Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Aller gegen alle

Those of you who remember the Three Stooges will recall the scenes in which the middle Stooge bops the other two when they aren't looking, causing them to turn on each other while he watches in glee. If you think the Three Stooges are infantile, just wait until you see the Democratic Party. James Wolcott writing in Vanity Fair is almost on the verge of saying this, but hangs back at the edge simply because he has to pretend that politics is serious.

But events are so bizarre that Wolcott, in spite of himself, has to people his drama with characters from epic Hollywood movies. Obama as Ben Hur. Hillary as Messala heading for the climactic crash in the arena. Andrew Sullivan as the manic depressive giggling wailer. Duels to the death between left-wing blogs and within blogs.

The trouble began at the starting line, when the Democratic candidates, after consulting the mirror, decided they had whiter teeth and better heads of hair than the Republicans, and were therefore fated to win. Wolcott writes:

Even the second tier of Democratic contenders, from happy warrior Joe Biden to Dennis Kucinich, with his red-tressed, tongue-pierced, statuesque wife, seemed like a Happy Meal compared with furrowed Republican also-rans such as Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. One by one the camera fodder dropped out of the race as the winnowing process culled the weak, the fanged, and the superfluous, the Republican field reduced until John McCain became the winner by default, the last bowling pin standing.

By the time it became evident that the Democratic campaign was falling apart the search for the reason had been effaced by the herds stampeding all over the liberal battlefield. With charges and countercharges flying everywhere, everyone was guilty of something. "Inspector Clay is dead, murdered. And someone is reponsible." But who? Markos Moulitsas for example, puzzled over not only why the Democratic campaign fell apart, but why his site had erupted into civil war.

One regular diarist, who went by the handle of Goldberry, exited the Daily Kos and set up her own blog, the Confluence, rolling out a welcome mat for fellow “Kossacks in Exile.” Toward Markos himself, she bore no ill will: “I totally respect Markos. He’s created a beautiful thing.” But the beautiful thing he created has been overrun by ruffians, leaving refugees like herself to hole up in the hills “until the ravagers run out of fuel to burn.” In an open letter to the liberal blogosphere, a fed-up Daily Kos regular named Alegre urged a writers’ strike.

But nobody noticed the Black Swan flapping its wings in the back of the room. The Swan wore a sandwich board proclaiming that the liberal struggle wasn't about politics (as defined by principles) at all so much as a scramble for power. The Rainbow Coalition was glued together only by an agreement to share in the spoils. And the Republican weakness of 2008 unleashed all the Monsters of the Id within the Democratic camp. In their desire to rush into the White House and inaugurate a liberal millenia, the contenders had inextricably jammmed themselves into the door. Maybe Wolcott was wrong about his choice of movie metaphor. Ben Hur wasn't showing. What was playing was a double-feature: Forbidden Planet and a Simple Plan. The Democratic candidates look as good as ever, but it's the good looks of actors in a bad movie. Wolcott almost brings himself to acknowledge the sheer imbecility of things before he pulls back and blames the Democratic disarray on -- who else? -- George W. Bush.

Such fratricidal skirmishing may sound silly and minor-league, like a feud between high-school cliques where the two sides sit on opposite ends of the bleachers, texting each other inappropriate messages full of misspellings and nonperforming grammar. But there is a deeper frustration at work, a more unappeasable, unaddressed anger. And that is the failure of Democrats and activists to bring the Bush-Cheney administration to account for any of its destructive and disastrous misdeeds over the last seven years (even raising the possibility of impeachment was treated as poor etiquette by the queasy Democratic leadership), the impotent fury over the knowledge that the masters of disaster will leave the White House unscathed, unaccountable, their smirks intact. There will be no day of reckoning, nothing to stop their clean getaway.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.




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28 Comments:

Blogger whiskey_199 said...

There is nothing stopping Democrats from offering a unilateral and immediate surrender in Iraq. Impeaching GWB.

The won't do so because it's political suicide.

The problem is that what the Nutroots want is deeply unpopular to suicidal in politics. Since none of their agenda: defeat and surrender in Iraq, impeachment of GWB, has been even seriously considered.

Meanwhile, the Nutroots control the Dem Party.

It's not a struggle for power. It's a struggle to force on the country something the country deeply does not want: defeat and surrender to terrorism.

4/30/2008 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

W: In their desire to rush into the White House and inaugurate a liberal millenia, the contenders had inextricably jammmed themselves into the door.

