Re: Chicks And Dead Horses

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And here I was thinking that she'd never let me down.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:38 AM
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Things to be beaten, Nipsy?

(Oh my. I'm so old no one gets that but me, right?)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:40 AM
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Karnak!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:41 AM
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That is a pity -- I generally think better of her than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:42 AM
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Hey, even an acorn gets eaten by a blind pig now and then.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:50 AM
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Nipsey. It turns out that Charles Nelson Reilly was a fairly sophisticated mathematician, as well as being very influential in developing the so-called San Bernardino style of Capoeira.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:52 AM
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6: You're right! I denied him his e.
Sorta fitting I guess for Unfogged to have Charles Nelson Reilly facts.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:58 AM
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I didn't realize that ... Dahlia Lithwick is a credulous dupe of media narratives.

And yet, it's so. Toles gets exactly what you and Lithwick miss.

Toles

I linked this over on the other thread, but since you're beating that dead thread over here, I'll add my other observation from that comment:

Gore, we are asked to believe, is intrinsically unlikable - and this view isn't merely a media creation. But Gore, we are also asked to believe, suddenly became likable after 2000. Gore managed to change his supposed inbred unlikability by ... what?

Sure, Gore had a problem finding an appropriate tone for 2000 - but that was largely because of a screwed up media, not a screwed-up Gore. Toles gets it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 9:58 AM
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Am I the only one who found the linked Gloria Steinem op-ed insufferably racist?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:07 AM
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The Gloria Steinem op-ed really pissed me off. I resent being told taht I'm not a feminist, because I don't like her. I don't like her, because I think that her foreign policy views are dangerous and her health care proposals are the worst of the three. I don't like her, because she's opposed to retroactively reducing crack cocaine sentences, and since I think that the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing was one of the great injustices of our time--because it led to the mass incarceration of poor people of color, including women--that matters to me a lot.

I've been proud to call myself a feminist, since I was 9 years-old, and I really resent being told that I'm not one, because I don't want a particular woman to be president.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:07 AM
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10: That, too.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:08 AM
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9: I found it insufferable; I'm not sure taht it was because of the racism. It reeked to me of the sort of upper-middle class feminism that ignores the concerns of the less well-off.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:09 AM
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9: I didn't find it racist, so much as uninteresting misery poker.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:09 AM
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9: no.
(not commenting! just wanted to support.)


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:10 AM
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I really resent being told that I'm not one, because I don't want a particular woman to be president.

Exactly! As far as I can see, she's the worst of a weak bunch (of plausible D candidates). I can't respect any argument trying to make it just about sex.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:13 AM
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That is to say, arguing that women have it worse than blacks in America is not an inherently racist exercise, just a mostly irrelevant one when comparing two rich, powerful figures in the Democratic Party.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:14 AM
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Actually, although I love Dahlia, she is not immune to CW-spouting.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:16 AM
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worst of a weak bunch

Huh?

This is the most uniformly left-leaning group of Dems in decades, if not ever. The only definition of "weak" that they meet is "lack of decades of experience in Congress." We've lost that game plenty of times before.

I also find this odd:
her health care proposals are the worst of the three

Ezra, among others, describes hers as being virtually identical to Edwards', better in some ways and worse in others, and both of them better than Obama's. I don't want to get into the mandates discussion here, but I'm wondering what daylight you see between hers and Edwards' that is so definitive?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:19 AM
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yeah, 10 sort of sums it all up, doesn't it?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:20 AM
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Charles Nelson Reilly facts

Careful, you may have been duped by a conspiracy to present him as the capable one.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:24 AM
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Holy fucking shit, did Dahlia just use the word "authenticity?"
We need to stage an intervention and get her away from Slate ASAP. "Authenticity" is even more abominable than "likability." I'm at least willing to accept that, in a one-on-one interaction, you can make a decent gauge of someone's likability. I utterly deny that "authenticity" is a meaningful measure of a human being.*

Before you disagree with me, ogged, you knee-jerk, tell me which Dylan is the authentic one.

* This is not to say that phonies don't exist. Romney is one. That doesn't make any or all of the other candidates "authentic."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:26 AM
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Sorry to marginally threadjack but I just caught this listed on prochoiceamerica.org and am so fucking angry.

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/Editorial/StoryLead.aspx?id=100564
"Tennessee lawmakers began the first day of the session Tuesday with a renewed effort to change the state's constitution to allow more limits on abortion.

"The majority-Republican Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 for a resolution that would nullify a 2000 ruling by the state Supreme Court that the Tennessee Constitution offered greater protection of abortion rights than the U.S. Constitution."

At least I know what I will be doing for the next few months.


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:27 AM
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I hadn't read it until now, it has al lot of logical holes. She argues that older women in Iowa supported Hillary because women grow more radical with age. But she won all older people- perhaps because she's older than Obama and her positions are more conservative? We must stop playing the age card in this country!
I love the tag lines on Times op-eds, where they descibe pretty famous people with a single random fact. How famous do you have to be for your line to just be, "George Washington is George fucking Washington.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:27 AM
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health care proposals

I suspect that whatever happens on health care is going to be driven by Congress more than the executive branch, for better or worse. The important differences on the Democratic side are over foreign policy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:28 AM
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At least I know what I will be doing for the next few months.

Getting some abortions while you still can?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:28 AM
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18; I have to check the more recently updated chart on the Huffington post website, but when I look at the Kaiser family foundation's side by side comparison chart, I liked Edwards's plan better.

Clinton doesn't require small employers to provide health care coverage, but she'll provide incentives for them to do it. Edwards isn't providing subsidies, he's letting those employers contribute to the Health Markets fund through something like a payroll tax. His just seems a lot simpler. I generally disapprove of the Clintonian targeted incentives approach, because it can be hard to figure out what benefits one si eligible for. Edwards seems on a clearer path to something like a single payer plan. Clinton seems to me to be trying to prop up the employer-based system, and I think that that's just a terribly bad idea.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:28 AM
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BTW, rereading myself, I'm a bit bothered to have called her "Dahlia." I really do feel warmly towards her - I wanted to send her a present when she had a kid. But when I'm criticizing her, it feels demeaning. So just replace Dahlia with Lithwick in 21 (I'm still OK with it in 17).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:28 AM
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tell me which Dylan is the authentic one

This one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:30 AM
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23: "George Washington has, like, 30 goddamn dicks."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:31 AM
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Somewhat amusing on boston.com now- lead picture of Hillary hugging Chelsea after her speech; lead headline of the next section down is, "Chelsea man shot in parking dispute." Don't mess with Hillary!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:32 AM
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28: Awesome.

I always thought Brenda was a lot more authentic than Kelly.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:32 AM
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when I look at the Kaiser family foundation's side by side comparison chart

The side-by-side chart.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:33 AM
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BG is so right. Steinem's whole piece set up this black man vs. white woman zero-sum game, seemed to assume that anyone supporting Obama was doing so because it made them radical, and then argued that it would be more radical to support Clinton. I was left with the feeling that it was very important to Steinem to be very radical, and if she had to redefine 'radical' to mean 'the machine & money candidate' to accomplish that, she would.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:33 AM
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30: "I'm sorry, sweetie, but motherfucker was trying to cut into my spot. Bitch had to pay. We'll find you a new man, I promise."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:34 AM
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Re: 25

Yes! Abortions for everyone. Like cookies at a tea.

But actually I think it's time for my monthly performance art piece to become a reality. "MY BODY IS AN ABORTIFACIENT EVERY MONTH". Or maybe, "48 HOUR WAITING PERIOD FOR MATING".


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:35 AM
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26: You know what, you're right. I now recall this - it's easier to see how Edwards slides into single-payer, although his plan is more watered-down than I had expected. I think that's why I don't much distinguish between them - Edwards stepped back to a plan that Hillary could back, essentially.

Still not sure why you're OK with Obama's pro-free rider plan, but I said I wouldn't discuss mandates, and I won't.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:36 AM
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18: Yes, weak. The comments on incompetence dodge as applied to Iraq are true, but the problem is much much broader than that. A number of significant issues that face the next president have nothing to do with incompetent adminstration, but rather the implementation of fundamentally bad ideas. Show me who is talking about that (and not being mealy mouthed)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:38 AM
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Exit Polls the full set

Obama won the white males while Clinton won the non-white females.

Figures.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:39 AM
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"MY BODY IS AN ABORTIFACIENT EVERY MONTH"

EVERY NIGHT I'M MENTALLY CRUCIFIED 700 TIMES


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:43 AM
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Clinton Unlikely Economic Populist ...exit polls by income, from OpenLeft

"As someone who saw my mother working three damn jobs just to keep a roof over our heads, I can tell you a lot of people on the outs don't give a shit about the glamor, rhetoric, or press coverage. They just want someone who'll fix things. And Obama, for the life of him, doesn't come across as someone who cares about class struggle (I don't know why, but I don't get that vibe from him--at all).

However, I expect everyone to be blasting those damn "Vaginal Americans," as if women can't vote for a candidate on merit alone and somehow only men are immune to any flimsy sentimental nonsense." ...comment by "patrickson"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:47 AM
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the implementation of fundamentally bad ideas. Show me who is talking about that (and not being mealy mouthed)

I take it that you mean that the next President needs to essentially roll back the last 28 years of conservative governance? I agree that I'd like to hear this. OTOH, I'm not seeing any apologies for liberal policies, either. This hasn't happened before in my lifetime (maybe when I was 4).

I tend to think that we need a win on a positive agenda - like universal health care - before we can gain much ground on the rollback. If, at the end of 4 years, all the next Pres can point to is "we raised taxes and increased regulations," s/he's going to be in trouble.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:50 AM
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I think MY made a good point on this subject. I will add that I'm not sure there is much actual difference between opposing Clinton for her policy positions and opposing her because she is a woman. Because of her gender, Clinton's only chance to win is to run the type of campaign she is running. She needs the backing of the DLC and corporate interests in order to be viable -- a woman running from President from outside the party apparatus would stand zero chance of getting the nomination, not to mention winning the general election. Which raises the question, at what point will electing a woman President outweigh wanting a candidate to advocate more progressive positions during the primary?


Posted by: PeaDub | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:55 AM
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With the identity of the Republican nominee seemingly irrelevant, one of the interesting things about the Obama-Clinton dynamic is the inability of the media to decide who authentic voters are. Used to be, real voters were either white conservative women (codename: soccer moms) or white conservative men (NASCAR dads, Reagan Democrats).

Who knows? If Clinton or Obama were running without the other in the race, it's possible Edwards would be dominating the media narrative.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:57 AM
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42: My wife has always said that she never believed the first woman president could be a Dem (not an original thought, I know. This just makes it seem more personal, you know?).

Are there any examples of women pols in the US who were/are charismatic like Obama is? I'm pretty sure that we're culturally primed to reject public speech by women, but there must be some exceptions, right?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:03 AM
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Ogged & LB are both wrong: It's totally legitimate for voters to consider their own emotional reactions to the candidates as one factor in the race, mediated through the media though they may be. Especially in a primary race, where their stated policy platforms are very, very similar, where they would all make good presidents, & where they all have legitimately impressive records. What I despise is the idea that this is an "objective" process & that you should vote based on uneducated guesses about other voters' emotional reactions, or vote based on the emotional reactions that the media is telling you to have, instead of your own.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:04 AM
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So I am over at Obsidian Wings reading Eric Martin (American Footprints) argue with Sebastian Holsclaw.

Martin - pro Clinton
Sebastian - Vehemently pro-Obama. Not anti-Clinton, Holsclaw says he will vote for Obama in November

Meanwhile the feminists are defending Clinton against publius

Moderate & Conservative White Males for Obama!!

Yeah, like I can jump on that bandwagon


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:07 AM
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Look out, MY has apparently lost his mind:

Both candidates [BO and HRC] are likable and well-liked....

As we know, this statement is incontrovertibly false. It's only a matter of time before the poor guy gets fired. Sad, really.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:07 AM
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Are there any examples of women pols in the US who were/are charismatic like Obama is?

Anne Richards.

Governor of Arizona, whatever her name is? (I think it's the same name as the singer for Concrete Blonde, but can't remember exactly)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:10 AM
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Anne Richards.

Good example. Maybe not Obama-charisma (as a speech-giver), but certainly WJC-charisma (I'd say that WJC had a broader charisma - it worked in every setting - whereas Obama is good in small groups, mediocre at best in debates, flat on the radio, and soaring in speeches).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:14 AM
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44: Barbara Jordan


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:14 AM
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Napolitano.

The "Concrete Blonde" movie featured Frank Sinatra and a naked blonde woman wearing concrete overshoes at the bottom of the river. IIRC. I wasn't paying close attention, watching it was a social obligation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:15 AM
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JRoth, the snark is getting a little tiresome.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:17 AM
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politicalfootball's comments re: "authentic voters" are an interesting counterpoint to bob mcmanus'-- mcmanus is basically arguing that you shouldn't vote for Obama because his supporters aren't the right kind of people. Basically the same shtick the GOP uses on Democrats all the time.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:18 AM
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Moderate & Conservative White Males for Obama!!

Clinton beats Obama among conservatives and moderates, and he beat her among women in Iowa and lost in NH. It's a close race. Clinton has the over-40 vote locked, and despite Steinem's attempt to decide the over-60 means you're really, really radical, that historically means she's winning the more conservative vote.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:20 AM
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shouldn't vote for Obama because his supporters aren't the right kind of people

Sebastian Holsclaw????

I can live with my bigotry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:21 AM
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mcmanus--They all have a coalition of objectionable & non-objectionable supporters. Voters who choose their candidates based on resentment of a small and unrepresentative sample portion of their opponents' supporters are asking to be manipulated.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:29 AM
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52: Alright, sorry, but I was actually surprised to see MY write that. I would've been surprised even before yesterday's marathon.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:31 AM
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that historically means she's winning the more conservative vote.

