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Some possible explanations for Obama’s poor performance

While we’re waiting for the party apparatchik at Digby’s place to recover from his post debate depression, can we give a plausible explanation for what went wrong?

Paul Krugman’s take on it was that Barack Obama has reverted to The Capillary Man he was in the aftermath of the convention in 2008:

People tend to forget how close the 2008 presidential race looked as late as August, and the immense frustration many Democrats felt with Barack Obama at the time. He seemed weirdly unwilling to drive home his case against Bush/McCain economic policies; his instinct, as people said, was apparently to go for the capillaries.

At one point, Jeff Jarvis tweeted:

I dare anyone to parse Obama’s statement on preexisting conditions. Didn’t he used to be articuilate? #debate

Ah, yes, another urban legend, Obama’s famed rhetorical skills, dies an ignoble death.  I have always noticed that without a teleprompter, or over-rehearsal, that Obama’s speaking style consists of sentences with multiple, labyrinthine prepositional phrases that lead listeners down blind alleys until they are lost.  Whether he does this intentionally to baffle us with bullshit or whether it comes naturally is debatable.  You shouldn’t have to do this if you are familiar with and committed to the concepts you are talking about.

By the way, I’m surprised Jeff got away with that tweet.  In 2008, he would have been branded a racist and driven out of polite society.  He would have spent the rest of his career in a house in the country, holed up with a couple of servants and never called on by the local gentry.  This year, he might just have a point.

The Guardian’s review of Obama’s performance looks like it was written by Frank Rich when he was still considered the Butcher of Broadway:

Barack Obama on the other hand appeared nervous, distracted and unprepared. After four years in the Oval Office, he’d lost his voice. Gone was the charisma, the optimism and the eloquence. Defensive, halting and verbose – he looked tired and that made his presidency look tired. Both campaigns set low expectations, but only Obama met them. If you were watching without knowing who was the president, you wouldn’t have guessed it was him.

Did The Guardian see the transfer of remains ceremony after the Libya disaster where he fell back on his 2008 habit of repeating everything Hillary had already said and relying on his penis years to appear more presidential?  I think she out dignified him anyway but she also seems to have retained her passion for what she believes in.  See for yourself.  Here’s the video link.  Her speech starts at minute mark 7:14 and she looks pretty grave at first but has a very strong, uplifting ending.  Obama’s speech follows hers and it seems like he’s copying from her paper again but his remarks don’t come from the heart the way hers do.  Your mileage may vary, of course, but it took me right back to the 2008 debates where she kicked his ass and the moderators always let him have the last word.

So, why did he blow it last night?  Here are some possible explanations:

1.) The dog ate his homework.  He didn’t take debate prep seriously, went to the debate prep session but spent most of the half hour shooting the breeze with his coach, forgot to take his book home, blah, blah, blah…

2.) He was tired from being all presidential throughout the day.  This is possible.  But we’ve seen Obama fresh as a daisy during other presidential appearances after long days and he wasn’t just tired last night, he was off.  As I commented during the debate while watching his body language, he looked dweebish.  His facial expressions and the smallness of his gestures reminded me of Michael Dukakis.  Capillary Man indeed.

3.)  He’s playing 11 dimensional chess!  We should expect to hear a variation of this theme from thereisnospoon after he takes his medication.  It was all a setup so he could look like the underdog coming from behind in the last couple of weeks.  Rejoice, comrades, for the glorious triumph of our leader is near!  And Romney lied!  It’s all fact checked!  See?!?

Give it up, guys, debates are visual experiences, Blink! moments.  You can follow them up with facts but it’s too late to stop the first impression from forming.  Hey! Why don’t you get on the White House’s case and tell Obama to actually start talking like a true Democrat or you were going to desert him, like you should have been doing for the past couple of years??  No?  Ok, well don’t waste your time trying to convince US to accept subpar performance.  We’ve got standards.

