I had a revelation in the shower this morning, after reading yet another abusive superdelegate e-mail over at Cannonfire. To get right to the point, I think Democrats are playing extreme offense. By extreme offense I mean I think they are dropping the “soft” part of their base, keeping the bully-faction, and going after the Republican bully-faction. It’s the only thing that makes sense. I suspect they want to gut the Democratic and Republican parties both, purge on one end, all gluttony on the other. They want to change the game entirely by trading players and points. What else explains their outrageous actions both during the campaign season and since? What else can possibly explain the treatment of every day voters at the hands superdelegates via these e-mails? Have you ever heard of such a thing yourself? Of any politician or Party employee actually thinking it’s a good idea to say things like these:
Donna Brazile: “Stop the hate. Not sure if you know, but we are keeping copies of all these emails in the archives. Yes, you are not going to get away with pretending to be for Hillary. She is a leader of the Dem party.”
Former DNC chair Don Fowler: “I must confess a bit of fatigue and irritation with people who continue to carp, complain, and criticize the results of the primary and lay down conditions for their support. The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t establish conditions to recognize the Boston Celtics as NBA Champions; Roger Federer did not demand concessions before recognizing that Rafael Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon.
California DNCer Garry Shay: “The racist bullsh**I have gotten from my fellow Clinton supporters has been enough to make me puke. You have a choice. No one would be forcing you. It is a choice. A choice you will have to live with. 100 years in Iraq if McCain gets elected. Thousands more dead American Soldiers.”
WA Democratic Chairman Dwight Pelz: “Man, you have to chill. Try tennis.”
CA superdelegate Steven Ybarra: “Good for you, when the fascists come in the middle of the night to take you to a concentration camp, remember how you voted. Take me off your whiner list . . .then tell them to stop calling me telling me that they are going to vote for mccain. i am would rather vote for a rabid dog than any Fascist republican like mccain. read the declaration of independence.”
DNCer Ben Johnson: “When God was giving out brains…you thought he said trains…and you missed yours. Who gives a croc what you do, its your business fool.”
AZ superdelegate Carolyn Warner: “GOD WILL GUIDE THE HAND OF JUDGMENT THAT WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN! Do not email us again. Thank you.”
No professional in their right mind would ever think it was appropriate to respond to concerns from the field in this manner. If the DNC were a company, either public or private, each of these people would be out of job as soon as those e-mails came to light. And they have come to light, and have even been published on Politico. The only way any professional person would ever send anything like these responses is if their boss told them the point of contact’s business didn’t matter, and to get rid of them as soon as possible. Which brings me to the next part of my revelation.
Do you remember this from that New Yorker article that no one ever read, because everyone was too busy talking about the cover?
One day in the spring of 2001, about a year after the loss to Rush, Obama walked into the Stratton Office Building, in Springfield, a shabby nineteen-fifties government workspace for state officials next to the regal state capitol. He went upstairs to a room that Democrats in Springfield called “the inner sanctum.” Only about ten Democratic staffers had access; entry required an elaborate ritual-fingerprint scanners and codes punched into a keypad. The room was large, and unremarkable except for an enormous printer and an array of computers with big double monitors. On the screens that spring day were detailed maps of Chicago, and Obama and a Democratic consultant named John Corrigan sat in front of a terminal to draw Obama a new district. Corrigan was the Democrat in charge of drawing all Chicago districts, and he also happened to have volunteered for Obama in the campaign against Rush.
Obama’s former district had been drawn by Republicans after the 1990 census. But, after 2000, Illinois Democrats won the right to redistrict the state. Partisan redistricting remains common in American politics, and, while it outrages a losing party, it has so far survived every legal challenge. In the new century, mapping technology has become so precise and the available demographic data so rich that politicians are able to choose the kinds of voter they want to represent, right down to individual homes. A close look at the post-2000 congressional map of Bobby Rush’s district reveals that it tears through Hyde Park in a curious series of irregular turns. One of those lines bypasses Obama’s address by two blocks. Rush, or someone looking out for his interests, had carved the upstart Obama out of Rush’s congressional district.
In truth, Rush had little to worry about; Obama was already on a different political path. Like every other Democratic legislator who entered the inner sanctum, Obama began working on his “ideal map.” Corrigan remembers two things about the district that he and Obama drew. First, it retained Obama’s Hyde Park base-he had managed to beat Rush in Hyde Park-then swooped upward along the lakefront and toward downtown. By the end of the final redistricting process, his new district bore little resemblance to his old one. Rather than jutting far to the west, like a long thin dagger, into a swath of poor black neighborhoods of bungalow homes, Obama’s map now shot north, encompassing about half of the Loop, whose southern portion was beginning to be transformed by developers like Tony Rezko, and stretched far up Michigan Avenue and into the Gold Coast, covering much of the city’s economic heart, its main retail thoroughfares, and its finest museums, parks, skyscrapers, and lakefront apartment buildings. African-Americans still were a majority, and the map contained some of the poorest sections of Chicago, but Obama’s new district was wealthier, whiter, more Jewish, less blue-collar, and better educated. It also included one of the highest concentrations of Republicans in Chicago.
