Loyalty Clouds Objectivity

First of all, since this is my first diary here, allow me to state up front that I have been an Obama supporter since February (I mailed in vote for Edwards early from California).

That being said, a personal priority of mine is to remain as fair and objective as possible when interpreting matters of politics. I have noticed, even in myself, a tendency for my own objectivity to become clouded when I become too loyal to a candidate or cause. It is even easier to notice this trend in others. For example, when Obama's "bitter" comments surfaced, I noticed many fellow Obama supporters trying to excuse the comments as something other than what they were. They were a big mistake, costly to his public image, and they pointed out some of his imperfections as a candidate. Because of mistakes like this, I often remind myself that Obama is not the perfect candidate and I will not defend him for every statement and stance. But, I happen to prefer him over Hillary Clinton for my own set of reasons (everyone has their own, don't they).

My question is, do others on this site also value the exercise of more objectivity in political discourse here, or is it OK to let loyalty triumph over an attempt at reducing one's own bias in the course of argumentation?

More below:

As an example of what appears to me to be loyalty-clouded discourse on this site, I have been puzzled about how to respond to many, many  diaries and comments regarding the Florida and Michigan delegate dispute. There seems to be such a willingness among supporters of both candidates to selectively use data to support their point. Because this site seems to have more Clinton supporters making comments, there are more examples of what appears to me to be Clinton-slanted logic here than Obama-slanted, but I'm not trying to argue that this problem is one-sided.

Being geeky enough to have watched CSPAN for too many hours yesterday, I watched with interest as Mr. Ickes (as some others did) used stretched arguments to make his case. In his attempts at using logic to justify his moral position, he carefully selected out the information that he voted to strip the delegations of their representation himself. Surely he must have assumed when casting that vote in the 2007 committee meeting that at least one voter would show up for the primary and cast a vote in each state. As a member in the committee in 2007, he voted to deny that and any other potential voters their rights to be "fairly reflected". If the principle he claimed to be so upset about as being bedrock was so bedrock, why didn't he notice it then?

While he pointed out the observation that some of the candidates removed their names from the ballot in Michigan in part to "curry favor" with other states, he overlooked the implications of signing a pledge "not to campaign or participate" in those two primaries. Having your name on the ballot when you have pledged not to participate may be considered not honoring that pledge depending on what the interpretation of "participate" is. It also  seemed purposefully hypocritical for him to insist on "fair reflection" without wanting to fairly reflect the 30,000 votes cast as write-ins. Since Hillary was on the ballot, those votes were most likely not for her, therefore his claim of entitlement to 73 delegates is not really valid according to his own logic of count-every-vote is more important than follow the rules.

Now, it is his job as a politician to twist logic to make a case. That's what they do. But...

What should WE do? Should we parrot his talking points here and validate a position built on slanted logic, or should we, as a community try to get to an objective reality together by working hard to try to identify our own biases and not let loyalty alone drive our opinions?


Tags: Campaign rhetoric analysis (all tags)



Blogger check your own....

I'd say your objectivity is clouded.  What in the world could justify taking delegates away from Hillary?  Yes it was only four, and I don't mind that they gave him the "uncommitted".  I can objectively see both sides of that issue.  I can't figure out any justification for taking delegates away.

As for your "participation" arguments, why didn't he remove his name in Florida?  And as for participation, what do you call his and the others who took their names off passing out fliers asking people to vote uncommitted?   I call that campaigning.  Hillary didn't do that.  She followed the rules.  And what about his running ads in South Carolina that he knew would appear in the Florida market as well.  That was a clear violation of the rules.  Funnily enough, that was never brought up yesterday.  Was that fair and objective?

by badu 2008-06-01 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Blogger check your own....

Clinton is lucky she got any delegates. The contest was not fair and was not supposed to count at all.  Something she admitted of course and something that Ickes voted for.

by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:08AM | 0 recs
Hillary never had any delegates to begin with.

In case you forgot, MI didn't hold a legitimate primary.

by dystopianfuturetoday 2008-06-01 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Blogger check your own....

BTW, they couldn't remove their name from the FL ballot because FL filed a lawsuit and there was no way to know how it would turnout for sure before the deadline to remove your name had passed.