Ahhh, I see that Mr. Atkins has already posted an excuse.  It seems that everyone who thought Obama tanked last night was a white southerner over 50.  It’s not Obama’s fault at all.  It’s the voters’ fault for being rural, ignorant bigots!  Sooooo, that would make Jeff Jarvis, Paul Krugman and the Guardian redneck racists. It’s reassuring to know that the campaign *is* going to fall back on accusations of racism after all. The Obama campaign pulls out that sledge hammer when all else fails, just like in 2008.  Well, my equilibrium is restored.

4.) He’s worried.  He’s looking at the poll numbers and they seem to be obstinately sticky.  He can’t seem to take a commanding lead over Mitt despite Romney’s own fuckups and a steady stream of negative characterizations from the Obama campaign.  He’s even unmasked himself as a true moderate Republican to reach out to the independent swing voters and blue collar women the advisors are always telling him to target and it’s not getting him the space he needs between Mitt and himself.  God, what do they want from him??  And where is the disaster that would make him look good?

5.) He needed to be primaried for his own sake.  He’s been living in an insulated and isolated bubble, surrounded by the 1%’s henchman who keep telling him that the banks need to be saved above all else and that austerity must be imposed.  In the process, he lost touch with his base and has forgotten that it’s also necessary to fight.  The debates are the whole campaign thing again and he’s not in shape and doesn’t seem to remember that he has to differentiate himself from Mitt, not agree with him.  If he had been primaried, he’d have more of an idea of what the base thinks is important instead of constantly discrediting it, and he might be more energetic.

Or, it’s a combination of some or all of the above.  Any other theories?  Put them in the comments.

In any case, he’ll look better next time, because it’s hard to imagine him doing worse.  There’s a lot of money riding on this race and the Democrats put all their eggs in this basket for the whole duration.  Stupid, in retrospect, but even though many, many people are kicking themselves for gleefully murdering Hillary’s career (I’m talking to you, Chris Matthews), they’re stuck with Obama now.

The honeymoon is over

Oh, NOW, the system isn’t fair.

Go read Thereisnospoon’s recent post at Hullabaloo and substitute the words, “party primary system” wherever you see “presidential election”.

Funny, I don’t remember anyone in the Obama contingent whining about how unfair it was for the nearly empty western states and conservative southern states to trump almost every big or substantial Democratic state in the 2008 primary season (CA, NY, NJ, MA, TX, PA, OH, etc.  List not exhaustive.).  Heck, at least in a general election, your electoral college votes and delegates actually get counted. Nope, no one in the Democratic party in 2008 was overly concerned whether the voters actually matched the candidate.  We were just supposed to suck it up and get unified.

Twit.

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.

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.

The first (and possibly last time) I have ever agreed with ThereIsNoSpoon

David Adkins, aka ThereIsNoSpoon, tells it like it is on the contraception debate at Digby’s Hullabaloo:

These things don’t happen by accident. The conservative establishment decided early on that this was going to be a hill for them to die on. They weren’t forced to die on that hill. They could have let the Bishops stand alone. But they didn’t. They decided to run this ball all the way down the court.

And guess what? As Digby points out, it’s working. What just a few weeks ago was considered so mainstream as to an afterthought (providing contraception) is now seen as some sort of controversial touchstone, even as “religious freedom” has become a buzzword in the press.

Democrats can high-five one another about Republican overreach and laugh hysterically at the increased number of votes Barack Obama will receive in 2012 over Mitt Santorum. But ultimately the joke’s on us. It’s been on us ever since the Obama Administration decided to concede an inch to the misogynist conspiracy of extremist fanatics that are the Bishops, rather than mock them immediately for being out of touch with their own flock, to say nothing of the mainstream American public.

The political ground on contraception has suddenly shifted to the right faster than I have seen on any social issue in my lifetime. It’s incredible.

I think my tinfoil antenna were picking up the “Religious Liberty” meme a couple of months ago (damn, I really should be more thorough with tags) and wondered what the heck the Republicans were up to.  For some strange reason I thought it would have something to do with Faith Based Initiatives or something like that.  Definitely, this was going to be The Big Deal during the 2012 election season, The Wedge Issue of the Year.  Who knew it would take the form of a War on Contraception?

