Monday, September 13, 2010

The Time Is Fulfilled; or, DTMFA

"Right-wing crack whores" as a term for those who are nowadays called "conservatives." That has a certain ring to it. I like it, though I'm not sure it's fair to crack whores.

On the other hand, the same site quotes Bono, of all people: "God, my friends, is with the poor and God is with us, if we are with them. This is not a burden, this is an adventure." No no noooo. "God" is no more with the poor than the Republican Party (or Bono, for that matter) is with the poor. I'm reminded of Abraham Lincoln's infamous bromide, "God must love the poor. That is why He made so many of them." Sure, and by the same logic he must love cockroaches too.

Glenn Greenwald today drew attention to the Democrats' current electoral strategy: to say, often and loudly, that they aren't Republicans. And they especially aren't Sarah Palin. Surely, comrades, you do not want Bush back?
... the more significant point is what this tactic says about the Democratic Party. They have controlled both houses of Congress for almost four years and the White House for almost two. Yet rather than run primarily on affirmative accomplishments (some Democrats are even running against them), they're reduced to this not-very-inspiring or hope-laden message: at least we're not as bad as Sarah Palin.

It's not hard to see why Democrats are relying on what Maddow called this "soul-sucking" tactic. With no end in sight to the unemployment crisis, almost no real benefits yet in effect on their central legislative achievement (health care), a high likelihood of Social Security cuts following the election, few of the promises kept on the issues most important to their core base, and even hardcore Democratic pundit-partisans now finally -- and angrily -- acknowledging that Obama has continued the vast bulk of Bush/Cheney civil liberties/executive power abuses (ones which drove many progressives to remove the GOP from power), what else can they do to motivate people to vote for them besides try to scare people into thinking about the Sarah Palin menace? It's exactly the technique Republicans used in 2006 when they had little to offer Americans alienated with what they did in power, and thus tried to make the election center around the frightening specter of Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco Values. That tactic didn't work out very well for Republicans that year, and it's unlikely to work any better for Democrats this year (and at least with the GOP campaign, Pelosi really was an actual office-holder whose power would increase with a Democratic victory). People want to see results from those in power, and fear-based campaigns about the other side in lieu of actual accomplishments are quite limited in their appeal.

Greenwald also links to a post by John Aravosis (whom we've met before), who points to the lack of action by the Obama administration on GLBT issues, and says ominously, "I for one am not feeling an overwhelming desire to donate another $1,000 to, or raise another $43,000 for, a candidate who promises me the moon and then seems almost embarrassed of me the morning after the election." I don't believe him. Not with Sarah Palin skree skree skree lurking in the wings.

jeffroby at Corrente Wire (
via, via) argues that it's time for a movement to Dump Obama, or DTMFA as Dan Savage might (but probably wouldn't, in this case) put it.
Some have argued that Dump Obama is too simplistic. But in fact its simplicity is its beauty.

Progressives are constantly bemoaning that the masses can’t grasp their complex analytical arguments, their profound understanding of the system. Masses are too easily swayed by slogans, all that. Dump Obama is a nice slogan and fits on a bumper sticker in real big letters.

Many progressives have issues dear to them, and the blogosphere reflects that diversity. Diversity is fine, but so is unity. Obama is, among other things, a symbol of the government, not just a symbol of the Democratic Party. He can “unify” our progressive opposition.

Dump the system? Sure. Go after the Senate? Why not? Go after the Republicans? If we advance progressive issues, they will not escape our ire.

The presidential primaries provide a vehicle to express that opposition. Can Obama be beaten there? Probably not. The incumbency is a powerful tool. But [Eugene] McCarthy didn’t “beat” [Lyndon] Johnson either. Still brought him down.

Earlier this year I noted that "many (most?) Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than vote against the corporate agenda. Why should I deny them their druthers?" jeffroby makes a good argument; you should read his post.