Some thoughts I’ve been having…
First up, last night’s Virtually Speaking featured Joan McCarter from the big orange satan. Jay and Joan discussed the Republican primary in the first part of the show. Jay seemed rather incredulous about the way this whole circus is playing out. I would have to disagree on a couple of points though.
First, it’s not the candidates or the process that is crazy. It’s the party’s voters that are batshit insane. I think years of Glenn and Rush have taken their toll. The dark archetypes of our collective unconscious have been given permission to run amok and the Republican voter’s unconscious, softened by years of angry white male rage and religion, is particularly vulnerable. I don’t think some of these people are even recognizable to their former selves. My relatives have gone through a personality transformation. Towards the end of the Bush years, they were briefly getting better but with the noise machine pulling out all of the stops lately, plus the rotten economy, they’re just not the same people. So, there’s that.
But more than that is the process itself is starting to take on its own internal logic. There is definitely method to the madness of letting the Republican primary stretch on indefinitely, or at least until the convention in the summer. If you don’t believe it, consider that the Republican primaries have driven almost everything else off the front page. Each day, we’re confronted by candidates trying to outdo each other in pandering to their crazy base. The Sunday shows are chock full of Republicans trying to make their case. We’re going to get austerity/deficit reduction messaging continuously until they pick a nominee. I’d say that was extraordinarily successful strategy and not at all crazy.
Secondly, there’s definitely a note of hypocrisy and paradox on our side of the aisle. Jay and Joan toyed with the idea that the Republicans would have a brokered convention, and if I were the Republicans, I’d definitely go for this option. Keep everyone guessing until the last moment. Make sure your arguments and worldview get the most airtime before the public. But the hypocrisy is that this is precisely what we denied ourselves in 2008 when the number of delegates separating the two candidates was about as wide as a gnat’s wing. And not only did we not get a floor fight, we denied the first woman candidate who had ever come that far from even getting a legitimate roll call vote. (And why was that? Well, if we had let a real roll call proceed, everyone would have been immediately aware that they were virtually tied. We couldn’t have that. It would ruin the narrative.) I have yet to hear Jay or anyone on Virtually Speaking explain why we should have found that acceptable. In fact, many Democrats and women, in particular, do not accept it.
Which brings me to another point. I could have sworn that I heard Jay refer to the Hillary holdouts as crazy and compared them rather unfavorably to Republican nutcases. Now, I admit that I might have misheard this and I will be probably force myself to relisten to the podcast but I think Jay has been in the echo chamber too long. While she may not be popular among the Democrats who gave us four years of Obama (thanks for nuthin’ guys), she is very popular among the rest of the country’s voters for good reasons. She has proven herself to be a capable, competent, well-respected politician and administrator, both domestically and abroad. She beats every candidate of both parties in polls, which Democrats do not mention. The people who are crazy are not the holdouts. It is the segment of the Democratic party who insist on clinging to their pre-conceived notions about her. But whatever. What’s really crazy is to go into this fluid, unpredictable election year in the fourth year of a dismal economic crisis without a Plan B. No, Howard Dean is not an option. Remember, you have to appeal to all of the voters.
And as Craig Crawford mentioned on Saturday night, the deadline for getting on the ballot on some of the biggest states has not expired yet. Many of the big Democratic states like California, NJ and Pennsylvania have their primaries late. In NJ, we don’t get to vote until June. A lot could happen between now and then. That lot could consist of endless pounding on Obama’s poor performance in Republican primary debates coupled with a lot of sturm and drang on the deficit. Obama did not use his bully pulpit well in the past three years. He squandered a lot of it with trivial photo-ops in the first year to the point that his appearances on TV are now just background noise. And he’s never been a passionate defender of Democratic values anyway. Plus, there are a lot of people in the Republican party who cannot wait to vote him out of office. They are motivated. What has motivated the Democrats lately?
Let’s not understate the importance of motivation. There isn’t a lot that people can do about the economy, mostly because their elected representatives are not responsive to their concerns or listening to sound economic advice. But there is one thing that people can do that will give them a great deal of satisfaction. They can vote Obama out. I don’t intend to do this because I’m not voting for either major party candidate. I’m sure there’s a third party candidate who will get my vote. But there are millions of people out there who will get a feeling of exultation out of booting him out of the White House and replacing him with a Republican. They don’t even care what comes next. He is the Emmanuel Goldstein who is the cause of so much misery to them. What we’re seeing is the beginning of a three minute hate on steroids. It’s not pretty.
In other words, the Democrats are going to have a real problem come November and throwing a bone like contraceptive coverage to the wimmins ain’t going to cut it for the millions of women who are out of work. To think Obama can just skate to the finish line again because the Republican base is f%^&ing nutz is just crazy.
Lambert has a full report of our trip to Washington with a lot more pictures of the places we visited. Check it out. I still have 40 minutes of video, including an “incident” at the National Portrait Gallery, that are trapped on my Flip camera. Apparently, when Steve Jobs joined the choir invisible, he had not reversed his (untimely) decision to stop supporting PC based apps on the Mac OS. I have Lion. Flip won’t download. Kid has Snow Leopard. *Might* be able to download to her mac if I can find the fricking rosetta disk. If anyone out there has a workaround, detail it in the comments. I mean, a workaround that doesn’t require me to buy or borrow a PC.