Sunday: What to do, What to do?

Susie Madrak has her own radio show on BlogTalkRadio.  On January 17, her guests were Eric Boehlert and Nicole Sanders.  They took a call from a woman whose unemployment benefits ran out last March.  MARCH.  Of 2010.  For almost a year, this woman has had zero income.  No unemployment, no little job, nuthin.  She’s spent all of her savings and is now living on a home equity line of credit to pay her bills.  And she called Susie, who’s doing the best she can with what she has too since being out of work for some time now, and asks what she can do to get lawmakers’ attention?

Susie talked about how the Communist party started organizing back in the Great Depression, preventing people from getting evicted and feeding the poor.  And back then, it got a lot of attention.  There were tent cities and Hoovervilles in Washington.  Evidence of poverty was everywhere.  It was the threat of a public uprising the finally got things moving.

Susie gave the standard answers about what can be done.  Show up at a congressman’s office en masse, hang out in front of the restaurant where he/she and friends have lunch, throw a tent city or two and call the local paper or TV station about it.  Butcha know, I don’t think that’s going to work anymore and as one of them said: the right has the biggest megaphones and they simply won’t report it.

The right knows their voters.  They motivate their voters to vote by romanticizing the fetus, by appealing to their religiosity.  If bad things happen to other people, it’s because they weren’t as pious and good as the typical Fox News viewer.  That same religiosity prevents the religious conservative from doing too much to help the poor by contacting their representatives and demanding action.  It’s because there is so much evil and bad and pain in the world that mankind does not have the capacity to clean it up.  Only god does.  So, we need to just wait for Jesus to come back, which should be any day now.  If you’ve ever wondered what the apocalyptic messaging in right wing propaganda has to do with anything, there’s the reason.  It’s to keep the older conservative voter who sees disturbing things from taking any action.

If Susie wants to know what to do, she is going to have to target these viewers to get involved.  One thing that temporarily woke people up was the sight of so many people suffering in the wake of Katrina in New Orleans.  Which means that the news machine will be very careful to never do that again.  So, if you can’t bring the news to the people, maybe you have to bring the people to the news.

Don’t isolate your older, more conservative relatives.  Tell them what’s going on because you’ve seen it personally.  Tell them what is happening to your unemployed friends.  If they ask why they’re not willing to relocate, tell them the truth.  There are no jobs.  Anywhere.  Be harsh with them.  They won’t want to see you.  But they’ll call and ask why you haven’t come to visit.  Tell them you’re trying to help your friends- who are unemployed and that they just don’t get it.  They’ll go on about how God is the only one who can clean this mess up.  Tell them that’s bullshit and Jesus wouldn’t want them to ignore the poor.  If they tell you that you’re friends did something wrong, tell them the only thing they did wrong was being born in the wrong part of the 20th century.  If they say, yes, it’s true, the older generation has it good in comparison, tell them, great!  We’re moving in with you.  With the bird.  And the kid who likes to play Edith Piaf songs all. the. time. and refuses to speak to you in anything but French and eats like there’s no tomorrow.  When they express some hesitation about that, tell them to turn off the fricking TV news.

As for Susie, I think she has a future in broadcasting but she really has to ditch her propensity to glom onto left wing memes.  I’m not saying stop being liberal.  I’m saying stop letting the left do your thinking.  On one broadcast a couple of months ago, I think Athenae was on, they got so frustrated with it all that they want to just ditch everything and go rustic, which is great if you have no dependents.  But in some respects, it reminds me of the older religious person’s decision to just stay in the house away from the evil men and sexual predators until Jesus comes back.  You can’t run away from the world’s problems when they seem insurmountable.  If you do that, the bad guys win.  They want people to feel helpless.  Learned helplessness is their goal.

The only way to win is to get together and fight back.  And if Susie hasn’t figured this out yet, the left’s support of Obama in 2008 has resulted in thousands of sparkling shards of leftiness with the incapacity to reform itself.  I keep appealing to people like Susie to stop blowing us off and join with us and let’s do something together.  But the left hasn’t given up on the stuff that doesn’t resonate with their potential allies who work for the big corporations the left condemns.  It’s incomprehensible to me that for all the intelligence the left claims it has that it hasn’t figured out yet that the corporations are not the ogres here.  It’s the rulemakers they help elect.  If the rules weren’t bent or destroyed, the corporations would go back to playing by the rules and merely scheming like grinches instead of running around causing havoc like Thing 1 and Thing 2.   Then there are people like us who voted for Hillary and are still personas non grata.  We’re always going to think Obama was the wrong guy for the moment.  But why would the left cut off half of its strength if it really want to make a change?  Let me ask you this, Susie, why haven’t you asked any of US on your show yet?   Not that we can’t host our own shows but that’s hardly togetherness, is it?

