Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Gordon Gartrelle says: The Democrats refuse to see the Wizard


I differ from Chauncey in that I think that Obama has a chance to beat whomever the Republicans nominate. I also differ from him because I would never even joke about eating chitlins. However, we agree that, in general, the Democrats are poor strategists compared to the Republicans, and that the Democrats are absolutely clueless when it comes to choosing their presidential candidates. Take a look at this list of losing Democratic Nominees from 1984 to the present:

Mondale

Dukakis

Gore (don’t give me that “But he won the popular vote and they stole Florida” shit. OK, but he couldn’t even win his home state. How pathetic is that?)

Kerry

Just look at that list for a second. Is it even possible to imagine a more lifeless, uninspiring group of Democratic politicians? What this list tells me, though, is that the Democrats do not learn from their mistakes, and that Hillary will most likely be their nominee. Why? Because they believe that she is the “safe” choice (though she is anything but). Because she is an insider with “relevant experience” (though she has little).

Let’s revisit 2004 for a moment. Republicans’ charge them with being antipatriotic, so what do the Democrats do? They get all giddy about Wesley Clark running, and they ultimately nominate a Vietnam vet...a boring, robotic, aristocratically-mannered Vietnam vet. That’ll show ’em! That this move backfired is irrelevant. The mere fact that they allowed Republicans to define the attributes of their candidate shows how unimaginative, obsequious, and pathetic the Democrats are.

We live in interesting political times. Due to an odd convergence of circumstances, the three potential democratic presidential nominees are an economic populist, a woman, and a (kind of) black man, and the last one is the most electable candidate of the three! To see why Obama is the best bet for the Dems right now, let’s examine his main rivals:

Edwards, a white male and a Southerner, may seem like a good choice given that the last few Democratic presidents have been white men from the South. But Democrats got extremely lucky with Clinton and Carter: not only were they white male Southerners, they were up against Republicans whose loser-dom was too great for even the Democrats to fuck up. Most important, though, was that they came off as regular guys, despite their high levels of formal education. Edwards, on the other hand, is an effete pretty boy. Independents, especially male ones, will never vote for him in large numbers; he’s too “queer.” They can’t imagine having a brew with Edwards. Though these criteria are idiotic, they certainly explain Gore and Kerry’s failure to mop the floor with a man who, while just north of functionally retarded, appears to be a regular guy despite his privileged upbringing. Edwards can “man up” and criticize Hillary’s crying all he wants, this country will not elect a Southern dandy. The mainstream media will make sure of that. And I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Edwards’ platform is populist, poverty-centered, and critical of big business. Do you think that’s gonna fly in our current political climate, where any critique of the institutions that foster poverty earns one the socialist label?

It’s bad enough that Hillary represents boring “politics as usual.” The fact that she is a Clinton is what’ll ultimately sink her. Feeling good about New Hampshire women coming to bat for their girl? That's nice. Feel this: do you know how many conservative and moderate women will come out to vote, not for a Republican, not against a Democrat, but against Hillary personally? People will crawl from the swamps to ensure she never sets foot in the White House again. If this is fairly obvious even to party loyalists, why are the rest of the Democrats so blind? I think it’s a collection of things: cowardice, strategic and ideological stagnation, an insider devotion to the status quo, and the all too predictable establishment liberal mantra, “White is right (to lead black people), black is awesome (but if it comes down to white vs. black leadership, black get back).

So Obama’s the man…except that he isn’t and probably won’t be. The Democrats embody all four of the pre-Wizard Oz pilgrims combined: no brain, no heart, no home, no balls no noyve. Obama is the magical Wizard poised to restore to the Democratic Party its squandered mojo. For the Democratic establishment, though, Obama’s campaign is too much like a fairy tale, and nominating him would be too much like right.

3 comments:

Zora said...

As long as we are engaging on the level of fairy tales (for Chauncey, speculative fiction), can we imagine a Democratic candidate that combines the best of all -- a sort of "Obaclinted?" The candidate would be a female, African-American and have a conservative Christian, southern background. But, wait ... that would be Condoleezza Rice!

Let's start over. The ideal candidate would have the political savvy of Clinton, the freshness and charisma of Obama, and the policy agenda of Edwards.

DNC, are you folks listening?

deva said...

I just love that you have a subject tag for "white pathology." Genius! It would make a great book title, you know... I don't see why you shouldn't take a crack at it Gordon.

gordon gartrelle said...

That's a fantastic idea, Deva. But I have to finish my fieldwork on advanced grad student pathology first.