The Clintons and political sadness

I don't want this to turn into a political blog, but I've always posted freely about American culture -- and the most dominant aspect of our culture at the moment is the recent behavior of both of the Clintons. Those who have spoken with me in the past few months about the election have heard me say that I like Hillary Clinton, that we need more people like her fighting for us, that it's important that America have a woman as president sooner than later, but that for various reasons I prefer Obama for the presidency. I usually then dive into those reasons, but I don't want to get into that here. What I do want to get into is that during the past week or so, I've felt the most political sadness since I realized that the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry were sticking.

My sadness started when I was told by several Democrats at the Nevada caucus that they would not or might not vote for Obama because he's a crypto-Muslim. I knew that those emails have been going around, but to see people bring it up publicly underscored how widespread and widely believed the rumors are. That was a general sadness, not directed at any particular person.

But since then, my sadness has been transferred to both Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose behavior in the past week or so can only be described as "Rovian." First there was the technique of attacking and distorting one of Obama's strengths: his consistent position on the Iraq war. Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School describes it here, and is unafraid to call it "swiftboating." Then there's been the recent injection of Bill Clinton as the campaign attack dog, which even Robert Reich, who served as Clinton's Secretary of Labor, finds saddening. Recently, the Clinton campaign has been airing radio attack ads in South Carolina, which the Washington Post points out are deliberately misleading.

Some think that the Clinton's behavior will cause a backlash, and that Obama will benefit from all of this, as he did with Lorna Brett Howard, a former president of Chicago's chapter of NOW that switched to Obama after witnessing the Clinton campaign's distortion of Obama's record on abortion. I might have thought that a few months ago, but after what I witnessed at the caucus, I'm feeling much more pessimistic.

I think Clinton will win the nomination, and I will likely vote for her mostly for her Supreme Court nominations -- unless there's a viable 3rd party candidate that I like better -- although I question her ability to win the general election. But how Clinton's campaign is trying to get there really saddens me, and I wanted to get a bunch of links off my chest.


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Well done - I blogged about Lessig's post yesterday http://eightfor08.com/2008/01/23/getting-clintoned/

Mostly on the side of: 'don't worry, there will be a backlash, besides, this plays to Obama's strength (or at least his only strategy we have seen on display thus far (hope)).'

Hearing your perspective from the ground amongst the caucus makes me think twice about that, but here's where I think it stands now:

If Clinton wins, it won't be because of the negative campaigning, it will be because she started with more, and not just money. But if Obama wins, it might just be because of the backlash. This only strengthens two of your points: 1. it's unlikely the backlash will be strong enough given what you saw in Nevada and 2. it makes it really sad that HRC has embraced these tactics when she doesn't really need it.

ODB | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 12:04pm

My feeling is that HRC could get the nomination much more easily without going negative. She's being super paranoid and potentially destructive to the party and the political sphere as a whole. The competition should give her an opportunity to show why she's the better candidate (if one goes on the assumption that she is), rather than how nasty she can be. I'd like to see Obama win resoundingly in SC, not just because I'm a supporter, but also because I hope that it may serve as a sound rejection of HRC/BC's negative campaigning.

Also, when the hell did BC become Dick Cheney?

Josh Eveleth | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 12:27pm

Crazymonk, take solace in the fact that the majority of the press outlets and journalists resoundingly want Obama to win.

A South Carolina victory will be huge for Obama, as there is significant lag time between then and February 5th.
The press just needs reassurance that they can support Obama without fear of looking stupid.

The backlash against the Clintons will be any even bigger story reported by the press if/when Obama wins South Carolina.

Don't get me wrong, I find the win at all costs strategy of the Clintons discouraging as well, but my parents were both on the fence and are now almost certainly they are going to vote for Obama because they find the Clintons tatics in the past week to be so dispicable. I also think that the people who think Obama is muslim would not vote for him anyway.

Keep the hope buddy-- remember the world gets better all the time, despite what some poo-pooers say. Women and minorities can vote in the U.S., slavery (and its modern day manifestations) is much less prevalent worldwide, and countless health concerns have been improved with medicine.
Not too shabby accomplishments that occured during the last 150 years.

P.S. No shame in writing about politic things on your blog.

Slater | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 12:54pm

I've commented on this in other places, but I really don't like the way that Obama's responded to the Muslim thing.

I understand why he's doing it, and I recognize that it'll be effective and the course of action that I desire would be ineffective, but when someone accuses you of being Muslim the right response isn't "No I'm not, praise Jesus," the right answer should be "Would it matter if I were?"

He's focusing on the fact that the rumors are lies and not on the fact that rumors shouldn't be considered derogatory in the first place and anybody who finds them to be derogatory is a xenophobic jackass.

In watching his response on CNN last night, it was hard to not read him as endorsing the idea that it would be right not to vote for him if he were Muslim. "But, don't worry, praise Jesus, I'm not." During his speech, as soon as he gave a "praise Jesus" line, people literally started jumping up and down with glee. This is the direction we want our country heading in?

Again, I know why he's doing it, and I understand that it's tactically a good move, but I find his response almost as saddening as the fact that it's become an issue in the first place.

Ingen Angiven | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 1:04pm

Hmm, that's a tough one. I understand your disappointment with his reaction, and I felt it as well when he did the "praise Jesus" bit. I find it saddening that he's been backed into this corner, but it would indeed be political hurtful to say, "Would it matter if I were?" I find this saddening, but not nearly as saddening as the Clinton's behavior, because one is a matter of attack, and the other a matter of defense. But you know as well as I do that a Muslim could not win the presidency in the near future, and this doesn't entirely have to do with xenophobic jackasses.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 1:15pm

that's an interesting question: what's the highest elected office a muslim has held in the US?

leum | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 2:08pm

Keith Ellison maybe? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Ellison_(politician)

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 2:14pm

Is there a valid reason to vote for generic, non-threatening Christians over generic, non-threatening Muslims other than xenophobia?

You know who does even worse than Muslims across the entire right-left spectrum? Atheists.

Ingen Angiven | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 3:40pm

All other issues being equal, no. Although I think each would have the responsibility to address the shortcomings of their faith: e.g., anti-birth control for Catholics, gender equality for Muslims. I have a feeling it would be harder for an observant Muslim to do the latter, since, unlike Christianity, there isn't a major "reformed" Muslim movement.

But here's the problem: Obama isn't accused of being a generic, non-threatening Muslim, he's accused of being a crypto-Muslim, which implies something worse. How can you ask someone to defend their religions practices when they won't admit being a member of their religion? And if they won't admit it, there must be a reason, right? This is the key to the Obama accusations: that he's hiding his "true" religion because he's trying to sneak in some sort of agenda, whether it be a pro-terror or an anti-Israel one.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 3:51pm

i am disgusted -- DISGUSTED -- by the clinton hackjob over the last 2 weeks.

2 weeks ago, watching the NH debates, i was thrilled that even though i had chosen obama over clinton, it was great to see the democrats having civil discourse while the republicans rolled around in the mud. it gave me great satisfaction and relief to see that it was entirely likely that the dems would have a strong, positive campaign while the GOP cannibalized itself. all of a sudden, THEY were the dysfunctional party.

i am stunned -- STUNNED -- that bill and hillary have seen fit to completely destroy that. i would not be shocked if:

a) hillary wins the nomination
b) hillary loses the general election

mostly due to alienating the black supporters of obama in the south and any relative independents who might have drifted towards a strong dem with integrity.

and bill -- BILL! -- what the hell is wrong with you? 2 weeks ago, i would have gladly voted for you for 2 more terms if i could have. now? i'm disgusted, stunned, and repulsed by this.

the reagan thing was the last straw. doris kearns goodwin said on "meet the press" (paraphrasing): "it's a sad state of affairs when a candidate cannot reflect on presidential history without it being used against him."

obama never said jack shit about LIKING reagan or about reagan having "better ideas." he ACCURATELY and OBJECTIVELY commented on reagan's historical role in the republican party and national politics. and hillary and bill pounced.

obnoxious. here was an intellectual moment (which are few and far between in political discourse) and it was turned into a smarmy lie by a smarmy campaign.

i live in massachusetts. my vote won't matter in the general. i'm voting obama in the primary. if he doesn't win the nomination, i will be leaving that section blank in november.

jbg. | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:02pm

I really hope that HC does not win the nomination. I really don't know if I can vote for her, though I guess it depends who is running against her. Maybe it would the best for everyone if McCain wins. The next President has a good chance of being a one termer. The next four years are not going to go all that well and if it is Hilary in the hot seat, for better or worse, it will be blamed all on her and the (D)'s. Then it will be (R)'s for the next 20 years. Why do politics suck so much? I really think that our generation and the one after will be more civil in response to the vile shit we see before us today. Begone you shitty baby boomers.

