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February 18, 2008 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Obama accused of plagarism. Clinton aide Howard Wolfson claims Barack Obama plagarized a speech by Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA). If they do seem similar, it could be because they were likely written by the same person, political consultant David Axelrod, a man who gets around.
posted by timsteil (299 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
From here:

'UPDATE: The Obama campaign has issued a statement from Gov. Patrick: "Sen. Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language. The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before. Given the recent attacks from Sen. Clinton, I applaud him responding in just the way he did."'
posted by chasing at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2008


I'm as much of an anti-plagiarist as anyone, but if both speeches were written by the same speechwriter, he's the one who should be culpable. Another ridiculous tactic by an increasingly desperate and Republican-Lite Clinton campaign.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


Sen. Barack Obama said Monday that he doesn't think it's a big deal that he borrowed lines from his friend Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, although he probably should have given him credit. From Boston.com

I doubt he wrote the speech anyway. Although he's taking credit, apologizing. The real blame probably goes to some staffer.
posted by jeblis at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2008


Why does nobody mention that the speech also plagiarizes Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and John F. Kennedy?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


From an academic standpoint, cites and attributions are handled very strictly. In the past, I've had to cite my own prior work if I want to reuse something in a future piece. Obviously I can't plagiarize myself in the accepted sense of the word, but clearly academic holds itself to a higher standard.

That said, I don't think stump speeches need to be accompanied by a page of footnotes handed out to every member of the audience. It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Obama needs to insert the verbal equivalent of a superscript number at the end of each sentence. Patrick and Obama are supporters of one another and share staff. They're essentially on the same professional "team."

If we want to look at the strictest academic definition of plagiarism, then yeah, I suppose Obama goofed. But if what we're ultimately getting at is the man's state of mind and whether he is intellectually honest, I don't think you can use this incident as a mark against him.
posted by tsumo at 12:16 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


I follow politics pretty closely, but anyone else notice that pretty much nothing is going on in the Dem race at this point. The Clinton campaign is pretty far behind at this point. She could win, but it's unlikely.

But really, pretty much nothing interesting is happening.
posted by delmoi at 12:17 PM on February 18, 2008


From an academic standpoint, cites and attributions are handled very strictly. In the past, I've had to cite my own prior work if I want to reuse something in a future piece. Obviously I can't plagiarize myself in the accepted sense of the word, but clearly academic holds itself to a higher standard.

Right, but you also couldn't hire your own "paper-writers" to do your work for you. Given the fact that both candidates use professional speech writers, it seems kind of silly for one to attack the other for plagiarism.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on February 18, 2008


This is the key passage from a NY Times story on the controversy:
In a telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Patrick said that he and Mr. Obama first talked about the attacks from their respective rivals last summer, when Mrs. Clinton was raising questions about Mr. Obama’s experience, and that they discussed them again last week.

Both men had anticipated that Mr. Obama’s rhetorical strength would provide a point of criticism. Mr. Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama’s speechwriters.

Mr. Patrick said he did not believe Mr. Obama should give him credit.

“Who knows who I am? The point is more important than whose argument it is,” said Mr. Patrick, who telephoned The New York Times at the request of the Obama campaign. “It’s a transcendent argument.”
Deval Patrick shared language used in his speeches with Obama's speechwriters. He wanted Obama to use his words. He doesn't think Obama should give him credit. Please tell me where I can find the scandal here, because I'm just not seeing it.
posted by punishinglemur at 12:20 PM on February 18, 2008 [17 favorites]


This seems like a non-issue in a contentious primary campaign. Hardly surprising. Hopefully it won't get too far out of hand but sometimes the stupidest things do.

I mean, I had a lot of problems with Kerry as a candidate, but the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth thing was the most ridiculous drivel and hurt his campaign quite badly.
posted by Muttoneer at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2008


I agree that the Clintons must be getting desperate. I don't think this will work, but they may have a strategy to keep chipping away at Obama's reputation up until Texas/Ohio.
posted by cell divide at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2008


I also read somewhere, and I cannot for the life of me find where it was, that the remarks in question were not in the text of the speech, but were ad-libbed by Obama at the time of the speech.

I don't know if that should make a difference.

Meh.
posted by kbanas at 12:22 PM on February 18, 2008


Will someone copy me? I just gave another $50 to Obama.
posted by paulinsanjuan at 12:24 PM on February 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


BREAKING... MCCAIN STEALS FROM 1992 MOVIE "STRAIGHT TALK"
posted by ALongDecember at 12:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Clintonian flopsweat.
posted by boo_radley at 12:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


(I'm ashamed to admit that) I read the drudge report too...
posted by ob at 12:26 PM on February 18, 2008


The Clinton campaign is pretty far behind at this point. She could win, but it's unlikely.

She's playing games behind the scenes to get superdelegates to support her nomination, instead of the candidate supported by the popular vote.

If she steals the nomination through this process, I suspect many liberals will be reminded of the stolen 2000 election and its consequences, and there will be a major rift in the party. I hope the DNC has survival instincts and doesn't allow this to happen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on February 18, 2008


An ABC TV personality reports:
I asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, if they could assure the public that neither Clinton nor McGovern has ever done what Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, did when he used the rhetoric of Gov. Deval Patrick without footnoting him.

They would not.

In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn't be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had "lifted" such language.

"Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:27 PM on February 18, 2008


This post on MSNBC's FirstRead suggests that Obama delivered this speech off the cuff, without a teleprompter. It seems to be the same speech Wolfson is contesting since the post references the passage in question, but I think the fact that it was improvised is significant.
Obama's speech, which started slow, built up steam and brought the subdued crowd to its feet. The lack of a teleprompter appeared to help him, allowing him to riff on his own and return to parts of his stump speech that he hasn't really used since Iowa or New Hampshire.
Another post on FirstRead today is also of interest.
Clearly, the Clinton campaign is using Wisconsin as something of a test case of how effective negative attacks on Obama can be.
posted by putzface_dickman at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2008


but if both speeches were written by the same speechwriter, he's the one who should be culpable

How did I manage to post this and not work a Toby Ziegler reference in somehow.

/applies palm to forehead vigorously
posted by timsteil at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The attacks on Obama have not even started, the machine is waiting till he wins the primary. There's a few scandals in the works.
posted by stbalbach at 12:35 PM on February 18, 2008


This was bullshit when it was pulled on Biden and it's bullshit now. Since when is political rhetoric -- especially that of allies -- NOT something to spread around? Isn't that the WHOLE FUCKING POINT?

The Clinton campaign is pretty far behind at this point.

Current delegate counts show Obama with ever the slightest of leads. There's nothing to suggest she's "pretty far behind". The problem for Clinton was running largely on the strength of inevitabiility, and without a massive lead, that selling point is lost. Personally, I think the campaign has struggled to find a new rationale for her, although I have grown to like her more during the campaign than I did a year ago.
posted by dhartung at 12:36 PM on February 18, 2008


Grasp those straws, girl.
(and I'm allowed to refer to Hillary as a girl, since her own website does)
posted by ColdChef at 12:37 PM on February 18, 2008


Ooo, what a tactical error to have the accusation come from a known campaign mouthpiece rather than a concerned "independent" group. This has a good chance of backfiring badly against the Clinton campaign. Here's hoping, anyway.

On preview:

In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn't be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had "lifted" such language.

"Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said.


Wolfson is starting to move into adorably incompetent territory here. You can almost see his big-footed puppy of a mind struggling: "Omigod what if she did this sometime in the past oh shit oh shit think think think oh I know I'll say it's different if we do it because because ah I'll think of something this will work this will totally totally work ok here we go..."

Rove he is not.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:37 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


delmoi says: But really, pretty much nothing interesting is happening.

I think that has a lot to do with our increased expectations and short attention spans. We have come to expect something extraordinary to happen every day, and some days we expect it every hour. I don't mean you specifically, but us. Me. Everyone. Give us breaking news.

It was only two weeks ago that people were asking whether Obama could catch up. Now he's the foregone conclusion. No news is good news, at least in this case and from my perspective. And this is no news.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 12:39 PM on February 18, 2008


"Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric," Wolfson said.

Oh? This tempest in a teapot is about a serious policy discussion?
posted by grouse at 12:39 PM on February 18, 2008


I see your plagiarism scandal and raise you a Red-States-Don't-Matter fracas:

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates," Ferguson said. "The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."

posted by billysumday at 12:41 PM on February 18, 2008


J'accuse, Hillary!
posted by ColdChef at 12:43 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


But really, pretty much nothing interesting is happening.

Bingo. There's no reason for anyone to be talking horse race bullshit until the March 4 primaries in Texas and Ohio. Of course, that won't stop the TV heads from jabbering away constantly about trivial idiocy like this.

Oh, and anyone who says Hillary is "far behind" must be on another planet.
posted by mediareport at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2008


The attacks on Obama have not even started, the machine is waiting till he wins the primary. There's a few scandals in the works.

Yeah, like Rezko! All you Obamabots are in for a real roller-coaster! Just take a look at this article:

The couple who sold Barack Obama his Chicago home said the Illinois senator's $1.65 million bid "was the best offer" and they didn't cut their asking price because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land, according to e-mails between Obama's presidential campaign and the seller.

Oh noes! He's honest and prudent!
posted by billysumday at 12:46 PM on February 18, 2008


Please tell me where I can find the scandal here, because I'm just not seeing it.

Stop reading all the complicated little words and just look at the nice, simple headlines, including the original FPP link name, the big news sites, the newspapers. "Obama accused of plagarism!"

Life is easier in sixty point type.
posted by rokusan at 12:47 PM on February 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm sure that this has nothing to do with making a half assed accusation just hours before the polls open in Wisconsin. The Clintonian sleaze is just so transparent and predictable. If Deval Patrick has given him permission to use it, it is a nonissue.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:50 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Clearly, the Clinton campaign is using Wisconsin as something of a test case of how effective negative attacks on Obama can be.

Gee, I hope that's not true because I suspect (and yes, this is getting to be a theme with me) that Wisconsin is going to go worse for Obama than people think. ARG has Hil up by 6 this morning, and ARG is insane, yes, but as an Obama supporter I am ready for a loss in Wisconsin and the subsequent spin from Mark Penn about how Hill cam from behind against impossible odds and and stopped the momentum etc. etc. etc.

I don't know why everyone thinks Obama is going to win Wisconsin so handily. He's never had a substantial lead there and it's not demographically a good state for him. I suspect it may be the beginning of the "firewall" and Hillary's expectation-setting machine is so much better than poor Barack's that he could get really crushed by even a small loss.

I'm a constant pessimist now, since no candidate I have become invested in has done well recently, so feel free to discount this, but mark this post and return to it Tuesday night. I hope there's a lot of "Ha, ha, Bellman! You were wrong -- what a nattering naybob of negativism you are, ya big jerk!" But I doubt it...
posted by The Bellman at 12:51 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, once again, I can neither type nor proofread. For "Hill cam" please read "Hil came". It's not some strange webcam aimed at a grassy knoll.
posted by The Bellman at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can't give you Toby, timsteil, but Sam will have to do:

"Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright."

Funny, that's exactly what came to mind when I read this. On topic: it doesn't really bother me that two people who talk to each other use the same arguments. If Obama and Patrick are close and talk about politics this really seems like a non-issue to me.
posted by hue at 12:55 PM on February 18, 2008


Obama's chief speechwriter is Jon Favreau, a wee 26-year-old.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:55 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure, Deval Patrick might have given the OK-- but what about empath? What does he think about all this?
posted by ibmcginty at 12:56 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


The attacks on Obama have not even started, the machine is waiting till he wins the primary. There's a few scandals in the works.

Yeah, like Rezko! All you Obamabots are in for a real roller-coaster!...


History implies that what matters is not the commission of wrongdoing, but whether your political opponents can create the appearance (or even the false memory) of wrongdoing.
posted by Prospero at 12:57 PM on February 18, 2008


Perhaps that’s why the Clinton folks felt it was ok then to steal votes from the Obama people?
To be fair, I don’t see why Obama should get even one vote from people in Harlem, when, after all there were almost 80 districts where he didn’t get even one vote.
posted by HVAC Guerilla at 12:58 PM on February 18, 2008


Wisconsin is going to be strange because Republicans who hate Hillary may want to vote for her in the Primary so they can beat her in the general election (unless if people still don't think McCain has wrapped up the nomination).
posted by drezdn at 1:01 PM on February 18, 2008


I can't see this making much of a difference. Besides there being no "smoking gun," it seems that Obama's supporters are pretty damned resolute. In the past months, I haven't talked to a single person who was wavering in who to support in the Dem. primary.

My (admittedly anecdotal) experience has been :

Old-school (second-wave) feminists, their boyfriends/husbands : Hilary. The mood has been one of general annoyance.

Everyone else : Obama. The general mood has been one of excitement bordering on religious fervor. This would probably annoy me were I not an Obama supporter.

Also - has anybody else noticed that choice in primary candidate has been a bit viral? Very few social groups I've observed seem to be heterogeneous in their support.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:02 PM on February 18, 2008


This was news last April.
posted by Floydd at 1:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Prospero: I'll take Obama's Rezko connection over the myriad scandals of the Clintons and the numerous ones of McCain in any general election. People can't seem to believe that Obama might actually be a real, genuine, honest politician. His biggest concern should be that because people consider him so ethical, even the whiff of corruption could tarnish him. Compare that to the Clintons and the press' reluctance to go after the donors to the Clinton library and Hillary's refusal to show her tax returns. Everyone already considers them corrupt, so it takes something really huge to impress anybody whereas with Obama, if he comes out tomorrow and says "poop," his campaign is ruined. He walks the tightrope. But still, the guy is amazingly clean for a Presidential candidate.
posted by billysumday at 1:04 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Life is easier in sixty point type.

<60pt Font>Bush Murdered!</60pt Font>

It's just not always accurate ;)
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on February 18, 2008


See also
posted by Tlogmer at 1:09 PM on February 18, 2008


Plaigiarism means the unauthorized use of another's words. Obama is authorised, therefore there's no plagiarism. Full stop.
posted by Malor at 1:13 PM on February 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I think it's about time that Obama is exposed as the fraud that he is.

(OK, I don't have much to back that up, but this thread can sure use some balance.)
posted by sour cream at 1:17 PM on February 18, 2008


"She's playing games behind the scenes to get superdelegates to support her nomination, instead of the candidate supported by the popular vote. If she steals the nomination through this process . . ."

I love the implicit prejudices in this post. Clinton is attempting to sway the votes of the superdelegates. This is a perfectly legitimate tactic in the Democratic selection process, but it's derided as "playing games." Then it's suggested that she will steal the nomination by winning it in a perfectly legitimate way, completely within the rules of the DNC. Exactly how does one steal something by following the rules?

The superdelegates are under no obligation to vote for anyone in particular. Nor are they under any obligation to vote according to any particular rule or system. They can vote for whomever they damn well please. Heck they could all vote for John Edwards. In doing so they would not be violating any oath or standard. They would not be betraying their constituencies (many superdelegates aren't even elected officials). They would simply be fulfilling their responsibilities and exercising their discretion in a way that is completely consistent with their role as it was created by the party.

Please, stop acting as if the courting of superdelegates is some heinous evil concocted as a Clintonian end run on the will of the masses.
posted by oddman at 1:17 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


God, what a stupid, pointless criticism. It's always been plain that the race for the Democratic nomination was between Clinton and Obama. In the beginning, I respected Clinton but chose Obama. As all these distracting little smear campaigns of theirs spin out, my choice isn't changing but my level of respect for Clinton is.

I've been getting really frustrated with their spurious claims, their belittling comments (Jesse Jackson won South Carolina, too!) and their apparent strategy of bending and exploiting party rules to edge out the candidate who has excited the most actual voters. I asked my Dad if this is what it felt like being a Republican in the nineties. He laughed and said watching their maneuvers was giving him some deja vu, alright.

rokusan nails it - the Clintons are looking to manufacture a couple days worth of headlines and to force Obama to bring himself down a little to respond to their claims. In the end, it's the same play they were making in trying to distort his record on the war before the South Carolina vote. I hope this goes just as poorly for them. Their campaign tactics are only slightly less slimy than Rove's, and they've changed their campaign theme only slightly less often than Romney did. And the fact they're doing all of this so they might force the DNC to field a candidate certain to lose to John McCain is really baffling.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:18 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


This is obviously not scientific, but last week all things considered did a "man on the street" piece in Wisconsin about tomorrow's open primary. Here's how it went:

1 Clinton: Because Bill did a good job and the Republicans have screwed everything up.
1 Obama: Lifelong Republican who thinks Republicans have "messed this world up," and he won't vote for Hillary so that leaves Obama.
1 Obama: Republican, "I'm leaning towards the black boy... this is the biggest mess we've ever been in."
1 Obama: Democrat, "Well, i'm not going to vote for Mrs. Clinton, and I don't want another Republican."
1 Obama: But maybe clinton, "but if her husband is there he's going to want to run it too, and is that going to work?"
1 Clinton: "I don't know much about Obama... Hillary we've known for years."
1 Obama: Lifelong Republican. "I like what [Obama] has to say."

Maybe NPR just attracts (or is attracted to) a certain element, and geography undoubtedly has a lot to do with it. Still, I found it encouraging.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 1:19 PM on February 18, 2008


Everyone else : Obama. The general mood has been one of excitement bordering on religious fervor. This would probably annoy me were I not an Obama supporter.

Isn't it funny, Afroblanco. I'm a terrible misanthrope myself and if I weren't an Obama supporter GOD how I would hate all those smug little hipster fucks. As it is, though: Go smug little hipster fucks!
posted by The Bellman at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2008 [12 favorites]


And, billysumday, who cares about tax returns?

The US needs a leader who can fearlessly face the likes of Hugo Chavez. Or the president of Russia, whoever that is now. I.e. someone who knows how to fight dirty and who won't have second thoughts about using semi-legal measures, as long as they are in our best interest.

I mean, who would you rather send to mud wrestle Kim Jong Il and Ahmajinedad?
posted by sour cream at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2008


but what about empath?

I should be a speechwriter.

Here's his defense for this attack:

"First, my opponent has accused my of using lofty rhetoric instead having real solutions. Now she says my rhetoric isn't even my own!

Now, I want to be honest here. I've used some words that aren't my own before.

"Fired Up, Ready to Go?" I go that from a supporter down in South Carolina.

"Yes, We Can?" Got that from hispanic farm workers in the southwest.

"We're the ones we've been waiting for?" Got that from another supporter of mine, Alice Walker.

And my good friend Deval Patrick gave me some suggestions before my speech in Wisconsin. It's great stuff! I ran with it.

Now, I haven't used footnotes in my speeches, but you can ask all these folks and they'll tell you they gave me permission to use those lines. See one of the things I'll do as president is listen to people when they offer me advice. After 8 years of Bush and Cheney ignoring all their advisors and the rest of the world to follow their own agenda, don't you want a president that actually listens to the smart people around them, whether they're minority union members, or writers and campaign volunteers or governors of states.

I'm a smart guy, but I've know I don't have a monopoly on good ideas. So I want to hear them. And as president, I'll continue to listen to suggestions I get from everyone.


Something like that anyway..
posted by empath at 1:24 PM on February 18, 2008 [40 favorites]


Sleazy last minute attacks? Yup. That's another $50 off to the Obama campaign.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


I suspect this will be the Gennifer Flowers / Dean scream / Voted for bevore Voted against / I invented the Internet moment for Obama. The reality of the situation has nothing to do with how it gets filtered through the pundocracy. The story will go because it attacks the central pillar of Obama's identity. Snarky partisans will simply repeat this copy cat story and bring it up every time Obama gives a speech. Watch his acceptance speech at the dem convention, and listen for the first pundit to say, "great speech, I wonder who he where he copied it from." We'll see how skilled a politician Mr. Obama is in how he is able to escape this one.
posted by humanfont at 1:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


This pretty much turns it for me. I'm now prepared to forgive Clinton for voting for the war in Iraq, voting for Kyl-Lieberman, dodging the telecoms retroactive immunity vote, her close ties to AIPAC, etc. etc., all BECAUSE OBAMA IS A COPYCAT.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


Btw, I'll also write excuses for turning in your homework late -- very reasonable rates! (cash upfront only)
posted by empath at 1:26 PM on February 18, 2008


They're just doing exactly what the GOP wants them to do: spend so much time and energy attacking each other that come November, they'll have nothing left to go against McCain with.
posted by tommasz at 1:30 PM on February 18, 2008


Obama's chief speechwriter is Jon Favreau, a wee 26-year-old.

Loved that guy in Swingers! "You're money, baby!"
posted by pardonyou? at 1:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


hue: "Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright."

Funny thing is, he stole that line from Picasso.
posted by adamrice at 1:40 PM on February 18, 2008


Will someone copy me? I just gave another $50 to Obama.

I just plagiarized your donation.
posted by mosch at 1:41 PM on February 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


Current delegate counts show Obama with ever the slightest of leads. There's nothing to suggest she's "pretty far behind".

I'm not sure how current that list is, if includes the 'potomac primary' states. Anyway, Hillary's main problem is that most of her lead is made up of super delegates, who can switch at any point in time, in fact a handful of Hillary's super delegates have said they will not vote for her if Obama wins in pledge delegates. Obama is something like 100 pledged delegates up on Clinton, and the idea that super delegates are going to override the vote by going en-masse against the pledged delegate winner is pretty silly. Josh marshal has article on this. And he also has a Video explaining why it's almost impossible for Hillary to win. She has to basically blow him out in all the remaining states to win the pledged delegates.

You should definitely watch the video if you're not clear on this.
posted by delmoi at 1:41 PM on February 18, 2008


Is this a sleazy attempt to smear Obama? Yup. Hey, that's politics. Obama's political future lies in his abilities to overcome the distortions of his opponents.

Same with the Super Delegate issue. While it shows a total lack of ethics on the part of the Clinton Campaign, it is within the rules. It is up to Obama to use his political skills to keep Super Delegates from subverting the democratic process...
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:43 PM on February 18, 2008


Oh, and I will be emailing all the elected officials who are Super Delegates for my state. I want it to be known that if any of them vote against the majority vote of my fellow state citizens, I will not support their next campaign in any way. Some of the delegates are not mere Democratic officials, but elected officials as well. They will be held accountable.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:47 PM on February 18, 2008


It is a sleazy attempt to smear Obama. And he'll make it backfire like he always does. The man is bulletproof.
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on February 18, 2008


This has long been obvious to all residents of the Commonwealth who suffered through Deval Patrick's insipid, lowest-common-denominator campaign for governor.

