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Can the Democrats re-unite? Who is really going to win the US Election (Part 7)

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 02:45:56 PM EST

Can Obama win the nomination and re-unite the Democratic party?  Can he regain the support of the white working class and other ethnic minorities put off by the (alleged) rhetorical excesses of Rev. Wright?  Will Hilary continue to damage all she has allegedly stood for all these years?  Will McCain defy age, recession, logic and political gravity and pull off an unlikely Republican win?  Is the Obama movement for change destined to go the way of so many before - Eugene McCarthy, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry - or worse, the way of Martin Luther King, JFK and RFK?  


Following Edward's defeat, the Progressive or Liberal blogosphere has swung almost entirely behind Obama, helped in no small measure by what are perceived as negative campaigning tactics by the Clinton clan.  Obama's speech on Race (and patriotism) was perhaps the most eloquent since Martin Luther King and JFK spoke to, if not entirely for, the nation.

The irony of all this is that the Clintons' had, all through their political lives, sought to be the inheritors of the JFK Mantle.  How bitter they must feel, that they have now painted themselves into the opposite corner of the ring.

Meanwhile McCain has sown up the Republican nomination, despite not really being regarded as a true conservative by the true believers.  He has shown remarkable resilience even as the Bush war economy has tumbled all around the Republican base.  He is the only Republican contender with any prospect of attracting independents and winning the Presidency, and his success has really put in up to the Democratic Party - can they heal the wounds of an increasingly bitter and divisive campaign, and unite in time for the November General Election?

Given that Clinton had all the advantages of a commanding early lead in the polls, name recognition, and establishment support, Obama's performance has been nothing short of remarkable. He now stands in the centre ground of the Democratic historic liberal traditions, with Clinton an increasingly desperate outsider.  However it is a long time since a liberal Democrat has won the Presidency.

And yet Clinton can still win the Democratic nomination - even if her own supporters only give her a 10% chance.  The Wright rhetoric is bound to damage Obama with the white and other minority working class vote, and this is precisely the sort of vote that Obama needs to pick up if he is to beat McCain.  However if the reaction of liberal blogosphere is anything to go by, Clinton has damaged herself even more by seeking to exploit the issue.

Thus is Clinton doing McCain's dirty work for him, and mortally wounding the best candidate the Democratic centre and left have had in a generation?  It seems extraordinary that any Republican could still have a chance of winning, particularly one with so little business, economic or administrative experience.  

As the recession deepens, Iraq and McCain's military background will seem increasingly part of the past rather than part of the future.  And yet can the Democrats get it together in time to mount an effective national election campaign?

If the Democrats cannot unite their own party, how credible will be their claim to unite the country?  If Obama is successfully framed as (an albeit eloquent) black politician, what chance has he to fulfill the inclusive post racist vision he has so consistently articulated?

I take a somewhat more sanguine view of all of the controversies than many of our US friends. This sort of controversy is par for the course for most US elections and the issues in November will be quite different.  Often the problem is not the crisis itself, but how a candidate responds to it.  So far Obama has hardly put a foot wrong.  If anything, Clinton is merely pre-empting the attacks the Republicans will be mounting in any case.  It may be just as well that the damage is suffered now rather than just prior to the election when there is much less time to recover.

The controversy has helped to mobilise the Democrats as never before, and McCain could find his slim lead evaporating very quickly if the Democrats re-unite at the convention or before.  However as many as 28% of Clinton supporters say they will vote McCain rather than Obama if Obama wins the nomination - and 19% of Obama supporters feel the same way about Clinton.  So the crucial issue is: can the Democratic split be mended in time?

On the (90%+) assumption that Obama does gain the nomination, it all now depends on how Clinton and her supporters react to her defeat.  It seems most unlikely that she will accept the Vice Presidential slot even if it were offered.  If her own rhetoric is to be believed she virtually had that role during her husbands Presidency, and who wants to live in the gate lodge having been the Lady of the Manor?

