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Character. Integrity. Do.
February 5, 2008 6:44 AM   Subscribe

20 minutes or so on why I am 4Barack. A very thoughtful and eloquent comparison (transcript) of the core differences between Obama and Clinton - by Creative Commons CEO and Professor Lawrence Lessig.
posted by zenzizi (490 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I stopped at '4Barack.'
posted by Stan Chin at 6:49 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


I remember when we had a truly progressive candidate! Where art thou John Edwards.
posted by xmutex at 6:57 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


I agree with you nothing could be more important than this election and this candidate

I get the feeling that this guy doesn't live a very rich inner life. God, all this lame, superficial Obama cheerleading makes me yearn for the days of Howard Dean. I mean, at least Dean was consistently hilarious.
posted by 1 at 6:59 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


OMG I hope he wins I'm going to post stories everywhere just in case I swing a single vote.
posted by smackfu at 7:00 AM on February 5, 2008


Compassionate conservatism never dies, it just changes parties.
posted by Brian B. at 7:00 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to cut Obama (and to a lesser extent, Clinton) some slack on talking up the progressivism. They are already radical candidates in the sense of breaking the status quo on race and sex. If the talk radically on top of that, they can be dismissed as a fringe candidate by the corporate noise machine.

And, while I voted for Edwards in my primary, I was never really sure he was all that progressive. I note he only saw the light (on at least some issues) after he was out of office and it never came down to actual votes.
posted by DU at 7:01 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your favorite candidate sucks.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:02 AM on February 5, 2008


However eloquent his prose, the retarded headline makes it out to sound like he's got identity issues with his android self.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 7:02 AM on February 5, 2008


Is it a man? And he's voting for Obama? Clearly he hates women. Let's not hear his argument. Let's just agree that he hates successful women.

It seems that arguments like this - whether an essay or a well-produced video - do more to solidify the minds of and clarify the opinions of the person who is creating the argument than they do to convince others of a particular candidate. Perhaps I'm wrong - but it does feel like the people for Clinton have always been for Clinton and will continue to be for Clinton. New voters and people listening to the candidates for the first time seem to largely be going for Obama - but if they're new voters then they probably don't care about politics and are therefore more easily swayed by music videos, good speechifying, and hip commercials. Larry's well-reasoned argument is sound and I hope that at least a few people who are on the fence will listen to it, because I like Obama, but I wonder how effective any of this stuff is.

I remember when we had a truly progressive candidate! Where art thou John Edwards.


Ah, and what a progressive voting record he had!
posted by billysumday at 7:03 AM on February 5, 2008


Is it a man? And he's voting for Obama? Clearly he hates women. Let's not hear his argument. Let's just agree that he hates successful women.

Watch out, billy, we have a "sexism" tag for thoughtcrimes like that.
posted by The Bellman at 7:05 AM on February 5, 2008


10-4 Good Buddy!
posted by chillmost at 7:05 AM on February 5, 2008


Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it's lame and superficial.

In America we don't generally have the kind of revolutions that involve people being beheaded in the streets. We don't storm the capital and execute the current administration. We don't use violence to bring in a new era of politics and government, because we aren't supposed to have to. We have a system that allows us to change our government simply because millions of people want it with all their hearts and are willing to work for it.

In America, this is what a revolution looks like. It looks like millions of people who all decide they want the same thing and want it desperately and want it now.
posted by crackingdes at 7:05 AM on February 5, 2008 [7 favorites]




Edwards was a phony.
posted by empath at 7:06 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for helping me hit my saturation point. I feel I can now not vote with an entirely clean conscience.
posted by hermitosis at 7:06 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


New voters and people listening to the candidates for the first time seem to largely be going for Obama - but if they're new voters then they probably don't care about politics and are therefore more easily swayed by music videos, good speechifying, and hip commercials.

I too have been wondering what's wrong with kids these days, and specifically whether they intend to get off my lawn.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 7:08 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


I feel I can now not vote with an entirely clean conscience.

In any population, there must by mathematical necessity be those who still believe, after the last 7+ years, that party doesn't matter.
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on February 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


I too have been wondering what's wrong with kids these days, and specifically whether they intend to get off my lawn.

It's not so much what's wrong with the kids of today but whether or not they intend to turn that rappity-hop music down.
posted by billysumday at 7:12 AM on February 5, 2008


Thanks for helping me hit my saturation point.

I'm waiting for the Obacklash in a month or two when everyone is so sick of him. Like Ron Paul levels.

(Assuming he wins the primary of course.)
posted by smackfu at 7:15 AM on February 5, 2008


clearly we each have a favorite and we can each give "sound" reasons to support this or that candidate. If, though, you consider yourself fairly far to the left, then note that Obama is endorsed by the Left: Move On, Grateful Dead (concert of support last evening), Kennedy, Daschele.

For me the main consideration is basic: which candidate among the Dems is most likely to beat the GOP candidate. That is important because the next president will nominate and probably get 3 (THREE) new Supreme Court Justices.
posted by Postroad at 7:17 AM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Can someone put this in a handy chart for me? thanks.
posted by papakwanz at 7:18 AM on February 5, 2008


Wow. 20 comments already and nothing about the post content. What have I done.
posted by zenzizi at 7:19 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


For me the main consideration is basic: which candidate among the Dems is most likely to beat the GOP candidate.

This is what dismays me. The Republican party is in shambles, bickering amongst themselves and threatening excommunication. Only one magic potion can revive their spirits - a Hillary nomination. I think she would make a good president if elected, but she's a much bigger role of the dice when it comes to chances of being elected.
posted by billysumday at 7:21 AM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Look at the time stamps on the comments above. Any comments made within "20 minutes or so" of the posting, were made without viewing the video (and so contain preconceived opinions — not ones that reflect any insightful comments on the subject of the FPP).
posted by spock at 7:24 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Obama, but I think the main reason I'm hoping he wins is because I really don't want to sit through another four or eight years of misogynistic bile being spewed from the right wing lunatics.

Some of us read transcripts very quickly, spock.
posted by cmonkey at 7:25 AM on February 5, 2008


I think the rational points made in the video are devastating to the Clinton campaign. It makes a persuasive argument regarding how different two candidates can be, when there is little difference in their policy positions.

I think there were a few minor things that could have done better (what a crappy pic with Obama's eyes closed to leave on screen for such a long time) but overall: a devastating argument for the rationally-minded.
posted by spock at 7:29 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


I like Obama, but I think the main reason I'm hoping he wins is because I really don't want to sit through another four or eight years of misogynistic bile being spewed from the right wing lunatics.

Wait... you don't want the woman candidate elected because you don't want to listen to the right attacking women?
posted by Reverend John at 7:34 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Obama, but I think the main reason I'm hoping he wins is because I really don't want to sit through another four or eight years of misogynistic bile being spewed from the right wing lunatics.

How reasonable! Your vote will balance out a vote cast for Hillary by a woman who just "can't not vote for the first woman candidate"! Huzzah to gender-blind progress!
posted by billysumday at 7:40 AM on February 5, 2008


They're on my lawn too, Dave.
Thoughts?
posted by Dizzy at 7:41 AM on February 5, 2008


Policies R Strong?! WTF?
posted by dobbs at 7:42 AM on February 5, 2008


a devastating argument for the rationally-minded.

So Obama isn't going to win then.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:44 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


cmonkey: "I like Obama, but I think the main reason I'm hoping he wins is because I really don't want to sit through another four or eight years of misogynistic bile being spewed from the right wing lunatics."

So you want to hear four to eight years of racist bile from the right wing lunatics? They don't care who it is they'll smear anyone who gets in their way. Heck, they did a good job of smearing white guys in the last two elections, I don't really thing that the race or gender matters. There are good reasons for voting for Obama but that isn't one.
posted by octothorpe at 7:45 AM on February 5, 2008


Can't we just flag the entire election and move on?
posted by The Bellman at 7:48 AM on February 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


it does feel like the people for Clinton have always been for Clinton and will continue to be for Clinton.

Well, I switched from supporting her to supporting Obama. Single data point, but it happens.
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on February 5, 2008


This is a pretty good expression of all my un-articulated reasons/feelings I have about Clinton and Obama.

it's kind of cool to see it offered for download as a torrent
posted by localhuman at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2008


In America, this is what a revolution looks like

oh, great. so it's a revolution now to be a centrist from the rust belt? give me E85 or give me death!
posted by Hat Maui at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


so it's a revolution now to be a centrist

Yes, sadly
posted by DU at 7:51 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Snark city around here.

You'll see.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:55 AM on February 5, 2008


so it's a revolution now to be a centrist from the rust belt?

I'm confused by this. Is he the most liberal Senator in America, according to that press release the other day, or is he a centrist?
posted by billysumday at 7:56 AM on February 5, 2008


So you want to hear four to eight years of racist bile from the right wing lunatics? They don't care who it is they'll smear anyone who gets in their way. Heck, they did a good job of smearing white guys in the last two elections, I don't really thing that the race or gender matters.

octothorpe makes a good point. Anyone who would stridently oppose Obama because he's black would just as stridently oppose Clinton because she's a woman, so the arguments about electability and dirty politics on those points are essentially just noise. However, Clinton has a lot of extra political baggage to overcome that's largely unrelated to her gender, and you really couldn't pick a more polarizing candidate if you tried, so I tend to think Obama has the better chance to succeed at the national level. But what the hell do I know. I thought Kerry was a shoo-in, if only because Bush was such a putz (also I guess I overestimated the American voter's intelligence and innate sense of decency over that whole swift-boat thing).
posted by saulgoodman at 8:01 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm confused by this. Is he the most liberal Senator in America, according to that press release the other day, or is he a centrist?

No, no! He's a Reagan-worshipping Republican-talking-point-spewing right-winger! Wait, no! He's the second coming of Jesse Jackson!
posted by EarBucket at 8:02 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


That press release was pretty much BS, billysumday.
Does this “most liberal” ranking actually mean anything? And the answer, once you look at the National Journal’s methodology, is not really.... So there you have it. Obama is more liberal than Clinton because he voted with John McCain, the most likely Republican nominee [on one vote where he differed from Clinton], and Tom Coburn, one of the Senate's most conservative members [on the second of two such votes]. Ain’t political rankings a wonderful thing.
posted by ibmcginty at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


So let's start with character. In particular I'm thinking about a certain kind of moral courage. The question of whether the candidate is calculating in the face of right, or whether in the face of knowing what's right or consistent with his or her principles, he or she chooses that answer regardless of the consequences.

Unfortunately, George W. Bush scores rather high on this metric. It's only a positive trait when "his or her principles" are commendable. I'm not sure it deserves the weight Lessig gives to it. That said, I thought it was an interesting summary, and pretty consistent with why I prefer Obama over Clinton.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:04 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think the main reason I'm hoping he wins is because I really don't want to sit through another four or eight years of misogynistic bile being spewed from the right wing lunatics.

I used to feel this way, and felt very guilty about feeling this way, because it was a little like saying the rightwing nutbags have bullied me out of voting for a qualified Democrat. But some things are true even if Sean Hannity believes them. As Lessig notes, she has a pretty clear track record of shifting principles with the political winds, and has learned a lot from her front-seat experience with the tactics of the punishing Vast Rightwing Conspiracy.

Will Obama take those punches too? Probably. I just feel like he's equipped to deal with it in a more positive way. Again, Lessig is right, not much daylight between them policy-wise, but most of a candidate's platform falls under the bus of expediency anyway. The success of a presidency is all about temperament and principles, and I like Obama on those counts more than Hillary.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:06 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Though I absolutely despise the silly text-presentation style Lessig uses to carry his speeches, this is still good. It's the ultimate geek endorsement! I mean, he uses the Wayback Machine to expose a Clinton falsehood as an example of "Rovean Democratic" strategy. And he uses a logical proof to challenge Clinton's characterization of Obama as "really liking" Republican thinking. Behavioral psychology (we will get more of the behavior we reward) makes an appearance too.

I didn't go for his slamming of Clinton on lobbyists. Clinton's right about lobbying. It needs to be tightly restricted, but lobbying is related to freedom of speech and we oughtn't to throw it out with the bathwater. It's pretty important. Obama is the better choice of the two if your concerned about lobbying, though; he has chipped away at lobbying excesses, taking more initiative here than just about anyone else currently in office He could do far more. But the problem isn't that lobbying itself is an evil. It's what's been allowed under Congressional rules that's the problem.

But overall, nice strong clear geek argument. What's not to like?

Is he the most liberal Senator in America, according to that press release the other day, or is he a centrist?

Also, is Illinois the "rust belt," or is it the ag-tech-media-commodities-trade vortex for the entire nation?
posted by Miko at 8:07 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gobama!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 8:08 AM on February 5, 2008


. Is he the most liberal Senator in America, according to that press release the other day, or is he a centrist?

that national journal ranking is essentially meaningless. see here. but don't let that stop you from forming opinions based on press releases from the RNC.
posted by Hat Maui at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2008


So you want to hear four to eight years of racist bile from the right wing lunatics? They don't care who it is they'll smear anyone who gets in their way. Heck, they did a good job of smearing white guys in the last two elections, I don't really thing that the race or gender matters.

I'm also confused by this notion that if Obama is chosen as the nominee, he's going to be just dismantled and heckled by the right-wing opinion makers. Really? You mean the ones that have all written columns about how much they genuinely like the guy, even though they don't agree with his policies? The editorials about how worried the Republicans should be that Obama is attracting so many young voters with his positive message of change and hope and all that jazz? Obama - I think at least in some part because of his race, but mostly because of his approach to politics - really takes a lot of the teeth out of the Republican attack machine. He is a master at diffusing that stuff, even turning it to his advantage. Hopefully we'll get to see him do it this summer and on into November.
posted by billysumday at 8:09 AM on February 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


that national journal ranking is essentially meaningless. see here. but don't let that stop you from forming opinions based on press releases from the RNC.

Fair enough. Can we agree that he's no centrist?
posted by billysumday at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2008


Obama certainly seems to be locking up the geek vote: John Hodgman, xkcd, Jonathan Coulton, Wil Wheaton.
posted by EarBucket at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


It needs to be tightly restricted, but lobbying is related to freedom of speech... But the problem isn't that lobbying itself is an evil. It's what's been allowed under Congressional rules that's the problem.

That's an interesting misconception. The greatest amount of "Free Speech" the market will bear! Lobbying is to American politics what payola was/is to the music industry. /derail

posted by saulgoodman at 8:17 AM on February 5, 2008


This is me indulging in my usage nerd proclivities, but does it bother anyone else that Lessig doesn't go for agreement when selecting his screen titles? "Character, Integrity, Do?"
posted by Miko at 8:18 AM on February 5, 2008


Me and a lot of people with environmental concerns and chronic diseases and the like will have to disagree with you, saulgoodman.
posted by Miko at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2008


So you want to hear four to eight years of racist bile from the right wing lunatics?

They'll spew bile one way or another, I just don't want to sit through a rerun of the '90s.
posted by cmonkey at 8:19 AM on February 5, 2008


Good discussion on lobbying at Slashdot, from a former lobbyist.

Anyway, it's a bit of a red herring. No one's about to throw the moneychangers out of the temple completely: Not Barack, not Clinton, and certainly no Republican. So it's a question of who will be willing to restrain their powers, and Obama has done more work toward that than Clinton.
posted by Miko at 8:23 AM on February 5, 2008


Don't tell me you've never charactered anyone or integritied anything at a do, Miko.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:24 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I do wish that the style of Lessig's thing was a bit better. The IM/Prince speech was particularly grating 2 me.

I'm still not convinced by Obama. He's so far better than Hillary that he's a clear choice there, but we've seen precious little from him in the way of ideals implemented. His rhetoric is fabulous, as is his wife's, but I wasn't kidding when I decried Bush's canidacy based on his lack of experience.
posted by OmieWise at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2008


I think it's time for me to go proudly cast my vote for Obama!
posted by hangingbyathread at 8:28 AM on February 5, 2008


billysumday, let's take the example of john kerry. prior to his running for president, he was the furthest thing from a polarizing political figure. oh, maybe in 1975 when he was speaking about his viet nam experience, some people didn't like him. but in 2003, he was just another war hero senator that no one got too exercised about. and yet once he got the nomination, karl rove and his dishonest cronies turned him into a liar and a coward in the space of a couple months.

now, karl rove is not participating in this election in any formal capacity. but the jackals will still be there, and obama will be subject to tremendous ugliness. and the reason is as simple as this: that shit works -- whoever brays the loudest and spends the most money attacking will have the upper hand. maybe he'll be able to defuse it, but i'm doubtful. john kerry thought that by not responding to attacks on his courage he could remain above the manufactured fray. look where that got him.

now as for being a centrist, i would point you to his "one america" rubric, all part of his conceit that it's partisanship that's destroying the nation. he wants to "reach across the aisle" and all that rot, as if the battles that have been fought were just for the sake of fighting, and not over real issues that affect people's lives.

so no, i don't agree that he's not a centrist. he may have fluked into the senate without a real fight, but you don't get to become a senator in this country by running to the left. if he doesn't win the presidency, wait until 2010 when he faces a re-election challenge from a qualified republican (read: not alan keyes) and see how centrist he can be.
posted by Hat Maui at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Obama certainly seems to be locking up the geek vote

It's the ears.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:32 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


which candidate among the Dems is most likely to beat the GOP candidate

fwiw, RCP has mccain over clinton in a head-to-head right now :P

btw, leonard lin and michael chabon have also endorsed barack4 [via waxy!]

oh and here's andrew leonard on BO's economic policies -- "orthogonal to the traditional liberal-conservative axis" -- and why conservatives/republicans like obama...
posted by kliuless at 8:33 AM on February 5, 2008


And in this one respect at least, it shows that he has a certain kind of moral courage. Not because he was smarter, not because he had access to better intelligence about Osama bin Laden, but because he had the moral courage to stand up for what was right in the face of very strong political opposition.

Similarly to the observation's pardonyou? provided upthread, this bothers me. It's basically saying that we should like Obama because he is willing to trust his gut. Isn't this pretty much exactly what we dislike about the current president? That he is willing to stand in the face of popular opinion, not rely on intelligence, and instead trust his morally-guided feelings?

I like Obama a lot. But I don't believe that this is a particularly useful metric on which to base your decision to vote for someone.
posted by quin at 8:35 AM on February 5, 2008


I wasn't kidding when I decried Bush's canidacy based on his lack of experience.

Me either, but Obama has much more legislative experience than Bush had as governor. His record in the Illinois state senate is very good, especially because he was operating under Republican domination of state politics, and he received a 72% approval rating from his constituents on his work in the US Senate (only 10% disapproval - this in a state with strong Republican presence).

Another thing that gives me great confidence is his academic experience. He's thoughtful, well informed, and able to weigh multiple perspectives in a way Bush never was. It's not public service experience, but it is a very strong foundation in the uses of the law in shaping public life.
posted by Miko at 8:37 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Totally random, but I found this video pretty funny.

It seems that arguments like this - whether an essay or a well-produced video - do more to solidify the minds of and clarify the opinions of the person who is creating the argument than they do to convince others of a particular candidate.

It's not just some guy, it's Lawrence Lessig. One of the most notable people in the fight for digital rights and open culture. His thoughts are pretty important to a lot of people.

This is what dismays me. The Republican party is in shambles, bickering amongst themselves and threatening excommunication. Only one magic potion can revive their spirits - a Hillary nomination.

Yeah, this is what gets me (Although some of the craziest people on the right, Coulter, Limbaugh, etc have been recently saying they'd vote for Hillary over McCain. It's all very bizarre).

Obama is Clearly more electable, yet for many dems "electable" means uninspiring or bland. It's such a weird view. I still think Dean would have done better then Kerry in the general.
posted by delmoi at 8:39 AM on February 5, 2008


wait until 2010 when he faces a re-election challenge from a qualified republican (read: not alan keyes) and see how centrist he can be.

Seriously? After this he'll have his senate seat for life if he doesn't get the presidency, like Tom Harkin in Iowa.
posted by delmoi at 8:41 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think the current president was ever trusting his gut, unless by "gut" you mean Rove/Cheney etc.
posted by localhuman at 8:41 AM on February 5, 2008


he received a 72% approval rating from his constituents on his work in the US Senate (only 10% disapproval - this in a state with strong Republican presence).

More interestingly, Miko--when Obama ran against Alan Keyes for his Senate seat, 27% of Illinois voters (including my parents) went for Keyes. It sparked the infamous "Crazification Factor" post over at Kung Fu Monkey. What that means is that more than half the people who voted for Alan-friggin'-Keyes have swung over to at least being open-minded about him. (Again, including my white-bread Christian Republican parents, who are voting for him today.)
posted by EarBucket at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2008


now as for being a centrist, i would point you to his "one america" rubric, all part of his conceit that it's partisanship that's destroying the nation. he wants to "reach across the aisle" and all that rot, as if the battles that have been fought were just for the sake of fighting, and not over real issues that affect people's lives.

I completely disagree with this. Did you happen to watch the LA debate? More than once he expressed his confidence in debating the Republicans in regards to core ideological differences. He's not interested in giving the Republicans a few bills to get his passed so that he can push through a few things the Democrats want. He's interested in standing up for liberal beliefs and convincing people that the wealthy should pay a little more in taxes. That the war is hurting this country. That creating a "green economy" and energy conservation are things that this country desperately needs. Clinton is a product of the 80's and 90's and therefore approaches these ideological squabbles on the defensive. You can see this in the way she votes - she wants to be seen as a hawk and as economically not-too-liberal because she's worried that the conservatives will label her as a commie-pinko-nazi. Obama, from what I've seen, approaches the fight with confidence in the intrinsic values of liberal beliefs. I'm not that old - 28 - but I've never seen a politician as successful as Obama who was able and willing to try to sell Americans on the virtues of progressivism and liberalism. That's what he's saying about One America - that deep down, we're all thoughtful, well-intentioned, hard-working patriotic liberals. He's saying, "you may think you're a Republican, but I'm willing to look past that, because I know that you're a better person - a Democrat." It's subtle but it's there. He appeals to people's better selves. And that's why he's so scary to Republicans - because unlike Hillary, he has the possibility - and right now, it's just a possibility - to alter the course of this country, swing it back to the left.
posted by billysumday at 8:42 AM on February 5, 2008 [17 favorites]


That's what he's saying about One America - that deep down, we're all thoughtful, well-intentioned, hard-working patriotic liberals. He's saying, "you may think you're a Republican, but I'm willing to look past that, because I know that you're a better person - a Democrat."

What the fuck.
posted by 1 at 8:49 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well not literally, of course. It's in his, you know, rhetoric.
posted by billysumday at 8:50 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm new to Metafilter. Is it OK to post ascii images of the facepalm guy?
posted by 1 at 8:53 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh and here's fareed zakaria on the 'experience' factor:
This is the problem with Hillary Clinton. She is highly intelligent, has real experience and is an attractive candidate. But she is terrified to act on her beliefs. In fact, she seems so conditioned by what she sees as political constraints that one can barely tell where her beliefs begin and where those constraints end.

Partly, this is a generational difference. Bill and Hillary Clinton grew up in an era of Republican dominance. For much of the last 30 years, the Republican Party has been the party of ideas (a point made repeatedly by Daniel Patrick Moynihan), and Ronald Reagan was seen by much of the country to have rescued America from malaise and retreat. The Clintons' careers have been shaped by the belief that for a Democrat to succeed, he or she had to work within this conservative ideological framework. Otherwise one would be pilloried for being weak on national security, partial to taxes and big government and out of touch with Middle America's social values.

For 30 years this has been the right bet. It's why Bill Clinton was the only successful national Democratic politician in that period. But is it still the right wager? Obama has grown up in a different landscape—with vastly different geopolitics, economics and culture. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have been the defining political figures of the recent past. Conservatism has lost its monopoly role. As a result, the new generation is not defensive about its beliefs, nor does it feel trapped into the old categories like hawks versus doves and markets versus taxes.
also btw, fwiw, paul volcker has also endorsed BO...
posted by kliuless at 8:55 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't think there's a need to abbreviate to BO.
posted by smackfu at 9:01 AM on February 5, 2008


well, you keep drinking that obama-brand koolaid, billy.
posted by Hat Maui at 9:01 AM on February 5, 2008


Well, thanks for disregarding my thoughts (and Fareed Zakaria's) with a wave of the hand. It would be nice to know why you think Obama is a centrist, though. I've tried to outline why I don't agree with you. I think your premise that Obama is a centrist simply because he says we should work together is flawed. If you look at the way he's voted and what he proposes to do once he is elected, he is definitely not a centrist. It could be argued that Clinton is more to the center than Obama.
posted by billysumday at 9:06 AM on February 5, 2008


Partly, this is a generational difference.

That's a really good point, and the generational difference has a gender component, as well. Hillary Clinton was one of a very few women in her generation who began a career in law and politics very early and never sacrificed her goals. She's been serious about public service from her college days onward. And when she began on that road, the message to women who sought power and wanted to enter public service was that they should mimic men. They should discard soft speech and soft notions about things like 'hope' and 'optimism,' they should appear pragmatic and not idealistic, and they should toughen up, talk policy, and be as smart and sharp and strategic as they could, to compete with men in a men's game.

In a way I feel sad that she learned those lessons very, very well and does compete in that game intensely well. Her reward? That people criticize her as cold, rigid, unprincipled, overly strategic, and conniving. While I support Obama, I don't want to denigrate Hillary, who is incredibly competent, hardworking, and smart. Her entire political persona, though, is the product of a past era and may not have enough resonance to carry her through now. How frustrating it must be to find that the rules for success seem to be changing - that someone younger can propound soft values, idealism, and social responsibility, speak rather vaguely and glowingly, and be rewarded for it.

I may be off base in thinking of this as important, but in comparing her with other successful professional women of her generation, I do see her being punished for her success because she has succeeded in a way past generations valued more in women than they do today.
posted by Miko at 9:09 AM on February 5, 2008 [10 favorites]


what's wrong with BO?
is it like 'eponysterical' or something?
posted by kliuless at 9:12 AM on February 5, 2008


This is a 20 minute video. The first 9 comments were posted less than 20 minutes after the FPP was made.

Perhaps this FPP should've been made on a site where the users will (at a minimum) view the material before commenting on it, and declaring it worthless.

Even if you disagree with Obama, it provides some concrete examples of why many people don't like Clinton.

It's too bad this site doesn't have a place to discuss politics. Instead, we're stuck with this blue page where assholes take turns yelling past each other. Fucking terrible.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:14 AM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


For me it comes down to two things:

1. Hillary has taken far too much lobbyist money to reform, frankly, anything.
2. She talks a good game about principles, but when the time comes to act she does, as Fareed Zakaria points out so well in the article linked above, the most calculating and even cowardly thing.

The thing I liked least about Bill is that in practice he just kept giving everything away and pretending it was his idea rather than take a chance on opposing something and losing . And Hillary actually seems worse in that respect.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:15 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm one of the people who care what Lessig says. I've always been impressed with his take on technology since I first encountered him.

I also think of my parents when I think what an election with Hillary Clinton would be like.

They are staunch Republicans and loathe Hillary. I can't describe the bile and anger in my otherwise sweet mother's voice whenever the Clintons are discussed. And strangely enough, my parents talk about them all the time.

If Hillary is running, I can guarantee that they'll be donating as much money and time as they are able to oppose her. And all their friends will do exactly the same.

I can't explain it, and I don't understand it, but for a set of people -to which my parents belong- Hillary Clinton is the ultimate evil and must be opposed at all costs. If she is the Democratic candidate, these people are going to mobilize and, I think they'll win.
posted by Eddie Mars at 9:16 AM on February 5, 2008


She's been serious about public service from her college days onward.

I thought she spent a good many years as a corporate lawyer? Served on the board of Wal-Mart?
posted by kaseijin at 9:18 AM on February 5, 2008


My gut tells me that when we wake up tomorrow (post Super Tuesday) the Hillary camp is going to be reeling. If you look at the polling data (USATODAY interactive*) it appears that Hillary has peaked. Her line graph looks like the girl paddling on the surf board in the movie poster for "JAWS".

Guess who the shark coming up from the bottom is?

*doesn't seem to work with Safari
posted by spock at 9:21 AM on February 5, 2008


From the Wikipedia article: Lessig is also known for using a style of computer presentations typified by rapid display of short phrases or pictures. His style of short phrases made the Powerpoint presentation painfully unwatchable for me. Thank goodness the transcript was available, otherwise I would have skipped a series of arguments that made a lot of sense to me.

I once heard someone say that the most valuable lesson the Boy Scouts taught him is that "The organization rises and falls with leadership." This, for me, is a huge plus for Obama. The huge viseral aversion and animosity towards the Clintons among a sizable segment of our population will lead to more of the stalemate we saw in her husband's administration. Bill Clinton could only get anything accomplished when he danced to the tune of the Republican dominated congress.

Will the opposition forget Whitewater, Vince Foster, and Monica Lewinski during a Hillary Clinton Administration? No they won't. However unfair, the sins of the husband will be visited upon the wife.

Obama: charismatic. Hillary: divisive and polarizing. It's obvious who will have a chance to lead and who will be paralyzed by the revulsion on the other side of the aisle.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:23 AM on February 5, 2008


*surveys wreckage of thread*

The good news is, there are only eight months and thirty days until the election!
posted by you just lost the game at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2008


crackingdes writes "In America we don't generally have the kind of revolutions that involve people being beheaded in the streets."

