What If Obama Tried to Split The Right, Instead of the Left?

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 10:19


I had a wonderful post on this subject, what got et when the site went down yesterday.  It did go down, didn't it?  It wasn't just me? So you'll just have to make do with this vastly inferior version.

Regardless of his intentions, Obama has been doing a pretty good job of splitting the left for some time now.  Secular humanists, peace activists, Boomers, gays, all have had their turns feeling particularly spurned, while his version of triangulation has many even more nervous than the Clinton version made them.  Many think he's got the perscription exactly backwards-Democrats don't suffer from being too much like the always-combatative Republicans, but from being too wimpy, too reluctant to stand up and fight for what they belive. And many think that now's not the time to reach out with a hand of friendship, just when they're sinking like a stone.

In this diary, I'm not going to try to solve all the differences just mentioned.  Rather, I'm just going to look at one prominent example from the last week, and look at how it could have been handled differently, so that the divisions generated would have been among conservatives, not progressives.  It's a very logical strategy to pursue on two counts: First, as a progressive, Obama should naturally want to unify progressives.  Second, given that only some conservatives are genuinely interested in cooperation, while others are dedicated to oppostion, it makes perfect sense to reach out specifically to those who are reachable in a way that clarifies their differences from those who are not.

I am not suggesting a Machiavellian manoeuvre here.  Quite the opposite.  I am suggesting a clarifying manoeuvre to bring hidden differences out into the open, in order to preempt yet another round of Machiavellian maipulations to prevent the very sort of cooperation that Obama advocates for.  What I'm going to do is recall Obama's remarks about Ronald Reagan, which have once again divided progresssives, and then I'm going to suggest two possible alternatives that could have found broad acceptance among progressives, while causing legitimate, and clarifying consternation among conservatives.

The first alternative questions the efficacy of Reagan's conservativism, and pushes the case that Eisenhower is a better, more substantial model to follow. Eisenhower isn't generally thought of as a conservative, but that's beause movement conservatives are actually reactionaries, who have kidnapped the "conservative" label.  Eisenhower's model of gradual adaptation, not seeking to radically alter what has become part of the organic fabric of society (such as Social Security) is perfectly in line with the main thrust of Edmund Burke's thinking. Joseph de Maistre, not so much.

The second points out a number of liberal inconsistencies in Reagan's record, and casts doubt on whether he'd be accepted today as a true heir of himself.  The example of Mike Huckabee is instructive in this regard, too.

Let the games begin...

Paul Rosenberg :: What If Obama Tried to Split The Right, Instead of the Left?
What Obama Actually Said

Obama:

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."

There's really no need to restate what's wrong with this.  The very fact that so many people have debated it is what's wrong with it.  Indeed, the less you think is wrong with it, the greater the problem is-all that heat and no light?  Very bad!

Particularly when Obama could have offered relatively respectful criticisms, grounded rock-solid in cold hard fact, that would have divided the other side, the wingnuts from those we can actually hope to dialogue with.

What Obama Could Have Said-Take 1: What About Ike?

Alternate Obama #1:

Many people think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. They think he put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. But as Reagan himself liked to say, "Facts are stubborn things," and the more you look at the sorts of things that people say, the clearer it becomes that things were a lot more complicated, and a lot more ambiguous.

For example, a lot of people think that people were responding to what they call "the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s," but the two oil shocks and the recessions that accompanied them, or the Iranian hostage crisis  had nothing to do with the 1960s, and everything to do with problems that are with us to this very day-including 9/11, soaring gas prices and the growing threat of global warming. What's more it was very much a fluke of timing.  If the election had been held in March of 1980, Carter would have been re-elected handily.  So, the major turbulence of the era had nothing to do with the 1960ds, and Reagan's election had nothing to do with ending it.  Indeed, economically, things got a lot worse before they got better, and even after they got better, the manufacturing jobs never really came back, and our middle class remains more fragile, less secure, and more divided than it was before Reagan took office.

Those problems are also with us still-as are another set of problems having to do with our budget.  During his two terms, Ronald Reagan managed to more than double the federal deficit-he added more to the deficit in 8 short years than all the Presidents that came before him, from Washington to Carter.  It's a very strange legacy for a man held up as a conservative icon.  He may have touted the free market, and "trickle down economics," but the economic recover he presided over-which was weaker than the 1960s-was based entirely on Keynsian economics, deficit spending far beyond the scope of anything FDR imagined during the Great Depression.

Ronald Reagan had a winning smile, and an optimistic attitude, and Americans have always been an optimitstic people, so he resonated in a way.  But if we want to look for a real model of Presidential leadership that Republicans can be proud of, General Dwight D. Eisenhower has a lot more substance, even if his style was more subdued.  He worked well with the Democrats who controlled Congress through most of his term, established the Interstate Highway System, and didn't panic in the face of Sputnik, and the Soviets sudden, unexpected show of technological superiority.  Instead he supported a broad-based response, with a good deal of civilian spending that laid the groundwork for a sustained response that not only put a man on the moon under JFK's inspiration, but produced a broad-based leadership in science that is with us to the present day.  Eisenhower was remarkable for being a true conservative, and not altering our trajectory, not panicking and abandoning our basic values and self-confidence as a people, not responding in a show of force or display of vain bravado, but simply, humbly, modestly and effectively laying the groundwork for a renewal of our excellence.  And that's the kind of true conservatism I can admire, respect, and even hope to emulate.

That's hardly the only way this could play out.  It's just one possibility among many.  But clearly there's a lot of room to play around here.  Reagan's "conservatism" is just riddled with contradictions.  Comparisons to Swiss cheese are inadequate and ill-advdised: unlike Swiss cheese, it has holes in its holes.

What Obama Could Have Said-Take 2: Are You SURE He's A Conservative?

Alternate Obama #2:

Many people think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. They think he put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it, and he's considered a conservative icon. But as Reagan himself liked to say, "Facts are stubborn things," and the more you look at the sorts of things that people say, the clearer it becomes that things were a lot more complicated, and a lot more ambiguous. For one thing, although Reagan certainly considered himself a conservative, he had a lot of liberal quirks, at least from today's perspective.  He raised taxes to balance the budget as California governor, and raised taxes as President as well-inluding a massive payroll tax increase to stabilize and save Social Security.  He opposed California's Briggs Initiative, which would have banned homosexuals from teaching in public schools, and coming from Hollywood, he had a number of gay friends.  He rarely went to church, sometimes confused the Old and New Testaments, and relied on an astrologer, via his wife, for some of the running of the White House.  And though he came into office with talk of fighting and winning a nuclear war, he came very close to an agreement with Michael Gorbachev to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely.  Movement conservative leaders at the time were convinced he was being duped, or even going senile.  For all these reasons and more, it's a pretty sure bet that if Reagan were to come back today, and try to run for higher office, he would be subject to attack ads lambasting him for betraying the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

What can I say?  This has been an exercise in restraint.  I'm about to burst under the pressure of holding myself back from snarking it up.  Oh, the sacrifices I'm willing to make on behalf of trying to build unity!


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Inspiration (4.00 / 3)
I find I can never quite recapture my thoughts if they get lost in a computer glitch. That's why I always compose anything longer than a quick comment (like this) in an editor on my PC. There are several lightweight ones which don't take up much memory, some even include a spell check.

Once burned, twice shy...

Policies not Politics


Normally, So Do I... (0.00 / 0)
But, of course, the one time I don't....

For some reason, when memory gets too low, I generally suppose, popup alerts in Firefox fail to respond to input and I have to reboot.  Usually I can avoid this, simply by shutting down other windows, though on rare occassions rebooting is my only option.  But in this case, there were no other windows.  Just 4 or 5 tabs in a single window.  No reason at all that the alert should have failed to clear.

Deamons, I tell you!  It was the deamons what did 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


[ Parent ]
I learned from too many "one times" ... (4.00 / 1)
...so that now I always compose off-line.

That being said, the quality of your piece didn't suffer much, I'd say.


[ Parent ]
You Know, It's Probably Been Three Months (4.00 / 1)
since the last time I did it.

Is this like AA, or what?

I have one day of sobriety.

"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 ]
Eisenhower and the military (4.00 / 2)
Eisenhower knew that, if they had their way, the military would bankrupt the country.  The whole motivation for strategic nuclear weapons was to forestall a conventional weapons arms race that would have busted the budget.  Reagan and Weinberger brought us the conventional arms race that Eisenhower tried to avoid, and we are still paying the interest on the debt they built up.

And Eisenhower didn't talk about the military-industrial complex, he talked about the congressional-military-industrial complex.

Of course bad shit happened with Eisenhower too.  Congo, Iran, Guatemala, ......

But I absolutely agree with your larger point.  History and icons are so important for framing political discussions.  That was the real mistake of Obama's remarks.  It is not just about offending the old farts in the Democratic Party.  If Obama is bringing new voters into the political system, it is all the more incumbent on him to educate them about the legacy they are inheriting from previous generations.


