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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.

37 Responses

  1. terrific post

    In other words, the Democratic party doesn’t want participants. It wants children.

    Yup….didn’t he tell us to eat our peas??

    Bachmann is Palin 2.3. and its same script and the same shit….if she is given the GOP nom, it’s to help Barry get inreinstalled…but even she might not be enough of a ringer to help this total loser

    • Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Oh! I fergot. I said S# P….my bad lol!

    • If TINS could only get published there would be no insomnia..

      he loves himself, he thinks he’s grand,
      when he goes to the movies he holds his hand
      and when he gets fresh he slaps his face.

    • Why don’t we see if we can get Wasserman Shultz or her assistant Josh to stop by for a live blog? They know it will be all but impossible to reelect _
      and are highlighting women in congress and Women in the senate! as if that will erase the memory of 08.

  2. Before I read this, I posted over on the Hullabazoo that it had jumped the shark.

    Great minds think alike… :mrgreen:

  3. if he had thrown ONE BONE to his freaking base, then the rent-a-trolls
    would have an easier time of it….but noooooo, not one damn bone.

    Perhaps there IS a limit to the Obama lover’s tastes for punishment? ya think?

  4. Ha!! This is great — I wanted to write this post myself. My idea was to start by reprinting some of the comments to that post. What an upside down world.

    I spit on There IsNoSpoon, what a piece of crap.

    • I fart in TINS’s general direction. His mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries. :mrgreen:

      “Can we come up and have a look?”

      “Of course not! You are Oborg types!” 😆

  5. Well done, RD! All I can say is that I worked my but off for the party donating my time during my days off from work during various Dem campaigns (Kohl, Feingold, Doyle, Obey, the Moores) only to be told in 2008 by boys wearing insulting t-shirts that I didn’t know what I was talking about when I pointed out their lit drops about Clinton were simply lies. I was *surprised* at the time to see in 2007 that Obama didn’t even have a rep at Milwaukee’s Labor Fest on Labor Day. But in 2008, he gave famous speeches overfilling the park so we couldn’t attend without having a special ticket. Then I saw Obama wimper out of the fight to save WI state workers’ collective bargaining rights. Many expected, thought, than hoped, that at some time he would jump in & provide a strong argument on our behalf. He didn’t. He still doesn’t articulate a strong defense for Liberal policies. He uses (and implicitly) defends republican ones every time he calls the stalwarts of FDR liberalism “entitlements.” Without hesitation he puts on the table the only bargaining chip we had to counter the new group of repubs — hold out on extending the Bush tax cuts. Then he’s first to put on the table again (nary 6 months later) cuts to the big 3 and sulks because his Grand Plan is rejected by republicans.

    The legacy of New Deal is going down in shambles and Obama is singularly the one who is chopping away at the foundation. And Obama offers no policies for real national mortgage relief, a WPA program, or any other jobs program. I also read recently that NAFTA will extended to include 3 more countries. All this at the time of the Little Depression. This is what the young sees and believes is LIBERALISM … and they have no desire to learn the real history of FDR because the MSM, with a daily drumbeat, has sold them on the idea that Obama is the black FDR. With a Democrat like this what difference does it make if we have a R in the WH at this point??

    the comments at Digby are pretty hilarious.

  6. Wonderful post, and oh so true. I worked for Hillary’s campaign in PA . We actually opened a campaign office in our small town for Hillary through fund raising efforts on the part of the volunteers and supporters, we did not get anything from the Democratic party to help with our efforts. We did it because she was by far the best person for the job. In the meantime the mayor of our town paid rent on a building so Obama supporters could open an office for their golden child. I will never forget how we were treated for supporting Hillary, but I wonder how many of Obama’s supporters would like a do-over for their stupidity.