Well, not anymore, anyway, at least until the Blue Revolution and our benevolent overlord mathowie take over.

Wait, did I just say that out loud?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:25 AM on February 5, 2008


sorry for being dismissive, although i feel no obligation to engage with anything that fareed zakaria has ever said.

i'm not super-invested in the idea that obama is a centrist. that was more in reaction to somebody else's characterization of the obama movement as a "revolution." and yes, i agree that hillary is definitely closer to the center than is obama.

there are some ideas of his that i have problems with (in particular, his half-assed health care plan and his risible support of ethanol that's a by-product of his ties to the agri-lobby) but i'm also not persuaded that if he gets the nomination, he's going to be able to magically sidestep the mighty wurlitzer both during the campaign and his presidency, should he get that far. in some ways, i think hillary's most important experience, and her chief advantage over him, is that she's weathered the right wing attack machine through 16+ years and four major elections. obama is still a babe in the woods in that respect.
posted by Hat Maui at 9:26 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


1 writes "What the fuck."

FWIW, that's what Reagan also did with Republicans - he convinced people that "Morning in America" meant a conservative revolution of "hope." Not that I agree with his message nor his policies, but it was extremely successful, not the least for which he really believed in his vision.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:28 AM on February 5, 2008


Fair enough. I guess I'm just saying that the possible (note: possible) upside to Obama is far greater than Clinton. Clinton, as someone stated earlier, will face an almost pathological hostility, from both the Congress and the public, that I just don't see Obama having to deal with. The general benevolence and confusion we have seen from right-wing pundits to Obama's message further convinces me that Obama has the ability to cleave ever-more voters from the right and bring them to the Democrats.
posted by billysumday at 9:33 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm not sure why Obama's health care coverage is seen as half-assed. I, personally, am not convinced that mandates are the way to go when it comes to health care (and Hillary is basing her plan on mandates). More than once, during the Democratic debates, both Clinton and Edwards (but Edwards, more so) pointed out that they all have a goal of providing coverage to Americans, but just have different plans. Mandates vs a voluntary-but affordable program are simply different plans aiming to cover way more people than are covered now. With mandates, anyone who chooses to not be insured - and they do have the choice to remain so - simply pay a fine. I admit that I am guessing this is how Hillary's plan is structured, as well, since I haven't seen yet a comprehensive explanation of how her plan will work and how it will be paid for. Obama's plan has coverage that is "affordable" (which, again, remains to be determined as actual numbers are not out yet), and that people *want* to be insured, so having the option to afford healthcare will be enough of a draw.

In other words, in either plan, people remain uninsured because they choose to. If we are defining universal health care as covering every single person in this country with no exceptions, then in reality none of these plans are truly universal.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 9:35 AM on February 5, 2008


Thanks. He explained the swiftboating of Obama much more succinctly than I could.
posted by ignignokt at 9:36 AM on February 5, 2008


Perhaps this FPP should've been made on a site where the users will (at a minimum) view the material before commenting on it

1. It's possible to comment while listening, since there's no need to actually watch this. I did.
2. The transcript was linked in the FPP, and it's far quicker to read the transcript than to listen.

I thought she spent a good many years as a corporate lawyer? Served on the board of Wal-Mart?


I don't see how this is necessarily at odds with being "serious about public service." I'm serious about some of my volunteer commitments, though they are not currently my job. I think it's fair to say that Hillary has been interested in and active in politics from college (at least) onward. The facts of her biography support that statement well.
posted by Miko at 9:39 AM on February 5, 2008


You know, I find it very amusing to see people blasting Lawrence Lessig for his presentation style. Lessig does nothing without thinking about it.

He's not talking to you. He's trying to talk to the video people, the ones who are going to run the world someday. He's experimenting with form and function in trying to reach them, and on his worst days, he's doing better work than most of us manage on our best. Those snarking are simply showing that they don't understand his worldview; they haven't done their homework. What incredible arrogance.

He also has some really excellent points; given that we don't have a lot of data on either candidate, running from the data we DO know... Obama looks a hell of a lot better.

I was proud to vote for Mr. Obama today. I haven't felt that way about a candidate in my adult life. I think his reach far, far exceeds America's impaired grasp, after two decades of deep dysfunction, and while I want the same things he wants, our poor fiscal policy has made most of those things impossible. But I'm still proud to vote for him, and I hope he can figure out a way to partially salvage this incredible mess we've collectively made. I can't imagine anyone better for the job.

I think he'll probably end up like Carter; a brilliant man and a great President, but poorly remembered because he was sabotaged by the Republican economic mess he inherited.
posted by Malor at 9:40 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]




(well, to be fair, it's Clinton's mess too. Bush made it many times worse, but Clinton shares a great deal of the blame.)
posted by Malor at 9:42 AM on February 5, 2008


I do know who Lessig is and have been following his part in the intellectual property debate for a long time. It doesn't make me like his presentation style any better. I get most of my news and analysis through print and radio; for me, the video element is useless and distracting. We don't have to like it to agree with him, and it doesn't mean we're ignorant or arrogant.
posted by Miko at 9:42 AM on February 5, 2008


able to magically sidestep the mighty wurlitzer

or the howitzers :P

fwiw, dean baker defends BO's half-assed health care plan here [via rw2!] oh and here's cramer (railing) against ethanol btw...
posted by kliuless at 9:42 AM on February 5, 2008


Me and a lot of people with environmental concerns and chronic diseases and the like will have to disagree with you, saulgoodman.

then, IMO, you misunderstand the problem. i also know of people who've paid lobbyists millions in support of their cause of choice to absolutely no discernible effect. the lobbying industry is one of the most effective ways to influence the process now only because it dominates the process. in the absence of the pay-for-play lobbying industry (which in many ways is historically unique to our times), other equally effective (but ideally, less quid pro quo) mechanisms could and would develop. but i agree with the caution against rushing to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and i'll check out the link you posted for another view on things.


there are some ideas of his that i have problems with (in particular, his half-assed health care plan and his risible support of ethanol that's a by-product of his ties to the agri-lobby) but i'm also not persuaded that if he gets the nomination, he's going to be able to magically sidestep the mighty wurlitzer both during the campaign and his presidency, should he get that far.

what's so half-assed about establishing a national health plan that's available to anyone and that competes with the private health care providers? clinton's plan is a half-baked unfunded mandate that requires americans to get private health insurance in return for tax breaks. who the hell can afford to pay the up-front costs? and how does she expect to bring the cost of private health care down without offering a public alternative to exert downward cost pressures?

clinton's also far too familiar and friendly with the military-industrial complex for my comfort.

nobody's saying obama will be able to sidestep the attack machine. just for god's sake, take your democratic blinders off, man! a substantial segment of the electorate hate clinton passionately! they really do. it may not be fair, it may not be rational, but that's how it is. don't fool yourself into thinking it's just some marginal, superficial issue--the clinton hate runs deep.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:48 AM on February 5, 2008


He's not talking to you. He's trying to talk to the video people, the ones who are going to run the world someday. He's experimenting with form and function in trying to reach them, and on his worst days, he's doing better work than most of us manage on our best. Those snarking are simply showing that they don't understand his worldview; they haven't done their homework. What incredible arrogance.

How is not liking his presentation style arrogant? Get over yourself. I'm well-acquainted with Lessig. I do think he was talking to me, in fact, I'm certain of it, and I still think his message was good while his presentation was shitty. If you haven't done your homework in reading McLuhan, perhaps you should.
posted by OmieWise at 9:49 AM on February 5, 2008


Lessig's just angling for one of those likely supreme court vacancies (because if you can't beat 'em, join 'em).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:53 AM on February 5, 2008


After hearing Michelle Obama speak a few times, I'd lean toward voting for her for First Lady no matter who she's married to. She says things I've been thinking for years but which nobody in public life ever says, and it's amazing to hear them finally spoken. Like words to the effect of

"If this is supposed to be our war, then why is it that nobody but our soldiers are being asked to sacrifice for it? We haven't been asked to do anything but keep shopping. We haven't been asked to do so much as darn a sock."
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:54 AM on February 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


One of the biggest reasons I have started to support Obama is that he is for changing how the current system works. He is against PACs and Lobbyist groups, and has actually put his (or others money) where his mouth is, and not taken money from them.

He has made motions and support towards more open debates and open governmental and IT standards, which means that while he may not be your favorite short vegan candidate, he says he is opening up the system so in the future the process is just not picking the lesser of two evils. (hopefully, through my rose colored glasses). He wants the process to be open and representative of the people. If you want to see election reform (like a limited, 6 week political campaign period, a multi party system, no more electoral college, etc.) you have to start somewhere.

I don't see that happening with Hillary or anyone from the Right.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:01 AM on February 5, 2008


Miko: I may be off base in thinking of this as important, but in comparing [Clinton] with other successful professional women of her generation, I do see her being punished for her success because she has succeeded in a way past generations valued more in women than they do today.

That's a great point, and gets to the core of why she's a rather tragic figure. Obama, and to a lesser extent, Edwards, have articulated a change in the US national dialogue (as outlined by billysunday above). They're talking about moving from framing issues using fear and reaction, natural conservative viewpoints, to a more pro-active and hopeful approaches.

Clinton has really missed that point. When she says that she's for change too, all that I get is that she means that she's for a change of the nameplate on the president's office. She's worked hard, true, and she's more than competent on the issues, but her main tools are pragmatism and compromise, working in the existing system. It seems, however, that a lot of people, especially those younger than the baby boomers, think the existing system (national debate, political environment) is poison. She doesn't seem to get that.

It is tragic that a woman who has worked so hard, for so long may be denied her shot, but she may be too late. She’s certainly not able to adapt well. I think McCain may have the same problem.
posted by bonehead at 10:05 AM on February 5, 2008


We haven't been asked to do so much as darn a sock.

My understanding that was that in exchange for allowing the war, we would stand by silently while the government borrowed tens of trillions of dollars from China, saddling our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt that they will pay for in reduced government programs, higher interest rates, and a worthless dollar. I wanted to darn socks, but I was shouted down.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:10 AM on February 5, 2008


what's so half-assed about establishing a national health plan that's available to anyone and that competes with the private health care providers?

well, i'll defer to paul krugman here: "One plan achieves more or less universal coverage; the other, although it costs more than 80 percent as much, covers only about half of those currently uninsured."

just for god's sake, take your democratic blinders off, man!

i'm wearing "democratic blinders" because i'm not worshipping at the altar of obama?

the clinton hate runs deep.

why would i let this "fact" (that's so oft-repeated in the lazy pundit circles that it's taken for gospel by people like yourself) affect whether i vote for her? you seem to be convinced that barack will do better in the general election. i think that you have no basis for believing that.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:14 AM on February 5, 2008


It is tragic that a woman who has worked so hard, for so long may be denied her shot, but she may be too late. She’s certainly not able to adapt well.

It seems, however, that a lot of people, especially those younger than the baby boomers, think the existing system (national debate, political environment) is poison. She doesn't seem to get that.

I agree, bonehead. (Heh, that sounds funny). She got as far as being able to run for president, but at a time when people want something different than what she seems able to give.

In talking to my baby boomer in-laws, I can definitely see the growing rift between them and younger generations. They seem to not be able to see that the political world they know is not the *only* option. That the people who were born after them are actually adults by now, with their own ideas of how the country should progress. In listening to them, the first correlation my mind made was the difference between Obama and Clinton, in terms of their underlying message.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:16 AM on February 5, 2008


Obama's, Edwards' and Clinton's health care plans are one form or another the same as proposed by Jacob Hacker. As far as I can tell, the only difference is Obama's plan does not include a mandate that everybody's in the government plan or you pay an opt-out "fine."

Another thing that gives me great confidence is his [Obama's] academic experience. He's thoughtful, well informed, and able to weigh multiple perspectives in a way Bush never was. It's not public service experience, but it is a very strong foundation in the uses of the law in shaping public life.

Unfortunately this could hurt his chances of being elected. Much has been written about the anti-intellectualism vote in the last two presidential elections.

I think he'll probably end up like Carter; a brilliant man and a great President, but poorly remembered because he was sabotaged by the Republican economic mess he inherited.


I've been saying this for a while. In fact, it doesn't matter who is elected for president, if the economy doesn't rebound in the next 3 years, it's a sure but they won't be elected a second term. In this regard, Americans have short memories.

So you want to hear four to eight years of racist bile from the right wing lunatics? They don't care who it is they'll smear anyone who gets in their way. Heck, they did a good job of smearing white guys in the last two elections, I don't really thing that the race or gender matters. There are good reasons for voting for Obama but that isn't one.

The perception of anything Hillary or Bill might have done in the last 16 years (and even farther back) could have an effect on her ability to lead. The one saving grace would be a democratic majority in congress, but that will be harder to hold on to, depending on how things look in another 2/4 years.

what's wrong with BO?

Nothing a little right guard can't fix.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:19 AM on February 5, 2008


Hey, zenzizi, thank you for posting this. It helped me articulate my own reasoning.
posted by moonlet at 10:19 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm confused by this. Is he the most liberal Senator in America, according to that press release the other day, or is he a centrist?

The VoteView web site from political scientists Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis have some good data on this, because they arrange all members of the Senate from most liberal to most conservative, using data from all Senate votes on all issues, not just a selective set of different votes (as is the case with most interest group "ratings" like ADA, NARAL, Sierra Club, or the American Conservative Union). According to the ranking for the 110th Senate, Barack Obama is the 10th most liberal Senator, tied with Senator Joseph Biden. Hillary Clinton is the 20th most liberal Senator, tied with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. In the 109th Senate ranking, Obama is the 21st most liberal Senator, slightly less liberal than Bob Menendez (D-NJ) but slightly more liberal than Barbara Mikulski (D-MD). In the same Senate session, Clinton is the 25th most liberal Senator, slightly less liberal than Charles Schumer and slightly more liberal than John Kerry. Obama wasn't a member of the 108th Senate, so that's all the apples-to-apples comparisons you have.

In the two Senate sessions where they could be directly compared, Obama had a more liberal voting record than Hillary Clinton. For me, this seals the deal in Obama's favor. Hillary Clinton was the most conservative candidate in the Democratic field, yet a significant percentage of American think she's a nutty pinko lesbian communist she-beast who wants to transform every Baptist Church in America into workers' soviets. By contrast, Obama has a substantively more liberal record than Clinton, but his rhetoric and oratory makes these liberal policies sound moderate and centrist. We have a choice between a slightly more conservative Democrat who a large swatch of the electoral views as a left-wing fringe character (Hillary) vs. a slightly more liberal Democrat who has an image as a centrist (Obama). On both ideological and pragmatic grounds, the latter choice is the best.
posted by jonp72 at 10:23 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


there are some ideas of his that i have problems with (in particular, his half-assed health care plan and his risible support of ethanol that's a by-product of his ties to the agri-lobby)

First of all, mandates suck ass. Secondly, how come everything anyone disagrees with has to be the result of some huge corporate lobby? The fact of the matter is, Illinois is a huge corn producer and opposing ethanol there would be electoral suicide, and for good reason... Those policies actually are beneficial to the voters in corn producing states.

Calling ethanol fans the "Agri-lobby" is like calling Iraq war opponents the "Saddam-lobby" or something. Not that I want to derail the thread with this.

He's not talking to you. He's trying to talk to the video people, the ones who are going to run the world someday. He's experimenting with form and function in trying to reach them, and on his worst days, he's doing better work than most of us manage on our best.

Maybe, but come on. For a viral video, it absolutely sucked. Boring background over a PowerPoint. Lots of examples of him quoting things when he could have included video. Rather then showing slides, he should have talked on camera and used subtitles. It would have been better if he'd gone audio only.
posted by delmoi at 10:28 AM on February 5, 2008


well, i'll defer to paul krugman here: "One plan achieves more or less universal coverage; the other, although it costs more than 80 percent as much, covers only about half of those currently uninsured."

Ugh, Paul Krugman has been relentless in bashing Obama. He is hardly a neutral observer here. He also wrote a column falsely accusing Obama of praising republicans, which if you watch Lessig's video, you can see is false. It's absurd to 'defer' to Krugman in anything relating to Hill Vs. Obama. He is a died in the wool Hillary supporter.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 AM on February 5, 2008


you seem to be convinced that barack will do better in the general election. i think that you have no basis for believing that.

Yeah, because empirical evidence like polls or whatnot is, of course, totally worthless.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 AM on February 5, 2008


My understanding that was that in exchange for allowing the war, we would stand by silently while the government [...]

Good point, and in essence that is the point. We weren't asked to do anything, they just expected us to be sheep and take it, counting on our apathy and our inattentiveness, and in fact that was a good calculation: it's worked out for them pretty well so far. Michelle Obama's point is that they knew if they asked for sacrifice rather than quietly taking what they want, we'd count the cost and ask why we're doing this.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:40 AM on February 5, 2008


the clinton hate runs deep.

why would i let this "fact" (that's so oft-repeated in the lazy pundit circles that it's taken for gospel by people like yourself) affect whether i vote for her? you seem to be convinced that barack will do better in the general election. i think that you have no basis for believing that.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:14 AM


I am letting this "fact" affect who I vote for based upon the 8 years of deadlock we all witnessed during Bill Clinton's administration. Bill was so busy defending himself against people who HATED HIM that he wasn't able to get his proposals heard above all of the noise. Hillary is even more despised than Bill. The visceral hatred of the Clinton's I have witnessed over the past 16 years is the basis I have for believing that. Ever been exposed to Rush Limbaugh or Fox News? They may be uber-biased blindered hatemongering closed-minded nutjobs, but a sizable portion of Americans subscribe to that kind of vitriol and are ready to unthinkingly oppose her based solely upon their contempt of everything Clinton. Again: The Clintons are devisive and polarizing. Obama is charismatic and doesn't have the hatred albatross around his neck like Clinton does. The opposition will be more open to his ideas and proposals. This all adds up to the ability to lead the nation forward.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:41 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm curious what people think. I worry that many white Americans won't vote for a black candidate but I keep reading stories quoting college students who say race doesn't matter. I live in an area of the country that has a relatively liberal reputation but frankly overhear amazingly racist stuff, from old and young alike. I read in on some local forums where people talk in code about "bad areas," crime, affirmative action and Section 8 housing but it's clear what they're saying. So I wonder--will hidden racism derail Obama? And does anyone think that the attacks on Obama just haven't begun yet and that even the conservative columnists saying mildly kind things about him will find a reason to turn on him if he's nominated? Or that the "respectable" conservatives will stand back and say nothing, allowing the really ugly haters to rip him apart.
I wish I could be more hopeful on the race front; I truly hope I"m wrong.
posted by etaoin at 10:43 AM on February 5, 2008


This is a 20 minute video.

The transcript takes about five minutes to read.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 AM on February 5, 2008


SteveInMaine writes "Unfortunately this could hurt his chances of being elected. Much has been written about the anti-intellectualism vote in the last two presidential elections. "

I don't think that hurts Obama. He doesn't come across as arrogant and inaccessible, like Kerry did, which matters to a large group of independents. But if you pay attention to his words and his history, you can tell he's very intelligent, which will matter to a lot of people in the Democratic Party (and some independents, but probably not as much as a whole).
posted by krinklyfig at 10:44 AM on February 5, 2008


He is a diyed in the wool Hillary supporter.

My impression is that Krugman was supporting Edwards. He's been pushing the healthcare plan issue because he thinks Obama's plan doesn't go far enough. I imagine his intent with his recent columns is to promote scrutiny of the candidates' plans, not a particular candidate.
posted by stopgap at 10:45 AM on February 5, 2008


Perhaps I'm wrong - but it does feel like the people for Clinton have always been for Clinton and will continue to be for Clinton.

I was originally for Clinton, but made the change and voted for Obama today. BTW -- I wasn't "swayed by music videos, good speechifying, and hip commercials."
posted by ericb at 10:48 AM on February 5, 2008


delmoi writes "Ugh, Paul Krugman has been relentless in bashing Obama. He is hardly a neutral observer here. He also wrote a column falsely accusing Obama of praising republicans, which if you watch Lessig's video, you can see is false."

Not only that, but the whole argument is intellectually dishonest. The Hillary supporters keep saying things like, "Well, he should have known Reagan isn't a good name to bring up," but that just reinforces the whole idea that the argument is bogus.

Yeah, sure Obama's a Reagan supporter, right, Krugman. I mean, doesn't it show, with his political history, how much of a Reaganite Obama is? Or does it tell a completely different story, and this is just mudslinging? Give me a break.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:49 AM on February 5, 2008


Those policies actually are beneficial to the voters in corn producing states.

so? should we suspend all pollution regulations because it would be beneficial to coal-producing states? and obama's not just not opposed to ethanol, he actively touts it. it's a pretty indefensible position, really, unless you're a corn farmer. are you a corn farmer?

Ugh, Paul Krugman has been relentless in bashing Obama

um, really? care to provide a single cite? that seems pretty fucking hyperbolic to me.

which if you watch Lessig's video, you can see is false

i read the transcript, and noticed that lessig did a cute little trick -- he changed obama's quote about republicans to "a party of ideas" rather than what obama actually said about the republicans in the reagan era, that they were the party of ideas. two different things, no?

Yeah, because empirical evidence like polls or whatnot is, of course, totally worthless.

that's an interesting point you make about supporting your arguments with empirical evidence. i seem to have missed where you provided it.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2008


Look at the time stamps on the comments above. Any comments made within "20 minutes or so" of the posting, were made without viewing the video (and so contain preconceived opinions — not ones that reflect any insightful comments on the subject of the FPP).

Yes, because MeFites only browse the internet starting from MetaFilter, and for that matter never straying farther than one degree of separation off of a MeFi post, thus it would have been utterly impossible for any MeFite to have begun viewing this video prior to the post.

Also, if a video lasts twenty minutes, it is apparently impossible to read the transcript of that video in less than twenty minutes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2008


she has a pretty clear track record of shifting principles with the political winds, and has learned a lot from her front-seat experience with the tactics of the punishing Vast Rightwing Conspiracy. (stupidsexyFlanders)

So for example, one feature of this man's presidency (Clinton), a man I supported for president (and think he did an extraordinary job as president), but one feature (or let's say bug) was his consistent refusal to stand up for for what were strong principles, at least as he articulated them, in his campaign. So for example within a couple weeks of coming into office he had given up a commitment to let gays serve openly in the military. It was expedience that led him to that result rather than standing and fighting on the basis of principle. (Lessig)

Maybe I am jaded, but I think it might be a mistake to think, as both these authors seem to, that a successful modern politician can afford to go into office on Day 1, take stands on certain issues they believe in, and not budge from those positions. I think Bill Clinton started off this way, and did take a stand on gays in the military, and had not realized how wide the gulf was between his position and the beliefs of middle America. I worry that the same would happen to Obama. Of course everyone wants to believe in Hope, and to be inspired by their political leaders, and I respect Obama's ability to inspire and his lifestory. But can he compromise where he needs to compromise, in order to move forward?

Our primaries are in a week and I really don't know who to vote for. I feel like Clinton is a savvy politician with a Day 1 plan who might really be able to Get Things Done for the country. But I worry over how much Republican hate she inspires, and whether even if she got elected that hate would effectively immobilize her. I am inspired by Obama and some internet poll tells me my views are more closely aligned with his than with Clinton's, but I worry that his idealism will hurt his political effectiveness, that America is not as liberal as he thinks it is, and that if he takes a stand on the wrong issue he will face opposition throughout the rest of his presidency.

So I guess I'm saying I believe in political expediency and that the idea of idealism scares me, and looking at that makes me a little frightened about and sorry over what I've apparently become. I need to think about that. I guess I'll do that while I figure out who to vote for.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:53 AM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui writes "i read the transcript, and noticed that lessig did a cute little trick -- he changed obama's quote about republicans to 'a party of ideas' rather than what obama actually said about the republicans in the reagan era, that they were the party of ideas. two different things, no? "

Do you really think Obama was praising Republican ideology and policy? Is it that hard to understand that we can talk about smart things the Republicans did politically (and Reagan truly was a brilliant politician) without praising their ideology? Is it really back to this again?
posted by krinklyfig at 10:55 AM on February 5, 2008


onlyconnect writes "Our primaries are in a week and I really don't know who to vote for. I feel like Clinton is a savvy politician with a Day 1 plan who might really be able to Get Things Done for the country. But I worry over how much Republican hate she inspires, and whether even if she got elected that hate would effectively immobilize her. I am inspired by Obama and some internet poll tells me my views are more closely aligned with his than with Clinton's, but I worry that his idealism will hurt his political effectiveness, that America is not as liberal as he thinks it is, and that if he takes a stand on the wrong issue he will face opposition throughout the rest of his presidency."

The thing that impresses me more than anything else about Obama is the fact that his history demonstrates an ability to lay the groundwork for bigger changes, by doing the small efforts that make it possible. He has a better idea of what grassroots really means than anyone else running. Hillary's main experience is that of a spouse of the president. Not knocking her Senate experience, but it's not much more than Obama's, and her plans aren't really any more substantial or guaranteed of success. I tend to think the Republicans will do everything they can do block her efforts, but I do not see the same happening with Obama. They already hated McGovern and Carter. Not true with Obama, and he's managed to win a good number of very prominent Republicans over. Carter never did that. McGovern never did that. The last president I can compare him to is Roosevelt, in that he's the right person at the right time to pull us collectively together and out of the mess we're in, and I think he can do it. Seriously.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:00 AM on February 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


onlyconnect writes "I think Bill Clinton started off this way, and did take a stand on gays in the military, and had not realized how wide the gulf was between his position and the beliefs of middle America."

No, his strategy from the beginning was "triangulation." That's how we ended up halfway on so many things, plus the Republicans hated him for what came down to very personal reasons, not necessarily policy differences.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:02 AM on February 5, 2008


Ugh, Paul Krugman has been relentless in bashing Obama. He is hardly a neutral observer here. He also wrote a column falsely accusing Obama of praising republicans, which if you watch Lessig's video, you can see is false."


It is especially ridiculous seeing as Hillary listed Reagan as one of her favorite Presidents in a recent press release.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 11:04 AM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you really think Obama was praising Republican ideology and policy?

if not, then what "ideas" do you suppose he was referring to? ideas on how to get elected? how to be charismatic? what?
posted by Hat Maui at 11:09 AM on February 5, 2008


I really, really, really hate Lessig's delivery--he's over enunciating and speaking slowly like like he's lecturing to a class of bored, hung-over, not-too-bright college students. It oozes pedantry. I interested in the substance of what he's saying, I'm a political junkie, and yet I'm falling asleep and I'm fighting an urge to punch this guy in the nose. Thank god Barack Obama speaks completely differently. This Lessig guy could learn communication skills from John Kerry.
posted by tula at 11:11 AM on February 5, 2008


I'm, I'm, I'm dammit. I'm interested.
posted by tula at 11:15 AM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui, he's saying that the Republicans have been better at selling their ideas than Democrats. They've convinced poor Americans to vote for tax cuts for rich people. They've convinced followers of the Prince of Peace to vote for war and torture. They've convinced citizens of a country founded on rejecting monarchical authority that disagreeing with the government is treason.

Obama's not saying that Democrats need to adopt the Republicans' ideas, and it's silly to pretend that he is. He's saying we need someone who can convince voters that the Democrats have better ideas.
posted by EarBucket at 11:16 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


you got all that from obama saying that the republicans were "the party of ideas"? that doesn't seem to me to be what he meant. i guess the quote itself is a bit of rorschach blot.
posted by Hat Maui at 11:24 AM on February 5, 2008


well put, earbucket.
posted by CitizenD at 11:25 AM on February 5, 2008


It's obvious that he's saying Republicans have been better at marketing their message, yeah. I think it's pretty obtuse to take his message as "I [heart] the GOP."
posted by EarBucket at 11:30 AM on February 5, 2008


Empirical evidence: Obama consistently outpolls Clinton in a head-to-head contest against any Republican.

if not, then what "ideas" do you suppose he was referring to?

Acknowledging that someone has ideas ≠ endorsing the content of those ideas. Is that so hard to understand?
posted by designbot at 11:32 AM on February 5, 2008


that's so oft-repeated in the lazy pundit circles that it's taken for gospel by people like yourself

sigh. it's not "taken for gospel by people" like myself--it's experienced firsthand on a near daily basis. i have many professional and social dealings with the clinton haters. i'm not basing my argument on the received wisdom of the punditocracy, but on my own personal experience. of course, that means it's just anecdotal, from a pollster's POV. but from my POV, it's an undeniable feature of empirical reality.

posted by saulgoodman at 11:36 AM on February 5, 2008


what "ideas" do you suppose he was referring to?

These? I can't really think of a Democratic analog unless you go back to the Great Society.
I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time over the last 10 or 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.
I don't see how you get an endorsement of those ideas from that quote.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:36 AM on February 5, 2008


Oh, come on Hat Maui, if you're going to argue sound bites at least get the entire sentence:

“I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10-15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.”

No one's reading into anything, that's the one sentence that happened to be part of a larger presentation on the economy.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2008


you seem to be convinced that barack will do better in the general election. i think that you have no basis for believing that.

Yeah, because empirical evidence like polls or whatnot is, of course, totally worthless.