Eisenhower Had Plenty Of Flaws (4.00 / 4)
Like I said, he was a conservative.

But he wasn't batshit crazy.

"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 ]
He is splitting the left, and (4.00 / 1)
they are letting him get away with it.  Good thought, and either delivery would have been better than what he said. 

Maybe that was his intent all along (3.67 / 12)
  Obama's campaign has been conducted all along with an eye on pleasing the Beltway elites, with actually getting Democratic votes a secondary consideration. It has worked, up to a point -- Obama's been spared much of the character assassination that the Broder crowd directs continuously at Edwards (and Clinton, to be honest) --  but it hasn't impressed Democratic voters enough for him to win the nomination.

  Maybe Obama really does believe that splitting the left is a ticket to victory -- though the next piece of evidence anyone can produce that supports such an idea will be the first. More dishearteningly, it's beginning to appear that he's always been there just to provide the illusion of a competitive primary. Because as soon as he moved into frontrunner status in Iowa, the triangulation began in earnest -- and Hillary cleverly slipped to his left.

  Obama's greatest failure has been his reluctance to forcefully demarcate his differences with Hillary Clinton. If union members are supporting Clinton because they're unaware of Mark Penn's record, the Obama campaign deserves much of the blame for such ignorance. If Iraq war opponents (most Democrats) truly believe that Hillary's against this war and wants to end it, that's a massive messaging failure on Obama's part.

  Everyone's loss, really. He could have been a formidable general-election candidate if he'd trusted his own instincts, rather than beltway advisors...

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Excellent Comment (4.00 / 5)
I have no idea why he's doing what he's doing, but you're 100% correct--it's his own damn fault that he hasn't made such differences crystal clear.

He ought to be spending less energy on trying to blur his differences with Reagan, and more energy trying to clarify them with Clinton.

"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 ]
You are right on the money with this... (4.00 / 5)
..........Obama's campaign from the beginning has been about splitting the left. Specifically, through the use of celebrity and race to undercut Edwards the far more populist candidate. I've made this contention before and been soundly spanked by the Oborg and even Clintonistas. I'ts only now that in a moment only Crazy Joe the Liarman could duplicate Obama let the Reaganite cat out of the DLC bag.

This election is about the political and financial groups who've been 'in charge' since Nixon staying in charge. We see the true progressive left split by Obama a candidate who has no policy and no prayer in the GE leaving the Republican-lite candidate still standing.

This quote does, however, misstate  the situation:

Obama's greatest failure has been his reluctance to forcefully demarcate his differences with Hillary Clinton.

Obama cannot do this on the stump. Paul has repeatedly pointed out that Obama never asserts any of the 'policy' he alludes to on the stump. He can't. To do so would commit him to a course of action, if elected, which his backers oppose. As it is now if he were to be elected he can disavow any and all policy on his website or elsewhere and govern from the right.

Fortunately it appears as if the voters and The Hill have seen through this ruse.

Unfortunately it worked to take Edwards out of the race; probably the more important success for Obama anyway.

Four more years of 'More of the Same.'

Be still my heart.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Enough (4.00 / 1)
Seriously the "angry black man" excuse is played out.  He doesn't even have to get "angry;" he can simply draw contrasts and speak calmly and his that humor of his, which is his style anyways.  Besides, Hillary herself has problems with the b-slur and yet she still plugs away at him (Yes, Bill gets involved but so do Obama surrogates, such as Sen. Kerry, Axelrod, and UNITE-HERE).

And let's not forget the press is boosting Obama by ignoring the double standards between how they treat Clinton and him (For example, they blasted her over harmless MLK/LBJ remarks and yet they never mentioned Jesse Jackson, Jr's outrageous attack, which was racial).  Just look to the lead-up the NH primary to see how casually rabid their bias is.

I now fully believe that Obama's plan is to split the left (He doesn't need us, we need him and he know that).  I just read that he'll be having a homophobic bigot campaigning on his behalf in South Carolina.

Here are the links:
http://www.chron.com...
http://www.kingdombu...

If Clinton becomes more proudly progressive in rhetoric, tapping into the left's anger, then she has a legitimate chance of becoming the nominee with a healthy margin of difference in terms of delegates.


[ Parent ]
Question: When is a Democrat not a Democrat? (4.00 / 10)
Answer: When he or she glorifies the Republican presidency of Ronald Reagan and camouflages its devastating impact on the American people.

Ralph Nader has long argued that the Republican and Democratic Parties are virtually identical in terms of their core principles and electoral ploys.

Obama's lauding of Reagan's presidency last week bolsters Nader's argument.

Now that we have seen Obama pandering to the right, obfuscating history and taking a cheap shot at Clinton's presidency at the same time, he cannot and should not be the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party.

Stated as simply as I can, I think he has blown it.

His failure to attack Bush's disastrous seven year administration shows that he is not a leader but a follower, a follower of the polls trying to grab on to the opposition's voting blocs instead of creating his own.



This May Well Be True, But.. (4.00 / 2)
there's an enormous desire that he's tapped into.

I was trying to show that one can accept (if not enthusiastically endorse) his basic logic, any yet still not abandon historical truth or liberal principles.  His argument is that we need to toss out the old bathwater, but many folks see him tosing out the baby as well.

This was an attempt to show by example how he could do exactly what he's claiming to do, and thus not antagonize many of those who might otherwise be strong supporters.

Put simply, we are not Obama's base.  If we were, he would not treat our objections so cavalierly.  He would listen carefully and attentively to us, and he would give us substantive answers that make real sense.  He would not set us against one 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 ]
An enormous desire to talk about Reagan????? (4.00 / 7)
The only '08 primary candidates who have talked about Reagan are Republicans.

They are talking about Reagan because they do not want to talk about Bush even though they talk the conservative talk that he talks because that is the GOP party line.

So why would Obama - who says he is mobilizing younger voters who couldn't care less about Reagan - want to talk about an historical conservative figure unless he is pandering to the right?

What Obama did with his Reagan remarks is to show that he is a political neophyte who lacks the guts to advocate a comprehensive progressive and/or centrist Democratic platform and has yet to learn the ropes of how to run in partisan elections.

Yes, he could have presented the alternatives you outline, Paul, but he didn't.

No matter what he tries to do going forward, that interview with the Gazette is now a part of campaign history. It is a shining example of how a pandering candidate can shoot himself in the foot trying to gather votes on both sides of the aisle.


[ Parent ]
Is this idealism or politics? (4.00 / 1)
Nancy, I'm curious what your take was on Bill Clinton's announcement that he would be riding a world healing tour with Bush I after Hillary takes office.

Did you see this as an attempt to co-opt Obama's appeal to swing voters?  Did you think the concept made a mockery of the idea of seriously addressing the transgressions of Bush II?  Were you concerned that the Clintons were cozying up to, if not the icon of the modern right, a direct descendant of him and the father of the most destructive president of modern times?  Were you concerned about the narcissistic self-delusion of the assertion when it turned out to be baseless?

I keep wondering who Paul is referring to when he says "we", referring to whom Obama is ignoring.  I am of the boomer generation and I consider myself a devoted progressive.  And I just sit here wondering how long progressives are supposed to wait for the denouement of our version of "the surge is working".


[ Parent ]
Bill Clinton's Transparency and the Real Challenge (4.00 / 3)
I thought that Bill Clinton's announcement of a tour with Bush senior after Hillary takes office was a dreadful form of pandering to the right, just as Obama's reference to Reagan was.

But we know from the past that he is just as guilty as everyone else of being willing to say just about anything that will advance his political goals.

But going beyond these silly word wars, the fundamental challenge here is for Democrats and progressives to retake control of government from a conservative electoral base and party, as well as the economic and financial interests that are its backers and financiers, who have been in control of American government for several decades.

Opportunistic Democrats like Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and much of the Democratic leadership in Congress who are beholden to the corporate interests that have bankrolled their campaigns, pander to the electoral base of the conservatives and to their financiers.

The tragedy is that opportunistic candidates like Obama and Clinton are blowing the opportunity to lead the country in a progressive direction because they are afraid to bite the corporate hands that feed them and control both our government and our economy.

If the front runners in both political parties were not cowards, influence peddlers and demagogues, they would create platforms around the electorate's well documented preferences for MAJOR changes like creating a single payer government funded health care system.

The stimulus packages proposed by the Republican and Democratic candidates to stop the recession on the way show just how illogical and self-defeating the policy thinking of these contorted opportunists really is. That we should cut taxes and provide tax rebates while we are spending borrowed money to wage war in Iraq is the most ill-advised and counter-productive approach that could be imagined. See David Lindorff's A Tax Cut Won't Fix This Mess.

The main cause of the recession is the loss of buying power on the part of American consumers whose incomes have stagnated while their costs of living have skyrocketed due to price-gouging by large corporations such as Exxon Mobile and Shell, or by corporations like Wal-Mart who have destroyed jobs that pay living wages by undercutting and destroying their competition by with low prices and huge volumes of goods.

