April 13, 2008

Skepticism 101

Kate Harding over at Shakesville had a little something on her mind yesterday. I didn't catch it until this morning as yesterday was spent out in the yard clearing debris. Her post is a masterpiece and asks Obama supporters to start exercising some skepticism and start looking at their candidate realistically.

If I see one more person on the internet acting like Obama is some kind of progressive dream candidate, I'm gonna lose it.
You and me both.
Too many times, when asked about progressive issues, he's said he just doesn't think that's the best place to put his energies--and even more gallingly, that the activists working tirelessly on these issues are going about it all wrong.
Kate demonstrates her position with Obama's words on choice and gay rights, specifically, and then turns to something that Obama has really gotten a pass on (with possibly the exception of his latest comments about blue-collar voters).
There is also a pattern of unbelievable fucking tone-deafness from a man who's constantly praised for his oratory. He is either deliberately using right wing framing when he talks about gay marriage, abortion, and Social Security, or he doesn't realize he's doing it, and either way, it should be a huge red flag.

[...]

His tone-deafness and his failure to defend himself well when attacked don't necessarily mean he's unelectable, but they mean he's got a major uphill battle coming up, and I am fucking stunned that so many of his supporters can't see this. Do people really think the media treatment he's getting now is going to remain when it's just him vs. Jesus McCain? Or are they truly blind to the multiple vulnerabilities of his own making, and how the media's been politely skirting them so far? Do they really believe the Republicans aren't knee-deep in oppo research they're just waiting to unleash as soon as there's a nominee?

Wait, what am I saying? People haven't even noticed that the man is not a fucking progressive. Why should they notice that he's about to go into battle short half a suit of armor?
Kate concludes:
I can't speak for all of those voters, but I can tell you that one of the main reasons I voted for Clinton is that she has proven herself fantastically adept at fending off GOP hits for the past 15 years. Also, she can think on her feet, win debates, and speak extemporaneously without hemming and hawing or saying something asinine. She can't possibly have any skeletons left in her closet at this point, and even if they just make shit up, as they are wont to do, she knows how to defend herself. Obama hasn't had to learn, since defeating Alan Keyes only required "wrapping up the earthling vote," as someone memorably said back then (just not so memorably that I remember who it was), and right now, he's got the likes of Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, the entire mainstream media and 90% of the liberal blogosphere pulling for him, which might be enough to get the nomination but is not enough to win the general.

You want to keep telling me the primary is already over and Obama's got it in the bag? Great. Then get to thinking about the much more important fight ahead already. And here's a hint: the question is not just "How do we defeat McCain?" The question is also, "How do we sell Obama?" Quit getting so fucking butthurt every time a fellow Democrat suggests your candidate isn't perfect, and start asking yourself why they're saying that and how to argue against their points using Obama's actual merits instead of just hatred for his opponent.

If you hear nothing else I've said, listen the hell up right now: Not enough people hate McCain. Highlighting the many, many reasons to hate him is useful to a point, but the fact is, we have learned time and again that not enough people will come out to vote against an asshole Republican. And on top of that, not enough people understand that McCain is just as bad as Bush. The media has given and will continue to give them reasons to think McCain is a charming, heroic moderate. We can damage that image, but we're not gonna destroy it. The voters who aren't moved by Obama's airy promises of hope, unity, and change are gonna need actual, substantial reasons to vote for him, not just against McCain.
For a little taste of what is coming, should Obama be our nominee, check out this article by Andrew McCarthy at NRO.
Why is Barack Obama so comfortable around people who so despise America and its allies? Maybe it’s because they’re so comfortable around him.

He presents as the transcendent agent of “change.” Sounds platitudinous, but it’s really quite strategically vaporous. Sen. Obama is loath to get into the details of how we should change, and, as the media’s Chosen One, he hasn’t had to.

But he’s not, as some hopefully dismiss him, a charismatic lightweight with a gift for sparkling the same old vapid cant. Judging from the company he chooses to keep, Obama’s change would radically alter this country. He eschews detail because most Americans don’t believe we’re a racist, heartless, imperialist cesspool of exploitation. The details would be disqualifying
Oh, it gets worse.

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