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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

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The “screaming woman” who confronted Jane Hamsher on C-Span wasn’t actually screaming

Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake

I admit I have been warming up to Jane Hamsher a bit in the past couple of weeks because of her strong fight against the abortion language in the health care bill. But apparently I got fooled again. We’ve all read and discussed Jane’s post, “Shaking Off the Hangover of the Primary Wars.” Riverdaughter did a spectacular verbal takedown of Jane’s rationalizing yesterday.

The post itself is troubling enough, but Jane’s comments about Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the thread clearly demonstrate that she (Jane) is not yet ready to take responsibility for actions she took or did not take during the divisive primary fights of 2008.

Many of us were able to see through Obama early in the primary process–after doing our own research on his character and his political experience (or lack thereof). But Jane claims that her site remained neutral throughout the primaries because there were no significant policy differences among the top three candidates, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards.

It’s true that FDL did not publicly endorse a candidate, but the posts and comment sections certainly favored Obama. It’s possible Jane couldn’t control the Axelrod astroturfers and just threw up her hands, as Digby did. But she allowed her comment sections to be infested with abusive language toward Clinton and anyone who defended her. And she banned commenters who complained about the bullying.

Jane writes:

Sophisticated campaigns marketed the candidates as personalities and people became attached to them and felt like they knew them. Everyone who opposed them was the “enemy,” rhetoric was amped up and overheated, identity politics were exploited by both sides as strategic campaign elements and suddenly the blogosphere was a giant pie fight.

We made the decision to stay true to our charter and didn’t take sides, pledging to support the candidate that emerged with the nomination. We believed that once the election was over and we could get back to discussing issues again and evaluating politicians on both sides of the aisle with the same yardstick, we’d be back in our element.

She assumes that everyone who followed the primary battles focused on candidates as personalities rather than looking closely at their characters, policy goals, and personal accomplishments. She could not be more wrong. Most of us didn’t support Hillary Clinton for her personality. I actually began the primaries as an “anyone but Hillary” voter. But her performances in the debates convinced me she was the best candidate. It wasn’t about her personality or about her husband, and it wasn’t about her gender–although I admit I would have liked to see a woman President in my lifetime. I supported Clinton because she showed herself to be smart, knowledgeable, and most of all issue-oriented.

Obama, on the other hand, was all about Obama. He never was specific about issues, he never demonstrated any commitment to Democratic ideology. He admired Ronald Reagan, for heaven’s sake! He cozied up to fundamentalist preachers their anti-abortion, homophobic followers. Most damning of all, it became obvious from his many comments about and to Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin that Obama was a misogynist through and through.

I knew Hillary was more conservative than I am, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be happy with her Iraq and Afghanistan policies. But I was even more concerned about domestic issues. All I wanted was a Democrat in the White House who would fight for universal health care and would protect what is left of our social safety net. Instead, thanks to people like Jane and Markos, we ended up with a Republican pretending to be a Democrat–who, if anything is as bad or worse than George W. Bush.

In the discussion thread attached to her post, linked above, Jane posted this comment:

“I had a woman call up and scream at me when I was on CSPAN the other day for all the horrible things Markos and I had done to Hillary Clinton during the primaries, telling me that I had destroyed the Democratic party.

“And I’m like, seriously? I know some people you should meet, you guys would have an interesting fight.”

Many thanks to Gweema for posting the link to Jane Hamsher’s appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal on November 26, 2009. I watched the whole thing, and right now I’m practically shaking with anger (want to call me a “screamer,” Jane?).

The women caller on C-Span did no screaming. She did not even raise her voice. Instead, she listed her credentials to confront Jane Hamsher and then did so very articulately. Jane responded with condescending lies and half-truths. I decided to transcribe that portion of the interview so we can dissect it here. The relevant section begins at about 25:50.

Elizabeth from Tennessee, calling on the Democratic line, wishes Jane and the interviewer a happy Thanksgiving and says she appreciates their working on the holiday weekend. Here is Elizabeth’s question:

To Jane Hamsher, I have been a lifelong Democrat, I was very involved in the health care battles of the 90’s. I was involved in actual implementing of town hall meetings back then in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois; so I don’t take a back seat to you.

