Thursday, October 14, 2010

Which Side Am I On?

from alicublog:
One of the great things about Kudlow being such a hack is that you can make a decent post just by putting in the relevant facts he leaves out. But in this column the Republican Party's second-most-famous former cokehead goes beyond the usual card tricks to remind us of what the GOP is really about.
Of course, Obama never mentions the unions, including the SEIU and AFL-CIO, and all their foreign money from their big international affiliates. Instead, he extends his own cast of villains, attacking special interests, Wall Street banks, corporations, the oil industry, the insurance industry, credit-card companies, AIG, and ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil? What did they do? Oh, they’re an oil company.

Phew. Kind of anti-business, wouldn’t you say?
I was with him on the "all their foreign money from their big international affiliates" -- oh-yeah-what-about-the-other-guy is a time-honored electioneering gambit. But in this the year of the Tea Party, isn't it a little weird to be defending Wall Street banks, credit-card companies, and big business in general? I thought it was all about the grassroots overthrowing the "ruling class." And then:
Obama then blasts millionaires and billionaires, waging war on capital and investors, too. Next he talks about getting young people, African Americans, and union members to the polls. Even more division. Even more class warfare.
It's divisive for Obama to invite these people to vote? I thought working people were the bedrock of the Tea Party movement, and all the cool kids were wearing tricorner hats. And minorities -- why, Perfesser Glenn Harlan Reynolds has a whole scrapbook of tea-partying black folk photos!
A series of investor-related polls shows how totally detached the president is from the nearly 100 million folks who directly or indirectly own stocks.

A survey conducted by Citigroup Global Markets of 100 mutual-fund, hedge-fund, and pension-fund managers...
Hedge-fund managers!
Well, yeah, hedge-fund managers -- the Real America behind the faux Real America of the Tea Party. Where did you think the Tea Party gets their funding?

Teh O'Bama made a bad blunder in the way he went after the Chamber of Commerce. Not because they shouldn't be gone after, or because his approach was "McCarthyite" -- again, Joe McCarthy is a martyr of the American right. It's because the Democrats are every bit as dependent on big money and foreign money as the Republicans, and everyone knows it. They may even remember a few such scandals involving the Democrats in the recent past.

But that's okay, because as Jane Hamsher reports (via), the Democrats' own pollsters report that the party is pursuing a losing strategy in this campaign:

On Wednesday [Stan] Greenberg and James Carville released a research report summarizing the results of their extensive polling on messaging that is working for Democrats in this election cycle. It won’t surprise most people to learn that protecting Social Security, creating American jobs and opposing NAFTA-like free trade agreements are the messages most likely to persuade people to vote for Democrats.

(Remember, though, that the Obama administration wants to whittle away at Social Security, favors NAFTA-like free trade agreements, and has done a piss-poor job of creating American jobs, though it has done quite well at boosting corporate profits.)
But curiously, they left something out of their summary that set off red flags for a lot of Democratic insiders when they issued it as a Democracy Corps”Alert” on September 20. The Alert said quite emphatically that Democrats needed to change their framework in order to win in November. Greenberg buried the lede, but his polling reached a very clear conclusion: Obama’s “go forward, not backward” message actually moves voters over to the GOP ...
As Avedon Carol at the Sideshow Party puts it, "And the message reminds them [i.e., voters] that things have become worse, not better, since Obama took office."

Hamsher quotes Greenberg's explanation:

Because a “go forward” framework implies that Democrats and Congress have made progress those voters do not feel, the message re-enforces the Republican framework for the election – a referendum on the Democrats’ performance on the economy. In the experiment described above (where voters read the two Republican messages and the two Democratic ‘go forward, not back’ messages), votes shifted to the Republicans not only on which party can best handle the economy but also on the congressional vote. The 5 percent who shifted to the Democrats was exceeded by the 7 percent of voters who moved to the Republicans – a net negative 2-point worsening of the race.
Party loyalists keep telling skeptics that Obama and the party leadership know what they're doing, so the rest of us should shut up, put our shoulders to the wheel, and get the vote out in November. I'm not of the party, so this doesn't move me; I don't need the machine to get me to vote anyway. But the interesting thing is that those wise eleven-dimensional chess players are trying to shoot themselves in the foot. (Again.) Of course they aren't going to listen to Professional Leftists like me, or to silly-billy Democrats who see the glass as 90 percent empty instead of 10 percent full, but they're ignoring insiders, their own people, the very people they assigned to tell them what is going on and direct their tactics.

Hamsher has an earlier post giving the "Top 10 Reasons The Democrats Might Do Better In 2010 Than You Think," and they're good reasons, but that hasn't stopped various party hacks from attacking her. Avedon cites a prog blogger who warns, "At some point people need to consider the possibility that Hamsher doesn't have the administration's best interests at heart." (The entire post is even battier.) Like I said, for the Democrats this is about the Party and the Administration, not the American people, but the evidence is that the administration doesn't even has its own best interests at heart. -- But there I've succumbed to a significant confusion myself: the interests we're talking about here are winning elections, which are vital to a political party, but the best interests of citizens are different. Of course both parties work hard to convince their members and the country that, by an amazing coincidence, their interests and your interests are the same. I think it's fair to doubt it.