Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Democratic Party, Both Local & National, Proves I Made The Right Decision

I've generally considered myself a moderate. I've voted for Republicans and Democrats alike, never aligning myself too closely with either party. But over the last couple of years I have gotten the inclination to be more active within a party. And for much of that time I flirted very heavily with the Democratic Party. The thinking was that out west in Idaho and Utah, the Democrats can be quite moderate, and since they are few in numbers it's easier to be involved and be heard. In fact, many Democrats in Utah are Dems solely for that reason. However, it is the fact that the local Democratic chapters are so different than the national party that prevented me from jumping in with both feet. It didn't make sense to affiliate with a national movement with which I had so many philosophical differences, despite the example of a few Democratic congressmen that I admire. Nevertheless, my flirtation inched ever closer to a full fledged relationship.

That is, until I saw how despised by their own party those congressmen I admired were. I began to realize the "Big Tent" wasn't all that large after all. Consequently, my flirtation began to wane. But what has occurred over the last couple of weeks was the final nail in the coffin.

From the very moment it was announced, Governor Palin's nomination has made the Democratic Party go absolutely insane.

Here it is, the party of "rational" thought, a party which proclaimed its "Big Tent" appeal, its work for women and minorities, its position as voice for the little guy. And it has thrown that false facade completely aside to rear its ugly, partisan, sexist, gutter-politics head as it rushes to throw garbage at McCain's vice presidential pick in hopes something, anything, might stick.

For instance, on the very day Gov. Palin was announced as the candidate, Daily Kos posted a "story" claiming her infant Down Syndrome baby wasn't hers, but was her daughter's instead, and that the Palin's pulled their daughter out of school in order to hide the pregnancy and claim the baby as their own. They even posted links to pictures which "proved" that Palin was waaay too skinny to have been pregnant. Her teenage daughter on the other hand, plenty of "baby bump" potential there. Now, some might argue that Kos users can post anything they want, and the Kos site can't be held accountable for every crackpot user. But this particular user also put a poll with the story, asking if this sad, despicable, rumor-mongering story should continue. Over 22,000 people voted, and 64% of them said yes.

Sadly, Logan's own KVNU blog posted the same story - slightly less accusatory, but swallowing the Kos rumors hook, line, and sinker nonetheless.

It's an example of how the party faithful actually aren't all that different, whether they be a national Democrat or a local version. So while national commentators have been outlandishly juvenile, their local faithful have been much more disappointingly so.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some of the things said about Governor Palin in the days following her announcement.

Radio host and TV commentator Alan Colmes speculates the Palin's first child was conceived out of wedlock. That fancy bit of journalism followed his breathless reporting that "17-Year-Old Bristol Palin Five Months Pregnant".

Sadly, local blog "One Utah", on day 3 of Gov Palin's nomination, jumps on the bandwagon, positing "her 17 year old unmarried daughter is pregnant (I heard whispers the father is 24)". Shockingly, he's not.

CNN reported a National Enquirer story claiming Governor Palin had an affair with her husband's former business partner. Andrew Sullivan excitedly posts that a former business partner filed an emergency motion to seal his divorce papers. Those fun Daily Kos-ites picked up the story as well, hoping beyond hope that it were true. Shockingly, it's not.

But that didn't stop local blogger Richard Warnick from spreading the same lies.

Even my own commenters fall into the trap of believing every last petty rumor written on a website somewhere. Democracy Lover offered up this gem as proof that Governor Palin is scaaaary - not to mention racist. But, once again, it's a complete fabrication. Just more garbage throwing in hopes something will stick.

But even if we were to put aside the muckraking and rumor mongering, the sexism on display by the Democrats, and the Obama campaign, is astounding.

Take this image, for instance. Or Richard Warnick complaining Gov. Palin is from the pages of Vogue. Or this image. There are countless others. All just as crass.

South Carolina Democratic chairwoman Carol Fowler said Governor Palin's "primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.” She later apologized.

"Obama adviser" Anita Dunn said, "She's new, and a good performer of that speech that she reads, but that doesn't necessarily translate into votes eight weeks from now,"

Reclusive Leftist is not impressed:
A good performer of that speech she reads. Sarah Palin is the goddamn Governor of Alaska. She’s a crack politician who has made her own way. She is not some blow-dried twit on cable news. And of course Obama trots out a woman to spew this garbage. Irony overload: you know how everyone on the left likes to say that Palin is a typical anti-woman conservative, the type of successful woman who’s ready to stick it to other women instead of helping to raise us all up?

Sounds to me like a perfect description of the women on Obama’s staff.
But it's not just the women staffers saying it.

It's Obama's VP pick, Joe Biden.

It's even Obama himself.

