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Tilting at Windmills

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February 19, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

THE OBAMA BUBBLE....Paul Krugman this morning:

One thing I worry about a lot if Obama is the Dem nominee — and he's surely the frontrunner now — is that there will be a backlash against Obamamania. Actually, it's already starting — probably too late to have much effect on the nomination fight, but in plenty of time to affect the general election.

I hope I'm just a cynical baby boomer who has never really trusted any politician since 1968. But I just have a very bad feeling about the way things are going.

Right on cue, here's David Brooks tonight:

Obama says he is practicing a new kind of politics, but why has his PAC sloshed $698,000 to the campaigns of the superdelegates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics? Is giving Robert Byrd's campaign $10,000 the kind of change we can believe in?

If he values independent thinking, why is his the most predictable liberal vote in the Senate? A People for the American Way computer program would cast the same votes for cheaper.

....Does The Changemaker have the guts to take on the special interests in his own party — the trial lawyers, the teachers' unions, the AARP?

The Gang of 14 created bipartisan unity on judges, but Obama sat it out. Kennedy and McCain created a bipartisan deal on immigration. Obama opted out of the parts that displeased the unions. Sixty-eight senators supported a bipartisan deal on FISA. Obama voted no. And if he were president now, how would the High Deacon of Unity heal the breach that split the House last week?

A "backlash" from a conservative like Brooks is hardly a surprise. Still, I think Krugman is right: bubbles always burst, and Obama has been riding a major league bubble for months now. Before too much longer his supporters are going to come down to earth. Reporters will start wondering why Obama doesn't like to talk to them very much — and then they'll get bored and cynical and start doing to him what they did to Howard Dean in 2004. John McCain is going to find his rhythm (though he hasn't yet) and start making some effective jabs.

This backlash meme is already widespread, and you can almost feel in the air that it's about to explode into a feeding frenzy. In other words, it ain't over yet. Wisconsin and the two weeks after it should be interesting, shouldn't they?

Kevin Drum 2:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (197)

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Comments

Well, they're going to hit him with something, it's just a matter of time. But in re: Krugman, see this post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/18/krugman-has-met-the-enemy_n_87297.html

Posted by: Jeff Altemus on February 19, 2008 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that an Obama backlash is probably looming, but I don't think Krugman's column is proof of that. When it comes to Obama, Krugman has just as big an axe to grind as Brooks does.

Posted by: blue22 on February 19, 2008 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Where's the McCain backlash then? He's been getting great treatment from the DC press for far too long. Please don't let people get away with only attacking Democrats and their bubbles....

Posted by: Jerome on February 19, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

All this assumes Obama is incapable of handling the backlash. Which, considering his considerable talent, may not be the case. If he truly is a liberal Reagan, he won't let anything stick.

Way I see it: As long as Obama refuses to do a John Kerry and ignore his detractors, he can smoothly kick their touchois with the same judo he's been using on Hillary. In Iowa he showed himself very skilled at reversing Hillary's attacks into potent counter-arguments. If anything, the general should free him up to use even fancier judo.

Posted by: Abe on February 19, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

You're effing kidding us, right, Kev?

The leader of the anti-Obama untruths squad, Krugman, is worried about an anti-Obama backlash?

Surely what he meant to write is that he is worried that his efforts to foment an anti-Obama backlash won't bear fruit in time to save HRC, and that he is lamenting his misfire now in order to build an alibi for himself against future charges that he is one of the lying MSM jackasses who gave the general election to the GOP.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Btw, we'll be seeing plenty of the crap as all the pseudo-progressive crypto-racist anti-Obamaists are confronted with reaping what they have sown.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny that Krugman seems to be surrendering to BS right wing big media narratives.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama-mania, whatever that is, is the best that Obama's opponents can come up with, bring it on.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, It should be Wisconsin AND Hawaii (we have just as many or more delegates and Congressional votes and electoral votes as Alaska, Deleware, D.C., Idaho, Maine, Montana,New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming).

This is the first time we've been able to participate in a presidential primary when it still mattered. Stop raining on our parade (actually the weather's great!). At least NPR occasionally remembers to mention Hawaii in the same breath as Wisconsin.

Regarding the Krugman piece, I'm an Obama supporter, but I'm disturbed by the comments of others on this blog. If the bubble bursts, it will be largely due to their attempts to turn his candidacy into a personality cult. Honestly, some of Obama's fans sound more like Paultards than progressive Democrats.

Posted by: DevilDog on February 19, 2008 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Who is seriously going to buy this cult stuff anyway, which is really just recycled hokum from the elitist campaign against Ron Paul?

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

It's funny that Krugman seems to be surrendering to BS right wing big media narratives.

Surrendering? Krugman is an effing co-architect of the BS narrative. He's not surrendering -- he's fleeing to Argentina.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the confirmation, Jimm.

Posted by: DevilDog on February 19, 2008 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

Regarding the Krugman piece, I'm an Obama supporter, but I'm disturbed by the comments of others on this blog.

Translation: I'm an HRC supporter.

You guys really need to come up with a new come on line.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not an Obama or Paul supporter, thanks.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'm actually beginning to wonder if, barring some huge turn of fortune, the bubble is actually burstable. And, by the same token, I'm wondering if the Clintons aren't inherently screwed. What got me thinking along those lines? This article:

http://nymag.com/news/politics/powergrid/44211/

Maybe it's overstated to a degree. But - damn - if there's isn't some truth to it too!

Posted by: Callimaco on February 19, 2008 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention: Jerome's point above (wonder "Where's the McCain backlash then?") is exactly right. There's none and never will be. Obama might very well have the same advantage.

Posted by: Callimaco on February 19, 2008 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

But I just have a very bad feeling about the way things are going.

Good grief. A Hillary supporter with a bad feeling about the way things are going.

This was worth a column in the NYTimes?

Posted by: LynnDee on February 19, 2008 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo, I've spent a lot of personal time and professional skills (uncompenstated, thank you) working to get people to precinct meetings throughout the state for tomorrow's caucuses to vote for Obama. You don't know WTF you're talking about, so lose the attitude.

I do know that you're an example of just the kind of person whose sanctimonious attitude and hostility are going to hurt his campaign.

Posted by: DevilDog on February 19, 2008 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

First, let's remember:

1. Krugman is SHRILL!
2. Hillary killed Vince Foster!
3. Tonight, Obama was able to get Castro to resign from Cuban President.

Woohoo!

Posted by: jerry on February 19, 2008 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

This backlash meme is already widespread, and you can almost feel in the air that it's about to explode into a feeding frenzy. In other words, it ain't over yet. Wisconsin and the two weeks after it should be interesting, shouldn't they?

Some smell feeding frenzy, I smell wishful thinking.

Guess they're kinda similar.

Posted by: LynnDee on February 19, 2008 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, I was going to mention something about how Krugman had a hand in launching the "cult" meme, but it looks like that would be piling on at this point. Instead, then, I'll say in his defense that what he actually said was "cult of personality," which is fairly different in substance, although he of all people should have known that the distinction would eventually be blurred.

Meanwhile, though, I'm a little skeptical about this "bubble's about to burst" thing. Sure, people are going to start criticizing Obama more and more, and irritating memes like the "cult" one will circulate, but the press loves him in a way that they haven't loved a Democrat for ages. If he makes a major gaffe, sure, things might change, but in a general election I'd say McCain is by far the more likely candidate to do something embarassing.

Posted by: Adam on February 19, 2008 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

I and many people I know have actually become Obama supporters quite reluctantly. It has gotten hard to believe that as a citizenry we could actually have goals and aspirations beyond tweaking a percentage point here or there in some already existing program.

The Bush regime and the congress that has abetted it have left so many of us feeling helpless, and disappointed in ourselves for that helpless feeling. It is nice to have someone recognize that core feeling, that somehow it might be too late to fix any of this mess and after eight years we are a fundamentally different people than we were before. And then say "Fuck it. We can do something about this awfulness and move forward if we work together."

It is an inspiration to action and a denial of helplessness.

It will take much more than DLC bean counting and percentage tweaking to achieve any of the goals Obama and Clinton have set out for themselves. Having inspired public support will help a lot.

I hope Krugman can bring himself around to seeing that adding a little dreamy aspiration to his wonkery would make it much implementable, unless his careful critiques and thoughtful writing these past few years has all just been an exercise in self-aggrandizement for him.

Posted by: mirror on February 19, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

I'm less sanguine than Callimaco. I think that the press will turn on Obama and that they will call their "support" of him a bubble. On the other hand, I don't see the DC press turning on McCain.

Posted by: Jerome on February 19, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

I do know that you're an example of just the kind of person whose sanctimonious attitude and hostility are going to hurt his campaign.

Look in the mirror DevilDog, you already insulted me within minutes of arriving in the thread, and you know what they say about assumptions...

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

The public may turn on McCain enough that the press will have a hard time keeping the blinders on. I think McCain is going to do some very weird shit over the course of this campaign, he is just to cantankerous and self-satisfied to always reflect enough on what is about to come out of his mouth before he says it. I think that "there is going to be more PTSD" speech and its ilk will haunt him.

Posted by: mirror on February 19, 2008 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that McCain actually has a voting record for the past 8 years of the Bush debacle, and I'm not even talking about Iraq, is going to make him a sitting duck for smart framing by the Democratic candidate.

For instance, let's look at the reality that the Bush administration ended National Guard deployments at 729 days so that education benefits wouldn't kick in for them. I would highlight this and other mendacious examples like it over and over again, and ask John McCain what he was doing about it at the time, whether he spoke out about it, and I'm just using this as one example because Yglesias just mentioned it, I know there must be handfuls of even better stuff that McCain has a vote on.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Just for amusement, imagine the McCain/Obama (or Hillary, but the thread is about Obama) debates in the fall, through the lens of A Few Good Men. McCain is Nicholson and Obama is Cruise. Obama is the young upstart who just batters McCain rhetorically for some obvious contradictions and failures to take action, while the cantankerous McCain coached to be on his best behavior finally bursts into indignation and contempt over it all.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, one goal in such a strategy would be beyond just winning, but actually luring McCain as the GOP presidential candidate to basically repudiate President Bush and the GOP Congress, validating our criticism of them to everyone including Republicans and reinforcing the obvious agent and catalyst for change.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Worst Backlash Ever

In a sense, the Backlash has already started and it's insanely lame: Obama is too popular, too well-liked. Some of his supporters are too enthusiastic, too motivated.

Or is the criticism, that someday someone will find a good way to attack Obama? Not now, but someday someone will go negative on Obama and on that day, he will probably cry.

