Obama No Lieberman? Sure, But What Is the Unifying Theory?

By Big Tent Democrat

Josh Marshall's cutesy headline about David Ignatius' column misses a key point. Of course, Barack Obama is not Joe Lieberman. But that is what the Media thinks "bipartisanship" means. That is the essence of High Broderism - unity means Dems capitulating to Republicans on the issues. The question then is how exactly will, if not through High Broderism, Obama unify the country in post partisan fashion? We are back to discussing Mark Schmitt's theory of Obama change. I hold to my view (for an opposing view, here is scribe's take):

SCHMITT: This is the math of bipartisanship. It's not a matter of sitting down with thugs like John Boehner and splitting the difference, but winning over just a few Senate Republicans from outside the South. And if the number is small enough, that's entirely possible. . . . Obama's approach is better positioned to take advantage of this math. . . . [A]fter the inauguration, I think that opposition to Hillary Clinton will remain a galvanizing theme for Republicans, whereas a new face and will make it harder to recreate the familiar unity-in-opposition.

Now for the cosmic explanation: What I find most interesting about Obama's approach to bipartisanship is how seriously he takes conservatism. As Michael Tomasky describes it in his review of The Audacity of Hope, "The chapters boil down to a pattern: here's what the right believes about subject X, and here's what the left believes; and while I basically side with the left, I think the right has a point or two that we should consider, and the left can sometimes get a little carried away." What I find fascinating about his language about unity and cross-partisanship is that it is not premised on finding Republicans who agree with him, but on taking in good faith the language and positions of actual conservatism -- people who don't agree with him. That's very different from the longed-for consensus of the Washington Post editorial page.

[Obama's theory of change] Sounds beautiful doesn't it? Obama is for taking the GOP seriously and winning the argument! Except we all know in real life that does not work. Politics is NOT a debating society.

To accept this theory of politics is to ignore EVERYTHING we know about politics and the Republican Party of today.

It simply sounds naive. Frankly, I imagine Obama, if he becomes President, will soon learn this and will learn that he is not the singular figure in the history of the nation who can abolish politics.

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    There are two main reasons (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Mike Pridmore on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:34:21 PM EST
    Obama cannot do as he promises.  One, the Republicans in congress are willing to vote in lock step and will block any progressive agenda.  Second, although he will face a better position than Bill Clinton faced, he will still have to triangulate to get anything done, much like Bill had to do.  When he starts triangulating, he will have a hard time keeping his base happy.  They will treat him like his Illinois base did when he started triangulating his opposition to the Iraq War.  Black Agenda Report has a great discussion on the latter here.

    think Nancy Pelosi (none / 0) (#32)
    by thereyougo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:14:23 PM EST
    As liberal and as clamoring as she wants to end the war, she runs against the Republicans.

    This is what faces Obama.

    Its all hype afaic and reminiscent of the caustic leadership of GWb the uniter and all the other cutesy rhetoric.
    That load of bull hasn't cleared the room 7 years
    later and I'm sure it hasn't for a lot of people too.

    good article.


    and Hillary (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by thereyougo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:17:09 PM EST
    has shown she can reach consensus even with
    that horrible bugman Tom Delay. This really stands out in my mind

    The Obama Record (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:38:48 PM EST
    Obama should have a  bipartisanship or unity record to point to if we are to vote for him because this is his strength.   Eight years in the State Senate, I read this article and frankly, based on this unless someone can prove it's totally wrong, there is no evidence of him having the ability to bring together or bipartisanship.   Seven years when the Republicans led the Illinois legislature he did nothing, the majority of accomplishments happened the last year and most were dropped on his lap.  All I get is a belief that he can do it, no real record, is this totally wrong?
    Barack And Me

    It's a lengthy record filled with core liberal issues. But what's interesting, and almost never discussed, is that he built his entire legislative record in Illinois in a single year.

    Republicans controlled the Illinois General Assembly for six years of Obama's seven-year tenure. Each session, Obama backed legislation that went nowhere; bill after bill died in committee. During those six years, Obama, too, would have had difficulty naming any legislative achievements.

    Then, in 2002, dissatisfaction with President Bush and Republicans on the national and local levels led to a Democratic sweep of nearly every lever of Illinois state government. For the first time in 26 years, Illinois Democrats controlled the governor's office as well as both legislative chambers.

    During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law -- including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

    I am glad he does not have such a record (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:39:33 PM EST
    So (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:42:01 PM EST
     Unity shtick is a lie?  

    I hope so (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:46:55 PM EST
    That is Schmitt's theory.

    But wait (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:49:53 PM EST
    This is allegedly his only virtue, unity.  If that is non existent and it's a lie, what's the point?  

    So, this sham will fall apart during the GE, and his whole shtick will collapse. and voters will choose the" straight talker", "maverick".

    We are toast.  


    IT was not my point (1.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:52:28 PM EST
    and I have always said he does not need the unity schtick. Unlike you, I believe his political talent is immense.

    He CAN be our Ronald Reagan. If he is willing to try to be.


    Not so sure, BTD (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by auntmo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:45:33 PM EST
    You  might  remind  your  friends  at  Dkos  that  the  Blue  Dog  Democrats  they   enthusiastically  helped   elect  in  2006   are  not    inclined  to  assist  him  in  passing any  expensive   programs  that  will  run up  more  deficits.  

    How   Markos  has forgotten  the  very people  he  supported  for  Congress----and  WHY  he  did  so---is   amazing  to me.    

    The  record  of  those   Blue  Dogs  vs  the  record   of  Obama's   wishes   do  not   correlate.   Especially  with  the  deficits  Obama  will  already inherit.    

    He'll  end  up  triangulating,  just  because  Markos's    Blue  Dogs  will  force  him  to.  


    Ronald Reagan (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by BernieO on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:10:33 PM EST
    bamboozled the public while doing great damage to our country. His "greed is good" trickle down economic beliefs still plague us. Ditto his "there is no oil shortage" schtick.

    Failure (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by BDB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:30:46 PM EST
    My theory about Obama is that he will never live up to his talents or be a truly great leader until he has failed.  If he wins it this time, I think he'll be okay, but not great, certainly not transformative.  

    If you look at great leaders, almost every one of them had some huge failure or disappointment in their lives, whether personal or political, before they became great.  It toughens them up, makes them less politically cautious and a little more humble.  Nothing causes one to question oneself like failure and, for the talented to whom so much comes so easily, that's a good thing.


    x (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:29:14 PM EST
    I not only see no evidence that he will try to be, but also - more importantly - that he wants to be. I see in him and his thin record a politician who has made big compromises, not someone who can push through a progressive agenda. But even worse, I don't see someone even committed to a progressive agenda. He is NOT the one.

    Ronald Reagan? Isn't he the guy... (5.00 / 3) (#115)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:47:20 PM EST
    ...who made all those nice working-class white people feel like he was on their side, all the while pulling the rug out from under them (and all of us)?

    See, that's what I'm afraid of - that Obama is just as far to the right as he sounds.  Since he keeps telling progressives to bugger off, I have trouble believing he won't be another Reagan - just one who happens to be running as a Democrat.


    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:25:10 PM EST
    Your framing of Obama is exactly the way I see him.

    Additionally, I think he would be ready to sell us whatever his corporate sponsors tell him to sell us.


    Still looking (none / 0) (#22)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:54:02 PM EST
    Well... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Alvord on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:41:17 PM EST
    ...Obama may not have needed the unity schtick but he has employed it.

    Ronald Reagan did not lie about what he was about. He put it out there for everybody to see. As first a Carter and later a Mondale voter I am disappointed Reagan won but he didn't do it by fooling the voters.

    Obama is stuck with the unity theme. Is it worse if he means it or is it worse if he is lying? Pick your poison.


    Alvord (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by auntmo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:47:21 PM EST
    Ronald  Reagan  didn't  lie?  

    You  were  sleeping  during  Iran/Contra, right?


    Um (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:48:15 PM EST
    The point was that Reagan was up front about being an unapologetic conservative.

    I think you... (none / 0) (#85)
    by Alvord on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:23:25 PM EST
    ...are deliberately misconstruing my comment. I said he didn't lie about what kind of Presidency he was going to lead. He was an anti-communist hawk wanted to cut taxes and get government off of peoples backs. That is what he ran on and to a large extent that is what he tried to accomplish.

    Obviously he told lies as president (or the Alzheimers set in earlier than we know.)


    The above comment... (none / 0) (#86)
    by Alvord on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:25:37 PM EST
    is to auntmo

    You want another Reagan?!! (none / 0) (#153)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:21:19 PM EST
    I don't want another Reagan.

    I want a liberal Reagan (none / 0) (#158)
    by flyerhawk on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 10:18:22 PM EST
    I was a Liberal Reagan that will win 49 states in his reelection.  

    The notion that Obama is a crypto-Conservative is utterly ridiculous.


    In his defense (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mike Pridmore on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:42:07 PM EST
    that was the year Democrats got control of the Illinois State government.  But it is still  just one year of a good record.

    Read the article (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:44:47 PM EST
    The bills were thrown in his lap as part of "US Senator" building.

    Ticked off some people who were actually responsible for legwork behind the bills.


    Read the article (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:53:17 PM EST
    how he got that record.  He got handed it to him by his Jones the Dem Majority leader, to the
    Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

    BTD - I respectfully disagree. (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by scribe on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:44:30 PM EST
    If it walks and talks like a duck, it is.  Until proven otherwise.

    There's too much similar in what Obama says for it not to be Joementum.

    Go read and comment.