It's the rampant misogyny that was on display throughout the primaries, and has reappeared with Gov Palin's nomination.

It's been quite disheartening to watch it unfold. Even more so to realize that it's not just the weirdo liberal blog sites behaving this way, but it's prominent national Democrats. Worse, it's local Utah Democrats.

So I will continue to vote bi-partisanly, based on individual candidates and races. But whatever moderate high ground the Democratic Party may have once held, is now no more.

19 comments:

Jesse Harris said...

The Utah Democratic Party itself participated in spreading the falsehoods: http://www.sltrib.com/utahpolitics/ci_10372954

David said...

I can totally relate to your dilemma - wanting to be involved, not wanting to have a party dictate positions to you, even wanting to participate where your impact could most be felt here in Utah, and finding that none of the options seems quite palatable (including the various third parties so far).

Steve said...

On the local level, I think the Democrats allow more autonomity than the Republicans. And there are plenty of Republicans (ehem, McCain, "Lieberman") that the party doesn't send X-mas cards too.
I think the attack on the "liberal" press is a little biased itself. In this day in age, news is old 12 hours later and as opposed to the old days of only three networks breaking a story, now we have cable news, internet news guys (Drudge), radio, and everyone and their grandma being a blogger and wanting their moment in the sun breaking a story. I think a lot of these stories were an attempt to be first with ANY information on a relative unknown. Were some wrong, yes, but in today's political news cycle, I don't think the 24 hour news cycles allows as much time and fact checking; sadly.

Drew Conrad said...

Cam, nice post. The truth is, as Hannity says it best, "journalism is dead."

It is so sad to see such a determination to ruin a person and a family like Sarah Palin and her family.

You are right about the lack of time in fact checking, I have often looked for "whats true and whats not" only to not be able to track down the truth.

We must depend on those morals, values, and convictions that we hold most important to decide how we vote.

UtahTeacher said...

Cameron,

I agree with you, but I perceive it as being equally bad between parties. The Republican email forwards and blogs about Obama and Romney are/were just as bad as the stupid Palin stuff.

The very worst offenders in my opinion like Daily Kos, OneUtah, Oblogatory Anecdotes, etc.--I don't read them much because it's annoying and unhelpful.

Others, that I usually or at least sometimes find well-reasoned even when I disagree--you, Irrational Optimist, Urquhart, The World According to Me, Tyler and Rich at KVNU--I perceive as being less rational and more defensive for their chosen side when it comes to the presidential election. (Please take that analytically and not antagonistically my friend.) I think this afflicts the MSM as well. The presidential election seems to cause more urgent defensiveness, justification, and shrillness.

NoSurfGirl said...

I have to agree with the Dem party throwing mud on Palin. I've been very putt off by all the disgusting attempts on either side (whether it be emails about Obama's muslim terrorist background or rumors that Palin lied about her own baby's birth.) One thing's for sure, I'm going to see red if they make her daughter into a jamie lynn spears type tabloid figure. Whatever. This is why I'm an independent (though sometimes I use the term, democrat just to shake my friends up.)

Thanks for the post. It released a lot of the angst i've been feeling. I don't like Palin, but it's not because she's a woman, it's not because she's skinny and beautiful and a republican and stealing Obama's thunder. And frankly it makes me feel ill to see all the lows everyone, democrats and republicans alike, have descended to. Lipstick on a pig, my foot. Don't pretend to be all innocent, Mr. Obama. And calling out the name "Barack Hussein Obama" over a loudspeaker isn't the way to win votes. Or at least, not my votes.
One thing i must say though, the saturday night live video was awesome. An absolute gem in comedic atristry. Have you seen it?

Cameron said...

Jesse,

Thanks, I had forgotten about that one. Another great example of hyper-partisanship getting in the way of decency.

Cameron said...

David,

Yeah, third parties have just as many issues as the two big ones do. And likely more crazy people. Not to mention zero influence.

I often hear the complaint that the Utah Republican Party is too extreme right wing. The truth is that their party activists are no more extreme than the Democrats' are. I think the general population falls somewhere in between those two areas. We elect very moderate governors. The problem is that not enough of the moderates are involved in political parties. Everyone waits until the election, and by then someone else has already winnowed the choice for you.

Cameron said...

Steve,

I think it's funny you would use a Democratic Senator who ran for president twice and was the party's nominee for vice president just 4 years ago, but that has now gotten kicked out of the party over a single issue (I thought Democrats didn't like Single Issue Voters?) as an example of Democratic autonomy.

"I think a lot of these stories were an attempt to be first with ANY information on a relative unknown."

Agreed. And that's a really crummy excuse.

In fact, I read on a few liberal sites absolute glee that the media insanity which met Governor Palin's nomination was during what normally is a "grace" period for VP nominees. "This is when it's supposed to be nice, imagine what it'll be like later. Whippee!"