The left’s obsession with perfection mirrors the right’s eschatological fervor.  Neither one addresses the causes and concerns of people in the middle who still bitterly cling to their FDR era programs with track records of success for those who participate.  Both sides insist that if they can’t have everything their way, no one will get anything at all.  In this respect, the left does as much damage to its cause as the right does with its huge megaphones.

If you want to know why no one hears your cries, it’s because you haven’t joined with other voices.  And the men in charge, and it’s ALWAYS men, like it that way.  Power is the ultimate drug and no one is going to wrest it from them without a fight.  As long as the left remains broken, Susie and her tent cities are no threat to the power brokers.

In other news:

So, about that FICA 2% tax break.  I was just talking to my colleague about this the other day.  She was planning to roll that money into her 401K.  Hold off on that, I said, you never know how they’re going to take it out of your hide.  After all, you’re income tax may go up instead.  Sure enough, Carissa at Corrente discovered what the catch is in Making Work Pay Clawback.  You’re not going to like it.  I probably won’t like it a whole bunch more.  As a single person who only gets to claim Head of Household every other year, while still retaining the blessings of parenthood and a healthcare policy that requires that I am the major source of support for the kid, I pay an outrageous amount in taxes already but I’m well below the top tax bracket that actually gets…

wait for it

a break! Yep, if you’re in the 35% tax bracket, the amount of money you can make before you are taxed has risen.  For everyone else, the amount you have to make before the taxes kick in has dropped. Isn’t that special?  So, hold off on adding to your 401Ks, which only people who have paid off their mortgages can afford to fund adequately.  Not only has Obama managed to not soak the rich, he has given them additional breaks, acquiesced to a plan that underfunds social security, transferring that money to the general fund where it will be spent in Iraq, and raised taxes on our income.  In summary, the 2% FICA tax break does absolutely NOTHING to stimulate the economy. Well done!  Is this really the one we were waiting for?

Les Leopold at AlterNet attempts to answer the perennial question, “Why Do People Who Work in Finance Earn So Much More Than the Rest of Us?” Yes, I would like to know the answer to that question, as well as why it is that people who work in the corporate offices make so much more than the people who do the innovation and the hands on work to produce the products that make all the money?  And why is their gym nicer and their cafeteria food better?  Why is it they can use the mail service to ship personal items to international destinations while the people in the facility down the road can’t?  Shit, did I say that out loud?  Well, why???  What is it about dressing up and sitting behind a desk makes the people who make sometimes incredibly bad decisions so much wealthier than the rest of us?  The answer, as far as I can tell is that if you delegate your authority to other people to keep track of the money so that you can get actual work done, you run the risk that those delegates will reward themselves handsomely at your expense, and at a certain level of wealth, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.  It’s extortion.  That’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

Leopold does some calculations:

Let’s try a back-of-the envelope calculation of Wall Street’s net social value. Compare their bonuses and profits for roughly the last five years (about $500 billion) with the economic losses produced in the financial crisis the bankers caused (about $4 trillion in value destroyed, not counting the ongoing travails of the 22 million people who haven’t yet been able to find a full-time job). For every dollar “earned” on Wall Street, about 8 dollars were destroyed. (In case you’re suffering from financial amnesia and forgot how the financial sector single-handedly caused the economic crisis, please see The Looting of America. Chapter One can be found gratis on AlterNet.

I hate to break this to the educators but, it turns out if you really want your students to learn something, testing is one of the best ways to do it.  You know those endless stupid projects you have our kids doing where they have to map everything out on big pieces of expensive poster board with connections to all of the other concepts in the unit?  Turns out that might be a waste of parents time.  What researchers have discovered is that those projects impose an artificial organization and categorization system on students that is more easily and naturally achieved by simply testing them on the material as soon as possible after they learn it.  Go back to the pop quizzes, teachers.  Save yourself and your kids and their families a nights of exhaustion and despair.  From the NYTimes article:

Why retrieval testing helps is still unknown. Perhaps it is because by remembering information we are organizing it and creating cues and connections that our brains later recognize.

