This is what we need to address

I am an intern for the Democratic Party in a swing state. Part of my duties today (besides making coffee of course!) was to answer incoming phone calls. Some people in this area decide to call the local Democratic Party to vent their anger and frustration regarding the primaries and their results. Many of them are angry Clinton supporters, though there are some Obama people who are very upset that she hasn't stepped out yet. I want to tell this community of a conversation that I had this morning with a Catholic woman who identified herself as a lifetime Democratic voter.

This caller is a Clinton supporter and she started the conversation by asking, "Why did our party make this mistake of nominating an inexperienced candidate with so much baggage from Chicago?" I of course provided the company line that the Democratic Party has not endorsed a candidate and that ultimately we are going to support whichever candidate is nominated.

She pressed further, "but even him?!" This is when I started to engage with her and try to push her towards the candidate that does appear to be our persumptive nominee. In regards to the lack of political experience, I told her that Barack Obama has been in elected office for more years before the presidency than George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and many former presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson. What matters in this election is judgement, which can be achieved through the sheer number of years in government or the ability to appropriately see a problem and find its solution. In regards to Obama, we know that he wants to push for an end to the war in Iraq, economic reform, and greater health insurance benefits. For McCain, we know that he wants 100 years in Iraq, no substantial change to our nation's "markets," and reductions in a number of items that affect our nation's safety net. Who has the better judgement there to solve our problems?  

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Sexism and the Race Card

It really concerns me how committed too many supporters in this campaign have been to the concept that their candidate has been mistreated based on their gender or race. Recently, I have noticed two main developments within the reasoning of many on this blog: 1) Hillary Clinton is losing mainly because she is being mistreated due to her gender, and that has been tacitly supported by the Obama campaign, and 2) Barack Obama has constantly pulled the race card in this campaign to better his position in the polls. To both of these assertions, all I can say is "WHAT THE HELL?"

In regards to the first assertion, I think that reasonable people must realize that there are bigger reasons for Clinton's current status as losing the nomination. First, instead of chalking this up to sexism, consider that the campaign was horribly mismanaged, especially in Iowa. There was financial mismanagement, message mismanagement, and strategic mismanagement from the earliest parts of the campaign.

After spending millions on upscale consultants, donuts, and unnecessary snow plows, Mark Penn told Hillary to run in a post-9/11 world that supposedly valued toughness and "experience" and to focus on these attributes.  This was a complete misreading of polling information, especially in terms of a Democratic nomination contest.  The overwhelming majority of Americans, especially Democrats, have seen what "toughness" and "experience" have brought us in Iraq.  They desperately are searching for real change.  It's hard to hit into that sentiment when your campaign wants to be a quasi-incumbent.

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The Foolishness of Basing Your Vote on the Candidate's Supporters

With the increase in GOP concern trolls as well as the increased anger that Clinton supporters have regarding the status of the race (partially egged on by Obama supporters), I have come to notice that many folks have decided to post their opinion regarding the other candidate's supporters. Some typical sentiments that I as well as many of you undoubtedly have come across recently: "your post reflects so poorly on your candidate that I am so glad that I'm not part of your camp,""no wonder I won't vote for your candidate - look how nasty you are," etc.
This really does not make sense to me in the least, as I will explain.

First off, few of us that post on blogs actually know the other posters. We only know handles, public profiles (which typically include a one sentence blurb or a quote), and partial bits of personal information from certain postings. Sure, some of us have real life friends that post on our favorite blogs and some of us attend meetup events, but besides this, many of us know no one who posts on a blog. Thus, we only get a glimpse into another person and his or her "camp" based on 3 line posts, which may be intended as snark or less offensive than they are taken. Yet, many times we see someone take serious offense to a certain posting and reply "I can't belive you! You're a horrible person!" Perhaps we should consider cutting down the hyperbole? We just don't know our fellow posters enough to level such a personal condemnation.

