Reform vs Results

I've been reading Bob Shrum's book. I eviscerated the guy in CTG, and it was well-deserved on his part; but that doesn't deny that the guy can write, even if it's revisionist at times (in the case of the Edwards).

Anyway, there's a great quote that he has from Hubert Humphrey, over lunch with George McGovern, made about the "reformer" Dukakis, who'd just called Humphrey "as an outworn relic of the old politics" just as Dukakis was winning his first race in MA, in the late 70's:

Humphrey's response tumbled out: "I tell you the difference between Dukakis and me. He wants the pipeline to be nice and clean and shiny, and as long as it is, he doesn't care if shit comes out the other end. I don't care if the pipeline's messy and even shitty at times as long as the right result comes out the end."

That's the best description I've ever heard of the dividing line between process liberals-- reformers-- and results-oriented progressives.

Apply that to the cunning 'reform' debate over superdelegates, and about the greater need to win in 2008.

Tags: 2008 election, Bob Shrum, Hubert Humphrey, Mike Dukakis (all tags)



Re: Reform vs Results

Which is more important? The ends or the means?

And can either one be truly clean of the other is dirty?

by msindell 2008-02-15 04:20AM | 0 recs
This is really overheated.

Are you saying that the people on the other side of this debate - MoveOn, for example - are googoos who don't care about results?  Whether it's shit coming out of the pipe?

I doubt you really think that.  There are a lot of people of good will on each side of this fight, and I'm hopeful we'll be side by side on a lot of fights in the future.  

by TL 2008-02-15 04:24AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

Black and White it is not, despite how some might like to portray the matter.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 04:37AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

Why pledged delegates, why not the popular vote, if you really want to be the most democratic?

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 04:38AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

Is there a way to get actual popular vote results (i.e. can you get the real numbers from the cacuses - or ist cacui)  I don't know.

If that's possible, I could see the merits of that argument.

by labor nrrd 2008-02-15 05:05AM | 0 recs

You can make the argument that allowing so many slots to party insiders makes the party undemocratic and ossified.  You can argue that in the future the whole idea of super delegates should be abolished.  But the current rules are what we have now, and super delegates can vote for anyone they want.  People have always tried to influence how they will vote (at least if their votes matter).  

The current hub bub is just more of the same.  Sure people are probably offering to help get kids of super delegates into the finest kindergartens.  And some are probably offering to help them raise money for their campaigns, or even contributing money to them.  And some people are using rhetoric, moral suasion and blatant political blackmail.

That's all part of the legitimate process of trying to influence how super delegates will vote.

It's just as legitimate to try to influence super delegates by appealing to a sense of democracy as it is to hold a fund raiser for them.

by kaleidescope 2008-02-15 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Of Course
Clinton supporters don't care about post convention.
They don't care about the good of the party.
They don't even care that Clinton can NEVER beat McCain.
Instead they only care about the bruised egos of the party elite.
by gil 2008-02-15 05:54AM | 0 recs
Oh, puleeze.

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:48AM | 0 recs
Do you really think Barack and...

Michelle haven't plotted and planned to get him to a position to run for POTUS?  Look at their career trajectory and every step of the way, they have maneuvered to create an "image".  

Hey, they probably are using Hillary and Bill Clinton as role models.

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:50AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

Also, doesn't this call for transparency, need some of its own, in its "reform in the name of helping Obama win" cal to action?  That's worth asking for, right?

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 04:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Before we get worked up over this...

Nah.  WI,OH,TX & PA "don't matter".

by vj 2008-02-15 05:23AM | 0 recs
I guess Mich and Fla don't matter, either.

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

I don't know.  I support Obama but got sick of Move On in the last election when I felt most of their statements and ads were totally self defeating and unnecessarily divisive.  This is not the time they should be wading into this.  It's an important issue but not for right now.

by mady 2008-02-15 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: This is really overheated.

Jerome's pissed off because he wants to be the guy at the end of the pipe who decides whose shit smells the best.

by Rrose 2008-02-15 06:04AM | 0 recs

He was a reformer with results too!

by mcdave 2008-02-15 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Keep working it Jerome.

At some point, absent gigantic crushing wins in WI, TX. OH, & PA, plus a number of the "insignificant" states, this thing will be over.

At the moment, the other side is presenting a more persuasive argument.  The only way to to change that is to win. Not a squeaker either.

All these Hillary fans, who truly want her to win, should get off their  backsides and head to the states where they are holding elections.  Because right now, it looks like Obama's team wants it more.

by swarty 2008-02-15 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

It's amazing that O supporters can only see things through the lens of how it helps O win. Try commenting on the substance of the post next time, instead of manufacturing a robotic response that is just an echo of a thought.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 04:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

To respond to the "cunning" plan to disenfranchise supers, I would counter that the Clinton team has a cunning plan to disenfranchise the caucus system.  They have been slamming it every chance they get.

Both sides are presenting arguments. Some are resonating and some are not. If the members of MoveOn had voted in that silly straw poll for Hillary, then they would be mum on this issue. You can say they held a vote that they knew would have a particular outcome. But vote they did, and now the 30% who voted for Hillary have a perfectly good reason to drop out of MoveOn.  i personally think their reach is not as great as people give them credit for. More of a feedback loop to the Obama voters at the moment. But that will change when he does something stupid and they react accordingly.

I will completely agree that if Hillary ends up winning the popular vote and losing the pledged delegate vote, then we will truly be in a pickle.  This scenario is what makes me worry about our chances in the general election. We would fight like hell amongst ourselves and have nothing left for the general election.

So I stand by my comment. If you truly want to see Hillary win this thing, you need to be in TX or OH right now.  Because huge wins there is all that can save her.

by swarty 2008-02-15 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Yea, what I need is a lecture by you on telling me what to do "right now". Anyway, looks like Clinton is doing fine in OH and TX, fwiw.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 05:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

The advice was meant for the Hillary voters who are so passionate that they cannot imagine her not winning.  You are doing an important part with your website to help her campaign.

