Saturday, May 28, 2005


Visualize Victory - Obama, pt 2


I think the aforementioned worry about Obama is misplaced, for the reasons I gave in the previous post. But that's not to say I don't understand the fear people have of the feckless and lumbering 'DNC machine'. Such a 'machine' does still exist, but what is it really? For lack of a better term, I'd call it the DNC 'Consultantocracy', in league with the 'old guard' pols - the people who've brought us defeat and decline. But I'd submit that, to the extent they matter now, this Blob is taking their cues from the new younger politicians like Obama, John Edwards and Howard Dean, and operatives like Simon Rosenberg, rather than the other way around. I'm sure this transformation isn't complete, but that is clearly the trend. If you want to worry about the 'old guard' and 'cogs in a machine', worry about Kerry - and, to some extent, Hillary Clinton - in '08, not Obama now.

As far as interpreting Obama's 'civility' and 'playing the game' goes, the key dynamic to understand here is assertion vs reaction. Democrats have been in 'reaction mode' for 25-30 years. Reacting is acceding to your opponent's agenda. Obama is being courteous, careful, respectful - by choice. He could easily have decided to be a "progressive's" wet dream, a firebrand, a loud, lonely voice, etc. But he's more sly than that. He chose not to be that. At this point, the real political power comes from deciding your own route, from saying: 'You Republicans don't ruffle me at all; I don't care about your provocations and your cheap theatre - hey, knock yourselves out! I/we are going to calmly, deliberately build a new agenda and make YOU react to US. In the long run, we're not worried about you at all, politically; we will take you apart piece by piece: keep your eye on us 'new guys', because you have no idea what we're going to do'.

Building a new agenda means being constructive and serious, compromising when you can (like the very Senate-ish courtesy votes on Rice and Negroponte - votes which don't affect the outcome anyway), and being firm when you can't (Gonzales; bankruptcy). Kill them with kindness and beat them with steely resolve. Most voters don't care about the old liberal/conservative tropes, and they're right not to: what do they mean anymore? Let the Republicans wallow in their aging construct: their brittle ideological castle will be their political hospice. Let them do that while truly new (not 'New') Democrats methodically build a different and much more relevant structure around them, which, BTW, will be a broad coalition, not a insurgent 'wing' of the Democratic party (sorry).

Don't worry about Senator Obama. Act, don't react.

[UPDATE: The reason this stuff sticks in my craw is that Mr Sirrota has done to Obama precisely what (qualitatively) Bush/Cheney/Rove did to Kerry. It's very easy to take Congressional votes out of context - most especially in the rarified world of the Senate - and make them seem to mean what you want. If you happened to skim Mr Sirrota's piece and not actually check on - contextualize - his charges, you could, in good faith, decide that Sen. Obama is selling out, somehow. Sirrota flings misleading charges at the Senator, and then quotes an unnamed 'political scientist' who speculates about cynical motives for these presumed 'offences'. This is a textbook hit piece, no different from one a Republican would write. The only difference is that this one is a 'friendly' hit piece. WTF?! Circular firing squad....]

[Cross-posted at Total Information Awareness ]

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