The best way to end the recession is to bring down the exorbitant, price-gouging costs of the products and services that are causing the recession (like those imposed by the oil and gas conglomerates, the health insurance companies and the credit card and banking industry) by enforcing laws already on the books that prohibit them from reaping windfall and excess profits.

The sign that the current roster of candidates of both parties are on the take and refuse to bite the corporate hands that feed them can be seen in their failure to include in their stimulus packages bold calls for enforcing these laws in order to force corporate violators to bring down their prices. I am not talking here about government stepping in to fix prices, but I am talking about government stepping in to enforce laws that tax price-gougers on their windfall and excess profits.

We need to elect leaders who will take these excess profits away from these predators. The politicians who continue to allow these corporate predators to reap windfall and excess profits are as much to blame for the recession as are the predators themselves.

In closing, I should mention that I did hear Hillary Clinton mention windfall profits during the MSNBC debate. Once all the candidates step up to the plate and take on this Goliath, we might actually be on the road to salvaging both our economic health and our democracy. 
 


[ Parent ]
So, now what? (0.00 / 0)
I'll assume the above litany isn't an attempt to resurrect Edwards, so what does it mean?  By your definition, we have two (or three) unapologetic opportunists in the Democratic primary, one of whom will run against a Republican opportunist in November.

If you are trying to convince me that Obama is more of an opportunist or speaks less to my progressive concerns than Clinton, you haven't.  So what's your point?  Please tell me what I'm missing.


[ Parent ]
Good Question (4.00 / 2)
I am not trying to convince anyone to support any of the candidates.

I have not climbed aboard any bandwagon and am not advocating anyone climb on any bandwagon.

But I do think that the iterative process we are in with respect to scrutinizing the candidates' positions and voicing our skepticism, doubts and opposition does make the candidates move off the canned scripts of their soap boxes from time to time.

What I actually think is that both parties are pretty much moribund, as are the front runners, in terms of being out of step with the sweep of history.

The polls show that the overwhelming majority of the electorate favors progressive policies. I believe they will eventually elect progressive governments at all levels.

But for the time being, given the dominance of both parties by corporate interests, and 30 years of conservative brain-washing of the electorate, it is unlikely that the voters can infuse their progressive policy preferences into the winning candidates' platforms.

They get sidetracked into dumb debates about vague notions of change, references to long-dead politicians like Reagan, and contrived flameouts about race, gender and religion.

As I have written before, it may become necessary in the not-too-distant future after the 2008 election for the citizenry and candidates to start other political parties in order to escape the iron masks of the Democratic and Republican parties. These parties will NOT be non-partisan or non-ideological. They will invent their own ideologies that protect their constituents' 21st century values and vital interests.

Unless, of course, party candidates appear on the horizon who are willing to step up to the plate and respond to the expressed needs and wants of the people instead of the candidates' corporate benefactors.


[ Parent ]
Didn't have to be concerned that they were cozying up. (4.00 / 2)
We already know the Clintons are cozy with the status quo, and they don't claim otherwise.  It's Obama pretending to be a progressive and change candidate when there isn't a dime's worth of difference between him and Hillary - except Hillary is more honest about it.

[ Parent ]
Yep. In the follow-up to Obama's comments ... (4.00 / 7)
...there has been a lot of explanation about how the Senator didn't really mean Reagan was a great guy, blah, blah, blah. If he had done something as simple as you have proposed here, Paul, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and many of us - even the superannuated among us - who like the messages of "hope" and "change" would get the sense that these aren't just hollow catchphrases that we've had before but words with real meaning by someone who really gets what both the struggles of the now are as well as the struggles of the past.

But as long as we keep hearing about how the 1960s-'70s were about excesses, instead of the excesses being a byproduct of multiple struggles, we can only be suspicious of what Obama really means, whether that's in a Foreign Affairs article or an MSNBC interview.


[ Parent ]
As long as I keep hearing from... (0.00 / 1)
......Senator 'Dope' that the 'excesses' were Democratic excesses.....

Wasn't there something about a war going on then....

What was that story about Nixon and his 'plumbing'.....

How many Republican leaders got their brains splattered all over their wives dresses?

How many white 8 year olds were burnt alive in church fires?

I will stick with my fervent request that Senator 'Dope'...kindly....

STFU!

Or better yet, enter the Republican primaries. Whoops! I guess that won't happen since there are, as of this moment, no black Republicans in Congress...

Senator 'Dope' would be the only one were he to change party. That would be okay with me and maybe...maybe he can take Joe with him.....

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Just on that narrow topic- (4.00 / 4)
The "excesses" and "the Reagan era"

Background: I was born in 1968. I probably have a similar training to Obama since we both went to Columbia in the 1980s and had similar professors and participated in the running debate on our society and the 60s that was part of the air at the time at Columbia U (I attended the reunion of the 1968 strikers at Earl Hall, caught Michael Harrington's last speech at Columbia)...and, later, through that lens read books like Todd Gitlin's "Years of Hope, Days of Rage", or "The Whole World is Watching" or watched "Eyes on the Prize."

Using the phrase "excesses" seems mundane to me. That was part of talking about the 60's and 70's. That was part of the actual historical arc of SDS and SNCC, of the legacy of riots that tore apart our cities. That's part of talking about the era.

So, I hear that that bugs you, that it's a misleading word to use to summarize an era, but want to convey that I don't think Obama is saying what you're hearing. (Ie. critqueing government programs, buying into Reagan's lies)

Here's my point. Barack Obama lived in NYC in Harlem in the 80s and went back to the South Side of Chicago to do community organizing. I know something about that from lived experience, too. I worked for a social worker in Harlem as one of my work study jobs...during the height of the rise of crack cocaine. I was on the streets, in people's homes, in the projects.

I guess I'd like to convey then, that implying that Obama doesn't take the legacy of Reagan seriously...when, if Barack Obama saw what I saw...and I'm sure he did. He knows in his bones about what Ronald Reagan meant in Harlem and Cabrini Green. That strikes me as off.

How many folks on the progressive left who are critiqueing Obama on this Reagan stuff keep in mind that he left Columbia to go do work on the South Side of Chicago? (This was in the booming financial 80s, there were good jobs and big money to be had on Wall Street for someone with the talents of Senator Obama.) How many folks criticizing Obama have actually done that kind of work in the inner city at all? Obama knows something about Reagan directly, and it's because of that he knows something about hope. 

Maybe I'm just putting my own experience in here, but I walked around Harlem in awe of those who had walked those streets just before me in the 60s. But the Harlem of the 80s was a battle zone of burned out buildings and rubble, too.

I didn't catch the "hopeful upsides" of the 60s and 70s, but I caught the recriminations and the festering disputes. I met folks who "burnt out" literally and intellectually.

And, yeah, I saw what crack cocaine and AIDS did to entire communities in Reagans 80s...and how our society, including the best efforts of our safety net and school system, had pretty much zero ability to stop or handle it. Things just got worse.

Barack Obama had a front row seat for that stuff. I respect immensely that he chose to work on the South Side. He knows something about Reagan...and I don't think he's doing what people are implying he's doing in that conversation.

I think too many words have been spilled and reputations slung...over a comment that's been taken up and mischaracterized because it was USEFUL to some people.

Obama was communicating with an editorial board and expressing his ideas. Good for him.

Knowing Obama, he'll find a way to clarify and communicate his views further since this is still a burning issue.

Given his life's work, let's give him a chance to do just that.



[ Parent ]
generational and class (0.00 / 0)
There is a class segment of boomers whose primary electoral goal, apparently, is self-esteem.

I don't see any other way to explain the enthusiastic embrace of this idiotic controversy.

Jonathon Kozol has a passage about the comfortable losing experience of the left. The repeated experience of gatherings of ones own, to celebrate the struggle, and to explain to ourselves how we fought the good fight. That's at work here.


[ Parent ]
IF this was his only statement, I might agree with you. (4.00 / 1)
However, he has a pattern and a history more recent than his youthful days in Harlem and Cabrini Green.  The list of Obama's objectionables goes beyond a pander to Reagan in Nevada. 

[ Parent ]
oooh a pattern (0.00 / 0)
Just like Gore's pattern of prevarication or Clinton 1's pattern of assaulting women. A number of factesque incidents that combine to produce a pattern that transcends the shaky basis of each incident.

[ Parent ]
Except, Of Course, It's Real (4.00 / 1)
Details, details...

"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 ]
It's real in your mind only (0.00 / 0)
It's not real in the real world - in the real world it's a campaign strategy.  Just one that you don't like and you will go through endless gymnastics and models to rationalize your opinion as truth. 

Your "alternate obama reagan statements" were twice as long.  If you can't match the length, and have it be understood by  non Ivy graduates, then you've failed.  This is a campaign, not a dissertation.


[ Parent ]
They Were Longer To Give A Flavor (0.00 / 0)
Obviously, you can pare down as you wish, pick and choose, do variations, or something else entirely.  I was not trying to act as a campaign advisor.  I was simply trying to point out some of the kinds of things one might say.

