I was going to take a pass today, in honor of my favorite holiday, Halloween. But I was cruelly distracted by a headline at HuffPo: Obama Primary Challenge? Nearly Half of Dems Want 2010 Fight. The article cites an Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll and states:
Among Democrats, 47 percent say Obama should be challenged for the 2012 nomination and 51 percent say he should not be opposed. …
Political operatives and polling experts caution that Obama’s poll standings say more about people’s frustrations today with the economy and other conditions than they do about his re-election prospects. With the next presidential election two years away – an eon in politics – the public’s view of Obama could easily improve if the economy revives or if he outmaneuvers Republicans on Capitol Hill or in the presidential campaign. …
The White House declined comment on the results.
Nearly 3 in 10, or 29 percent, of Democrats who said during the spring of 2008 that they were backing Obama for the Democratic nomination now say they want him to be challenged in 2012. Seven in 10 want him renominated.
So it turns out that Dump Obama makes it into the mainstream. The pollsters knew it was a relevant question, and people definitely had thoughts about it. Yet “Democratic activists say there are no signs of a serious primary challenge to Obama.” They wouldn’t.
So what to make of this? First, as just stated above, Democratic activists reference a “serious primary challenge.” One fallback position they will use is to declare any challenge as not serious.
Secondly, the opposition to Obama within the party skews SLIGHTLY to the right, if one buys that Hillary supporters were to the right of Obama. Fact is, some were, some weren’t. Some were old party establishment types, and some were proud and radical feminists. Hillary’s support — branded as more conservative — tended to be, I believe, among the traditional DP organizations, among Obama’s main targets, and they represent a more organized force than Democrats in general. Then there is the Stupak factor. I recently read that another poll showed serious deterioration in Obama’s support among women, more deterioration than his deterioration in general.
Remember Stupak? The necessary compromise on abortion rights to get that piece of shit healthcare bill passed? Which women would get over soon enough? Yeah, right.
So I’m not sure what to make of all this. But tentatively, we can conclude that Dump Obama — whatever banner it’s under — is going to happen. It is clearly viable. But the political character of the challenge is unclear. In fact, as Democratic aspirants start to smell blood in the water, I suspect that he will face a multiplicity of challengers, some coming at him from the right, some coming from the left. Our responsibility as progressives — in my opinion — is to frame this as a left-wing challenge.
I’ve been throwing out the tactic of using the report from the Catfood Commission as some kind of jumping off point, a convenient launch date. Any word of support — or even waffling — on raising the retirement age or cutting Social Security benefits and Obama is officially Dumpworthy. I was thinking small. This might not be on the scale of the fight put up by the French workers and students, but somehow it goes to the heart of what the Democratic Party and Obama are about. And this time, unlike the healthcare fight, we go into it with our eyes wide open.
We can get this guy, and it will send a big, big message.
Now I can put on my mask and go around scaring people. Boo!