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Barack Obama Needs to Lead the Resistance to Trump

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Graham Vyse has a good piece on why we need Barack Obama as a resistance leader. You should read it. In fact, I was working on a similar piece but kind of hit a brick wall so never finished it. Figure I might as well put these ideas out here, even if they don’t get published in a bigger forum. Here it is:

In the face of Donald Trump’s shocking upset over Hillary Clinton in November, the Democratic Party has been in disarray, lacking leadership in the vacuum left by Hillary Clinton. Liberals and leftists have blamed each other for her defeat and Democrats’ poor performance downticket. Some Hillary supporters have castigated Bernie Sanders’ negative campaigning against Clinton and his supporters who did not vote for her. Leftists have called Clinton a neoliberal Wall Street sellout who ran an uninspiring centrist campaign at a time of populist uprising. The period between 2016 and 2020 was when Democrats intended to figure out their future leaders as potential candidates explored a run for the presidency in 2024.

As Trump and his advisors prepare to dismantle a century of social progress, Democrats need to unite quickly to oppose this while also figuring out the future of the Party. With a fractured, confused party riven with infighting, there is only one figure who can unite the party immediately in opposition to the Trump agenda. That is Barack Obama.

I believe historians will judge Obama favorably for his progressive agenda on many issues, especially given the historically rabid opposition he faced from Congress. In the past half-century, only Lyndon Johnson has a more consistent liberal record. But Obama has failed to turn his victories into a robust Democratic Party. The poor Democratic National Committee leadership under Tim Kaine and then Debbie Wasserman-Schultz led to over 900 lost state legislature seats, 69 House members, 12 senators, and 13 governors, as well as tremendous infighting during the 2016 Democratic primaries. The Democratic Party needs to figure out how to fix that. Whether the next DNC chair is Keith Ellison, Tom Perez, or some other candidate Democrats need to rethink their political strategy to compete nationally. That will take time, resources, and infighting. The next generation of electoral leadership cannot arise overnight out of this morass.

On the other hand, Obama’s approval rating among Democrats is consistently between 80 and 90 percent. In an age of extreme rhetoric, unbounded racism, and the destruction of democratic norms, Obama is a voice of reason and dignity. While the Democratic Party figures out its future, Obama can be a center of opposition to Trump. Obama has always believed in dialogue and working with the opposition, which may well not be possible with an administration toying with fascism. But we must urge Obama to be a figure of fierce resistance to Trump. That could take many forms. He could write a weekly column in a major newspaper or appear frequently on talk shows. He could make speeches around the country castigating Trump’s policies. He could even run for office again, using a seat in the House of Representatives or the Senate as a tiny bully pulpit to gather attention for the horrors of Trump. No one has more status to challenge Trump directly than Barack Obama.

Obama as a serious political actor in his post-presidency would be an unusual, but not unprecedented, move. Upon leaving office, most presidents are either elderly, disgraced, or politically irrelevant. Two recent comparisons are Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Clinton left office as a popular president and a young man. The Clinton Foundation has done some good work, but ultimately served more to promote the ex-president as a global celebrity than keep Clinton as a central figure in American politics, Hillary’s successful career notwithstanding.

Jimmy Carter’s post-presidency is more interesting. Carter promotes democracy around the world, builds housing for the poor in the United States, and fights tropical diseases. His brave stance in promoting peace in the Middle East has made him a deeply respected figure unafraid to enter into the political realm for the causes which he believes in. However, Carter has played very little role in the Democratic Party since he left office and never saw himself as an opposition leader to Reagan.

A more useful but less obvious precedent is John Quincy Adams. In 1824, Adams won the Oval Office in one of the strangest elections in American history, when four major candidates sought the office. Andrew Jackson won the most votes in the Electoral College, but failed to win a majority. The election then went to the House. But loathing Jackson, the fourth-place candidate, Kentucky senator Henry Clay, asked his supporters to support Adams, who came in second in the Electoral College. Adams, an honest man without much sense of politics, then named Clay as his Secretary of State. There is no evidence of a quid pro quo, but Jackson and his supporters cried out that it was a “Corrupt Bargain.” This destroyed Adams’ presidency. His progressive ideas for a national university system and advanced road system was swallowed up by a fake scandal promoted by the racist demagogue who would defeat him in 1828. Adams could have faded into obscurity. But instead he ran for Congress in Massachusetts in 1831, serving until his death in 1848. There, Adams become the most prominent abolitionist voice in the House of Representatives. He was a moral objector to the foundational sin of the United States, routinely taking on a political establishment dedicated to perpetuating the slavery of millions of African-Americans.

Barack Obama could be our John Quincy Adams. Obama himself has hinted at a more active role in politics than past presidents. Even before the election, he and former Attorney General Eric Holder declared they would dedicate themselves to fixing gerrymandering through creating the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. Such a direct intrusion into American politics already would make Obama unusual. But he can go farther. In a Democratic Party without a clear leader, Obama is the only figure that can gather the respect of both liberals and moderates. He won the votes of working-class whites in Rust Belt states and motivated intense African-American and youth involvement in politics. Compared to Trump, Obama is a paragon of morality, of seriousness, of leadership. We need Barack Obama to take on the burden political leadership to inspire liberals in these perilous times.

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  • humanoid.panda

    I agree that Obama should (and will) be a much more significant political voice, and I hope to God his only cashing in would be his memoir and not the lecture circuit. However, in the end, JQA was an influential voice because he returned to Congress. I don’t see Obama doing that, and in the end, Democratic leaders should be elected officials accountable to voters.

    • DamnYankees

      Would he be willing to be governor or Illinois or something? He’s not that old. And god knows the IL Democratic Party needs better people to run for Governor.

      • wengler

        I don’t think Obama is dumb enough to ever want to be the governor of Illinois.

        • humanoid.panda

          Yeah. I could see him becoming a Senator, if and when he gets Michelle not to cut of his balls for raising the idea. But a governor job?

          • wengler

            A quick rundown of the last four governors of Illinois:

            Bruce Rauner(R): private equality billionaire and anti-worker zealot. Ran on the same general message of Trump: ‘I’m going to shake things up’. Failed to compromise on anything and destroyed the ability of the state government to function. Illinois functions now through judicial rulings.

            Pat Quinn(D): Completely ineffectual functionary whose signature achievement was attempting to gut the public workers’ pension fund. The same people that got him elected. State supreme court reversed the ruling but massive mismanagement will likely lead to a crisis in the near future for the fund. He is the only person that could’ve led to Rauner.

            Rod Blagojevich(D): Raised the minimum wage. Couldn’t even try to not look crooked. Is now in prison for attempting to sell Obama’s Senate seat. I didn’t vote for him for obvious reasons, but objectively probably the best of the last four governors.

            George Ryan(R): Sold drivers’ licenses to fund his gubernatorial campaign. One of them ended up belonging to a trucker that killed a whole family in California. Also ended up commuting every person on death row. So a mixed bag but the blood on his hands puts him below Blagojevich. Also served time in prison.

            • humanoid.panda

              Ryan was also the guy who forced his wife to go to BDSM clubs, right?

              • DamnYankees

                That was Jack Ryan.

                • tsam

                  HAN SOLO WOULD NEVER DO THAT AND HE SHOT FIRST

                • rea

                  Jack Ryan was pretty bad, although you could not help but be impressed with how he handled the Red October crisis.

            • vic rattlehead

              Wait. You mean to tell me that success as a businessman doesn’t automatically translate to success as an elected executive? I don’t believe it.

              I’m especially surprised that a background in the morally dubious world of private equity doesn’t make one a competent Governor. That’s just the damnedest thing. It’s almost like politics requires like, actual political skill that is distinct from business acumen.

              In all seriousness, I can buy a relationship between being a competent business executive and government executive. Although I still maintain that it’s asinine to elect governor someone with only business experience.

              And the whole business to Governor/President. That’s something I can buy when it comes to a George Romney type. And my understanding is that he was actually a good governor.

              But “making” money in shady high finance? Meh. I’m not at all surprised that Rauner has been a dogshit Governor.

              The other Governor from a finance background I can think of was Corzine in Jersey. He was absolutely atrocious and had no idea how to work effectively with his party in the state legislature (and I still blame the politically incompetent rich fuck for Christie). And unlike Rauner he had some political experience too! He was a one term Senator. Although clearly that didn’t do much of anything for his understanding of state politics.

              • Colin Day

                Corzine also thought he was above the use of seat belts, which nearly killed him.

                • EliHawk

                  And if that had happened, we’d have never heard of Chris Christie. Codey would have beaten him handily.

            • J Alfred Press

              Heya. I’m a longtime Illinois resident who is relocating to Jersey soon. I had a couple of low level political jobs in IL (in my much younger years I worked for a centrist GOP state senator, back when there were such things*) and am currently a social worker. Just to add some quick color to your George Ryan summary:

              By the end, Ryan had developed Christie-esque levels of antagonism with the voters of Illinois, Dems and GOP alike. His approval rating was in the low double digits and I think got down into single digits in some polls. He refused to lead a parade at the state fair, which is something literally every other state governor in IL had always done, noting “Parades are terrible and anyone who likes parades is stupid.”

              Also, when he did his One Good Thing Ever with the death penalty, watching the reaction of the rubicund, cornfed hayseeds downstate who had been so excited to have a Republican in office a few years before was fucking beautiful. He did it mostly as a publicity stunt, partly as a “fuck you” to those very people, and ended up getting, I think, a Nobel Prize nomination out of the stunt.

              The best thing about Ryan was that not only was he incredibly, comically corrupt even by IL standards, but he was a fumbling, charmless, grumpy, sourfaced dick about it from the jump. It was like watching a fat dude waddle into a busy bank in the middle of the afternoon with no mask on and point a gun at the teller and demand all the money and then try to take a leisurely walk out, threatening to call the manager on the security guards as they surrounded him.

              ======
              * The state senator in question was a nice man who had inherited far too much money and came from a district so small and insignificant he was literally able to just buy a seat for several terms until he got Tea Partied out. I never even pretended to agree with him on any issue philosophically, but he thought I was very bright and I was dating his daughter so he gave me a job. We did much more good than harm because honestly, at the state level, moderate ideas on education (that we should have it, and the state should fund it) and other statewide issues were pretty workable.

        • ThrottleJockey

          This. He barely escaped that sewer the first time. But a second time? Why tempt lightning?

      • dbk

        Re: Obama as Illinois governor: not a good idea at the present juncture. Illinois may go Democratic in national elections and so escape Rust Belt flipped-state calumny, but on closer inspection it’s the graveyard where politicians go to die.

        It’s impossible to govern right now, rather tragic somehow for us native Illinoisans.

        I think the idea of working on redistricting reform is good; I’d also like to see him collaborating with grass-roots organizations to inspire young people to run for office. More long-term stuff, which I think he’d like and excel at.

    • I really don’t think there is anything to worry about. Obama believes in the institution too much to oppose Trump, because to do so would delegitimiz the institution that elected him. Obama will speak to his legacy on accasion and settle into a nice cushy job at some tech VC firm, and that will be the all of it.

      • Tyro

        Pretty much. So much of this post is, “What would happen if Obama was someone other than who he is?”

        • ThrottleJockey

          Unfortunately.

          We’re still Waiting for Superman.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            We can’t even get Clark Kent.

            So we go with Jimmy Olsen, I guess.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Well done.

              As Gordon said, “You get the hero you deserve.”

              • Scott P.

                Rorschach? The Comedian?

                • mojrim

                  I think we already got The Comedian.

          • Exactly.

    • vic rattlehead

      In the end, Democratic leaders should be elected officials accountable to voters.

      Intellectually I agree.

      But there’s ought and there’s is. I wish that what is and what should be were one and the same, believe me. But the reality is that right now Obama is probably the strongest opposition voice we have for the reasons Loomis outlines. I welcome other voices, especially among elected Dems. But Donald Trump is going to be president- I’ll take what I can get. And strong leadership from Obama might help Dem leaders find their spines.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    There’s a lot to this, but one problem I’m having is that if Obama’s first post-presidency act of political engagement ends up being personal intervention into the DNC election to stop Keith Ellison, it pisses off large sections of the base for no real reason.

    It’s fine to prefer Perez (and unsurprising Obama does), but the tone of the news analysis of the race is that Obama wants Ellison defeated, and if he succeeds, that’ll be a severe limitation on his attempts to lead any sort of resistance in future.

    • DamnYankees

      Is there any evidence that the base has any strong feelings on Ellison v. Perez in any meaningful way?

      One of the biggest issues Bernie fans had in the Democratic primary was imagining that they were the base of the Democratic Party, when they really weren’t. They may be growing as a faction (though frankly I doubt that as well given how badly they did in the election), but even then they aren’t the base. The base is black people and single women. Who, as far as I’m aware, love Obama.

      • To an extent, you are right. But really the Democratic Party has two bases–one the base you describe and the other the educated white activists who went big for Bernie. The latter cares a lot about these issues and will raise a huge stink over it, getting a ton of media attention. We can argue whether those people really are the base–and anyone who did not vote for Hillary Clinton is most certainly not. But there are some tensions here.

        • DamnYankees

          Fair point. I guess my only rebuttal (if you even want to call it that), is that the “educated white activists” are louder than they are large. Black people who showed up in the primary to vote for Hillary were representative of a much larger pool of black people who vote for Democrats.

          White liberals who showed up for Bernie are not representative of a huge pool of white liberals who were both liberal and were furious at Hillary, as far I can tell. Most educated white people aren’t even Democrats. So the presence of white liberals in the Democratic nominating process isn’t representative of the Democratic base – they are more like exceptions to the (historical, at least) Republican base.

          Not sure I’m going anywhere with this train of thought. I’m just genuinely unsure whether this Bernie base is really anything new under the sun or signifies anything larger in terms of party shifts.

          • EliHawk

            I’m always struck by, if you look back at early 2015, Clinton, with near universal name recognition, was getting about 58-60% of the Dem primary vote in national polls. In the end, she got 55%. Bernie spent $200 million, had a big long national primary campaign, and got 43% of the vote: Pretty much what was there for an anti-Clinton candidate going in. So color me deeply skeptical there’s some big faction of the party’s voters deeply wedded to him and his goals as opposed to a group that, outside his core followers, latched onto the new guy who wasn’t the person they already disliked. (Something you really could tell when the same rural/Appalachian white Dems that backed Clinton in ’08 to give the black guy a kicking now backed him to give the woman one.)

            • humanoid.panda

              Initially, I rejected the idea, but its clear to me that there was a non-negligible group of people who were Obama-Sanders-Trump voters: basically, people who just want outsiders to disrupt the system, whatever that means.

              And probably a much larger group of Obama-Sander-sit this one out voters..

            • DrDick

              While not a majority, 43% is actually a pretty large chunk of the Democratic party.

              • EliHawk

                Wasn’t disagreeing with that, was disagreeing that they’re all hard core Sanders supporters who are really into him and his platform, as opposed to people already disposed to not back her and so voting for the only alternative out there. If Sanders wasn’t there, they’d have backed, say, O’Malley. They aren’t heading out to burn down the party over Keith Ellison.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  I just LOLd. O’Malley? Really? Anyone who thinks that doesn’t know the democratic party very well.

              • Phil Perspective

                43% is a BFD, as Biden would say, considering who he ran against. Dismiss that at your, and the party’s, peril.

                • brewmn

                  Fuck you assholes and your stupid threats. If you want to keep electing Donald Trumps because your priorities aren’t precisely the priorities of the more progressive of he two parties, you have only yourselves to blame for horrors of Republican governance.

                  And don’t pretend you’re any kind progressive. You’re just an asshole sabotaging any chance for a better future for the people of this country and the world.

