Friday, April 11, 2014

2008 and all that

In case you haven't noticed, Riverdaughter at The Confluence has caught the writing bug again. I recommend her latest piece on Obamacare, which she gets almost entirely right.

Unrelated to that, in the comments, I asked her to contribute an observation or two to something I intend to write concerning "2008 and all that." Boy, did she deliver. It's a great piece of writing, a model for bloggers everywhere -- chatty, opinionated, yet nuanced. In my response, I kind of gushed in my praise. But...what the hell. From time to time, one gushes.

At any rate, let me run some of her words by you folks. Let's see if your recollections/feelings match what you see here.
I’ll keep saying what I’ve said before. Nothing good comes from a bad seed. Obama’s future performance was evident from the beginning. If you were paying attention and voted for him anyway, thinking that he was going to be some liberal messiah, you should have your head examined.

I watched the beginning of the Obama phenomenon when I was still posting on DailyKos and went to YearlyKos in 2007. My best guess is that the original candidate of choice over there was John Edwards but shortly after YearlyKos, the cat was out of the bag about his personal life. That would explain why the conversion diaries and rec list hostage crisis pivoted from Edwards to Obama in a heartbeat over there. The manipulators looked like the same people to me but an edgier, meaner and more testosterone poisoned bunch seemed to infiltrate the blog at about the same time the switch from Edwards to Obama happened.
Was the Edwards thing apparent THAT early? Was I really that naive...?
I don’t believe that blogs were the true drivers but they were an essential component.
I may go with "true drivers." Remember how "Get this to Keith" became a catch phrase on Kos? The blogs created the memes which cable news ran with.
But the bigger behind the scenes actors must have been in the party itself. How else could they have planned to give so much clout to the sparsely populated mountain states? How did the caucus states get the delegate representation it did? How the hell did one candidate wind up winning CA, NY, NJ, FL, PA, OH, TX, MA, NV, NM, essentially ALL of the major, most populated, most Democratic states in the country and still lose to a candidate who wasn’t even on the ballot in some primaries? The evidence is staring us in the face that the primary was rigged to some extent. Clinton should have won early in the primary season.
Even Plouffe doesn't have a really good explanation for this in his book The Audacity to Win.
And then there was the infiltration. There was a glut of campaign money to Obama in February 2008. The blogs got nastier and more misogynistic. I think this was the point when Wall Street picked its candidate. If you want a pithy quote, my best attempt is that Wall Street saw Obama as an enabler and Clinton as rehab and they said no, no, no. Obama was one of their own tribe.

That’s what is so funny about the blogosphere backing Obama. He was so obviously not what they said they wanted. He was a corporate schmoozer. He would have made a great CEO of some fortune 500 company. You know, the guy they bring in to engineer some merger or acquisition, hangs around to get a humongous bonus and then decides to “spend more time with his family” when the newly merged company starts hitting the skids. THAT’S Obama. He’s the guy who negotiates the deal on the golf course in an industry he knows very little about. He just has the right pedigree and chromosomes to get to the top. Getting to the top is the goal. He didn’t really have a plan after that.

After the money picked the candidate and the party was primed to rig the nomination, it was easy for the media to jump in and fan the flames. To the media, it was just like high school. They liked the BMOC and not the girl. I don’t think there’s much more to be said there. It really was that petty.

We can’t discount the effect of the civil rights movement on the early baby boomers. It was the defining issue of their lives, aside from Vietnam. To late baby boomers like myself, well, I was in Obama’s cohort in school. Schools were largely integrated by the time I was a kid, or at least the ones I went to near military installations were. The civil rights movement was still important but not a burning passion. To me, feminism was the defining issue of my age. I think the campaign analysts played on that divide and the early baby boomers were snookered.

The nastiest thing the Obama campaign did to Clinton’s campaign was, well, there were so many, but I think the worst was denying her a legitimate roll call at the convention. But of course, they couldn’t really give her one because even the media would get a clue that the delegate count difference between them was slimmer than the width of a gnat’s wing. There might have been a floor fight. The party didn’t want anyone rocking the boat, especially the voters. I get it because they were desperate to win. But the ends do not justify the means and when you start with a bad beginning, it ends badly.
I think that this analysis somewhat underplays the role of the blogs. For me, the great untold story of that campaign concerns the use of personas to drive the national debate. People make decisions based on group pressure. Nobody wants to admit this fact -- we all think that we can think for ourselves. But we don't.

