Is Obama A Rejection Of "Clintonism?"
Last night Rachel Maddow said that Obama is a rejection of Clintonism. And I wondered, if that is so, then isn't that an argument for Clinton supporters to NOT vote for Obama? To not get over it? After all, if that were true, then the PUMAs would have a point, wouldn't they?
The fact is this is mindless nonsense from Rachel Maddow. Barack Obama is Clintonism Redux. Obama's Post-Partisan Unity Schtick is merely Clinton's 1990s Third Way for the 21st Century. Obama's victory is actually victory for triangulation. But pundit are mindless and they say and do anything to feed their freak show narratives. And Rachel Maddow is certainly among the worst at that.
How about Obama as the new William Jennings Bryan? I kid you not. That is what the Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown asserts:
History, we are told, often repeats itself. Thatís why itís fitting that the Democrats will nominate Barack Obama for president in Denver tomorrow night, and not Hillary Clinton.
Exactly 100 years ago the Democrats last met in the Mile High City and nominated the Barack Obama of that era for president. His name was William Jennings Bryan and he moved the Democratic Party from a more conservative post-Civil War bent into a populist direction that eventually led to Franklin Rooseveltís New Deal and Lyndon Johnsonís Great Society.
Obamaís nomination over Clinton represents more than a personal rejection of her and her husband by the party they brought out of the presidential wilderness in 1992. It is a repudiation of how Bill Clinton remade the Democratic Party.
This is truly one of the stupidest pieces of punditry I have seen yet. And that is really saying something. First of all, in 2008, as Brown himself notes, William Jennings Bryan was being nominated as the Democratic nominee for the THIRD TIME. He made his famous "Cross of Gold" speech at the 1896 Convention, which led to his surprise nomination, a true populist revolt. Bryan was nominated again in 1900.
Obama was backed by major segments of the DC Establishment of the Democratic Party, most notably by the Democratic Giant Ted Kennedy. To compare Obama to Bryan in terms of revolution in the party is just absurd.
Further, to call Obama a populist is to strain credulity to the breaking point. Does Peter Brown even know what populism means? And to compare Bryan's brand of agrarian small town populism to Obama is just anti-historical. If you define it as working class populism, as we most often think of the term, then Obama is the anti-populist of this campaign.
In the end, we see yet again how thoroughly stupid, anti-factual and anti-historical the punditocracy is. They, in the words of Joe Biden, literally seem to take Know-Nothingism (another type of populism that one assumes Brown does not think Obama represent) to a new level.
Barack Obama, by the thinnest of margins, toppled the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. It has happened before. George McGovern and Jimmy Carter did it. It takes a fool to equate Barack Obama to William Jennings Bryan.
It also takes a fool to think Obama signals the defeat of Clintonism. It only is a defeat of "Clintonism" in the Freak Show Media personality sense. Ideologically, "Clintonism" triumphed with Obama's victory.
There are other factual errors in Brown's piece. For example he sees Obama's tax policy as a rejection of "Clintonism." In fact, it is a call for the exact tax policy Bill Clinton enacted in 1993. And it goes on from there.
But I can not get past the facile and absurd idea that Obama represents a return of Bryanism. Dennis Kucinich winning the nomination would have been the triumph of Bryanism. Obama? Sorry, he is Clintonism Redux.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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