Dump Obama: continued 5

This continues the series, responding to calls for a candidate:

Dump Obama:  time for a candidate

When I first proposed that it was time for a Dump Obama movement, I argued that the immediate task was to build a movement. I did not want to focus on organizational questions, did not want to get hung up on questions of who the candidate would be. Build the base of support and the candidate(s) would follow.

I was immediately assailed by supporters and detractors alike who insisted that I had to have a candidate. At that time, I restated my position on building the movement first. Without passing judgment whether my original assessment was correct or not, it is now time to find that candidate (or candidates).

Taking into account overt Dump Obama, third party, throw-them-all-out, write-in Public Option, and abandon the Democrats sentiment in the aggregate, I’ll say that Dump Obama sentiment was greater than even I had thought. The Dump Obama concept has gone viral, the movement exists in nascent form, a topic on Democratic Underground and MyDD, among Democratic Party sites. A topic of speculation in mainstream venues. Not because we’re so mighty (I’d be a liar to pretend otherwise) but because Obama is doing so badly. So to echo Robert Redford from The Candidate (1972), “What do we do now?”

We indeed have to move to tactics. So let’s talk candidates.

In a recent comment thread, I delineated a few possibilities.

(1) big names like Howard Dean, Kucinich, Elizabeth Warren. Liberal Democrats. I don’t rule them out. Whatever their professed loyalties today, a year from now they may see dumping Obama as a necessity to save the party from the disgrace he has brought upon them. There are times when moderate, or even conservative, figures are driven by the forces of history, and my crystal ball is in the pawnshop.

(2) small names, not on the radar yet, who could still enter some primaries, get media, get the right message, and be thrust forward by history (and us).

On the independent front:

… there’s the matter of independents in the general. Greens? My personal belief is that they tend to think small. But ballot status is a major asset in many states.

Or a populist independent, running on a 3-point program (for instance) of jobs, peace and civil liberties. Could such a candidate go big? Especially if any Dem primary challenger failed to get the nomination?

For today, allow me set aside the independent wing of Dump Obama and focus on the Democratic primaries (though commenters should feel free). I am now leaning strongly towards option 2 in the Democratic primaries. Run a 3-point campaign of Jobs (and safety net), Peace and Civil Liberties. As Mike Kwiatkowski said, time’s a’wastin’! I do not like the passivity of awaiting some Big Liberal to step up. Nor do I trust that such a liberal wouldn’t turn out to be Obama Junior, whatever their past track record. Feingold or Warren or Kucinich jumps in, we can have a very interesting debate.

I’m not getting into the name game myself. Others are better-positioned for that. But let’s suppose that some progressive with little name recognition takes the plunge. For starters, how to break the inevitable media blockade she or he would face?

File with the FEC! Then we of Dump Obama sentiment would have to step up, say it proud, say it loud. Dump Obama has already gone viral. A concrete candidacy would likely do so as well.

Develop a ballot access plan! It varies by state, but entering a Democratic presidential primary takes gathering signatures and plopping down a filing fee. In most states, it seems to run from zero signatures to about 10,000, though in a few states the process is quite brutal. The filing fees — if any — are generally not prohibitive. It does require some work, and we might not be able to handle all 50 states, but certainly enough to be players as far as getting in the primaries.

We need a lawyer here.

Fight for media coverage! Of course they’ll try to freeze us out. But in this case, the fight for coverage is in some ways the campaign.

Fight to get in the debates! Again, as above. And as above, the fight for coverage is also the campaign.

I’m thinking worst case here. Suppose someone like Olbermann or Hamsher decided to make the move. And consider the hysteria that just a few Dump Obama pieces have generated.

Metamars referenced one of my early Dump Obama comments on Daily Kos some time back, and got one of the worst of their ritual 5-minute hate displays. But hell, that’s Kos.

When I wrote my initial Time for a Dump Obama Movement in early September, I was a front-pager at Docudharma, but when I tried to schedule it, the reaction was deranged. Front-paging it would “marginalize” the entire Docudharma site, and the people at Kos wouldn’t love Docudharma anymore. So I agreed to do it as a side diary. Nonetheless, I was summarily stripped — without the courtesy of notice — of my front page privileges there. Wow!

On OpenLeft, I became the cause celebre (or is that bete noire?) of their Paul Rosenberg, who has written a total of 8 diaries either totally targeting Dump Obama, or taking major side-swipes at it, and referring to me as jeffroby666. (The Devil makes me do it.) It is there that I received my greatest honor (and I must modestly state for the record that he overstates the case), as Rosenberg wrote in a comment:

I really have no time for the likes of you, Jeff. You are probably the most effective force in demobilizing the left so far as building electoral power goes.

