Democrats & Liberals Archives

Elitism

The word gets flung about so much, it’s not funny. No, really, it’s not funny. It doesn’t matter how humble your origins, how easy-going you are, It’s the argument Republicans and some Democrats who will remain unnamed roll out to bash their opponents with. But what does it mean?

Is elitism being rich? Having rich or urban tastes? Being better educated than average? No. Real elitism is the belief in an entitlement to be elite. It's a belief in serving the interests of the wealthy, of the special interests, of those who already have the lead in society.

Who argues continually that money should be given back to those who earn the most of it? Who argues continually that it's serving corporate interests at the expense of the middle class and poor? Who argues that the soft-hearted, weak-stomached masses should be ignored when they dissent against certain foreign policies and certain practices?
Republicans have filled their ranks with elitists, they set up a system where their party elites feed their own pet media the talking points, the official interpretations of the news, and do their best to undermine where they don't have complete control. They encourage greater secrecy in government, punish whistleblowers who expose the crooks and cronies, and in general do what they can to perpetuate their power at other's expense.

That's elitism.

Unfortunately, it can come from both parties or any parties. It can come from independents. Nobody's immune. You don't even have to be in power, politically speaking. That just makes things worse.

The behavior of real elitists, and those who drawn into elitist behavior is defined by what power they deny to the masses. It is defined by an unwillingness to explain oneself, to submit. People drawl their words, pack their guns and appeal to the dream we all have that we can, of our own strength win the rat race and escape from that orbit of contention, but in the end, their way of talking with the rest of us and their way of dealing with their mistakes and the gaining of consent from the public exposes them.

Folksy charm. It's one thing for somebody to say they are one of us, to project an image of being the person you'd like to have the beer with, it's another thing to share power, to seek public approval for one's actions with good faith intentions of relenting if that approval is not granted. It's another thing to tell people the truth, to selective in what you say for the sake of brevity or humility in the face of unknowable events, not to hide from people what you know, and what they wouldn't take lightly if they knew.

Not all kinds of Elitism necessarily reflect being on the winning side. There are plenty of wise old souls in my party, who when confronted by Bush early, and confronted by him now find it convenient not to stand up for what people wanted them to. They believe they know better than those people they think of as vocal minorities what the good of the party is. They believe that we should just calm down, accept the futility of pushing them to do anymore.

Elitism can be the party bosses just playing to their own vested interests. Don't rock the boat, even as the crisises build, and our toleration of the situation weakens. Elitism can be a candidate who cynically plays on demographic divisions, rather than trying to weld together a truly diverse and truly representative coalition within our party.

Elitism is believe that just putting together the right commercial with the right button pushing is enough. But it's not.

The arrogance of it all is somewhat self-defeating in the end. It was the arrogance of both the previous Democratic and Republican party majorities that brought them both down. Each party, though it be a hierarchy deep and broad with powerful figures of long tenure can be brought down when their foundation of political support weakens or drops out from under it. The Democrats were taught that lesson in 1994, and the Republicans the same lesson twelve years later.

The trouble is, people don't always realizes how capable they are of change, that in fact they are the change agents. It's uneven. People aren't always dissatisfied, or know to be dissatisfied when they got reason to be. People sometimes buy into political philosophies that work against their own interests. People are not perfect, nor are they impervious to the cynical flattery of the politicians.

Political idealists often pull out their hair at this, bemoan the debased state of society, that they would let this occur. Truth is, sometimes change builds up on its own, overtakes people on its own. Sometimes, though, it takes a spark. Sometimes, though, it takes a rearrangement of attitudes across the board, a reconsideration of when it is time to act. The most elitist philosophy is that which divides and conquers, which tries to reduce people to their most powerless, addressing them as if they are no more than just their own set of interests, their own pet issues.

A truly egalitarian approach brings us cooperation, brings us together to band together to do things together. That is how we got to the moon. That is how we became a major economic, scientific, and political power in the world. Cooperation, dialogue, humility. Working and sacrificing together to win greater prizes for the country, for the world, not merely reducing everything to selfish ambitions.

Nothing keeps us from going to the moon again, ameliorating poverty, confronting global warming except a close mind revulsion of working together, and a narrow allegiance to goals that can only be achieved unilaterally without other's cooperation.

When we boil it down, the real sin we call elitism is just a mix of pride and arrogance, one that we've let have free rein in this country for too long. We convinced ourselves we could work our way past the mistakes of the sixties and seventies by giving in to our more selfish, self interested ways, by letting a distorted vision of American exceptionalism fuel our endeavors, rather than working together, seeking to better ourselves, admit that we can do it alone, or achieve our goals without growing in character.

We need to relearn what it is to be a nation together, to sacrifice for each other, to value community and family as more than just buzzwords soaked in nostalgia for the culture we once were. We need to awaken to what we once were, as well as what we could be, and bridge that in this urgent moment we are in now. To be great as a nation, we have to learn how to be the best we can be in fact, not merely an elite in status.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at May 18, 2008 1:19 PM
Comments
Comment #253083

Simply means we can’t beat you. That’s like telling Mike Tyson (In his prime) you are too big, fast and strong.

Posted by: Julian at May 18, 2008 3:58 PM
Comment #253084

clarancec-
Before the Edwards endorsement, Clinton’s best case scenario for delegates was to come in fifty behind, roundabouts. That’s if the party counts Michigan and Florida as is, which they will not. Now, if they do so, she is still 78 delegates behind as of today, May 18th. There is very little possibility, besides him getting hit with a meteor or its political equivalent for her to get the vast majority of superdelegates remaining to go in her direction.

I explained why her victory was less than splendiferous in this Kos diary by comparing it with Barack’s North Carolina win. By whatever criteria you choose to dismiss it, Obama’s win in that state yielded a net delegate gain, as of this point, of 17 delegates, this at a margin of just 14 points. With quadruple that margin, roughly speaking, Hillary only got 12 delegates.

Moreover, Hillary was expected to win that state anyways. It wasn’t some shocker. The margin was within expectations. The squeaker in Indiana, and Barack’s victory in North Carolina more or less made West Virginia irrelevant, except to those who obsess about demographics to the point of not see the forest for the trees.

As for sexism? Look, it’s not sexist to deny a woman the nomination if she is beaten fair and square? Black folks have more right to be offended if people hand the nomination over to Hillary based on some demographically based anxieties, rather than give him the nomination he earned by waging the more effective campaign

It is not elitist to hand over a contest to somebody who’s won it without special treatment. Obama won the delegates necessary to get him ahead and keep him ahead. he kept her victories small, and blew her out in far more states than she blew him out in.

It is elitist to hand victories to those who have not earned them because they occupy or once occupied positions of power, or had relatives that did so. Hillary Clinton’s argument, hand me the nomination not because of better campaigning or higher numbers, but because I’m more electable that’s more elitist.

At the end of the day, the numbers between Hillary and Obama are not interchangeable. Obama got his lead for a good reason. Rather than taking the standard position that the Western and Southern States didn’t matter, Obama went out there and campaigned in those regions. Result? He gathered a winning coalition. Hillary helped make it even better for him by alienating a key constituency of theres after South Carolina.

If anybody’s been elitist, it’s been the Clintons. Like I said, a drawl can mask any number of sins as to how people lord themselves over others. Obama’s intention is to wage a fifty state campaign, not to reduce everything to establishment Democratic party strongholds and a few swing states.

Who’s being fairer to all?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 18, 2008 4:12 PM
Comment #253098

Stephen,

The whole idea of Obama being part of the “elite” falls totally on it’s face. At the very best someone could point to Oprah’s early support, but give me a break.

The real truth is he’s a black man ……….. hmmm, how do I know that? Well, not that I needed a clue, but when I heard the joke at the barber shop about the Republicans setting traps for beavers and coons in the White House I pretty well knew that America is still just as prejudiced as ever.

We love to “play” top dog when it comes to human rights, but we don’t pass the smell test! I see this every day as the grandfather of an obviously mixed race grandchild!

BTW, Hucksterbee sure showed his stripes, eh? Any black man would drop to the floor at an NRA event huh?

It’s time to be honest about our prejudices!

Posted by: KansasDem at May 18, 2008 9:21 PM
Comment #253099

KansasDem

It’s time to be honest about our prejudices!

Great points. I have attempted on a few occasions here to be honest about the implications of the black issue. Some have found it disgusting. Others simply ignore it or try to skirt around it. There was a sort of consensus on this blog a while back by a few posters that if we do not discuss it, it will eventually disappear. I do not necessarily agree with that notion. I know many people here in my part of the midwest who are racist and express it when in their peer groups. I do not participate in their prejudicial cajoling. Yet they continue as if I approve. I can’t see that my refusal to participate is changing their views.

Then there are those who are racist only in their groups and abstain in a larger arena of people of questionable prejudices. I sometimes wonder which is worse. Those who are open about it all the time or those who hide it when in the wrong place. It seems to me that all the pc approach to the issue does is simply confine it to a select space. It really does little to address the problem.

Posted by: RickIL at May 18, 2008 9:42 PM
Comment #253103

Guys,

It’s only been 40 years since the civil rights movement caught it’s stride.
Old habits die hard. 50 years from now things will be better, but change, especially change such as this, doesn’t happen over night.

Posted by: Rocky at May 18, 2008 10:57 PM
Comment #253104

I do not believe that people will just consciously chose (while holding hands to add to the lack of realism) to just not be racist anymore, and then elect a black president out of the newfound goodness of their heart.

I think what will happen is that other political considerations will help to push things past the threshold. Then, once that happens, It does what many firsts do: it makes the second far easier.

From what I’ve seen, nothing in society moves all at once, but sometimes things can move together, all at once, like a landslide, where the causes can be multi-layered. I think the thirst for change of any kind has helped fuel the very high probability that change of this kind will occur.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 18, 2008 11:22 PM
Comment #253106

Silence is usually read as consent. It’s better to counter a prejudiced person than let it go by. There are examples of goodness and uselessness among all ethnicities. People become non-prejudiced pretty quickly when their own relations date, marry, and have children with persons outside their tribe, unless they are totally useless themselves. Old prejudices will disappear as older people, who rememeber the bad old days fondly, die off.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 18, 2008 11:26 PM
Comment #253117

Kathy-
I suppose sending e-mails is easy. Persuading superdelegates to support Clinton at this late date isn’t.

Clinton has not proved herself the superior candidate. She counts chickens that have not hatched, and even counting them, she’s more than seventy-five delegates behind.

Under most listed scenarios for seating Michigan and Florida, the total hardly moves in Clinton’s direction.

In order to win, though, Hillary needs 1) people to change the rules, and 2)delegates, super or pledged, to overrule the results of the election. We can argue the merits of the various systems, but those are the systems in place in those states, and the results of the election are soon to give Barack Obama the majority of those pledged delegates. Meanwhile, he will likely net enough delegates in the coming days to put him within a hundred delegates of nomination. Obama can win on his own, for the most part, with the greatest support from actual election contests, rather than the will of the party elite.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 19, 2008 7:54 AM
Comment #253119

BHO has 1215 delegates from primary elections, and HRC has 1208 from primary elections, excluding Michigan, and Florida, and Texas. The rest of the delegates are from caucuses, a significantly different demographic from the population of their states, and the superdelegates. No one is going to be winning a democratic victory in this strange combination of peculiar rules and systems.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 19, 2008 10:15 AM
Comment #253121

There is nothing wrong with elitism. We should all strive to be better than we were. If we can be better than we were, it means we can be better and better than and perhaps not as good as some others.

