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Monday, August 17, 2009

Did we see the birth of a 2012 primary challenge to Barack Obama tonight?
Posted by Jill | 9:19 PM
In the last few weeks, Howard Dean has been all over the place. He was a major presence at Netroots Nation, he subbed for Keith Olbermann for two nights, he was on The Early Show today, and his message is the same everywhere: There will be a public option and the President will sign a bill in December.

Either Dr. Dean knows more about the sausage-making going on in Washington on health care than he's letting on, or else what he has been saying is not an opinion or a reassurance, but a threat.

In the last few weeks, we've seen the part of Barack Obama about which we've all been nervous really show itself -- his stubborn insistence that he can do business with people who not only want him to fail, but who have strongly intimated through their surrogates in the right-wing media and the lobbyists who are riling up low-information voters into a frenzy, that they also would not be unhappy to see him killed.

You simply cannot do business with these people. Howard Dean knows this.

Say what you will about Howard Dean, he is one tough little motherfucker. Maybe he's got that short guy thing of wanting to show the biggest balls in the room. But while Dean may not have understood what he was up against in the media in 2004, you can rest assured that he does now -- and he's learning more every day, as he makes his way through the media as pundit and as guest host. He's making friends in the media and he's learning how the broadcast media work. And he is a quick study.

There is no love lost between the Obama Administration and Howard Dean. It is Howard Dean whose 50-state strategy -- the very strategy that Rahm Emanuel opposed -- that gave the Democrats a majority in the Senate. While Rahm Emanuel's methodology is to put all the money into fighting only seats that are sure wins (a guaranteed recipe for permanent minority status) It's well known that Rahmmy hates Howard Dean and couldn't WAIT to get him out of the DNC. We also know that Howard Dean would have been very happy to serve in the Administration as Secretary of Health and Human Services, but the Obama Administration treated him as if he was a carrier of swine flu.

Barack Obama is throwing his entire base under the bus in a vain attempt to try to get Republicans to like him, to work with him, to help him succeed. He does not understand that it is the role of today's Republican Party to pummel Democrats into submission. In throwing the public option overboard, Obama has shown himself to the Republicans as a wuss -- and they are going to treat him like one.

Howard Dean is no wuss. I could be wrong, but I think that on Countdown tonight, we saw the threat of a 2012 primary challenge from the good Doctor:

And the one thing I will tell the Obama Administration is that there are a lot of us out here who worked hard to put them in office. And if they fuck with us we will not hesitate to work to get them out of there and put in someone who understands that when the American people hand you a vote of confidence like the one Barack Obama and the Democrats were given, you do not respond by asking Republicans to please kick you again.

UPDATE: More from the good doctor from yesterday:

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Anonymous Richard Blair said...
Nice take, Jill.

The GOP knows that they can always count on a handful of "conservative" Dems in the Senate, and the Blue Dogs in the House.

There is no reciprocity - the Dems should know by now that the authoritarian party walks in lockstep, and does as they are directed by their leadership. There is no equivalent to "Blue Dog Dems" on the GOP side of the aisle.

Now, I'm not saying that the Dems should walk in authoritarian lockstep. Far from it. They should (as should the GOP reps) represent the interest of the voters in their districts who put them into office. That's what a representative, Jeffersonian democracy is supposed to be all about.

We know it doesn't work that way, though. Hasn't for a long time, if ever. But in my own personal long political history (going back to the late 60's and early 70's) I can not recall a time when there was such an ideological division and gap of (for lack of a better word) political reasonability.

At the end of the day, though, the Dems have to play the hand that they're dealt. The dealers on their side of the aisle (Reid, Pelosi, Hoyer) are weak-kneed dealers, and wouldn't last a shift in Vegas. The Pit Boss (Obama) is quickly losing control and trying to mollify the card counting sharks who are running the table and draining the house bank.

He can't place nice with these fuckers (I mean, if I were him, I'd rip Grassley's face off), but he still continues to publicly make the effort. I don't get it. It's way past time to send in the muscle, the thugs, and some adult supervision over the gaming tables.

(And if you think I'm making obtuse organized crime references by mistake, you're mistaken.) :-)

Howard Dean is making the right noises, but to what effect? By 2012, we'll be even further down the rabbit hole than we are right now. The media will never let Dean assume the role of elder statesman of the party. And he doesn't have the "wow" factor that carried Obama last year.

I fear we haven't hit the bottom of the hole yet - hell, we can't even see the bottom.

Sorry for the ramble. Maybe I'll make this as a post on my blog.


Anonymous Brad Jacobson said...
"Say what you will about Howard Dean, he is one tough little motherfucker."

Agreed. And he's one smart motherfucker as well. His treatment by the Obama administration and the Democratic Party after he devised and patented (along with Joe Trippi?) the 50-state strategy is appalling.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why does everyone diss Pelosi ?

She has been promoting & pushing through Obama's agenda to the extent that she can. She's also been willing to play the "liberal bad cop" to give Obama room to "transcend partisanship" (i.e., "triangulate"). She can't order the Blue Dogs to STFU or stay in line.

Also, during the fall 2008 campaign, she made the Congressional & Senate Democrats let Obama speak for them in the bank bailout conference. This gave Obama equal "Presidential" stature with Bush & McCain and silenced all the "inexperienced" buzz. Also, that strategy torpedoed McCain's gimmick about suspending his campaign and coopting the Senate Democrats (notoriously fractious and self-promoting) into some deal that McCain could present as "his" plan.

I agree that Reid is ineffective as the Majority Leader (however arguably effective he was as Minority Leader) -- we need more of an LBJ type in the face of the Republican unity. However, Pelosi shouldn't be tarred with the same brush.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yes! Now you are talking: I am with Howard Dean 100%. If Obama/Rahm doesn't cut it, let's move on with the primary challenge. I AM IN!

- Whenwego

Blogger Bob said...
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Blogger Bob said...
I lay more responsibility on Obama (& Rahm noodle) than on Pelosi & Reid. Obama is the "change" guy with the popular "mandate" Bush never had.

Obama could face a primary challenge from a progressive, much as Carter had to fight off Ted Kennedy. He would almost certainly beat it down, but it would be sad, divisive,& ugly, create a media shark feeding frenzy, & generate a third party candidate (right now I cannot imagine who) strong enough to lose Obama some key swing states. It doesn't bother me so much that Obama disappoints the left - it was inevitable, but that he didn't try to create a true reform administration, & surrounded himself with appointees who had already compromised themselves.

Anonymous Charlie O said...
I'm still a little rankled at Dean for dropping out in 04. I think he should have stayed in the race. I believe he could have had a much bigger impact at the convention. Kerry was a poor choice for the Dems in 04. I voted for him while holding my nose.

That said, I still believe that Dean would be a great president. I'm a little disappointed with Obama constantly trying to appease the Reprobates and the Dems in Congress are mostly just cowards.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Great article. We brought him the victory and we can bring Mr. Obama his defeat. Dean would make a great candidate and he would move his resources brilliantly. Or at least to have Dean lead the campaign of another candidate would give a great advantage asnd insure the defeat of the Blue Dog President.

Anonymous WendyO said...
Howard Dean in 2012!

It did not work for us with Obama. Dean is now media savvy as the article noted. I would work as hard for him as I did in 04

He did not drop out, the media screamed him out. But he knows the lay of the media land now and Obama who I worked just as hard for, moving states to vote in a red state, is a disappointment, big time.

Is there a Howard Dean for President site? if so, where? Best Wendy

Blogger sue said...
i am with you 100% howard dean in 2012.