  7. I can’t bring myself to vote for the Reptilians, but I voted Green in 2008 and 2010, and I’ll be happy to vote Green, or for other 3rd party or independent candidates, in 2012. :mrgreen:

  8. I would love for you to comment on this, RD. It is a video from a meeting of Stand for Children. The group that was responsible for getting the educational system of the Chicago Public School system changed by nullifying the power of the teacher’s union, specifically their right to strike.

    A longer version of the entire meeting provides insight as to how they worked on more difficult states (like WI) who had stronger unions to contend with. Listen to the Q&A at the end. It’s aptly titled, “How to Fool the Unions and Bribe Politicians – Aspen Institute session on SB 7”

    • Just a quick point. I didn’t post this to comment on the efficacy of the education reform policy in IL. I’m more interested in how the pursuit of change re: this single-issue resulted in the nullification of the union, how its being applied in other states, and that it emanated from a seemingly progressive org. Although I’d argue that utilizing terms like CEOs instead of superintendent and focusing on a business-like structure for new budget accountability is not typically what I’d deem progressive. But since it is employed by Secty of Educ Arne Duncan makes me wonder.

  9. Hillary always had the volunteers….tons of people who wanted to do something for real . That’s how she could fight as long as she did. But as this post points out, New Dems no like that…and they still don’t

    We don’t need the people, we just need the checks

    Obama 2008

    • Yep. Remember how they told us we weren’t needed by Brazilla herself?

      • Brazilla Gorilla? 😈

      • Remember how MABlue said that Brazile’s unhelpful commentary was negatively impacting his impression of the country?
        Too funny. Those were the days.

  10. Unforgiveable! The Democrat party’s “leadership” is just as corrupt as the GOP’s. From Dean to Brazille, the “professional left” has done the work of their donors well. It seems that the Obamanation has offered John Boehner all spending cuts this year and a “discussion” about tax increases next year.

  11. BO really is a Republican ya know. 😆

  12. Yeah, good post. I mean, the Dems snuffed something huge out of me in 2008 (I’m a lifelong Dem). The horrible treatment of HRC was one thing, but foisting No Balls on us was the last straw. I’m beyond disgusted. What is the point of getting involved after what the Democratic party showed me in 2008? They destroyed something really significant—they totally killed my loyalty. I’m not going to vote Republican. I just won’t vote because I can’t participate in the charade.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s all over. We had one last chance will Hillary. Barry will be a one-termer, then 8 more years of Rethugs, probably. American is broken and nobody wants to fix it. I’m over 50. All I plan to do is hunker down and hope for the best with the time I have left. The idealism is gone. Hopey-Changey killed any hope for the country I had left.

  13. Excellent post, RD. We needed FDR and the Democratic Party gave us Reagan instead.

    I am not supporting President Obama’s re-election. I am not sure if I shall vote or who I shall vote for, but it will not be for Obama.

    I respectfully disagree about one thing: I have experienced migraines and think it, like other health issues that could incapacitate a president, is fair game. It depends on the frequency and severity, but questions about it are legit.


    • Yep, migraines can be debilitating. But there are medications for them and you can learn to avoid the things that trigger them. Finally, it’s ludicrous to believe that migraines sidelined a woman who took in so many foster children and ran for office.
      It looks like they didn’t slow her down a bit.
      That doesn’t mean I like her. IRS just that given her record if success, this is an issue that smells of sexism to me.

  14. One more thing. I think the Democratic branch of the Democratic party must defeat the re-election of President Obama — and we must take credit for it. The party has to know why they lost the Presidency. That’s the only way to get through to them.


  15. If just the real HRC supporters withheld their votes from Democrats in the elections since 2008, it was enough to cost the Democrats the heavy losses they incurred.
    ….”there are too many deeply vulnerable people in this country and around the world to take that ”
    … and some of those most vulnerable are the “losers” who – from the tone of this comment section – saved the best for last…and me gets the gut sense that ya’ll are culling your most vivid emotions and eye-opening discoveries into one comprehensive shove to his insubstantial ass…’les’t he fail to take his plouff, axlerod, biden bozos with him, make sure his primary opponent employs the same scorched earth destruction of they who shall not be fit to call themselves Democrats.

