Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Democratic Party Wants to Lose...

When it comes to shooting yourself in the foot, and pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory, no political party on earth even comes close to the skill and acumen of the Democratic Party in the United States.

This past week in Minneapolis, MN was the annual Netroots Nation conference. A gathering of progressive bloggers, organizations and activists from all over the country. For many attendees this was a chance to share a growing frustration on the Progressive Left, with the Democratic Party in general, and the Obama Administration specifically.

Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold opened the event with a great keynote address, where he challenged progressives to keep the pressure on politicians and political parties. Yet for many progressives, 2012 is looked upon with a painful mixture of anger, disappointment and yes, even disinterest. The frustration of the left with President Obama covers a wide range of issues. From the issue of detention of terror suspects in Cuba, to Jobs and the Economy to perhaps what is the most baffling contradiction of all. President Obama's bizarre almost twister-esqe policy contortions on the issue marriage equality.

Back in 1996, then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama answered a questionnaire sent out by Windy City Media, a Chicago LGBT media company. One of the questions dealt directly with the issue of Same Sex Marriage. Here is a scan of the actual form Barack Obama filled out and sent in the the LGBT newspaper the Windy City Times:

In response to the questions, US Senate candidate Obama wrote “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” and then signed his signature to the bottom of the form. Pretty clear right?

Well apparently not...

While answering questions  at  Netoots Nation,  White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer claimed the  1996 questionnaire, which has Barack Obama's signature clearly on the bottom of it,  was "actually filled out by someone else." "If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President."  

Faced with one of its own officials claiming a document that clearly has Barack Obama's signature on it was a forgery. The White House was quick to move into damage control, issuing a statement:

“Dan was not familiar with the history of the questionnaire that was brought up today, but the president’s views are clear," The statement said. "He has long supported equal rights and benefits for gay and lesbian couples and since taking office he has signed into law the repeal of 'Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,' signed into law the hate crimes bill, made the decision not to defend Section 3 of DOMA and expanded federal benefits for same sex partners of federal employees.”

Hmmm... Interesting, but still does nothing to answer the real question here. This was a very lame evasion of the real issue. So, the White House Communications Director "was not familiar" with the questionnaire, but said it was "litigated during during the campaign" and the President wasn't the one who filled it out? So Dan Pfeiffer is psychic?

Netroots Nation had a great panel discussion on the growing dissaffection with the President in the LGBT community, entitled "What to do when the President is just not that into you..." If you have the time, the panel is worth watching. The basic message to come out of the discussion was one of disappointment with the reality that Barack Obama is not a progressive on civil rights.

Watch live streaming video from freespeechtv at

On top of everything else, this week saw the media and political circus surrounding New York Congressman Anthony Weiner (D) reach a fever pitch. As many key Democrats, including President Obama, saying that Weiner should resign. Here's an excerpt of the exchange between NBC's Ann Curry and President Obama on the matter:
ANN CURRY: Should Congressman Anthony Weiner resign?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, obviously what he did was highly inappropriate. I think he's embarrassed himself, he's acknowledged that, he's embarrassed his wife and his family. Ultimately there's going to be a decision for him and his constituents. I can tell you that if it was me, I would resign. Because public service is exactly that, it's a service to the public. And when you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs and their mortgages and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.

Now, the issue is not, and has never been, one of Anthony Weiner's behavior. It was bad, and wholly inappropriate for a member of the U.S House of Representatives. The issue is, and remains; Why is such behavior acceptable when a Republican does it?

In their baying calls for the political head of Congressman Anthony Weiner, the GOP practically handed their own blatant  hypocrisy to the Democrats on a silver platter with bow tied around it, and a card the read "USE THIS PLEASE!" It was a golden ticket giving the Democrats the chance to finally frame the issues of Republicans putting partisan gain above, country above sanity and above decency. It was a issue begging to be flogged on every Sunday talk show, talked about in every cable interview and press conference.

This was the chance to finally place front and center in the national debate the issue of the Republican Party's singular aim of politics over reality at any and all cost. So what happened? I'd let you guess, but that would be too easy. So I'll let the always brilliant Rachel Maddow bring you the sad saga...

The Obama 2012 brain trust would be wise to listen to the conversation currently happening on the Progressive Left. They need to come to grips with a blindingly obvious conclusion, Barack Obama can't run the campaign he ran in 2008.

Obama 2008 ran Barack Obama as a bold progressive, but Barack Obama as President has been at best, a timid centrist. 

David Axelrod seems to be betting that whoever the Republicans nominate to run against the President, will have so much Tea Party baggage from the GOP primary process, that independent voters will flock to re-elect President Obama. The flaw in that thinking is the same one the John Kerry campaign suffered from. The GOP knows that to win it will need BOTH it's base and the independents. The Democrats seem to think they just need the independents.

The GOP will have a long primary season to drum up support, energy and enthusiasm from their Base. The Democrats wont. The Obama Campaign's hope that independent voters will remember the nuttiness of the GOP primary when they go to vote in the General Election is at best, wishful thinking, and in truth woefully ignorant.

The Obama Administration has managed in three years to alienate the Labor, Latino and LGBT communities. It's true that these groups of voters generally won't vote Republican. Yet unless President Obama can show he can be more than a man who gives eloquent but meaningless speeches, the Democratic base, may simply stay home on election day.

I am starting to think the Democratic Party doesn't want win.

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