However for all her increasingly desperate attempts to win the main prize, it would be unwise to underestimate Hilary the survivor, Hilary the political pro, Hilary who stayed loyal to Bill even during his most bitter betrayal.  For all the bile now being directed at her, I think she will accept defeat graciously and give political support generously to Obama in those demographics he needs to win.  

An Obama/Clinton ticket may be an unlikely, though not impossible outcome for all manner of reasons, but don't think for a moment that Clinton wants to court infamy by facilitating a Republican win. Both Obama and Clinton are a lot bigger than many of their more fanatical supporters would have you believe.  The Democratic Party may be continually wrestling with its conscience, but the Democratic Party will win...

Poll
I predict the next POTUS will be:
. McCain 45%
. Obama 54%
. Clinton 0%
. Other 0%

Votes: 11
Results | Other Polls
Display:
PS - anybody know how I can get the two photographs to appear side by side and save valuable space above the fold?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 02:47:52 PM EST
Hmm... how about using the same table code as side by side bilingual quotations (as explained in the user guide)? Only with the links to the pics in place of text, and perhaps remove the style code for background colours.

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 03:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fixed. You had the Obama pic outside of the TABLE and only one TD.

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 05:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 06:58:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't concern me terribly.  It's not uncommon for significant segments of a party base to say they won't vote for this or that person.  The losing candidate's supporters will bitch for a while (as we saw at dKos when Edwards dropped out), but eventually they come around.  It's also the case that Democrats generally carry a smaller portion of Democrats than Republicans carry of Republicans.  It evens out because there are a lot more Democrats (36% of the country) than Republicans (27%).

Queen Hillary the Survivor, like St John the Maverick, is a media creation.  She's never had a real opponent prior to Obama.  (She won her Senate seat by using her husband's presidency to push out a congresswoman who was, up to that point, the presumptive nominee, and then coasted to victory in the general because Rudy! was diagnosed with cancer and dropped out.)  She survives because of the fact that the press wants to keep the Clinton Soap Opera going.  If the Windsors and the Dukes of Hazard could be smashed together, the result would be the Clintons.

I think you're giving Clinton far too much credit here as a human being.  The unfortunate truth, or at least so I believe we'll find, is that she'll keep going until forced to get out.  (Rest assured that if she were getting ready to call it a day, she wouldn't be having her donors write obnoxious letters to Nancy Pelosi over Pelosi's comments, or threatening Howard Dean over Florida and Michigan.)  If that destroys Obama in November, it just means she's gets to try again in 2012.  If she were going to accept defeat graciously, -- I, frankly, think we're long past the point at which she can -- she would've dropped out after Texas, at the latest (going out on a high note).

Put simply, you're assuming the Clintons will observe the niceties.  After all, Edwards did.  Richardson, Biden and Dodd did.  Obama, to this point, has.  Candidates always do.  Clinton, however, has not, and all the press talk of "Well, if she gets the shit kicked out of her in this or that state, she has to drop out, or the math doesn't work" sounds great, but we ultimately find it proven silly when she winds up, you know, getting the shit kicked out of her in this or that state.  (The only thing that winds up changing is that whatever state the press referenced is branded "insignificant" for a variety of reasons -- too many blacks, too much money, not enough Mexicans, too many young people, undemocratic caucuses, sexism, affirmative action, Republican conspiracies -- by the Clintons and Mark Penn.)

I'll happily swallow my words if I'm wrong, but remember who told this to you when Denver comes and Clinton is clawing her way there from Puerto Rico: The Clintons are not honorable people, and Lady Macbeth (as TBG likes to call her) will stay until her candidacy is killed by the superdelegates.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 04:41:47 PM EST
Also, since the Clintons are now trying desperately to drag Wright back into the spotlight, I remind you this is the same Rev Wright who stood by Bill Clinton when the Starr report was released during Lewinsky.

"The Clintons: We're There When We Need You."

Let's stop pretending that, as Joke Line insists, these are honorable people.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 05:25:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton will drop out when the nomination is pried from her quivering hands.