* When Albert Gore ran for president in 2000, he received 60% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton received only 55% of the vote. If you're running 5 percentage points behind the Democratic candidate in a deep blue state like New York, that's not a good sign.

*You can compare Hillary Clinton's performance in the 2006 Senate election to Barack Obama's performance in the 2004 election. In both cases, Clinton and Obama faced an extremely weak Republican candidate, but Clinton's opponent received 31% of the vote, while Obama's opponent received received 27% of the vote. Even though (1) Hillary Clinton was an incumbent Senator, (2) she was running in 2006 when there was a strong pro-Democratic tide, and (3) New York is a slightly "bluer" state than Illinois, Hillary Clinton still rallied 4 percentage points more of the base of Republican dead-enders to vote against her than Obama did when he was a first-time Senate candidate.

*According to Rasmussen Reports, Hillary Clinton has a 47% favorable, 51% unfavorable rating nationally. By contrast, Barack Obama has a 51% favorable, 45% unfavorable rating. By this standard, Barack Obama is slightly better off than Clinton (+6 favorable vs. -4 unfavorable).

*According to a Siena Research Institute poll of New York voters, Hillary Clinton has a 60% favorable, 35% unfavorable rating among voters in New York State, while Barack Obama has a 57% favorable, 28% unfavorable rating among voters in New York State. According to a recent Research 2000 poll of Illinois voters conducted for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Barack Obama has a 68% favorable, 27% unfavorable rating, while Hillary Clinton has a 53% favorable, 42% unfavorable rating. Clinton has 3 percentage points more favorables than Obama in New York, but that's not saying much, because she's the incumbent Senator. By contrast, Obama has 15 percentage points more favorables than Clinton in his own state. Clinton has a 35% unfavorable rating from voters in her own state, but Obama has only a 27% unfavorable rating from voters in his state.

*Obama has more endorsements from red-state Democratic governors and Senators than Hillary Clinton. Politicians can be extremely astute judges of the political climate in their states. This suggests that red-state Democrats believe Obama will have longer coattails than Hillary Clinton.

*Obama draws large enthusiastic crowds to his speeches, including a rally with 20,000 audience members in New York City on Hillary Clinton's own "turf." By contrast, when Hillary Clinton attracted 6,500 audience members to a San Diego rally this February 1st, an article noted that "It was Clinton's largest crowd in weeks....

On some of these measurements, the difference is slight. But generally, the numbers favor Obama as the candidate with more broad-based popular appeal.
posted by jonp72 at 11:40 AM on February 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


krinklyfig: No, his strategy from the beginning was "triangulation." That's how we ended up halfway on so many things, plus the Republicans hated him for what came down to very personal reasons, not necessarily policy differences.

Are you sure? This article /FN1/ suggests Clinton didn't settle in with triangulation until after his more idealistic approach had failed. This is basically exactly what I'm worried about with Obama -- that if he starts on Day 1 with idealism and the will to move America to the left on every issue, even though I will agree with his policies, he won't get to enact them because most of the rest of America (and/or the conservative right) won't let him. I don't think Clinton embraced triangulation because he wanted to compromise on his beliefs, I think he embraced it because he couldn't get anything done otherwise.

/FN1/ "And finally, they [the Democratic Leadership Council] squawked when Clinton strayed. Baer describes the rising fury within the DLC when Clinton spent his early political capital on "Old Democrat" issues like gays in the military, Lani Guinier, and universal health care. After the disastrous 1994 elections, Dave McCurdy (an Oklahoma congressman who had lost his job) denounced Clinton as a "transitional figure" and PPI began working on a "Third Way Project" that might be the basis for a third-party movement. An embattled Clinton mended the fence by "triangulating" toward more conservative positions and pushing ahead on welfare reform---and by the 1996 elections, the DLC was confident they had him back in the fold."
posted by onlyconnect at 11:43 AM on February 5, 2008


I think either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton will do a good job working with President McCain.

(waits for spluttering outrage to die down)

Here's where I'm coming from: during the last two elections, the Dems acted like they had the Presidency all wrapped up. I'm seeing a lot of that in this thread. And yes, there's many reasons why the Dems seem like a lock. But it's not over, people. You want your guy (or gal) to win? Then don't assume it's a given. Get out there and fight. Don't just roll over like the Dems did in 2000 and 2004. FIGHT!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2008


Ugh, Paul Krugman has been relentless in bashing Obama
um, really? care to provide a single cite? that seems pretty fucking hyperbolic to me.

Well, here is the second Google result for "krugman bashes obama". It talks about this Krugman column where, and here is the key part Krugman pushes the same false story that Lessig criticizes in the video. Namely, that Obama was "Praising" Reagan. It's dishonest and everyone knows it. And there has been a lot of criticism about Krugman's articles on healthcare mandates as well. here is a critique of one of Krugman's essays on Obama's healthcare plan.

Simply put, Krugman is not credible on Obama.

that's an interesting point you make about supporting your arguments with empirical evidence. i seem to have missed where you provided it.

Yawn. here you go. Hillary Vs. McCain, McCain wins in six out of eight polls. Vs. Obama he wins just three out of eight. People normally don't bother to point out empirical data when it it's widely know to be true.
posted by delmoi at 11:47 AM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think Clinton embraced triangulation because he wanted to compromise on his beliefs, I think he embraced it because he couldn't get anything done otherwise.

...

when Clinton spent his early political capital on "Old Democrat" issues like gays in the military

The thing is, he wasn't willing to spend his political capital on gays in the military. As the commander in chief of the armed forces, he could certainly have imposed his will, at the expense of his political capital. Instead, he caved pretty quickly, and we ended up with a "compromise" that was arguably as bad as what we'd started with. His pragmatism won out over his ideology.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:53 AM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui writes "if not, then what 'ideas' do you suppose he was referring to? ideas on how to get elected? how to be charismatic? what?"

He admired how Reagan was able to bring people together - so did a lot of other Democrats who didn't vote for him, either, including Hillary Clinton. He was not talking about Republican ideology. It's not hard to understand. Does anything in Obama's life reflect a Reaganite ideology? If you can find it, please let me know.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:56 AM on February 5, 2008


So I wonder--will hidden racism derail Obama? And does anyone think that the attacks on Obama just haven't begun yet and that even the conservative columnists saying mildly kind things about him will find a reason to turn on him if he's nominated? Or that the "respectable" conservatives will stand back and say nothing, allowing the really ugly haters to rip him apart.
I wish I could be more hopeful on the race front; I truly hope I"m wrong.


In my experience growing up in the deep South (I've lived in the backwoods of northern Florida since I was five), most racial bigots have a pretty blatant double standard. Most of the typical, run-of-the-mill racists I've known (including my own grandparents, whom I loved dearly, and who paradoxically, made a point of raising me not to be racist, though they were racist themselves) make finer distinctions among members of other races than you might expect. The way the bigots I've known usually put it is this: "I'm not really a racist. The way I see it, there's a difference between a n___ and a black man. And I've got no problem with a black man." I think the vast majority of the soft-bigots in this camp would grudgingly concede it's hard to lump Obama in with the imaginary black bogey-man they hold in such contempt. And I genuinely think a lot of them could overlook Obama's race on that basis completely. That's not to say there won't be some nasty, dyed-in-the-wool bigots who despise Obama regardless. But I think Obama's appeal is potentially a lot broader than some might expect, even given the contentious history of racial politics in America.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui writes "you got all that from obama saying that the republicans were 'the party of ideas'? that doesn't seem to me to be what he meant. i guess the quote itself is a bit of rorschach blot."

He has also explained what he said, explicitly, many, many times. In fact, the debate before last he made a point of bringing it up and explaining that he didn't endorse Reagan's ideas, just that Reagan was able to renew the Republican Party with his leadership and ideas (I'm sure you can find it somewhere online, but I don't have time to look up the quote). That's not to say he would set policy like Reagan, but that he feels he can bring (his own, Democratic, liberal) ideas to the Democratic Party and create a draw for independents, like Reagan did for his own party.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2008


that's a great krugman cite, delmoi. what's dishonest about taking exception to a quote about reagan "offering a sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing?"

here's the complete quote. the context is that he's being interviewed by the editorial board of the reno gazette-journal. my interpretation of it is that he's clearly praising "the reagan revolution" but only because he's pandering to a conservative editorial board in seeking their endorsement. perhaps there are other ways to look at it. obama supporters seem pretty emphatic about that.

I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what’s different are the times. I do think, for example, that the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the direction of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know, with all the excesses of the 60’s and the 70’s and, you know, government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. And I think people just tapped into – he tapped into what people were already feeling, which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and you know, entrepreneurship that had been missing, alright?

I think Kennedy, 20 years earlier, moved the country in a fundamentally different direction. So I think a lot of it just has to do with the times; I think we’re in one of those times right now, where people feel like things as they are going aren’t working. That we’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having, and they’re not useful. And the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I mean, there’s - I think it’s fair to say that the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10-15 years in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom.

posted by Hat Maui at 12:04 PM on February 5, 2008


now as for being a centrist, i would point you to his "one america" rubric, all part of his conceit that it's partisanship that's destroying the nation. he wants to "reach across the aisle" and all that rot, as if the battles that have been fought were just for the sake of fighting, and not over real issues that affect people's lives.

Yeah, damn right. It's like he said that united we stand, and divided we fall! Where would anyone get such horrible ideas? Clearly, he's un-American, and probably a communist.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:05 PM on February 5, 2008


here's the complete quote.

You know, I agree with the entire quote, and I think Reagan was a HORRIBLE PRESIDENT. I'm willing to concede that he was a very appealing figure, though, and that he represented a significant change in the political landscape. I don't see what's so hard to understand about that.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:12 PM on February 5, 2008


One thing I haven't seen anyone directly mentioning is the effect of an Obama nomination on the various congressional races versus the effect of a Clinton nomination. Obama is likely to energize a lot of voters to come out and vote Democratic, and vote for Democratic representatives along with him. Clinton, on the other hand, may win against McCain, but is not likely to bring in as many other Dems with her, and will have a more skeptical Congress to work with.

She will galvanize the Republicans to vote in their reps, to fight as hard against her as they can.
posted by Reverend John at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hat Maui: Have you noticed that no one has agreed with you but several people have countered your arguments? That's because your interpretation of Obama's Reagan revoloution comments is WRONG! Where were you when Reagan turned the solid south from conservative democrat to republican red? Obama says nothing in the quote you provided that can be convincingly interpreted as any endorsement of Reagan's policies or ideology. He says that Reagan was inspirational engineered a paradigm shift while the democrats were stuck in the same old rut.
posted by Daddy-O at 12:23 PM on February 5, 2008


that's a great krugman cite, delmoi. what's dishonest about taking exception to a quote about reagan "offering a sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing?"

The way Krugman framed it, it was as if Obama was saying that Reagan actually boosted the economy and entrepreneurship, while pointing out that the economy actually sucked in the '80s. Fine. But what Obama was talking about was Reagan's rhetoric, not the result. Krugman even admits as much in his column:
Maybe Mr. Obama was, as his supporters insist, simply praising Reagan’s political skills ... But where in his remarks was the clear declaration that Reaganomics failed?
Well, I don't know, but I do know that later on in the interview when talking about republican ideas he did say that the republican approach was tired and played out.

Essentially Krugman is demanding that Obama not give the republicans a rhetorical inch. But I don't exactly see what the problem is with saying 'nice things' about the other side every once in a while. It doesn't need to be glowing praise, but you don't have to constantly bash your opponents either. At least that's kind of the premise of Obama's campaign.

The point I was trying to make by linking to the article is that Krugman is a dyed in the wool Hillary supporter, and not credible with this stuff.
posted by delmoi at 12:35 PM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wow, Hat, you just put quotes around words Obama never said and then quoted him not saying it! In any case, what's dishonest about taking exception to a quote about reagan "offering a sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing" - besides the fact that that isn't an accurate quote - is that you'd have to be an ignorant idiot to do so honestly; Reagan did in fact tap into a widespread desire for clarity, optimism, dynamism, and entrepreneurship; this is absolutely uncontroversial and you simply can't find anyone seriously claiming differently.

The assertion that Obama was praising Reagan's ideas is the worst kind of manipulation of the uninformed electorate. It's utterly clear from everything he's ever done and said that Obama was opposed to Reagan's policies; Clinton and her water-carriers are trying to penalize him for making a perfectly neutral and often-made point. They're cynically taking advantage of the low level of political discourse in this country. Let's not reward them for it, at least here.
posted by nicwolff at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, at the polls.
posted by nicwolff at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


quin: "Similarly to the observation's pardonyou? provided upthread, this bothers me. It's basically saying that we should like Obama because he is willing to trust his gut. Isn't this pretty much exactly what we dislike about the current president? That he is willing to stand in the face of popular opinion, not rely on intelligence, and instead trust his morally-guided feelings?"

The sense I've had of it is the opposite -- that Obama went against a gut emotional response. The national attitude was generally KILL KILL KILL, and it was hard for politicians to deny that aggressive impulse. But Obama assessed the situation with a level head and a clear eye toward foreign policy and how an invasion would destabilize the region, and chose to speak out against it in a way that was lucid and ultimately prescient.

Reverend John: "One thing I haven't seen anyone directly mentioning is the effect of an Obama nomination on the various congressional races versus the effect of a Clinton nomination. Obama is likely to energize a lot of voters to come out and vote Democratic, and vote for Democratic representatives along with him. Clinton, on the other hand, may win against McCain, but is not likely to bring in as many other Dems with her, and will have a more skeptical Congress to work with.

She will galvanize the Republicans to vote in their reps, to fight as hard against her as they can.
"

Which would explain why red-state Democratic leaders like Sibelius support Obama -- he is their shield come election time.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:39 PM on February 5, 2008


Where were you when Reagan turned the solid south from conservative democrat to republican red?

huh? i was 10. but more to the point, that's called "the southern strategy" and i find it ironic that you're using it as an example of reagan's brilliance in engineering a "paradigm shift." (btw, "paradigm shift"? that's jargon, daddy-o)

Hat Maui: Have you noticed that no one has agreed with you but several people have countered your arguments? That's because your interpretation of Obama's Reagan revoloution comments is WRONG!

no, it means you and the other obama supporters in this thread disagree with me. that's all.

let me make my actual stance a bit more clear: 1) i don't believe obama is a closet reaganite 2) i strongly disagree with what he says in the quote, in particular, the part about the republican party being "the party of ideas" over the last 10-15 years (in other words, newt gingrich's "contract with america" means that republicans were "challenging conventional wisdom" and that that was a good thing because it was uncoventional) 3) i think he said what he said because he was trying to get an endorsement from a paper with a conservative reputation 4) that's not the worst thing ever, but for him to pretend there's nothing to object to is disingenuous, and 5) man, a lot of you are just full-on chugging the obama kool-aid.
posted by Hat Maui at 12:46 PM on February 5, 2008


The ridiculous smear campaign about Obama "praising" Reagan is just as stupid and false as the Al Gore "claimed he invented" the Internet smear campaign.

Shame on the unthinking partisan hacks who have perpetuated these attacks. Even more shame on those who, when faced with common sense, shake down every word, twisting it every way in order to avoid having to look at the full sentence, context, or obvious interpretation.

If you are one of those people, stop. With any luck, your attitude will be part of the past really soon. I, Lawrence Lessig, and most importantly Barak Obama are sick of that shit. This attitude of preferring of political strategy to honest insight is why we are in Iraq. It's why young people don't want any part of the inane political discourse on news networks. It's why Fox News is tanking, and why the Clinton side's attacks backfired on her.

By countering such attacks with aplomb in a way that Kerry and Gore never could, Obama has shown us a better way to conduct a democracy, a way where people can speak like adults. Where people can talk about ideas that take an entire sentence or paragraph to describe. By tomorrow morning, I think we will have chosen it, and left behind at least some of the Bush generation's insanity.
posted by Llama-Lime at 12:51 PM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui, is there a chance that even if you don't agree with what everyone is telling you about what Obama said, it's at least a possibility and therefore to believe that it's true is not the same thing is 'full-on chugging the obama kool-aid'?

Or have we gotten to the point in politics where absolutely everything anyone believes ever is dictated by political allegiances?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:54 PM on February 5, 2008


Obama says nothing in the quote you provided that can be convincingly interpreted as any endorsement of Reagan's policies or ideology. He says that Reagan was inspirational engineered a paradigm shift while the democrats were stuck in the same old rut.

Actually, the Obama quote about Reagan might be read as a very politically savvy move. Obama wants to capture votes from independents and Republicans, including some who might have very favorable memories of Ronald Reagan. As for Ronald Reagan, he quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt favorably in his acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican National Convention. Here's a relevant quote from a keynote speech by the late Morris Udall at the 1980 Democratic convention:

Three weeks ago, I tuned in that Republican telethon from Detroit. Most of you won't believe what was going on. I saw Ronald Reagan ... I mean the real Ronald Reagan ... quoting with approval from Franklin Roosevelt!

That was a little like Spiro Agnew quoting from Walter Cronkite, on freedom of the press.

And there was Gerald Ford, naming Harry Truman as one of our greatest Presidents. That wasn't quite what Congressman Ford was telling the folks in Grand Rapids back in 1948.


If saying nice things about FDR helped get Reagan elected in 1980, I don't see any reason why Obama saying a few nice things about Reagan in 2008 should be a bad thing, when Obama's voting record in the U.S. Senate shows him as substantively more liberal and less Reaganesque than Hillary Clinton. Sounds to me like pretty smart politics on Obama's part.
posted by jonp72 at 12:54 PM on February 5, 2008


Rhaomi: yeah... and jonp72 alluded to that upthread as well. But no one else who is arguing about Obama's electability vs Clinton's seems to be taking it into account. Clinton might win the race, but face a polarized Washington, not simply because she is polarizing after she gets there, but because she will bring her enemies in with her. The Republican base might not ever vote for Obama, but they won't rally against him like the will with her.

Its a shame, in a sense, because I think Clinton is getting a bit of a raw deal, but shes the right person at the wrong time. I'd like to see her as the Democratic candidate after 8 years of Obama. I'd like to see her be the Gore to Obama's Clinton. (With the obvious difference being that I'd like to see her win then).
posted by Reverend John at 12:56 PM on February 5, 2008


Its a shame, in a sense, because I think Clinton is getting a bit of a raw deal, but shes the right person at the wrong time. I'd like to see her as the Democratic candidate after 8 years of Obama. I'd like to see her be the Gore to Obama's Clinton. (With the obvious difference being that I'd like to see her win then).

I was thinking about the problem with Hillary the other day. She really is a tragic figure. In many ways, I like her better than Bill Clinton. What she lacks in his charisma she makes up for in sheer doggedness. Plus she's intelligent and has the ability to make friends with a good number of influential people. She's a great candidate, and a great politician. So why are so many people sour or at least wary of her? Bill. Bill is her greatest asset and liability, all wrapped up in one smirking, red-faced, lecherous package. Bill's success helped her with her own political career and it's now quite possibly destroying her run for president. So, what does she do? If she loses the nomination or if she loses in the general election, it's simple. She divorces Bill. Writes a book. Does the talk show circuit. She says nothing critical of him as a public figure - only effusive praise as a politician, as a public figure, as a person who endured much and who accomplished great things for the country. But ultimately, she says, she just could not live with a man who did not respect her. That as she has grown older she has gained confidence, and understanding, and because her only daughter was grown and has become a wonderful adult, she knew that she could finally escape from the abusive relationship she has been in her entire adult life. Give this four years, maybe eight years to marinate. Now you have Hillary Clinton, just Hillary Clinton. She redeems herself in the minds of some feminists. She shows that she is more than a robotic office-seeking automaton. She continues her work in the Senate, fighting for and pushing through progressive legislation. And in eight years, she wins the White House. Maybe. Just may be...

But it's just not gonna happen, is it.
posted by billysumday at 1:08 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


(in other words, newt gingrich's "contract with america" means that republicans were "challenging conventional wisdom" and that that was a good thing because it was uncoventional)

Yes, those are other words.
posted by designbot at 1:10 PM on February 5, 2008


2) i strongly disagree with what he says in the quote, in particular, the part about the republican party being "the party of ideas" over the last 10-15 years (in other words, newt gingrich's "contract with america" means that republicans were "challenging conventional wisdom" and that that was a good thing because it was uncoventional)

I don't see it this way at all. What I think Obama is saying is pretty clear. In the 80s, there was widespread discontent with the direction the country was headed and a desire for change that crossed party lines, and Regan tapped into that dissatisfaction and desire for change with the right kind of optimistic, forward looking rhetoric. That isn't an endorsement of Regan's policies. I think the subtext he was going for was that there are times when the public is looking for Clintonite triangulation, pragmatism and a continuation of the status quo, and there are times, like the 1980 election, and now, when voters are looking for change, and an optimistic vision of the future. What I think Obama was insinuating here is that he could be for Republicans what Regan was for Democrats, someone who can tap into a broad desire for dynamism/change/optimism and who could bring in support from across party lines, and thus have the political capital to effect real change.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:19 PM on February 5, 2008


Hillary has dealt with the attack dog Rove clones for years. She's tough. The press has babied Obama; he will be savaged in a general election because his negatives have been suppressed. Hillary is tested; we know everything there is to know - no surprises.

I'm always amazed at the seeming propensity to vote for an orator when times are hard. It's the religion thing; the need for a savior. Nonsense. Obama is too far left to get anything done in Washington. If you doubt that, see what happens if he wins it all.

By 2012 America will be wondering what happened to his promise of "change", and they'll vote in someone like Romney.

Here's Obama in action - just like any politician. Hillary isn't perfect, but she's the best we have for where we are, now.
posted by MetaMan at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2008


My gut tells me that when we wake up tomorrow (post Super Tuesday) the Hillary camp is going to be reeling. If you look at the polling data (USATODAY interactive*) it appears that Hillary has peaked. Her line graph looks like the girl paddling on the surf board in the movie poster for "JAWS".

I'm a huge Obama supporter and fan, and I really wish this were true, but I'm also enough of a political junkie to know it's not. According to Josh Marshal over at TPM, if you look at the absolute latest polling data -- and if you trust any polling data worth a damn -- you'll see that as of today Hilary is reopening her lead, both nationally and in California (the only state that matters tonight, which she probably already won a month ago in early voting). Some pundits suggest (though I don't know) that there may be an Obama "ceiling" at work. I hope to God they're wrong, billsumday, and I hope you're right (I keep favoriting your posts as if each one were a vote for Barack), but I'll bet anyone here that Hil is the nominee.

Whoever made the "coat-tails" point is absolutely right -- which makes it doubly sad, especially since I'm pretty sure she can't beat McCain in the general, so we Dems appear to have fucked ourselves again. We do have a talent for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
posted by The Bellman at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


2) i strongly disagree with what he says in the quote, in particular, the part about the republican party being "the party of ideas" over the last 10-15 years (in other words, newt gingrich's "contract with america" means that republicans were "challenging conventional wisdom" and that that was a good thing because it was uncoventional)

He didn't say it was a good thing. He said it defied conventional wisdom.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:26 PM on February 5, 2008


2) i strongly disagree with what he says in the quote, in particular, the part about the republican party being "the party of ideas" over the last 10-15 years (in other words, newt gingrich's "contract with america" means that republicans were "challenging conventional wisdom" and that that was a good thing because it was uncoventional)

I disagree that he's saying it was a good thing. I think it's pretty clear he's saying it was an effective thing, which is very different. And it was effective. The Contract With America was a brilliant piece of political theater, and it helped the GOP establish a comfortable majority in Congress. God forbid a Democrat aspire to doing the same thing, only, you know, using those powers for good.
posted by EarBucket at 1:42 PM on February 5, 2008


I'm a huge Obama supporter and fan, and I really wish this were true, but I'm also enough of a political junkie to know it's not. According to Josh Marshal over at TPM, if you look at the absolute latest polling data -- and if you trust any polling data worth a damn -- you'll see that as of today Hilary is reopening her lead, both nationally and in California (the only state that matters tonight, which she probably already won a month ago in early voting).

Not according to this. The linked TPM article was posted this morning and suggests that most polls now show Obama opening up a lead. Unless I'm misreading this:

Zogby has his final California number as Obama 49%, Clinton 36%. SurveyUSA has Obama 42%, Clinton 52%
...
Comparing these numbers to other polling organizations they're both somewhat outliers, though Zogby's results are closer to the average of other polls than SurveyUSA.

posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on February 5, 2008


Hillary has dealt with the attack dog Rove clones for years. She's tough. The press has babied Obama; he will be savaged in a general election because his negatives have been suppressed. Hillary is tested; we know everything there is to know - no surprises.

Oh. My. Lord. Can we stop with this shit already? What will they use to savage Obama with? His drug use? That he writes about in his own book? The Rezko deal? That everyone says is going to breaking real soon - something we've heard for a year? Or is that he's a Muslim? Because they've thrown that at him, too. And you really think the press hasn't babied Clinton so far? No mention of Bill's affairs, Whitewater, or how she handled herself during the first healthcare go around. The Republicans are going to spew that shit every hour for the next nine months. Are you people insane? The right is somehow going to magically pack 16 years of pure vitriol against the Clintons into one year of running against Obama? Who everyone seems to agree is a pretty great guy, except for that tax-and-spend liberal stuff.

I'm always amazed at the seeming propensity to vote for an orator when times are hard. It's the religion thing; the need for a savior.

I will say that I completely agree with you on this.

Obama is too far left to get anything done in Washington. If you doubt that, see what happens if he wins it all.

I'd be more than happy to.
posted by billysumday at 1:45 PM on February 5, 2008


zenzizi, thanks so much for this timely post. I am just leaving now to vote and had last doubts about who to vote for. The integrity issue was something I was putting on the side because I figure that to succeed in politics it's natural to have less integrity. So I thought I'd vote for Hillary because she has the experience. She's stayed her course, through thick and thin. I respect her for that.

But I suspected her integrity. Hearing that video I realize that I'd given up hope that it was possible to elect an official who had any integrity. Now I feel more confident for voting for Obama.

While saying that I have fear in the pit of my stomach that the Republicans are going to make mincemeat of whoever comes after them. But then, writing that I realize they've already made mincemeat of this country, top to bottom, from Katrina to Iraq. Dang, I'm afraid the Democratic vote will be split and the Republicans win. So torn. Never felt so torn like this about a vote. Such ambivalence!

Leaving to cast my vote now.

Thanks again for helping me have greater confidence in my decision.
posted by nickyskye at 1:46 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


American politics really is a whole other kind of suck.
posted by chunking express at 1:54 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: I want to believe! But I was referring to this post by Josh this afternoon:

Gallup's final tracking poll is now out and it shows a 5 point spread: Clinton 47%, Obama 42%.

Looking over the last week or so Obama converged with Hillary twice, but each time seemed to bump up against a ceiling.


Unlike Krugman, Josh has been pretty even-handed, so if he is on board with the "ceiling" meme I have to worry.
posted by The Bellman at 2:01 PM on February 5, 2008


Hillary has dealt with the attack dog Rove clones for years. She's tough. The press has babied Obama; he will be savaged in a general election because his negatives have been suppressed. Hillary is tested; we know everything there is to know - no surprises.

First, Hillary wasn't exactly so effective against the attack-dog GOP when her health care plan went down in flames during Bill Clinton's first term. Second, the credulous press coverage granted to anti-Obama e-mail smears doesn't exactly suggest that the press has babied him. Third, we do not "know everything there is to know." A recent New York Times article about Bill Clinton's lobbying activities with the dictatorship of Kazakhstan in exchange for a Canadian mining financier's sizable donation to Bill Clinton's charitable foundation suggests that there might be additional "surprises" about Bill Clinton's presidential library and his charitable foundations that could harm Hillary in the general election later on.

I'm always amazed at the seeming propensity to vote for an orator when times are hard. It's the religion thing; the need for a savior.

Actually, I'm an agnostic, and I'm voting for Obama. Besides, Mother Jones did a rather interesting article, which suggests that Hillary Clinton's religious beliefs are actually closer to the Religious Right than Obama's.

Nonsense. Obama is too far left to get anything done in Washington. If you doubt that, see what happens if he wins it all.

The problem is that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative of the major Democratic candidates, but that low-information voters perceive as the most liberal of the candidates. With Barack Obama, the opposite is true. He is slightly more liberal than Clinton in terms of his voting record, but he is perceived as moderate.

Then again, let's say Barack Obama wins the nomination and presidency. What's the worst that could happen if Obama can't "get anything done in Washington"? Deadlock and a presidential strategy of Clintonesque "triangulation." That's the worst case scenario for Obama, but in most versions of the foreseeable future, that's the best case scenario for Hillary Clinton.
posted by jonp72 at 2:03 PM on February 5, 2008


jonp72, that's really the heart of my question. Will Obama triangulate if he has to, if we discover after he's elected that the policies he really believes in are too liberal to pass? I need to know he'll do this to vote for him. An idealist who can't move the ball forward won't do me any good.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:08 PM on February 5, 2008


But I suspected her integrity. Hearing that video I realize that I'd given up hope that it was possible to elect an official who had any integrity. Now I feel more confident for voting for Obama.

