Sen. Obama's Party of Ideas
by eriposteMany of us have questioned Obama's adoption of Republican talking points. It started with Social Security and this is simply the latest example.
Markos has posted what is one of the strangest and most spectacularly wrong posts on Daily Kos that I've ever seen (emphasis mine, throughout this post):Huh. I didn't see the part where Obama said the GOP's ideas were "all the good" ones.Here's Sen. Obama's statement cited by Markos:
In fact, Obama isn't saying anything that couldn't come straight out of Crashing the Gate -- that the GOP build a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that used its think tanks to create ideas, a media machine to sell those ideas, and a modernized campaign operation to win elections on those ideas. Yes, the GOP was the party of ideas. They were crappy ideas. But they were "ideas".
That's not controversial, so I'm not sure why the Clinton campaign is making such a big deal out of it.
Especially "welfare reform" Bill Clinton.I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10-15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.This statement clearly implies two things. One is that unlike the Democratic party, the GOP has allegedly been the party of ideas. This is completely wrong - whether or not Sen. Obama was referring to "good" or "bad" ideas. In fact, what the Republicans are much more famous for is message discipline and propaganda - which tends to limit the number of ideas they propagate. In contrast, there were plenty of ideas from Democrats - much more so than from the Republicans. If anything, Democrats have failed time and again because they have had far more ideas amongst themselves - ranging from the very liberal to the somewhat conservative - that they have often failed to unify around a single set of ideas the way Republicans have.
Over at Talk Left Big Tent Democrat has some thoughts:
It is clear that Markos has confused actually having new ideas with actually conveying them effectively in the political process - where he rightly chides Democrats for their ineffectiveness and lauds the GOP for its effectiveness. And indeed, Markos himself performed like a Democrat here, failing miserably in delivering his message, choosing to parrot a David Brooks' talking point instead of laying out his REAL complaint - the one he makes in Crashing the Gate. And this too is a Democratic curse. Barack Obama is especially prone to choosing GOP frames. As he was here, and as was Markos here.Crashing the Gate co author Jerome Armstrong has a slightly different take.
But lets all admit that for Obama, while running to be the Democratic nominee, his calling the Republican Party "the party of ideas" was really dumb. Heck, I would never write that without some sort of qualification that the ideas sucked (as CTG did). But obviously, Obama couldn't say that in this context, as he was pandering for a few Republican votes. So he skipped over that messy part to keep the wingnuts happy. He got the endorsement, but he gave a lot of ammo up in doing so-- not a smart move at this point in path of the DEMOCRATIC nomination for President.Hillary has been running her primary campaign as if it was the general election at times. Obama seems to think it is necessary to run to the right of Hillary which will work in Hillary's favor.
Anyway, it's not something all that new from Obama. Their whole strategy, make or break, revolves around getting into the general with appeal to moderate Republicans and right-leaning Independents intact. I've said all along that it's the calculation which is going to keep him from getting the nomination, but the strategy is a sealed deal at this point, and we'll know the outcome within a few weeks.
Reagan was a terrible president, and if Obama loses tomorrow, we have a convenient scapegoat that will ensure other Democrats refrain from cozying up to Reagan.