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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saving the Democratic Brand - A Primer on Strategery.

On July 4th, I wrote a post about losing faith in the Democratic Brand. Today, I am explaining my strategic plans for saving it - and why they do not include voting for Barack Obama.

The DNC is currently bound and determined to nominate Obama for President. (I believe the fix has been in since 2004, personally.) They have allowed him to take over the DNC and move the headquarters to Chicago; they have allowed him to decide that Howard Dean gets to keep his job; and they've chosen a giant football stadium in which he is to accept his nomination on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. They are backing their man, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

There's only one problem: Obama does not appeal to the Democratic base. The working class, by and large - Latinos, whites, Asians and some African-Americans, all registered Democrats - did not support the Senator from Illinois in the primaries. And according to CNN, the number of Hillary's supporters who are saying they would support Obama if nominated is actually going down, while 43% of Democrats still say they would prefer her to be the nominee. This is all despite Hillary getting the worst press imaginable, her suspending her campaign and going on fundraising "Unity" missions with Obama, and her virtual absence from the spotlight for more than a month.

I will not elaborate on my incredible frustration with the Party for picking one of the worst candidates I have ever seen in my lifetime to go up against John McCain for the presidency. No, I will leave that to the eloquent and fantabulous riverdaughter. My purpose today is to go beyond the nomination and project forward into the possible presidencies of all three candidates: Clinton, Obama and McCain.

Honestly, I think that whomever wins in November will have an absolutely terrible first term. The economy is simply in free-fall. We are looking at stagflation and a looming Great Depression, in my opinion. Thanks to eight years of lawless, consequence-free behavior by the BFEE (Bush Family Evil Empire), our Constitution is disintegrating. The separation of powers, the laws of habeas corpus, the wall between church and state, the right to privacy and to free speech - all have been abridged or almost destroyed by BushCheney Inc. And let's not forget our seeming inability to do anything constructive regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks to the "surge," more troops are actually in Iraq than there were before the Democratic Congress was elected to bring them home. Heckuva job, Congresscritters! (Word is, thanks to Dennis Kucinich's persistence, Nancy Pelosi is now considering setting the table for impeachment. Wow, can you say too little, too late?)

The next President will have a lot of extremely difficult choices to make, and the chances are that when the country is not 100% fixed in four years, there will be a massive backlash against whomever that President will be. So, who do we want to suffer those consequences - Obama, McCain or Clinton? I believe it should be either McCain or Clinton, and here's why.

Trust me, I know McCain is just atrocious. I don't believe one word of his latest "I'm a moderate! Really really!" advertising. I think he will do nothing to remedy the effects of Bush's disastrous presidency. However, he clearly has no interest in running for a second term, so he will be free to be more independent than any other Republican nominee would be. I also believe that he can and will be constrained by a much larger majority in Congress, especially since some Republicans have started voting with Democrats on some issues. Thus, I believe his presidency would put the Congress back into a stronger place institutionally, and give them a chance to prove that they are truly interested in doing what's right for this country. (And if they don't, PUMA should make them. I will post more on what I think the future of PUMA should be at a later date.)

A McCain presidency might not be as bad as we think. It does depend on whom he picks as his VP, and whether or not that person would be a viable presidential candidate in 2012. And that brings me to my second possibility: an Obama presidency.

Unfortunately, I don't believe Obama would be a strong Democratic President. What we need now is someone who will absolutely repudiate the disastrous policies of George W. Bush. 80% of the country believes we are going in the wrong direction. Yet Obama's entire campaign is based on courting Republicans and Independents and "unifying" with them. Even worse, he agrees with some of the worst of the Deciderer's policies, as he has shown in the past two weeks. Warrantless wiretapping and telecom immunity? Just fine. Faith-based initiatives? Let's do more! And the war? Well, golly, he might need to refine that Iraq withdrawal policy just a wee bit. Even a veto-proof majority Democratic Congress just might be more likely to go along with this Republican bullshit if it's a Democratic President who wants it.

Muddling and confusion are NOT what the Democratic brand needs right now. The country has enormous problems. We need an FDR, and at best, Obama is a Carter. (At BEST. Unlike Carter, I don't think Obama has a prayer of being elected, but whatever.) Remember what happened after Carter was President for one term? Do the words "twelve years of Republican dominance" mean anything to you? Even worse, like Carter, Obama has shown no ability to beat back the Republican scream machine, so he will get blamed for the economy, the war and the energy crisis. And then where will the Democrats be? NOT in a position to win the White House in 2012 - not even if Hillary runs again. And that brings me to the best-case scenario: Hillary Clinton as President.

I think there's no doubt that if Hillary is our next President, she is also in for a horrible time. And how! Her Party will give her trouble because she will push for UHC, meaningful economic and social reform, major investments in infrastructure and the greening of energy other words, she'll make them do the hard work, and they don't want to! The press will be all over her and Bill, and despite her incredible competence and detailed plans for moving the country forward, I predict she won't be able to turn things completely around in just four years.

But guess what?

She can handle it.

That's really what it comes down to. You saw Hillary in those debates, where she was getting attacked from all sides, and she handled it. She's risen in popularity and strength despite the ugliest, nastiest attacks her own Party could throw at her. All she had to do was stop listening to Mark Penn and be herself. She handled it. She has withstood the barrage of insults, sexism and outright lies the media has perpetrated against her and emerged as a working-class hero. She handled it.

And in the end, should she prevail against The Fix and beat McCain in November, she will be able to persuade the American people to vote for her again, just like her husband did in 1996.

She will handle it.

And isn't that what we need to happen if we ever want to be a credible alternative to the Republicans again?

So don't tell me I have to vote for Obama. It's not going to happen. Because I'm thinking about the future of the country and the Party, and Obama would be bad for both.

He can't handle it.

Strategery. It's not just for Republicans any more.



CognitiveDissonance said...

Wonderful post, madamab. I agree that the only way Democrats have much of a future is for Obama to lose, electing either Hillary or McCain. With McCain, we have a strong chance of getting Hillary in 2012. With Hillary now, we start solving some of the huge problems that are not going away. And I think there is an extra benefit that neither Obama or McCain will add - we will get the Constitution restored. That won't happen with the other 2, but I'm more than willing to put up with 4 years of McCain if I can't have Hillary. Obama will be the worst disaster we've ever seen to the Democratic Party. And probably a worse president than even George W. Bush (and I never thought I would say that about any democrat ever).

madamab said...

CD -

Obama will be the worst disaster we've ever seen to the Democratic Party. And probably a worse president than even George W. Bush (and I never thought I would say that about any democrat ever).

You and me both. This Yellow Dog has turned red, white and blue. I'm thinking long-term and short-term, and no matter how I slice it, I come up with NOBAMA.