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Toxic stages of grief trope alive and well in our famously free press

Here's Bob Schneider working the false and disempowering stages of grief mindfuck on CNN, Saturday:

"These things always take time to heal," said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst. "I think Clinton's supporters are waiting to see if Sen. Obama will pick her as vice president. That would certainly be very healing to them."

"If he doesn't pick her, a later stage of grief is depression and then acceptance," Schneider said. "In the end I expect Clinton supporters will accept Obama, because they will listen to Sen. Clinton, who has said the stakes are too high for Democrats to sulk."

Well, a universal health care plan that actually was, ya know, universal would go a long way toward "healing" this "sulky" and increasingly tepid Obama voter. As would unshitting the bed on FISA (though it would be harder to show that's not kabuki, absent some moves on the Senate floor that had actual results, like killing the thing and not kicking the can down the road 'til after the Convention). Yeah, FISA... That was depressing. So depressing some people actually moved back a stage, toward anger.

But why is Schneider running the tired old "stages of grief" gag, anyhow? What's he trying to reassure the Village about? Polling results like this:

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey completed in early June before the New York senator ended her White House bid, 60 percent of Clinton backers polled said they planned on voting for Obama. In the latest poll, that number has dropped to 54 percent.

Interesting data point.

In early June, 22 percent of Clinton supporters polled said they would not vote at all if Obama were the party's nominee, now close to a third say they will stay home.

Seems like they're not going to vote for McCain, then. Interesting.

43 percent of registered Democrats polled still say they would prefer Clinton to be the party's presidential nominee.

Were these results anticipated, given that Obama has -- we are told -- run a flawless campaign? One could make the argument that indeed they were; after all, Hillary's supporters tend to be those who need government to actually work for them, and that takes money, and you can be sure that if a Democrat is elected, and allowed to take office, that magically, and mysteriously, all the money will have been disappeared (except for faith-based programs like ethanol. Naturellement). So, why not throw them under the bus now, to save trouble later? Because otherwise, they'll just cling....

Alternatively, we could assume that the results are not anticipated, and the fact that Obama, remarkably, has actually managed to lose support among Democrats after becoming the presumptive nominee will be perceived, by some, as a problem to be solved, and not simply a reality to be experienced.

Solution one, no doubt, will be to blame the [not Obama] voters; boiled down: "Shut the fuck up and send Obama more money. He needs it!" Although that strategy -- particularly the "shut the fuck up" part -- earned Obama the nomination, it's not clear it's going to win him voters in this new, post-primary phase.

Solution two, no doubt, will be to blame the PUMAs. (See this story for how off the radar the PUMAs have been; voter Sharon Chang actually uses the "Party Unity My Ass" slogan, and the reporter, even a McClatchy reporter, didn't pick up on it.) Come to think of it, though, that's exactly the same as Solution One!

But before we blame the PUMAs, and civil liberties loons like Glenn, and the dry pussy demographic for the latest polling, it might behoove us, as good liberals, to ask ourselves a question:

Who has the power, here?

And the answer can only be:

1. Obama has the power, since he's the presumptive nominee.

2. Obama has the power, since he's got the party leadership behind him; Reid, Pelosi, et al.

3. Obama has the power, since even if the press will tilt toward McCain, they press hates the Clintons worse than either (as Schneider shows).

So, the problem isn't the PUMAs, or Glenn, or tepid Obama voters like me, or people who won't shut the fuck up and send Obama money.

They aren't the ones with the power. Obama is.

So, perhaps Schneider, the Village, and the Obama campaign, could "accept" that people with a lot less power than Obama are exercising leverage on policy in the only way that they can? By withholding their support? And that, just possibly, their concerns are legitimate and that the Obama campaign should address them? If they're not too busy working out the Sop Of The Day for the right?

Nah. I know what the problem is.

They're racists. Wait for it.

NOTE But let's be optimistic! All is not lost! Our famously free press has always hated the Clintons, and when the Obama campaign smeared them, especially Bill, as racists after NH, that worked out just fine:

Much has been made of Bill Clinton's role in his wife's White House bid -- the increasingly aggressive campaign style, the sharpened attacks leveled at Obama that some [yeah, like the Obama campaign, the press, and most of the A list] viewed [falsely] as carrying racial overtones and the outbursts at some reporters over what he viewed as unfair media coverage.

Among all registered voters questioned in the latest poll, his approval rating is down 9 points in just more than a year, from 60 percent to 51 percent.

Well done, all! Who would want the last Democratic President on the campaign trail this time? Not me! He's a racist!

And what helpful advice does Schneider give?

So can Clinton, who left office eight years ago with approval ratings well over 60 percent, repair his image with most Americans?

"He needs to show he's gotten over it," Schneider said.

Classic! Racists, of course, being known for their ability to do just that....

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Submitted by lambert on

In this great post back in May:

Imagine this scenario:

The shoe is on the other foot, and Obama, not Hillary, is the punching bag of the media — a media that is blatantly and unapologetically racist. And I do mean blatant. Jokes every night on the cable news shows about Obama’s hair and his fondness for fried chicken. Pundits laughing about what a problem uppity Negroes are.