It's long been known that the two men have been friends and shared material, and Obama's presidential campaign is a near mirror-image of Patrick's campaign for governor against Kerry Healy (who would have been our first elected woman governor an who actually had a platform). Hopefully Obama has some vision upon winning the election beyond legalizing casinos and getting bold haircuts.
posted by 1 at 1:48 PM on February 18, 2008


The Loch Ness Monster: "delmoi says: But really, pretty much nothing interesting is happening.

I think that has a lot to do with our increased expectations and short attention spans. We have come to expect something extraordinary to happen every day, and some days we expect it every hour. I don't mean you specifically, but us. Me. Everyone. Give us breaking news.

It was only two weeks ago that people were asking whether Obama could catch up. Now he's the foregone conclusion. No news is good news, at least in this case and from my perspective. And this is no news.
"

That's what the refresh button is for :D
posted by symbioid at 1:50 PM on February 18, 2008


Oops, that was supposed to be in reference to the first part.
posted by symbioid at 1:51 PM on February 18, 2008


I wonder if both Clinton and McCain will apologize for plagiarizing Obama's "change" speeches?
posted by afx114 at 1:54 PM on February 18, 2008


While it shows a total lack of ethics on the part of the Clinton Campaign, it is within the rules.

That "total lack of ethics" is a big problem politically, though -- at least when it's so obvious. Though I think she's just about totally unelectable, the nomination was really hers to lose. And while I can't speak for the Obama-ites who think he walks on water and probably were in his camp from day one, I can say that, for me, Hillary's shitty campaign was the tipping factor in supporting Obama. I have to wonder how much other potential support she's cost herself not because Obama is so damn charming, but because Hillary is just...Hillary.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:56 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


The US needs a leader who can fearlessly face the likes of Hugo Chavez. Or the president of Russia, whoever that is now. I.e. someone who knows how to fight dirty and who won't have second thoughts about using semi-legal measures, as long as they are in our best interest.

But if they're so dishonest and dirty, how do you know they actually fighting for your best interests? I mean, look Bush really fucked up the country, but his friends all made tons of money. Isn't it possible that rather then incompetence, he simply had a different agenda. If someone is going to lie and be crooked and dirty they're just as liable to screw you over too.

(and certainly, unfair attacks on Obama are certainly not in the best interest of the Democratic party)

I'm not scared of people like Ahmajinedad or Kim Jong Il (And Hugo Chavez? What, are we worried he'll give more free heating oil to poor Americans? Or is the problem just that he says rude thing about Bush? Chavez may be a bad leader for Venezuelans, but he's never done anything remotely threatening too the US)

Plus, the idea that you can just go out there and be an asshole and lie and cheat and push people around in the world and have it turn out well for you is absurd. People don't like being pushed around and continuing to do it is damaging over the long run.
posted by delmoi at 1:57 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


Exactly how does one steal something by following the rules?

Let's ask the Supreme Court of the United States.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


One of the news sites ran numbers that suggested Clinton needs to win 55% of the rest of the pledged delegates, if she loses Wi and Hi that goes to 57% and if she loses everywhere where Obama is heavily favored at the moment that goes close to 60%. At this moment is seems likely that Tx and Oh will predominately go for Clinton, but I don't think they will go so heavily she will pick up as many pledged delegates as she needs, especially in Tx, which just seems to be a mockery of the proportional voting system.

Prior to Wi my opinion of Clinton had gone up, now it is just sinking back down.

(Chelsea's insulation has done nothing for my support of the Clinton's. She is campaigning for her mom, but is off limits to reporters despite her being a full grown adult, 28? The whole stupid msnbc "pimped" affair is a good example of that. I can see why that may have been offensive and needed some response, but I think the primary response should have come form Chelsea herself, not her mom, and may be a good indication of how a new Clinton administration would be run.)
posted by edgeways at 2:08 PM on February 18, 2008


I feel sorry for the Clinton campaign. Every time they pull something, it backfires on them.

Obama had it sewed up weeks ago.

The US needs a leader who can fearlessly face the likes of Hugo Chavez. Or the president of Russia, whoever that is now. I.e. someone who knows how to fight dirty and who won't have second thoughts about using semi-legal measures, as long as they are in our best interest.

Statements like this are why people all over the world consider the United States a criminal state - because the US is willing to break the law in its best interests.

You cannot object to the statement "the US is a criminal state" if you advocate "using semi-legal measures, as long as they are in our best interest." (Semi-legal means illegal, by the way. Things are either legal, or they're not. Often, the laws aren't enforced but that doesn't make illegal things legal.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:09 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


(Oh, and Tx? I thought I was a Clinton forgone conclusion, but a CNN poll now says it is a dead heat, and at this point that's all Obama needs)
posted by edgeways at 2:15 PM on February 18, 2008


oddman writes "Please, stop acting as if the courting of superdelegates is some heinous evil concocted as a Clintonian end run on the will of the masses."

Yeah, just look how well it worked for Mondale when he utilized this strategy.

She may win the nomination through this method, but she will surely lose the election if that's how she gets the nomination. This will be even more likely if she gets elected by superdelegates but loses in the total vote and elected delegate count, most of the party will see her win as illegitimate, and/or without a mandate. That's all that's needed to tip the scales way over to McCain's side.

Mark my words.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:18 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is about as ridiculous as the time John Fogerty was sued for plagiarizing himself.
posted by jonp72 at 2:18 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ignore the comma splice and extraneous comma. I need an editor ...
posted by krinklyfig at 2:21 PM on February 18, 2008


Will someone copy me? I just gave another $50 to Obama.

I just plagiarized your donation.


ditto.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 2:24 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Humanfont: "...Gennifer Flowers / Dean scream / Voted for bevore Voted against / I invented the Internet..."

One of these things is not like the other...
posted by symbioid at 2:24 PM on February 18, 2008


Seems obvious that there will be nothing sticky about this charge. It is leveled only so that the word 'plagiarism' will appear next to the name 'Obama' in headlines and teleprompters for part of a news cycle. A low tactic!

Oh and hey, while you smug hipsters are throwing Obama cash around, the Nerds For Obama gateway is still at zero.
posted by damehex at 2:25 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


The superdelegate system was put in place to avoid the nomination of fringe candidates, candidates who where unelectable. It would be high irony if it was used to nominate a less electable candidate. But, whomever, given the high level of support for both candidates the S-delegates need to support whomever has the most pledged delegates, even if that turns out to not be my candidate in the end I could live with it. Going against that will ensure a republican win in the fall.
posted by edgeways at 2:27 PM on February 18, 2008


damehex writes "Oh and hey, while you smug hipsters are throwing Obama cash around, the Nerds For Obama gateway is still at zero."

I've given and will again, and I'm a nerdy type, but, after reading the page ... well, I'll just add my support as a non-affiliated individual.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:28 PM on February 18, 2008


Lupus: You cannot object to the statement "the US is a criminal state" if you advocate "using semi-legal measures, as long as they are in our best interest." (Semi-legal means illegal, by the way.)

Did I object to the statement "the US is a criminal state"? I think it is great that the US has a president who endorses semi-legal interrogation means, regardless of what the rest of the world is saying.
Also, I really like the word "semi-legal". You have to admit that it is almost Clintonesque.

In any case, "Vote Hillary, because she knows how to play dirty." is a great campaign slogan, if you ask me.
posted by sour cream at 2:30 PM on February 18, 2008


sour cream writes "I think it is great that the US has a president who endorses semi-legal interrogation means, regardless of what the rest of the world is saying."

Or regardless of how effective it actually is, right? Because if we want results, that's not the way to go.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:32 PM on February 18, 2008


Did I object to the statement "the US is a criminal state"? I think it is great that the US has a president who endorses semi-legal interrogation means, regardless of what the rest of the world is saying.

Are you being sarcastic, or retarded?
posted by delmoi at 2:33 PM on February 18, 2008


there will be nothing sticky about this charge

Agreed; news outlets don't have a lot to say about it, since the Patrick statement and Obama statement put the controversy it to rest before it could be fanned into flame. Where they do spend time on it, they've been using it as a lead-in to a discussion of the state of the Clinton campaign or the race in general. It's a slow news day thing.
posted by Miko at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2008


In case you are unsure, here is a list of superdelegates by state.
posted by absalom at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2008


RNC donor event outlines Obama attack plan
posted by homunculus at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2008


delmoi: Are you being sarcastic, or retarded?

Just trying to be cheerful in this cold, cold world of ours.
posted by sour cream at 2:44 PM on February 18, 2008


My polling company has just completed a survey of [expletive deleted]. The aggregate of the respondent(s) shows a 95% certainty that sour cream is being facetious, +/-5% 19 times out of 20.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:54 PM on February 18, 2008


Is anybody surprised that Hillary is going negative now? She's not going to go down easy, and neither will the republicans. I'm sure he'll be accused of rape and murder before it's over.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on February 18, 2008


Is anybody surprised that Hillary is going negative now?

No, but it's a fresh reminder of why I'm not voting for her.
posted by grouse at 3:11 PM on February 18, 2008 [7 favorites]


I sincerely doubt this thing has anything to do with Obama's ability to run the country.

That being said, this is very clearly an act of plagiarism. If he had turned this speech in for an assignment in college, he might rightfully have been expelled. Whether or not he had permission from the original author has absolutely nothing to do with it--just as passing off someone else's answers to a test as one's own is cheating, regardless of whether or not they gave you "permission" to use their answers.

It's one thing to forgive Obama for a lapse in judgment and ask that he not do it again. It's quite another to say that presenting another's work as one's own is not plagiarism simply because permission was granted. Plagiarism is about honesty as much as it is about intellectual property rights. That's why you don't find definitions of plagiarism with "but he said it was ok" exceptions. I don't know what common practice in political speech circles is, but if he's lifting a portion of a speech from another campaign (nearly verbatim), he should at the very least put a footnote on the transcript and release that to the news media.

If it really doesn't matter "whose argument it is," as Patrick claims, then there's really no reason not to properly cite the source. That much can't be rationally disputed.

Moreover, choosing to reward dishonest behavior with $50 just because somebody you don't like complained about it is ridiculously infantile. It tends to reinforce the perception that Obama's following is largely a cult of personality; the response to dishonesty by Obama is to blame Clinton for pointing it out. Very strange.
posted by dsword at 3:18 PM on February 18, 2008


"...because the US is willing to break the law in its bestshort-term interests."

Does that read better?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:32 PM on February 18, 2008


Alexander said there will be a lot of angry Democrats if Obama arrives at the convention with the most elected delegates and Clinton emerges as the nominee.

In Chicago, I'd fully expect riots. Especially if HRC loses the general, the democratic establishment which defied the voters would face being wiped out electorally. The reason that so many superdelegates haven't committed is that they're waiting to see who is winning. TPM is right, and if you look at the latest data on Pollster it's even more grim for HRC in terms of pledged delegates; she's only looking at gaining 35 to 50 delegates from OH and TX as things stand today.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:37 PM on February 18, 2008


I think that's a false analogy you can't hold it to the same standard as a college paper, for one thing we don't hire 3rd parties to write our papers additionally it was not a paper at all, it was an extemporaneous speech (I'm reading that right?). I highly suspect this is something that goes on amongst all speech makers, certainly Clinton herself is "guilty" of it if guilt is even the right word here. Thus, calling out Obama on this on the eve of a big vote seems more likely political posturing rather then truly complaining, with the intent of bringing to light a wrong. And, while I didn't donate $50 to Obama as a result of this I can see why people have.
posted by edgeways at 3:38 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


then there's really no reason not to properly cite the source

Sure there is. It interrupts the lyrical flow of the speech and detracts from the message.

You seem to be confused about the purpose of political speech. It is very different from the purpose of a college paper. The purpose of a college paper or test is to demonstrate mastery of a subject. In that purpose, it is intellectually dishonest to take somebody elses thought or ideas and pass them off as your own.

In stark contrast, the purpose of political speech is to inspire and persuade. It's more about the person hearing the speech that it is about the person giving the speech. In that context, taking care to footnote every line is not only clunky and unpoetic. It's absurd.
posted by willnot at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and that's not a race thing. From the Obama campaign stops, I'd expect very multi-ethnic demonstrations of outrage and betrayal.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2008


dsword: The problem with your comparison is that political campaign speechmaking is not the same as academic paper writing. From all accounts, Deval Patrick was acting as something just short of a campaign speechwriter; he provided Obama's writing team with examples of language he had used, Obama has Patrick's permission to use his language, and Patrick has stated that he wanted Obama to use his language.

Most of the things you'll hear a politician say on the stump aren't their words; is it plagarism that the speechwriters behind Bush's latest State of the Union aren't fully credited in the transcript? Is he cheating? Should he be expelled? Of course not, because this is political speechmaking, not academic writing. They're not even in the same universe.
posted by punishinglemur at 3:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel bad for Bill Clinton, on some level. To be associated with such inept Rovian politicking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:42 PM on February 18, 2008


The attacks on Obama have not even started

Well, holy crap, then. I listened, astonished, as the teenaged waitress at my diner talked of how Obama was sworn in on a Quran, turned his back on the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, was brainwashed at a madrassa, etc. I can hardly wait for the real sh*tslinging to start. :oP
posted by pax digita at 3:43 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, one of the Representatives from my State was sworn in on the Quran, (Tomas jefferson's copy I think), and he is black, not sure where else she may have gotten that concoction of idiotic from. But, you will always have a certain portion of the population who are just too dumb to be bothered.
posted by edgeways at 3:47 PM on February 18, 2008


Granted, this particular waitress embodied the concept "beauty times brains equals a constant."
posted by pax digita at 3:54 PM on February 18, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "She's playing games behind the scenes to get superdelegates to support her nomination, instead of the candidate supported by the popular vote."

Interesting point: I was watching this video on YouTube, sort of an "Obama behind-the-scenes" type of thing. It was filmed at the California state Democratic convention last summer. At one point, he is walking down a corridor with an advisor in his ear quietly telling him about the local superdelegates Clinton has won over, like the chair of the LA city council. Obama smiles and says, "Well, see, that's what Hillary does, she's playing the convention game. But that's why she doesn't have 20,000 people outside..." Which I think is the essential issue: people vs. insiders.

Oh, and one point he walks into a room full of supporters and cameramen and people holding boom mics, and they all quiet when they see him. Then he clears his throat and says, "Who are all these folks? I feel like I'm in a Verizon ad. Ya'll are my network!"

I thought is was pretty funny...
posted by Rhaomi at 3:58 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


But really, pretty much nothing interesting is happening.

You obviously don't live in Texas. Things are just getting started around here.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:59 PM on February 18, 2008


dsword: I can't tell if you're trying to troll or not, but I'm going to reply as though you're not a troll.

You wrote:
Moreover, choosing to reward dishonest behavior with $50 just because somebody you don't like complained about it is ridiculously infantile. It tends to reinforce the perception that Obama's following is largely a cult of personality; the response to dishonesty by Obama is to blame Clinton for pointing it out.
We disagree on whether or not the behavior was, in any way at all, dishonest. I know that I routinely use the exact phrasing used by friends and colleagues in casual speech and in presentations. I've seen the same happen with other people. I view this as memetic transfer, not some sort of lazy or dishonest plagiarism.

As such, I see two possibilities for how this occurred: The first is that Obama was speaking off-hand, and simply remembered that construction as a powerful way to make his point that words have power. The second is that Obama's speech was prepared, and he used the same construction because he and the original source share a speechwriter.

In either case, I see nothing wrong done at all, and as such I felt it appropriate to send a small donation, to help fund the discussion of real issues, instead of what I believe to be an inane, manufactured publicity stunt.

The second point I'd like to address is the criticism of Clinton for pointing it out. I believe this is largely justified because numerous people have already identified similar uncited quotations in her speeches, but nobody is making a big deal of them. She's attempting to hold Obama to a standard where she would also fail. I find this hypocrisy troubling.

As for the idea that Obama is a cult of personality, perhaps some people view him that way, I can't know. I don't believe that Obama's presidency will be a magical fairyland of rainbows, unicorns and flawlessly executed initiatives. I simply believe that he is the most interesting, (and perhaps the least partisan) of all the viable candidates. As such, I'm interested in seeing what he brings to the plate.

I doubt that I can sway your mind on the dishonesty issue, as it seems to me that only an extraordinarily hard-headed and partisan fellow could have looked over the facts and decided that Obama was dishonest, but you should at least consider the idea that many reasonable and rational people see this from a different angle than you.
posted by mosch at 4:02 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


a bunch of ridiculous bullshit
posted by dsword at 3:18 PM on February 18


You are aware that there are significant differences between academic work and political speechwriting, yes? Academics are not allowed to have third parties write their speeches, whereas a politician who writes all his or her own speeches is using his or her precious time unwisely.

Please respond to us at the very least indicating that you understand that simple fact, because I'm worried that you've either a) had a serious stroke or b) come from Mars and are suffocating in our oxygen-rich environment.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


A few posters noted above that if they were not Obama supporters, the behavior of other supporters would probably really annoy them.

Speaking as someone who is currently planning to vote for Clinton tomorrow ... yes, yes it does. I can not tell you how tired I am of essentially hearing, "OUR left-leaning centrist candidate with a voting record nearly identical to yours is THE SECOND COMING OF THE MESSIAH! On the other hand, YOUR left-leaning centrist candidate with a voting record nearly identical to ours is THE DEVIL INCARNATE!"

I understand neither the Obama love nor the Clinton hatred. They both seem like pretty good candidates, and I'll support whichever one eventually gets the nomination, but I am baffled by the disparity in the treatment of them by the media, by Republicans, and by Democrats.

To be honest ... the reaction to Clinton is starting to feel like sexism to me. It really is. After hearing months and months of this, I really wonder if there isn't an undercurrent of "I just don't like her because she's such a bitch. She's so pushy. She just rubs me the wrong way for some reason."

I don't like it and it's pissing me off.
posted by kyrademon at 4:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


What Would a McCain Supreme Court Look Like?
posted by homunculus at 4:06 PM on February 18, 2008


Waiting in the wings:

The War Party Targets Obama
They'll never let him become president

posted by telstar at 4:07 PM on February 18, 2008


Sure there is. It interrupts the lyrical flow of the speech and detracts from the message.

This argument begs the question and boils down to this: it's ok to pass off somebody else's oratory achievement as one's own because giving credit would reduce one's perceived oratory skills. Presentation is never an excuse for plagiarism in any context. He could have introduced the line with, "As my good friend Deval Patrick has said..." or something similar.

Moreover, you'll notice that I placed that sentence immediately after the suggestion that the footnote be appended to the transcript, where this complaint doesn't apply.

And I'm well aware of the varied purposes of both papers and speeches. There's no need to be patronizing.

The problem with your comparison is that political campaign speechmaking is not the same as academic paper writing. From all accounts, Deval Patrick was acting as something just short of a campaign speechwriter; he provided Obama's writing team with examples of language he had used, Obama has Patrick's permission to use his language, and Patrick has stated that he wanted Obama to use his language.

See above. Politicians regularly provide sources for statistics that they quote. It's not as if citations are unheard of in politics. Again, permission has nothing to do with it; the issue is honesty. If it doesn't matter "whose argument it is," then the campaign should be transparent about the fact that they're recycling speeches from another politician's campaign. It's as much about not taking credit that isn't due as it is about giving credit.
posted by dsword at 4:07 PM on February 18, 2008


Well, holy crap, then. I listened, astonished, as the teenaged waitress at my diner talked of how Obama was sworn in on a Quran, turned his back on the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, was brainwashed at a madrassa, etc. I can hardly wait for the real sh*tslinging to start. :oP

I'm going to get the refutation to this bullshit printed up on a business card that I can hand to assholes who spout this to me. As it is, I've sent at least a dozen people I otherwise regarded as intelligent to the Snopes page.
posted by ColdChef at 4:07 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


edgeways: But, you will always have a certain portion of the population who are just too dumb to be bothered.

Actually, I'd like to dispute this. They aren't dumb. They're willfully misinformed.

There's entire subcultures in the U.S. devoted to creating for themselves a comfortable warm cloud of lies for them to breathe in and fart back out. These groups are insular and view any challenges to their worldview as evidence of its correctness. It's a feedback loop and difficult to pierce unless the urge to seek objective truth arises from within. As they continue to create "alternate" media for themselves, like talk radio and FOX News, it'll become harder to get them to see reason.
posted by JHarris at 4:08 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


kyrademon

As someone who was originally and edwards supporter and until the last month fairly ambivalent to obama/clinton (as you said, the voting records are nearly identical and they would both be great presidents) the campaign has been turning me off clinton. And I say this a huge fan of Bill and a modest fan of hillary. But the lines such as "Jesse jackson won south carolina twice" and the move to try and squeak this thing out with superdelagates even at the expense of the party strikes me as disastrous.
posted by slapshot57 at 4:14 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, absalom, that's something. My state and I went Obama, but Clinton has more pledged superdelegates. Must motivate.
posted by rainbaby at 4:14 PM on February 18, 2008


dsword: I just don't see why using Deval Patrick's language and using the language of an uncredited speechwriter receive such different levels of outrage. Many of the most famous moments in political speechmaking were produced by professional speechwriters, yet the transcript will never show the true author, nor will anyone have any problem citing the candidate him or herself as the source of the quotation.

It seems like the problem people have is that in this case, someone else said it first, instead of writing it first. Both of this situations are, by your standard, dishonest. So why does one get so much more outrage than the other?
posted by punishinglemur at 4:15 PM on February 18, 2008


dsword: Politicians use speechwriters all the time. Does Bush credit his speechwriters everytime he gives a speech? A politician giving a speech only makes the implication that he means what he says, not that he originally wrote the words that he said.

Do you know what Jon Favraeu wrote of Obama's speeches and what Obama wrote?

Now, granted, it was a lapse of judgement to mimic that entire riff, but who knows how the conversation went? It may be that Obama didn't know that Patrick had used those exact words in a speech before. He might have first heard it when Patrick suggested it to him. Surely he was capable of re-stating the general gist in his own words if he thought he needed to.
posted by empath at 4:18 PM on February 18, 2008


rainbaby, there is no such thing as a pledged superdelegate.
posted by empath at 4:19 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon wrote:To be honest ... the reaction to Clinton is starting to feel like sexism to me. It really is.