I believe I am a better man than I was ten years ago. I worked at it I want to be better than I was and better than some others who cannot or will not work to improve.

The USMC proudly calls themselves the few and the proud because not everybody can make it. People who get into elite universities are usually smarter than average people. Nothing wrong with these things. Only losers don’t try to be better than they are.

Barack Obama is definitely a member of the elite. Life for him is easier than it is for most people. Nothing wrong with that. Frankly, I don’t want an ordinary guy as president.

I person born into a family like Obama’s, who has achieved what he has, MUST think he is special and his achievements indicate that he is correct. We are all “as good as the other guy” in human dignity, but we certainly are not as good as everybody in other ways.

What bothers us about elitism is when it lead to misunderstanding. Obama HAS some of this. His comment about the benighted rural people clinging to guns & God shows his misunderstanding as does his recent brushing off of a female reporter calling her “sweetie”. This are not terrible things. He can learn from them and if he takes the lessons to heart, he is probably not an elitist in the negative sense of the term.

Posted by: Jack at May 19, 2008 11:32 AM
Comment #253123

clarancec-
It is not elitist to believe strongly in things. Apparently, you confuse that strength and faith that I have in my ideals for the belief that only my voice, my opinions matter.

If I felt that way, would I spend all that time giving you numbers and links to number? Would I be trying to make my case for my opinion on the facts? An elitist would simply belittle you for not sharing your opinion. While it’s true that I don’t always understand why people think differently from me, I’m at peace with the notion that people will think differently from me, and that if I take a calmer, more deliberate, more logical, and more factually correct angle on things, I can bring people to believe as I do.

Too often, politics becomes reduced to competing strains of rhetoric. Rhetoric, being language, can be deformed endlessly to suit people’s sensibilities, and often is riddled with unprovable, even fallacious claims. We need something that goes deeper than just the expedience of campaign spin.

ohrealy-
First, caucuses remain Democratic Party contests. Whether you like it or not, they contribute to the delegate total, and no configuration of the rules that I am aware of separates them from the total. Caucuses also remain democratic since they are decided by majority votes.

Why do the Clintons discount caucuses? Because they lost them. Same thing with small states, western states, etc, etc. Problem with this attitude is, it’s distinctly undemocratic.

All votes, all delegates from legitimate, party-sanctioned contests count. That they aren’t the preferred method of a candidate who didn’t complain about this beforehand is immaterial.

What this seems to come down to is one candidate sulking that the playing field hasn’t handed her all the advantages, while the other candidate actually deals with the political reality. We can talk about electability, but what should we think about the electability of a candidate who doesn’t win more contests, win more votes, win more delegates with the system as it is?

Like I said in another Kos Diary of mine, there aren’t going to be any superdelegates to save her in November, and according to all the numbers out there, Obama’s got the broadest support of the two candidates out there, hands down.

The question is whether you define legitimacy by what merely favors your candidates chances, or whether you define it with additional criteria that ensure fairness in the results, whether they are pro or con your candidate.

For me, it’s important that Obama’s played by the rules, and still won. It’s a much more positive approach than railing against the system you agreed to beforehand, railing against the exclusions you agreed to in the first place, when your victory seemed so much more assured.

The proper interpretation of the Michigan and Florida contests is that they were not real contests, not real primaries. They were not officially sanction by the party. There was no campaigning allowed. In one case, many of the competitors had taken their name off the ballot. Both sides agreed ahead of time that these contests would be invalid.

A revote at this late date is out of the question. a compromise on the delegates is possible and even likely, but as of right now, they’re not determining this election.

The most peculiar rules and systems are those who operate one way when a candidate is ahead, and another way when they are behind. The strongest candidate is the candidate who doesn’t have to redefine what is legitimate or a victory, in order to claim a triumph.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 19, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #253127

Wow, talk about reversals of reality. The primaries gave BHO proportional delegates to a greater extent than Clinton got delegates in proportion from the caucuses. Their delegate count is almost equal, so it’s not much of a mandate for BHO. The entire process gives us a candidate with unrealistic expectations for the November elections. VA, NC, SC, AL, MS, ID, ND and KS, are less likely to be in the Democratic column in November than WV, TN, KY, AK, and NM.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 19, 2008 12:29 PM
Comment #253128

Political elitism is believing your beliefs should be the beliefs of others and using govt to force them to support and comply with how you believe things should be.

Political elitism is believing people vote against their own best interest when they do not vote how you believe they should vote.

Political elitism is forcing people to fear what you fear, care how you care and live how you believe they should live.

Posted by: kctim at May 19, 2008 12:35 PM
Comment #253129

Kathy and Stephen,

Hillary has left counting her chickens before they hatched. She has graduated up to counting unfertilized eggs. I imagine in December she will have graduated to counting deviled eggs and still saying she is going to get a chicken out of there somewhere.

I am torn, although I am enjoying this entertaining little fight between Hillarious and Obama, I want to get to the general election. You guys on the far left are great at arguing your position on issues but your understanding of the basic fundamental framework of an election is lacking. Despite the surge in voters registered because of this Obama thing, the Dems have some major hurdles to overcome
before winning the general election. keep in mind how bad things were for the Republicans and Bush in the last election. The Democrat Kerry lost. Why? Because he was swift boated? No, Bush had been swift boated for the two years prior. It was because the Dems picked their candidate on idealism instead of electability. Ghepheardt could have won that election but you did not choose him. Despite David Remer stating that it is all over and his reasoning, Either candidate has some basic foundational problems that are almost impossible to overcome.

Barack-

1. Inexperience
2. Too far left. The Middle will slide to McCain. (History proves that!)
3. Some on both sides will never vote for a black man. (And I think that is just as stupid as voting for him because he is black. Many southern democrats will not vote for a black man. Look at the map of the states won by both H & O.)
4. A good portion of Hillary supporters have already stated that they will not vote for Obama. (and visa-versa.)

Hillary-

1. You guys on the far left hate her. Even Move-On.org. Many just won’t vote.
2. Hillary has Bill Baggage.
3. Hillary has Hillary Baggage.
4. Mathematically, the only way to win the primary is a major scandal on Obama’s part, (which this close to the general election, would cause you guys chaos) or to steal it. Same problem as Obama, many just won’t vote or even vote for McCain.

I am anxiously waiting for the general election to start. Don’t count your chickens David Remer. Keep counting dead eggs Hillary. And to the far left, just keep thinking that you make up over 25% of the democratic party. That’s what gave you two Presidents since Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. (Remember Clinton only won 42% and 48% of the vote in both of his elections respectively. If not for Ross Perot you wouldn’t have him.)

You should have picked Richardson. You should have picked Ghepheardt.

Posted by: scottie1321 at May 19, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #253130

intellectual elitism is a part of the radical left wing agenda, what Obama appears to support.

Hence,that’s why I’m defined by Obama to his buddies in California as a bitter clingy person. Bitter and clingy because I’m a gun owning Christian who thinks our boarders should be secured and thus, illegal immigration ended not supported.

Obama’s idea of unity, coming together, change is that I be brainwashed to do what he wants me to do. That’s intellectual elitism too. Otherwise I’m just a “neocon” an “ignorant” person who is responding inappropriately to life because I’m too uneducated to do what’s right.

Obama’s problem is that he supports and believes in this elitism and in a general election it damages him….so his flock must rewrite his beliefs, and re contextualize, lest their candidate lose the election.

Posted by: Stephen at May 19, 2008 1:17 PM
Comment #253134

clarancec-
I can honestly assure you that I have not removed any of your comments. If they have been removed, you might want to talk to those higher than me, and see whether you crossed some line somewhere. Additionally, you might have run afoul of the anti-spam program, which holds any comment that has more than three links in it.

I think my continued, patient responses to your still present postings speak for themselves. I don’t believe that I am above having to respond to others.

Ohrealy-
The real question is how we tell the difference between the wishful thinking of supporters on both sides, and real electability. Slice up the delegate count however you want, it’s delegates that win this part of the election, and your candidate has not truly earned the push required to put her over the top.

Even with a best case scenario for her in Michigan and Florida, she comes out seventy something delegates behind. She will not get her best case scenario. In that case, Obama maintains much of his lead, and remains much closer to the nomination than her.

Moreover, his venturing into these other states may redraw the map. Even modest gains along those lines can have far reaching results in the electoral college count. Obama’s non-elitist approach to the flyover states helped win him the nomination, for all intents and purposes. He didn’t get picky about where his delegates came from or how the states themselves decided to award those delegates. He simply went out there and competed.

I’ve seen us lose two elections trying this swing state approach. I’ve seen our fifty-state strategy bear significant fruit in our takeover of the Congress in 2006. Can you blame me for thinking that a broad fight for electoral college votes is the better approach, rather than relying on the same old defensive swing-state strategy?

kctim-
On your first point, majority rule is hardly elitist. There’s a better argue that a vocal minority trying to impose its will as to what the government does and does not do is more elitist.

On your second point, I believe it is self evident that they’re voting against their interests. What else can you call it? Is this the new political correctness? I believe these people are smart enough that they’ve got a good reason to vote against their own interests- a generational failure of the old Democratic party to fulfill its promise on defending those interests. It would be elitist to suggest that these people do so out of plain stupidity, and we’re suggesting nothing of the sort.

On your last point? It’s not elitism to trying and get people to see things your way, it’s human nature. Ironically, it’s this defensive point of view that’s led Republicans and the right wing to grab for power so much. You have to be willing to treat the discourse in America like a discussion between adults and not like a battle between the forces of good and evil.

America needs to grow past this partisanship, and start thinking about our more fine-grained interests.

Scottie-
I can assure you, if we wanted idealism, we would have had a scream with Dean. Kerry was supposed to be the electable one.

This time, though, as soon as we can get this primary over with, we have a nice combination of charismatic appeal, and refined political skill. Kerry also lost because he stuck to the old political strategy of depending up on the mainline Democratic states, plus a few swing states, to win the election. It made it that much easier for Bush to target his appeals and efforts. This time, though, McCain will have to fight for every state, and with the GOP’s current resources, it’s going to be difficult.

As for the left’s problem? In truth, it’s the right that has the problem. People are sick of the Republicans in power, and three lost special elections in deep red districts should be a red flashing light if nothing else is.

Jack-
The real issue of elitism comes down to why we are expected to heed the authority of a certain group of people, and under what conditions.

I believe that a robust system of feedback is important, but also a robust system of education. There’s nothing worse for the country than having elites push a policy they know or should know is bad, while telling a misinformed, misled nation lies to further their hold on their power. I believe in those who have earned their elite status answering in good faith to those who put their trust in them, and people in turn doing their best to keep themselves well-informed and well educated. Good democracy requires that those at the top be the best, but those below them not be so bad themselves.

The power of the elite should be more fluid, less apt to remain someplace simply for old time’s sake.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 19, 2008 2:26 PM
Comment #253135

Stephen-
Obama defined you no such way. In his speech, the bitterness he spoke of wasn’t folks being foul-natured, but folks being rightly frustrated and angered by the help they weren’t getting. Clinging wise, if you know what he’s said elsewhere, he wasn’t expressing disapproval of those things.

As for unity? Go look up his Boston convention speech from 2004. His soaring rhetoric hasn’t been about others getting with the program, if they’re right thinking individuals, his rhetoric has been much more accommodating. His strategy is going to be a Fifty-State strategy, one that by its very nature requires a very accommodating party.

The Problem for Republicans and other right-wingers like yourself is that his views, as expressed are rather egalitarian.