As for the polls, I don't know how to read them like a pollster, but the dates on the PA poll are pre Tuesday. And the TX poll has her only up by 8 points and the last day polled was on Wednesday, so if that is a three day poll, 2 of the days do not reflect Tuesday's blowouts.  Not certain.

These races will tighten significantly in the next 2 1/2 weeks. I do not doubt she can win in those states, but nothing is a slam dunk.  

by swarty 2008-02-15 05:22AM | 0 recs
What substance of the post

"Where's the beef" if we are going to look towards democratic presidential nominees who were embarassed in the election.

Maybe I am obtuse, and there is an argument here, but forgive me I am missing it.

Is it that Move-on is asking for a shiny pipeline (supredelegate transparency or whatever it is they are doing) and shitty result (obama) while the Clinton campaign is willing to twist some arms to get a good result (Clinton).  That would seem to be looking through a clinton-colored lens.

Or is just the echo of the thought that Clinton=results Obama=empty reform talk... which case, talking points aren't necessarily true.

Or maybe its a third argument, I can't tell because this just a gesture towards a point.  

by labor nrrd 2008-02-15 05:03AM | 0 recs
Re: What substance of the post

Well, ask yourself who is cunning and why they are cunning and what that means for them as an organization in the longrun. You'd be headed more in the right direction than you are with your thoughts.

That's the problem though, isn't it. Their call to action is supposed to be obtuse enough so as not to behold a candidate, but it's so blatant that it directs you to the natural conclusion regardless.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 05:06AM | 0 recs
Because by not remaining neutral...

they have alienated a large percentage of their base...a base that is committed to the issues that moveon used to support.

I simply will not provide any support to moveon because I assume it will go to Obama.

That's not what moveon (or The Nation) was supposed to be - IMHO.

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:55AM | 0 recs
Pot meet Kettle

You argue for popular vote, because it is the place Clinton is close.  You argue for including all the delegations from MI and FL(instead of say half), because it helps Clinton to have a chance.  Obviously, MI and FL could have half their delegations seated(that is what they believed would happen originally), but that is not acceptable because it hurts Clinton.  They could rerun their contests, but that isn't acceptable because it hurts Clinton.

You believe Clinton would be the best President, so you don't seem to care how she gets there.  If she has to change, rewrite rules or overturn decisions by the DNC to win the election, it would be ok with you.  I don't believe you care how clean the pipe is, as long as what comes out is good.  In your mind, that is Clinton.

by Tantris 2008-02-15 05:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results


The irony of that statement coming out of your keyboard is palpable.  Your "analysis" of this race has been myopically one-sided for nearly a year now.  You seem to view every issue through the lens of your anti-Obama glasses.

The ultimate irony is that you have been fighting tooth and nail against the one candidate who is capable of delivering the very change you profess to seek.  If I had told you a year and a half ago that one of the most liberal Dem Senators would build an enormous movement/campaign that would: double youth participation; significantly increase turnout among AA voters, the most reliable Dem demographic group; and, build huge grassroots volunteer efforts nationwide, you would have said "amazing, where do I sign up."

The problem is that you and many other net-rooters have so far been unable to recognize what is in front of your own eyes.  "We are the change we seek."  This is not some messianic statement, it is a statement of fact.  Nobody is going to come along and give us change.  We have to do it from the bottom up.

What seems to be hanging you, and so many others, up is the fact that you thought this change would come wrapped in hard-core partisan, feisty populist language.  Instead it has come in what looks like conciliatory, post-partisan language;  but, look at the effect of that language:  Obama is presenting progressive values in language that is accessible and acceptable to many who are not self-identified liberals.  This is how you build the base; rather than hitting people over the head with populist language that is foreign to them, appeal to our common dreams and aspiration.  

I expect that Obama will gradually fill in the policy gaps over the course of the campaign, but he needs to introduce himself to the country first without being labelled as "the angry black man," or "the angry populist" like Edwards did.

Dems have only been able to achieve substantial reforms when they have had substantial majorities in both Houses of Congress.  Obama is laying the foundation for that kind of victory in the fall.  He is bringing in millions of voters who will help elect more Dems in the fall.  We is appealing to these people with general themes rather than policy specifics because he understands that most independent voters make decision based more on values and character than on policy and ideology.

I wonder, do you ever lay in bed at night and ask yourself, "how did I get here?"  After writing a book about challenging the political establishment, you have ended up fighting for the ultimate establishment politician against the most successful insurgent in a generation.  At some point I encourage you and other "hyper-partisans" to reexamine your assumptions about how we achieve progressive change.  Obama may not be what you expected, but at some point, you need to realize that his approach seems to be working.

I do not mean to be overly personal.  I do not know you.  I do respect the tremendous work you have done in your book and in building this site, I just think you need to reexamine some of your assumptions in light of new information.

by upper left 2008-02-15 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results


Persuasion is better than force.  See Aesop's The North Wind and the Sun.

by Poochie 2008-02-15 06:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

The ultimate irony of this election is how Obama supporters like yourself have convinced yourself that this is a battle of light and dark, of evil and good.

I happened to have noticed that the Clinton and Obama voting record are nearly identical; that all the talk about outsider/insider is bullshit; that all the hyperbole about change is nothing more than 'the same' masquerading itself across the campaign.

I only jump aboard real movements.

In that light, that they are the same as far as policy goes, or more or less, I happen to have made up my mind based on which of them is more likely to kick the Republicans in the balls, rather than give them a helping hand back to the table.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 07:11AM | 0 recs
Clintons co-opted 60% of the Republican agenda

With NAFTA, welfare "reform", The death penalty and on and on.

Hillary added support for criminal wars that result in thousands of dead Americans.

Some "kick in the balls".

by Cyt 2008-02-15 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Let's have a real discussion

Your reply is a total "straw-man" argument.  Who said anything about good and evil?  