“It was a radical change,” Corrigan said. The new district was a natural fit for the candidate that Obama was in the process of becoming. “He saw that when we were doing fund-raisers in the Rush campaign his appeal to, quite frankly, young white professionals was dramatic.”
All bolding mine.
What if this same thing were being done with Democratic Party politics? What if Obama had convinced a small number of insiders starting with the most easily corrupted, like, say, nearly all of our Democratic Senators, to redesign the game? Just like they did with this gerry-mandered map. Say they reasoned that they kept losing, so the best chance to win would be to take some players from the other side, eating into their numbers, at the same time they demoralized factions within the Democratic Party they saw as unnecessary or uncooperative? This would definitely include women’s groups.
To bring another thread in, this also goes along with Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong’s book Crashing the Gate. I refer you to chapter 2, This Ain’t No Party:
The Democratic Party for too long has been a group of constituencies instead of a party. ~Howard Dean, June 4, 2005
Yes, that Howard Dean, the head of the DNC. That’s how the chapter opens, and then it goes on to bemoan the fact that the Democratic Party is a “gaggle of special and narrow interests, often in conflict with each other, rarely working in concert to advance their common cause.” This rhetoric ignores entirely the purpose of the Democratic Party, which is to unite the powerless against the powerful. Of course it’s a gaggle of interests groups. But what Kos and Jerome are actually arguing here is against accountability. They are complaining that elected Democrats have to be beholden to Democratic voters, who are interested in issues. This is different than the appeal of Republicans, which is focused on so-called character. Of course, Republicans have to rely on cults of personality, because they can’t run on issues, as their rhetoric deliberately obfuscates issues to disguise the fact that they perform so badly on them. This is the refreshing–and make no mistake, now threatened–difference between Democrats and Republicans.
But it won’t be if these folks have their way. The second chapter of Crashing the Gate goes on to name the constituencies, and the so-called problems with each one of them. What they all have in common, of course, is that they demand accountability to their cause. But Markos and Jerome argue that these groups should just “get over it” already, and accept the fact that we have to have pro-life Democrats, that we have to have blue dogs, and Bush dogs. They argue that these kinds of Democrats can be disciplined in caucus into voting Democratic, so the only thing that matters if the -D after their name. It is that last argument that reveals their true authoritarian inclinations. Rather than finding people to elect as Democrats who have actual Democratic values, they’ll elect anyone who claims to be a Democrat and then try to force them into agreement. Of course what they are really doing here is promising out of both sides of their mouths, both to the candidates and the voters. And the result is their personal enrichment.
This kind of politicking plays right into my extreme offense theory. Take out a bunch of the Republican side via conversion (which leads to a direct reduction of their numbers), while purging the factions within in your own group that will hold you accountable and prove unsavory to the new converts. Don’t women’s groups fit this bill to a T?
So do gays and poor black men, both of which the Obama camp has thrown under the bus. And why wouldn’t they, if these are their values? Winning over ethics, purging for personal gain, cronyism. Those are their values. And gays are, what, 3, maybe 4% of Democratic voters? Poor black men, well, that’s what all of this rhetoric about “black fathers” is all about. What Obama means by “black fathers” is poor black men, who are often fathers because of their lack of access to both education and birth control, and who are also, co-incidentally, often disenfranchised via criminal records. It’s sick, because it’s using the racism of the system against people of his own race, but then black leaders taking advantage of regular black folks is nothing new at all.
This would also explain some otherwise inexplicable decisions, like going after evangelicals. Or selecting a Republican VP, having Republicans in his cabinet, and his naked appeals to them throughout the campaign, (hos whole career, actually) etc. It also explains the constant attempts to provoke more Clinton Derangement Syndrome. The Clinton’s can have no part in extreme offense, for they are Democrats with actual Democratic values, and they would object. And people might listen to them.
Extreme offense is what Republicans did to Democrats in 1980, for the record. It’s the reason for the term Reagan Democrats. But as Anglachel has pointed out, it wasn’t working class folks so much as middle class and upper middle class folks who migrated. Sound familiar? Doesn’t it look just like the Obama campaign is taking out the trash? I suspect they think they are with this little gambit. Extreme offense is new right now, an unproven theory, on the left anyway. All it needs is one big win, like Obama and the presidency, and it will be validated. That’s why this fight is so imperative. I think it’s also why we are getting such abuse from powerful Democrats, and why we are constantly feeling outraged every time they cross another line. That’s exactly what they want.