The Obama Squeeze

Lambert doesn’t like what Matt Stoller saying about how Obama ran his campaign and how he’s now consolidating power. He thinks Matt’s kissing Obama’s boots.

What Matt is saying is simple:

Obama is taking over the party and cutting out everyone who isn’t in his camp. He believes in post-partisanship (this doesn’t contradict having Daschle as your bud, y’know). Money flow is going to come mostly from Obama going forward, unless he loses the election. The independents-folks like MoveOn, ActBlue, the netroots, etc… are being cut out or marginalized, whether they realize it or not (and I know that some don’t.) Obama doesn’t feel he really needed them (sorry MoveOn), and he isn’t planning on giving them any real say or power.

(As an aside, this is especially true of the Netroots. Give Kos and co. credit. When they went fullbore Obama it sure wasn’t because Obama gave a damn about what they thought. Quite the contrary.)

So Matt, seeing that Obama is going to be in charge, and is going to be controlling money and access is hoping that Obama is going to turn out to be a good president who really can make things like “post partisanship” work. And he’s saying that progressives should do everything they can to try and help (read: convince) Obama to actually rule America as a progressive.

I personally doubt Obama cares one whit about what anybody in the blogosphere thinks about anything, or what most progressives and liberals think.

But my bottom line is simpler. Obama isn’t John McCain, and that’s all I really expected out of either Obama or Clinton. Anyone who expects much more, I predict, is going to be disillusioned. Within a year of Obama getting in power, progressives and liberals will feel about him the way they do today about Pelosi and Reid.

But at least he might stop torturing people; probably won’t invade Iran, and won’t appoint an Alito clone to the Supreme Court. You take what you can get.

This post was read 230 times.

About author View all posts

Ian Welsh

59 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It was sorta mind-boggling to me. People getting that worked up when there really wasn’t that much difference between the two candidates.

    It will be interesting to see what Obama does, if he makes it all the way, especially with all the crap bearing down on us.

  • This isn’t just a fight over who will be the presidential candidate. It is a power struggle over who will lead the party, with all the control of patronage and money that comes with it. Hillary and Bill are the nominal leaders of the party. They have a model from the 1990s of big money donations funding their campaigns, concentrating on big states for electoral victories, and requiring loyalty from the people they put in positions of power. Obama is challenging them on all aspects of their model, particularly in where the money comes from. Entrenched elites don’t give up power voluntarily; they have to be forced out, often with a nasty struggle.

    Obama has to take command of the party at this point in order to control the public relations arm of the convention. Fortunately for him Howard Dean is of a like mind with his 50 state strategy, and fortunately many of the Democratic party elders are tired of the Clintons.

    Of course, as you point out Ian, disappointments are on their way. Obama will not govern with the full liberal policies many in the party are expecting. Much depends on how many senate seats are won, and whether any accommodation is necessary there with the Republicans (or even with conservative Democrats). Governance will not be pretty or easy given all the problems. This is another critical matter for his campaign. He needs 60 reliable senators and a congenial House leadership, so his campaign will be as much about kicking Republicans out of Congress as getting himself elected. That much will be refreshing.

    The biggest weakness in the Obama model is whether his fund raising success is transferable to any other politician. So much of it depends on his personal attraction (“cult” as some would say), and he has to keep this going for eight years to fund the party. That is a tall order, and suggests we may get back to corporate donations before long. One way to avoid this is to build internet fundraising capability in each state, including places like Texas and Utah. This is the Howard Dean model so Obama will have hundreds of allies all across the party in places that have been ignored for decades by the party apparatus. Yet another reason why the super delegates are supporting Obama – he really does represent attention and resources from the party after years of nothing from the Clintons.

    The Matt Stoller piece is well worth reading because he shows how Obama is dismantling the Democratic party structure, changing sources of funding, and training new leadership. This is an obvious threat to traditional Democratic leaders who owe their livelihood to the Clintons and haven’t come aboard the Obama train. He will work around them and go directly to the voters and campaign workers, who will be expected to follow Obama’s dictates. He will do a similar thing to Republican leaders in Congress once he is President.

    But here Stoller misses a fundamental conclusion: by undermining both traditional Republican and Democratic leadership, especially the practices of tearing each other apart with negative campaigning, he is working for a realignment of politics in the U.S. He’s pushing the Republicans back into the Deep South and taking away their electoral support in the rest of the country. If he succeeds, it certainly will be one for the history books because it implies a generation of Democratic party dominance in national politics. It is also one of history’s little ironies that the Nixon/Atwater strategy of appealing to racist white voters will be overturned by a black man. Ironic too that Hillary is forced to adopt these same racists remarks and tactics to try preventing it from happening.

