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Homegirl Zuzu, in November:

There’s been a great deal of excitement about Barack Obama’s plans to reverse or do away with a good number of Bush’s executive orders and signing statements.  This is a sign of his progressivism! some say.  This is hope for the future! others say.  Let’s just all move on and not question him anymore! still others say.

The idea, apparently, is that by signaling (not coming out and saying, mind, but signaling through surrogates) that he intends to reverse, say, the Global Gag Rule, Obama is showing his progressive bona fides, and that therefore any cynicism about him based on the way he conducted his campaign (you know, leveraging misogyny and homophobia and using a lot of right-wing anti-choice framing and god-talk) or on the way he’s conducting his transition (16 men and 4 women on his transition team, LARRY FREAKING SUMMERS as a serious choice for Treasury) is unwarranted. […]

Bullshit.

Listen, if you think that reversing the Global Gag Rule is a sign of great progressivism, I have news for you:  It’s not.  It’s basically returning the country’s policy to where it was in 1984, 24 freakin’ years ago.  It’s the bare fucking minimum I would expect of any goddamned Democrat worth the name in the Oval Office.  Reversing it was Bill Clinton’s very first official act as President, and I don’t see too many people calling him a progressive.

Barack actually didn’t get around to doing it (yet). Of course, some people are so pathetically desperate for crumbs, some weak-ass, all-over-the-map statement with no actual action is considered “pretty damn good.” Pretty damn good. Are you fucking kidding me with this squeeing fangirl shit?

MeanwhileHarry Reid thinks that Republicans may be right in thinking that women are inherently inferior due to their possession of (*gasp*) vaginas, so they’re going to haul out some of that shiny new “post-partisanship” to mull over Lilly Ledbetter, thereby confirming earlier suspicions that “post-partisanship” was code for “Democrats and Republicans Working Together to Fuck Over Women” because, in 2009, we really, really have to have a “discussion” about basic equality.

Back to Zuzu:

Progressivism requires progress, and what Obama is proposing to do with the GGR and other executive orders and signing statements (though his position on the Gitmo trials and torture may not be as strong as originally reported) isn’t actually progress.  It’s restoration.  And not even full restoration, because he can’t, merely by reversing all of Bush’s executive orders, get us back to where we were in January 2001 because so much damage was done through Congress.

So while it’s great that Obama is reviewing all those orders, I remain skeptical.  And I remain skeptical not because my tiny lady-brain has been warped by eight years under Bush, but because I still have great, truly great, expectations for a progressive administration, and I’m not going to settle for some crumbs.

Of course, I’m still confused how anyone ever considered someone who worships fucking Reagan (i.e. “the dude who enacted the Global Gag Rule in the first place“) the next Great Progressive Hope, but wevs, it’s been just that kind of fucked-up year, innit it?

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If you didn’t want me voting with my vagina, maybe you shouldn’t have spent the last year calling me a cunt.”Nadai, in comments at RL.

You can’t really sum it up much more succinctly than that, can you?

(Also summing it up, though not quite as succinctly, is Dr Socks herself, documenting the atrocities.)

Happy freakin’ Election Day. Democracy, you’ve never made me feel quite so ill.

Jay Rosen, last August:

Whereas I believe that the real—and undeclared—ideology of American journalism is savviness, and this is what made the press so vulnerable to the likes of Karl Rove.

Savviness! Deep down, that’s what reporters want to believe in and actually do believe in— their own savviness and the savviness of certain others (including operators like Karl Rove.) In politics, they believe, it’s better to be savvy than it is to be honest or correct on the facts. It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.

Savviness is what journalists admire in others. Savvy is what they themselves dearly wish to be. (And to be unsavvy is far worse than being wrong.) Savviness—that quality of being shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, “with it,” and unsentimental in all things political—is, in a sense, their professional religion. They make a cult of it. And it was this cult that Karl Rove understood and exploited for political gain.

What is the truest mark of savviness? Winning, of course! Everyone knows that the press admires an unprincipled winner.

But the thing is, it’s not just the press. Matt Taibi, in Rolling Stone, again regarding Rove:

Rove is not a genius, or even very clever: He’s totally and completely immoral… It doesn’t take brains to compare a triple-amputee war veteran to Osama bin Laden; you just have to be a mean, rotten cocksucker.

