Monday, July 21

:: Boycott the DNC

The DNC is not on your side.
The poor Canary has been neglected of late... but if anything could bring her back from the brink of collapse it would be (and is) this unbelievably - no, mindblowingly - obnoxious email sent by DNC officials to Hillary donors and reproduced in TPM Election Central.

Do follow the link; however, I'm reproducing the entire email (as posted there) because I don't trust y'all to not lose focus and skip on over to Miranda July's balm-for-the-soul place instead.
Dear Democratic Friends:

2008 is a Democratic year-at all levels in all the states. The opportunity is ours. We just have to seize it.

We experienced an exciting, intense, sometimes difficult, campaign to nominate our presidential candidate. Now it's over. Barack Obama won.

I supported Hillary Clinton and am proud and pleased that I did. But she lost. Barack Obama won. It's over.

It is time for all Democrats, supporters of Senator Clinton and all other contenders for the nomination, to stand with him to secure his election and the election of Democrats at all levels of competition.

I must confess a bit of fatigue and irritation with people who continue to carp, complain, and criticize the results of the primary and lay down conditions for their support. The Los Angeles Lakers didn't establish conditions to recognize the Boston Celtics as NBA Champions; Roger Federer did not demand concessions before recognizing that Rafael Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon.

It is time to act in a mature and resourceful fashion. It's time to put the primaries behind us. It's time to support Barack Obama without conditions or demands.

It's time to WIN for Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, America, and our future. We have an unparalleled opportunity. I hope we will all do everything we can to seize the moment.

See you at the Inauguration.


Don Fowler
DNC Member At-Large, South Carolina
Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Alice Germond
Secretary, Democratic National Committee

According to TPM, this is a real email that was really sent. Part of me almost wonders whether Mr. Fowler and Ms. Germond are acting as provocateurs -- purposely trying to rile up Obama dissenters ahead of the convention. Its hard for me to believe that sentient humans actually thought this would be helpful to the DNC and Barack.

But let's take it at face value. Apparently pre-Convention, pre-election organizing to impress upon Barack and the party leadership that benefiting from rampant sexism, caving on a critical aspect of Roe and voting to gut the Fourth Amendment is just bitter carping by sore losers. Apparently the resolution of the nomination battle is as simple as tallying up points, awarding a trophy, and going home for the off-season. Apparently all this trouble is just because Hillary's supporters are just being difficult and tempermental. Why don't we just shut up and get in line, already?

Seriously, its really worrying that people in the Democratic leadership are so willing to cast huge numbers of the party faithful as "other" - unknowable (why don't they just stop?), illegitimate (you lost fair and square!), and a threat to the cause (you'd better start giving). Because dissenters have been cast as "other," its easy for the DNC to think in profoundly undemocratic ways - that the dissenters should shut up, that the Convention is just pro-forma because its "over already."

These people really, really don't get it and they are not listening to anyone's concerns. The only thing they care about is stifling dissent. If this is the way they are behaving before the election - before the Convention! - how much traction do you think we'll have if they decide to nominate a Sandra Day O'Connor style justice for the Supreme Court? How much juice will we have when Obama's faith based allies start receiving conscience exemptions with their federal grants for providing certain social or health services?

The inimitable Dr. Violet Socks of Reclusive Leftist adds the DNC's latest salvo to her updated "reverse-reality scenario" thusly...
In behind-the-scenes maneuvers, as Obama is wrapping up his final primary victory in Puerto Rico, the DNC forces him to suspend his campaign and endorse Hillary.

Hillary, for her part, plunges into the role of presumptive nominee with confidence. She abandons any pretense of being a progressive (or even much of a Democrat), espousing right-wing Republican policies on everything from domestic surveilliance to the (non)-separation of church and state. She also drops her support — never more than lukewarm — for full voting rights for African-Amercians, arguing instead that they should have to pass stringent psychological tests and consult with their families and pastors before making important decisions like who to vote for. When members of the Congressional Black Caucus urge her to reach out to African-American supporters of Obama, she sneers that they need to “get over it” themselves, and that if they’d just think for a moment they’d realize it’s for their own good.

Hillary’s occasional attempts to downplay racism go awry. She makes an awkward speech praising Obama for proving that black men can perform every bit as well as white girls. At one of her fundraisers a comedian regales the crowd with “n—-r” jokes; Hillary starts to chide him gently, but then smiles and says, “I’m just messin’ with you!”

In Dr. Socks' updated reverse reality scenario, the comedian she refers to is Bernie Mac. Do the Google if you are unfamiliar. The reference to full voting rights is an allusion to Barack's dismissal-then-backtrack on health exceptions for abortion - they are equally fundamental abrogations of human rights.

It's worth taking a look at Dr. Socks' original reverse-reality scenario... and when you're done with that, head over to Ms. July's website to decompress.


RS said...


OK, seriously - prove that Obama won due to rampant sexism against Senator Clinton. Sure, there was sexism in the media talking heads. But did that sway votes?
You know my answer. If Senator Clinton had been smarter and a better manager (hiring/firing people based on competence rather than loyalty like W.), she might have had a chance. The difference in delegate count could easily have been reversed, or at least tied, and then Senator Clinton's "experience" (yes, in quotes) would have carried the day.

