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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 20, 2019
      This post is by Tony Wikrent I have been looking at the work of Cornell University law professor Robert Hockett, who is serving as an economics adviser to Representative Alexandria Occasio-Cortez. I have been delighted to find that Hockett has been working the same angle I have: applying the classical republicanism that informed the creation of […]
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The Obama Movement


Sean Wilentz discusses how Obama sowed the seeds of his own destruction:

The dream of the Obama presidency based on a movement model of politics was devised by Marshall Ganz, a veteran union organizer and lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School, hired as an Obama campaign official and charged with training Obama volunteers—and articulated by Ganz’s ally, Peter Dreier, also an Obama adviser, a member of Progressives for Obama, and a politics professor at Occidental College. Ganz was both the theorist and practitioner of the Obama-as-movement-leader notion while Dreier played the role of publicist, heralding the new age in articles in The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, and Dissent. Ganz’s projection of the Obama presidency gained its prestige from the hallowed memories of the civil rights and farmworker union movements, imbued with high moral as well as political purposes. He posed it against the threadbare, craven horse-trading and maneuvering of parties and all previous presidential politics, which Ganz believes were “practiced to maintain, rather than change, the status quo.” The Obama experiment, a movement that arose from the grassroots apart from the Democratic Party, would usher in a purer moral and more effective leadership to the White House. Obama would not merely alter government policy but also transform the very sum and substance of the political system.

As its advocates were thrilled to point out in the aftermath of the 2008 election, their own work had ensured that Obama and his presidential campaign embodied the social movement model—and they insisted that the model was what elected him. The “real key” to Obama’s victory, Dreier wrote, was not the meltdown of the financial system in 2008, the military stalemate in Iraq, George W. Bush’s unpopularity, or even Obama’s then much celebrated charisma. The victory was owed, Dreier wrote, to “grassroots organizing.” For the first time ever, Dreier exulted, Americans had “elected a former community organizer as their President.” And just as the insurgent campaign had been transformative, so would the Obama presidency. As organizer-in-chief, President Obama would rely upon the movement that had elected him in order to reform health care, end global warming, and restore economic prosperity. Freed from the constraints of the status quo by this new political idea, the White House would be able to orchestrate through the movement and inspired through Obama’s oratory the much vaunted “change we can believe in.”

That sure sounds pretty neat, doesn’t it? So what went wrong?
Continue reading

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Gawker still doesn’t get it


As I’m sure you all know by now, the website Gawker published the salacious details of an alleged no-sex one night stand some guy claimed to have had with Christine O’Donnell. This was too much even for Andy Sullivan, and NOW as well as most feminist bloggers condemned the article.

So did Gawker apologize? Not hardly.

What’s missing from most of the criticism is this essential bit of context: Christine O’Donnell is seeking federal office based in part on her self-generated, and carefully tended, image as a sexually chaste woman. She lies about who she is; she tells that lie in service of an attempt to impose her private sexual values on her fellow citizens; and she’s running for Senate. We thought information documenting that lie—that O’Donnell does not live a chaste life as she defines the word, and in fact hops into bed, naked and drunk, with men that she’s just met—was of interest to our readers.

Much of the criticism leveled against us is based on the premise that we think hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women whenever one wants is “slutty,” and that therefore our publication of Anonymous’ story was intended to diminish O’Donnell on those terms. Any reader of this site ought to rather quickly gather that we are in fact avid supporters of hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with men or women that one has just met.

Our problem with O’Donnell—and the reason that the information we published about her is relevant—is that she has repeatedly described herself and her beliefs in terms that suggest that there is something wrong with hopping into bed, naked and drunk, with a man or woman whom one has just met. So that fact that she behaves that way, while publicly condemning similar behavior, in the context of an attempt to win a seat in the United States Senate, is a story we thought people might like to know about. We also thought it would get us lots of clicks and money and attention. But we thought it would get us clicks and money and attention because it was exposing her lies.

