Democrats & Liberals Archives

So long, farewell...

I’ve decided that it’s time to move on. It has been fun chatting, and sometimes sparring, with you all.

I leave with some parting thoughts about the Democratic primary.

First of all, I dearly hope that Democrats unite around whoever the nominee is. At this point Barack Obama clearly has the advantage in pledged delegates, but there is no stopping the superdelegates if they want to throw the election to Hillary. (It is also possible, of course, for Clinton to pull off a clean win.) That is the system that was set up, and we should accept the outcome. We can talk about fixing the obvious flaws by the next election cycle.

The big issue in the primary now is obviously the Wright brouhaha. From what I have read, the reaction to Obama’s speech today has been pretty positive. Even conservatives seem to be giving him credit for (what is from their point of view) effective demagoguery.

The good news for the Democratic Party is that the whole affair will be thoroughly part of the public consciousness well before the Pennsylvania primary. If polls start showing Clinton doing substantially better than Obama in the general election, then she will be able to make a strong argument that she is the “electable” candidate. Furthermore, if she wins overwhelmingly (by, say, 20 percent or more) it would be appropriate for the superdelegates to consider whether the tide is turning against Obama even within the party. This is all hypothetical, however. At this point there is no evidence that Obama has been mortally wounded.

As a Floridian, I have complained before about the Democratic National Committee not counting our votes. The best in solution in principle would be a do-over, but that possibility has been thoroughly ruled out now for legal and logistical reasons. There are a couple of possible solutions now that, while not perfect, approximate fairness.

One solution would be to use the results of the "rebel primary" but only give Florida half of its delegates, at least for the moment. This happens to be what the GOP did. You may ask, why not seat ALL of the delegates? There are a couple of reasons not to. First of all, the DNC has an interest in putting teeth in its rules. If they let Florida get off scot-free, then their future attempts to control the primary process will have no credibility. Other states will schedule their contests whenever they want, knowing from precedent that their delegates will be seated anyway. The other problem is that seating all of the delegates would be unfair to Obama. He didn’t campaign in Florida because both the DNC and Hillary Clinton said ahead of time that the primary wouldn’t count. When Obama campaigns he wins converts, and he missed the chance to do that in Florida.

Another possibility would be to give Florida all of its delegates but split them evenly between her and Obama. This is an elegant solution because Florida gets its full slate of delegates but the "rebel primary" won’t determine who gets the nomination. (Which is, after all, the way that Clinton herself said things should be.) It also turns out that Clinton get 50% of the vote in this first primary, so one could argue that she is not losing anything.

As I final note, I hope that the country can come together no matter who wins in November. As Obama likes to say, there is only one America.

Adios, arrivederci, see you at the polls.

Posted by Woody Mena at March 18, 2008 4:19 PM
Comment #248399

Want to add a big “I told you so!” to the various clowns responsible for the current mess in Florida. This is what I wrote on 12/6/2007:

Here is a nightmare scenario: What if the primary elections are close and the votes from Florida are enough to change which candidate is nominated? That could lead to a bitterly divided party, and a loss in November.

But did they listen? Nooooooooooo….

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 18, 2008 4:36 PM
Comment #248401

I still believe that the two choices left for the Democratic Party are the two best choices left for President.

I hope that you continue to post here as I for one have appreciated your comments, but if not let me extend to you a fond farewell and best wishes.

Posted by: Cube at March 18, 2008 5:16 PM
Comment #248402

Woody, you have been a respected and appreciated writer at WatchBlog for a number of years. We who appreciate the many hours of thought and comment provoking articles you provided here, salute you and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 18, 2008 5:26 PM
Comment #248403


I’m very sorry to see you leave. And with a whole election season in front of us! You always did a great job of handicapping the races and pointing out the political realities. I think you are on target as usual with your parting article.

Best wishes to you going forward.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at March 18, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #248404

Where are you going?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 6:17 PM
Comment #248405

If you don’t mind my asking.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 6:31 PM
Comment #248406


Thanks for the contributions these several years. Happy trails!

Posted by: Chops at March 18, 2008 6:47 PM
Comment #248408

Best wishes, Woody.

