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How can Democrats send a message of disappointment to Obama in the Iowa caucuses without significantly harming the Obama campaign?

We can do it pretty much anyway we want -- wearing kilts to the caucus meetings, smearing ourselves with woad, talking to fellow caucus-goers only in Pig Latin -- so long as our actions are understood as conveying our intended message.  We accomplish that by letting people know ahead of time that that's what we're doing.

So, while I disagree with Cenk Uygar's diary calling on Democrats to cast uncommitted votes in the Democratic caucuses next Tuesday, I do sympathize with some continuing disappointment with our President (although much less than I felt last summer.  Standing strong has been good for him.)  If I were an Iowa Dem, I'd want to "send him a message," but in a way that would not be fundamentally hurtful to his campaign.

(But isn't any even token opposition to Obama hurtful to his campaign?  Not really; it depends on how one does it.  If done with good cheer, it sends a message to voters that one can be disappointed with, or even pissed off at, Obama in some ways and still plan to support him.)

How to accomplish this, though?  I think that I might engage in a benign version of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos."  I'd re-register as a Republican for the day and take part in the Republican Caucus.  But rather than trying to propel Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum or some other sad creature to the nomination, I'd stand in a corner where I and my fellow Democrats could stand alone.

I would vote for Herman Cain, who remains on the ballot.

I have to admit that some part of me would be interested in going into the write-in line, where "Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Buddy Roemer and others who are pursuing the Republican nomination" will have their supporters.  But I wouldn't want to do that.  For one thing, writing down a name is too effortful.  For another, people who write in those names will not, for the most part, be doing it as a joke.  And, to have its desired impact, it has to be clear that it is a joke.

Voting for Herman Cain at this point -- probably at any point, but certainly at this point -- is clearly a joke.

The Republican Party is not allowing its voters to vote "Uncommitted" this year.  (They are most likely afraid that it would be the runaway winner.)  But they couldn't take Cain's name off of the ballot -- and a vote for Cain is, in 2012, the way that Republican caucus voters (be they Republican or Democratic the rest of the year) can, in effect, vote "uncommitted."  And that does hurt the Republican storyline.

I mean, just imagine the headlines if Cain wins.

(Hell, just imagine the headlines if Cain doesn't get the joke after winning -- and so reopens his candidacy.  But, to paraphrase Barney Frank, I don't think that God likes us that much.)

So here's my proposal to make everyone happy: if you're happy with Obama and you want everyone to know it, hold on to your Democratic registration and vote for Obama in the Democratic caucus.

If, however, for whatever reason you don't feel like voting for Obama in the caucus, though you still do feel like embarrassing the Republicans in a way that they will understand, then your path is clear: attend the Republican caucus and VOTE FOR CAIN.

We have five days to organize these efforts; that should be enough.  After all, you don't have to come up with some long persuasive speech on behalf of your candidate.  Whatever anyone asks you, you just have to say "Nine! Nine! Nine!"  (Alternatively: "Nein! Nein! Nein!")

People may think that you're crazy -- but that's how they'll know that you belong there!

Iowa Democrats, I leave this in your capable hands.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sometimes all it takes for us to unify all sectors (23+ / 0-)

    of our party is a good joke.  And if Cain wins Iowa, that would be a great joke!

    Democrats must
    Earn the trust
    Of the 99% --
    That's our intent!

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

    by Seneca Doane on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:30:24 AM PST

    •  Seneca Doane for Chief Democratic Strategist! (4+ / 0-)

      Dude, brilliant as always.  

      Your grasp of strategy and appropriate tactics never fails to amaze me.  

      "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 01:46:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've studied your posts closely, G2g! n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Democrats must
        Earn the trust
        Of the 99% --
        That's our intent!

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

        by Seneca Doane on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 04:38:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Now we can start the Mutual Back-Patting Club... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DianeNYS, Seneca Doane

          .... and pass around the tummy pills:-)

          Dude, we should start a consulting company or something.  Seriously.  

          Think about turning our stuff into position papers and getting a contract with the DNC to tell them exactly why they need to reformat their proverbial hard drive and install a new operating system.  Offer political intel (I know a high expert who used to hang out here, is presently working for the Congressional Progressive Caucus).  Engage in the occasional silly prank to prove we have a sense of humor and it's not about us it's about our ideas.  Etc.  

          "The think-tank with an attitude."  

          "Minus one vote for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 05:53:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What's the Risk? Risk of Kucinich Surging in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassandracarolina, glorificus

    the nomination race by capturing the uncomitteds?

    I think given some of the tensions on our side in the 08 nomination race, I'd feel uncomfortable picking Cain in particular.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:37:17 AM PST

    •  Uh, no (11+ / 0-)

      and don't use any variant of the word "Kaptur" around Kucinich.

      It's a "Democrats in Disarray" storyline vs. a "Democrats divided but willing to come together to stomp Republicans" storyline.  I prefer the latter.

      You're not picking Cain for President, you're picking him for Republican nominee.  And I have to say that I think that there's no better and more accurate representative of the 2012 GOP than Herman Cain.

      Democrats must
      Earn the trust
      Of the 99% --
      That's our intent!

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:46:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey , I have a wild idea , (9+ / 0-)

    vote for Obama . Vote for him every chance you get , that will teach um .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:46:38 AM PST

  •  one more time... (15+ / 0-)

    ... and no thanks to the "progressives" who took Cenk's brilliant strategic advice to sit home on Election Day 2010...