But in the area of February of 2008, I discontinued reading your blog and also the dailykos blog altogether because of your extreme hatred and villification of another Democratic candidate, and that was Senator Hillary Clinton. [Jane Hamsher rolls her eyes at this point]

I don’t know how much you are aware [of]…how much damage you did and how much damage Markos did–

Hamsher interrupts the caller: “Are you sure you’re talking about our blog? We had Hillary Clinton on [patronizing laughter] …

Elizabeth says: I’m talking about your blog, ma’m, and you should know it. If anyone wants to know they should go read…from that time. [interviewer breaks in and asks when this was, but Elizabeth goes on with her points.]

“You mentioned today that Obama was an anti-war candidate. He was no such thing. In fact, throughout the campaign, he continued to say that Afghanistan was a good war…. ”

[Jane Hamsher breaks in to agree with Elizabeth on this point.]

Elizabeth says: “You really caused a lot of people to leave the Democratic party during the 2008 campaign. And I’m telling you now, I’m sorry that you’re sick, I’m sorry that you’ve had three bouts with the cancer, but I’m gonna say this. You are going to be shown exactly what damage you caused our party last primary season, and I will never forgive you for that.”

Elizabeth was a bit harsh at times, but she maintained a level tone of voice and did. not. scream. In fact I’d have to say that Jane’s characterization of Elizabeth’s presentation as “screaming” verges on sexism. Perhaps Jane has some unconscious issues in that department.

Here is Jane’s response [highlighting is mine]:

I know that there was a certain class of women who decided that they would start supporting John McCain over what they thought was bad treatment of Hillary Clinton. In fact…I took a video at the Rules Committee meeting, a woman, Harriet Christian who said that…she was not going to support a party who would have an inept black man as a candidate, and that became a…rallying point for some people.

We didn’t take a position…in the primaries. We said that we would support whoever was the winner and in fact had Senator Clinton as a guest on the blog, so I think we represented all viewpoints. I think there were people their who were Hillary Clinton partisans; I think that there were people there who were Barack Obama partisans, and I think that each side…collectively saw the other side as the issue. But I don’t think we were unfair to Senator Clinton, and I don’t believe that the people who left the party to vote for John McCain, who was very much an anti-choice candidate, a pro-war candidate, reflect the same values that I have anyway, or reflect the values of Senator Clinton.

There is so much wrong with Jane’s response that I don’t know where to begin. You do need to watch the video–her facial expressions while listening to the caller and responding to her are unbelievably patronizing and condescending. It is evident from her use of the words “class of women” that Hamsher sees herself as superior to these working class (?), pathetic women (though we’re not all women by any means) who mistakenly think that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly. In addition she twists Harriet Christian’s words in order to imply that Harriet is a racist.

And what the f&ck is it these people don’t understand about protest votes anyway?

I honestly think that Jane’s rationalizing is an unconscious defense mechanism. Now that she has seen what Obama really is–a DINO, a conservative hack, maybe just barely qualifying as a Rockefeller-style Republican–she has to go back and try to cover up her own behavior during the primaries. But Jane has a very very long way to go before she understands the damage that she and the other A-list bloggers caused. I sincerely doubt that she will ever take responsibility for her actions–or lack of actions. For one thing, Jane was at the Rules Committee meeting and apparently she had absolutely no problem with Obama being given delegates belonging to to Clinton or with Obama getting delegates from a state he didn’t compete in!

Obviously Riverdaughter demolished Jane’s rationalizing yesterday afternoon, so I don’t have to do it. I’ll just post these three paragraphs from RD’s righteous rant here:

People like me are pretty steamed at you and your buddies. You took away our choice. We didn’t get a fair primary season. We didn’t even get a floor fight. There was no unity, Jane. It was all an illusion. Your guy was forced on many, many Democratic voters because YOU decided that Obama was best for us. And many people swallowed that because they were convinced that Republicans were worse. So they voted for a Democrat and they got a Republican anyway.

Jane, how many times do we have to tell you that it wasn’t about Hillary after May 31, 2008? It was about choice. Remember Choice, Jane? The right to self-determination? The ability to choose your own destiny? If someone else took that choice away from you, you’d be on their doorstep with a bullhorn and wouldn’t let up. But because it was YOUR guy who won, it was OK? What about the choice of the rest of us, Jane? What about CA, NJ, NY, MA, OH, PA, TX, IN, NH, WV, TN, FL, MI and so on and so on? Those big, Democratic states did not vote for Barack Obama in the primaries, Jane. They deserved to cast their votes for the candidate they *did* vote for. I was one of those voters, Jane and I am not letting the Democratic party off the hook for its outrageous behavior towards me and the others. With a primary this close and disputed, the nullification of my vote was unforgivable.