For the reasons Drew has already posted but also, speaking realistically, Obama hasn't put her away yet.  She is still within striking distance.  One major gaffe by Obama and she's in.  

One analysis posted on MyDD put it thus:  if things go according to predictions Obama will need ~35% of the PLEO delegates at the convention to win the nomination while Clinton will need ~72%.  That would be hard for her to accomplish both from a "What's In It for Me" stance as well as the demonstrated incompetence of the Clinton campaign.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 06:04:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree on everything except the bit on her being within striking distance.  She's down 150-160 delegates and 800,000 votes.  She needs 65% of the remaining delegates in every state from here on out to even the score.  It would take a gaffe the likes of which we've never seen, and there'd be no reason for her not to suspend her campaign, because she could restart it if that kind of gaffe were committed.

Failing that, the campaign is over, unless the superdelegates flip it (in which case we have Armageddon -- blacks (who she's already only polling at 55% with against St John) and young people walk, along with God-knows-who-else -- and Clinton loses anyway).  Obama will, in all likelihood, close some of the gap in Penn and win huge in NC, Montana, Oregon. And SD.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:03:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's odd.  "And SD" should've been right after a comma following Oregon.  Stupid iPhone texting.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:47:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I put in "Striking Distance" because of the uncertainty of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 11:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I normally always defer to your greater wit and wisdom on such matters, Drew, but I don't see what's so terribly dishonourable about fighting on whilst you still have a mathematical chance of success. She's as entitled to make her pitch as any candidate until such time as Obama clearly has the nomination sown up.

We may of course disagree or be outraged at how she is conducting her campaign, but that's another issue entirely.  She has certainly done her own credentials with the Black vote and just about every left of centre voter a lot of damage by seizing on the Rev. Wright issue when there was absolutely no need for her to do so - the GOP and the press where always going to pursue that issue in any case.  However, so far, there is little evidence this has damaged her in the polls.

The reality is she is still a viable candidate, even if she is only barely hanging in there at this stage.  It would take a major mistake by Obama to lose the Nomination now, and if he wins it he will be strengthened by the fact that he has come through in such a tough campaign.  The Dems are stealing all the limelight and creating all the mobilisation on the ground - all of which will stand them in good stead in November.

The only issue now is can they close the deal - and reunite once the nomination is decided - and my bet is they can and they will.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thoroughy agree, Look at what is happening, the Dems are monopolising the TV broadcasts, Whenever one of them comments, the networks replier of choice is the other dem rather than a republican. To get TV time McCain has had to resort to going to Iraq, tieing himself in the public eye closer to Bush. How can that possibly be bad for a democrat candidate come November?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not a great deal of wit and wisdom for my part, but I do appreciate it.

Look, I don't disagree at all.  She's not merely entitled but rather has every right to continue campaigning as long as she chooses.  (It's no secret that I don't like her, but I'd be the first to defend her if she were told otherwise.)  Hell, even if it became mathematically impossible for her to win, she'd still have the right to fight out any remaining contests.

I'm on-board with the view that we're stealing the limelight from McCain for the moment.  But that is, as I think you'd agree, wholly dependent upon the public perception of how the contest is being handled by Obama and Clinton.  And I do think we're rapidly approaching, if we haven't already passed it, the point at which the public sours and sees it as a childish game of tit-for-tat.  (Good strategy in game theory, not good for winning elections.)  If and when that point is crossed, the contest will need to end quickly if we're to hope for an undamaged nominee.

However, so far, there is little evidence this has damaged her in the polls.

Actually, although I have no idea what's causing it, her favorable ratings are plummeting in the NBC poll to be released tonight that First Read has now written about (down to an all-time low of 37%).  For the record, that's her lowest since March of 2001, when she took office after being pounded as a carpetbagger in New York.

Now, granted, the same poll gives her a statistically insignificant lead over Obama among primary voters (although an also-statistically-insignificant worse showing when comparing O and C against McCain), but there ya go.

