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This Week’s ESP- January 27, 2008

Sibyl TrelawneyTime to predict what next week’s themes are going to be:

  • High Broderism is still the Villager’s favorite governing style.  It doesn’t rock their little boat on the Potomac.  For those new to this term, High Broderism is the theory espoused by WaPo columnist David Broder that if the Democrats would just abandon every one of their core principles and reach out to Republicans and compromise with them, then, every pressing issue would be resolved amicably and we’d all have tea,  This is ridiculous, of course.  Because the cold hard reality is that Republicans don’t believe in compromise.  They are prepared to hold their breaths while strangling the country to get what they want and they are perfectly capable of doing it from a filibuster proof minority.  You can’t get around them with less than 60 votes in the senate and they are impervious to negotiation.  But it all sounds so harmonious and philanthropic.  So, Obama is running as the High Broderite candidate and pulling the young, independents and the college educated (but not necessarily smart) onto his side in order to win the nomination.  If he wins it, the GOP is going to paint him as the biggest flaming liberal whoever lived.  But getting back to High Broderism, expect this to be pushed heavily by the media using the clip of Obama’s SC victory speech as an example of what the country wants.  They will continue to pressure Clinton to abandon “partisanship” for the sake of bringing the country together.  The country doesn’t really want High Broderism.  It wants universal health insurance, social security, social justice, the rich to pay their fair share, labor protections, etc, etc.  But strategy is so much harder to describe in 30 seconds than an optimistic Change! soundbite.  If I were running, I’d turn this around on the media and ask them to identify what they mean by the terms “partisanship”, especially when it comes to a primary season where the contestants are supposed to be representing their “party”.  We’ve learned from the past 2 elections that running to the right of the party doesn’t work so appealing to the party in the primary season would seem to be pretty logical, especially if the rest of the country is on our side.  Emphasizing the differences between the two parties should work once High Broderism is defined as a failure.  One need only point to the well-meaning but feckless Congress as evidence of how it works.
  • Obama is a cypher.  Expect Hillary to try to pin him down.
  • Expect the Big Dawg to lower his profile.  Expect his every utterance to be misinterpreted and magnified anyway including ordering his coffee black.  I don’t agree with Josh Marshall when it comes to the Big Dawg.  If anything, Bill has held back.  Obama is an incredibly weak presidential candidate when you think about it.  He really doesn’t have much going for him other than an inspiring stump speech.  But the media is clearly on his side.  What I *have* noticed, however, is the consistent level of disgust across the lefty blogs with Hillary’s campaign machine and operatives.  I personally *loathe* Joe Trippi and David Axelrod and think they’re both disgusting, as disgusting as any Hillary operative.  But the antipathy runs against Clinton’s camp quite heavily.  I don’t know if this is genuinely earned.  Like I said, I find all of the campaign’s consultants to be overpaid shills.  So, I’m wondering if the lingering aftereffects of the Clinton investigations and impeachment has some of us conditioned to feel especially nauseous whenever Bill Clinton shows his face on TV.  I appreciate Josh’s struggle with his uneasiness but I just don’t find his explanation convincing.  I would definitely object if Bill was actively defending Hillary against unfair treatment but that’s not really what he’s been doing.  His attacks on Obama have actually been quite tame and Hillary has shown herself to be more than capable of defending herself.  She could do the next week all on her own with no one but Chelsea stumping for her and her strengths would no be diminished.   I think Josh has to think about this some more.  There’s something else at the bottom of all this disgust that probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you get right down to it.
  • Expect Obama’s camp to start accusing Clinton’s of calling him a “Black candidate” in order to marginalize him. The fact that it was Obama’s camp that played the race cad to begin with will be conveniently overlooked.  Also, should be easy to thwart.  You know it’s coming.  OK, it’s already here and they are already pouncing on Bill Clinton’s statements about Jesse Jackson’s wins.  But here’s the thing, the only one who would have benefitted by stirring up racial tension in SC is Obama.  And he did it to win the majority Black voters.  So, now he has identified himself with black voters and he wants to be seen as a racially diverse candidate.  The rest of the country is sitting back and seeing this incredible blowout in a southern conservative state, the legacy of slavery still evident by the one room wooden cabins under the Spanish moss on old plantations.   We all know what South Carolina is or at least, I have a clue because I  lived there as a kid.  Obama was always going to win this state.  If he wanted to be a diverse candidate, he didn’t have to drive a wedge in the party with race baiting.  Merely showing up would have given him a nice win.  But that just wasn’t good enough.  So he pulled out all of the stops and got this wildly lopsided victory and has now somewhat defined himself.  He can bluster about the Jesse Jackson comments now and expect everybody and their brother to take his side but this genie is already out of the bottle.  Florida isn’t that far away from South Carolina and the south hasn’t been completely erased there.
  • Expect DailyKos to go through another “Rec List Hostage Crisis” as the Edwardians try to deal with the next stage of grief.  But as flawed a politician as Edwards is, his core Democratic principles are closer to Clinton’s than Obama’s.  Something to think about.
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6 Responses