It’s time to stop being afraid that every liberal is out to get you and force you to submit. Most Liberals could care less if you live your life the way you do.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 19, 2008 2:42 PM
Comment #253138

Stephen
When the majority believe their way is the only way and use govt to force others to comply for that reason, then that is elitist thinking. There is no way that you know better than I do when it comes to my life.
The Constitution dictates what the govt can and cannot do, but yes, a vocal minority such as liberals, enviro-nuts and whacked out religious people, are very elitist indeed.

“On your second point, I believe it is self evident that they’re voting against their interests. What else can you call it?”

Your opinion Stephen. The fact that you cannot even see just how “elitist” this thinking is, is why elitism is so dangerous when running govt.

“Is this the new political correctness? I believe these people are smart enough that they’ve got a good reason to vote against their own interests”

But you do not know what is in their best interest Stephen, you can only assume. Take universal healthcare, you believe it is in their best interest to vote for it, they believe their freedoms are in their best interest. Guns? You believe it is in their best interest to heavily regulate it, they believe in the 2nd Amendment should stay in tact.
You have no idea of what is in my best interest and believing you do, is elitism.

“a generational failure of the old Democratic party to fulfill its promise on defending those interests. It would be elitist to suggest that these people do so out of plain stupidity, and we’re suggesting nothing of the sort.”

I agree. But blaming it as a “generational failure” instead of believing it is your message, is elitist.

“On your last point? It’s not elitism to trying and get people to see things your way, it’s human nature.”

Absolutely! But that is not what you guys do. If you were just trying to get people to see things your way, people would have little problem with it. It would be like the Jehovah witnesses and we could take it or leave it as we choose. Instead, you are forcing people to see things your way and making them live accordingly. That is elitism.

“You have to be willing to treat the discourse in America like a discussion between adults and not like a battle between the forces of good and evil.”

Stephen, when you are trying to force people to live according to someone else’s beliefs, it is a battle between good and evil. Treating it as a discussion between adults, would require that you respect beliefs which differ from your own.

“America needs to grow past this partisanship, and start thinking about our more fine-grained interests.”

I agree, but I hope you aren’t expecting Saint Obama to be the one to do this because by the time he is done, it will be even worse.

Posted by: kctim at May 19, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #253141

“He didn’t get picky about where his delegates came from” (BHO). Of course he did. His team picked places where he could get delegates, in states with very small numbers of Democrats. His attitude towards WV shows how dumb this strategy was. He should have parked his ass in Huntington, instead of neglecting a state which would be more likely than VA to vote for him in November, like he was afraid of the mountain people. Axelrod is either giving him bad advice now, or he has stopped listening to the pros.

BHO is our weakest candidate since Dukakis. His level of experience is equivalent to John Lindsey in 1972. Some of us have seen this before, young Stephen Daugherty. The main thing that BHO has going for him is that JMcC is not that popular either, and Bush is unlikely to do anything useful in his remaining 245 days in office.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 19, 2008 4:27 PM
Comment #253142

Stephen,

I cannot believe that I am in agreement with ohreally, but he is showing an understanding of the general election fundamentals that I am referring to.

You cannot equate the outcome of a primary with that of a general election. The GOP lost those red stated elections because of the way voters turnout for a primary election. Many Dems showed up. There is a huge fight between H & O. The general election will have a larger turnout of the general population. A significant number of Hillary voters will not show or vote McCain in the general election.

Cynthia Ruccia, 55, a sales director for Mary Kay cosmetics in Columbus, Ohio, is organizing a group, Clinton Supporters Count Too, of mostly women in swing states who plan to campaign against Mr. Obama in November. We, the most loyal constituency, are being told to sit down, shut up and get to the back of the bus, she said.

A significant number of voters will also not vote for Obama because of lack of experience, far left viewpoints, and because he is black.

When you get to the general election, the rules change.

Kerry was not the winnable candidate, (Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry were all supposed to be the winnable candidates) Ghepheardt was. Kerry would have been smashed against a president who had an approval rating of over 50%. He lost under the worst case circumstances for the incumbent. What does that tell you?

If enough Hillary voters do not show up at the polls in November, those are also votes lost for the Dems in the local elections. If Barack Obama loses out of the middle, many of those votes may just swing local elections the other way. So I still say to David Remer, don’t count your chickens. The play is not over until the fat lady sings. (Oops, not to Politically Correct!) The foundational rules still apply. And remember Stephen, while the democrats lost using the swing state strategy, the Republicans were winning using that same strategy. So I would be cautious blaming it on that. That strategy could backfire. Obama is not going to sweep all 50 states. If he spreads his resources too thin, it could equate a massacre.

I say again: The Democrats have only had 2 Presidents since Kennedy; Carter and Clinton. (Remember Clinton only won 42% and 48% of the vote in both of his elections respectively. If not for Ross Perot you wouldn’t have him.)

And lets not forget the southern democrats who gave Nixon the office in 68. The racist southern democrats voted for the independent George Wallace and there is some of that thinking still in the south in the democratic party. Gave Wallace the last independent to take a state 5 of them; AR, LA, MS, AL, GA. Again look at the map and the states that Hillary beat Obama in. It truly shows his weakness with the southern Democrats that will follow into the general election.

Posted by: scottie1321 at May 19, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #253143

Sorry, Couple of typos but the one I hate is:

Not “too” politically correct.

And I should have also said:

The Democrats have only had 2 Presidents since Kennedy, only one of which was a two term President; Carter and Clinton. (Remember Clinton only won 42% and 48% of the vote in both of his elections respectively. If not for Ross Perot you wouldn’t have him, and if Not for Richard Nixon you might not have had Carter)

Posted by: scottie1321 at May 19, 2008 5:23 PM
Comment #253144

Sorry again,

Cannot forget poor Johnson, I always seem to forget him. That’s three.

Posted by: scottie1321 at May 19, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #253145

ohrealy,
“BHO is our weakest candidate since Dukakis. His level of experience…”

I strongly disagree. I would say he is the strongest candidate fielded in over a generation. It’s not a matter of the issues. If a person digs into it, there are differences, but generally speaking, Obama resembles HRC with his stands. What makes him such a remarkable candidate is his ability to LEAD, to motivate and inspire and pull people together to work as a team. Our expectations are extraordinarily low after 8 years of Bush, and if there’s anything McCain seems to encourage, it’s more low expectations and Forever War. It’s been so long since we’ve seen a candidate like Obama- intelligent, well-educated, literate, with exerpience in a state senate and the US Senate, and above all motivational and charismatic, that we hardly recognize the potential for greatness.

Posted by: phx8 at May 19, 2008 5:38 PM
Comment #253147

BHO isn’t going to lead me anywhere, but possibly into the Green party. Because of the economy, he may have a chance. The Rpblcns have also screwed themselves by relying on the religious right, which are different religions in different parts of the country, that don’t like or agree with eachother. It’s the first election since Falwell’s death, and I don’t know if the church of I Hate You continues to be influential in politics, without him as a unifying figure. JMcC was weak in the west, and in the hills. He may also be perceived as being elitist, which puts him in a category like Bush41, as opposed to Reagan or Dole.

BHO has evidently given up on the Clampletts, Hatfields, and McCoys, which I think is a big mistake. He’s ceding them to McCain, which is unnecessary. People think he is such a persuasive leader, but it wouldn’t have hurt him to go shoot at some food. I thought he would have to wrestle a greased pig to win in NC, but the college towns and the black vote carried him. That is not going to work in November.

Whoever is elected in November, is already being screwed by GWBush, and will spend their whole term trying to wind up the mess in Iraq, or deal with the aftermath. That person is unlikely to be reelected in 2012. If BHO is elected, the Democrats will most likely lose out in 2012 and 2016. We should do well with the USHOR races, but I haven’t seen much to be optimistic about in the Senate races. They all look like losers to me.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 19, 2008 7:04 PM
Comment #253148

Ohrealy,
You’re confusing primaries and primary strategies with the general election and general election strategies. What a candidate needs to do in order to win the party nomination is NOT the same as what the candidate needs to do to win in a general election.

There is no way Obama should have won, given the immense advantages owned by HRC, namely institutional backing, party backing, and name recognition. She’s a decent speaker and a smart person, but she her top-down strategy was overwhelmed by Obama’s bottom-up strategy and effective targeting of delegates, rather than HRC’s counting upon a few early wins in big states to end the campaign.

There’s not question, the next administration is being handed a mess by Bush, especially in Iraq. Well, what can any of us say? It’s the consequence of having a really crappy president in office, helped by the likes of Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and so on… We don’t have a lot of choice, other than to deal with it and clean up the mess left by Bush as best we can.

Posted by: phx8 at May 19, 2008 7:19 PM
Comment #253152

This guy is one of BHO’s chief strategists, note the connection to Dukakis:

strategygroup

Posted by: ohrealy at May 19, 2008 8:27 PM
Comment #253166

kctim-
Look, would anarchy make you happy? Nobody telling you what to do? Then what do you tell your neighbor? Can’t he do anything he wants, even at your disadvantage? Or maybe get on the right side of some kind of authoritarian government, be the ones that have the special privileges. And then hope that the government doesn’t piss off enough people to start a revolution and take over.

Or maybe, you live with a Democracy, and the fact that the majority will impose their will on the government within limits, and that sometimes you’ll be in that majority, and it will serve your interests, and sometimes you’ll be out of it, and things will go against you.

The fact that I have faith in Democracy after eight years of Bush should enlighten you as to my personal attitude, and why I find little sympathy with your complaints.

I believe that the Republicans will suffer for getting in the way of the wishes of the majority of Americans. There’s no getting around it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 19, 2008 11:51 PM
Comment #253181

ohrealy-
Weakest candidate? Your weakest candidate has essentially wrested control of the party from the hands of your supposedly stronger candidate. There’s hype as to who is strong, who is able to bring together the largest coalition, and then there is fact.

Hillary chose to believe that a strategy that counted on the big states was a strategy to win. If Obama can safely ignore WV and KY now, it’s because he didn’t ignore states like that when Clinton couldn’t care less about them. A bad strategy rationalized remains a bad strategy. It doesn’t matter how you disparage caucus states or the nature of their results, those are the methods that those state’s Democratic parties chose in order to select their delegates, and you have to play their game by their rules.

Obama adapted to the situation and won. Hillary failed to adapt and lost. Excuses will not win electoral college votes. Superdelegates will not be there to save our candidate from defeat in November, should they fail to get enough electors in November.

I want a strong candidate who can organize the party to back the interests of this party, who can align it to the necessities not merely of victory in November, but also to the successful carrying out of what it was voters were looking for two years ago when they handed Democrats the Majority- an end to the war, an end to the cronyism, an end to politics predicated on a slicing and dicing of the American public into groups to be pitted against one another.

I was never certain that Hillary was the one to do that. Obama, though, by the startlingly different nature of his campaign, has shown that he not only has the potential to change politics, but has demonstrated his ability to do so as well.

You? I think you’re invested in things as they are and as they have been. You think that’s the strongest approach. However, my view is that our politics in the Democratic party have been keyed too much to the appeasement of movement conservatism. That needs to end. It’s been indulged for long enough, and at great cost.

As for the races in the legislature? Heavens to Betsy. If you think we’re on the verge of losing seats… The Republicans are back on their heals. They will lose big on election day; even they’re admitting this fact at this point. Things are changing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 20, 2008 8:45 AM
Comment #253184

Stephen
It is possible to respect rights and still live by the rule of law, in fact, we have a nice little guide which we could follow and succeed with. Instead, we have elitist who believe everybody should live according to their beliefs.