Los Angeles Anthony | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:22pm

One term is all McCain needs to turn the Supreme Court into an all-Scalia, all-the-time machine.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:30pm
crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:35pm

-"there isn't a major "reformed" Muslim movement."
are you sure?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reform_Islam
not that that link proves anything of significance, and it's not a strictly rhetorical question, but I do think that there is a general stigma against Islam so that whereas the U.S. public distinguishes between a Mormon and a creationist evangelical and the vague obligatory Christianity of the Democrats, no such distinctions will be made about Islam, regardless of how reformed the most reformed branches of the faith are, or how large the following of 'reform' Islam is.

Jesse | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 4:54pm

"Like virtually all chain e-mails this one is false."

Heh.

Ingen Angiven | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 5:22pm

Jesse, thanks for the link. I can't say for sure, but it doesn't look like that movement is very large. And you're right, even if a politician was a reformed Muslim, it wouldn't matter much to most Americans since they wouldn't really know what they are reforming in the first place.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 5:31pm

Surprisingly, LAA and my father have exactly the same views, though my father wants to go the extra yard and vote for a Republican so that in 4 years we can have Democrat rule for 20 years. I really don't think we can predict that far ahead. What if Cloverfield strikes in 2009? That would change everything.

Jon May | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 5:56pm

Your dad agrees with "Begone you shitty baby boomers"?

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 6:00pm

Obama is certainly benefiting from a backlash in my personal case. For what it's worth, my mom -- lifelong Democrat, lifelong HUD employee, lifelong union member before she moved to the shitty South, same age as HC -- doesn't like HC. This suggests that she will vote for BO in both the primary and the general election.

It is foolish to think shit's gonna get any better after four years.

Lorelei | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 6:10pm

Nice! May, you should give me his number so we can hang out. By the way, I don't think I can vote Republican either. If Hil is the only choice, I could be convinced to vote third party. Of course she could change my mind, but right now all I see in her is another 4 years of hellish backbiting dirty politics where everyone hates each other. With Obama I feel all the vitriol that is spewed at him won't stick like it will with Clinton and maybe this nausiating echo chamber that we call politics will dim.

Los Angeles Anthony | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 6:21pm

If you vote in California, you should definitely vote 3rd party if Clinton is nominated. She'd win the state anyway.

I don't have that luxury in Nevada, where she is very likely to lose.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 6:27pm

why is the south shitty?

jmd | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 6:42pm

laa, while i agree with "begone you shitty babyboomers," it's kind of naive of you to think that the "next generation" of politicians will be more civil.

not if they, a) are learning at the feet of the current round of douchebags and b) are the same people i went to college with who wanted to be politicians.

those assholes suck ass and shit.

jbg. | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 7:05pm

You speak true jbg. Perhaps I am naive, but I do believe that by the time I am 60 certain issues will have receded. Gay marriage, pot, etc. I am looking forward to that. To bad by then we will also all be eating Soylent Green. It's made of people!

Los Angeles Anthony | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 7:27pm

CrazyMonk, I just gotta jump in with my standard contrarian view here. I'm thoroughly enjoying the new Clinton nastiness, and am pulling for Hillary right now, big-time. I had thought that maybe the horrible campaign Al Gore ran in 2000 (I, like a certain other blogger I know, voted for Nader in 2000), and the election of President Bush would do it, but no such luck. I had thought that the way the party establishment and media destroyed the Howard Dean campaign in '04 might have done it, but again, no such luck. Unfortunately everyone rallied to Kerry (I voted for the douchebag too). I thought that maybe the disgusting capitulation by the Dem leadership on FISA back in August '07 might have done it (along with countless other historical and current examples, but you get the gist), but yet again, no such luck. Nope, now it's time to elect More and Better Democrats.

HST in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972:

"How long, O Lord... How long? When will it end? The only possible good that can come of this wretched campaign is the ever-increasing likelihood that it will cause the Democratic Party to self-destruct.

A lot of people are seriously worried about this, but I am not one of them. I have never been much of a Party Man myself... and the more I learn about the realities of national politics, the more I'm convinced that the Democratic Party is an atavistic endeavor- more an Obstacle than a Vehicle- and that there is really no hope of accomplishing anything genuinely new or different in American politics until the Democratic Party is done away with."

Maybe when the best natural politician of the 20th century succeeds in destroying the best natural politician of the 21st century, we'll get lucky and the goddamn decrepit Democratic party will finally do this world a favor, and die a painful death. I hope the Clintons stay right on track with their slash and burn tactics on Obama all the way to the nomination. Hopefully not a single Obama supporter will be willing to pull the lever for Hillary this November, if only the Clintons can keep up the nastiness.

Fingers crossed...

Pseudonymous Blogger | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 7:49pm

Third party, you say? Bloomberg!

Ingen Angiven | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 8:35pm

Well, in addition to all the obviously shitty things about the South, my mom got fired by a major Southern state in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act. And there was no union to protect her. So fuck that particular state.

Lorelei | Thu, 01/24/2008 - 10:49pm

shit, the big O is one jesusy dude. for what it's worth though, he makes clear in both of these articles to Christian websites that he does respect the faith and speaks of Islam in a way that I haven't heard other candidates speak, i.e.:

Now, having said all that, I absolutely believe that having lived in a country that was majority Muslim for a time and having distant relatives in Africa who are Muslim, that I'm less likely to demonize the Muslim faith and more likely to understand that they are ordinary folks who are trying to figure out how to live their lives and raise their kids and prosper just like anybody else. And I do think that that cultural understanding is something that could be extremely valuable.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/228/story_22894.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/104-32.0.html?s...

all nice and stuff, but DAMN did i mention he's jesusy as shit?

flea | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 2:38am

You would think being Muslim could be an asset...i.e. able to reach out and make peace bridging gaps to different areas of the world. Can't he spin it that way? The rest of the world loves the American counter-culture, especially the African American story (MLK, jazz, gospel music, Fresh Prince of Bel-air...this is sort of a joke, but not really). I wonder if the rest of the world would put some weight into Obama's campaign. Then again, Clinton is a rock star abroad. Anyway, in four years, I think you're right, we'll be back where we started.

And, come on guys, down with baby boomers? That's a little ridiculous sentiment. I need some proof in the history of civilization that that generation is worse, since I don't understand your negativity about them as a whole. I'm more worried about their retirements right now. I guess I see our generation by extension worse in our selfishness and tuning out of the local issues/people directly in front of us.

Annie | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 5:11am

they're way more obnoxious. see: any movie about the 60's.

"the 60's were SO AMAZING! they are THE MOST AMAZING THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED! aaaww, you wouldn't understand!"

hey, douchebags. you let reagan become president and subsequently DESTROY AMERICA.

fucking hippies. drop dead, dennis hopper. DROP FUCKING DEAD ALREADY! heath ledger dead at 28, DENNIS HOPPER STILL FUCKING ALIVE?!

for chrissakes.

jbg. | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 6:12am

Our generation is already making nostalgia for 80s pop culture into just as much of a cultural fixation as 60s politics is for the boomers.

This year we have politicians still fighting the Vietnam War. In 2040, the presidential candidates will still be fighting Megatron.

A | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 8:04am

Who's going to found the Decepticon (big D) party?

Ingen Angiven | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 8:22am

He's real effin' jesusy, but I don't hold it against him so much as I hold it against our country (and more specifically the Democratic party, which doesn't have the courage to really throw its weight behind a faith-neutral approach to politics).

Thanks for the linx Flea- it is REALLY nice to see someone able to actually reason thru this issue to some extent. I think this is an example of the ways in which Obama's jesusiness and other aspects of his campaign that are sorta pro forma bullshitty political rhetoric are interspersed with some really reasonable, well-articulated positions. Annie, in theory there might be diplomatic advantages to a Muslim president of the US at this juncture, but in fact any candidate trying to advance such a position would be buried in the blink of an eye.

Jesse | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 9:26am

A, you're not wrong. i find my peer group just as irritating as the baby boomers.

but the baby boomers own everything and make all the shitty decisions. so i hate them more.

incidentally, it's a LOT of fun watching the current media go apeshit over the internet (CNN's "internet reporter," the "facebook and youtube debates!," and "tell us what you think in our I-POLL, our E-COMMENT and NEWSBLOG.")

am i wrong or are they SUPERFUCKINGEXCITED about it, while we're all aware that the internet is basically useless save for porn, shitty video clips, and an occasionally interesting factoid.

jbg. | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 9:42am

i havent been following the mudslinging too closely, but does hrc saying its time for all parties to stop the negative personal attacks and focus on the issues seem hypocritical?

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN2531553320080125

hasnt obama been on the defensive most of this time?

jmd | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 2:14pm

That's the technique: try to muddy the waters by claiming that attacks were initiated on both sides.

crazymonk | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 2:19pm

You know who hasn't attacked anybody? Michael Bloomberg.

RumorsDaily | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 2:52pm

You know who's not running for President? Michael Bloomberg.

Lorelei | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 5:00pm

You know who I would vote for if it is Hillary? Michael Bloomberg.

Los Angeles Anthony | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 6:01pm

You know who likes Yoo Hoo? Michael Bloomberg.

Jon May | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 6:28pm

He DOES like Yoo Hoo.

LA Anthony (and others) WILL vote for him if Hillary is the nominee.

He IS running (if Obama loses {and he might also require Mitt to lose, but Obama is a necessity}).

RumorsDaily | Fri, 01/25/2008 - 11:08pm

Clearly I meant McCain, not Mitt.

RumorsDaily | Sat, 01/26/2008 - 7:56am

So I am a bit late weighing in on this one. As some of you know, I do love me some HRC, but I do think that the negatives the Clinton campaign are bringing up regarding Obama has more to do with their anger at the media than at Obama the candidate.

Here is what I view is the situation:

1. The media refuses to report on the successes or failures of Obama as a public figure. I know more about him from talking to Marco than listening/reading to NPR, CNN, Bloomburg Radio, NYTIMES, Huffington Post, MYDD, DailyKos, etc.

2. The Clintons are fed up with all the hate from the media. They were grossly mischaracterized when they spoke about LBJ and MLK as well as Bill's "fairy tale" statement. It was these two mischaracterizations that mobilized the press to make the Clintons look like ugly white politicians who were out of touch with the black community.

3. Because the media will not report on Obama's record, they are bringing it up so the only way it reaches the media is through the obviously biased views of the Clintons and then the media, instead of reporting much on what they say, they discuss the "reasons" for what they say.

4. I am very wary of the media. The fact that for 2 weeks the Clintons have been portrayed as racists at the worst, or as insignificant to the black community in the very least is so awful and wrong. If Obama was "caught" doing any of the things the Clintons have done, it would not be reported the same way.

5. Obama cannot claim that he just votes with his convictions and his heart. His abstentions in abortion voting does not tell me that he is pro life, but it does show he is a political beast, and he is lauded for it. When Clinton votes for something for political reasons she is demonized as a Washington insider.

The Clintons should be attacking the press, but to win elections you cannot alienate the press, so they have to go after their opponent. I also thin the press is way over reacting to any of the tactics from the CLintons. In Iowa there was push polling against HRC, in Nevada Obama ran the first nasty campaign ad saying in Spanish that Clinton should be ashamed of herself, which in the Hispanic world is a huge insult, no one fully reported on the fact that HRC was ridiculed in public for tearing up. It was so sexist and it took voters to teach the press a lesson. Unfortunately the press never has to apologize for its actions, while both Obama and Clinton are forced to explain themselves all the time, even when quotes are taken out of context.

I for one think HRC is getting the worst flung at her, luckily for the Obama campaign, the press does it for them. Obama has no idea what the general election will be like, because the republicans sure know who to get the media to turn on democrats.

All this being said, I cannot wait to vote for either of them in the general election and think the sparing has been pretty light compared to previous elections. If anyone want to know why I'm voting for Clinton, they can ask me, I figured I wouldn't use this conversation for that.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:21am

Mandrews, I pretty much agree with your points 1-4, but I take issue with point 5. There's a good reason Obama has a 100% rating from NOW and Planned Parenthood on choice issues, and the "present" voting thing is not an abstention, but a in-hindsight dumb technicality in Illinois state politics. But I can be convinced otherwise: can you provide me with some sources that make the argument that Obama is weak on choice? Here's what I have, which says that it was *Planned Parenthood's* idea for him to vote "present":

http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/01/obama_campaign_defends_presen...

But with respect to the Clintons and race, I do believe there was been a deliberate effort by them to have Obama cast as a "Black candidate" based on his victory in South Carolina. Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson comments can be interpreted in no other way: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/064875.php

Unfortunately, it backfired on them when Obama more than doubled Clinton's vote total in SC. So, even though the press has played a role in this, the Clintons intentionally did as well.

"Obama has no idea what the general election will be like, because the republicans sure know who to get the media to turn on democrats."

These kind of comments bother me. What is he, some sort of naive idiot-savant? Did he not watch TV for the past 8 years? Obama's campaign is very well aware of what may happen if he gets the nomination -- they just have chosen a different way of dealing with it. It's legitimate to criticize that way, but not to say that his campaign "has no idea" -- they've run an extremely intelligent campaign.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:41am

I, in no way meant to say he does not support a woman's right to choose. I was just trying to point out that he has been political in his votes on occasion, and not simply always altruistic.

Maybe I was hyperbolic about the "Obama has no idea," comment, but the gist of it is that both his campaign and the media are saying that the Clintons are being as bad as the Rove machine, but I have seen democrats treat eachother worse (talk to Howard Dean). If they get this much up and arms over criticism, he will be quickly bogged down in responding to attacks than doing what he does best: giving great motivated and uplifting speeches about the future and the path our country needs to take.

As for the "Black Candidate," comments by Bill Clinton. I do not think he is being in anyway racist, just pointing out facts, that SC is not what is going to tip the scales to Obama. The media loves the man and Clinton is trying to point out that even though he won, SC is not the best forum to see how he will do nationwide, say like MA, NY, CA, etc. The media likes to play king for the day and Clinton is trying to call the media out before they start calling HRC irrelevant again (see coverage before NH Clinton win). I think it is safe to say that Obama will garner most of the Black vote this primary season. I also think we can expect the Clinton not to highlight his success with white voters. I also think he polls best with educated white liberals. HRC is better with working class and Hispanic voters. Of course there is a lot of crossover as both candidates have much to offer.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:59am

"I was just trying to point out that he has been political in his votes on occasion, and not simply always altruistic."

Well, yeah, he's not the Messiah, and neither is Edwards and Clinton, both of which are quite adept at political votes: e.g., http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/12/5/211436/972, and Iraq of course.

As for your analysis of Bill Clinton, I have to respectfully disagree. Bill Clinton did *not* just point out the facts. He never made any reasoned argument about the difference in demographics between SC and other states. What he did do is, on a question that had nothing to do with race, bring up Jesse Jackson's victories. That to me is racist, pure and simple. He was basically saying: "Well, Obama is black just like Jesse Jackson, and when Jackson won this state it meant nothing, therefore it means nothing for Obama because he is also black." There is no other way to interpret his comments.