From exit polls linked above

Self-identified Democrat
Clinton 45 Obama 34
Registered Democrats
Clinton 43 Obama 32
Registered Independent
Clinton 43 Obama 40
Liberal-Moderate-Conservative Scale
Essentially tied


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:34 AM
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I was surprised too, since a few posts down he says that Lithwick is basically right.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:34 AM
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Talking demographics, it'll be most interesting to me to see how working class voters continue to break down. As you may have seen, $50k household income was the split between BHO and HRC in NH. I don't expect that to be universal, but I expect it to be decisive - mostly because I think that the other splits will follow the economic one (i.e., if BHO starts winning women decisively, it will be because low-income women and men break for him). Could be wrong, of course.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:35 AM
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Damn, I for the independents wrong at 58

Clinton 34 Obama 40


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:36 AM
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59: Maybe he's drawing a distinction between likability and authenticity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:37 AM
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also, there's some basis for portraying Obama as the "rich candidate" but portraying him as the "white candidate" based on the New Hampshire exit polls--which I see don't include enough minority men in the sample to report the results--seems pretty cheap to me.

An authentic voter is an eligible voter who shows up at the polls. This works for the general election & the Democratic primaries.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:39 AM
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56"Katherine, what are some of Sebastian's favorite issues?

IIRC, among others of course, illegal combatants, late-term abortion, judicial interpretation...and the Social Security Trust Fund

Here's some Andy Sullivan today:

"A nice summation:

As the exit polls have shown, the Democratic primary is turning into a battle between the people that pay for Social Security and those that collect it."

It isn't, for me, about who is supporting Obama but about why they are supporting Obama. And I certainly aren't going to accept any of the bullshit Republicans give me about loving bi-partisanship.
Jeez


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:45 AM
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62: Quit trolling, Roth.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:46 AM
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||

Related to nothing, I just noticed a line in this article by David Byrne that should clear up an earlier debate on unfogged.

"This is more or less what I lived with for many years as a member of the Talking Heads." (emphasis mine)
I take this as proof that the construction "the Talking Heads" is acceptible, and he uses it several times in the article.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:50 AM
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And I repeat: Politics are about coalitions. Voters who choose their candidates based on resentment of a small and unrepresentative sample of their opponents' supporters are asking to be manipulated. Also showing an unattractive disrespect for the *rest* of that candidate's coalitions, who have their own reasons for supporting them.


Posted by: katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:53 AM
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Sorry, I should have posted that in the Rhianna thread. I forgot there was a recent music thread.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:54 AM
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Suck it, lernr.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:56 AM
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Quit trolling, Roth.

I wasn't! Ogged and I agree that it's odd that MY simultaneously believes that HRC is inauthentic and likable.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:56 AM
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67: Plus, if we're going by exit polls, Edwards is an antipopulist Nazi.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:57 AM
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63:Ok, the "white male" thing was a bit of a joke. But not entirely, because women have always been a driving force in socialism & economic progressivism. And white males are the most economically conservative demographic.

Tiny Revolution
links to a black male writing about Obama


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:57 AM
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Sorry, I should have posted that in the Rhianna thread. I forgot there was a recent music thread.

What recent music thread? There was just the one about Rhiannon, AFAIK.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:58 AM
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What I despise is the idea that this is an "objective" process & that you should vote based on uneducated guesses about other voters' emotional reactions, or vote based on the emotional reactions that the media is telling you to have, instead of your own.

This seems broadly at odds with not throwing away a vote on an unlikely candidate (say Kucinich or Dodd). Is it mostly the polling?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 11:58 AM
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74: yep. If it looks ridiculously implausible that a candidate will win the election you're voting in now that's obviously relevant to your vote. "Mike Gravel doesn't have a shot at the nomination" isn't an uneducated guess & doesn't require you to try to get inside the heads of people you don't actually know. (Though, it's still defensible to vote for a candidate with no shot in the primary.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:04 PM
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Clicked thriugh to the Glen Ford article. Very good.

Concluding paragraph...nah, I'll just link without a quote. I've trolled enough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:07 PM
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70: JRoth, you are confused about what constitutes trolling. Let me clear it up. Trollish snark looks like this:

Look out, MY has apparently lost his mind: "Both candidates [BO and HRC] are likable and well-liked...."

Wry observations look like this:

I didn't realize that ... Dahlia Lithwick is a credulous dupe of media narratives.

Is that clear?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:10 PM
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gosh, I wonder if there are any female voters out there who don't trust Hillary Clinton even a tiny bit.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:13 PM
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gosh, I wonder if there are any female voters out there who don't trust Hillary Clinton even a tiny bit.

Huh?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:26 PM
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Opinionated Grandma is like Grandpa on OpalMOO. Love it.


Posted by: KJ | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:46 PM
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41: Sure, and some things are hard (health care), at least politically. But some of the rollback *s a nearly complete positive, Stop being stupid in foreign policy. Talk about the difference between real security and security theater. Talk about how Americans are better than gitmo, or should be. You aren't going to lose anyone you had a chance with, and I think an awful lot of people would love to feel they are voting for someone who will at least seriously try to redress some of the more egregious errors of the past decade....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 12:49 PM
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81: I misjudged where your emphasis was. FWIW, Edwards has explicitly repudiated the GWOT language - I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't end up doing most of what you want on that front. HRC much less so, of course. Obama's less certain, but he at least seems to be on-board with the less-stupid foreign policy. I wouldn't be surprised if he used his Happy Hope talk to do some of what you're saying.

I'm not saying that we should just give them all the benefit of the doubt. I just think it's not as bleak as you seem to think.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:03 PM
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Wait, some of you "resent" Steinem for saying you're not feminists?

She doesn't say that. She's saying that older women tend to be more radical than younger women, and that many young women, hoping to escape the sexual caste system, aren't aware of how much they *are* affected by sexism. In my experience, both of those things are true.

It really bothers me that when strong, older feminist leaders say strong things, people get defensive and think they're being told they're "not feminists." Steinem doesn't say that anywhere in that piece.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:12 PM
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82: You didn't really --- that's not actually where my emphasis would be; I'm trying to identify what I would think of an no-brainers, that this should have been the starting point, none of this mincing about on Iraq etc.

In other words, these sorts of glaringly obvious fuckups of the Bush administration you should be able to sell to most voters, at least if you word it in positive ways. Your saying some of these guys might get there, I'm saying it's a travesty that this is a question at all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:12 PM
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How is voting for the machine & money candidate radical unless you buy into Steinem's frame about race? How does it not count against her thesis that the money & machine candidate isn't the black guy, but the white woman?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:21 PM
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You know how old women are, Cala.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:24 PM
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85: That's the annoying thing about this. It really says something about sex relations that a woman can even be the establishment candidate (not that I don't think it would be an objectively good thing to have a female president ... just not a fan of this candidate). Trying to reduce everything about this race to a single question about the sex of the candidate is a pretty extreme case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:24 PM
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older women tend to be more radical than younger women

Which might or might not be a valid statement, but the evidence she marshals for it (older women are breaking for the conservative candidate!) points in precisely the opposite direction.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:30 PM
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Exactly. I don't think young women are in denial about sexism, or at least if we are, pointing to the female Democratic frontrunner as evidence that young women are deluded about the ability of a woman to do well in politics doesn't make the case.

And her first paragraph is just wrong. If I'd told you in 2000 that there was this black guy in Chicago who had a law degree, was reputedly a good speaker, and hadn't held public office yet, but was going to win the Iowa primary in 2008, you wouldn't have believed me any more than Steinem's Achola Obama hypothetical.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:31 PM
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Well, the fact that Clinton is the establishment candidate is a pretty big deal. And it has a lot to do with the other reason people use to criticize her, which is that her husband was a two-term president. You don't really expect a woman to get to be a major front-running candidate without connections, do you?

I don't think what Steinem is saying about race is particularly offensive, either. Racism isn't over--and she specifically says this--but it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women. The counterpart to that, of course, is that white women are doing better in the broad middle and upper middle classes than black men (or black women, to a lesser degree). In the military, particularly, there are pretty strict regulations that mean that the military is one of the least racist institutions in America--but it's still appallingly (and dangerously, in many cases) sexist.

Steinem isn't saying that voting for Hillary is the litmus test of feminism. She's saying that it's really interesting, and dismaying, that people (I would specify, people on the left) are better at overcoming their racism than their sexism.

Now, I think a lot of this has to do with the *kind* of black candidate Obama is--we've pretty much divided blacks into "good ones" and "bad ones," and we've done that for a very very long time, and Obama, who is hyper-educated, "articulate," and fairly patrician, gets marked as an "exception" to racism. I think if he didn't, he wouldn't be nearly as successful. And Steinem isn't taking that into account. On the other hand, she is pointing out that being a "good woman", which is what you need to do to succeed, becomes *itself* a barrier--now Clinton's the establishment/money/machine candidate, she's a sellout, etc. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I suppose, though, that the reaction of feminists who dislike Hillary isn't structurally all that different than the reaction of blacks who argue that Obama isn't "black enough." But the point is it's still a way of maintaining the status quo, even though it seems to be the opposite.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:38 PM
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Which might or might not be a valid statement, but the evidence she marshals for it (older women are breaking for the conservative candidate!) points in precisely the opposite direction.

Right. There are a few stories you can tell here. One is that in the state that is most conservative in the Northeast, women in the cohort that is the most conservative broke for the conservative candidate. Doesn't have the same intellectual cachet as radicalism, the Bradley Effect, or clever contrarianism, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:38 PM
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I don't think what Steinem is saying about race is particularly offensive, either

There's a shocker.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:40 PM
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88: They're not breaking for the more conservative candidate; they're breaking for the woman candidate. I'm really not convinced that Obama is less conservative than Clinton, and even if he were, the older women I know are voting for Hillary on the grounds of her sex, not her conservatism.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:40 PM
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There are a few stories you can tell here.

Precisely. They don't negate each other, either. The point is that there are *different ways* of looking at the candidates.

92: Yes, because I'm so deeply racist. Look, she is making the 70s-era mistake of putting "blacks" and "women" in two separate groups (though she does try, repeatedly, not to do this). But the substance of her argument, about the relative gains *at the top* of individual black men and individual white women, is, I think, accurate.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:43 PM
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people (I would specify, people on the left) are better at overcoming their racism than their sexism.

People on the left are also likely to vote for candidates on the left.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:43 PM
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89: Actually Steinem's Achola Obama hypothetical can't prove that sexism is more powerful than racism because hypothetical Achoa is both black and a woman so in this framework has 2 strikes against her.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:43 PM
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96: Agreed.

95: And what we're going to perceive as left is a question of perception, is it not?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:44 PM
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Racism isn't over--and she specifically says this--but it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women.

I don't think it's bizarre. Traditionally the power structure has consisted of white men. Black men are biologically a lot more similar to white men than any kind of woman is, and therefore allowing them into the power structure has less of a transformative effect on it. Plus during segregation, our society already contained a parallel power structure in which black men were at the top.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:46 PM
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B, we can't remove race or sexism from this, we live in a racist, sexist society.

A vote for Hillary is a vote against the status quo on sexism grounds, but it is also very much a vote *for* the status quo on other grounds. The latter can outweigh the former, without making you anti-feminist.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:48 PM
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They're not breaking for the more conservative candidate

It's plausible either way, and we really don't know which it is.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:49 PM
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98: I think maybe that's part of it, but I think there are two much bigger factors. First, in the early 20th century, blacks pretty much lived separately from whites (white women have never lived separately from men), which meant that a functioning black middle and professional class did exist; and second, for a brief period during the civil rights era, the government created some pretty powerful structures to try to ensure equality, which again, wasn't done for women. (Where you see exceptions--title 9, women being included in affirmative action--you can see a great deal of success.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:49 PM
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90: Well, the fact that Clinton is the establishment candidate is a pretty big deal.

But that's exactly the point! Voting for a woman doesn't automatically make you radical any more because the woman in question here is the mainstream, most conservative, well-supported & moneyed candidate. That HRC isn't just a 'woman candidate' is a huge victory! It doesn't mean that feminism has nothing more to do, but the fact that Steinem doesn't recognize this doesn't make her a dangerous radical. It doesn't mean the women of New Hampshire are more radical, either.

And if I wrote an article decrying the racist old women who would rather vote for a machine hawk than deign to vote for a black man, I'd be just as wrong.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:49 PM
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Well, the fact that Clinton is the establishment candidate is a pretty big deal. And it has a lot to do with the other reason people use to criticize her, which is that her husband was a two-term president. You don't really expect a woman to get to be a major front-running candidate without connections, do you?

Emphasis mine. I'd like to think that many of us who support another candidate have reasons beyond "she's the establishment candidate" and "the other reason".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:52 PM
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B, I think I see what it is she's getting at, I'm just not sure either how to fix it, or how to prioritize it.

I think many could agree it would be awfully nice to have a `better' female candidate in the lineup. Many who might hold their nose on her policies and political pedigree and vote for her anyway wouldn't have too...

... but none of that addresses the question of whether or not such a person could conceivably have reached the primaries this year, if she existed. I think perhaps not. Which bothers me a lot; not enough to think that Hillary is the right choice, but a lot.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:53 PM
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99: Agreed. And neither I nor Steinem is saying anything about being "anti-feminist." My argument is that I'm bothered that women feel "resentment" about explaining that their feminism is important, but not, in this particular case or maybe generally, whatever, *the* major factor in their voting.