    I linked to you in my post (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:46:29 PM EST
    Thanks! (none / 0) (#13)
    by scribe on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:48:03 PM EST
    You asked the most relevant question BTD (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:49:39 PM EST
    Your question what theory of unifying Obama has if it is not the Joe Lieberman bipartisanship is the most relevant question. I have not heard an answer to this question from any of the Obama supporters. Any Obama supporter here care to take up this question?

    First (none / 0) (#59)
    by muffie on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:43:44 PM EST
    let me state that I absolutely agree that "theories of change" is the primary difference between Hillary and Obama in this, um, primary.

    It is, unfortunately, rather difficult to decipher what Obama's theory actually is.  I think an optimistic viewpoint of one possible Obama strategy, with regards to health care, looks something like this:

    1. Make it clear that health care is a problem which needs to be addressed by the government.  Clearly reject the standard Republican platform of "tax cuts" as doing next to nothing to hold down costs, cover more people, etc.

    2. Rather than represent a plan as a "Democratic" or "liberal" plan, characterize it as a "pragmatic" plan.  In essence, blur the usual lines of overly simplistic debate.

    3. Appeal directly the populace.  Encourage them to call their representatives, stage rallies, etc.  Make it clear that opposition is on the wrong side of public opinion.

    4. Hope the pressure either wins over the 5 or so Republicans necessary to pass health care reform, or (more likely, in my opinion) creates enough pressure to avoid a filibuster.

    Would Obama go about things this way?  I don't know.  

    The problem with this approach (none / 0) (#83)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:20:05 PM EST
    It is easy to convince people in blue states to supprt this. The question is how are you going to convince people in the red states. It is those senators we need to get to pass this in the senate. If anyone here ahs ever listened to rightwing talk radio and their callers, then you know it is pretty much impossible to convert them to the importance of universal health care. That is why this theory fo change of getting people to pressuer their representatives is doomed to fail.

    Bush passed his tax cuts by intimidating the swing state Democratic senators, not by appealing to the voters on the left.


    Look, Obama may not even really have a plan (none / 0) (#141)
    by Virginian on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:43:34 PM EST
    What he has advocated so far (and this is probably more Axelrod than Obama) is tantamount to the refurbished self-help book "The Secret."

    Its not a new theory...its the theory that if you say everything will be ok, and your REALLY believe with all your might that everything will be ok...then "poof" it is.

    I actually don't think Obama is that naive, but the people that don't see his rhetoric about "change" for what it is (sound bite politics), are tantamount to the people that were so desperate for good things to happen in their lives that they bought (and bought into) "The Secret." People are desperate for "not-George Bush" and that rhetorically is what Obama is selling.


    Interesting side note (none / 0) (#142)
    by Virginian on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:45:35 PM EST
    Oprah Winfrey hawked both...Obama, and "The Secret"...it may be a bit of insight into her mindset/world view...or maybe a coincidence...who knows (who cares, right?).

    Hopeful analysis (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by magster on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:50:21 PM EST
    Much in the same way as Bush branded himself to be a uniter, not a divider, before being the most divisive President in history, Obama has successfully branded himself similarly.  Maybe Obama has purposefully innoculated himself from being a partisan as a means to govern very progressively and be the anti-Bush.

    With that said, there is no need whatsoever to put a Republican in his cabinet.

    Now, " but winning over just a few ..." (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by scribe on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:52:23 PM EST
    "...Senate Republicans from outside the South." is one of those things better done by replacing them with Democrats.  More and better Democrats.

    Ask former Senator Chaffee of Rhode Island.  He's recently written that, after he got over the hurt of being tossed from office, he's seen that the People were right to do so.

    A friend from RI and I were talking the other night, and it still amazes him that a Republican with a 70% approval rating (Chaffee) still got tossed because he was a Republican.  People were and are that p*ssed.  Maybe even moreso now.

    And, now, we have Obama telling us that we need Republicans in a Democratic cabinet?  Please.  

    The statistics I have seen kicked around (none / 0) (#143)
    by Virginian on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:50:27 PM EST
    the nets over the last 3 or 4 months have actually shown that the "anti-Republican" sentiments of 2006 have quieted down...it seems to be much more focused on a sentiment that is more in line with "Bush's term is almost over"

    I think it would be a big mistake for us to expect he sort of 2006 gains this cycle...

    Especially if Obama is the nominee, and he turns out to have REAL cross-over appeal (not the type we're hearing about in Texas)...he probably will not help the down ticket. Thats not to say the down ticket will need him too, but his cross-overs probably won't cross-over down ticket.


    It seems to me that Obama is really hurting (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:52:27 PM EST
    the progressive movement. At one point, I was more cautious then alot of the people who posted on Dailykos or Open left and the like. They were always the ones pushing hard for the Democratic brand and attacking Reid and the like for their many failures and screaming at Schumer for supporting moderates. But now that they've jumped on the Obama bandwagon, I'm the most partisan person around.

    Going over to mydd and seeing many posters argue that it will be great to have Hagel in charge of Defense and Lugar in charge of State is a real eye opener. The progressive - or whaterver the heck it should be called - movement has been taken over by Obama's centrist campaign.

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:53:22 PM EST
    That was me at daily kos doing that.

    Obama scolded me for it in 2005.


    I do not understand (5.00 / 7) (#26)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:02:55 PM EST
    how the exact same Obama who got savaged when he tried to post at Daily Kos somehow became the conquering netroots hero.  Is it really about nothing more, deep down, than being the anti-Hillary?

    The netroots used to love nothing more than the Fighting Dem paradigm.  Somehow they have persuaded themselves that Obama fits the paradigm when he presents himself as the exact opposite.  Suddenly it's taking Republican arguments seriously and giving them credit that's the mark of a true progressive.  I truly cannot figure it out.


    Heh (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:10:18 PM EST
    Bandwagon jumping by the A-Listers. Check out the Big ORange Satan's latest.

    Gawd (5.00 / 4) (#38)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:21:16 PM EST
    I don't get the Dean thing either, which you accurately covered in your diary the other day.  I know any number of Deaniacs who are in love all over again with Obama and I just don't get it.

    Surely Obama has adopted some of the procedural aspects of the Dean movement - competing everywhere, building a strong grassroots base of online donors - but in terms of message he couldn't be more unlike the guy who told us all to be proud of being a Democrat again.  Hillary Clinton, for all her faults, is a hundred times the unapologetic partisan that Obama is.

    Maybe people are just looking hard for a savior and can't deal with the possibility that maybe this wasn't the year to find one.  If all you do is evaluate candidates on their merits as standard pols, there's every reason for Democratic voters to be very proud of Obama, Clinton, and John Edwards too.  But expecting Obama to be our Reagan when he never comes within a mile of Reagan's partisan message is crazy.


    Gerstein and Kos sittin in a tree (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:25:37 PM EST
    for Obama.

    Nothing funnier than that to me.


    The blogosphere (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:43:44 PM EST
    used to be a place without sacred cows.

    When Russ Feingold would cast the occasional bad vote, the blogosphere would call it what it was - disappointing.  A few overwrought commentors would inevitably start talking about a primary challenge.

    What is the last example of an action or speech from Obama where the A-listers have expressed disappointment?  Surely a President Obama would do some good things and some bad things from a progressive perspective.  Have we simply lost the notion of a blogosphere that calls 'em as it sees 'em, that focuses on issues and message rather than personality?  BTD is one of the last bloggers to hold true to this notion of what the netroots are supposed to be about.


    The Last of the Mohican Bloggers (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:47:29 PM EST
    That would be me.

    That will be Obama;s downfall (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by sara seattle on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:15:43 PM EST
    because sooner or later he will say or do something that will shock his followers

    and they they will finally have to react - and likely it will be a hard fall for them - betrayal, falling out of love, shock and sadness -- followed by total rage.

    So it will not just be the media reacting .... imagine however that happens before November -- then what --

    I pray that Hillary stay in the race as long as possible


    I'm worried about the opposite. (none / 0) (#124)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:03:16 PM EST
    Remember all those libertarian bloggers who had all those important principles until Bush came along and broke every single one of them - and instead of repudiating Bush, those "libertarians" discovered they were perfectly happy with Bush's unlimited, big-spending, ever-expanding security state government philosophy.

    An awful lot of people are already shrugging their shoulders about Obama's RNC Social Security rhetoric, his anti-single-payer statements, his continual dissing of everything liberal - are they ever going to put pressure on him for liberal programs once he's in the White House?  Or will they do what the libertoonians did and betray their principles to defend their new god?


    you mean the 25-30% (none / 0) (#152)
    by sara seattle on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:03:40 PM EST
    hardcore Republicans that will follow W over the cliff - like the lemmings they are?

    Yah - you're right - sadly enough


    Tonight on Crossfire: (4.50 / 2) (#58)
    by andgarden on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:43:34 PM EST
    2005 Markos debates 2008 Markos. Watch sparks fly!

    Heh (none / 0) (#71)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:47:40 PM EST
    A vague theory of change (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:18:45 PM EST
    Steve M,

    It may be because Obama supporters have only a vague idea of his theory of change. In fact even saying thay have a vague theory maybe giving them too much credit.

    They are bsaically taken by his speech making style and beyond that know very little about his theory of change. At this point, it is all about winning and Obama loving and Hillary hating.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:22:34 PM EST
    I know many Obama supporters who are very smart people, probably smarter than me.  They're not all a bunch of 21-year old political naifs.  I honestly just don't get what's going on.

    A lot of apparently smart people support Obama, (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:31:01 PM EST
    but why do they all sound so dumb when they explain why?

