History Lessons

Chris Bowers writes:

Barack Obama will receive more grassroots, progressive activist support than any other Democratic candidate in history.

Um, more than FDR? I am sorry, but history did not start in 2004.

Speaking for me only

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    Snark is spelled with 3 letters - (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Marco21 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:22:17 PM EST

    What Do You Call Cherry Picking? (none / 0) (#33)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:13:03 PM EST
    It's not snark.

    Here is what Bowers really said if you go to his post. I leave a couple of non-relevant sentences at the beginning and end out. Go read them for yourselves if you want to.

    1. Many progressives will continue to criticize Barack Obama in public between now and Election Day.

    2. Barack Obama will receive more grassroots, progressive activist support than any other Democratic candidate in history.

    No matter what we say, both the activism and the criticism will flow. Both are unavoidable, necessary and healthy We would be a pretty lame grassroots movement if we managed to quiet criticism, forge consensus or sit on their hands en masse. I would simply suggest that if you are interested in generating activism for Obama, that you should encourage activist rather than criticizing criticism. Because, in the end, telling someone to SYFPH really isn't a very effective call to action.

    So his main point is not activist support for Obama by itself. His main point is twofold as you can read.

    Now I am no fan of Bowers, but I'm also not a fan of cherry picking one line from someones writing and then presenting it out of context so that is why I present more in full of what he wrote.

    And while we are at it Armando says FDR had more grassroots, progressive activist support than Obama? Where are the numbers?

    According to some quick research FDR won reelection with 27,751,597 votes. By todays standards that is a pretty small number. Now how many of those were grassroots activists and how many of todays Obama supporters are grassroots activists is probably UNKNOWABLE as people don't register as grassroots activists per se and no such numbers are kept as to even estimates.

    I would venture to guess though that given todays population in comparison to the FDR era, combined with the increased number of voters, that anyone today, including Clinton, would probably would have more grassroots activists - whatever that term means.


    Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:38:50 PM EST
    So by that measure, Kerry was the greatest Democratic candidate in history right?

    I knew the real you would show up soon.

    Interestingly, the context you provide does not really help Bowers' or you. But thanks for being you. The Real Talex has been missing for some time.o


    Very calm. (none / 0) (#47)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:41:40 PM EST
    Well Kerry did recieve the most (none / 0) (#54)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:55:31 PM EST
    votes ever for a Democrat I believe...

    But that was not what you posted about. You were challenging Bowers statement of Obama having the greatest number of "grassroots activists" and you asserted, without proof, that FDR did. As you can see that would have been virtually impossible due to the shear numbers of voters and population not to mention the advent of the Internet which has spawned a whole new breed of activist.

    And yes the context does help my argument because context always sheds new, if not 'hidden', light that the critic didn't take into consideration in their critic. But then you know that.

    Me being me? Hey the way I see it I'm helping Jeralyn keep her blog accurate and ging othr reader a different perspective on what is written. I don't think she would want a bunch of incorrect things on the front page would she? Especially stuff attacking other bloggers?  Besides, I'm not the only one who disagrees with you from time to time. Everyday I see others disagree with you. Everyday. It comes with the territory.

    As an aside - I still find it interesting, if not alarming, that a pro-Obama blog has been more critical of him than you have.


    Have you discussed it (none / 0) (#65)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:16:41 PM EST
    my criticism or lack thereof with John Horse? Geekesque? Sam Taylor?

    There seems to be a real difference of opinion on the subject.


    Nope (none / 0) (#68)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:25:43 PM EST
    Haven't discussed - haven't even read their opinions so don't know what their take is. But I can't imagine that they agree with you based on historic facts readily available.

    Again I'm no fan of Bowers but I'm no fan of out of context critic either that is not supported by facts which you offered none of.

    If you want to dispute the numbers and conclusions I have presented in a way other than saying I am wrong with no counter of those figures then be my guest.


    Pffft (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:46:46 PM EST
    the Old silly Talex is back. Good to see you again.

    I do not know why, but it gives e certain comfort to see you back to what you were.

    I did not feel comfortable having you agree with me.

    This is much better.

    BTW, my point was not whether those 3 agree with me but rather whether they agree with you as to whether I have been critical of Obama or not.


    heh (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:47:57 PM EST
    You must acknowledge it was (none / 0) (#88)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:58:34 PM EST
    rather disconcerting.  

    You haven't benn critical of him (none / 0) (#89)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:02:22 PM EST
    'In your own voice'. You have tiptoed around it by extensively quoting Greenwald who is critical of Obama but even then you have added no opinion on your own.

    Show me a post in the last week where you have used your own words to be critical of Obama. And no "Pols are Pols" isn't criticism - it's a cop out.

    I don't understand why you are so afraid to criticize Obama. You even gave him a pass on FISA.


    BTW (none / 0) (#92)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:05:23 PM EST
    From time to time I agree with people who I most often disagree with and I don't find that uncomfortable at all while you do. I guess it goes to disposition and mindset. Some people  can be accepting to anyone while others - not so much.

    Er... (none / 0) (#58)
    by Marco21 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:06:08 PM EST
    I was just joking around. Jeez.

    This is probably superfluous and (none / 0) (#154)
    by eric on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:24:14 AM EST
    this is an old thread, but I can't resist.

    According to some quick research FDR won reelection with 27,751,597 votes. By todays standards that is a pretty small number.

    Which time?  You do know that FDR was reelected three times, right?  And that there were a lot fewer people in the US in the 30's?  You do know that you are talking about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, right?

    I think history is dead, especially amongst the OFB.


    History (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Nadai on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:22:19 PM EST
    started sometime in the 1970s, when Chris Bowers was born.  I'm surprised you didn't already know that, BTD.

    Does Bowers get the news from the (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:23:32 PM EST

    Future Reality (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:26:35 PM EST
    Isn't that sort of an oxymoron?

    It's a bending of (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:29:03 PM EST
    time and space kinda thing.

    Channeling, No Doubt (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:32:27 PM EST
    Another typical Bowers movement (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by myiq2xu on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:29:33 PM EST
    It stinks

    Chris Bowers is all over the place. (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by lentinel on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:35:20 PM EST
    Bowers wrote this incredible piece of prose back in March:

    "Obama is more about placating High Broderism, Tim Russert and the Washington Post editorial board than he is about transformative progressive change. I'll work hard to help elect him, but I also don't intend to delude myself about what to expect when he becomes President."

    This is the kind of grassroots, progressive activist support that Bowers is talking about.

    I think he's talking through his hat, but even if true --- these grassrootian progressive activists seem to be like him. They know more and more that Obama is not a progressive, is not an activist and has a rather condescending attitude toward the grassroots, but they will work hard for him anyway.

    Everybody should have a hobby.

    How old is he? That should tell you something (none / 0) (#29)
    by thereyougo on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:01:42 PM EST
    For those keeping score (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:37:38 PM EST
    FDR won 57% of the total vote in 1932. In 1936 he won 60.1%. And of course he won two more elections after that in 1940 and 1944.

    A little history we should all remember.

    And I was there! (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:34:43 PM EST
    Same here, Molly... (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by oldpro on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:23:07 PM EST
    three out of four... not that I could vote...or even remember it!