Well then, since “exposing lies” justifies their publishing the lurid allegations about O’Donnell’s alleged sexual history, I guess candidates no longer have any right to privacy whatsoever. Everything is fair game.

Jeebus, can you imagine the can of worms that would be? But somehow I doubt we’ll ever see an unmarried male candidate slut-shamed for what was (even if true) legal and consensual sexual behavior.

Whoever this putz Dustin Dominiak is, I hope he never gets laid again in his entire life. It would serve him right.

One last note: Before anyone complains about me posting another defense of a evil wingnut racist homophobe anti-abortion Tea Partier, I ain’t happy about it either.

If these fucking so-called progressives would stop being sexist assholes, I wouldn’t have to defend people like Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin.

I don’t care if the Republicans do it too or did it first.

IT’S WRONG.



The Nineties as viewed through the CDS looking-glass

Bill? Is that you?


From the comments over at Ian Welsh’s blog:


We paid for that “prosperity” later …

The “clinton” economy benefited from the initial stimulus of cheap goods imported into the US from the free trade agreements… the exported jobs would take more time, the explosion of consumer credit, greenspan’s irresponsibility in nourishing a huge stock market bubble, and wall street being set lose in a major way on the world’s markets. Workers fell further behind during those wonderful clinton years in wage inequality …. even behind what they were during the republican dominated 80s.

“Both the average wages for non-supervisory workers and the earnings of those in the lowest 10 percent of wage earners,” notes Robert Pollin, “not only remained well below those of the Nixon/Ford and Carter administrations, but were actually lower than that even than those of the Reagan/Bush years. Moreover, wage inequality — as measured by the ratio of the 90th to the 10th wage decile — increased sharply during Clinton’s tenure in office, even relative to the Republican heyday of the 1980s.”

http://dissidentvoice.org/Sept05/Street0929.htm

Yeah, clinton did a great job with his secretary of treasury deregulating everything in sight, carrying out polices that led to hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children, passing welfare reform, increasing the H1-B visa limits, relaxing the limits on media ownership, preventing college students with marijuana possession convictions from getting federal financial aid, and passing The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which helped lead to this wonderful growing police state we live in and increased the amount of inmates by 50% during his reign.

The delusory “healthy” clinton economy was the results of easy credit, the technology boom, the initial benefits of cheap goods from the free trade agreements that he couldn’t do enough of, his abhorrent secretary of treasury, rubin, talking greenspan into exploding the money supply to reflect the “productivity miracle”, and the consequent stock market bubble. In the end, we all saw how real that was when many highly capitalized dotcom companies never developed viable business models and went bankrupt with wall street walking away rich. It was mainly based on bullshit and it started to fall apart even before the abominable bush came into office. And, also, that initial wave of corruption that finally surfaced from enron and worldcom and the like in 2002 or 2003 … that didn’t start the moment bush came into office, it started when clinton was president. It obviously got a lot worse under the worst president in our nation’s history, but the economy did not just start to fall apart in January 2001.



Here’s another
:


And the children in Iraq who were being slowly starved to death, or having cruise missiles lobbed at them might disagree as to the whole peacefulness of Clinton.

Clinton embellished his foreign policy with “humanitarian” aims and ideals, but in Iraq and beyond, he displayed the customary indifference of US presidents to human rights and the suffering of innocents. On his watch, military aid to Turkey, engaged in a scorched earth campaign against its Kurdish minority, and to Colombia, conducting a dirty war against left-wing insurgents, skyrocketed. The embargo on Cuba was tightened. Global efforts to block the militarisation of space were derailed while a stringent, self-serving neo-liberal economic regime was promoted through NAFTA and the WTO. Hundreds of thousands perished in Rwanda without Clinton lifting a finger, but he found time to bomb a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that his officials falsely alleged was producing chemical weapons.


Wow. It’s a miracle the nation survived.
/snarkfont

What’s really weird is these lefty purity trolls HATE Bill and Hillary more than than they dislike Reagan, Bush, Bush II or Bush III.

