A chorus of cynics who call themselves realists. 39


Perhaps cynic is too harsh, since many would call themselves “realists” and not cynics.  I’ll take that definition.

The many Obama supporters who are running around TPM with doom and gloom pronouncements about Hillary’s imminent succession to the democratic nomination by suicidal Super Delegates who just can’t stand to hear Reverend Wright clear his good name are in fact realists.

His anguish at this moment in history is tiny compared with the importance of electing Barack Obama. – articleman

I just don’t see reality in quite the same way.  I have seen evidence that Wright is in fact helping to dispel the negativity of the association by speaking via the corporate media.  Unfortunately, that is the place where a lot of Americans still get their information.

My mom completely changed her opinion – one largely based on lack of context – after seeing Reverend Wright speak on CSPAN to the National Press Club.  She spoke about her new understanding of the reverend and what his church has done over the years.  Hell, she even said she would join that church if she lived in Chicago instead of Colorado.  This from a woman who has never belonged or gone to a church as an adult.

I would say the reverend knows what he is doing and is speaking to his audience, to his generation, via the only medium they consistently sue, the television.

Another “realist” opinion is that the Super Delegates will make a backroom deal to take the nomination from Barack and give it to Hillary.  That if Barack doesn’t go on the attack and simply plays out the remaining contests with his winning game-plan that the Super Delegates will decide he didn’t want it bad enough and hadn’t earned it, despite winning more states, more votes and more delegates.

Hillary gets an endorsement from NC governor? Tides turn and so do super delegates. In the end, they’re all just politicians. – tpmgary

Yes, they are politicians and they will not commit mass suicide by nominating Hillary over the will of voters.  The Supers have a greater understanding of the precipice that this country stands on than anyone else, I think.  Many may be scared of a Barack presidency, but they are more scared of the riots that would ensue should they go to Hillary despite the pledged delegate count.

I agree that popular vote is the only metric that makes sense in a representative government.  Further, every election should be an open primary with all the available candidates on the ballot, with the candidates from each party who get the most votes that parties nominee.  Parties have way too much control over the process.

That is not the system we have today.  Those are not the rules by which everyone agreed to play.  If Hillary steals the nomination – meaning Barack has the most pledged delegates at the end of the primaries & she gets the Supers to turn – this country will explode.  Denver will make Chicago look like a tea party.

The Supers will declare their support for the winner of the pledged delegates once the primaries are over.

They are taking it easy on Hillary because her supporters are critical in the general.  No one likes to lose and right now a huge percentage of democratic voters feel like they are losing. They want to grasp at any straw.  I don’t blame them.  If the situation were reversed, I would be grasping at any straw to see Barack get the nomination.  It is human nature.  But I think most of her supporters are both fair and understand the rules.  They may be fantasizing right now, but once all the contests have been run, most will accept the pledged delegate as the governing metric.

The primaries will play out in whatever fashion they play out, though they are largely immaterial.  As soon as Puerto Rico announces their results, the winner of the pledged delegates, per the rules that everyone agree to before the race began, will get enough Super Delegates to cinch the nomination.

Perhaps that makes me an optimist, but I think it is sound analysis based on the available evidence and common sense.  I am above all a realist.  If I thought for a second that the cynics were right, I would be flying to Denver as well.

Still, I find it ironic that supporters of the candidate running on hope are so quick to lose hope themselves, when they are winning.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from the Chorus of Realistic Optmists:

Sister Mary Margaret on a whole wheat cracker, just absolutely Democrats drive me crazy with this crap. Every time there’s a bump in the road they slam on the brakes jump out of the car and start doing the Chicken Little Dance. It is our worst trait and the best way possible to suck the life out of a campaign. – The Commenter Formerly Known as NCSteve

Amen, brother!

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39 thoughts on “A chorus of cynics who call themselves realists.

  • Jormungand

    Well said. I have felt a bit down what with even here in Ireland seeing Wright on TV constantly (I guess the BBC shows George Stephawhatsit’s program here as well and Rupert Murdoch’s UK SKY News has been getting into it) but we just have to remind ourselves that this is like the earlier stretches of the campaign when one candidate or the other won a primary and the news coverage for the following week spun around their comeback, etc.

    Then the next contest came along, and it was all about the other candidate and their comeback. There will come a time when there are no more chances for a comeback, and as you say, that is the end of the primaries when the superdelegates must make their decision.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      I hear you. My wife gets bummed as well. My best friend is ready to throw in the towel every time CNN sneezes.

      I guess for me it is simple – if the cynics were right, Barack would not be winning. He snuck in under the radar and by the time the Status Quo recognized the threat it was too late to counter it.

