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Sullivan on Obama
November 4, 2007 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Goodbye to All That. A great look at the Obama candidacy, and the culture wars behind it, by Andrew Sullivan, featured in the December 2007 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.
posted by matkline (143 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Time for the boomers and the DLC to stop fucking the party.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:11 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


First class concern trolling from a right wing tool.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 PM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan used to be the blogger I loved to hate. Since he's turned around on the administration over the torture issue and gay rights, he's the blogger I hate to love.

That said, the article seems to be incredibly shallow. It's like he's incapable of seeing past the surface of politicians and judge them based on policy or character. He supports or opposes them based on what they seem to represent to him at the time.

I'm a tentative Obama supporter, but I didn't find this article convincing at all. It's definitely not one that I would forward on to a fence sitter hoping to push them over the edge.

I'm just dreading the prospect of Giuliani vs Clinton. If that's what the choice ends up coming down to, I'll vote for Ron Paul, even though I think he's a loon. At least he's anti-war, and sincerely so.
posted by empath at 5:22 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


octothorpe: Andrew Sullivan is no right-wing troll. He's quite liberal on a great many positions. even though he claims to be a conservative. He's certainly liberal where it matters to me, and his distate for Hillary Clinton's prevarication on the war and torture policy are well founded, imo.

He also endorsed John Kerry in 2004, fwiw.
posted by empath at 5:26 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


MyFavoriteCandidateFilter?
posted by awesomebrad at 5:28 PM on November 4, 2007


Unlike any of the other candidates, he could take America—finally—past the debilitating, self-perpetuating family quarrel of the Baby Boom generation that has long engulfed all of us.

If anybody might be able to, yeah, it might be him. I reckon Andrew Sullivan is a fool, myself, but I also think that America is certainly doomed if the Republican party wins another election, almost certainly doomed if the Democratic party wins, but there's a glimmer of a hint of an inkling of a chance that it might not collapse into evil and irrelevance if a Democratic candidate were elected who actually had the will and the opportunity to try and break the corrupt bolus of accumulated filth that is jamming up the American political system.

I don't know if any of the Dem candidates, including Obama, are the person to actually do that, but it's damn sure that Hillary Clinton isn't. But the opportunity for a break from the Death Spiral exists now that I really hope the American people capitalize on.

It would be great to once again be able to do anything but hate and fear America.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


First class concern trolling from a right wing tool.

I'm pretty sure Sullivan is supporting Obama, and "goodby to all that" refers to all that an Obama presidency would transcend.

Sullivan is right wing, no doubt, but he's not a tool. He recognizes that the Republican party is mostly just the party of petty thugs.

My only problem is that I'm not really sure I want to "transcend" the past 8 years. I mean, I really think a lot of the people in the Bush administration are basically criminals, and if they're not punished for it within the framework of the law then the next president and the one after that will have every expectation of being able to hog-wild when it comes to the Law. The reason that they've behaved this way is because Reagan and the Iran Contra people got away with it, and the got away with it because Nixon got away with it.

I think someone once said that if the current crop of democrats had been in power during Watergate, they'd be pressing for retroactive immunity for the burglars.

But who knows what's going to happen with all that. I'm dreading a Hillary vs. Guiliani match up as much as empath. Politics in this country has been a disaster since 1994 and I really do think that an Obama presidency would help get out from all of that. President Hillary would just bring us right back. And worst of all she's the most conservative of our candidates!
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


empath: " He's certainly liberal where it matters to me, and his distate for Hillary Clinton's prevarication on the war and torture policy are well founded, imo.."

He was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Iraq war four years ago, I'm not sure how he gets off criticizing Hillary for doing the same thing.
posted by octothorpe at 5:39 PM on November 4, 2007


octothorpe, according to your Concern Troll link, there is also such a thing as a Goatse.cx Troll. WTF?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:42 PM on November 4, 2007


On the other hand I think Sullivan's thesis that we need to stop all the infighting and political fighting is misguided. The rage on the left and right is there because, even cutting through all the bullshit these people disagree with each other.

There are a lot of issues which are sort of arbitrarily divided into left and right.

I mean the whole thing is complicated, I would be hard pressed to come up with a concise definition of what conservatives think liberals want, or what conservatives really want. (I know what liberals want and what liberals think conservatives want, since I'm a liberal)

I wish a candidate would be more willing to "play to the base" like Howard Dean in 2004, because I don't think republicans are making any sense whatsoever, and so to agree with them is to agree with madness.
posted by delmoi at 5:47 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Octothorpe: He has admitted that he was wrong, many times, and apologized. Hillary has tried to weasel her way out of her war vote by placing all the blame on the president.
posted by empath at 5:47 PM on November 4, 2007


He was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Iraq war four years ago, I'm not sure how he gets off criticizing Hillary for doing the same thing.

I don't remember him "cheerleading", and certainly not to the extend that Hillary did. He also, and here is the key: opposed the war from the start.

Now, for all I know he only did it because he thought it would help him win the democratic primary in Chicago. But he did, and it would just be idiotic for anyone who opposes the war to support someone who voted to authorize it. You can go back and forth about motivations, but the bottom line is that politicians need to know that voting for wars that go badly will cost you down the line.
posted by delmoi at 5:49 PM on November 4, 2007


He was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Iraq war four years ago, I'm not sure how he gets off criticizing Hillary for doing the same thing.

This kind of focus on who-said-what-when (and I'm not picking on octothorpe especially, it's endemic) is counterproductive and mystifying. It serves no useful purpose (politicians will say whatever needs to be said, always, and twigging them for it, as if that will change their subservience to the God Of Soundbite Expedience, is a waste of time, because of the way that the system is set up, creating a feedback loop of irrelevancy) and keeps discussion focussed on the past (which is, for everyone concerned these days, Republican or Democrat, shameful and humiliating) rather than on what needs to be done in the future.

Not that I don't feel that politicians should be accountable for what they said, but it has been made near impossible (by broadcast media as the biggest culprit, but deliberately by the government as well, because slogans work better than essays, particularly when your leader is a moron) in the political culture for national-stage politicians to adopt and express any kind of nuanced positions.

An endless slapfight serves no-one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


He's my favorite candidate. I'm not sure what to think of the polls I keep seeing that place Clinton as the obvious front-runner. I agree with empath- a Clinton vs Giuliani election would be excruciating. I can't help thinking the reason for Clinton's lead, if she really has one, is that the right, who are apparently the boss of us, desperately want her to be the lead and direct all of their vitriol at her. I read something, possibly on some crazy left-wing blog, about how Rove directed all of his monster machine's power at Kerry in 2004 because he knew the Dems would rally around him. Now, it's Clinton. I like to play a game called "switch to Hannity on Fox and see how many seconds it is before he mentions Hillary Clinton and how horrible she is." In case you don't want to bother, I'll tell you: it's no more than thirty seconds. Thirty seconds is how long it takes before the words "Hillary Clinton" come out of the mouth of Sean Hannity if you turn to Fox News right now, or whenever he's on.

My second theory about the Clinton lead is that there really isn't one, but the media loves loves loves the so called "culture wars," and a Hillary presidential campaign would mean they could coast through 2008. I'm betting the right wing noisemakers are have little birds and hearts flying around their heads at the thought of a Clinton presidency.

Who are the Hillary supporters? Are there any here? I'm asking not to be snarky, but because I'm seriously interested. My third theory about the Clinton lead is that there's something wonderful about her that I'm just not seeing. It could be argued that the first Clinton presidency was relatively good compared to other administrations, and compared to this administration it's heavenly. Is one Clinton as good as the other?

As for Obama, he's well spoken, intelligent, and seems mostly straightforward. When he speaks I don't feel like shouting "bullshit!" and throwing the remote at the TV. I haven't heard him say anything I have seriously disagreed with yet. I could do without hearing about his religion, but I don't think I'll see an atheist president in my lifetime.

As for the article, it made me worry a little. As goes left-leaning monthlies, so doesn't go the nation.
posted by jiiota at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sullivan is incredibly shallow and ignorant besides. He ignores the very real and inescapable --and untranscendable fact -- that baby boomers will not give up power for at least another 20 years, if then. And Obama is a boomer too.

No one can transcend partisan politics because the differences are too stark--it's not generational but solely because the GOP wanted it that way---and still does. There is no unity possible when one party supports torture, no rights, and endless detention and demonizes everyone who disagrees--even children. As long as the entire elected class--and media --including Sullivan-- simply moves rightward and solely reacts to the GOP and their driving of the agenda instead of leading us toward truth and options, there isn't any hope. Sullivan called everyone who was against Iraq 5th Columnists--he's a tool, and he's still stereotyping liberals/progressives/normal people even in this piece.

Clinton and Giuliani suck. Bush sucks. Clinton wasn't too good either, but in comparison to them he was wonderful--in comparison to some of these, even Bush 1 was good.

Edwards for just one, along with Feingold and others, are very good. And they're also boomers. There are many great boomers in politics.

Obama is not the savior Sullivan wants him to be---he's not even a fighter. He has shown no leadership at all in his Senate career. And an inanimate carbon rod could have won his Senate seat to begin with--he ran against Mr. 7 of 9 Sex Clubs, and then Allan Keyes, for God's sake.
posted by amberglow at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Oh shit, you guys were talking about Sullivan, not Obama. God dammit. too many "He"s in this thread.

And yeah, I think I got a little overenthusiastic when I said Sullivan wasn't a tool. He is, but just not on this issue.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on November 4, 2007


I don't remember him "cheerleading", and certainly not to the extend that Hillary did. He also, and here is the key: opposed the war from the start.

