Obama's tainted victory
I've said all along that Obama hasn't asked for my vote (see bleeding feet, friend with) because he doesn't want it. Now Obama über-fan and, for what that's worth, avowedly neutral DNC fonctionnaire Donna Brazile confirms me in my view. Via TalkLeft:
BRAZILE: Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Well. A few thoughts. First, it's not entirely clear who the "we" is in Donna's rant. Oddly, Donna leaves out African-Americans from both the "old" and the "new" coalitions.
Second, when Donna is suitably rewarded by a Democratic administration -- by which I think I mean Hillary's administration, given recent polling -- I certainly hope they don't give her an ambassadorship to anywhere important. Or if they do, they assign her a minder with a big plastic bag and a shovel. Because I react to Donna Brazile calling me part of the "old coalition" about as well as the Europeans reacted to Rummy calling them "old Europe" (especially since it turns out that old Europe was right about the war, and Rummy was wrong, but couldn't listen).
Third, though I think I know What Donna Meant, it's hard to square that with Obama's behavior (factoring out his rhetoric, which is by definition meaningless at best). While Brazile says she doesn't want to throw the baby [now the "old" coalition is a baby?] out with the bathwater, it seems to me, and to many, that this is just what Obama does, by walking back universal health care (and adding insult to injury by running Harry & Louise ads), by dogwhistling on Social Security, by saying Reagan had a lot of good ideas about this, that, or the other, and on and on and on. Both in terms of policy, and in terms of the critical work that so many of have done to combat right wing thinking, Obama is just not there for us, or is outright destructive. When you combine all that with the vile misogyny of so many Obama fans (Exhibit A: Michael "Dry Pussy" Woolf) and the Obama campaign's casual leveraging of baseless charges of racism [VL, you had the best link on this] to win temporary political advantage, it's easy to see how many members of the "old" "coalition" despair both of Obama's ability to make government work again, and over the casual destruction of ideals that many worked years to uphold. Bottom line is that for all Obama's spinning, he's not expanding the base, he's fracturing it.*
So, in the same interview, Clinton's Begala calls bullshit on Donna, and Donna responds, with some justice, that he's distorted her position. But then Donna says this:
BRAZILE: When John McCain secured the Republican nomination, he had to do some homework and reaching out to the Bill Bennets. If Barack Obama secures the Democratic nomination, he will have to reach out to blue collar, white voters and neutralize Senator Clinton's advantage on the economy but -
But Donna. If the Unity schtick had any meaning, Obama would be "reaching out" now. He would have been reaching out all the time. He might even be contesting WV and KY, since he's got more money than God, instead of giving the finger to Appalachia, as he's doing. He wouldn't be winning the nomination by any means necessary and only then, when they have "no place else to go," giving a few speeches to women, Latinos, working people, and "white voters." That's not how it works.** And it's crystal clear that Brazile doesn't understand Obama's problem with working class voters. The problem isn't that Obama needs to put together an economic package after his coronation; the problem is that Obama needs to accept all members of the coalition as moral agents; "It's not the bitter, it's the cling to." He needs to accept them as fully human and as capable of responsible choice as he is. That's what Hillary does both with the boring bullet points, and by listening, not orating. Alas, the evidence is at best mixed that Obama, let alone his key providers of media, ideological, and creative services, will be able to do any such thing.
Obama orotates about Unity in his victory speech; Donna Brazile taints that victory by showing that, in practice, there is no such Unity nor any plan for it.
Hope, as it turns out, is not a plan.
E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This Unity Pony is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the stall 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the track! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible!! This is an ex-Unity Pony!
NOTE * Of course, the OFB will say that Hillary's the one who's doing it, and WWTSBQ. But the same argument applies, with equal force, to Obama. Why won't he quit? He's sure God damaged the party, too: What's disenfranching FL and MI, but damaging the party?
NOTE ** It's late, but there's a result in experimental economic (maybe I read this in Freakonomics?) that people playing a game that forces an unfair choice on them will stop playing the game, even though accepting the unfair choice is to their economic advantage.