I don’t know what they’re smoking but I don’t want any of it.


Run for your lives! Here comes peace and prosperity!

 



Oh, Ezra! You’re sooooo smart!

Ezra Klein


Ezra Klein must be smarter than the rest of us otherwise he wouldn’t have a column at WaPo:

This isn’t a very popular statement, but there is a role for elites in public life. Just like I want knowledgeable CEOs running companies and knowledgeable doctors performing surgeries, I want knowledgeable legislators crafting public policy. That’s why we have a representative democracy, rather than some form of government-by-referendum. But of late, the elites in the Republican Party are abdicating their roles, preferring to pander to the desire for free tax cuts and the hostility to Al Gore than make tough and potentially unpopular decisions to safeguard our future.

You might not know this but half the people in this country are below average in intelligence. We don’t want those people making important decisions by themselves because they might elect some know-nothing chillbilly bimbo from the Arctic wastelands.

Luckily for us there are some really smart people in this country (like Ezra) who went to the best schools (like Ezra) and who are better informed than the rest of us (like Ezra.) That’s why he formed Journolist, a private listserv for lefty elites. Ezra personally selected the best and brightest 400 “left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics”

The Journolistas wanted to be sure that the smelly less-intelligent proletariat types (that’s us) had the proper guidance in making decisions like who to vote for. So they would discuss it and decide what we should be told to decide.

But even the super-smart Journolistas didn’t always agree with each other, so they made sure to discuss it in private first so they didn’t confuse the rest of us. You know, just like your parents used to do when you were a little kid.

(Here endeth the snark)

The biggest problem with elitism is the “elites” are never as smart as they think they are. But that’s not the only problem.

Membership in the “elites” becomes incestuous and self-serving. Entry into the group is based more on social class and connections than competition using some objective criteria. New members and wannabes engage in sycophancy.

Arthur Silber:

I think it was in early 2003 that I was invited to become a participant in an oh-so-exclusive and oh-so-secret private email discussion group.

[…]

When I first joined the list, I was very flattered. I was still a new blogger, and I was kinda sorta “in.” Whoop-ti-do! I was on a list with famous people! It was, like, totally cool, man. I’d be included in cutting-edge discussions! I’d see great, powerful new ideas being developed in real time! How fucking fantastic!

[…]

So a lot of it was simply boring. Beyond that was an element I found considerably worse, an element that I grew to dislike intensely. The toadying around the most famous members of the list was transparently obvious and frequently sickening. “Oh, your article about blah-blah-blah was magnificent!” “Oh, please, please write about X! You’re the only one who could do justice to this urgent issue! And you’ll treat it with your unique sensitivity and perceptiveness!” It was nauseating. Of course, the famous list members loved it.

I don’t mind in the least that we here at TC are considered untouchable lepers by the rest of Left Blogistan. Being an outcast is liberating. Since I’ll never get invited to join Journolist version 2.0 I am free to say “Ezra Klein is a dipshit.”

One last point, regarding the dangers of not being as smart as you think you are. Go back and read the last sentence of that quote from Ezra at the top of the post. It’s based on the premise that the Republicans KNOW that the Democrats are right but pretend to disagree for corrupt reasons.

This is one of several ways your thinking becomes warped by arrogance and conceit. You think everyone else either knows you’re right or they are incapable of understanding the truth. You stop listening to them, and since you alone are right and they are dishonest or stupid, you stop trying to persuade them and start looking for ways to manipulate them or to achieve your goals in undemocratic ways.

That’s a slippery slope with a sharp downgrade.



Superman, where are you now?


From Hot Air:

With Barack Obama’s popularity plummeting to the point where a visit does more damage to Democrats than Republicans, incumbent Democrats have increasingly turned to Bill Clinton to rescue them from their own electoral woes. The former President, whose personal popularity remains as high or higher than when he was in the White House, has turned up in House districts where Democrats have rarely needed any help at all, or even much campaigning.