    To my eternal shame, (5.00 / 3) (#83)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:51:39 PM EST
    I was for Wilkie for a time.  (Kids during those years learned some hard facts fast: facts about poverty and bombs.)

    Percentage of popular vote (none / 0) (#48)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:41:56 PM EST
    does not equate of grassroots activists which as only part of Bower's point. Not all of those voting for any candidate are all grassroots activists. so you metric of percentage of popular vote is flawed IMO.

    Also in '04 Bush won xx% of the popular vote and that equated to 62,040,610 votes (Kerry 59,028,444), more than double FDR's, at the time record setting, popular vote total of 27,751,597. So by shear numbers FDR didn't even come close to modern day candidates do. and again percentage of vote nor total popular vote equate to how many grassroots activists a person has which effectively is unknowable.

    Link to previous post


    So how do you define (none / 0) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:14:58 PM EST
    grassroots support and how do you know Obama has more than FDR had?

    I can't define it (none / 0) (#70)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:30:53 PM EST
    and neither can you. At least we can't quantify it and I said that upfront in my post.

    But again based on today's voting population and the huge numbers of activists both online and off I'd say Bowers is closer to the facts than you are.

    But of course if you want to argue that with today's internet, telephones (both land and cell), faxes email, ease of getting around the country, and generally more money available for the average person to have all those things that activism is less today that it was in FDR's era...

    Then make your case why.


    I know VOTING is less today than then (none / 0) (#75)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:44:25 PM EST
    Makes me feel confident that there were ore activists then than now.

    I like my side of the argument, a lot.


    Less voting today? (none / 0) (#87)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:56:42 PM EST
    Better check your facts on that one.

    In 1936 FDR won the popular vote 27,751,597 to 16,679,583, for a total of 44,431180 votes.

    Bush-Kerry totaled 121,069,054 votes - almost three times as many votes. 2008 is projected to be even more.

    "I know VOTING is less today than then" - Big Tent Democrat

    Ha Ha! I wont even provide further comment. I'll let the numbers speak for themselves and let readers judge for themselves your wildly wrong statement.


    Okay (5.00 / 3) (#94)
    by Steve M on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:13:28 PM EST
    As one reader judging for himself, it's obvious to me that BTD was referring to turnout percentages.

    I think you're positively silly, by the way, to keep harping on the fact that the population of the US is bigger than it was 70 years ago.  If that's the entire source of Bowers' point, then it's extremely pedantic.


    2004 (none / 0) (#98)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:26:23 PM EST
    Highest turnout since 1968.  Are there stats on the 50s, 40s and 30s?

    I think you are wrtong on that (none / 0) (#104)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:37:46 PM EST
    1992 had a higher VAP turnout than 2004 I believe.

    As for the earlier decades, you MUST know voter turnout steadily declined through the last 50 years.


    Why that is is open to some question (none / 0) (#108)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:40:13 PM EST
    the various corrupt machines can't get away with voting the whole list anymore, for example.

    Yes (none / 0) (#105)
    by Steve M on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:38:24 PM EST
    No. Go back and read Armando's (none / 0) (#99)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:27:05 PM EST
    original post. He quoted Bowers as saying Obama will have more activists in all of history. Armando disagreed with him and suggested that FDR did. That was the original subject of his post.

    Now if you want to fall for him changing the subject to percentages to confuse your mind then that is on you. But percentages were not mentioned by Bowers or Armando in his original comments.

    As for Bower statement and todays population - he didn't, and didn't have to mention todays population as that is a given that it is larger.

    Nowhere did Bowers mention percentages and you can't prove percentages one way or another anyway nor can you prove that FDR had more numbers,so you have no argument either. In shear numbers Obama, or Clinton for that matter very very likely do have more activist support for the reasons I already mentioned.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:36:34 PM EST
    you reduce yourself to an idiot every time.

    you really do.

    Of course I was referring to turnout of the VAP (pssst, that means voting age population.)

    How could I possibly be arguing absolute number of voters when I just made fun of you by taking your absurdity to its logical conclusion - to wit, the greatest Dem Presidential candidate was John Kerry, he got the most votes ever.

    Why do you insist on painting yourself an idiot?


    No my friend (none / 0) (#113)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:48:48 PM EST
    you are.

    I know VOTING is less today than then

    Makes me feel confident that there were ore activists then than now.

    Your words, live with them.

    You know there is less VOTING today than then? LOL

    Hilarious Armando. Of course you didn't mean what you said. You never do.

    I'm out on this topic. If you can produce some numbers that show less people vote today than in the FDR period pray tell. LOL

    And if you can prove that FDR had more activists than Obama I'll buy you a house. Or a magic pony if you prefer.

    BTW - I hope Jeralyn deletes your post for calling posters names. Hasn't she warned you about that before? Really - such behavior doesn't represent her blog very well.


    Well (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Steve M on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:39:36 PM EST
    Maybe I have no argument, but I am just one of those readers judging for myself, like you asked me to.

    I do not read that quote from Bowers as saying that Obama will have the largest raw number of supporters in history.  Like I said, you can read it that way, but it trivializes the point altogether.


    What does it trivialize? (none / 0) (#116)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:52:24 PM EST
    Look I am not a Bowers fan or an Obama fan. But if the Netroots/Grassroots is growing and is larger than it has ever been in shear numbers then that is a good thing overall for us.

    Now I disagree with so any of them supporting Obama but that is totally another subject all together.


    Because everything else grows too (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Steve M on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:02:36 PM EST
    If there are twice as many activists because there are twice as many people in the US, that doesn't suggest progress has been made.

    Where do you get (none / 0) (#127)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:06:16 PM EST
    twice as many. How do you know there are not more than that?

    And you discount the things I already mentioned like the internet and faxes, etc  - and cheap travel.

    You are tying to come up with an argument to support your original argument but it falls flat because, one, you cite figures you have no way of supporting, and two you totally ignore the power we have in modern society via technology.

    Do you realize how many millions of conversations go on and are read with technology? What would it have taken to do that during the FDR era? Do you think as many people could have called, faxed, emailed their representatives during FDR? It would have been impossible to hold those millions of daily conversations that whoever wanted & where ever they were could listen in on and even participate.

    It's unbelievable given what you know above that you are buying into Armando's vendetta against Bowers, which is the crux of his silly disagreement.


    Heh (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by Steve M on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:18:45 PM EST
    Your point is like "if we assume Bowers is right, you have no rebuttal."  At this point I'm just laughing at you.

    The only way in which we can simply assume that there are more grassroots activists today than there were 70 years ago is that there are a lot more people in general than there were 70 years ago.  Once we move past that meaningless point, it's a claim that requires actual evidence.


    Evidence - Exactl;y (none / 0) (#130)
    by talex on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:50:18 PM EST
    Which is why that is what I kept asking Armando for if you read my posts. I beat you to the evidence argument Steve so I am laughing at you for not reading. I even said there can be no evidence found for either side of the argument - except of course common sense.

    And you can't prove that there are not more than twice as many which is why you ignored that part of my post. And you know the power of each person is multiplied many fold because of technology as I pointed out - which again you ignore.

    So I see you as one of those posters who tries to win only and when you can't win then you just ignore being wrong by not responding to what was posted in response to you. That is sad. You are just here to argue and win and not learn and as such you will never move forward because we don't move forward by winning - you move forward by learning. But you have a tin ear so you are stuck.

