Saturday, April 14, 2012

Do the poutragers still think there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans? (updated)

Now that the Republican Primary is for all intents and purposes over, thousands of words have been written discussing its effect on Mitt Romney's campaign as well as President Obama's. But you'd think that the spectacle of what the Republicans are offering would also have an effect on those on the left who suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS). After all, can anyone still honestly say with a straight face that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats?

I thought I'd check that out and give you a rundown.

First of all, I've already covered Glenn Greenwald. We're still seeing the same-old same-old from him.

The truth is that Arianna Huffington's case of ODS seems to have gotten more severe. Her response to the failed Republican message is to suggest that President Obama is not running against Romney - but himself. It can be fascinating to watch what a hole people are willing to dig themselves into in order to avoid facing reality.

The brothers Smiley and West have gone rather silent lately. But I suppose we'll be getting a read on them soon when they launch a book tour this week to sell their latest: The Rich & the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. The irony of them trying to sell us books as a way to tackle the problem of poverty should not be lost on us.

There is no doubt that Chris Hedges is as delusional as ever.

There is no substantial difference between Obama and Romney. They are abject servants of the corporate state. And if you vote for one you vote for the other.

All I can say about Jane Hamsher is that she's gone eerily silent lately - having not posted a single word on her blog for over a month. You suppose she's in rehab for her ODS? Stranger things have happened.

What set me off thinking about this in the first place was a post by Matt Stoller asking Does the 2012 Presidential Election Matter? Anyone want to guess his answer?

The 2012 election, in other words, is at this point a completely empty enterprise, bereft of substance, or integrity.

And finally, what about Daily Kos? That's the site where I've seen the most movement. The front pagers don't appear ready to go to bat for President Obama yet. But they've been endlessly engulfed in the process of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the Republican candidates. Lately, some have even taken to reporting positively on President Obama's policies. For example, Joan McCarter has been one of his biggest critics there - writing especially nasty screeds during the health care debate. Now she's writing about the need to preserve Obamacare from Republican attacks.

So overall we can see a slight bit of enlightenment in a couple of corners. But for most, Obama Derangement Symdrome lingers on. Despite what we've seen from the Republicans over the last few months, there are those who continue to delude themselves that there is no difference between the two men who will be running for President.

I would suggest that those who can't see the contrast now will never see it. As such, they've so marginalized themselves from the political debate as to be meaningless to the questions the country faces in this election.

Update: As a measure of just how marginalized these folks are, this week Gallup has President Obama's approval ratings at:

Democrats 84%
Liberal Democrats 87%

So he's having absolutely NO problem with his "base."


  1. "I would suggest that those who can't see the contrast now will never see it."

    I don't disagree that many of the long time bloggers and columnists of the "professional left" are far too invested in their ODS to shake it, but I think there are plenty of young voters or newly politically aware readers who could be influenced either way. I'm very heartened that there are sites such as Smartypants toward which to steer people. (And I like that you've limited your blog links to those which are fundamentally positive or pragmatic.)

    It's possible that for most persuadable individuals, just contrasting the official Republican agenda with the official statements from and illustrates the differences pretty well without extra rhetoric.

  2. I don't go to Daily Kos on any kind of a regular basis, and I never did. But lately I have seen several really good posts including this one that makes me think it is not unrelieved ODS anymore.

  3. What's even more interesting about dKOS is the shift I've seen in the Recommended Diaries section. It used to be that ODS diaries dominated there. But now, when there are diaries about Obama, they are almost always very positive.

  4. Hedges: "There is no substantial difference between Obama and Romney."

    Really? Is that why we're seeing all the anti-women legislation proposed by President Obama? Like the Lily Ledbetter law?

    Do we really want a GOP president and Congress so that they can dismantle everything we've achieved over the last 60 years?

    1. I think when guys like Hedges talk about "progressive" issues, they talk about the things that concern THEM as white privileged men of the left. The dismissive hand-wave about "the woman question" (as well as lots of issues -- economic and civil liberties alike -- that disproportionately affect people of color) is something many of us who have worked on feminist issues for years have come to expect. They can never get past their own blinkers of privilege and expect that THEIR perspectives should be accepted by the "inferiors" as the natural hierarchy of priorities.