  16. Per Corrente (Michael Hudson)

    Shiela Bair said that the too big to fail banks had enough assets to cover their depositors. The problem was that there was no where near enough money to cover the trillions in credit derivatives. Timmy Geithner told Obama what to do and he did it.
    The big 5 could have failed and depositors kept safe.

    It is a shame to see this happen.

  17. Well, I’ve held similar party positions to Mr. Ihaveacokespoon and I’ve been on my State Executive Committee, too. If the Democratic Party wanted my continued participation, Donna B. wouldn’t have told people like me to get lost in 2008.

    Frankly, I’m not particularly optimistic about the future of electoral politics in this country: both major parties are bought and paid for, as is the judiciary. Any attempt to challenge the status quo will be ignored by the MSM and astroturfed to death on the net. I’m pretty much expecting complete collapse of the social and economic order, with all the violence that implies.

  18. Great post. I also agree with you that folks like Digby and Atrios, although great writers and gifted diagnosers of our leaders’ mistakes, are chickenshits when it comes to calling for Obama and his ilk to take responsibility for those mistakes. It’s not rocket science – the way ordinary people like us can hold them responsible isn’t by volunteering until we drop and then hoping they’ll listen, it’s withholding our votes if they don’t do what we ask them to do. Atrios and Digby never go there, and it means they’ll never have real political influence to go with the modestly significant megaphones they possess. If one Dem pol or opinion writer of real influence would just break ranks and call bullshit, and do it by urging the punishment of the current regime, it could be the start of some real “dialogue,” and not the fake kabuki kind our leaders always use to screw us. But they don’t, and it may not be disillusioning since I have few of those left, but it is disappointing.

    • I don’t read Digby but Atrios is pretty forthright with the calling out Obama.

      I can’t get a feed on whether he’s disgusted enough to do anything about it but he’s definitely not a happy camper.

  19. I am Second Assistant Vice Chair of The Avenues Democratic Coalition in Salt Lake City, home of the bluest of all dogs, Jim Matheson. There is a spoon and it currently is lodged in a most painful place. Dean had his Fifty State Strategy and as the Utah State Democratic Party Chair explained to me, the idea was to get as many Democrats, no matter how purple, into office. Then these dogs would gradually be leashed and brought back into the True Yard of BIg Tent Happiness. Um, did not quite work out that way.

    • Cluelessness was only one of the many reasons why Howard Dean would have made a terrible presidential candidate.

  20. Riverdaughter you have hit the nail on the head. This Spoon person was parachuted into Digby’s to whip the snivelers into shape and to abort this nasty talk about Obama. The media, Obama infected Democratic party apparatchiks, cowed Congressional members, and his hirelings cannot cover his ass any more. Rigged polling and the Bradley affect will not cover his behind He is going to loose and he will take the entire caucus rigging, lying, misogynistic, class hating, dumb ass party pimps with him.

    Reading Spoon’s self righteous, prissy, pissy, self involved little sermon reminded me of most of the Obot crud that rolled into town in 2008 to wreck havoc. They all thought they were going to be big shots after the election. They had to come “help” us because we were so ignorant and backward and they had to correct our thinking. They did not give a hoot in hell what locals had done for decades for the party, and they did not give a shit what local voters wanted or needed. It amused me to no end when none of them got jobs in the administration because Barack went straight to Wall St, Chicago and Harvard to get 100% of his administration staff. He used these principle-less wannabees like toilet paper. It is amazing what economic hardship will do to alter opinions and focus the mind. Everyone, EVERYONE I know wants Obama gone. NOW.

  21. […] I love a good rant, and Riverdaughter has posted a couple of doozies the past two days. Real stream-of-consciousness spleen venting. Awesome. Thursday: The Ass in the Room […]

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