Posted by: Jimmy on February 19, 2008 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

In recent years, Paul Krugman has been one of the few political commentators to tell the plain truth about the evil the Republicans have visited upon us. I respect his questioning of Obama, but must disagree. The backlash he expects will be fueled by Republican smears, not Democratic doubts. We can only hope Obama can respond effectively unlike Gore or Kerry. All it takes to destroy the Republicans is the simple telling of the truth - naming names, dates and places. The truth is damning enough. If Obama and other Democrats can learn to fight back, the Republicans are toast.

Posted by: Wayne Pierce on February 19, 2008 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

What, no comments on Brooks insinuating that Obama is bribing super delegates?

Heaven forbid a democrat spread his money around to help out other democrats up for election! I take comfort in knowing that Hillary would never do something as awful as helping other democrats get re-elected, and her and Bill have a long record proving this.

Posted by: bwaage on February 19, 2008 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman was helping the backlash along last week calling the Obama campaign "dangerously close to a personality cult".

Media matters documented the follow up

Posted by: Max Power on February 19, 2008 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

I do know that you're an example of just the kind of person whose sanctimonious attitude and hostility are going to hurt his campaign.

oh please. welcome to the goddamn internet. been here before?

Posted by: Luce Imaginary on February 19, 2008 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Right on cue, here's David Brooks tonight:

Until recently, Krugman has been noted not for issuing "cues" to his conservative NYT colleagues, but for undercutting their premises of their columns the day of publication.

Posted by: Max Power on February 19, 2008 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

"...he can smoothly kick their touchois..."

Honest, Abe, are they French?

Posted by: Kenji on February 19, 2008 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK

Of course there will be a backlash, and then it will die down. There will be criticism of McCain as well. Today's WaPo has a couple of critical pieces. None of this will really matter until the fall, which is when average people will start paying attention again. By that time the cult-of personality schtick will be old news.

Posted by: samc on February 19, 2008 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, could be worth mentioning that Fidel Castro resigned today. Just sayin'...

Another boogieman down.

Posted by: Kenji on February 19, 2008 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

The backlash will begin when the media want it to, basically. If we are concerned about this, we should probably nominate a candidate who seems best equipped to handle the media. Judging by the way they treat her, that would not be Hillary Clinton. She's still riding out a backlash that's been ongoing since 1992.

Posted by: sweaty guy on February 19, 2008 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo, I've spent a lot of personal time and professional skills (uncompenstated, thank you) working to get people to precinct meetings throughout the state for tomorrow's caucuses to vote for Obama. You don't know WTF you're talking about, so lose the attitude.

And I'm King of the Planet Zircon, so watch how you address me you impertinent scum.

Seriously, dude, some friendly advice -- if you want people to buy the story that you are an Obama supporter and precinct worker, you might want to stop obvious Obama trashing like promoting the "Obama Cult" meme and just stick to more subtle stuff like dog whistling. The HRC campaign has lit explaining the diff.

Just saying.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yglesias felt an anti-Obama backlash was coming a week ago. Was there ever a doubt that most of the conservative Obama fans would turn on him once he became the frontrunner? Some of his Republican fans favored Obama because they clearly want a post-partisan era so they can escape accountability for the last seven years. Other conservative supporters are for Obama for the same reason many voters are - he is not Clinton. On the Dem side this is usually about the AUMF, foreign policy, triangulation or Mark Penn. On the Republican side, it just that he was not Clinton. Obama is their last chance to defeat the Clintons who some how sullied the White House, survived the VRWC, won two elections and left office with an approval rating higher than Reagan.

Once Clinton is out of the way, the conservatives and many in the press will move on to tearing down Obama. If he continues to limit the press' access while Saint McCain is joking around on the bus, all sorts of unflattering stories will begin to appear. Obama and Axelrod are not babes in the woods (The Chicago Tribune has admitted that in 2004 his campaign pushed the Hull divorce story very hard) but it remains to be seen is how the campaign will hold up under a hail of negative ads and a hostile press if they decide to give him the H.Clinton/Kerry/Gore treatment.

Not wrapping up the nomination until the convention might be the best thing for Obama as he can avoid the spotlight, the media will focus on Clinton and superdelegates, and he can continue to use primary funds to poke McCain and fight any negative stories.

Posted by: The Obama Initiative on February 19, 2008 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Next time read Brooks’ column to the end.

Here is how it concludes:

"The victims of O.C.S. struggle against Obama-myopia, or the inability to see beyond Election Day. But here’s the fascinating thing: They still like him. They know that most of his hope-mongering is vaporous. They know that he knows it’s vaporous.

But the fact that they can share this dream still means something. After the magic fades and reality sets in, they still know something about his soul, and he knows something about theirs. They figure that any new president is going to face gigantic obstacles. At least this candidate seems likely to want to head in the right direction. Obama’s hype comes from exaggerating his powers and his virtues, not faking them.

Those afflicted with O.C.S. are no longer as moved by his perorations. The fever passes. But some invisible connection seems to persist."

It's a wonderfully written and very sympathetic piece.

On the Krugman watch, it's amusing to see some folks here distressed and tormented by the K man. When Obama is President and Krugman is back on the bus, please remember how you felt.

I see that Wayne Pierce has the following view:

"In recent years, Paul Krugman has been one of the few political commentators to tell the plain truth about the evil the Republicans have visited upon us."

It's interesting how people's views can differ. While I do think that there are honest and effective critics of the current administration on the left, I think that Krugman is a toadying churl. He eagerly takes the daily talking points that the left secretariat provides him and runs with them. He never hesitates to lie or grotesquely distort to push the point in question. In the old Soviet Union you had a chance to get a city named after you if you could keep up such a performance for ten or fifteen years.

Posted by: foucaultfan on February 19, 2008 at 5:39 AM | PERMALINK

Brooks is a highly articulate imbecile, a good little right wing propagandist who grinds out Republican talking points with numbing, robotic predictability. He doesn't have either an honest or an original bone in his entire body. My God, does the Times publish a lot of trash on its Op-Ed pages!!

Posted by: Joseph A. Miller on February 19, 2008 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

The "Under God" column in Washingtonpost.com's On Faith section asserted yesterday that Barack Obama has a Messiah complex and all his followers are pretty much creeping cultists. Nice. I am assuming that Claire Hoffman, the perpetrator of that column, is a Hillary gal.

Posted by: Helena Montana on February 19, 2008 at 5:49 AM | PERMALINK

There were at least three attacks from the National Review last week, which I posted at the end of an Angrybear post. All of them in line with that LA plush meeting of the GOP's Usual Suspects.

Posted by: pgl on February 19, 2008 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK

Why would Brooks assume that Obama would do something that no one in his party ever did - take on special interests? What a putz.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 19, 2008 at 6:06 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Good point, dude! I mean, like, obviously anyone who disagrees with you, or has even a single less than adulatory thing to say about Obama simply has to be a Hillary supporter. Plus, they must be totally bogus. Like, there's no way someone from the state where Obama grew up could support him, and still find that some of fellow supporters look like they're signing on to a cult of personality. No way! Everyone who supports Obama has to support him totally, and exactly like you do.

"Lit explaining the diff"?? Catch a clue, you pretentious twit.

Just saying.

Seriously, dude, some friendly advice -- if you want people to buy the story that you are an Obama supporter and precinct worker, you might want to stop obvious Obama trashing like promoting the "Obama Cult" meme and just stick to more subtle stuff like dog whistling. The HRC campaign has lit explaining the diff.
Just saying.
Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 5:11 AM |

Posted by: keith on February 19, 2008 at 6:11 AM | PERMALINK

This is a lot of hand-wringing over something that hasn't happened yet, and may not.

Obama, and his relationship with voters and the media, is a unique case (at least in my lifetime).

We don't really know how this will play out.

Posted by: psmith on February 19, 2008 at 6:23 AM | PERMALINK

I mean, like, obviously anyone who disagrees with you, or has even a single less than adulatory thing to say about Obama simply has to be a Hillary supporter.

No, dumbass. As should be clear to even a stupid prick such as yourself, I was not taking your doppleganger to task for disagreeing with me.

I was taking him to task for propagating wingnut memes. Assuming he's merely a HRC supporter is being generous.

Now maybe you would care to explain why you're propagating the same meme with the added Rovian bonus meme that Obama supporters are "pretentious"?

Oh, and yes, I plead guilty to propagating the meme that wingnuts are dumbass pricks.

Posted by: Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 6:34 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why folks seem to interpret Obama's promise of bringing Republicans and Democrats together as equivalent to bringing the GOP and Democratic Party together. I think Obama is really talking about attracting Republicans (and independents) to rally around good solutions/approaches to national and international challenges. If those solutions have "progressive" roots (i.e., fact-based, discovery-based, participatory approaches, etc.), then all the better. But I think of Obama more as a pragmatist first than a "liberal" in an ideological sense. That's why it's "easy" to find apparent contradictions in his positions. But the consistency is in common sense, inclusive approaches that yield solutions to problems that have broad support and thus better chance of long term success. If Obama is idealistic, it is about who we are as Americans and our ability to solve big problems by working together; his idealism is not some laundry list of liberal Democratic (government as the only solution) policy proposals.

To be sure, Obama has a moral compass that tells him that government is an important partner in any big, national challenge, and that we are "in it" together. But that compass is not unique to a particular political party. And that compass does not betray naivete but instead demonstrates confidence; confidence in America and Americans. I think that's part of Obama's appeal.

If you look very closely at his background, his record, and most importantly, his approach to solving problems, it's hard not become enamored with the promise. Is it a roll of the dice? Sure. But nothing worth having is risk-free. And America is great (and distinct from other nations) because we are risk-takers.

Posted by: huh on February 19, 2008 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

"And if he were president now, how would the High Deacon of Unity heal the breach that split the House last week?"

He will take the side of reason, which will be easy since he will have a majority of both house of Congress with him. If the Executive Branch admits what happened with surveillance during the Bush Administration, which will be easy for Obama to do, then telecom immunity will cease to be an issue.

Or is Brooks really concerned that Obama will be unable to work with Pelosi? If so, we thank him for his great concern.

Posted by: reino on February 19, 2008 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain, but wouldn't Krugman qualify as a concern troll?

And BTW, I though Obama fans were cultists, so how are they supposed to turn on him? I'm so confused.

Posted by: Merle on February 19, 2008 at 7:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not certain, but wouldn't Krugman qualify as a concern troll?

Not really. He is pissed that he is not a member of Barack's inner economic advisors, and that Austan Goolsbee is.

Never underestimate the smallmindedness of an academician. They are like "elmo" on books...

Posted by: frankly pissed in Hawaii on February 19, 2008 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

Is America really ready for a black leader? The question remains. Is Barack the answer to our prayers? I do not know, But I think Barack Obama represents all that we have accomplished in over 50 years of working towards becoming a sensitive nation and a fair nation. One book -- 'Obama: From Promise to Power' did tell it: http://dealstudio.com/searchdeals.php?deal_id=84830&ru=279 , a Black President? Maybe his ambition will make him big chance.....