The reason Rove continues to survive is the same reason that Johnnie Cochran was called a genius for keeping a double-murderer on the golf course — because this generation of Americans has become so steeped in greed and social Darwinism that it can no longer distinguish between cheating and achieving, between enterprise and crime, and can’t bring itself to criticize winners any more than it knows how to be nice to losers. He survives because an increasing number of Americans secretly agree with Rove’s vision of rules, laws and “the truth” as quaint, faintly embarrassing rituals that only a sucker would let hold him back.

Rove’s comeback is evidence that the attack on our civic institutions in the Bush years wasn’t an isolated incident, something we can pin on a specific group of now-deposed politicians. It’s a trend, a thing that grows in direct proportion to our greed and ignorance.

All throughout the primaries, especially after the cries of WWTSBQ? started up, I kept reading comments about how Hillary lost the campaign because she failed to appreciate the importance of the caucuses. Obama was declared a “superior” candidate because he’d “gamed the caucuses” – an argument which sounded, to my ear, exactly as convincing as “his branding iz rilly cool! omg widgits!“, which is to say that it was shallow and vapid and barely an “argument” at all. Game strategy does not automatically make one a superior candidate. For one thing, the kind of strategy that’s involved in creating, passing and implementing beneficial legislation is an entirely different animal than the kind of strategy one needs to implement in an campaign. They both take a level of sophistication and finesse, but the similarities are actually rather limited. Stripping away all the extras, campaigns are about (or are supposed to be about) gaining political support for your ideas and platform and the direction you want to take your constituency. Each person who votes for you gives you power, sure, but I think it’s reasonable to say that a vote won on persuasive argument is a tad more valuable and dependable in the long run than one won by manipulation. Which brings us to today’s post at Reclusive Leftist:

It’s an eerie experience reading through the thousands of incident reports from caucus participants all over the country. Eerie because almost everyone assumed that the problems they were reporting were unique to their own caucus, merely the result of local miscreants. No one grasped — how could they? — that what they were experiencing was part of a nation-wide pattern.

The pattern is the same, from Washington to Texas, from Iowa to Nevada, from Maine to Minnesota: Obama workers arrive early at each caucus place and take control of the premises and the process. Hillary supporters are intimidated, told their names aren’t registered, even physically barred from the site. Busloads of mysterious strangers arrive and cast votes for Obama. Sign-in sheets disappear; voter tallies are falsified. Over and over and over again, the pattern is the same.

How did this happen? Simple. The Obama campaign spent the entire year prior to the election planning the whole thing out. They saw an opportunity to game the system and they took it. At “Camp Obama” training centers, Obama campaign officials schooled volunteers in the fine art of stealing caucuses. And I have to hand it to them: they did a great job. When Obama points to his campaign as evidence of his executive experience, I’m inclined to agree. He’s definitely proven himself to be an executive-level criminal.

So, to recap: being shrewd, practical, well-informed, perceptive, ironic, ‘with it,’ and unsentimental in all things political” does not only describe journalists, but could be easily applied to the base of the Obamacan movement, the so-called “creative class.” The American public, in general, has become “so steeped in greed and social Darwinism that it can no longer distinguish between cheating and achieving, between enterprise and crime, and can’t bring itself to criticize winners any more than it knows how to be nice to losers” and “increasing number of Americans secretly agree with Rove’s vision of rules, laws and “the truth” as quaint, faintly embarrassing rituals that only a sucker would let hold him back.” And Obama, the Hopey Changey Saviour Candidate, proves his “worthiness” by gaming the system… and the crowds roar.

“It’s better to be savvy than it is to be just, good, fair, decent, strictly lawful, civilized, sincere or humane.” Not to repeat myself or anything, but we’re all doomed.

Do me a favour, will ya? Read the following:

For Clinton, only one road in Albany remained blocked. Hendon and Trotter, two leaders in the women’s caucus, had both been in the Senate for four years before Clinton’s arrival. They represented two of New York’s destitute neighborhoods, and they repeatedly accused the newcomer of failing to understand the issues of the inner city. She cared more about her career than her constituents, they said. Hendon once told a newspaper that Clinton was so ambitious she would like to run for “president of the world.”…

Hillary’s friends encouraged her to stand up to Hendon and Trotter, but she refused. Not her style, she said. And why sink to their level? When Hendon ridiculed Clinton, her standard comeback was a dismissive shrug and a wave of her hand. Ah, Rickie, you’ve always got something to say. “I never would have called her a fighter,” Hendon said. “She used the silk gloves, and I used the iron fists.”

