July
6th 2008
Historiann’s greatest hits: don’t drink the Kool-Aid edition.

Posted under: American history, unhappy endings

Well, I have to admit that all of you Obama supporters in the liberal blogosphere were right and I was wrong.  How could I not see that he is the Progressive Messiah?  Except, well, maybe not progressive even more awesome than I had guessed!  I mean, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, and it’s yummy super-delicious!  And spiked with tequila.  It’s been an awesome two weeks!  I wonder what he’ll come up with next?  (That’s OK–I’m not pregnant with an anencephalic fetus, not right now anyway, and I wasn’t really using my Verizon mobile phone or my fourth amendment rights.)

Just kidding.  With all of the weeping and rending of clothing and gnashing of teeth over the past two weeks about Barack Obama’s tack to the center-right, I’d like to remind you all that Historiann called this more than two months ago!  (And, quite frankly, he doesn’t have to run as far to the right as Clinton did in 1992.  How hard is it to run against Mr. 23%, anyway?)  Don’t be surprised that Obama took Richard Nixon’s advice (like every other presidential candidate!):  run to the (left) in the primary, then run to the center-right for the general election.  Consider this a public service announcement about the dangers of Kool-Aid.  Remember, issues are more important than politicians, and as I said back in February, “one man’s political fortunes are not transformational.”  Politicians are not causes–they are a means to better ends, not the ends in themselves. 

18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Historiann’s greatest hits: don’t drink the Kool-Aid edition.”

  1. ej on 06 Jul 2008 at 10:20 am #

    I think those who are most upset with him right now are the people who were convinced that somehow, in spite of the fact that he was a politician, he wasn’t “political” in the way that term has become understood. That he was just naturally connecting with people, no calculation involved. Which is obviously absurd. It’s all been carefully scripted, and when they screw up, even more carefully scripted.

    Unfortunately, I fear that the powers that be in his campaign are now calculating that they have the base secure-nothing he can do will be sufficient to alienate us after 8 years of Mr. 28%. So I predict even more tacking to the center.

    Though I would be very happy if my prediction proves to be wrong.

  2. Historiann on 06 Jul 2008 at 10:29 am #

    I think they’re wrong about the base being secure:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/04/clinton.poll/index.html

    That certainly wasn’t what it looked like for Kerry or Gore. Obama has some work to do, because his primary win was much, much closer and the primary extended through the spring.

  3. GayProf on 06 Jul 2008 at 11:24 am #

    What a surprise — The Democrats are bungling another election. It is so unlike them.

    I was never on the Obama bandwagon, never saw him as “progressive,” and therefore had few expectations. And yet it still ticks me off that he proposes that faith-based crap. Could we make our pandering a wee bit less obvious?

  4. Professor Zero on 06 Jul 2008 at 11:32 am #

    When did Obama run to the left in the primary – I missed it
    - ?

  5. Historiann on 06 Jul 2008 at 11:35 am #

    Good point! I didn’t think he was left–but he was farther to the left on FISA, abortion, and “faith” based government programs, for example, than he is now. But so many of his supporters worked themselves into a lather about how awesomely progressive he was and would be–contrary to the evidence.

  6. Historiann on 06 Jul 2008 at 11:44 am #

    And GayProf–I don’t mind the pandering if it’s to the right people. But, Obama seems to think that it’s more worth his while to please the same people that McCain is pandering to. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong, but I think he’d spend his time more fruitfully if he spent it going up and down I-75 and east and west on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes talking to people, listening to their problems, and explaining how his specific policies will help them.

    And, is this a good sign or a bad sign that even Peter Beinart, the totally foolish pro-war and now anti-war idiot from the The New Republic(an) gets it?

  7. GayProf on 06 Jul 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    True — I would probably be okay if he was pandering to me. Hey, I am not ashamed to admit it.

    It seems unlikely, though, that he will score any points with white evangelical Protestants, though. In the meantime, he alienates people (like me) who might otherwise be a booster.

  8. ej on 06 Jul 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    I do think his tacking to the center is dangerous. If so much of his success in the primary came from the grass-roots supporters who took to the streets for him, maybe he should be courting them more.

    This attempt to court the independents is annoying. And I think dangerous, considering his tough primary battle. I think he might be taking his “base” for granted, and that concerns me. I know that my donations haven’t been flowing since his stance on FISA and his attempt to court evangelicals with “faith based” programs was revealed. He’s a lawyer. He should know better.