“When you’re retrieving something out of a computer’s memory, you don’t change anything — it’s simple playback,” said Robert Bjork, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved with the study.

But “when we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access” to that information, Dr. Bjork said. “What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later.”

It may also be that the struggle involved in recalling something helps reinforce it in our brains.

It makes sense.  If you impose a little bit of stress on the student in the form of a quiz or test, they are forced to rapidly organize the information and discover where they are deficient so they can revisit the information later.  If you impose too much stress on them by forcing them to adopt another organization method, you not only screw up their intrinsic method but you create a life long hatred of projects.  JMHO.

Anyway, it’s in the journal Science, which is a stickler for peer review and details and stuff like that so as much as you may dislike the concept of testing for retention, you can’t completely dismiss this paper.  Well, you *could*, but it would be pointless.

Another article from the NYTimes proclaims that Obama is to press a centrist agenda in his SOTU address.  So, it looks like after three years of playing the political philosophical mystery man, Obama has finally found a place to dig in his heels and plant his flag — right down the middle.  Which has moved significantly rightwards since he became president.  Uh-huh.  I see this as a way to head off Bloomberg and his silly No Limits soiree.  Which means, the vast majority of people who are not making $200K a year and have to work for a living without a safety net are still screwed and unrepresented by this President.  Obama has finally found his constituents:

Mr. Obama previewed the themes in a video e-mailed Saturday evening to supporters who had helped in his election campaign. But the video made plain that his speech would be geared more broadly toward the political center, to independent voters and business owners and executives alienated by the expansion of government and the partisan legislative fights of the past two years.

The rest of you scientists and airline pilots and mathematicians turned uber programmers and burger flippers and unemployed journalists and part time morticians can go take a hike.

Lovely.  By the way, NYTimes reporters, the economy is *not* “picking up steam”.  My friends are just as unemployed as ever and the rest of us are in danger of joining them.

I’m so glad that I can say with pride that “I didn’t vote for him”.

About that abortion clinic from hell, Alternet has a followup.  Well, there are a lot of articles on this subject.  The story is very gruesome but just goes to show you that desperate women will overlook unsanitary conditions, illegality and their own health to get abortions when they decide they need them.  There is nothing that a senior citizen mainlining Fox News can do about it.  These women are never going to bond with or have any warm and fuzzy maternal instincts for the fetuses they carry.  There’s no amount of shame or inconvenience you can foist on them that will deter them.  The only thing you accomplish by stigmatizing abortion and forcing poor women to “Chase the Fee” is that you end up risking two deaths instead of one.

This is the first but certainly not the last legal clinic that resembles a back alley abortion mill.  There will have to be a lot more of them before the anti-choice contingent starts feeling the weight of all of the deaths and destruction and infertility it has visited on women.  They will have to feel it and be made to take the blame for it.

Eric Boehlert Needs to Get a Grip

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

Eric Boehlert is the guy on the left.

I love Eric Boehlert. His book, Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush, was terrific. And he even mentioned The Confluence in his recent effort, Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press. But really, this is too much.

A President was killed the last time right-wing hatred ran wild like this

I’ve been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I’ve watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled….The radical right, aided by a GOP Noise Machine that positively dwarfs what existed in 1963, has turned demonizing Obama–making him into a vile object of disgust–into a crusade. It’s a demented national jihad, the likes of which this country has not seen in modern times.

Here is the link that Boehlert used to back up his claims of violence and racism at Glenn Beck’s September 12 event. It shows a number of tasteless signs that attack President Obama and a couple of wacky videos of Glenn Beck and Orly Taitz.

Eric, are you serious? I have no doubt that some of the right wingers who have attended the tea party events are racists, but that doesn’t make their attacks on Obama worse than the ones previous Presidents have endured. Have you forgotten the incredibly vicious attacks on President Clinton in the ’90s? If you’ve forgotten where the term “right wing noise machine” came from, here is a short reading list to refresh your memory.

Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote a whole book about it, remember?

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

Their book was even made into a documentary that was shown in theaters.

Here is a great summary of media attacks on the the Clintons:

eRiposte: THE MEDIA’S GORE-ING OF PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON (AND HILLARY CLINTON)

And to refresh your memory about the vicious attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton by “progressives” during the 2008 primary campaign, here’s another piece by eRiposte at The Left Coaster: Clinton Derangement Syndrome = CDS = Clinton Double-Standard.