The quote was about Sullivan, not Obama.
posted by matkline at 5:52 PM on November 4, 2007


And after the ham-handed and overtly insulting way Obama dealt with McClurken ("Gays are killing children", and "i'm not one anymore")--Sullivan should really examine Obama much much more closely and less romantically.
posted by amberglow at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2007


"I'm just dreading the prospect of Giuliani vs Clinton."

This bears repeating until it doesn't happen.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2007


To clarify myself here, I like Obama quite a lot and if he is still in the race by the time that the primary in my state comes around I may vote for him. And yes, he has always been against the war and I admire him greatly for that. And I also have problems with Clinton's hawkishness, I just don't give a crap what Andrew Sullivan has to say about it.
posted by octothorpe at 5:57 PM on November 4, 2007


... How has a black, urban liberal gained far stronger support among Republicans than the made-over moderate Clinton or the southern charmer Edwards? Perhaps because the Republicans and independents who are open to an Obama candidacy see his primary advantage in prosecuting the war on Islamist terrorism. It isn’t about his policies as such; it is about his person. ...

He's not a liberal at all--by any means, and he was mentored by Lieberman--both Obama and Hillary are DLC. The Middle East has heard our nice talk for decades as we support dictators and play deadly games. Obama has nothing but talk. He has done nothing about the Middle East in the Senate. He has done nothing about terrorism. And he's skipping votes (see Iran) that he himself is attacking Hillary for.
posted by amberglow at 5:58 PM on November 4, 2007


The whole piece is really fantasy, i think. From religion to war to Obama's face--Sullivan projects what he wants instead of what's actually there.
posted by amberglow at 6:01 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's the thing about Hillary. She's not at 50% yet. And as long as she doesn't get there, her lead could evaporate overnight. We have elections for a reason.

I've been incredibly frustrated by Obama because I had gotten in my mind that he was going to be the anti-war Jesus to Howard Dean's John the Baptist, but he hasn't seemed to want to take up the mantle of liberal savior.

So I've had to re-evaluate him based on what he is -- a competent, intelligent, decent man who has moderate political policies, and represents some kind of hope for a post racial, post-partisan future in America.

And someone upthread nailed why I still support him, despite his blandness -- while he doesn't often take risks with his positions, I've never listened to Obama and wanted to scream BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT at the screen like I do with everybody else in the race.
posted by empath at 6:01 PM on November 4, 2007 [6 favorites]


"I'm just dreading the prospect of Giuliani vs Clinton."

This bears repeating until it doesn't happen.


It'll only not happen when everyone gets off their lazy asses and votes in their primaries against Clinton and Giuliani.
posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on November 4, 2007


"...a competent, intelligent, decent man..."

Well, shit. Just flush his candidacy right down the crapper, why don't you?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:04 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


Amberglow, you're saying things which are factually inaccurate. Obama is not, and never has been, a member of the DLC.
posted by empath at 6:07 PM on November 4, 2007


Well, SNL has come out for Obama.

For those of you who don't want to WTFYT, it's last night's opening skit, set at a Halloween party for Democratic Presidential candidates, with Obama the only one playing himself, getting a 30-second ovation and doing the "LIVE FROM NEW YORK" yell...
posted by wendell at 6:07 PM on November 4, 2007


It'll only not happen when everyone gets off their lazy asses and votes in their primaries against Clinton and Giuliani.

assuming you live in a state that the dlc hasn't decided to punish for not following their "rules" and that half the candidates haven't taken their names off the ballot

i've been effectively disenfranchised by the democrats along with everyone else in michigan

from where i stand, it's not a matter of voters having "lazy asses" it's a matter of the political establishment not wanting voters
posted by pyramid termite at 6:12 PM on November 4, 2007


"we worship an awesome god in the blue states" is still one of the dumbest sentences I have ever heard from a grown-up in my whole life. That said, I like Obama more than Hillary.

Hillary's supporters are Bill's supporters, which includes a huge chunk of African-Americans, which is a huge chunk of the democratic voters, which is why she will win the nomination and most likely the presidency.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:17 PM on November 4, 2007


Is Andrew Sullivan always so long-winded?

I like Obama a lot, and I think he'd be a better candidate against Guliani (?) than Clinton. He is rather boring, aside from that amazing speech in 2004, and doesn't really electrify like he seemed he would.

If Hillary wins, we could very well be saying "President Guliani" in two years.
posted by zardoz at 6:20 PM on November 4, 2007


pt: it's the DNC.

And neither michigan nor florida are going to be disenfranchised. When it gets to the convention, who ever the presumed candidate is going to be while override the DNC and seat the delegates.

drjimmy -- it's a biblical reference, and also a reference to a popular gospel song.
posted by empath at 6:23 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


WILL override, etc...
posted by empath at 6:24 PM on November 4, 2007


assuming you live in a state that the dlc hasn't decided to punish for not following their "rules" and that half the candidates haven't taken their names off the ballot

The DNC, not the DLC, made that decision. And it's just as much your local state party's decision to just have an election whenever that caused all the problems.
posted by delmoi at 6:25 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


And it's just as much your local state party's decision to just have an election whenever that caused all the problems.

we've been shut out of the process for too long - and we're in a LOT worse shape than iowa and new hampshire

this is the same old "shut up and take what we're willing to give you" talk the democrats have been pulling for years

it's time to level the playing field
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 PM on November 4, 2007


i think they should just have a national primary, personally. I'm not sure why having IA and NH choose the candidate prepares the party for a race that's going to have to be run nationwide.
posted by empath at 6:41 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


The DNC, not the DLC, made that decision.

pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on November 4, 2007


3 discussion possible in this post:
1. Obama as candidate
2. Sullivan as blogger/writer
3. Sullivan's take on Obama
posted by Postroad at 6:51 PM on November 4, 2007


"we worship an awesome god in the blue states" is still one of the dumbest sentences I have ever heard from a grown-up in my whole life.

Obama wasn't using the word "awesome" as a totally 1980s synonym for "tubular." It's a subtle reference to the hymn, My God Is An Awesome God. In fact, Obama was doing some of the same evangelical secret-decoder-ring dog-whistle political rhetoric that Dubya does so well, but he was doing it in the service of liberal ideals. That sounds pretty smart to me.
posted by jonp72 at 7:03 PM on November 4, 2007 [5 favorites]


Barack Obama should grow a mustache. No, really, look at his face. It belongs there. On both SNL and that MySpace thing, he almost even sort of had a mustache, and he looked pretty snappy in it. Put a vest and a tie on that guy and you have someone who looks like one trustworthy accountant.

Oh, also, while Sullivan is mostly pulling this out of his ass, I don't think he's totally wrong. Obama has dodged some Boomer bullets through simply being too young or too different to have wrestled with them the way others have.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:05 PM on November 4, 2007


>Who are the Hillary supporters? Are there any here? I'm asking not to be snarky, but because I'm seriously interested.

Most are probably "low-information" voters. They don't gorge on policy details, reserve their sense of history and cause-effect for things nearer to their own lives, and don't feel themselves excitedly slaloming with bent-knees and ski poles in each hand during each twist and turn of the Shadow Campaign and the Staff Campaign and the Money Campaign and Early Straw Pre-Primary Polling Campaign-- on the other hand, they respond consistently to brand names, in this "Clinton".

Granted that low-info voters play a smaller role in primary campaigns than in general campaigns, they still play a bigger role than, well, one might like...

(...unless one happens to be running a campaign based on either a brand name, or the passionate advocacy of America, Real Values (TM), Motherhood and Apple Pie.)
posted by darth_tedious at 7:14 PM on November 4, 2007


he ran against Mr. 7 of 9 Sex Clubs, and then Allan Keyes, for God's sake

Man, got to hand it to the Republicans. They're like living parodies of themselves. You tend to lose it under the soft adjectives like "thugs" or "villains"--these are the Inappropriate-Chat-Room-Talk-With-Children kind of crazies.

This is like having a popularity contest with Darth Vader. It should be fucking easy, just don't give the public someone to hate more. Obama is a joke but at least he speaks intelligently. Can we just have that for four years in a row again, please? Please don't let Hillary the Fucking Emperor go up against Darth Vader, because we know how that all worked out.

Christ, the Democrats could field my fucking cat and it could walk into Pennsylvania Ave. with ten points to spare. Just don't give the public someone they have been hating for the past fifteen years.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:18 PM on November 4, 2007 [14 favorites]


Amberglow, you're saying things which are factually inaccurate. Obama is not, and never has been, a member of the DLC.

Bull. He's been spinning and lying about it for years now.

State Senator Obama says he “didn’t object to the DLC's inclusion of my name on their list.” That is precisely the problem, from which all suspicions reasonably flow. ... What possible reason could a Black progressive have for joining the DLC?

There is no doubt that you joined of your own accord. Although you minimize the weight of your decision to be listed in the New Democrat Directory, and treat your being featured as one of the DLC’s “100 to Watch” as a simple compliment that even a mother would enjoy, we give you credit for knowing better than that. Al From and the DLC leadership are claiming you as one of their own, for their purposes. We assume that, as an intelligent man and an astute politician, you have your own reasons for linking your name with the DLC. We respect you, and take it as a given that you give a great deal of thought to such public associations. ...


