

..........Clinton to Bush to Obama double play?

What's your opinion on that? At least in so far as Clinton's failures, both personal and political, made Bush possible?

I certainly think so.

What say you?

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I Say Why Overplay? (0.00 / 0)
Clinton moved the Democrats to the right.  Bush then came in and moved the Republicans waaaay to the right.  And now Obama wants to say he's a progressive, but not offend the Republicans who he seems to think have moved way to the right, even though Bush's popularity is barely above Nixonland.

So, my answer has to be that with Obama, I just don't know.  And I figure that with the fricken Magna Charta under attack, it would sure be nice to know if the Democratic candidate was for or against taking us back to 1214.  He says he's against it, but what's he done, exactly???

I shouldn't have to strain over this.  That's my position.  It should be, in the words of GOP uber crime boss Richard Nixon, "perfectly clear."

"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 ]
Pretty much what I thought you'd say.. (0.00 / 0)

............and I agree. I see this primary thing going on no matter what happens in IA and NH, assuming things are pretty close, none of the Dem candidates look like quiting to me.

This is important as because the more folks know about Senator Compromise the less they like him. So I'm hoping for win by Edwards but most of all no blowout by Obama.

For whatever personal reasons, how my mind works, I have no doubts about Obama. The dude is a Liebercrat the worst possible candidate for President. If he wins, fat chance, it's a disaster for the nation as his policies Republican as I believe they will be an doomed to failuer therefore  will tar the 'progressive' brand. If he loses Versailles will be thrilled as that will 'demonstrate' that progressives can't win.

Go Edwards.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Exactly (0.00 / 0)
I lived in NY in '00 and voted for Gore, but could have done what you did in CA since it wouldn't have made a difference. But while I liked and respected all the great things that Nader had done in the past, I just didn't get his candidacy from the perspective of advancing a progressive agenda. I had no idea, of course, of how things would turn out, so my opposition to him was more about his showboating and splitting the Dem vote at a time when we needed someone like Gore, not Bush, as president, to hopefully complete or at least move along some of the more progressive policies that Clinton claimed to want to advance but was either unable or unwilling to. I'm of the "The perfect is the enemy of the good" school, which I realize is a cliche that many people view as a shortcut to meaninful thinking, but which in the real world is something that I've found (the hard way) often works.

In any case, this is neither here nor there. Nader, whether he meant to or not, allowed Bush & Co. to steal the election. Funny how people who believe in the latter are still in denial about the former (and at the same time go around talking about straw men and fantasy lands).

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Nader doesn't run in '00, Gore is president (0.00 / 0)
Anyone who disputes that is themselves "living in the fantasy world". and "no more reality based than the rest of the country". He took away enough votes for what was always a Quixotic (and quite selfish, to put it mildly) venture in proving a point and glorifying himself one more time to allow Bush, Jebbie, Baker, Bolton, Harris, the SCOTUS 5, and the rest of that cretinous crew to do the rest. He is their secret hero, I'm sure.

I never cease to be amazed at the unwillingness of cultists to ignore reality--and to then project this delusion onto others.

And I never said that Clinton was perfect and didn't start us down this neoliberal economic and neocon militaristic imperialism. But to call him identical to Bush is yet more verification of what I wrote above. Sheer fantasyland, where anyone to the right of Nader or probably even Edwards is pretty much a Republican. So stop peddling this crap.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton


[ Parent ]
Thanks for this site and this post. Lurking in threads like this (0.00 / 0)
one (where comments are thoughtful, authoritative and rarely intellectually dishonest) has allowed me to gather enough oppo material on all of the candidates to do a kind of ongoing version of you thought experiment. I'd like to follow the path of least resistance, to the Hillary or Obama corner but the result just keeps coming back "Edwards".

Damn right! (0.00 / 0)
And you didn't even mention the audacity of him boasting his foreign policy "judgment" in light of the Bhutto killing in spite of his earlier outrageously inflammatory Pakistan rhetoric!

Honestly, I am more scared of an Obama presidency than a second installment of a Clinton administration for one reason, if not anything else: Clinton is already regarded as Bush-like so any attempt on her part to sell us out will be met with howls of protest, if not hysteria, from our side; when Obama sells us out it will be met with, at worst, giving him the benefit of the doubt (assuming the public even realizes he's selling us out).  Obama supporters, as most Americans, honestly believe that he is innate good, wise, and looking out for the best interests of America--and the world.  Combine that with a corporate press that will refuse to challenge this all-too convenient myth and it spells trouble.


