Friday, May 23, 2008


'TIL THE LAST YELLOW DOG DIES: The bullets continue to fly over the disastrous Republicans’ Convention last weekend but you wouldn’t know it to read the Honolulu newspapers.

In addition to the scathing back and forth between party activist and bosses we reported on the other day, new ballistic bombardments and sieve-like shields are still being posted at the Republican’s best and worst friend Malia Zimmerman’s Hawai`i Reporter news service.

Now there’s some new and improved coverage of the debacle with even a video of some of the scripted authoritarian event where the Ron Paul supporters were shut out of the process causing even some of the McCainiac party regulars to swear to never participate again after their leadership ran rough-shod over everyone, abusing not just the process but apparently the delegates themselves.

But the Honolulu Advertiser’s purveyor of the politically obvious Jerry Burris either doesn’t read or research very much- or maybe he wrote the piece before the convention. He certainly didn’t ask anyone who was there in writing in his regular Wednesday column:

“The Republicans ended their convention upbeat and enthused. That's what conventions are for. But the reality is that despite the sparkling individual success of Gov. Linda Lingle, the Hawai'i GOP has yet to find its voice or its home in contemporary local politics.”

And, from those we’ve talked to and what we’ve read , it sure sounds like a similar meltdown might be in store as the Democrats turn to self-destruct in its normal manner at their State Convention this weekend.

It remains to be seen whether the Obamanics will smother dissents from Shrillary Hillary supporters who see misogyny in everyone that doesn’t live in their sound=-proof booth.

According to reports there are still three party bosses- er, Superdelegates- at stake and their appointment goes along with newly elected party leadership positions.

The only question is whether the Dems will allow a battle royale and thus disintegrate into the usual melee they have been famous for or will take a repressive page out of the Republican Convention Playbook thus disillusioning all those wide-eyed new members that came in on Obama’s caucus coattails.

And, surprise- this year there are also some platform issues for Democrats to “discuss”, always a fun time for observers from the other party. This year they come replete with a contentious plank on the one issue that is bound to piss everyone off – Israel and Palestine- with AIPAC throwing their weight around in try to defeat a popular resolution that is none too complementary to the Zionists.

Even nationally pundits seem to have their heads so far up the butts of party leadership that when Howard Dean speaks you can see Richard Cohen’s face between his teeth. They are never talking to the rank and file or even the lower level activists yielding the kind of drivel that drives the horse race coverage and the conventional wisdom- a catch all meaning lazy insular analysis.

Nowhere do you hear the realities of the Democratic race- things like how if there is even a race with the Republican in the fall it is the turnout of new voters and people motivated to vote that will decide the race and that the Obama campaign has done the most incredible grassroots job of precinct by precinct bottom up organizing ever seen.

They brought in community organizers and Democratic Party wannabes last summer and fall and sent them to campaign schools, teaching the basics of “do it on your own” neighborhood organizing.

Then, months later found that, in many states, there were Obama campaign headquarters springing up unbeknownst to the national campaign. The locals were already there when they came to town to campaign in the primaries and caucuses.

That more than anything explains his successes where the corporate pundits had eliminated him early on- something they still haven’t caught onto.

No one sees how the right-wing-despised Hillary Clinton came into the race with electability inside the base of the Democratic constituency.

And, because they only talk to the insiders, none of them talk about how she destroyed any advantage she might have had by creating more hatred on the left than existed for her and Bill on the right by copying Rovian-Atwater-style campaign tactics when she fell behind after Iowa.

It has nothing to do with her being a woman. And as a matter of fact the desirability of tempering the usual masculine aspect guiding our war mongering, male-dominated, power-as-an-aphrodesiac Congress with the feminist aspect and viewpoint is one of the strongest arguments for electing females. . and it’s one that Clinton quite apparently fought hard to dissipate by trying to out-macho the men with her votes in the Senate.

We don’t believe Obama is any different than Clinton- or McCain for that matter- with his opposition of single payer, non corporate, universal health care, his votes for every war funding bill and the new Patriot act, his opposition to impeachment, his support for coal and innumerable untenable positions for true progressives.