DLC: 100 to Watch: Barack Obama (when he was a State Senator)

and this : DLC | Press Release | May 15, 2003
DLC Spotlights 100 of the Rising New Democrat Stars


Lieberman is his mentor, for God's sake--Obama Endorses Lieberman for Senate

...As a freshman senator, Vietor insisted, Obama had been assigned Lieberman as "mentor". Read the Hartford Courant and you'll find Lieberman boasting that Obama picked him.
Either way, it's obvious that Obama could have brokered a different mentor if he'd so desired it, same way he could have declined to go and tout for Lieberman at that Democratic Party dinner in Connecticut at the end of March. But he clearly didn't, because he wanted to send out a reassuring signal, same way as his Political Action Committee, the Hope Fund's, is raising money for 14 of his senatorial colleagues ­ ten of whom are DLC in orientation, which is half of the DLC presence in the Senate. ...


And the DLC gave both money and organizational aid to him to get him into the Senate.
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on November 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Christ, the Democrats could field my fucking cat and it could walk into Pennsylvania Ave. with ten points to spare.

I have confidence in the Democrats that they'll find a way to blow it. This is the party that selected John Kerry in 2004, after all. (heh)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:26 PM on November 4, 2007


Krugman: Obama and Social Security

Ezra Klein: Which Obama Is Which?--... I call this the Two Obamas Dodge. Talk to his staffers about Obama's superstardom, his presidential prospects, or talent, and they'll gush with praise and enthusiasm. Ask them why he hasn't used that silver tongue to consecrate some treasured, important progressive policy initiatives and they'll explain that he's only, like, 10-years-old, and can't be expected to step on any Senate toes. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:32 PM on November 4, 2007


Edwards. Edwards. Edwards. E-D-W-A-R-D-S.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:41 PM on November 4, 2007


Obama, Say-Nothing Superstar: ... This leave-them-guessing strategy slips out in the book’s prologue. “I serve as a blank screen,” Obama writes, “on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” He notifies readers that “my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete.” It takes some doing for a politician to write a 364-page book, his second volume, and skate past all controversy.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 PM on November 4, 2007


Read this and compare too--DLC: 2007 National Conversation Recap -- what Obama says is exactly what they say--exactly.
posted by amberglow at 7:51 PM on November 4, 2007


Obama will be offered a VP slot under Hillary. Eventually, some scandal will come along, he'll be blamed for it and resign to "spend more time with his family" a la Colin Powell. He'll be a quiet, unassuming and perfectly expendable VP.

Also, yes Sullivan is a tool. He literally supported nuking Iraqi cities until GWB decided to offically throw gays under the bus. Now he's all "Hey hey ho ho war for oil has got to go!"

I can't think of a more craven and double-faced opportunist than Sullivan. Good riddance to him.
posted by Avenger at 7:54 PM on November 4, 2007 [2 favorites]






Amberglow, he was never a member of the DLC, end of story, as much as you want to tar him by association with them.

He also endorsed Lieberman during the primary season as did most other Senate Democrats. Once Lamont won, he backed Lamont.

And Lieberman is nothing if not full of smug self-importance. I would take anything he says with a grain of salt.
posted by empath at 8:19 PM on November 4, 2007


Sullivan is right wing

First class concern trolling from a right wing tool.

Excuse me, on what planet is Andrew Sullivan right-wing? Because he once self-identified as a republican? What difference does that make.

In his personal life, he's clearly socially liberal. He claims to be a practicing Catholic, which would require him to spend nearly every hour of every day in a confessional or chained to a rosary. He's prochoice, pro-same sex marriage, critical of this pope, etc. If that's Catholic, then protestants are catholic.

The only reason he claimed to be conservative was as a clever PR move. If he identified himself as liberal, he'd be yet another gay liberal columnist, who cares. But a gay, HIV+ conservative is new and interesting. IT gave him positive attention in the burgeoning pro-republican media of the late 90's.

This guy is a hack and a dummy, and that article is dreck.

Take the biggest foreign-policy question—the war in Iraq. ...On domestic policy, the primary issue is health care.

Wrong and wrong, but thanks for framing the contest in terms most favorable to Hillary (Oops, I forgot, he's republican, probably pulling for Thompson). The biggest issue is money, and specifically oil and the balance of trade. Nobody would care about health care if they could afford insurance. They can't afford insurance because they are working lousy jobs for money that is declining in value relative to the rest of the world's money.

But being someone who slings bullshit for a living, I wouldn't expect him to be able to grasp the concept.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:23 PM on November 4, 2007


Uh, that is to say, "but Sullivan being someone who slings bullshit for a living...". I only sling bullshit on an amateur, albeit Olympic-caliber, basis.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:25 PM on November 4, 2007


This guy is a hack and a dummy

I hate a pile-on, but if you want to get some idea of how correct this is and what a blowhard crap-artist Sullivan is, watch him on his recent appearance on HBO's Real Time, shouting down Wesley Clark. Just awful.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:28 PM on November 4, 2007


empath, it's not just the membership lists/rosters. His own PAC gives to DLC people more than any other group (like the progressive caucus or black groups, or liberal groups, etc), and his statements are pure DLC. He's copying the DLC/Bill Clinton "third way" bullshit repackaged.
Lieberman may or may not be boasting--but that doesn't excuse the fact that Obama was mentored by him--it's fact. Obama was fine with it, and went to CT to endorse him, even tho by then Lieberman was running on ego and lies about peace--not ideas.

Obama is neither a liberal nor a prorgressive. He doesn't walk the walk, and he talks the DLC talk. Of course, i will never support anyone who invites and compliments his "ex-gay" MC of Obama's Gospel Tour---that should tell you something too--Obama deserves much more scrutiny than he gets. His Senate career is sucky like Hillary's and he's not fighting to reverse any of Bush's crimes. He's only now fighting Hillary, but that's to save his campaign--not to put forward actual plans that are in opposition to her at all.

... Quite simply, Obama is missing a counter-hegemonic position that challenges the "war on terror" narrative. He is not the leader here. Edwards was the leader in challenging the narrative frame, and Richardson was the leader in making a decisive commitment to withdraw from Iraq. This is not a minor matter. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on November 4, 2007


That you love Dennis Kucinich piece is great.

I hate to say it but Sullivan is right about this one. Obama is the only guy in the race who has any chance at governing effectively. He may be too far to the right for me or your average lefty, but the fact is that the US is way far to right of me. I may love Kucinich's positions, but nobody taking those positions could get elected to president. People on the right seem to respect Obama for some whatever reason. He doesn't carry the baggage of people in the Democratic establishment, if he were president we might actually be able to get something done. From my standpoint, Hilary is the worst possible democratic candidate. She is way to far to right, but the far right hates her and will make her term as president a constant battle.
posted by afu at 9:25 PM on November 4, 2007


The war is the overriding issue. Obama or Richardson. Failing that, Ron Paul while holding my nose.
posted by chlorus at 10:32 PM on November 4, 2007


Also, yes Sullivan is a tool. He literally supported nuking Iraqi cities until GWB decided to offically throw gays under the bus.

Wow. He should be in the All-Time Wingnuttiest Blog Post Contest.
posted by homunculus at 10:56 PM on November 4, 2007


Wow. He should be in the All-Time Wingnuttiest Blog Post Contest.

I couldn't help but notice that our very own SCDB wrote a post nominated for that prestigious award ... and then promptly scrubbed all traces of that post out of existence.

It must have been a great post.
posted by Avenger at 11:18 PM on November 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


Ah, Kucinich.

*sniff*
posted by eclectist at 11:22 PM on November 4, 2007


Even if you believe that the Baby Boomer Vietnam divide is at the root of US culture wars (which I could maybe believe), and that these culture wars are behind what's going wrong in the country now (which I couldn't), why does that make Obama so far superior to Edwards?

My only problem is that I'm not really sure I want to "transcend" the past 8 years.

Same here. As I read the article, I try to get in the spirit of "let's join together and rise above it all," and maybe I will be able to. But at the moment it feels like being told to make up after a fight after only one side's point of view (their side) got heard. Maybe I'm just being petty.
posted by salvia at 12:01 AM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


why does that make Obama so far superior to Edwards?

Because people respond to Obama, he has "leadership" qualities. Yeah it's bullshit, but politics is built on Bullshit. I have respect for anyone who wants to vote for Ron Paul as a Fuck You to the system, but I'm not sure it's going to get us anywhere.
posted by afu at 12:32 AM on November 5, 2007


on what planet is Andrew Sullivan right-wing?

Wikipedia sez: His political philosophy includes a broad range of traditional conservative positions: He favors a flat tax, limited government, privatization of social security, and a strong military, and he opposes welfare state programs such as socialized medicine. However, on a number of controversial public issues—for instance, same-sex marriage and the death penalty—he takes a position typically shared by those on the left of the U.S. political spectrum. His position on abortion is more nuanced; saying that he personally finds it immoral and favors overturning Roe v. Wade, but he can accept legalized abortions in the first trimester.

Yer basic Euro-rightwinger I guess, what the Conservative Party used to be during its Thatcher heyday. Note that the "left of the US political spectrum" is the center of European battlelines.

That plus that infamous "decadent left enclaves on the coasts [that] may well mount a fifth column" broadside in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:45 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


and then promptly scrubbed all traces of that post out of existence.

Oh God what an intellectually dishonest choad SCDB is. I actually skimmed his piece just before he memory-holed it. The part about France sending mysterious cargo planes to Baghdad and maybe even threatening to go nuclear on us to stop us was particularly off-the-hook.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:04 AM on November 5, 2007 [5 favorites]


Just to clarify the Lieberman issue, Obama, like most leading Democrats, endorsed him in the primary. Obama supported Lamont in the general (against Lieberman again).
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:01 AM on November 5, 2007


i think they should just have a national primary, personally. I'm not sure why having IA and NH choose the candidate prepares the party for a race that's going to have to be run nationwide.