By the way, you're right that SC's victory does not guarantee that Obama will win in other states. In fact, I challenge you to find one media person who has called Obama the frontrunner for Super Tuesday now. I have seen no such thing. The media understands that SC, while a landslide, is not representative of the Super Tuesday states, and they still consider Obama the underdog.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:15pm

I am not saying that they consider Obama the front runner, but the difference in positive press for him versus negative press for Clinton is dramatic to me. During Saturday I had CNN on at my parents house (I do not have cable nor do I watch network TV) and I did not see them show one speech of hers throughout the day, while I saw both Obama and Edward as well as all the republicans speak. BY only showing Bill Clinton's remarks and not showing her stump speeches, it looks like they are trying to promote candidates instead of report on candidate. To not show a front runner seems obvious bias. Maybe I missed it.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:30pm

I was going to say it's a little strong to say there is no other way to interpret BC's statement, as he merely pointed out a recent Dem candidate that won SC and didn't win anything else, and perhaps Jackson was the only useful candidate who fit that mold (Clinton won in 92 and 96, Gore in 2000). But then he could have used John Edwards' win in 2004 which is a better example -- it was a real primary, not a caucus like 84 and 88. Of course, doing so muddies the intent of his attack, which was to diminish the impact of Obama's victory, and is a valid attack. Citing the currently running Edwards makes the comment look like an attack on Edwards, which is not as useful as a direct attack on Obama. But by picking Jackson, a marginalized black candidate, when he could have chosen Edwards, a viable candidate in 2004, as the example for a South Carolina primary winner that didn't carry weight, he comes off as racist. Best bet would have been to keep quiet on that issue.

Jon May | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:31pm

"I did not see them show one speech of hers throughout the day"

Isn't that because she left South Carolina and avoided the press there intentionally? I thought that was the Clinton campaign's decision to not have her speeches covered. The press tends not to air stump speeches, and I think H. Clinton deliberately stuck to it in SC. The campaign *wanted* Bill to get most of the coverage, for reasons we have discussed.

While I think the press is unfair to H. Clinton in many ways, the amount of video coverage isn't one that I've seen.

Jon, your explanation is a possibility, but is probably too kind to Bill Clinton. Hitchens, on the other hand, goes too far in the other direction: http://www.slate.com/id/2182938/nav/tap3/

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:44pm

I also try very hard not to judge candidates by the campaign, but by their records. One thing I do like about HRC, for good or for ill, she is the only candidate highlighting and running on her history on her successes and failures. And I do think one failure is that 1/2 of their campaigning style is combative (I think a reflex to their treatment by the party during the ML scandal and the media), but at least she is doing her best to make the argument that her achievements are worth electing her.

Now people can judge whether her achievements are worth electing her or not, but I am proud that that is the basis for her campaign. And her main way she convinces voters to support her.

For most of the candidates I still do not know their achievements, well maybe Mitt Romney and the Olympics, but that does not impress me or maybe McCain's career, but GOD, I still think he is evil (anti-abortion jerk).

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:45pm

Goodness I couldn't even read that Slate article.

As for video coverage, let me re clarify: they did air her stumping on election day this Saturday, but she was the only one who had a CNN voiceover during the entire 2 minutes of coverage, while when airing the others CNN allowed around 2 or 3 minutes for the viewers the hear the actual speech instead of their rancid coverage of it.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:51pm

"These kind of comments bother me. What is he, some sort of naive idiot-savant? Did he not watch TV for the past 8 years? Obama's campaign is very well aware of what may happen if he gets the nomination -- they just have chosen a different way of dealing with it. It's legitimate to criticize that way, but not to say that his campaign "has no idea" -- they've run an extremely intelligent campaign."

I'd take this a step further -- there's no way Obama survived in Chicago politics through sheer goodwill and hope-mania. The notion that he is somehow an anti-politician who rises above the fray and joins us all together in our mutual desire for a post-partisan America -- that is, the notion that underwrites his entire campaign -- is, in fact, the definition of "extremely intelligent" campaigning. It's the ability to read poll numbers and it's tactically brilliant.

ludditerobot | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 12:52pm

"Now people can judge whether her achievements are worth electing her or not, but I am proud that that is the basis for her campaign."

I am not convinced of this. I would like to see an article about her achievements that is similar to the Charles Peter one I posted about Obama: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR200801...

One has to be out there. But even so, she's not running on just what bills she helped get passed. She also throws out a very vague "35 years of experience" argument that makes little sense to me when you break it down year-by-year.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:19pm

Her graduation speech at Wesley College got national attention. She went to Yale Law. She worked for the Children's Defense fund right out of law school. Then got involved with Watergate. She moved to Arkansas and joined the Rose law firm where they threatened to fire her for only taking pro-bono work usually for the poor or for children. She has had involvement with some corporate clients, but that was never her focus. Then she worked as First Lady, where I feel she was almost over reported on. I feel people already know all this. The only new news is her votes in the Senate. Her healthcare results are quite good there especially considering she worked with Lindsey Graham (very outspoken during the ML affair) on Veteran's healthcare. She also raised making digitalizing medical documents a national issue. To take the mundane aspects of governance and get them to be covered on TV is a huge feat.

also

Obama is not "post partisan." He stands for basically the same "crazy liberal" stances as Clinton. Which issue is he going to "compromise" on to seem post partisan? What will he use to reach out to Republicans with?

Or is the rhetoric of being post partisan enough to make someone post partisan?

This is why the "Reagan" comment scares me. I do not want to dupe Republicans to vote against their self interest like Reagan did to working class America (former democrats), I want to convince them they need health care and the right to choose, that gays are not evil incarnate, and that preserving the environment is the most important issue EVER. I know Obama doesn't support Reagan's policies, but he wants to use his tactics, which are creepy:

"With the idealism and fair play which are the core of our system and our strength, we can have a strong and prosperous America, at peace with itself and the world." - Reagan http://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan/speeches/speech.asp?spid=6

He does sound uplifting...

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:38pm

http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/Commencement/1969/053169hillary.h...
link to 1969 speech

This was a beginning of being in the public eye for her and I think she has received enough coverage that most people over 25 know her successes from more than the 2008 news cycles.

When you are new to the national stage, I would hope to get more information from the media, all I'm saying is that I haven't.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:49pm

I don't call Obama post-partisan, and I don't think he calls himself that. I do think he would be the most likely to give, as president, a high-profile speech on, say, health care or global warming, and have a large percentage of America behind him on some progressive legislation.

"She moved to Arkansas and joined the Rose law firm where they threatened to fire her for only taking pro-bono work usually for the poor or for children."

And then they made her full partner of the firm. She did pro-bono work there, yes, and she should be commended for that. But she also specialized in Intellectual Property law, and made bank for the corporate firm. I don't think she became a board member of Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods by pissing off the establishment.

Also, the experience you bring up is legitimate, but it doesn't represent "35 years." Her work as First Lady was commendable, but also plagued with failure (fundraising scandals; an awful health care strategy). I do think she has enough experience to be president, but I do not think that it gives her a leg up on Obama. He has more experience in elected office, and I prefer his pre-political experience, even if there is less of it. (After all, he is 14 years younger then Clinton, and I don't think age necessarily equals experience.)

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:52pm

"When you are new to the national stage, I would hope to get more information from the media, all I'm saying is that I haven't."

Yes, this is true, but you shouldn't rely on the national media to make your political decisions. There's plenty of info out there on all candidates on the web -- you just have to look for it.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:55pm

By the way, her Wellesley speech was excellent, and I'm confident that even if she didn't marry a Governor and a President, she would have still reached a high elected office -- maybe she even could've become a viable presidential candidate without the burden of dynasty.

Speaking of early speeches, I hope you've read this one from 2002: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Barack_Obama's_Iraq_Speech

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 1:59pm

I know, but I would be super frustrated with the media if I were scrutinized to death and my opponents were not.