          • cpinva

            “White liberals who showed up for Bernie are not representative of a huge pool of white liberals who were both liberal and were furious at Hillary, as far I can tell.”

            and, as near as I can tell, their “furious at Hillary” was basically because she’s a very smart, very accomplished woman. oh, and because of an almost 30 year long right wing smear campaign against her; a house of cards, built on a foundation of shifting sand, that collapses with just the slightest push.

            completely off topic, but I thought you guys might get a kick out of it. Scott Adams going full on dickwad:

            http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/29/14112056/dilbert-scott-adams-climate-change-challenge-models-carbon-dioxide

            he’s issued a “challenge” to the entire science community because, he is a well known climate scientist in his own right, and a paranoid hack. ok, I lied about him being a climate scientist, he isn’t. not even close.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              Adams imagines himself as Dilbert but seems more and more like the pointy-haired boss.

              • JR in WV

                I recall reading somewhere that Adams pictured himself as Dogbert, who was also several other characters for the purpose of a joke, none of them employees.

                Neither worker bee nor manager be, if at all possible, to Adams.

            • mojrim

              Why do all critiques of HRC draw this reply? From a progressive, working class standpoint there is plenty to criticize, e.g…
              +Attacking the Arkansas teacher’s union.
              +NAFTA
              +Sentencing reform
              +Welfare reform
              +Iraq
              +Libya
              +Wall Street chums

              All that conspiracy crap only plays with GOP voters, the same people that have been breathing their own farts since the 90’s.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                Because the clinton dead enders KNOW that clinton can’t fail, she could only be failed.

                It’s flat out ridiculous and what got us into this mess. And somehow, the very people who couldn’t have been more wrong (she can’t lose! he can’t win!) won’t shut up and admit they have no idea what they’ve been talking about.

                • Slothrop2

                  Okay. I have seen the face of God. This is exactly right.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                The stuff about NAFTA, Libya and Wall Street doesn’t read very well to me.

                In my experience, a large portion of the people who cite those things do not have the same burning hatred for Obama, despite him supporting free trade more strongly than Clinton (she was willing to drop the TPP, he wasn’t), being just as implicated in Libya and receiving significant Wall Street support in his campaigns.

                My impression is that you might say the same thing about teachers’ unions with Obama and education policy and Arne Duncan, etc. but I know less about that.

                The question isn’t whether there are reasons to criticize her, the question is why people hate her so much. And for the people who do not hate Obama with the same passion, listing those issues doesn’t convince me one bit.

                • DamnYankees

                  Bingo.

                • Just_Dropping_By

                  The claim that Obama was “just as implicated in Libya” as Clinton ignores all the reporting that Clinton was the one who urged Obama to get involved more in Libya.

                • EliHawk

                  The claim that Obama was “just as implicated in Libya” as Clinton ignores all the reporting that Clinton was the one who urged Obama to get involved more in Libya.

                  “If only the czar knew…”

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Obama is not a naif being led around by the nose.

              • StellaB

                NAFTA, sentencing reform, and welfare reform were Bill Clinton era bills. Hillary Clinton has a similar name, but is a different person, unless, of course, you believe that a woman is nothing more than an extension of her husband.

                • Phil Perspective

                  Hillary Clinton has a similar name, but is a different person, unless, of course, you believe that a woman is nothing more than an extension of her husband.

                  They, meaning the Clinton’s, did say, once upon a time, that they were a package deal.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  That’s also from the 90s.

                • cpinva

                  “The claim that Obama was “just as implicated in Libya” as Clinton ignores all the reporting that Clinton was the one who urged Obama to get involved more in Libya.”

                  not going to argue that point. however, ultimately that call is the president’s, not the SoS’. frankly, that was a tough call. the group that was rebelling was overtly friendly to the US, but had specifically requested that the US not become involved, for fear it would give their enemy propaganda fodder, as being “tools” of the “imperialist” americans, and I agreed with their assessment. on the other hand, Gaddafi was such a tortured, flaming asshole, any opportunity to get rid of him, especially by a group overtly friendly to the US, wasn’t to be ignored. it would have been nice to be on the right side for a change.

              • cpinva

                well, of that list, she had nothing to do with the first 4 items, since she wasn’t in elective office at the time. if you can’t even get basic facts right, why should anyone pay attention to you?

                of the other 3, she’s already stated that she made the mistake of trusting the president on Iraq, along with most of the rest of Congress and the entire population of the country.

                Libya’s a tougher call, so i’ll give you that. “Wall Street chums”? she did some paid speeches, so what. that hardly qualifies them as “chums”.

                no, the whole 30 year campaign has affected more than just republican voters, unless you’re discounting all the polls and interviews of democrats who said they felt she must be “guilty of something” with all those stories out there. let’s not forget the email server and Benghazi, just the most recent right wing efforts to adversely affect her election chances. millions of dollars spent on “investigations”, producing nothing legally, but certainly coloring people’s attitudes towards her, which was the primary goal. this is why Trump used the threat to jail her so successfully in his campaign, or did you miss that?

                “Because the clinton dead enders KNOW that clinton can’t fail, she could only be failed.”

                no, that would be the Sanders’ dead-enders, who are convinced, to this very day, that the DNC “rigged” the primaries somehow, some way. No one (well, no thinking person anyway) is suggesting that HRC was perfect, but she’s a damn sight better than the “vulgar talking yam” getting ready to trash the white house next month.

        • EliHawk

          Honestly, does the base of the Democratic Party, the one that gets out and votes, give two shits about who the DNC chair is when none of them actually, you know, vote on it? This seems like something that gets big on netroots/blogs/Twitter/political media but doesn’t penetrate the average Democratic base voter’s thought bubble, especially when the real action is fear of / fighting Trump.

          • tsam

            I don’t know if I’m the base or not, and don’t care. I don’t give a fat fuck who wins, just WIN ELECTIONS and erase Trump and Trumpism from the US and nobody gets hurt, see?

            • cpinva

              “Top a the world Ma, top a the world!”

              yeah, I know, different actor, same genre.

        • efgoldman

          We can argue whether those people really are the base–and anyone who did not vote for Hillary Clinton is most certainly not.

          This can’t be emphasized enough.
          Also, I’m of the impression that Bernie’s voters and the non-Democrats among them are loyal to him, personally, and don’t give two shits about the Democratic party. Most of them are young enough that medicare and Social Security are some amorphous thing in the future that doesn’t apply to them, and they’re financially comfortable enough not to be affected much by Tangerine Torquemada.

          • humanoid.panda

            I think you are vastly over-estimating the financial security of the median young American voter.

            • efgoldman

              I think you are vastly over-estimating the financial security of the median young American voter.

              I don’t think the Berniebots are median anything, except maybe politically ignorant.

              • mojrim

                Then you are either thoroughly polarized or socially ignorant.

            • Barry_D

              “I think you are vastly over-estimating the financial security of the median young American voter.”

              I think that we’re seeing what I’ll call the Nader Delusion echoing:

              Once the GOP has been out of the White House for 8 years, people forget just how bad they are. They see the effects of working to fix the damage that they did, and confuse them with doing a bad job.

              BTW, according to the data at https://www.theatlas.com/charts/S15-pEAZ, the median Clinton and Sanders voters had very, very similar median household incomes.

          • Hercules Mulligan

            Let me ask you a question that I sincerely do not intend to be ideological.

            What is the tactical value of doing some math and concluding that people who voted for Sanders just, somehow, don’t count? What is the tactical value of taking a lump sum of millions of people and declaring them cult-of-personality voters who can be ignored when determining where to go next? What is the tactical value of deciding, in the age of Donald F-ing Trump, that there is no need to make millennial, native american, and muslim-american voters feel like they have a stake in the future of the Democratic Party?

            You can acknowledge Sanders’s failure to create a large and diverse enough coalition to win without declaring the voters he did win personae non gratae.

            • DamnYankees

              No one is saying they don’t count. We’re just saying they aren’t the base. And you don’t throw away the preferences of your base for the change that you might placate a smaller group of people who aren’t your base.

              • Hercules Mulligan

                How, exactly, does Keith Ellison’s candidacy for DNC chair throw away the preferences of the Democratic base?

                • DamnYankees

                  That wasn’t the question. The question wasn’t “will the base dislike Ellison”. The question was “will the base dislike Obama for endorsing Ellison’s opponent.”

                  I have no strong preference between Ellison and Perez. I just think its laughable that people think the Democratic base will turn on Obama because he prefers his own labor secretary.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  Then it seems to me like the DNC race is the perfect place to throw a bone to one segment of the party without offending other segments.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I think the biggest problem here is that an election between Perez and Ellison, both vastly to the left of any possible DNC chair even 10 years ago, is somehow becoming pie fight between progressives and neoliberals. And its just hard for me to avoid the conclusion that what you are saying here is that unless the exact flavor of left wing candidate is elected, the Sanders wing was screwed by the man again.

                  [For the record, if I had a vote, I would be an undecided voter right now. And what I would like to hear is about their specific plans to raise and spend money, and not where do they stand on any particular issue]

                • DamnYankees

                  Then it seems to me like the DNC race is the perfect place to throw a bone to one segment of the party without offending other segments.

                  Maybe, but this seems like rewarding people who whine for no reason. If the only thing I knew about two candidates were “Bernie lifers love one and Barack Obama supports the other”, I’m going with the President.

                • Sly

                  I think the biggest problem here is that an election between Perez and Ellison, both vastly to the left of any possible DNC chair even 10 years ago, is somehow becoming pie fight between progressives and neoliberals.

                  This is not the biggest problem but merely a symptom of a much, much, much bigger one; that a lot of progressives have their heads up their asses.

                • postmodulator

                  If the only thing I knew about two candidates were “Bernie lifers love one and Barack Obama supports the other”, I’m going with the President.

                  I get what you’re saying there, but Obama’s preferred DNC heads are 0 for 2 in keeping us from getting our asses handed to us in off-year elections.

                • From what I’ve read, I haven’t been able to figure out the nature of the “establishment” support for Perez. Is it Obama’s personal preference, or a broader consensus from his circle? Is it a strong preference or a weak one? Is it that they particularly want Perez or particularly don’t want Ellison? Do they just want the position to be seriously contested, and would be satisfied with either option? And is the preference for Perez based on loyalty/factional alignment or practical considerations?

                  Because you have to answer all of those before you can make a serious argument that Ellison vs. Perez is an ideological fight. You can’t even make an “anti-identitarian” argument here, because one is a black Muslim and the other is Hispanic. I think we’re fine either way.

                • DamnYankees

                  Because you have to answer all of those before you can make a serious argument that Ellison vs. Perez is an ideological fight. You can’t even make an “anti-identitarian” argument here, because one is a black Muslim and the other is Hispanic. I think we’re fine either way.

                  Not sure who you were responding to, but if it was me, we’re on the same page. As I said elsewhere in this thread, this seems to be a one-sided fury. Bernie folks seem furious that Ellison won’t get the nod. Hillary voters would be fine either way, mostly don’t care, like both people.

                • JR in WV

                  I pretty much intend for the rest of my political life (20 or 25 years with luck) to oppose anything and anyone associated with Sanders in any way. People who contributed to his campaign, people who worked for him, they are poison to me.

                  They used tools built by Republicans and used by Republicans for 3 decades to attack one of the best people ever to be a member of the Democratic Party. And that extra Democratic use of those hate-filled tools may very well (seems to me a foregone conclusion) directly lead to President Elect Drumpf.

                  President Trump will be a leader such as we have never seen in America. He will shake things up and change things for the better. Just you wait and see how much better things will be after that DC Swamp is drained! Happy Days are Here Again!

              • efgoldman

                No one is saying they don’t count. We’re just saying they aren’t the base.

                They don’t count if they voted for anyone other than HRC (including the ones who couldn’t be bothered to vote at all)

                • cpinva

                  “You can’t even make an “anti-identitarian” argument here, because one is a black Muslim and the other is Hispanic.”

                  this is something that I wish everyone would just stop doing. acting like “identity politics” is some new fangled thing on the block. all fucking politics is “identity politics”, and has been since politics was invented. last I checked, everyone has some kind of “identity”, and that has an effect on how they vote, and always has. this is just another bullshit, rightwingnutjob manifestation, in an ongoing effort to delegitimize the Democrats. the republicans have “identity politics” as well, it’s the “Stepford Wives” identity, they fall in line, just as soon as the candidate is selected. they do this, because ultimately, they all hate the same people and things, which is pretty everyone/thing not exactly like them. but it is an identity.

            • cpinva

              “that there is no need to make millennial, native american, and muslim-american voters feel like they have a stake in the future of the Democratic Party?”

              let’s start with the fact that, of those three groups, two of them did vote for HRC, as did a fair chunk of millenials. but yeah, if you didn’t vote for HRC, because she wasn’t pure enough, fuck you, and the gelded horse you limped in on.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Tangerine Torquemada has the alliteration thing going for it.

            Though my favorite is still Il Douche.

            Rather than trying to come up with more creative ways to insult Trump EF, you should stick to using your favorite. It gets hard to follow all the insults. My vote: 1 of the 2 above.

            • cpinva

              personally, I prefer “vulgar talking yam”, but that’s just me.

            • tsam

              I still love Shit Gibbon. It’s so randomly sublime. Also proves that people in the UK are vastly superior to Americans in their ability to insult people in a hilarious manner.

              • ThrottleJockey

                True Shit Gibbon is forceful like a sledgehammer but it lacks subtlety. All hammer, no velvet.

                • Darkrose

                  That’s the Scots for you. I like it because subtlety is lost on said shitgibbon.

                  And while it’s childish of me, I like referring to the contents of the cat box as “the Trump”.

            • Jean-Michel

              I like “Don Cheeto” because it works on so many levels. Well, three or four anyway.

            • ProgressiveLiberal

              All of this is ridiculous. It does nothing for us. We should cut thit shit out.

              How many of you think its important that republicans call him obummer, obongo, etc? It’s fucking infantile.

              • Brad Nailer

                Obama’s a decent man and was a decent prez. Trump is a shit, has always been a shit, and will probably continue to be a shit.

                Big difference.

              • cpinva

                “All of this is ridiculous. It does nothing for us. We should cut thit shit out.”

                I disagree. it allows us, humorously, to tell people what we think of him. it’s better than beating your head against a wall, and more legal than pushing him down a flight of stairs (ala Whatever Happened To Baby Jane), which are our other options.

            • StellaB

              Pierce’s formulation, “El Caudillo del Mar a Lago” works for me.

            • JR in WV

              I prefer his actual historic family name, the name that was his grandfather’s name when Herr Drumpf came here from Germany. The actual word “drumpf” in German translates to “dull” in English which is perfect.

              Historically accurate, meaningful in the way history appears to demand, somewhat demeaning in English, non-profane, and all you need is parenthesis – dull – parenthesis with each use to make your point.

              President Herr Drumpf (dull) seems to work well, do it not?

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            You would be an idiot then. We actually want to IMPROVE our party and the majority of us were obama voters. We just thought it was stupid to elect Clinton in the primary and as fate would have it, we were proven right, and y’all were wrong, and still can’t admit you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to democrats winning elections.

            • brewmn

              Says the moron whose guy couldn’t even win the primary.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                Yes, the majority of our primary voters arent very good at selecting a candidate who will win the general in the country we actually have. Some of us tried to warn yall but you were too thick…

                Its not even that she lost. Its that it was a 70/30 chance of her winning AGAINST THE LEAST POPULAR NOMINEE IN OUR NATIONS HISTORY. That in itself is a fucking joke. We should have walked away with this one.

