Don't Be A Dick

Since all the talk radio I listen too is an Obama echo chamber, and I’m past believing Hillary can win, and instead am focussed on what Obama needs to do to win and consolidate victory, I will point this out.

Either support the DNC rules or don’t.
You can’t say that the voters in Florida and Michigan “broke the rules” and then bitch because “the rules” call for 19.6% of the delegates to be Superdelegates.
I agree the system needs reform, but don’t de a dick.   Personally, I prefer the idea of seating the Florida and Michigan delegates and eliminating most or all of the Superdelegates.  (Well, actually, I prefer a second-ballot Gore nomination, but that’s noguhappa.)
If you’re for rules and inputs processed into outputs, then STFU about the Superdelegates.  If you’re for one person, one vote then don’t ignore the people who voted (at the very least in Florida). 
The last time there was any realistic stress on the primary system the rules were changed for the better.  Hopefully this time shows us that we need to eliminate caucuses and superdelegates.  

Hillary Post-Mortem

Now that I’m completing the phases of grief over Hillary’s inevitable loss, I’ve been able to view Barack Obama much the way I did back in October, when I was still crossing my fingers for an Al Gore run.  That is, in a mostly positive light.

I still reject the contention that Obama is going to bring about a progressive revolution and I am scared to death of his conciliatory rhetoric.  I can’t think of analogy that won’t sound hyperbolic–but it’s almost as if, after getting battered by her husband for years, the wife says, look, just put me in charge and we can be a team, as if the husband will stop beating her.  (That reptilian brain impulse, in fact, reacts even more violently when put in the inferior position.)
Perhaps it’s a brilliant strategy by Obama—make it sound like he’s reaching out, and then getting the public to blame the Republicans after their inevitable refusal  to do so. . . assuming that works.
But I’ve been walking around my precinct this month talking to Democrats, and almost without exception, while they support and are energized by Obama, they are, on the other hand,  literally spoiling for a fight.
So, I will just hope that this energy gets channeled into a useful destination.
Now, why did Hillary lose? You won’t hear it on TV, but she lost quite simply because of her Iraq war vote.  If she had maintained herself as the Clinton-in-exile defender of liberalism that we thought she was in the early years of her husband’s administration, with her safe seat in New York, I think she would have been coronated.
But between that vote in 2002 and the present, many Democrats with money and activist impulses simply ruled her out before the fact because of her vote.  I think that’s why support for Edwards came late–he admitted the mistake, but he still made it.
We were looking for a heavy-weight that was against the war.  That could have been Al Gore–and when we didn’t get him, people started shopping, and, I think, in the end, gravitated toward Obama, despite his often-times Republican sounding rhetoric.
Hilary just never made the short list for many people because of her Iraq vote.  If she had said it was a mistake and not exacerbated the problem by voting for the Kyl-Liebermann amendment, I think she would have helped herself.  On the kitchen table issues, she is far and away the better candidate.  You can pretend she was “just First Lady” in the Clinton administration–that’s a lie;  you can pretend that Obama’s years as a state senator–the oft-repeated line that he has “more legislative experience” than she does–somehow makes up for the fact that she has been in the senate for 7 years and he for 3–it doesn’t; you can pretend that she’s unelectable–she is; you can pretend anything you want–Hillary was a great candidate, but she was wrong on one of the two big issues of the day and was unrepentant: Iraq.
 (See my post on being right on the big issues as a prerequisite for meaningful victory, here.)
Now what has happened to her is disgusting.  She has been demonized and Obama has been sanctified.  Forget remembering anything as distant as the 90s — does anyone even remember 2004?  We all talked ourselves into John Kerry, even though we knew he was a total douchebag. 
Obama’s high expectations are probably his Achilles heel.  I don’t think it will bite him in 2008, but I worry a lot about 2012.
Anyway, Hillary! It’s the war, stupid!

Obama Wins Most Important 2008 State

The most important state in this year’s general election is Virginia.  It is turning blue.  Obama won his first important state cross-demographically. (Sorry–I don’t care that he won both Latinos in North Dakota.)  This will be a critical point for Obama if he has to appeal to Superdelegates, because those of us who have not yet drunk his Kool-Aid know that his unity rhetoric has utterly failed to be borne out by results in important states.  (Never mind the sickeningly naive “post-partisan” rhetoric–he can’t really believe that, can he?)

Until now, that is.  The Republicans will fiercely contest Virginia–they have no hope without it.  There is a strong argument that the candidate from the Democratic Party that has the best chance there deserves the nomination.  Ultimately, a Democratic win in Ohio makes the electoral math impossible for the GOP–so a strong Hillary win there will make an important point for her, if she can get it.
However, the Republicans will bleed money to contest Virginia.  If Obama can make it a contest, they will be forced to abandon other states which could lead to an even bigger loss.
We’re into blow out territory.
I just hope that Obama uses that potential mandate to pass the Clinton healthcare plan.