Of course, that would guarantee a Hillary vs. Guiliani matchup. Of course it would have given us Dean in 2004, but the state-by-state primary system is what makes it possible candidates to have a contest with a reasonable spending limit.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


and then promptly scrubbed all traces of that post out of existence.

Jeez, that's pathetic. What a coward. I read it and thought of posting a link, but it was so incoherant it wasn't any fun to read.
I've also never seen a anyone block visitors linking from sites that criticized him.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:06 AM on November 5, 2007


Jeez, that's pathetic.

not as pathetic as his post about Latin American strippers being the only "real women" on earth, though.
posted by matteo at 5:58 AM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh God what an intellectually dishonest choad SCDB is. I actually skimmed his piece just before he memory-holed it. The part about France sending mysterious cargo planes to Baghdad and maybe even threatening to go nuclear on us to stop us was particularly off-the-hook.

I wish this was surprising.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:24 AM on November 5, 2007


Just to clarify the Lieberman issue, Obama, like most leading Democrats, endorsed him in the primary. Obama supported Lamont in the general (against Lieberman again).

He endorsed--and gave money to--Lieberman first in that race. Harpers: Barack Obama Inc.: The birth of a Washington machine--...In several primaries, Obama’s PAC has given to candidates that have been carefully culled and selected by the Democratic establishment on the basis of their marketability as palatable “moderates”—even when they are facing more progressive and equally viable challengers. Most conspicuously, Obama backed Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont, his Democratic primary opponent in Connecticut, endorsing him publicly in March and contributing $4,200 to his campaign. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:19 AM on November 5, 2007


Well dammit. Now I'm all hyped up to read that brilliant piece by our own SCDB. I don't suppose someone has an archived copy laying around somewhere?
posted by JHarris at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2007


from there too: ... On condition of anonymity, one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a “player.” The lobbyist added: “What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?”

Too many have stars in their eyes when they look at Obama--including Sullivan. And don't miss the Broder endorsement in that article--ugh.
posted by amberglow at 7:23 AM on November 5, 2007


Pastabagel writes "In his personal life, he's clearly socially liberal. He claims to be a practicing Catholic, which would require him to spend nearly every hour of every day in a confessional or chained to a rosary. He's prochoice, pro-same sex marriage, critical of this pope, etc. If that's Catholic, then protestants are catholic."

I don't know how many Catholics you know, but half my family is Catholic, and that describes most of them perfectly (except the part about spending every waking hour in a confessional or chained to a rosary). American Catholics can be very liberal.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:23 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


More than 50% of American Catholics are pro-choice. Look it up.
posted by callmejay at 7:32 AM on November 5, 2007


JHarris: A commenter at Yglesias' place managed to grab a copy before it was disappeared.

Not sure if it's a cut 'n paste of the actual, real, original SCDB post. But it looks like it could be.
posted by notyou at 7:36 AM on November 5, 2007


notyou: it is, other than the [Ed.] jab in the beginning.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:47 AM on November 5, 2007


LOL. Now DenBeste is blocking page views that come from Yglesias' Atlantic article ("readers of the site you came from are not welcome here").

What a tool.
posted by spitbull at 7:48 AM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


amberglow: The whole piece is really fantasy, i think.

It's Andrew Sullivan. Of course it's a fantasy.
posted by lodurr at 8:24 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sullivan lost me in this piece right at the beginning, with this bit:
The high temperature—Bill O’Reilly’s nightly screeds against anti-Americans on one channel, Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” on the other; MoveOn.org’s “General Betray Us” on the one side, Ann Coulter’s Treason on the other; Michael Moore’s accusation of treason at the core of the Iraq War, Sean Hannity’s assertion of treason in the opposition to it—is particularly striking when you examine the generally minor policy choices on the table. Something deeper and more powerful than the actual decisions we face is driving the tone of the debate.
Firstly, to equate the monolithically-delivered vitriol from the right with some (finally, after 6 years of taking it) minor swipes from the left is ridiculous. Second, he completely misreads the whole situation: the divide in the United States, in my opinion anyway, has less to do with how we all feel or think about any actual issues, and much more to do with the fact that the right-wing media machine--as it grew and gained influence over the past decade--made politics about personal identity.

That's why they've been so successful--most voters don't really know enough about any issues (or themselves, frankly) to make well-informed choices based on policy; that's not how the right-wing solidified its base. They equated their positions on issues with who you are as a person, and that's powerful stuff. So, if you're a god-fearing Christian, a moral supporter of families (you know, one of the good people), you're like the Republicans! So whatever they think on any issue is the way that people like them should think, too.

What's most powerful about that psychology is that it's a package deal: if you buy into the premise, it's very difficult to say something like "well, I agree with the President on taxes but disagree with him on the war" because it's not about specific issues. You either think of yourself as a certain kind of person or not, and whatever positions on the issues come with that come as a whole.

The problem with politics in America is that they are corrupted by EGO, by the conception that who you are (or, who you see yourself to be) equates what package of political views you must have. As a culture, through the past several decades Americans became more and more self-absorbed (thank you, Boomers), and questions of identity thus became more important, and a few in the right-wing were smart enough to understand this, and capitalize on it. When you equate your political ideology with who you are as a person (a nebulous concept at best, usually only fixed in our imaginations, rarely in practice), it's a house of cards; you can't change position on any issue, because they've all been laced together as a package deal.

Until we can collectively realize that one's political views are not tied to one's personal identity (i.e., you could personally believe that abortion is wrong, but recognize that to permit it is fundamental to women's freedom's; etc.), this shit will never go away. Facts will never change anyone's mind when what they think on an issue is tied to how they feel about themselves, and who they think they are as a person.

I don't think any single candidate can change this, it's a cultural sickness. That Andrew Sullivan--one who's dealt with quite a bit of identity politics--misses this as central to any election in the US, is puzzling. It also makes me think, as this piece demonstrates, that he typically works his arguments backwards, in this case: I support Obama, and I need to create a rationale for why he's the Important Candidate To Support. Pshaw, I say.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:15 AM on November 5, 2007 [10 favorites]


That Andrew Sullivan--one who's dealt with quite a bit of identity politics--misses this as central to any election in the US, is puzzling.

Not to me. The particular way that Andrew Sullivan "deals with" identity politics is to misunderstand and misrepresent it, after all.
posted by lodurr at 9:53 AM on November 5, 2007


Sullivan seems to be doing the same thing with the Obama campaign that I am doing; he's projecting what the country needs in a presidential candidate onto the willing blank slate of Mr. Obama. To be honest, I think this is what puts most successful candidates in office, especially the higher in government you go.

I thought his analysis of politics and the legacy of the baby boomers is right on the mark. The U.S. needs someone who transcends the log jam, someone who makes us think of what's possible, not someone who reminds us of past failures.

(Despite what I believe should happen in the ideal world,) Bush isn't going to jail, comprehensive single payer health care isn't going to happen soon, and the troops aren't coming home tomorrow. The fact that Obama can speak intelligently on each of these issues, in a way that I basically agree with, makes me think he is our last, best hope as a nation. If it's Hillary v. Giuliani, it'll be 8 more years of the same arguments, pandering, and consolidation of power that have brought us to this point and I will continue to feel less invested in my government.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:59 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


The problem with politics in America is that they are corrupted by EGO, by the conception that who you are (or, who you see yourself to be) equates what package of political views you must have.

I agree with you in principle but this is not how the next president of the United States will be elected. Assuming a voter is interested in reading policy statements, and assuming policy statements are readily available and adequately represented in the mainstream media, and assuming there's a candidate that you can say you agree with on even 50% of their campaign promises, how is that not completely trumped by their personality, their leadership, their ability to inspire change? For better or worse (worse imo) Americans vote emotionally. We can have candidates who run on a platform of "Terrorists Want to Kill Your Children and Gays Want to Ruin Your Marriage" or we can have a candidate that runs on a platform of "We Can Fix This Mess We're In." That's as sophisticated the issues can be in the U.S. in 2008. If we cannot elect a guy who appeals to people's hopes instead of the fears, there's not much hope for the country, I expect.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:18 AM on November 5, 2007


Sullivan has an interesting challenge for his readers today:

Yesterday, I asked rhetorically:

Can you imagine Senator Clinton defending "homosexuals" in front of a non-gay crowd?

It occurs to me I might be wrong. Can anyone out there find an instance in which Clinton specifically mentions and defends gay rights - using the g or h word - in front of a non-gay crowd? Extra points if it's in front of a black audience. I'd like to be fair. Has it ever happened?

posted by LarryC at 10:26 AM on November 5, 2007


Metafilter: the corrupt bolus of accumulated filth
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:30 AM on November 5, 2007


Mr. Den Beste is far too modest. For the benefit of those who missed it in 2003, I reproduce below his timely and prudent warning of Gallic perfidy.

http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2003/03/Itsthewaiting.shtml
I'm deeply concerned about the French. In January I wrote about my concern that their opposition seemed to go well beyond anything which made sense in terms of any kind of motivation I could identify, and speculated that maybe there was some far more deep and critical explanation for it which was much more sinister. Since then their resistance has made less and less sense, and what I worry about now is that if they think the stakes are so high, no matter why that might be, that they're clearly willing to sacrifice the UN and NATO and even the process of formation of the EU itself just to oppose the war despite having only negligible chance of actually preventing it, then maybe they might be willing to go to even greater lengths against us, extending beyond the diplomatic. De facto they're allied with Saddam even if there's no publicly-declared treaty or agreement; so will they be willing to intervene militarily? Will they smuggle some sort of weaponry in? Or ship it in openly?