My bet -- and it is that I agree with you -- is less a bet that they'll ultimately unite the party.  (I think McCain will do that for them in the end.)  It's more a bet based upon the fact that Dems so clearly outnumber Reps, and that such a huge chunk of Indies lean towards the Dems.  Couple that with the fact that we're in a time when a GOP president is about to preside over his second recession, and when the (unbelievably unpopular) Iraq War is starting to hit the news again with violence rising in Basra, and it's difficult to see how the Dems don't pull it out even after a bitter primary.

That said, I think guys like Kos are kidding themselves if they believe it's in the bag.  We're not going to beat McCain by making him unlikable.  (That's just not going to happen.)  We're only going to beat him by focusing the contest on how incredibly wrong he is on everything.  And that's difficult because of the magic of message (more specifically, blurring).  He's damned good at playing the Old Noble Servant.  (I have to salute the Reps.  They picked their strongest guy, even though they all hate him.)  And that's not easy to counter at a time of crisis, even when the McCains of the world produced it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
We're not going to beat McCain by making him unlikable.  (That's just not going to happen.)  We're only going to beat him by focusing the contest on how incredibly wrong he is on everything.

I think making him unlikeable is the only way to win. Bush won - kind of, anyway - because he played the likeable guy at the bar.

He was also incredibly wrong about everything. And only a minority of people go that ahead of time. If voters cared about wrong, Bush would never have had more than 30% of the vote.

McCain meanwhile has the advantage of being an obvious patriot and hero. He's white, he's ex-military, he's totally American[tm].

He's also senile and psychopathic. But don't expect voters to care about that.

So the only way to take him down would be to break that identification with America, or to be so very much more charismatic that he becomes insignificant.

Hillary, who is certainly living up to the Lady Macbeth tag, isn't capable of either. Her sniper-fire attempt to play the hero turned into a media farce.

Obama might be. He understands media and rhetoric, while McCain's handlers don't seem quite so deft. And the McCain himself is clearly losing it.

Obama's way to winning is to wrap himself in the flag, run with the 'We're all Americans' line he's been using, and crowd out McCain's media presence. He can then be likeable and quasi-approachable at the same time as he's presidential.

McCain doesn't have that kind of charismatic ammo at his disposal. He'll appeal to the stiff old patriots and the Washington cynics, but not so much to anyone else.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 12:36:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Without data all I can do is guess.

She started with a hard negative of ~40%.  Her attacks on Obama has alienated Obama supporters and other Democrats and that's being reflected in her rising negatives.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 12:57:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We're in a pretty long slog right now. I still think it will be over by May 6th. Bowers is on board with that
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 05:49:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link - yea -I basically agree with Bowers on this.  It looks like it will be over in May or at the latest in June - and I don't see that as a bad thing.  It keeps the tension going and that will help to mobilise more dem voters in more states across the country.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think we might all be wrong, because Hillary just lost the critical endorsement:




Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:52:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 08:23:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Found it on dKos.  Just random.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 08:29:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ceiling cat is part of that strange internet imageboard subculture spreading from places like 4chan.org or icanhascheezburger.com.

As they say about the matrix, you have to see it in order to understand it... well, halfway. But don't blame me if you come back scarred for life.

I like monorail cat.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 10:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the education.  I feel soooo 1990s

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:44:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is hard to understand is why Gore, Edwards, Pres. Carter etc. havent come out in support of Obama. There is no downside for them doing so and I expect it will be after Pennsylvania so Clinton can have a last gasp. The reason there is no downside is they will finally be able to rid the Democratic party of the 'Clinton triangulation-we win and lose the Democratic soul at the same time' influence.
by An American in London on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 04:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting comment - even Ted Kennedy came out for Obama pretty early on - and he often speaks for the old guard establishment.  I wonder is it because Obama hasn't sufficiently addressed their agendas yet - the economy, environment and human rights - in a sufficiently radical way.  Obama is in "don't scare the horses" mode, and whilst trying to ride the wave of a yearning for change is trying to keep a very broad coalition on board whilst not being too specific on anything.