Across the country, racists openly ridicule Obama and his candidacy. In mainstream stores there are gag gifts playing on racist themes: maybe a (water)Melon Baller with Obama’s head on the handle, maybe a Barack Obama Shoeshine Set — you get the picture. 501c groups invoke the most grotesque racist slurs with their advertising; T-shirts say “Quit Running for President and Shine My Shoes!” Anybody who protests is branded a fool and a spoilsport.

Online, Hillary’s supporters constantly refer to Obama and his supporters as n—–s and c— -s and all the other epithets I refuse to type out. Blogger Boyz blog about those stupid lazy Negroes who are still wallowing in memories of the Civil Rights era, too dumb to get with the program and vote for Hillary.

And the lies: Obama is constantly lied about, belittled, demeaned. His record is distorted, his character impugned. Every day the pundits and the Blogger Boyz urge him to drop out of the race, to remember his place, to give up his seat to the white woman. All in the interest of “party unity.”

And nary a word of reproach from Hillary herself. No denunciation at all of the relentless racism. In fact, she actually cracks a few racist remarks herself, albeit subtle ones. She jokes and nods with the media about “letting” Obama run as long as he wants to. And when she makes speeches about American values, she talks a lot about women’s rights, but never mentions civil rights. She’s strikingly silent on the subject. Even when she delivers a major address on the importance of rooting out bigotry, she neglects to mention racism at all.

Just to make the analogy even more apt, let’s further imagine that some key civil rights issue is on the table — say, voting rights. For forty years the Democrats have been on the side of the angels with that one, but Hillary goes out of her way to say how much she admires and respects those Republicans who don’t think African-Americans should have the right to vote. She says judges with a record of opposing voting rights are good candidates for the nation’s benches — even the Supreme Court.

And the Democratic Party goes along with all this, pushing Hillary as the nominee, ignoring the anger of African-American voters, smugly assuming that they’ll “come back to the fold” by November. After all, say the pundits and the Blogger Boyz, where else are they going to go? The Republicans are even worse.

If you’re an adult American with even half a lick of sense, you know damn well that there is no way black folks would stand for that crap. There is no way any self-respecting African-Americans in this day and age would take that from the Democrats. It’s inconceivable that anybody would expect them to.

Because dig it: if the Democrats carried on like that, they wouldn’t be any better than the Republicans. And they sure as hell wouldn’t deserve the African-American vote.

Why should it be any different with women?

Bingo. Double bingo. Triple fucking bingo. Special Bazillion-Dollar Jackpot Happy Hour Triple-Bonus Pony bingo. Come on, Violet, what's wrong with you? Shut the fuck up and send Obama more money!

Maybe if people had been paying attention back in May, we'd all be better off now, eh?

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

campskunk's picture
Submitted by campskunk on

the blogger boyz LOOOVE the stages of grief trope because it presents a fluid process as "inevitable as death and taxes" - a fait accompli. and notice when they started it - back in may when they were trying to stampede the superdelegates. hmmmmm.

the analogy doesn't work because after a real death, WHAT YOU DO DOESN'T MATTER. there IS no November election. here in the real world, the obama campaign is showing its inability to transition from a cult to a party consensus. the tactics they used to rig the system to steal the nomination and what they said and are still saying to hillary's supporters in the process of doing so has a direct effect on peoples' behavior.

obama will be lucky to make it to the convention with a majority of hillary supporters saying they'll even be bothered to vote for him in november. the alarming trend downward from 60% to 54% in less than a month should be a wake-up call, but they are chugging onward.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the convention, and they'll just spin and lie louder about all the Republicans and Independents and religious folk that they're attracting. And he'll continue to ignore all the voters who want clear Democratic stands on issues like healthcare and the economy and rights -- and a fighter for those issues.

Meanwhile, the GOP is all coalescing around McCain--even the religious right.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

He's also not getting their $.

Via Tennessee Guerilla Woman, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, faces dissent from dozens of top fund-raisers and other supporters of former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, who are angry over how she was treated during their bruising primary battle and are hesitating to back Sen. Obama.

Some leading Clinton supporters are starting new Web sites or political action committees aimed at prodding Sen. Obama on issues or pressuring him to give Sen. Clinton a big role in the general-election campaign. People familiar with the matter say the effort involves dozens of the roughly 300 Clinton "Hillraisers," individuals who raised at least $100,000. . .

Unfortunately, I don't have access to the full article to see if any of this is having an effect on Obama's fundraising overall. I suspect since he's the frontrunner, he'll have no trouble getting money from nearly every industry. Plus, ditching those working class voters for the wealthier evangelical right should be good for the coffers. And so much easier to do now that they've all been labled racists. Convenient how that's worked out, isn't it?

peter's picture
Submitted by peter on

Wouldn't it be amusing if he ran out of money in October. The first person since Nixon to go off public financing. Some bookends there, and from Chicago too!