    Good question (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:35:21 PM EST
    I have seen otherwise intelligent Obama supporters argue that he will get health care reform passed by televising negotiations with industry lobbyists on C-SPAN, and when someone from the other side makes a misleading claim, Obama will trot out a bunch of experts and magically debunk them.  I kid you not, there are people who think this scenario is actually going to play out.

    That's How It Works In Their Reality-Based World (5.00 / 4) (#91)
    by BDB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:56:55 PM EST
    A lot of smart people work in fields where being right matters.  Where if you can show you're right, others will agree to follow you.  So Obama's message makes sense to them, especially if they haven't been involved a lot in politics.  The problem, of course, is that politically active folks know it almost never matters if you're right or at least that is not usually the deciding factor.  Republicans aren't obstructing healthcare because they don't understand the issue, they're obstructing it because they believe it's in their best political interest to do so.  

    Why it works on people who should know better, like Kos and Josh Marshall, I have no idea.


    because that is where the numbers are (none / 0) (#97)
    by sara seattle on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:10:49 PM EST
    the more Obama followers - the more DailyKos viewers

    Simple as supply and demand - and advertising $$$


    Smart people (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    Look, the country is in a deep psychological depression.  People want a positive up lifting message, I do not undervalue this one bit and I decided a few weeks ago that there is no way to attack them for that, I just end up looking and feeling like a bully.  I guess it's the wounded soul syndrome Michelle talked about.  

    Speech-making (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:39:56 PM EST
    This is why I proposed the theory that they are really taken by his speech-making and are also swayed by the media marketing on his behalf.

    Marketing works! We know that!


    Marketing does work ... (5.00 / 3) (#78)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:06:55 PM EST
    but savvy people should realize it's working on them emotionally and pull back.  Then force themselves to look at things from a cooler, more rational perspective.

    Obama does seem to hold some kind of emotional sway over certain people that short circuits their brains.

    I've encountered this even from friends.  It's one of the things I DON'T like about him.  

    Given what's happened over the last 7 years, and the increased strength of the executive branch, we don't need another president that makes the public act irrationally.


    A lot of smart people lying around Jonestown, too. (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by blogtopus on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:49:35 PM EST
    Let's not forget there are multiple vectors for intelligence. Emotional intelligence and maturity are separate factors from other more 'normal' forms of intelligence.

    Not to take away from our dear friends who have 150 IQs but support Obama, but intelligence is just a tool for motivations, nothing more.


    We have had this discussion in a group (none / 0) (#159)
    by splashy on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 05:10:50 PM EST
    I belong to. IQ often only shows the speed of thinking, not how much imagination, empathy, or emotional intelligence is present.

    As one person talking about the rabid right wingers that are intelligent, they may be just goose-stepping faster, rather than actually thinking about the ramifications.


    A friend with a PhD who supports Obama (none / 0) (#44)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:27:42 PM EST
    I have a close friend who has a PhD and is a big Obama supporter. He doesn't know a lot about Obama. His reasons for supporting him are that he loves Obama's books, he finds him inspiring and that he will change things. Beyond that, he can't get more specific. He admits Hillary is more specific and Obama is vague and that the media has been tougher on Hillary.

    This is of course a sample size of one.


    rationalizing (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by Dr Molly on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:34:17 PM EST
    I have a PhD and am surrounded by PhDs at work, mostly scientists. Believe me, PhDs don't have any lock on common sense or rationality. Even scientist-types, who are lovers of empirical data, exhibit the tendency to be irrational about facts when it suits their purposes to do so. I've come to the conclusion that facing facts and truth is a little bit more about morality and integrity than being smart. Having all of the above is the best!

    Ah yes Common Sense (none / 0) (#156)
    by Florida Resident on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:32:07 PM EST
    or as my father use to say The Least Common of all Senses.

    It's psychology (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Foxx on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:57:37 PM EST
    A lot of people committed totally to Obama before they realized who he is. They so badly "want their country back," they believed he would give it to them. Look at that Obama chanting video that was blogged the other day, "I want a green economy," etc. etc. All about what people want, no evidence Obama will give it to them.

    That kind of commitment is incredibly painful and wrenching to give up, it's a huge psychological shift that is required.

    So the first little piece of evidence pops up, excusing it isn't that big a deal, so you do. Then the next one pops up, you excuse it again, and down you go. Ultimately you end up supporting something you previously despised.

    It's kinda like a battering relationship. Starts out wonderful. Then you get yelled at, well they didn't really mean it, they had a hard day. Ultimately you end up in the hospital.


    Agree -- I go around and around (none / 0) (#128)
    by Cream City on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:16:06 PM EST
    with some incredibly smart people on this. Just today, a genius type, a professor, author of many award-winning books, told me he is going with Obama because his Congresswoman Barbara Lee said so -- and she said it is because she could not vote for someone who authorized the war. Okay, but then said genius type said that Obama voted against the war. I said no, he did not; he wasn't in the Senate. So genius type came back with, well, Obama has not authorized funding the war. I said no, he and Clinton both have voted the same on war funding. So then genius type, who always is very arrogant about knowing more than anyone, said . . . well, I don't need to keep up with those details, but Obama has a very good history with gays. I said no . . . and we went around and around again, to the same result. This is one of those "highly educated," white, male Obama voters. Uh huh.

    The "Yeah Buts" (5.00 / 0) (#138)
    by blogtopus on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:21:33 PM EST
    Plenty of those to go around. Zeno had a paradox based on that mind of mentality. There is nothing so outlandish that you can't take an infinitesimal part of it and make THAT seem sensible. The problem is when you try to expand that sensibility back into the outlandish reality.

    Just as there is no movement so pure that you can't find a complete monster following it, there is no claim so crazy that you can't find some miniscule part of it that sounds reasonable. Creationists rely on this, and so do many Obama supporters, when reality comes crashing down on 'Hope'.


    I bet if I went over to DK and posted (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by tigercourse on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:08:29 PM EST
    something critical of Hagel, I'd get troll rated. In one of their threads, someone says that Wes Clark shouldn't be in the cabinet because he supported Clinton, but that Hagel is a great choice. The poster gets alot of recommends.

    This is nuts.


    Nuts!!! (5.00 / 3) (#36)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:20:47 PM EST
    That is really nuts. Hagel over Clark? I bet if Obama said Karl Rove will be helping his campaign, his supporters will be doing a Mexican wave.

    You get troll-rated over there ... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:35:01 PM EST
    if you say things critical of Obama, especially if that criticism is at all clever.

    that Obama even mentions (5.00 / 4) (#57)
    by thereyougo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:42:43 PM EST
    Hagel for a cabinet position makes the charge against Hillary for her war vote unbelievable, and hypcritical. Hagel talked like he was against the war, but gave GWB his full support when it mattered--his vote.

    Of course... (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:56:36 PM EST
    look, they had to kill the "class" interest issues and blur the waters with identity politics.  This Progressive movement is not populist.  This is a misconception.    

    Remind me ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:57:29 PM EST
    how doe we know that "of course, Obama isn't [another] Joe Lieberman"?


    Transubstantiation (none / 0) (#28)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:07:09 PM EST
     This is why I am an agnostic.  You have to believe.  Transcend reality and go for it.  The gist of the Course of Miracles, Oprah's other pet project.   Sorry, you can delete if it's insulting, but honestly, this is what it looks like.  

    Funny ... (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:26:09 PM EST
    and I think you're right.

    But if believing in Obama is a form of transubstantiation, what is the Obama version of the Eucharist?


    The booth: voting (none / 0) (#45)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:29:06 PM EST
    Obama (none / 0) (#67)
    by thereyougo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:46:52 PM EST
    went to the Oprah school of marketing yourself to the larger audience and he learned well, but you have to say this about him. His organization transformed politics to the 50 state strategy that Dean pushed. Now everyone will be doing it.

    Or not! (5.00 / 2) (#79)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:09:27 PM EST
    If he only carries 6 states in the general, he'll be forgotten faster than the Macarena.

    no, he won't be forgotten (none / 0) (#98)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:12:13 PM EST
    he will be a joke, just like McGovern.

    Okay ... how about ... (none / 0) (#105)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:25:10 PM EST
    he'll become a joke like the Macarena?

    I wonder how contrite the net roots Obama supporters will be if he loses badly?


    as someone else said before (5.00 / 2) (#110)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:36:42 PM EST
    "If Obama loses, they will find a way to blame Hillary."

    Oh, yes ... (none / 0) (#123)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:58:44 PM EST
    you're exactly right!

    I remember talking to a friend on 9/11 (the day itself) and he said, "Somehow they're gonna find a way to blame this on Clinton."

    It wasn't long before Republicans were doing exactly that.

    Blaming the Clintons is a national pastime.

    Of course the Obama fans will find some way to blame an Obama loss on one or both of the Clintons.


    The DLC will blame "the left" (none / 0) (#127)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:12:41 PM EST
    The DLC always blames the left when the Democrat loses.  They will insist that Obama was "too far left".

    And everyone will blame blacks and women, and it will be another 25 years before they let another one of us run a serious campaign.


    Only 25 years? It may be more . . . (none / 0) (#130)
    by Cream City on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:18:57 PM EST
    My paper had a story this morning on how few women are in political office in Wisconsin -- with one of those brave souls, past mayor of a city and past president of our state mayor's association, saying that what women are seeing will discourage them from entering politics. I hope not, but more women in politics is not part of the "hope" and "change" agenda for Obama, from what I find on his website.

    They won't be (none / 0) (#126)
    by Warren Terrer on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:12:28 PM EST
    contrite in the least. They will be angry and screaming fraud.

