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Beta-testing “Hope”

Here is Deval Patrick beta testing the Obama message in the Massachusetts governor’s race in 2006;

Yes, Hope and Change are commonly used words but when they are used in virtually the same way by a different transcendent African-American politician, and not only that but he lifts whole segments about the power of “just words”, then what we have here is a case of “Well, it worked so well in Massachusetts, why not with Obama?”

And what the heck is it with all of Obama’s ties to Massachusetts anyway? Kerry, Kennedy, Patrick, it seems like some kind of rich little northeast cabal. Did the old boys club in Massachusetts get all freaked out that a woman might not win (well, a woman vould win. Just not *this* woman.) that they got together to make Obama the inevitable nominee? Is that what this is all about? These wimps, especially Kerry, who were bitch slapped by the Republicans in 2004 and who are still running scared are prepared to do another capitulation to them rather than stand up to the media narrative, defy it and once and for all put them back in their place? Are progressives being thrown under a bus by the hereditary establishment?

Sure looks like it to me. Where did all of Obama’s money come from? It wasn’t all small donations. No one starts out of the gate with that much cash. The whole Kerry endorsement now looks like a sham. He gave Obama his donor lists a year ago, I’m betting.

I always liked Al Gore. I thought he could extrapolate. He can see what’s coming up next. Kerry always struck me as a bit pedantic compared to Gore. So, I have to believe that Gore can see that if Hillary wins the nomination, she will have gone a long way towards breaking the spell and stranglehold the media has on picking our candidates. It is the GOP-media complex that sets up these contests and then tears down our candidate. They are the perception managers. Encouraging the voters to pay no attention to them would be the patriotic thing to do.

Ya know, I don’t know what was up with Gore and the Clintons. Yes, there have been stories but none of it made a whole lot of sense to me. But as much as Bill has been accused of being Hillary’s ventriloquist, she runs circles around Obama on policy in debates. It’s clear that she really knows this stuff. It’s not robotic. She does variations on a theme. You can’t fake it and she doesn’t. She’s wheathered some of the worst media possible. I don’t think either Gore or Kerry ever had it this bad. She *is* solidly progressive. We don’t really know what Obama is, but we know he’s not necessarily channeling his own inspiration when he speaks.

If Gore was waiting for her to earn it, I think she’s pretty much done that. Surely the Goracle can see who is the better candidate at this point. Here’s a hint: It’s not the one who was given the Deval’s campaign by David Axelrod in the hopes that rhetoric would mask a lack of real substance. The mask is off.

And for you Obamaphiles who are angry because Clinton’s campaign has finally exposed Obama for what he is, well, better late than never.

Borrowed Inspiration? (Updated)

I wanna hold your hand!So, Barack Obama doesn’t write his own poetic and insrpiring words. Well, few politicians do. I could swear I’ve heard some of the stuff I’ve written come out of the mouths of various people from time to time. (I don’t mind as long as I get paid. Euros only, please)

It’s not the fact that he is lifting inspiration from Deval Patrick’s speeches ( and who wrote them for *him*). No, the problem is that this is the characteristic that Obama is most noted for. He has staked almost the entirety of his campaign on delivering lines like this as if they come straight from some inner conviction. He is lauded to the point of inducing nausea in us Clintonistas for his ability to deliver stump speeches that cause grown women to faint from La Petite Mort

But it turns out that Obama is no more than than a Christian to a more poetic Cyrano de Bergerac. Just another pretty face to woo the ladies.

It certainly explains his poor debate appearances where he has to write his own material.

Update: Tweety and Andrea Mitchell are completely laughable! They are trying very hard to equate Obama’s borrowed inspiration to Hillary Clinton reciting the common verse from Isaiah, “Send me!” because Bill said it once too in a completely different context. Heck, even I’ve used that phrase. Was that the best they could do? Send me? I’d like to say that Andrea’s credibility is shot by this but, actually, it was shot a long time ago. It has now entered the realm of fiasco for Mitchell. And Tweety is just an entertainer for the Maxim set.