If 20 cargo jets take off from French territory and head towards the middle east, what will we do? If they ignore all attempts to prevent them from reaching Iraq, would we be willing to actually shoot one or more of them down?

Just how far are they willing to take their opposition to us? They've reached the point where it seems as if they're willing to make any sacrifice. Do they see the stakes as being high enough so that they might actually threaten to nuke us?
You are John Podhoretz and I claim my 5€
posted by Bletch at 10:34 AM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


Who are the Hillary supporters?
Most are probably "low-information" voters.


Oh, bullshit. "Low-information voter"? What, is that supposed to be an insult to those of us who aren't afraid to support Clinton? Please.

Look at who we've got to choose from -- Edwards' wife would be a better candidate than he would. Obama doesn't have enough of a record yet. Not to mention, and I'm sorry to even have to bring this up, but there are a lot of halfwits in this country who will never vote for a black man. Remember, seniors turn out as a larger voting block than just about anyone, and there are a hell of a lot of Cranky Old Closet Racist Dudes out there.

Ignore Kucinich et al, that'll never happen.

The Republicans are a bunch of slimy halfwits who can't hold a position longer than three seconds (Mitt. GLBT and women's issues. I rest my case).

The Hannity test above? (switch to Fox News and see how long it takes him to mention Clinton negatively) Well, you can do that with Giuliani and the words "9/11" anywhere he goes.

So what's left? A smart, pragmatic woman with an enormously likable asset of a husband at her side, who might finally be able to convince the world we ALL haven't gone bonkers in this country. Someone who's honest enough to admit the role of money in elections, someone who knows the way the game is played -- and how it's played at the very highest levels. A leader her entire life. A supporter of children and of issues that resonate with many people. I don't agree with her on everything, but good goddamn, it's not about picking a brand name, it's about picking the "product" you know will actually WORK when you install it at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2007


Not to mention, and I'm sorry to even have to bring this up, but there are a lot of halfwits in this country who will never vote for a black man.

yeah, but bitter-girl: do you honestly believe for one second there's even a single one of those "halfwits" who would vote for hillary clinton? because if the answer is no, this reasoning makes no sense.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2007


It's uncanny. The more I read from and about SCDB, the more I'm convinced that he's a parallel-universe version of my younger years as a paranoid right-wing engineering geek.
posted by PsychoKick at 10:51 AM on November 5, 2007


I suppose I should add that I don't think SCDB's comment is wingnuttiest enough to be included in Drum's contest. In hindsight, many of den Beste's possibilities look overwrought (and, OK, the Francophobia looked delusional even back then), but plenty of observers, right and left (Gilliard!) were making dire predictions that spring.

The idea that the French might enter the war on Saddam's side is wacky. In terms of Wingnuttiest blog post ever, however, it's not in the same league as John Hindass's entry:
It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
posted by notyou at 10:57 AM on November 5, 2007


yeah, but bitter-girl: do you honestly believe for one second there's even a single one of those "halfwits" who would vote for hillary clinton? because if the answer is no, this reasoning makes no sense.

Yes. I think, given the large number of women who've been doing bang-up jobs as mayors, governors and Congresspeople, that they've shown themselves to be up to the challenge and proven it to their constituencies over and over.

There's less of a stigma in voting for a woman, not to mention many of the crustiest old bigots are exactly that -- old. They're freaking out about healthcare. At least Hillary's given healthcare reform the ol' college try, even if we weren't ready for it yet. The more this country's health system goes in the toilet, the more people know friends and loved ones who can't afford proper care, the better she looks.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:09 AM on November 5, 2007


Edwards' wife would be a better candidate than he would

this is true for Hillary Clinton's spouse as well. I really wish Edwards's wife could run because, first of all, that would mean she's healthy, but she's not running. Edwards may be unlikable -- too plasticky, too also-ran -- but he's saying things that make sense to a lot of people. and to follow your argument re: closet racists in the major voting blocs, well, some us think that neither a woman or a black person can get elected President in this day and age -- they just cannot. I think Hillary couldn't get elected even if she weren't so hated and, frankly, so cold when it comes to personal likeability. maybe we're wrong. but you have to respect our argument -- history proves it since with one exception, a Catholic (who won by an astonishingly narrow margin against a very lame opponent) all US presidents have been white Protestant straight men (OK, maybe Buchanan was gay, but he was pretty deeply closeted and media scrutiny wasn't pervasive back then, so he doesn't count).

maybe in '08 you'll have another Catholic (Giuliani) or the first Mormon President. but they're both white men. I really think it's too early for a woman or a nonwhite to get elected President. and I still think the first woman President will be a Republican
posted by matteo at 11:11 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Edwards is unlikeable, matteo, because he's a big old fake who -- like the Republicans -- can't hold a position longer than about 2 minutes and who, when the going gets tough, immediately jettisons anything or anyone that looks like it might be, or become, problematic. Also, I still haven't shaken his Meet the Press comments on GLBT issues.

Bush may be a total dick (note: remove "may be" and replace with "is" if you want my actual opinion), but he sometimes actually sticks by his people, even long after he probably shouldn't have. Edwards? Not so much. I can respect his calling attention to the problems surrounding poverty in this country, but I'd rather have someone taking on issues that don't seem like they picked them up for convenience a year ago. Where was this poverty thing when he was campaigning with Kerry?

And as for the Hillary = cold argument, you do realize that's a totally bullshit argument, yes? One moment, let me put on my Mouthy Feminist Tinfoil Hat.

I find it both amusing and disturbing that "likeability" gets trotted out for Hillary but almost no one else. Why is it that male candidates are allowed to be complete assweasels, or stupid-but-likeable (see: every article ever written about Bush in which wanting to have a beer with the guy played a part), but women have to be:

* Pretty (but not Too Pretty, and watch that cleavage, missy!)
* Likeable (but not Too Likeable, and a total pushover)
* Feminine (but not Too Feminine, you wouldn't want to cry on the nuclear bomb's switch and accidentally set it off

In other words, holy double standard, Batman.

And besides... she was a Republican before she went off to college -- does that count? ;)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:32 AM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes. I think, given the large number of women who've been doing bang-up jobs as mayors, governors and Congresspeople, that they've shown themselves to be up to the challenge and proven it to their constituencies over and over.

maybe that's a persuasive argument to people who might be willing to vote for either a black president or a female president. although you could say the same thing about black candidates.

but again, if the argument is that many people won't vote for a black president, don't you suppose that same bunch also won't be voting for their public-enemy number one, hillary?

And besides... she was a Republican before she went off to college -- does that count? ;)

actually, she was president of the college republicans in college, until she joined the antiwar movement.

still, she is loathed by the right-wing base, in ways that transcend simple gender and ethnic hatred. there's a reason the republicans have already started tacitly playing off of the idea that she's the democratic front-runner: as obama pointed out, they're comfortable having hillary clinton as an opponent, because they know how to play against her. don't underestimate how successful they can be with their attack politics if hillary clinton ends up with the nomination.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:41 AM on November 5, 2007


Hillary Clinton's vote for the war is a perfectly valid deal breaker for a large percentage of democratic party members. Period. It doesn't matter how she explains away her vote. If Hillary Clinton's supporters think they can make up for the millions of lost votes by appealing to moderate Republicans, good luck.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:48 AM on November 5, 2007


bitter-girl: And besides... she was a Republican before she went off to college -- does that count? ;)

Yes. Yes it does.

Oh, yes it does.

A lot.
posted by lodurr at 11:50 AM on November 5, 2007


don't underestimate how successful they can be with their attack politics if hillary clinton ends up with the nomination.

Oh, I don't. But the difference between her and the others is -- she's been there already. They've been attacking her for ages, on things as stupid as OH MY GOD SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T STAY HOME AND BAKE COOKIES, IT MUST MEAN SHE'S A BAD, BAD, WOMAN AND HATES STAY AT HOME MOMS, her hair, her headbands, her husband... to SHE MADE MONEY IN THE COMMODITIES MARKET! BAD! (ummm, aren't the right wingers s'posed to like making money?) to... oh hell, I could go on.

Contrast that to Kerry. "Ohio's ballot situation still isn't settled? Oh well, we'll call it a day." giving up -- which, and I'm sorry, has colored John Edwards for me forever. He wanted to keep fighting? Then why didn't he grab his balls and speak up?

The most dangerous person in an election is the one they assume can't win. And once the Democratic field is winnowed, her messages are going to resonate even stronger against her Republican opponent. No more goofy BUT KUCINICH SAW A UFO! crap.

If the Democratic base gets off their ass and plays hardball, any Republican candidate's got more than enough bad stuff on their file to attack, too...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:53 AM on November 5, 2007


Point taken, Slarty Bartfast. I sure as hell don't think anyone should have voted for the war. However -- and this is now me switching Mouthy Feminist Tinfoil Hat for my Political Science Degree one -- sometimes there are just plain untenable positions that politicians are forced into. Women really get screwed on any of the law-and-order ones, particularly in the current terrorist-freakout environment. If they vote against the war, why, they hate our troops, and want us all to be blown up by terrorists.

Only 23 in the Senate (21 Dems, 1 Rep, and Jim Jeffords) voted against the war. Of that 23, only one, in my opinion, has a snowball's chance in hell of winning a presidential nomination (Feingold, if he chose wisely in the VP dept). So we're working with what we've got here, unless you want to put forth Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd for president. Yeah, I didn't think so.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:02 PM on November 5, 2007


I find it both amusing and disturbing that "likeability" gets trotted out for Hillary but almost no one else.