    In response to scribe's post in the open thread... (5.00 / 7) (#25)
    by Oje on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:02:20 PM EST
    I mentioned that Obama's position on the defense and foreign policy secretaries is one of the most prevalent memes from the "old poltiics." Bill Clinton appointed William Cohen to the position of Secretary of Defense for exactly this reason. Fifteen years later we now know that this kind of hedging against Republicans does nothing to confront and refute the idea that Democrats are weaker than Republican on defense and foreign policy. So, first, Obama still does not break out of the "old politics" despite the taglines to the contrary.

    Second, how does the "man of judgement" reconcile his withering critique of the Iraq War and the events leading up to it with the tacit assumption that Republicans are best suited to head our defense and foreign policy establishment. I know that there were Republican luminaries who opposed the war, but these individuals had no impact on the outcome. Does Obama mean to suggest the most marginalized and ineffectual Republican is a better candidate than any Democrat to run our military and foreign policy establishments?

    There are multiple layers to his remarks. This is one of digby's potential moments for a transformational politics. Obama also fails here to defend the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. We Democrats have the possibility to change the meaning of strong on foreign policy, strong on military. Hillary Clinton should hit Obama hard on these comments by suggesting that his position reflects the fact that former military generals like Wesley Clark, etc., etc., have endorsed her. Obama's cabinet will promise more of the same military expenditures and foreign policy failures. Americans want Democrats in control of the military and foreign policy, not Republican's marginalized voices.

    If anything (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:06:26 PM EST
    building that sort of bipartisan bridge simply serves to reinforce the meme, because it shows that when a Dem wants to look competent on foreign policy, he has go to looking for a Republican.

    To be fair, you could make the case that Bill Clinton's rebranding of the Democratic Party on issues like crime and national security was unavoidable and necessary at the time, if we didn't want every national Democrat to end up looking like Dukakis.  But I hope we all agree that one way or the other, we're past that point by now.  Putting a Republican at Defense or State doesn't make us look fair and bipartisan, it makes us look like we couldn't find a qualified Dem for the job.


    I understood it... (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by Oje on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:21:02 PM EST
    At the time, Clinton's position seemed necessary coming out of the Cold War era. I do not entirely fault him for the position at the time.In hindsight, though, it was a mistake. I agree, we are past that point.

    So the question is, after Bush II, how could any Democrat continue to fall into such political traps, especially the "man of judgement?"


    In Bill Clinton's favor (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by Daryl24 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:22:37 PM EST
    Cohen was a moderate to liberal Republican. They don't seem to exist much anymore.

    He was also arguably the main player in making sure the bulk of Newt's Contract on America died in the Senate.

    For that alone Bill owed him a cabinet position.  


    I've always thought this was obvious. (5.00 / 0) (#129)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:16:19 PM EST
    We don't need Republicans.  If we thought they were right, we would be Republicans.

    They've been bad on every single issue.  They're no good at defense, no good at ecominics, and no good at making the trains run on time.  They're worse than useless for the purposes of government.  I'm not even sure many of them would make a competent janitor - because that would require actually doing something.


    Thanks (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Lou Grinzo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:13:36 PM EST
    Thank you, BTD, for posting this.  You've focused on precisely the thing that has kept me from being an strong Obama supporter:

    "That is the essence of High Broderism - unity means Dems capitulating to Republicans on the issues. The question then is how exactly will, if not through High Broderism, Obama unify the country in post partisan fashion?"

    Sadly, I don't see how the progressives in this country avoid a death by a thousand compromises in an Obama WH.  Look at how hardball the Republicans have played, even after their debacle in the '06 elections.  Does anyone have any proof whatsoever that they will change their ways on 1/20/2009, even if Obama wins a landslide victory over McCain?  I wouldn't bet my lunch money on that, let alone my hopes and dreams for the country I love dearly.

    The only scenario in which I see real, progressive movement on major issues is a Dem in the WH coupled with enough Dems in the House and the Senate to shut out the obstructionists.  Last time I looked, I think it was virtually impossible for the Dems to get a reliable 60 votes in the Senate post 2008, which means we could be in for filibusters or "compromises" as far as the eye can see.  

    I don't want just movement for the sake of movement, I want movement in the direction this country needs.

    Just to be clear: If Obama is the nominee, I will vote for him if I have to crawl to my polling place with two broken legs, simply because I think he would be vastly better than McCain.  But it increasingly feels like it would be a case of holding my nose with one hand while I pull the lever with the other.

    I can't vote for Obama (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:23:41 PM EST
    Lou, I can't get myself to vote for Obama. Nor will I vote for McCain. I will either write-in Hillary or simply stay home.

    Don't be a 2000 Nadarite (none / 0) (#49)
    by pluege on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:35:41 PM EST
    This is the Nadarite position. It is completely unrealistic and NOT how the US political system works, nor is it intended to work. The US political system is binary - only two parties. A binary system could never be more than a least worst choice for most of the voters. If you are American, this is what you have - nothing else.

    Anything, ANYTHING that helps put a republican in the White House is a complete disaster and pretty much buries for good any opportunity to undo the immense damage of the bush/cheney years. It is absolutely true that Obama is NOT the best candidate to begin recovery from the bush years (neither is Clinton). But not voting for the Democratic candidate, whomever that is, IS a vote for the republican and all the disaster that entails.


    It is not a Naderite position (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:44:42 PM EST
    The Naderite position is that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. I don't agree with that. There is a lot of difference between Hillary and the Republicans. With this vague theory of unity Obama is espousing, I don't see how he distinguishes himself from the Republicans.

    Also, I don't think he is qualified to be president. I cannot vote for an unqualified candidate just because he is a Democrat. That would be putting the party above the country.


    we don't have to look far to see what (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by thereyougo on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:52:56 PM EST
    a neophyte (GWB) has done to the country. Its the elephant in the room that shouldn't escape the electorate's collective vision.

    Do you really think... (none / 0) (#131)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:20:17 PM EST
    ...that McCain is qualified?

    The Republican nominee and the Republican nominee are the only choices we will have - anything else is fog.

    I may not be sure that Obama is a good idea for the presidency, but I know that McCain is definitely not.  That's all I need to know to vote for the Democrat, whoever it is.


    Naderite Position as Delusional Purity Vote (none / 0) (#135)
    by pluege on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:46:46 PM EST
    No, the Naderite position is one that ignores the realities of US politics, and rationalizes that there is something to be gained by protest votes or voter abstinence. george bush is what we got for the 2000 Naderite protest vote - it wasn't worth it.

    Doing anything other than voting for the actual democratic candidate in November will do nothing except help the republican win. And if that happens because of "protest" votes or non-participation, then 2008 non-dem voters are going to have at least as much destruction on their hands as the 2000 Nader voters do.


    Some would argue (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:49:22 PM EST
    that the "binary system" is a bad idea (I would, for instance).  The binary system ensures that a politician can abandon their base because the base has nowhere to go.

    And the binary system was not the founding fathers' intention.

    We NEED third parties.


    Third party (none / 0) (#75)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:54:08 PM EST
    If Hillary doesn't get the nomination, maybe that is where we have to go.

    Listen (none / 0) (#101)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:18:15 PM EST
    If Obama changes the democratic party so much that it is unrecognizable, then I can understand why some folks would not want to vote democrat.

    I mean--what makes us democrats?  The fact that we are not republicans; our positions on Choice and taxes and social services.  If Obama brings in so many disparate groups, from republicans to-who knows?-the Nation of Islam-then what, exactly, will the democratic party stand for?  "Change"?  

    Too much change for me.


    the worst of all worlds (none / 0) (#102)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:19:44 PM EST
    Viable third parties will almost guarantee that the winner of elections will NOT have a mandate from a majority of the people. Building polticial coalitions, building governing majorities is a prime function of the political process. Its almost like a tournament system - with the general election as a competition between the final two. Third parties leave this process unfinished. There are no coalitions that have earned the support of the majority.

    Having viable third parties will be a disaster for the poltical process. It circumvents any need to work together, to make the necessary compromises that are a hallmark of people negotiating together to put forth a platform that they can agree on. You will end up with very weak presidents, and a very fractured political landscape that cannot even serve as an effective opposition to the weak president. Nothing good would come of it.

    I often thought that if only Nader had run in the Democratic primary, that we would have had such a different poltical world today. Not only because Gore would probably be president, but because Nader, and Naderism, would have found fertile root within the Democratic party, and would have done a lot to reform the party. Nader was, in the end, an almost unimaginably foolish man - who set out to alienate and drive away from him and his ideas the very people he should have been targeting, the very people most receptive to his ideas. If Gore had somehow lost the election anyway, I suspect Ralph would have been in a very strong position to win the nomination himself in '04, and many of his good ideas would be part of the Democratic agenda.


    Yep, that's how we got Margaret Thatcher. (none / 0) (#132)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:22:23 PM EST
    60% of the electorate voted against Thatcher, but they were divided into two different parties, and so Thatcher kept getting re-elected.

    You really think the US needs that?


    Changing the System is NOT in the Cards (none / 0) (#137)
    by pluege on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:53:59 PM EST
    I agree that binary has many drawbacks, but the US can not, and will not change to something else without completely re-organizing the government. Its not in the cards - there is NO transition plan.

    What lefties need to do is work within the Democratic party to affect change. But note that if the Democratic party drifts leftward, the rightards calling themselves Democrats will drop out to be republicans or independents.


    Yep, exactly (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:05:17 PM EST
    Voting for folks no matter what crap they pull -- just because they're "the Democrat" -- is a way to ensure they'll continue to ignore the ideas that bring people to the Democratic party in the first place.

    Some short-term loss is good for long-term strength.