As for a "critical aspect" of Roe. I assume you mean the "mental distress" comments Obama made. I was shocked too, until I learnt he meant "just feeling blue" does not count, but real mental illnesses do. But I guess you can twist his words to fit your storyline. Or maybe you really want women to be able to get abortions anytime they want, for any flimsy reason whatsoever?

Dissent is one thing. Yes, keep the pressure on the Democratic nominee to do the things you want done on the issues. But making issues separate from governance - like helping retire Clinton's debts to Mark Penn, or making her the VP despite her demonstrated failures with universal health care and her own Presidential campaign, even though other excellent choices abound - that's blackmail.

Nina Miller said...

Hello, RS! I hope all is well.

One can't prove than any candidate won by any single factor. Believe me, I've worked for PACs that have spent beaucoup d'argent trying to prove through elaborate benchmark polling - with callback panels and comparisons of samples taken from districts where the PAC ran ads to districts where the PAC did not run ads, etc - that it was *their* issue that made the difference. Ad while we sometimes found good evidence that our issue and advertising had an impact, really you can never boil something this complex down to one factor.

The criticism I make is that Obama benefited from rampant sexism and never did he - or the DNC - do anything to quell it. He benefited from it, and occasionally stoked it. But never did he disown it, make a speech condemning it, etc, not even obliquely.

So there's that.

As for the mental health exception, we've used some shorthand here. The mental health exception is a more complex issue than it appears on the surface. For good context, I would read this:

This is where Obama's language about "defined rigorously" or "serious clinical mental-health diseases" is a problem:

One of the main reasons for having a late term abortion is the occurrence of a serious, fatal congenital defect. The ones you hear about the most are fetuses that develop with the brain partially or entirely outside the skull. I'm no doctor, but my understanding is that this is sometimes only detected pretty late in the game.

The woman carrying this doomed fetus doesn't experience an immediate threat to her physical health because the fetus is alive (there's only a threat if there's fetal death). Likewise, while she is deeply upset, its unlikely that she's suffering from clinical depression or any other serious mental health disease. So in Obama's construct, this woman cannot have a late term abortion. She would have to carry the doomed fetus another two or three months until the time of natural birth. No ob-gyn would risk aborting earlier because the penalties for breaking the various proposed late term bans are quite serious.

This may sound hypothetical or extreme, but in fact major birth defects are the reason for most late term procedures.

I'll try to find you a link or two on this. But I warn you, its some of the most depressing stuff you'll ever read. These are wanted babies, and the parents and families are usually well on their way to setting up their nurseries, etc.

And that's why the rhetoric about late term promulgated by the right-wing and adopted by Obama ("feeling blue") is so venal. Read but one case study and you'll understand that these parents go through sheer hell. No one gets a late term procedure because she "feels blue." There's no difference between that construct and Reagan's "welfare queen" construct in the eighties, which was used to trivialize the plight of impoverished women and children.

Stuff like this... well, everyone has a right to their opinion, but when the issue has to do with people's very lives, it behooves all of us to do some research before forming a strongly held viewpoint. I know you'll look into this a little further, RS - its one of the things I like about you.



Nina Miller said...

RS - this link is to a post by a woman who had a late term procedure; it sums up the situation very well.

Nina Miller said...

... and note especially the comment to the above post here:

While this woman's situation was first trimester, the principle is the same - her situation wouldn't have fit a physical or mental health exception as defined by Obama. But surely you wouldn't support having her go through what she went through because of that awful doc.

And what the nurse did to help her - risking her job and probably license to relieve her suffering? That's the situation a lot of nurses and docs would be in under the framework Obama described.

RS said...

To get the Obama v Clinton issue out of the way - you still haven't shown that Obama benefited from "rampant sexism." True, that might be something hard to prove; but Clinton might have actually benefited from "iron my shirt" as she won NH the next day. Still, this is likely something on which we will have to agree to disagree.

I read the ABC post; as well as Lynda Waddington's touching story. Obama's comments to Relevant do appear at worst calculated, and at best, off-the-cuff and abbreviated. His "blues" comment paints for me a caricature that is unreal, as you point out.

As for the fatal congenital defect cases. It appears from Waddington's story that the mother's physical health would be threatened, as the defect is fatal and means the fetus would die in-utero; that surely is covered as an exemption. As for Proud Pagan, her experience was horrific; but at a cold logical level, perhaps she should have gone to another doctor, like Waddington did (though yes, she apparently had to go to 5 ob-gyns).

As for Waddington's other statements about Obama's plan - not sure where she got the "does not allow parents to decide when other children learn", while "would not have an option to terminate" may not be true as the physical health exemption might apply. Then again, I may be on shaky ground here - Obama's "Women's issues" page does not go into detail.

This of course is a serious issue, and something you and other folk should pressure Obama on.

Not sure if this is a real post, but:

Finally, Obama has always been a centrist rather than a flaming left-wing, anti-all-war liberal. So he will have positions many Dems don't agree with. That's where Congressional checks-and-balances come in...