Insulting the Wimmin Brains on Hillary vs Obama

Obama backers promise to bring back the Christmas Tree in 2016

Obama backers promise to bring back the Christmas Tree in 2016

I have the day off so I’m going to the Three Rivers Arts Festival and you can’t stop me.  Will take pictures.

Yesterday, I saw that Digby had a brief flash of insight into the mind of a post-PUMA Hillary supporter.  Referring to Noam Scheiber’s incredibly insulting proposal that Hillary Clinton was stupid enough to believe that the Democrats and the undemocratic Obama patrons of 2008 would let her run in 2016, Digby writes:

I’ve come to think of this in a slightly different way. I think this was decided back in Denver in 2008. The primary campaign was a near tie with Clinton continuing to win races all the way up to the end. (In any previous presidential campaign there would have definitely been a convention challenge to such a tight outcome.) It featured two important “firsts” with an African American and a woman competing for the same prize. It was very emotional. The political arguments among the two camps were fierce but they were both coming from the same center-left policywing of the party, which means there was an agreement, somewhat by default, that this agenda was the preferred agenda of the voters. Both sides fought tooth and nail for the same policies.

In essence, the result of that 2008 near tie vote was that Obama got to go first with the understanding that Clinton would automatically get the nomination 8 years later. What this means is that (barring unforeseen circumstances)there will have been no left wing challenge in presidential races for 16 years and I think that suits the Party and its rich donors just fine. They hate primaries. And since they will have had 16 uninterrupted years of preferred policy, even as the voters get to feel the inspiration of the two historic firsts, why would anyone rock the boat?

Progressives might have been able to leverage that fierce competition in 2008 but they got caught up in the emotion just like everyone else so there wasn’t any real ideological challenge. Unfortunately, it probably ended up being the last primary in which they could have had a voice for a very long time. Too bad.

Savor that for a moment.  Just an instant and no more.  What Digby is saying is what all of us Clintonistas have known for 6 years: the primary was a virtual dead heat and at any other convention, there would have been a floor fight.  But *someone(s)* didn’t want a real primary.  Those someones found it more expedient to ram Obama down our throats whether or not the country wanted it or not and they were willing to rig the nomination to get it.  I suspect those someones were the same people who looked a bit further into the future and didn’t want any cramdowns on securitized mortgages or policies that would force the medical/insurance business to negotiate on costs.

Ok, the moment has passed.  Digby will never admit to being one of us because she is a chickenshit. This is as close as we’ll ever get to the notion that Digby and the rest of them were perfectly aware of what was going on with the primary.  They’re no different than we are except they said nothing.  I think there is a Edmund Burke quote about that.  Come to think of it, how do we know that Digby isn’t just messing with our heads?  Maybe the slight acknowledgement that the Clintonistas were right is meant to soften us up to whatever happens in 2014-2016?  I don’t trust anyone who didn’t pipe up in 2008 or 2012.

But I do not think that anyone offered Hillary a deal.  Ok, maybe someone in the Obama campaign floated it at one time but Hillary is not stupid.  I’ll go to the grave believing that it was Hillary who asked for State before someone locked her into a political grave as VP.  (Biden who??)  If my hypothesis is correct, she was smart enough to know that she didn’t want to become permanently associated with Obama’s domestic policies on the financial crisis and health care.  That would mean she was shrewd and also not totally onboard with what she saw coming.

No, the reason why Hillary’s name has been floated for the last 6 years as Obama’s successor is because that’s what Obama’s backers want everyone to focus on. (You read it here first, folks.) The push to defer everyone’s gratification is not for Hillary’s sake.  It’s so that we will placidly go along with every banker and medical/insurer friendly policy they cook up.  We are lead to think that when Hillary is in office, it will all be ok.  It’s merely a formality.  We had to let the African American go before the woman, that’s all, as if we were all so shallow and simple-minded and easily lead to believe that being the first something is more important than being good at your job. (Insert picture of the Grinch lying to Cindi-Lou Who who is no more than two) Just wait until 2016 and there will be another historic victory for the Democrats, as if competence and good policies have no place in this strategy.  We will finally get the Democrat we wanted in the first place in 2008, instead of the guy who is in the White House now who ramped up the exploitation of everyone not making a living off their investments.

And if my “Promote Deferred Gratification- Pull the Rug Out From Under Everyone Who Waited for 2016 Strategy” (Let’s call it the Cindi Lou Who Strategy for short) is correct, then maybe Obama and Clinton were not as close in policy as everyone was initially lead to believe, right?  Because if they were as identical as the Obama contingent says they were, it wouldn’t have mattered which one was nominated in 2008.  But we know intuitively that this isn’t true because rigging the nomination in Obama’s favor in 2008 was maniacally important to someone(s).  We saw it happen.  And those people knew what was coming in 2008 (read Michael Lewis’s book, The Big Short) which suggests that it wasn’t a matter of electability.  Anyone who lived through September 2008 was going to prefer the Democrat to the Republican and, Clinton, had she been nominated, would have won in a landslide.  She would have been the most visible reminder of the last prosperous economic times  and good government that we had.  Given the series of events in 2008, one might almost be tempted to believe that the nomination of Obama was to ensure that a real Democrat would *not* become president.  So, who’s zooming who?

I have no illusions as to whether these Obama backers want Hillary to run in 2016.  If they feel that their new policies are concretized and their ability to harvest money from us has no chance of being deterred, they probably won’t care who gets into the White House.  It won’t matter if it’s a Democrat, Republican or The Rent Is Too Damn High candidate.

This is Hillary Clinton’s reality and the reality by which the left should judge her fitness to run in 2016.  If she is just going to be a placeholder, why vote for her?  On the other hand, if she is going to represent real change, isn’t it likely that the Obama backers are going to try to bring her down again?  If she’s silenced her critical voice for 6 years in the hopes that she’ll get the nod to run again, she hasn’t done us any favors.  A politician who cares about the fate of the middle class and the loss of policies that made us a great nation shouldn’t have gone along with the campaign to defer our gratification for her run 8 long suffering and destructive years down the line.  Or maybe she’s going to be a stealth candidate, in which case, no one should or would trust her.  The powers that be can’t take that risk and how would the rest of us know  for sure what she was up to?

So, there you go, folks.  I have no idea what’s in her head and no one else does either, except Bill, I suspect.  But the one thing I don’t want in 2016 is to have to vote for a person who said and did nothing to rock the boat for 8 years because she was promised another shot at the nomination.

I am not a stupid woman.

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One final thing: Obama didn’t run against McCain in 2008.  His campaign had him running against Sarah Palin, a pretty low bar, when you think about it, considering that his campaign had already softened up the media and American public to accept playing to overt sexism a part of Obama’s rite of passage.

Just something to chew on.  Carry on.

Krugman is unreasonably optimistic about Medicaid expansion and Obamacare

Decreasing the surplus population in Ireland through starvation and homelessness

He’s not the only one.  Digby is also cautiously optimistic about how things are going to go.  Both of them seem to think that the increase in premiums are only going to affect a small subset of people and everybody knew this from the start, had they been paying attention.  They seem to think the people most irked are going to be relatively well off younger people, like entrepreneurs who work for themselves.

But that’s not really true.  I’m not surprised that neither Digby or Krugman are seeing who are going to get slammed by Obamacare most severely because it has become almost a habit not to talk about them.  I’m referring to the millions of long term unemployed, many of whom are over 50, who are now forced to cobble together some kind of living as self-employed.  That affects just about everyone I know who was laid off since 2008.  To these people, the premiums are not just a nuisance.  They are extremely burdensome.  And if Lambert has been reading the tea leaves correctly, lumping these people into the Medicaid pot puts whatever estate they have left at risk.  So, to recap, Obamacare is putting an extra burden on these people who are now forced to a.) work for themselves, b.) pay all of the payroll tax by themselves and c.) pay for their own retirements.

Today, Krugman writes that the states that are opting out of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare are going to create a backlash against Republicans.  Oh, if only I could believe it.  But I have always felt that the systemic exploitation that our current politicians have allowed to happen over the last 30 years has lead to a repeat of an Irish Potato Famine Scenario, not the beginning of a new Golden Age of rationality and righteous indignation.  The right wing noise machine is still strong and the people who get royally screwed by the Medicaid opt out will be portrayed as a bunch of fricking losers who can’t pull their weight in this new economy.  They will be spat upon by the people who are only a rung or two up the ladder who are simultaneously terrified it will happen to them and triumphantly crowing about their moral superiority.  Yeah, they will look like a bunch of stupid hicks to the rest of us but the message they will be getting is that the world is a random, chaotic, evil place and the only reason they’re surviving is because God favors them, or some such nonsense.  That will keep the whip kissers in line, keeping them from raising their hands against their masters, demanding better wages and benefits.  If they don’t remain obedient and passive, bad things will happen to them.