A 50/50 split of the FL/MI delegates seems like the best solution, all things considered. If the vote goes into a second ballot, I take it the delegates would be free to vote as they choose.

The party has some serious work to do after November, but as for the FL/MI snafu, the parties of those states have no one to blame for themselves.

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2008 7:14 PM
Comment #248410

Farewell we hardly knew you.

On another sad note.

Farewell to Arthur C. Clarke who died today at 90.

Posted by: Rocky at March 18, 2008 7:32 PM
Comment #248413

Obama made a mistake with his speech today. He has just made himself into the affirmative action candidate. It’s a lose lose issue. People that want it are never going to think that they got enough. People that oppose it don’t want it at all.

His candidacy has peeked. The more he talks now, the more he will alienate people. He may have just figured out that he will only get the VP spot. Obama is the size of a candidate for VPOTUS, like Edwards, Lieberman, Gore, Bentsen, Ferraro, and Mondale. If that is not enough for his 46 year old ambition, then he will take his marbles and go home.

Hillary’s candidacy is still a benefit to Obama. It keeps McCain out of the news. If she stays in all the way to the convention, McCain will be lucky if the networks even cover the Rpblcn national convention.

On Florida, the delegates should be seated as they were elected. The RNC should kick out the Iowa delegates instead.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 18, 2008 8:04 PM
Comment #248414


Fare thee well. I’ve enjoyed your posts. In the words, of another Woody, “Take it easy, but take it!”

Posted by: googlumpugus at March 18, 2008 8:07 PM
Comment #248417

He did quite the opposite. This is, as Media students like me would put it, demo reel material. This is him being the president we want our next president to be. Not just eloquent, but constructively eloquent and persuasive. That this speech gets raves even from arch-conservatives, demonstrates its power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 18, 2008 8:35 PM
Comment #248419

His speech didn’t get raves here. The locals are just saying that he didn’t hurt himself too badly. They still think there is much more to come from the Rev Jeremiah. I was surprised that the story got that much traction, but I am well aware of the kind of support necessary to get elected in his district. Obama even mentioned OJ, another lose lose issue. He is too used to lecturing people and preaching at them. This speech, its length and content, contains everything about Obama that some people like, but will lead to his fall:

Posted by: ohrealy at March 18, 2008 8:50 PM
Comment #248421

Thanks for all of the kind comments. I feel like Sally Field getting her Oscar.

As for what I am moving on to, I’ll just say that I am going to be an “insider” now, in a small way. Blogging just doesn’t feel right anymore. And you have to quit cold turkey…

Good night, all.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 18, 2008 9:09 PM
Comment #248423

I watched this speech. Despite its length, which I was well aware of, since I saw it on an embedded youtube player, I was enthralled. It was just that thrilling and bracing to see somebody confront these issues head-on.

This goes to the heart of what makes him such a strong candidate. Yes, he might have a lengthy speech, but you don’t get bored listening to him. Yes, he might talk with the sophistication and nuance of a college professor, which he actually was at the University of Chicago Law School, but he’s kind of professor whose classes the students want to attend.

I’m sick, to be personally honest with you, with this consistent underestimation of the intelligence, attention span, and judgment of the people of this country. It’s a lazy and elitist point to make, and it’s counterproductive to anybody whose intent it is to persuade and lead.

People are intelligent, but you have to respect that intelligence. You can’t simply assume that they will, if smart, take up your point of view. People have decent attention spans, if you give them something worth paying attention to, and keep new points coming that move things along. Attention has to be earned, especially in today’s competitive media environment.

As for judgment? At some point, you must rely on other people’s ability to think for themselves, even if you’re right. What has to be done, though, is that you have to give them the room and the context to decide for themselves that something was a mistake. You have to be forgiving and understanding, or otherwise 90% of the people who were mistaken will simply entrench themselves for the sake of their own pride.

We have to stop treating this lowest common denominator mentality as an inevitable, objective reality. It’s an excuse, what people do to justify to themselves putting out mediocre material, waging mediocre campaigns. Truth is, you get a population large enough, and even a small percentage of people can make a bad movie a hit, a crappy book a bestseller, or an annoying, find-me-a-nearby-shotgun stuck-in-your head son a hit. That’s how people have organized the market.