My point is that — even if we’re not all that powerful, and I know we feel our weakness keenly — the Democratic Party feels ITS OWN weakness keenly as well. They walk a fine line between serving Wall Street and keeping their base in line. They HAVE to pretend that Obama is their only alternative. You’d think they could just chill out and hope we go away. But instead they react with the very hysteria that brings us front and center.

I am not at this point claiming that a Dump Obama challenger would win the primaries and become the Democratic nominee. But here’s where it gets interesting. There most certainly will be at least one independent challenger to Obama (and I say to you, Mike Kwiatkowski, time’s a’wastin’ for independents as well), and at that point we say to those Democrats who agree with our call for Jobs (and safety net), Peace and Civil Liberties, are you loyal to the Democratic Party that just dumped YOU, or do you stand on the principles that brought you here? If you are to be true to your principles, back the independent!

So when I first threw this out, I was frankly taking a shot in a dark. But at this point, it seems to me that we are developing — just a whiff at this point — some real power. But as they say in the TV lottery commercials, you gotta be in it to win it!

Thee comment section on FireDogLake (on some practical issues of recruiting a candidate(s) was very valuable, so I link to it here.

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Comments

32 Comments

Racism

Obama is black.

 

Unless you primary him with another black candidate you lose big in that demographic.

 

This is an 8 year nightmare brought to us by Dean, Kos, Pelosi and friends.

 

Kool Aid for everyone.

by donkeykong 2010-11-09 02:44PM | 0 recs
RE: Racism

It is not racism to want to win in 2012; it is politics! Obama is not popular with independents, progressives, or moderates. Progressives believe that he let us down; as in no public option. He made bad choices for cabinet & Federal Reserve.  VP Biden should have been left in Senate.  Janet Napolitano should have stayed as Governor of Arizona, where she was extremely popular.  The situation in Arizona could have been averted.

 

It is TRUE that tea baggers are racist; they are fanatical racists!  Many so called moderates are racists.  Is it more important to make a point, than to regain the  House of Representatives and elect a Democratic President?

by captain dan 2010-11-11 05:18PM | 0 recs
RE: Racism

I am telling you its a political reality that you can't pull back the first black president without consequences no matter how average he is.  We will survive the loss in 2012 or even an Obama win.

Obama is a Carter clone.  Technical but koolaid drinking underlings who lose touch with voters because they are no where near as smart as they imagine themselves to be.  But he is not a Bush clone where the underlings are actually stupid.  Underlings run the world.

by donkeykong 2010-11-12 11:39AM | 0 recs
C'est la vie

Nobody said it would be easy.

by jeffroby 2010-11-10 12:37AM | 0 recs
2 words: Howard Dean

I think our friend Dr. Dean would immediately galvanize a very large section of the Democratic base that has been abandoned by this administration.  Plus, he's available.

by weinerdog43 2010-11-10 07:56AM | 0 recs
RE: 2 words: Howard Dean

But would he be willing?  That's where it breaks down.

malcontent at FDL has been working on a process to gather prospects and then trim it down.  Interesting discussion:

http://my.firedoglake.com/themalcontent/2010/11/09/last-call-for-nominees-who-should-primary-obama/

by jeffroby 2010-11-10 08:21PM | 0 recs
RE: 2 words: Howard Dean

I would vote for Franken, Gore, Spitzer, but I don't see it happening.

If we primary him then we own his mess.  We need the far left to own up to their complete screw up or we will have axlerods sending up idiot messiahs for decades and destroying our party.

by donkeykong 2010-11-12 11:46AM | 0 recs
Just Spitballing Here

     What we're looking for is an established progressive who'd be willing to take the criticism that he or she is hurting the party by running against the President. It would be nice if he or she had a safe seat, and even better if the primary for it came months after the presidential primaries.

     One possibility could be Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Madison. I can't imagine that she'd do it, but she's a solid progressive, the first open lesbian in Congress. She wins easy reelection, her district doesn't have a large percentage of African-Americans, and the congressional primary isn't until September. 

by Ron Thompson 2010-11-10 08:34PM | 0 recs
Huh.

What a silly idea.

I know!  How about we try primarying a few sitting House members or Senators?  Seems like less of a fool's errand.

Or is that not the point?

by bruorton 2010-11-11 02:49PM | 0 recs
By all means primary Congress

... but Dump Obama gives a national focus to the outrage we're feeling.  (Or maybe you aren't?)

The point isn't to win, the point is to establish that we will hit back, and organize ourselves in the process, with whatever little we have at our disposal, rather than just howl in rage and brace ourselves for the next outrage.

by jeffroby 2010-11-11 04:53PM | 0 recs
RE: By all means primary Congress

The primary business may yet lose us this sitting congress.  Since the lieberman primary attempt its not clear his seat is democratic or gop.  Basically progressives gave him cover to go GOP and get reelected.

 

I won't be supporting progressive candidates next cycle (or this last) because progressives primary less progressive candidates.  