I think the real battle for these SUPER super delegates will come in June when the Primary season is over and the Dem party gets down to the real business of hammering out an electoral policy platform (and who gets what jobs).  This will happen mostly behind closed doors, but expect a steady stream of high profile endorsements to keep the news flow going on quiet days of the campaign to create the sense of a gathering moment of change behind Obama.

McCain may have peaked too soon.  He doesn't really have anywhere else to go - whereas the Obama movement is still growing.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 06:10:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You very well may be right about June being the time for the remaining uncomitted superdelegates to endorse. But one would have thought Gore, Edwards, etc. would have wanted to drive the last nail into the 'Clinton campaign coffin' because to not do so could have meant they would rise like vampires in the dark of night.

As I stated previously; its possible they wanted Pennsylvania to play out as they were afraid to alienate Hillary's base while a big state like Pa was to come in the primary season. The other reason may be the Gores, Edwards etc are pragmatists and just like Hillary would like a shot at 2012 so didnt mind Obama being bloodied up by Hillary enough to lose to McCain. Thereby Hillary gets the blame for defeat and allows Gore, Edwards,etc to run in 2012. Let's not be surprised that politiciams would want their own ambitions to come before the country's welfare. I hope this is not the case as I believe Obama will beat McCain because Obama's movement will still be growing and the status  and perceived status of the economy will continue to worsen during the general election campaign. Obama's campaign line of 'Do we really want a Bush third term !!!' will be the mantra of his general election campaign.

by An American in London on Sun Mar 30th, 2008 at 04:58:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not on ET also. This is supposed to be an island of sanity in a blogosphere filled with campaign minutia. Do you really think most people in Europe care about the infighting in the Democratic party?

Personally, I appreciate your more thoughtful, less personality-centered,  essays.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 05:13:43 PM EST
I sort of agree, but given that half of Europe's elites feel obliged to act as US vassals the election over there is sadly relevant to European politics.

If you don't like it, don't recommend it.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 06:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET tu Brutus? I don't see this as a campaigning diary as I am not campaigning for any particular candidate - merely analysing the odds - and yes, ultimately, the impact the winning narrative will have on us in Europe and the wider world. Whether we like it or not the outcome is crucial to the next 4 years - as if the economic fall-out from the US economic melt-down wasn't serious enough.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 07:41:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snort, LOL.

Here's a uniter .

U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, whose district includes much of Martin and St. Lucie counties, is hoping he won't have to attend the Democratic Party national convention in Denver in August.

If he does go, that will mean the Democrats still haven't decided a nominee for the presidential election. And if neither Sen. Hillary Clinton nor Sen. Barack Obama has clinched the nomination by August, Mahoney says we may see a brokered convention, meaning the nominee could emerge from a negotiated settlement.

"If it (the nomination process) goes into the convention, don't be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket," Mahoney said.

A compromise candidate could be someone such as former vice president Al Gore, Mahoney said last week during a meeting with this news organization's editorial board.

:>

by Francois in Paris on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 08:21:00 PM EST
I am completely ambivalent about the outcome. I know I shouldn't be, but I am. The Democrats still are nowhere near representing my values and, what's more, they have a four decades long record of not adequately representing working people. And their candidates? Well, I know a lot of people who are thrilled by Obama, but on many subjects (most, actually) he leaves me cold and, I guess, that charisma he undoubtedly has doesn't work on people like me, who prefer their rhetoric in the environment which is the US a bit more rough around the edges and polemical. Hell, I'd even settle for Gore's rhetoric in 2000. And Hillary? I guess I'd like it better if she'd use her Bill Clinton surrogate to better effect, like having the former President go out to crowds and instead of attacking Obama, apologizing for the misguided neo-liberal policies he himself pursued while in office. That might get my attention.

Soon to be coming into no small amount of liquid assets I will be needing to get situated back in the EU, I note that my New American Pesos are worth less and less, and therefore am also acutely aware of decades of misguided (and in a bi-partisan way I might add) US policies on my own financial well-being. Granted, it's only money, and not all that much of it either, so I don't really care...that much...but I have a feeling that McCain will fix that more effectively than the other two. It'll cause massive pain in the US to fix it (anyone remember Reagan's recession? Double it), and the working class will suffer most, and maybe then we might get a party that will actually start fighting for them, a party i haven't seen in my lifetime in the us.