The Democratic Party's reaction to Gov. Palin's nomination, Dems both local, national, blogger, campaigner, and ABC news, was an embarrassment.

Cameron said...

Drew,

Thanks for the comment.

If blogging has taught me anything, it's to not believe anything.

Cameron said...

UT,

Thanks. No offense taken. But in my defense, I haven't written much, if anything, about the presidential election until recently. And that has centered on Gov. Palin.

I've gotten some of those emails about Obama being a secrete Muslim. And I've politely emailed back with a link to snopes or something showing that it's not true. I've noticed that Obama set up a fight the smears website to combat some of this. I don't really see one of those for Gov. Palin though. I don't see anyone in the Democratic Party saying enough is enough, stop with the bs. They talk about a clean campaign for two years, about how things are different now (despite an incredibly nasty primary), and how we don't need these kinds of smear tactics in politics anymore. And then they go out and one-up everything ever written about Obama. And they do it in less than a week. The, "Palin's baby isn't hers it's her daughter's! See, look how fat the daughter is!" came out complete with photos just hours after she was announced.

Cameron said...

Nosurfgirl,

I haven't seen the SNL skit yet. But it was brought up by my CEO in a meeting on Tuesday, and she loved it. So it's climbing the to-do list.

Democracy Lover said...

Let's see. The following people speak for the Democratic Party: Daily Kos, Alan Colmes, various small-time bloggers, including me, etc. Unless you're prepared to accept the statements of Rush, Ann C., Sean H., and the Freeper guys as bona fide pronouncements of the Republican Party, I think you're off base here.

Let's imagine that Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic primary and then named some first-term governor of a small state with no evident qualifications as her running mate. Do you think the aforementioned Republican representatives would have remained quiet about it? In a pig's eye, and that's pork!

The "rational" thing is for a party to choose candidates who are qualified for the offices they seek or who, at the very least, can carry on intelligent conversations about the issues before the American people. The Republican party has had a habit of proffering candidates who cannot meet that standard: Dan Quayle, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin are all examples. Given his performance yesterday, we have to wonder about John McCain as well.

Cameron said...

DL,

For some reason you forgot to mention the references to statements made by Obama, Biden, and Obama campaign officials.

I included the vast array of sources for incoherent Palin bashing as means to show how pervasive it is. From lowly bloggers all the way to the Party's nominee for president. From national party faithful to the local variety. It's a stain that marks all of you. So I don't want to hear any more talk of how evil the Republicans are for dirty politics, or how they treated the Clintons. The smell test was just handed out, and you flunked.

Democracy Lover said...

So is it dirty politics to describe the actual hypocrisy of the other candidate, or to invent bogus stories about the other candidate?

The nomination of Palin is an affront to the intelligence of the American people, particularly since they hadn't bothered to actually vet her or prepare her. The Republican "leadership" knew that didn't matter, because as long as they put some radical right-wing Christian out there, their core voters would lap it up. The people who don't allow inconvenient facts to interfere with the political opinions are gaga over the Palin.

Apparently a large number of Republican voters see no problem with electing a senile, angry corrupt politician with a totally inexperienced sidekick with no interest in or knowledge of economics or foreign policy to lead a nation in economic meltdown with a decade of failed foreign policy misadventures. Yep, you guys are oblivious. The future of the nation is simply not important to you apparently, as long as we have someone in or near the White House that you can "identify with".

I'm not saying the Dems are doing much better, but at least their candidates are intelligent, knowledgeable and don't have a history of impulsive or corrupt behavior. Voting for McCain/Palin is a supremely anti-American act.

NoSurfGirl said...

wow.

'tis the season... to demonize the other side. To call anyone who disagrees with you, anti-american. And to regurgitate rhetoric in the form of insults to whichever candidate a person has decided not to vote for.

Sigh. Please, let these next six weeks move quickly...

BTW, Cameron, I'm looking forward to the debate friday. I hope you have something here about it.

Anonymous said...

What about the crap the GOP sends out on Obama? You never chastise them dude, and my guess is you never will.

Cameron said...

DL,

You're projecting again.

nosufgirl,

It's what makes blogging interesting. Sometimes.

The debates should be fun. There's plenty to talk about, that's for sure.

Anon,

See, this post isn't about who is worse, or pointing out one side better than the other. This post is about how I was leaning quite seriously towards joining the Democratic Party, despite some philosophical disagreement. And that leaning was based largely on this party being accepting, rational, and moderate. As I have pointed out, the reaction to Governor Palin has smashed those ideals to pieces.

Mark said...

Cameron, an Obama adminmistration would be an administration of floccinaucinihilipilification.