The act of primarying people is very very counter productive in the long run.  People don't trust you if you stab others in the back on a regular basis.

by donkeykong 2010-11-12 11:52AM | 0 recs
The divine right of incumbents?

Perhaps the Democrats should stop holding primaries.  Then their popularity will be assured.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 12:09PM | 0 recs
Devine right of Netroots?

Democrats should 100% stop holding primaries where the money and organization for the local election is coming from outside the district.

Thats mafia style not democracy.

The lieberman primary is a clear example.  The mob bosses decided to push out the candidate that the locals wanted.  They raised money in different areas with a quest to rob democracy from the district.  They sent in political muscle from out of the district.  

 

I am not using mafia words loosely.  

by donkeykong 2010-11-12 12:30PM | 0 recs
RE: By all means primary Congress

So just to clarify, is this about a meaningful political program or a psychic need to express the "outrage [y'all are] feeling"?

If you have productive suggestions about how to pursue meaningful and necessary political goals that's one thing.  But if it's about group therapy or group identity that's a bit sad.

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 03:58PM | 1 recs
RE: By all means primary Congress

So just to clarify, is this about a meaningful political program or a psychic need to express the "outrage [y'all are] feeling"?

If you have productive suggestions about how to pursue meaningful and necessary political goals that's one thing.  But if it's about group therapy or group identity that's a bit sad.

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 03:58PM | 0 recs
Consider what we see on the blogs every day ...

Roars of outrage.  People competing to express how they're really, really mad.  This time they've had enough.  No, I really mean it.  Really pissed this time.

And that's how far it goes.  What Dump Obama offers is a way to go BEYOND anger, to take effective action against the outrages of every day.

No, I don't lay it all out in every comment.  That's what the posts are for, to give "productive suggestions about how to pursue meaningful and necessary political goals."

by jeffroby 2010-11-13 12:50AM | 0 recs
Re-election is the least of Obama's problems...

I don't understand the objective of this at all. If it's to have a candidate more in line with your policy objectives as a Democrat, then that makes sense. But, if its too improve our electoral standing then it is a ridiculous suggestion.

1. Obama is a great campaigner when he's campaigning for himself. He's likable, effective with a broad appeal, and its going to be hard for any Republican challenger to compete with him on that score.

2. The Republican alternative candidates are, thus far, highly unelectable. If Palin runs she will struggle not to win the republican nomination given the enthusiasm for her in the party's base. Pawlenty is boring as hell and stands no chance. Haley Barber is not going to appeal to most of the country. Huckabee and Romney both have massive flaws politically from an objective viewpoint. Gingrich doesn't stand a chance. 

3. Obama has failed miserably in the political battle that he confronts and his inexperience that many on this blog, like Jeremy pointed out at the time, has cost him dearly. He just doesn't understand the nature of the Republican attack machine. He was elected in a unique era and didn't confront the vast right wing conspiracy in the same way Clinton did, and Dukakis was destroyed by before that. Hopefully, he'll get there and realize that politcs has nothing to do with bi-partisanship. In fact, when you win the national conversation you're in the best position to make compromises with the opposition which are always going to be necessary to get anything done. But, we have to help. We are so darn introspective as Dems. We should be focusing and expressing to the American people why Republicans are proposing the exact same policies and offering the same type of dogmatic, ill informed and ineffective candidates that got us into this mess in the first place. He is our President and we have to fight for him.

 

4. If the economy improves the political landscape of the country will change very very quickly.

by Graham1979 2010-11-11 07:58PM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

He is our President and we have to fight for him.

He's YOUR president.  The one who's kept Guantanamo open, appointed the catfood commission, lied about when he'd pull out of Afghanistan, appealed the judge to defend DADT, signed a bill with the Stupak amendment in it, on and on.  He's betrayed the base at every turn.

It has to be established that when our fearless leader betrays us at every turn, he pays the price.  Now do you "understand the objective of this"?

by jeffroby 2010-11-11 08:39PM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

signed a bill with the Stupak amendment in it

 

to be fair, the house allowed the Stupak amendment to go through. Blue dogs were so good at doing the GOP bidding, werent' they?

the failures lie on the entire Democratic party for bargaining from a position of weakness. All the GOP had to do was sit out the last two years and watch Democrats kill off their base.

by likespolitics 2010-11-13 03:10PM | 0 recs
There is adequate blame to go around

The Senate had its own Stupak versions, and they voted for it, Obama signed it.  If you sit back (as Obama did) and allow a mugging to take place, the blame does not solely lie with the mugger.

And yes, I absolutely agree that "the failures lie on the entire Democratic party."  The question is what is to be done?  I believe that going after Obama brings the entire party in question, while going after different members of Congress fragments our opposition and makes it a matter of individuals.