      Barack Obama will be one of the smartest people we ever elected president. I thank him for running a campaign that made that reality possible and provided us an opportunity to save ourselves.

      As always, I remain a complete optimist and think it is all over but for the crying.

      Barack Obama will be our next president.

      • RenStimpy

        MAKINGS OF A SUICIDE PACT

        After Wrights Press Club Mental Breakdown perhaps you should now HOPE that Barry CHANGE his tune.

        Best HOPE for Barry now: Hillary puts him on the ticket.

        VOTE OUR CONSCIENCE
        NOT YOUR WHITE GUILTY CONSCIENCE

  • DKDC

    Well, God bless ya for your optimism, but if there’s a slippery slope between realistic and cynical there is also one between optimism and myopia. Seeing Wright reaffirm his belief yesterday that AIDS was invented by the US government, as an example, ain’t gonna be a stellar example of “clearing his good name,” as you suggest.

    It also bears mentioning that Obama has made great strides over the past 24 hours to distance himself from Wright – if Wright is so wonderful, why is Obama doing that? There are only two possibilities: Wright isn’t so wonderful, or he is and Obama is just bowing to political pressure, which I believe is just the thing that many of his supporters claim he doesn’t do.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      Again, somehow you buy into the logical fallacy that Barack Obama is somehow tainted by Reverend Wright’s opinions. None of the AIDS stuff is new. That’s been out there for months.

      Plus, I notice that you don’t provide a link to said statements, just ad hominem attacks on a man that has done more for this country at the local level than any politician in same time period.

      Barack has said two things – he doesn’t agree with everything Wright says and that the man has a right to defend himself. Period. How can he distance himself more than, “I don’t agree with those statements.” To suggest otherwise makes no sense and suggests a myopia of your own.

      Many people believe the government is capable of the stuff Reverend Wright speaks of, have seen the government do much worse during their lifetime. Most Americans think this country is heading in the wrong direction.

      Most Americans are fucking angry too.

      Reverend Wright is NON STORY that will have zero affect on the election. If anything, it will serve to remind voters that Barack is a Christian and belongs to a church that has walked that talk.

      A net benefit for my candidate.

  • The Commenter Formerly Known as NCSteve

    Amen to thou, brother, and thank you for your courtesy in not putting a “{sic}” after the tangled bit of the sentence you quoted.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      I was trained to leave quotes alone, however much I would prefer to edit them. Too bad the rest of the media hasn’t learned that trait.

    • scofflaw

      Great post, Jason, and great quote, Steve! Yeah, I’m not pleased to see Rev. Wright plastered all over the news, but the silver lining is that he’s showing his real self to be far from the madman that Fox News painted. As for his kooky AIDS theory, well, no one thinks Obama believes that. Creationism is a kooky theory too, but lots of white politicians’ preachers believe in it. In any case, by midsummer, everyone will be completely sick of hearing about Rev. Wright, so that story won’t do much to help McCain.

      Obama’s done a pretty good job of running a winning campaign despite his not haven taken advice from the Chicken Littles of the blogosphere. I think he has this well in hand. Can’t wait to raise a glass when he’s chosen the Democratic nominee!

      • JasonEverettMiller

        I agree. That we are even having this discussion given the huge hurdles he faced at the start of his campaign is a miracle of epic proportions. I think Barack’s team had a perfect plan – start playing chess while everyone else keeps playing checkers.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      As my Navy buddies used to say, “No need to run in Sissy Hand-Waving Fits. Turn to and get the job done.” I miss the military simplicity of doing what you came to do. Bitch about it once the mission is complete

  • FreeBubba

    Jason, try this on for size:

    “I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

    Antonio Gramsci, Gramsci: Letters from Prison

    • JasonEverettMiller

      Getting closer to the mark, but I think an intelligent response to what’s happening this year would be more optimistic than pessimistic.

        • JasonEverettMiller

          That has certainly been the magic of Obama’s run so far – running an insurgent campaign from within the democratic party by understanding exactly how the game is played, who the players are, what rules existed and how to put those rules to good effect. A success on all counts, I think.

          • FreeBubba

            Agreed.

            While I have you here, and because I don’t know if you’ve said anything about it elsewhere, what do you think of Obama’s repudiation of Wright? I’m still trying to get my head around it.

          • JasonEverettMiller

            I think he really has no choice.

            Given what I know about Reverend Wright’s history and his record of achievement in all the areas that Barack holds dear, I am guessing he went Crazy Black Man to give Barack a reason to distance himself completely from the man.