The tension between the two Senators peaked on June 11, 2002, after Hendon made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor urging her colleagues to preserve funding for a child welfare facility in her district. It was, Hendon remembers, “basically the most emotional speech of my life, and I was pulling out all the stops.” Every Republican still voted against her. Every Democrat voted with her — except Clinton and three other members who made up a faction known in Albany as “liberal row.”

Incensed by those four votes, Hendon walked across the floor and confronted Clinton, who explained by saying “something about fiscal responsibility,” Hendon recalls. A few minutes later, after Hendon’s proposal had lost, Clinton stood up and asked to have her previous vote changed to a “Yes” for the record, saying she had misunderstood the legislation. Her request was declined, and Hendon stood to criticize Clinton for political maneuvering.

Infuriated that Hendon had embarrassed her publicly on the Senate floor, Clinton walked over to her rival’s seat, witnesses said.

“She leaned over, put her arm on my shoulder real nice and then threatened to kick my ass,” Hendon said.

The two women walked out of the chamber into a back room and shoved each other a few times before colleagues broke them apart, Hendon and other witnesses said. Clinton and Hendon never talked about the incident with each other again, but they reached an awkward understanding. Hendon stopped teasing Clinton; Clinton started voting with Hendon more regularly. Hendon now supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Now, consider the story. What’s your reaction? That as a Democrat, Hillary failed to vote to preserve funding for a child welfare facility? That she failed to thoroughly understand the legislation – due to either a petty personal grudge or failure to read it in the first place – and then flipped on the vote when confronted? That she was so angry at being embarrassed that she threatened to kick a political adversary’s ass, which lead to actual physical violence, an actual catfight? Ask yourself: would you have drawn this same conclusion?

I suppose the right can spin this incident as a bug instead of a feature, but to me, this is jaw-droppingly intelligent politicking.

Is it possible the US could have a president that isn’t a hot-headed fool, that is slow to anger, and even when angry expresses only the exact amount needed to advance their purposes? A president who patiently builds friendships and coalitions, even with natural political enemies? I suspect there are very few people who read this site who would disagree that – policy disagreements aside – this is exactly the type of character traits we’d like to see in a president.

Be honest. Would you?

Now go read the original. Isn’t gender bias fun?

Between McCain channeling her on HOLC and Obama channeling her on health care and energy, and the fact that she’s goddamned Hillary Rodham Clinton, I declare the junior Senator from New York the winner of last night’s presidential debate.

Those yahoos on the stage? Mere pretenders to the throne.

edit: Heh. masslib seems to agree with me. Mindmeld!

Here’s a little roundup of my weekend reading; first, via PunkAssBlog:

Worst part of the whole debate:

Jim Lehrer’s first question: “Gentlemen, at this very moment tonight, where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

(Candidates each speak for several minutes, demonstrating remarkable ability to discuss their tax and spending platforms without once touching on the financial recovery plan.)

Jim Lehrer’s next question: “All right, let’s go back to my question. How do you all stand on the recovery plan? And talk to each other about it. We’ve got five minutes. We can negotiate a deal right here.”

(Candidates further demonstrate ability to say nothing to the point and also refuse, even when point-blank instructed by Lehrer, to speak to each other.)

Jim Lehrer’s next try: “All right, let’s go to the next lead question, which is essentially following up on this same subject. And you get two minutes to begin with, Senator McCain. And using your word “fundamental,” are there fundamental differences between your approach and Senator Obama’s approach to what you would do as president to lead this country out of the financial crisis?”

(Candidates argue about the differences between their tax and spending platforms. Neither apparently has any idea that we are even having a financial crisis.)

Over at the NYTimes, Krugman asks, “Where are the grown-ups?

So the grown-up thing is to do something to rescue the financial system. The big question is, are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to take charge?