    You call the number of grassroots activists "meaningless". I guess that include you too?


    PERCENT OF ELIGIBLE VOTERS (none / 0) (#156)
    by northeast73 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:27:24 AM EST
    who actually vote.  It was higher then.  Lower now.

    BTD- I was wondering that myself (none / 0) (#122)
    by kenosharick on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:30:01 PM EST
    if you look at highest percentages of "grassroots" voters/regular common people, you might consider Andrew Jackson. After his supporters thought Adams stole the election from him in 1824 (Jackson actually won more electoral votes)they went to work the next day and spent 4 years getting him elected in 1828.

    Everyone thinks they were the first (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by BarnBabe on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:41:28 PM EST
    When I was working in California, our company constantly was sending us to manager classes. Every manager and VP's, etc. So there was this one Dale Carnegie class with people of all ages and I came of age in the late 60's. One of the questions was: What do you believe your generation started in society. Well, practically EVERYONE is the class of 30 answered Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. And that was the answer encompassing 5 generations. The very young were startled that someone from the 50's gave that answer and in turn, the older people were startled that the younger people did not know who really loved Bill Hawley, the Beatles, and the pill.

    Welcome to my life (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:22:30 PM EST
    as a history teacher.  Some of what we see is just so marvelous.  But I will refrain from sharing some of my favorites here.  There are some wonderful works done by colleagues, though, that string together sentences from student work to tell the story of this great land of ours as they see it.

    But I gotta say that most of my students are smarter than Bowers about this even before they take my class.  And then, you can bet that they -- well, the ones who earn at least a C -- are smart enough after my class to know to never again write such silliness, aka sweeping overgeneralizations.:-)


    Fine Arts, Design and Wabi Sabi weighing in (4.75 / 4) (#117)
    by Ellie on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:58:50 PM EST
    I'm affectionate towards representations of history skewing to their time of reproduction and incorporating whatever fads were going on at the time.

    It's one reason I'm a big fan of trashy biblical epics filmed in the 50ies and 60ies. Who knew so many women from the Old Testament wore chariot-stopping red lipstick and torpedo bras?

    It might fly against fundamentalism, but strong foundation garments must count for something.


    LOL (none / 0) (#141)
    by zyx on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 12:26:06 AM EST
    I remember when I taught history to college students for a couple of years. Once I was talking to kids--this was in Texas!--about the tenant farming system after the Civil war. When I got personal enough to suggest that in the not-too-distant past that some of their family members might not have had indoor plumbing, they looked, to put it in the mildest terms, nonreceptive. Uncomprehending.

    Heck, I lived in a burb in the North (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 12:38:11 AM EST
    in the '50s, and there was a part of the town from the Civil War era, lovely homes, that still had outhouses.  The upstart newcomer burbanites had to take over the town council to pass an ordinance to require that everyone connect to the municipal sewage system -- by the mid-'60s or so.

    Ancient history, yeh, I know.  Another anecdote: When I have students do a reading on abortion in the 19th century, when it still was legal, some are stunned to find out that, as one or another inevitably will write, abortion was "invented" before it was legalized again in the 1970s.

    Aaarrgghh.  I keep hanging in there for not only the great students but also the pretty good students who just need that light to go on over their heads -- as when it does, due to some reading or another, it's one of the greatest things to see and makes it all worthwhile. :-)


    Ignorance of history... (none / 0) (#144)
    by Alec82 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 12:51:50 AM EST
    ...is as stunning as it is pervasive.

     Judging from the way history is taught in our high schools one would swear sex and drugs were invented in the 60s.



    Blame school boards and principals (none / 0) (#146)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:23:55 AM EST
    who don't ensure that teachers hired and/or assigned to teach history actually majored in history.

    A big part of the problem is the change from history to social studies in the '70s or so -- as it means that many history teachers took a couple of history courses.  They majored in some other field.

    Ask about the transcripts of high school history teachers in your school district.  If the answer is that they didn't major in history, do something about it.

    Math teachers have to have studied math, English teachers have to have studied English -- but history teachers?  Nah, anyone can teach history.  And now you see the result.


    That's interesting (none / 0) (#147)
    by Alec82 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:52:43 AM EST
    As an anecdotal matter, the best history teacher I had was in middle school, and he also served as the girls basketball coach.  But he was a history major in undergrad.

     If I ever have children (unlikely) I am bound to become one of the more irritating parents at school board meetings, assuming I am not in a far left district where I have to correct a different kind of imbalance. Any kid who can read with half a brain sees the obvious distortions in the lesson plan.  

     All that being said, my favorite history teacher (who had a wonderful sense of continuity, which is why he was my favorite) also introduced the ancient astronaut theory as legitimate, which, well...he lost me in a big way there.

     But I really like that you introduced them to the state of abortion policy before the 1900s...few were that brave in my hometown.  


    I don't teach at the high school level (none / 0) (#152)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:59:39 AM EST
    so I can do so.  I did train to teach high school history, back when it required a history major.  Much else in my student teaching experience told me to pursue work that would allow me more autonomy.:-)

    Ignorance Keeps Things Fresh (none / 0) (#155)
    by squeaky on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:19:05 AM EST
    In the New World, if that is any consolation.

    Old Hickory (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by wurman on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:43:42 PM EST
    Pres. Andrew Jackson, 1829-37, the People's President.
    Encyclopedia Americana (link):
    Historians continue to debate the significance of Jacksonian democracy. Those of the 19th century emphasized mob vulgarity and the spoils system as its hallmarks, only to yield to Frederick Jackson Turner and his Progressive Era disciples, who saw Jackson and his policies as the reflection of the democratic frontier spirit. Modern study of the phenomenon has stemmed mainly from Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.'s evaluation of the Jacksonian movement as basically an attempt by Eastern wage earners to constrain the business community. In rebuttal Joseph Dorfman and Bray Hammond saw Jacksonians not as working-class enemies of business--as symbolized by the attack on the U.S. Bank--but as would-be entrepreneurs assailing existing vested interests in order to establish their own capitalist fortresses.

    Who could have known?

    One thing for sure (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:46:03 PM EST
    Jackson was a grassroots, activist movement for a Democratic candidate.

    For better or worse, it completely changed politics.

    In effect, it invented populism and grassroots politics.


    In every one of his State of the Union addresses (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by wurman on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:50:12 PM EST
    Pres. Jackson railed & ranted against the Electoral College.  It had been his undoing in 1824 & he could become venomous about the subject.

    Never got anywhere with it, though.

    That populism could never quite over-ride the New England brahmins.  What, a coincidence?


    Mob rule. . . (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:55:43 PM EST
    And it invented political campaigns (none / 0) (#34)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:16:01 PM EST
    as we know them, under the guy that Jackson hired (i.e., funded the newspaper of) as an editor to be, essentially, the first PR guy for a presidential campaign and administration: Amos Kendall.

    Campaigns had to change because voters changed with the expansion of the franchise to the great unwashed, dropping the property qualification and allowing the great unwashed to vote -- those bitter guys clinging to their guns in "the first west," part of the country that still is so bitter and clinging today.  Some things never change.