    - American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 - Stimulus
    - Cash for Clunkers
    - Pell Grants, and revisions and protections for student loans
    - Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act - FDA
    - Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010
    - Increased average fuel economy standards
    - Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act - CHIP
    - embryonic stem cell research
    - Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act
    - Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act -military spending fraud
    - Credit Card Bill of Rights
    - bills to promote Clean Energy future (HR 2454 Cap and Trade failed)
    - NEON NSF science environmental changes study
    - Cut prescription drug cost for Medicare recipients by 50%
    - extensions to unemployment benefits & Food Stamps programs
    - protection of gun owners’ rights (Dec 2009)
    - Tax cuts - people and 3.5 million small businesses
    - Increased funding for national parks and forests
    - Appointed nation's first Chief Technology Officer
    - Frank-Dodd financial reform law; creation of the CFPB
    - America Competes Act - science, fed agencies, research
    - food safety Bill
    - James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010
    - Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
    - Truth in Caller ID Act of 2009
    - Bankruptcy Technical Corrections Act of 2010
    - Real Estate Jobs and Investment Act of 2010
    - Payroll Deduction bill for Middle Class tax relief
    - Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (additional $12.2B funding)
    - established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    - Cut prescription drug cost for medicare recipients by 50%
    - Cuban Americans unrestricted visitation rights act
    - National Foundation on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition Establishment Act


    - Women Appointees, Cabinet, Supreme Court
    - DADT - Appointed most number of openly gay officials
    - Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
    - support for DREAM act (failed)
    - Women’s issues, Family Planning, Choice, counseling, screening tests
           e.g. Johanna's Law (gynecologic cancers)
    - Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2010
    - increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act
    - Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2010
    - Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
    - Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr)


    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

    - Affordable care - 30-50 million more insured
    - semi-employer based
    - free people only working for healthcare (~800,000)
    - limits on HMO profits
    - pre-existing conditions
    - children included to age 26
    - no lifetime benefit caps
    - co-payments prohibited
    - sickness dropping prohibited
    - maintains HMO middlemen & 500K employees


    - START treaty
    - Terrorism - Bin Laden: DEAD
    - Terrorism - Qaddafi: DEAD
    - Wars - winding down Iraq
    -  Arab Spring - Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia

    The only path forward for this nation is the UTTER DESTRUCTION of this Republican Party.
    November 6, 2012 | OCCUPY THE VOTING BOOTH

    by NamelessGenXer on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:51:36 AM PST

    •  You are not the target of this appeal (7+ / 0-)

      You (and/or those Iowans who agree with you) should be voting for Obama in the caucus.  This argument is for those who have some sympathy for the desire for protest but who also want to aim their fire at those who most deserve it: the Republicans.

      Your demanding that everyone agree with your outright, rather than quibbling with (or attempting to refure) your list of accomplishments, is self-defeating.  Arguing that "progressives stayed home" already makes me want to smack you down.  But I won't, because that too would not be useful right now.

      Democrats must
      Earn the trust
      Of the 99% --
      That's our intent!

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back." -- Saul Alinksy OCcupy!

      by Seneca Doane on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 12:00:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm an independent Iowan but registering (8+ / 0-)

    republican for the night to vote for Cain might have entertainment value :)

    Then again might just stay home and drink some beer...

    Trade always exists for the traders. Any time you hear businessmen debating "which policy is better for America," don’t bend over. -George Carlin-

    by not4morewars on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 11:54:30 AM PST

  •  Forget about Cain (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, glorificus, Zack from the SFV

    Iowa Dems for Dick Nixon!!!

    He's tanned, rested and ready to serve. And by today's GOP standards, he's a lefty.

  •  I would say... (9+ / 0-)

    ...anything that allows the Republicans to distract attention away from the tumbling, flaming train wreck that is their primary season would be a bad move on our part.

    We have our candidate, and barring all but the most extraordinary circumstances, Obama would win.  We don't need to feed any horseshit GOP narratives about Obama having real political weakness.  We need to let the next few months demonstrate to people what utter fuck-ups the Republicans are.

    So I say, don't borrow trouble.

    Simple question: In the years since Republicans successfully urged the disempowering of workers and unions in the Midwest, what has happened to those states economies?

    by Stephen Daugherty on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 12:05:53 PM PST

  •  I will compromise and caucus as "cheerfully (4+ / 0-)

    If you really want to encourage our friends to subject themselves to 2+ hours of of the torture  of being squeezed into a hall full of teabaggers, that's your right.

    I Support the President's reelection, but I have many reasons, in an uncontested caucus, to support Occupy Iowa and my own principles.
    I will stand to  point out to my fellow attendees that we can send a message of disappointment and disapproval over a myriad of policies without abandoning the Democratic Party Platform or damaging our President's reelection chances.  

    100% of any vote doesn't strike me as even something to strive for in this Country.

    Open, but not gaping..

    by sgary on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 02:38:18 PM PST

  •  I'm utterly amazed at all of the energy going... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...into protecting the 2012 Iowa Democratic Caucus from a threat that, so far as I know, the Iowa Dems are not asking to be protected from.

    It's the Iowa GOP that is planning on hiderating the votes of caucusgoers who vote "no preference" when the votes are tallied at a secret undisclosed location somewhere here in Iowa.

    As near as I've been able to determine, the Iowa Dems are putting out the welcome mat for folks, including OCCUPIERS, who want come and vote "uncommitted".

    Did it ever occure to folks here that by including and welcoming folks who come and vote "uncommitted", the Iowa Democratic Party is actually being strengthened, while by hiderating "no preference" votes, the Iowa GOP is being weakened?

    "If I can't dance, then I don't want to be in your revolution"--Emma Goldman

    by ehrenfeucht games on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 05:38:38 PM PST

  •  Woad? Woad? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    Is that that blue stuff?  

    Brilliant.  Love it.  That was so funny.  It is simply a hilarious word.

  •  Your proposal is far superior to Cenk's, SD. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. -FDR

    by SoCalSal on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 05:57:07 PM PST

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