  • All I really expected either Obama or Clinton to do is not veto stuff a Democratic congress passes and get us out of Iraq. Neither one would of course pay no attention to the netroots whatsoever until they’re needed for something.

    What nobody realizes is that, like geoduck says, so much shit is coming down so fast that the old ways are soon to be over.

  • As Ian has pointed out, basically with the demise of John Edwards’ candidacy with Obama’s “unexpected” win in South Carolina (a “southern strategy”, African American Democrat style if there ever was one) any sense of a true progressive Democratic candidate was gone. Either Obama or Clinton would throw progressives under the bus as John Kerry did when he felt he didn’t need them. And neither Clinton nor Obama had a history of real anti-war sentiments. (Spare me the crap about Obama’s local anti-war pandering – ‘I don’t have all the info .. whatever Colin Powell says.’) I don’t have any real concern about MoveOn or DKos, both of which were spit on by Obama on his recent Fox TV gala.

    The key as far as I’m concerned is how much of a Republican Obama is going to be. The absurdity of calling for “post-partisanship” at a time when the Republican “brand” is reviled was never allowed to be pointed out. Obama was the messiah and everything he said was worthy of stone tablets. Will Obama really try to “fix” Social Security, a Republican wet dream? That was never an issue you’d expect a Democrat to push, yet there was Obama pushing a policy that the public soundly rejected in the face of a massive Wall Street, Republican and presidential propaganda campaign. His medical plan is crap. At best it’ll be another welfare program for mega corporations. Check that. At best it’ll be dropped and forgotten, left for a real progressive with real concerns about average people.

    The only thing progressive about Obama is the shading of his skin. It was his “southern strategy.” White votes of 54 to 46 percent against him were described as racist but Black votes of 90 to 10 percent for him were considered as signs of his overwhelming populist appeal. But the actual details of his policies never represented a populist candidacy. His “change” was always ephemeral. Skin deep.

    Reverend Wright represented something of a paradox for him. He had to throw him under the bus, gently at first. When Wright reacted to the white gloved back hand swipe, showing an “angry” Black man, Obama had to take off the glove and truly throw Wright under the bus. Wright was the betrayer, not Obama. If Obama was a representative of Black anger, then he couldn’t get the “post-partisan” White vote. The people who thought he’d be one of them and not “one of them.”

    Numerian:
    …………………………………………..
    Obama will not govern with the full liberal policies many in the party are expecting. Much depends on how many senate seats are won, and whether any accommodation is necessary there with the Republicans (or even with conservative Democrats). Governance will not be pretty or easy given all the problems. This is another critical matter for his campaign. He needs 60 reliable senators and a congenial House leadership, so his campaign will be as much about kicking Republicans out of Congress as getting himself elected. That much will be refreshing.
    …………………………………………..

    Actually the “post-partisan” gang of 14 came to the rescue of the Republican call to end the 60 vote Senate requirement, which used to actually require a filibuster, though now only requires a auction type nod from accepted politicians (not Chris Dodd types fighting for a free America). But the “post-partisan” move kept the conservative “gentlemen’s” right to kill progressive laws, but ended the Democrats right to object except in “extraordinary” circumstances that were, by that very agreement, beyond openly reactionary, fascist judges, who were allowed through. This was and is the climate under which Obama came up with his “post-partisan” theme. Oh. He also came up with the idea that Ronald Reagan brought a spirit of unity to America. That spirit was exemplified by Reagan’s early “state’s rights” speech in Philadelphia Mississippi, site of the infamous murder of “freedom riders” of the ’60s.

    Simply put, if Obama was really concerned about passing legislation he could go the Republican route and end the filibuster, or at least re-establish it as a true filibuster, as it had been before the politeness move for conservative policy respect. Republicans didn’t have a strong majority in the Senate when they were ready to end the filibuster, in any form, to get their extremist judges pushed through and end Democratic attempts at slowing the destruction of America.

    Enough of my pointing out my “concerns” about Obama. That he’s directing things such that he will be and have centralized control is little different from what we’d expect from a Clinton. Obama is probably only following Clinton’s example in that respect.