It’s not that much different than what happened to the starving Irish against their landlords who owned everything, took everything and rented the rest.  Back in the early 19th century, Irish workers had no rights and employers and landlords took full advantage of that.  Why would they not?  What laws were going to constrain them?  When the famine hit, the Irish couldn’t stand up for themselves and the rest of Great Britain acted like they brought it on themselves for being Irish and Catholic.  Some of the onlookers even argued that to help them would be wrong and go against God’s plan.  A lot of people died before the population dropped sufficiently and the potatoes developed some resistance.

Throwing the over 55′s into Medicaid and taking their property to pay for it is very reminiscent of the workhouse and relief rules the Irish had to contend with.  If you had a quarter acre of land, you were not too poor to support yourself.  In order to get any kind of relief at all, you had to give that up.  Then you were eligible for the workhouse where you might get some food in exchange for losing every other possession you had.  In the Medicaid opt-out states, you won’t even get relief.  You’ll just get access to the emergency room and bill collectors.  Back in the 1840s, most people looked upon this as wretched and bad but the ones who were not suffering put up with it.  Opting out of Medicaid is like the landlords pulling down the roofs of starving tenants.  It happened and people were both homeless and starving but no one stopped the billhooks.

So, I don’t expect that there will be much backlash against the loss of Medicaid funds in the bible belt states.  It’s still a plantation down there where labor is expected to be obedient and pious and if you end up poor and sick, it’s because you didn’t follow the rules or were insufficiently religious.  You’ll see.  The right wing media and some of the regular media, will continue to reinforce learned helplessness in the public and Americans will start to accept this hardship when the alternative, public options, Medicare for All, cost controls, etc, will start to seem like impossibilities.

In the meantime, the left’s willful ignorance and denial of just how bad Obamacare is going to be is doing them no credit.  It is BAD policy.  All of the potential problems that the left wants to minimize or deny could have been avoided had the policy been carefully crafted by a president who cared about average Americans and by a Congress who wasn’t rushed to make some really bad concessions.

As for Digby’s silly rationalization that so many lefties were duped by Obama back in 2008 but that she and a few of her friends were not but couldn’t find enough people who agreed with them, that’s incredibly offensive bullshit.  WE were here.  We still call ourselves “Democrats in Exile”.  We saw through Obama and knew what he was because we actually listened to what he was saying.  He was not a brilliant politician.  His campaign staff simply took advantage of demographic trends and realized that a lot of baby boomers would vote for an African American candidate over a woman because of the period of time when these voters came of age, in the Civil Rights Era.  That’s probably why the well off older baby boomers are still in love with Obama.  He completes them.  The campaign would stampede the rest with fear, vicious misogyny, outright lies about our intelligence and racism and blatant bullying of delegates.  Predictably, the activist Democrats acted like the herd animals the campaign psychologists thought they were.

But there was absolutely no truth to the lie that Digby and others are propagating that they couldn’t find like minded Democrats who felt the same way they did about what a fraud Obama was in 2008.  We were here and there were a lot of us.  We were simply defamed and called racists and Digby and her ilk went along with that characterization because they were cowards who were afraid of guilt by association.

If you don’t stand up against unfair propaganda and you allow the bad guys to weaken your side, you should not be surprised if you find that you too are eventually powerless.  I don’t expect that the left will every stop rationalizing about why they invited vampires into their house but I really wish they would start putting more of their energy into getting them out.  We don’t have time for silly self delusion.  Obamacare is almost upon us and about to take out the Democratic party and what remains of whatever defense we have left.

Addendum: It looks like Glenn Greenwald is public enemy number one for, you know, being doggedly persistent about civil liberties and stuff.  It goes without saying that we stand with Glenn against all the nastiness heading his way.

If only Glenn had stood with us five years ago when our hair was on fire when Obama bamboozled everyone, got Hillary to suspend her campaign and then voted for the telecomm immunity bill once he thought his nomination was secure.  But of course, we were only stupid, racist, women back then and people like Digby refused to acknowledge our legitimacy or, unbelievably, our existence.

So, even though Glenn was more than happy to jump on Obama’s bandwagon back when all the lights were flashing red, we are going to stick with him no matter what.  Because he happens to be right about the intrusion into our privacy and it is wrong to publicly harass and defame people who expose uncomfortable truths and wrongdoing.  Glenn is a human being and we do not approve of harassment investigations,  personal attacks or dehumanization of him or his family.  In this respect, we have been consistent with respect to Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.  It is acceptable and morally responsible to criticize unconstitutionality, poor policy and unethical behavior.  But we don’t get personal, racist or go after family members because that’s wrong.  You can check our archives.

By the way, guess who voted against the telecomm immunity bill back in 2008? Of course, the candidates were otherwise indistinguishable.  {{rolling eyes}}

Pathetic

Digby gives the old tired excuses on why she and so many other left leaning bloggers turned their backs on women during the 2008 election.  It wasn’t *their* fault.  Hillary just brought out the misogyny.  Plus, you know, like, there wasn’t a hair’s breadth of difference between them.

The whole post is just lame but the excuse that there wasn’t a bit of difference between Obama and Clinton is incredibly easy to shoot down:

1.) If there wasn’t any difference between them, why was such a tsunami of money thrown his way in February 2008 after she beat him in the big state primaries on SuperTuesday?  Apparently, SOMEBODY thought there was a difference.

2.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the person who had the most relevant and comprehensive experience overall?  If you were worried about getting things done, wouldn’t it make sense to go with the candidate who might have a clue and be able to hit the ground running on the first day?

3.) If there was no difference, why wouldn’t you go with the female historic candidate who would represent more people overall including voters in the other camp?  It was even a winning formula among african americans because half of them are women.  I never understood this argument that african americans would walk away from the party if Clinton was nominated.  At the worst, I could see half of them walking away.  The other half would be thrilled with either choice.

And let’s not even get into the real, tangible differences between the candidates.  I can’t take seriously all the lefties who are screaming “neoliberal!” at Clinton.  If Clinton is neoliberal, what does that make Obama?  It’s a lot like the brain dead tea partiers who insist, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, that Obama is a socialist.  Note that Clinton has said over and over and OVER again in the past 4 years that she does not comment on domestic politics.  So, we have no idea how much she agrees with Obama on all the weak policy he’s driven in the past 4 years.  We can only assume that they agree on foreign policy.

But I suspect the bankers *did* know how much of a difference there was between Clinton and Obama back in 2008.  The real estate bubble was already clearly collapsing in early 2007 according to authors such as Michael Lewis of The Big Short.  They knew that the degree to which they would personally suffer was contingent on which candidate was nominated.  And the last thing they wanted was some kind of homeowner bailout.  How do we know that?  Because the last thing homeowners got in the last 4 years was a bailout.  The people who got bailed out were the bankers and ONLY the bankers.  They did not want to see Hillary Clinton implementing a HOLC style program where principals were crammed down and mortgages restructured.  I haven’t got time to track down all of the videos of Clinton on the early morning talk  shows from September 2008 where she discussed her HOLC proposal but there were at least 3 separate appearances. (readers?  can you track them down and add them to the comments?)  Of course, by the time she gave those interviews, she was already out of the picture.

Update: Commenter Rangoon found this op/ed piece by Hillary Rodham Clinton in the September 25, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal, laying out the argument for why it was so important to implement a HOLC program.  Regardless of one’s vague personal feelings about Clinton, there is a very good possibility that she wasn’t kidding about this policy.  Policy was her strong suit.  She did her homework.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that it was this particular policy more than any other that doomed her presidential career.  She knew it was coming, the banks knew it was coming and they didn’t want rehab.  They wanted an enabler.

She also gave an incredibly forceful defense of abortion shortly after she was confirmed as secretary of state.  You will never in a million years see or hear Barack Obama defending abortion like this:

No difference, Digby?  The issue of abortion and women’s reproductive rights are extremely important to you and yet there’s no difference?  How about gay rights, Digby?  Can you imagine Hillary Clinton inviting Rick Warren to her inaugural?  The same Hillary Clinton who ordered the State department to equalize the treatment of gay State department employees and their families as far as the law would go?

But, Ok, we’ll never really know, although I think given her record at State, Benghazi notwithstanding, that she would have been an exemplary president.  Let’s put that aside for now.  I don’t think she’s ever going to run again.  Why should she?  She doesn’t have the advantage of 2008 when all of the auspices were in her favor.  In 2016, it will be a different America and she’s smart enough to know this.  I’d rather she get her own column in the Washington Post or the New York Times.