102: "Radical" in the feminist sense, i.e., putting sex first among any number of other possible factors.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:54 PM
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104: If it isn't obvious, in 104 `hold their nose on her policies' refers to Hillary, not the hypothetical.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:55 PM
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"She's saying that it's really interesting, and dismaying, that people (I would specify, people on the left) are better at overcoming their racism than their sexism."

She is saying it without evidence. I kind of agree that Hillary Clinton couldn't possibly win with Obama's strategy, and I'm not sure any woman could. But Obama couldn't possibly win with Clinton's strategy, and I'm not sure any black candidate could.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:55 PM
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But the substance of her argument, about the relative gains *at the top* of individual black men and individual white women, is, I think, accurate.

I suspect not (female governors vs. black governors, CEOs, etc), but the entire frame is ridiculous. It's not a versus thing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:55 PM
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Racism isn't over--and she specifically says this--but it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women.

This would need a whole hell of a lot of backup to be anywhere near convincing. Offhand I can come up with vastly more powerful white women than powerful black men (which isn't surprising because there are a lot more white women than black men in the US population). And remind me again who was Illinois' first black senator.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:56 PM
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103: So would I. But those keep coming up.

many could agree it would be awfully nice to have a `better' female candidate in the lineup. Many who might hold their nose on her policies and political pedigree and vote for her anyway wouldn't have too...

... but none of that addresses the question of whether or not such a person could conceivably have reached the primaries this year, if she existed. I think perhaps not. Which bothers me a lot; not enough to think that Hillary is the right choice, but a lot.

Exactly. I don't think that candidate is going to come along until we've had a couple of more "establishment" women finally making it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:56 PM
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for what it's worth, I think equating `radical feminist' with `single issue voter' is a mistake.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:58 PM
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108: I'm not crazy about the frame either, but she's dealing specifically with the facts we have, which is Obama (black man) and Clinton (white woman).

Did y'all see Dowd's lovely column today? Jesus.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:58 PM
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But the substance of her argument, about the relative gains *at the top* of individual black men and individual white women, is, I think, accurate.

Current female senators: 16 (all white)
Current black senators: 1


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:59 PM
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... but none of that addresses the question of whether or not such a person could conceivably have reached the primaries this year, if she existed. I think perhaps not. Which bothers me a lot; not enough to think that Hillary is the right choice, but a lot.

I'll note passingly that the field of women governors, which might have produced a couple of very good candidates, didn't kick anyone up for a few reasons. Granholm's popularity has waned since the Michigan economy blew up, and both Napolitano and Sebelius seem to have made the same calculation that Warner did, that an open Senate seat at the ends of their terms is a better shot than running for President. (Napolitano is also single and gets Mikulski-esque rumors accordingly, which is a shame, as I think she'd be a hell of a VP candidate.) It's really weird how governor-free the Dem side of things turned out to be.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 1:59 PM
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My argument is that I'm bothered that women feel "resentment" about explaining that their feminism is important, but not, in this particular case or maybe generally, whatever, *the* major factor in their voting.

It did seem like the Steinem article was congratulating all those elderly feminists for their radical decision to make feminism the major factor in their voting. And wondering why other feminists weren't doing that as well.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:00 PM
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111: I don't think that's what I was doing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:00 PM
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Granholm is a Canuck.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:01 PM
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Racism isn't over--and she specifically says this--but it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women.

Wait, what? What top is this?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:02 PM
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Granholm's popularity has waned

Also, not eligible to run for president.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:02 PM
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But the substance of her argument, about the relative gains *at the top* of individual black men and individual white women, is, I think, accurate.

It's moronic. Women are doing better and better at the top. (Indeed, if you want to find women getting hammered on gender, I bet the place to look for it is at the bottom. That's one possible explanation for why HRC does (or did, dunno) particularly well among women in that bracket.) That's a good thing. Heck, it's the signal underreported success story of today: at this point, at least in Dem politics, they're unkillable. As far as white female Presidential candidates the Dems are well-positioned to just reload if HRC fails. Dem women win in statewide elections in putatively red states (Sibilius, Napolitano). Even Republican women win statewide elections in red states. Women, whatever race, hold about a third of elected offices held by Democrats, up and down the chain. And that's without any gender gerrymandering. These are all good things. But demographics matter, and (est.) the country is 37% white female, and the Democratic Party is 33% white female. The structural factors are just better for them than for black men for any number of reasons. (For example, the number of white male politicians who have black male children or spouses to whom they can deed their machine is small.) And that's fine: welcome to democracy, and gawd knows white female Democrats have been massively good for any number of other subgroups. It's the disingenuousness that's irritating.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:03 PM
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116: Maybe not you specifically.

I'm not even convinced that an HRC presidency would be the largest net feminist gain at this point, but that's pretty speculative.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:04 PM
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105: Then 'radical' boils down to 'supporting the woman because she's a woman', which makes older feminists better feminists than those younger women who are all obviously in denial... over what?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but yes, I do resent someone assuming I don't support a female candidate because I don't understand feminism.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:05 PM
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120 gets it right, if you limit "at the top" to political situations. There are as many female voters as male voters, and almost all voters are willing to vote for women. But in other realms of power where the decisions are not made democratically, the people currently in charge may be less willing to admit a woman to their ranks, like I say in 98.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:06 PM
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(For example, the number of white male politicians who have black male children or spouses to whom they can deed their machine is small.)

It's not just a machine that does it -- Nancy Pelosi's dad was the mayor of Baltimore, which presumably helped her very little in San Francisco, but she decided to go into the family business.

(Also, shame on you all for remembering that Granholm was a Canadian. Can't you see past labels like "socialist toque-wearer" or "hockey-loving moose lover"?)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:06 PM
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Rebecca Traister elucidates my thinking regarding the media's Hillary-bashing, and the New Hampshire backlash.

I'm an Edwards supporter primarily because he's taken the most direct line against some of our dominant, destructive media narratives - for me, that's even more important than his opposition to the Iraq War.

For example, his denunciation of the War On Terror frame is important because it attacks a rationale for Iraq. But it's more important because it attacks a piece of the media brainwashing that lays the basis for so much destructive Bush policy.

Hillary, bless her heart, struck a blow against another destructive media narrative, and good for her. Watching Tweety on TV last night was, just as Traister suggests, a lot of fun. Anything that takes Chris Matthews down a peg is good for America.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:06 PM
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118: Apo's 113 is pretty good evidence that I'm wrong about this. But I seem to remember reading something somewhere not long about about the relative numbers of black CEOs vs. women CEOs (are there no black women CEOs? I have no idea, actually). The numbers on the supreme court are, of course, equal: 1:1. In the military (which I know a bit more about, and specifically mentioned), men of all racial backgrounds do better than women.

Obviously, you'd have to do some research and get some hard numbers on this stuff to be certain either way. I'm inclined to agree with Steinem's assessment because, as I said, I think I remember reading something recently about the business world, and b/c of what I know about the military. Now, across *groups*, I think it's unquestionable that white women are on average doing better economically than black men, so what we're talking about here is mostly who has more tokens at the top.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:07 PM
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but it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women.

This is an atmospheric question, and I don't know how to nail it down, but I'd agree with that if it were phrased as "for those in both groups who reach the top, race isn't as salient an issue for black men as sex is for women." She's not white, but if you take the last two secretaries of state, Powell and Rice, as an example, I'd say that race hasn't been as big a factor in how either was treated as sex has been in how Rice is treated, and that's generally going to be true. But I have no idea how you'd defend this other than "Seems to me."

And it doesn't address odds of reaching the top, which are, I think, heavily affected by which top we're talking about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:08 PM
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124: He's just jealous of the health care system.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:08 PM
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Apo's 113 is pretty good evidence that I'm wrong about this.

Agreed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:09 PM
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122: I think you're reading Steinem's argument in an unnecessarily defensive way, is what I'm saying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:10 PM
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But I seem to remember reading something somewhere not long about about the relative numbers of black CEOs vs. women CEOs (are there no black women CEOs? I have no idea, actually).

There aren't any Fortune 500 black women CEOs -- the closest is Ursula Something at Xerox, who's being groomed to take over from the current (white female) CEO. There are more women CEOs than African-American CEOs in the Fortune 500, but the numbers are pitifully small for both. (There are like three African-Americans now that the guy at Morgan Stanley has stepped down.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:11 PM
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123, 126: I don't buy it for CEOs, corporate boards, etc., either, absent something more than "seems right." It seems completely wrong to me, but I can't point to anything more than a general impression.

The military's a unique case, and yes, way better on race than gender.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:11 PM
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130: It depends on how much of a positive connotation you think "radical" is carrying. In most things I read by liberals and progressives, "radical" is one of the biggest compliments you can give. Unless you're talking about radical right-wingers, of course.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:11 PM
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Economically, white women are *the* big success story of the 1975-present period. Followed by black women.

Black men have done worst of all groups.

Dunno how that plays out in CEO counts, but I don't think that much matters, you're talking about a thousand or so people there.

I don't think the military is at all representative here -- it's just a unique institution.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:13 PM
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130: It does give a bit of cognitive dissonance to associate `radical' with support for Hillary. Which in turn gives a bit of cognitive dissonance.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:16 PM
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But it is true, bizarrely, that despite the historical virulence of racism, black men seem to be doing better at the top than white women.

Without the "seem" I think that's false, unless by "at the top" you mean "in this particular election", and maybe not even then.

I really hated Steinem's piece. Everything was wrong with it. I avoided reading it for a whole day, and I wish I hadn't read it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:19 PM
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I've no doubt that I'm also somewhat oversentimental about Steinem. In any case, the main reason I said anything was that the "I resent being called a bad feminist" thing just makes me feel tired and sad.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:25 PM
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I think you're reading Steinem's argument in an unnecessarily defensive way, is what I'm saying.

I'm not feeling defensive.

She can mean 'radical' in one of two ways. Either she means just in the single-issue sense of voting for a woman, or she means something like more daring, more anti-establishment. I suspect she means the latter because she spends an awful lot of time trying to argue that racism isn't nearly a big a deal as sexism, and that it doesn't make any sense to say 'women are the one group that gets more radical as they get older' if you're meaning 'radical' in a very narrow sense.

So she's saying that being a 50+ female Iowa voter who votes for HRC makes you more radical, and other women are either in denial or trying to escape the sexual caste system. I'm not even sure what the latter means (though would think that the point of feminism was to stomp on, and thus escape, sexual caste systems.), and I'd like to know what I'm in denial about. I don't really know how to read this as anything but an indictment of under-50s who don't vote for HRC.

If all she means is that younger women might not be sensitive to just how historic a Clinton victory would be because we didn't live through a time of single-sex higher ed, or got the vote in our lifetimes, I'd agree. But that's not what she says.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:27 PM
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My easy-peasy way of getting a sense of the lay of the land is to count the number of women who have been my supervisors or colleagues--and whom I've been forced to respect by virtue of the system-- a number I couldn't even begin to guess at, and compare it to the number of African-Americans in a similar relationship to me (three, one a woman). I'm comfortable with women in charge, not because I'm a good person, but because I've been informally trained that way for most of my life. And I'm not even Generation Awesome.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:32 PM
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So she's saying that being a 50+ female Iowa voter who votes for HRC makes you more radical, and other women are either in denial or trying to escape the sexual caste system. I'm not even sure what the latter means (though would think that the point of feminism was to stomp on, and thus escape, sexual caste systems.), and I'd like to know what I'm in denial about.

Makes you more radical about gender issues specifically, maybe? Not that gender should be anyone's only issue, but that it gets more heavily weighted the older a woman gets and realizes how strongly gender issues affect her. (I read 'escape the sexual caste system' as talking about the internalized misogyny some young women (and some, fewer, older women) have: "Other women are treated in a sexist manner because they are objectively weakly feminine. This is not my problem because I choose to behave as a strong person, and therefore I will not be subject to sexism." Lots of women believe that to some extent when they're younger, and grow to believe it less as they age.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:32 PM
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Wait, what's this about black men doing better than white women? Remind me of what the largest demographic in America's prison population is?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:33 PM
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139: That's all very much complicated by the fact that blacks are a minority in the US, and women aren't, no? Depends on where you are, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:34 PM
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That's all very much complicated by the fact that blacks are a minority in the US, and women aren't, no?

It's not complicated by it, it's a function of it. Demographics matter, particularly in a democracy. Pound for pound matters only in boxing.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:36 PM
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Remind me of what the largest demographic in America's prison population is?

Hos?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:37 PM
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Ah. So Asian Americans are even more oppressed than blacks. Good to know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:38 PM
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"Now, I think a lot of this has to do with the *kind* of black candidate Obama is--we've pretty much divided blacks into "good ones" and "bad ones," and we've done that for a very very long time, and Obama, who is hyper-educated, "articulate," and fairly patrician, gets marked as an "exception" to racism. I think if he didn't, he wouldn't be nearly as successful. "

Correct. I would go further: if he didn't, he wouldn't have a chance in hell. The fact is, women are a majority of the country. Blacks aren't.

Tell me: do you think that the author of "Dreams of My Father" & former South Side community organizer is unaware of this fact? Do you think this might have anything to do with all of that unity, hope, bipartisanship, "we are one nation!" rhetoric?

I think that he is sincere about all that stuff. But I think he he is also running a campaign strategy, just as she is. That soaring "one nation" rhetoric makes college students & twentysomethings & many a pundit go weak at knees, but it obviously doesn't work half as well on older voters, working-class voters, etc. etc.--a lot of whom much prefer Clinton's message: "hard work, paying my dues, fighting for you for years, I know I can deliver".

And all this is fair enough. Because the pressures that drove these choices during the campaigns won't disappear when they take office. It's reasonable for young antiwar voters not to trust Clinton. It's reasonable for lower-income, older voters to wonder if Obama is for real & will really represent them on economic issues.