The other two? Sounds like ineffectual drift, and neither are capable of doing what's needed, starting with re-instituting a comprehensively progressive income tax like the US had with Eisenhower, use the proceeds to not only balance the budget(s) but also smooth the tranistion to universal single-payer socialized medicine, and begin to dismantle the war machine amerika will soon no longer be able to afford.

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 01:16:32 PM EST
redstar:
The other two? Sounds like ineffectual drift, and neither are capable of doing what's needed, starting with re-instituting a comprehensively progressive income tax like the US had with Eisenhower, use the proceeds to not only balance the budget(s) but also smooth the tranistion to universal single-payer socialized medicine, and begin to dismantle the war machine amerika will soon no longer be able to afford.

And you think McCain would be better at achieving these objectives than the Dems?  Are his policy stances not in the diametrically opposed direction? - less tax, more war, and certainly no socialist medicine!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 01:54:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no, he's demonstrably worse on paper. I'd give him from my perspective a 0 out of 20. Obama maybe a 5 out of 20, Clinton maybe 4 out of 20.

Not a passing grade among them.

The thing McCain brings is that he'll make things get worse faster, which in my view, call me a dreamer, sets the conditions whereby things will eventually get better in America. And trust me, they're going to have to get worse before they get better. So you have to look behind the paper, not on it...

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 02:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colour me skeptical of the theory that things have to get worse before they can get better.  That's what the Jews said in Germany c. 1933.  The problem with history is that things can always get worse, and just as you think they can get no worse, they actually do.

And the problem with a traumatised population is that their expectations just get lower and lower, and suddenly, in retrospect, Bush doesn't seem so bad after all - he didn't quite manage to start a world war...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 02:37:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the problem with a traumatised population is that their expectations just get lower and lower, and suddenly, in retrospect, Bush doesn't seem so bad after all - he didn't quite manage to start a world war...yet

Fixed.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 03:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess what Redstar is saying is that despite what many on the wonkosphere suggest, 2008 is not analogous to the 1932 election that brought FDR and the New Deal, but 2012 may well be as long as McCain wins in 2008. If a Democrat wins in 2008 they will be like Carter to Reagan in 2012.

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 04:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a fine, practical way of putting it.

I might further modify it to say it might be 2016, and the Democratic Party might no longer exist as it does today. If they were a business, you know, they'd have been sued for product liability and false advertising a long long time ago.

But I really am not as sanguine as many here about reform actually happening in the US. It's far too wealthy a place for the sort of crash we'd need to to weaken the ruling class hold on the place. And three generations of people who's civic education is, to say the least, pathetic...nope, I'm not hopeful.

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 04:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm with the 'never' vote.

I mean, a good share of Nader supported had this notion that the Bush disaster would set the democratic party and the country straight. Are we now going to talk about 'Nader units' (after 4 more years of Republican-led disaster, America will turn the corner)?

It's time to embrace incrementalism.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 09:10:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've got to start somewhere, and now and here is better than a future that is ultimately unpredictable.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 09:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
always advance as we expect, but the key thing is to, when you get a window to move through, jump through it as far as you can for the inevitable steps backward.

I also firmly believe that this progress will not come from the US, but elsewhere, and we should help it along and do our best to bring it back to ourselves.

Most human progress in recorded time works this way and not by little baby steps, and we are, in the grand scheme of things, indeed moving forward, not backward, although sometimes this is hard to see given we seem to be in a bit of a backwards phase. It's pretty rare that such backwards phases take the homicidal turn you suggest - it happens, but it's pretty rare. But such great leaps forward rarely are peaceful, either. Usually, at the very least, a brick or two get thrown.

