Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Insight Into Why Democrats Have Soured On Obama

Maureen Dowd, a smug lefty New York Times hack, wrote an interesting article this weekend. It was interesting because it shows us two perspectives on why the Democrats have soured on Obama. Those perspectives are from the left wing of her party and the liberal wing (they are different). Commentarama readers will find her reasoning strangely familiar.

The article begins with Dowd’s own views on Obama. Dowd represents the left wing of the Democratic Party, as her views are in lockstep with Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos et al. These are the party shock troops and opinion makers. Without them, the liberal wing would meander around cluelessly looking for something to whine about. Indeed, losing these people will sap the party of its energy, its financial strength, and the people it needs to get the sheep to the polls. And lose them Obama has.

How do we know? Well, Dowd’s tone more than anything. Indeed, the article is snotty if not downright nasty about Obama. For example, Dowd begins by taking digs at his race: “How did the first president of color become so colorless?” and by slipping in a basketball metaphor about him being in “buzzer-beating mode.” To you and me, these comments may not sound like a big deal, but to a leftist like Dowd, these would normally be considered “racists” comments if made by a conservative, and I think her use of them is no accident. I think she’s looking for a way to insult Obama on a personal level, and she’s opting to begin her article with a “you were supposed to be exotic, a noble savage, but you turned out to be just like everyone else,” and the basketball reference is usually considered an attempt to denigrate a black target as stupid.

I think this is Dowd’s intent because of what she writes next. Check out this quote:

“‘You know, are there, you know, things that I might have done during the course of 18 months that would, you know, at the margins have improved some of the tone in Washington?’ Obama asked. ‘Probably.’ Uncharacteristically valley girl, the usually eloquent president must have, you know, had a hard time acknowledging that.”
Note that not only does she not clean up his quote, as she and the rest of the MSM usually do, but she actively points out how poorly he speaks. Indeed, she mocks him by equating him to a valley girl, another object of derision for feminists and a way to attack his manhood -- just like her first comment was a way to attack his “blackhood” (see Spike’s Lees’ comment on Obama needing “to act like a black man.”). She even throws in her own “you know” for good measure, indicating that she thinks she’s a superior speaker.

She then attacks his strategy in a very dismissive and condescending way. First, she frames the problem: “Obama has been bleeding independents.” She then makes him sound stupid by creating a disconnect by saying that Obama’s plan for dealing with the independent problem is to ignore independents so he can focus on the base. In other words, she’s saying “he doesn’t get it” without actually using those words. Then she presents Obama’s reasoning: he thinks he has time to recapture female independents after the election because of his support for abortion rights and health care reform. But she dismisses this by telling us about her sister Peggy, who Dowd identifies as one of those independents, and by giving us a quote from Peggy that contradicts every one of Obama’s assumptions. Finally, she finishes with a blanket statement that Obama better rethink his plans: “While Obama’s out in the country trying to save Congressional Democrats, he should also think about how he’s going to save himself.” In other words, his plan stinks.

But even more interesting is Dowd’s story about her sister, Peggy. Peggy supposedly is one of the “independents” that Dowd thinks Obama needs. In truth, Peggy is your standard liberal Democrat who likes to think of herself as an independent despite her consistent liberal/left views. Indeed, Peggy claims that she was a Republican who fell out of love with Bush. But check out her reasons: she hated Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and she hated Bush’s “disdain for bipartisanship.” Moreover, she was a fan of Teddy Kennedy, and she has nothing but disdain for the Republicans and for how ObamaCare was “watered down.” Also, “she lights up at the mention of his vice president, Joe Biden.” Those views are entirely consistent with a liberal Democrat who has deluded themselves into thinking that they’re an independent. That’s the sheep portion of the Democratic base. These are the people the wolves like Dowd push around.

And what does Peggy think of Obama now?