Please consider watching this video on why Lawrence Lessig is for Obama, or reading this transcript.

It addresses the fact that many of their political positions are similar, but points out some differences that are responsible for the extreme reaction to Hillary's candidacy.

I do not, by any means, cite his video as a full and complete list of reasons I don't like Hillary, but as somebody who supports Obama strongly and detests Hillary, I'd like to offer you a small view into the reasons that I feel the way I do, and to let you know that precisely none of my distaste is due to her gender, or other intangibles.
posted by mosch at 4:29 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon, I certainly understand your position, and generally feel similar on many of the points. I personally did not vote for Clinton in our primary for a number of reasons, one of which is I do not care for her personally. I've tried to figure out if that was a sexist based position, as it does concern me, finally I came to decide don't think it is so as I've voted for quite a few women over men (even in local/state primaries), I would, (or at least I believe I would) vote for a woman for president without any concern they would perform the job any differently then any given male.

I suspect Clinton is on the receiving end of sexism bias in the media, there certainly have been some pretty plain instances of it, but I also think she, as an individual not as a woman, has some personality traits that turn some people off, including myself. Clinton would make a better president them McCain, I believe, but she carries so much baggage, she can be so uninspiring to the majority of the country that it would be a contentious presidency, even where it doesn't need to be, from, yes, "day one".

I've certainly heard your concerns (my candidate is better, yours is evil) from Clinton supporters as well, so it is not a one sided issue.

The funny thing is, if Clinton and Obama could have kept it civil, or focused on McCain and run this thing all the way to June the sheer amount of media attention, especially after McCain finally wins the R nomination would have been worth twice its weight in money spent. It may still be, one of Tony Blair's strategies during his long tenure, was to make sure he and Labor soaked up the lion's share of media attention, even if it wasn't 100% positive 100% of the time.

The mania thing may well be, by and large, a generational thing. A lot of younger voters are seeing this as a potential shift and have allowed themselves to be inspired by it. Inspired people can be annoying, but it is good to see so many people fired up about this election. I think Clinton needs Obama on her ticket more then he needs her, especially for the young vote, but they are both burning bridges so I don't really think either will have the other as VP.
posted by edgeways at 4:29 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


slapshot57 -

I understand where you're coming from, but I also think the criticism of the two candidates has been bizarrely disproportionate. The superdelegates thing, for example, I think is ridiculous. Obama has been campaigning to win the support of superdelegates just as hard as Clinton is. Honestly, either candidate would have to be an idiot not to. But somehow, when Clinton does is, she is trying to game the system, and when Obama does it, he is trying to retain his rightful place. Why? Because he has a minute lead in pledged delegates at this very moment? What happens if that switches in a month? Will he suddenly be trying to game the system? Somehow, I doubt it will be regarded that way.

A huge fuss is made over every tactical move made by the Clinton camp - such as, for example, the subject of this FPP. Oh no! She is running a negative campaign! What a bitch! When the Obama team, however, performs tactical moves - such as Nevada's, "Well, we lost the popular vote but we won more delagates to we REALLY won" spin - it's regarded as only right and proper. (When Clinton downplays Obama's wins, however, she's ... running a horrible negative campaign.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:29 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I just don't like her because she's such a bitch. She's so pushy. She just rubs me the wrong way for some reason."

Perhaps this is a reaction to negative campaign tactics, rather than one related to gender. Or perhaps it's a reaction to her stated desire to win the convention using superdelegates if she loses the popular vote.

I see no reason to believe that those sorts of vague negative opinions are because of her gender.
posted by mosch at 4:33 PM on February 18, 2008


Who called Hillary a bitch for running a negative campaign?
posted by punishinglemur at 4:33 PM on February 18, 2008


Politicians regularly provide sources for statistics that they quote

That's because the source of statistics and empirical claims is important. It's how we know that they aren't making it up. You're not dealing with the fact that political speeches routinely use material from other speakers and writers without citation. The rules of the game are different than paper-writing. Oratory has several components, one of which is writing material. Another is delivery. Another is selecting material.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:36 PM on February 18, 2008


I understand neither the Obama love nor the Clinton hatred.
posted by kyrademon at 4:03 PM on February 18


Hilary Clinton voted for and supports a damn fool war that has cost us a half trillion dollars, left thousands of members of our armed forces dead or crippled, and left countless innocent Iraqi civilians dead or crippled.

Barack Obama has opposed the war from the very beginning.

So it's pretty fucking simple from where I'm standing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:37 PM on February 18, 2008 [19 favorites]


The fact is that Obama is playing by the rules: He who gets the most delegates wins. If Hillary wins by superdelegates, that's playing by the rules, too. I don't know what kind of campaign hillary thought she was running, but it wasn't and isn't grounded in reality. She can't win. She's going to have to drop out after Texas and Ohio anyway. Running a dirty, negative campaign now is just spiteful.
posted by empath at 4:38 PM on February 18, 2008


Optimus Chyme -

Yes. I do consider that a point in Obama's favor. I would consider it much more a point in his favor if he had ever unequivocally stated, during his campaign, that he intends to pull out of Iraq, or if his voting record on war funding etc. had not been identical to Clinton's since the moment he took office.

If he ever does unequivocally state that, say, the War in Iraq would be over by the end of his first term in office, it would do much to sway me towards his side. There are other issues, but that's a big one for me. He's got about 14 hours before I vote.

But yeah, for the moment ... I understand neither the Obama love nor the Clinton hatred.
posted by kyrademon at 4:43 PM on February 18, 2008


But somehow, when Clinton does is, she is trying to game the system, and when Obama does it, he is trying to retain his rightful place. Why?

One candidate says that it's perfectly acceptable for backroom deals to thwart the declared will of the people, and actively pursues a strategy of making this happen. Another candidate says that when all is said and done, it seems likely that the party leaders will follow the will of the people.

Now, taking whatever candidate you prefer out of it, which of those positions do you think will be met with more derision by the public at large?
posted by willnot at 4:44 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


A huge fuss is made over every tactical move made by the Clinton camp - such as, for example, the subject of this FPP. Oh no! She is running a negative campaign! What a bitch! When the Obama team, however, performs tactical moves - such as Nevada's, "Well, we lost the popular vote but we won more delagates to we REALLY won" spin - it's regarded as only right and proper. (When Clinton downplays Obama's wins, however, she's ... running a horrible negative campaign.)
posted by kyrademon at 7:29 PM on February 18


The difference in your example is that Clinton is attacking her opponent, where Barack is playing up a positive thing for his own campaign. That is the kind of thing that is turning people off with regard to Clinton's campaign.

Also, Barack has stated that the supers should go with the will of the people, regardless of who the candidate is. I'm pretty sure I haven't heard the same out of the Clinton camp.
posted by chiababe at 4:47 PM on February 18, 2008


Now, now, you're not being fair to Ms Clinton.

She says we should follow the will of the people, except for African Americans, people who live in red states, people who vote in caucus's, white men and people who make more than $50,000 a year.
posted by empath at 4:47 PM on February 18, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's okay, though, she forgives black people for voting for Obama.
posted by empath at 4:48 PM on February 18, 2008


willnot -

If Obama, say, states that he would concede if he has fewer pledged delegates than Clinton going into the convention, even if he acquires a lead because of superdelegates, I will take his position seriously. Barring a statement like that, to me it just sounds like spin from both sides because, at this particular moment in time, he has more pledged delegates and she has more superdelegates. That's my reaction, anyway - the public at large admittedly seems to have a different view.
posted by kyrademon at 4:49 PM on February 18, 2008


If he ever does unequivocally state that, say, the War in Iraq would be over by the end of his first term in office, it would do much to sway me towards his side. There are other issues, but that's a big one for me. He's got about 14 hours before I vote.

But yeah, for the moment ... I understand neither the Obama love nor the Clinton hatred.
posted by kyrademon at 4:43 PM on February 18


He tried to end it by March 2008. He's not just going to say "nah, forget it" once he's in the Oval Office. I hope and pray that Obama has your support tomorrow.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:50 PM on February 18, 2008


If he ever does unequivocally state that, say, the War in Iraq would be over by the end of his first term in office, it would do much to sway me towards his side. There are other issues, but that's a big one for me. He's got about 14 hours before I vote.

From Obama's Issues section of his website:

"Bringing Our Troops Home

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda."
posted by chiababe at 4:50 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's as much about not taking credit that isn't due as it is about giving credit.

Outside of academia, I think this happens all the time. Newspaper editors insert uncredited language into articles, CEO's give PowerPoint presentations put together and written by underlings, clerks sometimes write the legal opinions that judges sign their name to - even at the Supreme Court level. It's just the way the world works.

Now if any one felt that their words had been stolen, that would be a problem. However, mostly it just comes with the job. Since Deval Patrick doesn't have a problem with it and that he seems to have worked in an advisory capacity, it shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by Staggering Jack at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2008


To be honest ... the reaction to Clinton is starting to feel like sexism to me. It really is. After hearing months and months of this, I really wonder if there isn't an undercurrent of "I just don't like her because she's such a bitch. She's so pushy. She just rubs me the wrong way for some reason."

Oh, give it a rest already. People who hate Hilary don't give a crap that she's female. They hate her because she's a Clinton.

And, frankly, crying wolf on sexism does nothing but discredit the honest efforts of feminists everywhere.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2008 [6 favorites]


“Could we possibly have a nominee who hasn't won any of the significant states -- outside of Illinois?” Chief Strategist Mark Penn said. “That raises some serious questions about Sen. Obama.”

Just keeping in mind why people dislike Hillary. This was just a few days ago, after Obama had won 31 states total. She now says that 30 of those states are 'insignificant'. The campaign is a joke. In fact, let's throw a few more insignificant states on the pile that she's already conceded -- WI and HI...
posted by empath at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2008


And empath, that's exactly the sort of thing that's pissing the hell out of me, since Obama has made clear that we should follow the will of the people, except in Nevada, or any other place where he might perhaps get a delegate lead despite losing the majority. Which is why I don't take his spin on superdelegates at all seriously.

If you want me to vote for your candidate, explain to me why his policies are better. Because right now, all the rest of it that I'm hearing is spin spin spin spin spin spin spin from BOTH sides.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on February 18, 2008


What policies would you like to hear about, kyrademon?
posted by chiababe at 4:55 PM on February 18, 2008


There's a history to this, dsword.
It's a non-issue. It speaks to nothing. It's just more noise to distract us from the fact that neither Democratic candidate has much substance. To claim otherwise is just being disingenuous.
I linked to this earlier in the thread, but I'll quote it here so you don't even have to click:

Boston Globe
April 16, 2007

Of all the things Deval Patrick's Republican opponent threw at him in last year's governor's race, one charge that stuck in his craw was that his speeches were more fluff than substance -- that they were, in Patrick's telling, "just words." So he devised an artful response.

" 'We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal' -- just words," Patrick said at a rally in Roxbury right before Election Day. " 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself' -- just words. . . . 'I have a dream' -- just words. They're all just words."

The crowd erupted as it got Patrick's point about the power of language. But perhaps no one at the rally understood the point better than Barack Obama, who had joined him on stage that night.

posted by Floydd at 4:58 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you really care, read his website. He has it all broken down by issue. I'm not particularly invested in getting anyone else to vote for him.

I'm primarily motivated to vote for him because he's intelligent, he has demonstrated good judgment, he's a good speaker, he inspires people, and he's a liberal. I don't particularly care about the policy details because all of that is going to get thrown out the window on day one.

Hillary has just run an embarrassingly bad, out of touch campaign from day one.
posted by empath at 5:00 PM on February 18, 2008


Obama supports net neutrality. Now, not everybody agrees with that, but I think that's better. Do you agree kyrademon?

Obama wants to bring more transparency to government. He believes that shining a bright light on it will dispel some of the backroom finagling and dealing that has halted our progress on issues. I think that's better. Do you agree kyrademon?

Obama voted for an amendment that would prevent the US from dropping cluster bombs near cities where children can mistake them for food or toys and thus loose arms and legs. I think that's better. Do you agree kyrademon?

Obama did not propose a flag burning amendment to the constitution. I think that's better. Do you agree kyrademon?

Those are a few of the issues that are important to me. What issues are important you you kyrademon?
posted by willnot at 5:03 PM on February 18, 2008


If you want me to vote for your candidate, explain to me why his policies are better. Because right now, all the rest of it that I'm hearing is spin spin spin spin spin spin spin from BOTH sides.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on February 18


Both chiababe and I have linked to primary sources that demonstrate Obama's willingness to end this war. Is there anything specific you are looking for?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:03 PM on February 18, 2008


chiababe - Clinton's website says something pretty similar.

As for policies ... I've researched both of them a great deal, which is why the disparity in the way they're regarded seems so baffling. I can't really find differences I consider important between them on, say, the economy, energy, the environment, civil rights, and a number of other issues.

I like his position on Iraq better - slightly. I like her position on health care better - a lot. Other than that, they seem pretty much identical.

I like Obama as a candidate. I really do. I have reservations about both candidates - including Clinton, I'm not an idiot. And I'd kind of appreciate it if they were both being regarded fairly. I don't think they are. If you support Obama - great! I will too if he wins the nomination.

Afroblanco - if you think sexism hasn't been a factor in, at the very least, the media portrayal of Clinton, you haven't been paying attention. And I attribute a lot of the reaction against Clinton to her media portrayal.
posted by kyrademon at 5:03 PM on February 18, 2008


(Please bear in mind that at this point, some of my responses are to posts you made earlier ... darned slow response time.)
posted by kyrademon at 5:05 PM on February 18, 2008


Well, holy crap, then. I listened, astonished, as the teenaged waitress at my diner talked of how Obama was sworn in on a Quran, turned his back on the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, was brainwashed at a madrassa, etc. I can hardly wait for the real sh*tslinging to start. :oP

I think these are the same sorts of tactics the right has always used. And it's true-- there will be this sort of person out there influenced by this sort of thing. But my father-in-law, a career Navy guy and lifelong Republican, is seriously considering Obama. Which to me is as likely as gravity turning sideways. And I think that's true of a lot of Republicans.

I saw Rove on his first night at Fox News (I am flabbergasted by his presence there-- he is still, hopefully, the subject of news what with his criminal behavior and all-- and so had to watch) and he was given focus so he could discuss Super Tuesday. He spoke only of the Republican races and then was finished. One of the other commentators said something like, "Um, Karl, do you want to say anything about the Democratic primaries?" And he said a few sentences about how Obama was winning Georgia, but the expression on his face was as if he had accidentally eaten a spoonful of dirt. And then he was finished. And I think this is what the establishment Right has failed to see, that people are fed up with them and are looking for something different. They're not modifying their tactics at all. It will be exactly the same sort of swiftboating that went on in 2004, and that will work. On 26% of the population. I think the Republican turnout to the primaries has been consistently half of what the democratic turnout has been, and anecdotal evidence suggests Republicans are crossing party lines on this one.

I have seen people here saying things like, "any time I have liked a candidate before it has never worked out" and I know the feeling, but I really do think it's different this time. After 2004 GW Bush said that he had some political capital, and he intended to spend it. And sure enough, he spent it. They have nothing left. They have their 26% base: the Limbaugh/Hannity/Coulter crowd who would follow them into the abyss. If Obama gets the nomination, my money is on a blowout. 60%. There is that part of me that says, yeah, but Dean... but Gore... but I really do think it's different this time.

To be honest ... the reaction to Clinton is starting to feel like sexism to me. It really is. After hearing months and months of this, I really wonder if there isn't an undercurrent of "I just don't like her because she's such a bitch. She's so pushy. She just rubs me the wrong way for some reason."

kyrademon, I feel you on the Clinton/sexism thing. I am a guy, but I have always felt more comfortable around women and had more respect for women than men. I'm not sure why. I was raised around women-- all sisters, and that could be a part of it. Or maybe it has to do with self-loathing, I don't know. But anyway, I have always loved the idea of powerful woman figures in movies or books. The Condender, though cheesey, loved it. Ripley from Alien, go. Buffy, yay. Crouching Tiger, yay. These are trite examples but my point is that I love the idea of the powerful woman figure in culture and I think we're ready for a woman president.

If not for Obama, this would be Clinton's time. She would face another 51%/49% election just like we have had for the past generation, and she would win or lose, and the outcome would be either narrowly fortunate or narrowly unfortunate. I favor Clinton's policies to McCain's, but I think either one of those presidencies will be four (or eight) more years of deadlock and division and will mostly amount to the same thing: a lot of policies almost passed or changed so much that they are unrecognizable and useless. Things will mostly be the same but with a slightly better economy and a slightly better world situation.

I'm sure that in some cases you're right, it's sexism. But that's not the case for me. I feel a tinge of regret that our first serious female candidate doesn't seem to be on track to win the nomination. At the end of the day, my support of Obama comes down to two things: (1) he is able to inspire, and (2) he is the more liberal than Clinton (which means his policies are closer to mine).

He is able to inspire me and to inspire a lot of other people and to win over conservatives. Ordinarily I would be repulsed by a candidate's ability to win over conservatives but I think in this case it comes not from pandering from Obama but rather a feeling of trust from people on the right. I view Obama as the more liberal of the two Democratic nominees-- maybe you see it differently, and I am happy to listen to argument, but I think that is consensus. So the fact that he is more liberal and is still able to reach out to conservatives is both politically valuable and an absolute good.

I have heard the argument that he is "running on rhetoric." The implication is that, big deal, he can talk well and move a crowd, but he doesn't have experience. I would argue that the ability to speak well, to move people, and to inspire confidence is at least half the job of the president. You may not buy this argument, and if that's the case we'll just have to agree to disagree. But I believe that you can have all the right policies and lots of experience and it won't amount to anything if you can't get the bulk of the nation on your side. Without that, it's going to be four or eight more years of the same crap it's been for the last sixteen years. Or maybe you do buy this argument but you find Clinton to be moving and inspiring, in which case I would ask (politely) that you state your case-- why and how is she inspiring to you? Are there any speeches which have particularly moved you that you would share?

As for me, I'm ready for a woman president and I hope our next president is a woman. I hope that woman will be scrappy and young-ish and a relative unknown. I hope she will kick ass in debates and make men shake in their shoes. I hope she is the woman for her time and place. I don't feel like Hillary is the candidate for this moment. I can honestly say I don't feel there is any sexism involved in my thinking.

For the first time in my life I feel not just like voting against someone but actually inspired to support one of the candidates. So even though it stings the feminist in me a little bit, at the end of the day I have to support Obama. I am a cynic to the core and I feel confident that humanity and especially that authority will continue to act stupid, corrupt, evil and incompetent. I am confident in the people I support to put their feet in their mouths and otherwise fuck everything up. Except here is this candidate rallying my whoville. What can I say. Maybe I'll be proven a sucker but I really think it can work out this time.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 5:09 PM on February 18, 2008 [9 favorites]


A small part of the issue, esp in NV, is the talk of "winning states". Really it is a matter of winning districts that have specific delegates in them. So we get this big "He won X number of States, and She won X number" all that is good for is trying to gauge how well a particular candidate does in a general election, and even that is full of landmines.


I dunno Afroblanco, I'm perfectly willing to conced Clinton has been at the wrong end of sexism in the media without saying I would vote for her or care about her campaign. Last week I was watching 60 mins where they had a interviews with Clinton and Obama, and one of the questions that got asked of Clinton was "I heard that in high school your nickname was Frigair?" Seriously wtf kind of question was that?

I'm not sure it is as pervasive as some feel it is, but it is there, that damned Chris Matthews face pat should have earned him a tasering.
posted by edgeways at 5:11 PM on February 18, 2008


Even if I didn't disagree with a bunch of her policy positions, I would have to oppose Clinton's nomination on a strategic level as well. There's a beautiful thing going on in the Republican party right now. Half the party hates the shit out of their nominee, and are casting votes for Huckabee, who's numerically out of the race. Party elders are trying to cool off the mob, but the conservatives seem determined at the moment to cripple the party because they hate John McCain.

We should let this happen.

Can we please, please, please not run the only available candidate they hate more than McCain? If anything will rally the GOP at this point, it's either Ronald Reagan rising from the grave and telling everyone to get in line, or the threat of living under another President Clinton. How about we run the guy who can gobble up some of the independents that McCain's counting on? How about we let the Republicans collapse?
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:12 PM on February 18, 2008 [8 favorites]


kyrademon wrote: Yes. I do consider that a point in Obama's favor. I would consider it much more a point in his favor if he had ever unequivocally stated, during his campaign, that he intends to pull out of Iraq, or if his voting record on war funding etc. had not been identical to Clinton's since the moment he took office.

Please don't try to draw equivalence between somebody who tried hard to stop a war from occurring, but then once it happened recognized that he lost the fight, and somebody who actively supported that war all along.

They're not the same. They're not even close.
posted by mosch at 5:13 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


See, here's the thing with her health care positions: I just don't think it will make it through Congress. I'm totally down with universal health care. However, she has already admitted that because of the mandates included in her health care package, it's possible that wages will be garnished for those refusing to pay in. I think a lot of Congress(wo)men with be loathe to vote for a health care package that is going to force their constituents to pay into a system they may not want to. Obama's plan is a nice compromise that is a step in the right direction that will cover millions more people and make it more affordable for those who already have coverage, but is by no means the perfect solution.

And, I also believe that if Clinton gets the nomination, there will be a much lower turnout of democrats at the polls in November, which means possible trouble for down-ticket candidates maintaining or increasing the already slim Democratic majority in Congress. Thus, making it even harder to pass such a health care plan.
posted by chiababe at 5:14 PM on February 18, 2008


Slow news day, eh?
posted by Artw at 5:15 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon: What do you think Obama should do wrt Nevada? Nevada has a certain mechanistic caucus structure after the votes are cast to ensure representation of different areas, just like our nation does. Those delegates don't have a choice in who they're voting for. Should he try to force one of them to stay home? Going by a no-structure popular vote in Nevada HRC should have picked up 1 extra delegate. I don't see how it's unreasonable to point out that he won the caucus-structure even if the popular vote was 51% HRC. I don't think it's anywhere near the same game as trying to retrospectively change rules wrt FL/MI, or trying to get party officials to override a 6% lead in elected delegates.

