Wait, this all started because you objected to the idea that Obama would have been selected as VP to bring in black voters. This seemed to bother you in some way, though you weren't very specific about why or how.
I pointed out that, right or wrong, there's nothing remotely unusual about picking a VP based on the idea that they will bring in a specific demographic. It's not like anyone would be singling out Obama for special treatment. It has nothing to do with how well the tactic has succeeded in the past, merely with the fact that it is far more common for this to happen than for it not to happen.
The problem, of course, is we can never tell after the election how much good a particular VP choice did because we don't have a baseline for how the Prez candidate would have done without that VP. You cite Joe Lieberman -- how do you know he didn't bring in Jewish votes? What are you basing that on? How could you know how Jewish people would have voted if it had been someone else in the VP slot?
I think it would be hard to say that Obama on the ticket would NOT bring in black votes, just as Clinton on the ticket will definitely bring in female votes. How many? Who knows? Enough to make a difference? Can't say.
Anyway, my initial statement stands: why the sour attitude over the idea of Obama being picked to attract black voters?
(I've stopped expecting folks to read all of my comments. C'est le blog. Besides, I'm long-winded.)
I agree with you on McCain -- he's also becoming more, not less, of a question mark as this election season grinds on. But one advantage he does have that Obama doesn't is his long record of public service. This isn't an "experience" issue -- this is a case of "Well, at least we know how he behaved in the past. There's a public record of it." I suspect this is McCain's real advantage over Obama in the "experience" department: not so much that McCain is better prepared, but that he's perceived as less risky because more is known.
For example, people who don't know what it means to be Muslim have no clue how ridiculous the idea of a "secret Muslim" is. They think it's, oh, roughly like being a secret Satanist. No true Muslim would hide or deny his or her faith; they're supposed to proclaim it. Ignorance creates fear. Unfortunately we don't have time to reeducate all of America in comparative religion (though it would be time well spent, I think) so the only way Obama is going to deal with that sort of xenophobia is by becoming an overall more soothing and less challenging candidate. But again unfortunately, I don't think that's part of his style or his brand. I'm not sure exactly how to fix that; the best route may be not to try, but to push hard on the issues, ideally without invoking people's current fears.
I wish I had time to blog on the issue of election fear. Maybe next week...
Huh? It's not any different than picking Richardson to get the Latino vote, which is what people were urging Obama to do for a long time. VPs are almost always picked in order to shore up a weak demographic (or at least that's a big part of it.)
sigh -- just can't do it right now. Our family's in crisis. It's not hopeless, but the situation is messy and everyone is stretched nearly to the breaking point (myself included.) And there are kids involved (my beloved niece and nephew) so...
...sorry. Can't laugh right now. With luck, maybe someday.
I'm sorry you couldn't be 'nicer' (why the quotes?) either. You came off looking kind of bad next to the other posters who were willing to allow that newbies can make innocent mistakes. Jumping to conclusions and attacking is a good way to drive new people away from this board, you know.
It's a political action group, mostly made of netizen bloggers. They've claimed it stands for "People United Means Actions" but it was in fact coined from "Party Unity My Ass." They are a bunch of folks who rejected the call to reunify the Democratic party behind Barack Obama after Hillary Clinton's concession of the nomination. Their motives range from credible to ludicrous and their behavior from reasonable to rancid. As usual with any group, the loudest and most hate-filled members are the ones whose voices are primarily being heard.
Unlike many others here, I have some sympathy for them. I've never been with them, and I will support Obama, but Hillary was my candidate in and some ways always will be. So I understand some of what's driving the less crazy of them.
But mostly I wish people would just ignore them and move on to bringing down McCain. I don't think the PUMAs, at least the loudest ones, are politically numerous enough to do anything but make noise. They certainly aren't worth devoting entire diaries to. Sigh.
I think the point of the diary is that for most PUMAs their resistance to Obama is not out of "spite". The loudest and most publicity hungry probably have that as their primary motive, but there are a lot of "silent PUMAs" who never visit blogs or political bulletin boards, and from talking with them I can say they aren't feeling spiteful. They're worried. They don't trust Obama, simple as that. His recent behavior has NOT helped in that area, with these people. (I'm referring to things like equivocating on abortion rights and changing his stance on Iraq and the death penalty; the FISA issue and the public financing stuff only irritates nerdy wonks like yours truly.)
Like it or not, John McCain is very much The Devil They Know. He's not going to deliver any surprises. They know what he'll do. They won't like much of it, but at least they can prepare for it.