Peggy believed that Obama was a "dazzling young newcomer who could change Washington." Now she’s considering voting for Mitt Romney. She thinks Obama has done a good job of “managing W’s messes in Iraq and Afghanistan,” but this hasn’t swayed her to stay with him. And what’s really bothering her? Let’s let Peggy tell you herself:
“He promised us everything, saying he would turn the country around, and he did nothing the first year. He piddled around when he had 60 votes. He could have pushed through the health care bill but spent months haggling on it because he wanted to bring some Republicans on board. He was trying too hard to compromise when he didn’t need the Republicans and they were never going to like him. Any idiot could see that. . . and then the bill was watered down.”
Sounds like little Markos from the Daily Kos doesn’t it. . . “he was too bipartisan!” (And here I thought she hated Bush for disdaining bipartisanship?) And wait a minute, haven't we been told by the MSM that Obama has accomplished more than any other president ever? Doesn't she realize how much he's done? And to compare the smartest man ever to "any idiot"? Hmmm. She continues:
“He hasn’t saved the economy, and now he’s admitting he’s made very little progress. You can’t for four years blame the person who used to be president. Obama tries to compromise too much, and he doesn’t look like a strong leader. I don’t watch him anymore. I’m turned off by him. I think he’s an elitist. He went down to the gulf, telling everyone to take a vacation down there, and then he goes to Martha’s Vineyard. He does what he wants but then he tells us to do other things.”
So what does this tell us about liberals, i.e. the center-left? They have stopped listening to Obama, as I’ve said several times. They no longer see him as “cool,” they see him as elitist, aloof, stupid and weak. The vacation issue struck a chord, even with them. They do blame him for not fixing the economy and they no longer buy the “it’s Bush’s fault” line or the “it would have been so much worse” argument. Moreover, they don’t credit him with health care reform, they see it as a betrayal. There is no mention of financial regulation, any jobs bills, his attempts to give back-door amnesty to illegals, his appointments of women to the Supreme Court, or anything else the Democrats have tried in vain to tout as achievements. . . as we predicted. Nor is there any distinction between “good Democrats” and “bad Democrats,” or any credit for “trying.”

For Dowd to get this snotty and dismissive at Obama and to treat his assertions with such disdain is a clear sign of a relationship that’s entered the final phase of the breakup stage, and is evidence the Democrats have lost the far-left. For Peggy to tell us that she sees him as a failure and that she's now turned off by him, tells us she’s already broken up with him and is looking to move on to her next crush, and is evidence the Democrats have lost the center-left.

What a shame.


Tennessee Jed said...

smug, and snotty perfectly sums up MoDo. Peggy is definitely deluding herself.Yours is a very interesting hypothesis, it is. I certainly don't disagree with, but it was actually hard to digest that much liberal bullshit at one time (lol) The Dowd sisters border on those two words Rahm got trashed for starting with the letters F and R.

As a btw, thelettering you used actually contains the logo for my favorite cigar illusione. Also, am away from tomorrow through Sunday so catch up with you guys next Monday.

AndrewPrice said...

Have a nice trip/vacation Jed!

It is hard to take that much liberalism at once isn't it?

I really think this is the first bit of unadulterated insight into liberal opinion we've gotten in a while. Usually, when they write articles about how Obama has failed them, they have a political point, i.e. they are trying to shape opinion. This is the first time I think we've gotten a clear view into their minds without the smoke screen because Dowd didn't think she was writing about her views on Obama -- they just came across.

And I totally agree about Peggy. She's like so many liberals who think that they're moderates with an open mind (because everyone they know thinks like they do, except for the people who are "really far left"), but the reality is that she's a confirmed liberal with all of the approved opinions and no active thought processes. She just repeats what she's being told by liberal opinion makers and mistakes that for having her own views.

In the end, I really found this article fascinating because the level of condescension was startling.

StanH said...

I get your point Andrew, and is indeed is further anecdotal evidence Barry’s losing the center left. However we must remember, Maureen Dowd is the snark queen of the NYT’s. You may recall in ’08 she was admonished by Barry for a passing in one of her articles about his ears. She sniffs out the prevailing winds, and attempts to encapsulate what she believes her liberal/enlightened readers want. Right now her liberal readers are upset because Barry hasn’t gone far enough to the left…WTF! I’m hearing this same meme in several liberal institutions, organizations, and individuals. It may be an attempt on the left to lull conservatives into a we can’t lose attitude, fait de compli. So, though I enjoy liberals eating their young, and as the trickle of bad press turns into a cavalcade, these bastards are still lurking about, patiently planning Americas demise, “inch by inch, everything’s a cinch.”

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I think this article is different. Usually she's snarky and when she does take shots at Obama, they are minor shots and usually more snarky with him than snarky against him. In other words, she may poke fun at him but never in a way that would truly hurts him. This article was different, much more angry than snarky and potentially very hurtful to his popularity (assuming anyone listens to Dowd).

That said, I don't doubt that Dowd could be won back over if Obama became more of a leftist attack dog -- especially if he achieved some of the things she wants. She wants to see him trash Republicans an impose her leftist paradise.

Until he does that though, this article tells me that he's lost the benefit of the doubt.

Peggy, on the other hand, seems lost to me. Dowd's description of Peggy's comments tells me that Peggy has already decided that Obama is a loser and she wants to ride with a winner, so she's looking for the next good liberal already. And her mention that she's turned off by Obama and no longer pays attention to him tells me that she's not willing to give him a second chance.

Indeed, I would say that Peggy is a prime target for anyone on the left who wants to challenge Obama.

In the end, I think this article shows that the Democrats are serious trouble at the moment because the influential part of their bases is angry and the voting part has moved on. Neither is likely to turn out in November.

Ed said...

