Reflections on the 2008 Democratic Primary

Because the former king of pop can do it better than me:

From the early MNSBC treatment of Hillary (initiated, btw, by Edwards and Obama), to mocking her nonexistent tears, to the constant calls for her to quit, to the painting of her as racist, to the absurd f#$%ing idea that Hillary was waiting for the assassination of Obama, to the forcing of the winner of more votes out of the contest, this contest has been a monstrosity. There is one thing no media outlet will ever be able to take away from Hillary Clinton: She received more votes than anyone else this cycle.

I’m sure the Party leaders will unite around the nominee for the general election. It is too bad that they didn’t unite behind fairness and common decency early on. They could have done as much without endorsing either candidate. If we can’t unite against attacks aimed at one of our best leaders how are we going to fight for universal health care? How are we going to fight to get us out of Iraq? I hope all of us Democrats take a minute to see what happened to a wonderful human being. Unity should have started long, long ago.

Pressuring Hillary supporters won’t result in unity. Are you listening Barack Obama? Howard Dean? Nancy Pelosi? You need the votes of Hillary’s supporters. Tails of overturning Roe v Wade and 100 years in Iraq won’t be enough. Trust me. Hillary found her voice by listening to her supporters. You should start listening to them as well.

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22 Responses to Reflections on the 2008 Democratic Primary

  1. kcowley says:

    Well said. Thank you Gilbert, I always enjoy your posts.

  2. soona says:

    I will not vote for him. I told Hillary that when I replyed to her last 2 emails. A lot of people will revolt. Democray by defintion goes from the bottom up not the other way around. We are on the bottom do not want him, we want Hillary. I am a leftest and it kills me to pieces to say this, but Mccain seems more blatable to me at this point. I may not do it in Nov, but I am sure as hell will not vote for Obama.

  3. Frenchdoc says:

    Thank you, Gilbert. This is exactly how I feel. I think a lot of us Hillary supporters will not forget how Hillary has been treated by Obama and his campaign, her own goddamn party, the media and the Big Blog Boyz. It is this basic lack of fairness that, personally, I will not get over.

    The calls to unity truly sound hollow in that context.

  4. Mark says:

    Hi All: As you know, I left the Democrats on March 25. I have been a passionate Hillary supporter and continue to be a Hillary supporter. However, people just don’t get it, when it comes to me….

    I will say this as loudly and as clearly as I can — IT’S THE PROCESS, STUPID!

    We have had a process that has allowed very unequal rules of engagement. Not enough people were pushing back against the never-ending and clearly biased diminishment of Clinton as a person, not just as a candidate. We all know the tools of diminishment that were used. The DNC did not object. Neither did Obama or his campaign.

    We have had a primary that has been filled with anti-democratic processes. Caucuses have been clearly shown to be unrepresentative of the will of the people. States that go early have an unequal effect on outcomes, exploiting their “early” power and diminishing democracy. We have a DNC that has just let their version of the Electoral College take away the will of the people as determined by the popular vote. Ummm… 2000 deja vu. In other words, the DNC could not do a better job of insulting the intelligence of its voters.

    So, please listen to my words (not your biases).

    The PROCESS MATTERS MORE TO ME THAN THE OUTCOME. I am only a little sad and ticked that Senator Clinton will not be the nominee. I AM MORE THAN TICKED AND ANGRY that the DNC has not promised to reform its ways.

    I left the Democrats because the DNC was clearly delaying its resolution of the Florida and Michigan primaries out of either ignorance, need for power, or partisanship. None of those were acceptable to me then.

    GET THIS CLEAR. The only way I will declare a vote for a Democrat nominee at this point in my life is when the DNC reforms its ways. Ditch the early primaries. Do advisory caucuses early, but not binding. Commit to a one day, nationwide primary. Exclude independents and Republicans. (Or a reasonable facsimile of the above — you know what I am talking about.)

    I guess the symbol, donkey, works really well. Stubborn and willing to stick with an outdated concept of democracy and an undemocratic need to exert centralized power.

    Memo to DNC: If you really wanted to exert centralized power and not just be a wuss about it, why didn’t you do that in the very beginning. Exert your power to ask Obama to wait. Create the 16-year strategy. You know what I am talking about.

    Memo to DNC: You want to get most current Democrats in exile back to the party? For me, and hundreds of thousands of other exiles, the issue is the process, not the outcome. If the process had not been so tainted, the results would be more acceptable. In this case, not even close to acceptable.

    Memo to DNC: You want to unify the party? You want to bring back the Democrats in exile? Don’t just talk about fixing the process. Between now and the convention, fix the process. Make reforms. Don’t promise reforms. Otherwise, quite frankly, I don’t ever want to be part of such an anti-democratic party. Ever.


    “Unification” of the party? Bring back the exiles? Making it possible for Hillary Clinton to be vice-president won’t cut it for me or many, many people like me. If you want unification, you need to stand up for democracy and say to we, the people, you will reform the process.

