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November 01, 2007


Sounds like you should go work on the Obama campaign...

By the way, that's different than "attacking Clinton" as you've phrased it before. This is more saying "we need change - in both parties - and I'll be more effective in that role."

That may be a good posture to take in a campaign but how real is it ? If, as you say, partisanship isn't going to diminish how does Obama better deal with it ? Or do you think it is simply a better strategy for galvanizing voters ?

I think you may be misreading what Obama means by a "change in politics" because what he's talking doesn't seem to be that different from your own goals in Spinsanity or on this blog.

He talks in The Audacity of Hope of being "convinced that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose...It is such partisanship that have turned Americans off." In other words, claiming "dissent is treason" or using an airline worker's post-9/11 suicide to bash President Bush is the sort of partisan maneuvering he's hoping to move away from.

I have never seem him claim that political disagreement is somehow bad, or really anything like it (usually I hear just the opposite). His book even provided a pretty spot-on criticism of Lieberman-style "bipartisanship", something that can often "come to mean getting chronically steamrolled, although individual senators may enjoy certain political rewards by consistently going along with the majority and hence gaining a reputation for being a 'moderate' or 'centrist'."

Consider the only time in recent memory that the two parties "got along" and "worked together" -- the aftermath of 9/11.

One other thing...

I know it generally goes unremarked, but I don't necessarily think this is true. Just this morning 17 Republican Senators joined just about all of the Democrats to pass increased funding for S-CHIP.

Bush will obviously veto, and the petty partisan smear jobs will be launched from either side ("Bush hates adorable children" vs. "that 12 year old boy is an opportunistic liar") but that doesn't change the fact that a large, filibuster-proof group of Senators form both parties did indeed just "work together" to pass a bill meant to deal with a real problem.

Take out the unnecessary smear jobs, and I think this is the political utopia Obama is dreaming about on the stump.

Brendan noted that the crowd at the Obama event was "multi-ethnic." I would have thought that in 2007 pretty much any Democratic fundraiser or rally in the Raleigh-Durham area would be multi-ethnic. Was there something particular about the venue or the circumstances that made this noteworthy?

I think the quote you provide shows Obama actually making the point you wish he would make; he's just making it more artfully, in the form of an insinuation.

The meaning is still clear (to me, and I think to many others as well): If Hillary is elected, she won't be allowed to get anything done because 1) the media will return to the "Clinton Rules", and 2) the GOP will filibuster everything to score points with their own partisans.

I'm not convinced she can win the whole enchilada, but I do think both those points are not necessarily fixed in stone. The media seem to be emerging from their slumber (or is it a hangover?) that made them behave so terribly in the '90s and so impotent after 9/11. And the GOP will be less of a problem when, as expected, their Congressional minorities shrink further in Nov 2008.

Brendan, the Democrats started caving to Bush before 9/11.

And Ben, the GOP won't be "less of a problem" until Democrats start fighting for us and our issues as strongly as Republicans fight for the privileges of the wealthy.

Carolyn Kay

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