You should do a bit more research about his ad buy. Your comment has already been debunked.

by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Blogger check your own....

I'll grant you are correct about the Florida ballot, but not the advertising buy.  That has not been debunked and is a fact.  You are entitled to your opinions, but not to make up facts.

by badu 2008-06-01 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Blogger check your own....

by ipsos 2008-06-01 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Blogger check your own....

(Apologies for the blank post - bumped the keyboard!)

And what about his running ads in South Carolina that he knew would appear in the Florida market as well.

Not accurate - these were NATIONAL ad buys, and there's no way to buy time nationally on cable TV and magically block the ads from appearing in Florida. This has been pretty well established by now.

Me? I think it's awesome that a Democratic candidate for president is in a position to run national ads for visibility so early in the process, and that it can only help us in November.

by ipsos 2008-06-01 03:28PM | 0 recs
It is impossible to take away...

... that which is not yours, and which you do not hold.

Nobody took four delegates away from Hillary Clinton.  The straw-poll vote held in place of a Michigan primary was not sanctioned by the DNC, so no national convention delegates could legitimately be allocated based upon it.  Until the RBC accepted the Michigan Democratic Party's proposal for the allocation of its delegates, Hillary had zero delegates from Michigan.  


She now has 69, with each delegate authorized to cast half a vote.

If you deny the validity of this outcome, you deny to the members of the Michigan Democratic Party any right to be involved in the determination of how their delegates are allocated to the national convention.

Why are you so driven to disenfranchise Michigan democrats?

by tbetz 2008-06-01 10:24AM | 0 recs
As to why Obama left his name on the FL ballot...

... Florida law requires any candidate for President in November to also have hir name on the primary ballot.  He could not have removed his name from the straw-poll beauty-contest ballot that passed for a Florida primary without also removing his name from the November ballot.

Michigan law has no such ridiculous restrictions.

by tbetz 2008-06-01 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Loyalty Clouds Objectivity

Loyalty, especially in politics, will always play a large part. We're talking about two candidates that are in fairly decent agreement in all the major policy categories. It's a matter of presentation of the case, emphasis and small differences that are distinguishing Clinton and Obama voters.

That being said, I believe that the agreement reached was, from an objective stand point, fair to most parties. It was even fair to the voters, who received an accurate proportional representation with respect to what the other 48 states received. It doesn't address the people who were told their votes would count and didn't show up to vote, but there's really no remedy that could feasibly be undertaken in that situation.

by TCQuad 2008-06-01 10:02AM | 0 recs
There's a greater difference than that

between the candidates.  The great differences are not between the candidates themselves whether we are speaking about policies or presentation.  The great differences are in the coalitions of the respective candidates.  

I believe a vote for one candidate or the other is a vote for one coalition or the other.  Either you believe that one coalition should be the face of the Democratic party or you believe the Democratic party should be led by the other coalition.  

by lombard 2008-06-01 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: There's a greater difference than that

You're alternative is McSame....

by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: There's a greater difference than that


by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:11AM | 0 recs
The worst wars are often the civil wars

Many Southerners have found it easier to forgive Germany and Japan than to forgive Yankees.

by lombard 2008-06-01 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The worst wars are often the civil wars

That's a psychological problem they should have looked into. As a descendant of slaves I'd say the South was treated too kindly.

by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:17AM | 0 recs
Don't take the example too specifically

It was just the one that was uniquely American.  Not ever being a Spaniard I can't relate as much to theirs but I expect that the same bitterness pervaded for decades and still may linger.

by lombard 2008-06-01 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Don't take the example too specifically

Perhaps but the one difference I suppose is that there aren't big policy differences here unlike the Civ. War.

by heresjohnny 2008-06-01 10:32AM | 0 recs
Very true

by lombard 2008-06-01 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The worst wars are often the civil wars

Many Red Sox fans, too :-)

by ipsos 2008-06-01 03:24PM | 0 recs
sorry to hit and run

Normally I would hang out when I comment and I apologize, but I'm in the middle of planting a garden and came if for a quick break.  If this is still on the rec list, I will check later.

by badu 2008-06-01 10:07AM | 0 recs


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