Finally, here is a recent blog post by Glenn Greenwald at Salon: Is the Right’s attack on Obama’s legitimacy new or unprecedented?

The attacks on Obama are far from unprecedented, and they are nowhere near as vicious as the ones I can recall lefties using against Richard Nixon or the ones that the right wingers used against the Clintons.

As much as I hate to admit it, even George W. Bush was ridiculed in some pretty nasty ways. The Nation lampooned him as Alfred E. Newman. And he was likened to a chimp all over the internet, here for example I’d say that’s pretty demeaning.

I can’t stand Glenn Beck or the rest of the rabble rousers at Fox “News” Channel. And I certainly have no patience for the nutty folks who believe that Obama was born in Kenya or that he’s a closet muslim. But every President faces public attacks and ridicule and yes–even the risk of assassination attempts. JFK was the last U.S. President to be assassinated, but have you forgotten that Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were victims of assassination attempts? Both men were Republicans, and their failed assassins weren’t crazed right wingers.

Squeaky Fromme made a weak attempt to shoot President Ford in September, 1975. She later claimed she did it to bring attention environmental issues. Later that same month Sara Jane Moore shot a gun at President Ford and was stopped by a bystander. According to the LA Times,

Moore was an FBI informant who was enmeshed in radical politics after moving to the Bay Area. A peripheral player rather than a leader, she volunteered for a group that distributed $2 million in food, as had been demanded by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the extreme leftist band that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.

The man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan was John Hinkley, Jr., a paranoid schizophrenic who was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. I don’t think there was any right-wing hatred involved with that one either.

There have been people who tried to assassinate every modern President, including Richard Nixon. Wikipedia has a list of recorded assassination attempts here.

The truth is there are nuts on both sides of the political spectrum. I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored. And please don’t accuse me of calling President Obama an ox, okay? No doubt there are plenty of right wing nuts who hate Obama. But that’s politics. It ain’t beanbag, you know. Let’s hope the Secret Service does its job well and keeps President Obama safe.

In the meantime, Eric, please get a grip.

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Book Review: The Bloggers on the Bus

I was delighted to be sent an advance copy of this book about a month ago and then promptly fell headlong into a combination of blog burnout and exercise exhaustion.  What I thought was going to be a short primary season when I started this blog in January 2008 stretched into a mega marathon of almost continuous political commentary that has carried long past the election results.  The reasons for this are obvious: the party itself changed last year and we at The Confluence were there to witness that change, document it, comment on it and have felt the full effects of it.

In his book The Bloggers on the Bus, Eric Boehlert takes a survey of what will go down in history as one of the most important elections of our lifetimes and the effect, if any, that the blogosphere had on it.  The book is well written and fairly well balanced.  Boehlert profiles many well known bloggers on the left such as Big Tent Democrat, Jane Hamsher and Digby as well as some friends of ours like Alegre of Alegre’s Corner.  Through these profiles, Boehlert traces the emergence of the left blogosphere from the depths of the darkest days of the Bush Administration.  Then he follows the trajectory of commentary through the 2007-2008 election season and documents how that blogophere’s good intentions ended with a whimper.

The Confluence doesn’t have a starring role in this book but we are mentioned at several points.  Boehlert seems to not quite know what to do with us.  We were pro-Clinton bloggers but although we continued to advocate for Hillary until the convention, since the RBC hearing we had advocated for ourselves, the disenfranchised voters of the Democratic party.  At one point during the discussion of sexism, he refers to us as “parisan”, by which I think he means advocating strongly for one faction.  But he lumps us in with Taylor Marsh whose 180 degree switch from Clinton to Obama was dizzying and disconcerting to her readers.  We stayed faithful to our Democratic principles while those who were labeled partisan along with us swung with the wind. How did we end up in the same category?

PUMA he touches on hardly at all.  I understand he had to cut out quite a bit of material but the grassroots PUMA movement, which was virtually an online phenomenon  (pun intended), did have a small but significant impact.  However, PUMA was a viral movement and there are many incarnations of it, some of which did not reflect the intentions of the originators.  The unParty, as I like to call it, was bound to change and evolve after the election, but our goals are still to advocate for accountability, enfranchisment, Democratic principles and the election of more women to political office.  I can understand Boehlert’s sin of omission with respect to PUMA.  It’s difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.  The lines were blurred, sometimes deliberately, and without sounding too conspiratorial, perhaps by forces we don’t even know. Better to just not mention it at all.