Holy eponysterical comment! 'Likeability' gets trotted out for every candidate, at least in the coverage I see and read. Hillary, to me, comes off as fake every time I see her speak. That has nothing at all to do with her having a vagina, and everything to do with the fact that she triangulates specific questions when she's pressed on taking an actual, principled position on important issues.

I will not vote for another candidate who lacks, in my estimation, personal integrity. Also:

don't underestimate how successful they can be with their attack politics if hillary clinton ends up with the nomination.

...is a very perceptive observation. The right are talking about Hillary all the time because they want her to get the nomination. I'm convinced that the Republican party thinks she's the only candidate they can beat, so they're talking about her all the time. (Also, it conveniently allows them to ignore the disaster of our current president.)

As I mentioned upthread, it's about identity politics for the right-wing, and Hillary is the one candidate from the Democratic party that will allow them to continue that framing unimpeded. A new candidate from the Democrats (as Sullivan does validly point out) will move the conversation past that, by disempowering the identity politics perspective.

I think a Hillary nomination is bad news in terms of the election, as well as in terms of how she will govern, and it has nothing at all to do with her being a woman.

On preview: which, and I'm sorry, has colored John Edwards for me forever. He wanted to keep fighting? Then why didn't he grab his balls and speak up?

I'm not sure that judgment should hold--the VP on a ticket is quite completely restrained in that he/she must stay "on message" and allow the actual candidate to determine the message and course of a campaign. Direct your anger over that rightly to John Kerry, one of the worst candidates for high office in my lifetime.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:09 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess this is the point of Sullivan's article, then. Not that Clinton isn't smart, or qualified, or did the best she could given the situation she was in, or is able to fight it out toe to toe with any Republican (she may be all or none of these things). It's that she represents the stalemate in American politics, the race to the bottom. Most of the current candidates in the field will set us up for another national discussion of who will best protect us from the bogeyman while deflecting stories about who's playing dirty, whereas someone* who can elevate the debate will run away with the election and perhaps even move the country forward.

*Note that I am not saying Obama is this person
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2007


Women really get screwed on any of the law-and-order ones, particularly in the current terrorist-freakout environment. If they vote against the war, why, they hate our troops, and want us all to be blown up by terrorists.

Sorry, but that applies to women and men. Women are entirely capable of playing in the political arena, and, if they're good, they get respect. Bella Abzug,Shirley Chisholm, Ann Richards, Indira Ghandi, Margaret Thatcher, etc.

You also knock Edwards for being (supposedly) inconsistent, as well as knocking Ted Kennedy ( for the obvious and usual reasons, I suppose). Hillary doesn't score very high on the consistency scale at all. And if consistency is the benchmark, I think Ted Kennedy would be the obvious pick - he's absolutely the most consistent and unapologetic liberal legislator there is.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:18 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess this is the point of Sullivan's article, then.

I thought it was, sort of--but then he twisted it all around and obfuscated it to make it seem like this made Obama the only possible choice, until I wasn't actually sure what he was talking about.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:19 PM on November 5, 2007


'Likeability' gets trotted out for every candidate, at least in the coverage I see and read. Hillary, to me, comes off as fake every time I see her speak.

Sure, candidate's personalities are mentioned, but why is Hillary always painted as Dragon Lady Hillary! (with new kung fu death grip!) no matter what she does, whereas Mitt Romney could kick a puppy (or tie it to the roof of his car for a trip to Canada) and no one gives a good goddamn, 'cause he "looks presidential."

To me, she doesn't sound fake, she sounds measured. She sounds like she's taken the time to think about what she's about to say -- and not because she's triangulating, but because she really thinks things through. I want someone who thinks things through. I want someone who can think their way out of a paper bag, and I think the rest of America does, too.

"9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11! 9/11!!! 9/11, 9/11, 9/11? 9/11!" does not count as such, Giuliani.

But 110% agreed on Kerry, LooseFilter.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:20 PM on November 5, 2007


A family member of mine put it this way: This is the Democratic Party's moment in history. This election is perhaps the *one chance* they will ever get to send a leader, not just a politician, to the White House.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:22 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like Obama*, but that article, albeit lot of truth, was pretty much just all head.

*I’m likely voting 3rd party although I’d vote Obama if he showed me some more.
I’d rather vote for Cynthia McKinney (yeah, she’s a little nutty, but) than Clinton (if only becauseMcKinney backed up Murtha & introducing the art. of impeachment). And hell, she’s a black woman.

But I’d rather go with Kent Mesplay, say, if I was going to go 3rd party for president. The greens’ ban on corporate funding of election campaigns and Grassroots Democracy thing, not to mention their focus on environmentalism (yeah, I hunt) is a higher priority for me than just about anything else.
But almost any 3rd party candidate is a better option given this whole “break with the past” thing Sullivan’s talking about.

I wouldn’t vote for Steve Kubby tho (b/c he’s a one trick pony marijuana reform - although I agree with that) or Daniel Imperato (who’s trying to be an illuminatus or something).
posted by Smedleyman at 12:24 PM on November 5, 2007


Why do people keep calling Hilary Clinton a liberal?

That's actually a half-serious question. I know that one obvious answer is "because she's been framed that way," but I've failed always to understand why either she or her husband were ever considered Liberals by anyone who actually thought about what it meant to be a "Liberal."

I remember people getting excited about (Bill) Clinton as a "liberal" candidate, and wondering what they were talking about. Then I realized that he was doing a really interesting, and strange and in a way astonishingly daring thing: He was presenting himself as a liberal to win votes. But he was always a centrist, and Hilary is to the right of where he was.

Now, I'm actually not a leftist. I just find this kind of "triangulation" (thank you for the term) to be irritating. I much prefer that people be open about their political bent. I dont' feel I've ever known Hilary to do that.
posted by lodurr at 12:26 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Benny Andajetz, I'm not knocking Ted Kennedy. I like him lots, and he used to be one of my senators before I moved back to red state hell.

I'm saying, if you want to use "didn't vote for the war" as one of your criteria, you're left with pitifully few senators who'd meet even the most basic requirements for getting a national campaign going, none of whom would make it past the first primary. Of the 21 Dems who voted against the war, one of whom (Paul Wellstone) is dead, Boxer, Kennedy and Byrd are about the only ones most people may have ever heard of... so, it's a bit unfair to use that as a reason to vote against Hillary and for Obama.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2007


he's absolutely the most consistent and unapologetic liberal legislator there is

I'd put Feingold ahead there, if only because of Teddy's role in NCLB.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2007


(I keep forgetting there’s no tonal variation in this medium. McKinney is both black and a woman in contrast to Clinton)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2007



Sure, candidate's personalities are mentioned, but why is Hillary always painted as Dragon Lady Hillary! (with new kung fu death grip!) no matter what she does, whereas Mitt Romney could kick a puppy (or tie it to the roof of his car for a trip to Canada) and no one gives a good goddamn, 'cause he "looks presidential."


All presidential elections in my lifetime have come down to a choice between two caricatures and the least offensive caricature wins.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2007


... as for Clinton herself: I opposed her for the senate, but I have to admit she's been pretty good at it. (Though honestly I like Chuck Schumer a bit more.) For your senator, you want someone who can play the angles a little. And I do actually believe that Hilary Clinton has integrity with regard to what she cares about. She just won't tell us what it is.

So I don't really know whether I agree with her positions or not. I don't believe I actually know what they are. When I look at her voting record, I find some troubling implications.
posted by lodurr at 12:31 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm saying, if you want to use "didn't vote for the war" as one of your criteria, you're left with pitifully few senators who'd meet even the most basic requirements for getting a national campaign going

Well there's still the 150 million (or more) of the rest of us who abhorred the war and *still* haven't been able to register our dissent via the ballot box. Surely, there's one of us who is at least as electable as Hillary.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:35 PM on November 5, 2007


Oh, and also, Benny Andajetz, of course women have been successful in the political arena abroad -- but the current SECURITY THREAT LEVEL ORANGE mental environment kneecaps women candidates who can't put forth a supertough persona. People are more likely to perceive women as weak in this environment, right or wrong. Note what committees Clinton tried to get onto asap -- she was following the Pat Schroeder model there.

lodurr -- yes, Bill Clinton was more a centrist than a classic liberal, and yes, Hillary's to the right of him. I am a bleeding heart liberal crossed with a healthy dose of get the f*** out of my personal business social policy, and I wish my little bleedy heart out we could get a LIBERAL liberal into office, but that's not going to happen. Still, any Democrat is going to be better than the Republican field.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2007


Still, any Democrat is going to be better than the Republican field.

In the long run, I don't necessarily agree with this.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:46 PM on November 5, 2007


I have enjoyed this thread, but it is a nice day here in Seattle and I am still in PJ's. Cheers!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:50 PM on November 5, 2007


Well there's still the 150 million (or more) of the rest of us who abhorred the war and *still* haven't been able to register our dissent via the ballot box.

Understood. Sympathized with, sure. And I wish one of that number was at least as electable as Hillary, too. But that's not what we're dealing with, Slarty Bartfast. There are even bigger issues at stake. The war is what it is. It's still going on. It sucks. It sucks totally, and needs to end now.

But every time I look at the candidates standing up on a stage and look down in the general direction of my uterus, I get a stabbing pain when I think about what male politicians find acceptable solutions to problems that could directly affect me. Clinton's position on a woman's right to control her own body is much more tolerable than the Republican field's, and I cannot in good conscience vote against my own rights like that.

I'm not in the military. I'm not ever going to be in the military. But I am deathly afraid that this state's rights bullshit the other candidates seem so fond of will divide our country even more, and force me into an untenable position of my own.

