Obama And How Democrats Should Talk About Democrats

Chris Bowers has an important post up about the need for Democrats to understand the power of words, especially their own:

Left-wing strawmen . . . developed and perpetuated by the conservative movement over the last thirty years as a means of tarnishing the entire left with those stereotypes. The stereotypes were used not to depict fringe left-wing positions, but rather to try and identify anyone who identified as a liberal, a progressive, or even as a Democrat with those positions. Bill Clinton is a good example of this. He governed absolutely as a centrist, but was still identified by the right with every single one of those stereotypes. The right-wing does not use these stereotypes to help the vast majority of Democrats seem reasonable compared to a fringe left, but to make the entire left the equivalent of the fringe left, no matter how much any individual Democrat, liberal or progressive sought to distance himself or herself from those stereotypes. Bill Clinton will be hit just as badly, if not worse, than use crazy, military-hating, religion-hating, extremist, vulgar, anti-American, overly partisan bloggers. When wielded by someone outside the left, these stereotypes serve no other purpose than to tarnish the entire left, and to give the right power over the left. Whenever anyone on the right or in the established media brings up those stereotypes, then that is the exact purpose that person is serving. Whenever anyone who is implicated in those stereotypes--Democrats, progressives and liberals--wields them in public and is not joking, I fail to see how that person is not doing exactly the same thing. . . . It . . . helps make those brutally unfair stereotypes and strawmen real, because conservatives can point to yet another Democrat, liberal to progressive who has validated whatever ridiculous invective that was being used.

Democratic stars like Barack Obama especially must avoid doing this in my view. For two reasons. One, it harms the Democratic Party and its objectives. Two, it does not work to the benefit of the Democrat trying to curry favor. More on the flip.

On June 28, 2006, Barack Obama said some things that are harmful to Democrats and liberals and quite frankly, were contradictory and make little sense. It was an exercise intriangulation and predictably, the only thing reported about it was Obama's criticism of Democrats. Let's review part of the speech that day:

. . . Now, I was urged by some of my liberal supporters not to take this statement seriously. To them, Mr. Keyes was an extremist, his arguments not worth entertaining. What they didn't understand, however, was that I had to take him seriously. For he claimed to speak for my religion - he claimed knowledge of certain truths.

Perhaps so, but does Obama deny that Keyes is an extremist? If so, why so? Keyes is undoubtedly an extremist and Keyes was his political opponent. Did Obama fear telling voters the truth about Keyes? Did he fear damaging his image?

Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, he would say, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.

Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.

What would my supporters have me say? That a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? That Mr. Keyes, a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?

Personally, I would have Obama say what was in his heart. That he disagrees with Keyes' extremist views whether the are in accord with the Pope or not. But Obama did not:

Unwilling to go there, I answered with the typically liberal response in some debates - namely, that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois.

Is there something wrong with the "typically liberal response? Does Obama NOT believe that?

But Mr. Keyes implicit accusation that I was not a true Christian nagged at me, and I was also aware that my answer didn't adequately address the role my faith has in guiding my own values and beliefs.

My dilemma was by no means unique. In a way, it reflected the broader debate we've been having in this country for the last thirty years over the role of religion in politics.

For some time now, there has been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide in this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. Indeed, the single biggest "gap" in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called Red States and those who reside in Blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't.

This of course is a red herring and Obama well knows it - the biggest political divide is between black and white voters. Why no discussion of that?

Conservative leaders, from Falwell and Robertson to Karl Rove and Ralph Reed, have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.

I assume this was an unfortunate turn of phrase by Obama as it is false that Democrats disrespect the values of evangelical Christians.

Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that - regardless of our personal beliefs - constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, some liberals dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith.

These are utterly false Roght Wing strawmen as described by Chris Bowers. It was very wrong of Obama to embrace these falsehoods.

We first need to understand that Americans are a religious people. 90 percent of us believe in God, 70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38 percent call themselves committed Christians, and substantially more people believe in angels than do those who believe in evolution. This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that - a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Who does not understand this? What is Obama doing here? Is he spreading more falsehoods about Democrats?