I believe that Obama is more committed to bottom-up, progressive change.  I base that on his life choices his voting record vs. HRC and her life choices and voting record:

1) Obama chose to be a community organizer and a civil rights attorney.  Clinton chose to serve on the Board of Walmart and spent fifteen years at Arkansas' preeminent corporate law firm. The Clintons chose to be leaders in the DLC.

2) Clinton under pressure chose to vote for the AUMF and against the Levin Amendment that would have provided a check on Bush's power to make war.  Obama chose to speak out against the war.

3) Obama chose to make ethics reform a priority and chose not to accept Fed lobbyist money and chose to reveal bundlers.  Clinton has a long history of cozing up to corporate interests.

Look I am under no illusion that Obama is some kind of a saint.  He is a politician who is trying to win under the rules of a deeply flawed system.  I do believe that there are real and substantive differences.  Partly it is a matter of demonstrated commitment to progressive values, and partly it is a matter of political approach: I believe that Obama's bottom up, communitarian approach is likely to be more successful than Hillary's "I can beat the Repubs at their own game," approach.  I view her as a classic "help the unfortunate" liberal, and him as more of an authentic progressive.  

You may disagree, but you should do so honestly with logical arguments and evidence rather than dismissive snark and straw-man arguments.

Edwards campaign is a cautionary tale about how far to the left a candidate can go without being marginalized.  I think Obama has been carefully positioning himself for this campaign.  I believe the overwhelming evidence suggests that he is significantly more progressive than his voting record suggests, and even at that, the National Journal just ranked him as the most liberal Senator.

Regarding approach, can't you see that Obama is building the party?  The evidence is everywhere in front of you, and yet you are seem so convinced of the righteousness of your hyper-partisanship that you can't see it. I politely encourage you to open your eyes.

by upper left 2008-02-15 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Question for Jerome

"I only jump aboard real movements."

What would you consider a "real movement?"

by upper left 2008-02-15 08:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results
I am a life-long progressive and I approve of this post.
HHH had the same lack of success in presidential politics as Dukakis.
People power is the operative word in this election. Not the smoke filled rooms of HHH'e era. Move on,gang.
by hawkjt 2008-02-15 07:23AM | 0 recs
What proof do you have that Obama...

is capable of delivering change?

Actions speak louder than words.  

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:57AM | 0 recs
Re: What proof do you have that Obama...

I have proof of nothing.  I see substantial evidence to suggest that Obama's approach to change will be more productive than HRC.  Look, neither Obama or HRC have many significant accomplishments in the Senate.  Obama made some headway on ethics reform and worked effectively with Lugar on loose nukes, but for the most part I am basing much of my assessment on having read his books and the comments of many who have known and worked with Obama.

I have thirty years of experience as a community organizer, legislative staffer, and lobbyist for progressive causes in three different states. It mostly gets down to a matter of perception about who has the bet chance of winning in the fall, who can do the best job of building the Dem majority and who will be the most effective POTUS.  I prefer Obama on all three issues.

by upper left 2008-02-15 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Look I voted for Obama, largely because he has better foreign policy advisors and and he seems to inspire more people to get involved in the political process. But really what are actual political differences between Hillary and Obama?

They are some, but they could probably fit into thumbnail. Obama has a fantastic grassroots operation, but he not a "movement". Movements are built around concrete objectives to achive social change. As in the labor movement, the anti-abortion movement, or the civil rights movement. Movements built around electing one guy -- who dosen't even promise anything that is all that different than his competition -- is called an election campaign.

My favorite line of the season came from Edwards who noted many times that this election isn't about any of the candidates personally. It isn't about Clinton and it ain't about Obama. It's about the future of the country and whether we can make our progressive vision for the future a reality.

Obama and Clinton partisans should take their message to Ohio, Texas etc. and hopefully we will have a winner by June - either of which I will go to mat for. The real fight is to get a Democrat into the White House and build on our majorities in Congress. Let's keep our powder dry until them, ok

by alexmhogan 2008-02-15 10:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

I worked as a community organizer in the 80s.  I think that experience had a large effect on how I perceive Obama's candidacy.  I believe that Obama means what he says, when he says he is trying to build a working majority for progressive change.  

I believe process matters.  I think HRC's traditional top-down, partisan approach is much less likely to yield substantive results.  I also think HRC is much more tied to pleasing power elites.  I don't think Obama is any sort of a radical, but I think he is more independent in his thinking and more willing to take on powerful interests in specific situations where he thinks he can win.  I may be wrong, I may end up being disappointed, but I have read both of his books studied everything about his record that I can get my hands on.

I also think there is a substantive difference when it comes to political style.  I think Obama is far more honest and authentic.  These qualities matter to me, and I think they make him much more electable.

by upper left 2008-02-15 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Hubert Humphrey, of course, started out as a fire breathing leberal whose introduction to national politics was his peech at the 1948 Democratic Convention that urged Democrats tp "step out of the shadow of states rights and walk into the (bright?) sunshine of civil rights."  Pretty damned revolutionary for the time.

By the 70s, Humphrey was the old guard.

Dukakis was the first candidate to really build a conscious national strategy around courting the Latino vote.  It worked for the nomination, as Latino votes in Florida and Texas helped blunt the dual threat of Jesse jackson and Al Gore.

There were a lot of results from 60s Democrats.  Civil rights.  Voting rights.  Medicare. Medicaid. The war on poverty: day care, jobs programs and a real, unjimmied unemployment rate of 3.6%.  Economists seriously talked at length over whether unemployment was too low and below the full employment figures.  But for the Vietnam war even more woulf have been pushed through that dirty pipeline.

Results trump process, in my mind.

by David Kowalski 2008-02-15 04:32AM | 0 recs
What Results?

   Unfortunately, we haven't seen much in the way of reform or results since 1980. Reagan and Bush II rolled over the congressional Dems. Clinton fought mostly to keep the Republican congress from taking us backwards. The median wage has stagnated since the mid-70s, we still don't have national healthcare, and lobbyists run Washington.

by MarvToler 2008-02-15 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

MoveOn throwing a fit over superdelegates because they think they will hurt Barack Obama. I don't remember anyone caring about superdelegates in more than twenty years.