                • brewmn

                  Almost as big a joke as your certainty that Bernie would have walked away with the general. It’s pretty easy to be certain about something that will never come to pass, but it takes a special kind of stupid to base an “I told you so” on that non-happening.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  My point is that it would have been greater than 70/30 for him to win – not that he couldnt lose. But i get it, clinton deadenders who told us that she cant lose/he cant win still have no problem telling us their election prognostications.

                  The day i take yall seriouly again when it comes to election predictions is the day i take GWB seriously about wars. IE you dont know fuckall about that which you speak. Shhhhhh…

                • cpinva

                  “My point is that it would have been greater than 70/30 for him to win – not that he couldnt lose.”

                  your point is that you’re an idiot. expecting a guy who couldn’t even win his own primaries, to have somehow won the general isn’t even borderline stupid, it’s hurling itself over the border and rolling in the stupid.

                  just for starters, the GOP would have feasted on his self-proclaimed “socialist” title, construed by most people as “communist”. they might not even have had to go any farther. if they did, they would have pointed to his 40 years in elective office, having accomplished little in the way of substantive work.

                  I like Sanders, but realistically, he’s a back bencher who’s good at kvetching, but has no support, because he makes it clear he’s not a Democrat, so why should they support him?

        • AGTOceans

          Agree 95% with Erik. However, he and several commenters make the mistake of believing the DNC has more power than they actually do. The reality is neither party’s national committee can project much power.

          Michael Steele was head of the RNC at a time when the GOP made great gains; believe me, he’s no genius.

          • tsam

            No, but the chairs spend a lot of time on TV and other media representing the parties, so there’s some solid influence there, at least as far as public perception of the party is concerned.

            • DamnYankees

              I don’t even think this is true. Only partisans and people highly tuned in to politics watch those shows. They’re views aren’t being shaped by how good the DNC chair is on TV.

              • tsam

                Well, that’s true. I guess the most hardcore viewers of those are mostly Fox types, and whatever the DNC chair says is literally Satan.

              • ThrottleJockey

                You’re right, but we’re in an age where communication is being re-defined by the Tangerine Torquemada, as EFGoldman likes to say.

                For the Dems to keep up we need someone with the stature and creativity to re-think our structure and messaging paradigms. A more retail oriented DNC Chair might go a long ways toward mobilizing an effective opposition to Trump.

            • cpinva

              which leads me to believe Ellison would be the better choice. he hits two target audiences: African Americans and Muslims, both of which can turn several confederate states blue, if they get out and vote.

              • tsam

                Man, what a cathartic victory that would be!

              • humanoid.panda

                I seriously, seriously doubt that Muslims can turn any state blue (besides Michigan, but that’s only because how thin the margin was). Also, I have no idea about the turnout rate of Muslims, but given that the community is more educated than the median American they are pretty high.

                As for African Americans: even in 2008, only two Southern states went Democratic: NC and VA, and VA is a solid Dem state at this point.

                Also, let’s be real here: what decides turnout is presidential candidates. Only dorks like us care about DNC chairs.

                • DamnYankees

                  Seriously. What percentage of Obama voters can name – today – the person who was DNC chair during the 2008 primaries.

                  I cannot.

                • Redwood Rhiadra

                  @DamnYankee: Howard Dean, of course. Who remains inexplicably popular with the Sandernistas despite his becoming a paid shill for the health insurance companies almost immediately after the 2008 election.

                • DamnYankees

                  Hm, I thought Dean finished his term in 2007. See? I told you I didn’t know!

                • Colin Day

                  Didn’t Obama win FL in 2008?

                • Just_Dropping_By

                  @Colin Day: Obama won Florida in both 2008 and 2012. Whether Florida strictly qualifies as “Southern” is a different question though.

                • cpinva

                  “I seriously, seriously doubt that Muslims can turn any state blue (besides Michigan, but that’s only because how thin the margin was).”

                  you’re most likely correct, which is why I put them together with the AA’s, not as a single voting bloc. with few exceptions, AA’s in the southern states average almost double the percentage of the population that they do in all the other states. that’s why NC & VA went blue, they got out and voted.

                  but make no mistake, neither of those states is really blue, more like purple. VA’s legislature is/has been dominated by the republicans. it’s going to take a long-term, concerted effort to win back the statehouse, and getting people to vote in the mid-terms is the challenge. of the two candidates, I just think Ellison brings more to the table than Perez does on that score. but, that’s just my personal opinion.

        • Slothrop2

          “Donald Trump’s shocking upset over Hillary Clinton in November”

          That pretty much says it: there are those like you, I say, who are shocked! that Trump won. And then there are the 43% of us who are not similarly screechingly SHOCKED.

          I know you voted for him in the primaries. Good for you. But, the party needs Bernie Sanders as much or even more than it needs Barack Obama.

          • cpinva

            “But, the party needs Bernie Sanders as much or even more than it needs Barack Obama.”

            it’s a pity only one of them is an actual Democrat.

      • wengler

        Do you think Keith Ellison isn’t well-supported in the black community or that electing him is a betrayal of the Obama legacy? Obama’s going to the mat for a neoliberal trade policy gave us the orange fascist clown. If that’s his major problem with Ellison than Obama can go be irrelevant.

        • DamnYankees

          I think most people don’t care about the DNC chair race at all. Even base Democrats.

          • wengler

            No, but it certainly matters. DWS ran an absolute shitshow concerned with attracting rich donors and getting DWS re-elected. The obvious priority is rebuilding the state parties, but that means people in DC will lose their jobs and there will be plenty of negative articles about how the new DNC chair is ruining the party.

            • DamnYankees

              Of course it matters. I’m just saying no one cares.

            • humanoid.panda

              DWS ran an absolute shitshow concerned with attracting rich donors and getting DWS re-elected

              I’m not disputing that DWS was a terrible Chair, but I doubt if getting her re-elected was a major focus of her activity, her coming from a deep blue district.

              • wengler

                If you read the DNC emails, DNC staffers were deeply concerned about the primary challenge DWS faced. Why should that have been a concern of the DNC? Because the DNC under DWS was constructed to help DWS.

        • EliHawk

          The DNC Chair is there to raise money and organize to clear the runway for future leaders of the party, not to be some ideological commissar. Ron Brown a DC lawyer and lobbyist who’d worked for Ted Kennedy and Jesse Jackson, but ended up building the Democratic organization that Moderate DLCers and Washington outsider Bill Clinton used to win in ’92. Bob Strauss was an old LBJ hand and DC lawyer, but built a strong organization that saw big gains in ’76 and that Jimmy Carter used to win the White House two years later. Refighting TPP or whatever is a singularly useless part of this campaign.

          • Joseph Slater

            It is interesting how rarely these debates get into how well Perez or Ellison could actually do the job. Maybe that’s because not many of us (certainly not me) know exactly what skill set the job requires and how Perez or Ellison fit (or don’t fit) the requisite bill. But you would think such arguments would be made more frequently, as opposed to pretending they symbolize greatly different things.

            • DamnYankees

              Are non-Bernie voters remotely impassioned about this race? This seems to be a one-sided fury. Bernie folks seem furious that Ellison won’t get the nod. Hillary voters would be fine either way, mostly don’t care, like both people.

              Am I misreading the mood?

              • humanoid.panda

                Online at least, this is my read. But I think a lot of Sanders people think that electing Ellison is what the party owes them. And, on tactical level, it might be even a good idea to elect him for this reason- as there is no evidence that either candidate is significantly worse than the other.

                • DamnYankees

                  Eh, I guess I don’t find this persuasive. If you told me there were 2 candidates and the reason for electing one is “Bernie fans think this is owed to them” and the reason for electing the other is “the President think he would do the job well”, I’m siding with the President.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  Whatever fights people want to have, this is really all I intended with my initial comment. It’s not “rewarding whiners.” It’s finding the outcome that best minimizes fights going forward. Maybe it’s not how you’d raise your kid, but it’s how a political party manages coalitions.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Right, but
                  1. If one side doesn’t care and the other side does, sometimes its good to do what the other side wants. Works in marriages, and i think in party coalitions too.
                  2. AS someone said above its not like Obama’s 2 previous DNC chairs covered themselves in glory.

                • DamnYankees

                  I guess I’m not remotely confident that these kinds of concessions do anything to mollify this segment of the population. These are the same people who were mad that they were given concessions in the platform because they didn’t get everything they want.

                  Appeasement and all that.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  DamnYankees:

                  Yes, like when obama thought we should elect clinton in the primary, Comeny for FBI, and TPP for trade.

                  The man is never wrong. Never.

                • Phil Perspective

                  … and the reason for electing the other is “the President think he would do the job well”, I’m siding with the President.

                  The same president that presided over the disasters that were Tim Kaine and DWS as DNC chairs?

                • JR in WV

                  Alright, let me spell this out. Amerikans hate and fear the mooslim terrerists with a fever most Democrats don’t understand.

                  At the same time, the nation is increasingly Latino, which some people are a little uncomfortable with. Perhaps 10% as uncomfortable about Latinos as they are eaten up with fear and agony about mooslims and their hateful religion.

                  In the population I describe, perhaps selecting a Democratic national Committee Chairman who is less scary and more representative of new Democratic voters would be the smart tactical move.

                  And before I am vilified for using stupid inaccurate Republican stereotypes about Muslims and the Islamic religion, I will hasten to say this was to make a political point – this is in all likelihood how Republicans will describe the Democratic party after we elect an African-American Muslim head of the party.

              • Joseph Slater

                That’s kind of how I see it, but I’m sure there are exceptions. [ETA: this was a response to DamnYankees].

                Panda: Why does the party “owe” Sanders supporters (or why would it be tactically good to act as if it does) any more than it owes any other constituency in the Party? Or are we just worried more about Sanders supporters bolting in a fit of pique? If so, are those the kind of folks we want to owe (and I say that as someone who voted for Bernie in the primaries)?

                • humanoid.panda

                  I didn’t say the party owes it to them. I said they think that the party owes it to them. And sometimes it is better indeed to grease the squeaky wheel, where the downside is fairly insignificant.

                • Joseph Slater

                  Fair enough. I guess I don’t know whether the downside is significant or not. In terms of making a certain set of Bernie supporters annoyed, if they are going to be too upset over this sort of thing to stay committed to the party, I don’t know how committed they are (see DamnYankees’s point above).

                  And to get back to my original point, nobody seems to be talking about whether there is a significant difference or not in their ability to do this particular job well.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  Re: Slater: That’s fair. For what it’s worth I prefer Ellison on that front for two reasons:

                  – he has won actual elections and made significant progress in increasing turnout
                  – I both want Perez to run for and think he’s more qualified to be governor of Maryland in 2018.

                • Joseph Slater

                  Hercules: Those strike me as reasonable arguments.

                • EliHawk

                  Re: Slater and Hercules

                  Personally, I’d rather Perez run for Governor of Maryland, Ellison stay in the House, and the Dems find a functionary / old hand who can actually do 100% of the boring-ass time and business of being a DNC chair. It’s one thing about both the guys I mentioned: Neither one was elected to a damn thing in their lives, but they knew how the system worked. Go find a Harry Reid protege or something.

                • Matty

                  Re: EliHawk

                  This was my thought. Why not someone from a state party that’s seemed to show some actual growth?

              • Incontinentia Buttocks

                It’s a two-sided fury: Bernie voters are impassioned about Ellison; Clinton voters are furious about Bernie voters’ passion for Ellison (not so much because they care one way or the other about Ellison but because they hate Bernie voters).

          • cpinva

            Carter was elected in 76, not 78. it was my first presidential election, while I was in college.

            • EliHawk

              Stupid typo. Meant to say ’74.

        • random

          Obama’s going to the mat for a neoliberal trade policy gave us the orange fascist clown.

          It did?

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            Yes. Democrats need to pay attention.

            Add TPP plus Comey and Obama needs to fix this mess he helped create.

          • wengler

            Yes. It did.

            Trump’s whole argument here in the Rust Belt was around trade and it gave him the EC votes he needed to win.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Do you think Keith Ellison isn’t well-supported in the black community or that electing him is a betrayal of the Obama legacy?

          Ellison doesn’t even have the support of the Congressional Black Caucus. Even people like Emanuel Cleaver.

          The CBC isn’t a weather vane of the black community mind you, but I honestly think only a small percent of the black Dem base even knows who Ellison is. Its hard to say that he has the support of the black community. I rather like him. But I also voted for Sanders over Hill.

        • brewmn

          Obama’s going to the mat for a neoliberal trade policy gave us the orange fascist clown.

          You people are every bit as delusional as your right wing counterparts.

          • wengler

            I’ll keep dealing in facts, and you can keep dealing in insults. Deal?

            • brewmn

              Whatever you’re dealing in, it ain’t facts.

      • AMK

        The GOP base is angry white people wherever you go, but the Dem base actually depends a great deal on geography: white progressives and union members are the major component in the midwestern states Bernie won, while blacks are the base in the South and a broader coalition of POCs, women, and upscale white liberals run the coasts. Obama was successful because he is popular with all three groups simultaneously; Clinton much less so.

        • EliHawk

          Eh. Blacks are also a big part of the winning coalitions in the Midwest (see Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee) and Bernie didn’t actually win most of the rust belt. He Wisconsin handily, but barely won Michigan and got stomped in PA/OH. If you add up the WI/MI/PA/OH primaries, he lost the popular vote there by 200,000 votes.

          • cpinva

            Sanders did best in states with a majority white population, because those are the people he relates to. I’m not suggesting he’s a bad guy, just that he’s a product of a pearly white state and region, he hasn’t much experience dealing with people not opalescent.

            • ProgressiveLiberal

              Well I reject his ideas then.

          • AMK

            True, though Eastern PA is the east coast and Bernie won Michigan because of his strength outside Detroit. The broader point is that Dems need a candidate who can generate enthusiasm and drive turnout accross the board.

            • Excitable Boy

              How does Sanders “drive out” the base exactly? He did worse than Obama with his strongest subgroup young people. He got good percentages, but they didn’t show up in the same numbers as in 2008.

      • sleepyirv

        What are you getting at, really? Do you think the Sanders-wing deserves zero concessions? Concessions that aren’t this?

        • DamnYankees

          I don’t think anyone “deserves” concessions in politics. I think you make concessions in order to gain an advantage. I don’t think making Ellison DNC matters to basically anyone in the big scheme of things.

          I have no reason to oppose Ellison as DNC chair. I’d be perfectly happy if he made it. But I wouldn’t turn down a better candidate (if there was one) for the purposes of mollifying the Sanders wing.

          • sleepyirv

            It might matter to Sanders and hence, will matter to his supporters.

            • efgoldman

              It might matter to Sanders and hence, will matter to his supporters.

              Bernie’s influence is shrinking by the day. By 2018 he’ll matter only in Vermont, again.

              • Darkrose

                I just don’t see why a guy who is back to not being a member of the Democratic Party should have a say in choosing a chair for the DEMOCRATIC National Committee. I’m not saying Ellison shouldn’t be the candidate, just that if Sanders wants to influence the party, he should join it. If he’s too pure to be a member–but not too pure to take party money and complain when the party he refused to join didn’t back him–then he can fuck right off.

                • petesh

                  This probably can be said too often, but so far it’s not being said often enough. Sanders, and some considerable number of his supporters, want to eat their cake and have it too: support Democrats shine or shine (to mangle another metaphor). Folks, it’s raining and we’re trying to patch this umbrella. If you support progressive politics, this is actually a good time to join the party, and a very bad time to withdraw to the sidelines. Unfortunately, Sanders is doing neither, which is worse than doing both.

                • tsam

                  But democrats are all neoliberals. WHAT NOW? See, the way I fix something in my house is to stand outside of it and throw rocks at it. That way I don’t get wet from the broken pipe, and I don’t look fucking ridiculous AT ALL.