But the notion that what I wrote could only be understood by Ivy Leaguers, well, it's just so stunningly elitist that I frankly don't know what to say.

"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 message you want him to give is not a good message (0.00 / 0)
You want him to tell people that they were suckered by Reagan and don't understand anything. What's the purpose?

Your theory is that any mention of Reagan needs an explicit disclaimer. Sorry, any mention of Reagan by Obama, since Edwards mentions, Webb's mentions, Hillary's mentions, Clinton's, ... - don't cause great ire. Yet you are unable to construct such a mention and disclaimer that does not sound condescending and that is accurate.


[ Parent ]
I Already Know I'm The Great Satan (4.00 / 1)
Tell me something I don't know.

"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 ]
But He's Just Not Ready For Prime Time (4.00 / 1)
Giving him the greatest possible benefit of the doubt, you've just made a compelling case for cutting Obama some slack. ["I don't think Obama is saying what you're hearing. (Ie. critqueing government programs, buying into Reagan's lies)"  Sorry, but yes he is saying that, though he didn't necessarily intend to, he just sumbled into it.]  And I'm more than willing to do that, if he's willing to listen to the other folks on the left whose toes he keeps on stepping on (McLurkin, much?), and if he weren't fricken running for President!

OJT gave us GWB, for gosh sakes.  Why would we want to shoot ourselves in the foot like that?

Clearly Obama is far superior to Bush in every conceivable way. But just as clearly he is still feeling his way, and stumbles needlessly.

"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 ]
When you write (4.00 / 1)
OJT gave us GWB, for gosh sakes.

I am wondering what are you backing that up with? What candidate are you making an implicit, if flawed, argument for?

I mean, here we have a guy who, long before he was anybody, chose to go work on the South Side of Chicago as a community organizer in the late 80s and, coming out of that, applied, attended, and excelled at Harvard Law, served as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review in its 104 year history and acquitted himself with honor, worked as a civil rights attorney, lectured on Constitional Law at the University of Chicago, ran for State Senate in Illinois in 1996 where, per wiki, he

"support[ed] legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for child care. Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.[34] During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, he won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, whose president credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms.

In 2004 he was elected to the US Senate where he was co-author of the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act and worked with Senator Feingold on the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act.

But that's not what you mean. Of course.

You're talking about the fact that when pitching his candidacy to a Nevada newspaper, Barack Obama didn't talk like some writers at OpenLeft and MyDD and TalkLeft and Dailykos would prefer that he talk.

This debate isn't about Obama's "On the Job Training" to use your patronizing dismissive, it's about whether Obama meets your standards of how a politician should talk.

I love the netroots dearly, but can I just say that, honestly, sincerely, if we are judging people by the malarky that they've written or what's come out of their mouths "the blogs" have every single Democratic candidate beat by several solar systems.

There is zero accountability here. You want OJT? The blogs are OJT central!!

I've read more glaring errors, lapses in judgment, utter foolishness, inadvertant admissions of a lack of basic knowledge of the subject matter at hand and, yes, of all things, PANDERING, here on the blogs than I've read or seen anywhere.

God love us, that's us. We don't pass the tests we apply to Obama...not even close.

Many ex-Presidents of the Harvard Law Review out here on the blogs? Nope.
Many lecturers in Constitutional Law at U of C? Nope.

But, hey, there's a ton of folks willing to try to take down the lone African American in the U.S. Senate for saying something they don't like!

Has it occured to anybody what would happen to Obama's political trajectory if he focused on satisfying us? Lol. (Clinton doesn't even make an effort, she has contempt for us.)

Now, I'm not the most brilliant guy in the world, but I know a thing or two about primaries and politics.

And when a bunch of people start talking in vague and unspecific terms about their "ideological" problems with a candidate I know that it means one thing for sure, it means you support somebody else in the primary.

At this point in the game, when you talk about OJT you are, whatever else you are doing, telling us to vote for Hillary.

Respectfully, I disagree.

I'm pragmatic.

A candidate who got off his ass and campaigned for Ed Perlmutter, Sherrod Brown, Jim Webb, Tim Walz and Claire McCaskill...and helped them win their seats...

is a candidate I want at the top of our ticket.


[ Parent ]
idealism vs. pragmatism (4.00 / 1)
I think you're right.  But a lot of non pragmatists here are fixated on what they want campaigns (and candidates) to be...not how campaigns are in the real world.

[ Parent ]
It's Not About This Remark Alone, Obviously (0.00 / 0)
I think that Barack Obama fundamentally misunderstands American presidential politics, and his Reagan remarks are a microcosmic reflection of that.  I also think that just because he's a fast study that doesn't make up for his lack of experience at the level he's playing at.

But, rather than respond to everything you've written, I look to how you're listening:

At this point in the game, when you talk about OJT you are, whatever else you are doing, telling us to vote for Hillary.

And, of course, I'm not saying any such zero-sum thing at all.  I am saying precisely what I am saying.  There are real, serious problems with Obama's candidacy that many of his supporters do not see.  And those are same problems that will be there if he becomes President.  And we ought to pay very close attention to them.

Seeing both the strengths and weakenesses of those who would lead us are quite important matters, as is criticizing them, and doing our best to hold them accountable.  That was the point of my LBJ diary yesterday, and it applies to anyone we elect.  Nobody gets a pass.

Personally, as someone who has supported black presidential candidates all my life--even when, like Martin Luther King in 1968, they took themselves out of consideration--I'm saddened and disheartened that when one comes along who has such a good chance to win, he is so needlessly such a disappointment.

"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 respect your thoughtful reply (4.00 / 1)
and your point.

I'm a pragmatist. I want our ideas and our candidates to win. Barack Obama is, imo, the best vehicle for that.

I've met politicians up close. They are politicians. Investing anything of one's personal politics or ideology in a politician is, imo, a fundamental error.

My ideology spurs me to act and speak. It is not a filter for the outside world so much as it is an impetus to do things.

Paul Wellstone did so many things right and had such a good heart, but as a constituent I'd say a third of my calls to his office were to disagree about something.

I doubt Barack Obama would improve on that ratio.

However, when we elect a president what we are doing is putting a team in control of the executive branch.

Clinton is a known quantity. We know her team. I disagree with much of what that team represents. (McAuliffe, Penn, Carville, Emmanuel etc.)

Obama's team is not as shaped. It cannot be. But from what I see I prefer that team to Clinton's by far. (Axelrod, Cutler, Lessig)

As far as I know, there is only one candidate who worked as ruthlessly to elect our people in 2006 as Barack Obama and that was Mark Warner. If I'm wrong tell me so. That counts for something in my book.

When I see Carole Shea Porter in New Hampshire, and Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Linda Sanchez in California going against the grain to work for Barack...I know that Obama has got something fresh building within his nascent "administration".

To be frank, having lived, like you, through 1992, another year of hopeful Democratic ascendancy, I also know that primary season is when people, subtly, under the radar, jostle for jobs.

That's pragmatic too. Don't let that filter slip off your radar.


[ Parent ]
Good Points (4.00 / 1)
The angle I'm taking is permanent gadfly, I suppose.  No matter how good they are, they still need my kind.  Or at least the rest of us do.

I think it's important that people respect their gifts and their calling, as well as each others.  To try and be something you're not, just because someone (even you) thinks it's right, that's a mistake, and you cannot best serve a purpose larger than yourself by betraying who you are.

So I will make no effort whatsoever to dissuade you from what you see as your path of highest integrity.  I ask my questions to challenge people, and the more defensive they become, the less this tells me that they know their true path.  It's the non-defensive answer that comes from long experience, reflection, self-inspection, whatever, that is the most convincing, not that reason is right for me, but that it is right for whoever speaks it.

I hope that that will be enough.  I hope that we do not end up having to march in the streets again, as we have so many times before, in protest of another bloody senseless war.

"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 ]
Ironically this is the same (0.00 / 0)
conversation i tried tohave with you yesterday which you then avoided. I don't see a difference frankly between what you advocate and a Bush suppoters advocacy. Blindness is blindness.

[ Parent ]
Fast study? (0.00 / 0)
There is no evidence that Barack Obama is either "a fast study" or that he somehow does not mean what multiple statements, policies, and campaign stagies say he means. 

Actually, the evidence is that Obama and his campaign have learned to avoid some mistakes (Michelle is no longer being reported as a loose cannon making weekly assaults on the Clintons personal lives from the standpoint of the SNL church lady).  But with the exception of a few short days after Ne Hampshire when Obama's rhetoric drifted sharply leftward, he has kept to the same vaguely "comforting" bromides about unity and hope while elbowing Democrats (often through surrogates) as often as possible.

Barack is a well packaged center/right politician.  At least in terms of the Democratic Party. 


[ Parent ]
My Front Row Seat to to Reagan's Era (4.00 / 2)
I am a bit uneasy with Kid Oakland's analysis of Obama's bona fides when it comes to justifying his embrace of Reaganism.