  9. Indyanna on 06 Jul 2008 at 5:47 pm #

    The Aussies are having great fun with this, that is, when they aren’t scratching their heads nervously and rounding up Yanks to ask what’s up. But I heard he already had an “insurmountable” (100 delegate) lead back in late February, and I figured this was good through the general election too. What’s to worry? Did I get the wrong memo? The other guy should just drop out!

  10. Historiann on 06 Jul 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    (Spit take)

    Ha! Good one, Indyanna! I had to wipe the remains of my Quebec Libre off of my computer screen. That sure would be convenient, wouldn’t it, if McCain would just drop out? Does he hate America or something, expecting us to go through the ordeal of an actual general election?

  11. hysperia on 06 Jul 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Ann. Like you I put my precition about Obama to page quite awhie ago, just so I’d have an historical record of my intelligence! Big ha ha. But I find myself curiously disappointed and peeved with the guy. Some people are saying, Hilary would have done it too”. I don’t care whether that’s right or wrong because Hillary’s not in it anymore so Obama has to take the heat.

    Since not one American I’ve yet spoken to will give the creation of a “Third Party” a moment’s notice, the only thing “we” can hope now, it seems, is that the flocks of disappointed people can push Obama to move back towards the centre (I just can’t call that the place where he is now). It’s too bad about all the disappointment, but perhaps it will get big enough and loud enough to make him and those running his campaign that he’s not going to pick up centre-right constituencies and, at the same time, he’s gonna lose the voters he thought he had in the bag.

    The worrying thing, to me, is that there are Obama supporters who are managing to fool themselves into thinking that what Obama’s doing now is just political positioning and he’ll “do the right thing” when (if) he becomes President. That can only be the result of drinking WAY too much Kool Aid.

  12. hysperia on 06 Jul 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    Sorry for spelling errors – I’ll just go to bed now!

  13. Rad readr on 06 Jul 2008 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m glad you have finally found the enemy — the People’s Front of Judea!!!

  14. Historiann on 07 Jul 2008 at 7:39 am #

    Hi hysperia–yeah, the third-party thing is a no-go here, because of our winner-take-all system. Organizing and effective advocacy of issues–and making politicians understand that they will pay a price if they don’t toe the line–is the only way to go. Don’t trust politicians to do the right thing–MAKE them do the right thing!

    And Rad–you’re mistaken. WE’RE the People’s Front of Judea, and the bad guys are the Judean People’s Front! We drink Vitamin Water, not that inferior hummingbird food called Kool-Aid.

  15. SF on 07 Jul 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Yes, I do remember this conversation, and I also remember commenting that Obama is not a panacea. Now I’m hearing from Obama-ites that he will not be this conservative once he gets into office. A little back-peddling?

  16. Historiann on 07 Jul 2008 at 3:43 pm #

    Well–they denied the reality of his moderate record during the primary, so of course many will insist against all evidence that he’ll become suddenly Progressive Man when he’s installed. Sad!

  17. Amity on 07 Jul 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    I’m ashamed to say I count myself as one of many who did indeed drink Obama’s Kool-Aid and found that it was spiked with Adderall and Prozac. Let me tell you, the hangover’s a real bitch.

    But I do hope that some of your astute observations about the “nature of the game” in U.S. politics help to quell some of the Barack backlash:

    “Politicians are not causes–they are a means to better ends, not the ends in themselves.

    …Organizing and effective advocacy of issues–and making politicians understand that they will pay a price if they don’t toe the line–is the only way to go.”

    –I don’t think many of us punch-drunks firmly believed Obama would singlehandedly change the elections process and transcend the politics of appeasing values voters, but it truly is sad for me to see the hypocrisy of this man shine through.

  18. Historiann on 07 Jul 2008 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi Amity–I’m sorry that Obama has been a disappointment. Can I say, like Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain!” And I hope you conquer the hangover soon.

    Obama’s not a hypocrite, at least not by pol standards. He’s just a pol–that’s what they do, so don’t get too angry or down on yourself. It’s like being angry with a cat for licking hir butt–that’s just what cats do. A lot. So, remember: try not to kiss pols or cats on the lips, or share a popsicle with them.