That is why the primary of 2008 isn’t going to go away and why you are going to continue to get angry callers who blame you and your friends for the state of the country under Obama. You took our choice away. Your incredibly high handed and self righteous decision to support Obama and shut down the rest of the party for the supposed good of that party has lead us to this point.

Don’t come crying to me with any more of your action e-mails, petitions, and fund-raising drives, Jane. I figured it out. You think I’m in “a certain class of women” who are beneath your contempt. You won’t get another chance from me, Jane. You’re just not seeing reality clearly yet, and I’m not sure you ever will.

Movement Inertia

Something's gotta give

There’s more noise in the lefty blogosphere about how disappointing Democrats are, as well as how Obama failed to measure up.   Natasha Chart is so sick of the pyrrhic victories that she is begging Democrats to just sit on their hands and do nothing for the rest of their terms.  Max Blumenthal’s piece, Obama, the Fallen Messiah, is intriguing.  At least he understands that the left brought this upon themselves:

The liberal left has become so disgruntled that a leading conservative talk radio host asked me recently if progressives were considering a primary challenge to Obama. I laughed and stated my belief that despite his troubles, Obama would win a second term. Whether or not that happens, those former Obama fanatics experiencing a crisis in faith should look in the mirror. They demanded a secular salvation fantasy and participated in the messianization of the candidate who delivered it to them. They now know that Obama is just a politician. What they have refused to acknowledge is that he would not have fallen so hard had they not lifted him so high.

Too funny, Max!  I got kicked off of DailyKos because in my last diary there, I compared the Obama Movement to a jihad on other Democrats.  For that, I was called a racist and other Kossacks still refer to that diary as proof of my insidious racism.  Oooo!  I am so BAAAADDD.  Of course, you can still read the diary on DailyKos and judge for yourself.  I stand by every word I typed.  It was all too true. If that’s the diary that got me banned, I proudly take credit for it.  And then there’s this diary from December 20, 2008, Telltale Signs of Buyer’s Remorse, which accurately predicted even before Obama took office  that he would be a triangulator par excellence to appease the ones who bought him in spite of the world financial crisis and the Democratic majorities in both houses.

We didn’t get change.  Well, no one on this blog actually expected it.  But we do have a lot of inertia, “the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion”.  Because the Democratic party, with an influx of young Republican-esque members, conducted a jihad on the party faithful, there is no force exerting any will on the object, our government.  The Obamaphiles invested all their hope in a messiah who is now clearly shown to be a false prophet.   The question is, what is the left going to do about it?

I’ve been reading a lot of “very serious bloggers” who think that the formation of a third party is laughable and unreasonable, the stuff of fantasy for the naive.

Really?

Because from where I’m perched, the very serious set is floundering.  Jane Hamsher is making deals with Grover “bipartisanship is just another word for date rape” Norquist.  Her strategy skills have gone totally off the rails and she looks desperate and grasping.  The “enemy of my enemy” strategy won’t work, Jane.  Appealing to the squishy  right is a losing game.  You won’t make any headway with them until you can convince them to give up their social conservatism for their own economic good.  Much better to define strong principles and invite others to join you.  Never cede a single millimeter of what you believe or you will look weak and people who are in the squishy right *hate* any sign of weakness.

But there are a lot of other people out there, Democrats, Democrats in Exile, Independents, who make up a large voting bloc and right now have no representation.  We’re talking about 30-40% of state voting populations in places like NJ and CT who want another option and are tired of both parties gaming the ballots.  They are ready for an new movement where they can coalesce their forces and push back.

We’ve talked about it and talked about it.  We need a third party and we need the very serious among us to get onboard.  The only problem is that so many of them have lost credibility that they need to take a back seat.  Is that where the resistance is coming from?  It’s not a serious proposal if they can’t lead it?

They need to get over it.  They need to accept their responsibility for the way things are.  Many of them knew what was happening in 2008 but didn’t want to be ostracized from the Movement.  Isn’t there a quote about propagation of evil requiring men of goodwill to do nothing?

Are they going to do nothing again?  New parties have been created before.  The Republican party was born in 1854.  There is enough critical mass.  All that is required is that a force get behind that mass and move it forward.

Koolaid Detox Open Thread

Here’s something I thought I’d never see on the rec list at the Cheeto:

Barack Obama, the base appears to have lost faith in you, by icebergslim

And for President Nelson’s statement and his willingness to vote for the GROUND BREAKING legislation, OFA is giving its members scripts and are calling Nebraskans to thank them for Ben Nelson’s vote. Isn’t that just amazing? Calling an obstructionist and thanking him? Have the White House taken its smart bills lately? Oh, let us not forget President Nelson’s kickback or what he gets for his state for his vote.