Posted by: Bill on February 19, 2008 at 7:15 AM | PERMALINK

This is why they gave the Superdelegates discretion and autonomy, and why they should keep their powder dry.

Posted by: bob h on February 19, 2008 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

I want the best candidate to win the nomination, the most electable, etc... I'm undecided but leaning towards Clinton. Maybe. I don't know. I just don't have that Obamania. He doesn't seem that progressive to me and doesn't seem to know how to wage the kind of fight we'll need to push through a progressive agenda. Reaching across the aisle to find some mythical center won't bring about progressive change. I don't buy the idea of transcendent politics and post-partisanship.

But what also worries me about Obamania is that for so many it's premised on shallow naivete: Politics will be different. Uh, no. When reality descends--politics are by definition agonistic, and the right will stymie progressive change at every turn, because that's what they do, and Obama makes ugly compromises too--will the will to fight evaporate?

Posted by: Lilybelle on February 19, 2008 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

One certain thing you can say about Clinton: Her bubble of hate won't ever go away.
Hate just tends to grow and grow. It never shrinks. Never pops.

Imagine the rage if this thing gets put back in the White House:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClfpG2-1Bv4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs&feature=related

Talk about a hate bubble!
You'd have to have the conscience of a Krugman liberal (no sexual morality) to not see what Billary means to the future.

Posted by: morality matters on February 19, 2008 at 7:43 AM | PERMALINK

Is Obama being bouyed up by a bubble? That's the first question to ask. Obama is not perfect, but many people have a plain reason to support him: his position is fundamentally different from either of the leading candidates. Clinton can talk about change, but she is invested in the old version of Democratic Party politics, the part that has so far seemed more interested in playing it safe with the out of power Republicans than in fulfilling the promises of the 2006 campaign.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on February 19, 2008 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

But what also worries me about Obamania is that for so many it's premised on shallow naivete: Politics will be different.

I have a message for all those on this thread (and blog) who have been repeating this meme ad nauseam. You are assuming that the country is the same as the one you grew up in.

But the country is changing rapidly. It is not the country that you or I -- or Krugman -- grew up in. We are in the fucking minority now.

Yes, conservative old white men will continue to obstruct. But that will become harder and harder -- across all the major issues. Yes, there will be setbacks. But making progress could be easier and easier with the right politics -- with a new politics.

If Billary deserves to lose for any reason, surely the greatest one is their ill-advised warning against "false hope."

Totally UN AMERICAN.


Posted by: Econobuzz on February 19, 2008 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is unelectable. Out here in flyover land, there is a huge contingent that would be very uncomfortable with a black man with a Muslim name becoming president. They may not show up in polls since they don't want to admit what could be construed as racism, but on election day, in private, they will stop Obama. Electing him would be a very risky proposition and most people don't have an appetite for that much risk.

Posted by: Tom on February 19, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

krugman has lost all creditability. a hillary man who drink the kool-aid of envy. krugman is starting yo sound like brooks. two short men wana be heard like spoiled brats.

Posted by: lloydCarroll on February 19, 2008 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Gosh, I'm very worried that an even-handed, rational mind like Paul Krugman who has been completely neutral on the Democratic primary up til now might be worrying about an anti-Obama backlash.

Posted by: Quinn on February 19, 2008 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I love politics.
Almost all americans realize there will be no change in government regardless of who is elected, be it a republican or a democrat.

Posted by: Kill Bill on February 19, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

krugman has lost all creditability.

Yeah, like 10 years ago. Thanks for paying attention.

Posted by: TC on February 19, 2008 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Obamania, like that portmanteau Beatlemania, implies the supporters of the fab one are irrational star-struck teenagers not mature enough to appreciate the shallowness of their adulation. A darker and more absurd slander against Obama is that he is the demagogic leader of an irrational mob. In contrast Hillary Clinton is a candidate of substance and experience supported by people with equally sound and mature judgment.

We expect the DLC “moderates” to side in true bipartisan form with Republicans as they have sided with them on so many issues. It is just this alliance that has wittingly or unwittingly undermined the American middle class. Their common policies of economic neoliberalism and liberal imperialism have been responsible for this.

I don’t mean to imply Krugman is part of the forces of evil. He is not. But any backlash against a formerly marginal political personality who many win the presidency will come from all branches of the established order. In part, Obama’s popularity is a repudiation of a government that does not represent the desires or the needs of the people. It does great things for the few who are rich but it is market logic for everyone else. Krugman knows perhaps more than anyone that we have come to this because the political establishment is stacked against the interests of the many.

There is no Obamania. He is just the alternative. Anyway Hillary Clinton is unacceptable to the left and to Republicans.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 19, 2008 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Let's understand that the money the Obama and the Clinton PACs have "sloshed" to "superdelegates" was contributed to democratic members of, and candidates for, congress. But for Brooks or Krguman to include such a fact would not further their purposes.

So there is something improper about national democratic leaders, adept at raising money, contributing money to other democrats to ensure democratic majorities in congress?

Who knew that his concern at the lack of "mandates" in Obama's health insurance plan would render Krguman to the realm of journalist hack. As for Brooks, well he's David Brooks.

Posted by: Chris Brown on February 19, 2008 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have some [very] anecdotal evidence that does support Krugman/Brooks "backlash' claim.

Driving into work this morning and flipping through the radio, I tuned into one of my stations and heard them talking about Obama. Three hosts - one is very progressive, and an avowed Obama supporter, one is hard-core conservative, and one is a moderately progressive guy. They were talking about the Obama rallies that have all those people fainting, and he stops down to get them some water/assistance, etc. They laughed about that, then start on the Obama as a faith healer or a messiah, and had a chuckle about that too. It then progresses into his speeches about "change" and being for "change" and what is "change" exactly. They were making fun of the vagueness, although they also agreed that all politicians are vague, and they really preferred it that way, because in-depth political talk gave them tired-head (one of their catch phrases). All in all they had a big laugh about exactly what Krugman/Brooks are saying.

Now, while it is just three guys on the radio, it should worry Barack supporters because, 1) this was happening on the radio in Dallas, Texas (there's a huge Reunion Arena rally Wednesday for Barack, which is how this came up) and the Texas primary vote is soon, and 2) this was on a sports talk radio show - KTCK 1310, "The Ticket". It also highest male listenership in town with males 25-55. So there may be some legitimacy to Krugman's thoughts, no matter what you think of him personally.

And note, I've got no dog in this hunt, as my dog was shot long ago. Just paraphrasing what I heard.

Posted by: anonymous-also on February 19, 2008 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

Tom said:

"Obama is unelectable. Out here in flyover land, there is a huge contingent that would be very uncomfortable with a black man with a Muslim name becoming president. They may not show up in polls since they don't want to admit what could be construed as racism, but on election day, in private, they will stop Obama"

Tom is exactly right. Conservative Democrats and Independents will defeat an Obama candidacy. They will have an acceptable alternative in the moderate Republican, John McCain.

Hillary Clinton will not be able to win either. It is utterly amazing how the Democrats have screwed up a sure thing.

Get use to it - John McCain will be our next President.

Posted by: Dennis on February 19, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

OK, full disclosure, I am an Obama-skeptic, though I sort of voted for him (in Illinois we vote separately for delegates - is this how everyone does it? so I voted for Kucinich, but also the slate of Obama delegates; I got to have my cake and eat it too).

But Brooks is an idiot. His complaints are tired rightwing talking points. I don't see them resonating as issues with many Obamamaniacs. He totally undermines his own argument by assuming from the beginning that the core of Obamamania is liberal ("Berkeley, Cambridge, and Chapel Hill") and then babbling that people are losing faith in Obama because he is liberal.

Also, Brooks wouldn't know independent thinking if it bit him in the "touchois."

Posted by: rabbit on February 19, 2008 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's certainly possible to be sincerely worried about backlash but the implicit argument seems to be:

At some point in the future, Obama will collapse when faced with opposition. Therefore, it might be better if he stopped opposing and beating Clinton because at some point in the future, she will succeed when faced with opposition.

Posted by: apm on February 19, 2008 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you who's in a bubble. Paul Krugman and David Brooks, that's who. They are enveloped in the self-referential and self-perpetuating bubble of narrative creation. At least Krugman is straightforward; Brooks remains the smarmiest and slickest media slut of them all.

Earlier this week Brooks co-opted several of Obama's education proposals for "Fresh Start Conservativism". Today he turns around and introduces a new meme: "Obama Comedown Syndrome". Wow! Brooks sure has his finger on the pulse of the nation! We may never have encountered anything resembling this phenomenon among actual people in the real world, but if David Brooks says it's happening, damn, bring on the Xanax!

Brooks then tosses around a bunch of disingenuous assertions about Obama that he knows damn well are junk. For example, he knows that the public financing "pledge" has been deconstructed, but does he care? No, because he is an irresponsible shill for the GOP.

Posted by: Lucy on February 19, 2008 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Krugman: I hope I’m just a cynical baby boomer who has never really trusted any politician since 1968.

Great campaign slogan. Second only to "My mandates are better than your mandates."

Stick to economics, Paul.

Posted by: Econobuzz on February 19, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Granny Bee pointed out the bubbliciousness of Obama mania weeks ago.
http://makethemaccountable.com/index.php/2008/01/29/granny-bee-bubbleheads/

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on February 19, 2008 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Folks,

I keep looking for these "Obama cultists" and except for an occasional cartoonist I can't find any. Obama does seem to have millions of serious supporters eager to go to work in the service of America. What Obama is tapping into is Bush's failure to call Americans to action after 9/11. Telling everybody "we will protect you, now you be good little sheep and go to the mall" demonstrates Bush's essential failure to understand the American character.

Obama seems to understand that every generation of Americans needs to be called to action--be it FDR during the great depression, FDR again at the start of WWII, Truman at the beginning of the cold war, Kennedy's call to go to the moon, and Reagan to end the cold war. None of these Presidents were cult leaders*, but they were all messengers of change. Right now America hungers to be challenged. That is why Americans are chanting "Yes We Can" instead of "No, You Can't."

The real challenge is figuring out exactly what needs to be done.

*FDR was called a cult leader by Republicans and some of Reagan's supporters still worship the ground he walked on.

Posted by: corpus juris on February 19, 2008 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, it's off-topic, but I came upon this site at htt://obamawill.com and it's wonderful and funny. And...my wife, a Clinton supporter, read it and said it's the first thing she's seen that inclines her towards Obama. Go figure.

Posted by: Bill Vroom on February 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see the bubble bursting with the MSM. Why?

