Saturday, May 17, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

Just a few thoughts this morning, many of which I've been reading both publically and privately.

Campaign debt: Something that isn't acknowledged often is that winning campaigns often pay off the debts of losing campaigns when the losing campaign endorses and is absorbed into the winning campaign. It's often a pre-requistite for endorsement, as well as the promise of a high level administration position or ambassadorship for the losing candidate.

For obvious reasons, these horse trades aren't talked about loudly outside the upper levels of the Washington Mafia.

As the year has unfolded, I've been reading Dr. Hunter Thompson's Fear and Lothing: On the Campaign Trail '72. I've been reading each month comparatively. Right now, 36 years ago, McGovern was finally beginning to look like he was the campaign leader. George Wallace had just been shot a week earlier. And California was a week away; the winner of which would more or less have locked down front-runner status. But no one would have the delegates to win nomination before the convention in Miami.

It's not a fair comparison, Now to Then. The Democrats badly lost in November 1972. Barring a real disaster of biblical proportions, the Democrats have an exceptional chance to win both Congress and the White House in 2008. FaL '72 is instructive on how the Democratic system 'works' - for one thing, Humphrey's campaign made it well known that their endorsement, as early as May, was up for sale to the campaign willing to pay their debts. As McGovern was the only candidate who's monetary flow was expanding, it's obvious who Humphrey thought should buy him out.

Completely missing from the conversation is the word Super-Delegate. And it's fucking wonderful.

We're at a point where it's time to Make a Deal. The press knows it, we know it, and I think both campaigns know it. Not only do the campaigns need to make a deal, but the the supporters as well. Wherein this campaign turns into uncharted territory.

Making the Deal has necessarily been a top-down driven change. But both influential camps of the candidates are exceptionally vocal and believe they are bottom-up driven movements, no matter what the reality may actually be. And both supporter groups have a very anti-deal mentality right now. Both believe they are the solely wounded party. At most, I've read vague assurances that it will take massive amounts of ego-dashing sucking up, which literally gets us nowhere, because there's no promise of betterment or in meeting the other side.

I find myself privately comparing this season to a bitter argument between a married couple. One where it wasn't violent, but the egos of both were trampled by the other. Both sides hauled out emotional weaponry that was not only unfair, but exceptionally wounding. Stuff that surprised the other - we didn't think they either carried that shit deep down inside or wouldn't dare use it on their spouse. The stuff that sometimes leads to a divorce when both sides decide not to swallow their pride and both make amends.

With a lack of clear leadership moving towards reconciliation, the animosity is being exploited by others with profit motives both political and financial. The press is loving this because of the headlines it supposedly sells; the Republicans are loving this for other obvious reasons. Making any headway against animosity will be ruthlessly annhiliated by the other side as well as the chattering classes.

So what do you do?

I know what I'd do - I'd coerce both campaigns into making a joint appearance. Both Clinton and Obama have shown they're excellent stump speakers. Have both get up in front of the press and the nation and seriously speak at length about what they've done wrong to one another, what their supporters have done, taking ownership of it, why they're sorry, and how they're going to address it before the nation. No one is going to claim victory or defeat.

If you thought Obama's "I'm not throwing Jeremiah under the bus" speech on race was historical and possibly transformative, just think of what this could accomplish in terms of both racial and sexist disagreements.

Of course it's not going to happen. Clinton would fear her image would be paled by Obama, particularly in her speaking style. The misogyny and generalized tendency of of the press and nation to dislike second place finishers would likely parse her statement far more, and probably completely undermine her. Then they'll feminize or emasculate Obama for cooperating with a weaker foe. And the Obama campaign would have to overcome a fear of elevating an opponent to equal position when the campaign isn't entirely finished. And both sides would have to trust that the other will stop trying to stab them in the back at every turn, while others will gladly be willing to stab some more for Hate's heart or sell fresh knives.

Then there's that campaign debt too. Money never seems to make this any easier.

All isn't lost, but how long can a house divided stand?

Be audacious - in both word and action.


idiosynchronic said...

Yes - some of this is starting to happen, just not in my politically naive terms. I wanna keep pushing it forward.

iamcoyote said...

You said it better than I did, without all the emotional drama.

Two things:

One of the militant pro-Hillary sites found conciliatory astroturf in their spam collector. It may be the same person taking it upon themselves to start making those kind of noises, or it could be Obama's camp starting up a new narrative.

Hillary just did a conference call with some of the pro-Hillary sites, and lambert at Corrente said he didn't "pick up a graceful withdrawl subtext at all." And they're going with a new slogan, "The map not the math." Pretty much blows my theory out of the water.