The civil war at Daily Kos isn't purely based on emotions and team loyalty, "boo for your side hooray for our side." No, Hillary Clinton is perceived to be literally endorsing McCain over Obama. It wasn't until this last debate that she was forced to say Obama would even be qualified occupy the Oval Office. Her famous "Three AM" ad looks like a foretaste of something McCain will use to ding Obama in the general campaign season. She's doing all the oppo research for McCain, for free, and it looks to the Obama-cans like she is trying to make their guy actually lose the election to McCain so she can set herself up to "save" the Democratic Party in 2012. The grassroots "bottom-up" style of Obama appeals to the Kos kids while the top-down old school approach of HRC looks like more of the same failed strategy that kept them from winning in 2000 and 2004. So about 90% of the Daily Kos is all about Obama, and the verbal abuse just became too much for the Hillary people. They took their ball and went home.

4/30/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Barack, Hillary, the cheese!!

4/30/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

My reading is a little different. I think this fiasco has been baked in the cake for years now. The players are the Dems and the Clintons.

The Dems got lucky in 1992. Clinton was elected by a 42% popular vote when deranged billionaire Ross Perot ego tripped across the stage and took 19% of the vote leaving 41% for GHWB. (numbers are only approximate so what). The Dems back in the executive branch after 12 years went nuts and were rewarded by a thrashing in 1994.

Clinton then performed his miracle. He bobbed, weaved, and triangulated his way to re-election in 1996.

Hubris led to nemesis as it always does. There was a bimbo eruption. Hillary, sprang into action as she always had in the past. But, there was a twist this time -- the blue dress. That led to impeachment. The trial started in January 1999.

Here is where the tragedy was made necessary. The Clintons believed that the Presidency was theirs by divine right. They wanted to stand and fight. They were able to convince the Dems that the Clintons were the ones they had been waiting for, and that impeaching Bill would have hurt them.

The Dems drank the potion. Bill stayed in the White House. Hillary, as her reward for standing by her man was given the NY senate seat so she could cool her heels while gearing up to run in 2008.

As 2008 approached. The Clintons worked very hard to ensure that there would be no other viable candidates than her. Talking Tom Vilsack out of running as a favorite son in Iowa, was one such maneuver -- ironically, it turned out to be a bad mistake. Just imagine where we would be if Vilsack had been the Iowa favorite son and Obama had finished third.

Obama was a bolt out of the blue. A more cautious man would have bided his time. Spent a few years in the Senate, perhaps a term or two as governor of Illinois. He would have deep-sixed his old radical friends, joined a respectable middle class church, and triangulated towards the middle.

His advisors came up with a brilliant plan to capture the nomination by focusing on the caucuses that would be dominated by the ideological Dems who were still smarting from the 1990s when Bill triangulated all over them and sold them out for acquittal.

Clearly the Dems have no-one to blame for this muddle other than themselves. The fatal mistake was made in January 1999. At that time they should have forced Bill to resign (preferably after Jan 20). Gore would have run as an incumbent, and most likely won.

The irony is that Gore would have presided over the same world that we have come to know over the last seven years. 9/11 would have happened, the Afghanistan war would have followed, and the Iraq war after that. In the 80s and 90s, Al was a hawk.

Well, they are here now. If Obama is nominated, and I believe that he will be because the super-delegates know that not doing so would split the party irrevocably, he will lose because he has been forced to reveal too much of himself to white America, and they find the stuff that has been revealed to be appalling. Hillary can be nominated only if Obama really self destructs, and I don't think he will. If she is nominated, blacks and kids will stay home wounded and bitter, and she will not win.

John McCain is the luckiest man alive.

Pass the popcorn.

4/30/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger mark said...

Vanity Fair does politics? I thought they just catered to young urban pedophiles looking for a fix of that Appalachian child pornography.

4/30/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Can anyone remember at what percentage George McGovern's popularity peaked at during his run against Nixon? At some point up to the Democratic Convention, McGovern must have seemed viable as a presidential candidate (I remember the Democratic Party's left worshiping him as the Messiah). It would be interesting to see a graph of McGovern's popularity as a function of time.

4/30/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Escort81 said...

Fat Man - great summary. I often post elsewhere that Gore wins in 2000 as a sitting POTUS. Senior Clinton aides are on record as saying that in the days following the blue dress DNA results, they lived in fear of a group of House and Senate Democratic leaders walking over to the White House and saying, essentially, "We don't want to put the country through a lot of icky stuff, Al Gore is OK to carry forward the agenda, we've already picked one us to be VP and cleared it with the Republicans, so, here's your airplane ticket to Little Rock and a few 'Girls Gone Wild' DVDs as your special going away gift -- the Panama City, Florida disc is especially nice."