As for Healthcare, I think her efforts in the early nineties led to the successes in 1997 she helped establish the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. AS well as her most recent efforts with Veterans and digitalization of medical records. This is a story of struggle that has lead to lasting American policy.

Oh and I agree, the Clintons do have problems with fund raising scandals, though this particular issue is low on my list it doesn't really bother me.

Interestingly enough, Michelle Obama worked in one of the oldest corporate law firms in Chicago before going into public office. Sidley Austin I think was the name of the firm. To see women work hard to support their idealistic husbands should not exempt them from office later.

Also, another interesting factoid from Wikipedia: She served on the board of TreeHouse Foods, Inc.,[13], a major Wal-Mart supplier with whom she cut ties immediately after her husband made comments critical of Wal-Mart at an AFL-CIO forum in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 14, 2007.

I wonder if there was pressure in both cases for the women to bring home the bacon that fed their husband's careers?

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 2:12pm

Though I am not trying to slander Ms. Obama at all, I think she is fabulous and extremely intelligent. I think the Obama would make excellent inhabitants in the White House, I just prefer Clinton.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 2:14pm

Oh course I have read his speech, he is inspiring, I do not doubt that.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 2:16pm

Nah, slam away. I wouldn't vote for her as president if she was running (she's too corporate), and especially if she ran after her husband became president.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 2:18pm

But considering the nature of herstory (spelling mistake intentional), don't you think a pass might be given to women who made the doe for idealistic men to pursue their dreams, while possibly putting their own on hold? I mean to become a politician when you are not independently wealthy, who is going to make the money to support a family and help out the campaign? Also it shows great force of character and giving to support a family in this nature. A character not undesirable in a candidate for president.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:03pm

Sure, I'm not saying that it's a negative that H. Clinton married a Governor and President. I'm merely saying that I don't see it as a leg-up above Obama in terms of experience.

Every candidate, good and bad, has their crazy supporters. But this reaction, if true, to T. Kennedy's endorsement of Obama, from the New York chapter of NOW, makes me sick:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/NY_NOW_Betrayal.html

This is exactly the kind of people I don't want running our country, even if we agree on choice. But what I can gather from endorsements, these are the sort of people Clinton might appoint.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:13pm

I don't want the NY chapter of NOW running the country either, but I don't think there's much of a chance of that. That is a ridiculous complaint, though. Not backing Clinton is anti-woman? Does that mean not backing Obama is anti-black, and the NAACP should attack the New York Times? But why do you think Clinton would appoint crazies like this any more than Obama would appoint jbg?

Jon May | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:29pm

I'm talking about the sort of people who endorse the Clintons that are in the position to be appointed. Although one of my favorite Nevada politicians endorsed Clinton (http://www.giunchigliani.com/), so forget I ever said that.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:33pm

FWIW Mitt Romney talks about his "success" at establishing the mandatory health insurance scheme in Massachusetts.

RumorsDaily | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:34pm

Also, Mandrews, if you don't watch broadcast TV or cable, what national media are you complaining about?

RumorsDaily | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:36pm

I watch the news on Wednesdays right before my weekly project runway party, when else would I watch it? Oh and I pray in the House of Russert on Sundays (he can be a bastard though).

Bust seriously, I do watch it regularly enough (CNN is broadcast in the Bank of America all day long on the first floor of the Empire State Building)and I went home for the weekend and watched with my parents. Its actually hard to avoid. Not to mention I surf all their websites.

As for NOW NYC, gosh, this is an old battle that has reared its ugly head. Basically, I do agree that the liberal left (of which I am a part) does not put woman's rights on the top of their "most important list." When Sen Casey won in PA, he won as a pro-Life Dem. The Liberal Left definitely campaigned for him. NOW NY also makes a good point in saying that children's issue do get pushed to the bottom.

You frequently hear the far left clamor for college aid, but not so much for pre-kindergarten care. This is just my own observation from reading the blogs.

I do however do not think Kennedy is betraying anyone. He can choose who he likes. It is funny to note that JBKO was a great friend of the Clintons' especially Hillary. I wonder what she would have to say if she were alive.

Check out this on mydd about Huffington Bias toward Obama: http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/1/28/164721/186

Also, to imply that by electing Hillary president the White House will be crawling with NOW appointments, is a little sexist, don't you think? Somehow I doubt this will happen.

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 3:57pm

No fair, I took that back already.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 4:03pm

Oh well, I still had to bring it up :) (sorry for the emoticon)

Mandrews | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 4:14pm

Yes. NOW would've been far more productive to cite some reasons why they think Obama would not be good for women's and children's rights. I doubt they'd find much, so the best they could do is point out that Clinton has dedicated much of her professional lives to those things. That is valid.

Even aside from that, I've said it before and I'll say it again: it is very important that America have a woman for president as soon as possible. It is also very important that America have a minority for president as soon as possible. Those things are a wash for me, and thankfully I can easily turn to other reasons to choose my candidate.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 4:24pm

Would Bloomberg qualify as a minority president?

RumorsDaily | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 5:29pm

I like that we're all arguing about two candidates who are difficult to distinguish from one another, ideologically speaking. Let the Republicans have the fistfights, people. Sit back and enjoy the excellent probability of having a groundbreaking nominee with decent liberal cred. Even better, enjoy the possibility of that person running AGAINST MITT ROMNEY, the biggest tool in Massachusetts.

Lorelei | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 5:51pm

"who are difficult to distinguish from one another, ideologically speaking" -- I think the presidency is important in many ways aside from ideology. And in those ways I think the candidates are easy to distinguish from one another. Electability (IMHO) being a huge and relevant example. No offense, but I find this process way to important to passively accept the Democratic nominee.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 5:58pm

I have a problem with both the implication that you think Clinton is unelectable (clearly, Democrats in several states disagree, and also I guarantee that money would take her a long way) and the idea that we can even make any non-obvious predictions about who the American electorate will like in nine months.

I also genuinely don't see many substantial (non-demographic and non-hand-wave-y) ways to distinguish them.

Lorelei | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:29pm

I didn't say she is unelectable. I do believe she is less electable.

I believe I've distinguished them five ways from Sunday.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:43pm

Actually, if by "substantial" you are referring to "substance," then yes, there isn't much distinguishing them, at least not on a high-level.

But if you count character, leadership style, and emphasis on transparency, then I think there is a vast difference. Assuming a Democrat in office, those things are more important.

crazymonk | Mon, 01/28/2008 - 11:53pm

And I also think you need to include "effectively passing legislation that you sponsored" to the list of qualities that separate the two candidates. As I listed above, she has a proven track record on Healthcare, maybe she didn't do it right the firs time around but I listed 3 bills passed that were mostly her brainchildren. A difference in my mind is not only leadership style, but the execution of tangible legislation that will greatly affect everyday people.

I also think that Clinton's personal relationships forged while first lady with many foreign dignitaries, is a huge asset, especially since she is very well regarded abroad. She was a US goodwill ambassador almost the entirety of BC's second term. Her speech in China in 1995 is awesome:
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm

As for electability, I'm bored with tall, handsome, lanky male democrats. We have run two in the past 2 elections and lost. I want some meat on the bones. Also, I think when America sees they can vote for a "first" they will make the bold stroke, even if its because it will make great TV. Both are very electable. We cannot forget that HRC is a huge change from the current administration. A dramatic change for America as well. She does represent much of the policy from the 90s and is retro in that sense. But all in all I feel she does bring an enormous amount of change to the White House after 8 years of Bush Jr. And America has yet to meet her as a Senator who is one of the most weilling to reach across the aisle to get legislation passed, something that was much more difficult for her in the 90s.

Mandrews | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 7:49am

Well, she wasn't an elected official in the 1990's, so I'd like to see an article or something about the legislation you say she helped get past in the late 90's.

crazymonk | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 9:43am

Wow, that NOW endorsement is basically emotional extortion. That's fucked up.