    • EliHawk

      It’s fine to prefer Perez (and unsurprising Obama does), but the tone of the news analysis of the race is that Obama wants Ellison defeated, and if he succeeds, that’ll be a severe limitation on his attempts to lead any sort of resistance in future.

      If you prefer one candidate, by necessity you prefer that the other candidate be defeated. If Obama wants Perez to win, he wants Ellison to lose. Pretending that it’s a grave, immoral sin for someone to want to beat your favored candidate is apparently one bit of internet Bernie supporter behavior that’s alive and well.

      • wengler

        Considering what a knock up job Obama did in picking the last couple of DNC chairs, I would consider his opinion on the matter unimportant.

      • Hercules Mulligan

        Hey, c’mon, you know full well that’s not what I’m saying. I like Perez, and I like Ellison. But optics matter, too.

        Consider the following sequence of events:

        – In wake of devastating election shock, Keith Ellison wins support from both Bernie and “Mainstream” wing of Democratic Party, appears on lock for win
        – Several donors, including single largest donor to party, groundlessly smear Ellison as anti-semitic
        – Leader of party and sitting president sends subtle signals indicating desire for Ellison to lose and approaches multiple (at least Biden before Perez) alternatives
        – Ellison loses

        I want you to imagine how that appears to a not-insignificant section of the party base. I don’t care whether the conclusion they will arrive at is correct or incorrect. Uniting a party means taking into account that voters are not rational machines that exist in a vacuum and always do the right thing.

        • DamnYankees

          I’m curious why you think Obama prefers Perez to Ellison if you think this is what happened.

          • Hercules Mulligan

            I didn’t say it’s what happened. I’m saying it’s an interpretation that will exist.

            Anyway, I don’t know. I think Obama reasonably would like Perez to maintain a strong national profile. That said, he’s clearly more suited for Maryland governor (there really is no one else to challenge Hogan in 2018).

            And the fact that Obama reportedly spent a few weeks looking for someone to run against Ellison before eventually settling on Perez indicates, to me, that he cares less about Perez winning than about Ellison losing, for reasons that I sincerely hope are not as craven as the above interpretation.

            • DamnYankees

              And the fact that Obama reportedly spent a few weeks looking for someone to run against Ellison before eventually settling on Perez indicates, to me, that he cares less about Perez winning than about Ellison losing, for reasons that I sincerely hope are not as craven as the above interpretation.

              Maybe he genuinely thinks Ellison isn’t suited for the role.

              • Hercules Mulligan

                Maybe! If so, I’d like to know why. I’d also like to know whether Obama thinks he made mistakes in supporting Kaine and DWS’s tenures at the DNC, and if so, what he thinks the necessary corrections are.

                That’s an honest conversation I think would be really good for everyone! But right now what we’re getting are anonymous “White House sources” that maybe even don’t reflect Obama’s views that suggest that he thinks Ellison is too critical of Israel. And that’s where I start to worry.

                • DamnYankees

                  I agree. Hopefully we’ll get those insights from him. But I don’t think its realistic to get them now – he’s the sitting President and the race for the DNC chair is active. He’s not going to slam one of the two people running.

                  It’s not like Obama ever said a bad word about Bernie during the primaries, as far as I know.

                • Joseph Slater

                  Given the recent U.N. abstention and Kerry speech re same, you think Obama is worried about seeming too critical of Israel?

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  That certainly would be strange. But that’s the tone of many news reports. Hope they’re wrong.

                  And frankly, when people who worked for Obama’s campaign(s) start hinting that maybe the black Muslim won’t help Democrats win the Midwest, wink wink, it goes from an honest difference of opinion to offensive.

                • DamnYankees

                  when people who worked for Obama’s campaign(s) start hinting that maybe the black Muslim won’t help Democrats win the Midwest

                  I’m not sure this is fair to attribute to Obama. Almost every prominent Democrat worked on at least one of Obama’s campaigns. If one of them said something gross, that doesn’t mean Obama believes it.

                • Hercules Mulligan

                  In which case I hope news outlets are incorrect in quoting them as representing the views of the White House.

                • DamnYankees

                  Agreed.

                • cpinva

                  “But right now what we’re getting are anonymous “White House sources” that maybe even don’t reflect Obama’s views that suggest that he thinks Ellison is too critical of Israel.”

                  if that’s why he’s supposedly anti-Semitic (and Arabs are semites too), then he’s part of a rather large, diversified group. Israel is our ally, but that doesn’t mean, by definition, they’re immune from criticism.

    • sleepyirv

      In the recent NY mag story about Harry Reid (which is well worth your time), apparently there was a general agreement to fire DWS in May as a way of burying the hatchet between Clinton and Sanders, but both Clinton and Obama refused to pull the trigger until it was too late.

      I think a lot of the establishment types are misreading the environment. The Democrats just lost a very winnable election and no longer control the House, Senate, or Presidency. There’s a need for SOMEONE to take the blame. I saw people saying silly things about Pelosi moving over for new blood (which meant Tim Ryan). Clearly, they want someone from the Clinton side of the Party to say, “My bad, guys.” Perez was a Clinton surrogate, Ellison backed Bernie. This is clearly a little sacrifice (it’s not like Ellison is going to recruit Socialists to run in Alabama Congressional races), to say to the Bernie-wing that they’re still part of the coalition.

      I’m sure most people won’t remember Obama silently pushing for Perez no matter the outcome, I just don’t understand it all.

      • DamnYankees

        People like me find it very odd when people make this argument.

        Yes, we lost this election. But we lost it by so little that there are tons of reasons to explain why. Did alienating Bernie people lose it? Sure. But Bernie people’s stubborn egoism is also why we lost. Where’s my apology? Where’s Bernie getting up there and saying “my bad for feeding into my fan’s hatred of Hillary, I should have done more?”

        It’s infuriating.

        • sleepyirv

          If you want to form a Democratic Party that can win without the Sanders folks, you are free to try.

          For us who think we’re going to need both Clinton and Sanders people, we’re trying to mix and match.

          And all finger pointing for the sake of finger pointing can fuck off. If it’s not for the purpose of winning FUTURE races, I don’t give a shit.

          • random

            Yeah I thought we had moved past the finger-pointing stuff at this point too.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              apparently finger-pointing is like Macho Grande

            • DamnYankees

              You’re saying this in support of the guy wants the Hillary side of the party to say “my bad”?

              I’m not sure if you’re past finger-pointing if you’re ok with fingers being pointed in that direction.

              • sleepyirv

                Hillary lost. Sometimes you take blame for shit outside of the control because someone has to take the blame.

                And in this case, it’s not saying “Hillary should go on National Television and apologize to Bernie Sanders,” it’s saying, “let the Bernie supporter who could be good at the job run the party organization instead of the Hillary supporter who could be good.”

                • DamnYankees

                  Sometimes you take blame for shit outside of the control because someone has to take the blame.

                  So…you are in favor of finger pointing.

                  “let the Bernie supporter who could be good at the job run the party organization instead of the Hillary supporter who could be good.”

                  And I’m saying that this is a really shitty reason to pick a DNC chair when I don’t believe it will have any actual upside. No significant portion of Bernie folks who would otherwise have been turned off from participating in Democratic politics will have their mind changed by this.

          • Brien Jackson

            This is overstated: “Bernie supporters” don’t give a shit about Ellison, only the toxic brocialists who will have a tantrum anytime they don’t get 100% of what they want do. And those assholes need to be squashed with gusto, not placated.

            • mojrim

              And that has worked when?

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              See my comment upthread about the two-sidedness of the anger here.

              I voted for, donated to, and worked for Bernie Sanders in Oklahoma in the primary. I donated to and voted for Clinton in the general. I now strongly support Ellison for DNC chair. I guess that makes me a “toxic brocialist.”

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                in your opinion, what’s Ellison got going for him that makes him the clear choice?

                (I have no opinion on who should be chair)

                • Excitable Boy

                  They can’t answer it like many people couldn’t answer why they were for Evan McMullen, JIll Stein, or Johnson, when I was canvassing. They weren’t Clinton/Trump. Ellison is not associated with Obama and the neoliberal plague.

                  I find it ironic that they have so much fury for Kaine and DWS, when part of the problem was that they both held elective office when they were DNC chair. Guess what? Ellison will have the same issues, because he will also have to split his time and duties with being a Congressman. It is the Obama connection they obsess on.

                  Perez was great in reorganizing the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department and he got a great deal for Verizon workers in their strike negotiations last May. Bonus when he was at Justice, the FBI director never tried to interfere and influence a Federal election.

                  Ellison is fine, but I don’t think he will be much better than Kaine other than headwinds should favor him in comparison to the previous time frame. It is an important choice and it is infuriating Sanders supporters are trying to blackmail us into the weaker choice.

              • humanoid.panda

                Well, I think one could support Ellison strongly without thinking that Perez an establishment neoliberal shill, which I presume is where you are at.

              • Brien Jackson

                “Strongly support” isn’t so much the problem as “will go on a tirade and take it as a personal affront if Ellison loses.” Or anyone who calls Perez a “neoliberal.”

          • DamnYankees

            And all finger pointing for the sake of finger pointing can fuck off. If it’s not for the purpose of winning FUTURE races, I don’t give a shit.

            Sure. But I find it weird that you think in order to win future races we need to grovel at the feet of fickle Bernie diehards. I see no evidence of this. We didn’t have to apologize for Gore and suck up to Naderites to win after that disaster.

            • sleepyirv

              Where in everliving fuck did I say “grovel at the feet of fickle Bernie diehards”?

              Let Ellison run the DNC, he’ll be good on the news shows. I think he’s maneuvered himself very well recently, winning the support of Schumer and Sanders the same week. He’s a political pro and seems capable of running the organization.

              Jesus fuck, it’s not even policy concessions.

              • DamnYankees

                Where in everliving fuck did I say “grovel at the feet of fickle Bernie diehards”?

                Then what did you mean when you said the Hillary team had to apologize?

                • sleepyirv

                  Well, I said Ellison should get the DNC job as a metaphorical way of saying “My bad.” I don’t expect any actual apology. No one apologizes in politics like that. I certainly didn’t say anything groveling.

                  It says a lot that you go straight to strawmans.

                • DamnYankees

                  Well, I said Ellison should get the DNC job as a metaphorical way of saying “My bad.” I don’t expect any actual apology. No one apologizes in politics like that.

                  I genuinely did not read your comment that way. What you wrote didn’t say that it should be a metaphorical “my bad”. I thought you wanted someone from the Hillary side to go out there and audibly take blame for failing in a self-flaggelation way. So this might just be a misunderstanding.

              • cpinva

                and Ellison has wider name recognition, even if people aren’t quite certain who he is, they’ve heard of him before.

                • DamnYankees

                  Is this actually true? I genuinely have no idea who has higher name recognition between the two.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  Ellison probably does if for no other reason than the news coverage of his using Thomas Jefferson’s Quran when he was sworn-in

                • mds

                  Ellison probably does if for no other reason than the news coverage of his using Thomas Jefferson’s Quran when he was sworn-in

                  Nah, after January 2009 that became a thing that Obama did. Seriously. I could practically feel my father’s spittle through the phone as he described how Obama took the oath of office on a Quran, which I thought was a weird way to describe the Bible Abraham Lincoln used in 1861. So poor Keith Ellison probably gets less fame for that Jefferson judo move than he deserves.

    • vic rattlehead

      After 2010-present, and Kaine, and Wasserman-Schultz, Obama has very much not earned the right to intervene in the DNC chair election. Quite the opposite in fact.

      And I say this as a very big Obama fan.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        I think people are way too Green Lantern-y about the DNC chair and have been for a long time. At the end of it all it takes people down on the ground level to make the decision to run for office and I have a hard time believing that those people take whether Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Phil Perspective is the head of hte DNC into consideration for one second

        • Phil Perspective

          At the end of it all it takes people down on the ground level to make the decision to run for office and I have a hard time believing that those people take whether Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Phil Perspective is the head of hte DNC into consideration for one second.

          I’d certainly do a better job of running the DNC than DWS did. I certainly couldn’t do any worse.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            cool. How, fairly specifically, would you do that?

            • Phil Perspective

              Why should I tell you? Get me a job interview and I’ll tell them. Also, the DSCC and DCCC need to be reorganized. Both are damn disgraces at their jobs at present.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                it would have been so much more of a surprise to see that you actually had ideas about fundraising, getting people to run for office, et cetera

                • Excitable Boy

                  The guy I talked to with the DCCC said Iowa is a shit show on the state level. Do you have any idea how accurate that assessment is?

                  I think the Chair is important and Perez’ organizational skill is important in rebuilding the 50 state strategy. Ellison is not that good on communications having watched him on MSNBC countless times. He might be marginally better than Perez, but he is not some super shining star. He is another Gavin Newsom, Chris Murphy, Cory Booker, that has not yet been able to win state wide office like them, if not Muslim.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  Excitable Boy: I couldn’t argue against it- even when things went better than they have the last three elections it never seemed like Des Moines was of much use and whatever success the local dems had was due to their own hard work and being able to ride the wave of anti-Bush/GOP sentiment

                • Excitable Boy

                  Thanks for your perspective.

        • humanoid.panda

          Or, put it this way: what percent of Americans know who is the current head of DNC? I’d be shocked if it was 15%.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        This.

        Obama has not been good at building the Democratic Party during his eight years. This is the last thing we should be listening to him about.

        • Excitable Boy

          I agree with that assessment, but with Perez he may have finally got it right.

  • DamnYankees

    This has been an interesting idea that I’ve thought about since the election, but I wonder if Obama is capable of it.

    Obama is such an institutionalist. Maybe he wasn’t always, but he certainly seems to be now. In the wake of the election, Obama’s attitude seemed to be “we need to have an orderly transition, we need to show that we can do this normally even in the face of abnormality.”

    So Obama is going to be in a weird position. He seems to want to assure people that despite losing this election, this is normal. Sometimes you lose. And you need to accept that. And so we need to accept what our institutions tell us is normal.

    The problem is, if Obama really believes this, he can’t be an effective leader against Trump. Because ex-Presidents don’t do that. It’s sort of unthinkable. Hasn’t happened in over a century. And so the question is, what would have to happen to make this consummate institutionalist break with that part of himself and become a radical (again, or maybe for the first time, depending on how you view him)? I don’t know what that would be.

    • tsam

      Oh the one hand, I’d like to see Barack Obama troll Trump into the asylum, and block/sabotage everything he can.

      On the other hand, I’m glad he’s being an adult when adulthood is in pretty short supply these days.

      He is in a weird position–there’s a procedure to this transfer of power, and I think Obama has a hard time rationalizing the idea that because Trump has no fucks to give about norms and civility and silly things like competence and wanting the world to survive the next 4 years, that he should toss all those norms and respond in kind. I don’t know what the correct answer is here, but it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Obama hamstrings Trump as much as he can.

      • DamnYankees

        On the other hand, I’m glad he’s being an adult when adulthood is in pretty short supply these days.

        The sad truth is that “being an adult”, as a method to achieving political change and success, has not worked. Obama and many liberals have long argued that by playing the long game, by being the adult in the room, Americans would appreciate that and punish the nutjobs. It didn’t happen. It didn’t work.

        I wonder what lesson Obama truly takes from this. If his signature accomplishment is destroyed in the next few months, what exactly does he think about that? Does he rethink his political philosophy? You’d think you have to, right?

        • tsam

          The sad truth is that “being an adult”, as a method to achieving political change and success, has not worked

          No argument there, but I am going to cry about it, k?

          Does he rethink his political philosophy?

