Everybody Just Calm Down

OK, I give in. I actually wrote this a while ago (8am to be specific) but this whole work thing has gotten in the way of posting it. I sent it to James so that’s how he knew what it was going to say ahead of time. He’s not ACTUALLY prescient just pretending to be. I’m not going to rewrite this to address all that’s been said since I originally wrote it because if I do I’ll never get around to actually posting it so here goes...

The danger here is that the sides get so polarized that the election goes to McCain. That can only happen if people get pissed off about what’s going on. If you just sit back and enjoy the ride, whatever the outcome, that won’t happen. I heard Ted Koppel on NPR last night say pretty much that. The ongoing primary is a GOOD thing. It keeps the issues democrats care about in the spotlight. McCain is going to drop into the background until the conventions. As long as Obama and Clinton don’t savage one another (and so far I’d say they haven’t contrary to what many Obama supporters would like you to believe) we’ll be fine.

Obama supporters are acting like they are entitled to the nomination but the facts are that neither side has made a strong enough case to make that conclusion. Yes, Barack has the delegate lead (by something like 3%) but did you know Hillary actually leads in the popular vote (by something like 2%, at least if I can trust the morning news). Gee, I seem to remember a lot of you being quite upset about a similar occurrence a few years back. Would that be an acceptable reason for a superdelegate to pick Hillary over Obama? Why should Hillary give up (aside from “party unity” whatever that means)? Should the Red Sox have given up when they were down 0-3 to the Yankees a few years back? The games weren’t over then and the primaries aren’t over now. Neither side is going to get enough pledged delegates to win this outright (those of you who are pointing to the 94% number for Hillary should do the same math for Barack it will come to something around 80%) so it's going to come down to superdelegates no matter what.

People deride Clinton’s suggestion that the big states are more important but the fact remains that if Ohio or Florida went the other way 4 or 8 years ago we wouldn’t be talking about this today. There are some states where it doesn’t matter who is running. MA, CA and NY are all going to go to whoever the democrat is GA, TX, etc. are going to go to the republican. States like Ohio and Florida and a few others are going to be the difference. So if Hillary’s argument is that I’m the better candidate in those states then that argument is somewhat compelling to me. Will it be to the superdelegates? I don’t know and I don’t really care. I’ll vote for whoever is picked to run in the end. People need to sit back and relax a bit. The same people who couldn’t decide which candidate to support a few weeks back are now pissing and moaning about very little perceived slight. That’s not helpful. This isn’t personal. Its how political campaigns are run (and to be fair how they’ve always been run. I recently heard something on NPR, I think, about some of the negative campaigning that happened in the past, it puts some of today’s to shame). If the situation was reversed I believe Obama would be doing the same thing. The internal bitching is the problem; it’s the republican’s only hope of winning this year so they are going to feed those fires as much as they can. Don’t fall for it. Ignore it. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the ride. If you do, a year from now we’ll be talking about how the democratic president and democratic congress can go about fixing what’s gone wrong in the past 8 years. Maybe replace some aging Supreme Court justices while they’re at it. I personally don’t care at this point which of them it is. I would prefer Clinton but if it’s Obama in November then I’ll be happy to vote for him. You all need to get to that point as well because if you don’t then you’re opening the door to the republicans to screw everything up.


Abacquer said...

BOB thank you for eloquently stating what has been bugging me for weeks.

Mike said...

2008 Democratic Popular Vote

Popular Vote Total
Obama 12,999,088 Clinton 12,410,650

Popular Vote (w/FL)
Obama 13,575,302 Clinton 13,281,636

Popular Vote (w/FL & MI)*
Obama 13,575,302 Clinton 13,609,945

Dr. Momentum said...

You make an interesting point about the popular vote. But that argument would be better made in the context of changing the primary system. It's not an argument for anything that could remedy the current situation. The popular vote doesn't count for any more than the number of states count. In fact it may count less since we have a system which involves caususes, which skews the meaning of a popular vote count.

For any candidate to become president he or she will still have to win in November, and will have been vetted by that race (and will hopefully get a majority of the popular vote as well).

I don't know how we can expect people to suddenly feel less intensely about politics. I appreciate your viewpoint and Chuck's as much as anyone else's, and more than most. But I can't enjoy the ride if it's not enjoyable. Or, part of the way I enjoy the ride is to be hypercritical of it. It's emotional!

You accuse Obama supporters of acting as if they are entitled to the nomination, but Hillary Clinton is no stranger to the idea of inevitability.

I think I agree that Hillary should not give up. I don't know anyone who is coming out and saying she should, but I'll take your word for it if you say that's what you're hearing. Where I disagree with you is in the tactics she's using. How does the 3AM phone call video promote Democratic party values? Shouldn't this be about how they can best represent values of Democrats?

