On the Rise of the Obamasphere

               There is a deep-seated craving common to all
                men of words which determines their attitude
                to the prevailing order.  It is a craving for
                recognition; a craving for a clearly marked
                status above the common run of humanity.
                "Vanity," said Napoleon, "made the Revolution;
                liberty was only a pretext."
                               --Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Too many progressive websites now serve up identical daily fare: endless praise for Barack Obama; relentless criticism of Hillary Clinton; and, above all, great torrents of mathematical argumentation explaining why the contest needs to end immediately.

Some on the left are worried about potential Democratic disunity in the fall.  Many more seem dazzled by Obama's apparent charisma.  Still others are simply incapable of dealing rationally with the Clintons.  (Jonathan Chait of The New Republic called Hillary a "fratricidal maniac" for not yielding to the dictates of Obama math.  Whatever, Jon.)

But there's another reason for Obama's popularity among bloggers--indeed, among much of the left-of-center commentariat from TNR to The Nation.

They need each other.

Hillary Clinton may or may not make a good president, but one thing's for sure--she won't be reinventing the wheel.  No transcendental speechifying.  No post-partisan mind-melding with Mitch McConnell.  A Clinton presidency will contain its fair share of divisive politics.  We pretty much know what that looks like.  Some of us even welcome it.

For many bloggers the problem with Hillary isn't that she's a shrieking, mendacious harpy.  That's for their comment sections.  The problem is that her candidacy doesn't provide them with a subject worthy of their talents.

Enter Barack Obama, a slick politician peddling an extremely vague blueprint for change that cries out for further explication.  In due course, from the fertile steppes of progressive cyberspace, appears a multitude of bold theoreticians and stalwart number crunchers, all eager to work overtime constructing an intellectual framework to support the Obama hype machine.

Right now their efforts are concentrated on ensuring that no renegade superdelegates or pesky voters in Michigan and Florida threaten the Obama campaign's Fortress of Inevitability.  Leading the charge is Josh Marshall, and what a sad and sorry spectacle.  Once an indispensable source of honest progressive journalism, TPM has lost all credibility by becoming little more than a clearinghouse for the latest Obama campaign spin, sprinkled with a few Clinton smears.  (Has a more shameless Washington suck-up artist ever revealed himself?)

As long as the mainstream media has the Clintons to kick around, they'll be in lockstep with the Obamasphere, at least until their McCain fetish overpowers them.  If Obama manages to get elected, an unfortunate dynamic will emerge.

The media has no interest in promoting a Democratic agenda--ever.  Obama will be expected to fulfill his canpaign promise--as caricatured by the press--to end all the "partisan bickering" and start compromising.  If he doesn't...Well, Time magazine has some vintage Clinton-era "Incredible Shrinking President" covers they can recycle.

Obama won't relish getting photoshopped into that particular picture.  His universal health care plan will start looking even less universal than it does now.

Howls of protest will come from hardcore policy wonks, but Obama needn't worry--the big brains at Open Left, along with the rest of his online vanguard of hope, have his back.  They're currently seen waving his old Iraq speech in front of Hillary Clinton like Van Helsing brandishing a crucifix because they're not sure he's very committed to progressive solutions.  It's no big deal, though.  Obama is transcendentally transforming American society, and something so grand takes time.  The policy will have to wait for the politics.  Someday Congress will be full of Wellstone liberals.  Someday.

Eric Hoffer:

               What de Remusat said of Thiers is perhaps true
                of most men of words: "he has much more vanity
                than ambition; and he prefers consideration to
                obedience, and the appearance of power to power
                itself.  Consult him constantly, and then do
                just as you please.  He will take more notice
                of your deference to him than of your actions."

At least we still have Paul Krugman.

Tags: Barack Obama, bloggers, Blogosphere, Eric Hoffer, Paul Krugman, policy, Politics, support (all tags)



Re: On the Rise of the Obamasphere

I don't get it what's the point of this diary?

by lion king 2008-04-13 09:50AM | 0 recs
Jobs... I think its also about jobs..

Many of the Obama-folk perceive an opening to find employment in this new wave of technocrats that Obama will supposedly bring in. They have often invested years of their lives into political punditry and that investment has not born fruit. They are desperate to hitch their fates to someone NEW.

The same thing goes for many Republicans. The GOP brand is finished, dying. They want to change shape and morph into a 'transformative' Mussolini-like corporatist vision..

Obama's vision.

Ive had this interaction with some Obama supporters where I get the distinct feeling they support a form of fascism with a human face..