    Tempted (5.00 / 2) (#82)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:20:03 PM EST
    at times I get tempted, thinking, ok, to all those young women who say:"  I am a feminist but..." I want to say, here, go see how easy it is to get those rights back.  

    For women (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by Foxx on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:07:40 PM EST
    this is very important.

    We will never realize anything like a feminist agenda, until they understand that they cannot trash and ignore and refuse to defend us, as they have done with Hillary, and still expect us to be there to support them.  "Them" being most of the male left, Obama, the Democratic party, and the male dominant media.

    I am writing in Hillary.


    true (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:30:15 PM EST
    young women today don't realize that just a few generations ago, women were still property.  They could not open bank accounts or get loans or buy houses without a man signing for them.  They endured spousal rape, had their children taken from them, were institutionalized or lobotomized for "hysteria" and lived at the absolute mercy of their husbands.  They died routinely in child birth.  They had no control over their reproductive selves.  You could be a nurse or a teacher, but nothing else and even then you were paid much less than a man would get paid.  Girls today have no idea how revolutionary are the rights they take for granted--and they don't yet realize that there are still many, many rights that are unattainable to them, mainly parity in pay and respect.  What Hillary Clinton is having to endure should be a wake-up call for them, but they seem to remain apathetic, glomming onto "hope"--whatever that means.

    If you ask me, what I "hope" is that they do not wake up one day and find that abortion is outlawed, that women have no access to birth control or no control over their bodies.  I hope they do not see the backlash all this mainstream misogyny will bring.  I hope they do not give up their lives and their careers to cart the kids off to soccer for ten years, only to have their husbands leave them for the newer model and find, to their horror, that they are no longer valued in the workplace.  I hope they don't have to choose between having another child and being able to feed the ones who are already there.  I hope they don't have to live in a shelter or suffer sexist retorts all day as they try to do their jobs--jobs where they have no chance of advancing because there is always a younger man waiting in line to take all of the credit and all of the money.

    In short, I hope they wake up and see that women have DIED for their right to vote, to participate in the election system, that women starved themselves, were beaten and chided and ridiculed and raped and ignored for centuries so that they can now go outside of their house alone and get into their car and drive themselves to an Obama rally and stand with their arms up and cheer and clap without being stoned as someone beside them talks about what a b*tch Clinton is.  

    And then I hope they hear those words and remember that this is coming from the "mainstream" branch of the democratic party; the party of which they are majority members.  And that's when I want them to talk about "change."  And that's the message I want them to take to the voting booths.

    (Of course, I am sure Billie Jean King did not fight for Title IX so that I could pretend to have my period every day in gym class my entire senior year, so maybe I am a dreamer.)


    Thank you (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Foxx on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:26:58 PM EST
    I would add (I believe you are suggesting this also) that many women perhaps the majority of women on the planet live TODAY in conditions as bad or worse than the past you are describing.

    And there are forces at work around the planet to drive us back to those times. As long as women have children and there are men who want to propagate their own genes over someone else's, women will have to fight to keep our freedoms.


    I have never understood the term (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by Daryl24 on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:47:38 PM EST
    post partisan. How do you get beyond something that comes with the territory?

    Hmm...I seem to remember somebody else talking about ending the partisan bickering. Sort of around the time he was raising the level of discourse by saying

    "If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England," Mr. Lieberman said at a campaign event at lunchtime in Waterbury, Conn.  



    Negotiating with Republicans will NOT Happen (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by pluege on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:19:45 PM EST
    this 'let's keep thinking there is such a thing as a rational republican we can deal with' is pure unadulterated crap. Obama and his fans are just not in touch with reality on this one. The republican party is, and has been over run by fanatics that would rather lose positions than have a non-compliant sheep in the fold - hey, Lincoln Chaffee, how's that teaching stint going? Susan Collins, Arlen Spector, even maverick man mccain...can anyone name the last time a republican anywhere bucked the republican position?

    Pulling off a republican of two? pulleeezzz nahgonnahapin! The republican party will not let it happen - they'll chase 'em out of the party first.  

    There is no negotiating anything with the current crop of 'my way of the highway' republicans - period! That was a different, long dead era. The republican party would have to be completely destroyed and rebuilt for any thing like a moderate republican to exist. The more likely scenario is that the Democratic party will grow as the republicans shrink, with a piece of the Democrats eventually fracturing off into the new a moderate-right republican party.

    Why is this so complicated? (5.00 / 0) (#90)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:53:14 PM EST
    I must admit, I am constantly amazed at the inability of some people around here to understand what is a rather simple concept.

    Grow the party. Coopt the opposition. Win the votes of the non-ideological average Joe and Josephine who do not have firm committments to either party and who go back and forth in particular elections, based on what feels right to them at the time. And, as is an especially fertile field this year, win over the affections of some moderate Republicans who are seriously disaffected with their own party.

    Why is this so hard to understand? Why the recourse to arcane philosphizing about theories of this or theories of that? Why not try to imbibe the lessons of all successful politicians in history?

    Obama's primary objective in this approach is to appeal to independent and dissafected Republican VOTERS. We are not talking about the creeps in DC, or in the state parties. We are talking first about those average people out there who used to vote for us, and who often of late have voted for them. Average people, with similar concerns in their lives as the rest of us, but who have not, in recent times, trusted Democrats - even when Democrats have been touting policies that would be of help to them. Whats the matter with Kansas, and all that.

    How do you do that? Sorry to mention the dreaded R word, but Reagan managed to do it. How does a president, or a party appeal to Jerry Falwell and to Taylor Marsh at the same time, as Reagan did? It obviously came about by putting forth a message that connected on some deeper level than just policy.

    Reagan won a 60% reelect in 1984. Would any of you like that to be the case in 2012, for our side? You want to know why it is that we live in a GOP dominated era? Just that reason - Reaganism recieved an overwhelming mandate from the people in '84. That reset the intellectual landscape. Suddenly, any idea that could be tied to Reagan - any conservative idea, had the background legitimacy of being associated with a large popular mandate. That, more than anything defines the context in which conventional wisdom operates, and that CW infects the thinking of everyone in DC, the think tanks, the media. The only other decisive election result since then was the GOP landslide in Congress in '94 - an event that just galvanized that line of thinking. All other results were narrow victories for one side or the other. Bill never got 50% of the vote in either election.

    First you win the people, or at least some number of them that is significantly larger than 50.01%. Then you have power, a mandate. Then you have 3000 like minded political appointees supervising every government department. If you also have the Congress, then you have relatively clear sailing - and I am not referring to passing legislation, I am referring to setting agendas, defining issues, generating memes that shape the way people think about issues.

    This is NOTHING whatsoever like Liebermanism. Joe is an idiosyncratic politician who has some good Democratic instincts and some very bad Republican ones and who wanders around in search of a home, based on what is most important at the time. In a world defined by war and terrorism, his Republican instincts on those issues have landed him on the other side. There is no "theory" of bipartisanship there, he is just a man with a unique mix of beliefs, who sometimes wishes he could find consistent soul mates. A lonely figure.

    Obama understands on a gut level that most people in this, or any other country, are not ideological. They live their lives as best they can, and look to politicians to not make things harder for them, and ideally to solve some problems. They vote for one party or the other because they have some sense of trust, usually quite weak, that that party somehow respects them and will generally do things that will help them somehow. When that party fails them, they are open to being convinced by the other.

    Obama is trying to convince these people, at just the time when circumstances, and the Bush administration, has made them up for grabs. The force of his argument is pretty powerful for it addresses their core concern about Democrats - do these smarty pants, know it all intellectual types really respect me and want me to join them? Obama says to them - yes. We may be putting out polcy ideas that are different from the ones you voted for recently, but we do not see you as the enemy. We understand you may have fears, but we are confident, and you can share in that confidence. We understand that you may feel disrespected by voices in my party, but I do respect you.

    Appointing members of the other party to an administration is something that most politicians do, it is almost a habit by now. Its a way of saying to the VOTERS, more than anyone else, that your concerns are not going to be totally shut out even if we win, and your party loses. It is about lowering the psychological barriers to voting differently than you have in the past.

    In fact much of what is here deried as the "unity shtick" is just that - an attempt to make voting for a Democrat easier for those indies and disillusioned Republicans. This has NOTHING to do with "high-Broderism" or compromise with the sleazy denizens of the GOP caucus. It is an attempt to get the people, or at least a healthy majority of the people, on our side. If we do that, everything changes, for the underlying political landscape changes. It is no fantasy to imagine a world in which progressive Democrats define an era the way Reagan did for conservatives over the past generation. It should be, it must be the goal of our efforts. And so many around here seem, very bizarrely to be resistant to imagining that goal, and resistant to figuring out how to make that goal real.

    Reagan (5.00 / 5) (#93)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:57:32 PM EST
    did not try to win those voters in the middle by distancing himself from his party's base.  He ran as an unabashed conservative and won a mandate for conservatism.

    Obama's version is the "take the base for granted" strategy that the netroots used to deplore - assume you're going to get the Democratic voters no matter what, and target your campaign strictly to whatever appeals to those swing voters in the center.  Anyone can build the party by abandoning the party base, but some of us want Obama to be the guy who sells Democratic values to swing voters, not the guy who just tells swing voters whatever they want to hear on the assumption that Democrats won't hold it against him.


    Obama does better (none / 0) (#103)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:23:25 PM EST
    than Clinton amongst the more liberal parts of the party, so your thesis is flawed.

    Huh? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:29:25 PM EST
    No one considers ultra-liberals to be the base of the Democratic Party except ultra-liberals themselves.