Of Jacobins and Sans Culottes

sans culotteI have to thank DisenfranchisedVoter for pointing me to Anglachel’s Journal and the jaw-dropping post from today. He/she says it much better than I ever could and she throws in a lot of political science, about which I know virtually nothing. But I *did* read a book about the French Revolution a couple of years ago and have seen a lot of similarities of the netroots to the Jacobins, or I might have said, the Sans Culottes.

And here’s the money quote:

What the right understands is that politics is power and the relationships that generate conditions in which power can be seized, deployed, and increased. They know that the best way to disempower the left (which Paul Krugman covers in great detail in The Conscience of a Liberal) is to disrupt the formation of the political relationships on the left which create points of contact between potential rivals and facilitate discovery of and agreement upon common issues. They do this through politics of fear and division in mass politics, and through smearing and trashing individuals who exhibit leadership in inside-the-beltway politics. One of their sure-fire tactics is to tarnish the reputations of such leaders with the Jacobins. Every politician on the left who has attempted anything of consequence has something in their record to earn the opprobrium of the moralists, left and right, and their “failures” are amplified into crimes against the nation. The netroots attacks the same Democrats that the right attacks, and in nearly identical language and levels of hysteria. The most pure case of this was the hatchet job they did on Al Gore in 2000, effective to the point that even today after all the Bush/Cheney ghouls have done, people on the left sneer at Gore as a hypocrite, a phony, an “establishment” candidate, a “corporatist” and quite a variety of unpleasant names.

The key here is that the netroots, more than any other part of the so-called left, is exquisitely susceptible to the Jacobin impulse, tearing down people and institutions in the name of ending corruption and hypocrisy. And, in this way, it amplifies the efforts of the right to dissolve the structures that place limits upon desires. As there is no end to the ways in which ordinary human beings can screw up or fail to do their best, there is no end to the hunt for the guilty, the punishment of the innocent and the promotion of the non-participants. It also results in candidate promotion that is simply unrealistic coupled with an unwillingness to accept that most of the rest of the political world just wants its goodies and really doesn’t care about Saint So-and-So who will lead us to the Promised Land. The stance of absolutes is inherently a minority position.

I started The Confluence because I got into the posting habit and needed a place to go but also because I thought it was important that we who were thrust from the tribe start to find each other again. The Sans Culottes have taken over the netroots but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to sit here and watch it butcher our coalition and do nothing. We need to create a place to go and reassemble, a place of confluence. I may get upset with Obama but that’s because I see him further fracturing our delicate coalition in his attempts to win and I think we need to call him on it before we give him a chance to be our nominee. He is breaking up the liberal left and pulling us to the right, a recipe for disaster as we engage in vicious squabbling stirred up by his zealous Sans Culottes.

Anyway, just go read it. Some of it is over my head but the premises of the argument are very well done.

Edwards-Obama (non)Endorsement watch

Well, it’s after 1:00 EST and still no endorsement. It’s gotta be soon, at least hit the evening news in order to whisper that certain sweet nothing into the ears of the undecided former Edwardians and swing a few working stiffs Obama’s way. Hmmm, We’ll see.

In the meatime, I thought I’d follow up on the idea that states that have a threshhold value of African-American voters have been favorable to Obama but those where the AA population has been diluted go to Hillary or are very close:

State Primaries (to Date) %African-American Winner
Delaware 21.51 Obama
Maryland 30.12 Obama
Virginia 20.65 Obama
South Carolina 29.68 Obama
New Jersey 15.19 Clinton
New York 15.80 Clinton
California 6.1 Clinton
Massachusetts 7.58 Clinton

(Connecticut 10.8 Obama 51%, Clinton 47%; Missouri 11.07%, Obama 49.2%, Clinton 48.0% In both of these states, Edwards captured 2% of the vote.)