    My concerns about an Obama presidency are with the “post-partisan” policies that he’ll push. Social Security “fixes” being one I’ve already mentioned. His progressive rhetoric was always hazy and obviously intentionally so. His face was progressive enough. But with a Republican lite Obama presidency what will happen to all the glassy eyed youth that saw a new America? Much like what happened with me with Pierre “Just Society” Trudeau, their belief in the words of politicians will be gone, no matter how soaring. Maybe they’ll be more discerning and check more for substance. Maybe they’ll just say, “Fuck that!” and tune out, another Republican wet dream. That’s the danger of a Obama con campaign.

    The future is still with groups like MoveOn and DKos and hopefully a more aware public, through honest web information sources like them (and this one). If Obama is a con, then go after him as was done with Bush and Social Security. Don’t let him tell you he’s looking out for you while he’s knee capping you.

    Make Obama be the hope dream he soared on.

  • Look at the new Democrats coming into office. Webb and Tester in the Senate certainly aren’t liberal. This new guy Cazayoux in the House is hardly a liberal. If 40 Republican house members and 10 Republican senators are thrown out of office in November, most of them will not be replaced with liberals. At best they will be “middle of road” which in today’s skewed environment might as well mean conservative.

    This isn’t 1960 where liberalism was triumphant and LBJ could get substantial progressive legislation through the Congress. DKos and MoveOn can’t create that environment on their own, and the real debate is whether they could ever create it with all or nothing tactics. The sad fact is the more inclusive the Democratic Party becomes, the less liberal it will be. What we have to hope for is that it won’t resemble the 1980 party where southern Democrats stymied any progress. Perhaps the worsening economic environment will allow for a change in public attitude more along the lines DKos would like to see. Then we’ll find out whether Obama is a conman only interested in his conservative agenda, or whether he can adjust to the times.

    The interesting thing here is that the anti-Hillary folks in the party see her as a Republican pretending to be a Democrat and using the worst Republican tactics to get her way. The anti-Obama folks see him as a closet conservative masquerading as a progressive, and who is bound to surprise and disappoint his followers when no real change occurs. At least both sides can agree that they are expecting betrayal from within the Democratic Party. Rather curious.

  • that the nominee will work with all the delegations and party poohbahs to construct the platform and develop the short lists for Veep and all essential appointed positions. The alternatives will be outright defeat or inability to govern.

    Whichever candidate wins, that’s where I’m focusing my microscope.


    Turn back to the Constitution – and
    READ it.

  • For all the breathless talk about taking over the party and having a new kind of political money machine, there are some realities that bear mentioning.

    The most obvious one is that Obama isn’t running away with nomination. He is barely ahead in the delegate count and by the end may actually be behind in the popular vote. He is hardly the juggernaut portrayed in Stoller’s piece. Certainly any platform mandate will be of the Bush variety.

    Moreover, in Stoller’s own example he uses IN to show the “stunning” rise in voter participation. Problem with that is Hillary won the State. So, who brought in the voters? Certainly Obama didn’t bring in all the new participants and even if he had, it wasn’t enough to win.

    Many of Barack wins are states he is likely to lose to a Republican in the Fall. Or in the case Massachusetts, a bluer-than-blue forever blue state, his match-up against McCain is within the margin of error despite high exposure support from Kennedy. Funny thing about that, Hillary wins against McCain 56/41 in MA. And, in the 18-34 age group she polls two points better than Obama.

    This is all to say that Matt’s assumptions are just that, unreliable assumptions.

    One thing I do like about Obama’s campaign is that he has found a way to supplement his fund raising avoiding the usual corporate route. There is a problem with that too, though. As admirable as it is, what happens when the economy tanks hard? Who has the money then to fund down ticket/midyear races, as Stoller alludes to? It won’t be Joe and Jane Can’t-find-a-job-in-my-chosen-field-while-I-repay-these-student-loans. It will be their former boss’s bosses.


    “…cunning, baffling, powerful.”

  • “What nobody realizes is that, like geoduck says, so much shit is coming down so fast that the old ways are soon to be over.”

    The question is, What are the “old ways?” How about the continue decline collapse of the middle class? The issue over the foreseeable future is Where is the US going to get oil to continue the oil based middle class way of life? Oil not only will get more expensive but will become increasingly hard to get. Oil exporting countries will be exporting less as their supplies become less abundant and their growing populations demand more. We get a lot of our oil from Mexico, which won’t be exporting much if anything in less than five years. Canada? Not gonna happen. SP’s dream of driving a moped will be coming true sooner than he thinks.