Let’s talk about the suggestion that Hillary Clinton brought out the misogyny in the media and the parties.  Wow, I guess we could do nothing about that except become passive observers, right?  I guess we couldn’t threaten the party to walk away from it and their candidate if they didn’t stop using misogyny to further their chosen candidate’s goals.  I guess it would have been silly to point out that gratuitously taking advantage of that misogyny might backfire on women in general.

Ok, we know that our side had a fair share of cowards who were either unable or unwilling to speak up and defend a woman.  They would have defended a female candidate, just not this female candidate.  Well, it’s a good thing it was only one female candidate in 2008.

Except that Sarah Palin got it too.  Now, I don’t care whether you like or dislike Palin.  I don’t like her even if I thought she had a lot more political talent than the left gave her credit for.  For some bizarre, freakish reason, the left still hasn’t let up after 4 years of bashing her.  The left still seems to think she’s relevant even if she’s not.  That kind of obsession is pathological if you ask me.  There must be a reason for the persistence of the Emmanuel Goldstein treatment of Palin.  She’s useful for a good, unifying 3 minute hate, right?  That’s why the left just can’t quit her.  But she’s been useful for years to the Democrats.

With Palin, we saw the same kind of misogyny pick up where it left off with Clinton.  So, clearly, it wasn’t just Clinton that was bringing out the misogyny.  Misogyny became a convenient bludgeon because it worked so well taking out the candidate on the left so it was employed to take out the candidate on the right as well.  And who was one of the leaders of that club?

Digby.

Yep, day after day, week after week, we read how stupid Palin was, what a disgrace her family was right there in the posts of Hullabaloo.  Digby piled on with the rest of the left.

You can say a lot of negative things about Palin.  Justifiably.  You can attack her political philosophy, her conservatism, her opportunism.  All of that makes sense.  But the attacks on her in 2008 were horribly misogynistic.  Remember the effigies?  Remember the “Sarah Palin is a Cunt” T-shirts?  Remember the jokes about Caribou Barbie and the photoshopped pics of Palin in a bikini holding an assault rifle?  Remember the big fucking deal that Katie Couric made over the fact that Palin didn’t have an immediate list of national newspapers in her head that she read cover to cover before breakfast while she took on her responsibilities of running a state?  She should have asked Couric, “How many state budgets have you prepared in a year?”, because that would have been a good question for feminists.  She was a governor who got to be governor without family connections.  That’s something that Katie Couric hasn’t done.  That’s how feminism is supposed to work, Digby.  You are supposed to credit women for their accomplishments, not bury them with your stereotypes.

Whatever you think of Palin, dehumanizing her in 2008 was misogynism like I have never seen.

That’s what misogyny is.  It is the intentional dehumanization of females.  It denies women their personhood, dignity and accomplishments.  It’s belittling and relies on stereotypes, like the idea that a pretty woman must be a light weight or that women need to develop executive experience while men are born with natural authority.  And in 2008, it wasn’t the case that only Hillary Clinton brought it out.  Misogyny was used as an intentional campaign tactic just like rape is used in some countries as an act of terror and political strategy.  Just as the accusations of racism were used to shut up the supporters of Clinton in 2008.

Digby, YOU were part of that.  You decided to not buck your team’s leadership.  If you said anything, it wasn’t forceful enough to get them to stop.  You didn’t stick up for your half of humanity.  Even if you were right that it is Clinton personally that brings out the worst in people, that was no excuse for giving those people a pass to behave as badly as they did. Isn’t that like blaming the victim and don’t misogynists make an art form of blaming the victim?  You had an opportunity to stand up and make a difference even if it meant incurring the wrath and shunning from people who you thought were your friends.  To do nothing was to tacitly admit that Barack Obama could not win without using misogyny and racism.  What does that say about the candidate?  It said enough to me that I could never support him in a million years.

What kind of friends use misogyny to get their guy in at any cost, especially if that cost will have significant repercussions for half of the people living in this country?  Those people were not your friends, Digby.  They were financier class driven political operatives who would have killed their own mothers to get what they wanted from this president.

And this president is no hero when it comes to championing the rights of the socially disadvantaged. He’s certainly no Martin Luther King who famously said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I don’t know why so many people on the left abandoned women and thought they were doing everyone a favor.  Or maybe they were so driven to elect Obama that the ends justified the means.  I’ve never found that sentiment to be very rewarding.  If fighting the misogyny had meant that Clinton had a fighting chance for the nomination, would that have been so horrible?  After all, NY, NJ, PA, OH, TX, MA, FL, MI, WV, KY, RI, NH, NV, MO, NM and CA (this list not exhaustive) voted for her in the primaries.  It’s only in a parallel universe where we would consider that candidate a failure against a guy who won a bunch of rural, prairie states with cheap, undemocratic caucuses.  I suspect the country would have embraced her and a Clinton/Obama ticket with her in the top slot would have been unbeatable even before the September crash.

But that’s not what happened, is it, Digby?

Don’t look to misogyny against Clinton as the cause.  Look at it as the method.  The bad guys got what they wanted. They got the weakest nominee and president.  If women got caught in that fight and got taken out, fuck’em.

THAT’S what you and your buddies were either too stupid or too complicit to realize.  It’s human nature to want to find a way downplay the effect of “follow the herd” mentality or cowardice or to find excuses (you should at least make an attempt at logic) or distance oneself from the fallout.  I understand that impulse.  We are all guilty of that in some aspect of our lives or others.

But ultimately, we are responsible for the effect of our decisions.  In 2013, women are feeling the effect of the 2008 election when the people who should have put their foot down on the brake hit the accelerator instead.  Digby can lie to herself about what happened in 2008 but she can’t lie to us.

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Note to commenters: Sarah Palin has been talked to death here on this blog and there are filters in place to send all comments containing her name, or variations of it, directly to the moderation queue.  Please don’t tell me about how unfair the left has been to Sarah Palin.  There are very good, non misogynistic reasons for loathing her.  She might be worthy of human dignity but she’s no Hillary Clinton.  If you’re in her corner, you’re wasting your time here.

Melange:A World of Woo, tribal belief, willful self-delusion and Jane Mayer

There are a lot of interesting nuggets in the intertoobz these days.  Some of these things go together and show the lengths we will go to delude ourselves or cling to tribal beliefs.

Let’s start with a podcast.  So, you’ve given up the Judeo-Christian belief system for God 2.0 or no god at all.  Some of us would call this progress.  Giving up bronze age superstition and tradition for something more modern and relevant is quite a bold step.  So, why are so many of you turning to woo?  Woo is defined as “ideas considered irrational or based on extremely flimsy evidence or that appeal to mysterious occult forces or powers”. Woo includes the belief in astrology, auras, energy fields, homeopathy, accupuncture, chiropracty and vaccination phobia.  Seth Andrews of the Thinking Atheist interviews various professionals who debunk these woos and tries to explain why otherwise rational people are attracted to them. Let’s put it this way, if you’re into woo, it’s hard to take anything you say seriously. You’d might as well be a nutcase fundy eschatologist.   Check out Seth’s recent podcast here.

Jay Ackroyd tries to lead Digby to the light when it comes to Obama’s commitment to a Grand Bargain on Social Security and Medicare.  First, go read the piece from Digby where she actually sounds like she’s blown right on past where Conflucians are sitting straight into the arms of the former Democrats who are so angry they’ve started to identify with the Tea Party.  Wow.  That’s quite a leap.  I know the party will reel her back in and, to be honest, we don’t really need more Tea Partiers in Congress, thank you very much.  But, yeah, Digby.  Jay’s right.  The Obama contingent are not liberals.  However, Jay is not right that they’re centrists.  The Obama contingent is definitely on the right side of center.  Nooooo doubt about it.  The only way that they are centrists is if you consider moderate republicanism centrist.  That would make Bill Clinton a flaming commie.  No, no, don’t go there, Jay.  We have seen the studies.  There’s no way in hell that Bill Clinton is a centrist in the same way that Obama is a “centrist”.  The center moved in the past 12 years.  You guys have got to accept this because your irrational belief that Clinton is an evil Republican dude compared to Obama, is what got Obama elected in the first place.  You’ve been done in by your tribe’s woo.  I mean, think about it: your group is asking us to believe that Bill Clinton is, was and always will be more conservative than Barack Obama.  Step back and think about that and ask yourselves if that’s rational given everything you now know.  If YOU can’t swallow it, why are you asking US to believe it?