WRT stated hot-button policy I see minute variations between HRC and BO. I see enormous variations in leadership ability, ability to create non-political policy achievements, and ability to organize a campaign. Based on HRC's history of triangulation I think that she's quantitatively more susceptible to Washington's bad influences.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:24 PM on February 18, 2008


Afroblanco - if you think sexism hasn't been a factor in, at the very least, the media portrayal of Clinton, you haven't been paying attention. And I attribute a lot of the reaction against Clinton to her media portrayal.

Well, my point is this - I don't think that Americans have a problem with female leaders. By this point in history, most Americans have probably had a female boss and haven't had a problem with it.

And I can't really speak for the media, as I don't watch TV and all my news comes from the internet, but most of the Hilary-haters I've talked to dislike her because of the Clinton baggage that she carries - either they dislike Bill, dislike Hilary for not having left Bill, dislike both Clintons for perceived moral or personal/financial corruption, dislike the idea of a 25-year political dynasty between two families, or just plain don't want a re-run of the Bill and Hillary show. None of them, even in casual conversation, have said "I think she's a bitch" or "I think she's too pushy." Even if they did, I don't think that would be a-priori sexist - many similar charges were hurled at Giuliani, and rightly so.

I'm sure there are some sexist remarks being aimed at Hilary, but they're not coming from Obama-supporters. They're coming from backwards-thinking Republicans who'd never vote for a Democrat to begin with.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:24 PM on February 18, 2008


Also, look at Condi Rice. How much opposition do you think she faced because of her sex?

And she's a Republican, with a capital R.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:25 PM on February 18, 2008


willnot -

Huh? Maybe I'm missing something, but as far as I can tell, Clinton is, like Obama, a proponent of net neutrality, has a similar record to Obama on open government. In fact, it looks like while Obama was a state senator, he voted for a blanket exemption of all computerized mapping data from the state's open-record law, for whatever that's worth. Clinton also, as far as I can tell, never proposed a flag-burning amendment, although she did once propose a law, not an amendment, that would outlaw any flag burning which was specifically meant to "intimidate any person or group of persons", which, yeah, does leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. You seem to be entirely correct about the cluster bombs issue.


The Loch Ness Monster -

I actually don't find Clinton particularly inspiring. Nor do I find Obama particularly inspiring. I will admit, I don't really care if politicians are inspiring. It's just not where I look for inspiration, I guess.
posted by kyrademon at 5:25 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon: Obama has not, to the best of my knowledge, exhibited hypocrisy with regard to the Nevada caucus. The numbers widely reported in the media on election night were not counts of the popular vote -- caucus results are based on delegates and so do not track the raw numbers of voters, which are irrelevant to the process. Clinton only "won" in terms of county-level delegates. These delegates are an intermediary step -- not the final count. And if all the state-level delegates vote according go the outcomes of their districts like they're supposed to, then the caucus math and proportional representation work out to give Obama one more delegate than Clinton. Of course, Ckinton downplays this by saying that the state delegates are not bound, and could potentially give her the win. But this rarely happens, and is just as silly as suggesting that the delegates of New Hampshire could stage a similar revolt and that the results are, until then, unknowable. Either we assume that the system will work as usual, and concede that Obama won Nevada, or we assume that the delegates will for some reason break with the standard practice, which would put almost all the results so far into question.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:28 PM on February 18, 2008


What what a a ridiculous ridiculous echo echo chamber chamber..

You're all being marked down in my notebook. Don't anyone come out castigating the next proselytising commenter for some other amazingly worthy cause. But it's the most important election in our lifetime!1!! Guff and balderdash.
posted by peacay at 5:32 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon writes "I don't like it and it's pissing me off."

Bill Clinton was the catalyst to my leaving the Democrats in '94. Two years in, I felt like I had been taken. The party circled the wagons and lost Congress. Clinton proved to be charming but not all that effective as a leader. He had tons of charisma at his disposal, though he tended to use it to get out of problems created by his own ego. Other than that, he did some good things (yes, yes, way better than Bush, though that's not a tough standard), but he was a very corporate-friendly, sellout-type politician. When the chips were down, he sold out his stated positions to his moneyed backers, time and time again. He did things that were good for him, but sometimes really bad for the party. Some of his positions were frankly abhorrent to me, like his approach to encryption on the Internet (he wanted built-in government access to everyone's encrypted files).

Eventually, I stopped believing anything he said.

(Had nothing to do with Lewinsky, but he really handled that badly and ended up tying things up because he wouldn't come clean - his own damn fault.)

Hillary Clinton works from his political playbook. Whatever her stated positions, she will get wrapped up in her power and do things that will hurt the party but help her - such as this superdelegates business. If they vote against the results of the primaries, they party will be fractured and will not win the presidency, and will possibly lose Congress. Hillary Clinton puts politics before principle and is willing to tell bald-face lies to win this election, from very early in the game. Her surrogates are willing to play any card, no matter how nasty. There are people who are willing to take people down with them, or to sacrifice others for their own benefit, and the Clintons are perfect examples.

That's why I will not vote for Hillary. Yeah, has more to do with Bill than her, but he's sure putting himself out there, and she has proven to play the same game he does. Has absolutely nothing to do with her gender, but it does have everything to do with her integrity.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:35 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


kyrademon, politicians aren't usually where i look for inspiration either. I got caught up unawares this time. But I think it's important, even if our candidate isn't inspiring to you, that he or she be able to inspire somebody somewhere, if only members of congress so that he or she can steer the ship.

Also, I think some people both in the media and in here can get a little snide with their tone. It makes me cringe to see Obama supporters getting snotty about Clinton. I hope you'll overlook it.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 5:35 PM on February 18, 2008


Just want to add, since I seem to be the only one on my side here ... I am enjoying the policy discussion here a great deal. The political strategy aspect also does interest me, and Clinton could go far enough with negative campaigning that she could lose me; she hasn't yet, because I think the response to what she's done has been overblown, but she could.

If anything does sway me to Obama before I vote, it would be Iraq, but I really wish there was a bigger policy difference between them. I don't think it's as big as many people seem to think - I really don't.

I will admit that the electability issue and inspiration issue and all that don't do much to change my mind. I really want to vote for the one I think would do the best job. I'm an idealist, I guess. :)
posted by kyrademon at 5:36 PM on February 18, 2008


Oh, and BTW, I'd vote for Michelle Obama in a heartbeat and would consider campaigning for her. It's really nothing to do with gender. I simply do not trust the Clinton clan, and I have good reason not to.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:36 PM on February 18, 2008


rainbaby, there is no such thing as a pledged superdelegate.

empath, I get that, but on absalom's link it assumes their intentions, if stated.
posted by rainbaby at 5:38 PM on February 18, 2008


People who hate Hilary don't give a crap that she's female. They hate her because she's a Clinton.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:52 PM on February 18


I don't know. Those Hillary nutcracker things (plays music), with the metal teeth of the nutcracker forming her thighs, were pretty obviously about her being a too tough for a woman. The "iron my shirt" people in New Hampshire weren't objecting to her on a policy level. I've heard any number of people (Democrats!) say they wouldn't vote for her because no woman can deal with the Arabic world and be taken seriously. There's a number of other examples of sexism in response to Hillary's campaign here, and they're not all from Republicans.

I'm not a Hillary supporter (not that it matters since I can't vote, not being a citizen yet) - and of course many who object to her, object to her because she's a Clinton, or because they don't like her politics or her tactics - but it's obvious that at least some of the haters are motivated by sexism, and that the outrage over that is totally absent in a way it wouldn't be if Obama were being targeted with racist attacks.
posted by joannemerriam at 5:39 PM on February 18, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clinton is, like Obama, a proponent of net neutrality, has a similar record to Obama on open government.

She seems to be okay with open government, so long as it doesn't involve her record:

"Clinton's appointment calendar as First Lady, her notes at strategy meetings, what advice she gave her husband and his advisers, what policy memos she wrote, even some key papers from her health-care task force—all of this, and much more documenting her years as First Lady, remains locked away, most likely through the entire campaign season."

posted by chiababe at 5:41 PM on February 18, 2008


I could very well be wrong about the sexism aspect. I hope I am.

If Obama does get the nomination - as right now, frankly, seems likely - one thing on my wishlist for him to do would be to pick a woman as his VP candidate - maybe McCaskill, Sebelius, or Napolitano? I think that would go a long way towards healing the rifts in the party his nomination would cause ... and there *would* be rifts, I'm worried that people assume that would only work one way.
posted by kyrademon at 5:43 PM on February 18, 2008


Clinton is for Hope, and Obama is for Change. Right? Or do I have them confused...
posted by Floydd at 5:43 PM on February 18, 2008


kyrademon, assuming that their objectives are the same, I would argue that Clinton has a disadvantage in getting an Iraq withdrawal done if only because of the opposition she'll face simply for being a Clinton. And that's assuming she can win the general election-- her candidacy will motivate the right like nothing short of Reagan's resurrection, as EatTheWeak mentioned. I don't trust the polls, but I can say that in my own life a surprising number of Republicans are talking about voting Obama simply because they acknowledge that the past eight years have sucked and that Obama is the only candidate of the three left standing who offers the promise of a real change. Assuming Obama can get elected-- and I believe he can-- I think he will have a much easier time putting his agenda in motion and that it could signal an end to the era of 51/49.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're right. It does appear that Clinton also supports net neutrality. I'm not sure why I thought she didn't.
posted by willnot at 5:46 PM on February 18, 2008


Chiababe, while Obama was campaigning in Iowa, he said he had "no papers from his time in the Illinois Senate." I can't help but wonder why that kind of thing is a big deal for Clinton, but not for him. I'll think on it, though.

And all of you need not worry, by the way. I live in Hawaii. Clinton is going to be *crushed* here, whether I vote for him, vote for her, or stay home. Ain't gonna make a delegate's worth of difference which way I vote, and I'll support Obama wholeheartedly in the general election if he wins the big potato. So cool yer jets. :)
posted by kyrademon at 5:49 PM on February 18, 2008





Aaron Burr accuses Thomas Jefferson of plagiarism

In his Two Treatises of Government John Locke wrote that men are created by God with certain irrevocable natural rights. Specifically those of life, liberty, health and property.

Thomas Jefferson was clearly plagiarizing the noted philosopher when he penned the Declaration of Independence.

Vote Burr in '00! He's not a plagiarist!
posted by mosch at 5:50 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't know. Those Hillary nutcracker things (plays music), with the metal teeth of the nutcracker forming her thighs, were pretty obviously about her being a too tough for a woman. The "iron my shirt" people in New Hampshire weren't objecting to her on a policy level.

These are isolated instances, and not evidence of the sort of wholesale media prejudice that kyrademon was suggesting. And once again, I don't think you can lay that sort of thing at the doorstep of the Obama supporters.

I've heard any number of people (Democrats!) say they wouldn't vote for her because no woman can deal with the Arabic world and be taken seriously.

I've never heard anybody say this. Not even Republicans. But there are ignorant people in this world, and I don't doubt that somebody has said that. Still, kyrademon was talking about the media, and I would guess that opinion has been pretty absent in the media, especially amongst Democratic-leaning commentators.

but it's obvious that at least some of the haters are motivated by sexism, and that the outrage over that is totally absent in a way it wouldn't be if Obama were being targeted with racist attacks.

Poppycock. Many well-known feminist icons have been crying sexism since day one. The NY chapter of NOW went as far as to implyvery act of supporting Obama is in some way sexist. There's been plenty of outrage over perceived anti-Hillary sexism. However, very little of it stands up to rational scrutiny.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:55 PM on February 18, 2008


while Obama was campaigning in Iowa, he said he had "no papers from his time in the Illinois Senate." I can't help but wonder why that kind of thing is a big deal for Clinton, but not for him. I'll think on it, though.

According to this article, he doesn't have a stash of records himself, but "correspondence with state agencies and records of requests Obama made to them on behalf of his constituents are available to the public and have been accessed by our opponents and members of the news media."

In contrast, Clinton is really and truly keeping things under wraps at the Clinton library. I find that a problem when she's been running on her "35 years of experience" but won't allow the public to examine a good portion of the records regarding that experience, especially the health care papers.
posted by chiababe at 5:57 PM on February 18, 2008


PS - kyrademon - I love Sebelius! I think she'd make an awesome candidate.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:57 PM on February 18, 2008


Chiababe, while Obama was campaigning in Iowa, he said he had "no papers from his time in the Illinois Senate."

How many papers is a state senator going to have? In addition, as a state senator, Obama couldn't expect the National Archives to expend resources cataloguing his papers. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was a First Lady who served on government committees, most notably with health care reform.
posted by jonp72 at 5:59 PM on February 18, 2008


You're right. It does appear that Clinton also supports net neutrality. I'm not sure why I thought she didn't.
posted by willnot at 5:46 PM on February 18 [+] [!]


I'm guessing it's the large amount of money she gets from telecoms...

But one question few are asking -- is it a coincidence we haven't heard anything convincing from Hillary Clinton, who took in $87,130 in telecom contributions in the 2006 cycle -- more than anyone else currently in the Senate?
posted by drezdn at 6:00 PM on February 18, 2008


The solution is clearly to run Condi Rice on the Democratic ticket. A gay, black female. No one has to feel guilty about anything.
posted by empath at 6:01 PM on February 18, 2008


chiababe - after reading that article, it's a little more ambiguous than your quote would make it appear, since he says he doesn't have available "letters to or from state associations and lobbyists, memos on legislation and correspondence with Illinois state agencies", which some commentators thought was a dubious statement and which seems to be contradicted by earlier things his campaign said. But your point about Clinton is valid.

Afroblanco, I agree that some of the cries of "Sexism!" have been ridiculous. The NOW article made me *cringe*. But I don't think it should all be dismissed. Chris Matthews is a particularly egregrious example, and there have definitely been other examples of unfair treatment (a number of people compared the horrific coverage of Clinton *arguably* sounding a little bit teary with the reports of male politicians outright crying, and I found it very interesting.) I think you're probably right that the vast majority of Obama voters are not sexist, but I do wonder how much some of them have been influenced in a particular attitude towards Clinton -- that is to say, regarding her as an unlikeable *person*, rather than a politician they disagree with -- by a media which is.

This isn't to say, by the way, that Obama hasn't been hit with any prejudice. The whole "OMG His Father Was Once Muslim! EEEE! EEEE!" phenomenon I find totally disgusting. I sincerely hope that it stays a fringe position.
posted by kyrademon at 6:12 PM on February 18, 2008


re: universal health care and large business. Clinton was a board member of Wal-Mart for six years, this is of course one of the more notorious anti-union, anti-health care companies out there. In her dossier of experience she includes the time in the White House where NAFTA and GATT, WTO etc where wholly supported, which have had less then stellar effects domestically and internationally. She has, at times, tried to position herself as the one to stand up against large corporations but I have doubts about that. Whatever else she represents she is, has come from, and benefited from strong establishment ties, both politically, professionally and economically.
posted by edgeways at 6:12 PM on February 18, 2008


Honest to God, when I posted this I never intended to cause a MeFiShitstorm about whose candidate was better.

I thought, whether Obama read the thing word for word, or just sounded close enough to raise someone's hackles, it was an ironic non-story because the same consultant was behind both campaigns, and while he might not have written the actual speech, certainly set tone/agenda.

It seems almost no one made it past the first link before smoke started coming out their ears.

Check out Axelrod's client list eh? Goes a long way toward explaining why Democrats sometimes sound alike.

Paging Bruno Gianelli.
posted by timsteil at 6:23 PM on February 18, 2008


If this were not just a quick hit to gain 2 or 3 percentage points in tomorrow's election, it might be problematic for her campaign that Hillary Clinton plagarized Mario Coumo when she said "You campaign with poetry. You govern in prose."
posted by McGuillicuddy at 6:30 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's this simple for me- I didn't vote for Bill the second time because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Hillary is against gay marriage, but for civil unions. Obama is for gay marriage, but against making churches perform them. I find Obama's position to be absolutely consistent with the Constitution. I find Clinton's to be a return to Separate but Equal. Well, you know what? If it's separate, it's not equal. My vote goes to the gentleman.
posted by headspace at 6:32 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do wonder how much some of them have been influenced in a particular attitude towards Clinton -- that is to say, regarding her as an unlikeable *person*

Well, that's just it, though. If it is an argument against her personality, how is that necessarily sexist? Especially in situations like this, where the front-runners are so similar on the policy front, a lot of times it does come down to personality. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Personality matters. It shouldn't matter a whole lot, in my opinion, but it should matter.

To be fair, though, I will say that I object to the treatment that Clinton gets from the media. Not because I think it's sexist, but because I think it's unfair. She should be considered separately from her husband and his administration. However, I think that once you begin to do that, you start to unravel the myth of "35 years of experience." Because, judged separately from her husband's experience as President, it begins to look like she doesn't have much experience at all. Less, in fact, than Obama, who spent several years in state senate prior to his career in Congress. Her only real experience with government at the Federal level - her healthcare initiative during her husband's term - was a spectacular failure, and probably set back the cause of national health care by years.

So that, in short, is why Hillary will continue to be a conundrum to voters. Because she's trying to profit from her experience as First Lady, while at the same time trying to put it behind her.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:35 PM on February 18, 2008


Not just the NOW article but that utter tripe that the likes of Robin Morgan, Gloria Steinem, Erica Jong have been spewing out in favor of Hillary. Steinem in particular wrote a NYT op ed which was based on fundamentally inane assumptions that basically accused any women not voting for Hillary of being a traitor.

Anecdote time, but every one of the very few Hillary supporters I know pulls the sexism card at the drop of a hat while at the same time being completely fine with the Clinton campaign's race baiting (which they called "the fun part" of a campaign!).
posted by Riemann at 6:35 PM on February 18, 2008


And once again, I'll point to Guiliani, who lost largely because people found him personally repugnant. And I think this is okay, because Guiliani scared the crap out of me!
posted by Afroblanco at 6:40 PM on February 18, 2008


I don't think this is near a shitstorm timsteil. And, perhaps, just perhaps why it is still going, and not on topic to the FPP is by and large it WAS a weak story, but people here have wanted some legitimate pretext to discuss what is going on, so once it crap story was dealth with it moved on.

Personally I am finding most of the discussion here interesting. Granted I have heard most of it before, but there are nuances and interest in the relatively crap free discussion.
posted by edgeways at 6:43 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I too wanted to say that I'm finding this relatively crapfree discussion interesting and enjoyable. Thanks, y'all.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:47 PM on February 18, 2008


Hoping Hillary will get beaten like a drum
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 PM on February 18, 2008


Ok, kyrademon, if you're still around, here's my last attempt to swing you to Obama. Do you like ice cream? Of course you do. Ice cream makes everyone happy.

Ben & Jerry have endorsed Obama.

posted by chiababe at 6:58 PM on February 18, 2008


Mmmmmm....Baracky Road.
posted by ColdChef at 7:03 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


yeah, I think we've done a good job staying above the fray for the most part and kyrademon's been a really good sport about not having any back up, but this is metafilter and we trend anti-establishment here. And yes, Chris Matthews should be taken out back and beaten like a drum. It's like watching a drunk John Madden do the news.
posted by slapshot57 at 7:07 PM on February 18, 2008


And although I agree with many of the feminist arguments for nominating Hillary, her supporters should realize that they'll get far less mileage out of this issue in a general election. I mean, don't get me wrong - I'd love it if the women in this country could pull this one off Lysistrata-style. But I just don't see Republican women breaking for Hillary any time soon.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:09 PM on February 18, 2008


(BTW, the "Hoping Hillary will get beaten like a drum" Op-Ed is not my personal opinion, just something that got emailed to me. I'm not for beating women, even if they would make a pleasant drum-like sound)
posted by ColdChef at 7:11 PM on February 18, 2008


well, I'm a WM but really the only thing I've to be angry about, in general, is AWMs. More or less I just want to tell them to grow the fuck up and deal like everyone else has had to do for the whole of recorded Western history.
posted by edgeways at 7:15 PM on February 18, 2008


Headspace - what you said about Obama on the gay marriage issue is pretty much the first thing someone has said here that made me go, "Whoa! Maybe I should rethink my stance!" ... except, as far as I can tell from checking it out after reading your post, it isn't true.

After googling him on the issue: "Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, 'I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.'"

Oh, well.

Someone upthread mentioned how disillusioned they were by Bill Clinton. They were convinced he was the great liberal hope, and he turned out to be ... not that. But when Bill Clinton was running, I didn't think he was the great liberal hope. I thought he was a left-leaning centrist, and probably the best we could reasonably hope for in the U.S. these days.

I get the same sense of Obama. I know a lot of people are convinced he's the Real Deal. Liberals seem to think he's a stealth progressive. Independents and cross-over Republicans seem to think he's a bipartisan uniter. I'm not sure why, because he strikes me as a left-leaning centrist. That's certainly how he's voted.

This isn't to say there isn't reason to admire him. I admire his stance on Iraq. I admire that he hasn't taken lobbyist money. I think those things combined have convinced a lot of people of his Real Deal status. And I do like both of those things ... a lot.

But he hasn't convinced me that he's the Real Deal. He hasn't convinced me that he wouldn't be just as big a let-down to the far left as Bill Clinton was. I think, if we vote for him, we'll get ... a left-leaning centrist. That's OK, but it doesn't exactly inspire me.

And Hillary Clinton is also a left-leaning centrist. And while I admire things about Obama, I also admire things about her. I've already mentioned her health-care plan. It's much closer to being universal than Obama's. Both are flawed. Hers, I think, is a lot better. That matters to me, too. There are other positions of hers I like, too. After thinking about it a lot, on the balance I liked her policies better.

Since he seems likely to win, I hope I'm wrong. I hope he won't be a letdown. I hope he is the Real Deal. I hope he is much farther left than I think he is. Heck, I hope he turns even out, somehow, to be a bipartisan uniter IN ADDITION to being that far left.