    In short, Obama’s strategy cannot succeed. Most likely he will be a one term president should he be elected. Will America turn its lonely eyes to Gen. Petreaus? Somebody who will crack down on the kinds of people who brought us Obama? Somebody who will get us our oil?

  • I expect that the Cons,the Sovereign Wealth Funds and anyone else holding worthless US Dollars are going to force Bernanke to have his Come to Jesus moment on Jan 21 and interest rates are going to rise like it’s the early ’80’s all over again.
    Then there’s dealing with Peak Oil and the Iraq War.
    Economy comes to a screeching halt, new Democratic president, unless he is very compliant with the Corporate Overlords will get blamed and the set up for the next new Republican in 4 years.
    There are some very nasty plutocrats out there.
    Obama will need to be very skillful and ruthless.
    And I also just hope he will be able to surround himself with a Secret Service that will really protect him in the first six months.

  • Remember Bush vs. Gore, where people kept complaining there were no substantial policy differences? Now we actually HAVE few substantial policy differences, and people are going nuts.

    I wonder how much of the difference is that these are primary voters, who are presumably less apathetic.

  • “Moreover, in Stoller’s own example he uses IN to show the “stunning” rise in voter participation. Problem with that is Hillary won the State. So, who brought in the voters? Certainly Obama didn’t bring in all the new participants and even if he had, it wasn’t enough to win.”

    Voter participation is up pretty much across the board, so it’s my impression Obama and Clinton brought in approximately equal numbers of new voters. Just like everything else.

  • Was based on the car and oil. Its over. Get over it. people need to focus on the future.

    Whatever Obama’s policial position, some things won’t change. Health care, Schools, Medicare, Social Security, and the Budget.

    “Americans will always arrive at the right soluion, after exhaustively considering all others” Winston Churchill.

  • here it is: “our oil”

    Reminds me of when Reagan would promised to get the government of “our” backs. It took me a while to realized who the “our” was: him and his buddies.

  • “Some things won’t change”? Sorry, everything you listed WILL change in one way or another. All of those items you listed depend on adequate supplies of energy (oil) to insure there is “economic growth.” Our lives are entirely shaped by oil and as supplies become less available, the whole shebang is threatened. “Getting over” what is coming our way is not conceivable. You are telling me to get over those funny looking waves out there. Well, have a nice walk on the beach.

  • why are people always hating on them? i’ve let my coursework get to me in the last 6 months, so i may be out of date. but last i was paying close attention to the senate, they were among the best 10 senators on the war and on trade. and yet i keep hearing people hate on them in progressive blog posts/comments. is this because webb carries a pistol? that don’t make him conservative, just a southerner. last time i asked somebody to explain why they called webb a conservative, they had trouble articulating something clear. has something changed since then?

  • This is interesting stuff. There is no doubt that the Democratic party needs some serious restructuring. While I welcome change in leadership and strategy, with funding coming from a larger pool of smaller donors, I
    am never comfortable when too much power comes from a single axis.

    Whatever else Obama may be, he is running for President. That desire and the ability to assemble a team, need to run to the center etc.. are all major pressures that affect any candidate. A progressive could never win with this disaster of a political system. Even if Obama was some sort of crypto progressive, having to pretend that he is a moderate with sympathies towards the right leaning will result in him becoming that very thing. You can only ever have a candidate as good as the system will allow. No real revolutionary will get into that Office.

    My hopes for Obama are that he leads as a consensus builder by default and as a peacemaker by necessity. If he turns out to be just another self interested Democrat, he will be a one term President. We know what we would get wih Clinton, we know what we will get with Mccain.
    We don’t know what we will get with Obama and that is what scares a lot of people. The Devil you know and all that.

    America is in such a dangerous place that the risk of a virtual unknown in the highest office is terrifying. While I get that, I also feel that it is essential to depart from the status quo. Maybe Obama is not that departure, maybe he IS just a snake oil salesman, but the other choices are IMO guaranteed disaster. It isn’t that I feel Clinton isn’t at her core a well meaning and brilliant person. She is a dynamo, a capable and detail oriented politician with a massive support system. Yet, she could not defeat a virtual unknown in a contest where she had so many advantages. I don’t think that the fault lies in Clinton’s court. Partly it is a result of Paradigm. Obama recognized the mood of the Nation. He tapped in to people’s hopes. He demonstrated insight, the ability to assemble an amazing team, he engaged people in the process who had never been involved before.
    Whatever else he may be, he is a talented and charismatic front man.
    When it comes right down to it, that is what the President is.