    One time, I'd like to hear an Obama supporter respond to criticism of Obama with something other than "Well, Clinton is worse."  Just once.


    Steve (none / 0) (#111)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:39:57 PM EST
    my reply was a touch flip, and a one liner, because quite honestly I dont know what you are talking about. I am a base Democrat. I have never voted for a Republcian. And I am not an extremist. And I do not see Obama as taking my vote for granted, quite the contrary - he speaks to my concerns better than any candidate I've seen in a long time.

    I seriously don't know how anyone can say that he is not running as a solid progressive Democrate. That is all that he ever says in those speeches. He pushes solid progressive ideas. There is nothing Republcian, or even wishywashy about them.


    Perhaps (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:10:09 PM EST
    the best example I could point to was Obama's statement that he has no doubt he will get all of Hillary's voters in the general election.  Not only is he wrong to take the votes of all those seniors and blue-collar voters for granted, it's just a dismissive thing to say.

    In more general terms, one of the Obama campaign's foremost arguments is that primary voters should look solely at the question of who can bring more new voters into the party - the underlying assumption being that everyone who's already in the party can be counted on no matter what.  That's why it supposedly matters more that Obama does better in red states and rural areas that have traditionally voted Republican, while Clinton's landslide victories in states like Massachusetts and California are irrelevant because those states are going Dem anyway.  This line of argument basically results in setting the agenda of the Democratic Party according to the preferences of non-Democrats.


    you would have a good point (none / 0) (#146)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:30:24 PM EST
    if you could point to a list of policy positions that are best characterized as centrist, rather than progressive. I dont see it at all. He is appealing to these people but not defining his policies in light of what they beleive now. He is appealing to them on deeper issues, then signing them up for a very progressive agenda.

    I actually do think he will get almost all of Hillary's voters in the end, because I think that once hillary's supporters get over their need to oppose him - i.e. once he is the nominee, if he is in fact to become the nominee, then they will be open to listenting to what he is really saying rather than listening for ways to contrast him to their favorite candidate. Once they do that they will find little not to like, I suspect.

    And I do think that Hillary would have a hard time winning over the indies and Reps that seem attracted to Obama. Not saying it is impossible, but she will have to work hard to get what he already has.


    Obama a solid, progressive Dem?? (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by ramasan on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:33:54 PM EST

    I thought he had social security privatizers on staff along with the guy who derailed UHC last time.  That's not "solid progressive democrat".

    He's got charm and delivery, but I'm at a loss as to what his other gifts may be.  

    That said, were the world in a less critical state
    in so many ways, I might give him a shot.  Now is not the time for amateur hour.


    ramasan (5.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:47:52 PM EST
    indeed...can you imagine if Obama had convened the oversight committee and demanded the White House concentrate on Afghanistan rather than letting that country spiral out of control?  I suppose when the Big O says he can work with republicans, he means he can forgo meetings while they rape an entire country and let the Taliban get back into power.

    Obama should start by first uniting the democrats (none / 0) (#104)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:23:37 PM EST
    Before Obama goes about trying to get "independents and dis-affected Republicans" he might start by trying to bring Democrats together. He has spectacularly failed in that. The latest PEW survey says 20% of Hillary supporters will vote for McCain rather than vote for Obama. Why do you thaink that is? He could start by telling his supporters in the AA community and on these blogs to stop demonizing the Clintons.

    With the best media coverage any candidate could hope for and with all the ads money could buy he is essentially tied with Hillary in delegates and in national polling numbers. That is not evidence of a strong candidate, it is evidence fo a weak candidate.

    Republicans voted for him in some of these open primary states not because they liked Obama but more because they wanted to stop Hillary. They will not vote for Obama in the GE.

    Reagan won the 1980 election running as an unabashed conservative and he did not appoint Democrats to key cabinet positions in his administration. He appointed conservatives who agreed with him. He passed conservative policies and he was as ideological as one could be. He was not making empty promises about post-partisan politics. He was a partisan politician and a partisan president.

    I have not seen any evidence from Obama that he has a set of core beliefs and policies that he believes in and that he will not walk away from no matter what. For Hillary, it is universal health care. For Reagan, it was tax cuts and anti-communism. What is it for Obama?


    I don't really see it that way (none / 0) (#109)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:34:30 PM EST
    If Obama is a weak candidate, because, as a half-term Senator, a black man, with a funny name, he has challanged the mighty Clinton juggernaut and not yet fully defeated her, then what does that make Hilllary? The weakest candidate ever?

    And demonizing? We always feel those stings the harder when they are directed at our favorite candidate, but I can assure you from this side, that Obama is routinely demonized by the Clinton side, and in the world of blogs and blog commenting, in often a way-out-of-control manner.

    The Clinton camp and thier supporters have been working to erect an image of Obama that bears little to do with reality. Reading this site, this seems rather obvious to me. I dont blame them for that in any unforgivable cosmic sense - this is hardball, for very high stakes. But if and when he wraps this all up, then the Clinton folks will lose thier motivation to demonize him, or to try to twist every possible thing in a way that looks most negative. They will be motivated rather to look at him in a more clear-eyed manner, and they will see in the end that he really is what most of us understand already - a very solid progressive, if anything more progressive than Hillary, and an incredible political talent to boot. I really have few fears about uniting the party.

    His lack of support amongst some Dems stems largely I think, from the fact that Hillary had the baseline affections of those people and the first things they learned about him came as negatives from that source they trusted. When Hillary endorses Obama, if that is what ends up happening, the party will coalesce.


    Thanks Tano (5.00 / 3) (#116)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:48:40 PM EST
    His lack of support amongst some Dems stems largely I think, from the fact that Hillary had the baseline affections of those people and the first things they learned about him came as negatives from that source they trusted. When Hillary endorses Obama, if that is what ends up happening, the party will coalesce.

    You've just told these people they can't form an opinion, they're just confused, and they will come around.  You are pretty patronizing in my opinion.


    What exactly qualifies Obama to be president? (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by BigB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:55:19 PM EST
    Given the incredibly negative media coverage, the fact that Hillary is still standing tied with Obama and tied with McCain in polls, suggests Hillary is avery strong candidate. If Obama had faced the same negative coverage he would have folded long-time ago.

    Even mild negative coverage in the media drops his poll numbers. He is the weakest candidate we could field against McCain on experience, substance, national security and so on and so forth.

    You Obama supporters are getting a little bit ahead of yourself by asking Hillary to drop out and endorse Obama. Hillary is in this all the way until the convention and she will be the nominee and will be our next president.

    The Rezko trial is starting tomorrow here in Illinois. Not a great example of Obama's ethics or judgement doing a land deal with a corrupt guy who was being investigated by the feds. There is more here to come out.


    You are mistaken. (5.00 / 2) (#134)
    by Avedon on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:31:05 PM EST
    A lot of people who currently prefer Clinton are people who started off hoping she would not be the nominee.  In fact, most of them probably thought they'd prefer Obama.

    Consider the possibility that Obama has actually done something to alienate Democrats who once would have supported him.  He's certainly taught me to mistrust him more than I do Hillary.  That took some doing.


    That's Me (5.00 / 1) (#140)
    by BDB on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 06:35:48 PM EST
    I expected to be an Obama supporter.  Never expected to find myself so strongly in Hillary's corner.  But in a shocking turn of events, the more time I spend seeing and learning about Hillary, the candidate and not the media creation, the more I like her.  The more time I see and spend with Obama, the candidate and not the media creation, the less I like him.  So I went from leaning Obama to anticipating having to hold my nose to vote for him if he's the nominee and I'm considering not voting for him if the state I'm living in isn't in play (I could never help McCain become president, but I don't feel I have any moral obligation to help Mr. Periodically Women Use Their Claws to Drink Tea run up his numbers either).

    thought I'd like Obama, but... (none / 0) (#150)
    by ramasan on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 08:35:18 PM EST
    Clinton was hard to get behind until I
    tried drinking the Obama KoolAid.  She kept looking better: sensible, experienced and smart enough to handle the world situation and she understands and cares about people in pain and
    difficulty.  Obama, not so much. He does not seem to care.

    Are you serious? (none / 0) (#112)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:42:16 PM EST
    You really think the average Republican voter thinks thisDemocrats?

    I quote from your very long post:

    "The force of his (Obama's) argument is pretty powerful for it addresses their core concern about Democrats - do these smarty pants, know it all intellectual types really respect me and want me to join them? Obama says to them - yes."

    Tano, you gotta be kidding me.
    I mean, really.
    Offer a shred of proof for this.  Please.
    An article.  Anything.


    Sorry my first sentence should read (none / 0) (#113)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:44:07 PM EST
    "thinks this about Democrats?"

    i didn't say the (none / 0) (#114)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:45:48 PM EST
    "average Republican voter".

    I was talking about independents and those weakly affiliated Republicans that are disaffected with their party and open to persuasion.

    I have no illusion that Obama, under the best of all possible circumstances, would ever get, in his reelect, much more than 60% of the vote. The core Republicans, and even the periphery of the core are not available to any Dem.


    there are republican women (none / 0) (#117)
    by Kathy on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:49:28 PM EST
    of a certain age who are voting for Hillary.  You don't hear about them much in the news because it's actually Clinton-positive, but they are out there, and they are voting for her solely because she is a woman.

    and yes (none / 0) (#118)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:50:06 PM EST
    it is my perception that that is exacly what a lot of these people think about democrats. That is why the GOP memes about "liberal elites" and "latte-drinking, blah blah blah..." find some traction. I say that as one who has a lot of Republcians in my family, and who makes it a mission of mine to talk to lots of Republicans when I encounter them, in real life and on line. I am always fascinated by why people beleive the things they do, and these opinions are formed from those experiences.