Jesse | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 10:22am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Children's_Health_Insurance_Program

SCHIP was inacted by Kennedy and Hatch as a bi-partisan effort in 1997. HRC was the person in the Clinton Administration that worked on this and presented it to the Senate. I'm trying to find articles from 1997, but NYTimes's boast of achival materials since 1981 is total bunk, if I find something on it I'll post it.

Mandrews | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 11:47am

Mandrews, this article makes it clear that H. Clinton played a large role in applying pressure to get SCHIP passed:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/10/06/clinton_claims_cre...

This is definitely something she can take some credit for, although she was mostly behind the scenes, with Sen. Kennedy doing the on-the-ground work.

crazymonk | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 11:55am

Yes, by "substantial," me and Daniel Webster both mean "of, relating to or having substance." I'm not saying I'm totally unimpressed by questions of electability and leadership style, I just find them poofy and easily faked. I'd rather not rely too much on them. And that's why I think there isn't a huge difference between these two candidates. If you enjoy rooting for a team, pitchers and catchers report in about a month.

And frankly, I think people who are swearing not to vote for Hillary Clinton will sing a different tune in the general election, unless a really great third-party candidate emerges. (We'll talk about Bloomberg when he declares.) What, are you gonna vote for a Republican? In addition to being conservatives, most of them are just as corrupt as HRC and will make even worse appointment choices. You could also just not vote at all, and squander a chance to cut the current cancer out of the White House. Have fun with that.

Lorelei | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:15pm

Well, Webster also says, "considerable in quantity; significantly great" so there was ambiguity.

I'm not in the "I'll never vote for Clinton" camp. I'm in the "I'd really really really prefer Obama to be the Democratic nominee" camp.

crazymonk | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 12:25pm

I think I'm the lone HRC supporter in the conversation here. I hope it makes it a little more interesting. Strangely enough, considering the NOW press release, it is white men that are the swing voters between the two candidates. I wonder if I will be pandered to?

There is a huge ground campaign for Clinton in NY right now. Its mostly "get out the vote" sort of stuff. I'm the only one sporting a sign on my street, I wonder if that will change in the next couple days.

Mandrews | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 2:16pm

Wait, Kerry and Gore were handsome? I am tired of nominating people who say they "are electable". We made a huge mistake with John Kerry. He inspired no one. People liked him, even thought he might make a good president, but no one was crushed when he lost. We were crushed that the Dems lost, sure. But not that Kerry was not to be our president. Obama inspires. And that is refreshing. His last speech gave me chills. When is the last time that has happened? Leaders need to inspire. That is half the job. Hillary seems calculated ad does not inspire. Will I vote for her against McCain or Romney? Sure. But we take a risk in nominating her. Thankfully no one on the right is inspiring so it will be an even playing field.

Los Angeles Anthony | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 2:50pm

I feel like I'm at a SAGE meeting reading this. Ms. Greenblatt would be so proud of you guys. ;D

Annie | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 6:31pm

My husband said that so well. Ditto.

Elissa | Tue, 01/29/2008 - 7:00pm

Handsome is probably the wrong word... stately maybe. I also have to put in that I think people describe HRC as calculating because that notion is jammed down our throats from the media. I have been told on this blog that Obama is running a very "smart" campaign, how is this different than "calculating?" Also, I have seen many speeches from Hillary Clinton, and though she is not inspiring in the same way, I do find her inspirational. I love this Christmas video, a little campy, but that me: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/video/87.aspx

Mandrews | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:47am

Or this one: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/video/111.aspx
I like how she couches all plans with a way to pay for them. Especially when paying for them involved hurting OIL Monopolies.

Mandrews | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:49am

(God I wish I could have a SAGE meeting every Lunch break)

Mandrews | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:50am

She comes off as calculating to me because everything she says sounds like it was written in advance, and she never hesitates. Obama, on the other hand, speaks more hesitatingly off the cuff, which gives the impression that he's actually thinking things through. But he also uses too many um's and uh's, and comes off as less prepared at debates.

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:53am

Obama is great in speeches, he's mediocre during actual conversation/debate/interviews.

Mandrews, you reference oil monopolies, do we actually have any oil monopolies? Aren't there a bunch of big corporations that compete against each other in this country? Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression there's like six.

RumorsDaily | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 12:14pm

I wonder if "collusion" is a better word here than "monopoly."

Jesse | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 1:50pm

Collusion would seem more defensible.

RumorsDaily | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 2:35pm

Possibly, but maybe I mean that oil companies are monopolizing the energy industry, yes there are many players in the oil industry, but they collectively shut out alternative energy through their government sway and subsidies.

Mandrews | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 3:59pm

I think she sounds more like a rehearsed teacher who has facts on the tip of her tongue, instead of parroting "talking points." I think it might come across that way because she usually she speaks about policy rather than evoking the spirit of America or she is speaking against the Republicans.

For some reason, I also just feel "calculating" sounds somehow sexist, that if a man came off as informed and sure of opinions instead of thinking off the cuff, he would be lauded for it. Also, she does debate very well and you can tell she genuinely feels for her causes while she speaks, how is this different than just being a very well prepared politician?

Mandrews | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 4:10pm

I thought that Al Gore in 2000 was very calculating in a negative way, so I'm not sure that gender plays a role for me.

Clinton is very good at debating.

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 4:55pm

If alternative energy was truly viable, companies would adopt it and sell it. There's a huge market for it. Take a gander at the Prius which is more expensive than traditional cars both up front and, theoretically, in the long run, and yet with the quasi-green label it sells like hot cakes.

Big Oil isn't the only corporation in town. You don't think some car company would give their right tire to own the patents on a viable method of powering their cars with compressed air? I don't buy the idea that Big Oil has been able to squelch all research, worldwide, into anything that could compete with the oil industry. The amount of money to be made is so mindbogglingly high that it would be impossible (and pointless) to try to derail a viable alternative.

RumorsDaily | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 6:01pm

I disagree, Rumors Daily. Yes, alternative energy, when more viable, will become a major part of the market. But before that can happen there has to be a lot more money spent on R&D -- i.e., it's a long-term solution with risks. Strong-arming legislation to make the current year more profitable is easier, and is what the oil companies do. You give corporations too much credit as rational actors. Do you have a good reason to think that oil companies are inherently smarter than, say, mortgage companies?

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 6:09pm

No, but I'm not arguing that they are. I'm arguing that they can't possibly stop OTHER companies from researching and ultimately inventing and producing alternative energy if it's viable. GM would have every interest to create a new engine so that they would (A) control the patents on and could license to the rest of the world, (B) use to supercharge their fleet to the exclusion of other fleets, or (C) give them a level of cachet with the green community which the big companies always seem to be striving for. Really the list of reasons, all financially-based, that a company would want to be the one to invent the next big new power source is extremely long.

If anything, the fact that big companies are short sighted and short term profit driven would indicate that it's quite UNlikely that Big Oil would able to plan well enough and long-term enough to prevent other startups around the world (or other established corporations in other fields) from researching and developing alternative power sourcing.

RumorsDaily | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:20pm

"If alternative energy was truly viable, companies would adopt it and sell it."

I was disagreeing with this line. Due to the oil companies lobbying, there is way too much legislation out there that cuts breaks for said companies, while the amount of investment needed to get an alternative energy off-the-ground is too high right now. The government needs to 1) stop giving breaks to oil companies, and 2) offer large, and I mean large, R&D grants for alternative energy. It's equivalent to spending tons of R&D money on defense.

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:29pm

For some reason, I also just feel "calculating" sounds somehow sexist, that if a man came off as informed and sure of opinions instead of thinking off the cuff, he would be lauded for it.

This is true, it is obvious, and the failure of the mainstream media to notice it pisses me off. Criticisms of Hillary Clinton as "ambitious" are the same -- since when is it a negative to WANT THE JOB YOU'RE RUNNING FOR? Are any of the male candidates NOT ambitious? Maybe Fred Thompson.