That was the great revelation we received from this presentation, offered unto the world by Ed Snowden. The key slide features these words: "People make decisions as part of groups. People make decisions for emotional reasons, not rational ones."

And that, I suspect, is the story of 2008.
Glad that I am not the only one who is still feel the hurt from 2008. Disappointment in people sometimes takes longer to overcome
Anybody who thinks that Hillary Clinton would have been the great liberal answer just had not been paying attention.
I understand that the Democrats were tired of losing and having had two elections stolen from them, but did they have to get down in the dirt,use sleezy tactics and behave like Republicans? Did the Democratic upper echelon have to stab Hillary in the back for their own selfish purposes? Yes, I'm talking about you, Nancy Pelosi and all those Kennedy brats plus Teddy when I carried a tourch for your two uncles and brothers. I was an old, bitter knitter. Oh, Yea, but I was right about Barry and that Madame of his...common grifters.As you can tell, it still HURTS! BTW, Mrs. Pelosi, you "pray" that Hillary runs and wins in 2016? What was wrong with her in 2008? Oh, I forgot, you were Speaker and couldn't stand the idea that another woman would be more powerful than you. I can complain about Nancy, she, unfortunately is my congress person.
I think gushing is an appropriate reaction here.

Keith Olberman was a big part of the flipped out mass hysteria which resulted from Hillary mentioning RFK's 6/5/68 assassination in illustrating that the primaries often go well into summer without a chosen front leader. On DKos, Troutfishing even went so far as to post a diary claiming that Hillary was using subliminal messaging to try and instigate a lone nut to make an attempt on Obama's life.

DKos fell into pandemonium after that. The national stage wasn't much different. Suddenly Bill Clinton was made out to be a flaming racist. Neither Clinton could say a thing without somebody twisting way it out of context.

After the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate, I just couldn't get it out of my head that McCain had been selected to lose this election. Why ruin a good thing when you've got a Democratic presidential candidate with political views on par with Richard Nixon?
So familiar! I remember being amazed at the adulation on the part of the Obama fan base. Also amazed at how nasty they started to get. I'd try to talk with some of them about Obama's stands on issues and they'd just parrot something like "he's going to make government transparent." BTW, how'd that work out?

I live in a caucus state. Now, caucuses are inherently undemocratic. If you have to work, are sick, etc., you don't count. The system was definitely manipulated to be even worse at representing the real %s.

I very quickly got sick of saying "I told you so" to the Obots as Obama showed his true tepidness.

--NW Luna

Hope and Change ...

"Here is the context in which he said that (from page 234 of Ron Suskind's 2011 book, Confidence Men ):

The CEOs went into their traditional stance. "It's almost impossible to set caps [to their bonuses]; it's never worked, and you lose your best people," said one. "We're competing for talent on an international market," said another. Obama cut them off.

"Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn't buying that," he said. "My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks."

It was an attention grabber, no doubt, especially that carefully chosen last word.

But then Obama's flat tone turned to one of support, even sympathy. "You guys have an acute public relations problem that's turning into a political problem," he said. "And I want to help. But you need to show that you get that this is a crisis and that everyone has to make some sacrifices." According to one of the participants, he then said, "I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you. But if I'm going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation."

No suggestions were forthcoming from the bankers on what they might offer, and the president didn't seem to be championing any specific proposals. He had none: neither Geithner nor Summers believed compensation controls had any merit.

After a moment, the tension in the room seemed to lift: the bankers realized he was talking about voluntary limits on compensation until the storm of public anger passed. It would be for show."
Your post describes me well. I was in the comment thread at the Confluence the night PUMA was coined and like many former Edwards supporter who had gone to Clinton, I was and still am exceedingly angry about the corruption of the Obama campaign and the Democratic party in general. But third parties are no solution-- the only solution is the nomination and election of good human beings from dog catcher to president.
That Hillary may not have been a great liberal hope is sort of a discussion ender for many. Riverdaughter and Lambert both contended rightly that the difference, although marginal, was not inconsequential. Riverdaughter nails it with her apt comparison : Wall street rightly perceived Obama as enabler, Hillary as rehab.
2008 was my opportunity to put newly acquired US citizenship to use by voting. Still wet behind the ears I was unaware of what went on in the shadows. I stumbled from Kucinich (my favourite) to Edwards, to Clinton, to Obama.

I've just fished out a post from my own 2008 archives, written on the day before voting day in 2008, it began:

"It's a long time since I felt so keyed-up! I could weep and jump for joy at the same time. Neither is appropriate - yet! The roller-coaster ride to the US general election is almost at an end. "Roller-coaster" is apt, the ride wasn't nearly graceful enough to be likened to the Carousel or Waltzers. It has been zany enough at times to resemble the Fun House, and scary as the Ghost Train at others. But even more appropriate than the Roller-coaster is the House of Mirrors....

A friend, fellow British ex-pat commented on the complexities of
the race about to end, saying that "Alice's Caucus Race (in Wonderland) was much simpler"; I added "and far more sensible!"

At the beginning, I had the impression that Obama was more liberal than Hillary. Edwards I didn't really know about (he was still in the race then). So I compared their policies and statements on various issues, based on info from their own websites. Much to my surprise, Edwards was by far the most liberal. Next was Hillary, and last was Teh One. So I supported Edwards till he withdrew, and then supported Hillary as next most liberal, compared to Obama.

Hmmm. Just recalled that when a group of us former Edwards supporters were discussing who to support now, I joked that the Obama fans were getting virulent enough that their attitude would be enough to drive me away from their candidate.

I beg to differ on the point about emotion ruling/guiding one's choices. In support, I refer to this study (saw link on naked capitalism.)

Researchers find people with a 'supersense' for justice are swayed by reason rather than emotion.

--NW Luna
A severely sprained ankle in early February of 2003 landed me on my parents recliner with my foot elevated while MSNBC played all day long whether my parents were watching or not.

I went from being completely clueless that a coup of the democrat party was unfolding to being so madeI started several blogs focusing on various aspects of the 2008 democrat race.

I think the ultimate drivers were George Soros fueling Move on dot org, Arianna Huffington, and MSNBC. MSNBC, being on 24 hours a day and with Keith Olberman and friends ranting on a daily basis against Hillary Clinton, led a progressive movement against Hillary Clinton that still lives on today.
Glad to know that people haven't forgotten the corruption of the 2008 primary and the part the liberal media played.
I always thought this video said it best

I was one of the ones that pivoted from Edwards to Obama. My rationale was that a black man had a better chance than a woman in the general. Blatant sexism was still okay in the public discourse The GOP would use it as a tool to destroy her. On the other hand, blatant racism was not okay. It would be called out in a heartbeat, and if used might even engender a sympathy/guilt bias for Obama.

Once Obama won, the situation reversed. Obama's election "proved" that we are a post-racial society. It's okay to criticize the president, even in ways that are obviously racial, but it's not okay to call the GOP out for it because we're past all that nasty racism stuff.

Since that time we've learned more about Hillary. Now I would still vote against her on the basis of her own demerits. Unfortunately, I'm not in a state that counts in the primaries.
Alessandro, I'm not the sort to mutter darkly about Soros. But as you know, I never did care for Arianna, no matter which side of the partisan divide she stood on.

As I research what hit us in 2008, I think that much of Team Obama's strategy comes down to one little-noticed fact: Primary elections in caucus states are not policed by the individual states. Everything is run by the local party leadership. If there are outrages and deceptive tactics -- and there were -- then there was no mechanism for accusing Obama's team of breaking the law.

I want to thank everyone for their contributions, both here and on the Confluence and Corrente. Please add further comments -- of any sort! I'll be leaving this post up for at least a few more hours.
Caucus Cheating Blog

This was just one of my blogs that followed the democrat caucus cheating crime wave that went on in 2008.
I had a very cool graphic from 2008 that showed the caucus cheating.

The Great Plains State, Fair Reflection Ignored by the Democrat Party
A recap of what went wrong in 2008 during the voting.
A Recap of 2008 Democratic Caucus Cheating and Irregularities that ALWAYS FAVORED Barack Obama.
Obama is a big disappointment to me. But I can't say that it was patently obvious to me in 2008 that he wasn't the liberal he claimed to be. I'm not a stupid person, but I missed the allegedly obvious signs. Maybe its because I don't live in a presidential primary state and so I don't stick my head in the primary "weeds".

I will admit that there were a couple of incidents that I really should have taken as big warnings. The one that bothered me most was when he disavowed his own Minister of 20 years for something the Minister said that taken out of context and trumped up by the media.

It also disgusted me that he invited Rick Warren to pastor his inauguration. Warren is a toad.

Once he was elected president, though, the signs started appearing, fast and furious.
I can only comment on one thing about those who supported Obama in 2008. You were as dumb as a stick. He was in plain view as the nose on your face. If only you had looked for yourself at his history (voting present)(representing the Southside of Chicago and doing nothing for them)instead of watching TV. Living in Florida I was livid when 27 million voters were disenfranchised by my party and immediately switched to non-partisan which I remain today. If I support a Republican it will be because I looked at the candidate, not the party affiliation.
I want to just comment that after being disenfranchised by the Democratic Party ignoring 27 million voters in my state and switching to non-partisan, if I choose to support a Republican, that does not make me a right-winger. It means that I looked at the candidate, not the party affiliation which should have been done by all the disappointed Obama voters who now express regret and disappointment that the emperor had no clothes. I'm old enough to know not to believe everything on TV, especially the talking heads.
What happened in 2008 reminded me of how it was in the 90's when the powers that be wanted Bill Clinton to resign when they used Ken Starr and 24/7 cable news/ media pinchers among other things...

Basically if you didn't live though and witnessed these two events ( 1990's -2008 ) you would not believe them and what went on.

The idea because Hillary isn't a super liberal, she wasn't a better alternative is pretty laughable Can anyone honestly say Hillary would not have been better than O?

For starters, she would not have " negotiated" with the GOP by giving them even more than they asked for every time, then tell her base to sit down, shut up and eat your peas.

Take it from Wall St and all that was done to get O in...there was a difference

The Obots I knew could not conceive of a non liberal black guy...( oh he's just saying that to get elected) so who was the racist?

One only had to google for a few minutes and see who was pushing Obama so hard and the insane money spent to know something stank

Edawrds's job ,from the start of the '08 race, was to tag team with Obama to beat up Hillary during the debates, have Elizabeth say awful things about her and then at the right moment, JE '08 implodes from the scandal.

Let's remember David Axelrod had history with both men. The public may have been in the dark about JE...but Axelrod was not. He used washed up Edwards to help his new guy, Obama

I recommend everyone revisit the excellent thread on this subject at Correntewire. These are a few of the thought the inimitable Lambert has contributed there:

Three questions about the 2008 campaign | Corrente
"[Leaving this sticky to remind myself that I still have things to say. And it's interesting to imagine what future historians, if any, will think of the 2008 Democratic campaign. We'd better get our thoughts and memories on the record! I'd also note, for researchers like Cannon, that Corrente's archives are incomparable, and our faceted/filterable search function is excellent. It's also sad to me that many comrades in arms from that time have dispersed. It's natural, of course. --lambert]
2008 was indeed strange; for many of the commenters, me included, it marked a turning point on engagement with the Democratic Party and with electoral politics generally."

"It matters for several reasons

1) It's an important and interesting piece of history (and it would be nice if it weren't written by the winners;

2) Individuals in public life need to be held accountable for bad acts;

As for the campaign itself: I felt very much that I was fighting to retain the last vestiges of a party that could actually do something, however marginal, for people who needed help; a Democratic Party more like the Democratic Party of FDR or even LBJ than the party of Ronald Reagan. Whatever else one might think of Clinton, it is clear that she still had the idea that government could still serve public purpose actively (see her support for HOLC). With Obama... Well, the bold move he made to distinguish himself from Clinton in Iowa was to put Social Security in play."
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