            It is also clear from his press conference that Barack wasn’t in on Wright’s sacrificial lamb move and was hurt that this man would appear to denigrate his sincerity as mere political pandering.

            I think both men understand the level of dysfunction that America is operating on and getting Barack elected in this environment was always a long shot. If we can finally put this nonsense behind us, I think it will be a net gain for Barack’s candidacy.

            The silent majority of reality-based citizens get context to Wright that didn’t exist in the corporate media and are able to file this away as a non story. They also have a platform of plausible deniability with which to defend Barack’s stances, which are counter to any notions of “victimization” or “black nationalism” that has been attached to Wright’s statements.

            The racists would never vote for the black guy under any circumstance, so it doesn’t matter how the issue plays out.

  • FreeBubba

    DKDC: “Seeing Wright reaffirm his belief yesterday that AIDS was invented by the US government, as an example, ain’t gonna be a stellar example of “clearing his good name,” as you suggest.”

    Where did you see this?

    And does anyone have a link to Wright’s original statement in its original context. I’ve getting nowhere googling to find it.

  • scofflaw

    Who cares if Wright thinks that? The Catholic Church takes the position that HIV can pass through a condom: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3176982.stm. Does that mean that we should assume that every Catholic politician believes the same thing unless they reject, denounce, and somehow disprove that they secretly believe it?

    Please, please, let’s stop treating Rev. Wright’s statements and beliefs as if they illuminate Sen. Obama’s. I don’t know why Rev. Wright is doing this to him. But if we stop watching Wright coverage and blogging about it, maybe the MSM will let this g*ddamn issue die.

    I promise not to read about or comment on any more Wright-themed posts …

  • Otto F

    It’s curious. Your mother’s approval of Jeremiah Wright puts her at odds with Barack Obama who just took pains to condemn him.

    As for the delegate count, it isn’t going to be Obama by a landslide. It’s going to be pretty close. As for the popular vote, ABC News calculates that Hillary is already ahead if Florida and Michigan are counted, and only slightly behind if they are disregarded. And the race is not yet over.

    As for the superdelegates, their first priority in a very close race will be to pick the one who can win in November. They are not required to vote for the candidate who is ahead in either popular votes or delegates. Obama’s last major win was in February. If Obama emerges as a weakened candidate with a disillusioned base, without momentum and behind in the popular vote, they’ll have little problem explaining a vote for Hillary.

    As for whether or not Wright’s statements and beliefs illuminate Obama’s, I think Obama’s own statements say it all.

    “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who… on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are part of me.”
    Philadelphia – 3/19/08

    • JasonEverettMiller

      That’s your main issue, Otto – the inability to see that every Barack supporter differs with our candidate on kinds of things. You, like your republican counterparts and all your democratic brethren in Hillaryland, view the world in black or white with no shades of gray to provide context.

      “Context!? Context is for squares!”

      While I find it far-fetched that the government started AIDS as a conspiracy to kill black people, it is clear by how they responded to the disease that certain communities were less likely to receive adequate care. I may not agree with everything the reverend says, but I agree with the sentiment – that the government can’t be trusted and those in power must be watched closely, lest they seek to enslave all of us.

      Which is exactly what they have done with consumerism, poverty and prison – the current chains that many in the black community (and other communities, of course) carry as the signs of the continuing oppression by the lucky few.

      Let me slow it down for you: This Country is Fucked Up.

      Our beloved nation has some serious psychological issues that no generation has ever really taken the time to solve. Pretending that it isn’t so may get elected president of the United States, but it won’t solve the problems.

      I don’t care if Barack has to distance himself from Reverend Wright because people like you won’t let it go. It’s enough for me that he has lived a life that proves he will do everything he can to end the prejudice and injustice that informs the anger and hurt behind the reverend’s words. Perhaps the Reverend told him, “I am going to go on TV and embarrass you to the point that you have to give me up.” Perhaps he made himself the sacrificial lamb in all this. I don’t know and I don’t care.

      Reverend Wright is a non-issue for Barack because anyone that cares about what he has said or can’t put his speeches in context is a racist vote that Barack would NEVER get.

      The Super Delegates will not overturn the pledged delegate count. That is the metric by which everyone agreed to use when this race started. Hillary has lost. I am sorry that you can’t see that, but when June gets here and Barack is still ahead in all those measures (for contents that actually counted) the Super Delegates will move to confirm that lead with their votes.

      It’s not about what they are required to do – it is about whether or not their choices appear legitimate to the voters. If Barack leads in states won, popular vote and pledged delegates, the ONLY legitimate action by the SD will be to confirm that choice of the people.