Seven of Six said...

Nicely done Id. Thanks.

So what do you do?

As a former competitor, part of me wants the other candidate to cry UNCLE before I give anything away.

If Hillary agrees to concede, then everything should be done to help her recoup. Not only money but her place in the party.

If not, it's either a knockout or a decision. *sorry for the boxing analogy*
All bets are off the table, decisions were made and consequences have to be paid.
That's where the ego comes in.

Seven of Six said...

Ben Smith at Politico has an article up about Hillary backers continuing to rumble.

An Ohio-based group of Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters say they’ll work actively against Sen. Barack Obama if he becomes the nominee, arguing that Clinton has been the subject of “intense sexism” by party leaders and the media.

Led by Boomer-aged women, the group, Clinton Supporters Count Too, is holding a press conference in Columbus at noon to release this statement.

Organizers Cynthia Ruccia, 55, and Jamie Dixey, 57, both from the Columbus area, say they’re coordinating women, men, minorities, union members and others in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan – all important swing states next November – to impress upon Democratic party leaders what they think has been outright discrimination – and not of the racial kind.

“We have been vigilant against expressions of racism, and we are thrilled that the society has advanced that way” in accepting Obama as a serious candidate,” Ruccia said. “But it’s been open season on women, and we feel we need to stand up and make a statement about that, because it’s wrong.”

With growing calls for Clinton to leave the race, she said, women feel like “we’re being told to sit down, shut up, and get with the program.”

idiosynchronic said...


And Clinton isn't about to say stop. And Obama isn't about to say what he should say because the Clinton campaign isn't about to surrender an advantage prior to the convention nomination ballots.

Meanwhile, we have this major section of the Democratic base getting more and more pissed off over what they perceive as a stolen opportunity for women.

Honestly - even if Obama was to choose Christine Gregoire, Janet Napolitano, Ruth Ann Minner, or Kathleen Sebelius, the top Democratic female officeholders, it wouldn't satisfy this problem. They'd be simply number two. I almost think it'd be more important to apologize rather than choose a woman as your running mate.

idiosynchronic said...

Although . . I just had a giggle . . what if Obama picked Elizabeth Edwards as his running mate?

Heads. Exploding.

Seven of Six said...

And Clinton isn't about to say stop.

I feel the last few days Hillary has held her head high, above the fray if you will. I really respect her for that.

Bill really blasted the DNC in a Kentucky stop.

Over the past few days Clinton has frequently focused on the delegate controversy in his campaign remarks, going on about how the primary scheduling flap that resulted in the party and the campaigns' boycotting primaries in those states, has effectively disenfranchised millions of voters.

"What did the Democratic National Committee do? They obliterated them. Who cares if you wanted to get up there with these other states because you've been broken by this economic policy of the current administration. We're gonna show you who's boss. We are obliterating you from the face of the earth and pretending that your voters did not vote. You just have to know, that is the position of your national party. Nobody quarrels with their right to discipline them. They made a decision they did not have to make. And do you seriously believe, if the votes had been the other way, that they would have made the same decision?" Clinton asked a crowd in Owensboro.

The Clinton campaign did not criticize the party's decision to boycott campaigning in Michigan and Florida when the primaries were held in those states.

The former President also continues to spend time on the campaign trail accusing Senator Barack Obama of not following the rules set by the Democratic party in Florida to avoid all campaigning in that state after it moved its primary date ahead in the calendar against the wishes of the partg. Clinton says that when Obama bought national campaign ads, he did so because he knew they would play in the Florida television market and influence the voters there, despite the party ban on campaigning in the sunshine state.

"Her opponent, now seeking to disembody Florida, buys national cable television and says 'oh, I'm sorry it got into Florida but I had to buy national cable television.' Nobody buys national television for any reason, there is no conceivable reason to do it other than to advertise. And I believe there was also some television in south Georgia. So only one candidate broke the rules. She still won by 295,000 votes, 17 percent," said Clinton.

Many political observers see the inclusion of Florida and Michigan in the delegate and popular vote totals as the last argument Hillary Clinton has to challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination.

iamcoyote said...

*tinkers under the hood*

Ah, here's the trouble raht cheer:

Meanwhile, we have this major section of the Democratic base getting more and more pissed off over what they perceive as a stolen opportunity for women.