Lorelei | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:41pm

That was supposed to be italicized. Sorry, guys,

Also, on the subject of alternative energy, I bet there are regulations that implicitly assume oil-based energy production or explicitly encourage it.

Lorelei | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:45pm

Who has criticized Clinton for being ambitious?

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 9:31pm

Also, I don't think it's true and obvious that the word calculating is sexist. Here, each of these articles criticizes a male politician for being too calculating:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E3D6123EF933A1575BC0A...
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/10/gore200710
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E03EFDA173FF935A25756C0A...

There is sexism in the media w/r/t CLinton, but "calculating" isn't one of them. That was a major criticism of the last two Democratic nominees. She comes off as calculating -- have you seen her campaign videos, her chats? They're so... fake. Calculating means: driven by polls, driven by advisors. How could you say that Clinton doesn't come off as that way?

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 9:45pm
crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 9:46pm

CM,

1. We shouldn't be giving breaks to any big companies. So, I agree.
2. I don't think we need research on alternative energy sources. When the cost of oil starts to get high, the private sector's going to see the potential upsides and do the research on their own.

If the issue is environmental, and not just hatred of Big Oil, then we can do other things like raise (lower?) emissions standards to deal with environmental issues. I'd be happy to just stop subsidizing big oil and big corn and big wind energy and let whatever's most cost effective today be what we use today and let whatever's most cost effective tomorrow be what we use tomorrow.

RumorsDaily | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:28pm

"When the cost of oil starts to get high, the private sector's going to see the potential upsides and do the research on their own."

This is very a high-risk approach. That's like saying we should go to war with whatever technology we have, and once we start to lose, they'll be more incentive to come up with better military technology. It's not very smart to rely on the market like that.

crazymonk | Wed, 01/30/2008 - 10:49pm

Give it up to George Lakoff for putting into words what I feel is the major (non-policy) differences betweeen Clinton and Obama:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/what-counts-as-an-issue_b_84...

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 12:45am

Also, the media's coverage of The Snub picture is outright stupid, but I would love to see Errol Morris write a three-part blog post about how to interpret the photo. Did gravity play a role in Obama's pose?

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 1:03am

It worked in World War II.

Using war as a comparison is rather alarmist. I don't see the extreme threat of the price of gas going higher. It will happen fairly gradually and we'll have time to adjust. Plus, it will act the same as placing a tax on gasoline which I know you used to be in favor of.

RumorsDaily | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 5:47am

My response to conversations in 2 parts:

Part one Oil Companies & Agribusiness: We need a dramatic change in how our Government spends its money (I think we do need to raise taxes, but thats another subject). We should not wait for any invisible hand to decide when I need cleaner air or when a river dries up. A bold stroke in the current system would be to move subsidies from some businesses to others. I do not want to wait for a subway collapse, I want investment in public transport now, I want RD for cleaner energy and fuel now , I want RD for Stem cell research now, and I want subsidies for local organic farms so shipping costs and oil consumption goes down now.

2. Part two Moral Values: Well I do think Clinton has moral values. I think be strategic to get things through a congress is smart. I also think incrementalism, ithe wrong word, she is more interested in doing boring things, like tackling subsidies, than interesting things like ending poverty as we know it or causing a War on Drugs or bringin American together. I would rather have long lasting policies to protect consumers than have some huge debate over gay marriage. I think there is a moral choice in her mind, she does what she feels in most affective with an eye for who she has to work with. She learned this from her healthcare fight in the early nineties.

I know we need to convince RINOs (Republicans in Name only) to switch parties and get new people to be part of the process, but the election is only a small part of the role of government (also it looks like Clinton is part of the increased numbers as well as Obama). Once these people vote, it will be time to work with congress and deal with brokering bills. For this you need to be able to compromise.

I also feel there is nothing wrong with rewarding constituents & supporters. I hope more money goes to urban areas because we vote democratic. I want Dr. and Scientists to get more grants because they fund Democrats. And by including everyone (which she did not in the early nineties) at the table to discuss healthcare, it might actually happen. As much as I loath the practices of big drug companies and healthcare providers, if we throw them under the bus a lot of hard working employees will be out of jobs. Transitions are good. We have to look at all consequences to our actions and I believe bold stokes can be made in this system.

Now I do think Obama will be able to do this as well, but he is running a campaign that says he will not "play ball" in Washington, that he is above politics as usual. Well, that worries me that we'll have a great president with great ideas who brings news people into the fold only to gets into policy battles because he refuses to play ball. This has happened to Eliot Spitzer in NY. By not "playing ball" the media has painted him as arrogant, out of touch and aloof. I can see this happening to Obama.

Mandrews | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 9:23am

RumorsDaily, I'm not just talking about the price of energy, although that's an issue. I'm also talking about the environmental effects of oil, and I'm on Gore's bus with this one. We've gone into several useless wars with much more alarm -- how about we give this issue the benefit of the doubt this time around?

Mandrews: Spitzer has always been aloof, and was never known for inspirational oratorical skills. I don't think Obama will go down that path. As for incrementalism, I think it works to a degree, but if you've accepted to do down that route you'll never do any better. The War on Drugs, which the Clinton administration increased in intensity, needs more than incrementalism to be taken down. Alas, no major candidate (aside from Ron Paul) has been outspoken on this issue. The Global Warming issue is too important to depend on small changes over time. As for gay rights, I agree that it would be unwise to turn it into a national debate at the presidential level, but at least the president shouldn't take action that *harms* gay rights (DOMA, and H. Clinton's unwillingness to repeal all of it).

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 9:56am

The presidential candidates are all calculating. ALL OF THEM. It is part of the job of being a politician. Singling out Hillary Clinton out of all the current crop certainly looks sexist to me. Your links convinced me that someone has called Al Gore and John Kerry calculating in the past, but that wasn't considered a defining or fatal flaw for either one. (In both cases, I'd say it was something like "robotic.")

Furthermore, calling her calculating directly refers to the part of our culture that expects women to be soft and mothering and "nurturing," a limiting, sexist stereotype that male politicians are not subject to. God forbid that adult women have non-mothering parts of their personalities! And if she goes too far the other way, she will be called weak and soppy. This is a well-studied aspect of how our culture constructs femininity. (And you can also see it in the way people reacted to the non-crying crying incident.) Thus, calling her calculating is really half of the sexist Catch-22 that all of our female leaders are subject to. You may not personally be buying in, but plenty of other people are.

I saw her called too ambitious by at least one op-ed in the LAT (by Meghan Daum, who I do not respect anymore because of that article), and definitely a few comments by regular people around the internet and in the letters to the editor.

BTW, on the subject of sexism, let me link you to two unintentionally hilarious letters to the editor of the Modesto Bee.

Lorelei | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 11:35am

I'm more concerned about the media than crazies who write LTEs and blog comments (on other sites, of course).

Robotic/calculating? Aren't these pretty much the same thing? Generally, I just have to disagree with you on this one. I think Clinton is clearly *more* poll- and advisor-driven than Obama. It shows in how she changed in her position on torture, it shows in her Iraq war vote, and it shows in how she changed her position of the driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The fact that Obama supports that and hasn't said otherwise makes it clear to me that he's not afraid to go against mainstream opinion -- when has Clinton *ever* done that? Call me sexist, but Gore's poll-driven demeanor was one of the main reasons I didn't vote for him in 2000. Same with Kerry in 2004. I've always been very sensitive to this issue, and I don't want Clinton to get away with it as well because it's "sexist" to think otherwise.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 11:44am

"Your links convinced me that someone has called Al Gore and John Kerry calculating in the past, but that wasn't considered a defining or fatal flaw for either one."

But that is exactly why I didn't like Kerry. He seemed so calculating. Like he would do anything to become President. That everything he said was all vetted and polled and not real and I hated it. I get the same feeling from HRC and I get the same EXACT same feeling from Romney. So unless I am anti-mormon as well I don't think it is in any way sexist. At all. She seems fake. Romney seems fake. Kerry seemed fake. Obama does not. He might do all the same shit. But he does it well, so he does not feel fake. Neither did Bush when he ran. Neither did Bill. I am too young to remember the rest, but I am pretty sure that Reagan felt "real" as well. And Carter too. Hillary seems calculating. Is she? Sure. Just like the rest of them. To bad she doesn't hide it well.