    A lot of words (none / 0) (#119)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:51:00 PM EST
    No links no proofs.

    Tano, I gotta go (none / 0) (#122)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:57:32 PM EST
    But you post an awful lot of long opinions,
    all unbacked by links or facts.
    That's fine.  Just wanted to point that out.

    Tano (none / 0) (#136)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 05:49:37 PM EST
    I have a few criticisms of your argument.  You seem to view here that campaigning for votes is a completely separate process from governing.  If all Obama had said about Republicans was that Democrats don't have a monopoly on wisdom, that would be fine.  A friendly campaigning style, with a solid Democratic platform and governing bent.  However, that is not all Obama has said, and it seems clearer now that he embraces bipartisanship and Republicans much more strongly and in many ways unnecessarily.  Do we really have to put Hagel in the cabinet?  Is he just trying to campaign for votes by saying that too?  To make Republicans feel welcome? How about the Republicans being the party of ideas?  He did say he disagreed with those ideas, but he hasn't been too aggressive in asserting Democratic ideas for a new era.  He seems happy to share the party of ideas mantle with Republicans-not just voters, but Republicans in Congress.  He wants a Reagan era in reverse, but he hasn't yet presented to voters that Democratic ideas are the new comprehensive golden package.  In part because he is busy trying to avoid the Dem v. Repub fuss.

    Obama may understand people on a 'gut level,' all questions about the price of arugula aside.  He understands that they want a leader, that they like charisma, that they want to feel proud.  Fine and dandy.  But watch McCain suck away newbies to the Democratic party by calling us "tax and spend" Democrats.

    You write
    "First you win the people, or at least some number of them that is significantly larger than 50.01%. Then you have power, a mandate. Then you have 3000 like minded political appointees supervising every government department. If you also have the Congress, then you have relatively clear sailing - and I am not referring to passing legislation, I am referring to setting agendas, defining issues, generating memes that shape the way people think about issues."

    But Obama has been less and less convincing that we will have 3000 like minded political appointees.  

    He is going through this primary process appealing to independents and Republicans.  But when he goes into the GE, he has to beat McCain and still appeal to them.  Are they really going to be hooked through the GE?  To me McCain is practically the IDEAL opponent for the Republicans to put against Obama from the GOP perspective.  He was Mr. Smith in Washington before Obama even got into politics.  Unless Obama is willing to risk Republican support by emphasizing DEMOCRATIC ideology, McCain will be absolutely tantalizing to a lot of people, probably among them moderate Democrats.  

    I think Obama has already passed through his "this is the new JFK!" phase.  That early massive excitement.  I don't see him getting that again, and I think right now some of his supporters are his to lose to McCain.


    I do agree that McCain (none / 0) (#145)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:16:50 PM EST
    is the best candidate that the Republicans could have put forth. Precisely because he has the credibility amongst swing voters to win many of them to his side. They are the crucial constiuency. We will get our 40-45%, they will get theirs, and the fight will be over those in the middle.

    This, to me, only emphasizes the need for us to put forth our best candidate when it comes to fighting for those voters. Maybe we could afford to put forth a candidate who aggresivly touts hard-line Democratic positions were the Republicans to have nominated a hard line conservative. In this year, our side would have the advantage there. That is not the case though.

    I think it a bit unfair to claim that he is going through the primary process appealing to Republicans and indies - as if that were the core of his appeal. Although Clinton is doing somewhat better amongst core Democrats, Obama is winning a lot of us too. It is not some blowout in that arena.

    And yes, he will have to hold the Rs and indies that he is now attracting, and win over some more when it comes to the GE. But so will Hillary - so would any Democrat. I don't follow the logic that seems to argue that since he has some of these people now, then she would be better at holding them and growing them in the GE campaign. Nor do I see the logic which you seem to use, that says that unless Obama emphasizes core Democratic ideology, then McCain will be tantalizing to a lot of people.

    Obama is a solid progressive. Health-care mandates aside, I really dont see any core ideological or programmatic issues that any core Democrat should have with him. I hear all manner of crazy talk around here, of people arguing that he is some sort of a closet Republican, when he has always stood for, and voted for progressive ideas.

    He is a solid Democrat and progressive who has demonstrated the ability to connect to and intrigue independents and some repubs. That is exactly what we need against McCain. Of course McCain will deploy all manner of rhetoric against whomever he runs against - do you really think Hillary or any other Dem would be less vulnerable to the "tax and spend" label or any of the other stuff they will throw at us?

    The way to escape the trap of Repbulcian memes and frames is to strongly, confidently, and credibly lay out your own memes, your own frames. Obama understands that, and has been hard at work grounding Democratic frames in the core foundational principles that everyone can agree with. You set up a rhetorical landscape where people can go smoothly from what they deeply believe into your own set of policy positions.

    Thats why Republicans always argue down on the levels of patriotism, or "values". If they can convince people that only Republicans are with them on those deep levels, then it will only be Republicans policies that will seem well-grounded. Most people dont know what really are the best policies on any given issue - and they know that they dont know. But if they sense that GOP policies resonate well with their core convictions, then they will vote for them even if they seem somewhat out of touch on the surface.

    Obama asks them - do you want a unified country that gets beyond the bitterness? They say yes, that would be good. Do you want change? Yes, we do. Do you want a government, and a president that will repect and listen to you even when there is disagreement? Yes, the people say. That is foundational work. The people say yes to you on core attitudes, then they become receptive to the specifics.

    Hillary doesnt do any of this. She is a polarizing figure - and whether that is her fault or wholly not her fault is not the issue. She puts forth a strong aggressive push for Democratic issues, but a fair number of crucial swing voters havent really passed the barrier of listening to her arguments. They havent been given the sense that she connects with them on the deeper levels. They are less receptive.

    Sorry this is going on a bit long. My final point is to strongly disagree with the notion that Obama is pushing bipartisanship for its own sake, or that he beleives the GOP is the party of ideas. He noted that they had been in the past, but that Dems are claiming that mantle now. That is just a way of saying to people who have bought into Republican ideas that he respects that they are thinking people and sided, for their own reasons, with the other side, but if you really are a thinking person, then you should check us out now. As opposed to pounding into them the message that they were wrong then and they better admit it. Its just another way of saying that we dont demonize you, we respect you, and we invite you in. There may be some angry Democrats who really do want to demonize not just GOP leaders, but voters too, but that mentality will not serve us well.


    My point (none / 0) (#149)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 08:05:17 PM EST
    about the indies and Republicans is that I personally don't believe they will necessarily stick to Obama in as large numbers as they are now.  That there will be bleeding.  You say he has them now, and will have to get more.  I say, if Hillary wins the nom, all the Obama indies and Repubs plus the Repubs and Indies in addition that he would have to win, would be up in the air.  I don't think they would automatically go to McCain, I think they would form a new set of voters for both to compete for.  This is leading to a conversation on demographics that I don't mean to have.  I guess I'm saying that I don't think Hillary would hold onto them, in a simple transfer of voters, but rather that I think she would have to recampaign for them on different terms and that she would do it in a different way, a way I think would work better against McCain.  A way based on more partisan principles.  She often says "healthcare should be a core Democratic value."  I think she would equate values to issues and win people over that way.  

    You seem to be suggesting that Obama will defeat the Republicans because he can convince people they side with him on deep levels.  On the level of values and convictions.  But you pose that the questions Obama asks resonate with people on deep levels.  I just don't think that's true.  The desire for change is too vague to resonate on a deep level.  Republicans resonating with Americans on a deep level works because they have been working on the value brand for a long time.  Obama's brand, Obama values, are very new.  How easily can McCain coopt a "unified country" "change" and "a government that listens"?  Pretty easily.  If Obama constantly has to fight over the beginning terms of his candidacy, we won't begin to beat the Republicans on the specifics the way we should.

    I don't think he ever said that Dems ARE claiming that mantle of the party of ideas, but rather that we should.  He is strong on saying the opportunity to reach out is there.  But he is not strong when it comes to saying we are the party of ideas, we are the party of ideas now.  He doesn't claim the mantle, he just says that we can.  

    To me, he needs to come out and strongly define change in terms of issues.  No longer say do you believe in change but say "change is healthcare for all."  "Change is a foreign policy that gets us out of Iraq."  You might say he's already doing this, but I don't really hear it.  I hear instead that change is listening to good ideas from both sides (whatever those are), working together (with whom?).  Change is not about the issues.

    When you're setting up a frame to go into an election, it helps to have a tradition in the past to go on.  Obama has framed his campaign as a new opportunity.  He's already defined the past as one dominated by Republicans.  And he's attacked the Clinton legacy.  So unless he radically shakes things up, he is the alpha and omega of his own framing.  I don't like that.


    thanks for taking the time (none / 0) (#151)
    by Tano on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:02:40 PM EST
    to respond in detail.

    I guess we just disagree about some core guestimates that we make when we look at the landscape out there.

    I do think it will be exremely difficult for Bush McCain (like that new first name?) to argue that he can be the agent of change (he will be tied relentlessly to Bush), or that he will listen to the people (he is notoriously a maverick who doesnt even listen to his own party base), or that he can unify the country (once again, the people have seen the past eight years of Republican rule).

    I'll grant you that the swing voters will be accessable to Hillary, they will be up for grabs, but I still get back to the point that Obama has an in with them already. McCain would have to take them away - much harder than winning a jump ball.

    And yes, I do think that Obama is already tying the notion to change to his specific policies - unite around a common purpose, then he lists what that means - out of Iraq, health care available for all, greentech energy policy, rewarding teachers etc. etc.

