Monday, March 30, 2009

An Army of (The) One

I linked to this piece by Linda at Something…and Half of Something in an update to one of my previous posts; however, I think the story deserves its own post.

According to the article in the Birmingham News, to which Linda refers, one Chris DeHaven, an organizer in Alabama for Obama’s perpetual campaign machine, made the following revealing statement: “”We’re not looking for a fight. That will come later, when we have an army.”

I would think that this is the sort of talk that even Democrats (even liberal Democrats) would find somewhat disquieting. A highly personalistic, imperial presidency with its own grassroots Praetorian Guard is more likely than not to marginalize the Democratic Party apparatus, by drawing support to a cult-like leader at the expense of other elected officials – a possibility that also increases the danger that the Party and the President may be seen as one, in which case a backlash against Obama could lead to severe damage to the career prospects for Democratic legislators. Something similar happened during Bill Clinton’s two terms, when his own popularity became inextricably bound up with the Democratic Party. As Clinton increasingly became a lightning rod for scandal, the public reacted by penalizing his party and returning the Republicans to power in the House and Senate.

Of course, you won’t see notable Democratic figures denouncing these tactics. Right now, they’re more than happy to crowd onto the Obama Express, along with the True Believers, because they think it’s the quickest route to what would effectively be a one-party state. I suppose the regrets won’t start to sink in until the technicians start airbrushing images of Pelosi and Reid and the rest out of the official Party photographs.

9 comments:

richard mcenroe said...

Note for future reference: there's a difference betweem 'imperial' and 'caligula'...

JeffS said...

It's indeed a disturbing trend when you consider how Obama's Administration clearly expected to use that "grassroots" campaign to influence the nation on his budget a week or so ago. Whether or not it was successful is immaterial; the use of a strategy by a sitting President to actively marginalize Congress (not just the Democrats) ought to send warning flags everywhere. Especially with that "Pledge to support Obama". The Constitution was ignored as well, at least symbolically.

And, no, I am not thinking of Presidential addresses to the nation. Presidents have been giving speeches since George Washington was elected. I do not recall any president ever asking Americans to pledge to him....only to the United States.

Nope, this sort of strategy has a lot pitfalls, primarily because (as you note) it focuses on Obama. But the Democrats are mostly live-for-the-day sort; the possibility that it might ensnare them is something they'll worry about later.

elcampeador.com said...

All I can type is...Whenever you're ready..Bring It!



WOW! A perfect WV, for the occasion.

bastr Chris DeHaven

missred said...

jeffs, many moons ago, i received a donation letter from the DNC. not only were they asking for money, they were also asking me to pledge allegiance to the current president, Bill Clinton. i wrote back (not enclosing money) that the flag was the only pledge of allegiance i gave.

Isophorone said...

Some of this reminds me of disturbing scenes from Allen Drury novels.

richard mcenroe said...

Dear Mr. Obama,

I once held up my hand and swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

When I see you ready to do the same, call me.

Could this be the 'conservative YouTube?'

JeffS said...

Really, missred? I shouldn't be surprised, though. Clinton is a narcissist as well, just not as much as Obama.

Still, there's a difference between a mass mailing, and organizing people to knock on doors for pledges. The trend remains disturbing.

RebeccaH said...

It's pretty certain no one will ever come knocking on my door asking me to pledge support for Obama. Our little town is just too small, and hugely conservative. But I almost wish someone would, just so I could give them an earful.

Anonymous said...

RebeccaH, we can't be sure they didn't put us down as having pledged to The Won without ever knocking on the door. Wasn't Acorn leading the teams of knockers?

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