I did my Ph.D. and M.A. at Columbia University in the late 60's and did come in contact with what was going on in Harlem and race and economic justice politics at the time.

What Obama refers to as the "excesses" of the 60's were not excesses at all but the genuine albeit failed attempts to create several different movements to radically change an unjust society.

Reagan came in as the coroner examining the corpses of these failures, declaring them to be dead on arrival.

While the comment below that I posted on MyDD last year strays from the central argument about Obama's Reagan gaffe of last week, I copy it below so you can get another Columbia student's views of what was transpiring and what was at stake at that time. 

What it shows, I believe, is that it is entirely inappropriate for any Democratic candidate, much less an African American candidate like Obama, to boast about the Reagan era or what preceded or followed it.

"I have stayed out of this dialogue that Matt started last week even though I was a graduate student in the 60's (Columbia University) and opposed the war in Vietnam (I participated in all the major peace marches, one right up to the Pentagon and the bayonneted soliders with gas masks.) I was not a student activist by any means but I was strongly opposed to the war in Vietnam (as I was to the invasion and occupation of Iraq).

"It's too big a subject for me to get my arms around at the moment although I applaud Matt's efforts to get his around it. But here are a couple of observations.

"1. When we took to the streets to oppose the Vietnam War, there was literally NO ONE in any official position supporting us except Senator Fulbright from Arkanas. We were as estranged from the Democrats as we were from the Republicans. Our estrangement continued as long as the war continued, which was well into the 70's.

"2. We saw John F. Kennedy assassinated, Martin Luther King assassinated, Robert Kennedy assassinated, and key members of the Black Panthers assassinated (which basically decapitated the Black Power movement). I remember well the Democratic presidential convention in Chicago where friends of mine were literally kicked down the stairs by Mayor Daly's police. To say we felt envelopped by black political clouds from all sides is an understatement.

"3. We believed that the War against Poverty was going to work, until it failed, and that the voter registration drives in the South were going to empower blacks electorally, until Goodman Schwerner and Chaney were murdered and their killers were not brought to justice.

"4. In late 60's I moved to Europe. When I moved back to the U.S. a decade later, the Republicans were harvesting the early fruits of their strategy to transform the U.S. into a single party state. They had co-opted conservative Christians into the GOP as its electoral base, and, pretty much as President Johnson had predicted when he signed the Civil Rights Act, the South was on its way to being lost to the Democratic fold and the Democrats were on their way to losing working majorities in Congress.

"Once Reagan was elected, he set the country on course to undo the New Deal, which has continued uninterrupted throughout George W. Bush's presidency with the help of more Democrats in Congress than I care to think about.

"I am simplifying a complex situation to make the point that I do not think that the 60's "left" was a failed political movement because its members were lacking in leadership, organizing or strategic skills, or because they became drug heads or counter culturalists. They failed because the "rapport de forces", the overarching political alignments in the country, were not in their favor and could not be surmounted or transformed.

"What is more consequential for the future, though, is that many of those of us who came of age politically in the failures of the 60's anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-racism struggles are now squarely in the progressive movement, and many of us (yours truly!) are proud to consider ourselves progressive netrooters to boot. The time has come when I/we feel the call to re-engage in the aborted political activism that spurred us to oppose the Vietnam War in the 60's, and to support the War on Poverty and the civil rights movement."


[ Parent ]
I was there. (4.00 / 2)
On the street in UCB from 1965 thru 1972. I faced armed Alameda County Sherrifs, the 'Blue Meanies' which is not actually a joke, and elements of the Californian National Guard sent there by Reagan to show that he was 'in charge'. To show that no 'niggers and hippie scum...' were gonna get the better of him.

What was I doing?

Everything I could to stop the war in Vietnam. When Kid Oakland, whom I know, and other show up here and start talking about Obama as a force for change I've got one question for them. Same question I have for folks at dKos who are in hysterics today over Senator 'Hope's' latest speech comparing it to MLK's greatest oratory....

Where is the Senator on Iraq? And NO I do not want to fukin' know where he was in 2002 when his opposition to the war carried no personal consequences.

And folks I don't wanna hear about where all the other candidates are on this. If Senator Obama is going to lead us, lead me as a 'progressive' he's going to have to do it on the most important issues of the day.

Iraq is that issue.

And the Senator is nowhere. He has supported Bush's funding for the war at every opportunity. He has had nothing to say about the facts:

The war is without legal sanction from any legitimate authority.

The war was declared without the consent of the people.

The war is being conducted in violation international laws regarding the use of torture and the rules of war.

Now Kid can make all the arguments, along with others here about the 'political considerations' of Obama's failure to take action in the Senate or at the very least speak out against this war. That's his right.

But I say this:

To be for a man who lavishes praise on a Fascist, Racist prick who ordered the army into the streets to stifle dissent over the nation's path to more war and more racism while failing to speak out against the hideous crime against humanity that Bush has perpetrated in my name, Kid's name and everybody else who posts or comments on this site's name absolutely bars supporting such a man for any public office in the Republic I want to live in.

The United States of America I've fought all my life to create where the ideas of social justice, free speech and the individual's right are more than mouthwash for such as Obama and Reagan.

To those of you who disagree with me I can assure you  that taking real action as I did when I stared down teenagers from Fresno armed with M-14s differs markedly from making speeches about hope to gaggles of people who only remember Reagan from Death Valley Days.

I got to know St. Ronnie up close and personal Senator Obama and your opinion of St. Ronnie is, to put it bluntly.....

For shit.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 2)
I think Robert Kennedy Jr. put it more succinctly than Nader -- the difference between the parties is that the Republicans are 95% corrupt and the Democrats are only 75% corrupt.

[ Parent ]
Make It 99.9% and 75% And You've Got A Sale! (0.00 / 0)
But, who's counting?

"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 ]
It's funny (4.00 / 1)
Facts are stubborn things, and you have a habit of ignoring them.

Obama is trying to divide the right.  You do that by courting rightwing voters, and I don't think there's any question that Obama has been more aggressive in that regard than any other candidate.  What's more, he's doing while still adopting a solidly progressive platform. 

This is what's kinda frustrating about many's criticism of him.  The point isn't to get a factual debate of Reagan's legacy, for example.  The point is to subvert Reagan's legacy in a way that makes it useful for progressives. 


And I'll add (0.00 / 0)
the "triangulating" charge is frustrating. Obama's platform is more solidly liberal than anyone's in the field in 2004 except Kucinich, including Howard Dean's.  To the extent he's triangulated at all, it's between the hard-left and the center/left.  And you know what?  That's not triangulation

[ Parent ]
Since Senator 'Dope' doesn't talk about his... (2.67 / 3)

...............his 'platform' an argument can be made that it doesn't exist. We've been over this ad nauseum. Obama is running an 'empty vessel' campaign so if he get in he can govern from the right.

Your contention that he is '...more solidly liberal...' is laughable. Besides 'liberal'  isn't what's needed here. Progressive ideas and governance are what the nation needs.

To survive.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
He assumes we read (0.00 / 0)
Hillary says "Medicare will remain exactly as it is"

http://www.hillarycl...

Barack "supports closing the 'doughnut hole' in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program:

http://www.barackoba...

His mistake.


[ Parent ]
but but but (0.00 / 0)
there is simply no way that Obama can be as progress as Mark Penn.

[ Parent ]
People keep saying that Obama (4.00 / 4)
is progressive, but I see no evidence from him that he is. His speeches are full of airy rhetoric (I'm old enough to have heard lots of good speeches, and the best ones have substance as well as lofty language and ardent delivery). His program proposals seem to be watered down versions of Clinton's or Edwards's. When I ask his supporters why they support him, they talk about hope and change.

I've seen hope before, and experienced lots of change -- much of it negative.

So Obama seems not to be making much of an effort to close the sale, or even make the sale to liberals and progressive Democrats who have been around long enough to be skeptical. Then he comes out with talk about Social Security being in crisis -- when it isn't, blasts against health care "mandates" (which would insure universality and affordability), and now the Reagan comment.

Why?

I don't get it.

If he's such a gifted political persuader, he should be able to make his appeal reach to the older, female, working class portions of the Democratic base.

I'm really disappointed, because, though I've been committed to Clinton's candidacy since late September, I started out believing that Obama might get my support. Now I'm at the point where -- sure, if he's the nominee I'll vote for him in November, but not enthusiastically.



[ Parent ]
Look at his Illinois Senate record (4.00 / 1)
http://en.wikipedia....

He helped institute death penalty, interrogation, and racial profiling reforms -- very progressive criminal justice reforms.

He also sponsored and helped enact programs that specifically benefited low-income populations.

He was a community organizer, let's not forget. And he was against the war before it started, despite his voting for funding to continue the war since he got to the Senate (a position I find intellectually consistent, if not optimal).

I don't think that he's necessarily the next RFK or whatever, but he's likely the most liberal mainstream candidate in a long time.