But elections are not decided on issues- they are decided on who you’d rather have dinner or a beer with. And Hillary has sickened many on the left, especially among the young and previously disenfranchised, via the campaigning style she has adopted over the past few months.

Will there be a free for all this weekend or can the Hawai`i Democratic “leadership” head it off? And if they head it off will there be acrimony over the process? The one thing that could cut those new 37,000 membership numbers down to a new handful of activists and cause 36,500 that don’t even remember they joined the party would be to make them feel like the “old boys” didn’t give everyone there a fair hearing.

Whatever happens, will it be reported in the newspapers rather than just light up the on-line alternative press and blogs? Doubt it.

The bland penchant-for-the-obvious for political columnists at the Advertiser and Star-Bulletin and their lack of understanding of politics notwithstanding not pissing off the losers is the art of insider party politics.

And it ain’t as easy as it sounds in both cases – last week with the R’s and this week with the D’s- you have a forgone winner and a doomed loser. And a platform debate that will be bound to turn people away if it is allowed but will probably be a lot worse if it’s stifled.

Whatever happens the big question is, if something happens in Hawai`i politics and neither Jerry Burris or the equally lackluster and pedestrianly-mediocre Richard Borroca report it in the corporate newspapers does it make a policy sound?


Katy Rose said...

Andy, you know I'm no Clinton supporter and I know you are anti-sexist, but did you have to say "Shrillary?" C'mon - I thought my mother's generation took care of that question!

Andy Parx said...

Sorry Katy if it came off as some kind of gender based joke- It has nothing to do with gender. I never minded her too much although I’ve always thought she and Bill were sell outs... but then again so were all the “new Democrats”. But lately the tone and content of her campaigning has gotten to the point where the sound of her voice is like nails on the blackboard. It’s pretty “shrill” if not in timbre in tone of content. And I don’t see that it would be any different if it were a man that was shrill- there are plenty of them too.

And actually that’s part of the problem- criticizing her at all for anything has somehow become “anti-feminist”. The irony is that she has strived to be “anti-feminism”. My idea of feminism is not the woman in the corporate structure who has to act more like an asshole than the men. Margaret Thatcher was not a feminist. For me, Feminism is the idea that as a society and political entity we base our action on a male aspect view of the world and that we need a balance of male and female aspects in the way we relate and govern.

Anonymous said...

yet no one ever seems to call a man "shrill". Strident at most.

WJC and HRC are not sellouts. They were never hard left in the first place; you can't sell out principles you never had. She started out as a Goldwater supporter.

"And actually that’s part of the problem- criticizing her at all for anything has somehow become “anti-feminist”

Hardly. Its just using sexist terminology that gets you in trouble except with perhaps as few fringe types that over react to anything.

Andy Parx said...

Really? Shrill is only for females? I thought it was gender neutral. I don’t use it in any gender specific way- I don’t think I ever heard it described as part of any “sexist” terminology..

I can’t count the number of times people have called me shrill. I even did ask my editor if there was anything that was wrong or objectionable about that phrase and she said no she didn’t think so... but since I was looking at it before publication it obviously occurred to me perhaps you’re right- Maybe I shouldn’t have used it but I’m still not fully convinced.

I said “sell out” but I never meant to intimate that the Clintons ever represented anything resembling my own ideals. But even from whatever stated positions she had prior to her election to the Senate (when she began “running” for president) she has not even done what she says (and I suspect in some cases) she thinks is right in order to appeal to the war-mongering element of the public. That is the sense of “selling out” that I meant. And now for someone who bemoaned the vast right wing conspiracy and the tactics they used in legislative and campaign battles against her and Bill to use the very tactics that she railed against publicly just a decade before is worse than being a “sell-out”. It at least indicates an “ends justify the means” attitude if not a lack of any personal ethics.

But perhaps you’re right – like the man said “she has no faith to lose and she knows it”