(but its not in reality, human.. fascism is at its essence about power, so its more related to the divine right of kings than democracy)

by architek 2008-04-13 10:52AM | 0 recs
Where's Hillary's history of progressivism?

The Clinton white house brought us NAFTA, botched attempts at universal health care, welfare reform and lost majorities in congress...  Hillary Clinton's voting record in the senate has been consistently centrist. Triangulation is at the center of the Clinton political world.

Not sure where anyone got the impression that she was in any way progressive.

by fwiffo2 2008-04-13 09:53AM | 0 recs
Well, then you must have blinders on..

or not know what 'progressive' really means..

by architek 2008-04-13 10:53AM | 0 recs
Re: On the Rise of the Obamasphere

And from the point of view of this former Clinton supporter (a status shared by one in five Democrats), I see that tendency among Clinton supporters on this site. I've been told that I certainly can't be a feminist because I support Obama. And attempts to discuss policy and evidence is called "bashing," including, last night, information about the shifts in wealth during the Clinton administration.

by politicsmatters 2008-04-13 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: On the Rise of the Obamasphere

And for those who are oh-so-concerned about purported insults to small town America, they are happy to proclaim that those who support Obama are taken in by an empty suit.

Yeah, we're all a bunch of stargazers, true believers.

Or else we agree with the Scranton paper's endorsement of Obama today that:

http://www.thetimes-tribune.com/site/new s.cfm?newsid=19480144&BRD=2185&P AG=461&dept_id=418218&rfi=6
"In a nomination campaign that has defied convention, Mr. Obama has energized an entire generation of voters that, for the most part, otherwise had checked out of political participation. That, at least, portends a new approach to governance that can help to dissipate the political miasma that has engulfed Washington at least since the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is an extremely talented politician who already has secured a unique place in U.S. political history. She repeatedly has proved her political death notices to be premature. She also has demonstrated that she is a master of public policy. And -- this is not and should not be taken lightly in an area that prides itself on family and a tradition of supporting its own -- the Rodham family has deep Scranton roots.

But Mrs. Clinton also is a political lightning rod. There is little doubt that a second Clinton presidency would further the deep divisiveness that characterizes American politics -- a divisiveness that dug itself deep during the Clinton presidency, and even deeper during the Bush-Cheney years.

The first task for the next president is to get past that. And it might not be possible if the presidential cycle goes Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton."

by politicsmatters 2008-04-13 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: On the Rise of the Obamasphere

And, what? You're angry because people are supporting Obama?  People like Obama more then they like Hillary, get over it. And it seems to me that I remember Bill being described, the same way you are describing Obama.

by lion king 2008-04-13 10:03AM | 0 recs
don't forget kos.

by 4justice 2008-04-13 10:06AM | 0 recs
The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

The Republican controlled corporate media has created Obama. The left wing blogoshpere can't believe their good fortune. It seemed not so long ago that the Media was their enemy, now they sing the Amazing Grace of Obama from the same hymnal. Does TPM ever stop and wonder why Chris, Gloria, Wolfe, David and Victoria are suddenly there fondest friends? Do they ever worry that the corporate media may be creating in Obama a straw man that they can knock down? Does it concern them that with each gaffe by Obama, it is the Media that picks him up dusts him off, declares that round a draw, and sends him back into the ring? Of course, not. Is it even remotely considered that the Republican Media might be creaing Obama because they know that they can tear him apart in the general election and retain control of the US Government. Ridiculous, tin foil hat stuff. The Media tiger has changed it stripes. It simply has heard the word of Obama and like their erstwhile enemies in the left blogoshere has seen the light.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

"The Republican controlled corporate media has created Obama."

Right. All the people who support him are mindless drones who have been taken in by this insidious plot.

by politicsmatters 2008-04-13 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

Right. All the people who support him are mindless drones who have been taken in by this insidious plot.

I don't think so at all. I am certain that the people who support him believe in him and his messages of hope and change. I further believe that he is very sincere in his prescription for the country, and would make a good president.

But, I also think that the Rovian schemers that sit behind the curtain of the great OZ that is the corporate Republican Media, are involved in an insideous plot to install a candidate that they know they can crush in the general election. "If they make you they can break you."

Why is it so hard to imagine, that they would want to run against someone that they believed they could beat? This is the most basic of war tactics--to form an alliance with your weaker enemy to go after your stronger enemy, and then turn on them for ultimate victory.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

I'm a dupe!

by politicsmatters 2008-04-13 10:35AM | 0 recs
No, you're human..

wishful thinking is very human..