As for Digby, I really like her and I’ve found her recent evolution to be promising, if only temporary in the lead up to the election.  I expect her to chicken out even though her “Hey! We’re eating grass!” moments are fun to read.  There is a place for left of center Democrats who don’t have our minds so wide open that our brains have fallen out.  We just need to create it.  It probably won’t happen this election cycle unless the Obama half of the party is defeated by the Clinton half of the party.  That’s where we are now.  You may not think the Clinton half is sufficiently liberal but the American people do.  In any case, they’ll drag the party back leftwards like an earthquake in Japan.  It could be a true realignment on the way back to sanity.  And remember, Wall Street rejected the Clinton half last time.  So, you know, how much more proof do you need??  Besides, there is no hope for Howard Dean.  Most people don’t know who he is and wouldn’t like him if they did.  We need to be realistic and work with what we’ve got.  And as far as I can tell, Americans would be ecstatic to return to the Clinton years, even if they were supervised by his wife. A woman in charge would be very good for women in general, wouldn’t you agree?  Especially when that woman is a passionate defender of women’s reproductive rights?  I mean, can women really trust Obama after they way he dragged his feet on the conscience rule, betrayed us in the healthcare law and kept Plan B behind a counter?

As far as everyone having “skin in the game”, Obama’s term for sacrificing in the upcoming Grand Bargain, um, I’ve seen my industry devastated by Wall Street grasshoppers and I’ve lost a very good living, permanently.  So, you know, I’ve already been flayed.  Not only that but I’m in the age cohort who has to wait until I’m 67 before I get the Social Security I prepaid for decades.  I’m not sacrificing anymore skin.  No, do not even ask.  Don’t make us come down there to Washington to make your lives miserable.  You do not want crowds from the size of my graduating class on the mall.  No, you do not.  I suggest that Congress go hunt people with an excess of skin, ie wealthy people.  Give them a good reason to whine.

The last bit is an interview of Jane Mayer on Fresh Air with Terry Gross entitled “Obama in Impossible Bind Over Donors”.  The Impossible Bind is that he wants and needs money from the wealthy and Wall Street but he doesn’t want average voters to know how indebted he is to his big donors so he has to blow the donors off in public.  It’s a sad, sad situation.  Terry, to her credit, seems to have come around after being such an insufferable Obama fangirl in 2008.  Jane Mayer valiantly tries to make Obama look good when it comes to fundraising.  You can almost hear Jane pleading with the audience to understand what Obama is up against but I found her extreme earnestness irritating.  It’s a cruel world out there.  Poor Obama, forced to accept SuperPAC money and trying to make it look like he doesn’t like it.  It’s all the fault of the mean Republicans that he’s sucking up all the money he said he didn’t want.  And while Romney is appearing at the SuperPAC soirees, Mitt has a deputy actually ask for the money, while Obama goes to the soirees and the money just mysteriously appears for him but he doesn’t suck up to anyone to get it.  I find the distinction indistinct.

Oh, but Obama isn’t giving away the Lincoln Bedroom!  So, you know, there’s that.  And that’s presumably why the donors are complaining.  They get nothing from Obama.  Not even a tote bag.  He won’t even take pictures with his donors so they can use that to name drop. It sounds like Obama got too much of a reputation as a schmoozer in 2008 and he’s desperate to squash that meme this year but that doesn’t mean he’ll be turning the filthy lucre down.  He just doesn’t want to have to thank anyone publicly for it.

But the funniest part of the interview is when Mayer is forced to debunk the idea that Obama made the bulk of his campaign money from millions of teensy contributions.  I know, you’re probably thinking that small contributions mean less than $100 because that’s what the Obama campaign lead us to believe in 2008.  We were all under the impression that millions and millions of working class Joes were mailing $20 to him in gratitude with a little note saying, “Bless you, Barack!  Save the Republic.  We’ve been waiting all our lives for you!”  Right?  Intellectually, you know it’s not true because the sheer size of the amount of money he collected, plus all of the contributions from wealthy Wall Street contributors, is public information. But the meme kinda slipped into the chinks of the gray matter and created it’s own woo.  It just *had* to be true because so many people repeated it.  It’s sort of like that woo we debunked about Obama running a fabulous campaign.  Um, no he didn’t, unless you consider gaming the caucuses and paying off the superdelegates and DNC fabulous, and we can prove it but myths die hard.

Anyway, it turns out that the definition of small depends on who is using it.  Small donations to you and me would be less than $100.  Small donations to the Obama campaign means maxing out at $5000.  See the difference?  One is $4900 more than the other. What working class stiff has $5000 to stuff into an envelope for a guy who had less than two years of national political experience before he decided to run for president?  And inadvertently, Mayer exposes what the Obama campaign thinks of the people who gave less than $5K.  They’re not even on the campaign’s radar.

But the final bit of silliness from Mayer is when she contrasts Bill Clinton’s extroversion against Obama’s intellectualism.  That’s got to be a first.  Whatever you might think of Bill Clinton,  making the guy who went to Georgetown, Yale Law School and was a Rhodes Scholar sound like a high school dropout car salesman next to Obama doesn’t really work too well.  What she’s really trying to say is that Clinton is a gregarious politician who likes politics and can carry on an intelligent conversation with anyone, even his enemies, but that the Obama contingent doesn’t like politics and getting hands dirty and actually doing the stuff that gets things done.  I know that she didn’t mean to say that but that’s essentially what she said.  If you were a big money donor, whose campaign would you rather give $5 million to?  (George Soros, call me!)

Once the bloom is off of Obama’s rose, you can’t listen to this stuff without laughing at all of the holes in the arguments.  The woo is gone.

Speechless

Instructions for Digby to be administered to Thereisnospoon

I was headed out to the library but I bopped over to Digby’s to see if she’d posted.    She hadn’t but the next young clueless pundit-in-waiting-for-a-paying-gig male who stalks her site had.  I don’t know how you felt about your tax return ordeal yesterday but I was shocked by how much I had paid in taxes in my layoff year.  Yes, I got some of that back in unemployment benefits but I paid more than I got back.  A lot more.

So, I was gobsmacked when I read that apparently my problem with the tax system is due to my racism.  Yep, that is my problem.  It has nothing to do with the fact that my former salary is high enough that I fit into one of the highest tax bracket but not anywhere near high enough to hit that magic $250,000 sweet spot that everyone is yearning to get to, and now I don’t have a salary at all because some wealthy shareholders decided I was abusing their generosity.  It has nothing to do with the fact that my property taxes are outrageous in this township and state income taxes in NJ are meh so that middle class suburbanites end up carrying all the weight for themselves and everyone else.

No, no, I am resentful of the unfair tax system because I am white and I don’t want to pay for poor black and hispanic people.  It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with my anger that the rich managed to get out of their fiduciary obligations.  Apparently, it is not my concern that I will not be able to put away money for my kid’s college education or my own retirement that makes me opposed to further tax increases.  It’s not my opposition to the wars sucking up so much taxpayer wealth or faith-based initiatives that are actively promoting the relegation of women or gay people to second class status.  It isn’t my informed indignation that we pay a hell of a lot in taxes compared to the Europeans (I have the return to prove it) but get very little in return in government services.  Our healthcare costs are outrageous ($960/month on COBRA, the cost just went up), tuition is unaffordable, and every service that gets privatized means that it will cost more for us to use it.

No, all of that is irrelevant.  The only reason I am opposed to higher taxes is because I don’t like black people.  Nevermind that I’m not actually a racist.

Is it any wonder why independents, even independent liberal Democrats in Exile can’t stand Democrats, especially the young, white, male twit variety of Democrat?  It doesn’t even matter that some of his proposed solutions are worth discussing.  I can’t get past the idea that once again, in a major election year, I am a racist.

The sad state of journalism

I followed a link from a Jay Rosen tweet to this article in The Awl about the 2012 American Society of Magazine Editor (ASME) awards. This year, there were 25 awards and all 25 of them went to male magazine writers. There were *some* female nominees but they were vastly outnumbered by male nominees and there’s a good reason for that. Female writers don’t get the spotlight on prestigious magazines and they don’t get the plum assignments for long form journalism:

ASME doesn’t make its submissions public. They did, however, provide a glimpse into some data on what was submitted in the category of Profile Writing, one of the contested categories. Of the 86 submissions, 59 were written or co-written by men—which means 68.6 percent of submitted stories had a male author. (Thirty-six were written or co-written by women.) There was also a big imbalance in subject matter—the number of articles about men outnumbered those with female subjects by nearly a 2:1 ratio.