If I can get all Rumsfeld on you for a second, Slarty Bartfast, you go to the polls with the candidates you have, not the ones you want. In the long run, a Democrat WILL be better than the current Republican slate, because they're less likely to actively screw with 50% of the population to make their base happy, and chances are they're going to pick a bunch of Supreme Court nominees on top of it, too.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:54 PM on November 5, 2007


I'm failing to understand why anyone thinks Hilary is electable. Could someone run that down for me again in language I can understand? And which takes account of the fact that she's the most passionately despised American politician of the past 30 years?
posted by lodurr at 1:01 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]



* Pretty (but not Too Pretty, and watch that cleavage, missy!)
* Likeable (but not Too Likeable, and a total pushover)
* Feminine (but not Too Feminine, you wouldn't want to cry on the nuclear bomb's switch and accidentally set it off


Yes, it's the case that there's a double-standard operating. Hillary, as bitter-girl notes, gets flack for things others wouldn't. No Free Car-Roof Puppy-Strapping for her.

And yes, Hillary is a great debater-- composed, lucid, ever steaming unstoppably onward-- but there are two issues here, one general, one particular.

The general issue: Would the US voting public elect a woman to the presidency in January 2009, given the double-standard referenced above?

Well... possibly. For example, there was a brief window of time during which I think the egregiously saccharine and artificial Elizabeth Dole could have eked out a presidential victory (and no, she was never exposed to the trials of a national campaign, and by now her flaws are visible-- still, in the context of a well-run, emotive, propagandistic campaign, I think she could have done it).

Note, of course, that her entire campaign persona was some unholy parody of lady-like antebellum Southern gentility-- honey and molasses, plus, if need be, no compunctions about punishing the servants.

So, yeah, I think a woman could be elected in the US... if she played to the right stereotypes.

[And, obviously, by "right," I don't mean "admirable"-- I mean "productive of the desired result". After all, how "admirable" is "admirable," when it means another GOP president, more war, and the loss of Roe v. Wade?]

Now to the particular issue: Hillary as an individual, a specific person and a specific name and face and voice associated with one checkbox in a curtained voting booth.

On the one hand, there are things about her that are undeniably nifty: She's extremely smart, extremely tough, and extremely strong. Even her enemies, let alone the swing voters, will concede these points.

On the other hand, there are two big problems with her:

a) as saulgoodman implied above, there's a massive, dormant, Clinton-hating machine that's already been built. It runs very well, thank you very much. More to the point, since it's no longer fashionable to hate Bill, almost all of the vitriol associated with it can and will be redirected to Hillary. [Actually, I'd argue that Fear of Hillary and a Black Planet and Sex-Loving Hippies was the real driver behind all that Nineties hysteria anyway.] As Sullivan and others have argued, Hillary is the one figure who can immediately reunify and invigorate the dispirited GOP base.

b) she's painfully, painfully fake. One admires the discipline in her answers, one sympathizes with the hard road she's climbed and the heavy camouflage she's had to adopt-- but, god, is she grating to listen to. Against Romney McPlastic, her fakeness would lose, just because his Fifties Dad fakeness would be more familiar and reassuring. Against Rudy the Fascist Ferret, she'd probably lose because he seems so genuine-- in his willingness to find someone to attack-- right now.</em

And her apparently instinctive inclination to secrecy reinforces her apparent fakeness. The bit in the last debate about presidential secrecy is an attack ad waiting to happen.

Though I'm sure she and I would agree, in the abstract, on most issues, I really have no idea which agreements she wouldn't toss aside, when it came down to the hard and bloody mess of political sausage-making. I could see her grimly waging war, just for those Heartland votes.

Yes, I realize she's campaigning as Lady Thatcher-- but I'm not at all sure she'll stop thinking she's gotta play like Maggie, once in office.

The Democrats are so bloody inept at marketing and positioning, that, essentially, you can't trust them to take advantage of their advantages; and conversely, the GOP is so effective at precisely targeted, amoral, hot-button politics that, if you're a liberal, you can't afford to spot them any extra ammo.

Hillary-- not so much the actual person, but the image-- is all the extra ammo the GOP needs.

(And, honestly, if Hillary doesn't get herself a good voice coach to remedy her chainsaw voice, she'd be toast in 2008 anyway.)

posted by darth_tedious at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


darth tedious, are you really george lucas?
posted by lodurr at 1:47 PM on November 5, 2007


By the way, if you want a good laugh about Romney, here you go -- check out the quote from him on the cover of Bay Windows (a Massachusetts-based LGBT newspaper) from a few years back. Talk about plastic mc fakeypants.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:25 PM on November 5, 2007


Until we can collectively realize that one's political views are not tied to one's personal identity (i.e., you could personally believe that abortion is wrong, but recognize that to permit it is fundamental to women's freedom's; etc.), this shit will never go away. Facts will never change anyone's mind when what they think on an issue is tied to how they feel about themselves, and who they think they are as a person.

I don't think any single candidate can change this, it's a cultural sickness.

It can be changed, simply by not running on charisma and personality alone (real or staged). It's simple. Certain candidates run on their resume. Others run on their actual past accomplishments. Others run on their current actions and fights. The problem ones run on their personality (and i'm looking at Obama here--he's not talking about his actions and accomplishments--he's talking about new ways, and how he's not like the others--and not his tangible accomplishments. Even Hillary, who is horrible overall, is running on the purported experience she gained in the WH and by fighting the rightwing for years, as well as her current Senate record.) Bush didn't have accomplishments--he only had failures, and ran solely on a fake persona in 00--with a helpful press. No Democratic candidate ever gets such a helpful press--ever, so they need to be even clearer, stronger, and more willing to shift the narrative away from bullshit--and to turn the bullshit to their advantage, as Edwards has done.

This is separate and distinct from how the media and others and opponents portray them. This is under the candidate's control and solely their overt choice. And it doesn't mean you don't fight back when it gets personal--you fight back harder--because it always gets personal and many millions do vote on personality instead of issues. There is a way to present as both personable and experienced and competent and we as a country need both--now more than ever.
posted by amberglow at 4:32 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hillary is a great debater-- composed, lucid, ever steaming unstoppably onward

Lately, not so much.

(That link, by the way, is easily the best attack ad of the cycle so far.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:43 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Reagan was a big New Deal Democrat, once upon a time. Giuliani used to be a Democrat, too.

I find it both amusing and disturbing that "likeability" gets trotted out for Hillary but almost no one else.

you never heard or read anything about Kerry being a cold fish? about Gore being a cold fish and a bore? about Dukakis being a cold fish and a wimp? "likeability", unless one is Bill Clinton, is very hard to achieve lately for Democratic nominees. Hillary comes across as a cold fish, too, just like Kerry & Gore & Dukakis, I'm sorry. she's very well prepared but comes across as robotic. it sucks, but it's an equal opportunity prejudice that many people have -- unless you manage to delete them from ballots the way the Republicans did with blacks in Florida, sucks for the Hillary fans. the more I watch her on TV, the colder she looks to me, too. not that I'd vote on the basis of that, but some do, I supppose.

most people blame TV -- no chance for a man in a wheelchair like FDR to get elected in the TV-era political arena, etc. Maybe Lincoln would have sucked on TV, too. (Edwards, say what you want about him, has a fantastic jawline -- a good jawline works miracles in photos and on TV). Me, I blame Kennedy's perfect hair (Jack's not Teddy's). but it's how it works.
posted by matteo at 4:46 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


it's golden, Cunning --it needs to go on the air nationwide (MSNBC is running it right now tho for free, so maybe not). Edwards really knows how to do it, i think--the hair ad and this now. Is it a Trippi influence?
posted by amberglow at 4:51 PM on November 5, 2007


That same ad style/treatment will also work perfectly against Rudy and Romney. (see this about Rudy and healthcare, for instance)
posted by amberglow at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2007


It's so cute how "my fellow Americans" still talk about voting as if it means something.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:57 PM on November 5, 2007


hah! ... The bottom line here is that Barack is Andrew's latest infatuation. The fact that Sullivan's previous love objects have included Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, the war in Iraq, and unsafe sex makes this endorsement slightly less exciting for the rest of us. ...
posted by amberglow at 6:00 PM on November 5, 2007


you never heard or read anything about Kerry being a cold fish? about Gore being a cold fish and a bore? about Dukakis being a cold fish and a wimp? "likeability", unless one is Bill Clinton, is very hard to achieve lately for Democratic nominees. Hillary comes across as a cold fish, too, just like Kerry & Gore & Dukakis, I'm sorry.

US campaigning really is about persona, rather than policy. All of the aforementioned do-gooder technocrats, and Bill Clinton, too, would have pushed roughly the same policies (give or take oh, i dunno, welfare reform)-- so would John Edwards, Biden, Carter, Howard Dean, and even the vaunted Fritz Mondale.

The policy prescriptions are pretty much the same; the major choices are the same; the differences are the framing and marketing of those choices, and therefore:

a) whether or not those policies get adopted;
b) whether or not the candidate gets re-elected, and gets an additional term to move partisans into/out of the bureaucracy and legislature.

Remember, Bill Clinton didn't win based on his Bridge to Some Point in the Future, or his idea of Putting People Somewhere, or even It's the Mon--Economy, Stupid.

He won, and won again, based on his shtick: "I'm a liar! But I'm having fun, and I'm basically well-intentioned... and if you come along with me, we'll have fun!"

Contrast this with Hilary's shtick:"I've got lofty purposes, but I don't think you'll agree with me, so I'm not going to tell you what they are. If I lie, please understand that this is for your good, and if it's unpleasant for you to listen to me dodge and weave, remember that my doing so is even more unpleasant for me."

