Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Texas Delegate

Here's someone who actually is going to be an Obama delegate. She, and a few other people I know and have read today, have a totally different take on the night. Maybe it was their precincts, or maybe, if you're a single woman and can stay later, the experience is a different one. It sounds like the disorganization was still there, at least in part. But at least there were people to double check the counts!

(Oh, and I should mention that it's not the Obama part I'm drawing your attention to. It's the caucus experience, as she describes it.)

17 comments:

Supadiscomama said...

I wonder where she lives. It's kind of a bummer that all of us at the Situation had such lame experiences. The closest that I came to a sense of community is when we heard there was a pen shortage and the women around me started pulling pens out of their purses. Maybe things were more interesting after the sign in--but Supa-T needed to go to bed.

M said...

I didn't mean to suggest that I had a negative experience; I had, as I said, an anti-climatic experience. My situation as a voter and a mom meant that staying for the entire process would have been difficult unless I had hired a baby-sitter who either wasn't old enough to vote or had no interest in voting. I would have liked to stay for the entire evening and learn about the process. That desire, however, doesn't change my view that the entire caucus process is exclusionary.

And to respond to the post that Megs linked to: I'm really annoyed by people claiming they are more patriotic than another person. After enduring almost 8 years of an administration in which it became unpatriotic to question the President, the war in Iraq, and any policy enacted post-9/11, I am angered by a fellow democrat who borrows this sort of Republican rhetoric. I was, in fact, so annoyed that I couldn't read the entire post. I'm glad this woman has been made a delegate, and I'm glad that she had a positive caucus experience. But I don't think claiming Obama is more patriotic than Clinton helps the party or the nation. After all, what does it really mean to be a patriot? I daresay if we followed the Bush administration's definition not only would all of us at the Situation not be seen as patriots, but we'd all likely be in violation of the Patriot Act and have lengthy FBI files.

megsg-h said...

I agree with you, M, about the patriotism thing. That's why I directed you guys to the caucus part but definitely NOT to the Obama part. It's a little too hero-worshipy for me.

I think she's really linking Obama to her research interests, which involve old-school narratives about patriotism, etc. But, taken as a single post out of context, it is a little much.

Mercy O. Warren said...

Dear Rhetorical Situation Blog,

Thank you for noticing my little blog post, I am honored to be a part of your conversation.

M: I'm sorry to hear that you were unable to read the whole post. In my own defense, my understanding of patriotism is specific to the 18th century and I was attempting to re-introduce that understanding of patriotism into this conversation. Like you, I have been frustrated by "patriot" name-calling over the last 7 years, but I believe that an important part of politics is the struggle over our most important terms. Like it or not, patriotism is a part of American political discourse and, as you say, the Republican Party has sucessfully dominated that discourse over the last 7 years. I hope that you wouldn't suggest that we give up the fight over patriotism so easily? Perhaps re-defining it--and re-defining it in a way that is consistant with the American political tradition--could benefit not only the Democratic Party, but the nation as a whole.

Since you didn't read my whole post I would just share with you that the kind of "patriotism" that I drew from came from Bolingbroke and was about rising above party and faction to defend the constitution and unite the nation to work for the common good. You may find those objectionable goals, but I do not.

Respectfully,

M.O.W.

Southpaw said...

I also think that the discussion of patriotism is completely appropriate. While certainly the Republicans have smeared that word like many others, it doesn't mean we should cede it. The trick is to be careful how you define it -- which frankly MOW does an excellent of doing. Defining her terms.

As a loyal Democrat whose state primary has past, I have purposely withdrawn from paying attention. It started when Clinton went on the offensive. I didn't want it to dampen my support of her in the event that she becomes the nominee. That has proven to be much harder than I thought it would be.

So, I think the two points that MOW makes about Clinton that a) her attacks on rhetoric and hope are interpreted by many as attacks on his supporters and b) that she (at least recently) has practised politics of alienation are quite insightful and, from my perspective, right on the money.

harrogate said...

The narration of what happened after the "sign-in" is very interesting, and M.O.W.'s stated "master plan" to go to the DNC as a delegate was also pleasing to behold.

But, how it is to be construed that M misread, or misunderstood, M.O.W.'s post is beyond Harrogate's grasp.

This idea that Hill is going so negative whilst Obama rises above it is laughable.

From the beginning Obama and his most dedicated supporters have Disingenuously implied a lack of substantive difference between Hillary Clinton and the atrocious Republican rule we have just experienced. In South Carolina he explicitly asserted sameness betweeen Clinton and Bush Presidencies.

