Monday, November 8, 2010

The Obama Wipe Out Began Early


Or Howard Dean, how we miss you already.

It is the first full week after the blow out in the November 2 election and now the Democrats can really drown their sorrows in various forms of alcohol. Now the recriminations can really get bitter and rancorous. Now the blame game can get into warp drive. There is a reason our President has high-tailed it for foreign shores; it is not  very pretty at home right now.

It is doubtful that absence will make the heart grow fonder. Sooner or later Obama is going to have to answer to movement progressive on how he managed to let the Elephants come up from the canvas and deliver a haymaker to the Donkey Party.

The fault was not in the stars, but in the very rock star politician who suddenly was reveled to have feet of clay. When someone like Mayor Bloomberg tags you as “arrogant” you have issues that need resolving. Where was the first signs of the Obama arrogance? When did this most transactional of Presidents first unveil his fatal flaw?

It began early gentle reader. It began even before he was President. Two Words for you : Tim Kaine. If you said “Tim who?,”  join the club. The leader of the Democratic National Committee could not be more of an insider’s insider ,and corporate political hack than if Rudy Giuliani were still alive. 
With the nomination of Tim Kaine, team Obama gratuitously stuck yet another finger in the eye of Howard Dean. Not only did they give Howard truly shabby treatment, they also threw up a huge middle finger to the activist base that saved the Donkeys from oblivion.

Before Howard showed up the Democratic Party was in a parlous state. It had just nominated the silver spoon Senator John Kerry for President; and lost a heartbreaker.  Kerry got the nod because he was every Democrats second choice and when all the first choices exploded like a fake cigar, Kerry was left standing. Mind you, Kerry had all the charisma of oatmeal that has been left in the fridge for a week. If you ever have insomnia, pop a Kerry campaign speech into the DVD, you will down and drooling in fifteen minutes flat.

Dean, who got tossed early from the nomination process because he was a little too enthusiastic in a speech after he had his head handed to him in Iowa, re-channeled his energy into rebuilding the Democratic Party. He did this via a grass-roots insurgency that steam-rollered the beltway Democrats and their conventional wisdom. No pursuit of the mushy middle for Dean. The Governor always ran left. If you look at each election individually, the Democrat always occupied that district or Senate Seat’s left or Center-Left position. Nationally the positions may have skewed right, but locally it was a different story. Thus, if a Democrat in a local race was against gun control, you could bet your bottom dollar the Republican was for arming toddlers with machine guns.

What really frosted the beltway Democrats was that not only did Dean run ninety degrees to the conventional wisdom but he was so successful in doing it. Dean had a knock-down drag-out running battle with DCC head Rahm Emanuel and Dean ran the board, it was not even close. Even Rahmbo was forced to admit that Dean’s plan was much more successful than his. Rahm ran DLC “safe” Democrats and lost close elections in toss up states. Dean ran grass roots local Democrats and won in areas that had been Elephant preserves for generations.

So how did official Washington reward Dean? They put a large dagger in Deans back and made him say “thank you.” They tore up the Deaniac playbook and went right back to the strategy that was so successful against Reagan and helped Al Gore to a Pyrrhic victory in 2000. Dean showed the way for the party to reconnect with its blue-collar base and the party decided it rather be the junior partner in the continuing Corporate take over of the U.S.
No politician was more willing to return to the status quo; no one was a bigger Corporate cheerleader than Barack Obama. His transactional, rudderless, values neutral style is an encapsulation of everything that is feckless and incompetent in the Democratic Party. 

The laser-focused message of Dean, “More and better Democrats,” was traded in for what Taylor Marsh calls Obama’s “word salad” The “salad” is an excess of nuance backed by a deficit of passion. Obama is a technocrat, a loyal member of the corporate apparat. The concerns and the passions of the Blue Collar Workers are a total mystery to him. 

Obama does not do passion, Obama does process. It is all about the deal for Obama. Its all about finding the mythical middle. Never has a politician so equated compromise with the highest good. Never has a politician so compromised for the sake of compromise. 

By 2010 it became apparent that Obama was at best a denatured Rockefeller Republican; he sure was no Democrat. He got wiped out because he followed the inside the beltway, inside baseball, playbook. 
If Obama has a guiding principle it is in the cobbling together of interest groups and of pandering to corporate players that Beltway Democrats find so appealing. It is the bowing and scraping to the Corporate masters that run the Blue Dogs and the DLC faithful. It is  Rockefeller Republicanism re-branded. It is compromise that manages to anger everyone. It is the loosing strategy that Democrats have been playing since Reagan came to power; to become Republican Lite.

The last election showed the bankruptcy of that strategy. Given a choice, voters will always go for the full strength Republican versus the denatured version. The Blue Dogs were put down in the last election. Each every one of those inbred mutts was replaced by either a TEA Party true believer or just your average troglodyte Republican. The voters registered their disgust with the feckless, dithering, detached Democrats. 

That dithering, that fecklessness began early and it occurred often. It reveled itself in Barack’s actions well before his elevation to the Presidency. The very first glimmers popped through the fog of Obama zealotry right after Barack had the nomination nailed down. The penchant for compromise ├╝ber alles, and the “smart” politics as defined by the Beltway reared its ugly head in the vote FISA “reform.” Obama signed up for giving the NSA and BushCo a “get out of jail free card.” Hillary, no longer weighed down dreams of higher office, was able to do the right thing and vote against the abomination of FISA reform.

But it was the nomination of Tim Kaine to DNC just after the election that was the first really big middle finger the Progressive base. Other flashes of contempt toward that base were seen in the nomination of Joe Biden to the number two slot and setting up of the transitional team, but Kaine was the first really big poke in the eye of the liberal faithful. The shabby treatment of Howard Dean should have also set off huge alarm bells for any Democrat who is not a total sell out to corporate hegemony.  Dean, for all his faults, is a Democrats’ Democrat. He is dead center, or what used to be dead center, of Democratic Party thinking. Thanks to Obama and his insistence to always drifting right, Dean is now solidly “left wing” in the Party.  

Obama keeps marching to the right because he foolishly believes that this will get him reelected. His only goal is a second term. He wants it in the worst possible way. The thing is, even if he gets that second term, it will be exactly in the worst possible way. He will be a care-taker chief executive who will not be able to accomplish anything. At worst he will wipe out. He will loose in 2012. What is even worse is he will be in full cognitive dissonance mode if he does. It will be confirmation bias all the way. He will write endless books , just as Nixon did, to spin reality, to rebuild his reputation. The theme of each one will be how he made the hard choices, and that is why he was only a one-term president. There will be zero recognition about how his own personal and political flaws ruined him and the nation. There will be no admission on how he got it wrong early and often. Informed people will know better, they will see the idiocy and rot right at the beginning. They will see it with the replacement of Howard Dean with Tim Kaine.
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