When are Democrats going to realize that the Republicans have a crack operation of skilled psychmetricians and marketing people who have have done expert data analysis and have strategized the best way to get their voters to the polls in November?  Democrats SUCK at this.  Yes, all you Kool-Aid addled Obots, Barack Obama didn’t win because he was some kind of wonderful.  He won because part of the Republican war machine got behind him in 2008 to take out the real Democrat.  He’s a fricking one-off.  His election was historic and that was the wedge issue of 2008.  Now, he’s no longer historic.  He’s just a lousy president.

So, while the feminists are justifiably tearing their hair out over the loss of more bodily autonomy, let’s examine why this is such a phenomenally successful wedge issue.  First, Obama and his entourage went on a rampage in 2008 and slashed and burned their way through the Democratic base.  Misogyny went unchecked and even gained a foothold.  Congratulations Democratic party!  You’ve just made a substantial portion of your base second class citizens.  Any woman who jumped on this bandwagon seeing a ticket to ride to the top of the access list should really have her head examined and none of us should be forced to listen to her or read about her anymore.  For damn sure, she should not be sitting on panels in places like the local branch of NOW in Kansas.   (H/T Katiebird)

It goes without saying, even though some women are apparently dumber than a box of rocks, that women should NEVER put their own interests second to the political ambitions of any man.  No, no, no.  Not until we have achieved full equality, which means not for the forseeable future. If you have an opportunity to vote for a reasonable woman, even if you do not agree with her 100%, you should vote for her if she represents your interests as a woman and is willing to fight for your equality. Your focus should be on what she will do for women because we are the majority of citizens in this country and what is best for us, tends to be best for everyone else as well.  You should not be distracted by someone else’s priorities and unless she is personally leading the convoy into Baghdad on the top of a tank like some modern day Boudicca, her views on war should be put into the same context as other candidates. In the future, I hope that women will hold each other accountable for maintaining unity.  Any stepping out of line should be met with swift and thorough correction.  We need to be a voting bloc to be feared, uncompromising and retributive.  Let’s learn from the Christian coalition playbook, shall we?

And let’s dispense with the idea that the Republicans are ignorant of the scientific method.  What did the Republicans learn by observation from 2008?  They learned that Barack Obama is a self centered, ambitious guy.  He’s a guy who doesn’t have any particular interest in women’s rights.  His fealty is to the banking class.  That’s who’s footing the bills.  Unfortunately for Obama (and this is what makes him such a lousy politician), he still needs women he’s been blowing off in order to win.  He needs their votes.  He doesn’t need banker votes because there aren’t enough of them to make a substantial dent in the electoral college. And what do bankers care about contraception?  Do they even have an opinion?  No.  The only people who really care about contraception are the conservatives and Obama’s not going to get their votes anyway, unless he intends to kiss up to them. And the only reason he would bow to their votes would be if he was intending to blow off his base and go right.

This is where we are.  Obama had a choice.  He could either stick up for women’s equality and bodily autonomy and tell the religious they were being intrusive.  Or he could try to be all things to all people and hope that the bishops would negotiate with him in good faith so he could grab the religious while keeping the women relatively quiet.  Remember, this is no-drama Obama we’re talking about.  He’s not into confrontation.  He prefers quiet little negotiation sessions where no one raises their voices and everything is on the table- because that’s worked so well in negotiations on our behalf with the bankers in the recent past {{rolling eyes}}.

(Note to loyal Democrats: Once you experience the “Pain of Independence“, you’ll never be able to look at Obama in the same way again. The nausea and disorientation can be alarming but your perspective will change and you will be almost desperate to get him out of the Oval Office.)