Could he be better? Sure. But look at what's there. Things are getting a little out of control around here w/r/t criticizing him.

However, I definitely agree with your point that he ought to be doing a much better job communicating with the portion of the Democratic base you mentioned if he wants to win this thing.


[ Parent ]
You Are Of Course, Familiar With The Peter Principle (4.00 / 1)
Not saying that Obama is incompetent as a Presidential candidate.  Clearly, he is not.  He is doing quite well, thank you.

But not, I think compared to his own potential.

Or, for that matter, compared to our objective need.

"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 ]
And I agree with you (4.00 / 2)
I think his "general election" strategy is risky during the party nomination contest. I mean, he ought to be broadcasting his progressive bona fides to the mountaintop right now. His record is more progressive than the record of either of his two main competitors (perhaps not as progressive as JRE's words, but JRE's problem is that his actions in the Senate were contrary to all those nice words, so people, like me, don't buy the sincerity with which he now speaks them).

Take the Social Security issue. The whole thing is strange to me -- yes, he's somewhat embracing (or, I'll even stipulate just for argument's sake, fully embracing) right wing framing of the solvency of the program, but it's to enact progressive policy outcomes that strengthen the program by  making the taxing structure of payroll taxes more progressive. Such increased revenue may enable, down the road, moving towards a single-payer health care system by drastically increasing the revenue for social insurance programs. Even though he adopts rhetoric about the tenuousness of the program's solvency, he's not talking about diverting one dime for privatizing the program -- in fact, he does not want any type of privatization.

His record on trade is really unclear or unknowable -- but we know Hillary's record. He was right on Iraq. He has a number of progressive and outside-the-box foreign policy advisors. He's very good on ethics issues, and is not surrounded by trash like Mark Penn, Terry McAulliffe, James Carville, etc. He's got good policy proposals for communications and media issues, as Matt has covered in depth.

Should he be criticized when he says or does stupid things? Sure. And he's taking an awfully risky strategy, and has alot of work to do in finding a way to appeal to women and lower-income populations, especially. But I think there's a lot to really like about him and about not going back to Clinton Third Way-ism. It's what excites me the most about his candidacy, as much as a roll of the dice as it is (which, frankly, ALL candidates are until they take the helm).


[ Parent ]
Good Points! (0.00 / 0)
Maybe you should be managing his campaign!

"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 ]
Hillary's "You're not invisible to me" (4.00 / 3)
slogan or theme is very effective with middle-aged and older women, who are the most invisible portion of the public sphere. Obama would do well to at least not alienate that demographic.

That said, I appreciate your explanation.


[ Parent ]
I absolutely agree with you (4.00 / 1)
He needs to work harder to appeal to women; he needs to enunciate why he will be a good President for issues that women care about. I am for Obama, but let's be honest here -- Hillary is a hard-working, very intelligent, capable, experienced, and striking person. My main beefs with her are that I am not convinced what type of policies she, in her heart, will pursue if elected, and that I don't like the people she surrounds herself with. I can't really argue with you if you take a look at Obama and Hillary and then decide that you come down as a Hillary supporter.

My sis is in her early thirties, is married, and has a young son. She is well educated, so "should" be in Barack's corner if we go by the demographics. But she's leaning Hillary, because she's frankly sick of the double standards that women have to put up with (see especially, New Hampshire primary media pre-coverage, during which a bunch of white dudes tried to gang up and bury her).

Barack would do well to understand this dynamic, and quickly, and find a way to explain to women why they should wait again, when the woman candidate is frankly more experienced and tested. I think naming a female running mate, and soon, might be the only way to do so (I continue to like the idea of adding another midwestern progressive, Kathleen Sebelius, to the ticket).


[ Parent ]
Two Questions (4.00 / 2)
(1) What's wrong with my suggestions about how he might do it better?

(2) How can you ignore the fact that he is dividing progressives, with all the controversy he's aroused?  Not to mention Clinton's pattern of gaining a significantly larger share of more liberal voters.

"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 offense is caused by distrust (4.00 / 1)
Anyone's statements can be misconstrued when they are not trusted. He looks at his record and cannot understand why anyone would mistrust it. He sees his battle to attract independents and win the general election, having a fight about if he or Hillary is more liberal just does not have a lot of value, because he looks at Iraq, for example and feels that if he has not already won that argument, you will never be convinced.

[ Parent ]
It's about trust, not distrust (4.00 / 1)
The problem with these statements is not that non-supporters distrust him, but that they can only be read in the way Obama supporters read them if you already trust him. They may work for supporters, but they do not convince non-supporters, and you don't win a nomination (or "bring people together") that way.

I agree that he did not praise Reagan. However, he did present a Republican's narrative of Reagan's victory without disputing it, even though many elements are entirely false and mythical. He spoke of Reagan as an agent of change without even briefly saying that of course the direction he intends to change the country is entirely different. For someone who already trusts him, there is no problem with leaving these things unsaid. For someone like me who is nervous about whether his message of unity is an appeal to Republican voters to support a progressive agenda (which would be fine) or an intention to compromise with Republican politicians assuming "we all want the same things" (which would be a disaster), leaving these things unsaid is deeply distubing.


[ Parent ]
Couple answers (0.00 / 0)
I was expecting to agree with what you wrote and was a bit surprised what you actually wrote.  Don't get me wrong, I like the narratives you wrote but I think they miss the point.

1) The problem of what you wrote is they don't make the fundamental point Obama was trying to make about how this election as the potential to radically realign electorate for this generation, just as it realigned in the Reagan era.

How about:

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.  There were two oil shocks with the recessions that accompanied them and the Iranian hostage crisis had it's own nightly television program with Ted Kopple counting the days.  Reagan was able to spin all this as government excess and sell the country on his theory of trickle-down economics. 

By the time he won his second term in a landslide victory, movement conservatism had replaced traditional conservatism and every kid wanted to grow up to be Alex P. Keaton.  Even Bill Clinton felt obligated to play by the conservative rules, triangulating what little progressive policy into law he could.

Today, I believe the people are again ready for a major change, and this time we can do it right...

I'm sure you could write that better than me, but that is the way to improve what Obama said while actually making the point he intended to make.

2) My first reaction is all the primary candidates are dividing progressives.  Check out the comments on any candidate blog at dailykos.  Bill Clinton, in particular, has really pissed me off, lately.

That said, I understand your point.  Obama needs to routinely defend leftists, even the very extreme kind he might not agree with, in the same language he defends those who vote for Republicans.

Obama won the liberal vote in Iowa and tied the "very liberal" vote New Hampshire with Clinton winning the rest. Nevada is the first time the liberal vote broke for Clinton, perhaps due to the Reagan talk.  So far, there is no pattern.


[ Parent ]
Works For Me! (0.00 / 0)
I was simply focused on trying to accentuate splitting conservatives rather than liberals.  I don't really buy his analysis, so it would have been more unnatural to try to duplicate it.

Since it's the larger point I was after, I have no problem at all with your alternate take.  Sure it could be more polished, but mine wasn't intended to be superfine, either.  So, it's all good so far as I'm concernred.  Glad to have another alternative rolled out.

As for other candidates, well, why am I surprised by anything Bill Clinton does?

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


[ Parent ]
No O (0.00 / 0)
There is no 'o' in maneuver.

The Left: Desperate to Lose and to be played (4.00 / 1)
Here's the Obama quote you keep leaving out, from the same discussion, just after the Reagan quote in the same discussion.

I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it has to do with the times. I think we are in one of those fundamentally different times right now were people think that things, the way they are going, just aren't working.

The MSM rules for elections are that we are permitted to only focus on sound bites and not ever consider context or history or fact. Thanks for observing those rules.

I will, once again, note that the transformative quality of Ronald Reagan's 1980 victory is plain. The success of his duplicitous appeal to voters is not controversial. The unpopularity of Carter's administration is not controversial.

So the problem seems to be violation of the script. When you are talking to people in Nevada, a state that has strongly identified itself with Reagan themes, is is apparently necessary to explain to people that they are stupid.


This Proves Nothing At All (4.00 / 1)
Multiple superficial pundit moments do not add up to deep wisdom, nor does vaguely praising JFK cancel out praising Reagan under false pretenses.

The fact that you could propose such foolishness merely reveals how deeply unserious you are.

Infortunately, you're not funny, either.

It's quite telling that you did not respond directly to this diary.

After all, how could you?

"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 ]
Yes it does! (4.00 / 2)
I think anyone who is willing to suffer the oppressive and pedantic tone this blog has taken is by definition, serious.

[ Parent ]
Points For At Least ATTEMPTING Snark On Fourth Down! (0.00 / 0)
But don't forget your helmet, and don't quit your day job!

"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 limitations are obvious (0.00 / 0)
I could not post the left out quote and respond to your patronizing language at the same time. See below for the second.

however, the mention of Kennedy in the same terms, and the other part you left out - where he begins by saying he is not special, the times are special - do change the meaning a lot.

So the question is, why are you happy to play the MSM game of working on isolated fragments?