Obama is the political kiss of death while the Big Dawg is CPR for flatlining campaigns. Whodathunkit?

Funny, but I don’t hear anyone screaming “No dynasties!” anymore.

From the comments in Wonk the Vote’s last post:

Clinton was not a Democrat


ORLY?

Well whatever the hell he was we need more of those.




Meanwhile, an “apology” from the Blogstalker Online Forum:

Dear Underachieving Under-Informed Bitter White Women of America: I’m sorry you feel bad about your vaginas.





Breaking up is hard to do


Elon James White at Salon:

Defending Obama and the Democrats is hard.

Not because I don’t think they’ve done some good in the past two years, because I do. It’s hard because I find myself constantly defending them, even when I’m not ecstatic about what’s happening. Don’t let my overly public defense of the Democrats fool you; I’m annoyed, tired and frustrated like a lot of people. Yet I don’t suffer from this enthusiasm gap that’s become all the rage to discuss. My enthusiasm is as strong as it has ever been because my choice is to either be frustrated with the Dems but know that a lot of good will come out of it or let the crazy people win. My issues with the Republicans and the Tea Party aren’t simply “a difference in opinion”; I’m overly enthusiastically against what they represent. I was really happy about Obama but my enthusiasm is on overdrive when it comes to stopping the Republicans.

But this doesn’t mean I’m drinking the liberal Kool-Aid.

I’ve mocked the Democrats on numerous occasions in the past two years when I believed they were really screwing up. Their P.R. skills are lacking even when they’re doing the right thing. The party’s various concessions to the bat-shit crazy contingent in order to push policies through has made my stomach hurt quite a few times, but even with all of that, I still have all the enthusiasm in the world. I am a hundred percent on whatever side that isn’t the one who keeps spouting off about “Real America.”

These days in Left Blogistan there are basically three different groups.

The first group are snorting Kool-aid powder straight from the package. These are the people who say that Obama is doing a stupendous job and has made historic achievements during his first two years in office. Obviously they’re either lying or delusional and I’m not sure which is worse.

This group has been steadily decreasing in size since Obama’s inauguration.

The second group are the ones that acknowledge that Obama has been a major disappointment but continue to support him anyway. This group includes those people who are recovering from Kool-aid as well as those who only experimented with it or used it socially. But there are also a number of people in this group who never drank the Obama juice but nonetheless voted for him and continue to support him and the Democratic party, primarily on the theory that “the Republicans are worse!”

We’ll talk more about these guys in a minute.

The last group are the people that Markos Moulitsas referred to as a “paranoid band of shrieking hold-outs.” They used to be Democrats but now they’re independent liberals. I’m one of them, as are Riverdaughter and the rest of the writers here at The Confluence. If you have big tire tracks across your back then you’re probably one too.

We weren’t fooled by the slick con job that the Malefactors of Great Wealth paid David Axelrod hundreds of millions of dollars to put over on the gullible. We refused to be bullied into either going along with the fraud or keeping silent.

We were prematurely correct about Obama, so of course we are hated and despised.

Now let’s go back and talk about that second group.

To hear them tell it, Obama and the Democrats in Congress are well-intentioned and share our values and goals, but they are cowardly, weak and spineless as well as politically inept. They don’t want to accept that Obama and the Democrats aren’t weak, they’re corrupt.

In other words, these people are in denial.

I’m gonna pick on Susie Madrak a little because she provided the perfect analogy.

Top Obama adviser David Axelrod got an earful of the liberal blogosphere’s anger at the White House moments ago, when a blogger on a conference call directly called out Axelrod over White House criticism of the left, accusing the administration of “hippie punching.”

“We’re the girl you’ll take under the bleachers but you won’t be seen with in the light of day,” the blogger, Susan Madrak of Crooks and Liars, pointedly told Axelrod on the call, which was organzied for liberal bloggers and progressive media.