This is why, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse.

Obama is more than welcome to fully embrace whatever he likes but he needs to stop accepting falsehoods about Democrats in the process.

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.

Of whom does Obama speak here? What Democratic politician is Obama referring to? This is yet another false strawman.

In other words, if we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, Jerry Falwell's and Pat Robertson's will continue to hold sway.

Well, whether this is an effective strategy or not is a matter of opinion. But I wish Obama well in his attempt. But just one thing, do not spread falsehoods about your fellow Democrats when doing so thank you very much.

More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical - if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord," or King's I Have a Dream speech without reference to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.

Ah the famous Fox "some." I like Bowers' response:

Are there people on the left who take these extreme positions? Yes. However, they have no national presence, and no national microphone. It is virtually impossible to find any prominent Democrats, liberals or progressives who states that any mention of God was a theocracy, that the war in Iraq was just about oil, that American soldiers are baby killers, that the free market should be abolished, that America is itself an evil empire, and so on. The reason it is impossible to find any Democrats, progressives and liberals with a prominent role in Democratic, liberal or progressive politics who make any of these statements is because virtually none of them hold any of these positions. Further, these stereotypes are almost more effective because they are hurled at a general population, but referring to a specific and very small population that has no means of talking back. Right-wing news sources will of course find a couple willing stooges to speak on behalf of these positions (same random professor, blogger or person who brings a lawsuit against saying the pledge), and hold them up as someone the entire left must defend. This is because, for some reason, the left is responsible for the statements and beliefs of every single person who has ever shown up to one of our events, while the right-wing is not even responsible for the outrageous statements of officials who have been elected to federal office statewide. The lack of equivalence is astounding.

Shame on Obama for doing that.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical. Our fear of getting "preachy" may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

What a crock. Obama assumes moral underpinnings are all faith vased. This is simply offensive and I strongly condemn Obama for saying so. It is an outrageous thing to have said.

After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man.

Indeed, and it is progressives who have had the moral underpinnings to realize this Senator Obama, not the evangelical right. It is outrageous of you to have implied otherwise.

After insulting us all then Obama utterly contradicts himself:

I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology. Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith - the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps - off rhythm - to the gospel choir. But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

This is simply outrageous. First, who in the heck is blocking religion from the public square? What some of us say is what you Obama are about to say in your speech:

While I've already laid out some of the work that progressives need to do on this, I that the conservative leaders of the Religious Right will need to acknowledge a few things as well.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. That during our founding, it was not the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of this separation; it was the persecuted religious minorities, Baptists like John Leland, who were most concerned that any state-sponsored religion might hinder their ability to practice their faith.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who's Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Levitacus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Someone explain to me how that is not the progressive position on these issues? Someone explain to me why Obama decided to adopt false strawmen to attack Democrats and progressives? Someone explain to me how this is not one of the most outrageous speeches of the year?

Why do I wrte so much about this? Because Democrats have been in the nasty habit of adopting false premises to gain media approval. Barack Obama has been a prime offender. The speech I just discussed is one example, here is another:

Sen. Barack Obama, the freshman Democrat from Illinois who is one of his party's brightest stars, chided his party yesterday for its "over-reliance" on "procedural maneuvers" such as the fruitless filibuster threats against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.

"We need to recognize -- because Judge Alito will be confirmed -- that if we're going to oppose a nominee, that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake," he said yesterday on ABC's "This Week."

"I think that the Democrats have to do a much better job in making their case on these issues," he said. "These last-minute efforts, using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway, I think, has been the wrong way of going about it."

Hmm, last time I looked Senator Obama was a Democrat. What did HE do to persuade the American People. I can tell you what he did -- nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Here was Obama in February 2006:

Democrats said they had not yet figured out how to counter the White House's long assault on their national security credentials. And they said their opportunities to break through to voters with a coherent message on domestic and foreign policy -- should they settle on one -- were restricted by the lack of an established, nationally known leader to carry their message this fall.