It’s like Theodore Sturgeon said, half-seriously: 90% of everything is crap.

The key is not underestimate the potential in moving beyond that mediocrity, not viewing it as a risk. People have gotten some absolutist ideas about what is right in politics, about what you have to do, who you have to throw under the bus, and they underestimate the public’s disgust with that kind of cynical manuevering.

They would like a president with the maturity to hate the sin, but love the sinner. They would like a Christian Candidate who actually practices that signature Christian doctrine of forgiving others as we would want ourselves to be forgiven. They would like somebody to step up to the podium who seems to think and act like a alert human being, instead of a robotic, boilerplated repeater of talking points.

I think people are tired of politics being antithetical to the better angels of our conscience. People are sick of being faced with our politicians doing things in our name that are just so appalling. We don’t like the thought, in the end, that we are no better than that. America is ready for a step up out of this gutter of crass rhetoric and tactics.

Oh, and before I get too caught up in this debate, let me (hopefully not last of all) express my sadness to see Woody go. You’re right that you have to quit it cold turkey. I almost did that. It’s oddly liberating. Good luck on your future endeavors!

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 18, 2008 9:55 PM
Comment #248427

Thanks Woody Mena,
I don’t know your position the way I know Stephen Daugherty’s or David R. Remer’s position but I do know your moniker.

The Second amendment debate raised today made me search for my position expressed on watchblog about that subject. I saw many names I haven’t seen in a long while. Yours showed up today anouncing an exit. Few do. I’m thankfull for the opportunity to wish you well in your indoor job. You should insist your boss get you a computer and internet access so you can join us again. Ita woody mean a lot if you could join us again.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 10:16 PM
Comment #248428

Damn, Stephen, I agree with you. I must have broken something.

Limbaugh was railing against Obama today in a manner that simply points out why Obama has done so well. He acts as though if we disagree on policy then whoever takes the “liberal” tack must be unamerican. That sounds, in a philosophical way, like bigotry to me. Voila! Obama’s strength is revealed.

I know my Democrat friends love America as I do. Limbaugh-like condemnations separate me and others like me from him. Others who have not struggled over the philosophical issues of political preference are as likely, then, to take all of conservatism to be an extention of something like bigotry as well.

I don’t like Obama’s policy choices, not because I don’t respect him, but because I think liberal policies require a better class of people than inhabits politics to have a consistently good outcome. There is not a lot of reason to think he is not a good enough person to hold up his personal end of the bargain, though.

Woody, If you’re going to be an insider hold fast to, and stand up for, your values.
God bless.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 18, 2008 10:29 PM
Comment #248429

In college, everyone said that you had to take the Bergen Evans lecture class. I don’t remember much about it. I think I was studying Greek while he was lecturing, but here is a pertinent quote:

“There is no necessary connection between the desire to lead and the ability to lead, and even less the ability to lead somewhere that will be to the advantage of the led.”

Posted by: ohrealy at March 18, 2008 10:32 PM
Comment #248430

Few people can lead.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 10:44 PM
Comment #248432

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.”

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 10:52 PM
Comment #248433


Oh, contraire. People who should not lead do it all the time. Few are they who can, with discernment, be that part of the great mass of people that influences the rest to follow the right leader.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 18, 2008 10:57 PM
Comment #248437
People who should not lead do it all the time.

If that was a reference to the democratic party then I agree. If you’re talking about our government of late, then I agree.

Few are they who can, with discernment, be that part of the great mass of people that influences the rest to follow the right leader.

Would it be odd of me to think I’m being brainwashed if I agree with that statement?
Expecially if that statement were made with Obama being the focus?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 18, 2008 11:19 PM
Comment #248439


There is a line from the “Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.
I’m sorry that I can only paraphrase;

Any man that actually wants and seeks the office of President, should at no time be allowed to actually be President.

That’s the best I can do, but I think you get the gist.
I believe that the Framers never saw politics as a lifetime job, but as a responsibility that was to be shared by all Americans.