YAY!
posted by delmoi at 2:09 PM on February 5, 2008


Will Obama triangulate if he has to, if we discover after he's elected that the policies he really believes in are too liberal to pass? I need to know he'll do this to vote for him.

Let's all check our crystal balls.
posted by billysumday at 2:16 PM on February 5, 2008


I wonder if it isn't too late to save the USA.

Best case scenario: someone like Obama (if he has the foresight, courage and the capacity) oversees the gradual dismantling of the military industrial complex, and years of zero growth a la Japan's lost decade. The US weans itself off fossil fuels and rebuilds shattered global credibility by effectively tackling climate change, and uses a constrained budget to slowly rebuild its degraded social and physical infrastructure.

Worst case scenario, a hawk like McCain or Clinton continues to indulge the imperial fantasy with borrowed money. A financial crisis precipitated by an increasingly debased currency finally forces a collapse in military spending, which was the only thing propping up the flailing economy and moribund industrial base. Unable to borrow out of this crisis as the federal government had become accustomed because of oil priced in Euros and the abandonment of the dollar as the global reserve currency, the printing of money to repay debts now denominated in other currencies causes a hyperinflationary death spiral, further crippling the post apocalyptic economy, now dependent on fingerless leather gloves, distressed denim and extra-firm hold hair styling products. America watches helplessly as the Visigoths Canadian hordes descend from the north and sack Washington (again).

Fuck, I have to stop falling asleep at work.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:18 PM on February 5, 2008


Will Obama triangulate if he has to, if we discover after he's elected that the policies he really believes in are too liberal to pass?

I think this is a non-issue. The thing about Obama isn't that he's "super liberal" it's that he is "super sensible". He believes in incrementalism rather then revolution so his policies would be only minor changes. He's shown a great ability to bring people together, get them talking, and so on so I think his ability to move legislation will be pretty good. I also think that republicans will know they can score points with the "base" by scoring points of Hillary even if the legislation doesn't bother them personally. Hillary will be for the republicans what George W. is for the Democrats. It'll be a disaster.
posted by delmoi at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2008


As a non-American, I dread the prospect of Obama being president. Not because I don't think he would be a perfectly good president. But because America can't get over its attachment to emotive politics. Reagan, Clinton, Bush and now Obama? You're always looking for someone that makes you chant "U - S - A U - S - A" while the rest of the world rolls their eyes in disbelief. Stop searching for a drug to cure your ills America - your problems run much much deeper.
posted by DirtyCreature at 3:30 PM on February 5, 2008


In USA we emote YOU
posted by generalist at 3:45 PM on February 5, 2008


Stop searching for a drug to cure your ills America - your problems run much much deeper.

The feeling I get here on the ground in the good ole USofA is that Obama is popular because he's willing to address the chronic ills of America, and seems to be on the right side of things like sexism, racism, militarism, poverty, and economic inequality. But if they're telling you in FantasyLand that Obama is promising to give everyone in America a hug and a candy cane, then I'm afraid they're wrong. Also, if we were to base our political choices purely on emotion, then I'm pretty sure Al Roker would be president for life.
posted by billysumday at 3:50 PM on February 5, 2008


Oh, and USA! USA! USA!

Funny story to lighten the mood. I grew up in rural northern Indiana and my sister once dated a semi-pro wrestler. They would go around to national guard armories in these little towns and put on a show, get maybe 300 people to show up. Well, my sister's boyfriend had a maple leaf tattoo on his chest and so took the moniker "Guy Quebec" - he would come out waving a Canadian flag as a Bryan Adams song blasted over the loudspeakers. Invariably the shouts of USA! USA! USA! would erupt and people would throw their beer at him. God, I love this country.
posted by billysumday at 3:55 PM on February 5, 2008


The problem is that Hillary Clinton is the most conservative of the major Democratic candidates, but that low-information voters perceive as the most liberal of the candidates.

Obama tried to embarrass Hillary during the debates, volunteering his thoughts on faith and touting his church attendance, without being asked. She didn't take the bait, but it confirmed that his admiration for Reagan was probably sincere. The latter makes him a political lightweight at best, a complete fraud at worst.
posted by Brian B. at 3:58 PM on February 5, 2008


Can this be the Super Tuesday results thread now? CNN just called GA for Obama, no surprise.

Brian, can you imagine Reagan - or Hillary - saying this to an assembly of Christians?
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
posted by nicwolff at 4:08 PM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


Boy, I guess that well-known Baptist Jimmy Carter just loved Reagan, too, right?
posted by maudlin at 4:09 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


but it confirmed that his admiration for Reagan

what admiration for reagan?
posted by Snyder at 4:23 PM on February 5, 2008


Boy, I guess that well-known Baptist Jimmy Carter just loved Reagan, too, right?

Which was my point. The Reagan revolution was supply-side, exalting the money concentrated at the top as a job-creating necessity, demonizing labor as needing less wages as incentive to work harder (and they keep his reputation on the top shelf because of his rhetorical successes in this vein). Regardless of their massive contradictions about pay, supply-siders opposed the demand economy altogether, which is created by spenders with higher wages, and not by the rich with least taxes. That's why the markets historically do better under Democrats, and why Republicans resort to giving us all extra money (borrowed from their deficit spending of course) during recessions.
posted by Brian B. at 4:27 PM on February 5, 2008


Which was my point.

That's not a point. There is no logical connection between Obama's display of faith and his admiration or lack thereof for Reagan.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:38 PM on February 5, 2008


That's not a point. There is no logical connection between Obama's display of faith and his admiration or lack thereof for Reagan.

It confirms that his admiration for Reagan is probably sincere, rather than just idle politicking, because it fits together so well. People just don't want to think of Obama as a religious nutjob channeling the Reagans, and I don't blame them.
posted by Brian B. at 4:49 PM on February 5, 2008


Hat Maui writes "a lot of you are just full-on chugging the obama kool-aid."

I'm very clear on what was said and what wasn't, and on political manipulation. I wasn't an Obama supporter until recently. This ridiculous BS about Reagan is one of the final straws for me. You could say that Clinton's hammering at this convinced me that she wasn't the right person for the job, that she's willing to be dishonest in order to win. I heard what Obama said before this was made into a political football, before I supported him, and I still never once thought he endorsed Reagan.

You know, my step-dad and I have a very hard time talking politics anymore. He's the same way as you. He thinks that if you bring up Reagan's name without spitting on the ground, it means you love the guy. I never liked Reagan, but I agree with Obama in what he said about Reagan. You can't tell my step-dad, though, who's so caught up in party loyalty that you can't have a political conversation without him retreating into fighting mode. That's the kind of voter that the Clintons are trying to win over with this rhetorical trickery, creating a false impression of what was actually said, and all they hear is the name "Reagan" and the fact that there was praise of his political skill. But apparently to the faithful, that means you're a heretic. That's why Clinton got my step-dad's vote, but that's why she did not get my vote.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on February 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


because it fits together so well

Wow that's dumb.

People just don't want to think of Obama as a religious nutjob channeling the Reagans, and I don't blame them.

Well, yeah, people don't want to hold completely baseless and ridiculous opinions. Did you read the speech I linked?
posted by nicwolff at 5:05 PM on February 5, 2008


onlyconnect writes "Are you sure? This article /FN1/ suggests Clinton didn't settle in with triangulation until after his more idealistic approach had failed. This is basically exactly what I'm worried about with Obama -- that if he starts on Day 1 with idealism and the will to move America to the left on every issue, even though I will agree with his policies, he won't get to enact them because most of the rest of America (and/or the conservative right) won't let him. I don't think Clinton embraced triangulation because he wanted to compromise on his beliefs, I think he embraced it because he couldn't get anything done otherwise."

Clinton knew how to get people to vote for him, but he was not very good at bringing people together to accomplish something. Triangulation became his method. I see a different aspect of Obama, that he's good at campaigning, but he's also very good at bringing people together when there's work to be done, and the Right wing doesn't harbor a vitriolic hatred of him. Clinton was hated by the Right long before he became president, so they were always going to railroad anything he did.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:06 PM on February 5, 2008


Oh, and DirtyCreature's favorite country sucks.
posted by nicwolff at 5:08 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow that's dumb.

Just dive right up his ass next time.

Well, yeah, people don't want to hold completely baseless and ridiculous opinions. Did you read the speech I linked?

The speech where he repudiated Reagan? Yeah, where is that one?
posted by Brian B. at 5:11 PM on February 5, 2008


but it confirmed that his admiration for Reagan

what admiration for reagan?
posted by Snyder at 4:23 PM on February 5 [+] [!]
posted by Snyder at 5:14 PM on February 5, 2008


DirtyCreature writes "Stop searching for a drug to cure your ills America - your problems run much much deeper."

You aren't paying enough attention to what's going on. Obama is a symptom, an outward expression of the US' internal problems (as is Iraq). It's a good sign that he's as popular as he is.

As far as our particular system, what you describe has always been a part of US politics, but that itself is not really the larger problem.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:15 PM on February 5, 2008


The integrity issue was something I was putting on the side because I figure that to succeed in politics it's natural to have less integrity... Hearing that video I realize that I'd given up hope that it was possible to elect an official who had any integrity. Now I feel more confident for voting for Obama.

that was chabon's point...
I'm getting tired of listening to rationales from people who know that Obama is a remarkable, even an extraordinary politician, the kind who comes along, in this era of snakes and empty smiles, no more than once a generation.

Oh, sure, most of these people tell me they would like to see Obama become president. No question, he comes off as at once brilliant and sensible, vibrant and measured, engaged and engaging, talented, forthright, quick-witted, passionate, thoughtful and, as with all remarkable people whom experience has taught both the extent and the bitter limits of their gifts, reasonably humble. In a better world, people tell me, in theory, sure, having a president like Barack Obama sounds great. But not, you know, for real. Not in the base, corrupt, morally spent, toxic and reeling rats' nest that we like to call home. Things are so bad we just can't afford to waste our votes, people tell me, on some fantasy super-president with magical powers. We need someone electable, someone, as I have been told repeatedly in the past year, who can win.

Of course this misses the point; it misses all kinds of points. In a better world, if there were such a thing (and so far there never has been), we would not need a president like Obama as badly as we do. If there were less at stake, if our democracy had not been permitted, indeed encouraged, to sink to its present degraded and embattled condition not only by the present administration but by a fair number of those people now seeking to head up the next one, perhaps then we could afford to waste our votes on the candidate who knows best how to jigger, to manipulate and to conform to the vapid specifications of the debased electoral process it has been our unhappy fate to construct for ourselves.

Because ultimately, that is the point of Obama's candidacy -- of the hope, enthusiasm and sense of purpose it inspires, yes, but more crucially, of the very doubts and reservations expressed by those who pronounce, whether in tones of regret, certainty or skepticism, that America is not ready for Obama, or that Obama is not ready for the job, or that nobody of any worth or decency -- supposing there even to be such a person left on the American political scene -- can be expected to survive for a moment with his idealism and principle intact.

The point of Obama's candidacy is that the damaged state of American democracy is not the fault of George W. Bush and his minions, the corporate-controlled media, the insurance industry, the oil industry, lobbyists, terrorists, illegal immigrants or Satan. The point is that this mess is our fault. We let in the serpents and liars, we exchanged shining ideals for a handful of nails and some two-by-fours, and we did it by resorting to the simplest, deepest-seated and readiest method we possess as human beings for trying to make sense of the world: through our fear.
hey, brad delong just voted for BO :P

also, via sdj, it may come down to the superdelegates!
posted by kliuless at 5:31 PM on February 5, 2008


You could say that Clinton's hammering at this convinced me that she wasn't the right person for the job, that she's willing to be dishonest in order to win.

again, via sdj :P
Been puttering around the internet today trying to think of things to write, and mainly what I see are endorsements for Barack Obama.... I really didn't foresee this unanimity. A couple months ago, Hillary Clinton had far more traction among this group, and Obama hadn't come anywhere near assuaging concerns abut his candidacy.

I think three things turned the tide decisively against Clinton:

The first was her post-Iowa campaign, where Bill Clinton was comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson and an endless procession of hacks were being paraded out... it's a type of politics few want to support.... The second was that Obama simply got more specific, particularly on foreign policy... speaking about ending the "politics of fear" and attacking the mindset" that led us into Iraq.... [T]he third force was simply that his victories in Iowa and South Carolina made it look like his movement might be real....

Now, elites don't actually matter much, and I still think Hillary will win the primary. My basic belief is that Obama is more progressive on foreign policy, she's more liberal on social policy, but he's more likely to lead towards a more progressive moment... almost in site of his own policy shop...
cheers!
posted by kliuless at 5:45 PM on February 5, 2008


kliuless writes "cheers!"

Yeah, I hope this really works out, and it possibly could, but I sort of expect Clinton to win. Early returns are already close.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:06 PM on February 5, 2008


yeah this video is extremely boring. avoid at all costs.
posted by flyinghamster at 6:08 PM on February 5, 2008


(more criticism of Krugman)

Obama tried to embarrass Hillary during the debates, volunteering his thoughts on faith and touting his church attendance, without being asked. She didn't take the bait, but it confirmed that his admiration for Reagan was probably sincere. The latter makes him a political lightweight at best, a complete fraud at worst.

Huh? Hillary cites Bill Graham as her spiritual guru or whatever. Obama has to say this stuff about being a Christian because of those fucking Muslim Smear emails. A lot of people believe that shit (skip to 1:48 in) (Including Ross Perot, apparently). Hillary has never been shy about her religion. So, I'm not even sure how you think he was trying to "embarrass" Hillary. Do you think she's an avowed atheist or something?

It confirms that his admiration for Reagan is probably sincere, rather than just idle politicking, because it fits together so well. People just don't want to think of Obama as a religious nutjob channeling the Reagan's, and I don't blame them.

Yeah... What you just said makes no sense whatsoever. He never said he admired Reagan, unlike Hillary who listed him as one of her "Favorite" presidents. Is Hillary secretly a Reaganite because she's praised him and is a Billy Graham adherent?

The speech where he repudiated Reagan? Yeah, where is that one?

Well how about
Hillary, we just had the tape. You just said that I complimented the Republican ideas. That is not true. What I said - and I will provide you with a quote - what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to.
Because while I was working on those streets watching those folks see their jobs shift overseas, you were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart.
I was fighting these fights. I was fighting these fights. So I want to be clear. What I said had nothing to do with their policies. I spent a lifetime fighting a lifetime against Ronald Reagan's policies.


Is that good enough for you?
posted by delmoi at 6:08 PM on February 5, 2008


Augh, crap. There should be line breaks in that block quote up there :(

yeah this video is extremely boring. avoid at all costs.

I think it's a bit late for that piece of advice :)
posted by delmoi at 6:09 PM on February 5, 2008


Not lookin' good out there, Obamites.
posted by The Bellman at 6:17 PM on February 5, 2008


If we've learned anything during the entire existence of the internet during elections or Snakes on a Plane, it is that it is a terrible indicator of turnout.
posted by Stan Chin at 6:25 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


No delmoi, that is where he is playing the slippery slimey game in direct confrontation. Let's read on:

Clinton: Well, you know, I think we both have very passionate and committed spouses who stand up for us. And I'm proud of that. But you also talked about the Republicans having ideas over the last 10 to 15 years.

Obama: I didn't say they were good ones.

Clinton: Well, you can read the context of it.

Obama: Well, I didn't say they were good ones.

Clinton: Well, it certainly came across in the way that it was presented, as though the Republicans had been standing up against the conventional wisdom with their ideas. I'm just reacting to the fact, yes, they did have ideas, and they were bad ideas.

Obama: I agree.

Clinton: Bad for America, and I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezco, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.

Obama: No, no, no.


Wait--he didn't say they were good ones! He didn't say they were good ones! What a dissembling piece of political shit. He volunteered that Reagan and the Rebublicans were the party of ideas, and then later said that he was fighting them when called on it in a debate, even after he whined about being called on it.
posted by Brian B. at 6:29 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., I have no idea how you can interpret that exchange as anything except devastating for Hillary. Such deliberate distortions are unconscionable.

Furthermore, that you're calling Obama dissembling is absolutely insane.
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:32 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., I have no idea how you can interpret that exchange as anything except devastating for Hillary. Such deliberate distortions are unconscionable.

They weren't distortions at all and rather than set the record straight and apologize for being misunderstood, he whined like a stuck pig and tried to capitalize on the rational people who called him on it. He simply has no backbone and lacking experience, I wouldn't trust a newcomer who played the Reagan card before other Democrats. You'd have to have blind faith to believe Obama didn't directly flatter the Republicans.
posted by Brian B. at 6:36 PM on February 5, 2008


Wait--he didn't say they were good ones! He didn't say they were good ones! What a dissembling piece of political shit. He volunteered that Reagan and the Rebublicans were the party of ideas, and then later said that he was fighting them when called on it in a debate, even after he whined about being called on it.

Okay, you asked where it was that he "repudiated" Reagan, and I pointed it out for you, since you're apparently are so un-knowledgeable about politics you weren't aware.

Now, Whether or not Obama praised Reagan is immaterial to me personally. Hillary has said nice things about Reagan as well, so it's a moot point. And Reagan said nice things about FDR. There is nothing wrong with saying nice things about your opponents from time to time, in fact it can be a good idea.

What we see here is Hillary twisting Obama's words far beyond their meaning. If you read the entire interview, Obama actually does critisize the republicans, but gently (He said their ideas are "played out" and "tired" IIRC). Then people piled on and said that political campaigns are no time for nuance. Well why not? I don't want a bunch of politicians who get piled on every made up "gaffe". I want candidates who feel they can make nuanced argument without being picked apart by the vultures of the drive-by media.

Look, everyone complains about people being swayed by "sound bites" but here you are arguing over a bullshit soundbite. It's pathetic.

Finally, my point is not that Obama has never said anything nice about republicans, but that Hillary has also said nice things about republicans. If you Hate republicans, Hillary is actually a worse choice, because she sucks up to them just as much (If not more). If you hate conservative Christians, then Clinton is a worse choice, because she's a Billy Graham adherent.
posted by delmoi at 6:37 PM on February 5, 2008


Furthermore, that you're calling Obama dissembling is absolutely insane.

I remember the Reagan years too well, drunk with optimism on borrowed money and defense contracts, and that little junk bond savings and loan disaster that nobody likes to talk about. If I want to know who the creep at the table is, I just mention Reagan and wait for the praise.
posted by Brian B. at 6:40 PM on February 5, 2008


What Obama said was a straight historical analysis. If analyzing why a political movement succeeded is considered equivalent to directly flattering the Republicans, I weep at just how strongly anti-intellectual the Rovian years have made us.
posted by Llama-Lime at 6:43 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you hate conservative Christians, then Clinton is a worse choice, because she's a Billy Graham adherent.

I just hate Reagan and Bush. And clearly, Hillary hates Reagan and Bush too. Hey, I should vote for Hillary!
posted by Brian B. at 6:44 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B. writes "They weren't distortions at all and rather than set the record straight and apologize for being misunderstood, he whined like a stuck pig and tried to capitalize on the rational people who called him on it."

He complained because the entire argument is intellectually dishonest. Trying to back off a position you never took is a losing game. Just ask John Kerry.

Anyway, who honestly thinks that Obama is anything like Reagan, or tries to be anything like him? Policy? Ideology? Anyone? How can people not understand that talking about politicians in the abstract is not the same as being emotionally swayed by them? Can we not talk about political figures without drawing lines in the sand?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:47 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brian B., you are now officially a troll. You've been told multiple times that Hillary listed Ronald Reagan as one of her favorite presidents, and now you're throwing this shit down. I'm going to print you an 'official troll' t-shirt.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:48 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B. writes "I remember the Reagan years too well, drunk with optimism on borrowed money and defense contracts, and that little junk bond savings and loan disaster that nobody likes to talk about. If I want to know who the creep at the table is, I just mention Reagan and wait for the praise."

Ah, so you troll at social events?
posted by krinklyfig at 6:48 PM on February 5, 2008


What Obama said was a straight historical analysis.

The "party of ideas" killed the other party who proposed reforming and expanding health care (a committee led by his current opponent). I guess reforming health care is a bad idea to Obama.
posted by Brian B. at 6:50 PM on February 5, 2008




Llama-Lime writes "What Obama said was a straight historical analysis. If analyzing why a political movement succeeded is considered equivalent to directly flattering the Republicans, I weep at just how strongly anti-intellectual the Rovian years have made us."

That's exactly it. It's as if you talked about how Attila and the Huns rattled the Roman Empire more than most of their enemies, that somehow you endorsed their marauding.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:54 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brian B. writes "The 'party of ideas' killed the other party who proposed reforming and expanding health care (a committee led by his current opponent). I guess reforming health care is a bad idea to Obama."

Dammit. This is unbelievable. You're so pissed at Reagan that you can't see past your own nose.

Just because he said they had ideas doesn't mean he endorsed them.

And that's all I can bother with. If you're not convinced by now, you're never going to be.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:56 PM on February 5, 2008


Ah, so you troll at social events?

Ronald Reagan.
posted by Brian B. at 6:58 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B. writes "I guess reforming health care is a bad idea to Obama."

This doesn't even make any damn sense. Why would he even bother?

What matters more to you? An offhand historical analysis by a politician that's been distorted by his political opponents, or that person's actions, policies, statements, debates, and stated positions, which completely contradict the distortion? Are you gonna go on his record or a dirty whispering campaign?
posted by krinklyfig at 7:00 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B. is like one of those Baptist preachers always talking about how much they hate the gays, and then one day you find them giving the acolytes a little of the old testament in the church library. Ten bucks says Brian B. has a shrine to Reagan in house where he masturbates then cries.
posted by billysumday at 7:02 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brian B. writes "Ronald Reagan."

His policies were horrendous. He was a brilliant politician, however, and he revived the party for real for the first time since Goldwater. I have never been a Republican. I hated Reagan. Still, the effect he had was undeniable.

And if you want to crucify me for that, then I'm sorry for you, genuinely.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:02 PM on February 5, 2008


By the way, if Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon doesn't convince you, there's a great endorsement of Barack Obama by Hulk Hogan:

"Everybody plays this card — the bad guy card, you know the dirty politics thing, talk about the way people dress, act and look — and, he's the choice. He seems like the real deal, you know."
posted by jonp72 at 7:05 PM on February 5, 2008


One final thing, Brian, because it needs to be said.

If you write someone off due to their politics, you've lost the plot.

We're all human beings here, all in the same boat. You might as well get used to it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:06 PM on February 5, 2008


Still, the effect he had was undeniable.

He politically engendered the hollow and selfish generation that marks the latest civic decline of modern American history, still exploited by Rove and the corporate sponsors. The myth survives based on the size of the wannabe ego involved.
posted by Brian B. at 7:12 PM on February 5, 2008


Ten bucks says Brian B. has a shrine to Reagan in house where he masturbates then cries.

I'll take that bet. But you can keep the ten bucks you now owe me and buy yourself a Reagan photo to go with your Obama shrine.
posted by Brian B. at 7:23 PM on February 5, 2008


As a non-American, I dread the prospect of Obama being president. Not because I don't think he would be a perfectly good president. But because America can't get over its attachment to emotive politics. Reagan, Clinton, Bush and now Obama? You're always looking for someone that makes you chant "U - S - A U - S - A" while the rest of the world rolls their eyes in disbelief. Stop searching for a drug to cure your ills America - your problems run much much deeper.
posted by DirtyCreature at 3:30 PM on February 5


All that may be true, but you are still the QUOTING SCIENCE guy.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:35 PM on February 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Why is the corporate "media" so behind Obama, accusing Hillary with all the inconsequential nonsense the Republicans dreamed up for years?
posted by semmi at 7:37 PM on February 5, 2008


semmi, do you have an example of what you're talking about? How is the corporate media behind Obama? What inconsequential Republican dreamings?
posted by Llama-Lime at 7:40 PM on February 5, 2008


MSNBC Seems to love Obama, but that's just because he's Awesome.
posted by delmoi at 7:47 PM on February 5, 2008


The media likes a horse race. In 2000 they thought that Gore, with his political success and the benefit of incumbency, had too much of an advantage. So they kicked the crap out of him with every piffling piece of garbage they could come up with, often reading directly from the RNC press releases as if they were news and reciting every Rovian whisper verbatim. It worked; they got a squeaker finish that took a month or more to fully resolve and sold countless millions in ads. Now they're thinking that if they sit on their hands Hillary's got it, so they're doing what makes them money.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:51 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., are you actually a Clinton supporter? If you are, can you tell us how you square Clinton's praise of Reagan?
posted by Reverend John at 7:52 PM on February 5, 2008


No idea if the CNN stats showing right now will hold, but a couple of observations:

The Garrison Keillor endorsement? Minnesota to Obama 64-34
Kansas to Obama: 73-27 (Seriously, KANSAS?)
Utah: Too close to call, except I was just getting a SLC radio station in (from Nebraska) and they were calling it Obama.
Conn: Is Obama actually going to snatch this one from Hillary? CNN is showing Obama with 50%
They are saying it will be close in delegates (and the Big Prize is California where the polls are not yet closed) but Obama is killing Clinton in some states that surprise me.
posted by spock at 7:55 PM on February 5, 2008


Clinton knew how to get people to vote for him, but he was not very good at bringing people together to accomplish something. Triangulation became his method.

krinklyfig, you have some good ideas, but because above you said that Bill Clinton started off with triangulation and, in response to evidence that he didn't, didn't admit you were wrong and dissembled around the issue, I don't really trust you to be balanced. I think maybe you have drunk the Obama kool aid and might say things that are not true to help your point of view. While frankly this might be okay for me in a politician, it's not what I'm looking for here. If anyone out there is still kind of balanced on this issue or just has some links doesn't mind reassuring me that Obama will compromise enough on the ideals that he holds dear, if necessary, in order to get things done, I will be very grateful. And I'll vote for him.

delmoi's allusions to Obama being sensible and an incrementalist are getting me there, though.

(Not saying it will matter by the time we get to Virginia, but fwiw.)
posted by onlyconnect at 8:07 PM on February 5, 2008


If you are, can you tell us how you square Clinton's praise of Reagan?

Pointing out that he raised taxes and negotiated with the evil empire is far from praise.
posted by Brian B. at 8:10 PM on February 5, 2008


The way it looks to me right now is that when its all counted up Clinton will have a significant but not insurmountable lead in delegates. Obama is now going to have to go on to the next primaries and start winning big, but hes not out yet. An Edwards endorsement might help tip the scales.

Honestly I really hope Democratic voters in the upcoming primaries think really hard on what a Clinton candidacy is going to do for the prospects of Democratic congressional candidates in close races. This is the bottom line for me. I'm a big fan of Obama, but I don't hate Clinton, but I dread the thought of what politics will look like during her presidency (if she beats McCain).
posted by Reverend John at 8:11 PM on February 5, 2008


My back of the envelope calculation so far tonight is roughly Obama=612, Clinton=566. That's going purely on reported percentages so far; I'm not so much of a masochist as to attempt to break it down by district. A lot is going to hinge on California, obviously, but I suspect it's going to be pretty much a split decision at the end of the night.
posted by EarBucket at 8:19 PM on February 5, 2008


Sorry if this is a little meta, but I wish there was a 10 minute timeout between posts in a thread like this. "He said," "She said," only gets us so far.
posted by peeedro at 8:22 PM on February 5, 2008


Pointing out that he raised taxes and negotiated with the evil empire is far from praise.

LAWL. Now who's playing parsing games. Anyway, MSNBC is back from commercial break.

BTW, MSNBC's delegate estimate is: 594 for Obama, 546 for Clinton.
posted by delmoi at 8:22 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., I know you've already been called out as a troll. I shouldn't be so foolish as to feed you, but:
Her list of favorite presidents - Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, George H.W. Bush and Reagan - demonstrates how she thinks.
also
She prefers the godfather of the modern conservative movement, Ronald Reagan,” Brokaw writes on Page 404. “He was, she says, 'a child of the Depression, so he understood it [economic pressures on the working and middle class]. When he had those big tax cuts and they went too far, he oversaw the largest tax increase. He could call the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and then negotiate arms-control agreements. He played the balance and the music beautifully.

“In 1969, who would have imagined that the Hillary Rodham on the Wellesley commencement stage would find herself 38 years later paying tribute to Ronald Reagan?"
So seriously, she is praising Reagan just as much as Obama ever did. Do you just choose to ignore this just because you prefer her? Because the rest of us choose to ignore it despite the fact that we prefer Obama. The only reason her opinion on Reagan matters to anyone is because she's trying to use Obama's weak praise of Reagan's political skills as a bludgeon against him.
posted by Reverend John at 8:23 PM on February 5, 2008


Obama's tightening up the race in Missouri--it wouldn't surprise me if he pulls it out there. Assuming Clinton wins California by 10-20%, they're likely to end up more or less tied at the end of the night, which is good news for Obama. He's got the money on his side, and the February primaries all look attractive for him.
posted by EarBucket at 8:26 PM on February 5, 2008


CNN's current California exit polls currently have Clinton at 51% to 45%, which is fairly insurmountable.

Damn you baby boomers! Not only have you saddled us with debilitating national debt, bankrupted Social Security, and generally shat upon the future just as you're about to die, but now exit polls say that you've taken the big prize of California and handed it to yet another democratic presidential dud that makes me go meh. Oh, if only I could somehow un-know Clinton's hawkishness and shitheel tendencies, so that she could still be the hope that she was to me in the dark months that ended 2004. If she wins the nomination, maybe I'll write in Nader out of spite.