Apparently I'm Supporting a Conservative (0.00 / 0)
Thanks for the news Matt.

I read this blog religiously (this is my first time commenting because I never figured out how to log on before), but lately I have been feeling more and more turned off by what I see as a "with us on everything or against us" attitude (particularly in your posts Matt).  It's one thing to critique Obama's positions.  He's done a number things lately that don't make me particularly happy-- I'll grant you that.  It's another thing to imply that any Obama supporters who don't recognize they are supporting a conservative are blind or not part of the reality-based community.  The former is just calling it as you see it, the latter is insulting your readers who don't see things the way you do.

Perhaps you aren't interested in having readers that disagree with you.  I've read a lot of posts lately about how bipartisan cooperation is not what's needed right now.  It seems to me that you've also shown your disdain for another sort of cooperation:  cooperation between your "true" progressives and progressives like Obama who haven't passed you progressive purity test.  The coalition you're building is fierce one, but it is large enough to govern?



Do you think that maybe...just maybe.... (0.00 / 0)

...Obama is not in fact a progressive by any stretch of the imagination and that maybe that's why he gets so much criticism here?

Could that be it perhaps?

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I seldom post here either, and ... (0.00 / 0)
I really get turned off by posts like this too.

Insulting the intelligence of 1/3 of your readers probably isn't good for business.


[ Parent ]
One of your best posts ever, Matt. (4.00 / 1)
Obama cleary is not articulating progressive positions.

Heh. (0.00 / 0)
It would be very easy to draft the John Edwards version of this post. 

gee, gosh (0.00 / 0)
A millionaire with no history of public service runs for the Senate on a DLC platform and largely votes accordingly?  Piece of cake.

[ Parent ]
Far be it from me (4.00 / 1)
to answer for Matt, but what I get from reading this entire 89 comment thread is this:  non-Obama supporters do not like the fact that Obama thinks he is showing his neutrality by taking shots at progressives and progressive ideas.  They have concluded that he is not a progressive.  The Obama supporters are quick to try to reassure us that he is a progressive, but they somehow think they can do this without offering any evidence other than their own faith in him, and without offering an alternative explanation for the evidence that he is, in fact, not a progressive.

Not good enough.

Now, in pointing out that the Obama supporters are not offering evidence that Obama is a progressive and is not taking these shots at progressives and progressive ideas because he is fundamentally in conflict with them, some of the commenters have characterized the lack of evidence as blind faith, politics of personality, and the primacy in Obama's rhetoric of sloganeering over substance.  Is this an accusation being made against his supporters?

If it is, they can defeat it by simply doing what was called for in the first place:  adducing evidence that either Obama is truly a progressive, or that he doesn't mean what he says when he starts bashing progressive ideas. They have done neither.

Care to try on the shoe before you decide whether you want to wear it?


Be interesting to see the reaction.... (0.00 / 0)

...to this!

If there is one....

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but ... (0.00 / 0)
Who has time to do this?

[ Parent ]
Thanks for this diary (4.00 / 1)
He's frustrating as hell to me right now.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

a (0.00 / 0)
Nice post. Let's continue this "thought experiment" and imagine another "generic" candidate for president.

This candidate was, in fact, once a Republican. They have said abortion is "a tragedy."

They not only voted for the Iraq war, but, perhaps fearful of being branded as weak, repeatably refused to acknowledge that vote was a mistake.

Even after the terrible experience of Iraq, this candidate voted for a GWB-sanctioned proposal to press aggression against Iran.

This candidate voted twice for the Patriot Act, was on the board at corporate behemoth Wal-Mart, during which they never raised a single issue about the company's grossly anti-union policies, and played a key part in the administration that pushed welfare reform.

To make matters worse, this candidate has received more donations from the defense industry than any other candidate of either party.

Or....how about a candidate that was a founding member of the DLC along with Joe Lieberman?

This candidate voted  for the Patriot Act as well.

They also voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

When push came to shove, they were a reliable vote in favor of free trade, despite its crushing effect on American workers.

Not only that, but this candidate supported a bankruptcy bill that was vetoed by centrist Dem President Clinton as too harsh, then voted against an amendment by Paul Wellstone that would provide an exception for those forced into bankruptcy for medical reasons.

This candidate has even said that they"personally struggle" with according equal rights to gay people.

Damning stuff, huh?

Now if these candidates went as far as to appeal to independents, or say that Paul Krugman might sometimes be wrong, they might even merit a blog post or two.


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