The Republicans see this as passivity, which it is.  In the corporate world, we have management training courses on personal power and dynamics.  The facilitator would describe Obama’s modus operandi as a losing strategy.  Imagine there is a passive-aggressive scale from 1-10 with passive on the lower end and aggressive on the higher end.  To be truly effective as a negotiator, you should stay in the sweet spot of 5-7.  A 4 or below is too passive; 7 and above is too aggressive.  Ideally, both parties want to stay in the sweet spot.  But if you normally operate as a 4 and your opponent is at 7, you need to go up to level 7 to be effective.  If he goes to 8, you need to go to 8.  He has to see that you’re not backing down so that he must in order to strike a deal.

The problem with Republicans is that they are always at level 8.  And if you don’t come right back and smash them at 8 or above, they’ll escalate.  We are now at escalation.  They’ve gone to 11 and Obama et al are at level 5.  Great, just great.

That’s why ThereIsNoSpoon is disconcerted by the way Republicans have dominated this issue.  They went from 8 to 11 and now anything Obama does is going to look defensive.  If he had come out swinging in the first couple of days and told the Republicans that they were setting new precedent and moving the goalpost back on women’s rights and he, Obama, was not going to yield on contraception unless Jesus tapdancin’ Christ came down personally to negotiate on behalf of the bishops, he would have ruled the day and even *I* might have had some kind of grudging respect for him.

But he’s a baaaaaaad politician.  Craven, selfish, indifferent, calculating and a poor decision maker with equally bad political consultants.  So, now, the idea that a religious institution can have a say over whether or not you get birth control when 98% of its own adherents ignore said religious institution’s very clear, very unambiguous proscriptions against it, suddenly, that idea looks pretty reasonable.  Americans don’t tend to think these things through very carefully these days because they are overwhelmed with personal and financial obligations, so they rely on the media to tell them what’s going on.  Obama managed to be so ineffective at stopping the meme through his own inept handling of the matter that the right wing noise machine’s religious liberty meme is just hitting its stride.  It’s going to be repeated and repeated and repeated until it seems normal until suddenly, women will start having a devil of a time getting their prescriptions filled without some byzantine procedure.

And let’s not forget that the only people who really care about denying people contraceptives are highly conservative seniors and their church hierarchy.  No one else gives a damn.  The wedge issue is just a clever way for Republicans to separate a few more women’s votes from Obama when they realize that, once again, he threw them under a bus and doesn’t seem to understand how much harder he has made their lives.  In the meantime, the religious right will think they’re being persecuted (oh PLEEZE) and will have a very good reason to show up at the polls this November to toss the Democrats out on their asses.

Now, I could be wrong about this but I don’t think that there is anyway *this* president is going to be able to fix this particular issue at this point in time.  He may go on to win as a result of some other catastrophe but he’s lost the edge he had on the contraceptive issue.  Maybe another player will be able to change this around but not Obama.  So, the Democrats better have something else up their sleeves or the Republicans will eat their lunch.

Just because they don’t like their present candidates doesn’t mean the Republicans can’t get their voters spitting nails by November.  And Democrats shouldn’t count on independent liberals to save their bacon at the last minute.  We’ve got our eyes on a different prize these days.  We’ll just sit on the sidelines and watch the bloodbath.  We’re into solving problems and this election isn’t going to solve any problems.  If I were the Democrats, I might have curbed the impulse to squash OWS and women and ignore the unemployed for so long.

And don’t look now but the Republicans are going to turn off the gas spigot this summer and stop UI bennies in September.  If the Democrats had stored up some goodwill over the past four years, the impending pain and chaos wouldn’t look so horrible.  But they didn’t and it will.  If I were them, I’d pass on the White House and work like madmen to elect new faces to Congress.

**********************

More of Titli’s Busy Kitchen.  This recipe is for Caramel Shortbread.  Stick with it.

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.

Thursday: The Ass in the Room

Digby has a new frontpager.  By the way, the Ass in the title doesn’t apply to Digby.  She’s a great writer.  No, really.  And I think her heart is in the right place.  It’s just that she’s a bit, um, chickenshit.  SHE called herself that, not me.