</koolaid induced rant>
posted by Llama-Lime at 8:27 PM on February 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


Okay, I've figured it out. Brian B. is actually Walter Mondale, living in some studio apartment like the guy in Ace Ventura, walls papered with defaced pictures of Ronald Reagan - LACES OUT! Even now, he types with one hand while shaking his fist at his anti-Ronnie shrine, shouting IT'S NOT MORNING FOR ME, MUTHAFUCKA!
posted by billysumday at 8:29 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Eh, Llama, I'd be okay with Clinton winning Cali by 6%. That's only about about a 20 delegate spread, which isn't a huge deal. I'd rather Obama win it, obviously, but a loss by a few points is okay.
posted by EarBucket at 8:36 PM on February 5, 2008


it may come down to the superdelegates!

I saw that same link on NPR's blog, which also led me to this: Superdelegate count.
posted by Tehanu at 8:36 PM on February 5, 2008


I'm looking at the New York Times election results, and it looks like Obama has won or is projected to win Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. The red-state wins in Kansas, North Dakota, and Utah are especially impressive to me, although he did better in Connecticut than I expected either. Even if Kansans, North Dakotans, and Utahns voted against Hillary and not for Obama, that still suggests Obama is a candidate with broader geographic appeal than Hillary Clinton. I can see the pro-Clinton states like California and New Jersey voting for Obama with no problem in the general election, but I just don't see as many of the pro-Obama states flipping over to Hillary if she were the nominee.
posted by jonp72 at 8:38 PM on February 5, 2008


So seriously, she is praising Reagan just as much as Obama ever did. Do you just choose to ignore this just because you prefer her?

I'm not endorsing Hillary, but you seem to be promoting Obama, who likes Reagan. I refer to her debate with Obama, where she openly denounced the Reagan era and forced Obama to weakly do so. She will pay for this with the shitheads who love Reagan, obviously you understand this, so her risk is admirable compared to Obama spinelessness. You are choosing to ignore this, by the way. Additionally, reading her "praise" of Reagan is nothing but raising doubts to the shitheads who love him.
posted by Brian B. at 8:40 PM on February 5, 2008


wouldn't it be great if it came down to ultradelegate al gore!? (riding down from a cloud at the DNC :)
posted by kliuless at 8:41 PM on February 5, 2008


CNN's current California exit polls currently have Clinton at 51% to 45%, which is fairly insurmountable.

Remember, the delegate counts are proportional. If it's close in CA, then it's largely a wash. Obama had some big wins in some states 60-70%, although those states were small (Except IL, of course).

The big trick with CA is that it's broken up by actual districts, not just a straight popular vote count. California is like a microcosm of the electoral college. As far as I know.
posted by delmoi at 8:42 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., I just don't know. Her praise of Reagan is equal to if not greater than Obama's. His denouncement of Reagan is as great as hers, if you read the upthread quote. I've repeatedly said that, while I am pro-Obama I am not anti-Clinton. And yet I can't for the life of me understand why you think that her statements are any different from his.

If she was 'raising doubts to the shitheads who love him', then why wasn't that also what he was doing? At this point I can't decide whether you are a Clinton supporter despite your denials, a troll, or just a fool. I don't think it matters.

I do think, however, that your obnoxious condemnation of what was a pretty innocuous statement by Obama perfectly demonstrates why those of us who prefer Obama fear what life will be like during a Clinton presidency. A lot of petty bickering about insignificant details by people on both sides with an axe to grind.
posted by Reverend John at 8:54 PM on February 5, 2008


delmoi, all the Dem state primaries are at least mostly proportional, but many, including CA, give a block of delegates to the statewide winner. Of CA's 370 unpledged (non-"super") delegates, 129 are given to the winner of the statewide vote, and 241 distributed proportionally to the winners in each county. So, close is still not a wash.
posted by nicwolff at 8:58 PM on February 5, 2008


Brian B., I just don't know.

I know.
posted by Brian B. at 9:04 PM on February 5, 2008


Wow, anyone see his speech? Amazing stuff. I maintain that the pragmatic case is still better for Obama. But wow.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 PM on February 5, 2008


Yeah, I'd forgotten about the at-large delegates, nicwolff. Good catch.
posted by EarBucket at 9:11 PM on February 5, 2008


wouldn't it be great if it came down to ultradelegate al gore!? (riding down from a cloud at the DNC :)

I like that one, but it sounds more like a RNC move. Given a choice of zany and over the top scenarios that ignore DNC rules, I prefer to imagine that it comes down to Bill Clinton, who announces onstage that he voted for himself and then attempts a celebratory crowdsurf of the stunned delegation.
posted by Tehanu at 9:14 PM on February 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


129 are given to the winner of the statewide vote, and 241 distributed proportionally to the winners in each county

No, the 129 are divided by popular vote. The rest by district.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 PM on February 5, 2008


It looks like Missouri's set to swing into the Obama column, which means (probably) 13 of the 22 states going for him. That's a pretty good night, I think, particularly if the delegate count ends up being close.
posted by EarBucket at 9:35 PM on February 5, 2008


You got to love California. 10% for Edwards! Good looking out, Cali.
posted by billysumday at 9:39 PM on February 5, 2008


Can Bill be VP?
posted by peacay at 9:40 PM on February 5, 2008


Bill can't be VP because the VP must meet all qualifications to be president, and Bill's already served two terms. Someone told me that he can be in Obama's cabinet but not Hillary's, based on some law that was passed after RFK was JFK's Attorney General, but I don't actually know the details.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:46 PM on February 5, 2008


From the Obama speech: "We are the ones we've been waiting for."

Buy that 26 year-old speech-writer a pizza.

Too bad we're getting our ass handed to us in Cali.
posted by The Bellman at 9:50 PM on February 5, 2008


Seriously, look at the Cali numbers. 10% for Giuliani. 4% for Fred Thompson. 10% for John Edwards. Maybe if everyone in the state hadn't already voted in December, it'd be closer on both sides.
posted by billysumday at 9:54 PM on February 5, 2008


At the end of the night, MSNBC is saying 837 for Clinton to 841 for Obama, and that's based on the Clinton Campaigns estimates for California (which are more optimistic for her).

And there are some big primaries in may.
posted by delmoi at 9:54 PM on February 5, 2008


Am I the only one looking at the map of states that haven't voted yet and seeing a lot of delegates that could go Obama? Texas, Washington, Oregon, North Carolina, Virginia...

Seriously, California, WTF?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:56 PM on February 5, 2008


delmoi: Where are you getting 'end of the night' projections? Are they on the teevee? I can't find them online anywhere.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:56 PM on February 5, 2008


or what delmoi said...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:57 PM on February 5, 2008


MSNBC just projected this delegate count:

841 obama, 837 clinton
posted by empath at 9:59 PM on February 5, 2008


Thanks for the happy correction, delmoi
posted by nicwolff at 10:00 PM on February 5, 2008


I thought he was kind of off tonight in his speech.
posted by empath at 10:01 PM on February 5, 2008


Ironic. With all the states scrambling to move their primaries up, it might come down to those last states to decide it all. They are gonna spend millions and millions of dollars on TV ads in Oregon and Kentucky in May.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:03 PM on February 5, 2008


so, uh yeah. Apparently voting early is a moronic thing to do since your candidate could drop out of the race by the time your actual election comes along. Well now we know...
posted by garlic at 10:04 PM on February 5, 2008


Near as I can figure, he's got roughly a 72 delegate lead heading into California and New Mexico. Even if she does well there, it's going to be a very close night either way. I think he's going to end up with a slight lead.

The Clinton camp's going to spin it as her being ahead, since she has an extra hundred superdelegates on her side. It's looking increasingly likely that the SD's are going to decide the nomination, which is going to cause some hurt feelings, no matter which way they go.
posted by EarBucket at 10:05 PM on February 5, 2008


Also: a protracted campaign would seem to favor Obama. He's the one with the momentum in the polls, voters tend to like him better the more they see of him, and he raised almost three times as much money last month. If it comes down to the candidate with the longer legs, I'd bet the farm on him.
posted by EarBucket at 10:07 PM on February 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh. Obama got more votes by himself in North Dakota than all of the Republican candidates combined. In *North Dakota*.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:07 PM on February 5, 2008


It's a physical impossibility for Ron Paul to get elected now, right? Does that mean the scourge of Ron Paul supporters will be replaced by Obama supporters?
posted by empath at 10:10 PM on February 5, 2008


All you Obama supporters - throw in $25 before the night is over, eh? He needs to maintain the money edge in order to keep getting his message out in the upcoming states.
posted by billysumday at 10:11 PM on February 5, 2008


Obama should sweep all the primaries through DC/MD/VA, I think.
posted by empath at 10:12 PM on February 5, 2008


billy, planning on it tomorrow.
posted by empath at 10:12 PM on February 5, 2008


I figure Ron Paul can still walk into the White House assuming some sort of "King Ralph" debacle in which all the leading candidates are simultaneously electrocuted.
posted by billysumday at 10:13 PM on February 5, 2008


It's a physical impossibility for Ron Paul to get elected now, right? Does that mean the scourge of Ron Paul supporters will be replaced by Obama supporters?

The only reason he was allowed in on the debates was that there was no realistic way to exclude him without excluding Giuliani, since, well, he was doing better then Giuliani.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 PM on February 5, 2008


I can't imagine how poorly I would sleep at night if Ron Paul was, at any point, doing better than me.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 PM on February 5, 2008


Coming up in the next two weeks:

Feb 9.
Louisiana (56 delegates)
Nebraska (24 delegates)
Washington (78 delegates)
total 158

Feb 10.
Maine (24 delegates)
total 24

Feb 12.
DC (15 delegates)
Maryland (70 delegates)
Virginia (83 delegates)
total 168

Feb 19.
Wisconsin (74 delegates)
Hawaii (20 delegates)
total 94

grand total 444
posted by Reverend John at 10:36 PM on February 5, 2008


MSNBC just projected this delegate count:

841 obama, 837 clinton


Hope that's true, but as I type this, CNN's (Clinton 631, Obama 525) and New York Times' (Clinton 656, Obama 558) sites both have Clinton ahead and so does MSNBC's (Clinton 247, Obama 142).
posted by marsha56 at 10:54 PM on February 5, 2008


It's like 1976 all over again!
posted by HTuttle at 11:04 PM on February 5, 2008


Wonkosphere results.
posted by nickyskye at 11:19 PM on February 5, 2008


marsha56: MSNBC's count as an estimate, the others are probably "offical" results. If you look at this page you can similar results. There are still 630 delegates that haven't been figured out yet (according to the page).

But yeah, it's an estimate. But man, there is now a really good chance this could hit the convention dead even, to be decided by superdelegates :/.
posted by delmoi at 11:33 PM on February 5, 2008


Is there a way for me as a foreigner to legally give money to the Obama campaign? Or any US presidential campaign, for that matter?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:59 AM on February 6, 2008


Thanks delmoi. Bummer, it looks like they're all saying Clinton is still ahead. Wonder how MSNBC came up with the "841 obama, 837 clinton" count.
posted by marsha56 at 1:12 AM on February 6, 2008



Is there a way for me as a foreigner to legally give money to the Obama campaign? Or any US presidential campaign, for that matter?


No, not unless you can get a green card. You can volunteer to work for a candidate's campaign, but it seems that's about it.
posted by willnot at 1:12 AM on February 6, 2008


marsha56 - they're talking about pledged delegates, and they're predicting what California and New Mexico and other states that don't have an official total will come in as.

It looks like Obama will win more states tonight. He'll come out with more pledged delegates tonight (though he'll still be down by just over 50 when you add in the super delegates). Clinton will win the popular vote, but I think they'll be within a percentage point of each other on that.

When you figure that Obama was down in most states just a few weeks ago, and that his team figured they'd have to be able to keep it within 100 delegates of her tonight, I have to think his folks are thrilled with this result. It's certainly a much better result than I was hoping for.
posted by willnot at 1:17 AM on February 6, 2008


I hope for your collective sakes that Obama gets elected. You may not think so, but you need a charismatic leader (without baggage) right about now.
posted by flippant at 1:45 AM on February 6, 2008


That sucks. I was ready to cough up 50 bucks to help you guys out. You need him, I think.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:57 AM on February 6, 2008


The video was good...right until the end.

Iran or Iraq would not likely look up to Obama and think "this is who I want for the US president". For one entirely stupid reason, the same reason that is cited in some of the "sliming" emails: he should be a Muslim, but isn't.

My (moderate Muslim) mum's been following the primaries here in Malaysia, and she's an Obama admirer. This conversation happened this afternoon:

Mum: *something about liking Obama's style*
Me: You know his dad's a Muslim?
Mum: Really? That means Obama's Muslim too! Great!
Me: Er, he isn't actually.
Mum: How is that possible? If his dad's a Muslim, he should be Muslim too!

Now, most Muslims wouldn't care whether Obama's Muslim or Atheist or what have you. However, the people who are able to stir up trouble - the people behind the teacher being arrested for naming a teddybear Muhammand, the people behind the fuss over the Danish cartoons - they will latch onto this and make Obama the "devil" because he is, according to them, an apostate (in Islam, the religion is patrilineal). And there are fewer people most hated by ultraconservative Muslims than apostates.

These people would cling onto the fact that while Obama's dad is Muslim, Obama himself isn't, and twist that to stir up strife and discontent. It would get fluffed up into "Obama defected from Islam and hates Muslims." They'd get the picture of Obama swearing on the Bible, they'd get the speeches where he talks about Christianity, and they'd use that to claim that Obama is just another player in the efforts of the US Government to shut down Islam.

In a sense, it would be the opposite effect of the slime emails.

In Malaysia, apostates get "rehabilitated" if they're lucky. In very strict shariah law, they are charged with the death penalty. While Obama would likely have many supporters in the Muslim world (particularly more moderate/liberal countries) for his policies and general style, the rabble-rousers would be able to frighten those who don't know better - the people in the rural areas, the really religious but under-educated poor people - and use this as an excuse to shut down America. I've already heard many people who claim that Bush is a Jew after 9/11 and the war on Afghanistan. Having Obama be a technical apostate

As ashamed as I am of saying this, as this is the culture I grew up in and Islam in general is a peaceful religion - this is manna to the nutjobs. Obama's existence is a threat to fundamentalist Muslims, and unfortunately for us (Muslims and non-Muslims) these fundies are often in a position of power. Where will we get peace in the Middle East with Obama, when he represents something a lot of them hate?
posted by divabat at 3:11 AM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is there a way for me as a foreigner to legally give money to the Obama campaign? Or any US presidential campaign, for that matter?

You can donate to any U.S. presidential campaign, but only if you are a resident alien of the United States (i.e., have a "green card").
posted by jonp72 at 4:34 AM on February 6, 2008


After weighing their positions on the issues and other factors for quite some time, I've come down on the side of supporting Clinton. This makes me a rather lonely figure on the internets. Odd, really, since they seem to getting roughly equal shares of the vote IRL.

Ah, well. If Obama gets the nomination, I will vote for him in November without a second thought. But I'll be caucusing for Clinton come the 19th.

Peace to all.
posted by kyrademon at 4:56 AM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm...

If, in many congressional districts in California, a Democrat does not receive more than 62% of the vote, he or she will receive the same number of delegates from that CD as the he or she who finishes second. (Only Clinton and Obama will earn viability -- above 15% in those CDs.) Hence Hillary Clinton could win California by, say, 20 points... and take a sliver of a delegate advantage there.
posted by delmoi at 5:31 AM on February 6, 2008


Regarding what happened in California, the CNN blog said this:

Sen. Hillary Clinton can thank Latino and Asian voters for her projected victory in California. Early exit polls indicate that Sen. Barack Obama carried white voters in California because of his overwhelming support among white men. White women, as in other states, more often supported Clinton. Black voters overwhelmingly favored Obama but Asian voters, whose numbers are comparable to blacks, went overwhelmingly for Clinton. The deciding factor may have been Latinos, who make up roughly 30 percent of California's Democratic vote. They went for Clinton by a two-to-one margin.

If true, California is not a great indicator for what most of the rest of the country is going to do for Clinton.
posted by spock at 5:36 AM on February 6, 2008


Here is what Clinton is looking at:

Interest/numbers graph:


Clinton _________
            /
           /
          /
         /
        /
       /
Obama /

posted by spock at 5:45 AM on February 6, 2008


Just one more comment and I'm done: Clinton essentially had TWO home state victories yesterday with New York and Arkansas. (New Jersey, a wholly-owned subsidiary of New York almost counts as THREE home state victories for Clinton). Obama had just one home state with ILL. Take those away to get a better picture of the national contest.

That Obama pulled 40% in the State that Hillary represents, 44% in neighboring NJ, and that he won outright Delaware and Conn. is impressive.
posted by spock at 5:52 AM on February 6, 2008


spock... Kansas is also Obama home state and that did go for him too.

I also don't believe asians here in Hawaii won't be voting for Clinton...
posted by dawiz at 6:07 AM on February 6, 2008


Heh, McCain only got 47% of the vote in Arizona, his home state. He won the delegates because it's a winner take all state and the other two split the rest of the vote but that's pretty thin support from the state that's sent him to the Senate for almost thirty years.
posted by octothorpe at 6:07 AM on February 6, 2008


The only state Hillary won with more that 60% of the vote was Arkansas. That shows that Obama was competitive in every state, including MA and NJ where he was supposed to be blown out. Look at the states where Obama crushed Hillary:

AL: 74-25
CO: 67-32
GA: 66-31
ID: 80-17
IL: 64-33
KA: 74-26
MN: 67-32
ND: 67-31

Admittedly, those are a lot of small states and caucus states. But the caucus wins especially show me the great enthusiasm people have for Obama vs. the more measured and pragmatic support for Clinton. I hope he cleans up in the caucuses in Washington state.

It's clear that when Obama has the time and resources to get his message out, he does really well. Go donate some money! I just threw in $25 cause I'm a po' folk but I plan on continuing to give him money until he gets this thing wrapped up.
posted by billysumday at 6:20 AM on February 6, 2008


Sorry, AL isn't Alabama but Alaska - AK.
posted by billysumday at 6:22 AM on February 6, 2008


divabat: That might be true, but won't those people just hate America anyway?
posted by delmoi at 6:32 AM on February 6, 2008


Some good news out of CA. with 88% of the vote in, The spread is just 52% to 42%. Last night the they were showing a total blowout, but that was probably mostly counting early votes, which were cast before the campaign really got started.
posted by delmoi at 6:35 AM on February 6, 2008


Well, hell's bells, billy, I'm in. I've never donated to a political campaign in my life. Obama just got $50. I didn't know about the no-lobbyist, no-pac thing till this post.

It is such a wonderful feeling to feel like you are part of something "right", that there is something better. It sounds so foolish to this cynical, jaded mindset, but the man inspires. Somehow his speeches don't sound forced, or plotted, or cunning. They inspire.

I'll settle for either candidate come high noon. I want Obama to be that candidate...
posted by cavalier at 6:39 AM on February 6, 2008


Yay! That's great, cavalier.

It is such a wonderful feeling to feel like you are part of something "right", that there is something better. It sounds so foolish to this cynical, jaded mindset, but the man inspires.

The difference between the two candidates can be summed up by the tone of their speeches last night. Hillary: "I am the change this country needs." Obama: "We are the change we've been waiting for." Hells yeah.
posted by billysumday at 6:45 AM on February 6, 2008


Well, hell's bells, billy, I'm in. I've never donated to a political campaign in my life. Obama just got $50.

I've donated before, but never this much. I just donated $100 to the Obama campaign. By the way, you can donate very easily to the Obama campaign through the ActBlue website.
posted by jonp72 at 7:06 AM on February 6, 2008


This hope pie is tastey. I signed up for that "personal fundraising goal" thingamabob and I've already snagged another donation. People want hope pie! It is delicious and surprisingly calorie free with plenty of vitamins.
posted by cavalier at 7:45 AM on February 6, 2008


More on delegate counts:
The Obama campaign released a memo laying out their official delegate tally of Feb. 5th's results this morning, claiming that they won 845 delegates to Hillary's 836, a margin of nine points.

The Obama camp's total of pledged delegates for the race thus far: Obama, 908, Hillary 884.
posted by delmoi at 7:50 AM on February 6, 2008


The difference between the two candidates can be summed up by the tone of their speeches last night. Hillary: "I am the change this country needs." Obama: "We are the change we've been waiting for." Hells yeah.

To be fair, last time I heard Clinton say "we" (and I think in the context she meant her campaign as a whole), the reporter talking to her interrupted her answer to his original question to ask if she meant Bill would be very involved in her presidency should she win. I think she's being rather careful to present herself as "I" and "Hillary" rather than "we" and "Clinton."

I do agree with you that Obama's message is far more powerful and inclusive. But I think their differences in use of plural vs. singular has a few additional layers to it, too.
posted by Tehanu at 7:53 AM on February 6, 2008


The Obama camp's total of pledged delegates for the race thus far: Obama, 908, Hillary 884.

I'm curious where those numbers come from. It's the only place where I've seen Obama listed with more delegates. (I understand that it's a press release from his campaign.) There's no link on TPM. Have some more superdelegates pledged? On Democratic Convention Watch Clinton still has the lead.
posted by OmieWise at 7:57 AM on February 6, 2008


Good point, tehanu.
posted by billysumday at 8:01 AM on February 6, 2008


According to your link, OmieWise, Alabama went to Obama 56% to 42%, but he has only 20 delegates to Clinton's 21. 11 outstanding delegates. I've got to think that most of those go to Obama, no?
posted by billysumday at 8:14 AM on February 6, 2008


OmieWise, those totals don't include superdelegates, only pledged ones. Add in the SDs and Hillary takes a lead of about 75.
posted by EarBucket at 8:21 AM on February 6, 2008




Chunking Express, yes, it was an FPP.

I was hoping for dramatic wins for Obama, but realistically I'm very happy with how things turned out and I am extremely optimistic about his chances.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 8:32 AM on February 6, 2008


It's going to make me incredibly cynical if Obama doesn't get the nomination.


Okay, more incredibly cynical.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:34 AM on February 6, 2008


It's going to make me incredibly cynical if Obama doesn't get the nomination.

I felt that way a couple of weeks ago, when Bill Clinton was kicking up dust in South Carolina. But look at what Obama's already achieved - he has energized young people, African-Americans and progressives to come out of the woodwork and to volunteer and donate for his political campaign. These are not your typical voters. He has captured huge numbers of votes in many states - often times more votes than any of the leading Republican candidates, and sometimes more votes than all of the Republican candidates combined. Hillary Clinton is a formidable opponent and even though she doesn't embody the same concept of change as Obama, she will be a good president and I will support her. Ultimately, though, Obama is really starting something here (at least I hope) and regardless of whether he wins the nomination, I think he has the ability to continue to push liberal ideas and to organize and motivate young and progressive voters to think outside of themselves and to get to work fixing this country.

<>
posted by billysumday at 8:50 AM on February 6, 2008


/raises jug of Kool-Aid in the air, tips it over, lets cool juicy liquid spill all over face and down Obama t-shirt
posted by billysumday at 8:51 AM on February 6, 2008


I felt that way a couple of weeks ago, when Bill Clinton was kicking up dust in South Carolina. But look at what Obama's already achieved - he has energized young people, African-Americans and progressives to come out of the woodwork and to volunteer and donate for his political campaign. These are not your typical voters. He has captured huge numbers of votes in many states - often times more votes than any of the leading Republican candidates, and sometimes more votes than all of the Republican candidates combined. Hillary Clinton is a formidable opponent and even though she doesn't embody the same concept of change as Obama, she will be a good president and I will support her. Ultimately, though, Obama is really starting something here (at least I hope) and regardless of whether he wins the nomination, I think he has the ability to continue to push liberal ideas and to organize and motivate young and progressive voters to think outside of themselves and to get to work fixing this country.

See, and I felt that way earlier, but now I wonder what's going to happen to the joy and can-do attitude of all those new volunteers and voters and young folks if, after all their work and enthusiasm and excitement over Obama, regular ol' polarizing boring party-standard Hillary still wins? I agree that she'll be a fine president, but the Obama movement is something special, and for it to lose out to politics-as-usual, I think, would make a lot of the Obama-excited people crawl back into their Unlikely Voter apathy.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:02 AM on February 6, 2008


And let me get some of that clean, refreshing kool-aid.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2008


I just want to thank the people in this thread like billysumday, Miko, and others who can be for Obama without being against Hillary Clinton. To people like me who are still on the fence and who see advantages to either candidate, the Hillary bashing seems weird and doesn't help me. But I understand everyone has a right to their own opinion.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:11 AM on February 6, 2008


(not referring to you, shakespeherian; more to comments further upthread.)
posted by onlyconnect at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2008


I was just looking at this thread on HillaryIs44.org. Which is like ground zero for hardcore Hillary Zealots.

Also, Mark Penn (Hillary's cheif pollster) is now rather hilariously calling Obama the "Establishment" candidate.
posted by delmoi at 9:17 AM on February 6, 2008


I was just looking at this thread on HillaryIs44.org.

Is that entire website salmon?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:20 AM on February 6, 2008


(Oh I should point out that the HillaryIs44 thread is their election results thread)
posted by delmoi at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2008


I'm surprised to see people on HillaryIs44 constantly referring to 'Obambi' and making it sound like he's evil and The Enemy and the media is obviously biased towards him and against their candidate. It's like LGF, but liberal.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:37 AM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's the Obama corollary site to HillaryIs44? There's got to be one. Unless nutjobs don't like him.
posted by lostburner at 9:47 AM on February 6, 2008


I'm surprised to see people on HillaryIs44 constantly referring to 'Obambi' and making it sound like he's evil and The Enemy and the media is obviously biased towards him and against their candidate. It's like LGF, but liberal.

Some people, and particularly some women, have a very personal interest in the success or failure of Clinton's campaign. As a youngish male I can't quite understand it but I think that Miko's post above gets to the heart of it. Fairly or not, they take the threat to Clinton as a threat to women - look at the recent comments by the director of NOW in New York about Ted Kennedy's endorsement. I think that the issue of a viable female candidate clouds a lot of people's judgment, as does the issue of race. But from what I read and hear, you see a lot of criticisms of Clinton from fellow Democrats but never the pure vitriol that some on the left spew about Obama. Many African-Americans will vote for Hillary in November - but many women accuse the media, politicians, and pundits of throwing them under the bus at this moment that they feel is "their time." I don't agree with their view but it really makes one understand, to whatever degree it's possible for a 28 year old white guy can understand it, that women have felt subordinate and underrepresented for a very long time. It's all sort of unfortunate, because whoever gets the nomination needs the full support of the party to win in November.
posted by billysumday at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2008


I think the Obama corollary site to HillaryIs44 is here.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2008


What's the Obama corollary site to HillaryIs44? There's got to be one. Unless nutjobs don't like him.

I haven't found one yet. Not sure there is one. Kind of goes against the grain of what Obama is preaching about a focus on the issues and an end to identity politics and the demonization of opponents.
posted by billysumday at 9:52 AM on February 6, 2008


what's going to happen to the joy and can-do attitude of all those new volunteers and voters and young folks if, after all their work and enthusiasm and excitement over Obama, regular ol' polarizing boring party-standard Hillary still wins

How much worse will they feel if due to their passion and donations and hard volunteer work a majority of Democrats vote for Obama in this primary, but the superdelegates nominate Hillary anyway?
posted by nicwolff at 9:57 AM on February 6, 2008


At that point I will kick the superdelegates in the teeth and everyone will feel better.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:06 AM on February 6, 2008


What will Obama do if he loses? I know he's a senator but I'd feel sad if he just faded away to Illinois. Would he do something public to keep his name up there (and his new volunteers and voters, somewhat more full of joy and can-do) until the next election?

Any chance Hill would take him as her running mate? Giving him the experience, plus the power to get some serious work done, even if he cut back Cheney's crazy meglomania. Hell I'd take that as a compromise and I imagine many others would too.
posted by Brainy at 10:06 AM on February 6, 2008


The Loch Ness Monster: "I think the Obama corollary site to HillaryIs44 is here."

Your comment about the Yes We Can FPP? I think you made a typo but it's possible you made a quip that went past me.

Are you saying that the Yes We Can video represents Obama's constituency in the same way HillaryIs44 represents Hillary's constituency? If that's what you're saying, I don't think it's true.
posted by lostburner at 10:08 AM on February 6, 2008


lostburner: I was trying to make a dumb joke and I linked to the wrong thing- my bad. At least I succeeded in being dumb. I was trying to link to this whole thread as if to say that this was the-- oh, nevermind.

In all seriousness, I was noticing on the Hillary44 site how acidic and unthoughtful the comments were there, like the previously noted "Obambi" comments. Nobody was waxing poetic about what they liked about Clinton, they were only making childish, snide comments. I think it probably has more to do with the metafilter community at large (a more thoughtful crowd here in general) but I choose to be obtuse and see it as a statement on the tone of each campaign.

Brainy, I can't see Hillary taking Obama as her VP. Too much bad blood there, I think.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 10:19 AM on February 6, 2008


What's the Obama corollary site to HillaryIs44? There's got to be one. Unless nutjobs don't like him.