What many readers will find fascinating about this book is the section dealing with the blog wars of 2008 and the response of the blogs to the overt sexism and misogyny of the high profile bloggers.  I don’t like the term “A-list” bloggers because some of these blogs have abandoned their former principles in pursuit of the Machiavellian goal of pushing their candidate over the finish line by any means necessary.  Oh, sure, it worked all right.  But the trail of destruction that it left behind in the party is going to take a long time to heal.  The effect on the left blogosphere is even more profound.  Boehlert does an admirable job in underscoring the parties responsible for the demise of Progressive Blogosphere 1.0 when he concludes this chapter with a quote from Paul Krugman who insinuates that he will never trust Markos Moulitsas again.

At some point in the book, Boehlert says that no one saw the ferocity and emotionalism coming.  I beg to differ.  I was present at the candidate’s forum sponsored by YearlyKos in 2007 in Chicago.  I went to the convention an Edwards supporter and left  a committed Hillary supporter.  I’ve documented before how impressed I was by the depth and breadth of her responses at her breakout session.  But what really nailed it for me was my observation of how John Edwards was able to manipulate the crowd during the forum itself.  It dawned on me at that moment, while the bloggers around me were booing and jeering everything Clinton said while mindlessly applauding everything Edwards said, that DailyKos and other blogs like it had become the equivalent of a giant focus group, one that the Edwards’ campaign, and subsequently the Obama campaign, data mined relentlessly for the words that would trigger the desired response.  Edwards struck me as a one-trick pony, insincere and unscrupulous.  What I witnessed was no less than the priming of a mob.  The next day at the breakfast open mic, I brought up my concerns and cautioned my fellow bloggers to be careful of people who appealed to the emotion.  It’s too easy to lose your sense and ability to think rationally when you’re in the midst of passion.  Kos, McJoan and the others squirmed uncomfortably in their chairs on the dais while I spoke.  I’m sure they got the point but they didn’t intend to act on it.  You can look it up, Eric.  I’m sure the session was taped for posterity.

Other blogs have commented on Digby’s admission that she was “chicken shit” at fighting off the tsunami of Obamamania that headed her way in 2008.  It wouldn’t be fair to single her out.  I’ve always thought Digby was one of the best writers the progressive blogosphere ever had.  But she had an opportunity to lead last year and she blew it.  That goes for Jane Hamsher as well.  Those of us who were caught up in the madness and escaped to stake a claim on new, remote asteroids of the blogosphere can state with confidence that being out here in no-man’s land wasn’t so bad.  The rejected found each other and rallied.  We didn’t give up our principles.  We understand why Digby did it, or, shall I say, we understand the excuse.  Yes, the misogyny was intense, but I have always maintained that blogging is the perfect medium for women.  Those mean, misogynistic comments are nothing but black dots on a monitor.  They can not hurt you.

They *can* hurt your ad revenue though.  This, I think, is one of the reasons why the blogosphere fell apart last year.  When someone else has control of your livelihood, it’s much harder to take a principled stand.  We saw what happened to Josh Marshall.  At one point during his kidnapping, all of his blogs were plastered with Obama campaign ads.  Obama paid for the TPM music and it, in turn, played what Obama had written.  Who could blame Josh?  He had two toddlers and college to think about.

DailyKos was another story altogether.  The blog format was too easily manipulated and the administrators took a hands-off approach to settling disputes.  I take that back.  They settled disputes by purging the site of Clinton supporters, yours truly included.  One of the reasons this blog doesn’t have a ratings system is because we have seen how easily people can become addicted to reward and praise for saying the right thing.  Conversion diaries dominated the recommended list and the newly converted were love bombed with recognition.  Those who didn’t fall into line were threatened with expulsion from the fold.  Those of us who grew up in fundamentalist religious families recognize these cultlike behaviors for what they are- emotional manipulation.  When we saw it happening to our blog homes, like DailyKos, MyDD and DU, we were right to be concerned.

