Riverdaughter of the Confluence has an excellent post up today. She links, in turn, to pieces by Paul Krugman
and Ian Welsh
. All four writers sound variations of the same theme: Obama has wounded -- is wounding, will continue to wound -- the Democratic base. Enough is enough. A primary challenge is mandatory.
I disagree with Riverdaughter on this point:
Because, like it or not, there is only one person *at the present time* who can take on Obama and win. Even if you are still suffering from CDS psychosis, I urge Obots for the sake of UNITY to join with us and push back.
The reference goes to Hillary, of course. Alas, she will be -- perhaps already is -- too tainted by her links to this administration.
The "Obama as socialist" canard, though utterly insane, has penetrated the American psyche. Any primary challenger who hopes to prevail in the general must therefore package herself or himself as a new
Democrat, as an anti-Obama Democrat -- as, God help us, an anti-socialist Democrat.
Hillary can't do that. She reeks of Obama's funk.
Then there's the damage to Hillary's reputation wrought by the Wikileaks data dump -- which, by the by, has not yet run its course.
No, it won't be her. Sorry. Who, then?
Two obvious names come to mind: Al Gore and Wesley Clark.
Al Gore, sorry to say, has been tainted by allegations of sexual misconduct. The "massage groping" claim may have some validity, and will likely injure his appeal to female voters -- especially if he were to run against a female Republican nominee. There is some talk that his marriage ended due to an affair with another woman. I don't know if the story is accurate and I don't really care. But after the John Edwards imbroglio, who wants to revisit such tawdry territory?
Clark is not my favorite candidate. And he's not a young man. A lingering rumor holds that he had some link to the planning of the Waco siege. Although I have seen no evidence for this claim, any sudden disclosures along these lines could do serious political harm.
Aside from that, he has many points in his favor. First: He's a military man from the south. Although he won't win any states down in Dixie, his military background will blunt the enthusiasm of all but the craziest teabaggers. He opposed the Iraq war. He is pro-choice. He's pretty good on the environment. He has been consistent in his opposition to a strike against Iran.
Before we go any further, let us savor an historical irony: In 2004, Joe Lieberman said that Clark's decision to register as a Democrat was due to "political convenience, not conviction."Joe Lieberman
said that. Joe Lieberman, ladies and gentlemen.
Clark may not have the ability to hypnotize the Kos krazies the way Obama did -- women won't swoon at his rallies -- but he's one Democrat with built-in protection against the "socialist" smear. The word just won't stick.
Outside of these two obvious choice, what possibilities do we see?
Well, there's Howard Dean. My main problem with Dean is that he still reeks of Moulitsas.
Evan Bayh is unnervingly hawkish on Iran. His sudden decision not to seek a third term in the Senate (despite oodles of money and a lead in the polls) led to speculation about a skeletonized closet. His last-minute decision to drop out made it impossible for any other Democrat to get on the primary ballot. This move cannot have endeared him to the party.
One outsider worth considering is Peter DeFazio of Oregon
. He opposed TARP. He opposed the stimulus bill. He was the first Democrat to call for the firing of Larry Summers and Tim Geithner. He is a strong opponent of free trade agreements.
All of this means that he can position himself as the UnObama. He has taken positions pleasing to the party base -- yet his voting record instantly disarms tea-stained attackers. In fact, he has railed against what he calls "corporate socialism," which is the sort of rhetoric that could impress certain factions within the teabagger movement.
DeFazio opposed the Iraq invasion. He offers serious opposition to free trade agreements such as NAFTA. He did honorable military service. He is "reasonably religious." He opposes gun control. He comes from a "purple" state, not a true-blue one -- a largely rural state populated by guys who hunt, drink good beer and wear plaid flannel shirts.
The vote against the stimulus bill may play out in odd ways, because the bill as it exists in the public imagination differs from the actual legislation. Incessant tea party propaganda has convinced much of the populace that the stim bill was somehow "Marxist." In fact, it was largely a matter of tax cuts to individuals and
corporations. Almost nothing in that bill went to jobs creation; an insufficient $100 million went to infrastructure.
DeFazio opposed the legislation because he felt that cutting taxes at a time of falling revenue would worsen the deficit. Which it did. Thus, the fact that he voted against the bill may play well with the right, while his reason
for that vote may play well with the left.
As I wrote earlier:
No-other left-wing Democrat -- not even Kucinich -- has so consistently and loudly opposed Obama's economic mismanagement. In 2012, many disillusioned progressives who had once backed Obama will thank all of heaven's angels that Peter DeFazio has compiled such a principled resume.
His major problem is one of image: He is not a stirring speaker, and he looks like he should be playing a grocery clerk in a '60s sitcom. (His face could benefit from a beard. Something Sebastian Cabot-ish.)
In many other ways, however, he's a good choice. I think that this could be the guy.