Re: People Of Good Will

1

1. You're a patriot!
2. If the R's racism is what keeps you voting D, I almost want to say hurray for the R's racism.

Obviously using race against a black opponent (or Latino, or Am. Indian, etc.) is wrong if you're using it to imply that your opponent is, by virtue of race, inferior or unqualified.

I would say that an argument along the lines of, "my opponent, who is black, is (say) anti-urban, anti-affirmative action, and has no record of actually supporting any "black" issues or organizations. Fine; his race is not an important part of his public identity. To me, however, this suggests that if he doesn't feel answerable to his own community, will he feel answerable to any of us?"

And yes, I realize the problems in this statement; nonetheless, it gives the general jist of a potentially interesting campaign issue couched in reasonably open and respectful language.

Of course, it would be a much better statement coming from a politician who *had* made some of those issues part of his/her public work.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 9:54 AM
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You're on somewhat shaky ground, historically, hoping for even one of the mainstream parties to be anti-racist. I hope it's more than a lucky historical accident, but boy is our track record not good in this regard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 9:56 AM
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Oh, look at Mr Mocha trying to claim the higher ground.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:01 AM
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"Moderately socially conservative" here means "wait until date 2 to ask for anal."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:01 AM
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This should go smoothly.

My problem with the Clinton campaign's rhetoric on race was that they were far too willing to make the argument that the country "isn't ready for a black president". They're ultimate concern troll--not saying to vote against Obama because you, good voter, are uncomfortable doing so (perish the thought!), but because others might be, and we must of course consider the greater good. Maybe in another few years we'll be ready, though.

It's incredibly damaging.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:02 AM
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I'm confused about the contention that the Democratic party has not been racist. If you're making this claim only about very, very recent history, and only with respect to racist attitudes expressed towards opposing candidates for office, okay, maybe I buy it, but it's a pretty trivial claim.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:02 AM
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To be serious for a moment, it's the implicit "black votes aren't real votes" thought that really bothers me, and the Clintons have been closer and closer to explicit in voicing this.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:03 AM
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Hey, if Oggedian earnestness pulls Labs out of retirement, bring on the earnest posts, I say.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:03 AM
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Also, I think the (unexamined) reason ogged is a Democrat is that the GOP are the party of crazy fucking nutjob mr. lunatic wackadoodle looneytunes, who do crazy things all the damn time. The racism is such a small piece of it.

Or at least, I like to hope so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:03 AM
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7: I think they've pretty much gotten there exactly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:05 AM
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I'm a moderately socially conservative guy who happily works at a place with "corporation" in its name, and who can be convinced to support the occasional war of choice.

Gross.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:08 AM
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11 pwned by anon in 4.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:10 AM
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only with respect to racist attitudes expressed towards opposing candidates for office

Yeah, pretty much. There's too much institutional racism to say that one party is free of it, but campaign rhetoric is really important when it comes to making people feel (feelings matter!) like whether they're part of and have a voice in the party/society.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:12 AM
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10: Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again,

Oh for fuck's sake. Stop it!


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:12 AM
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Labs is back!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:13 AM
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Look, while I, personally, would be thrilled to have a 3000 comment thread denouncing the Clinton campaign, the question in the post is what good faith talk about race in a campaign might look like.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:14 AM
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Mr Mocha

That's what George Allen meant to say.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:15 AM
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the GOP are the party of crazy fucking nutjob mr. lunatic wackadoodle looneytunes, who do crazy things all the damn time.

For serious. I wish the democratic party were the party of anti-racism, gender equality, equal rights for all, the separation of church and state, civil liberties, honesty, the rule of law, scientific literacy, and social justice, among other things. It really isn't any of those -- but the GOP is off the charts worse.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:15 AM
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16: there ya go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:15 AM
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Damn. Tweety's 19 beat me to it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:17 AM
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the question in the post is what good faith talk about race in a campaign might look like.

"Look, I respect Senator Obama and I honor his service to Illinois and America. He's clearly one of the good ones. But in order to win a general election, you have to be able to draw support from more than just college professors and welfare recipients. Especially after we threw so many people off of welfare ten years ago."

Wait, that's not really answering the question, is it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:18 AM
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Saiselgy weighs in:

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/05/defending_hrc.php


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:18 AM
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"The truth of the matter is, we live in a deeply racist country. Senator Obama is black, and I am not. Racists will not vote for him because of the color of his skin, but they will vote for me. Is that fair? Is that good? I don't think you can criticize people for being racist without knowing more about them as people, and I think the Democratic party needs those people, which is why I'm running for President."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:19 AM
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It really isn't any of those -- but the GOP is off the charts worse.

Basically, the Democrats include the left, center, and right parties in a sane country, and the GOP is a weird extremist movement unique to America.

That's one reason why left of (US) center blogs have so much disagreement, because the Democrats really have to accomodate what would be a range of different political parties in most countries.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:21 AM
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How contrarian of him. I don't think that she actually believes that only whites are hard working; she is arguing that superdelegates should override the results of the primaries & caucuses & cast their votes on the basis of how white working class Democrats voted--screw the blacks & the college educated whites, we can just take them for granted in November. If you're making an argument that offensive, you really should be very careful to not misspeak & add insult to injury, & if you don't, you deserve the inevitable reaction.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:21 AM
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Josh Marshall grapples with this here.

Given demographic and racial realities in this country, the question is: When is it appropriate to openly recognize those demographic and racial realities ?

I'm going to float a pretty extreme view - one that I'm not entirely confident of - and say that it was acceptable for Bill Clinton to raise Jesse Jackson in the context of South Carolina.

Mind you, Clinton's comparison of Obama to Jackson was factually incorrect, even when he said it. Moreover, Clinton wasn't just making an observation, he was engaged in an effort at self-fulfilling prophecy.

But Jackson and Obama were seeking political office in a racist nation, and one of the legitimate considerations for Democratic voters is whether the candidate they support can be elected.

Now as I say, I'm conflicted on this. To suggest that one ought to consider the racism of others in casting one's vote is, in itself, a racist appeal. But to deny the relevance of race is burying one's head in the sand.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:22 AM
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If the candidates' positions in the primary were reversed, and Clinton were dealing with an Obama insurgency, I think it would be fair for Bill Clinton to levy the Jessie Jackson comparison/accusation. Jackson's candidacy (and to some extent Al Sharpton's) had an important but relatively short-lived bringing-issues-to-the-table component that grew into a counterproductive-and-long favors-securing effort.

I think that's the position that Hillary Clinton is in now, in fact. It's up to her to prove her usefulness, secure promises and positions for her supporters, and so on, and she can do this as a uniter or a divider. If you ask some people, Jackson was a divider, and that's what Bill Clinton was trying to suggest about Obama—but Obama was of course the frontrunner, making the analogy fall apart. (Unless he was just trying to marginalize his candidacy.)


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:23 AM
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16: the question in the post is what good faith talk about race in a campaign might look like

WE GO PLAY HOOP.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:24 AM
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the question in the post is what good faith talk about race in a campaign might look like

A crazy fringe candidate who gets roundly dismissed by mainstream pundits and blogs. A crazy black preacher any Respectable candidate is compelled to denounce.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:24 AM
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Saiselgy weighs in

I think he's correct about this , but am not optimistic that it's going to gain any traction as conventional wisdom:

it's one part fallacy, two parts baseless speculation, and then a grain of truth


Posted by: 56 and sunny | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:24 AM
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(Unless he was just trying to marginalize his candidacy.)

Ahem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:25 AM
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campaign rhetoric is really important when it comes to making people feel (feelings matter!) like whether they're part of and have a voice in the party/society.