But it's also perfectly reasonable for a woman to vote for Clinton in part because she'd be the first female president, & for a black person to vote for Obama in part because he'd be the first black candidate.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:38 PM
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Ah. So

Racist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:38 PM
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'women are the one group that gets more radical as they get older'

Cala, Steinem is just trying to adapt an old - and justly celebrated - argument of hers to a new situation where it doesn't apply terribly well.

In this context, she's saying that support for a white woman is more radical (whatever that means) than support for a black man. It's a dubious argument, but I don't think she implies anywhere that all true feminists must agree with her.

Steinem's argument seems to boil down to: everyone should support any reasonably qualified woman for the presidency. That seems both radical and feminist to me - as long as you're willing to allow more than one viewpoint to be encompassed by the word "feminism." What's the fuss?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:39 PM
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146 was me/


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:39 PM
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Clinton should send thank you notes to Chris Matthews, to John Edwards for his "need a tough leader" remark, to the men who chanted "Iron my shirt" while she was speaking, and to everyone who called her Shrillary.

If her critics had dwelt on her record as much as on her robotic/cold/unlikeable/inauthentic/hysterical personality I doubt if she would have done as well as she did. Maybe they thought it would be simpler and more comprehensible for the average voter (not to mention for themselves) to keep hammering away at her supposedly disagreeable nature instead of actual issues. But by making their misogyny so obvious, her critics have made her look like an underdog. At a certain point handing a big "fuck you" to the assholes makes voting for the more conservative candidate seem pretty worth it.

And it's funny, because her campaign did all it could to take gender off the table. I think she got a bounce of the same sort that Obama got from his handling of the "ooh, a madrassah" story.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:39 PM
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Well, yeah. I'm still not rooting for her -- I'm voting for Edwards if he's still in it, and Obama if Edwards is out, bu after all that I'm awfully sympathetic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:42 PM
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151: Oh, me too.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:43 PM
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145: I didn't say it's the only thing that matters. But it's a big thing. And absent their ability to glom onto bigger demographic group victories--particularly those of African-Americans and women--Asian Americans might be well and truly fucked. Same, for example, with Gay Americans (who are demographically similar in number to Asian Americans, as near as I can tell.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:43 PM
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Clinton should send thank you notes to Chris Matthews, to John Edwards for his "need a tough leader" remark, to the men who chanted "Iron my shirt" while she was speaking, and to everyone who called her Shrillary.

Ogged: objectively pro-Clinton !


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:44 PM
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140: "Other women are treated in a sexist manner because they are objectively weakly feminine. This is not my problem because I choose to behave as a strong person, and therefore I will not be subject to sexism."

That's not really a nice thing to attribute to everyone woman who votes for Obama or Edwards, and it's really inaccurate. Not voting for HRC is femme-hating? If that's what she's saying, I'm right to be resentful.

It's a generational thing. Voting for HRC as a woman isn't a big deal to me because I have voted for women in elections before. Those women have *won* elections before.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:45 PM
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151: Sympathetic to what? She's a millionaire with a lifetime seat in the United States Senate. I don't want her in the White House because I hate her policies and I don't want right-wingers running the Democratic Party anymore. As far as victims of sexism go, there are a billions of women worse off than Hillary Clinton - many of whom are getting fucked over by policies she cheered on while her husband was in office.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:46 PM
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I wonder about a feminist break along roughly generational lines ... older feminists seeing Hillary as a candidate and say `about fucking time', younger seeing her and saying `we can wait for a better candidate'. I wonder if some see a woman in the white house as some sort of culmination, others as an inevitability.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:49 PM
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And it's funny, because her campaign did all it could to take gender off the table..

You mean the well-publicized series of events starring herself, her mother, and her daughter? Or the well-publicized old women telling reporters that they can't believe they were going to be able to vote for a woman for President in their lifetimes? Give me a break. Cripes, if she didn't seek female votes on the basis of her gender, she shouldn't be President. Her job is to get votes, and that seems like a good and obvious way to get them.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:50 PM
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151: I'm sympathetic that as a public person, she's been handed a lot more shit than most (as has her husband), due to this weird wingnut obsession with them. I'm also sympathetic to the fork that her campaign may represent for any feminist.

As a politician though, I've no time for her, which for me easily outweighs my desire to see a woman in the job.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:52 PM
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150: Agreed, 100%.

"Hoping to escape the sexual caste system" is something I think LB explained pretty well. It's the belief that, *because* I'm a feminist, I'm not going to make the mistakes that other women make--getting married too young, having kids too early, doing more than my fair share of the housework and childcare, etc. That because I see myself as equal and will insist that other people treat me that way, that I won't be affected by sexism. It's the internalized misogyny that women are victimized because they don't push hard enough and make the right choices, and it's hard to get rid of because *of course* when we're thinking that way we have no idea that that's the implication of the belief that we're going to be exceptions (and would argue strenuously to the contrary).

In the particular do-I-or-don't-I vote for Hillary question, it would be the "I'm not going to vote for her *just because* she's a woman" argument (which I have seen a *lot* of young women make)--because doing so is letting myself be boxed in, when really, the entire point of feminism is to be free of these gender categories, isn't it? The belief that I/my generation can afford to vote "just on the issues" because of course there'll be another woman candidate along in a few years.

There may be really good reasons not to support Hillary against the other candidates (I happen to think that most people vastly exaggerate the differences between the three front runners, though). But I think people are overcompensating when they dismiss the gender issue or reject people who bring it up as being single-issue voters, or old-fashioned, or blind to the other issues.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:58 PM
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153 - Reread the comment, Tim, and the one immediately above it. The man is keeping down all of the Hos, from Stanley to Josie. Don beat 'em by going out like a man.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 2:59 PM
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OT: New Jersey has just become the second state after Maryland to pass the National Popular Vote bill. What the fuck, people? Why have I never heard of this thing before?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:00 PM
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157: Agreed. To which one response is, *when* is a "better" candidate going to come along? And what bar do women have to jump over to be "good enough" (when, after all, most of us miss Bill Clinton, whose policies were roughly the same as Hillary's, far as I can tell)?

Anyway, now I gotta go pick up PK, so I'm off for the afternoon.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:00 PM
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163: I think most miss Bill Clinton more by comparison, and have a rosy view of that presidency. Not bad for a republican president, or something like that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:03 PM
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"OTOH, the most significant apparent differences between McCain and Obama is on foreign policy, and I'm not at all convinced that they are as different as some perceive them. The Iraq war is, for all intents and purposes, over as a political issue: any president entering in 1/09 is going to pursue a similar strategy there. "

...von, at Obsidian Wings


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:03 PM
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what bar do women have to jump over to be "good enough"

Better than the alternative?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:06 PM
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any president entering in 1/09 is going to pursue a similar strategy there.

depressingly, this is probably true. I don't see anyone having the ballsskirt to own that mess and actually do the right thing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:07 PM
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167: Oh, but there are plenty of ways that the Republicans would like to own that mess and do the wrong thing. Ask Rudy Guiliani. Or John McCain. They'll tell you.

Or, in McCain's case, he'll sing it: Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:09 PM
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when, after all, most of us miss Bill Clinton

Jesus F. Christ. The amount of cognitive dissonance here is stunning. How is it that the liberal blogosphere has come to supposedly loathe the Democratic Leadership Council and all that it stands for, and yet continues to slobber over the memory of the DLC's greatest champion? Lieberman was a Clinton Democrat. Evan Bayh is a Clinton Democrat. Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer and Mary Landrieu and Dianne Feinstein are all Clinton Democrats. The same people you've been railing at for years for being backstabbing, worthless traitors? They're all Clinton Democrats. Yes, I'm aware that I'm talking to a wall.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:10 PM
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depressingly, this is probably true. I don't see anyone having the ballsskirt to own that mess and actually do the right thing.

It isn't even plausible. We're talking about Neocon John here. His foreign policy will probably be more sane than the NPod influenced Giuliani policy. But I don't think it's going to be better than Romney's or Huckabee's (whatever that would be), let alone a Democrat's.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:11 PM
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165: And you're quoting Von, Bob, because he's such an apt and insightful observer of U.S. politics, I take it?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:12 PM
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"Edwards, on the other hand, purports to commit to an abrupt withdrawal. He's either an idiot or a liar for doing so and, in either case, unfit to be in the Senate, much less Commander in Chief."

...von at Obsidian Wings

C'mon, Obama isn't the insurgent anti-establisment candidate. He's DLC, Midwestern Wing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:12 PM
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169: Everybody loves a winner, stras.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:12 PM
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169 see 164. I don't really understand it, either.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:14 PM
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We're talking about Neocon John here

I was actually referring to the entire field, both parties.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:15 PM
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160: I think that's a pretty good summary of what a young woman is likely to be thinking, but I don't see it as in the same category as thinking that 'by making good choices I will not be victim to sexism.' HRC's been a very successful candidate with the establishment. The establishment isn't afraid of women! (She's also been selling herself as inevitable. Maybe we believed her...)

Maybe we're too complacent, and there won't be any more female candidates, but from here it looks like Steinem isn't radical, she just hasn't moved past the 70s, complete with a black vs. female frame. And the candidates' views are close, but in foreign policy, Clinton defends her position on Iraq as a good idea badly managed. This isn't a tie with us all finding reasons not to vote for a woman, this is us having a pretty good reason not to think that her position on a pretty big issue is a good one.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:16 PM
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173: But he wasn't even a winner! He lost both houses of Congress and failed to enact his one major progressive policy initiative. The only thing he was good at was saving his own career - but Democrats' expectations have fallen so pathetically low that even that looks good to them now. Jesus Fuck!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:16 PM
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The love of Obama & the hatred of Edwards by Republicans tells me that their perceptions as to which Democrat will best promote Republican policies and move te country to the right are probably more accurate than the Democratic Clinton-haters on the Obararama.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:18 PM
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I was actually referring to the entire field, both parties.

Soup, if you think there's really going to be no difference between the way John McCain handles foreign policy and the way Barack Obama does, you simply haven't been paying attention. (As for Von, I know Von hasn't been paying attention, because Von's a fucking Republican.)


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:18 PM
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Stras, if your real last name is Flowers, I'm going to be annoyed.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:19 PM
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But he wasn't even a winner!

For me, at least, he was the first candidate for *anything* above the municipal level that I voted for who won.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:20 PM
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178: Bob, you're judging the candidates not based on the candidates themselves, their records, anything they've said or done, or who advises them - you're judging them entirely based on what Republicans think of them. Is that correct? By that standard, John Edwards and Barack Obama are both dangerously conservative, since they both poll well with independents and Republicans, while Clinton is clearly a Communist.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:20 PM
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I just heard NPR interview three women who voted for Hillary yesterday. All of them were under 35 and referred to her as "Hillary", and for all of them the only reason they voted for her was that she was a woman.

If this is typical, Obama and Edwards had better get together and stop splitting the man vote.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:21 PM
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181: My standard for a good president is that s/he has to produce good results, not just win elections. George Bush was a winner; he's also the worst president in history.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:22 PM
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189:you're judging them entirely based on what Republicans think of them. Is that correct?

No


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:23 PM
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the well-publicized series of events starring herself, her mother, and her daughter?

Yeah, but what does she have to say about what might be considered women's issues? Like abortion, social welfare, international human rights sorts of things? I haven't been following her because I've already made up my mind based on her voting record on Iraq, but I think she's pretty useless on that stuff.

Actually, you're right, I guess. She brings gender in at the same level as her critics do: she acknowledges it but doesn't connect it to policy. She seems to suggest that she'd govern Just Like a Man--being all about the tough mind.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:23 PM
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179: No, that's not at all what I said. My claim is much narrower than that .... I don't believe anyone will do the right thing in Iraq, period. I've given up on it. Which isn't to say the I think they will be equivalently bad, either.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:25 PM
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184: I agree with you, stras, but surely you understand how that might produce some lingering affection. When I got to voting age, being a southern Democrat was a pretty disheartening affair.

Like I said, I grade Clinton's presidency a C-, and that's being somewhat generous. But god it felt good to finally have a candidate for *something* win.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:25 PM
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Just for the record:

As in so many other ways, the Senate is anti-Democratic; there is no reason to expect more than 9 black Senators regardless, and practically speaking I would guess the ceiling is closer to 6.

OTOH, The House is set up to apportion demographics better, and there are ~30 African-Americans, which is 7% - pretty close to proportional. Anyone want to guess whether or not there are 175 women in the House, much less 220?

Same deal with the Fortune 500. Both numbers are pathetic, but it's not like there are 200 women but only 20 African-Americans. Every time you're in a room of professionals and the majority is male (let alone the many meetings that are all-male or have a token female), you're seeing sexism. It's stupid to have to say that here, but a lot of the arguments above seem to ignore this fact. Of course SCMT has had female supervisors; I'm guessing a shitload fewer than half, though.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:28 PM
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Democrats' expectations have fallen so pathetically low that even that looks good to them now.

stras, we Democrats are fully aware that the Republicans exerted a huge amount of influence in the 90s, and many of us don't regard that as Clinton's fault. We blame the Republicans, among others. Clinton aggressively tried to do the right thing at the outset of his administration, and got the not-right thing jammed down his throat again and again.

I mean, Jesus, the guy was impeached !

Keeping the executive branch out of the hands of the Republicans and setting up a Democratic successor was a huge accomplishment given the tenor of the times.

Those who thought the 90s were too dominated by DLC-Democrats used their influence to help deny the presidency to DLC-Democrat Gore. That didn't turn out too well.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:30 PM
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Clinton aggressively tried to do the right thing at the outset of his administration, and got the not-right thing jammed down his throat again and again.

