I planned to write about Politburo tactics, self-annointed patrollers and policers here on dailykos - I think it has become a terrible problem and has severely limited and lowered the discourse - and then I read about the shooting in Illinois.
These shootings are becoming alarmingly and freighteningly frequent - isn't this the second one in about two weeks? While these shooters are obvioulsy deranged, I can't help but think that the shootings are somehow related to the volatile, tense climate in the country right now, and to our increasingly violent culture.
There are so many factors, too many to list. Some, to start: reality shows in which we watch people be denigrated, publicly humilitated, dehumanized, "pimped out;" the celebrity media, which hounds people like dogs on a hunt; the internet, where a mob mentality has taken hold, as Lee Siegel argues in his recent book Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob - and that includes this site, where the discourse is no longer about politics at all, but rather about "trolls" and "sockpuppets" and "snark" and the like, and where people are bullied, hounded, ridiculed, and humiliated for offering informed opinion.
I was a cynic. I was a skeptic. I did not believe. I had no hope. I felt hopeless, empty inside. I said no, I can't.
I didn't have a "we." I didn't have a "he." I wanted to be saved.
I went to Barack's website, as instructed.
I saw the logo, that hypnotic little red white and blue sunrise sphere, and the flowing red and white - just like the parting of the Red Sea - and next to it the picture of Barack, heroic, his vista-view gaze, mouth agape, as if being called. Hear me Barack I want to be saved! And he heard me, and he answered, "I'm asking you to believe." And I started to believe. "I'm asking you to believe in you." And I started to believe in the belief in me. I believed I could change. I believed in change.
I wanted to get involved and sign up for updates. I wanted to Donate Now. I wanted to Make A Difference. I wanted to Find Events. I wanted to Make Calls.
I kept looking at the logo and thinking of the parting of the Red Sea.
I realized it wasn't about my "I." Baracking back from February 5th 2008, I heard: "We are the change we have been waiting for." Yes, it made perfect sense to me.
Expose in the NYTimes Tuesday morning chronicles the Obama campaign's playing racial politics from before he even announced his entry into the race.
Aides to Mr. Obama, who asked not to be identified because the campaign would not authorize them to speak to the press, said he stayed away from a civil rights demonstration and did not publicize visits to black churches when he was struggling to win over white voters in Iowa. Then, a month after Representative John Lewis of Georgia endorsed Mrs. Clinton, setting off concerns about black voters’ ambivalence toward Mr. Obama, the campaign deployed his wife, Michelle, whose upbringing on the South Side of Chicago was more familiar to many blacks than Mr. Obama’s biracial background.
This is just one example of many that come from deep inside the campaign.
Link, more excerpts and analysis after the flip.
The rage I felt at Frank Rich last night has subsided, although his column was filled with lies and libel, since trustworthy Paul Krugman has come to the rescue! He doesn't strap Obama onto the rack and twist and turn the way Rich did Hillary, but in even better fashion he puts things in perspective. And where Rich was foaming at the mouth and filled with hate, Krugman is sane, reasoned, adult - which makes sense since he appears to be supporting Hillary.
About Hillary and Barack he says this, the first best line from the piece:
Both have progressive agendas (although I believe that Hillary Clinton is more serious about achieving universal health care, and that Barack Obama has staked out positions that will undermine his own efforts).
Thank you, Paul!
But the best part is here:
Supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod.
Why, then, is there so much venom out there?
I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality.
I've had it with Frank Rich. He was my favorite columnist. But in this atmosphere of the democrat's supposed "civil war" he has taken a highly partisan position, and in the last few weeks has been spewing anti-Clinton pro-Obama propaganda, "cherry-picking" his figures and parsing the "intelligence." This Sunday's column is no exception.
It isn't surprising that while a whole host of smart columnists are writing about the descent of the Obama campaign into a "cult of personality," led by the candidate himself and his wife, who warned America that it is now or never and who has bascially intimitated that she won't work for the eventual nominee, and followed by unthinking and easily excitable minions quickly becoming known as Obamatrons or Obamabots - Rich chose to write about Hillary's national town hall meeting the night before the super Tuesday elections, which he calls "boring" and "anachronistic," while slandering her as a racist, bigoted liar.
So I am done with Frank Rich.
More after the flip.
Yesterday on GMA, when asked if she had a candidate, Cher said that voting for Hillary is "a no brainer." She then told the story of how she dined at the White House the first week of Jimmy Carter's presidency, says "here was a man who was a saint" who had all these great ideas, and how they cut him off at the knees because of his inexperience. Say what you will, but as we all know Cher has been around FOREVER! and she knows what she's talking about!
Seriously, though, there is a reason why women over 60 support Hillary in droves: because they are hands down the most progressive and most loyal voting bloc there is. That is a fact. I love how for Cher its just not even a question worth a second thought!
This is so much bigger than Oprah, if you ask me.
You may remember Cher called into C-Span in May 2006 to decry Bush over lack of proper bodyarmor, and she's spent the last three years visiting American soldiers at US army hospitals around the world. She's donated hundreds of thousands to get soldiers the armor they need. She's been a major activist the last few years.