    BTD- not sure if you would define it as grassroots (none / 0) (#124)
    by kenosharick on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:42:30 PM EST
    but there was plenty of activism going on almost from the start. A most excellnt book on the subject: "The Tumultuous Election of 1800" by John Fehrling (not sure if that h is supposed to be there).

    But so few Americans could vote (none / 0) (#131)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:59:37 PM EST
    then, when it was only men, white, 21, and owners of property.  Sure, the few Americans who could vote had their fun, as did some wimmen who got to sew the costumes and such.  But until the first expansion of the franchise ushered in Jacksonian Democracy, there really couldn't be widespread engagment in politics and widespread impact on popular American culture.

    With the expansion of the franchise, as much as 30% of Americans could vote.  Wooooo woooo, huh?  Of course, we only have allowed for vote for a majority of Americans for 84 years now (since some states refused to abide by the 19th Amendment in 1920, and it took the Supreme Court to make them do so in time for the 1924 elections).

    Bottom line, of course, is that we remain a very young country, still an experiment -- and it looks like a failing experiment this time around.  Maybe we'll get it right in another century or so.


    Too late on Jackson (none / 0) (#19)
    by wurman on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:46:08 PM EST
    I was keystroking this when Big Tent posted #3.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:47:29 PM EST
    very helpful comment.

    A history lesson indeed.


    This is an example (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:55:15 PM EST
    of "High Bowersism".

    Well (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by phat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:18:23 PM EST
    I'm pretty sure McGovern had a lot of grass-roots activist support, too (except the Unions, I suppose).


    Hey I'm a grassroots activist (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by txpolitico67 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:41:33 PM EST
    can I have a delegate from Michigan?  I deserve as much....

    (i know WAYYYYY off topic but maybe Bowers is gunning for some as well)

    I'm trying to keep my party on the mark. (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by wurman on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:02:22 PM EST
    How would trash talk here about Sen. McCain cause someone to not vote for him?  Or denigrate his party?  Or weaken his campaign?

    The talk about things left, here at Talk Left of all places, is to sort of, kind of, partly arrive at things that I might take to my Democratic Party County meeting.  Or a letter to my miserable ratfink pseudo-Dem representative.  Or my 2 great senators.

    I already know enough about John S. McCain III.

    I enjoy discussions about my party, my candidates, my leadership, whether pro or con.

    From dictionary.com: (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:35:06 PM EST
    -adjective of, pertaining to, or involving the common people, esp. as contrasted with or separable from an elite: a grass-roots movement for nuclear disarmament.  

    Obama's support doesn't match this definition, as we know he was selected by Axelrod, Senator Kennedy, Sen. Kerry, and others, to compete for the Dem. nomination against Sen. Clinton.  Top down, not grass roots up.    


    [Origin: 1910-15]

    First of all... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:40:04 PM EST
    1. Obama chose to run, and he secured the nomination.  He was not "selected" by anyone to run.  He may have been encouraged, but he made the decision.  This is becoming tiresome.  

    2. There are grassroots techniques, which the Obama campaign employs (frankly, so does every campaign), and then there is a grassroots movement, which almost by definition cannot come about through the organized apparatus of a political party.

    Also, do you dispute the DNC (5.00 / 1) (#82)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:50:37 PM EST
    vocally urged Super Delegates to hurry up and end the primary battle?  And that the RBC made a decision on FL and MI before the televised hearing?

    This is becoming OT (none / 0) (#96)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:21:09 PM EST
    Obama was ahead in delegates, MI and FL or no MI and FL.  It was over.  I think it is time to stop rehashing the primaries just because the candidate you preferred did not win.

     Second, OF COURSE HE HAD SUPPORT.  So did Clinton (she was way ahead in the superdelegate count before it became clear it was going to matter).  Front runners have a tendency to have the support of what you deem "movers and shakers," since, you know, success is contingent on winning.

     Your post bleeds with allusions to conspiracies, though, as if Axelrod was a Sith lord whispering dark agendas into Obama's ear.  The image of a Faustian mirror universe Democratic Party seeking to slay the Clintons may provide some comfort, but it is an illusion.  Obama wanted to run, his efforts were encouraged, he picked great strategists, and the rest is history.  


    And, as you know, neither (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:27:31 PM EST
    candidate had enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination.  I'll spare you the literary spiel and overwrought rhetoric.

    I assume you are acquainted with (none / 0) (#79)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:48:48 PM EST
    the Axelrod interview from maybe a year ago and other sources about who mentored Obama following Clinton's mentoring of him when he first arrived in the U.S. Senate?  Of course, Sen. Obama had to choose whether to throw his hat into ring.  But I seriously doubt he would have done so w/o the support of these movers and shakers.

    Grassroots Presidency Even Possible? (none / 0) (#81)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:50:22 PM EST
    By that definition, is there anyone that runs for president due to a grass roots movement? I would think not. They run due to top down; They run on ego; They run for the added recognition; They run because they want to be president; but I doubt any successful grassroots movement to have a particular person win the presidency has taken hold in over 100 years.

    Even grassroots movements like Ross Perot began with the ego and then found grassroots along the way. Fertilizing the grassroots from the top down if you will.


    Mister Chairman, Mister Chairman, (none / 0) (#85)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:53:20 PM EST
    the XXXX delegates from the Great State of XXXX, proudly nominate Governor XXXX.  

    Guess that is why Bowers added (none / 0) (#86)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:53:56 PM EST
    additional adjectives.  

    Um, Eugene McCarthy? (5.00 / 1) (#97)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:21:55 PM EST
    Don't even need to go back as far as FDR.  It's just a silly ahistorical statement.

    There are several judgements hidden behind (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:16:23 PM EST
    Bowers's statement. I think he might only be talking about the internet chatterers he considers to be activists.

     And then of course, there's George McGovern. . .

    I guess it depends who you talk to? (none / 0) (#2)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:16:43 PM EST
    But, I feel you know better on this one BTD.

    Not to mention Andrew Jackson (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:17:35 PM EST

    I was going to be really nasty (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:19:34 PM EST
    and mention  Strom Thurmond.  

    Definate hyperbole (none / 0) (#8)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:23:57 PM EST
    but also a reaction to the effing travesty of the Shrub/McSame agenda.

    He will have a lot of support (none / 0) (#11)
    by lilburro on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:29:28 PM EST
    that he will listen little to.  

    Still comes down to the old swing states.

    Just another example of Elitism. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:48:31 PM EST
    I find the statement not only historically inaccurate but, without some idea of what Bowers means by:

    grassroots, progressive activist support

    I'm going to assume he's talking about a new kind of activist support that devalues ALL OTHER kinds of activist support.  At his own peril.

    Isn't he talking about the creative class here, and if he is, if you'd like to contrast Obama's activist support with FDR's activist support, I say go further.  I saw this skewering of Bowers does not go far enough.  

    Bowers is still "blinded by the light" and that would be OK if his devotion wasn't so divisive.

    Define Creative Class (none / 0) (#23)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:53:39 PM EST
    for once.

    I keep having a sneaking suspicion this is another one of those rabid right originated terms co-opted for it's faux-populist appeal. Kid of like 'elite".


    Creative Class = "Me and my friends, because (none / 0) (#25)
    by tigercourse on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:54:58 PM EST
    we're wonderful".

