Thursday, December 01, 2011

"O must GO!": Is such a movement even possible?

The "Hillary for VP" post below -- it's really an "Obama must go" post -- evinced some pretty strong responses, both public and private. Now I'm thinking: Is it possible? Can we really allow ourselves to think this way?

We would have all of one month, maybe a little more, to do it -- to mount a "Dump Obama" movement within the Democratic party.

The tipping point for me was this story about former Democratic congressman Charlie Wilson of Ohio (no relation to the guy who inspired the movie Charlie Wilson's War). He's trying for a comeback. His opponent is the man who bested him in 2010, Republican Bill Johnson.

What startled me was his method of attack: Wilson, the Democrat, attacked Johnson, the Republican, for supporting Barack Obama. The support concerned the issue of free trade. (Obama's under-discussed policies in that area will, in the end, do far more harm to this country than will the alleged political sins that Republicans prefer to talk about.)
"I am disappointed that Congressman Johnson supported President Obama's free trade agenda this year. These agreements will ship even more of our jobs overseas," Wilson told WTRF-TV.
In conservative-leaning districts like Johnson's, Democrats will have to increasingly distance themselves from the president if they want a chance to win. We've started to see that with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., retiring Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Calif, and a handful of other Democratic elected officeholders. But expect that trickle to become a stream if the president's approval ratings don't tick upwards.
They won't tick upward. The economy will likely get worse -- soon -- due to the strains in the Eurozone. Obama simply cannot win. Whether you like or dislike him is immaterial: He can't win.

(Romney and Obama are statistically tied in the polls -- but those polls don't take into account the strange dynamics of the electoral college, which gives an advantage to the red states. Romney's numbers will rise once the party makes a firm decision that he's the guy.)

And yet the Republicans have become so unbelievably vile that this country cannot reward them with control of the House, the Senate and the White House -- an outcome which now seems likely. In the comments section of the afore-linked story, one reader notes that Wilson's opponent, Congressman Johnson, went on a right-wing talk show and claimed -- insanely -- that Democrats are "not only hostile to the Christian faith, they’re hostile to America, period." (Other readers supported Johnson's absurdity.) That's but one example; one could cite a million more.

A form of political rabies has infected the GOP. The choice between Democrat and Republican has become a choice between a bad dog and a mad dog.

At this time, we can improve this situation only if we insist on a new top dog.

I propose a sudden, serious "O must GO!" movement.

Even if it fails, as it very well might, an attack on Obama from the left would help to rewrite this country's political narrative. Right now, the Republicans want the country to believe that Obama's alleged "socialism" has alienated the public. We must undo that bizarre ideological framing. Creating a new narrative is even more important than is making sure that Barack Obama does not have another four years to sully the Democratic brand name.

So I'm asking readers for ideas:

How can we convince the Democratic leadership to call on Barack Obama to step down from the 2012 race?

I want practical suggestions; further complaints about Obama's failed presidency are unnecessary (though understandable). We really need to find a way to bell this cat. So far, here's what I can come up with:

1. We need a mailing list. A BIG one. Right now, I know nothing about compiling such a thing. Do you?

2. We need an "O must GO!" web site.

3. We need a presence at Occupy Wall Street protests. The two movements -- "O must GO" and OWS -- cannot and should not become too closely linked: There will always be OWSers who still support this president, and there will be anti-Obama Dems who believe the propaganda about "smelly hippies." (For example, I imagine that quite a few Dems in Charlie Wilson's neck of the woods think that way.) Still, some linkage would certainly be helpful.

4. This must be a movement -- a rebellion, if you will -- within the Democratic party. All third party fantasists will only alienate the party movers-and-shakers whom we are trying to reach. If all you want to do is bellyache about how much you hate Democrats ("They're all in the pay of Wall Street!"), don't bother commenting at all. This is no place for you.

5. This must NOT be a "Draft Hillary" movement. Sorry, but many foolish Dems still despise the Clintons; the stench of the 2008 propaganda campaign lingers. Right now, the movement must be identified as anti-Obama, not pro-SomebodyElse.

That said, Hillary supporters will understand that she can have a chance to step in only if Obama does the same honorable thing that LBJ did. The Dems can't win without the working class in places like Pennsylvania; right now they hate Obama and love Hillary.

6. Unpleasant thought: We would have to make nice with the Kos Kids and the D.U. crowd, even though they will never apologize for their abominable behavior in 2008. Yes, they screwed up royally -- but by this point, most of them have seen Obama for what he truly is.

You don't form a movement by turning people away at the door.
At an Occupy event, an Obama supporter admitted to me that she and her boyfriend realize now that I had been right about Zero.