I agree also that Gore would have done Afghanistan (though I know conservatives who disagree with that); I don't beleive President Gore would have done Iraq. Saddam would still be in power and the no-fly zones would have ended by 2004, and presumably his WMD programs would have resumed.

But no Nobel or Academy Award for Al Gore in this alternative reality (nor is Climate Change as big an issue without his involvement), so I think he has made out OK as it is.

But don't count your chickens before they hatch in 2008 (they might come home to roost in 2009?), the electoral college map is not locked up for McCain, and November is a long way off.

4/30/2008 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Bravo, Fat Man. Good stuff. I think the revenge factor is playing huge in the Democrat race. There are a lot of Dems who flat out despise the Clintons for their arrogant abuses of power. Kind of strange that half of their cabinet is endorsing Obama. Maybe they were appalled watching Hillary usurp power from Bill in high level meetings. Like who voted for you, biatch! That's the real chickens coming home to roost in this election.

4/30/2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

I am curious why John McCain's web site would include Andrew Sullivan on its blogroll...

4/30/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Operation CHAOS.

Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt.


Melanin vs. Estrogen in a cage match to the death, the maimed survivor to face Testosterone for the Championship of the World.

4/30/2008 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

"Easily herded, conservatives prefer to take their cues from on high, heeding the droppings of a Limbaugh or Sean Hannity rather than showing group initiative."

Niiice.

4/30/2008 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Some pretty devastating prose over at the WSJ by Daniel Hennigner:

"This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.

No prominent black clergyman came forth to make even the simple point that Jeremiah Wright's notion of the "black church" is but one point on a spectrum of faith. Rev. Wright, now written off as a virtual nut case, got more support from black clergymen than did Obama.

Barack Obama was bleeding by Monday and needed cover. Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers: Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Oprah, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jay Rockefeller, John Lewis, Toni Morrison, Roger Wilkins, Eric Holder, Robert Reich, Ted Sorenson, Alice Walker, David Wilhelm, Cornel West, Clifford Alexander, Donald McHenry, Patricia Wald, Newton Minow?

Where were all the big-city mayors who went over to the Obama camp: Chicago's Richard Daley, Cleveland's Frank Jackson, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin, Washington's Adrian Fenty, Newark's Cory Booker, Baltimore's Sheila Dixon?

It isn't hard for big names to get on talk TV to make a point. Any major op-ed page would have stopped the presses to print a statement of support from Ted Kennedy or such for the senator. None appeared. Call it profiles in gopher-holing.

Blogs and Web sites are overflowing with how this meltdown is largely of Barack Obama's own making. What difference does that make? He is not running for class president; he's running for the presidency of the United States. Even at the crudest level of political calculation and cowardice, there's a point in a presidential race when a candidate's supporters are all in. We passed that point weeks ago. It's him or her.

Analysts and historians will spend years sorting through the lessons of this most bizarre of all presidential campaigns. The Obama desertion points in a few directions."

5/01/2008 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

"This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman."

When Obama waited until it was too late to denounce Wright he showed both the best and the worst in him. The best of course, was loyalty which momentarily trumped the greatest of political imperatives: the need to survive. The worst, of course was that his loyalty was to the reprehensible.

Those who've followed my comments on Obama will know by now that the only question I had was whether his personal ambition would trump his deepest friendships. His hesitation proves that he's a better man than most politicians. But his politics proves that he's a worse politician than most men.

Two roads lie before Barack Obama. The first is to play the Game. Hope the whole thing will blow over. Set his face and brazen it out. If he's lucky, he'll get to the White House. But he will never achieve greatness down that path.

The second road is to turn his back on political ambition. Give up the campaign and fly the flag of his beliefs. And while I think those beliefs are utterly rotten, I think as a man he would benefit from taking this lonely path.

He won't of course. It would be a miracle if gives up the campaign for the White House now. But it's his Anakin Skywalker moment, and it's sad to watch.

5/01/2008 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Question, if Gore had won, Afghanistan would be invaded but where would Saddam's nukes and Ahmadinejad's nukes be pointed? Israel? Each other?

5/01/2008 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Mike H:Question, if Gore had won, Afghanistan would be invaded but where would Saddam's nukes and Ahmadinejad's nukes be pointed? Israel? Each other?

Each other. Israel is a convenient scapegoat for making political hay, but when it comes to national survival, not even the idiot Islamos believe Israel will do a nuke first strike. That's why Pakistan has its nukes pointed at their rival India and doesn't even talk about Israel.

5/01/2008 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Wretchard - what would happen if he accepted VP so that he's actually *in* the White House and can be seen to be gaining experience and seasoning himself? Pundits like Sinatra all agree there is nothing like picking yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.