    That's what I mean (none / 0) (#30)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:05:03 PM EST
    volvos, Chomsky lectures, blah, blah blah

    Im not wonderful. Except about four times a year (for about 30 secs according to my wife)


    best i can do (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:58:30 PM EST
    the activists who rallied around Obama who exist in contrast to the groups of Dems who supported Clinton in Ohio and Philadelphia.

    Others can be more specific than I.  I understand the term was first coined and defined by the creative class themselves, and that, for a period of time, they wore it with pride, at least, up until the other side of the party started flexing their muscle in the states mentioned above.

    I don't know if the point of my comment was clear though for the group.

    Wasn't FDR's activist support of a different demographic than Obama's activist support?


    Im supporting Obama -- now (none / 0) (#31)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:07:50 PM EST
    but what pretentious a-hole (sorry) would self-describe themselves as a member of "the creative class"?

    Sorry for the o.t


    Bowers would. In fact, he is one of the (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by MarkL on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:26:13 PM EST
    major proponents of the distinction.

    I told myself I wouldn't do this (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:48:35 PM EST
    But I guess I will.

    If you establish a set of priorities, here's how I define it.

    Take two issues.  Job creation and FISA.  For me the creative class is the group of Dems who, if they had to choose, value FISA, rights, constitution, more than job creation.  The role of government is to protect rights and civil liberties.  Economic prosperity is often a function of things that exist beyond the control of government.

    The other class, the Clinton wing supporters, are those who, if they had to choose, value job creation, job security, economic future for their families, more than FISA.  The role of government is to promote economic prosperity.

    Now the reason why this ends up being a confrontational comment is because no one likes to be told they don't care about something when they really do.  EVERYONE DOES CARE ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS.  And that's how that comment is interpretted.  We live in a world where saying one thing is more important than the other is all too often equated with saying you don't care about one of those things at all.  Furthermore, in a perfect world, we should never be forced to choose.  Seriously.  No one out of work trying to provide for their family wants Americans spied on.  No one working to make sure Americans aren't spied on wants people to be in a position wherein they can no longer provide for their families.

    But the world isn't perfect.  So having said all that, this still exists, for me, a sort of demarcation line between the two groups.  

    Just to note, paranthetically, FDR's record on Civil Liberties is good (mostly because the new deal created opportunity for all), actually, but not perfect.



    Absurd (none / 0) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:51:10 PM EST
    They are not mutually exclusive. That is simply ridiculous.

    No (none / 0) (#55)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:57:50 PM EST
    They are not mutually exclusive.

    Sorry if my comment gave you the impression that I thought the things I was talking about are mutually exclusive.


    I took your point to be that (none / 0) (#71)
    by Valhalla on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:34:29 PM EST
    they are specifically not mutually exclusive.  Rather, they are priorities, both of which are important, but each group puts a different one at the top.

    Philosophically, I have a hard time choosing (coming from a working class background into what would be categorized as 'creative class', except some segments of the net have given that such a bad name that I want no part of it).

    But on a practical level, an economically healthy society has more people who have time for activism on issues that don't affect their everyday lives.  I care about FISA, yes, but if I was out of a job, or worried about paying my mortgage, or for gas to get to work, I would probably spend not a heck of a lot of time on it.


    I think the phrase you may be (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:16:37 PM EST
    searching for is "excited about."  CC types get really exited about FISA, working class folks get really excited about jobs and economic security.

    Yes (none / 0) (#84)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:52:22 PM EST
    Here is a relevant excerpt from the wiki on FDR's civil rights record:

    Roosevelt needed the support of Southern Democrats for his New Deal programs, and therefore decided not to push for anti-lynching legislation that might threaten his ability to pass his highest priority programs.

    Look at the second to last word.

    Now if one believes that statement to be false, then there's nothing else to say.

    But if one believes that statement to be truthful, then it certainly does appear to me that while Civil Liberties and Economic Prosperity are NOT mutually exclusive, they don't exist in a perpetual state of absolute mutual INclusiveness either.


    If you all keep citing wikipedia here (none / 0) (#125)
    by kenosharick on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:49:59 PM EST
    I am going to literally break down in tears.

    FDR & Civil Liberties (none / 0) (#140)
    by WakeLtd on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 12:12:37 AM EST
    I guess if you don't count Executive Order 9066.

    "Creative class" (none / 0) (#38)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:24:54 PM EST
    Coined by Richard Florida, I believe.  I remember because that was part of the thinking behind Granholm's "cool cities" initiative in MI back in the day which involved, inter alia, grants to art museums in East Lansing.  WHY a college town would be the focus of that money is beyond me, but there you have it.

     I don't know that Obama backers welcomed the term.  It also undoubtedly refers to his economic support in the greater Bay Area, hub of so-called "knowledge workers."

     It is just a media meme run amok.


    According to Wiki, just being (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:43:36 PM EST
    creative ain't enough.  Got to also make money from the creativity.  

    Creative Class dismissed (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by Ellie on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:37:21 PM EST
    If you actually work in the arts, you're a [fill in the profession], or a [-----] artist.

    Creative is an ambient personal qualifier seeking an outlet.

    Anyone who's still in Class, is still in school.


    On a macro level, the creative class (none / 0) (#115)
    by Rojas on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:51:42 PM EST
    is the sum of what's left when you take a company, like Dephi Automotive for example, and outsource all the production activities to low wage countries.

    Kind (none / 0) (#24)
    by jondee on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 04:54:07 PM EST

    After the week Obama had (none / 0) (#32)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:09:46 PM EST
    Progressive activists should be taking a second look at their unconditional support. Unfortunately they won't.

    Good grief BTD! (none / 0) (#35)
    by john horse on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:17:18 PM EST
    Tell me whats wrong with this picture.

    There are two candidates running for President, John McCain and Barak Obama.  McCain wants to continue President Bush's domestic and foreign policies, including the Iraq war.  Obama wants to change these policies.    

    Now scan the current posts on TL and answer these questions.

    How many of the current posts on TL are critical of McCain?  Not a single one.  

    How many of the current posts on TL are critical of Obama?  A bunch.  

    Now I'm not saying that Obama is above criticism or that liberals or leftists should uncritically support Obama.  For example, Obama was certainly deserving of the criticism he received in the telecom issue.  Nor am I telling TL how to run your blog.  

    What I am suggesting is that you might keep in mind, every once in a while, that being uncritical of McCain and constantly critical of Obama may just result in 4 more years of Bush with a McCain election.  

    Actually, it does sound like you are (5.00 / 5) (#40)
    by MarkL on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:27:07 PM EST
    telling TL how to run the blog.
    Good luck with that!

    It's the hypocrisy (5.00 / 5) (#41)
    by blogtopus on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:30:45 PM EST
    One of these candidates rose to power on a parade float of Change, Hope, and Different politics. Hint: It was pulled by Ponies.

    And a LOT of people who are sad and disappointed now bought into that old chestnut hook, line, and sinker.

    AGAIN, WITH FEELING: Showing how horrible McCain is will not convince a lot of people to vote for Obama; it will just tell them to not bother in the first place.


