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    • Groups and Coalitions: Politics Chapter V
      Previous: Identity (Introduction and Table of Contents) Politically active groups form because of ideology and identity: they have beliefs about how the world should be; those beliefs are emotional and create both identification with other people who have the beliefs and shared desire to change the world or keep the world in line with how the ideologies pres […]
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The friends who support him

There is no question that Obama is by far one of the best backroom politicians we’ll ever live to see. From the early caucuses through yesterday’s meeting he knows how to position himself so that a compromise gets him more than any reasonable person could expect. Certainly yesterday’s session of the DNC Rules & Bylaws committee was brilliantly managed by Team Obama.

(Thinking: How hard is it to manage 30 people when you have the votes in the first place?)

The day’s outcome was telegraphed right at the beginning with Howard Dean’s instructions to the group:

As you work to find a resolution, I ask that you keep three key principles in mind to guide your discussion and deliberation:

— Respect the voters of Florida and Michigan — not only those who turned out to vote, but also those who did not,

— Respect our two candidates and their campaigns who followed the rules this body set forward over two years ago, and,

— Respect the 48 states who did not violate the rules.

Understandably, the compromise that you discuss here today will not make anyone completely satisfied.

Continue reading

Are you telling me I’ve turned into a damned, dirty ape? *

We talked about the descent of Chris Bower last night in our open thread but, it’s a trend that goes beyond poor Chris (Donna Brazile kicked us all to the curb on election night on national TV). The Bower’s post defies parody — in fact to assure yourself that it isn’t self-parody — you might find yourself reading the whole thing. Excerpt follows:

So, unless Obama somewhat surprisingly does not become the next President of the United States, the Democratic Party will experience its first changing of the guard since the late 1980’s. What differences will be in store? Here are the three major changes I expect:

Cultural Shift: Out with Bubbas, up with Creatives: There should be a major cultural shift in the party, where the southern Dems and Liebercrat elite will be largely replaced by rising creative class types. Obama has all the markers of a creative class background, from his community organizing, to his Unitarianism [sic], to being an academic, to living in Hyde Park to shopping at Whole Foods and drinking PBR. These will be the type of people running the Democratic Party now, and it will be a big cultural shift from the white working class focus of earlier decades. Given the demographics of the blogosphere, in all likelihood, this is a socioeconomic and cultural demographic into which you fit. Culturally, the Democratic Party will feel pretty normal to netroots types. It will consistently send out cultural signals designed to appeal primarily to the creative class instead of rich donors and the white working class.

I dreamt about this damn post all night; stewing and steaming and muttering. I want to be a lady but, I find myself thinking in streams of expletives. Thankfully Anglachel came to the rescue. Her post, Revolution of the Saints, puts The Movement into historical perspective. Then it moves on to compare the two candidates and their vision of the role of the Democratic Party:

Hillary, in stark contrast, is ministerial in her approach. This is a job, it is the most demanding job in the world, and here are her credentials and body of work to demonstrate that she is the most competent and capable to fulfill the needs of the position. Minister in this sense would be both political and religious – someone who tends to the needs and concerns of the beloved community. It’s hands on, sleeves rolled up, get dirty helping raise the barn or negotiate that treaty. Power is present and necessary, wielded for the sake of others, which requires her to explain in as much detail as you want to hear exactly how she will use the authority granted to her. It is straight up attention to material interests.

What I see rising from the other side is clearly of two kinds. Half of Obama’s support is simply racial identity voting. The other half is from the faction of the party that is significantly insulated from the stark world of need and want. There is a love of the other-worldly where the beauty of the idea and the ideal matters more than the base. The political “base” is seen as base – low, uncouth, adulterated, impure, unworthy. They are not among the saved and the saints. I honestly cannot remember a previous time when so many people in the party were reviled for doing nothing except vote for a conventional candidate. These are not Naderites or Wallace supporters. They are middle-of-the-road solid Democrats who voted Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale, Carter, Carter, and so on down the line. The contempt of the saints for the fallen has always been there, but is emerging without a filter or much in the way of self-consciousness this time. The code we learned to speak in our liberal arts colleges falls to the wayside, and I read claims of being rid of the old evil “white working class” (What of us who are not that thing? What of those of us who are?) in a final conflict to end all conflicts and there will be a purified party to which will flock millions of new, young, untainted followers, ready to be led into the land of Goshen.

Chris Bowers and Donna Brazile have made it clear: A vote for Obama is a vote against the poor. A vote for Obama is a vote against workers. A vote for Obama is a vote against good government. A vote for Obama is a vote against the future of the Democratic Party.
* Title stolen from a comment by Lori at Anglachel’s Journal