    So, he will do. It will be up to us to put pressure on him. Keep him humble and demand that he serve “we the people” above and beyond being just another political animal. There is the trap that has caught so many well intentioned politicians.

    A little enema of the DNC would be fine, as long as it sn’t replaced with more of the same old shit. Trading one tyrant for another isn’t what America needs. Lucky for us most of Obama’s money comes from a more democratic source than has been the case for a long time. That both reduces the pressure for quid pro quo, but it also dilutes the influence. We need to develop some tools for steering this ship we may have purchased.

  • “But my bottom line is simpler. Obama isn’t John McCain, and that’s all I really expected out of either Obama or Clinton. Anyone who expects much more, I predict, is going to be disillusioned. Within a year of Obama getting in power, progressives and liberals will feel about him the way they do today about Pelosi and Reid.”

    While I am 90% sure you are correct, at least liberals and progressives already lean that way about him. My biggest hopes for Obama are equally balanced by my biggest fears of him. Who will he ultimately be beholden to? Pelosi and Reid have to feed at the trough of special interests.

  • what I see is a simple takeover. I don’t think of Obama as a progressive or liberal in any real sense, so to me he’s just another boss taking charge. The fact that he has a large personal following doesn’t impress me that much, I’ve long thought of him as essentially a motivational speaker.

    We’ll see, love to be wrong, but my take is that Obama is no more a liberal than Clinton (and on many domestic bread and butter issues, actually less of one, while more of one on transparency and foreign affairs). Obama is no more “one of us” than Clinton is.

    However, I agree he needs to take control to a large extent. But remember, control over money is control over who has a voice. The voice that gets choked off may well be, if not exactly yours, then the people you sympathize with. My guess is that he will choke off those voices as best he can.

  • what you were going to get with Clinton. I knew I wouldn’t like a lot of things, but I knew what they were. And I did believe she was dedicated to, say, universal health care.

    I also believed, and believe, that as President she wouldn’t have bought into the “let bygones be bygones” BS. And I’m quite sure Obama will. And that’s a mistake.

  • assumptions are based on what he already sees happening, and a lot of study of how money works in the party. Matt’s wrong about some things, but he’s rarely wrong about institutional power dynamics.

  • Very well. I’ll not hold those views too tightly. I respect your read on it, and having read Stoller for awhile I can give him the benefit of the doubt. But I am getting a pretty strong smell of teen spirit there, if you take my meaning.


    “…cunning, baffling, powerful.”

  • could be right. There’s a fair bit of angsty in the top tier of bloggerdom. Lot of folks supported Obama, but Obama and his campaign have cut bloggers right out, and from the very beginning. Oddly, even though they got less support, the Clinton camp was much more open (perhaps just because of Daou, but I don’t think so.)

    One of the groups that will be squeezed out is the old-guard netroots. Probably would have been true under Clinton too, but they would have at least pretended.

    That said, the feeling I’ve always gotten from Obamadom was that they have very strong in/out, very strong central control (this is not contradicted by their volunteer org, quite the contrary – Obama wants no one except his own people between him and any followers.) Obama owes only the people who were in very early, every one else is either a true believer, which means they need be given almost nothing but rhetoric, or an outsider whom he won without.

    I’ll be very interested to see, in particular, if SEIU gets rewarded. They’re right at the cusp of early/late.

  • There’s one thing I haven’t understood about what you’ve been writing – the premise that liberals/progressives/netroots,etc expect or have expected Obama to be one of them.

  • don’t, why the hell are they getting so worked up over this nomination? The differences are minor, yet folks are acting like the choice is between night and day. And I think, from my reading, that many are. They make too many excuses for the things he says about Reagan, or Social Security, or Medicare and so on. Too much rationalization going on – the he’s really a progressive he’s just saying what he has to to get elected.

    Obama has told us who he is by who he associates with, what he voted for and indeed in his own speeches. But I think a lot of folks aren’t getting it.

  • I’m not sure. I don’t think she was dedicated to universal health care. I think she adopted it in her campaign because it was working for John Edwards. I don’t see Hillary as a fighter anymore. I see her shmoozing up to right wingers and corporations.

  • is anything, she’s a fighter. She has a ton of sand. The question is /what/ she’ll fight for.

    And I think getting healthcare through, for her, is a personal vindication thing. I’d expect her to fight for it.