Anyway, all this makes you wonder how this bill got to this form. It is easy for me to state, lack of leadership from the man at the top, Barack Obama.

We watched all year, especially this summer, Mr. Obama’s aloofness, non-chalant, hands off approach to this bill. We watched Mr. Obama continue to give time extensions to the Baucus Bill. In reality, this is the bill he always wanted. Why? Because this bill caters to all the deals he has made before the bill was even crafted, especially to the pharmaceutical companies.

The ultimate mean and nasty bully who shilled for Obama day and night all through 2008 and well into 2009 has finally awakened to reality. Too late to make a difference, but still she is awake. She is also an insider, basically confirming what we have all thought and what myiq wrote about so eloquently earlier tonight.

And this from a conservative, Mickey Edwards, at the Atlantic: Obama and the Republicans

Edwards attemps to make the case that, while Obama really isn’t a conservative, his positions are much closer to traditional Republican philosophy than those of George W. Bush. I don’t totally buy his arguments, but this still shows that people are both sides of the political spectrum are beginning to see Obama for who he really is. He hasn’t even been President for a year yet, and he’s no longer really fooling anyone. His approval ratings are below 50%. Congress is about to pass a horrendous bill that is nothing more than a giveaway to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. To top it off, the bill contains an amendment that will effectively make abortion unavailable in many states.

Does the Democratic Party even have a future? Was destroying the Democratic Party part of the plan too?

This is an open thread.

UPDATE: Jane Hamsher proposes a political alliance between progressives and the tea partiers.

Left/Right Populist Outrage Will Defeat Senate Health Care Bill

There is an enormous, rising tide of populism that crosses party lines in objection to the Senate bill. We opposed the bank bailouts, the AIG bonuses, the lack of transparency about the Federal Reserve, “bailout” Ben Bernanke, and the way the Democrats have used their power to sell the country’s resources to secure their own personal advantage, just as the libertarians have. In fact, we’ve worked together with them to oppose these things. What we agree on: both parties are working against the interests of the public, the only difference is in the messaging.

The last two paragraphs of Hamsher’s piece are stunning.

Rahm Emanuel has convinced himself that Ron Brownstein is a “liberal” and dismisses all of this as “the progressive backlash against the progressive backlash.” He’s betting that any inadequacies will be forgotten come November 2010 if the Dems can claim a “w” by passing any crap bill and slapping “health care” on it. And that if Congress just spends the next year naming post offices, any objections that Americans might have to paying 8% of their incomes to private corporations who will use the IRS as their collection agency will just disappear.

It’s scary to think that people this obscenely stupid are running the country. All the while, the painfully obvious left/right transpartisan consensus that is coalescing against DC insiders of both parties appears to be taking everyone by surprise.

Jane is mad as hell. I hope she’s right.

The sh&t is really hitting the fan at the progblogs!

This has been building for a long time, and it seems like we’ve finally reached a tipping point. The prog blogs are in an uproar! Of course Glenn Greenwald has seen Obama for what he is for awhile now, but today he’s really letting it all hang out. Just watch this appearance on MSNBC (h/t Jane Hamsher at FDL):

From Greenwald’s latest post: White House as helpless victim on healthcare

From the start, assuaging the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries was a central preoccupation of the White House — hence the deal negotiated in strict secrecy with Pharma to ban bulk price negotiations and drug reimportation, a blatant violation of both Obama’s campaign positions on those issues and his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN). Indeed, Democrats led the way yesterday in killing drug re-importation, which they endlessly claimed to support back when they couldn’t pass it. The administration wants not only to prevent industry money from funding an anti-health-care-reform campaign, but also wants to ensure that the Democratic Party — rather than the GOP — will continue to be the prime recipient of industry largesse.

But where will they get the votes to stay in office?

Then Greenwald quotes Russ Feingold from The Hill:

“This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place, so I don’t think focusing it on Lieberman really hits the truth,” said Feingold. “I think they could have been higher. I certainly think a stronger bill would have been better in every respect.”

Ah…the Schadenfreude… We tried so hard to warn them…

Back to Greenwald:

Yet numerous Obama defenders — such as Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein and Steve Benen — have been insisting that there is just nothing the White House could have done and all of this shows that our political system is tragically “ungovernable.” After all, Congress is a separate branch of government, Obama doesn’t have a vote, and 60 votes are needed to do anything. How is it his fault if centrist Senators won’t support what he wants to do?

