The Atrios headline, "The Audacity of Homophobia", is scathingly funny. But this observation is even better:
One thing you learn very quickly when you blog is that no matter how smart and knowledgeable you are (or imagine yourself to be), some of your readers are going to be smarter than you and literally every one of your readers knows more than you do about something. It's humbling at first, but then quite liberating. The "shut the hell up I know best" stuff is what grates me the most about politicians and other elites in our system because the truth is that quite often... they don't.
That certainly applies with Obama's condescending attitude that anyone who attacks him on this is "hermetically sealed from the faith community". Is he really saying that 1) fighting for a tolerant "faith community" is impossible because 2) it is vehemently, inherently, and un-redeemably homophobic? I know for a fact the latter point is not true, so this truly looks like a big STFU for a politician who suddenly doesn't like the second-guessing of his actions.
This is truly an epic flameout by the Obama campaign, engaged in actions that are completely indefensible. Those of you who continue to try and rationalize it -- would you be making the same exculpatory arguments if it was George W. Bush doing the things Obama is doing right now? Or one of the rival campaigns? Somehow, I doubt the vast majority of you would.
Obama isn't the be-all savior for what ails our country. No one is. If there's a message I thought we were successfully delivering in the netroots is that it was up to US to move this country in the right direction since we couldn't depend on our so-called "leaders". This sort of hero worship of several of our candidates (Edwards, Obama, and even Hillary) is somewhat creepy to begin with, but serves little more than to set up the inevitable disappointment.
And when your hero turns out to be not so perfect after all, clinging to that fiction can't possibly reflect well on you. Understand that these candidates are all human, thus imperfect. Understand that they have free will, thus will do things you will disagree with. And that's okay. Politics is about weighing the good and the bad and going with the best we have. There is no such thing as "perfect" in this biz.
Feel free to rationalize every stupid thing your candidate does, but don't expect the rest of us to go along with it. All of the Democrats have done stupid things and smart things. I mean, Chris Dodd announced his candidacy on Don Imus, for chrissakes. And yes, when they do those stupid things, some of us will be right there talking about how stupid those things are.
We're not Republicans, "carrying water" for their leaders and keeping their mouths shut as they drag the nation into the gutter. And we certainly shouldn't be like the 24% dead-enders, who still cling to Bush despite all evidence of him being the worst president in our nation's history.
Obama and his campaign have had a bad week. The worst I have seen from any candidate this presidential cycle. A candidate whose entire rationale for running was to elevate the discourse, unite our country, and end the politics of division has just been exposed as cynical and clueless, embracing some of the worst hatred and divisiveness in our society today.
And at a time when he's trying to make an issue of Hillary's "judgment" on Iraq and now Iran, he's shown little judgment in pretending that a rabidly anti-gay gospel singer wouldn't use his microphone on the big stage (with the national media paying attention) to, well, spread his rabidly anti-gay gospel.
And it's only going to get worse.
In another jab at his chief rival, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says in an ad released Sunday that the country needs an honest dialogue about Social Security in order to fix the system.
"If we have failed to have a real, honest conversation about Social Security, it will not get fixed," Obama says in the ad.
We spent most of 2005 fighting the Bush administration and its minions in Congress on this very issue, and battled the media and the politicians on this very frame. There is no social security crisis that must be "fixed". Sure, the system could be improved to be less regressive, but what the hell is Obama doing using scare-mongering language on social security? As Josh says:
If Obama is hoping for an issue to gain traction with vis a vis Hillary, he's really muffed it picking Social Security. In itself the idea of removing or significantly restructuring the 'cap' on payroll taxes is a good one, at least one with a lot to recommend it. The current approach (though one with a long history and embraced by many strong Social Security advocates) makes the funding structure of Social Security highly regressive. But what Obama is doing is buying into the false idea that Social Security is in some sort of crisis.
If you're an outsider to this debate -- a Republican, someone who doesn't care much about the program or a privatizer -- that argument may not make sense to you on the merits. But it is what most Democrats who care most about this issue do think. So it puts him on the wrong side of the people whose support he's trying to garner. As I said, this is setting aside the substance of the issue, which I've written about in the past at some length. The politics of it is completely upside down.
Not a good week for Obama, and it's only Monday. His b.s. about bringing American together is clearly just b.s. His judgment is seriously in question. And now, on a major policy issue, he appears to be adopting right-wing rhetoric.
It's a real train wreck.
Unfortunately, the more he stumbles, the bigger the Clinton blowout could be. Her juggernaut advances steadily while her opponents flail. We truly are losing a real choice this primary season, and that's not a good thing.
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