You say the ongoing primary is a good thing. I say it would be if it hadn't begun to go negative. Is it really a good thing if Hillary beats on Obama by circulating a video which then is used by McCain to bash the both of them? That's not finding weaknesses, as you say -- that's handing them talking points. A few comments on a blog is nothing compared to the impact of that video, don't you think? McCain being able to point to Hillary's comments is a consequence of her attack, not a preexisting weakness of Obama's. Her attack is used in his attack.

You wrote: "The danger here is that the sides get so polarized that the election goes to McCain. That can only happen if people get pissed off about what’s going on."

We give our money and our time to these candidates and we're not supposed to get pissed off when we see a cheap shot?

I don't know anyone who cares about politics who doesn't have some sort of emotional reaction, even if that reaction is to be occasionally annoyed with the discussion.

I'm very glad you posted this. I understand your frustration. But people have a lot of justified disappointment in Hillary.

If I were to write something to support your point of view, I would say that Hillary is trying out a persona to see if it plays better with the American public. If that persona wins, then that is the kind of leadership the Democratic party wants. Its a way of finding the strongest message. That's actually a fair way to look at Senator Clinton.

Perhaps I don't want that kind of leadership, and I will be upset if the only two choices are between two different versions of the same sort of fearmongering in November. Isn't that a valid concern, even worth getting het up about?

B.O.B.(bob) said...

Thanks for the numebrs Mike. i didn't have time to look for them. I do think it's disingenous to include FL and Mi at this point (especially Mi). But those numebrs ARE remarkable. 25.4 to 27.2 million people have voted and we are 2% apart at most.

Do you really beleive that the republicans won't come up with this stuff on their own. If they bring it up in October Obama says "look i addressed that in March" or " you don't exactly have a lot of expirience with that your self" or "that's why i picked X as my running mate".

As a said in a coment elsewhere let's actually learn from history. The democrats have been the nice guys in the last two elections and look what it got them. i no longer care about the high road. The stupid general public wants blood sport so i say let's give it to them. this is not new. negative ads and attacks have been around as long as elections have been around. It's kind of like being annoyed that Spencer gifts carries semi pornographic stuff. I don't like it but i ignore it and know when i'm being lied to. I knew that swift boat add was a load of crap but you could argue it WON the election last time. It's one of the reasons i support Clinton. If she has a little of Bill's teflon going on then maybe taht will be the difference. I wish it was different but I wish a lot of things and that aint gonna make them happen.

Maggie said...

LOL, Bob, everybody just calm down? Do you really think we're affecting the chances of a Democrat winning in November by discussing this on our little blog?

And yeah, this is the way I enjoy the ride. I'm spunky. :-)

Maggie said...

Sorry, your comment wasn't there when I wrote my last comment -- negative ads against other Democrats is different from negative ads against Republicans (which I'm not condoning, I'm just highlighting a difference, we're not talking about the race, we're talking about the primary), and negative ads against other Democrats that highlight how much the Republican candidate is better than both Democrats is downright fucking goddamn the stupidest fucking idea I have ever seen in my life -- the pundits on Sunday morning all said they thought it was McCain's ad until the end. I'm not the only one who thinks it's stupid. Fucking forgive my fucking french. I mean "freedom." ;-) That's the worst part. If she wants to be negative, yeah I think she's scummy now. If she wants to fear-monger, then I think she's dangerous. But fear-mongering in a way that makes McCain look better than both of them is fucking stupid and THAT'S what's going to lose the Democrats the race in November. That kind of stupid shit -- that's what I mean about her lack of judgment. And I think that's what Obama meant when he said she thought she had simply to fight. She just fights and doesn't apparently think about the consequences for a second.

Dr. Momentum said...

It's one of the most defensible reasons to choose Clinton, because of her strength as a fighter.

She is tenacious. Undeniably.

I'm not sure if being a fighter is enough of what this country needs.

Kerry didn't lose in 2004 because he was unwilling to fight. He lost because begin against Bush wasn't enough to win an election. People weren't excited enough to be *for* Kerry. Bush had the built-in cheering section of the evangelical Christians.

This time around it's possible that they won't make it to the polls for McCain. But a lot can happen between now and November with all the Republican strategists thinking of how to pull together their base, which has decades of built-in programming that draws them together against liberals.

Democrats need to be for their nominee, excited and motivated and not just against McCain.

Julie said...

The base alone isn't going to be enough for McCain. I'm trying to figure out how he can get the base AND moderates... I know Bush did it, but I think (hope) voters are a little wiser to that now after getting burned twice.

Mike said...

I would argue the opposite, that actually caring about politics for the first time in decades outweighs any aggravation I may feel about the particulars. I'll take that choice anytime.

Here's a relevant and eloquent passage by Roger Angell in the New Yorker. He wrote it about the 1975 World Series, of all things:

"It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitive as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look -- I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring -- caring deeply and passionately, really caring -- which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivete -- the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball -- seems a small price to pay for such a gift." (via)