Dependable Erection

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Raucous caucus

The Durham Democratic Women held their "Raucous Caucus" at the downtown library last night. It's modeled on any of the several state nominating caucuses that have already been held - "delegates" arrive, announce which candidate they're supporting, and gather in a part of the room with other like minded folks. If you're so inclined, you can address the gathered masses and explain why you're supporting who you're supporting, and why you think everybody else should change their mind and support the candidate of your choice.

I was a bit late, and so missed most of the speeches. No matter. At this point in the process, i'm still uncommitted, and not because i don't know enough about the candidates to make a choice, either. I fully intend to support whichever candidate wins the Democratic nomination. And fortunately, Mandy Carter made that exact point during the evening: regardless of who you are supporting now, keeping the Republicans out of the White House come November is the most important task.

I am disappointed that even this early in the primary campaign (it's not even February yet) most of the candidates have withdrawn from the race. I don't think that's particularly healthy for the party or for democracy at large, but i definitely don't have a solution. One change that does make sense to me is getting rid of "winner take all" primaries. I'm not a fan of winner take all in the general election, but i understand why we have it. For party primaries, though, it makes no sense. Why shouldn't three or four candidates bring delegates to the nominating convention and bargain their support for inclusion of certain planks in the party platform? The way the process has involved is entirely too "cult of personality" for my taste.

But that's another rant.

Results from last night were (rounded off, as i wasn't writing things down) uncommitted 15%, Hillary Clinton 30%, Barack Obama 55%. I got the impression that many of the uncommitted caucus goers were Edwards supporters, and a few were Kucinich supporters.

Also worth mentioning, both Hampton Dellinger and Dan Besse, candidates for the Lt. Governor nomination, stopped by. I had a chance to chat with each of them briefly. I'm still not ready to endorse a candidate for this office, but both of these candidates appear to be capable and committed progressive Democrats, and i'm glad to see such high quality people seeking this seat.

(Cross-posted here)




    OT but it looks like I wasn't the only one to have this reaction. Why don't you call up Diane and call her a racist? Better yet, with a German last name you could use the all-purpose "Nazi".

    King would be ashamed

    There is no question in my mind but that the recent robberies and violent attacks on Latinos are hate crimes. The victims were easy targets for these hoodlums.

    It is ironic that on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday the lead story, alongside the tribute to MLK, is about Durham black youth repeatedly burglarizing and murdering unprotected Hispanics who are in the U.S. trying to make a better life for their families.

    Why is it that more than 30 robberies occurred this month before the topic made headlines in our local newspapers? I suspect there are an equal number of Latino victims who did not ever file a claim.

    Why did law enforcement not intervene before it got to this magnitude? I suspect that law enforcement's attitude, rather than limited financial budgets, had to do with incompetent intervention in this racial violence.

    Suppression of African-Americans by whites was and is disdainful. But when blacks are violent toward another minority, it is more disturbing if for the simple fact that by now, after generations of prejudice, African-Americans should know better, be more sensitive to prejudice and practice more tolerance.

    When parents fail to teach their children that stealing and violence are always wrong; when law enforcement and journalists ignore crimes because the victims are immigrants, then celebrating the values of MLK becomes a mockery. What would King say about violence against Latinos, or anyone?

    Who will protect these new immigrants to America? How can we live together in peace?

    Diane Von Gerichten
    January 31, 2008

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:33 AM  

  • I really dislike the winner-take-all primary format too. It slso seems like it kind of backfires sometimes, in the sense that candidates spend little time in a state where they don't think they can win, because why spend resources in a lost cause?

    WRT the Democratic nominee for President: The POTUS and VPOTUS have made themselves look like such idiots that I think the Democrats could put up a small ferret and win. The ferret may not even have to be alive. :)

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 10:35 AM  

  • For the same reason i don't blame all middle aged white guys for the actions of these morons.

    By the way, it would be exceedingly helpful to the rest of us if you learned how to use the "href" tag.

    It would probably be even more useful if you started your own blog. You certainly seem to have enough to say.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 10:54 AM  

  • WRT the Democratic nominee for President: The POTUS and VPOTUS have made themselves look like such idiots that I think the Democrats could put up a small ferret and win. The ferret may not even have to be alive. :)
    At least a dead ferret wouldn't start a war for no reason.
    However, I'm already worried that the dems are going to find a way to blow it. They seem so good at that. And I'm worried about the candidates we now have to choose from. I love Obama, but I don't think he's ready. I think Clinton is ready, and would probably be a good president (and I think that the only way we can clean up our image around the world is by having Bill Clinton living in the White House again, no matter what the capacity. People in other countries love him), but I don't think she actually believes anything she says. And I think there are plenty of democrats who are so put off by her they would rather see a dead ferret as president, if it means not-Hillary. Or any woman.