Via Gawker, Stewart and Colbert pontificate on the state of national discourse:

Can any [politician] break through this mess?
STEWART: I worry that those people are there, but we won’t recognize them — or we’ll destroy them so thoroughly that their voice won’t be heard. I just imagine Lincoln out there, and people throwing the gay stuff at him. ”And what about depression running in his family?”

Emphasis mine. I don’t know about Lincoln, but I certainly think we have an FDR for the 21st century kicking around, and she’s hiding in plain sight – though no one’s listening to her. Well, some are:

Unlike the current leadership of the Democratic Party, who are simply bouncing off the Bush proposal like pinballs, accepting the basic terms of the deal and trying to beef up some goodies to help with the November election, Hillary is presenting a vision of what a Democratic economic plan should do. It is not pandering for votes though it is very aware of the needs of constituents found from rural backwaters to Manhattan skyscapers. She may have details wrong, but it is not for lack of trying. It is a commitment to use power to make institutions serve public good before private greed.

This is and is not a different person than I saw this time last year when the primary contests revved up. Hillary has always been someone willing to dare to do great things, but the primaries -brutal, rigged, stacked against her as a person in a way I have never seen in 30 years of politics – appear to have scoured her clean of any hesitancy or defensiveness that formerly attended her attempts at great works. Maybe it was seeing the people who needed her to be their advocate. Maybe it was understanding the depth of respect and trust so many of us have in her after the decades of public abuse. Maybe it was knowing that there is nothing for her to lose by simply doing what is right.

Whatever the reason, there is a clear and unwavering voice who makes clear the difference between those who want to play politics and those who want to use it for the public good. It is a political philosophy comfortable with making life better and more secure for ordinary people.

(Rumour has it that, now, that doomed bill is headed to the Senate. If true, here’s hoping HRC can get her hands on a louder mic. Fingers crossed.)

I could write a post about the elaborately choreographed stage production that is the Democratic Convention, but Dr. Violet Socks has already said it for me. Suffice it to say, I spent last night trying to wash out the bitter taste in my mouth with a bottle of Australian shiraz. It didn’t work, and now I have a mild hangover seasoning my cynicism and disgust.

I remember my parents’ generation talking about Watergate, and how that destroyed their innocence about the state of politics. Now I know what that feels like. Hurray?

A friend came through with free tickets to a concert tonight, so I am saved from watching the Faux Coronation, but I doubt I’ll be missing much. Will Obama’s long-game be able to save himself from the hole his short-game dug him? I doubt it. I guess we’ll see.

Yeah. What she said.

Throughout the primaries, Hillary Clinton was demonized for the following:

  • Being a “Washington insider” (“OLD SKOOL WASHINGTON OMG!!1!”)
  • A hawk who voted for AUMF (“SHE VOTED FOR IRAQ OMG!!1!”)
  • For being “divisive” and not “post-partisan” enough (“SHE’S SO ABRASIVE AND COMBATIVE AND REPUBLICANS HATE HER OMG!!!1!”)
  • Being ‘racist’ (“‘FAIRY TALE!’ RFK ASSASSINATED IN JUNE! OMG!!1!”)
  • For giving Republicans ‘ammunition’ against Obama (“SHE CALLED HIM INEXPERIENCED WHATTABITCH OMG”!!1!)

So who does Obama pick as his running mate? Joe Biden. Joe Biden, who’s been in the Senate since Nixon, and is about as ‘old skool Washington’ as you can get. Joe Biden, who also voted for AUMF. Joe Biden, a partisan pitbull, like Clinton, who won’t be shy about attacking McCain. Joe Biden, who let kicked off his own presidential bid by calling Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Joe Biden, who said that Barack Obama was not ready yet to be president and that the Presidency is “not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”

So, basically, Joe Biden is the living embodiment of everything they falsely tarred Hillary Clinton with – all those supposed negatives that Cheeto Eaters said made her unfit for VP shortlist, let alone the Office of the President – but, it’s not only OK, it’s celebrated.  Joe Biden, who hits all of Hillary’s supposed negatives, and none of her positives – like she’s not a racist, or a sexist, and, y’know she got 18 million votes in the primary and her selection could actually unite the party – and he’s the Hopey Changey VP! …Yeah. The new IOKIYAR is IOKIYNH (It’s OK If You’re Not Hillary), I suppose.