Agreed, and frankly the Dems have taken the black (and Latino) vote for granted for way, way too long. It would be nice as hell to actually have some substance behind the obligatory MLK day speeches for a damn change.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:25 AM
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32: what, they're off welfare. What's the problem?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:26 AM
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See, I think Clinton's remarks in South Carolina were perfectly defensible. He was saying that South Carolina is a state that has delivered for black Democratic candidates previously, and therefore SC shouldn't be seen as an upset. The demographic makeup of the Carolinas aren't a secret.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:26 AM
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25: unusually, his commenters pile on exactly that point. Bottom line, you're right, and her making that comment is a sign of desparation.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:27 AM
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isn't


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:28 AM
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"When is it appropriate to openly recognize those demographic and racial realities "

She is not "recognizing demographic and racial realities." She is a candidate, making an argument directed at superdelegates, to wit: "vote for me because white working class Americans won't vote for my black opponent--whereas educated liberals & blacks have nowhere else to go & we can ignore their votes".


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:28 AM
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I'm feeling much more charitable toward the Clinton campaign this morning, for some reason. If you really believe that the country will under no conditions elect a black man, as you get closer and closer to the tipping point of nominating a black guy, your rhetoric is going to get more and more heated and pointed and you're going to be less and less careful about the language you use and the rigor of the arguments you make. I assume, for example, that we'll see the same sort of thing happen on global warming as the Certain Death date draws near.

And I think that it's fair and reasonable for women and men to point out that it's not at all clear that the media or Democratic voters--as distinct from candidates--are willing to be as careful about similar sorts of harming language use toward women.

In part, I wonder whether women-empowering voters--and maybe older feminists in particular--find themselves uncomfortably sandwiched between white men and black people. They're unable to use the (usually but not always) unspoken right of white males to claim a sort of "natural" or identity advantage because of the demographics of the country and past history, as such use might well redound to harm various feminist projects by seeming to allow the same sort of appeal by white males. But they're also unable to appeal to "better world" or "nudge" instincts arguing for any tie to go to the woman because of past and present gender-related inequities, because, given the demographics and the economic structure of the country, black folk probably are going to win at misery poker. It's a pretty tough place to be in, and the only way to figure out the right language to describe and address it (and the way out of it) is to try different sorts of language and different sorts of attack. Which means there will be mistakes and missteps, because there always are when you try to find a solution to a new problem.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:28 AM
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Ogged, I don't understand your `Nevertheless', since the Democrats are a moderately socially conservative party that happily works with places with "corporation" in their name.

As far as the issue of racism goes: it remains a deeply racist society, though clearly there are lots of standouts there. Hardly surprising it shows up consistently in federal politics. Politicians follow far more than they lead, and the culture as a whole has been failing to move this conversation forward for decades now, as far as I can see.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:29 AM
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"I'm a moderately socially conservative guy who happily works at a place with "corporation" in its name, and who can be convinced to support the occasional war of choice. Nevertheless, I'm a yellow dog Democrat because the Republican party is, to varying degrees and with varying subtlety, the anti-black party."

While I understand that ogged and Andrew Sullivan would like to see the Democratic Party organized around their symbolic concerns, in actuality, the Democratic Party is organized around economic concerns.

At the moment, those concerns are centered around protecting Social Security and establishing universal healthcare. Pensions and healthcare make up the majority of the federal budget and are the largest economic redistributive programs by far in the government.

Barack Obama has decided to sell out those two programs, in large part to gain the support of the General Electric corporation. Hillary Clinton has decided to back the Democratic policy positions on those programs.

Folks like ogged and Andrew Sullivan don't particularly care about the social justice agenda of the Democratic Party, and thus are willing to take sleazy kinds of approaches to the Democratic nomination race. They care a lot about the symbolic face of the American republic, and care little about the actual business of government.

As a Democrat, I'd say good riddance to ogged. Independents are folks who tend to exclusively care about the symbolic aspects of democracy, and that's where he likely belongs. Leave the Party of social justice to those who care about social justice. We'll do fine in general elections if folks like ogged don't think of themselves as Democrats, and we'd be more likely to be able to accomplish the core mission of the Party.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:29 AM
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what good faith talk about race in a campaign might look like.

All a candidate can do at this point is lay out legitimate vocabulary and concepts for talking about race. The first step is to establish words for talking about these things. I'm picturing basically the first week in an undergrad sociology class about race relations. The thing to accomplish is: Explain de facto racism and why it is still a huge problem. Key point to get across is the complexity of this issue, not necessarily what the complexities are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:30 AM
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38 is thoughtful, and the last few words reminded me -- after lulling me into charitability -- that it's a good kind of problem to have, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:30 AM
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I dunno, apo. I think Clinton was speaking directly to voters who find Jessie Jackson's presidential run distracting and pointless—some black voters and, like, all white people. The Clintons have been dog-whisting Dixie since.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:30 AM
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I just bet Petey brought cake this time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:31 AM
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How contrarian of him.

And that, my friends, is Lesson One in how to become a professional pundit. Next week: supporting right-wing policies right up until they become overwhelmingly unpopular.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:31 AM
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I would equally uncool with Obama arguing to the superdelegates that America just wasn't ready for a commander-in-chief with a uterus in wartime, which could be equally excused as "just recognizing demographic reality".


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:33 AM
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Barack Obama has decided to sell out those two programs

Oh, give me a break, Petey. The differences between Obama and Clinton on SS and UHC are little details on the very edges, not anything of particular substance. And Congress will decide what happens with those programs anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:34 AM
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As a Democrat, I'd say good riddance to ogged

As a sane human being, I'd say good riddance to Petey.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:34 AM
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Slightly off-topic: I don't think that Hillary can be blamed for staying in, and I don't think that she should lister to Obama people asking her to quit, but I think that her supporters and donors have to start asking themselves whether they should continue to support her, and the undecideds have to start asking herself if they should help her keep her hopes up.

A lot of the lamenting about the bad effects of taking it all the way to the convention were putting the blame on Hillary, but you really can't expect a competitor to take a broad philosophical view. She's been waiting all her life for this moment, etc.

But you can ask her supporters whether they really should be helping her to keep on going. They're not her, and they presumably will remain part of the Democratic Party (and the American people) after the dust has settled.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:35 AM
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and, like, all white people

This cracker voted for Jesse Jackson.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:35 AM
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We'll do fine in general elections if folks like ogged don't think of themselves as Democrats

I dunno. I think without the Mexican vote, we're screwed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:35 AM
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I *wish* the Democrats were the party of social justice.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:36 AM
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43: That may be true, 'smasher, but there is something there.

I've sometimes wondered if Clinton represents a sort of worst-case scenario for a plausible female D candidate (being the establishment candidate for an establishment with a rotten core, and being unable to avoid coupling to all the existing issues with Bill & herself)

The problem is, it isn't clear to me that there is another plausible path for a woman to be a real contender in the federal race today. If that's true, it puts any feminist in a difficult place.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:36 AM
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The differences between Obama and Clinton on SS and UHC are little details on the very edges, not anything of particular substance.

As far as I call tell, the differences between Obama and Clinton on SS are barely differences.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:36 AM
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I *wish* the Democrats were the party of social justice.

That'd be nice, wouldn't it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:36 AM
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I *wish* the Democrats were the party of social justice.

We're coming for your stand mixer, bitch.


Posted by: The Party of Social Justice | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:38 AM
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I'm confused about the contention that the Democratic party has not been racist

I think that's not really the contention, and at any rate it's fair to give the Dems credit for progress, especially since they lost a big electoral advantage by alienating a racist voting bloc in the 60s which the Republicans were only too happy to adopt.

I'm a moderately socially conservative guy

This surprises me. I think of self-described social conservatives as people who want to make policy of their own mores, and you don't seem to want to do that. You may personally advocate, say, not dating Iranian women (especially Iranian women who might be shtupping someone else at the same time), but I'd guess that you wouldn't want to prevent me from doing the same if I were so inclined.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:38 AM
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The problem is, it isn't clear to me that there is another plausible path for a woman to be a real contender in the federal race today.

I don't think that's true. We've seen women take quite a few governor's mansions - it's only a matter of time before one of them makes a serious presidential bid. And there's always the vice presidential route.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:38 AM
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in actuality, the Democratic Party is organized around economic concerns.