I don't hit Daily Kos too often (since 2004 really) but I was looking at a thread there the other day and it looked very pro-Obama. They do tracking polls of their readership And I think someone mentioned the last one was like 40% to 9% for Obama. Actually, now that I think about it the thread I was reading was an "Open Thread" With the Yes We Can video as the conversation starter... for the third time. And someone posted a link to This Video as the alternative.

Speaking of DKos, The top article on the site is this poll: Will you continue cherry picking polls depending on which candidates they support?

Heh.
posted by delmoi at 10:19 AM on February 6, 2008


Brainy, I can't see Hillary taking Obama as her VP. Too much bad blood there, I think.

I know, but one can hope. Anyway I got my personal response from the Loch Ness Monster. The 9 year old me would be so happy
posted by Brainy at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2008


Kind of goes against the grain of what Obama is preaching about a focus on the issues and an end to identity politics and the demonization of opponents.

Heh. Those are nice google. Every big forum seems to be full of rabid Obama supporters who will knock Hilary at any chance. They have taken over for the Ron Paul-ites.

Look at reddit. Top voted comment on top story starts with "If Hillary Clinton is named the Democratic nominee, remember, she did it by attacking the rights of black people to vote in Presidential primaries. ... It's just another way to 'keep the black man down'. How sad."
posted by smackfu at 10:23 AM on February 6, 2008


Some people, and particularly some women, have a very personal interest in the success or failure of Clinton's campaign. As a youngish male I can't quite understand it but I think that Miko's post above gets to the heart of it. Fairly or not, they take the threat to Clinton as a threat to women . . .

Yeah, I start to get pulled into this sort of thinking when I read the Slate article this morning about an email it's rumored Chelsea Clinton sent around attaching an article by feminist Robin Morgan ("Goodbye to All That #2") that talks about all the strengths Clinton has and all she's overcome to get where she is. In the email, someone (possibly Chelsea) writes that she didn't agree with all of Morgan's points but believed her thesis was important to deal with, and that she "confess[es] that I didn't entirely get 'it' until not only guys stood up and shouted 'iron my shirts' but the media reacted with amusement, not outrage." It is hard for women to understand all of the bile directed at Clinton as not being due, in some part at least, to her gender. I don't want to get sucked in to all that, but it is hard not to feel a pull there, particularly where Clinton will have inside knowledge about how to get things done starting Day 1 that Obama won't have. On the other hand, if there is so much polarization because of her gender, maybe I need to be a realist and go for Obama? In any case, I'd ultimately support either of them against the Republican candidates out there.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:33 AM on February 6, 2008


Anyway I got my personal response from the Loch Ness Monster. The 9 year old me would be so happy

Thanks for drawing my attention to the awesome username. Which is awesome on its own merits but also leads to...

The Loch Ness Monster officially endorses Obama!!!!

Are you by any chance a superdelegate?
posted by Tehanu at 10:36 AM on February 6, 2008


I am a superdelegate, but since I'm a member of the Plesiocratic party I can't be of much help in this case.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 10:53 AM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Many African-Americans will vote for Hillary in November - but many women accuse the media, politicians, and pundits of throwing them under the bus at this moment that they feel is "their time."

I'm an Obama supporter, but I would love to see a woman president. If Nancy Pelosi were the candidate instead of Hillary, I would definitely love to see her get elected president. All Pelosi would have to do is bring out the grandkids and do that "grandma don't take no mess" act, and she'd win the older female vote by larger margins than Hillary ever could. In fact, I think Pelosi could be way stronger in red-state election contests than Hillary ever would be, despite GOP attempts to paint Pelosi as a "San Francisco Democrat."
posted by jonp72 at 10:56 AM on February 6, 2008


I didn't entirely get 'it' until not only guys stood up and shouted 'iron my shirts' but the media reacted with amusement, not outrage

I think the media reacted with amusement and not outrage because it was a couple of douchebags from a local radio station trying to be funny, who acted with insincerity - it was a stunt. What was the media supposed to do? I think they generally didn't want to give those guys the attention they were after. Also, it looked really staged and was in general pretty awkward. And ultimately I think that if the intent was pure misogyny and a desire to "keep a woman down" then obviously they failed - those douchebags gave Hillary a lot of votes. The pure cynic in me is almost surprised there weren't more men yelling at women to stay at home and have babies in the crucial states on Monday, ginning up a lot of press for Hillary. Maybe that would have been too obvious.

I will say that I think Hillary gets to have it both ways. I think she can directly court female voters whereas Obama cannot directly make appeals to African-Americans. She has made her gender a big feature of her campaign and often talks of the historical precedent it would set to have a female in the White House. Obama does not (and, frankly, politically cannot) discuss his race as an attribute nearly as much. I know that it comes out of a political necessity to damp down his race, but frankly I greatly prefer Obama's inclusive, anti-identity, I-appeal-to-all-Americans campaign.
posted by billysumday at 10:57 AM on February 6, 2008


I know I can't understand 100% what it feels like to be Hillary because, yes, white male here, but I'd also like to think I'm pretty much part of or surpassing the whole third wave feminism line of thinking. I wish Hillary didn't use all the rank and file politican tricks. I wish she didn't start the below the belt punches. I wish I could still see her as one strong part of the Clinton legacy I'd like to continue --

But the past few weeks of campaigning has showed me she's "just another Rovian politician", what with her exxagerations and misstatements and scripted questioners -- and that makes me choose against her. Not because I'm against a woman as president, not because I'm against women in general, but because I'm against her for her campaign stances and choices. I'm against her as a politician.

The iron my shirts thing was such bullshit and I still can't understand why those guys weren't flogged and harassed on the spot. Even if they thought they were being sarcastic about it they just reinforced the fucking mindset. Whoo... derail!
posted by cavalier at 10:59 AM on February 6, 2008


Many African-Americans will vote for Hillary in November - but many women accuse the media, politicians, and pundits of throwing them under the bus at this moment that they feel is "their time."

I'm an Obama supporter, but I would love to see a woman president. If Nancy Pelosi were the candidate instead of Hillary, I would definitely love to see her get elected president. All Pelosi would have to do is bring out the grandkids and do that "grandma don't take no mess" act, and she'd win the older female vote by larger margins than Hillary ever could. In fact, I think Pelosi could be way stronger in red-state election contests than Hillary ever would be, despite GOP attempts to paint Pelosi as a "San Francisco Democrat."
posted by jonp72 at 11:00 AM on February 6, 2008


What's going to happen to the joy and can-do attitude of all those new volunteers and voters and young folks if, after all their work and enthusiasm and excitement over Obama, regular ol' polarizing boring party-standard Hillary still wins

Well, what's going to happen for me if that becomes the case is that I'm going to campaign for Hillary as my party's nominee, as are most committed Democrats I know. I don't fear that people who have been longtime Democrats are going to abandon the party or Hilllary, who is, after all, a candidate whose strengths most Democrats recognize and deeply respect.

The other question, though, is what will happen to those who were galvanized only by Obama's entry into the race. They, and the votes they represent, may indeed disengage again. It's the passionate support of those independents and previously disengaged people that I believe are needed to win the White House, which is one of the biggest reasons I support Obama.
posted by Miko at 11:03 AM on February 6, 2008


I just finished that Morgan piece, and I found it to be both perplexing and incoherent, although for different reasons. She's clearly a Hillary supporter, which is fine, and I agree that Hillary is the target of some pure-bred misogyny (mostly from) the Right wing. In addition, I agree that there's a pretty laissez faire attitude about it in the media, and that Hillary has to deal with that all the time, while Obama so far has not really been slurred (except by Big Bill) for being Black. On the other hand, I'm genuinely confused about why Morgan seems to suggest 1) that a vote for Obama is evidence of some sort of sexism; and 2) that it's more "time" for a woman to be President than it is for a Black man to be President. I've been trying to get friends to weigh in on this because I'm not sure if I'm missing something or what, but it seems like a bunch of White women keep suggesting that you're a sexist if you don't support Hillary while also suggesting that you aren't a racist if you don't support Obama. I'm just trying to grok the identity politics of it all.

Overall, though, it reads as an incoherent screed to me, without much positive to say about Hillary per se, except for the small paragraph at the end. When it comes down to "vote for me because I deserve it" (whether because I'm Bob Dole or the first woman with a shot) versus "vote for me because of what I'll do," the former position seems pretty rhetorically weak, and easy to consider whiny.
posted by OmieWise at 11:06 AM on February 6, 2008


jonp72 writes "I'm an Obama supporter, but I would love to see a woman president. If Nancy Pelosi were the candidate instead of Hillary, I would definitely love to see her get elected president. All Pelosi would have to do is bring out the grandkids and do that 'grandma don't take no mess' act, and she'd win the older female vote by larger margins than Hillary ever could. In fact, I think Pelosi could be way stronger in red-state election contests than Hillary ever would be, despite GOP attempts to paint Pelosi as a 'San Francisco Democrat.'"

I seriously doubt she'd do well. Her negatives are very high except among liberal Democrats, and then the more left you go, the less support she gets.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:11 AM on February 6, 2008


At the end of the day it's not that hard to see. Hillary is the first viable woman candidate for President. Obviously a lot of women are going to be for. Especially Democrats. I mean, it's just obvious. What's interesting is that six months ago a large majority of Democratic women were greatly excited about the prospect of Hillary Clinton becoming President. Now Barack Obama is stepping into the spotlight and showing people who he is and what he stands for. Surprisingly he is gaining a lot of female votes, starting to chip away at Hillary's lead there. The same thing with African-Americans. Hillary had a lead there, or at least a sizable number, and Barack is running away with that vote. The only people I don't think Obama has any chance with is old people. Most of them are really just too poisoned on race.
posted by billysumday at 11:15 AM on February 6, 2008


I just want to be clear that I don't think people who support Obama over Clinton are sexist (oh god I don't mean to start another one of these debates). I only suspect that, as OmieWise suggests above, some of the viciousness of the comments directed against Clinton, mostly by the right, may come from a sexist place. Like the author of the mentioned email, I also disagree with alot of what is in the Morgan piece. But I disagree with Omie that it doesn't give many positive reasons to be pro-Clinton -- the discussion of how she is better qualified, e.g., has a stronger grasp of foreign and domestic policy issues (remember the debate discussion with Obama on health care, and how specific she was vs him?). It's these specifics about her that I get caught up on, vs. the allure of Obama's speeches (though admittedly his speechwriter will not be making his policy decisions). I think Morgan believes that Clinton is clearly better qualified than Obama, and therefore the race issue gets subsumed by the sexism issue. But yeah, I agree, there is kind of a weird double standard going on in there.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:23 AM on February 6, 2008


remember the debate discussion with Obama on health care, and how specific she was vs him?

Interesting, I thought she was quite vague. He asked her how she planned on enforcing her mandates, and she had no answer. Sometimes the more someone talks the less they are actually saying. I thought he was concise and clear - affordable health care for everyone through rebates and subsidies, but we're not going to force anyone to buy into it, because it's just not possible to enforce it.
posted by billysumday at 11:31 AM on February 6, 2008


OmieWise: Your questions about the Morgani piece touch on some of what I was trying to get at in my comment. I also felt that essary was really poorly organized, but it embodies the set of beliefs I think is vexing the Hillary campaign and some of her supporters. While the section on "toxic viciousness" really touched a nerve with me - all of those incidents really happened, and have turned my stomach as they occurred one by one, demonstrating that real misogyny is alive and well and often directed against Hillary - lack of support for Hillary is not always attributable to misogyny.

I do think that perspective is one that is more common in her generation of female leaders. There is sometimes a sense among what is often called 'second-wave' feminists (they were really the 6th or 7th wave, or if you want to go back to the Wife of Bath's tale...but anyway) that they did everything right, have given a great deal of their effort and time to the nation, risking their necks and reputations and personal lives, and now are being dismissed as having an outmoded approach just when our highest office is finally within the reach of a woman, really is a raw deal.

Where Morgan says:

It was the women’s movement that quipped, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” She heard us, and she has.

She agrees with me that her generation of leaders had to adopt the political attitudes and strategies of the men around them to succeed. They became not only the men they wanted to marry, but the men they wanted to elect. And to some degree, Hillary is punished, tby becoming a target for irrational dislike and vitriol, for adopting the traditionally male techniques that helped her and a generation of women leaders get ahead (for a recent instance, adopting the 'Rovean tactics'). So I do believe misogyny is in play, and I think it's a shame.

After all, this is essentially true:

We are the women who brought this country equal credit, better pay, affirmative action, the concept of a family-focused workplace; the women who established rape-crisis centers and battery shelters, marital-rape and date-rape laws; the women who defended lesbian custody rights, who fought for prison reform, founded the peace and environmental movements; who insisted that medical research include female anatomy; who inspired men to become more nurturing parents; who created women’s studies and Title IX so we all could cheer the WNBA stars and Mia Hamm. We are the women who reclaimed sexuality from violent pornography, who put childcare on the national agenda, who transformed demographics, artistic expression, language itself. We are the women who forged a worldwide movement. We are the proud successors of women who, though it took more than 50 years, won us the vote.


...and I have deep admiration and gratitude for the work of this generation of feminist leaders, without whom my own life would have been vastly different. But at the same time, it's within this argument that the 'sense of entitlement' arises - boomer feminists are saying 'we've transformed this country. We've been working toward this for forty years. We've paid our dues. We've earned this leadership. We deserve it.'

I part company with this way of thinking when I look at the needs of the country today. We certainly do need and deserve feminist leadership, and talented leaders of Hillary's generation do need to take seats of power; but it's not all we need. My greatest concerns are those of simple electablity and civic re-engagement. Because Hillary's political persona was built on the values of a previous era, which downplayed those as 'softer' qualities (especially dangerous in the past when expressed by women, seen as signs of feminine weakness or unfitness for politics), those are not now, and never were, her primary concerns.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of women in leadership across the political spectrum, and have grown up with female bosses, professors, judges, and others who were a product of Hillary's generation. I'm conscious that this is a world she and others like her helped to create. So my choice to support Obama through the primaries is not a result of misogyny or fear of female leadership: it's based on my beliefs about what America collectively sees as its own needs and which Democrat is more likely to win the support of those who have not historically supported a Democratic agenda. No Democrat can win the general election with only the Democratic base as its vote; independents have decided every election in the 20th century and I expect that to continue. Since Hillary has a poor track record for eliciting non-Democratic support, she simply seems like the less likely to be a successful candidate in the general election. In a more mature country, this might not be the case; but since winning the presidency depends on a wide popular support I'm very unsure she can win, I can't see how her candidacy would succeed. That's not my misogyny at work, but it is somewhat related to strains of misogyny still alive in the nation.
posted by Miko at 11:51 AM on February 6, 2008 [10 favorites]


onlyconnect, I wasn't suggesting you were saying that, but I do think Morgan was saying that, and that it's getting said in general. I just looked at the piece again, briefly, and I could only find this short paragraph, along with a reiteration of it at the end, actually describing why Hillary makes a good candidate:
I’d rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identifywith Hillary, and all the brave, smart men—of all ethnicities and any age—who get that it’s in their self-interest, too. She’s better qualified. (D’uh.) She’s a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let’s hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)
That isn't much in a piece that long. (My disclosure is that I'm really not sold on Obama, but I really don't like Hillary's conservatism and I think we need a break from Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton.)

Re: Pelosi--It's the misogyny, stupid. It is with Hillary as well, I just don't think it's only that and always that when one honestly supports another candidate. But the vitriol directed at Clinton and Pelosi is a great illustration of why the easy suggestion that serious sexism is a thing of the past is ridiculous.
posted by OmieWise at 11:57 AM on February 6, 2008


Crossed with Miko. I agree with all you said, but on revisiting the Morgan piece I'm distressed at how much it recapitulates the well-critiqued exclusion of race from the equation. Morgan seems more specifically to be saying, at least to me, "White women transformed this country and now it's our turn, and when the Black men have done a bit more, well it might be their turn." The essay is written like This Bridge Called My Back was never published.
posted by OmieWise at 12:02 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


A very good point, also highlighting the very real racial fissures within second-wave feminism.
posted by Miko at 12:07 PM on February 6, 2008


Omie, thanks. FWIW, I was inspired by Clinton's quoted text at the end about women's rights as human rights. And in addition to the paragraph you quote above, which to me is not much in length but was fairly persuasive in depth, the article also mentions Clinton's work ethic ("nose-to-the-grindstone" approach as NY Senator). But thanks for your comments.

Miko, that is very persuasive to me, and you've given me alot to think about. If it does seem like only Obama could win the general election, and not Clinton, I will definitely give my primary vote to Obama.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2008


(And again, Omie, because what I said above isn't really clear re why I was thanking you, I do agree with your point about Morgan marginalizing race issues at the expense of feminist issues, which seems weird and bad.)
posted by onlyconnect at 12:14 PM on February 6, 2008


The word is that the Clintons are looking at pumping their own money into the campaign, which usually isn't a good sign. Sometimes you have to do it, but it's going to hand Obama something of a PR coup, particularly when Bill was saying six weeks ago:

“For example, they say you couldn’t stop me from spending all the money I’ve saved over the last five years on Hillary’s campaign if I wanted to, even though it would clearly violate the spirit of campaign finance reform.”


Whoops.
posted by EarBucket at 12:21 PM on February 6, 2008


Miko: "Since Hillary has a poor track record for eliciting non-Democratic support, she simply seems like the less likely to be a successful candidate in the general election."

Not only is she not good at garnering non-Democratic support, but she has been actively vilified by the right for 16 years. I'm really concerned that Democrats think this election is completely in the bag when it most certainly is not. The Republicans may not be too excited about their choices right now, and many may be on the fence as to whether they will vote Republican or vote at all this year. But if Hillary is on the ticket, they will come out in full force to make sure that she doesn't become president. Not because she is a woman, but because the message has always been that Bill Clinton is to blame for everything wrong in America, and Hillary is even worse.

I'd love to see a woman in the White House myself, but I really don't think Hillary can be that woman. I think her nomination would be the best thing that could happen to the Republican campaign. A known enemy trying to beat them at their own game.
posted by team lowkey at 12:33 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


The word is that the Clintons are looking at pumping their own money into the campaign, which usually isn't a good sign.

I wonder how much he's got. According to this chart Hillary had about $35 million in the bank. Barely more then Barack's January haul. But is Bill's cash separate? I'm assuming it wouldn't be.
posted by delmoi at 12:47 PM on February 6, 2008


Turns out she already loaned herself $5 million in January.
posted by EarBucket at 12:54 PM on February 6, 2008


A practical Google mashup map and info re the primaries with interesting twitter comments happening globally in real time.
posted by nickyskye at 12:56 PM on February 6, 2008


Miko, you are rocking this thread. Very thoughtful, articulate comments. Thanks for sharing them.
posted by billysumday at 1:00 PM on February 6, 2008


Not only is she not good at garnering non-Democratic support, but she has been actively vilified by the right for 16 years.

When I hear liberal Democrats like myself say that Hillary Clinton is more electable, I have to say, "Do you have no Republican relatives, friends, or co-workers?" My Aunt Diane can barely say Hillary's name without saying the word "bitch" as the next syllable. I'm sure that a lot of people on this forum, including Hillary Clinton supporters, can come up with a few examples of their own.

Have you ever seen the book by Texe Marrs, Big Sister Is Watching You? The book practically depicts her as the Whore of Babylon prophesied in the Book of Revelations. Obama will be hated for his race and his ideals, but he inspires nowhere near the apocalyptic amount of dread that Hillary Clinton does. Check out this summary of the book on Amazon:

"Big Sister Is Watching You unmasks the coven of brutally correct women who now rule over us. Hillary's regiment of hardened, militant feminists include lesbians, sex perverts, child molester advocates, Christian haters, and the most doctrinaire of communists."

How could somebody who inspires this vitriol be more electable, compared to a candidate associated with the rhetoric of conciliation and transcending partisan divisions?
posted by jonp72 at 1:07 PM on February 6, 2008


A practical Google mashup map and info re the primaries with interesting twitter comments happening globally in real time.

Whoa, that's really neat. It's like this thread, but faster. But less thoughtful comments.
posted by Tehanu at 1:19 PM on February 6, 2008


Even if she loses the nomination, or gets the nomination and then loses the election for the presidency, I feel like the fact that Hillary has done so much already will open the door to another serious white house bid by a woman in the very near future. For quite a long time now a great many people have considered her a foregone conclusion for the Democratic nomination and even the presidency. That's a big deal.

I have to agree with jonp72. For reasons I can't understand she evokes rabid hatred among my conservative relatives, and I am also confused, given this fact, that people consider her the most "electable."
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 1:54 PM on February 6, 2008


Are you saying that the Yes We Can video represents Obama's constituency in the same way HillaryIs44 represents Hillary's constituency? If that's what you're saying, I don't think it's true.

In the coming weeks, and in the months leading up to the general election if Obama becomes the nominee, my guess is that a principal line of attack from his opponents will be based around the claim that Obama is the leader of a cult of personality. If you cannot successfully attack the candidate, you attack those who support him.

Jokes about "Obama kool-aid" aside, this perception is already starting to gain some traction, in spite of those who've articulated reasoned, worthwhile responses for supporting Obama. See, for example:

James Wolcott: Perhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria.

The New York Times: Having run on the idea of broad participation across society’s divisions, Mr. Obama’s campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality — a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel.

For the dirty-tricks version of this, see this clip from Hannity and Colmes (53 seconds).

This post isn't meant to make any implications about the viability of Obama as a Presidential candidate--for me Obama and Clinton are six in one hand, half-a-dozen in the other, and I'll vote for either in the general election. But it is something that I think merits awareness.
posted by Prospero at 1:58 PM on February 6, 2008


Yes, I agree with the line of thinking that Hillary has paved the way for another female candidate but has too much personal baggage (read: Bill) to ever win the presidency. Imagine Claire McCaskill running for president, or Sebelius, the governor of Kansas. They would not suffer the same vicious criticisms as Hillary. I think a female Republican may potentially be an even more serious threat, assuming there are any out there.
posted by billysumday at 2:01 PM on February 6, 2008


Prospero: I think Obama has deliberately made the bet that Americans base their votes on personality and emotion more than substance and wonkishness. I like the fact that he has good ideas to back it up, and if you read his books or look at his record, he seems to be quite intelligent and a productive politician. But he knows he's not going to beat Hillary by exceeding her in the realm of policy, or showing that he has greater experience. He's branding himself as the anti-Hillary, and part of that means talking very little about policy - not to mention the fact that their policy positions are similar and he needs to set himself apart somewhere. My prediction is that if he gets the nomination, look for a turn in direction. Much more substance, turning down the persona/rock star thing and hitting the Republicans on their failed ideas. Going after religious voters, older voters, etc.

Additionally, the idea that people are faulting Obama for the fact that he is inspiring people completely unconnected to his campaign to create posters, write arguments on his behalf, create songs and make music videos - it's sort of the height of cynicism. I can understand faulting young people for getting all riled up because their favorite rock start is going to rid the world of AIDS or something, but Obama is a politician. And he is motivating people usually not interested in politics. Getting them to talk about politics. And government. He's asking them to help him change the country. By getting involved. All that jazz. Just look at what he's done his whole life - always the hard way, always making less money than he could, working with average people, being a teacher, a state senator. Really glamorous, a state senator! It's not like he's a filmmaker who's decided to run for office. He's a serious politician. It makes me wonder sometimes if older people really believe that young people only like Obama because he's their "cool imaginary black friend."

Anyway, I don't think we have to worry about Sean Hannity or James Wolcott shaming people into feeling bad about voting for Obama.
posted by billysumday at 2:18 PM on February 6, 2008


Related, a friend of mine is convinced Obama is the Manchurian Candidate, but he can't place a finger on who the corporation is. I agree that will probably be an attack vehicle -- attacking the fervency of his supporters. Again, I've never donated to a campaign or asked other people to donate -- and here I am writing emails to people asking them to "support Obama and me." Where are my robes and slippers?

It's the hope thing. It's really nice to believe in it.
posted by cavalier at 2:26 PM on February 6, 2008


Don't vote for Obama! People like him too much!
posted by billysumday at 2:29 PM on February 6, 2008


I gotta say, the news of loaning of her campaign $5 mil of her own dollars is the news of blood in the water.

Also, NPR just now noted that McCain didn't get as many popular votes (in total yesterday) as EITHER Obama or Clinton (which means that the "Democratic" turnout in the Super Tuesday contests was more than DOUBLE that of Republicans).
posted by spock at 3:15 PM on February 6, 2008


Miko, your comments on the Hillary and Obama topic have been so awesome. I really want to thank you for your brilliant articulation. wow. What you've said has really helped me in making my decision to vote for Obama. And the facts have, so far, played out to validate what you said. Obama won 9 red states. Hillary won 4. That's pretty astonishing and is indicative of his ability to be uniting.

Details so far:
Breakdown of states:

MCCAIN
9 states
3 red states /6 blue states

ROMNEY
6 states
4 red states / 2 blue states

HUCKABEE
5 states
5 red states

OBAMA
13 states
9 red states / 4 blue states

CLINTON
8 states
4 red states / 4 blue states


REPUBLICANS

MCCAIN
Arizona
California
Connecticut
Delaware
Illinois
Missouri
New Jersey
New York
Oklahoma

ROMNEY
Colorado
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Montana
North Dakota
Utah

HUCKABEE
Alabama
Arkansas
Georgia
Tennessee
West Virginia

DEMOCRATS

CLINTON
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Massachusetts
New Jersey
New York
Oklahoma
Tennessee

OBAMA
Alabama
Alaska
Connecticut
Colorado
Delaware
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Kansas
Minnesota
Missouri
North Dakota
Utah
posted by nickyskye at 3:20 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where Morgan says:

It was the women’s movement that quipped, “We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” She heard us, and she has.

She agrees with me that her generation of leaders had to adopt the political attitudes and strategies of the men around them to succeed. They became not only the men they wanted to marry, but the men they wanted to elect. And to some degree, Hillary is punished, tby becoming a target for irrational dislike and vitriol, for adopting the traditionally male techniques that helped her and a generation of women leaders get ahead (for a recent instance, adopting the 'Rovean tactics'). So I do believe misogyny is in play, and I think it's a shame.
The antipathy in many circles toward HRC comes not from her being a woman, but from her being a Clinton. For instance, the chorus of critiques against her adaptation of "Rovean tactics" during the early primaries (such as the New Hampshire "Obama is weak on choice" smear) has little to do with her adopting "traditionally male techniques": it was her relapsing into the Clintonian technique of aggressive hyperpartisanship, a survival-by-any-means strategy the Clintons adopted during their embattled White House years, and a technique that Rove has cribbed to devastating effect. She would've earned a ton of feminist cred with me if she had renounced Bill's controversial and counterproductive comments (especially the South Carolina ones, but even before then) and sent him to the bench, as should happen with any misbehaving campaign subordinate. Instead, her nonresponse demonstrated that she aims to enjoy both the feminist "breaking the greatest glass ceiling" sentiment and the patriarchal "those boys have been getting tough on her lately" ploy, which I find wholly disingenuous. That's not a woman issue; that's a Clintonian triangulating-rhetoric issue, and an all-too-common style of politicking that's impossible to conscientiously endorse.

There are many strong women on both sides of the aisle who would not elicit anywhere near the magnitude of misogyny as Clinton has were they to make a presidential run: Kathleen Sebelius, Claire McCaskill, Olympia Snowe, Elizabeth Dole, and so on. It is a symptom of misogyny in our society that much of the anti-Clinton sentiment is expressed in misogynistic form, but IMO it's hardly a reflection of the popular sentiment against women presidential candidates in general. Rather, it reflects the popular sentiment against this one in particular. And the knee-jerk feminist reactions on the other side -- witness NY-NOW's recent screed following the Ted Kennedy endorsement and sites like hillaryis44.org -- are just as sexist and intellectually vacuous as the misogynists aligned against HRC.

Setting aside gender issues for a moment, I'm much more partial to Obama's bottom-up, anti-lobbyist, small-money donor fundraising approach, as well as his huge outreach efforts to build a coalition extending into red and purple states. That's the style of broad-based governing I would expect from a president, instead of the hyperpartisan 50%+1 strategy that both Rove and Clinton have historically thrived on. (How many red/purple states would HRC carry in a general election? How much down-ticket support would she provide? Exactly.) It would be great to see a woman, minority, gay, or what-have-you on the presidential ticket, but to me those are incidental rather than substantial reasons to support a candidate. If Obama is the Democratic nominee come November, this cynical and independent voter will cast a vote to thank Obama for doing this right, as well for taking strong, principled (and correct!) stances on important but non-headline issues like the digital divide and government transparency and accountability. Otherwise, chalk me up as yet another disaffected voter for election after election now. More of the same? Thanks, but no thanks. Give me a candidate to vote for.
posted by DaShiv at 3:50 PM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


it was her relapsing into the Clintonian technique of aggressive hyperpartisanship, a survival-by-any-means strategy the Clintons adopted during their embattled White House years, and a technique that Rove has cribbed to devastating effect.