    That's just my decidedly unsavvy opinion. Not claiming to be a wonk, by any means.

    By Anonymous Maura, at 12:14 PM  

  • I guess it's just me, but I find Hillary Clinton totally unacceptable. She won't be able to govern, so what's the point of having her as "President"?

    For the record, I have donated to the Obama campaign.

    By Blogger Tony, at 7:38 PM  

  • Tony, I think a lot of people find Hillary Clinton unacceptable. I've gone from finding her unacceptable to grudgingly thinking she might do well.

    Some people feels she gives off a sense of entitlement. Others despise her. But she has a lot of fans, and I understand why.

    Her defeat in SC was really surprising, not because she lost, but because Obama beat the crap out of her.

    I think at some point, Obama would be a great president. I just don't think it's in 2008. But then, I didn't think Jimmy Carter would ever win either.

    By Anonymous Maura, at 11:18 PM  

  • I know how to use the tag.

    Dependable Erection

    I prefer to let people know what they're clicking into.

    All yesterday I tried to contact that well-known reactionary Bob Ashley to give him an earful about running such a racist letter to the editor. He was unavailable all day and his answering machine said something about sewing bed-sheets into a hood. I'm not sure what's up with that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:07 AM  

  • Problem with just pasting the URL in is that it bleeds off the page and you can't read it anyway.

    And to be honest, if you don't see the racism inherent in a letter like the one you reprinted, or the points you try to make about all black people are responsible for the actions of any black people (i simply can't imagine you making the same claim about all white people following something like this, for example), there's really no point in discussing this, is there?

    Some black people commit crimes. So do some white people. So do some Asians. So do some Latinos. It's pretty universal.

    Some black people are racist assholes. So are some white people. So are some Asians. So are some Latinos. It's pretty universal also.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:21 AM  

  • Tony - does President Romney sound any more palatable? How about President McCain?

    they don't to me.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:22 AM  

  • the most popular argument against obama is that he lacks experience. but he has been deeply involved in national politics since 1997.

    think about any job you've performed for 11 years. was that enough time for you to learn a skill efficiently?

    being the president of the u.s. is a job. i think obama can do it well.

    if this 'dream team' ticket happens, that's when things will really get interesting.

    By Blogger libby, at 10:12 AM  

  • Libby, I definitely wouldn't be unhappy if Obama were elected. And I forgot that he has that many years of experience.
    One of the criticisms I've heard is all he does is inspire hope, and that he's not up to dealing with international issues. I have to say that we need someone who inspires hope and passion in us, and maybe gives us a reason to be proud of ourselves again (or at least not be so embarrassed when we visit other countries that we feel we have pass ourselves off as Canadians), as much as we need anything else. Eight years of Dubya has crushed us.

    By Anonymous Maura, at 12:46 PM  

  • i think having a well-educated president who isn't white might actually do wonders in the realm of international politics. the world outside the u.s. and europe is mostly not white.

    also, having a president with a fairly intimate knowledge of islam would be a pretty great improvement right about now.

    on the other side of the coin, i'm still trying to figure out why most of my democrat friends aren't fans of hillary - especially my lady-democrat friends.

    barry, you'd be the perfect durhamite to ask about this, if it strikes your fancy.

    female democratic voters have been waiting for decades for a woman to have a real shot at the presidency, and here she is. i was expecting the female default vote, but that's not exactly happening.

    is it because she's a clinton? or her hell-bent ambition to be the first? her policies? her past? or is it because obama's a better candidate? why do so many democrats dislike her so vehemently? (libertarians want to know!)

    By Blogger libby, at 11:38 PM  

  • Can't say as i have an answer for you, Libby. Most of the people i know in the party do not have that visceral reaction to Hillary, although i know only a few people for whom she's the first choice. Part of it is, i think, the media narrative that got constructed over the years (read Media Matters over the years for an overview of what i'm talking about.)

    Another aspect is the dynastic element. We've just had two generations of Bushes, and Hillary may represent in some minds a step back rather than a step forward. America was founded explicitly as a reaction to hereditary power, and even though a Hillary presidency does not represent that per se, it may be close enough, especially coming on the heels of the Bush disaster, that people are reacting to that.

    In the general election, assuming that McCain is the nominee, i think both Clinton and Obama will have similar weaknesses and strengths. The difference is, i think, that there is a vocal group of people who will never support Hillary who will feel comfortable saying that out loud. The group that will never vote for Obama, while probably just as large, will have a more difficult time saying that in public. They'll have to speak in code. Kinda like our anonymous friend above.

    If someone other than McCain gets the nod, which at this point in time means either Huckabee or Romney, they will have their own, rather large groups that "could never vote for" either of them. But frankly, i don't see that happening.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:35 AM  

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