I understand the logic of taking a risk on the New Guy instead of The Devil We Know. But he hasn't managed to sway me into believing that it would really be all that much of a difference. I know he's swayed a lot of people. I wish you luck and hope, and I mean that sincerely.
posted by kyrademon at 7:29 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Two essential facts about the presidential campaign:

1. Of the present candidates who could possibly be elected, Barack Obama is clearly the best.

2. This is more cause for concern than for hope.

Symbolizing the new Middle Ages in which we live - in which thought and action are guided by media-driven myth (as opposed to the church-driven myth of the earlier medieval era) - Obama has arrived at his status without record, without programs and without a vision beyond a collection of trite but effective evangelical cliches. He is, however, of the right mythical looks, age and color.

posted by Floydd at 7:37 PM on February 18, 2008


I appreciate the discussion that kyrademon's comment started up - I have also been a bit bothered by the overly anti-Hillary/pro-Obama sound around here (as I commented in an earlier thread), and it's good to hear a little more from both sides. I also like both candidates, but don't feel overwhelmed by either, and often feel like people are a bit too quick to assume the best about Barack and the worst about Clinton. The allegations of corruption in the Obama campaign in Nevada were totally ignored as far as I can see, whereas I can't help feeling if the same thing had been said of Clinton, it would have been an FPP, anyway...

But beyond that, I am somewhat concerned about what his stance will be in the general election. It seems to me that at the moment everyone just sort of projects what they want from him onto the campaign - liberals think he's the liberal candidate, but conservatives think he's a sensible moderate candidate. I dunno, maybe he can pull it off - I never did understand how Reagan did it either - but from a sensible, policy-oriented POV, it's easy to imagine this backfiring. At some point he will have to clarify where he stands, and disappoint whoever's fantasy he then deflates.
posted by mdn at 7:45 PM on February 18, 2008


The allegations of corruption in the Obama campaign in Nevada were totally ignored as far as I can see

What exactly are you referring to?
posted by chiababe at 7:50 PM on February 18, 2008


It seems to me that at the moment everyone just sort of projects what they want from him onto the campaign - liberals think he's the liberal candidate, but conservatives think he's a sensible moderate candidate.

Well, in a sense, they're both right. After reading his book, The Audacity of Hope, I came away with the impression that Obama considers his opponent's viewpoint, while at the same time asserting his own principals. He at least makes an attempt to address the conservatives on their own terms and in their own language. In the last 20 years or so, we've seen incredible polarization in our national political discourse. One thing we've seen little of is actual conversation.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:59 PM on February 18, 2008


We can't get into this level of detail for the elections. Obama struck back claiming Hillary had plagarized Bill, and MSNBC brought up that Hillary had plagarized Edwards. Should there be a separate thread for that? This thread should have been deleted by mods.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:00 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm supporting Obama and will not vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination, and it has absolutely nothing to do with gender--Molly Ivins said it quite well a couple of years ago:
Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. [...] It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:01 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


From what I understand, Obama's opposition to gay marriage, it rests on semantics more than anything else. Most people don't recognize religious marriage and civil marriage as two separate things, so he's using different language-marriage to refer to the sacrament, civil unions the set of rights you get from being married.

Part of me hopes that he is planning to follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion and call all civil marriages civil unions. How you manage to do that without being accused of abolishing marriage altogether, I don't know.

It's more likely that he's hedging his bets and allowing people to hear what they want to hear.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:03 PM on February 18, 2008


There were allegations of negative tactics on both sides, as I said in the other thread. This was the letter against Obama, here's the original complaint against hillary.

I expect it's just "politics" but it often seems as if everyone has this unfounded belief that Obama is somehow above politics, whereas "dirty hillary" plays the game. I think they both play the game fine, and don't even particularly resent them for it. It's the fault of the system more than anything, which I am somewhat cynical about, I'll admit.
posted by mdn at 8:07 PM on February 18, 2008


We can't get into this level of detail for the elections

FWIW, probably better to do it before, than after.

This thread should have been deleted by mods

I am a little surprised that it hasn't been.
posted by timsteil at 8:07 PM on February 18, 2008


I am pretty lefty as they come, but I don't have any real delusions that Obama is a true leftist candidate. The US is, by and large, a conservative nation, we just won't have a progressive president for a long long time. Center-left is about the best we can hope for, and that is center-left US style. Clinton isn't any more progressive then Obama, but she does piss more people off, straight out of the gate. What I am hoping for is a center-left candidate that has a term or two in office that is reletivley scandal free, and that paves the way for perhaps a slightly more left of center candidate. Bush Jr. didn't get where he was out of nowhere, but by having decades of primed acceptance. Imagine, for example a Obama/Edwards ticket that won. Setting the stage for a possible Edwards presidency down the line? I don't know, sure there probably are plenty of young inexperienced voters who are being naive but I think beyond the basic policy issue there is a willingness, dare I say desire, with these youth to advance the "race" (sorry the anthropologist in me continues to have trouble with that word) issue.

Now this kind of cuts out the gender issue, and that is difficult, especially among the second wavers and there is a lot of hostility because of that, just as there was/could have been a lot of hostility if this contest was seeming to break in Clinton's favor. There are a lot of older ladies who see this as their last, best chance to have a women in the White House in their lifetime. That is some serious emotional involvement. I know this is the way it is for my mom. And I can't fault her for it. These are women who more or less took it on the chin to advance the cause. It is because of them that we have the good and the bad consequences of closer gender equity... the much closer to a level playing field (even thought it is not, of course). Historically, i have head that women and the black community where once united in fighting for their rights, but the women got left behind when it was politically expedient for the black cause. Of cause, counter example to that is the argument that black voters have consistently supported the Democratic party for the last few decades and now feel the democrats owe them something in return.

Which is why this is a generational battle, and will be so even more if it turns out a McCain/Obama fight. In the Democrat primaries the youth want to move on, the establishment (not using that pejoratively) want recognition and validation. I am strongly sympathetic to the latter, as I feel America tries to push it's history away too fast, but feel it is a shame that the second wave feminists have to pin their hopes on Clinton. After this election is Obama wins the general it'll be at least 8 more years before another woman has a crack at the oval office, if Obama wins with a male VP and they run the boards you're looking at 16 years. A lot of second wavers are going to be dead by then, my mom likely amoung them.

So yeah emotions are high.
posted by edgeways at 8:17 PM on February 18, 2008


Obama has the power to mobilize people who are forgotten in America if he is elected. People who have been beaten down, or at least feel the lingering pain in the scars of those who have. And he is actively trying to inspire people like that in this country. The wild part is that he is actually succeeding. To me that's what makes him so appealing, but I also see how that be incredibly threatening to the powers that be, creating a potentially volatile situation.
posted by cell divide at 9:31 PM on February 18, 2008


Some posters said they are surprised this thread is not deleted. I am glad this thread is not deleted! It has had some really interesting points raised, and those from several different angles. Also, the original topic (the plagiarism smear), is plenty valid for discussion, whether you're talking about plagiarism in speeches as an issue, or smears as an issue.

I kind of choked up at edgeways's comment a moment ago, because it reminds me that my own mom, who is on Clinton's side, has so much more at stake than just Who Might Be A Better President For Her As An American. Also, it kind of reminded me that my mom is going to stop having a lifetime at some point, probably within my lifetime. Stop reminding me about lifetimes, metafilter!
posted by damehex at 9:41 PM on February 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wisconsin is going to go worse for Obama than people think

I dunno. I'm in Janesville -- with the GM plant where he spoke last week, though he did not have a public rally -- and even before that momentum and broad sentiment favored Obama. We're a pretty middle-of-the-road town (a columnist just compared Madison politics to us, saying if they became sane like Janesville, what's the point?) and there's a strong union Joe Sixpack element that has translated into Reagan/Bush support. There are a few pro-Hillary people but they definitely feel on the defensive, as if they have to justify voting for her, while the Obama people have a real bandwagon vibe. Could that just be a voter-motivation differential? Could be.

In any case, I suspect around this part of the state there will be a strong Obama vote.

My personal choice leans Obama, but I would vote for Hillary in the general. For the nomination, though, the biggest obstacle for me has become the idea of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynastic politics. Looking back from the future where today is history: say she wins and returns -- that era will be 1993-2017, or a continuous twenty four years spent under the rule of two families. Whatever I think of her personally, that's just wrong, aberrant by American standards (much the same way FDR's four terms were), and won't be something historians review kindly.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on February 18, 2008


According to Slate, a number of Hillary-supporting commentators have alleged that the following remark by Obama is his sly, sexist way of playing the "women are hormonal and therefore unfit to lead" card:

"I understand that Senator Clinton periodically, when she's feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal."

See? He said period! He means she's grumpy because she's premenstrual . . . or she's menopausal. . . or . . . something . . . I don't know. I'm tired. I'm going to bed.
posted by The Bellman at 9:58 PM on February 18, 2008


Historically, i have head that women and the black community where once united in fighting for their rights, but the women got left behind when it was politically expedient for the black cause.

You could also say that it happened the other way around - that ultimately, there's still more inequality between black people and white people in America than there is between women and men. However, now you start to get into dangerous territory, where people start talking about "who's the bigger victim" and things get annoying really quick.

Personally, I think we should put identity issues aside and go with the one who's more likely to win over independents and unattended Republicans.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:00 PM on February 18, 2008


More seriously: I hope kyrademon has gone to bed now, but I have to say that when Hillary ran for Senate the first time I gave several thousand dollars (the family max) and organized for her campaign. I got to see her at some very small gatherings and I was very impressed. For several years after that I looked forward to supporting her for President.

Then she sponsored that little law, which she knew perfectly well was unconstitutional, banning flag burning -- the one that "left a sour taste" in kyrademon's mouth. I wrote to her and told her she would never see another penny from me in funds or fund raising -- she betrayed me on civil liberties which, when you come right down to it, is the only thing I really care about. Her campaign's conduct in this cycle has made me prouder than ever of my decision and last week, when it came time to hold the telcos responsible for spying on the American people at the behest of a corrupt government, she showed her true stripes again and ran away to hide. She didn't even have the courage to stand up and be counted on the wrong side of the issue. No civil libertarian can support her in good conscience; if she's the nominee I'm not sure I can even vote for her. It would be a sad day for me, as I've voted for every Democratic nominee for President since I got the franchise more than 20 years ago. OK. Now I'm going to bed.
posted by The Bellman at 10:02 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


dhartung, I had a crush on a lady who lived in that town, oh... er... near 20 years ago.
posted by edgeways at 10:08 PM on February 18, 2008


Eeek. You Obama people are really starting to scare me now. Do you have any idea how much you sound like Ron Paul supporters? It's creeping me the fuck out.
posted by cytherea at 10:31 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's sad. But we need to elect somebody that signals to the world at large that America is going to change. And that means signaling that we are truly trying to heal the disastrous racial rift in this country by electing a black person.

Our biggest problem acing in the post Bush world is trust. Nobody trusts us. We won't survive long in global economy without trust. And I'm sorry to say but Clinton is STILL part of a perceived untrustworthy past. Bill Clinton was no friend to the average Iraqi, average Pakistani, or average Afghani. He was tossing bombs around, too. And there is the perception of dynastic power outside our borders.

Neither Obama or Clinton are truly gong to be able to do much to avert the brunt of the dire domestic problems we are going to face in the next four to eight years. Nobody can. We are in too deep. But they can do a great deal to prevent making them worse. The Republicans WILL make them worse.

The best we can hope for is to set the stage for the next 10 or twenty years and prevent the Bush disaster from metastasizing beyond the next generation of world citizens.

Electing a black man is a ground breaking and positive message to the world that America wants to be better than it has been. Electing Clinton, because she is a CLINTON not becuase she is a woman, essentially says "sorry, more of the same."
posted by tkchrist at 11:37 PM on February 18, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Since last year, observers have been noting that rhetorical similarities between the two candidates with vaguely similar biographies and campaign pitches -- who also share political guru David Axelrod.

'It's a handoff,' Axelrod explains in an email. 'They're friends and allies. They share a view of politics and often riff off of each other.'" *
posted by ericb at 11:40 PM on February 18, 2008


If Obama does get the nomination - as right now, frankly, seems likely - one thing on my wishlist for him to do would be to pick a woman as his VP candidate

Isn't choosing someone as a candidate because they're a woman just as bad, in effect, as not choosing them because they're a woman? And what rift, exactly, would this heal except the manufactured rift between Obama supporters and the Steinem/Jung/NOW-NY contingent, which is just as likely to spin a choice of a woman running mate as a callow effort at throwing women a bone (which, in a way it certainly would be) as they are to say "yay for progress."

This diversity business is messy. It's sad that we've gotten to a point where the battle for the presidency on one side of the ticket is between a black man and a woman and we still can't simply talk about ability and skill and potential.
posted by Dreama at 11:47 PM on February 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I think it's about time that Obama is exposed as the fraud that he is.

(OK, I don't have much to back that up, but this thread can sure use some balance.)
That's a new one! Metafilter: Fair and Balanced. I'll even footnote that so that my opinion is valid; it's the slogan of Fox News.

Because if there's one thing that political discourse is missing these days, it's giving a equal voice, a balanced view, towards bullshit charges attacking a candidate's strength.
posted by cotterpin at 11:50 PM on February 18, 2008


See? He said period! He means she's grumpy because she's premenstrual . . . or she's menopausal. . . or . . . something . . . I don't know.

Rats, you found him out!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 PM on February 18, 2008


Eeek. You Obama people are really starting to scare me now. Do you have any idea how much you sound like Ron Paul supporters? It's creeping me the fuck out.

Oh no.
posted by Snyder at 11:58 PM on February 18, 2008


Dreama, a long response to your post:

"Isn't choosing someone as a [vice presidential] candidate because they're a woman just as bad, in effect, as not choosing them because they're a woman?"

Well, no, not to my mind. One of those results in a woman being chosen for VP. The other doesn't.

I'm pretty sure what you're trying to get at is that either way makes the mere fact of their being an issue a woman, and in an ideal world, the best qualified candidate should be chosen no matter what their group of people they happen to fit into. In an ideal world, I might agree with you, but we don't live in one - we live in a country which has had 100% men (and whites, and Christians, for that matter) in both the presidential and VP positions for well over 200 years. At that point, I think it's perfectly reasonable to look at the pool of generally qualified candidates and say, "OK, maybe it's time to change things up."

Both Clinton and Obama would change things up as presidential candidates. I like that about them. I hope their VP choices continue that trend - if Clinton gets the nod, I think Obama would be a great VP choice, for example. If Obama does, I listed some people above I think might be great choices.

I might possibly agree with you if there were no qualified female candidates for a VP slot with Obama. But there are. I mentioned three. There are likely more. So why not, after centuries with half the human race being left out of the contest here?

Besides which ... we're talking about the freakin' Vice Presidential nomination here. This is almost always made on exactly this kind of basis - who, among the qualified people, would bring more votes to the ticket? A Southerner to balance out a Northerner, a centrist to balance out a progressive, etc., etc. (Cheney was a rare exception). So why not a woman to balance out a man? How is that any different?

"[W]hat rift, exactly, would this heal except the manufactured rift between Obama supporters and the Steinem/Jung/NOW-NY contingent[?]"

I suggest you read the excellent posts by edgeways and damehex above. Clinton's candidacy is a BIG DEAL to a LOT of people - many of whom are core traditional demoncratic voters, to boot. This is NOT a fringe group, although like all groups, it does have a fringe which has been running off at the mouth. Clinton not getting the nomination would make a big group of older women angry. That's not a group the dems can afford to piss off. True, most would probably get over it and vote for Obama, but it'd be a *lot* better to have their enthusiastic support, if possible.

"[Wouldn't this group be] just as likely to spin a choice of a woman running mate as a callow effort at throwing women a bone (which, in a way it certainly would be)[?]"

You have a point here, but I don't think so. It's a very BIG bone. Putting someone in the VP slot is seen as priming them for an eventual presidential run -- again, Cheney is a very rare exception. One of the main reasons Clinton is being supported by many despite her flaws is that she is, rightly or wrongly, viewed as being the only woman with high enough national political name recognition to make a serious run despite the (perceived or real) roadblocks for women. Any woman who wins the VP slot instantly gets national recognition to match Clinton's, and automatic acceptance as a serious presidential contender in a later race. I think people would realize that means something.

"It's sad that we've gotten to a point where the battle for the presidency on one side of the ticket is between a black man and a woman and we still can't simply talk about ability and skill and potential."

I will point out that ability and skill and potential are mostly what have been talked about. But I think the polls have made it clear that identity politics is alive and well. And that is sad in some ways. But it is also because people are *excited* about the idea that someone might break the stranglehold that has kept huge groups of people out of the Oval Office for so long. And I think ignoring that is politically perilous.

And in case I haven't made it clear, I have a similar in intent, but different, VP wishlist for Clinton should she get the nod.
posted by kyrademon at 2:08 AM on February 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


cytherea writes "Eeek. You Obama people are really starting to scare me now. Do you have any idea how much you sound like Ron Paul supporters? It's creeping me the fuck out."

See, the difference here is Obama is an electable, reasonably thinking guy, where Ron Paul (and some of his supporters) should have batshitinsane tattooed to his (their) forehead(s).
posted by chiababe at 8:47 AM on February 19, 2008


while you smug hipsters are throwing Obama cash around, the Nerds For Obama gateway is still at zero.

Check it out. I donated through the Nerds for Obama gateway, and I got a thank-you letter from nerdcore rapper, MC Frontalot. Take that hipsters!
posted by jonp72 at 8:55 AM on February 19, 2008


lord... you know from time to time I try and read the blogger comments at sites like CNN and MSNBC under their political stories and it just fills me with utter despair and contempt for 98% of those people. Comparatively, this thread has been a freaking bastion of enlightenment.
posted by edgeways at 9:52 AM on February 19, 2008


Heh. News media site comments make YouTube look like a bastion of enlightenment.
posted by Artw at 9:56 AM on February 19, 2008


Isn't choosing someone as a candidate because they're a woman just as bad, in effect, as not choosing them because they're a woman?

I certainly think so. voting for a maybe not-so-great candidate because they're female is hardly a step towards equality. What woman wants to feel that they've gotten a free pass based on biology? Women can compete in politics on their skills, and that's what any candidate should be judged on.

Any woman who wins the VP slot instantly gets national recognition to match Clinton's, and automatic acceptance as a serious presidential contender in a later race.


Why should a woman need automatic national recognition any more than a man? Obama certainly didn't have national recognition before this race, but he's managed to earn it. I don't see why a woman isn't capable of the same thing. It's rather condescending to suggest that woman have to be given positions by men to be contenders in national politics, particularly when we have all sorts of women who have national name recognition due to their careers. Besides, basing a Presidential run on name recognition clearly was the strategy for Clinton's campaign, and her people have shown themselves to be totally unprepared in dealing with the well run and hardworking Obama organization. It bodes ill that the Clinton campaign with it's name recognition, immense popularity of the previous Clinton administration, experience, money, and large network of political allies has bungled this so badly. There's no good reason why Hillary shouldn't be the clear frontrunner right now, other than a complete failure by her org to keep their ear to the ground and pay attention to how the wind was shifting. It's shockingly disappointing that the most powerful democratic organization assembled is now scrambling in the face of an unanticipated challenge. I've lost all confidence in her managing capabilities at this point- If 35 years of experience doesn't elevate one from having to manufacture unsubstantiated charges of plagiarism the night before an election they've already disavowed in order to compete, something is terribly wrong.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:04 AM on February 19, 2008


See? He said period! He means she's grumpy because she's premenstrual!

If people would only remember all those times that a presidential candidate has accused a male opponent of campaigning in a certain way because he was feeling sad, they'd understand that this is no big deal!
posted by transona5 at 12:25 PM on February 19, 2008


I think Senator Clinton's main problem at this point is not sexism, or incompetence... it's cronyism and narcissism.

People are soooo sick of Bush. Even the Right.

And when you look at Clinton on the two main issues of this campaign - Iraq/the War on terror and the Economy- they see her track record and bullshit tough-guy rhetoric as just slightly watered down Neo-con crap.

When other democrats pointed this out Clinton and her campaign basically said "Yeah? So What." She never changed a thing. That. And. She has done the same thing Bush has done and surrounded her self with an echo chamber rather than substantive advisers.
posted by tkchrist at 1:35 PM on February 19, 2008


I am very glad that some of you apparently live in a post-sexist, post-racist utopia where anyone can become president solely on their own merits, without any assistance of any kind from an established political party. I, alas, do not. I live in one where, for example, a female candidate showing a trace of human emotion results in dozens of op-eds across the country wondering if she will allow terrorists to bomb Poughkeepsie because she'd be too afraid of hurting their feelings to stop them. What happened to the last remotely serious female presidential contender? Oh, yeah - they said she cried. Heard a lot from Pat Schroeder after that, did you? Well, that was twenty years ago. And I'm sure since then there've been ... um ... well, no one leaps to mind between then and now. Or before then, with the sole exception of Geraldine Ferraro, who I'm sure didn't face any sexism ("Fritz and Tits" was what that ticket was called, right?)

Look, despite what you might think from this thread, I'm not one to call "sexism!" every time things go a way I don't like. But come on. We're not just losing the equality race to England on this, we're losing it to Pakistan. There are roadblocks to female candidacies here. When you flip a coin and it comes down "heads" 43 times in a row, you're probably dealing with a two-headed coin.

I'm also not sure where you got that I want a "not-so-great" woman selected for the VP slot. I want a great woman selected, thank you very much. And all other things being equal, why not make a choice on the basis of, well, fairness?

I'm not going to apologize for suggesting that a choice which is inevitably made as a political calculation be a political calculation that would break gender barriers and win lots of votes (in my opinion, at least) for the more progressive party.

Oh - and Obama didn't have national name recognition before the race? On what planet? He also, incidentally, first rose to national prominence with a nice boost from the democratic party when they tapped him to speak and the convention. I doubt you'll find many people arguing how tragic it was that he got that assistance, which helped position him for a presidential run.
posted by kyrademon at 2:49 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know who scares me, Cytherea? The Clinton cultists, who cannot hear her lies as lies, who plug their ears and fail to listen to the history of corruption and power politics she represents, who buy her nonsense about "35 years of experience" in mostly unelected positions where she has mostly ever screwed things up, who don't mind that she served on the board of Wal Mart (for Christ's sake), or voted to authorize an illegal war that has set this country back decades in the world.