Anyway, what brought about the addition of ThereIsNoSpoon to Hullabaloo?  I don’t know but I have occasionally read her comment threads lately and many of her readers are fed up and ready to throw in the towel on Obama.  Not only that, there seem to be a lot more commenters expressing regret about how they blew off Hillary Clinton for Mr. Schmoozy McMashieniblick.  Well, we can’t have that, can we?  So, ThereIsNoSpoon dons his “Howard Dean Mantle of Imperviousness” and says, “Step aside, Digby, *I’ll* handle this!”.  Either that or someone at Advertising Liberally told her to get her house in order or she was going to get cut off.  (One can not accuse me of having a deficit of imagination.)

So, ThereIsNoSpoon made his debut on Hullabaloo to get those morons back in line and toeing the party line.  And let’s throw in a little learned helplessness in there.  We don’t want them to get ideas.  Take them down memory lane.  Howard Dean!  Howard Dean!  Remember how we all wore orange and sang the Marseilles and vowed to purge Washington of the Bushies?  Were those times great or what?  {{this Clarkie rolls her eyes.  I can’t stand Howard Dean}} ThereIsNoSpoon goes on to say how much he doesn’t want to go over 2008 because it’s so five minutes ago and then he loses me forever:

 For those who may not know, I’m 1st Vice Chair of the Ventura County Democratic Party in California, and a recently elected member of the California Democratic Party Executive Board. To many, that would be considered an asset. To others, it might be a curse, a straitjacket preventing free expression of ideas and forcing a toeing of the “party line.” It shouldn’t bear reminding that it was none other than Howard Dean, no slouch in the progressive movement, who first asked of all of us who were upset with cowardice and corporatism in the Democratic Party not to shun the Party, but to actively get involved with it.The reason for Howard Dean’s call to arms was not so that progressives might be co-opted and sell out, but rather that they might storm the gates and force real changes in the Party. I am not alone in having done this in California: my brother Dante is a vice-chair in the L.A. County Dem Party and a CDP E-Board member; Robert Cruickshank, a superb netroots activist and constant and forceful Obama Administration critic, was a vice-chair in the Monterey Dem Party for a long while before moving to Seattle to work on progressive mayor McGinn’s communications team; Brian Leubitz, owner of progressive California blog Calitics is a CDP Regional Director in the Bay Area. Getting involved in this way has been for all of us not a professional consideration, but an ideological one. The entire purpose of being involved is to force changes in the way the Party thinks and the way it behaves in every aspect: from the values of candidates endorsed, to the nature of field operations, to the aggressiveness of communications, and everything in between. These changes do not happen overnight. Often they take years to gestate. Almost invariably they are met with fierce opposition from the comfortable, institutional powers that be, as well as their ideological allies who prize being “nice” and “reasonable” as a greater good than actually solving the problems that face the country.

If even 1/10 of the progressives writing online would become similarly involved and demand that the institutions of the Democratic Party be accountable to the progressive base and the well-polled progressive preferences of the majority of Americans, it would be a boon to our political system. This is why Howard Dean asked us to do it. Nor for the most part would it hamper our ability to speak openly and honestly about our beliefs. What I say here or elsewhere is not the official position of the Democratic Party at any level, nor should be it construed as such. The onlyconstraint on a Party official’s personal positions is that one grant that, at a fundamental level, voting for Democrats is advantageous over voting for members of other parties. That’s a big one, of course, and a non-starter for many in the progressive movement. Which is fine. Reasonable people who want the same things (single-payer healthcare, an end to pointless foreign wars, a decent safety net, a reduction in income inequality, equal rights for all Americans regardless of race, age, gender, orientation, etc.) will certainly differ on the best tactics we might use to get there.