I don’t want or need your sympathy concerning my beliefs, just respect. But, as with Obama, I can see that will never happen. Your beliefs are the only right ones and others are just “complaints” by idiots who don’t know whats in their own best interest.

“I believe that the Republicans will suffer for getting in the way of the wishes of the majority of Americans. There’s no getting around it”

Fine. Now, if we can just get the liberals to suffer for imposing their will onto everybody, this country may have a chance at being what it was meant to be.

Posted by: kctim at May 20, 2008 9:34 AM
Comment #253186

Stephen Daugherty. Of course Obama defined me that way. I can hear. I can think. I heard it and I understood it and we all understand how he was attacking and putting down non liberals to his far left buddies.

Did you also recontextualize Rev Wright to protect Obama? Have you heard Obama himself has now denounced WRight and that makes you wrong for defending Wright.

The right answer to everything Obama does WRONG is NOT to defend him for it. That locks you into the Silly left vs right, us verses them, Neocon vs Liberal GAME that is silly.

Obama himself is a “progressive liberal” he has said so many times. He was wrong to accept the hate and bigotry of Wright and would only acknowledge it when all the recontextualizers such as you could not protect him.

So why protect Obama from his slam against Christians, Gun Owners, and those who are against Illegal immigration? Why? So he can get elected right? We can’t have the public knowing what Obama really believes and really supports until they vote for him and it’s too late?

That’s a sad game to play. Do you also support this democratic congress that has refused to work on balancing the budget, refused to work on fixing our medicare train wreck, refused to work on fixing social security?

I’m tired of Republicans failing me. I’m tired of democrats failing me. I’m tired of McCain, Obama, and Hillary sitting in the congress failing me. And I’m tired of radicalized fools pumping hate propaganda, spin, and disinformation as wisdom.

Posted by: StephenL at May 20, 2008 9:47 AM
Comment #253194

StephenL-
That’s just the thing; he wasn’t putting you down. He was explaining to somebody why they shouldn’t be written off as lost. Context is important. What he’s said before is important. They have a category of voter out there: low information voter. That’s a polite way of calling you ignorant, and/or stupid.

When folks key their strategies to you, they’re typically keeping some important details from you, if not most of the story, and they compound their deception with rhetoric designed to inflame your feelings, rather than inform your minds.

I don’t think everybody they tag as such is dumb, or lacking in good sense. But I do think that some people need to get up to speed, if they don’t want to be categorized and targeted for such manipulation. Watch this, and then tell me whether Barack Obama looks down on you.

But I’ll tell you what: the people who exploited this definitely look down on you. They want to believe that you’re only capable of reacting from your gut. That you are incurious, and will react merely with your prejudices. They want you to take pride in this, in fact, because it does them some good.

This immigration issue just makes me sick. Secure our borders was what I was saying before. But even then, I knew that something like a fence would be a poor solution. Yet people push it. Why? Emotional appeal. Good walls make good neighbors, right?

But it’s very likely that it would just shunt the illegal immigration somewhere else, making it an expensive, useless waste of taxpayer money. Real reform would be making it easier to immigrate legally, while at the same time better staffing and organize efforts at internal enforcement, following up on those who overstay visas and cross with false papers.

It’s easier for somebody to prey on your fears and anxieties than to do something good about it.

As for Congress? The Senate has been roadblocked by a Republican minority that exceeded the record total of filibusters for any session in just one year. With our bare majority, somewhat weak-willed leadership and our dependence on that quisling Joe Lieberman, there’s not much we’ve been able to do. Part of the disdain by many in the netroots for Democrats in Hillary’s vein stems from their failure to take the ball and run.

I like Barack Obama because I think he will take that ball and run with it. I like him because he doesn’t aim to manipulate people through low-information practices. Where others pump up the hysteria about Iran, He’ll calm things down by saying Iran isn’t the worst threat we’ve ever faced. When somebody pushes a gas tax holiday nearly all economists say is unlikely to work, he doesn’t toe the normal line and get on its side, he calls BS on it. I won’t say he’s perfect, but there are fewer times where I have to cringe and remind myself he’s just playing to the cheap seats on the politics. He’s a candidate who doesn’t insult my intelligence.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 20, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #253206

“Obama can safely ignore WV and KY now, it’s because he didn’t ignore states like that when Clinton couldn’t care” Young Stephen Daugherty, you’re either confused or in a different reality. What are the states like WV and KY? Ark and TN, which HRC also won? I also don’t understand why you are obsessing about HRC. I am talking about what BHO needs to do, as a nominee, to get votes in the November election, in states that actually have more of a chance of giving him their electoral votes.

On the legislature, I said we will pick up seats in the USHOR, but the Senate does not look that good. We need a Lieberman-proof Senate, especially if JMcC is elected. So far, it looks like Democrats will have a net pickup of one seat in the Senate. We really need an article on the Senate races, since people are not familiar with many of the candidates.

Thank you for writing another article here. The site has been virtually dead, and confusing, since you-know-who kept deleting posts, so that people didn’t know whether or not to respond, only to get emails about deleting their responses.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 20, 2008 12:52 PM
Comment #253219

Stephen,

You wrote:

It’s the argument Republicans and some Democrats who will remain unnamed roll out to bash their opponents with.
Speaking as one of those unnamed Democrats / liberals who has been beating the Republicans over the head as “rich and powerful elitist” - I think that this is an excellent article. I like your definition of elitism. It is what I am implying with my “rich and powerful elitist” jabs. But elitism does not have to be bad. The elite are supposed the best. The true elite are the best. The Republicans have turned it into a dirty word to discredit us - so I have been taking the word back and throwing it back in their faces where it belongs. The “rich and powerful elitist” think that are the best. They are over empowered. They are self-righteous. They think that they are “better than.” True elitism leads to humility. The Dalai Lama is elite. The Pope is elite. Nelson Mandela is elite. Desmond Tutu is elite. Gandhi was elite. The Pope is a little iffy, but they are all humble.

The Democrats were taught that lesson in 1994, and the Republicans the same lesson twelve years later.
The Dems were taught in 1980 - Clinton was really a DINO - a moderate Republican at best.

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 20, 2008 2:03 PM
Comment #253221

So why protect Obama from his slam against Christians, Gun Owners, and those who are against Illegal immigration? Why? So he can get elected right? We can’t have the public knowing what Obama really believes and really supports until they vote for him and it’s too late?

That is exactly the game that Axelrod is playing. And it’s because as the Politico said a few months ago, “Attacking Obama Works.”

According to Mark Thompson on Sirius elitism and inexperience are now code words for black folk. If you talk about race (Geraldine and Bill) in the context of politics you are a racist. And don’t talk about his wife or mention his middle name. All of these are part of a political strategy by the Obama campaign and its supporters to insulate him from attack because the attacks work. And it’s obviously an effective strategy thus far. That’s the only thing Axelrod cares about; he’s getting paid to get Obama elected and not to make him the model progressive liberal.

Posted by: George in SC at May 20, 2008 2:13 PM
Comment #253226

I would really like to see David Axelrod’s tax returns next year. I wonder what percentage these guys make on these hundreds of millions from the “small donors”.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 20, 2008 2:36 PM
Comment #253230

kctim-
Defining elitism the way you do, just having a different opinion from somebody and trying to convince them of it falls within that definition.

I could accuse you of elitism under that criteria.

I don’t. I don’t buy into it. An elitist to me is somebody who takes the side of the rich and the well-off consistently, and buys into theories that elevate their priorities on the basis either of self interest (future or present) or a belief that the public’s interests depend upon their interests being satisfied.

I think when its used in the intellectual sense, its very vulnerable to overuse, since it’s got nothing to do with a concrete action meant to benefit a certain elite. Is somebody elitist to suggest that people get better diets and more exercise? Some have alleged that, but it really is in the general interest to slim down and eat better.

Anti-elitism can become an excuse for ignoring well-reasoned, soundly supported, scrupulously researched findings, all with the reason of sticking it to those arrogant so-and-so’s who think they know better than the rest of us.

But what if they do know better? There is a such thing as earned authority on a subject.

Ohrealy-
Folks have already done state by state polling to see who could win in November. Obama wins in different states, but he still wins. This is what I mean by being picky about which states you win.

Also, he doesn’t necessarily lose in a state in the general election, just because he lost in the primary

On the subject of the Senate? Well, Kos himself has a list of Senate Candidates where we’re leading in the polls or are making significant strides towards wins. Like he notes, it’s not just his opinion, it’s the actual poll numbers. One isn’t merely a conservative guess at our pick-ups, it’s unrealistically low. We have at least five races where we’re leading or tied in the polls.

George in SC-
Attacking Obama doesn’t necessarily work. Hillary attacked the hell out of Obama, and look what happened in Indiana, in North Carolina.

Ray Guest-
I have no problem with elites. There are top performers in all kinds of fields, smart people and strong people in all different classes and professions. I don’t have a problem with there being folks who are better than average.

I have a problem with those who have such advantages, but then treat us and our interests with contempt. I have problems with philosophies that demand unearned deference to those people.

My restricted definition rests on that foundation. Elitism isn’t merely thinking you know best. It’s classing yourself as a superior specimen of humanity, and treating everybody else like they’re a step down on the ladder of life. And yes, prejudice against folks in rural areas qualifies. I cringe to see it, and I do see it. but I have also seen assumptions going the other way, pre-supposing that it’s bad to be an egghead, inferior to be a city slicker, unworthy to live your life according to anything but the values of small-town America.

I’d just as soon negotiate a truce there. They’re not necessarily better than one another, but different.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 20, 2008 3:05 PM
Comment #253234

Young Stephen Daugherty, so far all I have seen is that they expect the Democratic Warner to win retiring Rpblcn Warner’s seat in Virginia, because his opponent is so far to the right, not necessarily that disqualifying in VA. They also expect one Udall to win in NM. I expect Democrat Landrieu to be defeated in LA, although others disagree. I would like to see some detailed information on who is actually voting in LA.

Sununu, of NewH, and Stevens, of Alaska, are also vulnerable, and it would certainly be nice if they lost, but I need to know more about their opponents. I am totally unimpressed by the other Udall in Colorado. Those are the seats most likely to change party, if one is optimistic. I’ll look at the KOS article you linked shortly. Thank you for the response on this issue. I agree on Lieberman. It really ticked me off when he got elected as an Independant.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 20, 2008 3:41 PM
Comment #253236

Stephen
Having a different opinion is fine. Trying to convince others your opinion is right, is fine. Forcing others to support and live according to your opinion because you think you know what is best for them, is elitism.

I am not an elitist. I do not care if others live their life the way I do. I do not care who they love, care for or help. I believe my beliefs are mine and nobody else should be forced to support them, I support them myself.
You don’t have a leg to stand on if you call me an elitist. I want to live my life, not yours.

An elitist is somebody who believes they and their beliefs are better than everybody else, so everybody else must be forced to conform to the elitists beliefs.

“Is somebody elitist to suggest that people get better diets and more exercise? Some have alleged that, but it really is in the general interest to slim down and eat better.”

That is between the individual and their doctor, not you. The very idea that it is up to you to dictate what is best for the general interest, is elitism at its finest though.
Tell people they should slim down and eat better, but don’t make laws forcing them to.

“Anti-elitism can become an excuse for ignoring well-reasoned, soundly supported, scrupulously researched findings, all with the reason of sticking it to those arrogant so-and-so’s who think they know better than the rest of us.”