And yet you *cultists* continue to support her and deny the truth that she is unfit to lead, unable to break above a 52 percent or so threhold, and therefore likely unelectable, especially as she and Wolfson and Penn go fully negative and clearly plan to take the party down with them if they go down. We can't be president, then we're taking the marbles and going home to pout, and big bully Bill Clinton will make sure of it.

I'm disgusted and appalled at the Clinton campaign. I am not sure I could even vote for her in the general now even holding my nose.

The only real die hards left are white women of a certain age, a few younger soul sisters from Wellesley and Smith, and some blue collar voters who buy her pandering despite the WalMart and NAFTA in her history.

Disgusting campaign. I have lost all respect for her, and I voted twice for her for the senate and twice for her husband, who is now the reason that once again the democratic party is going to snatch defeat from the jaws of nearly certain victory -- Obama cleans McCain's clock nicely in national head to heads, HRC -- who is at her ceiling -- does not. She is actually going to take the party down with her if she can't be president.

Tracy Flick, all grown up. I'd rather have McCain.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:53 PM on February 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


And is this the same Howard Wolfson who is afraid to fly in airplanes? Of course it is. I know him, actually, through a mutual friend. And he is a bullying wimp in person too.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:54 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


As the doofus who started this whole monstershitstorm thread to begin with, I guess I just want to toss in the next .02 in my whole four cents on the matter.

-- my main point in posting was that the plagiarism charge was sort of moot to begin with because it was probably the same guy who came up with the ideas behind the speeches. I never meant to point it out as a bit of dirty politics, nor turn this into a thread about which Dem candidate was better.

-- While it was a bit frustrating to see the thing take a turn for the intrapartison, I think edgeways pretty much nailed it, saying the post had evolved beyond the FPP and people now had an outlet to discuss -- very passionately if I may add -- their feelings about both the candidates, and the polticial landscape in general.

-- There was some expected trolling, which seems to have been deleted rightfully by the mods.

-- If anyone cares, I lean heavily toward Obama. I have been to his office in D.C., there is an autographed picture of him hanging on my wall, and best of all my son got a personal tour of the Capitol Building. A friend of mine (I coached his kid's little league team last year) is a Secret Service agent on Obama's detail. Just in case anyone thinks I am a bigwig...I have yet to contribute penny one to him. I spend most of my time wondering where my next mortage payment is coming from. I'm a 46 year old white guy who falls on the very tail end of the baby boom thing, and I find myself truly inspired by the guy. I feel about Obama the same way I did seeing Bobby Kennedy when I was just a little shit. After two terms of W, I am ready for drastic change, and yes, hope. The same way some people are willing to believe Obama was sworn in on a Quran, wont salute the flag etc, I want to believe in a United States, not Red and Blue. I'm just old enough enough to know that is unlikely, but still have a good enough weed connection to believe it may be someday.

-- I voted for Bill Clinton, not necessarily because I loved everything about him, but because he was the lesser of two evils. With hindsight, I think the guy did the best job he could, and I respect him for that. He spent more time in office fighting off Republican attacks of one sort or another, be they impeachment procedings or the Rush Limbaugh's of the world beating up on his wife.

-- I don't support Hillary. Not because she is a woman, not because I think she has ulterior motives, or is a bitch or whatever. I just don't think she is electable. If she wins the nomination, and possibly the general, she will be saddled with the legacy of her husbands administration and that will be the end of whatever plans she had. Out of the woodwork will come every right wing pundit, and we will be reliving travelgate and so on. It might be a great victory for feminists etc to see a woman in that office, but in the end I think it will if not outright destroy, at least hobble the Democratic party for at least 12 years. I think she is an intelligent woman, and probably a better behind-the-scenes politician than anyone knows. I just don't think she is the proper standard bearer for Democrats right now.

-- In the end, I want to see our country change for the better, but also realize no matter who ends up in the Oval on January 20th, they just got handed a bag of crap. Wars in two countries (if you don't count AOWs), energy problems, environmental problems, health care problems, financial market problems. What we need is someone who can try to pull us all together and make us care about each other enough to work as one to solve at least a few of them. I feel that person is Barack Obama. Nuff said.

Of course...one more damned skyscraper falls, bomb goes off, once eradicated disease we no longer have antidotes for sweeps the country, then its catch as catch can. All I can do for the moment is hope for, and believe in a better day tomorrow for all of us.

The only thing I have other than my personal feelings, is my vote. I plan to use it, and I truly hope you will too.
posted by timsteil at 3:15 PM on February 19, 2008


Tracy Flick, all grown up. I'd rather have McCain.

If it's McCain instead of Clinton, that makes affordable health care and a reigning in of the deficit infinitely less likely, and a whole bunch more wars much more likely.

Look, fourcheesemac, I share your frustrations with Clinton. I hate this stupid plagiarism charge, the belittling "Jesse Jackson won SC too!" stuff, the willingness to take this all the way to the convention, party be damned, etc.

But at the end of the day, we care about politics because politicians will implement policies that affect real people. It's not American Idol.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:36 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to apologize for suggesting that a choice which is inevitably made as a political calculation be a political calculation that would break gender barriers and win lots of votes (in my opinion, at least) for the more progressive party.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think that the conventional wisdom on the matter is that Obama has an advantage among independents and Republicans that Hillary lacks.

After this election is Obama wins the general it'll be at least 8 more years before another woman has a crack at the oval office, if Obama wins with a male VP and they run the boards you're looking at 16 years.

And what about if Hillary wins the nomination and loses the general? It may be even longer than 16 years before a woman is elected president.

In any case, I think that the sensible thing to do is nominate the person who is most likely to win in a general election, who, according to every poll I've seen on the matter, is Obama. Yes, it would be nice to have a female president. But if the Republicans win, we will lose ground on every issue that is important to Democratic women. There will likely be 2 Supreme Court justices nominated in the next 4-8 years. Now is not the time to be playing identity politics.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:05 PM on February 19, 2008


Afroblanco - I was discussing the possibility of Obama selecting a woman as a VP candidate if he wins the nomination, not discussing the relative merits of voting for Obama or Clinton.
posted by kyrademon at 4:11 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


please listen to ibmcginty
posted by tkchrist at 5:39 PM on February 19, 2008


I don't disagree with you Afroblanco, but as hard as we may wish identity politics not to matter, they clearly do, identity politics mattered in the Boston tea party, they mattered when white males where decrying "no taxation without representation," why shouldn't they matter now?

And as much as we wish people would see the light and understand everything as clearly as we do (self-mockery there, not serious), people are complex being and it behooves us to understand why they behave in ways we wish they didn't. Clinton has a lot of support in this primary, and we may sit to the side and say, well obviously if she loses Democratic women will lose ground, narff narff narff... but she does have that support and it is for a reason, and her loosing is not a given thing, she would stand at least an even chance of winning at this point. Now, I agree with the assessment that Obama is probably the more electable candidate, and in general I like him better. But, he does represent a big unknown in many ways to many people. Will he be able to come through the general election and withstand the attacks that are going to come? We are seeing just the tip of it now and I can't decide if Clinton's attacks are good in that it'd help prepare Obama for the rougher stuff, or bad in that they may be born out of desperation and may cause more long term harm then good. Only time will tell.

Clinton, for all her faults, has some strong points as well, and it is easy being male and saying "just wait, your time isn't yet, have patience, don't count on this one to win" but I can only imagine how frustrating and maddening it is for some to hear this when they finally have a viable candidate to run. As I mentioned, for some it is the last, best hope of representation.

All the talk about women being able to count on political recognition just as men do is perhaps slightly disingenuous, women are just as capable, but make up a small minority of those in political power (>14% in congress, a historic record!). I would be surprised if the average American could name by name more then two or three national female political figures.

Yes I agree, Clinton is polarizing where Obama is not. And I support Obama from a position I feel is not sexist, but I understand completely why the emotion runs so high and I have nothing but disregard for any position that discounts or ignores it.
posted by edgeways at 5:45 PM on February 19, 2008


The Democratic party will not survive blowing this election. And that may be a good thing.

/ Disgusted. And I blame the Clintons, directly.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:47 PM on February 19, 2008


But if the swirl is to be believed, revenge tonight will be sweet. Eat Obama's exhaust, you tired old machine hack with your "35 years" of nothing.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:48 PM on February 19, 2008


And I'm back to say plagiarize this, Clinton:

Obama declared winner in Wisconsin!
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:18 PM on February 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was discussing the possibility of Obama selecting a woman as a VP candidate if he wins the nomination, not discussing the relative merits of voting for Obama or Clinton.

Apologies for the misunderstanding.

We are seeing just the tip of it now and I can't decide if Clinton's attacks are good in that it'd help prepare Obama for the rougher stuff, or bad in that they may be born out of desperation and may cause more long term harm then good.

Well, I think that's one of the most significant functions of the primary cycle - we get to see what the candidates are like when they're under fire. So I would say that Clinton's attacks are good, to a point. But I also don't think she should be doing the Republicans' homework for them.

Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone in this thread. Generally speaking, it's been a really good discussion. It shows that we can discuss things like politics and sexism on MeFi without brawling with each other. Y'all are a good community.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:52 PM on February 19, 2008


dsword writes "Politicians regularly provide sources for statistics that they quote. It's not as if citations are unheard of in politics. "

Because they want to show that they aren't making stuff up not because anyone would think they compiled the statistics themselves.

joannemerriam writes "I've heard any number of people (Democrats!) say they wouldn't vote for her because no woman can deal with the Arabic world and be taken seriously."

It boggles that anyone could think that after Margaret Thatcher. Ignorance in spades it seems.

kyrademon writes "Look, despite what you might think from this thread, I'm not one to call 'sexism!' every time things go a way I don't like. But come on. We're not just losing the equality race to England on this, we're losing it to Pakistan. There are roadblocks to female candidacies here. When you flip a coin and it comes down 'heads' 43 times in a row, you're probably dealing with a two-headed coin."

Probably closer to a dozen times in a row as it is a might unrealistic to expect a woman to be elected president before passing of the 19th amendment.
posted by Mitheral at 9:29 PM on February 19, 2008


President Obama, Vice President Webb, Sen Majority Leader Clinton
posted by homunculus at 9:55 PM on February 19, 2008


(I'd still say 43. If we're talking about roadblocks, I don't see why we should ignore earlier roadblocks just because they happened to be really, really big ones.)

As a codicil to this discussion - my gf and I went and voted tonight. The line to get into the caucus area was enormous. I think the biggest turnout for a Hawaii caucus historically was lower than 5,000 people statewide. I guesstimated that there were at least 800 people there for my district alone. There are 51 districts in Hawaii. I live in an urban district, so there were probably others with lower turnout, but I'd guess there was very likely 5-digit turnout this year. It was a bit of a mess, but people were patiently waitting to get in. At least the weather is nice here.

It's considered likely to be a blowout for Obama. Not only is it a natural voting base for him here, but, well, I live across the street from Obama's high school. I doubt we'll know the results before tomorrow at the earliest, but I'd be surprised if he didn't have a double-digit lead statewide. The only real question is whether that means 10% or 40%.

However things go down, I find the turnout exciting. And I know there's been this kind of turnout for the democrats across the U.S. - in states that went to Obama, in states that went to Clinton, everywhere. I hope, whatever ultimately happens in the primary process, we can maintain that excitement. Ultimately, it is not Obama, Clinton, or McCain who will determine who gets the nomination and who gets the presidency. It is the voters.

So if the results are not my first choice, I'm not going to take my ball and go home. I'm going to vote for the best candidate remaining. I hope everyone who has gotten enthusiastic about Obama, or Clinton, or Edwards, or Kucinich for that matter does the same, no matter who ultimately comes out on top. I hope if the last eight years have taught us anything, it is that there *are* differences between the two parties, and that this election *matters* even if comes down to a left-leaning centrist as the candidate. That lean to the left matters a lot - for our civil liberties, for our laws, and even for some of our lives.

Anyway, just wanted to say that. 'Night.
posted by kyrademon at 10:19 PM on February 19, 2008


Thanks for the convo kyrademon. Thanks for the report from HI.
posted by edgeways at 10:28 PM on February 19, 2008


I like Jim Webb. He's my senator, but I'm not sure I like the idea of him on a national ticket. He's green politically and is not a partisan and he's certainly no liberal. And you definitely don't want to pull him out of VA when we have a chance to sweep the state with Mark Warner.

I think we need an LBJ on the ticket to balance Obama. The Democrats don't really have any machine politicians like that any more, though.

Are there any Democrats with their hands on the levers of power that can help Obama knock heads together and get stuff accomplished?

All I know is that on Obama/Clinton administration would be an absolutely fucking nightmare. Bill in the Veep's office will cause a constitutional crisis.
posted by empath at 10:29 PM on February 19, 2008


Hillary needs to transition her campaign starting TODAY from "Win at all costs" to "Wait and see" mode. Even if she barely campaigned, she can probably lock up enough delegates from here to the end if the superdelegates break her way. If there's a major Obama scandal or some major fumble, she'll easily be able to lock up the nomination on the first ballot.

She can't win this thing going negative, all she can do is destroy her own political career by tagteaming with McCain against Obama.

What she needs to do is stay positive, stop drawing contrasts with Obama, make a positive case to her constituency (seniors, women, unions, people making under 30k a year) and keep locking up 40 percent of the vote. If McCain attacks Obama, she needs to launch an attack against McCain touting Obama's credentials, judgement and toughness.

She won't beat him that way, but she won't beat him anyway, and at least this way she makes it to the convention with her delegates and dignity intact and with no clusterfuck at the convention.
posted by empath at 11:30 PM on February 19, 2008


Clearly, the Clinton campaign is using Wisconsin as something of a test case of how effective negative attacks on Obama can be.

Looks like that didn't work out so well for her.

posted by grouse at 1:57 AM on February 20, 2008


Follow up regarding Hawaii turnout:

Around 5,000 was the previous record.

Until a couple of weeks ago, they were saying they might maybe get a record 8,000, and were wondering if they could handle that many.

A week ago, they revised that number to a possible 18,000.

36,000 people actually showed up and voted.

They had only printed half that many ballots. There was a lot of frantic photocopying going on last night, apparently.

They kept things open until everybody had a chance to cast a ballot, so it went until 10:00 PM in some places.

And for you Obama supporters, the groundswell for Clinton managed to hold Obama down to a mere, um, 76% of the vote.

And if Obama takes Ohio and Texas on March 4th, I'll be sending him some money on March 5th to help him take down McCain.


I'm still kind of pissed off by what I see as a bizarre level of personal animosity towards Clinton on the part of some Obama supporters. I understand the dislike of some of her political stances and campaign tactics, but there is a definite attitude that everything Obama does is Right and Pure and everything Clinton does is Twisted and Evil ... even when they're doing the exact same thing. Is it sexism? I still think in some cases it is, particularly in how she has been treated by the media. Is it the go-my-team smash-the-enemy aspect of all electoral politics? Probably to some extent.

But after reading this thread, I think for many Obama supporters it is far more a longstanding animosity towards the politics of the Clinton/Bush years - in their minds, fairly or unfairly, she has come to be a synecdoche for the triangulating, disorganized, centrist, lobbyist-controlled, politics-before-ideology, fearful, try-to-win-at-all-costs (and still manage to lose) wing of the democratic party. I don't think it's at all a fair label to pin on her; others here clearly disagree.

If Obama does win the nomination, I sincerely hope he doesn't let y'all down. As for me, I have my reservations about him, but they pale in comparison to to my desire to keep McCain out of the White House at all costs.
posted by kyrademon at 4:56 AM on February 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


a bizarre level of personal animosity towards Clinton on the part of some Obama supporters.

1) Obama is a dangerous gamble (Bill Clinton)
2) Obama is only winning states where Blacks support him (Bill)
3) Obama is a drug user (Mark Penn, other surrogates)
4) Obama's beautiful oratory is "just words" and "phony rhetoric" (all concerned)
5) If we don't win fair and square we'll steal the election (Penn, Wolfson)
6) Obama is a plagiarist for sharing a consultant and ideas with Deval Patrick (Penn, Wolfson, HRC)
7) Obama is a closet Muslim agent (unnamed Hillary supporters including campaign workers who circulate scurrilous RW emails)
8) The states Obama has won are "insignificant" because HRC didn't win (HRC, surrogates)
9) Obama supporters are "cultists" (many HRC supporters, including Cytherea in this thread) because we don't belong to the HRC cult

That's just from the HRC campaign, never mind the intense level of personal animosity coming from HRC supporters who can't believe their Golden Girl actually has a challenger who is actually more popular and has better ideas. BUT IT WAS HER TURN!

You ain't seen animosity yet. 8 years of GW Bush has stiffened my spine, at least. To me, HRC is part of the same machine as Bush, driven by partisanship and contempt for the American people, democracy, and common cause.

I was happy to say I would vote for HRC if Edwards or Obama did not get the nomination through most of last year. The day Bill went on Charlie Rose and started this desperate politics of attack and innuendo, they lost me.

You see, Bill is supposedly the head of the party. But he has worked to tarnish Obama so hard that he has now lost his own ability to stand for Obama if he is the nominee, and given the Republicans ammo and a line of attack for the general. Someone above complained that Obama was not a Dem partisan and that this was a reason not to trust him. Pshaw. I quit the Dem party in disgust 4 years ago and became a registered independent for a reason. If the party does not care about people who are not members of the party, they are doomed to lose forever. Like the GOP, the DLC and insider cohorts at the top of the Dem party are entirely in this for self preservation and gain.

Like many Americans, the reason I support Barack Obama *so* forcefully is precisely because he is a non (or post) partisan politician. People who put party over country have a name for me: Republicans.

An anecdote: I know someone who is a strong HRC supporter, and has worked her entire career in DC as a staff aid to liberal democratic senators and congresswomen. She's a feminist, a left, Ivy educated, an expert on labor policy and health care policy. She supports Hillary out of sisterhood and because that's her inside-the-party world.

When the dems took congress in 06, after years of being an advocate for health care for the poor, this person took a job, immediately, as a $300K/yr lobbyist for a . . . . drug company. Like many of her colleagues, she was simply waiting for power to cash in her cards. I haven't talked to her since.

That did it for me. I have not an ounce of loyalty left for the democratic party. I am an Obama supporter, but an independent, like many of his voters and supporters. My vote belongs to no one a priori.

Either we change this corrupt system or we'll never get out of the quicksand of the Clinton/Bush era, now approaching 20 years of rule by 2 -- count 'em -- families, neither of which has done anything but fuck up the United States and drive us apart in their own pursuits of power.

If you believe HRC will actually deliver any of her own soaring, lofty promises (no matter how couched in policy wonk speech), you don't know how divisive and brutal she is, and how much resistance she'll face. For those who point to her "experience," I just say "look how successful she was the first time with health care, back when she took on a major policy initiative as an unelected and unaccountable political spouse, held her meetings in private, and completely handed the insurance and pharma industries pretty much exactly what they wanted: 15 more years of no accountability and gross levels of profitability at our expense. Some say "but she tried." Yeah, she tried like a fox.

Seriously, name something she's done right. Then let's discuss who has run a better campaign and tell me again about how "experienced" she is in politics and policy.

The Senator from Wal Mart talks her own shit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:46 AM on February 20, 2008 [4 favorites]


PS - I just gave Obama $50 (making an even $1000 so far) this morning in honor of the Obama bashers on this thread.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:50 AM on February 20, 2008


kyrademon, just seeing Hillary take the oath would let me down. Obama could not do any worse than the letdown I will feel if HRC makes it that far. Obama succeeds mightily for me by taking the key to the oval office on "Day One." That is one reason his support is so strong; "success" will be measured first and foremost by the end of an era of Clinton/Bush oligarchy, the first non-white US president, and someone who does not identify as a partisan first. And finally, as someone who is Obama's age and who teaches college students (whose excitement over Obama has been incredibly moving and impressive to me), I'm sick of letting people born in the 40s and 50s tell my generation to wait another turn. No way. Y'all (to use your rather disingenuous term) have had 20 odd years and all you've done is fuck this country up so bad we may not be able to get out of this nosedive.

No wonder Clinton "won" Florida. She should consider retiring there. Soon. Her support is dwindling now to the point where senior citizens are (as was true last night) her only reliable constituency. But the idea that they will support her over Crusty McCain is laughable. I like senior citizens just fine. But I don't want grampa and grandma in charge of the finances or driving the car. My generation and the ones behind are now on the scene, and we want to be represented.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:57 AM on February 20, 2008


But I guess that means I'm just a sexist pig. Despite having voted for HRC twice for senate in NY. Because no one could oppose Hillary on substantive grounds. You have to be a cultist and a sexist if you don't love her.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:00 AM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's a great comment, kyrademon. Thanks for the Hawaii insight, and a Clintonista's perspective on Obamentum.

fourcheesemac, you sound like a social conservative. "Clinton's people aren't like us. They're too old/ambitious/white, so they're bad." The fact of the matter is, while I'm a strong Obama supporter, his proposed policies are not all that different from hers. Please listen to tkchrist. Remember why politics matters. It's not a soap opera. Politicians implement policies that affect people.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:34 AM on February 20, 2008


Don't talk down to me with your soap opera nonsense and concern trolling. It is not conservative to favor a rising generation over an older one, a multiracial coalition over a less diverse one, a candidate whose politics makes you think that just maybe he could actually have enough of a mandate and enough bipartisan support to actually *enact* some of those policy positions that are "the same" as Hillary's (and which she has a snowball's chance in hell of ramming through, just like Bill when he had to cave in to the right over and over again).

Obama's point is policy prescriptions mean nothing if you have no mandate to change things and don't have support from across the aisle. Despite recent words, McCain has at least acted in accordance with the same basic principle of non-ideological governance in recent years. They are more alike than either is like Bush or HRC.

Again, someone please tell me one of HRC's great policy successes of recent years. And remind me again why *Bill* could not be bothered to champion any of those causes, including delegating what he had to have known was a doomed effort to enact a universal health care plan to his unelected wife in the 90s.

The time for comparing detailed policy positions is past us now. The question before us is one of political agency.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:01 AM on February 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ps -- to those crying "sexism" every time Hillary is questioned, tell me what you'll do if McCain chooses a woman running mate (as is being rumored as a possibility) and Obama picks another man for his. I take it that at that point those who don't support the female candidate will cease to be sexists?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:05 AM on February 20, 2008


Ha, ha, Bellman! You were wrong -- what a nattering naybob of negativism you are, ya big jerk!
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:06 AM on February 20, 2008


From the AP today after Obama held the biggest town hall meeting in Texas political history:

Sarah Greening, a 19-year-old student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, said she was looking forward to casting the first ballot of her life for Mr. Obama.