DaShiv, no offense intended here, but this is utter fucking nonsense, so i hope i'm misreading you. are you seriously suggesting that rove got his techniques and approach from the clintons?
posted by Hat Maui at 6:10 PM on February 6, 2008


Looks like Obama is going to raise more than $5 million in one day.
posted by billysumday at 6:14 PM on February 6, 2008


yeah, and also, at his campaign headquarters in chicago, they ran out of champagne at the party, and he was all, "just bring me two jugs of water." then they ran out of sushi, but he said "all i need is like two striped bass and a few grains of sticky rice" and the next thing you know, there were a few jeroboam of krug rose' (because you know obama is hip hop) and 47 combo nigiri sushi boats getting passed around like so many delicious doobies.
posted by Hat Maui at 6:30 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


You have to admit, Hat Maui, that it's sort of odd you're criticizing Obama because people seem to like him too much.
posted by billysumday at 6:34 PM on February 6, 2008


On CNN last night, Ari Fleischer said this, in complete seriousness:

"There is no doubt … we hope and pray every night to run against Hillary Clinton."

Which is a pretty good argument to vote for Obama, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by streetdreams at 6:43 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama's 404ish message.

I mean.. come on people, even their "site down" message is statesman like and classy! I like the fact that I can't check how my "personal fundraiser goal" is working because the damn site is hammered.
posted by cavalier at 7:33 PM on February 6, 2008


That would actually be a 500.13, not a 404 :)

Also, Obama is up to 5.5 million so farThis graphic should update as the totals go up. The only problem is that the donate button doesn't do anything (obviously) so if you want to want to push it up then click here to donate yourself!.
posted by delmoi at 7:48 PM on February 6, 2008


Dios mio they've raised 200,000$ in a half hour?

This thread is like a dailykos thread but just a tad more.. what..?
posted by cavalier at 8:00 PM on February 6, 2008


So a lot of people talking about this Reagan thing. Can anyone anywhere defend Clinton's attack on Obama's present votes on the abortion bill?
posted by Wood at 8:20 PM on February 6, 2008


You know who else posted a lot about how much money they were taking in? Ron Paulites.
posted by smackfu at 9:20 PM on February 6, 2008


When Bill and Hillary were young people.
posted by nickyskye at 9:31 PM on February 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of the interesting things I noted (perhaps it was TPM?) and is being born out with the influx of $$ to Obama at present, is that something like 3/4 of the donors to Clinton are tapped out (I think there is a personal max of about $2300 or so) whereas 3/4 of the donors to Obama have been sub-$200 payments. Therefore, as now, when the cry goes out for cash, there is a far greater base of potential contributors that can be whipped into dropping some more money into the Obama campaign (as witnessed in Mefi actually).

I also fairly agree with everything mediareport said in the axed thread (hope he doesn't mind me reposting this)...
[link] "I'm ok with either of the two major Dem candidates at this point - they're the best I can hope for from the modern Democratic Party, that's for sure - but have to say I think this "Obama's a new kind of politics!" kool-aid is fucking hilarious. Here's a fun test: ask your favorite Dem primary nut how Obama voted on the resolution authorizing force in Iraq. See how many remember that he didn't get sworn in until January 2005. It won't be many.

Obama's really been working that "I didn't vote for the Iraq war" thing in debates with Hillary, as if he'd been in the Senate in 2003 and voted against it. Does anyone really believe an ambitious young centrist like him would have stood up to the Cheney machine's rush to war if he'd actually been there? *snort* Tell me another one.

I think Obama's skin color is working in his favor with a lot of Racist-In-The-Right-Way liberals, who assume he's more progressive than he is because...well, you know, he's black. But there's been nothing - that's spelled N-O-T-H-I-N-G - to demonstrate that he's less conservative than Hillary. Like I said, I'm ok with either one. But Obama's bullshit is grating on me more as it goes on."
[nickyskye, I bet they just had a few tokes. 1970 I believe.]
posted by peacay at 9:42 PM on February 6, 2008


I don't know, I thought that was a very weak, factually incorrect, and smug comment that attacks straw men. He wasn't in US Congress, but he gave a fucking amazing speech at an anti-war rally in 2002, where he said the war was a distraction from solving the problem of health care. And he was fairly relentless in attacking the war when he got into Congress.

I guess one could argue that Clinton has to promote aggression because New Yorkers want it, and she doesn't really believe it at all, and that Obama promoted peace even though he didn't believe it because that's what his supporters want, but it's better to take politicians at their actions rather than their words. And look at the difference between the way they talk about Iran now. Unless being a warmonger is liberal now, that's a clear win for Obama.

And come on, race-baiting by speculating on some hypothetical racist liberals?

That comment is a kind of a simulacrum of Hillary's campaign, and the opposite of the type of discourse that I'm hearing from Obama, and is exactly the reason why Hillary should not be a major voice in our nation for the next four years.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:06 PM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


peacay: Obviously I Know that Obama wasn't in the senate in 2003. But he did publicly criticize the war before it started at an Anti-war rally. It's not like his position wasn't documented.

Does anyone really believe an ambitious young centrist like him would have stood up to the Cheney machine's rush to war if he'd actually been there? *snort* Tell me another one.

What difference does it make? Most democratic senators actually voted against the war, only a few voted for the war, and most of those were people who would be up for re election shortly. An interesting exception was Hillary Clinton, who was not up for re election for another 4 years, but still voted for the war.

Would Obama have voted for the war if he was in the senate? Well how can we know?

But for me personally it doesn't really matter. The fact is, that for whatever reason, he opposed the war and she voted to authorize it. It would be absolute madness for people who opposed the Iraq war to reward those who started it. I mean, how fucking pathetic can the voters of this goddamn country be? Honestly it disgusts me.

But there's been nothing - that's spelled N-O-T-H-I-N-G - to demonstrate that he's less conservative than Hillary. Like I said, I'm ok with either one. But Obama's bullshit is grating on me more as it goes on."

LOL. mediareport posits an absurd hypothetical where Obama votes for the war, and then claims that nothing separates the two candidates on the left right axis. I think the flaw in that argument is pretty obvious.

But beyond the war vote, one thing I can think of that places Obama to the left of Clinton is that he's publicly called for the eradication of all nuclear weapons from earth in his campaign. That's a pretty far out peacenik position (And something I think is kind of silly).

Anyway, but the point of Obama isn't that he's less conservative, but that he's less dishonest, that he's less sleazy and that he's less divisive. And that he's much more inspiring. Hillary has shown a pretty clear willingness to lie, and lie ways that are easy to disprove like the lie about Obama's statements on Reagan, the lie about Obama's record on Choice, etc. It shows she holds the voting public in contempt and it's insulting. If she can't even bother to tell the truth during her campaign, then how could you trust her in the white house?

I'd be interested to see if any Hillary supporters can come up with any examples of Obama or his campaign lying in such an obvious way, because I haven't seen anything like that. And that's extremely important.
posted by delmoi at 10:06 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Right, so I should make the distinction that a lot of a politicians' "actions" are their words, and the movements they bolster with their words or with their inaction. Otherwise my second paragraph isn't very coherent.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:08 PM on February 6, 2008


Can anyone anywhere defend Clinton's attack on Obama's present votes on the abortion bill?

Yes.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:16 PM on February 6, 2008


Oops. Beg your pardon, didn't read your question carefully enough. That's a defence of his votes, not a defence of her attacks.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:18 PM on February 6, 2008


(BTW, Obama is up to 6.3 million dollars. He's raised almost a 800,000 in about two hours. In the middle of the night. Although the stupid counter hasn't gone up in 15 minutes :P)
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on February 6, 2008


NickySkye, you DO realize that in the primaries the Red State/Blue State thing is irrelevant because in the Primaries different people are voting for the Republican candidates than are voting for the Democratic candidates, right? I mean, the results show what people in Red States who vote Democratic (or Independent) would vote for. It's no indication (in and of itself) that the Red State is going to vote Blue in the next general election.
posted by spock at 10:32 PM on February 6, 2008


Obama's really been working that "I didn't vote for the Iraq war" thing in debates with Hillary, as if he'd been in the Senate in 2003 and voted against it. Does anyone really believe an ambitious young centrist like him would have stood up to the Cheney machine's rush to war if he'd actually been there? *snort* Tell me another one.

OK, here's "another one" for ya:
Senate Amendment No. 4882, an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas.

Senator Obama of Illinois voted IN FAVOR of the ban.

Senator Clinton of New York voted AGAINST the ban.

Analysts say Clinton did not want to risk appearing "soft on terror," as it would have harmed her electibility.

I'm not a single-issue voter. But as Obama and Clinton share many policy positions, this vote was revelatory for me. After all, Amendment No. 4882 was an easy one to vote against: Who'd want to risk accusation of "tying the hands of the Pentagon" during a never-ending, global War on Terror? As is so often the case, there was no political cost to doing the wrong thing. And there was no political reward for doing the right thing.
So, it's not just Iraq. It's a pattern with Clinton that makes me wonder how committed she really is to pulling troops out of Iraq -- particularly as the political winds shift as they certainly will once we actually start withdrawing.

By the way, that article is from the guy who did the Get Your War on Cartoons -- a long time MeFi favorite.
posted by willnot at 10:37 PM on February 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


You know who else called for the abolition of nuclear weapons? That's right... REAGAN!
posted by OldReliable at 10:51 PM on February 6, 2008


The distinction is I suppose that Obama's positioning on the war in 2002 was from a place in which he wasn't subject to the same scrutiny and responsibility as when he was elected to the senate. It's easy to drive to the populist position when there are no consequences. I'm not saying this wasn't a valid position or that he was insincere, just that it carries less weight because he was 'outside' at the time. It dilutes the argument of the length/depth of his opposition to war when used in political pointscoring, attempting to get the party's endoresement. You guys are pro-Obama and disagree. Fair enough.

It's almost amusing watching how you all, after so long living in the divided country of Bush, rally enthusiastically to attack (mainly with feathers it must be said, when compared to the entrenched and serial felonies of the Republicans) Clinton. Outside the heated current climate the lies and deceit attributed to Clinton are just some soft politicking at the very worst. You democrats are very strange in your zealous attempts to eat your own.

In relation to electability, Clinton's history in New York is of at least equal importance compared to the hearsay loathing curried among republicans by the very mention of her name which is supposed to end up having every right winger coming out of the woodwork to vote against her in November, should she prevail over Obama.

Wasn't it the same situation when she first ran for the Senate? Didn't she have to overcome the baggage, preconceived notions and entrenched prejudice to get elected? My understanding has been that by continual travelling and talking to groups of people, a lot of folks thinking was turned around - that they met a warm, charming and intelligent person who was essentially dissimilar to the caricature ice-queen image that most had understood her to be beforehand.

Therein lies both a strength and weakness for her. She does best at smaller, more personal events and has a modest problem reaching out to larger audiences. It's a stylistic thing to an extent which she will improve on as time goes by, but if she does get the nomination her chances of election will likely ride on her ability to project her amiability out to a larger and wider community. If she can hit a chord with enough people, she's electable. If she can't connect and rattle some of those longheld prejudices then she won't make it to the White House.

But anyway, I'd be happy with either Obama or Clinton as the nominee...as long as they bloody win!
posted by peacay at 11:13 PM on February 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


spock, no I didn't know that. Why would the news use Red State, Blue State in listing the votes if it is "irrelevant" as you say it is. Isn't a primary meant to be an indicator of the direction of the voting? Of course it's not The Vote, it's a primary. Would you be so kind to explain why you deem it irrelevant? In spite of your snotty tone I'd appreciate the education. I'm ignorant of the details of American voting and elections, how it works is sadly quite mysterious to me.
posted by nickyskye at 11:25 PM on February 6, 2008


CNN primary scorecard.

A question. An old NYC friend moved to Washington DC and when I asked her if she voted she said there was no primary in DC. How could that be? Does anyone here know if there is a primary vote in DC or only The Big Vote in November? Or any reason why that would be?
posted by nickyskye at 11:30 PM on February 6, 2008


DC's primary is on 2/12
posted by willnot at 11:35 PM on February 6, 2008


spock: NickySkye, you DO realize that in the primaries the Red State/Blue State thing is irrelevant because in the Primaries different people are voting for the Republican candidates than are voting for the Democratic candidates, right? I mean, the results show what people in Red States who vote Democratic (or Independent) would vote for. It's no indication (in and of itself) that the Red State is going to vote Blue in the next general election.

I think it's relevant. Democrats and Republicans in any given area will have a different idea of where the center is. I think Democrats in a red state will view the center as somewhere right of where Democrats in a Blue state see it. Likewise, Republicans in a blue state will see the center as left of where Republicans in a red state see it. This is a dumb, but real, example: I live in conservative Florida, where the grocery store Whole Foods is seen by some of my acquaintances as a hippie enclave where, for all they know, hallucinogenic mushrooms are sold by the (hemp-woven) basketful. My sister just moved to the San Francisco bay area, and she says that there she has met people who say that Whole foods is seen as an evil corporate behemoth and might as well be McDonalds or Wal-Mart.

I think the results bear this out: red state democrats went for Obama but not for Clinton (who red-staters love to hate). Blue state republicans went for McCain but not for Huckabee.

What's interesting to me is that I see Obama as being left of Clinton, which would imply a different set of results. But I think Clinton's "baggage" (the fact that the right has spent sixteen years fostering a rabid dislike of her) combined with Obama's inclusive and positive rhetoric makes a big difference here.

It's also worth noting that in some states there is an open primary, which means that you can vote for a nominee in the party of your choice, regardless of your own party. I have no idea which of the states does this.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 4:02 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Clinton's the only Democratic candidate who has refused to sign the following pledge:

I, (candidate), hereby pledge that if elected President of the United States I will undertake the following to restore the Constitution’s checks and balances, to honor fundamental protections against injustice, and to eschew usurpations oflegislative or judicial power.These are keystones of national security and individual freedom:

1. No Military Commissions Except on the Battlefield. I will not employ military commissions to prosecute offenses against the laws of war except in places where active hostilities are ongoing and a battlefield tribunal is necessary to obtain fresh testimony and to prevent local anarchy or chaos.

2. No Evidence Extracted by Torture or Coercion. I will not permit the use of evidence obtained by torture or coercion to be admissible in a military commission or other tribunal.

3. No Detaining Citizens as Unlawful Enemy Combatants. I will not detain any American citizen as an unlawful enemy combatant. Citizens accused of terrorism-linked crimes will be prosecuted in federal civilian courts.

4. RestoringHabeas Corpus for Suspected Alien Enemy Combatants. I will detain non-citizens as enemy combatants only if they have actively participated in actual hostilities against the United States. I will urge Congress to amend the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to permit any individual detained under the custody or control of the United States government to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal courts.

5. Prohibiting Warrantless Spying bythe National Security Agency in Violation of Law. I will prohibit the National Security Agency from gathering foreign intelligence except in conformity with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and end the NSA’s domestic surveillance program that targets American citizens on American soil for warrantless electronic surveillance.

6. Renouncing Presidential Signing Statements. I will not issue presidential signing statements declaring the intent to disregard provisions of a bill that I have signed into law because I believe they are unconstitutional. Instead, I will veto any bill that I believe contains an unconstitutional provision and ask Congress to delete it and re-pass the legislation.

7. Ending Secret Government by Invoking State Secrets Privilege. I will not invoke the state secrets privilege to deny remedies to individuals victimized by constitutional violations perpetrated by government officials or agents. I will not assert executive privilege to deny Congress information relevant to oversight or legislation unless supreme state secrets are involved. In that case, I will submit the privilege claim to a legislative-executive committee for definitive resolution.

8. Stopping Extraordinary Renditions. I will order the cessation of extraordinary renditions except where the purpose of the capture and transportation of the suspected criminal is for prosecution according to internationally accepted standards of fairness and due process.

9. Stopping Threats to Prosecuting Journalists under the Espionage Act. I will urge Congress to amend the Espionage Act to create a journalistic exception for reporting on matters relating to the national defense. As a matter of prosecutorial discretion, until such an amendment is enacted I will not prosecute journalists for alleged Espionage Act violations except for the intentional disclosure of information that threatens immediate physical harm to American troops or citizens at home or abroad.

10. Ending the Listing of Individuals or Organizations as Terrorists Based on Secret Evidence. I will not list individuals or organizations as foreign terrorists or foreign terrorist organizations for purposes of United States or international law based on secret evidence.

I will issue a public report annually elaborating on how the actions enumerated in paragraphs 1-10 have strengthened the ability of the United States to defeat international terrorism, secure fundamental freedoms, and preserve the nation’s democratic dispensation.


It's unclear which of the provisions she objects to. But given that she only decided a few months ago that torture isn't okay and doesn't think illegal immigrants deserve due process, I don't think it's unreasonable to be a little nervous about the Constitution in a Clinton Administration.

(Better than Bush, absolutely. But I think we can set the bar higher than that.)
posted by EarBucket at 4:03 AM on February 7, 2008


Apropos of nothing, I couldn't help noticing the other night how Mitt Romney's Super Tuesday speech was like a Bizarro-world version of Obama's.

First of all I'm astonished and a little outraged that Romney, whose campaign rhetoric includes criticizing people for not supporting and embracing President Bush's policies enough, has the audacity to pass out campaign signs that say "CHANGE" on them. Grr! So the visuals end up looking similar in a striking, but opposite way.

But I was also noticing the response that each candidate elicits from his audience: Romney (at about 3:06 here) gets his audience chanting, "THEY HAVEN'T" over and over again. "We asked [Washington] to balance the budget. THEY HAVEN'T! We asked them to reign in excessive pork-barrel spending. THEY HAVEN'T! We asked them to get health care that was affordable and portable (?) for all of us. THEY HAVEN'T!" (Presumably he is going to solve these problems by... reviving the golden era of the GW Bush administration?)

Contrast this with Obama's YES WE CAN. It's like Romney watched an Obama speech and said to his advisors, "I like his style and he seems to be popular with the kids. How can we do something like that except, you know... in a more evil, cynical and senseless way?"
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 5:14 AM on February 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Clinton's the only Democratic candidate who has refused to sign the following pledge:

When there's only two candidates, I bet there's a lot that only one has done.
posted by smackfu at 5:36 AM on February 7, 2008


The suggestion that the Clintons schooled Rove in dirty tricks does seem wrongheaded to me. I think the Obama supporters might take a lesson from Obama himself and stay away from the weird hypercriticism of Clinton, lest you alienate potential converts.
posted by onlyconnect at 6:10 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


My bad--it looks like Hillary has signed it. My information was out of date. My apologies.
posted by EarBucket at 6:32 AM on February 7, 2008


The distinction is I suppose that Obama's positioning on the war in 2002 was from a place in which he wasn't subject to the same scrutiny and responsibility as when he was elected to the senate. It's easy to drive to the populist position when there are no consequences. I'm not saying this wasn't a valid position or that he was insincere, just that it carries less weight because he was 'outside' at the time.

Like I said, most democrats (Except Clinton) who were not up for reelection or running for President (Kerry and Edwards) voted against the war. Clinton, Edwards, Kerry, Lieberman, etc were the exceptions here. Barbra Boxer was on the intelligence committee and voted against the war, saying that she didn't think the intelligence was good enough.

But like I said, being opposed to the war early on is more then enough. The fact that Clinton voted for the war is enough reason to be against her. She even voted against an amendment that would have required the president to come back after U.N. inspections before actually starting the war.

Anyway. As I said earlier constructing a hypothetical situation, and then attacking a candidate for doing something in your imagination is not a valid argument.

Wasn't it the same situation when she first ran for the Senate? Didn't she have to overcome the baggage, preconceived notions and entrenched prejudice to get elected?

No, Hillary ran against a mid-season replacement nobody and underperformed Al Gore by 5% in 2000. (Gore got 60% of the vote, Hillary got 55%).

When there's only two candidates, I bet there's a lot that only one has done.

I'm pretty sure that pledge was signed by all of the candidates, so like Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson, etc.
posted by delmoi at 6:32 AM on February 7, 2008


The suggestion that the Clintons schooled Rove in dirty tricks does seem wrongheaded to me. I think the Obama supporters might take a lesson from Obama himself and stay away from the weird hypercriticism of Clinton, lest you alienate potential converts.

That's true, since Rove actually worked in the Nixon campaign as a college republican. He's been up to this crap for decades.
posted by delmoi at 6:34 AM on February 7, 2008


BUT ISN'T HE REALLY A RETHUGLICAN?
I HEARD HE WAS A MUSLIM!!??!?
HIS ANGRY BLACK CHURCH HATES JEWS!!??!

There are a lot of really silly things being said about Obama. Silly things about Clinton, too. But in the event that people are still unwilling to look this stuff up on their own, let's be clear. Obama is a lifelong public servant. Community organizer, civil rights lawyer, constitutional law professor, state senator, US senator. He is liberal. He has the ability to negotiate to get a bill through. He has also displayed a willingness to stand up for bills. He's not perfect. The nuclear thing wasn't his best showing. Clinton has had a lot of bad showings, too. Nobody's going to be the perfect candidate. But please stop with the ISN'T HE JUST LIKE MCCAIN or whatever bullshit that makes him sound like a centrist. It's the way he talks about things that make him seem moderate, not the positions he ultimately takes. He doesn't berate people for not being liberal - shocking that! - but rather tries to lay out an argument for why they should be liberal. In some circles, I guess, that means you're willing to sell the farm to the Republicans. So, if you're voting for Hillary, just please vote for because you like her and you think she will be a more effective president, and not because you think Obama is going to some sell-out novice flyweight, cause that's just uninformed.
posted by billysumday at 6:47 AM on February 7, 2008


Fox News has hired Rove as for commentary. My eyes rolled at a rapid rotation.
posted by cavalier at 7:02 AM on February 7, 2008


willnot, thanks for the info about the DC primary, just emailed my friend, who is new there.

The Loch Ness Monster, Democrats and Republicans in any given area will have a different idea of where the center is. Thanks for your thoughts about red and blue perception in different parts of the USA, that was such a good example using Whole Foods.
posted by nickyskye at 8:07 AM on February 7, 2008


delmoi (never know how to pronounce your name in my thoughts or speech, is it del-moy or del-moi as in the French for "to me"?) it's been interesting to get to know you, see how passionate you are about Obama in this thread. Over the six or seven years I've read your comments haphazardly on the blue, this is the first time I've felt I've gotten to know more about you, the human being, what you care about and it's nice.
posted by nickyskye at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2008


delmoi (never know how to pronounce your name in my thoughts or speech, is it del-moy or del-moi as in the French for "to me"?) it's been interesting to get to know you, see how passionate you are about Obama in this thread. Over the six or seven years I've read your comments haphazardly on the blue, this is the first time I've felt I've gotten to know more about you, the human being, what you care about and it's nice.
posted by nickyskye at 8:15 AM on February 7, 2008


This cult of personality, so amply demonstrated here, is really turning me off Obama.
posted by cytherea at 8:47 AM on February 7, 2008


I always pronounced it "dee elmo eye."

Just kidding. I vote del-mwah.
posted by lostburner at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2008


This cult of personality, so amply demonstrated here, is really turning me off Obama.

This just seems like the last thing to base a vote on. It reminds me of music discussions in high school - the ones in which people would say "I used to like that band, but they're too popular now."

Do you think the candidate can succeed? Does he or she have a platform you can support and a philosophy you essentially agree with? Does he or she have a track record that gives you confidence in their ability to lead? Yes?

Then who cares who else thinks so as well?
posted by Miko at 9:11 AM on February 7, 2008


This just seems like the last thing to base a vote on.

This is a problem on the pro-Obama side too.
posted by smackfu at 9:21 AM on February 7, 2008


I had liked both very much. I like Obama's message and breath of fresh air, and I like Hillary's intelligence and capability.

But it's responses like yours that are totally turning me off him. Don't presume to lecture me.
posted by cytherea at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2008


Lecture? Miko was giving you rhetorical questions. If you don't like people responding to you, why are you on the internet?
posted by cavalier at 9:27 AM on February 7, 2008


delmoi (never know how to pronounce your name in my thoughts or speech, is it del-moy or del-moi as in the French for "to me"?)

I pronounce it "Del moy". Actually, it's just a random string that I happened to use for my AOL sign on, like, back in 1995 when I was 15. It's totally meaningless but I've just used it for so long. I'm kind of sick of it :P

Over the six or seven years I've read your comments haphazardly on the blue, this is the first time I've felt I've gotten to know more about you, the human being, what you care about and it's nice.

Wow, thanks :)

What's interesting is that I'm ordinarily very cynical about politics, and the Democratic Party. A year ago I was cynical about Obama as well, but he's really proven himself to me over the past few months. I really liked Howard Dean in 2004, and I've been totally disappointed with the democrats in congress since 2006. I caucused for Obama in Iowa in January. And at the time he just seemed like the most realistic alternative to Hillary Clinton. But since Iowa he's really impressed me.

It actually feels really strange to me, too actually believe in this guy, to actually be for someone and think that they can really make a difference. I mean I was "for" Howard Dean too, and actually the two are more similar then you think. Dean wanted to reach across to other cultural groups as well, but he was much more combative with the republican establishment.

But while I thought Dean would be a good gladiator, I really do feel like Obama can change things, just brush that old nonsense aside and work on fixing our problems. And a huge part of that belief is based on how he's been able to inspire huge crowds and so on. I really do think it will be a new beginning with him as president and being hopeful like this about the politics, the democrats, and the country is not something that comes naturally to me at all.
posted by delmoi at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This cult of personality, so amply demonstrated here, is really turning me off Obama.

I've heard this on other sites as well. I'm don't really understand it and am curious as to why such enthusiasm for a candidate is turning people off. Do you believe Obama will be a worse president because of the fervency of his supporters? Or is it more like, you see people being sort of foolish or uncritical in their support for him and you don't want to be like that?
posted by billysumday at 9:54 AM on February 7, 2008


This is a problem on the pro-Obama side too.

But it's a problem that resides in individuals, not in a candidate.

I'm interested in billysumday's questions, too. If it's that there is a fear people will give a candidate their uncritical support, then why not simply engage in critique? That seems the best response to a lack of critique, rather than suggesting the candidate doesn't deserve support because others aren't being critical enough of him. In this thread, there have been many serious critiques raised and discussed with reference to evidence. My support for Obama is not uncritical; he was a hard sell for me. So my support is critical, not uncritical, support.

There will always be a large portion of the populace who vote uncritically; I would say the majority of votes cast are, in fact, cast based on a shallowish depth of information. But I see that not as a reason in itself to withdraw support from a popular candidate. Instead, where my vote is concerned, it is a reason to examine the popular candidate more closely. If there were serious areas of weakness, then those substantive concerns would be my reason for withdrawing support; not the sheer popularity of the candidate.

Obama is popular, indeed, but I have yet to see serious evidence that he is undeserving of the support he has.

I don't mean to lecture at all and I'm sorry if that's how it sounded. I meant to demonstrate the set of questions I might ask myself about a popular candidate.
posted by Miko at 10:24 AM on February 7, 2008


The first comment on the "Yes we can" video post said:

Goddamn, I like to think of myself as a hardbitten cynic, but I'm in tears here. This man -- this movement -- is something else.

Sorry for the political post, but I had to share this.


To a music video.
posted by smackfu at 10:28 AM on February 7, 2008


I couldn't help noticing the other night how Mitt Romney's Super Tuesday speech was like a Bizarro-world version of Obama's.

Buh-bye, Mitt. Don't let the door hit you in the ass!
posted by ericb at 10:31 AM on February 7, 2008


Newsweek: When It’s Head Versus Heart, The Heart Wins -- "Science shows that when we are deciding which candidate to support, anxiety, enthusiasm and whom we identify with count more than reason or logic."
posted by ericb at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2008


That article is great, ericb. Recommended reading. An excerpt:
The fact that people have what is euphemistically called cognitive-processing limitations—most cannot or will not learn about and remember candidates' records or positions—means voters must substitute something else for that missing knowledge. What that something is has become a heated topic among scientists who study decision-making, and, of course, campaign strategists and pollsters. Some answers are clear, however. In general elections, a large fraction of voters use political party as that substitute, says psychologist Drew Westen of Emory University; some 60 percent typically choose a candidate solely or largely by party affiliation. The next criterion is candidates' positions on issues; single-issue voters in particular will never even consider a candidate they disagree with. In a primary, however, party affiliation is no help, since all of the choices belong to the same one. And parsing positions doesn't help much this year, especially in the Democratic race, where the policy differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are minute. "When voting your party doesn't apply, and when the candidates don't differ much on the issues, you have to choose on some other basis," says political scientist Richard Lau of Rutgers University, coauthor of the 2006 book "How Voters Decide." "That's when you get people voting by heuristics [cognitive shortcuts] and going with their gut, with who they most identify with, or with how the candidates make them feel." What has emerged from the volatile and unpredictable primary season so far is that the candidates who can make voters feel enthusiasm and empathy—and, perhaps paradoxically, anxiety—are going to make it to November and maybe beyond.
posted by Miko at 10:51 AM on February 7, 2008


What has emerged from the volatile and unpredictable primary season so far is that the candidates who can make voters feel enthusiasm and empathy—and, perhaps paradoxically, anxiety—are going to make it to November and maybe beyond.

