No New Style Politics In Obama’s Playbook

There’s really no “new style politics” in Barack Obama’s playbook. Some of us have been saying this for months now. CNN catches on, finally, on the eve the Democratic National Committee meeting Saturday, which is scheduled to attempt to settle “the thorny issue of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at its August convention.”

At the meeting on Saturday, “party officials will have to fashion a solution that satisfies supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton and presidential nominee front-runner Sen. Barack Obama.”

But Barack Obama will no doubt be looking to play by the old style Chicago politics rule book, the one he employed in his first state Senate campaign and has been playing from ever since:

In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago’s gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.

As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.

“That was Chicago politics,” said John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist. “Knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions, destroy your enemy, right? It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996 that conflicts with his message today. He may have gotten his start registering thousands of voters. But in that first race, he made sure voters had just one choice.” […]

Kass, the Chicago Tribune columnist, said the national media are naive when it comes to Chicago politics, which is a serious business.

He said they have bought into a narrative that Obama is strictly a reformer. The truth, Kass says, is that he is a bare-knuckled politician. And using the rules to win his first office is part of who Obama is.

“It’s not the tactics of ‘let’s all people come together and put your best ideas forward and the best ideas win,’ ” Kass said. “That’s the spin; that’s in the Kool-Aid. You can have some. Any flavor. But the real deal was, get rid of Alice Palmer.

“There are those who think that registering people to vote and getting them involved in politics and then using this tactic in terms of denying Alice Palmer the right to compete, that these things are inconsistent. And guess what? They are. They are inconsistent. But that’s the politics he plays.”

The Campaign Spot, Talk Left and Taylor Marsh all have more and as Gilbert points out below, Obama has his team ready to fight for the “disenfranchisement” of the voters in Michigan and Florida.

Oh, just to add some icing on the cake, Pelosi and Reid have now decided to take on the roles of the enforcers: “Leaders in Congress Seek to Settle on Nominee.” Let no Superdelegate be undeclared “by this time next week,” says Harry Reid.  

The Congressional leaders lack formal authority over the superdelegates, but can use strong relationships and powers of persuasion to persuade some colleagues to make a public choice.

Stay tuned as the mess is sorted out and Democracy within the Democratic Party perhaps goes up in flames…

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6 Responses to No New Style Politics In Obama’s Playbook

  1. Great post, Pamela.

    It seems the Traditional Media has forgotten how to ‘report’. After Watergate everything got investigated to the ‘ninth’ degree, including Bill Clinton. Then suddenly, after the horror of 9-11, they suddenly forgot that reporting unpopular news was an essential part of their profession.

    Everyone, including most of us, hungered for retribution in the aftermath of the attack. My former girlfriend, as gentle a soul as I’ve ever met…one in fact that saved my life at the time, called me and said on 9-12, “Nuke the bastards!”

    She and I have lost touch and I don’t know her reactions for the last couple of years but I know she’s been distraught over the Iraq War. She was talking about Afghanistan not Iraq or Iran.

    Where was the airtime for the reporters, stringers mostly, that were filing reports that contradicted the Traditional Media headlines?

    We are seeing the political equivalent in this reporting on Barack Obama. If CNN is starting to wake up then perhaps, too late, the balance of the media is as well.

    Screw the party ‘elite’. Let the delegates, from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, tell us who we should run against John McCain and the Republican attack machine.

    Don’t forget the American Taliban of the Religious Right either. They taken a low profile since the Schiavo tragedy but they haven’t disappeared or stopped fund raising and organizing.

    As I’ve said so many times, it’s going to be a filthy, ugly general election campaign. I hope our nominee is up to the task of deflecting all the incoming campaign fire that will be coming his/her way.

    I certainly hope it’s Hillary Clinton. She’s been fighting the b*****ds for decades and they’ve never, ever stopped her.