NAFTA wasn't the right thing. Welfare reform wasn't the right thing. The crime bill, with its mandatory minimums and three-strikes-you're-out provisions, wasn't the right thing. And these weren't "jammed down his throat." Clinton fought for these over the protests of liberal Democrats, and in doing so lost a lot of support for health care.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:36 PM
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185: Okay, Bob, this is what you wrote above:

The love of Obama & the hatred of Edwards by Republicans tells me that their perceptions as to which Democrat will best promote Republican policies and move te country to the right are probably more accurate than the Democratic Clinton-haters on the Obararama.

So how is that not judging the candidates based on the Republicans' perceptions of them, as opposed to anything intrinsic to the candidates?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:39 PM
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Those who thought the 90s were too dominated by DLC-Democrats used their influence to help deny the presidency to DLC-Democrat Gore. That didn't turn out too well.

No, it didn't. And if Democrats elect another DLC Democrat, you can be sure we'll see another Nader run down the line. It probably won't be Nader himself, but the principle will be the same: to suck votes from the Democratic candidate as retribution for fucking over the left. It's simple blowback, and it'll keep happening until the nominal party of liberalism actually starts acting like the party of liberalism.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:44 PM
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Woman Who Made Clinton Cry Voted For Obama


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:44 PM
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192:Uhh, as in one factor among many?

Do We Have to Cut Social Security Benefits ...Econospeak on a Greg Mankiw column. Apparently "Social Security Reform" has inexplicably risen from the dead

Barkley Rosser in comments:"I'll note here that [Austan Goolsbee] seems to be part of Obama's line that social security really is in crisis and something must be done, with which they bashed Hillary in Iowa."

Austan Goolsbee is dicussed over at Angry Bear today. I am still working through AG's cv.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:45 PM
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190: PF, could you quit waving that particular bloody shirt? A lot has happened between the 1988 DLC takeover and now, and if you boil it all down to "Nader elected Bush" it's not at all conducive to civil discussion.

The dominant DLC Democrats have been shunning their own left while sucking up to the Republicans for 20 years now. During that time they did a lot of destructive things, many of which are hurting even today. When I came to Unfogged a few years ago, the dominant mood here was that we should ridicule hippies and engage in dialogue with moderate Republicans and rational conservatives -- virtually non-existent groups whose few survivors had spent the last ten years as slaves of Gingrich , DeLay, Lott, et al.

I'm willing to let this drop, but what you said was bullshit.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:46 PM
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195: Bob, what the hell does random comment X from random guy Y on random blog Z mean? Obama says he's against privatization; he used his support for raising the payroll tax cap - which, as I've told you at least a dozen times before, is a policy also supported by John Edwards - as a means to take a shot at Clinton in the primaries. Was his rhetoric opportunistic? Yes. Is there anything at all in Obama's record that indicates he favors privatization? No.

Show me something from Obama that says he wants to privatize SS. Until then, as I've said many times before, the only major Dem in the race connected to a history of scrapping or privatizing chunks of the welfare state is - guess who? - Hillary Clinton.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:52 PM
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You realize, bob, that your argument about Obama assumes that Sebastian Holsclaw & von are smarter & more astute observers of American politics than me & hilzoy? Forgive me for not being convinced.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 3:56 PM
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HRC's been a very successful candidate with the establishment. The establishment isn't afraid of women!

That's a pretty big leap. The Democratic establishment isn't afraid of *this* one woman. That doesn't mean that they've got a long list of women to push to the front of the line.

Maybe we're too complacent, and there won't be any more female candidates, but from here it looks like Steinem isn't radical, she just hasn't moved past the 70s, complete with a black vs. female frame.

Well, so far there's been one viable woman presidential candidate. Two, ish, if you remember Geraldine Ferraro's vp run. History, at least, suggests that Clinton's candidacy is a pretty big deal, and the coverage of her certainly suggests that her sex is far from a non-issue for almost *everyone*, not just poor elderly Gloria Steinem.

And the candidates' views are close, but in foreign policy, Clinton defends her position on Iraq as a good idea badly managed. This isn't a tie with us all finding reasons not to vote for a woman, this is us having a pretty good reason not to think that her position on a pretty big issue is a good one.

In that one area--but as you're admiting, their views on Iraq aren't all *that* different; it's more a question of nuance and how they explain the past than of specific future plans. And, of course, Iraq is indeed a big issue--for many people, *the* issue. But there are a lot of other issues. On some of them her record is better than the other candidates'; on some they're pretty equal.

In any case, I *still* don't have a problem with people supporting another candidate. I just don't see why supporting another candidate has to = demonizing Clinton, or demonizing people who *do* support her as single-issue voters, or as casting aspersions on other feminists, or as naively failing to realize that there are tons and tons of women presidential candidates out there just waiting for their turn.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:07 PM
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, or demonizing people who *do* support her as single-issue voters, or as casting aspersions on other feminists, or as naively failing to realize that there are tons and tons of women presidential candidates out there just waiting for their turn.

I don't think people here have been doing that, on the whole.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:10 PM
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198:I don't hang on that blog anymore, because I think the naivete, idealism, and seeing the pony but not the mountaion of shit gets a lot of people killed.

I a lot of ways, I think they are smarter. von & sebastian got their tex cuts, got their fucking war, got their torture, paid no consequences....Katherine & hilzoy got to feel magnaminous.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:18 PM
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Like I said: if you vote based on those considerations, you are asking to be manipulated & you are showing contempt for other members of the coalition.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:21 PM
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202:I am sorry, katherine, I think you and hilzoy are among the best people I have ever known. But you are too generous, and not cynical enough.

von & sebastian & sullivan & the rest know what they are doing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:26 PM
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190: PF, could you quit waving that particular bloody shirt?

Absolutely fucking not. One of the (many) reasons that liberals are better-positioned than they were is that the Democrats are extremely well-positioned right now. And one of the (many) reasons that the Democrats are so well-positioned is that Naderism has temporarily been beaten back.

We all know that the Democrats aren't "the liberal party," though stras forgets this when it's convenient. But the way to improve that is for liberals to push the Dems - something they failed at ludicrously in the 90s, and then sealed the deal in 2000. Clinton had his finger in the dike, and those of us who look at him fondly remember that.

A lot has happened between the 1988 DLC takeover and now, and if you boil it all down to "Nader elected Bush" it's not at all conducive to civil discussion.

I didn't do that. Read it again, and use quotation marks more carefully. As long as you deny that Nader helped elect Bush - or if you go the full-Nader and say that Bush's election, even in retrospect, was not a particular problem compared to the alternative, then I'm going to object. And if, as stras does (and you explicitly don't), you're going to wave the threat of abandoning the party because Hillary in Nov. 2008 wouldn't provide a sufficient distinction from the Republicans, well, I'm also going to object. That's pretty non-negotiable for me.

I don't think stras is trolling here by waving the Nader shirt (which, somehow, you don't see that he's doing), and I don't think I am either by responding. Nader's decisions - first to accuse the Dems of being more Right than they were, then to actively push the Dems to the right, then to sabotage Gore, then to endorse all those moves after the awful results were apparent - is a pretty nasty bit of history, and one we would do well to remember.

During that time they did a lot of destructive things, many of which are hurting even today.

stras is more specific than you, and stras and I simply disagree - I'm properly characterized as a Krugman moderate really, and not so liberal at all, so probably we just don't see eye-to-eye on some of these things.

The dominant DLC Democrats have been shunning their own left while sucking up to the Republicans for 20 years now.

Different DLC Democrats have been doing different things - and certainly there's a useful discussion to be had about the value of the Clinton/Gore wing of the DLC. But if you don't get the difference between Clinton/Gore and Lieberman, we'll have to agree to disagree.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:33 PM
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Just remember, when I am World Dictator, any mention of Nader, pro or con, will lead to instant vaporization from the Death Ray Satellite that I was use to maintain my hegemony.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:34 PM
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the difference between Clinton/Gore and Lieberman,

There's even a difference between the Gore wing and the Clinton/Lieberman wing which came up recently.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:37 PM
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von & sebastian & sullivan & the rest know what they are doing.

No, they don't. When has Andrew Sullivan ever known what he's doing? The man's brain is composed of a thousand isolated neurons all firing at random. This is why you should never take political advice from paranoiacs, people: they ascribe to malice everything that naturally should be ascribed to cluelessness.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:37 PM
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205: I have proposed a Godwin variant for Nader, but it's really only appropriate on comment threads where there is broad agreement on the historical role of Nader - just as Godwin is only appropriate in situations where there is broad agreement on the role of Hitler.

For Jonah Goldberg, or for a neo-Nazi web site, Godwin is inappropriate.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:41 PM
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Well, could you just shut the fuck up then, or go talk to people who agree with your lame bullshit, instead of stinking up this place?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:45 PM
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207:Having lived thru the last 37 years, I am not going to call the conservatives stupid & crazy. I let the liberals do that.

When you start winning on policy & outcomes, let me know.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:45 PM
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When has Andrew Sullivan ever known what he's doing?

Well, you have to give Sullivan credit for comprehending Bill Clinton's perfidy on the subject of gays in the military, at least. Less subtle thinkers look at Bill Clinton and say he promised during the '92 campaign to allow gays in the military, then announced his intention to act on that promise with an executive order immediately upon taking office. When Republicans and Democrats got together and threatened to pass a law overruling his planned executive order, he backed down.

Some might say that Clinton went out on a limb to do the right thing and was stomped down. Not Sullivan. He knows how to assign blame.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:51 PM
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Having lived thru the last 37 years, I am not going to call the conservatives stupid & crazy. I let the liberals do that.

We're not talking about standard conservatives, Bob. We're talking about Andrew Fucking Sullivan and two of the quasi-housebroken conservatives at Obsidian Wings. If you think those people represent the hivemind of the conservative movement, you're badly mistaken.

As far as professional conservatives making quasi-endorsements of Democratic candidates, where were you when Charles Krauthammer and the rest of the neocons were lining up to say that Clinton would be an acceptable Democrat on foreign policy grounds?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:53 PM
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I think 204 is substantive, rather than purely contentious, and is at least partially convincing.

I'm curious about the empirical claim that starts 204, that liberals are in a better position now than they were in the '90s. If any of the Clinton/Obama/Edwards health care plans get passed in the next 4-6 years, this would be strong evidence for that contention but we don't know now whether that will happen (and, if I had to bet, I'd bet that it won't).

I think there have been losses in civil liberties and executive power that will take a long time to walk back, but I also think the country may be more receptive to liberal economic ideas than it was in the 90s, but I'm hardly confident in that.

What are the arguments that liberals, as distinct from Democrats, are in a good position now. I don't disagree, but it isn't obviously true in my opinion.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:55 PM
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We're not going to win shit unless people in politics are willing to ocasionally roll the dice on decency or intelligence of the U.S. electorate. Look at Obama's campaign from one angle & it's a brilliant plan to do just that. Look at from another & he's just asking voters to roll the dice on him, based on promises of unicorns & rainbows & gumdrops he knows very well that he can't keep. I actually get this: I am a natural supporter of his, but he didn't close the deal with me until last week. I think he starting running for the general election way too early. I get why a lot of people, & particularly partisan Democrats, older voters, & working class voters, are very skeptical. If he can't reassure them he doesn't deserve the nomination. But you know what? He also won't get it.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:55 PM
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What are the arguments that liberals, as distinct from Democrats, are in a good position now.

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing or answering, but what's your meaning of liberal here? Leftist Democrat, or precisely the opposite?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:56 PM
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I'm not agreeing or disagreeing or answering, but what's your meaning of liberal here? Leftist Democrat, or precisely the opposite?

I was inquiring about this line in 204, "One of the (many) reasons that liberals are better-positioned than they were ..."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:58 PM
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Well, could you just shut the fuck up then, or go talk to people who agree with your lame bullshit, instead of stinking up this place?

Your way or the highway, eh? Now you're channeling Nader. Congratulations.

Certainly if, on this matter, you and stras represent the consensus here, then I'm a troll and ought to take my lame bullshit elsewhere. I'll keep an eye out for that.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 4:59 PM
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Yeah, the whole story of the last 20 years is that the heroic DLC tried to save the Democratic Party and the US, and things were going wonderfully, but then Nader ruined everything.

Nobody wants to hear this argument, and if you shut up I will.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:06 PM
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I'm curious about the empirical claim that starts 204, that liberals are in a better position now than they were in the '90s.

I can see where you got this, but it's not what I meant (and if you really parse my words, I think you'll see that).

I mean that the liberals' prospects have improved in the last several years. We're not back to where we were in the 90s, but now there's some hope of getting there, and maybe beyond.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:07 PM
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Nobody wants to hear this argument.

Well that's cool, because nobody has made that argument. It helps to use quotes.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:10 PM
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So PF, you're saying there is a very real chance we might be able to dig ourselves part way out of the hole we're in today? Huzzah!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:11 PM
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221: I recognize the snark, but yeah, you get me. Shucks, we already have dug partway out.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:18 PM
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||

For all that The Wire really is awesome, couldn't they have toned it down with the product placement?

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:23 PM
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PF, no one wants to hear you and me arguing about Nader, because based on the stuff you've said so far, I can assure you that it will become hostile.

I'm just proposing a truce until November, not friendship or mutual respect or anything. And you can go on thinking whatever you want, as long as you don't say it here.