    You will not let this happen again. You will not let the candidate who wins the popular vote be defeated by the process of your backwards delegate apportionment and your need for centralized power. Can you do that? If not, count me out.

  5. coldH2Owi says:

    Well, there are going to be a lot of McCain voters over at the PUMA headquarters, so I guess they, along with you, will really teach all those mean old elected Democratic Representatives & Senators a big lesson this fall. Again, I’m sorry your candidate lost, but you need to get over that fact & you need to quit blaming everybody else but your candidate for that loss. I find it spectacularly wrongheaded to only analyze the media. In that scenario, all of Sen. Obama’s voters were misled, were stupid, were just automatons being led to slaughter. I think his supporters, as well as the American people as a whole, are way smarter than that. But you can keep up your fantasy that somehow the nomination was stolen from you, even though Sen. Obama got more votes (yes, I challenge your assertion that Sen. Clinton got more votes. Any fair minded analysis of the votes cast in the primaries where all candidates at the time were on the ballot, & where they actively campaigned would clearly show this.) Sen. Obama also got more delegates. What, were they a bunch of stupid sheep as well? Since Mr. Dr. Gilbert & Frenchdoc are too intelligent to be sheep, I guess it’s easy for them to accuse others. The media does suck, but votes & voters do not.

  6. Cold

    Both Gilbert and Frenchdoc are entitled to their feelings and their opinions. Could you try to just get that?

  7. Frenchdoc says:

    Cold: “I find it spectacularly wrongheaded to only analyze the media. In that scenario, all of Sen. Obama’s voters were misled, were stupid, were just automatons being led to slaughter.”

    Neither Gilbert nor I wrote anything of the kind.

  8. Mark

    A couple of points — there is no reason, I repeat no reason why the DNC or any one for that matter should “ask” Obama to “wait.”

    Wait for what? It’s a free country and in this country if you have the funds to run for president and get on the ballot you can run for president.

    I’m sorry, while I get that Obama had less experience as a Senator than Clinton and it would have been “nice” for him to “wait” and let the more experienced Senator get to the top, it is quite frankly in my opinion UN-Democratic to “ask” Obama to “wait.”

    Furthermore, on the “ask” Obama to “wait” realm, there were two or more other more experienced candidates in this race that did not get even as far as HRC did in the race. Should they have waited too, so HRC could have her turn? How Democratic is that?

    Democracy is letting whoever wants to run for president run.

    The people have voted in every state either in a primary or caucus or both. Yes the system is flawed, but FYI, so was Clinton’s strategy and believe me her campaign knows that. HRC’s campaign discounted the caucus states and went for the primary states with larger voting bases. It was not a smart move and they have admitted to that.

    So this is not all on the DNC.

    Finally — if you want to DNC to change their ways, be part of the change by being an active member of the party — because quite frankly, otherwise sitting on the sidelines pissing and moaning won’t get you squat.

    I’m sorry to be so harsh, but your arguments are weak if you are unwilling to participate.

  9. Soona

    If you are leftist, then surely you know Senator Obama has a liberal voting record in the Senate. Liberal organizations from MoveOn to the most Liberal members of Congress have endorsed him.

    If McCain seems more inviting to you, then I suggest you go to his website and get involved. This blog will have no part in supporting him. No part what so ever.

  10. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I’m not entirely sure that cold is an Obama supporter. S/he uses the same misdirection as the GOP. The whole “elitist” frame is straight from the GOP playbook. And the logical contortions are worthy of Tom DeLay.

    If you are a Hillary supporter, don’ t listen to coldwater to get an assessment of what Obama supporters think.

  11. Gilbert

    Cold is a Wisconsin Democrat. Click on Cold’s username in his comment and you will see his blog with a Support Russ Feingold graphic. Feingold as you may know is quite liberal and progressive.

    If I am not mistaken, Cold has said here many times he first supported Edwards and was not particularly thrilled with either HRC or Obama.

    I can’t even begin to tell you how many liberal and progressive bloggers echoed the elitist meme against Kerry in ’04. Sad but true.

  12. Phlipper says:

    I couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly. That said, I am still on the fence, with all the continued Hillary bashing, as to whether I could stomach voting for Obama.

    I thought it was my own idea to write her name in, and then I find out everyone wants to.

    There are consequences for all actions, yes? McCain getting in would be one consequence for all the Donna Braziling that we had to endure throughout.

    I actually feel the whole wave started with Oprah, in a space she always said she would never go. Thanks Oprah for not fighting for women this time. (sarcasm obvious I hope)

  13. Philliper

    I’d rather not have the consequence of McCain and ultimately I hope others see that as well. We’ve endured so much under Bush, we need a change and we will get that with a Democrat in the White House, even if it is not the Democrat some of us would have preferred.

  14. alrudder says:

    All, Pamela has called for all to have their emotions and feelings respected. Good, but don’t disrespect the facts.

    1. Gilbert, how many popular votes are you tabulating from Washington, Iowa, Maine, and Nevada?
    As far as I know there are none, and Obama won three of those four.