Unite Us First, Obama

I fully concede that it looks like through slow attrition or some deal, Obama is going to get the nomination.  But, just as it has for years, his rhetoric of hopeful compromise rings hollow with me.  Does he really think the Republicans will compromise?

Well, I’m happy to be proved wrong.  I’m happy for all of Obama’s prophecies to be fulfilled.
But, the idea that he will unite America in some movement (especially a progressive one*) can gain some proof now: unite the party.  Show me that you can get people who make less than $50,000.00, who don’t have advanced degrees, who go to church once in a while, to vote for him in large numbers.
Let’s just say I’m from Missouri.  Show me you can unite us first.
* Progressives simply did not adopt Obama until Edwards seemed like he was not viable, and for good reason.  

A Pop Quiz, A Prediction and Obama

Pop Quiz: Can you, off the top of your head, name any of the presidents between Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt?

One hundred and fifty years from now a similar amnesia will strike people as they try to name any of the presidents that presided between Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama. An HRC victory is infinitely better than a John McCain administration and will be salutary in general. Over the centuries and millenniums to follow, however, it will be just one more boring waste of time adrift in the reactionary stasis between LBJ and Obama or whoever else carries on the gigantic shift in fundamental understanding and experience that Obama represents today and that, should a different candidate win, he or someone else will encompass in 2012, 2016 or whenever.

I loathe Generalissimo Bush and the Conservatrons with every cell in my body. I cannot forgive or forget how he and they destroyed any good that could have come from 9/11/01 (Oh the horrible rotten milk stench of the former skyline being carried over my home!) and turned it into a sarcastic jingoism of hate and purposeless war on 9/11/02. But I have learned through bitter experience in my professional life that, ultimately, fighting and hatred are good for some interests. If they are in a perpetual war, if they have an absolute enemy as their foil, then they do not have to account for their portion of the problem. They do not have to be a part of the solution.

Race is the star stuff of the reactionary pause America has found itself stuck in for the last 40 years. Team Clinton did immeasurable good by holding the Conservatrons at bay for 8 years, but for all of their transgressions the Republicans (even absent the slim minority of Conservatrons — my snarky shorthand for “Movement Conservatives”) are necessary to solve the gigantic problems that America faces in the near future. The enormity of our environmental, energy, and humanitarian crises means they cannot be fixed by being on the winning side of a 51-49 split.

Hillary Clinton was the perfect candidate for 2004. She was the ideal progressive for a knife fight taking place on the terrain forged by the hateful reaction to the legal and official, if not experiential, ethnic equality that resulted from the Revolution of 1960-1968. Whether it is the man himself or just the Fact of Obama, Barack Hussein Obama is a once in a generation opportunity to change the terrain away from the annoying and futile obsession over the long since done upheavals of the 1960s (and 1860s) towards a post-racial America in which these divisions, these divisions that have fueled the Conservatron Hate Machine for so long, don’t mean so much anymore. It is only this America that will be able to lead the world into the humanitarian post-petroleum, sustainable energy age.

Yes We Can!

Primaries: I'm done.

I’m glad that I finally got to vote in presidential primary election that mattered. I never have before. But, now it’s over.

Just like approximately 71% of Democrats, I’m happy with both of our candidates. I believe either of them will crush John McCain in November. If you saw the speeches last night, that’s all you need to see–he’s a tired, boring old pissbag that is loathed in his own party.

I voted, organized, and raised money for Hillary Clinton, just as I organized for Bill Clinton in 1992 and just as I did for John Kerry in 2004. But I strongly approve of Barack Obama, and probably would have ultimately voted for John Edwards if he were still viable.

My part is done. I will keep my peace until the nominee is clear and then kick it into gear for whoever it is. In the mean time, I will try hard to keep the two sides from eating each other alive.

Another Obama Wave Breaks On The Beach

The media keeps foretelling doom for Clinton, and she keeps standing.  We’ll see for sure tomorrow why when they break down the numbers.

UPDATE:  It looks like a 10 point win for Hillary in California.  But what’s more interesting is that Obama is not breaking out of his core groups in the contested states.  I’m not sure how that squares with his claim last night that he has appeal to all groups. 
According to CNN, Obama wins with young, unchurched, straight, postgraduate degree holding people who make over $100,000–the classic volvo liberal.  This is how we appeal to red america? Hmmm…..
At least Hillary won the Jewish vote.
Well, it’s a stalemate.