I don't mind a heated argument, as people here know all too well, but at this point in time I don't see any possibility that anything good could come out of a rehash of the Nader / DLC argument. And almost everyone here agrees with me about that, I think, regardless of what they think about the question itself. So I'd like to repeat my request that you refrain from waving that particular bloody shirt.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:24 PM
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Okay, guys, look, nobody wants this to get hostile. Why doesn't everbody just agree "fuck Nader" and leave it at that until November?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:27 PM
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223: I know. All that sweet, sweet smack.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:31 PM
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a lot of the "no women at the top" thing has to do with women opting for part-time working and part-time childrearing. Which may be less fun than working alltime, but it generally is more of a choice than what the husband has offered, and not a choice availible to black men, at least. The percent of women in professional jobs out of those really competing for them is a lot closer than it looks.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:32 PM
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Shut up, Sifu. It's already hostile. I'm arranging avoidance.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:35 PM
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So I'd like to repeat my request that you refrain from waving that particular bloody shirt.

And I'd like you to stop mischaracterizing my arguments, but I can see that's pretty goddam hopeless.

Look, I realize that you and stras and a few others assert the right to interpret Nader on behalf of Unfogged, and I usually grant you that without complaint. But as stras points out, some of these things are still live issues, and I can't promise to let you steamroll me every time. It's not in my nature.

Today, however, I will exercise the better part of valor and retreat. The last word is yours if you want it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:35 PM
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Which is to say maybe its bec ause i'm cupsily generation-awesome, but i think the only hurdle for women getting jobs with lots of heart attacks is pregnancy issues, not that noone trusts them with power.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:36 PM
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The last word is yours if you want it.

I'll take it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:43 PM
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227 & 230: I don't want to jump down your throat but those comments are textbook examples to me of generation awesome became less feminist than it thinks it is.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:45 PM
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I wasn't going to start a fresh fight, but yeah to what Katherine said. (Also, 'cuspily'?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:47 PM
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Yes, they're still live issues, which is why I don't think we should talk about them now or here.

I'm not sure what you just agreed to, but for the moment, peace. See you after the election.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:48 PM
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233: Yoyo is a unique individual, not the representative of any group.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:50 PM
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But mighty cuspy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 5:56 PM
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Cupsy, LB.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 6:00 PM
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Atrios links to an AP story saying that Richardson is dropping out. I really thought that he would wait for Nevada.

Tweety, Who's your candidate now?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 6:06 PM
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I gots totally screwed with the Wire.

Was gonna try it, and ON Demand had episode 38 on, all of Season Four. So I watches Ep 38, and come back the next day, and everything to ep 47 is gone. Bummer.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 6:18 PM
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238: Obama, same as ever. I never really meant that about Richardson.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 6:33 PM
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If politicalfootball ever were to suddenly disappear with a sudden poof!, then I would suggest you interpret that as prima facie evidence that the Death Ray Satellite is now working. Just sayin'


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 6:50 PM
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cupsily: drunkenly, derived from cups, as in "in his cups"?

Seems good to me, based on context.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 7:17 PM
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I think it was "on the cusp of." Which is to say that his views cannot be charged to GA.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 7:21 PM
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Yoyo is in error. Whether cuspily or cupsily in error I'm sure I cannot say.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 7:53 PM
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I know the thread is dead, but I have nowhere else to put this. From TPM:

Remember, Obama has strong ties to the Daschle world. And Johnson is Daschle's protege.

Don't tell stras.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 9-08 10:42 PM
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Steinem's editorial is exactly what I was talking about the other day: the idea that breaking the glass ceiling in itself is a progressive or radical idea though it perpetuates the old powerstructures, just with a better gender or race balance. As per usual, it ignores class completely, it ignores the simple fact that if what it takes to be elected as a woman president is to be exactly the same as the old establishment but with different genitals you haven't achieved anything (Thatcher, anyone?).

Ignoring the actual politics of the candidates as Steinem does in favour of arguing that Clinton could not do what Obama does and win is silly and pointless. Obama has his own handicaps and is just as boxed in as Clinton, in different ways. Yes, without having been the wife of a tow term president she would not now be running, but that doesn't excuse her for running as a supporter of the Iraq occupation for instance.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 1:40 AM
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And Bush stole the election in 2000 and 2004, fools, so stop blaming Nader for exercising his right to run for president. You might just as well have blamed the Socialist Workers Party candidate in Florida for losing Gore the election, as they got more votes than what turned out to be the crucial difference between Bush and Gore to be.

In reality of course it was the purging of voter rolls in Florida of mostly Black voters that cost Gore the election, that made it possible for the election to get close enough that Bush could steal it.

Fixing that should've been apriority for the Dems after 2000, but instead they rather blamed Nader.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 1:55 AM
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Maybe the effort to which Nader supporters went before during and after to avoid any responsibility whatsoever for indulging what can only be described as a delusional vanity project has something to do with it. There no satisfaction in having been completely right about what would happen as a result.

I don't ask any more of Nader 2000 supporters than I ask of people who supported the Iraq war in 2002-03. But no less either.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 4:18 AM
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Don't tell stras.

JRoth, where have I ever said I was a fan of Obama? And why do you insist on repeatedly and consistently mischaracterizing my views of the candidates in this race?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 6:36 AM
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Remember, Obama has strong ties to the Daschle world. And Johnson is Daschle's protege.

Ah the electoral power that is Tim Johnson.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 7:06 AM
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Substance not Style

Daniel Koffler in the Guardian on Obama and Goolsbee, h/t yes, Sullivan

No quotes, just read it if you want. I have about given up on substance in this primary


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 7:50 AM
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What are the arguments that liberals, as distinct from Democrats, are in a good position now.

Thinking about this a bit more, the line above was my description of my misunderstanding of PF's point, but it strikes me that I've heard Clinton opponents make the same comment.

People have said that part of what would be depressing about nominating Hillery is that there is an opportunity for fundamental change, that she couldn't or wouldn't want to take advantage of.

I'm curious how large people think that window is. It does seem like the political climate is favorable to big liberal ideas in three areas (1) Health Care reform (2) significant environmental legislation and (3) withdrawing from Iraq and renouncing claims to Iraq's oil resources.

[I realize that (3) shouldn't count as a big liberal idea since it's only what we were promised when the invasion happened but, unfortunately, it does.]

How many of those could any Dem president accomplish. If I were betting, I would bet that none of those 3 happen in the next presidential term, whoever is president. I'd love to be proven wrong.

This isn't an article for Clinton, just a question about the impressions of the prevailing political winds.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:00 AM
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von & sebastian & sullivan & the rest know what they are doing

This is insane Bob. Von and Sebastian are the sort of conservative chumps who would start a bipartisan group blog and have it turn into a liberal echo chamber, if you know what I mean. The fact that they supported Bush at one point (while hilzoy and Katherine didn't) doesn't make them clever, or diabolical, or smart, but actually exactly the opposite.

After years of "America is basically a liberal country, tricky corporate elites are just inventing wedge issues to have the people vote against their true interests" the tune has apparently changed to "There is a fundamental divide between liberals and conservatives, and any call for unity is a dastardly trick that can't possibly benefit the left!"


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:04 AM
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252:New administrations that are not just continuations do get at least a year to enact significant changes, and I can't remember many (Ford, Carter?) that did not do something interesting. The two other factors which are unusual are an increased Democratic margin in Congress and a recession that will probably last all of 2008.

Goldman Sachs Prediction, via Calculated Risk

Quarter Change Real GDP
Q4 2007 1.5%
Q1 2008 0.0%
Q2 2008 -1.0%
Q3 2008 -1.0%
Q4 2008 0.5%

I do expect some movement on your three items. And significant legislation we are not expecting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:15 AM
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"There is a fundamental divide between liberals and conservatives, and any call for unity is a dastardly trick that can't possibly benefit the left!"

Truer words never spoken.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:17 AM
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And still Bob won't respond to the fact that the neocons seem to think Clinton would be acceptable on foreign policy grounds.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:20 AM
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Kerry consultant Austan Goolsbee wrote a paper in 2004 claiming that Bush's Social Security plan would hand over a trillion dollars from senior citizens to Wall Street fund managers. AND NOW HE'S OBAMA'S CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:24 AM
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254:Do I have to qualify those numbers? They are changes from baseline, I think, and GS is not going to be the most pessimistic forecaster, blah blah.

No, barbar, at the margins you do not move the country to the left by forming coalitions with those to your right. If, as von says, you believe the country is to the right of the Democratic Party, you may think you have no choice. But understand the direction you will be moving policy...rightwards.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:25 AM
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256:Foreign policy is MY's thrill, it is third on my list of priorities, after domestic/economic policy and social issues. Seen too many Democratic wars to think the American Empire can get pulled back.

In any case, stras, if Neocons-for-Clinton is some kind of evidence, than small-govt-Repubs-for-Obama also should also be evidence.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:30 AM
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I wasn't just being an asshole yesterday. I really and truly don't want to reopen the Nader question. I have committed to voting for the Democrat this year, no matter how bad I think the candidate is, but I refuse to ask for forgiveness.

Opposition to he militarization of America, the "national greatness" program, neocon interventionism, "preponderance" in a monopolar world, etc., is my main issue. I don't want to support and American empire.

None of the three leading Democrats gives me much hope, even though all of them are better than any Republican except (on this issue alone) Ron Paul. On my metric the major candidates range from 11 on a militarist scale of 10 (Hunter, Giuliani, McCain) down to about 6 or 7 (Edwards, whom I support). Paul, Kucinich, Dodd, and Richardson are/were all better than Edwards, but none of them are real factors.

The major Democratic candidates are all quietly trying to distance themselves from the Iraq War, and Edwards is explicit about planning to leave, but none is running on that issue, and I see no sign of a rethinking of foreign/military policy from anyone except Paul and Kucinich.

What's in question for me isn't who I vote for but whether I should expatriate. If I got along better with my BC brother and his wife the question would be an easier one for me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:37 AM
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Bob I didn't realize you were such a believer in the power of bottom-up democracy!

We got gay marriage as a wedge issue because that's what the proles wanted!


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:37 AM
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Like I said, I grade Clinton's presidency a C-, and that's being somewhat generous. But god it felt good to finally have a candidate for *something* win.

You had plenty of chances to vote for Jesse Helms, apopto.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:48 AM
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Bob and I are similar in temperament, but note here that our politics are pretty far apart. Bob is willing to trade American imperialism for a stronger welfare state, and I'm not.

I tend to agree with him that since 1941 the American war machine has been so institutionally entrenched (in the annual budgets, in the media, in the universities, and in both political parties) that popular opposition is irrelevant.

Probably 30% of Americans are hawks a,d 15-20% doves, but the deciders are the 50-60% of Americans who have no settled opinions on the subject, but are effectively willing to accept almost any degree of militarization.

Since 2002 I've become much friendlier to anti-war, anti-state libertarians, though I still can't stand libertarian economic doctrine or domestic policies. Historically the American welfare is intimately tied to the American warfare state (via Truman, Roosevelt, Kennedy, and LBJ), though they compete for funds too. I am closer to the libertarians on this than Bob is, though our understandings of the history are similar.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 8:48 AM
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259, 263: There's imperialism and then there's imperialism. Impoverishing other countries to gorge the appetites of Americans is one thing; actively slaughtering third world countries on top of that is something else. As I've said before, I don't think American lives are worth more than non-American lives; I don't think being born outside a set of borders makes you less worthy of life. Given that, I'd happily trade universal health care in the United States for fewer stupid wars.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:06 AM
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263:My first choice is Revolution, John.

But they tell me, that as opposed to Lenin at Zimmerwald & Moscow, those Socialists who cooperated with their gov'ts in WWI gained a bunch of influence and achieved lasting social welfare changes, and just a shade less militarism. In come cases, Sweden, much less eventually. Whereas many of the Socialists who fought the war & lost, in Germany, Italy, Spain got something else down the line.

Much the same applies in WWII. The Socialists & unions capitulated on war, infiltrated, and got a welfare state after the war.

And it isn't as if I am cheering on war. I just fight my fights in economics, hoping to force a choice between guns & butter down the line. Hasn't worked well so far, but nothing else has either.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:08 AM
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In any case, stras, if Neocons-for-Clinton is some kind of evidence, than small-govt-Repubs-for-Obama also should also be evidence.

The difference is, the Neocons for Clinton have an actual history of Clintonite support for neconservative foreign policy to back up that sentiment, whereas small government Republicans who support Obama are basically doing so solely based on Obama's mushy-middle unity rhetoric. Again, what candidates actually do and say matters. Pro-war conservatives support Clinton because she has been consistently pro-war. There's nothing in Obama's record to support your paranoid fears that he's going to gut the welfare state.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:10 AM
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264:Stras, the way I see it, people die in either case.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:11 AM
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My first choice is Revolution, John.

Bob, there will never be a revolution in the United States. You know that, I know that, and everyone on this blog knows that.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:11 AM
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Stras, the way I see it, people die in either case.

Way more people die from a neocon foreign policy than from a weakened welfare state. I say this as someone with multiple chronic medical conditions who hasn't had health insurance since 2001 and makes less than poverty level. And I'd still trade universal health care for an end to American militarism.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:14 AM
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multiple chronic medical conditions who hasn't had health insurance since 2001 and makes less than poverty level

Shit. Let's pretend I never read that so that you and I can continue being hostile to each other.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:17 AM
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266:There's nothing in Obama's record to support your paranoid fears that he's going to gut the welfare state.

Strawman by degree. comment 251 is a good article. And it is hard, like looking at Krugman/Rubin & globalization/neo-liberalism in the early 90s and saying their economics would fuck America over.

You really can't get any kind of consensus that would "prove" that neo-liberalism was a failure. Quite the opposite, I would have DeLong sneering at me.

And that is what I am trying to do, look at Obama/Goolsbee and trying to understand how their policies will actually play out.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:17 AM
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I generally agree with Bob about the history of the welfare state. The same solidarity that brings it often brings militarization and nationalism.