Obama = Ratings

His oratory skills and simply his "stage presence" make his appearance great television. The TV news networks will always love someone who can pay their bills. True, they will revel in airing any dirty laundry that comes out because America loves to watch an idol fall, but they'll also stay glued on his 1 hour response explaining why the attack is unfair or inaccurate. He'll win that fight in the end because they can't keep their cameras off of him. Obama is liberal teflon.

Posted by: Da5id on February 19, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

I've gone from Kucinich (again) to Edwards to Obama over the past several months. And now I'm 100 percent committed to Barack's inspiring vision for us and our nation and his call for us to join in manifesting this vision. Unlike the other candidates still standing who offer the "same old, same old," Barack is the transformational leader that times such as these call for, and those who think that this phenomenon is merely a bubble are in for a big surprise.

Posted by: Bruce Mulkey on February 19, 2008 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wishful thinking, dude. The horserace is over!

Posted by: hollywood on February 19, 2008 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Fine.

He's still a much better candidate than Hilary or McCain.

Posted by: Justin on February 19, 2008 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

This Obamamania thing is just a distraction. Both McCain and Obama will be seen to have the personal gravitas to be President in most people's minds who don't have their minds already made up. Who the undecideds will vote for will be determined by what kind of appeal they are more inclined to accept - McCain's appeal to fear and military solutions and dislike of taxes or Obama's appeal to more use of diplomacy and more reliance on solutions to economic issues involving government programs. Of course there will be many nuances of personal strengths and weaknesses of McCain and Obama that will play a significant role in many people's minds, but I believe those appeals will be the predominate factors. I think McCain's appeals will be more affective with older swing voters and Obama's with younger swing voters and new voters. I think turn out of young voters may be the key to this election and whether you want to disparage much of their enthusiasm by using the term "Obamiamania" or not, I think it is just such enthusiasm that would bring an election victory to Obama.

I also think Clinton will beat McCain if she is the nominee, but she would win for somewhat different reasons - though the war and the economy would be huge factors in either a Clinton or Obama victory.

Posted by: TK on February 19, 2008 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Are you joking, Obamamania end? David Brooks, and the whole conservative cabal deciding, we've had second thoughts, we just don't want to be brought together right now and returning to their partisan roots. Does this mean No we can't? Who'd have ever thunk it.

Posted by: aline on February 19, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

I noticed someone mentioned the "roll of the dice". The Clintons define everything for us. Will the Democrats ever believe that no one but a Clinton can beat the Republicans? Obama's the best pure politician I've ever seen, and certainly the most confident. I became convinced he was definitely our best bet on the night he lost New Hampshire. He graciously congratulated Clinton and then moved forward with that speech. He dwarfed her that night and not with spin, but with conviction. He has yet to react to disappointment with defensiveness or petty crap, unlike his opponents. What we as Democrats have to face is what Obama understands. We are afraid he can't win because he is Black. We are afraid to find out that our own party, the party of Civil Rights and equality isn't so enlightened after all. He thinks we are enlightened enough, and he is willing to put himself on the line to prove it. When he talks about ending the politcs of fear he isn't just talking about the fear tactics used by the Bush administration, he's talking about our own fears as well. When you listen to the talking points of the Clinton people who talk about his lack of experience and substance you know for many it's a cover for something else. One thing I know for sure that breaks my heart is that if a candidate of Obama's gifts, talents and experience were a Republican, they would nominate him in a New York minute and he would get elected.

Posted by: samc on February 19, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

The right-wing and their temporary allies in the Clinton camp are pushing the cult meme hard. Seemingly it's all they have. But just as with Clinton demeaning the states she has lost it's a loser strategy.

There are tremendously good reasons for Democrats to support Obama over Clinton. No irrational thought needed.

Where Kevin finds evidence for his assertion that Obama has been riding a bubble I have no idea. He's been behind for most of the race. Gaining ground steadily is now to be defined as a bubble?

Get real. Obama is our best candidate to defeat McCain. Furthermore, there is great reason to believe he will be an excellent President.

Posted by: Curt M on February 19, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

This backlash meme is already widespread, and you can almost feel in the air that it's about to explode into a feeding frenzy. In other words, it ain't over yet.

WTF? To borrow a line from Apocalypse Now: "The bullshit piles up so high in this place, you need wings to stay above it."

Obama is ahead by more than 130 pledged delegates and Hillary has very little chance of netting many delegates out of Texas. The very best Hillary can hope for is to get within 50 pledged delegates of Obama by the end of the primaries and then use her political muscle to tear away the nomination at the convention in late August. This would be a train wreck for the Democratic party. Hillary's only path to the nomination is to tear the party apart two months before the general election.

Posted by: Mike on February 19, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

McCain is out because he is a WarHawk just his buddy Bush, and Obama is going to be out after Texas and Ohio vote only One left. LMAO

Posted by: Al on February 19, 2008 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think a McCain-Obama race will be a whole lot more interesting and better for the country than a McCain-Clinton race. Clearer choices, better break from the past. Not so many obvious mud-slinging targets on either side, although both sides' oppo will dig. I look forward to some great debates. I sent $$$ to both.

Posted by: sjrsm on February 19, 2008 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

....Does The Changemaker have the guts to take on the special interests in his own party — the trial lawyers, the teachers' unions, the AARP?

The "special interest" or the people's interest, I mean, what exactly is a changemaker suppost to be doing different from Bush? Would be to put people first and big interest aside?

Hell, does McCain have the guts to take on the "special interest" of the GOP You know, like big Oil, big Pharma, and all the other "Charles Keating" type of people that Repugs ONLY ever cater too? So with McCain's recent torture vote I say hell NO he doesn't. McCain is just another *ucking Bush, and that is why the Bushies love him so. That is why Huckabee is being to told to shut-up and get lost.

Posted by: me-again on February 19, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Every time I hear Hillary say something like, "I've got a 37-point plan to improve inspection of beef and keep the food supply safe," I cringe. Sorry, but it's so. I think she would be a great head of the FDA, but she's not running for that post -- she's running to be President. My bet is that lots and lots of people, even those prepared to like her, will respond the way I do, and she won't be a very formidable candidate in the general election for that reason. I guess I'm looking for a candidate with general ideas about how to improve things, and Obama is more that than she is.

Posted by: David in NY on February 19, 2008 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

And what if more than 50% of the country wants to join the cult, as it seems to now? What then?

Posted by: David in NY on February 19, 2008 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

And here i thought you were going to say to "fasten your seatbelts."

Posted by: The Critic on February 19, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

What bothers me about the "Obamamania" meme is that it attempts, and to some extent succeeds, in painting Obama's popularity as being based on showmanship and charisma. When in actuality, much of his appeal is that he's so sober minded and thoughtful, and normal.

Perhaps he should call Hillary's bluff and do more debates. He really shines in those and it would negate this silly "he's a speech maker" line of attack.

Posted by: Glacier on February 19, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

You know - I was forgetting why I refuse to read the tripe that spews forth from Krugmann's keyboard everyday and now you've reminded me once again KD. Thanks.

Posted by: Nobcentral on February 19, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

David Brooks usually starts out semi-rational and then very cleverly tilts way right. Today was different, "start with RNC talking points and add a dose of jealousy" was my reaction to his article.

Posted by: leo on February 19, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"And what if more than 50% of the country wants to join the cult, as it seems to now? What then?"

Which half of the country has all the guns?

Civil war much?

Posted by: JB on February 19, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

The most Hillary and her supporters can hope for is that Obama is a bubble they can somehow burst.

They spend all day trying to think of ways to sow seeds of doubt. If you won't question him (and buy false hopes, flip flopping, phony memes being floated), perhaps we will question ourselves - We've been taken over by a sly cult leader and we didn't know it. We need an intervention to break the spell. And it will come too late to save us from ourselves!!! Great meme, huh.

There is going to come a period of intense vetting I suspect - but come the Fall the cycle will have passed and the media will be back to building Obama back up.

It's not an overinflated bubble - it's a cycle -like any other. Ride it out.

Posted by: C.B. Todd on February 19, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Obamamaniac has 6 syllables. As the majority of pundits will have trouble saying it without tripping over their tongues it's unlikely to catch on.

Billary has three and is a clear contraction of the 7 syllable phrase Bill and Hillary Clinton. Much easier.

Posted by: people on February 19, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes, the old Brooks line that you're only an independent thinker if you're a rebel against "liberal orthodoxy." Because, in Brooks' world, only the conservatives are the insurgents, rebelling against those evil liberals who control everything.

Posted by: Librarian on February 19, 2008 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Saw this coming a mile away. For some people any examination of Sen. Obama's ... you know ... actual record and positions on issues as he runs for President is somehow a "backlash" or a "meme" that the press is turning on him. And I thought the press gave W a pass. (They did.) Call me crazy, but how about we vet a guy with three year's experience on the federal stage (one spent running for Presidet) just a teentsy bit before we give him the nuclear launch codes? Is that OK? I'm sure he won't be offended.

Posted by: Pat on February 19, 2008 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

I can understand Krugman with his wishful thinking desire for Obama to self-destruct. Also, being an economist brings the bubble analogy to this. Remember, analogic reasoning is more often than faulty (no Ob book reference here, maybe someone else can help). Economic bubbles form because of an intersection of greed and fear - something like that. What we have here is hope - I think a hope driven bubble can go on much longer and will only burst when the hope is not sustained or destroyed by subsequent behavior. Look how long the hope of the conservative base was sustained by the current crop of Republicans.

So, I would discount Krugman (no need to say anything about Brooks - his MO currently seems to be to dig up as much dirt as he can on Dem. candidates, alternate as best as he can) and maybe even Kevin with his fence-sitting on the Hillary-Obama line.

-- r

Posted by: DesiPanchi on February 19, 2008 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

If the Bush presidency teaches anything it's that weak men supported by a divided public is a dangerous combo. With Obama we get the natural leader; the man who brings all types into the fold, bears a message that reflects reason, and delivers it in a way that make crowds smile. He makes everyone else look like a sourpuss.

I've been around this campaign in seven states traveling with the press. As a cameraman I get to stare straight into all kinds of people eyes: let me tell you there is a joy in Obama events that is absent HRC's. If there wasn't so much security at these events you've thought you'd joined a grassroots movement.

Posted by: chuckchuck on February 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

I have no dog in this hunt either.

I'd like to offer some advice to the Obama supporters. If you truly are his supporters then you must answer, politely and firmly, the slurs against him every time they appear.

Calling them "memes" won't work with the general population. Getting defensive and angry won't work either. You will face a relentless, non-stopping repetition of those slurs over and over and over again.

In order for the 'big lie' to work it must be constantly repeated. It is simple marketing really. Why does Budweiser repeat its commercials so much.

When you become discouraged, frustrated and angry take if offline and have someone else push back for awhile.