As regards America I see it more as an historical accident, that it becomes a hyperpower due to the implosion of the Soviet Union whose demise it helped along, without a single border to defend from agressor nations, a country whose people know neither the world nor, really, war. This has led the country to excesses which will like any other ideologically blinkered regime lead to its ultimate decay from within, not unlike the Soviet Union had it not reformed (and, in the case of the US, there really is no prospect of any Gorbachev on the horizon either, is there). I'm not exactly sanguine about what the American people will do when and if the logical decline starts to gradually improverish large swathes of the population, and note that among so-called "political independents" (the ones Obama and Clinton are so busy courting today) in America, those brown people from Latin America might well be already be to blame for the little pain currently being experienced:

For independents, the top issue underlying the discontent is `our borders' having been `left unprotected and illegal immigration' growing - cited by 40 percent, with no other issue a close second...

You get that? They're being raped by Wall Street, inflation is killing them at the pocketbook, education for their kids is more and more out of reach, access to healthcare more expensive by the year, their children are being sent to die in rich men's wars just like the 19th century, and who's to blame? Brown people. I'm sorry, but there's really no other way to put this: this will not get better until these people's idiocy has been beaten out of them.

There's unfortunatley really nothing to do in America's case but try as best to contain it as it's inexorable decline commences, and work to limit the ill effects of that decline on ourselves. Job one in this effort is to make pains to identify ourselves as different, and having different interests, different values, different morals even, then them, and the sooner we do this the better.

The good news is that there are cases in human history of places which simply implode more or less peacefully.

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 04:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aw heck, since we don't know what Obama will do I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt and grade him at a 6 out of 20.  As far as I'm concerned there is no difference between McCain and Clinton, give 'em a 1/20.  Both are slimy corporate greed-heads who would sell their grandmothers for a buck twenty-five.

Don't know if you saw What's the Matter with U.S. Organized Labor?
An Interview with Robert Fitch
over on Monthly Review.  If you didn't it's worth a read.  Fitch, IMO, fingers the fundamental problem with American Unionism and until that is fixed - somehow - and the Unions develop back into a mass-movement we're never going to get a truly Leftist Political Party in the US.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 04:26:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fascinating interview.

Thank you for the link.

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:02:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Careful.  McCain's grandmother may still be alive, and McCain women -- his Stepford wife aside -- tend to be pretty tough ladies.  You're only a state away, you know.

And Bill and Hillary would rent Chelsea to Eliot Spitzer for half a dozen votes in Pennsylvania.

</Shuster>

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:19:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
And Bill and Hillary would rent Chelsea to Eliot Spitzer for half a dozen votes in Pennsylvania.

Nah, not to Elliot Spitzer, he hurt a lot of her best donors on wall street.  He gets to do a Monica on Bill.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 09:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I grew up in Chicago in the 1960s and 70s, when Chicago was still the city of big shoulders and hog butcher to the world, organized labor was organized and did labor, and the first Mayor Richard Daley ruled the city like a personal fiefdom. Chicago politics back then was when barrel-chested strongmen wielded truncheons  on political opponents, then went home to shower, shave, and don a tuxedo to attend a $500 a plate dinner with the President or Senator. It was connections that counted, and your loyalty to those connections. They had a saying then: we don't want nobody nobody sent.

When Obama was doing his street organizing in Chicago, local politics was rapidly changing, becoming less thuggish and more open, the city was reeling from sustained depression of its many manufacturing sectors, while the traders in the futures pits at the Merc and the Board of Trade were just beginning their quiet ascent to covert dominance of the equity and bond markets.

Now, I suppose, the saying in Chicago is, it ain't over til it's over.

by NBBooks on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 04:42:23 PM EST
Uhm, really hate to be the bearer of terrible news, but not very much has changed.  Ok, nothing has.   I know you are now going to give me a lecture about how I wasn't even alive in the 60's so what do I know.  What I know is I've been really really active in Chicago politics in recent years and anyone will tell you ... nothing's changed.  No clue what Obama accomplished as a community organizer.  I don't see much to show for it (though that doesn't mean efforts weren't made - trust me, it's pretty futile and thankless work being a reformer in this town!) and I work on the blighted South Side.  Still, I don't know any other community organizers who live in mansions on property bought for them by say, Rezko.  There's Chicago for you.  Even the anti-machine candidate (yeah, right, whatever) is tied to someone being prosecuted for patronage.  It's in the effing water here.  I'm telling you.

