Thursday, May 08, 2008

Head Spinning, Must Sit Down

If what Matt Stoller says is true, then what? I've been on the outside, looking in, politically speaking my whole life. The democrats have never been organized enough, or fierce enough, or liberal enough for my taste and the last eight years have pretty much killed my political palate entirely. If we end up with McCain I'm going to lose my political sense of smell and end up on a starvation diet of nothing. But what Stoller is saying is like a dream come true--or a nightmare. One of the things I learned after Clinton, from talking to the head honcho at Emily's list, was that there was really no "there there" in the democratic party between elections. The DNC, as you all know, traditionally did pretty much nothing in between four year cycles. And under Clinton the whole apparatus had been turned over to big time money rakers with zero interest in grass roots politics or what would come to be Howard Dean's fifty state strategy. So Stoller is taking Obama's "new new" politics of base organization, massive small donor fundraising, and local activism very seriously. I must say it sounds like a great idea but I find as I read Stoller's article and discover this hypothetically super powerful Democratic President who can "with a nod" make shit happen that I'm increasingly petrified. At heart I don't trust Obama or, really, anyone who has ever gotten this close to getting the nomination, to have any kind of supreme power. And I sure don't trust his faithful voters. I said this at the start of Obama's campaign and I"m sure it says something strange and sad about me--I don't think that Obama's supporters, the grassroots army that we are hoping will fight in the trenches and transform local politics, agrees on anything in particular. A cult of personality, the longing for hope and self actualization, is really nothing new on the American scene. Tent revival, anyone? Sometimes you get some serious political action out of it--Temperance comes to mind--and sometimes its all squandered when the charisma wears off.