Oh, brother, where to start? I have nothing against people getting all “Student Body President!” in the party at the local level.  Good for him.  I used to attend those meetings. But let’s talk about the party faithful voters who supported Clinton in 2008, or do those people, more than half the party, still not count like the Obama contingent does?  Did THEY not get involved?   From what I could see, they were plenty involved.  I phone banked and canvassed (a LOT in Pennsylvania) for Clinton.  She had no shortage of volunteers.  The weekend before the primary in NJ in 2008, her office in Trenton was jammed with people.  There was nowhere to sit so I had to sit in a backroom with a campaign finance person who was fielding calls from all over the state of NJ.  I tried not to listen but from what I could tell, Obama’s campaign was employing “walking around money”, a lot of it.  From what I could tell, it was an ungodly amount in the millions and millions of dollars.  The Clinton person was saying that the budget for NJ was exhausted and it couldn’t match Obama’s spending there.  The campaign people would have to make do with what it had.  OMG, Clinton was going to have to rely on the strength of her candidacy and not obscene gobs of cash!  (And it worked.  Well, we can’t have that, right?) I think the campaign was even out of bumper stickers.  My car has a spanish one because the English versions were all gone.  She was very, very popular here.  Hillary Clinton won NJ by 10 points anyway, which just goes to show you that money can’t buy you love.  But Jon Corzine ignored all of that and gave our entire delegation to Obama at the Convention.  No, I won’t get over that-ever.

I went to YearlyKos in 2006 and 2007.  I volunteered for Linda Stender in NJ-07.  The party supported her in 2006, completely abandoned her in 2008 even though she could have won this district with their help.  She lost the 2006 election by something like 4,000 votes, which in NJ is *tiny*.  I mean, REALLY tiny.  She could have been a very successful candidate here.  But she was unabashedly liberal and the party didn’t cotton to liberals in 2008.  Would ThereIsNoSpoon like to hazard a guess why that might be?

I stood there in the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas when Wes Clark jumped up on a table and told everyone that blogging was not enough.  He said that if we wanted to win back Congress in 2006, we would have to get out there and meet people and convince them and work our asses off.  So, I tried that.  And my candidates lost anyway.

And why did they lose?  Well, it wasn’t for lack of effort or popularity or policies.  What I have learned about the latest incarnation of the Democratic Party is that they want you to express your opinion and work for your candidates.  But if your candidate is not the one they selected beforehand, then too bad for you and all of your effort.  ThereIsNoSpoon, the voice of the Democratic Party, lays it out to the readers of Hullabaloo:

For various reasons locked into the nature of our winner-take-all Constitution, we have a two-party system, not a parliamentary one. That is very unlikely to change. Further, putting efforts into third parties to the left of the Democrats has not been shown to pull the party to the left, but rather to the right (outside of small, liberal states like Vermont.) Democrats did not look at the votes for Nader in 2000 and move to Party to the left to win those voters; instead, the Bush Presidency shifted the Democrats farther to the right. Theoretically, one could try to bury the Democratic Party in the same grave as the Whigs and start over anew–but what happens in the meantime during Nihilist Republican rule? Will the country survive? Frankly, there are too many deeply vulnerable people in this country and around the world to take that chance.

Which means that for better or for worse, the Democratic Party is what we have to work with. In the short term, that means that Barack Obama, for better or for worse, is what we have to work with at this time (primarying him being pretty much a fantasy, particularly given his still soaring approval rating among the vast majority of self-described liberals.) It’s not pretty, but it’s reality.

It’s therefore our job as progressives to work both from within the Democratic Party and from outside the Democratic Party to make the changes to it we would like to see, to refashion the Party to fit the ideals that the American people deserve. That requires an aggressive, uncompromising stance.

Ahhh, so what ThereIsNoSpoon is saying is that if you work within and from the outside of the Democratic Party to make the changes you want to see, the party will just ignore you and tell you that your insistence on a primary candidate for Obama is a “fantasy”.  In other words, the Democratic party doesn’t want participants.  It wants children.  It is going to be very parental about this.  You aren’t going to get a Democrat who represents you and that’s final.

And what are the ideals that the American people deserve?  The American people have said, pretty definitively, that saving our jobs is at the top of its priority list.  What has Obama done about that?  Nothing.  The American people have said overwhelmingly that they don’t want anyone messing around with social security or Medicare.  And what has Obama proposed?  He proposes raising the eligibility age on Medicare and reformulating social security payments so as to screw recipients out of a sizeable chunk of benefits that they paid and paid and paid for.  He proposes $4 *trillion* in spending cuts.  He didn’t have to propose these changes.  He *volunteered* them.  The austerity measures were gifted to the Republicans for very little in return.

