Sunday, September 04, 2011

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

In today's must-read piece, Salon writer Matt Stoller makes the case against Obama and for an intra-party primary battle:
Obama has ruined the Democratic Party. The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you'd have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses. From 2008 to 2010, according to Gallup, the fastest growing demographic party label was former Democrat. Obama took over the party in 2008 with 36 percent of Americans considering themselves Democrats. Within just two years, that number had dropped to 31 percent, which tied a 22-year low.
If would be one thing if Obama were failing because he was too close to party orthodoxy. Yet his failures have come precisely because Obama has not listened to Democratic Party voters. He continued idiotic wars, bailed out banks, ignored luminaries like Paul Krugman, and generally did whatever he could to repudiate the New Deal. The Democratic Party should be the party of pay raises and homes, but under Obama it has become the party of pay cuts and foreclosures. Getting rid of Obama as the head of the party is the first step in reverting to form.
They're singing the song we've been singing since before this presidency began.

Can a fresh Democratic nominee win? I doubt it. But I have even stronger doubts that Obama can prevail. This much is certain: Whether Obama wins or loses in 2012, the Democratic party will fall by the wayside if it does not remake itself. The way to start that process is for true Dems to point to Obama and say: This man does not represent us.
As for many, the last few years have shattered my faith in the political process. Obama has basically endorsed every major plank of George Bush's administration, yet Democrats still grant their approval. What we're finding out is that Obama's pathologically pro-establishment and conflict-averse DNA was funded by party insiders and embraced by liberal constituency groups in 2008 for a reason.
This last comment by Stoller indicates that he too is wondering what the hell happened in 2008.

In that light, let's look at one Salon reader's reaction to Stoller:
I thought the left were the smart ones, immune to advertising and catchy meaningless memes. So gullible you were, so easily led astray. Now tell us again how intellectually superior liberals are.
2008 -- like 1968 -- is one of those years that will haunt the country forever. What hit us? One day (I suspect), we'll learn about some behind-the-scenes shit that may now seem hard to believe.

Oh -- and you'll also want to check out this Hillary-v-Obama poll in the Orange County Register. The reader comments are pretty interesting.

Speaking of history:
Stoller writes: "The 2010 wipeout was an electoral catastrophe so bad you'd have to go back to 1894 to find comparable losses."

In 2010, the Republicans gained 63 seats in the House. In 1912, the Democrats gained 61 seats. That, I think, is comparable.

Then again: Any election would be "comparable" to any other election. In fact, anything anywhere is comparable to anything else -- yes, apples are comparable to oranges. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I wish people would look up the meaning of the word "compare" -- and I wish writers would stop using the word "comparable" when they mean "similar."

Only Dejah Thoris of Mars is incomparable.
Only Dejah Thoris of Mars is incomparable.

And Bob Somerby
You would love Zizek. You are so ready for him. He will twist your head, make you laugh, and completely surprise you.

But you will have to leave your present dialectical analysis behind. But Zizek will convince you.

The Desert of the Real.

And there is no such thing as history anymore. History depends o a premise of linear development. continuity, dialetics, so down goes progress, Marxism.

Please you are so good. You are needed so badly.
I remember a comparable take on the Clinton record with regard to destroying the Democratic Party.

The Progressive Review's Sam Smith ran some compelling series of stat piece showing all that had happened, in terms of state houses flipping majority control from Democratic to Republican, Democratic office holders switching parties, and the like.

It was all true, even though I wrote him in dissent with several special pleadings to say Clinton wasn't all that. Remember, although the number of House seats lost was not as large, '94 saw the loss of both the House and the Senate majorities.

How much of that loss in 1994 can be laid on the House banking scandal and Newt Gingrich realizing its political advantage before and Democrat?

The losses in 2010 can be laid at Obama's feet.
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