          After winning the highest office in the land twice? Not sure it would even occur to him to change it after that kind of success. I’m not sure he would feel that a different attitude or actions from him would have stopped the rise of the barbarians.

          • DamnYankees

            No argument there, but I am going to cry about it, k?

            Sure, no point in crying about it. But we also should probably stop valorizing it as a political attribute. It may be something we like for its own sake, but its obviously not something which appeals to people in and of itself.

            I’m not sure he would feel that a different attitude or actions from him would have stopped the rise of the barbarians.

            Maybe. Seems inevitable that you’d second guess yourself after an election like this, right? I think its very dangerous to think that whatever happened is what must have happened, and that therefore none of your choices mattered. Prevents any personal growth.

            • tsam

              Sure, no point in crying about it

              I still cling to the (impossible) dream that someday, somehow, we come to respect even-tempered, competent, knowledgeable people who think governing is about us instead of their fucking legacy or secret bank account or their goddamn benefactors.

              I know it’s stupid, but I kinda like it.

              Seems inevitable that you’d second guess yourself after an election like this,

              I’d sure hope so

              • efgoldman

                someday, somehow, we come to respect even-tempered, competent, knowledgeable people who think governing is about us instead of their fucking legacy

                You’re not old enough to remember when that was mostly the case. Remember what LBJ is supposed to have said after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts passed? He knew goddamned well what the long term effects in the Traitor States would be.

                • tsam

                  Yeah, becoming aware during the Reagan administration means I’ve seen it go from bad to HOLY SHIT like it is now. My dad frequently reminds me that guys like Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson more or less saved the world by keeping their heads screwed on straight and not letting the McCarthyites take over and start WW3.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Seconded a man his age, much less a man his age with the accomplishments he has, doesn’t re-think his philosophy.

        • wengler

          Being the adult gave Republican conservatives all three branches of government. Timidity in the face of fascism isn’t rewarded. It would also be nice if the Democrats had a brand and actually ran on something other than ‘I’m not a crazy person like my opponent’.

          • DamnYankees

            To be fair, “I’m not a cuck like my opponent” seemed to work for the GOP.

            • wengler

              Hell, even stupid slogans would be nice. The GOP is based on them, and it seems like Democrats don’t have even one.

              • efgoldman

                The GOP is based on them, and it seems like Democrats don’t have even one.

                They wouldn’t hurt.
                Broken record time: No matter how divisive their primaries (at any level) are, the fucking RWNJ Republiklowns come out in November (any November) and VOTE! And they pull that (R) lever when they do. Period. End of story.
                They are evil, amoral shits. But they vote.
                There is a lot we can learn from the TeaHadis.

                • John Revolta

                  I’m not sure there’s anything we can learn from them that would actually help. They’re herding sheep, and we’re herding cats.

              • scott_theotherone

                One of the many things I have never understood is why the party of Big Hollywood doesn’t do messaging way way way better. We should have such a surplus of amazing slogans they’re falling out of every leading Dems pockets. I mean…we have the best policies, and we have the creative people. So…what in the hell? I don’t get it.

                • Excitable Boy

                  Because it is easy to have a Republican slogans. They are based on lies and 6th grade words that can fit on a bumper sticker.

                  -Lower Taxes
                  -Limited Government
                  -Strong Military

                  Try to fit:

                  -We were for slavery and treating women like 2nd class citizens for decades and centuries, until we re-evaluated the harm and decided to try to redress the situation which cost us our original base and we have been floundering with some limited success ever since.

                  Does that fit on the back of a Range Rover? Do Range Rover owners even vote for Democrats? I have never met one in real life.

                  Having met with LGM contributors and posters last week, it is hard to get them to agree on if we should perhaps not be so pendantic about rules and laws or this is a serious time to rethink how hard we want to fight. I kept thinking about the song “I’d Do Aything for Love” and the refrain “I won’t do that.”

                  Should we petition the EC? IWDT
                  Should we stall appointments and legislation? IWDT
                  Boycotts, Work stoppages, or Marches? IWDT
                  Form a Left version of the Tea Party? IWDT
                  Try to work on appealing to more White voters? IWDT
                  Perhaps recalibrate how we are communicating identity politics? IWDT
                  Try and get a few blue dogs back in the rural areas? IWDT

                  I have no idea where we go if that meeting was indicative of the difficulty in hearding demographically not that diverse a group of supposed progressives.

                  -Effective Government
                  -Government that Works

                  Are not going to be persuasive since government has been poisoned as a word in so many voters minds.

                  -Government that Works for All of US

                  Works for me, but does it work for others since government is seen as evil by so many voters? It is also too wordy.

                  -Justice for All
                  -Opportunity for All

                  These seem like these would be the cornerstones of a successful messaging campaign.

          • Tyro

            Obama is keenly conscious of his place in history. I think if the US is going to go down like the Titanic, he will want to be remembered as “the last adult in Washington,” kind of a Thomas More making a firm but ultimately symbolic and futile stand against Henry VIII.

    • humanoid.panda

      I’ll just pipe in and say that while Obama had been smooth about the transition, smoother than anyone on this forum would have been given circumstances, he also pointedly avoided giving Trump the one gift he really wanted: burying the Russia thing under the rug.

      • DamnYankees

        We’ll see how long the story continues once Obama leaves office if he himself doesn’t keep beating this drum. I’m not optimistic.

        • humanoid.panda

          Well, McCain and Graham are in Ukraine this weekend, and both say they will propose more sanctions. If there is anything those guys are good at its drawing attention to themselves, so the only question is whether they are going to follow through.

          • DamnYankees

            Easy to do that when Trump isn’t in office yet. We’ll see if they keep it up. I’m not optimistic.

            • humanoid.panda

              Right, but at this point, everything relies on 2 or 3 senators breaking ranks, and there is not much anyone could do but making the information available, and keeping the issue alive.

              • DamnYankees

                I might be too negative about the GOP’s ability to break ranks, given their unanimity in opposition the last 8 years. Perhaps it will be genuinely harder to maintain lockstep agreement in affirmation, as opposed to opposition. Don’t have a good sense of that.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I have no idea, but no doubt that Obama’s move re:Russia were meant for the consumption of McAin and Graham. I have no idea if it would work or not, but Obama made his play.

              • scott_theotherone

                It might be worth remembering that when Bush was in office, McCain was several big steps further left (towards the center) than he was when Obama took office. And that he just won election this year, so doesn’t really have to give a damn about what his voters think for another five years, which is an eternity and a half in Trumpian years.

            • tsam

              I feel like Graham will. He seemed to me like the Republican that most hated Trump. Even when he had nothing to lose (had already lost), he was um…not kind to Trump in interviews.

              • humanoid.panda

                And of course, he was one of only of couple of republicans who never got on the Trump train. As for McAin, I feel like the Russia issue is his last great chance to preen for cameras as Maverick. And he just got reelected for last time, so there is nothing Trump has on him.

                • tsam

                  EXCEPT FOR BEING A LOSER WHO GOT CAUGHT LOL #BADSOLDIER #PRISONEROFFAIL

                  I can’t believe this is the world we live in now.

                • McCain’s support of Trump finally dethroned his choice of Sarah Palin as #1 on my long list of reasons that McCain doesn’t deserve the absurdly high level of bipartisan respect he’s traditionally received.

                  Cruz at least has long-term ambitions to take into consideration.

          • efgoldman

            If there is anything those guys are good at its drawing attention to themselves

            The two of them (and Ms Collins makes three) are extremely good at expressing alarm, dismay, shock, consternation, and concern about any number of issues, then when it counts, voting however Yertle McTurtle needs them to.

            • Excitable Boy

              This times infinity

      • ThrottleJockey

        Yeah, I’m actually pissed at how Obama handled the Russian thing. He was entirely too cool for school. How the fuck you let Russia hack an American election? And then sit on the news?

        Unless he appoints a special prosecutor he gets a fucking F on this.

  • Downpuppy

    One thing about power in the next year or so I haven’t figured is the effect of Trump not divesting. What this means is rock solid grounds for impeachment from day 1.

    Not that I expect it from all the Constitutional Originalists prancing about on Capitol Hill, of course, but have impeachment in their pocket should give Congress some power for a change.

    Mostly the looting will be so furious that nobody will stop and think, but maybe it will create a chance for Obama to speak up.

    • tsam

      I guess I’d challenge you to find more than about 40% of the voters who think not divesting is a bad thing, and are able to understand why you can’t run a business while you’re the chief executive of a nation. Most people, I think, would just give you a blank stare and wonder why U MAD because Trump’s pulling down his cheese on the side.

      • DamnYankees

        I think this is right. Lots of people who are politically active vastly overrate how much the average voters cares about stuff that doesn’t directly effect them. If you want a non-corrupt government, it’s not enough to just have voters who are against corruption in the abstract. You need actually elites to force anti-corruption as an ethos, even if voters aren’t paying attention. You need a system where elected officials are incentivized to care about this stuff even if there’s no direct electoral benefit to it.

        I worry we no longer have that, and that there is literally nothing a party will do to check its own President as long as voters aren’t in revolt. It’s the utter moral and professional rot of the GOP leadership, which is one of the most vomitous parts about this entire ordeal.

        • tsam

          Right–I’m reminded of an enormous no-bid contract to a company that a vice president once chaired, and a candidate who almost bragged about having millions of dollars stuffed in overseas accounts to evade taxes while asking to be the executive who plays a major role in how tax policy is formed and administered. To us, it’s stunning and amazing. To most people, it’s not worth interrupting their TV shows to think about it.

          We do have a real issue with the fact that Democrats and Republicans are portrayed very differently in the media when it comes to conflicts of interest. The media doesn’t seem very alarmed by Trump and his pure shadiness.

          • Gone2Ground

            Not only not worth interrupting their TV shows, but admirable “leadership” and proof of Trumpolini’s General Excellence as a Businessman. Don’t forget, his followers think of him an an “outsider” there to “shake up Washington/drain the swamp/etc.”

            If Trump sold DVDs on Profitable Tax Evasion, they’d sell out in moments.

            • humanoid.panda

              Not only not worth interrupting their TV shows, but admirable “leadership” and proof of Trumpolini’s General Excellence as a Businessman. Don’t forget, his followers think of him an an “outsider” there to “shake up Washington/drain the swamp/etc.”

              This is a timely reminder that we don’t particularly care about the full-bore Trumpistas. We care about the marginal Trump voters: people who disliked both candidates but voted for Trump to shake things up, or better yet, who sat this one out because both sides are the same.

              • tsam

                That’s priority one, yes, but we should always be making an effort to deal with the kind of social rot and cancer that is an energized Trumpomaniacs.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Oh sure. But in strictly political terms “this issue will not move Trumpistas” is a bad argument.

              • Gone2Ground

                I would argue that the marginal Trump voters fit into the same mold as the hardcores when we’re talking about things like tax policy: they don’t pay much attention and anyone who pays less taxes sounds like a genius to them (thanks to 30 years of RW propaganda about this).

                Instead of followers, I should have just said Trump voters.

          • Gone2Ground

            Agree re: total disinterest in Trump’s actual shady dealings. Mafia tenants! Civil Rights lawsuits! Settlements for Bogus Products! Ripping off Contractors!

            I mean, it isn’t as though he hasn’t been out there for 35 years with this stuff. But we barely heard a peep about any of it and instead were treated to nonstop Emailz non-discussions and “appearances of impropriety”.

            • tsam

              Yeah–he’s an honest to dawg crook. Not in any gray area, not someone with a mixed or checkered past, he’s a plain old huckster/thief.

              I think part of what contributes to the collective meh over this is the intellectually lazy and stupid paradigm among voters that they’re all the same, all crooks, all….whatever, and they probably think Trump isn’t shattering all the previous records like a true prodigy.

              • DamnYankees

                I think part of what contributes to the collective meh over this is the intellectually lazy and stupid paradigm among voters that they’re all the same, all crooks, all….whatever, and they probably think Trump isn’t shattering all the previous records like a true prodigy.

                I had a long conversation with my father about this. He’s one of those crotchety old cynics who is very conservative and believes that the government is completely corrupt and full of waste and fraud. He’s fully convinced all politicians are liars and crooked. And so to him, Trump isn’t really anything special – they are all the same. (Note: Dad didn’t vote for Trump for various reasons that I think speak very well of my father, but he’s of the demographics that was hard core Trump and his friend group is full of Trump voters).

                I had to sit down with my dad and try to explain that our government is actually very hard to corrupt. You can’t bribe our government. I work with our federal bureaucracy all the time in my job – you can’t bribe these people. You can’t influence them. Our government is incredibly not corrupt.

                My dad didn’t believe me. Just flat out didn’t believe me, despite my personal experiences. He’s so convinced that our government is corrupt, he can’t possibly believe its not.

                I think this is poisonous, and was one of the main reasons I was against Bernie in the primaries. If you convince people that our system is corrupt, when its not, you are making it impossible for any actual anti-corruption efforts to succeed. You’ve poisoned the well. It’s so dispiriting.

                • tsam

                  Glad he didn’t vote for Trump!

                  Thing is, once that perception is out there, it NEVER goes away. I think you’re right, our government does a pretty good job of keeping corruption under control, and I’m a little afraid that with a wholly corrupt executive, that’s going to backslide, and that will only reinforce that belief. I hope I’m wrong about that.

                • humanoid.panda

                  My dad didn’t believe me. Just flat out didn’t believe me, despite my personal experiences. He’s so convinced that our government is corrupt, he can’t possibly believe its not.

                  I think this is poisonous, and was one of the main reasons I was against Bernie in the primaries. If you convince people that our system is corrupt, when its not, you are making it impossible for any actual anti-corruption efforts to succeed. You’ve poisoned the well. It’s so dispiriting.

                  +1,000. I am much less anti-Sanders than a lot of people around these parts, but his campaign’s tolerance-bordering-on-promotion of conspiracy theorizing was simply unforgiveable.

                • DamnYankees

                  I am much less anti-Sanders than a lot of people around these parts,

                  Is this place anti-Sanders? Wasn’t this a very pro-Sanders website? I thought I’d read that literally all front page bloggers here voted for him over Hillary.

                • I think you’re right, our government does a pretty good job of keeping corruption under control

                  Although (no surprise) some parts can be corrupted more easily than others.

                  For Fat Leonard, conning the U.S. Navy was a big piece of cake.

                  The Navy allowed the worst corruption scandal in its history to fester for several years by dismissing a flood of evidence that the rotund Asian defense contractor was cheating the service out of millions of dollars and bribing officers with booze, sex and lavish dinners, newly released ­documents show.

                  The Singapore-based contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, found it especially easy to outwit the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), the renowned law enforcement agency that has inspired one of the longest-running cop shows on television.

                  Starting in 2006, in response to a multitude of fraud complaints, NCIS opened 27 separate investigations into Francis’s company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. In each of those instances, however, NCIS closed the case after failing to dig up sufficient evidence to take action against the firm, according to hundreds of pages of law enforcement records ­obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of ­Information Act.

                  Known as Fat Leonard for his 350-pound physique, Francis held lucrative contracts to resupply U.S. warships and submarines in ports throughout Asia. He was also legendary within the Navy for throwing hedonistic parties, often with prostitutes, to entertain ­sailors.

                  Other Navy documents obtained by The Post show that staffers at U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters were so worried about the potential for trouble that they drafted a new ethics policy to discourage Navy personnel from accepting favors from Francis. But their effort was blocked for more than two years by admirals who were friendly with the contractor, according to officials familiar with the matter.

                  Despite rising signs of widespread fraud, the Navy kept awarding business to Francis’s company. In 2011, Glenn Defense won deals valued at $200 million to service U.S. vessels at ports stretching from the Russian Far East to Australia.