Superdelegates are problematic from a democracy standpoint -- they were set up to prevent a George McGovern or Jimmy Carter or anyone not vetted by party leadership from ever getting nominated again -- but to think that the leadership of the Democratic party, of which a huge chunk is sick of the Clintons, will spike Obama's nomination is silly. I honestly doubt that even Hillary would want to see the party's hopes of winning destroyed over a bullshit fight at the convention.  

If MoveOn wants to help Obama it would do better working on getting people to Ohio and Penn to help him out. Clinton's last hope is not the superdelegates; it's destroying Obama in those two states.

by alexmhogan 2008-02-15 04:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Clinton's explicit strategy appears to be "seeing the party's hope of winning destroyed over a bullshit fight at the convention."

I agree with you, though, that it won't work.  John Lewis's decision to vote for Obama at the convention is a first sign of this - even Clinton's superdelegates aren't particularly interested in spiking Obama's nomination.

by jlk7e 2008-02-15 04:40AM | 0 recs
This is OT but

why is the only place that has Hillary with a lead in delegates?

by skipos 2008-02-15 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: This is OT but

Who knows, Jerome said it was updated "nightly." So much for that.

by Progressive America 2008-02-15 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: This is OT but

Ask TGP, it's their projection.... that's right, the most objective delegate counter online is now anti-Obama too (don't bother).

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 05:07AM | 0 recs
Re: This is OT but
What kind of website blames other sites for its own content?
You sound like the Bush admin blaming everyone else for your own failings.
by gil 2008-02-15 06:00AM | 0 recs
"Powered by MyDD"?

The delegate counter says "Powered by MyDD," not "Powered by TGP." So MyDD isn't actually the source of those numbers?

How about changing the credit and linking to the external source if it's not MyDD's data?

by BBCWatcher 2008-02-15 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

The only problem is that many of us don't believe Hillary wants the "progressive results." The DLC's end goal is not progressive at all. Neither was NAFTA nor the Iraq War nor the Iran vote.

So your failure in logic is that Hillary is not pushing for a progressive result at all, even in messy terms or reform terms.

by Progressive America 2008-02-15 04:53AM | 0 recs
Holy Crap Jerome Give It Up

Did you hear that The national SEIU, who had announced they were going to stay out of the fray, has just endorsed Obama? Have you heard that John Lewis has just switched to Obama? That DNC Member Christine "Roz" Samuels has just switched to Obama? That Representative David Scott has switched to Obama? That DFA, Deans ex-organization, has now started a huge campaign to ensure SD's do not thwart the delegate winner.

Did you hear that UFCW has just endorsed Obama?

I am just a little ashamed of this small clot of democrats.

And I do not mean HRC supporters, I mean those operatives using disappointment and anger to stir up actions that in any other circumstance, would be roundly and angrily denounced.

by inexile 2008-02-15 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Holy Crap Jerome Give It Up

Come on, try to look at this objectively. Does that really mean anything to the voter in Ohio or Texas, where Clinton is leading by double-digits?  Surely you've learned enough about endorsements to know that's not going to matter much in this contest.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Holy Crap Jerome Give It Up

I will look at it objectively.

Both candidates wanted that endorsement. He got it.

They both want John Edwards endorsement. She may yet get that one.  And Obama will try and minimize it if it comes to her. That is what politicians do.

Do they matter?  Fair question. I would say some do, but not as much as people think.  But getting them beats a sharp stick in the eye.

by swarty 2008-02-15 05:27AM | 0 recs
Texas Lead?

Clinton seems to be leading by single digits in Texas if you believe the most recent polling.

by BBCWatcher 2008-02-15 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Texas Lead?

Oh, sorry. ARG now says Clinton is behind by 6 in Texas, if you believe ARG.

by BBCWatcher 2008-02-15 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Don't "reformers" want to change the process so that we can better get results?  I'm not sure the system as is allows for the kind of progress we seek.

by bigdcdem 2008-02-15 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Exactly, you would think the last 50 years would have shown us working inside the system doesn't give good results even if the people working within it really want progressive results. Now give us a person who doesn't even want progressive actions and tell me how we're going to get change?

by Progressive America 2008-02-15 05:03AM | 0 recs
Reform blather

When will people wake up, this is not reform.  They are using you to get power.   Reform is for the masses, business as usual is for the power structure.  Better the devil I know than the devil I don't.  The only consolation if Obama wins, is that all the Blogs that supported him will become apologists and full time tools for the "man".  In some ways I want him to win, so I can see the gutless "bloggers"  have to defend the man they helped create.  

Who will throw the first stone and have to face the mob with pitchforks?  

by Iskandar 2008-02-15 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: How so?

No no! Remember if you don't support Hillary Clinton you are irrelevant!

by MNPundit 2008-02-15 05:01AM | 0 recs
And Obama's votes on the war funding...

have done what, exactly, to end it?

by Shazone 2008-02-15 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Speaking of superdelegates

They just got updated. They follow TheGreenPapers, and DCW, if you want more up to date. It's a bit of surprise that TGP doesn't show Obama ahead still, the networks and MSM all are going off of projections, which are pretty accurate. TGP is going with actual confirmed results.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-02-15 05:02AM | 0 recs

Please comment on the JJ Jr threats that he will pull the carpet from under superdelegates, who vote for Hillary.  I just don't get why people are not getting upset by the threats.  

I posted the quote and a link for the article below.  Where is the outrage now?

by Iskandar 2008-02-15 06:32AM | 0 recs
On Practice

The Humphrey quote could've been lifted from Chicago's old Mayor Big Dick Daley complaining about Martin Luther King demonstrating for fair housing after Daley had done so much (as he saw it) for Chicago's blacks.

It wasn't lofty rhetoric that built the segregated dangerous public housing projects. It was pure contractor corrupto greed coupled with racial fear and political expediency.