    HA! (5.00 / 0) (#42)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:31:59 PM EST
    This is a very silly criticism of TL (5.00 / 4) (#76)
    by Valhalla on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:46:09 PM EST
    It's 'Talk Left'.  McCain is not Left.

    Most folks on TL already know plenty about McCain, and there are plenty of blog entries critical of him and his policies.

    There isn't a lot of reason to discuss how bad he is because most commenters here know that already.  It's not a big controversy.  There's no big 'reveal' there.

    The biggest threads on any non-cheerleader blog (aka real political discourse) are going to be about things people disagree about, or are at least trying to work through the uncertainties of.


    Hmm (4.50 / 2) (#43)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:33:39 PM EST
    I thought I was criticizing Chris Bowers in this post but hell, maybe I was criticizing Obama.

    Shame on me.


    Yes you might have been critizing bower (none / 0) (#53)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:54:25 PM EST
    But if you read the post it is 90% anti obama.

    More importantly, I don't know much about FDR, what grassroots support did he have?  How did he organize it?  What are the differences between the movement behind Obama and FDR?  Was it the times or was it FDRs ability to organize?


    Hold up, 90% of my post (5.00 / 6) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:10:06 PM EST
    is anti-Obama? It is a short post, let's go through it. I will bold my words:

    Chris Bowers writes:

    Barack Obama will receive more grassroots, progressive activist support than any other Democratic candidate in history.

    Um, more than FDR? I am sorry, but history did not start in 2004.

    Speaking for me only

    Now, my own reading is that there is NOT ONE WORD critical of Barack Obama in the post. From Bowers or me.

    However, if you think saying that Obama is not yet FDR is critical, then I suppose that would allow you to think that.

    Finally, you ask:

    I don't know much about FDR, what grassroots support did he have?  How did he organize it?  What are the differences between the movement behind Obama and FDR?  Was it the times or was it FDRs ability to organize?

    FDR was one of the most fascinating and important figures of the 20th Century, a giant. His political journey is one that anyone interested in progressive politics must study. His adoption of the Progressive agenda (Progressive meant something politcally then) and his cooptation of its themes were a central part of his remaking of the Democratic Party.

    But, like Obama, FDR was not wiothout flaws and serious blots on his record. One of the more interesting ones was when he was a NY state legislator and he failed to fight for child labor reform. One of his closest New Deal confidants, Frances Perkins, one of the great women of the 20th century, was forthright and publically critical of FDR at the time.

    FDR's story, particularly the political and policy story, is one of the most fascinating and stirring in the history of our country and it galls me no end that so called "Activists" of today have no clue about it.

    My post expresses my great frustration with some of today's wannabe grassroots activists who have no sense of the history of our Party and who make such outlandishly stupid statements.

    No offense to you, but if you want to be a REAL progressive, you need to learn about FDR, his political journey, the New Deal and the remaking of the Democratic Party by FDR.


    And more, also, Big Tent (5.00 / 5) (#66)
    by wurman on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:20:25 PM EST
    Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, the great un-elected William Jennings Bryan, & Woodrow Wilson  all created both the framework & the background for modern progressive politics.

    And even the Louisiana pain in F. Roosevelt's haunch, Huey P. Long, pushed the progressive agenda left & more left.

    There's certainly a great deal of room for Sen. Obama to find some progressive roots & some real working class grass roots.  I would like to see some evidence that he's at least looking for them.

    And Bowers certainly didn't shine any light on that topic.


    wurman- Woodrow Wilson? (none / 0) (#126)
    by kenosharick on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:56:52 PM EST
    the racist(even for his time) whose favorite movie was "Birth of a Nation" and who shut down newspapers and locked up thousands witout due process under the Espionage and Sedition Acts?

    Selective history. (5.00 / 1) (#145)
    by wurman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 01:09:39 AM EST
    Wilson was a moving mess.  Even so, Suffrage was his main progressive success.

    Birth of a Nation was not his favorite movie. Wikipedia reads:

    Indeed, Wilson's words were repeatedly quoted in the film The Birth of a Nation, which is notable for its blatant racism. Thomas Dixon, author of the novel The Clansman upon which the film is based, was one of Wilson's graduate school classmates at Johns Hopkins in 1883-1884. Dixon arranged a special White House preview (this was the first time a film was shown in the White House) without telling Wilson what the film was about. There is debate about whether Wilson made the statement, "It is like writing history with lightning; my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.", or whether it was invented by a film publicist. It was widely circulated.[71] Others argue Wilson believed he had been tricked by Dixon and in public statements claimed he did not like the film; Wilson blocked its showing during the war.

    Wilson's modified handling of the anti-trust maneuvers led to enormous growth in the trade unions via AFL-CIO.

    Federal Trade Commission.

    The 8-hour workday.

    The Federal Reserve Bank system.

    The League of Nations was a progressive idea.

    He implemented some horrendous stuff, but the progressive ideas shaped the background for F. Roosevelt's New Deal.

    He also shaped every aspect of foreign policy from then until now.

    In assessing "progressives" it's important to look at the broad picture--recall, F. Roosevelt interred the Japanese-Americans.

    Sometimes great people do dumb things.

    And, yes, Wilson was a blatant racist, but seemed tortured by it: he despised the KKK.

    Go figure, I guess.


    you cited wikipedia and therefore your argument (none / 0) (#151)
    by kenosharick on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:32:13 AM EST
    is moot. That site is a complete and utterly unreliable joke- zero credibility. Of course he had some good ideas, most all of them do. As or sufferage- he was against it from everything I have read- real books, not online websites that anyone can edit or write. As for the KKK, I am not so sure. Most historians today do not give Wilson the high marks that you do. A couple that I can think of offhand include Howard Zinn ad Jeanette Keith.

    Your re-write history as you see fit. (none / 0) (#153)
    by wurman on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:00:57 AM EST
    Talk Left is not a scholarly website with footnotes & internal citations.  Wiki serves its purpose by offering quick summaries of conventional wisdom.  My reference to it makes some very simple, quite broad points about 10 or 12 very specific things that DID in FACT take place.  If you want to argue that Wilson didn't really mean it, or somebody else actually did it, or it would have happened anyway even if Hughes was president, etc., you might consider writing a dissertation or two at some major universities.

    Revisionist history & biography may have a place, but probably not in the generalizations of a politically oriented website.  The negative & regressive things that you point out are also in the Wiki entry.

    So what's your goal: kvetching at me?  Belittling my "received standard opinion" of Pres. Wilson.  Proving that you may have read some esoteric article about Wilson's racism or the rise of the Klan that is unkown (& utterly unimportant) to me & of no consequence to my comments about some progressve Democrats?

    You are certainly at liberty to go register at Wikipedia & re-write the entire entry for Wilson.  Of course, you would have to install the notes & citations found in the text & at the bottom of the entry & other commenters might choose to delete or modify your unsubstantiated opinions.  I could have referenced Brittanica or the Americana Presidents series just as easily--it's all just generic stuff about history.

    Suffrage: Wilson reversed himself & supported it in 1919--which is PRECISELY why it passed in Congress & he signed it.

    Wilson was a progressive & is known as such, with all the flaws that marred his administration equally recognized.  After all, William Jennings Bryan quit in 1915.  Each of the things I claim Wilson did took place on his watch and are noted in the Wikipedia entry.