                  It took NCIS agents and federal prosecutors until 2013 to gather enough evidence to charge Francis and arrest him in a sting operation in San Diego. He has been in federal custody since then, having pleaded guilty to defrauding the Navy of $35 million.

                  His sentence is pending. One of his attorneys, Ethan M. Posner, said Glenn Defense “had an extraordinary record in securing the Navy’s vessels and protecting American naval personnel.” He declined to comment further.

                  Besides Francis, 12 people — including an admiral and nine other Navy personnel — have pleaded guilty to federal crimes. Five other defendants still face charges.

                  Justice Department officials say there is no end in sight to the investigation and that 200 people have fallen under scrutiny. Among them are about 30 current or retired admirals, according to Navy ­officials.

                  [and so on and so forth]

                • There’s an argument that advanced democracies simply replace the simple bribery and naked graft of weaker states with regulatory capture, an increasingly unified corporate-government complex, and a common ruling class of powerful public and private figures alike. The Clintons are a good example (what with Bill’s legendary rolodex), but it’s endemic — start drawing a map of Obama’s friends, advisors, and cabinet members, and continue going out from there, and you’ll end up with many figures that have held powerful positions both in the public and private spheres. And these horizontal bonds between public and private are stronger than the vertical/hierarchical bonds within either.

                  To put it another way, if you want to get a CEO’s phone number, you’d do better asking a US Senator than a corporate vice president.

                  (And there’s also an argument that this kind of powerful hybrid ruling structure is what makes an advanced state, and that the best you can hope for is to build in countervailing forces that protect the needs of the masses. See Galbraith.)

                • DamnYankees

                  I guess I feel like that’s just defining corruption down. What you’re describing may be bad, but I think it’s genuinely poisonous to use the same word – corruption – to describe it. It’s not what normal people think of as corruption, which is a real thing. And so you have both sides of he political system screaming about corruption, with no one actually meaning the same thing as one another. It breeds cynicism, which is dangerous.

              • efgoldman

                I think part of what contributes to the collective meh over this is the intellectually lazy and stupid paradigm among voters that they’re all the same, all crooks

                When JFK was running in 1960, a fairly common meme was “he will be honest – he has so much money there would be no reason to steal.”
                [Ignored how his father made all that money]
                Canteloupe Caligula doesn’t need to steal, either, but he gets off on chiseling nickles and dimes from small transactions.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Doesn’t need to steal, but he has to.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Canteloupe Caligula doesn’t need to steal, either

                  I agree he gets off on dicking people over, but he’s probably nowhere near as wealthy as he wants people to think. He’s a habitual liar with a long string of failures behind him.

              • econoclast

                Unrelated to this election, I was thinking about how this attitude dooms a country. Italians all think that all politicians everywhere are crooks, and politicians live down to their expectations, while Germans are outraged when politicians plagiarize their Ph.D. dissertations. People aren’t good at paying attention to details, so once the attitude that all politicians are crooks sets in, it lowers the penalty for being a crook.

                • BiloSagdiyev

                  Oh yes. Italy is exactly what I think of. Once everything becomes crooked and requires a bribe to get done — I don’t know how you can ever get things back to normal.

        • Downpuppy

          The average voter would also not be at all upset to watch The Impeachment Show, complete with grisly tales of favors done for strange & murderous foreign regimes & stiffarming of states.

          So, if Ryan & McConnell decide they need leverage, or could get a better deal with Pence, impeachment is there.

          Short of that, of course, Democrats can make noise and at least get the committee chairmen to embarrass themselves on record with lame excuses.

          • Gone2Ground

            +1

            • efgoldman

              if Ryan & McConnell decide they need leverage, or could get a better deal with Pence, impeachment is there.

              Never happen. Would never even get a vote in the house, let alone move toward the senate. Not while Granny Starver and Yertle McTurtle run the show.

          • tsam

            I’d dig watching an impeachment, even knowing that it’s just jumping out of the frying pan and into another frying pan. Still be hilarious to watch the ultimate narcissist get kicked out of his own party.

            • Phil Perspective

              LOL!! Yertle the Turtle and Eddie Munster would get rat-fucked so hard if they tried to impeach Trump. Why do you think Trump keeps Bannon around? Why do you think Trump is friendly with Roger Stone?

              • tsam

                And you wouldn’t enjoy watching this? They aren’t legislating while this little war is going down.

                • Origami Isopod

                  And you wouldn’t enjoy watching this?

                  No, he wouldn’t. The Democrats would benefit from it, and that’d be bad.

              • humanoid.panda

                This is a good time to remind us that there is simply no evidence that Roger Stone had actually done any rat-fucking since the 1970s. Accounts of him from the HW Bush era say that he was basically a fabulist.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Even here there were lots of commenters (most really) saying there was no conflict with Hill being involved with CGI while she was SecState. To me it was a textbook conflict of interest.

          Interestingly, most of these people are now saying that Trump needs to close his Foundation because that represents a Conflict of Interest. (Both sides don’t do it my ass.)

          Sigh. So, yes. Much of America needs an education on Ethics.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            (rolls eyes)

          • Downpuppy

            The relevant clauses are:

            Article 1, section 9:

            No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

            Article 2, clause 7:

            The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

            The immediate & massive violations of both will be rather obvious.

            • efgoldman

              The relevant clauses are:

              I assume there’s a statute somewhere, but neither quoted section says anything about private parties (i.e. businesspersons)

              • Downpuppy

                Foreign governments lending him money, partnering in real estate deals, paying for space in hotels, etc

                A basic discussion of the foreign clause

                I haven’t seen anything on the domestic

          • Trump’s foundation is probably the least of his conflicts of interest once he enters office, but:

            1) Trump’s foundation is provably a slush fund with a history of unethical activity, while the Clinton Global Initiative is a legitimate charitable organization.

            2) Hillary was not personally involved in CGI work or fundraising while Secretary of State.

            3) The Clintons agreed early in the presidential campaign that they would not accept corporate or foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary’s prospective tenure of office.

            4) It’s “Hillary”.

            • efgoldman

              It’s “Hillary”.

              It’s TJ. She could be an actual saint, and he’d hate her. He refuses to admit it in so many words, but it’s been true and obvious for years.

              • Dr. Acula

                TJ is at Maureen Dowd level with this crap.

            • econoclast

              Isn’t Trump shutting down his foundation? Or “foundation”, since air quotes are all I have left.

              • Isn’t Trump shutting down his foundation?

                The New York state attorney general has said Trump cannot shut it down while his (the NYAG’s) current investigation is pending. We shall see…

          • (((Malaclypse)))

            To me it was a textbook conflict of interest.

            Is that your current excuse for not voting for her?

    • ASV

      We’re going to be dealing with an uneasy balance over several key facts:

      * Trump will be impeachable for his entire presidency.
      * Trump has no networks to nurture within the party, and probably thinks he doesn’t owe anybody anything (and he’s probably right)
      * Congressional Republicans, leadership in particular, probably think they don’t owe Trump anything (and they’re probably right)
      * Congressional Republican leadership would much rather have Pence than Trump as president, all else being equal

      • AMK

        Thing is, Trump is much more popular than most of these guys (and Mike Pence) in their own districts. They might prefer Pence in the abstract, but the only way Trump is impeached–or really held to account in any serious way–is if he somehow manages to torpedo his high standing among the GOP base. How does that happen, exactly? Certainly not by doing things the rest of the country considers impeachable–that’s why they love him.

        The only thing that could sway some in the GOP is if Trump actually delivers on some of the protectionist rhetoric in a big way, like by instituting tariffs—because Trump isn’t giving them money, and the Chamber of Commerce is.

        • Downpuppy

          Don’t underestimate the chance of a monster fuckup. (Hopefully without a huge body count) Already he’s stepped into major messes with China, Israel & the Philippines, with no sign of a learning curve. The State Department & CIA are used to getting their way.

  • Hogan

    We don’t want much from the guy, do we?

    • N__B

      My ObamaPony is going to bunk with Mini_B.

      • tsam

        My ObamaPony has a first name

        • N__B

          ObamaPony’s first name
          Is P-P-A-C-A
          ObamaPony’s second name
          Is Please-not-D-J-T
          I like to pet him every day
          And if you ask me why I’ll say
          Because the U-S-A
          Tends toward the ne-o-fasc-ism pop-u-lace.

          • tsam

            That’s fucking beautiful, man

      • tsam

        The meter is all wrong on that. Will you guys fix it, please?

        • q-tip

          Ba-rony?

    • ThrottleJockey

      If he didn’t want to put on his Big Boy pants he shouldn’t have have run. Like Uncle Ben said to Spider-Man, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’

      Who said you can’t learn nothin’ from comics?

      • humanoid.panda

        Except that we are talking about post-presidency, where he is no longer running or serving or has much power..

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          Doesn’t have much power? Really? Oh, you mean because he’s going to drop out of this mess he helped create and go write a book or something. Got it.

          • humanoid.panda

            As opposed to what what a real progressive would have done: declared an emergency, arrested Trump and declared himself president until a new election can be called.

    • PJ
  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    OT, but I’ve always found it crazy how much JQA looks like Anthony Hopkins, particularly when Hopkins plays JQA in Amistad. Incidentally, there is a remarkable new biography out on Louisa Adams, JQA’s wife and a woman of remarkable political and literary insight in her own right.

    • This reminds me that I’m still pissed Spielberg portrayed Martin Van Buren as a moron in that film. The man is the founder of the Democratic Party for god’s sake. Disagree with his policies all you want to, but he wasn’t an idiot. Man that pissed me off. Although not as much as the scene when Spielberg decided to pander to his Christian audience by having the Africans discover Christ. That’s maybe the least favorite scene in any Spielberg movie.

      • efgoldman

        I’m still pissed Spielberg portrayed Martin Van Buren as a moron in that film.

        It’s only a movie… It’s only a movie… It’s only a movie… It’s only a movie…

        • Don’t even get me started on the size of the corn the indigenous people were eating in The New World.

          • Sly

            You’re going to have to do better than that to beat Neil Degrasse Tyson for the all-time “Historical Inaccuracy Nitpick” when he sent an e-mail to James Cameron telling him that he got the stars wrong during the sinking of the Titanic.

          • Colin Day

            Don’t get me started on Shakespeare in Richard III when Richard III mentions Machiavelli, who was in his teens when Richard III lost at Bosworth Field.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Did the Africans not discover Christ???

        I mean Christianity was a prominent force among Abolitionists, so as long as it wasn’t a fabrication on his part, it seems like a legitimate part of the narrative, no?

  • Mark Field

    I don’t want Obama to lead the fight. For one thing, he’s a gentleman. I want a knife fighter. For another, while the leader in the fight doesn’t absolutely have to be our next nominee, it wouldn’t hurt to have that be the case. That would leave no doubt that the Dems stand adamantly in opposition to anything Trump does. In fact, the party should announce the principle that Trump is now and always will be an illegitimate president, and that everything done by him will be reversed as soon as the real Americans regain control.

    • Gone2Ground

      This.

      We need about 10 more backbenchers to get on TV every single day and say “outrageous” things like “The Republicans have never liked Social Security and want to end for you and your kids” and “Republicans believe in turning over Medicare to Wall Street”.

      I know Grayson from Florida has his own problems, but his display on the House Floor of “The Republican Health Care Plan” to “Die and Die Quickly” actually made the news. It was inflammatory and out of bounds, which not only attracted attention, but got under the GOP’s skin. “No we don’t! We just want everyone to pay nine million dollars, crossing state lines, competition, blah blah blah…” Same with the video of Paul Ryan pushing Grandma over a cliff. It hurt him in the race with Romney and sent him flailing around, disowning Ayn Rand and going on a “poverty tour” afterwards.

      That’s the position I want to see the GOP in: a defensive crouch.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Shhhhhh you can’t say Grayson’s name, he isn’t the right kind of democrat…

        My wife follows politics more than 95% of america. I asked her yesterday (to prove my point) who ran against Rubio. She couldn’t name Whitebread Mayo. However she knew what Grayson’s republican healthcare plan characterization was.

        I’m glad obama and the DNC spent all that time and money defeating Grayson. They sure showed us!

        • Phil Perspective

          I’m glad Obama and the DNC spent all that time and money defeating Grayson. They sure showed us!

          It’s especially hilarious since they bailed on Murphy once Rubio got back into the race.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yeah, the answer to our problems is a sleaze who beat his wife and wouldn’t pay child support. Who cares, right? Giving a shit about broads is “identity politics.” Also, GOP opposition research, what’s that?

    • ThrottleJockey

      There are political reasons why the leader of the fight can’t be the presumed nominee. They’d never be able to enlist the support of their contenders.

      Besides the Dems have learned twice–in 8 years–why you shouldn’t enter a nomination cycle with a prohibitive favorite. Better the face of the opposition is someone who can no longer assume the office. Frankly, only someone like that can take the political risks and say the hard truths that the Opposition Leader will need to do and say.

      • humanoid.panda

        This is kinda silly. First, why assume there has to be only one leader of the fight? There is no reason why say, Warren should not attack Trump on regulations, and Cory Booker on racism and Sherrod Brown on labor and trade and so on.

        More importantly: you are presuming that resisting Trump and choosing next nominee are disparate processes. To, me, they are one and the same: the most efficient anti-Trump voices will also be front-runners in race for 2020.

        Speaking of that- I’d watch the confirmation hearings closely to see who is thinking about becoming president.

    • Colin Day

      A knife fighter? Given the Republican positon on guns, I’d hope the Dems would be better armed.

  • Murc

    Obama doesn’t roll this way. He never has, and he is old enough that the odds are he never will.

    I would love to be wrong about this. But Obama doesn’t lead insurrections. The closest he came was his 2008 campaign, and that was all about projecting the image of being insurrectionist without actually being one.

    But if we look to Obama for this sort of leadership we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. Obama works within the system. People who do that are generally not well set up to declare war against it. It’s happened. But it is rare.

    • Simple Mind

      I think you are right. Over at History Unfolding, David Kaiser said of Obama:

      Meanwhile,[the Republicans] have utterly destroyed the Democratic Party in much of the nation… They will now proceed to do the work theythey had been planning for years. President Obama failed for many reasons to transform the US, but the biggest reasons was that he did not want to do so. The system had been very good to him, and he believed in it.

      .
      I do not expect Obama have the sudden realization that he’s got to do something.

    • ThrottleJockey

      This.

      Institutionalists aren’t insurrectionists.

      Its an observation that few insurrectionsists are good institutionalists. Revolutionaries, Washington excepted, rarely do governance well. For the same reasons, Institutionalists don’t do insurrection well. They’re 2 different skill sets. All the difference between starting a great company and running a great company. The people who have the skill to do both are exceptionally rare.

    • Bruce Vail

      Yes, this is right.

      Obama must have a role in re-building the party, but it should be largely a symbolic one.

  • Ghostship

    Jeez, Obama has been a crap president with mostly one fuck-up after another and you want him to lead the resistance to Trump. That makes a Trump second term a certainty for 2020. (currently he stands at 11/10) I think I’ll go and slash my wrists now.

    • humanoid.panda

      Just you know, that operation has low chances of success. You might want go with gun to the head, or a pipe through a car window.

      Of course, most wrist-cutters actually want to draw attention to themselves, so this is probably the right move.

    • We’ll be waiting right here!

    • tsam

      K. Bye.

      • Ghostship

        Sorry, only joking.

        • Ghostship

          Oh, and I’ve worked out who Trump’s GRU handler is. The Russian flag is a bit of a giveaway.

        • (((Malaclypse)))

          Sorry, only joking.

          No worries, we know better than to expect any better from you.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      thank you!

    • Sly

      Remember, “down the road, not across the street.”