Your so-called “anti-elitism” is actually the desire to live ones own life as one wishes to, as long as it does not harm another. People don’t dislike non-smokers because they say smoking is bad and don’t smoke, they dislike them because they use govt to take away their right to enjoy them if they so desire.
People don’t ignore the information, they just want the choice to do with it how they please.

“But what if they do know better? There is a such thing as earned authority on a subject”

Yes, there is. But every American should have the right to use that knowledge how they wish, for themselves.

Posted by: kctim at May 20, 2008 3:52 PM
Comment #253251

ohrealy-
Look at it now. Landrieu is up by twelve. Warner is up by eighteen.

I think this is a good time to be optimistic.

kctim-
Government mandates things. If politics is to have any purpose, it must be to seek to mandate in one’s own interests, whether by commission, or ommission. You can’t interfere with government without creating some winners or some losers.

Note: I never called you an elitist. You hardly sound like the type.

Note: I’m fairly anti-eltist myself. But I don’t use the world elitist when what I mean is “meddler” or “nosy jerk”. I think there’s been a definitional creep in that word that leads to Republicans and those on the right using it.

I’m not that interested in mandating people’s diets. I might outlaw an ingredient that proves consistently toxic, but that’s another story.

It saddens me to see people do stupid things, to see myself do stupid things, but I think where intereference from the government becomes necessary when those stupid things start inflicting a lot of damage on other people. You and I may enjoy singing, but does that give us the right to wake people at two in the morning with it? We may enjoy drinking (well you may enjoy it, I’m a bit dry if you take my meaning) but that doesn’t mean that people should tolerate us driving home drunk.

I believe in a balance existing between our personal pleasures and freedoms and the restrictions and obligations imposed by the state. The people as a whole should have the option of restricting behavior, within constitutional bounds, of others, when that proves harmful. You may not like, I might not like it, but that’s Democracy for you: not government by the whim of those like you or those like me, but by the common decision of a majority of voters and their representatives.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 20, 2008 5:22 PM
Comment #253260

Young Stephen Daugherty, it’s still May. The election is in November. The Rasmussen poll results are actually disappointing, considering how many Rpblcns are retiring and how many Rpblcn seats are up this year. We needed better candidates. Minnesota, in particular, is a waste, although I like Franken’s books. In NC, I would like to see the kitchen sink thrown at Elizabeth Dole. The Washington Post said the Dems might pick up 2-4 seats a couple of days ago, but they still list Landrieu as the most vulnerable Democrat, which means more opposition effort will be aimed at her. This video from Anderson Cooper comes to mind: Cooper biatching out Mary Landrieu over Katrina

Posted by: ohrealy at May 20, 2008 7:15 PM
Comment #253263

ohrealy-
Should I start calling you old?

Truth of the matter is, I’m not pessimistic this season. Republicans are losing seats that they shouldn’t be. We have at least five seats polling better than their candidates. It’s not a bad place to start, and the tide is against them.

I’m not assuming we’re guaranteed these seats. I’m just saying a prediction of a single seat pick-up is more pessimistic than even the Republicans I would imagine are. It should also be taken into account that Republican contributions are suffering, and Netroots Democrats are pushing funding and votes for these Democrats.

I think this is where you and I part ways on our chances. Don’t underestimate your party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 20, 2008 8:28 PM
Comment #253264

I am young! , Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 6, 2008 08:34 AM , I guess you’re two weeks older now.

Democratic candidates are capable of alienating even the most ardent supporters of the party. Our current Illinois governor is one such person. I will vote against him for any future office, especially for BHO’s senate seat, which my Congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky, antagonist to Blackwater, also wants. In 1988, when my party nominated Dukakis, I voted for Lenora Fulani, the first woman to get on the ballot in all 50 states, and a real community organizer, not a resume inflater. This year, Cynthia McKinney may get the Green Party nomination, and I will probably vote for her if she does.

The Rpblcns may be giving up on many USHOR races, but they won’t give up on the Senate races as easily. Sununu is apparently running against the guy he defeated the last time he ran. We may have reached a point where the 2 major parties are just attracting the wrong kind of candidates, arrogant egotistical elitists. Here is a BHO clip you will like, on his way to being elected to the Senate, talking about Galesburg. What happened to him since then? He went to DC, hung out with the establishment, and got more notice in the media. Incidentally, the town he is talking about would be considered as a college town to anyone here.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 20, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #253272

Stephen,

I think that the definitional games that you are playing here about elitism are more than a little self-serving. I took this one from the first two lines of the wikipedia article on elitism:

Elitism is the belief or attitude that those individuals who are considered members of the elite — a select group of people with outstanding personal abilities, intellect, wealth, specialized training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are those whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously or carry the most weight; whose views and/or actions are most likely to be constructive to society as a whole; or whose extraordinary skills, abilities or wisdom render them especially fit to govern

That definition seems very different to me than the one you are portraying. I’ve lost track through the thread whether you perceive this to be a Republican trait, a Democratic trait, or whatever. The term elitism to me (& evidently to enough people that it made the first couple of lines in wiki) is manifested when a group decides that they by virtue of some quality in which they are superior that they are then better suited to decide what’s right for everyone else.

This has indeed manifested itself in the political spectrum in both parties over the past 30 years. Notable, but certainly not exclusive examples, are the religious right and for lack of a better term, the “intelligentsia left”. The religious right argued that because they were morally superior and took on “moral” issues. The “intellegenstia left” argued since they were smarter and took on issues ranging from public health to economics.

That said, it is worth noting that elitism is not new. It is embedded in the very fabric of our constitution. The definition of who could vote, the way that Senators were chosen, and the oritinal definition of the electoral college were all manifestations of elitism. These instances of elitism were all rolled back over time in the interests of promoting a truer form of representative democracy.

I believe that what you are trying to define is not elitism but rather cronyism where ingrained self-interests are perpetuated and defend the interests of that group. Elitism is a very different kettle of fish. When elites are in power, they are making the argument that they know better what is right for the populace in general. Cronyists want to protect their own interests.

Elitists say things like, “they are voting against their interests.” Elites presume that they can know and define what the interests of the non-elite are. I personally dislike the notion that anyone can decide that someone else is “voting against their interests” because it devolves the entire notion of interests to an economic argument. I do not believe that interests can be so easily categorized. Citizens in the U.S. live in a complex web of organizations, communities, and social constructs where interests often run counter to each other. When a citizen steps into the voting booth, they must take information and inferences from all the different sources that they have heard, and put them into their individual context and make a decision as to which candidate is most likely to align with more of those interests that they feel most strongly about.

Interestingly enough, I don’t think that is as possible today as it was even 20 years ago for an elitist to be elected. There are many more Obama’s and George Bush’s than there are Moynihan’s and Buckley’s. I believe that in political office that those that make their argument for election mainly on their status as an elite have declined since the 1960 presedential election where mass and indvidual communication skills became more important than credentials and the ability to excel in machine politics.

However, political arguments seem to be taking on an increasingly elitist tone. From the late 50’s through the late 70’s the political discourse in large part was about the definition and expansion of group and individual rights. Since the 80’s (with the notable exception of the People with Disabilities Act), it has become much more about governmental responsibilities and obligations. These latter arguments seem to me to lend themselves more to elitist opinions because the agruments by there very nature require experts to sort them out. I think this also has lead to the overall polarization of the electorate and contributed to the low esteem in which the public holds all of the major stakeholders (policians, press, experts, pundits, etc).

Posted by: Rob at May 21, 2008 12:17 AM
Comment #253312

ohrealy-
Some Democratic candidates are capable of alienating people. Some show great patience and grace. I prefer the latter, of course, because those are the people who can get more done. Of course, I want patience and grace, not people who double as doormats.

Cynthia McKinney, If I’m not mistaken, is the person who assaulted that Capitol Hill cop. I wouldn’t vote for somebody that lacking in judgment.

I don’t blame you on the Illinois governor. You might point out Barack Obama’s peripheral involvement in those Chicago scandals, but Blagojevich is a crook and he’s neck deep in all that.

He did work with them, and featured them prominently in his book The Audacity of Hope as examples of victims of the corporation’s indifference to labor. He worked with them on their behalf, and even wrote in 2006 to the Department of Labor on their behalf, asking for assistance.

It might have been nice of him to know Lester Crown’s connection, and nice of him to ask Crown about the issue, but he didn’t know about it, and neither did the people who would have asked them.

This seems somewhat political to me, an implication of quid pro quo where actually Obama went out of his way to work against his contributor’s interests. Looking through this article on the matter, you essentially have a Clinton endorsing labor leader dumping on Obama for not having intervened to the degree that other, bigger, more statewide politicians did, blaming him for this intervention that the people involved, both Union and candidate, say they did not know enough to make the connection about.

There’s much less seperation between Clinton and the Galesburg plant closing than between Obama and the Closing. The Clintons were very keen on free trade, just up until the point where it became politically unfashionable in the Democratic party. Then they came out against it, after years of being for it. Obama is being asked to be practically psychic, while Hillary is being forgiven for suffering from political amnesia.

That’s elitism to me: employing spurious, emotional appeal-laden arguments to distract people from serious failings of policy judgment. Hillary is graded favorably for her abstract experience, while they try and distance her from her not so abstract mistakes regarding warmongering about Irag and Iran. She makes herself out to be champion of the same working class she and her husband let the Republicans brutalize with unwisely pro-corporate free-trade policies. And don’t tell me that they had seen the light on that, given her Husband’s recent income included speaking on behalf of CAFTA, another free trade agreement championing cheap labor out of the country.

As for whether or not it’s a college town? Why the hell should that matter? I think this peace by peace parsing of support serves most Democrats poorly. In my opinion, support is best that spreads its roots the furthest. Obama has consistently tried to reach out to the groups that Hillary has tried jealously to keep to herself. She actively pit different Democratic constituencies against each other. Obama did no such thing.

Look at the delicacy with which Obama treats Hillary supporters, the way he advocates to his followers that they do the same. Instead of trying to intimidate Hillary out of the campaign, he’s gently pushing her out of the way. Instead of trying to force her to wrap things up, he’s taking the contests to their conclusions.

Hillary, on the other hand, has been far more willing to alienate folks. Look where that’s gotten her. The damage Obama will have to repair will be mostly damage she inflicted, trying to move her interest groups around to block him. She complains about sexism, complains about disenfranchisement, has adopted an anti-intellectual tone to defend pandering proposals, exploited the anxieties of a certain demographic of white working class voters much the way the Republicans have to first try to halt his delegate victory, and then try to employ the superdelegates to overturn the pledged delegate victory she failed to achieve.

You talk about Obama hanging out with the establishment? Hillary is that establishment. Obama explicitly refused to be lumped in with them.

Rob-
Good to hear from you.

It’s no definitional game. What’s missing from that definition is the kind of assumption that makes elitism truly elitism: that those within the group considered elite, you will find those truly worthy of power and its rewards, and outside that group, you will only find the undeserving and the weak. Power should therefore be kept in the hands of those who have risen to the top, and caution, if not disdain, should be directed towards any proposal that more widely distributes that power.

I believe it to be a human trait, a natural temptation for those who have risen in their field to look down on those who are uneducated, or who have not risen to an equal position. It can be the Republican businessman who has no problem stomping on the interests of his or her workers or customers, or the Democrat Film exec, who either peddles brainless junk in the belief that his customer’s stupidity is equal to that of the work he’s giving them, or the snobby indy exec who thinks that only art films can be termed worthy material.

