Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Moulitas's Michigan hubris


A couple of weeks ago I promised you an essay about the countercurrents within modern liberalism, in which I would try to explain why the connection between liberalism and conservatism today is anything but the two-dimensional continuum that most people think it is, and how there are very significant ways in which the popular conceptions of the democratic party leadership are just plain wrong, and they are hardly "liberal" in any meaningful sense.

I've dropped the ball so far, mostly because of sundry distractions but also because of the unwieldiness of the subject matter. But I will address it, fairly soon. In the meantime other things keep happening that function to dovetail with that percolating essay about the hidebound democratic leadership and their deep-in-denial followers. One of them was an absolutely idiotic, too-clever essay by daily Kos's founder Markos Moulitsas in which he advocated that his readers (often termed "Kossacks") cross over and vote for Mitt Romney in Michigan.

"Let's Have Some Fun in Michigan"

In 1972, Republican voters in Michigan decided to make a little mischief, crossing over to vote in the open Democratic primary and voting for segregationist Democrat George Wallace, seriously embarrassing the state's Democrats. In fact, a third of the voters (PDF) in the Democratic primary were Republican crossover votes. In 1988, Republican voters again crossed over, helping Jesse Jackson win the Democratic primary, helping rack up big margins for Jackson in Republican precincts. (Michigan Republicans can clearly be counted on to practice the worst of racial politics.) In 1998, Republicans helped Jack Kevorkian's lawyer -- quack Geoffrey Feiger -- win his Democratic primary, thus guaranteeing their hold on the governor's mansion that year.

With a history of meddling in our primaries, why don't we try and return the favor. Next Tuesday, January 15th, Michigan will hold its primary. Michigan Democrats should vote for Mitt Romney, because if Mitt wins, Democrats win. How so?

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating party rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot...

First of all, Hillary Clinton was not alone on the ballot-- Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were still on the ballot, as well as withdrawn candidate Chris Dodd. More on that in a moment. Moulitsas wanted to encourage his readers, as well as their readers(since many blog readers(possibly most) are also themselves bloggers) to encourage Michigan democrats to "cross over" and vote for Mitt Romney, because this would allegedly hurt the Republican party.

Kos's hubris is difficult to fathom, although I suppose given how prominent DKos has become in recent years, maybe it shouldn't be surprising. There are many bone-headed assumptions here, even though if stroking the egos of his readership is the goal and he doesn't really care about what the democratic party supposedly stands for-- an increasingly common trait-- then I suppose he's actually pretty smart in making his pitch for Romney, irrespective of the outcome.

Obviously there are a large number of things liberal and would-be liberal Michiganders could do with their vote. You could stay home and say "fuck you democratic party" for taking away my state's delegates and telling me my vote won't count-- perhaps even with an email, with or without cursing.(I'd recommend without.) You could vote in the republican primary, also held on Jan 15th, whether for Romney or someone else-- such as for Ron Paul.

Kos insists that voting for Romney, who went into Michigan without a major primary win(he did win the barely-covered Wyoming caucus), would somehow hurt the GOP because their eventual nominee wouldn't be decided way ahead of time. He's smarter than us noobs because he's been on Meet the Press(above), so he knows this is so.

Anyway. You could vote for Kucinich or Gravel to protest the way the democrats have shrunk from the fight in congress, or even for Dodd to register your more specific disapproval for retroactive immunity of the telecoms that handed over personal data to the administration without legal authority. I would think a couple of thousand votes for Dodd might not be reported by MSNBC and company, but you can bet Senate staffers would take notice of it a lot more than a couple of thousand emails.

Avedon takes a similar tack, although she is more gracious to Kos than I am. Here's the comment I left her:

Kos has gotten arrogant, which leads to stupidity. I didn't read all the posts he wrote about Michigan, but he fails to note in the "Let's Have Some Fun..." one that Romney was in fact leading in the delegate count going into Michigan. Either he didn't know this or didn't care. Either way it seems he's starting to believe his own publicity, as it were.

And besides, why do people automatically assume it's bad for a candidate to not have the nomination sewn up before the convention? Just as some voters may have voted for HRC because they were tired of Matthews and others dumping on her, might not the party that goes into its convention without a clear winner end up with an advantage and a more sympathetic candidate, partly because people are getting tired of the horse-race style political coverage, and partly because the party that goes into the convention w/out a clear winner will paint the other one(not entirely unreasonably), as the party that gamed their own voters into voting for their pet establishment candidate?

I know that if I was Romney or McCain or Huckabee and I only managed to get the nomination at the convention itself that's how I'd paint "HRC Clinton the 2nd.

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