No it's not, you doof. The Democratic Party is organized around the notion of continuing to empower and enrich the elites of the Democratic Party, period. It has no other function. How it decides to do go about that is affected by the makeup and volume of its donors, its activists, and its voters, in roughly that order. If the Democratic Party's donors, activists, and voters are all energetically pushing an economically populist agenda, the Democratic Party will become more economically populist. To the surprise and shock of no one, this is not the case, in no small part because the most powerful people in the process - the donors - are not economic populists.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:40 AM
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Like you're white, apo.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:42 AM
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58:
Sure, but how much time? I have no doubt there will be a female candidate, and a female president, at some point. This generation? I don't know. Whatever happens next, HRC has broken some ground.

I'm not saying it will never happen. I'm saying that there are a number of reasons that HRC got there first, and I think some of them may be inextricable from here entanglement with DLC, marriage to a key player in the party, etc. etc. etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:42 AM
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I think of self-described social conservatives as people who want to make policy of their own mores, and you don't seem to want to do that

Maybe I'll flesh it out in a another post sometime.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:43 AM
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What gets me is the hypocrisy of the Clinton rhetoric with regard to working-class white voters. If one accepts that saying that working-class whites cling to guns and religion is condescending, then saying that they're just not ready to vote for a black guy seems equally condescending, if not more so.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:43 AM
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Ogged thinks hussies are icky.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:44 AM
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Like you're white, apo.

I know. But some of my best friends are white!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:45 AM
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64: hippies, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:45 AM
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Hippie hussies, however, are teh awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:46 AM
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But some of my best friends are white!

At least, where it counts.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:47 AM
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It's the "can be convinced to support the occasional war of choice" thing that gets me. Really, ogged? Five years on, you're still on board the "coulda worked" bus?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:47 AM
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In "The Last Temptation of Christ" Monica Belucci fleshed out social conservativism very nicely, I thought.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:48 AM
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<troll feeding>
Once the nomination is settled, I would be really curious if Petey will explain what his strategic purpose in making an ass of himself for the last couple of months has been. I'm willing to credit him with being smart enough to wonder if he has a plan behind acting so dumb.

When he was in full-on Edwards spin mode he still made arguments, and modulated his statements to respond to context and counter-arguments.
</troll feeding>

As far as discussions of race in elections go, the problem is that elections are fundamentally about signaling tribal identity. I don't think there is a way for a candidate to talk about race without wanting to use it to re-enforce group boundaries -- even if the group boundaries that are being invoked are "we're the white people who care about brown people" (which is not the case in this election, but other Democratic candidates have made that appeal).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:50 AM
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Monica Belucci flesh

I got this far into the comment, then got too distracted to finish it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:50 AM
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56: But the first speed is broken! And the knob's come off! And it was a wedding present lo, almost 16 years ago!

You can have the koi pond.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:50 AM
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70: Wrong Jesus movie, John.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:51 AM
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Ogged thinks hussies are icky.

Nah. He's bought me dinner and everything.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:52 AM
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Maybe I'll flesh it out in a another post sometime.

I'll do it for you, because I've been reading this blog for too damn long: you're using socially conservative in a very idiosyncratic way which isn't related to sexual mores and instead means that you worry about certain other changes associated with modernity. Two prominent examples would be the weakening of kinship ties (I'm thinking about the discussion of American treatment of the elderly indicating that we live in a morally bankrupt society) and the rejection of vengeance as a legitimate rationale. About right?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:54 AM
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Stras's right about the Jesus movie.
To quote Ann Magnuson in that one terrific Bongwater song, "It's easy to accept Christ as your personal savior when he looks like Willem Defoe."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:54 AM
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I think of self-described social conservatives as people who want to make policy of their own mores, and you don't seem to want to do that

I would probably self describe as socially conservative and I couldn't care less what other people do. I would look at it more as I am a very boring person.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:54 AM
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69: he wants to believe. He was off that bus, but now he wants to get back on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:55 AM
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78: I've heard one of my best high school teachers (a strong old-school Democrat) described as a "lifestyle conservative." It's a useful term to describe that sort of person.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:55 AM
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Just saying again something which was denied before, but while it's been pathbreaking and wonderful for there to be a serious black presidential candidate and a serious female presidential candidate both at once, one effect of this has been,to some degree, to pit the Democrats' most loyal constituent groups against one another. Some members of the losing group, whichever it is, are going to say "We're always the last in line".

It's not unsurmountable, but a fair number of people have slid in that direction at one time or another.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:55 AM
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It seems worth noting, at some point, that this election could be a fantastic step forward in terms of the electoral politics of pace. When Clinton loses, a large part of the conventional wisdom will be that she lost because she lost black democrats decisively. That's not a bad thing.

Bob's description of that was to note that Obama was the "perfect storm" candidate for Clinton, but the other way to look at it is that, in a close Democratic primary, African-American's are a potential swing constituency.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:55 AM
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"Oh, give me a break, Petey. The differences between Obama and Clinton on SS and UHC are little details on the very edges, not anything of particular substance."

To be generous to Obama, the differences on SS are indeed more rhetorical than anything else. But it's worth noting that the rhetoric that Obama has gone with is the precise rhetoric that the SS privatizers have been pushing for the past 15 years.

On UHC, the differences are not "on the very edges". The differences are fundamental and with enormous consequences. Clinton is proposing a workable and enactable UHC program that would be the largest economic redistributive program since Social Security itself in the 1930's. Obama is proposing a program that his own staff knows is a non-starter, and will end up with a relatively minor expansion of S-CHIP if he's lucky.

"And Congress will decide what happens with those programs anyhow."

If you look at the history of major government programs like Social Security and Medicare, those programs were essentially crafted and written in the executive branch, and then tweaked in only small ways by the legislative.

Congress will indeed decide, but that decision will be primarily limited to saying yay or nay. The fact that the '09 - '10 Congress will be the most amenable Congress to major legislation in over 30 years is precisely why it's so important to have an administration with an enactable UHC program to get voted upon. These opportunities tend to only present themselves once in a generation.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:56 AM
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71: I've generally read post-Iowa Petey as one long anguished scream over the demise of Edwards, in which Edwards-love is gradually transformed into Obama-hate by blaming Obama for Edwards's loss. The myopic obsession with health care mandates, in this reading, is merely a stated rationale for an independent decision, not a motive in itself.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:57 AM
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It hardly needs saying, but 69 is pretty trollish.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:57 AM
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Really, ogged? Five years on, you're still on board the "coulda worked" bus?

Pretty sure he means to bring up the fact that he was convinced as evidence of his conservative impulses, not as a justification. Could be wrong.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:58 AM
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Once the nomination is settled, I would be really curious if Petey will explain what his strategic purpose in making an ass of himself for the last couple of months has been. I'm willing to credit him with being smart enough to wonder if he has a plan behind acting so dumb.

Last couple of months? He was virulently anti-Dean and virulently pro-Lieberman. He's a DLC DixieCon. You think he's an ass because you're not, but he just disagrees with you about fundamental things about the party.

the social justice agenda

Didn't you people used to call that "states' rights"?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 10:59 AM
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to openly recognize those demographic and racial realities?

No, no, a thousand times no. This isn't about reality, it's about cynically promulgated, self-fulfilling defeatist prophesy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:00 AM
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described as a "lifestyle conservative." It's a useful term to describe that sort of person.

Maybe I will have to start describing myself as that, less ambiguous.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:00 AM
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in actuality, the Democratic Party is organized around economic concerns.

The Democratic Party, like any party that aspires to lead the government in a first-past-the-post presidential republic, is a coalition of diverse constitutencies which agree on certain policy goals, agree to disagree on others, and actively squabble on still others. Some of those policy goals relate to Petey's "core" economic issues (social insurance, income redistribution, economic opportunity), some to peripheral economic issues (consumer protection, subsidies for particular public goods), and some to other policy objectives that Petey maligns as "symbolic", but which have real life consequences for the affected parties (reproductive rights, non-discrimination*, criminal justice, foreign policy, environmental protection).

Overlaid across all the policy differences are disordered fissures of ethnic identity, regional identity, cultural norms, and political style. And because non-voting constituencies (i.e. moneyed interests) play a major role in our electoral process, there is a motley mix of donors and local business interests in the tent as well.