In other news, David Brooks, who I hate, wrote his best column to date about the "retail politics" of the democratic primary.
Links to Cher video, Brooks article with analysis, AND Cher's May 2006 C-SPAN call.
Yesterday, the NYTimes editorial took Barack, Michelle, and the Obama campaign to task for sowing the seeds of division while campaiging on a theme of unity. Whether you agree or not, it was extraordinary to see this in print:
Having run on the idea of broad participation across society’s divisions, Mr. Obama’s campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality — a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel. In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” on Monday, Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. “I’d have to think about that,” she replied.
Mrs. Obama quickly got back on her talking points, stressing party unity. But her unguarded answer was similar to what we heard from Obama supporters in e-mail messages that we received after endorsing Mrs. Clinton.
We've heard a lot about "identity poltiics" in this campaign, but the editorial got me thinking about the politics of personality, "cults of personality" more generally, and the (un)importance of history in this election cycle - ragerding Hillary more so than Barack.
More after the flip, with videos of Hillary from the '90s.
There was a great interview with Joe Trippi, Edwards' campaign manager, in The New Republic on Monday. Now, no one can accuse Trippi of being a shill for Hillary, but he had some fascinating things to say about the state of the race after the LA debate and going into super Tuesday. In the aftermath, a lot of what he said proved to hold water. He predicted, for instance, that Hillary would take on the mantle of change and go positive, while Obama would be forced to go negative - which is exactly what happened in the days leading up to last night.
Here's how trippi saw it:
One of the reasons Obama has to be worried about the California debate is that suddenly there's a celebration going on about how no matter who wins the Democratic nomination, there's going to be big change. Who the hell's spinning that?... That's a huge danger for Barack Obama... The Clinton campaign understands that. That's why they're being so, as they always are, so damn efficient. Everyone understands now that, no matter who wins, it's big change. The Obama campaign let that stand. All the way through the California debate, he never challenged her, never said she was status quo.
Link, excerpts, analysis of the interiview and of last night after the flip.
As the results pour in, take some time to read this EXTRAORDINARY essay about Hillary and everything she symbolizes by Robin Morgan, author of the book The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism (1989).
In the essay, "Goodbye to All That (#2)," Morgan says goodbye to all of the socio-cultural crap and detritus - to put it frankly - that has been heaped onto Hillary over the years and in this election. It is a HILLARY MANIFESTO! A declaration of indepedence from the male-centered media gaze and the psycho-sexual lens through which the media view her.
Goodbye to her being exploited as a Rorschach test by women who reduce her to a blank screen on which they project their own fears, failures, fantasies.
Goodbye to the phrase “polarizing figure” to describe someone who embodies the transitions women have made in the last century and are poised to make in this one.
More excerpts and analysis after the flip.
AMAZING Op-Ed by Erica Jong in today's Washington Post making the case for Hillary's candidacy from a "feminist" viewpoint. Jong has been a bit of a shill on The Huffington Post, but the op-ed has an entirely different tone, passionate and wistful at the same time, something only a novelist or poet could do.
Sleazy Bill Kristol gave Jong a gift on Sunday when he said: "White women are a problem, you know. We all live with that." And that is how she starts:
Bill Kristol has been much criticized for his war mongering, arrogance, poor writing and lack of fact checking. But at least the guy is honest. He considers women a problem -- especially white women. And he feels confident enough as an alpha male to be open about it. "I shouldn't have said that," he demurred. But he can say anything he likes and still fall eternally upward. He's a white man, lord of all he surveys -- including Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She uses that as a means to review her own - and at the same time our national - relationship with Hillary over the past 16 years, thereby showing how truly transformational a figure Hillary has been and will be as president.
Linik, excerpts, and anaylsis after the flip - WITH some comic relief from Roseanne!
Fascinating investigative piece in Sunday's NYTimes about Obama's dealings with the Exelon Corporation.
It details Obama's backsliding on important legislation in the Senate that would have regulated the way in which nuclear power plant owners disclose radioactive leaks. Not only did he backslide so that it ultimately favored the plant owners, the top executives at the company that was being targeted are now the biggest contributors to his campaign:
Two top Exelon officials, Frank M. Clark, executive vice president, and John W. Rogers Jr., a director, are among his largest fund-raisers.
This is not a hit diary. This is reporting from the NY Times:
A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story [than the one he tells on the campaign trail]. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks.
Link to article, excerpts, and analysis after the flip.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN DISCUSSING HILLARY'S RECORD ON IRAQ IN A SERIOUS AND INFORMED WAY
read her interview, in full, with the NY Times from March 15, 2007 and get back to me
Here is the link: Transcript of Interview With Senator Clinton
One of the things she addresses in greath length in the interview is the HUMANITARIAN CRiSIS - AND POSSIBLE COMING GENOCIDE - in Iraq as a result of American withdrawal. This is, naturally, not something she takes lightly and the answers she gives in the interview are sobering, tragic. Her assesment is wide-eyed and realistic.
Excerpt and analysis after the flip.