Posted by: Rocky at March 18, 2008 11:32 PM
Comment #248444

The Barrack Obama “uh” count:

or how to make articulate into inarticulate.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 19, 2008 12:40 AM
Comment #248448

Thanks for all your thoughts, and thought-provoking posts, Woody, and good luck in your future endeavors.
Perhaps you may consider stopping by in the future for a visit.
Keep on keeping on………

Posted by: Jane Doe at March 19, 2008 3:05 AM
Comment #248449


The Mighty Eagle wishes you well.

Perhaps our paths will cross again somday.

Posted by: sicilian eagle at March 19, 2008 6:41 AM
Comment #248451


As s person of 56 years of age and having literally recently jumped into the arena of public political opinion, I have to say thanks much. I am in the learning process and your well based thoughts and facts are some that I have always looked forward to reading. Good luck with your new agenda. I am sure you will be fair and effective.

Posted by: RickIL at March 19, 2008 9:55 AM
Comment #248452


Re- Few are they who can, with discernment, be that part of the great mass of people that influences the rest to follow the right leader.

Would it be odd of me to think I’m being brainwashed if I agree with that statement?
Expecially if that statement were made with Obama being the focus?

It would not be odd if you do not believe him to be genuine in his beliefs. For those who do believe, such a leader is the right choice.

Posted by: RickIL at March 19, 2008 10:08 AM
Comment #248459


Very sorry to see you go.

When thumbing through the different posts on different subjects, I usually just use the “scroll wheel” on my mouse when I see posters that continually spout Dem or Rep talking points.

I always stopped and read what you had to say because your posts didn’t conform to the DNC or RNC daily “memo”. It seemed to me that you read about the subject at hand and formed your own opinion.

Trite as it may sound…thank you for your participation here. Your insight and opinions will be missed.

Posted by: Jim T at March 19, 2008 11:15 AM
Comment #248462


I am really sorry to see you go. It was good to have a person of your honesty and integrity posting here. I won’t make any comments here about politics because I am just sad to see you go and I don’t need to mix the subjects.

Posted by: Jack at March 19, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #248476

Take care Woody, and best wishes in all endeavors. I have thoroughly enjoyed your writings over the past few years.

Beware the gator….


Posted by: George in SC at March 19, 2008 3:30 PM
Comment #248585


Would it be odd of me to think I’m being brainwashed if I agree with that statement?
Expecially if that statement were made with Obama being the focus?

In protestant theology we have a doctrine of the “priesthood of the believer” that I think was central to the political philosophy of early Americans. All of us have the responsibility to be interpreters of the word, if you will. That is a deep political reality. There are potential Idi Amins and Fidel Castros right here in the U.S., but they can’t get the traction with well educated and discerning grass-roots citizenship to actually become powerful. The strength of America is not a lack of bad potential leaders. It is a discernment about whom to follow.

In a stressed political atmosphere that well distributed discernment and grass roots leadership is at risk and in short supply.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 20, 2008 11:46 AM
Comment #248586


I love the “Hitchhikers Guide”, especially the movie version, and agree with your quote.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 20, 2008 11:49 AM
Comment #248738

The Obama crowd seems intent on a “split” or do not seat the delegates. Obama is running scared that Hillary has taken the momentum.

Obama’s having spent 20 years under that bigot and not having ever spoken out against it has cost him some confidence I think, and some momentum.

Posted by: Stephen at March 21, 2008 3:53 AM
Comment #248753

I hate to see you go. You’re been a ethical writer, giving out great information, and offering many facts to back up what you write. I believe all those things not only make a great writer, but also a wonderful human-being. I hope you carry these gifts, talents, (whatever one calls them) as you move forward in your world.

As Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true.”
You will truly be missed.

If you get a chance, come back and let us know how you’re doing.

Posted by: Linda H. at March 21, 2008 9:47 AM
Comment #249525

I fail to see how splitting the delegates in half is an “elegant” solution. it’s exactly the same as sending no delegates at all.

Posted by: Stephen at March 30, 2008 3:49 AM
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