      • ColBatGuano

        I prefer “down the river, not over the bridge”, but it’s all good advice for Ghostshit.

    • efgoldman

      I think I’ll go and slash my wrists now.

      Would you, please? A new X-acto knife is excellent for the purpose.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      Amateurs cut across, professionals cut down.

      • Hogan

        Nancy: [noticing Sarah’s cuts] What’s up with that?

        Sarah: [embarrassed] I slit my wrists.

        Bonnie: What you’d do it with?

        Sarah: A-a kitchen knife.

        Bonnie: [surprised] You even did it the right way.

        Sarah: Yeah…

        Nancy: [reassuring her] PUNK ROCK! Let’s go.

        Rochelle: The right way? How do you know the right way?

        Bonnie: [defensive] Shut up Rochelle.

        Rochelle: Well how do you know?

        • mds

          +666

  • humanoid.panda

    Off topic, but friend of the blog Glenn “the only moral person in this neoliberal morass” Greenwald outdoes himself. Going to Tucker Carson’s show and complain that liberals are McArthyist hacks is surely the right way to fight NEOLIBERAL HEGEMONY.

    • petesh

      Of course — a bold and unpredictable move!

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      On a par with Assange’s statement that he has no need to leak anything on Russia because the press there is so much freer than in the US.

  • MdeVoltaire

    This will never happen, because Democrats do not fight. Instead of obstructing the Short Fingered Vulgarian at every turn, Democrats will take the road of appeasement and try to work with him to appear “bipartisan.” If the situation were flipped and Hillary Clinton were elected with even a whiff of outside interference, the conversation from Republicans wouldn’t be about working together, it would automatically be about obstruction and impeachment. In all honesty she probably wouldn’t even be allowed to assume office. As far as Obama is concerned, don’t expect much from him. He won’t appoint anyone to the Supreme Court come January, his Russia sanctions are too little too late, and he’s not going to do anything worth a damn once he leaves office.

    • humanoid.panda

      . Instead of obstructing the Short Fingered Vulgarian at every turn, Democrats will take the road of appeasement and try to work with him to appear “bipartisan.”

      Evidence of this so far is a couple of Politico stories with Republicans saying that they will force Democrats to cooperate, and anecdotes about Chuck Schumer being a macher.

      f the situation were flipped and Hillary Clinton were elected with even a whiff of outside interference, the conversation from Republicans wouldn’t be about working together, it would automatically be about obstruction and impeachment. In all honesty she probably wouldn’t even be allowed to assume office.

      Lacking a 2/3 majority in the Senate and House, how would GOP stop her from assuming office, besides starting a civil war?

      He won’t appoint anyone to the Supreme Court come January, his Russia sanctions are too little too late, and he’s not going to do anything worth a damn once he leaves office.

      Appointing someone to SCOTUS would be a terrible option. That would be a recess appointment, so in a few months, Garland will be out of there, and his seat on the DC Circuit will be filled by Trump. But at least, it would have given you all the feels!

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Lacking a 2/3 majority in the Senate and House, how would GOP stop her from assuming office, besides starting a civil war?

        Shhh! Since November 9 we are simply to assume that the Republicans have the ability to immediately launch a military takeover of the entire country at the snap of their fingers in the event they do not otherwise have the ability to accomplish their objectives via the political process. See, e.g., the prattle here and elsewhere about how Trump will “cancel the elections” in 2018/2020/etc.

        • humanoid.panda

          Right. Somehow, we morphed from “the republicans found a hack in the Madisonian system that makes opposition parties able to act in a unified way incredibly strong” to “the Dems never won an election nor will ever they win one in the future and all their functionaries are either stupid, weak or treasonous.”

  • Sev

    I doubt this is a good idea. First, we expect ex-presidents to mostly stay out of current politics, and, as noted, Obama tends to respect norms like this. He can be an occasional voice of reason in the insanity to come, and involving himself in something ostensibly non-partisan like redistricting reform would seem within bounds. Secondly, in his reasonableness, Obama really does lack something, a lust for the brawl that is partisan politics, especially in the post Gingrich era. I’ve always thought this has been a problem, and had a good deal to do with the disaster of 2010, when his voters stayed home. Finally, it’s just time for new leaders to fill the vacuum, whether they arise from the resistance movements to come, or aspiring politicians representing their demands.

    • tsam

      First, we expect ex-presidents to mostly stay out of current politics,

      True, but there’s never been a Trump before. This feels like an exception to some all of the rules.

      • Tyro

        This feels like an exception to some all of the rules.

        Yes, but Obama doesn’t have an instinct to do that kind of thing.

        What Obama needed was a “norms consultant.” Basically, someone who could serve as the voice of reason when it came to wondering whether norms-breaking was destructive partisanship or whether it was a necessary tit-for-tat reaction to circumstances. His instinct was to believe that any norms-breaking was the former, but he needed someone to give him a sanity check for when it was necessary. This would be the time, and honestly there’s a power vacuum right now that he can fill, but I don’t think he has anyone available to give him that wakeup call.

  • rewenzo

    I don’t think Obama is temperamentally suited for the job, nor do I think it’s a good idea for him to continue as party leader.

    1) First, while I wouldn’t blame Obama for the complete failure of Democrats to win Congressional and state elections during his tenure, there’s been too much reliance on Obama to solve every problem. Politics isn’t basketball, and we can’t rely on our one superstar Obama to keep us competitive in elections. We need to move out of his shadow.

    2) Arguably, Clinton ran into a few problems during the campaign because of the need to situate herself as a third Obama term. If Obama hangs around as party leader, there will be tension between new leaders attempting to make adjustments and the record of President Obama. Some of Obama’s decisions are wrong, and some of them were right at the time but won’t be optimal by 2020. We need to move on.

    3) There’s nothing magical about Obama. Obama has a 55% approval rating. By the standards of contemporary American politics, that’s nice, but it’s not like he’s the tribune of the nation. If the Democratic party can’t find somebody else to speak for it over the next 4 years we don’t deserve to govern the country.

    There will be a plethora of high profile issues during the next 4 years when almost anybody should be able to pick up the standard and fill a role as Democratic leader. Are there no congressional democrats under 60 who are passionate about any issues?

    4) I have no problem with ex-presidents being involved in politics. I just don’t think ex-presidents are effectual at it. To be a leader of a party in exile, you need to be able to stake out-there positions, use colorful language, pull stunts, and hustle 24/7. You have to be un-Presidential. After 8 years of having every single thought vetted so as to offend only the right people in the right amounts, your typical ex-President is not prepared to throw bombs.

    5) Obama in particular, is ill suited to this. He is Mr. Presidential. I don’t think he is constitutionally capable of acting out.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Pretty much where I’m at on his presidency.

      About the only thing I’d add is that in both elections he pretty much focused on his own race and didn’t try hard enough to get other Democrats elected nationally. As a result, after 2010 he didn’t have enough votes to get his programs and appointees through Congress.

      Both Obama and Sanders claimed to be leading a movement but didn’t do much to broaden the focus of that movement to include other candidates.

      • humanoid.panda

        There will be a plethora of high profile issues during the next 4 years when almost anybody should be able to pick up the standard and fill a role as Democratic leader. Are there no congressional democrats under 60 who are passionate about any issues?

        This is such an important point. We are about 2 weeks before confirmation hearings start ,and 10-15 senators eager to make their mark will do their best to become prominent national figures. Why not less process proceed naturally?

  • ProgressiveLiberal

    It’s a sick fucking joke that Obama probably cost us the presidency (TPP, Comey) and now he wants to stay out of it.

    Too late. You helped cause this mess.

    And my opinion of Michelle Obama is falling rapidly. The world is about to burn and there are few people who could run for president and have a legit shot at winning, and she too wants to stay out of it while people literally die. That’s some pretty weak sauce right there.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      The theory that one Obama caused this, and another Obama could fix it, but Won’t. Even. Try. takes being completely uninformed about politics to a whole new level. Well done.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        I am doing neither.

        If there were 5 causes for this mess, 2 were of obama’s making. He constantly pushed that TPP nonsense and had his secretary of state up there talking about the “gold standard” (I wonder whatever happened to that nice lady?), and he appointed that piece of shit Comey against us DFH’s wishes. These were both unforced errors, and probably were enough to sway the election.

        So yeah, he needs to shoulder some of the blame and fucking apologize. But I am also not arguing that he CAN fix this – I’m arguing that he needs to spend the next 4 years doing everything he fucking can in an attempt to. If that means attacking Trump every day, then so fucking be it.

        He literally has no one but himself to blame for his legacy going up in smoke. And we tried to warn him against doing stupid shit, but he just won’t listen.

        He ain’t perfect. Clearly.

    • efgoldman

      my opinion of Michelle Obama is falling rapidly.

      What has she got to do with anything?

      • (((Malaclypse)))

        PL wants a messiah, and any actual politician isn’t pure enough for him.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        apparently she won’t get up and dance when ProgressiveLiberal wants her to

        • Slothrop2

          You voted for her through the primaries. You should’ve just stayed home and smashed your balls with a brick.

    • Darkrose

      Yeah, because the black woman’s job is to fix the mess the white dude is about to create.

      Michelle Obama isn’t your damn maid.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      WOWWWWWW….what does ANY of this have to do with race?

      Any of you realize that both obama’s are private citizens come january, but none of you are criticizing Loomis – ESPECIALLY along racial or gender lines – for saying that Mr. Obama should do something which he is not obligated to do (attempt to “fix the white man’s mess”)? Are some of you closet racists and sexists? Cause some of you are pretty hung up on race/sex. Try to be consistent…

      My argument is that she too has power, and is one of the only people on earth that has a legit shot at winning the presidency in 4 years. When someone has the ability to prevent people from dying, I think less of them when they do nothing, but again, opinions differ on this.

      PS. Pretty funny that when we tried to get white man Sanders elected we were told we were doing it wrong and that our base is black and female but when I point out obama is both, we’re told we’re STILL doing it wrong, and its not her responsibility to clean up this shit…ok well maybe “funny” ain’t the word for you hypocrites…

      • Darkrose

        Yup, that’s me. Racist and sexist.

        Michelle Obama has made it clear she has no interest in running for office. It’s not her thing. She’s also had to put up with eight years of steaming shit just for being married to Barack. And your response is to be “disappointed” in her because she’s not going to be your mammy and make you feel better about yourself. Fuck you.

        • humanoid.panda

          Even leaving aside the fact Michelle doesn’t want the job, she doesn’t have any experience running for office or being an executive, nor do we know much about her politics. I find it hillarious that this guy screams that we are all sellouts because TPP, and then demands a vague, a-political figure to step in and save us all. One could even argue this kind of star warship is neither liberal nor progressive.

          • ProgressiveLiberal

            Not winning the popularity contest to determine the executive by staying all pure is neither progressive nor liberal. Or did you miss the circus clown’s win the other month? My point is that we need to run someone who is broadly popular and liberal and none of you seem to have a list. But then again the clinton deadenders thought being despised by half of the country was an advantage…”baked in” i believe they called it.

            You all also seem to have a pretty low opinion of this womans intelligence.

            • humanoid.panda

              Ok, let’s take this bit by bit.

              Not winning the popularity contest to determine the executive by staying all pure is neither progressive nor liberal. Or did you miss the circus clown’s win the other month?

              This is just incoherent, so I will refrain from answering.

              My point is that we need to run someone who is broadly popular and liberal and none of you seem to have a list.

              We should run someone liberal and popular, yes. But perhaps, we could wait for a couple of months and see who is interested in running before preparing lists? I mean, the party’s real mistake was clearing the field for Hillary, so why shouldn’t we wait for the process to play out?

              But then again the clinton deadenders thought being despised by half of the country was an advantage…”baked in” i believe they called it.

              I will admit to being wrong about that. Still, there is no way of telling if Sanders’ popularity would have survived the general.

              You all also seem to have a pretty low opinion of this womans intelligence.

              This woman= Michelle Obama? I am sure she is an exceptionally intellegent person, but that doesn’t change the fact she never ran for office, ran a complex bureacracy, or opined about politics.

              • ProgressiveLiberal

                Im in shock i got a single clinton supporter to admit they were wrong about anything instead of blaming sanders again. Wow.

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          There you go with the racially charged language again. Why you cant address the argument on its merits is beyond me.

      • petesh

        I take it that you (the soi-disant progressive liberal who manifests as neither) have no ability to prevent people from dying? Because if you have, it would be wonderful were you to take your own advice (speaking of hypocrites). Quit looking for a hero who might act as your deus ex machina. Start dealing with politics in the real world.

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          I admittedly have little ability to do so. If i was one of the few that could win our presidency it would be shameful if i didnt attempt to because i wasnt really in the mood. Peoples lives are on the line and if you have the ability to save thousands or millions, i wouldnt use the word “obligation” but its pretty damn close, if you want to be considered at all liberal or progressive.

          She had no problem giving political speeches either when she could have said ‘no thanks.’

          You all realize that mr obsma is a private citizen too come jan? Yet i dont see this critique of loomis’ argument. Hmmm.

          • humanoid.panda

            Peoples lives are on the line and if you have the ability to save thousands or millions, i wouldnt use the word “obligation” but its pretty damn close, if you want to be considered at all liberal or progressive.

            You do realize that M. Obama would not to be able to do anything to ameliorate damages in the next 4 years, even as a presidential candidate?

            And sure, right now she is the single most popular national figure, massively beloved even by some republicans, etc. And you know who else was a the single most beloved national figure, massively beloved by even some republicans on this day 4 years ago?

          • petesh

            Michelle Obama is smart, articulate and generally a wonderful person, but she has never shown the slightest desire to do the job. She’s not sulking in her tent like Achilles, waiting for the call, so trying to guilt-trip her (as if she read this blog!) into taking on one of the hardest jobs in the world is something only a fantasist untethered to the universe the rest of us inhabit would even imagine, let alone voice.

            George Clooney for President? Martin Sheen? Taylor Swift’s too young but you could start grooming her. Ah, they’d all disappoint you, even Michelle.

            • DamnYankees

              I’m not aware of any reason to assume Taylor Swift has good politics.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                one of the weirder things about this weird subthread is the assumption that Michelle Obama’s politics would be all that acceptable to ProgressiveLiberal. The whole idea of somehow forcing her to run for President is rank with desperation

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  Why wouldnt they be? Shes campaigned for clinton and obama. She is a democrat. Of course theyd be acceptable, just like obama, sanders, clinton, etc

                  Listen, just cause none of you understand sanders appeal doesnt mean we find mr obama unacceptable. Many of us actually believe all that nonsense about moving the party to the left when at all possible. But more than anything i want us to win. I get that this is a hard concept for the clinton deadenders to grasp considering their recent massive failure. I mean, they argued we should vote for the less popular, less liberal candidate because reasons. It didnt make no fucking sense then and it doesnt now either. However, this doesnt mean we’ll vote for a liberal rapist. You see, we need to win to actually get anything done.

                • (((Malaclypse)))

                  Of course theyd be acceptable, just like obama, sanders, clinton, etc

                  Yes, she’d be exactly as acceptable as the person you hate.

                  That’s the point where we can all look and realize you don’t even read what you type.

                • ProgressiveLiberal

                  What makes you think i hate clinton? Id be thrilled to have her as my president, which is why i voted for her in the general. But what you deadenders cant seem to understand is that “this isnt the best idea/i have a better idea” isnt the same as “i hate this idea.” I think she’d be a wonderful president, im just not too stupid to think we should chose the less popular, less liberal candidate in the most important race in our country. But yall sure showed me! Boy was i wrong!

                  I think obama is wrong on tpp, schools, comey, bankers, housing, etc, but yall dont see me telling him to go away, do you?