    2. Campaigning matters, especially against someone who has been a national political celebrity for 16 years. Absentee ballots went out in California in early January before Obama was well known. That was crucial to Clinton’s margin in big Feb 5 states.
    So realistically, considering there was no campaign, or even a ballot line for Obama (he had a rationale) is Gilbert’s figure realistic?

    3. There was a rationale for the bylaws and rules as former DNC Chair Terry McAullife explained to Michigan’s Carl Levin here four years ago.
    Gilbert et al, please explain what rule or bylaw has Obama broken?

    As a Kerry supporter, and a Hillary turned Obama supporter, we have feelings too, and we’ll deal with them as adults. But please be straight about facts. If anyone can give me a straight answer to these three questions, I’m open to new facts in proper context.

  15. Alrudder

    “All, Pamela has called for all to have their emotions and feelings respected. Good, but don’t disrespect the facts.”

    1) I never said don’t respect the facts — so please don’t infer that I did. I asked that fellow Kerry supporters and longtime readers here reflect on the past. And FYI, as an adult with more than a few more years on the planet than you, I can say that I have learned over the years that is far better to give people a few days to grive than to jump all over them. It’s the adult thing to do. Adults also repsect that everyone deals with their feeling differently and then don’t expect that because one person deals with something one way, everyone else should do the same.

    2) As a California voter and resident and someone signed up on both Obama & Clinton’s email list, I know that Obama campaigned hard out here and for months before January. In my neighborhood, I saw Obama supporters out all the time trying to drum up support.

    Is it Clinton’s fault she had name recognition and Obama didn’t? That seems to be the accusation of those who tout that reasoning why Obama didn’t do so well in CA, MI & FL.

    Fact is and it was documented, that Clinton had a superior ground game in CA, headed up by Ace Smith. I wrote about it here, it was in the news. Obama got out organized here in CA. And in some states he out organized HRC.

    Facts are always disputable depending on which side of an issue you are on.

    Last but not least, I happen to know as a long time Kerry supporter, that many Kerry supporters let their personal feelings towards HRC for dissing JK after the botched joke, determine their support for for Obama over HRC. Is that adult rationale? Not in my book.

  16. Alrudder

    One more thing …

    You reflected on another comment here last night about the time spent integrating supporters of the other candidates into the Kerry campaign.

    And I reminded you that that was one of the things I did on the Kerry blog, day in and day out. It didn’t happen by arguing over whose facts and ideas were correct. It happened by giving people the chance to warm up to JK and filling them in on what he stood for.

    Arguments like these over perceptions of what went wrong never, ever got settled and likewise after the ’04 election people never agreed on what went wrong.

    If you want to bring people around to Obama start explaining what he stands for on the issues and how he’ll fight for things important to Clinton supporters like healthcare and the economy.

  17. alrudder says:

    I misplaced a comma I was not referring to you. I’m glad you set a proper tone. I was referring to the readership at large, My personal apology

  18. Alrudder

    Thanks – I think as the days go by we’ll see people here and elsewhere in the blogosphere easing up and hopefully easing in.

    Reflecting back on ’04 once again, I was most impressed with Wes Clark’s supporters the day he announced he was endorsing JK. So many showed up on the blog that day to say they were reporting for duty. It was quite moving. This time out, we’ve run such a long primary race and Hillary’s supporters really need some time to assimilate what’s next for her and them.

    Personally, I’m burnt out from the long run. I think folks from both camps are and a little time will do everyone some good.

  19. Jessica says:

    Admittedly I was somewhat skeptical about the need for anyone other than Hillary Clinton to process what happened Tuesday night. Then today I spoke to my mom who confessed to me her anger about the media and sexism and her sadness at the whole thing. I listened and bit my tongue when she said things I didn’t agree with, remembering that she’s done that for me about a million times. She said her silver lining is that she doesn’t need to be so invested and angry anymore. I didn’t know what to say other than I think it’s going to be okay. I could tell she was on the verge of breaking down so I make up an excuse (babies are good for that) to get off the phone. I have probably underestimated people’s frustration and the need to ease out of this slowly. I know my mom is not ready to hear anything about Obama now so I’ll keep my yapper shut until she is.

    To Pamela: As an Obama supporter looking to broaden my perspective, this site has been invaluable. Thank you.

  20. Jessica

    Thanks for sharing your story about your mom here with is. I’m glad she shared her pain with you, because whether or not you agree with her, it helped you to understand better what others are feeling and that is a good thing. In time it will be all right for your mom and the rest who are feeling the pain.

    I’m also glad to hear that The Dem Daily has been of value to you as an Obama supporter and I hope you’ll keep reading and particpating here.

  21. DM says:

    Well said Gilbert!

  22. hummingbirdv says:

    Gilbert…. I love your posts. Will you be doing more? I see it is 10 days since this last one. I look forward to hearing more from you.

    Are the leaders of the DNC listening? Only to their own need for power.