Re: the nutroots, I have nothing but contempt for the whole crowd of them. The concept of democracy is based upon a mutual agreement that although we may not personally like the results of an election, we will, at most, ignore the newly-elected incumbents and everyone will soldier along together. Since the 2004 election, the Democrats have thrown that agreement out the window and done everything in their power to assassinate a sitting administration. From Pelosi to the NY Times to the State Department to the Kos Kids, there has not been one speck of concern evinced over the security of the country or upholding the agreement which is at the base of the electoral process.

I hope the Dem's do lose the upcoming election, and I also hope the whole pack of them develop raging ulcers and eventually end their days locked up in official sanitariums that reflect their scientifically diagnosed paranoia and looniness.

5/01/2008 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

If anybody should be frustrated at clean getaways, it should be the Right, watching the nutroots of the Left palaver their back into political power after they did their revolting best to undermine the effort in Iraq in particular and the War on Terror generally.

I think Fat Man is onto something about the Clintons. He figured out the Democrats, as constituted, could never get back into power as themselves, so he talked more of a centrist game than most Democrats could ever be comfortable with. I think you can argue he governed as a centrist as well. He got away with it because it won, for awhile, but there were real costs, and the political and rhetorical claims of the Left could not be ignored forever. Asking them to take Hillary -- although more Left, she reminds them of this -- after eight years of somebody the Left hates worse than Nixon, is just too much.

I wonder what happens if Obama loses ? Maybe we'll get lucky and the hard blue-academic loon areas will secede.

5/01/2008 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Insight said...

From some previous postings I believe that Wretchard lives in the Brisbane area. I got to Brisbane twice year to work on a research project. I have some friends there. The Aussies have no idea about the way the post Affirmative Action here has fractured our society with the help of the new Left's bureaucratic "politically correct" rules.
White and many Hispanics have seen people promoted above them based on race and gender and then have to carry extra burdens and receive insults as a result. They keep silent and those with children fear that they offspring will be pushed down.
I have worked with really intelligent and creative people of various colors including women. Obama is not that smart nor is he "nice". He is flawed human who has adopted the hate whitey feelings in Chicago's south side and elsewhere in our big cities. His wife is obvious to me since I have lived in that culture.
Meanwhile Obama is a real leftist. I am amazed that he adopted a leftist agenda in the Senate when he voted as a new Senator whose election was a freak. It would have been politically smarter to keep a low profile for several years and build coalitions outside his base. By the say the University of Chicago is mostly a graduate school with a strong research orientation and Hyde Park is no trendy lefty neighborhood. There are lefties and new left there (Ayers for example) but that the community is a lot different and diverse than the upper East Side of NYC or the googly San Fran crowd.

5/01/2008 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

"But don't count your chickens before they hatch in 2008 (they might come home to roost in 2009?), the electoral college map is not locked up for McCain, and November is a long way off"

This is more important for another reason. Soros has been using his money at the local government and state level to fund people he wants in power. People like the DA candidate who will not prosecute drug cases and judges who will observe the principals of rehabilitation over punishment (like the Judge who wouldn't send the convicted child rapist to jail because he might be peresecuted in jail, not because he was a convicted child rapist, but because he was vertically challenged).

I wouldn't put it past the Dems and their more radical allies to be looking at challenging the electoral college members.

5/01/2008 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Brock said...

I never thought the Three Stooges to be that funny, but this Democratic campaign is crazy hilarious. I've never before seen so many personal faults coming home to roost at the exact wrong time. Jerry Seinfeld could not have timed it better.

But neither political party in the US is a strongly stable coalition. There simply isn't enough common ground. This could happen to the Republicans just as easily. The only thing that keeps the libertarians / civil liberties groups quietly in the Republican Party are the dual facts that they accept as true: 1) the social conservatives have the numbers to win elections, and they don't, and 2) better the Reps than the Dems. If the libertarians / individual rightest ever come to believe the first of those facts is no longer true you'll see a crack-up among the Republicans just as hilarious as the one we are witnessing among the Dems. Rather than a centrist like McCain it would be Pat Robertson vs. Glenn Reynolds in a duel to the death.

5/01/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 05/01/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

5/01/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Escort81: "I don't believe President Gore would have done Iraq. Saddam would still be in power and the no-fly zones would have ended by 2004, and presumably his WMD programs would have resumed."