This may sound counter-intuitive (people say Dump Obama focuses too much on one man), but Dump Obama scares the hell out of all of them.

by jeffroby 2010-11-13 03:30PM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

He discovered the practicalities of closing Guantanamo were considerably more problematic than he expected. Is that an error of judgment? Yes, I agree with you. Has he fundamentally transformed our foreign policy, our approach to the rest of the world, the way in which we interact with other nations, and the principles we stand for... yes. Please tell me what you would do with the individuals held at Guantanamo? You cannot criticize Obama in a vacuum of no viable alternatives.

The vast majority of the Democratic representatives in Congress do not agree with pulling out of Afghanistan. Obama never once campaigned on pulling us out of Afghanistan, so how did he lie? if anything he speculated he would focus on it more than Iraq which is what he's done.  

He appealed to the judge on DADT because he disagreed with the principle that DADT should be overturned in the courts. That is integrity superceding what he believes is right. Whether Obama repeals DADT in his first term is, I agree, a key issue, but for me we will see what happens and I'm willing to give my President the benefit of the doubt until his term is closer to being through.

To say he's betrayed Democrats at every turn is ridiculous and unrealistic. You simply have no concept of what the reality of party leaders in power amounts to anywhere else in the world, or in the history of this country. Obama is as good as the base has EVER got... would have railed against Carter for his stance on abortion? would you railed against Kennedy for his tax cut policy? 

Why do you think Bush won a second term? Because his supporters wholeheartedly went to bat for him against Kerry. Will it take a Republican President to be reminded of how lucky we were to have Obama, in the same way Bush showed us how lucky we were to have Bill Clinton.

Proportion and perspective.

by Graham1979 2010-11-11 10:53PM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

You're basically stating that he did what he did because that's what he wanted to do, and then you call it integrity.  He's the commander-in-chief, he could get us out of Afghanistan with a stroke of the pen, he's a liar.

And I notice you don't mention the catfood commission that he appointed after it was REJECTED by Congress.

Your faith is most touching.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 12:53AM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

There is a lot of reality that is hidden from those who are not able to accept it.

For example, our friends France and Germany were helping Iraq with there weapons efforts before the Iraq war.  If the public knew that they would want to stop being friends with our "enemy" france and germany and the EU.  Thats not in our nations best interest.  So the government hires people who can emotionally deal with information like the above to handle it and keeps it from the rest of the country.

 

I don't know what is going on but I do know there are a lot of Republicans who don't like torture (McCain etc) who have kept there mouths shut or semi shut.  That tells me there is some aspect of this that isn't obvious that changes the reality.  The GOP like progressives are not in general evil people, they just think that there way of processing the world is the only one that works.  But for the moderates within both the Obama camp and the Bush camp not going to the press tells me that there is some aspect of reason to the practice, either in being very effective or some other political aspect that needs to be kept secret.

 

For example,  If Russia, or China was behind everything but only parts of the power structure.  Or Pakistan or China but only parts then its a whole different game.  Having a credible nuclear power fucking with you isn't something you can tell the public without the march to war or cold war.

by donkeykong 2010-11-12 12:20PM | 0 recs
RE: Dump Obama: continued 5

The Catfood commission as far as I see it is absolutely necessary. We need to hear all the possible solutions to the problems we confront on deficits and debt, no matter how unsavory. That is the practical and right thing to do, and certainly within a President's prerogative. 

by Graham1979 2010-11-12 02:19PM | 0 recs
You stand condemned ...

... by your own words.  If the president has the right to do something, then it's fine.  George Bush had the right to do what he did (mostly), so what the hell.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 03:06PM | 0 recs
RE: You stand condemned ...

 

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn? Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both. This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn?

Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both.

This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

 

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 03:59PM | 1 recs
RE: You stand condemned ...

 

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn? Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both. This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn?

Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both.

This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

 

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 03:59PM | 1 recs
RE: You stand condemned ...

 

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn? Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both. This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

What is it with you and donkey and changey and your need to constantly accuse and condemn?

Do you want to have a conversation or do you want to put everyone who doesn't agree with you on trial?  You can't do both.

This constant moralistic priggishness exhibited by all three of you is tired and not a little stupid.

 

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 03:59PM | 1 recs
Oh for freak's sake!

Do the owners of this blog give a shit about it?  I press "post" and this comment appears 3 TIMES!!!

This has been going on for months and you can't fix it?

It's pathetic at this point.

by Strummerson 2010-11-12 04:01PM | 1 recs
Look on the bright side

Sometimes it takes a while for something to sink in.

by jeffroby 2010-11-12 05:32PM | 0 recs
Objective of this post, Graham,

is ridiculous self-promotion.  You are being reasonable with the unreasonable.

by Thaddeus 2010-11-12 08:48PM | 1 recs
What the hell is wrong with you?

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by the mollusk 2010-11-12 11:13PM | 1 recs

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