                  Yall are so fucking butthurt about being wrong that you are projecting on the rest of us. You can stop making asses of yourselves any time you want.

      • Origami Isopod

        WOWWWWWW….what does ANY of this have to do with race?

        The bawl of clueless white “progressives” everywhere.

    • vic rattlehead

      Nobody owes it to us to run for office. I have never borne any ill will toward Schweitzer for not running for Senate.

      Especially with Michelle Obama. Presidenting is a tough ass job. She’s an accomplished woman who’s put up with a lot of bullshit over the past decade to support her husband’s political career. She’s more than done her part and I can’t imagine being resentful of her not wanting to run for President.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        Loomis is telling us to get in the streets and resist and i point out that the first lady could do a fuck load more for liberalism yet its ok for her to take a pass. Got it.

        Let no one say consistency has ever been a constraint on liberals…

      • econoclast

        Fuck this shit. If you’re the only thing standing between us and Hitler, you better fucking run for President. (That said, I don’t see any reason to believe that Michelle Obama is that person.)

        • humanoid.panda

          Here is a collorary: if anyone is the only person between us and Hitler, there is nothing that stands between us and Hitler.

  • Yankee

    If he’s just aggressive about defending the markers he’s been throwing down lately, like pipelines, oil leases, the monuments, that ought to keep him in play.

  • kped

    OT: I know people hate on Chait (and he is bad on race and college PC stuff…really bad), but this is a great line (about the hack Tucker Carlson hosting the hack Glenn Greenwald on the hack network, Fox News):

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/12/glenn-greenwald-tucker-carlson-unite-to-dismiss-russian-hacking-allegations.html

    “That’s the way it seems to me!” agreed Carlson. “So, it’s great to hear you say that, it makes me feel less crazy.” And the creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already, it was impossible to say which was which.

    But read it all, Glenn is really going all in on this. He is burning any shreds of credibility he has left for…what? I don’t know why this is the hill he wishes to die on, but it appears so.

    Chait also correctly notes that while Glenn says explicitly that Obama only criticized Russia as an election ploy, Obama leveled sanctions in 2014 after the Ukrainian invasion…which had nothing to do with this election. So Greenwald going on Fox news and saying that this is all an election thing is just totally and completely wrong. But hey, if you have Tucker on your side, that’s all that matters!

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      the one in the bow tie would be Tucker

      o wait- he wore a regular tie. damn

      • humanoid.panda

        What gets to me is that Carson is a proud, self-confessed gay basher. And Glenn “pure as snow” Greenwald is going on his show to rag on liberal sellouts and McArthyists.

        • kped

          Yeah, it’s amazing that the online “left” just totally despises liberals so much that they will gladly partner with the ultra right. I mean…Tucker fucking Carlson? You go on his show and giggle with him about how lame Democrats are? That’s what you think is important? Giving Trump cover?

          What a sad, pathetic person Glenn is. It really is all about his ego.

          • humanoid.panda

            When the best possible interpretation of your actions is that your ego is blinding you, you are at a sad crossroads.

          • XTPD

            Yeah, it’s amazing that the online “left” just totally despises liberals so much that they will gladly partner with the ultra right

            Yeah, not really: The unhinged “left” has been shitting on libtards since at least 1937, and Ace Cockburn carried weed for both the WSJ & the white-supremacist rag Chronicles…just to name a few.

            • kped

              i guess. I mean…just…Tucker “Daily KKK” Carlson? That’s who you want to help push these talking points? Don’t get me started on Freddie and Ann Coulter…

              I wish these people had an ounce of self awareness. I mean, trade a little of that ego for it, just a bit, they have plenty of ego to spare.

              • humanoid.panda

                s? Don’t get me started on Freddie and Ann Coulter…

                Wait what? Can you explain?

                • petesh

                  The mind boggles

                • kped

                  She approvingly retweeted something Freddie said. OK, he didn’t do anything with that, but going on what I said about self awareness, in Freddie’s case, if you’ve been retweeted by Ann Coulter, and approvingly cited by National Review…maybe you aren’t doing this whole left socialist thing right?

                • Coulter has favorably retweeted Freddie

                • humanoid.panda

                  Ah ok. Dreher also has a long-standing hard-on on him as the Honest Leftist that Understands are Driving Poor old Me to the Trump Camp with their Political Correctness and Campus Nazism.

                • kped

                  You know what leftist NR and Coulter have never retweeted or said anything positive about? Loomis! ;)

                  And Loomis has actually done some good for the leftist cause with his labor writing. What the fuck has Freddie done other than whine that other people aren’t doing “it” right.

                  God…Freddie and Glenn…can’t stand those two at all.

                • kped
            • Origami Isopod

              While there are definitely some similarities between the extreme left and the extreme right, horseshoe theory has issues. They’re addressed fairly well here, as well in the top-rated comments here (warning: Reddit).

    • XTPD

      Looks like Greenwald’s looking to take Jilani’s seat on the rocket ship to the sun.

      Yeah, even though he’s proven himself a massive dolt I still think Snowden’s exposing the NSA is laudable, and that he doesn’t deserve the level of vitriol from certain circles of the left (I’m looking at you, Balloon Juice)…but with this arrant bullshit, Glenn’s shown he deserves to join the rapist muppet and drown in a Port-a-Potty.

      • kped

        He can sit on Jilani’s lap (not a gay joke…just dont think one of them should get to stay on earth!)

        And agreed, the Snowden stuff was important, and good work. But his need to be “right” about this to save face for his websites embarrassing election coverage. Seriously, a new Fang or Jilani post on the fucking Podesta emails every day? Was that necessary? and turning “here is my story, do you have a comment” into some press scandal is the reason the Intercept should be shut down. Seriously, just burn it to the ground.

  • LosGatosCA

    I’d like to see Trump show some bipartisanship and ask Comey to step aside so he could appoint Obama to be head of the F. B. I.

    • petesh

      And I’d like to see Trump resign immediately after the inauguration, on the grounds that he had achieved everything he wanted in the political arena. Sadly, I expect no such thing.

      • kped

        I mean…Trump resigning would be good in that he genuinely does seem like a complete moron who will start a nuclear war over twitter…but that leaves us with Mike Pence…

        ..I suppose I’ll take Pence over Trump anyway. I mean, Trump is still going to pass all the awful shit Pence would, but he has the added “i’m incredibly stupid and dangerous” thing going. Pence is just incredibly stupid, I don’t think he’d nuke a country…right?

        • petesh

          Pence would do a lot of harm. Probably more than Trump, but maybe less. But he couldn’t sell it, and he’d lose Congress and re-election, possibly in that order. Trump would be really, perhaps equally, awful on the domestic front; and just might get us into a really stupid war that Pence would have avoided. Not an easy choice, but I’d lose Trump even if it meant Pence. And Ryan is next, right? Talk about an insurance policy …

          • humanoid.panda

            Pence would do a lot of harm. Probably more than Trump, but maybe less. But he couldn’t sell it, and he’d lose Congress and re-election, possibly in that orde

            Well, I’d just point out that Pence is significantly more popular than Trump. There is just no evidence Trump is particularly good in selling this stuff beyond the usual crowd. (It is my strong belief he underperformed a generic republican by a good 3-4 points…)

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Pence is just incredibly stupid, I don’t think he’d nuke a country…right?

          I’m not sure where he stands on “nuclear war will bring Jesus back”. It’s pretty popular among crazy Dominists.

          My best friend’s niece tried to get assigned to a missile crew for exactly that reason. (And got out of the military when she went full Palin and didn’t use birth control because, eww, sinful, with some guy she was never going to marry, but he also had all the right beliefs. So she’s beyond criticism because it must be God’s plan and why do you hate my baby. And now she’s living with/off of her mother because God doesn’t want mommies to work, it says so in the Bible.)

          • humanoid.panda

            Pence is a Catholic, no? That would make him less apocalyptic than some..

            • Jean-Michel

              Pence was raised Catholic, but was “born again” during college and described himself for a a time as an “evangelical Catholic.” But he doesn’t use that term anymore, and since the mid-’90s he’s attended an evangelical megachurch in Indianapolis that takes a number of positions directly opposed to Catholic doctrine, including (most relevantly for this discussion) premillennialism.

              • Just_Dropping_By

                Some people would say that kind of history is good evidence that Pence isn’t particularly a believer in any given faith tradition and just does whatever is convenient for his own political advancement, i.e., not someone likely to start a nuclear holocaust.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            the whole story makes my head hurt- except for the part about her wanting to be on a missile crew to “bring Jesus back”. that just *frightens* me

        • humanoid.panda

          I might be deluding myself, but I still think that Trump will get into pointless fights with GOP senators ,and Pence wouldn’t. Basically, the question what do we prefer: lawful evil, or chaotic evil?

          • farin

            Basically, the question what do we prefer: lawful stupid evil, or chaotic evil stupid?

  • altofront

    The poor Democratic National Committee leadership under Tim Kaine and then Debbie Wasserman-Schultz led to over 900 lost state legislature seats, 69 House members, 12 senators, and 13 governors

    I keep seeing this comparison being made (Chris Cizilla has a recent hot take about it that I refuse to link to), but it’s a bad faith argument, really (and/or shoddy thinking). 2008 was a year of Democratic success that hadn’t been equalled since the early 1990s–indeed, the figures for 2008 (257 Reps, 57 Senators, and 29 governors) are almost identical to those of 1992 (258, 57, 30), in the last halcyon days before the Gingrich Apocalypse. And we only got back to that high-water mark due to the supreme incompetence of George W. Bush. It was the very definition of an outlier.

    If we compare 2016 to 2008, it looks like a decimation. If we compare it to 2004, it looks like a moderate decline: -8 House seats, +2 Senate seats, -6 governorships. (I can’t be bothered to work out the state legislatures.) If we compare it to 2000, at the end of the last Democratic administration, it’s a little worse but not much: -18 House, -4 Senate, -3 Governors. And 2000 was itself the culmination of moderate gains over the six years since the levee first broke, all of which were washed away again in the next four years.

    Post-1994 we have had a majority in the House, and held a majority of governorships, for only four fucking years, 2006-2010. Post-1994, the median Democratic House is about 204 seats, the median Senate is 48, and the median number of governorships is 19. That’s what’s normal; we’re a little below that right now, but not by much.

    I certainly agree that the Democratic party needs to work harder to build its base, but comparisons to 2008 just obscure the reality of the situation.

    • humanoid.panda

      He who controls the South, controls the House. He who controls the Great Plains, has a structural advantage re: the number of governorships (a a meaningless metric anyway), and the Senate (a monstrosity). Still, I have a feeling things might be a lot grimmer than they used to be on local level.

  • Chris Mealy

    The obvious thing is for Obama to become House minority leader. Somebody give Bobby Rush a nice book deal (I would buy his book) and Obama could be in in no time. What’s the special election law in IL? I want this ASAP.

  • cdamon

    Get involved with Obama’s OFA, Organizing for Action. This is his pac and is limited to what it can do until he is out of office. Start a group in your community.

  • boredtotears

    I’m curious and have a question for all the artists in cognitive dissonance here at lgm (yes, I’m insulting you): what exactly are the present or recently changed sociopolitical conditions–under the incoming Trump presidency– which justify the invocation of the concept “resistance” to a newly elected administration?

    Clinton lost by relatively slim margins (won the popular vote–not that it matters practically) to a bufoonish TV personality who was nevertheless the nominated leader of the only other national party in this country. It wasn’t a military coup. Claims of Russian election interference notwithstanding, we do know for certain that Russia did not invade U.S. borders and gain control of key government levers of power. Nor as of yet, I guess we’ll have to see going forward, has there been radical abrogation of law and order or a malicious suspension of rights.

    So, what exactly is being resisted and by whom? And why resisted? Has some great, hitherto unknown or unrecognized, power descended upon the U.S.? Wouldn’t it be more fitting or appropriate to respond to the election of the adversarial party’s nominee by saying one (or whatever value of “we” you want to call upon)will organize, advocate, argue, negotiate, promote, engage– or even fight, stake a stand, or refuse? Instead, the rallying cry is “resistance”. As if suddenly in one fell swoop, democrats, liberals, and centrists found themselves with no power, no means, completely disenfranchised, banished from any legal/political/economic recourse such that resistance–whatever that means exactly–is the only option…to having lost an election?

    Does this orientation of resistance accord with empirical reality? Have you been colonized and your family shipped to a rubber plantation? Did the Stasi come knocking at your door? Are you going to “resist” as if you were part of an oppressed underclass or are you just going to engage in some political activities that are appropriate to the mostly comfortable, educated, middle-class stations you mostly occupy?

    And Obama as the leader of the “resistance”? Fucking hell, that notion is one of many which nicely encapsulates how clueless, out of touch, and senile liberal political instincts have become. Obama, well-known for his 8 years of fierce resistance to Republican intransigence and bad faith, is going to lead one once he’s out of office. Yeah, it’s like his fighting for a Grand Bargain and the TPP never happened.

    Seriously, based on the strategies and ideas on display here and elsewhere, democrats are probably better off just nominating Clinton again in 4 years…at least you’ll be experts in resistance by 2020.

    • Mayur

      Here’s what it is:

      1) The crazies control all three branches of government. That’s it right there. Come 2017, if Trump’s Okie dickwad EPA head decides to frack right by residential communities and thousands of people have their kitchen sinks turn into flamethrowers, SCOTUS will simply say, “Well, the founders never intended the Constitution to guarantee people a right to drinking water that isn’t on fire” and that will be that. The sane party has NO LEVERAGE. Zero. Zip. Nada.

      2) The crazies have gotten crazier in a strongly authoritarian fashion. Restricting minority voting, creating registries of specific minority groups, and encouraging open dialogue around white supremacy and government-sanctioned oppression of women, gays, and religious and ethnic minorities is at least a hint that the door-kicking-in is right around the corner.

      3) Finally, the electoral map strongly suggests that 2018 doesn’t offer us a way forward. 2020 is even more terrifying because redistricting happens then with Trump at the helm. All this points to a scenario in which we don’t have a path to victory by proactive means.

      So yeah, actually the Stasi comparison ain’t so off, especially when you consider what the FBI and NSA are going to resemble under this presidency.

  • Proto-Morlock

    De-lurking here because I’m tired of watching the circular firing squad that this discussion has become.

    The reason “resistance” is necessary is because a vast number of people are going to be injured or killed as a result of Republican policy implementation.

    Do you really want to see America return to a near-feudal economic pyramid; institutionalized corruption; accelerated climate change; privatization of all public goods including schools; millions of people losing health insurance; reproductive health care, drugs and debt further feeding into the prison-industrial complex; extensively militarized policing; blacklists; war as a go-to first step in foreign policy; loss of any privacy rights or access to unbiased media; and otherwise watching every Constitutional principle thrown on the ash-heap with the exception of 2A?

    This isn’t alarmism, but rather recognition of the direction we’re already going in and the logical extension of the Republican Party’s stated platform (let alone the known, but unstated agenda of the “libertarian” Right).

    We’re way past arguing about blame for the loss – it’s clear that the Democrats as a party took their eyes off the ball and failed at community-level policy engagement, the dull mechanics of state-level districting and funding, and went to where the big money mattered. Our media management is equally thick-headed.

    As far as discussing Perez vs. Ellison, I see nothing in the experience of either that suits them for leading the process of party rebuilding. Both are fantastic at law construction and recognizing how to wield the levers of power, but not at GOTV, broad engagement or communicating policy in a way that effectuates platform support.

    We should all be fired-up furious at the realization that we need Democracy 2.0 and fully ready to oppose every regressive policy or extra-legal action the Republican Party intends, with a well-developed slate of media messages, policies and model laws to offer in exchange.

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