    I do surmise however, that if someone like you isnt hearing it, then he must not be saying it loud enough for swing voters to hear it, so maybe he needs to improve there. But I do sense that in an extended 8 months ge campaign, it would be hard for him to avoid that (not that he would want to avoid it) because if he seems undefined to people then his lack of definition would itself become an issue and he would be forced to be louder yet about the program specifics.


    Thanks Tano (none / 0) (#157)
    by lilburro on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:40:52 PM EST
    I'm enjoying our debate.

    First of all, fear not, I will definitely vote for Obama if he is the nominee.  I love the Dems.

    Who knows what will happen during the GE; you're right, we disagree, but we are both guessing.  I don't like McCain, but it is kind of ironic that Obama could be running against him - perhaps the exact kind of person Obama is supposed to like!

    Perhaps if Obama wins the nomination, he will transfer the mantle of change to the entire party.  That's what I want.  I think he has to do it.  But right now he's playing too much of an outsider role for me.  I am not sure McCain won't be able to get some Repubs to come home.  And I don't know what Indies come home to.  Seriously, what do they come home to??


    Uh oh (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:06:40 PM EST
    You mean Obama is not a namby-pamby post-partisan Vichy Dem who stands up to those "divisive" party activists and works happily with the Bush WH after all?

    what stands out in his brief Senate career is his liberal voting record, not a history of fighting across party lines to get legislation passed. He wasn't part of the 2005 Gang of 14 bipartisan coalition that sought to break the logjam on judicial nominations

    You mean his record of bipartisanship is instead on strongly Dem-framed issues like nuclear proliferation, energy, veterans affairs, ethics, etc that have left him with "no obvious political scars for fighting bipartisan battles that were unpopular with his party's base"? Gee, I wonder why that would be?

    And Sen Clinton's record is actually much more redolent of bipartisanship? Horrors!

    You know, it's trouble if the Villagers like David Ignatius start catching on...

    I totally agree with you (4.87 / 8) (#1)
    by sara seattle on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 01:31:00 PM EST
    This whole issue is one of my big problems with Obama

    and Naive - I think covers it perfectly.

    Look back at the last 8 years in Bush' congress - how has co-operation with the GOP worked for the Democrats??

    and we now want more of this??

    Naive -- no kidding. No wonder that some Republicans love Obama - however it is not for the reasons the Obama followers believe -- again that word - naive.

    With the rethugs (5.00 / 5) (#42)
    by vigkat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:25:47 PM EST
    Lucy will always have control of the football and the naive will always believe they are the exceptions to Lucy's rules.

    Naive... (5.00 / 5) (#50)
    by Alvord on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:36:09 PM EST
    ...is a word that unfortunately can also be applied to a number of the A-list bloggers and their readers. They seemed to have learned nothing about Republicans over the past 8 to 16 years.

    Blinded by the win (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:39:52 PM EST
    I think they are so eager to win at any cost, just to win, that they have parked many core values.  For example, not being embedded journalists.  First thing they did is become embedded to a side.  

    Well gosh (5.00 / 6) (#70)
    by Steve M on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:47:36 PM EST
    if Obama is really the guy who will win, surely it's possible to support him and still criticize him at the same time.

    Pressure from the left is the only thing that keeps politicians interested in appealing to the left.  If the netroots are going to love Obama no matter what he does, why should he actually make an extra effort to appeal to them?  The netroots think it's awesome for Obama to appoint a conservative Republican like Chuck Hagel - so why should he expend the political capital to get a liberal Democrat confirmed to that spot?


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:00:30 PM EST
    Except war issues, Lieberman is a liberal (none / 0) (#51)
    by koshembos on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:36:52 PM EST
    Lieberman was always good on labor, gay, and other social issues. His voting record on these issues is much better than most Democrats.

    With Obama views on Afghanistan and Pakistan, his support of Bush war in Iraq since Obama was elected to the Senate, the claim that Obama is not Lieberman may even imply that Obama is less liberal.

    At this stage of the Obama presumption delusion, I am fed and tired of assigning to Obama all kinds of attributes that a week later disappear without a trace. Candidates have to prove themselves; it's not our jobs to assume anything and Obama proved less than nothing.

    "Success" or "Failure"? (none / 0) (#62)
    by chemoelectric on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:45:15 PM EST
    There are actually infinite degrees of success, and there is growth (or decay) of an implanted success over days, months, years.

    Of course the "Republicans" are difficult to work with, to say the least. And they cannot be changed in "no time". But they must be changed, or the United States is doomed. And the person who takes on this task must have patience and a keen understanding of human beings.

    When I argue with someone, they sometimes think I haven't "convinced" them of my view, but my goal is not to "convince", but to make subtle changes in the nervous structure. Someone who bursts into many words may find herself become more succinct and more able to control her affect, avoiding excessive rage, melancholy, etc. All such changes require days, months, years to develop. We must use such an approach.

    I think Obama may have some capacity to do this. Hopefully we will come to see whether this is so.

    I do worry about the need to quit waiting for Godot "Republicans". But that would be a worry, anyway, if the president were any of the candidates aside from Dennis Kucinich or perhaps Mike Gravel.

    The only thing that will change them is losing (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:46:27 PM EST
    Say it again, say it again, say it again... (none / 0) (#99)
    by Camorrista on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:14:52 PM EST
    The only thing that will change them is losing

    That's the key, isn't it?  Anything else is beltway mythology.

    It is a myth that Hagel, or Lugar, or Specter, or Graham, or Collins, or Snowe, or any Republican is a persuadable moderate, a sort of centrist Democrat in GOP drag.

    They only vote with Democrats when it doesn't count, when the vote total won't affect the outcome.  When it counts, the "moderates" toe the party line as mechanically as Coburn, or Stevens, or Kyl, or any hard-right zealot.  

    (A child who watches Animal Planet quickly learns that a purring tiger in captivity is still a wild predatory beast.  Whenever, you're tempted to trust a Republican pol, keep Animal Planet in mind.)

    As to the eagerness around the "progressive" blogs to embrace all this touchy-feely Broderism, why is anybody surprised?  Idealists--and the blog universe is heavily populated with idealists--are always vulnerable to touchy-feely movements, like the Obama phenomenon; it appeals to their self-image as saner, wiser, kinder folks than we grubby squabblers.  

    In the minds of these idealists, Obama will give a speech, or hug a child, or smile winsomely at a smarmy Republican, and that will fix all the problems not only in the American political system, but in the nation itself.  The idealists don't care whom he names to his cabinet, or to the Supreme Court, or as  ambassador to Russia (or Iran, or the UN).  If Obama chooses somebody, that somebody is OK.  Because he has great judgement, and, by extenstion, they have great judgement for joining his triumphal march.

    Does anybody have a couple of aspirin?  


    You change Republicans....... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by sara seattle on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:57:02 PM EST
    by voting in Democrats

    it is that simple !!

    So support your local Democrats.


    Obama Will Be Smeared Worse, When the Time Comes (none / 0) (#66)
    by pluege on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 02:46:51 PM EST
    Besides the idiocy of Obama and friends thinking that appealing to republicans has any advantage at all for Democrats, the notion that republicans and their corporate media smear miesters won't go after Obama just as viciously or more so than they would Hilliary Clinton is further proof of their detachment from reality. The cult of republicanism  will be merciless on Obama, as much or more so then Clinton (Hilliary or Bill).

    If you think about it, other than the Clinton's being Democrats and being successful, there was never a rational reason for the cult of republicanism to go ballistic after them as they did. The Clintons are more or less one of them, only Democrats. Obama on the other hand, has the whole race thing that will send the republican cultist into blinding rage that will make the republican cultists Clinton smearing and obstruction look like playing patticake.  

    Obama fans are really, really out to lunch if they think for a moment that the republicans and the corporate media won't make it worse for Obama than Clinton.

    Here's the sad thing ... (none / 0) (#81)
    by Robot Porter on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 03:13:09 PM EST
    I think his smearing, which will be bad for his candidacy, is the only thing that will convince me he might actually be a Democrat.

    If he continues to get the fawning coverage he's getting now, I'll be really worried.


    The Clintons made a ton of change, (none / 0) (#121)
    by WillBFair on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 04:56:29 PM EST
    and held their gains even during the republican take over and the smear campaign. Just as important, they didn't don't just take orders from ideologues. They looked at each situation independently, weighed the facts and circumstances, a created the best solution possible, almost without fail. Obama is nowhere near this level of expertise, and without the media smear campaign, he would be nowhere in this primary.

    The Clinton economy made it possible (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by Cream City on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 07:04:38 PM EST
    for this single mom to buy a home, pay off student loans, and begin to recover from being below the poverty level. Our numbers are legion, and some of us do not consider the '90s ancient history and have not lost our memories . . . and now we want that prosperity for our children. I want that even for my child who voted for Obama -- or especially for that one, as he is my dreamer. My child who voted for Clinton is the reality-based one. Telling, huh?

    Speaking of Obama and Lieberman... (none / 0) (#155)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 02, 2008 at 09:28:07 PM EST

    "I know that some in the party have differences with Joe," Senator Obama said, all but silencing the crowd. "I'm going to go ahead and say it. It's the elephant in the room. And Joe and I don't agree on everything. But what I know is, Joe Lieberman's a man with a good heart, with a keen intellect, who cares about the working families of America."

    Then, with applause beginning to build, he finished the thought: "I am absolutely certain that Connecticut's going to have the good sense to send Joe Lieberman back to the United States Senate." That time, people cheered loudly.

    Talkleft:  Sat Apr 01, 2006