Posts about Politics

1 man, 0.89967 vote

CJR’s Clint Hendler does an admirable job showing just what a mess Democratic primary math is and demonstrating that we have no idea what the popular vote count is. To put that another way: we have no idea how many citizens’ votes are not being counted.

There’s the mess in Florida and Michigan, with the DNC disenfranchising their own Democrats there (fools!). And this:

The Democratic party’s nominating process is a kaleidoscope of caucuses, conventions, and primaries, sometimes all in the same state. And there’s no obvious best way to estimate a popular vote from it all.

And this: The news organizations and the campaigns, of course, all count the alleged popular vote differently.

This is shameful: undemocratic and unDemocratic. We must reform the primary system in a unified way. This idea that each state can and should do its own idiosyncratic thing is a leftover of a disorganized and unconnected past and it is hurting now.

The principle for reorganization is simple: Every citizen has a right and an opportunity to vote in a meaningful way in the primary process. One person, one vote, damnit.

What is Kos?

I’m thinking that Daily Kos is not — as it wants to be and is often painted — netroots, the voice of a popular movement.

No, it’s more like Tammany Hall, a would-be powerbroker and kingmaker. And Kos is the would-be party boss.

Notice I say would-be.

The Kos war

Jim Wolcott (fellow Hillary voter) dissects the feud — schism, actually — at Daily Kos and within the Democratic Party. Note well that the nasties in this story are the followers of Mr. Getalong.

The rancor was disproportionate in intensity and extravagant in invective, a fervor worthy of ancestral foes. Months-old grievances seethed and erupted as if they had been bubbling for centuries in a lake of bad blood. . . .

What chafed Hillary supporters was how many supposed liberal outposts chimed in with this chorus of abuse, from the op-ed pages of The New York Times (where only Paul Krugman seemed to have a kind word as Maureen Dowd kept reminding readers of Monica Lewinsky’s lipstick traces on the Clinton saga, and Gail Collins seemed to be putting on some sort of puppet show) to the studios of Air America (where hosts Randi Rhodes–who was suspended, then resigned, after calling Clinton a “whore” at a public appearance–and Thom Hartmann kept the hostility percolating), to progressive Internet mother ships such as Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo and the Huffington Post, where even a notable progressive such as Barbara Ehrenreich tried to tar Hillary with fascist associations. (The majority of Huffpo’s high-profile contributors were so over the rainbow about Obama that it was as if they had found rapture in the poppy fields and were rolling around on their backs like ladybugs.)

And quoting Kos himself over the departure/boycott of Hillary voters from his shrine:

“Clinton and her shrinking band of paranoid holdouts wail and scream about all those evil people who have ‘turned’ on Clinton and are no longer ‘honest power brokers’ or ‘respectable voices’ or whatnot, wearing blinders to reality, talking about silly little ‘strikes’ when in reality, Clinton is planning a far more drastic, destructive and debilitating civil war.”

Obama may paint himself as Mr. Nice Guy but he certainly has a nasty bunch of friends.

Obama’s problem

Now I’m actually angrier about Obama and the Rev. Wright than before. When I complained about what Wright said the first times, I was told that I didn’t understand the history of the black church, I didn’t understand black liberation theology, I didn’t listen to the whole context of what he said. Bull.

But now Obama repudiates Wright. And all Wright did was repeat the exact same crackpot crap that some of us had complained about before.

So before, I was as good as called racist or at least clueless for criticizing the not-so-good reverend. But now when Obama finally criticizes him, the New York Times editorial page — in a classic of doublespeak soft-headed mush from wimps — praises him for “the most forthright repudiation of an out-of-control supporter that we can remember.” Jesus.

Worse, the Times again implies that we’re all racists if we and candidates don’t criticize white crackpot crazy ministers as much as this one has been criticized. Well, I have my alibis: I’ve put in my time criticizing crackpots with white collars and white skins and protesting their bigotry. It’s the Times that is playing the race card here.

In the end, this isn’t about race at all — and I think it was a mistake, in the end, for Obama to put the needed discussion about race in America in the context of Wright.

No, this story is about a nutjob whom our potential president valued as an advisor. Obama would not repudiate Wright the first time he said all these hateful things; Obama did it only when they were repeated and when he realized that this could do him political damage.

You see, this is the problem I have with Obama. I’m still not sure what I think he is: a cynical politician who throws out empty rhetoric and makes these grand statements only when he needs to (that is, like every other cynical politician) or a mushy wimp who can’t make tough decisions because he thinks he can get along with everybody (Jimmy Carter).

Campaign placement

The most fun I had Twittering the election last night was immediately seeing the three Abercrombie & Fitch guys dudes standing behind Obama. Coinicidence? Conspiracy? Product placement. Either there is a story there or the Obama campaign is its own demographic clliche.

Maybe it’s the latter. The Toronto Sun said yesterday:

Hillary is minivans and American sedans, Barack is Range Rovers and Hondas. Hillary is cross-trainers with jeans, Barack is Abercrombie and Fitch and Banana Republic. Hillary is Dunkin Donuts, Barack is Starbucks. And their supporters are equally vocal, in different ways.

: LATER: USA Today talks to A&F, who says they had nothing to do with it. Ditto the campaign. The USAT blog is asking, ‘Anybody know these guys?’