      If it appears that the Super Delegates went against the will of the majority and just simple fair-play, this country goes up in a conflagration that will make the 1968 riots look like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

      • Billy Glad

        “Reverend Wright is a non-issue for Barack because anyone that cares about what he has said or can’t put his speeches in context is a racist vote that Barack would NEVER get.”

        You tautologicate much?

        • JasonEverettMiller

          Anyone who is calling Reverend Wright anti-American or a racist IS IN FACT a racist vote that Barack would never get, even if Reverend Wright never existed.

          Anyone with half a brain and the ability to make independent judgments based on multiple points of information have already decided that the reverend is right in much of his criticism and has nothing to do with Barack anyway, so discussing his tangential relationship to a man who is running for president makes no sense. If that is legitimate fodder for political discourse, then I want to see the same attention paid to Hillary and McCain’s religious affiliations. There is seriously crazy shit going on with their spiritual “advisers” and groups.

          Guilt by association is just another one of those political games we are striving to overcome this year with varying degress of success. You can thank us later when Barack is president and we back up a few steps from the edge of the cliff we are on.

  • JasonEverettMiller

    It appears that even an Internet connection can’t help with ignorance or prejudice. I guess it just makes them a little more obvious to the rest of the world. No wonder you use an alias.

    Barack has no choice now but to disown the man – due to people like you who can’t (or won’t) understand the man’s words in the context and setting with which they were given. It wasn’t enough for him to say he didn’t agree with some of Wright’s more inflammatory rhetoric.

    That’s wasn’t enough for the Chorus of Cynics.

    Barack MUST DISOWN the racist, America-hating Korean war veteran and community activist who has done more good for this country than Hillary Clinton could ever hope to do in several lifetimes.

    You have clearly never listen to the man speak nor read his books nor studied his career if you make any comparison whatsoever to W. Students like Baby Bush don’t become editor of the Harvard Law Review. Young adults like Baby Bush don’t move to the inner city to help those who haven’t figured out a way to reach the same level of achievement. Men like Baby Bush don’t devote their life to helping others who are less fortunate, to detriment of their own economic well being.

    It is clear that you are a troll or extremely misinformed.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      Thanks, Genghis. As long as you are loud and loquacious – countering trolls is work that requires many words, said over and over in different and interesting ways – singing ability is a secondary matter.

  • Tom Wright

    I’ve been wondering what is the dire future that follows from a President sharing any of those horrifying opinions of Rev. Wright?

    As I asked Matthew Weaver:
    “What do you think he will do? Jail whites without cause? Stop them while driving? Shoot first when they reach for wallets?

    Oh, maybe he’ll suggest experiments on white people without their knowledge. Maybe he’ll support laws to make it harder to vote. Maybe he’ll work to limit minimum-wage laws, and strip labor protection.”

    Still plenty of racists out there. Screw them, we can win without their help.

    • Billy Glad

      Now, since I know you’re serious, I’m going to give you a serious answer.

      There is in America a dominant culture that demands that minority cultures assimilate. As Toni Morrison said in her much unread and often mischaracterized sermon in the New Yorker, the penalties for failing to assimilate are severe.

      The question the dominant culture is asking about Obama is has he assimilated enough to be reliable in the defense of the dominant culture? In other words, can he be trusted to place the interests of the dominant culture above all else?

      What make the Wright controversy difficult for Obama is it highlights the specific minority culture Obama has been part of for 20 years — a culture that clearly deviates from the dominant culture and, in many ways, opposes it.

      Am I happy about any of that? Do I approve of it? Water is wet, rocks are hard. If it’s the way it is, it doesn’t need my approval. Do I oppose it? Yes. Always.

      • Billy Glad

        Here is Morrison.

        African-American men seemed to understand it right away. Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas. And when virtually all the African-American Clinton appointees began, one by one, to disappear, when the President’s body, his privacy, his unpoliced sexuality became the focus of the persecution, when he was metaphorically seized and bodysearched, who could gainsay these black men who knew whereof they spoke? The message was clear “No matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how much coin you earn for us, we will put you in your place or put you out of the place you have somehow, albeit with our permission, achieved. You will be fired from your job, sent away in disgrace, and–who knows?–maybe sentenced and jailed to boot. In short, unless you do as we say (i.e., assimilate at once), your expletives belong to us.”

        http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/clinton/morrison.html

        They are doing it to Obama even as we speak.

        • JasonEverettMiller

          Morrison was hardly being complimentary in that description and she was using absurd hyperbole to show some long-standing injustices. Perhaps she thought naming Bill the first black president might make him more compassionate to their causes.