It's not exalted Patriotism, such Rhetoric. To be kind, it is little more than fibbing.

The linked post also calls Hillary Clinton a Party hack, a Policy Wonk. Now there's some positive Rhetoric for ye, makes Harrogate wanna sing the Star Spangled Banner.

What a hack, to understand the Democratic Party offers something much better than the GOP. What a wonk, to lay out her method for enacting the Democratic agenda as plainly as possible, and to state that the agenda will have to be fought for to be achieved, and to state that it is worth fighting for.

M.O.W. also callowly, flatly states that if her candidate doesn't get the nomination, she won't support Hillary Clinton. Because, you know, of all that "negativity" that Clinton is using.

Read the post again, everyone. See if in fact it is not saying, opposing Obama is unpatriotic. And this is different from the GOP tactic how?

Christ on a crumb heap. One way of reading the post is that it is offering a model of "Patriotism."
Another, truer way of reading it, is that it is simply Shilling Out Stale Talking Points.

But the real bizarre phenom here is this portion of the comment by Harrogate's friend, Southpaw:

"So, I think the two points that MOW makes about Clinton that a) her attacks on rhetoric and hope are interpreted by many as attacks on his supporters and b) that she (at least recently) has practised politics of alienation are quite insightful and, from my perspective, right on the money."

So. The poster has asserted it is either her candidate or no dice with the Dems. And yet it is Hill who is particing politics of alienation. Alas, whether intentionally or not, Southpaw is invoking Obamalogic at its worst.

megsg-h said...

Wow... Thanks, Mercy O. for joining our conversation and I'm sorry I hung you out to dry just a bit by linking to your post! Your post has started a really great discussion here, though, and I thank you for that, as well.

Southpaw said...

Now, of course, I realize that any possible criticism of Hill has Harrogate barking like a rapid dog (something he is SO fond of accusing Obama supporters of) but your response needs a little tweaking.

I didn't say I agree with the definition of patriotism. I merely pointed out that MOW defined her terms and applied them.

M asks "What does it meant to be patriotic?" as if MOW didn't already offer a definition. M could easily take issue with the definition but instead dismissed the discussion out of hand. All by being much too overcome with annoyance to finish reading it.

I never suggested M misread it. In fact, couldn't suggest it because she didn't finish it.

That said, I have to also question whether or not you, Harrogate, read my entire post. Perhaps you were too annoyed by the perception that I might -egads!- criticize Hill.

I didn't say Hillary was more negative. I said Hillary's attacks on rhetoric and hope (ironic for someone married to guy from a town named Hope) are PERCEIVED as attacks on supporters RATHER than attacks on Obama. THIS PERCEPTION can be alienating. And, yes, I agree that that alienation comes not necessarily from Hillary but from the PERCEPTION from supporters that she is attacking them.

I didn't say it was moral, just, or good. I merely said I think it is happening.

yes, there are points I don't agree with in MOW's post. Some of the labels applied to "Harrogate's pprreecious" are among them.

harrogate said...

Okay, so it IS the perception that is alienating.

But who in God's name is responsible for the Perception? Why, people like M.O.W., and those who credit their arguments, like you.

Answer this if You Wish. What is more "alienating," Southpaw:

Threatening to Walk Out of the Convention if you do not get your Way, or Challenging your Opponent's Rhetoric?

What is More Alienating in a Democratic Primary? Asserting there is no difference between GOP and Dem, that there is ONLY Obama. Or, Challening your Primary Opponent's Rhetoric?

The perception that she and her supporters are going negative, whilst he and his supporters maintains the high ground, is stupid and worse, a Lie Outright. That's the point.

And, call Harrogate rabid if ye wish. But Harrogate knows the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

And unlike "Democrats" on the Other side of this Primary, he will strongly support Obama in the very likely event that he wins the nomination, and Donna Brazille graces Denver by staying at the convention.

Southpaw said...

Ok...Harro-"Straw-man"-gate.

I will agree that both of your examples ("Threatening to Walk Out of the Convention if you do not get your Way" and "Asserting there is no difference between GOP and Dem, that there is ONLY Obama") are more alienating. I too take issue with those people who would prefer to support McCain over Hillary.

Your right, people only feel alienating when told to do so by powerhouses such as MOW and me. Yes, alienation is never a reaction. Regardless of where it comes from, she should, by all means, continue to be negative about hope (another point you missed). Maybe that will be less alienating.

Further -- you keep glossing over nuance.

Saying there is "no difference" is NOT the same as saying that Clinton represents "politics as usual" - certainly there are ideological differences between them.