ThereIsNoSpoon goes on to the proven scare tactics to force people back into the fold.  If you don’t vote for Democrats, Michelle Bachmann will win and then what will happen?!?  Jeez, I dunno, how much worse can it get?  I mean really, would crucifixion be that bad after we’ve been drawn and quartered?

Centurion: You know the penalty laid down by Roman law for harboring a known criminal?
Matthias: No.
Centurion: Crucifixion!
Matthias: Oh.
Centurion: Nasty, eh?
Matthias: Could be worse.
Centurion: What you mean “Could be worse”?
Matthias: Well, you could be stabbed.
Centurion: Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death.
Matthias: Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.

I’m firmly of the belief that “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican” but by the time Michelle gets the nomination, the damage will be done, by a DEMOCRAT.  In that eventuality, I might just vote for Michelle.  She and I share almost nothing in common but our XX chromosomes but heck, if the entire Democratic party can use race as a reason for slipping a stealth candidate into the White House in 2008 (no, don’t even try to deny it.  We have the spam), why can’t I vote for Michelle to get MY underrepresented cohort to the pinacle of power?  If Barack Obama doesn’t start representing American New Deal Ideals during The Little Depression, why should I vote for him?  It can’t get any worse with Michelle and if the Democrats get a clue and win back Congress, they might have to play defense for awhile.

I’ve noticed that the “let’s all jump on Michelle” game is getting cranked up by both parties.  Migraines? Oh, please.  Why don’t we just come out and accuse her of letting her raging hormones disqualify her from keeping a cool head during a rough week in the situation room.  I’m already pre-disgusted by this crap.  The Democrats have already lost their credibility with women, why make it worse for the voters who have to continue living as women?

It’s all in vain, Dems.  You will not get me back until you give me a real choice.  I won’t play this game where you pretend to listen to my concerns and still serve me the same breakfast cereal day after day anyway.  I’ve made my feelings known to every campaign financing org that the Democrats have.  Lately, I’ve even heard from the Democratic Party of New Jersey (that’s a first) who solicited me for funds.  This is my message: “I am not contributing to your organization because of the disgraceful way the party treated voters of Hillary Clinton in 2008.  Barack Obama turned out to be a weak president and I do not approve of his policies or performance.  I want a primary challenger for Obama.  Do not bother me again until you get a clue.”

So far, they haven’t gotten a clue.  I am unperturbed by the specter of what will happen next year.  I have my own personal problems, ie joblessness and a fascinating but difficult gifted teen to raise, to worry about what some clueless and disconnected Democrats are going to do.  My vote is my own and next year, I will bestow it upon who I choose and who I think can shake things up the most.  If the Democrats are starting to worry, then good!  But I suggest they stop trying to make it sound like they are concerned with the plight of the poor and most affected during this economic downturn.  *I* am one of those people, a liberal, New Deal Democrat in Exile, and I do not care to keep the current cohort of Democrats in power.  The party still needs votes to win and continuing to ignore the concerns of average Americans in order to not lose face for shoving Obama down our throats is not a winning formula.  So, bring on the disaster.

The lack of planning on their part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

PS: Check out the comment thread on ThereIsNoSpoon’s post.  It’s amazing.  Methinks the party is too late to fix this.  Obama appears to have jumped the shark.

Denver asks Obama-nation to pay convention tab

Yesterday the Rocky Mountain News asked Senator Obama to “take Denver off the hook” and cover the 11 million shortfall in fund-raising for Denver’s share of expenses for the Democratic Convention.

Make the calls to your donors, Sen. Obama. Send the e-mails. Denver should no longer be on the hook for Democratic National Convention expenses. A few exhortations to your supporters could quickly retire the city’s remaining obligations.

After all, Denver is simply providing the venue for Barack Obama’s nomination. It’s his party. It’s only appropriate to ask his contributors to ensure that the celebration is a rousing success.

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