  • You still see the shadow of the old Hillary. I now question how real the bluster ever was. I think she just cares about becoming President for the sake of the office itself. I don’t see any vision on her part. If she had it she would’ve steamrolled over Obama. It’s just a disagreement and that neither of us can be sure as to the “real” Hillary says as much about her ambiguous image as anything.

  • Well I’m glad I brought this up cause that is a good point you make. It’s hard to say. I can just speak for myself. It doesn’t have much to do with Obama as it is being anti-Hillary. It’s been about Obama only so much as he’s been less offensive. I think with Hillary there is a sense from progressives, etc of having been betrayed over the years and so now it’s payback time.

  • One of the first things Clinton did on taking office was shut down a whole slew of ongoing investigations in the Reagan and Bush years, regarding, e.g., Iran/Contra, BCCI, Contra coke dealing, and the October Surprise. Had Clinton not done this, a second Bush presidency is almost unthinkable, and certainly not one involving Cheney and Rumsfeld, who, as the Altantic exposed a few years ago, were involved with Ollie North and Bush Sr. in plans to set up an extra-Constitutional government. Even though Ford pardoned Nixon, investigations into more general wrongdoing continued under his watch (possible because, as a Republican, it would be harder for him to shut down a Democratic Congress than for Clinton); not so under Clinton. It is entirely possible that Obama would turn tail and “let the nation heal” from previous Republican perfidy, but it is a dead certainty that Clinton would: we have the track record to prove it. And by his own account, in his book, Clinton did this to curry favor with the Republicans.

    As for universal health care, the Clintons sacraficed it for free trade. Not only by spending their political capital at the beginning on NAFTA, but in the endgame as well. Even after Harry and Louise and the rest, shortly before the elections, Clinton could have brought it to a vote in the House, and it likely would have passed there. Whether that could have brought enough pressure to break the Senate filibuster is an open question, but it is possible. What did Gingrich do? Threaten to withdraw Republican support for GATT. Since many Democrats had the anti-free trades views that Hillary claims now to have had, GATT was dead without Republican support. And Clinton folded before what had to be a bluff (the Repubs are going to block GATT, right), just as Gingrich’s later threat to default on T-bills was a bluff. And that choice cost both universal health care and, likely, the Democratic Congress.

    So we now believe Hillary means it on health care because her stated position goes a little further than Obama? Hillary is now claiming to have always opposed NAFTA though she ardently advocated for it at the time. I think she’s lying, but let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and believe her. Is she not telling us that we cannot believe her stated policy positions?

  • The “true believers” might be satisfied with rhetoric if the economy were doing well, but it will not be, and especially not for poor blacks and recent graduates (current students), two key Obama constituencies. Obama’s organization is a social network, more or less, but no one seems to have figured out how to lock in a social network – we’ve gone from Friendster, to MySpace, to Facebook, to Google’s open platform, which moves us up to meta-networks. I don’t see how Obama retains control of this without delivering.

  • that, while Obama may not always do what the netroot, Moveon, and other Democratic Party activists want, and he may have been careful not to be too dependent on them, he has not, to my knowledge, ever declared us the enemy. Hillary described Moveon specifically and Democratic Party Activists generally as exactly that – as “what we’re up against”.

  • If getting health care was so personal, why did she not even propose it till Edwards did? And like I said in the other comment, there’s a good chance they could have had it the first time, had they been willing to risk GATT. GATT was already negotiated, so there are arguments for their position from the standpoint of US credibility, but those arguments do not negate the point that health care was not the first priority for the Clintons.

    The Clintons only punch hard when they’re punching left. Health care began with compromises and weakened from there, Gays in the military was fudged, but the Clintons attacked the unions mercilessly over NAFTA and Chinese membership in the WTO. The left gets battered and says “wow, it’ll be great when those punches are aimed the other way” but they aren’t. The one exception was calling Gingrich’s bluff on shutting down the government, but that was to save Clinton’s own career more than anything else.

    There is a bigger problem, though. I don’t think either Obama or Hillary could get their health care programs to work in the short term. At the time they were proposed, they were probably viable, but the economy has worsened too much since then. Nonetheless, neither can come out and say this, since they would be going back on promises to do so.

  • Well that’s the whole point mbento – Hillary hasn’t led, and that has undermined her authenticity, which Obama made a staple of his campaign and image.