"He's really uplifting, and he could be the first black president," she said. "I'm glad I can vote in this election."

Mr. Obama ended his day with an 18,000-person rally at the Toyota Center in Houston.


I'm with Sarah.

There is nothing more powerfully compelling to me than the deep investment young people -- including nearly every young female student I talk to about it -- are implacably pro-Obama.

Demography is destiny.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:25 AM on February 20, 2008


Here's a discussion of the legislative accomplishments of the three major candidates according to their campaign literature, fourcheesemac.

Clinton's portion at that post:
She was instrumental in designing and championing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has provided millions of children with health insurance. She battled the big drug companies to force them to test their drugs for children and to make sure all kids get the immunizations they need through the Vaccines for Children Program. Immunization rates dramatically improved after the program launched. […]

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Hillary worked with her colleagues to secure the funds New York needed to recover and rebuild. She fought to provide compensation to the families of the victims, grants for hard-hit small businesses, and health care for front line workers at Ground Zero. […]

Hillary passed legislation to track the health status of our troops so that conditions like Gulf War Syndrome would no longer be misdiagnosed. She is an original sponsor of legislation that expanded health benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserves and has been a strong critic of the Administration’s handling of Iraq…. She helped pass legislation that encouraged investment to create jobs in struggling communities through the Renewal Communities program…. She authored legislation that has been enacted to improve quality and lower the cost of prescription drugs and to protect our food supply from bioterrorism…. Her strong advocacy for children continues in the Senate. Some of Hillary’s proudest achievements have been her work to ensure the safety of prescription drugs for children, with legislation now included in the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, and her legislation to help schools address environmental hazards.


I agree with you that Obama is more likely to get more done, get support from the other side of the aisle, and I'll go you one more-- that his coattails will be longer, and god willing, he won't have to give away the store to Republicans.

But let's not lose sight of things here.

More wars, a dragged-out version of the futile occupation of Iraq, and continuing increases in the cost of health care are more likely under Pres. McCain than Pres. Clinton.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:37 AM on February 20, 2008


I live in New York. That claim about securing funds is trivial. In my opinion, it's absurd how federal anti-terrorism security funding has gone out across the land as political pork. She's used it that way too.

Obama's coattails will be much longer than Hillary's, that's for sure. First-time voters were up 17 percent in Wisconsin (which has open primaries and same day registration, how terribly democratic of them and too bad for machine candidates like HRC).

I do not think the war will end any sooner under "we must be careful" and voted-for-it-in-the-first-place Clinton. (I also believe she voted for it out of political expediency, thinking she needed to for a chance in 08 general; that sickens me more than someone supporting it out of genuine, if misguided, principle.) We can only get out as quickly as we can, and that will take a year or two under either president Clinton or Obama. Both will get us out because they need to if they plan to win in 2012, among other things, and because we can't afford this war any longer. Even McCain will be forced to get us out sooner than he thinks.

I don't believe HRC has *any* national security credentials whatsoever. Obama hasn't either, but at least he isn't pretending that he does. He needs to pick a strong national security running mate -- Webb would work for me, or Zinni. But she has no standing against McCain on this front, and the national numbers that show Obama beating McCain and Clinton losing to him -- only getting worse by the day, and now after Wisconsin sure to plummet for HRC -- prove that this is not an argument for victory. National security-obsessed voters will go for McCain as "commander in chief."

The thing is, a democrat -- any democrat -- could walk away with the general. But not if the party is torn asunder in the primaries and convention. HRC and Bill (whose sin is worse) are essentially ensuring conflict in the party, staying past their welcome and threatening by their actions to take it all with them if they can't move back into the white house. That's the meaning of her sharply negative tone, her floating of plans to steal the delegate vote, and all the rest.

She's beaten, but she can't stand to admit it. We have a candidate who will bring out a whole generation of new voters, attract new independents and former Reagan democrats back to the party, cross longstanding lines of racial division in the party, and all the DLC can offer us is the same old nasty politics.

This morning, I am sure Hillary is done. The only question is how much damage she will do to the progressive movement and our best chance to change directions in a generation on her way out the door.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:19 AM on February 20, 2008


Oh, and if Hillary Clinton actually "battled the big drug companies" for SCHIP, how come they don't seem to have lost much of their power or the profit margin? She "battled the big insurance companies" in the early 90s too. Fat lot of good all that battling did.

You might even think it was planned to fail. Might.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:22 AM on February 20, 2008


I know that it's a relatively small issue, but one thing that constantly annoys me about Clinton is her stance on video games. The whole 'ESRB isn't doing enough, we must protect our children' crap is just ridiculous.
posted by graventy at 8:32 AM on February 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


"There is nothing more powerfully compelling to me than the deep investment young people -- including nearly every young female student I talk to about it -- are implacably pro-Obama."

I remember a similar sentiment, back in ... 1992. Have you forgotten all that? Then it was all about the "MTV vote" and wasn't it exciting to see so many youngsters engaged in politics again! And so what? They voted for the guy who played a saxophone but yet we still ended up where we are today.

So what's so powerfully compelling about it all? Where did that get us? Eventually the youngsters grew bored and disaffected again, many made some money and voted for Bush and then voted for Bush again.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:15 AM on February 20, 2008


"HRC and Bill (whose sin is worse) are essentially ensuring conflict in the party, staying past their welcome and threatening by their actions to take it all with them if they can't move back into the white house. That's the meaning of her sharply negative tone, her floating of plans to steal the delegate vote, and all the rest."

Staying past their welcome? There are hundreds of thousands of people still voting for Clinton in this race, and Obama's leading margin is still quite slim. She's clearly very welcome to many voters at this point.

And "stealing the delegate vote" is just exaggerated rhetoric. By wooing the superdelegates Clinton is simply seeking to win the nomination by the options that are available and within the rules of her party. She would be foolish not to consider such a strategy and her supporters would rightfully condemn her if she didn't. I'm certain that if Obama were in her place, falling behind in the delegate count, that he would be exploring the same ideas. As an Obama supporter, I would be disappointed if he didn't.

I think it's silly to knock Clinton for not abandoning the race at this point. Yes, she should end the negative campaigning, but she believes herself the better candidate and should be allowed to see if her party believes so too.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2008


Kraftmatic, your comparison doesn't walk. The talk was there in 1992, but this is a new generation, not the same youth vote. This generation is far more engaged, and if the primaries are any indication, the actual votes are starting to match the hype.

Look at the numbers and tell me this is 1992 all over again.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:46 AM on February 20, 2008


Bill O’Reilly: "I don’t want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there’s evidence…"
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM on February 20, 2008


I don't see what the great differences are, fourcheesemac. More engaged? I'm not sure how this is measured, so I can't tell if you're right. And what are the numbers you refer to? Just how do they stack up? Honestly I don't see why this youth movement is so surprising, it seems very familiar to me.

I was a college kid in 92, and I was pretty excited about Bill. He seemed to understand young people, he was personable, a great talker, he offered a break from the Washington insiders. He even showed up on MTV and played with a band. And when he chose as his first great policy battle homosexuals in the military, I was elated -- it seemed we had picked the right guy. Then he compromised on that, and followed with the less than stellar performance you outlined above.

So while I'm a big fan of Obama, I'm also more careful this time to temper my excitement. I think he's the best candidate to be president, but I question just how much he can actually accomplish.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:27 AM on February 20, 2008


According to my math Clinton now needs to win ~57% of the rest of the pledged delegates to come out ahead, and if Obama wins everywhere where is is actually expected to win that number jumps to ~60%. Tx is in the balance, but after last night I suspect it'll swing Obama, and OH will edge to close to a tie.

For awhile I've been wondering why the polls seem to be so... off. WI was suppose to be close to a tie, for example. I think I may have hit on it. The polls are based primarily on people with landlines. With a good chunk of Obama support coming from young people, who primarily have cell phones, not landlines, the polls are missing a big demographic.

Oh, and anyone know anything about the American Research Group? Their polls have been... well lets just say insanely wrong on a number of contests, yet many media outlets insist on still quoting them. In WI they had Clinton winning by something like 9 points, when she lost by 17, and was the only outlet saying she would win at all. I think they also had her winning in IA, when she came in 3rd. So what gives?
posted by edgeways at 12:07 PM on February 20, 2008


Edgeways, I think the landline issue is definitely part of it. I think the other part is that (I think) a lot of polls only track likely voters and it sounds like a lot of unlikely voters are coming out to the polls.
posted by drezdn at 12:49 PM on February 20, 2008


fourcheesemac -

A) Where the heck are the "Obama-bashers" on this thread? Seriously, has anyone here even said they wouldn't vote for him if he gets the nomination, for any reason?

B) No one here has said that not voting for Hillary is necessarily sexist. I, and a couple of others, wondered aloud if there was some degree of sexism fueling the personal animosity towards her. And I, for one, eventually concluded that in the media treatment of her this was probably somewhat the case, and among Obama supporters' reaction to her it was probably not the case.

C) At some points in this race, Obama was somewhat behind on delegates. Should he have dropped out then? No? Then please stop implying that Clinton is a spoiler when she's not that far behind. Let your guy win in March or April, which he probably will, and quit acting like he - what's the phrase? - "deserves" the nomination because it's so obvious he's going to win that everyone else should drop out. Does that sound vaguely familiar to you? Do you understand why I have been saying that stuff about Obama Right and Pure vs. Clinton Twisted and Evil for the exact same thing?

D) I understand your rancor over Clinton's negative campaigning tactics. However, at least so far, this has still been one of the least negative competitive primaries in my memory. Seriously. If this is Clinton trying to bring down the party with her ... well, either she's very, very, very bad at it, or that's not what's going on. If she does really bring out the long knives at some point, I'll have to eat these words, but right now, she hasn't.

E) Dude, she already lost my state to Obama by a FIFTY-ONE PERCENT MARGIN. You can stop yelling at me now.
posted by kyrademon at 12:57 PM on February 20, 2008


This generation is far more engaged, and if the primaries are any indication, the actual votes are starting to match the hype.

Look at the numbers and tell me this is 1992 all over again.


Realistically speaking we're not going to know that until at least 2009. I also have to wonder how many people will remain engaged if Clinton or McCain is elected. Will people supporting Obama continue to fight for the things they believe in? No one knows until that actually happens.

Oh - and Obama didn't have national name recognition before the race? On what planet?

On, this planet, in this country, as a matter of fact. No more automatic name recognition than any speaker at a national political convention, which is not a lot, I'd argue. Remember rep. Harold Ford from Tennessee, keynote speaker of the 2000 convention? Evan Bayh (1996), or Barbara Jordan (1990)? It's not necessarily a catapult to fame. Obama gained some recognition from that speech from people who pay attention to such things, because it was a great speech, but many older people and people outside of large metropolitan areas still really had no idea who he was or what he stood for until campaigning for this election got underway. There are many places in America that really didn't know him, and I certainly met poeple thein multi-cultural, uber-connected Bay Area who didn't know who he was six months ago. Both Edwards and Clinton had huge margins over Obama in this regard.

I am very glad that some of you apparently live in a post-sexist, post-racist utopia where anyone can become president solely on their own merits, without any assistance of any kind from an established political party.

Well, if you're responding to me, I sure as heck didn't say that people shouldn't have the support of their party. My point was that women like Condoleeza Rice, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, and Janet Napolitano, have just as much of a chance running for president as any male candidate. I'd say that these women have done a pretty excellent job of building careers based on their own merits. No, I don't live in a Utopia, I just happen to believe that women are as smart and talented and strong as men, and don't need any handouts or preferential treatment based on their gender- in fact, I think it's detrimental to equality issues to do so. A mediocre, ineffectual female president is not a boon to women's issues.

After this election is Obama wins the general it'll be at least 8 more years before another woman has a crack at the oval office, if Obama wins with a male VP and they run the boards you're looking at 16 years.

There are female Republicans, you know. But seriously, what is the overriding need to have a female president in the next 16 years? Why not work to ensure we have the best president, regardless of gender or color? I would really like to be sold on the idea that having a woman in the White House is going to somehow make my life as a woman, and all women's lives, hell, all people's lives, better. I'm just not seeing it, any more than I see black Americans lives suddenly being better just because a black person becomes president. I'd be voting for Clinton if I thought she'd be a better nominee, and I'll vote for her if she's the nominee because John McCain is a scary, unprincipled pol who has changed his stance on nearly every issue that set him apart in the first place. However, voting for someone because it's the last opportunity to have someone with child bearing equipment in the White House for 16 years makes no sense to me, unless that person kicks major ass. I wanted Hillary to kick major ass in this primary season, and win my vote. Speaking as a woman, I know there's no reason why a woman of her standing shouldn't be able to do so, because women have clearly demonstrated that they are perfectly capable of holding positions of power in this country. However, I'm not giving her the benefit of the doubt just because we share the same gender. I want a woman in the White House that will make me proud, that will put to rest any lingering notion from any backwater rube that thinks that a woman is not capable of being President. I thought Hillary Clinton could be that woman when she ran for New York Senate, but as she's mismanaged her campaign (132 million dollars gone by February is no minor matter), I don't believe any longer that she is that woman. And please, the "plagiarism" issue? WTF? Why does she need to stoop to these stupid tactics and then blame the press? What is up with her disparaging remarks about caucuses and Democrats in red states? Take some responsibility for your losses and don't knock the people who stood in the freezing rain to vote on your behalf, even if they live in Republican Land. Those voters don't count, but Florida and Michigan voters do. Sheesh.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:17 PM on February 20, 2008


Just to reiterate (to keep things on track, not because I think you misunderstood), I was discussing the possibility of gender being a consideration in the selection of a vice-presidential candidate, not allowing gender to override other concerns in voting for a presidential candidate.

I still don't understand why you think I want a mediocre woman to be priviledged over a great man in this pick. My assumption is that there are both great men and great women who are perfectly qualified for the vice-presidency, so why not pick a great woman this time and break the gender barrier? All other things being equal, why *shouldn't* it be a consideration that it would break barriers, set precedents, and lay groundwork for the future?

Rather than seeing as a "handout", I see it as a first step towards correcting the fact that roughly 50 percent of the potential candidates *should* have been women for years now, and they haven't been. For me, it's become something that should be considered now, because in the past there has clearly been this consideration in the opposite direction. If everything really were equal, I'd agree with you. But to my mind, at least, it clearly isn't.

As for Obama's name recognition ... *shrug*. I'd been hearing his name kicked around as a potential presidential contender for years now. But then, I'm also familiar with Harold Ford, Evan Bayh, and Barbara Jordan. I'm perfectly willing to believe that you're right and lots of other people have know clue who any of 'em are.
posted by kyrademon at 1:51 PM on February 20, 2008


Obama campaign urges Clinton to concede
posted by grouse at 2:32 PM on February 20, 2008


Obama campaign urges Clinton to concede

I think that's an attempt to convince the public that he's a foregone conclusion rather than a sincere effort to persuade Clinton to concede. That's not gonna happen, at least not before Texas and Ohio. I don't think it will happen as long as it's still mathematically possible for her to win, and I don't think the Obama camp really thinks it's going to happen either.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 4:14 PM on February 20, 2008


fourcheesemac, Obama himself claimed to have been a drug user in college - there was even some stuff about how he exaggerated his experience to sound cooler than he was (friends say he was really pretty straight). And the stuff about being culty just comes from how absolutist obama supporters sometimes seem to get. I would happily support obama in the general, but the hysteria associated with him in this stage has been off-putting. He is a politician, not a god. He engages in political behavior too - This NYer article is a nice discussion of the ways he's trying to be different, but how he also has to play the game - how he had to have the most chocolate chip cookies at the Iowa caucus if he was going to win there, how he got one endorsement by telling the guy he wasn't going to let him off of a van until he had that endorsement, and when the guy said he had to discuss it with his wife, calling the wife on a cellphone...

I dunno, I liked Obama after his 04 speech, and I thought he would have been an excellent VP choice. I was a bit unsure about his leap to the front, and the way that he dismissed the possibility of being anyone's number two as out of the question - he seemed to think he had the one true answer in a way that rubbed me a tiny bit the wrong way, as I am always a little wary of Dear Leaders. And now that he has a frenzied following my support wanes as the rest of the group waxes, not so much due to his actual stances on things, but just the religious fervor about him that makes me uncomfortable. I want gov't officials who are smart, capable, work hard, negotiate, are honest, thoughtful, and have good judgment. I look to art and philosophy for inspiration. I don't want a unified nation that rallies around an iconic head of state. I want a decently run country that provides basic services to all citizens when necessary and allows each of us to live as we please.
posted by mdn at 4:15 PM on February 20, 2008


I agree that a Clinton concession is extremely unlikely at this point, and in fact I think that it's better for the Democrats right now if she stays in. Let me proceed with extreme speculation. If her campaign stays divisive and negative, it can only strengthen Obama for the general election. We'll see the same attacks coming from McCain, but they won't have as much punch when McCain is repeating old news. Not that Clinton's campaign has anywhere near the level of media mastery needed for the equivalent of a full-on Republican media attack, but even if the attacks are weak they'll inoculate against later damage to Obama.

The big downside of that approach is that it makes Clinton even more of a pariah, and will only weaken her political power. Her execrable and politically naive Iraq position was enough to turn many Democrats against her, and every lame attempt at negative attacks such as this "plagiarism" charge make her less credible and more odious.

If instead she uses the time between now and the March 4th primaries to highlight her policy strengths and to try to unify the party, not only will she get more votes than she would otherwise, but she could win back some good will from Democratic voters and influence the policy direction of Obama.

Clinton should have learned from Bill's last years in office that throwing mud at a likable and popular candidate only makes the target more popular.
posted by Llama-Lime at 4:58 PM on February 20, 2008


Washington Post:
The Board of Elections has acknowledged that errors in reporting the election day tallies made it appear that Obama had received not a single vote in 55 election districts, when in reality his votes had simply not been counted, said Valerie Vazquez-Rivera, a spokeswoman for the board. In another 27 districts, Obama actually received no votes, she said...

But Tuesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, described the results as "fraud."

"If you want to call it significant undercounting, I guess that's a euphemism for fraud," the mayor said.
posted by grouse at 1:59 AM on February 21, 2008


kyrad, I didn't mean to yell at you and I'm sorry if it came across that way.

A lot of Hillary supporters are leveling two charges that really rankle me as someone who opposes her almost as much as I support Obama. If Obama were not running, Hillary would still not be even close to the top of my list of preferred democrats. I would still not trust her. I would still judge her career and over-rated tale of corruption and aggressive influence peddling.

The two accusations are: 1) opposing Hillary, if you're on the left, is "sexist" (and you said something to that effect above, although I think it was "starting to seem sexist"). And 2) supporting Obama means you have bought into a "cult" of personality and can't think for yourself (you also did imply this, I think). They are natural responses of supporters of a doomed candidate, but they are both radically unfair and condescending to many Obama supporters who are a) not sexist in any way and have worked for a feminist politics all their lives (like me); and b) who are not cultists in any way, but have been starving for a commanding, charismatic Democrat to lead a progressive effort to retake the country from the evil regime now in power, after decades during which Bill Clinton was the best we could get, as if he was somehow the "rock star" he is now made out to be in retrospect. Pshaw. He never won a mandate, and he was crippled compared to Reagan as a result.

Barack Obama could be the left's Reagan, and sure there's some hero worship, but for a lot of us the fact that he inspires devotion in his followers is a good thing. If he can deliver solid majorities in the congress for the Democratic party, as well as win in a few of the "red" states in the general, we will finally have a progressive (and sorry folks, but how can a guy who spent years as a community organizer on the south side not be called "progressive?") *mandate,* which many of us think is actually the will of the majority of Americans and has long been thwarted by BOTH DLC democrats and the GOP.

I am not someone who finds inspirational rhetoric automatically inauthentic. All politics proceeds on the back of rhetoric. I *want* a candidate who can inspire young people, excite new voters, articulate a new point of view, and finesse a subject enough to explain it to the opposition in non-threatening ways. I want to feel an investment in my vote and my government again.

But count on this. If Barack Obama is the president, I will hold him fiercely accountable for my vote, just as I have for every other president in my lifetime. Bill Clinton threw my vote away and squandered the best opportunity (and it was not much of an opportunity once there was no Gore administration to follow him) to stop what in fact happened right afterwards: a GOP right wing coup in this country. This election is an answer to the question "who is in charge here?" The people need a candidate who inspires to gather the courage and motivation to get to the polls and repudiate the right, this year, or the coup will have worked.

But passions run high, and I'm sorry if I was ultra snarky at you. I now think Obama will win the nomination without question *unless* the Clintons play very dirty, which will prove exactly what I have been accusing them of all along: rank, self-interested corruption. If that happens, at least I will know (as will millions of others) exactly what's up. I may yet vote for her while nailing my nose shut so I can't smell the stink of corruption. Or I may not, and just give up on beating the right at the ballot box.

After 2000 and 2004, I'm this close to fully radicalized. I support Obama because he is my last hope for some evidence that we actually live in a democracy here.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:12 AM on February 21, 2008


fourcheesemac -

Even though I think this thread is about to die, I think your last post deserves a reply, so what the heck.

Believe me, I understand your frustration with unfair charges being hurled at you for supporting a candidate. It has been implied, in this thread, that I must be supporting Clinton solely because I want to see a woman in the White House (which is not the case), and therefore I must either be an elderly second-wave feminist or a naive college girl (neither of which is the case) because Clinton has no other base (which is not the case). And that is *mild* compared to the reaction elsewhere; in some places I have basically been accused of trying to destroy democracy. So I get where you're coming from.

I did indeed wonder if some of the response of Obama-supporters to Clinton was sexist, although I concluded by the end of this thread that it was most likely not. I did not say anything about an Obama cult - that was someone else.

I would like to explain where those accusations come from, since I think I understand their origin.

