Oh, how bittersweet to know what’s coming but unable to knock any sense at all into the children who got us into this mess.
I noticed yesterday that they seemed unusually quiet. Well, except for the gits at the Big Cheeto who seem determined to blame all of this on the hicks in the sticks.
No, don’t blame it on an increase in the number of indies going Republican. The problem is a good chunk of your own team didn’t bother to show up. It’s that “party unity” thing you bludgeoned us with. Remember when Nancy Pelosi brought down the gavel like she was late for a plane and the band struck up, “People all over the world, join hands, get on a LOVE train, LOVE train”. That song is ruined for me. The party was being 1 part sincere and 45 parts mean spirited and contemptuous, rubbing salt in the wounds of everybody in Denver who was sent there to represent a middle class/working class constituency that was desperately looking for a return to peace and prosperity. Instead, they were railroaded and stuffed in the closet while a small bunch of fanatics took over the party.
Based on the comments I saw on various blogs yesterday, the “creative class” intelligentsia still do. not. get. it. They now seem receptive to the idea that Obama should be primaried, preferably from the left. But they keep trying to ignore the only legitimate person in the room who has a shot of doing it. Desperately, they grasp at names like Elizabeth Warren, who has never run for public office, and Russ Feingold, who just got tossed out of one for, I suspect, being a bit too much of a man of mystery. Even Anglachel who was a Clintonista backs off from entertaining the possibility:
This is also why the various calls to do, um, something dramatic and bold and powerful and letting them know that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it! from the self-identified liberals and progressives and anti-Obama contingent will have little effect on electoral politics. The people capable of mounting a viable primary challenge to Obama (who number, at most, two in the entire Democratic party) absolutely will not agree to it because the true victims of that kind of party in-fighting are the constituents who need the party to represent them, even as the party in question is doing a piss-poor job of it at present.
Running a primary challenge is what the precursors of the Obamacan/Unity faction did to both Carter and Gore, when Teddy Kennedy and Bill Bradley respectively decided that they were far more deserving of the nomination than those tedious men, party faction be damned. They were Northeast Stevensonian Elites and, by that standard, the proper recipients of the crown.
I’m confident that my critical stance on The Precious is well known. I’m going to say now that trying to recruit a primary opponent is a stupid thing to do, and anyone who would take up that role does liberal politics no favors. It is simply a waste of energy and money. Take a page from Hillary’s book and get past revenge. As I talked about two years ago, parties are about power before anything else. Don’t waste time crippling the Democratic nominee worse than he’s doing on his own. You won’t win the nomination, and Obama will screw himself over six ways from Sunday when it comes to the general. His sole political purpose now is to encourage the Republican Preznit wanna-bes to butcher each other in the primaries, much as they did two years ago.
Here’s where Anglachel and I differ. What would be stupid would be to do nothing. The country can’t take another round of Obama, who at this point looks like a non-starter, or a Republican. And we must remember that the primary challenge of Ted Kennedy in 1980 didn’t have the support of most of the country anyway. By contrast, Hillary won almost every large state, 18,000,000 voters (and might have had more if not for the caucus fraud and the trashing of her reputation as a racist) and her last weeks of the primary season were remarkable. In spite of all the rancor the media and her own party directed at her, she was even starting to gain the respect of Republicans who admired her tenacity and drive.
I’ll go one step further: If she doesn’t run in 2012, most of the electorate in 2016 will not remember what will look like the golden age of the 1990’s, the last gasp of the middle class. For people my daughter’s age, who will be old enough to vote in 2016, life in the US is very different. She started kindergarten the week of 9/11. The locks, television monitors and security state started in earnest at schools all across the nation. She’s never been allowed to play unsupervised or choose her own friends. Teachers, police, parents of other kids and even the neighbors have made sure of it. Discipline in school is severe and swift, conformity and silence is rewarded, eccentricity strictly verboten. Every responsible adult outside of school has taken it upon themselves to force religion down her throat and I have instructed her not to tell anyone that she’s an atheist (her own decision, not mine). Her parents work during school vacations, unlike some of her friends who go to Utah to ski or the Carribean to swim. Unless she gets scholarships, she will be burdened with substantial debt when she graduates. If she does manage to graduate, there may not be work for her in this country. Like her older sister, she may never be able to afford to live in an apartment by herself or own her own home. I can’t tell you how depressing it is to talk to a 14 year old about how much better her employment and social safety net options will be in another country and that she really should consider emigrating while she’s young if she wants a better life.
