There have been some interesting responses to my recent post Hey, Barack: FUCK YOU! Some wise commenters have been all like “Yeah, PhysioProf! You kick ass!!” Some benighted souls, however, have been all like, “Hey, PhysioProf, you fucking naif! Obama is just doing what it takes to get elected. Republicans won’t like him if he honestly espouses liberal values.” I want to analyze this reaction in more detail right now.
What he was saying is that these things aren’t JUST ONLY liberal because they’re just plain old good common sense… and rather normal. He was doing an in your face mofo to the idjits that call anything that is against george bush “librul” in answer to the pundits and such.
Well, if this is what he was saying, he picked a really confusing way of saying it. I thought Obama is a brilliant orator? You’re telling me that he is so inept that he inadvertently pissed on my leg? I call shenanigans. He knows exactly what the fuck he is doing, just like with the Reagan thing.
In the grand scheme, however, Myrtle June and I just have a difference of opinion on rhetoric, which is not so critical. However, Anonymoustache, another excellent blogger, made a substantive point about electoral politics that needs to be addressed:
The ideal path, ‘doing the right thing and getting into office’, is a fantasy today. I think it is impossible to be labeled a hard-core liberal and win. So one has to hope that at the end of the road, the winner turns out to be a hard-core liberal; and that he/she can slowly but surely demonstrate that liberalism is the only way of hope. Beating people over the heads with it—especially conservatives, who don’t think like liberals or at all for that matter—will be counterproductive. Reagan had the advantage that he was ‘converting’ an open-minded section of the populace—one that was willing to consider an alternative point of view. Our liberal candidate does not have that luxury–he/she has to approach it more like educating a stubborn and petulant child.
This is a total load of bullshit, and just recapitulates the same stupid fucking mistakes that Democrats have been making for the last 30 years. I understand exactly what Obama’s doing. I vehemently disagree with it on principled and pragmatic grounds.
If he continues with this electoral strategy, wins the nomination, and wins the general election, he is going to owe too much to too many who do not share my values. And I believe that he does not need to tack to the center and be “inclusive” towards those on the right in order to win.
Liberals currently have an opportunity to, rather than just “include” conservatives who can’t close their eyes to the current conservative-born clusterfuck, actually convince them that what is best for them and their families is unabashed liberalism.
If Reagan is such an inspiration to Obama, then how come he is ignoring the fact that rather than disavow conservatism to “include” Democrats, Reagan rather convinced them that “liberalism” didn’t represent their values, and conservatism did. This enabled long-term electoral success for Republicans, persisting well beyond Reagan’s presidency.
Obama has the opportunity to do the same thing in reverse. If he convinces non-wackadoodle-insane conservatives that it is liberalism that really represents their values, then he can create electoral advantage for Democrats that persists for a generation. By disavowing “liberalism”–even if he is also disavowing “conservatism”–he is turning this into a referendum on him as a particular individual that will not live beyond his presidency.
Other than the completely fucking insane 27%ers–who I think we can agree are beyond any possible redemption, will follow their conservative authoritarian leaders into the fires of hell spitting all the while about how Obama is a communist, fascist, Islamic, Hitler, and are not worth engaging at all in electoral politics–many Republican voters are ripe for being convinced that they are actually liberals.
We are living in a uniquely teachable moment, one that has not occurred in a generation, where a Democratic candidate has the opportunity to remind people that all of the values and attributes of the United States that we consider good are liberal.
Of course, Obama may understand all of this, and be doing what he is doing with full knowledge of, and desire for, the possible consequences of his strategic decisions. I am disappointed that he seems to be forgoing this once-in-a-generation opportunity. And I am angry that he decided to piss on my leg while doing it.
Apologists who–whenever Democrats piss on their unabashedly liberal base and try to convince right-wingers that Democrats really are just like them–say that this is just the kind of shit that Democrats need to do to get elected, and that progressive Democrats who take umbrage are political naifs, are buying in to anti-progressive right-wing sick-fuck propaganda specifically designed to keep Democrats out of power and to keep Republicans in power.
And stop telling me not to “hate Obama” because he panders to Republicans, that only “hard core liberals” give a shit about that kind of stuff anyway, and that we should shut our fucking naive mouths because pissing on our legs and doing the shuck-and-jive for Republicans is just “political necessity” for Obama, and that we “hardcore liberals” should just be happy if Obama throws us a bone or two if he gets elected.
I say, “Fuck That Noise!” It is shitty long-term electoral strategy for Democrats to claims that they are “just like the Republicans” in ways that matter. It is good electoral strategy to point out that the Republican Party is a refuge for scoundrels who truly hate what America stands for, and that the Democratic Party is built on the liberal principles that out nation was founded on.
The Republican Party didn’t achieve thirty years of unbridled power by pretending that we all want the same things and we should all get along. They achieved it by demonizing the left, and by convincing electoral majorities that the left does not have America’s best interests in mind. Democrats are poised to again fail to learn from their experiences, and are poised to do the same stupid fucking shit that has kept them out of power for the last thirty years.
Ordinary people do fucking care! They just need some Democrats to sack the fuck up and start telling them the fucking unalloyed truth about where we’re at, why we’re where we’re at, and whose fucking depraved plan it was to get us here!
All this happy horseshit about “both sides of the aisle want the same things” and “it’s not about liberal and conservative; it’s about what’s best for America” is (1) a complete fucking lie that could have been written by Carl Motherfucking Rove and (2) totally fucking inept electoral strategy if Democrats want generational political power, like the Republicans have enjoyed for 30 years.
Keep it up if you want, but PhysioProf is going to continue calling it as I see it. The issue is not that we don’t understand how these things work. The issue is that we disagree about what the fuck to do about it.
And by the way, what I am saying has nothing to do with Obama versus Clinton. I considered the two of them indistinguishable enough that I didn’t even vote in the primary in my state given the previous demise of any of the candidates I had a true preference for. And believe me, I will vote for whoever the Dem nominee is, even if it’s some fucking dog catcher from Nebraska they pull out at the convention to break a deadlock.