Is there something wrong with me? I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actually laughing about this ghastly mess. I know it’s tragic, but it has gotten so bad that it’s like a horror movie that is so bad, you can’t help laughing at the gore splattering all over the place.

Here is a sampling of the writings of other outraged and disillusioned former Obots.

Jane Hamsher: Robert Gibbs Says Howard Dean is Irrational for Opposing LieberCare (Yes, she has been awake for awhile now too, but why was she banning everyone who questioned Obama back when we could have done something about it?)

From the Big Cheeto:

Even McJoan is finally upset

The White House Lashes Out At Howard Dean

Get this–the commenters are talking about electing Howard Dean in 2012, “after all, if Nixon could make a comeback….”

Barack Obama, Inc., by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks

At Open Left, Adam Bink The Dangers of Deal Making (Isn’t he the guy who virtually led the Obamabot attack at the Cheeto last year?)

At TPM: Poll: Loss Of Public Option Causes Big Increase In Opposition To Health Care Bill

Josh writes:

A NBC/WSJ poll is coming out tonight that shows a substantial spike in opposition to the Health Care bill. And the internals show the movement is mainly from liberals disappointed in the the decision to drop the Public Option.

How it must have hurt him to write those words!

And at Huffpo, the president and publisher of Harpers Magazine writes: More and More, Obama Seems a Faux Liberal

Ya think?

I knew this day would come, but I never expected it to come in Obama’s first year! Feel free to add your own Schaedenfreude links in the comments. {still can’t stop laughing}

The Obama Delusion and Health Care Reform

Obama Transition

The Obama Delusion: The belief that although President Obama is a liberal and has liberal values and goals, he cleverly pretends not to be a liberal in order to to fool Republicans into supporting his agenda.

{{Sigh…}} Where to begin? While perusing Memeorandum this morning, I noticed Booman’s post from yesterday about “11-dimensional chess.” Frankly, the less said about Booman’s post, the better. It’s just embarrassingly silly and illogical. Besides, Big Tent Democrat, who coined the term “11-dimensional chess,” has already handily disposed of Booman’s arguments, such as they are.

Booman’s post was prompted by one at the Cheeto in which the author, Maimonides, makes the claim that Obama, along with his trusty enforcer Rahm Emanuel, are actually using not 11-dimensional chess, but “Sun Tzu’s the strategy of “formlessness,” outlined in this quote:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Here is what Maimonides thinks Obama and his capo are up to:

For several months now I’ve been pushing the idea that President Obama is engaged in the Sun Tsu strategy of “formlessness.” This strategy is not the much-derided “11-D Chess” that so many choose to dismiss. This is the very simple and time-tested strategy of not taking a position that is easily defined by your opponents, of not giving them anything to attack. By doing so, one forces one’s opponents to take positions, giving you the advantage of adaptability and information, which they now lack.

Maimonides also claims to have some vital inside information, but, sadly, he/she cannot reveal the sources of that information.

You may not see reports of what Rahm Emanuel says to your Congressperson. You may not hear rumors of it. But it is going on all the time; what did you think he spent his time doing, checking in on Dkos diaries? Rahm is putting pressure where he is told to, floating trial balloons as directed, keeping all options on the table, and most of all keeping Obama’s strategy of formlessness alive. Until he’s directed otherwise.

Which brings us to now. Rumor in DC* is that Rahm has gotten exactly what he wanted: a “Big mess,” as Rahm reportedly described it. Formlessness has payed off. There are virtually no Congressional players left whose opinions we do not know, and every option has been talked to death. And now the Administration, rather than having its policies debated to death, has the ability to sweep in and choose among the options presented.

*Here I open myself to claims that I’m using unsourced “insider knowledge”, which is true, I am. You can take it or leave it, but I would hope that you would be open to the possibility that those of us working in the trenches may hear things that you do not.

Okay? See, Maimonides has inside sources, because he/she “works in the trenches.” But we just have to take that and the “rumors” Maimonides has heard on faith–just like we have to take on faith that Obama wants health care for all at a reasonable price.

Here’s the thing. In a sense I agree with Maimonides that Rahm and Barack have gotten exactly what they wanted–a “big mess.” And for all I know, Obama and Emanuel may both have read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and may be using it as a guide for their political strategy. But whether the “mess” is the result of a deliberate strategy or just one big clusterf*ck is irrelevant to the President’s actual goals for health care “reform.” Continue reading

Summer Rerun: How to break the DailyKos addiction

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This post was originally published on Feb. 19, 2008.