  1. I’m genuinely puzzled by the blog-frenzy over Bill’s comments. Every single major newspaper I’ve read mentioned race in the first paragraph of their SC stories. SC would have been a stunning story if Obama took 55% across the board, of both blacks and white, but that didn’t happen, so the press is pointing out the obvious, that SC was about the black vote.

    There is not a thing wrong with blacks voting for Obama in huge percentages, but it’s silly to pretend that this extrapolates to other states and other ethnic groups. Alternately, it’s silly to pretend that it is a racial dog whistle to point out that this is not the case.

    Help me out here.

  2. I think you nailed it pretty well. When it came to South Carolina, Hillary couldn’t afford to alienate black voters. So she didn’t. It was Obama that alienated them from her on his behalf. He played the race card by getting all outraged by what turned out to be fairly innocuous statements. Then his campaign turned every criticism of him into a racial issue with more mock outrage. Now, we are at the point where if you say *anything* about Obama, it’s characterized as having a racial overtone.
    And they did this before Iowa too. So, knowing that this is there pattern, there’s got to be a way to creak it.
    But, yeah, SC was always going to be Obama’s. It was just a matter of degree. The fact that he got something like 78% of the black vote shows how effective he was. But it also means that he deliberately introduced this wedge and now he’s got to live with it.

  3. As some of us discussed, all of this was inevitable the night after NH with JJjr’s Katrina bomb: the SC black vote would go hugely for Obama, and it would likely backfire in states with larger white and Latino populations.

    But that doesn’t explain why Josh, Drum, and other otherwise bright liberals are acting like idiots.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices that young Ezra is practically the only clear thinker in the entire blogosphere. But the reason is simple: Ezra overcomes his age with studied objectivity and a lot of reading.

    Josh? Well, everyone can be a moron from time to time. Somerby hasn’t been this funny in a long time, but he has a lot of material to work with.

  4. Does Joah’s attitude really surprise you? There was a point in time when he tut-tutted DailyKos types as being the non-intellectual rabble. (Well, it is *now*, but it wasn’t then)
    He’s also got a media crew who is 50/50 Clinton/Obama. But here’s the thing with Josh: he’s no different than Markos or Jane or Chris or many, many others who have a visceral negative response to the Clinton campaign operatives and I think they are letting it influence their posts. I hear about how much they loathe Penn, Wolfson et al all the time but IMHO, there isn’t a campaign operative on TV that I haven’t had that response to. Why is it worse when it is a *Clinton* campaign operative? What do they know that we don’t? Or is it that they don’t know anything more than we do but they are responding to something in the collective unconsciouss? Something nasty and dank that was planted there years ago, negative affect that seeped in via osmosis in spite of their best attempts to intellectually reject it?
    That’s what I think this is. Because everytime I see Hillary and Obama together, she just comes out ahead. Even Josh admits that he doesn’t care for Obama’s brand of trascendent politics and he “knows* that Obama is pretty thin gruel. But he is struggling with this resiidual Clinton thing and can’t shake it.
    BTW, did you want to cross post here? If so, send me an email. The pressure to create content is making my BFF and adolescent cross. I need help.

  5. Sure. Email on the way.

  6. I don’t have yours, so email me at pacific_john at yahoo dot net

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