This is what the so called “creative class” has decided for us, continue to decide for us. In their delusional state, the working class will thank them for giving them, um, what exactly? What was so great about the health care reform act for the working class? And by working class, I mean anyone who gets a paycheck from someone else, regardless of education level. What did the financial bailout do for the average Joe? Did Lilly Ledbetter actually equalize the pay for women across the country? The Democrats flogging Lilly Ledbetter was possibly the most insulting piece of pre-election propaganda I have ever heard. I didn’t know if I was more offended by the Party trying to pass it off as a game-changing win for women when it clearly wasn’t or whether they thought we were too stupid to read the damn act.
Yesterday, Joel Kotkin at Forbes wrote The Smackdown of the Creative Class and summed up why the Democrats lost big on Tuesday for catering to this tiny 5% of the US population and ignoring the largest chunk of their base:
In contrast, the traditional middle class has not fared well at all. This group consists of virtually everyone who earns the national household median income of $50,000 or somewhat above. They tend to be white, concentrated outside the coasts (except along the Gulf), suburban and politically independent. In 2008 they divided their votes, allowing Obama, with his huge urban, minority and youth base, to win easily.
Since Obama’s inauguration all the economic statistics vital to their lives–job creation, family income, housing prices–have been stagnant or negative. Not surprising then that suburbanites, small businesspeople and middle-income workers walked out on the Democrats last night. They did not do so because they loved the Republicans but because the majority either fears unemployment or already have lost their jobs. Many were employed in the industries such as manufacturing and construction hardest hit in the recession; it has not escaped their attention that Obama’s public-sector allies, paid with their taxes, have remained not only largely unscathed, but much better compensated.
Of course, few on the progressive left–more expressive of a dictatorship of the professoriate than that of the proletariat–seem likely to confront these class realities. Many will ascribe last night’s disaster to the dunderheadness of the American people, or to the clever venality of the right. Certainly some tea party candidates, inexperienced and untested, did appear incapable of passing a high school civics test. But the results had less to do with Karl Rove’s money than the Democrats disconnect with the middle class.
That sums it up pretty well. The working/middle class wanted real change in 2008 and elected what they thought was a Democrat after they were forced into it. They were forced to go against their instincts for Clinton in order to satisfy some higher level of the pyramid of needs for some Whole Foods Market consumer. In the process, the “creative class” has destroyed the Democratic party. At this point, the damage to the party is much, much worse than anything Ted Kennedy ever did. Because if the Democrats do not purge their ranks of these pseudoliberals, the real working class liberals will never support the party or vote for it again. We’ll just sit home and figure out ways of getting our kids out of here.
Is a primary challenge from Hillary really worse than that reality? If the most liberal president your party is going to get is Hillary Clinton, the creative class might just want to put down that CDS crack pipe it’s been smoking and get behind her. Because the unity pony isn’t going to make it to 2016. And holding out for a creative class utopia is going to result in misery for everyone else.
I don’t care how the party gets Obama not to run in 2012. They can persuade him to give it up voluntarily like LBJ did, or they can start secretly funding Hillary for a primary win. But something has to be done to get him out of the White House and put a strong contender in his place.
The creative class will take us all down unless we strike back and tell them in no uncertain terms that we are not putting up with their $#@% anymore. Tuesday was the first blow. And we will continue to pound on them until they get the message. No candidate that has their support will ever have mine unless he/she embraces the working class. I don’t see that happening. So, the party is at a stalemate. The vast majority of us are held hostage by a tiny group of snobs who think very well of themselves and not of you.
So be it. The Democrats will be the Washington Generals to the Republican Globe Trotters until a new team comes along.