WIth Obama there's just a lot of feeling of "But who is he REALLY? What will he do if we make him leader of the free world? How can we tell? Maybe it's better to go with someone whose shortcomings are already well known and for whom we have strategies in place to deal with."
I'm not saying this is a good attitude; I think that even if Obama turns out to be a less-than-stellar President, he'll still do more for the causes I care about than McCain will. I'm also not saying my analysis is 100% on the mark. But it's a very anxious time in America right now. Many ordinary folks are just plain scared. And some of that fear is getting projected on Obama.
I've never been a "Reagan Democrat" (Didn't like the guy. Still don't. Don't get the here worship AT ALL.) But I think he mostly won on his optimism and his ability to calm people down in an anxious time, much like FDR and his fireside chats. I suspect one of the reasons Bush's ratings have gone into the gutter (aside from the fact that he's an incompetent moron) is that rather than reassure people, he spends all his time trying to pump up their fear levels in order to score political points. That only works for so long, and he WAAAY overplayed it.
So Obama's on the mark (I believe) when he says the Republicans want to make him "scary", but it's not because he's black. Racists are going to vote against him regardless. What a lot of ordinary non-blogging folks find scary about Obama is that he works hard to be an invigorating and empowering candidate, not a calm and reassuring one. And right now lots of people are a little bit -- or a lot -- desperate for just a paternalistic pat on the back and a "There there, everything will be all right" sort of feeling. (This was the itsy bitsy teeny tiny bit of truth in Phil Gramm's asinine statements about "mental recessions" -- people are scared, but Gramm dismissed their fear as groundless when I think most of the public's fears are entirely too well grounded in reality.)
Besides, as I pointed out in a long earlier post elsewhere, logically there are plenty of reasons people might have voted for Hillary that do not transfer to Obama -- the most obvious one being that some people voted for Hillary just because she was female, just as lots of black voters support Obama because he's black. Obama can't become a woman, so he's not getting those voters. Hillary couldn't become black, so she couldn't compete with Obama in that demographic.
It's not always about platforms and policies with voters. In fact I would argue that it is RARELY about policies and platforms with the average voter.
Yeah, I noticed the timing on that downswing in the political discourse at about that same time. Much later I read an analysis that said it was rooted in a "payback" mentality of the Republicans against the Democrats for the way they brought Nixon down. I wasn't old enough to pay attention during any of Nixon's time in the White House, but this theorist I've read (who I unfortunately can't cite because I can't remember his name, only his idea) put the Clinton impeachment down to this effect. Sort of an, "Hey, we can bring YOUR guy down too! Just watch!"
Never mind that Nixon actually was a crook and Bill Clinton was just an oversexed schmuck. And now we've got another Republican president in need of impeachment, but it seems like Congress won't go for it because they don't want to start another round of retaliation.
I don't know how true this is, but it makes a lot of psychological sense to me, given the average age of Congressmen at the time (as in: unlike me, even if they weren't in office at the time of Nixon's mess, they were old enough to be following it and living through it, while I was more interested in see how far I could spit my strained carrots.)
I didn't think you really were talking about genuine organic mental illness. I'm just somewhat sensitive to off-the-cuff insults that are more specifically aimed at "mentally ill person" than a basic "You're nuts." As in, I'd say, "You're nuts", but I wouldn't say, "You seen to have borderline personality disorder; have you tried dialectical behavior therapy?" -- just because I wouldn't toss around a diagnosis of BPD casually.
I was doing some volunteer work at a city mental health clinic in Boston a couple decades ago (I was a teenager) and I remember the therapists discussing what I think was Clozapine, and talking about how it could fatally depress patients' red blood cell counts or wipe out their livers if not very carefully monitored. Anyway, it just sounded like a really nasty drug. (I may have details or even the drug wrong -- it was a long time ago and my family's curse is depression/substance abuse, not schizoid disorders, so I'm not up on the pharmaceuticals. We could talk antidepressants/mood stabilizers all day though. Except this isn't the place for it, obviously.)
Anyway, I just get a mental cramp when someone drags overly realistic mental illness terminology into what's basically a case of "the dozens."
Argh! Sriki, please don't make light of mental illness. There's some in my family and it can be really terrible. (And Clozapine has some nasty side effects -- Not that I think you were seriously trying to prescribe of course!!!)
Sorry about getting on your case -- it's just a knee jerk reflex of mine when people start talking about mental illness that way. My biggest complaint with Phil Gramm's recent BS -- you can read my gripe here: