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Monday, April 07, 2008

McSame Isn't Going to Win, You Know

Atrios makes the sensible point that it's frankly awfully "hard to comprehend how Huggy Bear [McCain] is going to win this election with one arm wrapped tightly around Iraq and the other around the preznit, even with his base, the mainstream press, completely in the tank for him."

This is a point my partner Eric often makes to me in moments when I panic about the negativity of the Democratic Primary Season from a highly weird inside-baseball wonky bubble perspective. Look at the 2004 Electoral Map, he tells me. Which states that were blue in 2004 do you think would be Red in 2008? We only need one Red to switch Blue and we win, even with the negativity, even with the corporate media, even with the Republican disenfranchisement shenanigans. Every trend is skewing Democratic -- registrations, contributions, election results, partisan identification.

I know, I know, things fall apart, disasters happen, all things being equal, and so on and so forth. Sure, granted. More to the point, I know we've been shocked over and over and over again since Lewinsky made it clear the corporate media was in the tank, and since the Supreme Court's putsch in 2000 gave way to 9/11 war hysteria and so on. We sometimes seem too traumatized by our recent history to see straight.

But reality actually still is reality, however perspectivalist our epistemology. You really can't fool all the people all the time. The Movement Republicans really are going down. Even some of the corporatist Democrats are going down, and if we keep Net Neutrality many of the rest will follow.

My point isn't to advocate complacency or triumphalism -- we must struggle against real institutional barriers, and for as resounding a repudiation of the Movement Republicans as possible. A truly definitive pounding back of the Bush epoch can be mobilized in a progressive turning of the tide against neoliberalism more generally ("neoliberalism," recall, is just Ayn Randian, Milton Friedmanite, Ronald Reaganesque market fundamentalist ideology), the first real opening for this in my whole life, really. Those are high stakes indeed. But they are different from the high stakes that many progressives seem panicked about and sometimes, unaccountably, depressed about.

These days, I strongly prefer Obama to Clinton (I still pine for my candidate John Edwards, by the way), mostly because I think the enthusiasm he generates -- whether entirely deserved or not -- will get more and better and real progressives in offices at every level across the country to help implement the progressive vision America needs in this time of catastrophe, crime, corruption, and distress. This matters among many other reasons because true progressives are more likely actually to try to see to it that the criminals in our midst are accountable for once for their crimes, else they surely will return to do their worst again as they always do just in case we actually somewhat miraculously manage to clean up their corporate-militarist mess yet again once more sensible people regain the reins of government.

I'd still cheerfully vote for Hillary Clinton against the alternative of John McCain, but am almost certain it won't come to that.

9 comments:

De Thezier said...

What does Eric think of this article?

Anti-War Voters Trust McCain to Make Decisions About 'War on Terror': Republicans may have already found a way to control the terms of the fall debate

http://alternet.org/election08/79351/

Dale Carrico said...

I don't know what Eric would say, but I say: bullshit.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico:

I don't know what Eric would say, but I say: bullshit.

Perhaps but in light of the fact this article was written by Ira Chernus, a professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin, I think it deserves at the very least a more substantive rebuttal, no?

He also wrote the following relevant article for AlterNet:

How McCain Stays Popular Despite Supporting Disastrous Wars: The strange nature of McCain's appeal is directly tied to the distractions of the unwinnable Iraq occupation and the "War on Drugs."

http://alternet.org/story/80822/?page=entire

Dale Carrico said...

Everybody hates the war, everybody hates Bush. McSame is wedded to each. Also, he's four hundred years old, a crazy cranky coot, unloved by his base, in a country trending against him on every indicator. People need to get a grip. Forest, trees.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said:

Everybody hates the war, everybody hates Bush. McSame is wedded to each. Also, he's four hundred years old, a crazy cranky coot, unloved by his base, in a country trending against him on every indicator. People need to get a grip. Forest, trees.

Yet "McCain continues to run a statistical dead-heat with both contenders for the Democratic nomination. In some polls he shows a slim but consistent lead."

How do explain or dimiss that?

Dale Carrico said...

McCain has never been loved by anybody but The Villagers, ever. As many in the Netroots say (while crickets chirp predictably in the corporate media): The Establishment Press is literally McCain's only real base.

In an era of p2p pushback and partisan disarray and chickens coming to roost on all sides that just isn't even remotely enough to do the trick.

Everybody hates the war McCain defends, everybody hates Bush whom McCain tongue-kisses on every camera, McCain's flabbergasting panders to the hatemongering Christianist theocrats he once properly reviled is too little too late for them, and McCain faces an electoral landscape incomparably more harsh than the one sitting President Bush scarcely squeaked a victory by, cheating and all.

These things matter.

Many Republican insiders have completely thrown in the towel for '08 (observe the rash of Republican retirements across the board) -- the best they're hoping for at this point is a Democratic win with fewer coattails than expected or to fling out enough stink bombs that timid last-generation corporatist Dems will fearfully pander right and screw their progressive base lest the whole Randroid Norquist project they've all gravytrained along for two generations not go up in utter flames for all time.

(Larger demographic trends -- and I'm not even talking about energy descent, US debt, a broken military, or the post-hegemonic reality of global politics Americans don't read about but which are very real anyway -- are strongly unfavorable to any comeback for Movement Republicanism once they lose their grip definitively. Why else do you think the white patriarchs and Christianists are so fired up? It's a marvelously securalizing, browning, ageing America on the horizon, one that has no patience whatsoever for free market pieties that prop up pampered racist white guys and nobody else. Our side might as well take comfort in the realities that are scaring their side to death, after all.)

As for "statistical dead heats" for an actual party nominee against two possible nominees in a strongly contested primary, what on earth are you sweating that for? Watch what happens when it's the General and we have a nominee the party is united around.

Those who worry more than a vanishingly small minority of Dems won't unite around either Obama or Clinton because of the heated primary contest -- it's going to be Obama, by the way -- are out of their minds, as far as I can see. Give them a couple weeks to brood and they'll be fine.

I already said what indicators I'm focusing on. People can worry all they want about McSame's magical "strange appeal" to teaball moms or Mars Bar tweens or whatever made up bullshit the media whomps up momentary enthusiasm for from moment to moment, for all the good it will do them, for all the energy they'll squander second-guessing themselves.

Progressives have never been better positioned to take the offensive. They should stop worrying about magical Republican powers to compel the devotion of an America that hates them and everything they stand for in fact, and actually go on the offensive and start re-making America in the image of our values (as the crazies accuse us of doing even when we chicken out and pander to them anyway).

Again, I'm telling you, get. a. grip. people.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said:

As for "statistical dead heats" for an actual party nominee against two possible nominees in a strongly contested primary, what on earth are you sweating that for? Watch what happens when it's the General and we have a nominee the party is united around. [...] Again, I'm telling you, get. a. grip. people.

Keeping in mind that I am not the one who said that he "panic[s] about the negativity of the Democratic Primary Season from a highly weird inside-baseball wonky bubble perspective", I am not "sweating" anything nor am I in need to "get a grip". I'm simply interested in your take on things to add to my arsenal of counter-arguments. ;)

That being said, although I have learned to *never* underestimate Republican ability to manipulate "low-information voters" into voting against their own best interests, I am quite confident that the Democrats will win the White House. On the contrary, what I am worried about is the degree to which Obama (or Clinton) will "sell out" to the corporate-militarist establishment and disappoint his supporters once he is sitting in the Oval Office. But I am sure his annual State of Union addresses will be quite uplifting nonetheless... :/

Dale Carrico said...

what I am worried about is the degree to which Obama (or Clinton) will "sell out" to the corporate-militarist establishment and disappoint his supporters once he is sitting in the Oval Office

Yes, well, that's another thing altogether. Expect him to sell out, certainly, if that's where most of the pressure is.

Part of the reason why I don't think we should be trying to endlessly out-think Republicans imbued with magical powers to compel devotion in a world that actually hates them, is because we should be directing that energy instead to organizing that pressure on our own behalf, pushing aggressively to the left, shunting aside the defensiveness and promoting a far-reaching Next New Deal.

It will be the work of the progressive base and the power that base is shoring up in the Netroots to hold Obama's (or Clinton's, whatev.) feet to the fire and push their Administration into sanity and justice. This is exactly how it should be. Democracy isn't about a leader who will save us, as we both have often pointed out, but an ongoing interminable collective work of democratization, peer to peer.

Greg in Portland said...

I have to admit. I almost hope McShame wins. The reason - simple, the next president is going to be completely, utterly fucked the day he takes office and it will get worse from there and so far nothing from Hillary or Obama makes me think they have the radical ideas needed to ride out the changes that are afoot. Oil at $110 a barrel, wouldn't surprise me if it's at $300-$400 on the day in 2013 when the new guy leaves office. Maybe it's better in the long run if Murkans remember this whole horrible period with a giant "R" beside it.

McShame also brings the crazy and I like that. Bush seems more just plain drunk and bored. McShame has that look like he's been up smoking meth for 3 days. A true proper finale to the Repig era. All that said, I'm voting for Obama - vague slogans and all.