The question I have about HHH is what exactly ever came out of a pipeline Humphrey built?  Did Humphrey ever even build a pipeline ugly or otherwise?  The guy was not exactly Lyndon Johnson in the Senate.  

In fact Johnson viewed Humphrey pretty much the way Humphrey viewed Doo Doo Ka Ka -- an ineffectual liberal poseur.

by kaleidescope 2008-02-15 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: On Practice

Humphrey was a pretty influential man.

He was one of the driving forces behind the Farmer-Labor Party and Democratic Party merger in MN that created the DFL.

He was instrumental in adding the civil rights plank to the Democratic Party's platform in 1948.

He was the Democratic Majority Whip from '61 to '64 and had a major part in passing the Civil Rights Act, arms control, food stamps, and the nuclear test ban.

Of course, he also had his negatives.  

Nonetheless, I agree that process and product are not mutually exclusive.  That is a very cynical way to look at the world.  By those standards, President Bush is right to say, "Don't worry about us torturing, wiretaping, and infringing on your privacy, thats just process.  We are achieving our end product: the safety of the American People.

by WellstoneDem 2008-02-15 09:10AM | 0 recs
Hillary = Hubert? What a sales pitch!

Wow, what a great selling point, especially given the crushing victory Humphrey brought in 1968, to say nothing of his tremendous nomination victories thereafter.

by aretino 2008-02-15 05:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary = Hubert? What a sales pitch!

Excuse me what do you know about HHH beyond the soundbite?  
In 1948....Not 2008 when its stylish.  

"The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights," winning support for a pro-civil-rights plank in the Party's platform.

Could people please not denegrate every Democratic leader in order to elevate the unknown christ child?  

by Iskandar 2008-02-15 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary = Hubert? What a sales pitch!

I don't think the author was trying to denigrate Humphrey, they were just pointing out two facts.

1.  He was the last candidate picked by party bosses over party members.

2.  He suffered a crushing defeat during an  unpopular war, to Richard Nixon of all people.

I thought his greater point was party bosses ignore the will of their party members at their and the parties own peril.

by Its Like Herding Cats 2008-02-15 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary = Hubert? What a sales pitch!

The Humphrey-Clinton comparision is way out of wack. There were violent divisions between the Democratic old guard around Johnson, the urban machines and George Meany and the "new politics" faction led by Eugene McCarthy and McGovern. A leading faction of the party was willing to sink the party's chances if their guy didn't get the nod (like in 1972 for example, the only time in recent history the AFL-CIO stayed neutral). Who would want to sink the party because Hillary wasn't the nominee? Besides Mark Penn and Bill Clinton I can't think of anybody that passionatly committed to her candidacy that they would risking splitting the party over it.

Humphrey was one of the most progressive but tragic leaders of the 20th century btw. Can't recommend's Carl Solberg's biography enough btw for those who want to learn more about Hump.

by alexmhogan 2008-02-15 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Jerome, you had asked about which states Obama would take from the Republicans.

How about Nevada? nt/politics/election_20082/2008_presiden tial_election/nevada/election_2008_nevad a_general

You're right, winning in 2008 is going to be key to getting results.

by Progressive America 2008-02-15 05:30AM | 0 recs
JJ Jr. meanwhile threatens superdelegates

Considering that at the same time Jessie Jackson Jr.  and others are basically blackmailing Black Superdelegates to either change their vote or the carpet will be pulled under them:  

He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him "if it comes down to the last day and you're the only superdelegate? ... Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?

"I told him I'd think about it," Cleaver concluded.

Jackson, an Obama supporter, confirmed the conversation, and said the dilemma may pose a career risk for some black politicians. "Many of these guys have offered their support to Mrs. Clinton, but Obama has won their districts. So you wake up without the carpet under your feet. You might find some young primary challenger placing you in a difficult position" in the future, he added. n_el_pr/clinton_superdelegates_6;_ylt=Ap eAuR7qy3M.kGJ6rUOZk50E1vAIhttp://news.ya n_superdelegates_6;_ylt=ApeAuR7qy3M.kGJ6 rUOZk50E1vAI

by Iskandar 2008-02-15 05:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

I don't think the endorsement by John Lewis matters much.  But his superdelegate vote sure matters.  His switch to Obama is the best evidence yet that the superdelegates will not choose Clinton if she is behind in pledged delegates (vice versa as well).  they just won't do that to the party.  

Jerome and anyone else can make whatever arguments they want, and I agree that if things end up within the Florida margin then all hell will break loose.  But if Obama can keep a pledged delegate lead of over 100 or so, the super dells will line up behind him.  

In the short term, given his status with the black caucus, Lewis's switch may lead to a cascade of black superdelegates pulling away from Clinton, which will start making it more and more obvious that the delegate race isn't a virtual tie, it is a small but meaningful lead by Obama.

by snaktime 2008-02-15 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

I sincerely hope you are not referring to Hubert Humphrey, the ultimate liberal, as a progressive.  Maybe I got that wrong?  That would be pure revisionist history.

by mady 2008-02-15 05:37AM | 0 recs
Some Good Advice for HRC fro man Unlikely Source

Hi Folks...

Look, instead of cherry-picking the best parts of process and politicking in hopes of aiding and/or justifying an HRC "win" on the convention floor (which won't work...the leader in primary votes, whoever it is WILL get the support of the superdelgates...PERIOD), you HRC supporters ought not be posting here, but making calls on her behalf in OH and TX.  Really!

As for some advice Hill should take, look no further than Peggy Noonan.  Yes, what she offers does pose a risk for HRC, but it also, IMo offers high reward... she has to do SOMETHING soon...the SDs are peeling of of her as I predicted they would, and it WILL continue.

Here's Noonan's argument:

"This is death by a thousand cuts." That's what they keep saying about Hillary Clinton.