Organized labor is organized and does labor, and the new Mayor Richard Daley rules the city like a personal fiefdom.   Chicago politics is barrel-chested strongmen wielding truncheons  on political opponents, then go home to shower, shave, and don a tuxedo to attend a $500 a plate dinner with the President or Senator.  It is connections that counted, and your loyalty to those connections. They STILL have a saying:

we don't want nobody nobody sent.  

Don't take my word for it.  Call Mark Pera or Jesse Jackson jr.

Sorry.  I really am.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
poemless:
I work on the blighted South Side.
<snip>
Chicago politics is barrel-chested strongmen wielding truncheons  on political opponents,

Didn't have you figured  for the trunchon wielding type ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:38:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know.  Maybe if I picked myself up one I'd have better luck on the winning elections front... ;)  

Don't know why you included the mention of working on the South Side in that quote.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 05:54:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because there was where you said you worked in Chicago politics.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 06:04:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I said that's where I work.  But politics is not my job.  It's what I do when I'm not at work.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 06:18:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah so amateur truncheoneer then ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 06:21:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just don't get paid to lug one around. :)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 06:24:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but make up for it with enthusiasm ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 09:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a nice single fit buddy who's a cop by traing, right up here. Decent cyclist too.

He gave up the cop part though, now he's an elementary school teacher.

by redstar on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 06:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is this in response to?  I mean he sounds nice...  I pretty much run in the other direction when I see teachers, though.  Sorry.  I have a teacherphobia.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Sat Mar 29th, 2008 at 02:33:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it was in response to you saying you needed to pick yourself up a cop.
by redstar on Mon Mar 31st, 2008 at 09:54:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You want her to cop on?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 1st, 2008 at 05:54:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's cop on?

Learn something new, hopefully, every day...

by redstar on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 11:18:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Slang for getting sense - as in she should cop herself on and stop....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 12:52:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. Hadn't heard that one.

Irishism?

by redstar on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:08:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
probably - not sure of its ethnographic extent - I thought it might be more widespread which is why I used it

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like Obama has had some good training for taking on the top brass when he gets into the Oval Office.  Maybe you should get a job with him.  Tell him Jesse Jackson jr. sent you.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 09:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would sound like it if it were true.  The problem, as far as I know -- up to a few weeks ago when Obama and the Tribune did a big interview -- is that it doesn't seem to be true (not that this has stopped Clinton and the Hillaryis44.com crowd from desperately trying to pull a pony out of it).  Community organizers, I'm guessing, don't make that kind of money, but famous young senators receiving $2m advances on their books on top of two hundred grand a year -- not counting the first book's sales taking off after the '04 convention, or wifey's (higher) salary -- can probably swing it.

When the sellers and the papers finally came forward and basically said that Clinton was full of shit, the story went away.

Maybe poemless has seen news I haven't (obviously I don't live in Chicago and so don't have access to the local news every day), but Rezko seems more a Magic Pony Plan from the crazies than anything else.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 28th, 2008 at 07:54:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't lived in Chicago for over twenty years; I visit  my kin every once in a while. So, I'm also sorry to learn that not much I wrote about has changed.
by NBBooks on Fri Mar 28th, 2008 at 12:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or maybe Clinton scrape by.  It doesn't really matter much to Keike Cat, who as a good leftist turns his nose up at both dishes, but who as a good DemoCat will eat either one if he has to.  

I don't think McCain can beat either of them, when November comes.  For one thing, a hell of a lot of Republicans don't like McCain.  And while it's true that a lot of Democrats do, those threatened 28% or 19% defection rates will fail to materialize.  Clinton and Obama enthusiasts are angry at each other now; they'll both be a lot less so by November.  

by keikekaze on Thu Mar 27th, 2008 at 07:28:43 PM EST


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