Los Angeles Anthony | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 12:14pm

I agree with that, but the key underlying part of that is *perception matters*. It matters for getting elected, it matters for getting things done when president. Policy matters too, of course. Obama wins for me on both fronts.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 12:29pm

Bee Retberg? Is that supposed to be code for something? Or an anagram? I can't figure it out.

Jon May | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 12:40pm

Um, I guess Bee's not familiar with Germany.

Jesse | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 1:14pm

Anagrams for BEE RETTBERG
10 found. Displaying all:
Grebe Better
Be Better Erg
Be Bet Regret
Beget Bet Err
Beget Brr Tee
Beret Bet Erg
Better Beg Re
Berg Bet Tree
Be Bet Get Err
Be Brr Tee Get

RumorsDaily | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 1:27pm

Can me crazy, but I thought, back in the nineties there were all these reports from the like of George Stephanopolis and co who would complain that Hillary would cry in the oval office and in meetings about strategy, that she was un stable, that she cared too much for an issue and could see past herself on how to get it past (I think i read this in his book). As well in the nineties, she was seen as the over eager passionate one. Yes, tough, and yes, a feminist, and yes, uber liberal, but (and I recall the media parroting this sentiment) that she didn't know who to "play the game" and was destined to lose.

I feel she, in her old age (she is 61) has mellowed out and is just more at ease and less outwardly passionate. She has always come across as snarky (especially in this last debate, I love how she engages Wolf when he aasks leading questions). However I do find her truly engaged and engaging. I do not see anything Goreish or Kerrylike at all. She is far from Robotic. Me and I think many Americans actually find her warm. The media does say her secret weapon is this one-on-one charm that comes completely natural to her.

Though when she acts most presidential, when she I talking about the mess in our country and to me sounds the most impriring, I think her critics call that robotic or calculating. To me it looks like a stern woman, a staunch woman, not at all robotic, just not anything close to being dainty. Rember, not too long ago the media thought her laugh was unladylike and her voice shrill. Y'all might not be sexist, but I rarely hear that many talking points in the debates sound unnatural, or robotic, or calculating. If you saw (or listened via Radio like me) the debate to night is there a moment in which she did sound robotic? I'm curious.

For me her "chats" and conversations in her online hillcasts (yes I just used her made up word) are kind of cool in that do-gooder "square" sort of way. I think we might be confuse=ing "stagged" for "cheesy." Again, I like a little camp, a little cheese, well whole wheels of cheese really.

Mandrews | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 10:48pm

Yes! I think "staged" is a much better word. I felt the same way about Gore, but I think Clinton is a much better campaigner than both him and Kerry. Clinton did well tonight, and did not come off as robotic or calculating. Though I've heard the same answer come from her about the dynasty question several times now, and *that's* definitely staged -- turning one of her biggest weaknesses into a joke. And Obama had one of his best nights tonight.

Also, Wolf Blitzer is a douchebag.

crazymonk | Thu, 01/31/2008 - 11:10pm

A total douchebag

Mandrews | Fri, 02/01/2008 - 10:13am

Oh and check out this moment from last nights debate. HRC really tell the country her accomplishments: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/blog/view/?id=32701

Mandrews | Fri, 02/01/2008 - 1:42pm

Am I a naive idealist for agreeing with the final paragraph of the LA Times endorsement of Obama?

"In the language of metaphor, Clinton is an essay, solid and reasoned; Obama is a poem, lyric and filled with possibility. Clinton would be a valuable and competent executive, but Obama matches her in substance and adds something that the nation has been missing far too long -- a sense of aspiration."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-dem3feb02,0,3530861.story

crazymonk | Fri, 02/01/2008 - 4:47pm

Funny. I was just about to send it to you. What a perfect summary.

Los Angeles Anthony | Fri, 02/01/2008 - 5:03pm

Am I a naive idealist for agreeing with the final paragraph of the LA Times endorsement of Obama?

Since you ask, yes, but I can't blame people for feeling that way.

Lorelei | Fri, 02/01/2008 - 6:10pm

Why is Obama the idealist choice? And as a poet, I do not think I could vote for the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock for president, we shall eat a peach and I think its Clinton's.

Mandrews | Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:04pm

I will not be eating Clinton's peach.

But regarding the "idealist choice" question. I think it's because he speaks, or aims to speak, to an ideal -- the "America we like to see," etc. And he also speaks to a kind of citizen involvement and community engagement with government that strike me as idealistic -- the reaching of ordinary folks for meaningful participation in their own lives.

ludditerobot | Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:43pm

I could eat Clinton's peach for hours.

Jon May | Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:24pm

Is there a Godwin's Law equivalent for quoting Con Air?

crazymonk | Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:38pm

thats face/off, cm. face...off.

jmd | Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:32pm

Nic Cage movies from the 90's -- they're all the same.

crazymonk | Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:55am

I was going to quote that but May beat me to it.
So instead I will quote Con Air.
School is very important.

Los Angeles Anthony | Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:01am

i would not be grateful if hillary let me suck her tongue.

flea | Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:31am

In Case You Missed It: "Barack Obama is considering skipping the presidential primary debate scheduled for later this month in Ohio," reports the Associated Press.

I think he is also not into debating Clinton at all between now and March 3rd. I love the debates, why stop them now. Doesn't Louisiana deserve an entire debate on failing bureaucracy in America? And don't the folks of Seattle deserve an entire debate on Science, Technology, and Global Warming. Texas should have one on immigration. I think seeing two smart leaders in our party debating on national television would be great int he general election.

Mandrews | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 1:32pm

Well, since Clinton is loaning herself money and presumably going to have trouble getting on the air in targeted states, I'd assume she agrees.

ludditerobot | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 3:04pm

There have already been 18 (!) debates. Do we really need any more? Hearing them say the same stuff over and over gets old! That said, he has agreed to debate her at least once more.

Elissa | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 4:11pm

There has only been one with just the two of them. I also have yet to hear them have debates on the issue I listed above.

Also, I think we're very political beings and that we have watched each debate, but the general population tends to pay extra attention to the debate if it is in their state and right before their election. Voters complain that NH and IA get undue attention by being first, for the first time in ages all the primaries matter, shouldn't these late states deserve debates along with having their votes count?

Don't the usually well endowed Republication avoid debates when they have more money, and don't Democrats historically complain about it?

Mandrews | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 4:27pm

I expect that we'll have a couple more one on one debates, but Clinton's challenge for weekly debates is sort of a joke. She sent the challenge to reporters first before discussing it with the Obama campaign, so it's obviously meant as a publicity stunt. Nevertheless, it's a valid criticism that Clinton tends to outperform Obama in debates, and he can only point out that she voted to authorize an immoral war and buddies up with lobbyists so many times. My problem with debates is that the format is tired, and that the measures for a successful or failed debate are often arbitrary. I think they should liven it up, doing more things such as the MTV event last Saturday.

crazymonk | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 4:49pm

but hillary's call for 5 debates isn't merely because she outperforms him -- it's because it's proven that he does better in states when he's spent more time there and voters get to know him. so by challenging him to more debates, she takes away his time and energy speaking directly to voters. AND it makes him look weak to counter with fewer debates.

shrew(d).

jbg. | Thu, 02/07/2008 - 5:52pm

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/the-unemoti...

I agree with Sullivan -- the meme that's spreading that Obama supporters are putting emotion above rationality is oversimplifying things. And of course insulting to those of us who have thought through our support of him carefully.

crazymonk | Fri, 02/08/2008 - 3:43pm

Another really good Op-Ed in the Times about this political sadness.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/opinion/10rich.html?em&ex=1202792400&e...

Elissa | Sun, 02/10/2008 - 10:42am