OK, Hillary, where are YOUR activists?

From CNN’s Political Ticker:

Noting that “my husband never did well in caucus states either,” Clinton argued that caucuses are “primarily dominated by activists” and that “they don’t represent the electorate, we know that.”

Now, I don’t care which candidate you support–personally, I support Obama, but that’s neither here nor there for the purposes of this post.

The fact that any candidate for the Democratic nomination can openly dismiss activists in such condescending terms is shocking.  Senator Clinton apparently thinks that people who actually care enough about issues and are invested enough in a candidate to actually go out and suspend the routine of their daily lives to try to make a difference for the causes and candidates they support are in some way hijacking the “will of the electorate.”

More below…  

And that attitude from the political establishment, my friends (and no, I’m not John McCain), is exactly what drove us to the blogosphere in the first place.  We were tired of being dismissed as irrelevant, or out of the mainstream.  We were tired of our voices being ignored, and we were tired of being told by other people what we could think and how we could think it.

The whole point of the online revolution we have been trying to lead is that we want to see a Democratic Party that welcomes new blood, fresh ideas and innovative ways of getting voters informed and, yes, turning them into activists for all the causes, issues and candidates they care about.  Senator Clinton–and, apparently, many others within the Democratic Party establishment–just don’t want to see that happen.

And as far as Senator Clinton is concerned, this statement is merely in keeping with the whole dust-up about Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson.  The whole firestorm about Senator Clinton’s “it takes a president” comment centered around whether her comments were racist.  I argued in a diary on the Big Orange a month ago that it would have been racist only if Senator Clinton had argued that what LBJ did was wrong:

The main reason I do not want to see Senator Clinton as the nominee is that her entire campaign has communicated the idea that she is above the people, that our opinions are irrelevant next to her awesome power as an executive, and that we should simply trust her to do what’s right because she has experience.  I’d have you notice that when Senator Clinton made her comments about MLK and LBJ, she did not say anything that would distinguish what she would do as president from what Senator Obama would do as president.  Instead, the only distinction that was being discussed was the importance of movement building vs. the power of the presidency.

And with her latest statement regarding activists supposedly subverting the will of the electorate, she has merely confirmed her position on this issue.  But I think it would be important for Senator Clinton to remember a few things:

It was activists who led the revolt against the British Crown.

It was activists who gave their lives in the abolitionist movement.

It was activists who founded and led the civil rights movement.

It was activists who helped end the war in Vietnam.

It was activists who gave women the right to vote.

It is activists who are currently ending the marginalization of our gay brothers and sisters.

The list goes on and on.

While this post may seem like it’s a polemic against Senator Clinton, it really goes beyond that.  What we’re fighting here is a battle to see whether people who actually give a damn about things will have their voices heard, or whether they will be categorically dismissed as irrelevant compared to those who feel entitled to take their seats in the halls of power.

I know which side I’m on.


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  1. mrs marc rich:


    jorge cabrera:


    mrs yassar arafat:


  2. a dirty fucking hippy?

  3. “it’s not easy being orange . . . ” and then I realized that not only was I wrong about the intent of the diary, but I’d never come up with a second line.

    It’s been that kind of day . . .  

    • pfiore8 on February 11, 2008 at 23:40

    From the mouth of Speaker Pelosi…

    I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things — Buddhas?  I don’t know what they were — couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk. If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have “Impeach Bush” across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.

    emphasis mine

    i’ve referenced this quote several times. but it never loses its particular charm.

    it’s like we can dismiss them one at a time. we can see it in terms of one instance or example, like Clinton or Pelosi. but we can’t seem to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.

    imo, democrats are just politicians, like republicans. the democrats have targeted the portion of the audience that responds to politicians in progressives’ clothing. but that’s not what they believe. it’s not what they are. listen to what they say. look at the action (or lack of) and that will inform you sooooooo much better than mere words.

    the longer we think redemption will come in the form of a democratic white house, the more vulnerable we are to losing in the long term.

    • pico on February 12, 2008 at 00:15

    Sheesh, another of these “let’s read this in the worst possible light” moments.  Clinton is saying that the activists don’t represent the general electorate, because they don’t.  You remember 2004, right?  Remember all the activists for Kerry early on?  Nope: activists for Dean.  And then the general voting public picked Kerry.  That’s what she’s saying, like it or not: activist support is not the same as general support.  This is not some kind of manifesto against activism.

    Now, you can make fun of her for being wrong – obviously activist support is translating into general support for Obama – or for such a transparent attempt to shrug off losses (and they keep getting sadder and more transparent with each loss).  Have at it.  But your reading is just not correct.

    • OPOL on February 12, 2008 at 00:16

    I mean besides EVERYFUCKINGTHING!

    Let them call me a rebel and I welcome it; I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of demons should I make a whore of my soul.Thomas Paine

    I think it is both telling and chilling that the ‘leadership’ of the Democratic Party has developed such antipathy for ACTIVISTS (who are the only political animals worth preserving IMHO).  

    I want a new drug, one that won’t make me sick – and I want a new Party, one that won’t stab me in the back.

    Is that too much to ask?

  4. in our place, doesn’t it?  The same sort of condescenion Dean and all the Deaniacs received.

  5. activists don’t represent the electorate, and it’s a damn shame.

    If they did sellouts to the corporatocracy would never stand a chance. And there would not have been a war in Iraq.

  6. thinking is that its not like folks other than activists are banned from attending caucuses (unless it conflicts with work – but I think that’s a small percentage of those who don’t show up). So I think her issue is more with those who don’t show up – but she’s blaming the outcome on those who do. That’s a messed up way of promoting democracy!!

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