    Sorry- didn't mean to upset you so. (none / 0) (#159)
    by kenosharick on Tue Jul 01, 2008 at 09:37:20 PM EST
    You do realize, that just because something occured "on their watch" doesn't mean they did it,right? And you can site wikipedia all you want,I used to consider Wilson a progressve as well, but have changed my mind upon furthr research. Lastly,your nasty belittling comments towards me were not needed.

    And how FDR dealt with Frances Perkins (5.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:16:38 PM EST
    who was so critical of him in his years as New York gov?  He put her into his cabinet as president -- the first woman ever in the presidential cabinet, a major force in the New Deal, an architect of Social Security, etc.

    Trained in the labor movement, after her life forever was changed in 1911 by being only a few blocks from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire -- the Twin Towers aka 9/11 event of that era, as more than a hundred immigrant women and girls had to fling themselves five stories down to their deaths on the sidewalks of the city because the bosses locked them in.  And Perkins and others, including firefighters with ladders too short, could only helplessly watch.

    The result of that disaster was a real grassroots movement, across classes, that really changed this country -- and for decades to come, owing to the likes of Frances Perkins.  And to presidents like FDR who wanted their staffs to challenge them.

    Will we see that sort of president this time?  Or a president who, when caught up short, blames his staff over and over . . . even for statements in his own handwriting?  


    I meant the comments (none / 0) (#134)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:19:06 PM EST
    I did not mean your post.  I thought post meant the comments (not so much your starting point)

    You need to check your arrogance at the door (none / 0) (#136)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:24:33 PM EST
    The little lame history lession you gave me I certainly knew.  I was asking about how he organized, which I am guessing is not common knowledge.  Also, are you the door keeper in terms of knowledge I need to know to be a progressive?   You don't know me, why would you assume you do.  You don't know what I have done, what I know and what I have done.  I asked a completely legimate question.  What amazing KNOWLEDGE  do you have of the world?

    Ignorance is not bliss (4.66 / 3) (#119)
    by katana on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:02:56 PM EST
    More importantly, I don't know much about FDR...

    If this is meant to be ironic, it's puerile.

    If it's true, perhaps a site named Talk Left is not the ideal place for you to flaunt your woeful ignorance.  

    I realize that for many supporters of Senator Obama, political history only began in 2008, but some of us are old enough to have longer memories, and those of us who aren't can read.


    It was the times (3.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:00:25 PM EST
    Was it the times or was it FDRs ability to organize?

     The unemployment rate was 33%.  If FDR hadn't won in a landslide that would have been shocking.


    That is false (5.00 / 4) (#62)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:11:18 PM EST
    IT was FDR too. You need to learn about FDR and his own battle with the Democratic Party.

    I hate the ignorance today's progressives have about FDR.


    No damn excuse for it. (5.00 / 3) (#90)
    by oldpro on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:02:36 PM EST
    Ignorance about FDR, I mean.

    I don't know how people today can even think about politics or political parties or progress on any issue we say we care about without knowing our own history.

    Politics isn't some theory to be argued about over a beer or on a blog and politicians do not arrive from central casting with a script and a wardrobe.

    It drives me crazy that people think reality TV is reality.  No.  It's TV.  It's not real life.  But politics is (real life) and it affects every part of life...from war and peace to the price of...bread and gas...from the cradle to the grave.


    Ignorance about FDR... (none / 0) (#93)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:09:51 PM EST
    ...is of course a two way street.

     For example, his threats to pack the Court, his four-term presidency in an era of gigantic political leaders, his incrementalist approach to integration, etc.  Great president, one of the very best, but still flawed.

     And if politics is always real life I want the surreal situation here in CA explained to me.  This is a state that by all appearances functions in spite of its government.



    Of course (5.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:27:18 PM EST
    you are NOW reduced to straw men.

    As if I was blind to FDR's flaws.  The internment camps, the turning away of Jews fleeing the Nazis. And of course the incrementalism,  a nice word for it on race issues.

    I find it hilarious that someone like you, who finds any word of criticism of Obama a sin against nature now trying to accuse ME of blindness about FDR.

    they are all pos you fool.

    you should see meo on Lincoln.

    I just despise the foolishness of the Obama cult and yes, you are acting the part today.

    If this was a soap opera,the TV announcer would intone "the part of Geekesque today will be played by Alec82."


    Ha, as if you watch soap operas! (none / 0) (#109)
    by andgarden on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:40:36 PM EST
    That post... (none / 0) (#110)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:42:37 PM EST
    ...wasn't even responding to you.  

    I find it hilarious that someone like you, who finds any word of criticism of Obama a sin against nature now trying to accuse ME of blindness about FDR.

     I don't, actually.  See, for example, FISA.  Certainly didn't defend him there, and quite unhappy with his position.  But I didn't even think this was about Obama...aren't we talking about FDR?  Grassroots? Organizing?

     I wasn't accusing you of blindness to FDR's weaknesses.  It wasn't even a response to you.  My response to you focused on dissimilarities between organizing in the 30s and 40s and, well, now, you know, 60 years later.

     I don't know Geekesque apart from your attacks on that poster, so whatever.

     And BTW, saying a pol is a pol or that all pols are liars is, to me at least, as self-evident as saying all humans are self-interested.  Doesn't leave much room for the nuance that matters.  


    Alec... (none / 0) (#128)
    by oldpro on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 09:16:03 PM EST
    "...one of the very best, but still flawed" is -- sorry to say -- first with the obvious.  There are no perfect human beings.  ALL are flawed.  So...?

    Re California...I confess ignorance of the boring details (and the devil is always in the details) but as I understand it, your state (like the federal government) is living on borrowed time...(meaning money).  Those bills will come due and then appearances will not cover the problems and form (as it always does) will follow function.  Politics is covering it up and politics will have to deal with it when it can no longer be hidden.

    Of course there are many places in the world where "by all appearances" to those living there, 'the state is functioning' because life goes on.  The question is, I suppose, from Baghdad to Iran..."how well and for how long?"  The answer, of course, is the one I gave you:  politics...it depends on the politics.

    It also depends on who is looking and judging...ie. Baghdad, a case in point.  Ask John McCain...get one answer, ask me...get another.


    The question... (none / 0) (#69)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:27:18 PM EST
    ...wasn't about FDR's manuvers within his own party, it was about whether his organizing skills secured him the presidency in the general election. I submit that they did not, that Hoover was so unpopular that FDR was poised to win once he secured the nomination.

     Yes, the New Deal coalition realigned American politics.  Yes, it was responsible for great things.  It had an opening in the Great Depression, however, and the impact of the economic collapse was profound.


    Alec, the 1893 Depression (5.00 / 1) (#135)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:21:00 PM EST
    was a worse economic disaster, many historians and economists think.  But the result was not a realignment of the reach of the New Deal, by any means.

    Why not?  Could the difference in responses to similar disasters have been owing to . . . a difference in leaders?  Like, say, FDR?


    Even if I agreed... (none / 0) (#137)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:34:23 PM EST
    ...with that view (and I don't), of what relevance is that to what I said? I was talking about how FDR won with such a landslide victory in '32.  

     You're either deliberately distorting what I am saying or you didn't read my posts.