There can be elitism in playing to the cheap seats, or in catering to the tastes of other elites. The common thread is a consistent underestimation of the good in respecting the average person, and respecting their interests. It’s a consistent refusal to deal with folks of lower socioeconomic class fairly, to consider everybody’s interests in common.

I would venture that it’s not elitist to tell these people to vote their interests. Far from it. What would be most elitist would be to sit around all day and deride them as idiots for not serving their own interests. If you’ve researched sufficiently, though, you’ll know differently. What we’re telling them is, it’s time to stop serving an elitist economic agenda to gain cultural dispensations you’ve never really gotten, and that they never really can give you. The call we are making is for them to seek a new way to satisfy their interests.

I think if we really want to take the elitism out of politics, we have to stop with this notion that we can resolve the problems of elitist manipulation without people moving past the working class resistance toward intellectualism and education. Far from reducing elitism, it’s broadened the divide. When people are less educated, more ignorant, they are altogether more likely to be taken in, to be flattered and pushed into supporting policies that work against their interests.

Education, whatever direction you take with it, is freedom. I believe the people in those classes are no less capable than anybody else of reaching those heights. All they need is support of those looking to empower them, rather than make a pet demographic out of them. White Working Class voters have gone for Republicans for the last two generations, and I don’t think they’ve gotten much good out of the bargain for it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2008 1:33 PM
Comment #253316

“I would venture that it’s not elitist to tell these people to vote their interests. Far from it. What would be most elitist would be to sit around all day and deride them as idiots for not serving their own interests”

You just don’t get it Stephen. Believing you know what is in their best interest, better than they do, is elitist. Believing this and then using govt to force them to abide by your beliefs, is elitist.

Believing educated people are not as likely to be taken in as less educated people are, is elitist.
Believing the poor dolts who cling to god and guns are voting against their interests because they are voting for their freedom of religion and 2nd Amendment rights, instead of voting for socialized healthcare, because you believe it is in their best interest and their beliefs are not, is elitist.

It has nothing to do with how much more about the subject you know or how much better off you believe the person will be. It is the fact that you believe a person would be better off if they lived or voted according to your beliefs, instead of their own.

Posted by: kctim at May 21, 2008 2:27 PM
Comment #253325

kctim-
Then it’s elitist for you to call me elitist, because that obviously means you must think you know better than me what is right, and what I should do.

This is politics, basically people arguing about what is the right thing to do.

As for the educated being less vulnerable to deception? As a general rule, yes. It’s easier to fool somebody who has no knowledge of something than it is to fool somebody who’s been taught or taught themselves about the subject at hand. I’m not talking about formal measures of education. You can have three degrees and be ill-informed, an unoriginal thinker and so on and so forth. Bush has two degrees and I don’t consider him a mental giant.

We’ve encouraged a kind of anti-intellectualism in this country that’s not done us a world of good. It’s difficult if not next to impossible to maintain a lead in science, engineering, and information technology without a decent education that actually served its purpose. The elitists are the people who, having gained one or two degrees, turn around and market a lifestyle to people that encourages them to turn their nose up on learning and scholarship.

It might have been tolerable in another time, when manual labor served to employ more of the workforce, and on the job training could serve the cause of getting a person completely up to speed, but technology has advanced too far for that. Competition has changed in the marketplace.

As for why I believe people are voting against their interests? You miss my real point. It’s not what they vote for that bothers me, it’s what they fail to vote for. Is it elitist to tell people they’re shooting themselves in the foot?

What good do the unlimited gun rights promised by the NRA do you if you have to shoot something in the woods to eat, because somebody layed you off at the factory or the mine? What good does getting a pro-life candidate do you, if that same person busts your union, impoverishes your family, and leaves people wondering about whether they can support children. What good does it do to push your religion in all corners of the government, if it comes at the price of wars that invite the most ungodly kind of carnage among your sons and daughters, without any compensating good?

You can sacrifice one interest for another, and I can respect that, but I’m going to tell these people that these issues aren’t worth the sacrifice they are making for them. Whether they agree is their decisions, and I can never take that away from them. But at least I’m going to tell them the truth as I see it and try to persuade them. They’re not doing anything different when they disagree with me about God, gays, and guns.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 21, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #253330

Just to straighten out the record, on the Cynthia McKinney, Fux magnified, incident from 3/20/2006, from Channel 11 in ATL:

“She has been harassed by white police officers she says do not recognize her due to her recently changed hairstyle.
“Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers,” the statement says.
“I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, bodyblocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the Police Officer resumed his duties.
///
Members of Congress were expected to wear a special pin, a little larger than a flag pin, and were allowed to go around the metal detector, even if they were not wearing the pin. Cynthia McKinney is pretty recognizable individual. The Rpblcns made a fuss about the incident, before they ever heard both sides, and Fux brainwashing victims have spread the nonsense from there. I am amazed that you would be repeating this nonsense as though it was factual. This is her father, who served 30 years in the Georgia HOR, talking about her and this incident:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us_vaUEZJiY

Posted by: ohrealy at May 21, 2008 5:18 PM
Comment #253331

Stephen
I do not know better than you, except when it comes to knowing whats best for me.

I know it is politics, but today, people are arguing about what is the right thing to do according to their personal views, with total disregard for the views of others.

“We’ve encouraged a kind of anti-intellectualism in this country that’s not done us a world of good.”

I agree. But then again, maybe we should be teaching science, engineering and IT, instead of feelings, My Two Dads, Kwanza etc…?

“It’s not what they vote for that bothers me, it’s what they fail to vote for.”

Those being things which you agree with and support? I will never vote for socialized healthcare. I do not agree with it, I do not want it and it is not in my best interest to do so. Would it not be elitist to force me to comply with it simply because you believe I am wrong and you are right?

“Is it elitist to tell people they’re shooting themselves in the foot?”

Sigh. You do not know if they are “shooting themselves in the foot,” you only know that it seems like they are because of your view. If you were to see it from their view, you may see that they are actually protecting their foot.

“What good do the…”

All of these are according to your view of things Stephen.
What good is socialist healthcare do you, if you can’t defend yourself? What good is the fight against global warming, if you are a coal miner? What good is there in believing in God, if you vote against being able to express that belief freely, anywhere, anytime? What good does it do to work your ass off week after week and then vote to have more of your hard earned money stolen from you?
What good does it do to place the world before your own country, when the price is being attacked by the most ungodly kind of people who are sworn to destroy you and your fellow Americans?

This means nothing Stephen. We both could name more and we both could justify where the other is wrong.

“You can sacrifice one interest for another, and I can respect that”

If you could respect that Stephen, you wouldn’t use govt to force them to sacrifice their interest for your interest.

“They’re not doing anything different when they disagree with me about God, gays, and guns”

Disagreeing is fine Stephen. It is not elitism to simply disagree with someone either. But to be honest, I haven’t heard of people trying to force a student to thank God for their success or of them forcing you to own a firearm.

Posted by: kctim at May 21, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #253336


People who voted for Clinton in Kentucky were asked, If Clinton does not get the nomination who will you vote for?

42%-McCain

33%-Obama

23%-not vote

This will be my 11th presidential election. In the previous ten, I voted for the Democratic nominee. This year, the actions and words of Obama and his supporters have convinced me that it is in my best interest to vote for Nader. I could possibly change my mind and vote for the Democrat nominee however, that would require a brokered convention and the drafting of Al Gore as the nominee.

Posted by: jlw at May 21, 2008 6:21 PM
Comment #253339

Stephen,

You said, “You can sacrifice one interest for another, and I can respect that, but I’m going to tell these people that these issues aren’t worth the sacrifice they are making for them.” (emphasis mine)

Your responses are peppered with such constructs. It is the differentiation of the “us” and the “them” that makes the arguments elitist. When you make the argument that a class of people are not doing the right thing that is entirely different than when you make the argument that we as citizens or me as an individual are not doing the right thing. You are not empathazing, you are sympathizing. The difference is huge. It means that you are standing apart from the group and saying you don’t know what your best interests are. That is not only condescending, it is dangerous when policy is formed on that basis.

The abortion rights movement pulled back laws which said to women, “you don’t know what is best for you, you should not abort the children because it is not in your best interest.” The twenty first amendment repealed the 18th which was made by well intentioned elitists that said, “you don’t know what is best for you, so we are going to outlaw booze”. The civil rights movement pulled back laws, that said to minorities, “you don’t know what’s best for you, so we will tell you where to go to school, sit, etc.”.

These movements were all aimed at eliminating provisions that were authored by elites and restricted the rights of individuals to do as they saw fit. Some of these were well-intentioned (prohibition and abortion laws), some were merely definsive (segregation laws). Regardless though, the movements, aimed to provide citizens more rights over their individual choices.

Those who have had the ability to make federal policy have generally been elites. While the goal of the elites is generally to maintain their power, their choice to enter the political realm is generally made based on their desire to serve and promote their vision of what is best for the country. What they do, and how they govern is usually at least semi-congruent with that view.

I believe as I mentioned above that both parties have developed a strongly elitist sense in the past 25 years. They are both arguing to as you say, “You can sacrifice one interest for another…but I’m going to tell these people that these issues aren’t worth the sacrifice they are making for them.” The words I omitted above were, “and I can respect that.” I believe that this respect degenerates on a daily basis as the elites from either party seek to divide and conquer the non-elites by telling them what is good for them.

Some of this you call “just politics,” but is it really if we should be trying to get to what is right for all of us instead of “what’s right for them”?

Posted by: Rob at May 21, 2008 6:51 PM
Comment #253355


Knowing that the best and the brightest that we have are running our government, economy and political parties, goes a long way in explaining why our country is so screwed up.

It is often the case that high intelligence is accompanied by low common sense.

Posted by: jlw at May 21, 2008 11:15 PM
Comment #253359

ohrealy-
I expect better than that kind of reaction, and I have no desire to rationalize such scuffling. For me, the worst part of the last few years in politics has been this tendency to justify bad behavior in the name of political expedience. We need better standards than that, and our politicians should be better examples than that.

kctim-
After almost thirty years worth of the Republicans stuffing their agenda down our throat, doing their best to cut us out of any kind of political dominance, I’m not sure there’s much to be said for the way the Republicans and the right like to be left alone. It’s the kind of elbow room that people claim by running around swinging said elbows.

The political question of “what’s best for me” I think is a weak question, because by its nature, division is only natural. For far too long, we haven’t asked the critical question, where government is involved: what’s best for all of us, not merely decided by one group or another, but all groups together?

You will pay taxes. If you find paying them too much of a Burden, I’m sure there’s a small country out there, uncivilized, where you don’t have to give a dollar to anybody. You claim theft, but we have a government here that we can shape together as we please. The Taxpayers, if they insist strongly enough, have a hand in how their money is spent. taxation is a reality, but it’s a reality we’re not helpless against, and which doesn’t happen with out the assent of the majority of American’s representatives and Senators.

As for forcing people to accept God? Yes, people can apply force or heavy persuasion to turn people religious. Of course, under most circumstances, its a choice. As long as it remains a choice, and not something encouraged or discouraged through official actions, it’s just fine. But some people don’t have the patience to wait on God’s grace and a person’s freedom to lead them to God.

As for being forced to bear arms? No, but some people are forced into recieve ammunition from those arms, as fired by the owners of some of those guns.

JLW-
I’m not interested in politics or ideology, but policy. That’s what guides my votes: who can get me the policy I want.

