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January 07, 2008


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I had the same reaction to some of the articles on Alter Net trying to argue that Obama's nomination would amount to significant change in America. What really got my goat was the way some people at both Alter Net and Salon tried to argue that "electability" is a dead category now that Obama won Iowa, when that is the same one-pony show people play when anyone else starts talking about Kucinich. What's worth talking about is not, as Arianna Huffington thinks, Republican fear-mongering, but the Democrats' own fear-mongering (ranging from the Republican version of fearing terrorists and otherwise nuclear attack from predominantly Muslim nations to the fear of losing to the Republicans in November).

I've been arguing for the last few days on my blog that this fear-mongering is on par with what Hegel calls out in the Phenomenology as a "... fear of error [that] reveals itself rather as fear of the truth" (Paragraph 74). I think this fear of picking the "wrong" candidate is a fear of democratic politics itself, and that Zizek's call to "repeat Lenin" can be used to help us get out of its deadlock. The parallels are amazing between the tension between the neoliberal front-runners and (essentially) Dennis Kucinich AND the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks just prior to the October Revolution. In this I see the same potential to either do the impossible (nominate and elect Dennis Kucinich) or remain within the scripted boundaries of formal freedom, and elect an "electable."


I think the most dead-on assessment of the Dems' situation was made over at Econospeak (and quoted at Long Sunday):

The mistake, as Paul Krugman has been repeatedly arguing, is to think that we can get to cooperation by being cooperative. On this point Edwards is right: there are powerful interests, corporate and political, who will sabotage the cooperative impulse every step of the way...
To be fair to [Obama], his ability to run as a black man for president of a white-run country depends entirely on his being non-threatening. If he adopted even a smidgeon of Edwards’ rhetoric he would sink like a stone. This isn’t his fault; chalk it up to lingering racism. But... to get the friendlier world the Obama voters thought they were voting for, we need the confrontational chutzpah that Edwards pushed.

(Back to me) ...Which I think the voters are aware of, and explains Edwards' 2nd-place finish in Iowa. I might even expect him to do better in New Hampshire.

Like Jodi, I have a guilty admiration for Huckabee's anti-wealth populism - a characteristic that is, I'm sure, at the heart of why so many Republican pundits are tripping over themselves to excommunicate him from their party. What utterly baffles me is when a place-holder on Rush Limbaugh's show starts lambasting Huckabee for being TOO religious. Is it a similar fear for his "electability" or lack thereof? Or is it another facet in the struggle to return the GOP to its old-school conservatism, which (fingers crossed) would frown on a theocracy?


You may or may not have seen George McGovern's call for Bush's impeachment in the Washington Post the other day. It's about as forceful and thoughtful case as I've seen, arguing that there's simply not doubt that Bush/Cheney have committed numerous impeachable offenses and the integrity of the US Constitution depends on Congress rejecting these extensions of executive power.

I admit to not following the debates, but my sense is that energizing or optimistic as they may be, nobody but nobody is saying anything like this. In the rush to point to a new era, they all seem willing to let the appalling precedents stand. Talk abotu a schein.


This will perhaps sound lame, but Obama inspires people, even if (as Hillary has said) he is offering "false hope." Whether it is because he is a gifted orator, or simply appears as a "nice, friendly," non threatening Black man, people like him and what he has to say. And it is difficult to think that he would have the same disregard for the constitution as Bush or Clinton.

That said, he does appear to be too accomadating. I personally like Edwards rhetoric of class conflict but he does not inspire in the same way, and he does not speak to peoples emotions. Elections are quite often about nebulous things like feelings and "who you trust to make change." If elected, Obama may not be as successful confronting the monied interests but he is certainly fairly liberal in his policies.


"he is certainly fairly liberal in his policies."

You refer to his stance against gay marriage, perhaps? Or his support of Israel's war on Lebanon? The "strategic" bombing of Pakistan? The fact he aims to INCREASE funding to America's military and war machine?

He _does_ support gay civil unions, and he would actually talk with Iran, but on foreign policy he is just another in a long line of liberal imperialists (as is Edwards and of course Clinton). Take it from a staunch neocon who approves:



ugh, thank you for the link. That speech is very disturbing.

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