Comments on: ZOMG: Erica Jong is working for the Republican Party! History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sat, 20 Sep 2014 07:56:15 +0000 hourly 1 By: Historiann Sun, 28 Sep 2008 14:17:35 +0000 Yes, Kathleen–exactly. Some of them are in Colorado, too! But, never let it be said that a Democrat lost an opportunity to be condescending to those of us who study and teach outside of the Ivy League…

By: Kathleen de la Peña McCook Sun, 28 Sep 2008 14:05:02 +0000 Ms. Jong needs to realize that there is a tradition of state universities that may not have the status of Harvard, but are rigorous and respectable places to earn a degree. Some of them are in Illinois.

By: Historiann Wed, 10 Sep 2008 00:58:34 +0000 Ha-ha! Good one, Amy–but you sound like you’ve given up on your candidate. Have you? Don’t you think he can turn it around?

By: amy Wed, 10 Sep 2008 00:32:21 +0000 I think you can make a good case that Obama is firmly in the middle, but a fair number of the people I’m telephoning believe he is liberal and will impose unwanted liberal policies on them, whatever he might say. So maybe FISA isn’t enough.

As for issues, my most important issue is U.S. belligerence in the world — as in, bomb bomb Iran. I already felt this way but the fact that I have a son three years away from drafting age has me pretty concerned. Obviously the volunteer army isn’t stretching as far as the Admin. needs it to, given their ambitions.

As for choice, to quote Peggy Noonan, “It’s over.” In four years, McCain will run against the do-nothing Democratic congress and then it’s four more and then Palin for prez… so I for one am hoping she faked her pregnancy because our side really needs a break!

By: Historiann Tue, 09 Sep 2008 23:56:19 +0000 Well Amy, I agree that Clinton tacked right in the general election in 1992, as most candidates do once the nomination is all wrapped up. But, Obama has done that–courting evangelicals, refusing to speak out forcefully for abortion rights, and of course the unnecessary FISA capitulation. And, he saw a substantial lead in June melt steadily away, to the point now that he’s between 1-10 points behind nationally, and he’s fallen behind in key swing states too. (Not Colorado–he’s 3 points up here according to the latest poll, I think.) So I don’t think that jettisoning yet more progressive and Democratic positions is the way to go.

I think the reason he seems to have lost ground is that he just seems out of gas. I don’t see him showing any passion out on the stump, nor in his recent interviews. He seems to be fumbling along and unable to articulate why it’s critically important that he be elected president. McCain/Palin are effectively mobilizing the Republican old standby, ressentiment. It seems to have caught Obama off guard, but it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out that they’d run that play against him. The Republicans have specialized in portraying Dems as out-of-touch elitists since forever, but they’ve been especially good at it in the 2000s.

Bill Clinton is right, except that this year, a lot of Dems really fell in love with Obama, but a lot of Dems really didn’t and still aren’t in love with him. Me, I would find passion and even righteous anger absolutely loveable in Obama right now. Maybe he was only passionate about beating Hillary Clinton–he just hasn’t mustered the same fire in the belly to beat McCain.

By: amy Tue, 09 Sep 2008 23:18:37 +0000 One last thing, Historiann (post expresso, younger child still in after-school care, can you tell?)

You mentioned looking at how Bill Clinton managed to get elected. I think he did it by playing it pretty conservative, pledging to “end welfare as we know it,” pulling a Sister Souljah, applying the death penalty, etc.

Here’s my question, if anyone’s interested, and I’m serious and not trying to make any larger point: What conservative positions would you be okay with Obama taking in order to win (along the lines of what Clinton traded off)? Can we lose choice? What about health insurance? Prolong Iraq? What’s most important and what can go?

By: amy Tue, 09 Sep 2008 23:09:34 +0000 Historiann, I’m glad that you brought up the point that the reason McCain was able to work the Palin pick effectively was because Obama left himself vulnerable by not picking Hillary Clinton. No doubt — I even saw Republicans scratching their heads on that one.

I’d also like to second EJ’s comment. Bill Clinton said that Republicans “fall in line” with their candidates, while Democrats want to “fall in love” with them. That really has to change.

So on that sentiment, I want to remind everyone that it’s super easy to go to and sign up for some phone work or registering new voters. (You can search by zip code and sign up online.)

Because conservatives are rallying and telephoning as we speak. They’re not sitting around feeling happy that a few well-meaning professor types validated their ‘working class’ status on Historiann.

They’re flexing their muscle.

By: Historiann Tue, 09 Sep 2008 02:59:52 +0000 Yes–good points and good questions. I think the fact is that many supporters of Hillary Clinton were probably attracted to her for superficial reasons, and Palin may push some of those same buttons. It’s hard to say, unless and until we see if women actually vote for McCain/Palin in such high numbers. I’m skeptical myself, since women are the backbone of the Dem party base.

Gee, maybe we should revisit the strategy of beating up one female candidate for high office after another? D’ya think? One thing you have to say about Republicans: they take care of their base, instead of beating it up.

By: e.j. Tue, 09 Sep 2008 02:50:33 +0000 I was actually thinking about that very issue today. Let’s face it-if Palin were running against McCain, instead of with him, their views about “sexist” attacks would be very different. They don’t, after all, have the best record on women’s issues. But it serves them well to be able to rally around her and decry the “sexist” attacks of the left-whether they are real (and some are) or not (and some aren’t).

Its much different on the Democratic side, where the war was intra-party. I did see Big Ten Democrat, and I saw those poll numbers, but I have to question whether that many women are just immune to actual policy when casting their vote. HRC and Palin couldn’t be more different on the issues. Do we really want to accept that so many women are just voting for a woman? I get the small town appeal, but that might be all they have in common. I’d like to see the other polls broken down, because I’ve read very different things about the “Palin effect”.

By: Historiann Tue, 09 Sep 2008 02:37:13 +0000 ej, you’re right, although the Dems have historically been capable of unity. 4 years ago, there were no such thing as Howard Dean holdouts after it was clear that Kerry had won the primaries early on. All of us banded together and didn’t look back. George W. Bush was a powerful uniting force in our party, and I think one reason it hasn’t happened that way is that GWB is going in January no matter what, and even many Dems aren’t as appalled by McCain as they were by Bush.

It’s also a LOT easier to unite around a VP pick, who is always appointed by the candidate (instead of going through a primary), and who (as in the Palin example) is clearly firing up a lot of party members, even if she’s not everybody’s favorite. I like what Big Tent Democrat said tonight over at TalkLeft:

In essence, Obama opened the door by not picking Hillary Clinton and McCain walked through it. McCain’s Palin gamble clearly has worked. He is in the game. And he would not have been if he had not chosen Palin. And McCain would not have chosen Palin if Obama had picked Clinton.