Anti-Obama movement leader Andy Martin says disaffected Democrats are “surging” against Obama in the media and online.
The “surge” that threatens Obama
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Obama Author Andy Martin says Barack Obama faces threat of an embarrassing “surge” in the Democratic Party
“2008 is proving to be like no other election I have witnessed,” says Andy
Anti-Obama movement leader Martin says disaffected Democrats are “surging” against Obama in the media and online.
(NEW YORK)[July 28, 2008] The “surge” that Senator Barack Obama focuses on is the increased troop presence in Iraq that Senator John McCain uses to embarrass his opponent. Obama opposed the “surge” in Baghdad, said the plan would fail and steadfastly refuses to admit that the policy of increasing troop strength to aid in peace efforts has succeeded.
In point of fact, the U. S. Army always maintained that without adequate troops, the Army would not be able to restore order in Iraq. The 2003 invasion was a flawed policy triggered with inadequate military strength that metastasized into the desperate conditions that existed in 2006. I was and continue to be a very vocal opponent of the invasion. I also recognize that having “broken” Iraq, we can’t just pull out. And so we are stuck trying to work with the Iraqi government to withdraw on a rational “schedule.” Even the word schedule is now becoming contested and controversial.
Nevertheless, this column is not about the “surge” in the Middle East. That surge does not threaten the Obama candidacy as much as the growing “surge” within the Democratic Party.
My observation of presidential campaigns goes all the way back to 1952, when president Harry Truman drove through my hometown of Middletown, Connecticut. Every campaign since then has featured a “committee” of supporters for each presidential candidate that originates in the opposing party. There were “Democrats for Nixon” and “Republicans for Gore,” and so forth. With varying degrees of efficacy and energy these “opposition” groups are organized to create the impression of national campaigns drawing endorsements from the full spectrum of political activists.
2008 has been different. The “opposition” first manifested itself in the Republican Party, where so-called “conservatives” and “evangelicals” announced their lack of support after McCain won the Republican Party primaries. While “conservatives” were attacking McCain, Democrats tut-tutted that their candidates, Senator Hillary Clinton and Obama, were indistinguishable on the issues and would easily coalesce and unite after the primaries.
The Democrats’ belief was that after either Clinton or Obama clinched the nomination, organized opposition within the party would cease.
That has not proven to be the case. Democrats are opposing Obama with increasing energy and increasing organization. Truly, the “surge” inside the Democratic Party endangers the Obama campaign much more than the surge in Baghdad.
First, Obama is an “image” candidate. He is obsessed with his image; his success is based on image and imagination. The existence of vocal resistance to his candidacy within the Democratic Party jeopardizes the illusion of unanimity and party unity, and shatters his image.
Second, if the opposition to Obama reaches the match point and ignites, Obama could be embarrassed in Denver. After Clinton suspended her campaign, Obama thought he had a green light to run roughshod over her supporters. That has proven to be a mistaken view. Clinton supporters want to be heard in Denver. I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to see an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune demanding that Clinton’s name be placed in nomination. http://thedenvergroup.blogspot.com/
My guess is that a very strenuous effort is going to be made to place Clinton’s name in nomination in Denver, forcing Obama into a roll-call vote.
The Obama campaign has sought to steamroller Clinton supporters into dropping their announced support for Clinton as the price their meaningful participation in Denver. This hauteur appears to have backfired. Many Clinton supporters, who feel she did not receive fair treatment during the primaries, are refusing to be absorbed by the Obama organization. This is not to say that most Clinton supporters did not join Obama, or won’t support him. It is too soon to say. But the anti-Obama resistance is not dissolving and disappearing as his camp had predicted.
Our national political parties are delicate and to some extent artificial constructs. In the modern era they have not been designed to conduct business when there is internal opposition. Prior to 1960, conventions were spirited and untidy affairs. Today they are scripted events. The script is being shredded in Obama’s case.
Third, although e-mail and the Internet were significant as early as 2000, this is the first presidential election where the “aggregation” power of the Internet is being used to collect Clinton supporters so they can be aggregated as an continuing opposition to Obama. I don’t know how strong these groups are or how well organized they will prove to be. I have made no effort to measure them. See, for example:
There may be other similar organizations (please contact me if you exist).
But any opposition to Obama’s image could prove fatal, since image is the foundation of his campaign.
How does Obama react? I am not sure there is an easy answer. His initial Chicago-style response of threatening to crush the opposition may have backfired. The pro-Clinton Obama opposition is not under the thumb of the Democratic Party. Just as Obama energized new voters, Clinton did the same. The anti-Obama movement is independent of the Democratic Party’s traditional command and control.
There is clearly a cleavage between Democrats who want to take the party more to the left, supporting Obama, and those who want the Democratic Party to be more centrist, supporting Clinton.
Clinton was criticized in 2007 for running a “centrist” presidential campaign. She was accused of acting as though she were already the nominee and maneuvering her stands on issues towards “the center.” (Horrors.) The Obama surge in 2007 forced Clinton to tack to the left. Democrats as a group, however, are not any more monolithic than the Republicans. There are shades of opinion on most questions.
Many Democrats, for example, understand the surge in Iraq, and are sensitive to the potential consequences of a precipitous withdrawal from that country. However ill advised the 2003 invasion may have been, many Democrats supported the invasion. They understand we have to leave only when conditions permit sustained peace.
Likewise the “young” voters that Obama touts as his base may recognize that he plans to loot their pension savings to support their elders.
Clinton supporters will no doubt continue their guerilla war over the next few weeks and into the fall. Originally I was planning to attend the Denver convention. Then I thought it would be a bore. But as the Clintonistas continue to surge, and as Obama’s defenses prove porous, I am back to believing I should be in Denver.
As for McCain, are the evangelicals and “conservatives” similarly surging against their candidate? I see no evidence of that fact. The tables unexpectedly turned on the Democrats; they thought Republicans would have the greater internal problems. Today it is Democrats who face greater internecine upheaval and opposition.
FULL Disclosure: My new book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, comes out this week. The publisher will start shipping today. I am already working on a new book for the next phase of the presidential campaign. And, yes, I have made a choice.
Someone asked me recently if I would work “under the radar” against Senator Obama. I stated, as the Washington Post has written about me, that I do not work “under the table.” I work out in the open.
The “hard left” fantasizes that I run a powerful secret organization. That’s flattering. I tease the leftists by suggesting I have a clandestine bunker deep underneath Midtown Manhattan. Nevertheless, I have decided to oppose Obama’s election and have become Executive Director of The Stop Obama Coalition, http://StopObamaCoalition.com. By default, I have become the national leader of the anti-Obama movement. We are going to run a very dynamic and aggressive campaign against Obama. I will continue to write my column for ContrarianCommentary.com. Book orders: http://Orangestatepress.com.
Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. His columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Andy is the author of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, published in July 2008, see http://www.OrangeStatePress.com. MEDIA CONTACT: (866) 706-2639 E-MAIL: AndyMart20@aol.com [NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]