So, you say you want to leave. They’ve insulted and troll rated you for the last time and, by golly, you’ve had enough. You’ve given them the best blogging years of your life. You don’t have to put up with this crap. Do they think you don’t have choices?

The question actually is, do YOU think you have choices? The answer is yes. But you’ve got to get out from this addiction first. You know that DailyKos isn’t good for you but you’re afraid of the big bad blogosphere out there. DailyKos says, “You’re *no one* without me, baby.” You worry, can you be heard? Will your carefully crafted and beautifully written diaries find an audience or will you be cast off into the oblivion of the world wide ether, untethered from the safety of the Big Orange Satan?

Well, here I am, one month and nearly 16,000 hits later. I’ve made lots of friends and people drop by looking for the odd collaboration. It’s quite a lot of fun actually.

But you’ve got to get this monkey off your back first. The thing about this addiction is that the reason you are hooked is because of the interactivity. You can get instant feedback. It’s like a rat hooked to one of those feed bars that deliver a hit of cocaine every couple of minutes. And if that’s your cup of joe, by all means stay, even if they are abusing you. You will become a DailyKos whore, always looking for that next rec, but we will try to avert our eyes.

But if you reached that bottom and there’s no place to go but up, here is my advice for breaking the habit: Get yourself banned.

Now I know and you know that you are not a troll and you have no intention of insulting anyone but banning is the only way. I tried self-discipline, I tried a GBCW diary, I tried vacations. Nothing worked so well as being put on temporary exile. Trust me, this will work. And your friends will find you. In fact, you might want to include your new blogging place in your last diary as a forwarding address. Your account will probably still be there (mine still is so far) and you can still raid your old stuff if you need it. But you will be dead to them otherwise. And that’s OK.

So, how to do it: You don’t have to be inflammatory to be inflammatory. Simply post a diary that wouldn’t have caused a blink last year but will drive the Obamaphiles to extremes. For example, I recommend the following topic for a diary:

Are Obamaphiles using Scientology recruitment strategies?

Draw some correlation between the two (there’s *got* to be one) and then stand back and watch the amazing swarm descend upon you. It will be a sight to behold and in about 30 minutes, it will be over. Quicker than methadone.

Oh, sure, you’ll be tempted to go back and see your friends but without the ability to post or recommend, it gets to be pretty pointless after a few weeks. In the meantime, you’ll be free to explore the rest of the blogosphere, which seems to be populated by a lot of very fine bloggers in the Reality Based Community. And you’ll be happy to know that the DailyKos demographics will be getting pushed even more into the ultraviolet end of the spectra. What credibility it had when you were still there will be one Kossack short. Sort of like “one sandwich short of a picnic”, if you catch my drift.

So, if you want to leave, just do it. We’ll be here on the other side.

Update: Katiebird alluded to this in the comments, if they won’t delete your account maybe you can just ask them to suspend your priveleges. It amounts to the same thing as banning but it’s a lot less upsetting to the Obamaphiles.

Oh, what the heck, go out with a bang and really nail the bastards!

BTW: after you’re banned, just send Markos a quick thank you note for all the fun you had. I really *did* have fun, but it was time to move on. Anyway, you might like to go back someday if they ever regain their sanity and it really was a good site at one time.

Good Luck!

Update:  Here’s an interesting article that is relevent to the DailyKos addction.  It’s from The Human Nature Review and is called, Sex, Drugs and Cults: An evolutionary psychology perspective on why and how cult memes get a drug-like hold on people and what might be done to mitigate the effects.

I can’t vouch for the level of peer review in this journal but the author makes a lot of good points that bear striking similarty to the DailyKos Action-Attendion-Reward cycle.

Also, the book Snapping by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman has been recommended to us.  Both of these authors testified before Congress in the wake of the Jonestown massacre and won the Leo J. Ryan Prize named in honor of the Congressman who was killed at the time of the mass suicide in Guyana.

Interesting Note:  The assisant to Leo Ryan, Jackie Speier, was severely wounded by gunshot on the airstrip at the same time Ryan was fatally shot.  She was rescued the next day, recovered fully and continued her career in politics, recently winning a special election to take Tom Lantos’ House seat when he died of esophogeal cancer earlier this year.  You would think she knows a thing or two about dangerous cults.  First thing she did as a representative was deliver a stinging speech against the Iraq War.  She was also a strong Hillary Clinton supporter.  Go Jackie.