I don't know why not. The strategic situation compels it. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria are all state sponsors of terrorism. We must drain the swamp. Afghanistan, being the weakest, and giving the greatest offense was bound to be first. The next one had to be Iraq. We were at war with Iraq, subject only to a very thin cease fire. The sanctions regime was being undermined and would have crumbled. Iraq is physically between Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. This has nothing to do with the personality or politics of the President, but Al was a hawk before 2000, and supported the 1998 congressional resolution urging regime change in Iraq.

The only thing that might have been different is if Al had been President when the Cole was bombed. He might have mounted a full scale invasion of Afghanistan then and there, thus assuring his landslide re-election. That, in turn might have disrupted the 9/11 plot, and slowed the attack on Iraq, or it might not have.

"But don't count your chickens before they hatch in 2008 (they might come home to roost in 2009?), the electoral college map is not locked up for McCain, and November is a long way off."

Well, yes, but, I stand by what I said before. Barak Obama cannot be elected President of the United States. I thought it unlikely before the primaries, but I am certain of it now. Hillary could win, but not after taking Barak down. If Barak were to have a heart attack, Hillary could win. But if she has to wrestle the prize away from him, it won't be worth having. That is why the super delegates will give it to him. The alternative is a collapse of the party.

NahnCee: "Since the 2004 election, the Democrats have thrown that agreement out the window and done everything in their power to assassinate a sitting administration. From Pelosi to the NY Times to the State Department to the Kos Kids, there has not been one speck of concern evinced over the security of the country or upholding the agreement which is at the base of the electoral process."

Welcome to the real world of leftist politics. Just imagine what would have happened during the Cold War, if the Democrats were in power and the US was at war with a communist regime. The US would abandon its allies and a wave of genocide would sweep across the region. Just like it did in Vietnam. Just like it will in Iraq.

Blogger Brock: "But neither political party in the US is a strongly stable coalition. There simply isn't enough common ground. This could happen to the Republicans just as easily."

That is true, but it has always been true. If you wanted an unstable coalition you should look at the Democrat party in the 1948 -- 1972 era. The Democrats of the South and the North had far less in common than does any party coalition today. The New Deal was acceptable to both sides, but in the 50s and 60s, Civil Rights became the most important issue and that was fatal.

5/01/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

What makes you think Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. Hed would probably have had the same type of Advisers that Clinton used.

5/01/2008 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Thinking back to 9/12/2001, any President who did NOT go into some foreign country and kick some serious Arab ass would have been impeached. Afghanistan was the very smallest reaction a President could get away with, and even then, it wasn't enough, and Bush had to trump that itty-bitty card with Iraq.

I think even Jimmy Carter would have felt incumbent to invade Afghanistan in the months after 9/11, or we would have thrown him out even sooner than we ended up throwing him out.

5/01/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Absolutely great comment by Fat Man. They did get lucky in 1992 and have overplayed their hand ever since.

Alexis: I am curious why John McCain's web site would include Andrew Sullivan on its blogroll...

That's quite a small price to pay for demonstrating a broad horizon while knowing Andrew will not drive the agenda under John McCain.

Wretchard: Two roads lie before Barack Obama.

I believe there are three, and none involve him running as a Vice-President on the ticket. I accept the two you list. The third involves him dropping out now. I'll have a post up on my blog in an hour or so explaining why that is the course he should follow.

5/01/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Escort81 said...

Fat Man - good point about the Cole, but the investigation took some time before the obvious was confirmed and that bin Laden was ultimately behind it. (Davod -) Any sitting POTUS would have to do Afghanistan in some fashion following an attack such as 9/11, even -- shudder -- Jimmy Carter. It's a pretty clear cut case for impeachment, otherwise ("preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" kind of being challenged there).

In terms of Iraq, Al might have been a "hawk" as compared to his own party (though he did not push Clinton for an attack on bin Laden at Tarnak Farms), but certainly not in the Rumsfeldian sense. Just because "the strategic situation compels it" doesn't mean that Gore would have moved forward. How does that figure into his domestic poltical considerations? Depending upon when he assumed the Oval Office, he could have run again in 2004, so he needs his base in the primaries, otherwise he would have been faced with a situation like a Ted Kennedy insurgency against Carter in 1980. Alternative history is fun stuff!

5/01/2008 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

An Open Letter to Barack Obama

5/01/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

"Any sitting POTUS would have to do Afghanistan in some fashion following an attack such as 9/11"

We will have to disgree.

I do not think Gore would have declared war. As with the earlier, less costly, attacks, a Gore administration would treat this as a criminal matter.

By the time the criminal investigation had taken its course and established that Al Qaeda was responsible (we don't rely upon Osama just saying so), the heat to respond would have died down.

Just another terrorist attack.

5/01/2008 04:29:00 PM  

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