  • as I was informed, both of them voted to condemn move-on, and Obama has said he doesn’t read blogs and think they say nothing very interesting. We’ve heard Hillary’s private words. I wonder what Obama’s are.

  • before Hillary spent 16 years being attacked by the right wing machine. I don’t think she’s likely to forgive.

    And let me put it this way – at least Hillary put out a universal healthcare plan. Obama isn’t even pretending.

    And maybe she means it. We sure know Obama doesn’t intend for American peons to have universal healthcare.

  • Murdoch raises funds for her; she uses a nice friendly interview with Scaife to attack Wright; Limbaugh brings her votes; Terry Mcawful calls Fox the best of the cable news networks. This is not just reaching across to people with Republican ideas. These three men have dedicated their lives to destroying the Democratic Party, and they were the core of the right wing machine you are talking about, and she has had no problem allying with them. I’d say she has already forgiven, in her actions, even if not in her heart.

  • Obama was on Fox recently after saying he wouldn’t go there. But I understand that was to reach voters he normally wouldn’t be able too. In his case it was not pandering but reaching across the aisle. Terry is not the only one stating Fox news was good for primary coverage. That is not surprising since they hate both candidates. lol

    Are you honesty saying it is Hillary’s fault that republicans say nice things about her? It is her fault that Rush told people to vote for her? Was it Obama’s fault when he told Wisconsin voters to vote for him?

  • close, and your enemies closer. Dean showed what happens if you piss of the press Barons in a primary campaign. First – the White House. Then payback. Not saying that’s what she’s doing. But I’m not sure I wouldn’t have kissed up with Murdoch in her shoes – all the while with a dagger ready for the right time.

    Of course, she may just have no real differences with him anymore.

    I don’t know which it is. But… both sides supporters have made excuses for such things from their candidates.

    Ultimately I just tend to believe that both of them are centrist dems.

  • Murdoch *raised funds* for Clinton. There’s a world of difference between that and simply appearing on Fox, which Clinton has done frequently. That constitutes a political alliance.

  • but the “keep your enemies close” thing is to keep them from attacking you. It’s not typical what you do if you plan to strike them as they can strike back. I think Murdoch and Clinton are both thoroughly political and thoroughly cynical; much as it appears so, it is not personal for either. So if it serves their interests to ally, they ally. Also, Murdoch is not stupid; I don’t think Clinton is playing him; I don’t think anyone else has.

    To say “both sides are doing it”, you have to equate Obama’s one Fox appearance with a monetary alliance, which are not equivalent. And when Obama made the remarks about Reagan at the time, I read it as praise and said so (in comments on Booman Tribune), but Clinton is worse on this: she listed Reagan and Bush 1, but not JKF or LBJ, among her favorite presidents. What Obama said is arguably objectively correct, though by linking it with hippy-bashing he was going a bit beyond where I think progressives should go. What clinton said was much stronger, more comprehensive, and purely subjective.

    But none of that is equivalent to saying McCain is qualified as CinC and Obama is not. Whatever you say about Reagan is an historical matter. Reagan himself liked to coopt FDR, hypocritically or not. But to say the current Repub nominee is qualified for the job and the Dem frontrunner is not has direct implications for how your audience will vote this year. And her audience has evidently taken them to heart. That is betrayal of the party. And Clinton’s supporters keep defending her with false parallels like this.

  • Obama not only wants to reform “Social Security” he put out mailers attacking universal health care using Harry and Louise style arguments. This is acceptable? The man is going to take your regard and pay you back with stuff that’s even worse than NAFTA or welfare reform.

    You keep your enemies close until you can destroy them, if destroying them serves your purpose. If Murdoch wants to spend 8 years kissing Hillary’s butt and running interference for her (well, if she had become president) then great. If he doesn’t, you destroy him. It’s not that hard for a president to make someone like Murdoch’s life hell – key appointments to the right regulatory agencies do the job very nicely.

    Nothing Hillary said about Obama is 1/10th as bad as what McCain’s surrogates will say. Obama won despite it. Good for him. Now let’s see if he can beat McCain. The only reason he stands a chance, frankly, is that any Democratic candidate should win this year.

    We’ll see. Old, people, poor people, women, white people — he doesn’t need to win any of them, I’m told. Nor Catholics. I guess those young people, and blacks in southern states he’ll never win will make it all up. And, of course, all those caucusses in the national election which he can pack with his followers.

    Oh, wait…

    But forget all this, let’s make it simple. It’s not in Hillary’s interest for Obama to win in November, while if Hillary did win Obama’d still be in the running in 8 years.