Rob-
I can’t very well refer to myself as one of them. I’m a young man from Gulf Coast Texas, in the suburbs. I don’t speak, though, having not been through my own economic hard times.

There interests and mine coincide. We all need economic relief from Republican policies. My party is wiling to make the compromises on the wedge issues that Republicans are unwilling to make on Guns, God, and other matters. I can’t speak as one of them to this, so I must address them as an outsider.

Dr. Hubert-
Immature is not the word I would use to describe Barack Obama. Loser isn’t either. You’re counting late primary states, as if the early ones don’t exist. If you look back, Obama’s won much more states by such blow-out margins. He’s been many voters first choice.

Immature, childish, deserving of scorn. That’s how I’d describe the attempt to smear Michelle Obama. It’s more like grade-school bullying, or High School social dramatics.

It’s not doing anybody any good, it’s just trying the patience of all.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2008 1:04 AM
Comment #253360

jlw-
And low and average intelligence doesn’t necessarily guarantee high common sense. I argue against elites who get swelled heads about their status, not against the elites themselves.

All such anti-intellectualism leads to is candidates like Bush. We need our leaders to be good.

We need, as citizens, though, to get more ambitious about our character as Americans, stop being too proud to educate ourselves, or too much a part of the crowd to distinguish ourselves.

I marvel that some people feel they have to teach kids social skills. That’s instinctive. Many such things aren’t, and people need to realize that eltism and its acceptance are learned. Truth is, we should keep the pot boiling, compete amongst ourselves, against each other, to be the best Being mental wallflowers never protected anybody.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2008 1:14 AM
Comment #253372

Stephen
“After almost thirty years worth of the Republicans stuffing their agenda down our throat”

Yes Stephen, just as your side has also done.
They believe their way of life and beliefs are what is best for everybody, you believe your way and beliefs are best for everybody and both sides use govt to force their way and beliefs onto everybody.
Elitism at its finest.

Posted by: kctim at May 22, 2008 9:26 AM
Comment #253373

The more time that BHO spends with fundraisers, consultants, and people who flatter him, the less down to earth he gets. This isn’t a new problem with him, and only his wife was able to ground him before. He still has an identity problem, readily apparent to those of us who like him, but don’t want him as president. “My mom is from Kansas!” Yeah, and so was Dorothy, but you’re from Hawaii, get over it, or seek therapy, but stop making yourself into a fictional character.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 22, 2008 9:29 AM
Comment #253408

kctim-
I can’t force it, I’m not forcing it. This is Democracy. Unless a majority of Americans agree with a policy or a politician I’m voting for, it won’t be implemented. And if it is implemented, it’s done so according to rules that govern the legislation, interpretation and execution of law that American have basically agreed to as the basis of our law.

The constitution is not merely a limiter of power, it is an enabler of power as well. In truth, no system, not even a Democracy can avoid subjecting people to unwanted restrictions and laws. This system, at least, allows us to introduce feedback into that system, and work together to try and roll back what is unfair and unwarranted.

It’s unrealistic to expect the government to force nothing on you you don’t want. Government wouldn’t be necessary if that were the case. Society is going to oblige you to certain things whether you like it or not. You may not always be wise or smart in what you think is unfair; it’s arrogant to believe that you know best for yourself on every count. Nobody knows that.

A stockbroker making millions through ingenious trading will have to go to a lawyer to write up his will, a doctor to treat his high blood pressure, an accountant to manage his money, a computer techie to fix his computer when it conks out. We can learn things beyond our own field, beyond our own profession, but each of us must make a choice at some point as to what we would seek to learn and train ourselves, and what we would leave aside. We can’t be experts in everytyhing.

Because of that, there is a certain level of necessary deference. That is not to say that people shouldn’t think for themselves. The key here is to seek out multiple opinions, and do your best to chose the most credible, not the most convenient. We’re looking to shape our policy and our obligations to deal with realities, not merely what we consider ideal.

People can be selfish. People can be fools. People can fail to recognize the truth of things, or try to play the odds. At some point, society decides that the odds aren’t good enough on a particular kind of behavior, and that we need to limit that out of hand. That is where laws come in.

Rather than shout at the rain, I suggest people recognize that ours is a system with many different kinds of feedback inherent to it, that we can employ to right wrongs. Rather than exist in fear and insecurity, we can take these courses offered to us and seek legitimate, strong recourse to our grievances.

Ohrealy-
Okay. Name Clinton’s hometown. She’s had several so far, as convenient to her campaign. And don’t get me started about the people who surround her. Just tell me why is she continuing to take this alienating, divisive course? Why is she continuing to try people’s patience and push even her defenders over the edge with the way she challenges the legitimacy of her unfavorable results? It’s not getting better for her.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2008 3:11 PM
Comment #253412

HRC’s hometown is Park Ridge Il, where she attended Maine East, 1 mile from where I am right now, and then Maine South, where 2 of my cousins went. Your guy, BHO, refers to this dismissively, with his usual arrogance, as out in the suburbs, liek that is some far away place, although it is directly adjacent to Chicago. She is also popular in Arkansas, where she got more votes than the governor, and New York, where only Cornell U went for BHO.

The people who surround her will ultmately be surrounding BHO, if he is nominated, or becomes POTUS. She is continuing this campaign to prove what she can do for the Democratic party, to help build support in more states, and to protect your candidate from what will come later. Alienating and divisive? Trying people’s patience? Not mine. The only part of the campaign that disturbs me is the fundraising, and your guy does a lot more of that than her.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 22, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #253422

Stephen,

You said, “Because of that, there is a certain level of necessary deference. That is not to say that people shouldn’t think for themselves. The key here is to seek out multiple opinions, and do your best to chose the most credible, not the most convenient. We’re looking to shape our policy and our obligations to deal with realities, not merely what we consider ideal.”

I submit that you would agree to the following points, let me know if you don’t:

1) People are free to choose which opinions that they will listen to;

2) The opinions which they will listen to are most like to be those from whom they feel are most likely to be most similar to themselves;

3) The choice of the most credible opinion is an individual choice made based based on the experiences and context of the individual;

4) When it comes to policy making (especially at the Federal level), there is no one “reality,” but instead policy must deal with an amalgamation of many different “micro-realites” that represent the complex system that is the US; and,

5) Convienance is a factor in the majority of decision making and in many if not most cases, this is a rational consideration.

You also said, the following, “There interests and mine coincide. We all need economic relief from Republican policies. My party is wiling to make the compromises on the wedge issues that Republicans are unwilling to make on Guns, God, and other matters. I can’t speak as one of them to this, so I must address them as an outsider.”

There is always overlap in interests. I’d be willing to bet that your interests overlap with Bill Gates or the CEO of Exxon as much or more than the them that you have defined in the abstract. However, there are also places where interests diverge. The decision making difference is in how we all decide which interests are more important and where we are willing to make compromises on one interest in service of another.

Do you agree with this? If so, the following questions apply:

1) Do you feel that the CEO of Exxon and Bill Gates are capable of competently defining their interest hierarcy and making decisions based upon it?

2) Do you believe that other mentally competent adults in the US are similarly capable?

Posted by: Rob at May 22, 2008 4:19 PM
Comment #253423

What about Scranton, eh? I’m sure there are one or two others.

As for continuing her campaign to prove what she can do for this party? What can she do? Divide it in a critical presidential election? Deprive it of time to heal? Raise needless controversies in an effort to politically blackmail her opponents and/or the superdelegates into cooperation? She’s proven that what she can do for the party is harm its chances in November.

As for the fundraising, I don’t see why it should disturb you. two thirds of the people who contribute to him, contribute less than the maximum. Forty percent contribute less than two hundred. He’s got the ability to tell the wealthier contributors to take a hike, because his supporters will gladly make up the difference. He doesn’t need these people half as much as they need him, and that’s much better a position than Hillary Clinton is in.

The question of popularity in this contest rests firmly on the issue of whether one candidate or the other can put together a winning coalition. It doesn’t matter whether they’re superdelegates, caucus delegates, or primary delegates, it’s the count at the end of the day that matters. Under most compromises that actually have a chance of passing, Obama maintains his lead.

She will build her own support. Question is, will these people vote for the Democratic candidate in Novemember, or will they be so poisoned by the harsh rhetoric and the claims of illegitimacy that they’ll stay home.

She still has the opportunity to make some kind of graceful exit. But like most opportunities, the chance for that is passing quickly. Who do you want to win in November, a Republican or a Democrat?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 22, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #253435

Stephen
To “work together to try and roll back what is unfair and unwarranted,” we must first respect the beliefs and views of others. If we do not, then it is not fair.

I understand how our govt works, but we are talking about how people use govt to work for and push their own beliefs, with total disregard for the beliefs of others, because their beliefs are superior to all others. Elitism.

What is the common thread in almost all cries of “political elitism?” The taking away of anothers choice.

“We’re looking to shape our policy and our obligations to deal with realities”

But you are making policy based only on how you see that reality Stephen.
Take the shooting yourself in the foot example: You see a guy aiming at his foot and you want to take away his right to own a gun so he doesn’t hurt himself. But, if you were to share his view, you would see that he is actually aiming to the side in order to protect his foot.

You don’t know what is in his best interest Stephen, and passing laws to force your belief from your view, because you think you know what is best for him, is elitism.

Posted by: kctim at May 22, 2008 5:36 PM
Comment #253438

“harsh rhetoric?” Please, you haven’t heard anything yet. You haven’t even begun to hear anything like that yet. HRC’s biggest problem was that she didn’t go negative, because she didn’t want to harm him in case he became the nominee, and aggravate his dillusional supporters while they were going into raptures about the fact that he was so “articulate”. If she had dropped out of the race at any time, fewer people would have voted for any Democratic candidate in the rest of the primaries.

On geography, an American with two American parents, and four American grandparents, all of whom were born in different locations, can obviously claim connections to more places in this country than a guy from Honolulu who keeps bringing up the fact that his mother was born in Kansas, if he has ever even spent any time there, before this campaign. He’s been to Kenya, though, where his father was still married to someone else when he was born. He should get a VP from the LDS. It could help him in the west. Is that too harsh? Will your candidate be so upset that he will have to go out for a smoke?

That’s nothing compared to what will hit the fan eventually. Remember, his opposition will be the whole Rpblcn party, unless they give up, figuring Bush has already screwed the next guy, and wait it out until 2012, sabotaging the government while in opposition, and then bankrupting it again when they get back in, like good patriotic Cayman Islanders.

The issue of the caucuses isn’t anywhere near over yet. That is a system that has to end, in order to prevent the nonsense that is happening now, where we get a candidate claiming a majority based on such an arcane method. In November, people will vote for whatever candidate they want, for whatever reason they want, whether or not they want to be a part of your crusade to put the least experienced candidate in the White House.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 22, 2008 6:26 PM
Comment #253468

kctim-
Nobody could possibly govern and not be elitist, not by your standard. Government, to have teeth, must be able to disregard somebody’s belief or opinion. If we simply found the law, its interpretation, and it’s execution on personal preference, it couldn’t function. Somebody’s going to get told no. Somebody’s argument might not be lent any crediblity, due to the evidence.

Our governments constructed so that people can, when they come together as a majority, tell everybody else what to do. It’s a fact of life. Some people might inflict it on others in an elitist fashion, or for elitist reasons.

The laws of this country are meant to mediate disputes. If you sign a contract, whether you like it or not, you’re binding yourself to all the enforceable conditions of that agreement.