It's also interesting that the article suggests that Hillary Clinton is more likely than Barack Obama to base her political ads and electoral appeals on fear and anxiety. Barack Obama, on the other hand, seems to basing his appeal on "enthusiasm and empathy." Clinton's focus on fear in the Democratic primary campaign could easily backfire, because Republicans generally do better with the politics of fear than Democrats.
posted by jonp72 at 11:20 AM on February 7, 2008


belief is based on how he's been able to inspire huge crowds

_community organizer_ ...not a bad qualification for president :P

according to intrade at the moment obama's at 57 and clinton's at 43!
posted by kliuless at 5:26 PM on February 7, 2008


Clinton got more votes on Super Tuesday than Obama, which is a minor problem with some of the theories here. The 18-29 year-olds also went for Clinton in California, which is more than Obama, who also spent more money there. What we're seeing here to some degree is the new blood joining the liberal side who were previously exposed to right wing pundits who have been hating Hillary Clinton for years.
posted by Brian B. at 6:23 PM on February 7, 2008


Clinton might have gotten 50,000 more votes out of a total of more than 15 million which is less than a 1% difference. And, who knows if they're really counting the caucus votes right in that estimate since it's pretty tough to get a count of those. Chances are equally good that Obama actually won the popular vote. There's less doubt that he also won the most states and the most pledged delegates, and I wouldn't be too surprised if he took the lead in total delegates within the next week or so.
posted by willnot at 6:44 PM on February 7, 2008


The Germans making light of Obama's success.
posted by nickyskye at 10:13 PM on February 7, 2008


This won't be available online until tomorrow, but Robin Morgan was just on NPR's Day to Day, talking about the email. She asserts that it was written by Chelsea Clinton. She also restates some of the points made in her essay and argues that there is no generational difference between Clinton and Obama supporters. Finally, she says that "at least a quarter of the emails" she has received since writing the essay are from mother-daughter pairs in which the mother had supported Hillary and the daughter formerly supported Obama until reading the Morgan piece. She says that one young female writer said that the piece was "like a delicious slap in the face reminding me who I am."

Strange words. I'm pretty feminist, but I'm still unmoved by this essay or the impact she reports it having on others. Morgan might lob accusations of false consciousness, but I think I know who I am.
posted by Miko at 9:40 AM on February 8, 2008


Finally, she says that "at least a quarter of the emails" she has received since writing the essay are from mother-daughter pairs in which the mother had supported Hillary and the daughter formerly supported Obama until reading the Morgan piece.

That just makes me sad.
posted by OmieWise at 10:07 AM on February 8, 2008


I think both Obama or Hillary would be really good, I guess I just see a bit more "upside" to Obama. If he's for real, if he has the skills he seems to have, he could potentially do a lot more. I haven't publicly supported one or the other, but among my friends it seems to me that the "dreamers" support Obama, and the cynics support Hillary. It makes sense though because Hillary is more of a known quantity, and Obama is promising a major shift in how things get done.
posted by cell divide at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2008


Clinton got more votes on Super Tuesday than Obama, which is a minor problem with some of the theories here. The 18-29 year-olds also went for Clinton in California, which is more than Obama, who also spent more money there.

The problem is that there is no clear metric to establish either Democratic candidate as the winner of Super Tuesday. If you use the number of states won (13 for Obama vs. 8 for Hillary with New Mexico still counting provisional ballots) or total number of delegates (Obama is projected to have a slight lead), then you can conclude that Obama won. Then again, if you factor in Obama's wins in Iowa and South Carolina, you could also say that Obama has a popular vote lead in the Democratic campaign too, although the lead is slight. The reality is that there's no metric that labels either candidate convincingly as a "winner."

As a former 9-year resident of California, I don't think Clinton's victory in California says much about her future viability in the general election. First, you can get an absentee ballot in the state of California for any reason whatsoever. Hillary Clinton started soliciting early absentee voters in the state of California as early as her win in the New Hampshire primary, which may overstate how positively the California electorate felt about her on Election Day. This absentee ballot "buffer" provided Clinton with a lot of her margin of victory. (I have personal knowledge of this, because I did phone banking for Obama with California voters, and a large number of them told me that they had already voted.)

Second, independent "Decline to State" voters had the legal right to vote in the Democratic primary, but many were deterred from doing so, because poll workers wouldn't give them their ballots without a hassle, and many decline-to-state ballots were arbitrarily disqualified. Since Obama does better with independents than Hillary Clinton, this was a built-in advantage for Hillary Clinton.

Third, the 18-29 year-old vote going for Clinton is probably attributable to the fact that this demographic is more Latino than other age cohorts in the state, and Clinton won Latinos 2-to-1 in the state. I know that Obama won both white voters and black voters in the state of California, and it would not surprise me if he won white & black voters in the 18-29 demographic as well. Given how nativist the GOP base in California is these days, there is no way that Latinos in the 18-29 year old demographic in California are going to vote GOP this year, regardless of whether the nominee is Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Hell, even Mike Gravel would win out in that demographic. Besides, Obama can always shore up his weaknesses among Latinos by putting Bill Richardson on the ticket.

Fourth, Barack Obama depends on his base of on-the-ground activists to get out the vote, but California is just too large to win based on your "ground game" alone. I think this is borne out by the fact that Obama did poorly in less accessible areas in California like the Central Valley and the Fresno area. On the other hand, in states that had less population or surface area, Obama did have enough a "ground game" that helped him do well in rural areas, as his wins in Kansas, North Dakota, and the rural areas of Nevada demonstrate.

Fifth, it's no great shake for a Democratic candidate to win a Democratic primary in one of the "bluest" states in the country. It's Obama that won most of the "red state" primaries and caucuses (North Dakota, Utah, Missouri), not Hillary Clinton.
posted by jonp72 at 11:40 AM on February 8, 2008


NY Times investigates Obama's past drug use and finds he may have overstated it.

And also, someone has done a Hillary music video. It's pretty hilarious. (And not just because they mention the Iraq war, despite the fact she voted for it)
posted by delmoi at 10:16 AM on February 9, 2008


NY Times investigates Obama's past drug use and finds he may have overstated it.

He understates his connections to the famously corrupt Chicago democratic machine, and then overstates drug use. Sounds like a slick play for the youth vote. A win-win for old school political dynasties and Obamapalooza.
posted by Brian B. at 10:29 AM on February 9, 2008


He understates his connections to the famously corrupt Chicago democratic machine

Um, dude... Hillary Clinton's husband's Secretary of Commerce was William Daley. As in son of Mayor Richard Daley. As in Richard Daley, the boss of the fearsome "Chicago Democratic machine"... Jeez, you are really grasping at straws here.
posted by jonp72 at 8:43 PM on February 9, 2008


If these are the best attacks that anti-Obamists can come up with, things are looking fabulous for his campaign.
posted by Miko at 9:01 PM on February 9, 2008


Um, dude... Hillary Clinton's husband's Secretary of Commerce was William Daley. As in son of Mayor Richard Daley.

Is that bad? Because Daley endorsed Obama. You probably don't realize yet that if you equate the two, you don't have a promotion to offer. I would guess if they are both so evil, I would prefer the one who had a grudge to settle.
posted by Brian B. at 9:06 PM on February 9, 2008


If these are the best attacks that anti-Obamists can come up with, things are looking fabulous for his campaign.

When a seasoned opponent lays into Obama from the right, his floor, as they call it, will drop. Clinton alreadly hit that floor and is still above McCain. When conservatives claim they want Hillary, I would consider reverse psychology. They have.
posted by Brian B. at 9:13 PM on February 9, 2008


Your floor theory is far-fetched. The problem is not about some imagined floor that we have no reason to think will materialize based on Obama's already-vetted biography, but that Hillary's ceiling , in the best case scenario, will never be high enough to beat a Republican nominee.
posted by Miko at 9:17 PM on February 9, 2008


Others question the conventional wisdom that Obama might be the Democrats' best bet against McCain.

"The McCain resume on national security is so strong that if you send up the untested guy, with very little national-security experience, that contrast might work in the Republicans' favor," said Jeremy Mayer, an associate professor at George Mason University in Virginia.

Clinton also is a seasoned politician less likely to make a major campaign gaffe, he said.

"Hillary has a low ceiling," Mayer said. "She's not going to get above 55 percent (in the general election), but she also has a fairly solid floor. She's not going to crater. . . .

"Obama has a higher ceiling, but he also has a lower floor, and so the risk is greater for the Democrats with Obama."

posted by Brian B. at 9:26 PM on February 9, 2008


So it's not even your theory.

I simply disagree with that assessment, which is couched in "mights" and "coulds." Obama vs. McCain has the advantage of youth and a solid anti-war stance in a time when Americans are more than ready to get out of the war, and McCain is promising a long continued presence.

Besides, this Arizona paper also says in the same piece, which simply contrasts pundits on both sides:
But McCain has liabilities: His steadfast support for victory in Iraq may have helped him in the primaries, but it could hurt him in the general election, especially if casualties spike.

His past collaborations with Democratic lawmakers turn off many in his own party. McCain's support of an immigration-reform bill, despised by many conservatives, denies the Republican ticket a wedge issue and could keep border-security activists home on Election Day.

However, a Clinton candidacy could inspire many Republicans to "hold their noses" and overlook their disgust with McCain, said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"The red-state Democrats are rooting for Obama," Sabato said. "McCain needs Hillary Clinton to restore his conservative base. I doubt McCain can bring them in on his own. It's got to be the fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency."
posted by Miko at 9:33 PM on February 9, 2008


McCain has the advantage of youth and a solid anti-war stance

Heh. Make that, of course, Obama.
posted by Miko at 9:34 PM on February 9, 2008


"The red-state Democrats are rooting for Obama," Sabato said. "McCain needs Hillary Clinton to restore his conservative base. I doubt McCain can bring them in on his own. It's got to be the fear of a Hillary Clinton presidency."

McCain will win the red states. That's why they are red states. Some moderates will stay home not knowing who to chose. The far right will always vote. Not being my theory was your mistake, not mine.
posted by Brian B. at 9:37 PM on February 9, 2008


I agree that the far right will always vote for the rightmost candidate. The same is true of the far left. Independents always decide who the next President will be. Nothing you've grumbled about here shows or suggests that Hillary's record of winning independent support is at all comparable to Obama's. His shows it quite well, a few times over, and seems to be borne out by the primary and caucus results.

Not being my theory was your mistake, not mine.

That was no mistake. That was me was pointing out that you lborrowed your argument whole from a disorganized news piece in a paper in McCain's home state, and that only a small part of it supported your viewpoint.

Democrats have spent the last several major elections nominating someone who, despite their legislative competence and Democratic support, did not win the White House because they were not well liked by America's independents. They were not compelling and they were not felt to be 'human' enough.

We could go ahead make that mistake again, or not. Personally, the next eight years look a lot better to me if we don't.
posted by Miko at 9:46 PM on February 9, 2008


That was no mistake. That was me was pointing out that you lborrowed your argument whole from a disorganized news piece in a paper in McCain's home state, and that only a small part of it supported your viewpoint.

No, it was your mistake. I didn't borrow it. I made the case alone based on the right-wing public denial in wanting Hillary while they smile and pretend Obama is harder to beat. You stupidly called it far-fetched as MY theory.
posted by Brian B. at 9:51 PM on February 9, 2008


Meanyhead.
posted by cavalier at 11:59 PM on February 9, 2008


Brian B., you're begging the question.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 5:17 AM on February 10, 2008


Time Poll: Clinton More Beatable Than Obama Quote: "The difference, says Mark Schulman, CEO of Abt SRBI, which conducted the poll for TIME, is that "independents tilt toward McCain when he is matched up against Clinton But they tilt toward Obama when he is matched up against the Illinois Senator." Independents, added Schulman, "are a key battleground.""
posted by jonp72 at 5:56 AM on February 10, 2008


McCain will win the red states. That's why they are red states. Some moderates will stay home not knowing who to chose.

Writing off the red states is a losing strategy whether Clinton or Obama is the nominee. It goes against Howard Dean's "50-state strategy," which produced very nice gains in the Democratic Congressional delegations in both red and blue states in the 2006 elections.
posted by jonp72 at 6:00 AM on February 10, 2008


Brian B., I'm afraid that McCain will most definitely lose the red states. TO HUCKABEE!!!! HAHAHAHA. The right-wingers just hate the guy. God, this election is getting really interesting. And it's only the frikkin' primary.
posted by billysumday at 6:14 AM on February 10, 2008


Brian B., your interpretation of your own comment is about as wilfully disingenuous as your political analysis. This

When a seasoned opponent lays into Obama from the right, his floor, as they call it, will drop. Clinton alreadly hit that floor and is still above McCain.

is the argument you borrowed. Your contribution is the Scooby-Doo-like theory that the wily Republicans are using that clever sneaky reverse psychology on us: "Let's make them think that we think that we can't beat Obama!"

It's a reach, and requires some convoluted thinking. The American presidency is not won on such plates of beans - despite those of us who love to finely dice political news, it's largely still an emotional process that depends upon image and message.

But even if there were such a planned strategy, it is still only that. A strategy has no bearing on what Americans are actually ready to reward in the voting booth; if it exists, it's nothing more than a desperate hope. If anything, it's just an early indication that the right's developing strategy will consist of an attempt to portray Obama as wildly, frighteningly liberal - a charge which his legislative record can withstand. They're right when they say that Hillary is the more conservative of the two, but pointing that out just says to me that the only arrow they have left in the quiver is to drag out the tired old "L Word" campaign again. Along with that, they'll probably sprinkle a good dose of scary projections about an 'untested' President making rash, dangerous decisions from inexperience, since one of the few pluses McCain offers is a long, loooong political career. So with Obama as nominee, we can expect the characterization to be "callow, dangerous wild card secretly leans to the radical left." And with a fed-up, frustrated public and a milktoast GOP candidate, I don't see it going that far.

Besides, their characterization of Hillary in the battle of image will also be at least that negative.

Anyway, yes, this is intensely interesting, and now that there's a lot of new news, I'm ready to leave the trolling behind and wait for the next thread. The Times today ran a good snapshot of where a big part of the fight is: at the superdelegate level. For heaven's sake, I wrote my state rep today because he's a superdelegate - I don't think I've ever given superdelegates a thought in my entire voting career.

Obama in today's Times:

“I think it is also important for superdelegates to think about who will be in the strongest position to defeat John McCain in November and who will be in the strongest position to ensure that we are broadening the base, bringing people who historically have not gotten involved in politics into the fold.”

I think the numbers are bearing this out so far. In a recent Nicholas Kristof column, "Who is More Electable?", we hear:
When pollsters offer voters hypothetical matchups, Mr. Obama does better than Mrs. Clinton against Mr. McCain. For example, a Cook Political Report poll of registered voters released this week found Mr. McCain beats Mrs. Clinton, 45 percent to 41 percent. But Mr. Obama beats Mr. McCain, 45 percent to 43 percent. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found similar results.

Mr. Obama also has the highest approval rating of any major candidate among independents, 62 percent, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. He also has unusually low negatives, which gives him upside potential.

Mr. Obama does surprisingly well among evangelical Christians, an important constituency in swing states. For example, Relevant magazine, which caters to young evangelicals, asked its readers: “Who would Jesus vote for?” Mr. Obama was the winner and came out 27 percentage points ahead of Mrs. Clinton.
When the response to Hillary starts looking like that, I'll be convinced she's viable as a next President.
posted by Miko at 8:47 AM on February 10, 2008


Another thing to remember, which will likely break some Obama-loving hearts, is that it will be easier for Obama to at least appear to veer right (to the center) during the general election. It doesn't matter that he and Hillary have very comparable voting records, his lack of a history will allow him to make a somewhat conservative case for himself in swing states and red states.
posted by cell divide at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2008


Those hypothetical matchups are crap. You ask a Clinton supporter who they vote for in McCain vs Obama, you think you get an answer that reflects the eventual vote? Or vice versa.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2008


Another thing to remember, which will likely break some Obama-loving hearts, is that it will be easier for Obama to at least appear to veer right (to the center) during the general election. It doesn't matter that he and Hillary have very comparable voting records, his lack of a history will allow him to make a somewhat conservative case for himself in swing states and red states.

I don't care if Obama uses moderate rhetoric. The issue is what will the substance of his policies be when he gets in office. He's no Kucinich or Nader (which may be what some MeFites want), but that's not going to happen. But when you compare him against Hillary Clinton, both his voting record and the people advising him on his campaign are more substantively liberal.
posted by jonp72 at 9:12 AM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Though this choice can obviously be endlessly debated, it comes down to this: between two incredibly similar Democrats, we have one who for various hypothetical reasonsmight not get elected President, and one who, barring an astounding image reversal never before seen in American history, will almost definitely not get elected President. As someone who very much wants a Democratic agenda coming from the White House, I know where I'm putting my support.
posted by Miko at 10:00 AM on February 10, 2008


Brian B., your interpretation of your own comment is about as wilfully disingenuous as your political analysis.

So now it's my interpretation of my comments, and my analysis. Your method to dwell either on yourself or your opponent has caught up to you. You had to assign ownership to debate it because you don't know how else to deal with salvaging your own. You even attacked the newspaper, state, and author who published the professor's quote. (How desperate.) Ironically, we're discussing the Republican future strategy to lower someone who is artificially high, and todays polls on McCain versus Obama are only identifying the same ceiling.

Observations from someone young who didn't drink the Kool Aid:
If anger over excessive partisanship and the status quo is really the defining characteristic of this year’s election, it is difficult to see how Clinton is better-suited than McCain to exploit that anger. No matter what, she is going to remain a more polarizing figure than McCain. In a matchup, she would have a high floor and a low ceiling of support; people either love her or hate her. McCain’s situation is the opposite; he would have the ability to dominate combined with the potential to melt down. Such a campaign would not be the “most civilized election in American history”: Clinton has shown an incredible willingness to pummel even erstwhile allies when necessary for victory, while McCain’s temper is legendary, especially when he is opposed by someone he feels is acting dishonorably.

I also think that McCain matches up better than people realize against Obama. While both have an appeal to independents based on their reputation as “uniters, not dividers,” that appeal is based on two very different things. McCain’s rhetoric is Republican, but his actions are often not. In other words, his reputation is based on the facts, not talk. On the other hand, Obama’s inspirational rhetoric seeks to transcend partisan divides while his votes in the Senate are purely Democratic down the line. According to the National Journal, he was the single most liberal member of the U.S. Senate in 2007, though this result was influenced by his spotty voting record.

At some point, McCain’s actions speak louder than Obama’s words. While Obama is not a partisan who demonizes opponents, I can’t believe Republicans and conservative-leaning independents are going to vote for a far-left member of the U.S. Senate solely on the basis of rhetorical ability. I think that, if given the choice between someone who inspires them but with whom they disagree on the issues and someone they respect and agree with substantively, voters will choose the latter. This is especially true if the almost-religious adoration of Obama subsides before November, as it has begun to. Messiahs can’t get their hands dirty, and Obama has no RFK to serve as his attack dog.

posted by Brian B. at 10:03 AM on February 10, 2008


"45 percent to 41 percent" 9 months before the election = "will almost definitely not get elected"?
posted by smackfu at 10:05 AM on February 10, 2008


Yes, smackfu, because that's her ceiling.
posted by Miko at 10:24 AM on February 10, 2008


Yeah, you really zinged me with that college-paper editorial by a "history major from White Plains, N.Y."

Listen, Brian B., you're just trolling (I'm not sure why you're going so personal on me, other than that there is no other argument for you to make). When you have anything pro-Hillary to present, bring it; until then, see you in the funny papers.
posted by Miko at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2008


When you have anything pro-Hillary to present, bring it;

I don't care to please you at all, Miko, and you aren't in charge either. I've never seen mindless babble so smug. A troll must be someone who disappoints you by backing up their criticism.
posted by Brian B. at 10:34 AM on February 10, 2008


I'm pretty sure I'm going to vote for Obama on Tuesday. Though I actually think Hillary has greater grasp of policy and frankly greater understanding of how to get bills passed and make things work in the White House, I think it's likely Obama has a better chance of getting elected.

Here's a concern, though: I wonder whether Obama's anti war stance will get him in trouble in the general elections. I think people trust Hillary reasonably well as enough of a hawk that she will get troops out but not leave Iraq unstable. Obama seems like more of the old guard type of Democrat that might not be as tough on foreign policy. Nobody is making a big deal about this now, but if he is faced off against someone like McCain, and the election is being held DURING A WAR, I worry that people will look to McCain and not Obama to keep America secure.

I'm still going to vote Obama on Tuesday, really because of electability issues alone, but I do worry whether the polls preferring him over Clinton to win against McCain are actually right, and whether alot could change on this before the election.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:42 PM on February 10, 2008


Obama seems like more of the old guard type of Democrat that might not be as tough on foreign policy. Nobody is making a big deal about this now, but if he is faced off against someone like McCain, and the election is being held DURING A WAR, I worry that people will look to McCain and not Obama to keep America secure.

I strongly disagree, onlyconnect. McCain is talking about staying in Iraq for eternity. "A solid majority of independents (61%) say the war was wrong compared with just a third (33%) who say it was right." "54% favor bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq as soon as possible".

"Toughness" is not the only virtue in the entire world. Mike Tyson is tough, but he shouldn't be president. McCain is vulnerable as all hell on the occupation issue. And Obama, having opposed it from the get-go, is in a much, much better position than Clinton to make that case in the general election.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:06 PM on February 10, 2008


Well, you know, I'm a Democrat and even I don't favor bringing the troops home as soon as possible. I mean, if the consequences of that aren't made clear in the question, sure, I bet most Americans would choose that. But if you said "are you in favor of bringing the troops home as soon as possible even if that leaves a terribly unstabilized Iraq" I don't think most Americans would choose that, either. Remember how unpopular the surge was, and now it seems to be recognized as something of a success? (Or at least is not a total failure as originally feared.) Obama may have been against the war, but I don't think that helps him seem hawkish enough to get out of Iraq safely -- if anything it might make him seem, as I was suggesting before, like an old guard peacenik without the military experience to be commander in chief.

And I just want to be clear -- I LIKE OBAMA, and I'm probably voting for him on Tuesday. But if he does wind up as our candidate I do worry a bit over how McCain might make hay out of some of his positions. In some ways I think Americans might have an easier time imagining Clinton as commander in chief than Obama. Maybe not, though. Hard to peer into the crystal ball and see what will happen, that's for sure.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:08 PM on February 10, 2008


I'm a Democrat and even I don't favor bringing the troops home as soon as possible.

I agree. I do think Hillary has a better grasp of policy in general, foreign policy included. If Obama does get the nomination, I would really, really like to see Hillary as Secretary of State.
posted by Miko at 4:52 PM on February 10, 2008


Hi again delmoi. Thanks for your friendly and warmly communicative comment. I appreciated hearing about how you came to your sensible and well-founded decision about Obama.
posted by nickyskye at 5:20 PM on February 10, 2008


I agree. I do think Hillary has a better grasp of policy in general, foreign policy included. If Obama does get the nomination, I would really, really like to see Hillary as Secretary of State.

I don't doubt that Hillary can out-wonk Obama, but Obama's policy skills are highly underrated. Here's a post from the blog Obsidian Wings that really encapsulates it for me:

I do follow legislation, at least on some issues, and I have been surprised by how often Senator Obama turns up, sponsoring or co-sponsoring really good legislation on some topic that isn't wildly sexy, but does matter. His bills tend to have the following features: they are good and thoughtful bills that try to solve real problems; they are in general not terribly flashy; and they tend to focus on achieving solutions acceptable to all concerned, not by compromising on principle, but by genuinely trying to craft a solution that everyone can get behind.

His legislation is often proposed with Republican co-sponsorship, which brings me to another point: he is bipartisan in a good way. According to me, bad bipartisanship is the kind practiced by Joe Lieberman. Bad bipartisans are so eager to establish credentials for moderation and reasonableness that they go out of their way to criticize their (supposed) ideological allies and praise their (supposed) opponents. They also compromise on principle, and when their opponents don't reciprocate, they compromise some more, until over time their positions become indistinguishable from those on the other side.

This isn't what Obama does. Obama tries to find people, both Democrats and Republicans, who actually care about a particular issue enough to try to get the policy right, and then he works with them. This does not involve compromising on principle. It does, however, involve preferring getting legislation passed to having a spectacular battle. (This is especially true when one is in the minority party, especially in this Senate: the chances that Obama's bills will actually become law increase dramatically when he has Republican co-sponsors.)

So my little data point is: while Obama has not proposed his Cosmic Plan for World Peace, he has proposed a lot of interesting legislation on important but undercovered topics. I can't remember another freshman Senator who so routinely pops up when I'm doing research on some non-sexy but important topic, and pops up because he has proposed something genuinely good. Since I think that American politics doesn't do nearly enough to reward people who take a patient, craftsmanlike attitude towards legislation, caring as much about fixing the parts that no one will notice until they go wrong as about the flashy parts, I wanted to say this.

posted by jonp72 at 6:01 PM on February 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


All Obama needs to do is select a VP like Webb or Clark. Then when the Republicans march out McCain with his military credentials, Obama can just be like, "Oh, I'll let the former Secretary of the Navy and current Senator from Virginia answer that question."
posted by billysumday at 7:48 PM on February 10, 2008


All Obama needs to do is select a VP like Webb or Clark. Then when the Republicans march out McCain with his military credentials, Obama can just be like, "Oh, I'll let the former Secretary of the Navy and current Senator from Virginia answer that question."

Or he could just tell them he doesn't know anything on the subject and not explicitly act it out.
posted by Brian B. at 8:20 PM on February 10, 2008


How many people can even name the current Secretary of the Navy?
posted by smackfu at 10:28 PM on February 10, 2008


another anti-Obama op-ed from Krugman. He claims that "Most of the venom" is from Obama supporters, that Obama is building up a cult of personality, etc. It's ridiculous and shows how biased he is against Obama.
posted by delmoi at 3:55 PM on February 11, 2008


(Obviously, being a Clinton supporter, he's not going to catch much flack from the Hillary Supporters, but I think it's pretty clearly there. And at the same time, It's clear that there is anti-Hillary venom out there too, but I think she and her campaign did have a lot to do with fomenting through their actions in the primary and before)
posted by delmoi at 4:00 PM on February 11, 2008


she and her campaign did have a lot to do with fomenting through their actions in the primary and before

True. I wasn't all that surprised about the change in campaign management yesterday. Someone should have shifted strategies in that campaign weeks ago; they were in a hole, and they kept digging.
posted by Miko at 5:18 PM on February 11, 2008


For an alternate take, Jonah Golberg at the National Review has a surprisingly thought-provoking take on Obama at his 'Liberal Fascism' blog.

I don't agree with it, but it is something to chew on.
posted by empath at 9:21 AM on February 12, 2008


The only thoughts that Goldberg piece elicited in me were of the "Goldberg's an idiot" and "It sure is easy to make associative arguments as long as logic isn't seen as an impediment" variety.
posted by OmieWise at 11:58 AM on February 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think he has a point in that the messianic overtones of the Obama campaign are starting to grate a bit, and that his populist rhetoric and the fervor of his followers could very easily be used to push a dangerous agenda.

Now, do I think he is dangerous? No, I think his agenda is pretty much as wholesome as apple pie. But it is something to be watched. I've seen a lot of "I would take a bullet for that man" thrown around with regards to Obama. That's not a healthy impulse in a democracy.

Still, I voted for him today and I hope he wins.
posted by empath at 12:42 PM on February 12, 2008


Bizarrely, Goldberg makes more sense then Krugman. They're both nuts though.
posted by cell divide at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2008


Okay you guys, Obama got my primary vote today. I am still somewhat conflicted, but I am hoping for the best.

Now dammit, if Hillary wins the nomination anyway, I want all you Obama supporters out there in the line for her on election night! :)
posted by onlyconnect at 4:14 PM on February 12, 2008


Without a doubt, onlyconnect!

I've never agonized so much over a political decision before.
posted by Miko at 5:30 PM on February 12, 2008


AP says Obama takes delegate lead. Wow!
posted by marsha56 at 8:19 PM on February 12, 2008


Guess I might close the loop with a follow-up from Lessig:
10 minutes on whether Hillary can win.
posted by zenzizi at 8:46 AM on February 13, 2008


Let's buy us some superdelegates!
posted by caddis at 7:37 PM on February 14, 2008


Obama fever hits Canada
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:57 AM on February 15, 2008


Rex Murphy likes Obama? Holy crap.

But what makes that link for me is the Reform supporter in the comments pouting that THEY were the fresh new faces with new ideas YEARS ago, but Rex and the rest of the CMSM just mocked them. (Non-Canadians: if you're not familiar with the Reform Party, imagine an army of Ron Pauls in toques.)
posted by maudlin at 9:13 AM on February 15, 2008


Obama cribbed from my metafilter comment at the founders dinner in Wisconsin the other night.
posted by empath at 12:23 PM on February 17, 2008


Nice link, empath!

I'm linking that in the "Talk about talk is cheap" thread, as well.
posted by Miko at 12:50 PM on February 17, 2008


That's pretty cool empath.
posted by caddis at 11:16 PM on February 17, 2008


Damnit, he cribbed it from Deval Patrick, apparently.

I guess I have to vote for Hillary Clinton now. IT'S ALL OVER FOLKS, OBAMA'S A PLAGIARIST. Pack up your hopes and dreams and lets all take a ride on the cynicism train!
posted by empath at 11:59 AM on February 18, 2008


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