          If that was the case, her effort clearly fell short, because old Bill stiffed the black community for eight long years and set up the environment for another eight to follow.

          Fact is that Barack doesn’t match that absurd caricature anymore than most black other men don’t fit that absurd caricature.

          In my discussions with all sorts of people (including here at TPM) and as evidenced by Barack’s overwhelming victories in open primaries across the country, I think this country is indeed ready to move beyond race and understand that some hearing harsh words may be required to get there.

          • Billy Glad

            It wasn’t intended as a compliment. Try reading it again in the context of this discussion. I think you can control that jerking knee if you really try. I suspect you know more about being forced to assimilate and conform than you want to admit.

          • JasonEverettMiller

            So what are the “penalties” that Bill has had to face for being the “first black president” as it were? I guess I don’t see your point. Morrison is talking about a view of black men that most people I know don’t truly hold.

            For those that still believe such tripe, I am not sure any amount of talking will help. Barack Obama, however, can show why he would truly be the first black president and would be much more representative of black men as a whole than Bill Clinton ever was.

            Clinton, at best, was an affirmation of the caricature.

            PS: What about my response was knee-jerk? I truly don’t understand what Toni Morrison’s odd analogy has to do with Reverend Wright or Barack Obama.

          • Hilarym99

            Calling Clinton the first black President has become a positive thing, kind of a joke in today’s culture. But in her writing she didn’t really mean it that way. Morrison’s original point was basically the same as that made by Joe Pettit yesterday, Guilty Until Proven Innocent.

            It was written at the time that Clinton was basically the subject of a witch hunt against him by the ‘vast right wing conspiracy’. After the quote that Billy provided, she went on to say:

            “For a large segment of the population who are not African-Americans or members of other minorities, the elusive story left visible tracks: from target sighted to attack, to criminalization, to lynching, and now, in some quarters, to crucifixion. The always and already guilty “perp” is being hunted down not by a prosecutor’s obsessive application of law but by a different kind of pursuer, one who makes new laws out of the shards of those he breaks. “

            Guilty till proven innocent. Or just guilty. And in that context, Billy’s absolutely right. It is what they’re doing to Obama now.

          • JasonEverettMiller

            I hear you. Except, of course, Bill Clinton was guilty of many misdeeds, only some of which we know about, so the analogy falls a bit flat.

          • Hilarym99

            Sure. But it was more the approach that was taken to the accusing. Accusations were made first without basis. If you throw enough shit out there, something’s bound to stick.

            It’s the approach to Obama being taken by the Hannitys of the world.

            And I was struck yesterday by how much of a double standard there really is. It’s nothing short of revolting. John McCain and Hagee.

            The response to that criticism is generally, well, he didn’t go to his church for 20 years. Which in my mind, makes it worse. So he actively searched out the endorsement of someone with hideous views? At least if he had known him for 20 years I could understand a human attachment. Loyalty. Friendship. Love. The fact that sometimes those things blind us to serious flaws. With Hagee, there’s just no excuse. But he has gotten an infinitely smaller amount of scrutiny.

            In any event, I like your original post. Sometimes it’s hard not to despair. That’s the nature of hope. It comes with it a fear of disappointment. I went back yesterday and read a piece Michael Chabon had written a while back.

            But the most pitiable fear of all is the fear of disappointment, of having our hearts broken and our hopes dashed by this radiant, humane politician who seems not just with his words but with every step he takes, simply by the fact of his running at all, to promise so much for our country, for our future and for the eventual state of our national soul. I say “pitiable” because this fear of disappointment, which I hear underlying so many of the doubts that people express to me, is ultimately a fear of finding out the truth about ourselves and the extent of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into. If we do fight for Obama, work for him, believe in him, vote for him, and the man goes down to defeat by the big-money machines and the merchants of fear, then what hope will we have left to hold on to? Thus in the name of preserving hope do we disdain it. That is how a phobocracy maintains its grip on power.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/03/AR2008020302526.html

            It’s worth a read if you haven’t encountered it before.

    • JasonEverettMiller

      I totally agree. Racists are such a small percentage of our population.

      Billy, again, I must disagree. The “dominant culture” deciding on Barack is as much a logical fallacy as Wright’s statements somehow being attributable to him or an accurate definition of Trinity Church.

      Most Americans – and I judge that by speaking with my family scattered throughout small town America and big cities alike – appreciate a lot of what Wright is talking about and find that Barack’s obvious compassion was most likely informed by Wright’s generational anger.

      A very appropriate response for a Christian and a man who wants to bridge those divides not make them wider.