In a dsipute between both sides, there’s no giving both sides precisely what they want. Somebody’s case must be valued higher, sometimes even be valued exclusively over the other casel

The real question is whether people get a chance to alter the laws, talk about them, have influence over these initiatives. The real question is whether at some point, rule of law takes over for law of personal ego.

Ohrealy-
I’m sure I will hear worse from the Republicans, but it won’t a tenth as bad, because we expect Republican attack to come from a Republican candidate. It’s when words that should come out of McCain’s mouth start coming from Hillary’s campaign that we start talking about harshness.

I chose Obama because he seems the most comfortable, most confident, most charismatic Democrat we’ve had in years, and he seems to be fairly good at looking at analyzing policy critically.

Hillary, in the meantime has worsened my initially gently critical opinion of her actions. She went from being my second choice to being my last resort choice. I didn’t like that under political stress she had previously let the Republicans pressure her into support for their warmongering. Seeing her, under the stress of the campaign, become a surrogate for all kinds of Republican talking points just astonished me in the worst way.

Why is the leader who runs the less effective campaign, who adapts poorly to differing political environments, who seems hell-bent on convincing people that her defeat was unfairly wrought, despite the pall this might cast over November for Democrats, supposed to be our best choice? And that’s right: we’re not looking for the most senior Democrat to put in the White House, we’re looking for the BEST candidate, and Obama has proved that in more ways than Hillary has.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 23, 2008 12:02 AM
Comment #253485

“most comfortable, most confident, most charismatic Democrat”, whose decisions are made by others, who admits his own poor judgement in his personal life, (much more to come later on that), whose opposition to the war was at a speech at a rally, who has been running for office continually for many years, without any record of accomplishment other than what his advisors told him would look good with the interest groups he would need to get to the next step on the ladder.

Why are you still obsessing about HRC? Your candidate has already been endorsed by the other candidates that you like better than her now. He’s been obedient to Howard Dean, surely an important quality for a future POTUS. Are you sure her “harshness” doesn’t have more to do with her sex. Why is it more acceptable when John Edwards talked about BHO voting “present” than when HRC does it? This is an Edwards clip on that. When HRC did the same thing, she is bad, worse than Edwards, and gets booed by BHO supporters who have turned his candidacy into a cult.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 23, 2008 9:43 AM
Comment #253509


This election is made to order for a third party centrist candidate. Someone that is between the Let Them Eat Cake Conservatives and the We Feel Your Pain Liberals.

Considering that the liberial wing of the Democratic Party literally stole the nomination from her, Hillary Clinton, if she so choses, has an excellent opportunity to ride a third party campaign right into the Whitehouse. She is a much better debater and her policies are more in tune with the center than either of the yahoo’s on the left and the right of her. Money might be a problem for her, however, if she were to alter her stance on illegal immigration, she would need far less of it.

IMO, the Texas primary was the finest example of rigging an election result since old Mayor Daily let loose of the reins of power in Chicago. I blame the DNC for this years Democratic primary debacle. They knew that the liberal wing of the party was determined to regain control of the party even if they had to steal it by way of the caucaus.

The liberal wing of the party, now that they have their candidate, think that he is a shoe in for winning the election because their only opposition is a monitarily and idea broken Republican Party with another warmonger candidate.

I believe the voters are tired of riding the line back and forth from the far right side to the far left side. Considering the fact that the far left hates her and the far right hates her, I believe that Hillary can take the ball right up the middle on a draw play and run all the way to the end zone with it. Who knows, Bloomberg might throw an excellent down field block for her. Plus, although there is some bad blood between them, it is not beyond the realm of imagination that if he were given a wide range of lattitude, the Czar of Green Land might be persuaded to come off the bench, enter the game, and throw a block as well.

While on the campaign trail this year, I have seen the damage that illegal immigration has caused to many of the workers and their families. While I realize that some immigrant workers are needed, especially in agriculture, if you elect me as your president, I will not sign a blanket amnesity for illegal workers and I will direct my Attorney General to prosecute employers who have deliberately rid themselves of American workers so they could hire low payed, benefitless illegal immigrant workers.

Without mentioning a wall on the border and without mentioning giving illegal immigrants a bus ticket to Mexico City, The above modification on illegal immigration policy would seriously put a crimp in Obama’s and the liberal wing of the Party’s aspirations.

Although I have not been impressed by Clinton’s campaign and even less so by Obama’s, in the very first debate that I watched, Clinton did get my attention. When the candidates were asked what were some of the things they would like to accomplish as president, both Edwards and Obama gave a list. Hillary responded that there were many things that she would like to do but, she could not do any of them unless she first tackled the job of getting the governments fiscal house in order. If I am not mistaken, the only other candidate that responded in like manner was Dodd.

In my opinion, neither the elitist conservatives nor the elitist liberals have a right to judge the people of Appalachia for their beliefs and their attitude. For over a century we have been exploited by the capitalists and robbed of resources by the city dwellers.

The story of Appalachia and for that matter, most of rural America reads like a version of Cinderella without a prince. For years, the only economy we had was based strip mining our land for coal. Then the petrochemical industry found fertile ground in Appalachia to exploit and pollute.

Today a huge segment of our economy is based on welfare, illegal drugs and prostitution. Although we would dearly love to have a 21st century economy, we are virtually powerless to do anything for lack of resources and capital. The city dwellers and the capitalists certainly aren’t overly enthusiastic about sharing.

Just like Mexico, our gretest export item is our young people.

Posted by: jlw at May 23, 2008 2:23 PM
Comment #253585

jlw-
Stole how?

Michigan and Florida? All the folks she had on the rules committee voted to punish them by not seating any of their delegates. She pledged not to campaign or accept the results of that election as part of the race. Theft, by definition is coerced. She seems to have whole-heartedly cooperated in giving up those delegates.

It’s breathtakingly cynical to come back, after having committed to that course of action, and act like you’re coming back to the rescue.

The liberal wing of the party didn’t steal anything. First things first, Obama’s support isn’t defined by such narrow political allegiances. It’s more of a commonality of attitude towards today’s politics that defines Obama’s supporters.

But if by liberal wing, you mean Obama’s supporters, then let’s put it plainly: Obama’s people knew the rules for the primary contests, in fact knew them better than those leading Clinton’s campaign. The fact that Hillary’s director Mark Penn didn’t know our delegates were awarded proportionately or that her campaign didn’t know that Texas’s primary was divided into a popular vote contest and a caucus should raise some red flags on that count.

Obama was prepared to fight a running election battle in fifty states, Clinton was only prepared for the Super Tuesday states. This was what made things difficult for her, not some theft.

You bring up the Texas primary. Well, I participated in that, even participated in the Senate District meeting, and I can tell you that the Clinton people screwed things up big time, the way they went about it. Their shenanigans were so convoluted, that their candidate for delegate to the state convention left.

I doubt the wisdom of a third party run. Can she win as a renegade, or only serve as a spoiler? The latter is more likely, because she won’t draw many votes away from McCain. She can only reduced the voting power of the Democratic side, if anything. And for what cause? To make McCain President? It makes more sense for her to back Obama. If she does a sufficient job, and Obama doesn’t go the distance, she might be able to return in 2012. There is no 2012 for her if she splits from the party.

Bloomberg has publically thrown in his lot with Obama, so he’s out of the question for her.

On the question of Immigration, the notion that a wall could do any good is silly. economic considerations will keep that wall wide open. You might as well make it a border sieve for what good it will do. It’s internal enforcement that should be improved. What good is it to barricade the border if the ones that get through are home free?

I don’t know, really, what we can do about Appalachia. But I’ll tell you what hasn’t worked: playing the games of the Washington elitists by jumping on the wedge-issues bandwagon. That is the biggest elitist shell game of them all. Those people made the purposeful calculation that if they got you bought into the reaction against the sixties counter culture, got you worried about the people who wanted you to change on values, they could implement the changes that left folks in that region poorer. Can we not say this was an error in judgment? Are the people of Appalachia not strong enough to face up to an error and do better? I think they are. I think there are other solutions if they are willing to band together with those who have common concerns across the country.

If they try to simply take care of themselves, those people will once agains find themselves neglected. If they join forces with others outside their borders who have similar interests, they may do a whole lot better.

The real elitists like to keep us cut up in our separate boxes. When people close themselves off and stop listening to others, they become much easier to manipulate. Rather than rage against the liberals, why not join with them? Look to your interests, stop looking to the politics that has served you so poorly.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 24, 2008 5:14 PM
Comment #253640

“welfare, illegal drugs and prostitution” exist outside of Appalachia as well. The problem with welfare is that it allows people to continue to live in places that are not economically worthwhile, and discourages internal immigration, which could easily replace other immigration. The political class in these areas does not want to lose population, and encourages people to stay by giving them just enough to keep them in the same situation indefinitely.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 25, 2008 7:11 PM
Comment #253644

ohrealy-
In all actuality, despite two generations worth of welfare, folks in Appalachia have been moving out. It’s why the Demographics are so favorable for Hillary in Appalachia. The younger folks have been moving elsewhere to get better jobs.

The reality is, past a certain economic point, people don’t move. They just can’t afford it. Market forces mean you’re stuck. So, by that logic, Welfare can help make it easier for people to go elsewhere, and then get off welfare, which most people aren’t big fans of, despite Republican propaganda about Welfare Queens.

As far as economic worthwhileness goes, that changes from decade to decade. For the bulk of the twentieth century, the suburbs were the place to go, and the close urban areas were avoided for various reasons. Result? Inner Cities became less worthwhile. Now, though, people with the money are drawing closer to the city, gentrifying the area. Suburbs, especially the outer ex-urbs might become the more economically depressed areas, given the energy problems, and the mortgage lender crisis.

Economics, if nothing else, is the science of comparative advantage. Those advantages change over time with technology and social movements.

What you don’t want, in this process, is for one part of the population to become hopelessly impoverished. That creates all kinds of additional social and political problems. Think Latin America. Folks can talk about encouraging people to move to more economically advantageous areas, but once you get past the god-game notions of moral hazards, the reality is, people often go nowhere.

The real question, once you deal with these people on an imperfect, real world level, is how you keeping the poor segments of society from collapsing in on themselves and taking other segments with them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 25, 2008 9:46 PM
Comment #253648

I was thinking Czech Republic, where prostitution is one of the number one industries. I was looking up data on various companies for the quarterly dividend distribution, and when looking up one energy company, I also looked up Peabody, and they actually brag about their non-union mines:

“During 2007, the Company generated 89% of its production from non-union mines. On October 31, 2007, Peabody spun-off portions of its Eastern United States Mining operations business segment to form Patriot Coal Corporation.”

On Patriot Coal: “with operations and coal reserves in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. It is also a producer of metallurgical quality coal. The Company’s operations consist of 10 company-operated mines and numerous contractor-operated mines serviced by eight coal preparation facilities, with one in northern West Virginia, four in southern West Virginia and three in western Kentucky. Patriot ships coal to electric utilities,…” from the NYSE

Posted by: ohrealy at May 26, 2008 12:12 AM
Comment #253728

“The real question is whether people get a chance to alter the laws, talk about them, have influence over these initiatives”

No Stephen, the real question is whether people can respect everybody’s individual rights when we “alter laws and talk about them when we influence over them.”

Any democracy can make laws to dictate the peoples way of life, but that is not what our country was founded on. No, our Constitutional Republic instead, placed the individual rights of every citizen ahead of the desires of the majority.
That was what made us different, that is what made us better.

Posted by: kctim at May 27, 2008 10:00 AM
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