Think of what this week was for her. She awoke each day having to absorb new sentences in a paragraph of woe:

Three more primary losses, not even close. Now it's eight in a row. A slide in the national polls. Staff shakeup: soap-opera-watching campaign manager out, deputy out. Bill's former campaign manager, David Wilhelm, jumps for Barack Obama. Josh Green, in a stunning piece that might be called a meticulously reported notebook dump, says, in The Atlantic, that Mrs. Clinton made personnel decisions based only on loyalty, not talent and skill. (There's a lot of that in the Bush White House. The loyalty obsession is never a sign of health.) The Wall Street Journal reports "internal frictions" flaring in the open, with Clinton campaign guru Mark Penn yelling, "Your ad doesn't work!" to ad maker Mandy Grunwald, who fires back, "Oh, it's always the ad, never the message." (This is a classic campaign argument. The problem is almost always the message. Getting the message right requires answering this question: Why are we here? This is the hardest question to answer in politics. Most staffs, and gurus, don't know or can't say.) On a conference call Tuesday morning, Mr. Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, told reporters Mrs. Clinton simply cannot catch up. It is "next to impossible" for her to get past him on pledged delegates, she'd need "a blowout victory" of 20 to 30 points in the coming states, the superdelegates will "ratify" what the voters do. (I wrote in my notes, "not gloating--asserting as fact.") Within the hour Mr. Plouffe's words were headlined on Politico, made Drudge, and became topic one on the evening news shows. Veteran Associated Press reporter Ron Fournier took a stab at an early postmortem in what seemed a long-suppressed blurt: The Clintons always treated party leaders as "an extension of their . . . ambitions," "pawns in a game of success and survival. She may pay a high price for their selfishness soon." He cited party insiders: Superdelegates "won't hesitate to ditch" Mrs. Clinton if her problems persist. To top it all off, Mrs. Clinton has, for 30 years, held deep respect for her husband's political acumen, for his natural, instinctive sense of how to campaign. And he's never let her down. Now he's flat-footed, an oaf lurching from local radio interview to finger-pointing lecture. Where did the golden gut go? How did his gifts abandon him? Abandon her? Her campaign blew through $120 million. How did this happen?

The thing about that paragraph is it could be longer.

And it all happened in public and within her party. The dread Republicans she is used to hating, whom she seems to pay no psychic price for hating, and who hate her right back, are not doing this to her. Her party is doing this.

Her whole life right now is a reverse Sally Field. She's looking out at an audience of colleagues and saying, "You don't like me, you really don't like me!"

Although of course she's not saying it. Her response to what from the outside looks like catastrophe? A glassy-eyed insistence that all is well. "I'm tested, I'm ready, let's make it happen!" she yelled into a mic on a stage in Texas on the night of her latest defeat. This is meant to look like confidence. Whether or not you wish her well probably determines whether you see it as game face, stubbornness or evidence of mild derangement.

* * *

In Virginia last Sunday, two days before the Little Tuesday voting, she suggested her problem is that she's not a big phony. "People say to me all the time, 'You're so specific. . . . Why don't you just come and, you know, really just give us one of those great rhetorical flourishes and then, you know, get everybody all whooped up.' "

When she said it, I thought it might be a sign that Mrs. Clinton was beginning to accept the idea that she might lose. I thought it was a way of explaining to others--a way of explaining to herself--why things hadn't worked. A riff that wasn't a riff but a marker, a rationale for a loss, an explanation of why she failed that could be archived by television producers--Hillary on the trail, 2/10/08--and retrieved the day she concedes. A 15-second piece of videotape that tells the story her way, with an admission that was actually a boast. I could do that big rhetorical stuff if I wanted to, and if I thought it were best for our country. But I'm too earnest to do that, too sincere, and in fact too knowledgeable. That's why I deal in specifics. Because I know them.

I thought it an acknowledgement that loss might come. But by Thursday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton was furiously stumping through Ohio using the same line of attack, but this time it wasn't a marker. The race is about "speeches versus solutions." Her unnamed opponent stands for the first, she for the second. He is all "words," she is "action." "Words are cheap," she said.

If they were so cheap, her inability to marshal them would not have cost her so dearly.

She has also taken to raising boxing gloves and waving them triumphantly from the podium. Is this a fruitful way to go? It's her way, bluster and combat. People do what they know how to do.

A better way might be honesty. I say this in the sense that an old Richard Nixon hand used it when he said, "Nixon doesn't always think honesty is the best policy, but he does think it's a policy." He saw it as a strategic gambit, to be used like any other.

But imagine if she tried honesty and humility. When everyone in America knows you're in a dreadful position, admit you're in a dreadful position. Don't lie about it and make them roll their eyes, tell the truth and make them blink.

True 'dat!

by a gunslinger 2008-02-15 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Good Advice for HRC fro man Unlikely Sour

Thanks for posting Peggy Noonan's article, it was a great read and so true ...

by Poochie 2008-02-15 07:19AM | 0 recs
Peggy Noonan??!!

Obama supporters are posting Peggy Noonan articles here?

I give up.

by Shawn 2008-02-15 10:29AM | 0 recs
I agree with "labor nrrd" above

My enduring frustration with the primary season has been how pretty much everyone has taken the candidates' rhetoric and used it to sum the two (or three, when Edwards was around) up.  Forgivable enough, since it's the most information we have from them directly, but it also comes out of strategic calculation, not soul-bearing, and over time the reliance on it got to me.  I assume you mean that Clinton is, as she presents herself, the results-oriented, solution-providing fighter.  Why, then, has she comes so much closer to the "result" of losing this primary than I ever, ever thought she would in October?  Not that I'd place money on her loss or anything, a lot remains to happen, but how can you run as the pragmatic managerial competent one, then come damn close to losing what might have been a blowout?  At the moment, it looks like Obama, gauzy rhetoric and goo-goo image and all, who seems to be better at working the system to get what he wants, especially considering where they both started out in terms of support of all kinds.  (If you mean to reply that there's more to being a fighter than winning elections, well, that's always seemed to me to be the most evidence offered for Clinton's fighter bona fides--she took all they had to take, and she's still standing!  Otherwise, they've both passed bills and amendments, they were both activists, etc.)  I think the whole reformer/results dichotomy is false, even if it's one both candidates seem to like to some extent--all laws are reforms, after all, and what other results are there a politician can directly point to?    

