WWTFBQ Watch: The Hoosier Edition
And surely, what is helping to make this primary season so hellish are all the attempts to close it down.
In case you haven't heard, and assuming I get this up before anyone else posts on it, a superdelegate Bill Clinton once chose to head the DNC and was up-to-now a declared Hillary-supporter, has just announced today that he is switching his support to Obama, and urging all Hoosier voters to do likewise in order to end the primary process in its tracks after next Tuesday. As part of this strategy, he is also urging his fellow superdelegates to wait no longer to declare their preferences, so we can all unite behind Barack and begin to do battle with McSame.
Joe Andrew may not be a household name, but he is from Indiana and he made his statement in the state, and in a letter published on the Huffington Post.
I have been inspired.
Today I am announcing my support for Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. I am changing my support from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama, and calling for my fellow Democrats across my home State of Indiana, and my fellow super delegates across the nation, to heal the rift in our Party and unite behind Barack Obama.
The hardest decisions in life are not between good and bad or right and wrong, but between two goods or two rights. That is the decision Democrats face today. We have an embarrassment of riches, but as much as we may love our candidates and revel in the political process that has brought Presidential politics to places that have not seen it in a generation, we cannot let our family affair hurt America by helping John McCain.
Let us come together right now behind an inspiring leader who not only has the audacity to challenge the old divisive politics, but the audacity to make us all hope for a better America.
I believe that Bill Clinton will be remembered as one of our nation's great Presidents, and Senator Clinton as one of our nation's great public servants. But as much as I respect and admire them both, it is clear that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists John McCain.
I ask Hoosiers to come together and vote for Barack Obama to be our next President. In an accident of timing, Indiana has been given the opportunity to truly make a difference. Hoosiers should grab that power and do what in their heart they know is right. They should reject the old negative politics and vote for true change. Don't settle for the tried and true and the simplistic slogans, but listen to your heart and dare to be inspired. Only a cynic would be critical of Barack Obama inspiring millions. Only the uninformed could forget that the candidate that wins in November is always the candidate that inspires millions.
I ask the leaders of our Party to come together after this Tuesday's primary to heal wounds and unite us around a single nominee. While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our Party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us. John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives. (emphasis mine in all blockquotes)
Well, fuck you, Joe Andrew.
You'll notice after praising Bill and Hill, Mr. Andrew goes on to imply that they and Clinton voters are divisive, negative, uninspired, cynical, and simplistic. Yeah, that's the way to get us all united.
In addition to the honey-coated insults, check out this edition of Memeorandum, wherein the Joe Andrew story is aggregated.
Notice anything? Like the surrounding stories that show Hillary completely competitive with Obama in Indiana, and also in North Carolina. Not to mention the teeter-tottering they're both doing in the national daily tracking polls. I'm of the opinion that we need to throw that damn throwing someone under the bus meme under the nearest bus, but could it be any clearer that what Joe Andrew is trying to do is throw Hillary Clinton under the on-rushing express train that her campaign has recently become?
I'm not particularly pleased by those polls, especially if Hillary's new competitiveness might have come as a result of the Wright blow-up, about which I'll speak at greater length in a different post, for which, please note, neither Senator Clinton nor her campaign deserves condemnation, not having had anything to do with why and how it erupted. But it is a fact that by any measure the Democratic base is almost evenly split between these two candidates. That doesn't mean there is no way for either of them to win legitimately. But it does argue for the necessity of allowing the remaining states to hold relevant primaries, not ones already superseded by superdelegates having closed down the nominating process by uniting behind a single candidate.
Whatever happened to all that concern about those elite delegates being guided by the popular will? Granted, it is mathematically unlikely that Hillary can beat Obama in the pledged delegate count, but she might well garner more of the popular vote than he. That doesn't mean Obama can't win legitimately even if she does, but how can it possibly be a legitimate win, as opposed to a legal, by-the-rules one, if millions of voters are once again disenfranchised by party elites, apparently frightened by vigorous debate, and elections themselves, the very foundation of democratic governance.
So much hot air has been expended by the OFB and the SCLM warning against the possibility that the fabled Clinton "machine," and we do mean "fabled," will find a way to steal the nomination in some underhanded, against-the-rules manner by convincing superdelegates that she is the better candidate, and thus fatally divide the Democratic Party, (as if there is any way for Obama to win without convincing the superdelegates of exactly the same thing), very few people seem to have noticed that the WWTFBQ faction, in and out of the media, is pushing for a scenario that is just, if not more, undemocratic, and equally as likely to disrupt party unity.
So, while I'm handing out obscenities, fuck you, too Matt Stoller, and your outrageous suggestion that Obama needs to shut down the primary process any way he can, by destroying Hillary, perhaps by catching her upside the head with her own kitchen sink strategy, or so Stoller implies, as if the Obama campaign hasn't been doing that almost from the beginning.
"...the point is that Clinton is running as a full-blown conservative. And why shouldn't she do that and go on O'Reilly? We have rejected her, so she has to find her votes somewhere. Nevertheless, it's time to recognize that she is an opponent of liberals, and act that way.
Moveon and SEIU are probably the only groups with the capacity to do this, but basically, the Bosnia sniper fire lie needs to be replayed over and over in Indiana, and then spliced with this tax scam and the quote that her plan will lose 300,000 highway jobs because she will say anything to get elected. Clinton needs to be called out as a liar who is a weak candidate, and it is Obama-supporting Moveon members that could do this. Obviously the group would have trouble since many of its members do like Clinton, but honestly, we need a killer instinct here and not more praise of Obama.