Beginning in 1948, and with an accelerating tendency under LBJ, the Democratic Party began to reclassify the goal of racial justice from "something we can agree to disagree about" to "a core policy goal that defines us a party". Advocates for other policies have attempted the same trick, with varying degrees of success.

For better or for worse, that's the party we have. And that party, for all its flaws and internal divisions, is the only viable vehicle for more humane governance in the here and now.

Petey would shun ogged and have the party redefine itself exclusively around economic issues. I think that's a mistake. Equally, I think would be mistaken to make a Democratic catechism out of "symbolic" issues. I want to keep the boundaries of the tent open. With one exception, and that's the one ogged named. There can be no backtracking on the core commitment to being the party of racial justice.

*not cleanly separable from "economic opportunity", obviously.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:00 AM
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Clinton is proposing a workable and enactable UHC program

Bullshit. As you yourself pointed out repeatedly back before you went bonkers, Clinton's mandate is utterly toothless without an enforcement mechanism - the kind that Edwards described for his plan, which explicitly called for the use of debt collectors and wage garnishment. That's a shit plan, and if you can't see why, I suggest you spend several years with debt collectors hounding you, and everyone you know, for a debt you'll never be able to pay back.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:02 AM
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81: A lot of this gets fixed if Obama picks Hillary as VP.

Just sayin'.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:02 AM
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63 says something I was rummaging for words for: What gets me is the hypocrisy of the Clinton rhetoric with regard to working-class white voters. If one accepts that saying that working-class whites cling to guns and religion is condescending, then saying that they're just not ready to vote for a black guy seems equally condescending, if not more so.

If we're accepting that there are attitudes which just aren't going to get changed and require sacrificing some of the liberal vision for, then we are, and it's a legitimate topic of conversation. Turning on Obama for doing so strikes me the way a reliable contingent of veterans does whenever military topics come up, like the guy at Obsidian Wings who decided to bring out the "see, all liberals just really hate the military unless you cajole me into feeling happy again" thing in response to people criticizing the soldiers reported as hazing a depressed platoon-mate toward suicide. Campaign strategies that dare not speak their name suck.

I wouldn't care to do it myself, but I can see a sensible strategy of "as far as we can go together, with this coalition of folks". It has its strengths - Krugman talks well about it in The Conscience of A Liberal. But it's not okay to do it and then get in other people's faces for talking about it. The honest version would call for some talk about postponed progress (or even postponed restoration of ground lost, in some cases) and for a genuine focus on immediately redressable, widely recognized needs and wrongs.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:04 AM
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Maybe I will have to start describing myself as that, less ambiguous.

I'd agree that `social conservative' has real connotations of wanting to dictate what other people do.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:05 AM
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A lot of this gets fixed if Obama picks Hillary as VP.

No. Dear fucking god, no.

For the love of fuck and all that is holy, people, keep these evil idiots out of the White House.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:05 AM
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The Onion wrote a story about ogged's approach to politics.

Obama = a Hawaiian-style pizza.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:05 AM
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A lot of this gets fixed if Obama picks Hillary as VP.

Care for another bong hit?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:06 AM
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Maybe Ogged won't call y'all racist, but I will, for letting an actually interesting topic get derailed by a boring troll.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:06 AM
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A lot of this gets fixed if Obama picks Hillary as VP.

Could be wrong, but I somehow doubt the problem is Obama picking so much as Hillary accepting.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:06 AM
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38: I'm feeling much more charitable toward the Clinton campaign this morning, for some reason.

Not me. I think 38.1 as a whole is a great example of the sort of argument these people will use to try to excuse their behaviour after the fact, but without any compelling empirical reason at hand to believe in the absolute unelectability of Obama, it's all just convenient bullshit rationalization. The more apparent explanation is that they felt entitled to the nomination and are pissed at being denied it.

Far as I'll go toward the topic of the thread is to say that 1 is a good example of a genuinely interesting use of race in campaigning rhetoric (as in, this is the sort of thing that black voters actually think about), and stras has it largely right in 29 as per usual.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:06 AM
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If you look at the history of major government programs like Social Security and Medicare, those programs were essentially crafted and written in the executive branch, and then tweaked in only small ways by the legislative.

That's misleading at best. FDR and LBJ knew exactly what they could and could not get through Congress. And both of them could count on much firmer partisan control over Congress than the next President.

LBJ had the highest success rate of getting his bills signed into law of any President because he knew what to ask for. GWB called that "negotiating with ourselves", and refused to engage in it (which worked for a while, with a pliant GOP majority). LBJ wanted his potential opponents "inside the tent, pissing out". With the exception of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which passed over heated opposition in his own party, that strategy was successful.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:06 AM
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"Bob's description of that was to note that Obama was the "perfect storm" candidate for Clinton, but the other way to look at it is that, in a close Democratic primary, African-American's are a potential swing constituency."

It also illustrates that every demographic is always a potential swing constituency, because a vote is a vote. Even if you're winning them by a large margin it helps to win them by more. It's not just that Obama won black voters; it's that lately he's winning them by 80 points. If she could have held him to 70-30 or 65-35 among black voters, she'd probably have won. If he had lost women by 40 or 50 points, he'd have been totally doomed.

The only demographics that matter less are votes concentrated in winner-take-all districts where the outcome isn't in any realistic doubt. But the Democratic primary doesn't work that way.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:07 AM
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LBJ had the highest success rate of getting his bills signed into law of any President because he knew what to ask for.

And also, of course, LBJ knew exactly whose arm to twist and how to twist it for maximum effect. But that's pretty much inextricable from knowing exactly how hard he could twist and get away with it.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:10 AM
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81 is very smart.

Tangentially, and embarrassingly, I have to admit that part of what's frustrating on a personal level about the split between HRC and black voters is that one of the defenses, as an occasional apologist for Bill, against people like Stras saying that Bill was bad for poor people and minorities was to note that black people seemed to genuinely like Bill, and that they might have a reason for doing so.

It is, of course, an example of what can be so destructive about tribal dynamics of all sorts in politics is that they can put people in a tough spot when the current political landscape puts one's political history and sense of self identification in conflict.

Less abstractly, the vast majority of people following politics aren't in a position to make detailed policy analysis, so they have to rely on a mixture of common sense (which can accomplish a lot) and looking for signals. I, for example, believe that NAFTA has turned out to be a net negative policy but I also believe that Bill Clinton was sincere in thinking that it was good policy, and that he wasn't dumb to believe that. The latter half of that judgment is, in many ways, completely irrelevant, and yet it matters.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:11 AM
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"Once the nomination is settled, I would be really curious if Petey will explain what his strategic purpose in making an ass of himself for the last couple of months has been."

I just support a different candidate than you. I tend to think quite a few Obama supporters have been making asses of themselves for the last couple of months.

Team Clinton has made the utterly correct assertion that Obama has gotten routed at the ballot box among non-African-Americans who aren't economically upscale. Those who assert that to be racist in some way seem like asses to me.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:15 AM
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"FDR and LBJ knew exactly what they could and could not get through Congress."

No doubt. And the Edwards/Clinton universal healthcare program is expressly designed to be able to get through Congress.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:17 AM
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I think that ogged is really asking the following question. In a primary where one candidate is white and one is black (or, in any case, not white), to what extent is it legitimate for the white candidate to suggest that people should vote for him or her because the black candidate will lose in the general election due to the racism of the general electorate? I think the answer depends on the particular election. I would not think such an argument would be offensive in the context of, say, an election to statewide office in Louisiana. However, it might be in the context of an election for President. The problem is that we have no good idea how the national electorate will respond to a black candidate for President on a major party ticket. We should be finding out shortly, though.


Posted by: unf | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:18 AM
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black people seemed to genuinely like Bill, and that they might have a reason for doing so.

A lot of poor white people vote Republican. The GOP isn't much good for them, either.