Whatever Obama says is vulnerable to this kind of "analysis".


[ Parent ]
It's A Holographic Universe, Dude! (0.00 / 0)
You just loves you some superficial comparisons.  Indeed, it seems all that you're capable of.

But it ignores a few basics, such as:

(1) The simple fact that people are bound to respond to things like this, and reasonably good politicians are well aware of it.  The fact that Obama has made these sorts of mistakes repeatedly does seriously raise the question of whether he's simply "not ready for prime time."  The GOP has paid a really terrible price for elevating such a President.  Do we really want to follow their example?

This whole situation may not be fair, but who ever said that politics is fair???  I mean, 300+ years of slavery and segregation?  Fair?  Get real!

The answer to all this is to follow Lakoff's advice, and build a progressive message from the core outward, so that every aspect of it reflects that progressive core.  It's a holographic approach, as opposed to a cut-and-paste approach, and it makes it much more difficult for out-of-context attacks to gain hold.

(2) I was trying to show how Obama could have avoided all this.  It was a good faith attempt to transcend the very argument that you simply can't let go of.

Looks like you're not so good at singing "Kumbayah" after all.

"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 ]
its key that you do not see how condescending your "rewrites" are (0.00 / 0)
not to mention, historically inaccurate.

You want a candidate to only mention Reagan in the context of pissing on his former supporters or the much larger population segment that has just heard something vaguely positive.


[ Parent ]
So Do It Better, Then (0.00 / 0)
Like I said, it's not an ego thing with me.

"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 ]
Mistakes? (0.00 / 0)
This is no mistake, Paul.  It is the core "concept" of the Obama campaign.  Embrace the right and the RepublicaNS.  spit on liberal Democrats.  It really is amazing that Obama has done as well as he has among progressive Democrats and as poorly as he has among conservative Democrats.  Identity politics has trumped content politics.

[ Parent ]
Obama: President "Present"? (n/t) (0.00 / 0)


Ronald Reagan's 1980 victory (4.00 / 3)
like every single GOP 'accomplishment' since Nixon, Reagan's 'victory' was stolen. And in consequence, everything thereafter proceeding is 'fruit of the poisoned tree.'

Reagan won because Jimmy Carter, finally, couldn't negotiate the release of the Embassy hostages with the mullahs.

Partly because the mullahs hated him for providing sanctuary to the Shah, but also because the Reaganaut braintrust had despatched Bill Casey and GHWB to Paris to promise the Iranians subsequent favors in consideration for blocking an "October Surprise."

The most emblematic moment of the Raygun regime's transparent corruption, to me, was the landing in Maine of the plane carrying the freed hostages, timed to coincide with Reagan taking the Oath of Office (which he was shortly, continually and egregiously thereafter to betray).


in fact, Carter pioneered liberal accomodationism (0.00 / 0)
He deeply alienated the left- both Pat Brown and Ted Kennedy created serious challenges. In fact, Brown was defeated by the same means Kucinich has been marginalized.

And then Carter, desperate to appease the right, sent millions of dollars of weapons to prop up the Shah, and then let him come to the US as a refuge - and was then SURPRISED that the revolutionaries took over the embassy. He compounded his success by failing to see what Casey and friends were up to and to take counteraction.

The prototype for the appeasement Bill Clinton regime - even worse. And if we don't defend it, we're Reaganites! Right.


[ Parent ]
Manichean bullshit (4.00 / 2)
Paul has been consistently critical of Carter, at a time when praising Carter (at least for his foreign and environmental policies) has come back into vogue.

Yet you're claiming that just because he's pointed out that Reagan probably committed treason to win the election, that means he's defending Carter?

How bloody Manichean do you want to get? It is not an either/or thing, which is also something you might want to bear in mind when you read progressive critiques of Obama. Subtlety exists, dammit.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog


[ Parent ]
how to lose elections (0.00 / 0)
For example, a lot of people think that people were responding to what they call "the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s,"

Will be heard: "Your understanding of your motivation is wrong, because you are stupid and don't have the deeper understanding of us liberals."

but the two oil shocks and the recessions that accompanied them, or the Iranian hostage crisis  had nothing to do with the 1960s, and everything to do with problems that are with us to this very day-including 9/11, soaring gas prices and the growing threat of global warming.

Will be heard: "I'm going to mix around a bunch of unrelated topics here to confuse you."

What's more it was very much a fluke of timing.  If the election had been held in March of 1980, Carter would have been re-elected handily.

Will be heard: All of you people who voted for Reagan or who, after 20 years of non-stop propaganda (including from Bill Clinton) have positive feelings about Reagan are witless pawns who go with the tide. Besides, all the criticisms of Carter that could even be heard from liberal Democrats in 1978 are inconvenient for my story, so I'm tossing them.

So, the major turbulence of the era had nothing to do with the 1960ds, and Reagan's election had nothing to do with ending it.

Will be heard: Like I said, you guys are chumps.

Indeed, economically, things got a lot worse before they got better, and even after they got better, the manufacturing jobs never really came back, and our

Will be heard: Your memories of Reagan and lived experience are invalid and don't measure up to the Truth only known by superior people like me.


But enough autobiography, right, Rootless? (4.00 / 1)
"Let's talk about you?"

[ Parent ]
my first presidential vote was for Carter (0.00 / 0)
and I was devastated by Reagan's victory. But I don't view politics as a club for people like me.

[ Parent ]
Fine Then (0.00 / 0)
Do what I'm suggesting, only do it better.

This is not an ego thing on my part.

"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 ]
Once again I agree with Paul in part (0.00 / 0)
I think the "splitting of the right" strategy is important and particularly appropriate for Obama to take on.  But I think this is mainly a task for the general election, if he wins the nomination. 

While Paul's two sample statements are well designed for that task and certainly make easy sense to those of us reading it here, I think the task of unlocking Republicans from their Reagan myths will take a lot more time and prolonged and focused communication than is appropriate for the primary season, when the audience is mainly Democrats.  So, I agree with Paul's suggestion, but think its better tabled until the general.

I do, however, think Obama should address the issue, since it seems to have upset a lot of people and gotten some media traction.  If I was advising him I'd suggest he  explain more clearly the meaning of his statement, perhaps including some reference to what else he said in that discussion, and succintly clarify the key things about Reagan's policies that he strongly disagrees with.  He might also express a sincere apology for making statements that were not sufficiently clear and therefore upsetting to many Democrats.

In previous comments I expressed my views on what Obama really meant, so I won't repeat them here.


Never Put Off Till Tomorrow What You Can Do Today (0.00 / 0)
Capice?

If he was going to talk about Reagan at all, he should have said something along the lines I laid out.  Maybe not as elaborate, but something.

I'm perfectly happy to agree with your point in terms of emphasis, but not in terms of content.  You have to plant the seeds at every opportunity.  Planting the seeds early gives you something to come back to later.

But--accepting your terms, here--more importantly, for the Democratic base in a Democratic primary, this is how he could have talked about Reagan without  causes all this needless division.

"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 ]
Reinforcing right wing memes (0.00 / 0)
But as Reagan himself liked to say, "Facts are stubborn things," and the more you look at the sorts of things that people say, the clearer it becomes that things were a lot more complicated, and a lot more ambiguous. For one thing, although Reagan certainly considered himself a conservative, he had a lot of liberal quirks, at least from today's perspective.  He raised taxes to balance the budget as California governor, and raised taxes as President as well-inluding a massive payroll tax increase to stabilize and save Social Security.  He opposed California's Briggs Initiative, which would have banned homosexuals from teaching in public schools, and coming from Hollywood, he had a number of gay friends.  He rarely went to church, sometimes confused the Old and New Testaments, and relied on an astrologer, via his wife, for some of the running of the White House.

That is: Reagan was sort of liberal because (a) liberals raise taxes and (b)they particularly raise payroll taxes and (c) they are mostly concerned with homosexuals and (d) don't go to church and (e) are into astrology!

Way to build a new majority and defeat republican branding, dude!


I DID Mention Snark, Did I Not??? (0.00 / 0)
Like I said, both unserious and lacking in humor.

"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 ]
Obama may have read too much of his own press (4.00 / 3)
He may really think the "movement" created at a conference room table by his campaign  advisors is actually real and that he can get away saying stuff like this Reagan bs.

The fact is that Obama has a lot of problems within the Democratic coalition and he hasn't show a whole lot of energy or concern in addressing these problems.  Talking up Reagan isn't going to help him.

He has varying degrees of problems with latinos, women, Jewish Americans, working class voters, gays, union employees, and Catholics.  Yet he seems to be ignoring these problems as he enjoys the glow of these large crowds.

These crowds, if people haven't been enough.  He out drew Clinton in New Hampshire and Nevada.

I don't know what Obama can do to fix his problems in 18 days that he couldn't or didn't do in the last 9 months.  But I know that support of  African Americans, highly educated affluent Democrats, and a ragtag bunch of indies and Republicans isn't close to a "movement."  It is a muddle and a recipe for defeat by the end of the first week of March at the latest.