  2. coldH2Owi says:

    It’s curious that the bastards Sen. Clinton has been fighting apparently include every voter who voted for any of the other Democratic candidates. This is no longer for some people a battle for the nomination, it’s a battle of Sen. Clinton against everybody else. It has become so personal that Sen. Clinton is being portrayed as every betrayed, abused, dismissed woman in the history of the world. She’s like Joan d’Arc running the Underground Railroad while trying to stay alive to provide a male heir to the English throne while staunching Christ’s wounds as she hands the apple back. Sen. Clinton is a strong centrist who feels no shame in accepting Richard Scaife’s endorsement, which shows her ability to something something. By doing that one thing, she had/has alienated me. That does not mean that I don’t have serious policy issues with her, but that one betrayal to those of us who worked so hard for President Clinton was beyond the pale. There are some things that are so egregious they can’t be dismissed as something done while someone is tired or whatever.

  3. Cold

    Enough already. We all get it… you don’t like HRC. You repeat the same tired talking points against her over and over again. You twist facts, you assume things that are not so and whine incessently when it comes to HRC.

    Any other topic of conversation that you join in on, most of us can actually have a decent conversation with you. So enough already.

  4. NaplesTaco says:

    Bare Knuckled Politics……

    A great article indeed. But what it does not do is explore the same tactics that where used by Bill Clinton in 1976 to get the Attorney General position in Arkansas. That led him right to the Governor’s Mansion and eventually the White House.

    And we all know the tactics employed by the Clintons in Arkanasas. (Rose Law Firm, WhiteWater)

    I guess a good word to explain them would be “Bare Knuckled Politics”

    And look right across the aisle…

    We have John McCaine the maverick Mr. No Lobbyist…

    Hey who’s that? Mr. Black?

    See.. the climate of politics is going to breed that “Bare Knuckle” enviroment

    As far as Barack Obama goes, the story will unfold. But it can’t go much higher than Mayor Daley.

    My other two choices have been in D.C for a long time. They have been all Bushed up. Once you got the Bush… you always got the Bush….

    So why are we so afraid of a new face? That uses old school politics just like everyone else.

    That pesky media tells me that the Democrats are so close on the issues but in reality they are not.

    HRC has hesitations about withdrawing from Iraq

    BO will look at executive orderds signed by Bush and overturn them if neccesary ! ! !

    HRC will mandate my health care

    BO will tax me more

    I dont like warrantless wiretapping, i like habeus corpus and rendition is a very bad thing. So since Barack Obama has come out and challanged the White House directly on these. My vote is with him.

    Now the challenge is mine that he follows through with promises. Because personal responsibilty is the most important part of sucess.

    If we continue to wait for our politicians to create the path for us. We will end up walking on a gravel road.

  5. coldH2Owi says:

    Sorry that lying is so tired to you Pamela. & I’m also tired of you all dismissing Sen. Clinton’s vote to enable Bu$hCo’s vanity war. I guess dead people are just a tired old arguments to you. WTF? What you do is to just ignore these things, but immediately jump all over others who don’t agree. There is enough blame to go around for Iraq, but Sen. Clinton has blood on her legacy. But it just yesterday’s news. I guess you guys only want to talk about what – how the Democratic Party of Sen. Kerry, et.al., is worthless & needs to be replaced. I’m really not sorry your candidate lost, but that is because I support a different candidate. What the hell to you want from those of us who don’t support Sen. Clinton? I guess you want us to just go away so you guys can talk civilly about the hard working white people who consistently dodge sniper fire while getting flowers from a child?

  6. Cold

    Enough. Enough. Enough. You keep twisting things here and I’ve had enough. I have defended Kerry here to commenters who diss him for supporting Obama. So don’t even go there with me. Do you have any idea how bitter and petty your comments sound? Probably not.

    And FYI, the comment policy lays it out clearly about civil conversation – and you continue to ignore that. I have no desire for The Dem Daily to degenerate into a free for all where anything goes – so if you don’t like civil conversation, I’ll remind you again you can find greener less civil pastures to comment on.