Believe me, the repetition stuff can work and the money people know how to use it. Hell, after eight years of Bush's dismal results which followed eight years of Clinton's general success we all are convinced Clinton was such a bad president we cannot think of electing his wife.

Through repetition positives can be turned into negatives and that is what you will be facing.

Posted by: Tripp on February 19, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Clinton's camp is certainly trying hard enough with its "plagiarism" charges and other attacks on the eve of the Wisconsin election.

Posted by: lou on February 19, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Ironically, a large part of Obamas appeal was the very thing he's about to destroy,Hillary Clinton. Unable to shake the role of Marie Antoinette, assigned to her by the blogoshpere/MSM, she allowed Barack to frame his campaign as a Revolution on behalf of the people. Jeese, that's a nice little campaign narrative. How do I get one of those? The second her head hits the basket he'll become the very thing he revolted against. At best, he drops three levels of "Coolness". At worst, he becomes Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: Dublin on February 19, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Cult? Cult without any staying power?

Please.

I guess economists don't have a need for Occam's razor:

Barack is winning because more people favor him as the Dem candidate. Period.

Get over it bearded one. You are starting to look seriously silly.

Posted by: armed and loaded on February 19, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Hillary's strategy is to paint Obama's support as fleeting. And cultish? I don't like Kevin enabling that campaign's memes right on cue either. I feel that strange doings are ahead as Clinton tries to reassume inevitability. She is the ultimate insider. That is the reason I cannot support her. I love Obabma's message, but I support a repudiation of the past policies even more--like most of us. Tsunami. Not bubble.

Posted by: Sparko on February 19, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I was under the impression that the Obama bubble burst after New Hampshire. There was a bubble after Iowa. What a surprise that the likes of Krugman and Brooks are pushing this idea. I'm amazed that you are too naive to see through it: they long for an Obama "backlash," so they are trying to create one by saying, "Look! An Obama backlash is coming! I can feel it!"

Posted by: Orson on February 19, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Bubble Smubble. He's too slick and Bush sucked so bad it would take a crack whore incident to stop him now. The press is too scared of the race card to really dig in. Hey have a little faith, the press is nothing but lap dogs with nothing to sink thier teeth into anyway. He is going to kick thier stupid republican ass. If not there's always Canada.

Posted by: kevin K on February 19, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I think that's as irresponsible of Kevin as it is of Paul Krugman. Krugman, usually an admirable and informative columnist, has been pretty bad lately. Disputo (@2:33am) has it exactly right. Krugman is trying to build a fire.

Now Kevin is throwing logs on it, spreading the slop to the Washington Monthly. I don't think it's just Krugman's choice of Hillary that's driving this as much as his need for some attention-getting columns.

Look at the NYT op-ed page! With Bob Herbert as the lone standout, it shows that the Times editorial board is reaching for a new low. There comes a time when all "pundits," most media, many journalists, and far too many bloggers fall in love with themselves and out of love with reality.

Posted by: PW on February 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

The naive true-believers have been played well by the conservatives on this one. The conservatives picked the weak of the litter, nursed him and protected him until they were ready to put him in the ring and be demolished by one of their own.

David Brooks started this off with his article "Run Obama Run" telling Obama that he was the man, the One and Only, feeding Obama's narcissism and swelled head and promoting the cult of personality. While the competitive candidates one by one were eliminated by either ignoring them or giving them the Gore treatment, the conservative msm has been promoting Obama. Now Obama remains and the naive who fell into the trap still don't get they were played and stupidly are blaming the people who tried to warn them.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 19, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

But Obamazooid has only four...

Posted by: elmo on February 19, 2008 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Btw, lou: The plagiarism thing with Obama has been known for a long time. It was just ignored by the msm until it was convenient. The following from 4/07:

In The Senate, Obama Repeatedly “Lifted Ideas And Text From Clinton’s Bills And Repackaged Them As His Own.” “Obama has liberally lifted ideas and text from Clinton’s bills and repackaged them as his own when filing legislation in the Senate, a review of congressional records show. [In April 2007] Obama unveiled a sweeping measure to help veterans, titled ‘Homes for Heroes’ - similar to Clinton’s older plan, ‘Heroes at Home.’ … Obama has cribbed ideas from Clinton’s bills on everything from voting rights to improving medical treatment, homeland security to helping veterans.” (Ian Bishop, “Barack’s Bills Hint Of Clinton Pinchin’,” New York Post, 4/16/07)

Posted by: Chrissy on February 19, 2008 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Some people should ask themselves why they feel such glee in "seeing" and predicting the darkening of the light.

It's not about Obama but something much, much larger. If you want to live your lives in a self-defined hell of negative expectations, fine. But I used to be that way about pretty much everything, and it's a crock. Personally, I'm not afraid of sailing off the edge of the world...

Posted by: John from Taos on February 19, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

It's a-coming.

Posted by: Jay Rosen on February 19, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Spoken like a true wingnut. I hate the truth too...

Posted by: elmo on February 19, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Let's just point out that Kevin is part of any backlash -- and for exactly the same reason.

He's bored with Obama winning. He needs something to write about. And thus he hops on the bandwagon.

I think I've seen two or three "Obama is over" posts from him. They always come after a period of positive news for Obama and they all have the same underlying dynamic: The Story Must Change.

Posted by: Adam on February 19, 2008 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

From a commenter above
"First, let's remember:

1. Krugman is SHRILL!
2. Hillary killed Vince Foster!
3. Tonight, Obama was able to get Castro to resign from Cuban President.

Woohoo"


I've been a lifelong dem. But I have been thinking about sitting out this election although I am squirming over the potential change in the supreme court.

Honestly, the commenters response above is just one example of why I feel so disenfranchised by the Obama supporters.

Posted by: optical weenie on February 19, 2008 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I'm thinking that's part of his strategy/plan. There's a natural flow to campaigns. That's why now we hear the soaring words, the true wonkishness will happen closer to election day

Posted by: doug r on February 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Now Obama remains and the naive who fell into the trap still don't get they were played and stupidly are blaming the people who tried to warn them."

Do you, perchance, realize just how much contempt you're displaying in this post? It's quite revealing.

Posted by: PaulB on February 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

"Honestly, the commenters response above is just one example of why I feel so disenfranchised by the Obama supporters."

Man, I hope you're joking.

Posted by: PaulB on February 19, 2008 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Reporters will start wondering why Obama doesn't like to talk to them very much"

I know this is a blog but should there be some minimal expectation of reporters doing their homework?

These two statements are false:

"Obama doesn't talk to the media much"

"Obama is all style and no substance"

The steps needed to look into these two issues are childishly simple. But it is harder than doing nothing. If you're on a deadline, simply accepting or reacting to media reverb is a pretty easy way to bang a few stories out.

Posted by: Steve C on February 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

The announcement of the backlash will head the backlash off before the pass.

When newspapers printed facts that were hurtful to Reagan, readers complained. This is what we're seeing and will continue to see for at least four years.

Posted by: AF on February 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

"The naive true-believers have been played well by the conservatives on this one. The conservatives picked the weak of the litter, nursed him and protected him until they were ready to put him in the ring and be demolished by one of their own."

Out of curiosity, do you really not see how supremely silly this is?

Posted by: PaulB on February 19, 2008 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

"Call me crazy, but how about we vet a guy with three year's experience on the federal stage (one spent running for Presidet) just a teentsy bit before we give him the nuclear launch codes?"

No objection from me. Now how do you propose to "vet" him? Neither Krugman's column nor Kevin's post appear to help.

Posted by: PaulB on February 19, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Taylor Marsh embarrassed herself this morning. And if that wasn't enough, Pale Rider took her to the woodshed.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 19, 2008 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Honestly, the commenters response above is just one example of why I feel so disenfranchised by the Obama supporters.

I live six blocks from Obama headquarters in KC. Sometimes the bus stop reminds me of when they used to let Moonies in the airport.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State on February 19, 2008 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

with reference to my comment "Remember, analogic reasoning is more often than (correction: add - not) faulty (no Ob book reference here, maybe someone else can help)." above I found a classic case of anal-ogic reasoning gone awry. Check out Krist-anal-ogic reasoning at the following link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/opinion/18kristol.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Posted by: DesiPanchi on February 19, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Brooks was, of course, one of the first to lavishly praise and encourage Obama before he declared. Now that he has achieved success, BoBo must tear him down.

Posted by: bob h on February 19, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

My advice to Sen. Obama would be to hold lots of stadium rallies. When hundreds of thousands of people show up to listen to a politician speak, that bubble is too big to burst.

Posted by: Brojo on February 19, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's bubble will burst when the media decides it should burst. That will probably be around the time Brittany gets out of rehab or Paris introduces Vol 2. He doesn't have "it" yet but if and when he does they will start picking the bones. Wait and see. News at 11!!!!

Posted by: fillphil on February 19, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

As I've said before:

Predict future behavior from past behavior- the news media will reliably attack any Democratic nominee for President, or any sitting Democratic President. The closer Obama comes to being the nominee, the more heated the attacks will become. Brooks is the herald for this kind of thing. Obama has benefited from millions of dollars in free attacks by the media against Hillary Clinton but don't expect that same courtesy as regards McCain (the media loves him more than Obama, in my estimation). I don't think it will be enough to keep the Cryptkeeper afloat, though.

Krugman is merely a Democrat who does not think Obama is the best Democratic candidate. There is no reason to conflate him with Republicans.

Although there are some frothing Obamamaniacs on this site, they are put to shame by the people on Daily Kos, and by some I've met out in the electoral hinterlands. Some of the common traits to look for are: (held in common with Paultards and Bushbots) demonizing the opponent's every word, phrase, thought or act; positing that the very act of running against their diety is illegitmate; whining that all criticism, and even unalloyed praise is sacriligious; and vicious personal attacks against non-converts. Don't take my word for it, go read other comment sections.

Obama's policy positions and voting record are not much different than Hillary Clintons. There is nothing in his history to suggest that he has the magic bullet to defeat the hyper-partisanship (party before country) fomented by the Republicans. If he is our nominee, I will work to get him elected, but the belief that the goodness of Obama will convert the Republicans in the House and Senate to decency is borderline insane.

P.S. I had to laugh at the commenter above who though the Clintons and the right wing were aliies. Get out of the house much?