Interesting analysis! It does sound like the bloom is off the rose as it were. Do you think Obama can win them back?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, It's very, very hard to predict anything this far out.... but I think it will be nearly impossible. The reason is a combination of things. First, once you've lost an audience, getting them back is very hard -- especially when they've stopped paying attention because they no longer like you personally.

Secondly, what they want is for Obama to suddenly bring a liberal paradise. But that can't happen because (1) the Republicans won't let it happen and (2) there is no such thing, it's a contradiction in terms.

Third, Obama strikes me as a lazy quitter. I suspect that as soon as he realizes that people have stopped loving him, he'll just move on rather than trying to win them back.

But you never know, much can happen. If the Republicans play this election wrong, they could help him out. But if it's up to him alone, then I don't see it happening.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, The other problem is that the left has misdiagnosed the problem. They truly seem to believe that all of their problems have been the result of random economic circumstances. That's ridiculous. And as long as they believe that, they won't make the kinds of changes that will let them bring back their base or attract the middle.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Dowd needs to get a new boyfriend, and one for her sister Peggy, too. Maybe then they'll have less time to read the Daily Kos and the HuffPo while spending the rest of their time coming up with snarky, unfunny epithets for Republicans.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, What makes you think Dowd can read? ;-)

wahsatchmo said...

It’s funny, I started reading the MoDo article and thought, “she sounds exactly like a jilted lover!” and here you’ve got an entire article on that meme.

I think you’re also correct that Barry “Smooth Spreader (of wealth)” Sotero is not going to be able to pull off that “Hey baby, you know I only have eyes for you(r radical progressive agenda)” line that would lead him back into MoDo’s good graces. To do that, he’d have to give her one night of magical satisfaction (more than just a huff and puff and a cap and trade) and she’s realized that all this time, he never knew what to do in the “oval office”. Sure, all his friends talked up his prowess and he even got awards based on his purported stamina, but once MoDo asked him to perform for real, he was out in a flash and puffing on a cigarette before she knew it. She could only pretend he’d lived up to the hype for so long before telling all her friends what a dud he’d turned out to be.

Of course, by then he’d drained her bank account so he could party with his friends at Club Fed (Reserve), and it turns out he had a greedy, undeserving wife the whole time that he refused to divorce (public sector unions). Now MoDo’s trying to save a little face by telling all her girlfriends (us) that Barry just wasn’t man enough for her.

Wow, do I feel dirty now.

AndrewPrice said...

wahsatchmo, LOL! Wow, I feel dirty too just reading your comment! Thanks for the images that have been seared into my mind. Yuck!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt that the article had the feel of a jilted lover. It really did, didn't it? This wasn't just a normal analysis or even an "I'm not feeling good about how things are going article," this was personal and nasty.

I am amazed for example, how many times she implies that he's stupid, and how utterly dismissive she is of everything he's done and of the plans he has for winning her back. This really felt like the kind of venom she usually reserves for Republicans.

I'm even more fascinated by Peggy though. She seems to have washed her hands of this crew. And if that's the case, then the Democrats are in for a serious surprise this November!

Ed said...

Excellent points! I hope you're right. I don't think Obama will recover either, but I can't say exactly why, it's just a sense that he can't do it.

Notawonk said...

prior to barry being elected, i was stunned by how many couldn't seem to see what i saw in barry: a dishonest dangerous man who wanted to steal from the majority of americans to get what he wanted out of the deal. when people talked of his promise, i swear, i wanted to puke. now that these "duped" non-thinkers are furious, amuses and sickens me all over again.

MAKE THE RIDE STOP! i want off....

BevfromNYC said...

Patti - If we can, at the very least, bring a balance back into Congress, we can stop the madness (or who knows, maybe have just have different madness). BUT we only have 2 more years. Keep the faith and if you can't do that, remember you're a Texan!!!! For Texans, secession is always an viable option...

The next issue (hopefully) will be what Conservative is worthy of our support for the Presidency?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I think the problem is that there is so much to consider, and it seems hard to imagine that someone can't learn from their mistakes -- though many fewer people can than you would think. So it's hard to feel certain. But I've seen nothing at this point that tells me that has the ability to adjust his behavior.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, It reminds me of that moment when your friend says, "you know, I'm starting to think that dating that girl in prison wasn't really a great idea". . . after spending months ignoring your advice and telling you that you're a jerk for not seeing their true love. On the one hand, you're glad they see the light. On the other, you want to beat them savagely for being so darn stupid.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I hate to say it, but a little insanity may be called for. At, let me put it this way, a little common sense (which sounds like insanity if you live in Washington) may be called up.

So what happened with the rally?

DUQ said...

LOL @ "jilted lover"! That's perfect!

Another great article, Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ! Jilted lover actually sounds pretty accurate.

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