    I respond to the collective (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:50:24 PM EST
    line of your comments re FDR, not just the comment to which I replied.  Because I think you miss the singularity of FDR.  It's impossible to prove, of course -- just as is your argument otherwise -- but I applied the usual sort of situational test of singularity vs. the argument that the times would have turned anyone into the president that FDR was.

    What is your test to support your argument?


    Um... (none / 0) (#139)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 11:01:20 PM EST

    vs. the argument that the times would have turned anyone into the president that FDR was

    (emphasis supplied)

     That's not my argument.  I have no way of knowing what would have happened if another Democrat was at the helm, but the fact is that the Depression was the reason for a Democratic landslide victory in 1932.  Compare the 1928 electoral map with the 1932 map...it isn't a controversial argument.


    I submit that both were responsible (none / 0) (#80)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:48:49 PM EST
    I FURTHER submit that if FDR had not had the organizing skills he had he would not have been able to remake the Democratic Party. Or does that not matter now about Obama?

    Responsible... (none / 0) (#91)
    by Alec82 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:03:59 PM EST
    ...for building such a successful coalition that endured until the 60s, yes.  That still isn't what won in '32.  It was the economy.  His support of unions also gave him a strong GOTV base, of course...later.  

     And frankly, the lessons of the New Deal era for Barack Obama are limited.  The New Deal coalition, such that it was, was dissolved.  The country is completely different today.  The fact that the first wave of boomers are set to retire is a pretty strong indication that demographics alone have shifted the organizing framework.

     For example: Unions have been weakened, religion plays a much bigger (and quite different) role in politics, the internet has altered communication networks, etc.  I could go on, but you know what I'm talking about.  I doubt FDR would even come close in a primary today, given the role of image and "strength" in presidential elections.

     So...yes, the ability to remake, expand and strengthen the Democratic Party matters.  How to best do that is the question.


    Yes (none / 0) (#59)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:09:26 PM EST
    I would submit that the grassroots movement -- i wouldn't call it that -- behind FDR was coalesced by imperative.  Not sure how organized it was.

    I think Obama's movement is coalesced more by rhetoric.  Definitely organized.


    So did unions bring the vote or did he? (none / 0) (#60)
    by samtaylor2 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:09:52 PM EST
    Was it one large movement, or was it divided up into states?  Where the arguements against FDRs ideas the same lame one's used todat?

    Can FDR's ideas be used today? (none / 0) (#63)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 06:12:49 PM EST
    In many ways, absolutely.

    I wrote a post, one I reference often - "What Obama Needs To Learn From Richard Hofstadter, FDR and Abraham Lincoln."

    Punch those words into google and you will find it.


    You could start (none / 0) (#158)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:25:20 PM EST
    off talking about restless leg syndrome and two posts down the attacks on that unprecedentedly misogynist usurper would start.

    Hope that characterization wasnt offensive.


    TChris (none / 0) (#52)
    by Edgar08 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 05:51:15 PM EST
    is the Author here you should be checking in on.

    Ding a ding (none / 0) (#157)
    by jondee on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:21:03 PM EST
    What do we have for him, Johnny?

    Not only reluctant to acknowledge the existence of Papa Smurf, but the many of the new "regulars" (here till Nov, Im guessing) seem to generally avoid threads that dont provide a direct in to take a broadside (no hateful, gender-specific slur intended) at Obama. However necessarily tepid and mealy mouthed he may be at times, it's a noticable trend that the very same denizens of the United States of Amnesia who McPost here cant seem to obide Bill C ever being ever characterized that way.

    Meanwhile the overall trend seems to be the box office friendly Red Meat for Pumas series.


    Not to stir the pot here (none / 0) (#106)
    by SoCalLiberal on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:39:15 PM EST
    But I think that the impact of grassroots is often over estimated and over romanticized.  The whole story of grassroots energy sounds great and all but the reality is quite different.  Whether or Obama wins or loses will likely not be dictated by how much grassroots he has.

    I will admit that I've never really (none / 0) (#148)
    by SoCalLiberal on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:21:32 AM EST
    factored the greassroots influence on the 1932 elections.  However, I can point out times where massive grassroots organizations failed at their goal.  For example, William Jennings Bryan was considered one of the greatest speakers of his day (better than even Obama) and he inspired massive grassroots support.  But he never won.  The Viet Nam war inspired a generation to become anti war activists.  Yet the war raged on before ended by Richard Nixon (after he expanded the war).  In 1934, around the same time that Roosevelt was elected to make sweeping changes, a huge grassroots movement in California began to elect Upton Sinclair as governor.  Despite massive outpouring of grassroots support, Sinclair was defeated.  I could go on about this.  I do think that grassroots support can make a difference but only if it's harnessed properly.  

    They get everything about Obama wrong (none / 0) (#112)
    by pluege on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 07:43:47 PM EST
    bowers is a member in good standing of the complete joke club of "top librul A-list progressive [cough] bloggers" chaired by kos with marshall as Vice Chair that get everything about Obama wrong because they're too starstruck to see beyond their fantasies.

    Nah, they get something right (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Cream City on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 12:46:51 AM EST
    which is that being one of his fans makes them feel so good about their post-racial li'l selves.  Makes it all worthwhile, just so they can look in the mirror and see such truly good, good people looking back and being so durn proud of how much they have progressed past all that stuff, whatever it was, that happened, well, y'know, whenever that was.

    History?  Hey, they're the ones making history.  Or so they think.  Of course, there is that saying about what happens to those who do not know the past and what their destiny will be. . . .


    Grassroots have to be harnessed effectively (none / 0) (#149)
    by SoCalLiberal on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:46:18 AM EST
    Or else all the grassroots support in the world will not be helpful (See Dean, Howard).  The February 5th Caucus states are a great example of this.  Hillary had a lot of grassroots support in the caucus states.  Unfortunately there was no staff in these states, not even senior staff in many cases.  And Obama cleaned up in these states and used them to win the nomination.  Without the caucus states victories, he would not have won.  So why didn't the grassroots pull one through for Hillary?  Because grassroots can only do so much and only know how to do so much (plus Obama had grassroots too).  

    Obama had organization in all those states.  They knew how the caucuses would be run, they knew the locations, they knew the rules, they knew who they had to target.  Grassroots can be passionate but without proper guidance, they aren't going to do much.  


    Still waiting... (none / 0) (#150)
    by Alec82 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:57:43 AM EST
    ...for the definition of "grassroots."

     This seems more and more like a nonsense term tossed around by everyone...centrist, con, lib.  It has lost its meaning if top down candidates can lay claim to it.

     Also, nonplussed by grassroots conservative efforts to, say, compare gay people to vampires (as in CO, circa 92).  Just a technique that can be used for good or ill.


    Without much suprise. (none / 0) (#121)
    by AX10 on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 08:22:27 PM EST
    most seem to have no understanding of history.
    As you said BTD, FDR had the most grassroots support ever.

    Dems for a Day is what they're counting on (none / 0) (#132)
    by Cream City on Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 10:04:16 PM EST
    in November -- the Dems who have left the party and become Independents but will still vote for Obama, since they have nowhere else to go, unquote.  Just a different sort of Dems for a Day from the ones he went after in the primary.  But I bet he still can use the same Youtube video and flyers, just crossing out the date and writing in November 4.