Alternatively, SEIU could do it, but they run into a similar institutional hurdle of having ties to Clinton. Maybe the only group that could do it would be a savvy group of wealthy Obama backers who could form a 527 and just get this done."
Democracy in action.
Lambert has already noted the extreme misogyny of the language employed, but let's not fail to notice the hypocrisy of those who have warned us constantly about that fearsome Clinton machine, and are now busy trying to find ways to shut down all elections after Indiana.
And about that kitchen sink strategy the Clinton campaign has supposedly admitted to employing, check out Bob Somerby, who decided to try and discover the actual provenance of this now well-established oft-mentioned trope, and lo and behold, the author is one of the less reliable political reporters at The New York Times, and that's saying something, whose single source is an unnamed Clinton campaign aide. I'll give you the link at the end of the post.
In fairness to Matt, I should note that he has an excellent post up that seeks to bring some sanity to the discussion of whatever problems have developed out of the WVWW voter registeation efforts by reminding readers of "...WVWV's long track record of registering unmarried women and statements from both Obama and Clinton supporters validating their work. WVWV has worked with the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, and is a highly respected organization that does real data-driven voter registration oriented towards registering the 20 million unmarried women that were not even registered in 2004."
And yet, these are the kinds of nasty accusations coming at WVWV.
I believe this is the lowest point I have ever seen the blogosphere sink. There is no reason whatsoever for this mob mentality to go after one of the most important voter registration efforts out there designed to empower women. I don't meant that WVWV shouldn't be questioned and held accountable for its incompetence, but there is a difference between arguing that the group made mistakes and making the case that it is a voter suppression effort.
There is simply no motive here for voter suppression. If WVWV was trying to suppress votes in North Carolina for Clinton or Obama, why would they also be doing this work in 24 states at the same time? If they are such an evil anti-progressive group, why would they award 'female blogger of the year to Digby' and run ads encouraging women to vote?
The most likely reason WVWV is engaging in weird voter registration efforts is because they didn't expect the primary to go on this long and their strategy was organized around registering voters for the general election. There's a lot of hype around WVWV sending people information after the voter registration deadline had already passed, as if WVWV was trying to suppress primary votes. But it's quite clear that WVWV is trying to register people for the general election, and that deadline hasn't passed.
Read the whole thing and several others that manage to spread more light than heat on this new "Clinton scandal," in which John Podesta is now being smeared as part of this dark Rovian plot.
What is frustrating is Stoller's inability to see any connection between his own anti-Clinton post and the kind of comment threads he now sees as a low-point for the blogisphere.
For awhile I didn't think it would matter, because so many voters continued to say they would vote for whomever won the nomination, but with the ruination of the Democratic Party always being such a favored media narrative, even non-blog-reading voters are picking up on the divisiveness and the bitterness, and worst of all, on the negative talking points being presented against both candidates.
As much as I think intra-party divisiveness is now something we should be worried about, without clear thinking about the sources of that disunity and some real attempt to genuinely bring both sets of voters together, Obama's and Clinton's, the kind of worry being expressed by Matt Stoller and Joe Andrew and countless other mainly Obama supporters is more more likely to produce yet more discord and bitterness all around.
There are signs from the Clinton campaign that they expect some sort of resolution to happen in June, after the last primary, and Chairman Dean has indicated he sees a similar timetable ahead. The only way it goes to the convention is if Hillary Clinton has made a strong enough showing in the remaining weeks to change the dynamic of what still looks like Obama taking the nomination. But there was never anything certain about that, and it is less certain today. Talk about playing the inevitability card - that may be where Hillary started her campaign, but it appears to be where Obama is ending his, which is okay, as long as he doesn't damage the Democratic Party by telling whole blocs of voters their voices need not be heard, their votes need not be counted.
I'm not just putting this onto Obama voters. The anger and bitterness being expressed on blogs in posts and comments crosses campaign lines. Even here at Corrente, I've found some dispiriting examples of comment threads, and occasional posts in which that late, lamented media critique Lambert rightly criticizes the boiz on the A-blogs for having deserted is similarly absent. In fact, I'll go further; whether its a pro or an anti-Clinton thread, a pro or an anti-Obama thread, too often not only does it seem as if our blogispheric media critique has gone walkabout, but worse still, that
we are beginning to pick up some of the nastier habits of our plutocratic media courtiers.
In my next post, I'll explore the frightening possibility that we're all Maureen Dowd now.
Is intra-party divisiveness something we should be worried about? Yes, we should. But worry without clear thinking about the sources of that disunity and some real attempt to genuinely bring both sets of voters together, Obama's and Clinton's, is not the way to go about it. It's much more likely to produce yet more discord and bitterness all around.
There are signs from the Clinton campaign that they expect some sort of resolution to happen in June, after the last primary, and Chairman Dean has indicated he expects a similar outcome. The only way it goes to the convention is if Hillary Clinton has made a strong enough showing in the remaining weeks to change the dynamic of what still looks like Obama taking the nomination. But there was never anything certain about that, and it is less certain today. Talk about playing the inevitability card - that may be where Hillary started her campaign, but appears to be where Obama is ending his, which is okay, as long as he doesn't damage the Democratic Party by telling whole blocs of voters their voices need not be heard, their votes need not be counted.
Here's that Daily Howler Somerby link; go read.