I didn’t think anything could bewilder me as much as the “Hillary isn’t even a Democrat!!!“/”You can’t vote for McCain! Hillary and Obama are practically the same candidate!” meme backflip of June, but…. Congratulations, Obamacans. You have truly reduced this election season to a theatre of the absurd.

edit, 2:03pm: As I strolled down to my local bakery for a tasty pastry, I realized I ought to clarify something. I’m thrilled Hillary will not be Obama’s VP. Thrilled. She’s better off in the Senate, at the very least, and from there she can be appointed to any number of positions to which she is eminently qualified (Senate Majority Leader, Supreme Court, etc.) I’m just saying, if you’re going to pick a VP candidate, it might be best to not a) pick the person who looks on paper to be a poor-man’s version of the person you’ve been vilifying for 6 months, and b) seems to contradict the message of your entire primary campaign.

Melissa McEwan, August 15, 2008:

Okay, this has got to be a joke, right? The DNC is just fucking with the press, who’s dumb enough to fall for the suggestion that Joe Fookin’ Biden is “believed to be at the top of” Obama’s veep shortlist. Because there’s no way in blue hell that Obama could be foolish enough to be seriously considering for one blinking second putting on his ticket the speech plagiarizing, bankruptcy bill voting, Bush-coddling, racist, sexist asshat Biden, a consummate gaffe machine who launched his own ’08 presidential bid with a screeching dog whistle that declared Obama “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

CNN, August 23, 2008:

Sen. Barack Obama has selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate on the Democratic ticket for the White House, two Democratic sources told CNN.

No really. It’s the only way to explain crap like this:

Sen. Barack Obama’s team will continue its aggressive outreach to evangelical voters at the Democratic National Convention next week. Making a prime-time appearance Thursday night will be Joel C. Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor who will deliver the convention’s closing prayer following Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination…

Whether or not larger numbers of evangelical voters will join him in accepting the Democrats’ invitation is still unclear, Hunter said. But, he added, his presence in Denver shows the party’s recognition of “pro-life voices.”

Uh, Barack? “PRO-LIFE VOICES” ARE ALREADY BEING LISTENED TO.  You know who’s being ignored? The majority of the population who’re pro-choice, aka your base. Astraea, months ago:

I don’t know how many times I heard in the past six months that Obama needed to tiptoe around abortion so he wouldn’t scare away the Independents. (Of course, I was also told to trust that he would defend reproductive rights once he was in office, so I guess it’s okay to lie to get the Independents).

NARAL sponsored a poll that challenges these assumptions. In fact, NARAL has shown that Obama can gain not just Independent women, but Republican women as well by being strong on choice and making his position clear (not to mention us pesky Clinton supporters who aren’t ready to back Obama). By being a champion for choice and attacking McCain’s pro-life record, Obama could differentiate himself from a candidate portrayed by the media as a moderate and falsely attacked by pro-life groups as less than ideal. By standing up for choice, Obama would strengthen the Democratic party by winning the support of pro-choice women. NARAL lays all this out very clearly. Promoting a pro-choice message:

  • Moves the swing vote by drawing Independent women toward Obama.
  • Generates crossover support by moving pro-choice Republican women toward Obama.
  • Consolidates the base by bringing home Democratic women

NARAL’s poll focused on Republican and Independent women in important battleground states and found that when the difference between Obama and McCain’s positions on choice are stated clearly, Obama gains 13 points among pro-choice Independent women and 9 points among pro-choice Republican women. Overall, the impact on the general election is significant:

Once balanced information about Obama and McCain’s respective positions on choice is introduced, Obama gains 6 points, with his overall lead in these twelve states expanding from a net two points (47-45 perconet) to a net 13 points (53-40 percent).

That is huge. Also huge:

Among pro-choice Independent women, pro-choice Republican women, and liberal to moderate Republican women, the issue of abortion produces a larger advantage for Democrats than the economy, the war in Iraq, or health care.


Get that, Democrats? Pro-choice positions aren’t just window dressing for pro-choice women of any political persuasion.

Unfortunately, no, Astraea – the Democrats don’t get it. At all.

(My laptop arrived. If you couldn’t tell.)