This list is not exhaustive, I’m just highlighting the trend. Connecticut is a weird, quirky state. I canvassed there for Lamont and would often find public housing projects cheek by jowl to upper middle class houses. It’s got inner city neighborhoods as well as a well marbled suburban landscape. It’s fiercely independent and I found many African-Americans who were absolutely devoted to Joe Lieberman. That state was going to be a toughy because of the very high number of independent voters. Yes, Obama won it but not by much. (O-51%, C-47%) It has an semi-open primary and unaffiliated voters can re-register days before the primary to declare a party at the polls. We can’t rule out that there were a bunch of Independents and Republicans who decided to make their presence known by voting for Obama.

Now, here are the states that remain:

State % African-Americans Latest poll trends

Wisconsin 6.48 Obama small lead
Ohio 12.66 Clinton large lead
Texas 12.09 Clinton small lead
Pennsylvania 11.20 Clinton large lead

Now, a lot of readers are going to think this is being racist. It is not. In order for a campaign to win, it has to be able to “count the votes” and know who is solidly on their side and who is persuadable so all of the GOTV resources can be targeted to those voters. This is why it was so critical for Obama to alienate the African American vote from Clinton. African -Americans might well have voted for Clinton in large numbers had Obama not entered the race. Bill Clinton is a well respected figure in the African-American community (or was before David Axelrod got involved). For Obama, the whole campaign has been one of perception and turning it into reality. So, I guess he’s got that “just think it’s true and it will materialize” thing going for him. He saw the political landscape and knew that there would be a frontloading of heavily African-American states upon which he could count to propel the sense of unstoppable momentum. And how many of us associate Delaware, Maryland and Virginia as states with large African-American population? Unless you live on the east coast, you might not know that so it looks like an huge win. And it is. He got a lot of the rest of the population to vote for him but the demographic that puts him over the top is the African-American one. He couldn’t do that in New Jersey even though he wasted a lot of money here because we just don’t reach his AA threshhold. AND, like California, we have a growing number of Asians who love Clinton.

So, coming up, Obama is going ot have problems. He can only get so many of the young and single-issue voters (like Matt Stoller who pushed the button for Obama just because Hillary voted for the IWR. So, universal healthcare is significantly less important to Matt than holding one person accountable for the war and letting the other *non-voting* candidate get all the credit for being against it without having lifted a pinky to stopping it, but I digress). Obama has to turn out every single African-American voter in the remaining states and that number is finite and likely not going to convert it for him.

His game now is to continue the perception that he is wildly popular and unstoppable. He used all of his “time-out” endorsements on SuperTuesday and can now only appeal to Edwards and Gore. It doesn’t look like Edwards is going to endorse. And as I mentioned yesterday, Obama needs working class stiffs in the rust belt states coming up. The Edwards supporters were not these people. Edwards supporters were traditional liberals ala Paul Krugman who might well have already gone to Hillary’s column. The persuadable undecideds that are left are low-info voters who will make their minds up in front of the machines based on the last voice they heard.

Obama will probably win in WI but it is going to be close, I think. There’s only so much positive thinking you can do to overcome the vote count.

Add another data point.  As this post by Big Tent Democrat demonstrates, Obama spent well over a million buckaroos in Florida in an attempt to win the primary he claims should count, but only if it doesn’t count (if you get my drift).  African-Americans make up ~16% of the population there.  Hard to say if overt campaigning on Obama’s part would have gotten him the win but it’s not for lack of trying with bundles of cash.  BTW, as I suspected, Hillary has been winning these states on a budget.  Maybe that’s because she blew a lot of it on Iowa and NH but you gotta hand it to her, where she has won, it wasn’t by being a spendthrift.  Hmmmm, maybe it’s her message..,

Happy President’s Day! Er, First Ladies Day!

Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate some Presidents with strong wives who would have made fine presidents in their own right:


The marriage of John and Abigail truly was one of equals and he had deep and abiding respect for her fine intellect. She held down the farm while he was creating a country, lived through a devastating small pox epidemic, tended to the casualties of the Revolutionary War, accompanied her husband to France and was friends with Thomas Jefferson. Her letters to John are a thing of beauty and are a rich addition to our history of that period. This year, I hope we will have a chance to “Remember the ladies”, as Abigail told John in a “kidding on the square” way. Go, Abby!