That said, I'll freely admit I smirked when I got my email from DFA, for the same reason you did--the transparency of the ploy for Obama is amusing, but that doesn't mean there won't be a big optics problem, justified or not, if the superdelegates do end up deciding a pledged delegate tie or near-lead.    

by Xenocrypt 2008-02-15 05:43AM | 0 recs

If you do not mean to frame the race as I assumed, I do apologize, but be aware that, when the candidates have been stereotyped as they are, talking about reform on the one hand and results on the other will lead to that mistake.  

by Xenocrypt 2008-02-15 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

An excerpt:

"By arguing that one of Clinton's key virtues was her ability to go toe-to-toe with the GOP attack machine, her campaign exacerbated instead of ameliorated her reputation for ruthlessness. "By bragging about how tough they were," says John Edwards's former chief strategist, Joe Trippi, "they reinforced the sense of the media that everything they did had a negative cast to it." At the same time, Trippi argues, "it made it really hard for them to call Obama on his shit. How can you complain about Obama being negative when you're bragging about your willingness to do the same thing against the Republicans?"" 44211

by Poochie 2008-02-15 05:46AM | 0 recs
As applied to any losing campaign ...

Once upon a time there was a fox strolling through the woods.  
He came upon a grape orchard.  
There he found a bunch of beautiful grapes hanging from a high branch.

"Boy those sure would be tasty," he thought to himself.  
He backed up and took a running start, and jumped.
He did not get high enough.

He went back to his starting spot and tried again.
He almost got high enough this time, but not quite.

He tried and tried, again and again, but just couldn't get high enough to grab the grapes.

Finally, he gave up.

As he walked away, he put his nose in the air and said:  "I am sure those grapes are sour."

by Poochie 2008-02-15 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Humphrey's metaphor is colorful and interesting to think about. But is our political system really just a "pipeline"--i.e., just an instrument to bring about a desired result? I actually think that preserving democracy and democratic institutions is an end rather than a means.

by slvn 2008-02-15 05:54AM | 0 recs
The Disaster of 1968

While I admire and respect all that Hubert Humphrey did and stood for, there is some irony that you would choose his quote for this post as he was the last Dem Pres nominee who was chosen by the party insiders rather than primary voters.  That decision tore the party apart and helped elect Richard Nixon.  Who knows what would have happened in 1968 had Bobby Kennedy not been assasinated but I think history shows pretty clearly that the 1968 Chicago convention and all that happened there was a disaster for the Dem party.

The fact is I think that if the Dems nominate a candidate who lost both the popular vote and the delegate count you would have a repeat of 1968.  In fact, it is the only way I see either candidate loosing to McCain in November.  The days of party insiders choosing is basically over and I think the Super Delegates realize that.  I know a brokered convention is every political operatives dream but I'd be surprised to see the Super Delegates go with a candidate behind in the delegate count.  

With regards to one candidate winning the popular vote and another the delegate count, I know it is mathimatically possible but pretty unlikely with proportional representation.

by John Mills 2008-02-15 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Jerome, can you offer up any proof that the Party created this Superdelegate system with the intention that they pledge their support prior to the electorate voting?  Hasn't this campaign by Clinton to lock down the SDs so far in advance a distortion of the role they were created to play.  As Tad Devine pointed out in the NYT this weekend:

Democrats created these superdelegates after the 1980 election with several purposes in mind.

Party leaders had been underrepresented on the floor of the 1980 convention, which was the culmination of a bitter contest for the nomination between President Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy that left our party deeply divided and contributed to the party's loss of the presidency that year.

Many party leaders felt that the delegates would actually be more representative of all Democratic voters if we had more elected officials on the convention floor to offset the more liberal impulses of party activists.

But the superdelegates were also created to provide unity at the nominating convention.

They are a critical mass of uncommitted convention voters who can move in large numbers toward the candidate who receives the most votes in the party's primaries and caucuses. Their votes can provide a margin of comfort and even victory to a nominee who wins a narrow race.

The superdelegates were never intended to be part of the dash from Iowa to Super Tuesday and beyond. They should resist the impulse and pressure to decide the nomination before the voters have had their say.

by Piuma 2008-02-15 06:04AM | 0 recs
Superdelgate Fight & Wisdom

She started by acting entitled to it (perhaps a mis-acted show of strength?), and then the next mistake was SC.  As you point out, Bob...that may have been the one that hurt the most, because it led to laying bare the third mistake...the fact that there was seemingly no plan for a post-Super Tuesday campaign...the entitlement led to the assumption of success.

NOW, Obama has a better than 100 point lead in elected, primary delegates, and there is almost no way (barring a miracle or catastrophe) she can make up that void.  This last week hurt a lot, in that regard.  Anyway, she is now faced with the reality that in order to win, she might need to try to wrest the nomination away on the floor of the convention, leading to this quote by Micheal Gerson of the Washington Post:

Though it is increasingly unlikely, Clinton may still have a path to the nomination -- and what a path it is. She merely has to puncture the balloon of Democratic idealism; sully the character of a good man; feed racial tensions within her party; then eke out a win with the support of unelected superdelegates, thwarting the hopes of millions of new voters who would see an inspiring young man defeated by backroom arm-twisting and arcane party rules.

From Rob:

Ouch.  She will do irreparable harm to the entire Clinton brand by going down THAT road.  Her future career/opportunities as well as Bill's are at stake, IMO.

The best thing she could do for the party and the race, depending on this Tuesday, is throw in the towel.  Should Barack wind up with more delegates AGAIN...she should really end it BEFORE TX and as to stop the talk of rupturing the party & have to endure further defections by superdelgates.