As a result, some Democrats said, their party could lose its chance to do to Republicans this year what the Republicans did to them in 1994: make the midterm election, normally dominated by regional and local concerns, a national referendum on the party in power.

''I think that two-thirds of the American people think the country is going in the wrong direction,'' '' said Senator Barack Obama, the first-term Illinois Democrat who is widely viewed as one of the party's promising stars. ''They're not sure yet whether Democrats can move it in the right direction.''

Mr. Obama said the Democratic Party had not seized the moment, adding: ''We have been in a reactive posture for too long. I think we have been very good at saying no, but not good enough at saying yes.''

Obama is political pundit instead of Democratic leader. David Broder and Joe Klein love him.

Chris Bowers has some ideas on how to treat these episodes:

* Even if the use of stereotypes and strawmen of this nature is not a large or frequent part of a prominent Democrat, liberal, or progressive's public speech, we all have to realize that the media is desperate to pounce on any use of these strawmen from Democrats, liberals and progressives. The frequency with which the media misquotes Democrats in this regard is proof positive of this. They want to see these statements, even when they are not there. It will be worked into the overall media narrative about you, even if it is not at all prominent.
  • We have to change the incentive system on the use of this language. The established media, certain centrist Democratic groups, and the right-wing are extremely eager to reward Democrats for making public and serious use of these stereotypes and strawmen. Democrats who make these statements will be granted a meager form of power, typically on Sunday morning talk shows or on cable news nets, in return for making these statements. A series of leaders on the Democratic side, both among party leaders and among presidential candidates, need to make a series of public statements indicating that this sort of behavior is unacceptable and that we can't run against our own party and still hope to lead it. If the netroots and party leaders both make it clear that the use of these stereotypes and strawmen will result in a loss of power within the party, then we can de-incentivize the use of these strawmen and stereotypes. And that will be good for all Democrats, liberals and progressives.
  • Expect me, and many other activists like me, to continue to be offended when Democrats wield these stereotypes against themselves. I will not chill out, and it will affect my behavior in intra-party matters.
  • Expect the right and the media to continue to salivate over the possibility of Democrats using these stereotypes and strawmen against other Democrats. For example, Instapundit immediately jumped on the Obama bandwagon for one of his comments the other day:
"One good test as to whether folks are doing interesting work is, Can they surprise me?" he tells me. "And increasingly, when I read Daily Kos, it doesn't surprise me. It's all just exactly what I would expect." Unlike Clinton, who had to show his independence from the urban black base of his party, Obama will have to show his independence from the urban white base of his party. . . .
The right desperately wants a Democratic hero to Sistah Souljah the netroots. They will pounce on any opportunity to make it happen.

I for one will be shoulder to shoulder with Chris on this.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Class (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by squeaky on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:18:01 PM EST
    Nice analysis on how fictions of the left get played out; Obama served his function well.

    One thing that also seems important is a class thing. Obama gets a lot of slack, and adoration from the media because he appears to be higher up the class ranks and must separate himself from the godless masses.  

    Part of the reason that Clinton was depicted as a fringe leftist, rather than a centrist, was due to the fact that he was most decidedly middle class and quite comfortable with it. The WH press corps hated him because of his jocularity, sexuality, and lack of aristocratic pretension. They had grown accustomed to a royal flair without which their own ascendent fantasy was hard to maintain. Compared to previous republicans and the current King George, Clinton was relentlessly lambasted while the others got a near total pass.

    The republicans paint the left as low class hoodlums, the unwashed masses, godless commies.  It is curious that the target of the misrepresentations seem to be geared to religious people.

    Do the religious have a royal fantasy because of all the kingdom of heaven hooey? Does ascension equate with upward mobility and all the snottiness that seems to accompany it?
    Is this part of what the right uses to smear and misrepresent the left with? The left = downward mobility (more taxes, sacrifice, etc.) The right = ascension? (no taxes, no responsibilities, etc.)