  • James Madison and Dolly Madison: He was a visionary and she was a feisty, party girl who loved to dress up in feathers and do snuff. But Dolly was no airhead. She was prescient enough of the dangers around her that she sometimes slept with a sabre by her bed and had the presence of mind to save many valuable papers and works of art as the British descended on the first White House to burn it down. Our national archivists owe a debt of gratitude to Dolly. Take a bow, Dolly!
  • Woodrow Wilson and Edith Galt Wilson: Edith was Woodrow’s second wife, his first wife, Ellen, having died in 1914. Unlike the reclusive Ellen, Edith was a woman who was not afraid to intercede on her husband’s behalf, a role she took on after Woodrow suffered a stroke in 1919. Edith was called the “First Woman President” although she would have preferred to term it stewardship. She was credited and blamed for various diplomatic events. So, what else is new? For a country coming out of a massive war unlike any the world had ever seen, Edith stepped in to leadership when things might have spiralled out of control. Thank you, Edith.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt: One of the only times I ever saw my grandmother furious at me was when I said that Eleanor Roosevelt was kinda plain. “Don’t you EVER say that about Eleanor!”, she screamed at me, “She was a beautiful woman and you would be lucky to ever grow up to be like her.” She didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day. (Sorry, Gram) For people who grew up in The Great Depression, Eleanor Roosevelt was the very essence of compassion, dignity and inner strength. She was a champion of civil rights for African-Americans and after her years as First Lady was appointed to the United Nations as a delegate by President Truman. I don’t think there is enough praise we can heap on this fine lady.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ladybird Johnson: While Lyndon took on poverty and the war, Ladybird fought her own battles for the environment. Her motto, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope” was put into action with the Highway Beautifcation Act limiting the number of billboards and planting wildflowers along our nation’s highways. She was also an advocate of the Head Start program. Ladybird was a successful businesswoman as well and owned substantial media outlets in Texas. She knew the value of good press and put it to use in getting Democrats elected. This astute woman would have made a great blogger.
  • Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: Rosalynn always struck me a soft spoken person who carried a big stick behind the scene. She is a focussed individual who has turned her attention to insurance for the mentally ill and was working with Daniel Wellstone last year on the “Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act”. She is on the board of Habitat for Humanity where she and her husband still volunteer their time. Rosalynn shows that just because you’ve left the White House doesn’t mean your responsibilities as a First Lady have ended.

Those are a few of my favorites. Tell me about your favorite First Lady in the comments. Of course, my current favorite will create quite a splash in the history books. Why not throw a couple bucks in her tip jar to help make it happen?

Help Hillary Make History!

“A Massive Death Star of Right-Wing Machinery”

That’s what $250,000,000 will buy you. I’ve mentioned this before back in January in Bill vs, $250 Million GOP Ad Campaign. The 501(c)(4) that is being created to crush us is called Freedom’s Watch. (Jaysus, the GOP must have eaten Orwell for breakfast) It is being funded by some Sith Lords, er, billionaires who believe that Ebeneezer Scrooge was ahead of his time.

Today, Seeing the Forest starts an initiative to fight it and the poisonous narratives it’s about to spin to convince voters that Hillary or Obama really *are* the weakest, lying, cowardly criminals that ever ran for president but that John McCain will make us all rich and give everyone ponies!

Damn, if only there were a bunch of jedi knights that would stop fantasizing and get their #$%@ together to lead us through this perilous time… Hmmmm, maybe not. And we sure as heck can’t expect any help from the gullible media who accept every stupid story without question. Looks like we’re on our own, Kiddies.

The Freedomswatch Newsladder is up.

From Freedom Watch’s homepage:

Welcome to Freedom’s Watch  

For too long, conservatives have lacked a permanent political presence to do battle with the radical special interest groups and their left-wing allies in government.

Stop! You’re killing me here. I’m going to get coffee on my keyboard. (No, I’m not providing a link. If you want to catch rightwing comedy in action, you’ll have to google it yourself)