Posted by: solar on February 19, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK
….Krugman is an effing co-architect of the BS narrative. He's not surrendering -- he's fleeing to Argentina. Disputo on February 19, 2008 at 2:44 AM
This over-the-top response to any one who dares ask if your hero has the chops is silly and off-putting.
….Barack Obama has a Messiah complex….Helena Molehilla at 5:49 AM
Obama plays the Christian card:

...Today, Greg Sargent posted a brochure which the Obama campaign is distributing in South Carolina which seem to include religious appeals at least as overt and explicit as anything Huckabee has done. The center page of the brochure proclaims -- in the largest letters on the page -- that Obama is a "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN," and includes three pictures of Obama, all of which show him praying or preaching in a Church, and also includes a fourth picture: of the interior of a Church with a large cross lurking in the background. The page also says that Obama is "guided by his Christian faith" and quotes Obama saying: "We do what we do because God is with us."
That same page prints Obama's views "on the power of prayer," and -- using the same language George Bush has frequently used as a signifier to evangelical voters -- says that Obama is "Called to Christ," "Called to Bring Change" and "Called to Serve":...

How is this not embarrassing?

…. government is an important partner in any big, national challenge…And America is great (and distinct from other nations) because we are risk-takers. huh on at 6:42 AM
The first is a cliché, the second, well the second gave us George W. Bush.
….He is pissed that he is not a member of Barack's inner economic advisors….frankly pissed in Hawaii at 7:13 AM
It must be wonderful to be a mind reader.
…. their ill-advised warning against "false hope." Totally UN AMERICAN. : Econobuzz on February 19, 2008 at 8:08 AM
I can't imagine anything worse than offering mere hope when policy and competence satisfy the political requirement. When you say have the audacity to hope, you are promising nothing and actually committing to nothing specific. Action, not hope; policy not hope; performance, not hope.
I'll tell you who's in a bubble. Paul Krugman and David Brooks, that's who….he knows that the public financing "pledge" has been deconstructed….Lucy at 8:42 AM
The so-called deconstruction is amusing. It has become the case that some Obama people cannot stand political imperfections in their candidate so they endlessly try to spin away inconvenient facts and statements. It's similar psychologically to evangelical Reasons to believe

….the true believer is satisfied that everything he truly needs to know is contained in a text, a dogma, a practice. ….

I can understand Krugman with his wishful thinking desire for Obama to self-destruct….DesiPanchi at 10:09 AM
You are assuming intent not in evidence. There is nothing in the statement that implies 'wanting' your candidate to self-destruct. No one should be above examination and/or criticism but some Obama people show way too much intolerance to anyone not sharing their enthusiasm. Posted by: Mike on February 19, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it would be easier to accept the notion that there's no such thing as an Obama cult if his supporters weren't so quick to defend every single move he makes, and equally quick to vilify anyone who criticizes him or supports Hillary. It's like a goddam Scientology meeting on some of these threads.

Krugman's a perect example. He clearly supports Hillary over Obama. But it's not that simple to the Obama cultists. No reasonable person could prefer Hillary. Instead, he's "got an axe to grind." He's "jealous." He's a "toadying churl." He's a "journalistic hack." You guys, particularly that condescending asshole Disputo, can't recognize the mob mentality because so many of you are perpetuating it. And please don't give me that "welcome to the Internet" bullshit. Every post on this election, on every site I go to, is dominated by Obama supporters giving other people shit. If anyone dares to say something positive about Hillary, or God forbid, negative about Obama, it's time to get out the torches. And for those Obama supporters who recognize this? Well, they're clearly Hillary supporters in disguise. Because the most important thing is that we maintain the groupthink.

It's not to say there aren't good reasons to support Obama. But the people who claim that "both sides do it" are just willfully ignorant.

And by the way, as one who worked hard to elect Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, I can tell you that the threat of backlash is very real. The press loves a candidate like Obama, but it doesn't take much for the theme to turn to "You're not who we thought you were."

Posted by: ChrisO on February 19, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I find this - Obama says he is practicing a new kind of politics, but why has his PAC sloshed $698,000 to the campaigns of the superdelegates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics? - particularly annoying.

Context: ALL Democratic members of Congress are superdelegates: "Superdelegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention include all Democratic members of the United States Congress, Democratic governors, various additional elected officials, members of the Democratic National Committee, as well as "all former Democratic Presidents, all former Democratic Vice Presidents, all former Democratic Leaders of the U.S. Senate, all former Democratic Speakers of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democratic Minority Leaders, as applicable, and all former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee." (Wikipedia)

In the 2006 race, the Dems had a chance to retake the house and senate back from the GOP. Well-financed campaigns in secure seats, like Clinton and Obama, donated some of their campaign cash to less well-off campaigns in competitive races to win the seat for their party. (Both sides do this and I don't see anything wrong with it.) Should they have, in the interests of maintaining future presidential campaign purity, have hoarded their treasure and (possibly) allow the GOP to remain in charge of the country?

They simply could not donate to someone's campaign WITHOUT donating to superdelegates (assuming they won), and this soundbite does not make that clear - it sounds like they were picking and choosing ONLY superdelegates (out of a pool consisting of superdelegates and non-superdelegates) to support.

For those who have never met Obama cultists and questions their existence, you're not looking in the right demographic. They are in their late teens and early twenties and are (mainly) female, and if Obama does not get the nomination, the world will, like, END and it will be the biggest tragedy since the dawn of time!

Posted by: Arachnae on February 19, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jeebus, we used to give them 100 days.

Posted by: Mark Gilbert on February 19, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

brojo,

I can't corroborate this, but on another blog last night a woman said she was researching Clinton's vs. Obama's upcoming public appearences in OH and TX. She listed events by city in both states. Hillary had about 10 $1000/plate fundraising dinners in both states scheduled while Obama had anywhere from 50-92 rallies scheduled in each state. This seems almost unbelieveable to me. She apparently was getting her info from the candidates' websites.

Posted by: nepeta on February 19, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that the discrepancy betwen Obama and Hillary's donations to superdelegates is not an indication of anything nefarious. But how can anyone argue that it's not newsworthy to know who might have more loyalty to each candidate?

Posted by: ChrisO on February 19, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I was without cable tv for a few weeks, and one thing I realized is many of the debates are not broadcast on 'free' tv. The people I assume are filling stadiums to hear Barack speak may not have cable tv and are not being exposed to the mass media in ways that will affect their opinion. Barack supporters are not the people who wanted to see Kerry. They will not be persuaded by a bunch of corporate red neck bigots who make negative documentaries about candidates. Many of Barack's supporters are beyond the reach of the MSM. Those who would burst Obama's bubble may require stronger methods to derail his campaign.

Posted by: Brojo on February 19, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post, ChrisO.

Every post on this election, on every site I go to, is dominated by Obama supporters giving other people shit.

They remind me of the New England Patriot fans of not so long ago.

Posted by: Steve-O on February 19, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The so-called bubble won't burst if Obama supporters will keep their eye on their campaign theme of "Change," and forego personal attacks (my apologies to Jimm above).

The reason I decided to work for Obama was his voting record, which indicates he won't abandon progressive ideals once elected. While there's not much difference on issues between Obama and HRC, I'm afraid she will follow her husband, who was pro-corporate to a fault.

Will she appoint a treasury secretay from Goldman Sachs, ala Robert Rubin? Will she push anti-union legislation, like NAFTA? Did anyone supporting her read Robert Reich's Locked in the Cabinet?

What we need now is someone who will reverse the shift from a tax policy weighted in favor of corporations to one that resembles the past, when the companies that benefit the most from operating in our nation carried the biggest burden. We need to see wages break out of the long period of stagnation.

We need someone who will take on the financial industry, which has given us credit card usery and the worst housing crisis in memory.

I'm not convinced HRC will abandon the DLC/Big Business crowd and put these changes at the top of her agenda. I'm believe Obama will.

That's why I support Barack Obama. At some point, he will win the nomination and then we'll need all Democrats to rally behind him. Name calling and vicious attacks on HRC supporters now won't help then.

Posted by: DevilDog on February 19, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I for one have some serious obama-backlash-backlash. This "meme" has been kicked around for too long without anything coming of it. I'm so totally bored of it. While it's obvious to me that the media loves obama it's not obvious to me that there will be a backlash. I think he just looks good on camera- even in the debates where he didn't sound good, he still looks good. That has to change before they turn on him.

Posted by: doug on February 19, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

There will most definitely be Obama backlash, though I doubt it will come from the Obama supporters because his "bubble" burst. It will be from hack conservatives and the media. Right now the media finds conflict between Obama and Clinton, if he wins, it will be between McCain and Obama and their relationship with McCain is a very deep rooted one.

And please stop pushing the line Obama doesn't talk to reporters, I agree he doesn't engage the national media except on election nights, but right now he doesn't need to, he needs to engage the local media and apparently does that quite a lot.

Posted by: tom.a on February 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Remember 20 years ago when Dukakis was ahead of Bush 41 by 12-17%? That bubble quickly burst. What I'm concerned is that Obama's bubble will burst this summer, after the nomination is wrapped up.

Clinton's "time out for trivia" campaign isn't helping, either.

Say hello to President McCain.

Posted by: mikeel on February 19, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

So after posting the above, i got to thinking that maybe I'm wrong and this bubble bursting isn't old and played out.

I went searching the web and discovered that it's actually a lot of fun! So I thought i'll share with you all, here's the game - Find the earliest mention of obama's bubble bursting.

Month old references are easy to come by, but can anybody beat october 2006!?

Posted by: doug on February 19, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't this navel-gazing?

Had too much fun last night, so today I'm gonna be depressed and anxious.

Or in Krugman's case, oooh, Obamabubble about to pop.

Although all of this is 100% content-free, it is the way we decide elections. We need to select the Commander of the most powerful military in human history, and we are acting like teenagers dissecting our latest crush.

I wish we would just grow up. Both Obama and Hillary seem just fine. McCain is an interesting guy, but a waraholic and therefore an international menace. Eye on the ball.

I suppose this is onr of the dangers of looking to our leaders for inspiration. If they fail we take it too damn personally.

Posted by: tomtom on February 19, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Brook's comments are unworthy of a response - and Krugman is missing the point. Obama's pattern reflects independent judgement, and a lot of people like what they see. That's not a bubble, that's a movement.

Posted by: Eric on February 19, 2008 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. I had to laugh at the commenter above who though the Clintons and the right wing were aliies. Get out of the house much?

Ha ha!

Maybe that was me solar? Here's what I said:

The right-wing and their temporary allies in the Clinton camp are pushing the cult meme hard.

Did you not see the word "temporary"? Probably not. Surely you aren't so naive as to believe that it is a coincidence that both Clinton and McCain are both going after Obama at this point with nearly the same attacks?

The easiest example is of course the "Obama followers are unthinking cultists" smear being thrown off by seemingly every Clinton supporter in the blogosphere but also by the usual Republican media mouthpieces in the media.

Another good case in point was just the other day. McCain ginned up a controversy over public financing and within hours it was echoed by the Clinton campaign. Call it what you will but the campaigns of both Clinton and McCain have the same interest in bringing down Obama at this point in time. Clearly this is temporary but that makes their common goal and common actions no less real.