As for why black people liked Bill Clinton, I'd guess it was because after twelve years of Reagan and Bush, anything would've looked good. But give me a break: between gutting welfare, the crime bill, AEDPA, mandatory minimums, and symbolic shit like Sister Souljah and Ricky Ray Rector, Clinton couldn't have done much more to demonstrate that he didn't give a rat's ass about black people.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:19 AM
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It also illustrates that every demographic is always a potential swing constituency, because a vote is a vote.

Katherine, I can't tell if you're arguing with me or extending what I said, but I both agree with that sentiment as being good politics and good for politics, but I don't it's literally true, except in the narrowest sense.

I remember seeing a quote by, I think, Barny Frank, a while back, in which he said that votes were more important to a politician than dollars because dollars are fungible, while votes or not. A politician who pisses off a donor can find other donors, a politician who pisses off the voters is out of politics. As much as I like Barney Frank, that struck me as a bit of a dodge. The reality is that politicians behave as if they're more concerned about donors than voters.

Similarly, not all voting blocs are equal. Partially because not all voting blocs are equally easy to reach ("go where the votes are,) is always good advice) and partially because not all possible coalitions are equally easy to pull off.

I think that part of what's exciting about an Obama candidacy is the possibility of a slightly different Democratic party coalition, but I still think there's a reason why the default coalitions are what they are, and that it takes energy to break up those coalitions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:20 AM
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Obama has gotten routed at the ballot box among non-African-Americans who aren't economically upscale

I haven't been making a deep study of the numbers on this, so perhaps someone here can tell me: is this true across the board, or only in certain regions?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:20 AM
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110: it's vaguely true in certain ways if you squint (so, for instance, you have to exclude young people, who are often less than "economically upscale").


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:21 AM
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107: not legitimate. If he's so obviously going to get crushed in the general election, there will be polls showing him consistently getting crushed in the general election, & you can point to the polls without getting into the details. If he does about as well as you in the general election polls, & your only evidence for his inferior electability is the conviction that whites just won't vote for a black candidate, you're just arguing not to vote for him because he's black, which is an unproven assumption that will lead to the party never nominating a black candidate.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:21 AM
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111 continued: the question of whether it's a valid or persuasive way of dividing the electorate, or whether it tells you anything about the specific effect of any policy prescriptions on the part of either candidate, of course remains unanswered.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:23 AM
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And the Edwards/Clinton universal healthcare program is expressly designed to be able to get through Congress.

Maybe it's true that you can't get a really good program through congress.

The health care system has two fundamental problems. One is lack of access, the other is inefficiency. Addressing the former alone is at best a stop-gap, because it will either fall apart or bankrupt itself.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:23 AM
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I haven't been making a deep study of the numbers on this, so perhaps someone here can tell me: is this true across the board, or only in certain regions?

Of course it's true, rfts? Would Petey--Petey--pull facts out of his ass?

Don't you remember the crushing defeats Obama suffered in Nebraska, Wyoming, etc?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:24 AM
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Well, you know, maybe Nebraska is wealthier than I thought!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:25 AM
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Well, caucuses make people richer, keep in mind.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:26 AM
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The health care system has two fundamental problems. One is lack of access, the other is inefficiency. Addressing the former alone is at best a stop-gap, because it will either fall apart or bankrupt itself.

When I think too much about the state of health care and the disappointing qualities of any of the proposed solutions (let alone what will pass), I really get to wishing for divine (or superheroic) intervention.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:26 AM
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And the Edwards/Clinton universal healthcare program is expressly designed to be able to get through Congress.

Which is why Congress members are already making excuses about why they won't be voting for health care reform.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:27 AM
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118: ooh, like "Socialized Medicine Man" except he'd really be a Medicine Man, and he'd look kind of like Billy Jack but wear more like a uniform and speak European!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:29 AM
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Maybe Ogged won't call y'all racist, but I will, for letting an actually interesting topic get derailed by a boring troll.

I second B, though I did it too.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:29 AM
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I third B, from a position of moral superiority since I ignored him.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:30 AM
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Also, can we stop trying to conflate Edwards's health care plan with Clinton's? Edwards had a much stronger public option than Clinton's plan. Edwards designed his public option to possibly lead to single-payer; Clinton has repeatedly described her public option as a "bare bones" plan that's only going to be available to the very poor.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:30 AM
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And the Edwards/Clinton universal healthcare program is expressly designed to be able to get through Congress.

While I tend to favor the Edwards approach or the Clinton approach (Edwards/Clinton is a bit of a misnomer) to Obama's plan, I don't think it's self-evident that HRC's plan stands a better chance in Congress than Obama's, no matter what its designers intended.

The mandate provision is pretty easy to demagogue (would have been less so if Romney were the GOP nominee, but whatever). And I think it's a fair assumption that if the Dems can get community rating and guaranteed issue passed (combined with a reasonable benefit floor), then the health insurers and their water-carriers in the GOP will come begging for a mandate soon enough. And then, problem solved. And the other side gets the blame for the unpopular aspect of UHC. You can probably even negotiate some additional concessions out of them in the process.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:30 AM
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109: I don't understand what you're arguing. Literally, a vote is a vote, and convincing one group of 1000 voters to go from 500-500 to 600-400 in your favor has exactly the same effect as convincing another group of 1000 to go from 800-200 to 900-100 in your favor. In both cases, you gain 200 votes over your opponent. You can also achieve the same effect by getting 200 new voters to register & vote for you. I realize this is obvious, but pundits and consultants don't seem to get it at all; they routinely talk as if demographics who split their vote relatively evenly mattered more than demographics who don't.

It's possible that a group's vote will be both lopsided & not very volatile. But I don't think there's any generalized evidence that groups that are more lopsided are more volatile.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:31 AM
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109: I don't understand what you're arguing. Literally, a vote is a vote, and convincing one group of 1000 voters to go from 500-500 to 600-400 in your favor has exactly the same effect as convincing another group of 1000 to go from 800-200 to 900-100 in your favor. In both cases, you gain 200 votes over your opponent. You can also achieve the same effect by getting 200 new voters to register & vote for you. I realize this is obvious, but pundits and consultants don't seem to get it at all; they routinely talk as if demographics who split their vote relatively evenly mattered more than demographics who don't.

It's possible that a group's vote will be both lopsided & not very volatile. But I don't think there's any generalized evidence that groups that are more lopsided are more volatile.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:31 AM
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"it's vaguely true in certain ways if you squint (so, for instance, you have to exclude young people, who are often less than "economically upscale")."

FWIW, young people overwhelmingly self-identify as economically upscale, especially those who've had some post-HS education, whatever their actual worldly prospects.

That's the reason the Obama coalition is best thought of as "AA's & upscale whites" rather than "AA's & rich whites".

"Well, you know, maybe Nebraska is wealthier than I thought!"

No. Nebraska was a caucus state, and as with most of the Democratic caucuses, those who participated skewed significantly upscale.


Posted by: Petey | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:33 AM
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I mean, less volatile. And sorry for the double post.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:34 AM
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pundits and consultants don't seem to get it at all; they routinely talk as if demographics who split their vote relatively evenly mattered more than demographics who don't

This is because of their deep adherence to the myth that there's some definable "average American" cohort whose votes are the only ones that matter.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:35 AM
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118: ooh, like "Socialized Medicine Man" except he'd really be a Medicine Man, and he'd look kind of like Billy Jack but wear more like a uniform and speak European!

Splendid plan! Maybe he'll spare a moment to kick Dick Cheney in the face.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:35 AM
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One thing that's often forgotten in the "electability" arguments is that Hillary started the race with enormous 40+ negatives. And her advantage over Obama among poor white Democrats doesn't translate into an advantage over McCain among the overall poor white population. A lot of the Hillary-haters are in what's supposed to be Hillary's best demographic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:36 AM
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Edwards/Clinton is a bit of a misnomer

It's more that a bit of a misnomer, it's downright misleading.

Edwards plan looked like it might be half-decent (as opposed to HRC or Obamas) on paper for the reason you outline. Who knows what it would look like by the time it eventually passed (if at all).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:36 AM
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Obama and Hillary are both only winning half of Democrats in the Democratic primary!!! If that trend continues in November, we'll lose by 40 points!!