And for the nominations, of all given to individuals (not magazines), there were only 12 women writers out of 49 stories nominated. (One piece did not have a byline.)

One plausible explanation for this lopsidedness is that there are fewer women writing long-form journalism in general, particularly at those publications that tend to get nominated for National Magazine Awards. At the New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic and The Atlantic, for instance, less than thirty percent of the stories published in 2011 were written by women, according to this year’s VIDA Count, which did a gender breakdown of bylines in each magazine.

“The thing about the National Magazine awards is that the byline gap’s symptomatic of the overall problem in assigning to women,” said Ann Friedman, the executive editor of GOOD magazine. “It just sort of nicely forces a conversation that we should be having anyway.”

Magazines with mostly male editors often have more male writers in their networks, a factor that influences how many editors assign pieces. And women who write long-form pieces for the most prestigious magazines can have a hard time getting editors to connect with certain topics.

“I think that on an idea level, being a woman does work against you,” said Vanessa Grigoriadis, a National Magazine Award winner. “Because what you’re interested in is not what your editors are necessarily interested in. Right? They’re baby boomers living in Manhattan. They’re interested in something different.”

The above excerpt comes pretty close to the truth, I think. There are additional theories that what women write about in women’s magazines isn’t generally of interest to the general public, and women’s magazines don’t write long form journalism. These both ring true to me. I’m not interested in reading “ladies” topics. One of the articles that was slighted was about why more women are choosing to remain single. I think I might have even read that one but it didn’t leave a deep impression on me. I think the editors that cited this are looking at the problem with the wrong perspective. If they want to reward some women for writing topics of interest to women in a ragmag like Cosmo or Glamour, it’s easy enough to create a category for this. My fear is that as soon as its created, some editor will recommend a male writer to write for it.

I think there is a basic misunderstanding about what women want to write about. I doubt that women who want to write for well known journals are planning to write about things that only appeal to women, like some slightly more serious version of Carrie Bradshaw articles. It’s a little offensive to me to even suggest that. Women who read The Atlantic are reading it for the same reasons that male readers do.

No, what I want to read are articles on current issues of a broad general nature that are written by women. For example, Rachel Maddow’s book, Drift, could have made several great long form pieces. The same goes for Karen Ho’s book on Wall Street culture. That book beats anything I have read that was written by a male on the subject. It would make an excellent series of long form articles. Michelle Goldberg at Salon has written some award worthy articles on the dominionist movement in the US. How those articles got overlooked by ASME is a mystery to me.

Women are quite capable of writing substantial, analytical articles on current issues. That’s what I like to read. I want them to be able to compete in the same marketplace as their male colleagues and they CAN do it. I want them to get the respect they deserve for tackling tough topics with insight and brilliance and in a style that is interesting to read. So why aren’t there more female nominees?

My theory is that when push comes to shove, editors who have power and influence do not mentor women. Karen Ho, the anthropologist might have something to say about this. It may be due to the infiltration or extension of the ‘culture of smartness’. Take The Atlantic, for example. As the article above noted, less than 30% of the articles in The Atlantic are written by women. And how the hell did Matt Yglesias get a spot at Slate writing about the Mommy Wars? Jeez, it’s almost like he’s phoning it in. Why isn’t Melissa McKewn writing more biting commentary at Slate about what it’s like to be a feminist in this political environment? Was it his Ivy League degree? Connections? Sometimes, I get the feeling that journals are running a welfare program for males of a certain socioeconomic group. ‘Front Office’ positions are frequently occupied by males with pedigree or connections. How about Ezra Klein? Matt Taibbi? Ta-Nehesi Coates? Kevin Drum? These are the next generation of writers who are being mentored to be the opinion makers of the future and there are very few women among them. Women don’t get regular gigs at magazines. Maybe that’s why so many of them end up writing books. If they don’t publish in book format, the body of their work never sees the light of day.

And think of all of the really superb female bloggers who don’t get the opportunities that Kevin Drum or Ezra Klein have had dropped into their laps. Why is Digby only now getting to write occasionally for Al Jazeera? And in 2008, the best political blogger in long form was a mysterious woman from San Diego named Anglachel. Her posts on the Obama phenomenon and analysis of the history of the Democratic party were sheer genius. This was a female blogger whose mind was like a well tuned performance engine. She was very well informed and had a level of expertise in political science that easily bested most A list male bloggers. Her privacy might have had something to do with her not making the big time but how many people knew she even existed? How many people were too busy praising the milquetoast drivel of Kevin Drum? Good female commentary can bring a unique quality to journalism. The best female bloggers see an issue from a more holistic point of view. They make connections men tend to overlook and their posts are rich in metaphor.

Getting nominated for an ASME is directly proportional to getting the opportunity to write long form journalism at a magazine. If women are never considered as potential employees and protégées, they’ll never get those opportunities. Maybe we shouldn’t be asking why no one will read what women will write. Maybe we should be asking why they don’t get the assignments that would showcase their talents as writers, not just women writers.

They’re out there if only editors would bother to find them.

Pick a side, Digby

One more time, with feeling:

and

Back when the 2008 primary season started to heat up, DailyKos purged its Hillary Clinton supporters.  Oh, yes it did, you doubting Thomasinas.  You can’t believe that a “news site” like DailyKos would be involved in hurrying them off the site as quickly as it possibly could to make way for the Obama ads but it did.  And it wasn’t nice about it.  I was one of the first victims.  That’s why I’m here at this blog.  And to be honest, I never regretted it.  But as we were picked off, one by one, Hillary’s supporters got less of a voice in the left blogosphere.  Pretty soon, a Democratic party loyalist got the distinct impression that the entire party was converting to Barack Obama with all of the fervor of a religious reformation.  The jihad quickly spread to other blogs and the comment threads filled up with Obama zealots who were enthusiastic about killing the infidels.  Some of those Hillary supporters fled to this blog and a few others.  We weren’t welcome anywhere else.  And mind you, we’re only talking about February of 2008.  It happened quickly and thoroughly, almost as if someone had given marching orders for sites to be flooded with anti-Hillary rhetoric.

Digby held out for awhile but even she succumbed.  In the book, the Bloggers on the Bus by Eric Boehlert, Digby confesses that she was “chickenshit”, intimidated by her commenters and somewhat dependent on ad revenue.  Ok, fine.  We get it.  It took her by surprise four years ago.

But what is her excuse now for being a Doormat Democrat and not holding the party accountable for its rampant misogyny and sexism?  Believe me, I hate to be doing this, pointing out the party’s ugly history, but it isn’t doing enough to combat the crazy assholes on the right.  It is the Democratic party’s feet we need to hold to the fire, not the Republicans.  The Republicans wouldn’t have been able to get this far if the gates weren’t already down to let the barbarian horde in.  Where have the Democrats been for the past decade?

And what is Digby’s role in this?  I’ve got a problem with her co-writer, thereisnospoon.  Back in the Great Purge of DailyKos 2008, right in the middle of the Rec List Hostage Crisis, blogger Alegre, who was a well respected Hillary blogger on DailyKos, got fed up with the pressure to convert and decided to stage a “writer’s strike”.  It was symbolic, of course, but its purpose was to call attention to the way that Hillary voices were being marginalized and persecuted on the largest and most influential group blog.  Markos made fun of her.  (nice going, Markos.  How very impartial)

Alegre’s strike post got a lot of comments.  Let me just highlight one:

Don’t let the door hit you (39+ / 0-)
on the ass on your way out.

I have not been posting much or commenting much in the past months, but I have been reading almost everything.

You are propagating baseless, self-serving, inaccurate, and whiny meme’s on a regular basis.

You smear and deride with the worst of the lot, and you expect people to overlook your own behavior?

Spare us the drama.

Buh-bye.

The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

by RedDan on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:26:55 PM PDT

straight from the HRC blast faxes (4+ / 0-)
really sad, actually.

Head to Heading Left, BlogTalkRadio’s progressive radio site!

by thereisnospoon on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:39:18 PM PDT

[ Parent ]

Oh, look!  It’s thereisnospoon, suggesting that Alegre was getting her marching orders from Hillary’s campaign.  We were very fortunate here on The Confluence to be invited to Clinton’s press briefings and got email updates but these were strictly informational.  No one ever asked us to do anything.  I kind of liked the low pressure tactics.  I never felt indoctrinated by Hillary’s campaign and I doubt that Alegre did either.  In fact, when it comes to the writer’s strike on DailyKos, Alegre got that idea from me.