Will she do it?

by a gunslinger 2008-02-15 06:09AM | 0 recs
Entitled to it

It's called alliances.  You do that when you are in politics for years.  

by Iskandar 2008-02-15 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: When have the Clintons ever cared...

To be fair....THIS  is the occassion where I actually see it for myself.  

The HRC campaign is really on the brink.

by a gunslinger 2008-02-15 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results
Just a point on MoveOn endorsement. An e-mail was sent out to all who had been members as of the previous day. There was 24 hours to vote. No one could vote who joined AFTER the email went out. There was a threshold of %70 or MoveOn would not endorse.
Obama met that threshold. That is why they endorsed.
by nogo war 2008-02-15 06:12AM | 0 recs
Sorry - they shouldn't have endorsed...

anyone.  In doing this, they compromised belief in their stand on the issues that used to be important to many of its members - I've unsubcribed, and so have a lot of other people.

They should have stayed above the fray.  

by Shazone 2008-02-15 09:00AM | 0 recs


Mr. Limbaugh then listed nearly a dozen qualities he said he found admirable in Mr. Obama. "Barack Obama is pro-life," he began. "Barack Obama is a tax-cutter extraordinaire."

If neither statement was descriptive of Mr. Obama, a liberal Democrat, nor was there much hope for what followed. "Barack Obama will establish a college football playoff, once and for all," Mr. Limbaugh said. "Barack Obama will offer free-beer Fridays."

His point, Mr. Limbaugh said, was that Mr. Obama represented "a blank canvas upon which anyone can project their fantasies and desires."

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-02-15 06:32AM | 0 recs

That was your mistake: Listening to that old drug addict for validation about your candidate.  

by swarty 2008-02-15 07:09AM | 0 recs
Which is very very scary!

by Shazone 2008-02-15 09:01AM | 0 recs
So Lots of People Are Lobbying Superdelegates...

...From all sides. I don't see the problem.

But there's hardly any drama here. The superdelegates are ultimately going to support the candidate with the most pledged delegates. Lobbying in some other direction won't be successful.

by BBCWatcher 2008-02-15 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

Jerome, thanks for posting this. It sums up what the Democratic party is wrestling with. In my IMHO, I feel like the Obama-wing of the Democratic party "wants the pipeline to be nice and clean and shiny, and as long as it is, he doesn't care if shit comes out the other end. I [as a voter] don't care if the pipeline's messy and even shitty at times as long as the right result comes out the end." And, it's obvious that I am not alone in this sentiment. Give me a fighter. Hillary is the right candidate, at the right time, with the right plans and experience to make the changes we need in order to get the "right results".

by grlpatriot 2008-02-15 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

It is an interesting argument.  

It also seems to be the argument that got us 8 years of  bush even  after 8 years  of prosperity by the clintons.

It is fundamentally not understanding the long term consequences of ones actions.                  

After all Hubert Humphrey lost to dukakis.  How terrible a candidate does one have to be to lose to dukakis?                                                                              

by TerraFF 2008-02-15 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

 Humphrey lost to Dukakis? When pray tell?

by molly bloom 2008-02-15 12:57PM | 0 recs
Ok, Jerome - who's the shit? n/t

by Bruce Godfrey 2008-02-15 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

I want reform and results.

I also think if you make certain reforms with the political system in regards to ethics, the role of outside influence like lobbyists, transparency, etc., it will be a hell of a lot easier to get the good results.

by WellstoneDem 2008-02-15 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Reform vs Results

I started out this campaign as a Kucinich supporter, mainly for his positions on health care reform and his principled stand on LGBT rights.

With Kucinich's and Edwards' withdrawal from the race, I was most open to BO's candidacy and attended events to hear his point of view. I came away feeling very disturbed at the utter lack of content in his presentations, and feeling he insulted my intelligence as a voter by attempting to gain my support with empty oratory without revealing his policy intentions. I continued to follow countless speeches he gave across the country, looking for a reason to support him, and trying to develop confidence in his candidacy. My misgivings only grew with increased exposure to his non-message, and this was exacerbated by the hateful and distorting attacks on Senator Clinton, the only remaining alternate Democratic candidate.

I went and read every morsel of policy proposed on both candidates' web sites, and found BO's to be unworkable nonsense on the health care front, one of my main issues (I am a single payer advocate) and thin and weak in general. On the economic front BO's ideas are significantly less progressive. The best suggestions looked like they were directly lifted from Clinton's web site, while the worst were his alone.

Clinton's proposals were described in far more depth and detail, and were coherent and mainly well informed.

You see where I am going with this.

He's not ready for prime time. I am now supporting Clinton, and everything I have seen from BO's campaign has served to increase the degree of alarm I feel at his ascendency to the nomination, as well as a sense of increasing alienation at the co-optation of a progressive agenda by someone without the qualifications or background to enact it.

I read several pundits decrying the supposed "selfishness" of Clinton in wishing to have a shot at the nomination and give her solid proposals a chance to reverse the direction our country has taken, but to me the real "selfishness" and power hungry orientation seems to be in the BO camp, where the patience to gain experience and expertise is lacking, and the willingness to risk the lives of countless Americans by placing someone unprepared in the top position seems to me to be the ultimate in self-aggrandizement.

People can have many points of view on candidates, and I believe BO's lack of experience has a remedy - more experience. He might well be the perfect candidate for a later election.

For now he is a high risk candidate who could be a disaster and a stain on the reputation of the Democratic Party for generations, a premature candidate who's election could abort a progressive agenda for the indefinite future. I'm far from sold on supporting him if nominated, I think progressives could be in for a rude shock.

I'm sorry to the BO supporters who may find my concerns scurrilous, but after long consideration I find the Clinton argument of substance over empty rhetoric compelling, and I have already sent in the largest donation possible and my active support in the hopes she can still pull this out. The country needs competence in government to repair the damage of the past 8 years, and Clinton is the candidate capable of results, not vague promises of reform.

by 07rescue 2008-02-15 03:12PM | 0 recs


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