I think the formerly Fifth-Column fearing Andrew actually has a good point: Obama has a good chance of winning the general, basically by running the Post-Race Race Card. With one vote, (white) swing voters and (white) moderate conservatives can divest themselves of any residual guilt over the subtle but persistent racial messiness in the US.

More to the point, he can do it by re-running Reagan's campaign against Carter: not criticizing the GOP as evil, but as "misguided" and inadvertently counter-productive (and Stealing Money from Off the Table of Middle-Class Families!) ...which is how Reagan dismantled various New Deal programs and policies.

Find the "positive intention" in your opponent's programs and policies... assert that those programs and policies actually (but unintentionally!) hurt You, the Voter financially and/or threaten your family... then propose a New and Better Way to meet the positive intention.

(And, yes, this even applies to noxious stuff like gay-bashing and immigrant-wrangling... blah blah important to strengthen families blah blah.... blah blah protect jobs blah blah... now here's how to Strengthen Families via letting gays marry-- because we're creating More Strong Families (and some of them are gay)! And here's how to create more jobs-- by focusing on making it easier for high-skill immigrants to come and create innovations, which in turn creates Jobs... for Everyone! Etc.)

Actually, with the "turn the page" bit, Obama actually found a good chink in Hillary's armor. My question is whether he's willing to keep hitting that sore spot again and again and again-- without variation, without hesitation, with no trust but in repetition-- for that is the way you win an election.
posted by darth_tedious at 6:55 PM on November 5, 2007


But what tells you he would actually change anything besides the rhetoric once elected? As you say, his positions aren't that different from Hillary's. His Senate record so far shows total status quo, and he's just as beholden to all the big money donating to him. This is not just about winning a race--it's about governing (and reversing years of crime, neglect and wrong moves, as well as an entirely corrupted Executive Branch) Obama speaks disparagingly of bloggers, secular Democrats, and many others, and is just as quick to create strawmen to suit his purposes--all the old way of doing things.

(And he's already explicitly shown us gays he's not for us when it counts. And he uses his faith to justify his bigotry too. We've seen all that before as well. New talk is worthless. It's new doing we need.)
posted by amberglow at 7:24 PM on November 5, 2007


Obama's Anti-Gay Gamble (and it illustrates exactly the usual DC wedge politics of division that he so often speaks against, but was totally willing to use to help himself)
posted by amberglow at 7:50 PM on November 5, 2007


This is not just about winning a race--it's about governing (and reversing years of crime, neglect and wrong moves, as well as an entirely corrupted Executive Branch)

My hopes dwell there; not so, my expectations.

Short of Kucinich (as it were), none of the Dem candidates is offering anything radical.

Electing Obama is about benign incrementalism-- as would be the election of any of the Dem candidates, including Hillary--, as opposed to another four to eight years of living in a crazed authoritarian Hunter S. Thompson paranoiac fantasy.

(And he's already explicitly shown us gays he's not for us when it counts...


The thing with McGurkin was weird and ugly-- I'm not sure if it was clumsiness or cruel calculation in re the SC primary...

New talk is worthless. It's new doing we need.


I dunno-- the new doing that seems to stick-- that marshals broad support--, with regard to gay issues, seems to be not professionally political so much as informally social or through entertainment media.

That is, success seems to come less through Human Rights Campaign than through YouTube, NBC, Montel/Rosie/Oprah/Jay/Stephen, and the office water cooler.

Still, if Obama was elected, do you really think he'd opt against pushing for partnership rights in wills and health care?

Again, it's not the candidate as such, it's the party platform... and the candidate who can sell the platform, who can charismatically embody the platform, to as many people who bother to show up at the polls as possible.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:20 PM on November 5, 2007


He won, and won again, based on his shtick: "I'm a liar! But I'm having fun, and I'm basically well-intentioned... and if you come along with me, we'll have fun!"

Derail: I've been looking for ages on YouTube and elsewhere for that SNL clip of Darrel Hammond as Bubba, after the impeachment failed, coming to the podium and saying, "I. Am. Kryptonite."
If anyone can find it, I'm dying to see it again.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:46 AM on November 6, 2007


Derail the 2nd: when Clinton was touring to support his book a few years ago, we were in line for HOURS. Faced with the man not 2 feet away from my face, I was suddenly struck dumb. (The quiet kind, not the Bush kind). I could not, for the life of me, form a coherent sentence. My boyfriend, who's known me for 16+ years, nearly laughed his ass off.

There is not a single candidate running with that amount of brain AND charisma. Which sucks for the Dems, so I guess I'll stick with Brain-Robot 5000. It's better than the other options.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:55 AM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]




Well, homunculus, as the whole Phil DeVellis thing demonstrated (really, who besides die-hard Clinton-haters was actually impressed by that trite piece of nonsense?), you can't choose your own supporters.
posted by lodurr at 1:45 PM on November 6, 2007


Electing Obama is about benign incrementalism-- as would be the election of any of the Dem candidates, including Hillary
You're right, but we need more than that, and we need to know what issues each will actively move beyond incrementalism on-- because of all the backsliding, and removal of rights -- and of government as a thing that helps people instead of helping the GOP alone. There's not one Federal Agency and Dept that hasn't been corrupted. It has to be someone who will actively reverse and actively progress. Baby steps alone, and benign baby steps won't even get it all reversed, let alone help anyone.

Still, if Obama was elected, do you really think he'd opt against pushing for partnership rights in wills and health care?
I think neither him nor Hillary will lift a finger for us at all--they just don't care--and they've showed it. (Hillary never even bothered to help at all in the marriage & court fights here in NY--and Obama has never spent any political capital on us at all--only words without actions) I think Edwards might, pushed by Elizabeth. Obama has made it clear he's not even budging on equal rights--he's said it repeatedly and clearly--and ascribes it to his religion, which makes it even more set in stone in his mind, i think. It's also indicative of other issues he won't lift a finger about, i fear.
posted by amberglow at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2007


I've been looking for ages on YouTube and elsewhere for that SNL clip of Darrel Hammond as Bubba, after the impeachment failed, coming to the podium and saying, "I. Am. Kryptonite."

I thought it was "Next time, y'all better bring kryptonite." Bits of the internet agree.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:04 PM on November 6, 2007


i know Edwards will actively work on poverty and trade and things like consumer safety (because of his past experience and actions as a lawyer and afterwards). I know Hillary won't really touch healthcare because of all the HMOs and her failures before. When it comes to Obama, i don't see what he actively will work for--and his words on bipartisanship and a new way of doing things ensure that whatever he does work for won't go far enough at all.
posted by amberglow at 2:10 PM on November 6, 2007


I thought it was "Next time, y'all better bring kryptonite."

My recollection is that was the second line. It was something like, "I. Am. Bulletproof. ....Next time, y'all best bring kryptonite." Cue shit eating grin.
I would kill to see that again.....
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:39 PM on November 6, 2007


(oh, speaking of HRC, darth--they're part of the problem, not the solution--and Obama could have helped on this and on many other issues of all sorts in Congress, but hasn't used his power and extraordinary media attention for any of them, preferring to remain above the fray on everything)
posted by amberglow at 9:37 PM on November 6, 2007


Obama on SS: ... Barack Obama sounding better on Social Security during the MSNBC presidential debate late last month.
I absolutely agree that Social Security is not in crisis.

Barack Obama sounding a lot worse during an interview with National Journal from Tuesday posted yesterday on the magazine's website.
... Obama: Well, I strongly disagree. Look we are offering our plans for the future on health care, on education, on energy, and the American people have a right to judge how clear and how consistent have the candidates been in their positions. Because if they're not clear and consistent, then it's pretty hard to gage how much they're going to fight on these issues. You know, Senator Clinton says that she's concerned about Social Security but is not willing to say how she would solve the Social Security crisis, then I think voters aren't going to feel real confident that this is a priority for her. And that's the kind of leadership I think that the Democratic Party has to offer in the years to come. [emphasis added]

"Social Security crisis." For those who weren't politically engaged in early 2005, those three words might not be terribly meaningful. But for the folks who fought tooth and nail to ensure that the Social Security program was not dismantled by President Bush and his Republican lackeys on Capitol Hill those three words come off like a dog whistle, because paramount to the conservative effort to kill FDR's great gift to American society was the attempted propagation of the myth that the Social Security system was in crisis -- a myth that has no basis in reality. ...

posted by amberglow at 1:54 PM on November 9, 2007


and from the 1st comment there, and absolutely true: But then O has never been shy about using rightwing frames. Maybe he'll deal with this crisis at the same time he figures out what to do about the rampant secularism in the Democratic Party, or how to defund the war without hurting the troops.
posted by amberglow at 1:57 PM on November 9, 2007


Obama on Mining (not good)
posted by amberglow at 5:15 PM on November 10, 2007


The Nation: Will the Real Generation Obama Please Stand Up?--... Obama's boomer campaign managers prefer to sell him to the Millennials as a cool brand name with its very own catchy slogan, "Generation Obama," that they can embrace.

It may be one reason X-ers have not overwhelmingly embraced his candidacy. Hillary Clinton is way out ahead in polls among all age categories except the Millennials, who favor Obama. Of course, there is a vast gap between national polls and the voting preferences of activists. In a straw poll conducted at the Take Back America conference this year, John Edwards was far more popular with X-ers than any other age group, perhaps because he has been far more willing to openly challenge the Democratic establishment than his rivals....

posted by amberglow at 9:18 AM on November 23, 2007


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