This morning, Atrios pondered why it is that women are told that their issues are a distraction.  It’s always the wimmen.  Why is that?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because, it doesn’t really serve the purposes of the Democratic party or the Obama administration to rehash old history now, does it?  The last thing they want is an uncomfortable spotlight directed their way so that all the ugliness of four years ago is revealed in all of its glory. “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”  They would much prefer that the Republicans take the blame for all of the wretched mess that happened to women.

But Digby has to take a stand.  What is the role that thereisnospoon plays on her site? The Democrats are never going to do right by us if no one holds them accountable and forces them to act instead of sitting back and letting them bask in undeserved glory.  If you support the Democratic party, no matter what it does or *doesn’t* do, it will not do anything for you.  And the attack on women is so severe that to do nothing and say nothing on your behalf is a crime against your own sex.  That goes for NARAL, NOW, the Feminist Majority, Emily’s List and any other women’s advocacy group that has lost its brass ovaries in the past several decades. They are taking your contributions and giving them to Democratic organizations.  What are they demanding in return?  Why don’t we ask them? If they do not have the courage to stand up for women now, and hold the only party who pretends to care accountable for its actions, then we will continue down this spiral of fewer and fewer rights and less and less respect.

Make the Democrats answerable for all of the less than progressive candidates they are supporting this year.  Make them explain why they are supporting an independent male in Maine rather than a liberal woman.  Force Obama to vigorously defend you.

Women’s groups are not keeping up.  When Occupy is taking to the street, demanding economic equality and non-believers are organizing and demanding recognition as a influential voting bloc at the Reason Rally this coming weekend, women’s groups are timidly hiding behind the Democratic party, hoping it will protect them. They’re still trying to work with the system that screwed them over four years ago. Fuck that shit.  Organize a rally in DC, women.  Get your act together.  No one loves you more than you love yourself.  Let’s stick up for ourselves and make the Democrats court us as aggressively as they court the pro-illegal abortionist lobby.

Make a choice, Digby.  Get rid of your party mole or watch women’s rights get whittled away by the Democrats themselves as they pretend to protect them while doing nothing.  Now is the time, when they are telling us to shut up and sit down, to stand up and raise Hell.

Do I expect Digby to actually do this?  No, I expect that she’ll read this post and that she and her discussion group will laugh about it.  Her conscience will feel a twinge but she won’t act on it because she doesn’t want to alienate herself from the group.  Right, Digby?  And they care about women HOW, exactly?

And for those of you ladies who naively think that DailyKos is some innocuous Democratic news site, pay attention: DailyKos is a site that uses thought reform tactics to promote authoritarian Democratic party propaganda.  Whether it started off with this intention is debatable but there is very little doubt in my mind, after having seen it in action in the 2008 election season, that it was exploited by the political campaign operatives and that Markos put his thumb heavily on the scales for the Edwards campaign and then Obama’s campaign.  Alternative voices were purged.  Here are some posts I wrote a few months ago to warn people about the dangers of thought reform in the political blogosphere.

You’ve been Love Bombed

Phobias

Categories

Ok, I think we’re on to something here

Finally, those of you doubting Thomasina’s who are caught completely off guard about what is happening this year and can’t possibly believe that Hillary was done in by her own party, go back to the origins of this blog and read from the beginning.  We followed it very closely.  It is not a pretty story.  You will be disgusted.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit

I’ve got a theory that the last thing Republicans want is for the Democrats to start advocating for women.  It suits them just fine that there are so many libertarian and conservative Blue Dog Democrats running for office.  It works in the Republicans’ favor that so many new Democratic candidates are center right.  The minute that the Democratic party starts to get energized and stops sitting on women, the non-religious and labor, the Republicans will be in trouble.  As long as the Democrats take no stand, the Republicans win.

Think about it.

Monday: The Standard

What is it about this video that has spiked our stats and spooked the left blogosphere?

Yesterday, Digby, who really should know better, wrote the most ridiculous post about right wing framing and the phrase “safe, legal and rare”.  It was so illogical, so twisted, that it could only have been suggested by some very pushy Democratic party loyalists who are freaked out that their lightbringer is not measuring up in the area of reproductive rights for women.

I can almost see them now with their fingers stuck in their ears and hear them shouting.  “La-la-la, she’s not all that.  La-la-la- Third Way, Third Way, Third Way!”

Yeah, it was the Third Way detail in her post that was the dead giveaway.  Someone is very worried that the above video is going to make Hillary Clinton look good at Barack Obama’s expense.  And a small minority of the party has the official position that they hate Bill and Hillary Clinton for, er, *something*.  We’re just not sure what, the target keeps moving.  But for sure, someone is pissed that there will be a lot more women who didn’t know that video existed until last week who will be kicking themselves for voting for the dude in 2008.

And as long as we’re on the topic of the Third Way, why don’t we take a look at this graph of where exactly our most recent presidents are on the liberal-conservative spectrum.  This is from a recent Paul Krugman blog post:

I didn’t have to see this graph to know where Obama stood in relation to Clinton.  Let’s not forget that Clinton put up with eight. long. years. of relentless special prosecutor investigations and was blindsided by movement conservativism.  He learned from his mistakes.  It’s too bad Obama didn’t learn from Clinton’s mistakes.  Never in my wildest dreams could I see Clinton doing what Obama has done.  For damn sure he wouldn’t have squandered two years of having a filibuster proof majority of his own party in Congress during a major economic crisis.  And from what I can tell of Hillary’s voting record and public statements, she’s even more to the left than her husband. (And that, my friends, is why she didn’t get the nomination in 2008.  With almost a guarantee of a filibuster proof Congress, she was too much of a threat to the finance guys) So, all you people screaming about the Clintons being Third Way while defending Obama’s Republican positions can stuff a sock in it.

The party faithful could respond to this in one of two ways.  They could go to Obama and say, “See this video?  See what Hillary did here?  Do it like that from now on or we aren’t going to vote for you.”  Or they could slime her and try to ruin her reputation again by accusing her of right wing meme framing.  They have chosen the latter.

Let’s look for the briefest of moments at the utterly nonsensical idea that “safe, legal and rare” is some kind of acknowledgement of a right wing frame.  To those of us who remember history as it actually happened, “safe, legal and rare” meant that abortions should be unnecessary.  The idea is that if you provide low cost contraceptives, make them easily available and educate people about their sexuality and good family planning, you will reduce the number of people facing unwanted pregnancies.  Of course, accidents do still happen even under the best of circumstances so abortions need to be safe and legal.  But if we do everything right up front on the prevention end of things, abortions will be rare.

How is this a right wing frame of the abortion argument?  I’m not religious in any way shape or form.  I have relatives who are batshit crazy and inflexible about abortion.  I’m talking about foaming at the mouth, fetus romantics whose position I think is about as far from sane as it is humanly possible to go.  In fact, I don’t agree with them on so many things it’s not even funny.  Their framing of the abortion issue is completely divorced from reality.  And as far as I can see, “safe, legal and rare” is not anywhere near the same frame that they’re living in.

BUT, the idea that we must reject “safe, legal and rare” because it is too far right is going to play right into the hands of the right wing nutcases.  Because they’re going to say that to the left, abortion is a picnic at the local clinic.  It’s no big deal.  Now, I’ve never had an abortion but I’ve had friends and roommates who have and no matter how relieved they were afterwards, an abortion was definitely not a picnic.  Some people wrestle with the ethics of abortion before they have one, some just want to get it over with but in neither case was it a day at the beach.  To denigrate a perfectly respectable idea like “safe, legal and rare” cheapens the seriousness of abortion.

Just for kicks, I looked up the abortion laws of some of the world’s most progressive countries like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland.  In most of them, you can get an abortion on demand up to 12 weeks.  It’s probably a medical abortion at that point.  After 12 weeks, most of those countries make you get approval from a committee or a couple of doctors and there is a cut off unless there’s something wrong with the fetus or the mother.  That’s because after a certain point, there is a gray area about viability and if you’ve dithered past three months, you’re starting to push it.  Dithering suggests uncertainty.  So there’s hoop jumping.  But then again, in Scandanavian countries, the social insurance system is so good that having a baby is less likely to ruin your life if you’re not quite ready for it.

Then again, the health insurance in these countries is good so getting contraceptives is not a problem.  In Finland, expectant mothers get a baby box filled with all kinds of clothing and baby essentials and it also comes with a six pack of condoms and lube.  Isn’t that thoughtful of the Finnish government?  THAT is the epitome of “safe, legal and rare”. I look forward to the day when conservatives in Congress have a shit fit over whether to include the lube in the American Baby Boxes. Safe, legal and rare means responsibility.  How does a lefty reasonably argue against that?