But we are not at all suprised by Boehlert’s conclusions.  The progressive blogs have become feckless.  The left blogosphere was co-opted by the Obama campaign.  It would be incorrect to say that Obama didn’t reach out to the blogosphere.  It most certainly did, with relentless astroturfing, paid trolls and sophisticated psychological tricks that I recognized as being lifted directly from the manuals of the Personal Power courses that I have taken at work.  Boehlert and his colleagues at Media Matters have employment security in the future.  They now have to split their time between watching traditional media as well as the propagation and dissemination of propaganda through the reshaped progressive blogosphere.  This book is a good start at getting a grip on where it all went wrong.

Highly recommended.


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Monday: Praiseworthy Posts

Once again, there’s a time crunch this morning so this will be brief.  I found some pretty good posts around the web that I submit for your approval.  See if you agree.

  • We’re going to hear a lot about The Bloggers on the Bus, Eric Boehlert’s new book that will be released in a couple of weeks.   I am reading an advanced copy.  Eric covers the 2008 campaign and blog battle in detail and makes specific note of the misogynism of some of our former favorite blogs.  (We get mentioned in the book as part of the pro-Clinton contingent) BTD at Talkleft talked about the pervasive sexism of the 2008 in this post yesterday.  BTW, there are comments in the thread that mention The Confluence as a “quasi-racist” blog with “retroactive, resentful feminists”.  I honestly do not know what they are talking about.  The person who made this comment obviously doesn’t read us.  We don’t approve of racism at all and delete racist comments all of the time.  As for retroactive and resentful feminists, they left.
  • Natasha Chart at OpenLeft has an excellent post about political realism titled Congress Does Exactly What It Wants To.  Here’s an excerpt:

I got into an argument (you are shocked, I know) with some international relations folks over the term “realism.”

They insisted that it should be understood to mean a non-ideological position, where the world is taken as it really is. You advance your cause at all costs, screw them before they screw you, always mistrust, always press advantage.

Someone named, I believe, Omar Khoury was quoted to me. He said that, “Realists tend to treat political power as separate from, and predominant over, morality, ideology and other social and economic aspects of life.”

Isn’t that special. But that’s realism.

Anything else, anything besides the pursuit of power above all else and for its own sake is “idealism.”

By international relations standards, the default human view, the unsignified signifier, the wellspring of ideas that is itself above and separate from ideology, is a view that can only be described as a blueprint for being a completely irredeemable bastard.

This is what the Serious People of our political elite call being realistic.

I guess this partially explains the email I got from Jon Corzine’s reelection campaign that crowed about being recognized by ultimate realist, Jack Welch.  Disgusting.  But there aren’t any decent primary challengers and I can’t bear to vote for a Republican for governor.  Corzine’s going to have to renew his lease on Drumthwackit without my help this year.

Go read the rest of Natasha’s post.

  • Basement Angel at Corrente has written Defining Bigotry that explains how the Obama campaign and the media used bigotry as a weapon against Clinton and her supporters.  Here’s an excerpt:

Bigots offer up an exchange for their followers in order to justify pandering to their darker impulses. For the racists, they offered up the notion of patriotism and cultural fidelity. It’s okay to hate black people, or who ever, because they are polluting what we have achieved and you’re standing up for the best of what we are. The exchange for Obama supporters was pretty much identical – they justified the misogynist rhetoric and actions by portraying Clinton’s campaign as an attack on liberal values. Thus, in defiance of her voting record and professional accomplishments, she became a corporatist, a conservative, a Republican in Democratic clothing, or, for those objecting to dynasty, a royalist who believed that she was “entitled” to the office – all utterly at odds with liberal values, So you could engage in rhetoric as offensive as Claytie Williams’ rhetoric against Ann Richards, and still see yourself as liberal because you were supporting the history making candidate. Advancing African American progress justified the misogyny. The netroots took the bait. Without that exchange though, there was no singularly strong reason to vote for Obama, the dramatically less experienced candidate running for office in a most perilous time, over the candidate with a lifetime of relevant (if somewhat non-traditonal) experience and a resume of progressive accomplishment a mile long. What the netroots had to do – and what they did – was obliterate their awareness of Clinton’s accomplishments because Obama, save for his gift of winning elections, has so few accomplishments to his name. Justifying misogyny was the only way for him to win. And that is what he did.

And for the record, I don’t believe Clinton used race baiting against Obama.  It would have been political suicide for her to do that.  In fact, there was only one person who stood to benefit from race baiting in the campaign and that was Obama.  That’s why his campaign and friends were constantly falsely accusing the Clintons of doing it.

Yes, Virginia, he really would do such a thing.  After all, Obama is a realist.

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