Thursday, May 22, 2008

Anglachel's Journal: Legitimacy, Not Unity

"Lack of legitimacy means relying on force to win. If you have to bully people to make them be quiet, you have lost legitimacy. If you have to remove votes from the contest in order to win, you have lost legitimacy. The objection Hillary supporters have to "teh Rulz" to exclude Michigan and Florida is how nakedly they are used to force the numbers themselves into submission. The rules, as Hillary made clear in her incredible speech today, have a legitimacy problem just like Obama himself because of their instrumental use for the benefit of a particular candidate, not just to the detriment of a competitor, but to the detriment of democracy itself. Insisting on unity as a substitute for legitimacy corrodes the institutions meant to defend democracy. Insisting on unity in order to avoid dealing with dissent is self defeating."

"You gain legitimacy by being willing to risk power. This is the root cause of Obama's failure to be a unifying figure even as he preaches Unity. Obama would have lost some power in relation to Clinton early on by being willing to seat Florida and revote Michigan (I have said before that had he agreed to an immediate MI revote he would have won that state), but he would have gained an immeasurable amount of legitimacy with the voters, which would be paying off now. Clinging to a formal numbers count and defending that as the measure of victory rather than leaping for the chance to be affirmed by the voters is may garner a party nomination, but it makes Obama look like a beleagured dictator bleating about how he won an election that everyone knows was dirty and compromised."

"Unity is power to quell dissent, legitimacy is power under conditions of dissent."

Read it here

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