But, Clinton's refusal to release her tax records IS VERY MUCH current administration tactics. So, there ARE similarities in the way they operate.

But by all means continue to argue in broad and straw-like strokes.

Mercy O. Warren said...

Dear TRS,

I have to run to meetings and teach right now, but I did want to attempt to clarify a few things as I believe that you deserve a response to your important comments.

1. I did not say that I would not vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. That may well be the implication of my post, but I certainly did not say that outright. Indeed, I have not gotten that far in my thinking and I would need to wait to see what kind of campaign Senator Clinton ran if she becomes the nominee. Truth be told, however, she was my fourth choice among the Democratic Party candidates (Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Clinton) and I am a firm believer that a candidate has to earn my trust and my vote. I do not vote along party lines merely for the sake of supporting the party. Indeed, I don't like political parties much, even though I have done much work for the Democratic Party both in California and in Texass.

2. I had tried to defend rhetoric and the people from Senator Clinton's attacks for I fear that her attacks on Senator Obama's rhetoric will alienate voters. Indeed, my conversations with Obama supporters at my precinct led me to this conclusion. I despise a politics of alienation for reasons that should be obvious: the people should have the power to control the government and anything that prevents the people from controlling the government is tyranny. Senator Clinton's politics of alienation is an unstatesperson, desperate attempt to re-gain lost ground. However, as it now seems, neither candidate has the mathematical chance to clinch the nomination prior to the convention. Thus, to what end does she alienate Americans? I believe that Senator Clinton is very dangerous right now. We are in a precious moment of re-invigorated American politics and I would hate to watch her squander it for us. I do not put Party ahead of Nation.

Those are my quick thoughts now, I hope to have something more interesting to say later, but for now, I hope that this finds you well.

M.O.W.

solon said...

M.O.W.

Thank you for your comments. We look forward to hearing from you in the future, especially about your knowledge of republican forms of government and the political process that we now face.

M said...

First, I want to respond to Mercy O. I didn't mean to suggest that I was angered by you in particular, but rather what I perceive to be the mis-use of the word patriotism. I wasn't angry at you per se, but rather at the very prevalent trend to say people who question the government aren't patriots. I stopped reading because I am annoyed with this vein of rhetoric; I stopped reading b/c I was so annoyed I knew I was very likely to miscontrue or misinterpret what Mercy O. was saying.

Second, I have since gone back and reread her post. And on the whole I agree with her definition of patriotism. What I disagree with is the idea that Hillary Clinton is the only using alienation to her advantage. I want to remind everyone that both Clinton and Obama are career politicians. In fact, one could make the argument that Obama has been a career politician much longer than Clinton as he has been an elected official much longer. It is naive to believe that he isn't using similar alienating tactics. He is, and he will. Further, if we follow Mercy's definition of a patriot ("The patriot did not do any of this for her own benefit--we must never seek power for our own sake--but, rather the patriot acts for the good of the people."), which as I said, I think is a quite good one, no American is a good patriot.

M said...

One more thing: Mercy, thank you for taking the time to offer more information on your thoughts about Clinton. I hope that you do not feel alienated at all. I would love to hear more from you.

harrogate said...

Well Southpaw. Speaking of logical fallacies and broadstrokes, surely you did not seriously believe that Harrogate was singling out two bloggers as responsible for what. are. in. fact. outright. lies.

The interlocutors Harrogate held up, are held up as representative of Discourse. It is the chattering classes, of which we are all a part, that have validated this Lie.

And that is too bad, no matter which candidate you support.

Southpaw said...

ok, I concede. Mainly because I will never gets these essays marked at this rate.

My support for Obama and Clinton is, to this point, unflagging. Though like MOW, I place nation WAY over party. That decision currently easily breaks along party lines. For me, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for my nation. Not because of party but because of ideology.

I believe in the power of government to make a positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally. That is something Obama and Clinton share and McCain doesn't. Let's be careful not to confuse ideological similarity with blind party loyalty. Naive of me I know. But, there you go.

Southpaw said...

ok, I concede. Mainly because I will never gets these essays marked at this rate.

My support for Obama and Clinton is, to this point, unflagging. Though like MOW, I place nation WAY over party. That decision currently easily breaks along party lines. For me, a vote for a Democrat is a vote for my nation. Not because of party but because of ideology.

I believe in the power of government to make a positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally. That is something Obama and Clinton share and McCain doesn't. Let's be careful not to confuse ideological similarity with blind party loyalty. Naive of me I know. But, there you go.