People outside the Obama camp, regarding the movement not from within, see two things that confuse and sometimes disturb them. One is an apparent strong personal dislike of Hillary Clinton - an attitude that not only is she a politician they disagree with, she is actually a terrible human being. The other is an apparent strong personal like of Barrack Obama - an attitude that not only is he a politician they agree with, he is a wonderful human being. One result, which I complained about in this thread, is a lopsided narrative of the race where Clinton's flaws and questionable tactics (which certainly exist) are held under a microscope, while Obama's flaws and questionable tactics (of which there have been some) are ignored, even when they are nearly identical to the ones being bitterly complained about w/r/t Clinton.

I understand that the political often becomes personal, of course, but there are many people who look at Clinton and Obama and simply DO NOT SEE any vast political differences which would easily explain this. And yes, that is taking into account Clinton's Iraq War vote and stance. They see a pair of politicians with very similar voting records, both with their plusses and minuses.

So they look for other explanations to explain it. They ask, how could there be such a strong difference in emotions towards politicians with such similar stances? Does Clinton generate dislike because she is viewed as a "pushy woman"? Does Obama create such love because his followers are projecting onto him what they want to see? They cannot see any great political difference, so they look for other explanations to explain the great emotional difference.

This does not mean that those explanations are correct. But that is their origin. I am offering this by way of explanation, not accusation.
posted by kyrademon at 1:32 PM on February 21, 2008


kyra, I've stayed almost entirely out of this thread.... and, in fact, I haven't read most of it. (sorry, folks, but I'm too lazy to read it all tonight.) So I may repeat what others have said.

In my view, Clinton will do or say anything to win. She doesn't want the opportunity to serve, she wants power. She has repeatedly introduced legislation that's just plainly stupid, pandering to voters instead of solving problems. (her anti-video-game rhetoric comes to mind.) She doesn't strike me as interested in solving problems, just getting and maintaining power.

I think she's a smarter version of George Bush; she will tell any lie, to go any length, to get what she wants. She's just horrible. Given a choice between her and Bush for President, I'd be hard pressed to choose. Seriously. I don't see that much difference between them.... except that she's a lot more dangerous. I don't think the conservatives are too far off when they use the fascist brush on her... even though they don't see that it applies even more thoroughly to their own present leadership.

Obama, on the other hand, seems like a decent guy. Yes, he spreads lots of empty platitudes, and I wish he wouldn't. But he also, at least so far, seems to have some actual substance. He doesn't seem to pander, and I haven't caught him in any obvious lies.

Most crucially, I feel that he more or less respects the American voters, and I don't think Hillary does at all. I believe, to Hillary, voters are an annoyance, and an obstacle between her and what she wants... a thing she has to tolerate to get to the Big Chair. I don't get that vibe from Obama at all.

Now, I worry about Obama's religion, and I worry about what his actual stances will be. I could still vote for McCain if he doesn't deliver solid ideas that are well thought out. But given what I know now, I would vote for McCain over Clinton in a heartbeat.

And this has nothing whatsoever to do with their gender or their color. I'd be perfectly happy to have a female president. I heard Germany's Angela Merkel (I'm probably misspelling that) giving a speech on the radio a few weeks ago, and I could easily see someone of her caliber as a US President.

I just don't like or trust Hillary because she lies, she panders, and seems to have a very low opinion of everyone outside Washington.
posted by Malor at 11:16 PM on February 21, 2008


In my view, Clinton will do or say anything to win. She doesn't want the opportunity to serve, she wants power... Obama, on the other hand, seems like a decent guy...
I don't get that vibe from...
I just don't like or trust...


At this point I'm just mirroring what has already been said, I think, but what is difficult for me is why this distinction is so strong in the minds of Obama supporters. WHere does this feeling come from? That's why those accusations of bias (sexism) or blind faith (cultism) come up on occasion. It's not because "my candidate is losing" - Clinton isn't even "my" candidate. I didn't even vote in the primaries - I'll be fine with either one, and honestly did not feel strongly enough to come down on one side. Clinton seems like a "decent guy" to me, as these things go, and Obama has his power hungry side as much as any politician. Neither of them strike me as either supremely good or supremely evil - I would guess they both have an honest interest in making the world a better place, but both of them are partly motivated by an interest in making a place for themselves in history and reaching incredible personal success & power

And to think anyone with a serious shot at the presidency isn't going to feel the adrenaline of that power doesn't make sense - the hope is just that it propels them forward to make the kinds of decisions you agree are good for the populace, rather than to help them force actions that have negative consequences. But no one feels the love of 50 million people and just says, meh... unless they had no interest in what the people care about to start with, in which case they'd never have run.

Basically I don't understand what you base your "vibe" on that makes the split so absolute.
posted by mdn at 11:11 AM on February 22, 2008


kyrad, Malor, and mdn -- nice to have a little quiet chat at the end of a thread full of rancor, so thanks for the thoughtful comments.

Kyra, I understand those views. I've felt them myself looking at racism and classism in and with respect to the working-class and Native American communities I write about. I am aware of the blindness of prejudice and the ingrained ways in which gender metaphorizes every other social distinction. I am even aware that I *do* have a sexist response to Hillary Clinton; I have tried to be reflexive about it and analyze its (unconscious) source. It scares me to think I may not be seeing its full imprint on my thinking, because I work hard to be a feminist in my daily life and my work. I often see doing so as working to some extent to discipline my male nature, but that's a lot of what culture is for and I'm glad there's an override switch for the caveman inside me.

But the deep irony, or agony, is that there is still a remainder of utter mistrust of Senator Clinton even once I have accounted for my sexist response (which is far more complicated than the idiotic formulation (the caveman response) that a woman can't lead; I've worked for great women leaders in many domains. I can check that much sexism at the door, at least. I wouldn't like her if she were a man; indeed, like many people still voting for her, I'd like her a lot less if she *were* a man, and would feel about her the same way I suspect many smart people (who have checked "a young black man can't lead" at the other door easily enough) continue to feel about Obama if they find him glib and inauthentic.

I look for authenticity too, you know. I consider myself, as a white male in my mid-40s and deeply political, educated, happy with my work, and relatively financially secure (in ways I wasn't even a few years ago, which is why so many white men like me become conservatives in similar circumstances), a decent judge of political character. I know how I felt about Clinton when he came in, and how utterly disappointed I was with his administration 8 years later, and how betrayed I felt as he departed without producing the conditions for his very worthy successor to win when the materials to do so were very much at hand for a man so intelligent. His tale of wanton self-destruction (and I also know they were out to get him, but he should have known that, and there ain't no lovin' worth what he went through, besides which -- all kidding aside -- he was the president and he had an extra-marital sexual affair with a 21 year old intern, which is just not right -- we sometimes lose track of that in our hatred for the agents of what followed).

When Obama answered the "get real" question last night, he spoke for me directly. He actually called out people who think his supporters are "delusional" enough to "project" whatever they want onto an empty suit speaking someone else's words.

I assure you I would not do such a thing. I want to fucking win this time. I was appalled at the Kerry campaign. I was outraged by the Bush v. Gore coup d'etat. I honestly believe an evil cabal has seized power in my country and is conducting itself like a classic totalitarian imperial state and leading us to sure ruin on the express train. I'm not kidding. That's how I feel about the Bush administration: they are a bunch of war criminals.

So along comes a guy who inspires me to hope that someone who opposed this particular damn war from the beginning -- and he did, as did Al Gore, who would be my choice were he in the race because the justice would be so profound -- could be president. Someone of MY generation, educated where I was and conversant in the terms of my reality, but committed to the conscious sense of responsibility such a pleasant reality imparts to anyone who has an open heart in this sickening world. And he speaks like an angel, it's true. And looks like a movie star.

And on top of that, he's black. And white. And multi-racial. And he has Asian siblings. And he grew up with Muslims and Native Hawai'ians around him, not just people who looked like him and thought like him.

The turning point came for me the day after Iowa. I was in a shabby little deli in Harlem early in the morning, the kind run by a Yemeni and mostly designed to move a lot of cans of malt liquor really quickly through the process. An elderly African American man, grizzled and bloodshot, obviously on that thin line between really down and out and semi-transient, was holding up a copy of the prior morning's NY Post with a big picture of Barack Obama and "Victory!" or some such on the cover. His face was a cipher for all the genocidal madness that made him him and me me and put us in the same deli that morning. My family came over after slavery, but I'm not one to pretend I don't enjoy the fruits of genocide every day I walk to work on Native land.

This man was muttering over and over to himself: "I can't believe they let a brother win," very quietly.

I gave Obama my first donation of the campaign that day, and have given weekly since.

Hillary voted for the war authorization, and has never apologized for the "mistake." Properly so, because it was no "If I knew now" mistake. She did it for political expediency -- there is no other analysis that fits for me. She believed -- for good reasons -- that it would give her purchase in the presidential general election. At the time, the power of the GOP gangster class to impose discipline was near total. The war had high approval ratings, and 90 percent of Americans believed we were avenging 9/11 in Iraq. I thought I was living in an endless nightmare then. I still am not sure if I am awake yet.

That is all I need to oppose Hillary Clinton and support Barack Obama, all the other factors apart. The war is to me the most pressing issue, followed by the environment only because we can't do a thing about the latter until we stop fighting the former. Until we *all* stop fucking fighting.

Obama is not a cipher to me. He's the candidate who stands for my values, who symbolizes my hopes for this country in his very being, *and* in his policy prescriptions to a significant (hardly complete) extent. He is incredibly smart, and a charismatic leader who seems able to use his gift of eloquence to articulate ideas I believe in in ways that make them less adversarial sounding to good people who believe in opposed ideas. I've seen him do it. It's why he's winning the Republican and Independent (like me) voters by a significant margin.

I will vote for Hillary Clinton if she is the nominee, almost certainly. Like I said, I want to win. But I've been angry enough to know how it feels to find it repugnant to settle for the other candidate. The last straw of regret I had about my decision to support Obama vanished in the wind when Bill Clinton came on the Charlie Rose Show -- as a surrogate of her campaign, and I wish she would speak directly to what role Bill Clinton would play in her administration, because I don't want him there, frankly -- and said Obama's supporters were "gambling" with the future. You are *always* gambling when you trust a leader to some extent. History makes leaders quite as much as the opposite is true. But Bill Clinton is the leader of the party, and his career is the basis for Hillary's having a shot here. (Sorry, but that's true, and I will argue the point if you'd like, but I do not believe she would be where she is in the process had she not been married to the president.) He was willing to provide (and then continue providing) direct and powerful ammunition to the GOP in November -- his own words -- to be used against Obama as a warning shot not to defect from his wife.

That was the beginning of a series of negative jabs from the Clinton campaign, and frankly I do not see any serious instances of negative campaigning from the Obama campaign directly (maybe that's why his supporters are so negative; they're jonesing for some red meat politics! But I do admit the tone is hostile in many online communities I know, and that the Obama supporters are generally rougher players).

Obama is beating Clinton in part by refusing to go negative. That changes one of the most sickening aspects of recent American politics. And it is working like a charm, deflecting now daily ugly and spurious charges (drug user! plagiarist!) back on to their source. As it should be.

But when it comes down to it, one votes with the gut as much as the head. My gut tells me Obama can win the general going away, finally delivering a mandate for change that Hillary, even if she wins her 50+1 way, will never have. And then it's 8 more years of bullshit. Obama is bringing new and young voters into the process, which as a progressive I have long believed was crucial and necessary to do. I teach college students, and it is stunning to behold the fervor -- it's not cultlike, it's passionate -- they have for his candidacy. They are sick of the same old shit too.

In some years, I'd settle for a Hillary Clinton the way I settled for Bill Clinton. But I don't have to this year, and it's that simple. These are my reasons, and they are as serious as are yours, I'm sure, for supporting your candidate, whoever that is. So it is irrelevant whether I like her or not (and I find her not very likable, it's true, but don't care much about that; I think she has a condescending and patronizing way of explaining policy, especially, rather like Giuliani did, a kind of overweening sense of her own "expertise" on everything), or whether I like him or not (he seems familiar to me, someone I'd like to have a single malt scotch with, but not someone I'd know as a friend). I don't like her much, but that's not why I am not voting for her.

Finally, I am angry that she and her team (including her husband) seem willing to do serious damage to the party to win. This is what Malor is pointing to. All these personal attacks, many through surrogates, and some through the biggest surrogate of all (Bill), have resonance from now to November. I want it to stop, and I probably have personalized my anger a bit too much on many occasions because politics is sort of like that for me: damn personal. I'm a dad. I want my kid to have a world left.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:20 PM on February 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


the end of a thread full of rancor

What?!! We are obviously reading completely different threads. This has been a lovefest.

You can wax lyrical about your gut feelings and your certainties about candidates' motives and intentions but frankly, it's weird. The more you write the more it seems like you have been drugged or brainwashed or joined some cult. Give the soul and heart to one and spew out negativities constructing a narrative of 'otherness' about the opponent. And of course, the irony will be lost on you when that whole US and THEM attitude is elevated to the playing field of the final battle against the republicans.
posted by peacay at 8:44 PM on February 22, 2008


peacay, you should consider: with the sheer number of people who are saying roughly the same thing -- and liberals, in my general experience, tend to read and understand people very well -- maybe, just maybe, they're right?

Here's a rundown on Obama's actual record in the Senate. It looks damn solid to me. I don't see any bullshit or any pandering there. I see attempts to actually solve problems, not just pander by passing non-solutions for non-problems, like Hillary's crap about video games.
posted by Malor at 11:59 PM on February 22, 2008


Oh, and:

This man was muttering over and over to himself: "I can't believe they let a brother win," very quietly.

This sentence really spoke to me. A black President could be a very powerful message that you CAN get ahead with dark skin. I think of that as more of a side effect than anything, no reason to alter my vote... but a wonderful side effect of choosing the best Democratic offering for the job.
posted by Malor at 12:02 AM on February 23, 2008


It's not the right or the wrong Malor, it's the game plan. It's the insistence that "my candidate" is the beacon of light and the opposition is the heretic. This whole tactical divisiveness is the problem. You think I'm arguing HRC -vs- BO but that's really beside the point. It's the automatic adoption of an Us -vs- THEM mindset. You think all you spruikers espouse wise considerations but all I hear is zealotry and the white knuckle rage of BELIEF. And it will be exactly the same manner of thinking come November. It is beyond weird. It is a caricature of democracy.
posted by peacay at 1:07 AM on February 23, 2008


Hmm, I've written and rewritten this post a couple of times now. At first, I didn't agree with you at all, but I think I do a little bit now.

Overall, most of the conversation here is that we like one candidate better on a personal level. Have you seen Lessig's presentation about the tactics HRC is using? It's not unreasonable to feel antipathy for the games she's playing.

It's not a cult, it's just that people don't like Hillary, and there are very good reasons for that. If the two finishers had been, say, Edwards and Obama, the campaign would be very different indeed, and the conversation here would be enormously different. Edwards and Obama would have us talking about issues, because that's what they want to talk about.

I think the reason it's staying more on a personal level is because that's how Hillary plays this game. It's damn hard to talk about ideas when one side is stuck on personal attacks.
posted by Malor at 1:53 AM on February 23, 2008


Well, I still don't see the tactics / game playing difference (I could not get through that unbearably condescending "4Barack", "character-integrity-do" (I admit to being unduly annoyed by that disparate triad) video) but this is the sort of useful comparison that makes me feel good about Obama. As I said above, I was hesitantly optimistic about him (as evidenced here, in 2006) and have only been made wary by the frenzied "he's our Reagan" creepiness. I don't want a "reagan". I thought Reagan was a phony scumbag who sold false hope like a fucking used car salesman, and was a perfect example of what's wrong with politics - manipulating people to think with their guts (see stephen colbert...) instead of properly serving the citizens of the country.

If people would defend Obama because he has done work, has got bills passed, and is active and able to come up with solutions, then I am all for him. It's when his supporters lose sight of this and get all worshippy and emotional that I begin to feel uncomfortable. I don't want government officials who are icons - it's too easy to see that getting out of hand. I want government officials who do their job well enough that the icons - the writers and artists and thinkers and civil rights leaders - of the next generation get the health care and education they need and have the liberties and protections they deserve in order to fulfill their potential. They're who to look to for inspiration. I don't mind a president being inspiring now and then or whatever, but that absolutely should not be the primary selling point, in my opinion, and really I would rather they don't try to pump people up too much - conversational is good, preaching not so much. It feels too nationalistic.
posted by mdn at 11:34 AM on February 23, 2008


mdn, what I see is not a shallow pumping up but an important realist strategy. Obama understands how America elects presidents, and he's emphasizing the characteristics that will be most important in getting him elected. If an excellent legislative history and high performance ratings from his own districts and many advocacy groups were enough to get someone elected, our presidential history would look quite different. Obama understands that there is quite a bit of emotionalism involved in getting out the vote and motivating the electorate, and that the election of a President has irrational as well as rational aspects. It doesn't matter so much what political junkies and the literate elite like and don't like - in terms of the sheer numbers he needs, it matters how he makes people feel. GWB used this same phenomenon to his tremendous advantage - he understood it, and so he got elected, despite a horrific record of corruption, incompetence, and inexperience. It doesn't bother me that Obama has observed that only by tapping into both the support of credible, critical minds and a general, fuzzy public feeling will he - or anyone - receive a nomination and finally, win the office of President.
posted by Miko at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2008


Miko, the complaint here is not about Obama himself.
posted by kyrademon at 5:51 PM on February 23, 2008


mdn wrote: If people would defend Obama because he has done work, has got bills passed, and is active and able to come up with solutions, then I am all for him. It's when his supporters lose sight of this and get all worshippy and emotional that I begin to feel uncomfortable.

I can see that, but this is a country of 300 million people. Somebody somewhere is always going to be advocating something worthwhile by using a dumb argument. The fact of the matter is that Obama does have a very solid record. (That's a very useful and thorough link, if you get a chance to check it out).

I've been defending Clinton on this thread, on the grounds that we should evaluate candidates by their policy proposals, not the emotions we feel when we think about them or their supporters. Plus, as Miko points out, nominating earnest policy wonks doesn't seem to be the path to success in presidential elections. The fact that people are genuinely excited about Obama really just doesn't scare me, given that he does have a pretty good record and pretty detailed policy proposals.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:12 PM on February 23, 2008


kyradaemon, I've read the entire thread, just avoided commenting because I've commented already here and elsewhere on most of the issues. I get that

the complaint here is not about Obama himself.


but mdn's comment was about "Obama worshippers," and I'm trying to point out that they are simply evidence of the efficacy of what is an intentional strategy, and the means by which that strategy reaches voters.
posted by Miko at 7:04 PM on February 23, 2008


I am not an Obama worshipper, as I said above. I am an Obama supporter with a brain. All politicians have their acolytes. And I *do* want a Reagan, in the sense that I want a charismatic liberal president (apparently made out of teflon) who can deliver a *mandate.* Reagan was the last president to win in a landslide, and not coincidentally the last one to deliver any real (if terrible) change without resorting (as Bush has) to illegal acts or (as Clinton did) to unstable compromises with the far right.

Frank Rich nails the changing opinion zeitgeist nicely in the NY Times this morning:

"Clinton fans don’t see their standard-bearer’s troubles this way. In their view, their highly substantive candidate was unfairly undone by a lightweight showboat who got a free ride from an often misogynist press and from naïve young people who lap up messianic language as if it were Jim Jones’s Kool-Aid. Or as Mrs. Clinton frames it, Senator Obama is all about empty words while she is all about action and hard work.

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating."



Ditto. I don't want a self-immolating candidate in the general. I want a lean and mean political machine that has proved it can get the job done. With style.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:53 AM on February 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


To clairfy a bit, of course Reagan also resorted to illegal acts, and plenty of them, as president. But he didn't need to in order to deliver the conservative cultural revolution its establishing moment. A landslide is a powerful force.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:05 AM on February 24, 2008


peacay, so you're saying I'm drugged and delusional, right? Just checking.

Cuz if so, this is one time Dick Cheney speaks for me too.

You mistrust me because I "wax lyrical" and you distrust a politician who waxes lyrical too. Fine. But don't be accusing me of taking an "us and them" position as you tar people like me -- educated, politically engaged since my youth, with a lot at stake personally (as a parent especially) in the fate of our society -- as "delusional." What could be more othering than that?

Constructionist social science has a name for the fallacy in which you are engaging here: naturalization. Naturally, only the plain spoken discourse of a pragmatist can convey the truth, the real, the significant. Like Plato and Muhammad, you mistrust poets. You are caught up in the dream of absolute referential meaning, even as you misrecognize the ideological histories of words like "universal (as in health care) and "foreign policy expertise" (as in knowledge of warcraft).

Don't call me delusional and I won't call you cynical. Deal?
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:15 AM on February 24, 2008


"Questions on Patriotism! Is he exposed?"
posted by homunculus at 1:02 PM on February 24, 2008


Miko, ibmginty, I was largely talking to the other metafilterians with that comment (anyway to his followers) not to Obama. It was specifically around here that people have been hillary-bashing and going on about how they "feel" like Obama's different. And sure, I don't have a particular problem with a candidate using political tactics like manipulating the emotional crowd to win an election (I already hate politics as it is, I accept this is part of the deal) but that's not how it's been presented here. We've been arguing with believers, not people who think he's got a solid platform and will put up with some Rovean game-playing.
posted by mdn at 3:10 PM on February 24, 2008


I understand. I simply see those people as a necessary part of the success of the strategy. Not all MeFites have to be in the policy-examination crowd - I would imagine we have many 'gut' voters here as we have in the general populace.

If they look at some position papers and comparisons and learn a little bit more as a result of being here, that's great.
posted by Miko at 5:39 PM on February 24, 2008


Well, that's it. The Clinton campaign is now engaging the "unpatriotic" smear approach. So much for going out with dignity.

Meanwhile, a bright, talented, ambitious 22 year old who works for me has just told me she *has* to take a week off to go to Texas and work for Barack. And she's hardly the only one I know in NYC who's doing this. That's how dedicated the young people for Obama around me are. They're dropping everything to make it happen.

I'm with the kids, and against the politics of smear and fear. Senator Clinton, you've completely jumped the shark. And your approach is just so *old.*
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2008


Barack Obama’s Senior Foreign Policy Adviser Samantha Power on Obama’s Call to Increase the Pentagon’s Budget, Hugo Chavez, Funding the Iraq Occupation and Attacking Pakistan
posted by homunculus at 4:15 PM on February 25, 2008


Bollywood endorses.
posted by empath at 6:55 PM on February 26, 2008


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