Little-known fact: after WWII the Swedes almost invaded Finland to liberate the Swedish-speaking Finns. The Finns had been Nazi allies (though they switched at the end), giving the Swedes a pretext. (According to Jan Myrdal, the neutral Swedes slanted toward Germany, as did the Swiss.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:22 AM
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Way more people die from a neocon foreign policy than from a weakened welfare state.

Way more Americans? Easy to prove otherwise. If the weakened welfare state becomes a dominant ideology, and spreads worldwide?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:23 AM
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269: Stras, what do you do? I have this vague recollection that you're a comedy writer, but can't remember why I think so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:26 AM
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You had plenty of chances to vote for Jesse Helms, apopto.

Only two chances actually ('90 and '96), and the second one was after Clinton was elected so the pressure was off.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:26 AM
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273: Way more people, Bob. As I said before, I don't privilege American life over non-American life.

If the weakened welfare state becomes a dominant ideology, and spreads worldwide?

How exactly can Iraq get a weaker welfare state than it's already got?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:31 AM
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I think that Bob was talking about possible changes in Europe or, spectacularly, the collapse of Communism in the USSR. The negatives of liberation were enormous there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:32 AM
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277: Does anyone really think the European welfare state is about to collapse because of any internal politics that take place in America? Since when have France and Germany taken America's lead on domestic policy?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:35 AM
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Way more people, Bob. As I said before, I don't privilege American life over non-American life.

That's very nice of you, but he asked about the effects of the anti-welfare-state ideology "spreading worldwide".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:35 AM
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Does anyone really think the European welfare state is about to collapse because of any internal politics that take place in America? Since when have France and Germany taken America's lead on domestic policy?

I don't know about France and Germany, but a lot of post-Communist countries did 15 years ago. Shock therapy?!?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:36 AM
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Under Thatcher England went part way.

I don't see Europe moving far in the American direction unless they actually have the economic collapse that the free-marketers have been praying for. No sign of it yet.

But in Latin America, for example, US foreign policy (organized as economic pressure through the WTO et al) has aggressively targeted the social safety nets in place there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:39 AM
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That's very nice of you, but he asked about the effects of the anti-welfare-state ideology "spreading worldwide".

Right, which I've responded to twice now. The rest of the world consists of either European countries with much better welfare states than America's, who have never taken America's lead on policy and with damn good reason, or developing nations which have barely any welfare state to speak of. The notion of "anti-welfare state ideology spreading worldwide" because we elect someone less likely to bomb Iran is completely and totally stupid; it's a sheer McManusian troll, and I've been a complete sucker to respond.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:40 AM
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278:You wave strawmen like flags.

The baseline was much further left, but yeah, Sarkozy and Merkel, and Canada & Australia wanted to respond to competitive pressures on wages in a globalized economy without lowering profits or wealth.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:43 AM
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But in Latin America, for example, US foreign policy (organized as economic pressure through the WTO et al) has aggressively targeted the social safety nets in place there.

And the same foreign policy that pushes that form of imperialism is of a piece with the kind of foreign policy that insists that America keep invading the Middle East in order to "protect the national interest." I have no idea why you seem to think that an imperialist government would be friendlier to a robust welfare state. For the last fifty years, our imperialists have all been dyed-in-the-wool corporatist stooges.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:46 AM
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All the while I have been here this morning I have had this post at Thoma's open in another window. Resurgent Unions and Global Economy

Note:Author thinks that is a very bad thing and Mark Thoma isn't sure:

"Unions are one potential answer for workers at the lower end of the income distribution, but is a return to unions the best solution to the market power imbalance? Should we return to the past, or should we try to use the changing political landscape as an opportunity to build better institutions for both workers and firms," ...Mark Thoma

I try to pick up tone, read between & behind the lines.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:49 AM
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283: Bob, this is incredibly weak. You're putting forward Sarkozy and Merkel as evidence of a worldwide disintegration of the welfare state which destroys more human life than American foreign policy? You've got to be shitting me. My generous interpretation is that you're knowingly full of shit, because I can't believe you're actually this stupid.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:49 AM
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Developing nations which have barely any welfare state to speak of.

False, false, false. There are food subsidies and all kinds of other things. It varies enormously from nation to nation. "Developing world" is a loose term now; almost all Latin American countries are much more prosperous than almost any African country and many Asian countries, though still poor by US standards. (Mexico is approximately the median nation in per capita GDP-PPP).

Stras, the history Bob and I are talking about goes back 150 years and is not just American. In the US (as I said) Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and to a lesser degree Eisenhower were all both militarists and welfare-staters. (That was part of Nixon's sneaky game). Since 1980 things have been going differently, but what Bob and I expect is for the Democratic candidate in 2000, if elected, to strengthen the welfare state while leaving the warfare state in place.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:54 AM
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285:stras, what do you want out of me? To be against war?

Stras, last weekend I came within inches of going all screaming Americanization of Emily over everybody's ass. I hated my cowardice for respecting wishes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:55 AM
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stras, what do you want out of me? To be against war?

You're on this crusade to portray Obama as a privatizing wolf in sheep's clothing, with little to no evidence besides what a couple people have said about one of his economic advisers. Meanwhile, the openly hawkish and warmongering candidate against whom he's competing in the primary - and whose husband actually did gut a fair portion of the welfare state, in case you were hibernating during the 90s - you don't seem to object to. I'm saying, wake the fuck up. You're inventing an enemy that isn't there, and missing the obvious one in front of your face.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 9:59 AM
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Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and to a lesser degree Eisenhower were all both militarists and welfare-staters.

None of them are running for president now, are they? History has seen plenty of militarism and plenty of the welfare state, and there's been plenty of each without the other. Tommy Douglas brought health care to Canada without invading Alaksa; Reagan funded wars in Afghanistan and Central America while making war on welfare. You and Bob seem to have a strange faith that war and the safety net are natural partners, when there doesn't seem to be any actual evidence that that's the case.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:12 AM
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Stras, I often agree with you, but you're obsessive and abusive on this point, you're throwing assertions around madly, and you don't seem very knowedgeable about key topics.

My own feeling is that there's not much to choose between the three Dems, though Hillary is the worst, and that Krugman may or may not be right about Obama. Obama's kumbaya rhetoric annoys me enormously, and I think that it's generally harmful because it makes sharp criticisms of the outgoing regime harder to make, and will make sharp changes in policy harder to put through. Nonetheless, I don't hate or reject Obama. Bob is more negative than I am about him, but his point of view is reasonable. So is yours, but you're pushing it too hard and making unjustifiable statements of various kinds.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:13 AM
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Had no idea this was still going on.

JRoth, where have I ever said I was a fan of Obama? And why do you insist on repeatedly and consistently mischaracterizing my views of the candidates in this race?

Sorry, that was really meant half-seriously, at most. But the serious half is that I have trouble believing that you view Daschle at all positively, and that therefore I would expect you to deprecate any candidate with "strong ties to the Daschle world." But, although I know you're not an Obama guy, per se, you sure as hell have NOT lumped him with the kind of weak Dem that Daschle embodies (to me and many others).

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you think Daschle rocks. Maybe you hate Daschle, and will now rant about how bad Obama must be to be strongly tied to him. Maybe you hate Obama, and when you defend his positions against all comers, it's some sort of ju-jitsu move. I am curious to know which.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:13 AM
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I generally agree with Bob about the history of the welfare state.

I doubt it. Bob's interpretation is elitist: a socialist vanguard cooperated with a rival faction of the political elite and got the welfare state as their reward. He didn't say anything about solidarity.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:15 AM
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Bob is more negative than I am about him, but his point of view is reasonable

No it's not. His position is that he cares about economic matters, social matters, and FP, in that order. Further, Obama is Midwest DLC. Grant that as true, though I don't think it's quite accurate. Does it make any sense to prefer reaching out to Southern conservatives over reaching out to Midwestern conservatives on economic matters, social matters, or FP? I can't even believe this is an issue.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:18 AM
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293:Bob's interpretation is elitist: a socialist vanguard cooperated with a rival faction of the political elite

Bullshit and lies. In 265 I said "Socialist & unions" and I am, and I hope everyone else is aware of the union activities in America during & immediately after WWII. There used to be a time when socialist were a major part or influence on theAmerican union movement.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:20 AM
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(1) Health Care reform (2) significant environmental legislation and (3) withdrawing from Iraq and renouncing claims to Iraq's oil resources.

NickS, I like the odds of (1); I like the odds of progress in the general direction of (2); but (3) isn't even on the table.

All three are, of course, huge issues, but (by my reckoning) none is the most important issue in the election.

In this decade, the U.S. has been experiencing a negative feedback loop of fear and violence. We get attacked on 9-11 and we (U.S. government and citizens) respond with incredible amoral stupidity. That amoral stupidity (invading Iraq) leads directly to further amoral stupidity (re-electing Bush), which in turn increases the chance of future attacks, and those future attacks increase the odds of future amoral stupidity, etc. etc.

Torture, habeus, the US attorney scandal and a bunch of other stuff play a role in this this feedback cycle. On my darker days I'd argue that Katrina plays directly into this, too.

The spiral has to be broken. With virtually any Republican president, it won't be (although I think Giuliani and McCain are particularly awful possibilities.)

The Republicans, al Qaeda and the U.S. intelligence community all understand this. The Republicans and al Qaeda favor the perpetuation of the downward spiral. The intelligence community has been wavering, which is why the Iran NIE was a huge event.

But it's not a clincher. We may yet bomb Iran or, god help us, invade. The Democrats suck, but the political incentives aren't set up for them the way they are with the Republicans. Its imperative that the next president not be a Republican.

People who bitch about Hillary and suggest they may sit the general election out have a touching faith in the idea that things can't get worse. I don't share that faith.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:24 AM
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The complete dynamics of the left & center-left in say England 1910-30 are very complicated, but it would be insane to say that any faction was "vanguardist" for supporting WWI.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:25 AM
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The House is set up to apportion demographics better, and there are ~30 African-Americans, which is 7% - pretty close to proportional. Anyone want to guess whether or not there are 175 women in the House, much less 220?

I think it's 42, including the two non-voting members from DC and the Virgin Islands. But nearly all of those seats are in districts gerrymandered to have A-A majorities, so that comes with an asterisk.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:25 AM
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292: Do I even need to respond to this? I'm not a fan of Obama. The only candidate still in the race I genuinely like is Dennis Kucinich. My preferred "least-bad" candidate was Edwards, who now appears to be out of the running. Of Obama and Clinton, I prefer Obama, because Clinton more precisely represents everything I hate about Democratic foreign and domestic policy. Nevertheless, I don't like Obama: I find his unity rhetoric bland and unappealing, and I find his economic policies to be watered-down Clintonism. I have explained this many, many, many times, but it seems you either don't actually read what I write, or you read it and happily forget the content almost immediately.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:25 AM
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I like the odds of Health Care reform --- I really don't like the odds of it making a significant improvement. Any significant improvement is going to beat up the insurance industry, and I don't see anyone signing up for that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:28 AM
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Stras, you're not getting through. You seem to be terribly irate about some small difference with Bob which you haven't succeeded in explaining, except that he doesn't oppose Hillary strongly enough and mistrusts Obama for the reasons Krugman gave. Why can't you let that drop?

On the war issues, Clinton is the worst of the three, but none is really very good, especially because candidates seldom get more dovish when they take office and the international relations pros get to them


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:34 AM
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I'm trying to stay out of things and even be conciliatory with stras here, but Emerson is right - the assertions stras is making about international welfare state conditions, and US interference with them, are astoundingly offbase. I probably invoke this dichotomy too often, but I have to go with either ignorant (which wouldn't be shameful in this context - Americans are by default ignorant about other countries) or dishonest.

Especially since, between Vietnam and GWB, the actual international death count of US militarism (construed narrowly, per stras' own "there's imperialism and there's imperialism) was not very large compared to, say, third world deaths from inadequate state welfare.

Transnational corporations and various corrupt regimes rely on anti-union, anti-welfare pols in the US to support their anti-union, anti-welfare policies in 3rd world countries. IMO, neoliberals like DeLong and PK are at least somewhat culpable in this. Obviously, the DLC was explicitly neoliberal in the 90s. But none of them did 1/10 the damage that committed rightwing corporatists have done.

The question now is who, among the Dems, is willing to go against neoliberal orthodoxy. Stras wants to say "not HRC," on the evidence of the 90s. Legit. But things have changed. Both DeLong and PK, for example, have repudiated the worst of 90s neoliberalism. I'm not willing to overlook current suspicious behavior (Obama's dubious advisors) in favor of focusing on 10-15 year old behavior in absence of current suspicious behavior. IOW, until you can show me who HRC's bad economic advisors are, stop harping on what Bill did in the 90s. I'm certainly open to believing that HRC has not changed her spots on this issue, but I need evidence.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:37 AM
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299: Holy shit, stras, so you've expended at least a hundred comments over the past month defending - sometimes in the face of a dozen respected commenters - someone you dislike?

Your hate for the Clintons is truly awe-inspiring.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:41 AM
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I have explained this many, many, many times, but it seems you either don't actually read what I write, or you read it and happily forget the content almost immediately.

And to be explicit: when you write thousands of words defending someone, it does, in fact, overwhelm an occasional comment that they're not your favorite pick, or whatever. I don't, in fact, recall* you ever saying a word against Obama that wasn't in the form of "not as left as I'd like" - and since that would apply to every candidate save Kucinich, it doesn't mean much.

* Don't read every thread, not claiming it never happened at all


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:44 AM
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Your hate for the Clintons is truly awe-inspiring

JRoth, go back to the 1990s and relive the Clinton years, maybe as someone who depends on welfare this time. Then get back to me about how awesome I should think the Clintons are.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:45 AM
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I like the odds of Health Care reform --- I really don't like the odds of it making a significant improvement.