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:37 AM
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The caucus I attended in Minnesota skewed old, contrary to what people have been saying. Heavy with retired people, who have lots of time. At 61 I was one of the youngest in my precinct, and I'd say that I was younger than average county-wide.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:38 AM
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That's the reason the Obama coalition is best thought of as "AA's & upscale whites" rather than "AA's & rich whites".

Actually, I think your term "upscale" is not best for anything, as it is better suited to describing department stores than people. Better, perhaps, to say middle- and upper-class whites, or whites with higher socioeconomic status. But anyway, I'm still curious: I thought he did poorly with lower SES whites in the Rust Belt/Appalachia, but pretty well in other regions. But perhaps not.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:40 AM
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129: I think it's more pernicious than that; I think it comes from a belief that groups are basically insular, that blacks are unlikely to want to vote for somebody that other blacks don't vote for, or that women won't vote for somebody that other women won't vote for. It elevates segregatory stereotyping to the level of recieved electoral wisdom.

My guess: 40 comments posted since I wrote this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:40 AM
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135: you're correct, it's just that most of the places he did well with lower SES whites are caucus states, so Petey gets to write them off.

133 is awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:42 AM
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I don't understand what you're arguing.

I don't think we're disagreeing, I was just nodding in the direction of somethings that I would consider truisms. but I'll try to flesh out my thinking.

1) That, in general politicians go after voters in groups, rather than as individuals.

2) That some groups are more costly than other to go after (for example, one of the debates of the past election cycles, that I don't have an opinion in, is how much time and energy should one spend going after young voters.)

3) [most debatably] There are perceived opportunity costs in American politics. Both there's a cost in trying to target a certain group but not devoting enough energy (seen as pandering) or, if one devotes too much energy than one is identifying one's brand with that voting group/coaltion. As an example of this point, look at the Republicans. There are a lot of unfogged readers who would never vote Republican because they aren't willing to be in a political coalition with other people who vote Republican.

To those I would add an additional point of baseless speculation

(4) Most politicians are loss-minimizers rather than gain maximizers.

I think that a combination of those factors has prevented African Americans from being a swing voting bloc in most nation elections. For candidates that don't have a natural appeal to African American voters the cost, but real and opportunity of trying to go after them is too high.

Really, it makes me think that part of what has made the racial component of this race so intense (for a Democratic race) is that both candidates went into the race thinking they had a shot at African American votes. HRC didn't just decide to not go after African American votes -- she changed strategy or, at least, the impression of the relationship between the "Clinton brand" and African Americans changed.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:45 AM
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This seems an obvious point, but I haven't seen anyone here make it, so here goes: Hillary won the traditional working class states in large measure because she's the establishment candidate, and that's where the Democratic establishment has a machine to turn on for her. This factor is reasonably invariant with regard to policy content.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:46 AM
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No. Nebraska was a caucus state, and as with most of the Democratic caucuses, those who participated skewed significantly upscale.

Of course. That's why Obama got crushed in the lilly-white primary states like Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Oh, wait!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:47 AM
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the nation's original sin

The native americans don't count because they're not really people, huh? You disgust me, Ogged.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:47 AM
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I agree that African Americans haven't been especially volatile in national general elections recently--though this wasn't actually true a few decades ago; this is mainly a function of the GOP & Dems making certain choices and being stuck with them. But of course, they swung more than any other demographic group in the Democratic primary this year: Clinton went from winning them comfortably to losing them by over 80 points.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:49 AM
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Further, it's a distinctly American pathology that the sets "blacks" and "working class" are thought of as exclusive; this is idiotic, but it's not worth arguing about now.

Also, and this is so blindingly obvious I shouldn't need to state it, but you don't need to a) live in West Virginia b) work in something with a smokestack c) subscribe to X number of bullshit Brooksian signifiers to be a worker.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:50 AM
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there will be polls showing him consistently getting crushed in the general election

There may be some Bradley effect for the general, tho weaker for the primaries. Or reverse Bradley effect. In any case I would at least double the margin of error.

But you did say crushed.

I have been thinking about this since ogged posted it without coming up with any instances in which I would be comfortable highlighting race in campaign rhetoric.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:52 AM
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subscribe to X number of bullshit Brooksian signifiers to be a worker.

B-but, I belong at Applebee's.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:52 AM
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I think that part of what's exciting about an Obama candidacy is the possibility of a slightly different Democratic party coalition

Color me much less excited. But it definitely is not the blacks I have any trouble with.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:54 AM
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This seems an obvious point, but I haven't seen anyone here make it, so here goes: Hillary won the traditional working class states in large measure because she's the establishment candidate, and that's where the Democratic establishment has a machine to turn on for her.

You make a valid point, Alex. But recall that Democratic machines generally have a congential racial/ethnic character. There's a "machine" in Chicago, Philly, and Boston, and there are a lot of African American Democratic voters in those cities, but the two sets do not necessarily intersect.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:55 AM
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As a lot of people have been saying, we aren't in an evidentiary void here -- there are national polls vs. McCain for both candidates, and they are now showing Obama either just behind or statistically tied, and Hillary just ahead of McCain, with maybe a 3-4 point gap between how well Hillary and Obama do. That's not enough to justify Hillary's argument. It's reasonable to suppose that Obama can make up some ground there by running a good campaign, and he's demonstrated that he's better at doing that than Hillary is.

It also illustrates that every demographic is always a potential swing constituency, because a vote is a vote. Even if you're winning them by a large margin it helps to win them by more.

Unfortunately this isn't true, because of our fucked-up electoral college system, which desparately needs to be reformed.

One thing that's happening here, I think, is that in the 1968-1992 period African-American voters were a source of all kinds of pain, conflict, and angst within the party -- the most loyal and solid supporters, but also the population for whom the Democrats sacrificed the solid South when the party chose the side of justice during the Civil Rights movement. The race issue was so divisive that blacks couldn't be an ordinary member of a multi-racial coalition, the party was always relying on black votes and running away from them at the same time. That has to leave its mark on those politicians who learned their craft during that time. Obama understands this history well, but just personally he represents a new generation who can see blacks as one member in a coalition. The end of AFDC also helps here.

keep these evil idiots out of the White House.

Hillary won't be VP, but if Obama will be stupid if he doesn't draw on plenty of talent that was in the Clinton White House during the 90s. And he's not stupid.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:56 AM
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147: "congential" s/b "congenital", obvs.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:57 AM
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Prediction: Should Obama be elected President, there will be many articles written on how race is no longer an issue, in the Oprah is the highest paid entertainer and Tiger Woods makes more money than God vein. Obama's Presidency may set back "social justice".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:58 AM
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Tangentially related.

White Philly cops beating the crap out of three black men.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 11:58 AM
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Actually, Obama's now only about 1-2 points behind Clinton in the McCain matchup:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/polls/

The only place where Hillary's arguments begin to make sense is in Florida and Ohio, where she does do much better. Somewhat better in PA.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:00 PM
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with maybe a 3-4 point gap between how well Hillary and Obama do

The latest Gallup is interesting for its sameness:
Obama 46, McCain 45
Clinton 46, McCain 45
Obama 47, Clinton 46


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:01 PM
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The native americans don't count because they're not really people, huh? You disgust me, Ogged.

That's a good point, actually. America is so wealthy, it has two original sins!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:02 PM
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Oops. Latest Gallup.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:02 PM
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what kinds of mentions of race in a campaign against a black opponent are acceptable, and what kinds are unacceptable

How about the kinds of mentions that are relevant to policy instead of to politics?

This is the same complete bafflement I have in response to assertions that it's difficult to criticize Clinton without coming off as sexist, or Obama as coming off as racist. It's not that fucking hard -- you criticize their policy positions. If you can't criticize their policy positions, you criticize the decisions they've made in the past.* Anything beyond that is ad hominem, so why the fuck are we trying to rationalize it?