    IMO Obama has received so much... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 01:53:34 PM EST
    ...publicity and has been so touted as a "savior" to the Democratic Party that he has started to believe it himself.

    I sincerely hope that neither he nor Hillary will be our candidate in '08. If they are we will lose and lose badly and hand back control of the government to the neocons and religious right uhring.

    They both should get over their own self-importance and return to supporting democratic initiatives and candidates in every way possible - and, again, IMO, they are going to win squat kissing the...uh...ring of the rabid religious right.

    return to supporting democratic initiatives (none / 0) (#16)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 02:10:17 PM EST
    they are going to win squat kissing the...uh...ring of the rabid religious right

    ...except that they'll become what they fought to get rid of. There seem to be many trying to do exactly that lately.

    "Used soul for sale - will deliver to highest bidder"


    Getting Religion (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Edger on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 03:40:51 PM EST
    To the extent that the progressive faith community sees itself as another vehicle for the revitalization of the Democratic Party -- and a vote getter -- and party operatives also see that community as part of the electoral process, religion is in real trouble and democracy not far beyond.

    This capped it for me. (none / 0) (#1)
    by aw on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 05:09:31 PM EST
    David Sirota interviewed Obama:
    However, he appears to be interested in fighting only for those changes that fit within the existing boundaries of what's considered mainstream in Washington, instead of using his platform to redefine those boundaries. This posture comes even as polls consistently show that Washington's definition of mainstream is divorced from the rest of the country's (for example, politicians' refusal to debate the war even as polls show that Americans want the troops home).

    Obama's deference to these boundaries was hammered home to me when our discussion touched on the late Senator Paul Wellstone. Obama said the progressive champion was "magnificent." He also gently but dismissively labeled Wellstone as merely a "gadfly," in a tone laced with contempt for the senator who, for instance, almost single-handedly prevented passage of the bankruptcy bill for years over the objections of both parties. This clarified Obama's support for the Hamilton Project, an organization formed by Citigroup chair Robert Rubin and other Wall Street Democrats to fight back against growing populist outrage within the party. And I understood why Beltway publications and think tanks have heaped praise on Obama and want him to run for President. It's because he has shown a rare ability to mix charisma and deference to the establishment.


    and this is why (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 05:21:53 PM EST
    "obama for president, 2008" is folly.

    no matter how much you respect the pundit ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:09:48 PM EST
    ... you can't rely on their take on someone's POV. e.g.
    However, he appears to be interested in fighting only for those changes that fit within the existing boundaries of what's considered mainstream in Washington
    That's just Sirota's take, not necessarily reality.

    I wish certain supposed 'dems' wouldn't go on talkshows and undermine what they profess to uphold, but the reality is that 'dems', 'liberals' and (gasp!) 'leftists' don't and shouldn't march in lockstep.

    All of the above 'groups' (which have been defined by the MSM at the behest of rethuglicans who do march in lockstep) have something to offer to the national discourse and labeling them marginalizes them.

    America isn't composed of easily labeled factions, it's made up of an incredible spectrum of converse, diverse, divers, contrary people and opinions.

    The message shouldn't be 'STFU', it should be encouraging every expression of freedom of speech and thought without labeling and 'commentary' from folks who make more $$ than the median American ever will.

    Republicans (another broad label) should feel the same way. The most efficient way to win (win what?), shouldn't be the supression of dissent and ideas.

    We're adults, we can distill it for ourselves, but not if its based on lies and 'conventional wisdom' from folks who work for international corporations whose owners and Boards of Director, by definition, hold their prophet in profits.

    Due respect (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:16:39 PM EST
    Politics does not work that way.

    If you do not know that, Obama should.

    He chose to be a politician not a pundit.


    Due respect back (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Sailor on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:30:53 PM EST
    Politics does not work that way.
    Sorry for the pollyanna routine ... I know that, but shouldn't we be reaching for better?