Let’s expand on Susie’s analogy a little bit. Obama is the guy who already has a girlfriend (Wall Street, et al.) and doesn’t take the “under the bleachers” girl on dates or buy her gifts, he just uses her for booty calls. If he makes any promises he doesn’t keep them and when they do hook up he doesn’t even bother to provide “mutual satisfaction.”

That sounds like a pretty good description of Obama’s relationship with the netroots to me. The question is why the hell anyone would anyone want to be the girl in a relationship like that?

Susie:

As much as I despise the weak-kneed, corporate ass-kissing Democrats, I hate the Republicans even more for bullying their way into the front of the economic policy debate and forcing bad policies that just don’t work.

They don’t care. They’re Republicans, they don’t have to!

So the girl in Susie’s analogy tells the guy she doesn’t like the way he’s treating her but he doesn’t change and she keeps meeting him under the bleachers for those booty calls anyway because she *knows* that deep down he really loves her and one of these days he’ll realize it.

If this girl was your friend, what advice would you give her?

Unless and until liberals and progressives are willing to say “Enough is enough!” they are gonna keep getting screwed. As long as they keep supporting Obama and the Democrats because “the Republicans are worse!” they are sending the message that all the Donkeys have to do is be the lesser of two evils.

If the Democrats won’t give you what you want you need to find someone who will.




WTF Friday – Squishy Goo-Goo Edition


I knew I could count on poetry major Chris Bowers over at Cheetoville to bring WTF Week to a big finish:

As the election approaches, the buzz in Democratic activist circles is the need for GOTV. If we can turn out the vote, and get the composition of the electorate back to what it was in 2008, then Democrats will win.

[…]

Here at Daily Kos, we are going to engage in very different, but still very important, form of election activism. It’s a type of activism no one else is working on, and it is well-suited to our medium as a blog. It’s a grassroots-based search engine optimization campaign, which I call Grassroots SEO for short.

[…]

The goal of Grassroots SEO is to get as many undecided voters as possible to read the most damaging news article about the Republican candidate for Congress in their district. It is based on two simple premises:

1. One of the most common political activities people take online is to use search engines, mainly Google, to find information on candidates. (For more information, see the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s report on 2008 online political engagement.)

2. These results of these searches are always in flux based upon hyperlinks anyone posts anywhere on the Internet, including message board comments and social networking sites (but not email).

As a result of this, not only is it possible for us to use our hyperlinks to impact what people find when they search for information on candidates, but we would be foolish not to do so in a way that benefited our preferred candidates. We are already impacting search engine rankings whenever we post any hyperlink anywhere, so we need to make sure the way we use hyperlinks helps result in our preferred political outcomes.

IOW – “Hey kids! We’re gonna Google-bomb ’em!

Who thought this shit up, Bill Ayers?

If you extend this line of thought out, what Mr. Squishy Goo-Goo is saying is that after winning back control of Congress in 2006 and capturing the White House in 2008, the Democrats have done such an historic job of running the country that the only way they can win on November 2nd is by trashing the Republicans.

I guess John Cole forgot to tell Chris that Obama was the most successful Democratic President in his lifetime.

Chris didn’t talk to Steve Benen either:

I don’t expect the public to have an extensive knowledge of federal policymaking history, but I at least hoped Americans would realize the scope of recent accomplishments. We are, after all, talking about a two-year span in which Congress passed and the president signed the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, etc. Policymakers might yet add to this list in the lame-duck session.

If Chris had talked to John and Steve and Greg Sargent and Jonathan Chait and the rest of the cheerleaders over in the Kool-aid Kingdom he would know we’re living in a progressive paradise.


What does Obama’s 2008 campaign manager think will happen 3 1/2 weeks from now?


Trying to reshape expectations for the midterm elections, David Plouffe said Thursday that the Republicans should be expected to make a full sweep of Congress – and key gubernatorial races – given the environmental advantages they have. Anything less, he said, should be seen as a disgrace.


Hopenchange motherf**kers! Hopenchange!