    So what’s Obama going to do? He’s the presumptive nominee, it’s long past time to be whining about what Clinton did. The only question now is “how’s Obama gonna win?” And if he loses, ultimately there’ll be only one person to shoulder the majority of the blame (unless the Supremes steal it again) and that person will be named Obama.

    It’s his show. Time to play. If he can’t either put down, blackmail or buy off Clinton – or get past her, then he doesn’t have what it takes.

    It’s not about Clinton anymore. It’s about Obama. It’s his election to win or lose now and whining about Clinton’s campaign won’t earn him one vote in November.

  • C’mon … it sounds silly and you know it. You’re making excuses for her that aren’t necessary. How does Murdoch help her win? How does he help her win?? He doesn’t – it just pisses off people like you and me, and even beyond the blogosphere.

  • It is not in Clinton’s interest for Obama to win, that’s true, and there’s not really anything Obama can do to change that. It is clearly in the Party’s, the nation’s, and the world’s interests, however, and Clinton certainly realizes this. So the question for Hillary is will she put any larger interest before her own, and so far the answer has been an emphatic no. To say that blame is on Obama for what Hillary chooses to do makes Obama morally responsible for Hillary’s actions. That’s not how it works. As a practical matter, he must try to neutralize or withstand her, but if she continues to undermine him, she, not he, is to blame for it.

    And what Clinton has done is still relevant at a minimum because she is still doing it. She has not dropped out of the race, and she will be a factor one way or another until the election.

    The notion that Hillary is secretly plotting revenge against her erstwhile right-wing allies requires further postulates than the theory that she and they are simply being expedient and doesn’t seem to explain anything more. It is also not consistent with the Clinton’s history: after several years of media abuse, Clinton sided with Republicans against some opposition in his own party to empower the media for further abuse with the telecommunications bill; after Bush 1 embarrassed the Clinton with Flowers and other scandals, Clinton covered his Iran/Contra ass and became an overt ally after leaving the Presidency. Where is the evidence for these avenging Clintons of which you speak, who go after the Republicans or the media who wronged them? I’ve never seen them.

    I’m not terribly optimistic about Obama actually. But the Clinton’s overarching purpose has been to strengthen the hand of big business nationally and globally and, as part of that, to kill progressivism in the Democratic Party. Even under Reagan, the Democratic Party was strong enough to do things like pass the Boland amendment; Clinton killed that in the party.

    And the way Hillary is talking about the Mideast now is madness. That surprises me. I’ve always had a cynical view of the Clintons, ever since I saw them shut down those investigations, but I never saw them as irrational or even reckless. But the threat to nuke Iran in defense of Saudi Arabia was even condemned as crazy talk by Saudi Arabia.

  • in the Times this morning is undoubtedly generating heat. Any idea if Luttwak is currently a McCainer or a Clintonite. Last I heard he had worked for Bush but Luttwak thought his approach on Iraq was wrong.


    1.”George Washington did not cross the Delaware for Capitalism,” -Shmuley Boteach.
    2.The Dems haven’t punished the GOP enough, so you’re going to reward the Republicans?

  • here

    If you don’t want to read all 368 of them, though it’s a very interesting thread (especially about the NYT itself ) the editor’s selections are here

    op-ed’s view originally posited here


    1.”George Washington did not cross the Delaware for Capitalism,” -Shmuley Boteach.
    2.The Dems haven’t punished the GOP enough, so you’re going to reward the Republicans?

  • since George Bush is more likely to be thought of as a “crusader” for Christianity and therefore at risk than Obama. This is just a phoney-baloney attempt to trojan-horse muslimize Obama while pretending to worry about his safety.

    As far as non-practicing father born to Muslim grandfather-if you want to consider that issue, though that is not the point of the article, any apostasy charges I think died with his father when Obama was born on American soil to two (at that time) agnostics.

    The rules of the country of birth, not just the lineage of the person are very much in play in Islamic identifications and fatwas.

    Of course someone is free to correct me on this, but that is what I have been told by American-born Muslims.


    1.”George Washington did not cross the Delaware for Capitalism,” -Shmuley Boteach.
    2.The Dems haven’t punished the GOP enough, so you’re going to reward the Republicans?

  • Instead of New Labour, we’ll get New Democrats, but with the same personality-based foundation.

    Consider how well that’s worked out for Labour. They’re Number Three!

Leave a Reply