Posted by: Curt M on February 19, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The MSM just considers Obama a handy tool for bashing Hillary. If and when he gets the Dem nomination they will go back to Dem-bashing in a heartbeat.

That's just the kind of shallow street-walking media whores they are.

Posted by: The Fool on February 19, 2008 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Surely you aren't so naive as to believe that it is a coincidence that both Clinton and McCain are both going after Obama at this point with nearly the same attacks?"

Obama's campaign lends itself to common attacks. As does Clinton's, as does McCain's. People running against candidates, whether from the same party or otherwise, tend to find the same weaknesses in their opponents.

Of course I saw the word temporary. The use of it in no way retracts your feeble use of the word allies.

For months now, Obama and each and every Republican candidate for President has attacked Hillary Clinton. However, I think we would have to go far and wide to find a bulb dim enough to say "Obama and the right wing are allies" temporary or otherwise. Saying this, though, has just as much validity (i.e., none) as saying it about Clinton.

Posted by: solar on February 19, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

For shame. Here goes the "liberal media" once again doing their best to add volume to conservative talking points. Reminds me of the Clinton era..."oh we know that Clinton didn't ship drugs from airfields in Arkansas...we're just reporting what others are saying." Reminds me of Florida 2000. Reminds me of post-911. C'mon Kevin. C'mon Krugman. You both should know better than to denigrate someone's popularity _because of_ their popularity. It speaks of fear, and the cliche that Dems are nothing but worriers.

Posted by: noogs on February 19, 2008 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bwaage: As if Robert Porkmeister Byrd needs help to get re-elected. C'mon, this is bribery, legal as it may be.

Disputo, et al, you can stop drinking the Obama Kool-Aid whenever you want.

Oh, I'm not a Hillary supporter, as I'm a left-liberal independent.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Good grief Kevin, is this what it's come to as a Democrat? All of these doomsday, the sky is falling scenarios? Geesh, I think you have battered liberal syndrome. Campaigns ebb and flow they always do.

Posted by: Dresden on February 19, 2008 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

My advice to Sen. Obama would be to hold lots of stadium rallies. When hundreds of thousands of people show up to listen to a politician speak, that bubble is too big to burst. Brojo at 12:07 p.m.

Wow! It could be filmed and circulated like Leni Riefenstahl's film, Triumph of the Will.


Posted by: emmarose on February 19, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! It could be filmed and circulated like Leni Riefenstahl's film, Triumph of the Will.

Out. Of. Fucking. Bounds.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK
As if Robert Porkmeister Byrd needs help to get re-elected. C'mon, this is bribery, legal as it may be.

Disputo, et al, you can stop drinking the Obama Kool-Aid whenever you want.

Oh, I'm not a Hillary supporter, as I'm a left-liberal independent.

Did you research how much was donated to Sen. Byrd's campaign?
I haven't either, but I suspect it was little, if any, by either Senators Obama or Clinton, both of whom contributed to many Democratic campaigns in 2006. I'm sure they were both aware of Sen. Byrd's popularity in his home state, and that the money was better spent shoring up weak Democratic incumbents, or funding Democratic challengers of a weak Republican incumbents.

I myself am not sure what to think about the fact that Sen. Clinton raised more and gave less from her war chest than Sen. Obama, to Democrats in 2006.

Posted by: kenga on February 19, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Whatcha gonna do when Obamamania comes for you!

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant post (huh):

I don't know why folks seem to interpret Obama's promise of bringing Republicans and Democrats together as equivalent to bringing the GOP and Democratic Party together. I think Obama is really talking about attracting Republicans (and independents) to rally around good solutions/approaches to national and international challenges. If those solutions have "progressive" roots (i.e., fact-based, discovery-based, participatory approaches, etc.), then all the better. But I think of Obama more as a pragmatist first than a "liberal" in an ideological sense. That's why it's "easy" to find apparent contradictions in his positions. But the consistency is in common sense, inclusive approaches that yield solutions to problems that have broad support and thus better chance of long term success. If Obama is idealistic, it is about who we are as Americans and our ability to solve big problems by working together; his idealism is not some laundry list of liberal Democratic (government as the only solution) policy proposals.

To be sure, Obama has a moral compass that tells him that government is an important partner in any big, national challenge, and that we are "in it" together. But that compass is not unique to a particular political party. And that compass does not betray naivete but instead demonstrates confidence; confidence in America and Americans. I think that's part of Obama's appeal.

If you look very closely at his background, his record, and most importantly, his approach to solving problems, it's hard not become enamored with the promise. Is it a roll of the dice? Sure. But nothing worth having is risk-free. And America is great (and distinct from other nations) because we are risk-takers.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Jimm's in L-O-V-E!

Posted by: Pat on February 19, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

David in NY: Every time I hear Hillary say something like, "I've got a 37-point plan to improve inspection of beef and keep the food supply safe," I cringe.

And every time I hear Obama talk in that sing song voice, I cringe. I can barely listen to the man at all. I don't want to be talked to that way. It's condescending.

Jimm: Obama does NOT have a progressive voting record. He's my senator, and we Illinois progressives have been greatly disappointed in him. So I don't know what you're basing your enamoration on.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on February 19, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

All of the Obama supporters who are commenting here are obviously trolls trying to make Obama zealots look like crazed, closed-minded, vicious fanatics.

Posted by: Amazing on February 19, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not enamored with Obama, but huh's post defending Obama, I have not chosen a candidate, and support both Obama and Clinton.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

To clarify, I am not a committed or exclusive supporter to any candidate right now, but I do support in more general terms both Hillary and Barack, though I'm still just getting started as far as evaluating their respective platforms and candidacies (i.e. doing my due diligence).

Only thing I can say for certain is that I want the Republican party to pay dearly for their failures this fall, but at the same time I am interested in who would be the most pragmatic and progressive candidate.

Posted by: Jimm on February 19, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a sec. Paul Krugman is not supportive of Barack Obama? Now I really have to question my views. Up until now he had been so objective.

Posted by: flyerhawk on February 19, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who thinks McCain will get elected isn't living in the real world. His 100 years in Iraq and bomb bomb Iran is all that is needed to sink him. Most people are just dying to spend 10 billion a week in Iraq instead of in the USA. And because we are so flush with cash and our military is at peak readiness let's go after Iran too and drive gas prices up even more.

Yeah, right. In the real world the economy is in the toilet, people are losing their homes by the millions, energy prices are out of sight, global warming looms, inflation is getting out of control, and the Iraq war is an unbelievably expensive mess, with nothing to show for it.

Either Clinton or Obama will beat McCain. Independents did like the old McCain, but they hate the war and he's just offering more of the same. Independents also like Obama and he's giving them a clear alternative. The only way the republicans have a chance is to divide the democrats (something about divide and conquer). I'm sure they will have paid and unpaid operatives on all liberal web sites posing as Clinton or Obama supporters trying to stir things up. Just relax. I'm supporting Obama because I think he has the best chance of getting a larger governing majority than Clinton, but if its Clinton I'll support her. I would look very suspiciously at any one who says if my candidate doesn't win I'm voting for McCain. I can't see any Democrats doing that. Anybody who thinks Obama is naive should look at his campaign. It has been absolutely brilliant.
Krugman is wrong about this one, so STFU Paul.

Posted by: LiberalLiberalLiberal on February 19, 2008 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Can there any cult leader come out of Harvard Law Review? I don't think so. Give the whole cult deal a permanent rest.

Posted by: frank lee on February 19, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you Chrissy for changing my mind and converting me to Clinton.

Yeah, that "rumor" has been circulating for a long time and it's only a coinkadink that it gains legs right now.


Posted by: lou on February 19, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama has been riding a major league bubble for months now."

Are you kidding me? He only started riding a 'bubble' immediately after Iowa and immediately after South Carolina, mostly because the MSM had already put him in the also-ran column. Obama's campaign - its strategy and ground game - is excellent, and will continue to be excellent in the general election. I like how pundits think that what pundits think has some huge bearing on the outcome of elections. Yes yes, the huddled masses are desperately waiting for Brooks to tell them who to vote for...

Posted by: Muzhik on February 19, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

The bubble has already been/started to burst. The difference is that no one appears to be dropping their support, simply realizing that they got swept up in the emotion.

I think the real difference is that Obama is a likeable candidate, and for the most part means what he says. (Contrasting this against Clinton, who seems only interested in what sells.)

Posted by: Brian on February 19, 2008 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

From Justin Raimondo:

"Weiss goes on to say that progressives of his sort “aren’t worried about Obama’s lip service re Israel. They know in their hearts that a man with a Muslim parent who grew up in, among other places, the largest Muslim country on the planet, Indonesia, cares about Palestinian human rights. And what’s most important– he will owe the lobby nothing….”

"Which is precisely why the Obama campaign had better get ready for the Barack Hussein Obama business — that is, if the Clintonites haven’t already started it before this gets posted. Yet this much-anticipated low blow is likely to boomerang if anyone, of either party, dares say it out loud: the backlash will help Obama, or, at least, blow away his enemies, who will finally discover that change is not a platitude."

Posted by: Brojo on February 19, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Obama hasn't be vetted yet as a candidate. Having a CIC who was a social worker is not what peopel will respond to. Not to mention he is considered more liberal than Kerry and Hillary. His support for Affirmative Action will crush him as well as his take on crimnals. Having no experience in economics outside of student loans will be interesting fodder. Don't underestimate McCain he has tremendoius staying power and knows how to fight not just a prepared speech that lacks substance. This divine child archtype he has is rather childish don't you think. He reminds me of Michael Jackson on Steriods.

Posted by: Frank Brown on February 19, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Who is surprised by recent revelations that Hillary plans to steal Obama's pledged delegates?! Come on, People!

By now we know the Clintons are capable of ANYTHING, whether legal or ethical or not, to get power. There is NOTHING NEW here, is there!?!

Enough of Washington politics as usual. The politics of personal destruction, as perfected by the Clinton Dynasty over the years, has gone far enough!
So, turn the focus where it should be: have Bill and Hill immediately release their incriminating tax returns and have them immediately release their secret White House papers (which they are pretending they cant release now!) so that we all can judge for ourselves whether Hillary really had any experience in the White House besides parties with dignitaries and her miserably failed Hillary-Care-Gate.

Posted by: Gerald G on February 19, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Gerald. Wipe the spit off your lip.

Posted by: Pat on February 19, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, earlier someone called Obama a pragmatist. As a cynical Hillary supporter, I guess I just don't see it, since I am a pragmatist in the philosophical sense. Now, I have nothing against the man, but I feel like a vote for him would be a vote based on faith, and that isn't very pragmatic. Hillary is the devil we know, and I'm comfortable going with the devil we know, who has clear experience and a plan.