* If you can't do either of those honestly in a party primary campaign, then you praise the hell out of your opponent and explain how your policy positions and decisions are even more awesomer, because it's to your advantage to do so and to the party's advantage and to humanity's advantage, incidentally.

Once you've decided that you can


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:02 PM
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Yes you can!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:03 PM
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Sí, se puede!


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:04 PM
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The only place where Hillary's arguments begin to make sense is in Florida and Ohio, where she does do much better. Somewhat better in PA.

Jeez, PGD, even when you take my side I disagree with you. The fact that Obama does well in national polls because of superior strength in states he has no hope of winning, while HRC does better in FL, OH, and PA isn't just part of the argument, it's the entire argument. No, I happen to reject the argument on other grounds, but really, if it were true that HRC was guaranteed those three states and Obama had no hope in them, even I would think about voting for HRC on electability grounds.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:07 PM
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White Philly cops beating the crap out of three black men.

Please stop distracting the Democratic Party with your symbolic concerns.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:09 PM
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White Philly cops beating the crap out of three black men.

Please stop distracting the Democratic Party with your symbolic concerns.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:09 PM
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whoops. disregard that trailing fragment.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:10 PM
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White Philly cops beating the crap out of three black men.

Careful. ogged says we can't call anybody racist in this thread.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:12 PM
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152:Hell, I don't know if I care if HRC's argument is true. In itself, it is not enough of a reasonn to deny a black candidate that has earned the nomination a chance to test recism in America. Racial justice is the second most important foundation of the party.

(economic & justice are primary, and for stras & I would prefer Democrats be a socialist party, there is still a committment to a safety net, in priciple if not in practice, that is not negotiable) ...

I am ok fine with losing, closely, with a black candidate. In a country becoming majoirt minority, and a world getting smaller this can only be a smart investment for the party.

I wish it wasn't this particular black candidate in all his characteristics but that is a different argument.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:12 PM
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161- The cops are of the white working-class constituency and the blacks guys are.......ah, who the fuck cares.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:13 PM
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Color me much less excited.

Bob, I don't think your worries are completely crazy. It would be possible to worse than the current coalitions. But I also think that, of all possible sets of (modern) Democratic and Republican coalitions, the current ones are pretty bad for the democrats. Right now the Republicans are more or less tied with the Democrats in terms of national votes, while their signature policies poll far worse.

It makes me willing to take my chances with shaking up the current coalitions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:13 PM
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Also, and this is so blindingly obvious I shouldn't need to state it, but you don't need to a) live in West Virginia b) work in something with a smokestack c) subscribe to X number of bullshit Brooksian signifiers to be a worker.

In America, "working class" doesn't mean "worker". It means "person who has a job that didn't require a lot of education".

Hey, you're the same person who was using "middle class" in its British definition, as well. "Middle class" can include anything from the 5th to 99th percentile of either income or wealth, depending on your educational status and self-esteem.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:14 PM
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159: thanks for harshing my electoral mellow. Go away now, until maybe October.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:14 PM
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164: s/b all the typos and grammatical errors in 164

jeez


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:15 PM
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150: Obama's Presidency may set back "social justice".

Ah, the argumentum ad freakonomicum.

Seriously, I can imagine some negative effect from what you describe, but it seems like that will be more than offset by Obama's positive inspirational effect.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:18 PM
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This is the weirdest thread ever. Bob seems quite sensible and almost conciliatory and Petey is actually responding to arguments rather than just ranting. Is it possible to have a three-person ticket: Obama/Petey/McMcanus?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:21 PM
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I can imagine some negative effect from what you describe, but it seems like that will be more than offset by Obama's positive inspirational effect.

Please don't think that I feel that is a reason not to vote for Obama, far from it. I'm just saying that if he wins the arguments will shift as well. We are a long way from post racial, if such a thing can ever exist.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:24 PM
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A long way and a whole lot of hot interracial lovin'.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:25 PM
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Prediction: Should Obama be elected President, there will be many articles written on how race is no longer an issue, in the Oprah is the highest paid entertainer and Tiger Woods makes more money than God vein.

If Obama loses, there will still be many articles written about the irrelevance of race, Oprah will still be the highest paid entertainer and Tiger will still make more money than God. An Obama victory would just provide another excuse for people to say what they were going to say anyway.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:26 PM
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173. Better get busy, Sifu. Sorry, Blume.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:30 PM
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I think ogged's original question can probably be answered by recourse to Rawl's public reason, extended beyond the usual religion to race, ethnicity, and any other non-rational affects. These attributes of candidates and implications of policy can be a private consideration for evaluation but never a public part of the discourse.

Unless you could demonstrate that Romney's religion would affect his policy, or until you can make a case that it has (Scalia?), it needn't go further.

And to get controversial, I am not sure a history of racism, misogyny, homophobia etc would not fall into this category. There is no way Robert Byrd can show us his heart beyond doubt, all we can do is record his rhetoric and watch his votes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:31 PM
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Who says we're the same race?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:31 PM
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(where it counts)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:31 PM
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A long way and a whole lot of hot interracial lovin'.

And to think, all this time, I've been wondering what I could do to give back to society and redeem my selfish, materialistic career choices!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:32 PM
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Better get busy, Sifu. Sorry, Blume.

Climb in bed with DS, and you can contribute to rebuilding America's tattered bonds with its allies, while you're at it!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:34 PM
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171- Petey is the new Bob.


Posted by: as | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:34 PM
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while their signature policies poll far worse

Demonstrating yet again that at least a plurality of Americans don't base their votes on policy, but on content-light marketing campaigns and the political equivalent of having a favorite basketball team.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:37 PM
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So to continue 177 a step, should membership in an exclusionary golf course be a subject for public discussion, athough certainly a matter for private judgement?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:38 PM
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Are you saying that people don't pick their baseball teams rationally, apostropher?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:38 PM
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I didn't mention baseball, since I can't figure out its appeal on any level.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:39 PM
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Americans don't base their votes on policy, but on content-light marketing campaigns and the political equivalent of having a favorite basketball team.

If Americans were as blasé about the race of their presidential candidates as they are about the racial composition of their favorite basketball teams, we wouldn't be having this discussion.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:41 PM
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But more seriously, you might hate the style of play your favorite team has adopted, but you still pull for your favorite team. Presented with the GOP legislative agenda, lots of people turn up their noses, but it still doesn't mean they're going to vote for a bunch of faggy Democrats.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:42 PM
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Which is my whole point about any given equilibrium point of coalitions requiring energy to disrupt.

I just think that Obama is a good candidate, and 2008 is a good year, to take a chance on shaking things up if you're a Democrat.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:44 PM
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I don't see "k" or "t".

Because I'm post-racial.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:45 PM
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I don't do well with sports analogies. Could someone frame with the lattes vs. pabst argument?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:45 PM
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I don't do well with sports analogies.

effete, latte-sipping, coastal elite.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:46 PM
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Obama will be stupid if he doesn't draw on plenty of talent that was in the Clinton White House during the 90s.

That talent hasn't demonstrated much efficacy in the Oughties, has it? In fact, what successes the Dems have extracted from the shame and humiliation of the current decade have come through baby-steps away from the DLC/Clinton-era model. Why should Obama draw on it or on the "talent" associated with it? (No doubting he probably will, to some extent, but AFAICS the more he does this, the less good will come of it.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:48 PM
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Obama as Earl Lloyd?

http://www.nba.com/history/season/19501951.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:49 PM
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In my experience, effete, latte-sipping, coastal elites under the age of 80 make a big deal of preferring the NBA to any other sport. I think the motivation is contrarianism, and that it all started with Woody Allen in Annie Hall.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:49 PM
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What happened to Sifu's campaign for the monarchy? Now he's veering off into some crazed obsession with interracial sex. No message discipline, the first requirement for a successful candidate. Or is it racist to mention that?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:49 PM
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194 of course is meant to only describe liberals.

The majority of effete coastal elites being Republicans, who prefer baseball if they are similar to George Will, or college football if they are new money rather than old money.


