Interesting Strategy

When interesting = exasperating and counterproductive.

Therefore, you know it's got to be another Totally Awesome StrategyTM care of the Damn Dems:
In a sign that senior Democratic officials remain deeply concerned that post-primary bitterness could imperil Barack Obama's chances, two top Democratic officials have emailed a sharply-worded letter to major donors and other leading Dems confessing "fatigue and irritation" at those withholding full support from Obama and demanding that they get behind him "without conditions or demands."
Dear Democratic Friends:

2008 is a Democratic year-at all levels in all the states. The opportunity is ours. We just have to seize it.

We experienced an exciting, intense, sometimes difficult, campaign to nominate our presidential candidate. Now it's over. Barack Obama won.

I supported Hillary Clinton and am proud and pleased that I did. But she lost. Barack Obama won. It's over.

It is time for all Democrats, supporters of Senator Clinton and all other contenders for the nomination, to stand with him to secure his election and the election of Democrats at all levels of competition.

I must confess a bit of fatigue and irritation with people who continue to carp, complain, and criticize the results of the primary and lay down conditions for their support. The Los Angeles Lakers didn't establish conditions to recognize the Boston Celtics as NBA Champions; Roger Federer did not demand concessions before recognizing that Rafael Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon.

It is time to act in a mature and resourceful fashion. It's time to put the primaries behind us. It's time to support Barack Obama without conditions or demands.

It's time to WIN for Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, America, and our future. We have an unparalleled opportunity. I hope we will all do everything we can to seize the moment.

See you at the Inauguration.


Don Fowler
DNC Member At-Large, South Carolina
Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Alice Germond
Secretary, Democratic National Committee
So, here's the thing: Aside from ignoring basic human psychology, which means that the belligerent tone of this letter (time to act in a mature fashion?!) will likely only make the "Democratic Friends" whom it's addressing more entrenched in their belief that the Democratic Party doesn't give a fat flying fart about them aside from their votes, it also ignores three other rather important details.

1. Obama has alienated plenty of his own primary supporters since securing the nomination. I personally know several people who voted for him in the primary who now regret that vote and are considering not voting for him in the general, either because of his FISA vote or his tack right on reproductive rights, or both. That has fuck-all to do with Hillary Clinton, and fuck-all to do with Clinton supporters—except insofar as it underlines that there are legitimate ("mature") reasons to find disagreement with Obama.

2. The letter also implicitly suggests that no one had any legitimate ("mature") reasons to support Obama, either. By masking the existence of real policy differences, campaign strategies, disparity in experience, and personal distinctions between Obama and Clinton, by treating them as if they don't matter, in order to assert that "supporters of Senator Clinton and all other contenders for the nomination" have no reason not to support Obama, the authors rob him of his unique "pros" as a nominee, suggesting he's just another label slapped on the same generic brand as all the rest of the contenders.

Is that really something they want to be saying about their nominee? Seems a pretty foolish strategy to me. The contenders were not interchangeable—and I fail utterly to see how Obama benefits from the suggestion that they were.

3. Everyone's vote is their own to do with what they will. No one reflexively owes the Democrats anything—they are supposed to earn people's votes, and would do well to remember that instead of acting like just not being as bad as the GOP is sufficient, especially when just not being as bad as the GOP still means being actively hostile to progressive issues. Some people just aren't willing to cast an affirmative vote for a party who's doing damage, just because it's less damage than the other guys.

The fact is, for a lot of people, the last 8 years have made them more resolved to vote their principles, rather than compromising them to try to prevent the worst from happening, because we've seen the Democrats act as spineless enablers as or more frequently than as a vibrant and principled opposition. That effectively makes lots of progressive Democratic voters feel like tacit supporters of policies they despise—and if compromising one's ethics buys the same result as not, why compromise? Increasingly, there is no good answer to that question.

The Democrats have no one to blame for that but themselves.

And, by the way, bullying progressives wary and mistrustful of the party and/or its nominee by barking that it's "time to support Barack Obama without conditions or demands" is categorically stupid. It confirms fears that the Democrats view their "special interest" voters as nothing but votes to exploit, certainly not people with genuine issues that need urgent addressing, and it echoes the dictatorial tone of the Bush administration to which genuine progressives have a chronic allergy.

I can't imagine who thought a condescending demand for fealty accompanied by the promise of nothing in return would be a good idea.

Someone check that letter for Bob Shrum's fingerprints.

[H/T to Shaker RKMK.]

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