Secondly, I do not know how a candidate's supporters, especially on the grassroots, activist level, reflect on the candidate himself or herself. So what if some a-hole decides to annoymously post an attack against either candidate or decides to display some form of insensitivity to a certain posting? Do you really think that that person has had personal contact with the candidate to determine how to react in a certain situation? Obviously, he or she does not. Furthermore, do Americans apply to be supporters of a campaign? Do campaigns have the ability to check into every one of their MILLIONS of supporters to ensure that they are completely sensitive, nice, and level no false, over the top attack? The answer to these questions is a definite "no." Thus, how can we make broad generalizations regarding a candidate based on his or her actions in a an annoymous blog? Obviously we are unable to. Candidates can't stop anyone from voting for them or helping them, nor are they able to tell their activist legions how to behave in internet communities. Exercise some common sense. Candidates have no control over what annoymous posters on the internet do.

And finally, does it really matter if you don't personally like the supporters of the other Democratic candidate? Is it that important to you that you vote for the candidate who supports indefinite war in Iraq, no expanded health care, even for children, a turn of the cheek on economic matters, and an end to reproductive rights in the United States of America? Are you willing to endure four more years of George Bush policies because you don't like internet posters or those in real life who do not support your chosen candidate? I certainly hope that you put greater weight on the real issues in this campaign and not some battle of personalities.

So, let's not be petty, and come together to understand that too much is at stake to reduce ourselves to being little kids in a sandbox.

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Why FL and MI should receive punishment

Before I start, for the sake of full disclosure, I am an Obama supporter. However, I want to make it clear that I am more interested in the future of our Democratic Party than any particular candidate. It is out of this concern for the party that I am writting this diary.

Much attention has been paid to the delegate situations in Michigan and Florida. I want to provide some background for these states' decisions to schedule their contests in violation of party rules and some clarification regarding party rules.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties create a nomination contest "window." Both parties in 2008 set the date as February 5th. For the GOP, if a state scheduled their contest before that, then half of their delegates are removed from the convention. So, for the GOP, Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, South Carolina, Nevada, and Florida were only allocated half of their normal share of delegates. They have their punishment for early states already built into the rules.  

The Democrats, meanwhile, don't have an established rule for how to handle states with contests outside of the window. The official 2008 rules only allow exemptions for Iowa and New Hampshire, due to their "traditional" status, and South Carolina and Nevada, which both applied for special exemptions and were provided them because of their large black and Hispanic populations, respectively. As we know, this year the party's rules and bylaws committee, which included 12 (out of 30)Clinton supporters, voted to strip Florida and Michigan of all of their delegates. The party also barred any candidates from campaigning in those two states and they also called on the candidates to even refuse to participate. The DNC placed the impetus to prevent the violation of party rules on not only its own enforcement mechanisms, but also on the candidates themselves.

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Let's Get Past This and Stand with Me

Recently a very passionate diarist who I have read very consistently over this campaign season reported to the mydd community about a conference call with Senator Clinton. In this conversation, she stated that she was proud to have supporters who endure harsh attacks for their position. I completely understand this. There have been times when Senator Obama's supporters have engaged in personal, demeaning attacks not only regarding the candidate herself but also her supporters. Many of these have been horrible and I truly hope that these attacks stop.

However, I must say that too often Clinton supporters have been too quick in denying that some on their own side have done the same thing. Many times I have seen posters here talk about how Obama supporters lovingly gaze at their candidate as a Messiah. We all march in step with a cult of personality. We are too dumb to support a candidate who doesn't offer specific that match the likings of some Clinton supporters.

I do not bring this up to say that one side is better than the other. I bring this up to say that we are all Democrats. We all believe in ending the disasterous war in Iraq. We all support better fiscal and economic policies that invest in the middle and working classes.  We believe in true eduation reform and not merely an endless onslaught of standardized tests. Clinton supporters do not vote against Obama because he is black nor do they advance a quasi-Republican agenda. Meanwhile, Obama supporters do not see their candidate as a Messiah, nor do they blindly follow their annointed leader.

This race is not about personality. This race is about a better future. Now, some of us can have a hissy fit and decide to support McCain, others can say that they will push Clinton to run third party, and more can say that they will vote Green, etc. None of these options create a better future.  These options only lead to more war, less support for those who need it the most in our nation, and less liberty for the entire American population.

I'm part of the Democratic Party. I stand for change. I will support this party's nominee. We stand for too much to fight over the past pointless attacks of fringe elements of our candidate's base. Take the pledge and stand with me.

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