Posted by: FAtman | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:51 PM
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57
This surprises me. I think of self-described social conservatives as people who want to make policy of their own mores, and you don't seem to want to do that.

Everything's relative. Ogged could be moderately socially conservative for the Bay Area.

Alternately, Ogged could have meant that he was conservative in personality rather than as a political philosophy, which I think is just my term for a "lifestyle conservative." That is, a creature of habit, comfortable with routine, kinda introverted, etc.

153: That reminds me, I've found it kind of maddening that I can't find any three-way candidate preference polls. That is, polls where the question is "Who would be your first choice for president: Hillary Clinton, John McCain or Barack Obama?" Maybe they're out there, but I can't find them. That electoral situation could never possibly happen so I understand why polling companies aren't wasting their time investigating it, but I've wondered about the question and I think it would be a good (far from perfect, but good) proxy for how much support either Democratic nominee would have in the general election.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:52 PM
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preferring the NBA to any other sport

I prefer MMA and pro football, because there isn't enough violence in the NBA*.

*Offer may be void when Ron Artest is on the floor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:53 PM
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198: You're not a latte-sipper.

I, on the other hand, am, and I prefer soccer, aka *real* football.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:56 PM
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174: Yes.

Does anybody else remember that we were post-racial in the 80s because the Cosby Show was the most popular TV show, and Michael Jackson was the most popular entertainer.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:57 PM
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I don't do well with sports analogies. Could someone frame with the lattes vs. pabst argument?

Can't be done, asl. The issue at hand does not concern the finer distinctions between the suburban white educated professional faction of the Democratic party versus its the younger, more urban, hipster faction.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:58 PM
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200: Hell, we've been post-racial since Archie Bunker and the Jeffersons showed thay we could laugh at ourselves.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:58 PM
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It occurs to me, surprisingly enough for the first time, that as a latte chugger I don't really know where my place is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 12:58 PM
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199: "real" s/b "communist"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:00 PM
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Does anybody else remember that we were post-racial in the 80s because the Cosby Show was the most popular TV show, and Michael Jackson was the most popular entertainer.

Don't forget Bo Jackson being the highest paid sports endorser! And Doug Williams winning the Superbowl MVP (as a quarterback, not a running back or wide receiver)!


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:03 PM
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203: However, as an abuser of freebase latte, I am pretty sure I know where my place is.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:04 PM
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I think the motivation is contrarianism,

No, the motivation is awesomeness.

It's true that football is pretty awesome too, but every American male who likes sports likes football, so there's no in-group to be joined there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:06 PM
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204: Fight for Peace, Equality, Democracy, and Socialism.

Sounds good to me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:08 PM
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Personally, I support Osama Bin Laden's favorite soccer team, and I drink European-style cappucinos in a big-city coffee shop called Intelligentsia. But I like baseball a lot better than the NBA.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:11 PM
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Our chances of getting a president who can generate serious pressure for Universal Health Care ended with the Edwards campaign. Obama won't go for it, and Hillary isn't the person to win the media fights.

So I'm looking at other stuff now, primarily the idea that we're going to be able to attract a whole generation of new voters with a sensible and competent Democratic approach to foreign policy. Fury with Republican foreign policy basically won us the 2006 election. If all goes well, we finally get to put the entire 1960s paradigm of looking at the parties on foreign policy behind us. Instead, Democrats get the reputation of being competent types who don't throw interceptions and get happy people in other countries to wave American flags, while Republicans are frothing-at-the-mouth warmongers who get your kids killed. The foreign policy pendulum swings a few decades at a time, and it's time to make the next couple decades ours.

That's something that Obama is much better positioned to do than Hillary Clinton, whose approach to foreign policy seems to be about staying just barely left of the Republican Party.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:12 PM
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I'm a moderately socially conservative guy

I just have to arch an eyebrow at this. When I read it my first thought is that ogged must have spent very little time in rural America.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:16 PM
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In San Francisco, it just means that he doesn't dress in hemp and isn't a polygamous bisexual.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:17 PM
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isn't a polygamous bisexual.

Men are only as faithful polygamously bisexual as their options.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:23 PM
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69

"It's the "can be convinced to support the occasional war of choice" thing that gets me. Really, ogged? Five years on, you're still on board the "coulda worked" bus?"

The first Gulf War was also a war of choice and it did work.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:33 PM
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That's what I figured, that a closet casestraight dude in San Francisco probably feels woefully quaint.

Men are only as faithful polygamously bisexual as their optionsthere's beer to be had.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:36 PM
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1

"I would say that an argument along the lines of, "my opponent, who is black, is (say) anti-urban, anti-affirmative action, and has no record of actually supporting any "black" issues or organizations. Fine; his race is not an important part of his public identity. To me, however, this suggests that if he doesn't feel answerable to his own community, will he feel answerable to any of us?""

If it is legitimate to attack a candidate for insufficient devotion to his ethnicity I don't see why it would be illegitimate to attack a candidate for excessive devotion to his ethnicity (generally a more plausible charge). Are you ok with that also?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:37 PM
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Thanks, James, that's just the incentive I needed to get off Unfogged and go start vacuuming spiders.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:40 PM
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I drink European-style cappucinos in a big-city coffee shop called Intelligentsia

Mini-Chicago-meetup! I always wait out the Friday rush in the Randolph store before going home.

Oh hey. So stupid idea I've been having lately if Obama wants to show seriousness on the healthcare front and pull people into the coalition:

1) Add the robust public option to his plan (this is mostly my preference rather than some ultra-excellent political move, I admit, and I tend to disagree with mandates being too important for a large variety of reasons).
2) Push to get Clinton a higher position in the Senate, probably aiming for chairs of the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee and hopefully chairing or a similar position of power on the Finance committee and/or Healthcare subcommittee. This is because I assume Senate Majority Leader is out.
3) Get someone in the house who is onboard with UHC and either has the committee positions or has sufficient seniority to swing them with little pushing.
4) Pull Edwards into a cabinet-level or other executive branch position over healthcare, medicare and medicaid.
5) Make those three the official drafters/shepards of the UHC bill, whose names are all very publically attached to it.

And then you'll probably have the best possible shot while pulling in the various factions on a big part of the domestic legislative agenda that everyone seems to agree upon. Eh?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:55 PM
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preferring the NBA to any other sport

The Tour de France, bitches.

Could someone frame with the lattes vs. pabst argument?

There's a difference? Elitists drink lattes; hipsters drink PBR.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 1:59 PM
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The first Gulf War was also a war of choice and it did work.

If it had worked, we wouldn't have spent the next twelve years enforcing no-fly zones and dropping bombs, then invading again and occupying the damn place. So, no, it really really really didn't work and continues not to.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 2:22 PM
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Honest dialogue about race and the presidency:

George Bush is America's first nigger president.


Posted by: Clinton 44 | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 2:32 PM
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What do you mean, Apo? It did what it was supposed to do: convinced the Democrats that if they didn't support whatever half-assed war the Republicans ginned up, they would be regarded as un-American. This is what Bush Senior meant when he referred to the end of "Vietnam War Syndrome", which


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 3:33 PM
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I think Walt seized up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 3:41 PM
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He finally succumbed to apoplectic outrage, despite being only six months away from the end of Republican hegemony. Tragic.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 4:08 PM
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If HRC was so all concerned about the extent to which the prejudices of various American populations impact electability, then surely she should have stood down and let Edwards go.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 6:30 PM
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Our chances of getting a president who can generate serious pressure for Universal Health Care ended with the Edwards campaign.

Allow me to point out once again that universal health care should not be the next president's number one priority. The biggest problem we're facing right now is global warming, and it's going to take a massive amount of political will to do what it takes on that issue. And given that "do what it takes" in this context means "stop the destruction of civilization," I'll go without health care for a while longer so that America can get its head out of its ass on climate change.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 8-08 6:44 PM
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Even if I accept your premise, Stras (and I think it's at least plausible), I don't think there was as much difference between the Democrats' climate change views as there was between their health care plans. Everybody in the big 3 came out with a good plan that would solve the problem.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 05- 9-08 2:43 PM
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