Look at the healthcare issue.

Obama is NOT a progressive. His plan will be an improvement in that it will slow the rate of collapse.. but it will still hurt people.

by architek 2008-04-13 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: No, you're human..

Yes. It's a pity we're electing an absolute monarch who will impose his health care plan by an unchallengeable royal decree. If only there were some means by which other people in elected office could influence national policy. Some check or balance or Constitutional process necessary for a health care plan or any other policy to become a law.

by BlueinColorado 2008-04-13 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

This is precisely the route the Clinton campaign, and her diehard supporters, are taking to try to win. Dehumanize the candidate and his supporters, and try to use that as a cudgel against undecided voters. It certainly can't backfire, since they really believe that Obama supporters (and Senator Obama himself) are worthless. Ask a few of the diehards around here what they think of women who dare to not support Senator Clinton, for example. Most of the Clinton supporters around here are even sickened by that sort of behavior.

In contrast, while I may disagree with them, I acknowledge Clinton supporters have reasons for supporting their candidate that are fully worthwhile and they are human beings, just like the rest of us. Senator Clinton is as well, her faults nonwithstanding. We want to work with Senator Clinton and her supporters no matter the outcome.

by ragekage 2008-04-13 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

As I say above, I have some problems with Obama, but I do not doubt that he and his supporters are sincere, and that he would make a good president.

The issue is that he has not been tested by a real concerted opposition media. He will be once he gets the nomination and he won't know what hit him. It will be ugly.

Clinton on the other hand, has been taking incoming fire all her political life. Sometimes she stumbles, but she has been thoroughly vetted. There is not that much more that they can throw at her, that she has not dealt with in one way or another already.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

He's getting tested now, no?

Plus Clinton has never had a tough electoral fight, as I'm sure you know.

by politicsmatters 2008-04-13 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

He is.

We will see if they "declare" this one "behind him" in a couple days, like they have done time and time before, but he is definately in the cross hairs right now.

I maintain that it is only due to the magnitude of the blunder, but this is very good practice for him, if he is going to be the nominee.

Further, I think that far from being bad for the Dems to have not chosen a nominee yet, it is the best thing possible. They continue to practice and refine their campaign skills. It is tough, but that's what campaigns are, and the general election is tougher.

AND! the longer they stay in competition with each other the longer the Media has to wait before it can level all its guns at the Obama, provided he becomes the Dem nominee.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

The Republican controlled corporate media has created Obama

If the "Republican controlled corporate media" is advocating for Obama, why are Karl Rove and Hillary Clinton playing footsie on FoxNews? Why is even Chris Wallace appalled at their desperate flogging of Jeremiah Wright (they're doing it again today, I gather)? Why are John McCain and Hillary Clinton reading (once again) from the same script?

Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove Share a Moment on Fox News

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTGbI8pzv qk

"Thank you, Karl!!"

by BlueinColorado 2008-04-13 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Media Is Trying To Pick Its Opponent

Exactly because Karl knows that playing footsie with a Dem is like the kiss of death. You help make my point.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:27AM | 0 recs

...now the "Republican controlled media" is plotting to destroy Clinton's candidacy by promoting it.


by BlueinColorado 2008-04-13 10:30AM | 0 recs
Re: So...

In some cases, yes.  They are very smart. You think Richard Mellon Scaif or Rupert Murdoch are now a true blue Hillary supporters? The inability of the left bloggosphere to concern themselves with the possibility of these kinds of tactics is a receipe for disaster.

by MediaFreeze 2008-04-13 10:35AM | 0 recs
Speaking of bitterness....

... the fact that the Clinton campaign, both the official organization and its (presumably) grassroots supporters, have completely given up any kind of positive advocacy of their candidate and limited themselves to relentless sniping and insulting of everyone who prefers Obama kinda says a lot about why her campaigning is failing. There's a reason Clinton's negatives have gone up.

I know a diary like this gets a lot of approval from the usual suspects, but to a lot of people it just underlines one more reason why Hillary Clinton should not be the GE candidate. All these cries of victimhood and "everyone's  picking on us" would have that much less resonance in a GE campaign. What rules changes are you going to advocate against John McCain? How do you imagine independents are going to respond to "you just like McCain because you're a stupid mouth-breather who believes whatever the media tells you to"?

by BlueinColorado 2008-04-13 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: On the Rise of the Obamasphere

After Obama's elitest speech while dining with the haves and talking down to the heart of America. Obama looks like the Master of Disaster and just sullied his own nest.

by westxn 2008-04-13 10:56AM | 0 recs


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