Well, a lefty can’t *reasonably* argue against it.  Political operatives who are worried about the viability of their candidate can though.  They must be really nervous about the wimmin’s vote if they’re asking Digby to push the idea that the socially and medically responsible position “safe, legal and rare” is some kind of right wing meme.  I’m a lefty and “safe, legal and rare” seems like the de facto position to me and always has even before I ever heard the phrase.

What I can’t understand is how attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton and “safe, legal and rare” is supposed to make Obama’s non-defense of reproductive rights better.  The problem isn’t with the Clintons.  It’s Obama who’s not setting a standard.  I mean, you could successfully trash two of your most loyal party members who will slavishly campaign for you in the homestretch and they’ll be doing it for a dude who doesn’t share their values- at all.

The Obama loyalists have to explain why they are so devoted to this guy.  Why are they willing to ruin the credibility of two people they depend on to defend a guy who really *does* buy into the right wing memes.  It’s almost like the Democratic operatives are attacking their greatest strength and projecting their own conservative right wing values onto the Clintons.  They’re the ones who are so enveloped in the right wing frame that they can’t tell when they’re unquestioning support of Obama’s weak position on reproductive rights is seriously out of step with their own party base and most women in this country.  We’re supposed to turn our backs on a principled defense of reproductive rights so that we don’t embarrass Obama for not having any principles at all in this regard? How the hell does that make any sense?  Remember it was OBAMA who said that a woman who was contemplating an abortion should get the consent of her family and pastor, as if she wasn’t capable of making this decision on her own.  That’s what Digby is defending when she attacks the Clintons on his behalf.  Does Digby really want to do that?  Wouldn’t it be better for women if Digby refused to play along?  Yes, it won’t look good for Obama but the election is still eight months away.  The party has time to figure this out.  But giving in to the right wing on contraception and abortion is not the way to retain your women voters.

Well, anyway, the video has struck a chord.  Yep, and that’s good.  It’s set the standard for the passionate and principled defense of reproductive rights.  It’s grounded in reality while still acknowledging that people’s opinions on morality may differ.  Obama’s crew should adopt it instead of criticizing it.  Wanna see it again with a shorter blah-blah-blah from Chris Smith?  Let’s watch together, shall we? (This one has a better ending)

Wednesday: You can have any color car as long as its black

Henry Ford was supposed to have said that about the Model T cars he was starting to roll off the assembly line.

The most recent incarnation of the current Democratic loyalist has this same attitude, it appears.  Any0ne who has been following the heartbreaky true story of a man on the edge, ThereIsNoSpoon, trying desperately to gather a flock of lost sheep back into the fold, while fighting his own private daemons, has heard something to the effect that Barack Obama is our leader and we aren’t going to ditch him.  Part cheerleader, part whicpcracker, part arrogant snot come to knock some sense into those brainless morons at Digby’s blog, TINS puts up with a lot of insults but those barbs just bouse off of him because the whiners are not going to get what they want from this president.  They might as well stop complaining and get in line.  Besides, all that complaining has shaken TINS faith and we can’t have that.

But with all of TINS insistence that Michele Bachmann (whooooo, scary, she’s going to bite you in your sleep!) would be so much worse as president in 2012, he fails to convince us that Barack Obama is that much of a prize worth fighting for.  In fact, many of Digby’s commenters have decided not to fight for him.  Or give money or maybe even their votes.  And why might that be?

Well, TINS is holding up Obama as our Democratic president who is the only thing stopping us from the Republican Horde from Hell.  But Obama’s performance through this debt criss has revealed that in some respects, he is to the right of John Boehner.  He is happy to offer up cuts in Social Security, a program that does not add to the deficit, and he does this voluntarily regardless of how this will impact the lives of recipients who use social security as their primary source of income.  Maybe $500/year less in income doesn’t sound like much to Barry but to grandma Edith, it could make the difference between buying something for her grandkids at Christmas or paying the heating bill.  That’s not a choice Grandmas or grandchildren around the country are going to appreciate.

If all TINS has to get us to support Obama is fear, he’s got his work cut out for him.  If Democrats surrender their principles and stop protecting the middle and working class, what would be the point of voting at all?  And it’s not so clear to me that saving Barry’s ass in 2012 is all that important.

Is TINS saying that Barack Obama is the best Democrat we could run in 2012?  There are no other Democrats in the entire party that could do a better job than Obama?  That would be quite an admission about the quality of the politicians who identify themselves as Democrats.  Obama hasn’t represented the party from the minute he started to run for President.  But TINS is trying to tell us that it’s Barry or nothing.  If not Barry, Michelle.  What a choice.

Or is it that TINS has tailored his affiliation to the Democratic party so narrowly that he can’t imagine any other candidate who would fit his criteria who could actually run.  That suggests that TINS and others like him who have a strangle hold on the political power structure would rather choke the life out of the party before they will entertain any other candidate, even if that candidate is more popular and more loyal to Democratic principles.  Or, is TINS suggesting that the party leadership will not allow a challenger no matter *what* the snippy voters want.  What do the voters know of politics?  They don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and all of the horse trading and petty insults and careful accounting of who kissed whose ass.  That’s right, they don’t know.  All the know is what they see and they don’t like what they see.  They want choices.  But the party may have decided not to give them one whether because Barry’s money is so good or their too afraid of a primary or because they don’t want to look like they’re losing face or they don’t want to take on the Chicago machine.

So, what TINS is is an errand boy from the guys in charge who is to deliver a message to the rank and file to say, “You have no choice.  It’s Barry or Michele and that’s final.  Get in line, NOW, or you will be responsible for bringing on catastrophe.”

That’s what I’m hearing.  I’m not hearing anything about a jobs program or saving the social safety net or exposing the Republicans as not being a party but the political arm of a group of uber wealthy investors who want to buy and sell pieces of America to each other.  What I’m hearing is that the Democratic party is not really a party that represents Democrats.  It’s a party that spends its time trying to manipulate its voters into doing what it planned to do anyway.  That’s not a choice.  And I am not sheep.

Democrats can continue to say there is no other choice than Barry and that’s true only if there is no Democratic party that I would recognize.  What they’re saying is that they know Barry is not a Democrat with true Democratic principles but they want you to ignore all of that and vote for him anyway because it’s final, goddammit, get with the program.  They’re saying that Obama is the icon that represents everything the Democrats believe.  He is their leader.  They will abide by his decisions whether they like them or not and we will have to get used to them too.  They are saying that it is impossible to primary Obama 15 months out from another critical election and that this would weaken Democrat’s chances of winning.

And we get…..?

I don’t believe this for a second.  This far out, the Democrats have choices.  They can replace this guy who doesn’t seem to know how to do his job and is a lousy negotiator and whose stupid decisions may be endangering all of their seats.  What is stopping them?  A bunch of prissy ivy league guys who don’t want to work for a woman?  Whose irrational clinging to Clinton urban legends is more important that the fate of millions and millions of unemployed people?

I guess so.

But everyone has choices, TINS.  We own our votes.  They’re more important to us that you might think.  And if Barry is writing us off because he thinks we’ll cave when Bachmann gets the nomination so he can go after the independent vote now, he’s got another thing coming.  He has to give us a reason to vote for him and right now, “You have no choice” isn’t doing it.  There’s *always* a choice.

Friday: Messaging

Forget Michelle Bachmann. Get these two guys.

The left blogosphere continues to spin its wheels.  It’s everyone else’s fault for the mess we’re in.

Digby has yet another post about Michelle Bachmann.  Can I just ask what the point of this exercise is?  Who is the target of this particular post?  None of the Clintonistas turned Tea Partiers are going to read it but if they do manage to pick up on it, it’s only going to make them love her more.  Are WE, the Democrats in Exile, the targets?  Please.  We know that Michelle Bachmann is a Republican nutcase.  We don’t need Digby to point this out.  We’d only vote for her to put a woman in office.  No, it doesn’t matter if she’s conservative just like it didn’t matter that Obama was one when he was elected to be the first African American president.  Oh, I’m only kidding (sort of).  I’m sure I can find a third party candidate to vote or write in Hillary.  For sure Obama is not getting my vote.  But would I really vote for Bachmann?  Hmmm, if a woman ever got to the top of the ticket in any major party, it would be very hard not to vote for her.  Even Digby might do it.  Ok, she wouldn’t but I could see her struggling with it in the voting booth.