This is why we’re pissed. This assumption that the Hillary supporters are only supporting her because she’s a woman and might do woman things once in office. Or that women are pissed because sexism made her “lose.” (That she “lost” is also debatable since no one has the delegates to actually “win,” but that’s not my beef and I don’t want to argue about pop. vote vs delegates, cos it’s boring. The electoral map vs. math idea is compelling, but it’s not gonna work, I don’t think. Suffice it to say that personally, I think Obama’s going to be the candidate.) Add to that, the inference that Hillary supporters think Obama supporters are all sexist. I don’t know anyone on the pro-Hillary sites who is making that claim – maybe Taylor Marsh or the No Quarter place, but I’ve never really read them before or during the primary, so I wouldn’t know. I will say that I resent being held accountable for whatever they say, as I’ve never held Obama accountable for the shit his surrogates say. ‘Course, I have seen people imply that all Hillary supporters are racists, Geekesque has done it several times. That’s not easy to get over, either. Certainly not when we’re already feeling bullied, and the pressure has been turned on to convert or “you’ll lose Roe v Wade, dammit!” or better yet “the blood of those yet to die will be on your hands!”

I’ve never heard anyone say that Obama stole this opportunity for women, either. In fact, at the places I’ve been monitoring, the issues with Obama have nothing to do with Hillary, and everything to do with things that Obama has said and done, or not done. There’s a huge amount of anger over the sexism and double standards used against Hillary by the MSM and Obama surrogates, and the failure of the left blogosphere to stand together against it while at the same time blasting her for things she didn’t say to support Obama against some meme aimed at him. I've seen people on the left even encourage sexism or mock women for being pissed about it. What an enormous betrayal! Basically, there’s anger over sexism being off the table because Hillary’s a woman. I remember Jeff doing a piece about that, his main point being that it was unfair that we couldn’t talk about sexism for fear of people coming to the conclusion that she was presenting herself as the woman candidate and anyone who opposed her was sexist. Hmmm. Wonder how that turned out? Oh yeah, he was viciously attacked and told that he’s diluting the meaning of the word “sexism” by making it mean “anyone who doesn’t vote for Hillary is sexist.” Have you noticed how everytime someone says that, they've just said or passed along something that could be considered sexist? I have.

In any case, yes, it’s time to make a Deal, but Obama damn well better figure out how to reach out to the ones who say they won’t vote for him, or he’s going to have to struggle to win them while trying to tack right for the GE. Don’t know how he’ll do that if he and his followers don’t or won’t understand why we’re pissed in the first place.

Hear me now and believe me later, though; if Obama starts indicating he’ll choose a woman VP before making some kind of deal with Hillary, none of the anger from women or Hillary supporters will subside. As PD says:

One thing that really bugs me when discussing Obama's possible VP picks is when people throw around the names of non-Clinton women - the idea being that having a woman veep is necessary to win over the Clinton supporters. It's insulting, because it presumes that Clinton supporters will blindly support anyone with a pair of X chromosomes, and that any woman is interchangeable with another.

"It's not who you wanted, but she's just as good, right? See, she's got boobies!"

I couldn’t have said it better.

iamcoyote said...

By the way, the more I think about it, the more I reject the marriage analogy as well, as it implies a hierarchy that makes me uncomfortable. Why not go for a more realistic scenario and view the schism we’re experiencing as friends who discover that the other has diverged from an assumed shared narrative and hijinks ensue. I don’t know how my position could come as a surprise since I’ve been railing about this shit for months, though apparently not well, since no one seems to have gotten my point. Imagine my relief to find understanding at feminist blogs. TLC almost had me convinced I was being a whiny little girl.

Also, I’m rethinking my declaration that I was wrong about the significance of the blogger/Hillary conference call. It dawned on me that Hillary’s in a better position to deal if she looks like she’s going to fight all the way to the convention, so why communicate conciliation to the few online supporters she has left? If she appears to be desperate for a way out, she’s not going to let on – I wouldn’t. Besides, lambert’s more of a partisan than I am, and he was arguing earlier with leah about whether Hillary was sending conciliatory signals. His comment might have been a nod to her, not actually a pointed impression made by Hillary’s campaign. On the other hand, I’ve heard that Obama’s hired a bunch of bloggers to swarm comments with conciliatory astroturf. Wow, that oughta work, a cyber air kiss. How insulting.

I believe Hillary’s willing to stay in because she believes in what she’s doing and so do pretty much half the dems who voted for her, and she feels she owes her supporters to fight to the bitter end. Her backing Obama up on the stupid “appeasement” shit looks to me like she’s demonstrating she could be a boon if she throws all her support behind Obama, or a thorn if he doesn’t deal. Given the thin lead Obama has over her, anyone in her position would be thinking about leverage, and what they want if they don’t win. SCOTUS would be nice, but Senate Majority Leader would be nice as well. And if the deal goes right and everyone’s “appeased,” the downticket Dems will benefit as well and we could finally get rid of fuckin’ Lieberman.