"Don't Believe The Hype!" (0.00 / 0)
It's a message we all ignore at out peril.

Or, as the white guys put it: "Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust."

"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 ]
"or even going senile." Only the "going" part was wrong (4.00 / 1)
Gratuitous snark aside, this is another example of really sound thinking, and goddam good writing. A bravura turn!
I'm only sorry "President Present" wasn't hip enough to have thought of it...

Turn Out The Lights (4.00 / 1)
Maybe it would have been better if Obama had said "I like Ike" (even though most of the people who liked Ike are  dead or in nursing homes) and not tried to pander to Reagan Democrats.  Did he lose because of that in Nevada? I doubt it.  Early polls showed that Clinton always had enormous leads among hard-core Democrats.  Obama tried to expand the universe of voters.  It was his only hope. It worked to some extent but also brought him grief.  So what has he brought to the campaign and the Democratic Party?  How does one measure the young voters and independents he has inspired to get involved in the process against his not-always-true-to-the-cause rhetoric (which apparently splits progressives or something)? And does it even matter now that it is fairly clear that he is going to fall by the wayside and Clinton will wear the crown (a few percentage points difference in New Hampshire and he would have run the table, but it was not to be)?  It only matters if those young voters and independents and those that thought Obama was the best hope for reaching out to the rest of the world give up the ghost.  Let's hope that doesn't happen.  Anyway, his days of supposedly dividing progressives are over(at least as far as the presidential race is concerned), as is the race for the Democratic nomination. And the only viable candidate that opposed the Iraq war when it was proposed is history. Congratulations Hillary. You pulled it off.  You're not inspiring, but you are tenacious.

 


His crap about not being INVESTED in the 60s-70s is what finally (4.00 / 3)
made me want to punch his smug face!  Hasn't anybody seen THAT part of the Las Vegas interview??  To me, this is even more disturbing than the rest of his Reagan discussion...

First of all, we're still fighting to make gains and/or PRESERVE what we won.  The struggle continues for women's rights, minority rights at all levels!  But, he's not invested in this??  Does he thinks it's all A-OK???

Let's see, on Vietnam....he says we still see wars through the prism of Vietnam...Time to move on, he says. That's why he says he stated "CLEARLY" that he isn't against ALL wars...  Oh, yes, he says, he's not into that 70s "love-in" stuff, either.  OK, so we're supposed to forget our history...the lies...and how we were set up again with LIES??  History doesn't matter anymore?  Just ACCEPT what goes on and "move on?"  How shallow can one be???

Is his idea of "generational change" that we should toss out all of us who know what went on in the 60s-70s???  'Cause it sure feels that way!

This guy is a uniter?? He is foolish and DESTRUCTIVE!!  And more divisive than I can stand!  I'm not a Billary fan either.  But this guy is really not to be believed!!


Foolish and Destructive Indeed (4.00 / 2)
Thanks Paul for the original post and 3dogs here for putting meaning to the increasing anger I'm feeling about this guy. I'm the same age as Obama, spent a good part of my growing-up years in Hawaii too (and I've always been squeamish about a Clinton restoration)-- man, did I want to like him.  In July, I commented on mydd about my discomfort with Obama partisans citing Reagan as a unifer, but I wasn't ready then to blame Obama himself for this misreading of history.  No more.  This is not about generational change, unity or post-partisanship (whatever the hell any of that means).  This is about Barack Obama  running a campaign that is soley about Barack Obama.  HE is the movement.  Screw history. Screw progressives.  Screw anyone who doesn't get it. 

I feel no better having read this, but at least I can better articulate the dread I feel that we are on the verge of squandering this moment.


[ Parent ]
impasse (0.00 / 0)
you know I tried to rewrite it, but he talks much better than me and I don't disagree with anything he said.

So You're Fine With Splitting The Progressive Base (4.00 / 1)
and leaving the conservative base intact.

Very telling.

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


[ Parent ]
i think you set an impossible standard (0.00 / 0)
and I hope he can get the nomination without people like you. Otherwise, I am confident that Mark Penn's counsel and Hillary Clinton's history as a promoter of this war, and her Clintonian un-interest in down-ticket races will make things very difficult for the good guys in the general.

[ Parent ]
It Ain't Me Babe...Despite Your Endless Attempts To Personalize This (4.00 / 1)
Obama has repeatedly turned off all sorts of people who by rights ought to be with him. Antiwar people, gays, boomers, secular humanists, you name it, he's needlessly dissed them all in an attempt to curry favor with the Versailles press.

Those are the folks he should be worrying about.  Not me.

"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 ]
hard to thread this needle (0.00 / 0)
and we are all doing our parts in it. Constructive or not.

[ Parent ]
What Needle??? (4.00 / 1)
That's just the point.  I can't for the life of me comprehend these gratuitous insults that bring him no benefit whatsoever.

The Reagan remarks were tame in comparison to some of what's come before, but they stung more because of what he's said and done in the past, to make folks uneasy with him.

McLurkin was particularly damaging.

"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 ]
Do me real big favor pal... (0.00 / 0)

.....and leave me out of it when you start with the 'we' bullshit. I want no part of Obama nor you out of right field opinions on and America that exists only inside your small head.

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

[ Parent ]
"Unity is the great need of the hour...." (4.00 / 4)
Obama's use of history is consistently... interesting.

Just read a brief piece about what he chose to emphasize in celebration of MLK day.

Speaking from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Senator Barack Obama paid tribute here today to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and reprised his call from four decades ago, "Unity is the great need of the hour."

"The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame the plight of ourselves on others -- all of that distracts us from the common challenges we face, war and poverty; injustice and inequality," [Obama said], drawing applause from the crowd. "We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing each other down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late."

King's speech is here.  He was very specifically talking about unity among black people--the kind of solidarity that was going to be necessary in the fight against white racism and against the entire national political structure, hostile on the one hand, indifferent and/or cowardly on the other.  The context was the launching of the bus boycott in Montgomery.  King sure as hell wasn't calling for bi-partisanship and compromise on the issue of civil rights.  The goal was not getting along.


Actually, I Wouldn't Have Any Problem With That (4.00 / 1)
Depending on how he applied it.

It's a good thing for white America to learn it's lessons from black America.  The question is, what's today's equivilent of fighting against white supremacy?

Could it be... fighting against white supremacy?

Just a thought.

"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 ]
Martin Luther well knew that there were... (4.00 / 1)
....actually people with vested interests for his fight for the rights of blacks, and everyone, else to fail.

This is what the Oborg cannot understand. It's not paranoia if the FBI  really is wiretapping you.

I wonder if Barrack knows he's being wiretapped?

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.


[ Parent ]
You owe Obama a big apology (0.00 / 1)
The speech, as anyone not stuffed to the gills with talking points and racist condescension would know, was a straightforward attack on homophobia and anti-semitism in the black community.

Stupid does not begin to described this hysterical spate of Obama denunciations.


[ Parent ]
Not So Much (0.00 / 0)
It had ONE sentence each about homophobia and anti-semitism in the black community:

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community.

Big whup.

You appear to have absolutely no consciousness about what a turn-off over-hyping anything is.

I'm seriously beginning to think that you're a Clinton plant.

"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 ]
Good god (4.00 / 2)
You're the only one hysterical here.

I just thought it was, literally, an interesting illustration of Obama's modus operandi with regard to historical references.  It just struck me that he (or the campaign) must have specifically searched for a King quote about "unity" to use for this speech.  And this one was the best they could find.  As I said, though, the quote itself isn't at all about Obama's kind of unity.  It's taken out of context and made to serve an overall theme that's quite different from, for instance, the ideas King expressed in Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  (The whole idea of King as a big promoter of "unity" is fairly mind-boggling to me, actually.  I don't think it does history any justice.)

Why do you get so enraged by any analysis of your candidate's political rhetoric?  I've never pushed a particular candidate here or anywhere else, because I've been disappointed in various ways by all of them.  Just because you're a cultist is no reason to assume that everyone else is, and to see sinister motives and terrifying threats to the triumph of your savior in everything they say.  The truth is, I'll probably end up voting for Obama on 2/5 because I think he's the strongest candidate for the general--not that it's any of your fucking business.


[ Parent ]
The "left" IS split (0.00 / 0)
To the extent that the posters on this and other "left wing" sites are representative of the left - I see little unity and a definite propensity to pick fights and embrace division.

Its almost funny - in an absurdist way. Makes me laugh, anyway.

My motivation is visiting this site was to see if I could find a reason to actually vote FOR a Democratic nominee, rather than voting AGAINST the Republicans.  I figured that, because the MSM is basically anti-Democrat, I should spend some time reading what Democrats (or, "leftists" if you insist) actually say - in their own words.  I gotta say - it has, pretty much, underscored the media narrative. 

I have been disabused of any notion that the Democratic party can lead this nation.  So, thank you - you've been ever so helpful.  No sense believing in ghosts.



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


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