In any case, going after the personal or mocking her intelligence is not scoring points with us.  We would much rather that people like Digby focus on her policies.  But let’s put logic aside, because that’s all that matters here.  Voting for Obama in the 2008 primary was about as illogical as voting for Bachmann now.  Yes, I mean that.  Dems who voted for Obama back in 2008 knew even less about him than we know about Bachmann today.  I take that back.  We knew that Obama admired Reagan.  But other than that, what legislative accomplishments did Obama have?  What was his record in the community at large?  Bachmann is a foster parent and has juggled a boatload of kids at one time while running for office, working as a tax attorney and suffering from migraines (Get rid of some of your committments, Michelle, like, oh, I don’t know, running for office?  Just sayin’.)  When it comes to sheer energy, committment and sticking to her principles, as whacked out crazy as they are, Michelle Bachmann whups Obama’s ass.

I predicted a couple of weeks ago that Bachmann would keep creeping up in the polls.  And you want to know why, Digby?  It’s because women hate people like us, the snooty, smartass lefty liberals who gave them Obama in place of the person they wanted to vote for.  Yes, I am including me among the smartass liberal set.  Regular women identify with that whole “I am a mother first” thingy, even if she spends most of her time politicking.  They’re sick to death of people like us shoving men in suits in their faces and then having those men screw their economic livelihoods behind their backs.  You can mock their lack of education (to your peril, IMHO) but they know how to balance their checkbooks, Digby, and they don’t like what they see.  No, they most certainly do not.  You can’t tell them there’s a recovery going on when they’re taking in all of their laid off grown up children.  They’re plotting revenge.  You don’t want to encourage them.

They know that Bachmann is out there.  They know she’s a Republican.  And they also know that the best way to stick it to the Democrats who screwed them over is to keep pumping her up.

So, why are we dumping on Michelle Bachmann?  Aren’t there looney, religiously conservative Republican men we can pick on?  Why, yes!  Yes, there are.  What about Mitt Romney and his Bakelite hair?  What about Huntsman?  Doesn’t anyone besides me think it’s weird that two of the right wing’s political aspirants are Mormans and that Glenn Beck, Tea Partier master of ceremonies, is also a Morman?  And what do we know about Mormans?  They tithe pretty heavily to their churches and have their own social welfare system for their members.  They are the ultimate libertarians.  But no, we are focussing with laser like intensity on Bachmann.  That suggests a couple of things to me.  One is that the Democrats know they have a problem with women voters and two, the Democrats have a problem with women in general.

But why does Digby have a problem with women?  Who is running the show at Hullabaloo?

Amanda Marcotte ponders whether Obama is benevolent but ineffective or an evil Republican in disguise.  I thought we settled this question last week sometime.  Obama is an anti- New Deal Democrat at the precise moment in time when the country needs a FDR.  He never admired his mother’s brand of idealistic humanism and striving to right the wrongs of the world.  He thinks that’s a naive waste of time and that people should stop trying so hard to address inequality and learn to be content with the measley bits that life hands out to them.  Trying to do otherwise is setting yourself up for disappointment.

This philosophy goes against everything Americans have believed in since the day the nation was founded.  Americans believe in progress and evolution, sometimes in big whopping chunks, not puny, ineffective increments.  Obama may have spent a little too much time in Indonesia or the golf course.

Of course the primary problem is that the country elects too many Republicans.  That goes without saying.  But you have to wonder why Democrats, AND OBAMA, made so little effort to control the message when they had the chance.  Where was the fight over the “fairness doctrine”?  Why do we have to drag them kicking and screaming to endorse net neutrality?  Why the hell do they put up with so much passivity on NPR?  And why did they squander so much political capital in the first two years of Obama’s term on mindless, boring coverage of Obama’s every bowel movement day after day with the endless TV spots at lunchtime?  Pretty soon, his bully pulpit faded into background noise.  Who’s bright idea was that?

As much as the Republicans are to blame for everything bad that has happened to this country in the past 40 years, you have to wonder why it is that Obama cooperates with them so flawlessly.  Why is it that deals on spending cuts and social security are carried out in closed door sessions where people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are not invited?  Better yet, why are WE not invited?  Are we just supposed to accept what comes out of those doors, those mighty deals deliberated by our elders and written down in stone that we must obey now and for all time?  Where are the floor fights?  How come all of this is happening in the middle of the summer when Americans are on vacation and are oblivious to all of this wheeling and dealing in DC that will substantially change their future standard of living?  Oh, yeah, I forgot that this is how Democrats have operated since the primary and convention of 2008.  Agreements are made in secret and then a big spectacle is arranged to demonstrate that we’re all unified.  That’s bullshit, Amanda.

At some point, you have to demand that Obama and the Democrats stop acting like the Republicans we despise.  If they won’t do that, then they might as well join one big party and sing Kumbaya.

As for Clinton, it’s nice to see that Amanda acknowledges what the rest of us have known for a long time.  The Big Dawg did a phenomenal job holding the Republicans off under circumstances that were much tougher politically and personally than Obama encountered when he first took office.  At least Clinton knew where to draw the line and make the Republicans crazy.   That’s why they went after him so hard on personal issues.  They wanted to impeach him because he was getting in their way.  I haven’t seen the same over the top nuttiness directed at Obama.  What is Obama’s excuse for refusing to step up?  So some Republicans can’t distinguish between communists and fascists.  BFD.  We know he’s neither.  But other than that, Amanda?  Where are the piles of legal bills, the testimonies and depositions, the ritual humiliation of his wife, the constant distractions and media mania?  It’s not there because Obama decided early on to cooperate with the lunatics instead of fighting them.  It’s much easier to not put oneself forward instead of living with disappointment.

That’s what we signed up for with Obama.  It’s neither evil or naive.  It’s merely self-serving and passive and insensitive to the massive suffering he is letting the corrupt system impose on present and future American livelihoods.  This is what the left signed onto when they forced Obama on the rest of us.  I can’t imagine a worse choice for president in 2008 and we will be paying for it for generations to come.  He doesn’t have to be a Republican to be worse than Bush.

But the question I have for Amanda and the other lefties trying to figure out what Obama is is why they are just now asking this question.  Why did it take 4 years to realize that we know almost nothing about him?  I still submit that the signs were all there in January/February of 2008.  Everything you needed to know about Obama was right there.  His passivity about calling himself a Democrat, his courting of the religious right, the race baiting, the way he blew off the voters of two major states that disadvantaged him in the polls, his supporters caucus activities that he overlooked, his nod towards misogyny, the obscene gobs of cash he was getting from Wall Street that he used to buy superdelegates, his “walking around money” in NJ.  It was all right there.  The fact that he’s president now when we needed a more muscular Democrat is not the fault of Republicans, it’s OUR fault.

But there is something Democrats can do if they’re not cowardly chickenshits.  They can force him out.  No one is “entitled” to a second term.

Update:  Paul Krugman tells us what ails us with respect to Obama in Conceder in Chief and confesses that his frustration with Obama’s 11 Dimensional negotiating skills consists of “suppressed rage and panic” (an excellent description of my feelings as well, Paul).  Then he goes on to say:

It’s very hard to avoid the impression that three things are going on:

1. Obama really just isn’t that into Democratic priorities. He really doesn’t much care about preserving Medicare for all seniors, keeping Social Security intact, and so on.

2. What he is into is his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend the partisan divide. He imagines that he can be the one who brings about a big transformation that settles disputes for decades to come — and has been unwilling to drop that vision no matter how many times the GOP shows itself utterly uninterested in anything except gaining the upper hand.

3. As a result, he can’t or won’t see what’s obvious to everyone else: that any Grand Bargain will last precisely as long as Democrats control the Senate and the White House, and will be torn up in favor of privatization and big tax cuts for the wealthy as soon as the GOP has the chance.

I hope I’m wrong about all this. But when has Obama given progressives any reason to believe they can trust him?

If Amanda is serious about taking on Republicans, she and we would be better off attacking their messaging system, specifically Fox News, News Corp and Rupert Murdoch.  Shutting News Corp down in the US would go a long way towards recovery.  Today, The Guardian reports that James Murdoch’s testimony before Parliament the other day was less than honest and forthcoming and that the US is preparing subpoenas for the Murdochs.  Two former news editors of the now defunct News of the World are spilling the beans about payments that Murdoch approved to victims of some of the hacking.  In short, the payments were too large compared with similar payments to other recipients, suggesting a more serious infraction at the News of the World had occured and that James Murdoch had to have known the true extent and details of the hacking.

If we weren’t so caught up with this debt ceiling problem, we’d be better off holding hearings of our own and accusing News Corp of being the malevolent blight on the republic that it is.   Go after Murdoch, Amanda, and save the world.

Finally, there’s this from The Onion: Congress Continues to Debate Whether or Not Nation Should be Economically Ruined.

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