Follies in the blogosphere
by Jerome Armstrong, Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:07:43 PM EST
It continues to amaze me-- the contortions that folks who dearly want Obama to win will rationalize to themselves about his candidacy. Now, I thought the 2003-2006 netroots was all about the 'fighting dems' that invigorated the Democratic Party with a strong sense of partisanship and Howard Dean's "Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party" candidacy. But then The Nation comes along, and rewrites that entire history to say that really, it was all just a precursor, that really, "Obama is Dean 2.0".
Obama does have phenomenal fundraising numbers among upper income boomer liberals and their offspring, no doubt. Except that, when you listen to the Obama campaign talk about it's victories lately, I have this inclination to see right through it-- that they are not talking about support of the people, but instead having gamed the process. "The Math" as one of their talking point leaders, Jonathan Alter, likes to call it. But, as riverdaughter calls it, "people are just now starting to notice that he gets more delegates by suppressing Clinton voters than by actually, you know, winning."
The latest being that Obama "won" Texas (you know, like Bush "won" Florida). Clinton won the state 51-47, by over 100,000 votes, and yet, Obama, his campaign, and all his supporters now say they won Texas. Why? Because of the undemocratic proportional allocation of caucus delegates, such as an urban areas that voted Obama being worth more delegates than a Latino stronghold for Clinton in another part of the state, because of a previous election. That's not a Democratic system-- its a relic of machine-age politics. And to claim a "win" based on a system like that is not people-powered politics.
And its certainly, for anyone who's cared to look at who is voting, not due to partisan Democratic support that Obama has done so well. If anything, it's in spite of hardcore Democrats, that Obama has won, through inclusive organizing of Republicans and Independents. Sure, this is a good thing in the long run, but lets be honest and agree that its not representative of the type of progressive partisanship that places like DailyKos and MyDD, and the rest of the progressive blogosphere, have been proponents. And I'm not saying that Clinton is either, that would be too clever by half-- she's got her own thing going on that I'll get into in a bit. Just please, if you want to kid yourself into believing Obama is something that he's not, don't take exception to people like me calling you out on your bluff.
So there's this post by Chris Bowers today. Now, Bowers is in an awkward partisan progressive position of all of a sudden needing to register Republicans to register as Democratic in PA before the 24th. A good thing, no doubt, but not exactly representative of the base-politics that the blogosphere has been fighting.
The other day, when he turned his attention to how he could help Obama win Pennsylvania, Bowers wrote:
For that latest post, a screed against the "Reagan Democrats", BTD names it the "Post of the Day" saying:
Some things can not be parodied.
Yes, that's quite a contortion.
I don't find myself in love with a candidacy in this nomination fight. I had a number of candidates that I supported, a few I really liked, and they all dropped out. In the choice between Clinton and Obama, I don't see much of a difference in substantive policy, nor in the people running their campaigns, and basically chose Clinton because I think she's got a better shot at winning than the gamble of going with the untested Obama.
I don't deny that it will be close with Clinton, or that she doesn't have coattails in red state areas, but she's undeniably got some real tangible benefits that not only have benefited her candidacy, but mean terrific things for the Democratic Party. Women and Latinos, neither of whom belong to the "Reagan Democrats" clan that Bowers dismisses as the base of Clinton's support.
Women composed about 60 percent of the electorate in both the Ohio and Texas primaries. Amazing. The Latino vote in Texas was nearly 1/3rd of the electorate, up from 25 percent in 2004. I work with a bunch of Austin Texans (Obamafans) that have been moaning to me for years that they can't activate the Latino voters to win (and yes, I told them Hillary would do the work for them).
That's Clinton's base, women and Latinos, many of them whom voted Republican or Independent previously (for anecdotal example), or haven't voted at all, that Clinton is turning into Democrats. It's immensely under-appreciated, and god-forbid, may actually have coattails. Neither am I convinced that Obama will just as easily be able to tap into these supporters of Clinton. It'd be just as difficult for Clinton to tap into the quasi-evangelical/republicans that come out to support him in the red states, but the deeper problem for Obama is that the number of those Obamacan voters is not that enough to flip any of those red states either.
The numbers for Clinton are very large and undeniably unique to her candidacy. I've mentioned this before, that I can see the path to Clinton winning, and it goes through the southwest and Florida with the Latino surge, and nationally, especially in the midwest, with the surge in women voting. Obama does have a substantive problem with the "Reagan Democrats" who will not support him, but to make that into Clinton's crutch, instead of Obama's unique problem to overcome, is wrong.
I don't pretend to know how we get from "the math" to the final outcome, but I do I believe that the contest has made a dramatic turn, and it points in the direction of Clinton winning the nomination.