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    • The NYTimes Reveals More Than It Means
      Watch this video. It’s only 39 seconds. It’s worth it. What’s interesting to me about this video is NOT what Bernie says, it’s the reaction. It’s how genuinely uncomfortable the people interviewing him (The NYTimes editors) are. They really think he’s saying something terrible. Something awkward. Something embarrassing. What is he saying? “I ignore the […] […]
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The Confluence Demographics Survey Results

This is an update to the survey post I did on Tuesday.  We were having trouble with the graphics but have fixed the pics now.  Enjoy!

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Thanks to everyone who took our survey.  That would be 561 of you!  The survey was not intended to be scientific in any way.  It was more or less a show of hands to help us determine who our readers are.  It also wasn’t freeped.  There were a couple outliers.  They were dead giveaways.  It seems that children can’t help adding stupid comments to their responses. We have removed them.

Other than that, what does our survey say about us?  Well, we haven’t thoroughly analyzed and crosstabbed everything yet but in general, we’re very much like Firedoglake’s demographic.  We’re well-educated and fairly affluent.  That is not to say that people who don’t have degrees aren’t smart.  Maybe Jane Hamsher would say such a thing but we never would.  We suspect there are more than a few Michael Faradays in our cohort who don’t have degrees but still managed to get Obama’s number from the very beginning.  But enough talk, let’s do the numbers.

Note: You’d be surprised at how many grey hairs there were at YearlyKos 1 and 2.  The lefty blogosphere is older than you’d think.

Note: This is unsurprising.  We’ve tried hard to make sure women feel comfortable commenting here.  Of course, men are also welcome.

Note: Our readership is primarily straight but the gay community is well represented and should feel welcome here.

Note:  *Most* of you in the ‘other’ category have JD’s, followed by MDs.  The remaining others are working on their PhDs or other advanced degree.  Some others have degrees I’m not familiar with.  I’ll try to break this down a bit more later.  I’ll also try to cross check “some college” with age to see if it correlates to students.  (in my copious free time…)

Note:  This one surprised me.  Most of us make more than the average American.  Some of you answered for yourselves only and not for your entire family.  Why the Democratic party would want to throw away all of these potential donors is mystery to me but I guess we’re just not rich enough.

Note: Preliminary analysis shows that the less money you make, the more likely you are to be socialist.   Readers in the $80-100K range tended to identify more as Democrats.  Above that level, there were more Independents.  Ideas, anyone?

Note: I regret not including more categories for this question.  Most of the ‘others’ worked in the medical industry but some of you others had some very cool jobs.  We have published novelists and museum administrators and some very well paid bloggers among our group.  I’m still reading through all of the responses but, in general, I’d say our lives are fascinating.

Note: Many of you wealthier readers consider yourselves to be very liberal.  I guess you didn’t forget how you got to the top.  Well done.  We may be the voters now known as Liberal Not Democrat or LNDs.  The party is starting to fidget about us.  Good.  I suspect we are the ones who brought down Corzine.  Our numbers are small right now but growing.  We provide the margin of victory for some Democrats.

Note: This was no surprise, except for the fact that Joe Biden didn’t get even one vote from among our ranks. Eventually, even Joe got one vote.

Note:  My apologies to the Native Americans and bi-racial readers.  The survey was prepared rather quickly and the responses were already coming in when I realized my mistake.

Ok, so there you have it.  My initial impressions are that we are not Reagan Democrats.  We are mostly middle class to upper middle class, relatively well paid and smart.  We wouldn’t be outliers on Firedoglake or any other lefty blog.  We are them.  All you lurkers who have been afraid to identify yourselves with us can relax.  We’re smart, whether we have degrees or not and we’re not easily fooled.  The only thing that separates the rest of the lefty blogosphere from us is our higher number of female readers (a plus!) and the fact that we caught onto Obama earlier than they did.  We’ll have to do another survey to find out why that is.  Anyone have any ideas?

Epiphanies: My Dawning Realizations about Barack Obama

Dawning realization

Epiphany: a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b : a revealing scene or moment

Yesterday, Riverdaughter suggested that we make this “Epiphany Weekend” at TC. The idea is to look back over the past couple of years and recall the epiphanies that we had early on that made us so highly skeptical about Barack Obama as a candidate for President.

For me, the very first wake-up call I had about Obama was this diary at Dailykos way back in September 2005. In the diary, then Senator Obama lectured the Kos community about “tone, truth, and the Democratic Party,” which defending Democratic Senators who had voted to confirm John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In the diary Obama strongly criticized people at Dailykos and other liberal blogs who wanted Congressional Democrats to stand up for Democratic principles and stop rolling over for Bush on every issue. (I have used bold type to highlight a couple of sections.)

According to the storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists – a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog – we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. They have beaten us twice by energizing their base with red meat rhetoric and single-minded devotion and discipline to their agenda. In order to beat them, it is necessary for Democrats to get some backbone, give as good as they get, brook no compromise, drive out Democrats who are interested in “appeasing” the right wing, and enforce a more clearly progressive agenda….

I think this perspective misreads the American people. From traveling throughout Illinois and more recently around the country, I can tell you that Americans are suspicious of labels and suspicious of jargon. They don’t think George Bush is mean-spirited or prejudiced, but have become aware that his administration is irresponsible and often incompetent. They don’t think that corporations are inherently evil (a lot of them work in corporations), but they recognize that big business, unchecked, can fix the game to the detriment of working people and small entrepreneurs. They don’t think America is an imperialist brute, but are angry that the case to invade Iraq was exaggerated, are worried that we have unnecessarily alienated existing and potential allies around the world, and are ashamed by events like those at Abu Ghraib which violate our ideals as a country.

It’s this non-ideological lens through which much of the country viewed Judge Roberts’ confirmation hearings. A majority of folks, including a number of Democrats and Independents, don’t think that John Roberts is an ideologue bent on overturning every vestige of civil rights and civil liberties protections in our possession. Instead, they have good reason to believe he is a conservative judge who is (like it or not) within the mainstream of American jurisprudence…

In the rest of the diary, Obama attempted to make a case for the kind of “consensus-building” we have been watching since he moved into the White House–the kind where the Democrats compromise their values ahead of time and continue to compromise them in the face of Republican (and Blue Dog) objections.

Let me be clear: I am not arguing that the Democrats should trim their sails and be more “centrist”…. Too often, the “centrist” label seems to mean compromise for compromise sake, whereas on issues like health care, energy, education and tackling poverty, I don’t think Democrats have been bold enough. But I do think that being bold involves more than just putting more money into existing programs and will instead require us to admit that some existing programs and policies don’t work very well. And further, it will require us to innovate and experiment with whatever ideas hold promise (including market- or faith-based ideas that originate from Republicans).

Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will. This is more than just a matter of “framing,” although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required. It’s a matter of actually having faith in the American people’s ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.

Of course Obama never made clear what “core values” he would be willing to stand up for.

Reading this diary was my first wake-up call–it gave me my first real clues to who Obama really was. Before that, my only impressions of him were based on the speech he had given at the 2004 Democratic. He had come across to me as really smooth and slick, but nothing he said in the speech was really earth-shaking and none of it was memorable enough to stick with me. Still, I think I my overall impression was positive. But after reading Obama’s Kos diary, I my impression of him started to turn more negative. Continue reading