I think we're already in move-together-forward mode and I have dumped the diehards who don't recognize this opportunity...and you are correct, Joseph, in that this move is necessary in order to seize the political narrative! We need a challenge on the left in order to do that....we need a full Dem primary.

Whether or not Zero gets it that he needs to step down, we need Dems in this race in order to reframe the issues. Hillary is the obvious choice, but that is end-game, not the rallying cry.
"All third party fantasists will only alienate the party movers-and-shakers whom we are trying to reach."

Use the third party meme as a wedge issue: "If you continue to abandon your core constituency - the middle and working class - as you did in 2008, what choice do you give that constituency but to look to a third party. If you want to win in 2012, you must get Obama to step down and select a candidate who will return to the traditional values of FDR."

I just have one reservation....

The African-American vote?
Convince the leadership?

The Dem leadership is delusional, they won't give up on Obama.

Go to their website and your Dem Senators and Representatives to let them know you will sit out or vote Independent in 2012 if they support Obama. If enough of us do that then perhaps they will start to worry.

Next we have to figure a way to throw a monkey wrench in the big city Dem machines by getting the foot soldiers to go AWOL.

If you belong to a union write your leaders and let them know that Obama is not a friend of labor and you will be disappointed if he gets their endorsement.
I'm not a registered Democrat (I registered Independent when I became a US citizen, 'cos I'm socialist at heart and couldn't see anyone but the routinely ignored and ridiculed Kucinich saying things that resonated for me in 2008).

I'd support your effort to get O to stand aside though, in any way I could. I'll keep an eye on your posts (as always) to note how your idea progresses. :-)
I like the idea of a website - "Obama - Resign" (just an example).The website could possibly have postings from progressive leaders in economics, environmentalists, jurists, etc. There are plenty of them who are calling for him to do an LBJ.

A big part of his election campaign involved social media (which I detest), but perhaps it could be a big part in the movement to get him to resign. A Facebook page could be started and linked to YouTube (I'm not an IT person so don't know specifics).

It doesn't hurt to write letters to Dem. party "leaders" stating we want Obama to resign or face a primary challenge. Our voices need to be heard.

Just some thoughts.
Yeah. Facebook. Can anyone help me with that?

As readers know, I am not a Facebook person.
"O Must Go" resonates with me. I think we need, as voters, send the message that if Obama is the nominee we will not vote for him. I will vote for the village idiot before I vote for Newt, Romney or Obama.
I can't resist pointing out the obvious: The "O Must Go" can be cut down to the abbreviation "OMG", which you may have seen used somewhere (I have a vague hatred of it myself, but still, it could be useful).

"OMG" and "OWS" are pretty close; same first letter and an upended second letter. Lots of possibilities there.
"I just have one reservation....

The African-American vote?"

Two answers:

1) I'm not sure of the percentage, but many if not most African Americans are middle or working class.

2) If it was the poor you were thinking about, the safety net that the middle and working classes want to save/expand also help the poor ...

Medicare for all
Social Security and related social programs
Keeping people in their homes

I think one of the results of the financial crisis that most people from middle class to poor find themselves in is the awareness that the path from middle class to poor is closer than they thought and that taking care of society in general benefits everyone and is therefore good. It even benefits the 1% though they don't think so. It prevents their greed from imploding not only on us but on themselves ultimately.

The 1% will always be able to afford lawyers, public relations people, whatever to pursue their interests.

Our government needs to pursue the interests of the rest of us.

And our job as citizens is to never forget, again, that democracy is not a spectator sport.

Some national Hillary 2008 delegates may have email addresses, phone numbers, etc. of their Hillary state delegates. That would be a BIG group of people to reach. I have all of North Texas, myself.

Many do not support OBama and would love to see him go. Even better, if Hillary is the end game.
Some are probably on Facebook now. Could be a start.
I find this notion unwise and its very suggestion dispiriting.

I've seen third party bids, and I've seen inter-party challenges. I haven't seen any really work.

The inter-party challenger cannot win, so doesn't win, while making the target of the inter-party challenge lose, putting the opponents into power.

We've been through this in the '00 race with Nader, seems to me. How well did that work out?

What is the purported end-game sought with this idea? Have a different Democrat elected president this cycle? Scare O into moving toward the left?

State the purpose so that its prospects will be more clearly shown for what they'd be-- slim to none, in my view.

XI, you may be right. But I still think that Kennedy would have beat Reagan in 1980 -- and that if LBJ had continued his run in 1968, he would have lost by a much larger margin than did Humphrey.
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