As far as Obama, if he wins the nomination I'll gladly back him in November, but he's not my first choice now. I guess when the smoke clears, I don't expect the person with a 97% liberal vote in the Senate, accoring to Pew, to build much of a bipartisan coalition (and neither of them can). The IOU he's writing to the Democrats now won't mean much to the Republicans in November, and the same old battles will be fought.

Posted by: Travis W on February 19, 2008 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

Barack Obama is nothing but old school, welfare state, peacenik "Blame America First" liberalism wrapped up in a shiny new package. It may look and sound different, but at the core it's the same old gas. As time passes, most people are going to want to hear more than just lofty platitudes about "hope" and "change". They're gonna want specifics. And the more people start to look into what Barack Obama is really advocating, the better John McCain is going to look.

Posted by: Dan R. on February 19, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Wow! It could be filmed and circulated like Leni Riefenstahl's film, Triumph of the Will.

OK, emmarose, duly noted.

Posted by: Lucy on February 19, 2008 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Dan R., outstanding winger parody. The best.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

The McCain-Obama public financing kerfluffle deconstructed:

Would You Make a "Pledge" with this man?
by Mark Scmitt

Posted by: Lucy on February 19, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Folks out there in Obama land,

As an aging white chump of 51, I'd like to contribute some historical perspective to this debate. Way back in 1976 I voted for another candidate who claimed he was a bringer of hope and an agent of change. Like a lot of other people, I was tired and frustrated after the twin disasters of Vietnam and Watergate, so I voted for the man who promised 'hope' and 'change.' His name was Jimmy Carter. Four years later, the Ayatollah Khomeni and his followers were laughing at Carter's pious hand-wringing over their seizure of the U.S. Embassy and its staff in Tehran and the resulting hostage crisis, which lasted 444 grinding, humilating days. The end of Carter's presidency also saw 130,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan and 50, 000 Cuban troops dancing around Africa at the command of their Soviet masters. The Russians were so impressed by Carter's displays of hope and his fervent desire for change that they joyously announced that "the correlation of forces has shifted in the favor of socialism." Translation-WE"RE WINNING AND THE USA IS TOAST!!!!


Oh, I forgot about Carter and the killer rabbit.

To me Obama is just a Jimmy Carter Clone.

Mike Gallagher, South Korea

Posted by: Michael Gallagher on February 19, 2008 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

"If you look very closely at his background, his record, and most importantly, his approach to solving problems, it's hard not become enamored with the promise."

Lol. This is hilarious. Obama does NOT have a record! The Illinois State assembly is only the minor leagues. He didn't accomplish much for Illinois, and has very little experience in the Senate.

He is a big government Democrat that will hurt our economy by trying to fund social activist type programs.

Wake up people!!!

Posted by: John on February 19, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Just like the Reagan Bubble that lasted from 1980 until 1992.

A bubble is empty speculation waiting to burst. What evidence do you have that this is a bubble, other than sheer cynicism?

Posted by: AxelDC on February 19, 2008 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

"McCain will find his rhythm?" He has, and it's like Wayne Newton on heroin. Christ, have you heard or watched the man talk for three seconds? I feel tired just watching him. Apart from whether Obama is the progressive we need or want, he ought to be able to talk rings around a man who barely sounds alive, and whose ideas are less alive than his voice. He's going to make Bob Dole look lively. There's more than one reason the Republicans aren't all that excited about McCain. Yeah, maybe the press likes him because they think he's a nice guy, but don't they have eyes and ears?

Posted by: dogofthesouth on February 19, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

To me Obama is just a Jimmy Carter Clone.

I disagree. Carter had specific flaws that accentuated the difficulties he had during his administration (difficulties that probably would have destroyed anyone's administration, particularly the inevitable fall of the Shah). He was a micro-manager, wasting time in his first year on mundane tasks such as organizing the white house tennis court schedule. Obama has admitted to being a more big-pucture kind of guy. Carter had a lousy relationship with congress, while Obama has stressed his intent to work with both sides in congress in passing major legislation, and has thus secured quite a few endorsements in that body. Carter may not have been assertive enough in combating Soviet aggression in the third world initially, but I am actually more worried about our next president being overly aggressive in that region. 2009 will not be 1981. What matters is judgement, and I think Obama has better defined priorities in combatting terrorism than his rivals in either party.

Oh, I forgot about Carter and the killer rabbit.

So what? What is the point of this?

Posted by: sweaty guy on February 19, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

"McCain will find his rhythm?" He has, and it's like Wayne Newton on heroin.

Line of the day, followed closely by "He's going to make Bob Dole look lively."

So what? What is the point of this?

Poorly executed concern trolling.

Posted by: shortstop on February 19, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

please.. from march to dec -obama was 20 pts down in the polls, the press said he was dull and was not meeting expectations.. he wasn't black enough or he could not appeal to white voters.. now that he is winning a broad coaltion of support while retaining a positive and consistent campaign theme-the narrative changes to negative attacks.. it was just a matter of time before the wave of scrutiny arrived from his opponents and the opposition press. mccain will end up resorting to standard gop tactics.. scare everyone to death and call obama a liberal. it will be the same old song.. and he will lose like bob dole did in 96

Posted by: negative wave on February 19, 2008 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Neither Clinton or Obama will beat McCain. Aint in the cards. The GOP now feels it can win this thing. Hillary's done and is just going through the motions. McCain tonight called Obama unfit to be President. No pussyfooting around he just said it and he is not going to stop. There is something out there I don't know what but its there. The racist bamboozle which confounded Hillary aint gonna work with McCain who a doesn't care if he's called a racist and is gonna play the patriotism card every chance he gets. Its gonna be real ugly folks.

Posted by: anonymous on February 19, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's just words, after all...David Axelrod's and Deval Patrick's, but who cares...he's black enough, he's white enough, he's anything you want him to be enough...so he copies other people's homework, as long as they said it was okay, it is okay in Barack and Michelle's world.

Posted by: HLPeary on February 19, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. That Reagan bubble was gonna burst any day. I remember thinking that in 1981. And in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985... and so on.

Bubbles don't burst, and teflon doesn't always rub off. This time, though, we could have a more worthy beneficiary...

Posted by: TedL on February 19, 2008 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Obama will end up looking like Dukakis sitting in his tank. A non-credible BS artist caught in his own web. Right now he can get away with his hope and change crap, but once the rubber hits the road he's toast.

Posted by: Southerner on February 19, 2008 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Its gonna be real ugly folks."

Quite likely, but "ugly" works against McCain, not for him, as Clinton found out to her sorrow. And given McCain's positions on the issues, and how badly out of touch he is with the general electorate, he's pretty badly handicapped. The race is Obama's to lose, not McCain's to win.

Posted by: PaulB on February 20, 2008 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"He is a big government Democrat that will hurt our economy by trying to fund social activist type programs."

ROFL.... Yeah, we've seen how well the Republican Party does with the economy, now, haven't we?

Posted by: PaulB on February 20, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

"And the more people start to look into what Barack Obama is really advocating, the better John McCain is going to look."

John "100 years in Iraq" McCain is going to look better? John "more tax cuts for the rich" McCain is going to look better? John "I'm old, tired, and out-of-touch with what people want" McCain is going to look better?

Tell me, on what planet do you live?

Posted by: PaulB on February 20, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

To those who think McCain doesn't have a chance against Obama, please read these words from his speech last night:

"I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and a return to the false promises and failed policies of a tired philosophy that trusts in government more than people. Our purpose is to keep this blessed country free, safe, prosperous and proud. And the changes we offer to the institutions and policies of government will reflect and rely upon the strength, industry, aspirations and decency of the people we serve."

And when he said proud, do you think he might have been referring to a rather injudicious statement by Mrs. Obama?

DO NOT sell John McCain short.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on February 20, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

the only person who can become president IS McCain--to bad. Mitt Romney would have been the absolutely best President. I wish he had not given it to McCain. Would it be possible to bring him back??

Posted by: SAL on February 20, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

LiberalLiberalLiberal:

DO NOT discount John McCain

McCain’s Wisconsin Victory Speech Remarks “I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history and a return to the false promises and failed policies of a tired philosophy that trusts in government more than people. Our purpose is to keep this blessed country free, safe, prosperous and proud. And the changes we offer to the institutions and policies of government will reflect and rely upon the strength, industry, aspirations and decency of the people we serve.”

And when he said proud, do you think he might have been referring to a rather injudicious statement by Mrs. Obama? See below.

McCain vs Obama...Cindy vs Michelle, That Is It started innocuously enough. Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic candidate Barack Obama, D-Ill., was talking about her husband’s message of hope. “What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback,” she said at a rally Monday in Milwaukee. “It is making a comeback and let me tell you something,” she continued, “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”… It got some mention on political blogs, but not much more than that. Until another political wife - Cindy McCain - put in her two cents. “I'm proud of my country,” McCain said Tuesday, during an introduction of her husband, the Arizona senator and soon-to-be nominee of the Republican party, John McCain. “I don’t know about you, if you heard those words earlier, I’m very proud of my country.”

Which of those statements do you think will “resignate” in the hearts of American voters?

Bit in His Teeth (by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo) Some time a week or so ago I read an article about the Obama-McCain relationship (send me the link?). And the gist was that the antagonism between these two men (at least from McCain's side) isn't something cooked up to order for this campaign. This goes all the way back to when Obama showed up in the senate. And it seems to come down to a sense of 'I've been working at this my whole life and who the f--k is this Obama kid?'
A McCain cabinet could bear shades of Teddy Roosevelt Democrats already are regularly attacking John McCain for offering what they characterize as a third George W. Bush term. But a new Theodore Roosevelt presidency might be closer to the mark.

Never mind that Teddy Roosevelt was a progressive. Never mind that he QUIT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY! But against a guy who looks like a kid, anything is possible.

RNC donor event outlines Obama attack plan Focusing on Barack Obama’s "inexperience" and "undisciplined messaging" are two ways to ensure that the senator from Illinois doesn’t get to be president, according to honchos at the Republican National Committee.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: Carolyn Kay on February 20, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

OBAMA IS GOD. WE ALL HAVE TO BELIEVE IN HIM. HE HAS NOTHING BUT GOOD INTENTIONS, AND NO PLAN. THE BUBBLE SHOULD BURST RIGHT NOW, BUT IT WILL ONLY AFTER NOVEMBER ELECTIONS. TOO BAD....

Posted by: obamarama on February 22, 2008 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

MESSAGE

Posted by: ISHMAel back on March 4, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

MESSAGE

Posted by: ISHMAel back on March 4, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

MESSAGE

Posted by: ISHMAel back on March 4, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

MESSAGE

Posted by: ISHMAel back on March 4, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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