    And did Obama actually do/say anything wrong or was he just labeled/cherrypicked by folks who have an agenda?

    My fervent wish is that Hillary and Obama will be the flack jackets while an actual candidate emerges. And that they know that and are doing it for that reason.

    [/not as naive as you think, but maybe smarter than the DNC]


    I went through his speech (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:48:45 PM EST
    What do you think?

    It's a fact (none / 0) (#5)
    by aw on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:45:22 PM EST
    Obama voted for the bankruptcy bill.  That's a fact.  It's hurting the most vulnerable people.  I don't understand why he did such an uncompassionate thing.

    Nevermind (none / 0) (#6)
    by aw on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 06:50:39 PM EST
    I see there's a lot of misinformation out there on that.

    Civilized Critique (none / 0) (#9)
    by MSS on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:35:37 PM EST
    I'd argue that we all want to be conscious of the impact of our critiques of 'other' candidates -- including those Democrats who aren't 'left enough,' and those who are 'too far out.'

    One reason (among many) that Angelides tanked so badly in the California govenor's race is that his opponent, Westly, trashed him during the primary as "willing to tax and spend." Angelides could never live it down.

    I watch bloggers and commenters fret about Barak Obama's religious concerns -- which can't help him if he were to turn out to be the Democratic candidate in 2008.

    This Daily Kos diarist gives some reasons we might want to avoid trashing our own

    I'm to the Right of all of you (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 07:48:04 PM EST
    You miss the point utterly.

    Really? (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 03:08:17 PM EST
    I'm to the Right of all of you
    Who would have ever guessed it? How did you determine that?

    By reading the viewpoints expressed (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 08:01:44 AM EST
    I am  by far the most hawkish, most free trader, most pro-business person at this blog.

    The left... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 08:11:35 AM EST
    ...is a pretty big tent. What we generally call the right is way over there, near the edge of the cliff.

    Really? (none / 0) (#22)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 12:59:09 PM EST
    I don't see it, although being more to the right seems like a distinction that you take pride in. Is it like being more mainstream or centrist? I read many of your posts at kos and usually was in agreement. Maybe I am more to the right than I think I am. hmmmm can't imagine that...

    Do you have a way to measure? Say, a checklist of questions which would determine where someone lies on the political spectrum. Just curious.


    Agree (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Tue Dec 05, 2006 at 08:22:02 PM EST
    Personally, I would have Obama say what was in his heart. That he disagrees with Keyes' extremist views whether the are in accord with the Pope or not.

    I would not trust any politician whom I thought was not. It leaves me few to trust, but allows me to keep my self respect.

    Disagree (none / 0) (#13)
    by SteveSmith on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 11:39:55 AM EST
    Any worthwhile leader is going to ask questions about the stance of the party, and attempt to speak truth to power.  Far from creating "strawmen", Senator Obama was simply pointing out the problems the party has had attracting votes from evangelicals, and how a person of faith can successfully reconcile his religious beliefs with his progressive political views before a potentially skeptical electorate.  Considering the condescending tone in this post, and Bowers', towards religion, I think Obama's point is well-taken.  In any event, even if Obama was wrong on this point, the notion that he is not supposed to criticize other Democrats, or liberalism in general, is a noxious one; the last thing liberal bloggers need is to emulate Hugh Hewitt.

    I would submit... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Dadler on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 12:27:33 PM EST
    ...that the number of politically progressive Biblical literalists could be counted on one hand.  Genuine American evangelical fundamentalism and political/social progress are always at odds.

    That said, there are many people "of faith" whose faith is not in a literal hope that Jesus will descend from the sky, but in the truth and meaning and comfort of the larger message.  Those are the voters that Dems could reach more effecftively, if they already haven't.    


    The most vulnerable etc (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Wed Dec 06, 2006 at 04:51:55 PM EST
    Protecting them from being hurt too much isnt "how   politics work". If they were in position to pony up  a little more for expensive campaigns, maybe it    would be.

    Btw, Is that a real tent, or is that a Sears tent?