Monday, August 25, 2008

Swing Voters

(Image Credit: Richard Crowson, The Wichita Eagle; H/T to Goose)

Read this, because Sean Wilentz is smarter than you are. His take-down of liberal intellectuals who "largely abdicated their responsibility to provide unblinking and rigorous analysis instead of paeans to Obama's image" should make you sit up straight no matter who you supported in the Dem primary.

Read this, because Melissa McEwan might help you understand why the selection of Joe Biden didn't exactly cause an outbreak of euphoria among Dems. Our favorite paragraph? This one, which we offer up to those who would drag us kicking and screaming to our unity ponies:
I also feel coming down the tracks more alienation from former allies because of it [the selection of Biden]. For months and months I have read rejections of Clinton because she supported the war, but I suspect that those making the argument will not now reject Obama because he put one of its cheerleaders on his ticket. For months and months I have read rejections of Clinton because she and/or her husband are racist, but I suspect those those making the argument will not now reject Obama because he put a man who says things like this or this or this or this, all within the last two years, on his ticket. For months and months I have read exhortations that I must vote for Obama because he will protect reproductive rights in a way McCain won't, but I suspect those who have beat me with that cudgel will not now reject Obama because he put on his ticket a man who does not support federal funding for abortion and supported the "partial-birth abortion" ban even without protections for the health/life of the mother.

And what of those who have chanted Obama's 100% NARAL rating like a mantra? Will they reject him now that he has asked to join his ticket a man with a 36% NARAL rating in 2003 and a 75% rating in 2007? Or will they come at last to their stubborn insistence that he's still better than McCain, even though that's not the debate...?
Read this, because it's important to ponder how Obama's candidacy and possible election might alter the politics of race in this country.

And then get back to work, you procrastinator! Don't you know Labor Day is one week from today? That syllabus is not going to write itself, for heaven's sake!

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:56 PM EDT

    But isn't the ultimate point that Obama won the primary, and the choice now is pretty clear. HRC isn't going to be on the ballot in November. Are you really going to vote for McCain, or not vote at all, which is really a vote for McCain?

    I'm sure the Republicans would love that, as they are clearly loving the wedge that this has provided them all along. Why focus on the merits of McCain as a candidate when you can fuel the flames of division among dems.

    I just don't get it. I'm not "drinking the kool aid" as so many HRC supporters like to claim, but I don't want another 4 years of a Republican in the White House.

    Is Obama really that offensive to you? I hear he's pretty free with the chew toys.

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  2. Dogs don't get to vote, Anonymous, but the humans here in Roxie's World have made it clear they will not vote for John McCain. The moms have actively campaigned for every Democratic presidential ticket since Mondale-Ferraro, who were running the first autumn they were together in 1984, so they will brook no questioning of their commitment to the party. What has offended them in this bitter political season is less the behavior of the candidate than the behavior of that party, which manipulated the rules to benefit one candidate over another and kept silent while the national media were viciously attacking a Democrat who has served this country with integrity and intelligence. That party has now joined forces behind a ticket comprised of two centrists with contradictory positions on the war and ambiguous records on reproductive rights. Forgive us for being underwhelmed, uninspired, and, yes, in some respects, offended.

    We will continue to raise questions, to make criticisms, to point out that, aside from the truly amazing prospect of a black family moving into the White House, the "changes" being promised in this election look incremental at best. We do so as loyal Democrats, and whatever we decide to do on Nov. 4, we will do it as loyal Democrats. Our party has always valued skepticism, dissensus, and struggle. We won't be browbeaten into silence, and we won't accept responsibility for defeat if the party continues to marginalize the concerns of 18 million voters.

    We reserve the right to take time to make up our minds. Is that really all that offensive to you?

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  3. Anonymous12:19 AM EDT

    With all due respect, there is a difference between mulling over issues and openly questioning the ability of a candidate. I guess I wish, like you, I could put my feminist principles first (and I say this with a full-size cut-out of HRC in my daughter's bedroom) but I cannot afford the luxury of time. Even if the change brought by the current nominee isn't as great as that promised by his earlier opponent, I'm worried about basic issues. I can't afford my commute to work, my retirement is in the toilet, and my employer is facing major cutbacks, which would affect my ability to feed my child. Not to mention the prospect of McCain "tax cuts", which would hurt even more. My home, thank god, is not in foreclosure, but with grocery prices rising, its been increasingly difficult to come up with the payment.

    I envy those of you who can take the time to "make up your minds". But I do take offense at those who claim to be committed Democrats who do anything that might help a Republican get elected. And since we are, unfortunately, a two-party system, questioning the credentials of one ultimately helps the other.

    I'm not trying to criticize, I'm just dreading the election of another Republican, and when smart, lifelong Dems like yourselves indicate that you are on the fence, it worries me about my future, not Barack Obama's or Hillary Clinton's. For what its worth...

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  4. We promise to vote for Obama if you'll send us a pic of the full-size cut-out of HRC in your daughter's room. Deal?

    Seriously, Anon, we appreciate your position, though we can't accept the opposition you set up between feminist principles and basic issues in the comment above. Those two things are linked, not opposed or in conflict, in our minds.

    Here's the thing. We live in a cobalt-blue state that is going to go for Obama no matter what a couple of cranky middle-aged broads decide to do or not do on Nov. 4, so it's not so much the luxury of time as the comfort of location that we enjoy. Most of the readers of this blog have made up their minds to support the Democratic ticket, and we respect their decisions. We are flattered by the suggestion that a quirky dog blog that gets fewer hits in a week than Bitch PhD gets before breakfast every day will somehow swing the outcome of the election. We think it would be great if the Obama campaign and the Democratic party were reading us and really grappling with the deep disconnect core constituencies are feeling from the campaign unfolding. We have not really questioned Senator Obama's abilities, though we have questioned his experience and preparedness for the office. We have come increasingly to question his electability, however, because, once again, we have a Democratic candidate who seems unable to counter the ludicrous Republican charge that he is aloof, out of touch, and chomping at the bit to raise taxes. We could all close our eyes, put our fingers in our ears, and pretend that it isn't so in the name of party unity, but we're thinking that strategy didn't serve Democrats all that well in 1988, 2000, and 2004, so we plan to keep on yapping if it's all the same to you.

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  5. historiann10:59 PM EDT

    Am watching HRC right now--she's almost talking me into voting for Obama. She is good, and is doing it with a nice shout-out to the Denver Broncos with her choice of wardrobe against the blue backdrop...

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  6. Had not picked up on the Broncos tribute, Historiann -- but we heard all the lines directed at us: sitting on the sidelines, "were you in this for me or for them?", etc.

    We were listening. At least one of us is thinking. But one of us is a stubborn Irish Taurus who is loath to abandon a position once she has taken it.

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