That is what I really meant.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:49 AM
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I'm completely with Stras on this one -- Bob is worrying about a scenario in which (roughly speaking) Obama turns out to be Hillary in disguise. Since Clinton's husband has an actual track record, since Hillary has been as pro-war as they come, since Hillary's top advisor is Mark Penn, no paranoia necessary for her. On the other hand, has anyone ever wondered if Obama is the antichrist? I mean, it's pretty spooky.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:50 AM
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Better yet, if you want to know where my "awe-inspiring" hatred of the Clintons comes from, you could actually bother to read any of the dozens of comments I've written on the subject. I realize that reading taxes you, though, so maybe you should shut the fuck up next time and not assume you know what you're talking about.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:52 AM
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Stras, if it's that personal, I'm not interested. Sorry.

I don't like Clinton and have said that she's the Democrat most likely to cause me to expatriate, but there's something weird about the way you're handling this.

As far as I know, you're right about welfare reform, which I oppose at the time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:54 AM
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302: I found that very helpful.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 10:57 AM
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JRoth, go back to the 1990s and relive the Clinton years, maybe as someone who depends on welfare this time.

I'd be curious to hear more about this, if you've got some insight born of personal experience or know someone who does. My direct experience with those sorts of issues dates to the '80s, so it's possible that I don't have the appropriate antipathy to welfare reform, which I currently regard as a mixed bag.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:01 AM
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302 basically says "show me evidence that Clinton hasn't changed." But there's no evidence that Clinton has changed. Her advisers are the same people her husband had in the 90s, down to union-busting, Blackwater-consulting Mark Penn. On foreign policy, she's remained as staunchly conservative as any neoliberal hawk - she still thinks her vote for the war was right, and she still thinks the invasion and occupation could've been pulled off if only it'd been handled competently. In one of the debates, she laughed at the notion that NAFTA had had negative consequences. Neither she, nor her husband, nor anyone associated with her campaign, has ever indicated that welfare reform was a mistake. What change am I missing here?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:09 AM
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In 2004 evil Mr. Goolsbee wrote a paper claiming that Bush wanted to take $1 trillion from old people and give it to Wall Street fund managers.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:10 AM
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Okay, I've been spending way too much time here. I apologize to Emerson, Ogged and others for losing it in this thread.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:11 AM
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appropriate antipathy to welfare reform, which I currently regard as a mixed bag.

I admit to being overly infuenced by the NYRB article by Jason DeParle, following up on his book American Dream, a few years later, in which he found that the effects of Welfare reform were negative, but not nearly as negative as he expected.

At the time I hated Welfare Reform, but I also came to believe that it was a huge net positive for the Democrats politically (I believe SCMT has taken this position before). If that political gain could be achieved with minimal real world costs, that would be a good thing. My memory of the NYRB article that I am thinking of is shaky enough that I wouldn't claim that to be the case, only that welfare reform wasn't as disasterous in its effects as I expected.

I will also admit that getting the primary results has made me realize that I have some sentimental attachment to Hillary Clinton. My head knows that she's not the best candidate, but my heart still saddens a little when she lost IA. I haven't figured out exactly why that is, but it's true.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:12 AM
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315: For me, I think it might be the fact that she's been subjected to so much very public shit-baggery. Nobody deserves that. Although I think she's pretty strongly associated with the worst bits of the D. party, I certainly sympathize with her on that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:17 AM
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No need to apologize, stras.

Oh, sorry, you didn't. I'll just shut the fuck up, now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 11:51 AM
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Actually, to touch substance for a moment:

I have no brief whatsoever for HRC on foreign policy/militarism. It's clear that, by at least some amount, she's the most hawkish of the Dems. OTOH, I see daylight between the foreign policies of WJC and GWB. Others do not.

Citing holdover advisers from WJC to HRC doesn't do much in this argument, since my explicit point in 302 is that many prominent Dems who had poor economic policies in the 90s now have better ones. If DeLong and PK were her advisors, it would look like a neoliberal holdover, but we would know otherwise thanks to blogs. I'm not saying that we should assume that they have all given up neoliberalism; I'm saying that it's not enough to point to what they thought 10+ years ago. Even if you point again, I'll say the same thing.

Mark Penn is a giant prick, and a boil on the body politic. He's on board as a strategist, not a policy expert. There's a difference. Just saying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 12:02 PM
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Bob McManus wrote:
And it isn't as if I am cheering on war. I just fight my fights in economics, hoping to force a choice between guns & butter down the line. Hasn't worked well so far, but nothing else has either.

I seem to remember you cheering on the Iraq war rather enthusiastically in 2003/2004 over on MattY's blog. Am I misremembering all the rants about wanting millions of U.S. troops occupying the Middle East?


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 12:14 PM
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319:OMFG, I been Hillaryed!!

Shoot, Williestyle, I was calling for full WWII style mobilization in late 2001.

1) Because I knew the Repubs would prefer to fight an air war, bombing civilian populations
2) Because I kew there weren't enough troops to any good and I knew a bunch of Muslims were gonna die and I would like to see some good done
3) Because a nation not universally mobilized would become a divided nation susceptible to political manipulation
4) Many other reasons

I still want a draft and a huge-manower army. See above on social solidarity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 2:04 PM
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I still want a draft and a huge-manower army. See above on social solidarity.

Bob, are you a veteran or young enough to be drafted?


Posted by: WillieStyle | Link to this comment | 01-10-08 2:41 PM
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265 is as wrong as a very wrong thing:


But they tell me, that as opposed to Lenin at Zimmerwald & Moscow, those Socialists who cooperated with their gov'ts in WWI gained a bunch of influence and achieved lasting social welfare changes, and just a shade less militarism.

Nope. Didn't happen. Much was promised in the war to keep the population sweet, but the theme of the 1920ties was retrenchment, not social welfare. Meanwhile the social democrats who had joined enthusiastically in the war were caught in a rock and a hard place, between a still suspicious establishment and alienated workers.

Much the same applies in WWII. The Socialists & unions capitulated on war, infiltrated, and got a welfare state after the war.

No, what happened was that the voters learned from what happened after the last war and elected a labour government to build that welfare state. Even much of what was done in Britain during the war was done at first against the wishes of government, by grassroots movements (home guard and the allotment movement are examples). It wasn't some gentleman deal, it was forced on the government by the people.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 12:43 AM
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Because a nation not universally mobilized would become a divided nation susceptible to political manipulation

So basically your problem with Obama's rhetoric and strategy is that he's not pro-war enough.

Meanwhile you're arguing that Bush had to govern like a reasonable conservative, because he got enough votes to win two elections. OK.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 3:09 AM
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322 is right.

The British people chucked Churchill and his lot right out and elected a Labour government. It wasn't some concession dished out by the largesse of the state.

The primary pre-1945 welfare legislation (the 1911 act) was pre-WWI -- there were no similar concessions after the war. In fact, the only concessions granted as a result of support rendered during WWI were, arguably, to the suffragettes who largely suspended their activities during WWI.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 3:23 AM
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And I'm going home for a refreshing 20 min sleep before the day begins. If I didn't need a change of clothes so I don't look like a ragbag at my interview, I wouldn't bother. Night, all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 3:40 AM
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Hey, all we got from WW1 was a law making the pubs close early. The Beveridge Report was part of Labour's price for supporting Winston Churchill when it all went horribly wrong in May 1940.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 4:25 AM
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The Beveridge Report was part of Labour's price for supporting Winston Churchill when it all went horribly wrong in May 1940.

Although Beveridge was a lifelong member of the Liberal Party, and had advised Lloyd George on the first round of welfare reforms before WW1. Arguably the design of the British welfare state was entirely a Liberal creation, and the contribution of the Labour Party was simply to provide the muscle to push through phase 2.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 5:24 AM
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How many arguments have I got going here at once?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:16 AM
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318 He's on board as a strategist, not a policy expert.

Strategists trump policy experts, who are disposable, and election strategies constrain policy possibilities. After 1994 strategists (for example, the toe-sucking scumbag Dick Morris) controlled the Clinton administration.

One of the mysteries of our world, along with "Why are the owners of the Post and the Times so willing to degrade their world-class brand names?", is "Why does the Democratic Party rely so heavily on anti-liberal consultants who mostly lose?" Shrum loses more than Penn, I think (Shrum almost always loses), but Penn has done a lot of harm.

As you all know, I think that (contrary to what people assume), the paranoid explanation is the parsimonious one. A lot of the Democratic donors, politicos, wonks, and consultants have goals and committments which do not require Democratic victory, and which might be threatened by Democratic victory. One major function of the Democratic Party is to keep the rank and file docile.

There's really nothing strange or radical about what I just said. Political scientists have a very very realistic (think "cynical") view of electoral politics, and it's consistent with what I just said though few of them would express it quite that way since their goal usually is to get on the gravy train themselves somehow.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:18 AM
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Depends on how much crackpottery you're in the mood to peddle today.

Sorry, it was just hanging there, calling to be plucked.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:21 AM
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The Beverage Report is why pubs closed early? Ha. Found pun.

As I have reported elsewhere, I live in the drinkingest part of the US. You coastal elitists have your foo-foo little cultural fun stuff, but out here we drink. Minnesota probably produced more moonshine than Kentucky.

Volstead of the Volstead act was from the moonshining area, as voted out of office immediately. A teetotalling Copperhead collaborating with the atavistic, repressive neo-Confederates Congressmen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:25 AM
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John, it may be that as a class, consultants, donors, etc can do well in a loss, this misses the more important dimensions: they can do much better with a win -- both objectively, and relatively to their rivals (both near and far). The group I find the most frustrating is the 'near enemy:' Dem consultants who are not on the inside of the winning team, and so feel like they have nothing to lose, and much to gain, from trashing the consultants who are on the team to an eager press. (Eg Nagorney).

I don't think docility is particularly important, really. It's about power, either as an insider or an insurgent.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:27 AM
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"was voted out of office almost immediately. A teetotalling Copperhead who collaborated with the repressive, atavistic neo-Confederates in Congress."

We regret the error.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:28 AM
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329: agreed, I don't think politicians usually have much use for policy experts unless there's a political strategist (or powerful constituency) who sees benefit.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:29 AM
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334 -- Yep. There's always the question of how many divisions the Pope has.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:31 AM
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Do they really do better with a win? Look at Dick Morris, Carville, and Stephanopolous? There are other income streams than consulting, and many of the consultants consult for both parties. (The Matalin family is doing very well. I personally think that Carville's mouth should be swabbed for second-hand Cheney semen.) And some consultants are willing to play the Hamilton Burger / Washington Generals role. They still get paid.

Has Shrum ever been hurt by being a loser? (The real issue is with the people who hire Shrum, of course). Both Kerry and Gore ran timid campaigns, and Hillary and Obama started out timidly, though that may be changing.

The Democrats have been running against the base for 20 years now. This strategy has been justified as a way of winning, but there were few victories before 2006, and that one came when the Democrats got some new blood. (I count 1992 and 1996 as semi-victories; after 1994 Clinton was playing both sides in exactly the way I described.)

A lot of influential Democrats (money Democrats) have policy agendas which might be harmed by the election of a liberal or populist Democrat. Electing a centrist Democrat is their first choice, and electing a populist Democrat is their third choice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 6:39 AM
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The Beverage Report is why pubs closed early? Ha. Found pun.

No; the Beveridge Report appeared during WW2. The pubs closed early because of the Licensing Act, which was introduced during the first world war to stop munitions workers spending their overtime on beer; hangovers were a threat to national security.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 7:05 AM
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Yeah, what 337 says.

The Beveridge Report was the 'here's how we'll make things nicer for not-rich people, once we've finished devoting our entire national resource base to the killing of Germans' report.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 7:07 AM
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John's right about consultants, and I wasn't thinking clearly on that. Consultants who stay on post-election (not all of them do, but Penn is one that would) are enormously powerful.

The thing to remember about Shrum is that he's quite successful except in presidential races. High profile losses, to be sure (although of course 2000 shouldn't be counted against him, esp. as I think he had no role in the recount period), but relatively idiosyncratic events. Smart sports commentators don't put a lot of weight on winning Super Bowls as compared with other gauges of success - it's an "any given Sunday" situation.

I'm not saying that losing elections shouldn't adversely impact these people; I'm saying it's easy to put too much weight on the inherently unique contests that are Presidential races.

(The other thing to remember is that, AFAICR, Shrum isn't one of the bad, ultra-DLCish guys; I seem to recall a lot of squawking from that camp when Gore hired him and went semi-populist)


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 8:17 AM
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Well, the big Democratic failures have been in Presidential races, so I privilege them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 8:31 AM
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Point taken, John, but look at whoever was consulting to Dole in '96. There was no conceivable way (under his control) Dole could have won that race; so why should that harm the consultant?

There are relatively few presidential races where the consultant plays a make-or-break role, because a lot of what a consultant brings to a House candidate - experience, advice on how to get media coverage, advice on how to create an image - are basically irrelevant in most Presidential campaigns. Gore got all the press he needed; no consultant could have made the press not hate him. Virtually any presidential candidate already knows plenty about campaigning in general - even in this year's relatively inexperienced field, all 3 candidates have been involved in at least 2 prior races for statewide or national office. Kerry couldn't exactly run as a grassroots insurgent; the outlines of his image were set in stone.

I'm not saying failed consultants should reap the rewards of success; I'm just saying that, just as arguments in the form of "X% of presidential races since WWII" are bunk, talking about a consultant's failure in presidential races only is foolish. Now, if a consultant never wins, or only wins with strong candidates, then sure, discount him/her.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-11-08 10:00 AM
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